Wednesday, February 17, 2010


As a sales professional I purposefully stayed away from leadership roles. I liked the freedom of being in the field and the power of bringing in a new deal. When a new deal was on the table, the squabbles seemed to dissipate and my co-workers came together to service the new client. That's where I like to focus my time and energy.

A few years ago I was asked to be the President of a referral group. I was initially reluctant but then thought I'd love to do it because the goal of the group was new business development and that's what I love to do.

As I took over the leadership role, I inherited the stresses of the President. After each meeting I would receive a host of complaints that included: the coffee is weak, someone is not a strong member, the meeting started late, forms needed to be completed etc. etc. etc.

The complaints started to wear my spirit down. I was new to leadership and I thought I didn't like it.

I struggled with the challenge and then decided the solution was 'to focus on the goal'. If the complaint did not impact the goal positively or negatively, it didn't deserve significant time and attention. The 'coffee is weak' got dismissed pretty quickly.

The goal was simple: to generate more referrals for each other. I would measure the success or failure of each activity by how it affected the goal. We did produce results, the meetings were focused, and we attracted high caliber entrepreneurs to our group.

There was still a challenge though. The meetings now were robotic. I missed networking and working the room. Now that I was leading, I had to focus on the structure and gave up some of what I loved.

I also realized that there was another unspoken goal but it was very present. The goal was 'friendship'. These members truly liked, respected and enjoyed each others company. Although it was unspoken, this goal was equally as important and, to some members, more important than the goal of generating leads.

The goal of friendship added a comraderie to our group that visitors felt right away. It gave us a competitive advantage. It was important to the members, so it became important to me too.

I focused on the stated goal and the unstated goal. The meetings became less robotic, I had more fun, got to do what I loved and the group helped me to learn how to lead.

It was through their friendship that I learned how to lead. Under any other circumstance, I would've moved far from the challenge and focused on getting the next deal. I'm a much richer person for the experience and grateful for the friendships I created.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Monday, February 15, 2010


The greatest tool you have in sales is listening.

One tool that will help you to listen is to repeat your prospects words exactly.

When you do so, the prospect will really start to feel like you've heard them and that you understand them. Then strive to do it. You will not serve yourself by simply mimicking what they say. Seek truly to understand.

If they say their challenge is 'antiquated equipment'. Respond 'antiquated equipment?' wait, and then thoughtfully listen to their response.

You will learn so much.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Social Media

In the new world of social media and connecting, there seems to be a goal to connect to as many people as you possibly can. I see thousands of connections on people's Facebook and LinkedIn pages.

Before social media, if you gave out a name as a referral, it more often than not meant that you knew this person, could vouch for their work and their integrity. Before social media, you might be careful before you gave out that name because you understood how the professional performed was a reflection on you. Referrals really meant something. The receiver of the referral had a level of confidence in it.

With social media, it's not always the case, a contact could just be a name on a page.

I personally like the "I can vouch for this person" approach. If there is a professional on my LinkedIn page it means that they are a professional I know and believe in. I like the effortless way I can connect and keep in touch with these people. If my connections do ever grow to 1,000 people, they will be people that I have actually met in person and have some sort of connection with.

Personally knowing people and understanding their value and being able to help promote them is the power of networking.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Monday, February 1, 2010


Each time you meet with a prospect is a brand new opportunity. You need to greet the opportunity with enthusiasm and an open mind.

If you've been giving your presentation several times, you might start to feel that you already know what the prospect will say, or how they will react. You don't know that.

Greet the prospect with open-minded enthusiasm. This is the first time you've ever met, the first time you've heard their story and the first time they've heard yours.

You have no idea what will happen. It could be something great.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]