What Really Matters?

If you’ve read any of my previous blog posts, you’d know I’m a big proponent of lead indicators versus lag indicators.  Another way of saying that is, activity over results.  Why do I think activity is more important than results?  After all, we’re paid on results not activity.

I believe it all boils down to this, you don’t control the outcomes, you control the actions.

Goals are outcomes. You don’t control the goals, you desire them, you influence them, but you don’t control them. You can’t control if someone your selling something to has enough money to purchase or not. You could make the greatest presentation known to man but if they can’t afford it then there is nothing you can do. You can’t control if someone makes an irrational decision. You can help influence, and certainly stack the deck in your favor, but ultimately the outcome is out of your hands.

Actions are an entirely different matter. This is where you have choice, you have control. Every day you make choices regarding your actions. What actions and activity to engage with, and what actions to avoid. Some of it is conscious, some unconscious.

Here is my point: everything you want to accomplish – your dreams, your vision, your goals, will require you to take specific actions that are consistent and sustained.

I will also add you must be committed to those activities, not interested. When you’re simply interested, then depending on how you feel that day you may, or may not, do the necessary activities. However, when you’re committed to those activities, rain or shine, good day or bad day, they are going to happen.

That said, you must understand, and be absolutely clear, about what actions will have the greatest impact. Then commit. Being conscious and focused on those specific actions will ultimately lead to higher results.

Delegation: The Key to Success

I think we all know one person simply can’t do it all. However, we still try, why?  I recently read an article put out by experts at NCSU.  They explained there are generally seven reasons why people don’t delegate:

  1. Not enough time to delegate.
  2. Fear of losing control.
  3. Not getting credit.
  4. Losing enjoyable tasks.
  5. Believing you can do it better.
  6. Fear of losing their job.
  7. No confidence in team members.

While these are all understandable concerns, they are, in fact, self-sabotaging and ultimately will affect your productivity. Delegating is a bit of an art and requires humility, trust, and faith in your own judgment as well as the people working for you.

I’ve come up with a few pointers that have helped me build confidence in delegating tasks. First, Communicate clearly.  Open, clear communication from the get-go is crucial to ensuring that the projects you delegate will be done well. From the very beginning of the project, be up-front about your expectations, including timelines and deliverables, and give your team members all the information they need to achieve those goals.

Second, check in but don’t be domineering. Checking in periodically will help you feel confident things are going the right direction.  It will also help the team member feel supported and get answers to questions as needed.

Third learn the strengths and weaknesses of your team. As you learn those, delegating, and picking the right people for the right job will become much easier and less time-intensive.

I’d love to hear your feedback. Do you have any tips that have worked for you to help build confidence in delegating tasks?

Only Two Choices

Make moves or make excuses. Don’t like that one, how about pain of self discipline, or pain of regret? Maybe my favorite, which most of you may have heard, “Do, or Do not, there is no try,” Yoda. As a leader I’ve always preferred to keep things real simple. For me it doesn’t get much easier than two choices for success. Now, granted once you make the choice there is a little more to it, but the first, and most important step is that first choice.

I’ll start with the pain of self discipline. It is tough to day in and day out stay committed to the decisions it takes to be successful. As an example, most sales individuals pick this industry for the freedom and flexibility that comes with making your own schedule. To be disciplined enough to start your day early and not leave until you’ve reached the number of contacts, or appointments, you committed yourself too, is painful. Especially in the summer time, when it’s nice outside, maybe the lake is calling your name.

The great thing about the pain of self discipline is you control it, you can proactively alter your future. The key is to make the decision to be successful, regardless of what it takes, early on. Don’t make the decision each day when you wake up. Make the decision when you first start the year. Then you just need to manage that decision each day when you wake up. Will you stay true to yourself, or will you let yourself down? Not do I want to be successful or not, you already made that decision.

Contrary to the pain of self discipline, is the pain of regret. It’s in the past, nothing you can do to control that. It’s usually prefaced with, would of, could of, or should of. If I just would of made 10 more calls that week. Or, I should of just worked a few extra hours each week, then I would of accomplished… To me there is nothing worse than the regret of what could have been.

Five Things You Can Do to Change Your Mindset for Success

I have a special treat for you this week, I’ve brought in a guest blogger and my personal business coach Dr. Erin Oksol. Dr. Erin is a speaker, business success coach, psychologist and best-selling author. She is Nevada’s Professional Saleswoman of the Year and was voted Top 20 Most Powerful Women in Northern Nevada. She is the CEO of Success with Dr. Erin Coaching and Consulting and helps business owners and entrepreneurs make more money doing what they love. I asked her to talk a little bit about the mindset for success.

First, notice the title didn’t say, ‘five easy things you can do.’ Changing your mindset takes mental and physical effort every day. Though achievable, it doesn’t represent an easy task. You should not expect immediate results, but on the flipside, you can look forward to extended and lasting benefits.

Practicing just one of the suggestions below will help your psyche and contribute to success, but if you implement more than one idea and hopefully, all of them, you may notice a synergistic effect.

Define what success means to you and write your mission statement accordingly. Success means something different to each individual. Perhaps, you want that million-dollar home for your family, or you want to retire early and live a nomad lifestyle. Take some time to figure out what success means to you and by what means and with what value set you plan to achieve it.

 Give yourself positive affirmations every day. How often do you hear someone say, “Oh, stupid me!” You might remember the classic Saturday Night Live sketch where Stuart Smalley humorously pointed out the importance of daily positive affirmations. While the sketch was amusing, it does point out that believing in yourself and giving yourself positive affirmations does impact your life and success.

 Practice self-education through reading. Whether it relates to your occupation or other interests, inhale information through books and articles. Knowledge is power, and if that knowledge sparks imagination, all the better.

 Think big and keep your eyes on the whole picture. Though we’re often instructed to take things one step at a time, the steps don’t make any sense unless we know the end goal. It may take two years to achieve an MBA. Halfway through your coursework, your Stats class may tempt you to quit the program, but the focus on what an MBA means to your career and self-esteem may encourage you to keep moving forward.

 Meditate every day. If you plan to redecorate your living room, you’re probably going to clean it first. Think of daily meditation as an opportunity to clear out your mind, giving a fresh start to implement the changes to your mindset. Meditation may improve both our physical and mental health. Some of the effects that may help with success include:

If you feel negativity or if your plans are not progressing satisfactorily, take a look at your definition of success and mission statement. Perhaps you need a reminder to get back on track, or maybe your goals and definitions need adjusting.

Again, profitable and successful companies go back to their mission statements to remedy problems or achieve growth. Corporations and businesses rely on the success of their people to remain viable. The same philosophy could work for you!

Breakfast is Served

For the last few years I’ve been conducting a Friday morning meeting with all my new agents five years and under, I call it Beginners Breakfast. I do Friday’s, strategically, which I’ll talk more about, and as the name implies, I do serve breakfast.  I know everyone gets bogged down in too many meetings, but I believe the format for this meeting has been an integral part of their success.  I also believe it’s helped build a good deal of team camaraderie. I want to break down the agenda I use in the hopes you may be able to implement something similar.

As I mentioned, I always do Friday because it’s a great end of the week checkpoint to see how the weeks activities went. Sales individuals tend to duck out early on Fridays, so this is either a way to support and encourage that idea, if they had a good week.  Or, reinforce the need to stay if they didn’t accomplish as much as they should have.  The breakfast part isn’t all that important it’s just my way of rewarding them, creating a more relaxed atmosphere, and getting the morning off to a good start.

The first 20 minutes we go around the room and report on our weeks lead indicators. If that term is new to you, I encourage you to check out my blog titled, Lead Vs. Lag Indicators.  I really focus on not discussing production numbers but keeping the attention on activity for that week.  In sales, regardless of what you’re selling, activity is key.  Also, by going around and giving everyone a chance to give their numbers publicly.  This creates some accountability to the group if the results are low without me saying anything.  On top of that if someone shares a new event they tried and had a lot of success with, we can talk more about how others can possibly replicate the event.  Or, things they can tweak to have even better results.

The next 20 minutes we focus on obstacles they had during the week. Maybe it’s a mistake someone made on an application that we can all learn from.  Maybe it was something they miss-explained to a client, that all of them are confused about.  If they don’t have anything to bring up, which almost never happens, I’ll have some back up ideas of things I’ve seen mistakes on in the past.

The last 20 minutes is focused on a sales idea. Sometimes that will include role playing a meeting with a client.  I might pick an agent to do that or I might do it.  Other times it will be a sales video I found on-line.  I might have an article for everyone that I came across that week that I thought might help.  The important part is they walk away with a simple, usable, sales idea each and every week.

I hope this helped and if you have a sales idea you think would be beneficial for us to discuss please share it in the comments below.

Feel, Felt, Found

“I understand how you feel, other have felt the same way, and what I found….”

The first sales training I ever attended was Ron Willingham’s Integrity selling. I was straight out of college and this was my first exposure to the sales industry.  This was the exact saying that we learned and practiced over and over.  Although I don’t use that exact saying anymore, I’m forever grateful for what I learned and still think that saying is the foundation to closing sales today.

Allow me to elaborate. “I understand how you feel.”  Really this incorporates peoples need to be heard, which is the cornerstone to a good sales career.  It also incorporates the need to empathize with your client.  We live in a very hostile environment right now, where if a person has a different opinion, they are often attacked for that.  When you are meeting with a prospect, you need to make them feel comfortable not agreeing with you, or what you’re trying to sell them.  You need to listen to what they’re saying and communicate that you have

heard them.  It can also help clarify what the objection really is.  How exactly you say that is up to you.

“Other’s have felt that same way.” This not only expresses they are not alone, but really your expertise in having heard, and dealt with this before.  Again, breaking down the confrontation barriers that often get put up by people when dealing with sales individuals.  This would be a great time to share a personal story, hopefully one from a client of yours that was in a similar situation or had the same objection.

“What I found.” This is your opportunity to overcome the objection and re-explain, in a different way, why this product or service might be a good fit for them.  Again, maybe using a personal story, maybe a different piece of literate, whatever you think would be beneficial to help explain why you feel the way you do.

I hope you can see why this simple phrase can be so important to success in a sales career. I’d love to hear your thoughts about this, do you agree, disagree?

 

Who’s Keeping Score?

Imagine for a second, you’re watching your favorite college football team, or your favorite team from any sport. There is only two minutes left in the game, tensions are running high.  The score, who knows to who knows?  Unfortunately, no-one was keeping score.  How about your favorite player, his or her stats were, who knows? Again, no-one was keeping track.

This probably wouldn’t go very well for anyone watching. We would never tolerate not knowing the score, and the players wouldn’t tolerate it either.  However, this is the reality I see so many sales professionals in.

All too often you ask a sales professional the score, or their stats, in their career, and they stare at you with an empty look on their face. What do I mean by the score, or stats?  For a sales professional these are things like prospects, appointments, rankings, etc.  How many calls do you have to make to get a prospect?   How many prospects to get an appointment?  How many appointments to get a sale?  These are the essentials to any sales professional’s career.  Yet all too often they are not keeping track of these vital statistics, the score.

Measurement is simply feedback that provides you with valuable information regarding the effectiveness of our actions. To be great you will need to measure your progress and results.  I encourage you, know the score.

 

If you can’t read the scoreboard. You don’t know the score. If you don’t know the score, you can’t tell the winners from the losers.

Warren Buffett