I want you to make fun of me, please!

I was listening to some audio this week and something that the speaker said really caught my attention.  They said, “Be a person with unique habits”.  I am not talking about the weird habits here.  You know the weird habits I am talking about that people have.  No.  I am talking about the good habits that add value to yourself and to others.

After hearing that, I then had this interaction which further makes the point.

I was talking to a good friend of mine.  His mission is to add value to others.  He has recently started a blog and a podcast. He is putting in the effort and really making it a point to add value to his peers and those who are around him.  He adds a lot of value to my life.  While speaking with him he tells me how he told one of his colleagues about his blog and his podcast.  His colleague replied to him and said, “I wouldn’t tell anyone else that you are doing those things.”  My friend said “Why Not?”.  I think his colleague said something like everyone will make fun of you. There may have been something else his colleague said, but that was the gist of it.  My friend, being a person of high character and high ambition, obviously responded with a, I don’t care what you say, I will share with as many people who will listen.

Just like my good friend, we both want to be made fun of because of our unique habits.  What makes habits unique?  They are the habits that most people don’t have.

For example:

  • Some people think that an overly positive person about everything is kind of weird.  Why?  because most people are negative about everything.  So when they see a person that is really positive it is unique.
  • My friend Paul and I are really really early risers. He has told me about people making fun of his habit of getting up early.  He does it everyday.  He gets up early and has changed his health significantly because of his workout routine.  He has changed jobs and been promoted in less than a year in that job, and is now a leader in our community with a very prominent organization.  And he takes care of his family, writes, speaks, and makes others around him better because they know him.
  • I have a colleague that really over plans.  She is awesome.  One of the best trainers I know.  She makes everyone she comes across better, because of her over planning.

The three examples of above are considered unique and the people who do these things consistently get made fun of.   Matter of fact I have made fun of the over planning before, but that individual is better than me when it comes to delivery of specific training situations.

What are your unique habits?  Are you doing things that people make fun of you for?  Again, I am not talking about the crazy stuff like when you get nervous, you put your hands under your arm pits, or when you get challenged a little, you run away.  I am talking about unique habits that make you better and more productive.

If you are doing what everyone else does, you are average or below average at best, but when you are doing things that are against the grain and different or unique you have the ability to be different and make a contribution.  Steve Jobs did things that were different and changed the world. Uber is doing things that are different and they are changing an industry.  So please make fun of my unique habits.  It actually pushes me to find more.

To your success and your future.

 

Do you have an agenda today?

Years ago my mentor taught me something called the daily five.  I have always liked the number five for many reasons, but most importantly I like it because I can remember five things pretty easily and that is half the battle sometimes.

A daily five can be applied to any area of your life, your career, your parenting, your mentoring, your business, etc.  The daily five is really your playbook of what you do everyday.  I like to call them my absolutes, meaning I will absolutely do these things above all else. No matter what happens in my schedule, the craziness of life, or situations that may arise.  These five things will be done every single day.

Here are my daily five:

Health and Fitness:   Everyday I focus on my health and fitness.  Six out of seven days I will do some kind of physical activity.  I say six, because I’ll miss a day from time to time.  However, when I miss a day I will focus much more on the diet part of health and fitness for that particular day.  Focusing on my health at the beginning of every day allows everything else in my life work.

Read something:  Facebook feeds doth count either.  I have set a new goal of how many books I want to read over the next few years.  It’s a big number.  To accomplish this goal I have and will continue to read something of value every single day. I read things that add value to my life, my business, or my relationships.

Take Inventory:  It is real easy to let the day get away from me and not find the time to think about what occurred throughout the day.  Although, I am not the best at doing this at the end of that day, I am very diligent in doing it the morning of the next day.  So it fits into my daily five. The main way I take inventory is through my journal and my calendar.  I look at my calendar to determine if I made progress towards any of my major goals that I have set for myself.

Be of value to someone else: The only way I can be of value to another person is to become more valuable myself.  The only way I become more valuable is to continue to seek my full potential.  I am a river and not a reservoir.  A river flows, and a reservoir holds water.  I don’t want to hold the information. Sharing information with others through meetings, one on one, or through my various social networks are some of the ways I allow the information to flow through me and be of value to another person.

Lead Myself:  To do the above four things well I must lead myself well.  This is hard to do sometimes, but it must be done.  We are all Free Agents.  We don’t belong to anyone or anybody.  I control my life and my own destiny.  To lead myself well, I have to understand that I am in the driver’s seat and I am the one in control of my day, my money, my relationships, my career, and everything else about life.  I must equip myself well so I can lead myself well.

Do you have a daily list that you follow everyday?  I would love to hear what you do everyday.  Please share.

To your success and your future.

 

Take NO days off (completely)

Yesterday morning I was listening to an audio download by one of my favorite authors on leadership.  I get a monthly lesson on leadership and personal development from John.  The John Maxwell audio was on an article John read from Paul C. Brunson.  Paul worked for two billionaires.  You can read the article here: http://paulcbrunson.com/2014/01/20-successful-habits-learned-working-two-billionaires-part-1/

The lesson that I liked the most that resonated with me is the lesson of: Take NO days off completely.  If you are thinking this is another blog post on working hard, you are right, and if this is not what you want, stop reading now!

In Johns lesson he unpack’s this lesson some, but I want to unpack it some more and what he means to me.

Do you need some down time?  Yes we all do.  But the point of taking no days off means this, as John eloquently states:  “On days off work is not FIRST, but it isn’t FORGOTTEN either.”  In the article Paul references work being like a baby and you would never leave your baby.  I get that.

I like Johns approach on it and that is the approach I prefer to take. On my days off, I still have my routine which underscores my mission and my goals I have in my life.  I have certain things I do everyday.  Yes everyday, this never changes.  Everyday I read or listen to something educational.  Yes everyday.  Everyday I try to add value to others through one on one or through writing something.  These are two things that I do everyday.  They fall into my bigger purpose in my life and fits into my other business interests as well.

Do you always have to be taking action towards your work?  Not necessarily, on your days off you can use that time to think about the work you want and need to do, and how you should do it.  These days are good for strategy and brainstorming.

Here is what I have learned in the last 10 years or so, most specifically the last three years since becoming an entrepreneur. There are really no off days.  If you are desirous of getting to certain point in your career, you have to approach your job this way.  When you are cutting the grass at home on Sunday, thinking about what you can do to increase the business has to be on your mind.  If you are desirous of running your own company, it takes constant work, especially if you are starting it out on the side and you have a full-time job.  In the business we call it your side HUSTLE.  If you have a side HUSTLE, there are definitely no days off.  If you are passionate about what you are doing, you wouldn’t want to take a day off anyway.

Here is what I want to leave you with.  If you truly need days off from your work and that is important to you. I get it.  If you are truly doing work within what you are passionate about, then you wont want to take days off. My advice is to start doing work within a field or career you are passionate about.

To your success and your future.

How much is your head worth?

This morning I am reminded of situation that I remember my older brother telling me about over 20 years ago.  At that time he and his friends were really into riding motorcycles.  The really fast motorcycles (not sure if there are slow ones) but the ones that are considered sport bikes.  I am sure you have been on the road driving and have seen and heard a pack of them go by you and scare the crap out of you.  Anyway, he wasn’t that kind of rider, he was more of casual rider, but enjoyed riding and the camaraderie amongst the group.

He was in the market for a new helmet.  So he goes into the motorcycle shop and asks the sales person lots of questions about the different kinds of helmets for sale.  Being a young kid at that time, 20 or so, he asked the sales person how much should he spend on purchasing a helmet? I am sure he wanted to spend the least amount he could that provided the most benefit. The sales person replied and said “How much is your head worth to you?”  Long story short, my brother purchased one of the most expensive helmets in the store.  I can still remember him bringing that helmet home and showing me.

Even a young kid like my brother at that time knew that his head was very important.  You don’t go cheap on things that can protect things of value.

So my question for you, using this analogy of my brother and the helmet:

“How much is your head worth to you?”

I am not talking about formal education here. That’s a good place to start, going through school and getting the credentials.  I am talking about continued education. My mentor says this, “It’s not how much the book costs, it is how much is it costing you if you don’t read it.”  All you need is one little nugget from a book and it can change everything for you.  It could make you a better parent, spouse, marketing person, sales person, leader, colleague, business owner, etc.

How much are you willing to invest into your head?  I don’t know what that number is for you. What I do know is that you must be willing to make the investment, and be intentional about it every single day.  Filling up your head with positive thoughts and new information daily is the key to success.  You have to read the books, attend the classes, sign up for the training, attend the seminars, read the blogs, watch the videos, take the meetings, etc.

I was recently meeting with a group of very ambitious people.  These people were leaders amongst their teams and their companies.  I was talking to them about an investment into their continued education and learning. I don’t recall the actual monetary number I stated the investment would be.  However, it was a monetary investment.  It was also a time investment.  Both of these investments are very important.  Time and Money.  You have to manage both very carefully.  However, some of these people balked at the monetary investment.  If you aren’t willing to spend the money, then you cant expect to grow and develop and become that person of value.  That person of value to your company, your family, and to the marketplace.

I would challenge you with this.  Instead of thinking like my brother was when he went in and purchased the helmet, “what is the least I can spend and get the most benefit.”  I would have you to think like this, “how much do I need to spend to become the person I want to become.” This is driven by your goals and ambitions in your life. What do you want and what does it take to get it.

I want to leave you with this. The more value you place on your head, the more you should be willing to invest in it. Secondly, thinking about the future, how much do you want your head to be worth?  I would assume most people would say a lot.  I am not just talking money either, I am talking value to others in a variety of different ways.  To be of value, you have to make yourself more valuable, the only way to do that is to learn more.

To your success and your future.

11 Super-Duper Short book summaries

In this world of 8 second attention spans (myself included), twitter, and emojis and pictures instead of words. I have compiled my reading list to date for 2015, and my super-duper short book summaries on what I took away from the book.  My suggestion is always to read the books, read as many books as you can, and I suggest reading the books below, well, maybe one of them I wouldn’t. My hope is that after reading these short one or two sentence summaries you may decide to actually read the whole book.  If not, enjoy my thoughts on them.

What to do when its your turn and it’s always your turn; author Seth Godin

  • Take advantage of what is in front of you and act now, don’t wait for permission, you already have permission.

The Speed of Trust; author Stephen MR Covey

  • Trust is the essential ingredient to success in life.  You must have it in all relationships that you encounter throughout your career and your life.  Learn how to build it.

Freakonomics; authors Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner

  • A bunch of case studies that added zero value to my life.

How to Kill a Unicorn (How the Worlds Hottest Innovation Factory Builds bold ideas that make it to Market); author Mark Payne 

  • Most good ideas are killed before they ever have a chance to fully develop, put in the work to find a really good idea and then do whatever it takes to see it through.

The Reputation Economy (How to Optimize your digital footprint in a world where your reputation is as good as cash); author Michael Fertik

  • If you are online or have ever been online, you have a digital footprint.  You must protect your identity at all costs, it can either hurt you or you can learn how to monetize it for gain, learn how to do the latter.

The Seven Levels of Communication; author Michael Maher 

  • Your network will drive your net worth.  The more people you add value to the more value you will receive in return.

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin Wealth and Wisdom; author Ben Franklin

  • Be intentional about everything in your life and don’t be lazy, most people are poor because they are too lazy to pursue things that can lead to wealth.

SPIN Selling (Situation, Problem, Implication, Need and Payoff); author Neil Rackham

  • When you help a buyer discover how many problems they have, or could have, that they didn’t even know or think about, the chances of you making the sale goes up.

Well Being (the Five Essential Elements); author Tom Rath and Jim Hartner

  • Be sure you are in a career that you are passionate about and like, because it drives all areas of your life and well-being.

Tom Coughlin: Earn The Right To Win (How success in any field starts with Superior Preparation); author Tom Coughlin 

  • Show up early, practice hard, plan every detail, and be disciplined in everything you do each day and success will come.

Decide (Work Smarter, Reduce Your Stress, And Lead By example); author Steve McClatchy

  • You have two choices to make with your time: You can focus on all of the maintenance things you “have to do”, or you can make time for the things you “want to do” which leads to improvement in your life.

You can click on this link  http://www.thebrianwillett.com/literature/favorites/ it will take you to a page to see other favorite books I have read.  Also, if you click on the picture of the book it will take you to amazon so you can order the book if you wish.

As always I welcome your feedback.

To your success and your future.

SPIN Selling; book summary and notes

SPIN Selling: Situation, Problem, Implication, Need-Payoff; author: Neil Rackham http://www.amazon.com/SPIN-Selling-Neil-Rackham/dp/0070511136/

SPIN selling was published in 1988, and at that time it was considered to be the most heavily researched book on sales ever created.  The research was compiled over 12 years and 35,000 sales calls, and 1 million dollars in research.

The study was compiled from 116 factors that might play in part in sales performance. The studied was centered around the larger sale. Up until this time a lot of sales training was centered around the smaller scale.  In small sales the consumer is less conscious about value.  As the size of the sale increases, successful sales people must build up the perceived value of their products and services.  The building of perceived value is probably the most single important selling skill in larger sales. The SPIN model is developed around this concept.  The study found that the salespeople who didn’t successfully transfer handling larger sales were those who had a difficulty building the customer’s perception of value.

Four stages of a sales call:  

1.  PreliminariesThese are important, but have less impact on the sale than originally though in the study.

2.  Investigating: Asking better questions can increase sales by more than 20 percent the study found.

3.  Demonstrating Capability: As the size of the sale increases the ability to demonstrate that your solution can solve the customers problems is a must.  The bigger the problem that you can help the buyer discover, the more likely you have to sale them your solution.

4.  Obtaining commitment: Finally a successful sales call will end with some sort of commitment from the customer.  In smaller sales it is a purchase.  In larger sales it is a lot more.  They are called advances.  Small commitments that get you closer to the bigger sale.

SPIN SELLING:

Situation questions:  Dont irritate your buyer with questions that are not relevant.  Don’t overuse them because to many question can bore the buyer.

  • Are used more in calls which fail
  • Are overused by inexperienced sales people.

Needs: (In this book the author uses the term to describe the buyers wants and needs)

  • First sign of a need is when the buyer shows a slight discontent or dissatisfaction.
  • Starts with minor imperfections
  • Evolves into clear problems, difficulties, or dissatisfaction.
  • Finally becomes wants, desires, or intentions to act.

Implied Needs: Statements by the customer of problems, difficulties, and dissatisfactions.

Explicit Needs: Specific customer statements of wants and desires. EX: We need a faster system.

  • Less successful sales people don’t differentiate between Implied and Explicit Needs, so they treat them the same way.
  • Very successful sales people, often without realizing they are doing so, treat Implied Needs in a very different way than Explicit Needs.
  • In small sales the more Implied Needs you can uncover, the greater the chances of success in selling.
  • Implied needs are buying signals in small sales, but not in large.
  • In larger sales the ability to take the Implied needs and convert them into Explicit Needs is where success occurred in the study.  The purpose of your questions should be to uncover Implied Needs and to develop them into Explicit Needs.

Problem Questions:  These are questions that identify problems or concerns for the buyer. Questions like: “Is this operation difficult to perform?”  “Are you worried about the quality that this machine performs?” These questions explore problems, difficulties, and dissatisfaction in areas where the sellers product can help.

  • Problem questions are more strongly liked to sales success than situation questions are.
  • In smaller sales the link is very strong the more Problem questions the seller asks, the greater the chances the sale will be successful.
  • In larger sales, Problem questions are not strongly linked to sales success.  Theres no evidence that by increasing your problem questions can increase your sales effectiveness.
  • If you can’t solve a problem for your customer, then there’s no basis for a sales.  But if you can uncover problems you can solve, then you’re potentially providing the buyer with something useful. 

Implication questions: In smaller sales, sellers can be very successful if they just know how to ask good situation and problem questions.  In larger sales this is not enough, successful people need to ask a third type of question. Implication questions: EX: “How will this problem affect your future profitability?” “What effect does this reject rate have on  customer satisfaction?”  Implication questions take a customer problem and explore its effects or consequences.

  • Are strongly linked to success in larger sales
  • Build up customers perception of value
  • Are harder to ask than Situation or Problem questions.
  • Implication questions increase the size of the problem in the buyer’s mind.
  • Decision makers respond very well to Implication questions.  They are the ones whose success depends on seeing beyond the immediate problem to the underlying effects and consequences.
  • Implications are the language of decision makers, and if you can talk their language, you’ll influence them better.

Need-Payoff questions:  EX:  “Would it be useful to speed this operation by 10 percent?” “If we could improve the quality of this operation, how would that help you?” In the studies, they found that top performers ask more than 10 times as many Need-Payoff questions per sale than average performers.

  • Are strongly linked to success in larger sales
  • Increase the acceptability of your solution
  • Are particularly effective with influencers who will present your case to the decision maker.
  • Need-Payoff questions have succeeded in focusing customer attention on solutions rather than problems.
  • Need-Payoff questions reduce objections.

These questions do two things:

  • They focus the customer’s attention on the solution rather than on the problem.
  • They get the customer telling you the benefits. EX:  How do you think a faster machine would help you?”

How to use SPIN questions:

  • Before the sale, write down three potential problems which the buyer may have and which your products or services can solve.
  • Write down actual problem questions that you could ask to uncover each of the potential problems you’ve identified.

Planning Implication Questions:

  • Write down a potential problem the customer is likely to have
  • Then ask yourself what related difficulties this problem might lead to and write these down. Think of these difficulties as the implications of the problem.
  • For each difficulty, write down questions it suggests.

Features: 

  • Have a positive effect on small sales.
  • Are neutral or un-persuasive in larger sales.
  • Users respond more positively to Features than do decision makers

Benefit: 

  • Facts or characteristics of a product or service.
  • Shows how a feature can help a customer.
  • A Benefit must have a cost saving for the buyer
  • A Benefit is any statement that meets a need.
  • A Benefit has to appeal to the personal ego needs of the buyer, not to organizational or departmental needs. 
  • A Benefit must be something which you can offer and which your competitors can’t.
  • A benefits gives a buyers motive.

Advantages: 

  • Show how a product or service can be used or can help the customer.
  • Have a positive effect on small sales but little effect on larger sales.
  • Have less impact late in the selling cycle.

Focus on the problems that your product solves and on thinking up the questions that will uncover and develop these problems, is a proven successful method of selling. 

Objections/hesitations: 

  • Objection handling is much less important skill than most training makes it out to be.
  • Objections, contrary to common belief, are more often created by the seller than the customer. 
  • In the average sales team, there’s usually one salesperson who receives 10 times as many objections per selling hour than another on the same team.
  • Skilled people receive fewer objections because they have learned objection prevention, not objection handling. 
  • Customers are most likely to raise price objections where the seller gives lots of features.  It seems that the effect of Features is to increase the customers sensitivity to price.
  • You will get an objection if you provide a solution before you have developed the need. 

Objections too early:  Customers rarely object to questions unless you have found a way to ask offensive questions. Dont do this.  Most objections are to solutions that don’t fit needs. If you’re getting a lot of objections, it probably means that instead of asking questions you have been prematurely offering solutions and capabilities. Don’t talk about your solutions until you’ve asked enough questions to develop strong needs.

Objections about value: If most of the objections you receive raise doubts about the value of what you offer, then there’s a good chance that you’re not developing needs strongly enough.  Typical value objections would be it’s too expensive, I don’t think its worth the trouble of changing from our existing supplier. In cases like these, customer objections tell you that you haven’t succeeded in building strong need. The solution lies in better needs development, not in objection handling. Particularly if you are getting price objections, cut down on the use of features and, instead, concentrate on asking Problem, Implication, and Need-Payoff questions.

Notes about closing: 

  • In low value sales, given unsophisticated customers and no need to develop a containing customer relationship, closing techniques can work very effectively. With professional buyers closing techniques make you less effective and reduce your chances of getting the business.
  • In larger sales since it requires many steps in the sales process and may people.  The close may be an advance.  Which means the sales is advancing to the next step.  All good sales people realize what they are looking for during each step of the sales process.
  • If you can convince buyers that they need what you are offering, then they will often close the sale for you.
  • Instead of focusing on closing the sale, look at it as, opening a relationship.

My hope is that you found a few nuggets in here that will help you be more successful in selling.  This is obviously a book summary and my notes (what I highlighted in the book), so if you want more information I would encourage you to read the book.  My summaries are an attempt to add value to someones life, my hope is that you did receive that value.  If you did, show me, and please share with me your thoughts and takeaways.

To your success and your future.