The Difference Between Feeling Good Doing Good

Aug. 1, 2006

Doing good and feeling good are not always one in the same, and knowing the difference can improve your business. Doing good actually accomplishes something, but feeling good just makes us believe we have done the job. Have you ever been on hold for a long time while a company tells you how important your call is? That message makes them feel good. Helping you would make them do good. Let’s examine a few examples from our own business.

Giving a Card vs. Taking Names

A salesperson meets a couple in a restaurant who say they are interested in purchasing water treatment equipment. He gives the couple a card, and they promise to call. Everyone leaves feeling good. The problem is that the sale is probably not going to happen. The salesperson did not take down the customers’ names, nor did he set a specific time for an appointment. The couple will probably never call. That card will end up where 99.9999% of all cards end up, and a sale has been lost forever. This is how feeling good trumps doing good in many business situations.

You may ask yourself, “If this is true, why do all businesses give their staff members business cards?” The answer is to feel good. Salespeople like to get them, and so do customers. Does it help sales? Not as much as you think, and sometimes, it prevents sales.

Giving Brochures & Quotes

In a similar case, picture the end of a sales demonstration. The salesperson and the potential customer return to the table. There is tension in the air as the customer realizes the salesperson will try to sell her tonight. But wait, this salesperson writes a “quote” on the back of a business card, staples it to a brochure and tells the customer to call when she is ready to buy.

Once again, everyone feels good. The salesperson gives out a nice, glossy brochure and card. The salesperson can leave knowing he did a great job. The customer is very happy, as she now has license to shop for price, and she didn’t have to make a decision. Everyone wins—except no sale takes place.

Instead of this scenario, salespeople need to be taught to assume there will be a sale. They need to do a great demo and write an order when they return to the table.

Our advice is to stop relying on brochures alone. Brochures cannot be used as the only method to sell water equipment. If they could, none of us would have jobs. The company would just mail them out and collect the checks. Stop feeling good and start doing good.

Talking about Technical Issues

Nothing gets a discussion going better in a room full of salespeople than a nice technical discussion of resin shapes, salt curves or other esoterically technical issues. The problem is that consumers don’t care about these matters. They care about luxury, taste and lifestyle. Still, nothing feels as good as dazzling customers with your knowledge until they fall asleep. Customers often don’t buy, but they are impressed; so the salesperson leaves feeling good but not doing good.

Blaming Price & Ethics

We have noticed that at every seminar, there is someone who is very bitter about the pricing and ethics of the other dealers in his or her market. This is interesting because the dealer who complains is most often a dealer who sells only a small volume of equipment. We have never heard a dealer who sells more than 100 units per month complain about others charging too little. They just toil away, unbothered by what others do. They are doing good. So, why do less-effective dealers complain about the economy, prices, etc? We believe this allows them to feel good by blaming others. It allows them to forget the things that really cost them opportunities and sales.

Reviewing by Feelings, Not Numbers

People who want to feel good ask their staff, “How’s it going?” They are satisfied with vague replies like, “Good, boss, good,” which are always optimistic but impossible to measure. Why do they manage in the dark? Because it feels good. Managers who do good ask staff for specifics. “How many demos did you do this week? How many did you close? Can I see the forms?” Asking general questions make you feel good, but asking for specifics and measuring actual numbers make you do good.

Complaining about Staff Shortfalls

Finally, if you’ve ever heard yourself complaining that, “All salespeople are lazy” or “You just can’t get good people anymore—they just weren’t raised properly,” we are afraid those are symptoms of feeling good. That places the blame for a failure to recruit and manage great staff on the employee, so the manager can feel good. To do good, we have to work on what succeeds and pay the price for success.

Success Has a Price

These are just a few examples. If you are an owner or manager, ask yourself if you’re working to feel good or to do good. Either answer is okay as long as we know why we get the results we do. Success is a prize worth having, but it has a fair price that must be paid to win it.

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