The Green Sheet Online Edition
October 13, 2008 • Issue 08:10:01
Shaping the story
||There are two things people want more than sex and money – recognition and praise.|
– Mary Kay Ash
From antiquity to the present, all human societies have recognized the importance of honoring important events. The epic poem of heroic battles won and lost, the handwritten birth announcement, the blue ribbon won at a county fair, the note of congratulations e-mailed to a colleague, the eulogy read with trembling hands for a friend who has passed on - all of these things share a common thread.
We humans don't just live. We observe. We comment. We rejoice and lament our way through our days. And we are the better for it. We have the capacity to make plans, take action and then appreciate what we've done, adding the savory garnish that makes taking on the next challenge all the more appealing. Climbing the next staircase, opening another door, winning the next heart, yes heart, is what a stellar career in the payments industry is all about.
And you, as ISOs and merchant level salespeople (MLSs), can employ wisdom passed down through millennia to help your career soar by realizing the powerful effect of your positive thoughts, words and deeds when marking milestones for your colleagues, clients, family and, don't forget, yourself.
Nurture the office
Appreciation from a boss, colleague or coworker motivates toward the next goal. It's positive reinforcement. Thank you and please aren't the only magic words. Try "good job" or "way to go" when a colleague or employee closes a difficult deal or exceeds a sales quota. It's easy and only takes seconds. It is also contagious and fosters a more productive environment. Is a fellow MLS celebrating five years on the job? Offer heartfelt congratulations. Are members of your sales team going gangbusters? Let them know you appreciate their skill and hard work.
Remember birthdays and other important dates in the lives of those with whom you work most closely. Maybe your office manager just signed up to volunteer at a homeless shelter. Recognize that spirit of sacrifice. Have cigars ready for your telemarketer whose wife is expecting a child any day.
Stroke those merchants
Pay attention to merchant customers, too. Did one of your restaurateurs make the paper for best tacos in the county or win a coveted award? That deserves a card or phone call.
If a retail client has a bang-up quarter, take the owners to lunch to celebrate. It's a great opportunity to check in and convey your sincere interest in that merchant's goals. Who knows? You may even be asked to go into more detail about that integrated POS system you mentioned last month.
Nurture your relationships by making a point of tracking each company's milestones. Learn the dates of your clients' birthdays and anniversaries. If you're a good listener, you may also find out when your merchant contacts are planning a wedding for a child or expecting a first grandchild. You can keep track of these details in any number of popular software applications or even just use an old-fashioned paper calendar.
If your merchant mentions being named the fifth-best jewelry store in the region, check that industry's news every six months, so you'll know when that merchant makes the number three slot.
Commit a creative offering of praise every chance you get, tailoring it to the individual. "Good job" might make your fellow MLS's day but may sound patronizing to a merchant. Tell your merchant something like, "Congratulations on winning the Stellar Service award three years in a row."
Strengthen your core
Much has been written on the subject of loving ourselves and self-esteem. It is said that if we don't love ourselves, we can't love others. Congratulate yourself for accomplishments that didn't earn you a trophy or certificate.
Did you break your own personal record for monthly sales this month? Put that bottle of champagne on ice and share it with a loved one.
Have you signed more clients this year than in the previous two? Pack your bags and get away for the weekend - a nonworking weekend. Or get yourself that Bluetooth conference phone you've been drooling over for months.
And remember to celebrate your own birthday and other important dates throughout the year. Make merry and make noise about your modern rights of passage such as your first new car, your engagement, a promotion at work or paying off the mortgage on your first home.
Your family is your support system, your safe haven and your joy. Work around your loved-ones' special days, and acknowledge their accomplishments, too.
Keep it up
When you regularly let kudos flow off your tongue, the ripple effect will amaze you. And you will be contributing your part to the enduring story woven by inspiring human endeavors.
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