You Talk Way Too Much

You Talk Way Too Much

Most people get nervous when placed in situations of ‘conflict,’ and therefore have a tendency to speak too much.  It’s almost as if you feel the need to justify, defend, or prove yourself, and you just start talking, regardless of what actually comes out of your mouth.

It’s the same in Sales.  You meet a prospect for the first time and you immediately begin to tell them everything about you and your product or service.  At the end of your pitch, the prospect says “Thank you very much,” and you never hear from them again. 

What about personal relationships?  Ever been put off by someone who simply wont stop talking?

Your 29 second elevator pitch that you learned off by heart, isn’t always appropriate.

There is an alternative approach. 

You can lead the conversation, the objection, or the conflict, by asking better questions. 

Here’s 3 Reasons how asking better questions can help you control a conversation:

1. Show an Interest.

Be authentic by asking questions to understand more about the person sitting in front of you.  What are the reasons behind the customers objection?  What is your prospect actually looking for?  Not only will this allow you to properly understand where your customer is in their decision making process, but it also shows the customer that you are taking the time to listen and understand them and ultimately their needs. 

You cannot sell something to a customer that they do not want or need.  Neither can you resolve any conflict if you have not dug a little deeper into the conversation.  Show an interest in the person sitting across from you by asking better questions so that you can understand exactly where they are coming from.

2. Lead the Conversation

If you are the person who asks the questions then you are able to lead the conversation to its logical conclusion.  In some instances, customers actually do not know what they want, and your questions can lead them towards making more informed decisions that are actually in their best interests.  By asking better questions you can lead your clients in a way that makes them feel that they have come to the decision themselves.    

3. Divert Some of the Pressure

In any type of situation where you feel that you need to divert attention away from yourself, simply ask a question back to the person applying the pressure.  This is a technique used in negotiation because it transfers the ‘pressure’ back onto the person raising the objection.  Not only does it the get the client to consider a solution to the problem, but it also gives you time to strategize if caught off guard. 

Your ability to ask better questions can transform the role you play in conversations, both in your business and personal life.  Most people try to dominate a conversation by talking, but are rarely ever in control.  

This week, practice asking more questions in your day-to-day conversations and see the difference it makes to the direction of the conversations.  Avoid asking questions that begin with “why” as these can come across as a little accusatory, rather use questions beginning with “how” and “what”.

And if you ever meet someone who answers your questions with a follow-up question, then you know you’ve met your match.

Have a great week

Get Out Of Bed

Get Out Of Bed

If you want to see the sunrise, you’ve got to get out of bed early, right?

I know it’s hard.  Your bed is so warm, and so very comfortable, especially on those chilly winter mornings.  The temptation to lie in that little bit longer, doing nothing, and just enjoying your comfortable space is so, so strong.

But when you lie in your comfortable space for too long, you’re missing the most amazing opportunities to experience life as it was meant to be lived.  Spectacular moments like a sunrise over the ocean, or the stillness of an early morning are what you and I take for granted all the time. 

It’s exactly the same with opportunities.  They always present themselves, but its up to you whether you jump out of bed and grab them with both hands.

It’s only when you push yourself out of a comfortable space, that you get to experience the magic.  That magic might be a magnificent sunrise in winter, or it might be renewed confidence that comes from a change in your fitness or diet routine, or the extra sales you close due to a renewed effort with your prospecting.

Right now there is magic happening all around you, as your colleagues and competitors are getting out of their comfortable beds and challenging themselves to grow, and the results are amazing.

What are you going to do this week that is going to challenge you?

How many opportunities have you wasted because its just too warm and cozy under your duvet?

Maybe it’s time to kick off your warm duvet and jump out of bed.

Talk With Candour this Week

Talk With Candour this Week

One of the most difficult conversations to have as a Leader, is the type of conversation when you know that your words may lead to some form of conflict.

It’s that type of conversation that requires you to speak with candour.

Candour is different to honesty.  It’s more than simply telling the truth.  Candour refers to an openness, and a frankness when approaching a topic that could be regarded as being difficult, awkward, or even embarrassing to discuss.

Sometimes the bare truth delivered in these conversations is hard to hear.  Well, make no mistake, this type of truth is also difficult to deliver at times too, especially if you fear confrontation.

It’s in these moments when Leadership will challenge you.

To be clear, Leadership doesn’t require a title, and Leadership is not confined to the business world.  

You can take the role of leader in your department at work, with your customers, within your circle of friends and in your romantic relationship.  You can also step up and be a strong leader for yourself, especially during times when you feel you may be drifting off course.

You are the captain of your ship, with regards all aspects of your life.

Your ability to deliver a conversation with candour will define your ability to lead, in any sphere of your life, and the way that you will do so effectively is to combine your candour with an equal amount of care.

Speaking with care demonstrates that you value the person you are speaking to, and shows that you are there to help them grow and develop through whatever situation you need to address. 

How you care for someone defines the relationship.  How you speak with candour will direct the relationship.

Some of the best words of advice I ever received came from my Father.  15 years ago when I took over the family business he said to me “always be hard on the problem, but soft on the person.”  Whilst not easy at all in the early days, these words have always guided me through my life.

As a Leader you will have two choices at any point in time:

1. Avoid the difficult conversation – this approach is taken when you are not prepared to confront.  You hope that the problem will simply go away.  It very rarely does, especially when it involves the behaviour of another person.  Avoiding this type of conversation keeps you safe, but hurts your business, your relationships and your friendships.  It’s a case of short term safety, versus long-term pain.

2. Confront the difficult conversation with Candour and Care – this approach is difficult at first, but when choosing your words with the right balance of care and candour, you have the ability to correct a challenging situation, and also establish a sound relationship that will develop over time.  It’s all about taking the short term pain, to ensure long term happiness.

Of course, always remember that the person who receives your candour and care also has the choice of how to receive your words.  That is up to them, and is in no way a reflection of you. 

As a Leader, if you’re brave enough to step forward and speak in the best interest of the person, relationship, or business, then their reaction is simply a reflection of how they see the world.

Any loss as a result of this type of conversation is potentially a good loss.  If you know what I mean…

Remember, you can never say the wrong thing to the right person.

Step up this week.  Find the courage to speak with candour and care this week, and start entrenching your value as a person, and a Leader with those around you.

Good Luck

Look for Evidence that Proves You’re Wrong

Look for Evidence that Proves You’re Wrong

In 1975 a 24 year old Kodak engineer named Steven Sasson invented a digital camera and presented his invention to senior executives at the company.

His invention would require people to record photos onto digital tapes and then view the photos on a standard television screen.

This was the response of the Kodak executives as told by Sasson to The New York Times:

They were convinced that no one would ever want to look at their pictures on a television set. Print had been with us for over 100 years, no one was complaining about prints, they were very inexpensive, and so why would anyone want to look at their picture on a television set?


Kodak
believed that photo prints would be around forever, and their actions as a company, were based on this rock-solid belief.

They did eventually change their minds though, and made the switch to digital 18 years later.  It was however, too late, and one of the largest businesses in the world filed for bankruptcy in 2012.

Is it possible that just like Kodak,  you and I cling onto rock-solid belief systems and thought processes for years and years, even though there is probably evidence to suggest that those belief systems are fundamentally wrong?

How could this be impacting your outcomes?

It’s possible that you just aren’t open to seeing what you do not want to see.

Money is not the root of all evil.  
A woman’s place is not in the kitchen.
Children should be both seen and heard.
It’s not just the way you are.
No, you’re not broken.
You’re not too old to change.
You can be a single mom and have a successful career.
You’re not too big to run.

That last one was mine.  I believed that I could not run because my body shape was too big.  It was the perfect excuse to avoid any form of running exercise for 40 years.  Until I eventually saw evidence that proved to me that my belief was wrong.

For the first time in my life, at age 40, I went down to watch the finish of the Comrades Marathon at the Moses Mabida Stadium in Durban.  I went to support a few friends who were running.  While waiting for my friends to finish, I saw what I will describe very respectfully, as one of the largest women I have ever seen, successfully completing the 90km road race.

For you, she may have been another female athlete completing the toughest road race in the world.  For me, she was not only a source of inspiration, but a message received loud and clear that my own belief was fundamentally wrong.  I was presented with evidence to prove that my own thinking was wrong.

I was however, open to receiving this message.  I was ready to accept that I could be wrong.  How many times have you had evidence presented to you, only for you to dismiss it out of hand because it was maybe “too good to be true”?

You can only see what is in front of your eyes when you are ready to see it.

A few years later I can proudly say that I have completed 2 x 10km races and a very grueling 21km race.  I also do weekly 5km runs with my friends. 

Most importantly though, guess what?  I am certainly not too big to run.

This week, I want to ask you to do something that could change your life forever.

Be aware of what is happening around you.  Be open to the evidence that exists around you that can prove your limiting beliefs to be wrong.   Seek the evidence out if you have to.  There is no such thing as coincidence.  The universe is sending you messages every day. 

All I am asking you to do is to be open to the possibility that the belief system, or the thought process, that governs the majority of your actions and habits, could be fundamentally wrong for you and the results you aspire to.

Be aware.

These thoughts and beliefs that you hang onto are so often designed to keep you safe.  They are a protection mechanism that can hold you back from fulfilling your true potential in this life.

What if you could release that limiting belief?

Who could you be?

This is powerful.

Have an amazing week.

Energy vs Time Management

Energy vs Time Management

A married couple were recently in South Africa visiting our amazing country.  They landed in Durban in the early morning and arranged to drive up North to an exclusive game reserve.

Their first game drive was scheduled for 5pm that day.  With no time pressure, they had an entire day to complete a 3 hour journey.  They took a slow, pleasant drive up the Coast, stopping at numerous tourist spots along the way.

Despite having all the time in the world, the couple ended up missing their 5pm game drive.  They were devastated.  This was the most important part of their day, and they missed it.

Why?  They didn’t manage their energy. 

They missed an opportunity to fill up petrol in their car, thinking that they would get another opportunity further along their journey.  Unfortunately, they miscalculated their distances and ran out of petrol.  Stuck on the side of the road, they waited hours for help, and eventually arrived at their destination at 7pm.

 

Lack of Time was never their issue, and it’s the same for you.  

You have all the time in the world to do whatever you want to do.  Managing your time is actually simple.  Work out which of the following 4 elements of your life are most important to you, and then prioritize them into your day in order of importance:

1. Family
2. Business
3. Community (Friends, Clubs, Church etc)
4. You

 

Prioritize what is most important to you, and schedule that in first.  Then work the rest of your day around those important activities.  For example, if Family is Priority number 1 for you, then create appointments in your diary for collecting kids from school, or taking them to after-school activities.  Then move to Priority number 2, and allocate the most important activities next.  Etc etc.

Managing your time is all about prioritizing what is important and making sure that gets done first.  If you don’t schedule the important activities, you will get distracted by “urgent, not important” tasks and before you know it, your day is over and you’re lying in bed stressing about what you never got to during your day.

Managing your energy comes down to where you place yourself on your list of priorities when planning your time.  You simply cannot come last.

If you are putting yourself last, then you are at some point going to run out of energy, and this is not in the best interests of your family, business or community.

Here are 3 tips to help you get this balance right:

1. Schedule your “You Time” First :  How often do you run out of time to do the things that help you recharge?  Everybody else comes first, right?  Well, you have the power to change that.  Schedule 45 – 60 min into your day to do something that you know will help you to recharge.  Walking on the beach, going to the gym, running, meditating, reading a book, listening to music, prayer, or even just time alone to think and plan.   If you don’t plan this time into your schedule, it will not happen.

 2. Communicate this to others:  Time out for you is important.  Understand that others may see this as being selfish, and therefore it is so important that you communicate clearly to them as to why you need to plan this into your time.  The reason is obvious, but it never seems that way to others, because “you time’ removes you from their space.  The alternative is also true – if you run out of energy, everyone else suffers.  You can only give 100% to your family, business and community if your tank is full.  You are doing this for them as much as for yourself.  They need to know.

3.  Keep Your Discipline:  Once you have your schedule, and your significant others have bought into your schedule, it’s now up to you to remain disciplined.   The short-term benefit of your “you time” activity is minimal.  The longer term benefit of disciplined daily activities however, will manifest over time in so many different aspects of your well-being.  It takes 29 days to form a new habit, so don’t give up too soon.  Stick with the plan.

Getting this right is really difficult for most people, but these 3 points are real-life action points that I have used in my own life to good benefit, as well as having had positive impact on many people I have coached.

No more excuses.  Start making yourself more of a priority and ensure that you keep your own petrol tank full.

You have all the time in the world.  Make sure you’re in a fit state to use it all.