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5 Tips When You Have 5 Minutes with a Prospect

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fripp-patricia-at-xtracreditsBy Patricia Fripp

If you are on the phone, a webinar, or in person, and you have a few minutes with the prospect executive, what do you say to keep on track and be professional?

Here is an invaluable framework. Adapt it to your situation, and boost your confidence and credibility.

Imagine that you have a satisfied client company for one of your offerings. You feel now is the best time to discuss your next and higher investment offering. The prospect, your main contact, is ready to view a product demonstration set for the next day. All your demos are delivered in a webinar. At 2 P.M. you get a call from your main prospect who says “Great news! Tomorrow our boss, who is the real decision-maker, is going to be in our office. Rather than just showing our team what you have to offer, the boss said he would like to sit in on the first five minutes. I know you will do well.”

Don’t panic. This is a great opportunity, and once you make a positive impact, the sales cycle is going to be cut short. You will not have to hear, “We love this, but now we have to convince our boss.” This is, however, now your number one priority to prepare. You may be seasoned, but take this seriously. Your sales manager is always telling you, “Sell to the C Suite.” This is your chance. Remember these five simple suggestions for sales success.

  1. Build rapport before you speak. It is easier to connect if you can make eye contact with the prospect, so turn on your webcam to welcome everyone and then again when you answer questions. Although many professionals say they are not comfortable doing this, it has many benefits. Who can resist your friendly smile? You will look more confident, and it is tougher to say no when they are looking at you.
  2. Be prepared, and get to the point. Remember, with an executive you need to be clear, concise, credible, and able to articulate the bottom line of your message. The higher up the corporate ladder you go, the more quickly you need to get to the point and demonstrate value. As counter intuitive as it may seem, the less time you have in which to present your case, the longer you will need to prepare. You may have friendly chatter with the team before you get to business, but in this case every second counts. Be polite, respectful, and get to the point fast.
  3. Remember you are not alone. Speak on behalf of your leadership. This way you can feel you are making a connection with the position, even when you are not holding that position yourself. You will discover that this technique adds to your confidence.
  4. Remind the executive they have already made a wise decision by doing business with your company. Remind them that they have already researched your company and that they were comfortable enough to make you a vendor of choice. This is just a logical next step.
  5. Make heroes of the team you are working with. These are your internal champions, and although they may not make the ultimate decision, they certainly have influence and can sabotage your sale. Your job is to work closely with the team or champion who will give you information. Do your research so that you are on target with your questions about their company and the approach the executive will most likely respond to.

When you have to deliver an executive overview, be clear and concise and sound credible. When you adapt this framework to your situation, you will get results.

“Good morning, Mr. Smith. On behalf of our leadership and my team, thank you for your business. As you know, we are committed to delivering the best service for our valued clients like you.

On a personal note, working with John and Mary is a delight. They are both helpful and incredibly efficient.

The purpose of this call is to deliver a high-level overview of our product that you have invested in, review your results compared to your expectations, and then introduce you to three other ways in which we can be of service.

Once we have proven the power of (our product), most of our clients find it logical to add ________ and ______ to their package.

John suggested you are most interest in seeing . . .

Mary mentioned you have ambitious goals for next year to . . .

That is an area in which we could be very advantageous to you.

My understanding is that we have four more minutes. Is that correct?

Let me roll up my sleeves, and you just sit back, watch the demo, and be amazed.

Please feel free to interject at any time.

Do you like what you saw?

Then, our next logical step is to continue the conversation with John and Mary and prepare a draft proposal for your review.

Does that make sense to you?

Moving forward, is there any other area you would like for us to pursue?

Again, thank you for your business and the opportunity to demonstrate how we can continue to streamline your company.”

Can you see the five suggestions in this simple outline? Again, I recommend you turn on the webcam when you open and close the conversation. This makes it easier to make an emotional connection with your prospect.

Because you are on a webinar, you can have your opening script and outline printed.

Once you internalize your new, tightened script, it will become second nature.

Make sure you smile. Your client will hear it in your voice.

————- You are invited, join our XTRAcredits LinkedIn Group —————–

XTRAcredits is the yellow pages for everything and anything continuing education and professional development credit related.  XTRAcreditsVT.com offers a catalogue of pre-approved on-demand professional development courses for continuing education credits anytime and anywhere.

More About Patricia Fripp

sme_frippHall of Fame keynote speaker, executive speech coach, sales presentation skills expert, and author, Patricia Fripp simplifies and demystifies the process of preparing and presenting powerful, persuasive presentations. Kiplinger’s Personal Finance identified her presentation training as one of the best investments you can make in your career. Called “one of the 10 most electrifying speakers in North America” by Meetings and Conventions, Patricia delivers high-content, entertaining, dramatically memorable presentations. The first female president of the National Speakers Association, she is now virtually everywhere.  Patricia has most recently joined the faculty at XTRAcredits as a subject matter expert. Learn essential new skills and accelerate your career while maintaining your professional accreditation.
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Business woman signing contract. Closeup of hand with pen, writing on document. Success, agreement, professional, business people concept

Setting Realistic, Achievable Goals

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HOPKINS Quote opinionBy Tom Hopkins

When it comes to setting realistic, achievable goals, there’s definitely a system involved. Once I gained a clear understanding of how goals should be set and what they could do for me, I studied everything I could find on the subject. I went so far as to draft up a document that looked like a legal agreement to write my goals on. I called it my Proposal and Agreement. I would fill out the form, “approve the paperwork,” and read my list of goals every morning and night. Once a goal was completed, I would write the word “Completed” and the date across the document in red ink. Then, I would put the document into a binder for safekeeping. Whenever I had a down day, I would pull out that binder and review all the goals I’d already accomplished. Seeing those documents always gave me a mental and emotional lift. They also reminded me of what happens when you stay focused.

You are welcome to download my Proposal & Agreement form here: http://www.tomhopkins.co/pdf/ProposalandAgreement.pdf

Read through it. Then, take your goal setting practices seriously. Goals aren’t meant to be a glorified “to do” list. They’re way more than that. However, once your goals are set, you will find yourself adding items to your daily “to do” list that help you move toward the achievement of those goals.

Goals help you to discipline yourself to achieve those things that you desire. Desire, without discipline, leads to disappointment, disillusionment, and depression. And no one wants to go there. So, let’s talk about setting those achievable goals.

There are two types of goals: 1. Short term – no longer than 90 days, and 2. Long term – starting with 20-year goals then breaking those goals down to 10-year, 5-year, and one-year goals that are stepping stones to your large goals.

I discovered several criteria for setting achievable goals. I’m happy to share them with you here. Your goals must be:

  1. Better than your best, but believable. If you can’t even imagine achieving them, you won’t take the steps necessary to do so.
  2. Worth committing to. Don’t set a goal for something frivolous just to set a goal. You ARE going to commit time to achieving them so make it worth your time.
  3. Clearly defined. Don’t write that you’ll buy a new car with cash. Write out a detailed description of the car including make, model, color, and any other option you want.
  4. Vividly imagined. If you can’t close your eyes and see, hear, feel, smell, and taste the object of your goals, keep writing until you can. Be so descriptive that another person could read the description and know exactly what you’re talking about.
  5. Ardently desired. I happen to love that word “ardently.” It’s about having an intense passion for your goals. You don’t just “want” them. You “have to have” them.
  6. In writing.

Set goals for what you want to be, do, and have in your life. Give this some serious thought–perhaps a couple of hours the first time you do it. Or, let the ideas percolate for a couple of days before starting to write. Just be sure to do it.

Another important element to setting realistic, achievable goals is that they’re your goals, not goals that others tell you that you should have. If everyone else you know says owning a Mercedes is the ideal car to have as a goal, but you prefer Jaguars, don’t let them influence you. You won’t work hard for goals that aren’t your own.

I highly recommend that you set goals in at least four areas of your life for starters:

  1. Financial independence – this would be a specific net worth amount.
  2. Emotional stability – this is about understanding what makes you happy and gives you a sense of mental strength.
  3. Physical fitness – there’s no sense in achieving in other areas of your life and losing your health along the way.
  4. Spiritual fulfillment – if what you believe in doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter what you believe in. I’m not saying that you must be religious. Just understand that we are spiritual beings and feeding that spirituality is important to living a life of balance.

Once you have your goals set, plan your days around their achievement. Review them at least once every morning when you rise, and every evening before going to sleep. Use them to set the stage for how you’ll live each day.

————- You are invited, join our XTRAcredits LinkedIn Group —————–

XTRAcredits is a full service boutique that provides continuing education led by top performance leaders from across the globe. The yellow pages for everything continuing professional development credit related.  XTRAcreditsVT.com offers a catalogue of pre-approved on demand 24/7 access to online professional development courses for continuing education credits anytime and anywhere.

More about Tom Hopkins:

HOPKINS_sealTom Hopkins, is world-renowned as an expert and authority on the subject of selling. He has helped over five million students on five continents to enhance their careers and earn higher incomes through his proven-effective selling strategies. No theory here, Tom’s training is specifically “how-to” and “what to say.”  Most recently Tom has joined the faculty at XTRAcredits to provide continuing education credits to professionals from a multitude of industries.

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Adaptability to Increase Your Personal Power

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ALESSANDRA Quote difficulties

By Tony Alessandra

Adaptability has always been a remarkable quality. Even still, in today’s 24/7/365 world of constant unrelenting change, the value of adaptability has been magnified. Our ability to adapt to changes in relationships, business and even our environment has become critical to our success and happiness.  Surprisingly something so important can be difficult to define. What is adaptability? What are its components? What do adaptable people look like? And most importantly– what are the keys to improving our own?

As people begin to learn about any new topic, they tend to jump to oversimplified and incomplete conclusions. When that happens, they are often less successful than is possible. But with continuing effort, thought, increased study, and personal one-on-one coaching, they eventually graduate to a higher level of excellence. In terms of behavioral adaptability, this means it is essential for us to understand these three following principles:

     1. Adaptability is not a goal in and of itself, but a means to the end of increased personal effectiveness and success.
     2. A key to effectiveness is to realize what level and type of adaptability component(s) are the critical factors in achieving a targeted goal.
     3. Being adaptable also means assessing the other available resources that can allow you to get your desired outcomes by acting smarter.
Adaptability, then, is important because it directly relates to your degree of achieved success in relationships with other people, to coping with changing conditions around you, to managing different types of situations.

Extreme behavior can raise others’ tensions

At times people may perceive extreme adaptability as acting wishy-washy, sashaying back and forth across the fence line, or acting two-faced. Additionally, a person who maintains high adaptability in all situations and relationships may not be able to avoid personal stress. This is usually temporary and may in fact be worth it if you gain rapport with the other person.

The other extreme of the continuum is little or no behavioral adaptability. This causes people to view someone as rigid and uncompromising – on behaving at his own pace and priority.

Adaptability is important to successful relationships of all kinds. People often adopt at least a partially different role in their professional lives than they do in their social and personal lives. This is to successfully manage the professional requirements of their jobs. Interestingly, many people tend to be more adaptable at work with people they know less and less adaptable at home with people they know better. Why? People generally want to create a good impression at work, but at home may relax and act themselves to the point of unintentionally stepping on other family members’ toes. Not an attractive family portrait, but often an accurate one.

Adaptability works

Effectively adaptable people meet the key expectations of others in specific situations—whether it’s in personal or business relationships. Through attention and practice, you can achieve a balance of strategically managing your adaptability by recognizing when a modest compromise is appropriate. You’ll also understand when it’s necessary to adapt to the other person’s behavioral style.

Practice managing relationships in a way that allows everyone to win. Be tactful, reasonable, understanding, non-judgmental, and comfortable to talk to. This results in a moderate position between the two extremes. You’re able to better meet the needs of the other person as well as your own. Adapt your pace and priority. Work at relationships so everybody wins at work, with friends, on dates, and with family.

When you try to accommodate the other person’s expectations and tendencies, you automatically decrease tension and increase trust. Adaptability enables you to interact more productively with difficult people, helps you in strained situations, and assists you in establishing rapport and credibility. It can make the difference between a productive or an ineffective interpersonal relationship. And your adaptability level also influences how others judge their relationships with you. Raise your adaptability level—trust and credibility soar; lower your adaptability level—trust and credibility plummet.

Another way of looking at this whole matter is from the perspective of maturity. Mature persons know who they are. They understand their basic DISC behavioral type and freely express their core patterns. However, when problems or opportunities arise, they readily and deliberately make whatever adjustments are necessary in their core patterns to meet the needs of the situation or relationship. Immature persons, on the other hand, lose effectiveness in dealing with the real world when they lock into their own style. By disregarding the needs of others, they end up causing conflict and tension that lead to less satisfaction and fulfillment in their life environments.

When you are committed to adapt your pace and priority and work at relationships so everybody wins at work, with friends, on dates, and even with family you will achieve more. Start now and experience Dr. Tony Alessandra’s online training courses at XTRAcreditsVT.com

————- You are invited, join our XTRAcredits LinkedIn Group —————–

XTRAcredits is a full service boutique that provides continuing education led by top performance leaders from across the globe. The yellow pages for everything continuing professional development credit related. We offer on demand 24/7 access to online professional development courses for continuing education credits. Anytime, anywhere.

About Dr. Tony Alessandra:

sme_tony
He earned his PhD in marketing (1976) & has authored 30+ books & 100+ audio/video programs. He was inducted into the NSA Speakers Hall of Fame (1985) & Top Sales World’s Hall of Fame (2010). Most recently he has partnered at XTRAcredits to offer courses for continuing education professional development credits. He is also the Founder & CEO of Assessments24x7, a company that equips companies, coaches and trainers with dozens of assessments (DISC, Motivators, HVP, etc.) from one, easy-to-use online account.

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6 Proven Ways You Need to Know to Secure Your Dream Job —And it’s not what you think

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GC Quote call meBy Grant Cardone

Some of you are currently out of work. Others of you are already employed but want something better. It’s tough getting a new job either way—and sending out your resume just doesn’t cut it. Despite what it may seem, there are many people out there looking to hire, and I want to encourage you today that you can get any job you want, even if you are unemployed. I know all about the things most job seekers do wrong. Earlier this year I did a reality TV series on hiring people called Whatever It Takes.

I can assure you that most people don’t know these 6 tips to get hired in today’s marketplace: 

  1. Never Rely On Resumes—You should have a resume and you need to keep it current and show all of your accomplishments, but the resume isn’t going to land you your job. I don’t even look at someone’s resume at my company. The resume is about what you have done but all I care about is what you can do for me in the future. Businesses don’t hire a resume they hire people that can help the company bring in more revenue. Never rely on a resume.
  2. Stop Counting On Recruiters—The truth is others shouldn’t need to get you your next job. Headhunters and recruiters are representing many people and they won’t present you better than you will. You need to have the mindset that you are the only one that will make this new job thing happen! Don’t leave it up to recruiters and pass the responsibility to them. You are dependent upon you.
  3. Don’t Depend On the HR Department—Seek to bypass HR even though this is not politically correct. Your goal is to find out who knows the players in the company and get your story in front of the decision makers. HR are just the gatekeepers. It is the decision makers who have the most invested in moving the company forward. You want to get in front of them, not in front of HR. That said, treat the HR people like millionaires and you might get to the decision makers.
  4. Quit Leaning on the Internet—Too many people do all their job searching on social networking sites and while they may be a good place to get a date, it will not get you your dream job. Let the other 25 million people depend on the ‘net’ while you get yourself physically in front of decision makers. It’s one thing to pitch yourself on a computer screen, quite another to do it in person. Unplug and get outside.
  5. Get Great at Selling—Everything in life is a sale and everything you want is a commission. If you want a job, you will have to sell yourself. Never go into an interview like the majority do. They just are looking to be interviewed. You go in to sell yourself. Never communicate from the viewpoint of what the company can do for you but what you can do for the company. My book Sell or Be Sold discusses how to sell yourself to decision makers about why you are the one they should hire.
  6. Superfreak the Interview—I’m not talking about being crazy or doing something dumb just for attention. I’m talking about doing a great presentation. Don’t talk about what you have done in the past, but about what you are going to do for the company in the future. Make big claims and focus on making the company revenue. Things like being a team player, loyalty, and dependability may be some of your attributes, but they will not land you your dream job. Keep your focus on how you bring revenue to the company—and never talk about how you have been let go wrongly or how bad your past employers were. Stay positive and be memorable.

To get your dream job in 2017, take the attitude that getting that job you want is now your new job. If you have to spend 40 hours a week doing it, then do it. For now, even if you have to take something you consider beneath you, take it until you can find that job you do want. It is better to stay connected in the workforce with less pay than be disconnected from others. Besides, you need the income from a job—any job.

Don’t listen to those that say no one is hiring. It’s a lie. Plenty of people are willing to hire GREAT people. There are always businesses looking for productive, solution-oriented people that can grow their revenue. Have the attitude that you will find your job and stay away from other unemployed people who bitch and moan about their lot in life.

No matter what your job is, if you want to step up and achieve success, invest in your education and access my courses, gain a competitive edge and earn yourself some XTRAcredits.

Be great,

GC

————- You are invited, join our XTRAcredits LinkedIn Group —————–

XTRAcredits is a full service boutique that provides continuing education programs led by top performance leaders from across the globe. The yellow pages for everything continuing professional development credit related.  XTRAcreditsVT.com offers a catalogue of pre-approved on demand 24/7 access to online professional development courses for continuing education credits anytime and anywhere.

 

sme_cardoneGrant Cardone is a New York Times bestselling author and an internationally renown speaker on leadership, real estate investing, entrepreneurship, and finance.  His 5 privately held companies have annual revenues exceeding $100 million. His latest book Be Obsessed or be Average released October 2016. Grant is a Faculty member at XTRAcredits who provides professionals across North America including Certified Financial Planners at FPSC and CFP Board, pre-approved courses in the areas of sales, marketing, leadership and communication.

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boost your confidence when you need the courage to deliver better results

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CATHCART XC treeBy Jim Cathcart

One of my coaching clients showed me his published works and told me about his goals. As a subject expert and consultant he had risen to a high level in his industry so he wanted to kick it up a notch. Despite his ambition I noticed that he was thinking rather small so I began coaching him to raise his sights and go for a national prominence instead of just an industry niche. At first this seemed foreign to him and he clearly didn’t believe that he could qualify for that level of distinction… yet.

That’s when I noticed that he needed the confidence and courage to see himself as a bigger resource. So I shifted my coaching away from imparting information and started helping him to discover how valuable he can be to his clients. I showed him how he had already done, in his limited market area, the same things that he could do on a national scale in multiple industries. It’s not that I just got him to raise his sights, I got him to understand and FEEL that he was already qualified to take on the bigger challenges.

What keeps us from doing all that we are capable of doing is usually not a lack of skill, instead it is a lack of belief in our ability to be a greater resource to the world.

We are all capable of making a greater contribution than we currently do. And the world will reward us in direct proportion to the amount of value we give to others. This can be emotional value, monetary value, intellectual value or something else but there are more things we can do for others.

Some argue, “I’m already giving more value than I’m being paid for!” I disagree. You may think that you are giving value but until the recipient thinks of it as valuable, then it doesn’t carry much weight. It’s not what you and I think of our work that counts in the marketplace, it is what the receivers of our work think of its value. That is what determines its true worth. Think of a Snickers® candy bar. There may be other candies that are “better” but none is more popular. So, in the buyer’s mind, Snickers® has great value. It’s the buyer’s perception that measures the value.

I was once coaching a team of salespeople in an insurance agency and during a workshop one of them said to me, “Jim, I must know more about the way this new product works or I can’t sell it.” For a little background, this was a highly educated man with a powerful public reputation and three advanced degrees. I was showing the group how to sell a new package of Estate Planning products and he was resisting until he totally understood the product from a technical standpoint.

I challenged his statement. I said “Bill, with all due respect, that is just not true. You are one of the most capable salespeople in this agency and you could be selling these products today if you approached it in the right way. You could even sell these products if you knew NOTHING about them.” He was shocked, how could I say such a thing? How unprofessional! To sell a product without understanding it fully just seemed unethical to him.

So, I proposed an experiment. I asked him to work with me, on faith, for the next week in the following way. “Leave all of your product information in the office this week and call on people with simply a blank note pad. Tell them that you want to assure that they get the best plan they can get and you want to stop the product discussions temporarily while you get a more clear understanding of exactly what they want their estate planning to achieve for them. Then ask them to tell you what they hope this process will do for them. Listen intently and truly empathize with them. Determine what feelings are driving their choices and help them see the outcomes of making better choices about their finances.

I warned him to resist the impulses to teach or discuss specifics. Don’t sell them and don’t get into a comparison of various products, just listen, really listen like never before. Then come back to the office and speak with the product experts about how you can best help people achieve exactly what they deeply and truly want. Bill agreed to try this experiment for one week. It wasn’t easy for him because he was a detail guy who loved to educate his customers, but he gave it his best and each day he improved as a listener and guide for his clients.

At the end of the week he seemed like a man transformed! He glowed with enthusiasm, courage and confidence. He smiled broadly and wanted to tell everyone else in the office about his experiences. Everyone in the office noticed the change. I asked him how it was going and he burst with enthusiastic descriptions of his experiences. “Just this morning I walked into a client’s office and started to listen and probe. When I did this my client dropped all of his defenses and openly shared with me some of his deepest personal concerns. In doing so I was able to build a level of trust like never before. In fact, he gave me a signed blank check and asked me to just let him know how much I had filled it in for and what he had bought! A blank check! Jim, I’ve never had this kind of bond with my clients. This is great!!!”

Bill went on to achieve even greater levels of trust with his clients. A few months later he made a sale that netted him a personal first year commission of $300,000.00. It was the largest sale in the entire company (out of 125 agencies). From that day forward he never went back to his old patterns of selling. He became so successful that he got regular requests to speak for other agencies to show them his secret sales techniques.

You and I often limit ourselves unknowingly through wrong thinking, lack of confidence and the courage to commit to be better. We limit our performance without realizing how happily successful we might be with just a few minor changes.

————- You are invited, join our XTRAcredits LinkedIn Group —————–

XTRAcredits is the yellow pages for everything and anything continuing professional development credit related.  XTRAcreditsVT.com offers pre-approved on-demand 24/7 courses for continuing education credit anytime anywhere.

More about Jim Cathcart:

sme_cathcartSelected for 5 consecutive years (2010-11-12-13-14) as one of the Top 5 Speakers on Sales & Customer Service, and listed as one of the Top Minds in Personal Development, Jim Cathcart, CSP, CPAE is a leader among professional speakers and authors. Recognized as one of the world’s best keynote speakers Jim is one of only 5 speakers in the world who hold all of the following honors: Toastmasters Golden Gavel Award (2001), President of the National Speakers Association (1988-1989), Speaker Hall of Fame, CPAE (1985), Certified Speaking Professional, CSP (1981), and winner of The Cavett Award (1993). Most recently he has joined the faculty at XTRAcredits.

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FRIPP Quote clarify audience

How to Open Your Workplace Presentation with Power

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FRIPP Quote clarify audienceBy Patricia Fripp

The opening of your presentation is still the most important part of any presentation. It can be a dramatic statement, such as “The Internet is going to affect your business, even if it’s going to put you out of business.” I used that at one in the early days of the internet to convey the message: if you don’t change, you’ll fight a war you can’t win. Then, I softened the blow, by telling the audience not to worry too much and presenting them with new strategies.

Another effective opener is role-play. I’ve coached my clients to use my “Hollywood model” of character, dialogue and dramatic lesson. In framing their anecdotes, I suggests they tell a story by engaging in role-play, then relating it to a specific message. For example, to convey a lesson in honesty, I may cast meeting participants as a father with his two youngsters in front of a movie counter discussing ticket prices. When someone suggests one of the boys can pass for younger and get a discount, the father is asked, “Who will know?” Referring to his son, he replies “He will.”

More than words

Grabbing an audience is only the first step. “What’s harder is keeping their attention,” says Jim Hall, Director of Marketing for audiovisual products at Epson America in Long Beach, California. “We are the technology generation. We expect to be entertained, and the more professional the presenter, the higher that expectation.” For Hall, the golden rule is to make sure he knows the audience and finds a subject they care about. He uses a variety of techniques with his presentation when he promotes Epson products to large groups. He maintains eye contact with the audience and makes large, theatrical gestures to make a point during his presentation. It’s extra important, he says, to change inflection in your presentation. “If you don’t vary the tone of your voice, even if they are interested in what you’re saying, they’ll go to sleep.”

Take a cue from action movies and “show,” don’t “tell.” Stars such as Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme are in the business of telling a story through movement. “Audiences don’t go to hear what Norris or Van Damme say. They go to see the high-action scenes.

How often have you had a presentation at work and it failed? Being perceived as a dynamic, inspiring, and persuasive communicator is a matter of  your career’s life and death! Gain  24/7 access to my presentations skills training and earn yourself and your presentation some XTRAcredits.

————- You are invited, join our XTRAcredits LinkedIn Group —————–

XTRAcredits is the yellow pages for everything and anything continuing education and professional development credit related.  XTRAcreditsVT.com offers a catalogue of pre-approved on-demand professional development courses for continuing education credits anytime and anywhere.

More About Patricia Fripp

sme_frippHall of Fame keynote speaker, executive speech coach, sales presentation skills expert, and author, Patricia Fripp (http://www.fripp.com) simplifies and demystifies the process of preparing and presenting powerful, persuasive presentations. Kiplinger’s Personal Finance identified her presentation training as one of the best investments you can make in your career. Called “one of the 10 most electrifying speakers in North America” by Meetings and Conventions, Patricia delivers high-content, entertaining, dramatically memorable presentations. The first female president of the National Speakers Association, she is now virtually everywhere.  Patricia has most recently joined the faculty at XTRAcredits as a subject matter expert. Learn essential new skills and accelerate your career while maintaining your professional accreditation.
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Hyken_phone

Top 10 Basic Phone Skills for the Best Customer Service

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Hyken_phoneBy Shep Hyken

This article is not just for the front line people who deal directly with customers. All of this information is applicable to everyone, from a receptionist to a warehouse manager to a CEO. Having good telephone skills helps build stronger relationships with everyone! Whether the call is incoming or outbound, the following can be applied to virtually every call.

So, let’s get back to basics. Phone skills are an important part of the job. The way you handle your phone is as important as a face-to-face meeting. So take the time to go over some of these basics. Here is my “top ten” phone skills list.

1. Let’s start with enthusiasm.
Try to convey some type of enthusiasm. From beginning to end, show that you care about the person you are talking to. You don’t need to act overly excited about your phone conversation. Just have a positive attitude. It is contagious.

2. Be sure to smile.
Even though you are on the phone, the other person can sense a smile from you. Some telephone experts recommend putting a mirror on your desk to remind you when you are not smiling at the customer. For people who are on the phone all day, a mirror may not be a bad idea.

3. How do you sound on the phone?
Using the right tone of voice creates atmosphere on the phone. This ties into the first two on this list. Is your enthusiasm coming through? Do you have a positive attitude? Is your phone conversation strictly business? Is it lighter or personal? Your tone and voice inflections will create an impression and help the person on the other end understand what you are telling them.

4. Say “Hello!” (or good morning, good afternoon, etc.)
Have a warm greeting or opening. Welcome people into the conversation. Don’t make them feel as if they are an interruption. If you are too busy, then let someone else or your voice mail pick up the phone. That is lot better than a greeting that sounds like, “Yah, what do you want!”

5. Say “Goodbye.”

Have a strong closing. At the minimum, be sure to say goodbye before hanging up the phone. How many times have you expected someone to say goodbye, have a nice day, etc. only to hear a click? Don’t do that to your customer!

6. When talking to a customer, avoid company or technical terminology that they may not understand.
Everybody has had this happen at one time or another. Someone tries to tell you something and you have absolutely no idea what he is talking about. It sounds like it could be English, and it is. But, you still don’t understand it because it is technical jargon. Technical terms or industry buzz-words can put a customer in an uncomfortable position. They might feel dumb because they don’t understand you. Or, they may feel frustrated and become impatient.

7. Don’t get angry, even if the customer is.
It is not always easy to keep calm, especially if the customer is angry about something you have no control over. (Chances are they are mad at something that has already happened.) If a customer is complaining and angry, let them vent. Most likely they aren’t mad at you personally. Ask them questions to show that you care. Don’t add to their aggravation. You might ask them to repeat the problem just to make sure you understand. Be a good listener.

8. When transferring – ONLY ONCE!
If you are transferring to someone else over the phone, make sure that person is available. Don’t put the customer on the hold, transfer, hold, transfer, hold, transfer, routine. (I hate when that happens!)

9. Control the “hold” button on your phone.
A survey in USA Today conducted by Nancy Friedman (a.k.a. The Telephone Doctor) showed that customers hate, more than anything else relating to the phone, to be put on HOLD! There are really only two reasons to put someone on hold: to transfer to someone else or to get information.

10. More on controlling that “hold” button.
If you are going to make a customer wait on hold, for any reason, let them know how long they will have to wait. When you say a minute and it really is just a minute, it will probably seem a lot longer to them. So, if you are asking them to hold for an extended period of time, it is probably best to call them back. Promise to call at a specific time. Then, keep your promise!

By
Shep Hyken

 

————- You are invited, join our XTRAcredits LinkedIn Group —————–

XTRAcredits is a full service boutique that provides continuing education led by top performance leaders from across the globe. The yellow pages for everything continuing professional development credit related.  XTRAcreditsVT.com offers a catalogue of pre-approved on demand 24/7 access to online professional development courses for continuing education credits anytime and anywhere.

More About Shep Hyken:

Shep Hyken

Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker and New York Times bestselling business author. He has most recently joined the Faculty at XTRAcredits in the Continuing Education department as a subject matter expert. 

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cardone-continuing-education

All Wealth Building Starts with Income

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cardone-continuing-educationBy Grant Cardone

It doesn’t matter if you make $10,000 or $400,000 a year, if you want to become wealthy you need income first. You could be in poverty, you could be making $30,000 a year with a family of four, you could be a single mother making $19,000 or maybe most or all of your money comes from the government. We all start from somewhere. Maybe you’re in the middle class. Maybe you only have enough money left each month to go to the movies and have dinner out once a month–and if you go twice you won’t be able to make your bills on time.

Maybe you’re making between $70,000 and $110,000 a year and have been for a while. You’re better off than those in your neighborhood. You have a better car, you don’t worry about bills, you don’t worry about new clothes for your kids—but you never have quite enough to make a big play to push into a wealth position. You feel like you’re never going to get rich.

No matter how much income you have, creating income is the front door you must walk through before getting wealthy. You need to learn to create revenue… and then get even better at it. I create more revenue in shorter periods of time now compared to in the past. I first had to learn to create revenue—and then I got better at it. Income is your first step, your entry, your front door to wealth.

You must fortify this thing and make it strong. You have to add value to what you do to make it bigger and you even if you hate your job—or your current position in life—never complain about the income. No matter how small it is, how dirty your hands have to get, don’t complain. I’ve done jobs I hate. I still do jobs today I hate. I never complain about them.

Never complain about the job you have. Your job is creating income and making sure you have a job that will be there for you tomorrow. Once you’ve made sure of that, fortify it and make sure you cannot be replaced by some piece of technology or new employee. Make sure you become that person the organization you are with wants to continue to send income.

All wealth starts with this front door 
right here: Income.

Once you have begun to create income your only concern should be to increase your income. The only thing you should care about is, “How do I increase this income I created from this first job?” I’m not saying to get a second job, a third job or a fourth job. I’m saying to increase the income of the first stream you created. Get it?

Whether you are mowing lawns or selling stocks as this first stream of income, once you have fortified this income don’t go start a new business. Don’t look for a second flow elsewhere. Make your first flow bigger, make it juicier, and increase the intensity of it. Don’t even worry about saving right now—all you want to do is get a job and increase that income flow.

Most people are satisfied because they are comparing their situation to someone else’s and that’s where they stop. They stop their wealth creation once they have surpassed someone else’s situation in life and then wonder why they never become wealthy. People don’t get wealthy creating one income flow and never increasing that income.

Think of it like water. You’re at an oasis, you drink and get one bottle. You think you’re fine, you’re hydrated and that’s good so you go on your way. Then another guy comes by and drinks and fills up a bottle, then waters his camel and fills up that bottle again and again before leaving. He knows when he’s further on he won’t have access to that oasis. And you go to take a sip and your one bottle already went empty miles back, so now you’re thirsty again.

Don’t depend on one flow that never increases. Your first flows of income must be symbiotic. The dictionary defines symbiotic as, “having an interdependent relationship.” What that means here is that once you have one flow you don’t go make a second flow somewhere else in another company, for another business or with something that isn’t like your first flow.

For me I worked a sales job. I got paid $250 every week. I created income, but I couldn’t become wealthy making $250 a week so I had to figure out how to fortify that. I worked commission so I had to learn how to get our product successfully into the hands of someone who wanted it—more sales meant more income. I increased my income from $250 a week to $2,500 and my confidence exploded.

I had to find a second flow that went with my first flow—sales. So I started helping with financing deals. I started to bring in more leads and take them to the service department and the repair department. Instead of the company paying outside people to bring in leads they started to pay me to bring leads to different departments. A second flow symbiotic to the first. I didn’t go anywhere and it helped my first flow grow.

Your flows must work together to 
make each flow stronger.

You must be able to control the space around you before you can go wide. This company I started bringing leads to sold warranties as well, so I asked if I could bring them leads for that and what happened? Another flow of income. I looked into referrals and made buddies with the other people I competed with—I couldn’t sell every customer so I gave them to my competition for a referral fee. That way I could make money on any lead, sold, unsold, another department, anywhere that lead went I got a flow.

Then I started buying our product and selling it from home. Now I’m 25 with my base income, my commission, my service leads, financing, referrals, buying and reselling the product—one place and now I have around 7 flows of income. All from different sources but all from the same location. I didn’t have to go anywhere else for all this. I’m up to like 12 hours a day. I didn’t get a second job, a third or fourth job. Seven flows with only one job.

What’s the point of all this? Control the 3 feet around you before you go out and try to conquer the world. You need to be able to dominate your space before you can go out, fortify that first flow and build your other flows next to it. You need symbiotic, parallel income flows at the job you have now.

Be great,

GC

 

————- You are invited, join our XTRAcredits LinkedIn Group —————–

XTRAcredits is a full service boutique that provides continuing education led by top performance leaders from across the globe. The yellow pages for everything continuing professional development credit related.  XTRAcreditsVT.com offers a catalogue of pre-approved on demand 24/7 access to online professional development courses for continuing education credits anytime and anywhere.

 

sme_cardoneGrant Cardone is a New York Times bestselling author and an internationally renown speaker on leadership, real estate investing, entrepreneurship, and finance.  His 5 privately held companies have annual revenues exceeding $100 million. His latest book Be Obsessed or be Average released October 2016. Grant is a Faculty member at XTRAcredits who provides professionals across NOrth America including Certified Financial Planners at FPSC and CFP Board, pre-approved courses in the areas of sales, leadership and communication and you can learn more at Grant Cardone.com

 

 

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tom hopkins sales

4 Time Traps that Kill Sales

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tom hopkins salesBy Tom Hopkins

Managing time really means, we manage ourselves. That includes avoiding the time traps that plague salespeople. Sadly, many of us are keeping ourselves from achieving the success of our dreams because these four time traps kill sales.

  1. Disorganization – How much valuable selling time has been lost or compromised because we’re looking for information, our keys, or an address? Have you ever been flustered at the beginning of a meeting with a prospective client because you lost track of time? How about forgetting their suite number and having to backtrack to the directory to find their office in a large complex? These are all things that we can and should control if we want to be successful. By being organized and giving attention to the details of every aspect of our business life will allow us to have more and better quality interactions with potential clients.
  2. Procrastination – This includes underestimating the amount of time something will take. Stop putting things off until they “have to” be done. Try increasing your time allotment in preparing for client contacts by 20% and feel the difference in how you feel. It’s likely you’ll feel more calm, more competent and prepared. And that competence will show on the outside–increasing the confidence potential clients have in you. True professionals in sales do what needs to be done when it needs to be done. They battle procrastination at every turn, instead economizing on their preparation time to allow for more client time.
  3. Unnecessary or unnecessarily long phone calls or meetings – Treat every client contact like a meeting. Set a goal for it. Prepare a brief agenda (so you don’t forget to cover any key points). And, estimate how long the contact should take. Remember to add 20% of time to allow for important sidebar comments your client might make. And, write out how you anticipate ending the contact. A brief summary of what was covered is a good strategy. When you don’t have a plan for your client contacts, you’re giving the clients free rein on your time. If you do business with people who tend to be chatty, set the stage at the beginning of your contact with them with something like this: “Paul, I’m happy we’ve connected today. I’ve prepared heavily in order not to waste your valuable time. I believe we can cover all of our most important topics of discussion by 11:30 so we can both move on to our next commitments in a timely manner.” This sets an end time for the contact that will, hopefully, be honored by both of you.
  4. Unconfirmed meetings. Stop being afraid that people will cancel on you if you check in with them the day before or morning of a scheduled contact. We’re all busy people. Not everyone watches the clock. It’s easy to underestimate the time needed for things (see point #2 above). Send a quick email or make a brief call prior to your scheduled meetings and say something like this: “Hi Sue. I’ve worked hard in preparation of our time together. I’ll be ready promptly at 2 for our meeting. I promise not to waste your time, and to provide you with the information you need in order to make a wise decision about (name one of your benefits).” When the recipient knows you’ve done work in preparation for the meeting, they’ll feel at least a twinge of guilt if they were thinking of cancelling. If you confirm by phone and something has come up to require a change of plans, at least you’ll have them on the phone and be able to re-schedule right then and there.

Think of yourself as an engineer. You’re constantly on the lookout for ways to make your career more effective, more efficient, and more valuable. Incorporate new ideas as quickly as possible–before you lose your enthusiasm for them. Taking in new thoughts without acting on them is yet another time trap. You may feel enlightened, but you won’t benefit from that enlightenment until you act!

 

————- You are invited, join our XTRAcredits LinkedIn Group —————–

XTRAcredits is a full service boutique that provides continuing education led by top performance leaders from across the globe. The yellow pages for everything continuing professional development credit related.  XTRAcreditsVT.com offers a catalogue of pre-approved on demand 24/7 access to online professional development courses for continuing education credits anytime and anywhere.

 

More about Tom Hopkins:

HOPKINS_sealTom Hopkins, is world-renowned as an expert and authority on the subject of selling. He has helped over five million students on five continents to enhance their careers and earn higher incomes through his proven-effective selling strategies. No theory here, Tom’s training is specifically “how-to” and “what to say.”  Most recently Tom has joined the faculty at XTRAcredits to provide continuing education credits to professionals from a multitude of industries.

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jim-cathcart-get-results

Tips for Annual Planning and New Year Goals

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jim-cathcart-get-resultsBy Jim Cathcart

When you are restarting your life dreams or your business is starting a new fiscal year it is “New Year’s Day” for you. So regardless what your calendar says: Happy New Year everyone! This is “ReThinking Week” here at Cathcart Institute, a practice we’ve followed since the 1970s. The time between the major holidays is generally slow for other-than-retail businesses so it’s a great time to dream, reflect and analyze. You can also do this during the final week of each fiscal year.
Here are some tips to get you started:
1. Block out at least one hour each day of an entire week between now and the end of the month to use for thinking and rethinking. Make this a vital appointment, don’t just “intend” to do it.
2. Take one category for each day’s thinking, e.g. Health Goals & Physical Habits, Financial Practices, Habits & Goals, or Relationship Patterns, Practices & Goals.
3. Consider everything a “zero-sum” game, in other words, all things are up for reconsideration and possible change. No existing practice goes without being considered for elimination, replacement or increase.
4. Keep written records of what you decide in each area. Keep them all together so that you can review the whole of them at the end of this process. Your goal here is to take an objective look at your life, your relationships, habit patterns, work habits, life decisions, etc. and make sure you are doing what you truly want to do, not just continuing what you’ve become used to.
5. At the first of the year, start planning which goals you’ll pursue, which practices you’ll stop or change, and develop your action plans to get it done. No more “resolutions”, just make new Commitments. Don’t “try” to lose weight; instead Commit to Becoming Slender and staying that way (that means embracing new habit patterns.)

The development of discipline is done one act at a time. Think of the person you’d like to become and ask yourself how that person would do what you’re about to do and make it a goal. This daily question can restructure your life. Don’t think like the old you, think like the future you. Become the person who will attract the results you want. Now’s the time, this is the place and you are the one! Building profitable relationships is a great place to start.  Let me help you with my online course and if you need to optimize your time and earn recertification credits then I can help with that too.

 

————- You are invited, join our XTRAcredits LinkedIn Group —————–

XTRAcredits is a full service boutique that provides continuing education led by top performance leaders from across the globe. The yellow pages for everything continuing professional development credit related.  XTRAcreditsVT.com coming this summer will be offering on demand 24/7 access to online professional development courses for continuing education credit anytime anywhere.

More about Jim Cathcart:

sme_cathcartSelected for 5 consecutive years (2010-11-12-13-14) as one of the Top 5 Speakers on Sales & Customer Service, and listed as one of the Top Minds in Personal Development, Jim Cathcart, CSP, CPAE is a leader among professional speakers and authors. Recognized as one of the world’s best keynote speakers Jim is one of only 5 speakers in the world who hold all of the following honors: Toastmasters Golden Gavel Award (2001), President of the National Speakers Association (1988-1989), Speaker Hall of Fame, CPAE (1985), Certified Speaking Professional, CSP (1981), and winner of The Cavett Award (1993). Most recently he has joined the faculty at XTRAcredits. Learn more about Jim at http://cathcart.com/

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