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Sales Development

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10 Tips to Achieve Anything You Want in Life

1. Focus on commitment, not motivation.
Just how committed are you to your goal? How important is it for you, and what are you willing to sacrifice in order to achieve it? If you find yourself fully committed, motivation will follow.

Here’s how to focus on commitment.
2. Seek knowledge, not results.
If you focus on the excitement of discovery, improving, exploring and experimenting, your motivation will always be fueled. If you focus only on results, your motivation will be like weather—it will die the minute you hit a storm. So the key is to focus on the journey, not the destination. Keep thinking about what you are learning along the way and what you can improve.

Here’s how to seek knowledge.

3. Make the journey fun.
It’s an awesome game! The minute you make it serious, there’s a big chance it will start carrying a heavy emotional weight and you will lose perspective and become stuck again.

Here’s how to make the journey fun.

4. Get rid of stagnating thoughts.
Thoughts influence feelings and feelings determine how you view your work. You have a lot of thoughts in your head, and you always have a choice of which ones to focus on: the ones that will make you emotionally stuck (fears, doubts) or the ones that will move you forward (excitement, experimenting, trying new things, stepping out of your comfort zone).

Here’s how to get rid of stagnating thoughts.

5. Use your imagination.
Next step after getting rid of negative thoughts is to use your imagination. When things go well, you are full of positive energy, and when you are experiencing difficulties, you need to be even more energetic. So rename your situation. If you keep repeating I hate my work, guess which feelings those words will evoke? It’s a matter of imagination! You can always find something to learn even from the worst boss in the world at the most boring job. I have a great exercise for you: Just for three days, think and say positive things only. See what happens.

Here’s how to use your imagination.

6. Stop being nice to yourself.
Motivation means action and action brings results. Sometimes your actions fail to bring the results you want. So you prefer to be nice to yourself and not put yourself in a difficult situation. You wait for the perfect timing, for an opportunity, while you drive yourself into stagnation and sometimes even into depression. Get out there, challenge yourself, do something that you want to do even if you are afraid.

Here’s how to stop being nice to yourself.

7. Get rid of distractions.
Meaningless things and distractions will always be in your way, especially those easy, usual things you would rather do instead of focusing on new challenging and meaningful projects. Learn to focus on what is the most important. Write a list of time-wasters and hold yourself accountable to not do them.

Here’s how to get rid of distractions.

8. Don’t rely on others.
You should never expect others to do it for you, not even your partner, friend or boss. They are all busy with their own needs. No one will make you happy or achieve your goals for you. It’s all on you.

Here’s how to not rely on others.

9. Plan.
Know your three steps forward. You do not need more. Fill out your weekly calendar, noting when you will do what and how. When-what-how is important to schedule. Review how each day went by what you learned and revise what you could improve.

Here’s how to plan.

10. Protect yourself from burnout.
It’s easy to burn out when you are very motivated. Observe yourself to recognize any signs of tiredness and take time to rest. Your body and mind rest when you schedule relaxation and fun time into your weekly calendar. Do diverse tasks, keep switching between something creative and logical, something physical and still, working alone and with a team. Switch locations. Meditate, or just take deep breaths, close your eyes, or focus on one thing for five minutes.

Motivating people starts with having the right attitude

It’s all about the motivation!

Most leaders know what strong motivation looks like. When I ask leadership development clients to describe the type of motivation they’d like to see in their teams, they mention qualities such as persistence, being a self-starter, having a sense of accountability for and commitment to achieving results, and being willing to go the extra mile on projects or to help other team members. But many leaders have little idea of how to boost or sustain that level of motivation.

Many leaders don’t understand that they are an integral part of the motivational ecosystem in their companies. The motivational qualities listed above appear most frequently when employees feel valued, trusted, challenged, and supported in their work — all things that leaders can influence. For better or worse, leaders’ attitudes and behaviors have a huge effect on employees’ drive and capacity to perform.

One problem that gets in the way is a mechanistic, instrumental view of the human beings who sit at our companies’ desks. Seeing compensation as the primary or only tool we can use to motivate high performance is like trying to build a house with only a hammer. What gets lost is that incentives, regardless of which ones are applied, filter through employees’ brains along with every other aspect of the employment experience. How employees experience work from day to day has a bigger influence on their motivation than their compensation and benefits package.
Another barrier to a leader’s capacity to motivate is the widespread, mistaken belief that motivation is an inherent property of the employee — “they either have it or they don’t.” In fact, motivation is a dynamic process, not a stable employee characteristic. When we judge an employee to be irredeemably unmotivated, we give up on trying to motivate them. A vicious cycle ensues, in which our attitude and behaviors elicit exactly those behaviors we expect from an unmotivated employee, which in turn reinforces and justifies our verdict and approach. Everybody loses: The organization is deprived of the employee’s full contribution, the leader acts unskillfully, and the employee grows increasingly disengaged.

Managers generally start out with the best of intentions. After all, whenever we hire someone new, we expect that they will be motivated. Later, if performance or engagement lags, we experience frustration at the “unmotivated, entitled” employee. It often goes something like this: “As a leader, I started out caring very much about the emotional needs of staff. Unfortunately, all this brought about was overentitlement and making it OK to use your feelings to waste time and create a negative environment. I have evolved to care less about feelings and more about getting the work done, period. As long as my expectations are clear, people get paid, and they have a safe environment, there is no room for the rest of it in the workplace.” I found this comment on a leadership article posted on the HBR Facebook page, but it could have come from the mouths of the countless leaders I’ve met during my career. Even if a leader feels perfectly justified in taking this approach, giving the impression that employees’ subjective experience of work doesn’t matter will only serve to dampen employee motivation.

It is entirely possible for leaders to learn to motivate even those employees they’ve given up on. As an example, I recently coached a leader who’s responsible for a global organization’s operations in an Eastern European country. A man in his fifties with a military background, he complained of being saddled with an underperforming team member he couldn’t fire: “He’s basically useless. All I can do is contain him so he doesn’t screw anything up — and lean on my capable people to get our work done.” The leader gave the employee routine, low-value work to do, didn’t share important information with him, didn’t bother to meet with him, and never sought his input or contribution to important projects. “Why bother with him? I can’t change him, and I don’t have time to waste on someone who’s unmotivated,” he insisted at first. Through coaching, the leader came to appreciate that these choices, which he initially saw as rational responses to a motivational deficiency in the employee, actually worsened the problem. He realized that seeing his employee as useless was only one of many possible perspectives he could take — and that it limited his leadership effectiveness. After shifting his approach from containment to facilitation, he saw substantial gains in the employee’s outward motivation and performance, to the point where the employee became a valuable member of the team.

To make the shift that boosted his employee’s motivation, this leader had to be fearless in examining his own thinking and patterns of behavior. He recognized and admitted that he didn’t see his employee as a whole human being, but rather as an object and a problem. He had to develop curiosity about what the situation was like from the employee’s point of view. He had to experience that valuing his employee’s perspective opened up avenues for motivation. As he started talking more with his employee, giving him challenging work, seeking his input, and including him in important projects, the employee responded with increased enthusiasm and commitment. “I can’t believe what a difference it makes,” he told me after a few sessions.

I believe that most interpersonal problems that arise in the world, whether in relationships, companies, or nations, come down to the fundamental difficulty humans have in seeing things from others’ perspectives. When we make assumptions about what employees believe and value, interpreting their behaviors according to our assumptions, we reduce their humanity and their complexity. The very phrase “human resources” frames employees as material to be deployed for organizational objectives. While the essential nature of employment contracts involves trading labor for remuneration, if we fail to see and appreciate our employees as whole people, efforts to motivate them will meet with limited success. Instead of thinking about how we can control our employees, let’s focus on how we can motivate them. A good place to start is by reflecting on the best boss you’ve ever had. How did this boss make you feel? What did this boss do to earn your admiration? Try to harvest some of that boss’s motivational strategies and make them your own.

Another barrier to a leader’s capacity to motivate is the widespread, mistaken belief that motivation is an inherent property of the employee — “they either have it or they don’t.” In fact, motivation is a dynamic process, not a stable employee characteristic. When we judge an employee to be irredeemably unmotivated, we give up on trying to motivate them. A vicious cycle ensues, in which our attitude and behaviors elicit exactly those behaviors we expect from an unmotivated employee, which in turn reinforces and justifies our verdict and approach. Everybody loses: The organization is deprived of the employee’s full contribution, the leader acts unskillfully, and the employee grows increasingly disengaged.

Managers generally start out with the best of intentions. After all, whenever we hire someone new, we expect that they will be motivated. Later, if performance or engagement lags, we experience frustration at the “unmotivated, entitled” employee. It often goes something like this: “As a leader, I started out caring very much about the emotional needs of staff. Unfortunately, all this brought about was overentitlement and making it OK to use your feelings to waste time and create a negative environment. I have evolved to care less about feelings and more about getting the work done, period. As long as my expectations are clear, people get paid, and they have a safe environment, there is no room for the rest of it in the workplace.” I found this comment on a leadership article posted on the HBR Facebook page, but it could have come from the mouths of the countless leaders I’ve met during my career. Even if a leader feels perfectly justified in taking this approach, giving the impression that employees’ subjective experience of work doesn’t matter will only serve to dampen employee motivation.

It is entirely possible for leaders to learn to motivate even those employees they’ve given up on. As an example, I recently coached a leader who’s responsible for a global organization’s operations in an Eastern European country. A man in his fifties with a military background, he complained of being saddled with an underperforming team member he couldn’t fire: “He’s basically useless. All I can do is contain him so he doesn’t screw anything up — and lean on my capable people to get our work done.” The leader gave the employee routine, low-value work to do, didn’t share important information with him, didn’t bother to meet with him, and never sought his input or contribution to important projects. “Why bother with him? I can’t change him, and I don’t have time to waste on someone who’s unmotivated,” he insisted at first. Through coaching, the leader came to appreciate that these choices, which he initially saw as rational responses to a motivational deficiency in the employee, actually worsened the problem. He realized that seeing his employee as useless was only one of many possible perspectives he could take — and that it limited his leadership effectiveness. After shifting his approach from containment to facilitation, he saw substantial gains in the employee’s outward motivation and performance, to the point where the employee became a valuable member of the team.

To make the shift that boosted his employee’s motivation, this leader had to be fearless in examining his own thinking and patterns of behavior. He recognized and admitted that he didn’t see his employee as a whole human being, but rather as an object and a problem. He had to develop curiosity about what the situation was like from the employee’s point of view. He had to experience that valuing his employee’s perspective opened up avenues for motivation. As he started talking more with his employee, giving him challenging work, seeking his input, and including him in important projects, the employee responded with increased enthusiasm and commitment. “I can’t believe what a difference it makes,” he told me after a few sessions.

I believe that most interpersonal problems that arise in the world, whether in relationships, companies, or nations, come down to the fundamental difficulty humans have in seeing things from others’ perspectives. When we make assumptions about what employees believe and value, interpreting their behaviors according to our assumptions, we reduce their humanity and their complexity. The very phrase “human resources” frames employees as material to be deployed for organizational objectives. While the essential nature of employment contracts involves trading labor for remuneration, if we fail to see and appreciate our employees as whole people, efforts to motivate them will meet with limited success. Instead of thinking about how we can control our employees, let’s focus on how we can motivate them. A good place to start is by reflecting on the best boss you’ve ever had. How did this boss make you feel? What did this boss do to earn your admiration? Try to harvest some of that boss’s motivational strategies and make them your own.

Sales Humor

15 Ways to Increase Productivity at Work

There are only so many hours in the day, so making the most of your time is critical. There are two ways increase your output–either put in more hours or work smarter. I don’t know about you, but I prefer the latter.

Being more productive at work isn’t rocket science, but it does require being more deliberate about how you manage your time. This post will walk you through 15 simple but effective strategies for increasing your productivity at work.

1. Track and limit how much time you’re spending on tasks.

You may think you’re pretty good at gauging how much time you’re spending on various tasks. However, some research suggests only around 17 percent of people are able to accurately estimate the passage of time. A tool like Rescue Time can help by letting you know exactly how much time you spend on daily tasks, including social media, email, word processing, and apps.

2. Take regular breaks.

It sounds counterintuitive, but taking scheduled breaks can actually help improve concentration. Some research has shown that taking short breaks during long tasks helps you to maintain a constant level of performance; while working at a task without breaks leads to a steady decline in performance.

3. Set self-imposed deadlines.

While we usually think of a stress as a bad thing, a manageable level of self-imposed stress can actually be helpful in terms of giving us focus and helping us meet our goals. For open-ended tasks or projects, try giving yourself a deadline, and then stick to it. You may be surprised to discover just how focused and productive you can be when you’re watching the clock.

4. Follow the “two-minute rule.”

Entrepreneur Steve Olenski recommends implementing the “two-minute rule” to make the most of small windows of time that you have at work. The idea is this: If you see a task or action that you know can be done in two minutes or less, do it immediately. According to Olenski, completing the task right away actually takes less time than having to get back to it later. Implementing this has made him one of the most influential content strategists online.

5. Just say no to meetings.

Meetings are one of the biggest time-sucks around, yet somehow we continue to unquestioningly book them, attend them and, inevitably, complain about them. According to Atlassian, the average office worker spends over 31 hours each month in unproductive meetings. Before booking your next meeting, ask yourself whether you can accomplish the same goals or tasks via email, phone, or Web-based meeting (which may be slightly more productive).

6. Hold standing meetings.

If you absolutely must have a meeting, there’s some evidence that standing meetings (they’re just what they sound like–everyone stands) can result in increased group arousal, decreased territoriality, and improved group performance. For those times when meetings are unavoidable, you may want to check out these 12 unusual ways to spur creativity during meetings.

7. Quit multitasking.

While we tend to think of the ability to multitask as an important skill for increasing efficiency, the opposite may in fact be true. Psychologists have found attempting to do several tasks at once can result in lost time and productivity. Instead, make a habit of committing to a single task before moving on to your next project.

8. Take advantage of your commute.

This goes for any unexpected “bonus” time you may find on your hands suggests author Miranda Marquit. Instead of Candy-Crushing or Facebooking, use that time to pound out some emails, create your daily to-do list, or do some brainstorming.

9. Give up on the illusion of perfection.

It’s common for entrepreneurs to get hung up on attempting to perfect a task–the reality is nothing is ever perfect. Rather than wasting time chasing after this illusion, bang out your task to the best of your ability and move on. It’s better to complete the task and move it off your plate; if need be, you can always come back and adjust or improve it later.

10. Take exercise breaks.

Using work time to exercise may actually help improve productivity, according to a studypublished in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. If possible, build in set times during the week for taking a walk or going to the gym. Getting your blood pumping could be just what’s needed to clear your head and get your focus back.

11. Be proactive, not reactive.

Allowing incoming phone calls and emails to dictate how you spend your day will mean you do a great job of putting out fires–but that may be all you get accomplished. My friend and business partner Peter Daisyme from free hosting company Hostt says, “Set aside time for responding to emails, but don’t let them determine what your day is going to look like. Have a plan of attack at the start of each day, and then do your best to stick to it.”

12. Turn off notifications.

No one can be expected to resist the allure of an email, voicemail, or text notification. During work hours, turn off your notifications, and instead build in time to check email and messages. This is all part of being proactive rather than reactive (see number 11).

13. Work in 90-minute intervals.

Researchers at Florida State University have found elite performers (athletes, chess players, musicians, etc.) who work in intervals of no more than 90 minutes are more productive than those who work 90 minutes-plus. They also found that top performing subjects tend to work no more than 4.5 hours per day. Sounds good to me!

14. Give yourself something nice to look at.

It may sound unlikely, but some research shows outfitting an office with aesthetically pleasing elements–like plants–can increase productivity by up to 15 percent. Jazz up your office space with pictures, candles, flowers, or anything else that puts a smile on your face. For other ideas on increasing your happiness quotient at work, see my post 15 Proven Tips to Be Happy at Work.

15. Minimize interruptions (to the best of your ability).

Having a colleague pop her head into your office to chat may seem innocuous, but even brief interruptions appear to produce a change in work pattern and a corresponding drop in productivity. Minimizing interruptions may mean setting office hours, keeping your door closed, or working from home for time-sensitive projects.

If you feel the need to increase your productivity at work, resist the temptation put in longer hours or pack more into your already-full calendar. Instead, take a step back, and think about ways you can work smarter, not harder.

B2B Sales Article

 

Being good at selling plays a crucial part in your company’s growth, but getting rejected and shut down isn’t always easy. But, what if you changed your approach? What if you left your sales scripts, hidden agendas and elevator pitches behind?

Just another Monday in the office! #fullhouse #havingfunoverhere #theusual #TheInvictusGroup

Three Great Traits Every Salesperson Needs

Entrepreneur Network partner Brian Tracy discusses the three most important aspects of a great salesperson, starting with the first and most important trait: focus. Can you focus on what you want and actively take steps to achieve your goals? Or, are you more passive, waiting for the right opportunity to arise before you strike?

Tracy explains why it’s best to be proactive, how that mindset can improve your sales and more.

Green Eggs and Ham: The Only Sales Manual You’ll Ever Need

Green Eggs and Ham: A Sales Manual Must-Have!

 

I am an ex-salesperson. For anyone in outside sales, you know this is a career both revered and reviled by most people. I bet more than one of you suffered accusations of selling snake oil in your lifetime.

Outside salespeople are always sent to training. I went to Bryan Tracy. I saw a guy with the Miss Clairol black hair color…Tom Hopkins. I even went to something called, Professional Selling Skills. I’m not knocking these events; I learned a ton, and I highly recommend them to a sales person just starting out.

If you don’t have the budget or the attention span for these sales programs, however, just read Green Eggs and Ham. Do so, and I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s the only sales book you’ll ever need.

Why? I’ll give you five reasons:

#1: Sam introduces himself in a memorable way.

The prospect must know who you are. You need to be a person and even more importantly, a person they like. Who can deny that Sam introduces himself in a memorable way?

Personally, I can’t pull off wearing a red top hat or holding a sign while perched on my weird-looking dog’s keister (and neither can you), but I can hand them a business card and introduce myself right up front. Adapt Sam’s strategy to a more streamlined and personal introduction and you are already off to a great start.

#2: Sam doesn’t get put off by the fact the dog/bear/sheep creature doesn’t like him.

Seriously…what is that thing?

When you make a prospecting call, you are interrupting someone’s day. Your prospect had a ToDo list as long as his or her arm before you decided to drop by or call. In addition, he or she is usually not too excited you made it through the gatekeeper. Don’t let this stop you. There is always a reason to give up. The truly successful salespeople keep smiling and selling despite these reasons.

#3: Sam gets the Assumptive Close.

In my sales career, I learned that all of us snake oil types had different Closes. Closes are techniques you use to get your prospect to yes. If you want to be in sales, you must know your closes.

One of these tried and true techniques is the Assumptive Close. The assumptive close is where you just presume that the prospect is going to say yes, so you provide them the option of where or when they want the snake oil. “Sure I understand, Ms. Prospect. Can I come to your office to discuss the terms of our agreement on Tuesday or Wednesday?”

Sam gets the assumptive close. He tries it repeatedly for 41 pages:

Would you like them here or there?

“Would you like them in a house? Would you like them with a mouse?

“Would you? Could you? In a car?”

And so forth. Sam’s a fan of the assumptive close.

#4: Sam doesn’t take no for an answer.

Certain members of my family have been described as pleasantly persistent. If you don’t know what that means, just re-read the book. Sam is never deterred by the creature’s insistence that he doesn’t like green eggs and ham. He sticks to his strategy and over time wears out the thing’s resistance.

In real sales, this can be tricky. Do what Sam does, and you may find yourself on the wrong end of a harassment lawsuit.

But it is important always to keep the door open. If the prospect isn’t interested now, ask if there is a time when the company reviews their vendors so you can reconnect then. Another good foot in the door option is to invite him or her to an event or a sales booth at trade show for a personal demonstration. Whatever you do, make sure that the “No” you are getting today isn’t final so you can try again on another, better day.

#5: Sam gets the product in his prospect’s hands.

In almost any sales situation, the key to converting prospects is to get the product in their hands. You know what a great widget you have, but your prospect doesn’t. If you can get it in his or her hands and have the widget show them how wonderful it is, you are that much closer to getting the yes you want. Getting the product in the prospect’s hands is obviously harder to do in intangible sales where the widget is a concept, but there are ways. When I sold radio time we made a spec commercials so our prospects could hear what their professionally produced :60 Radio ad would sound like.

Sam offers the creature a free sample of his green eggs and ham, imploring him to “Try them! Try them!” And even though the sample he offers has been in a strange house with a known disease-causing vermin, traveled in a box with a fox, in a car, up a tree, on a train, through a tunnel, in the exhaust pipe of a boat and finally underwater…the creature eats them. Better yet, he likes them.

So there you have it. I just saved you and your sales manager a ton in training budget. It turns out that everything you ever needed to know about sales was explained to you as a child in a book that uses no more than 50 words.

Now get out there and sell some snake oil!