You already know enough, go out and apply that knowledge and see what happens.
Last week was a hell of a week and I have been noodling around this idea in my mind as I was challenged by someone I met with. He asked me if I was a confident person to which I said I was. He then said that even so, he sensed and got a feeling of a lack of confidence. As he pressed into what he meant, I couldn’t disagree with him. In fact it is something that my wife has said time and time again. I don’t feel that I am trying to prove myself to anyone but I always seemingly find myself not applying anything and just talking about what I have read or heard. I don’t have many business success stories and so I feel I need to compensate with words.
What I am learning though is that I know enough. It’s time to take that knowledge and apply. In fact a perfect example is that I just took copious amounts of notes over the past month from podcasts, books, conversations and I don’t think I have consciously applied one iota of what I’ve learned. This thirst for knowledge is great, and I never want to stop, but this lack of application and measuring what happens can’t continue on. Today, March 22nd… I am letting you know all of this because I want you to keep me accountable. I want you to ask me what I am applying and learning from that application. In a month, I hope to have tangible experiences and not just head knowledge. Keep me honest folks.
In all this craziness the one thought that pops into my mind is “How can I help?” It is literally all consuming and it is tough for me to not try and overthink this and go to grand gestures. The thing is, grand gestures wouldn’t work long term for our family as it would put us in tough financial times or worse.
In talking this idea over with my wife, she keeps on reminding me that as long as we all play our part in practicing social distancing, that is the way we can help. It isn’t big, but it is needed.
Another way that I am going to help is by sending encouraging hand written letters. Encouragement and a reminder that the person receiving the letter has value and purpose. We need to hold onto those truths, that we have value and purpose, or else this will be a journey too dark and long for many. Figure out a joy or talent of yours and share that with those in your community. Thats how we can help our customers, teammates, and those around us.
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.
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.
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.