As we go through life, we will have a lot of conversations. Many of them meaningful and many of them meaningless in the grand scheme of things. And there will be times we must have hard conversations whether in business or our personal lives. A hard conversation is the one you don't want to have because you know it may challenge you or the other person(s). It may also be unpleasant or in some ways confrontational. No matter what, these conversations will happen one way or another and it is best to be ready for them. Here are 3 pieces of advice for when you must have a hard conversation.
1.) Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
Do not have a hard conversation on a whim. Take the time to prepare and make sure you understand both yours and the other person's point of view. Make sure to understand that emotions drive people and you must understand the potential emotional toll on both you and the other person the conversation can have. You must come from a place of solid ground and truth/fact and build from there. The only way to do this is to prepare.
2.) Check Your Emotions
Even with preparation, a hard conversation can give way to emotional responses, opinions, and perceptions that are not rooted in truth or fact. Feelings are not facts or truth, but they do matter and drive people's responses. You must make sure to control your emotions and stay grounded in the truth and fact, not getting into a battle over opinions or emotions because this leads to poor outcomes for both parties.
3.) Give a Little
No one is ever 100% right or wrong and no one is perfect. Resist the urge to have to win absolutely on your side and be mature enough cede own up to things you are responsible for in the relationship that you can do or be better at. Be willing to give a little to the other person as neither of you are 100% perfect. Admit it and own your side and ask them to own theirs. Then go to work together to make things better.
Hard conversations are am opportunity to learn and get better in the end - as long as you are willing to do so. And you should be willing to do so. Use them as such and don't be afraid of them, but don't take them lightly. Prepare, check your emotions, and be willing to give in and admit where you fall short. Then get better.
Entrepreneurs are always looking for ways to do more with less. Whether you are a seasoned veteran with a successful business or a new startup, you are always going to be looking for ways to grow. Some ways of growing are worth the expense. For example, hiring a great sales person. But, there are other ways to grow that can help you succeed in big ways that don't cost anything. Here are 3 of them.
1.) Partnerships/Joint Ventures
One of the easiest ways to grow is to create a partnership or joint venture with another company or entity that has complimentary products or services. You can then bundle your services with theirs an they with yours to create an even more compelling offer. Additionally, you can do a revenue share together when you bring them opportunities and they can do the same with you. You also get access to now sell to their customers and they get access to yours. It costs nothing to do this other than a little time and ingenuity.
If you have a product that people people can buy online or without interacting with a sales team on your side, an affiliate program may be a good way to go. You can pay commission to those that bring sales to your door. This works great with influencers, brand ambassadors, and those with big networks looking to monetize them. All this takes is creating an affiliate page for people to sign up and coming up with a commission structure. You can use Paypal to start as a way to pay commissions and then go seek out influencers and those that would be a good fit with a good audience for your product or service and invite them to be an affiliate.
3.) Current Customers
This last should come as no surprise. One of the best places to get new business and grow is by getting referrals from your current clients. If you take good care of your clients, all you really have to do is ask them. But, you may consider putting in place referral program where they receive an incentive of some kind for referring you if it makes sense for your business. Again, this costs nothing except taking good care of your clients and some sweat equity.
So, there you go. 3 ways to grow your business whether you are seasoned or start up that cost nothing other than time, a little work, and ingenuity.
Read the above stats very carefully. Maybe read it a couple of times to let it sink in.
80% of the sales are made on the 5TH TO 12TH CONTACT.
How many times do you or your sales people follow up with prospects to close business? It if is not at least 5 times, then you are missing out on sales.
Why do l2% of salespeople follow up 3 times or less? I think it is because most salespeople don't want to be seen as "bugging" anyone or being "pushy." We can all understand this and don't like it when salespeople are over-aggressive with us.
The key to managing this is to find a balance between what I call being Professionally Persistent and over-aggressive. Usually, the reason salespeople become over-aggressive is because they become desperate to make a sale or hit their numbers and go after what they think is the most likely sale. This desperation shows and as such, they are not professional and come off as abrasive, annoying, and in some instances mean to the client. Conversely, being Professionally Persistent is the opposite. It comes from confidence, patience, and an understanding that the process has to play out. It is being consistent, courteously following up, and maintaining visibility with the prospect until they are ready to make a decision.
Being Professionally Persistent requires maturity and the ability to manage emotional responses. It also takes the ability to remain calm and professional under pressure and the fortitude to stick with things over time. It also requires and attention to detail.
Developing the habit of becoming Professionally Persistent takes work and time, but it literally pays to do so. Make it a priority today!
Les Brown is one of my favorite speakers. He delivery of great wisdom is un-matched. I urge you to listen to this message from Les on success and why you've "gotta be hungry" in your life and how you can truly level up. Enjoy!
There is a lot that comes at us in life and business. We seem to have problems and things impacting us from all angles. Many times, we ALLOW these things to affect us and we waste a lot of time and energy on them without getting a resolution. We spend our precious thoughts and time worrying about these things.
There is a principle from a wise Stoic that gave a great approach to living a good life. His name was Epictetus. Born a slave in 55 AD, he was granted freedom due to his superior intellect and became a mentor to noblemen and emperors. His most important work was in The Discourses which influenced many leaders to come, including Marcus Aurelius. He boiled things down to a fundamental rule and truth which says, "There are certain things you can control and certain things you can’t control, and you must know the difference."
A lot of people have written about this over the years and expanded greatly on it and Epictetus' writings. Years ago, I was introduce to his principles and the 3 C's. I cannot take credit for the 3C's although I did adapt them and change them a little over the years. Here are my 3C's to handling the problems of life and living better.
Think about those for a second and how true they are. I love the simplicity of them.
There are things we can control in our lives and things we cannot. Why waste time on things you have no control over? Focus on what you can control and do it well.
For those things we cannot control, we can recognize them and their impact or potential impact on us, and cope with them. Not dwell on them. Simply cope with the fact they exist and there is nothing we can do about them and move on to the things we can control and impact.
Lastly, concentrate on what counts and matters. We cannot be distracted or derailed by the things we cannot control or have no sway over. Instead, we must ask ourselves what really matters and what makes the most difference that is in our control and concentrate out efforts there.
If you follow the 3C's, you will find that you will have less stress, be more productive, and ultimately live a better life. Start putting them into action today!
The pace of business today is fast. There is no way around it. Things move at a blistering pace and entrepreneurs need to be able to move fast, react quickly, and seize opportunity.
This also lends to multi-tasking and moving quickly from one thing to the next. I am as guilty of this as anyone. But when people depend on you to not only be fast, but to be right, it is important to make sure you don't move too fast.
What do I mean?
You have to move fast in today's world, but you also need to keep your attention to detail and make sure that your work and what you are delivering is solid and good. Moving too fast can lead to sloppiness, especially when multi-tasking. This happens because our mind gets stretched across all of the things we are moving through and doing. We tend to move too fast and forget critical, important items or miss details that are important. This hurts us down the line.
So, how do we combat this?
First, we must understand that we need to move fast, but recognize when we are moving too fast and slow ourselves. Second, we have to be careful not to multi-task, or at least focus on no more than 2 things at a time. And when we are doing a task, we need to be present and focused and not be thinking about the other tasks or items we need to do next.
One trick I've learned to center myself during these fast paced periods of work and day to day needs, is to just stop and take a deep breath. Then take a moment just to think through the task and how to deliver the best outcome. After doing that, block out distractions for just a few minutes and concentrate on what it is you need to do. This little 30 second exercise will help you to still be efficient, but better focused, and give you the ability to achieve better results in your work. Try it today!
I was on a call the other day with a large client. It was a big group of people discussing solutions for the future for the client. I know for many that selling and servicing clients via Zoom or virtually is newer to them during these times, but over a decade ago, I took my companies virtual and have been selling and servicing clients that way for a long time.
During the meeting, as the client spoke and talked about the future and their needs, I immediately could "sense" the way the meeting should go and how we could further help them. While others on the call were asking questions that really repeated what the client had just said, I listened and felt the client's needs and the beginning or their frustration as they repeated some things. Working virtually is hard, even if you can see people. It is not the same as sitting across the table. And, if people are just on audio, it is even harder. This is why you have to hone your skills in how you actively listen to voice inflection, tone, things like a sigh here or there, even a deep breath.
After a couple of minutes of back and forth with the group, I spoke up and simply and clearly articulated what I thought, based on their feedback was the best solution. And I brought in other people on the call, that hadn't seem to get what they client was saying yet, and helped them to understand how their skill and what they do could help accomplish the goal for the client. After another 10 mins of discussion and having some fun thinking about bigger possibilities, everyone was on the same page and excited about what we could do together,
One of the most important skillsets anyone can develop, for business and life, is the ability to "sense" others in the moment. This means sensing their feelings, quickly understanding voice tone and inflection, body language - and then being able to empathize where needed and find understanding. I wish I could say there was a magic formula on how to do this, but it really comes from experience. To get good, you have to actively listen and be on high alert to sense the different ways of communication and then figure out find the "sweet spot" in which all parties can succeed. As you do this more and more, you will be able to almost intuit what is needed and work across multiple parties simultaneously to reach the best outcome.
Learning to "sense" others and in business, "sense the customer" may be the most important skillset you can build and foster in your company.
Every Sunday, I have a routine. It's a simple routine that I have done for over 15 years and it has probably been one of the biggest factors in maximizing my productivity. The routine takes 15 mins to do and can change everything for you.
The first thing I do, is take 5 minutes to clear email out from the previous week. I go through and clear anything that has already been worked on or delegated. I keep a post it for notes and make any notes actions or items I need to do from clearing the email or anything that is left.
Next, I go through my calendar for the last two weeks and look at all my meetings. I do this to make sure there isn't any follow up or actions needed that I may have missed. I write anything down on the post it note.
Once I've done this, I take out a sheet of paper and open my calendar for the coming week. I create 5 columns across the sheet of paper (one for each day of the week). I then go by day and write down all of the things I have to do for that day and what time any meetings are. I write down everything I am going to do, even things like "working out" or "mediate for 10 mins." Literally, everything I will do for that day. I look at the post it note of items that I've jotted down that need action and I add them in to the days that make the most sense to action them. For example, if something is more urgent , then it goes to Monday or Tuesday, something less urgent, later in the week.
Once I am done, I have my week planned with all the action item I need to take each day. I then simply wake up each day and get to work. I then look at it at the end of each day and do any planning for tomorrow. If I finish everything for a particular day and have more time, I can work on anything for the next day and so on.
Taking just 15 minutes to do this plan each week has increased my productivity to levels I never thought possible and allows to get everything done across all my businesses in a normal work week. Try and see the difference it makes for you!
It's the beginning of a New Year full of opportunity and possibility. What are you going to accomplish this year?
I'm sure you have a laundry list of things and hopefully, you are not like most people that give up on this list after a couple months because many of them have not been accomplished.
I've often said that we live in an "instant society" where we stop the microwave with 3 seconds left - we cannot even wait 3 seconds anymore! And that is the issue. We start the year with all this excitement and list of accomplishments we want to make happen, but because they don't happen right away, many of us just give up.
One of the things I coach people on and help them to understand is this simple mantra, "We overestimate what we can accomplish in a week and underestimate what we can accomplish in a year." You have to learn to play the long game if you want to succeed consistently over time. This does not mean that we have wins in the short term - sometimes big wins. But, more importantly, it is the smaller wins that add up to get to the larger goal over time. A year in today's age seems like an eternity, but it really isn't. It truly is amazing all that can be done in 365 days.
So, how do you make sure you don't get trapped by our "instant society?" Simple - you choose the long view and delay gratification sacrificing the instant impulses we have been conditioned to have. Today, you can choose the one big thing you will accomplish by the end of the year and then go to work on your little wins, week in and week out to get there, knowing you are going to do it in the course of a year. Ask, yourself, "What will I sacrifice in the short term to get a bigger benefit in the long term?" Answer that question for yourself and you will be on your way.
Remember, "We overestimate what we can accomplish in a week and underestimate what we accomplish in a year."
Here's to your long game success!
Life, in all aspects, is beautiful, amazing, wonderful, exciting, and full of everlasting change. It is also challenging, hard, prone to suffering, and comes with loss.
This past week, I lost my last surviving grandparent. She was a wonderful woman who lived a great life and passed away peacefully in her sleep at 93. As our family came together to grieve and celebrate her life, I started to think about the impact her loss has on our lives and how we cope and deal with it. Of course, as I thought more about this topic, my mind wandered toward the losses we face in business and entrepreneurship.
Coping and dealing with losing and loss is not something that there is a step by step handbook for. We learn how to deal with it in our own way through our experiences over time.
And when it comes to entrepreneurship, one of the best things we can do to help our success is to learn to how to thrive despite losing. In fact, as entrepreneurs, we tend to lose more than we win.
So, how to do you thrive through loss? Personally, I have found a few things over the years that really work for me.
First, is perspective. In order to deal with a loss, you must maintain perspective historically and in the moment. For example, for me this week, I was obviously saddened by my grandmother's death, but at the same time, I took solace in remembering her amazing life and knowing that she left us peacefully and did not suffer. And because I am a believer in Christ, I know that we are all just passing through this life to our real home. She is now home and it makes me smile. Keeping this perspective helped me and discussing it with family helped them as well. We all know death on this earth is a part of life, but we put it aside until we have to deal with it and perspective helps us in those moments.
Second, I do my best to separate emotion from logic. This doesn't mean I throw one or the other out - it just means I separate them and understand them and don't act impulsively in the moment. Emotions drive our actions in life and logic can help us make sure we are acting with the right emotions. For example, there were a number of circumstances due to Covid that made it hard on my grandmother in her final days and made it hard on her family - even keeping some members from being able to see her or severely restricting this ability. It sucked. It really did. And it made me angry in the way it was handled by the center in which was living. But, letting that anger control my actions and thus my life was not something I could do. I had to separate the emotion and ask logically if I should be letting the anger run me during this time. I chose not to let it impact me and got rid of it.
Lastly, find something positive to focus on. We become what we think about and if we focus on the negative, we will get negativity in our lives. During hard times or time of loss in life or business, we must find positive things to focus on. In my case, I was truly inspired and filled with happiness as I looked at all the family members that are in this world because of my grandmother. When you take into account that any one person's chances of being alive are 1 in 4 Trillion, to see all of these incredible people and all the grandchildren that are a result of one woman - it is truly breathtaking. Her legacy will live on for many generations.
Loss is a part of life and business. It is how we cope and deal with it that matters most. Think on this topic for yourself and ask how you can prepare yourself to deal and manage through loss in your life. It will help you tremendously.
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