I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, “Count your blessings.” I wonder how you interpret that. I wonder how you count them. I wonder how you take advantage of them. My biggest wonder is how grateful are you for your blessings.
HERE’S AN IDEA: Re-look at your blessings from a different perspective. Are they blessings or are they assets? Are they blessings or are they attributes? Are they blessings or are they gifts that you can share with others?
GOOD NEWS: There are no right answers to those questions.
BETTER NEWS: You have to determine the answers for yourself.
BEST NEWS: Once you determine what those blessings, or assets, or attributes, or gifts are you can begin to build them, add to them, enjoythem, and turn them into a happier, better you.
HERE’S HOW TO DO IT: Sit down at your laptop and write your eulogy. Write down what you would want your children or your significant other to say about your life. How you lived it, how you achieved in it, and what your best qualities were. What kind of a person were you? What kind of a father or mother were you? What kind of a son or daughter were you? What kind of a friend were you?
Those are the questions that will reveal all of the assets, all of the attributes, and all of the gifts that you have.
In my opinion, the one blessing or attribute that will define you better than any of the others is what you gave. I don’t mean how much money you gave away. Rather, I mean what you gave of yourself. Did you volunteer? Did you participate in a charity? Did you help your kids with their homework? Did you help an elderly person across the street? Were you a giver or a taker?
Giving defines your person.
Me? I give smiles. And I give them on purpose, every day.
I have a daily goal. Make ten people smile every day. That may not sound like much, but it’s amazing what happens when you can make someone you hardly know smile at you based on your interaction with them. It means that you have been kind, or humorous, or thought provoking, or just a good guy or gal. Sometime it involves a bigger tip than you might normally give. Sometimes it’s just a matter of holding a door. Whatever it is, when you make someonesmile it changes their whole physiology. They walk away feeling better thanthey did because they encountered you.
My daily goal also includes one other element: performing a random act of kindness.
Random acts of kindness are easily defined as proactive politeness, proactive helping, or proactive giving. No one asked for anything. You just decided to get up and do it.
I wonder if you ever think about random acts of kindness. I wonder if you regularly perform random acts of kindness. I wonder if you understand who feels best after the random act of kindness is been performed.
If you perform them like I do, then you know who feels best. You do.
Oh, the recipient feels great because you helped them or honored them. But you feel greater. Random acts of kindness have a double win. And the feeling lasts a long time.
I challenge you to make ten people smile and perform one random act of kindness a day. I challenge you to do it for the right reasons: for yourself.
When you make people smile, you smile. The power of that transfers immediately to all your other thoughts and you become happier. Infact, you look for ways to make other people smile because of the feeling that gives you.
And that’s a self-imposed blessing you can take to the grave.
In your business:
Video is the new brochure.
Video is the new testimonial letter.
Video is the new proposal.
Video is the new training manual.
Video is the new instructional manual.
Video is the new letter and email.
Here’s what to do (and here’s what I’m doing) to keep your business up to speed:
1. Take video of something every day. I don’t care what it is. A thought, an idea, an article, a brochure, a sales presentation, a customer testimonial, or a little kid sliding down a slide.
2. Make a list and create a pile of everything you have that’s printed. Make a game plan to replace it with something more current than 600-year-old technology.
3. Gather your best customers and have a video party. Begin asking them why they buy from you, on video. Then ask why they would recommend you, on video.
3.5 Whatever it is you’re selling, take advantage of every new channel of distribution. The old ways of selling, the old ways of marketing, the old ways of promotion, and the old ways of branding are no longer applicable – other than for a history lesson. It’s all changed with 4G speed, 10-hour batteries, social media, and flat screen TVs.
INTERESTING THOUGHT: As we head toward a paperless society, all the screaming environmentalists will have to find a new cause. Paper will go away by evolution, not by people screaming, “Save the Trees!”
If you are looking for some kind of model, take a close look at mine, and emulate it. So far it’s working well. But be careful, and check back often, because everything will be different by next year.
The best way to win in this economy is simple: stay in front of the losers.
REALITY QUESTION FOR SALES MANAGERS: Why would you, as a leader, take an improving salesperson who is having the best year of their career, and tell him or her they’re “not making enough calls”? Why not do something to actually help?
REALITY ANSWERS: (Pick any or all that apply.) You’re an idiot who knows nothing about leadership, coaching, or creating winners. You’re a micro manager with little or no current sales talent yourself. (You may have sold before, but that was before the internet – and you’ve probably never tweeted). You’re an unschooled leader, following the old way rather than learning what’s new. You’re using CRM as an accountability tool, rather than a sales tool. You’re totally clueless about your customer base and what will grow more and profitable sales. OUCH!
Successful sales leaders…
• Manage the sales cycle, not call activity.
• Measure the sales cycle, not sales activity.
• Help make follow-up calls with their salespeople to learn more about the sales cycle.
• Study the last ten sales to help understand what will make the 11th.
• Discover their most profitable customers – and then go on to uncover WHY they’re the most profitable.
• Find where the profit comes from in every sale.
• Discover their most loyal customer – and WHY they stay loyal.
• Make a few sales calls together with their people.
• Teach salespeople to ask better questions that emotionally engage.
REALITY: Maybe by spending more VALUE time with each existing customer it will increase their wallet share and your market share, and referrals will go UP.
REALITY: Maybe making too many calls is actually hampering growth. Someone measuring activity and numbers would never know that. Pity.
“Measuring activity” gives you a false read on the reality of sales. And as a leader, a manager, a coach, a teacher, you have a far greater responsibility to help increase sales than to just bellow out “more calls” as your cure-all answer.
And maybe more calls IS the answer, but until you uncover the other ninety nine possibilities, you have no right to destroy or discourage your best salespeople from becoming better.
Or worse, they quit because they’re sick of you and your style.
Sales management and sales leadership is one of the hardest jobs in the world. First you have to know each of your people, why they’re working, why they’re working for you, and what will make them better. Second you have to know your customers, why your customers buy (beyond price), and what keeps them loyal. Third you have to be a better salesperson than they are. And fourth, you have to be a great teacher – able to convey your knowledge in a way that others WANT to hear you.
You know these things so that when your salespeople come to you with issues, you can actually help them make the sale – not make more calls.
Make more cold calls? Huh? In 2013? Really?
If you’re looking to become a hated sales leader, with lots of turnover, make your people make lots of cold calls.
If you’re wanting to drive your best people to the competition, make your people make lots of cold calls.
And if you’re looking to have low morale and poor performance on your team, make your people make lots of cold calls.
• The new cold call is a social media connection. Start with LinkedIn.
• The better cold call is an expanded relationship with an existing customer.
• The best cold call is a referral. One that you earn, not ask for.
BIG REALITY: The object of sales leadership is to IMPROVE INDIVIDUAL SALES, not improve “team” sales.
BIGGER REALITY: Your encouragement and enthusiasm – to them, and with them – will help build both their confidence AND their sales.
BIGGEST REALITY: Managers somehow believe their salespeople want to be on their team and win for the team and the company. To hit some big goal arbitrarily set by management. Nothing could be further from the truth. Salespeople wanna win for themselves and their families – and they wanna win for their customers. Not for you, your other employees, or the company.
Get a grip on “why” salespeople want to win. Give them real-world help. Coach them, and it will have a major impact on their sales, and your leadership success.