Three Rituals for Success

“If we did all the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves.” – Thomas Edison

This quote reminded me of some of the brilliant articles written by Ronelle Ingram.

While searching online for Ronelle’s articles, I came across her “10 Rituals for Success.”

Ronelle is a well-known speaker and author of Service with a Smile. (and a genuinely nice person.)

Reading these nuggets of wisdom prompted me to stop and think:  These are too good not to share, especially the laugh out loud ritual.

Here are three of Ronelle’s 10 rituals for success:

  1. Give thanks to someone for something each day.
    Some cultures call it prayer. Others believe it is just politeness. Conscientiously acknowledge something worthwhile that is happening in your life.
  2. Laugh out loud.
    Children and animals are enormous sources of humor.
    When you discover you have done something foolish, laughter continues to be the best medicine.

                                   (If you would like something to laugh about today, take a look at this video

It is 44 seconds of funny . . .

. . . but you may want to turn down your speakers first.

  1. Get rid of clutter.
    If your car doesn’t fit in the garage, take a long look at your priorities. What do you have stored in your garage that is more valuable than your car? Less is more. Purify your life by freeing yourself of clutter. If you have not used something in one year, you can almost certainly get along better without it.

You can see seven more rituals for success by Ronelle Ingram here

Speaking of Ritual #1, give thanks to someone:

Thank you, Ronelle, for your many years of dedication to service professionals and also for the kind words you used when describing my services on LinkedIn. Especially this phrase “Ann brings a wealth of knowledge and civility to . . . selling . . ..”

Selling with civility is something that is very much a part of my one-to-one e-course.

Private one-to-one sales training and coaching starts this month.

Want to sign up?

Drop me a line!



Can You Handle the Truth?

Every now and then we are lucky enough to find someone who offers services in a profession crowded with non-professionals. Someone knowledgeable, with a successful track record who is very good at what he or she does. Someone who – when you ask for an opinion – instead of telling you what you want to hear, will tell you the truth.

child-face-scared-tn“Can you handle the truth” is paraphrasing what Jack Nicholson said during a courtroom scene in the film “A Few Good Men.” His actual words (shouted to the character played by Tom Cruise): “You can’t handle the truth!”

Sometimes we need to hear the truth.

But I didn’t know the truth in my situation would be sort of painful, though necessary.

This is what happened:

I found a web designer online – Mike – who offered on his website “A free no-obligation website or project review.”

On another page of the site there was an easy-to-fill out form asking questions like “What’s on your mind?” and “Tell me more . . .”

Since I needed a few changes on my blog that require knowledge of HTML, and I don’t know HTML (it’s on my bucket list) I filled out the form and submitted it.

I thought I might never hear from him again, but . . . what did I have to lose by filling out the form and emailing it?

And . . . I thought . . . if I did get a reply, it would probably be five short bullet points with a few polite suggestions.

A few days later I received a five page review of my blog. Five pages!

As I began to read, I realized this would not be just a cursory review. It was detailed. Very detailed.

Halfway through the first page I stopped reading for a few minutes and realized this person actually read every word of my posts and my blog. Each and every page.

Midway through the first page he explained that I am confusing Google. I am confusing Google? Ouch.

I had to stop reading until much later, afraid I would read something even worse.

When I worked up the courage to read more of his review, it included SEO recommendations and suggestions that I knew would take time to complete, but are necessary if I want my blog to have a better chance of being found on Google – or any other search engine.

When I spoke with Mike on the telephone, he listened. He didn’t interrupt or try to talk over me with an explanation of his expertise.  This inspired confidence, so I decided to hire him for a few “fixes” (updates) on my blog. These were completed quickly and were exactly what I wanted. Impressive.

Then he went above and beyond, making suggestions I had not thought about.

Now I am in the process of deciding exactly what I want a new blog and a new website to look like. I want to hire him to build a completely new site for me, possibly combining my website with my blog.

If you ever have the need for a knowledgeable and dependable website designer – even if you only want a review of your current site – get in touch with Mike Truese Creations. You will be glad you did.


About Mike Truese Creations:  Mike has been rescuing great businesses from bad websites since 1999. He knows that a great website is liked by both people and Google. It has to be fast to download, easy to navigate, responsive (work on any mobile device), and great looking, too! Tell him Ann Barr sent you, and he’ll take 10% off any new website he creates for you.


Phone Rage or . . . Customer Delight?

In July a few years ago, I received an email that caught my attention.

“For a limited time, reserve your official Commemorative Jacket for the Chicago Marathon. Pre-ordered jackets will be shipped in September. Why wait until October—reserve yours today.”  (The power of email marketing!)

Dan-marathon-tnSince my son Dan ran in the Chicago Marathon for four years in a row, I decided to order a jacket.  (In the photo to the left, Dan is the guy in the blue hat running in the Grand Rapids Marathon.)

I began to order on the website, but had a question about the jacket. I called the customer service number listed on the website and was surprised when someone (a live human—NOT an automated message) answered after the second ring. The customer service person was knowledgeable, helpful and friendly.  This person,  and this company’s service resulted in a sale and Customer Delight.

I began to think about how rare it is that when we call a business—any type of business—we can speak with someone immediately, without first listening to recorded voice prompts.

More and more companies use automated systems that take the caller through several—sometimes many—automated voice prompts. It can be frustrating. Like the bank: “Touch two for checking information, touch three for savings information, touch four for money market accounts,” and on and on.

Phone Rage

Customers can become angry and even desperate, after listening to a dozen or so automated messages. You have heard about “road rage” and “air rage,”  but phone rage really does exist.

Last summer, the Future Foundation announced the result of its astonishing research: centralized call centers now rate above rush-hour traffic and delayed trains as the UK’s most stressful daily experience.

Any Live Humans There?

If your company is one of the few left where a customer’s call can be answered by a real, live human being immediately, that is a big benefit for your customers. If this is the case (lucky you!), be sure to use this fact among your list of benefits in your advertising campaigns, direct-mail letters and conversations with prospects.

Now, large corporations are beginning to realize they need to get the word out to customers to help them bypass automated voice prompts.  Recently I saw a CitiCard television commercial with the message: “When you call our Customer Service Department, just touch zero to speak to someone.”

If your clients do need to listen to an automated message when they call your company before speaking with someone, how can you make their calling experience easier?

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes: Do you really want them to have to listen to a long, automated message before speaking with a person?  Especially if they have questions that need to be answered?  Or an order that needs to be placed?

I do have an online coaching and sales training course, but for now I want to share these tips with you:

Three Tips to Make Your Clients’ Calling Experience Easier

If callers to your company hear a recorded message when they call, be sure to let them know in advance that they will reach an automated message first. Then:

1. If your company uses a series of three or more automated voice prompts and choices, let customers know how they can bypass the messages. In many cases, when a caller touches zero (0), they will be connected to a receptionist.

2. Always give customers your extension number. If you have a direct line, that will make life easier for buyers.

3. If you are going to give your cell phone number to customers, be sure to check frequently for voice mail messages and return calls as soon as possible.

If you follow these tips, you won’t have angry customers who may turn to your competition for help.

Instead of angry customers you will have delighted customers, who will probably tell friends and associates about their good experience with your company.

Get useful and creative marketing tips here.