A Dose of Common Sense always works better than a Magic Wand

The fun part of what I do is watching people grasp the simplest of realities.

They suddenly realise that I’m not here today with a magic new strategy or unique recipe that will suddenly make them successful. Who would give that away if they had it?

They suddenly realise there isn’t one. Well it’s not new anyway. They often don’t see it because it is so simple, and how can simple things work that well?

The truth is that it works because it is simple.

People often ask me, what are the special ingredients that make some people so successful? Let me put that in 5 lines.

1. They are passionate about their goals.

2. They have high energy levels.

3. They an ability to focus on what they know they have to do and not be distracted by others.

4. They talk with more people

5. They have great skills when doing all that.

Now let’s look at this in a very practical way and provide you with a Menu of things you can select from. Have a read through the following list of ideas that are currently in use now and see which of them you are prepared to adopt for say a ninety day period.
If you were to take on-board 5 of these strategies and apply them diligently and honestly for the next 90 days, you will surprise yourself and everyone else, with the changes in your productivity.

If you have trouble managing yourself to maintain new disciplines such as these, ask some one to monitor you and to tap you on the shoulder when they see you wandering off track.

1. Go to Work an Hour earlier 3 days a week.

Yes don’t go overboard, just 3 days a week. Go an hour earlier, before all the people who waste and steal your time turn up and start the ritual office gossiping. It’s amazing what you can get done without the phones ringing and other people disturbing you. What a great time to get all that paperwork out of the way, so you can have more of you day free to talk with people.

2. Once a Week take an Advocate to breakfast or coffee.

An advocate is someone who refers you business. They may be a past client, someone who simply thinks you do a great job or an allied professional where you refer to each other. Have they some of your business cards and brochures? Are they referring people to you? If you can’t think of someone who is an advocate then target someone and get them started working for you.

3. Join a Business Networking Group.

Whether it’s a community service club or a referral group like the BNI Groups setting-up around New Zealand, you need to allocate time each week to meet with people from other businesses where you can set up a referral network . The ability to promote your business to a group of business people who are all looking for referrals for each other would have to be a productive use of your time.

4. Find a like minded associate and hold each other accountable.

Yes find some-one you trust who will work with you to assist in changing the work-habits of both of you. Check in each day in person or by fax or e-mail and show you have kept to your commitments.
Place a value on your commitment by writing a cheque to someone you would not like to get it, post date it for 30, 60 or 90 days and hand it to a stakeholder. If the stakeholder catches you not sticking to your commitments then the cheque gets posted. If you were really committed and maintained your self-discipline it won’t be a problem will it?

5.Replace One Bad Habit

Yes take a look at your work practices and style and look at one habit that you know is a problem

Could it be one of these?

Always late for appointments
Not returning phone calls
Late for training
Late with paperwork
Letting others interrupt you
Handling bits of paper more than once
Procrastinating
Answering the phone during family mealtimes
Grabbing fast food lunches
Not doing enough exercise
Smoking
No alcohol-free days
Not following up all clients

Of course there are a lot more. Which one is yours that you will fix? What are the consequences for you if you don’t fix it?

So what are the benefits if you do? If you can see the benefits are worthwhile then how about making an action plan to fix it.
Imagine if you could fix one in the next 90 days and another in the next. Imagine fixing 4 bad habits in 1 year! Could you handle the positive consequences of that?

5. Make a Daily to Do List and Use It.

Now this is an old one. Whether it’s in your diary or Palm device make a list every day of the key tasks you must complete, rank them in importance and urgency and cold-bloodedly go about doing those things. Celebrate each completion with a flourishing tick and move to the next. The key here is to manage your focus and to make sure that the time you spend at work is on work things.

Ask yourself; “Am I at work today or just Visiting?”

6. Go back through your diary

Now this one always pays off and quickly. Open your diary at a date 60 days ago an move forward to today’s date. On the way write down every name and phone number of the people you don’t know what has happened to, and ring them up.

If this doesn’t bring you some candidates then go back further and also grab all your old Open Home Sheets and start ringing.

7. Increase the number of phone calls you are making.

Of course you are already busy but the question is what is the value of what you are doing. If one of the key strategies is to talk with more people than we had better have a strategy that makes that happen.

So start making a record of the phone calls you are making. Most calls will be about existing business with buyers, sellers and allied professionals. But what about clients for future business? How long since some people on your database have been contacted? How about staring with 10 extra phone calls looking for new business on just 3 days a week?

Make an appointment in your diary on 3 days of the week, number 1-10 and start making the calls.

8. Invest in some Personal Promotion

Over 80% of salespeople have their business card as their only marketing tool.
Select from this sample list and start distributing in your market place and to your database.

Personal Profile
Post cards
Testimonials
Invitations to a client function
Calendars
Christmas Cards
Fridge magnets
Put your colour photograph on everything you send out
Have a new photograph taken
Get a web page
Mail to your entire database monthly
Only distribute colour – no more black and white!
Etc
There is a huge list of things you could do. Why not select one and invest in promoting yourself in quality. Remember though that marketing is not a 1 off promotion. Persistence with repetition are key elements of any successful marketing programme.

9. Improve your Negotiation Skills

Of all the skills you need there are two that are well ahead of the rest. Developing Empathy and Negotiation.

And Negotiation is the key!

Every time there is an opportunity to present your services and move a product there comes a time when you have to do the negotiation. Identifying and learning the key skills in negotiation are crucial elements that make all the rest of the effort worthwhile. To develop a great product and marketing plan is all wasted if at the end of the day we can’t negotiate the close of the transaction. Understanding the strategies that make price, only, are the keys to making all the difference to your success story.

10. Update and Rehearse your Sales Presentation

They say familiarity breeds contempt and all too often that applies to the things we use everyday. When you sit in front of a client have you got the best prepared, best looking and fully rehearsed Sales Presentation?

Take a look at the material you are using and does it tell a story? Has it got Success Stories and Testimonials in it? Has it got the latest offerings from your business?
Is it a compelling sales story that would lead your clients to choose you. Make sure you review and update your presentation material and then rehearse it until you are simply superb.

So what will you do next?

Of course there are more exotic and technologically inspired ideas.

But these ones are all available to you right now. So it is only a question of choosing which ones you will do isn’t it?

Why not take a look at your normal week and see if there is some room to do some of these simple strategies right now. For anyone who chooses 5 of these and finds the self-discipline and control to eliminate some non-useful tasks (bad habits) and replace them with these, will prosper.

Why not select someone to help you? Find someone you trust and ask them to assess with you, your 90 day plan and then get them to hold you honest to your commitments.

That way it won’t be the market that controls your income.

IAN KEIGHTLEY


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