“Many client-facing professionals come to overly rely on their product-related hard skills when working with clients…We see this when client-facing professionals lead with every capability known to man during their initial discussion with their prospects without any sense as to what the prospect is trying to accomplish. In fact, these capabilities are now expected–no, required–for client-facing professionals going into most business relationships. Therefore, emphasizing hard skills provides minimal opportunity for these professional men and women to distinguish themselves in the business relationship. However, there is an old saying that does bring the value of hard skills into perspective: ‘People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care‘” (page 199-200).
“The best way to fail in the hypercompetitive marketplace is to attempt to deliver a one-size-fits-all customer experience. We all serve a market segment, but within our market segment there are customer types who want to engage our products and services differently based on their hates and loves. Take Southwest Airlines, for example. In order to be profitaqble in the airline industry (one of the worst and most competitive markets on the planet), you need to be able to deliver services to a large customer market, i.e., people who are flying. However, within this large market are ‘micro markets’ representing a range of customer types” (pages 32-3).
“When you first do an observation lab, you’ll think people look like they aren’t ‘doing’ anything! They’re just going about their business; nothing that they’re doing looks surprising. They’re walking around at the mall, moving in and out of retail stores, buying their lunch in the food court. They’re waiting for their cars to be serviced. Don’t become alarmed. Slow down and just start taking real or mental notes about what you see and hear, even if nothing seems out of the ordinary. For example, when my students did an observation lab at the campus bookstore, their first thought was, ‘What would we really learn?’ But they noticed simple things…like how people were queuing up in line across a main throughway to get to the main cash register, or how certain products were not offered for sale, or that there was a typo on a merchandising display. And so on. Ultimately they recorded sixty-five observation; then, based on a review, they offered ten recommendations that we forwarded to the bookstore manager” (page 178-9).
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