Posts Tagged: Company Culture


Customer Service: Nth Degree Mindset

December 17th, 2014

There is so much talk about customer service yet so little of it sticks. Every business, every leader, every single one of us, has good intentions. None of us go to work saying, “Today I am going to plan to disappoint a customer when I interact with them. Let’s hang up on them. Avoid them. Get their order wrong. Misinterpret them. Let’s just be average and kind of ‘blah.’ That is where most of us end up really. In the Valley of Blah, we don’t quite fail or flob, however, we are far from memorable. Being memorable requires you to understand those critical “Moments of Truth.”

ServiceNMoments of Truth are those customer points of intersection. A great culture helps. At the Outside-In® Companies, we have a value “Service to the Nth Degree” and our goal is to go above and beyond expectations. We provide service without boundaries, limits, or governor. Just push service as far as you can. A good culture helps an employee trust that they can serve without barriers. The company system supports and rewards those customer service behaviors! Have you ever had an experience where a cashier or customer service representative indicates that they need manager approval and the manager never comes or arrives in what seems like an unacceptable time frame? All of this for a simple product return or change in your purchase! That’s a poor business system at it’s best.

We think empowering employees to think to the Nth Degree is just part of the answer to providing an Outside-In® experience. This enables us to create Nth Degree moments that are spontaneous and authentic.

However, the real magic in creating Moments of Truth is to think about those key moments of interaction with your customer. How can you save them time? Speed up the process? Enhance the experience? How can you make that moment memorable and ensure every customer experiences that Moment of Truth? Our goal is to make Outside-In® and Nth Degree a repeatable thing. Full of great in the moment Moments of Truth and planned Moments of Truth.

The sky’s the limit to Nth Degree service thinking. The key is to take each part of your business and brainstorm how to be more Nth Degree. One of the ways we practice our Nth Degree value as a team is to partake in charity work for our community. We have a charity of the month program where each month we fundraise and donate our time and services to a charity in need.

Try and pilot it. Measure it. Operationalize. Then repeat!

Here’s to Nth Degree moments!

Selling Yourself “Short” as a Sales Professional

December 10th, 2014

Being in Sales has an incredible upside. Unlimited earnings (or at least more variable pay opportunities than most of us!), flexibility in your schedule (try to find a sales person on Friday afternoons that is not with a “client”), and the opportunity to travel (living out of your car still counts as travel). However, all of these have a natural “dark side”. In fact, everything listed above is a sales stereotype. Some good in them as many folks romanticize the “idea of being in sales”  and some find it repulsive. Why?  Because the behaviors of sales people support the stereotypes—don’t be one of them! Sales is about targets and quotas of activities, contracts signed, and widgets sold. Have these things in abundance and you have freedom and control. Off plan? Well, plan to loose all of that freedom and the

One of the biggest areas of weakness in salespeople I observe is that they always and often seem to go for the immediate sale. Close the deal now. I know it is a small one, however, I have to book revenues and keep up with my targets right? However, I find that it takes just us much work, effort, time, and investment for just about any sales situation. And for some reason this is one the hardest things to change in salespeople. I personally think fear, trust, and the anxiety of waiting make it hard for some.

So why not sell larger deals if it takes the same amount of time and energy?

  1. ID-100261332Perception/Trust. We all perceive that larger customers take too long, even more time than our sales plan will tolerate.  What if I put all of that time in and the deal falls apart?
  2. Skill. Sometimes larger deals get missed. The salesperson does not know how to approach or engage the customer that requires more then booking the order. They don’t know their product or service once they get “off script” from their training.
  3. Earning the right to be disruptive and to challenge. Most sales people I know are afraid to challenge, ask questions, and make recommendations that are off the script or fall outside of the proposal.
  4. Fear of not meeting short term quotas.  If you take on too many long term meetings how will you ever meet this month or quarter?
  5. Believing that sales is “only” a numbers game. Sales requires numbers and effort. However there is something to be said for balance, efficiency, and getting better at sales.
  6. Big deals get others on the team involved. All of a sudden a salesperson needs to get a team together and possess skills in project management, resource allocation, problem solving, solution architecting, and much more than just relationship management.

Larger deals do take time. When they come they are game changers. Be patient and realize larger customers challenge what you know and make you better. So that the small ones seem easier.

Don’t believe me right? Most don’t. That is why sales is so hard. It is hard to believe and trust.

Outside-In® Companies Adopt a Family This Holiday Season

December 5th, 2014

As an Outside-In® Company, we strive to make a difference in the lives of those around us in our community and provide them with peace of mind. One way that we extend our Service to the Nth Degree value is by adopting a family every holiday season.

Twitter-Adopt-a-FamilyEach year, CBI Group partners with Delaware Social Service’s Adopt-a-Family Holiday Gift Assistance program. The program provides the sponsor with a brief description of the circumstances that led each family to the need for assistance. We survey through the available families with the goal of keeping the holiday magic alive.

This year, our hearts went out to a single mother and her two children. The mother is a domestic violence survivor who works part-time while caring for her 8-year old and 17-year old daughters. After being displaced from their residence, they now live with extended family to help make ends meet. She asked for basic necessities like scarves, hats, and gloves, as well as gift cards to Walmart and Kmart, so that she can provide her daughters with gifts from Santa.

Please join us and view our online fundraising page to help us spread a little holiday cheer and provide our family with the joy of Christmas.

Happy Thanksgiving from Outside-In® Companies!

November 26th, 2014

Each year, the Outside-In® team likes to express our gratitude in a fun and unique way. This year we asked our team members what they are most thankful for and had them write it all down on a piece of paper to create an appreciation wall. View our video below to see what we are most thankful for!

Wishing all of our customers a safe & happy holiday!

A “Healthy” Culture

November 19th, 2014

ID-100268432To be healthy and to have energy most of us know that we must “eat right” and exercise. Living a sedentary lifestyle is not good for the body. Getting up and moving is the key to building a strong, resilient, and flexible body. Most of us have a dozen excuses for not working out. We are busy, life gets in the way, kids, commitments in the community, yard work, organizing your sock drawer. Did I mention kids?

We find it hard to set a routine up and stick with it. Have you ever heard anyone say, “I have been exercising like clockwork for 6, 10, 14 months and it was the worst decision of my life. I have lost weight, have more energy, and have less stress in my life. Terrible decision.” Not likely.

I think culture is the same way. In order to have a healthy, energetic culture, an organization and its leaders must do the equivalent of exercising and eating right. The company must have a plan to work at its culture! Leaders don’t time to have a cultural plan, right? I think you don’t have time not too. Your culture, when alive, aligned, and clear, does a very nice job of creating meaning and a bigger purpose for your customers, employees, and key stakeholders. Quite frankly, your culture sends a clear message whether it’s alive and aligned or not.

The great thing about culture work is that I don’t think it matters where you start as long as you start somewhere. Starting will create action and ideas that will keep your culture work alive and vibrant.

Looking for some ideas on where to start?

  1. Define your organizational values with your team. Find ways to talk about them at staff meetings, training sessions, daily huddles, etc.
  2. Reward, recognize, and hold accountable employees to the values.
  3. Meet with employees. Ask them what the organization must stop, start, and continue doing.
  4. Create cultural priorities.

Upcoming 12/11 Talent Seminar: Engaging a Multicultural Displaced Workforce

November 12th, 2014

Please join us on Thursday December 11th (7:30-9AM) for our Outside-In® Talent Seminar featuring guest speaker, John Tooher. John is currently a Managing Partner at HeadRoom LLC, and will share his experiences as President and General Manager at YellAdworks, a 3,000 person global advertising agency. Companies today have many factors to think about to engage a workforce in which people are spread out globally or where teams are dispersed in multiple locations. John will focus on the best people, talent and policy practices that led the organization to top performance at this global multi-media company.

ID-10077821Eventbrite - Outside-In® Seminar: The Happy Harry's Story

WHO SHOULD ATTEND?

You should join us if you are:

  • An HR Leader
  • In Talent Management or Recruiting
  • A business leader planning for growth
  • Looking to expand your knowledge on best business practices
  • Seeking HRCI recertification credits*

*This seminar is pre-approved for HRCI credits.

ABOUT OUR GUEST SPEAKER

tooherJohn is currently a Managing Partner at HeadRoom LLC based in Media PA.

HeadRoom provides an enabling environment through the provision of shared office space and associated services and creates a transformative mindset by helping businesses and start-ups develop strategic roadmaps to their future vision.

John joined HeadRoom after 10 years as President and General Manager of YellAdworks Inc. based in KOP, PA, where he lead a 3,000-person global operation engaged in the production of print and online advertising solutions. With multiple sites in the US, UK, India and the Philippines, John gained considerable experience in the challenges of nurturing a workforce participating in a 24/7 global production workflow. The eight operations centers across four countries created over 2.6 million new media and print advertisements annually.

He began his career in 1986 as a process engineer with General Electric. From 1988 to 1997, John worked for 3M where he held various senior technical and manufacturing management roles. From 1997 to 2002, John worked for a 3M spin-off, Imation Corp., and was responsible for European technical, manufacturing and service operations for a number of divisions.

John holds a B.Sc. in Science from the National University of Ireland and a M.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from Trinity College in Dublin. Mr. Tooher and his wife Kirsten have two children and enjoy living in the beautiful Chester County, Pennsylvania countryside.

Outside-In® Chronicles: 10 Ways to Avoid Being an Average Salesperson

November 12th, 2014

Over and over again I meet average salespeople with average results that sell middle of the road products and services. Everyone from the company, including senior leaders/founders, sales leaders, and salespeople, all want and need more results. Salespeople want to hit the quota, make big commissions, and earn bonuses. The company typically has a strategy that involves growing—whether it be into new territories, industries, or segments. Lots and lots of work is done on setting goals and targets, and in fact, this work is continuous and never ending.

So why are so many salespeople off plan right now? I will tell you what I have learned. Most of this is not original, rather I am an “aggregator” sharing a combination of ideas and experiences to address this epidemic of sorts.

10. Don’t sit next to an average salesperson. Sales is lonely. Salespeople flock together for support and companionship. The problem is that they learn from each other—good and bad habits. When they are uncertain about something they ask one another instead of those that can actually help.

9. Avoid calling on the same people over and over again. Salespeople like to talk to people those who are nice to them, those who will take their call, and those who will meet with them. In a world of disruption this is comforting. However, they are not the real buyers. The person you might want to talk to is a change maker and they might not want to talk to you unless you can guide them through the change they want and need to make.

statcred8. You keep saying you’re there to serve at their beck and call. Sales today is about more than just problem identification and being there with your iPad ready to take the order. Today’s salesperson has to be able to add value in assisting the person in making decisions, not waiting for them to make it.

7. Confidence (or lack of it). The product is changing constantly. Your customers world is shifting and changing, too. If you stand still too long doing the same things you will have not changed enough and you will quickly become an average salesperson. It’ll happen so fast you won’t even know what hit you.

6. The accumulation effect. You simply do not put enough into your sales pipeline. You must collect leads to build prospects. Prospects must become conversations, bids, proposals, and solutions in draft. This takes a while. Average salespeople sit on what they have and pray that there is enough in their pipeline to meet their goals. However, really good salespeople put more in the pipeline all of the time, forever.

5. Time. It simply takes time. How many touches does it really take? Usually 6-10.

4. You don’t make enough happen. Send one more email. Go to one more networking event or trade show. Make one more call. You aren’t doing enough!

3. You dump the features and benefits of your product or service. In today’s world your buyer has never, ever been able to get more information on you, your business, your service, your competitors, and frankly, even your pricing. Everything is available in today’s connected world. Help your customer sort through it all!

2. Customers buy you first! How good have you been climbing the relational ladder from Ed Wallace’s Building Relationships That Last? Do you make commitments and keep them? Are you showing how you can be a trusted advisor and do you know how to do this?

1. In Outliers, author Malcolm Gladwell says that it takes roughly ten thousand hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field. Are you willing to put that kind of time in? Are you good enough to make it that long? How do you get from where you are now to mastery? At eight hours a day this will take you a good five years of focus.

Outside-In® Talent Seminar: The Happy Harry’s Story

November 10th, 2014

Last Thursday, we partnered with Alan Levin, the former CEO of Happy Harry’s (and the son of Harry himself), to present The Happy Harry’s Story at our Outside-In® Talent Seminar. Business professionals and knowledge-seeking individuals joined us at University of Delaware’s Goodstay for some networking, a hot breakfast, and to learn valuable business lessons from a successful and distinguished Delaware leader. Alan led the talk on the beginnings of Happy Harry’s and credited several variables to the success of the business.

Alan stated the importance of having customers and frontline employees at the top of the organization. “People in Delaware are extremely loyal,” said Levin. “Our fortune is credited to being located in Delaware. It’s important to give back to people. If you have the right people and the right customers, you will do well.

0240_001The discussion then turned to Levin’s 11 Rules for Business Success, a comprehensive list that includes empowering your employees to make decisions, giving back to the community you serve, and having fun. He reinforced, “Life is a people business and how you treat people makes all the difference in the world.”

Overall, our guests enjoyed Levin’s heartfelt talk, and appreciated his humor throughout the presentation. “There were several take-aways, with probably the biggest being the emphasis on people,” said guest Frank DeSantis, “The common themes were respect, empowerment, setting examples all resulting in the development of a relationship with both customers and your employees.”

Alan concluded the talk with the sentiment, “Do what you enjoy and you’ll have a much better life and not have to get out of bed every morning to do something you don’t enjoy. I never had a bad night of sleep because I had people that I trusted and people who trusted me.”

Interested in attending our Outside-In® Talent Seminars? We have several guest speakers lined up, continuing Thursday, December 11th with Talent Strategy: Engaging a Multicultural Dispersed Workforce. Our feature presenter John Tooher, currently Managing Director at HeadRoom LLC, will share his experiences as President and General Manager at YellAdworks. Join us for a breakfast, networking, and a valuable discussion! Get your tickets here.

Knocking Out Breast Cancer

October 30th, 2014

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, The Outside-In® Companies have been spreading awareness and raising funds for The Breast Cancer Charities of America as part of our Charity of The Month Program.

Breast_Cancer_Ribbon_Pink_MIThe Breast Cancer Charities of America exists to eliminate breast cancer as a life-threatening illness. They bring together organizations representing all health and social service disciplines in the commitment to establish new and unprecedented levels of effectiveness in research, education, advocacy and support. BCCA is the only non-profit bringing the ‘integrated cancer care’ message to women of America. Their focus on Prevention, Research, Education, Survival, and Support works to empower and educate woman across the country.

The Outside-In® Team banded together to engage in some friendly competition in a knockout pool for the football season. So far we have had 21 participants enter the pool with the goal of fundraising and donating half of the monies raised to the charity. One of our Staffing Support Specialists, William Poore, just won the “second-chance” pool, and we have two employees left in the main round. “The football pool has been a fun way to interact with coworkers and build relationships all while supporting a good cause and spreading breast cancer awareness,” said William. “I’m looking forward to being a part of new fun and innovative way to contribute to charity in the future.”

If you’d like to join us in the fight against breast cancer, please donate via our YouCaring page here.

What I Do, Why I Do It, and How I Do It

October 29th, 2014

The Outside-In® Companies exist to optimize customer talent challenges. I believe this is best accomplished by making sure our culture acts as our internal compass. Everyone is in charge of their own career and our values exist to enable employees to maximize their performance in their work. This natural culture promotes quality customer work in the purest sense—if you’re empowered, have challenging work, good training, and a servant leader mentality, you will create a special work environment.

ID-100278237I listen. I listen to customers, prospects, employees, and applicants. Even partners and suppliers. Then I aggregate information to see patterns and trends. This is our R&D. This is how we will build new service lines and brands for the Outside-In® Companies. We all want to survey customers and have focus groups. Formality in market testing ideas is fine, but knowing what your market place needs is a risk I see us continuing to take.

We will continue to listen. We must continue to be workforce and workplace experts. Our customers need the consultation as being in business and its many changes really impact how work gets done today. The workforce knows it needs different skills and assistance today—we must be its agent to help navigate.

The economy seems to be in constant change and flux and we are in industry that celebrates and suffers along with it. We need to continue to look to reduce that volatilty with our plans. I imagine this will take on a combination of geographic expansions, customer penetration across our brands, and the inevitable expansion into new and different service lines.

I create the routine. My job is to create the pulse for the business and to drive its rhythm. How do we communicate to whom? How do we plan and share information? I keep this pulsing like clockwork.

I encourage the heart. We want to create an environment where hard work and living our values creates extrinsic/intrinsic rewards for employees. Anyone can solve a problem, tackle a project of their choosing, or speak to whomever they want in the business. The why may not be obvious here. Innovation, confidence, proactivity, and engagement all come from within when the right environment is nurtured.

I am a teacher and a coach first. I love to help others know more and believe that knowledge should not be used as a bargaining chip in business. The more my team knows, the more confidence and self esteem they have and I trust the correlation between the two. We must be a market leader with training—there is only a cost when you don’t train.

I help my team interact with prospects and customers differently. We are consultative in a world where this is typlically just considered words that mean nothing. I continue to show that when you’re able to translate your expertise to your customers’ challenges and opportunities, the rest comes easily. The very act of learning their business builds lasting relationships and a trust that fully takes you from being in sales to a trusted partner.

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