Seven Service Behaviors
to Boost Your Bottom Line
By Joe Takash
Kathryn walked into a prospective client’s
office with low expectations of winning. In her mind, she knew the
chance of her small marketing firm getting the nod for such a
lucrative contract over her bigger, more established competitors,
When the Senior Vice President greeted her, Kathryn was pleasant but
her enthusiasm and confidence level could be aptly described as “low
voltage.” The meeting wasn’t terrible, but Kathryn was correct, it
wasn’t going to win her firm a rainmaking contract. And it didn’t.
Question: What do the weather and how old
you are have in common?
Answer: You have no control over either.
Question: What are some things you
Answer: Every winning service behavior
you’re about to read. If you apply them with passion and
consistency, your business results will unequivocally improve, and
Make a great first impression:
It sounds academic, but start paying attention to how people greet
you. Do they smile at you? Do they convey warmth and enthusiasm? Do
they ask questions and show interest in you? ABC in sales means
“Always Be Closing.” Bunk! Try ABO: “Always be opening.” This is
what sets the tone for profitable relationships.
Winning behaviors are to smile, firm
friendly handshake, direct and pleasant eye contact. Motivational
pioneer, Earl Nightingale said, “Treat every person you meet like he
or she is the most important person on earth, because to that person
they are.” Right on Earl.
Be a name-learning machine:
When I ask seminar participants, “How are you at remembering
peoples’ names: A) Fantastic? B) Not-so-hot? C) Embarrassingly
bad?,” I’m still amazed that more than ninety percent check off B or
C. Fact: Names mean money in business. They create a comfortable
atmosphere, make people feel great. Oh, and they are a competitive
Winning behaviors are to ask people’s
names. When you forget immediately, (which we all do), ask again.
Then create associations like “Donna from Detroit” or “Stan the
man.” Write names down. Use them while speaking to people. Most of
all, practice the name-game everywhere. You’ll get in great name
Be a fantastic listener:
Most people are lousy listeners. Sound negative? Sorry, but it’s
true. Think of three exceptional listeners and I’ll bet it takes a
while. Yet, listening is at the top for qualities that make up great
leaders, sales people, coaches, teachers and business owners.
Winning behaviors are to ask open-ended
questions. Practice silence. Do not interrupt or finish peoples’
sentences. Show nonverbal attentiveness. Paraphrase what others said
to show respect and gain accurate understanding. Show emotional
support and empathy by trying to understand their perspective. Most
of all, be fully engaged. Excellent listening is not just smart
business, it says a lot about your character.
Create common ground:
This is when you and others can relate to each other because of a
shared interest or experience. When people have things in common,
seeds of trust are planted, friendliness and comfort are
accelerated, and all this opens the floodgate for many business
Winning behaviors are to get great at
asking questions that lead to sharing information like, “So John,
where are you from originally?” “Did you do anything fun last
weekend?” “Anything exciting you’re looking forward to?” By learning
about people beyond the workplace, you discover a whole world that
they are passionate about, much of which you can relate to or make a
link. Make these questions habits and you’ll soon be standing tall
on common ground.
Show constant appreciation:
The Godfather of psychology, William James, said, “The deepest
principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.” We all
love to be recognized. It feeds our spirit and soul. It motivates us
to perform better and show loyalty to those who pay us kudos.
Winning behaviors are to send thank you
cards every week. Fact: If you don’t send handwritten thank you
notes to customers or clients who give you business (regularly!),
you are losing money. Taking time to show gratitude is about class
on a personal level and it creates a bonding that shows concern on a
professional level. Whether you appreciate by pen, by phone or in
person, make it a habit. People like to do business with people they
Apologize and Admit Fault:
Every long-term relationship is challenged
with times of conflict and tension. Yet, the identifying marker of
how those relationships progress depends on how you respond to that
Winning behaviors are to be willing to
say, “I’m sorry that I spoke to you like that” or “Team, before we
start this meeting, I need to admit fault over how I handled a
client situation.” Remember, your best relationships are not built.
They are rebuilt.
Be positively contagious:
Why is that you can be wide awake, but when you see someone yawn,
you yawn? Just writing “yawn” right now makes me want to yawn.
You’re probably yawning too, stop it. Human actions are contagious,
so why not be positively contagious? This attracts coworkers and
builds morale; it connects with clients and builds business.
Winning behaviors are to use positive
words, choose to look for the best in others, walk with confidence,
speak with a genuine passion and treat people with dignity.
If Kathryn viewed her marketing firm as
every bit as powerful as her larger competitors and if she opted to
see herself and the benefits she could bring any prospect as
breakthrough value, how do you think her interview would have turned
out? Realistically, one never knows, but perhaps she should have
remembered: “People do not judge you by what you think or feel, only
by what you say and do.” Your behaviors are what count most. Play
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