Heels or toes?


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When talking with employees, especially when giving them feedback, the words we use can put them on their heels or on their toes.

Sometimes managers unintentionally choose words that put their employees on the defensive, or what I call on their heels. This is usually the result of starting feedback with what is perceived by the employee as an accusatory statement.

“Why didn’t you bother to tell that customer about the GWP?”

“I don’t think you care about your sales results.”

“How come you don’t show gold before silver?”

“You had plenty of time to get that order out.”

Anytime a person is back on their heels they’re less likely to hear the message and apply the feedback.

The goal is to choose words that inspire people to listen, or put them on their toes leaning in, if you will.

“I have a few ideas of ways you can engage your customers with the GWP.”

“I see your sales been lagging over the past few days. Let’s sit down and discuss it.”

“I noticed that you only showed the silver to your last customer. Here’s the benefit of showing gold first.”

“Before you go, let’s talk about how your day went.”

It’s clear which statements the employee is more likely to listen to and apply the feedback.

The same holds true with customers. The words we choose either put them on their heels or toes.

“Do you have any questions?” and “How may I help you?” can put some customers on their heels.

“Let me show you…” and “Welcome. Let me tell you about….” will put more customers on their toes.

I encourage you to listen carefully to the words we use with your staff and customers, and determine if it is putting them on their heels or on their toes.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Doug Fleener
As the former director of retail for Bose Corporation and an independent retailer himself, Doug has the unique experience and ability to help companies of all sizes. Doug is a retail and customer experience consultant, keynote speaker and a recognized expert worldwide.


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