Tuesday, March 13, 2018

"Why people-focused businesses always win"/ negotiations

Nov. 13, 2017 "Why people-focused businesses always win": Today I found this article by Brian Scudamore in the Globe and Mail:

Junk removal doesn't exactly hit you right in the "feels." It's an annoying thing people want to get over and done with – or they avoid it for years. The industry is notoriously fragmented, with subpar companies capitalizing on customers' need to get rid of stuff quick. In their haste to make a quick buck, they neglect a more important need: emotional connection.

As our former board member Simon Sinek says, "People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it." He's right: People are more likely to choose a brand they connect with on a level that goes beyond the business-to-consumer (B2C) relationship. They want brands they spend their hard-earned money on to resonate on a personal level.

No one wants to feel like a means to an end. That's why customer-centric, people-focused businesses will always win.

Why customers make the emotional choice

The most successful brands have it figured out: An emotional connection has a bigger impact than customer satisfaction. Exceptional service can make up for a mediocre product, but the opposite is rarely true.

Let's take Starbucks, for example. No matter where you are or what you order, you always know what you'll get. The barista will always be friendly and smiling, and a triple no-whip mocha frap in Kuala Lumpur is the same as one in Seattle. It's amazing how, even in the most foreign of countries, a white cup and a green mermaid can give you the feeling of home. Starbucks' consistency is killer, and it has created a level of comfort and trust for customers.

The customer journey doesn't start and end with a transaction. There are many touchpoints along the way, from the first time a customer encounters your product through the purchase process to the follow-up. You want every one of these interactions to create a lasting, positive impression.

B2C isn't the same as it used to be. Now, it's H2H – human to human – and it's changing how people choose and interact with brands.

Want to make a sale? Stop trying to sell

Establishing an emotional connection with customers hinges on their experience with your company. People know when they're being sold to – and they don't like it. Your primary focus should be to build a relationship, not to make a sale. Yes, companies need to sell to make money, but a people-first approach will earn trust and build positive rapport with your customer. That's how you close the deal.

It's really about converting every customer from transactional to relational. Transactional customers have a one-and-done attitude towards your company; they'll use your product or service in a one-off situation and never come back. These are customers who don't have a personal connection with your brand, often due to a second-rate experience. But a relational customer will return because you gave them feel-good vibes and treated them like a person, not a customer.

It takes time to build a reputation for your brand but seconds to break it (looking at you, Uber). Like any other relationship, the brand-customer connection relies on trust and accountability.

At WOW 1 DAY PAINTING, we promise to provide the quality you'd expect in a timeline that's unexpected. If we didn't follow through, we'd undercut our brand and our relationship with customers. If you ordered something on Amazon and it took a week to arrive, would you use the service again? Maybe, but I bet you'd be skeptical.

You don't need to promise the world, but you do need to live up to every promise you make. It makes a huge difference: Relational customers are twice as valuable as transactional ones.

Authenticity matters

Fostering relationships with customers is dependent on the people who represent your company. This means everyone from the front-line employees who interact with customers daily, to corporate staff toiling away behind the scenes. Every person in your organization plays a role in the customer experience, whether they're writing ad copy, building online booking software or knocking on a customer's door.

The ultimate goal for any company should be to inspire a team of brand advocates: people who embody what your business stands for and live it in everything they do (in their personal and professional lives).

For example, our goal is to give customers a happy, easy, stress-free experience – so we hire happy, fun, approachable people who are inherently optimistic. This ensures the authenticity of our brand and our customers pick up on it. It's a simple concept that can have massive impact.

Getting people to connect with your brand on an emotional level is a challenge every company faces. But it doesn't have to be complicated. If we can do it with a junk removal company, anyone can.


"Six main reasons why negotiations fail": Today I found this article by Harvey Schachter in the Globe and Mail:

Bob was a lawyer with a reputation as a great negotiator. He was tough, bellicose and obstinate, a yeller and table banger, willing to say no without further discussion.

Mike, also a lawyer, was the polar opposite. He was clear about his objectives, centred and calm when everyone else was losing their cool.

He exemplified the three qualities that Corey Kupfer, author of Authentic Negotiating, says are central to success when bargaining, be it for work, a car, or a new home: clarity, detachment, and equilibrium.

"There are many people like Bob out there," Mr. Kupfer, principal at a New York City law firm specializing in negotiations, says in an interview.

"I hope more and more people will move over to the Mike end of the spectrum, which is more effective."

The Bobs of this world fall prey to the six main reasons negotiations fail:

Lack of preparation

In an overwhelming era, it's easy to forsake preparatory time and hope you can wing it in the discussions. Mr. Kupfer says he is constantly amazed at how ill-prepared people are for negotiations.

It's vital you prepare externally, learning about market conditions, history, and other factors that might influence the deal.

But you also need to prepare internally, knowing what your objectives and bottom line are.

What are you willing to pay for this purchase? What will be the title and actual work of the person you intend to hire? If ill-prepared, externally or internally, you will likely stumble.


Many deals are killed by pride and self-importance. You might not ask for information you need or be unwilling to give up something relatively minor that wounds your ego.

But there's the opposite as well: Individuals not accepting their own worth. That is common with freelancers, contractors and others who quote an hourly rate but fold at any sign of resistance from clients because, in their heart, they don't feel they are worth the prevailing amount.

Wanting to be liked can also be a killer: You make a concession to win the other side's appreciation. Wrapped up in ego can be a dangerous determination to win at all costs.

"Your goal should never be to win the negotiation," Mr. Kupfer says, referring to the desire to be able to brag afterward about how you crushed the other side. Often, he finds, such negotiators fare poorly, winning the one point they obsess about and not noticing other areas where they are unsuccessful in gaining their objectives. And if you talk too much, stroked by ego, you could be giving away information you shouldn't and are not listening to understand the other side's points.


There are many ways fear can assert itself in bargaining but Mr. Kupfer says the most common are fear of failure and fear of the unknown.

If you are uneasy, the contract you are negotiating won't work out well and you could sabotage the deal rather than addressing and perhaps calming those fears.

Negotiators often fear the new, uncertain or different world ahead and, again, avoid a deal that would be worthwhile.

Mr. Kupfer cites an entrepreneur who kept thinking up reasons a deal that would double his business could end up hurting rather than helping him. The solution was to write down his fears, which showed they were minor, easily addressed, or unlikely.


Negotiations will fail if you are too rigid about the structure of what is being developed – rather than simply being clear about your end purpose, and open to how to design the deal – and unbending on time.

Some people are so desperate for an immediate deal, they give everything away while others push too hard and send the other side packing.

"Go with deal flow and don't be rigid about pace, timing, or how the deal looks," Mr. Kupfer says.

Getting Emotional

You can't be a robot. But you also can't allow emotions to get out of control in bargaining, losing your temper. Simply take note of your emotions – why are you upset? "Stay objective and figure it out," Mr. Kupfer says.

Lack of integrity

Deceitful tactics will come back to haunt you. But you also want another form of integrity: ensuring the deal is in line with what you really need and want.

That brings us back to clarity, detachment, and equilibrium.

Know from the start what you truly seek.

Be detached.

You should have a preference for making a deal but also be comfortable if it doesn't happen. If you have ever found yourself bidding more for a home than you thought it was worth, you lost your detachment.

Don't get thrown off in the heat of negotiations. Maintain equilibrium.


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