I was asked a very intriguing question this afternoon which has caused me to ponder. The most interesting part of it was not how easy it was for me to answer, but how in depth the thought process became. The question was what is more important; to be physically free or mentally free?
To me it really was a no brainer, I think the most important one is for us to be mentally free. I think often times as sad as it is; people who are no longer physically free (such as those in prisons) are only there because they did not have the mental freedom to begin with.
I am a firm believer that we get what we think about most of the time. We as human beings have an incredible power buried deep in our minds, which most of us fail to tap into. However, for those who have learned to harness this power, there really is no physical barrier that can hold you back.
When you set your mind to something completely you will always find a way to get to your goal. Every time I have been mentally determined to achieve something I have done it. To me the only thing required to achieve complete freedom is the determination to have it. Set your mind towards you goals and never look back.
I was reading this study recently and it really made me appreciate something I have long seen to be true from my own experiences.
In one series of I.Q. tests given to children ages 2 – 4 years, 95% of the children were found to be highly creative with curious, questioning minds and an ability for abstract thinking. When the same children were tested again at age 7, only 5% still demonstrated high levels of creativity. In the ensuing years, they had learned to conform. They had learned to color between the lines, to sit in neat little rows, to do and say what the other kids did and said, and to do as they were told.
I noticed early in life that often times success in school had little or nothing to do with intelligence or how well I grasped the material. I noticed success in school (when I say success I mean good grades on our current grading system) had much more to do with how compliant I was in regards to the wishes of the teacher.
I was very fortunate that may parents put a much larger emphasis on results and creativity than following the accepted norms. So many children go through life being told to pay attention in school, get a good job and do the “normal” things. I don’t know about you but having seen the quality of life these “normal” people are living these days it is not a path I would want to follow.
Most of us have years of conditioning to overcome in order to regain the creativity and forward thinking we had as young children. But knowing the change is needed is your first step on the road to success.
I was having a very good meeting today with a client and friend from my BNI group. This particular fellow is a sales trainer for the Sandler Sales Institute. I shared with him how valuable I have found one of the lessons he is consistently talking about. This lesson is the topic of unpaid consulting.
I like to think of unpaid consulting as when we are going through the sales process; we do a fine job of education the potential customer on our product or service. Invest our time and energy giving the customer the information they need, only to have them go buy from a competitor with their new found body of knowledge.
One of the most important lessons I have learned in sales and business is that it is perfectly acceptable to tell a client, “that is a great question, and that is exactly the type of information I will provide you with once we have secured this deal”.
In my daily routine I am always peppered with questions about blogs, and I am happy to answer the basic ones. However, when it comes to the questions about strategy and how a customer goes about achieving results, those I do not answer until they have cut a cheque.
Don’t be afraid to stand firm, your knowledge is worth paying for. Once you convince yourself of this you will be spending much more time working with clients, and much less time working with prospects. Trust me when I say, clients are much more lucrative than prospects.
These are my two cents on the day,
The more times I speak to groups about blogs and the more clients I consult on the subject the more I get asked the same questions time and time again. There is no secret these days that blogs are here, we hear about them all the time. It seems however that Joe Public is still having a tough time wrapping his mind around the concept; moreover, business people always ask me “what use to me is an online chat thingy”. To answer your question yes most people call it the “online chat thingy” this is not me using technical jargon.
I think what is most overlooked in our current economic model is the burning desire for customers to feel engaged in the sales process. The deepest human desire we have is the need to feel important. The number one reason a person leaves a job is not the money, it is because they do not feel appreciated. Blogs allow a company to reach out to their customers and treat them like an individual and provide them with that level of importance they are craving.
I have been heard many times saying that when monumental changes take place such as the emergence of blogs, the companies who act upon the changes are the ones laughing all the way to the bank. Conversely, those companies who are forced to react to the changes are often left standing in line at the food back. I have seen too many fledgling companies who are so scared to open themselves up to the scary outside world they put up a protective wall of privacy. While this may keep the company safe, it is anything but secure. My broker Patrick Britton has a great tag line on all his emails, it says “The rich invest to win; the poor invest not to lose.”
If you find your company in business not to lose money, perhaps it is time to pack up shop and find a new line of work. However if you want to grow and flourish in our new digital world get blogging, you will be glad you did. Remember folks, you heard it hear first. I look forward to seeing the laughter on your face.
I had an enlightening experience this afternoon that I thought was worth sharing as I feel it illustrates one of the fundamental problems many sales people face. I received a phone call from a gentleman I met at a trade show last week. I had stopped by his booth to find out what his company did. We had a brief conversation at the show and exchanged business cards.
This gentleman called me today to follow up on our conversation and give me his sales pitch. However he got off on the wrong foot and never succeeded in getting me interested, even though he has a service I think could be invaluable. The reason I say this poor fellow got off on the wrong foot is that he immediately started telling me all the wonderful things his program can do for me, except that he didn’t ask me any questions about my current situation.
I would have been quite willing to give him any information he asked for had he taken the time to ask me some questions. HOWEVER, he did not choose to ask me he instead decided to tell me what I should find useful.
I think too many sales people fall into this trap of talking when they should be listening. This man was very nice and polite (though this was really the only reason I stayed on the phone as long as I did) but he did nothing to grab my attention, or more importantly nothing to give me a reason to part with my hard earned money.
To me the best approach to take is not one of selling but one of educating and providing solutions for expressed problems or challenges. It is amazing the things you can learn if you just take the time to ask some questions remember everyone is tuned into the same radio station WIIFM (what’s in it for me), if you can relate your pitch to what is important to your customer your results will increase dramatically.
The first and foremost thing to remember about blogs is that they are a way for a person to express themselves. So with this in mind the first and most important thing to create is a personal profile.
Your profile is a way for people to get to know you a little better as a person. Your profile should include a picture that makes you look human, not a corporate robot. As well as a little bit of information about you personally and professionally. Ultimately your blog profile is a way for people to relate to you. People like to do business with those they know and trust and this is a way to create that trust.
One of the biggest mistakes new bloggers make is they think of a blog as just another website and use the regular company mantra in place of a profile. While it may keep your lawyers and accountants happy, company mantra does build intimate customer relationships.
When posting to a blog you should write as if you were writing a letter to a close friend. Tell personal stories; if you are referring to a product or service say what it has done for you. If you are talking about someone in our group you have done business with, say how they made you feel. The reason blogs are becoming so popular is that unlike the mainstream media they allow people to feel personally involved with the information they are receiving.
Blogs are meant to add the human element to business. Human means that people see it as being real and something or someone they can relate to. Be personal, be creative and most of all be yourself and you will like the results you get.
A number of weeks ago I wrote about solitude and the power it can have on our thoughts and our mind. I was very amazed at the response it generated and the stories people have told me about their experiences with it. It was off topic a little from what I normally write about but something that is quite important to me. With this in mind I wanted to share some thoughts on a similar topic, that of personal reflection.
I think in life sometimes we have a lot of difficulty asking ourselves the tough questions that would elicit change in our behaviors. It is usually easier for us to travel along a path of least resistance, than it is for us to face the music and make a powerful change for the better. We all have said those magic words that someday things will change for the better.
I for one think that waiting for someday is not an acceptable route to take. I have been fortunate in my life to have friends and mentors help me by being a catalyst for positive growth and change. I can think of numerous epiphanies in my life that have come from a single word or phrase uttered by someone I care about.
What I have discovered to be the key ingredient is my own burning desire to succeed. It has often been said that you can not say the wrong thing to the right person. I think that by allowing myself to be ready for change it has helped me in invaluable ways I could not even begin to describe.
Brian Tracy always asks the question “is what I am doing right now moving me closer to my goals?” I find that by asking myself this question both personally and professionally I am able to determine what the right thing for me to do is. The most important thing to remember is that the right thing is probably not the easy thing. To me true courage is doing the right thing in every situation. Take the time to determine what is right for you and don’t let anyone get you sidetracked and success will be your oyster.
I wanted to take the opportunity to talk about a wonderful course I am taking and the effects it is having on me. I am taking a personal development course called Achieving Excellence through a local organization called Focused on You.
One of the exercises did was doing a complete who am I, I must say it was probably the most difficult thing I have ever done in my life. Though it was quite tough it was also the most rewarding thing I have done as well. It caused me to take a long deep look inside of myself and look at every aspect of my life both personally and professionally and identify what is truly important to me and where I want to be moving forward.
It also really showed me just how important to me my values are, in particular how strongly I feel about keeping my personal life and professional life in harmony. I must say that thanks to the wonderful help of Donna Willon I am achieving this wonderfully.
I have seen it written many times over how important it is to have a coach in life and this is me saying I completely agree and echo those sentiments. Even if you think you know where you are going, the smallest tweaks can make a huge difference in your long term results. Take the time to know yourself and who you become will amaze even yourself.
I find that sometimes we get so wrapped up in our own lives we sometimes forget how lucky and blessed we really are. I sometimes find myself in awe of this wonderful city and country I live in. I know I am biased but I say Vancouver is the best city in the world to be in.
Though most people who live here know this, I think so few appreciate it as much as they could. To me one of the most valuable things we can do as successful business people and all round humanitarians is to give back to those who are less fortunate than ourselves.
Randy Gage writes a lot about prosperity and what it means to be truly prosperous in life. He talks in depth about how it is not enough to make a lot of money, or have nice things but we have to live a balanced life that includes giving. The more we give both of ourselves and our money the more we will have in life.
I for one really believe in this theory and that those who give are the one who gain the most out of life both financial and spiritually. To be successful in life requires we be happy with ourselves and our surroundings, so why not do what you can to make the world a better place.
These are my two cents on the day,
One of the areas that make blogs really unique and revolutionary is that plagiarism is actually encouraged. It is not necessary that a company creates all its blog material from scratch. Doing your research and collecting useful data from other sources is highly encouraged.
One point of etiquette is to make sure you reference and link back to your source. If you do this, it is flattering to the original author and a source of pride for many bloggers. This is another change from the tradition business mindset of what’s mine is mine.
A good business person today is one who is seen as a body of knowledge who can help many people. We live in a world where solution selling is King and whoever has the most solutions to offer sits atop the throne. So in the world of blogs, don’t be shy to share what you have learned. Pass along the wisdom of other and you just may get yourself a seat in the palace.