When Blowing Leaves

| October 29, 2014 | Reply

I find it interesting when people are conflicted. A lifetime of conditioning and a seemingly-endless swim against a negative current sometimes leaves us jaded and oft times even cynical about the goings on in our lives.

I have a friend who was diagnosed with cancer last winter and has been going through a difficult time in 2014. When a mutual friend sent a group text a few weeks ago asking if anybody would like to get together on Saturday to clean up Billy’s leaves – I was quick to reply, “Absolutely!”  outdoorpowerbuddy-gas-leaf-blower-blowing

When I woke up this past Saturday morning, I had forgotten. It was a sunny and beautiful fall Saturday and I was having coffee with my wife when it struck me – and when it did, I really didn’t feel like going. But I put on my sweats, loaded rakes into my trunk, and went anyway.

I’m not much for manual labor (in fact, full disclosure, I don’t even do my own leaves), but I can honestly say that I’ve never had such a great time “working” in my life. It just felt great.

As I swung the hand-held blower, putting the final touches on a long day by clearing off the driveway, it occurred to me that a rather large strip of grass between the driveway and their next-door neighbor’s house had a lot of leaves as well. So, without questioning, I just went about cleaning it up. Halfway through, Bill’s wife confirmed that I was clearing the neighbor’s yard and not only would they not even appreciate it, but they’d probably complain. “They’re not very nice.” I figured – hey – I’m halfway through, and its not that much trouble. So I finished it up, realizing I’d never even meet these people. Call it good karma.

I was shot when I got home four hours later, and my muscles ached for another two days afterward (still sore right now) but – as I said – I can’t remember being so pleased with myself. My friend appreciated it so.

Did I expect anything in return? Absolutely, one hundred percent . . . no.

Sunday morning, however, when I went into my nine-year-old daughter’s church classroom to pick her up I received an ovation from the teacher and students. I wasn’t sure what it was for, until the teacher commended me for “helping my friend.”

“How did you know?” I asked her, stunned. “Your daughter shared it with the class this morning,” she told me.

Wow, something rubbed off. I wasn’t even aware that she had noticed. That may have felt better than the actual task had.

Oh, and those “unfriendly” neighbors, whose leaves I cleaned . . . they left a bottle of wine on my friend’s doorstep with a thank you note!

The Appreciation Marketing champion takes the opportunity to do for others with no thought of getting something in return. I’m certainly no saint, and don’t do these types of things nearly enough. But when I do, its these kind of stories that often result.

When in doubt, just do the right thing and you’ll always feel good about it.

Hint: You always know which is the right thing.

How Would YOU Handle it?

| October 17, 2014 | Reply

Not every one of us will have the opportunity to be hired as CEO of a multi-billion dollar company. Each of us, though, does hold the title of CEO of our own life. We all, to some degree, face many of the challenges that the “big-time” executives face every day and are faced with decisions. These decisions do one of three things. They either move the company forward, move it backward, or are deemed inconsequential.

The following incident happened in real life. How would YOU handle it if YOU got to make the call?  ceo-and-data-analytics

In August, my family and I took a little vacation to Bermuda. Traffic was insane on the way to JFK airport, and the two-hour ride took us four. Still, though, we made it to check-in a full hour before flight time (boarding passes already printed and in hand). Once navigating the slow-moving line, however, we were informed that while we were in plenty of time to make our flight – they would no longer check our baggage! Being a true “Appreciator” and a solutions guy, I calmly and politely went about solving the problem. And for the next 30 minutes I was passed off to one uncaring and unempathetic employee after another in one of the absolute worst cases of customer service I have ever experienced.

Finally, a bystander suggested that we purchase additional carry-on bags at the nearby kiosk and transfer our belongings. I asked the attendant if that was possible and she nodded without expression. So I purchased three overpriced carry-on bags, we unpacked and repacked in the middle of a bustling airport floor, and had to abandon my wife’s large (and expensive) empty suitcase at the kiosk. We then squeezed through screening, ran to the terminal, and made our flight with nine carry-on bags!

Upon returning home, I reached out to the new CEO of American Airlines, Douglas Parker, explaining my experience. Again, in my charming Tommy-style manor, I mentioned that I make a career out of telling customer-service stories (good and bad) and even included a signed copy of Appreciation Marketing. I expected nothing (as is usually my MO), but was anxious to see how my new “story” would end. If I were the CEO, I’m quite certain that I’d apologize (at bare minimum) and say thank you for the book (which is about saying thank you). At best, I’d perhaps offer me and my family a new flight and ask for a chance to “re” earn our business. Especially in lieu of the $500 luggage fiasco.

Drum roll please . . .

I got what I expected (see above paragraph).

Now I’m an intelligent and level-headed guy. But do you think I will EVER book a flight on American Airlines again? Do you think I’ll tell this story at parties? Do you think I’ll tell this story on stages? Do you believe that the CEO of American Airlines’ decision to do nothing moves his company forward, moves his company backward, or is inconsequential? What choice would YOU make? And this guy makes millions!

Our hope is that you – as an Appreciation Marketing specialist – take your CEO position more seriously.

It’s never too much trouble to do the right thing, but it can be very damaging not to.

 

 

Adjust Your Sails

| October 11, 2014 | 1 Reply

IMG_5955

 Whether we’re conscious of it or not, we are rating the people we meet and the events we experience on an ongoing basis.

We do this not only as customers but as human beings.

Our great friend Jim Kohn just took twelve of his closest friends to his “happy place” to join him for his 60th birthday celebration.

In addition to always being up for a good time, my radar was up to see just what makes this place so special to my friend who could vacation anywhere in the world but keeps choosing to go back to Jamaica’s Half Moon Bay multiple times every year. Having been to a dozen islands in the Caribbean myself (Jamaica not having been among my favorites), I was exceptionally curious.
From the general manager, to the service manager, to the bartenders, the beach attendants, the butler, the housekeeper, the cook, and even the entertainment, they ALL know “Big Jim” and treat him like he’s the most-important visitor they’ll ever have. And wouldn’t you know it, he smiles and treats them in kind.
Jim is a retired restaurant entrepreneur whose knowledge of customer service leaves him “cursed” to notice even the tiniest details (good and bad). And THAT is what makes Half Moon Bay his happy place. They don’t make a mistake. And it’s clearly not just “part of the job” there, it’s the culture.
For what it’s worth, the other dozen of us received the same treatment last week as well. We’d all go back (and we will). Not because it’s sunny. There are a lot of sunny places to choose from. But because Half Moon Bay “gets it,” and has created a culture that gives its customers more than they expect – no matter how much they expect – and always with a friendly smile.
The people of Half Moon Bay earned a customer for life when they did the right thing on Jim Kohn’s first visit, years ago.
Then they remained consistent. And they just added a few more.
Understand that people are judging and rating their run-in’s and experiences with YOU, every minute of every day as well.
You don’t have to keep your A-game on all day if you don’t want to. But you may never know when you missed a golden opportunity because of it.
You never get a second chance to make a first impression. And if you make your A-game the norm in your life, instead of the exception, you’ll be able to overcome the lapses.

A New Era Has Begun!

| October 3, 2014 | 2 Replies

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

We’re used to saying those words a lot at Appreciation Marketing. Never yet, though, have they been more relevant than the are today.  Screen shot 2014-07-09 at 1.01.50 PM

Thank you to all of our friends who jumped on our Wednesday night webinar and signed up to join us in the second round of testing for our new baby, AM Cards!

The response has been everything we had hoped for, and we’ve already made a few exciting tweaks (thanks to your input)!

If you missed it, we’re sorry, but there will be a Round 3 coming up in November!

Also, we’re getting a ton of questions regarding the potential of a “financial opportunity.” To reiterate, we are NOT (nor are we ever planning on becoming) a network marketing company. We love and support the profession, but Appreciation Marketing and AM Cards will remain a traditional (non MLM) company which will support all industries.

As we eluded to during the webinar, we DO envision an affiliate program where will will accept and certify “Appreciation Marketing Consultants.” This phase, however, is still a few months out and not yet open for discussion. Thank you for your inquiries.

In the meantime, we all move one step closer to bringing the true concepts of appreciation and gratitude to the world. Thanks again for being a part of it, and we can’t wait to show you more! <wink>

If you haven’t already – please subscribe to our blog and “like” us on Facebook. We want to be able to stay in touch with you as this flower continues to bloom!

Introducing The AM Blog

| September 23, 2014 | 2 Replies

am-teamWhen we wrote Appreciation Marketing® back in 2009, Curtis and I had no idea that it would get such legs.

We self-published at first, and never spent any money, time, or energy on a marketing campaign.

We knew the ideas behind the book were legit, and we’d gotten such amazing feedback from the people we shared them with that we quickly realized we had something special.

The brand is still going strong four-plus years later. We’ve sold thousands of books in multiple countries around the world and are still being overwhelmed with wonderful feedback.

Back in the winter of 08′, we came up with a catchy title in “Appreciation Marketing.” When we Googled it, that day, we found ZERO matches. Today (as of September 2014) there are 43.2 million!

While much of AM’s content consists of common sense, none of it is common practice. People who have read our book have told us that their lives were changing while they were reading it! There’s no better compliment than that.

But the best responses have come during our live seminars. Even the tightest and most conservative audiences quickly open up and engage.
They laugh, they nod, and they applaud. Again, thanking us profusely for brightening their day and enhancing their lives (both personally and professionally). Virtually everyone leaves with at least one gold nugget that they’ll never forget!

So, finally, we’re ready to spend a little time promoting the Appreciation Marketing® brand! Oh, we’ve got LOTS more stories now!

Introducing The AM Blog! In the footsteps of our favorite blogger, Seth Godin, we’re going to keep it short and sweet and feed it to you in bite-sized pieces. We’re going o do our best to enlighten and entertain you with real-life examples of Appreciation Marketing® in action!

Please subscribe if you’d like to receive short weekly tips, tricks, and tales of Appreciation and Gratitude. We’re confident in making you the bold promise that these principles will quickly make a positive impact on your life and your business . . . no matter what you do!

We Appreciate you!

Tommy & Curtis