Sometimes you just need a good message. Something to fire you up, motivate you, and give you perspective. Here are 10 of my favorite quotes to get you going and inspire you!
Without a good question, a good answer has no place to go...
Many sales that could happen, never do because the right questions aren't asked. Being a great salesperson takes a number of things. Focused, results driven activity, attention to detail, relationship building, the ability to read people and personalities, etc. One of the most important, or perhaps THE most important is the ability to ask the right questions.
But, what are the right questions? There are so many you can ask! Every prospect is different. Every industry is different. My products are unique. You get it.
After 20 years of leading sales organizations and growing companies, I have found there are 5 critical questions that should be used throughout the sales process. These questions will help you not only focus on the sales with the most potential, but help you to close more of these deals.
Question #1, The Qualifying Question
Nothing is more frustrating than putting in a bunch of time working with a client, running around fulfilling requests, putting together proposals, and everything else in-between, and then having the prospect not make a decision. Or worse yet, finding out they never had an intention of making a decision in the first place. They were just "gathering information."
But how do you know if a prospect is in serious buying mode or just wasting your time? Before you start running around doing what could be a bunch of unnecessary work and wasting your time, ask them this question, "What is your deadline for making a decision?" It is a simple, but powerful question. First, you are using the word deadline which is powerful in that by it's nature, it is a set date in time. Never use "time-frame," because time frames are expandable. But a deadline is not, it is locked in. Second, this question allows the prospect to reveal the nature of their request. If they don't have a deadline (ie "We want to make a decision in the next month, etc"), and say they don't know, you know that they are not buying. By all means, give them some info, find out when they might be looking to by, but don't spend a bunch of time outside of that. This question will save you countless hours and help you narrow down the prospects who are serious buyers in your pipeline.
Question #2, The Onion Question
We are not really talking about onions here, but we are peeling them back. Most sales people ask a question, get an answer and don't go any further. And they wonder why they don't get the sale. You have to peel back the onion and get to the root of the issues, needs, and wants of a prospect. That means asking 2nd, 3rd, 4th level questions and so on.
And the best way to do that is simple. Ask them, "What else?" Or "And what else?" You have to get where you understand THEIR ideas, because it is their ideas that sell the product or service - not yours. Understanding a deep level will give you this and you can simply discuss how what you are providing aligns with their ideas.
Question #3: The Problem Question
Once you have a done good job of getting all of a prospect's ideas and thoughts in a subject, wouldn't be nice to know which challenge you discussed is the most important - the real problem that needs solved?
You can get to it with this question, "Out of all the challenges mentioned, which one is the real challenge for you?" The key here is the "for you." You are smart enough to know you should be talking to the decision maker and if you are, you are bringing it home for them. Putting it right squarely on their sole reason for talking to you. It's time to find out what the most important thing is and asking the question in this way will give it to you.
Question #4: The Nirvana Question
Most salespeople focus on "what a prospect needs" instead of "what a prospect wants." Look, if your product can't satisfy what a prospect needs, you are in the wrong business. Solving needs should be looked at like the bare minimum. Finding out what a prospect truly wants, their grand vision - their "Nirvana," and then showing them how you can help them make it a reality, is where the magic happens and sales superstars are made.
You can do this by asking this question, "What do you truly want out of this solution? What does the perfect world look like for you?" You should quickly follow in saying, "I'm not sure if we can give it to you exactly as you describe it, but I'd sure love to hear what it is so we can try!" This does a few things. First, you get them thinking of something bigger, something that excites them, and second, you are not committing to it, but you are showing that you are willing to work with them toward it - to be a true partner. This shows them that you are more than just "trying to sell them something" and puts you into a different category vs. the competition.
Question #5: The Differentiator Question
So, let's say you go through the whole process and for whatever reason, the prospect decides not to buy. We all wish we could have a 100% close rate, don't we?? Two things to always remember, first "No, means not yet." and second, "the fortune is in the follow up." Most sales people, move on from a great prospect when they get a no. To them, that is the end, when in reality, it is not.
The prospect will continue buying products like yours, so it is your job to stay top of mind for when they are ready. Maybe the solution they bought instead of yours gives them issues 6 months down the road. Or, maybe, they find the service to be terrible. You never know, which is why you need to leave the door open and the way to do that is to ask them, "Can I follow up with you down the road? If so, when?" The last part is most important because this is how prove (if you are disciplined) that you should earn their business. If they tell you "Sure, call me in 6 months," make the note to the day and call them in 6 months. It is this discipline to follow up without fail that will be your big differentiator in the marketplace and win you even more sales over time. Always remember, the fortune is in the follow up!
These 5 questions obviously have their place in different areas of the sales cycle. Start figuring where you can work them into yours. Here's to higher close rates and bigger commission checks!
I've always stayed out of the prediction game. It's a crapshoot and most people forget you even made them after a while. So, it doesn't really matter if you are right or not. Although, if you make enough of them, by dumb luck, you are going to have a few come through. Even a broken clock is right twice a day.
For those reasons, I've always shied away, but recently I was being interviewed and the host asked me what I saw coming for entrepreneurs in 2018 - what should they be focused on? I admit, I had to take a minute to think about it before answering. After the interview, it got me thinking a little bit more about the ever-changing landscape of entrepreneurship. I spent some time on it and came up with these
5 predictions of sorts for entrepreneurs in 2018.
Prediction #1: Entrepreneurship Will Replace Traditional "Jobs" as the First Choice of People for Their Work
Why is this important? Ok, this may be a little bold. Jobs aren't going to disappear, but a much larger share of people are realizing that the old industrial world ideas are fading. "Go to school, get a job, work for 40 years, and save, save, save to hopefully retire..." is being replaced by the new world view of entrepreneurship. This view is that because of the internet and the freeing up of people by technology, one can succeed in a very small niche and focus and do it from anywhere in the world. In fact Taylor Pearson writes about this in his book "The End of Jobs" and calls it the realization of the "long tail. The old school "job" is rapidly dying and people are seeing that they can be in much more control of their destiny through entrepreneurship - this is all because entrepreneurship is easier that it has ever been in history. And in 2018, it will continue to get easier.
Prediction #2: The Economy and Stock Market will Continue Their Meteoric Rise in 2018, but After That All Bets Are Off...
Why is This Important? This one is near and dear to me since I have coached traders and investors for almost a decade. Markets go in cycles. These cycles have 4 stages. Disgust, Disbelief, Acceptance, Euphoria. Disgust is typically the market crash (think 2008). People lose big, are disgusted and just want to walk away from it all. Disbelief is the stage of the cycle where the market starts to rally "to the disbelief" of everyone. Everyone is a skeptic. (think 2009-2016). After a while, that disbelief and skepticism gives way to Acceptance. "Gosh, I guess the market really is back. I should invest." (2016-Present). And the last stage is Euphoria. Everything from the past is pretty much forgotten, they are popping champagne corks on CNBC every time the market hits new highs, and suddenly every one is a successful investor. Your hair stylist is giving you stock tips, etc. The market rallies like never before and it seems like it will never stop....until of course, it does - plunging back into the disbelief stage. In my view, we are just getting into Euphoria and it go a while. I would not be surprised for it continue for a couple years - but we are closer to the end of this market run, than the beginning. Remember, stocks markets trade on the future and the earnings they will think companies will have in the future. The recent tax cut in the US is a huge boon to earnings. Without doing anything, just because of tax cuts, companies are getting an over 20% boost in earnings and this will fuel markets into newer and newer highs in 2018. This graphic from Agora shows you how the 20% increase comes to fruition.
So, make your money while you can. Keep a healthy paranoia, build a rainy day fund, and always be prepared. All good things come to an end, but for now enjoy the ride.
Prediction #3: More Businesses Will Become Obsolete and/or Obsolete Before they Even Get Going
Why is this important? Kodak was reduced to rubble in about 3 years from the time the digital camera came out. GE, a 125 year old company, is currently on the ropes and it looks like they may have to break the company up to save it. The speed of change is overwheming and getting even faster. Whole industries are getting turned upside down in just a few years. Uber is the largest transporation company in the world, yet owns no cars or has employee drivers. AirBnB is now the largest hotel company in the world in terms of "rooms" available and they own nothing. Are you prepared for incredibly rapid change in your business? You need to be, because very quickly your business could be obsolete. If you were going to create something that put your current product/service out of business, what would it be? Do it now.
Prediction #4 The Overwhelming Majority of People Are Not Ready for the Changes the World is about to Experience
Why is this important? Because the world and general public are not ready for the monumental change that is happening and will become very evident by end of 2018 Whether, it is in transportation,
AI, Augmentation, or in just about every other industry - You must be ready. The world is on the cusp of a great upheaval where the industrial phase takes it last gasp and dying breath, and the technological age takes full root. If you want to thrive in this world, you have to prepare and be ready for it. I recommend that you read the following two books as a starting point, "Augmented: Life in the Smart Lane" by Brett King and "Our Final Invention" by James Barrat. You'll be shocked at what already exists when it comes to AI, technology, augmentation, and how fast it is all moving.
Prediction #5 Blockchain Will be Adopted on a Mass Scale and Cryptocurrencies Will Become Ever More Prevalent. Governments Will Not be Able to Stop Them.
Why is this Important? Saving the most talked about for last. Technology is disrupting every industry and it is going to cause major issues as large organizations and entities that are stuck in the past come to grips with it. They will fight change until they cannot any longer. It is the nature of large bureaucracies to do so. We will see major disruption in banking and in world currency markets because of this. The current banking system was put in place in the 1940's and then revamped again in the '70's, but I'll spare you the history lesson.
Here is what you need to know. People have figured out that fiat currencies are a depreciating asset (the US dollar has lost over 90% of its value since the 70's) and the banking system has dangers (as we saw in 2008), so naturally, they are looking for an alternative. This is where cryptos come in and will change banking. They already are with the ability to transact in seconds compared to what takes the SWIFT system days for cross-border payments and settlement. And cyptos are not regulated by anything but the free market. No government or central bank has control or can manipulate them. Combine that with that fact that you will be able to pay for more and more with them in 2018 and beyond, and be able to use them universally across the world, and you can see why they are a threat to the old systems.
As I write this, Bitcoin has had a 40% decrease because South Korea is trying to outlaw it. How? How can you stop something that lives across millions of servers all over the world? You can't. In some ways, it is like a virus in that it moves from one server to the next if it encounters issues and keeps itself going (Yes, you cyrpto diehards probably don't like me using that example, but it is true). What about access? You can shut down the access points on the web, can't you? Yes, but every time you shut one down, a new one can spring up. You can see how this carousel is going to go round and round as cryptos threaten the monetary system and government control. Governments will continue to try and stop it, regulate it, etc. and that will cause wild swings in cyrptos, but the technology will win out over time. I advocate owning some crypto. For now, look at it like your casino money that you can afford to lose, but having a little is good idea. I am buying on the major dips like we just saw.
In the end, some form of cryptos will win out because of the underlying technology - Blockchain. And that is the real disruptor. Blockchain will be embraced by companies all over the world for tons of different uses in 2018 and that will further the use of cryptos and change whole industries and the way we do things.
Here is a great article that explains blockchain in an easy way to understand.
If you are interested in cryptos, one of my good friends and original investing mentors, Doc Severson, has put together a ton of free resources on Cryptos for people. You can get them here.
Grit, guts, belief, hard work, smart work, action, and a number of other things are needed on the path to success. But, there are 3 ingredients that I believe are most important and essential. They have been proven time and time again to be the key aspects of the winner's quality.
Each of them by itself makes a major difference, but all 3 together make you unstoppable.
Discipline is your ability to manage yourself and do the things you need to do to succeed and win. It is one of the hardest ingredients for people to do. Discipline takes sacrifice. It takes overcoming your own mind's conditioning, habits, and the inertia of life. It means doing things when you really, really don't want to or feel like doing them - no matter what. Whether you are sick, hurt, on vacation, whatever; your ability to maintain your discipline and routines and what you know you need to do to succeed cannot falter.
It may not sound like fun when described that way, but that is what it takes. And it really is fun. When Michael Phelps got in the pool on Christmas Day for 4 hours of training, he knew that it was this discipline and the actions he was taking right then and there that were the difference at the finish line. The difference between winning and losing. And that energized him and fired him up. How about you? Can you up your game when it comes to your discipline?
The next ingredient goes hand in hand with discipline is consistency. You can be disciplined - for one day. But that isn't going to give your what you need to win. You have to be consistent. Every day. Consistency is what breaks down barriers and wears out competition. It is how you outlast - even if you are not as talented. Those that are consistent in their routines, in the quest, and who they are win. Period.
Ask yourself, "Am I consistent in the way I approach my success? Can I count on myself to always be there and stay the course?" If you are honest with yourself, it may surprise you and also show you some things you may need to change. Just remember, consistency is key to lasting success.
Alongside having solid discipline and an unwavering consistency, you must be persistent. How does being persistent differ from discipline and consistency? Well, discipline is what you you do. Consistency is how you do it. And persistence is your commitment to doing it. As mentioned above, you can be disciplined and consistent for one day, a week, a month, etc. But persistence is your unwavering commitment to keep going in spite of challenge, fear, emotion, and all obstacles that come your way.
Many people can be disciplined and consistent for a short time, but when they come into real, serious adversity, they stop or give in. This is where your commitment, your persistence pays off. You will keep going where others fail or give up.
Have you ever given up on anything? Have you thought and considered what would have happened if you persisted through?
When you put them all together, you can see why they are the critical ingredients they are. If you have discipline to do the things you need to succeed and are consistent each and every day in doing them...and then persist through any adversity that comes up as you are going, you will win. And you will win consistently. Take some time and look at your life and see where you can add more discipline and consistently. And then always remember that when you encounter a challenge, your ability to persist through gets you one step closer to your goal and keeps you winning over and over again.
It is a great exercise every once in a while to stop and take stock of things in your life. When you look at what has driven your success, you will usually find that out of all the things you do, there are few that affect it most. I guess you could call it doing the 80/20 rule on what contributes to your success.
Each year, I go through and look at my businesses to determine the things that really made the biggest difference and helped us (and me) succeed the most. I then test them to see if they hold up consistently.
I also get the benefit of interviewing some of the highest performing entrepreneurs in the world each and every week which gives me insight into what works for them. The consistency of patterns are amazing. As they say, success leaves clues, and the fact the the highest performing entrepreneurs do many of the same things to succeed is no coincidence.
There are far too many different success hacks to go into in one post, but here are 3 of them that you can start doing today that are guaranteed to help you succeed at higher levels this year.
It's Who You Know
The network you build is one of your greatest assets. The power of relationships will always be strong. It really does matter who you know and who you know has a direct correlation on your success. If you want to be in the room with the right people, you need to know the right people. It starts with being deliberate about who you bring into your world and why. If your network is one of your greatest assets, you must treat it that way. Go where the people you need to be connected with are and create relationships. That means conferences, Mastermind groups, Facebook groups, and anywhere else it makes sense to meet the right people for your network.
Most importantly, make sure you are committed to things being a "2-way street." Great relationships are built on the genuine trust and act of giving to each other to help each other. If you are not wiling to do your part, then you won't get the results. Resolve to commit to building great relationships at each and every opportunity this year and you will be amazed at where you are by years' end.
How You do Anything is How You do Everything
Are you committed to upping your game this year? If so, that means upping it in every face of your life. How you do anything is how you do everything. How you carry yourself, treat yourself and your body, and the image you project to the world are all things you have control over. If you slack in one area, it will show up in another. The highly successful are committed to be their best in all facets of their life and business. It's hard work, but it pays off. Think of the people you truly admire in life. Do they always seem to be on their game? It is no accident, they realize the importance of making sure everything they do is done the best way they can. What can you do better in your life in business? Where can you up your game? Take the action to start doing it now.
Commit to Learning
Jim Rohn is famous for the quote, "Ordinary people have big TVs, Extraordinary people have big libraries." The average CEO reads a book a week. They know something that others don't. Your success will correlate to your ability grow yourself. You've heard this many times before because it is true - Start today on self-educating. Make it a goal to read a book a month or even a quarter. The more you do, the more your hone your skills, the more ideas you will get, the more inspired you will be, and the better results you will have. The number of books an average person reads in a year is less than 4. Don't be average.
If you a looking for a cool way to read books, but save yourself time, and have all of the work done for you giving you the most important points in 10 minutes - you can check out my friends at Readitfor.Me. I love this service and was a customer long before they sponsored the show. I get to read a book every day because it is delivered to my inbox with the most important points for me to know. It's awesome. They have an incredible deal for Misfit Nation if you are are interested. Just go to www.Readitfor.Me/Misfit
Either way, get on a learning program.
If you do nothing else, but these 3 things: Focus on your network, Commit to upping your game in all areas of your life, and Implement a self-education routine, your success will be playing at much higher level this year.