Archive for Attitude

Prioritizing your professional growth

At the gymI was visiting recently with someone who’s been involved with Sandler in a different city for several years-he had been in President’s Club for five years. We had an interesting conversation about where his focus was and it ended up challenging me!

When I meet with people who’ve been in Sandler for a while, I like to pick their brains a bit. So I asked this man-we’ll call him Frank, though that’s not his real name-”How in the world are you still getting something out of this after five years?” Frank told me that he wasn’t getting a lot out of Sandler initially, and he had to have a pretty big mind shift in order for that to change. After being involved with Sandler for about 18 months, he was getting really frustrated at his lack of growth.

A peer in his President’s Club class noticed this and told him that he was going about it in the wrong way. Of course, Frank asked what that meant, and the peer shared with him some observations he’d made.

He told Frank that he often saw him on his computer-sometimes taking notes, but also checking his email and his phone. He recalled that Frank had told him he went to the gym regularly, and he asked, “What type of focus do you have at the gym versus what you have in President’s Club?”

Frank said that hit him like a sledgehammer over the head.

He was totally focused at the gym! He wasn’t checking emails, he wasn’t checking his phone for texts, and he wasn’t stepping out for phone calls. He realized that he needed to make a shift and put that same level of focus into his professional growth if he wanted to see any real change.

I’m guilty of that too, sometimes. There are things that I know will benefit me as a professional, but for whatever reason I’m unwilling to give 100%. But we’ll get out of most things what we put into them.

If growing as a professional is important to you, does it show in your behavior? Are there ways you could channel more focus into things that will benefit you professionally?

What to do when things seem too good to be true

Happy earsOne of my clients who is a trainer received a couple of referrals a while back. When he got in touch with one of them, she was immediately ready to get started training her staff, which is not typical in his world.

He called to follow-up on the referral and she asked when she could come out to train her staff. Typically, he meets with the decision-maker for fifteen minutes or so to decide if his training is a good fit, and then he schedules enrollment.

But in this phone call, she was ready to begin training immediately. So he asked what time worked for her, and they decided he would come out in the next week to meet the employees.

They skipped the entire decision-maker step! He received dedicated time to train the employees, a payroll deduction slot-everything he needed on his end, before he even started.

But he didn’t know what their pain was! Without know that, it could either be really successful or really challenging.

A really good approach in situations like that is to pause and ask a few questions. It’s a good time to say, “Whoa, I’m curious-we’re skipping a few steps that are kind of normal here. Are you okay with that?”

Obviously, when you’re approached with something that seems to good to be true, you’ll need to ask that question in a way that makes sense for the situation. But you can’t know what’s going on in your prospect’s world or what’s causing unusual speed unless you ask.

It’s very easy to get happy ears-excited about something that’s not a sure thing- if a situation seems too good to be true, or is moving too easily toward your goal. It may be that this prospect was just an excellent fit for my client, but I think he would have been more confident going into the training if he knew more about the reasons behind his prospect’s speed.

You probably won’t know the decision-making structure or process for every prospect you contact. But if things seem too good to be true, asking a few questions can get everyone on the same page so you can move forward confidently.

Careful with those fighting words!

Fighting wordsThe customer’s always right... Right? That’s great in theory, but it’s not always feasible in practice. Promises made and unkept are worse than promises not made. But not making the unreasonable promises of an angry client or prospect can seem like the makings of a fight!

That’s where Sandler Rule 28 comes in: When under attack, fall back. Falling back can be very appropriate when you’re trying to cool a heated situation.

If a customer is upset with your projected timeline, for example, falling back would look like this:

“Help me understand. If we’re not able to make this shipment within 3 months, we’re probably going to lose you as a customer. Knowing that’s the case, what would you do if you were me?”

It’s hard to stay angry at that. It gets everyone to a more okay place, and it gives the other person an opportunity to give you a suggestion they would be comfortable with.

One of my clients had a meeting scheduled with two team members from another company, to see if it made sense for them to do business together. Their Up-Front Contract stated that only those two team members would be present, but the CEO had other plans.

While the CEO wasn’t initially invited, he had a pretty dominant personality and decided he should attend. So he did. The CEO was very uncomfortable with the industry that my client works in-distrustful, even-but he kept asking technical questions during the meeting.

The answers to those questions required my client to use some industry jargon, and it didn’t go over well. The CEO accused my client of using a lot of words but not saying anything. My client was angry, but didn’t want to lose the rapport he’d already built with the other two team members.

At this point, my client knew he needed to fall back. He told the CEO, “I don’t have a horse in this game. If we aren’t a good fit for you, that’s really okay. I’m happy to explain the technical side to you, but if you don’t want me to, that’s okay.”

The CEO left early. But the other two team members actually tried to sell my client on how he wouldn’t have to deal with the CEO! They still wanted to do business with my client.

When you’re trying to get your needs met, instead of falling back, it’s easy to get defensive and lose bonding and rapport.

But my client wasn’t trying to get his needs met at the expense of this other company. Because he didn’t fight back when the CEO wanted him to, he was able to maintain bonding and rapport with the other two people in the meeting.

Instead of fighting back when you feel under attack, try to make the other person feel okay. You’ll be surprised at what doors will remain open.

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Literal versus reality when disqualifying

Money leakIn Sandler, one of the things we talk about is disqualifying prospects. If you go into an interaction with a prospect looking for red flags, you’re likely to save a lot of headache later.

However, as with all concepts, you can definitely overdo it. We call that literal versus reality. If you’re too literal in applying the concepts we teach, and don’t adjust them to fit your reality, you can shoot yourself in the foot.

A client of ours who is in online marketing has been with us a number of years, and realized this not too long ago.

One of the things he latched onto fairly early in his journey with us is the fact that he would save a lot of time by disqualifying prospects early on. Before he engaged with us, he was taking on a lot of bad clients. So he quickly started saving himself time and headaches by disqualifying.

However, after about four years of working with us, he finally realized he’d gone to the other extreme. He realized that if the door was open for a conversation, he needed to have that conversation before disqualifying the prospect.

When he began to realize this, several things started to change for him. In one instance, he received an email from a prospect that initially sounded like she wouldn’t be a good fit. She wanted a specific type of website, and had specific requirements for the timeframe.

My client could fit either the timeframe or the type of website she wanted, but not both. In the past, he would have disqualified her and simply sent her an email sharing that he wouldn’t be a good fit. This time, he called her up and had a conversation instead.

As it turned out, the conversation led to an out-of-the-box solution, where my client would make her a lower-end website that they could get online faster, then upgrade the website later.

Of course, the prospect had no clue that option even existed, so she wouldn’t have known to ask for it. Without that conversation, they never could have done business together!

While disqualifying prospects typically prevents a lot of frustration, disqualifying too quickly can lead to lost opportunities. When my client shifted from literal to reality, it made a huge difference.

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Stop blaming the weather and the economy

Blaming othersIf you’re really honest with yourself, you probably don’t always take ownership like you should. You probably have an opportunity to improve there. We all occasionally get caught up in the things we can’t control, and don’t spend the time and energy looking at the things we can control.

The blame game

When I sit down with business people, owners, and sales professionals, it’s amazing how often that happens. I frequently hear excuses from others related to things they can’t control. Depending on the industry, that can include:

“If only there had been a hailstorm.”

“If only it had been hotter.”

“If only it hadn’t rained for months.”

“If only the economy wasn’t so bad.”

“If only prospects were spending more.”

“If only donors were donating more.”

You’re only human! You can’t control Mother Nature. You can’t control the price of oil. You can’t control the economy. You can’t control the exchange rate of the dollar. And you definitely can’t control others!

Stop focusing on the things you can’t control! We’re all guilty of it at one time or another, myself included.

Ultimately, there are only three things you can control:

1. Your behavior

All too often, we focus on the outcomes. While the outcomes are important, your behavior is what directly impacts those outcomes. Your goals and tracking should focus your behaviors-things that you can directly control.

2. Your attitude

A common misconception is that attitude drives behavior. In fact, it’s the other way around. A more accurate concept is faking it until you make it. Change your behavior, and your attitude will follow.

3. Your technique

Once you’ve changed your attitude by changing your behavior, you can start to focus on honing your technique. This will vary based on your role, but ongoing reinforcement training will help techniques to be applied, become skills, and eventually become habits.

Focus on improving those three things, and everything you can’t control won’t matter nearly as much.

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An abundance mindset advantage

Abundance mindsetOne of the things we talk about a lot in Sandler is an abundance mindset versus a scarcity mindset. Typically organizations and individuals operate either from a mindset of scarcity or a mindset of abundance. That can really steer an entire organization. However, it can also allow an individual salesperson to have more freedom.

In the subconscious mind, one of a couple things happens. In a scarcity mindset, a salesperson goes through the day nervous, jittery, and uncomfortable. They’re worried about things that may be out of their control. They’re worried about voicemails and emails from prospects. They’re worried about the competition. They’re worried there’s not enough business out there for them.

On the other end of the spectrum is a salesperson who operates under the abundance mindset. They go through life calm, cool, and collected. They don’t expend energy worrying about the competitive landscape and the business environment.

One of those mindsets allows you to be more selective about who you do business with.

Getting better at reading people and determining early on who you should and shouldn’t do business with is a huge key to improving your sales.

For example, you may have a high attention to detail. You can adapt to someone that has a low attention to detail, but there’s an energy expenditure that goes along with that. It’s just natural. You can connect with someone that is wired the opposite way you are, but it will drain your energy. So you need to factor that in.

If you’re keeping your sales pipeline full, you have a system, and you have an abundance mentality, you can be far more selective about who you want to do business with and who you don’t. That may not mean they’re a bad person, it may just be someone who takes a lot of energy out of you.

Even though there may be a check at the end, is the energy investment to get that check worth it for you? Or is it not?

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Learning to fail

Failing her way to successSandler Rule #1 doesn’t beat around the bush: You have to learn to fail, to win. As straight-forward as that sounds, there are a few different aspects of it.

Separate the role

The child state of your ego causes you to get emotionally attached to outcomes. Instead, you have to separate the role - what you do - from your identity - who you are.

Of course, that’s easier said than done! But if you don’t do it, you can really goof yourself up. You need to get out of your own way!

Failure is part of the process

There’s a famous quote attributed to Thomas Edison regarding the invention of the light bulb: “I have not failed 10,000 times. I have successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work.”

In fact, what many call failure is actually an important part of the process.

Even on occasions when you think you were successful, you may reflect later and think of ways you could have done much better.

Learn a lesson

In every sales interaction, you should get a yes, get a no, or get a clear next step. But regardless of which of those happen, you need to learn a lesson.

Can you think of a time where you made the same mistake over and over again before you learned your lesson? Or maybe you still haven’t learned that lesson yet.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. The only true failure is failing to learn from your experience.

The key to learning a lesson is to debrief afterwards. Whether it’s with someone else or by yourself, look at the situation from the viewpoint of a remote, removed third party. How can you logically look at what happened and dissect it so you can get better at it?

[Tweet “The most important rule in Sandler is Sandler Rule #1: You have to learn to fail, to win.”]

What a good meal can teach you about sales

Turkey dinnerA really good meal takes a lot of preparation. That’s true when you have any good meal, but it is especially apparent around the holidays. Most people put hours of preparation into a good meal for just a few minutes of enjoyment.

Are you applying that concept in your sales?

There are a couple ways to think about that concept. First, consider it for individual sales interactions.

If you have a 12 minute phone call with somebody, or a half an hour meeting, or even a one hour meeting, are you really doing enough to prepare? Or are you not?

I talk with my clients about this on coaching calls all the time, and it's amazing how little prep work we all put into things. You’ve got a meeting tomorrow, and you might spend five minutes preparing. Then you’re surprised when it doesn’t go the way you were hoping!

The second way to apply that is with ongoing self-improvement.

Some of my clients have been in our President’s Club for several years. It’s not uncommon across all of Sandler to find people in President’s Club for five, ten, or even fifteen years. I’ve spoken to some people that have been in there around 25 years!

Sometimes when people get involved with something like Sandler, they hear about that and get frustrated because of the time you have to put in to get better. But those that become really successful look at it like going to the gym. It takes ongoing effort over time to really see big changes.

So as you’re eating a really good meal, consider this: Could your professional career could use that same care and time spent preparing?

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How to get the most out of training

TrainingI’m fortunate to get feedback all the time from people that I work with. A while back, I received an email from a client we work with that blew me away. Since he started working with us, he had quadrupled his income, so I was curious what he had to say.

The email was rather long, so it’s abbreviated quite a bit.

I honestly didn’t realize how miserable I was until I got enrolled in Sandler. It was truly one of my life’s lowest points. However, I realize now that Sandler was the silver lining and the catalyst that God used in my life to start me back on a better path.

He went on to share how Sandler allowed him to find different things in his life to work on, both professionally and personally. He said that awareness and knowledge had completely turned his life around.

He finished up with the following.

The behavior change, the training, the development, all really help transform lives, professionally and personally, IF you let it, you take it seriously, and you go all-in and make it a priority in your life.

His individual success is great, but the most important lesson that jumped out to me was his big IF at the end, and it’s something you can use to make the most out of training:

It can be only be effective IF you let it, IF you take it seriously, and IF you make it a priority.

If you just go to sales, management, or leadership training to check off a box on your list, it won’t do anything. But if you listen, absorb, and apply it, it can do amazing things for you.

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You can’t help everyone

Helping everyoneWhy are you in business? Many people are in business because they have a unique skill set or background, and want to use that to help others. Unfortunately, in some ways that can end up limiting them, and can ultimately hurt them.

Sound familiar? You need to keep in mind that you can’t help everyone.

Take my world for example. This is something I have to keep in mind constantly. I help clients with coaching, consulting, and training around business growth, revenue, sales, business development, customer service, leadership, and management.

Do you think I run into many business owners I CAN’T help?

It’s pretty uncommon! But that doesn’t mean it will always be a good fit.

One year I was at a networking event. It was late September or early October, and I happened to run into a roofing contractor. We started talking, and he said something offhand that blew my mind.

He said, “I just hope that next year we get a storm.”

Next year? He still had a whole quarter left in the year, and he’d written it off! Last time I checked, there were still houses with roofs on them to be had.

Could I help him? Yes. Was he ready for my help? Probably not.

The longer we work with clients, the more they see this in their own world as well. They run into people all the time that they could help, but those people aren’t ready, willing, or able to be helped at that time.

So realize you can’t help everyone. You may want to, but it’s just not possible. They have to be ready to take that help, and not everyone is.

Your job has two parts: First, discover if you can help them. Second, figure out whether they’re ready for that help or not.

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