Saturday, October 30, 2010

Strategic Vision Shift—Do You Need One?

After a mind blowing 3 hour strategy session with my client, she turned to me and said, “You are so much more than a sales trainer”.

I am a sales trainer, I explained, but without a strategy based on your core mission you don’t know what to sell, who to sell it to and how to sell it. You can’t sell without a strategy. I move my clients through a process so they are able to create, find, understand, uncover or retool their core mission and then put a strategy in place that supports their mission.

In our session we were able to excavate and uncover my client’s true gifts. She has many, so we worked together to decide which gifts she wanted to share with the world and why. Most of us are gifted and have a lot of talents. We need to dig deep to find out what we want to share with the world and how. This is what I do with my clients, excavation. I am a Business Archeologist; I help you to unearth your gifts, find the gems, dust them off and let them reflect brightly in the light.

I am a Business Captain, helping my clients navigate the stormy seas of growing a business. Without charts, GPS or a compass the business ocean is a pretty scary place to be. It is hard to cut through the fog and waves without charting a course and having a strong seaworthy boat. Understanding your core mission is the first step to charting your course. From there you can determine what you want to do, how you want to do it and who you want to do it with and for.

Quite often, our true mission is hidden under busy-ness. We keep busy for many reasons. One may be because we think we should be busy. It makes us feel good to check off to-do’s from our list. We feel like we are getting somewhere, when really we are bobbing in the middle of the ocean in irons, with our sails luffing; there isn’t a stitch of wind to move us forward. This is a great prescription for seasickness.

Being busy can be a good thing, if it is really about getting down to business.

I work with my clients to ensure that each task they complete will move them forward toward their goals. It is easy to get lost in phone calls, emails, and tasks that don’t move us forward. Whether we delegate, or just focus on what is important first we have to make a plan and then work it so we can move on to our success. Your strategy is what you base your plan on.

I help my clients deconstruct what they are doing now. Then we renovate, creating a strong foundation for them to build upon. Each step is a brick that they use to build a strong building that will protect them from the harsh elements of the business world. I mean business and I mean to help you build a strong and prosperous one! A business that will sustain you into the future!

You could call me a General Contractor of Business (although a friend of mine already uses that catchphrase, but you get my point).

You need a strategy, a strategic plan. You may have an idea of what you want; you may have an idea of your core mission; you may even know what your core mission is, but if you don’t have a working strategy that lines up with your core mission, you aren’t navigating your course, you are just flying blind.

The bottom line is this: know your vision, know your why, know your mission and build a plan around that and then move forward with focused steps. If you don’t know why you’re selling, what you are selling, who you are selling to, how will you know how to sell it?

So, yes, I am a sales strategist, a sales consultant, a sales trainer and a sales coach. I start at the beginning with my clients. I don’t jump to the doing before uncovering all the knowledge, gifts, talents, reasons, and so much more of my clients’ vision. I ensure they have a map, direction, guidance, tools and support so they will become successful beyond their dreams. That is my goal.

You may know your core mission and you are currently working a plan based on that. Great! You are perfectly positioned for success! If not, that is okay; you just might need a strategic vision shift to bring you back on course.

For more information or if you have any questions, please reach out to me.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone Means Working Smarter Not Harder

I like when things are neat and tidy and organized.
This makes me feel at ease, comfortable and safe. This is when I am in my “Comfort Zone”: a behavioral state wherein a person operates in an anxiety-neutral condition, using a limited set of behaviors to deliver a steady level of performance, usually without a sense of risk.

Recently, I realized that living in my comfort zone wasn’t really living. When I live in my comfort zone, my life isn’t as vibrant and my business is something I have to do rather than want to do. I wanted to just follow creative ideas as they came to me to see where they would lead me. I wanted to have fun. I wanted to live in my truth. So, I started saying YES.

I started taking some risks committing to living in a place that is exciting and colorful. I started reaching beyond what makes me feel comfortable. I chose to live my life from a place where I say YES more than NO. Some of these choices have been challenging. Some even involved making difficult communications, because saying yes to me sometimes involves saying no to others.

In the past two weeks alone I have sent emails suggesting new ideas to friends and associates. I have posted love poems on Facebook. I have introduced myself to people I don’t know and asked them to collaborate with me on specific projects or I have asked them to include me as a speaker at an upcoming event. In each instance I have gotten amazing feedback. Maybe the initial request has been denied, but the idea it was born from has materialized in a much bigger way than I had imagined it would. The result is that doors are opening faster and more frequently and my business is growing more quickly than it was before.

This is my new definition of “working smarter not harder”.

I see a pattern. The more I reach beyond what I would normally do, the easier everything else around me becomes. My “work” is no longer work. The more risks I take the more rewards I receive. It is as if the road comes up to meet me when I take a step outside my comfort zone. I am not struggling, trying, pushing, or working hard. Instead I am having more fun, feeling more energized and living in a more joyous and creative state. This is a smarter way to operate on a daily basis.

Think about it for a moment. When you reach out in the direction of your dreams and STRETCH beyond where you would normally go what happens? Even if you don’t always get a resounding “YES”, is there a “YES” in the “NO”? Is there something that comes to you that is perfect for what you need at the time? If it isn’t exactly what you asked for, is it something that brings you one, two or even more steps closer to where you want to be?

Following our dreams, really living in our truth can be a scary thing in itself. When we do this and live in a place beyond comfortable we create the space needed for miracles to happen. We are able to function at our best and at our most creative! It might not seem to be the case in the moment, but our businesses will move forward more quickly when we operate from this place.

Usually this place is on the other side of our comfort zone. You know over there, across the rickety bridge, on the other side of the raging river that is the line that keeps us safe in our zone. The journey over that bridge is well worth the effort.

I bet you could even look back and track some of your choices. Decisions made from a place that might seem a little risky are usually the ones that have the higher rate of return!

I have a challenge for you. Take a step outside your comfort zone. Be true to yourself and say YES in the moment and let it lead you beyond where you are comfortable. Do something that is a little scary. Whether it has anything to do with your business or not, just try it and see what happens.

As Nike says, “Just do it”!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Mixing Old and New to Boost Sales

We are becoming a global community as our ability to communicate expands worldwide.
We can reach out to people around the world using sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and LinkedIn. People are coming together, craving community and connection. People, wanting to be seen, heard and understood, are changing the face of how we do business.

This is the age of Joint Ventures and Affiliate Partnerships. We no longer have to struggle alone to grow our businesses; the trend is to move forward with partners. “Why compete when we can collaborate?” is what we hear more and more.

As an entrepreneur, you are ideally situated to ride the wave by taking advantage of this new movement toward community. By being proactive and utilizing the tools available to you, you can vastly broaden your reach. It’s not the internet that is driving us to be more social, it is a predictable trend in human nature that is moving us to want to connect, be more social, collaborate more and join together with others who are like minded. It is this bigger human trend that is taking the internet and turning it into a social contact machine the likes of which we’ve never seen before.

Here are some ways you can tap into this emerging trend and position yourself to use social networking sites to your advantage and grow your business:

Think about who you can partner with and how you can help each other to expand your reach for mutual benefit.
Investigate new ways to collaborate with individuals who are in similar industries, or who were once your “competitors”. (They have a name for this because it happens that often! They call it “co-opetition”, the combination of cooperation and competition).
Be creative and reach out with the intention of helping each other in the process. This is the key as we move into this new marketplace.
Learn about Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other important networking sites through free on line tutorials; learn how businesses are benefiting from ‘social’ networking.

It’s fun to scour Facebook and the other social and business networking sites to look for old friends and reconnect but as I look at my social networking sites I see people, at first a few but eventually hundreds and even thousands that are showing up in my community. Just seeing them there is like a mini introduction, showing up in each others communities shows that we have something in common and that connects us, in fact, we feel like we know each other even though we’ve never met or spoken.

But too often this is where it ends! Take this tool one step further to build valuable relationships by reaching out beyond the norm and creating strategic alliances that can propel you forward in ways you never imagined.

Reach out and touch someone – or – the lost art of the cold call

Remember this AT&T iconic slogan? Its meaning is more important now than ever. Our modern social networking medium is amazing, but what if you took it one step further and picked up the phone and made a more lasting connection? This is the magic opportunity; you can turn social networking into something that will differentiate you from others and boost sales.

While I was on Facebook recently I found a college friend I hadn’t spoken to in twenty years. I sent her a message to ‘reconnect’ and then went to her ‘info’ page and noticed that she works in advertising sales for a major corporation. It was fun to connect via message, but it was even more fun to pick up the phone, exchange stories about our lives over the last twenty years and be able to ask for a referral to her VP of Sales. As a corporate sales trainer, this turned out to be a really great lead for me.

Your first step might be to become friends with people on line, but don’t stop there. Make a real connection with someone and pick up the phone. If you can’t find phone numbers, company names and email addresses on their profile, then send them a message and book an appointment to speak on the phone. Cold calls aren’t really cold anymore, at worst they are “warm calls” because you have made the introduction via a friendly message, by sharing mutual interests and just that is already building a relationship! As social human beings we tend to have a predisposition to like people who like what we like. So use that, use the similarity of interests you’ve already discovered to build rapport.

One of the stumbling blocks for people is determining who to call. Creating your list isn’t as hard as you might think. In fact, you can utilize the social networking and business networking sites to create a comprehensive list of people and places to contact. Utilize these sites for all they have to offer and conduct searches for individuals and companies that are in your target market. LinkedIn has an excellent advanced search.

This is the time to shift the global community and our global consciousness and work together in new ways. This is the time to work collaboratively in teams rather than as individuals. This is the time to think “outside of the box” or to do away with the box altogether. Take full advantage of all the tools available, both new and old. The internet and the phone are a match made in heaven.

Carolyn Ziel, President of Essential Selling, is an expert sales trainer and she supports entrepreneurs, sales teams and corporations with her trainings. Her specialty is lost art of effective cold calling please contact