Selling More Than A Candy Bar

When you sell something, you have to understand what it is your selling. A fifty-cent candy bar is easy to sell because people don’t have to invest that much into it. When you sell a car, the purchaser understands that he or she is spending a significant sum, and probably at least 4 to 6 years of ownership and repairs. When you sell someone a house, you’re looking at the possibility of selling your client a lifelong commitment. Thus, candy bars are not as hard to sell as cars, and cars are sold more often than houses.

 No matter what you think you’re selling, you’re actually selling yourself. Why? Because if the customer doesn’t believe you and believe in you, you will not make the sale. The customer understands that your paycheck comes out of their purchases. And unfortunately, time has taught us to beware of individuals whose meals come from what they can get out of us. To avoid a diet of unsold candy bars, the first sale you have to make to a customer is showing them that you are on their side.

I have had more than one recruiter tell me that the number one product they sell is themselves. If the customer believes in their knowledge and their integrity and their desire to do good for others, then they can discuss jobs, employment, and positions. Until then, the recruiter is little more than just a visitor.

Does this mean that you turn into a walking yes poster for anything the client wants desires or thinks? Absolutely not. You need to present yourself to the client as a person of empathy and integrity, caring and strength, and most of all, a person of truth and dedication. If you can do that, then you can sell them anything because they believe in you.

Belief is hard to gain and easy to lose. When you hold the trust of others, your work is significantly less complicated. Your biggest fear should not be that you may not make the sale, it should be that you may lose the belief of others.

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

Mean Old Master Sergeants

You will hear people refer to me as a mean old master Sergeant, and one of those people are going to be me. Therefore, I feel it important to explain to you what a master Sergeant is and what a master Sergeant does.

To the outside observer, a mean old Master Sergeant can seem rough and grumbly. Someone you really don’t want to cross. The rough façade you see is precisely that, a façade. Master sergeants and other senior noncommissioned officers are charged with helping the younger people who are learning their way in the military to make good decisions. The goal is that new members of the service learn how to be better soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen.

Looking at the desires and goals of the mean old master sergeant in that light, I am proud to be one. What makes me happy? When airmen have a tough choice and make the right decision. It means they are learning and are taking one more step forward to success.

As a mean old master Sergeant, I look for ways that others can find wins. What tells me I’m on the right track? When a young person in our service can come to me and ask a question of why. Why do we do it this way? This has several positive implications.

Asking a question of the rough and grumbly senior NCO means the person asking the question trusts the senior NCO. It also says that the questioner believes he or she will receive accurate information, and the person asked will not hold asking the question against the newer person.

Does this translate into the civilian world? You bet.  To give an example, let me explain what happened once when I was teaching computers. Most of the clients learning to use the computers were older. And one day we picked up a much younger client.

The client didn’t really want to be there and was being pushed by others to take the class. The client started the class loud and noisy, demanding attention and irritating the rest of the students. I talked with the rest of the learners and told them just to give the person a little leeway, and in time, I was sure that things would work out well. As time went on, things in class quieted down. Then one day the student received a call and was overheard in the middle of the call saying that it was not a dumb class, it was an informative and enjoyable class with a lot of practical knowledge. Nothing warmed my heart more than hearing a student say that.

Mean old master Sergeants have a place in life, both in and out of the military service. If I did not use the skills I have learned over decades to help others, I believe I would be wasting a valuable resource.

Do you have a resource you can share with others?

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

Quality

Welcome to another Throwback Thursday.  Our blog today comes from 2016 and is on Quality

Quality goes hand and hand with reputation.  A person or company with good quality will usually have a good reputation.  A person or company without a quality product or output will still have a reputation, it just, most likely not be a good one. In many Pacific rim industrial centers, quality is related to morality.  A person who produces items of poor quality is looked at as someone with poor morals

Quality discussions and ideas are found online, in isles of books, and in billions of dollars’ worth of consulting and training that are sold each year.  TQM, 8-D, Six-Sigma, 5-S, just name a very few of the thousands of methods used in various industries and companies, ranging from electronic system technologies to healthcare and on to the service industry. 

Quality does not just naturally happen.  You have to work at quality to have a good quality.  Do you have to buy all those books, and experts, classes?  NO.  You should know a couple of things about quality and be willing to put a little time into quality.

I want to tell you of a study that took place in the very early 1900s.  Scientists were trying to find out the best environment for factory production.  They called all the workers together and explained what they were doing and why.  Then they started playing with the environment in the building.  They made the lights brighter for a while, and then dimmer for a time.  Then they made the factory colder, then warmer.  As they went through all these steps and more, the scientists explained to the workers what they were doing next and why.

Every time the scientists changed something the production output kept going up.  It took a little time, and then the scientists began to understand what was happening.  Production kept going up because the scientists kept meeting with the production crew and talking with them.  Thus the first rule of communication:

Good quality requires good communication.  And, to have good communications, there must be trust.  So, remember the notebook and writing implement I mentioned in the preface of the book?  If you have not started yet, it is time to make some notes, we are about to get hands on because this is important.

Time to make a Quality Tree.  The main Trunk of the tree needs to be trust

Without a full trust of everyone involved, good information will be shared and bad information will be hidden.  Without trust fingers point, blame grows, hidden factories and lower quality quickly become the norm. 

So start to draw your tree.

The largest of the branches is communication.  Communication keeps everyone in the loop.  Quality communications ensure no surprises either up or down the line.

Accountability – Accountability is not finger pointing or punishment when things go wrong.  Accountability is and needs to stay positive and rewarding as virtue is bestowed upon all who are part of an organization.  With accountability comes pride in a job well done, a feeling of accomplishment, and a sense of being part of something important.

Too many companies treat their people as throw away items.  Making outrageous time demands, threatening, and not properly training or motivating their workers.  These are the companies that do not have a structure of Accountability; and quite often do not have a history of quality because of a breakdown in Trust and accountability.

To help communications flow smoother, there is a flow to follow.  First, listen and then speak.  Too often management and supervisors come into a problem, talk a little, shout a little, pass around a few threats, along with an insult or two and then consider the possibility of maybe listening to someone.  The problem is by the time they are done, no one wants to talk to them anymore, and the only question is, “Who does this person think they are?”

Keep in mind the rule of thumb.  Two ears and one mouth means listen two thirds and talk one third.  To talk more usually means talking out of both sides of your mouth.

Measurement – Knowing what is good and bad about the product and how long it takes to make the product is very important.  Hiding or camouflaging any problems or longer assembly times causes hidden factories.  Hidden factories become very expensive and very costly.

When I was a process engineer, I had several people come and tell me about a recurring problem on an assembly line.  Knowing how errors get blown out of Proportion, I checked the Shop Floor Data Collector to see what it would tell me.  I only saw one error, not several.  I did notice the line was running slower than it should, and was behind on the total number of units built.

I went out to the floor to investigate and see for myself.  When I got to the Quality Control Inspection Station, I found the answer.  The Quality Technician was trying to help the line.  Any of the various types of errors she found were only scanned once for that day. She set all of the units with errors to the side and fixed them herself so the build line would look better on paper.

I appreciate anyone who wants to help a line do better. However, this action did not help.  Engineers hear all types of stories, both good and bad most of the time.  To make sure they see the right good and bad points, engineers rely on data.  If the data is wrong or being manipulated it works against the workers and not for them.  Anytime an engineer sees a problem as shown in the data, that engineer is working on a root cause analysis and a permanent fix to the process. 

The person who caused the problem was working with a sense of fear for her fellow workers because the factory was undergoing layoffs.  It is important to remove fear by replacing it with accountability, trust, and communications.  She let her fears, flamed by rumors cause a set of quality failures on the line because she had no one she trusted to tell there was a problem and ask for help in getting it fixed. 

Maybe the real trick is to take out the fear?

Thank you for being with me during this Throwback Thursday.  I hope you liked it.  I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

Trust

When we buy a candy bar, we trust it’s going to be like all the other candy bars of that type we have purchased before. When we get ready to eat the candy bar, if we open it and the chocolate is old and stale, and the creamy insides are is hard as a rock, we may throw the candy bar away. After all, it’s only a candy bar.

When we go out to a restaurant, and we order something, we trust that they will serve us what we ordered. We trust our order will be made under sanitary conditions with care and it will be edible. If we are disappointed in what is served us, we may send it back or even remove the restaurant from our places to frequent. After all, it’s only a meal.

When we order courses off the web to learn something new or to expand our horizons, we trust that we are getting what was offered in the promotion of the course. If we were told that the course was for us and could solve specific problems that we had, we trust that is what is going to happen. As we pay for that course, the results for us need to stack up to the promises made and the cost of the course. This is important because what we study and learn will influence us as we move into our future.

Some people trying to convince others that their course is valuable and essential will charge thousands of dollars for it. They have been taught and live under a belief that a course not costing thousands of dollars cannot possibly be a good course. I am not sure that is so, and in charging high prices, I am probably not going to get to teach some of the students who could really benefit from my training.

I have studied education and training most of my life. I have always both worked and volunteered in part as a trainer and a coach. I have the academic degrees to back it up. And I trust in my skill and motivation. I have no plans to charge you thousands of dollars for something when I can give you a much lower and reasonable price. Don’t get me wrong, if you feel you have to pay me thousands of dollars, okay. Yet, I would have to ask the question, why?

When you take one of my courses, I am trusting that you signed up because you really need the course, or really want the course. I trust you are going to take the course seriously, I have faith that you will do your best to learn what I am teaching. And I believe that you will use the knowledge to better yourself and/or those around you.

I am working on a real active trust and faith which I haven’t quite ironed out yet. I do hope that I can have it figured out and completed by Tuesday of next week (October 2) I will talk about this on that day whether I can accomplish it or not and I think it’s something you might want to read. If it works, it’ll be an excellent offer for you.

Until then I am trusting you will have a good day. And, I hope to be with you again tomorrow.