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Keynote speaker | Customer experience expert | Performance consultant

Doug Fleener, the former director of retail for Bose Corporation, is known for bringing fresh approaches and powerful actionable ideas to clients and audiences around the world.
Typical client and audience results include:
  • Substantial increase in sales and profits
  • How to niche and succeed in a commoditized marketplace
  • Deeper understanding of your ideal customers
  • A differentiated - and more effective - customer experience
  • More targeted internal and external marketing to drive incremental business
  • Improved strategic direction with a more aligned organizational focus
  • Increased customer loyalty and advocacy resulting in more profitable  customers
  • More effective OutFront managers and leaders at all levels of the organization
"Thank you for presenting to the AIMM group again! It is really hard to present to a group twice in 6 months and hit it out of the park both times, but the feedback is you did just that! The dealers shared with us that what they learned was both informative and inspiring."

Tom Triozzi - Association of Independent Merchants

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Doug Fleener's Business Magnetizer Blog

Doug Fleener's Business Magnetizer Blog

By Doug Fleener 21 Mar, 2017

One day I was catching up with two friends over coffee when the conversation turned to how bad the traffic had been recently.

One friend told us how it was killing his productivity. He's an outside rep and the traffic kept him from seeing all of the accounts he planned to see.

The other friend is also a rep, but in a different field. The traffic also kept him from seeing all of his clients, but in the end he had a terrific sales week.

He had decided that he would use the time sitting in traffic to phone accounts he doesn't normally get to call on. As a result, he picked up a couple of additional orders he wouldn't have gotten without sitting in traffic.

Two people. Same traffic. Different results.

One person had better results because he had a different perspective. Instead of seeing the traffic only as an impediment, he took advantage of the challenge.

Here are three traffic perspectives store leaders will do well to remember.

1. Maximize every customer opportunity. I once had a store outside of Chicago that had to deal with terrible traffic but still produced amazing results. Their center simply didn't attract much attention, so the store leadership and staff quickly learned that every customer mattered. You don't have to be a slow store to apply that lesson.

2. No labeling customers. One word I never allowed my staff to use was "looker." The minute we label a customer a looker, we're really saying they aren't going to buy anything. It's funny how that is proven over and over.

One manager who recently took my coaching class had her staff stop using the word. Guess what? Yep, conversion went up. Our perspective has a huge impact on our results.

3. Own it. If you’ve heard me speak you’ve heard me say that when you own something, you have the power to change it. One of my coffee friends owned the bad traffic last week. He didn't sit in his car and fume or complain. He took action. 

Traffic is a real challenge for most stores. No way to sugarcoat it. At the same time we have no alternative but to own it. We have to take responsibility for driving existing clients and new customers into the store.

Make sure the entire staff is using downtime to reach out to customers. Plan small events. Set appointments for your top customers to come in and see the newest products. Refuse to let lack of traffic keep you from obtaining your goals. Own it!

Got too much traffic? First, thank your lucky stars. Then, have the staff practice working with multiple customers and group selling. Whatever your traffic... own it!

So let me ask, how is your traffic perspective?

How to use this article

Discuss your leadership group's traffic perspective with your managers. Which perspectives could benefit from a change?  Identify three actions they’ll take to get an even better perspective.

By Doug Fleener 09 Mar, 2017

  I used to assume that if someone was struggling to do something, it was because they needed more training. Sometimes that was the case, but sometimes what she/he really needed was to successfully apply the skills and knowledge the person had already learned. 

How do you know the difference? Here’s a simple but effective way to look at it.

1. People first need to know WHY we do, or need to know, something. If people don't know why you're asking them to do it, they rarely do it. Or at the least they're much less likely to do it especially well.

Why should I learn three things about my customer?

Why should I show an additional item without asking? I

It is also important that your team know if these actions are required or optional. 

2. Next, each person needs to learn HOW and/or WHAT.

How do I engage customers in a conversation to ask questions in an authentic way?

How do I show an additional item without being perceived as pushy?

How is this product made?

What makes these products unique and different?

Never assume your staff know the HOW or WHAT. You’d be surprised how often leaders assume the staff knows this but they don’t. They know it’s supposed to be done, but nobody has worked closely with them to learn and practice the skill.

3. Now, people need to DO it. If something is an expectation of the position, people need to meet that expectation. This is where the biggest breakdown happens.

People don't do what's expected of them and the manager/owner assumes the person can't do it and needs more training.

In fact, most often the person doesn't need more training. What he/she needs is observation and coaching so they can do whatever it is they need to do, and do it well. 

After that, they need to do it or be held accountable for drifting from it. That’s why accountability is such a key element to leading and coaching a team.

If your staff is struggling in a particular area, walk though these three steps.

1. Do they know WHY?  

2. Do they how know HOW or WHAT?

3. Are you requiring them to DO it, and to keep doing it?

So let me ask, does your staff need more training, coaching and accountability, or a combination of them?

How to use this article

Think about two particular service/selling actions you'd like to see your staff do better. Then apply the three questions. This will help you determine if they need additional training, or you need to be working with them to do it.

By Doug Fleener 03 Mar, 2017

I like to think that as leaders we only have one priority: Our customers, and their service and purchase experience. Everything else we do supports that priority.

Some of what we do to support that priority is more important than other parts of our job. First, being an OutFront frontline leader. Making sure the customer priority stays the priority.

Second, coaching and developing the staff to deliver the best possible service and sales experience. The more we help our employees be even better, the better the customer’s experience. Perfect since that’s our priority!

Here are three leadership tips/reminders to help you accomplish this goal.

1. See YOUR day as a series of choices. As a young manager I often felt like my day ran me, as though I had no control over what was going on. At the end of the day I was exhausted and had accomplished hardly anything I planned to do.

Nothing changed until I realized that I always had a choice about what I did. I could delegate. I could put something off. I could knock something off my list quickly. Most important, I learned to challenge myself by asking, "Is this the best use of my time at this moment?"

When a leader has a choice, they’re able to keep the customer and his/her experience as the priority.

2. See your actions as words. It was Gandhi who said that action expresses priorities. Your staff won't always follow what you say, but they'll do what you do. Your actions tell your staff what is most important each and every day.

It's not the memo. It's not the training video. It's what you, as a leader, do day in and day out that communicates what's important. Many leaders do not communicate a customer priority in what they’re doing. 

Of course you have many other things to get done in addition to working with customers. Leadership is choosing the right time to do them. Frequently reminding your staff to interrupt you when they get busy.

Making sure your staff knows that customers come before any other tasks and activities you've asked them to do.

3. Make time every day to coach and lead on the floor. Again, when we develop our people, we improve the experience. Following through on our priority.

Most people work from a to-do list. I believe leaders should start that list by blocking out the time they're going to be coaching and leading their team. Everything else works around that. This isn't when you're "working the floor" or “hanging out in a cube” but when you're coaching and leading. There's a big difference.   

So let me ask, how well are you leading a customer priority?

How to use this article

Discuss with your leadership team how well they communicate and act a customer priority, and in which of these areas they can improve. Take a moment also to brainstorm two or three more things they might do to improve their prioritization.

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