Business People

Bring Your Sales A Game

I don’t know about you, but when I was first told that I needed to call on senior-level executives, I was terrified. What would I talk with them about? They were so far above me – so much smarter than me about things like finance, overall strategy…you name it. Yes, you do need to have a different conversation with these people.

A few years ago, when working with one of my best clients, I was told that I needed to meet with a hotshot young executive. When I heard his name, it struck a bell. I asked, “Is he about 27, with dark hair, good looking? Is he originally from Prince Rupert? And, did he play hockey?” The answer was yes, yes, and yes.

That’s when I knew that I knew this hotshot executive. I went to school with him. Suddenly, I realized how irrational my fear of selling to executives was. They were normal human beings too…people like you and me. Sure I had to have a different conversation with them, but I didn’t have to be scared. Remember, you’re selling to people – not a position. And you know how to talk with people!developing relationships with customers

Tradeshow

So Tell Me About Your Product

How should you respond when a prospect asks you to tell them about your stuff? Most of us get excited because we think they’re really interested in what we’re offering, but the truth is they’re really looking for a way to dismiss us.

Tip – if you talk about your stuff, you’ll be brushed off in moments!

So what should you do? Rather than try to give a quick overview, focus on a story – be prepared to share a real-live customer scenario. You’ll be much more successful if you’ve practiced it ahead of time too.

Once you’ve used your story to pique your prospect’s interest, conclude with, “That’s just one example of what we do. What’s most important is to find out if it makes sense for you to change.” Then, proceed to questions.sales-objection

Iced Coffee

Ways I Stay Motivated

Sometimes running a business, working full time, being a mom and having a life can all be a bit too much. This is why it’s so important for me to stay motivated all the time.

I’m often asked how I have the energy and focus on it – so I thought it might be useful to list out what keeps me going:

Daily gratefulness:

This is one where I find real power in. Being grateful for things in your life, really allows you to see just how awesome it is now. It is all well and good thinking you want x,y and z in the future – but you have to appreciate what you have now. Otherwise, how are you ever going to have the ability to appreciate the things you want, when they come? You’ll just be wanting more, more and more.

Go back to my goals:

To keep on track with my goals, I tend to go back to them regularly. I should be clear that I have life goals, which are broken down into smaller goals, this helps me work towards the bigger ones…these actionable steps are smaller and then build into the wider vision. Combining my life and business plans together means one helps me to work towards the other.

Pinterest:

If I am ever having a day where I really need some inspiration, I go back to my ideal life board, or my life inspiration board, to perk myself up and get some awesome quotes. It also allows me to see what I am working towards, which really helps!

Taking time off:

If you are to be the best version of yourself, then it is important to take time for yourself. I try and do this quite often, by having evenings, when I am the only one at home, to work and do things that are important for me. Spending time alone gives my mind the space to be able to think and work towards the bigger goal.

Meditate:

This is one I admittedly need to do more of, but when I do, it helps me to relax, recharge and feels like I’ve had a nap in just 10 minutes. You really don’t have to do it for more than that a day and it does help.

Drinking iced coffee:

I have a morning ritual of getting up at 6:00 am, burning candles and working on my business. The other part of this? Drinking iced coffee. There’s something so comforting knowing that I can take a break on whatever am working on, to go and make one. It breaks up my day in the loveliest of ways.

Hand Shake

Selling Through Conviction

What do you want more than anything when you walk into a meeting with a potential client? You want them to love your products/services, right? Of course we want the right clients, fun clients and clients that click with us, but at the end of the meeting, you want one thing more than anything else – to close the deal.

The close deal at the end of the meeting signifies something. It says that your client believes in you. It says that they trust you and that they want you more than any other company. That is a good feeling and we need to have those feelings often.

How do we have those feelings more often, or should I say, how do we get clients to pay us more often? How do we close deals and make it happen on a regular basis?

Answer: CONVICTION

If you are convinced about how good your products and services are, then your prospects (those who you want to become clients) will be convinced. If you are unsure of yourself, then your client will be unsure of you. You must have complete conviction about what you can do when you walk into a client meeting, and believe that you are capable.

There is something inspiring and engaging about someone who has complete confidence in their ability to do something and it should never smell of arrogance.

Confidence is not just about being a good business owner, it is really about how you feel about yourself.

Confidence comes from deep within you and is built by speaking truth into yourself through repetition.

If you need more confidence, then this is your action plan to becoming more confident and more convinced of your worth as a business owner.

1. Write down your goals on paper (I want to be more confident in my selling etc).

2. Read those goals out loud each morning when you wake up, and each night before you go to bed.

3. Believe that you will become that person that is able to achieve those goals.

4. Each time you doubt, replace that thought with one that is uplifting and positive and refuse to accept those negative thoughts.

This may sound too simple to work, but the truth is that once you are convinced in your own mind, you will convince others. You have to win the battle over your mind first, and then it will follow in your actions.

Inspirational Quote

Activity To Achievement

A lot of famous entrepreneurs have formed businesses framed around not just their business mission, but their life mission. Combining the two allowed them to keep working towards such a huge goal, that even on bad days, they could keep going. Having something beyond just profit, created a purpose, which in turn, creates fulfillment.

Figuring out what is going to make you happy and make you feel important/contributing something important allows you to remain focused and not to veer off course.

Many of us go through life doing what we’re expected to do – the pressure from which most probably comes from our families. We go to school, get good grades, go to college, get more good grades, meet someone, marry someone, produce someones. The problem with this is, does any of it make you happy, when you’re living someone else’s story? Can you bring up children, and dictate their stories? Your life mission is doing something that lights you up, that you enjoy putting that time into. You should be feeling a sense of vibrancy and excitement from carrying this out.

We have all been given a set of talents, abilities and interests which are suited to allowing us to accomplish our purpose in life. Often, we use these to form the business we’ve always wanted to.

When you know what you want from life, it often has a way of being able to focus you from all of the distractions that are out there. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Other people’s opinions
  • Shiny things
  • Other ideas
  • Jobs that pop up
  • Travel (which can be a very good distraction)

The overall mission might be huge…changing the world in some way, or it might be small – such as being able to do something that only affects you and your loved ones. The scale is only really judged by yourself and either way it has to make you feel happy and fulfilled. Writing down your goals, will also allow you to see your purpose. This then affects your relationships, your family, your work for the better. Everything has more clarity, because you have more clarity and with this often comes a sense of freedom.

Your life mission may also change, depending on where you are in your life, who you’re with and what you’re experiencing. For instance, you might lose someone unexpectedly, which twists the way you saw things and everything you know isn’t the same now. It’s okay for this to pivot and change, depending on any of the people life can make us become. But fundamentally, the chances are, we are going to stay the same at our core. It’ll just be a few things that change, not everything. So the overarching mission might not actually change that much in itself – perhaps the way you get there will.

So instead of just writing a business plan – write a life plan. One that incorporates what you want from life and how your business can help you get there. That’s the best way for all of this to work…when one affects the other, when you can feel the most accomplished in business and life. You want a huge house? How much does your business need to make you, to get there? You want a family? What kind of work can you do, to enable you to spend the most time with them and support them, whilst still fulfilling you.

Be Yourself

Be Authentic

People are always told to be strictly professional, when it comes to business. To act a certain way, or be a certain way.

But people trying to be people they’re not, can be confusing to other people. Perhaps as confusing as that last sentence. When you’re not yourself, you’re not giving people the proper opportunity to work in the best way with you. How can they really understand how to work with you, when you’re putting a pretense on? Here’s a clue: they can’t!

Now, when am saying to be yourself, I am certainly not saying to go out there and act like yourself on a Friday night with your friends. You still need to be professional – after all, it is a work environment.

People often stifle their authentic selves in a bid to fit in…often without realising it. I have totally been guilty of this – wanting people to like me and even needing them to, in a way. But when you do this and when I did this, we suppress our self awareness, talents and creativity.

Your best business will be done when you can create honest relationships that are built on trust, because you dared to be your real self. This trust often converts to sales, because the relationship is built on mutual values.

And it’s not wrong to have different versions of yourself for different scenarios – with your clients, or your partner etc. That is completely normal. But it’s when it becomes fake, then you have something to worry about.

Go with your gut:

Being yourself also means listening to your gut. Trust your instincts and go with them. But, just apply the ‘work’ rule – if you get a bad feeling about someone, you don’t have to be friends with them, but you do have to work with them. The way around it? Just be nice…be courteous. It means you’ll often get your own way anyway and it makes the whole thing a lot easier.

Listening to your gut means you’re in line with the universe and where you want to be in it. This alignment means everything will flow a lot easier and also means that when it comes to making a key decision, you’ll learn to rely on yourself a lot more.

Being yourself means knowing your opinions, how to give them and when not to. It means trusting yourself and in turn having others trust you too.

GirlBoss

Reinvent Yourself At Work

Reputation is important, especially in the workplace. I guarantee you can list at least three people you work with who you either don’t take seriously or don’t respect. On the other hand, I’m sure you can also name those individuals that the organization couldn’t live without. It’s easy to compile this list from your own viewpoint and experiences, but…

Have you ever wondered what your coworkers think of you?

Below are my top choices of ways to positively influence change in the eyes of others regarding your image in the workplace and some tips to help you start implementing change in your day-to-day interactions.

Keep Your Word. 

If you say you’re going to do something, do it. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Write your to-do list at the beginning of each day. Then, make sure to update it as the day goes on. Have it handy while you take notes during a meeting. Any action items called out should be immediately transferred to your to-do list.

Tip: I like to add “completion dates” next to certain tasks so I can prioritize them. In sales, the biggest part of our job is follow-up. We go on all these meetings, make a ton of promises, and if we don’t do proper follow-up – we lose the opportunity (or even worse, the customer).

Be Responsive.

If you miss a call, make sure to call back in a timely manner. Do not make the person have to follow-up with you again. It’s better to send a quick response setting an expectation for when they can expect a real response, then not to respond at all.

Tip: Set a reminder on your calendar to call or e-mail someone back. I do this all the time and it’s a lifesaver. You can also use the “follow-up” flag on the actual e-mail to add it to your task list in outlook.

Be Prepared. 

Lack of preparation not only shows immaturity, but it also shows a lack of respect for the person you’re meeting with and the organization you’re representing. This is by far my biggest pet peeve. I say that only because I learned harshly from my own experiences early on in my career. Being in sales, there’s nothing more frustrating than setting up a meeting with one of my customers as a favour to a vendor or internal resource and they show up unprepared.

Tip: Schedule prep time on your calendar for the meeting. If you are presenting to a customer, schedule an internal prep call to review and get on the same page. Even if it’s a ten minute call, this will help you look like a rock star in front of the customer.

Dress To Impress. 

You’ve heard the term. Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. If you have a great job already, dress the part. The way you dress says a lot about how you view yourself. If you want to be taken seriously, don’t show up with an untamed beard, dirty jeans, and a polo.

Tip: In sales, you dress for the customer. If the customer’s culture is suit and tie, you wear a suit and tie. If it’s jeans and a polo, you dress business casual.

Always Be On Time. 

There may be ten thousand excuses in the book, but none of them matter. Your coworkers don’t care and neither do your customers. It’s disrespectful, period. It shows the people you work with that their time isn’t as important as yours.

Tip: Wake up early before you have to officially start your day. Plan and prepare accordingly including traffic delays.

One last thing. Constructive criticism has helped me more than anything else in my career. If someone offers it, take it. Don’t take it as an insult. Take it as a special tool that’s being offered to you and use it to better yourself. The feedback from my mentors has drastically helped change my image at work.

Talking

This One Trait Could Be Holding You Back

Being in sales, I interact with a lot of people on a daily basis. Whether it’s customer meetings, business lunches, or conference calls. I spend a lot of time in conversation with various personality types. One trait I’ve noticed that seems to really hold people back is overtalking. Random babble and nervous chatter make you look unconfident and unprepared. People who do this don’t get invited back to meetings and typically don’t close a lot of deals. Why? Because they waste people’s time and derail meetings. Don’t ruin opportunities for yourself by overtalking. Pick up on the subtle signals people are giving you.

Ways to Avoid Nervous Chatter:

1.Make your point. Be clear and concise. Avoid filler words and filler sentences. If they don’t help make your point, they are unnecessary and distracting to the listener.

example: “I was thinking we could go to lunch on the tenth but I know you’re busy with that microsoft project so if that doesn’t work for you I can also do later that week or possibly the next Monday or we could just go somewhere quick and close to your office.”

instead: “Are you available for lunch on the tenth?” 

2.Have patience. Wait for the person to respond. Some people need to think and digest information before responding. Give them the time or you might miss their response by derailing the conversation.

3.Stop repeating yourself and others. Know your place and don’t waste people’s time by making them listen to you drag out a point that someone else in the room already made.

example: “So as Jim said we need to confirm our engineering team’s schedules because we have a lot of projects that just kicked off and availability that week might be limited…but we will just check and see and get back to you on that as soon as possible. I think Jim said he is going to be able to provide that information to me on Wednesday, so I will be able to get it to you Wednesday afternoon – is that what you said Jim?”

instead: “We will check engineer availability and get back to you Wednesday.”

Make your message clear and keep your call to action simple.

Stack Of Books

My Favourite Business Books

These career classics are reads that every one of us should have on our book shelf. Many of these favourite titles do double duty giving us advice for a great career and a great life.

How To Have A Good Day

If the old adage is true that how we spend our days is how we spend our lives, then Caroline Webb does us a major favour by letting us know how a few small tweaks to our daily behaviour can have a major impact on our life. As an economist, Webb takes an almost technical approach to having a good day and uses both neuroscience and psychology to explain and test her suggestions. Along the way, you’ll find it marvellously comforting that such an abstract idea can be broken down to a practically applicable science.

How to Have a Good Day

Nice Girls Don’t Get The Corner Office

Think that avoiding office politics and asking permission to take on projects is the way to get ahead? Hold it right there, nice girl! Dr. Frankel tells us otherwise, and explains a distinct set of 130 behaviours that we learn as girls and that ultimately sabotage our career efforts as adults. You’ll find yourself bookmarking page after page in this easy read, which basically ends up functioning as your roadmap to effective self-assessment. Bottom line: Don’t let the little things we do get in our way of where we want to go.

Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office

The Go-Giver: A Little Story About A Powerful Business Idea

Told as a modern parable, Mann and Burg give us a powerful new take on a classic idea: Give and you will receive. The main character, Joe, is focused on closing a sale, but instead a fortuitous connection with a mentor connects him to a series of other successful people. They teach Joe how the laws of value, compensation, influence, authenticity, and receptivity will contribute to his own success. This reminder to put others’ interests ahead of our own is one that resonates for our lives, both inside and outside the office.

The Go-Giver

Thinking Fast And Slow

This book nearly begs to be read old school style, with a big highlighter and a notebook nearby to jot down little nuggets you’ll want to refer to again and again. As a world-renowned psychologist and Nobel Prize-winning economist, Kahneman expertly addresses the way we think about and make choices. He explores the two systems of our mind: The first that is fast, intuitive, and emotional and the second that is deliberate, logical, and slow. Once read, you’ll better understand your own biases and quickly catch yourself thinking about how you think.

Thinking Fast And Slow

Grit: The Power Of Passion And Perseverance

Grit explores how it’s actually passion and persistence that lead you to success, not necessarily intelligence alone.

Grit: The Power Of Passion

Public Speaking

Conquer Your Fear Of Public Speaking

Whether you’re normally pretty confident or simply the thought of getting up in front of a room full of people immediately inspires the need to breathe into a paper bag, I’m sure we’re all familiar with that sweaty-palmed, shaky-kneed feeling that crops up when we’re about to make a big speech or presentation.

Let’s face it, public speaking can be a little intimidating. Even the most calm, cool, and collected can get a little panicky. Luckily, there are a few things you can put into play to calm those butterflies and address the room with poise and confidence.

Plan Ahead

Talking in front of others can be anxiety inducing to begin with. But, doing so when you feel completely disorganized and unprepared? Well, that takes your nerves to a whole new level.

Planning ahead is key to making yourself seem calm and qualified in front of your audience. They can all tell if you’re up there just winging it—unless you’re ridiculously good at the whole improvisation thing.

So, whether it’s a speech or a presentation, make sure that you take the time to adequately prepare beforehand. Organize notes and talking points; lay out the general structure of what you want to say; think of possible audience questions and practice thoughtful responses. The equation is simple: The more prepared you are, the more confident you’ll feel.

Practice

Practice makes perfect. No, that’s not just a sentiment your mom would utter to you during your middle school flute lessons or gymnastics classes—it actually holds some water. Practicing your public speaking skills is a surefire way to look pulled together in front of a crowd.

The idea of practice might conjure up images of you standing in front of your bathroom mirror using your hairbrush as a microphone. But it really doesn’t need to be anything complicated. Those talking points you set out while you were getting prepared? Use them to rehearse your whole speech or presentation all the way through—more than once.

In fact, run through your talk as many times as you need to in order to feel somewhat loose and comfortable with it. There’s nothing worse than a speaker who mumbles through her whole presentation with her eyes glued to note cards. And plenty of practice will help you avoid those common public speaking blunders.

Don’t Panic About Questions

You’ve rehearsed your speech until you’re almost blue in the face and you fly through it with relative ease when the day actually arrives. You feel an immediate sense of relief, but then you see a hand shoot up in the crowd. Someone has a question for you. Your stomach immediately drops into your shoes—you weren’t prepared for this.

I know that having audience members prod you for more information is the last thing you want, especially after you managed to survive your nerve-wracking speech. But first it’s important to remember that questions are truly a great sign. It means that your audience was actually listening and actively engaged in everything you had to say.

Once you’ve accepted that, move on to answering the question. Focus solely on the individual who asked it and think of it as having a one-on-one conversation with that person. Forget that you’re responding to the inquiry in front of a crowd of other people and zone in on providing a thoughtful response to just that person. It’ll help to remove some anxiety from the situation—and ultimately improve the quality of your answer.

Establish A Routine

That lucky pair of socks you always wear for a big event; the peanut butter sandwich you feel like you need to eat before a presentation; that special song you have to listen to when you feel unbearably nervous.

It’s easy to brush these quirks and routines off as simply foolish superstitions. But, routines are actually a really great way to deal with your nerves. They make you feel as if you have some control in a situation that’s already making your stomach do flips.

So why not establish one that can help calm you down before a public speaking engagement? Whether it’s a breathing exercise or a walk alone around the building, think of something that will help you deal with that all-too-familiar jittery and queasy feeling. If nothing else, it gives you some time to try to pull yourself together before you take the floor.

Speak Slow (Really Slow)

If you’ve ever heard your own frantic heartbeat pounding in your ears, you already know that your pulse quickens when you’re nervous. But, unfortunately, that’s not the only thing that kicks into overdrive. Most of us have the tendency to talk a mile per minute when we’re uneasy as well.

When you’ve spent so much time preparing, you want to ensure that your audience will actually be able to understand everything you’re saying. And, that’s going to be difficult if your nerves cause you to race through your entire presentation. You don’t want it to seem like someone’s pressing “fast forward” through your entire speech.

So, be conscious of the speed of your voice and make an effort to speak way slower than you feel like you should. Word to the wise: If speaking that slow feels weird and unnatural, you’re probably doing it right.

Be Mindful Of Nonverbal Cues

Of course, the words you’re saying are undoubtedly well-researched, informative, and important. So you’d hate to have those impressive insights overshadowed by incessant fidgeting, lip biting, and hair twirling. Sometimes what you’re not saying indicates more than the words that are actually coming out of your mouth.

Similar to how you need to pay careful attention to the speed of your words, you also need to be mindful of other nonverbal cues. Make eye contact with specific audience members, rather than scanning over the top of heads. It makes you appear more self-assured and engaged.

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and make large gestures away from your body—rather than towards yourself. Don’t begin talking as you walk to your position. Instead, walk to exactly where you want to be, plant your feet, take a deep breath, and then get started. It’s an important moment to collect yourself and it also doesn’t make you appear as if you’re rushing to get through your presentation.

Finally, be conscious of not raising the pitch of your voice at the end of your sentences. It’s a habit that most women have—particularly when they’re nervous. And, you want to make it clear that you’re making statements—not asking questions.

Public speaking is definitely enough to rattle your nerves. I get cotton-mouthed at the thought of talking in front of a crowd. But you don’t want your anxiety to totally get in the way of giving a killer presentation.