Positively Persuasive™ provides engaging sales tips to keep sales skills top-notch and advancing to greater heights and sales success ~ Each day brings an opportunity to attend to the skills you share with the world
I’m writing this Positively Persuasive™ from the Delta Sky Club in Atlanta, Terminal B. I am stuck in Atlanta overnight because of bad weather and a mechanical issue in West Palm Beach, causing me to miss my connection into Orange County. From what I see of how other customers are handling the weather situation, it has been a rough couple of days for Delta employees.
When I go to get coffee from the urn, it is empty. When I go to use the coffee machine, multiple people nearby tell me it is broken. So I stick my head in the kitchen door and ask if there is more coffee. The staff quickly brings out the coffee. I smile and thank them. It is pretty obvious to me they have been hard at work for at least several days because of weather affected passengers. By the time I filled my cup ten people are in line. I guess they don’t understand the rule – if you don’t ask, you most often don’t get.
I send emails to Richard Anderson’s office, CEO of Delta. I often email about my experiences with Delta – my small contribution to helping them deliver great service.
My last email was about my encounter with a Delta ticket agent in Oakland, California.
Elfie was all smiles as she dealt with me, and I said, ‘You’re having a good day.’ And she replied, ‘I love my job and this company. Did you hear what our CEO just did?’ At which point, she tells me the story that is all around the internet of Richard Anderson giving up his seat to Ms. Frank, who was trying to visit her daughter at a diabetic camp.
The email I sent to Richard Anderson’s office following my encounter with Elfie:
‘I’m in West Palm Beach today. Last Friday I was in Oakland. Elfie was the ticket agent. She nearly broke out in tears telling me about the story of you giving up your seat. What a wonderful gift you have given your employees and kudos to your marketing/PR team.’
As it turns out, it was Ms. Frank who posted the story on her Facebook account, which is really where it became public and not the marketing/PR team as I had assumed.
While everyone may not be as committed a customer to Delta Airlines as I am, I hope you appreciate stories as powerful persuasive tools available to solidify beliefs and to create change.
Annette Simmons in her book The Story Factor: Inspiration, Influence, and Persuasion through the Art of Storytelling shares six stories which have a great ability to influence. They are:
- Who I am
- Why I am here
- The Vision
- I know what you are thinking
The story above, about my coffee experience, is a Who I am story (I believe I’m responsible for my own experience), Teaching story (Asking questions is a part of creating success and making the situation better for everyone), and Values-in-Action story (Be thankful for and respectful to people doing a hard job graciously). Richard Anderson’s story is a Who I am story (Observant and committed), Why I am here story (To set an example), Teaching story (Look for ways to serve our customers and be helpful and caring to others at every opportunity), and Values-in-Action story (Caring comes from the heart).
What are the stories you share with your prospects and customers to
help them connect with you and come to new and better decisions?
As you may have noticed, not everything is perfect with Delta. Things are rarely perfect in any organization or any situation. I am a devoted customer of Delta because of the effort their people make, the systems that support their efforts, and the stories we create together. You can do the same with your stories.
If you desire more information about stories, I highly recommend Annette Simmons books. She is a wonderful and informative writer and an excellent presenter who lives in Atlanta, GA.
Update: Now I’m at 36,000 feet on Delta Flight 1757 to Orange County. Our flight attendant crew of Dell Malcom, Kathy Shepard, Mark Murphy, and Sheila Stancil are working extra hard to provide smiles, information, and service. Captain Henry ‘Boomer’ came out personally to make some preflight announcements. Gate B-33 and the terminal were packed with people and the gate agent went well beyond the call of duty to provide extra smiles, communication, and service as he aided the boarding process for everyone. It seems they all know the extra effort and TLC is needed during stressful times for passengers.
And I know what you are thinking – the CEO of a major international airline doesn’t have time to respond to emails from customers. The response to my email, direct from Richard Anderson, ‘You are too kind. Thank you.’
I guess that’s why everyone seems to love their job at Delta and deliver above and beyond. There are stories out there demonstrating Richard Anderson’s commitment to Delta, his employees, and their customers – he walks the walk. I guess that’s one of the reasons they’re one of the most admired companies in the world.
© 2018 Jeffrey Hansler All rights reserved
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Positively Persuasive is a monthly blog providing quality persuasion perspectives. Positively Persuasive is about reaching your full potential and helping others fulfill their dreams as well.
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Jeffrey Hansler is an expert at organizational development, leadership, and persuasive communication which includes skills of influence, negotiation, sales, body language, micro-expressions, and authority. He has been actively studying and experimenting with persuasion since 1975. And by throwing himself into impossible situations, he’s had to learn under fire on many occasions.
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Answer to Sales Quiz from last month:
Choose the most accurate and true from the following:
- Rapport is leveraged to ask ‘hard questions’.
- Prospects taking a ‘parental role’ attempt to block hard questions.
- Your time is your most valuable resource and delaying hard questions risks wasting time.
- All the above is accurate and true.
The answer is D: All the above is accurate and true.
Mastering skills serves your most valuable asset – time: better skills deliver efficiency and effectiveness. Better skills increase your confidence in asking hard questions and fielding responses. Rapport contributes to trust. Taking a parental role is often tied to fear and insecurity: it’s a tactic to avoid a consideration of change.
New Sales Quiz:
Choose the most accurate and true statement:
- Stories must be long to be effective.
- Stories are hard to create.
- People don’t have time for stories.
- Stories about technical issues can’t be interesting.
- None of the above are accurate and true.
Answer published in the next issue.
“Assumptions are the termites of relationships.” – Henry Winkler, Actor, Director, Producer, and storyteller
Jeffrey Hansler, CSP is an expert at organizational development, leadership, and persuasive communication which includes skills of innovation, influence, negotiation, sales, body language, micro-expressions, and authority. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
© 2018 Jeffrey Hansler All rights reserved