Make Small Commitments. Get Big Changes.
By Michael Dalton Johnson
Real and permanent change doesn’t happen by simply resolving to do something. That’s not enough. True change is a slower process. It takes time and self-reflection.
This simple, yet profoundly powerful, advice can gently help you change your life and accelerate your personal growth.
What’s this got to do with sales? Nothing and everything.
Taking Care of You Drink plenty of water. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper. Eat more fruits and vegetables and eat less that is manufactured in processing plants. Avoid eating food that is handed to you through a window. Live the 3 E’s — Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy. Play more games. Read more books than you did in 2009. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day. Sleep for 7 hours. Take a 10-30 minute walk daily. And while you walk, smile.
Your Outlook Don’t compare your life to others’. You have no idea what their journey is all about. Don’t have negative thoughts of things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment. Don’t overdo. Keep your limits. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does. Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip. Dream more while you are awake. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need. Forget issues of the past. Don’t remind others of their past mistakes. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Make peace with your past so it won’t spoil the present. No one is in charge of your happiness except you. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime. Learn a new word every day. Smile and laugh more. You don’t have to win every argument.
Your Relationships Call your family often. Each day give something good to others. Forgive everyone for everything. Spend time with people over the age of 70 and under the age of 6. Try to make at least three people smile each day. What other people think of you is none of your business. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.
Your Life The worst promise you can break is one made to yourself. Do the right thing! Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful. You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body. However good or bad a situation is, it will change. The best is yet to come. When you awake alive in the morning, thank God for it. Your Innermost Self is always happy. Follow it. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
Keep these rules handy and review them often. Follow them and small, almost imperceptible, changes will accumulate into something big. Your life will change.
The Biggest Goof Sellers Make When Dealing with Hot Prospects
By Jill Konrath
I dream of hot prospects who call me up and say, “We’ve heard good things about your company. We want to make a decision quickly. We’re hoping you can help us out.”
Occasionally, my sales fantasies turn into realities. When it happens, it’s so easy to be seduced by this low-hanging fruit. Outwardly, I try to appear calm, cool and collected – a true professional. But inside, every inch of my body wants to scream out, “Take me! Take me!”
Okay. I’m being a bit dramatic here, but I really want to make my point.
It’s so easy to be tempted by these opportunities. And when you yield to this temptation, you make fatal mistakes—ones that can totally derail your sales efforts and cause you to lose the business.
True, But Embarrassing Story
Let me give you a personal example, to show you how easy it is to get caught up in this seduction.
A few years ago, my primary business focus was working with large corporations in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area when they were launching new products. My expertise? Helping them shorten time to revenue on new product introductions.
I’d just launched SellingtoBigCompanies.com to help small businesses gain access to my expertise. It was my new baby. I’d invested tons of time and lots of love to get it up and running.
When the phone rang that day, I answered absentmindedly. But when the caller announced that he was from Southwest Airlines, I snapped to attention. He’d been all over my new website, was very impressed, and also very interested in my training programs.
The airline was going to be putting its salespeople through training in the not-too-distant future and was evaluating its options. When I asked who else he was looking at, I was delighted to be included with the industry biggies.
Mr. Southwest had dozens of questions about my content, delivery models, remote training options, learning reinforcement and more. I answered every single one of them in glorious detail.
When he requested a proposal, I asked, “How soon?” When he answered that he wanted it in two days, I quickly agreed.
The proposal I sent to him via e-mail covered everything we had talked about in our conversation, plus a full range of pricing options. It was a masterpiece. I had high hopes that this opportunity would take my business to a whole new level.
I never heard from Mr. Southwest again. Even though I contacted him many times, he never called back.
It was my own fault. I mistakenly let my own eagerness to land this marquis customer outweigh my common sense.
The truth is I really needed the business at that time. After spending many months and lots of money to create SellingtoBigCompanies.com, I was running short on cash. I should have known better, but I was seduced by the opportunity.
In retrospect, I failed to find out if Mr. Southwest was just exploring his options or actually in the final stages of decision making. It’s highly likely he was just doing the former.
Had I known that, I would never have written a detailed proposal. Instead, I would have focused on helping him determine the business value of making a change. I would have used my expertise to help him sell the concept internally and establish decision criteria favorable to my solution.
Over and over again, I see other sellers make similar mistakes when they have a hot prospect on the line. Like me, they expound on their capabilities and benefits. They willingly provide detailed information and do tons of extra work to create proposals or presentations—anything the prospects want.
While that puts you into the “nice” seller category, it’s not a good business decision to invest tons of time and effort to land a fantasy customer. Nor does it help your prospects make the best decision for their organization.
If Mr. Southwest was actually deciding in a couple days, I should have addressed the fact that I was a small boutique firm that didn’t compete head-on with the larger companies he was looking at.
Doing business with me would have been risky. I knew that. But I didn’t want to bring it up; I was hoping he wouldn’t notice!
I was so blinded by the opportunity that I was willing to do anything that he asked. It was delusional on my part. Wishful thinking. Hopeful. When we feel this seduction, we need to remind ourselves that “hope is not a strategy.”
While hot prospects may hold the promise of big paychecks, there’s often much that still needs to be determined if it’s a good fit for your company.
Don’t be overeager. Instead be ruthlessly realistic. Detach from the fantasy and assess your true chances. Bring up the tough questions.
Why? Because it’s the right thing to do for both you and your prospect.
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