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'

Do My Actions Scream ‘Valuable’

valuable enough to be on the team.”  I looked at the assembly of faces and thought ‘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

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 o the team and quoted the saying ‘Change your attitude and change your results

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?

Who do you prefer to be with?

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

Laughing Couple

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 … 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

Laughter is a serious matter. 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.

Reprint permission

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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How Can Changing Two Simple Words Change Your Day?

By Gregory Ferrett

Welcome to Monday

I ran out of moves on Candy Crush and was about to press the “try again?” button when I

What is the message you send to yourself each morning?

What is the message you send to yourself each morning?

noticed the message had changed to “give up?”

Being a person who never “Gives up” I felt challenged and for the first time ever I was seriously tempted to pay money to continue the game. The makers of the game, by simply changing two words, had reached out and pushed my emotional red button. I had to work hard to fight the emotion to keep up my commitment and never pay for lives.

I found it really interesting how a simple message could influence my decision by affecting my emotions which in turn affected my choice.

Is it possible this simple change from a positive to negative message could make me more inclined to make a certain decision?

Negativity Bias

Being positive is essential for well-being and success. When you are in a positive state of mind you generate a wealth of healing biochemical compounds. (see article How do laughing, kissing and closing a sale differ?)

To maintain a positive attitude we need to be careful about the messages we give to ourselves. Negative messages, such as fear of failing, can be a powerful motivator but more often they serve as a discouragement and can be harmful for your self-esteem and perception of self-value.

Research published in 2008 demonstrated the effect positive messages have over negative ones. This research shows it is not about the essence of the message but about the wording. A simple difference, as the one between “Don’t eat candy or you’ll get fat” and “Eat fruit and be slim” can produce incredible results.

Psychologists refer to this as the negativity bias. Negative messages tend to have a greater and more lasting impact and are easier to recall over a positive message. We also pay more attention to negative images, negative words and messages.

Newspapers, talk back radio and television news tend to highlight negative stories – especially in their promotion of upcoming programs or articles. Journalists look for the ‘dirt’ as they know this brings in viewers.

Why do negative messages work?

Negative messages trigger strong emotional responses by flooding your brain with chemicals to drive action. This emotion is forcing you to pay attention and be prepared for action. In the case of the change of message with the words “Give Up?” at the end of a Candy Crush game the words triggered a chemical response in my brain and I was being prepared for action. By ignoring the message I felt bad and was more likely to take some action, in this case pay money, to continue to play.

Feeding your mind positive messages triggers the chemicals that maintain a positive outlook about life and can inspire you and get you ready for action. Positive messages never contain phrases such as “don’t” or verbs that are associated with negativity. Positive messages push you towards giving your best. Negative messages, on the other hand, can discourage you and increase your level of stress, instead of promoting motivation and hard work. (read this paragraph again and you may feel your brain flipping with each sentence!)

What messages are you sending to yourself and others?

The difference in meaning between “try again” and “give up” is not great. The difference in emotion, however, is significant. The wording of “give up” is associated with defeat and makes you think less about yourself. “Try again”, on the other hand, suggests persistence and strong will.

All decisions are influenced by emotion, and our emotions can be easily affected by something as simple as the words used.

We need to be careful about the words we choose when we send messages to ourselves and others. Positive thinking and positive words will increase your mood. More importantly, those around you want to do business with positive and inspiring people. Choosing the right message will inspire you and your team to go on and be the best you can be.

Today’s question and actions

There are many ways negativity creeps into your life. To overcome this negativity we need a constant stream of positive messages.

Here are some ideas.

  • When you wake up each morning welcome the day with a “This is an awesome day” message.
  • Celebrate each of your wins and embrace positive feelings. Replay them in your mind to make sure you have them planted and rooted ready to grow.
  • Link a negative to a positive. When I am running I often feel like giving up, however, I have a strategy of linking the positive feeling I have at the end of the run and the extra creativity I get throughout the day as a result of the run – and all of a sudden I feel better!
  • Use sentences that start with “I can …” and “I will …”

Feeding your mind positive messages balances out the negativity the world throws at you. Take time to check the messages you are allowing to feed your mind.

Have a great week!

 

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Are you prospecting or just making noise?

By Gregory Ferrett

Welcome to Monday

Last week, as I started writing this article, the telephone rang. It was a sales rep from a fabric manufacturing and dyeing company.Cold Call Joy

I was on your website and wondered if you  use fabric in your business?’ he asked.

This had to be the dumbest opening line I have ever had spun to me. He had just visited the company website and saw what my wife’s business does – design fabric projects.

I tried to engage him in conversation about the business challenges we faced in getting quality fabrics into Australia, getting access to fabric designs before they hit the retail shops – but he was just not interested. He just wanted to dump fabric into a retail shop.

What he could not know is that one of his competitors invested time with our designers and is now selling bolts & bolts of fabric, at excellent margins, to dozens of retailers without even needing to make a sales call. My wife’s company designs products around their fabric and our retailers know they will sell every scrap of the fabric they buy for this pattern.

Prospecting is the key activity driving all sales activity yet it is also the one area sales people, and indeed everyone, have most difficulty with.  What this sales person thought they were doing was prospecting. What they were really doing was making noise hoping someone would eventually listen.

After 30 years in sales I still find prospecting hard. Wouldn’t it be great if we could go straight to the close?

Prospecting can be easy and highly motivating if you keep yourself focused on these three areas;

1. Set prospecting goals and expectations

Prospecting is all about finding people who will avoid pain or receive gain by using the products or services you sell.

In the story above the salesperson made a huge assumption that his role was to take orders from retailers. If he really knew his market he would address one of the real pains of being a retailer – dead stock. If he can show why every bolt of fabric he puts on the retailers shelf will sell he will have no trouble taking orders. In reality he is just an order taker.

When you have identified an individual that is facing challenges or looking to grow you have an opportunity to sell. Even if you get a call from someone who seems to be interested in buying your type of product, unless you can identify that what you are selling will remove a problem or help them achieve a goal, and your prospect agrees with this, they are not a prospect and you need to move on.

Only after you understand the individual’s problems or goals can you start to talk about what you sell. In services or larger projects selling may not start till you have made five or more calls!

2. Consistency

In my first ‘real’ selling role with Remington Office Equipment they taught the old school of prospecting for business – call on enough people and you get prospects. I would carry a card in my pocket and record every call made; the number of times I made a pitch; and finally how many demonstrations I did. There was a ‘magic’ number or 20:3:1 – and if you were not on target this was the number examined.

In today’s world we invest time in understanding the business needs our products and services overcome and we prospect to the business need.

I have seen many activities organised to help boost prospecting. They all work to some degree. Prospecting, however, is much like investing. Consistent and ongoing prospecting yields full sales funnels.

Many professionals and consultants I have coached tell me that they get too busy in their projects to make prospecting calls – and then complain when they experience the boom and bust syndrome!

Here is my rule of thumb. I never let a business day go by without prospecting someone I have never met before – even if I have to do this in a break during a training course – or after-hours. Fundamental to building a strong sales funnel is finding people with problems your products or services can overcome.

Prospecting takes only a few minutes to determine if the person you are talking to has a problem or challenge you might be able to help address. Just because someone says “That sounds like a good idea” does not mean they are a prospect. If they are not experiencing challenges or missing their goals do not waste your time. You can call them again in three months to see if the situation has changed – but you want to speak with people who are experiencing challenges today.

3. Invest in Data

Geology was one of my majors at University. I learned a lot about is the high cost of prospecting. Companies don’t just start drilling anywhere; they invest enormous amounts of money understanding the geological formations and predict exactly where a mineral deposit might be. i.e. all the conditions are right – but it might still be a dud. There is no telling until you drill down and determine what is there.

The same holds true when prospecting for opportunities. I am consistently surprised by the number of sales people who prospect  without a script and without doing their research.

If you knew that the ‘geology of the company’ showed what you had to offer overcame all the significant challenges an organisation faced, and that there was a potential order that would set your career up for the next five years, how much time would you invest in making sure you got to first base?

The Unspoken Question

Every time you make a prospecting call the unspoken question is always going to be “What reason do you have for taking up my valuable time?” If you can’t answer that question to your prospects satisfaction before you make an appointment, don’t count on that person being there.

Today’s question and actions

Today people need to be fully engaged within the first minute (or less) or they will switch off. Witness the “This show is crap” or “The service in this restaurant sucks” syndrome. Before you start your prospecting for the day ask these questions:

  • What are the two main reasons I think this person I am calling will benefit from what I have to offer?
  • Are you ready to listen to what the person says and be flexible in your response?
  • Are you prepared to quickly move on after a ‘No!’ It is not personal, just that they are not in the right frame of mind today.

Sales prospecting done right can have a huge impact on your sales revenue. It does not take an armor suit and great courage to deal with the fear of rejection during prospecting. Just keep an open mind to challenge the old school of sales and the myths of prospecting.

Have a great week!

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The Word a person uses is usually not what they mean … but can you decipher the real message?

By Gregory Ferrett

Welcome to Monday

On September 13th 2013 Voyager I became the first man-made object to leave the solar system.  Attached to the spaceship, on a gold disc, is greetings to other inhabitants of the universe in 55 languages from around the world.voyager-message-disc

Among them are a message in Welsh and six now extinct tongues.

  • The Welsh message translates to say: “Good health to you now and forever.”
  • The Chinese greeting invites those who find the disk to come and visit, while others give directions as to where we are.
  • Perhaps the most elaborate greeting is in Amoy, a dialect of Min Nan, which is spoken in parts of China and Taiwan.  It says: “Friends of space, how are you all? Have you eaten yet? Come visit us if you have time.”

Anticipation of a response from the messages on Voyager I, I imagine, is limited.

Cultural Communication Lens

I was working with Samsung Corporation in Seoul and running a number of workshops. As I asked questions of the participants and made some suggestions for them to consider I was met with a wall of inaction. Their most common response was “Maybe.”

I talked this over with my good friend Byoung-chul Min, author of the book ‘Ugly Koreans, Ugly Americans’. He reminded me Koreans do not like to  say “No, I do not think that is a good idea,” because they do not want to hurt my feelings. Coming from my culture, by not hearing a “No,” I assume the answer is “Yes.” Koreans are trained to try and do what the boss wants, no matter how impossible or ridiculous. In this case I was engaged by the boss as a consultant and they were trying to please their boss through me. Once I understood this I immediately started to interpret the use of the word “Maybe,” with “No.”

The project started to move ahead immediately!

The Full Spectrum

The visible spectrum of energy, the images we pick up with our eyes,  represents less than 0.001% of all the information the universe is trying to tell use. Science has developed specialised equipment to pick up x-rays, ultra-violet, infrared, microwaves and radio waves. The atmosphere is full of information if we just know which  equipment is required to pick it up and how to tune in. If you want to listen to punk rock you press a button and a radio station is tuned in. If you want to call a colleague you type in their number and they pick up your request on a microwave band.

How many pieces of information do you use to make a decision?

Psychologists today tell us the average person will make a decision on just two pieces of corroborating information. If three pieces of corroborating  information is offered, no matter how accurate (or inaccurate) that information is, will move a person from ‘likely to take action’ to’ certainty’.

What does this mean?

In every encounter we have with a new prospect we are presented with enormous amounts of data . We get this information verbally, by body language, cultural mannerism and other indirect prompts. We need to be sure we are listening to the whole story rather than the first two pieces of collaborating information.

It would be interesting to observe the reaction the first intelligent life has to the message carried on Voyager I.  Will they make a quick assessment of who we are? or will they ask more questions?

It is easy to listen to one or two pieces of information and make a call on the value of this person or their ability to make a decision. Listening to the hidden message as well as the words spoken will turn you into a communications champion.

Today’s question and actions

Observing signals like happy or sad; stressed or relaxed, are obvious. Investing time understanding the other signals people provide is pure gold.

  • Their demeanor is reserved – perhaps they are looking for a cautious approach
  • Their outgoing nature makes you like them straight away , but they will not make a decision – perhaps they are covering an insecurity
  • They are abrupt and dismissive –  Perhaps their ego needs stroking

Listening to words and using the lens of emotion can bring a whole new meaning to communication and understanding of what a prospect us really after.

Have a great week!

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