Posts Tagged ‘Attitude’

Manners still matter!  Be aware of your manners, whether at a restaurant, the golf course, or sporting event. A relaxed atmosphere is not an excuse for lax manners. After all, it is not the first impression that matters; it is maintaining a favorable one throughout the life of the relationship.  With respect to Julie Andrews, just a spoon full of manners helps the message go down in the most delightful way!

“The way we do anything is the way we do everything.” – Martha Beck

No matter how well you know a client, they are always observing you.  If they were raised with dining etiquette and you grab the wrong fork, they notice. If you curse, they notice. If you drink too much, they notice. Formalities or lack thereof may not bite you the first time, eventually it will catch up with you. It may even impact your reputation within your own firm.

Ruthie Bolton said, “If you take in life just a few principles, you won’t have to carry around a suitcase full of rules.”  With that in mind, below are five simple etiquette principles for sales professionals.

  1. Respect their time. People do not have time for visitors. My clients share the overwhelming amount of emails and meetings they have on a daily basis. Keep small talk to a minimum. Thank them for their time and transition quickly to the business at hand by stating the purpose for your meeting or phone call. An appointment without a purpose is simply a visit in disguise. Every appointment should have a clear objective, even if it does not lead to a closed deal. Show up on time, every time.
  1. Listen and be engaged! When you start conversations, and listen to what people are telling you, it will catapult your business. We live in a world where people are more connected than ever before, yet they are starving for a real connection to someone and something! They need to feel valued, important and that you are genuinely interested in them.  Listen to understand instead of listening to respond. To do that, you must forget about yourself and your product completely.
  1. Bring positive energy with you! Be in control of the energy and atmosphere in every room you enter. Little things matter and are noticed, even if it is subconsciously. You dictate the kind of experience people have with you! This starts at your very first interaction. The way you dress, your handshake, eye contact and even your smile matters. Be genuine and authentic. Be bold; speak a little louder and speak clearly. When you are enthusiastic, people want to be a part of what you offer. Your image and attitude are going to be the things people associate with your business, your brand and your product.
  1. Watch your Words! Sometimes the oldest principles are still the best principles. If you don’t have anything nice to say, the polite thing to do is to say nothing. You should never speak negatively about another company, business or person. By knocking the competition, you may be insulting their past decisions and even worse, your organization and the competition may one day merge! Talking about people versus issues is simply gossip.
  1. Give recognition and appreciation. With any form of business etiquette, personalize the process by being specific to the person and situation. Express sincere gratitude and appreciation for their efforts. Give heartfelt praise for accomplishments, big and small. Celebrating achievements encourages repetitive action. Never tell the what without the why! Saying thank you for your business is an easy amenity. Telling them why you are thankful conveys sincerity in appreciation. Don’t be afraid to break out the postcards and hand written notes – in a world of emails and texts these really standout!

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meetingOne of the greatest complaints from corporate executives about attending professional networking events is they feel like a target for hungry sales people and job seekers.  One client of mine will not divulge her title and avoids sharing her company name at all costs.  I invited another client to a meeting and they shared with me they received six sales calls the next day, thus to say, they never came back again.    Below are ten best practices for networking, becoming known for what you know, and having your target prospects see you as a valued resource.

10 Best Practices for Network Meetings

  1. Reciprocity is the rule. If the group is one that hosts your typical prospects, get involved and serve.  Remember, give and you shall receive – it works as simple as that. The difference is, it means you have to give your time and energy versus making a quick call to someone who you see as your prospect.  You will meet people in a servant role versus your sales role.
  2. People Watch. Look out for newcomers or introverts.  Introduce yourself to them and others.  Next meeting, they … you got it, will look for you!
  3. Connect through meaningful introductions. Become a connector and when you introduce any two people, create a little 10 second introductory commercial that states a claim about the person. As an example I was introduced recently in a networking setting as “This is Mary Anne, I describe her as the glue that holds the world together”.  She then had a nice statement about the person I was being introduced to.
  4. Do not interrupt two or more parties. If you want to join a conversation, stand behind and find a nice time or place to interject then reach out and make an introduction.
  5. Forget about yourself completely. Ask open ended questions about them, their interests and business.  You can certainly state your 30-second commercial  when asked what you do.  Be sure it is compelling.  As much as possible, keep the conversation on your prospect.
  6. People will lose your card. Networking is not about handing out cards.  I rarely carry them.   I do however ask people for cards and follow up with a signed note and my business card.
  7. Offer value versus follow up. If you learned about their interests, take notes promptly so you do not forget.  Then, instead of calling to “follow up”, send them something they might find of value including information that matches the interests or business they mentioned during your conversation.
  8. Practice networking. If you are introverted, and networking is difficult for you. Make it a point to only meet two or three people.   Twenty or more years ago, I walked into an international meeting for trainers (ATD).  Although an extrovert, I was nervous; my background is sales, these were trainers.  I was a Bostonian, these were Texans.   I got my drink (yes, they served drinks back then), and I hovered in a corner, looking for what to do next. Two women walked up to me, shook my hand and I remained friends with them for many years and am still active in that association.  They later told me, they were “practicing networking.” If they did not introduce themselves, I may not have made it back to the next meeting.
  9. Ask before you spam. Do not add people to your mailing list without their permission.  If you do, they may look at your email promotions and newsletters as spam versus the valuable content it really is.
  10. Use “by the way…” prospecting. If you do all of the above, serve with your heart, make connections to help people; you will know when the time is right to say, “By the way, could I share a bit about our business”. Or to say “By the way, I would like to have a coffee, learn more about what you do, share what I do and see if there is any way to assist one another.”  Going for the appointment without the relationship, more often than not, is a turn off.

Happy Networking!

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2016 has already started with or without you!  Blink, the holidays over!

I actually experienced a nice vacation in NYC enjoying Rockefeller Center and all the other wonderful things “The City” has to offer and then a few days of pure rest in Oklahoma closing 2015 and entering into 2016.    No computer, no work and it felt good.    A week later back to work and whether I like it or not, this year is moving with or without me.  I realized yesterday, I had not taken the time during that time-off to reflect on what I had accomplished nor write any new goals for the New Year.   This is the time of year I usually take stock of where I am and where I want to be.  As Yogi Berra said “If you don’t know where you are going, you may never get there.” 

goalDEFSitting in a Bible study hosted by a legend, Mr. Garry Kinder of Kinder Brothers International, it reminded me to take time to put my dreams and goals for my life and the New Year in writing and keep them in front of me.   While I take the topic of goal setting for granted due to growing up in the life insurance industry, I realized how many people do not have any formal process nor recognize the importance of taking the time to write the goals and action plans down on paper, for no other reason than they have not been shown how.  So here are a few great tips that Garry Kinder reminded me of along with a few tips that work of me.

  1. Know what your Chief Aim is in Life – Dream and Dream Big. To paraphrase Daniel Burnham, “there is nothing in the small dream that stirs the blood.”
  2. Goals are what help you meet your dream and goals are set to be met. Set goals for various aspects of your life including:  Business and Professional, Educational, Physical, Financial, Personal including family and hobbies, and don’t forget Spiritual.
  3. Tom Landry was the first to promote setting two goals, your superior goal and your minimum. Your minimum is the accomplishment that no matter what gets in the way, except an act of God, you will meet.  Let me repeat, goals are set to be met!
  4. Break your goals down into daily “do-ables” and put an action plan in place to get thing done.
  5. Monitor and measure where you are on a weekly basis and make adjustments along the way.
  6. And as my husband says, “GOYA” – Get Off Your Anatomy. Or as Nike says, “Just Do It”.  You can talk about your dreams all day and wake up mid-life to have others realize, “they are just a dreamer” rather than a success.   Garry Kinder, God bless him in his 80’s stated, “You can’t coach people who live in la-la land.”
  7. And the greatest Garry Kinder statement that I walked away with after the goal setting talk was, “Compete, but don’t compare.” Compete, work to accomplish your goals, financial and otherwise, but do not compare yourself to others.  Competition is good; comparing can hurt us and others.

To learn more about goal setting for sales results, chapter one of my book, The Sales Messenger: 10 Lessons for Sales Success in Your Business and Personal Lives is all about setting sales goals and how to accomplish them.    Invest in yourself; hire a business coach, a sales coach, personal trainer or anyone else who can help you in this process.

Dream big, set goals, and develop a plan.  Make 2016 your best year ever!


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Check out this 1.5 minute video by Dwight Lacey on what employee engagement is.

Areas in which engagement impacts business results
1. Increases productivity
2. Improves customer loyalty
3. Increases employee retention
4. Reduces absenteeism
5. Reduces wokplace accidents

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Coach:  The first and primary definition that shows up is a means of transporting a passenger or an item from one place to another.   That’s the role of a coach, to take a sales rep’s performance and transport them to places they have never been.   The most legendary coach, Tom Landry did just that in the sport of football.  He ran a tight ship and then got people to perform on individual merit to their individual best and taking it one step further, collectively getting these top performers, many with egos to “Play in the sandbox together”.

How did he do this?   Let’s look back a bit in time.  I watched the movie MoneyBall, a true story about the game of baseball. Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane’s successful attempt to assemble a baseball team on a lean budget by employing computer-generated analysis to acquire new players.  What the computer looked at was the players “stats”.  Through the stats they could see if the individual had the competency to do the job.    This not only changed how we sought out professional players in all industry’s it literally changed the game of coaching.   All professional sports even including auto racing, monitor the numbers, interpret them and develop the plan and skills needed from them.  You see, the numbers tell a story.

To be successful in coaching there are 3 things that have to be in place first: competency, attitude and skill

  • Competency:  We often hire sales people because they look good, smell good, have a great handshake and have a “personality”.   While these attributes are nice, they cannot determine if the individual has the necessary competencies to be successful in your type of sales role.   It’s like we are trying to send ducks to eagle school when many should not have been chosen for the role.
  •  Attitude:  I don’t just mean a positive attitude.  What’s their attitude towards doing what it takes to be successful?  Willing to be humbled, coached.  Tom Landry passed by choosing many superstars because of their ego wouldn’t fit well in a sport that needed teamwork…
  • Skill:  This is the difference between training and coaching. Training is the foundation.   I am not talking about product training or on boarding. Do they have the professional communication skills? 55% of all communication is from non – verbal and yet, rarely in training sessions do I have people who know the basic buying signs (or not buying) that are displayed via nonverbal ques.   We hire people who can talk, yet, the one of the greatest attributes of a great sales rep is the skill of listening. Do you have listening skills as a topic in your curriculum?  Most companies teach presentation skills (i.e.” what the rep puts out”).  How many of us teach them how to take it in (i.e. “actively listen”)?

It doesn’t end with training; instead it is where coaching should come in.  A good coach monitor and measures what matters and interprets the numbers.

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Before uncovering the secret formula, ask yourself these 3 questions and consider your answers:

  • Competency – Are your Sales Representatives experienced amateurs or true sales professionals?
  • Attitude – Why is it selling is the most rewarding profession in the world, yet we still bring up our kids to be Doctors, Lawyers and Indian Chiefs?
  • Skills – Non-verbal communication represents 55% of communication, therefore, why is it most Sales Reps do not recognize buying or non-buying language?

At Peak Performance Solutions, we believe 3 factors are the formula for success.  These factors must be aligned to create a successful sales force that have a sales process that guarantees success.  The 3 factors for success were somewhat revealed in the questions above, these are: competency, attitude, and skills.

Sales success begins with Competency.  Do you have the right person in the right seat? Our competency based assessments allow you to peel the onion, and look at the layers behind the “handshake” and see if the person is fit to adapt to your particular sales process.   To do this well, leverage the power of the Self-Management Group’s hiring and coaching assessment.

If they have the competency, do they have the Attitude to do what it takes to form the habits of success? In other words, you can have someone with talent who chooses not to develop it.  Our in-depth planning model helps a sales rep focus on the key result areas and “keep the main thing, the main thing”. We proactively help sales reps forecast their sales and identify to the dollar what they have to do to meet their goals as well as adjust and adapt along the way.

Skills are where the good sales rep becomes a great one. Our sales training focuses on the tactical skills of communication that can be used in any aspect of life. There are no gimmicks in selling.  We teach fundamental, basic laws of communication and build it around the 5 steps to the sales cycle.

Our 5 step process that works for most sales includes:

  1. Attention:  Get the prospect to like you, so they will listen to you.
  2. Interest:  Identify prospects interest, while being interesting, so they will say, “Tell me more”.
  3. Conviction: or Presentation and be prepared to answer the 4 questions every prospect asks in the buying process.
  4. Desire:   A simple summary wrapping up all your facts and benefits eliminating confusion and the “I want to think about it” objection.
  5. Close:  Asking for a decision only when they are ready to buy.

Prospecting, Time Management, DiSC buying and selling styles, and managing objections are part of each step and these must be mastered as well.

Sales Success Secret Formula = Competency + Attitude + Skills

If all three are present, then a master can coach their sales staff to success.    Although a manager can manage the habits, it takes a true master of selling and communication to be an effective coach. Someone who can read the story the activity numbers tell and then improve performance by practicing drill for skill and allowing the rep to form good habits that fit their style.

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What is it that winners do, that also ran’s do not do?

What separates the good from the great?

Why is that skill, talent and ability is not always enough?

Skills, talents and abilities are the can do, i.e. the inherent.

Attitude is the will do.

We have seen great talented people, settle for less, simply, they were not willing to do what it takes to be successful.  We have seen people with a strong will; succeed, despite adversity or even lacking in the natural talents and skills.

So, how do you get and maintain winning attitude in a world that is filled with negative messages and media?  Five keys are presented below from the book The Sales Messenger 

Feed your mind like you would your body.  Put in good, positive music and messages while driving, walking or jogging.  (such as Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill; The Richest Man in Babylon, by George Clason; or The Psychology of Winning by Denis Waitley).  .

Keep up on your industry.  If you do not, you’ll be stale and not be able to keep up with the competition.   I have seen too many people who are stuck in the land of “this is how we do it,” or “this is how we have always done it”.  The world is changing and you can change with it or be left behind.

Set aside time each day for self-improvement.  Invest time in yourself which means you might have to give up a TV show, playing Words with Friends.  Spend time working on your dreams versus watching others achieve theirs!

Know the difference between a vision and a goal.  Have a vision for your life and set goals in all areas such as financial, spiritual, education, physical and business that are obtainable and get your to the person you really want to be.

Hang around with winners.   Yes, people who do something better than you. Learn from them.  As the late great Charlie “Tremendous” Jones said.  You will be the same person in 5 years as you are today, except the people you meet and the books you read”.    Yes, hang around with winners in life and know that you will be amazed what that “can do” influence will have on your future.

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