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Archive for May, 2010

Not  sure how many people know this about me, but one of my favorite jobs in the world was waiting tables.  AND, I have to say, I was pretty darn good at it.  When I started working at 16 at Golden Corral Restaurant, my parents gave me this great advice:

Whatever you do, keep the men’s tea glass full. Don’t make them ask for refills.  Simple enough. THIS, I can do.  I put myself through college working at this little restaurant called The Farmhouse in Roanoke, VA. (Even served Dave Thomas of Wendy’s once…. and the cast and crew of Dirty Dancing were regulars during filming…but that was before my time!)

While many customers were PAINS in the A- Double Scribble…. my job was to SERVE them.  If they asked for something special – no matter how bizarre – and it could PHYSICALLY be done,  I did it for them.  If they asked for no onions in their salad,  EVEN THOUGH the salads were pre-made each night WITH onions on top, I put on gloves and hand picked the tomatoes out before giving it to them.  If they asked for an unopened bottle of ketchup rather than the one on the table I got it for them.  This one man would ask me to bring his glass and a lemon rhine to his table.  He wanted to me to rub the rim of the glass with the rhine of the lemon prior to pouring his tea.  (As I type this NOW -many years later – I am thinking he was probably some crazy pervert, but truthfully I didn’t think twice back then.)  Rub glass rim with lemon?  Check. Check.

Now, because of these experiences as a server / waitress, my family thinks it is a nightmare to go out to dinner with me.  They hate when I order because I want substitutions or special requests.  And I hate when the waitress looks at me like I’ve grown two heads because I’ve asked for something slightly off menu.   For instance, when I was VERY pregnant, my husband and I went to Southland Restaurant for breakfast.  I asked for an English Muffin egg sandwich.  BUT, instead of having my eggs scrambled, I wanted them cooked over-medium.  Simple enough, right?  Nope.  It went something like this, and I promise I have a point:

SERVER:    Oh… well the eggs for the egg sandwiches come scrambled.

ME:  Yes, I understand that.  But I would like my egg cooked over-medium.

SERVER: I’m so sorry. I’m afraid we can’t do that ma’am.

ME:  Well, do you have a full kitchen back there?

SERVER:  Yes.

ME. And are the eggs fresh?

SERVER:  Oh yes.  Fresh off the farm.

ME:  Perfect.  So I want the cook to take a fresh egg, crack it open over a frying pan and cook that egg over-medium.  Then, I want him to place that egg on my plate, next to the toasted English Muffin. How does that sound?

The server, very frustrated with my apparently audacious request and what I considered super basic common sense, walked away.  I did get my egg cooked over-medium, but that’s not the point.  The point is two-fold, and each point may actually contradict one another… doesn’t mean they can’t BOTH be true:

  • FIRST, as entrepreneurs, we have snubbed our nose at the policy, bureaucracy, and “in the box” thinking of Corporate America.  And we will be better off for it.  But, let’s remember this when a client asks for something not on our menu.  Where is the opportunity to serve them?  We make the rules… let’s make them in a way that keeps a fence around our own target market and demonstrates that we are agile and flexible enough to accomodate them.
  • While there is no need to be as “extreme” as my family says I am when eating out (For the record, I disagree with their assessment and think my requests are absolutely reasonable.)  we DO  need to pay VERY CLOSE attention to the areas of our life in which we are easily accepting “NO” or “It Can’t Be Done.”
  • We need to question, challenge, and in some cases defy what others say CAN’T be done and – at times – refuse to accept “NO” from our vendors, our clients, and above all…. ourselves.  Dan Kennedy, one of the most brilliant marketing and economic minds of our time,  warns us:

    “Few who are compliant ever achieve anything of note… You can simple divide people into those who easily accept “no” and  “you can’t do that” as answers and those who do not.  And I can predict bank balances… and judge whether or not  someone can be independently successful or must be dependent on and provided for by others.. by that behavioral choice.”  He goes on to say, “Whether welcome or not:  the defiant spirit lives inside the toughest, hardest, most independent, hardiest, most independent, most autonomous, most successful achievers.”

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    Is THIS what you think of when you think SALES?

     I’ve never before been MORE aware of how many business owners genuinely HATE  sales.   I don’t just mean  a playful “dislike” of sales. I’m talking about a genuine, consuming, nasty, and disdainful hatred.  It’s a shame, because (obviously) without SALES, these business owners will never make any money. 

    Of course, what these people (mainly women??) are HOPING is that they won’t HAVE to sell… that they won’t have to ask for the business…. that people will come to them ASKING for their service or product…. seek them out…. offer them a fair price… and “close” themselves.  They might not SAY these words exactly – although I’ve heard from some who will – but their thoughts (and actions) aren’t far off. 

    Of course we all know this “strategy”  is nothing short of ridiculous!  While I hope you don’t feel as strongly as I’ve described above, if you are AT ALL interested in making any money as an entrepreneur, I URGE you to reconsider how you ARE feeling about sales… and marketing. 

    One of the true “secrets” of the seriously $ucce$$ful is that they begin (and nurture) a rock solid, intense, and passionate love affair with all things “SALES”.   In the beginning, these “sales lovers” may “eat what they kill”, but they also fall in love with the hunt.  They learn to deliberately design an effective sales strategy…. carefully consider every word they use… and study their  market, their competitors, and emerging trends with intense curiosity and an eye for detail….. AND, the best part is:  they find every minute of this  fun, invigorating, and, of course profitable. 

    More and more of my work as a coach, consultant, and entrepreneurial leader is focused on this often misunderstood, intensely feared little beast called “sales”.    Before I close,  I want to come clean.  This blog post…. EVERY blog post, really.  Every e-zine I send out… Every TWEET… ARE trying to sell you.  Sometimes I am trying to sell you…  

    • on YOURSELF and your potential.
    • the BRILLIANCE you already possess, but seem intent to ignore or, at least, not allow to shine.
    • SELF-RELIANCE, so that you realize that when your business has a problem.. you are the problem.. and the solution.
    • SELECTIVE HEARING… when the media is intent on keeping us paralyzed in fear.
    • HOPE in a better tomorrow.
    • FAITH in what is possible today.
    • HUMOR, so we can laugh at ourselves and avoid taking ourselves too seriously.
    • REBELLION… the crucial commitment to “do the opposite” (of what others are doing.)
    • on “FAST”… determined not to put extra steps between you and the success you desire.
    • on “SLOW” because I know that I accomplish so much more when I commit to slowing down.
    • A NEW PERSPECTIVE… when what we are doing routinely fails to produce the results we are looking for, just MAYBE we are doing the wrong things.
    •  on EASY… simply doing the “obvious things”
    • HIGH “FEE” ESTEEM – charging what you are truly worth
    • SIMPLICITY… cutting through the clutter of life
    • STRENGTH… that comes only with SUPPORT – because the road to success (if you are thinking big enough) can seem like an obstacle course at times.
    • FOCUS … because it is the quickest way of reaching your goals
    • COMMITMENT because the decision to succeed is as important as any marketing or strategic plan we can create

    With ALL of the above in mind, my sincere hope is that my “sales” skills will prove MASTERFUL.  Have questions, problems, or obstacles within your own business relating to effective sales and marketing?  Leave me a message… send me an email…. and let’s see what we can create together.   OH!  And  if  you want MORE encouragement and step-by-step strategies to begin your own affair with the sales and marketing of YOUR business, join my mailing list RIGHT NOW at www.womenwhowow.com, so you can take part in my FREE “14 Days to a Bigger Bottom… (Line)” E-Course.

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    CAUTION:  If you are overly sensitive or relentlessly idealistic or an unapologetic passivist at heart, you should probably stop reading!  =)

    I grew up on a Ballahack Road “farmette” in rural Virginia…. with one brother, and two parents who loved us and loved each other unconditionally.  We were one – one family unit – and we were raised to be kind, honest, grounded and fiercely loyal….

    I was also raised to be a fighter, to keep what my Dad called the “eye of the tiger”: Calm, steady, always intentional, but ready to JUMP and TAKE ACTION whenever it was demanded.  I was taught to fight physically – in the event I ever needed to defend myself – and to “win” decisively.  Of course, I was also prepard with to how to succeed emotionally, intellectually, socially.  Many people will disagree with my parent’s logic, their methods… It doesn’t matter. That’s not what this blogpost is about.  

    You see, we often avoid a “fight”, so when I was in church listening to the worship, the following lyrics rang so true for me:  “If it is worth the PRIZE, it’s always worth the FIGHT.”  It reminds me of a battle scene in the movie BraveHeart.  The Scotts were facing off with their enemies.  When the men saw how apparently outmatched they were, one man said, “I have no time for this battle… let’s go home and live.”  

    No time for the battle.  I can’t tell you how many times that mentality has held me back from success, prosperity, even abundance in so many other areas of my life.  I would stop pushing when I hit resistance….   I had this idea that it should be “easy”…. Convenient… Quick…. Like maybe if it were “meant to be, it would come to ME”…. 

    But when I look back over my life, the things that have given me the best return – those things I am MOST proud of – were created only when I pushed through the pain… when I was willing to battle and fight for what I said I wanted. This isn’t to say these times were miserable… or full of an angry “fight” mentality… or that when I did all I could do on my own, other things didn’t seem at times to miraculously “fall” into place.  In fact, when I look back, these “battles” were some of my most treasured memories. 

    I believe that there are times when the warrior in each of us needs to rise up to be counted… to stare down intimidating odds… to defy fear and timidity… to attempt the impossible… and to be willing to fail brilliantly and have the courage to  stand up and try again.   This is where life is lived, I think… outside of what is comfortable for us… or easy.  At the same time, I have to be honest and say that if my business success were built “up hill in the snow both ways”, I wouldn’t be doing it today.  I love life too much, and I love when I can expect (and experience) life and accomplishments to be EASY!  

    BUT, when I’ve needed major breakthroughs in income, or in any other area, I’ve learned to ask, “WHERE DID I SHY AWAY FROM THE FIGHT?  Where / when did I stop pushing?  When did my ACTIONS show that the prize wasn’t worth the fight?”  

    So, where could you double your efforts?  Where or WHAT could you push through?  Is there an area in which you see potential, but you haven’t fought to realize it?  Are there loose ends that you could fight to finish in an effort to create a better or stronger marketing or sales funnel?

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    OBJECTION!! 

    I can hear the gavel slam down on the defense attorney’s table as I type.  OBJECTION!!  On Ally McBeal, the stars would dramatically argue every point… stating objections, arguing them, proving their point.  Most of the time, they would win.  But in sales, we also encounter objections and the outcome is (many times) much more important to us – to our family – to our business – than any pretend case on prime time TV. 

    So, how do YOU handle them? Do you have a plan?  Have you invested in becoming an expert sales person?  (P.S. Your business depends on you mastering this skill / art / strategy!!)

    This afternoon at 1 PM, I am hosting a tele-seminar on OBJECTIONS in sales.  Included in this “meaty” seminar will be FIVE (simple) STRATEGIES you can use to sell more effectively and authentically.  We’ll cover:

    • How to USE sales objections to get closer to a YES….
    • How to employ CURIOSITY to get you closer to the CASH…
    • The “C” word you need to AVOID at all costs if you want to SELL…
    • The strategies leading UP to a profitable sales conversation…
    • Sales Savvy Solutions that are AUTHENTIC, SERVICE – ORIENTED, and PROFITABLE in every industry.

    I am doing this call for FREE for my friend and partner, Tory Johnson of Women For Hire.   It is taking place TODAY at 1 PM – virtually.  To reserve your spot, send an email to marathon@waggleforce.com with OBJECTION in the subject line.   That way, you’ll get your call in information, and we know you’re on the call so we can also send you the audio if you miss it live!   

    “See” you this afternoon!!!

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