People seems to be focusing on the wrong things… themselves. Now don’t get me wrong, I am as guilty as the next person. I love thinking about myself and how I can get better, improve, and grow my connections.
Life and these lovely social networks, like LinkedIn, are all about relationships. If you want to grow them, you need to plant lots of little seeds along the way. How you do this is by engaging with others that are in your network. Scroll through your feed, find an interesting picture or someone you respect, actually take in whatever their content is, and engage with it. Don’t just give a quick like and scroll on, leave a thoughtful comment. Leave them something that gives them kudos or poses a question.
If you want to grow your community and your engagement, it’s all about commenting and interacting with others. It’s about planting lots of little seeds and growing your brand, your community and your network one person at a time.
I don’t know about you, but I am incredibly forgetful. I can think of something I need to do or think of a “brilliant” idea and in the matter of five minutes I get completely distracted by the fact that someone brought in the most scrumptious and delectable donuts from Tip Top Donuts.
Since I am so forgetful and I have a million ideas running around my head, I take a 3 by 5 index card and write down those to-do’s and ideas with a little checkbox next to them. Yes yes I know, how archaic it is that I am using pen and paper when I have an iPhone in my pocket.
You don’t have to use pen and paper, but the reason I personally do is because it does something extra for me. Physically writing it down, instead of typing it out, adds one more thing to help me remember it. However you capture down these to-do’s and thoughts, whether with a chisel and little stone tablet , pen and paper or a phone, make sure it is something that doesn’t add stress and that fits who you are.
Why should you start capturing to-do’s and ideas in the throughout the day? Let me list a few:
- It declutters the mind and allows your brain to focus on the task at hand without getting distracted.
- Helps you keep track of what is most important and allows you to see some quick wins you had throughout the day.
- Allows you to be intentional, set a plan, and accomplish more throughout the day.
This isn’t a new idea. In fact, it is actually multiple ideas that I grabbed from a couple different folks and meshed into something that works for me. Please, take the time to try this out over this next week. If you like it great, if you don’t… well at least you tried something new. I just know the positive impacts it has had for me as I have accomplished more and freed up my mind to focus on what truly matters.
This company that I visited does everything with excellence, and when I say everything… I mean everything. They even care about the details so much, that their yard where they have all of their equipment looked like perfection with each truck and trailer lined up perfectly. As some would say “There is a place for everything, and everything is in it’s place.”
Being mindful of the details didn’t just stop with the equipment in the yard. Part of the reason I visited exactly when I did is because part of the process for them to deliver our product involves cross docking and loading trucks from various origin points. Not only did they make this whole scenario look effortless, they made sure that as they were moving the product from one place to the next, that all the lids where on just right, that the plastic wrap didn’t look like hell, that pallets were in good shape, that the trailers were clean, and that everything looked at its best.
I know what I just described seems like a simple task, but it truly isn’t. If it was, there would never be refused product for boxes looking like hell or that fell over because of a weak wrap job, or broken pallet shards all over a once clean trailer. It’s these small actions of being mindful of ALL the details that make the biggest difference. In talking with this company about all of this, they talked about their why behind it all. “If the product looks nice and in place, when the doors are opened up for it to be inspected, it puts the inspector at ease and makes the process go more smoothly. Not only that, the buyers hear about it and potentially start buying more of your product because it is consistently in great shape. If they buy more of your product, you will need more trucks to ship it and everyone wins.”
It is a simple philosophy, but one that is truly overlooked time and time again. It’s also a philosophy that takes humility and a heart of service to execute well.
What are the small actions that you can make within your day to day operations that will have a big impact and increase business?
Ahhhh the infamous gatekeeper. The holder of the keys and the bosses schedule. The one who decides who gets to go beyond the proverbial curtain and see the wizard… too much? Gatekeepers, we all know them, we all struggle with them at times, and in fact, at some point or another we all are one of them. Gatekeepers are an integral part of companies and when they do their job well, they save the person they work with a lot of wasted time and effort.
The question to ask yourself, especially in sales, is how do you get past the gatekeeper, especially when there is one of those convenient no soliciting signs?
What I have seen and experienced work best is when we create a point of connection. To do that, you need to be incredibly observant of your surroundings and the non-verbal cues that individual is giving. To create a point of connection, as you are walking up to that persons desk and starting a conversation, you need to see if there is anything that can be a connection that you can talk about. If there is a picture of their dog on the desk, you can start bringing up their pet and ask questions. You also need to have questions prepared that will help you to go beyond the surface and get you some real information. What I mean is that you don’t just want to find out the dogs name, you also want to see if it has a favorite toy or treat. Once you are loaded with that information, as you follow up with that office again in a couple weeks, you come in to talk to Carol about her dog and you hand her a present for her fur baby that ends up being their favorite kind of toy. As you begin creating this good will and influence with this individual, you are making lots of relational deposits so that when you eventually go for the ask, it doesn’t feel like much of a draw on the relationship because you have already given so much.
If there are not any pictures to draw some data from, you have to be armed with some general questions that will lead to uncommon commonalities. Not only that, you have to realize that surprisingly enough, they don’t want to spend all day with you. That being said, getting past the gatekeeper takes time. As you focus on forming a genuine connection instead of getting past them, opportunities to do just that will start to pop up. Maybe instead of dropping off just your business card, you stop on by with a handful of gift cards for a local restaurant or coffee shop for the gatekeeper to use and share with others in the office. Maybe you bring by handwritten thank you cards. Maybe you don’t go straight for the person who you eventually need to meet, but instead you start to meet other people of influence at the company like the people who run the warehouse. Remember, the person you think you need to meet may not actually be the one to get you the business.
Think about doing business differently and start thinking about how you can form common points of connection that just may lead to the opportunity for you to make a sale.