– By Steve Hanes –
Eighty years ago Dale Carnegie wrote the best seller How to Win Friends and Influence People. The success of this book launched him into the global spotlight in helping people understand how to be more successful/influential in business and personal relationships through the use of good interpersonal skills. Some of the many recognizable graduates of Dale Carnegie Training are: Warren Buffet, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Emeril Lagasse and J.W. Marriott, Jr.
The difference between commitment and compliance is maximum effort versus minimum effort. When we use power and authority over someone to get something done, the result may be compliance. Influence comes into play when we don’t necessarily have power or authority over someone to do something, but they do it anyway. Studies show that when people want to do something, they are more committed to getting it done, they are more productive and efficient, thus creating a greater impact on the bottom line. So where would it be beneficial to be more influential? The answer is, with… our customers, our colleagues, our vendors, our neighbors, our family, etc.
How to Win Friends and Influence People evolved from Mr. Carnegie’s person-centered training program now called “Skills for Success.” It focuses on helping people to increase their self-confidence, reduce their stress, understand and better relate to people, communicate their ideas more clearly, be better listeners, and enhance their ability to get people to want to get things done. Consider how all of these things are interwoven. If I am confident, I am probably not self-focused, thus allowing me to focus on others and be a good listener. When I am not stressed, it allows me to be less reactive and more proactive. Being proactive is a leader’s charge. Good leaders communicate clearly. The more effective I am in one of these areas, helps me to be more effective in every area.
Thirty different principles can be found in How to Win Friends and Influence People. These 30 principles are grouped together into three different categories. The first category of principles, of which there are nine, are designed to create rapport—and even more importantly—a relationship of trust and respect. Some of the principles are:
- Don’t criticize, condemn or complain
(A common human trait. We all violate this more than we realize.)
- Give honest, sincere appreciation
- Be a good listener
- Make the other person feel important and do it sincerely
Once we have established respect and trust, then we can begin our ability to ‘Get Willing Cooperation’ by using the second category of principles, of which there are 12. Again, this is the difference between getting commitment versus compliance. Included in the 12 principles are these four:
- Show respect
- If you’re wrong, admit it
- Let the other person feel the idea is his or hers
- Throw down a challenge
Some people look at these as “motivational” principles. We all know that no matter how good we may be as a “motivator” there are times when someone just won’t get on board with us. This brings us to the final nine principles designed to change a person’s attitude or behavior without giving offense or creating resentment. Some of these principles are:
- Talk about your own mistakes (on the learning curve) before criticizing the other person (Dale Carnegie realized that as leaders there are times when we need to be critical, but there is a correct way to do it.)
- Ask questions instead of giving direct orders
- Let the other person save face (Don’t embarrass the person. We want to give praise in public and critique privately.)
Our consistent use of these principles will help us accomplish more in less time, and create even greater success for ourselves and those around us. We will lead by example of how we are to interact with one another and thereby help to create team chemistry.
The most successful teams throughout history—athletes, NASA, rock & roll bands, the military, etc.—all have great team chemistry. Take care of your team and they will take care of your customers.
Bob Dylan wrote a song back in the 1960’s titled, The Times They Are a Changin’. I’m not sure even Bob Dylan could have guessed the amount of changes that we would be experiencing. One of those changes is the way we market ourselves and our businesses. What works today won’t necessarily work tomorrow.
One thing that has been consistent is the effectiveness of word-of-mouth marketing. Now it is even easier for our customers to tell others how they feel about their experience in doing business with us. This solidifies the notion that satisfying the customer isn’t good enough anymore. We need to exceed their expectations, not just in the delivery of the products or services that we offer, but also in how we connect with the people purchasing them.
I purchase a lot of things from Amazon.com. It’s convenient and the customer ratings tell me which companies I can count on and which ones to avoid. I buy books from Amazon.com for my Kindle. The reviews/ratings from people who have read any particular book carries far more weight to me than what the publicist says about it.
What does this have to do with influencing others and taking care of the customer above and beyond their purchases? It has everything to do with it because consumers want value and a good experience along the way. It is our ability to fulfill both sides of that equation that will keep customers and drive new business to our doors.
I have a friend that has owned a successful restaurant and bar in Indianapolis for over 25 years. I remember him saying that, “People don’t come in to eat dinner, they come in for a dining experience.”
What kind of experience are we creating for our customers?
Steve Hanes is president of Strategies 4 Success based in Indianapolis and will be a guest speaker at the 2016 Frame Building Expo in Indianapolis. He has more than 30 years experience offering Dale Carnegie Solutions workshops, which aim to increase revenues and productivity. To download a free booklet go to www.dalecarnegie.com/ebook/secrets-of-success/. RB