Can Work and Life be One Big Party?

By Gregory Ferrett

Welcome to Monday

Can Work and Life be One Big Party?

Can Work and Life be One Big Party?

I turned up at an investor function expecting an upbeat and exciting atmosphere. There was the standard fare of cheese, dips and a drink, however, the atmosphere was dry with little conversation. The promoter I have known for some time. In his private life he is a bit dry and not at all someone you would pick, at first glance, to be an ‘upfront’ person. One thing he did promote was can work and life be one big party

All of a sudden the atmosphere changed. The promoter walked in with a big smile and a manner infecting the room with energy.

So, what made this dry person so different at this function?

People buy from People

Nearly every relationship study shows the number one most important reason people like to be with people is they are FUN to be with and they establish an emotional connection. People enjoy being with people that make them feel good and having fun, having a good laugh together.

This is true for everything in life and especially in business. You may have a deep passion for a particular topic. While having a passion is good, if you turn this passion into the only thing you talk about you will gain a reputation for being intense; perhaps a bit of a bore or, worse, a zealot. Business owners and salespeople often get so caught up in what they sell, solving problems, meeting needs and identifying benefits that they forget to be the kind of person someone wants to be with and do business with.

Even if your client introduces a topic you are passionate about resist the adrenaline rush, listen to them and keep focused on enjoying being with them.

What about frivolity and foolishness?

Fun is about creating good feelings, not behaving in a way you’ll later regret. If your business is selling circus acts and entertainment your approach will be different to selling safety equipment. Leave university pranks and tasteless jokes at home. Even better, put them in the garbage bin.

Try turning foolishness in to fun instead. For example, if you dress up as a turkey to pass out information about safety you will probably not be taken seriously. However, dress up a turkey in a business suit and you have a very different message, “If you get gobble-gook from your safety consultant try calling someone who puts it in words you understand

Finding Fun in the Ordinary

Try to find humour in otherwise uncomfortable situations. Even tedious tasks such as making a cold call can benefit from an injection of fun. Most people hate making cold calls and most people, if not all, don’t like receiving cold calls. One thing you can do is acknowledge this and have some fun with it. Jokingly say to your prospect, “Don’t you just hate it when you get a cold call.”

One thing I do, when making calls to new organisations, goes something like this:

When the telephone is answered by the receptionist I listen carefully for their name (If they only use their company name this technique can work even better). I muster up all my positive energy and say, ‘Good morning Alcoa Reception, how are you this awesome day!’

I am continually surprised at how this statement, said in a positive way, injects energy into the person I am speaking with. All of a sudden I am having a positive and energetic conversation with someone I have never met before. As a consequence they assume I normally deal with someone at the office.

Using Discretion

I had a caller last week who was obviously using a script. I like to have fun with these sort of callers. When they came to the part where they asked me, “How are you today?” I made up a story.

‘Oh, I am just off to my wife’s funeral as she died when a drunk driver crashed into her car with both of our children in the back seat who are now in intensive care.’

The caller responded by saying, “I am glad to hear that, I am good as well.”

Not all situations call for light heartedness and not all people are receptive to jokes and anecdotes. If you are in business or a salesperson you always need to use discretion. Fun should be used as an appropriate response. If you’re faced with a client who’s in trouble and you start trying to make light of the situation your attempts at having fun are likely to backfire.

What made the presenter different at the investor function? They arrived with a spoonful of sugar, a positive feeling and a few great ‘one line’ statements ready to be said with enthusiasm. They walked in purposely and with confidence lighting up the atmosphere wherever they were.

So, can work and life be one big party? Perhaps not all the time but if you turn your work in to fun it makes life so much more interesting.

A strategy for fun

One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to build strong customer relationships is to develop a business strategy around fun. Mary Poppins puts this very well. In the song, ‘A spoonful of sugar’ the opening line goes, “In every job that must be done there is an element of fun, you find the fun and snap! The jobs a game.”

If you want to understand more about the chemistry of fun and laughter click this link. How do laughing, kissing and closing a sale differ?

If you enjoy what you do your customers are going to enjoy doing business with you. If you find your work tedious you need to ask the question ‘what can I do to add a spoonful of sugar?’

Today’s question and Actions

During this week write down three energizing questions you can use with prospects or people who walk in to your business premises and practice using them. Ask yourself;

    • What is it about your business or work environment that is fun?
    • Which words and phrases can you use to inject energy in to your relationship with other people?
    • When you walk in to a room what is one thing you can do to electrify the atmosphere?

Having fun and enjoying your work is the first step in building strong lasting business relationships.

Have a great week!

Greg

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You may be talking but what is the other person hearing?

By Gregory Ferrett

Welcome to Monday

Three old men conversation

You may be talking but what is the other person hearing?

We were in the yard playing a game of backyard cricket with some friends when we were starkly reminded you may be talking but what is the other person hearing. My son, about six at the time, was getting impatient waiting for his turn to bat. We could not get the batsman out. To everyone’s surprise he grabbed the ball and threw it over the fence into the next paddock. As you can imagine my natural reaction, and all the other ‘adults’ playing, was to chastise him. He broke into tears and ran into the house.

My wife came out shortly and asked “What is the rule about the batter being ‘out’ if the ball goes over the fence?”

Well – it appears my son had taken this rule literally “If the ball goes over the fence the batter is out” (or more commonly the ‘6 and out’ rule) and could not understand why we had yelled at him. He just wanted a turn at batting.

What Your Customer Hears is What You Said

The number one rule in communication is “What the other person hears is what you said“. I was trying to close an order for bespoke software development for a small direct mail company. I really wanted to close the deal that day so I opened my mouth and used words like “don’t worry about payment straight away, lets just get started”.

The deal was closed and the project started. I was surprised, however, when my financial controller called me into his office and informed me the account was 90 days overdue. He asked me “Did you say to this client they would not have to pay until the project was completed?”

What I had meant was payment would be in our normal terms, however, if he were to agree that day to proceed with the project we would not require a deposit with the order. What the client had heard was he would not have to pay until the project was completed. Fortunately this story had a happy ending.

When pressure and stress influence what you want to say it is tempting to try and shortcut a conversation without considering what the other person may be hearing. Being prepared for these conversations is important and will reduce the stress levels for the person you are trying to influence as well as your own. The more important a conversation the more preparation is required to ensure the message you deliver is understood.

Physics and communication

In physics there are a number of basic laws that can never be broken. One of these laws is Newtons Third Law of Motion “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

A good example is billiards. If you strike the cue ball in the same spot with the same force and it strikes the coloured ball in the same spot it will always respond in exactly the same way.  If you want to change the outcome you need to change the way you play the shot. A bit to one side, a bit of spin, strike the ball with more force and the balls will always respond in an orderly and predictable manner.

In the world of physics if you take one action there is always a predictable opposing action. Unless you understand and apply the laws of physics playing billiards will be a challenge.

In communication it is never so clear. Words you use with one person in one circumstance where there is an outstanding result may be a complete disaster in a different setting. Understanding their emotional style and state as well as their green and red buttons is critical.

Today’s question and action

What you say and the words you use, in every part of your life, can have a big impact on others. Take time to think your conversations through and ask the following questions;

  1. Do you prepare for important conversations or just let them happen?
  2. Do you consider what it is your customers might be hearing you say?
  3. Do you have a few relevant questions ready to check the message you have tried to communicate has been received?

When you have something important to communicate take time to think about what you are saying so when you hit the cue ball in the right spot with the right spin the coloured balls go in the pockets.

Of course, you can head over and get the book “Selling to the Seven Emotional Buying Styles” and get a better understanding of the emotional being you are dealing with.

Have a great week!

 

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Why is it some people seem to win all the time?

By Gregory Ferrett

Welcome to Monday

Why is it some people seem to win all the time?

I was ready to make my first fortune in high school when I ordered a book in which the author promised they would reveal to me their secret of success, why is it some people seem to win all the time and how they made their fortune. The promise was, if I just copied them, I could do it as well. The message? Write a book like the one I had just ordered and sell it to other suckers like me. I must admit to being a lot disappointed.

While I have moved on, I don’t think I will ever stop looking and being tempted by the get rich schemes. What is really sad, however, is millions of people still think that ‘if only’ they could uncover the secret they could earn big without needing to work.

 

With experience I have come to understand there are no quick fixes in life. Yes, if you work hard you sometimes do get some lucky breaks. This is not just in business or sales but in every area of life including health and relationships

Sales and Fitness

I was inspired by my super fit 20 something nephews to get off the couch and made a commitment in January to complete the ‘couch to 5K’ running program. Being on the wrong side of 60 I had a lot of skeptical people around me, especially since I was seriously overweight and could only run a few steps before being puffed out.

As I run and my body gets close to its physical limit I get tempted to stop and give up. When this happens I remind myself of today’s goal and how far I have come and I manage to stay the course. The key, of course, is a carefully planned program with achievable goals. If I set my goals too high and miss one or more of my goals my motivation plummets.

Here I am in week six of a nine week program. Yesterday I managed to complete my first non-stop 3km run. I can feel the difference in my health, my mental ability and stamina in general and look forward to achieving the planned result.

Rome lost every battle but won the war

I have always been intrigued by the long running Punic wars between Rome and Carthage. Hannibal decided to end the war with one big and decisive battle. He took his armies and thirty or so elephants the long way around to Italy planning to conquer the Roman capital. The Roman counter strategy was to engage Hannibal in many smaller battles on the way. While the Roman’s lost every one of these smaller battles, Hannibal was so weakened he did not have the strength to conquer the Capital and despite winning every battle lost the war.

Sale won through fitness

I was approaching the end of a sales campaign for a major implementation of the PeopleSoft  financials and Maximo plant maintenance application. Our key competitor, SAP, realised they were unlikely to win and decided to bring in one of their best closers on the deal. Being alerted to the change in tactics by an insider I met with the partner of PwC I reported to and said “Wayne, we are going to go on one of the most expensive sales calls ever. We will be traveling to Auckland, meeting with the CEO for 30 minutes and coming home.”

I re-examined every aspect of the sale and concluded everything had been done correctly. We were just being challenged by a big player wanting to win without doing the right preparation. As we went into the meeting I reminded Wayne “You are not to talk about technology or price, only about his business and the results he will get following our plan.” We were given 90 minutes, 60 minutes more than we were allocated, and by the time we arrived back in Australia the CEO had already called Wayne to talk about another potential project.

This was a ‘big break’ for me. The big break was a result of doing what I do in my running program, focusing on doing the right thing every day.

By taking the time to develop the right muscles, the right experience, the right knowledge, the right relationships and the right character you may not win every battle, however, you can achieve remarkable things.  If you are always looking for the easy way, the big break or get-rich-quick outcome life and success can easily pass you by.

Today’s question and actions

Why is it some people seem to win all the time? What are you doing every day to develop your muscles, your character, your relationships? Here are a couple of things you can do;

    • Read, or listen to the audio, of at least one chapter of a business or sales book every weekday.  By doing this you will develop the habit of being a lifelong learner and within three years you will have the equivalent of a sales or business degree.
    • Set yourself daily, weekly and monthly goals and celebrate every win. Share the wins with your colleagues and business people around you generating an enthusiastic team.

Sun Tzu, in his book ‘The Art of War’, says “Excellence lies not in winning every battle, but in defeating the enemy without ever fighting“.

Take the time to develop your skills and do the right things in life. the effort is well worth it because it will yield to you the ability to surmount any obstacle that comes your way.  In the end others will point to you and say “Look at her – she made her fortune overnight” and you will smile knowing the effort it really takes.

Have a great week!

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Permission is granted to reprint this article with the condition it is republished unedited and in full with full attribution to the author and the authors bio. Please provide a link to the reprint to the following email; greg.ferrett@mondaymotivationalmoment.com

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Are You Valuable?

By Gregory Ferrett

Welcome to Monday

I had just finished my degree and been hired by Honeywell as a trainee sales rep. I arrived late to a sales meeting. I felt the daggers from my sales manager as I walked into the room. He stood up and said “Ferrett, I want you to convince everyone in the room you are

Do My My Actions Scream 'Valuable'

Are you valuable? Do your actions scream ‘Valuable’

valuable enough to be on the team.”  I looked at the assembly of faces and thought ‘Are you Valuable?’ ‘What is it that makes me valuable?’ I survived that day. However, this experience taught me a valuable lesson very early in my sales career. Every day I ask myself “What is the value I bring to the people around me?”

    • Do people talk about me and my work in a positive way?
    • Do people want me as a part of their team?
    • Are people concerned at the thought of losing me to a competitor?
    • Are my customers excited about referring me to their colleagues?

I want my actions to scream ‘valuable’ without me needing to say it. As a salesperson or business owner this is where you want to be.  Who do you deal with every day that helps build your business?

    • Your suppliers
    • Customers
    • Colleagues
    • Business partners
    • Others in your industry

The one thing that creates true economic growth and job security is the value you create for others.

The Fundamentals of Sales Value

When pressed most sales people and business owners I coach will say the most valuable thing they do is close sales. While I can not disagree closing sales is a vital part of the job, a sale will only close when the person you are selling to sees the value of what you are selling is greater than the price you are asking them to pay. As a salesperson or business owner there are many things which contribute to your professional value. The fundamentals for salespeople begin with the following:

Customers, Suppliers and Business Partners

    • How well do you and your product / service help them meet their perceived need?
    • Are you helping them maintain a competitive advantage?
    • Do they enjoy working with you?
    • Do they call to discuss business ideas with you? Do you call them to provide ideas?

Internally

    • Are you meeting and exceeding sales and activity goals
    • Are you a positive and inspiring member of the team?
    • Do others like to work with you?
    • Are you an expert in your product or service and industry?

Are you valuable?  You most certainly are. With a little effort you can begin to understand the value and continue to hone the value into a powerful resource for yourself, your team and your business.

Today’s question and action

Are you valuable? What is your value?

This week set aside 30 minutes to have a coffee with yourself and ask these four questions

  1. What can I do to add value to my customers?
  2. Why is it people want me to be on their team?
  3. How can I become a more valuable resource in my industry?
  4. Who do I need to maintain a connection with to build strong  teams?

Review your answers and create an action plan to improve in each area where you feel you should. Then ask When do I need to do this? I hope your answer in NOW!

Have a great week!

Greg

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Can you measure the results of a positive attitude?

By Gregory Ferrett

Welcome to Monday.

After the first day of a trade show one of my friends called me. “Everyone is going terrible. I can’t believe we decided to invest in this show – and we have three more days to go!”

We had discussed the show before the event and she was really looking forward to the event. I knew how much they had invested and the amount of stock they had to move to get set up.

We spent about 30 minutes working on a few specific things she and her team could do. I reminded her of the importance of maintaining her own positive attitude as the leader of the team and quoted the saying ‘Change your attitude and change your results‘. I thought to myself, this will be a real test to see if you can you measure the results of a positive attitude?

She was sceptical, however made a commitment to try just two ideas we discussed the next day.

When she called the next evening she was a changed person.

Greg, you can not imagine how unbelievable today has been,” were her first words when I answered the call. “The average order size has doubled and today we have sold more than from any trade show before.”

What about all their neighbors stands?

Nothing had changed for them. They had similar products, however, not even going to recover the cost of attending.

Gandhi admonished, “Men often become what they believe themselves to be. If I believe I cannot do something, the belief makes me incapable of doing it. But when I believe I can, then I acquire the ability to do it, even if I didn’t have it at the beginning.”

Who do you prefer to deal with?

A relative of ours is extending their home.

Who Do You Prefer To Be With?

Can you measure the results of a positive attitude?

The plumber engaged by the builder to put the new roof on the extension taught me and my relatives some juicy new words that I would find difficult to use even at the football! His entire day was invested in telling stories of how he could not get on with his family, why the world was terrible, and why his wife of less than one year left him.

His final complaint was that he found it difficult to get more than one job from a builder. I tried some careful coaching and he responded “Mate, I do a fantastic job and have great relationships”. I left him in his misery.

Ask this question of yourself. If you had your choice, which would you rather buy from.

A person who finds obstacles e.g. “I don’t know if we can get that product in time for you?”

OR

A person who is excited about their organisation and what they could do to help you achieve your goals? e.g. “This is exactly the product to meet your needs – I will make sure it is there when you need it”.

This may sound trivial. There is a world of difference in your clients mind.

Simple Strategies to Change Your Attitude

Attitude can be as simple as changing your focus. Here is a simple example;

You race into the car park a few minutes late cursing the idiot who cut you off as you tried to run a yellow light. You have been listening to talk-back radio with callers complaining about the most trivial of matters. You are agitated and race into your prospects’ office.

Your prospect asks, “How are you?”

You respond automatically with your subconscious crafting words reflecting your mental state. Your prospect, subconsciously reflecting your attitude, goes into the same ‘negative’ mental state and you end up wondering why you even bothered calling.

Rewind …

This time you stop for a few minutes to reflect on your prospects’ business and your own objectives for this call. You had a motivational speaker on in the background as you drove there.

This time, when your prospect says “How are you?” you respond saying, “Bob, I am really happy to be able to meet with you today. I have some exciting news about potential solutions to overcome the business issues we discussed at our last meeting.” Your client, subconsciously, goes into an expectant frame of mind and you have a fantastic meeting.

So, can you measure the result of a positive attitude?

You sure can – and there have been many studies done to support this.

Recent research has shown that 94% of income earned by salespeople is made by just 7% of salespeople!

And why do people do business with this 7%? Research again tells us it is because they are great people to be around. Not noisy gongs or complainers.

Your attitude is where the biggest difference can be made. I have witnessed people transform their sales career with simple changes to the way they talk to themselves first, and then to others around them.

In the case of the industry trade show changing the teams attitude doubled their sales in one day and changed the outcome of the show. Most of the companies attending were happy to focus on the negatives – and they lived out this self fulfilling prophecy.

Where do YOU fit?

Today’s question and Actions

Do you want to be in the 7%?

    • Examine your words carefully. If there is even a HINT of being negative your subconscious will pick this up and act on it.
    • Ask your colleagues to listen into your telephone conversations and start recording your sales calls. If you hear things like “I can’t …” or “The company will never …” creeping into your conversation, create alternatives to use.
    • Put a ‘swear elephant’ on your desk (or any shape of money box) and put $2 in every time you catch yourself using certain words.

Before every appointment, even if you are a bit late, stop and make sure you have a plan to start the conversation off in a positive way. Once a conversation starts, especially a first conversation, it is tough to pull the energy level up once the negative things start.

Have a great week!

Greg

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How do laughing, kissing and closing a sale differ?

By Gregory Ferrett

Welcome to Monday

In the film “She’s the Man” Viola, dressed as a man,

Laughing Couple

How do laughing, kissing and closing a sale differ?

is coaching Duke on how to get a woman to like him. She says “If you can get a girl to laugh she will fall in love with you…?”

This line stood out to me as laughing is the one thing that breaks down barriers   It made me think … how do laughing, kissing and closing a sale differ? What is it about laughing that opens a persons mind to make a decision? And how relevant is this in other life activities?

Laughter is one of the few activities which can change the chemistry of the whole body. A hearty well developed laugh provides input into three areas of the body;

Energy

Laughter is the simplest and best way to quickly recharge energy reserves. (You can read more about the energy in my article ‘What can you do when you hit the wall and nothing seems to be working’)

Chemical

When you laugh, you generate a wealth of healing biochemical compounds. Deepak Chopra says “…your body can produce any drug you can buy from your chemist or drug store…” and one short burst of laughter can produce the life saving chemicals which drug companies sell for thousands of dollars. When you laugh your cortisol and catecholamine levels reduce and the left and right side of your brain come back into electrical balance.

Physical

Laughter helps circulate lymph fluid and helps your organs by removing waste products, increasing your body’s ability to fight infection. Laughter also increases oxygen supply allowing your body to generate more energy. Higher levels of oxygen produce a natural ‘high’. Laughter, especially outrageous laughter, can give your body a real workout.

What about kissing and closing a sale?

There are a few high stress activities in life. Two of the items right up there are making a decision to buy something (especially something expensive) and closing in on that first kiss with someone you really like.

As it turns out laughter affects the brain and body in much the same way to reduce stress for both these activities.

One side of the brain is saying “You can do better than this”; or “Lets look at more options before we make a decision”.

The other side of the brain is saying “I like the way the colour will look in the living room”, or “I wish he would just get with it and kiss me”.

As the brain considers the ‘will I or won’t I’ statements each side of the brain produces a small electrical charge, one side (+) positive and the other (-) negative. This ‘battle’ in the brain of the positive and negative creates an imbalance of electrical charge and we experience this as stress.  A good laugh discharges this imbalance. By helping a person laugh this barrier is reduced with the two sides of the brain coming back into balance.

Viola was right. If Duke could get the girl to laugh her barriers will come down as her brain comes into balance. Even if these barriers were raised by months of bad behaviour, a single session of laughter can bring all the barriers down.

This is exactly the same thing that happens in a sale. If a salesperson or business owner can reduce the stress being experienced by the buyer using laughter all the barriers come down. It is then just a matter of handling the real objections to getting a decision finalised.

Today’s question and action

So. how do laughing, kissing and closing a sale differ? Laughter is a serious matter for all three. Here are some things you can do to help.

  1. Be prepared with a series of really funny stories. Like I say to my mother “Never let the facts get in the way of a good yarn”.  Practice them and use them appropriately – you will find people start to respond to you better as you develop your library of humorous stories.
  2. Do you present your product overly passionately?  You may be surprised to find your intensity creating tension or stress.  Make it into a point of laughter, with the joke being on yourself, and the watch the process move ahead.

The more you allow fun into your life you will be surprised at how more people will listen and allow themselves to be influenced by you.

Have a great week!

Exceptional Sales Performance

P.S. More inspiration on our BLOG here.

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Permission is granted to reprint this article with the condition it is republished unedited and in full with full attribution to the author and the authors bio. Please provide a link to the reprint to the following email; greg.ferrett@exceptionalsales.com.au

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What can you do when you ‘hit the wall’ and nothing seems to be Working?

By Gregory Ferrett

Welcome to Monday

Some Monday’s I wake up and no matter what I seem to do I just can’t get going. Other times I get to Thursday and my energy is just gone.

Finishing line - London Olympics Mens Marathon

Finishing line – London Olympics Marathon

I find being in Business or selling can be much like running a marathon. You are doing lots of things all the time and sometimes, like a long distance runner, your body and mind can become overwhelmed and you ‘hit the wall’.

Dick Beardsley, a marathon runner, speaking of hitting ‘The Wall’ said, “It felt like an elephant had jumped out of a tree onto my shoulders and was making me carry it the rest of the way in”

There are three types of energy powering your life. When one, or more, of these energy sources is running low you face ‘the wall’. Fortunately these energy sources are linked and there are simple strategies to get you moving again.

Powerhouse 1 – chemical energy

This is the physical energy your body stores up to run your body each day. Even when you are doing nothing your body consumes vast amounts of chemical energy pumping your blood, digesting your food and maintaining the cells which make up your body.

Powerhouse 2 – emotional energy

This is the energy of enthusiasm that brings joy to life. The smile of a child, the feeling of love, the happiness you feel when your football team wins. Everything you say and do is impacted by your emotional energy, either positive of negative.

Powerhouse 3 – mental energy

This is the energy of creativity. When you set a goal without knowing how to achieve it you use mental energy. You use energy solve problems, make decisions, write reports. In fact, your mental energy resources are a major determinant in the quality of life you have. If you have a goal and have no defined way of achieving it you will continue to drain your mental energy reserves until you have a plan.

Each of these energy sources is closely linked to the other two.

    • One five minute uncontrolled outburst of anger (negative emotional energy) can burn up the same amount as an eight hour day of physical energy.
    • One 30 minute walk (chemical energy) can create the same amount of mental energy used in a full day of work shopping the sales plan for the next year
    • Receiving a phone call (because you sent them a flower perhaps?) from someone you love (emotional energy) just before a physical challenge or tough mental assignment can recharge both of these energy sources.

When I ‘hit the wall’ and nothing else is working I stop and ask myself “Which of my three energy sources is dragging me down?”

Usually the answer is obvious.

    • It could be I have not taken the time to build up my physical reserve
    • It could be I have not been spending enough time with people I care about, or
    • I have set my goals in a way I can’t achieve wins along the way.

Today’s question and actions

Are there times when you ‘hit the wall’ and you feel the elephant on your shoulders? Here are some things you can do to help.

  1. Get out of the 9 to 5 mentality and decide ‘now is the time’. Stopping a workshop at 10AM for a 30 minute walk is much smarter than wasting a day of planning.
  2. Know you body chemistry. Start the day with a good nutritious meal. Replenish your body chemistry regularly with a balanced diet so you can keep your physical energy at high levels.
  3. Build your emotional energy by spending time with people who appreciate you. Stop and ‘smell the roses’ and allow time to enjoy your life.

Check out ‘How do laughing, kissing and closing a sale differ?‘ for other ideas to generate energy in your life.

The more energy you have, the happier and more productive you will be.

Have a great week!

Greg

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Can Taking the Road Less Travelled Make a Difference?

By Gregory Ferrett

Welcome to Monday

I took the road less traveled and that has made all the difference” Robert Frost

In his poem ‘The Road Not Taken’ Robert Frost spends most of the day contemplating a fork in the road trying to decide which one to take. He observes most people take the well worn path, the sure way. This is the same in business and sales. We look to see what works

The Road Less Travelled

The Road Less Traveled

and use this idea ourselves. Can taking the road less traveled, however, help establish a business or make better sales?

I was picking my parents up at the airport last week. On the way out we joined a very long line to pay for our parking. I was interested in this as there were two machines where you could pay for parking, but for some reason there was no one lined up at the other machine.

The second machine looked to be working so, being a bit of a maverick, and seeing there would be a long delay waiting in line, I decided I would try it. As I was about to move over, however, the person in front of me said “I wouldn’t try it, mate. It wasn’t working this morning as well.”

I saw the line stretching out the door behind me and I relented not wanting to loose my position in line.

I waited a few more minutes as a few people looked with longing at the other ticket machine with not a sole in line – but no one dared make a move.

I could see the video display on the machine seemed to be working normally, but my mind kept saying to me ‘there must be something wrong if there is over a hundred people lined up here and no one there’.

This was ridiculous. I plucked up my courage and all my parents’ luggage and walked over to the machine and paid for our parking. You guessed it; within a few seconds there was a mad rush to get to the front of the line for this machine now it was obviously working.

The world is full of naysayers and people who line up with the crowd.

When you are building a business or selling it is your courage to be a bit different, to set yourself apart that creates the value for you and your clients.

I had just started working for an Australian systems integrator and observed one of their long term clients, a subsidiary of a global resources organization, had spent nothing with them for sometime. During one of our sales meetings I asked if I could have this account. When the laughter in the room died down and I was asked if I was sure I wanted this account with no potential I said “Sure, a company that size always has a requirement for our type of services. You just need to help them discover it.”

My first visit to this account confirmed what my colleagues had said. They had signed a global deal to implement a new  enterprise wide system at head office and their Australian subsidiary was to be an early adopter. After meeting a few of the local players and understanding the business better I discovered the Australian operation was the only part of the global organization running well and they were concerned this very expensive project was going to drive them to the wall.

Here I had an Australian manager, being paid based on profitability of the local subsidiary, being told to accept an expense that would take money from his bonus – perhaps even all of it. Together we put a plan that would allow him to meet the global objectives of the company as well as keep his local costs reasonable. Instead of spending tens on millions with an overseas company he invested hundreds of thousands with a local company.

At the end of the year this company no one wanted as an account, who I was laughed at for asking to take it on, was again in the top five client list in terms of revenue and number one in terms of profit.

Can taking the road less traveled make a difference? It sure can. And it can be very profitable as well as there are fewer competitors and clearer measures of success.

Today’s question and Actions

The next time there is a decision to be made ask yourself, “What can I do differently to make what I do stand out?”

    •  Make it a habit of always look for one more alternative.
    • Pose a contrarian view to help see other potential ways of doing things.

Being different does not always mean you will be better off. Taking the road less traveled, however, can make all the difference.

Have a great week.

Greg

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Overwhelm in business and sales can be disastrous if not treated immediately

By Gregory Ferrett

Welcome to Monday

Christmas and New Year have just gone and a new week is just around the corner. I survived all the parties and family gatherings & my list of things I have to achieve this year is sitting in front of me laughing. This particular Saturday I was so stressed with a feeling of overwhelm I could hardly move. What to do?

overwhelmed

In business and sales overwhelm like this is probably the most common cause of stress and, without attention, can lead to business failure and poor sales performance.

I am a bit of a workaholic so getting going about 6AM and working well past midnight every night is normal. No matter how many hours in, however, I was just getting further behind. There are just so many hours you can put in. It was affecting my personal life and health. Even small things seemed too much to handle.

My colleagues would say things like ‘Having so much business is a great problem to have’.

It would have been so easy to just check out for a week or two.

I had to take action.

I took a BIG piece of paper and started to make lists. Work lists, personal lists, family lists and goals. As I wrote I started to remember things I had forgotten and promises I had made to clients long forgotten. It was an enormous list … and when I looked at it there was one obvious conclusion. I needed help.

I took a leaf from Brain Tracy, in his classic time management series, where he advised “If the activity you have on your list can be outsourced for less than what you are earning an hour then outsource it”.

I got out my highlighter pens and started to colour code the tasks. I found

  • a large number of financial tasks I could easily hand ball to a bookkeeper or accountant
  • Goals which would never be achieved if I did not engage someone else to take charge
  • Admin tasks I was doing which I was too afraid to let go of to my admin team

As I sorted the tasks and made decisions on how to deal with them my feeling of overwhelm started to dissipate and I could see my way out the other side.

The best part was results started going through the roof by doing less.

Today’s question and actions

Do you feel like day to day tasks are overwhelming you and standing in the way of achieving greater things? Here are a few things to try;

  • Go to a quiet place where you will not be disturbed and list everything you feel you need to do, no matter how trivial.

Look at your list objectively and for each item ask yourself

  • Is this true?
  • Can I get someone else to do it?
  • Has anything change? And if so how is this different from last week or last month?
  • What will happen if this does not get done today? This week? This Month?

You just need a clear picture of what is important and what is not

Take action

For every item on your list, you want to take one of three courses of action:

  • What is the most valuable thing you can you do in the time you have available?
  • What are you going to delete or delay?
  • What can you delegate?

You may have to let go of a few things, however, as you let go and engage others you will be surprised at how much more will get done and how much better business will be and how much more you will enjoy life.

Have a great week!

 

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Why Scars Make Life So Much More Interesting

By Gregory Ferrett

Welcome to Monday

Last week I had a few cancerous skin spots removed – one of them on my face.Scar Story

The doctor, when explaining the procedure, told me how much skin they needed to cut outside the cancer, how long the cut would be and the direction they would cut the skin to minimise the scar on my face.

While a scar on my face does not really concern me, it got me to thinking about scars and the stories behind each one.

Linda Hogan says it well “Some people see scars, and it is wounding they remember. To me they are proof of the fact there is healing

As a child scars are our marks of experience. Children brag about their scars and share stories. My scars include a finger sewn back on when it was severed in a door, an appendix removed in a third world country, a wrist cut when I slipped with a knife harvesting grapes and numerous cancer spots.

Airbrush of life

As adults we go to a lot of effort to hide scars and imperfections. The internet is full of discussions like ‘How do I put a value on a scar for a lawsuit” (google this phrase for examples) with the focus being on ‘who is to blame’ and the ‘emotional or career damage’ a scar causes.

The Oscars is a time when movie stars arrive to display their ‘perfection’ on the red carpet. Grouch Marx, when commenting on one movie star, said “She got her good looks from her father … he was a plastic surgeon”. To me it’s obvious when someone has spent too much time having their blemishes removed and I wonder about what is really going on in tier life. My father in law used to say “She has had so many face lifts when she raises her eyebrows her toes curl!”

Scars Define Who You are

Everyone’s life is full of scars. When I am coaching people I look for the scars. The road bumps of life. They can be emotional, physical and sometime spiritual. Most people are reluctant to share and want to put up a veneer of perfection. It is not until we start having discussions about the scars and sharing what our lives are about when coaching starts.
In business and sales we want to hide the bad reference, we avoid talking about failures, in fear people may not want to do business with us. We try and paint the perfect picture of who we are and what our business is and can do. A bit like airbrushing our photograph or having plastic surgery.

Scars are your war stories, the experiences of life that make you interesting, that make your business interesting. I like to hear the stories of individuals and businesses and where they have struggled and won through. The contracts won and lost, the projects where their business was put at risk and won through.

Own your story

My father, a history teacher, says “never let the facts get in the way of a good story”. The real meaning behind this is letting the stories of your life take meaning. A story with just the facts is boring. A story about a life experience, the lessons learned and how you responded is so much more interesting. Embellish the story with humour and colour. It is not that you are covering things up – you are sharing your life’s story and learning in an interesting and meaningful way.

It is exactly the same in business.

My father in law was a fabric dyer. He tells the story of a client who insisted on using a particular chemical process with a natural fibre. He knew it would not work the way his client wanted, however, the client was insistent. He then shared a story with his client about how the same plan to turn the fabric into a deep shade of blue ended up looking like a ‘tie dyed mess’ and after a few laughs relented and allowed him to use a different chemical process.

He had used the scar and an embellished humorous story (probably not so humorous at the time) to engage with his client, build rapport and close a sale.

Scars and imperfections are a part of every life. It is what makes you who you are. What you make of them defines who you will be.

Today’s question and actions

What are the scars in you life? Your business? Your career?

1. How can you turn this experience into an engaging story?
2. What are the lessons you learned?
3. What are the positive messages you can attached to the story.

The experiences of life can cause scaring. It is the way you respond to those experiences that create you as an individual.

Have a great week!

 

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