Archive for May, 2014

Stories Called the Greatest Relationship Builders

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

Storytelling is one of the five new realities of sales discussed in a new book entitled, Duct Tape Selling: Think Like a Marketer, Sell Like a Superstar. The author, John Jantsch, discusses each “new reality” in depth, including storytelling, which he says is the new “nurturing.” The other four new realities of selling offer equally interesting perspectives on the new way of doing business. They are 1) Listening is the new prospecting, 2) Educating is the new presenting, 3) Insight is the new information sharing, and 4) Connecting is the new closing.

In a blog summarizing the author’s explanation of the five new realities, Dave Kerpen says Jantsch describes stories as the world’s greatest relationship builders. The author explains that salespeople need to make their organization’s core stories relevant to their customers and the world they live in. (Actually, relating to the customer has long been an essential element of effective advertising and selling.) When that relevance is presented as a well-told story, Jantsch posits, the story not only resonates with the customer, but the customer takes ownership of building a new story with the salesperson’s business as the lead character. The salesperson’s company actually becomes the hero of the story, meeting the customer’s problems head-on and solving them.

Many successful salespeople naturally use stories to help the prospective customer imagine what life would be like after they benefit from the product or service being offered. Most don’t. Instead, they focus on the features of their product or service and leave the prospective customer to figure out how it’s relevant to their lives.

In today’s fast-paced, constantly changing world, it’s essential to have an array of carefully crafted stories to draw on at any given moment. You need to be able to pull out and tell the best brief tale that “sings” to the individual you’re presenting to. The Corporate Storytelling® system will give you the knowledge, the skills and the tools you need to create and tell stories that resonate with your ideal customers; when you do that, they will see your company as the hero they’ve been looking for.

A Guide to Expectations of Millennials

Thursday, May 15th, 2014
Anna Liotta

Anna Liotta

According to an article by an expert on generational challenges in the workplace, Millennials (those born between 1980 and 1999) have such different expectations from their managers, that many managers are at a loss as to how to handle the younger generation. My colleague and friend Anna Liotta, author of Unlocking Generational CODES, says the Millennial generation is “the first generation to have no expectation of retiring from the company they are working for today. In fact, 91% of Millennials expect to stay at a job or position for fewer than three years.” What’s even more surprising to many managers is that a Millennial considers less than three years to be a long time!

With turnover costs equaling more than six months of a person’s salary, as estimated by The Society of Human Resources (SHRM), shorter-than-expected stays can be very costly for employers. Why are Millennials so eager to move on? Their motivations are based on a different set of expectations than previous generations have had. Chief among Millennials’ expectations are these:

* high pay (74%)
* flexible work hours (61%)
* a promotion within a year (56%)
* more vacation or personal time (50%)

Liotta’s research has found that Millennials “typically decide in their first 30 days if they will remain with a company for 6, 12, or 18 months. It’s up to their leaders to discover how to communicate effectively to keep them engaged in the work and committed to the organization. That, int urn, will enable the employer to realize a more satisfying return on its talent investment. Liotta offers guidance on how to do that through books and articles available on her website as well as through speaking engagements and trainings. Access those resources and learn how to contact her by visiting her website.

Managers Need Training to Meet Expanding Expectations

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

A survey reported in “The Wall Street Journal” yesterday discovered that, while companies are adding responsibilities to managers’ already heavy workloads, they aren’t providing training that helps those managers handle their expanding responsibilities. Standard approaches, such as relying on “loaned executive” programs to nonprofits, company-developed formal training, or support from HR, were rated as the least helpful forms of training.

The most helpful training, according to managers surveyed, were provided by external leadership programs, encouragement from family and friends and support from peer networks. Leadership training for people who are promoted is the main exception.

However, the author and conductor of the survey, Herminia Ibarra, quickly adds that fewer people are being promoted, so the overall benefits of such training are not as far-reaching as previously. One of her conclusions is that continual training should be the standard, especially for “promising” managers, who will have the opportunity to learn from their peers over a long period of time as they all develop their skills. Ibarra also recommends that organizations facilitate more cross-departmental collaboration so that individuals get to know co-workers in other areas and gain better understanding of the roles and operations across the company.

Another recent survey found that soft skills training is the greatest needed in the corporate world. Individuals who lack so-called “people skills,” including the core component of communication, are unable to collaborate and that inability results in diminishes productivity and overall organizational effectiveness. Corporate Storytelling training provides the tools not only for clearly informing, directing, and supporting others, but also teaches the importance of listening–an often overlooked necessity in today’s constantly “plugged-in” world.

How are your storytelling and listening skills?