Everybodies got it figured out but me Syndrome

Have you ever felt like you didn’t measure up?

Have you ever felt like an imposter?

Have you ever felt like others are smarter than you.

If you have feel this way…you are not alone.

This is what I call the “Everybodies got it figured out but me Syndrome”.

This common syndrome effects most business people and the reasons for this is as follows:

1) Our perception of others

Most people work hard to put their best foot  forward. To look good to others. We go to great lengths to dress the right clothes, say the right things and generally hide all of their flaws. This way we can make a good impression on others so they will only see the best side of us. Because of this we have a positive perception of them.

2) Our perception of  ourselves

When we see ourselves, we have more information that we use to base our perception upon. Not only do we see the good things that we show others, but we also see the bad things. We see all of the negative things including our bad habits, our insecurities and hang-ups.

In short we see our whole self, flaws and all.

On top of this we have tend to discount the things that we are good at. We discount our genius, we discount our talents, we discount our good habits. We do this because we have become so acustom to them that they are not seen as special anymore. We have become numb to their value.

So, because we only see the good side of others, and we see our whole self, good and bad we tend to think that others are better than us… that they have it figured out.

One of the keys to getting out of this negative doom loop that hurts our self-esteem is to realize that everyone else is flawed just like us. That they have doubts and insecurities just like us.

And they don’t have it all figured out…just like us.

In the Shoes of the Customer

Thursday night I attended a CAPS (Canadian Association of Professional Speakers) Event in Hamilton and a fellow member George Olds http://www.go4results.com who is a customer service expert asked me to preview his latest book titled: In the Shoes of the Customer.

It is a simple yet powerful book that contains timeless relationship building principles.

His Customer Service Communications Model is as follows:

Every customer encounter must:

show you’re aware

Show you care

and show you’re doing your share

In the book he talks about questioning for understanding and listening to the customers.

In the end of the book he has listed what he calles the Customers’ Bill of Rights

The right to eye contact

The right to a smile

The right to a greeting

The right to your name (and the right to have you use mine)

The right to be offered help

The right to your undivided attention

The right to accuracy

The right to a product that does what it’s suppose to do

The right to a fair price for your product or service

The right to thanks for your business

These may seem like common sense to most people, but unfortunately they are not common practise. Now I have just listed them, to find out more visit George’s website and purchase a copy of the book.

Automobile University

I am just about ready to go away on vacation for a week and althought the recharge time will be appreciated, there is one aspect of work that I will really miss.

I am currently working with a major client that has its head office an hour away from my home and I have been using that commuting time (4-5 days a week) to read as many books as possible.

You see, I have a passion for reading and my favorite form of reading is by ‘reading’ audio books. I picked up this habit when I was clocking over 60,000 km a year selling Sporting Goods to Schools, because I wanted to make good use of all of the time I spent in the car. I found that I was spending at least 4-5 hours in the car a day.

Now you may not spend that much time in the car… although many sales reps do, but say you commute for 30 minutes each way to work. That would mean that you are in the car for 1 hour a day, 5 hours a week. Most audiobooks are abridged and run anywhere from 45 minutes to 3 hours. Even unabridged audiobooks are usually 3-9 hours long.

So for our example, lets say you ‘read’ one 3-hour audiobook a week (in your 5 hours). That is 50 books a year. Can you imagine how much smarter you will be if you read 50 books a year. You will know things that other don’t. (because they are not using their commuting time as wisely as you)

And this new knowledge can make the difference between getting the sale or not, getting the promotion or not and maybe even getting that spouse or not. (The topics that you can ‘read’ are endless)

So use your time wisely and ‘read’ yourself smart by using what my friend and mentor Jim Estill says use the power of while. (do something while you are doing something else) You can check out Jim’s blog on CEO Time-Leadership @ http://www.jimestill.com

Powerful questions

My wife and I visited our lawyer today to finally write our wills. (We have been saying we were going to do this when we had kids almost 10 years ago.)  As we were talking about what we would do with our vast fortune after we die, it reminded me of one of the questions that I ask participants of my training program, Road Map to Success.

That questions is, “What would you like people to say about you at your funeral?” And are you doing what you need to do in order for them to say what you want them to say.

I like the way my friend Warren Evans  http://www.wevans.com puts it in his amazing keynote presentation called: Where in the world is the world going.

Warren says that sometime between the ages of 8-12 we all dream about what we would be when we grow up. And they key to success is by asking yourself the question, “Would that child be proud of the person you have become?”

Two powerful questions.

I love powerful questions that make you think.

Here is another one to help you when you make decisions in life.

“How would the person I’d like to be, do what I am about to do?” 

And I believe that the person I’d like to be…will have a will in place in case the unfortunate happens.

Fear of the Unknown

I just got back from a pool party at my sister’s house. Everyone had a good time except I was on edge for most of it. I have two kids, Danielle who is 9 and Jacob who is 6. And they were having a blast jumping in the pool in the deep end and seeing how far down they could go. Then they would come up and swim to the side, get out and repeat the process again and again and again.

This was incredible given the fact that at the beginning of last year they would only go in with a blow-up devices on their arms and around their stomach. And they would freak if you took them beyond where they could touch.

So what is the difference…

They learned to swim. They took an unknown and turned it into a known. And the fear went away.

“People tend to fear the unknown”

Another example of this fact.

When my wife April and I were on our honeymoon in Jamacia 15 years ago we were seated for dinner one night with a couple (who were also on their honeymoon) from Nebraska. I was trying to break the ice and I asked the gentleman this simple question, “Are you having a good time?” He said that he was, except he felt very uncomfortable. When I asked him why he said that “he was uncomfortable around all the black people”.

Inside my head I thought… didn’t you see the brochure. Most of the people that live in Jamacia are black. Then he went on to explain that in his town their was only one black family. I realized that he felt uncomfortable around all the black people, because he didn’t know much about them.

I felt blessed because living in Canada and near Toronto, we had exposure to many different nationalities and cultures. (heck we had at least 5 different nationalities represented in our wedding party alone).

So how does this apply to your business and increasing sales?

It is important to know that people naturally are afraid of the unknown and that could include your products or services. They may feel uncomfortable taking a risk and buying what you are selling if they don’t know about it. What is does and how it will help them?

By educating them on what your product does and how it can help them, you will relieve the fear that may be the roadblock preventing them from saying, “Yes”.

In a future posting I will share how to better educate your customers by Speaking their Love Language. If you would like a preview check out the Article section of my Website at: http://www.richardelmes.com

The Empathy/Focus balance

One of my favourite quotes that talks about how to be successful in sales is from Zig Ziglar. Zig is one of the premier Motivional Speakers. I believe he is in his 70’s now and still going strong. The quote that I love is,

“You can get anything you want in life, as long as you help enough other people get what they want.”

I believe this quote talks about the Empathy/Focus balance that is critical for salespeople to be effective.

Empathy is the part of yourself that allows you to put yourself in the shoes of your customer. This means helping them. Instead of selling them a product. Help them solve a problem. This will take the emphasis off you and on the customer. And customers know when salespeople are only looking out for themselves.

They sense it and they don’t like it.

Years ago, I worked in a retail sporting goods store and one of our manufacturers sales reps was in the store showing the line of products that we were booking for the next season. This rep was encouraging us to bump up the order and then he revealed that if he sold so many dollars that booking season he would receive a trip to Hawaii.

So he wanted us to overstock our store, just so he could take a vacation. Well not only did we not bump up our order, but we reduced our order by over 50%.

Customers don’t really care about helping you reaching your goals. They are only concerned about reaching their own.

When you show empathy for them and try to help solve their problem, they will reward you with a sale.

Also, if you have too much empathy and not enough focus, you may not get enough sales.

Your focus is really your goal orientation. Your drive that helps you focus on your goals and work hard to achieve them.

It is that part that helps you ask for the order.

Too much empathy and not enough focus and you will have a few really happy customers. But you won’t be making enough to survive.

Too much focus and not enough empathy will cause you too push too hard and end up pushing your customer away.

The key is the balance.

Just like Zig Ziglar says: “You can get anything you want in life, as long as you help enough other people get what they want.”

Hello world!

Welcome to my blog!

The purpose of this blog is to share with you some of the things that I discover about how to be successful in sales and in life. I have been studying for the past 11 years in what I call Elmes University. The curriculum consists of

1) working with some very smart people, many of them gurus in their own right

2) reading over 100 books each year (and I am not talking about novels)

3) and being a curious about how life works.

You could say that I am a student of life. And I major in Business, Sales, Leadership and Human dynamics.

So, keep coming back as I share some of my thoughts, learnings and stories as they happen.