Thursday, July 31, 2008
How to set standards for excellence and back them with total integrity.
A Commitment to Excellence
Leaders have specific responsibilities and must fulfill certain requirements. One requirement of leadership is the ability to choose an area of excellence. Just as a good general chooses the terrain on which to do battle, an excellent leader chooses the area in which he and others are going to do an outstanding job. The commitment to excellence is one of the most powerful of all motivators. All leaders who change people and organizations are enthusiastic about achieving excellence in a particular area.
Be the Best!
The most motivational vision you can have for yourself and others is to "Be the best!" Many people don't yet realize that excellent performance in serving other people is an absolute, basic essential for survival in the economy of the future. Many individuals and companies still adhere to the idea that as long as they are no worse than anyone else, they can remain in business. That is just plain silly! It is prehistoric thinking. We are now in the age of excellence. Customers assume that they will get excellent quality, and if they don't, they will go to your competitors so fast, people's heads will spin.
Have A Vision of High Standards
As a leader, your job is to be excellent at what you do, to be the best in your chosen field of endeavor. Your job is to have a vision of high standards in serving people. You not only exemplify excellence in your own behavior, but you also translate it to others so that they, too, become committed to this vision.
This is the key to servant leadership. It is the commitment to doing work of the highest quality in the service of other people, both inside and outside the organization. Leadership today requires an equal focus on the people who must do the job, on the one hand, and the people who are expected to benefit from the job, on the other.
The Most Respected Quality
The second quality, which is perhaps the single most respected quality of leaders, is integrity. Integrity is complete, unflinching honesty with regard to everything that you say and do. Integrity underlies all the other qualities. Your measure of integrity is determined by how honest you are in the critical areas of your life.
Integrity means this: When someone asks you at the end of the day, "Did you do your very best?" you can look him in the eye and say, "Yes!" Integrity means this: When someone asks you if you could have done it better, you can honestly say, "No, I did everything I possibly could."
Integrity means that you, as a leader, admit your shortcomings. It means that you work to develop your strengths and compensate for your weaknesses. Integrity means that you tell the truth, and that you live the truth in everything that you do and in all your relationships. Integrity means that you deal straightforwardly with people and situations and that you do not compromise what you believe to be true.
Now, here are two things you can do immediately to put these ideas into action.
First, identify the area of your work where excellent performance can contribute the very most to productivity and profits. Focus all your efforts in this area.
Second, do your very best on every task. Imagine that everyone is watching even when no one is watching. Imagine that everyone in your company was going to do their work exactly the way you do yours.
With so many challenges facing nearly everyone, it becomes easier to tell ourselves that things are beyond our control. The stories our brain manufactures build and build, and before you know it, discouragement can settle in, blocking us from seeing a vision beyond the obstacles.
Whether we realize it or not, we’re always telling ourselves a story, in good times or bad. The investor who makes millions on the stock market’s worst day creates a story of success before he even begins to apply the skills of his trade. The middle manager who longs for a career in real estate—and does nothing about it—tells herself that there’s no point in trying because of the shaky market.
The only thing that keeps us from what we really want in life is the story we tell ourselves about why we can’t have it. Life will provide plenty of reasons to be fearful. What we need to do is learn how to play with fear. We can do this by taking a closer look at the stories we create in our minds.
Our stories become a filter for what we will experience. Regardless of what’s happening in our lives at the moment, we all weave narratives. We tell ourselves stories that explain where we’ve been and where we’re going; who we are and who we’re becoming.
It would be easy to presume that our life’s events dictate the stories that run our lives, but just like writers who make adjustments to their scripts, we can change our stories at any time, and we often do, for better or for worse. Sometimes these changes come from the external world—the stories that others tell about you that can either be true or false—or the stories that you selectively edit, tell others, and become a reflection of your identity in the world.
External stories can have a significant impact on how we play our roles, but it’s the internal story that affects us even more. Whatever you keep telling yourself is the real indicator on how you will respond to life’s various scenes, and thus how your life will unfold. Imagine what you can do when you toss that old story of fear or failure to the recycling bin, and really focus on creating the story you want to develop.
We must remember that we have the power to make choices along the way. Regardless of the subject, the real question isn’t where the story is coming from, or whether or not it’s even true. The real question is: What do you want to become? What story do you want to create for the future? It’s a decision we’re always making moment to moment.
Why continue replaying a story that produces fear and powerlessness when you—the writer, director, and producer of your life—can re-write the script at anytime? There’s no guarantee that you’ll get the Hollywood ending, but at the very least you can create new happenings for your character; new romance, new thrills, more action, more adventure; a conscious participant in the controlled chaos that is life.
by Chris Widener
A major part of the process of achieving success and living the kind of life that you dream of is to give. Many people think that to get what you want you have to take it. There is a universal truth though that the true path to get what you want is to give. When you give, you get. What you sow, you shall reap. If this is true, then what is it we must give? I'll show you the way...
Give Others Your Honesty.
The world we live in has a simple rule that most follow: Lie when you have to. Unfortunately, this may make some people wealthy but it makes us humans poor. To achieve success is to become wealthy not only in money, but in character. To be successful, truly successful, is to be able to attain your goals and keep your character at the same time!
"Honesty is the most single most important factor having a direct bearing on the final success of an individual, corporation, or product." Ed McMahon
Mister McMahon is right, though others will tell you otherwise. Some people will say, "You have to bend the truth to get ahead." Not true. Some of the most successful people who have ever lived where honest people. How about you? Are you honest in all things? The problem with little lies is they become big ones. Lies spin out of control. You get caught in one lie and you lie to get out of it etc. In all things and at all times, give others your honesty.
Give Others Your Respect.
Most of the time we give people respect based on what they have done or what they have accomplished. We gauge whether or not they are "worthy" of it based on what we know of what they have achieved or who they know or are related to.
But I believe we should have a higher standard: We respect people not for what they have done or for who they are related to or for what they can do for us. Instead, we respect people for simply being. What would happen in our world, in our company, and yes, even in our families if we started with respect for everyone else rather than making them earn it? I think we would see that most people would live up to the respect that we give them!
Give Others Your Vulnerability.
We are taught to "be strong." And yes, we should be strong. But we have also embraced something that I think keeps us from having the kind of life that we long for. It is an idea that keeps us from experiencing the kind of relationships that would bring deep meaning to us. It is the idea of vulnerability.
"But Chris, make yourself vulnerable and people will step all over you!" It is true that this will happen. But I have also seen that most people will be drawn to you. They will help you. They will open up to you. You see, we are all broken people inside. We all have secrets. Yet everyone plays the poser. When one let's down their veil, others soon follow - and we all win.
Give Others Your Care.
Too many people are running around this old earth not caring about others. The days of "Look Out for Number One" and "Winning Through Intimidation" are over! Let's bring about a new day when we can care about others AND succeed!
Take the time to show people you care. Listen to them. Empathize with them. Love them. Now, I don't mean that you have to go around hugging everyone - that probably wouldn't fly in corporate America anyway - but we can take some time to step back from business and be human! And I have found that when we do so, our business succeeds as well!
Give Others Your Passion.
There is nothing this world needs more than passionate people. And people need passionate people. Living in this day and age can be tiring. The hustle and bustle of it all can wear you down and tire you out. Give your passion to others and fire them up.
Don't just be humdrum - be excited. Give people all the energy you can muster up. And you will find that energy reciprocal. They will get energized and passionate. This in turn will fire you up more when you are already charged and get you going altogether when you don't feel like moving at all!
Give Others Your Experience.
We all have areas that we excel in and they are usually areas that we have experience in. One of the things we can do to make our lives more meaningful and be of utmost help to others is to show them the way through the experiences we have.
Sometimes it will be what they should do: Shortcuts to take, people to meet etc. Sometimes it will be what they should not do: Shortcuts not to take and people toasty away from! Whatever it is, we can be of service to others by giving them our experience and ultimately it will make us all better!
Give Others Your Help.
All in all, what we want to do is to help others. Zig Ziglar says that if we will "help others get what they want, we will in turn get what we want." If we want to be successful, we should consider ourselves servants of other people. What can we do to help them and make them better? This is the true path to greatness and success, not only in business but in life!
If you want to live the life you have always dreamed of ask yourself if you:
Give Others Your Honesty
Give Others Your Respect.
Give Others Your Vulnerability.
Give Others Your Care.
Give Others Your Passion.
Give Others Your Experience.
Give Others Your Help.
-- Chris Widener
"That which you create in beauty and goodness and truth lives on for all time to come. Don't spend your life accumulating material objects that will only turn to dust and ashes." -- Denis Waitley
"Realize that true happiness lies within you. Waste no time and effort searching for peace and contentment and joy in the world outside. Remember that there is no happiness in having or in getting, but only in giving. Reach out. Share. Smile. Hug. Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself." -- Og Mandino
"You can't be too kind or too generous." -- Patricia Fripp
"One of the greatest gifts you can give to anyone is the gift of attention." -- Jim Rohn
"If you know what to do to reach your goal, it's not a big enough goal." -- Bob Proctor
"A dream is your creative vision for your life in the future. It is what you would like life to become. A goal is what, specifically, you intend to make happen. Goals should be just out of your present reach, but not out of sight." -- Denis Waitley
"Set clear goals and make written plans for each part of your life." -- Brian Tracy
"A dream is just a dream. A goal is a dream with a plan and a deadline." -- Harvey Mackay
"Develop an 'attitude of gratitude.' Say thank you to everyone you meet for everything they do for you." -- Brian Tracy
"There is no better opportunity to receive more than to be thankful for what you already have. Thanksgiving opens the windows of opportunity for ideas to flow you way." -- Jim Rohn
"Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues but the parent of all others." -- Marcus Cicero
"Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it." -- William Arthur Ward
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Chances are this article’s title gives you a strong opinion about whether or not to continue reading. You are either in sales and want to understand your work better and therefore very interested, or you are being kind and giving me until the end of this paragraph to convince you to continue, because you aren’t in sales, you don’t want to be in sales, and you don’t see a connection between your work and sales.
If you are in the second group, please give me just one more paragraph before you decide, ok?
If you think of the stereotypical high pressure used car salesperson when you think about sales, rest assured that isn’t what I’m referring to. Think about this. Do you ever need to persuade others to see your position or take a particular action? Do you ever need people to follow your recommendations? Do you ever benefit in a tangible way when you are able to be more successful in persuading others? If your answer is yes to any of these questions (and I’m sure it is for everyone), then you are in sales – regardless of your job title or how you feel about “salespeople.”
So regardless of your experience in or feelings about sales, there are likely things you can learn from the best in the sales field – because we are all in sales.
The Model in your Mind
With all due respect to the many truly outstanding used car salespeople, the “high-pressure, used-car-salesperson” stereotype is one held by many people. And while we may have experience with this type of salesperson, most of us also have experience with someone who was extremely helpful. Someone who helped us select the best possible product or service for our situation and really cared about the results we would receive from the products we were buying. In other words, when we stop to think about it we all have some very positive experiences with salespeople.
It is those positive experiences that I want you to reflect on as you read the seven lessons below. Chances are some – or all – will be consistent with your experiences, and by reflecting on your experiences as you read you will make these lessons even more valuable for you.
The Seven Lessons
Listen more talk less. How can a salesperson know what you need unless they listen? If they don’t listen they are making assumptions as to your needs, wants and desires. The same is true for us. We will get much further much faster when trying to persuade or influence others when we talk less and listen more.
Ask more and better questions. One of the ways to talk less is by asking more questions. Great salespeople are masters at asking questions. They collect and use questions intelligently to learn more about our needs. They use questions to understand us better and to strengthen their relationship with us. Questions are one of our greatest learning tools and one of the best ways to further relationships. Whatever your work, being more skilled at asking questions will make you more successful.
Focus on the longer-term, big picture. The best salespeople aren’t trying to sell one car today. They are trying to sell you your next 5 (or 10) cars. They know Rome wasn’t built in a day and that they won’t reach their goals – or best serve you – by pressuring you to buy now. So it is for you in your interactions. When we think about the longer term we will make better decisions and behave more appropriately.
Build relationships. Business success is about relationships, and great salespeople know that. One of the fastest ways to become more successful is by building more and stronger relationships. One of the fastest ways to lose your job is by neglecting relationships. Take it from the best salespeople – business is based on relationships.
Follow-up and follow through. One of the ways to build relationships is to follow-up and follow through. Ever had a service provider call you and check on your satisfaction? How did you feel about that provider and his/her organization after that? How do you feel about people who send you handwritten thank you notes? How do feel when people go above and beyond to stay in touch with you and make sure you are satisfied? You feel good about them and their services, right? Apply those approaches to your work. Send a note. Remember a birthday. Mention the article you read that they would be interested in. Do what you said you were going to do. Follow-up and follow through.
Lose the techniques – focus on the other person. There are many helpful techniques that we can learn from training, from watching others and reading. We look for a magical formula or approach. While it is important to learn the techniques, they will only help us if we integrate them into who we are and what we stand for. For example, there is a difference between practicing active listening techniques and actively listening. When the focus is on the result, we relax and use the techniques in support of the end goal. Great salespeople learn the skills, but focus on their Customer. In an almost paradoxical way, by focusing on the Customer (remember your colleagues and your boss are your Customers too) and being sincere and genuine, you will gain the advantage of the techniques you were trying to use to begin with.
Help them buy. People don’t want to be sold, but they do want to buy. Just like a master salesperson, help people be persuaded to your position. Help them see the value. Help them own the decision. Help them remove the roadblocks – real or perceived.
Some Final Thoughts
There are likely many areas of your life where you can apply the lessons above. Consider your work, but also your role as a neighbor, in a community group and as a parent as places where you can benefit from these lessons.
You may have never sold magazine subscriptions door to door for a school project. You may have never had a job selling furniture or other products. You may never want to be in “sales.” Even if this is true, I urge you to think about what you can learn from the true masters of sales – because they are lessons that can make you better at whatever you do. Because it is really true – we are all in sales.
About the Author:
Kevin Eikenberry is a leadership expert and the Chief Potential Officer of The Kevin Eikenberry Group, a learning consulting company that helps Clients reach their potential through a variety of training, consulting and speaking services. To receive your free special report on Unleashing Your Potential go to http://www.kevineikenberry.com/uypw/index.asp or call us at (317) 387-1424 or 888.LEARNER.
** Article: Powerful Words in Sales – By Greg Woodley **
I’d like to discuss the most powerful words you can use during the selling process.
After all Rudyard Kipling said, “Words are the most powerful drug used by mankind.”
Plainly, THE MOST POWERFUL WORD is YOU. You should be looking to use the word You in your sales meetings a lot more than you use the word I. As I’ve mentioned before the idea is to be focused on your client’s needs but I’m sure this is restating what you already know.
I want to discuss words that you can use in your speech that will make your language more effective at controlling the thoughts of your prospect.
OK, let’s assume you have established Rapport with your customer or prospect and you have identified a problem they have where a product you offer could be useful to them.
The idea then, at this point in the sale, is to control the internal representations that your customer is making in their head. What I’m about to offer is a linguistic pattern that focuses your client’s mind where you want it to focus and just about forces them to accept your concepts and ideas as true. Now, STOP … and just image how useful it would be if you could easily do that.
The Power Words are:
Now you may be thinking what’s so special about these words?
Well, they become much more powerful if you follow the rule below.
Rule: Always put adverbs before the verb and adjectives before the noun!
(Truthfully, the words above are only examples of the types of words you can use and I have produced this abridged list merely to help you focus on the learning task at hand, i.e. how to incorporate these words into your sales language. Once you have done that you’ll find that you just naturally start to use other similar words in your speech.)
So let me go straight into some examples of how to use these words to good effect.
Have you ever found yourself saying?
“Could you make the change from your current supplier to us?”
Well, that is just a question and your prospect could just as easily say “No! I can’t”
“How could you make the change from your current supplier to us?”
Now, that is focusing your client on what you want them to be thinking about (i.e. how they could change to using your product or service) but you’re leaving a door open for them to say that they don’t know how.
What about the sentence below?
“How easily could you make the change from your current supplier to us?”
Now where is your customer’s mind focused?
Not on whether they could make the change, nor on how they could do it, but on how easy it could be. They could still say “it would not be very easy” but notice that they are still likely to use the word “easy”
Also, notice that I did not say,
“How could you make the change from your current supplier to us easily?”
Because, the first thing that would enter your client’s mind is how they could make the change and they would already be considering the answer to this question before they ever heard the word easily (if they heard it at all).
It’s subtle and it has a profound effect.
Let me give you some more examples of sentences using these words.
“Have you discovered how easily you could make a consistent product if you used our improved raw material?”
“Naturally, you’ll find more than enough reasons to go ahead today even if you can only see a few of the unlimited benefits that our product provides.”
These “power words” become even more powerful when you stack them into a sentence. The more of these words you use in a sentence the harder it is for your prospect’s conscious mind to filter out the inferences these words are forcing them to make.
“Once you begin to easily absorb this information, you’ll naturally discover the unlimited potential it has for readily making your communication infinitely more effective.” (Perhaps this sentences is a bit over-the-top?)
“Have you become aware yet of the many ways that our product could help in your production?” (The inference being there are many benefits and you will become aware of them at some point in time.)
“After you experience our product , by trailing it in your plant, you will realize the many ways in which it will easily improve your end product” ( infers you’ll try the product and there are many ways this product can benefit your production )
Here are some more examples for you.
”Naturally, as you start to realize the unlimited ways you can easily become aware of how using our product will help you to rapidly and effectively accomplish your goals, you’ll start imagining the success you can really achieve with our help” ( Phew ! )
“After you use our product you’ll understand it’s many benefits” (the inferences being that they will use the product and it has more than one benefit)
“Before you decide which of the many benefits that our product offers is the most important in relation to your purchasing decision let me tell you a few things that might help.” (The inferences are that they will decide on a benefit that is important to them and that our product offers many benefits.)
“During the first few months of experiencing our service you’ll likely become more aware of the many ways in which we offer substantially more than our competitors.” ( The inference being that they will use the service and it is more than a little better than the competitors in a number of ways.)
Before I go any further how much of this have you grasped, so far? Can you see how this will naturally make your communication more vital and alive and can you guess how much more effective your communication will become once you have mastered the use of these words. Does this sound like something you need to practice?
“From among the many positive benefits that you are starting to realize our service offers, which ones are likely to give you the most benefit? ”
“As you expand the range of products you buy from us and our business collaboration moves beyond it’s current boundaries what do you see as the best way we can easily move forward to the next level?”
I already discussed the power of the word “because” in YSS edition #2, so I wont go through it again.
The word ”cause” can function much like ”because” in many situations. Along with “As” and “And ” they are example of “cause and effect statements”. Here are some examples.
“Simply making that statement causes you to understand why you already don’t believe it.” (Every time they make that statement they’ll doubt it.)
“As you start to assimilate the information we have provided you will begin to recognize the many ways that our product can help in your process.”
The last two words on our list “Now ” and “Stop” are really commands that can be used to great effect. These words work better if you speak them louder and in a deeper voice tone. It also helps to actually stop speaking when you utter the word “Stop”. Like below. (Emphasise the words in bold.)
“You may be considering the effort you need to switch to our product. May I suggest that you just STOP… NOW consider the many advantages our product will easily bring to your production process and all the positive effects that will have on your bottom line.”
“We’ve been back and forth a lot with this agreement and perhaps it’s time-- NOW – to consider how we can most easily finalise this deal to our mutual benefit. Now, that seems reasonable, doesn’t it ?”
How do you go about talking like this and utilizing these powerful words?
You practice by writing out sentences employing these words.
Here’s how to practice.
First, think about a specific sales call you have coming up.
Then think about some of the comments you are likely to make during that meeting.
(Use your imagination and run through the meeting in your mind.)
Write down the things you would say.
Now, rewrite the sentences inserting the powerful words.
You’ll notice the power words are grouped in the list above. Take one group at a time and try to incorporate the power words into the sentences you would have spoken.
(This may seem clumsy at first like the process you went through acquiring many new skills in the past and wasn’t that momentary discomfort back then well worth the eventual progress you made?)
Don’t add the words in, actually rewrite the sentence.
Write up to a page on each group.
Then rewrite the sentences again allowing you the freedom to use any of the power words in any of the sentences. Really pack them in!
Repeat this process for one sales call a day or just do the exercise once a day for a month and you’ll likely notice how naturally and easily you can speak using the power words.
You may have been wondering where this issue was heading. How useful these words would be. And, as you consider just that, you may find yourself just naturally beginning to experience excitement about what the future holds for you as you begin to understand how easily you can incorporate these words into your sales language, allowing you to enhance your sales results and move beyond the past sales limitations you had before you mastered the skill of using language to direct the thinking of your customer. Now, as the realization begins to sink in of how easily and rapidly your sales results will improve, that will cause you get excited about practicing the use of the power words. Now…
by Lim Chung Chun
GOOD ALTERNATIVES TO FIXED DEPOSITS & SAVINGS
When it comes to choosing a safe place to park their money, most Singaporeans simply leave it in a bank, in the form of savings or fixed deposits. While that is certainly convenient, it may not be the best solution from the viewpoint of generating a good return, particularly if the savings will be held for the long term. Investors should really consider shifting a substantial part of their medium- or long-term savings into fixed income products (bonds or bond funds) if they wish to generate a higher return without the volatility that is associated with investing in equities. In Singapore today, buying bond funds is more convenient and viable than buying bonds directly as the retail corporate bond market is not that developed.
HOW BANKS MAKE MONEY
There is a simple reason why bond funds will generally give you higher returns than bank savings and fixed deposits in the medium to long term. Banks are really the middlemen between the depositors (or investors) and the borrowers. They collect money from investors (in the form of savings and deposits) and lend it to individuals and companies. The banks may pay investors 1% per year, while they earn 3-4% by lending out the money. The banks therefore make a spread (gain) of 2-3%. That's how banks make profits.
BOND AND MONEY MARKET FUNDS
But it is possible for investors to go directly to the borrowers (in this case, the borrowers are not individuals but major corporations and governments) rather than go through a middleman who takes a big spread. By bypassing the middleman, investors can get a higher return. Fund managers who offer bond funds essentially facilitate this process in return for annual management fees of 0.5-1%. Even after deducting the management fees, bond funds generally will still give investors better medium- to long-term returns than what savings and fixed deposits offer.
Depending on what your needs are, you can choose from a range of bond funds with different levels of risk and volatility. Bond funds are different from each other in the tenure of their underlying bonds (long-term or short-term bonds), currency exposure, and quality of the issuers. At the conservative end, you have money market funds that are very stable. And at the more aggressive end, investors can buy products such as Emerging Market bond funds which can be quite volatile.
Many Singaporeans may not realise it, but when they buy capital guaranteed or protected funds, or life insurance policies, they are buying products with substantial exposure to bonds. While many of these products have their plus points (e.g. the protection feature), investors should note that they may not be the most suitable forms of investment for building up long-term savings. Generally, packaged products such as capital guaranteed funds and insurance policies carry higher distribution costs - consumers may often be paying a premium for the packaging.
FIXED INCOME PRODUCTS WILL CATCH ON
Investing in fixed income products is still a concept not well understood by most Singaporeans. In many developed countries such as the US, bond and money market funds (as well as equity funds) are part and parcel of the average investor's financial portfolio. Over the next few years in Singapore, consumers are likely to start embracing this asset class in a far more substantial way, thanks to the ongoing liberalisation of the financial sector. The changes will bring about more, and in many cases, better financial products, and just as importantly, better investor education.
What is sales training?
Sales training helps sales people become more effective in what they are doing. They are trained not to become the best sales person but to become professionals of the product they are representing and later on becoming a consultant of the customers. They learn how to sell by clearing out confusions of consumers; they give out solutions and never try to deceive a person to buy something. Sales training teaches sales people communication skills, people skills, and professional skills.
What are the basics?
There is more to selling than just product knowledge. The following are some of the basic steps in sales training:
• Understand the sales process. During a sales conversation, it is important to get the attention of the customer so you can spark his interest and try to build it up to produce desire and face up to the challenge for that desire to turn into action. Each step is as hard as the other.
• Aside from your product, you are also selling yourself. A good sales person can present himself well, in such a way that he is interesting and able to adjust to all types of consumers.
• Take the time to ask questions. You will give the impression that you want their valued opinions. Also, you can get to know the customer more, this way; you’ll know better how to convince them. You will know better how to sell the product.
• During sales training, you will learn the art of active listening. In any conversation, it is never enough to just give a chance for the other person to talk, you have to be able to understand and empathize at times.
• When selling a product, do not just give the features, present the benefits as well. Customers usually never think about the benefits while talking to a sales person, they only hear features. It is important to link the two and emphasize the benefits it can give them.
At the end of sales training, participants are expected to become more aware of the sales process, the importance of each and every aspect. Participants are expected to be more attuned to people together with the right skills. They also must learn how to become professionals in their own right. Sales training hones sales people to be professional in what they do, the things they say, and the way they present themselves.
About the Author:
Sheila Mulrennan is a business author and journalist who regularly contributes articles on Management, Personal Development and Sales Training to leading business publications. Visit http://www.professionaldevelopment.ie for more information.
In business situations, when you are trying to reach the person who has the authority to make decisions regarding your product you are very likely to have to go through one or more people before reaching that person. For the sake of efficiency, there will likely be a receptionist and/or assistant who takes the initial calls for the decision-maker.
It's important that you realize most assistants are taught to protect decision-makers. Or, shall we say, screen calls so the decision-makers only speak with the people they want to speak with. It's very likely the assistant has been given instructions with regard to who to put through and who to keep at bay. Understanding this element is critical—the assistant is used to taking instruction from others. Therefore, you must come across with authority.
If you know the name of the decision-maker, you would simply say, "Good morning, please put me through to Mary Smith." You will be pleasantly surprised at how well and how often this works.
If Mary has her calls screened, you may be asked for your name and/or what the call is regarding. Here's what you say:
"My name is Jacob Martin and I'm calling regarding…" and you would give a benefit of your product or service—not a feature, not a name, but a benefit.
"…saving the company money on health care benefits."
"…increasing profits through technology."
"…improving the company's image in the marketplace."
If you can tie your benefit to something that might benefit the screener, all the better. If they suspect you're calling about something that might make their job easier, more fun or provide added benefits to them as an employee, they'll be quick to connect you.
In situations where you're cold calling and do not know the name of the decision-maker, here's how the conversation might sound like this:
"My name is Jacob Martin and I am in business in the community. I'm calling regarding your telephone system. Who in your company is responsible for that? By the way, who am I speaking with?"
It's important that you get the name of the assistant or gate-keeper. You want to make this a personal conversation. You want to enlist that person's aid and nothing is more personal than your name.
Gatekeeper: "My name is Anne."
You: "Thank you, Anne. I really need your help. Who in your company would I talk to regarding the telephone system?"
What happens most of the time when you ask someone for help? They feel important. They want to help. It's tough for most people to turn down a request for help. So, use that to your advantage.
Gatekeeper: "That would be Jack Peterson."
You: "Jack Peterson. Thank you, Anne. Please put me through to him."
You want to repeat the name to ensure that you have it correct. If it's an unusual name, this is when you would ask for the correct spelling and double-check the pronunciation.
When you first reach the decision-maker, you need to capture their interest and establish rapport. One of the steps in rapport-setting is to give them a sincere compliment. In business situations, compliment them on the person who just put you through: "Mr. Peterson, my name is Jacob Martin. Thank you for taking my call. Anne was very helpful and represents your company well."
It's that fast and simple. You've begun on solid ground.
There will be cases when the decision-maker is not immediately available or when the assistant is stalling your call. They may ask you to leave a message, trying to get more information about why you're calling—in essence, sizing you up. Don't go into a great amount of detail. You're not trying to sell the assistant on your business, just on yourself.
"Anne, I'm in and out a good bit during the day and I'm sure he is very busy. Rather than having him waste time trying to reach me, I'll just call back. When is the best time to reach him?"
If she's not sure or can't answer that, simply say: "Please leave a message for him that Jacob Martin called regarding increasing profit to the company and that I'll call back later today."
When you finish your initial call, take a quick moment to write a note to Anne and mail it off:
I enjoyed talking with you on the telephone. I hope the company realizes how important the first image is when someone answers the phone. You do a wonderful job. Thank you in advance for all your help.
If you think about it, assistants and receptionists probably don't get a lot of recognition in most companies. By sending this simple note, you'll make her day and win her over for the next time you ask for help.
To discover more ideas for expanding your sales, invest in How to Master the Art of Selling. It's only $29.95 for millions of dollars worth of ideas.
Cold Calls: Words You Should Never Say. Ever.
By Guest Columnist, Leslie Buterin
One of the scary things about calling on executives is that, well, they are executives. They are THE decision makers, the Big Kahunas, The Top Dogs!
Executives are the leaders of the pack- the “Alpha Dogs.” Respect for that Alpha's authority automatically kicks in for many sales professionals who cold call executives, as they try to be seen as worthy to be granted an appointment with the top decision maker.
Can ‘young pups', newbie sales professionals, avoid disappointment? You bet they can, when they learn the Top Dog Rules.
Successful sales professionals know they must speak in “Top Dog” terms to gain their respect and be seen as another Alpha Dog. This posturing is done as the sales pro talks in Alpha Dog terms. They know and use the right words, the right language, to gain admittance to the executives' suites. These words earn them the privilege of romping with the Top Dogs.
These same successful sales pros never use the words followers use. You know, those “permission-based” words that followers habitually use with leaders. Phrases such as “May I,” “Can I,” “Would you,” and “Could you” are the beginnings of permission based, “low-level” conversations. For example:
- “May I schedule on his calendar?”
- “Can you tell me when to catch him in person?”
- “Would you take a message?”
- “Could you ask him if I may meet with him?”
The instant you utter such words the “Bull Dog”, executive assistant's ears perk up as she recognizes you do not belong at the executive level. Reeling from how quickly the executive assistant refers the stunned sales professional to a lower level decision maker, the sales pro wonders, “What just happened?”
You can schedule executive level sales calls confidently if … you know how to speak their language.
The words on the left side of the table position you as part of the pack. The words on the right side position you as an Alpha Dog in your business arena.
Eliminate Permission Based Words that
Cultivate Alpha Based Words that
May I schedule on his calendar?
I'm calling to get on his calendar. When is best for him, Tuesday or Thursday?
Can you tell me when to catch him in person?
What is the best time to catch him in person?
Would you take a message?
Here's what I'm looking for …(assistant will automatically take a message because of the authority in your voice)
Could you ask him when I may meet with him?
Tell me what looks good on your end, this week or next?
Take a long hard look at the cold calling script you currently use. Replace all permission based words and phrases with words that position you as an Alpha in your industry. Remember, folks who belong at the top never ask for permission. Ever.
Why Your Self-Image is a Key Part of Your Personality
Your self-image is the way you see yourself and think about yourself. It is often called your "inner mirror." You look into this mirror in every situation to see how you should perform on the outside. You always behave on the outside in a manner consistent with the picture you have of yourself on the inside.
How Do You See Yourself
For example, if you see yourself, as calm, confident and competent in any aspect of selling, when you are engaged in that activity, you will feel calm, confident and competent. You will be positive and happy. You will perform well and get excellent results. If, for any reason, it doesn't go well at that time, you will throw it off and dismiss it as a temporary situation. Your self-image is clear. In your mind's eye you see yourself as good and capable in that area, and nothing can interfere with your mental picture.
Change Your Self-Image
The most rapid improvements in sales results come from changing your self-image. The moment that you see yourself differently, you behave differently as well. And because you are behaving differently, you get different results.
My Own Story
Some years ago, when I was selling club memberships from office to office, I would end my presentation by giving the prospect a booklet outlining the membership benefits and encourage him to "think about it." My self-image was such that I could not bring myself to ask the prospect to make a buying decision. All day long, I would go from office to office giving my presentation and leaving a little book with descriptions to read. And as you might imagine, I was not making any sales. When I called people back after they had time to think about it, they would invariably say that they were not interested.
The Turning Point
I was getting desperate. I was living from hand to mouth at the time. Although I was seeing lots of prospects, I was making very few sales. Then I had a revelation which changed my career at the time. I realized that it was my fear of asking for the order that was causing all my problems. It was not my prospects. It was me. I needed to change my self-image and thereby change my behavior if I wanted results to improve.
Make A Decision
The very next morning, I made the decision that I would not call back on a prospect. The size of the purchase was small and, when I had completed my presentation, the prospect would know everything that he needed to know to make a decision. There was no benefit or advantage of leaving material behind or giving the prospect several days to think about it. At my very first call, and I still remember it, when I had finished my presentation, the prospect said, "Let me think it over." I smiled and told him that I did not make call backs because I was too busy, and then I said, "You know everything you need to know to make a decision right now. Why don't you just take it?" I remember him shrugging his shoulders and saying, "OK. I'll take it. How would you like to be paid?"
Double Your Earnings
I walked out of that office on a cloud. That very day I tripled my sales. That week, I sold more than anyone else in the company. By the end of the month, they had made me the sales manager with 42 people under me. I went from making one or two sales per week to making ten or fifteen sales per week. I went from worrying about money to a large salary with an override on the activities of all my salespeople. My sales life took off and, with few exceptions, it never stopped. And the turning point was that conscious choice to modify my self-image and make it more consistent with the results I wanted rather than the results that I was getting.
Now, here are two things you can do immediately to put these ideas into action.
First, begin to see yourself the way you want to be. See yourself as strong, confident, competent and professional in every way. The person you see is the person you will be.
Second, identify an area of selling where your own ideas about yourself and the situation are holding you back. You always perform on the outside the way you see yourself on the inside.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Build Yourself Into a True Leader –
Then Empower Others into True Leadership!
by Art Burleigh
“To build your business, you must build yourself.
To help others, you must first help YOU;
and to change the world, you must change yourself!”
~ Randy Gage’s
True Leadership doesn’t just show up one day; it doesn’t just happen. You cannot take a pill that will instantly make you a leader. Attaining the qualities of a True Leader requires a journey. The sooner you depart, the faster you will get to your destination – provided you remain attentive, aware and focused as you strive to “get it” along your journey. If your effort is high, and your goals and vision are clear and strong, you succeed much faster.
For most of us, it’s a tough journey with plenty of challenges, learning experiences and navigation along the way. While those ‘bumps along the road’ can be darn frustrating, they ultimately provide great depth of character and conviction in our beliefs – so eventually we come to know when things are right and when we’re finally on a faster track to success. And we come to know how to empower others – the new leaders we’re building for our team. We learn how to teach and train them better – to provide high quality mentoring – so they can almost glide up an even faster path to success than we were able to find.
How does that all happen? It all starts with you! Back in the late 90’s, Microsoft asked us “Where to you want to go today?” A recent ad for Minolta goes deeper: “Why do you get out of bed each morning? Is it your job? Is it to fulfill a hope or dream? Is it the alarm clock? Is it the chance to make a difference, however great, however small, in your work, your family, your community, and possibly even the world in which you live? Your answer could change your life. It could also change the lives of those around you.” Powerful!
How valuable you can be to others and what an extraordinary contribution you can make to this world if you embrace the challenge of becoming a better mentor and teacher to all those who sincerely desire to become the new True Leaders! And how valuable that will be – for them and for you.
Building yourself first, and then building new True Leaders and empowering them can bring you that security, that happiness, and abundant prosperity that is your reward in successfully building and supporting a growing and vibrant organization. True Leadership is apparent whether it is a family unit, an academic institution, a division of the service, a governmental agency, a traditional business or a Network Marketing business.
12 Key True Leadership Ideas that will help you build yourself and others into better leaders
These are easy to understand, simple and down-to-earth. Are they easy to do? No way, and know this, what is easy to do is also easy not to do. If building leaders were easy, they’d be everywhere, providing True Leadership. Obviously, they’re not. Building leaders takes hard work, practice, and a continuing effort to improve yourself. Remember: True Leaders are built, not born.
1) True Leaders are both modest and confident.
Leaders certainly need a healthy ego, but a big ego that’s out of control can kill ‘em and make them look absolutely foolish. True leaders know that the goal is not to make themselves more powerful; it is to empower others into stronger leadership roles. True Leaders understand that in Network Marketing, the only way you can get to the top is to build new leaders and make them successful.
2) True Leaders are great listeners.
Many people still need to practice this skill. When you listen, you will learn exactly what your prospects and emerging leaders need and want if you ask sincere, probing questions - and you actively listen to answers without an agenda of your own. Excellent listening springs from genuine curiosity. Beware of grandiosity – the belief that you already have all the answers. It’ll pollute your listening and make you deaf to new, valuable knowledge! Always seek first to understand by asking questions and listening.
3) True Leaders are authentic.
When you first know who you are, and when you ‘walk your talk’ - you earn the respect and trust of your colleagues. No one believes and follows a leader who doesn’t first believe in herself. When you walk the walk, you have paved the way and gotten massive results. Others will pay attention.
4) True Leaders are great at giving encouragement, and they are never satisfied with status quo.
True Leaders are always setting new, higher goals – for themselves and for their organization. They are always building and testing both courage and stamina throughout their team. They are so busy giving recognition that they don’t need it themselves.
5) True Leaders have imagination and creativity.
True Leaders aren’t surprised by miracles - they expect them. They are never surprised by what others call unexpected connections. They spot subtle or even obscure relationships that can be valuable. They organize and lead conversations between people who might not normally interact with each other; they facilitate new relationships. And they see new patterns and possibilities that allow for important innovations or realizations.
6) True Leaders provide direction, vision and empowerment.
They provide direction and vision from asking probing, insightful and revealing questions. This is different from feeling responsible for providing answers. No leader is smart enough to know everything about how to handle every challenge that’s encountered as an organization grows and navigates its way through the market place and provides services and/or cutting-edge products to society. But True Leaders sense when the right questions need to be asked to find solutions to those challenges. Reminder: Leaders aren’t always “in charge” or “in control” – but they are aware, alert, in touch and out in front.
7) True Leaders protect their team from danger, while doing their best to open their eyes to reality.
False leaders usually want to keep the peace and not take risks. They are often disloyal, don’t follow the True Leader, and want to be insulated from dangers - rather than be empowered enough to be mobilized to face the challenges head on. That’s why True Leadership is rough and sometimes dangerous; and that’s why even the smallest land mines will trip up false leaders as they struggle towards achievement. True Leaders are respectful of those who have helped them succeed.
8) True Leaders initiate positive change and they are strong enough to take a stand on values and principles.
True Leaders are followers of True Leaders. It’s not a cult to be a follower of a True Leader if that True Leader has integrity to always be looking out for what is best for the entire organization.
“True Leaders ask,
‘Which values, principles are so central to our core that if we lose them, we lose ourselves?’ When that key question is asked early enough in the game, and course corrections are made, a lot of agony and frustrations are avoided – and success, achievement and prosperity are reached so much sooner!”
~Donna Green – a major leader in Art’s organization
9) True Leaders lead by example.
They actually “talk the talk, and walk the walk.” Their small gestures send big messages. True Leaders have an essential obligation to live their lives according to the principles they espouse. People are hungry for good strong leadership. They’re watching what you do. So if you want people to follow your lead, make sure you are communicating correctly and performing responsibly – so they can hear you clearly and see where you’re going!
10) True Leaders don’t play the blame game. They look at all events that happen as opportunities to personally grow.
Even the smartest leaders – whether as parents, teachers, mentors, or business executives – all make mistakes. Bill Gates was once sure that the Internet would never have a big impact on Microsoft’s business. The progressive mind-set for the 2000’s is: Try, Fail, Learn, Adjust Correct/Re-aim and Try again.
“When I fail, I only look at what I did right.
I never take advice from anyone more messed up than I am.
I am a winner, a contributor, an achiever, I believe in me.”
~ Tom Hopkins, renowned master sales trainer and author
Leading is learning. The great teachers, the True Leaders, know that the best way for them to learn the material is to study it well enough to be able to teach it to others. Their learned expertise then qualifies them to lead. Leaders learn and are readers; and readers are leaders.
11) True Leaders seek out and network with other leaders.
They look for leaders to build fine, new, long-term relationships. They take initiative and seek out those more talented than they are to build relationships with.
To be more effective as a leader and to increase your influence and deepen your impact, you can’t play The Lone Ranger! Seek allies, network with like-minded colleagues, be aware of emerging leaders – and mentor them, build them into stronger leaders. Remember that they are Independent Contractors, not dependent contractors. Not everyone in your organization is going to become your close or best friend. You will find out, as time goes by, those who are truly loyal and those whom you really don’t want to cultivate a fake friendship with.
There’s a lot to learn. Seek out mentors, the True Leaders who have already blazed a trail and attained success, stature and respect in many fields. Study them. Go to where they are teaching, attended their seminars no matter what the investment, develop relationships and friendships with them, serve them, help them – and you too may be rewarded by gaining new knowledge and skills. Some of these mentors may be found within your own company, most are found outside that arena.
Study resources like the book, True Leadership – How You Can Provide it and Become Secure, Happy and Rich!, which I’ve co-authored with Network Marketing legend, Jan Ruhe.
True Leaders seek to develop actual relationships with those whom they admire the most. They listen to hours of tapes, read hundreds of books, and go to work on their personal growth and development programs. I have done this for years. I remain a student even today.
Company events, leadership rallies, annual conventions and special leadership trainings you put on yourself – are all valuable resources to meet and network with other leaders. Make sure that you attend the right events. Just attending an event that does not improve your bottom line is not going to make any difference. From experience, I have found that listening to those who are actually living the lifestyle I want are the people I have chosen to be loyal to.
All of us need to get recharged now and then – and major and minor events can be a place to do that. Books, seminars and tapes are brain food as well. Feed your mind.
12) True Leaders know that their job is to build more leaders.
It’s likely that in your world – your family, your community, your institution, your company, or your own business – there are not yet enough leaders at all levels to keep your organization changing and charging into the future. The team with the most and best leaders wins! Your ultimate and most rewarding job is not just to be a True Leader yourself – it’s to build more leaders. A True Leader is first a loyal follower. In Network Marketing, the real key is to build leaders and to make them successful. Always be working with 2-3 emerging leaders.
To do this, all of the other 11 keys to True Leadership above need to be mastered. Paying attention to all of these keys will help you create a huge Win-Win situation for everyone you lead.
These ideas on the values and attributes of True Leaders are not new. Sure, they’re heralded in today’s books on making better families, stronger companies and achieving success, but these True Leadership qualities are the same as those of heroes and sheroes dating back to ancient mythology.
So, the pathway toward True Leadership for today’s aspiring champions and future leaders is already well worn by all the heroes who have gone before us. Because we can learn how they overcame their challenges, without having to endure all those painful experiences first hand ourselves, our journey to success can be accelerated.
We know that True Leaders, like heroes of the past, do things beyond the “normal” range of achievement. They act courageously. They are driven by big visions and strong self-motivation. They seek knowledge from many sources, educate themselves, and then bring back the new ideas they’ve learned to help empower their team. It’s a cycle – just like with mythological heroes. True Leaders embrace positive change (point 8 above) and engage in this process of transformation - from unknowing to knowing – just as ancient heroes did on their journey from dependency to independence.
“A True Leader knows that being a leader is a never-ending process of learning and becoming.”
~ Dr. Herb Oliver (“All Leaders Are Not Artists” – from True Leadership)
Attributes of idealism, high morals, ethics and courage guide the True Leader, just as they guided heroes and sheroes from ancient times.
In Network Marketing for sure, helping others succeed and mentoring them into stronger leadership roles creates for you - the True Leader – the rewards you desire. You will get greater time freedom, financial freedom, freedom from the rat race, a chance to finally move from money to meaning, from receiving to contribution. You will be able to pay back what you have been blessed with, and create – for both yourself and for an emerging group of leaders on your team – a secure, happy and prosperous life of purpose.
Are you ready to take on the role of a True Leader – or become an even better leader?
As a True Leader’s belief systems grow in strength, they become more capable of “painting vivid mental pictures” and transferring their vision. Their principal job as a leader of their group becomes making the future real for people who would like it to be real. People who get into Network Marketing must have some level of belief. They must have some level of faith to decide to do the business. No matter how successful they’ve been in any other business – when they’re new, they don’t fully believe in Network Marketing. Not yet.
Why not? Because they don’t have any evidence of their own yet. When you bring in a brand new business-builder, that person has no evidence that this business is really going to work for her. She’s got evidence that it’s worked for you – or, if you’re just starting out, she’s got evidence that it worked for somebody in your upline who’s been successful. But she has no evidence of her own . . . not yet!
So what does your new person really need from you? It’s for you to transfer your vision to them and to be the substance of their hope, their dream for new success by coming into partnership with you and your team. So empower them with the vitality of your beliefs, and act with conviction and enthusiasm. Show them the systems and tools that work, and direct them to the resources they need to build their own belief systems.Show them how coming into partnership with you and what you have to offer can benefit them by helping them get what they want – the things and the freedoms that have been missing from their life. If they are truly on a leadership track, they really feel that they deserve these things, and they’re passionate about getting them. Empowerment, direction and substantiated vision are what they want and need from you!