Jul 19 2014

IF YOUR IDEA IS GOOD, YOU NEED TO KNOW. . .

  THE FIVE PROVEN STEPS TO

 

  ENTREPRENEURIAL SUCCESS

 

  THAT MAKE IT HARD TO FAIL

 

1.

BE passionate about your ideas and make them work with the help of others. This means, of course, being emotionally committed to what you’re doing 24/7. By doing that, odds are you’ll never have to solicit and recruit others to your crusade. They will see a place for themselves and gravitate there on their own.

When that happens, others’ commitments will be more solid and grounded than if you had gone out hunting for them and then had to talk them into joining forces. It’s a proven fact: When people make their own decisions about what they want to do, they are happier, more dedicated to achieving results, and they do a better job!

 

2.

Often ACT first and plan second. This does NOT mean rashly jumping from the frying pan into the fire. It instead suggests that over- indulgence in evaluating, assessing, diagnosing, and long-term planning (I call it “analysis paralysis”) wastes time, money, energy, and opportunities.

Entrepreneurial leaders take action, make adjustments, act again, make adjustments, and act again. Except for formal loan and investor-required formal business plans, they limit their planning to the short term — hour, day, week, month. And even those plans are temporary and flexible. Not unlike being too focused on one’s goals instead of the path that leads there, watching the finish line causes stumbling and falls.

 

3.

Always RESPOND instead of react. A key ingredient in the success of this pursuit is stress management. Bottom line: If you always respond instead of react, you can never over-react. If you never over-react, you will be faithfully followed. Built snugly into this thinking is this important awareness:

HOW you respond to someone who

(or something that) is out of control

. . . IS WITHIN YOUR CONTROL.

And we know this because? Because every behavior — yours, your employees’, your customers and prospects — is a CHOICE. It’s just as easy to choose to make a situation easy as it is to choose to make it hard. It may require some conscious stress management effort but, in the end, leadership is measured by ability to gain results through control and responsiveness!

 

4.

LEARN as much as you can about yourself –your SELF– may be the single most important determinant of entrepreneurial leadership because it is the foundation, the cornerstone, of each of the above criteria, and of any others you might add to the list. Without knowing what makes you tick, you cannot pretend to understand others enough to be a true leader. TALK TO YOUR SELF. Oh, and remember to listen!

 

5.

USE hands-on specifics. Keep a journal. Date every entry every day. Separate facing pages into “What Happened” on the left and “How I felt” on the right. This discipline helps sharpen your skills to separate fact and observation from opinion and feelings. Write, draw, diagram, paste photos, spit, whatever floats your boat. It’s YOUR journal.

Attend group and individual “personal and professional growth and development”-type discussion and counseling sessions. Take advantage of local adult education programs that focus on self-expression — from giving speeches and stand-up presentations to writing or painting or photography or music or handicraft courses. DISCOVER YOUR SELF!

 # # #

Hal@TheWriterWorks.com or 931.854.0474 or comment below.

OPEN  MINDS  OPEN  DOORS

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You!

Make today a GREAT Day for someone!

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Sep 08 2012

MIXED MESSAGES

When is a pat on the back

                                              

actually a kick in the butt?

A client tells you your service is great, then complains about it later to others. Assuming nothing changed along the way to erode the value of your praiseworthy performance, your sense of anguish may simply be the result of of a mixed message. Mixed messages find their way into everyday business exchanges with increasing regularity.

“Pretty good job . . . for a woman!” is a typical example. “You’re doing this the right way, but you need to slow down and think it through better!” is another. Have you ever heard something like: “We need to move forward with plans to collaborate, but not at the expense of our own department (division, team, group)?”

Mixed messages are nonproductive. Mixed messages often couch hidden agendas. Unlike much problem solving that requires “two to tango” and cannot be realistically addressed by a single entity alone, mixed message situations can be resolved by one person taking preventive measures. These include paraphrasing, note taking, feedback, diagramming, and offering/ requesting examples. 

1)  PARAPHRASING. Instead of simply taking statements at face value and then squirming with them later, ask: “Do I understand you correctly to mean . . . (and repeat back what you think you heard, using your own words)?”

2)  NOTE TAKING. The biggest problem with note taking is that most people do not take notes. And even when they do, they fail to directly request the speaker to allow for it. “Would you mind please slowing down on (or repeating) that point for me  so I can make note of it because I don’t want to forget what you said.” is not just called for; it’s flattering to the speaker. But write it!!

3)  FEEDBACK. Speakers need to pause periodically and take inventory: “How are we doing here so far? Do you have any questions? Is all of this information clear?” Listeners need to politely interrupt periodically and take inventory: “Excuse me. Can we take a ‘Time Out’ minute here to summarize this last bit of information? I want to make sure I understand what you mean.” Write it!!

4)  DIAGRAMS. When speaker or listener is not 100% sure that communications are clear, ask for a diagram of the information; arranging keywords and ideas visually helps ensure accuracy, and can often illuminate a new perspective.

5)  EXAMPLES. Ask for them. Very few exchanges of information fail to become transparently clear when examples are offered and discussed.

Getting tangled up in miscommunication can be frustrating and annoying, and stressful. One person who is determined to “get it right” the first time, and who is willing to accept that it may take longer and be more work, will ultimately experience greater accuracy in dealing with others, and accuracy spells success.                               

 

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HAL ALPIAR Writer/Consultant  302.933.0911 TheWriterWorks.com, LLC
 National Award-Winning Author & Brand Marketer – Record Client Sales

Open Minds Open Doors

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Apr 22 2012

I have what you need and want now!

You are not what you sell.

                             

You are what you solve.

              

True business professionals who dwell in the world of sales, and all small business owners (who live there too) know instinctively that they are not really salespeople pushing their wares and services on others.

They recognize that they are actually problem solvers who listen carefully to customers and prospects and respond with solutions. They focus on building relationships.

The problem is that solving the problem is often glossed over, dismissed, and sidetracked in the process of communicating with a customer or prospect. How often have you heard a store or organization or company rep start out (or jump to her or his safety net when a positive response is not evident) by rattling out a long list of product or service features?

It’s human nature to talk about all the strong points and unique features of a product or service we want others to like, and want, and dive into their pockets for the money we hope they’ll produce. But human nature doesn’t move sales. Customers and prospects don’t buy features. They buy benefits.

How long will this product or service last? How economical is it? How does it work? What colors are available? How spectacular is the price deal? How great is the supplier company or organization? These are all very nice kinds of things to get across because they help purchasers justify their decisions to others (bosses, spouses, friends, etc.) BUT . . .

None of those kinds of features will trigger a purchase.

Features are rational objective things. People are motivated by emotions. Maybe they’re simply charmed by the rep, or maybe they’ve been convinced that the personal benefits to be had outweigh the expense . . . because the product or service solves their problem!

We buy benefits: how easy and convenient this makes your life, how much your friends and neighbors will admire your good taste, how great you look with/in/next to it, how terrific your garden will be when this thing keeps the deer and rabbits away, what you can do for your children’s/grandchildren’s future with the savings from this policy, how wonderful this will look in your living room/dining room/kitchen.

And how do you get someone to this decision point? 1) By listening carefully (prompt customers and prospects to talk 80% of the time!), and 2) By processing what you hear and see to show how what you have to offer can solve their problem.

Anyone can ram features down someone’s throat. This loses more sales than anything else. It takes patience, understanding, and sitting (mentally and physically) on the same side of the table, working in concert to solve the buyer’s problem.

For immediate, focused, affordable sales help, call me now: 302.933.0116

# # #

 With thanks to my LinkedIn friend Kevin Kempler for inspiring this post

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Hal@Businessworks.US   302.933.0116

Open  Minds  Open  Doors

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Oct 16 2011

BIZ ALPHABET SERIES…”C”

Welcome to the world’s first

BIZ ALPHABET SERIES of blog posts

 

“C”…

                                

CUSTOMERS/CONSUMERS

 

                      

CUSTOMERS and CONSUMERS. These are sometimes, but not always, one in the same.

You buy a can of beans; you cook and eat the beans; you are both the customer and the consumer. But, If I am 6-years-old and badger you to buy me Chocolate Tsunami Cookies because “They Make Waves When Dunked in Milk,” and you buy them and I eat them — then you are the customer and I am the consumer.

In that situation, we are very different people indeed, but the bottom line to the Chocolate Tsunami Cookie Company marketing people is that I, the consumer, have influenced your customer purchase.

The monster corporations out there have monster R&D departments bursting at the seams with monster (3, 6, 9, and 12-month long)  research projects, and are busily preparing monster evaluations, assessments, analyses, executive summaries, and follow-up surveys and studies to support the research findings.

Many of these undertakings are aimed at identifying (in the case of the Chocolate Tsunami brand) which 6-year-olds in which towns are watching which TV shows, and who are most likely to influence their parents (or the most lenient or susceptable parent) to purchase the cookie brand on the next shopping trip.

Oh, and do they have the parent’s email address?

                                                        

Small business owners know better

than to waste such time and expense.

                                                                   

They make the cookies, sell the cookies, gather feedback from some kids and parents, adjust the manufacturing (or pricing, packaging, promotion) and sell them again. All the while the monsters have no product. They are still doing statistical analysis of adolescent sugar intake.

But too often small business owners direct their marketing messages to the buying customers when actual purchase decisions are being made by the ultimate consumers and/or other influencers. [Women, for example, purchase more wine, but men are almost always the ones who specify what type and brand to buy.]

Small business owners often overlook that different messages need to be directed to different market targets. Parents buying cookies that they are pleaded with to get by their children may require a bit more rationality attached to the emotional appeal that’s focused on persuading the children.

“Making Waves When Dunked in Milk” may be a cute line for something named Chocolate Tsunami Cookies. It could probably attract attention and create interest for any age.

While a child may, however, simply buy into the slogan– Mom or Dad need to know that the chocolate and flour used are organic, or that every purchase comes with free quart of milk or roll of paper towels . . . or that they will be the talk of the neighborhood because their kids are the only ones who can’t “make waves.” 

The bottom line is that by focusing marketing efforts on customers alone risks losing potential business that’s generated by ultimate consumers.

Using the same message in the same ways doesn’t do it. 

KEEP your branding theme and slogan, but address different interests with different language in different media whenever your customers and consumers are different in age or attitude or responsibility or capability.

                                                      

A handicapped senior may have primary concerns about the safety and ease of use for a stair-lift, while the family making the arrangements may be more focused on price, insurance coverage, and service warranty. The best way to cover all your bases is to ask customers and consumers questions, and keep asking. And Listening!

                                             

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Hal@Businessworks.US     302.933.0116

Open  Minds  Open  Doors

Many thanks for your visit and God Bless You.

 Make today a GREAT day for someone

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Aug 30 2011

Entrepreneurs Advisory Boards

 Your Advisory Board

 

includes a lawyer, 

                             

an accountant, your

                         

rich uncle, and

 

your pastor?

                   

Nope.

 

Well maybe one or two of those types do actually hold court with you once a quarter or twice a year and offer trusted advice and opinions about where your enterprise appears to be headed . . . and maybe you listen, and maybe you don’t. And maybe they’re helpful. And maybe they’re not.

After all, typically, they’re not paid. And you do remember that someone once told you you get what you pay for? Ah, but a good advisory board is usually made up of people who have a physical or emotional investment in seeing you succeed. And that trumps paying a fee for services. 

No compensation? Well, maybe some coffee and donuts — or fruit, cheese, and crackers, depending on your level of health-nuttiness. Wow! So now you’ll read a little further?

Advisory Boards, generally, are a good thing for most small business ventures because –when they include a small group of diverse, talented people who like and care about you– they can shed light on your darkness and provide enough reassurance or guidance to afford you to step back and observe your brainchild firsthand.

Advisory Boards provide a sense of reality you might not otherwise solicit or be exposed to.”

                                                

Okay, you’ve got all that. And it either sparks an idea, or it just lays there flat on its back, rolling its eyes at you! Well, here’s a definite sparkler:

Start a Rotating Teenage Advisory Board.

                                                    

Huh? Why? Why not? When did you last waltz a thirteen-year-old boy or girl through your place of business and ask him or her for observations?

I promise you he/she will see things you never noticed, and maybe never even thought about. Does it matter that your business makes products or delivers services for nursing homes (whoops, how un-PC of me: long-term care facilities)? Or nursing mothers? Or male nurses? Truck drivers? Scuba divers? (It rhymed!) No it doesn’t matter.

What matters is that you regularly host small groups of teens through your office, plant. store, or worksite, and that you non-judgmentally LISTEN to what they have to say, and keep a journal or take dated notes of key comments. Pay careful attention to the questions they ask (and how they ask them) before trying to answer them.

It’s true that teenagers (as when each of us were) are different, weird, and aloof.

They are preoccupied with texting, handheld electronics, and each other.

They may seem the least unlikely to contribute anything of value to a non-teenage market business.

Yet –refreshingly– they lack developed prejudices.

They are naive and breed a rare perspective of business innocence.

                                                                   

You can learn more and spark more ideas from one business visit by a youngster, or two or three than you are likely to from ten top industry or profession muckity-mucks who will surely carry competition chips on their shoulders, and be more inclined to maintaining a political edge.

One business I heard of makes a practice of gathering small groups of teens from the local middle school and high school (pre-arranged of course with the parents, but not with school administrators who would tangle up the process) and rewarding them with praise, snacks, juice, and bookstore gift cards for bright ideas offered.

The owner has translated teen visitor input into new product launches, line extensions, and revenue streams, that produced enough income to allow some scholarship funding in return. What can you get? What can you give?

                                                         

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  Hal@Businessworks.US   302.933.0116

  Open Minds Open Doors 

   Thanks for your visit and God Bless You.

  Make today a GREAT day for someone! 

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Jul 14 2011

Do I? Do I What?

Do I understand you

                                  

  correctly to mean…? 

                               

 Can you give me

                    

an example?

          

When you’re not 100% sure that you fully understand the meaning and intent of someone’s words, ask paraphrasing-type questions

. . . and ask for examples.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Asking these two questions is evidence of quality leadership. Because true leaders listen. Paraphrasing and asking for examples are key indicators of effective listening. The responses clarify. The responses help ensure accurate two-way communications, and they help prevent errors and misunderstandings.

Simply by posing these two questions (plus this one), leaders can help agitated people (e.g., upset employees, irate customers, impatient investors) to jet down. The asking alone serves to build trust, loyalty, teamwork, and promote open innovative exchanges. It also, by the way (but not unimportantly), reassures, flatters, and compliments.   

Used correctly, paraphrasing is equally effective in personal life as well as business. Business partners, employer/employee and parent/child relations, teacher/student, married and unmarried couples and family relationships can all benefit by using paraphrasing.

It is, in effect, a clarification checkpoint practice that works. 

                                                       

What does “used correctly” mean? Process. Dynamics. The process and dynamics of asking the questions — the how, when, where, and circumstances; the nature of the people involved; the nature of the actions to be taken or tasks to be done– all have a bearing on the value of the outcome. How you ask. Your tone of voice. Your posture.

Yes, some could see this kind of attention to communication detail as a lot of unnecessary work. Those people are choosing to feel threatened by the intrusion of having to expend extra energy and time (yes, it will take more time that “normal” for a meeting or phone call or e-exchange) to get stuff right the first time instead of on a re-visit.

If you’re not presently building these kinds of questions into your daily practice of leadership –business, home, professional practice, community organization, classroom makes no difference– put it to the test. You will find, inside of just three weeks, major improvement at many levels, including increased receptivity.

You can greatly enhance the prospects for yourself to succeed with this challenge by adding note taking to your listening time. If you think it makes people feel good to be asked if you’ve understood something correctly, or to provide an example, wait ’til you see their faces when you start jotting down what they say.

Back to the agitated communicators, when you can also ask someone: “Would you mind please slowing down (or repeating what you just said) so I can make some reminder notes for myself to be sure I don’t miss any of the important things you say, I will appreciate it. Now if I understand you correctly to mean…?” You defuse the upset.

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Hal@Businessworks.US  

  Open minds open doors. 

 Thanks for visiting and God bless you.

   Make today a GREAT day for someone! 

No responses yet

Jul 10 2011

The 8th Secret

Ever notice how the

                         

number “7” is magic??

                                                                             

Well here, entrepreneurs,

                      

is number 8!

                                                           
With special thanks to www.Twitter.com/RealLifeSecrets for the first 7 one-word “secrets to life” — Listen, Read, Love, Fight, Believe, Live, Pray. You can follow @reallifesecrets for more.  

                                                                                                                            

 

Okay, so: 3 wishes and 3 kings. But there are SEVEN of everything else — 7 seas, 7 habits, 7 brides, 7/11, John Elway and Mickey Mantle, The “Number of Perfection” in the Bible, so why shouldn’t there be 7 secrets of life? And why should there be anything else besides: 1) Listen, 2) Read, 3) Love, 4) Fight, 5) Believe, 6) Live, and 7) Pray?

Oh, but there is. There’s one more. Can you think of what it might be? I mean, just imagine, if you’ve done all those great seven things consistently, what else could possibly matter? What else could be so powerful? A number 8? Seriously?

                                                                    

We’ve learned that effective managers, salespeople and professionals typically spend 8o% of their interactive time with others: LISTENING. So that first one certainly makes sense. And except maybe for the guy who invented fire, I’ve never heard of anyone becoming truly successful without reading, as much as possible, as often as possible.

Oh, some entrepreneurs may run successful businesses and possibly even successful families without reading, but they probably are not successful with their own physical and/or emotional health. Or they may have great health and successful businesses with no satisfying family life. You get the idea. Listening and Reading are a package deal. 

Love. There’s that word. It reminds me, by the way, to suggest you check out Rob Bell’s vigorously debated new book, LOVE WINS. Besides smashing lots of theories and age-old teachings, it’s a smashing (provocative, quick, and illuminating) read. Love. So craved. So sought after. So misunderstood, So indispensable. So strengthening.

                                                                   

Surely, you can add your own “descriptives,” but suffice it to say that Love is certainly worthy of being one of the magical seven. Then there is “Fight.” A peculiar item on the list? Not really. My college motto in Latin: Certa Bonum Certamen” (“Fight the good fight”) — ah, yes, in that light of “Standing Tall,” who could find fault?

Believe. Well, without that, there can be little of worth remaining, true? But every true entrepreneur believes in what she or he is doing, so not much need to dwell on this one. Now: Live. This is something only a few entrepreneurs –the successful ones– actually do. Not nightly partying. Daily enjoyment of being alive.

Ah, and then there’s: Pray. If you haven’t in awhile, I recommend you get on with it — more than you think you should. If you already do this, do more. Many of the most successful business owners and managers I’ve known (of thousands) make a point of praying dozens of times each day. Not just requests. Prayers of gratitude.

[Are you thankful for your vision that allows you to read this right now? Room temperature? The chair you’re in? Your last meal? Your next? Your family?]

                                                                               

So you’ve labored through all this just to see what Number 8 is all about. If you haven’t yet figured it out, you won’t be disappointed. It is the one secret of life that’s joined at the hip with all the rest: Be Honest! Nothing speaks higher of your integrity, reputation, intent, and authenticity as a person.

If you seek trust, be trustworthy.  

                                                                                       

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Hal@Businessworks.US  931.854.0474

  Open minds open doors.

 Thanks for visiting and God bless you.

   Make today a GREAT day for someone! 

No responses yet

May 12 2011

Can You Hear Me Now?

Entrepreneurs and Leaders

                         

Who Listen 

                                        

Win Big in Tough Times 

STEPS TO IMPROVE YOUR LISTENING SKILLS NOW

 

Do you hear what I hear? Listen, do you want to know a secret? Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Friends, Romans, Countrymen, Lend Me Your Ears! The Listening Audience. I’m all ears!

 

You can’t be a better listener just because you decide to listen more. You must also decide to keep quiet. And those who excel at listening skills will tell you that you must actually use a pen and paper (you DO remember what they are?) and write down notes about what you hear. Paraphrasing is critical. So are observation skills.

Plus, taking notes flatters any speaker.

Let’s hit on some key points:

                                             

1. PARAPHRASING —“Do I understand you correctly to mean…?” and “What I think I hear you saying is…!” are the most effective and most commonly used sets of words for rephrasing some one’s comments. When you do this, you are in effect checking to make sure that you accurately understand what the speaker intends.

Yes, it takes more time. Yes, it can be harder than assuming. But–in the end– it’s like the carpenter/surgeon slogan: measure twice and cut once. It’s an insurance policy on transmitting accuracy.

2. OBSERVING — You need not be a kinetics expert to see that the body language that accompanies the words spoken either confirms or contradicts what is being said.

Someone who claims a willingness to cooperate with you, but whose arms are crossed is responding defensively regardless of what words she or he uses. Hands on hips, or clasped behind the head are signals of superiority. So is the joining of fingertips on both hands.

(The challenge is to make these postures change without directly addressing them.)

3. NODDING AND VERBAL UTTERANCES — Generally (unless they’re overdone) these physical responses indicate agreement and that the individual involved is paying attention. Not a bad idea to nod and make some positive sounding “um’s” occasionally when you want someone to know you’re tuned in, and in the boat, so to speak.

Equally commitive signals are leaning forward, sitting forward, feet flat on the floor without jiggling, and both hands flat on the table. A jiggling foot or leg indicates that someone’s anxious to get out, get away, finish up.

4. ASKING QUESTIONS — People will know you are interested and engaged when you ask good questions along the way . . . not questions to trip somebody up, questions to learn more. Whenever it’s possible and makes sense and works to clarify, ask for examples. Ask for diagrams. Ask for demonstrations. Ask for samples. Ask.

5. MONITORING YOURSELF — Stay as close to the commonly accepted effective communicator guidelines of speaking 20% of the time and listening 80% of the time. (Asking questions helps.) Take some deep breaths, especially when you start to feel impatient or edgy. Deep breathing helps you stay in control.

The dynamics of all the above apply equally to situations where you are not face-to-face. Telephone and video and webinar conferences are good examples of places to carry over the same disciplines. If you think about it, you’ll also see that similar applications are possible (and advisable) with written/email/text message communications. No, you can’t physically “see” another person, but you can sense and imagine based on responses you get.

If you work to listen better, you will hear 

more “cha-ching” in your cash register! 

                               

 

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hal@businessworks.US

STRATEGY/ CONTENT/ CONNECTION

Higher impact. Lower costs.

——————-

Business Development/ National-Awards/ Record Client Sales

Entrepreneurship & Expansion Coaching    931.854.0474

Go for your goals, thanks for your visit, God Bless You!

OPEN  MINDS  OPEN  DOORS

Make Today A Great Day For Someone!

 

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Mar 30 2011

Eh? What’s that you say?

Communicate. Communicate.

                         

Communicate. Communicate. 

                         

(Four times? Ah, yes, but repetition sells!)

There is no part of good communicating that beats good communicating! Yes, it takes longer. Yes, it’s more work. Yes it can be annoying (if you choose for it to be), but guess what? It is worth pursuing 100% of the time.

There is no part of good communicating

that beats good communicating!

Sure, you know all about the “listening 80% of the time and talking 20% of the time” stuff. And you know that one-way communicating is for radio, TV, and high physical risk situations.

You’re very aware of how important it is to communicate just the right amount of information — not too much or too little– in order to get the job done.

And you also no doubt know (but may have forgotten) that sometimes a W~H~I~S~P~E~R communicates better than a SHOUT! Oh, and of course you always try to offer and ask for examples to better understand or make a point, right? Right, and diagrams. Think of diagrams as little communications accuracy insurance policies.

So how hard do you listen? Human attention spans drift off in peaks and valleys. People often miss the most important points. This is even more pronounced and more frequent in phone conversations than in one-on-one exchanges.

And in case you thought putting it in writing helps, hmmm, look carefully at your last three emails or text messages!

When was the last time you were approached by a customer or employee or supplier who had input for you –regardless of how valuable or not you perceived it to be– and you pulled out a pen and pad (you do remember what pens and pads are?), and –as if you were a legitimate journalist (a stretch perhaps)– and actually took notes?

Let me get this down. Can you say that again?

What’s an example I can jot down?

Can you give me a resource to make note of that I can check out later?

Here, can you try to diagram that out for me on this pad so it’s easier for me to remember later?

Here’s what I wrote that I thought you just said; is it correct?

Just imagine being a customer or employee or supplier on the receiving end of a note taking boss who asks these kinds of questions. Do you think you might get more accurate initiatives and responses? Does it mean more work on your part? Of course! Will it take more time? Absolutely! Is it worth having clearer exchanges of information?

You don’t know how to explain the new note-taking you? How’s “I’m trying to improve my listening skills.”? Would that create havoc? Who knows, it might even prompt some increased admiration and respect. Maybe others will start doing the same thing? What have you got to lose? Miscommunication?

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Hal@BusinessWorks.US

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You.

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson]

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

One response so far

Jan 31 2011

STOP Beating Down Doors!

A knock unanswered is a nudge

                        

in the direction of more

                                

productive selling, not an

                               

invitation to pound on the door.

 

Every one in every business or profession is engaged in sales. Some don’t want to be. Some don’t accept that they are. Some push so hard running in place that they wear out their treads and lose traction.

Some give up on the starting line.

                                                 

For the benefit of those from the “knock ’em dead” school of pushy salesmanship (who are probably out there selling cars instead of reading this anyway), put all “the failing economy” excuses aside, and consider these ugly face-the-facts truisms as you examine reasons for not making sales quota:

Assertiveness is not aggressiveness.

Speaking up for yourself is not the same

as punching someone in the nose

. . . and the flip side:

No one ever bought anything

from a slab of fish fillet.

How happy this news must make all you handshake aficionados who are smart enough to know deliver a handshake that comes down the middle, avoiding both the MMA bone-crusher grip and the floppy wet, soaped-up washcloth slither slide.

Effective, successful sales professionals mimic and resemble in attitude what they present of themselves in that first three customer-size-up seconds of presenting a genuine smile, trustworthy eye contact, and a handshake that speaks of authenticity.

So why do most home and business service providers not get it? Most one-man-band performers see themselves as service provider performers, not sales professionals . . . not sales anything.

They are SEO consultants, or upholsterers, or plumbers or electricians, or painters, or carpenters, or designers, or bookkeepers, or carpet cleaners, or hairdressers, or artists, or window-washers, or specialty retailers, or delivery service people, or car service specialists, or appliance repair specialists, or photographers, or building maintenance people, or writers or editors, or . . . you name it.

They are not, and do not want to be salespeople.

They are not and do not want to be politicians.

They are not and do not want to be agents.

They DO want to be businesspeople and get paid fairly for their services, but most are not willing to be open-minded enough to accept that today’s market for home and business services is filled with less capable, more personable provider options.

And being successful means being able to compete . . . not by being “Mr. or Ms. Personality” but by being more focused on how they come across to others, on how carefully they listen.

It really doesn’t take much to ask questions, listen carefully to the answers without interrupting, take notes, nod, smile, offer reassurance, and hand over a supportive piece of paper or simple folder that outlines the basics:

  • credentials

  • insurance and bonding contacts

  • customer references

  • contact information

  • payment terms

  • satisfaction guarantee

  • ah, yes, and a website address (simple outperforms nothing every time!)

There’s no need to stand in place and recite these.

Face-to-face time must be used productively, listening 80%, talking 20%!

When a best-effort presentation or introduction has been made, and there’s no expression of interest, or there’s an expression of interest but the prospect literally “disappears,” stop beating your fist (head?) against the guy’s door.

A dead-in-the-water sales pitch will not revive itself because you don’t want to give up. It will instead eat your time up sideways, and haunt you. Knock on another door.

Accept that what you had to offer just didn’t work for that person at that time and/or that she/he simply overlooked being courteous enough to not lead you on . . . and get on with life!

 

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Hal@BusinessWorks.US

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!”   [Thomas Jefferson]

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You.

Make today a GREAT day for someone! 

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