Happiness

A New Way Of Life

Hygge – the Danish not-so-easy-to-define word for happiness, coziness, nostalgia, and contentment – is a big part of why Denmark is consistently ranked as one of the happiest places in the world. We, as Canadians, on the other hand, seem to be on a constant pursuit of happiness, yet don’t rank anywhere close to the Danes. What gives?

Maybe – just maybe – instead of pursuing the classic Canadian dream, minimalism, capitalism, or whatever new fad is trending, we should instead pursue the tried-and-true notion of hygge. We know it works, so why not? We’ve got nothing to lose.

Luckily, incorporating aspects of hygge into your life is easy because you get instant gratification. That’s because one of the most important principles of hygge is living in the moment. So all of these things will make you feel good right now.

Ready to embrace hygge and live like the Danish do? Here are things you can do to add hygge to your life:

Dim The Lighting

Hygge is all about the lighting – warm, deep, dim lighting. The fluorescent and intense overhead lighting that has worked its way into our Canadian homes and offices just doesn’t work for the Danes.

In fact, for them, the ideal lighting comes from fireplaces and candles. The yellowish glow, the flickering, even the noise adds to the feeling of hygge.

So open up the fireplace tonight and pull out some candles! And if you’re an anxious worrier like me, don’t stress! There are battery-powered candles that give you the exact same effect, but without the fire hazard…and they’ve got timers!

Make More Soups

Hygge is achieved through simplicity and indulgence. If it makes you feel cozy, even better. If time and thought has been put into its preparation, you’ve got triple the hygge! So what better way to experience (or intensify) hygge, than by making a homemade soup.

So pull out your crock pot and make a stew that will simmer all day. The smell will be amazing, the soup will taste delicious, and you will be indulging without getting too indulgent (if you know what I mean).

Dress To Impress And Be Comfortable

We, as Canadians, are obsessed with dressing to impress and too often it comes at the cost of our comfort. So time to put your thinking cap on and find a way to embrace comfortable clothing without making yourself feel like a slob (because you need to feel comfortable too!).

If you really want to channel your inner hygge, you can start by investing in a really, really comfortable pair of socks. The kind of socks that almost classify as slippers. The ones that you can’t wait to get your feet into after a long day. Those are hygge.

Read A Real Book

Your comfy socks are on, your stew is simmering in the crock pot, so now it’s time to read by yourself…the old fashioned-way.

Get a real book – not your Kindle, phone, or iPad – and read in your favourite cozy nook. Turn your phone off. Let this just be time to relax your body and stimulate your brain.

Read whatever you want. Fiction, non-fiction, romance, suspense. Whatever YOU want.

And don’t feel like it has to be a new book! Pull your Harry Potter collection off the shelf and reread your favourite parts. Grab your favourite classic and reread it one more time!

If It Brings You Joy, Add It

By now, we all know the Konmari Method of cleaning your house – if it doesn’t bring you joy, get rid of it.

Well, the hyggelig (Danish for hygge-like) way of cleaning your house is similar, but with one very important twist – if it brings you joy, add it.

Yep, you heard me right. You now have permission to pull your cat figurines back out of hiding, find those horrible pants with holes that everyone (except for you!) hated, and fill your home with things you love.

Be Active Outside

We all know that exercise is good – it makes you healthy, happy, clears your head, blah, blah, blah. So we schedule an hour here or there to go for a run or take a cardio class.

Unfortunately, that’s not the key to happiness…or hygge.

To add more hygge to your life, you need to make exercise fun – like, so fun you don’t even call it exercise. And it needs to happen outside.

So go for a hike, make a snowman, explore the beach, ride your bike.

Doing this doubles your hygge. Here’s why:

There’s something special about being outside. Fresh air and nature are important elements of hygge, so spending a lot of time outside doing something fun will create instant hygge.

The doubling occurs when you come home. You’re tired, but satisfied, so your mind and body will want nothing more than additional hygge. You won’t even have to think twice. Just put on your comfy socks, make a cup of hot cocoa, and settle into your cozy nook for the next chapter of your favourite book.

Make Your Gifts

Giving someone a gift is always a good way to bring happiness to your life as well as theirs. To take that happiness to the next level (the level of hygge), make a gift for them.

I know this is intimidating. Even more, I know this is time-consuming. But THAT is what makes homemade gifts so hyggelig – for both you and the person receiving the gift. A ridiculous amount of time is typically put into making homemade gifts, which adds a lot of thought to the present, but also gives you time to do something out of your normal routine. It’s a break for your mind and body.

Start A Tradition

One of the biggest components of hygge is that warm and cozy feeling that comes with something nostalgic – like waking up on Christmas morning or spending the day preparing for Thanksgiving. These traditions pair naturally with hygge…so why not make more of them?

Whether you start a completely new one (like a special family vacation in the middle of spring) or just build off of one you already have (like adding a mid-day family movie to Christmas), adding a new tradition to your life will definitely increase your hygge exposure.

And the absolute best part of this hygge addition is that you’re spreading the hygge-love to the family and friends that will be joining you.

Attend More Social Get-Togethers

One of the easiest and quickest ways to add hygge to your life is to simply attend (or hold) more social get-togethers.

Strong relationships help make hygge happen, so spending time with friends and family sets you up for more and more happiness.

If you want the most hygge possible, try to keep the gatherings to a small number of people (4-6). This makes the get-together more intimate and you’re more likely to let yourself relax.

Vacation More

I know this is easier said than done, both because of the cost and the time. But THIS (paired with the next section below) is possibly the biggest – and most impactful – difference between the Danish and us.

You need to vacation more. Your hygge depends on it.

It does NOT need to be expensive. It does NOT need to be elaborate. You don’t even need to necessarily go anywhere! Just take time to vacation.

This doesn’t mean take a few days off from work to catch up on chores, finally get your car detailed, and schedule that doctor appointment you’ve been pushing off.

You need to do something fun, new, and relaxing. Something with your family, friends, or just alone. Something that will give you a warm and fuzzy feeling when you look back on it.

Work Less

I know – you can’t vacation more if you work less. You can’t even work less if you don’t vacation more.

Except that you can. And you have to…at least, you do if you really want to create hygge in your life.

What I mean by “work less” is this:

Leave when you say you are going to leave. Don’t stay late. When you’re home, stop working. Prioritize your non-work life the same way you prioritize your work life. Take sick days when you are sick. Set clear expectations with your employer (they may surprise you!).

This may not happen overnight, but again, it is one of the defining characteristics of the Danes and one of the biggest reasons they experience so much more happiness than we do.

So for the sake of hygge, don’t blow this one off! Even if it can only work its way into your 5-year plan, it will be worth it.

I hope you’re able to incorporate at least a few of these hygge ideas into your life! Come back and let me know how they work out for you.

Movements

Non Verbal Movements That Help You Sell

You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.

A well known phrase, but often not taken seriously enough.

When you present your solution to a prospective client, you need to make the best impression possible. No matter how good your product or service is, you need to make sure that a simple little thing like body language doesn’t let you down.

Selling doesn’t just come down to price product, product, promotion, place etc. Presentation is key and poor body language is often the reason many people fail to make the most of this really important stage of the sales process.

Body Language Tips To Impress Your Prospects

You have worked hard to get in front of your prospect. Websites, social media strategies and networking all take time and money before you can even start to think about getting that little MacBook Pro out in front of your red hot prospect to sell.

Think About The Following To Make The Most Of Every Customer Facing Opportunity

And don’t just think this works face to face. Try these tips next time you are trying to sell over the phone or on a conference call. They work whether the prospect can see you or not!

  1. Lean forward – By doing so you will appear committed and interested in what your prospect has to say. It shows you are well engaged and paying attention.
  2. Open your arms – This will help you to appear honest and welcoming to those who don’t know you very well.
  3. Don’t point – If you need to use your hand to indicate something, use your whole hand rather than just one finger. Much less offensive.
  4. Smile – This might seem obvious, but make sure your smile is genuine. You might think that curling your lips up at either end tick the smile criteria, but a full on grin using your eyes will melt the heart of even the coldest prospect.
  5. Positive eye contact – Who believes anyone who doesn’t look at them in the eye? Do your best to present eye to eye in order to build trust in what you are selling. If you are on the phone then just focus on the phone or Skype picture. Believe it or not, that will really help get a positive result for you both.
  6. Use fewer gestures – Think about some of the best interviews ever. Neither the interviewer or the famous person sat opposite fidgeted in their seats, which meant the results were incredibly powerful. If you like waving your hands about to explain a point then try holding something like your pen or your other hand.
  7. Talk low and slow – You have a lot of important benefits to share with your prospect. Talk too fast or with a high voice and they won’t hear or remember anything. If you think you are talking a shade too slow then you are probably speaking at a perfect speed for your presentation.
  8. Strike a pose – People in power always know how to stand. When they walk in a room everyone knows they have arrived. You can do the same. Think Wonder Woman or Superman and your prospect will respect your confidence.
  9. Power of touch – Touching someone gently, in a professional manner is more likely to encourage them to comply with your request. It is a bonding thing. However, be sure that your prospect is a kinaesthetic person first.

If you want to know if you have got your body language right, then try filming your next presentation before you go in front of your prospect. It might feel weird, but it will give you the chance to catch and bin the negative body language, before you need to make it count.

Woman Boss

Women Breaking Barriers

Growing up, I had sales all wrong. I believed salespeople were life-of-the-party types – extroverts who could talk to a wall. I wasn’t like that, and I’m still not. But charisma isn’t what makes a good salesperson.

Top salespeople build strong, ongoing, trusting relationships. We’re not the center of attention. We ask probing questions, listen intently, have engaging conversations, and make connections – which gives women in sales a strong advantage.

Women know how to build relationships. We are hardwired to be nurturers, connectors, and collaborators.

“The best salespeople I know are women.” That’s what men tell me. Why?

Because women:

  • Build strong relationships and earn clients’ trust
  • Have intuition and listen to our gut feelings
  • See the complexities in a deal and dig deeper to find the best solution for each client

Women in sales build relationships differently than men. We love to share stories and delight in pulling out the details, rather than getting straight to the point or being told to “net it out.” We tend to consider the long-term implications of any decision, where men tend to focus on results and completing tasks.

We are also curious creatures; we love to “peel the onion” and get to the root cause of a problem. Maybe that comes from being mothers and aunts. When talking to children, we rarely believe the first words out of their mouths. We ask questions, put the pieces together, fill in the gaps, figure out what really happened, and find a solution – another ability that serves us well in sales.

Ready To Change The Sales Game?

Gender discrimination isn’t nearly as overt as it was years ago. Now instead of being harassed or insulted, women are more likely to be overlooked. To eliminate these subtle gender barriers, leaders and hiring managers must identify and address any hidden biases they have towards women.

Just as importantly, women must take their careers into their own hands. It’s up to us to demonstrate behaviours that change perceptions, contribute to company goals, and accelerate our own success.

Ready To Change Your Sales Future? Here’s how to start:

  1. Get your voice heard. Your ideas and insights are just as valid as your male colleagues’. Yet, every woman I’ve spoken with shares this story: “I’m at a meeting, and I offer a perfect solution to the problem being discussed. No one comments. Then 10 minutes later, a man says almost the same thing, and everyone thinks it’s a terrific idea.” One of my business partners always has her response ready whenever this scenario occurs. She immediately says, “I’m so glad you liked my idea.” The room goes quiet after that.
  2. Ask for advice from people you respect men or women. Listen carefully and adopt what makes sense based on your unique personality and selling style. We all need advice and guidance, and women are way more open to asking for help. We also like to give help. I never thought of myself as a mentor until a fellow blogger challenged me on this. “We are mentors for everyone,” she told me. “We write profusely and speak about sales. People take wisdom and insights from what we share”. How do you find a mentor? Ask. People aren’t mind-readers. Find someone you trust and admire, and start building a relationship.
  3. Step out of your comfort zone to test new ways of working. It’s better to apologize than to ask for permission. Always ask why you’re selling the way you’re selling. If your current sales plan is working, keep doing it. Otherwise, change it up. What works well for one salesperson might not be the right style for you. Find your own groove.
  4. Dress for the job you want, not for the job you have. Even if most of your colleagues show up in jeans and flip-flops, smart saleswomen dress for success. You don’t have to wear a suit and high heels every day, but consider what you need to do to step it up. If you want to advance in your career, you’d better not look and sound like everyone else. You might be the best thinker and innovator, but if you look like you just rolled out of bed, you’ll never get face time with clients…or with people more senior than you.
  5. Make time for yourself and people you care about. Don’t let the corporate world gobble up all your energy and dull your creativity. To be successful in sales, you’ll need plenty of both.

Successful sales organizations in the 21st century will facilitate teams that leverage the strengths of both men and women. Smart sales leaders want diverse teams who bring different skills, experiences, and perspectives to the table. Women are just plain naturals at selling. We know that. Now it’s time to tap into our innate strengths, build confidence, and get out of our own way.

Laptop

Get People To Read Your Emails

Question: How do you know your buyer will open your prospecting emails?

Answer: You don’t. What the buyer does with your message once you hit “send” is beyond your control. But what is in your control is making your email stand out by getting creative.

Your prospects and buyers get emails all day long. Think about that for a minute. If you cannot get your buyer to open your carefully crafted and personalized message, then all of your research and ideas on how you might be able to help go to waste.

With this in mind, the subject line is arguably the most important part of your email because it’s what gets the buyer to open and read. The secret to writing an intriguing subject line isn’t so difficult – you simply need to write something that would be interesting to the potential buyer.

*Note* not something that necessarily interests you. Remember: sales isn’t about you – it’s about them. Always.

I want to zero in on one subject line in particular. In my experience, buyers always say the best way for a salesperson to reach out is through a referral.

Again, put yourself in the prospect’s shoes. Would you rather receive an email from someone you never heard of before, or would you rather receive an email from someone that a trusted friend knows and vouches for? It’s a no-brainer.

Here are three email subject lines that draw on the power of referrals. They work like a charm for me, and I’m sure they will work for you too:

  • “(Name) from X company told me to talk to you”
  • “Alex Brown” (Just put the full name of the person in the subject line and nothing else)
  • “You are connected to Alex – I sold his (product)”

However, these subject lines only work when the connection between your referral source and prospect is legitimate, and the referral source has authorized you to use their name. Don’t go trolling through a buyer’s LinkedIn network to find an obscure common connection, and then drop this person’s name as if you are all best friends. That will just make your prospect mad – not to mention your “referral.”

To get great at referral selling, the #1 thing to do is grow your network. Connect with people you know, people you have worked with in the past, people you work with now, customers, prospects, and anyone else you have a bond with. Then, before you reach out to a new buyer, search them on LinkedIn and see if they’re connected to someone you know.

Finally, ask that person two things:

  • How well they know your potential buyer ( if they barely know each other, don’t use them as a referral).
  • If you can use them as a referral, or better yet, if they will introduce you to the buyer themselves.
Sales Changing

Changing Roles Of Salespeople

The art of great prospecting across different industries and across different kinds of sales reps differs. Though, there is one thing that remains the consistent: the way we as sales reps prospect today (from industry to industry) remains similar.

All prospecting is outbound.

Regardless of if the sales rep found the prospect or the prospect found your company, you (the sales rep) have to reach out to the prospect somehow to connect with them. That in itself is very outbound. It is on the sales rep to connect with the prospect. That process of connecting takes time and effort. You (the sales rep) are the one trying to connect with the prospect regardless of if the prospect knows about your company or not. Regardless of if the prospect sought out your company for your services or not.

Any outlet that could potentially be a way for me to connect or get in front of my prospect I have embraced and will continue to embrace.

I will do anything and everything (off the beaten path) to get in front of a prospect that I think based on my research could see potential value in what we help with.

When I first started working in sales in my early 20’s I did the traditional things a sales rep would do when prospecting. I still do those things and what frustrates me is there are only a handful of outlets that we have added to the traditional mix that a sales rep uses when prospecting.

The normal means of communication when prospecting as a sales rep are:

  • Phone calls
  • Voicemails
  • Emails
  • Direct mail (maybe)

Slowly but surely other outlets of communication have been introduced to sales reps. There are now things like:

  • LinkedIn Inmails
  • Twitter
  • Medium
  • LinkedIn pulse posts from your prospects

Just as buyers have blocked out our voicemails (no phones at their desks, or the voicemail goes straight to email), just like how our buyers have spam filters for emails from people they don’t know, etc. (I could go on and on).

Even if we the sales reps have potential value we can demonstrate to a company, it is getting harder and harder to get those conversations going in the first place.

These things that I see day to day doing my job prospecting not working make me wonder if a change is coming.

Great sales reps don’t just pick up the phone and dial a number. Great sales reps are the ones who research companies and from that research strongly believe they could potentially help that company they researched. We as sales reps need to all become seen as way more helpful. We have to change the stigma of a sales rep from one as salesy to one of helpful.

How will sales prospecting change in the near term and longer term future?

What does 1 year look like from now in the world of sales prospecting?

What about 2–3 years? 5 years? 10 years? 20 years? 50 years?

I am someone who likes to question the way things are done and why they are done the way they are done.

I always have questioned things that I do. Why is it done this way? Why is it not done that way? Why? Why? Why?

I am a curious person with questions that I want answers to. I like to think about the future of the world and future of how sales people will do their jobs.

The thing I love and care about in the world of sales is how we can better help our prospects.

I truly enjoy helping people find something that will help them in their job, change the way they do their job for the better.

This is what sales is for me. For me, sales is about helping and always has been about helping.

Sales is helping people who don’t know they are doing something inefficiently or ineffectively find a better way to do that thing they are doing.

Here is where I see a problem and where in that problem, I see an opportunity that I want to solve.

  • Even if you as the sales rep do all the research in the world.
  • Even if you have great triggers and reasons to reach out to a company because you know that you can help based on what you have researched.
  • Even if those reasons are very timely.
  • Even if that prospect has come to your site a million times, researched your company…

There are still only so many ways for a sales rep to reach out to a prospect and well, prospect them.

Sales reps put so much effort into prospecting a company and the mapped out people in the account but here is what happens to your outreach…

  • 1/2 the time your email won’t even get through to their inbox.
  • They don’t pick up their phones, or they don’t have a phone at their desk, or the receptionist doesn’t let you through.
  • The prospect doesn’t answer inmails. Or let’s be more precise – the prospect just denies your inmail on LinkedIn without even reading it.
  • They scan your Tweet. But don’t respond.
  • They throw your book out that you send to them in the mail because why are you sending this to them in the first place? They have no clue who you are?
  • They block you.

Even if you are the most helpful person, they do not know that because sales people have a stigma of not being helpful.

The prospect knows you are a sales rep.

And a sales person is not who they want to talk to.

Even if you know something the prospect doesn’t know and have a way to help them, they don’t care because once again, you are a sales rep! Sales reps are not usually seen as helpful.

Or at least that is how the sales reps of the past have made the sales reps of the future seem.

What if the prospect that you have researched doesn’t even know a solution exists to their problem? What if the prospect doesn’t even know they have a problem?

But, you as the sales rep think you know something the prospect doesn’t know. You know that you can help them. If only they would pick up the phone and hear you out. If only the prospect would read your email. You put so much work learning about them to find good reasons you might be able to help them.

I would bet that most decision makers would want to know about products and services that could help them in their role or help their team to do better work.

This is why we have a problem in sales prospecting that is begging to be solved.

From both sides there is a need.

The prospect who cares about learning about new technology and new solutions that could help them in their roles…and…the sales rep who does research and has timely reasons to reach out and believe they can help.

This is where the next generation of sales prospecting comes in.

I don’t know what this looks like completely yet. I just know there has to be a change.

What I do know is this…

Prospecting and the way you get in front of your prospect is changing. It is not working the way it used to. People are blocking sales reps out.

In sales we tend to do things over, and over, and over, and over…even if the results aren’t there. Why? Because that is how sales works.

How will we communicate our message and reasons we as sales people are prospecting a company in the first place?

There has got to be a better way, a better way that prospecting should work for the prospect and the sales rep. There has to be a middle ground where it is a prospecting process that helps both sides of the table.

Think of a world where it is all about HELPING and not about necessarily SELLING.

Sure the sales prospecting process might end up in a sale. I envision a world of sales where it is about showing how you could help your prospect. Then the prospect decides if they see value. (The important part is that the prospect might not know you exist. They might not be searching for you or doing research on something like you. Or if they are, maybe they didn’t think of you as an option).

Instead of waiting for the prospect to come to you, it is about you as the sales rep being seen as a more research driven, more helpful and proactive person who presents solutions to potential problems that they might have based on your research that you have done.

I am not talking with the traditional methods we use now. Don’t even think about prospecting with our traditional tools we have today like email, with phone, with Twitter, with LinkedIn, etc…

It is something that doesn’t exist yet. It is something that we don’t use today but will be helpful to both sides of prospecting equation: helpful to the prospect and helpful for the sales rep in getting through to the prospect.

I would love to hear your thoughts.

Conference

Follow Up After Attending A Conference

I’ve just recently returned from a conference and it was an incredible experience.

So it can be pretty overwhelming to return home with a suitcase full of business cards and a ton of great ideas for collaborating, but not have any clue on where to start. For a lot of us, those business cards end up in a drawer, along with all our plans to follow up. So, how do you go about prioritizing your contacts and coming up with a game plan for connecting with them after the conference is over?

Here are seven steps that will help you make gains for your business from your networking efforts:

1. Organize all the business cards you collected into two piles: Now and Later. In the “Now” pile you should put the cards of people to whom you plan to reach out within a few days of the conference taking place; these are your “high priority” contacts. All of the other cards go in the “Later” pile. This will help you to prioritize and feel less overwhelmed by the amount of follow-ups you want to do.

2. Make notes on the back of the business cards you collected to help you with your follow-up. If you have an idea about how you might work with someone you met, write it down. If you talked about something you want to remember, write it down. Memory fades faster than you think, especially if you are meeting lots of different people.

3. Don’t send out any follow-up emails the day immediately following the conference. Everyone who attended is overwhelmed with a full inbox of unanswered emails – your email could simply get lost or ignored among all those other unanswered messages.

4. Personalize every follow-up email you write. People like to feel that you truly remember them so include one sentence in your email that draws upon a conversation you had at the conference or is in some way specific to this particular person. (This is where note-taking comes in handy).

5. Offer something in your email that is useful for your contact. Example: I really enjoyed talking to you about (insert topic here) and I thought you would find this resource (insert name of book, website, blogger, etc.) useful or relevant.

6. Don’t kiss up (too much) in your emails. If you met a great contact – Author, CEO – avoid blatant kissing up. It will come off fake. Keep it real and if you want to pay someone a compliment about something they said or did, do it without overdoing it.

7. When you send follow-up emails, keep them short and include an action step or a question that leads to continued communication. Keep the conversation going to develop a relationship with a contact that you made.

Colourful Beach

Livin’ And Lovin’ Life

Door

The key to every door lies within you

Everybody is on their own path. There is no right or wrong way to travel, and everyone has their own reasons for choosing the path they end up on. While we were motorbiking through Southern Vietnam, some people were enjoying a luxury Mekong River cruise. There is nothing wrong with that. You do not have to backpack across the Congo to truly experience the world or be the next Indiana Jones to ‘live life to the fullest’. You just need an open mind and open heart. Accept everyone for who they are.

Beach

A smile is the same in any language. It doesn’t matter if no common language exists between people – a smile means the same in any culture. It is amazing how far a smile can really take you in any part of the world. We’ve made entire friendships with people we cannot communicate with simply by smiling and laughing a lot. There really is a universal language in this world, and it doesn’t take a lot to learn it.

Beach

I never want to stop traveling…for as long as I live.

Business

Keep Calm Dealing With Angry Customers

When you walk into meet with a client, you have absolutely no idea what kind of day they may be having. Heck, you might be having a terrible day yourself. Regardless, sometimes sales calls can get quite heated and escalate to the point where you could lose the business if you don’t handle yourself properly.

If you have been in sales for any length of time, you most certainly have encountered a client who is rude, belittling and/or who outright criticizes your company, product/service or even you personally. There are a multitude of reasons why a client may act this way and it could range from anything such as problems at home, difficulties with other employees, issues with a supplier, legal troubles or they just saw your primary competitor in the hours or days prior who planted seeds of doubt in their mind. The fact of the matter is, you won’t really know unless they feel comfortable enough sharing this with you. If they don’t, don’t ask. If you don’t have a very well established rapport, don’t meddle in their business. Do what you came to do, sell your product or service.

So What Happens When Your Client Gets Out Of Hand And Says Or Does Something Unacceptable?

  1. KNOW YOUR PRODUCT/SERVICE INSIDE OUT

This should go without saying but before you go into any sales call, be sure you are an expert on whatever it is you are selling. If you can’t remember everything, be sure to contain supporting data or documentation in your detail binder and have it ready for demonstration. Be sure to know exactly where each article is located in your binder in order to avoid fumbling around, wasting unnecessary time and looking unprepared. Being prepared will enable you to keep calm and address your clients’ comments and concerns directly and precisely. If they catch you off guard and say or ask you something that you don’t know how to reply to or don’t know the answer to, simply acknowledge that you don’t know and will have to get back to them.

2. DO NOT REACT

Think, then react. It’s only human nature to snap back and lash out at someone who acts out at us in a negative way but you must control this urge. It will get you nowhere besides kicked out the door and never welcomed back. Think about what it is exactly that your client said that you found offensive or untrue and ask them why they said what they did. Are they misinformed? Remembering details incorrectly? If they don’t provide you with a straight up answer, do not react or engage further.

3. KEEP FOCUSED ON YOUR PRODUCT/SERVICE

Although it might be difficult, try to keep focused on what you are selling. This will reduce the likelihood of any further provocation or outbursts from your client. It also removes any emotional stimuli from the interaction.

4. FIND A REASON TO FOLLOW-UP 

In the event that you are unable to keep the meeting focused on your product or service, you should end the meeting and reschedule for a later date. You can directly inform your client that based on how they are acting or feeling, that perhaps it would be best if you met another day the following week to discuss. An indirect approach would be to inform you client that you will be able to bring something of greater value to the next meeting (create an excuse to have a follow-up meeting) and would like to make arrangements to do so.

5. SMILE AND TRY TO MAKE A JOKE

If you do this right off the get-go, it can go 1 of 2 ways: Either it will totally piss off your client or it will make them laugh and relieve their tension. Regardless, it’s a gamble. If you’ve already ended the meeting and rescheduled, that would probably be the safest time to make a joke but again, only do so if you are pretty darn sure how your client will react.

Whether you are in sales or any customer service type of role, it is only inevitable that you will encounter difficult customers and how you react (or don’t react) will determine whether or not you will keep those customers.

When I was 16 working as a receptionist, the head receptionist told me “Just because someone is having a bad day, don’t ever let them take it out on you! There is no excuse. If someone is rude to you, you have my permission to kick them out. No questions asked.”

I never forgot that advice. It was empowering to be able to stand up for myself and not have to be treated like a doormat. Nobody should be treated that way.

Negotiation

Successful Negotiation Strategies

Negotiation is a skill set that can be tough to master, but worth having in your back pocket no matter where you decide to go in life. Whether you find yourself in the boardroom making deals, running for office to bring positive change to the community, dealing with staff or getting ready to ask for a well-deserved raise, the power to negotiate is the life skill at some point everyone will need in their career.

Unfortunately, negotiating is also a tough wall to climb for women: not only do we don’t do it nearly enough, but there can be nasty consequences even when we do step up. It’s not just a fear of backlash or stepping out of turn, it can be a very real way to damage reputation, hurt new job prospects and be seen as less of a team-player. Negotiations then, need to be done so the party on the other side hears a clear message: ”It’s not just good for me, it’s good for you too.” With a true negotiation strategy, the objective is not to win or concede, but to work out a plan so that everyone can get more of what they want.

Here are some strategies to take the next time you find yourself at the bargaining table:

Prepare For The People Problem

Human beings live tangled lives at the best of times, and how a situation appears on your end could be a completely different story to the person on your end. Different viewpoints and backgrounds will always be part of negotiations, because the agreements are being made by people in the first place. To help defuse the ‘people problem’ include working with the other party’s values when developing solutions, actively listening to the other side, and allow others to let off steam so long as emotional reactions can be kept at bay. It can actually be productive to sit tight and let others get emotions off their chest, so long as responses remain calm and avoid putting more fuel on the fire. The best thing to do however, might be to take as much of the person out of the problem to begin with: if possible, develop a working relationship to establish trust and common ground before getting down to the bargaining table. An existing relationship can help curb any instincts to see negotiations as a battle between adversaries, and instead as a joint exercise of working together for the best of mutual benefit.

Step Back And Focus On The Actual Issues At Hand

Sometimes the subject you’re trying to negotiate around isn’t actually the problem. Staff rejecting a new contract might not be looking for significant salary gains, but could be instead concerned about over-exhaustion from a growing workload, or that new changes could compromise their quality of life. By looking after the interests, such as smaller monetary gains in exchange for more flexible time, it may be possible to find solutions that satisfy all parties, even when none could be seen in the original disagreement. What’s more, while upon first glance positions may be opposed, the same is not always true of interests. Find options that benefit the interests of all parties will go a long way towards getting to mutual agreement.

Brainstorm As Many Options As You Can

Thinking up a variety of choices is a critical strategy for any negotiator, and it can also be one of the most difficult. Too often negotiating appears a case of one or the other. By looking at the bigger picture however, it is possible to recognize that there may be other resources at the table that will satisfy all involved. How do you find more options? Brainstorm, ask questions, and draw on creative energies. If they aren’t full-out solutions, don’t sweat it: you won’t always have a full-out alternative answer to the problem at hand, but if you have in idea of different solutions all parties can take them forward to work out the details.

Don’t Be Afraid Of Walking Away And Try A New Approach To Achieve Your Goal

Not always the easiest choice by a long shot, but sometimes the best thing to do is step back and find a new way of achieving what you want.

When it comes to negotiation, recognize that you may have a difficult road ahead of you, but if the issue is of value than it’s worth the effort to see to it that all parties come out ahead.

Recruitment

Avoid This Resume Mistake

Thanks to LinkedIn, everyone has a copy of your resume. You don’t get the luxury of editing it before sending it on to specific hiring managers. It does however provide countless benefits, including direct access to hiring managers and recruiters. Keeping your page up to date with specific job details and accomplishments will greatly benefit you throughout your career.

One thing that won’t? A history of job hopping.

Two years here, six months there, one year here, four months there…yikes!

It’s okay to move positions and teams within the same organization. In fact, it’s encouraged! Changing roles within the same organization shows likeability, progress, and loyalty. Jumping from one company to another every year is what’s going to get you into trouble. Job hopping indicates a lack of focus and underperformance, especially in sales.

It takes approximately six months to a year to fully settle into a new position. If you’re not giving yourself (and the organization that hired you) at least that, then you better have a good explanation when you go to interview. Why would a company choose to invest time and resources in someone who has a history of providing little to no return for their previous employer?

If you’re thinking about leaving your current job, make sure it’s for an opportunity you can’t refuse. Don’t settle for the next best thing for a buck fifty more. The grass isn’t always greener. Find a mentor at work and learn as much as you can from them. Ask them how to pick up the slack or find more responsibilities and ask for a raise.