Why Scars Make Life So Much More Interesting

By Gregory Ferrett

Welcome to Monday

Last week I had a few cancerous skin spots removed – one of them on my face.Scar Story

The doctor, when explaining the procedure, told me how much skin they needed to cut outside the cancer, how long the cut would be and the direction they would cut the skin to minimise the scar on my face.

While a scar on my face does not really concern me, it got me to thinking about scars and the stories behind each one.

Linda Hogan says it well “Some people see scars, and it is wounding they remember. To me they are proof of the fact there is healing

As a child scars are our marks of experience. Children brag about their scars and share stories. My scars include a finger sewn back on when it was severed in a door, an appendix removed in a third world country, a wrist cut when I slipped with a knife harvesting grapes and numerous cancer spots.

Airbrush of life

As adults we go to a lot of effort to hide scars and imperfections. The internet is full of discussions like ‘How do I put a value on a scar for a lawsuit” (google this phrase for examples) with the focus being on ‘who is to blame’ and the ‘emotional or career damage’ a scar causes.

The Oscars is a time when movie stars arrive to display their ‘perfection’ on the red carpet. Grouch Marx, when commenting on one movie star, said “She got her good looks from her father … he was a plastic surgeon”. To me it’s obvious when someone has spent too much time having their blemishes removed and I wonder about what is really going on in tier life. My father in law used to say “She has had so many face lifts when she raises her eyebrows her toes curl!”

Scars Define Who You are

Everyone’s life is full of scars. When I am coaching people I look for the scars. The road bumps of life. They can be emotional, physical and sometime spiritual. Most people are reluctant to share and want to put up a veneer of perfection. It is not until we start having discussions about the scars and sharing what our lives are about when coaching starts.
In business and sales we want to hide the bad reference, we avoid talking about failures, in fear people may not want to do business with us. We try and paint the perfect picture of who we are and what our business is and can do. A bit like airbrushing our photograph or having plastic surgery.

Scars are your war stories, the experiences of life that make you interesting, that make your business interesting. I like to hear the stories of individuals and businesses and where they have struggled and won through. The contracts won and lost, the projects where their business was put at risk and won through.

Own your story

My father, a history teacher, says “never let the facts get in the way of a good story”. The real meaning behind this is letting the stories of your life take meaning. A story with just the facts is boring. A story about a life experience, the lessons learned and how you responded is so much more interesting. Embellish the story with humour and colour. It is not that you are covering things up – you are sharing your life’s story and learning in an interesting and meaningful way.

It is exactly the same in business.

My father in law was a fabric dyer. He tells the story of a client who insisted on using a particular chemical process with a natural fibre. He knew it would not work the way his client wanted, however, the client was insistent. He then shared a story with his client about how the same plan to turn the fabric into a deep shade of blue ended up looking like a ‘tie dyed mess’ and after a few laughs relented and allowed him to use a different chemical process.

He had used the scar and an embellished humorous story (probably not so humorous at the time) to engage with his client, build rapport and close a sale.

Scars and imperfections are a part of every life. It is what makes you who you are. What you make of them defines who you will be.

Today’s question and actions

What are the scars in you life? Your business? Your career?

1. How can you turn this experience into an engaging story?
2. What are the lessons you learned?
3. What are the positive messages you can attached to the story.

The experiences of life can cause scaring. It is the way you respond to those experiences that create you as an individual.

Have a great week!

 

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Can Taking the Road Less Travelled Make a Difference?

By Gregory Ferrett

Welcome to Monday

I took the road less travelled and that has made all the difference” Robert Frost

In his poem ‘The Road Not Taken’ Robert Frost spends most of the day contemplating a fork in the road trying to decide which one to take. He observes most people take the well worn path, the sure way. This is the same in business and sales. We look to see what works

The Road Less Travelled

The Road Less Travelled

and use this idea ourselves. Can taking the road less travelled, however, help establish a business or make better sales?

I was picking my parents up at the airport last week. On the way out we joined a very long line to pay for our parking. I was interested in this as there were two machines where you could pay for parking, but for some reason there was no one lined up at the other machine.

The second machine looked to be working so, being a bit of a maverick, and seeing there would be a long delay waiting in line, I decided I would try it. As I was about to move over, however, the person in front of me said “I wouldn’t try it, mate. It wasn’t working this morning as well.”

I saw the line stretching out the door behind me and I relented not wanting to loose my position in line.

I waited a few more minutes as a few people looked with longing at the other ticket machine with not a sole in line – but no one dared make a move.

I could see the video display on the machine seemed to be working normally, but my mind kept saying to me ‘there must be something wrong if there is over a hundred people lined up here and no onethere’.

This was ridiculous. I plucked up my courage and all my parents’ luggage and walked over to the machine and paid for our parking. You guessed it; within a few seconds there was a mad rush to get to the front of the line for this machine now it was obviously working.

The world is full of naysayers and people who line up with the crowd.

When you are building a business or selling it is your courage to be a bit different, to set yourself apart that creates the value for you and your clients.

I had just started working for an Australian systems integrator and observed one of their long term clients, a subsidiary of a global resources organization, had spent nothing with them for sometime. During one of our sales meetings I asked if I could have this account. When the laughter in the room died down and I was asked if I was sure I wanted this account with no potential I said “Sure, a company that size always has a requirement for our type of services. You just need to help them discover it.”

My first visit to this account confirmed what my colleagues had said. They had signed a global deal to implement a new  enterprise wide system at head office and their Australian subsidiary was to be an early adopter. After meeting a few of the local players and understanding the business better I discovered the Australian operation was the only part of the global organization running well and they were concerned this very expensive project was going to drive them to the wall.

Here I had an Australian manager, being paid based on profitability of the local subsidiary, being told to accept an expense that would take money from his bonus – perhaps even all of it. Together we put a plan that would allow him to meet the global objectives of the company as well as keep his local costs reasonable. Instead of spending tens on millions with an overseas company he invested hundreds of thousands with a local company.

At the end of the year this company no one wanted as an account, who I was laughed at for asking to take it on, was again in the top five client list in terms of revenue and number one in terms of profit.

Can taking the road less travelled make a difference? It sure can. And it can be very profitable as well as there are fewer competitors and clearer measures of success.

Today’s question and Actions

The next time there is a decision to be made ask yourself, “What can I do differently to make what I do stand out?”

    •  Make it a habit of always look for one more alternative.
    • Pose a contrarian view to help see other potential ways of doing things.

Being different does not always mean you will be better off. Taking the road less travelled, however, can make all the difference.

Have a great week.

Greg

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How Can Changing Two Simple Words Change Your Day?

By Gregory Ferrett

Welcome to Monday

I ran out of moves on Candy Crush and was about to press the “try again?” button when I

What is the message you send to yourself each morning?

What is the message you send to yourself each morning?

noticed the message had changed to “give up?”

Being a person who never “Gives up” I felt challenged and for the first time ever I was seriously tempted to pay money to continue the game. The makers of the game, by simply changing two words, had reached out and pushed my emotional red button. I had to work hard to fight the emotion to keep up my commitment and never pay for lives.

I found it really interesting how a simple message could influence my decision by affecting my emotions which in turn affected my choice.

Is it possible this simple change from a positive to negative message could make me more inclined to make a certain decision?

Negativity Bias

Being positive is essential for well-being and success. When you are in a positive state of mind you generate a wealth of healing biochemical compounds. (see article How do laughing, kissing and closing a sale differ?)

To maintain a positive attitude we need to be careful about the messages we give to ourselves. Negative messages, such as fear of failing, can be a powerful motivator but more often they serve as a discouragement and can be harmful for your self-esteem and perception of self-value.

Research published in 2008 demonstrated the effect positive messages have over negative ones. This research shows it is not about the essence of the message but about the wording. A simple difference, as the one between “Don’t eat candy or you’ll get fat” and “Eat fruit and be slim” can produce incredible results.

Psychologists refer to this as the negativity bias. Negative messages tend to have a greater and more lasting impact and are easier to recall over a positive message. We also pay more attention to negative images, negative words and messages.

Newspapers, talk back radio and television news tend to highlight negative stories – especially in their promotion of upcoming programs or articles. Journalists look for the ‘dirt’ as they know this brings in viewers.

Why do negative messages work?

Negative messages trigger strong emotional responses by flooding your brain with chemicals to drive action. This emotion is forcing you to pay attention and be prepared for action. In the case of the change of message with the words “Give Up?” at the end of a Candy Crush game the words triggered a chemical response in my brain and I was being prepared for action. By ignoring the message I felt bad and was more likely to take some action, in this case pay money, to continue to play.

Feeding your mind positive messages triggers the chemicals that maintain a positive outlook about life and can inspire you and get you ready for action. Positive messages never contain phrases such as “don’t” or verbs that are associated with negativity. Positive messages push you towards giving your best. Negative messages, on the other hand, can discourage you and increase your level of stress, instead of promoting motivation and hard work. (read this paragraph again and you may feel your brain flipping with each sentence!)

What messages are you sending to yourself and others?

The difference in meaning between “try again” and “give up” is not great. The difference in emotion, however, is significant. The wording of “give up” is associated with defeat and makes you think less about yourself. “Try again”, on the other hand, suggests persistence and strong will.

All decisions are influenced by emotion, and our emotions can be easily affected by something as simple as the words used.

We need to be careful about the words we choose when we send messages to ourselves and others. Positive thinking and positive words will increase your mood. More importantly, those around you want to do business with positive and inspiring people. Choosing the right message will inspire you and your team to go on and be the best you can be.

Today’s question and actions

There are many ways negativity creeps into your life. To overcome this negativity we need a constant stream of positive messages.

Here are some ideas.

  • When you wake up each morning welcome the day with a “This is an awesome day” message.
  • Celebrate each of your wins and embrace positive feelings. Replay them in your mind to make sure you have them planted and rooted ready to grow.
  • Link a negative to a positive. When I am running I often feel like giving up, however, I have a strategy of linking the positive feeling I have at the end of the run and the extra creativity I get throughout the day as a result of the run – and all of a sudden I feel better!
  • Use sentences that start with “I can …” and “I will …”

Feeding your mind positive messages balances out the negativity the world throws at you. Take time to check the messages you are allowing to feed your mind.

Have a great week!

 

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Are you prospecting or just making noise?

By Gregory Ferrett

Welcome to Monday

Last week, as I started writing this article, the telephone rang. It was a sales rep from a fabric manufacturing and dyeing company.Cold Call Joy

I was on your website and wondered if you  use fabric in your business?’ he asked.

This had to be the dumbest opening line I have ever had spun to me. He had just visited the company website and saw what my wife’s business does – design fabric projects.

I tried to engage him in conversation about the business challenges we faced in getting quality fabrics into Australia, getting access to fabric designs before they hit the retail shops – but he was just not interested. He just wanted to dump fabric into a retail shop.

What he could not know is that one of his competitors invested time with our designers and is now selling bolts & bolts of fabric, at excellent margins, to dozens of retailers without even needing to make a sales call. My wife’s company designs products around their fabric and our retailers know they will sell every scrap of the fabric they buy for this pattern.

Prospecting is the key activity driving all sales activity yet it is also the one area sales people, and indeed everyone, have most difficulty with.  What this sales person thought they were doing was prospecting. What they were really doing was making noise hoping someone would eventually listen.

After 30 years in sales I still find prospecting hard. Wouldn’t it be great if we could go straight to the close?

Prospecting can be easy and highly motivating if you keep yourself focused on these three areas;

1. Set prospecting goals and expectations

Prospecting is all about finding people who will avoid pain or receive gain by using the products or services you sell.

In the story above the salesperson made a huge assumption that his role was to take orders from retailers. If he really knew his market he would address one of the real pains of being a retailer – dead stock. If he can show why every bolt of fabric he puts on the retailers shelf will sell he will have no trouble taking orders. In reality he is just an order taker.

When you have identified an individual that is facing challenges or looking to grow you have an opportunity to sell. Even if you get a call from someone who seems to be interested in buying your type of product, unless you can identify that what you are selling will remove a problem or help them achieve a goal, and your prospect agrees with this, they are not a prospect and you need to move on.

Only after you understand the individual’s problems or goals can you start to talk about what you sell. In services or larger projects selling may not start till you have made five or more calls!

2. Consistency

In my first ‘real’ selling role with Remington Office Equipment they taught the old school of prospecting for business – call on enough people and you get prospects. I would carry a card in my pocket and record every call made; the number of times I made a pitch; and finally how many demonstrations I did. There was a ‘magic’ number or 20:3:1 – and if you were not on target this was the number examined.

In today’s world we invest time in understanding the business needs our products and services overcome and we prospect to the business need.

I have seen many activities organised to help boost prospecting. They all work to some degree. Prospecting, however, is much like investing. Consistent and ongoing prospecting yields full sales funnels.

Many professionals and consultants I have coached tell me that they get too busy in their projects to make prospecting calls – and then complain when they experience the boom and bust syndrome!

Here is my rule of thumb. I never let a business day go by without prospecting someone I have never met before – even if I have to do this in a break during a training course – or after-hours. Fundamental to building a strong sales funnel is finding people with problems your products or services can overcome.

Prospecting takes only a few minutes to determine if the person you are talking to has a problem or challenge you might be able to help address. Just because someone says “That sounds like a good idea” does not mean they are a prospect. If they are not experiencing challenges or missing their goals do not waste your time. You can call them again in three months to see if the situation has changed – but you want to speak with people who are experiencing challenges today.

3. Invest in Data

Geology was one of my majors at University. I learned a lot about is the high cost of prospecting. Companies don’t just start drilling anywhere; they invest enormous amounts of money understanding the geological formations and predict exactly where a mineral deposit might be. i.e. all the conditions are right – but it might still be a dud. There is no telling until you drill down and determine what is there.

The same holds true when prospecting for opportunities. I am consistently surprised by the number of sales people who prospect  without a script and without doing their research.

If you knew that the ‘geology of the company’ showed what you had to offer overcame all the significant challenges an organisation faced, and that there was a potential order that would set your career up for the next five years, how much time would you invest in making sure you got to first base?

The Unspoken Question

Every time you make a prospecting call the unspoken question is always going to be “What reason do you have for taking up my valuable time?” If you can’t answer that question to your prospects satisfaction before you make an appointment, don’t count on that person being there.

Today’s question and actions

Today people need to be fully engaged within the first minute (or less) or they will switch off. Witness the “This show is crap” or “The service in this restaurant sucks” syndrome. Before you start your prospecting for the day ask these questions:

  • What are the two main reasons I think this person I am calling will benefit from what I have to offer?
  • Are you ready to listen to what the person says and be flexible in your response?
  • Are you prepared to quickly move on after a ‘No!’ It is not personal, just that they are not in the right frame of mind today.

Sales prospecting done right can have a huge impact on your sales revenue. It does not take an armor suit and great courage to deal with the fear of rejection during prospecting. Just keep an open mind to challenge the old school of sales and the myths of prospecting.

Have a great week!

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The Word a person uses is usually not what they mean … but can you decipher the real message?

By Gregory Ferrett

Welcome to Monday

On September 13th 2013 Voyager I became the first man-made object to leave the solar system.  Attached to the spaceship, on a gold disc, is greetings to other inhabitants of the universe in 55 languages from around the world.voyager-message-disc

Among them are a message in Welsh and six now extinct tongues.

  • The Welsh message translates to say: “Good health to you now and forever.”
  • The Chinese greeting invites those who find the disk to come and visit, while others give directions as to where we are.
  • Perhaps the most elaborate greeting is in Amoy, a dialect of Min Nan, which is spoken in parts of China and Taiwan.  It says: “Friends of space, how are you all? Have you eaten yet? Come visit us if you have time.”

Anticipation of a response from the messages on Voyager I, I imagine, is limited.

Cultural Communication Lens

I was working with Samsung Corporation in Seoul and running a number of workshops. As I asked questions of the participants and made some suggestions for them to consider I was met with a wall of inaction. Their most common response was “Maybe.”

I talked this over with my good friend Byoung-chul Min, author of the book ‘Ugly Koreans, Ugly Americans’. He reminded me Koreans do not like to  say “No, I do not think that is a good idea,” because they do not want to hurt my feelings. Coming from my culture, by not hearing a “No,” I assume the answer is “Yes.” Koreans are trained to try and do what the boss wants, no matter how impossible or ridiculous. In this case I was engaged by the boss as a consultant and they were trying to please their boss through me. Once I understood this I immediately started to interpret the use of the word “Maybe,” with “No.”

The project started to move ahead immediately!

The Full Spectrum

The visible spectrum of energy, the images we pick up with our eyes,  represents less than 0.001% of all the information the universe is trying to tell use. Science has developed specialised equipment to pick up x-rays, ultra-violet, infrared, microwaves and radio waves. The atmosphere is full of information if we just know which  equipment is required to pick it up and how to tune in. If you want to listen to punk rock you press a button and a radio station is tuned in. If you want to call a colleague you type in their number and they pick up your request on a microwave band.

How many pieces of information do you use to make a decision?

Psychologists today tell us the average person will make a decision on just two pieces of corroborating information. If three pieces of corroborating  information is offered, no matter how accurate (or inaccurate) that information is, will move a person from ‘likely to take action’ to’ certainty’.

What does this mean?

In every encounter we have with a new prospect we are presented with enormous amounts of data . We get this information verbally, by body language, cultural mannerism and other indirect prompts. We need to be sure we are listening to the whole story rather than the first two pieces of collaborating information.

It would be interesting to observe the reaction the first intelligent life has to the message carried on Voyager I.  Will they make a quick assessment of who we are? or will they ask more questions?

It is easy to listen to one or two pieces of information and make a call on the value of this person or their ability to make a decision. Listening to the hidden message as well as the words spoken will turn you into a communications champion.

Today’s question and actions

Observing signals like happy or sad; stressed or relaxed, are obvious. Investing time understanding the other signals people provide is pure gold.

  • Their demeanor is reserved – perhaps they are looking for a cautious approach
  • Their outgoing nature makes you like them straight away , but they will not make a decision – perhaps they are covering an insecurity
  • They are abrupt and dismissive –  Perhaps their ego needs stroking

Listening to words and using the lens of emotion can bring a whole new meaning to communication and understanding of what a prospect us really after.

Have a great week!

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Is there a link from happiness to success?

By Gregory Ferrett

Welcome to Monday

My father in law has the well earned nickname of ‘Lazarus’.

Last Friday we were clearly told by his doctor he was unlikely to survive the night. Last night (Sunday) he was sitting up in bed enjoying a meal and laughing with us all.

What is it that allows some people to move on from even the most challenging situations and achieve success?

I watched the TED talk ‘The Happiness Advantage’ by Shawn Achor during the week. In Happinesshis studies he and his team have discovered a direct link from happiness to success. People who are happy inevitably achieve success. Organisations where there is a positive and happy environment find business improves and margins increase. Here is the link to the talk : The Happiness Advantage

Happiness, however, is not something which can be externally created. It is all about the interpretation of the experience of life.

Can actions create happiness?

I was in the Victorian Government treasuring building and held the door open for a small group of women in an attempt to be polite. I was unprepared for the acrimonious response and sharp language from this group who indicated they did not need a man to open doors for them.

I hold open the door for anyone, and it is interesting to note the varying responses from men and women. The response of this group was as a result of seeing my action though a different lens.

It was not the action of holding the door open which caused the response. Even though my action is exactly the same everyone interprets my actions differently and their response is different. It is the interpretation of the action by the individual which creates the response.

No matter what I do to be kind, the response and interpretation to this action is always in the mind of the recipient. Happiness is a decision and it is people who make happy decisions who are successful.

In business and sales creating a positive and happy environment is a vital ingredient. There can be a lot of negative external stimuli which is easy to translate as being ‘I am not interested’. Discovering positive and exciting ways to view the world is probably our most important skill.

My father in law, along with the family, took the diagnosis given by the doctor and created a positive and happy environment. In all the happiness his body seemed to forget he was sick and within a few hours was well on the way to balance. While his cancer is unlikely to leave, his attitude of happiness creates new opportunities for life.

Today’s question and actions

This week try these actions to help increase your level of happiness;

  • When you have a few minutes take a short walk and look for things you may have not seen before
  • Take a few minutes at the end of the day to journal, or re-live one positive thing you experienced during the day
  • Take time to send an email or call someone just to say ‘thank you’ with no expectation of a response.

You will be surprised how much happier you feel. Even more important, how much better you perform as an individual.

Have a great week!

 

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Can you fake a genuine smile or warm personality?

By Gregory Ferrett

Welcome to Monday

Quite by accident my wife started to listen to Brian Tracy’s ‘Psychology of Selling’ CD set I left in the car. She became intrigued by the idea Smilesof talking yourself into a positive emotional state by repeating mantras like ‘I like myself’ over and over and every so often will text me in the morning with messages like ‘I Like Myself’ to help me start the day with a positive attitude.

A simple mantra like ‘I like myself’ repeated over and over has the surprising ability to change the way I feel about myself. I have a number of these sayings I use on a regular basis to remind me about who I am and the way I interact with others.

Actors, politicians, sales people, indeed anyone whose success depends on their ability to confidently interact with others, rely on their ability to read another person’s body language and emotion and reflect their character using that body language or emotion.

When actors win Oscars most often you will hear people say things like “They really caught the essence of the character”. Heath Ledger, who played The Joker in The Dark Knight, invested a lot of time understanding  the psychology of the character. His father, in the documentary Too Young To Die, revealed Heath Ledger kept a diary covering many of the aspects of what the character would be like.  In the end it seems the character overtook him and he died of a drug overdose – with much speculation around his drug dependency on his trying sleep problems following his playing this character.

Actors who do not make the effort to get the essence of a character end up in B grade movies. Their lack of effort is obvious with their audience groaning as they hear lines being said in an unconvincing manner.

To fake genuine interest in business and sales clients is a deadly sin. Like a B grade actor your client will see straight through you. We need to be like great actors; we need to live our daily lives totally immersed in the desire to care for our customers at the same time as keeping our minds focused on closing a sale.

Fake or real smile?

Here is a GREAT test you can take to test whether someone is giving you a genuine or fake  smile.  It’s located at;

http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/mind/surveys/smiles/index.shtml

Most people are surprisingly bad at spotting fake smiles. One possible explanation for this is that it may be easier for people to get along if they don’t always know what others are really feeling.

Although fake smiles often look very similar to genuine smiles, they are actually slightly different, because they are brought about by different muscles, which are controlled by different parts of the brain.

Fake smiles can be performed at will, because the brain signals that create them come from the conscious part of the brain and prompt the zygomaticus major muscles in the cheeks to contract. These are the muscles that pull the corners of the mouth outwards.
Genuine smiles, on the other hand, are generated by the unconscious brain, so are automatic. When people feel pleasure, signals pass through the part of the brain that processes emotion. As well as making the mouth muscles move, the muscles that raise the cheeks – the orbicularis oculi and the pars orbitalis – also contract, making the eyes crease up, and the eyebrows dip slightly.

The more you can genuinely be interested in people the better you will feel and the better the people you deal with will feel. Being genuine with people builds relationships, builds sales and businesses.

Today’s question and actions

This week, as you meet up with people, try these actions;

  • Before you meet a person say to yourself ‘I like myself’ three or four times
  • Follow this by saying ‘I like this person’ three or four times
  • Notice two or three things you can genuinely like about them and engage with them in a sincere discussion

You will be surprised how much simpler it is to move to business discussion by being sincerely interested in them as a person. Even more, you will become a better person as you learn more about them as well.

Have a great week!

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Permission is granted to reprint this article with the condition it is republished unedited and in full with full attribution to the author and the authors bio. Please provide a link to the reprint to the following email; mailto:greg.ferrett@mondaymotivationalmoment.com

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What are you missing by heading through life on cruise control?

By Gregory Ferrett

Welcome to Monday

My wife and I were celebrating our 34th wedding anniversary and decided to visit one of our favourite gardens in the Melbourne hills. The garden was familiar and the path we something different surprising resultswere following well signposted and well worn. We got to the end of the path and were about to turn around. At that moment I noticed a small signpost with an arrow and the symbol of a hiker.

The path it pointed to was overgrown, muddy and generally uninviting. It almost yelled “No one goes that way”.

We decided to try this less well traveled path and were met with breathtaking views; an awesome creek and wildlife which seemed to pop up their heads and say “What do you think you are doing coming this way?”

This average day and average walk turned into a spectacular day by taking the path less traveled.

Do you see what everyone else sees?

In 1928 Alexander Fleming was researching the properties of Staphylococci. Laboratories were not as sterile as they are today and it was not uncommon to find cultures contaminated. In most cases the culture was simply thrown out and started again.

It just happened that on 28 September 1928 Fleming noticed something which everyone else missed. The Staphylococci near the fungi were destroyed.

He could have been like everyone else and kept throwing out the contaminated samples. Instead he observed something different … and this changed the world.

Are you a Seagull?

Don’t believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is limitation. Look with your understanding. Find out what you already know and you will see the way to fly.

― Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull

In business and in sales it is easy to see what works. Everyone else is doing it already. It is like seagulls at the beach. They flap around and chase after the same crumbs. Eventually most of them are fed.

In an industry full of followers (seagulls) it is easy to be flap around and be average. It takes someone with vision to see the same results in new ways; and someone with courage to take the new pathway.

In life there are many well worn paths. Sometimes what we see is what we expect to see and not what is really there. My wife and I had trodden the path in this garden many times and never seen this new way … and that made the day spectacular.

It is easy to go through life on cruise control. Be careful as you may miss life altogether.

Today’s question and actions

This week, as you go through your routines of life, stop and ask yourself these questions;

  1. I wonder what other ways there are to achieving the same results?
  2. If this gadget/solution overcomes  this problem, I wonder what other problems it could solve in other areas as well?

Be a bit like Alexander Fleming. Look for the unusual, the small sign showing something is different. You never know, you might just change the world … or at least make life a bit more interesting.

Have a great week!

Reprint permission

Permission is granted to reprint this article with the condition it is republished unedited and in full with full attribution to the author and the authors bio. Please provide a link to the reprint to the following email; mailto:greg.ferrett@mondaymotivationalmoment.com


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What unseen signs are holding you back from your true potential?

By Gregory Ferrett

Welcome to Monday

I came home from work and opened my front door. The first thing I noticed as I came in the front door was a trail of bright pink post-it note arrows on the floor my granddaughter had placed.the right direction

What struck me was the feeling of compulsion I had to follow the path of arrows to their conclusion, which I did. She had placed the arrows on the floor for Granny (Great Grandma) who was coming to visit in a few days so she would know where she had left a card for her. The path of arrows went from the front door of the house right up the stairs to the guest room, across the bed and pointed to the pillow where there was a letter waiting for Granny.

I observed, over the next few days, as others came in, every person who came in the front door asked “Where do the arrows lead?” and many followed the arrows without even thinking. Of course, when Granny finally arrived a few days later her first question was “Where do these lead?”.

Signs are valuable  and tell us who we are

Life is full of signs. There are obvious signs like the ones we see on the roadside – “One Way” or “Stop”. Others help us to know where we are like street sign names and signs pointing out directions to go to get to a destination. During the 2nd world war in the south of England all the road signs were either removed or changed for misdirection in case the country was invaded. Without signs we can be confused and get lost.

Limiting Signs

In life, like on the roadside, there are signs. They are just not so obvious. Mostly these signs are placed by others. “This is the way to go” or “You are not good strong enough”. Some of these signs are well intentioned, however, can place serious limitations on our ability to succeed.

Making up a new sign

One of my favourite Carlton and United advertisements (for Beer) a couple of years ago featured a parade of men divided into categories. At the head of each category there was a sign and it seemed obvious the category each person should be in. One category was labelled “Men punching above their weight”. In this category there were men who were overweight and obviously not looking after themselves. On their arms were super model girlfriends / wives.

This made me think “Are they really punching above their weight? Or do they have a different self image to the one others may have of them?”

I started a sales job and my sales manager said “Greg, if you are good you will typically sell one system a day or perhaps four a week”. This became my sign. When I achieved that I was happy.

I asked myself a simple question “Why couldn’t I sell two a day or ten a week?” I set that as my new sign and set a new company record – consistently.

Like the feeling I had when I first saw the arrows my granddaughter put on the floor, every sign we have on our road in life places a limit on what we can do.

It is easy to see the signs on the road. By listening to what others say we create our own self limiting signs. Life is full of people who are happy to tell you what you can’t do, why you should not do or try something. Each time we listen we create another sign. Eventually there are so many signs we can get paralysed with the fear of disobedience.

Today’s question and actions

What signs are in your life? Are they real or imagined? Did you put the signs there yourself? Or were they put there by someone else? How would your life change if you placed new signs on the road of life?

  • My weight is normally 80kg’ instead of ‘I have a big body
  • I sit six appointments a day’ instead of ‘four appointments is what the company requires

 

Have a great week!

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Permission is granted to reprint this article with the condition it is republished unedited and in full with full attribution to the author and the authors bio. Please provide a link to the reprint to the following email; mailto:greg.ferrett@mondaymotivationalmoment.com

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The X Factor in selling … is this the most brilliant strategy ever?

Welcome to Monday

Look at these two young girls and ask yourself…What do you see?transform-through-conversations-photo

Do you see a sharing of common interests? Do you see shared secrets? Do you see an absence of guile? Do you see a sense of fun? Do you see genuine affection? Do you see honesty?

Now here is my next question ……Wouldn’t you be more than pleased if this photo was actually an accurate mirror of a typical interaction between you and your prospect?

Imagine recapturing that innocence of youth. Imagine your prospect showing genuine interest in you (Let’s just forget about your product for a minute) Imagine your prospect sharing secret concerns with you. Imagine your prospect relaxed and displaying non-threatened body language.

I am about to give away what I believe to be the X Factor for success in sales. This factor comes after more years than I care to admit to in sales and sales management.

At this point, I have to warn you, if you are a selling coward there is no point in you reading any further. This X Factor for successful selling requires courage.

OK, so let’s assume the selling cowards have now left the room. Those of you who have the courage, draw near. Yes you are right in part, yes the X Factor does involve Honesty but not just the Honesty you would have imagined.

All of us understand the importance and need to be honest about facts

I fully endorse the need to be honest about facts. It has always been easy for me to be honest about facts because I still go red if I tell an untruth.

I can hear you saying “Tell me something I don’t already know” OK let’s look at and focus on the actual X Factor for success in selling …..

WE NEED TO BE HONEST ABOUT FEELINGS

Remember how we talked earlier about how we would like our prospect to behave. Well why should they behave honestly, why should they tell us honestly what they really think.

Think about how stupid we are when we clearly want the prospect to be honest about their feelings while we sit there all professional and wonderful and completely dishonest about how we feel.

If you have the courage and you want to deliver the perfect sales presentation, stop presenting and start talking with the prospect. Start by being honest about your feelings.

As a sales manager I have often begun a debrief with a salesperson after they missed a sales by asking this simple question, ”What do you know about the client?”  Typically, the salesperson will start telling me what position the prospect holds in the company, how he is looking to update the current model etc. At this point, I usually stop the salesperson and qualify my original question “What is their family situation, what are their interests and even more importantly what do you think their buying style is?

99% of failed sales can be put down to our failure to really get to know the prospect. It is all about being honest about facts and feelings.

EXAMPLE #1

You have just shaken hands with the prospect and they ask you how you are today?  Your reality is that you have been caught in a traffic jam and you are a bit hassled. Instead of saying I’m fine thank you why not say “Boy oh boy, I am feeling a bit hassled after spending the last twenty minutes trying to get through one set of traffic lights”

It might take the prospect back somewhat but you can bet the prospect is now saying to themselves. “Thank goodness, this person is not one of those over the top super salesmen who are tediously positive about everything. I might be able to actually relate to them

EXAMPLE #2

Sales presentations don’t always go well. There often comes a time in your presentation when you sense that your prospect is just not buying. You could keep prattling on or you could pause and make an honest comment such as ….

Bill/Sally I really don’t think I have done a very good job today. It is clear to me that you are not getting excited about this proposal. I think you are going to have to help me here. What is the main issue in your mind?”

Remember, if you are going to close a sale, you are going to have to determine the real objection

If you have been honest about the mood of this encounter and you have established a real relationship you can afford to bust the whole thing open with an honest question such as that stated above.

Of course, when you are ‘putting on’ honesty, especially honesty about feelings and emotions, your body language is likely to expose your true feelings and the disconnect result in loss of rapport.

Today’s question and actions

Consider the last sale you lost. Take time to go through it honestly, step by step, in your mind. As you do take a note of how many times you could have been more honest about different twists and turns in your interaction with the prospect.

  • Did you notice your prospect changing their posture or facial expression?
  • Did you notice your voice change in tone, speed or inflection?
  • Did the level of rapport change on your side

You may not realise the hidden messages you send when you are being less than honest about facts and feelings.

You may have to think about how to say it but I can tell you one thing for sure, you need to start saying it.

Have a great week!

Reprint permission

Permission is granted to reprint this article with the condition it is republished unedited and in full with full attribution to the author and the authors bio. Please provide a link to the reprint to the following email; mailto:greg.ferrett@mondaymotivationalmoment.com

Posted in Monday Motivational Minute | Leave a comment