It’s a honey festival. What would you expect? Honey! And honey is a commodity, right? It’s all the same. If you want honey for a recipe, or to add to some hot tea, you pick up some honey at the store.
My view of honey completely changed when I attended the Lithopolis Honey Festival last year. I left not only with new information about honey, but also with observations on how to make nearly any business stand out.
Arriving at the festival, I see the streets have been closed to allow for tents to fill the streets. People are everywhere, crowding the vendors. With so many people milling about, how do the honey manufacturers attract customers?
As my family walks down the street, we stop to visit each table. I begin to notice how wrong I am about honey. There are innumerable ways that each company is different.
Don’t sell a product. Entertain the audience. Crowds gather around to see “Bee Beard.” That’s where a man of perhaps questionable sanity has somehow managed to create a beard made of hundreds of bees, extending down his body and circling his head. From the number of people crowding around, it’s clear that this team is successful. It’s hard not to stop and take a look.
Use personality to develop loyalty. Some honey producers were present in the aisles with a friendly smile. They were not accosting or overly aggressive. These savvy customer service honey sellers met us in an engaging way, answering questions. Somehow in the first minute, we know the history of the business and the family. You don’t need an academic study to know that you are more likely to buy from someone you know.
Create unexpected flavor. Did you know that honey could come in cinnamon or raspberry? Resisting the chance to try various flavors is futile, so we stop and taste a few. Now we are comparing notes, sharing tastes. Engaging with a product in this way increases the sale opportunity.
“Are you ready for the best cab ride of your life?”
When the door slammed shut, Scott McKain wasn’t only taking a cab ride to his hotel. He was embarking on one of the greatest customer experiences he could imagine. Not only would Scott enjoy a memorable cab ride, he would exit that taxi with lessons that can make a difference in every business.
Research: 73% of customers will do business with you because of friendly employees.
The taxi driver, Taxi Terry, didn’t know that he had just picked up my friend, bestselling author, extraordinary professional speaker, and customer service expert Scott McKain. Of all the people in the world to pick up at the airport, Taxi Terry picked up a global expert in standing out, in the art of distinction. In fact, he is the Chairman of the Distinction Institute.
7 Tenets of Taxi Terry
Set high expectations and then exceed them.
Delivering what helps the customer helps you.
Customers are people, so personalize their experience.
Think logically and then act creatively and consistently.
Make the customer the star of your show.
Help your customers come back for more.
Creating joy for your customer will make your work–and life–more joyful.
That simple, enthusiastic question, directed to an exhausted traveler one night was the beginning of a customer experience that tens of thousands of people have learned from. Scott has presented the lessons he learned to audiences around the world. And the lessons are now available in a new book, one that will inspire you. 7 Tenets of Taxi Terry is sure to be one of the enduring business books that will come up in conversations everywhere (yes, even in a cab!).
“If you want your business to get better, the first step is for you to get better.” –Scott McKain
“Does your performance reflect your potential?” is a question posed by Scott Addis in the introduction of his new book. It’s a question I have often asked of myself and of others over the years. Reaching your potential, hitting peak performance, and achieving your best self are different ways to talk about the subject of personal success. I recently had the opportunity to talk with Scott about his thoughts on maximizing performance.
Confident people risk security to achieve higher levels of growth and independence. -Scott Addis
Scott Addis is the President and CEO of The Addis Group and Beyond Insurance, and author of SUMMIT: Reach Your Peak And Elevate Your Customers’ Experience. Beyond Insurance is a coaching and consulting company whose purpose is to transform the process that insurance agents, brokers and carriers use when working with clients. Scott is recognized as an industry leader having been awarded the Inc. Magazine’s “Entrepreneur of the Year” Award as well as “25 Most Innovative Agents in America”.
SUMMIT is divided into four elevations. What are the four elevations? Why is the book organized this way?
When it came to putting the material into a book, I thought it seemed natural to organize and edit the writings into a sequence that reflected a progression from individual skill development to business relationships to the customer experience. Summit is therefore divided into the following four elevations:
Elevation I: Preparing for the Climb (Developing Your Personal Readiness)
Elevation II: Setting up Base Camp (Preparing to Present Yourself to Others)
Elevation III: On to the Summit (Focusing on the Customer Experience)
Elevation IV: The Final Ascent (Discovering Your Inner Strengths)
In Elevation I, you emphasize the importance of paying attention to four performance indicators and developing them as the reader progresses. One of these performance indicators is natural strength. Why is it crucial to focus on honing natural strengths rather than improving weaknesses?
Every person who has ever lived has natural strengths (also known as Unique Abilities) though most people are not conscious of them. Because of this lack of awareness, these people have not experienced the infinite rewards that come from being able to harness and develop their natural talents and pursue their passions wholeheartedly. The more you are able to recognize your natural strengths and shape your life around them, the more freedom, success and happiness you will experience. Your Unique Abilities (i.e., Natural Strengths) have four characteristics:
A superior ability that other people notice and value
Love doing it and want to do it as much as possible
Energizing for you and others around you
You keep getting better, never running out of possibilities for further improvement
Most individuals are not able to identify their natural strengths, let alone concentrate on them, because they are trapped by childhood training. We learn at a young age that the secret to success in life is working on our weaknesses. Unfortunately, it is the focus on weaknesses that results in a sense of deficiency, failure and guilt. As a result, our lives are filled with frustration, wasted potential and missed opportunities. Letting go of these “lack of abilities” to focus on the things you love is a key to maximizing your performance.
Innovation is the lifeblood of the peak performer. -Scott Addis
In Elevation III, you discuss the customer experience. What is the customer experience? Why are the first impressions so significant in building customer relationships?
The Customer Experience Journey is the sum of all experiences that the customer has with you and your firm, the actions and results that make the customer feel important, understood, heard and respected. Each customer interaction molds and shapes the Journey.
A first impression is the mark you make in the first moments of interacting with someone. This impression has a strong effect on one’s intellect, feelings, or conscience.
It is interesting to note that the brain is immensely perceptive and takes into account every minor detail of another’s facial features. The sight and sound around us are picked up by sense organs and the signals are passed to the brain. These signals are then compared to the memories of past experiences. The interpretations of these signals play a key role in forming the first impression.
In your book, you write: “Work-life balance remains my biggest challenge in my quest to reach the peak.” How do you define work-life balance? Why is it difficult to achieve equilibrium between the two?
The term “work/life balance” first appeared in the 1970’s. The expression means having equilibrium among all the priorities in your life. It is interesting to note that this state of balance differs from person to person. However, if there is little or no balance over an extended period of time, the vast majority of people experience stress and, eventually, burnout.
Today’s intense, competitive business climate has created corporate cultures that demand more and more from professionals. To get ahead, 60 to 70 hour work weeks appear to be the new standard.
Goal setting is also very important on the climb. Why is mental imagery, or visualization, a key component of successful goal setting?
Visualization allows you to see yourself at some point in the future, while goals offer a road map to reach these visions. There is nothing more rewarding than having visions, setting goals, launching into action and persisting until you reach your destination. The key to goal setting is your ability to turn this vision into reality.
Mental imagery is essential to goal setting. Your ability to see yourself at the point of goal actualization is a key component to successful goal setting. Goal setting breaks down unless you have great clarity about your vision.
“The last few steps of the climb will be the toughest, yet the most rewarding. They will require mental toughness, commitment, drive, self-discipline, positive attitude, and positive self-image. It is when you make your final ascent that you will discover your inner strengths.” –F Scott Addis
Why is a positive first impression so important? What are some tips you can offer our listeners or readers on creating a positive first impression?
August Turak is a highly successful corporate executive, consultant, entrepreneur and author. His business experience spans from MTV to Raleigh Group International and Elsinore Technologies, a company he founded that won the Fast Fifty Award from KPMG. He is a contributor to Forbes.com and is regularly featured in national media.
Recently, August released a new book, Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks. It is filled with practical business advice, yet infused with a deeper wisdom from centuries-old practices. When you read it, I guarantee it will have practical applications for your organization, and also for you as an individual.
The subtitle of your book is “One CEO’s Quest for Meaning and Authenticity.” Tell us more about your search and what led you to a monastery outside of Charleston, South Carolina.
In 1996 I was coaching some college students at Duke University when they talked me into going skydiving with them. I shattered my ankle in the dive, and by forcing me to face my own mortality the accident precipitated a personal crisis. A few months later I discovered that one of my Duke students was spending the summer as a monastic guest at Mepkin Abbey. I wrangled an invitation for a weekend retreat and have been returning ever since, sometimes for weeks and months at a time. Ironically the last thing on my mind on my first trip to Mepkin was Trappist business success or even my own. I was searching for psychological and spiritual solace.
You have distilled numerous business lessons from the Trappist Monks. When you first hear “business secrets” and “Trappist Monks” in the same sentence, it stops you. Tell us more about your journey to uncovering these secrets. What surprised you?
As a business executive and entrepreneur, I was struck by a simple question: How do a couple dozen aged monks, working only four hours a day and largely in silence, manage to run several highly profitable multi-million dollar enterprises with such frictionless efficiency? At the time I was the CEO of two software start-ups so of course I wondered if and how I and other business people might do the same. I decided that the answer was yes, proved it in my own companies, and have now written a book to share my experience and insights with others.
Selflessness is the shortest path to business, professional, and personal success. -August Turak
You can learn from every situation. Whether it was an incredible service experience that makes you a raving fan or whether it is one where you’re left shaking your head.
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to celebrate a milestone with my daughter. It was time for her to obtain her driver’s permit. She had finished a weeklong driver’s education course, passed the written test, obtained all of the paperwork, and we had dutifully filled out the forms.
Everything was ready.
Now it was time for us to go to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), get her picture taken, and obtain the permit. I knew it would take time. That’s the nature of the DMV. I figured an hour to an hour and a half max.
Instead, we quickly realized that getting the permit was going to be about as difficult as Frodo making it safely to Mordor.
All of us have had the same shared, miserable experience at the DMV. In every state I’ve lived in, it’s the same. We just forget, don’t we? We finally get what we need, and then we hope that we never have to go back.
Our experience was even worse than what I recalled from before. Nearly five hours later, we finally emerged with the permit. All of the waiting for just five minutes at the counter.
We were exhausted, but we also were laughing. That’s what we do when we are beyond frustrated. Jim Rohn used to say, “Learn to turn frustration into fascination.” When I’m terribly frustrated, I try to heed his advice.
Learn to turn frustration into fascination. -Jim Rohn