Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Lessons Learned Again

This is why there is a President's Club. You just cannot get all the lessons there are to learn in 8 weeks, it takes a lifetime of learning.

Today I saw lots of "aha moments" for people. Our clients are out in the trenches trying this new approach and guess what, it's working. Some are struggling with how to make it work better, others are feeling uncomfortable because it is not how they have been wired and others are just in the sponge mode, taking it all in. That's what it is all about. Every week we get back together to see what's working, what's not and why.

President's Club, when it is all said and done, is a place to come and debrief, rest and learn some more. The best way to learn is to try and then take a look at what you just did and get some feedback. It's great to have a safe place to come to and say, "Hey this feels uncomfortable, how can I make it work better." And then suddenly find the answer for yourself right in the room.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Sharpen the Saw

One of the habits that Covey talks about is "Sharpen the Saw" which means hone your skills and stay on top of your game. One of the ways I do that is by participating in a local Toastmaster's Group. We meet the 2nd and 4th Tuesday evening of the month. What is great about our club is that we all get turns to grow in different roles. One day you might be speaking or actually running the meeting. You also could be evaluating a speech or helping give candidates impromptu speaking opportunities.

  • For me Toastmaster's has given me confidence to speak to groups or one on one with a client.
  • It helps me think on my feet. You never know what is around the corner and I like to feel like I can handle any situation as it arises.
  • I provides me with the tools I need to learn how to prepare a presentation that falls within the timelines proscribed and how to get my point across in a way that people will understand.
  • It has taught me leadership through the various roles I have performed. I was just elected President of our club and will start in that role in July.
  • It is also a great place to meet like-minded people who might be able to do business with you.

No matter where you are in life, this might be a good tool for you to help you sharpen your saw.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

I Love Tuesdays

It's Tuesday and that means it's Quick Start and President's Club. I always feel re-energized after I go to one or the other and sometimes both, depending on my schedule. No matter how many times I go through it, I hear something new and different. I might have been said before, I just wasn't ready. Or maybe it is something new.

The beauty of the system is that we learn from each other. David Sandler discusses on one of his tapes that clients want to know that you have walked in their shoes or moccasin's before they will trust you with their pain. The truth is that we don't always have an opportunity to have those same exact experiences, but at the trainings someone else might have and we can learn. Their stories can be our stories, if we really internalize and learn the lesson.

So even though today was a rainy, dreary day, I knew the sunshine would be there waiting for me. For it is through the group we grow and build each other up.

Friday, May 20, 2005

When Partners Don't Speak the Same Language

Well, not actual language, but are they talking on two different channels. I just talked to someone who is frustrated because a person she's involved with on a project is a "Generalist," talks in concepts and does not give details. She commented on how their constituents are going to want and expect the details. The partner on the other hand feels that if they give too much information they will overwhelm their constituents which will leave them confused and unhappy. He wants to open dialogue and get them thinking.

Interesting that I just came from the seminar that Ed gave on Magical People Skills. Based on the information I gleaned from this seminar, I see this as a difference of styles with one being Macro and the other being Micro. The truth is they are both right. Some people will be overwhelmed by a detailed presentation and others will feel cheated by a presentation with concepts and no implementation strategies. And the truth also is that some will be thrilled with both.

It's great to have these skills. It is clear the more you know about people, how they behave and why, the better you will be able to communicate with them in a way that will allow you to gain better understanding.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Help Others and They will Help You

I think it is Zig Ziglar who always says, "If you help enough people get what they want, they will help you get what you want." There is some truth to that. I have found my most effective prospecting tool and relationship building tool is help connect people. Over the years I have had the opportunity to get to know many people in our local business community. Often I am in a position to give a referral to someone. I have found that over the years, but just listening and keeping my antenna up, I am able to connect people who might not have met otherwise. I have also found that those same people are very grateful and have been in a position to do the same for me.

So when you are out meeting people at a networking event, like a Chamber BAH (Business After Hours), keep your antenna up. You might just be able to help someone else and at the same time be in a position to be helped yourself.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Why a System?

I went to a great meeting today hosted by the Women's Network of York. The presenter was Louis Lavetan and he represents FranChoice. He gave an extremely detailed and interesting presentation on how to choose a franchise, and how to determine if a franchise is right for you. What I liked best was that he broke it down into simple steps. There were 8 key points and he gave great insights into how to work the system. What really struck me about his presentation was that fact that he took something that is very important - the decision to buy and start a business and broke down the decision step into a "step by step process".

One of the things we talk about at our training is the fact that what we offer is a proven system that works. You can look at any sales call that you have ever been to and debrief it to see where in the system you might have failed. Was there good Bonding and Rapport? Did you get enough pain? It is a great way to learn and grow. In fact, we tend to work with a lot of engineers and technical people because they love having a blueprint to something that seemed like smoke and mirrors.

Lou actually gave the following reason for a system, and I wanted to share it with you. When it comes to starting a business and/or buying a franchise, his system helps you:


We talk about pain in our world, and the system (Submarine) is a great cure for sales misery.

Friday, May 13, 2005

“Do you think you could close this sale?”

A friend of mine went into a local electronic store to purchase a big screen TV. She had the money and was ready to buy. Her son was in karate and had a limited amount of time to spend on the purchase and she has a short buying cycle. She found the TV that she wanted and it was $2,000. She found a sales person to help her and gave him a credit card. As David Sandler would say, “Do you think you could close this sale?”

As I mentioned before, she was short on time, which she communicated to the sales associate. Instead of processing her order, he insisted in trying to sell her more complimentary products that would work well with the TV, she had chosen. Guess what happened? He lost the whole sale. He had her money in his hand and lost the sale. My friend said she needed to leave and would have to buy a TV another time.

I am sure the person never even knew he lost the opportunity. My friend walked away angry and said she will never go to this story again. In addition, she decided she really did not need a TV that badly so she kept her money to spend another day.

The moral of the story is “Sell Today, Educate Tomorrow.”

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

It's not too late to go back

At a recent meeting, one of our clients shared a story that I found encouraging and inspirational. He is a young salesperson who is really learning the system. He was working with a client he knows well. In the course of their conversation they asked for a ball park figure for a new server (they sell computer solutions). He made the comment that he just put a similar one in another client's office for $4,000. They said great, get us one. When this young buck went back to the office he found out the real solution was going to cost more like $9,000. He was not sure what to do next. After sharing his story with our group, we encouraged him to go back and fall on the sword.

The following week he came back to our meeting. He was sitting on the edge of his seat. You could see he could not wait to tell us how the appointment went. He shared with us that he went back to his client and told them he made a mistake and needed to talk with them. When this event was all said and done he not only got $9,000 for the server they set aside $10,000 for maintenance cost. He behaved when it was tough and it paid off. So what did he learn:

  • He figured out that he has "money" issues and that his clients don't mind spending money for a good solution.
  • He was vulnerable and teachable and was able to really learn from this experience and through that teach to the group.
  • The group worked as a team to problem solve and further demonstrate that if you fall on your sword, you will be rescued.
  • He learned not all customers are the same, not all solutions are the same and he needs to slow down to speed up.
  • He learned there is more to learn and is back at our latest QuickStart and is focused on learning the effective use of Up Front Contracts.

I see a lot of growth in him and know that in a year or two, if he continues on this path, he will be an amazing professional salesperson.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Focus Grasshopper

I recently found out through an assessment, well I already knew, that I have trouble concentrating. I can loose my focus. It probably comes from being a multi-tasker who always has had to juggle many jobs at once. So I am working on improving my concentration skills. In my quest to gain this skill, I turned to my library. I revisited the book The Power of Focus by Cranfield, Hansen and Hewitt. It is an easy read, and I am enjoying it thoroughly. It states a formula for success that they likened to a Blueprint which I thought was helpful. I am a visual, and I could see the Blueprint. Simply stated: B-ALERT:

Blueprint: My strategic plan for the day. Priorities, appointments, projects. Review the night before or early in the morning.

Action: Concentrate on the most important activities that will move you towards accomplishing your sixty-day goals.

Learning: Expand you knowledge through reading, cassettes, video, mentors, courses.

Exercise: Re-energize for thirty minutes.

Relaxation: Eliminate daily stress. Nap, meditate, listen to music, family time.

Think: Take time to reflect on the day. Review goals, visualize, develop new ideas, use a journal.

This was helpful to me as I work on improving my concentration skills and creating an environment that will be conducive to achieving my goals.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

The Morning After

As I sit here with my second cup of coffee, and try to focus my brain, I think about how the Expo went. I, of course, enjoyed myself immensely. I am clearly in my element there. But was it productive. Having fun and making it an effective use of my time are two different things.

  • I re-established connections with some former clients and paved the way for a future contact.
  • I met four new people that I would call suspects (one who really needs our training) and might be in need of our services.
  • I behaved and have set a course of action for future behavior.

Overall, yes it was a good use of my time. Today on my behavior plan I am going to make some calls and do some follow-up and rest a little. I am tired but energized.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

I love this stuff . . .

I know this sounds strange, but I love Expos. I feel like I am in my environment. I just spent two hours walking and talking, it just doesn't get any better than that. However, tomorrow I hope to spend less time talking and more time listening. Tonight was the social event, and it was fun. The meat and potatoes will happen tomorrow in the quiet lulls of the day. I cannot wait. Oh by the way, yes I got my coffee, it was terrific.

Expos are great places to reconnect with people and meet new people. I have set up some up front contracts with my contacts to meet them tomorrow and walk around and introduce each other. It will be a great day.

The key will be the follow up after. I have already set aside Thursday morning for follow-up including calls and appointments if it makes sense.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Network, Network, Network

I know the three most important words in our vocabulary are Nurture, Nurture, Nurture. Yet, today my focus is on Networking. This week is the York County Chamber of Commerce's Business Expo. It happens to be their 25th year doing this and as always, it will be an awesome event. So as I plan my behavioral plan for the week, I am focused on meeting new friends, catching up with old ones and being available for my clients at the Expo.

I have been participating in the Expo since 1993, and I haven't missed a year. My plan is always the same, stop off at K&K Coffee to see Dirk and get a cup of coffee. Then start my day of networking.

What is important about working an Expo:

  • Bring lots of cards, but only give out if you feel there is a fit,
  • Get lots of cards, and ask lots of questions,
  • Don't expect to close there, but create an opportunity to follow-up utilizing your up front contracts
  • Follow-up, follow-up and more follow-up

See you at the Expo.