Archive for April, 2008

Achieve Success: INTRO

Thursday, April 17th, 2008

optimism_yellowYou’ve probably pulled up to a tollbooth and admired the way the attendant smiled and said thank you (maybe not quite as much in Massachusetts). Then, at the next toll the attendant looks like he hates you. In the same day we can meet miserable downers and people that inspire us. Why is there such a difference?

 

In most cases, the people achieving their goals and dreams are positive, and the “victims” who have lost their vision are negative. Do you think that there is some correlation here to IQ, work ethic or tenacity? Perhaps. But have you considered that there may be a common denominator?

 

That common denominator is each person’s thinking. We are so focused on changing our results that we sometimes forget that our results are simply a manifestation of our behaviors. Now think about your behaviors: they are formed by your thinking.

 

So here you have the answer: change your thinking to change your behavior to change your results. Controlling for the “just a bad day” case, you would probably be somewhat confident that if we interviewed the friendly person at the first toll, his thinking would be quite different from the attendant at the second stop.

 

Keeping your eye on the prize is great, but if you are not paying attention to your thinking, you may end up indefinitely admiring your prize from afar instead of achieving it.

 

To come: how to improve your thinking process.

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Cold Calling: The Quiet Mind

Thursday, April 17th, 2008

cold-callThis week I spoke to a successful speaker who said she generates all of her paid opportunities via free speaking engagements. She is busy, and she found a way that works for her. We talked about cold calling, and she said she tried it and hates it. Hate? That’s a strong word to describe a simple activity of picking up the phone and making connections. The reason is that cold calling is an emotional and psychological endeavor as much as it is a tactical one. I often remind people that cold calling and what you are currently doing need not be mutually exclusive. In fact, the beauty of cold calling on the phone is that it does not take a great deal of time compared to other activities such as personal networking. It’s not too difficult to fit in a half-hour each day to make your calls.

 

Our cold calling expert, Carl Harvey, gives us some great insight regarding the psychology of cold calling. Enjoy!

The Quiet Mind is the psychological state of the salesperson, who, in the moment, when on the phone with or in front of a prospect, doesn’t care whether she secures the appointment or wins the sale. And because she doesn’t care, she has no expectations, no self-doubt, no need for approval and no fear of failure, and free of those anchors can now act as her best self and in her best interest.

 

What stops most salespeople from reaching that state, and thus executing effective selling technique, are their negative self-talk: “I can’t call at the top”; “I might be interrupting someone.” “I can’t ask tough questions.” To the extent that our negative self-talk predominates our thinking, either consciously or subconsciously, it will be two against one, our negative self-talk and our prospect’s skepticism against us. And in sales, like sports, two to one usually means we lose. The corrective to negative self-talk is Mind Management: the practice of identifying and challenging our negative self-talk and replacing it with more positive, truthful assessments. For example, instead of viewing cold calling as an occasion of fear and dread, replace that negative thought with a more positive and truthful assessment, such as “cold calling is exciting because I’m in control, opportunity is uncovered and money is to be made.” These statements are all true and positive and more accurately reflect the opportunities offered by picking up that phone or knocking on a door. To the extent that we can quiet our mind, we will be able to act more consistently and effectively. As we do, our success and self-esteem will grow.

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Power of Persuasion: Conversation Monopolizer? Check Your Plate.

Thursday, April 17th, 2008

At a dinner event, I’m watching interaction take place at a table directly across from me.  Three men and two women are talking about business and their common friends.  I notice one of the men, Bob, is a good storyteller.  He captures everyone’s interest and keeps it with a very amusing story.  Everyone laughs at the finale; then one of the women brings up her daughter who is applying to Brown University.  Bob immediately chimes in, “Great institution, you guys remember Jane? Her son got a full ride.  Jack, what was her son’s name?”  Bob continues with an admittedly interesting story about Jane’s son.  The woman who initiated the conversation never brings up her daughter again.  This pattern type continues for a while until Bob excuses himself.  Then, I watch for reaction.  One woman mouths to the group “I’m sorry”.  I’m not sure what the dynamics were there, but I am confident that nobody was happy with Bob’s monopolizing.

 Can you relate to this?  Have you spent time with “Bob” before?  Chances are that Bob would be embarrassed if he understood the reaction he created.  He appeared to be an affable and very intelligent person.  If 100 people are reading this blog, about 20 of you are unknowingly the “Bob” in your group. 

 The challenge:  Not even your best friend is going to tell you that you monopolize.

 The solution:  If nobody will tell you, how can you know?

 1)    From this point on, whenever you have a conversation, have an internal awareness of whether you are sharing airtime.

 2)    After a conversation, make a mental list of what you’ve learned about the other people and what they have learned about you.  Is there balance?

 3)    The dinner test:  If Bob had only looked at his plate he would have noticed his was full and the others were empty.  This is a great tip whenever dining with others.  Look at the dishes to find the monopolizers.  You may be surprised to find it is you.

 If you are a monopolizer then you are losing your persuasive edge.  The good news is that you are probably a great storyteller and very sociable.  Just being aware that you are a monopolizer can be a cure for the problem.  Also, you might ask your good friends to let you know when you are dominating the conversation.  With a bit of practice you will be well on your way to sharing airtime and being interesting by being interested.

 If you are in the company of a monopolizer, click into your segue mode.  Take responsibility for channeling the conversation away from the monopolizer and towards others.  It is very easy to do this in a group because you are not seeking airtime for yourself, you are simply asking someone else in the group a question.  In my anecdote above, the woman who mouthed “I’m sorry” to the group could have simply redirected the conversation to the other woman whose daughter was looking into Brown.  “Tell us more about why your daughter is choosing Brown.” Everyone at the table would have appreciated this redirection, and they would have appreciated her even more for doing it. She would have sharpened her persuasive edge in this case.

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Work Force Training Fund: Boon in lean times

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

GrantMoneyWork Force Training Fund: Finding the fat in lean times

We are not in a recession – technically.  However, most businesses are feeling the pinch of a slower economy and a weakening consumer confidence index. 

In leaner times, enhancing your worker productivity may not merely be a question of competitive advantage but also a requisite to your company’s survival.  Irrespective of your industry, to increase the bottom line, you must enhance the performance of your people, which requires continual professional development.

Ironically, in tough fiscal times, worker training and development is often among the first items to be nixed from the budget.  This is a short-term fix that leads to negative long-term repercussions. It hurts the morale of your workforce, and it deprives workers of the skills, strategies and motivation to keep your business thriving.

In theory, most business owners and executive would agree.  The reality is that when facing the challenges of weaker economy, cuts must be made to meet the budget.

There is an answer: Work Force Training Fund.  According to Frank Damelio, President of Target Intellect, a training company that focuses on sales, persuasion, and presentational skills, “It’s easy to find the fat in lean times.  It is shocking how many small and medium-sized companies haven’t heard of the Massachusetts Workforce Training Fund”.  The fund is essentially a pool of money that is granted to companies to fund most types of professional development training.  The grants typically range from $2,000 to $250,000. The money comes from companies that pay into Massachusetts Unemployment Insurance.  Grants are competitive, but reasonably attainable.

“Most companies have never heard of this resource or are simply too daunted to apply.”  Target Intellect works with its non-profit grant writing team that writes and submits the grants for his clients.  “It’s a free service, whether or not they get accepted; so it makes it easy for them.  Owners are amazed when they learn about this resource to help them pay for the training they need, and they are relieved when then know our grant writers will do most of the work and hand-holding for them.”

Fat in lean times is certainly a savory prospect in this sluggish economy.  Mangers and business owners who would like to take advantage of the Workforce Training Fund program can contact your free tour guide, Frank Damelio at 508 596 5390. fdamelio@targetintellect.com

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Team Building: Custom vs. Canned

Friday, April 4th, 2008

dreamstime_7405857[1]An off-the-shelf team building session can surely be fun and inspiring, but why don’t we usually experience lasting results?

When you give your employees a team-building experience by using your own staff or external experts it is easy to make it invigorating and fun by using interactive activities like competition and games that underscore your points.

One of the greatest goals, however, is to have your message resonate with employees and speak to their specific concerns.  As a presenter, you want each participant to appreciate that you can feel and articulate her pain, and that you can almost read her mind with respect to frustrations and challenges.

Not impossible.  In fact, the solution is simple.  The presenter of the team-building experience must interview many of the participants from various levels of the organization.  It is a common and grave mistake to only speak to executives about what they wish to accomplish through the program.  In most cases this will doom your program to a fun, yet frivolous event at best.  By interviewing at all levels you will see entirely different perspectives on the same team issues.

In delivering your team-building experience, you can speak to these issues and you will see eyes light up and heads nodding.  Your participants now have a reason to buy in, because they know you “get it”.

More to come!

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The Executive Persona: Don’t Look Like a “Worker Bee”

Friday, April 4th, 2008

WorkerBeePacing.  Avoid the busy bee look.  Studies show that executives tend to move at a moderate and deliberate pace.  For example, when asked to speak, they rarely hurry to the podium and speak immediately upon arrival.  They walk at a moderate pace, pause to scan the audience and then speak.  Whether at meetings, presentations or social functions, by taking your time (without being wasteful) you are projecting confidence and importance.

The real value here is that as you “act” more confidently you tend to “feel” more confident.  The self-fulfilling prophesy works its magic.

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Interviewing Skills: Why us?

Friday, April 4th, 2008

prepare-successful-job-interview-200X200A very common question is: “Why us?”

The interviewer is seeking to discern whether you are applying for any opening at any company or whether perhaps there is something particular to her company that appeals to you.

Tip: Before your interview call some people at the company, and ask if they would spend 10 minutes of their time to inform you about their experience. Tell them you have an interview and want to do your research. Use your connections to warm call if you have them; otherwise you will have to cold call.

The difference: You will now be able to give the interviewer real differentiating factors about her company and you will impress her by saying “I’ve done my research and in my conversation with Justin Waters, I was impressed to learn that your company has a strong team culture. He told me a little about how you used teams to implement Lean manufacturing principles . . . ”

This is the type of response that separates you from the competition because it is a concrete example of your initiative as well as your desire to make informed decisions.

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Trade Show Strategy: Don’t Be A Pest

Friday, April 4th, 2008

dreamstime_7531048[1]Exhibitors can easily become a PEST to show visitors.  Here is an article I’ve written with Jason Kallio and posted on Peter Caputa’s bolg – enjoy!

Don’t Be a PEST

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Power of Persuasion: It’s All About YOU!

Friday, April 4th, 2008

Kudos to you for realizing that the power of persuasion is a requisite for success whether you are in sales, service or management.

Persuasion vs. Manipulation

They both rely on the same fundamentals.  The cardinal difference is intent.  Persuasion is the art of getting the outcome you seek in the context of a win/win.  Manipulation connotes getting the outcome YOU want irrespective of whether your win comes at the detriment of the other party.

In your marketing material, your networking, your elevator pitch, your conversation with employees, use the words “you and your” with much more frequency and minimize the words “I and we”.

If you read Dale Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends and Influence People,  he will teach you that a boil on a man’s neck is more important to him than a thousand earthquakes in Africa.  While not always true, it is often the case that people are naturally self-centered.

I used to teach high school.  Listen to some teen conversations and you’ll notice one will talk about herself until the other segues in “tell me about it, I . . .”  then continues to talk about himself.  It’s a funny ping-pong phenomenon, almost like two independent conversations linked with short transitional phrases such as “wow, that happened to me when. . .”

Applications:

Networking:

If you’ve ever networked, you know that many adults have not outgrown this mode of communication.  To be persuasive most of what you say should be from the perspective of your listener.  Asking questions is a great way to form a conversation around the other person.  Certainly share about yourself, but turn the conversation back to the other person.  When you are in a group with a “monopolizer” take the lead and ask the quiet person a question.  Everyone will be grateful to you!

Look at your marketing material and elevator pitch! Shift the focus from “we” to “you”.

Example:  “We’ve been in business for 25 years” is less persuasive than “25 years in business means that you can count on us”.

“We have 24hr support staff, and award winning service” is less persuasive than “You’ll appreciate the convenience of our 24 hr staff, and our service will always leave you smiling.”

“I’m a consultant who has experience integrating systems to support custom design” is less persuasive than, “We can integrate a turnkey solution for your custom design that will deliver the results you need”.  The first generates a “so what?” reaction, while the second has a better chance of generating a “how?” reaction; or perhaps a discerning prospect may retort in a skeptical tone:  “Oh really . . . ?”  The key is, you have caused engagement; now you have an opportunity to continue the persuasion process.

Much more to follow.  Your thoughts?

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Cold Calling: What’s Stopping You?

Friday, April 4th, 2008

phoneFor most businesses there is no substitute for efficiency of cold calling.  Yes . . . networking, advertising, inbound-based marketing, SEO are all vitally important; but if you’re missing the cold calling component, chances are you’re missing out big time.

Carl Harvey is Target Intellect’s cold calling guru.  He makes a compelling case that lack of technique is not the issue; it’s simply a matter of “just doing it”.  In his book What’s Stopping You,  he indicates that even the best sales people tend to be weakest with cold calling.  They typically find other things to do including answering voicemail and email.  The issue is that by not having a systematic cold calling plan, they are ignoring vast potential for business generation.

In our research, the real reason we avoid cold calling is discomfort.  Very few people are truly impervious to rejection.  But, as Carl tells us, every time we retreat from our discomfort we make that task more imposing.

 

A simple question:  What would it mean to your business if you were calling on 100 prospects per week, and you had a system for quickly identifying their pain and making a plan for the next step? If you have a sales force, what would it mean if every member were consistently following the plan?

Step I:  Create a Word Document, and write down what you think you could achieve by having a successful and consistent cold calling program.  Save it under Cold Calling Success.  That’s it. 

Today, make a commitment to systematically follow the plans outlined in this blog to grow your business.  They work.  They have helped me build my company and they have helped my clients build theirs.

Small incremental steps will create a world of possibility for you; and I’m looking forward to joining you on that journey.

Please feel free to share your Step I answers on this blog.

 

 

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