By Harrell Kerkhoff
Maintenance Sales News Editor
It’s easy to get caught up in today’s fast paced business world. Competition, deadlines and advances in technology all can make the fine art of selling, such as cleaning products and systems in the janitorial/sanitary industry, more hectic with each passing day, week and year.
Keeping the right attitude, however, provides business professionals with the ability to win battles against today’s various barriers, according to Dr. Fred Broder. He delivered a presentation, “Communication: You’re An Aerosol, Be Careful What You Spray,” during an educational session at the ISSA/INTERCLEAN® North America 2014 trade show in Orlando, FL.
Just like there are often rules and regulations to follow when properly using jan/san products, Broder explained that certain rules and regulations frequently apply in a person’s professional and personal life.
Addressing his aerosol can analogy, Broder said each person has different emotions that are like propellent from an aerosol can. These emotions involve an individual’s “personal contents,” including prejudices, biases and judgments — all stemming from everything a person has learned, observed and read throughout life.
“Sometimes the stuff that comes out isn’t that good. It’s toxic to those people around you, and can include anger, resentment, ridicule, judgement and negativity,” Broder said.
On the other hand, a person’s contents can include what is good for the environment, such as warmth, support, generosity and compassion.
“We all need to do a better job of growing from the inside. This involves trying to improve and redefine our contents,” he said. “As human beings, we are never going to get rid of all our toxins, but we should recognize the responsibility of improving our personal environment. This involves watching for what comes through in our everyday words and actions.
“When people push your button, what has the tendency to come out? I have heard people say, ‘I like to get stuff off my chest. I need to say what is on my mind,’” Broder said. “I respond, ‘No, you don’t have to say everything that is on your mind. You don’t have to get it off your chest. When you do that, you are replacing something positive with the short-term satisfaction of getting even.’”
This is a bad tradeoff when it comes to the development and continuation of long-term professional and personal relationships, he added. Therefore, it’s important to purge oneself of the negative attitudes and behaviors that are counterproductive.
Motivation For Change
With positive change, as the saying goes, “There is no time like the present.” However, change for the business professional, just like his/her own personal life, is often easier said than done.
The basic stages of change, in both work and personal life, include a “honeymoon” period where everything is full of excitement, enthusiasm and passion — such as with a new marriage or starting a new company. This is followed by a period when life and work seem to reach a plateau, and may incrementally slow down.
“These are red flags,” Broder said. “In a business, if you don’t redefine and recapture that initial excitement, your company can ultimately decline. What is needed is a way to recapture the excitement and enthusiasm that existed during the honeymoon period. What is needed is an intervention,” Broder explained.
He added that these stages are not part of a one-time cycle. They take place over and over, whether this concerns a company or a person’s life.
“As long as you are in business, you will go through various stages of this cycle. All businesses go through plateaus and changes. This is brought on by many factors, including different market conditions,” he said. “In response, every business professional has to do something to inject new excitement.
“The questions that must be asked are, ‘Where are you on this cycle right now in your professional and personal life? What stage is your company in?’”
It’s not bad to be in the stage of life where things have hit a plateau, as long as the person or company avoids denial.
“Once you recognize and accept where you are, you have the freedom, opportunity and option to do something positive to get back on track. It’s only when you go into denial that you are prevented from making things better,” Broder said. “No matter where you are as a person, and as a professional, make sure, at all times, you are open to changing for the better.
“Is there a new and improved version of yourself that you would like to become — whether it be a more compassionate person, a more generous person, a more knowledgeable person, a more creative person, a healthier person?” Broder added. “My question to you is, ‘When is this person getting here?’ So many of us promise the people in our work and personal lives, ‘I’m going to do better, I’m going to get better, I’m going to be better.’ But often it never seems to happen.
“The word ‘motivation’ literally means ‘move to action,’ not ‘dream to action, hope to action, aspire to action, plan to action.’ How many of you are still sitting on a branch about something you have promised somebody? This is true for everybody, including myself.”
On the buffet table of life, Broder added, change is often viewed as that of eating vegetables or taking medicine. It’s therefore much easier to take the easy path, such as eating chocolate cake. The problem is, the easy road does little to improve long-term business success or a person’s overall life.
“When most people are confronted with an opportunity to grow, an opportunity to take some ‘medicine’ that is going to make them stronger and better, they often still resort to the infantile behavior we all had as children. They may verbalize it in a different way, but they basically say, ‘I don’t want it. I’m not going to do it. It doesn’t taste good,’” Broder said.
He added that it’s very hard to reverse a habit that has been in place for all, or most, of a person’s life.
“This is exactly what you have to confront when you ask somebody in a work setting to do something he/she has never had to do before, that is not part of his/her ‘habit,’” Broder said.
When it comes to venturing outside of a comfort zone, most people are only interested in trying something new if they are convinced the benefit is greater than the discomfort that will be endured for a certain length of time.
“If a person doesn’t believe there is enough value in doing something new, he/she will likely not be interested in taking the risk,” Broder said.
This is true whether trying to lose weight before a class reunion or introducing a new sales method at work.
“When you go on a sales call, why does a customer ultimately say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the purchase?” Broder said. “If that customer believes the value he/she is going to get from the product is greater than what is being charged, the person will likely say ‘yes.’ If that customer feels the value is less than what is being charged, the answer will likely be ‘no.’”
The same scenario takes place internally as well, he added, such as whether or not a person feels it’s worth his/her effort to lose weight prior to attending a class reunion.
“There is a saying, ‘Never underestimate the power to change yourself, and never overestimate your power to change somebody else,’” Broder said. “A lot of us waste too much time trying to change other people, instead of devoting that time and energy to taking care of ourselves. Therefore, it’s important to concentrate on our own actions.”
He added: “All of us are intelligent enough to know that change is part of reality, it’s part of life. We have all seen dramatic changes take place over the years at work and in overall life. When it comes to change, however, many people say, ‘Don’t come to my house or business, let everybody else change but leave me alone,’” Broder said. “This is unrealistic. Whether you like it or not, change is going to happen to you and at your place of business. It’s just a matter of how you are willing to deal with change one way or the other.
“Ideally, we should all be proactive at work and at home. In reality, we are not. So, if you go to work and your boss says, ‘If you don’t get your sales numbers up, you are out of here,’ that is heat. And when somebody applies heat, we have the tendency to respond.”
According to Broder, having heat applied this way is not a positive experience. It’s much better to be proactive. This means taking action before the heat is applied.
“Don’t wait until you have a crisis at work or at home. Don’t wait until your back is against the wall. A lot of times when I’m called in for business consulting, it’s because a company is in crisis,” he said. “The best time to bring in an expert is when the company is thriving. This is done so that success can be sustained.
“It’s human nature to wait for the crisis and then become motivated to change. However, doing this doesn’t always lead to the best decisions or provide enough time to make the necessary changes.”
Make Every Second Count
Wishing your life away is easy to do, whether at work or at home. It’s common to wake up Monday morning and immediately look forward to 5 p.m. or even the next weekend. Many people spend a lot of time thinking about their next vacation or even retirement. All of this, however, is counterproductive to your current work and personal life, according to Broder.
“Nobody knows how much time he/she really has in life. Don’t count your days, make your days count. This is more than a play on words. It’s a philosophy to living,” Broder said.
He added that in today’s world of terrorist attacks, school shootings, plane crashes and natural disasters, it’s easy to see the fragility of life. Simply being at the wrong place at the wrong time can lead to an entirely changed or ended life. And yet, many people still persist in petty behavior.
“The point is, we should enjoy every moment that we have, appreciate it and use it for the betterment of ourselves and other people at work and home,” Broder said. “Sometimes we are more focused on the people who we do business with, rather than our most important ‘customers,’ who are the members of our family and our friends. It’s important that the people in our personal lives receive the same level of customer service.”
It’s also essential to stop holding grudges and standing on endless principles, Broder advised.
“It’s possible to stand on your principles until it’s too late. This is true when it comes to dealing with people in your life, such as co-workers and other business relationships. It’s essential to find within yourself what is important at home and at work,” he said. “Whether with customers, co-workers, your significant other, or your kids, it’s impotant to focus on the moment at hand. So many of us are living for the next moment, and therefore never truly experience ‘the now.’ At some point, there are no more ‘next moments.’
“Don’t see this as a ‘downer,’ but as an opportunity to make changes in your life — both as a business professional and personally.”
In summary, Broder said everyone is an unfinished product. A good goal to have, therefore, is to work everyday at incrementally improving — both at work and at home.
“A person should start each day by saying, ‘I will never be perfect, but I am committed to trying to be better.’ This includes being a better worker, spouse, parent, etc.,” Broder said. “This should be the mindset that permeates every aspect of our being. Remember, ‘You are an aerosol, be careful what you spray.’”
As human beings, he added, nobody knows what his/her true expiration date is. However, everyone can constantly improve his/her own ‘aerosol can’ and its propellent.
“This involves generosity, compassion, warmth, honesty and integrity — all the things people want ‘sprayed’ at them,” Broder said. “We should all have a commitment to constant growth and be proactive to change.
“This may involve a little more finesse, tact and sensitivity. The contents of our ‘aerosol can’ will still be the same, but the style and manner from which we propel these contents should reflect careful consideration of each situation.”
Dr. Broder is a professional speaker, consultant, author and sales trainer, including work with cruise lines. Visit www.fredbroder.com,
call 770-392-0382 or send email to
firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.