Thursday, October 1, 2009

Are you Mad?

Anger is one of the 120+ emotions we experience as humans. Along with anger often come disappointment, resentment, hurt, frustration and more. The first thing we need to learn, in business as well as in our personal life, is not to take it out on others when we are feeling any of these emotions.

The second thing we need to learn, is to detach ourselves from these emotions... in a constructive way. If we focus on trying to push them away or under the carpet to forget about them, they will only fester and grow.

The important thing is to acknowledge them and then figure out what the gift associated with them is. WHAT?

Yes, the gift. Everything we experience in life is a gift. Even the challenging, "bad stuff". Now, I'm not a psychologist, but if you study the brain and emotions, they all function to protect or serve us some way. Amongst other reasons, negative emotions can be a defense mechanism to protect us from dealing with an issue at the moment. As long as we don't dwell on and let that emotion thrive forever, it can be a gift.

You're probably saying, "Well, that doesn't really help me right now, when I'm in the middle of it". I agree, it's difficult. Figuring out the lesson often happens after a little time has passed.

But what can you do to move your business forward when you are in the middle of wallowing in some painful emotion and completely distracted?

My recommendation is to take the emotion and use the energy from it. The amount of pent up energy can be considerable. Take that energy, and use it to move forward constructively in your business to achieve your goals.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Are You Listening to Me?

When I attend networking events, frankly, I'm amazed at the number of times I'm bombarded by other sales people spewing forth their pitches to everyone in sight, without any idea whether their solution will help me, along with everyone else they meet.

Now, of course, the point of going to these events is to meet prospects: a.k.a. other people you can help. The problem begins when sales people are so busy watching for their ship to sail in, they forget the part about helping.

Especially in this economy, I can sympathize with people who desperately need to cover the bills. Trust me, I'm in the same boat. The difference is, these days my ship is coming from a completely foreign place than theirs. I've already been to where they are, and I know the channel they are on will not lead them to where they want to go. Many souls will continue to be lost searching for that Northwest Passage. This is mainly because they have a beacon above their head saying: "Buy from me. I really need your cash!". No wonder everyone turns and bolts away.

Just yesterday, I was approached by someone in my local grocery store parking lot. It was pouring down rain, and yet he stood there to ask me for a food donation. His pitch was sincere and he was well-spoken. He wasn't homeless and although he wasn't dressed in designer clothing, he was clean and well-groomed... at least, as groomed as you can be in the pouring rain. In fact, he looked a lot like people I meet at networking functions. Clearly, he was desperate and so, most people were bolting from him. The rain didn't help his cause either.

How can you keep from appearing as desperate as the man begging at the grocery store? How can you turn your ship around, so it's not coming from a place of hopelessness?

To start with: take the focus off yourself. No one is interested in you, sorry to say. They have their own issues and concerns. Everyone is tuned into only one radio station: WII-FM (what's in it for me).

How do you do this? It's really quite simple. 1. Start asking lots of questions. 2. LISTEN to the answers.

People who ask questions, not only are guiding the conversation, but also appear to the other person, to be acutely interested in them. And you should be. What they have to say, will guide you towards finding out whether you have a solution for them or not. So, listening closely and focusing on that other person is a critical skill for you to develop.

The beautiful thing about using this system is two-fold: In the first place, you find out whether this person needs your services or not. If they don't, you can politely move on to the next person you'd love to help. Often your prospect isn't even aware you were prospecting.

And secondly, you have not burnt a bridge with them by prematurely jumping all over them with your solution they don't need, and seeming as desperate as the man in grocery store parking lot who got 1lb of ground beef from me, but who will have to come back, over and over again, hoping he will find new prospects who won't see him coming and navigate around him completely.

Friday, September 25, 2009

What You Invest = How Your Interest Compounds

How do you create more business? From large corporations to the small business owner, this is the million dollar question everyone mulls over. You can spend loads of money on studies and committees devoted to the question, but it really boils down to something very basic: show interest in others.

Clients can quickly discern between sincerity vs. self-interest. The question remains, how can you be certain you are being perceived as sincere? Being genuine could be as simple a gesture as looking at the client's business card for 10 seconds after they offer it to you.

A large corporation may need to work at this end result harder, in order to implement this strategy uniformly across all departments and franchises.

Implementing training about relationship marketing and developing efficient, yet simple systems to nurture client relations will go a long way to helping this mission along. And as long as this vision is outlined clearly, it's achievable on small or grand scale.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sending Birthday Cards Boosts Business

How do you build better business or personal relationships? It's not rocket science: You need to provide value and find ways to connect with your client, and as a result, you begin to build trust and generate repeat sales.

One strategy corporations are using is to send birthday cards to loyal customers. It shows the client you are paying attention to them and gives them one more reason to continue to decide to buy from you. It takes 6X more effort, money and time to land a brand new client. It is a much more effective use of your resources to generate more sales from customers who have already made the decision to purchase from you.

As reported in The San Diego Union-Tribune (2/4/2008), many large companies such as Banana Republic and Southwest Airlines are seeing the return on investment to sending out birthday greetings. This is a strategy all companies, right down to a Mom and Pop operation, can use.

Banana Republic encloses a $15 gift card for all their customers who have registered for a Banana Republic credit card. Fully 1/3 of all coupons are redeemed. This is a substantial and measurable success rate.

Monday, August 31, 2009

How to Build your Clientele

The best way to get into a slump is to stop staying in touch with your network.

When friends lose contact with, or don't nurture their relationship, those friendships wither and die. And by the same token, when businesses fail to acknowledge their clients and important others in their network, even those companies with strong branding in place, those clients move to competitors, to seek better treatment. You build character through your attitude. Your attitude helps build rapport. Rapport builds credibility. And credibility, rapport and character all rest on the foundation of your actions. Staying in touch builds your network, strengthens your business and increases sales. Wouldn't you rather have repeat business from loyal customers, than having to go out and continually make one sale per customer?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Provide Value to Others

People are often so focused on what they can get out of any opportunity, they forget to think how they can serve others at the same time. A lot of lip service is paid to win-win scenarios for both parties, but does anyone actually attempt to ensure it happens? Do givers actually gain or is that just a pie-in-the-sky ideal?

Well, think about the wealthiest people in the world, past and present, and you will also find some of the greatest philanthropists: Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, the Rockefellers, Warren Buffet and so on. They didn't suddenly become givers after achieving their wealth. Rather, they understood the law of reciprocity, the ten-fold law or karma. All these sum up to the same result: you get back in this world, what you give out. In fact, you get back more than what you give out to others.

Those who understand that before you take, take, take you need to serve others move forward faster and go farther than those who don't.

Find how to offer value to people in your network. You don't have to dip into your pockets to do so. What's required is to think about the other person or group, anticipate their needs, go out and get it, and give it to them. Hey! That sounds a lot like the basic premise of sales. And it's not a coincidence... sales is about service to others.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Your First Relationship

It's soon time to honour the first person you met upon entering this world... your mother! Mother's Day is fast approaching.

With that in mind, today I'd like to talk about your close relationships, as well as thinking outside the box and choosing Mother's Day as a way to send an unexpected heartfelt card to your clients this year.

How will you celebrate it this year? How do you nurture the relationship with your mother and other loved ones, for that matter.

First of all, when I ask clients who they need to keep in touch with to establish the number of cards they need to send out, I am astonished with the frequent reply: I don't have many to send.

Stats say, the average person knows about 2000 people by the time he or she is 20 years old. Imagine how many people the well-established business person knows?

Probing a little further, I discover the client is thinking only of their A-list clients. And while it's important to focus 80% of your time on the top 20% of your clients, a huge opportunity to explore the goldmine within the remaining 80% is missed.

If you leverage your time, and use an efficient system, you can keep in touch with those clients without spending a lot of time doing so.

While you need to enhance relationships with your clients, what about nurturing relationships with your loved ones at the same time? At the end of the day, these are the people you spend a large part of your time with, and those relationships matter most.

How many mothers do you have? Of course, you only have one biological mother. Growing up, however, you likely adopted a few mothers along the way.

In my case, my honourary mothers include the mom of my best friend in high school, some of my mother's close friends who were like a parent to me growing up, and when I married, some of my husband's adopted moms. I have a few honourary grandmothers too.

What impact do you think you'd have if you sent each of those people a sincerely-worded card, telling them what a difference they have made in your life?

The added bonus to nurturing those relationships is you remain in the forefront of their minds. Wouldn't it be great to get more heartfelt referrals from those closest to you?

Now, it's time to turn your attention to your business clients. Think outside the box this year. How many of your clients are mothers? How many other mothers in your circle of influence do you know who are mothers? Your hairstylist, your child's caregiver, the organist at your church, women at your gym, school contacts, your chiropractor, massage therapist...

The list is endless. Are any of these people potential clients for you? Could they provide referrals to you? How will you ever know until they know you better, and more importantly, until they know you care?

What impact would you have if you sent them an unexpected, heartfelt Mother's Day card? Do you think it would make their day? Would you generate goodwill and nurture a lot of relationships in an instant?

I think you'd better put pen to paper and get cracking on that list! Time is money.

(P.S. If you need to find a quick, easy way to send beautiful cards that are also cost-effective, I'd be happy to help you out. Email me: