Friday, April 29, 2011

KeFactors Friday: Trust: Women Who Don’t Help Other Women

I’m going to start this series with the ticklish issue of trust between women, because it’s the one area where, when we’re good, we’re very, very good; but when we’re bad, we really let ourselves down in big, symbolic ways. My daughter’s generation nailed it when they coined words and phrases like “frenemies,” “mean girls,” or “Queen Bees and wannabes.” This proliferates the workplace where adult women often find themselves confounded by rivalries and conflicts, and feeling ill-equipped to deal with them.

Madeline Albright said, famously, ”There's a special place in Hell reserved for women who don't help other women.” And trust is the foundation of any helping process.

I've given—and received—enough help to know the transformative power it has over us.

On the downside, over the years I've been approached by working women who’d “talked bad” about my work or services behind my back but, upon going freelance themselves, felt no qualms about inviting themselves into my network. This I’ve found intriguing because when it comes to trust, it helps if the individual realizes any networking relationship is part of a longer-term, two-way street.

So here are my (post-feminist) concerns:

• Why wouldn't you help anyone who asked for it, male or female? Are we to suspend all critical thinking on the basis of gender only? Is a woman more entitled to my help than a man?

• Would you withhold help from a qualified male in preference for a less qualified female? And by doing that, are we then not perpetuating the very behavior we deplore in “the old boys' network”?

Finally, the karmic panhandlers. These are the folks who have no problems reaping the benefits of trust, but they haven't earned the right to our unquestioning support. Next week I’ll talk some more about this, especially in light of concepts that suggest some of us are entitled to automatic dollops of trust from others.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A to Z Guide to Selling More: J is for Juggle

Salespeople know how to juggle priorities and tasks. To maximize sales, you must keep multiple balls in the air. Once in a while, something gets dropped. When it happens, learn and move on. Don't waste time mourning lost opportunities. Instead, grab a new ball and get it in motion.

Monday, April 25, 2011

A to Z Guide to Selling More: I is for Inspiration

Inspired selling inspires customers to buy. So here are three ideas to tap into the universe’s creative forces and get inspired.

Are you trying to get a meeting with a prospect? Jot down 10 ideas and don’t give up until you’ve tried every one of them.

Go for a ten minute walk. Around the building. Around the mall. Around the neighborhood. Walk fast. And focus on breathing, not thinking. Breathe in energy. Breathe out stress. It’s a great way to open up a channel for new idea

3. Call a good customer. Ask them for advice on an account. Thank them and take it. Tell the good customer how it all worked out.

Friday, April 22, 2011

KeFactors Friday: Trust and Psychological Safety

Last year Linda Bishop ( and I presented a webinar series on relationship-building strategies. Figuring prominently in this was the notion of trust—the sense of psychological safety essential to fostering strong, durable bonds, and highly productive collaborations.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be discussing trust.

Trust is an instinctual response. Policemen often refer to a gut-level reaction that sends up red flags when they sense—they just know—a suspect is lying. Something just doesn’t feel right (“hinky”). A cop’s professional skepticism and wariness would be a finely tuned radar; unlike the rest of us, they’re trained to not trust so readily.

No wonder: according to strategy + business, “…People start trusting someone before they even realize it. To some degree, at least, the placing of trust is not the result of a deliberate assessment, the researchers say, but of subconscious cues.”

Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff used this quite brazenly: by dropping famous names, he created an illusion of trustworthiness for his investors. (“Hey, if Spielberg’s investing with him, he must be good!”)

But what makes trust real and solid, and when is it bogus? What happens when trust is broken? How do you restore it? How can we tell if someone’s trustworthy or not?

In my work life, I’ve worked with people who were trustworthy to varying degrees. I’ve worked hard to make myself worthy of my clients’ trust and confidence. So I know this to be true: without trust, the world becomes a dark place, the simplest actions fraught with tension. With trust, you can get just about everything done, and have fun too, because relationships come out stronger at the end of every collaboration.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A to Z Guide to Selling More: H is for How

Explaining how things work is important. Doing a good job of explaining how your product solves the client will help you close a deal. Doing a bad job derails sale and costs you money.

When you explain how your product works to me—your potential customer—tell me enough to keep me interested. Don’t tell me stuff I don’t care about and don’t need to know.

Tell me how your product works, but leave out the boring stuff.

Monday, April 18, 2011

A to Z Guide to Selling More: G is for Gracious

Lucy Ke mentioned it in one of her posts earlier this year, "3 Qualities of Successful Professional," and I couldn't agree more.

One quality of people who are great to work with is they are gracious. Lucy said, "This isn’t just 'pinky-extended' hospitality, but refers to personal civilities—focusing on positives, treating others with unfailing courtesy, keeping promises, and sharing praise and credit on team projects. Many times you’ll hear the word “selfless” used about such people (just as there is no i in team, there are a couple of those in self-aggrandizing)…."

If you exude this quality, people and clients are more likely to want to work with you.