Thursday, December 31, 2009

Charlotte the Champion

Yesterday, I brought a new vacuum cleaner at Sears. Now I tell ya', that is not exactly my idea of a day made in heaven. I don't like to clean anyway, so the appliance is not one I pine for. However, the old vacuum has made cleaning even worse than usual because it was getting rather old and inefficient. The wheels had fallen of the beater bar floor attachment, too.

Off I went to Sears. I have had good luck with Kenmore vacuum cleaners in the past and expected the same for this time around.

But this post is not about the vacuum cleaner.

No, it is about Charlotte, the sales clerk.

Charlotte made my day.

She greeted me with a handshake. And she introduced herself and asked my name before even asking about doing business. (Relationship development 101!)

I asked her a specific question -- to tell me the differences between the various models. She knew her facts and was able to deliver them to me simply. (I am a facts person. I don't want the details. I want just enough to make a fast decision as I don't like shopping.)

She asked if I needed filters or bags for the new cleaner and just because she asked I bought. Sears must love her.

When it came time to pay, my Sears credit card was inactive. As I mentioned, I don't like to shop! Within a few short minutes she had it reactivated. No muss, no fuss.

At the end of the transaction, she extended her hand again for a final handshake.

When in recent times have you been treated like that in a store? (Please tell me about your experience if you have.)

I have to hand it to both Sears and Charlotte. I guess that Sears has a pretty good training program and also that they were smart enough the hire Charlotte.

Thanks, Charlotte. You made shopping for and then buying a vacuum cleaner the highlight of my day.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Yay! Presents!

Presents! I received some really neat ones for Christmas. Three stand out.

1) I received a Keurig B60 pod coffee maker from my son, Andy and daughter in law, Debora. It is great. On the days I am writing at my home office, I can brew a quick pick me up and be back at my desk within a minute or so. There is no leftover coffee in the pot this way either. I know it's more expensive than just brewing a pot, but if I waste more than half of the pot, then it's not so expensive!

2) My hubby gave me a business card reader. Yes! While you know that I don't collect hands full of cards at networking events, I do ask for two or three of people that I want to get back to. Sometimes those do begin to pile up because I am out of my office so much. I am so excited about getting rid of those piles without having to do all the typing. My model is CardScan/personal. Love it.

3) From our other son, Greg and daughter-in-law, Lisa, hubby and I received an electronic picture frame. Now I know, those have been around for awhile, right? Greg, understanding the technological abilities of this household, uploaded several hundred photos of the family. And there is room for thousands more. We agreed that it would be fun to keep loading to see the years go by and everyone change.

So there you have it. A wonderful holiday for me. But what makes it really worthwhile is that each giver practiced the platinum rule, which is give unto others as they want to be given to. The kids and Steve listened to what I wanted, instead of giving me just any old gift.

What gift did you receive that you love?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Six Dollars = ?

Remember in grade school when you exchanged names at Christmas time to secretly give small gifts to that person. Well, Secret Santa is alive an well in Toledo, Ohio.

Jeff Pettit is the owner of Artistic Memorials, a firm that creates markers for grave sites and other public locations. Jeff is the first to admit that the economy is affecting his business. Recently Jeff and his wife attended a Dave Ramsey financial seminar and Jeff came away knowing that he wanted to give back in some way. He called me and asked if he could subsidize the December Certified Networker monthly lunch at six dollars per person. Now what nice surprise.

At the lunch Jeff explained his reason for making this offering. He hoped that each six dollar amount given might be a catalyst for that person to "Pay it Forward." And he hoped that the six dollar gift would multiply as it moved forward.

What would you do if you had received that unexpected six dollars to continue the gift giving?

Monday, December 21, 2009

It's as Easy as One, Two, Three

Here is my thought for the day on relationship development.

Typically, most experts divide the levels of relationship into three levels. Just like in the three bears -- Goldilocks had to get to the right porridge and the right-sized chair. We have to determine with each person we meet, to what level the relationship can travel.

In the last couple years, I've realized that three levels really doesn't tell the story.

The middle level is where we gain connectivity; some people call it the relationship level and others call it the credibility level.

Here's what I propose. We need to divide that level into three segments, too. So we'd have Level 1 Relationship, Level 2 Relationship and Level 3 Relationship. Each level has descriptors of that paricular Level, which make it different from the others.

I have felt this for a long time, but it wasn't until just recently that I began to articulate it.

What do you think about this?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Hair Color

A couple weeks ago, I attended a Youth Leadership Toledo lunch. At the lunch the young gentleman that I sat next to, Alberto Serrano, a sophomore at Maumee, Ohio high school, made my day when he exclaimed about my hair. Now I have to tell you that I never want to be ordinary with my hair and it has been wilder in the past. Right now it still gets comments like Alberto's but for me its tame.

Alberto has beautiful, dark, shiny black hair. He told me that he wants to dye his bangs red but that he was discouraged from doing so, because it just wouldn't be right. This didn't come from his mom, by the way.

Alberto sent me a thank you note for coming to the lunch with the students and in the note he said that my image had given him the feeling that he should express himself sometime in the future, too. Maybe now is not the right time, but soon.

When I was in high school, boys were starting to imitate the Beatles' hairstyles. One coach refused to allow students with long hair (and if you look back those styles were mild) to try out for his team. I guess those were the times.

I hope that Alberto gets to color his hair soon. After all, what is important here. Hair or a well-adjusted, community-minded young man.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Is it a Fit?

Recently two of my friends have shared experiences with me about being strong-armed by referral sources. In both instances my friends didn't feel good about the situation.

I asked a few questions in each of the above situations.

In both, my two friends didn't have knowledge of the target market of the said partners. Now, I tell ya' that's a killer right there. How in the world can anyone help another if the person wanting help (in the form of new business) doesn't know and can't articulate what prospects they want?


Secondly, in each situation, my friends were feeling pressured to be in the partnership. This is where I tell everyone to take a step back. If you are having gut level feelings like this, it is probably because your gut is trying to tell you something.

I think a very good phrase to use in this instance is, "You know I'd rather preserve our friendship than jump into something that just doesn't seem right for both of us."

Referral partnerships should feel natural. If it doesn't at the beginning, just like in a marriage, it probably won't get better later.

What is your experience in working with referral partners?