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Customer Service


Balanced Leadership

As a speaker and experienced business professional, my goal will be to challenge you to think of your business and your relationships with your key constituents in new ways. As lifelong learners, we are compelled to see important things in a new light and our quest should be to go to where the puck is going not to where it has been. This has also been a prevailing theme in my career. From part-time trailer loader at UPS to President of The UPS Store and later UPS Supply Chain Solutions, this approach has helped me shape simple yet thought-provoking lessons into tangible results. I challenge myself and others to not stop at the first right answer and to consider these same things as they are managing their operations. It also is what led me to write my book “Tighten the Lug Nuts.”

As you are reading the signs of your industry and looking for ways to stay ahead of the pack in a dynamic market, I encourage you to holistically look at your business through the lens of what I call, Balanced Leadership. These are principles to manage by that, I believe, help optimize business performance while satisfying the needs of your customers, your people and your stakeholders. After 40 years, I continue to use this philosophy. For me, it has become invaluable, because I see so many leaders who focus only on one area of their business – usually the bottom line. By using such a myopic approach, these leaders are neglecting two very important business components that drive true success: the people and the processes.

 Balanced Leadership

It doesn’t matter who you are or what your job and level, as a leader you are responsible for balancing the needs of your three constituent groups: your people, your customers and your stakeholders.

• Balanced Leaders think like a customer and ensure their people think like a customer.

• Balanced Leaders act like an owner and understand the business and what makes it profitable.

• Balanced Leaders ensure their employees and stakeholders feel valued.

But where do you start? Which is the most important? How do you keep them equally in balance?

Let me address your most important constituent – your customer. For without them, your business wouldn’t exist.

Think Like Who?

Think like a customer. It a simple statement – pretty straight forward. But how do you breathe life into this concept for your customers to experience it and your people to understand it? The answer is fairly simple: It’s essential to create a brand identity from a customer perspective and then get your team to execute the organization’s customer strategy.

Here’s an example from my days at UPS Supply Chain Solutions. We were focusing on customers in the healthcare industry, and as a solution was being developed in concert with a large customer, the question was asked: who is the customer? Some in the group responded, “the patient.” Others said, "the healthcare provider” or, “the vendor network.” Still others felt that the customer was, “the hospitals, clinics and pharmaceutical companies.” 

At times, all may be right, but in this particular solution and for this strategy, the question had to be answered before they could move forward. Who is the customer? Once you establish this critical point, then you can establish some very important next steps in the process:

• What are you solving for?

• What won’t you compromise?

• What are your boundaries?

• What keeps the customer awake at night?

• What are the key metrics that you will hold yourself accountable to?

• What does good look like?

There are many other examples, but this is a fundamental question that must be answered to ensure everyone is in sync.

For us in UPS Supply Chain Solutions, and in particular our health care vertical, it became our mantra and part of our branding: “It’s a Patient, Not a Package.” Now, the branding is: “United Problem Solvers.” That’s thinking like a customer!

Constantly Question Your Status Quo

For you to think like a customer, you have to think and be a solutions provider. Ask yourself, how do I help my customer by providing them the best possible solution? It starts with asking your customer, “What keeps you awake at night?”, that begins the solution process. You’ll need to think about new opportunities to participate in the aftermarket industry or create new solutions … new ways of doing business that don’t currently exist.

Think like a customer by approaching each challenge as a true solutions provider. By watching you and seeing your example – your people need to embrace this concept so they will think like a customer in all they do. Doing so will help your team view the business from the eyes of the customer. This mindset and vision will better guide their decisions and actions.

Someone is going to be the best, so why not you and your team? Make sure you are tightening lug nuts in your control as you lead by example.

Rocky Romanella speaks, consults, trains and advises on leadership development, customer service and business optimization. The author of TIGHTEN THE LUG NUTS: The Principles of Balanced Leadership can be reached @ 949-551-2669.

Rocky Romanella





Sending a follow-up note is a solid way to build a new relationship. Short, upbeat, and handwritten would be ideal (as long as your writing is legible!).  It would also be ideal to send one to everyone you meet (tough to pull off, but ideal). 

Again, begin with a compliment or a statement that refers back to the conversation you shared.  Keep the tone upbeat and end by suggesting that the two of you get together for breakfast or lunch. 

Many feel that a follow-up written thank-you note is better than a follow-up e-mail.  A real signature in ink on real notepaper may take a couple of days to get to them, but it has the potential of being much more memorable than an e-mail. 

To meet the 24-hour follow-up timeline, try taking some thank-you stationery or note cards with stamps to networking events.  Write, address, and mail the notes directly following the event to the people you just met.

The Follow-up Phone Call

Making follow-up phone calls is good, but you will probably end up in voice mail.  When you do (and you will), start and end your message with your name and phone number.  If you are given the opportunity to listen to your voice message and redo it, take it.   Say your name and number closely and distinctly, without "swallowing" any words or syllables.  Assume that the person listening remembers you, enjoyed your time together, and wants to write your number down and get in contact with you.  Include a compliment or a statement that refers back to the conversation you shared. 

The Follow-up E-mail

There is no doubt that e-mail is a powerful, inexpensive, and widely used means of communication today.  I like e-mail.   It provides you with access that the phone and snail mail do not.  The same people who ignore phone messages may well respond to e-mail.  The secret is to create e-mails that are personal and focus on the relationship you have started with them – not on what your company does. 

Make yourself necessary to the world and  mankind will give you bread.”        -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

A signature file that includes your full name, e-mail address, and phone number so it will be easy for them to contact you.   Include in your signature The subject line of your e-mails needs to encourage the receiver to open it.  Create file a brief but powerful statement of how you empower progress.

And make sure all your e-mails include the address to your own or your company’s web site.  


Contributed by:  Dean Lindsay, Award Winning Speaker and Author of The Progress Challenge & Co-Author of Stepping Stones to Success   

Dean Lindsay, Sales & Leadership Speaker





Expressing Gratitude

Creating a strong culture is critical to your company’s long-term success and growth. Balanced Leaders work hard to create the best, the brightest, most informed and best educated team in their industry.  Expressing appreciation can go a long way towards cultivating a customer-focused culture. It can be as simple as thanking customers for their business and loyalty. In every customer interaction, make sure they know you are grateful they chose to do business with you.

Contributed by Rocky Romanella, Retired President of UPS Retail Operations, Keynote Speaker, Leadership, Motivation & Values.

Rocky Romanella, Keynote Leadership Speaker




Actively Listen to Customer Needs

Balanced Leaders consistently demonstrate to their customers they are in tune with their needs and are operating in their best interest.  Customers know what they want but may not always explain it in a clear manner. If you do not understand a request, ask clear, positively articulated questions until you understand. Do not rush customers, allow them at their own pace to discuss what they need. Once customers have expressed their needs confirm your understanding with them to ensure communication is clear. Doing so will help you Think Like a Customer going forward. 

Contributed by Rocky Romanella, Retired President of UPS Retail Operations, Keynote Speaker, Leadership, Motivation & Values.

Rocky Romanella, Keynote Leadership Speaker





Here are “10 Great Customer Service Tips” distilled from 20 years of sales experience…

1) First impressions do matter. It has been said that you only have one chance at a first impression and that is absolutely correct. Smile, make direct eye contact, take your sunglasses off (if you are wearing them) and introduce yourself, but don’t be aggressive or pushy.

2) It is not what you say, but how you say it. There’s an old saying, “The tone makes the music”…so true. Even if the words we use are correct, if you are not sincere or believable, people will know. Think about when you shop for something, can you sense when someone is being sincere?

3) Give the customer your full attention. Don’t take calls, check your email, or text while engaging your customer. If there is an emergency, explain the situation, handle it promptly, then get back to the customer immediately. That customer in front of you is all you should be thinking about.

4) Make sure everyone knows what they are responsible for. If employees aren’t sure what their job is, then they might not be very helpful to customers. Everyone should clearly know their job responsibility, and that will help streamline your efficiency not only for your business, but in the eyes of the customer.

5) Never say: “That’s not my job”. Let’s say someone strolls in and is at the wrong place in your store or business relative to your exact job description. Politely explain the situation and make sure and escort that person to where they need to go. Have you ever had a waiter at a restaurant ignore you because it was not their table…How’d that make you feel?

6) Get rid of the fine print. If customers are continually confused by your policies or don’t understand something, then fix it. Your policies must be user friendly. If they are not, your customers won’t come back, and they will feel as though they’ve been cheated. If your cable company tells you that your price is good for two years, but the fine print says one…will you recommend them to someone else?

7) Never judge a book by its cover. I’ve seen it happen, a guy in flip flops and a t-shirt walks in a dealership and no one wants to talk to him yet it turns out he’s an Internet billionaire and ends up buying ten cars for full sticker…but nobody initially wanted to deal with this person. Don’t make that mistake.

8) Make sure your employees don’t gossip or talk about personal stuff at work, especially in front of the customer. I see this all of the time. If my salesperson is talking about their date or divorce to their co-worker, I’m not interested. When you’re at work it is always about the customer not your personal life.

9) Surveys and feedback are great. If someone takes the time to fill out a survey-read it. You’ve got a free consultant right there telling you what you need to know. Some people like to complain, but if you spot a trend, you better be all over it, otherwise your customers may go elsewhere.

10) Last impressions matter too. After a transaction or sale has been completed, do not celebrate your victory with other employees or rush the customer out, so you can get another customer. Focus on the customer in front of you at all times throughout the entire sales process. There will be plenty of time to celebrate after work, so save it until then.


Contributed by Till Kahrs, a Keynote Speaker who has worked with over half of the Fortune 1000 and is a frequent guest on Fox National News and ABC TV and author of “Enhancing Your Presentations Skills.”

Till Kahrs, Keynote Speaker & Business Communications Consultant




Create a Place of Worth

As you move through difficult periods on your way to success, do the ‘right thing’, take care of your customers, treat others with dignity and respect, and celebrate successes. Balanced Leaders create a culture of excellence where their people thank you for not letting them stray or compromise their values and ethics. They get excited about other ways they can participate in successfully reaching their goals and those of the organization.  Your self-worth will determine your net worth, not the other way around.  


Contributed by Rocky Romanella, Retired President of UPS Retail Operations, Keynote Speaker, Leadership, Motivation & Values.

Rocky Romanella, Retired President of UPS Retail Operations/Keynote Speaker



Showing Genuine Interest in Others

When you show genuine interest in others, it shines a big attractive spotlight on you as someone with whom to cultivate a relationship.  We have all met people who are totally focused on themselves, their interests, and their goals.

Are they fun to talk to? 

Can you rely on them?

Are they people you want to help?

It is, of course, vital to know where you want to go in life.  But if you exclude others because of your self-absorption, you are actually slowing down your own progress.  Include others in your journey.  Work hard not to be egotistical or selfish.  Work diligently to increase the number of people you actively support and who support you. 

Helping others to progress is the proverbial two-sided coin.  It helps you to progress in equal measure.

“One of the most beautiful compensations of this life is that no one can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.” 

-- Ralph Waldo Emerson



Contributed by:  Dean Lindsay, Award Winning Speaker and Author of The Progress Challenge & Co-Author of Stepping Stones to Success   

Dean Lindsay, Sales and Leadership Speaker




Dealing With Workplace Stress

Workplace stress is rarely part of anyone’s job description, but it is unfortunately part of most jobs.  It is tough to progress when we are stressed.  In fact, we feel stress when we feel we are being hindered from progressing. 

How to deal with or relate to the stressful stimuli in this high-tech, low-touch world of speed-of-light change is a vital and important topic that desperately needs discussion. 

Check this: Stress not only limits your progress; stress can and will kill you (if you don’t take action)! 

-       The American Medical Association says that stress is now the basic cause of over 60% of all diseases and illnesses (cancer, heart problems, etc.). 

-       Stress-related problems, according to the American Institute for Stress, are responsible for 75 % to 90 % of doctor visits.

-       A study conducted by the University of London found that unmanaged reactions to stress were more likely to lead to cancer and heart disease than either smoking cigarettes or eating foods high in the bad kind of cholesterol.

Virtually no part of the body escapes the ravages of prolonged negative stress.  Unfortunately, many of us make up our minds to “get serious” about our physical and mental health only when we become ill, suffer a heart attack, or experience some other form of breakdown.


Contributed by:  Dean Lindsay, Award Winning Speaker and Author of The Progress Challenge & Co-Author of Stepping Stones to Success   

Dean Lindsay, Sales and Leadership Speaker



Knowledge is Power, Ask Questions

People love to talk about themselves, so master the art of asking questions and listening to the responses so you can ask relevant questions. If you can help them with a tidbit of information or link them to a resource, you will be seen as a caring and knowledgeable person. 

You can either make a suggestion related to what their needs are, or help them in some other way. The person will remember that you were able to help them out.

Plus you will gain knowledge.  Knowledge is power, and asking questions is seeking that power.  Asking people questions about themselves makes you stand out in their mind.

Longer pauses before questions lead to longer answers.  Taking these pauses makes you look professional and like you are really thinking and engaged, rather than just filling empty airtime.

It's okey-dokey to script your questions.  Just rehearse them enough so they don't sound scripted.

Here are eight solid questions and statements for starting conversations and delivering solid first impressions:

1.  How did you get into your line of work?

2.  What interested you about the profession?

3.  What do you like most about your industry?

4.  What major changes do you foresee in your industry?

5.  What has been happening in your industry? 

6.  What are the current trends?

7.  What have you found to be the best way of getting the word out  and promoting your business?

8.  I’m meeting people all the time, so tell me: How would I know if

    somebody I meet would be a good contact for you?


Good questions are far more difficult than good answers.”     -- Persian Proverb

Also add these to your conversational Rolodex: 

Tell me more. 

Please elaborate. 

What are your ideas about…? 

There is something I would like to ask you… 

What is your opinion on…?

Do not ask questions in rapid-fire succession.  This is not a Dragnet interrogation or a time for cross-examination.  Nor is it a time to relive your glory days on the debate team.  Avoid asking questions that are manipulative, boring, embarrassing, hostile, confrontational, insulting, or too intimate. 

When you approach people, they will start talking about something, so follow that with them and go with the flow.  Abrupt changes in conversational course cause confusion and frustration. 

Every question you ask makes a statement about you.  Only ask questions that make you look good (smart, concerned, with-it, etc.).


Contributed by:  Dean Lindsay, Award Winning Speaker and Author of The Progress Challenge & Co-Author of Stepping Stones to Success   

Dean Lindsay, Sales and Leadership Speaker





Look for Something to Acknowledge People For


Genuinely complimenting someone costs you nothing, but to the recipient, a heartfelt compliment and the feelings it generates cannot be bought at any price.  Recognition, encouraging words, and pats on the back are all excellent ways of making positive impressions, especially if done in front of others. 

Avoid general compliments as they may just seem like flattery, “sucking up.”  Much more powerful is a comment about something positive that person has done: compliment on behavior or achievements. 

“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.”

-- Mother Teresa


Contributed by:  Dean Lindsay, Award Winning Speaker and Author of The Progress Challenge & Co-Author of Stepping Stones to Success   

Dean Lindsay, Sales and Leadership Speaker




Get a Mentor

To keep yourself on track and consistently offering progress and earning trust, seek out a mentor.  Mentors help you see beyond your present vision by providing practical advice, ideas, and valuable concepts based on their unique experience and the wisdom gained from their failures, as well as their successes.  They can play a significant role in the life of a successful networker.  A person you respect can guide you and share their wisdom without reservation. 

Make a list of people you believe can impact your networking success. 

Who has earned your trust?

Find a way to connect with these people today.  Mentors should be role models of the kind of person you are working to become.  Be sure to get your advice from the veterans who have “been there, done that” and who sport the “I feel successful” T-shirt.   

A mentor can:

–  guide you in crafting networking goals.

–  make you accountable.

–  show you how to network

    (not just tell you or toss you an extremely well-put-together book on networking).

–  encourage you to network often.

–  offer you feedback and help you identify and overcome

Look for someone who:

–  listens to others and displays good communication skills.
–  demonstrates integrity and enthusiasm for their life and career. 

–  models continuous improvement and the importance of networking.

–  shares their mistakes and how they grew from these 

    learning experiences.

–  seeks opportunities for personal and professional growth.
–  stays informed by reading and attending seminars.

Use these high achievers wisely.  Do not abuse the privilege and start whining about how tough things are out there.  With this privilege comes responsibility.  You must bring value to the relationship.  If you start believing your short-term objectives are more important than your long-term relationships, you will betray the trust and do more harm than good.  Acknowledge your mentors as you progress.  Something as simple as a thank-you and a pat on the back can serve as their inspiration to continue being there for you. 

Continue to earn their trust.


Contributed by:  Dean Lindsay, Award Winning Speaker and Author of The Progress Challenge & Co-Author of Stepping Stones to Success   

Dean Lindsay, Sales and Leadership Speaker





Smart brands put All the Wood Behind the Arrow(s) by developing core competitive advantages in a few select areas to win at the point of attack and maintain their market presence against great offs and greater giants.  What key takeaways can we extract from these companies?

Culture comes from you.  Where you find your cultural heritage, your deep passion for an area of excellence, is a deeply personal choice.  You may be committed to doing the right thing for planet earth and you may simply find electromagnetic protective relays to be "beautiful, beautiful things."

The core of Method's business resides in their deeply felt belief that there should be a better way to clean.  This wasn't an idea that sprung from a research panel but from a personal conviction on the part of hits founders that the world wasn't right without a sustainable, ecologically sound detergent--and one that happened to smell nice and come in an attractive package too.

Dr. Ed Schweitzer (Schweitzer Engineering) saw beauty in electromagnetic protective relays.  His calling came to him very clearly, and after speaking with him, it seemed that it would have been impossible for him to have chosen a direction in life too far from this area.  He didn't gouge his customers.  he wanted the product to help people.  The brand's culture was firmly rooted in honesty and integrity.

This isn't a decision made from marketing research.  This comes from your sense of who you are, no matter whether you were born a Boeotian or an engineer.  Your culture is your soul.

Functional expertise is something that comes from what you do for others.  Whatever you choose to excel in, it has to matter to your customers or channel partners.  Method became the flag bearer for the "clean detergent" category by virtue of its formulation and its attention to customer experience.  Without the experience, the formulation would have been ignores as just another unknown brand--while without the formulation, the user experience would have likely missed a large part of its intended market.

Your functional expertise is your craft, your vacation.


Contributed by Stephen Denny, Keynote Speaker & Author of Killing Giants, 10 Strategies to Topple the Goliath in Your Industry.



Capitalize on Opportunity

It's all about finishing well.  Understand the point-to-point mechanics of how your stuff ends up in your customers' hands.  Attach yourself to an order-understand the touch points from the consumer's initial awareness of the product or category through traditional advertising, online search, or social media all the way through the in-store merchandising experience-and see what you learn about potential weak spots in your competitor's assumptions.

Capitalize on opportunity.  "Whenever there's an opportunity for foot traffic, from either a season or a competitor, you really have to capitalize on it,"  "Regardless of whether you get the ad space, you always have an opportunity in stores to promote your product and take advantage of that traffic."

Plan for trouble.  Losing a key merchandising opportunity promised by an important partner happens in life and in business, but that doesn't mean you can't make doubly sure that won't happen today or tomorrow. And never stop working just because you've been told you got the ad.

Be ready when trouble arrives.  One of the most enduring lessons that an experience teaches is that you should have the resources ready when the opportunity (for the disaster) arises.  Having the foresight to train and retain the right resources is half the battle.


Contributed by Stephen Denny, Keynote Speaker & Author of Killing Giants, 10 Strategies to Topple the Goliath in Your Industry.



Successful Networkers are Generous Networkers

Give before you receive. 

Successful networkers know they must contribute before they can expect a return on their investment.  Try to match and connect the knowledge and skills of the various people you meet with others you have already established relationships with.

Give a smile - Get a smile.

Give help - Get help.

Introduce people to people - People introduce people to you.

Care - Get cared for.

Listen - Get listened to.

Help others progress – Progress.

Give referrals - Get referrals.

Ask yourself:

Do people perceive me as a generous helper or more as a selfish taker? 

Careful here.  If you wear the selfish taker label, people will eventually whittle you out of their loop.  This is exactly the opposite outcome you are looking for. 

Start today.  Say it loud.   Say it proud. 

I like to help. 

Today I am going to help and give and then help and give some more.


Contributed by:  Dean Lindsay, Award Winning Speaker and Author of The Progress Challenge & Co-Author of Stepping Stones to Success   

Dean Lindsay, Sales and Leadership Speaker



How Networking Can Work For You

Go to networking events expecting to have a positive experience.  As with any sales strategy: 

If you think networking is a bad idea,  you will prove yourself RIGHT.

Always act like an equal – because you are.  Sure, some in the room make more money than you today, but real wealth is measured by what you are and not by how much you have.  I know that sounds hokey, but it is still true.

You can act your way to better feelings, but rarely can you feel your way to better actions.  Repetition is the mother of skill and competence.  Feelings follow actions and behavior.  Do not wait to network when you feel like it, or you may never get rolling. 

Far too many professionals never network enough to develop the confidence that comes with experience.  They do not go through the networking process enough to get comfortable. 

Don’t feel that you’re good at conversation?  

Ask great questions and listen

Also, start reading for thirty minutes a day.  Take in all the information you can.  Read anything and everything so you can carry your share of the conversation. 

Live in a hockey town? 

Read the hockey scores even if you don’t know the meaning of a hat trick (Google it).  Pull your conversational weight. 

Knowledge about many issues and trends makes you more interesting. People coming in contact with you will more likely want to associate with you if you are well-read and knowledgeable (as long as what you are well-read and knowledgeable about isn’t just TV Guide and the National Enquirer).

Suggested reading:

Your local newspapers

Your local business journal

Your industry trade journals and newsletter

Publications that relate to your personal interests and specific industry.

Magazines:   Fast Company, Time, Newsweek, Selling Power, Fortune


Contributed by:  Dean Lindsay, Award Winning Speaker and Author of The Progress Challenge & Co-Author of Stepping Stones to Success   

Dean Lindsay, Sales and Leadership Speaker




Use Positive Energy

Remember, you have good stuff to share.  Like yourself – but never be cocky or vain.  Like who you are on the inside.   If you don't like yourself – Big Problem.  Far too many people go around disliking themselves, focusing in on the negatives.  This is a huge part of the reason why substance abuse, gambling, depression, anxiety, stress-related physical disorders, obesity, and other eating disorders are all galloping epidemics.  Negative self-thoughts aren’t just self-limiting, they can kill you.

Find a way to feel good about yourself.  Hang with people who

– like PBS’s Mister Rogers – “like you just the way you are.” Allow their views to rub off on you.  Make yourself appealing to yourself.   Say it with me: I’m OK.  You’re OK. 

We each have a wealth of ideas, experiences, contacts, and resources that others need.  Recognize and use these strengths of yours.  Develop a healthy self-concept.  I do not want to go all Dr. Phil on you, but you have to go inside before you can go outside.    

We need to be real careful about what we say to ourselves and believe about ourselves.  Henry Ford is quoted as saying “Whether you think you can or think you can’t – you’re right.”  Around the same time, Luigi Pirandello wrote a play that said the same thing: Right You Are, If You Think You Are.  

Yes, I am talking about affirmations.  When I realized that I was going to passionately encourage people to focus on affirmations, I admit I had nightmares of Stuart Smalley (Al Franken’s character from “Saturday Night Live”):  “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.”   

Affirmations just seemed so wishy-washy, so flimsy.  But I dug deeper and came to realize that we use affirmations all the time. 

It’s just that most of them are negative and self-limiting:

“I have a short attention span.” 

“I am not good at meeting people.”

“I participate in road rage.”

Our brains are trippy and complicated and can do amazing things.  But at their core our brains want one thing –To Be Right. 

Whatever we continually say about ourselves and start to believe about ourselves, our brains are going to work to make it true. 

It is imperative that we be careful about the things we say to ourselves because…

               “Whatever you say to yourself, you’re right.” 

Try using self-empowering affirmations and visualizations to create a more positive attitude about yourself.  

Stuff like:

“I believe in myself.”

“I am always interested in meeting new people.”

“Every day I make good decisions that positively affect my life.”

“This is a really good book.”

Enjoy yourself.  Mingle and keep it light.  


Contributed by:  Dean Lindsay, Award Winning Speaker and Author of The Progress Challenge & Co-Author of Stepping Stones to Success   

Dean Lindsay, Sales and Leadership Speaker



Networking to Make a Trusting Impression

There is power in numbers.  When you effectively build relationships with others, you have the opportunity to reach many more people than you could ever reach on your own.  After a while, your networking "web" will naturally interconnect and seem to go on and on, even when you are not actively working it.  Connections are continuously being made.

Do not underestimate the power of your contact. It is well documented that most people have some form of relationship with around 250 people (widely referred to as their Circle of Influence).  These are not 250 people they would invite to their Christmas –  Hanukkah – or even Festivus party (just a little something for the Seinfeld fans)

These are 250 people they know directly or indirectly, ranging from family members to random contacts that involve some amount of persuasion.  This persuasion is used all the time to recommend a good restaurant, shoe store, plastic surgeon, energy drink, personal trainer, CPA, handyman, florist or ___(insert your profession here). 

Theoretically, each of your 250-some-odd contacts could recommend you and your services to 250 additional people.  

That is cool to think about and empowering to consider!

But here’s the rub:

Just because they COULD recommend you, your products, and your services to 250 others does not mean that they ARE or that they WILL.   

Some quick questions to ask yourself:

Do people have a trusting impression of me and my services? 

Why, or why not?

Do they see me, my company, and my services

as providing progress?

Do they value what I do for them and others?

Enough to recommend me to others? 

Enough to use my service themselves?

Do they value their relationship with me? 

Do they feel that a relationship with me means progress for them?

It comes down to trust and value. 

How do we build trust?  How do we establish value?

Trust is a feeling.  It is a buzz.  Trust is fluid.  It is fragile.  Value is established in the mind of the beholder.  Trust between people is built moment by moment, year to year.  Value is established over time. 

It takes a series of positive impressions.   Think about the people you trust.  Why do you trust them? 

Is it because they said “Trust me” or “You can trust me”?

No, these people have proven themselves trustworthy by continually doing things in a way that has built our trust.  They got to know us and are reliable. 


Contributed by:  Dean Lindsay, Award Winning Speaker and Author of The Progress Challenge & Co-Author of Stepping Stones to Success   




Create Personal Curb Appeal

Most people connect the term “curb appeal” to checking out a house or building from the street.  How does it look from the street?  Is it attractive to the eye from the outside?

Personal curb appeal involves much more than how you look on the outside.  Sure, you need to look sharp when networking, but real personal curb appeal originates from within.  Before you even start networking, you must feel it is inevitable that you will meet and help people.  You must feel it is inevitable that you will continue to progress.  It simply will happen.  It is happening.  You will help other people reach their goals.  You will reach your goals.  You are progressing and you help others progress. 

People pick up on that feeling.  It’s a buzz, an aura.  It surrounds you.  It’s appealing.  It draws the right people to you. 

Be a success in your own eyes. You have to feel successful.  Not Cocky or Uppity, just good about yourself.  This creates personal curb appeal.  You can’t go to a networking event looking for success.  You have to take success with you to the event.  Success breeds success.  Success attracts success. 

It is so important to feel successful, to feel like a winner.  Feeling successful makes you attractive.  You become attractive to be around.  You ooze confidence.  You create an aura of inevitability.  You must believe you can help.  That you will help.  It is inevitable.  At its core, having personal curb appeal is knowing that you can and will be progress for the people you meet.

Sometimes you are going to have to act more positive and confident than you feel.  If you do, you will soon start to feel more positive and confident.  Change the negative perceptions about yourself and you will easily build greater trust and rapport with others.  I know this is almost impossible to pull off, but try to compete only with yourself and do not compare yourself with others.  Your overriding goal is to be the best you can be. 

Don’t let anyone (including yourself) say you can’t do it.  

As a young student, Martin Luther King, Jr., was told by a teacher that he would never be able to speak with enough passion to motivate people into taking action.

Thomas Edison was told by educators that he was too stupid to comprehend anything.

Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because he had "no good ideas."

Beethoven's music instructor once said of him, "As a composer, he is hopeless.”

A magazine editor once informed Emily Dickinson that he could not publish her poems because they failed to rhyme.

Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team at the start of his sophomore year.   


Contributed by:  Dean Lindsay, Award Winning Speaker and Author of The Progress Challenge & Co-Author of Stepping Stones to Success   



Humor into Your Daily Life


People are often envious of those who are funny and able to make others laugh.  I know I am envious of Dennis Miller, Jack Black, early Steve Martin, and Bill Cosby, circa 1966.  Cosby’s comedy album “Wonderfulness” from that year is pure comedy gold.  Anyone can learn to be more humorous with a little practice.  Humor is a technique that can be learned, developed, and perfected  just like origami (OK, not like origami, but you get the idea). 

Incorporate humor into your daily life.  Once you cultivate humor, you have the foundation for intellectual rapport.  Not every attempt will get a knee-slapping belly laugh; your mission is bigger than that.  A comedian succeeds just by being funny, but a networker succeeds only when the humor helps to create a positive impression. 

But of course, humor will never substitute for solid listening skills.  Mix too much yuck-yuck with too little care or respect and you will plummet, crash, and burn.

Some people will not even desire or enjoy humor.  It will not take a rocket scientist to spot these folks because they will be the cats that won’t laugh at anything.  The best thing to do in this scenario is to play it straight.  Cut the humor and ask another open-ended question that gets them talking.  Remember, the goal is to deliver a solid first impression.  You are not auditioning for a gig on Jimmy Fallon.


Contributed by:  Dean Lindsay, Award Winning Speaker and Author of The Progress Challenge & Co-Author of Stepping Stones to Success   

Dean Lindsay, Sales and Leadership Speaker



Achieving Peace of Mind


1.  How do you, your services, your ideas, your products,  your leadership style, your business plan and culture offer others peace of mind? 

2.  Is there peace of mind to be gained from working with you and for you?  Oh, yeah?  Like what?

3.  How can you and your organization be better positioned  in the minds of those you  wish to inspire to action?

4.  Do customers, clients, and guests take comfort or feel at ease knowing that you and your company are on the  case?  How so?

5.  How is accomplishing the goals you are committed to going to bring you peace of mind?

6.  How is working toward your goals bringing you peace of mind?

7.  How can you help coworkers, employees, and customers feel more peace of mind in their work and in their working relationship with you? 

8.  What aspect of your life and business should you improve to gain more peace of mind?

9. How is your customer service (internal and external) a catalyst for others to feel peace of mind?

10. How do you offer the Promise of Peace of Mind?

Contributed by:  Dean Lindsay, Award Winning Speaker and Author of The Progress Challenge & Co-Author of Stepping Stones to Success   

Dean Lindsay, Sales and Leadership Speaker