Business

How Capturing To-Do’s And Ideas Can Help You Accomplish More

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: 

  1. It declutters the mind and allows your brain to focus on the task at hand without getting distracted.
  2. Helps you keep track of what is most important and allows you to see some quick wins you had throughout the day.
  3. 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. 

Business

Don’t Ever Say Never:

You want to know why you are losing sales? It’s because you don’t think that deal is possible.  Heck, we all do it. We have that conversation, look over the details, crunch the numbers, fail time and time again and we decide that whatever it is, is just impossible to get.

The real issue, it’s that we don’t have realistic expectations of what it will take to accomplish that goal / task / ambition.  Plus, we try and push too fast in the relationship and instead of finding out their actual needs and how we can help, we just make the offer… which falls on deaf and/or angry ears.

Please, take a moment to read to this quick story because I promise it will help, even if not right now.

I just closed a deal with someone who has become a great friend over the past few years. His name is Bo Cordell and he is a freaking champion, you should get to know him.  Around three years ago he stopped by Tip Top and it was a great meeting.  He left with no business in hand, BUT he had started some key relationships with our company.  As time went on, I became the traffic manager with sole responsibility of bringing on new carriers and the needs of our company started changing.  Beyond that, we spent about a year and a half getting coffee once a month just to shoot the shit, talk shop, and get to know each other even better.

About a year ago he received a fantastic promotion, just another reason that shows how much of a #boss that he is, and he moved back to his home town.  Since then, we have had fairly regular calls, one of which further cemented our professional relationship.

After three years, we just closed a deal with his company. It never felt forced, it always felt natural, and the whole time we talked biz we grew our friendship.  I can’t wait to see how it continues to grow, especially as we are potentially starting another exciting adventure together with a few others. More details on that to come at a later date. 

Community

Tips From A Newbie Conference Goer: How To Make The Most Of The Conference Part 2

You know what problem I have realized? A lot of us suck at making the most of the conferences and events that we attend.  I recently went to my first conference this March and I realized after the event that the little prep-work I did wasn’t enough.  As you can see from the title, this is part 2 of what I learned and we are going to focus on the actual event itself.  If you haven’t read part one, what prep-work we should be doing to set us up for success, you can check that out here.

At this point, after we have done the needed prep-work to be prepared to absolutely crush the event, we have to keep the momentum going.  Now is not the time to chicken out and roll up into the fetal position. Be brave and don’t waste all that effort. (You can check out the video breakdown of this post here)

Lets start off with the biggest piece of advice that can make the whole plan crumble.  Don’t follow the plan of only talking to the 3-5 key people so rigidly.  If we do this, we will miss some amazing opportunities to connect with others that could make the conference an absolute success.  I on the other hand did not do this.  I walked in, ran into a guy that I hadn’t seen in years and caught up with him.  After that, I started walking around trying to find the 3 people I had pegged that I really wanted to meet and get to know.  I walked around and added quite a few steps to my Fitbit counter, and made myself look like a roving lunatic.  We need to realize that most of the conferences we attend will be a few hundred to a few thousand people, so picking out three specific people may be near improbable.  This is why we have the key folks we would like to meet, but it isn’t a plan that you need to follow exactly.

So now that you are ok with veering off your mission of only talking to 3-5 very specific people, lets realize one thing, EVERYONE at the conference is going to have some reservations about striking up conversations with strangers.  As outgoing as they may be in their typical environments, conferences are not the norm for folks and that puts them a little on edge.  This is why you have done all the prep-work, because it puts your nerves at ease and allows you to be the confident person to break the ice. Everyone loves confidence and it breaths life into conversations.  Don’t be afraid to talk to others.  Come prepared with a handful of questions that are actually interesting ones.  Get beyond the ones about their job and what they do.  Ask questions around; “Why they are at this conference?” “What would a win look like for them at the end of this event?”  “What speaker are you most looking forward to seeing?” “Have you met anyone interesting?”  These questions, and the million others we could all come up with, are just different enough to give you some ammo to start a conversation that could lead to a great relationship.

Knowing the event and having a plan for the schedule is also a huge help.  I ended up sitting at a random table because my friend had some important calls to finish and I didn’t have the bright idea to save us seats for the lunch portion so we had to split up.  These small details of sitting down early and saving seats are nice, unless you want to challenge yourself and be open to meeting other attendees.  Since we had to split up, I ended up meeting a gentleman who lives about 15 minutes from where I work, knows one of my friends, AND is also a runner like me.  Another piece of advice I learned from Jayson Gaignard is to look for the uncommon commonalities between you and the other individual.  When you find out these uncommon commonalities like you both know the same person or enjoy running, you both can geek out over whatever topic that is and start to build a better foundation for a relationship.  These uncommon commonalities also give you specific and interesting things to follow up on with that new contact. 

Now that you have been willing to break the plan, break the ice with others, and meet new people, there is one last little tip I have for you.  Make sure you have a couple of one liners ready to get you out of the conversations that are going nowhere.  Not that you are going to burn this bridge, but you have no idea who this person really is or where this connection could lead.  You also don’t want to be trapped in an awkward conversation for 30 minutes.  Here are a few suggestions, “I don’t want to keep you from meeting other attendees, here is my card and lets catch up via email after the conference.” “Are you staying for the whole conference? Let’s try and meet up later.” “I’ve enjoyed meeting you, since I have to go meet someone else, here is my card so we can follow up later.”

All of this is a lot, I know, but the more prepared we are going into the conference, the more relaxed we feel and the better chance we have of forming relationships with others.  Remember, we have no idea who that person will become and how that relationships could turn out to be a great asset for us in the future.

What are some of your tips that you apply while you are attending the conference?

Community

Two Ways You Can Tell You Love Your Customers

I think it is quite interesting to hear companies say that they love their customers, or their employees, yet when you look at their actions and the words they use, it actually seems quite the opposite.  Now I am no expert on the subject of love, but I have come to the understanding of a couple of ways to actually gauge how much you really do love your customers.

  1. Review your interactions.  If in your interactions with your customers you find yourself getting irritated, impatient, looking for how you can get the best outcome for you, or anything else that puts you getting the most… you may not really love your customers as much as you thought.  This is a tough habit to break as we are all conditioned to look out for #1, namely ourself.  As we review our interactions with our customers, make sure the actions, responses, and the words we use are putting the customer first.
  2. Love never gives to get… it’s just not how love does.  Thats actually pretty much it, can’t add anything to it.

Cleary you can take these two checks and balance ideas and apply them to any relationship. In fact, I would encourage you to do so.  It is something I have done and it has brought to light how selfish I am and how that selfishness has actually hurt me when it has come to opportunities.  

Who do you say that you love, and when you look at your interactions, do your actions prove your words?