Sunday, May 31, 2009
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.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
The marketing genius Seth Godin talks about the need to make your business stand out. He uses the analogy of when he was on family holidays in France and driving past field after field full of cows. Coming from a big city this was exciting at first but then after half a day on the road all of the cows started to look the same and blended into the background.
As there was nothing different about any of the cows none of them stood out. The thought occured to him that if just one of them was a purple cow then they would definitely stand out and get noticed.
This thought led Seth to write the book on how to turn your business into a Purple Cow. It is all about how to differentiate yourself in business.
So how can you differentiate your business?
There are essentially four key areas you could focus on to create a point of difference between you and your competitors. These are:
1/ Differentiate On Price - You could differentiate your business through price. Become the low cost supplier of your product or service and you will appeal to a large segment of your target market. The key to doing so without going broke in the process is to create highly efficient operational systems that reduces your costs to deliver the product or service.
Wal-Mart are a classic example of a retail business differentiating on price. Due to their size and operational efficiency they are able to provide their mass consumer products to the marketplace much cheaper than competitors.
Who in your industry is attempting to compete on price? Is there an opportunity for you to compete on price and become the low cost option? This could be an effective strategy to acquire customers on the front end of your marketing funnel if you have a well thought out back end.
2/ Differentiate Through Innovation - Creating an innovative product or service is another way to compete. Virgin have done this effectively. Their strategy is to look at established industrys and then apply innovation to them to make them competitive. A great example of this was when they entered the airline industry in the UK. They applied a number of innovations to their business model which enabled them to compete.
Another example of this is when we launched the Mega Networking & Referral Event. We looked at personal development seminars, and the many monthly networking events and combined the two together creating an innovative and unique event.
What innovations can you apply to your business / industry to come up with something new and unique? Look for examples of others who have also successfully applied innovation to the business you are in.
3/ Differentiate Through Narrow Niche - Another approach is to narrow your focus right down to a tight niche that is untapped or underserved at the moment. It can be difficult to compete in a broader market but a narrow tight niche could be easily dominated by you.
NetJets is a great example. They will never be a major airline nor do they want to be. Their strategy is to provide high end fractional jet aircraft ownership to high net worth customers. These customers typically do not have a need to own their own jets but happy to pay upwards of $50,000 per year for part ownership of a jet.
The good news for NetJets is that they have few competitors in this narrow niche and they own over 50% of the market.
We have followed a similar strategy here at Profit Minute. Instead of trying to be another Marketing Consultant and competing in an already over crowded market we have narrowed our focus to Attraction Marketing. This makes us stand out from the crowd, helps our prospective customers understand what differentiates us, and makes us attractive to new clients.
How can you narrow down your niche and effectively eliminate the competition? Who is a good example of someone in your industry doing this?
4/ Differentiate Through Business Model - The last area you can differentiate your business is through the business model you adapt. There are many approaches here. For example you might make the decision to provide a superior level of customer service well beyond what anyone else in your industry provides.
You might look for opportunities to gain a first mover advantage as your industry changes and develops. Or you might look to create significant barriers to entry that prevent copycat businesses emerging and leveraging of your ideas.
As mentioned there are numerous ways to differentiate your business through the business model you adapt.
So what are you going to do to differentiate your business now and into the future?
Fear of Failure
There are several other reasons why the end game of selling is stressful and difficult. First and foremost is the fear of failure experienced by the prospect. Because of negative buying experiences in the past, over which you could have no control, prospects are conditioned to be suspicious, skeptical and wary of salespeople and sales approaches. They may like to buy, but they don't like to be sold. They are afraid of making a mistake. They are afraid of paying too much and finding it for sale cheaper somewhere else.
Fear of Criticism
They are afraid of being criticized by others for making the wrong buying decision. They are afraid of buying an inappropriate product and finding out later that they should have purchased something else. This fear of failure, of making a mistake in buying your product, is the major reason why people object, hesitate and procrastinate on the buying decision.
Fear of Rejection
The second major obstacle to selling is the fear of rejection, of criticism and disapproval experienced by the salesperson. You work long and hard to prospect and cultivate a prospective buyer and you are very reluctant to say anything that might cause the prospect to tune you out and turn you off. You have a lot invested in each prospect and if you are not careful, you will find yourself being wishy-washy at the end of the sale, rather than risking incurring the displeasure of the prospect by your asking for a firm decision.
Customers Are Busy
The third reason why the end of the sale is difficult is that customers are busy and preoccupied. It isn't that they are not interested in enjoying the benefits of your product. It's just that they are overwhelmed with work and they find it difficult to make sufficient time available to think through your recommendations and make a buying decision. And the better they are as a prospect, the busier they tend to be. This is why you need to maintain momentum throughout the sales process and gently push it to a conclusion at the appropriate time.
Inertia is Hard to Break
The factor of inertia is the fourth reason that can also cause the sales process to come to a halt without a resolution. Customers are lazy and often quite comfortable doing what they are currently doing. Your product or service may require that they make exceptional efforts to accommodate the change or a new way of doing things. They perhaps recognize that they would be better off with your product, but the trouble and expense of installing it hardly seems to make it worth the effort. They see no pressing need or urgency to stop doing what they are doing and start doing something else with what you are selling.
Everyone Buys at the Same Time
The good news is that everybody you meet has bought and will buy, new products and services from someone, at some time. If they didn't buy from you, they will from someone else. You must find the way to overcome the natural physical and psychological obstacles to buying and then hone your skills so that you are capable of selling to almost any qualified prospect you speak to.
Now, here are two things you can do immediately to put these ideas into action.
First, recognize the normal fear of making a buying mistake experienced by the customer. Give him every reason you can think of to be confident in dealing with you.
Second, accept that everyone you talk to is busy and you are interrupting. Always ask if this is a good time for him to give you his undivided attention. If not, arrange to see him another time.
Do you know that the majority of today’s leaders in business were in sales at one time or another? The selling skills they learned to make others feel welcome, comfortable, important, and to trust their expert advice has taken them far. It can do the same for you.
Whether you're in sales now or thinking about going into sales what matters most is your attitude about what you're doing to earn your living. What are you willing to do in order to achieve your goals? How many "no's" are you willing to take before getting to the "yes's" that you need? How much are you willing to change what you are today to get what you want tomorrow?
Let me give you a head start on your road to success. I already know what the great ones do. I have taught proven-effective selling skills to over four million students during the last 30 years. Selling is my hobby. It's my passion. Helping others learn better and more professional ways to serve others is what my business is all about.
Begin by internalizing everything you can possibly get your hands on about your product or service. Become a product of your product. Use it yourself. Talk with clients who use it and love it. Believe in it! People will say "yes" to you more on your conviction and enthusiasm for your product than any fact or figure you may quote.
Note: If you are new to selling, don't settle for selling just anything. Find a product you can become passionate about. It'll make all the difference.
Next, start working on your people skills. There are right and wrong ways to approach people. Your #1 goal when you meet someone new is to have them like you, trust you, and want to listen to you. It may seem elementary, but to have someone like you, you must be likeable. That means you smile. You make eye contact. You introduce yourself. Ask their names. Repeat their names so you know you are pronouncing them correctly. Your desire to be accurate and correct makes a powerful, positive impression.
Establish common ground. People buy from people who are like them. If you like the same sports team, that's common ground. If you live in the same area, that's common ground. If you're around the same age with kids in close grades in school, that's common ground.
Your next step is to determine the clients’ needs. I've developed a quick and easy-to-remember method for this. It's called the NEADS qualification sequence. Remember that you're trying to determine their "needs" but spell it NEADS to remember what to say.
The first letter, "N," stands for Now. Ask them, “What do you have now?” Unless they've won the lottery or inherited millions, few people drastically change what they have now other than to make their lives better. So, knowing what they have now will help you understand where they're coming from.
The next letter, "E," stands for Enjoy. “What do you enjoy most about what you have now?” They'll want to keep the good stuff when considering any change. So your product or service will need to at least cover what they enjoy.
The "A" stands for Alter. “What would you alter (or change) about what you have now?” This is where they will tell you what they need. Ask as many questions as you need to get a clear picture of what they're telling you. Repeat your understanding of their needs back to them and get them to agree that "yes, that's what we're looking for" before going any further.
The "D" in NEADS stands for Decision-Maker. You need to know if they're truly the decision-makers. Ask, “John and Mary, if we’re fortunate to find the right home/investment/insurance program for you today, who other than yourselves would be involved in making a final decision?” If there’s someone else involved in the final decision, you'll need to find out who and present your product to all of them. Never make a product or business presentation to a non-decision-maker unless you just need the practice. If they've told you what they need and that they're the decision-makers, then and only then will you move into presenting the benefits of your product or service.
The “S” in NEADS is for “solution.” You must impart to your clients that you and your company are in the ‘solution’ business—the business of helping others resolve whatever challenge brought you together.
Since no one wants to feel they're 'being sold' expect most potential clients to object about something. It's a natural reflex. Know that if a potential client objects that they're feeling moved toward making a buying decision. You see, people aren't going to waste their time objecting to something they're not interested in. Makes sense, doesn't it?
The great ones in sales prepare answers to the most common objections for their product or service. The answers are psychologically sound and help the buyers rationalize the decision—only if it's truly good for them.
Now don’t forget the final step: Ask for the sale! Don’t laugh this one off thinking you’d never forget that. A study was done years ago where people were asked why they didn't make a purchase after a product had been demonstrated to them. The most common answer was, "We were never asked!" Top professionals in sales know anywhere from five to 25 ways of asking for the final "yes." Those are called closes and if you're in sales to be successful, you'll want to start mastering as many as possible as soon as you can.
You have what it takes to learn to become the best in your field. Just make the commitment and get on with it!
About the Author:
Tom Hopkins is world-renowned as The Builder of Sales Champions, an authority and expert on selling strategies and the Sales Training Expert for SelfGrowth.com, the most complete guide to information about self-improvement online. Let him help you improve your skills and make more sales! For more information contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Receive free sales content, tips and closes by subscribing to Tom’s selling skills e-newsletter at http://www.tomhopkins.com/Subscribe.htm.
Admit it… when you buy your next car, you would really like the negotiations to end up favouring you and not being an even handed win/win?
Good negotiators have developed the art of being able to influence others to see things their way. They know how to get others to do things they want to get done. They seem to have an innate gift of understanding others needs and wants and finding a way of delivering that within in the bigger context of getting what they themselves want.
A number of years ago I came across a powerful book, The Psychology of Persuasion, in which Robert Cialdini outlines six universal principles of influence that he discovered as he studied what made people do the things they do, in his role as a professor of psychology.
Let’s look at these in more detail…
We were all taught that we should find way to repay others for what they do for us. That’s only fair - most people will make an effort to avoid being considered an ingrate or someone who does not pay their debts.
Cialdini explains how in the 1970’s the Hare Karishnanas used this principal to raise millions of dollars. They would give passers-by a flower and requested no money. However this innate principal was so strong that even though the recipients didn’t really want the flower, they felt the need to repay the debt of kindness in some way and many donated money.
You probably have come across this principle, where someone has delivered a number of uninvited "first favours" over time and then you feel obliged to deal with them or do business with them.
Put simply, whatever you give out in life you tend to get back sooner or later. If you go through life looking for good in others and helping others get what they need, you may not always get an instant reward, but the principle of reciprocity will provide somewhere along the line.
2. Social Proof
Cialdini points out that we decide what is correct by noticing what other people think is correct. Innately we want to be like others and people are comforted knowing others are doing the same thing.
This principle is often used by sales people who give testimonials from people “just like you” who have bought and appreciated their product or service. Most people feel at ease if they know others have already done what they intend to do. Celebrity product endorsements are an obvious application of this principle of Social Proof.
If you want someone to do something for you, be sure to let them see that other people are already doing it or are willing to do it. Show them that others like them believe in your product or service and are using it.
3. Commitment and Consistency
Once people have made a choice or taken a stand, they are under both internal and external pressure to behave consistent with that commitment. When people tell their friends they are going to give up smoking, or going lose weight, it motivates them to keep going with their decisions. We tend to feel pressured to behave consistent with the choices we have made. No one likes to admit they were wrong.
You can use this principal in negotiation by taking time to understand what motivates others and speak to them in their own language. Try and elicit their values. Find out what they want, what they are trying to achieve. This will allow you to tap into their natural motivators, while also giving them what they want.
When you can get someone to commit verbally to an action, the chances go up sharply that they'll actually do it.
We all like doing business with people we know and like. And people tend to like others who appear to have similar opinions, personality traits, backgrounds or lifestyles. More people will say 'yes' to you if they like you, and the more similar to them you appear to be, the more likely they are to like you.
That’s why it’s important to build rapport with people you plan to negotiate with.
Most of us were raised with a respect for authority, so we tend to place importance on information given to us by authority figures like doctors, policemen or professionals.
Sometimes people confuse the symbols of authority such as titles, appearance or possessions with the true substance. This means you can use this principle to your advantage during negotiations. Look and act like an authority yourself - dress like the people who are already in the positions of authority that you seek. Or cite authoritative sources to support your ideas.
The feeling that we may miss out on something special or unique will drive us to take action. Things always seem more valuable is there’s an element scarcity. Hard-to-get things are perceived as better than easy-to-get things.
Look at most advertising and you’ll see words like “limited offer”, “closes this weekend” or “limited edition collectors items.” How can you use this principle of scarcity in your negotations?
Professor Cialdini's Six Weapons of Influence are incredibly powerful and can be combined in many ways. They are useful in property negotiations, in business or in fact, in all walks of your life. Use them whenever you approach people you want to influence and they will assist you in becoming a powerful communicator. On their own these principals are ethic less. They can be used to create a win/win outcome for you and for those who you negotiate with. Or they can be used for dark purposes of influence. Obviously I would suggest you don’t use them this way.
About the Author:
Michael Yardney is a best selling author and one of Australia's leading experts in the psychology of success and wealth creation through property.
he is a regular keynote speaker at seminars throughout Australia and South East Asia and his opinions are frequently quoted in the media. He is publisher of Property Investment Update PropertyUpdate.com.au
The fact is, if you keep on doing things a certain way, you will get a predictable result. That's the simple law of Cause and Effect. Successful habits create positive rewards. Negative habits breed negative consequences.
If you want to enjoy longevity, you must have healthy habits. If you are in the habit of starving your most important relationships of time, energy and love, how can you expect a happy outcome? If you spend money on the fly or don't save any money, your bad habits will lead you to a never-ending cycle of work.
Shift yourself out of your bad habits
Fortunately, you can jump from this bad habits path anytime you want. It's a very simple process - it just takes some applied focus. Here's the step-by-step process I recommend:
1) Clearly identify your bad or unproductive habits. Write them down.
a) Be specific.
b) Remember to consider the long-term consequences should you continue in this bad habit. As an example, a couple cigarettes a day may not seem like much, but after 10 years, the buildup of having smoked 7,300 cigarettes remains in your system.
c) Consider habits at home, in your communications and relations with others, at work, in your driving habits, in your free time, and in matters related to your physical, emotional and spiritual health.
d) Be totally honest.
2) Define your new successful habit and visualize its results in your life.
Your new habit is usually the simple opposite of your bad habit. To motivate yourself, think about all the benefits and rewards for adopting your new successful habit. The more vividly you describe the benefits and create the picture in your mind, the more likely you are to take action.
3) Create a three-part action plan.
For every bad habit, there are at least 15 action steps you can take to help you stop. Put some time into this and think about it - it's easy to come up with action steps, but they have to be YOUR action steps that you know are within your realm of taking. As an example, if you want to stop smoking, hypnosis therapy may be more preferable than a nicotine patch. Don't list action steps that you know in your heart you won't do.
4) For the next three weeks, schedule these action steps into your day.
If you know you want to start exercising three times a week, schedule it now in your appointment book. If you want to start reading uplifting books, schedule an hour in your daily schedule and make plans now as to where you will read without interruption. Whatever the new habit, work it into your schedule for the month ahead as most habits - even the very ugliest ones - can be completely re-patterned in this short timeframe.
5) Then, take action!
Start with one habit that you really want to change. Focus on your three immediate steps and put them into action. Do it now. Remember, nothing will change until YOU do.
-- Mark Victor Hansen
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
-James Whitcomb Riley
When you have the energy to fuel your passion, success is sure to follow. The 1-2 punch of energy and passion is the key to success in life. In order to be successful in any endeavor you will need to overcome much discouragement, frustration and failure, and the key to rising above these things is energy and passion. That is why I always say that “energy is the fuel to ignite passion and passion is the engine of success!”
In the movie Cinderella Man, Russell Crowe plays a down and out boxer that makes a dramatic comeback. The backdrop to this movie is the great depression and previous to the great depression Crowe’s character, Jimmy Braddock, was a champion boxer that lost his way. After his comeback a reporter asks him, “You have lost before, what’s the difference this time?” Jimmy Braddock then answers “I know what I’m fighting for.” The reporter follows up with “And what’s that?” and Jimmy comes back with what I feel is the most memorable and inspiring line in the whole movie, he simply says, “Milk.” That says it all; now he knew why he was fighting. He was fighting to feed his kids. He was able to look defeat straight in the face and say “Okay, one more round.” He was able to overcome failure because he had the energy and passion to achieve his goal of putting milk on the table. I feel this is the story of America. A spirited passion for a worthy goal that will let nothing stand in her way. “Okay, let’s go one more round” was the unspoken mantra for generations of Americans and what has made America the greatest country in the world.
The 1 – 2 punch of energy and passion is the key to success in your career as well as your life. People can feel your energy and passion. Our job is to “sell” people on what we know will help them and you can’t do that by being lethargic.
Many years ago when I got started in sales, I didn’t know how to sell but I was passionate and energetic. One of my first clients told me that as my skill increases it is natural for my passion to wane. He told me the key to my success will lie in my passion and if I can combine an infectious passion with proven sales skills, I will always be a top producing sales person. Was he right! Isn’t that what Mr. Ziglar has been teaching us for years? If we present our message with an infectious passion and conviction, combined with a high level of energy, it will speak volumes to our prospects and “sell” them on taking action by using the best person in town…YOU!
Put the 1-2 punch of energy and passion to work in your life so you can live the life of your dreams!
John M. Rowley is the pioneer in combining peak performance principles with physical and spiritual disciplines for complete and lasting success. He is the author of Climb Your Ladder of Success: Without Running Out of Gas. As a Ziglar newsletter subscriber you get access to two of John’s workout training videos for FREE! Just click here to learn some great workout techniques. For more information about John, visit his website at www.johnmrowley.com.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Most of us never see our dreams come true. Instead of soaring through the clouds, our dreams languish like a broken-down airplane confined to its hangar. Through life, I have come to identify five common reasons why dreams don't take flight.
#1 We Have Been Discouraged from Dreaming by Others
We have to pilot our own dreams; we cannot entrust them to anyone else. People who aren't following their own dreams resent us pursuing ours. Such people feel inadequate when we succeed, so they try to drag us down.
If we listen to external voices, then we allow our dreams to be hijacked. At some point, other people will place limitations on us by doubting our abilities. When surrounded by the turbulence of criticism, we have to grasp the controls tightly to keep from being knocked off course.
#2 We Are Hindered by Past Disappointments and Hurts
In the movie Top Gun, Tom Cruise plays Maverick, a young, talented, and cocky aviator who dreams of being the premier pilot in the U.S. Navy. In the film's opening scenes, Maverick showcases his flying ability but also displays a knack for pushing the envelope with regards to safety. Midway through the movie, Maverick's characteristic aggression spells disaster. His plane crashes, killing his best friend and co-pilot.
Although cleared of wrongdoing, the painful memory of the accident haunts Maverick. He quits taking risks and loses his edge. Struggling to regain his poise, he considers giving up on his dream. Although the incident nearly wrecks Maverick's career, he eventually reaches within to find the strength to return to the sky.
Like Maverick, many of us live with the memory of failure embedded in our psyche. Perhaps a business we started went broke, or we were fired from a position of leadership. Disappointment is the gap that exists between expectation and reality, and all of us have encountered that gap. Failure is a necessary and natural part of life, but if we're going to attain our dreams, then, like Maverick, we have to summon the courage to deal with past hurts.
#3 We Fall into the Habit of Settling for Average
Average is the norm for a reason. Being exceptional demands extra effort, sustained inspiration, and uncommon discipline. When we attempt to give flight to our dreams, we have to overcome the weight of opposition. Like gravity, life's circumstances constantly pull on our dreams, tugging us down to mediocrity.
Most of us don't pay the price to overcome the opposition to our dreams. We may start out inspired, but through time we fatigue. Although never intending to abandon our dreams, we begin to make concessions here and there. Through time, our lives become mundane, and our dreams slip away.
#4 We Lack the Confidence Needed to Pursue Our Dreams
Dreams are fragile. They will be buffeted by assaults from all sides. As such, they must be supplied with the extra strength of self-confidence.
In Amelia Earhart's day, women were not supposed to fly airplanes. If she had lacked self-assurance, she never would have even attempted to be a pilot. Instead, Earhart confidently chased after her dream, and she was rewarded with both fulfillment and fame.
#5 We Lack the Imagination to Dream
For thousands of years, mankind traveled along the ground: by foot, by horse-and-buggy, by locomotive, and eventually by automobile. Thanks to the dreams of Orville and Wilbur Wright, we now hop across oceans in a matter of hours. The imaginative brothers overcame ridicule and doubt to pioneer human flight, and the world has never been the same.
Many of us play small because we do not allow ourselves to dream. We trap ourselves in reality and never dare to go beyond what we can see with our eyes. Imagination lifts us beyond average by giving us a vision of life that surpasses what we are experiencing currently. Dreams infuse our spirit with energy and spur us on to greatness.
-- John C. Maxwell
Here were some of the questions he’d come up with:
Don’t you want another set of eyes to look at what you’re doing?
Has that worked well for you?
Is your vendor/advisor/broker showing you/telling you about (fill in the blank)?
There are several problems with these types of questions. The first is that the answer will either be ‘yes’ or ‘no’. A ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer will give the prospector no additional information. In addition, these types of questions set up resistance from the prospect. They essentially set up a wall where none existed before.
Let’s look at the first question: ‘Don’t you want another set of eyes to look at what you’re doing?’
While the concept of having another set of eyes or another view point can work very well, this verbiage is confrontational. Once you’ve asked the question you have nowhere to go except wait for the answer—which will most likely be ‘no’. There’s a very subtle bit of a subtext here: The prospect is making or might have made a mistake and thus needs another set of eyes. It puts the prospect in the wrong and will automatically create resistance.
Rephrased to, ‘It certainly never hurts to have another set of eyes looking at what you’re doing…’ followed up by, ‘Right now, I’d like to introduce myself…’. This changes the focus from whether or not the prospect has made a mistake to the caller’s actual goal for the conversation which is an introduction. The concept of ‘another set of eyes’ becomes the rationale for the prospect to schedule the appointment.
The second question, ‘Has that worked well for you?’ also begs a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. Remember that the status quo is very powerful. Few prospects, unless they are absolutely miserable, will answer ‘yes’ to that question because few people like to admit (especially to strangers) that they have made a mistake. Most therefore, will automatically answer, ‘yes’, and then they’ll probably add, ‘everything is fine’. A ‘yes, everything is fine’ answer leaves you with no place to go. You’re facing a wall of your own making.
A slightly better version of this question would be, ‘How is that working for you?’ You might be able to gather some additional information. Even when phrased this way, however, the strength of the status quo makes this simply not a good question to ask.
A better question to ask would be, ‘How do you handle it when (fill in the blank) happens?’ You fill in the blank with an issue or challenge that (because you’ve done your homework) you know that your prospect might face. This question will give you information and possibly uncover areas of weakness or need where you might be able to help.
The third question, ‘Is your vendor/advisor/broker showing you/telling you about (fill in the blank)?’ is also a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer and is also potentially confrontational. In addition, this question can have the very subtle subtext that the prospect has made a mistake in their choice of vendor/advisor/broker. As with the first question, this question puts the prospect in the wrong which will automatically create resistance. A better question again is the one mentioned above, ‘How do you handle it when (fill in the blank) happens?’
These very subtle changes in verbiage can totally change how your prospect views you and your call. The language that you use can make a prospect open and willing to have a conversation with you or it can make a prospect totally shut down. The good news is that your verbiage is totally under your control. It is very possible and not particularly difficult to make these subtle tweaks that can have a huge impact
If you find that you are creating prospect resistance, perhaps you should try the Miracle Appointment Setting Script - to create your own comfortable and effective approach to prospects. Click Here for a special 20% discount, available only to Opening Doors And Closing Sales Subscribers.
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You become what you think about most of the time. And the most important part of each day is what you think about at the beginning of that day.
Start Your Day Right
Take 30 minutes each morning to sit quietly and to reflect on your goals. You'll find when you read the biographies and autobiographies of successful men and women that almost every one of them began their upward trajectory to success when they began getting up early in the morning and spending time with themselves.
Feed Your Mind with Positive Ideas
This is called the Golden Hour. The first hour sets the tone for the day. The things that you do in the first hour prepare your mind and set you up for the entire day. During the first thirty to sixty minutes, take time to think and review your plans for the future.
Use Your Quiet Time Effectively
Here are four things that you can do during that quiet time in the morning.
Number one is to review your plans for accomplishing your goals and change your plans if necessary.
Number two is to think of better ways to accomplish your goals. As an exercise, assume that the way you're going about it is totally wrong and imagine going about it totally differently. What would you do different from what you're doing right now?
Number three, reflect on the valuable lessons that you have learned and are learning as you move toward your goals.
Number four is to practice daily visualization. Calmly visualize your goal as a reality. Close your eyes, relax, smile, and see your goal as though it were already a reality. Rewrite your major goals every day in the present tense. Rewrite them as though they already existed. Write "I earn X dollars." "I have a net worth of X." "I weigh a certain number of pounds." This exercise of writing and rewriting your goals every day is one of the most powerful you will ever learn.
Fasten Your Seatbelt
Your life will start to take off at such a speed that you'll have to put on your seatbelt. Remember, the starting point for achieving financial success is the development of an attitude of unshakable confidence in yourself and in your ability to reach your goals. Everything we've talked about is a way of building up and developing your belief system until you finally reach the point where you are absolutely convinced that nothing can stop you from achieving what you set out to achieve.
No one starts out with this kind of an attitude, but you can develop it using the law of accumulation. Everything counts. No efforts are ever lost. Every extraordinary accomplishment is the result of thousands of ordinary accomplishments that no one recognizes or appreciates. The greatest challenge of all is for you to concentrate your thinking single-mindedly on your goal and by the law of attraction, you will, you must inevitably draw into your life the people, circumstances and opportunities you need to achieve your goals.
Become a Living Magnet
Once you've mastered yourself and your thinking, you will become a living magnet for ideas and opportunities to become wealthy. It's worked for me and for every successful person I know. It will work for you if you'll begin today, now, this very minute, to think and talk about your dreams and goals as though they were already a reality. When you change your thinking, you will change your life. You will put yourself firmly on the road to financial independence.
Now, here are two things you can do every single day to keep your mind focused on your financial goals:
First, get up every morning a little bit earlier and plan your day in advance. Take some time to think about your goals and how you can best achieve them. This sets the tone for the whole day.
Second, reflect on the valuable lessons you are learning each day as you work toward your goals. Be prepared to correct your course and adjust your actions. Be absolutely convinced that you are moving rapidly toward your goals, no matter what happens temporarily on the outside. Just hang in there!
-- Brian Tracy
by Jack Canfield
As you move forward on your journey from where you are to where you want to be, you are going to have to confront some of your fears. Fear is a just a natural part of living.
Whenever you start a new project, take on a new venture, or put yourself out there, there's usually some fear involved. Unfortunately, most people let fear stop them from taking the necessary steps to achieve their dreams.
Confronting your fears is a very necessary step in achieving success.
There is simply no other way.
Fear can be a helpful emotion, as it tells you when you need to be extra careful, keenly aware, and cautious. Fear is not an emotion that is telling you to stop. In fact, it's telling you just the opposite!
Acknowledging your feelings of fear helps you know when you are stepping out of your comfort zone. It points your awareness to areas where you could improve and grow.
Successful people also feel fear. Yet they don't let it get in the way of anything they want to do--or have to do. They understand that fear is something to be acknowledged, experienced, and taken along for the ride. They have learned, as author Susan Jeffers suggests in her must-read book, to "Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway®."
Fear is more of a signal that we should stay alert and cautious. We can feel fear, but we can still move forward anyway.
Think of fear as a 2-year-old child who doesn't want to go grocery shopping with you. Because you must buy groceries, you'll just have to take the two year old with you. Fear is no different. In other words, acknowledge that fear exists but don't let it keep you from doing important tasks.
Also realize that so many of our fears are self-created. We might frighten ourselves by fantasizing negative outcomes to any activity we might peruse or experience. Luckily, because we are the ones doing the fantasizing, we are also the ones who can stop the fear and bring ourselves into a state of clarity and peace by facing the actual facts, rather than giving in to our imaginations.
If a fear is too great for you to overcome, try breaking it down into smaller challenges.
Try starting out by doing the parts of the project that don't scare you so much. You need to give a speech in front of a large group? Try giving your speech in front of a small group of people who care for you. Work your way up until you are able to feel the fear but still move forward. As you do you will build your confidence and eventually you won't feel fear surrounding those issues because you'll have done them enough to count it as a skill.
As you move toward your goal, don't attach yourself so much to the outcomes.
Keep moving toward your dream doing everything you can to create what you want, then let it go and see what shows up. Sometimes the universe will have a better idea in mind for you and present a better opportunity when you were expecting something completely different. Don't let fear keep you from moving forward. Even if the horrible outcome that you imagined happens, the universe will always provide for you another way to succeed. So be on the look out!
Trust that no matter what occurs, you are smart enough and strong enough to keep looking for, and attracting, opportunities.
If you are willing to try new experiences in spite of your fears, then more new experiences will present themselves for you to try. And the more you try, the more you are likely to succeed!
© 2009 Jack Canfield
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
However, most business owners will wait until the end of their client interaction to ask for a referral. They make sure that their client is happy first, then ask them meekly for a referral.
(Also note that if you ask like this, 9 times out of 10 your client will say 'yes'...but you'll never see that referral!)
Referral marketing is priceless when it comes to getting the word out, and it's really target marketing at its best. You'll want to take advantage of these benefits in order to quickly grow your business.
What I'm getting at is this: Your job is to make your client so happy that they will confidently introduce you to other people in need of your services...but you want to let them know that immediately.
This method is called "planting a referral seed" -- and it can really work wonders for your business.
In this article, I will demonstrate how to use this technique to exponentially increase your sales and signups...
Your Client's Unconscious Mind is a Garden -- So Plant Referral Seeds
Instead of waiting until the end of the conversation, don't beat around the bush! Since the aim is to increase referral sales for your business, approach the issue head-on -- try saying this to your client right away on the first or second contact:
"(Name), let me tell you what my objective is. I want to make you so happy that you will be thrilled to introduce my service to a friend who needs it.
So first, my name is (Your name). How can I help you?"
That's all it takes. Of course, you can always come up with your own variation, but this is an excellent example of a referral seed. Plant it at the beginning, and ask throughout the conversation if you are meeting that objective you mentioned.
Some other effective referral seeds are as follows:
"Tell them to ask for (your name), I'll personally take care of them!"
"Don't keep me a secret!"
"Send them my way!"
"Think of me first!"
The options are limitless, but your main goal remains the same: You're directly asking your client to introduce you to their friends if they're truly satisfied with the help that you've provided.
Your goal is to make your client so delighted that they want to tell everyone they know -- their friends, their family, their own clients and business contacts -- about your fantastic service.
Water Your Referral Seeds...
As with any plants, your referral seeds won't grow just because you've planted them -- if you expect them to flourish, you must water them.
Once you've planted the seed, ask your clients if you can follow up with them on a certain time and date to make sure they're happy with your product or service. Ask them how you would have to make them feel in order for them to introduce you to their friends: Would they only have to feel satisfied? Outrageously happy?
In fact, you can even suggest a small reward if your client shares their good experience with your service with a friend and has them contact you within a certain timeframe. This will motivate your client to spread the word to anyone they know who could use your service, and get them to do it quickly!
...Now Watch Them Grow!
If you've really gone above and beyond for your clients, they will feel personally connected to you. They'll always ask for you by name because they trust you. You understand them, help them, and care about their best interests.
Those are the perfect conditions in which to plant a referral seed -- every bit as good as sunshine and the best loam. Plant your referral seed at the beginning of the conversation, and during the conversation, make sure to find out from your client if you're on track.
If you please them, they'll be just as happy to introduce you to their friends. Make their friends happy, and they will tell their friends, and so on...that's how the referral plant grows into more sales and signups!
About the Author:
Abe Cherian is the founder and CEO of AdClickMedia.com, an online advertising network and a subsidiary of Multiple Stream Media. http://www.adclickmedia.com
Here is how you can change your approach to improve your results.
If you study your territory, you will find that you have three types of customers. A small percentage (roughly 20 percent) of your customers will account for the majority of your sales and profits. These customers are your high-revenue, high-profit accounts; we'll call them your A accounts. You will also have a group of low-revenue, low-profit customers (approximately 20-25 percent). These are your C customers. And, lastly, you will have a collection of accounts that generate good revenue although not as much as you would like. These can be classified as B clients.
So, if you look at these categories, where should you invest your time? For the best results, you need to invest your time with the small group of high-revenue customers and here's why.
Your low-revenue customers may generate a great deal of your revenue, but they also cost you money in time and margins. Most customers who fall into this category complain about price, do not see the value in your products or services, and demand concessions on a regular basis. As a result, they erode your margins and profits. They also frequently contact you with problems and take up your time dealing with small, inconsequential issues. These calls and situations take you away from and prevent you from investing more time with your high-profit, high-revenue customers, your A accounts.
It is easy to fall prey to thinking that spending more time with the large group of customers in the middle (your B customers) will dramatically affect your revenues. However, the problem with this thinking is that is the vast majority of these customers will not buy more from you. A small number, perhaps twenty percent, do have some high potential. You can determine which of your accounts falls into this category.
Many salespeople fall into the trap of spending time with the customers they like or with whom they connect. While this approach may feel good, it is seldom the most effective, and in today's harsh economic climate, you need to invest your time with your high-quality customers. Here is what you need do to in order to achieve this.
Block eighty percent of your selling schedule for the top twenty percent of your accounts.
"What? Spend most of time with only few of my customers? What about everyone else?" You see, although your low-revenue, low-profit customers tend to be more demanding than your A customers, many of their concerns, problems, or pressing issues tend to be reactionary. That means they often call you with a problem that they could solve themselves, but they have grown accustomed to picking up the telephone or sending you an email every time every time they have a problem. In many cases, you return their call only to discover that they have resolved the issue. This not only wastes your time, it takes your attention away from other high-revenue sales opportunities.
What about your B accounts, you ask? You fit them into the remaining twenty percent of your schedule, which means you will reduce the frequency of visits to these customers. This may seem counterproductive, but I can tell you that it works.
One of my clients analyzed their sales figures and discovered that more than 80 percent of their revenues were generated by fewer than 20 percent of their customers. They strategically choose to improve their service and visibility with this group of accounts. They didn't ignore their other customers, but they did reduce contact with them. Not only did their sales increase, their cost to attain each sale dropped, which pushed more profit dollars to the bottom line.
This is not an easy transition for most people to make because they get trapped into believing that they must service every account equally. But, if you look at hotels, airlines, and other businesses, you often find that the top-tier customers receive preferential treatment. Shouldn't it be the same in your business?
About the Author:
Kelley Robertson, author of "The Secrets of Power Selling," helps sales professionals close more deals so they can reach their sales quotas and targets. Receive a FREE copy of "100 Ways to Increase Your Sales" by subscribing to his free newsletter at http://www.Fearless-Selling.ca. Kelley conducts workshops and speaks regularly at sales meetings and conferences. For information on his programs contact him at 905-633-7750 or Kelley@Fearless-Selling.ca
1. Accept the Unchangeable - Everything that has happened in your life to this minute is unchangeable. It´s history. The greatest waste of energy is in looking back at missed opportunities, lamenting past events, grudge collecting, getting even, harboring ill will, and any vengeful thinking. Success is the only acceptable form of revenge. By forgiving your trespassers, you become free to concentrate on going forward with your life and succeeding in spite of your detractors. You will live a rewarding and fulfilling life.
Your enemies, on the other hand, will forever wonder how you went on to become so successful without them and in the shadow of their doubts.
Action Idea: Write down on a sheet of paper things that happened in the past that bother you. Now crumple the paper into a ball and throw it at the computer screen. This symbolizes letting go of past misfortunes.
2. Change the Changeable - What you can change is your reaction to what others say and do. And you can control your own thoughts and actions by dwelling on desired results instead of the penalties of failure. The only real control you have in life is that of your immediate thought and action. Since most of what we do is a reflex, subconscious habit, it is wise not to act on emotional impulse. In personal relations, it is better to wait a moment until reason has the opportunity to compete with your emotions.
Action Idea: Write down in your diary one thing you will do tomorrow to help you relax more during and after a stressful day.
3. Avoid the Unacceptable - Go out of your way to get out of the way of potentially dangerous behaviors and environments. When people tailgate you on the freeway, change lanes. If they follow you at night, drive to a well-lighted public place.
When there are loud, obnoxious people next to you at a restaurant or club, change tables, or locations. Also, be cautious of personal relationships developed via the Internet. With the massive number of individuals surfing the net, the number of predators increases in like proportion. Always be on the alert for potentially dangerous situations involving your health, personal safety, financial speculation and emotional relationships.
Action Idea: What is one unacceptable behavior you have or allow others to do to you that you will avoid starting tomorrow? Example: The way you drive, being around negative people, walking down dark streets alone late at night, etc.
-- Denis Waitley
A man was walking in the park one day when he came upon a cocoon with a small opening. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through the little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It looked like it had gotten as far as it could, so the man decided to help the butterfly. He used his pocketknife and snipped the remaining bit of the cocoon.
The butterfly then emerged easily, but something was strange. The butterfly had a swollen body and shriveled wings. The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected at any moment the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time. Neither happened. In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and deformed wings. It was never able to fly.
What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to emerge was natural. It was nature's way of forcing fluid from its body into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom. Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our lives.
If we were allowed to go through life without any obstacles, we would be crippled. We would not be as strong as what we could have been. And we could never fly.
History has shown us that the most celebrated winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats.
My good friend, Lou Holtz, football coach of the University of South Carolina, once told me, "Show me someone who has done something worthwhile, and I'll show you someone who has overcome adversity."
Beethoven composed his greatest works after becoming deaf. George Washington was snowed in through a treacherous winter at Valley Forge. Abraham Lincoln was raised in poverty. Albert Einstein was called a slow learner, retarded and uneducable. If Christopher Columbus had turned back, no one could have blamed him, considering the constant adversity he endured.
As an elementary student, actor James Earl Jones (a.k.a. Darth Vader) stuttered so badly he communicated with friends and teachers using written notes.
Itzhak Perlman, the incomparable concert violinist, was born to parents who survived a Nazi concentration camp and has been paralyzed from the waist down since the age of four.
Chester Carlson, a young inventor, took his idea to 20 big corporations in the 1940s. After seven years of rejections, he was able to persuade Haloid, a small company in Rochester, N.Y., to purchase the rights to his electrostatic paper- copying process. Haloid has since become Xerox Corporation.
Thomas Edison tried over 2,000 experiments before he was able to get his light bulb to work. Upon being asked how he felt about failing so many times, he replied, "I never failed once. I invented the light bulb. It just happened to be a 2,000-step process."
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, elected President of the United States for four terms, had been stricken with polio at the age of 39.
Persistence paid off for General Douglas MacArthur. After applying for admission to West Point twice, he applied a third time and was accepted. The rest is history.
In 1927 the head instructor of the John Murray Anderson Drama School, instructed student Lucille Ball, to "Try any other profession. Any other."
Buddy Holly was fired from the Decca record label in 1956 by Paul Cohen, Nashville "Artists and Repertoire Man." Cohen called Holly "the biggest no-talent I ever worked with."
Academy Award-winning writer, producer and director Woody Allen failed motion picture production at New York University (NYU) and City College of New York. He also flunked English at NYU.
Helen Keller, the famous blind author and speaker, said: "Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved. Silver is purified in fire and so are we. It is in the most trying times that our real character is shaped and revealed."
Mackay's Moral: There is no education like the university of adversity.
-- Harvey Mackay
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Book Excerpt: When Everything Changes, Change Everything: In a Time of Turmoil, a Pathway to Peace - By Neale Donald Walsch
The changes in your life are not going to stop.
If you're thinking about riding things out for a while, waiting for things to settle down a bit, you may be in for a surprise. There's going to be no "settling down." Things are going to be in a constant state of upheaval on this planet and in your own life for a good while now. Actually... yes, well, I might as well tell you... actually, forever.
Change is what is -- and there is no way to change that.
What can be changed is the way you deal with change, and the way you're changed by change.
That's what this book is about.
We are going to be talking here about how to deal with major change, not just minor change. I mean change that emerges from collapse, calamity, and catastrophe -- or at least what we label as these. So if your life is collapsing right now, if you're in the midst of a calamity, if a catastrophe has occurred, what you're going to find here could save your life. I mean, emotionally. But heck, you know what? Maybe even physically.
Here you will be given Nine Changes That Could Change Everything. This little list will alter all that appears in your reality. Unless it does not. The choice will be yours. But it is a list that you may at least want to read. You may at least want to find out what it's all about.
I hope that you will make these Nine Changes as quickly as possible. Not just because the changes in life that you are experiencing (that we all are experiencing) are not going to stop, but also because the pace of change is only going to increase.
Someone noted a few years ago that it was possible for my great-grandfather to live an entire lifetime without having anything come along that seriously challenged his world view, because very little happened that he heard about that altered his understanding of how things were.
My grandfather had a different experience. He was able to live 30 or 40 years, but not much longer, before some new piece of information was unveiled that seriously confronted his notion of the world. Perhaps half a dozen times during his life such a major event or development occurred that he heard about.
In my father's day, that window of change dropped to only 15 or 20 years. That's about as long as my dad could hold onto his ideas about life and how it works and what is true about everything. Sooner or later something would happen to disrupt his whole mental construction and require him to alter his thoughts and concepts.
In my own life span, that time has been reduced to just 5 to 8 years.
In the lifetime of my children, it will be reduced to something like 2 years -- and possibly less. And in the lifetime of their children, it could be reduced to 30 or 40 weeks.
This is no exaggeration. You can see the trend. Social scientists say that the rate of change is increasing exponentially. In the time of my great-grandchildren, the period of time between changes will be reduced to days. And then, perhaps even hours.
In truth, we are already there -- and have always been there. For in actuality, nothing has ever remained the same for even a moment. Everything is in motion, and if we define change as the altering of configurations, we see that change is the natural order of things. So we've been living in a constant swirl of change from the beginning.
What is different now is the amount of time that it takes for us to notice the changes that are always occurring. Our ability to communicate globally about everything within seconds is what has changed the way we experience change. The speed of our communications is catching up with the speed of our alterations. This condition in itself sponsors an increase in the rate of change.
Today our languages and expressions change overnight, our customs and styles change by the season, our beliefs and understandings and even some of our most deeply held convictions change not with, but within, each generation.
Because change is happening all around us and within us so rapidly, what is needed now is a guidebook, an "operator's manual" for human beings facing dramatically shifting life realities. This book is, therefore, more than a collection of anecdotes or "real life stories" about people who have gone through changes in their life, or a once-over-lightly treatment of something that deserves deeper exploration. The text which follows offers some peeks at the experience of others (including my own), because there can be value in that, but it also provides a much needed explanation of the mental and spiritual basis of change -- and specific instructions on how to use mental and spiritual tools to change the way change changes you.
What the Nine Changes empower us to do is not stop change (I hope I've already made the point that this is impossible) or even slow the rate of change, but rather, make a quantum leap in our approach to change, in our ways of dealing with it -- and in our ways of creating it.
One final word. The ideas here are based in ancient wisdom, modern science, everyday psychology, practical metaphysics, and contemporary spirituality. The invitation here presumes that Divinity exists, that life has a purpose, that human beings have a soul, that our body is something we have and not something we are, and that the mind is under our control at all times.
A rejection of any one of these notions removes the underpinning from much of what is shared here. On the other hand, if these concepts feel valid to you, you could be holding in your hand the most useful, the most helpful, the most powerful book you have read in a very long time.
Check out the Experts page for Neale Donald Walsch.
When you buy this book, you'll get two free live tele-classes with Neale! To learn more, go here.
The list price of this book is $19.95. To purchase it from Amazon.com for $10.97, a 45% discount, go here.
Monday, May 11, 2009
Self-knowledge has always been the key to preparing for competition. Knowledge of your attributes, abilities, interests, strengths, weaknesses, and traits is essential to riding the front end of the wave of change into the new century. To fully assess your own talents, realize that studies confirm that what we love and do well as children continues as our latent or manifest talent as adults.
Examination of your weekend or evening interests might reveal a gem of potential you can apply to your vocation. I strongly suggest you don't unthinkingly relegate what you love to do for yourself solely to hobbies. You might make it, or at least integrate it into your life's work.
The acquisition of knowledge, which is the new global power, is a life-long experience, not a collection of facts or skills. Not long ago, what you learned in school was largely all you needed to learn to secure a career. With knowledge expanding exponentially, this is no longer true. Hundreds of scientific papers are published daily.
Every thirty seconds, some new technological company produces yet another innovation. Your formal education has a very short shelf life. Life-long learning, once a luxury for the few, has become absolutely vital to continued success. Continue gaining expertise and avoid thinking like an expert.
Action Idea: An excellent benchmarking exercise is to spend a weekend with key associates or family members and dust off your childhood memories. Remember what you really enjoyed and wanted to do most as a child. The next activity in assessing your interests is considering your current ones. What do you most enjoy after work? What do you most want to do on weekends and vacations? What are your hobbies? Can you bring more of what you enjoy into your business life?
Action Step - Increase Your Reading, Writing and Vocabulary Proficiency. One of the most important qualities of successful leaders is an ability to express thoughts and knowledge. Research by management and human resource experts confirms that no matter what the field of employment, people with large vocabularies - those able to speak clearly and concisely, using simple as well as descriptive words - are best at accomplishing their goals. Well chosen, carefully considered words can close the sale, negotiate the raise, enhance relationships, and change destinies.
In a world of e-mail, fax dispersal, voice mail, sound bites, concise reports, business plans, and meeting briefs, the individuals who can articulate their goals, substantiate their claims, and support their visions, will own the future. In the 21st Century, literacy will be the major difference between the haves and have-nots.
Why do fewer than 10 percent of the public buy and read nonfiction books? One reason is that many would rather get home than get ahead. They are motivated to get by and get pulled along by the company, the economy, or the government.
Another reason is that many individuals believe that information found in books, computer programs, and training sessions has no value in the business world. How self-deluding!
As the new tools of productivity become the Internet, the Digital Versatile Disc, direct digital download of text, audio and video, and the combination of the interactive computer with telecommunications, the people who know how to control the new technologies will acquire power, while those who thought that education ends with the diploma are destined for low-paying, low-satisfaction jobs. In almost the blink of an eye, our society has passed from the industrial age to the knowledge era.
Increase your reading by 100 percent. Decrease your television watching, and that of any children in your family by 50 percent. Surf the Internet and subscribe to book summaries, or download free chapters from different sources. By reading book summaries, you can gain the essence of all the top business books in a very brief period of time.
Action Idea: Read at least one book each month, and listen to at least one additional audio book during commute or down time. One of the best sources for business audio books online is MP3audiobooks.com.
All kinds of reading and listening to fiction and non-fiction will increase your vocabulary, writing and presentation skills. Incredibly, a mere 3,500 words separate the average person from those with superior vocabularies.
Keep a dictionary beside you when you read and look up every word you don't fully understand. Doing that on the spot helps make the word part of your vocabulary forever. And don't depend on your computer's spellchecker for your spelling. Not all e-mail service includes spell check. Also, you may be called upon to write longhand notes, memos, or information on white boards or blackboards at meetings. You not only want to use the right words. You also will want to spell them correctly.
A great way to increase your literacy is to engage in Internet conferences and to read summaries on the web from services like Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and other booksellers. The more interactive you become in communications and the less you indulge in prime-time television, the more successful you'll become in all areas of your life. Knowledge is the new power. And literacy is the door to knowledge.
-- Denis Waitley
It is a challenge to succeed. If it were not, I'm sure more people would be successful, but for every person who is enjoying the fruit from the tree of success, many more are examining the roots. They are trying to figure it all out. They are mystified and perplexed by what seems to be some strange, complex and elusive secret that must be found if ever success is to be enjoyed. While most people spend most of their lives struggling to earn a living, a much smaller number seem to have everything going their way. Instead of just earning a living, the smaller group is busily engaged in designing and enjoying a fortune. Everything just seems to work out for them. While the much larger group sits in awe at how life can be so unfair, complicated and unjust.
"I am a nice person," the man says to himself. "How come this other guy is happy and prosperous, and I'm always struggling?" He asks himself, "I am a good husband, a good father and a good worker. How come nothing seems to work out for me? Life just isn't fair. I'm even smarter and willing to work harder than some of these other people who just seem to have everything going their way," he says as he slumps into the sofa to watch another evening of television.
But, you see, you've got to be more than a good person and a good worker. You've got to become a good planner, and a good dreamer. You've got to see the future finished in advance. You've got to put in the long hours and put up with the setbacks and the disappointments. You've got to learn to enjoy the process of disciplines and of putting yourself through the paces of doing the uncomfortable until it becomes comfortable. You've got to be prepared and willing to attack the challenges if you want the success because challenges are part of success.
Now that may sound like a full menu of activities, but let me assure you that the process of going from average to fortune isn't really all that difficult. Thinking about it is the difficult part. Anticipating all the effort and the changes and the disciplines is far worse in the mind than in reality. I can promise you that the challenges you'll meet on the road to success are far less difficult to deal with than the struggles and the disappointments that come from being average. Confronting and overcoming challenges is an exhilarating experience. It does something to feed the soul and the mind. It makes you more than you were before. It strengthens the mental muscles and enables you to become better prepared for the next challenge.
I've often said that to have more, we must first become more, and to become more, we must begin the process of working harder on ourselves than we do on anything else. But in addition to gathering new knowledge, new skills and new experiences; it is also important to discover new emotions. It is how we feel about what we know that makes the biggest difference in how our lives turn out. How we feel about the chances we have and the choices we have determines the intensity of our effort. Whether we try or don't try. Join or don't join. Believe or don't believe.
I'd like for you to discover some strong feelings about your life and about what you want to do with that life. You probably have much of the knowledge and a lot of the experience and perhaps most of the skills that it takes to become successful. What you may be lacking in are the strong feelings about what you want and what you want to do. You may be one of those who have become so involved in the process of earning a living that you've forgotten about the choices and the chances you have for designing your own life.
Let these strong feelings help you take a second look at your life and where you're headed. After all, you've only got one life, at least on this planet. So why not make it an adventure in achievement? Why not discover what all you can do and what all you can have? Why not discover how many others you can help and in the process how that can help you?
Why not now take the Challenge to Succeed!
To Your Success,
You know, I have had an amazing life. I have traveled the world. I have shared my heart with so many wonderful people. I have been fortunate enough to make a great living and enjoy the fruit of my work. I have met thousands of people who are dedicated to personal development and self growth. I have made it my life's pursuit to teach others the philosophies and actions that would help them achieve greatness and personal fulfillment in their own lives. Forty years ago, it felt like it would never end. Today, I still imagine I have many years left, but I also am more aware than ever that there is much less time left than before.
Being aware of this has made me even more clear on my goal of living well and teaching others to do the same. Our One-Year Plan of Success is designed to help others achieve all of their dreams and is part of one of the legacies I want to leave behind.
Leaving a legacy for others to follow is part of what drives me. I followed others who had gone before me; they left a legacy for me. Now I am making sure that those who come after me will have a trail to follow as well. You see, leaving a legacy is important.
Think about those who left a legacy for us to follow and for you specifically:
Your aunts and uncles
Your neighbors where you grew up
For those of us in America (For our international readers, take a moment to reflect on those leaders who helped form the foundations of your country):
The founding fathers of the U.S., who had a dream of a place of self-determination
Abraham Lincoln, who freed the slaves
FDR, who saw us through the great depression
The many men and woman who defended our liberties through the wars of the 20th century so we could live in freedom
JFK, who called us to space exploration and set us on course to have a man walk on the moon
Martin Luther King Jr. Who left us a legacy to pursue the dream of racial equality
There are literally thousands of men and women who lived in a way that affects our lives today.
And yes, the list goes on from there as well. These are the people who we knew, who we lived with, and who shaped us deeply, for good and for bad in some cases.
You see, a legacy can be anywhere on the continuum, from very bad to very good. It all depends on how we live our lives.
How we live our lives is critically important. I want to challenge you to take a look at how you live. We want to challenge you to think deeply about the major areas of your life where you can and should leave a lasting legacy.
Why is leaving a legacy important? Here are a few reasons:
The legacy we leave is part of the ongoing foundations of life. Those who came before leave us the world we live in. Those who will come after will have only what we leave them. We are stewards of this world, and we have a calling on our lives to leave it better than how we found it, even if it seems like such a small part.
Legacies have raw power for good and for bad. There are people who have changed the world for good, people who have opened up new worlds for millions of others, people who have spurred others onto new heights. And there are people who have caused massive destruction for countless millions, people who left a wake of pain behind them wherever they went.
There are parents who have blessed their children with greatness and other parents who have ruined their children's fragile minds and hearts. What we do affects others. Our lives have the power to create good or purvey evil. It is important that we choose to do good.
It is an act of responsibility to leave a legacy. Because of the power of our lives and the legacies we leave, it is a great responsibility to choose to leave a positive legacy. All good men and women must take responsibility to create legacies that will take the next generation to a level we could only imagine. I truly believe that part of what makes us good and honorable people is to have a foundational part of our lives based on the goal of leaving a legacy.
Purposefully leaving a legacy for others breaks the downward pull of selfishness that can be inherent in us. When we strive to leave a legacy, we are acting with a selflessness that can only be good for us. Yes, I suppose someone could work hard to earn money so that when he or she dies, a building is named after them, but that is not the kind of legacy we are talking about. We are talking about legacies that make life better for those who come after us, not about our own fame or recognition, but about helping others. After all, we won't be around to watch our legacy. To build that which will last beyond us is selfless, and living with that in mind breaks the power of selfishness that tries so desperately to engrain itself in our lives.
It also keeps us focused on the big picture. Legacy building is "big picture." It keeps us focused on the long-term and gives us values that we can judge our actions by. When we are acting based on selfishness, personal expediency and the like, we are "small picture"--whatever is pragmatic right now. When we are building a life that will give for many years, we are "big picture." Ask yourself: How does this action affect my overall goals? How will this affect people in the years to come?
Yes, your legacy is very important. Take some time this month to reflect on how you are going to use your information and skills to build a life that leaves a tremendous legacy!
Until next time, let's do something remarkable!