July 2018 Newsletter: “You matter to me”: Praise is FREE

Nothing is more important than making people feel like they matter, and the best way to do it is to give praise when it’s warranted. When people have this mindset, everybody wins.

If our actions or words don’t tell people how important they are to us, they will never know how we feel. We should be constantly thinking of ways to make our customers, managers, employees, coworkers (and basically everyone else we’re in contact with) feel like they matter to us. This can be done with simple words or actions.

Praising someone doesn’t cost us a dime, yet it can be costly if we don’t do it. Did you know that 55% of employees would leave their current job if they had a chance to work for a company that recognizes its workers? Praise is one of the most powerful things a leader can bring to their firm. When it is delivered well (and well-deserved), praise gives people the drive and motivation to continue doing top-quality work.

“One of the sweetest of all sounds in business is praise for a job well done”

Life is short, and I believe we should take advantage of every opportunity to make people feel validated and important to us. When my firm had 350 coworkers, customers used to call me for all kinds of reasons. On rare occasions they needed to complain about their agent, but mostly they wanted to commend them and brag about how great it was to do business with them. What do you think I did when I received a call or email like that? Did I thank the customer and then move on with my day? I don’t think so! The first thing I would do is call the valued coworker and tell them about the phone call or email I had received from their customer. Finding out about the positive feedback would make their day and encourage them to keep doing better. I would always end our conversation by saying, “I am so grateful you are with this company. Thank you for doing such a great job.” They loved the fact that I cared enough to take the time to give them a call. Even if I was on vacation or in the middle of doing something else when this happened, calling them was my top priority. I didn’t learn to do this by reading a manual on “how to make people feel good”; to me it was pure common sense.

Whenever possible, I would stop by the offices of coworkers in my company long enough to thank them for being part of our firm. This was one of many things we did that created a culture of happy people.

When people understand why their work matters and how it ties into your company’s greater purpose, you tap into their highest level of motivation.  Don’t miss out on such an inexpensive way to motivate your team. A sincere “thank you” may be the fuel they need to keep working hard for you and the company.

If you are not already doing this with people who are doing good things, then start today. Your encouragement will empower them to do their best work. People are used to hearing what they did wrong in life; they need to hear you tell them what they did right.

A while back I purchased several items from a very large store. I had an incredible experience with my salesperson, who was excellent in every way. I happened to be friends with one of the owners of that store and we got together for drinks about a week after my purchase. I had purposely saved the salesman’s business card to give to my friend so I could do some bragging about this employee. After I finished bragging, my friend told me, “I have several hundred employees; I don’t know this guy” and gave the card back to me. I was taken aback by his reaction for two reasons: (1) he didn’t thank me for telling him about my great experience; and (2) he didn’t take the business card as a reminder to call the salesperson and give him a compliment. In that moment my opinion of this guy changed completely, and I rarely saw him after that. It blows me away that a business owner had an opportunity to make someone in his company feel good, but he didn’t care enough to do it. I wonder how many other times he missed out on opportunities to make an employee feel like they mattered.

Praise is free; praise makes people feel good; praise can change people and empower them to continue to do well”

I remember a time when I was playing college football and my coach came up to me during a game and said, “Good job out there, Deeb.” I was aware that I was a less-than-average athlete, but that comment made me try harder. Actually, it made me play way above my talent level. My coach made me feel like I mattered. He gave me praise!

I know it is sometimes hard to know how to respond when someone gives you praise or singles you out for doing something well. You might just say “Thank you” and then internally be empowered to do even better so you can prove to yourself that you are worthy of that praise. Making people feel like they have done something well will motivate, inspire, and empower most people, but if you don’t do it you will never know what kind of a positive impact your words could have had.

Praise is powerful and usually verbalized by people who are confident with themselves

One of my favorite TV shows is Shark Tank.I remember watching one episode when most of the sharks were telling a person why his invention wasn’t a good idea. Their comments were very negative. After the first four sharks had finished sharing their opinions, Mark Cuban took a different approach. He said, “You have heard what they all say is wrong with your idea. Now let me tell you what is right with it.” This is an attitude we should incorporate in our daily lives. Even though we need people to be honest with us and point out our deficiencies to help us get better, we have an even greater need for people to point out what is positive and give us encouragement.

Each of us has the God-given ability to make people feel like they matter. It’s a mindset that you can choose daily, and the more you discipline yourself to practice it, the more natural it will become and eventually it will be a habit. Who doesn’t want to be around people who make them feel good? Starting today, make a commitment to praise someone who deserves it.

              If not now, then when? And if not you, then who?

What People in the Audience are Saying…

With Van's passion, humor and experience you can be assured of one thing- your audience is going to get fired-up, built-up, and fully charged –up. As an entrepreneur at the top of his game Van is in the unique position of being able to "talk the talk" because he has "walked the walk". Over the years he has been a great inspiration to me and my staff. Van is a speaker with charisma, humility and impact and he's a difference maker in the lives of the people he touches…"

—George Akers // President, First Mortgage Corp.

I wanted to thank you for coming and speaking with our company today. I thought your presentation was awesome! I was really motivated and inspired by your thoughts and ideas. I will use this motivation to grow my business and my personal life.”

—Justin Pauls // Realtor, Tampa, Florida

We are delighted you will be accepting the award for Omaha’s Top 25 fastest growing companies. Congratulations on your outstanding growth and we wish you continued success.”

—Tracey Fortina // Omaha Chamber of Commerce

Thank you for running such a class act company. It is an honor and a pleasure to be associated with someone such as yourself. I know you are probably one of the most respected businessmen in the region.”

—Dustin Talacko // Realtor, Omaha, Nebraska

Congratulations on writing “Selling from the heart” and thank you for sharing a copy with me. Your class has been one of the most enjoyable classes I’ve ever taken. Your enthusiasm and passion for your work are awesome. But the most refreshing part of the class was your delightful sense of humor. Thank you again for being a fantastic teacher.”

—Linda Reismeiler // Student at Randall School of Real Estate, Omaha, Nebraska

Kudos to you, Van, for reaching a major goal. But more than that...For successfully building one of Omaha’s best companies from scratch and making it thrive even in less than ideal market conditions. You have realized the American Dream...And brought it home to many, many others. My best to you!”

—Todd Andrews, Anchor and Producer, KETV Omaha

Having you here again was such a blessing to so many! As I looked at the pictures, I could see just how interested each and every person was in what you had to say!

This has been such a gift to our agents when they need it the most. The fact that you come, you are so genuine and caring, you are so honest, you are not trying to sell anything and your passion to help each and every person believe in themselves and become the best they can be is HUGE! The timing is perfect for us all helping and caring about each other, so, thank YOU from the bottom of my heart for giving of yourself to help all of us!”

—Carolyn Summerton // First Mortgage Company of Idaho

I enjoyed your seminar and its focus. I was on the fence whether or not to attend and decided why not? I could have sat through an all day session if there was one, usually I end up at the seminars that start with a focus and quickly go astray. I found with yours time flew by too fast and it was already time to go but I wasn’t ready to go.”

—Scott Asbill, CDPE // Associate Broker, Realtor