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Commit to Clients and Customers

Consider the amount of money that goes into acquiring a new customer. Paying sales professionals, product development, marketing, advertising, media, the list is endless. Many of our business costs are associated to attract new customers for the sake of our business growth.

Imagine if companies were to spend as much attention on retaining a customer than they do try to earn a new one. When we show our clients, customers, patients, members and shoppers that we pay attention to their needs, we are not only likely to retain them, we will most certainly create advocates in them as well.

A brilliant book on elevating the customer experience is Never Lose a Customer Again by Joey Coleman, I loved this line in his book ‘it’s time to stop thinking B2B or B2C the future of business is H2H’ (human to human)

Follow these 5 strategies to give professional attention to your clients and show them the love they deserve.

1. Reach out. When was the last time you reached out and personally thanked your clients for being customers? Do you make it habit to routinely remind them of your joy in doing business with them? Consider deepening your relationship with frequent reach-outs. Find out how their business is doing and what you can do to make it better.

2. Examine the experience. Take the time to walk through the same business experience your current customers do. Call your phone number and listen to how you are addressed. Enter your workplace, office or shop as a customer and truly examine the impression being given. Evaluate your website and order your own products. Experience what your customers do when they are doing business with you. You may be surprised what you learn.

3. Know your numbers. Many companies measure their success through profitability, sales and growth. Perhaps consider adding a few extra numbers to the mix. Understand how many new sales come from repeat customers. Recognize your referral rates and most importantly know the churn your company suffers. Set meaningful goals – short and long-term – to retain more customers and improve your new sales from return clients.

4. Motivating Factors. Do you know what motivates your customer to buy from you? Maybe they buy because of price or convenience. Maybe it’s because of location or experience. Do your homework by asking your customers these questions. Know what motivates them to do business with you the first time, and continued business in the future will help you prioritize the areas of opportunity within your business.

5. Be a Partner. When was the last time your bank called you to ask how they can help you better invest your money to plan for a better future? Has your physician ever called to see how you were doing and offered you free literature on the topic you last discussed? This higher level of attention brings a personalized touch to any customer relationship. More so, it creates a partnership with you and your client that benefits their success and well-being as much as it does yours. It’s a win-win anyway you look at it. Partnering with your customer will create mutual trust and respect in the relationship.

Are you ready to pay more attention to your customers? Are you ready to heighten your professional relationships and invest more in their success? Pick up a copy of Joey Coleman’s How Not to Lose a Customer and read his strategies for investing time and energy in cultivating long-lasting client relationships.

Want to take your attention a step further? Pick up a copy of  Attention Pays. Learn how attention to employees will benefit your clients and ultimately your bottom line. Understand how evaluating your day-to-day activities can help you carve out time to focus on those who matter most – your customers.

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Achieve the Ideal Workday

Sit back and imagine your ideal, perfect workday. What would it look like? Would it be a day without meetings? Perhaps it would be a day without interruptions. Maybe your ideal workday is one where you are focused on accomplishing the monumental task that has been occupying too much headspace.

When you consider what your ideal workday looks like, it’s important to make it a reality. While not every day can be ‘ideal,’ many can with a little strategic thought and attention to planning.

Here are some strategies to help you achieve your ideal workday:

Prepare today for tomorrow. Schedule the last 15 minutes of each workday to review what’s on deck for the next day. These strategies will ensure you have an ideal start to the next day.

1. Scrutinize your calendar and the meetings scheduled. Are they necessary – do you have to attend? Are you prepared – do you have an agenda?

2. Consider what projects you want to accomplish and the deadlines that are looming. In your calendar, set aside chunks of time to focus exclusively on accomplishing those tasks.

3. Tidy up your workspace to eliminate distractions upon starting work in the morning.

4. If you travel for work, host video conference calls or face-to-face meetings, take a few moments to consider what you are going to have to take with you and set it aside.

5. Visualize what you need to wear to be comfortable, sharp and focused at work the next day. Lay it out, press it and accessorize the night before.

6. If you’re going to make it an early day, prepare your breakfast the night before.

Make a Game Plan: At the beginning of each workday, write down three non-negotiable tasks that must be accomplished before ending your day. Maybe it’s making sales calls or completing a project. Either way, keep the list short to help increase the sense of urgency and focus needed from you.

Contemplate Quiet. When you allocate time for specific tasks, use the time wisely. The best way to achieve this is to have a quiet, distraction-free workspace ensuring your total focus.

  • Honor the time set aside in your schedule for accomplishing specific tasks, as if it were a client meeting. Don’t be late or allow interruptions.
  • Close the door. Our pro-open-door society is great for engaging employees and colleagues; however, can be challenging to working in an uninterrupted environment. It’s okay to close the office door when you need the time to focus exclusively on the tasks at hand. If you don’t have a door, consider using headphones as a ‘do not disturb’ message you can send to others.
  • Go off-site or seek an alternative, quiet location when you need to ensure interruptions won’t occur.
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Stop Playing a Game of Relationships Roulette

Attention is about connection. Attention is critical for cultivating healthy relationships – personally and professionally. Studies have shown us that when people fail to get the attention they need from a relationship, they will begin to seek it elsewhere.

Giving attention to someone is our way of prioritizing the relationship and showing them they are important to us.

When we give our attention to our spouse or partner, our relationship deepens.

When we give attention to our friends and family, our relationships become stronger.

As leaders, when we give attention to our employees, we retain their talent and create a sense of loyalty in the partnership.

My latest book Attention Pays, recently released and I’ve been ah-mazed at the number of people who have reached out to me about their experience reading it. Many of them have admitted they finally recognized the fact they were neglecting their more important relationships. Some even felt compelled to put the book down to give their focus to those they love in that very moment.  That makes me so happy. I am a work in progress, just like you. I need these reminders too.

I believe attention is our new currency. The more undivided attention we give to those that matter most, the more value they see in the relationship.

Here are a few strategies to help you focus your undivided attention on those in your life:

1. Device-free meals. Choose to keep the table a device-free zone. No matter the meal, no matter the company, choose to put it away. If you’re having a team luncheon, challenge others to do the same. Having dinner with friends? Make a deal with them that the first person to engage on their phone will have to pay the bill. Instead, use the time at the table to focus on those in your presence. Honor them and their importance in your life by engaging and gifting them with your undivided attention.

2. Purposefully plan. Be mindful and intentional about when you will spend time with those who matter most. Schedule time in the office to meet with employees to check in on their well-being. Set aside time each day to ask your children about their day. Consider planning a vacation with your friends or family that you can look forward to. Plan a date with your partner, child or friends. By planning ahead, you are letting others know how much you value the relationship.

3. Little things matter. Have you ever been surprised by someone who bought you a coffee on their way to work one morning? Maybe you’ve come home to find a small, unexpected package in the mail from a friend. Little things matter. They are one way to give attention to those who matter in your life. They let others know you care. Consider grabbing your partner’s favorite dessert on the way home as a special surprise. Or, pop an unexpected hand-written note in the mail to a friend or loved one. Reward an employee with a coffee or sweet treat for a hard day’s work.

What ideas do you have? Feel free to share in the comments below. Relationships are critical to our happiness and are important to our personal and professional well-being. Invest yourself in relationships and show those in your life they matter most.

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Our Addiction to Social Media

Apps and social media are stealing our attention. We have become obsessed with likes, retweets, and finding the perfect gif response to post.

We miss the amazing play or moment at the concert because we are updating our Instagram.

We miss the bus because we are enthralled with the latest video on one of our YouTube subscriptions.

We miss our floor on the elevator because we were reading Twitter. We miss the green light because we are checking Facebook.

The CEO of a technology and data company recently shared with me his frustration about one of his senior leaders who appeared to be addicted to Candy Crush. In every spare moment, his director was online and had to be counseled twice in one week. The leader tried to explain it was his form of relaxation but after much questioning, he reluctantly admitted that his workload had fallen behind, he had emails in his inbox that hadn’t been answered for five days, and he was two weeks behind in developing a database for a client. Remember, this is a smart, functioning adult.

Maybe you don’t play Candy Crush but you feel a need to check every notification of a new email, text, tweet, or post on Facebook or LinkedIn, or maybe you have created Pinterest boards to plan your perfectly designed office or maybe you monitor every like you get on Instagram?

Gut check time: How much of your attention is being stolen by apps and social media?

Do we really have to include in our employee policies that people can’t play Candy Crush or check social media at work? Possibly. Some of our obsession is driven by habit and some of it by boredom. And it could be that the voyeuristic interest in other people’s lives is more exciting than whatever work is in front of us.

Regardless, the addiction is real. Technology, social media companies, and app development companies are competing for our attention and intentionally feed our addictions in hopes we will spend more time on their systems, enveloped by their tools. Either way, it demands are decaying our ability to truly connect in a meaningful way with others that is mindful, intentional, and purposeful.

I doubt anyone on their deathbed will say “I wish I’d posted one more tweet or picture.” Instead, I bet they’re likely to say “I wish I’d paid more attention to the people I was with rather than those on social media.”

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Intention Makes Attention Valuable

Ever thought about the value of paying attention?

Attention sometimes gets a bad rap in today’s society. Perhaps that is because we’ve come to associate the concept of attention with unrelenting selfies that scream “look at me’ and the constant sharing of eery details of one’s life on social media. That is not the type of attention I want to discuss. The type of attention that truly matters and makes a difference in our lives is intentional attention – the kind that helps you show up as the best version of yourself in all roles of your life.

We all want and need attention from the people who are important to us. We want to feel we are the center of somebody’s attention, even if we don’t want to be the center of everybody’s attention.

Attention is critical throughout all aspects of our lives – including our jobs. We need focused attention from our leaders and employees to get work done, to achieve results, and to succeed. our customers and our teams need attention, too. People want to be seen and heard and to know that their concerns are being addressed.

Attention is not optional; it’s vital. It is attention that drives the results we all want and need.

Perhaps this why we always hear the phrase “Pay attention!” Our parents told us to pay attention. Our teachers told us to pay attention. We tell our kids to pay attention. These are all valuable life lessons.

The issue is that most of us are giving distracted, unfocused attention (like texting while driving) to everything and everyone we come in contact with. That kind of attention is worthless. It sends the message that the focus of our attention has little value, meaning, or importance to us.

Intention is what makes attention valuable.

Intentional attention is active. it involves seeing, hearing, and thinking about who is with you and what needs your focus right now. it requires us to choose consciously, act deliberately, and invest transformationally with our attention.

If you are ready to intentionally invest your attention in what matters at the moment; the people you are talking to, the priorities you are acting on, and the passions you are pursuing, it’s time to pick up a copy of Attention Pays and start paying attention to what matters most.

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Protect Your Schedule, Time and Attention

Are you constantly competing with others over your schedule? Do you feel inundated by a barrage of interruptions and distractions each day that leaves you feeling as if you worked like a crazy person all day and accomplished nothing as a result?

In my new book, Attention Pays, I outline strategies for busy professionals to protect their time and attention from being fritted away by anyone and anything asking for it.

Here are seven strategies you can being implementing today to take control of your schedule and permit you the time necessary to leverage your attention to accomplish more each day.

Create a personal daily strategic 15-minute appointment – Take this time to determine your top three non-negotiable activities you must complete before you sleep tonight. Several years ago, I challenged an executive leadership team at Comcast to invest 15 minutes of their attention every day in a strategic appointment. They say awesome results, become the highest performing team in their region. Their shared increased focus allowed them to prioritize completion of strategic objectives and invest in their people’s development instead of being distracted by everyday busyness.

Schedule your morning routine – We outlined this routine in Chapter 3 of my new book, Attention Pays. It’s critical that you get this on your calendar so that phone calls or meetings don’t encroach on this important time.

Assign certain activities to specific days of the week – This system has you group regular activities together to maximize productivity and minimize distractions. Will it work seamlessly with every week in the same way? no, but with a system, your team or assistant can schedule meetings on designated days. We worked with a financial services executive to design her ideal week. here is what hers looked like. Yours, of course, will be different:

  • Monday: Meet with team members, senior leadership, and her boss in the office.
  • Tuesday to Thursday: Industry and vendor networking events, client appointments, presentation preparation, and travel. These days were spent outside the office and included a work-from-home day.
  • Friday: As she enjoyed being home for weekends, any meetings were local and never scheduled to finish later than 5pm. If no meetings were scheduled, she focused on strategizing for the upcoming week and catching up on administrative work.

Schedule no talk days – My best friend manages multiple companies, raises my two beautiful God-daughters, volunteers in her community, and enjoys working with her clients. She discovered that on days she doesn’t talk to anyone, she’s massively productive. So, she started scheduling no-talk days – days with no appointments, which are dedicated to strategy and achieving goals. As an extrovert, I found this strategy especially helpful. Could you do this once a quarter to make more progress toward your bigger goals?

Schedule service days – I allocate one day a month on my calendar for pro bono assistance to people in my industry who need help. could you add a service day to your calendar?

Time block – Schedule space in your calendar for strategy, email review, meetings, social media engagement, and personal time.

Create visual recognition systems – Use color-coding to simplify your life. My calendar uses a variety of colors to show speaking, travel, consulting, personal appointments, and administration and business development.

Block out personal time in advance and honor the appointment with yourself as you would a client or employee.

Pick up a copy of Attention Pays to learn more about creating an extraordinary life by ‘unplugging’ from the constant barrage of disruptions and ‘plugging in’ to the tools, strategies, and mindsets that allows you to harness your attention to reach your highest potential.