Which Works Best – Kindness or Aggression?

knee-socks-tnThe interesting words used by salespeople in seminars during role play can be diverse: either aggressive or kind.

Example: A salesperson can either “overcomeobjections or “respond” to objections.

Which sounds better to you? As a consumer and a sales coach, I prefer “responding” to objections, which can open a two-way conversation.

A fascinating experience I had last week was a good example of selling with aggression versus kindness.

Looking online to find wool knee socks (because even here in Virginia Beach, the cold weather will soon be here) I found two sources with exactly the socks I was looking for. Both prices were about the same.

After creating an online shopping cart in both retail websites, I read the reviews on both sites and waited a day to decide where to purchase the socks. Not a big decision, but I wanted to be sure and get the best value, because returning the socks could be a hassle.

The next day, two different emails appeared in my inbox.

The subject line from one of the online retailers: “You Snooze – You Lose!”

A good attention-getter.

The message read:

“Someone else may buy what you’re interested in, so come on back before it’s too late!”

The email from the second retailer used a different subject line:

“Ooops . . . did you forget something?”

That was a kinder and gentler attention-getter, in my opinion.

The message:

“If you had trouble checking out, please let us know. Send us an email or call and we will help you.”

(Good customer service.)

“And, when you do check out, please use this personal 10 percent discount code good for the next 24 hours.”

The decision was easy to make.

I purchased from the kinder, gentler retailer – and the 10 percent personal discount made it much easier to decide.

NOTE: Amazon was not one of these two online retailers.

I don’t know about you; but I prefer the language of kindness and not aggression.


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.


Dumb Comment From Someone Who Should Know Better

Serving tasteful food, selective focus, canon 1Ds mark IIIThis Italian restaurant lost six customers at our table after the server made a comment that surprised everyone.

Before this happened, I never personally experienced what effect trashing the competition could have on listeners.

Now I know.

This is what happened:

As we were placing our orders, someone at our table (Tony) mentioned the pasta he was ordering looked like the same pasta he had eaten at Macaroni Grill.

Our server at __________’s restaurant volunteered that she had been to Macaroni Grill the week before and the food and service was “terrible.”

Tony did not ask the server’s opinion, so why did she volunteer her opinion?

Hard to know but it made me stop and think.

It is never good to trash competitors because it leaves a negative impression with customers.

But it IS okay to criticize the competition when the CUSTOMER brings up the name of the competitor and asks questions about the differences between your company and the competitor’s company.

That is what happened recently.

I called my Internet service provider to check out different “bundles” and see if a better price was available for Internet, TV and digital land line telephone services.

(One company has been my provider for many years but another business is offering what sounds like a very low price for the “bundle.”)

After I told Vanessa what her competitor was offering, she said something surprising, so I – at first – did not know whether or not to believe her.

Knowledge about the competitor makes the difference

Vanessa explained the reasons for the price differences between her company and the competitor.

What she told me turned out to be verifiable; I called her competitor to make sure of the facts.

The price differences and extra fees were not included in the beautiful mailer I received from her competitor.

Like extra charges for each cable box and hidden monthly fees for technical telephone assistance.

With everything added together, the “low price” bundle offered by the other Internet service provider was not really a bargain.

Is a competitor trying to undercut you?

Find out exactly what your competitor’s price includes, because as in my experience there are often “extra fees” or hidden charges that your competitor may not have mentioned.

Business Lost

The thoughtless comment made by this otherwise professional server at ______________’s restaurant lost future business for that restaurant.