Monday, June 30, 2008
The Quality of Thoughtfulness
The ability to think and plan strategically is perhaps the most important single skill of the effective executive. In a longitudinal study of leaders who, in retrospect, made the best and most effective decisions, the single quality that stood out from all others was the quality of "thoughtfulness."
Thoughtfulness may be defined as a careful concern for the secondary consequences of each decision and each action. This is the essence of strategic thinking.
Your Most Powerful Tool
The most powerful tool that you as an executive have to bring to bear on your work is your mind - your thinking ability. Everything you do that sharpens and hones your ability to think with greater clarity before acting, will benefit you and help you to move upward and onward more rapidly in your career.
Use a Two Pronged Approach
The best way to approach strategic thinking is two pronged. This means to work simultaneously on the personal and the corporate.
Increase Your "Return On Energy"
In personal terms, strategic planning is an exercise in increasing "return on energy." Your greatest single asset is your earning ability. And your earning ability is nothing more than the total of the mental, emotional and physical energies that you can apply toward getting valuable results for yourself and your company.
Anything that you can do to increase your return on energy invested will increase your overall levels of effectiveness and contribution in every area of your life, especially, and most importantly in your work.
Here are two things you can do immediately to increase your return on equity and your return on energy.
First, think about everything that you are doing in terms of its financial return to your organization. What are the things that you do that yield the highest return on equity? Whatever they are, do more of them.
Second, think in personal terms about the things you do that give you the highest return on energy. Where do you contribute the greatest value and achieve the greatest satisfaction? Whatever they are, do more of these things.
You can also lose your current clients with this one simple thing. Not only will it cause your clients to stop using your services but they will definitely not refer anyone to you. That is the power of this one simple thing.
This one simple thing is not keeping your word. It's saying you'll do something and then not doing it. Just suppose you say to a potential client, "I will send you that additional information tomorrow." Then tomorrow comes and goes and you get really busy and you don't send it until the day after. No big deal, you think to yourself as it's only one day late and it's not going to make a big difference. Yes, it probably does not make a difference to the potential client whether they get it tomorrow or the day after. However, if you don't do it when you said you would do it, it will make a HUGE difference to what the client thinks of you.
What do you think a potential client would think of you if you said you would do something, no matter how minor, and you did not do it? They could possibly think:
This person is unreliable. I can't trust them.
This person lacks integrity: their word is not their word.
I can't trust this person to do what they say they will do.
If they are not keeping their word on these simple things, can I trust what they are saying about their service?
If this is how they treat me before I become a client, then how will they treat me if I become a client?
I am obviously not that important to them.
Just suppose a current client calls you with a problem and you promise to call them back with a solution later that day. You get busy on another project and forget to call them. What do you think they might say to themselves about you? They could possibly say:
This person is unreliable and lacks integrity.
Now that I am a client, they obviously care less about me.
I am not going to buy any more services if this is how I'll be treated.
Is there someone else I can find to do this for me who is reliable?
I am definitely not going to refer anyone to them and risk my reputation.
So keeping your word is important not only for gaining new clients but also in keeping your current clients and gaining referrals.
Keeping your word is also important for how you think about you. If you don't keep your word, you take a hit on your own confidence and self-esteem. You start to lose trust in yourself. This impacts all areas of your business and personal life.
When you have said you will do something by a certain date and something comes up preventing you from doing it, simply communicate and renegotiate as soon as possible. Communicate with the client, apologize, and get their confirmation that it is okay if you now complete it by date "x" instead.
Starting today, I urge you to honor your word with everyone no matter how small or apparently insignificant what you have committed to appears to be. Then start to observe how clients react and how you feel. Client attraction will be just one of the rewards. Let me know how you go.
Companies and governments issue bonds to fund their day-to-day operations or to finance specific projects. When you buy a bond, you are loaning your money for a certain period of time to the issuer, be it General Electric or Uncle Sam. In return, bond holders get back the loan amount plus interest payments.
2. Stocks do not always outperform bonds.
It is only in the post-World War II era that stocks so widely outpaced bonds in the total-return derby. Stock and bond returns were about even from about 1870 to 1940. And, of course, bonds were well in front in 2000, 2001 and 2002 before stocks once again took charge in 2003 and 2004.
3. You can lose money in bonds.
Bonds are not turbo-charged CDs. Though their life span and interest payments are fixed -- thus the term "fixed-income" investments -- their returns are not.
4. Bond prices move in the opposite direction of interest rates.
When interest rates fall, bond prices rise, and vice versa. If you hold a bond to maturity, price fluctuations don't matter. You will get back the original face value of the bond, along with all the interest you expect.
5. A bond and a bond mutual fund are totally different animals.
With a bond, you always get your interest and principal at maturity, assuming the issuer doesn't go belly up. With a bond fund, your return is uncertain because the fund's value fluctuates.
6. Don't invest all your retirement money in bonds.
Inflation erodes the value of bonds' fixed interest payments. Stock returns, by contrast, stand a better chance of outpacing inflation. Despite the drubbing stocks sometimes take, young and middle-aged people should put a large chunk of their money in stocks. Even retirees should own some stocks, given that people are living longer than they used to.
7. Consider tax-free bonds.
Tax-exempt municipal bonds yield less than taxable bonds, but they can still be the better choice for taxable accounts. That's because tax-frees sometimes net you more income than you'd get from taxable bonds after taxes, provided you're in the 28 percent federal tax bracket or higher.
8. Pay attention to total return, not just yield.
Returns are a slippery matter in the bond world. A broker may sell you a bond that is paying a "coupon" - or interest rate - of 6 percent. If interest rates rise, however, and the price of the bond falls by, say, 2 percent, its total return for the first year - 6 percent in income less a 2 percent capital loss - would be only 4 percent.
9. If you want capital gains, go long.
When interest rates are high, gamblers who want to bet that they'll head lower should buy long-term bonds or bond funds, especially "zeros." Reason: when rates fall, longer-term bonds gain more in price than shorter-term bonds. So you win big - scoring a large potential capital gain in addition to whatever interest the bond may be paying. If rates rise, on the other hand, you lose big, too.
10. If you want steady income, stick with short to medium terms.
Investors looking for income should invest in a laddered portfolio of short- and intermediate-term bonds. For more on laddered portfolios, see our "Sizing up risks."
As a holistic health practitioner, I'm a big fan of getting right to the heart of the matter. So the first thing I do when I meet with a new client who is ready to begin their quest for personal development is to ask them if they have a legacy.
What exactly does that mean?
Most of us have some sense of the meaning of the term "legacy." The common use of this word is backward looking.
Take this question: "What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind?" In this case, a legacy is something like the achievements we're known for when we're gone. But this backward looking sense of a legacy is just a small part of what I'm after when I talk to clients about their legacy. After all, we're not planning for their funeral here!
The reason why I use the word "legacy" is that it focuses our attention on the whole picture and purpose of our lives. It's fantastic to have career goals, financial goals, or relationship goals, but oftentimes we tend to ignore the other aspects of our lives in favor of pursuing those particular achievements. This imbalance inevitably slows down our growth and frequently results in all sorts of health problems.
True personal development requires a holistic approach, one in which you've set out the ideal picture of your life and developed a goal structure that supports the achievement of that total life goal. Because a legacy just is your complete life's goal, having one is a crucial step in taking a holistic approach to personal development.
So one fantastic benefit to having a legacy is that it can help you to create and organize goals. It provides you with the ideal toward which all your efforts in life are directed. But having a well thought-out legacy offers so much more. As with any other project, there will always be distractions while you are working on yourself. We have habits to overcome, patterns of procrastination, people who need our time and energy, and so forth. The power of a legacy is that it can provide a very powerful tool to conquer those habits, steer clear of the procrastination, and to meet the needs of those around us without getting diverted.
In fact, the reason why these diversions can have such a pull on us is that we don't have any particular force guiding us in a direction that we truly want to go. But when your day is built around your legacy, those distractions become impotent. The short-term pleasures that procrastination offers pale in comparison to the potential of your legacy, and as long as you stick to your goals, you're always one day closer to realizing that dream.
Of course, the extent to which your legacy will help you to create and organize your goals and boost your motivation is going to depend upon how much detail you give to the picture of your ideal life. This picture of your legacy often develops over a long period of time, but you can get a decent handle on it by thinking about the following lifestyle components:
1) People. What kind of people do you value, feel comfortable with, get excited about spending time with?
2) Passion. What is it about life that enlivens you and fills you with energy?
3) Purpose. What is it that brings meaning to your life or gives you a sense of fulfillment?
4) Responsibilities. What kinds of responsibilities are you comfortable handling in your life, whether they be personal, professional, or spiritual?
5) Career. What manifestation of your abilities, purpose, and passion would best fulfill your career needs?
6) Values. Your values are your needs and desires, ranging from your most basic physical needs to those that dictate your relationships with your friends, loved ones, co-workers, and the environment at large. What are your values?
This list here certainly isn't exhaustive, but it's a good start. Not only will it help you to fill out the picture of your career, but the relationships you develop with yourself and your loved ones. At the C.H.E.K Institute and in my PPS Success Mastery Program we get into much greater detail as we help our clients find and create their legacies on a daily basis.
Because this picture you're developing is your life's goal, I recommend, just as with any goal, that you write it down. Or, if you are artistically driven, you can draw it, paint it, sculpt it, or make it physical in whatever way works best for you. However you do it, don't allow your legacy to remain just an idea! Your legacy will be much more motivating when you can look it in the face each and every day.
Knowing that you have a purpose and that you are living your purpose every day is a wonderful thing. It makes me spring out of bed each morning, energized and excited! How many people do you know that look forward to their day, every day, in that way? So take the time to map out your legacy today. You'll be giving yourself a path to personal development with a purpose, and that's a path to success!
About the Author:
Paul Chek is an internationally renowned holistic health practitioner, consultant to some of the world's most elite athletes and business professionals, and founder of PPS Success and the C.H.E.K Institute. His workshops and seminars have helped thousands of people from all walks of life to go after and reach their fullest potential.
By Dr Ken Onu
Ladies and Gentlemen. Are you looking for happiness?
Dr Ken Onu is the CEO and founder of Attract Freedom. An organization with the sole purpose of empowering others to personal and financial freedom. An Ophthalmologist by profession, he is a keen speaker, communicator, entrepreneur and an aspiring author.Free personal development sessions =>http://www.kenonu.com
Sunday, June 29, 2008
The first thing people buy is a solution to a problem.
People buy a service only because they believe it will solve certain problems and give them certain results. They are not buying the "how" of a service. Your service is simply the "how" you do it. Your service is the tool or method you use to solve problems and deliver results.
Do you buy a hammer because you just want a hammer? Do you buy a car because you just want a car? Do you go to the dentist because you happen to feel like being drilled? These examples show you that you are buying a solution to a problem; you are buying a result. You would not buy a hammer, a car or go to the dentist unless they all solved problems and delivered results.
Just suppose you focus on telling someone all about "how" your coaching and consulting service works and what it is. At the end of the conversation (if they are still listening), they will have a good understanding of your "how" but they'll be left wondering what problems you will solve for them and what results you will deliver.
If people do not know what problems you will solve for them and the results you will deliver, it is highly unlikely that they will buy your service. If however you focus on understanding their problems and the results they will get, you will be focussing on what people are buying and your chances of success will be dramatically increased.
The second thing people buy is YOU
Once someone has decided they have a problem they want solved, they then make a decision as to who will solve it for them. If you have focused the conversation on telling them all about your "how" and what your service is, they will feel that you are focussed on yourself and your needs. When the focus is on you, people get the sense that you have your own best interest at heart and don't really care about them. They will start to think you are simply trying to sell them something, and all sorts of sales resistance will surface.
If you have been focussing the conversation on understanding their problems, they will feel that you have their best interests at heart. They will start to trust you and open up to you. They will naturally decide you are the person to solve their problems (assuming of course there are problems to be solved, etc).
So in summary, don’t focus on selling your services. Instead, have conversations where you focus on understanding problems and then people will assume you know "how" to deliver results. The more you focus on understanding their problems, the more they will trust that you are the one they should be working with.
Bondholders are lenders to a government or company that issues the bond. Bondholders are entitled to a coupon payment, which can either be paid semi-annually (once every six months) or annually. When the bond matures, the investor will get back the full principal amount. For example, if you have purchased a 4% coupon bond with a principal value of $1000, you will receive $40 annually. At the end of 10 years, you will receive $1000.
Since bonds represent loans made by investors to a particular company, bondholders are effectively creditors. They have the right of claim to assets of that company should it go bankrupt. That's why they focus on the credit worthiness of the company, or the ability of the company to finance its interest, and payment of its assets.
If a company is borrowing only a small amount, and makes more than enough revenue to finance its loan obligations, then bond investors will feel more secure in lending money to these companies (see the example later in the article). Companies that have valuable assets have stronger credibility with bond investors. Investors will be more willing to lend such companies money at lower interest rates. They know that even if the company runs into financial trouble, it has assets that can be liquidated to pay bondholders.
Differences Between Bonds & Equities
In comparison, equity holders take on different risks. A bond often trades close to its nominal value. You will rarely find a bond selling at two times of its nominal value. In contrast, a stock can easily trade for more than two times of its book value. A company's equity often trades at multiple times its yearly earnings. A company can typically trade at more than 10 times Price Earnings (PE) ratio. The PE ratio is often used to value a company. It measures the market value of a company's equity over its earnings. Hence, the future earnings of the company will often have a direct impact on a profitable company's share price. Equity investors actually base the price of the equities they own on the cumulative future earnings of the company. And since few investors believe that company will close down in the next few years, they often price its stock at a multiple of its earnings.
Although equity holders are taking on greater risk, they can potentially get a greater profit when earnings rise. The value of the company's stock actually increases with earnings, since the cumulative earnings that a company can expect to receive for the next couple of years is higher. In addition, equity holders may also receive dividends if the company is performing well. However, for bondholders, when earnings take an upturn, the coupon and the principal amount to be paid to investors upon maturity remains the same. This actually means that bondholders are missing out on the capital gains and dividend payout that come with holding equity.
What if the company's projected earnings come down? This will affect equity owners directly but not necessarily the bondholder. As long as the company is still capable of financing its debt, the bondholder is indifferent to the fact that earnings has come down.
This goes to the root of why the value of equities will be so much more volatile than the value of bonds. As a company may go from making a loss in one year, to making a huge profit in the next, its stock price will go through large swings. That's because equity holders are constantly reassessing the value of the stock based on what they can now expect it to be worth in relation to its future earnings. Whereas for bondholders, the returns they can receive from the bonds coupon payments, is already fixed. Their primary concern is whether the company can repay its all its loan obligations. As such, variation in corporate earnings have a much smaller impact, unless the company's fundamentals fail to such an extent that its ability to repay its loans becomes uncertain.
An easy way to see this would be to use an actual example. If a company earns 100 million every year, and uses 10% of that to pay the interest on its bonds, what happens if its earnings drop to 50 million? In such a situation, it is still able to repay its interest comfortably. Furthermore, if the company has $1 billion worth of assets such as land, etc, then bond holders have a claim to those assets, should the company default. This helps to reduce the bondholders risk. But to a stock investor of that same company, a drop of 50% in that company's earnings is likely to be very bad news. This directly affects the value of the stock. Hence, the stock price may fall sharply.
Bonds As A Diversification Tool
Bonds are good alternatives for conservative investors and for investors who are aggressive and wish to diversify their risk. Unlike equities where price follows an irregular trend, bond prices usually trade around their principal value. The reason bond prices fluctuate at all is because the price of a bond depends on future coupon payments and current interest rates. If interest rates are higher, bond prices will decrease, and vice versa if interest rates go lower. There are mathematical formulas that can be used to explain this. But simply put, as interest rates increase, the opportunity cost of holding a bond at a fixed coupon rate actually increases. For example, when interest rates for fixed deposits go up, you are comparatively better-off putting your funds in a fixed deposit. In such an environment, bonds will get cheaper over time.
However, interest rate movements matter less if you intend to hold the bond to maturity (you will receive fixed coupon payments during the life of the bond, and the principal payment upon maturity). In comparison, equities offer much less certainty. The price will generally fluctuate in line with the market and the fundamentals of the company. If the corporate earnings forecast declines rapidly, then stock prices will fall too.
In Chart 1, we compare the return between bond funds and a global equity index. In order to represent bonds as an asset class we used a composite index that included returns from OCBC Savers Global Bond Fund and the Deutsche Lion Bond Fund. These funds are invested in global bonds and Singapore bonds respectively. To represent equities, we used the MSCI World Index. The chart illustrates that bonds are less volatile than equities. From the 2000 to 2002 period, investors who have consistently diversified in both asset classes, would have lost less during that period. At the same time, conservative investors would have been able to preserve their capital as well.
Since bonds are relatively stable investments with fixed current income payments, why do people hesitate to invest? The reason may be that when markets are rallying, investors tend to be overly optimistic about the future performance, ignoring the importance of diversification. Another reason is that whenever there's news about interest rates moving up, people will tend to think that it is not a good time to buy bonds or bond funds. Investors should take note it is always useful to use bonds or bond funds for diversification. This applies in both bull and bear markets. For conservative investors they can consider bonds or bond funds as a useful tool to earn stable returns.
Source: Fundsupermart Compilations
Chart 2 shows how three different portfolios with $10,000 fare over time. The first portfolio includes a 100% equity fund portfolio, the second portfolio includes 60% equity and 40% bond funds, and lastly the bond portfolio includes 100% bond funds. From this chart, we observe that when investors include bond funds in their portfolio, the portfolio is much less volatile than an equity only portfolio. Thus, for an aggressive investor, investing in bonds is an effective way to diversify risk.
If you compare portfolios that comprise bond and equity funds, you will find that the former is always less volatile. The fundamental reason behind this is that bond investors are effectively debt holders of the company and have a claim to the assets of the company when the company goes bankrupt. Equity-holders do not have this advantage. This actually means that investors take on less risk when they invest in bonds. In addition, the volatility of bond prices will decrease when the bond is closer to maturity. As bonds mature, the debt holder will get back the full amount of the principal. This is unlike equities when prices are volatile there is actually no guaranteed amount that an investor can get back.
During strong market rallies, investors usually go into equities and forget about the importance of diversifying during a period of market downturn. During a market downturn, some investors start to regret not diversifying earlier. Thus, the advice that we would like to give to investors is to make use of the stability of bonds to diversify their portfolio. That would actually mean including bonds or bond funds in an equity portfolio, even if markets are rallying.
What is Personality?
Personality is the particular habit of mind we use to avoid pain in our lives, and, therefore, to avoid being ourselves. As children we experienced painful feelings in our lives. We learned to adapt our natural behavior to survive and to deal with pain. Now, even though we’re grown-ups, we still live in that defensive attitude of mind, almost in a state of trance, or a self-program, unaware of the true reality of the moment. The more we know about ourselves now, the more we can free ourselves from a subconscious view of life. We do not change our basic personality type over our lifetime, but we can become more conscious of it, and moderate it.
The Nine Personality Types
There are nine basic personality types. Each of the nine types is one human way of dealing with the difficulties of life. We share some qualities from each type as human traits, but the motivation behind our behavior is what determines personality type. No one type is better than any other. Each of the nine types has a reason for doing what they do, which, when understood, brings compassion to our hearts for them. The nine basic personality types are the Perfectionist, The Pleaser, the Performer, the Special One, the Observer, the Safety-Seeker, the Enthusiast, the Boss and the Merger. The purpose of knowing our type ultimately is to help us on the path to freedom from the trance of habituated mind, to see who we really are and to experience reality without these filters.
Personality Type 1. The Perfectionist
In the childhood of the Perfectionists, there was a lot of criticism and judgment. To avoid criticism, they learned to make everything they did perfect. They learned the rules and stuck to them rigidly so that they would not be judged. They learned to delay their own fun in order to make sure they had done things right, so they would not be scolded.
If you want a job done well and thoroughly, give it to a Perfectionist. They are dependable and responsible, often going out of their way to do it right. There would be no mistakes in their lives if they had their way. Of course this is not possible, but Perfectionists try to accomplish this. They are organized ten times over. They delay any pleasure for themselves in order to make sure things are done right. They are very self-critical, worrying about what others may think of them. They expect others to do the same. They tend to resent people who aren’t trying as hard as they are. They also believe that other people want to have things perfect too, so they irritate them with unwelcome advice. As judgmental as they are, they judge themselves even more harshly, often setting impossibly high standards.
With personal growth, the Perfectionists can find that Life is already perfect as it is, the trees grow, the birds sing, without any effort or help from us. Their anger and self-criticism will be replaced with serenity, when they squelch their internal taskmaster and take time to focus on what is really important. Finally, they grow in the knowledge that they are OK as they are. They learn to include relationships and relaxation in their lives.
Personality Type 2. The Pleaser
The Pleasers need approval and recognition. In childhood, their needs were only met if they took care of their parent first. They learned to focus on taking care of others in order to survive themselves. This became a habitual way of acting in the world. The Pleaser projects an image of being helpful, in order to be seen as indispensable and to earn love. The Pleasers take pride in pleasing others, at jumping in before you have even asked. The relationship is what matters to them, and feelings are important in the service of this. Pleasers may force other people into the role of the needy and helpless, and assume they know what’s good for them.
Pleasers are usually well liked and appreciated. But even with their popularity, Pleasers need reassurance. The Pleasers appear to be selfless. But in fact they need others to reciprocate their attention and anticipate their needs. It is an unspoken contract. People can feel manipulated by the Pleaser, especially if they did not ask for the help. The Pleasers will get upset if they don’t get something in return, because they have done all this for you. Pleasers can resent it when they are asked for something because they feel they have already done so much for everyone. They sabotage themselves this way. Other people may love the attention a Pleaser gives, can become very dependent on them, and sometimes take advantage of them.
The Pleaser uses flattery to get attention and approval from others. The Pleaser takes pride in being indispensable to others. When Pleasers mature, they don’t feel the constant need to prove their value and they realize that they are not inexpendible. They will be brave enough to try being themselves, and to experience being loved for who they are.
Personality Type 3. The Performer
In the childhood of the Performers, they were noticed and loved mostly for what they did, not who they were. So they learned to focus outside of themselves on the next task to do to get attention and recognition. In order to be noticed in their family, they had to be the Best to gain approval, and they worked hard to accomplish this. The Performers do this by performing, accomplishing, succeeding, achieving goals, being number One, and being a workaholic.
Performers become goal oriented, efficient, productive, confident, optimistic, focused, tenacious, successful, and accomplished. Examples of Performers include Olympic athletes, corporate managers, sales reps and executive directors.
Performers did not get in touch with their own feelings, or find out who they even were, since no one else was interested. Instead, they learned to project an image of what their loved ones wanted to see. Performers don’t know who they really are behind their projected image, so it’s hard for them to relate to their authentic self. They can’t handle failure. In the extreme, they become vain, deceptive and even cutthroat in order to protect their image.
What helps a Performer grow? The Performers must first challenge their own false image. They must learn to tolerate mistakes and lack of accomplishment. They should accept the idea that people might like them for who they really are, if they are willing to be authentic. When you Performers realize you are good enough just as you are, you can be honest about yourself, and others will respond to this.
Personality Type 4. The Special One
In the childhood of the Special One, there is some kind of abandonment by a care-giving figure, even if it was not done intentionally. The child loses the person they are close to. So they long for that person to return, along with their love and approval. They look critically at themselves, wondering if there was something wrong with them that caused the loved one to leave. Emotionally they are grieving for what is lost. And they envy those around them who still have their loved ones.
Special Ones focus inward on themselves and their feelings. They feel they need to prove to the world that they are special in order to avoid being abandoned again. They often become artists, dancers, painters, singers, and poets to express the depth of their feeling in their art. The Special Ones’ ability to feel deeply also makes them able to sympathize and listen to others who are going through a difficult time.
They are often dramatic in their expression, drawing attention to themselves in order to reassure themselves of their value to others. Unable to believe they are good enough, they are convinced they have something wrong with them. They may cling emotionally to melancholy or depression.
As a Special One, you can grow by being present in the moment, to appreciate what you do have, without longing for what you think is missing. Melancholy and envy of others pulls you down, while your calm and originality can be your strength.
Personality Type 5. The Observer
In the childhood of the Observers, there was some kind of intrusion on their person, which they could not escape. For some it was parental intrusion. For others it was an outside intrusion, such as a long stay in the hospital for extended operations. The result was that the young Observers retreated into their mind, into a place where no one could reach them, where they still had some independence. Their mind became their place of refuge, their strength, their sense of safety. They saw the world as unsafe and people as demanding and intrusive. The Observers keep quietly to themselves. They are very private, tending to keep different parts of their lives separate. They usually can only take socializing for short periods of time, because they need time to be alone to process what might have happened when they were with other people. Their home is their refuge.
Observers have a strong intellectual life. They often have special areas of knowledge and hobbies. Other people may interpret their withdrawn nature as rejection, but withdrawal makes the Observers feel safe. They tend to keep things simple to avoid hassles in their lives. In spite of their usually simple and modest lifestyle, they will spare no expense when it comes to an area of interest and expertise, such as camera equipment, computers, bicycling, or stereo equipment. They are extremely cautious, and don’t like doing new things they know nothing about. They feel safer if they research whatever it is they are going to do. They believe that if something could possibly go wrong, it actually will.
Observers are able to develop and grow when they are able to let go of the security of their mental life, when they let themselves feel emotion, when they learn to experience their body. They work through their fear of calamities. They begin to see that avoiding intrusion makes their loved ones feel left out. They grow by sharing their knowledge and stepping away from their fear of involvement.
Personality Type 6. The Safety Seeker
In the childhood of the Safety Seeker, there was either abuse or danger. The young Safety Seekers became vigilant, watching for any signs of danger to protect themselves. Safety Seekers have issues of doubt, insecurity and anxiety. They develop a habit of scanning their environment for danger. They have a slight paranoia about life based on their childhood experience. They can be suspicious, jumpy, act impulsively to avoid danger, or suddenly attack others for assumed wrongs. They can also withdraw, freeze up, or avoid others for fear of conflict.
On the positive side, they are very loyal once they know they can trust you. They are great troubleshooters on any job because they can see what might go wrong. They are use their minds well and have a great ability to put imagination to work. They are fair and follow the rules because this creates safety for everyone. They are sensitive, responsible and dependable.
Although they have a vivid imagination and well-developed minds, they have self-doubt. They don’t trust their own ability to make decisions, to discriminate, and to choose the safe route. They avoid conflict and may be withdrawn, but, when afraid, will sometimes lash out angrily
Growth comes when they get reality checks from other people, develop faith in themselves and focus on the positive, confident in their ability, knowing that they can cope and trusting life. When this happens, they become courageous.
Personality type 7. The Enthusiast
In the childhood of the Enthusiast, there was some sort of emotional neglect, but not necessarily intentional neglect. The Enthusiasts became self sufficient in getting what they needed at a young age. Now, they look out for themselves because they don’t believe anyone else will. This causes an anxiety-driven personality.
Many Enthusiasts are not aware of the anxiety that drives them. Enthusiasts are charming and sound positive. But they avoid conflict rather than meet it. They are visionaries and idealists, able to see and imagine the big picture. They inspire others. They never give up when motivated, being positive and able to see all the options. They are lively, fun, and full of energy.
The problem is that the Enthusiasts live in the future, never resting or appreciating what they have. Anticipation becomes a drug to them. They avoid the unpleasant things in life, focusing on the next interesting thing in front of them. Their fear of not having what they need causes them to grab impulsively They don’t take time to make wise choices, whether choosing food, a relationship, or a house. They fill up their schedule with many things to do, causing them to change scheduling often, fearing that they will not be satisfied. Enthusiasts focus on the next experience rather than on their relationships, so they hurt other people.
In the extreme, Enthusiasts become gluttons, not craving quantity, but craving many interesting experiences to fill their void. They may obsess about the future, planning and re-planning. The Enthusiasts grow by being willing to endure anxiety or disappointment, to develop commitments, to trust that the world will give them what they need. This can be done through meditation, by simply listening to their anxiety. Not having to take any action can be excruciating at first for the Enthusiast. They begin to see the value and beauty of the small, things in life. Eventually the Enthusiasts can calm down, move more slowly, take time to smell the roses, and stop avoiding life.
Personality Type 8. The Boss
In childhood, the Bosses learned that power is all that matters. They learned how to control others to get what they wanted. They got attention by taking control. The Bosses act as if life is a battle. When in battle, one does not feel fear, because it will disable you, so you deny it. If you are in warrior mode, you cannot let anyone see that you are weak, because they will take advantage of it. You project an image of fearlessness, which you have to believe yourself, in order to go out and meet the dangerous world. You believe you are invincible and that you are always right. To build your self-confidence, you deny your own fear and vulnerability and you deny part of your self.
At the same time, Bosses care deeply for the people they are close to, feeling and acting protective of anyone in their sphere. They can be generous to a fault. Yet, at the same time, they don’t see how they run right over other’s needs. They are very intuitive, and often pick up on subtleties that others miss. They make excellent leaders in the right situation. They have a great gusto for life, and enjoy it immensely, sometimes to excess. They are very direct communicators if they want to be. However they don’t believe the rules apply to them.
Bosses are bigger than life, because it gives them more control. They believe if they don’t, someone else will take control of them. Bosses use anger as part of their ability to take control. They are the authority figure, the one in charge, and they want to keep the upper hand. Bosses often scare other people.
Unchecked, the Bosses can become vengeful, and punish those who are in their way. They believe they must be on guard to survive, and therefore they must punish anyone who gets in their way. They become lustful, when their excess gusto for life is unrestricted.
The evolved Bosses grow in maturity when their self-serving power is transformed into concern for others towards a higher purpose. They learn to trust Life. They learn to relax their control and enjoy the simple act of Being. Bosses can grow into humility and become courageous enough to admit their weaknesses. The mature Boss becomes a calm presence, able to be aware of other’s needs as well as their own.
Personality Type 9. The Merger
In childhood, the young Merger is often lost in the shuffle of the family, ignored somewhat, neglected a little and overlooked. No one asks them what they think or feel, so Mergers don’t learn how to connect with their feelings and needs. Often, what they do say is ignored, so they learn to not rock the boat, to not say what they want. They learn to keep things in harmony for the family. They learn to get what they want in indirect ways, passive aggressively. Their attention becomes focused outside of themselves, on their environment, on the whole, rather than on themselves as individuals.
Mergers are generally easy going, friendly, and well liked since they understand everyone’s point of view. They can make good mediators because they see all sides to an argument. They avoid conflict at all costs because it feels dangerous to them, out of harmony. They tend to merge with their environment because they don’t know their own inner world. As a result of this, Mergers have a scattered focus. It is hard for them to find a reason to pick one thing, because they are not in touch with their own internal choices. Mergers are easily distracted. It is hard for them to make a plan and stick to it without structure, lists, and deadlines to guide them. They tend to forget things easily because they are not naturally focused. They find it difficult to make decisions and easy to procrastinate, since all choices look equal to them. They may express anger passive aggressively because of this fear of conflict. It can take them a while to form an opinion. When they DO have an opinion, they can be very stubborn about it, since it was hard to come by. It is difficult for them to know how they feel about something. They are easily swayed one way or the other.
In the extreme, the Mergers find it impossible to take action. They may become slothful from inactivity. What helps Mergers grow? Mergers grow by focusing on their own feelings, needs, wants, and opinions. They learn methods to help them set priorities and stay organized. They come to understand that avoidance creates more problems as things pile up, and people get disappointed. Conflict resolution skills allow them to handle disagreements more successfully. Ultimately, the mature Mergers learn to be self-aware and centered in themselves.
My wish is that these personality studies help you understand yourself. I hope you have a very happy day.
Don't Sell Yourself Short
It's not what you have but what you do with what you have that will determine your success or failure. Abraham Maslow, the great psychologist said that the story of the human race is the story of people selling themselves short. He said people have a tendency to settle for far less from life than they are truly capable of. Many people are spinning their wheels in careers where they should be moving rapidly onward and upward. Here's how you can put your career on the fast track.
Choose Your Parents Carefully
Someone once said that the key to success was to choose your parents carefully. That may be partially true but it is even more important to choose your job or career with great care. The choice of a job or occupation for which you are ideally suited comes before anything else. If you try to work at something you don't enjoy or don't believe in, you'll never be happy, and you'll never be successful.
Be the Best At What You Do
Which leads us to the next point. If you want to reach the stars in your career, you have to become excellent at what you do. You have to pay any price, go any distance, spend any amount of time necessary to "be the best." Extraordinary rewards only go for extraordinary performance; average rewards for average performance; below average rewards, insecurity and failure for below average performance. And here's a vital key, you are being paid today exactly what you're worth - no more, no less. If you want to earn more, you must increase your worth, your value to others.
The Key to Motivation
The reason why choosing the right career, why doing what you love to do is so important, is because unless you really care about your work, you will never be motivated to persist at it until you become excellent. And until you become excellent at what you're doing, you can't move ahead.
The Key to Peak Performance
The antidote to these fears is the development of courage, character and self-esteem. The opposite of fear is actually love, self-love and self-respect. Acting with courage in a fearful situation is simply a technique that boosts our regard for ourselves to such a degree that our fears subside and lose their ability to effect our behavior and our decisions.
Here are two things you can do to be more successful in your career.
First, set high standards for yourself and recognize that anything that someone else has achieved, you can probably achieve as well. There are no limits.
Second, select one key skill area that is important in your job and resolve to become absolutely excellent in that area. Start today to get better and better.
By Maritza Parra
The Law of Attraction is a tool to help you guide your thoughts into a better feeling place by providing an understanding that your are an energetically vibrating being. Science has been telling us that we are all made up of energy, and that energy in the Universe is neither created nor destroyed. It's just changing in form. So, the condensed version of all this is that we are all one and we are all made up of this same vibrating energy. This has been an important lesson for me because when I see someone who would have made me angry or offended, I realize that I must have been vibrating in a certain place to attract that person into my life and I must have had some of that within me somewhere!
Training and speaking about the Applying the Principles of Self Empowerment is one of Maritza's passions. She leads several groups in San Antonio and is the co-founder of Our Law of Attraction Podcast mentioned during her interview with Oprah Winfrey for Oprah's XM radio Show, "Oprah & Friends: The Soul Series" in May 2007.
A Perspective of Tao Leadership
"I'm the Boss!"
Tekson Teo, BSc (Econ), MBA, DIC, London; is a writer and speaker specializes in Tao and self growth. He makes Tao easy to understand and use for achieving clear mind, effectiveness, leadership and health. He is well versed in Chinese and reads the original Tao literature including Lao Tzu and I Ching. www.tao-in-you.com.
By Kelly Robbins
Positioning your business to be self-sufficient
Author of Powerful Interviewing Techniques for Healthcare Marketers E-book, Kelly Robbins is an award winning copywriter and marketing coach/consultant. She also publishes The Healthcare Marketing Connection, a free e-zine on healthcare marketing tips. Contact Kelly to receive her free report, "5 Critical Mistakes Healthcare Marketers Make that Lose Sales and Plummet Profits" - info@AMarketingConnection.com or 303-460-0285.
By Judy Merrill
There are two things involved here: the thought and the action. In thought we often consider that our life is not what we want it to be. Perhaps it is time to consider: we can make it what we want it to be.
Judy Merrill is an accurate, experienced, Professional Spiritualist Medium, available for private readings, parties, corporate events in the GTA and Southern Ontario. As an ordained minister in Spiritualism her attention to the needs of her clients is paramount.
By Michael Beck
Product knowledge is important in selling insurance. Understanding how to uncover your prospect抯 needs and then determining which product will best address those needs is critical. But as we抳e heard before, people buy from people they like. People buy Benefits, not Features ?and they抮e more likely to believe in the benefits you offer when they like you, trust you, and can relate to you. A key to effective communications is understanding and applying your knowledge of the four social styles ?Analytical, Commander, Expressive, & Stabilizer (A.C.E.S.). In this article we抣l touch on each of the four styles, how they think and act, how to read your prospects to spot their style(s), and what to do once you know who you抮e talking to.
Written by Michael Beck, 揌ead Zookeeper?at www.ClientMonkey.com , a marketing strategies website dedicated to getting more clients, making more money, and having more fun! Receive a FREE program on recruiting & prospecting success at: www.PowerRecruitingandProspecting.com
By Barbara K. Giamanco
If you think of the proposal writing process as intimidating, daunting and time consuming, I want you to know that you are not alone. Daunting though it might be, you抳e got to learn to do it well, because writing proposals for almost every profession a key to securing business.
Talent Builders CEO Barbara Giamanco capped a corporate sales career at Microsoft, where she led and trained sales teams and coached sales executives, before establishing Talent Builders, Inc. in 2002. She has more than 25 years of experience in selling to enterprise, mid-market and retail accounts and knows what it抯 like to walk in the shoes of the sales person. During her career, her accounts have included American Express Worldwide, Motorola, Best Buy, Circuit City, Anheuser-Busch, Target, and Honeywell. Visit us on the web at www.talentbuildersinc.com
By Gail Solish
The expression "Thinking Outside The Box," has become a catch phrase in our busy world. Innovation and creativity generally comes from taking a different perspective, perhaps even going against the norm. The other end of the spectrum would be finding yourself in a rut, always doing or thinking in the same way. You may have some habits which have served you well, but perhaps they are habits which have created "1 channel" thinking for you. This is where you stay on the same channel to deal with all situations.
Gail Solish, provides Executive/Personal coaching to managers, directors and executives focused on workplace development and relationship management.
Claim your FR-EE e-course "Unleash Your Potential and Increase Productivity and Fulfillment" at www.ActualizeYourGoals.com
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Earlier this year, one of my clients conducted a customer satisfaction survey. The number one response was, “I want a knowledgeable salesperson helping me.” I asked my client how she was interpreting that response. She said that she thought it meant that more training was needed in the area of product knowledge.
I suggested that she study the surveys a bit more. The reason for this suggestion is that most salespeople can learn product knowledge on their own by studying and/or using the products. They can read a user’s manual. They can observe other salespeople selling the product or service. In other words, salespeople can learn product knowledge by themselves.
Most salespeople don’t need more product knowledge.
What most salespeople need is more knowledge about the prospect and his or her needs, issues, and challenges. If the salesperson took the time to uncover the true concerns of the prospect, he or she would know what features of the product to demonstrate. He or she could then communicate the value, advantages, and benefits that would most serve the prospect’s needs and solve his or her problems.
Salespeople who live off the “low hanging fruit” never seem to develop the skills necessary to uncover the true concerns of the prospect. These individuals aren’t skilled in identifying the specific needs of the prospect. These types of sales individuals just take the easy sales (hence, the low hanging fruit) and move on to the next tree. You can make a sale that way but you can’t build a profession that way. You must learn to probe for needs so that you can truly serve your prospects. You must learn to climb the tree so that you can satisfy more of the prospect’s needs. Once you have acquired those skills, you can better sell more of your products and services to meet more of the prospect’s needs.
This is referred to as “cross-selling” and/or “up-selling.” It is also referred to as “selling deep.” That is, selling deeply into the prospect’s true needs and wants. Yes, you have to meet their recognized needs, but you should also attempt to determine the deeper needs that the prospect may have. Oftentimes, the prospect has a need but has not yet realize it is a true need.
Let’s illustrate this with a health care industry example. A patient has an appointment with his physician. It’s his annual check-up. All the patient wants is a physical exam so he can get on with his day. The doctor asks a few probing questions and determines that there may be some concerns. The doctor then “goes deep” into the family history, recent illnesses, etc. Instead of just a visit, the doctor suggests a full work-up including stress test, blood work, and EKG. By going “deep” the doctor is better serving his patient’s needs.
You can use this in any industry. Retail salespeople understand this concept. A man walks into a clothing store searching for a tie. Some sales people would just sell the tie or attempt to sell additional ties. However, the experienced sales professional will sell deep by asking and listening, linking benefits to needs, and seeing the buyer’s side of things. The customer leaves with a new suit. Why? Because the sales professional asked enough questions to determine the true needs, issues, and challenges to “up-sell” the customer. Another example: A husband and wife need financial protection because they have just delivered their first child. A true sales professional will ask about all the financial needs of the couple. Insurance, disability, and college funds may be discussed because the salesperson probed for present day needs as well as future financial needs.
Here are three principles on cross-selling and up-selling. Remember, these principles only work if you do!
- Ask and listen. In its simplest form, selling is nothing more than asking and listening. Yes, it is not any more complicated than that. Keep it simple. Learn to take the attention off yourself and focus it where it belongs --- on the prospect. In order to determine additional needs, you must learn to be a skilled questioner. These questions should be high-gain and high-impact questions. That is, they should solicit the real needs of the prospect. You could ask, “If you could receive more productivity at a lower cost, would you buy from me?” However, a more powerful question is, “If you could receive more productivity at a lower cost, what is the benefit to you?” This second question will allow you to drill down deeper into the needs of the prospect. Perhaps there are additional needs that the prospect has not voiced to you yet. This question may identify the real benefits that the prospect is seeking.
- Link your products and services to the prospect’s challenges. This takes work. It also requires discipline. It is easy to move into your own “comfort zone” without any regard for the prospect’s “buying zone.” In order to move out of your comfort zone you must really focus on the needs of the prospect. You achieve this by asking the right questions to determine the deeper needs. You then communicate your solutions by linking to his or her personal benefits. By making your prospect’s life easier, increasing his or her personal effectiveness, and/or providing a path for individual recognition, you are linking to personal benefits. By doing so, you have a better chance of “up-selling” this prospect. Remember, your prospects desire what your products and services will do for them. They aren’t concerned about what your products do unless you can link what your products accomplish for him or her.
- Use the P-P-O-V Formula. This stands for “Prospect’s Point Of View.” In order to be successful in selling deep, you must focus on the other person and on his or her needs. By asking the right questions and by linking your solutions to his or her benefits, you have a better chance of understanding the PPOV. Don’t hesitate to ask “hard questions.” These may include questions such as:
“Once that need is met, what needs will you have in the future?”
“In addition to that concern, what other challenges are you facing?”
“What steps are in place for you to reach your future goals?”
It may be uncomfortable for you to ask those questions. However, the information you receive from those questions will allow you to better “cross-sell” or “up-sell” to the prospect’s needs.
Well, there you have it: three specific principles to assist you in selling deeper into the prospect’s needs. Remember, these principles only work if you do.
Now, go sell somebody something!