Monthly Archives: August 2013

Jealousy Doesn’t Look Good in a Suit

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I remember it like yesterday although it was almost 30 years ago.  I was a little girl and my older sister was in the town parade.  She looked beautiful and was getting lots of attention.   She got to ride in a fancy car, holding roses, waving and smiling to the crowd.  I don’t remember why she was in the parade but I remember watching her and wishing it was me.  My sister was always the prettiest girl in the group and it was “easy” for people to like her and want to shower her with attention.

We came home from the parade that day and I felt left out and I was sad really sad.  I went to my room and cried.  I felt like it was no fair that she was getting this attention.  That was the day I learned one of my most valuable lessons.  My mom came in to my room and she had no pity for me.  She told me to stop crying and that I was being jealous.  Jealous…what is that?  I asked her to explain.   She told me that I was feeling sorry for myself, because someone else was getting attention for an achievement.   My mom explained what jealousy was, told me to get over it, and never feel that way again.  I was shocked that my mom was not going to comfort me in my moment of need.  I wanted to feel like my sister, but instead I felt shafted and hurt.  After my mom left it hit me that my sister being in the parade had nothing to do with me.  My sister didn’t hurt me and certainly she didn’t want to make me sad.  She had earned that opportunity to be in the parade.  It was her moment and I would have moments in my life where I would want my sister to be happy for me.

So what does my childhood moment of jealousy have to do with business?   It has a lot to do with business.  I see jealousy daily in the business world.  Sometimes I even start to feel “jealous”.  So as soon as I start to hear myself say “I am jealous”, I immediately switch to the thought of I am really happy for that person.   The people you are happy for will be there to cheer you on.

Jealousy can run rampant in a sales team.  Being part of a sales group always it’s imperative to strive to be number one, and especially important to always be happy for others when they win.  If you can sincerely be happy for others and recognized the fruit of their labor you will learn from them.  Luck runs out and hard work pays off.

Successful people sometimes get looked down upon because jealous people wonder why they can’t have what the successful people have.  If you spend all your time worrying about what others have you will never make time to get what you want out of your career and business.  Celebrate the success of your peers, partners, bosses, and companies.  If you think they are undeserving then you need to make a choice to not be a part of their group.  If you work for a boss that takes credit for your work look for a new job.  If you find yourself secretly wanting others to fail then you will fail.  If you think successful people got lucky or had things handed to them then you are spending too much time worrying about those “lucky” people.

Don’t let career envy scare you from overcoming challenges.  Most of the people you are envious of have great stories of working hard and making their way to where they are.  Work harder and set high expectations for yourself.  Take the energy that you would spend worrying about others and worry about you and your goals.  Jealousy usually shows and I haven’t met anyone it looks good on especially in a suit.

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Plan for Success

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To be successful you need a plan, right?  So to make the most of each day, week, month, and year  you should have a plan.   You are so busy keeping up with the day to day task, meetings, phone calls, proposals etc when do you make time to write your next plan?  Do you plan out your future or wait for it to happen?  I’m not sure about you but every time I wait for something to happen it’s generally not in my favor.  If I was waiting to close a deal I never marketed it’s probably not going to happen.

I suggest using your Sunday evenings and weeknights or early mornings.  By setting a plan for the week on Sunday evenings you are gearing yourself up for the week.  Making your plan during off hours helps to reduce other distractions, and you know what is on your plate at that moment.   Of course you should always strive for a balanced life that is not completely focused on work, so don’t use your whole Sunday to make a plan or cut into dinner time.  Take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour to write down an agenda for your upcoming week or day and review your calendar.   If it’s too hard to make a plan for the next day at the end of your day, try to wake up an extra hour early.  Drink a cup of coffee or tea and do your planning.   You will be shocked that by using this time on “off” hours you will actually have more time.  Your days will flow better and you when you stick to your plans you will have a great sense of accomplishment.

Success doesn’t punch a clock, and success doesn’t have to work around the clock, but success does have to beat the clock.  Some of my favorite old sayings are time is money and money is time.  Work smarter not harder.

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Firing Customers

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I am a huge advocate of customer service and going above and beyond.  Sometimes you find yourself in a situation with a client that you continually have to extend yourself, employees, products, and even lose profit.  When this happens to you time and time again with the same client, you need to ask yourself the question if the business is worth it?  This does not mean that you fly off the handle and tell the client to take a hike.  Take necessary steps to carefully evaluate the situation, and if that doesn’t work end the business relationship.

Set a meeting to discuss the challenges and see if there is a way to resolve the issues.  Sometimes the client will not see your point and tell you that they will find someone else.  Many times the client will recognize the effort you have put into their business and work out an agreement.  It does not always mean there is a price increase but perhaps just an understanding of your needs to fulfill the agreement.  Customers do not need to know all that goes into your business however they do need to know how to do business with partners.

Outline a game plan.  If the client is willing to work with you put a plan in writing.  This may be a new proposal or a SOP (standard operation procedure).  When you are writing the game plan include everyone in the plan that contributes to issues at hand.  You may realize during the plan that there is something you need to do or stop doing.  Sometimes we think we are doing things for a client to help them but instead we have done something they do not need or recreated something they already had.

If there is no resolution, thank the client for their business and if you are in a contract fulfill the needs as promised.  If a client cannot come to terms that you need to efficiently run their account it will end up hurting your other business.  You never want to create a bad relationship but you also do not want to create a relationship that is one sided.  Business is business and it needs to mutually beneficial whether you are a buyer or seller.  Sometimes you will have to lose in order to satisfy an order but this should not be a reoccurring case.

It’s sometimes okay to say no to customers on occasions and sometimes even better to end the relationship.  Carefully evaluate the account and exhaust all options but if you are continually spinning your wheels with a client that is costing you more in time and money there is a problem.

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Focus without Ignoring

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In this world of constant distractions it can be hard to focus.  We have become accustomed to reacting.  Email, text messages, phone calls, and social media have made it almost impossible to turn off distractions.  Communication is essential in business and you must respond quickly or you may miss an opportunity.   So how do you focus on the task in front of you without ignoring the request coming at you?

Set clear expectations.  Whether you are working to obtain new business, manage existing business, manage teammates, or working with peers you need to explain the best way to reach you when it’s urgent.  

If you receive an email does the person on the other end expect an immediate response?  Do you check your email throughout the day or do you check email 3 times a day?  I learned once from a wise man that email could become the biggest distraction in the day.  He told he put an out of office assistance on his email each day to inform those emailing him that he only checked email twice a day, and if they needed an immediate response to call him directly.  He makes a point to focus on the task in front of him.  He specific schedules times to read emails and respond, as opposed to stopping what he is doing each time an email hits his inbox.  His days have turned out to be much more productive and anyone that emails him knows they will get a response.  9 out of 10 of your emails really can wait 12 to 24 hours for a response and if it’s an emergency the person probably called you as well.

Prioritize.  Start your day with a list.  Before you look at your phone or email take 5 minutes to make a list.  Write down everything that you need to get done.  Write down small and big tasks.  Keep the list with you throughout your day.  As you complete tasks cross them off.  You will feel accomplished as you get things done.

Acknowledge. If you are focused on a task at hand and someone needs your attention acknowledge them and their request.  You do not necessarily need to stop doing what you are engaged in, but give them a response of when you can get back to them.  Add the person to your list so that you do not forget about them or their need.  Even if you think you can handle their request quickly you are taking away from your focus and the 10 minutes you take to help them may put you behind 30 minutes to an hour.

Don’t Over Commit.  Know your limitations.  If your day is already full don’t over extend yourself.  Make realistic schedules and keep to them.  Set times to meet or speak with people and focus on that meeting or call for that time.  If you constantly seemed rushed, miss calls, late to meetings, find yourself checking your phone during meetings, and racing to next engagement you may want to plan more time in between meetings and calls.  Give yourself time for the meeting and then time after meeting.

Let’s face it we live in a world where we expect immediate responses.  Learn how to be proactive, set expectations, manage time and acknowledge request without stopping your current task.  You will be surprised how much more you accomplish when you actually take time to slow down to focus, but remember that being focused doesn’t mean unresponsive.  People don’t expect you to stop your day for them but they do want to be acknowledged.

 

 

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Don’t Hide Behind Your Social Media Image

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The world is continually changing around us.  New technology, trends, architecture, and styles evolve constantly.  No matter what your business is it’s important to keep up with the latest and greatest.  As things change it’s even more important to understand the things that stay consistent…..people and the need for human relationships.

This is especially true in business development.  Social media and web development are important today, but the most important part of your business is going to be you and your deliverables.  Does your client trust you? Is your product superior?  Does the value mirror the cost?  Does your client know your company?

Sales have always been impacted by relationships and reputation.  We can design a trendy web page or have 20,000 likes on Facebook, but if your client can’t trust you as a person chances are they may only visit your social sites but never actually give you an order.  Human relationships are vital to business.  Ways of getting information out to people has changed drastically over the years.  Social media is a great channel to open up doors but don’t forget to introduce a human element.  Don’t get lost in the all of the social media and miss out on the opportunity to build authentic relationships.  Taking the time to meet with clients and find out what they need is vital to business.  Social media can make you look good but poor service and products can put you out of business.

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Inspiration

 

What’s a better feeling being inspired or being an inspiration?  Remember how you feel after someone inspires you.  Make sure you return the favor and inspire those around you.

 

Inspiration is one of the greatest gifts I have ever received, and I am blessed to be inspired by many.  My mom has always inspired me to push myself to do more, and even when I think I can’t I really can.  My grandmother inspired me to always speak my mind.  Sometimes I didn’t care for some of her opinions but I loved her and knew that she came from a good place.  She taught me that not everyone is going to agree with me and sometimes the difference in opinion will inspire great healthy discussions.

 

An ex-coworker inspired me to love the art of cold calls.  I had just started out in sales and we went to make a cold call.  I remember walking up to the business with him and on the door it said “no soliciting”.  I was young and new at the job, so I felt a little anxious walking into the business.  He taught me that the worst thing that could happen was they tell us to leave.  He inspired me that failure in sales is inevitable and really it’s no big deal…just keep trying.

 

I have so many people that have given me gifts of inspiration and if I can do the same for others I will have received the ultimate gift.

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Having Purpose

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Each day I wake up is completely different but filled with the same purpose.  I have many different actions and motives but one overall simple purpose.  Many would say that their purpose is to live life to the fullest or to make an impact on another person or even to become the greatest at a skill, but really my purpose is simple.  Really all purposes are simple.  My purpose is something I achieve daily.  My goals change but my purpose does not and it will help lead me to my goals.  Curing cancer is a goal not a purpose.

My purpose gives me peace at the end of each day.  Some days are harder than others and some days are the best day yet.  Have you ever asked yourself what is your purpose?  Sometimes people ask the question and wait for someone to answer back.  I used to do that….and then I realized my purpose was something I did everyday and it was in front of me.  I didn’t pick my purpose out of a magazine catalog.  There are certain things that are part of you from day one.  You live out your purpose most times unknowingly.  My purpose is not to teach others how to live or what to believe in.  My purpose is not to change the world or even change one person.

Keep up with my blog and you may learn what my purpose is.  I could write it down for you or the world but that would be too easy.

Clean your windshield

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Have you ever experienced that feeling when you take a long road trip and your windshield becomes covered in bugs and dirt?  The further you go it continues to build up.  It starts to get harder and harder to see ahead.  You feel frustrated and challenged to navigate your way forward.  So you finally stop and take time to clean your windshield.  All of sudden the road ahead gets clearer.  You don’t feel as uptight or concerned that you might miss your exit.  There is a sense of relief and less pressure.

In work and life sometimes you need to stop and clean your windshield.  Your mind sometimes gets cluttered like the bugs on the windshield, and keeps you from seeing the possibilities ahead.  We let past experiences good and bad stand in our way of seeing new opportunities.  Wipe away the debris that is building up so you can clear your mind and better focus on the destination.

Recharge

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Have you ever had that night where you forgot to plug in your cell phone and you wake up with a low battery?  You don’t have time to let the phone get a full charge so you take every opportunity to plug the phone in.  You charge in the car for your 15 minute drive, and then you plug it in the wall at the coffee shop for the quick 30 minutes.  All day you are annoyed because the phone hasn’t had enough time to get a charge and you have to end calls quickly or limit your time on email.  You need your phone in today’s world to conduct business.  Phones are like people, take time to let your mind and body regain a charge.  You will never be able to give 100% without giving yourself a full charge of energy.  Take the time to get a full charge and get the most out of each new day!

 

What are your intentions?

 

So you want something from me?  It’s great to have intentions, clear intentions that is.

 

Just because you are in sales does not mean that you should hide the fact that you want someone to buy your service or product.

 

Let’s say today you want to buy a car.  You drive to a dealer and walk the lot.  It takes a few minutes maybe seconds for you to be approached by a sales person.  We all know prior to showing up the intention of that sales person is to get you to buy the car.  So why is that we get turned off by car sales people when we know their intentions?  We have created this idea that they want to get us in a car for the most money they can.  What if the intention is to help you find the best car for you?  Wouldn’t you appreciate the help?

 

I bought a new car in the past year.  I had a great experience.  The sales person was up front with me and said regardless of the price he would get paid the same.  He told me his intent was is to get me in a car I liked.   I prefer to drive manual so I was limited to more of a basic model, so he was limited to selling me the base model.   I was more work for this man than someone that was buying a car with all the options.  My car was less expensive but had to be special ordered.  I truly felt that the salesperson wanted to see me happy with my car, and he clearly stated “if I make you happy you will refer people.”  He’s right I will and I did.  I even turned down a deal from another dealer that was cheaper because I felt more comfortable with my sales person.  He was upfront and I felt like I would deal with little problems down the road if I needed something.

 

When you call on someone for business you have an intention.  Is it your goal to sell them a service that you perceive they need?  Is it your goal to save them money with your service?  Is it your goal to make their business more efficient?  Or is your goal as simple as finding out about their business so you can see if there is a fit for a business relationship?

 

If you know you have the right intentions the person you are speaking to will also see your intentions are genuine.

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