Friday, August 29, 2008

Don't Ask, Do Tell

In the last several weeks I have been involved with "convincing" people to take on volunteer positions.

This week I had a conversation with someone else who is in the same mode. She is frustrated. I am not.

We talked about it.

She was making no headway. Everyone is saying no.

And that's where we differ.

I don't ask.

I recruit the perfect person for the position. I also let the individual know what qualities and talents they have that will allow her to do a superb job. Additionally, each position has the potential for career development and I go over that with her. At the completion of my conversation it is very likely that the person accepts. Happily.

My friend and I are trying to accomplish the same thing, but going about it in two different ways.

She asks -- I recruit.

I don't know about you, but I like to be successful and I also like to help others grow and develop. It's a win for everyone involved.

If you could recruit a famous person for a position in an organization with which you are involved, who would it be and what attributes would you tell them they have that would make them successful?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

"She Can't Refer Me..... Sob!"

This week I got a great question from Sharon Czarny who owns the Czarny Insurance Agency.

She explained that a good friend (we'll call her Susie) of hers who owns a large business in town, does not place her business health insurance with Sharon. Sharon does not fault Susie, knowing that the previous provider has a longer standing relationship.

But Sharon was insistent that Susie would not be able to refer business because of course, "Susie does not know the benefits I (Sharon) would provide."

I disagreed totally with her.

My questions to Sharon were, "Does Susie know who you are? Does she know the type of person you are. Are you referable?" Of course the answers to all three queries were a resounding yes!

"Then," I said, "There is every reason for Susie to refer you. She knows how you'll act with her clients and friends."

As I was driving home from this meeting in my little yellow Mini, I reflected even more on this age-old question. Then at the red light, waiting to turn left, I had an aha moment!

When a prospect says the word yes and decides to become your client, they are basing this yes on perceived future performance. That perception is based on your personality, references from others, your performance to date and a lot of hunch. They really have no idea of how it is going to be as your customer, because they have not experienced that yet.

It is the same with a referral source. They do not always have to be a client to have the hunch that you will make them look good.

There! Simple. But I'd never put it into words before.

What aha moment have you had this week?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Not a Prospect!

The most difficult concept for networkers to embrace is to stop looking at everyone they meet as a prospect.

Traditional sales training has hard-wired most sales people to sell, sell, sell.

It can be annoying to be at the receiving end.

Instead, business people who get it realize that while a person they meet may not need or want their services, they may in fact be a great referral source. But if you only sell to them, they won't realize how they could help. They'll be too busy running away from you.

Don't ruin future referral relationships. Think of how you can help them and in turn, how they can return the favor. Even though they don't buy from you, they may bring several sales to your table.

What's your take on this?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Lack of Training Means Lack of Sales

Yesterday, I met with a wonderful young woman who is new to her company. She shall remain nameless.

She and I spent a little over an hour together. At the end of the time, she said that I had helped her to better understand her job in sales. She was feeling scattered and unfocused before the talk. She felt like she was spinning her wheels.

Now she understands how to focus on a specific market or target. It will help her to feel like she has some control She will know where to go rather than driving aimlessly around wasting gas.

And guess what she also said? She said, "I know all this as I was a marketing major in college. But I just didn't know how to apply the theory."

For company personnel out there who are hiring new, young, unseasoned sales people; be honest with yourself. If you don't really know how to give your new sales people the training that will jump start their sales career (and that doesn't mean making 50 cold calls a day) get someone else to help. Not doing so wastes a resource and probably means that you will be training (or not) over and over again. From your point of view, $500 - $1000 spent on training probably means
ten times that on your bottom line.

Tell us your story. What was the absolute worst company training you received and conversely what was the best? Let's shine a spotlight on the companies that do it right!

Monday, August 25, 2008

You Do What?

Friday a new Certified Networker class was started in Findlay (and Toledo, too.) I happen to be teaching the Findlay class.

The first session of the class is all about figuring out what the message is that you send out to the world. The reason for this is that if the message is too complicated, a referral source will not want to or be able to easily pass it on to someone else. Of course, that can be a challenge in word-of-mouth marketing.

One participant was struggling a little with trying to figure it all out. He is young (24) and is a financial planner. He was giving us the same ole, same ole message that most f/p's use. "Financial success, peace of mind, etc." (The image to the right does not relate at all to the financial planning industry, it just made me laugh when I saw it and I immediately knew what kind of lawyer I might be talking with if I dialed the number. Clear message!)

Another participant in the class turned to him and said, "Just last week I was talking with my financial planner and he asked me what I wanted from him. This is what I told him. I want my money to outlive me while supporting me in the lifestyle I have become accustomed to."

I'm not sure if the youngster "got it" right away, but the rest of the students sitting around the table could be seen vigorously nodding their heads and smiling.

The point here is that sometimes we have to ask for help in figuring out the answers.

A second point is that if everyone else is using the same message, it just doesn't cut it. We all need to understand what clearly makes us stand out from the others. When we know that, our message is easier to pass on. It also makes it easier for prospects to quickly decide if they want to do business with us. The people who want to buy from us, will and those who don't, move on.

It's that easy.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Fake Out

Why do you do what you do?

Last week in a preview for our upcoming fall courses, one young women came up to me at the end of the two hours extending her card. Now I have to tell you that she happens to represent a cosmetics company that is offered via direct sales. There are many Arbonne representatives out there. They seem to blend together. I'm sorry, but that's the truth.

As the business card was entering my personal space, I was doing the little mind-dance where my brain was saying, "O-o-o-oh, here comes another one," whereas on the outside I was trying to appear gracious.

This is where it all changed. The card was not for Arbonne, but for a foundation -- the Janet Phleger Foundation, to be exact. And the young women said, "This is why I do what I do for Arbonne, so that I can grow this charity."

This foundation was formed in memory of the young woman's mother. And the goal of the foundation is to give scholarships to children of cancer patients. Already this year they gave the first two away.

Now I tell ya'. My eyes were opened. I didn't have to fake graciousness. This young woman has it figured out. She knows why she does what she does.

And you?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Weeds and More Weeds

I have spent the better part of two weekends trying to reclaim my gardens from WEEDS.

It is a never ending battle, especially with the ever present, evil thistle. The Queen's Anne's Lace takes a close second too.

Sunday as I was out there trying to make headway, I got to thinking about the expanse of my gardens and how perhaps I have set myself up for failure. There is no way I can keep up with all of it and also do all the other things in my life.

With that thought in mind, my brain began to doodle. Wasn't that concept very much like trying to having too many referral contacts. Trying to balance too many relationships will offer some benefits, but not necessarily the ones that come from one solid connection. Just like my garden, the results will be only just so.

That thought was a good wake up call to me to be more focused on the the main relationships. And that includes not only business relationships, but friends and family, too.

What's your comment on this situation?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

You Don't Say

Friday I had a meeting with Gary Bright. He works for Century Health and is an ambassador for the GreaterFindlayInc. This means that he wears a red blazer to GFI events and welcomes participants as they come in the door. So I knew who Gary was, but I didn't really know anything about him.

VP of Business Development for GRI, Jeremiah Gracia, suggested that Gary would be a good person for me to get to know. So I contacted Gary and he graciously agreed to meet Friday afternoon at Coffee Amici's in Findlay.

Now, let me tell ya', I had wrongly assumed the Century Health was a durable medical goods company and I figured that Gary was a marketing representative, selling wheelchairs and hospitals beds and other medical things. That's where it is really important to connect with people.

Because of our meeting today, I now know that Century Health is a non-profit mental health agency, focusing on emotional wellness and recovery for adults. This is Gary's second stint with CH and he made the decision to return because of the integrity displayed by both the agency and the executive director. His job is to get out into the community to let people like me and other people know of the services they can provide.

We also talked about how funding is always a challenge for non-profit agencies today and that he's always open to ways he can help bring in more money. He said that he is confident that the money they do spend is done in a manner that is very stewardship-like.

Gary talks R-E-A-L slow. I am more of a hard charger. I can tell you that after spending 45 minutes with Gary near the end of a very busy week that I felt very calm.

So, stop assuming that you know what someone does. At your next networking meeting seek out one person to really find out what they story is!

Friday, August 15, 2008

I Will.......

I'd like to talk about commitment this morning.

Relationships cannot develop without some type of commitment between two people. In fact when relationships falter it is because commitment is ignored.

Back in the "old days" I was a participant in the est seminar, which has now evolved to The Landmark training. One message that was impressed upon us during that rigorous two weekend seminar was that our commitment was all we could give and it had to be 100%. What was really difficult for me to wrap my head around was that if someone in the group was late, then it affected the integrity of the whole group.

Of course I, being the very typical "good" girl, thought that wasn't fair, because after all, I was on time. It took me more than those two weekends, but I now understand what that meant. If the whole group is not there and there on time, then a part of the group is not there, hence the group is not whole. Less than whole affects the integrity of the group just as it would if we took one brick out of a building.

With that understanding, it is the same between two people. If one person doesn't keep their commitment, then the relationship is not whole. Both individuals suffer this loss and the relationship is diminished.

While I know we live in an imperfect world, what would happen if everyone kept 100% of their commitments. I strive to do that and do fail every day. It's when I am 30 seconds late that I justify by saying, "Well I've had to wait for him in the past." I do know that I now think twice before making commitments so that I do have a very good chance of honoring those commitments.

What can you do to keep your commitments 100% of the time?

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Whenna Ya Gonna' Henna?

A week of my time away from blogging was to spend some time with my friend Marcia Housel. Marcia and I have been friends forever -- well almost. Believe it or not, she was my eighth grad science teacher, then Girl Scout Leader and finally after I married, our families were such great friends that we vacationed together every year.

I moved away and as with long distance friendships, we kept in touch with Christmas letters to each other. We still keep this tradition. She and one other distant friend are the only holiday cards I send. Fat letters are in both.

About four years ago, we decided to begin seeing each other instead of just relying on words. This year was no different. I made the ten hour trip to north of Scanton to Tingley Lake. This is so back in the woods that they have given themselves their own address -- 12 Cottage Lane.

This year Marcia is going through chemo for Ovarian cancer. She lost her hair because of treatments. So what do 60ish year olds do when adversity happens? We just play with it. We played with henna (semi-permanent tattoo dye) one day. Marcia wanted a flower on the side of her head, but I figured I was better at copying a dragon fly from a suggested list of designs. We also each did one foot. Marcia's daughter, Nancy, also helped by doing my foot and I put some henna on Libby's hand. Libby is Marcia's precocious almost four year old granddaughter.

We have not lost our connection with each other in the kitchen. It was amazing one night when we pulled out a summer squash casserole recipe that neither of us had made in a long time. Without talking about who was going to do what, we just started in and made the whole thing in a very coordinated fashion with never a word between us.

Marcia is doing really well with her treatments, no ugly symptoms. She will be seeing the oncologist this week, so all you out there, just keep her in your thoughts that her health will continue to be strong.

And for all of you, have a little fun this summer by doing the unexpected. Henna ain't just for the young people!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

60 60 60 60 60 60

Well, I'm back from not blogging for awhile. Lots of stuff got in the way -- but good stuff.

I celebrated my 60th birthday with a BIG party thrown by my sons,
daughters-in-law and hubby on July 27. What a wonderful day. Seventy people showed up for a picnic on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon.

In the invitation that my son, Greg, sent out via Evite, he let everyone know that I didn't want gifts, but if they wanted to donate to my two favorite charities, that would be a bonus. Everyone was very generous and Way Public Library Foundation and Hannah's Socks got some cash that they weren't planning on.

All the birthday cards were great and I really thank my lucky stars that I have such a wonderful family and so many special friends.

A friend who went the extra mile was Deanna Tucci Schmitt. (In this picture she has just had a full day of travel and is holding one of my grandchildre and playing with the other.) She lives in Pittsburgh, but was training at BNI headquarters the week before the party. She changed her original flight reservations, so that instead of flying home, she flew into Detroit on Saturday. Greg and Lisa (son and d-i-l) picked her up and then they all came down to Toledo together. The day after the party, Deanna and I left early so that I could take her home on my way to visit another friend in Scranton for the week. Just changing her flight reservation cost $150 dollars. Wow! Friends sure are great.

I have never had a birthday celebration before and this one sure did make it fun.

I'll fill you in on other stuff I've been doing over the next couple days.