Thursday, July 31, 2008

Website Links

If you like to exchange Website Links with us, here are the process:

1) Copy and Paste the following HTML Code into your Web Page. Your website must have at least PR3 or above.

2) Once that’s done, you inform us to

a) the URL address to the link page where you has placed our link. I will verify the existence of our link.
b) your email address & your link code information

3) I will put your link code into our Website & notify you via email.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008




Business Process Outsourcing - PROCESS, STRATEGIES, AND CONTRACTS

Selecting the Vendor


The structure and scope of the vendor evaluation process will vary depending on the customer's approach, the number of vendors being evaluated, time constraints, and audit and report requirements.

Common steps include:
 Selecting key evaluation criteria
 Identifying who will be asked to participate in the ranking of vendors
 Establishing a scoring system
 Weighting the key criteria
 Implementing final sign-off procedures


Examples of key criteria include:

 The Proposed Solution
Technology (hardware/software/network)
Committed resources
Fit with customer's environment/organization
Willingness to share risk

 Ability to Deliver Services
Experience/skill levels of staff
Technology (hardware/software/network)
Vendor reputation
Vendor experience
Proposed implementation schedules
Physical security
Data security
Disaster recovery/business continuation

 Ability to Implement New Methodologies or Technology
Technical resources/ability
Access to new methodologies or technology
Open methodologies or technology versus proprietary methodologies
Willingness to use third-party products
Implementation schedules
Remedies for failing to meet schedules

 Ability to Meet Performance Standards
Proposed service levels
Remedies for failing to meet service levels
Benchmarking services
Benchmarking service levels

 Value-added Services
Incentive mechanisms
Access to new methodologies or technology

 Financial Proposal
Base pricing
Variable pricing
Cost savings
Savings commitments
Budget comparison
Ability to increase or decrease services
Cost-of-living adjustments
Payment schedule

 Vendor Reputation/Financial Standing
Financial stability
Quality of personnel
Vendor culture
Prior or existing customer relationships
Vendor presence in customer locations

 Vendor Experience
Outsourcing experience
Experience in industry
Number of clients
Experience in relevant locations

 Vendor Flexibility
Adjustment of services
Adjustment of fees
Adjustment of service levels
Ability to add or take away entities
Ability to terminate early
Ability to terminate in part

 Keeping Abreast of Industry Developments

 Terms and Conditions Proprietary rights Third-party consents
Indemnities Insurance
Rights to terminate
Rights upon termination
Audit rights
Liability for third-party claims

 Human Resources
Number of employees to be transitioned
Health benefits
Savings plans
Retirement plans
Pre-employment screening
Employment agreement


This can be done in a number of ways:
 An informal sign-off from the outsourcing team
 An informal sign-off from senior management
 A formal approval vote by the outsourcing team and/or senior management
 A formal letter of approval from senior management



The outsourcing team leader will notify the lead contact person for the vendor or vendors of the decision. When making the announcement, the customer should:
 Reserve the right to negotiate with other vendors
 Refrain from making any promises or representations regarding entering into a definitive agreement
 Identify key issues that must be resolved (e.g., the price must come down a certain percentage)
 Emphasize that all negotiations and communications are confidential
 Note that the vendor should not make statements to customer employees or the press without the customer's consent
 Obtain a commitment that the vendor will provide a top negotiating team that is empowered to make decisions
 Discuss the proposed schedule


The preferred vendor or vendors typically will need to (or be asked to) increase the number of personnel working on the potential deal. Such personnel may include:
 A senior manager empowered to make decisions
 Marketing representatives
 Proposed project executive(s)
 Business process experts
 Methodology or technology experts
 Tax expert(s)
 A dedicated human resources representative
 Legal counsel
 Industry experts (e.g., retail consultant)
 Local representatives, counsel (for international deals)
 Temporary staff (if customer staff is at critically low levels)
 Due diligence team
 Contract administrators

This commitment may also include increasing nonpersonnel resources (e.g., access to certain technologies, temporary loan of equipment, travel expenditures).

There should be at least an understanding between the customer and the vendor(s) as to how costs and expenses will be allocated. Typically, the customer and the vendor(s) each bears its own costs and expenses. In some cases, however, the customer may agree to pay for some or all of a vendor's expenses (e.g., cost of temporary staff provided to the customer in the event a definitive agreement is not entered into with the vendor or certain travel expenses).


Vendors typically want to include a provision in the letter of intent that provides that the customer will enter into exclusive negotiations with the vendor for a certain number of days. Other common provisions include allocating costs and expenses, indemnifications for representations made to customer employees, and restatement of the parties' confidentiality obligations.

Letters of intent are usually not appropriate if the customer is negotiating with two or more vendors simultaneously. Obviously the customer could not commit to an exclusivity arrangement if it intends to negotiate with more than one vendor at a time. Most customers resist signing anything indicating that there is a commitment between the parties prior to the signing of the definitive agreement. In cases where the customers have agreed to sign a letter of intent, it is because they have been relatively confident that they would ultimately sign a definitive agreement with the vendor.


Once the customer has selected the preferred vendor or vendors, it will need to decide whether to make an internal announcement to employees and/or a formal announcement to the press.

If one vendor is selected, the decision to announce the selection of a preferred vendor often depends on the customer's communication strategy with its employees. Announcing the selection to customer employees often leads to a leak to the press. Many customers that choose to announce the selection of a preferred vendor to employees simultaneously issue a press release. Customers that elect not to make an announcement to employees or to the press at the preferred vendor selection phase typically do so because they feel that they may forfeit negotiating power, lose the interest of other vendors, cause unwarranted public speculation, or, possibly, impact public perception (including stock prices).

Examples of criteria:
1. Vendor Resources (financial stability of Vendor; ability of Vendor to meet its commitments over the term of the contract)
2. Global Presence (experience and resources providing services outside of the United States and supporting users in other countries)
3. Experience in Customer's Industry (specialized skills in Customer's industry to ensure quality)
4. Previous Experience with Customer (past experience Customer has with Vendor that may impact selection)
5. Financial Considerations (anticipated savings, improved cash flow, increased revenues)
6. Services to Be Provided (experience, resources and ability of Vendor to provide in-scope services)
7. Human Resources (transition of Customer employees to Vendor; terms of offers)
8. Terms and Conditions (responses to Customer's terms and conditions)

For more Information
* Driving Business Excellence, Business Process Management Books, Business Process Outsourcing, Process Improvement Handbook, Strategic Business Partner, *


Learning Corner - Tools & Techniques of Financial Planning

What is Financial Planning?

In the purest sense, financial planning is, quite simply, cash flow planning.
It is planning to have available the amount of cash needed at the time it is needed (or in the hands of the desired person) to accomplish an individual's financial goals.

Financial planning can also be defined as
1. creating order out of chaos
2. a deliberate and continuing process by which a sufficient amount of capital is accumulated and conserved and adequate levels of income are attained to accomplish the financial and personal objectives of the client
3. the development and implementation of coordinated plans for the achievement of a client's overall financial objectives
4. income tax planning, retirement planning, estate planning, investment and asset allocation planning, and risk management planning

The financial problems our clients face in their lives can be categorized by the letters L-I-V-E-S.
L. LACK OF LIQUIDITY – Liquidity is the possession of sufficient cash and/or income to pay bills, debts, taxes, and other expenses on time. A lack of liquidity is the inability to quickly turn invested capital into spendable cash without incurring unreasonable cost. This problem can result in a forced sale of assets at pennies on the dollar. For instance, if a client must sell stocks or mutual fund shares in a "down market," or if an executor must sell a valuable real estate portfolio to pay federal or state death taxes and administrative expenses, the buyer will offer to pay the lowest possible price for the most precious asset. This forced sale often becomes a "fire sale," a loss of prime growth or income producing assets at a fraction of their real value.

I. INADEQUATE RESOURCES – Insufficient capital or income in the event of death, disability, at retirement, or for special needs such as college or preparatory school or to provide needed services for a handicapped child.

I. INFLATION – Not enough has been done to "inflation proof" the client's portfolio. Figure 1.1 emphasizes the crippling impact of inflation on each dollar's ability to buy goods and services.

I. IMPROPER DISPOSITION OF ASSETS – The client is leaving the wrong asset to the wrong person at the wrong time and in the wrong manner. Picture, for instance, a client leaving a sports car to a 10-year old child or $100,000 cash outright to a 21 year old college student.

V. VALUE – Not enough has been done to stabilize and maximize the financial security value of the client's business and other assets.

E. EXCESSIVE TAXES – Excessive taxes add to the cost of an investment and retard progress toward a client's objectives.

S. SPECIAL NEEDS – Clients have desires that go beyond mere quantifiable goals. Psychological assurance and comfort should be part of the financial planning process. For example, a client may want to provide additional levels of financial care for a spouse or children who are disabled or emotionally troubled.

No matter how you define financial planning, all clients are confronted with the need to determine whether their available resources are adequate to accomplish their financial goals and objectives.

The financial planning resources are
1. earned income (salary, wages, business income) while still working (full time or part time)
2. accumulated investment assets
3. employer pension plans and Social Security benefits

The usual financial planning goals and objectives can be broadly categorized as
1. current lifestyle
2. children's education
3. retirement funding
4. parental issues
5. estate planning
6. other special needs (such as a disabled child)

One critical point in looking at what financial planning is and what it is not – most clients are in the position where their resources are not adequate to attain all of their goals and objectives. Sometimes compromises need to be made, but, more commonly, and more accurately, the clients must engage in a process of prioritization. The financial resources must be focused on whichever goal or goals the client determines is most important.


1. Analysis – WHERE YOU ARE NOW
2. Objectives – WHERE YOU WANT TO BE

The length of the report must be determined by the task set by the client (does the client want you to do a full analysis or just solve one or two
problems?), by time and cost considerations, by your style as a professional, and by your feelings as to how much the client needs to know to have confidence in and take action on your suggestions.

Where You Are Now
1. balance sheet
2. cash flow analysis
a) normal situation—current
b) normal situation—projected
c) death of "breadwinner"
d) disability of "breadwinner"
e) retirement
3. asset liquidity analysis
4. employee benefits
5. risk assessment
6. risk tolerance

Where You Want to Be
Quantification of goals
1. increasing investable income
2. improving liquidity
3. reducing risk
4. increasing income or meeting capital needs at death, disability, retirement, or for special situations
5. increasing financial security for heirs and satisfying charitable objectives

How to Get to Where You Want to Be
1. tax strategy
• income • estate and gift
2. investment strategy
• selection • portfolio balancing and asset allocation
• diversification
3. risk management strategy
• life • health & long-term care
• disability • asset preservation & protection
• property & liability
4. wealth transfer strategy
• estate planning • trusts
• retirement plan beneficiary elections • business succession
• titling • charity

Summary and Assignment of Responsibilities
1. summary
2. priorities
3. who must take action
4. what must be done
5. timetable for implementation
6. date of next review
7. contingencies that accelerate review & revision of plans

Budgeting and Cash Management

Budgeting can be defined as the ability to estimate the amount of money to be received and spent for various purposes within a given time frame.
Budgeting should be thought of as a deliberate plan for spending and investing the resources available to the investor. It ultimately serves as a yardstick against which to measure actual investment results.

In simplest terms, the budgeting process works as a result of the establishment of a working budget model by an investor, followed by the comparative analysis of actual investment results with the expected results used to create the planning budget. It is the comparison of budget results with expectations that yields the benefits of the process to the user.

1. When there is a need to measure periodic progress towards the achievement of specific goals (a) within a defined time frame and (b) within the confines of limited resources.
2. When the elements of economic activity are of sufficient complexity to warrant continuous monitoring of the details.
3. When there is a need to provide guidelines for evaluating the economic performance of various elements or individuals.
4. When there is a need to communicate a planning strategy to those affected by the budget.
5. When there is a need to provide incentives (goals) for the performance of individuals involved.
6. Budgeting may be indicated for the following specific purposes:
a. controlling household expenses
b. accomplishing desired wealth accumulation/ savings goals, such as
1. saving for retirement
2. funding the children's education
3. saving for vacation
c. Monitoring the performance of a specific investment, such as
1. a securities portfolio
2. rental property
3. a closely-held business

1. Budgeting helps coordinate activity of the investor and financial counseling team in developing objectives.
2. Budgeting reveals inefficient, ineffective, or unusual utilization of resources.
3. Budgeting makes family members aware of the need to conserve resources and helps to allocate roles in achieving overall financial objectives to various individuals.
4. Budgeting provides a means of financial self-evaluation and a guideline to measure actual performance.
5. Budgeting allows the recognition and forces the anticipation of problems before they occur and, thus, permits corrective action or preparation to be taken.
6. Budgeting highlights the possibility of, and the need for, alternative courses of action.
7. Budgeting provides a motivation for performance.

1. To the extent the data utilized are inaccurate, the conclusions drawn from the budget may be misleading.
2. Many individuals have a psychological aversion to the record keeping required and may not maintain sufficient information for the budget to be of use.
3. A rote dependence on budgeted numbers inhibits creativity, tends to stifle "risk taking," and encourages mechanical thinking. Such an investor may forfeit opportunities or fail to minimize losses.

Here are some guidelines to use when establishing a budget:
1. Make the budget flexible enough so that it will work even if there are emergencies, unexpected opportunities, or other unforeseen circumstances.
2. Keep the budget period short enough so that the estimates you make will involve the minimum amount of guesswork.
3. Establish a budget period long enough to utilize an investment strategy and a workable series of investment procedures. A typical family budget will cover twelve months and coincide with a calendar year.
4. Make the budget simple, short, and understandable.
5. Follow the form and content of the budget consistently.
6. Eliminate any extraneous information.
7. Do not attempt to obtain absolute accuracy, especially with insignificant items.
8. Tailor the budget to specific goals and objectives.
9. Remember that a budget is also a guideline against which actual results are to be measured. Unexpected results, highlighted by comparison with the budget, should be analyzed. It may be that the unexpected variance is in fact the norm, and should therefore be incorporated in a revised budget.
10. Determine, in advance, all the variables that may influence the amounts of specific items of income and expenditures. Income items include expected annual raises and increases or decreases in interest or dividend rates. Expenditures include increased costs, changing tastes or preferences, or changes in family circumstances.

Here is how to construct an income-expenditure budget:

STEP 1 – Estimate the family's annual income. Identify fixed amounts of income expected from the following:
a. salary
b. bonus
c. self-employment (business)
d. real estate
e. dividends – close corporations
f. dividends – publicly traded corporations
g. interest – savings accounts
h. interest – taxable bonds
i. interest – tax free bonds
j. trust income
k. other fixed payment income
l. variable sources of income

STEP 2 – Develop expenditure estimates broken down between fixed and discretionary expenses. Canceled checks and charge account receipts serve as a good basis for developing the following expenditure estimates:

a. housing (mortgage or rental payments)
b. utilities
c. food, groceries, etc.
d. clothing and cleaning
e. income taxes
f. social security
g. property taxes
h. transportation
i. medical and dental
j. debt repayment
k. household supplies and maintenance
l. life and disability insurance
m. property and liability insurance,
n. current school expenses

a. vacations, travel, etc.
b. recreation and entertainment
c. gifts and contributions
d. household furnishings
e. education fund
f. savings
g. investments
h. other

STEP 3 – Determine the excess or shortfall of income within the budget period.
STEP 4 – Consider available methods of increasing income or decreasing expenses.
STEP 5 – Calculate both income and expenses as a percentage of the total and determine if there is a better or preferable allocation of resources.

For more Information
* Financial Planning, Strategic Corporate Finance, Financial Controller's Function, Financial Intelligence, Corporate Cash Management, Cost Management, Finance Books, *


Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Art of Creative Thinking—How To Be Innovative and Develop Great Ideas

Use the Stepping Stones of Analogy

? Thinking by analogy, or analogizing, plays a key part in imaginative thinking. This is especially so when it comes to creative thinking.
? Nature suggests models and principles for the solutions of problems.
? There are other models or analogies to be found in existing products and organizations. Why reinvent the principle of the wheel when it has already been discovered? Some simple research may save you the bother of thinking it out for yourself.
? Honda's story illustrates a principle that we shall explore more fully in Chapter 4. He had a wide span of analogy – who else would have seen an analogy between a Buddha's smile and the front of a motorcycle?

Everything has been thought of before, but the problem is to think of it again.

Make the Strange Familiar and the Familiar Strange

? The process of understanding anything or anyone unfamiliar, foreign, unnatural, unaccountable – what is not already known, heard or seen – is best begun by relating it by analogy to what we know already. But it should not end there.
? The reverse process of making the familiar strange is equally important for creative thinking. We do not think about what we know. Here artists can help us to become aware of the new within the old.
? 'No man really knows about other human beings,' wrote John Steinbeck, 'the best he can do is to suppose that they are like himself.'
? 'Last night I thought over a thousand plans, but this morning I went my old way', says the Chinese proverb. Settled habits of thought, over-addiction to the familiar, will smother the dreams and ideas of the night.
? This morning you made a cup of tea or coffee and had your breakfast – the same as yesterday. But was it? You will never even brush your teeth in precisely the same way as yesterday. Every minute is unique.

The essence of the creative act is to see the familiar as strange.

Widen Your Span of Relevance

? The transfer of technology from one field to another, usually with some degree of alteration and adaptation, is one way in which you can make a creative contribution.
? You may be familiar with a body of knowledge or technical capability unknown to others in your field because you have worked in more than one industry. Or it may come about as a result of your travels to other countries.
? People with a narrow span of relevance are thinking within the tramlines and boundaries of their own industry. Leap over the wall! Develop a wide span of relevance, for there are connections between every other industry in the world and yours – if only you could see them.
? It comes down to your 'power to connect the seemingly unconnected', or at least the things that hitherto have not been brought together in a new and interesting relation.

It is the function of creative people to perceive the relations between thoughts, or things or forms of expression that may seem utterly different, and to combine them into some new forms – the power to connect the seemingly unconnected.
William Plomer

Practise Serendipity

? Serendipity means finding valuable and agreeable ideas or things – or people – when you are not consciously seeking them.
? You are more likely to be serendipitous if you have a wide span of attention and a broad range of interests.
? Being over-organized, planning your life down to the last minute like a control freak, is inimical to creativity. For chaos often breeds ideas. As A A Milne said: 'One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.'
? Developing your capacity for creative thinking will bring you rewards, but they may not be the ones you expect now.
? A creative thinker needs to be adventurous and openminded like a resourceful explorer.
? Sometimes in life you never quite know what you are looking for until you find it.

Fortune brings in some boats that are not steered.
William Shakespeare

Chance Favours Only the Prepared Mind

? Things that happen unpredictably, without discerning human intention or observable cause, can be stitched into the process of creative thinking.
? Such accidents tend to happen to those who deserve them. Do not wait for them, but learn to watch out for them.
? To see and recognize a clue in such unexpected events demands sensitivity and observation.
? To interpret the clue and realize its possible significance requires knowledge without preconceptions, imaginative thinking, the habit of reflecting on unexplained observations – and some original flair.
? Again, the importance of having an open mind and a degree of curiosity stands out clearly. You have to constantly ask yourself questions about what is happening around you – and be ready for surprising answers.

I have no exceptional talents, other than a passionate curiosity.


? 'Curiosity in children is but an appetite for knowledge', wrote the philosopher John Locke. You should aim to retain throughout your life that eager desire to see, learn or know. Curiosity is the mind on tiptoe.
? Creative thinkers tend to have a habit of curiosity that leads them to give searching attention to what interests them.
? Thinking is a way of trying to find out for yourself. If you always blindly accepted what others told you there would be nothing to be curious about.
? One way to develop your curiosity is to begin to ask more questions, both when you are talking with others and when you are talking in your mind to yourself. Questioning, carefully done, helps you to distinguish between what is known and what is unknown.

Go round asking a lot of damfool questions and taking chances. Only through curiosity can we discover opportunities, and only by gambling can we take advantage of them.
Clarence Birdseye, American industrialist

For more Information
* Success & Business Skills, Wisdom, Self Help & Development, Innovation & Creativity *


Friday, July 25, 2008

Leadership Secrets of the World’s Most Successful CEOs

Gene A. Abbott, CEO
Abbott and Associates, Inc.
A good leader makes sure he is surrounded by the right people.

Daniel P. Amos, CEO
Treat your employees well.

William Bonner, President
Focus on the work itself.

Niranjan Ajwani, CEO
Ajwani Group of Companies
For me a great leader is an enabler and a facilitator.

David T. Mclaughlin, Chairman
American Red Cross
Focus on the two or three issues that will effect the future of the enterprise.

A.J. Wasserstein, CEO
ArchivesOne, Inc.
Never let any relationship, internal or external, go stale or unmanaged.

Chip Perry, President and CEO
Challenge the status quo.

Roy Vallee, CEO
Avnet, Inc.
Work hard to ensure your employees are successful in their careers and they, in turn, will work hard to ensure your company's success.

Daniel Biederman, President
Bryant Park Restoration Corp./34th Street Partnership
Reexamine absolutely every piece of conventional wisdom that comes across your path.

William H. Goodwin, Jr., CEO
CCA Industries
Make good, simple, honest, and ethical decisions.

James M. Anderson, President
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
Be nimble in pursuing opportunity.

Matt Rubel, CEO
Cole Haan
Ask for their best thinking and then really listen.

Joseph Deitch, CEO
Commonwealth Financial Network
The primary role of the leader is to do just that—to lead.

Sanjay Kumar, Chairman and CEO
Computer Associates International, Inc.
A leader must be able to make change happen.

Archie W. Dunham, Chairman
Focus. You cannot go everywhere and do everything if you expect to perform well.

William G. Crutchfield, Jr., CEO
Crutchfield Corp.
The fundamental role of a successful leader is to achieve alignment.

Much is written about executives' roles in aligning their teams around corporate strategy and tactics

Unfortunately, too little is written or taught about the alignment of values and the creation of strong organizational cultures. The most powerful leadership technique that I know is identifying, inculcating, and managing an organizational culture.

Leaders must possess the right set of core values and must be able to align everyone in their organizations around those values.

But what values should a leader embrace?
From my experience, I find that truly successful leaders possess values that are centered on responsibly serving the best interests of customers, employees, business partners and stakeholders over the long run.

Another tough issue is how one balances the best interests of these various constituents. It is a very difficult balancing act. If you 'give away the store' to delight your customers, you obviously are not acting in the best interest of the stakeholders.

On the other hand, if you are not genuinely sensitive to your customers' needs, you will never gain their loyalty. If you view your employees and business partners as overhead that needs to be minimized for the benefit of the stakeholders, you may miss a great opportunity.

When treated with respect, and when the appropriate human and financial resources are invested, they become tremendous assets to an organization. And, if you concentrate too much on maximizing the wealth of senior management, you can ruin the business. The financial mania of the late 1990s lured many executives into making self-serving decisions that ended up hurting all of their constituents—customers, employees, business partners, and, ironically, themselves.

How can one align people around ones' values? Bill says, "The obvious first step is to live them fully. A leader must be the embodiment of the organization's core values.

The next step is to communicate those values constantly. A leader must be an evangelist for inculcating the organization's core values. Then, you must ensure that the organization has management systems that maintain these values.

When the business was much smaller, it embodied my beliefs—caring for customers, respecting employees, working closely with our business partners, and striving for perfection. However, what I saw now in the company was a culture out of phase with my beliefs.

The salespeople cared more about their commission checks than about the welfare of our customers. Our warehouse had become so bureaucratic that it was taking several days to ship an order instead of 24 hours. Our customer service people viewed their role more to protect management from angry customers than to find solutions to our customers' problems.

I realized that employees were not respecting each other to the degree that they once had. Morale was bad, turnover was high and cooperation was poor. The design of the catalogs had slipped. The product copy lacked excitement. Our catalog merchandising was confused. Packages weren't well packed. Our sales and technical advisors were inadequately trained. Our store was not neat or well merchandised. Basically, the culture of the company had slowly and insidiously evolved into something very different than what it had been only a few years before.

I firmly believe that any organization, in order to survive and achieve success, must have a sound set of beliefs on which it premises all its policies and actions. Next, I believe that the most important factor in corporate success is faithful adherence to those beliefs. And, finally, I believe that if an organization is to meet the challenges of a changing world, it must be prepared to change everything about itself except those beliefs as it moves through corporate life.

Over the past twenty years, the wording has evolved into the following:
1. Exceed our customers' expectations by providing a truly exceptional level of integrity, courtesy, service, and helpful information
2. Maintain a passion for continuous improvement through commitments to excellence, productive change and innovation
3. Respect each of our coworkers and provide a work environment that promotes dignity, team harmony, and personal satisfaction.
4. Respect our business partners and maintain mutually rewarding relationships with vendors who demonstrate high professional standards.

The beliefs were attractively printed and given to each employee. In group meetings, I briefed everyone on exactly what they meant and how our employees were expected to adhere to them. Finally, I created the systems that inculcated them into our company's culture and ensured their adherence.

I made the first item on our employee review form, 'Adherence to our Basic Beliefs.' Top management then started an extensive review process. Depending on how they complied with the basic beliefs, employees were retained in their current positions, promoted, demoted and, in a few cases, terminated. Very quickly, everyone got the message.

Almost overnight, the company started to change. Employees cared more about our customers. They worked much more closely with their fellow employees. They gained respect for our business partners. And, they started to show a genuine commitment to excellence in the performance of their jobs.
Sales started to grow again. The company quickly returned to profitability. Within a year, we were achieving results that exceeded our wildest expectations.

S. Michael Joseph, CEO
DACOR Distinctive Appliances
Orient your company to a higher purpose.

"What is my most powerful leadership secret? To orient my company to a higher purpose and to be consistent in following our moral compass,

The Value Statement reads:
To Honor God in All That We Do . . .
 By respecting others
 By doing good work
 By helping others
 By forgiving others
 By giving thanks
 By celebrating our lives

I believe that when we respect and help one another, we are able to recognize the talent throughout the organization. When we practice forgiveness and give thanks to one another, we open and improve communication. When we deliver innovative and high-quality products, we do good work. When our business behavior is driven by these values, everyone benefits, and we have many reasons to celebrate our lives.

In the context of the rest of the world, bringing spiritual values into the daily workplace is considered a bold step.

There are many tangible examples of how we put the Value Statement into action.
 Profits are shared with our associates.
 Each associate is a stockholder through our Employee Stock Ownership Program.
 Our products are innovative—many industry firsts to our credit.
 Our product warranty is most generous in industry.
 We have a proactive customer service department.
 We have a free employee assistance program: a 24 hour help hotline.
 Each new associate is personally welcomed by me.
 Each associate receives a birthday card from me each year (a small gesture, but significant).
 We say Grace at our associate luncheons and close with a benediction.
 The Value Statement is shown on the Web page, business cards, offices, and showrooms.
 We strive for consistent communication through such things as our OnValue newsletter.
 Charitable work is encouraged through our community outreach department.

Gratefully, our associates demonstrate their support of what we do in many ways:
 Less than 10 percent attrition rate
 96.6 percent acceptance of the Value Statement in a recent anonymous survey
 High productivity—our sales per employee is 77 percent higher than the industry median
 Operating income per employee and market value per employee among the highest in the industry

Introducing the Value Statement has truly had a transformative effect throughout the company, and it has taken everyone to make it work.

Mike's advice for becoming a better leader is to, "create an environment where your employees can do their best work. If you do, they will do extraordinary things. Also, one must have a mindset that he is primarily responsible for the welfare of the people he leads.

Other ways to become a better leader are to:
 Understand that education is a continuous process—be open to new ideas.
 Have a willingness to show your humanity.
 Exhibit and engender trust—trust God, trust yourself, and trust others.
 Encourage people to take risks.
 Be consistent with the journey you are on.

To be a better leader, one must be the kind of person others can trust. That means, consistency, humility, integrity. It means unfailing honesty with people. Treat them as what they are—creations of God.

To be better leaders, we need to respect the people that we are privileged to lead. It is the principle of servant leadership.

I also believe it is important to decide to develop a different kind of company, connect with people on a different level, and be perceived as a different company in the marketplace and by your employees.

Terdema Ussery, President and CEO
Dallas Mavericks
Have a vision and translate that vision to everybody in the organization with passion and conviction.

Salvador Diaz-Verson, Jr., President
Diaz-Verson Capital Investments, LLC (DVC)
Conduct your business with honorable intentions.

Mark Dimassimo, CEO
Dimassimo Brand Advertising
Ask questions.

Peter A.J. Gardiner, CEO
Zindart, Ltd.
Perform or Go.

For more Information
* Motivation. Influence. Persuasion. Leadership Training and Development, Strategic Leadership, Leadership Books. *


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Manager's Toolkit—The 13 Skills Managers Need to Succeed

Keeping the Best—Why Retention Matters

Hiring and retention are two sides of the same coin. They complement each other, and if both are done well, they produce what every company desperately needs: first-class human assets.

After all, if your human assets were measurably superior, other companies would notice and try to lure them away with higher pay, more authority, and more appealing work situations—perhaps the same inducements you used to recruit them! You'd find yourself on the defensive, forced to look at your own employment practices, benefits, and compensation scheme to determine if these were undermining bonds of loyalty between your company and the great people you've hired.

Many companies recognized that a lack of human talent was a serious constraint on future growth and pulled all the stops in order to retain their most valuable employees.

Retention is the converse of turnover.
Industrywide and company-specific measures that track turnover rates reveal that most companies surveyed by the Center for Organizational Research had turnover rates in the 15 to 50 percent range, though a sizable minority enjoyed single-digit turnover.

The retention of good employees matters for three important bottom-line reasons:
(1) the growing importance of intellectual capital;

Intellectual capital is the unique knowledge and skills that a company's work force possesses. Today's successful businesses win with innovative new ideas and top-notch products and services—all of which originate in the knowledge and skills of employees.

(2) a causal link between employee tenure and customer satisfaction; and

Employees who are satisfied with their work and their company are more likely to create satisfied customers.

Seven fundamental propositions form the links of the service-profit chain:
1. Customer loyalty drives profitability and growth. A 5 percent increase in customer loyalty can boost profits by 25 to 85 percent.
2. Customer satisfaction drives customer loyalty. Xerox found that "very satisfied" customers were six times more likely to repurchase company
equipment than were customers who were merely "satisfied."
3. Value drives customer satisfaction. An insurer's efforts to deliver maximum value include funding a team that provides special services at the sites of major catastrophes. The company has one of the highest margins in its industry.
4. Employee productivity drives value. Nucor Corporation's production teams are the most productive in the steel industry. It's no coincidence that Nucor has created more value per employee for its shareholders than any other steelmaker over the past twenty years.
5. Employee loyalty drives employee productivity. One auto dealer's annual cost of replacing a sales rep who had eight years of experience with one who had less than a year was $432,000 in lost sales.
6. Employee satisfaction drives employee loyalty. In one company study, 30 percent of all dissatisfied employees expressed an intention to leave, compared to only 10 percent of all satisfied employees. Moreover, low employee turnover was found to be closely linked to high customer satisfaction.
7. Internal quality drives employee satisfaction. Service workers are happiest when they are empowered to make things right for customers and when they have responsibilities that add depth to their work.

(3) the high cost of employee turnover.

Employee turnover involves three types of costs, each of which saps bottom-line results:
 Direct expenses, including the out-of-pocket costs of recruiting, interviewing, and training replacements. (In a tight labor market, replacements may require a higher salary than the people who are defecting—not to mention the potential cost of signing bonuses.)
 Indirect costs, such as the effect on workload, morale, and customer satisfaction. Will other employees consider quitting? Will customers follow the employee who left?
 Opportunity costs, including lost knowledge and the work that doesn't get done while managers and other employees focus on filling the slot and bringing the replacement up to speed.

Turnover Isn't all Bad
The turnover of an incompetent employee may not produce any cost since the departure of such employees may actually eliminate certain hidden costs.
Periodic turnover also creates vacancies you can use to move deserving employees up the career ladder. The same vacancies represent opportunities to bring new people with new skills and different experiences into the organization.

Why People Stay
The major motivations for staying are:
 Pride in the organization. People want to work for well-managed companies headed by skilled, resourceful leaders.
 A respected supervisor. The employee-supervisor relationship is extremely important. People are more likely to stay if they have a supervisor whom they respect and who is supportive of them.This is the factor over which you, as a manager, have the greatest control and the most numerous opportunities to boost retention.
 Fair compensation. People also want to work for companies that offer fair compensation. This includes not only competitive wages and benefits but also intangible compensation in the form of opportunities to learn, grow, and achieve.Your control of wages may be limited, but you can compensate the people you want to retain with interesting assignments.
 Affiliation. The chance to work with respected and compatible colleagues is another element that many people consider essential.
 Meaningful work. Finally, people want to work for companies that let them do the kinds of work that appeal to their deepest interests. Satisfying and stimulating work makes all of us more productive.

"employee value proposition," or EVP.
EVP is the workplace equivalent to the value proposition that every company offers its customers: a measure of perceived value for a particular cost.

If companies want to be more successful at attracting and retaining talent, they should evaluate and strengthen their value propositions to employees:
To create a compelling employee value proposition, a company must provide the core elements that managers look for—exciting work, a great company, attractive compensation, and opportunities to develop. A few more perks, casual dress, or more generous health plans won't make the difference between a weak EVP and a strong one. If you want to substantially strengthen your company's EVP, be prepared to change things as fundamental as the business strategy, the organization structure, the culture, and even the caliber of leaders.

Why People Leave
 The company's leadership shifts. Either the quality of top management's decisions declines, or new leaders—whom employees don't yet trust or feel comfortable with—take the helm.
 Conflict exists with immediate supervisors. People may also leave when their relationship with their bosses becomes stressful or problematic, and they don't see any other options in their company. (See "Managers and Supervisors Are Key" for more on this topic.)
 Close friends leave. One or more colleagues whom an employee particularly likes and respects leaves the firm, thus taking away a meaningful affiliation link.
 An unfavorable change of responsibilities has occurred. A person's job responsibilities change so that the work no longer appeals to his or her deepest interests or provides meaning or stimulation.
 Problems with work-life balance are present. Employees whose workplace responsibilities separate them from friends and family for extended periods eventually lose interest in their jobs.

You can have terrific pay and benefits, employee-friendly policies, and all the other things that induce loyalty and retention, but a few rotten apples can spoil the barrel. Specifically, a bad manager can neutralize every retention scheme you put in place.

Bad managers, which they describe as "C performers."
"[K]eeping C performers in leadership positions lowers the bar for everyone—a clear danger for any company that wants to create a performance-focused culture. C performers hire other C performers, and their continued presence discourages the people around them, makes the company a less attractive place for highly talented people, and calls in question the judgment of senior leaders."

Market-Wise Retention

a) The first step toward market-wise retention is to identify the individuals and employee segments most critical to the success of your organization. So, within your unit, make a list of the individuals who:
 provide formal or informal leadership to others;
 consistently create excellent results;
 contribute practical and valuable new ideas;
 require little or no supervision to accomplish their tasks;
 facilitate the work of others;
 act as important information transfer "nodes" within the company;
 have unique knowledge or skills that would be costly and time-consuming to replace; or
 could do the company great harm if they defected to direct competitors.

Also give some thought to the employee segments that are most essential. Think about the employee segments in your operation that are essential to the operation but in short supply; create the most disruption when they defect; are most costly to recruit and train; and control the company's link to customers.

b) Compensation

Compensation matters in the sense that you cannot recruit or retain desirable employees if they view their compensation as unfair or noncompetitive. Even people who are more dedicated to their crafts or professions than to money see their compensation as an indication of the organization's appreciation of their contributions and abilities. If they feel undervalued, they will walk.

Nor is compensation a reliable motivator.
Years ago, Frederick Herzberg, the tribal elder of motivation, found that the incentives employers most commonly use to motivate—including pay raises— produce temporary performance improvements at best.

Peter Cappelli, a human resources expert and professor at the Wharton School, offers these pieces of advice for market-wise compensation:
 Pay "hot skills" premiums to employees with crucial, rare expertise. This keeps them in place for critical periods—for example, the late design stages of a key product. Stop premiums when the skills become more available or less important to your business.
 Pay signing bonuses in stages—for example, pay out the new CEO's sign-on bonus over five years.

You may or may not have much say about companywide pay and bonus policies, but you can use performance evaluation to determine who should receive the lion's share of pay and bonuses.

c) Job Redesign

If you can identify the elements that create satisfaction and dissatisfaction within a particular job, you may be able to split off the dissatisfying tasks entirely and give them to other individuals who will appreciate the work. Outsourcing unwanted tasks is another solution, and something that every company practices to one extent or another.

So, if you experience unacceptable turnover in a key job that is difficult and costly to refill, put that job under a microscope and ask:
 Which aspects of this job create employee dissatisfaction? (Ask several employees directly.)
 If we separated objectionable tasks from the job, would we need to add something else to keep it a "whole" job? And what would that something else be?
 Assuming that someone must do the objectionable tasks, what alternatives exist for handling them?
 Which is more costly to the organization, job redesign (and its consequences) or the current rate of turnover in the key job?

General Strategies for Retention

Here's a short list that will cover most of the bases.
1. Get people off to a good start. This begins with hiring people who are suited to their jobs and making sure that they understand what they are getting into. A good start also begins with a new-employee orientation that makes people feel welcomed and part of the group.

2. Create a great environment—with bosses whom people respect. Managers often assume that company policies and corporate culture determine the working environment. They do, to an extent. But policies can be circumvented. In any case, the atmosphere in a department or unit is more important to individual employees than the culture of the corporation as a whole.
Bad bosses are not conducive to a great environment. How many of your unit's managers or supervisors are repellent to their reports? How many have temper tantrums, berate their subordinates in public, blame others for their own failures, or never have the sense to say "Thanks, you're doing a good job"? If your managers or supervisors are repellent, count on every employee with marketable skills to leave.
In the end, it's better to replace bad managers and supervisors than to replace an endless stream of good employees.

3. Share information. Freely dispensing information—about the business, about financial performance, about strategies and plans—tells employees that you trust them, that they are important partners, and that you respect their ability to understand and contribute to the business as a whole.

4. Give people as much autonomy as they can handle. Many people enjoy working with a minimum of supervision. So give your employees as long a leash as they can handle. Doing so will make them happy and make your job as manager easier.

5. Challenge people to stretch. Most people—particularly the ones you want most to retain—enjoy a challenge and the feeling that you've entrusted them with bigger responsibilities than they had a right to expect. So put the people you want most to retain into jobs that will make them stretch—and give them the support they need to succeed.

6. Be flexible. Flexible work arrangements are highly successful in retaining employees. To be sure, not every manager has the authority to create whole new work arrangements. But nearly everybody can allow some on-the-spot flexibility, letting employees rearrange work to care for a sick child, for example, or to keep a doctor's appointment. Today's harried employees value that kind of flexibility.

7. Design jobs to encourage retention. Nothing is more soul-deadening for an intelligent employee than a job that is too repetitive, too isolated, insufficiently challenging, or downright unpleasant. So if you see unacceptably high turnover in a critical job category, take a good look at what you're asking people in that job to do every day. You may be able to cure the turnover problem through job redesign: adding variety to a repetitive job, engaging isolated employees in occasional team projects, upping the challenge, and so forth. If a job involves one or more repugnant tasks, consider eliminating or outsourcing those tasks.

8. Identify potential defectors early. Great work environments and great jobs are a matter of opinion; what challenges one person may terrify another.You won't know how well you're doing on either score unless you ask.

9. Be a retention-oriented manager. Never forget that part of your responsibility as a manager is to ensure proper staffing in your unit. Retaining good and excellent performers is part of that job. So look at how you manage people and how you schedule workflow. Are you the kind of boss who manages in ways that encourage the best people to stay, or are you unknowingly driving them away?

Watch for early signs of dissatisfaction and disaffection, including the following:
 A change in behavior, such as coming in later or leaving earlier
 A decline in performance
 Sudden complaints from a person who hasn't been a complainer
 Wistful references to other companies (for example, "I heard of this guy who got a $30,000 signing bonus at XYZ Company.")
 Withdrawal behavior (for example, an employee who had always participated in meetings, or volunteered for projects, suddenly stays in the background or does just enough to get by)
 Talk about "burnout"

The Role of Work-Life Balance

Work-life balance is a core element of employee satisfaction, loyalty, and productivity.
This means that if you provide a workplace in which employees can effectively balance the requirements of work and their personal lives, retention will be less of an issue.

Work-life balance is a major issue today because so many people are fed up with long days, paltry vacations, evenings spent in hotel rooms, and weekend e-mails from the boss.

Three principles for breaking through the zero-sum game:
1. Make sure that employees understand business priorities and encourage them to be equally clear about their personal priorities. The work of the organization must get done, and work-life balance should not be an excuse for letting it slide. Alternatively, work cannot be an excuse for letting important personal matters slide. Friedman, Christensen, and DeGroot counsel managers to be clear about company goals and performance expectations. At the same time, they encourage employees to be clear about their goals as family members and as individuals. Once everyone's cards are on the table, schedules and assignments can usually be arranged in ways that satisfy both sides.
2. Recognize and support employees as "whole people" with important roles outside the workplace. Managers can only deal with work-life conflict if they understand and show some interest in the nonworking lives of their employees. And showing a sincere interest creates trust and loyalty.
3. Continually experiment with how work gets done. Smart managers know that work processes must be periodically rethought and redesigned for greater efficiency and effectiveness. Work-life balance provides opportunities to experiment with these processes.

Here are a few things you can do to make work-life balance a win-win situation:
 Give employees specific goals, but also greater autonomy over how they achieve them. Say, "You are responsible for conducting a customer survey and producing a complete report between now and mid-March. I'd like you to develop a plan for handling that."
 Give more attention to results than to how, where, and when the work gets done.
 Get to know your employees and coworkers on a more personal level. Do they have civic obligations that need tending? Do they have children or aging parents to support? Do they have other skills that might benefit the company? As workplace researchers found many decades ago, simply showing an interest in employees as individuals can have a positive impact on morale and motivation.
 Encourage people to find new and better ways of meeting their responsibilities. For example, sales managers and product development people may discover that a $5,000 investment in teleconferencing equipment could save the company $15,000 each year in travel expenses—and save each of them from hundreds of hours of unproductive travel time, and many nights away from home.

Many companies have found that telework is an effective tool for creating work-life balance.Telework describes work done by employees in locations other than their regular offices, facilitated by telecommunications and Internet capabilities.

Proponents of telework point to measurable cost savings and benefits, including lower real-estate costs, greater employee productivity, greater employee loyalty and job satisfaction, and lower personnel turnover. And the teleworkers themselves report that it helps them balance work and personal responsibilities.
Respondents indicated that they worked at least one hour more per day; were more productive; were more loyal; and found greater satisfaction in their work.

Two-thirds of these managers reported that the company's telework policies made their job of retention and attraction notably easier.

But before you rush out and advocate a tele-work program, your company or unit should think through a number of questions, including:
 Which jobs are appropriate for telework?
 What are the legal, regulatory, insurance, and technology issues? (Individual stockbrokers, for example, cannot work from an unsupervised office of a broker-dealer.)
 How will you supervise teleworkers and ensure accountability?
 Will employees worry that becoming a teleworker will negatively affect their chances for promotions and other recognition?

In an article for Harvard Business Review, Mahlon Apgar addressed this question, explaining that programs such as telework are most appropriate when companies are
 committed to new ways of operating;
 more informational than industrial;
 dynamic, nonhierarchical, technologically advanced;
 not command-driven;
 willing to invest in tools and training.

Telework also requires adaptation on the part of managers and supervisors. After all, their subordinates will not be under their watchful eyes. Who's to know if they are working or watching Seinfeld reruns? The remedy, according to most experts, is for managers to focus on results instead of activities.That means setting clear goals for individual teleworkers, making sure that they understand those goals, and setting up a system for monitoring progress in short-term stages. Managers must also integrate teleworkers into the larger group; otherwise people may become isolated and out of touch.

Flexible Work Schedules
Flexible scheduling allows individual employees to work something other than the usual nine-to-five, forty-hour, five-day week. This creates opportunities for people to work even as they accommodate the needs of young children, infirm relatives, and so forth.

Here are some typical flex-schedule arrangements used in business today:
 Reduced-time schedules. For example, an employee works from ten o'clock to five o'clock in order to accommodate her need to drive her children to school in the morning.
 Seasonal schedules. For example, a tax specialist works sixty-hour weeks from January through April to accommodate the tax-filing crunch, then works thirty-hour weeks for the balance of the year.
 Compressed schedules. For example, to accommodate his weekend acting vocation, a computer technician puts in forty hours Monday through Thursday, leaving Fridays free for rehearsals.

Summing Up
We has described major issues relating to employee retention and highlighted ways in which managers can make a difference. In particular:
 Retention matters because high turnover creates high replacement costs and is clearly associated with low levels of customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, and lost revenues.
 People stay with their employers when they see the organization as a source of pride and affiliation, when they respect their supervisors, when they are fairly compensated, and when they perceive their work as meaningful.
 People seek greener pastures when leadership changes unfavorably, when they are in conflict with their immediate superiors, when close friends depart, and when their responsibilities change in ways that they do not favor.
 Managers should be less concerned with turnover than with retaining people who truly add value to the organization and its customers.
 Programs that enhance work-life balance generally help to increase employee satisfaction and reduce turnover.

For more Information
* Essentials of Management Skills. Management Techniques, Management Concepts, Management Models. Management Books. *


Sales Questions That Close Every Deal


Probing for Prospect's Needs

Finding Your Prospect's Expectations

1. If there were an ideal solution to this problem, what would it be?
2. If I had a magic wand and I could give you the ideal product, what would it be like?
3. What criteria have you set for evaluating this type of product (service)?
4. What kind of service and support would you like to see to take care of your needs for the next five years?
5. What do you expect us to do to solve your problem in a way that will completely satisfy you?
6. What do we have to do to make you completely happy?
7. What type of features do you expect from a product like this?
8. Could you tell me the three top features you would like to see in this product?
9. What are the major benefits you are looking for?
10. I am sure you have given this purchase a lot of thought. What items have you put on your "wish list"?
11. Would you be able to tell me exactly what specific criteria you are looking for?
12. Could you describe the type of features you had in mind?
13. What are the most essential points we need to consider?
14. If you could get the machine of your dreams, what would it be like?
15. If price were no object, what would be the ideal solution to this problem?
16. What would your ideal computer be able to do?
17. Can you tell me all the features that you are not interested in having?
18. When you and your management team talked about that investment, what were the criteria that they felt were absolutely essential?
19. Is there anything at all we left off your list of features that you need to have?
20. Which price range best fits your budget?
21. What are your requirements in terms of financing?
22. Would you expect this to last a little longer than the one you purchased previously?
23. Ideally, what do you expect in terms of service?
24. What do we need to do to make you a customer for life?
25. What kind of price were you expecting to pay?
26. What price range did you have in mind?
27. What sort of financing deal were you expecting?
28. What kinds of tax benefits are you most interested in?
29. Are you expecting us to arrange for shipping?
30. How much horsepower do you need?
31. Do you need extensive training, or just a brief orientation after delivery?
32. Were you planning to pay for this purchase all up-front, or were you planning to finance this purchase?
33. Do you expect to make a decision soon?
34. For how many years do you expect to use this product?
35. Are you planning to make this decision sometime this week?
36. You know your operation better than me. Would you share with me what your requirements are?
37. How can we help you to avoid such a problem in the future? What do you expect from us to solve your operator-training problems?
38. You are the expert in the company. Based on all of your years of work with this company, what would you say you need to get the job done?
39. You know your company's financial position better than anyone. What would you say the budget is for an expenditure like this?
40. You are a known authority in this area. If you could get the perfect product, what would it look like? What would it be able to do without breaking your budget?
41. You know your company's policies better than anyone. How do they look at foreign manufactured goods? Do they expect this _______ to be 100 percent American made?
42. I trust and value your opinion. What is the one thing, the one problem, we should avoid at all costs?
43. Since we talked last, what has changed in your expectations?

Identifying Buying Motives

1. How much is this problem costing you now?
2. What would be the consequences of not making this investment?
3. What would happen to your productivity if you didn't buy this machine?
4. How important is it to you to solve this problem quickly?
5. How much longer can you put this off?
6. Is it important to you to get an advantage over the competition?
7. How important is it to you to own the very finest product available?
8. How important is it to you to get the most respected and most experienced company to support you?
9. You mentioned that quality is very important to you. I was wondering, why did you put "quality" on top of your list?
10. What is the most important reason that speaks in favor of buying this product?
11. Which one of these three features is the most important one to you?
12. What is it that you like about this product?
13. Without regard to price, which model do you think is the best? Why?
14. You mentioned that performance is important to you. What made you say that?
15. What would happen to you if you didn't make this investment?
16. Could you tell me how your operation will change as a result of having this product?
17. What is it that you like most about this type of machine? Why?
18. How important is it to you to have higher speed?
19. You mentioned that there were several requirements. Which one is the most important to you? Which one would you rank in second place?
20. When you look at maintenance costs and ease of operation, which of these would be more important to you?
21. Obviously price and quality are important. Is there anything else that outweighs these two?
22. Could you tell me your top two choices from this catalog? Why did you choose these?
23. I'd like to get your objective opinion on this. What would you consider the strongest points of this product? Why?
24. It sounds like you are leaning toward the larger model because the extra safety features are important to you. Am I reading you correctly?

Understanding Key Words

1. You mentioned that you are interested in "higher quality." What exactly do you mean by that?
2. You told me earlier that you are looking for a "longer-lasting" product. How long would it have to last?
3. You expressed an interest in "value." What kind of value are you looking for?
4. You feel that a "stronger guarantee" is very important to you. What would you consider the essentials of a strong guarantee?
5. You just used the term "reliability." Can you tell me exactly what "reliability" means to you?
6. Could you give me an example of what you mean by "more productive"?
7. What did you have in mind when you mentioned "easy access"?
8. You mentioned you had a need for a "better product." Better in what way?
9. I was wondering, how do you measure "productivity"?
10. How soon is "soon" to you?
11. How quick is "quick" to you? How many days is that?
12. What exactly do you mean by "lower interest"?
13. How long would you like this "extended payment term" to be?
14. When you say you want a "powerful" engine for this unit, how much horsepower do you need?
15. You say that your system should be "easy to expand." What do you mean by that?
16. You told me that you want a boat that is "easily transportable." How do you define that?
17. You mentioned that you would want to have a second unit "sometime in the future." How many years are we talking about?
18. You said that you wanted a "simple" product. How simple would it have to be?
19. You said that you would be willing to pay "a little extra" for the design. How much extra?
20. I remember your talking about your budget being "limited." What exactly do you mean by that? How much would you be able to invest?
21. You said that you would be interested "in larger storage capacity." How much square footage would you require to meet your needs?

Handling Objections with Questions

Isolating the Objection

1. Is that the only reason holding you back from owning this product?
2. Other than that, is there any other reason you can think of that would speak against this purchase?
3. Suppose that speed were not a problem. Would there be any other reason against installing this model?
4. Suppose we could solve the financing problem to your satisfaction. Would you go ahead with this purchase?
5. Suppose we could find a satisfactory solution to this important concern of yours. Would you give the go-ahead to this project?
6. Just suppose we could solve the operating problem. Would there be any reason against buying this machine?
7. Just suppose we could find a way to improve the quality. Would you ask us to be your supplier?
8. I know you have been considering this model for a long time. Just suppose we could meet your need for lower payments. Would there be any other reason why you would not get one today?
9. If we were lower, would you buy right now?
10. If this problem did not exist, would you sign the order at this time?
11. Is this the only problem that is holding you back?
12. If we can solve this problem right now, will you buy it now?
13. Is this the only concern you have about this purchase?
14. Obviously you have been thinking long and hard about this. What other concerns do you have?
15. Before I answer your question, are there any other concerns that are holding you back from enjoying this product?
16. Besides _____, what else are you concerned with?
17. I am glad you brought that up. Is that your most important concern?
18. Is there anything else besides _____ that would prevent you from buying this?
19. Are you saying that if we can find a way to meet your needs for a lower down payment, we have a deal?
20. Are you saying that if we get you a maintenance agreement that includes the costs for parts, we have a deal?

Understanding Reasons Behind the Objection

1. I am surprised to hear you say that. What do you mean by "too high"?
2. Obviously you must have a reason for saying that. Would you mind if I asked what it is?
3. That's an interesting point. What makes you say that?
4. What do you mean by "too complicated"?
5. Could you tell me the reasons for and against making a decision at this time?
6. What seems to be the reason behind your plant manager's rejecting our specifications?
7. Could you explain why your expansion plans have been put on hold?
8. You obviously feel very strongly about that. What triggers such a strong reaction?
9. Of course, you want to talk this over with your partner. What items will you be discussing with him?
10. I understand that this is a difficult decision for you. What are some of the reasons that speak for and against buying this model?
11. Would you mind explaining to me why you feel that way?
12. Is there something that is not being expressed here? Why do I get the feeling that you are not as enthusiastic about this product as you have been?
13. Would you mind explaining to me why your colleague feels that way?
14. You have been very quiet. Would you mind telling me what you are thinking about?
15. You don't seem to have as much urgency on this project as you had before. Could you tell me what happened between our last visit and now?
16. Suppose we could find a way to get around the financing question. Would there be any reason against going ahead with this purchase?
17. I understand that you need more time to think. I'd like to help you. What exactly do you need to think about?
18. That is an interesting point. Why do you bring that up?
19. I very rarely have someone ask about that. What made you bring that up?

Answering Objections with Questions

1. Would you agree that it takes information, not time, to make a decision? What kind of information are you really looking for to make a good decision?
2. You know, the rotary telephone looked complicated to people who never owned a telephone before. Is it possible that our product only looks complicated to you?
3. I agree. Our price is a little higher, but so is our quality. Are you interested in saving $1,200 a year on maintenance?
4. Sure, it costs a little more. However, you have the assurance that it will cost much less over its lifetime. Isn't that the way your own products are made?
5. Would you agree that the quality of a product is remembered much longer than the price?
6. Would you agree that the sweetness of low price is quickly forgotten when you have to deal every day with the bitterness of low quality?
7. You and I know that the true price of this machine is determined by the amount of production work you can get out of it. Wouldn't you agree with that?
8. That brings up a question. Is low price more important than the life of the product?
9. That brings up a question. What is more important to you—to save a few hundred dollars now on a lower price, or to save a few thousand dollars over the lifetime of this high-quality product?
10. I understand how you feel about price, but would you tell me how you feel about our quality? 11. That brings up a question. How important is it to you to have a reliable machine and a reliable dealer standing behind that product on the rare occasions when you do need service?
12. Your point is well taken. It does cost more than any other product on the market. But why do you think we sell millions of them at these very same prices?
13. I appreciate how you feel. Many of my customers have made similar comments prior to buying from me. However, they all asked themselves: Can I afford not to have the best? Won't it cost me more in the long run?
14. I personally feel that the price is too low for what you are getting. Do you think that all these satisfied owners would have bought from us if they had not checked out the incredible cost savings they get with this service? Would you like to talk to some of the people who were in a similar situation as you are now?
15. It looks expensive, but don't you think this is an advantage?
16. I understand that you want to take more time to think about this purchase. But, may I ask you a question? What will change tomorrow? What will you gain by waiting?And what will you lose by not taking advantage of this opportunity?
17. Do you know the definition of a "procrastinator"? Someone who can't take "now" for an answer. Let me ask you a question: Is there any logical reason you could not say yes right now?
18. That brings up a question. What are the advantages of waiting, and what are the advantages of buying right now?
19. Imagine what this product could do if you had it right now. Think of the time savings. Think of the increased productivity. Think of the pride of ownership. Think of the happy faces on your employees. Would you want to say no to them, just because of a little hesitation about the down payment?
20. Aren't you exaggerating a little bit? Aren't you saying that you deserve the very best after the many years of hard work you have been putting into this business?

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