Category Archives: Success
Short and sweet, yet very powerful message. Are you a “Can” or a “Can’t?”
Source: The Destructive Nature of Can’t
When I was recently preparing a speech to up and coming sales reps, I realized that I had compiled a list of selling tips that I wanted to share today. Here are the best of the best:
#1 Consult, Don’t Regurgitate – better to listen to your prospect and find out what they really need, rather than “barf out” everything you know
#2 Share, Celebrate and Support – be a fantastic teammate!
#3 Manage Time, Plan and Prioritize – not the “sexy” part of selling, but crucial to success
#4 Fly Under The Radar, Don’t Be “On It” – if your boss does not have to follow-up with you about things not getting done, that is a good thing!
#5 The Path of “Most Resistance” Pays Dividends – anyone can do the easy stuff, but tough it out and do the difficult (or less desirable tasks) day in and day out
#6 Customers And Prospects Are Human Beings Too – get to know them on a personal level, make notes and show that you care about them as people too
Keep these close by and refer back to them when you need a gentle reminder of what it takes to succeed in sales!
This has been by far my most popular post in the nine months that I have blogged, and I thought it was time to revisit it and keep the conversation going. There are some incredible comments up for review. Some of my childhood friends even chimed in to challenge me with some of my content in the post. I would love you to take a read and respond with your honest feelings on the subject. Maybe I will turn this conversation in to a mini e-book or something in the future because it sure captivated my readers. Enjoy!
I recently returned from a trip to my hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Winnipeg is 8 hours north of Minneapolis, Minnesota if you are unaware. This is the first time in my career that I am able to work in my hometown since I moved away 11 years ago, and I was very excited to reconnect in my community.
Although most of the trip was awesome, I had a surprising conversation with somebody from my past that bothered me greatly. For those of you who know me well, I have “facial recognition software” engrained in my brain for remembering people who I grew up with. I was at the 100th anniversary of the suburb that I grew up in last Saturday and approached at least 15 people from my youth that I had not seen in 4EVER! That was so much fun. I digress…
I was at a trade show earlier in the week and ordered supper at a concession stand. I changed my drink order, and the person serving me smiled and gave a double take. They saw that I was wearing a name tag, and asked if I went to school in the suburb that I actually grew up in. I paused for a moment and said yes. Instead of saying that I did not remember them, I asked what their name was. After they replied, I instantly recognized their face.
The difficult part of the dialog is they hesitated to say their name out of embarrassment for the job that they were doing. I took a few moments to speak with them after receiving my drink, and saw them the next day as well.
21 years removed from high school, I was not expecting somebody to be working in that setting, and my “facial recognition software” was not activated at the time. If they were proud of the job that they were doing, and did not care what others thought, they would have had no issue telling me what their name was.
There is a silver lining for this person. It is never too late to change career paths. The generation of “go to school, get a job, find somebody, get married, have some kids, work at the same thing for 40+ years and retire” is long gone.
One of my best friends dropped everything in his late 30’s, started working towards a totally different career, and is now very close to completing his studies.
We can’t turn back the clock and hit “reset” to that day that we walked out of high school with that diploma in hand, but we can certainly hit the “reset” button RIGHT NOW and start working towards something more fulfilling.
If there is anything this experience really taught me, is that I have to keep working towards what I really want out of life, no matter how hard it seems sometimes. I would rather fall flat on my face and know that I tried, than think about it, and never do anything. I don’t care if you are in sales, management, general business, or doing whatever keeps you paying the bills, but be sure that you are happy doing it.
I will always keep trying, scratching and clawing towards surpassing my goals, no matter how tough things seem to get. Just ask those who played hockey against me when I was a one man wrecking crew pushing for victory as a kid!
- How is your job/career going?
- Are you jumping out of bed excited about what you are doing from the moment your feet hit the floor each morning?
- If you had an unexpected meeting with somebody from your past, would you be embarrassed to tell them what you are doing?
- If so, whatcha gonna do about it?
It is no secret by now that my musical taste is quite diverse.
Growing up in the ’80’s I loved many different genres of music, but I especially liked to rock! I know I know it seems far-fetched for such a clean-cut guy like myself, but it is true!
I will never forget buying Guns N’ Roses Appetite For Destruction cassette. I was quite self-conscious that the music was a little too heavy and the message a bit too over the top for my parent’s liking. But they were pretty cool about it! Some of my friends were very in to Guns N’ Roses and we went to a concert once in Winnipeg, Canada. Lead Singer Axl Rose was less than impressed to be there which did not surprise us. My friends and I translated another song in to french, played it on an acoustic guitar, and sang it which was fun for a class project.
But this post is actually about Slash, and reinventing yourself. It is easy to “judge a book by its cover” if you have not followed Slash’s career, but he is a truly brilliant person and musician. Ever since the “soap opera” that was the first line-up of Guns N’ Roses broke up, all he has continued to do is keep working and trying to reinvent himself. He has had several different solo projects and the highly acclaimed Velvet Revolver, with former Guns N’ Roses band mates including Scott Welland from Stone Temple Pilots.
But I believe his best work is happening now with a lead singer named Myles Kennedy. You can google his name if you would like to see his bio, but the bottom line is they just click. While Axl Rose is sitting at home doing whatever he is doing, Slash is out playing new material with his incredible band plus Guns N’ Roses classics.
This is one of my favourite songs, and I believe one of the most recognizable songs of all time, even after just one strum of the guitar!
If Slash was in the corporate world, I would want him on my team, because he never gives up, never stops believing in himself and those around him, and just keeps affecting people’s lives in a positive way.
You may know this one!
The only way that you are going to get better at something is through practice. I read a quote in a hockey book once that really caught my attention:
“Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect” – Vince Lombardi
Even those with raw talent have to practice regularly. Engaging others in sales and other professional roles should not be limited to work relationships. You should practice engaging others when possible.
My dad was a teacher, and is still very engaging to this day – partially because of his personality, but it was also a necessity for his career. Could you imagine being in front of a class of kids and not holding their attention? Teachers who could captivate the crowd were always the ones that remained memorable to me. This also meant that my dad and I could never quickly go to a mall because he was always running into people. Conversations would start, and time would pass by. My mom would always comment upon our return, “Where were you? I just sent you for a couple of things!”
There are so many opportunities to engage people outside of work:
- In line at a store
- At a social events with friends
- Business or community events
- Sporting events
- On a walk or a run
- Groups, associations or teams that you and/or your children are part of
I was thinking about this one day after a run, and I reflected on how many people I acknowledge in that 45 minute period. It was about twelve!
- Some greetings were a simple hello or good morning as I passed by
- With others I would make a quick comment on the weather, or about the degree of difficulty of a hill that I (or they) had just ran up
- Some were a quick stop so our dogs could greet each other
- It was common that I ask for information about their dog, and how the person’s day was going
- I even complimented one guy who was actually attempting to train his new puppy
When I engage people in this setting, most people are pleasant back. It is common for people to jog with an iPod or Mp3 player, but I will still turn mine down to say something, or at least wave. I have done this for so long it is second nature now.
If I never practiced this skill, and instead just went through the day keeping to myself, it would be unreasonable to expect that I’d be very good at it in a short time period. Skills would develop eventually, but carrying that philosophy over to your personal life just means that you have more opportunity to practice. Then before you know it, the skill improves.
This was not always easy for me; because I was quite shy growing up due to my stutter. Speaking up and meeting people was very difficult well in to my teenage years. But with practice and patience, I consider myself very engaging now, and will always take time to speak with others.
- Do you only engage new people in work situations?
- Where can you begin to converse with people starting right away in your personal life?
The most practical business skill that has come out of this for me is keeping conversations going when there is a lot of dead air. I think most of us have experienced conversations that were very one-sided, and it was a struggle to keep it going, and interesting for the other person.
Good luck, and remember to always be in “engagement mode”!
I LOVE golf, and I love following Mike Weir, one of Canada’s national sports treasures.
He accomplished the unthinkable in 2003 and won the Master’s Golf tournament, the most coveted championship in all of golf. He put in a few more good years, and then the wheels fell off. An elbow injury, swing changes, loss of confidence.
It went from bad to worse and then finally, he almost fell off the map. He had more money than he could ever dream of, and could have packed it in and lived happily ever after. But this was golf, this was all he knew, this was what he LOVED to do. Well it all paid off last weekend. He was one shot back in the final round of the Byron Nelson tournament with a chance to win. He played a fantastic round, and came up two shots short. A bounce here and there and he would have won.
Check out these two articles about his exciting weekend and 2nd place cheque for $750,000.
The best part of the story was seeing the smile on his face as he walked off the course and was interviewed after the round. The feeling of self-satisfaction must have been overwhelming.
Don’t quit… EVER
Things will get difficult along the way
But think about the FANTASTIC feeling you will have when you get where you want to go!
I don’t care if you are starting a business, growing an existing one, or making time in your life to do things that you really want to do.
This is your one shot, so you might as well make the most of it.
Mike Weir did and he is finally LOVING what he has always wanted to do in this lifetime again – play golf 🙂