Partnering With Your Competition

While counter-intuitive, partnering with your competition may be among the best ways to grow your business. By intelligently creating a partnership with someone who you would otherwise work against, you can combine your client bases and maximize on return on your investment. You never know what kind of positives can come from what may otherwise seem like a negative.

Click on the graphic below, or click here, to hear what I have to say.

Balance: Illusive and Elusive

When we hear the term “work-life balance” we think about trying to spend an equal amount of time in all areas of our life.  The problem with that is that almost no entrepreneur can actually achieve that. While life can’t be fully in balance, it is possible to create a life that is in harmony with your vision.

WORKLIFEBALANCE

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Here are some simple techniques:

  • Wherever you are – be there. If you are at work, don’t be thinking about the time you didn’t spend with the family the night before, or what you should be doing with your “significant other” right now. When you are at home, don’t be thinking about the work you have to do at the office.
  • Be creative (about how you manage your time). If you have a big project at work that has to be done and you want to spend time with the family one evening – get creative. I used to spend the evening with the family and when everyone went to bed, I sat down to write my first book.  I finished the book without taking any time away from the family.
  • Integrate various elements of your life.  For many years I spent a couple weeks or more working remotely from my lake house. Now, I bring my staff and management team for short retreat/work days. The last week, I take off completely and spend time with the family. By integrating the two worlds I create a sense of harmony.
  • Practice “letting go” and “holding on.” Contrary to popular belief, I do not think it is possible to “have it all.”  Unfortunately, life involves making choices. Practice understanding what things to say “no” to and then letting go of them. At the same time think about the things that are truly important in your life and hold on to them with all your might.

What are some of the things you do to create harmony in your life?  I’d love to hear your thoughts so please share your ideas/tactics in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

Selling Goals vs. Life Goals (Pssst…They’re Related!)

I can almost hear the groans now . . . “Another discussion about goal setting?–How boring!”  Well, boredom comes from repetition, and without repetition, masterful achievement is not possible.  Reading more, practicing more, and understanding more about goals bring this part of selling into a normal daily routine where it motivates and guides those who are masters in the field of sales.

Our lives are directed and pulled by conscious and subconscious desires, which when aggregated become our future vision.  This vision (whether to lose 25 pounds and be athletic or to consistently earn $10,000 commissions and be wealthy) is directed by our destination goals, but the more finite process goals help us get there.  Treat each daily detail as an important process goal to achieve, and indeed these small ones will accumulate so that ultimately our larger vision becomes our reality.  It is easy to derail our dreams by self doubt, other people, and external events, so the only way to keep the vision alive is to transform it into tangible, goal-directed behavior.

Most goal-implementation plans require getting other people enrolled in our personal program.  This is where person-to-person selling comes into the picture.  In this instance, selling means convincing other people to give us something they have in return for something we possess.  In a traditional view of selling, the buyer exchanges her money for our product.  But in the real world, every person sells continually–whether ourselves on a first date, our beliefs, or our knowledge.  If we sell successfully, we might achieve a goal of having an enjoyable evening date, public  recognition, or personal satisfaction as a return from our effort.

Setting the right environment to complete a sales transaction might include bringing flowers on the first date or artfully crafting a storefront window to allow those walking by a glimpse of the buying opportunities to be found inside the shop.  The sales trainer might say, “Your goal is to create an environment (a stage) that causes your customer to feel like a VIP taking delivery on his Rolls Royce.”  The sales process is a very social activity, one that creatively mixes the buyer’s goal of owning a solution with the seller’s complex goal of meeting company targets, earning an income, and personally helping the customer.  Learning this craft of goal satisfaction is never ending and forever challenges the master seller.

While I was working on the book Masters of Sales, a woman named Joan Fletcher wrote me and told me a noteworthy story about a very successful young salesman.  In spite of his sales awards, his corner office, and charismatic charm, he still felt he was just scraping the surface of success . . .

Even though dutifully creating written goals, his level of self satisfaction was low; until he realized that the big picture was not just about how much money he earned, or the big house, or the number of sales he hoped to close.  The big picture was his vision about what he truly wanted to achieve in all combined areas of his life.  Once he discovered this realization, his renewed selling accomplishments became directly tied to setting aside money for his daughter’s education fund, to have time to help coach his son’s soccer league, and to work in his yard.  Even with more personal goals than before, his sales results climbed higher.

The thing to always remember is this: Work goals, selling goals, and life goals are all intertwined and each one will always influence the others.  Now the question becomes: what do YOU truly want to achieve in all combined areas of your life and what are some ways you might make a conscious effort to streamline your work, selling, and life goals in order more effectively work toward your future vision?  I’d love to hear your thoughts so please share any/all feedback you may have in the comment forum below. Thanks!

 

What’s the Payoff for Developing an Effective Word-of-Mouth Strategy?

Developing an effective word-of-mouth strategy that results in a strong referral-based business takes endless time, energy, effort and, above all, commitment. The actions and steps necessary to create a successful referral-networking campaign are simple, yet far from easy; they take tremendous dedication and drive, and results can be a long time in coming.

So why should you put forth the time and effort to develop a word-of-mouth strategy for your business?  Because, if you commit to doing it right and don’t give up, the payoff can be unbelievably high.

In fact, many businesses have become so adept at referral marketing that they get most of their sales through referrals and spend little or no money on advertising — and they never have to place cold calls. Some of these businesses hire most of their employees through referrals, manage complex financing arrangements and even procure necessary products through referral contacts they have cultivated for many years.

But a referral-based business can reward you in ways beyond those measured in dollars. Dealing with people you like and trust is a better way to live and work than sparring with strangers all day long. You may even find the relationships you form with your referral sources more important than the dollars your new customers bring you. Such relationships are central to both the referral-generation process and the satisfaction you derive from your work.

So, the next time you find yourself doubting whether your networking efforts are really worth it, remember: If you don’t give up, and you continually devote yourself to working on making your word-of-mouth strategy better and better, the payoff can be enormous both financially and in terms of happiness in business and life.

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