Selling is helping.
Most people have the wrong idea about sales. They think you “show up and throw up” meaning you walk into a client’s office and make a presentation with the hope he will magically be convinced you have something he needs…right now.
It is this approach and the attitude behind it that have people intimidated by sales and selling.
That’s not the way it is.
Selling is helping.
Each time you offer a solution to a problem, in exchange for money, you are helping.
My daily Facebook live video discussed this very point.
Join me on Facebook each day as I discuss the 60 Second Sales process.
During the next few weeks I will be trying different times for my live videos and when I find a time that works best, I’ll let you know here.
You can always find the previously recorded live videos at: http://Facebook.com/TheDaveLorenzo
Right now the CEO of a large company is lying awake, staring at the ceiling, wondering how he is going to handle a serious issue. He wants help. He wants to call someone who can ease his anxiety. You may never have thought about selling to the CEO, but you should.
The CEO is a smart guy. He’s well educated. He has a couple of decades of experience. He is politically savvy and financially adept. Yet this particular issue has him vexed and perplexed.
Throughout his entire career this executive has confronted issues head-on, identified his options, and made the best decision for his business. But this time his options appear to have narrowed and the “good” solution is not easy to identify. The choices he faces appear to be degrees of “bad.”
As light begins to peer through the curtain in his bedroom, he makes a decision to pick up the telephone and call a person whose counsel he has sought on similar issues. He knows he will receive solid, objective guidance, from this person. Based, in part, on this guidance, he will bet the future of his company.
As he reaches for the telephone he confidently has one person in mind.
You have not given that exact scenario any thought.
Why would you spend any time thinking about the problems faced by the leader of a huge business?
You think about those problems because helping this guy make good decisions is important to your relationship with him.
Relationships lead to business for you.
Make no mistake; there is no “Request for Proposal” published when a business leader is looking for a trusted advisor. There is no committee formed when a CEO needs someone to bounce ideas off. There is only the trust you have developed.
How do you get to this point? How do you develop a relationship with a guy like this?
There are four aspects of a deep relationship.
This relationship with the senior decision maker begins when he first recognizes you and your talent. This can be through reading a book or an article you have written, it can be through seeing you speak at an event, it can be through the introduction by a mutual friend, or in a dozen other ways.
At some point, you appear on this guy’s radar screen because of something you said or something you did.
Just knowing you is not enough. The decision maker must get a glimpse of your brilliance. He must know what you know.
Most often this comes from personal, direct conversations. It comes from being yourself. It comes from telling the truth, even when it is difficult. It comes from offering your unvarnished opinion even when it may get you thrown out of the room.
The executive needs to know you are going to give him your best thinking even when it exposes you to ridicule.
There are lots of people out there who do what you do.
Why should the CEO call you?
You need to be able to articulate a clear differentiating factor. Something that matters. Something that cannot be easily replicated.
It’s lonely at the top. The people who enter the CEO’s office, the people who enter the General Counsel’s office, are almost always angling for something. If you provide guidance and support without any motive other than acting in the best interest of your friend/client, you will develop trust.
The four aspects of this kind of relationship are easy to comprehend but difficult to develop.
Because they require emotional investment – on your part.
You must invest in this person. You must invest in a relationship with him. You must invest in helping him succeed.
It’s tough because we live in a NOW world. You want that big trial TODAY. You want the huge order IMMEDIATELY. You want to be the GO TO person.
These relationships are built brick by brick. They are built by giving good guidance on lots of small issues. They are built by people sharing your reputation in boardrooms and at cocktail parties.
It starts with the relationships you have right now. It starts with the guidance you provide today. It starts with your activity, your personality, and your focus, right now.
The executive’s legs swing around to the side of his bed. His feet hit the floor. He reaches down and picks up his phone. As he scrolls through the contacts, he stops on a name and pushes the green button.
Somewhere across the country, a telephone is ringing on a nightstand.
The sound startles you out of a peaceful slumber. As you reach for the phone you don’t realize it but answering that call may very well change the trajectory of a career…for both of you.
Do you want to know how to get more clients today?
Of course you do.
Most of my clients want a sexy new internet trick that will help them get new clients.
The most successful business people I know still use lots of old fashioned strategies to attract clients and deepen relationships.
Here are three things you can do TODAY to attract more clients.
The good news: They require no investment whatsoever.
Talk to your clients.
Most people forget about their clients after they get their money. What they don’t realize is that the relationship really begins when the check clears. Your current clients have given you something more valuable than money…they have given you their trust.
The investment of trust can be your ticket greater lifetime relationship value. All that is required is that you nurture that relationship and continue to deliver outstanding value.
Talk to your client. Find out what you can do to make his life a little easier, make his business more successful and make him feel better about himself.
When you enter into this conversation with your client, listen. I mean really listen.
You should spend 70% of your time listening and only 30% of your time talking.
In a business relationship, the client only cares about you to the extent you can help him achieve his goals. Do not delude yourself into believing he wants to hear about the procedure you just had to remove that anal polyp.
But if he wants to talk about his anal polyp, you better be ready with a referral to the best proctologist in town.
It’s not a pain in the ass. It’s good business.
Let the client take credit.
Your business is a terrible place to get your ego stroked.
Always allow your client to take credit for any success achieved as a result of your mutual efforts.
I regularly give advice to lawyers, medical professionals and business leaders. That advice, when well executed, results in significant improvement in income and lifestyle.
But I didn’t build that. The client did.
My ideas are worthless without the client’s determination and fortitude.
I’m willing to bet it is the same in your business.
If it’s not, PRETEND it is.
Ego maniacs have skinny kids and lonely holidays.
Bask in the love and support of your family and friends and forget about taking credit for the success your clients achieve as a result of your efforts.
These three things are tough to do. Most people can’t do them because they run counter to our nature. If you want to stand out from the crowd and make a great living and live a great life® practice these three principles. They will help you become magnetic.
How to Build Valuable Relationships With Your Clients
Welcome to the 60 Second Sales Show.
I am Dave Lorenzo, your host. I’m the guy who helps you make a great living and live a great life. Today we’re here to help you create deep, lifelong relationships with your clients, in 60 seconds or less.
Increasing sales requires you to create a sense of urgency among your clients. Creating a sense of urgency is not something that comes naturally.
I want you, now, to picture a big fat guy sitting on a couch at home in the middle of a snowstorm. He’s sitting there eating a bag of potato chips. He’s got them and he’s throwing them into his mouth, one after the other. Your job is to get that big fat guy off the couch, get him to run out the door into the snowstorm to buy the product that you’re selling. We’re going to show you how to do that right now, here, today, on the 60 Second Sales Show. The best way you can do that is to motivate the person to act in his or her own self-interests.
Way back when, about ten years ago, when I was a partner at The Gallup Organization, my boss came to me. The CEO of the company walks into my office and he sits down in the chair and he says, “Dave, listen. I have something I want you to do and it’s something that’s really personal to me”. I sat up, I leaned forward, and I was listening intently as he described to me a situation in which his brother in law, his ex brother in law, the guy who had just divorced his sister, had stolen one of his most prized accounts. The account was Ann Taylor stores. It was a clothing retailer. He described to me the pain he felt when his brother in law not only humiliated his sister by divorcing her, but also stole his account. He said to me, “I need you to do me this favor. I need you to drop what you’re doing and go after this account as hard as you possibly can. I want you to land this account and if you do it in the next 60 days, I’m going to give you a $50,000 bonus”.
You know and I know that money is a huge motivator for successful sales people, so I sat up in my chair and I said, “Boss, you can count on me. I’m on the case”.
Keep in mind that this is a business, this is an industry, big ticket consulting, business to business consulting, which normally requires an 18-month to 2-year sales cycle. The minimum size account we would even bother to look at as a consulting organization is $1,000,000 in revenue to us on an annual basis. I just promised my boss I was going to do this in 60 days.
I looked around the room, just me there, and I said to myself, “How am I going to make this happen?” I went into my contacts file and I looked for people who had been to my speaking engagements in the past. I noticed there was one person from this company, one person from Ann Taylor stores, who had been to a speaking engagement in the past. I picked up the phone and I reached out her and I said, “I noticed you had come to see me speak. I’m wondering what resonated with you from that presentation”.
She gave me a clue, she gave me an insight, as to how I could potentially help her.
She said to me, “What really resonated with me is that you talked about how diversity in our management team could increase sales in our organization. This is something we desperately need”.
I said to her, “Wow”. Her name was Allison. I said, “Allison, what’s preventing you from making this happen?” She said, “I can’t make the case. I can’t make the case internally to my boss. I can’t make the case to the CEO. The case is just too difficult”. I said, at that point, “Allison, would you like some help with that?” She paused and she said, “Of course. I would love some help with that. What could you do to help me?”
At that point, we were off to the races. I knew I had her. I knew I had created an opportunity, but I didn’t know whether or not we had a sense of urgency developed. I met with her and we developed a plan to help them come up with a way to increase the diversity in their management team. We worked on this plan for about a week and a half. I helped her with the presentation. She rehearsed it over and over again. Within three weeks, she was ready to present it to the CEO. At that point, we did our final run through. I shook her hand and I said, “Allison, you’re ready to go”, and she got cold feet.
She got cold feet because she had never been on this size stage before. The appointment with the CEO was set, she was sure that she had a way to increase diversity in the company, but she didn’t know if she had the guts to go through with it.
I said to her, “Allison, you are the most qualified person in this company right now to deliver this message. The CEO needs this message, the company needs this message. You’re going to help them, and what I’m going to do is I’m going to be in the room as your statistician. If you ever fumble or stumble look for a stat, I’ll be right there behind you, but the moment is now because the CEO is ready to hear what you have to say”.
That’s all I had to say to her to create that level of urgency. She was hungry and she was aggressive and I had appealed to her self-interests.
The story ends very happily for both Allison and myself. She did the presentation. She delivered it like a pro. She was a total champ. We got the deal four weeks into my boss issuing the challenge to me. Not only was I able to help her in her company, but also I was able to help myself. I was able to put an additional bonus in my pocket as a result of creating urgency. I reduced an 18-month sales cycle to just 4 weeks and I knew I didn’t need to wait 18 months ever again. Four weeks wasn’t realistic for a sales cycle, but 18 months certainly seemed like an eternity when I was just able to close this big deal in 4 weeks. I created that urgency by focusing on her self-interests and showing her how she could achieve a goal immediately. That’s how I created urgency within her and that’s how you can do it with your clients too.
Let’s focus on how we can create urgency in your business so that you can close more deals quickly. I’m going to tell you right now that some people are out there giving you bad advice. That’s right. Some people will teach you to wait, they’ll teach you to position yourself so that you are aloof and above it all and that creates a sense of awe and it builds your brand. I think that is a bunch of hogwash. You don’t need to wait ever. Selling is about helping people. You’re providing them with a solution to a problem. If you were a doctor and you delayed treating a patient, the patient would die. You can’t do that in life and you can’t do that in sales.
I know what you’re thinking.
You’re thinking that if you take a week or a month or two months to perfect your pitch to the client, you will nail it, you’ll get it spot on. You’re focusing on perfection and perfection is the enemy of progress.
Do not wait.
I know it’s scary. I know you’re thinking that you’re not going to be ready. If you move quickly and you create a sense of urgency in your client and you do it immediately, you can always change and grow and develop on the fly. Waiting never works. Here’s the truth. When striving for progress, we’re not striving for perfection. If you make the pitch and it’s not perfect, you still have time to make it right before your competitor comes in and tries to steal the deal from you.
The reality is a client who has a need, a client who has a problem, a client who has something that you can help them with, needs you now. If you fail to take care of him or her right now, there’s somebody behind you, just look over your shoulder, there’s somebody right there waiting to jump in and steal the deal from you. To increase sales, you must, must, must create a sense of urgency. Here are the tips how.
Part of me kind of blocks out this story, but I’m going to tell it to you.
I have a confession.
I was at an event and a lawyer, I was doing a presentation to lawyers, came up to me. He said, “Hey Dave. I love what you said, I’ve been to a bunch of your events, and I’m ready to do business with you. Send me a proposal”. I backed him off. I said, “Listen. I have a process in place. Let’s do this. Let’s make sure that you and I are a good fit. Why don’t you call my office, we’ll set up an interview, and I’ll see if you’re a good fit for me, you’ll see if I’m a good fit for you, we’ll see if it makes sense”. He said, “No, no, no. I know you’re a good fit. Send me a proposal. I want to start work with you right away”.
The guy had the sense of urgency and I backed him off and you know what happened?
My competitor stole the deal.
He’s now working with the competitor that I absolutely cannot stand. He’s working with the competitor that I hate the most. Hate’s a strong word, but my competition is my competition. They’re trying to take food out of my mouth. I’m going after them and he’s now working with them.
My lack of responding to his sense of urgency hurt me. Here’s what you’re going to do. You’re going to avoid this by always erring on the side of action. You always err on the side of action. What you don’t do today will haunt you forever. Keep that in the back of your mind. If you have the choice to take action on a client need right now or to delay action, you always take action because you will regret the actions you don’t take. You’ll never regret taking action too aggressively and screwing something up.
Here are a couple of steps you can take right now.
Suppose you have a sales goal of selling $1,000 in sales each and every single week. That means that you must sell $200 worth of your product or service every single day and that’s how you break it down. Every single day you must sell $200 worth of your product or service. You’re going to focus on closing $200 worth of sales deals first thing in the morning each and every single day. If for some reason you get off track and you don’t close that $200 the first day, you know the second day you have to close $400 worth of sales. This creates the urgency in you. You’ve broken down your annual goal into a monthly goal. You’ve broken down your monthly goal into a weekly goal and your weekly goal into a daily goal. You’re going to focus on zeroing in on taking action each and every single day that will get you closer to your annual goal. You’re going to break it down into bite size pieces.
The second thing I want you to think about is you must build momentum.
Every day you must sell something. In the example I gave you above, you have $1,000 a week that you have to sell. If you blow it out and you sell $2,000 on a Monday, what you still need to do is you still need to sell something every day to create that momentum, to keep that momentum going. Regardless of whether you’re having a good day or a bad day, you need to close at least one deal. When you get up in the morning and you have a conversation with your spouse, with your significant other, you have a conversation with your kids, you’re selling, you’re selling right out of the gate. You’re convincing them to take their lunch to school. You’re convincing them to eat a good breakfast. You’re convincing them that when you come home, you’re going to watch a certain movie or you’re going to watch a certain TV show. You sell every day of your life. When you get to work, sell something.
By the end of the day, you have to have sold something, anything. In my business, I have a gateway product. That’s a simple product that I can sell to just about anybody, anytime. I have a book that I offer to people for $29. If I haven’t sold anything and I look at the clock and it’s 4:30, 5:00, I simply get on the phone and I offer people the book for $29. I don’t leave my office without that momentum, without having sold something every day. That’s how you increase the urgency in your life and that will translate to the urgency that your client feels when he or she works with you.
The final tip I’ll give you today is that you should get an accountability partner.
Get an accountability partner that agrees to have a conversation with you once a week. This will prevent you from being lazy. I’m not talking about a boss who breathes down your neck and wants to review your sales reports. We all know those sales reports are a pain in the neck and that activity is not something that is going to be helpful to you in creating the momentum you need to get the job done. I’m talking about an accountability partner with whom you can sit and have a conversation and you can say to one another, “What did you do this week that’s going to lead to a big deal? Did you sell something on Monday? Did you sell something on Tuesday? Did you sell something on Wednesday? Tell me how you felt during that process”.
Sales is all about confidence and urgency is a byproduct of your confidence. When you talk to your accountability partner, you discuss with him or her how you’re feeling and the confidence that you have in getting the deals closed as quickly as possible. This conversation is valuable. Start with your goals, start with whether you’ve achieved your goals, how close you came, and what happened. Why did you do so well? What happened to keep you from where you were? Talk about how you felt. Talk about your confidence. Have the conversation with your accountability partner so that you pump your confidence back up and you create the urgency.
We’re at the portion of our show that we call the Mailbag Segment. In the mailbag today, we’re reaching in and pulling out a question from Alex. He works for Schlumberger, one of my favorite names. Schlumberger is a company that has oil rig products, they sell oil rig products. John writes, “Dear Dave, I sell parts for oil rigs and they make decisions in annual cycles at the shortest. What can I do to create a sense of urgency in my business? They are not going to buy from me for at least 12 months. Thanks in advance for answering my question”. He signs his name.
Let me tell you, this is one of the biggest questions I get in business-to-business sales, and I’ll tell you the answer is this. You need to get in there and you need to help them understand what’s happening in the future and you need to have them project the future to today. What do I mean by that? You sit down with them and you say, “Mr. Smith, let’s look at your decision making process right now so that I can understand where we are”. They’ll lay out their decision making process for you. What I want you to do at that point is I want you to be the guy who educates them on the latest and greatest technology in the oil drilling industry. I want them to become addicted on your educational information. What you’re doing is you’re selling them on you as an expert, that way they will come to you whenever they’re ready to make a decision.
The second thing I want you to do is I want you to be the go to guy when something breaks at the last minute and they need something right now. I want you to tell them, “No matter what time, day or night, if you need anything, even if you think it’s something we don’t make, I want you to call me. I’m the guy who gets the job done”. You’re doing two things. You’re telling him, number one, “I’m the guy who educates you”, and you’re going to coach and help mentor him on the technology that you have that’s better than everybody else. The second thing you’re going to do is you’re going to be the Johnny on the spot. You’re going to be the guy who can create magic when something breaks or when they need it.
That’s how you work with a long sales cycle. Number one, you educate them so that you’re the default person they come to when they’re creating their specs to buy their products. Number two, you tell them you’re the guy they come to when something breaks so that they know that you’re the guy who can make things happen quickly. That’s how you create urgency when it comes to a long sales cycle and that’s how you create urgency in an industry that takes months or years to close the deal.
My friends, I am Dave Lorenzo and you’ve been listening to the 60 Second Sales Show. I thank you for being with me today. Remember, to increase sales you must create a sense of urgency. You deserve to make a great living and live a great life. I will see you next time right here at the 60 Second Sales Show.
One of the fastest ways to boost your sales is through using speaking engagements. Here is a case study of one of my clients and his experience using public speaking to grow his sales.
Many people use speaking engagements as a way to develop business. Yet many of the folks I work with have a difficult time converting audience members into clients.
They deliver great information. They have an outstanding speaking style. People give them a standing ovation.
Yet nobody calls to hire them.
People love your speech, yet they fail to hire you. This happens because you are asking them to make too big a leap of faith.
Think about it….You just saw some guy on stage. He told some good stories. He made you think. He gave you some interesting statistics. But do you trust him enough to give him $10,000 to develop a managed service agreement for you?
My client Brad Gross faced this exact issue.
He is an excellent speaker. People like him. He is terrific at developing an engaging talk in his area of expertise. After he said, “Thank you and goodnight.” He received a standing ovation.
Then he went back to the office. Instead of telephones ringing he heard the sound of one hand clapping.
Once Brad and I dissected his talks, we realized he was providing his audiences with TOO MUCH information. He was overwhelming them.
We reorganized his speaking style mixing substance with emotional connection (through stories).
Then we added a call to action at the end. In this call to action he asked the audience to do one thing and one thing only…request a copy of a free report relevant to the subject of the talk.
This one tweak – adding the call to action – made all the difference. Now, in some cases, 75%-80% of the audience asks Brad for more information. This allows him to keep in contact with the audience members and develop relationships with each of them. Then, when one of them has the need for a technology attorney, Brad gets the call because he took the time to develop a relationship.
This one idea changed everything about business development for Brad.
And this is relevant to you because it is an example of how a single idea, well executed, can change everything.
I have an important question for you about your personal development.
Your answer will allow me to predict your financial future.
What do you know today about your clients, your industry, and yourself that you didn’t know yesterday?
People who can answer that question will always out-earn people who cannot.
Is this question about intelligence? Is it about thoughtfulness? Is it about research?
It is about continuous improvement.
If you are not growing each day, you are regressing.
Let’s think about what those answers mean:
What do you know today about your clients?
The business world is constantly evolving. Your clients have new needs and desires each day. Your ability to meet those needs and satiate those desires is critical to your success.
Spend twice as much time listening to your clients as you spend listening to pundits and experts. Your clients should be the central preoccupation of your business life.
What do you know today about your industry?
External pressure on your business will almost always be related to the forces acting upon your industry.
We spend a great deal of time worrying about our competitors yet we do not spend the same time and effort on the constraints being placed upon our industries by a meddlesome government or a zealous industry-regulating body.
What effect will the macroeconomic conditions and external forces have on your industry? How can you adjust?
What do you know today about yourself?
Are you smarter today than you were yesterday? How can you leverage that intelligence?
What do you do better than anyone else in the world? How can you spend more time doing it?
What are you horrible at doing? How can you spend more time doing less of that?
How did you spend your time? How can you change/improve that?
What unproductive activity monopolized your time today? How can you eliminate that activity from your life?
These questions are the essence of continuous improvement.
Spend some time thinking about them and you will be amazed at the impact the answers have on your business and your life.
There are many people looking to monopolize your time and attention. You need to be serious about sales. This means choosing wisely with your time.
How do you decide in whom to invest?
This decision is as important, if not more important than a financial investment.
Time is all you have. You can spend it with your family and friends. You can spend it with a business associate, making money. You can spend it unwinding and recharging your personal batteries.
How you choose to spend your time is up to you and it is the single factor that differentiates those business leaders who are successful from those who flounder.
In business, I invest my time with serious people.
This does not mean they are all devoid of a sense of humor. Quite the contrary. Most of the people I work with have a sharp wit.
But all are serious about one thing – the respect they have for others.
Why is this important?
It’s important because all good relationships are built on a foundation of mutual respect. You must first respect someone before you can trust him.
Over the years I have developed some cues that help me evaluate a person’s business intent. I use these at the outset of a relationship to determine if I will invest my time, my attention and my expertise in someone seeking my assistance.
Here are five of those cues:
Dress Like a Pro
Serious businesspeople look the part.
If you are a lifeguard, shorts, a tee shirt and flip-flops are appropriate. Everyone else needs to look like they are worthy of an investment of money – but more importantly – an investment of time and attention.
Dress up for a first meeting. You may occasionally feel foolish wearing a business suit but you can always take off the tie and jacket if you are clearly overdressed.
Speak Like a Trusted Advisor
Your goal is to provide useful information, help people make decisions, and motivate them to take action.
Make complicated concepts seem simple and don’t use jargon. Making people comfortable with you is the first step in earning their trust. Do this by treating EVERYONE as a peer.
Keep the language family friendly. Intelligent people can come up with alternatives to profanity – even when they are emotional.
Organize your Writing
The way you write is the way you think.
If your writing follows a logical pattern, your thoughts follow a logical pattern. Everything you write matters. Make sure you review your email before you send it.
Keep an Open Mind
One of the hallmarks of a serious businessperson is his willingness to listen to opposing points of view. Strong, self-assured leaders can listen to people with whom they disagree and, in some cases, compromise.
The world is full of stubborn people who think they know everything. Be unique. Welcome opposing points of view.
Keep your appointments. Arrive on time. Stick to the agenda. Finish as scheduled. I can learn more about you from the way you manage your schedule than I can from interviewing twenty of your closest friends.
If you do not respect your own time, you certainly will not respect my time.
You may not agree with me on some of these points. In fact, you may not agree with me on any of them. That’s up to you. But for me, these five factors are nonnegotiable.
What do you think? Should I take you seriously?
Let go of the past and you sell more.
During my freshman year of college I had the good fortune to share a dorm room with a 35 year old former fireman from Brooklyn. This guy, named Tony, lived the equivalent of three lifetimes before I met him (including one as a semi-tough guy working with some serious people back home). But at 35 he wanted a fresh start so he enrolled in college. (Maybe he was hiding out but I was only 18, so I thought he was cool).
It was a huge benefit to have Tony as a friend during my first year away from home. The education I received from him was more valuable than anything I learned from my professors. It was multifaceted. Tony helped me with knowledge in a number of important areas.
There was the historical education which included the reasoning behind putting three coffee beans in a glass of Sambuca.
There was the social education which included the reason why you look a woman directly in the eye when you are having a conversation with her.
There was the moral education which included always defending friends when someone speaks ill of them (even if your friends are complete idiots).
But the most valuable lessons I learned from Tony were the lessons about self-awareness. Nobody was more comfortable in his own skin than this guy. After all, a 35 year old guy entering college for the first time, living in a dorm with kids 15 years younger than him had to be pretty self-aware.
The true golden nugget of learning from Tony was something I affectionately call: Fuhgeddaboudit
This is the phonetic spelling.
This particular phrase has been picked apart and stereotyped by every modern gangster movie as an Italian colloquialism, which it is. But it has legitimate meaning to those who understand its proper usage.
Back in college I was prone to saying stupid things. Although I still have this nasty little habit, as a mature adult, I can, for the most part, control it. But in college I would just let fly with the first thing that came into my head. Most often, those thoughts were inappropriate.
Interestingly enough, the problem for me was never what I said; rather it was the mental anguish I put myself through after I said these things. For days, sometimes even weeks, I would agonize over my own stupid comments. I would re-run the incident in my head, over and over.
Finally, after seeing me go through this ridiculous behavior a few times, Tony pulled me aside. He explained to me that most people would forget the things I said, even the really stupid stuff, after a few days. He said I was the only person actually bothered by those statements and/or actions.
“Fuhgeddaboudit” Tony would say with a smile when I told him the latest idiotic predicament I had gotten myself into.
And gradually, over the years, I’ve learned to make this behavior a habit. Today, whenever I make a mistake, particularly one that costs me money, I picture Tony sitting in his chair back in the cramped dorm room. He’s smiling. Then he takes a sip of the sweet nectar from Rome, sets his glass down and says, “Fuhgeddaboudit”.
It takes practice. But it is a habit well worth learning.
Today I still look women right in the eye when I speak with them. I still drink my Sambuca with three coffee beans. And, more often than I care to admit, I take Tony’s advice and put my mistakes behind me.
The future is too important to allow the past to prevent it from happening.
All sales superstars have qualities that separate them from everyone else.
We are all looking for the one big thing that will make a difference in our business and our career.
We want the one thing that will deliver bags of money to our doorstep. We want to purchase the winning lottery ticket that will change our lives forever.
The problem with thinking along those lines is while money solves some problems, it brings many others to the forefront.
Don’t get me wrong: Money is great. Money is important. But money alone is not enough for you to make a great living and live a great life.
In fact, you may think money is the ONLY thing missing from your life right now (or MORE money is the only thing missing from your life now).
You are wrong.
There are three factors necessary for making a great living and living a great life. Unless you master all three, you will always fall short.
The factors are: Capability, Confidence and Clarity. You need them all.
All of us think this is the one factor that makes the difference. If you are the best doctor, if you are the best lawyer, if you are the best CPA, best store owner, best realtor, best caterer, etc. people will flock to you in droves.
If you are the most capable person in your field, people will beat a path to your door.
Capability is only one third of the equation.
But wait…there’s more… Capability is a multifaceted concept.
Professional capability, meaning excellence only in the tactical aspects of your profession, is only a small part of your success.
It is not enough to be great at your chosen profession.
You also have to be great as the CEO of your business.
You have to be great as a marketer.
You have to be great as a strategist.
Or you must find capable people to fill in the areas where you will not develop mastery.
This is an area where all of us fall short.
You are better than you think you are.
Read that again.
You deliver fantastic value to your clients/patients/customers. You help improve their lives. Act like it.
Lack of confidence will kill any chance you have of being successful.
If there is a “secret” ingredient to success, it is clarity.
I often tell audiences that my moment of clarity came when I cancelled a lunch appointment with my wife to deliver a “command performance” to the CEO of a big client organization. On my way to that meeting, I was struck in by a speeding taxi cab while in a crosswalk in New York City.
In an instant my priorities shifted.
A cab driver helped me realize that living a great life was just as important as making a great living.
Business became a catalyst to unlocking the lifestyle I wanted. It enabled me to become who I am but it does not define who I am.
I use this lens of clarity to make decisions about everything from client selection to travel plans related to my business.
You must know where you want to go and the role your business will play in helping you get there.
All three of these factors must be in place if you want to make a great living and live a great life.
If you have capability, confidence and clarity, your life will become a rewarding journey that fulfills and excites you. You will attract great clients/patients/customers who will recognize and reward you based upon the value you bring to their lives.
Everyone who sells anything wants to get paid faster.
Cash is king.
During difficult times people prioritize which bills they pay first. Of course, they WANT to pay everyone but because their own cash flow is a mess they will often pass their issues on to you …If you let them…
Here are four ways to improve your cash flow:
Ask for Complete Payment Up Front
This sounds simple but I am regularly amazed at how many professionals and business owners do not do it. Simply ask for payment at the beginning of your relationship. Think about it, you don’t go to the movies and pay after the show if you like the film.
Get payment before service is rendered.
Raise Your Prices
There’s a pretty good chance you provide more value to your clients/patients than you realize. Make a detailed list of the value of your services to your clients. Take great care to determine how much money you save them or how much value they receive from their relationship with you.
Once you have an understanding of that value, spend your time and energy demonstrating it to client. Once you both agree on the value of your services, you can easily charge a fraction of that number.
A business consultant develops a business strategy for a client that will result in at least $4 million in new business (conservatively) over the next 3 years. He can easily command a fee of $75,000 for that business strategy development engagement because it is worth (at least) $4 million.
The key is gaining agreement with the client on the value of the work you are doing. Once you have that, agreeing on the fee is easy.
Target Better Clients/Patients
Not all clients are created equal. Focus your time, energy and marketing dollars on clients who provide the highest return on the investment of your time. A client who is responsive and engaged in working with you is not only a pleasure but he/she values your time and effort.
Better clients can often pay higher rates and will often pay your fee upfront without hesitation.
Set Up Subscription Programs
No matter what business you are in, you can set up a program where your client/patient pays monthly for access to you and your services. These subscription programs can help you smooth out the peaks and valleys in your business.
The bottom line is that you don’t have to put up with poor cash flow. If the money is slow in coming in you need to exercise your right to select better clients and use better business practices.
Don’t blame the economy. The choice to get more money in the door is yours.
Remember: Cash is king. Without it your kingdom will starve.
Take action right now.