Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The One Critical Skill You Need To Succeed

 The One Critical Skill You Need To Succeed


Eric M. Twiggs

“Familiarity doesn’t breed contempt.  It breeds comfort.”  Howard Tullman

What is your picture of success?  In his book Originals: How Non-Conformists Move The World, Adam Grant uses the photo as a metaphor to answer this question.  On page seventy-seven, he communicates an interesting comparison between regular and inverted photos.

An inverted photo image is the same image you would see of yourself if you were looking in the mirror.  Tests were done with a group of people who were asked to look at both regular and inverted pictures of themselves and their friends.

They were then asked to choose which pictures they preferred.  The participants were required to pick at least one photo of themselves and one of their friends. 

When it came to their friends, people chose the regular images, but when selecting their own pictures, they chose the inverted/ mirror image every time!  So why did this happen and what does this have to do with you?

Well, this experiment proved that people tend to develop a preference for something merely because its familiar to them.  

The participants preferred their own mirror image while choosing the regular image of their friends because both represent what they saw the most.   This is known as the exposure effect. 

This applies whether you’re choosing photography or communicating your philosophy.     Since people prefer what they are familiar with, constantly repeating your message to the listener will increase their level of familiarity with your ideas. 

So, here’s the one critical skill you need:  The skill of finding different ways to say the same thing.  Stay with me to learn how this applies to both your people and your patrons. 

Your People

It’s no coincidence that I started with your people.  I agree with billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson when he says that your people come before your customers because if you take care of people, they in turn will take care of the customer. 

Constantly repeating your customer service philosophy, will increase the likelihood that your employees will execute the mission.

As I mentioned earlier, the key is to find different ways to say the same thing. Let’s say your goal is to communicate the fact that exceptional customer service is your top priority.

You can start with your monthly meeting where you publicly recognize those who go above and beyond to exceed expectations.  Since you tend to get more of whatever behavior you reward, recognizing exceptional customer service will inspire others to go the extra mile.  

Next, you schedule weekly one on ones where you review CSI scores and discuss strengths and improvement opportunities.  From there,conduct daily morning huddle meetings where you recognize the top performers from the previous day and set expectations for the current day. 

The combination of the daily, weekly and monthly meetings, and your formal recognition program, have given you several different ways to say the same thing.  It’s easier for your people to execute when they are familiar with the message. 

Your Patrons

Studies show that the average consumer is getting inundated with over 3500 marketing messages a day.   TV commercials, radio spots, email newsletters, billboard signs, text message promos, and your oil change mailer, are all competing for your customer’s attention

Patrons with an overwhelming number of choices, will default to the familiar option.  Therefore, it’s critical to “touch” them a minimum of nine to twelve times throughout the year with marketing messages to avoid being lost in the fog. 

Calling Mrs. Jones with the Honda twelve times in the next twelve days may lead to you getting served with a restraining order! 

 This makes finding different ways to send the same message important.  Always calling may feel excessive, but a “thank you” call, Facebook post, email blast, text reminder, and blog post, will keep you top of mind and keep you from looking like a stalker.

These different modes of marketing allow you to communicate your philosophy, and for your patrons to become familiar with your offerings.   When they have a service need, they will be more likely to choose you.


In the book, I mentioned earlier, Adam Grant points out that people need to be exposed to an idea anywhere from ten to twenty times before they like it.

This makes finding different ways to say the same things to your people and patrons the one critical skill you need to succeed. 

When I did the above-mentioned picture experiment, I chose my inverted photo and the regular picture of you becoming a Top Shop!


Eric M. Twiggs
The Accountability Coach

PS.  Struggling to find different ways to say the same things to your patrons?  Email to receive my PowerPoint presentation titled: “Mastering The Fundamentals of Car Count.”