My First 60 Days of Living With Less

I normally tailor my blog posts to business, success, and entrepreneurship, but today I’m going to go a little left field and share a challenge that I posed to myself on January 1st.  It has little to do with business, but now 60 days into the challenge I’m beginning to see some opportunities where the lines may cross.  Perhaps this lesson I am teaching myself has a lot to do with both business and life.

On January 1st I dared myself to take a stand.  I didn’t call it a resolution, because I am not good at keeping those.  A dare, however, is something that I can win.  I’ve dared myself to do a lot of things in life and I usually win.  So, this too, was a dare.

I love clothing and shoes.  I have a closet full of business suits, dresses, designer jeans, sweaters, and more.  My shoe closet?  I’ve got plenty to choose from.  I love clothing and shoes.  In a normal year, clothing and shoes are my vices.  When I have a bad day, I’ll buy a new outfit to feel better.  When I had a win, I’d go buy new shoes to celebrate.  Thankfully I’ve never been afforded the time to be a shopaholic.  So, my closets are packed, but not overstuffed.  But, I do own plenty.

Last year, I was at a gala for Be Like Brit.  Len and Cherylann Gengel founded an orphanage in Haiti in memory of their teenage daughter who passed away while on a mission there four years ago.  I watched the video they played during the gala when it hit me that I need to just stop always wanting more.  There are people in the world with real need, people like the ones in Haiti.  Most of Haiti doesn’t even have clean drinking water.  Most do not have suitable housing.  Many don’t own a pair of shoes.  There are people like them who live in constant need.

After I left the Be Like Brit event that evening I kept thinking about all the need in the world.  Need is an interesting word.  For me, I had misused it my entire life.  I thought I needed another pair of black shoes because the others were scuffed.  I thought I needed a red winter coat because  I didn’t own a red one.  I thought I needed.  In fact, I’ve never once in my life needed anything.  And here I was 41 years old just realizing for the first time that I need for nothing.  I’ve got everything I need already.

I challenged myself on January 1st to stop pretending to need things.  For example, I do not need more clothes, more shoes, more coats.  Since January 1st I haven’t purchased new clothing, shoes, or coats for myself.  I’ve been content in finding new ways to use what I already have.  My nice warm Ugg Boots got a big rip in them.  Last year that would have been cause for running out to buy new ones.  This year, I sewed up the hole, good as new.  My black professional boots got all scuffed and worn from the snow and ice.  I didn’t buy new ones.  I reorganized my closet and found a pair I hadn’t worn in years.  I have been wearing clothes that I haven’t put on in years.  I have even had fun putting together ensembles which would have never been created had I just gone and bought new stuff.

For a girl that has spent an entire lifetime striving for more, I’m beginning to realize that sometimes less is where it’s at.

There are so many awesome charitable organizations out there.  Everyone has a cause, charity, or foundation, that they support. I’m all for giving money to worthy non-profit organizations.  I’m all for volunteering time as well.  That being said…. I’m beginning to think that the best way to change the world is to really get to the heart of one little word, “need.”  When we all understand what it truly means, we are well on our way to changing the world.

Stacey Alcorn is the author of REACH! and Tuned In. She is a business strategy and sales consultant for large corporations and Global Fortune 100 Firms. She is also a keynote speaker, blogger, trainer, and start-up consultant. Her sales training products have been licensed by hundreds of organizations around the world who use her one-of-a kind sales training materials as the genesis for their own brand growth. Make sure to sign up here for my REACH! Weekly News for awesome interviews with Leaders & Visionaries that I only share with my VIP members.

Entrepreneurship – Have You Got What it Takes?

What does it take to thrive as an entrepreneur?  The answer might surprise you.  I am an entrepreneur and I work with hundreds of them through the businesses that I own.  Over the past twenty years, I have been working on creating a blueprint to successful entrepreneurship.  I have offered bits and pieces of that blueprint in my blogs and my books, but I’ve never shared my insight on the death of entrepreneurs.

Give me any entrepreneur and I can tell you with certainty if they will be in business next year.  The survival rate of entrepreneurs is low.  Many end up caving in and taking a job where they don’t have to worry about how they will make payroll, pay their utility bills, or put food on the table.  So, how can I tell between the entrepreneurs that will make it and those that will die off and those that will fold?

Entrepreneurs who survive are the ones that LOVE what they do even on the WORST of days.

In the past twenty years as a business owner I would say that I experience 15-20 days each year (spread out throughout the year) that bring me to my knees.  They are those days where I feel like a complete failure.  Last year, on the eve of Thanksgiving, I almost lost an entire office of sales professionals.  One team member after another emailed me to say they were leaving.  Losing one agent is absolute torture.  It is heart breaking.  I love these people like they are my own flesh and blood and unfortunately the bigger my businesses get, the harder it is to communicate that love.  I would do anything for any of the 300 people at my company.  If anyone called me at 11pm on a Friday night needing a designated driver, I’d do it.  If they needed a friend to listen to them, I’d be there.  I love these people! Like I said, losing one is heartache.  Losing an entire office over night?  Unbearable.  How could I lose an entire office over night?  How could they not know how much I love them?  How could I have failed so miserably?  Literally I cried myself to sleep through the entire Thanksgiving week.  I failed.

But, I still loved my job.

Entrepreneurs that LOVE their job, even on the very worst of days, will survive.  They will, in fact, thrive.

As I mentioned, I have roughly 15-20 days a year that bring me to my knees and rarely do I see those days coming.  You wake up and the sun is shining, the birds are chirping, everything is going your way….then a Mack Truck comes along and smashes into the side of your life, challenging you to be better, to breath, to just get through the hour, the day, the week.  15-20 of those days each year means that in the past 20 years, roughly ONE entire year of my life has been a Mack Truck disaster that keeps me reeling.  And, I still love my job.

If you know exactly the kind of days I’m talking about here.  If you have experienced them yourself.  If you keep pulling yourself back up….focusing on the better tomorrow…using the heartache and difficulty to make tomorrow better, you’ll survive.  If you keep loving what you do, even on the worst of days, then I’m happy to report, you are going places.

By the way, I didn’t end up losing my entire office last Thanksgiving.  I saved most of them.  It made me look in the mirror and see that there were lots of things that I screwed up in my relationship with those team members.  Most gave me a second chance.  Even through the worst, I loved my job.

Stacey Alcorn is the author of REACH! and Tuned In. She is a business strategy and sales consultant for large corporations and Global Fortune 100 Firms. She is also a keynote speaker, blogger, trainer, and start-up consultant. Her sales training products have been licensed by hundreds of organizations around the world who use her one-of-a kind sales training materials as the genesis for their own brand growth. Make sure to sign up here for my REACH! Weekly News for awesome interviews with Leaders & Visionaries that I only share with my VIP members.

Newton’s First Law of Sales

Technically, Isaac Newton didn’t create a Law of Sales, but his First Law of Motion may be equally applied to sales as it is to motion.

Newton’s First Law of Motion:

An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.

Lucky for me, I own several different businesses including my big one – 14 real estate offices, and a bunch of smaller businesses like a law firm, consulting business, and a fashion business.  I am constantly amazed and enlightened when I learn something from one business that transcends over to all the other businesses I own.  I love universal laws of entrepreneurship and covet the laboratory of businesses I have created which all feed ideas to one another.

This past Friday night I sat inside the window of a fashion boutique I own.  Sales have been down to the lowest since we opened and I was determined to reverse the trend.  Directly next door to the boutique there is a well known pizza shop.  So, on this evening, I decided to count the traffic walking past my door to get into the pizza place.  From 5-6 pm there were 68 people who went inside the pizza joint.  Of those 68, 19 of them were females, which is the demographic of consumers for the boutique.  In one hour, my store missed out on 19 potential consumers, and potentially more than that if you consider that some of the men could be our consumer for gifts, etc.

Wow….19 buyers walked past my boutique door and didn’t open it.

That’s when I thought about Newton’s First Law of Motion:

An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.  

I realized in that moment that my potential boutique customers are going to keep walking past my door unless I figure out how to become the unbalanced force that interrupts the continuum.  What I was beginning to understand is that while I had spent massive thought, effort, and dollars hiring the right employees to help customers inside our doors, I had totally missed hiring someone for the equally important role of opening the doors.  I immediately placed and advertisement for an exterior store greeter – a person in charge of interrupting the object in motion (ie. the person getting out of their car to go in and pick up their food order).  Our store greeter will now stand outside our boutique during prime Newton hours, 11am-1pm and 5pm-7pm, because that’s when there are the most people in motion to the pizza place.  Our greeter will open the door to the boutique as they are walking by and will offer a $5 gift for taking the time to stop in and check us out.

The more I pondered the idea of Newton’s Law, I realized that it equally applies to every business I own.  It applies to your business too.  There are potential customers all around you, every single day.  They will continue to go about their day…they will continue moving at the same speed and direction, unless you interrupt their motion.  When you interrupt their motion, you create a new motion, one where the inertia favors you and your business.

Have you ever gone to the mall and been approached by one of those sales people from the center aisle kiosks wanting to give you free lotion, a massage, or some other gift?   They are in every mall across the country, and usually there are many of them selling different wares.  Perhaps there’s a lesson for all of us entrepreneurs here.  These guys have figured out a way to interrupt Newton’s First Law of Motion.  They are that unbalanced force that changes the inertia.  They are opening the door to their business for you as you walk by. Isn’t it time you do the same?

 

Stacey Alcorn is the author of REACH! and Tuned In. She is a business strategy and sales consultant for large corporations and Global Fortune 100 Firms. She is also a keynote speaker, blogger, trainer, and start-up consultant. Her sales training products have been licensed by hundreds of organizations around the world who use her one-of-a kind sales training materials as the genesis for their own brand growth. Make sure to sign up here for my REACH! Weekly News for awesome interviews with Leaders & Visionaries that I only share with my VIP members.

Turbo Boost Your Life – The ONE Question

My offer to you today is simple: give me 2 minutes and 30 seconds of your time and I will offer you a concept that will change your life.  It is a concept that allowed me go from closing 65 loans my first year as a mortgage loan officer (1995) to closing more than 400 loans a year in 1997 – during a recession.  It is a concept that took me from 1 real estate office in 2000 to 14 today.  It’s a concept that offered me the opportunity to go from a no-name, no-credentials blogger, to an authentic writer/journalist who is sought out by successful people around the world to share their stories.

Am I lucky?  No- no more lucky than anyone else.

Was I born with money and connections?  – Not even close.  Proudly I established both all on my own.

So, how is that I go from 0 to 120 MPH in any job or task I take on?

Simple.

It comes down to the one question I answer for myself at the start of every single day.

What are you going to do to beat yesterday?

There you have it.  I wake up super early every single day and I go to bed late.  I get to selectively choose what I am working on each day.  Even on the difficult days, which sometimes there are strings of them, I think to myself, “Wow! How lucky am I to have gone through that?”  The most important part of every day however, is figuring out what I am going to do to make today better than yesterday.

Most people live with the status quo.  They take what each day hands them, content that some days are good, some days are bad, and many days are just the same ole, same ole.

I am never content with the status quo.  I never allow my days to be handed to me.  I control my destiny.  I decide that today is going to be even better than yesterday, and I make a plan for figuring out just how.

By waking up every single day and asking yourself, “What am I going to do today to beat yesterday,” you set yourself on a forward moving path, ensuring that inertia does not hold you back.  This one question requires that you break down yesterday in your head to find the areas you could improve upon to make today slightly better.  This question also requires you to be thoughtful and methodical about your time each day, each hour.

There is a Japanese business philosophy called kaizen.  It is a philosophy whereby you make small incremental changes in your life and business every single day so that in the end of one year, ten years, or at the end of life, you have made such monumental strides that you have morphed into something so different, so much better than what you started with.

Too many people get caught up in the enormous strides it will take in order to accomplish their Big Hairy Audacious Goals, so much so that they often just give up because the work to get there seems too arduous.  The truth is, those Big Hairy Audacious Goals are never accomplished overnight.  They are completed after several teeny, tiny, strides over time.  Finding the greatness that lives within you, just under the surface, only requires you to wake up each and every day to answer the one burning question, “What am I going to do to beat yesterday?”

So…tell me, I would love to know.  What are you going to do to beat yesterday?

 

 

Stacey Alcorn is the author of REACH! and Tuned In. She is a business strategy and sales consultant for large corporations and Global Fortune 100 Firms. She is also a keynote speaker, blogger, trainer, and start-up consultant. Her sales training products have been licensed by hundreds of organizations around the world who use her one-of-a kind sales training materials as the genesis for their own brand growth. Make sure to sign up here for my REACH! Weekly News for awesome interviews with Leaders & Visionaries that I only share with my VIP members.

It’s Your Turn – JUMP!

What would it take for you to jump out of a plane?

If you are going to be jumping from a moving object 12,000 feet in the sky, bulleting at 120 mph toward earth, you would only want to do that with a tandem partner that is a complete expert, right?  So, how do you know that your tandem jump partner is an expert?

1. Number of prior jumps

2. Confidence

The first part is easy.  The tandem jump partner will simply tell you how many jumps he or she has done.  It makes you feel good to know that this is the 200th jump, right?

What if your jump partner appears nervous prior to your jump? He’s pacing back and forth.  He’s looking up to the sky and shaking his head.  He visibly kneels down and prays before he gets on the plane.  Are you still going to jump with him?  Or, is it likely that you smell his fear and you can the idea of jumping all together?

When a client hires you for your services, you better demonstrate absolute confidence.  Nobody….I repeat….NOBODY wants to hire you unless you believe you are the absolute very best at what you do.

I have spent twenty years studying top sales professionals and there’s one thing that those at the very top of their game demonstrate: absolute confidence.  They believe they are the best thing since sliced bread.  Don’t you want them to believe that about themselves?  Isn’t that what you are paying for?  Other sales professionals look at these top sales pros and label them as cocky, arrogant, or self-righteous.  I look at them and see absolute confidence….and that confidence results in higher fees because 99% of what we buy, whenever we buy any service, is the confidence of the person we are buying from.  I don’t know about you, but I certainly won’t jump from a plane with someone who is reeking of fear.  In fact, I won’t jump from a plane, hire him to do my taxes, contract with her for consulting services, or anything for that matter unless she exudes success.

Nobody says it’s easy being confident.  Declaring yourself as awesome, the very best at what you do, requires you to put yourself out there and expose yourself to critique.  Confidence requires a sense of nakedness and exposure that most are uncomfortable with.  Push yourself daily to exude your greatness.  You won’t necessarily attract many new friends, but customers….oh, they will be lining up to jump out of the plane with you.

Stacey Alcorn is the author of REACH! and Tuned In. She is a business strategy and sales consultant for large corporations and Global Fortune 100 Firms. She is also a keynote speaker, blogger, trainer, and start-up consultant. Her sales training products have been licensed by hundreds of organizations around the world who use her one-of-a kind sales training materials as the genesis for their own brand growth. Make sure to sign up here for my REACH! Weekly News for awesome interviews with Leaders & Visionaries that I only share with my VIP members.

How to Sell Like a 4 Year Old

 

My 4 Year Old Sales Tycoon – Oshyn

 

Every human being is born to sell!  Unfortunately, life beats a little of that salesperson out of us with every year we get older.  Lucky for me, I live with a four year old who teaches me daily that selling is an art form and when performed efficiently, selling is extremely easy.

Yesterday was an ordinary Sunday in my household.  My husband, our four year old daughter, Oshyn, and I were getting ready for the day, a blank canvas with no plans penciled in.  As I was helping Oshyn get dressed she said, “Mom, can we go out to lunch?  I don’t want to stay home.”

“I don’t know, Oshyn, we have plenty of food here.  I’ll think about.”  My reply  was meant to blow off her request to go out to lunch.  That’s why her reaction took me by surprise.

Oshyn screamed in complete glee, “Thank you, Mom!  Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.  Thank you for taking me out to lunch!”  She then gave me a great big hug and a kiss on the cheek.

SOLD

Needless to say, we ended up going out to lunch at The Rainforest Café and hit the Build-A-Bear workshop while waiting the 45 minutes that it took us to get a table.

In the game of sales, she won.  I lost.  What can we learn about selling from this sprightly little four year old?

1. Assume – No matter what you sell or who you are selling to, always assume that you made the sale.  Winning is 100% about your attitude.  If you believe you have made the sale, you probably have.  In this instance, the salesperson, Oshyn, assumed she made the sale even though I pretty much said No.  Who won?  The person who had absolutely, positively, made her mind up about the situation (4 year old) won, over the other party (me) who was wish-washy on her conviction.  Act “as if” you made the sale and it’s much more difficult for the other party to let you down.

2. Appreciate – I dare you….next time a prospect says to you, “I’ll think about it,” I dare you to scream at the top of your lungs, “Thank you, thank you, thank you!”  If you are so inclined, hug the client and give him a big kiss on the cheek.  Think it won’t work?  Try it.  I dare ya.  If this is just way too over the top for you, then send a follow up card and box of brownies (www.MyRandomActsofCardness.com), or some other gift, to offer the prospect a big THANK YOU for choosing to work with you.  Of course, they may not have yet chosen you, but expressing appreciation as if they have will go a long way toward exacting the results you are seeking.

3. Enthusiasm – This will put the first two lessons on steroids.  Have some enthusiasm PLEASE!  Think about a prospect you are working with right now where you (1) assume that you are going to get his business, and (2) appreciate that person with a great big thank you even before you are chosen.  Now, imagine how you express excitement about getting to work with that client.  Are you Eeyore, the depressed donkey from Winnie the Pooh?  If that’s how you come across to prospects, then no amount of assuming or appreciating is going to help you win the sale.  You must be over-the-top excited about this prospect choosing you (even if they haven’t technically chosen you yet).  Channel your inner Tigger!  Be outwardly excited and enthusiastic about this prospect working with you, and there’s a good chance you will win the sale, 4 year old style.

By the way…I say that Oshyn won and I lost, but that’s not exactly true.  When you sell your service or widgets four year old style, there are always two winners.  I received the joy of letting her make the sale, even before she made it.  If you can get your prospect to a point where they feel ecstatic because they chose you (even before they have chosen you) then you are totally in the drivers seat….and you will soon be celebrating another sale made.

 

Stacey Alcorn is the author of REACH! and Tuned In. She is a business strategy and sales consultant for large corporations and Global Fortune 100 Firms. She is also a keynote speaker, blogger, trainer, and start-up consultant. Her sales training products have been licensed by hundreds of organizations around the world who use her one-of-a kind sales training materials as the genesis for their own brand growth. Make sure to sign up here for my REACH! Weekly News for awesome interviews with Leaders & Visionaries that I only share with my VIP members.

How to Weaken Your Sales Pitch (So You Don’t)

If you are in the business of sales, which of course you are, because everyone sells something, whether it be widgets or selling your kid on the idea of eating his veggies, you must take heed in what I’m about to share with you.  By doing so you will strengthen the foundation of your pitch.  I constantly run into salespeople who weaken their pitch with their words.  Just a few simple tweaks to what you say and how you say it, and you are well on your way to closing more deals, or getting your kid to eat more veggies.

Here are the the three simple phrases that are ruining you pitch:

1. In my opinion: I have news for you, if it’s coming out of your mouth, it’s your opinion.  At least, that’s what anyone listening to you would assume.  If you are looking to weaken any statement you are making, do so by saying, “in my opinion.”  When someone throws that into their sales pitch, I ask myself, “Why are they emphasizing that this is their opinion?”  I question whether this is REALLY their opinion because why would they have to say it’s their opinion.  Of course it’s their opinion, since they are the one offering the advice.  As well, when someone says, “In my opinion,” they weaken their own value because it’s as if the salesperson is saying “this is only my opinion, not Donald Trump’s opinion.”  When you are giving advice or making a sale, please do not say “in my opinion.”  Throw caution to the wind and let the listener assume what is blatantly obvious, that when you are giving your opinion….it is your opinion….even if you don’t announce that it is your opinion.

2. To be honest with you:  Do I have to explain this?  If you start a sales pitch with “To be honest with you,” now I have to ask myself whether everything else thus far had been a lie.  You are just wasting words when you say “to be honest with you.”  Again, throw caution to the wind and let the world assume that you are always honest.

3. Shoulda, coulda, woulda:  

That should work. – weak

That will work. – strong

I should be there. – weak

I will be there. – strong

You could do that. – weak

Do it. – strong

When you say what you could, would or should do, you weaken whatever your statement is.  What you WILL do is strong because it’s definite.

These small tweaks will create massive results.  Don’t give your listener a reason to question your offer.  Would you buy from a salesperson with a weak opinion, a tendency toward dishonesty, and who always would, could, or should but never does?  That’s what I thought.  So, don’t be that salesperson.

When it comes to your words, simple is beautiful.

 

Stacey Alcorn is the author of REACH! and Tuned In. She is a business strategy and sales consultant for large corporations and Global Fortune 100 Firms. She is also a keynote speaker, blogger, trainer, and start-up consultant. Her sales training products have been licensed by hundreds of organizations around the world who use her one-of-a kind sales training materials as the genesis for their own brand growth. Make sure to sign up here for my REACH! Weekly News for awesome interviews with Leaders & Visionaries that I only share with my VIP members.

3 Simple Ways to Keep Your Customers

Recently I switched office supply vendors after having been with my last one for fourteen years.  To give you an idea of the magnitude of the change, my firm spent over $130,000 in office supplies over the past six years.  We were a pretty large account for our vendor, and they lost us.

I find it important to break down the reasons they lost me as a client because I know for certain there is a lesson here for any business owner.  After all, the office supply vendor I left did a decent job when it came to delivering the supplies we asked for.  In other words, they weren’t terrible at their job, they were pretty decent, yet they lost a client, me, to a competitor.  Why?

They made it easy for me to leave!

It is my firm belief that most mid-sized company business owners are like me, and they don’t want to deal with the hassle of changing vendors.  It’s easy to keep with the status quot.  Theirs comfort in just sticking with the same vendors you’ve always worked with.  That being said, when someone comes along with a better value proposition than the vendor being used, the business owner justifies all the reasons why they should not listen to what the new company has to say.  So, the question you must ask yourself is this, “What is that list of reasons why the customer won’t leave me?”

In 2013 a new office supply vendor caught the ear of my partner and I.  His value proposition was that his company was less expensive (and he proved it), and that he’d give us personalized service by popping in occasionally to ask if we need any assistance from him, and that he’d really appreciate our business and he’d demonstrate it by spending time with our staff, helping them with orders, and even tailoring the ordering process to better meet our needs.  The bottom line, we ended up switching to the new office supply company.  What could the old vendor have done to have stopped us from opening our ears to another company?

1. Communicate – I can count on one hand the number of times that my old office supply vendor ever communicated with me over the past decade.  The only time they picked up the phone to check in was when an invoice got lost and we didn’t pay on time.  In other words, they demonstrated through their actions that they didn’t care about us as a business, but rather just cared about our money.  It’s funny, ever since we stopped using the old office supply company, now they stop by regularly trying to get an appointment.  That ship has sailed.  Had they communicated with us regularly over the past 10 years, it would have been really difficult to even talk to a new vendor.

2. Appreciate – In over ten years of doing business with my old office supply vendor, never even once did someone from that company pick up the phone and say THANKS.  It’s so simple.  Appreciating your clients every now and then makes a world of difference. It would have definitely been difficult to talk to a new vendor if the original vendor appreciated us every once and a while.

3. Relate – Build a relationship with your clients and you will create an insurance policy for yourself against customers that just ditch you in favor of someone else.  Compare this to dating.  It’s easy to ditch someone that you met over drinks at a bar, since no relationship has been kindled.  However, someone you have dated, courted, and built ties to is a different story all together.  That person likely won’t ditch you without a conversation.  That conversation is your opportunity to change his or her mind.  If there’s no relationship, then no conversation is owed.  Even after more than 10 years with my previous office supply vendor, no relationship had been fostered and so, overnight, they lost hundreds of thousands of dollars to the guy down the street.

Don’t be that business that spends millions on advertising and marketing to get new clients without spending just a fraction of your time, money, and energy communicating with, appreciating, and building relationships with the people who already like you.

Stacey Alcorn is the author of REACH! and Tuned In. She is a business strategy and sales consultant for large corporations and Global Fortune 100 Firms. She is also a keynote speaker, blogger, trainer, and start-up consultant. Her sales training products have been licensed by hundreds of organizations around the world who use her one-of-a kind sales training materials as the genesis for their own brand growth. Make sure to sign up here for my REACH! Weekly News for awesome interviews with Leaders & Visionaries that I only share with my VIP members.

The Shocking Truth About What Your Customers Want

I’m going to lay it all out for you in one simple sentence – YOU DO NOT KNOW WHAT YOUR CUSTOMER WANTS (unless you ask them).

Just recently I was driving out of my driveway through the neighborhoods of Massachusetts suburbia.  It was a Monday and it was a holiday…one of those holidays where banks are closed, retail stores are open, and other businesses are split down the middle…with some open, some closed.  My husband had taken the day off and was staying home with our daughter, Oshyn, but I had booked appointments for the day and was heading out to make my mark on the business world.  There was snow everywhere from a big storm just days before.  As I cruised toward the highway I began noticing that many of the other homes in my neighborhood had snowmen of all shapes and sizes adorning their front lawns.

“Oh my god….” I thought to myself.  “I’m the only mother that didn’t bring her kid out to build a snowman!”

As I drove to my first appointment I anxiously formulated a strategy to come back later on in the day to build a snowman with my four year old, Oshyn.

Lunchtime rolls around, I scramble home, get my daughter bustled up in layer upon layer of snow clothing.  I parade her outside to build a snowman.  We started rolling the first snowball.  As the snowball begins gaining traction, growing in size, I noticed my daughter had wandered off and was playing with a toy that had been left outside since the fall.  I called her over to help with the snowman.  She humored me for a bit, then went back to the toy she had found in the driveway.

We did end up finishing the snowman….actually a snow princess.  What I learned about my daughter was that she had no interest in building a snowman.  I had just assumed that she’d want to build one.  I had assumed wrong.  What if I had just asked?

Businesses do the same thing with their customers all the time.

No different than me rushing to judgment about my daughter wanting to build a snowman only because other kids had built snowmen on the street, too often businesses simply assume that their customer wants certain things too….things that the customer could care less about!

Be strategic.  Save your time. Save your money.  All you have to do is ask.  A simple way to do this is to send your customers a 3 question survey where you ask:

  1. What are we doing right?
  2. What could we do better?
  3. What would ever cause you to leave us?

It seems simple, but all too often, we forget to simply ask our clients what it is they want from us.  Why waste time, money, and resources building a snowman for your clients, when all they want is something as simple as free coffee in your waiting room.  The moral of the story – ask, don’t guess….a simple strategy, yet an extremely effective one.

Stacey Alcorn is the author of REACH! and Tuned In. She is a business strategy and sales consultant for large corporations and Global Fortune 100 Firms. She is also a keynote speaker, blogger, trainer, and start-up consultant. Her sales training products have been licensed by hundreds of organizations around the world who use her one-of-a kind sales training materials as the genesis for their own brand growth. Make sure to sign up here for my REACH! Weekly News for awesome interviews with Leaders & Visionaries that I only share with my VIP members.

Make Money Easy

Ever wish dealing with your money wasn’t a headache (or something you avoid altogether)?

Well, it’s time to make that wish a reality. Join money expert Belinda Rosenblum for a complimentary training webinar. . .

MAKE MONEY EASY:

3 Secrets to Ending Your Money Worries for Good

and Having More Than Enough Money in Your Life

A complimentary training webinar, Thursday, February 12th at 1pm ET

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On this high-content call, Belinda will pull back the curtain on why so many people struggle with money and how you can be one of the few that chooses a different (and easier) approach.

You’ll find out the secrets so you can. . .

  • Fall in love with money and stop being afraid of it.
  • Stop constantly wondering if you have enough or if the money will run out.
  • Discover where all your money is going and how to keep more of it in the bank.

Make sure to reserve your spot on the webinar now: http://bit.ly/SAEasy14

Stacey Alcorn is the author of REACH! and Tuned In. She is a business strategy and sales consultant for large corporations and Global Fortune 100 Firms. She is also a keynote speaker, blogger, trainer, and start-up consultant. Her sales training products have been licensed by hundreds of organizations around the world who use her one-of-a kind sales training materials as the genesis for their own brand growth. Make sure to sign up here for my REACH! Weekly News for awesome interviews with Leaders & Visionaries that I only share with my VIP members.