The Making of A Confident Leader

confidentleader

I recently had someone tell me that in order to effectively sell well, people need to build personal confidence. Since personal confidence grows over time as we lead, work and relate, the question is, what can we do to build our personal confidence?

I suggest we build our personal life, our business, and our interactions on a set of values  that shape our character and determine our course of action. And when we do, we won’t feel the need to be so easily swayed by the opinions of others. Instead, our values will center us and give us strong personal confidence.

Over the years I’ve observed people who seem to be influenced by the wishes of influential people. Then I’ve also observed those who have allowed their values to shape them. And from these interactions, I’d prefer to work with a value driven person any day because their values produce in them a level of confidence that makes me feel safe and valued.

One of the value driven, confident leaders I’ve come to know personally is Andrea Turner. I’ve watched as Andrea’s confidence has grown as she has allowed her life and business to be shaped by her values. A value driven life creates confidence in the leader who consistently stands for something greater than themselves.

So what are the values that drive confident leaders?

Excellence

Excellence is about doing things better than someone else. It’s about refusing to settle for anything less than the very best that you have to offer in the moment. Whether it’s working a sale, sharing a qualified referral, creating a new initiative, or relating to people, when we give our best and choose to live a great life,  we make a difference.

In his book, “Good To Great,” Jim Collins says that the enemy of great is good. And how true it is. When we settle for good, we’ve chosen the easy road. And when we settle, we sell ourselves short of our real potential.

Surround yourself with people who value excellence, and watch as the energy in the room goes up..  People committed to excellence do not settle, they soar to greatness for themselves, for the people they love and for the people they serve.

Integrity

Integrity may be as much about who you are when no one is looking as it is when every eye is on you. Let me ask you. Would you rather do business with a person who demonstrates a high level of truth, honesty, and character only when in public, or would you rather do business with a person who consistently demonstrates character when in private as well?

Purple Cow Service

Seth Godin wrote the book on “Purple Cow” Service, and Old Towne Title and Wealth Builders Connect took him seriously! Together, they are finding creative and meaningful ways to transform business from ordinary to “remarkable,” and as they do, people sit up to take notice. Why? Because we all like treatment that goes beyond the expected making us feel treasured. Can you recall a customer service experience that you’d call “Purple Cow” service?

From networking with Andrea in Wealth Builders Connect to the settlement on my home, I’ve found in Andrea the making of a confident leader. She’s firmly rooted in the values that drive her, and those values make her a more confident leader.

Value driven leaders exude confidence, and confident leaders give me reason to be #grateful.

What ideas can you share that help make a more confident leader? Please share your thoughts below.

Does My Attitude Really Matter?

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I recently watched as a group of leaders commented on a major event that they had just pulled off. They patted each other on the back, they expressed well done’s to each other, and they walked away seemingly pleased with the result. I, however, saw a different side of the event that included frank comments from attendees who expressed their dismay over some pretty obvious pitfalls in the event.

Those planning the event or those in charge of the event often skew it positively while the attendees see it for what it is: a decent event that needs some work or improvement, be it a more comfortable room temperature, unexpected long lines, or just sub-par food. It takes a certain attitude to acknowledge, ”We have some things to work on; let’s change some things for the good of our guests.”

Our attitude shapes our thinking, drives our feelings and reveals itself in our actions. And since our actions are fundamental to our results, it’s important that we choose our attitude well.

It has been said that consistent, positive action produces momentum that drives us to positive end results. So what most shapes a great attitude that drives exceptional actions and produces great results?

HONESTY

We all have an inherent longing for others to be honest and open with us, but when it comes to evaluating our personal results, we tend to be a bit less honest with ourselves. Just like the event I recently attended, the leaders closed their eyes to the blatant realities that faced them because their attitude was, “This was great. Positive event. Way to go.”

And the result? In the debriefing of that event, very little, if anything was done to make positive changes to the event in the future. Why? Because the belief was shaped by the attitude that they did a great job. Those who complained will never be satisfied.

With our eyes closed to the true reality that we’ve helped create for ourselves, we find ourselves in a rut, hoping for different results. How can you get out of that rut? Be honest with yourself about the reality you’re in. Be honest about your efforts and be open to hearing the honest feedback from others who experience the same event.

Choose an attitude that says, “I want to be open to listening, I want to learn, I want to find ways to improve for the sake of those I’m serving.” That kind of attitude involves honesty, self-confidence and an authentic humility.

DRIVE

The question is, “What motivates you to action?” When we face enough frustration, it can serve as a driving force for substantial change. Rather than run from that frustration, learn from it. It’s a sign that you’re not yet positioned to get the results you most want out of life. Make a commitment to read, to learn, and to apply what you discover. Action is the great force that creates your momentum and ultimately shapes your attitude.

Act quickly on the things you learn. Be quick to find out if the ideas you’ve learned will have a positive or negative impact on your results. Approach your day with an attitude that says, “Today is about my results. I’m going to take decisive actions for the good of myself and those around me.”

COMMITMENT

Draw a line in the sand today and state clearly what you are truly committed to making happen and state clearly what you will not stand for any longer. Remove the obstacles, the fears or the people who have been pulling you down and run your stakes deep. Prove to yourself that you’re truly committed to action that produces great momentum.

Had the leaders of this event walked away saying, “Let’s be real honest about what we saw, heard, and experienced at this event,” they would have positioned themselves as open learners, eager to find ways to improve going forward. If the leaders had approached this event with a shared commitment to drive, they may have asked themselves what could be done differently to remove the frustrations seen, heard and experienced by the guests. And if the leaders had drawn their line in the sand and said, “This is what we are about, this is what we stand for and this is what matters most to us,” they would have walked away with an energized passion to make this event better in the future.

And an attitude like that would have provided for great customer service that would have blown away the guests who were present.

And with a packed room of overheated people, anything that could have “blown them away” would probably have been a welcomed relief.

So go ahead leaders.  Welcome more honesty into your life. Define yourself by your drive to learn, grow and improve. And draw your line in the sand showing what you’re truly committed too. An attitude that seeks to be honest, driven, and committed shapes our thinking, drives our feelings, and reveals itself in our actions. Get the results you want by shaping the attitude that drives you.

Does your attitude really matter?

Here’s to your success!

Living a Life Of Abundance

life of abundance

Abundance means something different for each of us, yet it’s something we all long to achieve. The question is, what is an abundant life anyway?

For me, an abundant life is marked by a level of contentment and satisfaction. To end my day and lay my head on the pillow without regret or guilt is the beginning of abundance for me.

I’ve learned over the years that abundance has more to do with what I give than what I get out of life. We’ve all witnessed people who have accumulated a lot of stuff over the years, yet I don’t always envy them because in the midst of all their stuff, they often show signs of restless dissatisfaction.

I want a life of abundance that’s marked by a deep and soulful satisfaction. Restlessness is not for me.

In my work as a business owner I spend a lot of time networking with people who may one day be clients of mine or vice a versa. What I have learned is that while the process takes time, living with a giver’s mindset is more soul satisfying and much more fun!

Theodore Roosevelt said, “Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.”

In business, in sales, and in life this statement rings true for us all, and here’s how we know it. When we’re out in public or at a business networking event, we’re all turned off by the pushy salesperson who takes no real interest in us but rather makes it a point to push their ideas, products or services onto us. When on the receiving end of that transaction, I’ve never found myself thinking, “This is the abundance in life I’ve been looking for.” Rather I feel agitated, used, and frustrated.

Givers approach people with the mindset that we’re here to know you, to understand you, and to be a resource to you when it’s most needed. Givers approach people and life as an adventure that’s worth living. Givers approach situations with child-like enthusiasm, knowing that it’s just a matter of time until the floodgates of reward begin to unleash on us and everyone around us.

Rather than seeking to impress people with how much you know, find ways to impress people with how much you have given. And when you give, give the very best of your resources, your ideas, and yourself.

A mindset towards giving is the pathway to abundance.  Follow it and watch as you lay your head on the pillow at night content, satisfied, and grateful for the realization that your giver’s mindset has made a difference in someone’s life that day!

When One Door Closes

From my earliest childhood memory, I’ve always enjoyed a new opportunity because it was fresh, exciting, and something to be anticipated.  As an adult, I continue looking forward to new events, new opportunities, new sales, new acquaintances, new travel destinations, new foods, and new ideas because my life is richer with each new person or thing I experience.  Have you ever stopped to think that when one door closes, it’s an opportunity for a new door to open?  Wasn’t it the “new” opportunity that filled our lives with excitement and anticipation as a child?  So why loose so much sleep over a door that closes?  Isn’t a closed door an opportunity to find a door that’s opening to something better?   Grieve your closed door appropriately then with the excitement and anticipation you knew as a child, leap into your future because it’s just a matter of time till your “new” door will open and when it does, life will be better again!

How have new doors of opportunity made your life better?

A Happy and Fulfilled Life


I recently read a great book entitled, “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz and as I read, I realized that as simple as the principles may sound, when practiced, they have the potential to alter the quality of my life and relationships.  And when I began to think seriously about the ways I think, talk and relate with others, I realized that these simple principles are far from easy to live consistently.  Agreement number three got my attention and caused me to think about how my happiness is affected by this one concept.

Agreement number three simply says, “Don’t make assumptions”.   From experience, I’ve learned that when I assume that others know what I’m feeling and what I need, I end up being disappointed.  This law teaches that we are to have the courage to ask questions, engage in healthy dialogue, and express clearly what we need and want.  And when we do, we’ll avoid frustrations, disappointment, and drama.  Wouldn’t that make life more happy and fulfilled?

To live this agreement more intentionally, let’s find the courage to engage in healthy conversations.  In healthy conversations, we ask for what we want and for what we most need.  Ask in confidence, knowing that the person you are asking is both willing and able to give you what you want and need.  Ask only the person who can give you what you want.  Avoid asking the wrong person and “assuming” you’ll get what you want.  Ask open ended questions to ensure that you are talking with the person who can meet your needs in this conversation.  When you ask for what you want, be concise, clear and specific in your request.  If at first you do not succeed in getting what you need, ask yourself these questions…

Am I clearly asking for what I want?

Am I asking the right person? 

Am I asking at the right time? 

If you’ve been clear with your request, you’ve asked the right person to meet your need, and you still get resistance, then it may be that your catching the right person at the wrong time.  If so, plan a better time to ask.  Wait until the person is in a better mood,  has a change in circumstances, or has a greater level of rapport with you.   With these conditions met, consider it a better time to ask this person to help meet your specific needs.

In his book, “The Success Principles”,  Jack Canfield quotes Actor and Author Ben Stein when he says, “The indispensable first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: decide what you want”.  And once you decide, it’s time to muster up the courage to confidently ask the people in your sphere of influence to play a part in turning your wants into a reality.

Take the time to build high levels of trust in your relationships, have the courage to engage in healthy conversations that honestly express what you most want and need, then be sensitive to the person who considers your request.  Remembering that if your request is denied, it may be because the timing is off or the person’s circumstances may keep them from meeting your needs.  Ask open-ended questions, listen attentively and watch as the quality of your life and relationships improves.  A happy and fulfilled life is marked by the courage to ask the right person at the right time for what you really want.  Take the guess-work out of your relationships, know what you really want then courageously ask for what you want and need!

How does this idea make you feel?  Post your comments so we can learn together.

 

 

 

Creating A Winning Sales System

Creating a winning sales system turns the dreaded work of cold calling into a process that teachable and effective.  Without a system, we’re left to the task of making more calls,  knocking on more doors, and hoping for better results.  If this was an effective method for growing your business, why hasn’t your boss offered to pay you for each new call you make or each new door you knock on?  May it be that they realize that more cold calling without a wining sales system isn’t really the most effective way to go about sales?

“Over 80% of decision makers absolutely will not buy from a cold call.”                                                                                                                                                 -Kenan Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina

How do we create a winning sales system?

1.  Define

Describe the individuals, businesses and industries who most benefit from the products, services, and ideas you are selling?  Define and describe your ideal client?  Who are the people and businesses you’ve had success working with in the past?  Why did these customers do business with you in the past?  Did they share a common need that you were able to meet?  Did they have certain level of relationship with you prior to doing business with you?  What is it about you, your approach or your previous customers that caused them to do business with you?

Once you clearly define your ideal customer, make a list of the ideal people, businesses, and industries you want to connect with and keep that list updated and with you at all times.  Be prepared to answer the question, “Who are you looking to meet?  Who can I introduce you too?”

Once you have a clear understanding of your ideal customer, show up at the places where those customers frequent.

2.  Connect

See yourself as a resource to others and connect with them by showing up at the places and events where your ideal customers will be.  Proactively position yourself as a resource to others,  and listen for opportunities to meet the needs of those you want to do business with.  If I were moving to a new community where I knew no one and where I had no previous connections, I’d find the most active Chamber of Commerce I could and I’d attend every networking event they offer.   Rather than waiting for your phone to ring, actively position yourself to become a valuable resource to the people and businesses with whom you want to connect.

3.  Nurture

Ask yourself how you’d like to be approached, treated and engaged by a sale person you’ve just met.  Make it your goal to treat each person you meet with respect and gentleness.  You’re there to be a valuable resource, not to be a sales machine that can’t be stopped!

When you meet a person who gives you their business card, this is your opportunity to engage the person in conversation that focuses on the interests, needs, and preferences of the other person.  You do this by asking open ended questions that you may want to anticipate in advance.  Questions like, “How long have you worked in that industry?”  “How did you first get involved in XYZ industry?”  “What do you see as your greatest opportunities and your great challenges in this industry?”  “As I’m meeting people each day, how will I know when I’ve met the ideal person to refer to you?”  Questions like these create conversation that enable you to identify possible areas of need that you can help meet.

After the meeting is over, this is your opportunity to nurture the potential clients you met.  Create a follow up process that is both personal and doesn’t smell of a disguised sales pitch.  This is not the time to sell, this is your time to nurture the relationship, to build trust and to connect with the person in such a way that they when they’re ready to buy, they’ll want to buy from you!

The follow up process that I’ve found helpful consists of a personal handwritten note card that is two-three sentences in length, it ties back into the conversation we had in person, and in it I re-iterate my willingness to be a resource to the person when I can.  In addition, I communicate with the person via articles, like the one you’re reading now.  I forward these articles to potential clients letting them know that the article made me think of them and I hope they find the article helpful.  I then contact the potential client and I ask for their permission to plan a 20 minute “exploratory” visit with them.  During that visit I focus on their needs that I’ve learned about during the meeting and other conversations that may have occurred, then I show them how my products and services may be a solution to their needs.

People today want to be nurtured, cared for, and involved in the process whenever possible.  Anything less and you may be marginalizing people and missing great opportunities.

What are you doing to nurture the potential clients you meet?  What systems do you have in place that work well for you?  What are you doing to grow your database?  How have you effectively nurtured the people in your database so that they want to buy from you?   I’d love to hear your thoughts and your ideas.  By creating a winning sales system, we’ll learn how to more effectively reach potential clients, nurture a relationship with them, and turn them into clients who want to buy from us.

I look forward to hearing your ideas and your experiences.  Share them with us so that we can learn together!

Becoming A Connecting Resource

 

Have you ever been in a social setting, a networking event or a volunteer function when you were suddenly overtaken by well-meaning, straight forward people with agendas that did not seem to include you or your interest?  Have you ever been asked by a virtual stranger to either buy their products and services on the spot or have you ever had a sales person make you feel like you were being treated as a means to an end rather than as a person to be valued?  Not only have I been in these situations, way too often, I’ve watched as well meaning people treat potential clients like this.

Becoming a connecting resource for people and businesses is not something that comes naturally for most of us.   As a matter of fact, it appears to me that in order for most sales people to truly become a connecting resource for others,  a paradigm shift will need to occur.  For those of us who choose to change ourselves and our approach, connecting people and businesses to the resources they most need will lead to a rewarding life and career!

In the last couple of weeks I have personally been approached by well-meaning men and women who appeared to care more about their agendas than about connecting personally with me.  In each case, I felt like I was being used for information or as a conduit to get to the people in my sphere of influence.  Whatever the case, I did not feel valued.  I was taken back when the first words I read or heard was obviously motivated by an end result that would benefit the person approaching me rather than an end result that would benefit us both.  I found myself becoming very guarded about what I said and about what information I gave to the person inquiring of me.  Then I wondered why?

Later I found myself in conversation with a person whom I know, like and trust and as I listened to things going on in her life, I realized I had someone in my circle of influence that could help with her situation.  Because of the trust that has been built between us over the years, I was more than happy to pick up the phone and make a personal introduction to someone in business who could meet this person’s need.  I made the connection without being asked, without being pushed, and without feeling obligated.  The connection was easily made because I saw an opportunity to be a resource to this person in need and I was motivated to help them because I know them, I like them, and I trust them.  Together, we build positively into each others lives.  That’s what it means to become a connecting resource to others.

So how does a person become a connecting resource to others?

1.  Care Enough to First Understand

Let others know how much you care by first seeking to understand them, their current situation and their needs.  If this is someone you’ve just met at a social, business event, or networking event refrain from being over zealous with information about your product and services.  Make it a priority to ask great questions, listen attentively, and discover the challenges that your product or services can help this person overcome.  Take time to get to know the person before you sell to them.   

2.  Actively Listen and Identify The Needs That You Can Meet

As you’re asking great, open ended questions you’ll discover opportunities to meet specific needs that the person has.  This may mean that you and your services are a match for this person or it may mean that you have a person that they really need to meet in order to have their needs met.  Either way, ask great questions, actively listen and identify real needs that you or someone in your sphere of influence can meet.

3.  Establish a Process To Meet The Needs

Most of us would agree that we do not appreciate when a total stranger approaches us in person, via email or phone and immediately begins to force their sales pitch on us.  Rather than forcing people into listening to your sales pitch, create a process that allows people to get to know you, like you, and trust you over time.  Create a system that allows you to begin adding value to the person you’ve met and through a series of steps, build a trust relationship that opens the door for you to share about how your product or service may be a great resource to be considered.

Where can we begin?  Begin by making attendance at networking and social events a priority.  Go into the events with well prepared, open ended questions that encourage great dialogue with the people you meet.  As you listen, discover opportunities to be a connecting resource to others.  Follow the process you’ve created to build trust, add value, and develop a connection with the person you want to work with.  As the process unfolds, you’ll find yourself making a positive difference in people’s lives and you’ll soon realize that getting others to buy into your ideas isn’t such a bad process after all. It’s rewarding to know that we’re helping individuals and businesses succeed.

    Managing Time For A Sense of Accomplishment

     

    With so many good options to occupy our time today, how do we manage time in such a way that we get to the end of our day feeling good about the things we’ve accomplished?  How can we finish our day with a sense that what we’ve accomplished really mattered?  I’ve found that lists on papers across my desk or in my car have only served to complicate my life more.  What I needed was a simple system that would allow me to feel satisfied with the things I accomplished in a given day.   Here’s some things I’ve learned.

      1. Plan Your To-Do’s.  Choose three big ticket items that you’d like to accomplish today.  Choose the three things that if accomplished today, would propel you closer to your goals, give you a sense of accomplishment and leave you feeling satisfied that these tasks are complete.  Rather than overloading yourself with a large laundry list of things to-do, focus on the three most important items for this day and accomplish them! 
      2. Chunk Your Time.  Know your personal rhythms and do the important things when you’re at your very best.  Some of us work best in the early morning hours, others need the morning simply to come to life.  Do not get caught in the trap of comparing yourself to others, do your best work during your best hours.  When you know you’ll be in a personal slump, focus your time on things that must get done but may have been put off until you had time.  Now is your time!  This may be your time to answer emails, return phone calls, complete paperwork, or plan for an upcoming meeting.  Whatever it may be, use your time to get things accomplished that may not fall into your most important items for that day.
      3. Make A Difference.  Determine that in the course of your day you will intentionally add value to someone’s life in a tangible way.  You may want to let someone know that you’re thinking about them today by sending a note via email or a handwritten card, you may want to send a gift, make a call, or plan a visit to express your appreciation.  Whatever you decide to do, make a daily habit of  adding value to others through  heart-felt and sincere appreciation.

    Making these and other ideas part of your daily routine will insure that you accomplish the important things in your day while you’re at your best and will insure that real value is added to other people’s lives because of the time you’ve spent living your day.  Live each day with purpose and find yourself feeling good about the way you’ve spent your time.  There’s nothing more rewarding than ending your day with a sense of real accomplishment, knowing you’ve accomplished the things that matter most!

     

    3 ProActive Ways To Win Potential Customers

     

    Having a well written vision and mission statement tucked away in a file in the office, boxes of shiny new business cards, or even a building in a great location may be another disappointment waiting to happen.  The problem is that while these things may be important and in many cases necessary, they are not a promise for business or personal success.

    The problem is that we can easily busy ourselves with these helpful tools to the point that we begin to hunker down and hope that someone who needs our products and services will one soon, find us and approach us with a readiness to buy.  The reality is that we can easily be overlooked and even bypassed if we fail to position ourselves to win.  Many people will choose to hide behind good and necessary business practices while relegating success to those who choose to differentiate themselves among the masses.  If you are determined to win the trust and eventual business of new customers, then here are some ways to actively position yourself for success today.

    1. Get More Personal.  There are plenty of companies large and small who appear more self-serving rather than caring enough to make other people and businesses great.  They take a hands off approach that communicates a lack of customer service that genuinely cares about people and their needs.  If you want to position yourself to win potential customers, look for ways to engage potential customers in conversation about their needs, their concerns, and ideas that will most benefit them.  Win potential customers by setting yourself a part as a person or business that cares enough to ask great questions and listen for the real needs that your products or services will then be able to address.
    2. Engage New People.  Identify networking groups, business associations, leaders groups where you can invest the best of your time and energies meeting and engaging new contacts in conversation that sets you a part from the masses.  Show up at the events with great energy and positive attitude that communicates to others that you’re here to add value, you’re here to be a resource to those you meet, you’re here to connect people with the people they most need to know and meet.  When you attend an event and approach people with an, “I’m here to learn about you so that I can be the best resource to you that I can be” attitude, you will create opportunities for others to seek you out to learn from you and ultimately to become your new customer or to your refer you to your next customer.  Go where the people are and engage them in conversations that most interest them!
    3. Making Your Follow Up Personal.  Plan how you will follow up in advance of the meetings where you meet potential customers then execute your follow up plan in a timely manner after the event.  Just as you were uniquely personal and engaging in the event, make sure your follow up continues to position you as personal and engaging.  Some ways to make yourself personal to those you’ve met might be a handwritten note that reminds the person of some detail of the personal conversation you had with them at the event.  Do not follow up with standard sales letters, we all know where those letters get filed.

    In initial meetings with potential customers, set yourself up as a valuable resource who enjoys engaging people in meaningful conversations about their business, their wants and their needs and continue that engaging conversation in the follow up plan that you implement after the event.  Rather than hiding  in the comforts of your office and files, get yourself out of the office and into the events where other business people go to network and learn.  Train yourself to engage people in ways that are personal and beneficial both during the event and afterward.  Ultimately, your success depends on you and the people you engage, so engage them intentionally, often and in personal ways!