Positioned To Earn New Clients

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Have you ever accepted a business card with good intentions only to lose them to some black hole? It’s common knowledge that good intentions are simply good intentions. Without a clearly defined process and plan, you’ll soon discover that someone else is winning the business that was meant to be yours.

Rather than stuff great business cards in a place where you’ll forget them, create a well-defined sales-process that positions you as the go-to industry leader when potential clients are most ready and willing to invest in your services. A systematic process makes it possible for you to consistently follow-up, and it positions you as the valuable resource that you are.

A sales-process that includes consistent, value-added follow-up makes you more memorable to potential clients, allows you to educate them, and helps them see and experience your businesses culture long before they invest money in doing business with you. Through a process like this, potential clients get to know you, your values, and your way of approaching business. You become the trusted advisor/expert before you meet to ask for the sale. People are more likely to do business with someone they know, like and trust.

What would it mean for a potential client say to you,

“I have plans to use a service like yours later in the year and when I’m ready, I know exactly how to contact you. You do a great job of staying front and center of my mind by the way you stay in touch with me! I read everything you send my way, thank you!!”

Wouldn’t that be a compliment to you and your business? That’s the power of a well planned sales-process in action.

Are you positioned to be top of mind with potential clients the day they’re ready to buy? What about when they have a bad experience with your competitor and suddenly they’re actively pursuing a replacement?

The person who is top of mind, most familiar, most liked, and most trusted will be the person they likely turn to next. That person must be you. Position yourself for success and enjoy the ride!

What do you think?  Share your comments here.

The Buying Process

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I recently made a call to a particular business to place an order only to be told that they would need to call me back with an exact quote, their vendor was gone for the day. Satisfied with the response, I trusted the process would work. Three days later, with no return phone call, I purchased the product from a competitor simply because this businesses process failed me.

What I’m learning is that we most often buy people and processes over products and price.

Think about it. You decide to purchase a product or service, and with all things being equal, the factors that compel you to buy are most often either the person doing the selling or the person’s process.

A business owner recently told the story of getting quotes from four vendors before making a decision to purchase. This person wanted to buy from a particular vendor because they were a personal friend; however, there was a problem. This friend’s business had not given a quote and was taking an unusually long time to get back in touch.

On the other side, there were other less known vendors who had followed processes making them appear efficient and eager to do business. The competitor’s quote was in, and this business owner was struggling with what to do. Not wanting to give up on the personal friend, this business owner was at the point of being swayed by the competitor’s processes.

Think about your own buying experiences. Have you ever bought a product simply because you felt like you could trust the company since their people or their processes were efficient, timely, and as they promised?

Share your thoughts with us. We’d love to hear if you agree or disagree with this premise and why.

 

Make Decisions – Reach Your Dreams

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Every day there are things that you can do to more intentionally move toward your dreams and goals. Whether your goals are personal or business, they hinge on the decisions you make each day.

Realizing your dreams and goals depends upon your ability to…

1. Analyze information and opportunities well, but not to the point of death. There are people who love to study things to the point of indecision. They come up with one more question, they ask to see how it all works, and after all the research and analysis, they decide to “think about it some more.” Decisions can be over-studied and over-analyzed. Due diligence is important, but at some point you must to come a definitive “yes” or “no.”

2. Realize that decisions can be evaluated, altered, or even reversed if at some point you find them to be wrong. Learn to trust your gut, ask great questions, then take that leap of faith. The reward is always beyond the decision point. Chose to step out and act. In your actions you will discover there is a path that moves you intentionally toward your goals and dreams.

3. Train yourself to make clear, decisive decisions, declaring a simple “Yes” or “No” as often as possible. Avoid the temptation to fall into the cracks of indecision because indecision is the costliest option of all. Indecision leaves matters unresolved, matters that ruminate in your mind and vie for your attention. A decisive”Yes” or “No” frees you to move into your opportunity or onto your next opportunity which carries its own unique set of decisions.

Every decision presents opportunities to advance toward your dreams and goals, and every decision presents opportunities to settle back into the life and patterns you’ve come to know so well. Settling will never move you toward what you really want in life. Choosing to move forward in faith proves to be the most rewarding life.

I wish you the courage to say “YES” or “NO” today so that you move confidently toward your goals and dreams. That will be your most rewarding destiny. Move in that direction today!

“It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped!”

~Tony Robbins

 

The Art of Moving People

 

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You are in the business of moving people. Whether you are the leader of an organization, the owner of a business, the member of a sales team, the employee or parent, you are constantly moving people.

In his book, To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Motivating Others Daniel Pink calls sales, the “art of moving people toward our ideas, our projects, or toward ourselves personally.”

In order to move people, we must seek to understand things from their perspective. The threat that keeps us from seeing from others’ perspective is our personal power. When we believe we have the best information, we feel powerful. When we’re convinced that we have the solution that’s best for everyone, we launch our personal power trips. And when we’re convinced beyond a doubt that we know better than anyone what others really need, we put ourselves in a most powerful situation.

While that power may feel good to us, it’s been proven to “anchor us too heavily to our own vantage point, (keeping us from) insufficiently adjusting to others’ perspectives,” Power and Perspectives Not Taken, Adam Galinsky, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.

Our personal power keeps us from seeing from other people’s perspectives. And the loss of people’s perspective inhibits us from moving people for the good of us all.

The next time you engage in a conversation where you want to move a person toward your ideas, your projects or toward yourself personally, surrender your personal power and make it your goal to first gain the other person’s perspective. Ask open-ended questions with an intent to discover real needs. Guard your mind from thinking over others while they’re talking. And take a real interest in what others are saying to you.

Perspective takers enjoy the art of moving people for their good.  What will you do to take the perspective of others today?

“Teach thy tongue to say, “I do not know,” and thou wilt progress.” –Maimonides

The Inspiring Leader

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In a world where change is fast and certain, leaders are needed to rise to the occasion and inspire greatness in those they’re called to lead. Far too many “leaders” keep themselves sidelined, hoping and waiting for someone else to come up with the next great idea that will move their organization forward.

If you’ve been given the title “leader,” it is your responsibility to hold your company’s mission front and center of your team, your board, your volunteers, and your community.

When the mission and purpose of your organization is barely mentioned or completely overlooked in strategic planning sessions, the activities that follow are often less than best for your organization. The result is weak buy-in from the team members, volunteers and people most needed to bring the ideas to fulfillment.

The solution to these all too often team, board, organizational meeting outcomes is leadership. Leaders are meant to paint a picture of a future that is so real and inspiring that others want to sign on to make it a reality. Leaders must create passion and excitement in the members of their team by connecting the dots and helping them see the vitally important role they personally play in making the organization’s mission a reality.

Mission with a clear picture of what the future may be is rewarding and empowering. This gives your team a very tangible focal point for conversation and strategic planning. Volunteer and paid team members deserve this kind of leadership from you. It makes it possible for them to focus and converse strategically. Leaders are meant to bring this kind of focus while managers usually wait for others to come up the focus.

Lead with unwavering courage, passion, integrity, and focus on your organizations purpose and watch as  tribes of people line up to serve with you!

Have you been given the responsibility of leadership? If so, give the very best of yourself to those you’ve been called to lead. They’ll respect you all the more for the courage you display in honest leadership. People everywhere are longing for honest, caring, mission-driven leaders to emerge and inspire them to accomplish something greater than themselves.

You are uniquely equipped to inspire others to greatness today. Prepare yourself to lead well. Go for it!

Thoughts Define Us

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As you think, so you will live.

Think scarcity, and you’ll sabotage the successes you’ve created.

Think abundance, and you’ll find more than enough to go around.

Think fear, and you’ll doubt yourself, you’ll be suspicious of others, and you’ll see them as a threat to your success.

Think confidence, and you’ll find yourself acting decisively, taking on challenges, and living beyond your wildest imaginations.

Think misfortune, and you’ll find yourself discouraged, doubtful and hopeless.

Think opportunity, and you’ll find the floodgates of life, relationships and business raining down on you.

You are free to choose the thoughts that will direct your life today. Choose carefully, your thoughts define the outcome of your life and business.

Based on your thoughts, are you content with the direction you’re heading? Are you going to continue on that same path, or are you going to think and act differently so that you affect the outcomes you create?

Do me a favor and write a comment below to let me know what you’re going to do. Thanks, I’m cheering for your success!

The Leader’s Mind

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Manager’s manage what is, in order to make it better. Leaders lead past what is, in order to create what’s meant to be. And in order to make that happen, the leader’s mind focuses like few others do.

The leader’s mind is resolved to focus on things that matter most:

Dreams of the preferred future they’re compelled to create.

Leaders see clearly the future that will be while others ridicule and criticize. Dreams fill leaders with hope as they see the potential of what will be.

Visions of the difference their dreams can make in the lives of the people they touch.

As the leader dreams, she thinks of the ways her team, her products, her services will make life and business better for others. Leaders understand that we’ve been put on this earth to make a difference by making life and people better through the products, services, and leadership they bring to the scene.

Some of you reading this blog are agreeing inwardly with what’s being said, yet you find yourself in the same place you’ve been for quite some time. You’re in a place where know you need to move, but fear, uncertainty, or lack of clarity holds you uncomfortably where you’ve been. This is your day to dream big. This is your time to allow an audacious vision to overtake your life to the point that others are compelled to join you in creating the future you envision, making a reality.

I am looking to partner with three leaders who find themselves saying, “There’s more that I can accomplish if I could just be more organized, more consistent, and more free to focus on growing my business.” If that’s you, I’m looking for you today.

Whether you’re the only person in your business or you’re leading a team of people, I want to partner with you to review your sales systems to see if there are opportunities to grow your sales with improved systems. You are meant to reach more people. You are capable of touching more people and thus, making a difference in their lives and circumstances. You have the ability to position yourself to systematically engage more people consistently than you’ve been doing in the past. And when you consistently engage more people, you build a level of trust that results in winning new clients who willingly refer you to others.

It’s time for you and your business to stand out from the crowd. It’s time for some Purple Cows to arise. This is your day to dream. This is your day to be gripped by a compelling vision that inspires others to act with you.  Contact me now and let the possibilities unfold.

CARPE DIEM!

The Making of a Great Place to Work

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If given a choice, we’d all prefer to work for a really great company. But what is a great company? According to China Gorman, the CEO of A Great Place to Work (the creator of the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work for and the 50 Best Small and Medium companies) says it’s simple.

“Great companies are defined by the quality of relationships that exists within the organization.”

And the relationships that are most important in great work places are built on one common trait. Trust. Great companies intentionally work to build trust between employees and management. For great companies, a culture of trust makes them great.

China Gorman says that “an employee’s ability to trust senior management is the single most differentiating factor found in great companies.” If you want to create a place where the very best people want to work and work well, build a culture of trust. Be a leader whose word is consistent and true. Do not shy away from the truth in order to move your agenda down the court. Half-truth’s and straight out lies will destroy the relational trust in your organization. And when trust is lost, greatness fades to mediocrity.

Great companies encourage team members to work and serve in areas that are most rewarding for them. And when an employee finds satisfaction in the work they do, management would do well to acknowledge the work. Acknowledgement and appreciation build the culture of trust.

A CEO once said, “Every night before I leave, the last thing I think about is how to delight my employees, and it’s the first thing I think about in the morning.” That’s the way to build a culture of trust that results in a company that is great. 

Leave a comment below and let me know what you’re doing today to build your culture of trust. How are you expressing appreciation to the members of your team? Catch a member of your team serving well today and make it your mission to express your appreciation. A job well done deserves to be noticed. And when you notice, you build trust.

 

Non-Profit Leadership Lessons

 

Tina Combs

Tina Combs, President & CEO

Martinsburg-Berkeley County Chamber of Commerce

It didn’t take long to find out why people said that I had to meet Tina Combs. Our coffee shop conversation flowed naturally and easily over a topic that was an obvious passion for Tina – leadership in the non-profit world.

At the heart of every great business, every great organization and every great non-profit, there’s a leader with a heart. Lose your heart for people, and your organization will pay the price.

Here are some leadership lessons I learned from Tina, a leader with a heart for the people she serves.

HAVE A HEART

First and foremost, “Say,No,’ to ego. Don’t worry about who gets the credit as long as the work gets done for the good of the community. Be sincere in what you do and sincerely try to help others.”

Leadership isn’t a power trip to be taken. Leadership is about improving the quality of life for others, your staff, your volunteers, your clients, and your community. By investing in training, education, retreats, and celebrations with your team, you let them know that you care and that you value what they bring to the team. Have a heart. Do something meaningful for the people you lead.

LEAD WITH PURPOSE

“A good leader must never forget their purpose.” Purpose, valuesand vision motivates, builds a strong sense of culture, and gives people something worth giving their lives too. Keep your eye on the prize, and daily point the members of your team toward your purpose. To lead is to inspire people with a sense of purpose. Can they articulate the purpose of your organization?

ENGAGE OTHERS

“Work well with others. Get people engaged. Treat your volunteers like gold, appreciate them, be organized and don’t waste their time.”

Time is precious, and there is no better way to wear out, discourage or lose great staff and volunteers than to waste their time in ill-prepared meetings lacking leadership. If you want people to volunteer and serve with you, respect their time, lead by your example, and value your volunteers, your staff and your team in every possible creative way.

Tina rightly said, “I can tell when people (I’m volunteering for) forget I’m a volunteer. Always show appreciation. No one is obligated to help us.”

And no one is obligated to work for us. When you know you’ve hired the right employee, treat him or her as the valued asset they are. It’s been repeated over and over that it’s much less costly to invest in great employees than it is to search for and train a new employee. The same goes for volunteers. Value the people you have around you, and they’ll likely stay with you for years to come.

BE WILLING TO SERVE

“Good leaders go outside of their world and help other people in the community. Volunteer for others.”

Non-profits require a strong volunteer base, and some of the best leaders are those who have learned to serve well from their personal acts of service. Service is learned in the field of volunteerism.

Is it time for a refresher course in service? If so, contact a non-profit with a purpose in line with you’re passions and find your life enriched by your acts of service.

TAKE TIME TO CULTIVATE

“Cultivate relationships & your reputation. Show that you’re leading a credible organization.”

Self leadership, organizational leadership, team leadership takes intentional effort. The best leaders are those who give specific attention to building healthy, life-giving relationships inside and outside of their organization. The best relationships and the most revered reputations are built on honesty without compromise.

Organizations need leaders who are honest with their teams, their clients, their volunteers, and themselves. The quickest route to a damaged reputation is to compromise on the truth. When a leader compromises in the smallest of ways, his or her team quickly assumes that’s the way of the organization. Once lies and half-truths take root in an organization, the culture shifts. And a shifting culture will damage your reputation. Safe-guard your relationships and your reputation. Build a culture of honesty without compromise.

Businesses, organizations, teams, volunteers, and non-profits will be at their best when their leaders are at their best. What are you doing today to become a better leader tomorrow? How are you investing in your personal leadership?

Leave a comment below and let me know what leadership investments you are making. I want to learn from you, and I hope to hear that your team and your organization are soaring to new heights because of your leadership. Make it happen leaders.

 

 

No Time to Develop Relationships

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“I do not have time to develop relationships with others…” 

The words so surprised me that I had to read them a second and third time to make sure I was reading them correctly. Must be the words of a disgruntled person who wants to be left alone, right? Well, not exactly. Read on.

“What I am looking for are people with immediate needs or people who will need my services in the next month or so. Unfortunately, I do not have time to develop relationships with others who may be a source of business years down the road.”

Reading these words, I thought this could have been me if I hadn’t taken some strategic and decisive steps to guard against such thinking.

“I am looking for people with immediate needs…” 

Translation?  Desperation. “I need real business today, I need it now.” A wake up call for us all. In the race to grow our business, to make more sales, and to meet more goals, we too live with the danger of slipping into desperate thinking that will reveal itself as undue pressure in the next client meeting.

While it’s important that we close as many sales as possible, it’s more important to realize that we’re leading potential clients on a journey that is meant to help them know us, like us, and trust us in order to be ready to buy from us.

“Unfortunately I do not have time…” 

Without systems that allow us to automate the selling process and educate potential clients 24/7, none of us will have the time to reach, engage, and nurture new clients. Instead, the people we meet will fall through the cracks like seed falling on stone. Buyers today want to explore their possibilities, they want to learn about the best solutions, and they want to do it all at times convenient for them.

In her post, “Buyer Behavior Helps B2B Marketers Guide the Buyer’s Journey,” Lori Wizdo says, B2B marketers must nurture prospects for months or years before they turn into sales opportunities.

Customers will engage with marketers who meet their needs – their changing needs – for different information and options during the buying journey. Marketers who continue to “go to customer” with product-centric campaigns and offers risk becoming irrelevant.

“Who may be a source of business years down the road…” 

Simply put, this statement creates the very problem this writer has today. Taking a short-term today approach will leave us wishing for buyers days, months and years down the road.

“The paramount shift from 1:1 marketing that took place between a sales rep and a buyer has gone by the wayside. By the time the client lands at your doorstep, the process has long been underway,” Daniel Newman, Content Is The New Sales Call.

So what’s the solution to this dilemma?

1. Come to grips with the fact that sales is a journey and not a one time decision.

Buyers are reading what we write, they are listening to what we say on many different platforms, and they are taking all those things into consideration when making their buying decision. Are you creating content that positions you as the expert in your field of knowledge?

2. Create systems that allow you to personally engage with potential and current clients.

Systems position us for growth both in sales and in reach. With the best systems in place, you’ll  remove the burden of worrying about where you are in the sales process. You’ll know at a glance. And your systems will free up your time through the gift of automation.

Do you have the time you need to focus on the people and activities that bring you new clients and drive your sales?

3. Position your business for sales and growth over the long term.

With a great Customer Resource Management system you’ll be able to create a process of client engagement that respects the clients journey and welcomes them to engage with you on their own terms. And when they engage, it’s something to celebrate. Do you have clearly defined processes that respect your clients’ journey and allows them to engage with you and your sales team for the long haul?

Take the pressure off yourself and your sales team. Create systems and processes that allow you to engage clients in a journey that is respect-filled, thoughtful, and strategic. Building positively into clients for years to come will assure you have a business for years to come.

By the way. The writer of the letter is a business owner.  Are you ready to buy today? ;)