If you ask a room full of people what success means to them, you will receive a roomful of different answers. Success is subjective, meaning each person’s definition or view of it is different due to our individual value systems. Contrary to our actions, success does not have to be singular. Often, we view success as a singular item saying things like, “If only I had (blank), my life would be perfect.” But at the expense of what? If you gain something, what are you willing to give up? We have all chased something, like a promotion, and torched a relationship in the process. Success is possible in many areas if kept at arms length. To illustrate this, take a sheet of paper and hold it as close to your face as possible. That sheet of paper causes you to focus on one thing impairing your your vision to your surroundings. Now pull the paper away from your face gradually until you are holding it in front of you with your arm extended and locked. As you pull the paper back, you have the ability to see so much more. Keep success in perspective, kept at arm’s length in an effort to manage the many different forms of successes albeit physical, mental, spiritual, relational, or financial. Success should be plural, not singular.
Water always seeks the easiest route – it goes around things, it flows to the lowest level and fills the oceans to its highest. There is no true resistance to water.
If everyday feels like you have to fight to get up, to stay alive and to keep moving then instead flow like water. Find the path of least resistance – drop your burdens, which harden you into mud or ice. To find least resistance, to flow, find what your heart truly desires.
That is where you will naturally flow. That is the valley that has been carved into your soul.
It is from the valleys and basins that people have found food and survival in our history. Water flows to the lowest point and creates fertility.
So follow the valley and river of your soul. And even if you should not have a penny in your name then you will know freedom.
The inspiration: the world around us and the Way.
Recently, my 16-year-old sent me a text message, “Life is like riding a bike, it doesn’t matter how slow you go as long as you keep moving.” We have reached a crossroads of sorts in life. Although you may want to stop pedaling, you must choose to keep the squeaky wheels rolling. You may not be gaining much ground, but the fact that you are still pedaling is a sign that you are winning. (Chicago) Bears Coach Mike Ditka said, “You are never a loser until you quit trying.” I urge you to have the Audacity to have H.O.P.E. Have the boldness, unrestricted thought, and disrespectful attitude to, Have an Opportunistic Perspective Everyday. Have the reckless abandonment not to care what the press, your friends, nor your family is saying about how bad things are getting. Seeds planted in the best conditions will grow.
Take 11 seconds of your day and talk to a co-worker or look at the television and see how fast the seeds of negativity get spewed upon you. It seems as though negativity is everywhere. Mass media has profited from reporting news of negative circumstances or behavior. Even your coworker profits from saying negative things while standing by the water cooler; the profit he gains are by the words he speaks. The tongue is compared to a tiny ruder of a massive ship steering it through both calm and tumultuous waters- so too does the ruder of your life’s ship steer you toward the things that you speak. For out of the mouth cry the issues of life.
Your computer system
If you listen to the external, you become deaf to the internal. Your gut instinct is your subconscious in action. There is a distinct difference between the conscious and subconscious mind. Think of your subconscious as the hard drive of a computer system and the conscious as the software. Every day your software is commanding your hardware what to do. Your subconscious takes everything as fact and does not know the difference between real or unreal. A computer’s software and hardware must be compatible to function properly, so does the conscious and subconscious mind. Do not allow a virus to infect your computer system ruining everything the system designed to do. What program are you running now, Neg 2.0 or Pos 3.0?
Vision and Sight
Think of it this way. Your conscious is your vision- it is what you expect. Your subconscious is your sight and what it sees is accepted as fact. You must keep the perspective that opportunity awaits you, all you have to do is visualize it and let your sight accept it as fact. What are you anticipating or eagerly striving for now? Guess what, you are probably receiving what you are expecting. Your vision will defeat the battles of your circumstances allowing your sight to win the war- defeating every self-deprecating, self-defeating thought trying to keep you down. The world was formed from a spoken word, do you still think your negative, spoken words are not powerful enough to knock you off track?
Anybody got a light?
Pessimism bites the hand of optimism. Pessimism is the Jim Jones concoction of your life’s success. Drink from that cup of thought and ruin your chances of excellence. Keep your hand open. Wake up daily, go to sleep nightly loving yourself. Become bold enough to hang up on life’s “telemarketers” selling defeat and instead create a fan page of your life. Your biggest fan should be you. Your problems are only temporary. Keep your hand open to receive the opportunities that surround you. No receiver ever caught the game winning touchdown with closed hands-they had to be open to receive, hence the word “receiver.” Someone else’s trash is your treasure. The hand of life will give you fire and coals. Coals are opportunities and stay smoldering until provoked, suddenly causing a spark. The spark becomes a fire and gives life to your dreams and ambitions instantly. Passion is the oxygen that fuels the fire. When was the last time you walked up to the smoldering coals of life and began stabbing and provoking the coals to cause a spark and breathe life into your opportunities? Dreams can go from darkness, to a spark, to light because of provocation and BOOM, a dream gives birth to reality.
My challenge to you is not to take the average road, byway, nor highway of life. Turn left on Audacity Road. Keep your mind open, stay bold, relentless, downright audacious to not let someone else be the offensive coordinator of your life. Script your own game plan; call your own plays, and score your own victories in your quest for life. H.O.P.E. is everywhere you envision it.
In hopes of improving our sales career, we recently peered into the world of fine dining in order to gain an insight of what great servers do so well to enhance their guest’s evening and to improve their paycheck. We now know that great servers make themselves approachable to their guests, are attentive to their needs, and have extensive knowledge about the foods they are serving. Here are a few more lessons sales consultants can learn from great servers:
- Be Deceptive: Great servers are masterful deceivers. They make their guests feel exclusive. Although no tip was given, guests did leave the charred remains of crackers and foods strewn about by 3 children who apparently have never had the priviledge of feeling the leathery, disciplinning power of a belt, great servers deceive their anger and do not carry their frustrations from one table to the next. Servers act like a host of the Emmy’s, keeping the atmosphere light, festive, and moving. Servers have the ability to glide from one table to the next as if they were on ice- making it seem effortless. Lesson learned: Deception in the world of sales can be interpreted as a nasty, negative word, unless put in its proper perspective. Sales is infested with rejection, missed quotas, product failures, and disgruntled clients. A masterful sales consultant deceives the fact that although calamity may be happening all around, it must be put in its proper perspective by dealing with one issue at a time. If sales were easy, you would have never replaced the person who jumped ship in hopes of finding an easier gig. Be grateful that you have the rare quality of being able to handle rejections, fight through missed quotas, give superior service when a product fails, and be empathetic toward your frustrated clients. Sales consultants wear many hats. It is not your client’s responsibility to deal with your personal problems, but it is your responsibility to care for theirs. Do not let all of the hard work you have worked for hours, days, even months get flushed away because you are having a bad day. Solutions to problems are the mortar in the building blocks of your character and you must never take things personally.
- Be alive not a corpse: Waiting in a state of repose is not what great servers do. Servers do not believe in hovering over their guests, as if working for the Secret Service. Great servers are experts of running a covert operation making the guests feel alone, but never further than a glance away. Lesson Learned: Great consultants should be in a constant state of motion. I teach my consultants to appear to be busy-even if they have nothing to do. Clients like to work with people who do not look like they are standing on a corner waiting for a cab. When negotiating with your clients, a great consultant should follow the 3 P’s: Prepare, Present, and Patience. Preparation is critical when working with a client. An unprepared sales consultant can be snuffed out within seconds. Uninterested clients make comments like, “We will think about it and get back to you.” They then take a 3 year business trip-always away on business each time you call to follow up. A made-to-order presentation is presented showing what the client will benefit from your product. If the first two have been done correctly, a sales consultant can then display patience by asking for the order and silently waiting for an answer. Great consultants are wave makers, they strike the water (preparation) causing ripples of more waves to reverberate (presentation) and continue to sell even when nothing is being said at all.
- Servers are artists: A great server is an artist who uses his unique creativity to show sensitivity and imagination to his guests in hopes of making the evening as unique as a thumbprint. A magical, memorable evening creates a relationship and has guests coming back for more. My wife and I have a restaurant we frequent on very special occasions, but if our favorite server is not there, neither are we-she makes the evening that special. What a great server is to a restaurant is what a 3 wine reduction sauce is to a steak-the missing link. Lesson learned: You are the award winning artists of you.com. Market yourself in such a way that through selling a superior product, creating a memorable experience, a relationship will be formed. People do not buy great products, they buy good products from a great consultant. Relationships trump price every time.
Congratulations, you have rekindled your relationship, brought your pallet out of hibernation tasting five star delicacies, as well as put your sales career back on the right tracks toward your quest of being a superior sales consultant. Eat from the tree of success, be fruitful in your relationships, and multiply your sales exponentially.
If your sales career has hit a slump worse than the New York Yankee’s Derek Jeter’s “0 for 32” hit-less streak in 2004, let me suggest an affordable seminar available to help get your sales swagger back. In fact, this seminar is offered in nearly every city in America. Can you name a seminar where you can enjoy a nice meal with a special person, have a glass of wine to unwind from the long day, and get a crash course in sales? Make a reservation, grab your coat, and head off to your favorite fine dining restaurant. Now when I say “fine dining” I do not mean 2 for 1 food and drinks, I mean the one with candle-lit tables, linen napkins and table cloths, all surrounded by your favorite love ballads being hammered away on the ivory keys of a grand piano nestled in the corner. Look at this evening not as an expense, but as an investment in both careers, personal and professional. A great example of superior salespeople are servers of fine dining restaurants. Like many of us, they make a living based on their clientele’s satisfaction.
In this 2 part series, we will look at examples of what great servers do on a consistent basis and we can learn from them:
- Be Approachable: Servers realize you never get a second chance to make a first impression (or commission). Diners immediately make a decision if they like you based on how you approach them. A great server introduces and carries himself in a personable, professional manner at all times, no matter how tough the evening may be. Lesson learned: No matter how hard you may prepare for a sale, your client may never give you a chance to showcase your knowledge if you approach them in an unprofessional manner. You may have sparred 12 rounds with your last customer, but do not take a negative experience from one client to another. Your clients depend on you to enhance their buying experience not destroy it. The better your customer’s experience, the more they will show their appreciation (commission).
- Be Attentive: Great servers are very quick and attentive to their client’s needs performing even menial tasks without being asked. Behind the scenes, a restaurant can be a zoo, but a great server never will reveal it. He has an eye for detail and pays attention to the needs of his guests (e.g. refilling a glass without being asked). Aside from being detail oriented, servers assume the sale by offering a nice bottle of wine paired with a savory appetizer and salad. How many times before arriving at a restaurant, have you vowed to only eat an entree only to be influenced by your server to “try” a succulent appetizer, saying, “Well…I’ll work it off tomorrow.” Join the crowd my friend, a sale has just been made. Lesson learned: Taking care of the small things builds trust, credibility, and influences your customers to want to do business with you. The road to a sale is similar to dating. The person you are dating really appreciates the small things you do for them-your customers are the same way.
- Obtain your PhD: Professional servers have extensive knowledge and are able to recite from memory what the appetizers, entrees, and desserts are for the evening. They do a great job by painting a mental picture of the sauces and preparation of each dish. When dining at a new restaurant my wife likes to ask, “What is good here?” My faith in a restaurant tumbles faster than Enron’s stock when a server has not taken the time to try certain foods in order to relate them to his guests. They make comments like, “I don’t know, I never ate that,” or “I don’t like fish.” Even if a server does not eat certain foods, they must get feedback from previous guests who have eaten it in order to relate to others. A great restaurant is only as great as the experience a server gives to its guests. Lesson learned: Every sale is an emotional decision followed up by logic. If you can appeal to a client’s emotional side, they will make a decision and be able to justify it logically. Being knowledgeable about your product gives you the confidence needed to make a sale. Being knowledgeable about your product allows you to build a foundation of value. If a customer perceives the product as valuable, they will pay the price for it. Clients depend on your expertise in order to make an educated buying decision. Also, using clients’ testimonies is a powerful way to gain credibility and trust in your product.
Next time we will look at more examples of what great servers do and what we can learn from them. What was your experience when eating out? I would love to hear your comments and how a server made you feel?
The world is full of people who fear failure so much they never pursue their dreams and wind up living an unfulfilled life. We live in a world thinking “what-if” instead of living in a world of “already did.” Countless stories have been recounted and movies made depicting people realizing they only have a short time left to live. Suddenly, they set out on a quest to do everything on their “to-do” list. Many call it a “wish list,” but I disagree, because a wish is a want or desire, but stops short of putting anything into action. Hall of fame hockey player Wayne Gretzky said, “You will miss 100% of the shots you never take.” In life, you will not succeed if you fear failure. How ironic is it that a majority of hall of fame athletes not only hold the top rank of achievement (e.g. most points scored, most assists, etc) but also rank at the top in attempts. NBA great Michael Jordan once said, “I can accept failure, everyone fails at something, but I cannot accept not trying.” By his own admission, the most famous athlete on the planet, missed more than 9000 shots, lost nearly 300 games, missed the game winning shot 26 times and what was his only excuse? ”I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.”
Advertisers spend millions of dollars developing slogans to shake us out of our self-imposed limitations. Here are a few reminders:
- Adidas: Impossible is nothing
- Nike: Just do it
- Apple computers:Think different
- U.S. Army:Be all you can be
- Red Cross: The greatest tragedy is indifference
- U.S. Marines: Every warrior lives for the fight
You will not conquer what you never confront. Countries fought for their freedom, companies formed, inventions developed, promotions earned and athletes achieved all because each took a chance on a dream, failed many times in the process, and eventually succeeded. Founding father Benjamin Franklin never thought he failed, he just found many ways he did it wrong. Coach Vince Lombardi argued that he never lost a game, he just ran out of time.
The reason most people do not pursue their dreams is because they fear the idea of change. “Change is inevitable; growth is optional,” leadership expert John Maxwell reminds us. Everything is in a constant state of change. Your situation will not begin to change until you do. You can attract success if you commit yourself to learning everything you possibly can through various materials such as reading, audio and video materials (I call your You-niversity), but also staying available to the teachings life has to offer. Your life is like that of a sea shore; the waves of life’s circumstances incessantly pound the shores of your life. Like a thief, erosion will whisk away everything you have worked hard for if you do not do something to reinforce it. Continuous knowledge are the walls that protect success.
Fear has been acronymed False Evidence Appearing Real or Finding Excuses And Running. Just as a soldier prepares for battle or an athlete prepares for a game, you must study your opponent in order to win. In order to conquer fear you must first understand what it really is. Fear is nothing more than a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, whether the threat is real or imagined. An emotion is a feeling and your feelings are often unreliable. In short, fear is nothing more than an unreliable, stress -induced emotion. Can you think of an occasion(s) where you faced insurmountable odds only to overcome them victoriously? No matter how many times you were knocked down, you got back up and by sheer determination fought, scratched and clawed until you prevailed. In the book Thick Face Black Heart, author Chin-ning Chu wrote, “Often the bravest warriors were originally the greatest cowards. The more fear you confront and conquer the greater courage you will possess.”
In his inaugural speech to the recession battered nation, President Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” He went on put the nation’s difficulties in perspective by saying, “The only concern, thank God, are only material things…yet out of distress comes no failure of substance. We are stricken by no plagues of locusts. Compared with the perils which our fathers conquered because they believed and were not afraid, we still have much to be thankful for…Plenty is at our doorstep.”
Tough times do not last, but tough people like you do. Do not let minute details become a roadblock in your quest for success. One day you will be able to laugh when you look back on the adversities you face today. Many of us have lost our health,jobs,homes, automobiles, marriages, and financial independence. You may have faced some unbelievable obstacles, but remember somebody, somewhere has it worse than you. One thing you can never let go of is HOPE (Having an Opportunistic Perspective Everyday). Always keep the mindset that problems are cleverly disguised opportunities and you must be ready to seize them. Faith in your today’s will make sense in your tomorrows.
I encourage you to take another shot at the game of life and if you fail, try, try again. Pursue your dreams; conquer your goals; and recover all that you have wasted by allowing fear to paralyze you. Having fear condones inaction; having faith condemns it.
Not a day goes by that a salesperson is not asked, “What’s your best price?” If this question is handled in an insincere way (if answered at all), it could send a customer in a rage with smoke billowing out of their ears ready to pummel the salesperson for not answering the question. Price has very little to do with making a sale. Don’t believe me? If price had anything to do with purchasing a cup of coffee, why would anyone pay 5 times the amount for a cup of “celebrity” coffee when they could pay far less at the “get-it-and-go” gas station? Customers pay for two things: experience and value. When experience and value outweigh price a purchase is made. A wise investor, aka customer, will always question what the potential gain will be for the risk taken. Put another way, will the return exceed the investment? It is time to stop being defensive on price and begin to embrace the thinking behind P.R.I.C.E.
P- Prepare. Henry Hartman said, “Success always comes when preparation meets opportunity.” I was taught discipline will beat talent every time. Building the proper foundation of knowledge is critical toward becoming successful. As it is written, “It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built.” If you are disciplined to study not only everything about your product, but also the relevant information of your competitor’s product, you will beat the most talented, undisciplined salesperson. Talent is what you can do naturally; discipline is a regimen that develops or improves a skill. “Nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent.”
R- Remember. Patricia Fripp put it best when she said, “Remember it’s not your customer’s job to remember you. It’s your obligation and responsibility to make sure they don’t have a chance to forget you.” Your stage is an opportunity to showcase what you and your product can do for your customer. Keep in mind that even though you have performed your show (product presentation) many times each day, six days per week, the customer has not seen your show. Think as a Las Vegas performer-performing for the audience as if every night is opening night. Create a carnival-like atmosphere for your customer that will be enjoyable to both you and them.
I-Identify the needs of your customer. Each customer’s needs are as unique as a thumbprint- they are all different. Do not make the mistake of giving a “canned” presentation to every customer. If your presentation is not geared specifically towards your customer’s wants and needs it could result in a lost opportunity for a sale. You should present your product that will address: Who the main decision maker is? What is the need for your product? Why is your product superior to your competitors’? When will they need your product? How will your product serve their needs?
C- Collate everything into a professional, tailor-made sales presentation. You must, must, must display enthusiasm when presenting your product. Zig Ziglar maintains, “For every sale you miss because you are too enthusiastic, you will miss a hundred because you are not enthusiastic enough.” Preparation breeds confidence; confidence makes way for enthusiasm, enthusiasm paves the road for the sale.
E- Establish a relationship with your customers. This is the most important stage in the sales process. Customers do not want to know what you do, they want to know you care…about them. Selling is just like dating. When you meet someone, you work hard to establish rapport, credibility, and trust. If you can establish those key ingredients, you may get a second date. (Sound familiar?) In his new book, The Sales Bible, Jeff Gitomer wrote, “If you make a sale, you can earn a commission. If you make a friend, you can earn a fortune.”
So the next time a customer asks for your best price, confidently respond by saying, “I am glad you asked.” Know that your best price comes from all of the preparation in your product, remembering to make their experience unique and fun by identifying their wants and needs, Collating all of it together onto your “Vegas-style” stage- all the while remembering throughout the sales process you are establishing a personal relationship with them. As long as you walk on this earth you are going to be something; you might as well be successful.