Just a little breathless?

Know how you feel. I must admit, I’ve found the month of January to be challenging. It seems the whole world and it’s partner have shot ‘out of the blocks’ with both barrels blazing, proclamations of help for this, offers of this new product a new system and encouragement for participation in everything else – that everyone else is engaging because it’s just about the best thing since the ‘sliced bread’ invention …

When was that by the way?

1928 I’m told, a fellow named Otto Rohwedder from Iowa, USA.

Wow, been a while since the next best thing then? Don’t tell Apple.

The current state of our world hardly encourages us to settle, not for a minute can we sit still. Our best intentions to focus on the top of the ‘to do’ list and follow the plan are often blown out of the water with the demands from incumbent technology, be it via mobile, email, the web – not to mention the good old landline and of course the sanctity of our favourite networking bolt-hole.

In the face of all this it’s no wonder we find ourselves a little breathless, bewildered and somewhat resistant to change.

It’s a challenge, right? Now being the kind of guy that doesn’t like to ever overlook such a thing I’ve decided to change my own mindset and embrace this information overload.

I’m creating some comfort, some space by connecting a lot more – I’ve decided to understand and really accept that to make it easier for me – no one else – I’m embracing change. I’ve decided to face up to the January challenge and no longer protect my own immediate domain against the education that comes with acceptance and a willingness to listen a whole lot more.

I am no longer stuck with the feeling of ‘need to do’ I have found I have a sense of new found freedom because I accept that this is now the mind-set for now – not for all time, but for now. I am learning to embrace a wider offering and feeling a lot more comfortable with where I ‘fit’ as I cultivate a much better quality of life.

Put simply, my decision was a choice. Each of us has choices. We can find ourselves at the mercy of a world that appears threatening or we can be open to the remarkable possibilities available. I’ve chosen to accept this new Spring and not beat myself up about change. I’m on a voyage of acceptance and the bonus of learning and I’d like to thank the world I inhabit for the opportunity for development I have now chosen to embrace.

What’s your choice?

Emotions are useful


Darren was having trouble with his sales conversion and asked for my advice.

Why me? I thought …

He explained that as someone who had been ‘around the block’ (a kinder version of his opening gambit, I might ad) … that my opinion mattered to him, so I might be able to help out.

Darren went on to explain that no matter how hard he canvassed via email, his left messages were not returned and the telephone cold calls went un-rewarded. His efforts fell on deaf ears, he simply couldn’t gain an introduction to the many prospects he’d qualified. What did I think?

Flattered surely, I hesitated for a bit and remembered what I had been telling anyone that would listen these past few(!) years … that was:

“Are you connecting or are you selling?

In any sales or marketing programme we need to do the numbers, we get that don’t we? The more you put in, the more you take out, the smarter you work, the more valuable the reward. Most importantly, we need to remember that not every single prospect is waiting for your call … unless of course you have a very good referral been passed to you.

We are all very busy people – Darren’s intended customer is no different and I explained to him that with a multitude of tasks on the to-do list, answering your particular sales call may not be one of those tasks, so we need to prepare for rejection.

We need back up, we need to learn to visualise the problem, not the solution.

In short, we need to qualify the need of our prospect. Take time to understand. After initial introductions, ask simply, “how can I help you?”

By doing so, we can save ourselves a lot of valuable time and considerable effort when, by simply doing the right research we can qualify the budget (that is, if they have one) and the need (is the time right for them.)

If the answer is ‘no’ to both budget and ‘no’ to time then move on, find someone else who may need your particular skills and/or solutions. Don’t dismiss completely the current prospect, simply take them off the priority list …

We need to remember … who wins when we invest our time in prospects that don’t have the kinds of problems you can solve? You got it – no one! Alternatively, who wins when you invest your time (and your company’s resources) in helping prospects solve problems that are so compelling that both the prospect’s company and your own are justified in investing time and resources in exploring possible solutions? Everyone!

So to Darren I suggested, if you wish to increase the number of appointments through your prospecting efforts, you need to come up with the right answers to the most important questions:

We need to take some time, learn to understand our prospect – and I did point out, that as in so many of life situations, if we have less occupying the priority ‘in-try’ we get more done, more efficiently. So prioritise your top prospects and like your networking efforts, practice, practice, and practice some more. Quality connections take time while working smart.

Learn and do … in just 20-30 seconds (that’s all you’ve got initially) know what you can say to a prospect during initial engagement – that something that will engage his/her emotions? Find and empathise with the most pressing problems that you can help solve for them.

Do the smart prospecting, ask yourself this:

How can I help the prospect relive the pain that is caused by these problems?
Can they help (are they willing) qualify the importance is each business problem?
Do the problems bring emotional responses from your prospects?
We need to understand, need to remember, engaging your prospects’ emotions is critical to the entire sales process, from sales prospecting through closing sales.

Darren seemed a happier man after our little chat; we shook hands and agreed to meet up in a month to see how he was getting on as he learned to

Engage, develop, and to grow.

Hey, go-to person!

So the spider tends the web, the fisherman works his net.

Both are busy, setting out their wares understanding that, sooner or later they are going to find what they are looking for … Bingo! Reward for all the attentiveness and persistence required to be successful.

So what is he on? I hear you ask

Understood … and I may let you in on that another time …

I am pretty sure you already understand that to be successful at any given task we need learn the skills and to practice, keep at it. It’s no difference with your networking – whether on-line or in the person to person environment, we need to work on the familiarity.

Trust is the by-word for business these days. Business is indeed personal. We value our tools of trade, although we need to stay on our toes, identify peers, learn, deliver on promises and consolidate relations. Being the best in the eyes of our peers, that ‘go to person’ is a prerequisite to the very best kind of referral there is. Recommendation.

OK, spider-web or fishing net which to tend first?