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Posts Tagged ‘Tips’

coffee breakThe blue dot keeps me on track and some of you know what I am referencing. I have tried all kinds of diets, but I finally dropped 25 pounds in a year on Weight Watchers on-line and have kept if off for two years. It is simple, all I have to do is get a blue dot every day.  And now, it would be easy to cancel and save the $19.95 per month but I might get comfortable and slowly see pounds creep up, so I get right back on the plan and work for my blue dot and it gets back on track.  The WW App acts as my weight management accountability partner.

Do you have an accountability partner? Someone you can share your day with, what went well, what worked, what did not work?  Someone to review a proposal with before you hit the send button?  Is there someone to brainstorm creative ways to keep in contact with your clients while they may be still on furlough? Find someone to partner with and will help hold you accountable to your goals.  I challenge you to find someone of “like mind” and set up a buddy system.

Nothing formal is required for your accountability sessions.  It could be text chats, phone calls here and there, virtual meetings, or getting a quick coffee together.  Together we are better is not a new slogan yet it really is true. Be sure you find someone who, like you is a leader and a life long learner. You become who you hang out with, so pick and choose wisely.

For additional sales improvement tips, check out our training options and keep checking this blog.  Happy selling!

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Look at your goal for this year. Divide that number by the number of months you have left in the year. Example, If my goal is $100,000 July to December in revenue, then I divide that by 5, I have to generate 20K per month.  Then, outline your prospecting list and identify where you might find this.

You can do so much more if you know and are tracking your ratios.  Consider call to close, proposal to business and you can in some businesses break it down to a daily goal based on the actual number of working days.  Be organized about your prospecting. In other words, Plan your work and then work your plan.

Get some systems in place!  I recommend you look at the calendars offered by Sales Activity Management at SalesActivityManagement.com.   While they market to the insurance industry, they have calendars for everyone. It was this firm that taught me the difference between a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, Timely) Goal and SAMMY Goals. But we all know, if the “why” is missing in SMART.  You will not reach the goal unless you also make your goals SAMMY (Specific, Actionable, Measurable, Motivational and Yours ) style!  If they are not your goals, they are simply an expectation people place on you.

Check back soon for more sales tips!

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There is a skill associated with persuasive selling that goes back to the times of Aristotle, Socrates, St. Augustine, Martin Luther King, and built into what the specific wording trial lawyer states to win over a jury. Those that are students of the skill are at the top 20 percent of revenue generation in their organization, generating 80% of the business. These people know there is no such thing as winging it when it comes to selling.

Yesterday, I heard a story of a gentleman who got into a sales opportunity. The position, in the medical field, was made to sound glamorous. He is up against a wall and simply hating the business, now hating sales and all his management is doing is telling him, “Get out there and do more”.  Why on earth would this organization even consider letting him waste good sales opportunities without giving him the skills he needs and set him up for success?

This reminds me of some multi-level marketing companies that tell me, we do not call our team “Salespeople.” Instead they are considered Independent Business Owners and the organization brings in leadership training and get them listening to Leadership gurus. Do not get me wrong – if you are going to build a team, you have to lead.  How can they be successful if they cannot sell people on the opportunity?

I am always wary of the call, “I am starting a new business, I want your advice” as so often that is the hook for the bait and switch. Yes, I am a magnet and an ideal prospect for multi-level marketing. Please know, I support multi-level marketing, I refer people for products and careers to those that might be a fit for the individual, my point is simply, we have to give people the skill of moving to the next best activity in the process and the sale will come when the time and the fit is right!

Use this time to sharpen your sales skills.  Reading articles, case studies, and my book (see giveaway in previous post) is a start. To Sell is Human by Dan Pink is another great one.  Three Value Conversations (multiple authors) really helps you with the large account sale.  Do not forget the old classics like The Greatest Salesman in the World and Think and Grow Rich.

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PuzzleBlink and before you know it, I is a new month. I went from puzzles, baking and cooking while slipping in a few hours of work here and there maintaining contact with friends and clients to waking up with a packed schedule. As we approach July, traffic is beginning to form during rush hours, restaurants are getting full; business is coming back to life.  Now, with that said, is my business all income generating? No. It’s the result of harvesting a few hours a day through the shutdown and now having those business talks, writing proposals, demonstrating new seminars for free and more.

The point here is, whether you are ready or not, the time is here to prepare to make your quotas, not lower them in the final quarter. If you are an entrepreneur or in sales, it is time to get ready because you cannot afford to miss one opportunity.

In the next few posts, I will provide details on these three tips for winning every sales opportunity:

  1. There is no such thing as winging it.
  2. Meeting quotas requires planning.
  3. Accountability is your friend.

For a free e-copy of my book The Sales Messenger, contact me immediately, as I am giving them away for a limited time only.

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Telecommuting Remote Worker Working from home and telecommuting has a whole new meaning today.  Leaders need to be aware of the issues their employees face when working alone.  These issues are more than which technologies are the best to use.  There are feelings of isolation and loss in belonging to a group or a purpose.  Below are ten tips for leadership to prevent feelings of isolation in your workforce that is working remotely from home or others locations.

10 Tips for Preventing Isolation for Your Remote Workforce:

  1. Set Them Up for Remote Success.  While you may have sent your employee home with a laptop, camera and microphone, some people are more hesitant of new technologies. Have some “dry runs” or create a fun interaction and let the team members play with the tools.  Take the lead with your IT Department or application provider and get some tips and tricks for keeping information safe.  Show them how to: access/store documents on your secure server or cloud storage for shared or team documents.  Encourage them to reach out to team members using text, chat, instant message, phone, or electronic meeting tools for communication.   Leverage some of the many tools and technologies that are available like the various forms of virtual meeting for sharing ideas.
  1. Communicate with your Remote Employees on a Regular Basis.  You can simply call or email team members, but if you are looking to maintain engagement, take the time to do web-based video sessions. It is only a couple of extra steps to have one-on-one individual meetings or virtual meetings for your intact team members.  Encourage all your team members to make the extra effort to connect by phone and video. Working remotely can be quite isolating and all team members need to feel part of something.  Real-time phone and video captures what the chat, IM and texting cannot. Even the most extreme introverts will begin to feel isolated an lonely without the human interactions for too long.
  1. Manage with Realistic Goals and Timelines.  Being extra specific on what your expectations and timelines are will pay off in a big way for all involved. Be sure you agree on how to “urgent” items and provide true deadlines with milestones to reach along the way.  Consider color coding tasks and priorities assigned to reflect those things you need now versus later. The more they understand the expectations of tasks and timelines, the more successful they will be at meeting them. You need to realize that many have their hands full with the challenges of managing a family and a job.
  1. Provide Performance Coaching and Feedback.  While we are all busy scrambling to get our business in order along with managing competing priorities, do not forget to regularly coach your employees and give them constant feedback. This means employees need clear expectations. Find out what is keeping them from meeting their targets and see how you can provide guidance or resources to help them.  If providing critical feedback, be sure they are in a place to actively listen without others overhearing or interruptions. When it comes to your employees meeting targets, use PTC when they: exceed them – Praise them, meet them – Thank them sincerely, miss them – Coach them on their performance.
  1. Create Opportunities for Team Engagement.  As the team’s leader, you need to schedule time for you and your team members to connect with each other. Even though they are not physically seeing each other every day, there is no reason you cannot create a feeling of comradery. Consider doing a short lunch and learn, or a team building activity or even a group break using a virtual platform. Let them have a forum to share what is making them smile and also their challenges and fears. Some organizations are doing virtual events like: interactive happy hours, virtual cooking classes, and Everything DiSC learning sessions.   You might consider seeing if you could find a local charity or outreach to sponsor.
  1. Be Results-Focused – No Micro-Managing.  Assuming you have communicated expectations clearly, then the focus can shift to looking for accomplishments and results. Being overly concerned about every task being done and how every hour of the day is spent will make everyone more than a little crazy. Trust them to do what is needed to achieve the goals and if they are not, then a different conversation can take place. It is a new world and you will see many have to manage tasks on their own timeline, meaning, they may be having to spend more time with children in the day, but will give you a 150% in the evening or early morning.
  1. Strategically Communicate with the Individual.  While you lead and manage your remote team members, create a strategy and guidelines for when and how you will connect with them for reports, updates, etc. Remember, your team members have different communication styles and preferences. Adapt to their style as much as possible for the best results.
  1. Encourage Stepping up to the Plate.  As a leader, it is important to ask team members who are in a position to help, to step up to the plate to help their fellow co-workers who are struggling to manage family issues at home while trying to work.  Challenges will arise for your remote employees, so fell free to ask team members, who may not have as much personal responsibility, to reach out to co-workers and see if there are any tasks they can take off their plate to relieve stress and reduce feeling of isolation.
  1. Provide Management Consistency.  Although as a leader may want to let the employee decide how to work, you might provide guidelines as to use of company technology for personal use, work-time policy, and confidentiality.  Your HR department or consultant can provide you some best practices that you could share. This will avoid confusion between team members who have their own ideas as to what they should and should not be doing while working remotely.  Some may need time management tips for telecommuting as well as the technology training.
  1. Support Their Needs, Professional and Personal.  When we work in a physical space daily, we get to know those on the team beyond a professional level. We learn about their families, personal values and beliefs, as well as their own personal history. Take the time to be intentional about deepening the relationships you have with your employees as well, to help create a sense of belonging and community for them.  Simply said, make them feel valued by checking in on them.  Be prepared, many will have more on their plate than you knew, listen – really listen.  If necessary, give them the guidance or the employee assistance they may need.

Using the ten tips make it easier for leaders help their employees overcome the feeling of isolation when working alone at home or other remote locations.  Knowing that their leadership cares, about both the professional and personal issues of telecommuting, will encourage a sense of belonging and instill more purpose into their work done from home.

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Lunch & Learn, Learn at Lunch

Lunch and Learn Topic Ideas

A Lunch and Learn is an easy way to encourage continuous leaning in your organization. These short informational sessions can provide quick training opportunities for your staff.  If you are thinking about adding Lunch & Learns to the list of educational options you offer in-house, consider the 10 questions below to get ideas for possible training topics.

  1. Have your teams been trained, yet still seemed to fall short in some areas of team-building and collaboration?
  2. Do you already have topics you would like to introduce to the team?
  3. Is it important to reinforce your company values and business ethic policies?
  4. What new products or additional services could you introduce to sales and service staff?  
  5. Is there a new management strategy you want to educate staff on and gain buy-in for?
  6. Did you do a big training event last year that you should do quick refresher for on one or more key components?
  7. Is there a new technology tool in the company that several people need a basic introduction to instead of actual hands-on training? 
  8. Are there advanced topics your technical staff members can learn as small snippets of information?
  9. Does your leadership team want to learn new skills, however they do not feel they have the time to go to long training workshops?
  10. Are your employees feeling stressed or burnt out and in need of solutions?

If you answered yes to any of the above, then a lunch and learn session may be the answer to getting the training out there quickly.  With all the new virtual meeting options out there, you can include remote attendees as well.  Just be sure you test the presentation and technology options before the lunch and learn starts.

For more tips on delivering Lunch & Learn training, see Learn At Lunch: A Great Team, Sales, and Management Training Option.

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I have been reminded time and time again; that an obstruction in our view can hurt us and more importantly it may hurt others.  This hit home when a distracted driver drove straight into our two-day-old car this December, missing my door by an inch and totaling it.  I am reminded of this type of blind spot every time I hear someone complain about: their bad manager, their incapable employee, or that they did not get the promotion they deserved.  While distracted driving causes auto accidents, those drivers do not wake up in the morning saying “I am going to go out and cause an accident today.” Nor do most preoccupied managers intend on hurting their employees.

You see, we all have our blind spots. A blind spot can be detrimental but because it is blocked from site, we do not see what others can see that is sitting right in front of us. We may never fully realize the pain we are causing others by lack of clarity of our own shortcomings.  Studies keep revealing employee engagement lingers at about 33%. Bringing the blind spot into a clear view takes effort.  By not trying to see what our own blind spot is we go around (without a clue) repeating behaviors that are inflicting pain and even damage to co-workers every day and even on ourselves.

I challenge you to have the courage in the coming year to identify your blind spot, the thing that may be holding you back from: moving into that next position, hitting your next big goal, or making it a better workplace for those around you. How can you do this?  Below are five Quick Tips for Identifying your Blind Spots.

5 tips for identifying your blind spots

  1. Ask people who will tell you what you need to hear, not just what you want to hear.
  2. Get a 360 Feedback process that gives you concrete strategies for self – improvement.
  3. Learn to accept feedback – maybe you are hearing it, but are you really listening?
  4. Identify patterns and trends in working relationships – you might find that the common theme has a finger pointing back to you.
  5. Hire a coach or find an accountability partner, someone who can help you see it and then be aware when it may be impacting you or your work relationships.

Clarity allows for clear vision and alignment in your life.  Seeing the whole picture will open new doors and increase employee engagement in your work-space.

You can find our scheduled training events on our website.  If you need other training or coaching to help you achieve your new goals, please let us know if we can help.

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Every sales representative occasionally feels like they may have missed a sale because they did not close the sale.  If this happens, remember it does not mean you no longer have a chance. You see, the term “Kill them with Kindness “ has its place in sales. Keep the communication lines open and continue to move the conversation forward to create a great customer experience with your company and yourself.

By moving a conversation forward, even if you don’t get the deal, you might:

  • Keep a customer you were at risk of losing
  • Get missing personal information so you can market to them later
  • Generate a referral for future business clients
  • Create positive conversation about your company
  • Plant a seed in the prospect’s mind for a future sale

 

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For many entrepreneurs making the sale or closing the deal can be intimidating and at times seem like an impossible task. We want to show confidence in our product, services and abilities, but we do not want to be the “always pitching”, “cheesy”, “salesy” person that we have all had the unfortunate experience of dealing with from time to time.  In my experience, the most effective way to make the sale is to drop the “sales” attitude and be authentic. My posture towards potential clients is not that I sell products and services, it is that I solve problems and know how to meet their needs. When you can explain the benefits, the sale happens naturally.

Here are four simple tips to keep in mind as you adjust your sales attitude for the upcoming year.

  1. Dust off the telephone and start making calls. Social media and other modern technology tools are highly effective ways to prospect, promote, and advertise.  The telephone is still the most powerful tool in your kit. Prospects today receive fewer calls than ever before, which is why utilizing the telephone in the right way will catapult your sales.  So planning your calls ahead of time is a must! Set aside enough time to get into a rhythm and make sure that your conversations do not seem rushed. Know your objective and make clear the purpose of your call. One of the most common mistakes people make is by trying to contact their prospects between the hours of 9:00am and 5:00pm. It is better to call them earlier or later than the traditional office hours. Most of the important prospects are frequently in the office early and stay late, so you have a better chance of catching them and avoiding the “gatekeepers” of you call before 8:30am or after 5:30pm.
  2. You do not have to stick to the script. While it is great to have a script to keep yourself on track and make sure you cover the main talking points, sticking to the script can do more harm than good if it is generic and sounds just like everyone else’s sales pitch. Make sure that your script is client focused and that you are only referencing it for key information.
  3. Focus on their need. The majority of clients and prospects care less about what your product or service is and more about how it solves their problems and alleviates frustrations. Ask your prospects what challenges they are facing and really listen to their response. Follow up with questions that require more than a simple yes or no answer. Then offer solutions by explaining how your product or service will benefit them, meet their need or solve their problem. When you know their needs, you can focus on them. People do not buy products, they invest in solutions.
  4. Close with choices. Rather than asking them “Is that something you are interested in?” or “Does that sound good to you?” – give your prospect a few choices. For example, when I am presenting a DiSC Workshop to a team, I ask if they would prefer a half day or a whole day or training. Or I ask if they would prefer meeting on-site or scheduling something off-site. I am much more likely to seal the deal using this approach, because in a subtle way, they have already committed.

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Teamwork DiSCIn the last post, we covered the first two team building tips on culture and communication.  Below are final three team management tips related to trust, accountability, and recognition.

Tip #3 – Build trust among team members. Success will always be limited if trust is lacking. The job of a good team leader is to cultivate a safe environment, where members feel comfortable being open and honest with the group about their weaknesses, fears and limitations.  Teambuilding activities can be incredibly effective.

The idea of activities has gotten somewhat of a bad rap, because most people hear “team-building exercise” and immediately assume they are going to be crammed in a room, thrown in an awkward and unrealistic scenario, and asked to share their deepest fear with a group of people they are forced to spend the afternoon with. However, when these exercises are done correctly and in a healthy environment, the positive results are astonishing. We have successfully been helping teams build vulnerability based trust using our program, The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team, based on Patrick Lencioni’s best-selling book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.

Tip #4 – Encourage accountability. In addition to frequently checking in with your team, give them permission to check-in among themselves and hold each other accountable. This can only work when concrete expectations and timelines are set. Not only will this reinforce communication and trust between team members, it will also help to avoid pitfalls, remove obstacles and assure constant progress. This seems to be one of the most difficult tasks and when issues and timelines are not addressed, it later becomes a personal issue.  There are a lot of activities that can help team members practice accountability, including have everyone go around the room and share what they believe is their strength and their weakness as it relates to the team. Then, let the peers share their candid feedback.

Tip #5 – Recognize achievements and give sincere praise. It is a widely known fact that when you positively reinforce a desired behavior, a person is far more likely to continue repeating that behavior. Leading your team from a posture of praise for good outcomes, achievements and behaviors is far more effective than teaching them to fear negative consequences. They will feel valued by you and strive to exceed expectations. A few tips to ensure your comments are perceived as sincere. Never make a statement of praise, thanks or appreciation unless you can tell them why. Try dropping hand-written notes to your co-workers and team members.

When we ask, in many of our training sessions, if anyone has received a hand-written note from a co-worker or a boss to raise their hand, we follow it up with the question, “where is that note now?” Only about 3 in 300 have ever said they do not know or they threw it away. The rest of them say they, treasure the notes and keep them in a safe or visible place. By taking just a few moments of your time to acknowledge a person on your team and show them how much you appreciate the job they do, you will not only make their day but also reinforce the desired behavior.

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