Doing Business Ballsy

Mediocre businesses bore me to death.  There are millions of plain old vanilla businesses that do things the same ole way.  Some of them are successful and many of them aren’t…they just get by…they just survive.  I’ve spent  my lifetime studying businesses and the ones that get my attention are the ones that get everyone’s attention.  Disney, Zappos, Starbucks, Amazon.  Businesses like these buck the status quo and the do business ballsy.  They watch what everyone else does and they run the other way.  Big Hairy Audacious Businesses are built by Big Hairy Audacious Teams….people that fly in the face of conformity.  Companies like these end up forging movements because the world is bored of the same ole.  If you are bored of following text book models of building a business, I dare you to try something ballsy.  Every once in a while when you do something ballsy, the world takes notice.  And every once in while a spark is created and a movement takes on a life of its own. Here are four simple ideas for doing business ballsy.

1. Advertise Your Competition: I was shopping for one of a kind business cards today.  I never ever carry plain old business cards because I feel that business cards are the first impression potential clients have of my marketing ability.  My real estate brokerage is unlike any other and neither are my business cards.  Today, I visited www.PrintPepperment.com which is a website that offers die cut business cards.  I knew I was in love when I saw this on their website:

How ballsy is that?  They are so confident in their product and value that they offer links to their three main competitors.  As a consumer, I didn’t even click on the other links.  I was in love.  I like to do business with businesses who are so confident in their value that they have no reason to hide their competition.

2. Speaking Of Competition:  What does your competition say against you?  For me, one of my competitors is my former franchiser.  Instead of eloquently explaining their value proposition, they enjoy telling prospects that we are competing for that my company is being sued by their headquarters.  Ballsy companies are the ones that find out what the competition is saying and then turn that into their own value proposition.  When I present my value proposition to prospects I explain that the reason they want to choose my firm over the other is because of that lawsuit.  I explain that I left the franchiser and I explain why I left.  I then make sure to remind the prospect that great organizations are not built by leaders who handcuff their clients and/or employees with overbearing and overbroad contracts. Great organizations are built by people who won’t sit back when they are bullied, who won’t settle for the status quo when the status quo is mediocrity, and by people who are willing to stare pain and hardship in the eyes today because they know that a better future is possible.

3. Embrace Your Crazy:  I was recently reading Darren Hardy’s book, The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster, and Darren talks in his book about the level of crazy it takes to build an awesome business.  Walt Disney had a crazy idea to turn orange groves into a place where people from around the world would come to find happiness.  Tony Hsieh had a nutty idea to build an online shoe emporium.  Steve Jobs wanted to make computers that were small and elegant and wanted to put thousands of songs in a device that was as small as a stick of gum.  What if these entrepreneurs didn’t embrace their crazy.  Next time you have a unique, audacious, unusual, and crazy idea….don’t talk yourself out of it.  Embrace your crazy.

4. Take Risk: Your life and your business are on a trajectory.  It will remain on that trajectory unless and until you do something bold.  Change is the only way to put your life and business on a new trajectory.  Don’t take stupid risks, but rather smart, thoughtful, well planned risks.  Bold change is always a risk but it’s also the fastest way to grow a great business.  The best part about taking risk is that there’s always something you can learn from it.  If you take a risk and you succeed, you now know that you are capable of so much more than you used to expect of yourself.  If you risk and lose, you get two lessons (1) you get to examine the reason for the failure so you can take smarter risks next time, and (2) you still have the benefit of knowing that you are capable of so much more than you previously expected of yourself.  Smart, methodical, calculated, risk makes you better as an entrepreneur and gives you the chance to build something unlike anyone else has ever built, like Disney, Zappos, and others.

There are millions of mediocre, vanilla, boring companies to choose from.  Take a look at what they’re doing, then don’t.

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.

7 Lessons Learned From a Bumpy 2014

 

It’s been a crazy, exciting, sad, fulfilling, awesome, challenging, happy, and amazing 2014. I started the year by marrying my best friend on New Years Eve while at the same time raising thousands of dollars for a charity we adore. In January I made a life changing business decision that would alter the course of my life and business forever…and the lives and businesses of hundreds of others. Later that month I lost my dear friend, Pat who I had worked with for decades – she was more like family…as most of my coworkers are. In April my business partner and I implemented a massive rebrand of our real estate firm consisting of more than 200 real estate agents. My summer was a roller coaster of emotions, challenges, wins, and losses. My five year old daughter started school in the fall as we celebrated the two year anniversary of her last seizure. Along the way I interviewed and wrote about so many amazing entrepreneurs that I lost count, while simultaneously building a support network of business leaders who have my back and who are as committed to my success as I am. It’s been a bumpy yet exciting year. Here are the 7 Lessons Learned in 2014.

1. Good Days and Bad Days – The good and bad days go hand and hand. If there were no bad days then there couldn’t be great days. Therefore, I’ve learned to remind myself…especially on days when life and work are just so hard….that those difficult days were designed to make the great days that much better. You cannot rejoice in the feeling of winning without having first experienced the pain of defeat.

2. Looking In The Mirror –
We are all human. As humans we hate to admit that on some level we are failures in some way. Nobody is perfect. When I went through the rebranding of my firm there were some agents who I had been with forever who left. Some had even been at my wedding just days before. They left me when I needed them most. My first response to the loss was that THEY were wrong in leaving me. My next response was to blame others…. “My previous franchise is spreading lies!” But, the more I thought about it, the more I realized, that I was not perfect. I could have handled things differently. The difference between good and great is in one’s ability to look in the mirror and realize that you are the byproduct of where you stand right now. Nobody can take fault for your life, your situation, or your current predicament, but you. The difference between great and mastery is in one’s ability to poke and prod at a given situation to realize that (1) you can’t change the past, but (2) you can learn something about yourself in every situation which can benefit you and your relationships going forward.

3. Cherish –
As a business leader I’ve learned to cherish those who have given me a chance, because nobody in the world is obligated to give anyone a chance. Equally important, I’ve learned to understand those who didn’t give me a chance, because nobody in the world is obligated to give anyone a chance. When you feel hurt by people, I think the tendency is to shy away from people all together, at risk of more hurt. However, I’ve found better luck by bringing people closer to me…cherishing, loving them, and giving them more of me. My advice to anyone who has ever felt hurt is to surround yourself with people who care about you. Lean into them and give them more of you.

4. We Are All The Same – We live in a world of labels. White, black, male, female, lesbian, gay, police officer, pedestrian, – labels are awful because they separate. Any word that separates me from you has no use in my vocabulary…because you and I are both human…we are the same. When I rebranded my company I came to learn that sometimes brands are like labels too. A brand should just be a product offering, like some people like Coke and some people like Pepsi. When I rebranded my real estate company, leaving a franchise after 14 years, I learned that too many people use brand to differentiate and if that’s what branding is all about, I want no part of it. Unfortunately, I lost friends because I work for a different brand than I used to. Lines were drawn. People took sides…which brand are you with? Shouldn’t we love and respect one another no matter what brand we have on our business card? If we were friends one year ago and nothing has changed but the name on my business card, shouldn’t we still be pals? Brands are meant to be product offerings…a value proposition… a menu of services offered by a company. A brand is not meant to be a label to separate people. I like the Red Sox….and I love and respect you the same even if you love the Yankees.

5. Business and Friendships – Employees, agents, co-workers….they are all friendships. There’s no line between business and friendship….they are all the same. We do business with, we work with, ands we buy and sell to friends….period. In life there are different levels of friendship. I am friends with 100% of the people I work with, Some are closer than others….as is true about friendship in general. I’ve learned this year that I don’t want to work with people who I don’t consider friends….in fact I think it’s the difference between good companies and great ones. I love hanging out with, having lunch with, and just chatting with every single co-worker because they are not just co-workers they are my friends.

6. Inner Circle –
Build your inner circle of people who are going to stick with you no matter what. Start with just one or two and then expand it. Your inner circle people are the ones that are absolutely, positively, no questions asked, standing by your side no matter what happens. Your spouse and kids are a great place to start building and then slowly start adding one person at a time. An inner circle is built by trust…trust them with your dreams, secrets, desires, and challenges. Trust them. More importantly….be trustworthy. Listen to their dreams, secrets, desires, and challenges and be their advocate. Commit to helping them live out their greatest aspirations. Your inner circle is the foundation of your life. You need to build this to live happily in a stressful world. There’s no limit to how many you include in this inner circle and you want it to expand over time. Just remember, that the key to your happiness is in helping them find theirs.

7. Gamble On You – This year I made the biggest decision of my business career when deciding to rebrand my real estate firm. It was hard because it wasn’t something that just effected me….I was altering the course of an entire real estate market, and asking hundreds of agents to believe that together we could do something awesome. Although I will say that 2014 was my hardest year ever…it was also the most rewarding. I got to see what I was made of and I got to see the resiliency, power, and determination of hundreds of people around me. Together I’d say we created a revolution in the real estate world in New England. I hope that every single person who reads this gets the opportunity to be part of a movement…a revolution of some kind someday. Just know this….the only way to be part of one is to bet on you. At least once in this short little life do something so bold, so audacious, so over the top….that when you are 100 years old looking back on life you’ll chuckle to yourself and say, “Holy Shit….I really did that!”

Happy New Year!

Photo Credit: Charlie Pasewark Photography

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.

I Have News for You – YOU Are a Hoarder

 

“The insight I had as a child, even though I didn’t  know how significant it was at the time, was the beginning of my understanding as to why it is that we suffer.  It became very clear that one of the primary reasons we suffer is because we believe what we think, that the thoughts in our heads come uninvited into our consciousness, swirl around, and we attach to them.  We identify with them and grab hold of them.”

“One of the greatest reasons we suffer is because we believe the thoughts in our heads.”

“Why is it that we do this?  Why do we believe the thoughts in our head?  We don’t believe the thoughts in someone else’s head, when they speak them to us.  When we read a book – which is nothing but the recording of somebody else’s thoughts – we can take them or leave them.  But why is it that we are so prone to grasp at the thoughts that occur within our own mind – to hold onto them and become identified with them? We don’t seem to be able to put them down even when they cause great pain and suffering.”

These excerpts are from Adyashanti’s book Falling Into Grace – Insights on the End of Suffering.

Recently I went through a major brand change at my firm.  The hardest part of the brand change was that there was a small group of people that left my company because they didn’t want to be part of the new brand.  This group of people was like family to me.  They were part of my wedding just a couple months before the changes at the office.  We ate lunch together, celebrated holidays together, laughed as one, and cried as one.  We were as solid a group as there could be.  When some left my company after the change, it was no surprise, but this small group whom I considered family, they tore my heart out as they left one by one, leaving me when I needed them most.

For the first weeks and even months after the change I vilified these so called friends in my own mind.  It eased the suffering I was feeling.  Then a co-worker gave me this book, Falling Into Grace.  What I learned is that there was no reason to continue feeling the pain.  The pain and suffering I was feeling had nothing to do with those friends that left me, but rather the story I was repeating in my own head about why they left.  Why did I believe the story in my own head, especially when its only purpose was to cause suffering.  My own thoughts were preventing me from experiencing my own greatness…from building the empire I was seeking to build….from helping millions of people go after their dreams of owning a home…of building a real estate business… of achieving their own personal greatness.  The people that left my firm were not holding me back.  I was holding me back.

As I was flipping through television shows this weekend I came across a show called Hoarders.  This show was about a woman who had collected so much stuff in her house that she could no longer safely live in her own home.  Decades worth of junk had piled up around her to the point that rats were infesting her home and she didn’t even know it.  As I watched this poor woman deal with her fear of letting go of the junk….it occurred to me that I am no different.  The junk I hoard is my thoughts.  And, I am not very different than most.  I see people suffering every single day and they assign the reason to their suffering to a person or situation that has hurt them, but the truth is that what’s really causing their suffering is their thoughts.  Let go of the non self-serving thoughts and the suffering dissipates.  When the suffering is gone, there is so much room for happiness, dreams, and love.

That tiny close knit group of people that left me, they are the same people today that they were when I loved them so much.  Nothing changed.  It was merely the thoughts in my head that were causing all the pain.

If you feel pain, hurt, or sadness, I ask you this, “Why do you believe the thoughts in your head?”  When you realize that pain and suffering is a choice…..and when you realize that you are 100% responsible for controlling the thoughts in your own head, then you can begin to let go of that pile of junk you’ve surrounded yourself with.  Stop hoarding.  Life is too good and way too short.  Your dreams are waiting for 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.

A Toast to Entrepreneurship

 

“It was a great former British Foreign Secretary and Prime Minister Lord Salisbury who said that diplomatic victories ‘are made up of a series of microscopic advantages: of a judicious suggestion here, of an opportune civility there, of a wise concession at one moment and a far-sighted persistence at another, of a sleepless tact, immovable calmness, and patience that no folly, no provocation, no blunder can shake.'”  This speech was given in 2013 by William Hague (who was at the time Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in Great Britain) at a farewell dinner for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2013.

This speech has embedded itself in my soul because this describes exactly what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.  Although Hague was describing what it takes to be a chief diplomat, he inadvertently described entrepreneurship to a tee.

Entrepreneurship is made up of a series of microscopic advantages…

A judicious suggestion here….

An opportune civility there…

Of a wise concession at one moment…

And a far-sighted persistence at another…

Of a sleepless tact….

An immovable calmness…

And patience that no folly, no provocation, no blunder can shake.

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.

Dream Big Or Go Home

 

Chris Daughtry, lead singer and guitarist for the band Daughtry is said to be the third most successful artist to have been a contestant on American Idol, following behind Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson.  Interestingly, Daughtry didn’t win American Idol, coming in fourth place on the Fifth Season of the show, yet his drive, ambition, and talent have allowed him to pursue his dream despite that loss.  He signed a record contract with RCA two months after his Idol loss and has since sold millions of songs.  Daughtry’s first album was the fastest selling debut rock album in Neilsen Soundscan history.  So, what can we all learn about success from a record artist who has had little problem building his music empire despite the fact that millions of talented artists are competing for the same space?  Here is how anyone can succeed Chris Daughtry style.

1. Never, Never, Never: I asked Chris straight out what advice he would give to someone who wants to accomplish big goals in life.  “Never, never, never stop dreaming.” If you have stopped dreaming, you might as well be dead.  Interestingly, before auditioning for American Idol, Chris Daughtry auditioned for a CBS show, Rock Star INXS.  He didn’t make the cut for the show.  Yet, Daughtry didn’t give up.  He continued to perfect his skills by playing in a band called Absent Element in North Carolina.  He never stopped dreaming and believing he would make it big.  In 2005 Chris flew to Colorado to audition for American Idol.  He barely made the cut because Simon Cowell thought his performance was t0o robotic.  Thankfully, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson voted Chris onto the show.  When Chris got voted off the show, in fourth place, it was Simon Cowell who was then his biggest fan….Simon felt that Chris should have moved on to win American Idol.  Despite the loss, Chris didn’t give up.  He worked the talk show circuit and continued performing in front of millions on these shows and within two months of being voted off Idol, Daughtry signed his first major record deal.

2. Speaking of Dreams: DREAM BIG.  What if Chris Daughtry believed that a young southern singer would only get so far as playing in seedy bars across North Carolina on Friday nights?  After all, that was the life he lived, all while dreaming of a national recording contract that would get his songs, his voice, his art exposed to the world.  Too many people can’t dream past their current circumstances and because of this they end up being forever stuck in their current predicament.  Nobody can dream for you.  Others may try to limit your dreams, by telling you what your capable of…but in reality when someone does that, they are only telling you what THEY are capable of, not you.  Your dreams are the GPS to your better tomorrow and since you have complete authority to paint a picture to your future, why not make it an awesome one.  Dream big, or live today over and over for the rest of your life.

3. Stand Out: My husband, Jay joined me for this rare opportunity to chat with Chris Daughtry.  Jay was wearing a purple patterned shirt that really stood out and Daughtry commented on Jay’s shirt and how important it is to stand out amongst the crowd.  In a world where everyone looks the same, sounds the same, and acts the same….those that build massive empires are the ones that figure out their own unique way to stand out.  No great empire is ever built alone and the only way to mobilize an army of advocates who want to support you is to BE MEMORABLE.

I have to agree with everything Chris Daughtry shared during our short time together.  After all, the only reason I even got the opportunity to talk to him was because I never gave up, I dreamed a big dream, and I found a way to stand out…..now that I think of it, everything great that has happened in my life was acquired based on these three simple principles.

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.

Simple Technique To Stand Out

How many phone calls do you receive in a day? Ten, twenty, fifty calls?  Do you ever have so many calls that you just shut off the phone and stop taking them?

What do most of those phone calls have in common?  The person on the other end of the phone wants something from you.  They are calling you because they want to receive something from you.  They want your time, money, advice, or something else.

How often do you receive phone calls where the party on the other side wants nothing from you.   Rather, they are calling to see if there’s anything they can do to help you?  In the past thirty days I received two such phone calls.  My friend, mentor, and best-selling author Michael Maher reaches out to me almost every month.  He reaches out just to ask if there’s anything he can do to help me.  There’s no other reason for the call.  Then yesterday my long time friend and mentor, Chuck Lemire, simply reached out to see if there was anything he could do to support me.

The reason that these two people stick out amongst the hundreds of phone calls received each month is because their sole agenda was to offer love, support, and advice.  Nothing more.  The eye-opening, jaw dropping, takeaway for me was that I NEED TO MAKE MORE OF THESE CALLS.  Not only do I receive hundreds of calls and emails each week of people who want something from me, I AM GUILTY OF DOING THE SAME TO OTHERS.  Too often I only call people when I need something from them.  Too often my calls are self serving.  Too often I am blending into the crowd of mediocrity by reaching out for my own benefit.

What I have learned from my friends like Michael Maher and Chuck Lemire is this – better empires may be built by this simple little technique of scheduling time to reach out to offer help.  When you reach out to your customers, friends, and family, you must do so with a mindset of giving back.  Stand out by being that person that reaches out regularly with the sole purpose of serving others.  Success is simple, but so is mediocrity.  Which will you choose?

 

 

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.

Panning For Gold

Panning for gold sounds so illustrious and exciting.  The truth is, panning for gold is hard work.   If you want to find gold you have wade through dirty water and dig through mud in the search of tiny flecks of gold.  If you are in sales, then you know what it’s like to pan for gold.  The people that make the most money in sales have figured out a way to jump into the mud pit and dig every single day.

Today’s blog post is for my friend Brian.  Brian works for my real estate firm.  He’s my 2016 Top Producer of the Year!  He’s got a lot of work to do but so far it seems like he’s willing to break through the pain of hard work in order to bask in the glory of success.  Today’s blog is about breaking through procrastination.  Brian’s success will come down to his ability to execute.  Can he spend one to two hours a day prospecting for business, turning stones, mining for gold?  It sounds simple, but prospecting is hard, hard work.  It takes an absolute willingness to get the door slammed in your face….over…and over….and over.  If you can’t take it, find a job that doesn’t involve sales.  Great sales people eat fear and rejection for lunch.

Today Brian reached out to me about his struggle with prospecting.  On Saturday morning he went to the office and he was the only one there.  The silence was piercing.  He started checking emails…then watched people walk by the window….then read the newspaper.  He did everything that he wasn’t there to do.  This is what prospecting does to us.  It’s hard to pick up that phone!  In the end, Brian made three phone calls and called it a day.  It’s a HUGE step forward…but not big enough.  He’s going to need to get to a point where he’s spending 1-2 hours a day prospecting for business if he wants to achieve his goal of being the top real estate agent in the entire firm based on transactions closed.

Here’s my 5 personal secrets to breaking through procrastination in order to reach peak performance.

1. Create Habits – I hate prospecting for business as much as the next guy.  However, I prospect for two hours every single day, no matter what.  I’ve made prospecting into a habit.  The beautiful thing about habits is that they are automatic.  It’s like life on auto-pilot.  I’ve created a habit of prospecting and so I do it every day automatically without thinking about it.  If I thought about it, I’d probably do exactly what Brian did….check my emails, read the newspaper, people watch.  If I thought about the huge dose of rejection I was about to take every morning I would not do it consistently.  So, I don’t think about it….I just do it….it’s a habit I’ve created in my life.  How do you create a habit?  Force yourself to do whatever you don’t want to do every day for a long time.  Some say it takes 21 days to form a habit and others say it’s 30 days….all I know is it takes a long time to form habits.  You will have to force yourself to take the action every day even thought you don’t feel like it.  If you do this over and over and over day after day…one day you will just do it without thinking about it.  Then you’ll do it again without thinking about it.  Then again, and again…until you’ve finally created the habit that will carry you to your big hairy audacious goals.  The best thing about habits is that you do them even when you don’t need to.  Often times, I see sales people who stop prospecting for business when they have business.  This is the worst thing you can do to your business because it guarantees that you will eventually run out of business again.  Create a habit of prospecting daily, even when you are super busy, and your pipeline will never go dry.

2. Eat that Frog – One of my favorite books is Brian Tracy’s Eat That Frog.  If you woke up today and knew you would have to eat a frog by the end of the day, would you eat the frog first thing in the morning or would you do it late in the day.  If you do it first thing, then it’s over with.  You can move on with your day.  If you put it off…it weighs on you all day long.  Prospecting for me is done first thing in the morning every day.  I start at 7am and I prospect until 9am everyday.  I get it over with so I can move on with my day.

3. Vision Board – The mirror in my master bathroom has been converted into a vision board.  It’s the first thing I see every morning.  It has photos of my future life, including my beach home, my company growth goals and more.  My vision board is the first thing I see each morning and so this vision is what I picture as I am doing the things I don’t want to do.  Does it make the prospecting any easier…NO.  However, it makes the prospecting pill easier to swallow because I know that every call I make leads me one step closer to my goals.

4.Scorecard – There will be many days of prospecting where the results will wane.  Do you have what it takes to go day after day without results?  The truth is…there will always be positive results if you are prospecting one to two hours a day.  It’s impossible NOT to have results.  That being said, there will be days where it feels like you are on a losing streak.  That’s why it’s important to keep your own personal score card.  Track your calls daily.  Keep a track record of your success.  I know that for every 20 calls I make, I will get at least one appointment, sometimes more.  Knowing this allows me to keep making calls even when I have a string of rejections.  It also allows me to keep making the calls even when I have success.  In other words, I don’t stop prospecting when I get an appointment because I know that I am most likely in for a string of losses.  I know that my scorecard will reflect poor performance unless I make the same number of calls every single day no matter what….whether I have wins or losses.

5. Enthusiasm – The key to successful prospecting and to breaking through procrastination is enthusiasm.  I cannot wait to make my calls every morning.  I am over the moon ecstatic about making  my calls each morning.  Why am I so excited?  I know that when I am making those calls I AM WINNING.  I am doing what most people won’t do.  I have created a habit that will allow me to build the largest real estate firm in New England within five years.  Nobody prospects as well or as much as me.  I’m excited because I get the awesome opportunity to prospect for gold every day and usually I end up finding bags of it.

Go ahead…stop pacing along the shore and jump into the mud.  It’s the only way you will find any gold.

 

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.

A Simple Strategy to Win the Sale

 

This article is for anyone in sales…specifically a competitive sales job where you are regularly competing head to head against other sales professionals, like in the real estate, insurance, and financial service businesses.  Recently I was working with a coaching client as we discussed the process she goes through in sharing her value proposition with her prospective clients.  My client, a real estate agent named Amy, had recently lost a listing to a competitor, even though my client had been in the business longer, had a high quality presentation, and a track record of success that made the competitor look like a rookie.  I asked Amy to walk me through the presentation she made so that we could troubleshoot and find any potential error that could have been made.

Here’s where Amy nailed the presentation….

– Shared her value proposition

– Impeccable presentation which she presented using an iPad

– Asked what the client’s goals were

– Developed rapport with the client

– Marketing materials presented were second to none

– Matched the client’s goals to the value proposition offered

On all counts it appeared that Amy had done everything right….except for one thing.

Amy neglected what is perhaps the most vital piece to the sales process. She forgot to educate the client on how to choose the best sales person.

Here’s the takeaway….your client doesn’t know your business like you. The client understand’s his or her goals, but doesn’t know how to choose the best person to help facilitate the process of achieving that goal.  For example, in the case of Amy…her client wasn’t educated on how to choose a real estate agent; what to look for….what to ask….what matters when it comes to choosing an agent and WHY it matters.  If you don’t educate the client on the basics of how to choose between you and the competition, then you are opening yourself up to a major loss.  Here’s why….if you let the competitor educate the agent, the competitor is more likely to win the client because now the client understands the process of selecting their representative….and the person that provided the much needed education happens to be sitting right there so why not choose that agent.  If you forget to educate your client on the selection process, and your competitor does too, you have lessened your chances of losing the client, but only marginally as compared to if you didn’t ignore this important step.

There is huge value in defining the selection process for your client….teach them how to choose the best salesperson and you’ll likely cement yourself into that role in the process.

 

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.

Letting Go of Your Dream Stealers

Do you have any dream stealers in your life?  They are those people who just step on, spit on, and discount your big dreams in life?  Dream stealers come in all shapes and sizes. They are sometimes easy to spot. They are the ones that tell you that you can’t or shouldn’t do whatever it is you’ve set your mind to accomplish.  Sometimes dream stealers are a little less obvious.  For example, I recently made a big change in my business and I had some longtime friends that told me they believed I would build an amazing business empire and that they were even proud of me, but their actions told me a different story, because as much as they “believed” in my dreams, they were going to work elsewhere.  Whether it be through their words or their actions, dream stealers will come and go from your life and it’s your job to keep showing them the door.  You cannot achieve your Big Hairy Audacious Goals in life if you surround yourself with dream stealers.  Your success is dependent upon your ability to surround yourself with a support network of those that believe in you 100%.

By the way, nobody was put on this earth to believe in you.  That is to say, dream stealers are not bad people….often times they are amazing people.  They are smart, well spoken, givers.  They are people you love.  These are high quality awesome people in all regards, they just don’t believe in you.  That’s what makes letting go of dream stealers so difficult.  Sometimes we love the dream stealers in our lives.  They will, however, hold you back.  So, the question is, how badly do you want to fulfill your dreams?

I have been reading and re-reading what has recently become one of my top 10 favorite books of all time, The Millionaire Fastlane.  In this book by MJ DeMarco, he says that dream stealers are like a headwind to a plane.  Headwinds slow the plane down making the journey longer than it needs to be.  On the other hand, a tailwind which blows from the back of the plane makes it go faster…it pushes the plane to it’s destination with ease and cuts the travel time exponentially.  As DeMarco puts it in his book, dream stealers are like headwinds, and they will slow your journey down.  You do, however, have the ability to turn those dream stealers into tailwinds by turning your back to them.  When you turn your back on a dream stealer, you turn them from a headwind into a tailwind.  Block out their disbelief in you and instead surround yourself with the believers….the people who are as committed to your success as you are. My greatest wish for everyone who reads my articles is this – I hope you have Big Dreams.  I dare you to live out loud!  I beg you to flirt with huge goals that scare you.  You can be, do, and have ANYTHING.  Start letting go of the dream stealers in your life.  Clean house!  Your greatness is a byproduct of your own big dreams, your belief in yourself, and your ability to surround yourself with an army of people who believe in 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.

Customer Disservice the Verizon Way (How Not to Treat Your Clients)

 

I dedicate this week, the first week of April 2014, to the millions of companies in the world that still care about their customers.  This week, I lost hundreds of man hours, thousands of dollars, and four nights of sleep (and counting) because of one company that prides itself on disservice, Verizon Business.  Never have I had a company bring me to tears of frustration and anger, but this one did!   I firmly believe that life is a series of lessons on how to be a better human, how to live a better life, how to accomplish your dreams and to create a legacy.  Since I absolutely cannot get my phone situation resolved, even after several months of trying, I find the only way to turn this into something positive is by finding the lessons.  Thank you Verizon Business.  Thank you for teaching me how to run a better business.  As much as you tried to take me down and ruin my business, I have found a way to win.  I win by learning from your mistakes.

Here are 6 ways NOT to treat your clients, because unlike Verizon, you probably are not a monopoly.

1. Blow Them Off – As my story goes, I’ve been having problems with my Verizon business phone lines for more than five months.  Starting in November 2013, the phone lines in my real estate office started going out.  Calls were being dropped.  The phones would go down for hours at a time.  We’d call Verizon Business, they would send out technicians.  They would tell us that there is nothing wrong with the lines.  Then, all of a sudden, out of the blue, within an hour the lines would be up again.  This happened countless times.  We even hired three different phone technicians to come out to check our phone system, and all three told us, it’s not a phone system problem, it’s a phone line problem.  A week would go by, the phone would be fine, and then all of a sudden they would go down again.  Finally, in March, after having filed more than 20 tickets with Verizon over the past several months, we decided to switch our services to Comcast.  Verizon made it evident that they didn’t care about and wouldn’t fix our problem.  Assuming you are not a monopoly (or as close as a business can get to being one) you should not constantly blow your customers off.  If your customer has filed more than ten trouble tickets in a short period, send your entire technical team out to the customer and tell that team that they should not come back until the problem is fixed.

2. Record The Client Call for No Reason – Did you know that Verizon Business records all of your calls, BUT you may not record the call.  Interesting.  Why are they recording the call?  It’s certainly not so they can improve the customer experience.  Maybe their executive team plays those recorded calls during team meetings so that they can get a good laugh at how upset the customer is.  “Dave – next time she calls, tell her that the system shows that she has no open trouble tickets… hahahahahaha.”  Why else would they want to record these calls, really?  They must just use these calls to get a laugh out of how much they angered the customers.  “Oh Boy…that customer was a 10 – she was ANGRY.”  So, assuming that you are not Verizon, and that you love your customers, don’t record the customer service calls because it ticks the customer off even more.  If you must record the calls, do so only if you are going to do something productive, like improve your business!

3. Never, Never, Never Allow Your Customer to Talk to the Same Person Twice: When a customer is made a promise and that promise is not kept, awful businesses never let that customer talk to the person who made the promise.  This makes perfect sense if you have very low customer service standards.  When the client can talk to the same customer representative over and over, that makes your employees accountable for what they say.  When the representative knows that there is no accountability, they can and will say anything to get the customer off the phone.  So, assuming you do care about your customers, then customers need one point of contact so that the one point of contact is accountable for their words and actions.

4. Close or Go Half Staff on Weekends – If you are in a business where the client absolutely depends on your services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, then just close or at a minimum go half staff when the customers need you most.  If you want to show absolute disservice to your clients, do NOT offer an emergency number for people that really need you.  By this point, I’m assuming that your business is not a monopoly and that you actually do care about your business.  Here’s a word to the wise – be available when your customers desperately need you.  By not being available, you are telling your customers and the world that you don’t care.  At a minimum, give your customers an emergency number so that they know you are always a phone call away.

5. Have Fake Companies – I don’t know how exactly to describe this because it wouldn’t even occur to most companies to do this, but when your entire company is built on a premise of disservice, it probably makes total sense.  I’ll do my best to explain.  For the past four days and counting, when you call my real estate office, the lines are out of service.  Did I mention that this is spring market and we spend thousands of dollars advertising that phone number to our potential clients?  Anyway, this all happened because I transferred our lines to Comcast.  It didn’t have to happen like this. Verizon has the ability to remote call forward your phone lines to a working number until the transfer is complete.  However, Verizon doesn’t like it when customers leave, so they prefer not to call forward.  “If you are going to leave us, we are going to make you pay big time.”  Most of us don’t run businesses where we punish customers for leaving.  In fact, many of us try to keep the door open so that the customer has the choice to come back.  Not Verizon Business.  They don’t want you back.  They want to treat you with absolute disservice until the last possible moment.  Anyway after several days of constant run around with Verizon, I was then told that Verizon doesn’t have my lines and I’ve been talking to the wrong people all week. Really?  My bill has always been paid to Verizon?  “Your lines are MCI/Verizon Business – it’s a different phone number,” I was told.  So, I called MCI/Verizon Business.  They answer their lines as Verizon, but they aren’t connected to the other Verizon…it’s like there are little cells of Verizon’s around and they are not connected.  So, if you are a customer that loves your clients don’t do this.  In fact, I can’t think of any reason that an business would.  For most businesses it would never occur to you to set up little cells of businesses that don’t communicate – but just in case this idea does cross your mind, it’s a bad idea if you want to keep customers.

6. Make a Fake Mission Statement: Just for a laugh, I decided to check out the Verizon Mission Statement.  I will say, it’s the first time in four days that I’ve had a laugh.  If you are in the business of customer disservice, put a mission statement out on your website because it’s the thing to do, but then distribute an internal memo letting your people know that this is fake.  Only great companies live by their mission.

I am just old enough to remember when AT&T was broken into several businesses known as the Baby Bells.  Just because monopolies don’t exist in the United States doesn’t mean they don’t exist.  In fact they do.  You will know when you are dealing with one when you are the customer of a massive company that has a blatant disregard for the customer.  The silver lining here is that there are lessons to be learned from bad companies and hopefully you’ll walk away today with six lessons to building an awesome business by building a business that is nothing like Verizon Business.

So, for all the people in the world who have been mistreated as a customer, there’s peace in knowing that there is a lesson to be learned from those businesses.  I’d be happy to lend you my ear if you are having similar issues.  Call me at 978-689-2880.  Ooopps…I forgot, my line is probably still down.  You can email me or respond to the post below and I’m happy to listen.

 

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.