Month: September 2018

Building Relationships #1

Not step one, and not necessarily the most important, although most certainly top 5.

Do what you say your going to do.

  • Manage expectations.
    • Don’t be overly optimistic, be realistic. 
  • Don’t make promises about things you can’t directly control.
  • If you think it will take a week don’t promise a week, give yourself a buffer. 
  • Communicate, Communicate, Communicate.
  • Don’t be late, if Siri says you’ll be there in 10 minutes let your party know you’ll be there in 15 minutes. 

I know there’s more but you get the point. What am I missing? 

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My Favorite Tools

We live in an amazing time. So many great tools for keeping your ducks in a row. Whether your a digital or analog person there is a solution to keep you organized and on top of things.

I like digital tools because I can access them across multiple devices and platforms. Here are the tools I use to stay organized and help me keep my promises.

  1. Todoist I don’t know if I’d say it’s the best to do list. I haven’t used them all and I’m not really a fan of to do lists overall. (more on this later) I use it mostly for recurring tasks. I used the paid version for awhile but the free version works perfectly well. 
  2. DropBox This is one of the few tools I pay for. $99.00 a year gives me a TB of space which I can access from any device, any platform, any place, anytime. For the things I need access to from anywhere or want to never lose this is the best, and I have used them all.
  3. Google Calendar synced with my iPhone. If it’s not in my calendar it doesn’t exist. There are many others, I’ve just been using google calendar for so long and there is no reason to change.
  4. Kiwi for Gmail Love this app for my macbook. I used to use gmail online but I like having a desktop email client and this is the one I like best. 
  5. Native iPhone apps. I used to be a big PC guy but keeping them running was a full time job. Several years ago a friend gave me an old G4 and I’ve never looked back. Everything syncs, everything works, and I spend zero time cleaning it up or maintaining it. 
  6. Best Self Journal This one surprises people when I tell them about it. I mentioned I’m a digital guy but I love my best self journal. It’s a way for me to take time in the evening to reflect on today and plan tomorrow. In the morning I review my time blocks and my top 3 goals and priorities. It reminds me to be grateful and helps me to remember the big picture while planning the details. 

I used to use Insightly CRM but they changed the interface and ruined it. So I’m trying out several:
Less Annoying CRM I like this one. It’s not free but very simple. probably the front runner so far.
Zoho CRM It’s not bad but missing a few things I would like and way more stuff than I need, but it’s free.
CLOZE A lot to like about this one but the nice features are on the paid side. I’m considering it. 
HubSpot This one I’m just looking into. I’ll keep you posted.

Let me know what you’re using. I’m always on the lookout for things that are cheap, easy, and just work. 

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What is Relational Selling?

Let’s start with what it’s not. 

Relational selling is not being so nice to your prospect that they fall at your feet and beg you to buy your product.

There are very few things in life that are all “this” and none of “that”. Relational selling, from my perspective, is not all “How to Win Friends and Influence People“, and the salespeople with the best results are not all “The Challenger Sale“. The very best, those with sustained, consistent results, are both and. 

Relational selling means you work through the sales cycle while focusing on the needs of the person in front of the sale. 

When I first started in insurance sales in the early 90’s one of the other newbies in our group would always have more appointments than anyone else, by far. But over the following weeks he had no sales. What we found was that he was building lots of relationships but never adding value or asking for the sale. He didn’t last 90 days. 

The other extreme is the person who has several trial closes, asks for the sale 7 times, and won’t leave without a yes. He puts up great numbers early but those purchasers never answer his calls again. Congratulations you completed a transaction but you didn’t gain a client, or an advocate. Your number one source of new business is referrals from existing clients. If your focused on a transaction you are sacrificing a career for a sale and limiting the big picture. 

The best salespeople I have been around are very relational. They also believe strongly in their solution, care deeply about people, and are intentional about helping connect people with solutions. 

The Rain Group has studied over 700 B2B purchases from the buyers perspective and this is what they found:
Sales Winners:

  1. Connect
    • Sellers connect the dots between buyers’ needs and solutions they offer.
    • Sellers connect with people by listening to buyers and connecting with them personally.
  2. Convince
    • Sellers persuade buyers they will achieve worthwhile results.
    • Sellers minimize the perception of risk by demonstrating experience, building trust, and inspiring confidence.
    • Sellers persuade buyers they are the best choice.
  3. Collaborate
    • Sellers collaborate with buyers by being proactive and responsive.
    • Sellers educate buyers with new ideas and perspectives.

Sounds like relational selling to me.
Run the play (the sales cycle) and care about the person in front of the sale.

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Action Cures Fear

In my last post I mentioned a sign my first sales manager had in his office. It’s a quote from David J. Schwartz. 

“Action Cures Fear”

It’s from the  book “The Magic of Thinking Big“. When David sets up the quote he acknowledges that fear is real. Telling yourself it’s only in your mind doesn’t help. Rationalizing and trying to talk yourself into action doesn’t help. The hesitation only “fertilizes your fear” and makes it grow. 

He then goes on to tell the story of sailers during WW II. Non swimming sailors were required to jump off of a 6 ft diving board into 8 feet of water. Once they hit the water the fear was cured. 

If you’ve not read Mel Robbins excellent book “The 5 Second Rule” you should pick it up. It’s a life changing idea. Profound in its brilliance and simplicity. When special ops soldiers are getting ready to do something crazy they start counting down from 5 and when they reach 1 they take action. This interrupts your subconscious mind, which is designed to keep you safe not to help you grow, and allows you to do something that will stretch you and in the process begin to re-wire your brain. 

There was another sign in my managers office that read:

“If you don’t have anything to do,
don’t do it here!”.

It took me awhile to really understand this one. I, at first, thought it meant don’t stand in my office and waste my time. But what it really meant was get out of the office and go, as he would say “get in amongst em”. Go get coffee and talk to people, go to the mall and shop and introduce yourself to people. No agenda just be friendly, look for ways to help people, ways to connect people with solutions.

Make sure you are focused on Income Producing Activities. Know what your avoidance activities are, acknowledge them, and re-focus. Make your calendar your boss. Schedule administrative activities and schedule Income Producing Activities. Do you know what yours are? What are the top 3 activities that get you paid? I guarantee it’s not organizing your filing system. What is your Prolific Quality Output? 

If you don’t know the answers to these questions and you would like help. Reach out to me. I’d love to help. I get it, I’ve been there. Let me know in the comments what your Avoidance Activities are and how you will take action this week to re-focus. 

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The Hardest Part is Starting

In her book “Better Than Before”, Gretchen Rubin said:

“Don’t Get it Perfect, Get it Going.”

Have you ever thought about what it takes to move a train? It starts by getting the engine moving. The engine engages the first coupler which moves the first car and then the next and then the next until the entire train is in motion. If you’ve ever watched this it’s sounds like a bunch of clicks as it gets going. It starts out slow and then the momentum is difficult to stop.

So it is with us. Once we get moving the other pieces start to come together. Resources and relationships we had forgotten about, or didn’t know we had, begin to move with us as we slowly build momentum and it happens because we choose to create motion.

Newtons first law of motion or, the law of inertia, gives us further insight. According to NASA the law states: 
“A body at rest will remain at rest unless an outside force acts on it, and a body in motion at a constant velocity will remain in motion in a strait line unless acted upon by an outside force.”

You are the outside force. Here are 3 things that fuel you.

The first is absolute clarity. 

  • Get a crystal clear vision of what you want?
  • What will it look like when your finished?
  • How will you feel when you have it?
  • How will having it impact those around you?

The second is knowing why.

  • What will change when you have the thing your hesitating to start?
  • Why is it important?
  • Why is it necessary now?

The third is Courage.

In my first sales job my sales manager had a sign that said “Action Cures Fear.” Since then I’ve learned “The Learning is in the Doing.” You have to find the courage to take bold action. Once you start the fear subsides as you build confidence and learn while doing. Once you’ve answered the questions above stoke the fire and take bold action. 

There’s a Latin Proverb “Fortes Fortuna Juvat”.

Fortune (luck) Favors the Bold.

Nobody is served by your playing small. Get clarity, know why, and find the courage to take the first step and watch what happens. Don’t wait for perfection, or until you learn more, or build a bigger list, or get the right connections. Take the first step. Do the next right thing. 

Let me know in the comments what you’ve been putting off and what first step you’re going to take.

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