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“Bob Burg is the greatest teacher of networking in the world ”

~ John Milton Fogg, author, The Greatest Networker in the World

Archive for the ‘Success’ Category

The Immense Importance of Follow-Up

Sunday, May 3rd, 2015

follow-upRecently I was a guest along with leadership authority, Jon Gordon on an EntreLeadership® Podcast. The host, Ken Coleman first briefly chatted with InfusionSoft CEO & Co-Founder, Clate Mask, asking why he believes follow-up is so critical to the sales process.

Paraphrasing just a bit here, Clate replied:

“People buy when they’re ready to buy, not when the salesperson is ready to sell. It’s all timing. So, if we’re not staying in front of the prospect in a polite, educational, friendly way; if we’re not there when the prospect is ready to buy, we’re not going to be there for the sale. We can either be there when they’re ready to buy or leave it to chance.”

I certainly agree with that. Follow-up — or, as I like to call it, follow-through — is often the difference-maker because it respects the buying cycle of the customer.

“But” one might ask, “what if the product you sell typically sells in one appointment?”

That’s fine. So, where might follow-through come into play?

Perhaps it was the follow-through that allowed you to set that appointment in the first place. They weren’t ready to meet with you until their need or desire for whatever you sell was strong enough. And, even after the sale, keeping in touch on a consistent, value-based manner is what keeps you on your customer’s mind for referrals and introductions.

So, however you choose to follow up, be sure it is a regular part of your business model. As Clate says, so often it really does come down to timing…the customer’s timing!

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Decide…Before You Decide

Friday, April 24th, 2015

Be Bold and Win the Sale by Jeff Shore“You/I/We are all addicted…to comfort.”

According to sales authority and author of Be Bold and Win the Sale: Get Out of Your Comfort Zone And Boost Your Performance, Jeff Shore, this tendency is the driving force behind every behavior that keeps us stuck in our own status quo. It’s the malady that keeps us from reaching our potential in all areas of life, including sales.

He believes the remedy for this is boldness. And, he sees this as much more of a skill than a characteristic; one that can be “honed and perfected.”

The outcome, according to Shore, “Is to give you renewed vitality and increased confidence in your ability to face every sales challenge and to produce amazing results.”

He defines Boldness as: “Taking action to do the right thing, despite the fear and discomfort.”

Of course, by “bold” he does not mean pushy, slick, or manipulative. It’s much more about believing in yourself and the value you bring to others through taking the correct action…even when that correct action is outside your present comfort zone.

As he explains, it’s a “‘humble boldness’, a mental paradigm that suggests boldness is something to be exercised in the best interests of others. Humility and boldness are two traits that work together quite nicely.”

And, “winning the sale” means you both win; especially your customer.

Plan In Advance

One of the many excellent and helpful tips he provides is understanding the “decision before the decision.” Essentially, this means that — just as an athlete trains their muscles to respond automatically to the task at hand — we retrain our brain to automatically respond to a normally uncomfortable situation in a way that we’ll make the correct decision rather than the emotionally more comfortable but incorrect one.

To put it simply, you would move the decision-making process from:

  1. Discomfort
  2. Decison
  3. Action

to…

  1. Decison
  2. Discomfort
  3. Action

Picture scenarios regarding the uncomfortable situations you often face. Even feel what it feels like. Decide what the correct action is and that the next time it occurs you will do it. Shore suggests making up a new and positive story. In other words, imagine it playing out in the perfect way. Now, feel exactly what it will feel like as it does. And, go through this scenario again and again and again.

You’ve now created the context for bold and definitive action when the actual event occurs.

When the decision is already made in advance (and that is key) you won’t have to think; you’ll just take the correct action. That’s not to say it’s easy. it takes commitment and practice.

However, to paraphrase the author, you are now identifying those small Moments of Discomfort and reprogramming your auto-responses.

Give it a shot. No, actually commit to doing so, and to doing what it takes to master this.

And, if I may suggest, purchase his book. Above was merely the tip of the iceberg. The entire book was filled with helpful, comfort-zone expanding wisdom.

One more thing: while this book was not so much about “how to sell” but rather how to get past your own limitations in order to be able to sell, the final section happens to contain some of the very best sales teaching I’ve ever read!

Solving Their Biggest Problem

Friday, April 17th, 2015

Lean In - Sheryl SandbergIt makes sense, doesn’t it? Those who solve the biggest problems provide the biggest value and — as a result — earn the highest incomes.

In her bestselling book, Lean In, Facebook Chief Operating Officer, Sheryl Sandberg shares a wonderful story in this regard. Shortly after beginning at Facebook she was contacted by a woman named Lori Goler who was at that time a highly regarded executive at eBay. She told Sheryl:

“I want to apply to work with you at Facebook, so I thought about calling you and telling you all of the things I’m good at and all of the things I like to do. Then I figured that everyone was doing that. So instead, I want to ask you:

“What is your biggest problem, and how can I solve it?”

Sheryl was floored. As she related, in her career she’d hired thousands of people, “and no one had ever said anything remotely like that.”

In other words, Ms. Goler was asking how she could add value to the company; not how could the company add value to her.

Which question is most likely to get someone hired?

A while back we looked at the storied career of Kat Cole. Beginning as a restaurant hostess at age 17, she actively looked for ways to add value to the organization above and beyond what anyone asked and certainly way above and beyond what was expected. She was constantly solving problems and increasing her market value to the company.

At just 32 Kat was named CEO of Cinnabon and now, at age 35, she is CEO of Focus Brands, the company that owns Cinnabon and five other restaurant chains.

You needn’t be applying for a corporate job or be part of a big company in order to do this. Whether you are in sales, have a small company or…whatever you do, if you can seek ways to add value to people’s lives and businesses through solving their biggest problem(s), you are on your way to major, major business and life success!

What problems are you focused on solving in the marketplace?

Please feel free to share with us.

No ‘I’ In Team. Are You Sure?

Friday, April 10th, 2015

No 'I' in Team Bob BurgI’ve never quite agreed with the saying, “there is no ‘I’ in ‘team’.” Well, I agree with it literally since, indeed there is no letter “i” in that word. I also agree and feel very strongly that the individual needs to put the interests of the team before their own.

The way the saying is often intended, however, is where I take issue. Its meaning is that there are no individuals within a team. In my opinion, a team is nothing more than a group of individuals who’ve come together in order to achieve a common goal.

If these individuals are wise, they understand that only by putting the good of the team ahead of their own interests will the team win. This is of the greatest benefit to them as individuals. This holds true for everything from sports to family to business.

Vince Lombardi himself, the famed NFL multi-Super Bowl Champion Coach said:

“Individual commitment to a group effort — that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”

The very first word in the above quote is about the individual.

All too often, when brought in to speak at sales and leadership conferences, the client will tell me that one of their biggest challenges is the silos that have formed, causing separation, both of spirit and communication. Those in one department believe theirs is the lynchpin of the company and that — without them, the company could not possibly succeed.

And, they are correct!

Of course, the same can be said about pretty much every other department.

This attitude results in a lack of trust, a dearth of communication, and a company bottom line that is not nearly as healthy as it could be. When that happens, jobs tend to go and the salaries are not nearly as robust.

In other words, putting one’s own (in this case, department’s) interests ahead of the entire team’s — or company’s — is also detrimental to the interests of the individual.

Sports? Family? Business?

They all involve individuals as well as others. And, to the degree we put the good of the team ahead of ourselves, that’s the degree we all thrive.

So, want to be part of a winning team? Then be a team player. Put the good of the team ahead of yourself

But, there’s no need to lose your individuality in the process.

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Reverse Scorpions

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

scorpion and the frogMany are familiar with the story about the scorpion who asked the frog if he could hitch a ride on his back in order to cross the lake. Assuring the skeptical frog that he wouldn’t sting him because “if I did, I would also drown” the frog relented and agreed.

As you know, partway across the scorpion did sting him. “As the frog was dying and about to sink them both, he asked, “why would you sting me knowing that you’re now going to die, too?” The scorpion famously replied, “It’s just my nature.”

Aesop’s brief, well-known fable serves as a warning that people generally act according to their nature or…character.

Scorpions sting and kill because, that’s simply what scorpions do.

It’s about character, isn’t it? We do what we do because of who we ARE. If we are a liar, we tell lies. If we are honest, we tell the truth. If we are undisciplined, we break promises we’ve made to ourselves. If we are disciplined, we show self-control.

Back to the scorpion. We all know those human scorpions, don’t we? Perhaps this scorpion deals dishonesty in business. You can bet he or she also deals dishonestly in their private lives. I’ve seen very few exceptions to that principle. As T. Harv Eker says, “How you do anything is how you do everything.”

If you know this about him or her personally or by reputation, you probably won’t want to associate with them and you certainly won’t want to do business with them.

But, what about the reverse scorpion? The man or woman who is totally and completely honorable; who does as promised; who stands firm on principle; who makes their win about the wins of those they deal with?

This is the person whose character is so high and so honorable — and his or her reputation the same — that you totally and absolutely trust that person to do right by you and everyone else involved.

And, they do!

Why?

Because, that’s who they are? So it’s what they do.

It’s just their nature.