Posts made in December, 2013

6 Reasons to Celebrate the New Year

Posted by on Dec 31, 2013 in No More Cold Calling | 0 comments

2014NewYearsHere are six ways to be more successful (in your sales career and your life) in 2014.

As we ring in the New Year, now is the perfect time to pay attention to what’s really important—in our work as well as in our personal lives.

Don’t Let Technology Ruin Your Relationships

With all the cool tech toys we have at our disposal, it’s far too easy to get stuck in a digital un-reality. But our relationships are what really matter. If you’re too busy staring at a screen to look at the person in front of you, that’s a problem.

Stop and ask yourself if your dependence on technology has gone too far. Is it taking away from your ability to connect with and talk to others, or even to look people in the eye?

Disconnect to Really Connect

It’s time we remember the value of getting personal. We don’t regret the text messages we don’t send. We regret the time we don’t spend with the people we love. Put down the gadgets and really be with the people who matter—your spouse, children, boyfriend, girlfriend, family, co-workers, or friends. They’ll love you for it.

Ring in the New Year

I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions, but I do believe in setting goals. Here are six ways to get more out of your career and your life in 2014:

  1. Make time for yourself
  2. Make time for your family
  3. Eat healthy and exercise
  4. Step away from your computer
  5. Look people in the eyes
  6. And yes … Pick Up the Damn Phone and have a personal conversation

Never forget that we ultimately do business with people, not with companies. Your connection is not technology. Your connection is a person, just like you.

Wishing you a happy and healthy 2014!

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What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in 2013?

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Readers’ Choice: Top 10 Posts from TrustMatters for 2013

Posted by on Dec 30, 2013 in Trusted Advisor | 0 comments

The votes are in! Your votes, that is – the votes you made with your ‘feet.’

From Sales and Leadership to Neuroscience and Shakespeare, we covered a wide range this year. But your interest is what ultimately determines what’s of most importance.

So, that’s why we’re taking a moment to share with you the top 10 most-popular TrustMatters blogposts from this year – as decided by you. If you can discern the (an?) underlying pattern in this list, we’d love to hear it.

Without further ado, here are the Readers’ Choices for 2013:

1. The New Leadership is Horizontal, Not Vertical

2. 8 Ways to Make People Believe What You Tell Them

3. Hitting a 7-Iron From The Tee Box

4. Know Yourself. Wait, What Does That Even Mean?

5. When You Can’t Get No Respect

6. Brutal Honesty Isn’t

7. What Sales Winners Do Differently: Q&A with Mike Schultz

8. Why Experts Are Bad at Sales

9. Why We Don’t Trust Companies Part I

10. How Neuroscience Over-reaches in Business

This post was written by Charles H. Green
Charles H. Green is founder and CEO of Trusted Advisor Associates LLC; read more about Charlie at http://trustedadvisor.com/cgreen/You can follow him on twitter @CharlesHGreen

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How to Make sure you Achieve your 2014 Leadership Goals

Posted by on Dec 30, 2013 in Great Leadership By Dan, Leadership | 0 comments

Leadership
This post first appeared in SmartBlog on Leadership:
It’s that time of year when many of us, with the best of intentions will write a leadership development plan, or establish goals for the upcoming year. Unfortunately, most of us will fail to achieve those goals.

Why? We fail for a lot of reasons, most importantly, we underestimate how hard it is to change behavior.

There’s others reasons too. We often set very high level, nebulous leadership goals like “be more strategic”, or “be a better leader”, without having a way to measure our progress towards achieving that goal. There’s no accountability, no way to see if we are making progress, and no motivation to keep trying.

I recently attended a conference where leadership development guru, author, and coach Marshall Goldsmith was a keynote speaker.

He shared a technique that’s he’s been using for a number of years that has helps him achieve his goals. At the end of his presentation, he asked if anyone was interested in participating in some research (for 10 days) using a similar technique to leave a business card. He said most people won’t – and if they did, they wouldn’t stick with it.

Well I did – I haven’t given up – and I’m loving the results!

Here’s how it works:

Step one: establish your goals
Establish a number of daily, behavioral objectives – things that you have an opportunity to do every day and can answered with a number (i.e., 1-7 scale).  It’s important that your establish your own objectives – things that are important to you – but here’s a list to choose from if you need some examples or help getting started:

1. I did my best to really listen to others
2. I had positive interactions with others
3. I did my best to be happy
4. I set measurable goals for the day
5. I did my very best to achieve my goals
6. I added value today
7. I inspired someone today
8. I helped someone else be successful or solve their own problem
9. I was engaged in my work
10. My work had meaning

Step 2: Daily follow-up and measurement
There are a number of ways to do this. You can have a good friend call you or email every day and ask you to score yourself on each question. No long winded analysis, beating yourself up, or excuses – just a number. You or your friend should keep track of your answers on a spreadsheet.

Or, you can use the tool that I’m using for the research. You are welcome to participate in Marshall’s study using simply providing your email to this link.  There’s even an accountability app that does the emails and scoring for you.

I’m not a behavioral psychologist, but I could guess why this seems to working so well. When I first started answering the questions, my scores were pretty low. However, responded to that darn email every day has motivated me to really pay attention – and try harder – to things that may have gotten overlooked without the reminder.

Although I haven’t seen my results yet, I know my numbers are going up. And just like when you step on the scale when dieting and see those numbers go down, it’s motivating to see the measurable results!

I wish you success, goal achievement, and happiness in 2014!

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Key Sales Lessons I Learned in 2013

Posted by on Dec 30, 2013 in Fearless Selling, Sales | 0 comments

Wow! I can’t believe another year has come and gone! I don’t know about you but I found this past year to be a very an interesting one. As I reflected back on the last twelve months I thought about the lessons I learned working with my clients. Here are five of them.

The decision making process is getting more complicated

If you sell an enterprise solution or software as a service (SaaS), the decision making process for your prospects is complicated. It is rare that one person makes the final buying decision without consulting other people in the company. In fact, several people are often involved in smaller buying decisions.

Plus, in some situations, your prospect may not even know who else needs to be involved in the decision making process which means you may have to help them figure that out. If you disregard or ignore this you could end up spinning your wheels and wasting your time.

They can find the budget

This past year I worked with a company that did not originally budget for the training initiative we eventually embarked upon. However, they saw a need and opportunity to improve their business so they found the money to fund the project. I learned three key lessons from this.

1. It is critical to probe deep enough to discover the true impact of your prospect’s pain and the implications of not taking action.

2. You need to position your solution in such a manner that the outcome outweighs the cost.

3. You have to deal with the right people.

Take the elevator to the executive suite

The only people who can approve unbudgeted expenditures are senior executives. I always knew this, at least intrinsically, but it was definitely confirmed with the project I mentioned in the previous point.

My key contact person was a mid-level manager and I convinced him to connect me with the VP of Sales. After a face-to-face meeting and several telephone conversations she was able to maneuver the deal and make it happen.

One champion is not enough

I watched a few deals go sideways this past year because the sales person relied on a single person in the company.

In one situation, the key champion left the company just before the contract was signed which left the sales person grasping at straws to close the deal. In another case, the sale went to a competitor because that salesperson enlisted the support of multiple people in the company compared to the single champion my client’s sales person had developed.

You can’t take shortcuts

In my last post, I discussed a deal I lost because I tried shortcutting the discovery process. I should have known better!

It is our responsibility as sales professionals to control the sales process. If we take shortcuts or try to fast-track a deal, we end up shortchanging ourselves and our prospects. It is critical to invest the necessary amount of time at each stage of the sales process and if your prospect is unwilling to give you this time, it may sense to move on to another opportunity.

What about you? What lessons did you learn this past year?

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(The Return of) The Leadership Checklist: 10 Things To Do Right Now To Make It A Great Year

Posted by on Dec 29, 2013 in Leadership, Terry Starbucker | 0 comments

Fellow leaders, it’s that time of year again – time to dust off our leadership checklist, and get ‘em done.   It’s time to get ready for a new year of leadership checklistissues and challenges.   Proper preparation is key, and I assure you, if you do these 10 things, you’ll be more than ready to make the coming year the best one ever for your leadership.

I originally posted this checklist in 4 years ago, and the lessons held within it have served as the basis of the more human leadership philosophy that has guided me through the 200 posts that have come after it (as well as the book I’m working on).

I trust that they can also guide you in your leadership journey – starting right here, right now.

Lead Well, and have a Happy and More Human New Year!

The New Year’s Leadership Checklist

1. Don’t Dive In Head First – Before you jump into the New Year, full speed ahead, don’t forget to pause and reflect on the year you just experienced – savor the victories, and learn from the setbacks. Talk about this with your team, as early in the year as possible.  THEN, dive in.

2. Study Up – Make sure you take the time to study the details of your business or project plan for the year ahead.  You don’t have to memorize every word and number, but it’s a big plus to absorb and conceptualize the full scope of what you’re trying to accomplish. You’ll feel ahead of the game right away – and that’s a good place to be.

3. Read Your Fine Print – Every leader’s strengths, if overplayed, can turn out to be a negative – I call that the leader’s “fine print“; things that we need to be careful about.  A good example of this is how a “good” tendency to a “hard charger” can turn “bad”  if you end up going overboard, getting too impatient,  and steamrolling over people.  Sort it all out early and become more aware of your “fine print“.

4. Put The Right Team On The Field – Take stock of your team and their strengths and weaknesses, and ask a few hard questions:  Is everyone committed to the new year and the new plan?  Did you have some unresolved issues from last year that are still hanging out there?  Do you need to reshuffle a few things now before things get too busy? Answer these questions NOW,  take whatever corrective action is necessary, and give your team a better chance for success.

5. Keep Raising The Bar – While it may not be realistically feasible to keep setting higher targets on every measurable metric you have,  at least try to raise one or two to higher levels than the year before.    In my experience there is nothing better, and more motivating, than for a team to hit a “best ever” one year,  raise the target the next year, and then hit it again.

6. Synthesize Goals – Now that you’ve studied the business/project plan (see above), you need to reduce it to “bite sized” pieces so it can be effectively communicated throughout the organization.   I’d try to keep the pieces to no more than 4 or 5, but once you come up with them, be relentless in your communication – post them everywhere, and your progress against them. Harness the  power of the collective consciousness!

7. Calibrate Your Accountability Meter – It’s always a good idea to make sure your “accountability meter” is set properly; what I mean by that is making sure your teammates know what their expectations are for the year, and once that is done, being prepared to lead using the “full spectrum” of accountability against those expectations.

8. Clean Out Your Ears – This one’s real simple – prepare your ears to listen, with this virtual “Q-Tip”.   Sit down at your desk, close the door, and turn off your handheld and computer.   Feel and “hear”  what it’s like to not multitask, and just take in what’s happening around you.   Make a mental note to recreate this “listening environment” every time you are in the presence of your teammates.

9. Give Feedback Early & Often – While it’s tempting to immerse yourself in all the “nuts and bolts” as you’ve set sail against your plan, don’t forget to give your teammates as much feedback as possible, especially early on in the year. It’s much harder to give course corrections later if the ship has drifted way off course.

10. Practice Patience, Tolerance  & Engagement- This may be the most important item of them all, and the hardest to do.  It’s so easy to get impatient, intolerant of critique, or adverse to conflict.   Stay self aware!    You don’t have to be a zen master, but it’s important to stay centered, calm, open minded, receptive, and understanding.  Especially when things aren’t going your way.

The post (The Return of) The Leadership Checklist: 10 Things To Do Right Now To Make It A Great Year appeared first on Terry “Starbucker” St. Marie.

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