How to make your New Years Resolutions stick

Many of us who are looking forward to the future have made New Years resolutions.

You know those grand plans that we come up with, that if we follow-through, will make our life more fulfilling. Unfortunately, they are also the same plans that are usually forgotten by the 3rd week of January. If you don’t believe this just check the classifieds in February for used exercise equipment.

 

Common resolutions like “Quit Smoking, Lose Weight or Save Money,” may sound great, but they aren’t very successful. Using the following 7 steps will help you design more powerful New Years resolutions.

 

1. Develop S.M.A.R.T. Resolutions

Specific: You must specifically and clearly identify your target because you need to know what success looks like.

Measurable: Clear destinations and checkpoints along the way provide stepping-stones,  that are easily attained and provide victories that keep you motivated.

Action Oriented: Effective resolutions require action, they are doing resolutions, not being or having resolutions.

Realistic: You design resolutions to solve a problem or to achieve a dream. They should stretch you outside of your comfort zones, but if you make them completely out of reach, you are only setting yourself up for failure.

Timely: They need to be important to you at this time in your life, if it is not, you will not do the work necessary to succeed.   

 

2. Identify what’s in it for you: If you are going to follow through with your resolution you need to be excited about the benefits it will bring. Visualizing yourself fitting into those jeans that “shrunk” or driving that new car are powerful motivators.

 

3. List the obstacles that stand in your way: Knowing what the obstacles are can help you determine how to get around them.

 

 4. Consider who can help you: You need to carefully identify friends whom you can trust to share your goals with and who can check your progress and encourage you. These people enable you to maintain your focus and keep your eyes on the goal itself.

 

5. Consider what resources are needed: Knowing what tools and knowledge you’ll need to help you accomplish your goal will increase your chances of success.

 

6. Develop an Action Plan: There is something so powerful about putting your resolutions down on paper, but this is the step where most people fail. I think Denver Broncos football coach Mike Shanahan put it best when he said, “If you have a plan, and if you have your direction laid out. You can chart your progress to your dreams at each stopping point along the way. And just as important, all along the way you can see how far you’ve come”. Developing your action plan will give you the road map to your dreams.

 

     7. Set a deadline for achievement: Resolutions without deadlines are only dreams. Deadlines are another powerful motivator. Also when you are setting deadlines add the phrase “on or before” ie. “I will acquire 20 new clients on or before July 1, 2009”

 

So this year make those New Years Resolutions stick, and reap the benefits. Because the best way to predict your future, is to create it yourself.

How to Lead via their Ego

It amazes me how much our ego plays in our day to day decisions.

One tip on leading people is to look for the win for them personally if they act the way we want them to act.

The reality is that your employees will only act the way you want to act while you are watching, if the only reason you give them for acting that way is, “Because I say so.”

However, if they see how it will make their life easier, reduce personal stress or make them more money, by acting the way you want them to, then their will be no need to police them. They will simply act that way because it will produce personal benefits for them.

Educate them on those benefits and they will be motivated to act that way, whether you are watching or not.

This is how you get them to do what you want to do, because they (and their ego) want to do it.

How to make decisions with the best decision making tools

“So which option is better A or B?”

Your customers may not vocalize this, but they are thinking it.

When customers are hesitating to make a decision, you need to understand that there are many factors that they are thinking of.

“Should I choose A or B?” “Should I buy now or wait?” “Should I buy here or somewhere else?” “Should I buy or not buy? “Should I pay cash or use credit?”

A lot to think about. I know whenever I have a big decision to make I use a simple tool to help me decide.

I write a pros and cons list. This is a tool that I believe dates back to Ben Franklin days. Here is how it works:

Step 1: Get a clean sheet of paper

Step 2: Draw a line down the middle of it.

Step 3: Write a “+” sign on the left side and a “-” sign on the right.

Step 4: Brainstorm all the reasons why you should go ahead (benefits) and write them down, in point form, below the “+” sign.

Step 5: Continue brainstorming and write down all the drawbacks of going ahead below the “-” sign.

Usually the answer will be clear at this point, with one side dominating the page. However, if it isn’t then proceed to Step 6.

Step 6: Assign a rating for each point. ie. 5 pts. for really important point, 3 points for somewhat important point and 1 point for ever other point.

Step 7: After assigning a rating for each point, simply add up your total. And the side with the most points is the decision you should make.

So if you find your customers hesitating, you may want to help them buy using this simple tool.

However, if you need to narrow the decision between multiple options, there is an excellent tool called a barrier analysis, which can be found in the book, From Landfalls to Legacies by Rob MacLeod http://www.macleodandcompany.com/. (This is also an excellent read because he uses a parable style, but the book has more meat that most parable books that I have read.)

I’ve witnessed Rob work with a cross functional group from a large organization (who was legendary for not being able to come to a concensis) and using this tool, they agreed on which areas of their company to work on in a few short hours. The facilitation was so successful, that it even ended early.

The Secret to Sales Success: It’s not about you!!!

He rolled his eyes and thought, “Here we go again.” And as the salesperson droned on and on about his company’s history and about how great his products are.

Here is a tip for all salespeople (and we are all salespeople, selling something) that will dramatically increase your chances of making the sale.

“It’s not about you.”

Your customer doesn’t care whether you have the best product on the market with the most wizbangs and doo hickeys (both technical terms). And they could care less that your company has been in business for 80 gazillion years and that your founder started the company out of dirt and determination.

But what your customer does care about is how those wizbangs and doo hickeys are going to help him do his job better, easier, more efficient and effective.

In short, “Your customer’s don’t care about you or your products, unless you can convey to them how it will help their company and them personally.”

So next time you are in front of a customer and are tempted to spew all kinds of features and company history on them. STOP!!!

Stop and think of how they will benefit from what you have to offer and speak to them in that kind of language. Because that kind of language is music to their ears and will lead to dollars in your pocket.

How to create Powerful Introductions

I asked him, “So what do you do?” and he replied, “I sell insurance.”

How boring!! In a previous post (you can check it out here https://relmes.wordpress.com/2008/03/06/how-to-become-more-effective-at-networking-events-part-9/ ) I wrote about how to develop your audio-business card and why doing so in a way that differentiates you from your competition can positively impact how you are perceived.

Remember, “Your customer’s perception is your reality.”

I am currently reading an excellent book titled: Becoming Preferred – How to Outsell your Competition by Michael Vickers. http://www.michaelvickers.com/ 

Here is what her wrote (I love, this section) about Creating your Introduction.

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Your Introduction

The most important thing you can do in formulating a powerful introduction is to first define the benefits of what you do rather than simply describing what you do. For example, let us say that I sell insurance. You meet me at a local watering hole and during the course of our conversation you ask me what I do for a living. I reply,

“I sell insurance.”

Do you need any more information?

Do you feel like introducing me to all of your friends?

Do you get an overwhelming urge to invite me home for dinner and develop a relationship with me?

I don’t think so. Let’s face it, there is nothing wrong with selling insurance, it is just that you have been there and done that! Saying you sell insurance does not create excitement not does it create interest.

A number of years ago i was in a golf tournament. During the course of the tournament I struck up a conversation with a professional looking gentleman whom I had not met before.

The initial conversation was polite and then I asked him what he did for a living. He replied,

“I am a golf fund specialist”

That caught my curiousity and I replied, “What do you mean a golf fund specialist?” “Well, ” he said, “I help executives enjoy the game of Golf today and well into their retirement.” “How do you do that?” I asked, He then stated, “I would love to show your how I do it. If you give me your business card I will be happy to give you a call and perhaps we can continue this conversation over coffee.”

Am I interested in meeting with this person? Absolutely.

Guess what he does for a living?

He sells insurance!

The products he sells are financial products, but the benefit of what he sells is financial security. His marketing target is the business professional who golfs.

The market has thousands of insurance agents and financial planners, but how many “golf fund specialists” do you know?

“It is not what you do that counts, but the benefit of what you do.” – Michael Vickers

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Now that is what I call a sexy introduction!!!

How to become more effective at Networking Events – Part 15

Be Proud of what you do

When you attend a networking event it is important to remember what you are really selling. What is the benefit that you bring to the table for your customers. It is important to keep this top of mind. Other wise you may feel like you are selling at people instead of helping your customers buy. (Big difference)

Focus on the benefits.

Your job is to look for people that can use those benefits and communicate them in a compelling way, so they want to explore how you can help them further.

And if you don’t see how the benefits that you bring to the table help others, my advice would be to find something else to do. Instead of trying to sell something you don’t believe in, invest the time to find something you do believe in. Not only will selling become easier, but your life will become more fulfilling.

Which is more attractive?

Which do you think is more attractive?

 

A few years ago I was working on a project with a major Funeral Services company, where I was designing a couple of training programs for their Advanced Planning Professionals.

These are the folks that sell Advanced Funeral Plans.  

Talk about having an ugly service to sell. I took the gig, because I figured that if I can make that sexy, I could make anything sexy.

They were struggling and one of the reasons was that they were focusing on selling features and not benefits.

 

 

One of the things I told them to do; was to stop selling caskets and stop selling urns… because folks just don’t want to talk about those things until they absolutely have to. swers to both of these questions is “Yes”.

Instead talk about how there are 67 things they need to do within 24 hours of having a loved one passing away,they don’t know what the list is, and it’s the worst day of their life.

If we could take some of that pain and stress away from their family on that day… is that something you think they would be willing to talk about? Also, since most funerals are payable upon delivery and since the average cost is around $10,000, if they could take away some of that financial stress from their family, again on the worst day of their life, is that something you think they would be willing to talk about.
 
The an

When you focus on what benefits they will receive and how it will help them personally, that is what makes your products sexy, not the features. Sure you need to features to back up your benefit claims, but you will not sell much when you only tell the features.

Because if they ask them whether their customer wants a wood one or a metal one and then add that when they throw 6 feet of dirt on top of it, the metal one will just dint, but the wood one will break in half. They will have their customers running for the hills, because that conversation is just not attractive.