Sunday, November 28, 2010

Taking Failure Off the Table--Really!

My father helped me get a summer job on a movie my first year in college.
I was excited to be working on a major motion picture and a little nervous. I wanted to be a success, not a failure! My Dad gave me some great advice. He said, "No matter what anyone asks you to do, just say yes, even if you don't know how to do something, say yes. Then go and learn what you need to learn to finish the job". I took this advice to heart.

On that movie set I learned what it meant to be solution-driven. I learned how to be creative and resourceful by focusing on solutions. On movie sets, there is only yes for an answer, it is all about finding a solution. Failure isn't even an option! Now, if I find myself presented with a challenging situation, I don't get discouraged or feel defeated. As long as I'm working toward my dream, I'm OK.

Most successful people know on some level that they're going to achieve their dreams. No matter how out of reach their dreams might seem, they take steps each day to move forward. If things don't go exactly as planned they still keep moving forward. Adapting this mindset will allow you to succeed in big ways. Failure is never the option; the only option is finding a workable solution.

That is what Allison Maslan, CEO of Blastoff Life and Business Coaching, did when she had an idea for coaching software: Blastation Interactive Goal Setting and Life Coaching Software. Allison wanted to create an online software experience for her clients. Rather than buy someone else's software, she developed her own. Although she didn't know the first thing about software development, she didn't let that stop her. Allison takes failure off the table. It is never one of her options, period.

Allison developed Blastation when she was unable to find adequate goal setting software to use with her coaching clients. "It's a lively software that helps keep you organized, optimistic and inspired so you can stay on track to make your dream life a reality".

This unique web-based software can be accessed anywhere there is an internet connection. "Blastation will help you to clarify and attain your large and small life dreams and visions in an exciting and stimulating way". The software enables users to break their goals down into easy-to-follow incremental steps, called 'Mini Feats', that allow bigger projects to be more easily achieved.

These steps are then posted on your personalized online Blastation Calendar to keep your personal and professional life organized. Allison thought of everything: Blastation can even send e-mails and host your online address book.

"If you are creating something new and you have a fear of failure, you can take a different approach. Whatever happens, whatever wall I hit, I just have to figure out a solution and then I can never fail, I just find a solution". Allison's right, when you shift your focus to finding a solution, you rewire your brain.

According to David Rock in his book Your Brain at Work, "unmet expectations often create a threat response" and the "brain is built to avoid threat, people tend to work hard to reinterpret events to meet their expectations". In other words, if we tell our brain something, it listens.

Look for solutions and adjust your expectations. David Rock recommends the following: "stay in a positive state of mind, find ways to keep coming out ahead of your expectations over and again, even in small ways". And maybe most importantly, "when a positive expectation is not being met, practice reappraising the situation".

Direct your brain's energy into finding solutions. Focus on learning new tools to support your goals. Explore new ideas and new ways of doing things. Allison's solution was simple: she reached out to an expert software designer.

Allison had an idea. She didn't know how to develop software, but she knew what she wanted and focused on that. She found a solution and her dream materialized in a big way: her software is used internationally! First say "yes" to yourself and your dreams, then take the necessary steps to achieve them. Allison's motto is, "keep your head pointing towards your dream, walk towards it daily and don't let anyone tell you it can't be done"!

With this kind of solution-driven attitude anything is possible.

As seen in The Huffington Post

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Passion in Business: Moving Out of Your Head, Into Your Heart

When I left recruiting in 2008, I made a conscious effort to change the face of my business.
I spent thirteen years operating my executive search business from my “to do” list. There wasn’t enough room for inspiration, passion and heart. Wake up, go to the gym, get to the office, get on the phone, find the candidates, schedule the interview, prep the candidate, negotiate the salary, and close the deal. Do it again and again and again. Where is the passion in that?

My business was too much head and too little heart. Of course I had a heart and felt it when I couldn’t help a candidate, or they didn’t get the job they wanted. But my day to day was all form and structure. This leaked out into my personal life too, I needed structure there too and quite frankly didn’t know how to stop, slow down and relax. I wasn’t happy every day!

When I started my sales consulting business in 2008 I ran it the same way I ran my recruiting business: more form structure than true creativity. I was doing what I thought I was supposed to be doing. I had imagined somehow I would be happier. I thought I was following my heart.

I was following my heart, not leading with my heart.

I would work so hard that I would burn out and on those “burn out” days, out of sheer exhaustion I was forced to relax. I would leave the office and not think about where my next client was coming from. On these days, I was able to reconnect to my core mission. I began to be aware of the contribution I was meant to be making. Something amazing started happening. On these “burn out” days, I would literally attract my best clients. I noticed a pattern. The harder I pushed with my head, the more my clients went running for the hills. The more I focused on what I could do for others, the contribution I could make, the more clients would seek me out.

It was time to reconnect to my passion and my purpose. I needed to map out a new strategy for myself. I had to figure out what I wanted from my business, where I wanted to be and why. I didn’t want to forget the reasons I left recruiting and the contribution I wanted to make. I tapped into my passion and realized that I wasn’t moving toward my core mission, because I didn’t know what it was. I was still in my old corporate mindset and I wasn’t running my business, it was running me.

We hear it over and over, successful entrepreneurs follow their passion. They know what they want to do and why they want to do it. Every action they take is fueled by that drive, that fire in their belly, their reason for doing what they do.

Recently on Facebook, a video of Kevin Spacey from “Inside the Actor’s Studio” went viral. Its title: “Kevin Spacey—Motivational Speech”. He says, “The only prize is this one: what you feel and what you want to accomplish…to want and to be ambitious and to want to be successful is not enough; that is just desire…To know what you want and to understand why you are doing it…if you feel you have something to give…worth caring for, then there is nothing you can’t achieve”.

Kevin Spacey is absolutely right!

Now when I plan my day or my week or even my month, I plan from my heart. I make sure that everything I am doing lines up with my core mission, my beliefs about who I am and how I want to contribute to the world.

For me it was taking a leap of faith. It was about rewiring how I think, how I react and how I run my business. I still have structure, I always will and it is important for a thriving business to have some structure. I know what I want and mostly how I am going to get there, but I am not so inflexible as to close myself off from opportunity.

My strategic plan is all about heart and is based on my core mission. More than ever, my heart leads and my head follows. Opportunities appear to land in my lap with more ease and clients reach out to me more than ever. I am not saying to stop marketing, stop selling, stop accounting and operations. I am just suggesting you lead from a different place. See what changes for you when you are fully connected and operate from this place of remembering your passion and your purpose.

You know what I’ve discovered? I’m happy every day!

You can be happy every day too! I can help!!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

10 Sales Tips That Can Help You Sell More---NOW!

We all sell.
We sell every day! Even when we aren’t “selling” our products or services, we sell. We spend time at networking events, on the phone, on Facebook, on Twitter, on LinkedIn building our network, our businesses and our brand.

It is never too late to improve your selling skills.

I wanted to offer some tips that you can implement immediately so that as you reach out at all the upcoming holiday networking events and parties, you can be even more successful than you already are!

Have a Sales Strategy
Like anything being built, a business needs a blueprint too! Your sales strategy is your blueprint for your selling success. It is the map you follow that guides you to your final destination: SUCCESS! It will ensure that you are focused and moving forward to achieve your goals.

Know Your Target Market
During your Sales Strategy Session you will define your ideal customer or your target market. If you don’t know what kind of plants you want to grow in your garden, you don’t know what kind of seeds to plant. First learn what you want in an ideal client; then do the research to determine what your ideal client wants from you! You can’t sell anything without understanding the person, group, or company you are selling to.

Schedule Time to Sell
Once you put your sales strategy together; then break it out into action steps to move you forward. Make a daily, weekly and even a monthly plan. Work your plan! When you work your plan you will reach your goals. Even if you only set aside one hour a day to make calls, set appointments and follow up, you will see some results. Consistency will move you forward and closer to your goals!

Yes, you have heard this many times before AND it bears repeating: “Don’t talk so much!” LISTEN. Really listen to your prospect as he/she speaks. (Take notes if you can). You will hear important clues that will guide you toward your sale. Selling isn’t telling your story, it is listening to theirs. Let them do most of the talking and you most of the listening!

Be Curious and HEAL THEIR PAIN
Selling isn’t pushing, it is a gentle pulling…pulling a thread of discovery. Be curious and ask questions to discover how you can work together and what your customer might need. You can’t solve their problem without knowing what it is. So ask questions that will get you the answers that uncover their pain and then you can heal it! That’s selling!

The Money shouldn’t be the Goal
At the end of your life, you won't care about being rich (you can’t take it with you), but you will want to be known as the best in your field. Make that the goal and the money will follow.

Attitude Attitude Attitude
It should be a good one! Don’t take the “NO” personally. Starbucks may be right across the street from Coffee Bean and they are both crowded. It is a “taste bud” thing. When someone says NO, we can ask why and learn, we can say “thank you” and ask for a referral, or just move on. Don’t worry your ideal client is there. He or she might just be across the street at the Starbucks, so continue on with a smile.

Relationship Relationship Relationship
I buy from people I like. Don’t you? So do your customers. People buy on emotion and back it up with intelligence. So you want to connect with your customer and be yourself. You are building a relationship. This might take one call or two or seven or more, but keep at it and your prospect will appreciate your efforts!

Show Value
Selling is a process and closing is part of the process. In this process you MUST show VALUE to your prospect. When you do finally quote a cost, remember to reiterate all the value your customer will get for their hard earned money. When you show value you are more likely to hear “yes”. You aren’t “closing” someone you are offering value and filling their need.

Have Fun
Remember that you have a core mission and part of this is sharing your knowledge, your value, your product and your service. So have fun! No matter what, this should all be fun and it can be! Selling is nothing more than learning about another person, being interested, curious, open, and honest and making someone’s day with a smile. So have fun and sell lots!

I hope that this has been helpful! If you need more, or have specific questions I am here to help and look forward to our collaboration!
Visit my website for more on how I can help you:

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Are You Thinking Big…Enough?

A few weeks ago I decided to really start saying “yes” to myself and with that I started stepping way outside of my comfort zone.
This led me to some really unique and exciting opportunities as well as another great question, “Am I thinking big enough?”

Before I could answer that loaded question, I felt a shift. You know, “shift happens” and sometimes it happens without a lot of effort. Things can change in your life just by asking yourself different types of questions.

All I did was ask this question and it somehow changed the way I think in general. My brain took over and answered the question quickly. You know what; the answer was “No”! Just by asking the question I had to rethink what I was doing in my business (and in turn my life). I had turned on the light in a dark room and unless I closed my eyes, I had to see what is in front of me. That was the truth of the answer “No”.

Instead of beat myself up for not dreaming as big as I could dream, I looked toward living an even bigger life. What I saw in front of me was a path opening up. Ideas began to flood my mind and I realized that there is so much more I can be doing! I took pen to paper and started writing at once.

I created a vision for my life that was so big; it almost seemed like a fairy tale. I kept writing. I turned off my very strong editing mechanism and wrote and wrote and wrote until my hand got tired.

I immediately started asking myself bigger questions. Like what can I do differently right now that will help me to think big? What can I offer my clients that is bigger than what I offer them now? Maybe people need more support, not just a five week course about how to sell, but maybe they need a 6 month program that offers them ongoing support, education, training, and fun! Maybe they need support in areas like their core mission, their value proposition, their strategy and how this will tie into their bigger picture and change their lives, as I am doing with mine!

Are You Asking Yourself Big Enough Questions?

If you want to learn how to think big, ask yourself big questions. Ask yourself questions that tap into your imagination and your dream life. Ask yourself the questions that might seem completely out of line or like a fantasy. Questions like, “What if I were interviewed by Oprah”? This may seem like a pipe dream as you ask yourself, but ask it anyway. Maybe just by asking yourself a question like this you plant a seed. You may never be interviewed by Oprah, but you just might end up on The Today Show. Do you have a favorite conference you attend every year? What if next year you were up on stage with the speakers that you admire rather than being an attendee? Who knows what a question like that could change for your business and in turn your life.

Your brain will naturally look to answer the big questions just as easily as it does the small questions, so why not focus on the big ones? Instead of worrying about why there is a traffic jam on your way to a meeting, let your brain answer something like, “How can this meeting be beneficial for all involved?” Let your brain be creative about how to really get the most out of a meeting or a conference or a networking event. You need to be able to focus on things that will make you expand your perspective and your life.

You know what else will most likely happen, the opportunities will show up as well. At least that is what has been happening for me. The bigger I think; the more actions I take and the more opportunities are presented to me. I also find I say “yes” a lot more to myself and those around me!

Commit to yourself now! Commit to living a big life and ask yourself some different questions. Commit to letting yourself feel a little bit uncomfortable for a few minutes. Just breathe through that bit of discomfort and remember that you are committed to expanding your comfort zone. So think big enough, or even bigger. See what unfolds when you start asking yourself the BIG questions. I bet the opportunities will come flooding in as quickly as the ideas!

The bigger our dreams the bigger the questions we ask ourselves and the bigger our lives.

Have fun being as big as you can be! I would love to hear your experiences, so please email me to share: or visit my FB page to share your experiences.!/essential.selling