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Write it Down!!

Write it Down!!

“A short pencil is always better than an long memory…so write it down!”

I ran into a former co-worker this week, and he quoted one of his former directors as saying something I had never heard before.  He said his old director would say at meetings…”a short pencil is always better than a long memory…get ’em out.

Now today I always struggle with using a pencil or a stylus…using paper or going paperless…but either way, I still agree with the concept of this quote.  I live in a world where we are all about the “call continuum”…the concept of progressing a call forward from one time to the next.  Nothing is more frustrating for me as a manger, and I’m sure for the customer also, to feel like we are just replaying the same call that has occurred multiple times before.  Many times when we stop and attempt to diagnose why this happens, it boils down to the rep not writing down what happened before so by default they ask the same questions and re-run the call again.

One of the keys that I truly believe separates “good from great” in sales is the applying the skill of consistently taking notes and reviewing those notes prior to sales calls so the time we spend is as effective and productive as possible.  I face this myself as a leader when I have interactions with my team.  I can’t count the number of times that I’ve left a conversation with a co-worker and 30 minutes later a follow up item pops into my mind that I should’ve asked about.  What a waste of time and energy that is!  The better I am at writing things down AND REVIEWING them before interactions, the more effective I will be.

The same is true for you…regardless of the industry or business you are in.  Write things down, whether using lead and paper or a stylus and tablet, so that you can keep up with what is going on and can become a more effective version of you.  Now go get busy!

It’s About Accountability

It’s About Accountability

image above originally found at “It’s Your Turn Blog”

I came across this short little video today while searching for a video explanation of the “Oz Principles.”  While only a couple of minutes long, it does a great job of calling out the 4 key steps in establishing a culture of accountability.

  1. Establish Expectations
  2. Gain Commitment
  3. Inspect what you Expect
  4. Provide Feedback and Consequences

This is a very timely video in my current leadership capacity as we begin 2019 and look to improve performance over 2018.  One of the key areas for my focus this year is landing on and establishing the critical few expectations for the team.  As simple as it sounds, if you can establish the expectations that will drive the performance you desire to have your team achieve, then you’re onto something!  In a world where you get pulled in multiple directions, however, this isn’t as nearly as simple as you’d like to think it would be.  It takes a lot of focus, analysis, and strategy to land on the critical few expectations that will drive the results needed to win in my company and yours also!

Take a look at this quick little video and I intend to break down each of these steps over the next 4 weekly blog posts and how I’m making it work in my business!

Now go out there and be successful in all that you do!

When 95% Just Isn’t Good Enough

When 95% Just Isn’t Good Enough

My son Spencer was the timpani player in 2017 for the All District Band which was held at Darlington Middle School.  The leader of the Senior High District Band did an example, which I’m sure isn’t new to him, that talked about that in Music 95% right isn’t good enough.  I thought this was a really cool example to show the importance of the arts and how students are held to a higher standard…you think a 95% is a great score in Algebra, but when you listen to each student getting a 95% on a piece of music, it’s shocking!  It’s well worth the 6 minutes of time to invest in watching this.

Now, why does this matter to you as a reader…all to often, we try to squeak by and do the minimum required.  If it’s not good enough for a timpani player in a senior high school band…I doubt it’s good enough for you either.  Excellence should be our goal!

Selling Extra Tickets – A Social Media Analogy for Selling in Today’s World

Selling Extra Tickets – A Social Media Analogy for Selling in Today’s World

I had an interesting conversation with one of my former managers with Johnson & Johnson a couple of years ago that serves as a great analogy about the use of Social Media in today’s business world.  He was attending the 2011 Allstate Sugar Bowl between Arkansas and Ohio State.  He is a huge Arkansas fan, and he was attending the game with some of his friends (all in their 40’s) and a couple of their teenage/early college sons.  They were going to meet some friends at the game, and when they arrived, they realized that they had 2 more tickets than they needed.  They had a couple of hours before kickoff, so they needed to move these tickets.  Marc, my former manager, immediately did what folks our age do when we have tickets to see at the game, depicted in the picture below 🙂

Yep, that’s right…hold up the tickets or 2 fingers to let the crowds of people around you (most of which already have tickets) that you have 2 tickets available.  At the same time, one of the “younger” crowd took to Twitter and Facebook to post to his “social media” group that he had tickets for the game, and if you wanted them, shoot him a message and he’d meet you at “x” location to make the deal.  Within 5 minutes, he had the tickets sold to a friend and was heading to the pre-determined location to seal the deal.

It was an “ah-ha” moment to my boss, and as I thought through it, this is also a great moment of learning for small business owners today.  Are you just using the old “two fingers in the air” approaches to reaching your market?  That could include newspaper, business cards, and phone books.  If so, think about your world today…when is the last time you used the phone book to find a phone number…it’s probably been quite a while.

Today’s world requires the use of many different sources of communication with your customers…many of which require technology, but also costs little to nothing except your time.  I’ve linked to another blog which speaks to the combining of social media with traditional marketing tools.  I hope it’s helpful and you enjoy the read.

Attack Your Day!! Before it Attacks You

Attack Your Day!! Before it Attacks You

November 2012 Book Review – Attack Your Day!: Before It Attacks You

I purchased this book for my Kindle App for the iPad on a whim while we were on our fall vacation in Hendersonville in early November.  I had never heard about it, and I feel like when it comes to my work life, I am pretty organized.  I will say, however, that this book has tips and concepts in it that I will be incorporating into my daily work routine.  I also like the basic concept of managing your days…

The new time management isn’t TIME management at all; it’s ACTIVITY management, and balance.

This Kindle ebook (or paperback) is all about managing our lives so as best to capitalize on three precious gifts – time, energy and choice. In an interesting and inspirational manner it helps us to examine everything that we are doing (or not doing) and to isolate those areas which are making our lives less than fruitful.  While all can benefit, book provides real tips that the ordinary person like myself can incorporate in how we are navigating our way through life and organize ourselves better. Even if you are wholly satisfied with how you are handling things and just want to read it out of curiosity, you are bound to find a useful tip here and there to try out.

I am still working through the 101 tips in the back of the book…those tips are worth the price of the book itself, which is extremely affordable.

The link below takes you to Amazon where you can find deals on this book!  Enjoy…Attack Your Day!: Before It Attacks You

Why I Love Selling

Why I Love Selling

I learned a long time ago that selling is the highest paid hard work and the lowest paid easy work that you can find. In selling, you are paid according to the results of your efforts so your level of success is all up to you.  The skills, knowledge, and drive within you are what will make you great.

Be proud to be in sales. It’s the foundation of the free enterprise system and one of the most interesting and exciting careers around.

Here are six advantages of selling as a career.

The first advantage is freedom of expression. Sales is one of the few professions in which you can be yourself. You compete where resourcefulness and perseverance are demanded and highly valued. No activity is more vital to the economy’s health than selling; no activity is more dependent on individual initiative than selling.

The second advantage of selling is that you have the freedom to become as successful as you’d like to be. In this profession no one limits your income but you. The income you earn is in direct proportion to the amount of service you give.

The third advantage of selling is that it’s a daily challenge. In sales, you never know what opportunities the day will open up, what prizes you can win–what catastrophes may befall you. To the salesperson, every day is an adventure. Working at this profession, we can go from the heights of exhilaration to the depths of discouragement within forty-eight hours–and climb back to the heights again the next day. Isn’t that exciting?

Every morning, tell yourself that challenge is exciting, it’s fun, and you look forward to it. Tell yourself that–and mean it. Psyche yourself up to enjoy challenge. Then go on the prowl for it, find it, and overcome it. The shortest route to high earnings goes straight through the challenges you’ll encounter.

The fourth advantage of selling is that it offers high potential returns from a low capital investment. What does it cost to gain entry into this profession that has no income ceiling? You can launch yourself into a sales career for a tiny fraction of what a franchisor will invest and have greater earning power sooner.

The fifth advantage of selling is that it’s fun. Do you know how many people aren’t having fun with what they’re doing to earn income? My philosophy is that if it’s not fun, it’s not worth doing. Life was meant to be fun, and there’s no reason not to have some of it while you’re earning a nice income for your family.

The sixth advantage of the selling profession is that it’s satisfying. It’s a thrill to know you’ve helped people when you go home at night and can say, “I got another family happily involved in what my company provides.”

When a purchasing agent approves your paperwork, it’s exciting and satisfying to know you’ve helped that organization carry out its purposes, save money, make more money or provide their employees with better benefits. The people you serve benefit in direct proportion to your ability and skills. The better you are at sales, the more you benefit others–your clients, your family, and the world’s economy.

Be proud to be in sales. It’s the foundation of the free enterprise system and one of the most interesting and exciting careers around.

As part of my blog interest, I will be posting some of my learning from my career in sales.