Life Lessons – Selling Yourself is a Contact Sport

Everybody sells. We are always selling something.  Selling involves one person communicating with an individual or group to make a sale – to persuade a client to buy something  – a product, a service, a good idea or something that satisfies your needs or their needs on a personal level , or on a business level when an individual is purchasing for a company. David Ogilvy, one of the fathers of modern advertising, said it best: “We sell or else.” If you don’t ask – you don’t get. But to get – you’ve got to learn to ask for what you want the right way.

When you think about it – your life is a series of sales presentations. Children develop selling skills early on in life to get what they want. When you want something or someone to do something, you use your selling skills. When you attempt to get a date, ask for a pay raise, provide cost-effective solutions to solve a clients problem or deal with customer service representatives, you are using your personal selling skills. (Mind you some are better at it than others)

Selling is about making a personal “Connection” with your perspective client. Selling is about building a relationship with the person you want to do business with. Selling is a contact sport. If people aren’t buying what you’re selling – than you need to re-evaluate your sales approach. You need to figure out how to get people to like you. (People do  business or hang around with people they like)

Successful salespeople are no longer adversaries who manipulate others for personal gain. Successful salespeople are consultants, partners and problem solvers. A successful salesperson’s goal is to build a long-term relationship with their clients. The most important characteristic for establishing a lasting relationship with a client is a salesperson’s willingness to provide service. Your only competitive advantage to separate yourself from your competition is the level of customer service you provide. It’s not your products, (Everybody is selling a comparable product) – it’s not your price (Someone is always willing to sell theirs for less)  – its service. Customer loyalty is established over a long period of time. Your clients must believe that you truly care about them and their welfare. Clients must believe that you have their best interest in mind.

How do you get someone to like you? The first thing you do is run out and buy a copy of Dale Carnegie‘s  book ” How to Win Friends and Influence People” What was true back in 1936 when he wrote the book – still holds true today. Treat people with respect and they will respond in kind. Keep in mind that respect is reciprocal. It’s not something that you can demand. It is something that you earn. You’ve got to give it first before you get it back.

Keys to Developing Personal and Professional Relationships Built on Mutual Respect and Trust

  • Different is just that – different. Just because others go about doing things differently than you – it doesn’t make it wrong. Embrace and celebrate the differences in people.
  • Listen to the other person’s point of view and don’t interrupt. (I listen to understand not necessarily to agree)
  • Be open-minded. Try to see things from the other persons point of view.
  • Be flexible. Does it have to be your way or no way? Will their way of doing it get the same results? Resist the urge to micro-manage.
  • Don’t argue – don’t try to bully the other person into agreeing with you. You are adults. You can agree to disagree.
  • Don’t be condescending or talk down to the other person. You are dealing with an Adult – treat them that way.
  • Don’t resort to name calling and putting the other person down – especially behind their back.
  • Don’t verbally or physically attack the other person.
  • Treat the other person the way you want to be treated.
  • Respect the fact that they have an opinion and they have a right to express that opinion – even if you don’t agree with it.
  • Effective communication takes two – the sender and the receiver. Make sure you are communicating with the other person in a style that they like.

One more thought worth thinking about. You communicate 93% of the time non-verbally. (38% by the tone of your voice and 55% of the time by your body language alone) Your words and actions must be as one or the other person will believe the non-verbal to be more accurate.  If you are sincere and truly want to build relationships with others that last – then it will be reflected in the way that you treat them. If what you are currently doing isn’t accomplishing that – then you need to change what you’re doing and try something else. Trust me – they don’t need to change – you do.  – Cheers. 🙂

Think it, Act it – You’ll Eventually Become It. You Can Have The Life You Want

Einstein’s definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a difference result. You have to change the input to change the output. You’ve got to develop new habits. A good habit is a good result – plain and simple. (Of course the opposite is also true – bad habits produce bad results) We are adults and we can develop new habits. All we have to do is stop doing one thing and start doing another – and if we do it often enough – it will become us. Behaviorist’s suggest that if you do something twenty-one times in a row – you’ll have developed a new habit. I think for the most part that we are born with a blank slate. And that we learn to behave a certain way to get a certain result. Now if that’s true – then the way we act is a learned behavior. And if you agree that it’s a learned behavior – then that means we can unlearn it and replace it with something else.

Think it …

I’m not going to get too deep here – but your internal dialogue (What you say to yourself) has everything to do with how you react and act externally. If you feel sad – you’ll look sad. If you feel happy – you’ll look happy. Attitude – Your attitude is everything! You are whoever you think you are – it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you think you can or can’t – you’re absolutely right. If you think you can’t – then you are beat before you start. David knew he could defeat Goliath. He had faith in his own ability to pull it off. You need to believe in yourself. You need to believe that you are capable of doing whatever you set out to do. You need to believe that you can have the life you want.

Act it …

You need to start acting in a way that is going to get you what you want. What new habits do you have develop to get the kinds of results you need? What do you have to stop doing and start doing to accomplish what you set out to do? Do you need to learn how to communicate and interact more effectively – manage your time – cope with stress – solve problems, deal with difficult people and challenging situations or expand your circle of influence? If you are going to change the habit to change the result then you need to decide what new habit you need to develop. Once you’ve decided what you need to learn – then all you need to do is start doing it. It’s never easy to change – but you can change if you truly believe that you need to – that you need to change in order to have the life you want.

You’ll eventually become it …

Practice, practice, practice. Be patient – it takes time. But, the more you do it – the better you’ll get at it – and the better you get at it – the more you’ll do it without thinking about it. It will become ingrained in you – it will become part of you. Everything we choose to do alters our brain and it fundamentally changes who we are. Dr. Richard Restak, neuropsychiatrist and clinical professor of neurology at George Washington University believes it’s a process that continues until we die. The human brain has the ability to reprogram itself. All of the new research on the brain suggests that no matter how old you are, it’s never too late to change your brain for the better. Your brain doesn’t break down over time. The brain has a lifetime capacity for learning new things.

You can have the life you want …

You don’t have to settle. You can have the life you want – the life you imagined for yourself. If you are mentally and physically capable of doing and becoming who you really want to be – then the only thing standing in your way is you. All you have to do is learn how to get out of your own way. Stop doing one thing – and start doing another – and if you do it often enough – it will become you. Remember – You may have developed a certain way of behaving at a very young age but it doesn’t have to dictate where you end up or who you become. – Cheers. 🙂

* (C) Copyright 2012 – Brian Smith. Think it, Act it, You’ll Eventually Become it – You Can Have The Life You Want – is the title of my soon to be published self-help / personal development book. Stay tuned

Life Lessons – How to Get Along with People Even if You Don’t Like Them 5

Rarely can you accomplish all that you set out to do without the help of someone else. You don’t have to like the people you work with but you do need to learn how to get along with them. “Soft-Skills” or emotional intelligence as Daniel Goleman likes to refer them too – is a learned behavior.

Worth Remembering …

“A common core of personal and social abilities has proven to be the key ingredient in people’s success, emotional intelligence” – Daniel Goleman

Understanding yourself well and studying the behaviors of others allows you to improve your performance in relationships, both at work and at home. Your technical ability no longer guarantees success. Results of a study conducted by the HayGroup – a leading authority on emotional intelligence, shows that for most jobs that involve working with people, EQ (Emotional intelligence) is twice as important as IQ. Sixty-seven per cent of the competencies needed to manage or lead people effectively are emotionally based. (Often referred to as soft-skills – our ability to communicate and interact effectively with others)

Worth Remembering …

“In organizations where people trust and believe in each other, they don’t get into regulating and coercing behaviors. They don’t need a policy for every mistake … people in these trusting environments respond with enormous commitments and creativity” – Walter Wriston

Establishing a relationship built on mutual respect and trust is a process all humans have to go through when they meet someone for the very first time. We take direction from and hang out with people we like. Trust and respect do not come automatically – you must earn both – one person at a time. You must learn how to get along with people even if you don’t like them. Success is a team sport. Just like it takes a village to raise a child – it takes a team to manage and lead an organization. Think of someone you are having difficulty with – for what ever reason you two aren’t getting along. (This could be someone at work or at home) I want you to take on this challenge and turn that situation around. I want you to apply a 3-step process known as the 3R’s – I promise you’ll be amazed at how effective it is in establishing those all important relationships.

Step One: Rapport: Find out something about the other person other than the work they do. What are their hobbies? – Are they married? – Do they have children? – What do they like to do in their spare time? The easiest way to establish rapport with someone is to get them talking about themselves. Ask questions – get interested in them and then they will be interested in you.

Step Two: Relationship: You can’t have a relationship with anyone that you haven’t first established a rapport with. The more that you can carrying on a conversation with them on subjects that they are interested in – the more likely you are building a relationship with them. You are beginning to break down the barriers between you and the other person. You are starting to like each other.

Step Three: Respect: You won’t respect anyone that you haven’t developed a relationship with first. Respect is reciprocal. You have to give it to get it. The more that you treat someone the way you’d like to be treated the more likely it is that they will respond in kind. You get back – what you send out.

After respect comes trust. You never trust anyone you don’t respect first. If you have established mutual respect in your relationship with the other person, then they will trust you. They may not always agree with you – but they will respect the fact that you have an opinion and you have a right to express it. So go out and give it a try – You’ve got nothing to lose – but a whole lot to gain. – Hey remember – You can trust me 🙂

Take Covey’s Advice – It’s 100% in Your Control 3

I know that I can’t control everything that goes on around me. I know most outcomes are out of my hands. But I do know that I can control how I choose to react in any given situation. I know that in that space between stimulus and response that Dr. Covey talked about – and what Dr. Viktor Frankl knew to be true from his own life experiences – that I must learn to react in a way that will get me what I want. Everything you do in life is a matter of choice. You may not like the choices that you have to choose from – but it is a choice.

“If you change the way you look at things. The things you look at will change” – Unknown

Having a relationship with my son was and still is very important to me. (I was not his most favorite person when his mother and I were going through our divorce) But I knew that if I wanted to have a good relationship with my son I had to have a good relationship with his mother. I had a choice to make. The divorce could be adversarial or not. I could choose to be confrontational and drag out the divorce proceedings, or I could choose to be open and receptive and negotiate a settlement that his mother and I could agree on. I knew that if I wanted what I wanted – which was a relationship with my son – then I needed to react in a way that was going to accomplish that. My ex-wife will always be my sons mother and my granddaughters grandmother whether we were married or not. Nothing I could do would ever change that. It is what it is – it would make no never mind.

“Everything can be taken away from man but one thing – to choose – one’s own attitude in a given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” – Viktor Frankl

I’m happy to say that my ex-wife and I have a great relationship. She is one of my very best friends. I know that I can turn to her for help when I need it and she knows she can count on me if and when she needs my help. (That’s what friends do) That’s a conscious choice I made.

Attitude really is everything. I’m talking about yours, not the people you work with and interact with on a daily basis. If you think about it – your attitude is the only thing you can control 100% of the time. Only you get to decide how you want to react to any given situation. Yes it’s true – other people or events may be the motivating factor that got you to react a certain way – but only you can mentally or physically do it. No one else can do it for you. You are the only one who can give that kind of power over you away. Take Covey’s advice. In that space between stimulus and response think about what you want to accomplish and then respond in a way that will get you what you want. Remember – It’s 100% in your control. – Cheers, 🙂