Have you ever failed at something really important or vital? Of course, what a ridiculous question. How did you respond though?
Everyone fails in life. Some people more than others. Some fail by doing the same thing over and over. Pure insanity. Some fail by trying to achieve a goal or result, they don't get what they want, and then they commit the ultimate failure - they never try again. Others fail simply by never putting themselves out there.
For the sake of space, let's forget those who never put themselves out there. That's just pure loser mentality. Let's deal with how to handle failures.
What separates the successful in life from everyone else, in regards to failure, is to view and approach failure differently. First, don't view failure like everyone else. See the results you’re getting for what they are, and accept them as just that. Don't see them worse than they are. The result is just some form of outcome.
What can you learn from your result, and how can you change your approach to get a different result - preferably the one you're after? It's about measuring and managing the process. You must think of it this way.
Next, you absolutely must learn to love failure. Nothing in life is easy or free, and everything worthwhile requires effort and sacrifice. I don't know a single successful person who doesn't fail over and over. They step up though, and respond. They welcome the failures, because they know that right around the corner lays their next greatest successes.
The legendary basketball player, Michael Jordan, said it best, "I fail over and over again, and that is why I succeed". Words to live by. It's not about looking for failure, it's about accepting it for what it is, learning from it, and changing your approach when it happens.
There's one more element to dealing with failure, and probably the most critical - the emotional element. Rather than go on-and-on, let's get right to the strategies to prepare you. Here are 5 simply ways to prepare yourself emotionally for dealing with failure:
- Start each and every day reading something positive and uplifting. You must set your mind up in a positive way each and every day.
- Get the heck away from negative people. Toss them, expunge them, fire them, do whatever you have to, but get them out of your life and as far away as possible.
- Surround yourself with positive upbeat goal driven leaders.
- And while we're on the topic of goals, review yours regularly. If you don't have any, now is the perfect time to create some
- Create a list of your last three failures. Then write down absolutely everything you can do differently to achieve what you were originally after. No you have a plan. Go do it.
Look, you failed in life at some things. So what, who cares. The only person in the world, who should matter to you, is you when it comes to your success. Don't be a failure. Welcome it when it happens, then step up and take some responsibility and action. Go after what you want. You failed - so what - don't be a failure! It's your choice.
Here is a list of my most frequently asked sales, business and overall life questions. The answers are distilled from years of failure, years of success, and also come from some of the most successful people on the planet. Enjoy!
Question: How early should I get up?
Answer: At least an 1 1/2 before everyone else you're competing against. You need that time to prepare mentally, emotionally and physically.
Question: How come I always get the same objections?
Answer: You're presenting the same way every time, delivering no value, making undue assumptions, not asking thought provoking and insightful questions and you're not prepared.
Question: What's the best way to plan my day?
Answer: Pick a system, one system only, and focus all your efforts on making it work for you. Don't use two or three different methods. There are dozens of great systems out there including just a pen and paper. They all work if you use them. Pick one and stick with it.
Question: Is eating well and exercising that important?
Answer: Let me put it to you this way - if there's no fuel, or the wrong type of fuel, in your car's tank you're not going anywhere. Your goals, dreams and aspirations require fuel.
Question: I can't get passed the gatekeeper, what should I do?
Answer: Much has been written on this area. Keep it simple. The simplest way, connect with them through social media and build a relationship. Earn the right to approach them. Next easiest approach, find a salesperson at the company and have them introduce you around. Salespeople love to talk and give you information.
Question: What can I do to get my voice mails returned?
Answer: Be creative, add tons of value, earn the right to receive a return call, and when all else fails - hang up in the middle of your message. Curiosity will cause most of your messages to get returned.
Question: What are the best places to network?
Answer: Chambers of Commerce, local business mixers(Business Journal event, breakfasts, seminars), networking clubs(only if they make sense for your business model), health clubs, Toastmasters, civic organizations, the airport, social media, anywhere there are potential clients.
Question: How do you stay in such a great, upbeat mood all the time?
Answer: This isn't a Greg trait, but rather a trait of all high performers. We take care of ourselves physically, emotionally, and mentally. We read something inspirational throughout the day, we review our goals daily, we exercise on a regular basis(usually 5 days + per week), we fuel our bodies with high quality nourishment, we have a positive outlook on life and tell ourselves such, and we look for the good in every situation no matter how dire it may be.
Question: What's the best method you've found to close someone?
Answer: First, this isn't the 1960's. Build a relationship and become friends with your prospect, build more value than anyone else, create a winning environment, act selflessly, and let them buy - don't sell.
There are dozens more questions, and these listed are condensed into what I get asked most frequently. Now, how can you apply them to your own life?
How many of you are blessed with children, and how many have homework to contend with nightly?
Growing up you went through school, just like your kids, and came home with homework. Homework is designed to test, reinforce and condition what you've learned. It's also designed to expand your knowledge and your belief systems.
Children have homework right through high school for some, college and post graduate work for others. The fact is, homework is effective at improving your skill sets. Why then, do you stop doing homework, stop expanding and stop growing, learning and reinforcing the moment you graduate?
It's not because you've decided to stop growing and learning. It's because you've gotten so wrapped up in the day-to-day minutia of your professional and personal life, that knowledge takes a back seat. It's also because you've never been given a blueprint to succeed beyond the school systems.
What we know is from traditional education, and the focus has always been on structured academia. That works in the school systems, but in the real world, the professional world where you get downsized, laid-off and fired for not performing, this model simply doesn't work.
It's not enough to rest on your laurels any longer. Great performers get fired everyday, because there's a class of elite professional who constantly focuses on improving their industry and personal knowledge, professional skills, and mastering their relationships.
These elite members of all professions are safe, because they do their homework. Daily, weekly, monthly and annually they look for ways to improve. They're not satisfied with the status quo. They actively seek out the latest success books, industry journals, and related seminars. They network effectively, and their constant focus is on moving upward in all ways. They do their homework.
So, what homework will you do to dominate your company, market and competition?
Our middle child, Carter, has an incredibly valuable lesson he can teach all professionals. It's the lesson of mastery.
You see, Carter is a passionate movie lover. He completely and totally immerses himself in the experience; acting out the scenes of the characters, reciting the lines as they happen and mimicking every move the actors make. Its as if he's apart of the movie. As proud parents, it's so amazing to watch him in action.
I asked him why he does it. His answer was simple. "I want to be just like them, so I pretend and do what they do."
How profoundly intelligent of a six year old. That begs the question, if a 6 year old can master a character, why don't adults do the same thing?
As professionals, many people have already paid the price and achieved great success in every profession. So what can we learn from a child watching movies and pretending to be the main character?
Well if you want the same results as someone else, here's my recommendation:
- seek out who is the absolute most successful in your chosen field
- find a way to connect with them - use LinkedIn, facebook, their website, their blog, seminar, event, anything that puts you in their line of sight. There's always a way if you're determined.
- Be humble and ask for their guidance or mentorship
- Buy them breakfast, lunch, a cup of coffee, or pay them for an hour of their time and pick their brain
- Create an outline to implement what you've learned - they have a success plan, use it
- copy and emulate them - drink what the drink, eat what the eat, model their behaviors and actions, plan the way they plan, prospect the way the prospect, and so on - whatever it is for your profession
If they can do it, heck if a six year old can do it, so can you. Commit to mastery. It's not hard if your passionate about your profession. It's serious fun, and nets you serious results!
Top athletes, top business professionals, really anybody who's at the top of their game is typically performing at peak performance levels. With peak performance comes peak physical health and peak business health. Some of you might be saying, "but Greg, I don't have my own business. I work for someone else. Why should I care?"
It doesn't matter if you work for someone else. You're still running a business. You have to market yourself, you must master sales skills, you must know and manage your professional finances, improve your professional skills, and have enough fuel in the tank to manage it all.
I'll spare you the physical health lecture for today, and please know that it is critically important to the success of your business. Your business does have a health level. How often are you playing doctor and assessing your business health level? How often do you get your metaphorical checkup?
All businesses, all skill sets, all successful people are constantly assessing their business and how it's living, breathing and functioning on a daily basis. There are 6 critical areas to your professional and business health. Neglect or abuse any of them, and your business and success will suffer.
The six areas to master are:
- Professional Skills
Imagine your business is a high performance sports car, and that each of the 6 areas represents a section of one of the tires. Rate yourself and your business in each area on a scale from 1 - 10; with 1 being you're in trouble and 10 being you've mastered the area.
If you're 8 or better in all these areas chances are your business is very healthy and you're experiencing success. If not, your wheel is not going to roll smoothly and your high performance sports car, or business, is no longer high performance. It's time to go to work on your business.
So what can you do?
- First pick an area, any area that you need to improve
- Identify 3 key variables that will have the greatest impact on improving these areas
- Decide if you can either do them yourself, delegate them to someone else, or outsource them
- Then, execute that decision - make your plan and get it done.
Your health, your business and professional health must be constantly monitored. You cannot improve unless you take a step back and play the role of a doctor periodically. Find out where you are really, and then create and execute your plan to drive to where you want to go. Don't be too proud to get help elsewhere. Delegate and outsource whenever possible.
Make your professional life easier, more efficient, richer, and most of all - HEALTHIER!
Recently I made a major purchase, and I asked the sales representative a question he simply could not answer. Rather then choose to help me the right way and get back to me, this salesman obviously choose to improvise on the spot. He not only lied to help the sale along, but he really damaged the credibility of his company in doing so.
Needless to say I invested my money elsewhere, and unfortunately for him, his boss is one of my Winners Edge subscribers.
So that begs the question - Have you ever been asked a question at a sales meeting you don't know the answer too? Of course you have.
How do you react to it? Do you fumble your words searching for answers that make sense, or do you lie? Do you try and fake your way through it, or do you have a plan how to handle such situations? Well, if you're reading this my money is betting that you're a person of sincere integrity and character.
Here's the thing, you don’t have to have all the answers all the time. The moment you try and fake it, your prospect or client senses your disingenuousness. Let me say it another way, they know you're lying immediately.
So what can you do to turn the odds in your favor? Honesty and candor are always the best approach.
Simply respond by telling the truth. "I want to provide you with the absolute best service and results possible, and in order for me to do that I'm going to have to research you question further to get you the correct answer."
Your prospect or clients will respect your character and business integrity. This is true in all areas of life. So, my point in this week’s article is this: who do you know that engages in this type of behavior that you can immediately go out and positively influence? Who's professional life, and more importantly, personal character can you help transform.
Go forth and be a force for good!
Knowing what you know now compared to when you started your chosen profession or business, would you do all over again the same way? Would you even be in the same profession, or would you make a complete overhaul tomorrow morning and start fresh if you knew you couldn't fail?
Anyway you look at it; most people would absolutely make the changes necessary; whether it be in their chosen profession or their own business. Professionals have already made the mistakes and paid the price along the way, so they have the knowledge of what not to do and what to do.
So why don't they, or you, re-engineer your business? Why do you keep continuing down the same path, reaping the same activities and strategies, and sowing the same results you've always settled for? The answer is fear. Even armed with the knowledge that you cannot fail, most people are so overtaken by fear, that they won’t even do what they know to be right. William Shakespeare wrote in, Julius Caesar, “Cowards die many times before their deaths. The valiant never taste of death but once.
Experience is expensive and you always pay upfront. Well, you've already paid the tab, so why not put that experience to good use. Take what you know and re-engineer yourself. You can become anyone you want. Your business can become its ideal form.
This economic climate is the absolute ideal time to reinvent yourself and re-engineer your business. You must position yourself now to anticipate and take advantage of the upswing. It will come, and when it does, will you be ready, or will you just be content to keep the status quo?
Don't be controlled by fear. Dance with it, be friends with it, embrace it, and most importantly kick its ass and take your life and business to levels you keep day-dreaming about. Harness your knowledge of what you've learned and transform now.
There’s perhaps no greater skill that will get you ahead in life further than, listening. This presumes you’re asking the right questions of course, but for arguments sake let say you are.
I call it, practice not art, because to be an effective listener you must practice every day. Sadly it’s a skill most people fail miserably. Most are so focused on what they have to say or contribute that they fail to understand and relate to whoever is talking. It’s completely disrespectful and self centered.
Yet, effective listening does so much for you. It builds instant trust with others, because they can tell you are genuinely interested. You gain valuable insights, knowledge, skills, love, and respect. If you’re in sales effective listening reveals all the critical information necessary to build relationships, handle stalls and objections, and make deals happen. If you’re a parent or in a relationship, listening builds bridges of trust, rapport and love.
So how do you become a better listener? Practice these 7 strategies with every conversation and you will drastically improve your skills and your future.
- Give them your undivided attention. Put down the iphone, blackberry, cell phone, stop emailing, texting, and tweeting and pay attention.
- Look them in the eye
- Listen to understand and empathize, so you can put things in your own words
- Repeat back to them key points for clarification
- If you have something to contribute or ask, write it down so you don’t forget. But do not interrupt their train of thought
- Take notes, nod, acknowledge them
- When they’re done talking engage them with questions and your own insights
Follow these 7 strategies, and you’ll open up a world of respect, cause your success to happen easier, and build a more fulfilling future filled with rich and deep relationships and greater knowledge.
Ever hear the expression; “I’m a jack of all trades”? I cringe whenever I hear someone bragging about knowing everything. It’s obvious they’re not committed to excellence.
Being the jack of all trades is precisely the problem with the way most people attack their professions. They feel as though they have to know everything about everything related to their job. What ends up happening is that they become their own worst enemy. They are good at lots of things but have mastered none, and therefore never come close to reaching their full earnings or happiness potential. These people do 10,000 things 10 times.
On the other hand, the most highly successful people in any profession master the fundamentals. They focus their attention on doing the dozen or so core fundamentals 10,000 times. They master the core of their vocation that makes them exceed what would be considered the peak for most.
The best strategy for you is to go out and study the most successful leaders in your chosen field, and find out exactly what they are continually focusing on and mastering. There’s usually between 10 and 20 core strategies that, when mastered, sky-rocket their results.
The best part of is, their success is completely duplicatable. Learn from their mistakes. Learn their success strategies. Cut down the learning curve. Master what they continue focus on day-in and day-out.
Michael Jordan said it best when he talked about mastering the fundamentals being the secret to his success. Dribbling the ball on every square foot of the court, shooting tens of thousands of free throws, lay-ups, and jump shot from the exact spot every time. Everything begins with the fundamentals and branches out from there.
Do you have a weekly sales kick off meeting?
I don't mean an elaborate over-the-top production, but rather a structured uplifting meeting that focuses on your teams goals for the week and celebrates victories from the past week?
It doesn't matter if you’re working for yourself or your sales team numbers in the hundreds or thousands. Every team is broken down into divisions, so you can easily manage the process.
It's one thing to set goals for the year, quarter and ultimately the month as company. It's an entirely different animal altogether to drill down even further and breakdown by the weeks and days. Anyone can check in once a month and either praise or punish performance, but real leaders, real sales superstars need constant reinforcement and feedback.
They need to feel apart of something bigger than themselves. They need recognition on a regular basis, and the really competitive ones need effective coaching when they're not firing on all cylinders.
Those not meeting expectations need consistent coaching and feedback, and it’s better to address specifics immediately rather than once a month. And for these team members not performing, being apart of an upbeat environment surrounded by those who are winning, may be all the advantage they need.
Here are the 4 essential steps to structure a simple, yet effective weekly kick-off meeting:
1. Schedule the start and stop time for every Monday morning
2. Keep the meetings short, less than 20 minutes
3. Have a set agenda (my recommendation):
a. Set the tone - play upbeat & inspirational music
b. Stretch & get your team movingReview & celebrate last week's successes
c. Share successful strategies
d. Give rewards if applicable
e. Go over this week's expectations
f. Congratulate & thank everyone - even the under performers
4. When the meeting is over email all team members a follow up & thank them again
If your team is spread out throughout the globe you can still meet in smaller groups or via web conference. Technology today takes away that excuse.
Start your Mondays off on the right foot. Set the positive success mood for your sales team and company for the week and the future. You will be rewarded with greater sales, a tighter cohesive team, more loyal employees, happier clients and lest we all forget, bigger bottom line profits.