Where Do We Go From Here?

January 5, 2013

45 Life
Lessons

OK, 2012 is over and we’ve begun a new year.  Resolutions have been make and some broken.  Goals have been set or not, written or in your mind.  Lots of things to reflect on in 2012 and lots of things to be grateful for.  Now what?That is a great question, and often seasoned with a lot of cynicism as age and “wisdom” creep in and voices in your head tell you that it’s the “same ol, same ol.”  Now, why would a speaker and writer, who tends to be motivational, begin writing a blog post with these “Debbie Downer” words?  Great question!

I read something recently, on a Facebook post, which pretty much sums up most of what I am experiencing at the time of this writing.  Instead of telling all about this Facebook post, I’ll just cut and paste it here. Written by Regina Brett, 90 years old.

Here are Regina’s 45 lessons of life:

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short – enjoy it.

4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don’t have to win every argument. Stay true to yourself.

7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.

8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.

12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye but don’t worry; God never blinks.

16. Take a deep breath.  It calms the mind.

17. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful. Clutter weighs you down in many ways.

18. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.

19. It’s never too late to be happy. But it’s all up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, and wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Over prepare, and then go with the flow.

23 Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words ‘In five years, will this matter?’

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive but don’t forget.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.

35. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

36. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood.

38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.

41. Envy is a waste of time. Accept what you already have not what you need.

42. The best is yet to come.

43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

44. Yield.

45. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift. 

Well, there you have it.  Now, you might not agree with all of them, yet can we agree that Regina makes sense?  If you take a few minutes to reflect, ponder, muse, mull over, debate, and meditate on these 45 life lessons, perhaps it can help you make a subtle shift in your thinking, in relationships, and in your actions.


2012 in review

December 30, 2012

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 6,800 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 11 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.


First Blog After The World Ended

December 22, 2012

Well, here we are post-apocalyptic world end.  As I reflect on 2012 from the perspective of a Sales Professional, I began to take some notes.  Those notes (reflections) are now transferred into this blog entry.  They are in no particular order.  If you are in the profession of selling or know someone who is in this wonderful profession, please pass this along. 

Thoughts And Reflections – Sales (strategic, tactical, transactional, business development, network marketing, consultative, relational, B2B, B2C….and all things in-between)

  1. Use A Sales Process – Pick one that fits your style of selling and the sales cycle of your product. The Brooks Group of out the Carolinas uses the IMPACT process (Investigate, Meet, Probe, Apply, Convince, Tie-Down).  That is the process we at DXP Enterprises (300+sales reps) will be using in 2013 as we roll out programs and process’s which will aid our sales professional’s ability to close more business.  Like I said, there are many processes, pick one that fits, be honest and drop it if it does not fit.
  2. Use A Contact Manager – There are many on the market.  I use one that is free –Sendoutcards.  In addition to using the service to send cards, Sendoutcards has a built-in contact manager.  Simple and easy, it basically keeps track of the people I place in the Contact Manager.  www.Oprius.com is another.  Why use a Contact Manager?  We’ve gone too far in complex relationships and complex selling to try to track everything in our heads.  Time to automate.
  3. It Takes More Time – Selling today takes more time due to the number of people who have to be involved in the sale and the amount of negativity in the game of salesmanship.  Prospects and customers are taking more and more time to make decisions.  They collect info, they have to conform to the rules of their companies, and they are just overwhelmed with the total demand on their time.  Recruiting retail customers for Sendoutcards, a relatively easy concept to understand takes more time.  Selling complex products and services, so much more time. 
  4. They Have To Know – What?  Let me break that down… they (prospect/customer) have to know that you know what you are talking about.  With more and more access to info, prospects and customers are researching with a click of a mouse to sites that might dispute your claims.  Prospects and customers are shopping price all around the globe and will challenge you for a better price due to the amount of current info they have.  You have to know what you are talking about more and more.
  5. Great Sales Skills Are In High Demand – look, in the old days you could get away with weak skills, not anymore.  Today’s competitive world demands you, the sales professional, to be just that….A PROFESSIONAL in every sense of the word.  What does that mean in your company, in the niche you serve, and in the minds of the prospects and customers you sell to?  I do not know the exact answer.  I know that 2013 will demand professionals or they will be cast aside to web sites, on-line ordering, and inside sales teams taking the order and eliminating the need for an outside professional.

In summary, there are certain things you can do to impact change in the game of sales.  There are certain things you should stop doing to impact change in the game of sales.  Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to walk into 2013 with a balance of what to do and what not to do.

Let me know how you plan on doing that.  tueffert@aol.com is  my email address.


Intentional Selling

September 15, 2012

OK, this entry has to do with a concentrated effort.  It centers around the idea that we who are in sales have times of brilliance and times of ridiculous ignorance.  We abide somewhere between these two and hopefully strive to be more brilliant that ignorant. 

Sometimes it just takes a 20 second burst of energy. In the movie We Bought A Zoo, Matt Damon places Benjamin Mee.  One of the best quotes from the movie is 

“You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it. “

20 seconds of insane courage, intentional selling, or concentrated brilliance can make the next a connection, a presentation stick out, close a sale, or rescue a sale from doom and disaster.  

Selling with intention is serious business.  Yes, sales professionals might claim they “always” sell with intention, yet I’ve need complacency in my sales routine and in the routine and efforts of many.  We get lulled into the routine of “been there, done that” and we assume (bad word) that the next day/week/month/quarter will be just like the last. Keep thinking that way, keep doing the same things over and over again, and yes, they will be just like the past.  Often, that is not a good thing.  Most sales people are trying to do better.  Possibly sell 12 months of quota in 9 or even 6 months based on the ideas of Intentional Selling.   

Here are a few recommendations I have used over a lifetime of selling with intent; take what you like and leave the rest: 

  1. Practice/Rehearse – Be it your 30-second pitch, your presentation, the features and benefits of your product or service, or anything else in your sales tool kit.  Over time, we get dull from all the repetition and routine drama.  We lose our intentional selling edge.
  2. Follow-Up – I’ve said it many times; the fortune is in the follow-up and I’ve lost sales due to not following up on my suspect, prospect, and customer.
  3. Do Insanely Courageous Things – Depending on your type of selling, that could be a wild idea for a presentation, a gift, delivering food, attending networking events, speaking in venues where you are the expert.  Something that kicks you out of your comfort zone.
  4. Get More Education – Seminars, books, audio, podcasts, Internet training, etc.  Whatever the medium, get more education.  Being intentional in your selling requires you to be more and more of an expert in the field you practice in.  Why do the Accounting and Insurance fields require certifications and continuous education; because their fields change, the rules and regulations change, requiring the people in these fields to stay fresh or they will fall behind.

 Short and simple ideas that will help you focus on the business of Intentional Selling.


4 Reasons For A Career In Sales

September 3, 2012

OK, I was emailing a friend recently regarding the profession of selling and if selling is really a career for them.  Beyond the assessments to determine if you can sell, what should you sell, and approximately how successful you might be in selling, the question was still flopping on the table like a fish out of water; “Curt, why should I consider a career in sales?”

What started this conversation was the topic of entrepreneurial spirit or what I call serial entrepreneurialism or the constant need/want/desire to own your own business.  Lots of ink has been dripping off pages from all types of people promoting the reasons why you should start a business, should not start a business, blah, blah, blah.  Well, allow me to approach the original question of why sales.  Here are 4 reasons I think a career in sales is a good idea

  1. The cliché “nothing happens until someone sells something” is true and that someone could be you. Selling is part of the everyday economy.  What can be elusive is the “something” that is being bought or sold.  If you pick the wrong thing or if that thing you picked becomes obsolete for some reason, sales seems like the wrong choice. Sales is an active career, a proactive movement where you have to do certain things to gain the momentum needed to be successful. Unless you fall into a niche or something unique happens, most sales people start at the bottom, doing the business development jobs, duties, tasks, and routines in order to create the awareness of your product or service.  We all started at the bottom and some of us get a chance to restart over and over. 
  2. Sales requires almost no formal education / sales requires a Master’s degree –  I love this compelling reason to consider a career in sales.  Many Direct Selling organizations require little start up $$ to open a business and start selling.  Companies like Sendoutcards, Amway, Insurance, and Pampered Chef want heart and passion, energy, and desire.  Naturally, they are not requiring 5-10 years of experience. On the other side, IBM, HP, Goulds Pumps, and many pharmaceutical sales positions require a college degree in their fields and many desire a Master’s degree prior to having you sell their products and services. 
  3. Sales has unlimited income potential – please reread that so you understand the work POTENTIAL and not salary or guarantee.  Many people drop out of the sales ranks due to unrealistic income dreams.  “Hey Curt, I was in that business for 120 days and I did not make the $10,000 a month like Jim is doing.”  Yes, I’ve heard that before, and what we forget about Jim and others is that they have a strong product, a strong warm market, momentum, and time.  Most likely, the guys and gals at the top of the income reports have paid more than their share of dues to get where they are.  I know 4 sales reps at one company who have over 19 years in their territory.  Yes, they make huge incomes, yet they have been doing this for 19 years.  I know others that are making huge incomes after 4-5 years.  How did they do it?  They followed the recipe needed by their company to be successful and placed MASSIVE ACTION ahead of income.   That massive action resulted in momentum.  Yes, the harder they worked….the luckier they became. 
  4. Sales requires constant reinvention – Now you might not agree with this, you might not understand it, or you might be in sales and have not reinvented yourself in 10 years of successful selling.  I added this because it is the reinvention aspect that gets people excited and keeps people excited (for the most part).  What I mean is that sales is a constant, you should be always learning, always open to new ideas, always networking with others,  always ready with an alternate close or a response to an objection that requires thinking and reinvention to get this sale and the next.

Sure, there are most likely 100 other reasons and I know I am just at the tip of the iceberg here.  My reason for this post is that I think sales is a great career and I’ve enjoyed it for close to 30 years.  I am constantly open to more, new, and better iseas and techniques.

Let me know your thoughts.


Being and Bringing The Solution

August 21, 2012

“Be The Solution, Bring The Solution” is a quote from Rick Veillon, a Regional Sales Vice President of DXP, a Houston based Industrial Distributor.  These 6 words pack a powerful punch as it relates to the topic of sales and your value add that you bring to each encounter.

What does it mean to BE THE SOLUTION in your line of work?  I know that for John Clooney, a managing partner for PricewaterhouseCoopers, it means to be the smartest person in the room when John is asked to attend client meetings.  John is expected to BE THE SOLUTION based on firm reputation and his own professional development in the area of corporate taxation.  What about you? Where in your professional world are you considered the solution?

I know this is a tough challenge and I’ve been bouncing this around since I first heard it 3 years ago in a meeting with Rick.  Rick’s challenge was met with a lot of energy from the group.  Yes, we all wanted to BE THE SOLUTION, yet what does that really mean to you and to the people you interact with?  I’ve worked on my professional development by attending seminars and workshops, listening to podcasts and conference calls, and reading as much as I can.  In addition to those activities, I force myself to get out in the working world of people and to “mix it up” with people who bring themselves to the meeting as the solution.  It gives me the perspective of what solutions look like with flesh and bones and allows me to benchmark myself to others.

What does it mean to BRING THE SOLUTION?  You see, to be the solution is harder than to bring it for a few reasons.

  • “I am not the solution…this is”
  • “Here is the solution I am bringing to you”
  • “Would you like it in blue, green or yellow?”
  • “Cash, check, or charge, paper or plastic?”

Sure it appears to be easy to just deal with the product or service you are providing as a transaction, and yes, the solution to the problem at hand.  Yet, when discussing this with Rick Veillon, he never intended it to be one-dimensional. When you are determined to BRING the solution, you must have done a great deal of homework on what the situation calls for, what have they’ve dealt with in the past, what are they dealing with currently, and are they willing to make a change if the right solution presented itself in front of them?  To bring the solution can be quite simple, a Grande Latte from Starbucks with one raw sugar is the solution to my simple coffee problem.  In terms of John Cooney’s PwC tax challenge for his client, the solution might be hundreds of hours of work at hundreds of thousands of dollars investment to make something good from something quite bad.  Yes, two extremes, and yes, I am just showing examples of solutions which range from the simple to the complex.  The point is clear, it is your responsibility to BRING the solution, however simple or complex.

So, who, how, why, and how do you both BECOME the solution and BRING that solution to your customers, clients, and patients in your professional lives?  When you can replicate the BEING and the BRINGING of solutions, you have taken a fresh and bold step forward in your development.


What Are Your Defining Moments?

July 30, 2012

What Are Your Defining Moments

This Sunday, Sugar Creek Baptist Church had Fenton Moorhead as the guest pastor.  Fenton was the senior pastor for many years.  Fenton’s theme was Defining Moments. What an appropriate theme for this Brick Wall Motivation blog. 

What is a Defining Moment for you?  When have you had Defining Moments?  Tough question for some readers while others are quick with a response.  I would define the term as a moment in time, or an event, which change the course or direction of a person, a group, family, business or association.  Time or event are the two variables I am introducing into my definition.  I chose these based on personal and professional experience. 

One defining moment for me was when I called the local hospital to check on the status of my father, who suffered an aneurism and fell into a coma.  Since there are no coincidences, I called right when my father was “coding” and the doctors attempted to bring my father to life.  The words I heard from the phone was “I’m sorry, we could not save him.”  I lost my mother a few years prior, so this was the second shoe to drop, the loss of my father.  I was 21 at the time and it was a defining moment for me as I faced the world with a new perspective.

Another defining moment is really a combination Defining Moment.  I was let go from a software consulting company about 11 years ago.  It was in the late morning and by that afternoon; I made the decision to take Brick Wall Motivation full time.  I took out a hefty loan and was in business for myself. Thanks to a wonderful professional speaker, Jim Jacobus, my learning curve was short and Jim and I worked together for several years.  I was speaking, teaching, traveling, and overall a success getting closer and closer to the big time.  One thing I forgot during all this was my family.  The second part of this defining moment was when I was faced with a choice, my business or my family.  I took door #2 and pulled out of being a fulltime speaker.  Shortly after, I found a new career as a Sales Vice President which set up a whole bunch of new Defining Moments.

Where are your Defining Moments?  When was the last time you stepped into a fresh Defining Moment where things were changing; good or bad?  You see, life is only lived once.  We tend to be creatures of habit as we get older and more settled in our routines.  We tend to avoid the risk, avoid the greater challenge and perhaps dodge those Defining Moments.  I know, I am one of those people who have begun settling in some areas of my public and private life and it took Fenton’s message this morning to wake me from a short nap of risk avoidance. 

What I am saying (or writing) is that we, while we are still living, can have Defining Moments, we can be part of other Defining Moments, and we can be there when these moments are perceived as good or bad. This is our responsibility; our ability to respond!

I’ve got a lot to think about as I ponder my own Defining Moments.  How have they come to me.  What have I done with them?  What have I learned? What have I avoided or embraced?  Who have I invited into my Defining Moments?

And you?  If you are comfortable sharing Defining Moments in your life, please do.  It would be wonderful to read them.

 


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