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Self Education

Self Promotion Tactics for Your Business

By | Wish Group, Self Education, Business Insights, Foundations of Success | No Comments

Self Promotion Tactics for Your Business

If promotion for yourself or business is challenging for you, there’s a big problem with that because you can’t grow a business if no one knows you. The old saying “Good Things come to those who wait” doesn’t apply in the digital age. In today’s market, you have to have to get up and get it yourself. Here are three real, practical, hands-on steps you can and should do today to promote yourself and your business effectively and fast.

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Developing Your People

By | Success & Inspiration, Self Education, Leadership | No Comments

One of the most important roles as a leader is to develop your people into the best that they can be. Development actually starts the day you first meet them and should never stop. Every day is a chance to learn not just about yourself, but those you work collectively with to achieve your goals.

People are your best resource. They can grow your company for the better or for the worse. Because most managers normally progress up through the ranks, they believe they really know and understand people. Successful managers, just like successful people have the ability to adapt their management style to each person who reports to them.

It’s important to understand and analyze your team by taking a look at their development levels. (Self Reliant, Independent, Intermediate, Dependent). As you know, people tend to grow so its your job to lead and be the guide to your people’s success. One leadership/management style that’s assisted in my company’s growth is empowering my employees to do better. Allowing a person to identify, define, manage and plan their activities is very effective – especially to those who are self reliant.

Coach your team all the time regardless of their development level. Focus on improving techniques by reinforcing the principles that you instilled when they were first hired. Remove any interference to keep your team focused and productive.

Here are my top 5 elements to Developing your team:

1) Goal Clarity – Members must understand the team goals and commit their best efforts to achieving them.

2) Recognition/Cooperation – There must be an awareness of each member’s personal strength to the team. Members must be willing to cooperate with one another and make their contributions accordingly.

3) Role Clarity – Responsibilities and expectations for members are clearly spelled out, communicated and acknowledges. Responsibilities are openly discussed and questions clarified.

4) Trust – Members respect the competence of one another, trust and support each other and will come to the aid of a member when problems arise.

5) What’s Important Now! – The leaders keep members focused on what’s important to be successful now. Unnecessary activities are eliminated and the team is sheltered from outside distractions as much as possible.

Hope this helps. Always remember that ‘Knowledge without action is useless!’

Frank.

Escaping Negativity

By | Comments & Opinion, Entrepreneurial, Self Education, Business Insights, Leadership, Personal Accountability | No Comments

escape-negativityYou know those days? Those days where everything seems to go wrong, be it on a technical level or something else entirely? Those days are extremely difficult to cope with, but that’s all they are – just single days. The trap to be weary of is letting these days turn to weeks, then weeks to months until you’re consumed by this negativity.

Doing your job becomes incredibly difficult when you constantly create barriers that stop you from performing well. As cheesy or clichéd as it sounds, your state of mind has a tremendous effect on your surroundings. I won’t turn this into a debate on whether you believe me or not, but I do want to offer some points on how to evaluate your negativity to see if something productive can come from it.

Talk It Out With Someone – This of course works with most difficulties in life, but its important to talk this out. Discussing your issues with different people in your life will give you a different view of your situation. You’d be surprised by how many coworkers might be going through the same situation you are. Don’t limit it to coworkers either. Friends, family, significant others… There are rarely any problems you experience that haven’t been dealt with by someone else. Perhaps you won’t like what you hear, but at the very least you’ll have a different opinion.

Pinpoint Your EXACT Cause – After you’ve discussed why you’re feeling so negative with other people, I imagine that you’d have a general idea of what type of negativity is consuming you. What’s important though is that you figure out EXACTLY why you’re being negative. Was it something that has been building over time, a bad experience that you can’t shake or do you feel unfulfilled with what you do? Pinpointing the exact reasons for of your bad vibes can have a better understanding of how to resolve these underlying problems.

Look At The Big Picture – After you’ve talked it out and narrowed down the exact reasons of your negativity, it’s time to act. This will depend entirely on you. Consider the options though, and don’t act on instinct. Perhaps you are long overdue for a vacation, or there’s been something brewing between you and your manager for a long time coming. As drastic as it sounds, you also have to consider that you are simply not happy with the organization you’re with, and its time to move on. As difficult as that might be, in the long run staying somewhere that makes you feel negative isn’t beneficial for either party.

Escaping negativity isn’t easy, but you’ll be thankful once all is said and done.

Ask For The Close To Get The Close

By | Comments & Opinion, Entrepreneurial, Achieving Wealth, Self Education, Business Insights, Sales Advice, Foundations of Success | No Comments

Let’s face it, closing the sale is the end game for every sales person. And while we’re at it, let’s face another truth – it’s also the most difficult part of selling. But that doesn’t have to be the cace. A lot of the time, difficulty in closing a sale is only perceived to be much more difficult than it truly is. While every case is different, here are three things to keep in mind that’ll help you close that pesky sale.

Focus on the Customer Problem – The best sales people aren’t out there pounding the pavement just mindlessly pushing their product or service in front of people. The best sales people are the ones that actively listen to their prospects and try to understand their problem first. More importantly, they understand that what you’re trying to sell simply can’t solve their problem. This is truly what will set you apart from the rest! Take the time to actively listen and discuss the problem that they’re having. Prep yourself with some questions to ask to learn about their problems, like “what would you like to focus on improving during the next few months” or even a straight to the point question of “what’s the biggest problem your department is currently dealing with?” You’ll lose hard earned rapport if you just present a solution without listening to the problem. If they feel as though you genuinely want to solve their problem, I guarantee that they’ll be more likely to want your product.

Develop a Relationship – People don’t like being sold to, so don’t treat a prospect like just another target. If you’re thoroughly trying to solve a potential customer’s problem though, this shouldn’t be too difficult. It’s extremely rare that you’ll be able to close any deal from just one meeting or phone call. This means that you’ll need to keep in touch with the prospects who show interest, or who you truly believe that you’ll be able to solve their problems with your product or service. By regularly keeping in contact and paying attention to the conversations that you have, you’ll be able to pick up on some little details about their life that you’ll be able to bring up again in regular conversation. These little gestures will mean a lot when it comes to closing a sale, because I know from experience that people are far more likely to buy something from someone who asks “how was your daughter’s dentist appointment” instead of someone who clearly doesn’t care about you.

Ask For It! – As like with many things in life, it’s extremely rare that you’ll simply be handed something without working or asking for it. There have been many instances where my sales team is lamenting the fact that they were discussing a sale with a potential customer for a long time, but it just didn’t work out. Then I ask if they actually asked for the sale, and they almost always say no. This ties back into an old blog post I had about fear, and it’s almost always fear of rejection that makes people not simply ask them if they want to buy what you’re selling. If you’ve been focusing their problem and have developed a great relationship with them, the results will almost always be positive.

Does this closely follow what you’re currently doing? If not, what steps are you taking to make sure that you close the sale? I’d be very interested to hear your techniques in the comments.

Make The Most Of 24 Hours

By | Entrepreneurial, Achieving Wealth, Self Education, Business Insights, Sales Advice, Foundations of Success, Leadership, Personal Accountability | No Comments

24-Hours24 hours in a day – to some people it seems like that’s never enough to accomplish anything, but then there are the people who seem like they can get everything done in that time, plus still have time for their family, friends and a million other personal tasks. Your gut reaction might be to be envious of these people, but it’s not as if they’re cheating and getting an extra hour from somewhere. We ALL have 24 hours to make the most out of, which means that it really just comes down to time management.

Managing your time really is an art. It takes a lot of practice and experience to know how to best use your time, especially when you’re a sales person. Selling isn’t as simple as calling random names in a phonebook (which admittedly is a dated phrase), sending random emails and then patiently awaiting the results. You’ll need to be tactical of how you organize your time to ensure that you’re getting the best results while taking advantage of the time you have. I’ll provide you with a few insights from years of selling:

Write EVERYTHING Down – The key to any form of time management is to keep track of your day. Eventually you’ll be able to adjust and plan ahead, but to first start things out you should just write down everything that you’re currently doing in a typical day. This way you’ll get a solid understanding of how you currently spend your time. You’ll also get a very stark view of how much time you’re not using effectively, which might be difficult to accept. Everyone likes to believe they’re productivity machines, but we all fall victim to distraction.

(Try To) Limit Distractions, Or Schedule Them In – Once you get an understanding of how you’re using your time and see how you’re distracting yourself, the next step is to try and limit your distractions. I put an emphasis on “try” because I know that it’s not as simple as just cutting yourself off from the internet or turning your phone off. At the end of the day, we’re all human and can’t keep working hours on end without some form of distraction. What you can, and should, start doing is penciling time to be distracted. That way, you’ll make the most out of the bit of time that you have. Keep in mind though, that there will be many times when you can’t predict things coming up, and you’ll need to just act on instinct.

Know When You’re Good – Not everyone is an early bird, and not everyone is a night owl. Every person is efficient at different times of the day. For example, those who prefer working early mornings will tackle their most important tasks first thing, while those who are more functional in the afternoon will focus their mornings on less vital tasks and preparing for the tasks ahead. There’s no right or wrong when it comes to this. Figure out what works best for you and try to work around it. If you can prove results to your manager, you can even try changing your working schedule to accommodate this!

Like I mentioned, each step might vary slightly based on the results that you find, but once you find out what works for you, stick with it and you’ll find yourself using time a lot more efficiently – both in your work life and personal life.

Sell with Confidence to Sell with Success

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It’s well known that the people who have an extraordinary amount of success in business are generally those who are confident. Unsurprisingly, this is essentially the foundation of success when it comes to being an excellent sales person.

Sales people are generally known for their confident demeanour. If you think about any time someone has sold you something, you’ll probably remember how confident the person was that you would genuinely see benefit from the product.

Of course, unless you’re a confident person from the get go, this is actually really tough. And even if you are confident, sometimes being in front of a person or talking on the phone can completely change a person’s confidence levels! Here are three tips I can offer that should be able to help you sell with more confidence.

Believe In Your Product – This is the most important point I can make, and something that you need to understand before you fully commit to a sales position. Do you truly believe in the product you’re selling? Can you find the positive features of the product and understand how it’ll improve things for your customers? If you hesitated for even a second, then take some time to re-evaluate things. How can you realistically sell something with confidence if you personally don’t find value in the product or service? This is important because when questions come up from those you’re selling to, people will be able to hear your hesitation in your voice.

Let Go of Fear – I’ve dedicated an entire blog post to this in the past, but letting go of your fears is one of the most essential things to selling. Be it fear of rejection or anything related, your doubt will be conveyed when you speak. The way you speak and tone of voice are vital because it’s one of the few ways to let your potential customer know that they can trust you – and people don’t buy things from people they don’t trust!

Practice What You’ll Say, But To A Point – After being in a sales position for a while, you’re bound to notice that the same concerns from people will come up over and over again, or that if you tell potential customers how your product works in a certain way, they’ll understand a lot quicker. Having key points memorized, or even working off of a script can work wonders for your sales efforts. But much like with a speech or presentation, you don’t want to memorize everything word for word. If you do, you’ll risk the chance of coming across robotic or fake, which means people will lose interest very quickly in what you’re saying.

Gaining confidence is not an overnight act, and I’m by no means trying to simplify the process. My hope is simply to give you a solid starting point so you can sell things easier. Let me know if you have any insights!

Setting Standards and Expectations

By | Comments & Opinion, Entrepreneurial, Self Education, Business Insights, Foundations of Success, Planning for the future, Leadership, Personal Accountability | No Comments

setting-expectations-and-standardsSurely you’ve heard people mention in passing that they live by a “code”, but what does that mean exactly? While I could delve into many different territories here, something that I believe all “codes” follow is that they set certain standards and expectations.

Standards and expectations are important because they dictate vital elements of how your business will operate, like how you’ll treat your clients and who’s accountable in your organization. If you try to operate your business without setting any form of standards to follow, the results are guaranteed to be disastrous.

To me, these are the three most important people you need to set standards and expectations for:

For Your Clients – This should naturally be your priority. Who will be the point of contact for clients? How will you communicate with them? What type of tone will you use, professional or casual? How do you want them to perceive your organization? These types of questions may seem arbitrary, but if nothing is set in place before your team starts liaising with clients, the disorganization will be obvious. There are few things more annoying than multiple people from your organization reaching out to a client to ask the same questions.

For Your Co-workers – Another equally important set of standards that you need to have in place are for your coworkers. You may think that you have them in place, but are you sure that everyone truly understands what they are? This goes far beyond simple things like a dress code. This means that everyone understands deliverables for each project, how much time to allocate for different clients and who will deliver what work. Again, this may sound arbitrary, but you might be surprised once you discover what people on your team are expecting from each other – and from you.

For Yourself – This point ties in with what I was discussing earlier when I mentioned living by a “code”. When you set standards for where you work, then it makes sense that you should set standards for yourself, correct? While everyone’s idea of ideal expectations will differ, sit down and pencil out what exactly is important to you. How will you treat your clients? How often do you want to regroup with your coworkers? Are you realistically making enough time for yourself and your loved ones? These things matter in the long run. Once you have an idea of what people can expect from you, make it known to them.

One last thing I want to mention about expectations and standards is that once they’re set, don’t neglect them. While not having standards can be pretty rough, setting them and not following through is much worse.

Say No Without The Guilt

By | Comments & Opinion, Entrepreneurial, Self Education, Business Insights, Leadership, Personal Accountability | No Comments

NOAs entrepreneurs we generally want control of everything within our company, which means that when someone hands something off to us “yes” is the first thing that usually comes. That isn’t always a good thing because when you say yes without really thinking about it, things don’t always work out.

Whenever we need to say no but never end up saying it, it’s usually because of guilt. We feel guilty that if something goes wrong with a project it’s because we, personally, didn’t do something about it or simply because we don’t want to offend our peers.

You might not realize it, but saying no can actually save you from many headaches that you have to deal with. Here are some ways to say “no” without feeling guilty.

Think About It First – ‘Yes’ is often the answer we give people almost instantly without even thinking about how this may benefit you or potentially damage you. People would much rather have a well thought out no rather than an instant response without any consideration. A simple, “Can I think about it and get back to you later?” can work wonders for you, and it will generally lead you to an answer that you’re happy with after the fact.

Aces In Their Places – Sometimes we accept tasks because we simply want control over the situation. This is where delegation is critical. You should know the strengths and weaknesses of your team members, and who would be the best person for each task. If someone else can do the job as well as you can, it’s worth it to delegate. Entrepreneurs are busy people, so you need to prioritize and maintain balance.

Learn To Accept “No” From Others – If you can dish it, you have to be able to take it too. Learn to accept no from others. You need to understand that other people’s priorities aren’t always aligned with your own, and know that it’s almost never personal when someone says no.

You Can’t Do Everything – Is it really going to kill someone if you say no? No, it is not.  You can’t do everything. Do things that you genuinely want to do for others and not just because you feel like obligated.  It will make the things that you participate in much more rewarding and the 100% effort will be recognized because it’s genuine.

Make your commitments genuine by saying no to things you are not particularly interested in or do not have the time to do. You only have 24 hours in a day so use them wisely.

Work-Life Balance Beyond the Summer

By | Comments & Opinion, Entrepreneurial, Self Education, Foundations of Success, Leadership, Personal Accountability | No Comments

work-life-balanceThe summer holidays are winding down, meaning that the hustle and bustle of regular office life will be coming back into most organizations come September. Our offices here at the Wish Group have been busy, but there’s no denying that there’s an absence of people thanks to vacation time and such.

Taking time off is tough for most entrepreneurs – myself included. I touched briefly on this in the past, but I wanted to revisit it since it seems more relevant now. As gung-ho as you may be towards your business, you can’t give always give a resounding “yes!” every time an opportunity comes up that will make you put in extra hours.

Learning to say no is the first step towards having a good work-life balance. As much as you think that working that extra five hours will do you and the company good, you may be missing the importance on some important events and putting your health at risk too.  Here are some advantages and advice for how to have a great work-life balance.

Don’t Miss Out on Things That Matter – Some things only come around once a lifetime, like important milestones for your children or events from your friends. Although events like these seem like daily routines today, unfortunately the grim truth is that they won’t last forever. Take time to enjoy the big events as well as the small ones. How does this affect your business? It helps you realize that it’s sometimes the little things that help grow your business or retain a client.

Time to Refuel – A car can only run for so long without having to fill up at the gas station. If machines need to stop from time to time, rest assured, you do too. A pit stop doesn’t mean you are further from your destination, but rather it means that that you can sustain your power the entire route. In business and in life, you need to take a break so that you can come back to work with a full tank.

Try to Keep Work and Life Separate – People mix this up all time. A work-life balance doesn’t mean that you work in between your relaxation time. Just like you schedule meetings to wholly focus on a client, you need to schedule time to wholly focus on yourself. Detach yourself from work and focus on spending time with your friends, family or even just yourself.

Your Health – Working long hours can lead to physical and mental exhaustion, which can eventually deteriorate your health.  In the short term, you lose your ability to think clearly when making important decisions. Long term, a foggy mind and slower reflexes can harm your professional reputation, due to ineffective or slow performance on a consistent basis.

At the end of the day, learn to take a breather once in a while, be it a long vacation or just a day off. I promise it won’t kill you. In fact, I guarantee it’ll make you stronger.

How Do You Keep Moving Forward?

By | Entrepreneurial, Self Education, Business Insights, Foundations of Success, Planning for the future, Personal Accountability | No Comments

Keep_Moving_ForwardBy nature, an entrepreneur runs head first into things regardless of the risk, meaning that sometimes we make mistakes that make us want to quit. Though it’s hectic and overwhelming, especially when dealing with multiple businesses, you need to learn to move past these small missteps to truly succeed.

Throughout my years of being an entrepreneur, I’ve realized that wanting to quit is inevitable – but failure isn’t. Every time I want to throw in the towel, I know that it’s time to take a step back and re-evaluate before I move forward again. The real question is, what can you do to ensure that you keep moving forward instead of quitting?

Take a Step Back and Look at Yourself – Take a second to examine the path you’re taking. What’s brought you this far? Determine whether you’re the person stopping yourself from your own success. Sometimes the problem is simply self-doubt and in that case, you need to find ways to overcome it.

Be Brutally Honest With Yourself – Take the time to question if you’re making excuses or whether a certain venture is a bust and you need to start over. If you can’t move past a particular mistake, is it due to a missing skill-set? If so, why haven’t you reached out to someone to overcome this? You need to be resourceful and keep on asking why until you get to the source of the problem.

Clearly Define Your Goals – When you’ve clearly defined where you’re going, it’s easier to pick up momentum and keep going forward.  Your small positive efforts will turn into larger positive returns in the future. It’s important, however, to create a plan for yourself so that you know which steps to take next so you don’t burn yourself out. Even if your steps are small, every step is a step forward.

Put it in Writing- Do you ever break contracts with your clients? I sincerely doubt that you’ve done it on purpose, so why would you a break a contract with yourself? Write down your commitments and put it somewhere that you can see everyday so you’ll always feel accountable.

It’s important to realize that you’re not the only one experiencing these challenges. A challenge may end up sucking your energy for an entire day or even a week, but that doesn’t mean that you have to call it quits for good. How do you keep pushing yourself forward when you’re close to calling it quits?