Business

Say No To Networking

Ok ok… this title is kinda click bate because I don’t actually mean you should say no to networking, but that you should say no to the networking events that don’t work for you.
When I started my first job search I felt that I had to go to all the events I could find and talk to as many people trying to show how amazing I was.  As I’ve experienced more and read some interesting books, I realize that that was probably the worst thing I could have done for myself in that season.  When I just went to events and chatted up everyone, I wasn’t comfortable or in my element. Yes, I love people, building relationships and sharing in stories, but I was not in a good place to do that. Every conversation I made it about me, and as wonderful as I think I am… that was a big turn off for others and pushed them away from helping me.
Again, it isn’t about saying no to networking, but just saying no to networking in a way that doesn’t work for you.  That doesn’t mean never getting out of your comfort zone, but it does mean figuring a way to be the most conferrable at those events. Bring a wingman / wingwoman and don’t fly solo.  No reason to take on the sucky world of networking by yourself.  Figure out the events that bring you life. That may mean you say no to the cocktail hour and say yes to a business book club, toastmasters, or local crew you get brunch with and gab about the latest industry trends.
Whatever puts you in the best state of mind and puts you most at ease is what you need to do.  When you are anxious and out of your comfort zone, people sense it and instead of remembering you for something good, they remember to stay away from you and end up never helping. Please, do us all a favor and get to know yourself so you can say no yourself to those opportunities that would do you more harm then good.
Community

A Thank You Note Long Past Due

One of the things I wish I would have realized a long time ago is that life is infinitely better together.  It is amazing how this simple truth escaped me decades ago and how it still seems to be an elusive concept to many who try to do life all on their own.
It was fourth grade and a I wrote a note that my teacher confiscated and brought to the student counselor.  From there my parents were called, my mother came to the school, shocked, and within a day or two I went to another counselor.  I honestly don’t remember much more of the event, probably because I have blocked it out, but one thing I do remember is that I felt so dang alone and empty.
In that loneliness I fell into reading and started devouring books as best I could.  There where a few in particular that really caught my attention and I would constantly go back to.  Those where the books by my favorite author Roald Dahl.  I am so glad I stumbled upon those books because they helped save me from loneliness and isolation.  When I read those books, my imagination would run wild. I would think and dream of characters and lands that were magical and where anything seemed possible.  I would get lost in those books for hours, turning page after page, being filled with wonder and life.  It was these books that brought me into a much better state of mind and that helped form my healthy thirst for creativity and books.
I never ever thought of writing Roald Dahl a letter to thank him until now.  As it turns out though, I wouldn’t have been able to write him one anyway, because by the time I discovered his world and words of wonder, he had already passed away.  Even so, I wanted to immortalize these words and say “Thank you Mr. Dahl.  Your words helped create a since of wonder and creativity and even made me realize that this world is one of pure imagination and full of amazing people with amazing stories.  You helped save me from some dark and lonely times and helped shape who I am today. I am forever grateful.”
Please, take this challenge I am about to give you some serious thought. I challenge you to handwrite a letter to someone who has impacted your life.  Let them know that impact they have had on you. It doesn’t matter if it is someone you have never met in person, just let them know.  If they are no longer on this earth, write a post on the internet letting everyone know what impact they had.  Please, take this challenge and spread some good, and don’t forget to let us know who it was and why you wrote them as well.
Business

So You Didn’t Close The Deal

In a recent community event that I hosted, the topic of “How to hold your customers accountable” was discussed.  I was able to get one of my friends, who has been crushing it in sales for over 15 years and recently had his best year ever, come and share his insights with the group.  Here are some of those insights.
Contract negotiation is all about the relationship.  Most people just try and get facts about the company that will help the deal move forward, but they are missing key elements.  Those key elements are that they need to more fully understand the individual they’re doing business with.  It seems a simple understanding of what that person does and their specific role is sometimes overlooked.  This is a crucial mistake because if you don’t know who you are literally doing business with, there is no way you can best position yourself and the product to meet their needs.
We also need to realize that contract negation and building relationships is a dance.  If you all are not moving in sync, it is felt and problems start to come up.  Stop stepping on their toes, take a breath and get back into the rhythm.  We need to have our eyes open to everything around us so we don’t mess up by doing a line dance while they are doing the Cupid Shuffle or the Fox Trott.  To be a better “dance partner,” go back to the point above and re-read it.  Get to know the other party intimately if you want to know how to best move and grove together.
Most importantly, be you.  Know what you are great at and go into the conversation putting those qualities and characteristics first.  If you are more reserved, don’t come barging in the meeting telling jokes.  If you typically slower in building trust, don’t start with a complex question that goes beyond the surface.  However you are, lead with that gifting.
Now, let’s say you execute what you think is the perfect pitch and you get to know the customer in and out, but for some reason you don’t get the deal.  What in the heck happened?  That is a great question and one you need to ask yourself.  Don’t go blaming the should have been customer or other people on your team.  What you need to be doing is see what you missed.  Where you actually talking to the decision maker or where you interacting with the gatekeeper the entire time?  Did you miss it because someone had an inside track with an executive so they got the business?  If you missed the sale, you need to take the time to look over the whole story and see what fact or issue you overlooked and didn’t clearly answer.
If you didn’t close the deal, it’s not the end of the world.  In fact, it helps you better refine your craft.  Even if you missed the deal for something small, that one thing can be a huge leverage point the next time this opportunity comes around, because lets be clear about one thing… that opportunity to sell is right around the corner.
Business

How To Plan Against Your Weaknesses

If you don’t truly know yourself, how do you ever plan to get better and plan against your weaknesses?
Something I have come to realize is that I like to go full speed ahead and do things before asking any questions.  It is a trait that has been incredibly helpful at times, and also incredibly destructive.  In my professional life it has helped bring about great life changing experiences, yet at the same time it has caused me to put my foot in my mouth and cause issues because I hadn’t fully planned.
Now I absolutely love this trait about me, but I realize that it can have a pretty negative affect if not controlled.  Over the past 10 months I have seen this trait of “do first and plan later” time and time again.  Most recently it was when I called a handful of friends trying to convince them we should put on a small sales conference.  I was taking steps and getting people to do tasks when a I ended up having a conversation with a trusted mentor.  The life altering observation he made was that I was taking too big of a bite.  He asked the question,”What is one small step you can take that you could rally people around?”
That question changed everything.  It made it go from a conference to s small monthly get together of young professionals over coffee or beer.
That one question shined a big light on a giant weakness of mine.  Ever since that weakness has been brought to light, I have changed how I plan and do things.  Now I am far from perfect as I still catch myself running ahead without asking the needed questions, but at least I am aware of it and can plan against it by having trusted people in my life tell me when I am rushing ahead and trying to take on too big of a task.
I’m not sure what your weaknesses are, but you need to get some trusted folks around you to help shine a light on what they may be, so that you can plan against them.
What is your weakness and how can you plan against it?
Business

How To Get Beyond The Ghost

We are just four day’s away from the next Carrier Community Event and I am freaking pumped!
Today’s post is inspired from some answers from the attendees when it came to the question of how do you get beyond the ghost.  The ghost is referring to the person you were talking to and about to sign a deal with, but then all of a sudden they don’t respond to your text’s, call’s, emails… nothin.  Below are some of the ideas discussed, some of which I wouldn’t have thought of.  Since I have started creating this carrier community with others, these pieces of wisdom have become invaluable.
  1. Pay attention to the news surrounding their company and about items that would be of interest to them.  If their company has done something remarkable and it is being reported on, this is an easy way to mention it to them and possibly get them talking about themselves… which we all love doing.  If their company isn’t in the news and you sent a printed out copy of the article with a letter stating why you sent it, that shows that you actually know about them and their interests, and that you are not afraid to go above and beyond what others and sales do.
  2. Search job postings for their company.  You may notice that their company is about to hire someone who will be their boss, or that their position is now open.  If you see that the company is hiring a new person in logistics / supply chain, you can send a welcome note once that position is filled.
    • You should also pay attention to their LinkedIn.  That is the easiest way to see changes to someones status and to see if their company, if their company keeps up with their own LinkedIn, has new people that could help you get back in contact with “The Ghost.”
  3. Get existing clients to call prospects.  If you can’t get back in touch with your contact, see if you can get an existing client to call on your behalf.  If someone called me and was genuinely raving about the service they were receiving… I know I would be 100% more inclined to reignite those conversations and take a second and third look on what was actually offered.
  4. Take a personal visit to their office.  This is super old school, but a personal touch is always more impactful.  See if you can learn their schedule a little bit better before you go to visit because you may be able to catch them on their way back from lunch.
  5. Hold them accountable.  This is one of the more tough suggestions because you have to do it with empathy.  You have no idea what is going on in their lives, but whatever is happening shouldn’t keep them from helping out their company.  If they agreed to get back with you about a yes or a no, keep them accountable to that.
Any of these five points can be implemented over and over again, but the most important thing is to make the other customer the hero. Part of the reason they may be ghosting is because even though you may be saving them some money or solving a problem, you are positioning yourself as the hero bringing about the solution. Remember that in sales you are never the hero.  Your job in sales is to make the other individual realize that with your help, they are going to be the hero as they save their company money, solve a big issue, or help bring about positive change that the company has been needing for so long.
Getting beyond the ghost isn’t easy, but it is possible. What are ways that you are doing it with your potential customers?