Taking Action

Here are a couple of interesting quotes I found on the topic of taking action:

“You cannot build a reputation on what you are going to do.” – Henry Ford

“Sitting still and wishing makes no person great. The Lord sends the fishes, but you must dig the bait.” – Author Unknown


Enlisting your pit crew: The secret strategy that will help you get people to help you with your career

In a previous post I talked about the benefits of having people in your life that can help your career. I called them your pit crew. 

Today I will share with you some secrets on how to get people to help you.

1. Take Inventory: You have some people in your pit crew already. Make a list of the different people  that may be able to help you. Divide these people into three categories. Core friends, Inner circle and network.

  • Core Friends: These are your best friends. The people that you can be completely open and honest with and trust that they will still stick with you. They have seen your flaws and still like you anyway. You can tell them anything and not feel that it will go any further.  
  • Inner Circle: These are friends that you can moderately relax with. They usually know about a part of your life, but they may not know the whole story. They only know what you are willing to show them. You enjoy each others company.
  • Network: These are people that you know and they know you. You enjoy each other when you are together, but you only know one part of each others life. You may know them in a certain situation , such as work.

When you are looking for help, you want to look first at your core friends, then your Inner Circle and then your network. The reason you do it in this order is because the closer they are to you, the more you trust them, and trust that they want to help you.

2. Exploration: Ask, “Who has the skills and talents that would help me the most?”, “Who has done what I want to do before?” and “Who would benefit from helping me achieve my vision?” (What’s in it for them?)

3. Approach: Then approach the people that you believe can help you and ask how you can help them.

“The key to networking success is not to ask what your network can do for you, but instead ask what you can do for your network.” – Richard Elmes

If you add value to them in their journey, then they will in-turn want to help you in yours. This is called the law of reciprocity. I have personally used this approach many times in order to connect with some fantastic (and helpful) people.

So, now that you know my secret way of building my pitcrew, the question is what are you going to do with it? Are you going to say to yourself, “That was interesting” and then forget it or are you going to grab some paper and start with step 1, Taking an inventory.

After reading this send me an email at richard@richardelmes.com and let me know how this strategy has help you in your career.


How to keep your career in the fast lane? Enlist your pit crew

One thing that I discovered about all the successful people that I have met is that they didn’t achieve great things alone.

My mom likes watching NASCAR racing on TV. Her favourite driver is Jeff Gordon. http://www.jeffgordon.com

Jeff (or Jeffy as she calls him) has proven to be one of the all stars on the Stock Car Circuit. But even if Jeff Gordon was at the top of his game and his car was the fastest on the track during the race, he may still not win. Because when Jeff pulls into the pits to fill up with fuel and change tires, if one of his pit crew forgets to put on a tire, he is going nowhere.

Life is like that as well. It is a team sport and you need other people to help you if you are going to succeed.

These people are part of your pit crew and they can provide you with many things including:

Information / Advice: Others may have information that could be critical to your success. They have experiences that may help you avoid many hardships. Listening to them is a good start and it can help you avoid many mistakes in the future.

Encouragement / Emotional Support: There will be days when you need a pick-me-up. Some timely encouragement or words of wisdom can get you through the rough times.This is when you need a cheerleader in your pit crew. Someone who believes in you and believes in what you are trying to accomplish.

Accountability: Having someone hold you accountable for your actions, making sure you do what you say you are going to do will bring amazing results. Because now you are not only letting yourself down, but your accountability partner as well. And you will find that sometimes it is less painful to just do what you promised to do, rather than trying to explain to your partner whay you didn’t do it.

These are the three things that I bring to the table for my coaching clients. But you don’t have to hire a personal success coach in order to move forward. Perhaps family or friends can fill this role. Sometimes different roles will be filled by different people. Either way the results will be a synergy that will allow you to stay focued on your dream and ge there faster than you could ever on your own.

“You can reach greater heights as a team, than you can individually.” -Richard Elmes



Go get ’em tiger: How to set your new Sales Rep up for failure

Imagine you are hired as a new salesperson and on your first day after a brief orientation, your Sales Manager gives you a little pep talk that goes something like this:

“The customers are out there… all you need to do is go out and find them.”

Then after he loads you up with product literature and business cards, he finishes his pep talk with,

“Go get ’em tiger.”

Sounds silly doesn’t it.

Unfortunately, many companies orientation program for new sales reps is not much different.

Sure they may spend a little time on product knowledge training. And maybe a little on how to write up and enter an order into the company’s computer system. But for many companies a formal sales training program designed to help their sales professionals succeed is not existant.

Or worse, it is so old and boring that nobody uses it.

The number one concern organizations have when investing in sales training is the cost. They think that developing a new program or revamping an existing one is going to be expensive.

What they don’t consider is the cost of having an untrained salesperson in the field.

  • The high cost of the negative marketing: The negative impression that the customer has of not only the sales representative, but your company. Untrained sales person tends to make a lot of mistakes and often a fool of themself, because they don’t know what they are doing or talking about. 
  • The high cost of turnover: Salespeople will only struggle so long, getting rejected over and over again, before they will seek out easier challenges. Turnover costs can range anywhere from 30-150% of an employees annual compensation.
  • The high cost of loss sales: The difference between winning and losing in business (especially sales) can be extreemly small, but the compensation is significant. An untrained sales person will lose out to the trained professional more often than not. This can be the difference between sales growth or sales decline. Between having a positive cash flow or going into debt. Between having a to expand, or laying off employees.

Effective sales training can be help your organization bridge that gap by:

  • Improving Credibility with your customer base: Customers love to work with professionals who are trying to help them succeed, not amateurs who are looking at them as a car payment.
  • Reducing Turnover of staff: Long-term employees have the opportunity to build a relationship and get to know what they need. This is attractive to customers who like to buy from people they trust.

Trust = Credibility  and Credibility = Sales

  • Improving Sales: Increasing the credibility of your sales professionals (and your company) will open the door for more opportunities, which will lead to more sales , which will lead to more revenue.

Just think of difference it would make to a new sales professional, when they enter the field confident that they know what they are doing, what they are talking about and how they can help their customers.

Armed with this knowledge and skills skill you will be motivated and prepared for success.

Then you really will be able to; “Go get’em tiger.”

Note: If this opening story hit a little too close to home or you want to explore how you can arm your Sales Professionals for success, email me at richard@richardelmes.com and together we can explore how improve your team’s sales performance.



How do you manage the complex sale? Selling into the Family

Have you ever had a situation where you met with your customer, you built rapport, you determined their needs and they seemed to be excited in your solution, but you still didn’t get the sale?

If so, you are not alone.

Many sales professionals have come across the same situation, only to walk away scratching their heads.

Selling big-ticket items or services into large organizations can be extremely tricky.

According to Warren Evans, http://www.wevans.com/ Futurist and Service Excellence guru, “The Buyer is Dead”. He says this because in today’s complex world of selling it is rare that you only have one buyer. In fact, there are usually many buyers that can influence the sale.

The different types of buyers are commonly know as the Economic Buyer, the User Buyer, the Technical Buyer, the Gatekeeper and the Coach.

Think of it as as guy trying to not only win the hand of marriage of his sweetheart, but also winning the right to be part of her family.

Here is who the players are in making this complex sale:

The User Buyer: In business, this is the person who is actually going to use the products or services you are offering. (In smaller sales the user buyer is usually the economic buyer as well.) In dating this person would be your sweetheart. She has the power to say, “Yes”, pending Mom’s approval. She also has the power to kill the deal and say “No” as any time.

The Technical Buyer: In business, the Technical Buyer is the resident expert, who may get his/her nose bent out of shape and feel threatened. In dating this person would be the Dad. He has some technical knowledge of the services you may be providing and he would be looking to make sure that you have a legitimate, viable solution. Dad has the power to say, “No”, and may be able to influence the Economic Buyer’s decision, but the Technical Buyer doesn’t usually have the authority to say “Yes”.

The Economic Buyer: In business, this is the person who signs the cheques. The person who needs to sign off on the deal and the person who ultimately makes the decision. In dating this would be the Mom. She hold the purse strings in the family. She has the power to say “Yes” and influence her daughters decision. But she also has the power to say, “No”. (note to all of the men who believe that Dad should be the Economic Buyer, just remember that according to Eve Popcorn  http://www.faithpopcorn.com/ in her book “Evolution”, over 80% of all buying decisions are made by women. And I am reminded of a t-shirt I once say that read in big letters, “I am the head of the household” and in small print it said, “And I have my wife’s permission to say so”)

Gatekeepers: In business this is usually the receptionist or Executive Assistant. Their job is maximize the the other buyers time.  To learn more about working with gatekeepers visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEWiyx3-CP4&feature=user to view my video. In dating, this could be the big brother or sister of your sweetheart. They can’t say, “Yes”, but they have the power to say, “No” by keeping you away from meeting the other buyers who have the power to say, “Yes.”

The Coach: In business, this could be anyone who has inside knowledge of that organization and its players. In dating this could be a friend of the family or even a family member that is on your side. This person is extreemly valuable because they can help you navigate the tricky waters and help you avoid any mines that lie beneath the surface that if tripped, will blow the deal right out of the water. The coach is the person who can tell you that big brother is a Van Halen fan and if you talk to him about that band, you will get on his good side. They can also tell you that Dad is a big baseball fan and if you talk about his favourite team, you can get on his good side. Or that Mom grows prize winning roses and if you make a fuss over how beautiful they are, she will like you more.

Each one of these buyers are important and you need to sell to all of them. Neglect one and they can kill the deal. Recognizing and selling to all of them will help you get the complex deal done, whether you are putting together a multi-million dollar deal, or winning a hand in marriage.


Taking life too seriously?

After sending my last post titled: “The Power of Play” I found this quotes.

“Don’t take life too seriously. You’ll never get out alive.” – Bugs Bunny

“You should live everyday as if it were your last and one day you will be right.” – Neil Aitchison

“Happiness is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of travelling.” – Margaret Lee Runbeck


How to avoid getting old

I heard a great quote the other day from Poker legend Doyle Bronsen.

“We don’t stop playing because we get old. We get old because we stop playing.”

I defintately agree with this philosophy, because in business we tend to take our jobs and ourselves too seriously.

People say that they need to act “Corporate”.

Now just what does that mean?

Does it mean that we need to extract any ability to laugh and have fun during work hours?

If so, this would explain why so many people are trucking off to work every day in a daze. Zombies doing the same thing day in, day out. Leaving their personalities at home. Doesn’t that sound exciting… not.

Now I for one do take my craft and my business very seriously. But I tend to take myself very lightly.

I also believe that in my role as a leader and sales trainer, that I need to model this behaviour, so others will feel O.K. to laugh at themselves.

“I truly believe that a day without laughter is a tragedy.”

So lighten up and have more fun at work. Laugh and watch your productivity go up. Because laughter releases energy and energy improves productivity, reduces absenteeism, reduces employee turnover and according to Mr. Bronsen helps you live longer.

And in my book these are all good reasons to lighten up and play.