So, like – there are lots of us on earth right?
Many of us are trying to stand out from the crowd and do “out of the ordinary stuff”. Heck many of us are trying to do ordinary stuff but still get noticed.
Like delivering beer to people’s seats at a baseball game.
There is no way to stand out from the crowd doing that right?
I had the pleasure of attending a Chicago Cubs exhibition game in April of 2011, and did not realize how much of a treat I was in for from watching a beer vendor work. His coverage of our section immediately caught my attention! He was more charismatic, more outgoing, more energetic, and more fun to watch than any other beer concession worker than I had ever seen before. I caught myself watching him work more than the game itself!
But that was not even the best part. When he left our section for a bit, I followed him and we had a bit of a conversation. I was captivated by his stories of working in the industry for many years. When I left with my drinks, he gave me his “business card”. It was a laminated baseball-like card with his picture on the front working at a game. On the back it had all of his “statistics”. By statistics I mean all the venues he had worked at during his career, and events that he attended.
I still have his “business card”, and look at it from time to time to remind me what it truly means to have a well-developed personal brand.
- What do you do to stand out from the crowd?
- Where do you know that you can improve to increase your exposure?
Developing your personal brand is not a “when I feel like it” thing. It should be ongoing. Daily if possible.
Be memorable, be engaging, be caring and for goodness sake have some fun!
Many people are terrified to speak in public and/or give presentations. Here are five reasons why public speaking and presenting can suck:
- You were not prepared / did not understand your content
- You did not practice ahead of time
- You did not know your audience well enough
- You did not have a back up plan when things like visual aids had technical issues
- You have not at least visited your local Toastmasters Club as a guest, to see how they can help develop your speaking skills
Public speaking and presenting can be a rewarding experience if you address these five points, and several others.
- Are you due for a public speaking “makeover”?
- What is the greatest challenge that you face getting up in front of a group?
I Once knew a boy…
- Who was horrified to get called on to speak out loud in grade school class
- Stood behind his mom or dad’s leg every time as a child when people tried to speak to him in public
- Answered the telephone by saying “Yeah” at home and not “Hello” when he had trouble saying the word
- Would cry himself to sleep on occasion as a child wondering why he was different and did not speak like everyone else
- Once had a teacher stop him from speaking out loud in class, came up to him, asked him to open his mouth and checked if “there was an answer” to his speech issues in there
- Would sit for what seemed like hours afraid to pick up the phone before calling a friend when he was afraid to stutter
- As a teenager, would never go through the drive-thru to order food because he was afraid to mess up his words
- As a young adult, would only order drinks at a nightclub only if he could say the word properly, even if he did not even really like the drink
- Would get lazy and only say words that he could say smoothly throughout the first 18 years of his life, and not work on the difficult words
- As a high school graduate focused on getting in to a profession where he would not have to interact with many people, and could keep to themselves
That boy was me, and growing up I felt like I was the only person in the world that was dealing with a stuttering issue. We have all dealt with stuff in our lives, and fought through adversity in our own ways. I look forward to sharing my entire speech journey at some point in the future but for today, you only need understand this.
I have not allowed these issues to take control of my life. I changed my area of study in school because I hated the courses that I was hiding behind when I felt scared to face the world. I have always been in a very relationship oriented professions, and speak in front of groups of people regularly. I have cold called face to face, in person, and been in pressure packed speaking situations more than I care to remember.
But you know what, I made it through every situation, some more easily than others. Today I am involved with Toastmasters, doing video on my blog, and am not afraid to tell my story to the world.
We are not here to judge each other on what is, or is not significant in terms of what is causing issues in our lives. But we need to be there to support each other and aid in getting past these hurdles.
I am convinced that if I did not have those speech issues growing up that I would not have become as touch a customer as I am today. Perspective is a powerful thing, and when I attended an info session recently to volunteer at a stuttering clinic, I realized that I did not have it so bad after all! It just seemed like it at the time, because all eyes were on me as I struggled day-to-day.
- What is holding you back?
- Is there something that others can help you get through to become who you really want to be professionally and/or personally?
It may seem like a big deal now, but once you conquer it you can look back and say,
“That was a turning point in my life!”
If you have a story that you would be comfortable sharing, I would love to post them on my blog in the next couple of weeks. Please send them to:
I really enjoyed this post today on making sales communications more engaging. I hope you do too! Have a great day
I enjoyed this post from Bob McIntosh earlier today. These tips should be very helpful for those “introverts” as their heart races when they enter the room at a networking event.
And how not to arrive to an event unprepared.
I was once given a ticket to a guest-speaker event put on for a group of young professionals in my community. I was excited and grateful for the opportunity because I’d be seeing Erik Qualman speak about social media—Erik wrote Socialnomics and is a great speaker. I would be able to sit comfortably and listen to an expert on social networking entertain me. So I thought.
When I arrived at the event I discovered there would be a networking hour preceding it, and that I was woefully under-dressed. My vision of kicking back and listening to a great speaker was dashed when I entered a hallway full of people dressed to the nines engaged in conversation. I promptly went to the men’s room, looked at my sad self in the mirror, and exited the building.
I needed air. It took me a few…
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All I wanted to do early in my sales career was manage the team that I was working on. I was young, I was new to the industry and I thought I knew it all! I was confident that some day I could handle the role. Unfortunately changes happened within the company, and I turned down my dream Sales Manager role when it was finally offered to me. Even with that setback, I have continued to follow sales and executive management throughout my career.
I did have some experience managing a team before I was ever interested in Sales Management. I was a Branch Manager in the car rental industry straight out of university. It was a great experience, and certainly taught me a lot about managing a diverse group of associates at a young age. Some of the employees were more than ten years my senior, and I learned very quickly how difficult being in charge could be.
The Sales Manager is arguably the most important person within the organization. They have a direct line of communication with the sales force; the associates who drive most of the front line revenue.
It can be very easy to get in to a rut with your day-to-day role. Sales reps certainly do, and it happens to managers as well. It is valuable to take a step back and think outside the box sometimes, from how you typically manage.
Great sales managers use enthusiasm and excitement to their advantage. They celebrate their team’s wins, while proudly announcing personal and team achievements. They may high-five team members in the office, or keep it simple and just pat everyone on the back when there are reasons to celebrate. The positive energy does wonders for everyone.
I have always been keenly aware of my manager’s actions, and I focus on a few areas:
- how they lead the team
- how they treat me
- how they treat other reps
- how they handle adversity within the team
- the relationship they have with their immediate supervisor and others on the executive management team
If they excel in all the above areas, they probably have “it” with their team. “It” is hard to explain, but it can be summarized as the group is firing on all cylinders, and no issue is too great to break the cohesiveness within the group.
I have reported to a total of 16 assistant managers, sales managers and branch managers during my career. I have also had close working relationships with 12-13 executive managers. This has provided me a rich foundation of experiences.
- As a manager what is it like to have “it”with the group of reps that you lead every day?
- If you have “it”, you can probably describe “it” in general terms, but it may be hard to explain overall.
- If you have never had “it” with your team, would you not like to know how to get “it”?
As I continue to discuss Sales Management in the future, I will build on the theme of having “it”. I will leave you with one other thought to ponder….
Are you just a boss to a group of employees, or is their much more depth to your relationship with the team?
Within the sales function of organizations, an individual or group of people go about their business day after day, and in many cases, without a lot of respect from their colleagues. It is the Inside Sales team.
If you haven’t taken the time recently to think about how much easier your job is because of them, take some today. When was the last time you bought them a coffee, took them out for lunch, or phoned/emailed to say thanks?
Our team always pitched in to get inside sales Christmas gifts with one company that I worked for. The group knew how much we appreciated them, and always loved the surprise!
Have you been guilty of using inside sales as your personal assistant?
Be honest with yourself!
Inside Sales’ role is typically clearly defined, and if you consistently dump tasks on them that you did not feel like doing yourself, you are just being lazy! Work with them on moving activities towards closing sales like quoting price and delivery, handling customer questions etc.
One concept that really helped me get on to the same page with one of my Inside Sales teams was establishing “Rules of Communication”.
The goal was to communicate on their terms as much as possible, not mine.
- Currently, are you calling or emailing inside sales for every situation that arises during the day?
- Do you even know if they prefer to be phoned or emailed?
Our agreement included the following clauses:
- If something was an emergency or crisis, I called immediately
- If something needed to be completed as soon as possible a detailed email was sent. They were always monitoring their inbox, and would respond as soon as possible
- For non urgent requests – follow-up notes, general questions and other important items were put on a Daily To Do List. It was sent to Inside Sales at the end of the day. In my case, there was a two-hour time difference, and I typically had my answers waiting for me by the time I got to my computer the next morning!
The less nagging, disruptive phone calls the support team handles internally, the more they can focus on booking business. Call when needed, but always take a moment to think, “Does this have to be dealt with immediately?”
The more you strategize with them as teammates, and respect the job that they do, the smoother the sales function should run in general. Who do you think they will give priority service to when they are in a time crunch? The rep that treats them like gold and respects them as people and colleagues of course!
And always remember, they are not your personal assistants!
I just love this post from Bruce Zimmerman! Take a few minutes to read over the weekend. I will certainly be thinking of the number 5 much more going forward…
The number five has long been considered a number of power and good fortune. It is the number of harmony and balance. It is also known as the number of the divine grace. The number Five is also called the Pentad. Known as the living principle, the number five indicates the action of the active principle of form.
The number 5 is also found on the human body: the five fingers of the hand and feet, the five senses (touch, taste, sense of smell, hearing and the sight), the five members (two arms, two legs and the head)
For the sales person, it only makes sense to utilize this number to your advantage. Why? It’s a powerful yet simple number. Generally speaking, most people think this way and it’s easy for most to focus on or remember five points. When I first started in sales, my mentor shared with me what…
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I really enjoyed Kim Brechin’s post on leadership over the weekend. It is insightful, and delivers a very powerful message that all leaders should keep in their hip pocket.
Recently, as I was looking for inspiring quotes on leadership, I found this gem and it resonated with me.
“The task of leadership is not to put greatness into people, but to elicit it, for the greatness is there already.” ~ John Buchan
On Pushing or Pulling
The article describes the push and pull concept of today’s savvy consumers and also touches on the concept that leaders these days need to take a note and apply some pullvs. push in their style.
It’s true… people don’t like to be pushed.
I certainly do not — whether it’s in a long line at the airport queuing up or in a boardroom — I find it’s…
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