Culture

For Better or Worse, In Sickness and in Health

 

These past 11 days have been rather unique.  I recently had surgery on my hip… yes, I am 31 years old and had to get some work done on my right hip.  Even though it was outpatient surgery it still shook things up quite a bit.  I have been on crutches, unable to drive, limited in some of my functions and mobility, and have had to be far less active than I normally am.  Through all of these changes and issues, my wife has been a freaking beast and has killed it.

“For better or worse, in sickness and in health.”  Most of us whom are married have uttered these words, and over these past 11 days my wife has perfectly executed on them.  I am blown away at her level of service and how she so deeply cared for me.  She met my every need and then some. She was always there asking what I needed and offered up help and solutions to problems and wants I didn’t even know that I had

It’s in these inciting incidents, these moments of giant change, when we as people can really shine and make an impact, and that is what my wife did.  It has encouraged me to take my game up to 11 and serve her not because of what she has done for me, but because she is more than worth it.  When you are served and loved in this way, it only encourages you to do the same.  So please let this blog not only honor my wife, but be an encouragement to you to honor those words, “For better or worse, in sickness and in health.” Let this blog be an encouragement to look around you and serve well those that are in your life.

Who is in your life that you need to serve well, and how can you live it out today?

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. 

Business

Small Actions Make A Big Impact

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?

Community

Stop Sending DM’s In LinkedIn:

I think a lot of people could benefit from following the advice from the title of this post: Stop sending DM’s in LinkedIn.  Most of the time people send really crappy messages just going straight for the kill and asking for the close, or as a put it in another post, the marriage proposal.

Please for the love of all things good and holy, stop furthering this issue and make sure that you don’t just send a blast of DM’s via LinkedIn or any other social media platform asking for business.  Sure, you may get a random person positively responding, but then I would also ask why were they so willing to work with a random stranger.  What we need to do is forget the ask all together and see how we can best interact with that individual.  If they are posting lots of content on LinkedIn, start interacting with them there. If they are not posting anything on that platform, see if they are engaged elsewhere and find out where they are most active.  It is the craziest thing for you to keep trying to contact someone in the same way even after the fact they haven’t responded to your first fifteen tries. 

No matter how you eventually connect with someone, don’t let the first interaction be a big ask, because your relational bank is empty is instantly overdrawn, and no one likes the feeling of being overdrawn.  Take your time, relationships don’t happen overnight, but over a lifetime. 

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.