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Time to Chill

Screen Shot 2017-02-13 at 4.32.18 PMIs meditation the new black? It just might be.

The World Health Organization called stress the health epidemic of the 21st century.

Stress is estimated to cost American businesses 300 billion dollars per year. There’s little doubt we need to do something about this. Well, there’s one simple solution that works for many people at 0 cost. It’s meditation. Since we’re in the 21st century there’s an app for that.

The one I’m recommending is Headspace, available for both iOS and Android. They have a 10 for 10 program that allows you to use the app for 10 minutes a day for 10 days to experience the difference some stillness can make in your life. I’m going to give it a try. Here’s their website.

A Very Personal Product Innovation

I have a bit of indirect experience with breast pumps. It’s been a while, but I do recall that they are noisy and pretty inelegant. Eventually, all products will be re-invented. Now it’s time for a better breast pump. Enter Naya Health – again from the Bay Area – with their Smart Pump.

It actually uses a water-based suction process as opposed to air. If you know a working mom who’s expecting in the fall this may make a great shower gift. The company is taking advance orders now (don’t you love the sound of that?) for a planned fall debut. You can learn more about this device here. You might like the sleek design of the website, too, as an indication of web design targeted towards women.

And Now for Something Completely Different – Betabrand

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Betabrand is a company based in San Francisco. What they do to sell clothing online is to merge it with Crowdfunding.

Here’s how it works from what I can tell. You can submit a design for a cool piece of clothing. It needs to be pretty out there like a men’s suit that’s a takeoff of a baby’s onesie (appropriately called the suitsie) or a reversible hoodie that’s gold on one side and black on the other (for clubbing and not). After submission, Betabrand may put your idea on their site. Next comes the fun part. Every day people go on to the site and vote for what they like and would buy. The sooner you vote the greater discount you’ll get on the product if it’s made.

If a product gets enough votes it’s made in a limited quantity. A nice built-in feature is that it’ll probably sell out since it received enough up votes to be funded. Get the idea? If not, check out this page on their site or this article from the New York Times.

You can make money by submitting winning designs, vote for what you like, or just buy what’s already succeeded and is available now. This a million-dollar business! Looking at this business model has to get your head spinning.

Talking with past Sales Mastery clients about Sales

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It was a pleasure to be a repeat guest on the Mind Your Own Business podcast with a few past graduates of my Sales Mastery program recently. We were there to talk about Sales.

What does it take to be a success in selling?

What’s key to understand when you’re trying to ramp up your sales skills?

How can a sales coach be helpful in the process?

On the podcast you’ll hear from Chris Palmer who came to me with very little sales experience and not a lot of savvy. After going through my Sales Mastery program he became a sales champion. He started knocking down sales each and every month with confidence.

The other guest is Janet Louie of Golden Phoenix Feng Shui. Janet had no sales experience and little presentation experience. You’ll hear from her how important it is to understand sales when presenting because, after all, presenting is selling. Janet went through Sales Mastery as well and gave numerous presentations while in the program steadily learning how to control and influence an audience to want to buy.

Selling is not easy whether it’s 1to1 or 1 to many. However, when you understand the basics of selling and start to apply them, you will get better. Then, you can start to layer on more to become more confident and sell more regularly.

You can catch the podcast here. Let me know if you have any questions about sales or would like to learn more about the Sales Mastery program. I’ll be starting a new group in the very near future.

Behind the Scenes of a Big Lunch, I Mean Launch

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If you’re out in the East Bay, then you may have already discovered The Organic Coup, America’s first certified organic fast-food restaurant. If you’re wondering how those two could go together, then you’re not in tune with the trends in American eating.

Erica Welton is very aware of the changing tastes of the American consumer and the organic movement. This is because of her many years of experience working for the country’s largest retailer of organic food. Are you thinking that’s Whole Foods? Think again. It’s Costco.

Erica, and Dennis Hoover, an ex-SVP with Costco in the Bay Area, have teamed up to bring a brand new concept to fast food and they’re doing it in such a precise, intuitive and methodical way that I smell success. This recent article from San Francisco Eater gives a ton of detail on the thinking and execution behind this one-of-a-kind restaurant that’s thinking very big. Remember that one of the Success Secrets of Super Achievers is to Think Big.  Even if you don’t care about fast-food or the organic movement, I recommend you read this article. I bet it’ll stoke something in you.

Book Recommendation: Getting Things Done

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When it comes to being productive, there are few thought leaders out there that surpass David Allen. He spawned a worldwide movement with the release of his book, Getting Things Done in 2001. I was working in marketing at Oracle back then and was on the mailing list for Nightingale Conant (this is a good mailing list to be on by the way). I received a mailer promoting the audio version of the book, which I bought and listened to hungrily.

A year or two after that I attended a live event with David Allen in San Francisco where he broke down his process even further. It was good to get his methodology in a different context and even more ideas sunk in after that. Here are several ideas he espoused that resonated with me…

  • Process everything that’s coming in and deal with it (plan it for later, delegate it, delete it, file it, handle it).
  • If you can deal with something incoming in 2 minutes or less, do it NOW.
  • Be highly productive so you can enjoy your down time with no regrets.
  • Always know what the next step is on a project, then take that step in a regular interval (daily, weekly, etc.).
  • Tie your work regularly to your goals/projects.
  • Create organized files/folders so you know where to put things you’ve dealt with or are putting off for another day (someday/maybe file).
  • Let your mind be like water. Disruptions are temporary allowing the water to return to a still state afterwards.
  • This wonderfully deep book full of ideas and processes was updated and re-released just last year. You can find it on Amazon here.

Michael Hyatt’s Top 10 Productivity Hacks

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Michael was named one of the Top 10 people to follow online by Forbes in 2014. In fact, he was theauthor’s top pick from the list. Michael has a great podcast, multiple books to his name, and a wildly successful member community that opens its doors just a few times a year. You could say that Michael’s PRETTY productive. In a recent podcast he shared his top 10 hacks.

One I hadn’t thought of as clearly as he does is to invest in the bestTOOLS you can afford. If a new smartphone (or computer) saves you just 10 minutes a day, multiply that savings by 5, then 50 to get the annual amount that investment will save you. Chances are the value of that time saved will far outweigh the cost of the new device. This also goes for faster internet or a better desk.

Michael also outlines how to delegate on multiple levels of trust. It’s a great explanation of how delegating is far more than just having someone else do something you could do. Listen to Michael’s explanation of this and 8 other hacks here. If you don’t want to listen to it, the transcript can be found here.

3 Days of Sales Training…Done!

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Team members don’t always help – much less listen to— each other, especially in the sales business.  This is one of the bad habits that can happen to otherwise good sales professionals. And good habits can do more to determine long-term success than tactics and methods. Good habits are most helpful when they are learned early.

I recently delivered sales training that  highlighted the cultivation of good habits, goal setting, time management, and so much more.

Both sales training workshops were for the same client: A company in the computer security space. They hired me to train their relatively new inside sales teams on the west and east coasts. Together with management, I put together a comprehensive and dynamic three-day program to suit their particular needs. Most of the department was new to the industry or new to sales in general. Here’s a taste of what I put together for this group.

Learning to Listen: During the workshops, I encouraged everyone to share, and, even more important, to be good listeners. “Learning to Listen” is the name and focus of one of my sales training modules and represents a crucial skill in the sales industry, yet it is rarely taught.  Listening is one of the most important things sales professionals must do, and do well. And I don’t just mean listening to potential customers. Sales people need to know what’s going on in the world around them, and they certainly need to know what their colleagues and competition are up to. Much can be learned from listening to peers, about their successes as well as their failures. This is a vital habit that can be developed at any point in our careers and even our lives.

Effective Time Management: Effective time management is another extremely important skill. These days we all find ourselves challenged to find time to do everything, but in sales, it’s essential to make time to dedicate to selling, finding ways to be more productive, and eliminating distractions. Salespeople that don’t use their time properly rarely meet their quotas. In this module I shared my dozen or so ideas for how a salesperson could use their time more effectively.

Habits of Highly Effective Salespeople: In this module I covered habits that make for success in selling. A few of the habits I cover are patience and confidence. A lack of time can lead to a bad habit – Impatience. This may sound contradictory because in sales, a sense of urgency is definitely required. But don’t confuse the two. A rush to get results right away may be rewarded with short-term bursts of success but will ultimately result in a roller coaster-like career. Plus, customers and prospects are always turned off by a pushy salesperson. Patience is more than a virtue; it’s valuable and underestimated. Patience conveys confidence and allows you to take your time and stay in charge.

Confidence: You could argue that confidence is not a “habit,” but it is a quality that can be acquired and nurtured. By knowing the history of your company and your product, and drawing from past successes (the company’s and your own), self-confidence will grow. Prospects can feel confidence on the other side of the table or phone line. And confidence sells. When’s the last time you bought willingly from a salesperson lacking confidence? It’s crucial and yet it’s not discussed enough in sales training programs.

Sales Process: This is the core module of the training I provide and covered it in-depth in these workshops. We talked about each step of the sales process along with setting weekly goals, KPIs and making better cold contacts. When process improves, results go up. I also included lots of role-play in the workshops since it helps to simulate real-world selling situations.

DiSC: I introduced the concept of adaptive selling by applying concepts from DiSC. Each participant took a DiSC Sales Profile assessment. DiSC-based training involves understanding your own personality as well as the customer’s, and adapting yours to best sell to theirs. Using the DiSC style of sales, a rapport is more easily established between the seller and the prospective buyer, which is more likely to result in a satisfying outcome for both parties.

Sales has a lot of components, and superior preparation can serve as a strong foundation for the future of a business and a career.  I offer well-rounded training that covers sales from a variety of different angles, and can be customized to meet your available time and budget. For more information, click here.

7 Quick Tips to Be More Productive

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Here are seven rapid fire ideas for you to boost productivity.

1. Know when you are at your best during the day. Is it early morning, late morning, or mid-afternoon? That’s when you want to work on that which requires your best such as writing, meeting top clients, or brainstorming.

2. Practice HABU throughout the day with your To-Do list. Start every day with a to-do list. Then, throughout the day look at the list and decide what next action would constitute the Highest And Best Use of your time.

3. Have a living plant or flowers on your desk. Studies have shown that this boosts your productivity, happiness and cognitive function. Read more about this here.

4. Have the scent of lemon around. This scent improves mood and cognitive performance. You can get the essential oil of lemon from Sharon The Health.

5. Block 60 – 90 minutes of time each day to work on a top priority. If your day’s are too busy, then do this before 8 am. No excuses.

6. Utilize bunching. Instead of doing email constantly, block a few hours during different day parts to mow through it. Make all phone calls in a morning session and an afternoon session. Have your meetings one after another on certain days and take a day each week to work on sales, marketing or strategy exclusively.

7. Don’t answer the phone except by appointment. I know this is controversial and hard to do. It’s part of training yourself to own your schedule.

 

Use the MOLO Principle to Direct Your Energy Properly

 

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In my strategic planning workshops I ask participants to focus on the essential few ideas that really matter and get rid of the trivial many items that don’t lead to real progress over time. I read about the MOLO principle (More Of, Less Of) from Tony Jeary, which definitely boils things down to a level anyone can understand and apply.

Here’s how it works. Get a blank sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle. On the left side write ‘More Of’ at the top. On the right side write ‘Less Of’ at the top. Now write down what you want more of and less of in your life and business. Show what you’ve written to a trusted advisor and start discussing how you can start rearranging things to do More Of what you want while shedding those activities you want to reduce. It’s a great starting exercise to being more productive.