Business

I Am Not A Hunter

What are you great at?  I know if you asked me that question, I would say building relationships and sharing in peoples stories.  I love getting to know people for who they are and seeing how we can best partner up and help each other.  Not everyone is wired this way and that is what this article is all about, sorry outdoor enthusiasts or folks who love posts about gun regulations.
We need to fully understand what we are great at, which is part of our personal brand, if we truly want to  make the most sales and have the biggest impact.  If you find yourself as the proverbial “hunter” in sales, then by all means, go out and do your quick kills and bring that back to the “family” so we can eat.  If you are a farmer,  then understand you still have great value for the “family.”  You are playing the long game as you cultivate relationships.  You are the ones that have the opportunity to yield more than what you have “planted.” 
Please do us all a favor and be uniquely you.  Learn what you can from others and books, but apply that with your own personality, shake it up, and see what comes out.  If you want to have more sales, a giant impact, and know what opportunity to choose, first figure out what your great at and then do all you can to do more of that in your job.  Don’t try and be someone else.   Be you through and through and opportunities will start to come about.
Business

Why Empathy Matters

Why does it even matter for us to empathize with others?
This past year I had hip surgery. I knew the recovery would take time and be difficult in some aspects, but until I was going through it, I didn’t realize how hard it would be.  For two weeks I couldn’t drive and I never imagined how giving up that freedom could be so life altering.  I hated having to rely on others for every move I wanted to make.  There is so much freedom that comes with a car, and I now fully understand that.
Not only could I not drive for a couple weeks, but I also have a semi constant numbness and pain that I feel in the area around my surgery, and when I do certain movements there is a flash of searing pain.  Now I have not taken pain meds since after the third day of surgery, but going through this experience has helped me understand how people could take those meds longer than they should.  It would be so easy for someone to have this little bit of pain and want it solved through pills.
Since this experience, I can better empathize with others around me.  What I have come to realize is that most of the time we only no a small part of someone’s story.  Before we decide to judge or make a decision about someone, we really need to hear what is going on in their lives.  Showing empathy will further endear you to those you are in a contact with and is a great way to build a foundation that could eventually lead to a great connection.  If you want to build a strong relationship and show someone you really care, it starts with a massive dose of empathy and realizing that we are all in this together.  If you truly want to succeed in business, this is one of those foundational things you need to work on.
Business

Why Personal Brand Is So Important: People Buy You, Not Your Company

I have a friend who works for a large carrier and has absolutely been crushing it. Recently, she got a promotion and has already been making waves and getting stuff done. Now why is all this important? You’re about to read why.
My friend has been in the supply chain and logistics world for a bit and has built up an amazing reputation which I can personally attest to. I was thrilled when she said she was moving into a new role, yet also a little sad because it meant that she would no longer be in charge of my account. Now that she has been in this new role for a couple of months, it seems my feelings of sadness are not exclusive to me.
As we recently connected over the phone, she mentioned a few customers had requested, on pain of losing their business, that she stay as their rep. This is huge! Why, because it clearly shows that people are buying her, not her company.
You need to realize that when you are selling something, that people are buying you and not your company. Oh… and by the way, no matter who you are and what your position is you are selling something. The company’s name and reputation may get you in the door, but it certainly won’t close any deals for you or keep customers.
People are buying you and the experience you are giving them. NEVER… forget that.

Community

Simple LinkedIn Strategy on Commenting

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. 

Helpful Hints

How To Get Past The Gatekeeper

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.