Dealstorming | Tim Sanders | Part 4

9781591848219It’s such a pain in the ass to go into an ‘open’ meeting where you think your voice is going to be heard and it’s not. You’ve been called upon to give your feedback and help fix a problem and you know you can help… but guess what! The facilitator has their own agenda and they just want the backing from everybody they invited to the meeting.

“It’s important that the team knows you didn’t come into the meeting set on any one idea. It’s also important that facilitators stay neutral as possible on ideas.1

Once again, Sander’s hits the nail on the head. The people you’re dealstorming with have to know that you’re open to ideas. That’s the whole point of holding a dealstorming session. Receiving feedback can be a hard pill to swallow sometimes, but people have to learn to put their egos aside for the greater good of the deal.

You can kiss your dealstorming team goodbye if they know you’re not neutral to ideas. You can also kiss your dealstorming team goodbye if all you do is call meeting and don’t put anything into action.

“This underscores an important point: the ideas from a dealstorm are worthless unless they are acted upon, analyzed, and improved.”2

It’s an absolute must that you have to follow up with the people afterwards. Between exiting a meeting with actionable steps and putting those steps into action, a lot will happen. You have to execute on your agenda! Confirming what the key take-aways were and what actionable items all the participants have. A lot of good stuff can happen after the meeting. Karen might be driving home from work and have a breakthrough idea. You want to make sure you’ve left the communication open with everybody on your team.

Analyzing everything is also key. It’s kinda like business development statistics. If I know I need to make X amount of calls to get Y amount of meeting to close Z amount of business… I better make more calls than X.

“Frank Lloyd Wright once wrote, ‘Get the habit of analysis – analysis will in time enable synthesis to come your habit of mind.’ His point was that if we take time to analyze our actions and their results, we’ll learn how to fold the old and the new into remarkable solutions.”3

Knowing the effectiveness of our effort will allow us to perform better. If we’re always analyzing what we do and what the results were, we’ll be able to work smarter. This goes hand in hand with every step of a sales cycle. You can analyze everything! As you continue to improve your processes and make things easier on yourself, give feedback to upper management. The times are always changing and the buyer is continuously evolving.

“Over the course of my dealstorm experience, I’ve seen countless improvements to a company’s way of selling and servicing accounts come from the process.”4

What better example than one from Sander’s? Collaboration and sharing improvements with coworkers makes life so much easier. If you’re doing something different and it works, give back to your team and let them know. You can make improvements with all sorts of things… how to prospect certain industries, what times of the day to call, how long to demo the products, where to meet for lunch, who to use as a testimonial… the list goes on depending on your location and what you’re selling.

“In many situations, your team will need to develop unexpected approaches to the sales challenge that are appropriate to the situation – the essence of creative thinking.”5

Like I said, with the ever evolving buyer, you may have to do something that you’ve never done before. The competition is always changing and you have to change as well. If you can continuously take new approaches to sales challenges, you could improve your sales organization as a whole. If you’ve found a way to overcome a recent sales challenge, leave a comment! I’d like to hear more about it.

 

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Dealstorming | Tim Sanders

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Everyone Communicates, Few Connect | John C. Maxwell | Part 2

Regardless of what industry you’re in, your job title, what you aspire to do, everybody wants to connect!

“Yes, people are people. And wherever you find them, they desire to connect with others!”1

And just like that, Maxwell drives home the point about connecting. One thing that this blurb makes me think about, is my time in Germany. If you’ve read my ‘about me‘ section, you will know that I lived there for 7 months. Going to festivals, beer halls and other outdoor activities, you often find yourself at a large table. Next thing you know, you’re talking with people from all over the city and country. I was connecting with people! I even connected with those people on Facebook and have been following their careers. It’s Insane!

“If you will first help people get what they want, they will help you get what you want” – Zig Ziglar2 “Connecting is never about me. It’s about the person whom I’m communicating”3

We’ve grown up doing everything we’ve ever wanted. It was all about me and I was going to do me, all the time. Me, Me, Me, I, I, I. That is the wrong mindset and you need to change. It’s all about the service of other people. Maybe you’re in sales, or the service industry… so you should know what I’m talking about! If you don’t, you’re doing it wrong. Help others get from point A to point B, and they will help you in return! Make sure they enjoy their metaphorical travels too.

If you’re seeking someone out; you know what you have to offer will bring value to them. If they’re seeking you out; they know what you have to offer and think it will bring value to them.

“To succeed in life, we must learn to work with and through others.”4

It’s plain, simple and to the point! When you needed help on a paper in school, who did you go to? When you needed help on your resume, who did you go to? If you’ve got questions at work and don’t know the answers, who do you ask? Look! You’re already connecting with people. You’re already working with and through others and you didn’t know it. Keep it up and make sure you help those people in return. You won’t get very far in life if you’re trying to figure everything out by yourself.

“… good relationships usually lead to good things: ideas, growth, partnerships, and more. People live better when they care about one another.”5

Maybe you knew this, maybe you didn’t. Stop looking at people as a means to sell them something! Connect with them and see where that partnership can go. Your numbers will follow if you truly care about helping others. Your numbers will be blown out of the water once that person tells their network about you. People want to work with people they trust. Build that relationship right the first time, and you’re setting yourself up for success.

An easy way to put it is: Service others the way you would like to be serviced. Maybe you’ve got a tough client… then ask how you can help.

“Nobody wants to be sold, but everyone wants to be helped.”6

It’s amazing how overlooked this famous sales quote is! With the information age upon us, people are able to do 75% of their research online before they make a purchase. This is where you have to be proactive and start providing value. Connect with people on different social platforms and share stories. Ask them, “How can I help you?” Maybe they don’t need your help right now, but they’ll definitely remember you when they do!

I connected with someone the other day on LinkedIn. Once we got past the introductions and small talk, I asked her how I could help. In a perfect world, she’d agree to a meeting to talk about her needs and buy my product. It’s not a perfect world… but we exchanged some really good emails and developed a relationship. She told me about her previous employer, whom is a competitor of mine. And now she has a connection in the HR & Payroll industry to keep her up to speed on changing laws.

Neither of us walked away with a sale… which is OKAY! We established a mutually beneficial connection and now have an additional resource in our arsenal for the future.

 

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Tim Ferriss | The 4-hour Workweek | Part 3

Prior to reading The “4-Hour Work Week”, I have never heard of the “80/20 principle”. The late Vilfredo Pareto takes full credit for this phenomenon. It is also called “Pareto’s Law” or “Pareto Distribution”.

“Pareto’s Law can be summarized as follows: 80% of the outputs result from 20% of the inputs.” or “80% of the results come from 20% of the effort and time.”1

This is a prime example that can be materialized within any role and within any organization. Spend time and energy on things that are going to give you the highest ROI. Cut out or minimize time spent on things that do not give you an ROI. If you’re spending hours answering complaints from people that don’t perform, it might be time to cut them. Better yet, let them know you’re changing your processes. (You get to choose your processes) Something that is important that goes well with this, is communication. Making your clients/co workers, etc, well aware that you’re doing the best you can and what changes they should expect in the future. You don’t always have to respond to their email right away!

There’s another law Ferriss brings to the table which will blow your mind. Remember in high school or college when you’d have a really important project due and you had 3 months to work on it? You’d typically start the weekend before it was due and you’d cram for 48 hours straight.

“Parkinsons’s Law dictates that a task will swell in (perceived) importance and complexity in relation to the time allotted for its completion.”2

I’m sure you’re kicking yourself at this point saying, “Wow. That’s what I’ve been doing these past X years when I’ve needed to get important things done.” You need to get better at time management and choosing which tasks are the most important. Set clear and short deadlines and remove all distractions. If it’s a ‘make or break’ type of situation, turn off your phone, stop checking email and get off social media. Remove the distractions!

Two questions that I think can really help you narrow down the most important tasks are:

“Am I being productive or just active?” And “Am I inventing things to do to avoid the important?3

We’re all guilty of doing things to avoid the important. It happens everyday. Especially being in the information age and always being connected to the internet. “OH, I got a ‘like’, someone Tweeted me, Oh a new LinkedIn connection.” Those things will distract you from what you’re trying to accomplish. I suggest removing the notifications on your phone for social media. I already know you click on your apps every hour anyways.

This is the perfect leeway into the next area of conversation; Distractions. Ferriss’s definition and plan of action is extremely in depth and worth the read. For someone that works more than 4-hours a week, I’m going to leave some of it out.

“Turn off the audible alert if you have one…”4

Every time you get some type of notification, it will throw a kink in your current task. Your attention will draw away from what you were doing and on to the notification. Even if you don’t act upon the notification, you’re still going to think about it. It goes the same for checking your email at 10PM at night. If you’re not going to respond, don’t bother checking. 90% of us aren’t working in a life or death situation… and if we were… they’d call us.

When it does come time to email people,

“Get in the habit of considering what ‘if . . . then’ actions an be proposed in any e-mail where you ask a questions.”5

That way, if they can’t have a meeting on a certain date, you have a second option or they can propose a time. The last thing you want is to go back in forth asking what time works best. During that process; set the stage and either provide an agenda or make them provide one. You don’t want to get on the phone and have nothing serious to talk about. You’d just be wasting time. Last but not least; have a time frame set in stone. Do not let the meeting go over the time allotted. Time is money and when you’re not utilizing your time well, you’re losing money.

A funny quote to wrap up a discussion on distractions is;

“Blaming idiots for interruptions is like blaming clowns for scaring children – they can’t help it. … Learn to recognize and fight the interruption impulse.”6

 

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Tim Ferriss | The 4-Hour Workweek | Part 2

Did you do something today that you feared yesterday? If not, go to part 1 and re-read the last paragraph!

“If you are insecure, guess what? The rest of the world is, too. Do not overestimate the competition and underestimate yourself. You are better than you think.”1

Push the envelope on everything! Set your goals higher than they’ve ever been. If you pick something that’s realistic, you’re only going to work towards average. This seems like a really obvious point to make, but have you actually tried it yet?! If you’ve read Stephen Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People“, you’ll have learned to begin with the end in mind. Figure out what you want, how bad you want it and then go get it!

The next part really gave me an “Ah-Ha” moment and I hope you can feel this too. From the age of 10, people always ask, what do you want to be when you grow up? What do you want to do for a living?

Who knows! Honestly… there aren’t a lot of people out there that actually know what they want to do. Then they say, “Do what makes your happy!” Well crap! I know what makes me happy, but how can I get compensated for it… It’s not that simple. What about that piece of paper I got for $130,000? Aren’t I supposed to have it all figured out after those 4+ years?

“When people suggest you follow your ‘passion’ or your ‘bliss,’ I propose that they are, in fact, referring to the same singular concept; excitement.”2

Re-read that! Do it again! “Ah-Ha”. That’s what we’ve been looking for all along. Now ask yourself, “What excites me?” Do you like working with people? Do you like managing people? Is start-up life exciting for you? Do yourself a favor and write down some questions. Then, try and answer them. You don’t need to thank me now.

“‘Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.’ – Samuel Beckett”3

This can really put things into perspective. Regardless of what line of work you’re in, you can’t be afraid to fail. If you’re afraid to fail, you’ll never get anywhere in life. Look at me… I started writing a blog. I’ve had my doubts ever since I started writing… but I’m not afraid to fail! There are all sorts of cliches out there about finding success after failing. So, I suggest, start failing! (Within reason)

“From this moment forward, remember this: What you do is infinitely more important than how you do it. Efficiency is still important, but it is useless unless applied to the right things.”4

I think that this is a very valid point. Get things done, but don’t sacrifice your brand or your company’s brand. This goes back to the ‘busy’ scenario.

“Doing something unimportant well does not make it important. Requiring a lot of time does not make a task important.”5

With those two sentences, you should be able to put more time back into your day doing things that matter. Strive for productivity towards things that matter. “I don’t care how you do it, just get it done.” (Within reason) That’s one of those popular quotes in movies or from your manager.

When it comes to sales, ask the successful sales people in your company what they do and how they do it. Don’t spend time recreating the wheel that someone successful has already created. Make changes to your liking and coin it as your own. It’s a huge compliment to your coworker and it will save you a lot of time.

 

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Tim Ferriss | The 4-Hour Workweek | Part 1

If you’ve ever stepped into a book store or asked someone what their favorite book is, you’ve definitely heard of “The 4-Hour Workweek”. This book will show you so many different creative ways to work smarter, get more done, and spend less time being ‘busy’. Here’s ANOTHER example of an author telling their readers to stop being ‘busy’.

Start differentiating yourself from everybody else. Ferriss uses the example of how he won the gold metal at the Chinese Kickboxing National Championship by

“… doing the uncommon within the rules.” 1

He had four weeks of preparation and walked away with gold. You’re probably thinking to yourself right now, “He must have cheated.” Nope, he didn’t cheat. He read the rules and found two unexploited opportunities that nobody had taken advantage of. Now his name is set in stone because he thought outside the box. The “Ah-Ha” moment is a reminder that you need to try something different. The outcome of that difference could save you time! Time is money and with more time in your day, you can do thing that you actually want to do.

“Less is not laziness.

Doing less meaningless work, so that you can focus on things of greater personal importance is NOT laziness. This is hard for most to accept, because our culture tends to reward personal sacrifice instead of personal productivity.” 2

WAIT! You mean that if I can work less hours but get more done, I’m going to be better off?! YES! If you know you only have 5 hours to get everything done, you’re going to bust your ass! We all know that if you HAVE to be at work for 9 hours (that includes lunch), you’re not going to work all 8 hours. That’s extremely difficult and you get burnt out fast. The times are changing and companies are starting to judge their people based on success rather than time spent at work.

A few years back, I worked at a company where I had to be at work for the full 9 hours. It took me an hour to get to work each day, so that makes 11. Technically, I spent 11 hours ‘working’. Ain’t that some crap. First off, I could have easily done that job from home and second off, I could have done the daily tasks in about 5 hours. Guess what I was doing the other 3 hours!! That’s right… I wasn’t working.

“Focus on being productive instead of busy”3

Boom! There it is. He uses his own examples of how he was busy and what he did to become unbusy. Currently, he is busy… traveling the world and doing what he wants to do. The incredible stuff he has written about in his book obviously makes sense to a lot of people. Check him out on Twitter (@tferriss)… He’s got over 1.3 Million followers. Do something different tomorrow that is going to allow you to be more productive than you were today.

“You’re afraid, just like the rest of the world”4

Wow… he’s right! When I first started with my new company, I was afraid to walk into a prospects business and introduce myself. After talking with ONE person, the fear was gone. Just like that. I was overthinking it, which we all do, and telling myself the prospect was going to shout at me and tell me the leave. Pffft, was I wrong. I recommend writing that on a sticky note and keeping it with you or putting it next to your phone. What’s the worst that could happen?

“Resolve to do one thing everyday that you fear”5

It’ll be the best thing you’ve done all year. Pick up the phone and ask for the CEO of a company. Tweet a celebrity. Do whatever you need to do to push your fear meter!

 

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