Sunday, 31 May 2009

Power up your Presentation Skills – 10 Tips for Better Presenting

Power up your Presentation Skills – 10 Tips for Better Presenting

Presenting in front of an audience is not everyone's cup of tea but with the correct advice, guidelines and practice it can be enjoyable for both the presenter and the audience. Preparation is everything and it is essential that you know your subject matter. The more prepared you are, the more confident you will feel which makes for a better presentation.

Follow these simple tips and your presentations will be fun, interesting and rewarding for both you and your audience.

  1. Keep your PowerPoint visual – Keep them clean, not too wordy and relative to the presentation. They should just be a visual representation of the subject. The audience isn't there to read your slides; they are there to listen to you present.

  2. Engage with the audience - Make eye contact with everyone throughout the room. If you don't do this then you aren't engaging the audience, you are just talking to yourself. Each person should feel like you are speaking to them personally.

  3. Deliver with a passion – It's amazing how catchy enthusiasm is. If your voice is expressive and your gestures animated, you will appear confident and passionate.

  4. Make them laugh – Have some fun! Although you want to educate your audience, you need to make them laugh too. In essence, it keeps the audience alert and they'll learn more from you than someone who just educates.

  5. Ask questions - People hate it when they get talked at, so don't do it. You need to interact with your audience and create a conversation. The easiest way to do this is to ask them questions as well as letting them ask you questions.

  6. Be human –Simply be truthful to your audience. Telling the truth and being human will earn you respect and people will trust you for your honesty. Putting yourself on a pedestal and being super-human can work against you. So tell them how it is.

  7. Don't over prepare – Of course, you need to be prepared enough to know what you are going to talk about but just enough to make sure your presentation flows naturally and not sound memorized. Experienced speakers will tell you not to rehearse your presentation too much because then it won't sound natural.

  8. Show some movement – Keep yourself moving. People will stay engaged if you are animated. If you have a large audience or big stage make sure you spend an equal amount of time in front of all of your audience. Being animated also helps display a sense of passion too.

  9. Watch what you say - You may not notice when you say words like "uhm" or "ah", but the audience does. If you use them a lot when presenting it can get quite irritating; so much that some members of the audience will probably count how many times you say these useless words and tell you!

  10. Don't read directly from your notes – One of the most common mistakes made by first time speakers is to stand up and read directly from notes. If a speaker is looking down at a page of notes it does not allow them to engage eye contact with the audience to hold their interest. As alternative, bullet point key messages that you wish to get across on cue cards to keep you on track and it won't sound so scripted.

Friday, 29 May 2009

Giving it away! - Delegation

Giving it away! - Delegation

People use many excuses for not delegating. Their reasons are usually unfounded. You'll get more done through delegation if you assume the opposite of the following statements is true:

  • I could do it better myself.
  • I don't know if I can trust her to do it.
  • He isn't qualified to do it.
  • She doesn't want any added responsibilities.
  • I don't have the time to show anyone how to do it.
  • There is no one else to delegate to.
  • He already has enough to do.
  • I don't want to give up this task because I like doing it.
  • I'm the only person who knows how to do this.
  • She messed up last time, so I'm not giving her anything else to do.
What To Delegate
  • Don't delegate what you can eliminate. If you shouldn't be doing an activity, then perhaps you shouldn't be giving the activity away to others. Eliminate it.
  • Delegate routine activities, even though you don't want to:
    • Fact-finding assignments
    • Preparation of rough drafts of reports
    • Problem analysis and suggested actions
    • Collection of data for reports
    • Photocopying, printing, collating
    • Data entry
  • Delegate things that aren't part of your core competency. For small businesses, these include accounting, web site design, deliveries, hardware upkeep, software help, graphic design, travel arrangements, patenting, legal issues and even HR functions such as payroll.
  • Some things you can't delegate: performance reviews, discipline, firing.
  • Create a plan to delegate. Don't give out assignments haphazardly.
  • Invest short term time in training to gain a long term increase in productivity.
  • Others may end up doing a better job than you can or finding new ways to complete a task.
  • Delegate, don't abdicate. Someone else can do the task, but you're still responsible for the completion of it, and for managing the delegation process.

Delegation Instructions

Make sure the standards and the outcome are clear. What needs to be done, when should it be finished and to what degree of quality or detail?

  • Delegate the objective, not the procedure. Outline the desired results, not the methodology.
  • Ask people to provide progress reports. Set interim deadlines to see how things are going.
  • Delegate to the right person. Don't always give tasks to the strongest, most experienced or first available person.
  • Spread delegation around and give people new experiences as part of their training.
  • Obtain feedback from employees to ensure they feel they're being treated appropriately. A simple "How's it going with that new project?" might be all that's needed.
  • Be sure to delegate the authority along with the responsibility. Don't make people come back to you for too many minor approvals.
  • Trust people to do well and don't look over their shoulders or check up with them along the way, unless they ask.
  • Be prepared to trade short term errors for long term results.
  • When you finish giving instructions, the last thing to ask is, "What else do you need to get started?" They'll tell you.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Reticular Activating System - The RADAR in your brain

Part of your brain is known as the Reticular Activating System or RAS. Your RAS plays a vital part in your ability to achieve goals.

Imagine that you're walking through a busy noise airport passenger terminal. Think of all the noise - hundreds of people talking, music, announcements, luggage carriers. How much of this noise is brought to your attention? Not a lot. True, you can hear a general background noise, but not many of us bother to listen to each individual sound.

But then a new announcement comes over the public address system - saying your name or maybe your flight. Suddenly your attention is full on. Your RAS is the automatic mechanism inside your brain that brings relevant information to your attention.

Your reticular activating system is like a filter between your conscious mind and your subconscious mind. It takes instructions from your conscious mind and passes them on to your subconscious. For example, the instruction might be, "listen out for anyone saying my name".
There are some interesting points about your reticular activating system that make it an essential tool for achieving goals.

First, you can deliberately program the reticular activating system by choosing the exact messages you send from your conscious mind. For example, you can set goals, or say affirmations, or visualize your goals. Napoleon Hill said that we can achieve any realistic goal if we keep on thinking of that goal, and stop thinking any negative thoughts about it. Of course, if we keep thinking that we can't achieve a goal, our subconscious will help us - not achieve it.

Second, your reticular activating system cannot distinguish between 'real events' and 'synthetic' reality. In other words it tends to believe whatever message you give it. Imagine that you're going to be giving a speech. You can practice giving that speech by visualizing it in your mind. This 'pretend' practice should improve your ability to give the speech.

What we need to do is to create a very specific picture of our goal in our conscious mind. The RAS will then pass this on to our subconscious - which will then help us achieve the goal. It does this by bringing to our attention all the relevant information which otherwise might have remained as 'background noise'.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

5 Simple Ways to ensure your testimonials work best for you..

Using customer testimonials in your advertising, marketing materials and on your website is a common practice. If your customers are saying great things about your business, then why not publicize those positive testimonials for the world to see?

Not so fast: There are two main problems with customer testimonials--overuse and legitimacy. Testimonials are used so often that they have lost some of their value. Furthermore, prospective customers don't always trust the truthfulness of testimonials.

How do you make your customer testimonials stand out from the crowd and make them more meaningful for your prospects? To create effective, meaningful customer testimonials, they must be:

1. Authentic
2. Quantifiable
3. Specific
4. Diverse
5. Approved

In short, don't leave room for guesswork when it comes to your customer testimonials. Leverage the role of your loyal and best customers by asking them to provide testimonials. Make sure your customer testimonials are verifiable, and specifically tell prospective consumers the benefits of doing business with you.

If your customer testimonials are honest and trustworthy, then people will respond to them which will translate to positive results for your bottom line. See my examples here...

You might also want to consider using a third party to gather your testimonials for you. Companies like The Disc Directory will pro-actively promote and publish positive commments from your satisfied customers. It adds great value and credibility having these published by a third party.

Sack the Juggler! Is it just balls????

A few years ago, I thought it was just an isolated case- not commonly found. Now it has become epidemic; so many of the small business owners I meet suffer from it. (Jugglers Syndrome)...

So many balls in the air.... Its symptoms include difficulty focusing on one thing at a time, trouble sticking to one subject or topic, not being able to finish a task, poor follow through in general, and the in-ability to stick with a new pattern or habit until it becomes consistent.

I’m no medical doctor and I write this in some jest, but honestly there is a real correlation between this and and being your own boss. Somewhere along the line, the same gene that makes a person bold, daring, smart (even brilliant), insightful and a leader also contains an inability to stay focused.

It’s actually sad to see brilliant and hardworking business owners spin their wheels and not get anywhere because they simply don’t know how to focus. Sound like you? I have coached numerous different business owners who have had Jugglers Syndrome (JS) to varying degrees, so I have learnt the best way to coach them.

As soon as I see the first signs of (JS), I equip my clients with the following tools to help them fight this very curable infliction\addiction:

Quit multi-tasking. The ancient Chinese saying, “A man who chases two rabbits catches none,” is true. Focus on one thing - do it well and only after completing it, move on to the next one.

Maintain a to-do-list and keep it in one secure place. Rather than carrying your to-do's around with you, or listed in your head.. Have them tied down to a "place" In simple terms you are no longer carrying all those balls... You put one down to pick another one up.

Plan before you take any action. Your first urge may be to answer that ringing phone or respond to the first piece of paper you come across, but in many cases, that is the wrong thing to do. You are much better served by adding these tasks to your specially designed to-do-list, then reviewing it in order to prioritize (using the 80/20 rule used in sales coaching), and then take the appropriate action.

Keep another section where you can record and store your great ideas. Having too many ideas can sometimes paralyze you. Keeping your future ideas in a “parking lot” will free up your valuable mind-space and allow you to focus on the matters at hand.

Commit to sticking to new habits- and only one new habit at a time- for six weeks. People with (JS) seem to be trying something new all the time- and most of the things they want to try are brilliant but they have to stick with these. Making a commitment to your coach or someone else in your life that you will try your new habit for six weeks can help you follow-through with your commitments. After all it takes at least a month to create a habit..

Because.... Practice makes Perfect - WRONG - Practice makes PERMINENT. By committing to a six week run you are far more likely to perminently change your habits and be cured of the dreaded Jugglers Syndrome.....

These basic steps can go a long way in maintaining focus- a quality that is paramount for success.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Turn Your Customers Into Raving Fans

Turn Your Customers Into Raving Fans

Raving fans are customers who are so over the moon with us that they not only tell all their friends and colleagues about us, they actually bring them to us and help us to sell things to them.

It’s a frightening fact of business life ithat we spend six times more to attract new customers to our businesses than we do to up-sell, on-sell and generally over service our existing customers so that they stay our customers and don’t leave us and go to our competition.

Just to add another frightening fact, 68 percent of customers who leave a company do so simply because of a perceived indifference, you actually didn’t do anything wrong, the customer just thought you didn’t care enough!

How do you show you ‘Didn’t care enough’? Well, it can be in many different small ways, you forget to thank them, remember their name, offer that extra little bit, suggest that accessory which would be perfect or any one of dozens of other little perceived indifferences that your competition can capitalize on.

Here are some simple tips that you can introduce in your business today which will help you to keep your customers coming back, bringing their friends with them and generally shouting your name from rooftops telling people why, if they’re not dealing with you, they’re missing out on something wonderful!

  • Send them thank you cards
  • Sell them everything they need to gain maximum benefit from the purchase
  • Use their name frequently
  • Call them up just to make sure everything is going well
  • Invite them to special sales just for a privileged few, exceptional clients
  • Cal them up when something new arrives in stock that you know they would like
  • Ask them for their suggestions as to how you could improve your service to them
  • Follow up & follow up again
  • Under promise and over deliver
None of this is difficult, it starts with you and you must lead by example because your team does everything you do, if you do care for your customers they will care for you and help you to grow your business.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Some great job interview questions with answers!

Q. Tell me about yourself.
A. This is the dreaded, classic, open-ended interview question and likely to be among the first. It's your chance to introduce your qualifications, good work habits, etc. Keep it mostly work and career related.

Q. Why do you want to leave your current job? (Why did you leave your last job?)
A. Be careful with this. Avoid trashing other employers and making statements like, "I need more money." Instead, make generic statements such as, "It's a career move."

Q. What are your strengths?

A. Point out your positive attributes related to the job.

Q. What are your weaknesses?
A. Everybody has weaknesses, but don't spend too much time on this one and keep it work related. Along with a minor weakness or two, try to point out a couple of weaknesses that the interviewer might see as strengths, such as sometimes being a little too meticulous about the quality of your work. (Avoid saying "I work too hard." It's a predictable, common answer.) For every weakness, offer a strength that compensates for it.

Q. Which adjectives would you use to describe yourself?
A. Answer with positive, work-oriented adjectives, such as conscientious, hard-working, honest and courteous, plus a brief description or example of why each fits you well.

Q. What do you know about our company?
A. To answer this one, research the company before you interview.

Q. Why do you want to work for us?
A. Same as above. Research the company before you interview. Avoid the predictable, such as, "Because it's a great company." Say why you think it's a great company.

Q. Why should I hire you?
A. Point out your positive attributes related to the job, and the good job you've done in the past. Include any compliments you've received from management.

Q. What past accomplishments gave you satisfaction?
A. Briefly describe one to three work projects that made you proud or earned you pats on the back, promotions, raises, etc. Focus more on achievement than reward.

Q. What makes you want to work hard?
A. Naturally, material rewards such as perks, salary and benefits come into play. But again, focus more on achievement and the satisfaction you derive from it.

Q. What type of work environment do you like best?
A. Tailor your answer to the job. For example, if in doing your job you're required to lock the lab doors and work alone, then indicate that you enjoy being a team player when needed, but also enjoy working independently. If you're required to attend regular project planning and status meetings, then indicate that you're a strong team player and like being part of a team.

Q. Why do you want this job?
A. To help you answer this and related questions, study the job ad in advance. But a job ad alone may not be enough, so it's okay to ask questions about the job while you're answering. Say what attracts you to the job. Avoid the obvious and meaningless, such as, "I need a job."

Q. How do you handle pressure and stress?
A. This is sort of a double whammy, because you're likely already stressed from the interview and the interviewer can see if you're handling it well or not. Everybody feels stress, but the degree varies. Saying that you whine to your shrink, kick your dog or slam down a fifth of Jack Daniels are not good answers. Exercising, relaxing with a good book, socializing with friends or turning stress into productive energy are more along the lines of the "correct" answers.

Q. Explain how you overcame a major obstacle.
A. The interviewer is likely looking for a particular example of your problem-solving skills and the pride you show for solving it.

Q. Where do you see yourself five (ten or fifteen) years from now?
A. Explain your career-advancement goals that are in line with the job for which you are interviewing. Your interviewer is likely more interested in how he, she or the company will benefit from you achieving your goals than what you'll get from it, but it goes hand in hand to a large degree. It's not a good idea to tell your potential new boss that you'll be going after his or her job, but it's okay to mention that you'd like to earn a senior or management position.

Q. What qualifies you for this job?
A. Tout your skills, experience, education and other qualifications, especially those that match the job description well. Avoid just regurgitating your resume. Explain why.

Ask yourself how to create a Vision Statement

Create a vision statement
The easiest way to write a vision statement is to ask questions.
You can use some of these and make up your own.

  • What important problems do you solve?
  • What unique market position do you control?
  • What is your geographic coverage? Are you local? National? International? Intergalactic
  • What value does your enterprise create in the world?
  • Is that value provided to: consumers, governments, kids, small businesses, giant corporations, humanity?
  • Is your organization a corporation? A loose alliance? A strategic partnership? A virtual company?
  • What form is it?
  • Who owns the company – you? Partners? Outside investors? The public?
  • How big is your organization?
  • How many people work at/for your company?
  • What kind of people are they?
  • What role do you play daily?
  • How much revenue and/or profit do you generate?
  • What does the press say about your company?
  • Are you leading edge / bleeding edge / innovative or just a cash cow?
  • Where are your headquarters?
  • Where are your remote offices?
  • What is special about working for/at your company?
  • How is your company growing? Sales? New product/service lines? Acquisition?
  • How would you describe your company culture?
  • What do your customers say about your company?
  • What is your company known for?
  • How do you redefine the industry you are in?
  • What is the future of your company?

Thursday, 21 May 2009

The 10 Commandments of Networking

  1. Thou shalt drop the "what is in it for me?" attitude.
  2. Thou shalt listen.
  3. Thou shalt build a relationship.
  4. Thou shalt give the first referral.
  5. Thou shalt not tell others of the referral you require; thou shalt "show them" with a story.
  6. Thou shalt be specific of the type of referral.
  7. Thou shalt reciprocate when appropriate.
  8. Thou shalt participate in the network executive, functions, and network time.
  9. Thou shalt thank the person who gave a referral.
  10. Thou shalt follow up on the referral within 24 hours.

10 Strengths of a GREAT Goal setter

1: Be Specific
This strength is particularly relevant when setting "Smart" goals because some of your projects will require detailed planning. The more specific you can be on the next step or action required, the more likely you are to take that step and get closer to the goal.

2: Be Tenacious
"Never giving up" may or may not be a wise thing to do. Rather than banging your head against the wall, tenacity can be effectively displayed by looking for another way around, over or under that wall.

3: Be Results Driven
Many people take this for granted but sell themselves very short by settling for limited results. Challenge yourself to be looking for results as a form of positive feedback. This is a world away from the stereo-typical 'Type-A' Maniac.

4: Be Enthusiastic
From the root meaning of the word, the "theos" within, this is one of the most important inner strengths to draw on. It is a wonderful thing to feel the power of enthusiasm at work on a desired change or goal.

5: Be Noble
Perhaps this translates best as civility or politeness. Being noble will also do wonders for your stress levels!

6: Be Grateful
You can exercise this strength by simply being grateful for your family and friends, for the opportunities that come your way and for the breath that keeps coming.

7: Be Trusting
It is possible to trust the best intentions of yourself and others without being gullible or naive. By looking for and expecting the best of yourself and others, you may also learn to trust your intuition when something doesn't seem quite right.

8: Be Happy
This refers to the predominant feeling you wish to experience while achieving this goal. It is an ongoing and an inner experience from a place within. See strength number 4 for a useful ally!

9: Be Serious
"You cannot be serious!"; as the tennis player John McEnroe used to bawl on the tennis courts of the world. Oh, but I am! You can become serious when you need to apply focus and attention, yet also remain discreetly happy within.

10: Be Curious
A strength many of us let lapse from early adulthood. More's the pity because a curiosity for what you are capable of in the world helps sustain most of the other 9 strengths - just as oxygen fuels a fire.

The 15 Keys To Running Team Meetings

The 15 Keys To Running Team Meetings

These are the 15 keys components of an effective and efficient team meeting – whether it’s for management, administration, sales or production.

Set a time
Make it the same time every time, so that people book it in as a habit
Set a Frequency
Make it consistent so that’s it’s booked it in as a habit
Select a location
In the office, cafĂ© or on the phone – make it the same place each time
Publish an agenda
So that the team knows what’s being covered
Start on time
Reward the organised people, train the tardy people to be early
Thank them for making the time
Your Say
Allow everyone to have ‘their say’ on how they are feeling – 1 minute max. This gets participation and everyone involved.
Check In
Each person to talk about what they have done from the previous weeks action list. If they have done them – congratulate them. If they haven’t done them, get them to commit to getting them done and ask “how can I/we support you on getting it done for next week?”
Celebrate the wins
Acknowledge and recognize the achievements
Anything to add to the agenda?
Gives the team the opportunity to add topics they want covered
What’s happening with the business good and bad. Important to get this out of the way early (there can be negatives that need to be addressed) and then end with positives so that the team leave the meeting on a high.
Keep it fun and lively. Get everyone involved. (A great way to get people learning fast is to set them a topic that they need to work on as a teaching topic for them the following meeting or meetings.)
To Do’s for the next meeting
Each person is to list down the things that they will commit to doing before the next meeting.
Share action commitments
Each person reads out their commitments to the group
Finish on time

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

The feature of demonstrating the benefit!

Features and Benefits
Commonly accepted marketing wisdom suggests that customers like benefits. They don’t give a damn about features. A classic Marketing 101 exercise suggests that you take a piece of paper, and on the left side, write down a list of your product or service’s features. On the right side, list the corresponding benefit(s).

Heaters Feature: It comes with a timer.
Benefit: Your house will be warm when you get home from work.
Lipstick Feature: Fancy-pants patent-pending co-enzyme light-diffusing blah blah blah.
Benefit: Your lips will be glossier.
Trousers Feature: Lycra panels at the waist
Benefit: You will look 10 pounds slimmer.

It’s a little harder to delineate when you’re selling a service.
Features and benefits tend to look alike. Here are a few:

Phone service
Feature: Call forwarding
Benefit: You’ll never miss another important call.
Internet service
Feature: 7 megabyte per second download speed
Benefit: All those mp3s you’re stealing come much faster.
Web design
Feature: Knowledge of PHP, AJAX, JavaScript, etc.
Benefit: You get a pretty website.
What if you can’t figure out if something is a feature or a benefit?

If you don’t know, drill down. Ask why whatever it is you’re thinking about is important to your customer. When you arrive at an answer that even a three-year-old could understand, you’ve found your benefit.

For example, let’s say you run a freelance writing business. You have a network of other writers to whom you can subcontract. Is your network a benefit or a feature?
You: I have a team of freelancers available to me.
Customer: Why do I care?
You: Because you can have your stuff done 5 times faster.

The Four Stages of Learning


Not only do you not know what to do, you have no experience of it either. An example that could be used is for a child, car driving is a mystery. They have no fear and no awareness of what they do not know.


Practising the skill takes all your concentration – it can be very uncomfortable. You have an awareness of what you should do/know, but you do not always succeed


You can do it, but it takes attention and concentration


The skills becomes almost a habit, you are able to be successful without concentration and your conscious mind is free to take on other things

Saturday, 16 May 2009

You don’t have time to be late!!

6 ways to stop being late

1. Schedule and block.Put the appointment in your calendar and block out the duration of the engagement. This way you will not create overlapping commitments that will get you into a time trap.

2. Run the clock backwards.If you have a meeting at 2pm and it is going to take you 35 minutes to get there and 10 minutes to organize your things for the meeting then you need to have a hard stop on whatever you are doing at 1:15pm. If you are that unconscious you can set an alarm on your phone or watch for that time.

3. The graceful exit.Here’s a great thing to say: “Excuse me, I hate to cut you off, but I have an appointment.” It is hard to cut someone off, but they will respect you for sticking to a schedule. The more successful the person you are dealing with, the stricter they stick to a schedule. This not only gets you out of the current obligation, but garners you respect as you demonstrate you respect for time.

4. Be a pessimist.Assume everything will take a little longer than your first estimate. This will either make you right on time for everything, or it’ll make you a little early. People who run early are calm, organized, and always ready. Not a bad place to be.

5. Prioritize.Some people are late because they simply don’t have enough time to do everything. The only way to change this is to stop doing so much. Face the reality that you cannot get your whole list done. Figure out what’s most important and just get that done. Tell the people who depend on you that you can only do what you have time for, and things at the bottom of their list of priorities will not get done: a reality check for everyone in your life.

6. Take a good hard look in the mirror.Why do you let yourself be late? It is disrespectful and makes you look unorganized and out of control. Why are you not getting control over your time? So much about being on time is actually about self-knowledge. Often, we are scared to make the decisions that we must make in order to get control over our time and become someone who runs on schedule. But there is no other way to run a life. To run on schedule is to plan the life you want to live and execute that plan

What turns you on?

Motivational Techniques

Motivation through Challenges
Individuals are motivated when they are working towards personally meaningful goals. Attainment of those goals must require activity that is increasingly difficult, but attainable. In other words, people like to be challenged, but they must feel their goals are achievable to stay motivated. This can be accomplished by:
· Establishing goals that are personally meaningful
· Making those goals possible
· Providing feedback on performance
· Aligning goals with the individual's self esteem

Motivation through Curiosity
In this concept of self motivation we are talking about providing something in the individual's environment that arouses their curiosity. This can be accomplished by presenting the individual with something that connects their present knowledge or skills with a more desirable level - if the person were to engage in a certain activity. So to motivate someone through curiosity, the environment must stimulate their interest to learn more.

Motivation through Control
Most people like to feel they are in control of their destiny. They want to feel in control of what happens to them. To stay motivated, individuals must understand the cause and effect relationship between an action they will take and the result. To motivate individuals through the use of control you can:
Make the cause and effect relationship clear by establishing a goal and its reward.
Allow individuals to believe that the work they do does make a difference.
Allow individuals to choose what they want to learn and how to go about learning it.

Motivation through Fantasy
Another intrinsic motivating factor comes via fantasy. That is individuals can use mental images of things and / or situations that are not actually present to motivate themselves. You can foster motivation through fantasy by helping individuals imagine themselves in situations that are motivating.
For example, if you know that someone is highly motivated by the thought of being in control, then you can talk to them about a future point in time when they might be in charge of a large and important business operation.

Motivation through Competition
Individuals can also be motivated by competition. That's because we gain a certain amount of satisfaction by comparing our performance to that of others. This type of competition can occur naturally as well as artificially.
When using competition to foster motivation, keep in mind the following:
· Competition is more motivating to some than others
· Losing in a competition de-motivates more than winning motivates
· Competitive spirits can sometimes reduce the likelihood of being helpful to competitors

Motivation through Cooperation
Cooperating with others or the feeling that you can help others is very motivating. Most individuals feel quite satisfied by helping others achieve their goals. As was the case with competition, motivation through cooperation can occur naturally or artificially.
When attempting to use cooperating to motivate, keep in mind:
· Cooperation is more important to some individuals than others
· Cooperation is a valuable skill that can be used in many different situations
· Interpersonal skills are important for cooperation

Motivation through Recognition
Finally, individuals are motivated through recognition. When their accomplishments are recognized by others, then they feel motivated. You need to make sure that recognition is distinguished from competition. With recognition you do not compare their achievements to those of others as you might with a competition.

Extrinsic or External Motivation
As previously mentioned, extrinsic or external motivation is the term used to describe external factors that stimulate our internal motivation. The concept of externally motivating someone is not at odds with the fact that motivation comes from within. The point here is that it is possible to provide others with situations or an external environment that is motivating.
Perhaps the most useful lesson for the leader then becomes how to motivate employees that report directly or indirectly to the leader. If you understand the intrinsic motivational factors previously described, then a game plan can be developed to foster motivation among employees.
Employee Motivation
Some of the most effective ways for managers and leaders to motivate their staff includes recognition, providing positive performance feedback and by challenging employees to learn new things. Many new managers make the mistake of introducing de-motivating factors into the workplace such as punishment for mistakes or frequent criticisms.

When followers feel they are being supported and they have the ability to remain in control of their workplace they stay motivated. Leaders can foster this feeling by allowing employees to take on added responsibility and accountability for making decisions.

But the important thing to keep in mind is that motivation is individual and the degree of motivation achieved through one single strategy will not be the most effective way to motivate all employees. The most effective way to determine what motivates others is through carefully planned trial and error.

Friday, 15 May 2009

50 GREAT learning’s to live by

Taken from ‘The Way of the Shark’ by Greg Norman

  • · Dreams are the blueprints of reality
  • · Find a better way but don’t take short cuts
  • · Always tell the truth
  • · Separate yourself from the crowd
  • · Control your emotions
  • · Get anger out of your system as quickly as possible
  • · Set high standards they will drive you to achieve
  • · “Do it now” and “Do it properly”
  • · You are judged by the company you keep
  • · Learn the value of preparation
  • · Be willing to change in order to succeed
  • · Work on your weaknesses, rather than focus on your strengths
  • · Face failure, learn from it and move on
  • · Seek the advice of others
  • · Forge strategic and long term relationships
  • · Identify a niche and fill it
  • · Study others. Apply what works. Discard what doesn’t
  • · Focus on delivering substance over style
  • · Play your own game
  • · Expect the unexpected
  • · When looking for partners, search for companies with like minded values
  • · Don’t stand by idly when the rights of others are threatened
  • · Material change comes from those willing to change the status quo
    · Stay in good physical condition. It will make a difference in your mental outlook
  • · Resolve conflict through personal intervention
  • · Turn inertia into action
  • · Trust your instincts
  • · Think of yourself as an entrepreneur
  • · Learn to compartmentalize, give total focus to the task in hand
  • · The nature of a true competitor is to become more determined with every defeat
  • · Victory is sweet, but how you handle yourself in defeat is often more telling
  • · It takes time to establish something of value
  • · Separate your personal life from your professional life
  • · Treat your clients money as though it were your own
  • · Don’t change the people, change the people
  • · Evaluate each business opportunity on its own merit
  • · Develop a detailed plan for each business and continually refine it
  • · Find your adjacent space opportunities
  • · Know when to develop your own ideas and when to partner with others
  • · Be a good partner, respect and defer to others talents
  • · Know when to build equity in your own brand and when to add value to others
  • · Always over deliver on the value proposition
  • · Every deal is different, be flexible
  • · Develop your business in emerging markets
  • · Involve independently minded people at the highest level of your organisation
  • · Empower your employees in a way that unleashes their talent and energy
  • · Meet regularly with members of your team to explain your vision for the business
  • · Begin with the end in mind
  • · Attack life

Wake up to these essential networking tips

R esearch
Visit as many groups as possible that spark your interest. Notice the tone and attitude of the group. Do the people sound supportive of one another? Does the leadership appear competent? Many groups will allow you to visit two times before joining.
I ntention
Ask yourself what your goals are in participating in networking meetings so that you will pick groups that will help you get what you are looking for. It's important to be clear about you want to achieve from networking, if you don't how will your contacts know when they come across an opportunity for you?
S trategy
Have a plan on how you will achieve your goals or intentions for networking. Are you there to buy and\or sell? Will you make special offers to the members or their referrals? Plan regular face to face meetings for the newest or most active and regular phone calls and regular emails to your more established contacts.
E levator Pitch
Networking opportunities are everywhere. You have 2 minutes to state what you do plus your three 'good ats' ….be ready to say what you are looking for if that's appropriate. Trust your instincts.
S tand out
Be memorable.. Have a powerful pitch, be decisive and confident about what you do. Develop a powerful unique selling point (USP) that is quick and easy to communicate. Don’t forget, you want to be remembered when you are not at the meeting too..
H elp Others
This is a really powerful networking tool. By helping others you will help yourself. Members will respect and remember you if you can provide help to them. This can be through leads, referrals or simply offering your advice or services without charge.
I nvolvement
100% participation.. Give 100% and you will get 100%. By being involved in the running of the group you will raise your profile, it will improve your status amongst your peers and ensure members and guests remember you for longer. Volunteer to take supporting roles within the group.
N ext Step
After the meeting remember to take the next step and follow up on the leads and referrals you gather. Unless you have an elephantine memory keep records of your contacts and their business. A great tip is to make a few key notes on the back of their business card. Follow through quickly and efficiently on referrals you are given. When people give you referrals, your actions are a reflection on them. Respect and honour that and your referrals will grow.
E njoy yourself
Business is often a serious and stressful affair and this can get in the way of who we really are and what we really want to achieve. Getting together with likeminded people for a common purpose can be fun and enjoyable. Simply following the RISE & SHINE rules will take away the stress and worry of networking and enable you to have fun and enjoy yourself

Systems run YOUR business

Effective systems can save you and your team both time and money and frustration. The basic rule for systemising is ‘Systemise the routine - humanise the exception’. Anything that can’t be systemised needs to be run by people. Always look at putting a system in place rather than employing more people. A system means that things are done consistently, regardless of the team member.


Systems run your business

People run your systems

You lead your people

There are four basic steps to systemisation…

1. Flowchart your processes.
This will show you how it all fits together.

2. Document how it gets done.
Get the team member who is currently doing the job to write down every step in performing a task. This person then gets a new person to do the task following the written down steps. If the person currently doing the task has to step in and explain anything to the new person then that information is added to the step, etc. Once completed start again with another person until you have demonstrated that any person can do the task without intervention.

3. Measure results using key performance indicators.
Typically, these will be the top five measures to show system performance. Get these from the person doing the job (i.e. in sales you could use no. of leads, conversion rate, average £ sale etc.).

4. Allow the system to change/grow as your business changes and grows.
Ensure that the system is self-correcting so as to allow it to evolve at the same pace that your business evolves.

5. When determining where to start systemising, ask yourself…
What are you doing on a regular basis that a lower paid team member could be doing if it were systemised? Systemise it, hand it over to the lower paid team member and spend your time on higher level activities – remember the goal is to work on your business.

Is there anything you hate doing which could be done by a lower paid person if it were systemised? Systemise it and hand it over.

Some final tips…
Don’t over complicate systems or people won’t follow them.

Use lots of photos, videos, tapes etc. This may be as simple as printing a computer screen or videoing someone doing the task at hand. This will make the systems much easier to follow.
Document your system in a policies and procedures or operations manual in an easy to access format. And make sure everyone has one or knows where it is! Require all of your team members to periodically review the manual with the goal of identifying needed changes on a timely and qualitative basis.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Geese - What can you learn from Geese!

Fact: As each goose flaps its wings it creates an "uplift" for the birds that follow. By flying in a V-formation, the whole flock adds 72% greater flying range than if each bird flew alone. Lesson: People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier because they are traveling on the thrust of another.

Fact: When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of flying alone. It quickly moves back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front of it. Lesson: If we have as much sense as a goose we stay in formation with those headed where we want to go. We are willing to accept their help and give out help to others.

Fact: When the lead goose tires, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies to the point position. Lesson: It pays to take turns going the hard tasks and sharing leadership. As with geese, people are interdependent on each other's skills, capabilities, and unique arrangements of gifts, talents, and resources.

Fact: The geese flying formation honk to encourage those up front to keep up their speed. Lesson: We need to make sure our honking is encouraging. In groups where there is encouragement, the production is greater. The power of encouragement (to stand by one's heart or core values and encourage the heart and core of others) is the quality of honking we seek.

Fact: When a goose gets sick, wounded, or shot down, two geese drop out of formation and follow it down to help and protect it. They stay with it until it dies or is able to fly again. Then, they launch out with another formation or catch up with the flock. Lesson: If we had as much sense as geese, we will stand by each other in difficult times as well as when we are strong.

Fact: Geese fly South for the winter in the Northern Hemisphere. Lesson: It is a reminder to take a break from the cold of winter and take a vacation to some place warm & sunny to rejuvenate ourselves.

Fact: The larger flocks of geese usually inhabit areas where geese eating for humans is more popular or in demand, and where there are smaller flocks of geese flying, there is usually smaller demand for geese, to be used for human food. * This fact according to the Oklahoma State University Board of Regents study on geese. Lesson: Larger flocks of humans together may not always be as effective as smaller flocks who are able to manoeuvre much more quickly in life and business without being eaten up by the to speak. ;-) (yes, this was a stretch, but relevant, no? :) Lesson #2: The smart geese know to not fly with the big herds, and create their own niche flying circle or game.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

21 Ways to Increase your Cash Flow

Cash flow is essential during a downturn. Here are 21 ways to make sure you are maximizing your cash flow opportunities.....

1. Test & Measuring System - for everything
2. Improve Conversion, Use Phone Scripts – Incoming and Sales
3. Put Prices Up
4. Add on Sale – Cross sell & Up sell
5. Public Relations Article
6. Direct Mail to existing Clients with telemarketing backup
7. Cold Phone Call – Use script
8. Extend Supplier Credit – or any other creditors
9. Pre paid sales
10. Use Debt Collection Agency
11. Closed Door Sales – bring a friend
12. Packaged offer – Quick moving line with slow moving line
13. Product Range add on sale – limited campaign (this week only)
14. Reverse Host Beneficiary (sell other peoples product for % )
15. Increase stock turns – stock rationalisation (slow stock out )
16. Events – novelty events to generate publicity
17. Sell excess assets
18. Small ads – classified – spot ads - for lead generation
19. Sales Team Incentives
20. Split level Pricing
21. Referrals – Have a referral or non referral price & ask for a referral after sale

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Basic Skills Every Sales Person Should Have

Basic Skills Every Sales Person Should Have

In my experience, I am convinced that techniques and methods of sales are teachable to anyone who has the desire to learn. However, there are a few natural skills that are of great benefit if they already exist within those that want to be successful in sales. Without these, success will take a longer time but it can still be achieved. If there is no desire and dedication to learning or developing these skills, then the selling will be much more difficult and often very stressful.

Effective Communicator
Communication covers a lot of territory. I am not talking about superb orator skills here, but the ability to speak clearly and in a manner that is easy to understand. Sales is all about talking to people and getting them to understand what you are trying to communicate.

Ability to Listen
Along with speaking, a great salesperson knows when to stop talking and listen. They never cut someone off while they are talking, because in doing so they would fail to hear a key element in identifying what that person's needs might be.

Asks Great Questions
Salespeople are naturally inquisitive and know that in order to isolate what the real need or desire is in the buyer, they need to ask questions that will lead them to the answer. They naturally ask questions because they have a desire to help solve their problem.

Problem Solver
Another natural skill is the desire and ability to solve problems. Great salespeople are always solving problems. The ability to hone in on what the buyer's problem is and offering suggestions that will effectively solve the problem with respect to what products or services you sell, generally results with a sale.

Well Organized
I am not necessarily speaking of your personal surroundings, but more with your thoughts and methods of planning. Sales people have a keen ability to break things down into smaller steps and organize a plan of action. They know how to analyze what their goal is and in what order the steps need to be in in order to reach that goal.

Self-Starter and Self-Finisher
A successful sales person moves forward on their own. They never need anyone to tell them when it is time to go to work because they know that if they do not work they will not earn. They are also very persistent to finish what they start. They achieve their goals, even if they are small ones.

Positive Self Image
Having the attitude that they can do just about anything that they put their mind to is usually very common among sales people. They do not cower from meeting or talking to people or trying something new. They rarely allow negatives that are either spoken to them or about them to effect what they are trying to accomplish because they know who they are and what they are capable of doing.

Well Mannered and Courteous

The best sales people are very well mannered. You may not realize it, but good manners is a way of showing respect for others. People are attracted to those that respect them and mutual respect is fundamental in building lasting relationships with people..including buyers.

Naturally Persuasive
Another very common inherent skill with great salespeople is that they are very persuasive or know how to get what they want. They focus on what they want and they are persistent to keep chipping away until they get what they want. They almost never give up or give in.

Person of Integrity
A salesperson without integrity will have many struggles which will often include hopping from job to job. Honesty in sales is so important and it is almost impossible for this skill to be taught. You or the person you are looking to hire is either a person of integrity or are not. Be as analytical as possible on the evaluation of this skill.

Monday, 11 May 2009

What makes a team Dysfunctional

What makes a team Dysfunctional?

1. Absence of Trust: Trust is the foundation of real teamwork. However, in most teams members will not be "vulnerable" with each other (air dirty laundry, admit mistakes, weaknesses and concerns without fear of reprisal). Without trust the team will not be able to achieve results.

2. Fear of Conflict: Teams that lack trust are incapable of engaging in unfiltered and passionate debate about ideas. Instead, they resort to veiled discussions and guarded comments.

3. Lack of Commitment: Without having aired their opinions in the course of passionate and open debate, team members rarely, if ever, buy in and commit to decisions.

4. Avoidance of Accountability: Without commitment and buy-in to a clear plan of action, even the most focused and driven people often hesitate to call their peers on actions and behaviours that seem counterproductive to the good of the team.

5. Inattention to Results: Failure to hold one another accountable creates an environment where team members put their individual needs or even the needs of their division above the collective goals of the team.

Keeping the Cash Flowing in a Down Economy

Keeping the Cash Flowing in a Down Economy

1. Get your mind focused on what you can control, and the opportunities that exist. Look for positive influences and people who take this climate as a welcome challenge.

2. Trim the fat. It’s easy for expenses to creep in over time; now is the time to examine each one. Re-negotiate payment terms if possible. Each employee must make a tangible contribution to profit, with numbers you can measure.

3. Stay liquid. If you know your business will cyclically have a negative cash flow, line up financing now - before you need it.

4. Your current clients are worth pure gold. Go the extra mile to retain them.

5. Go where the recession is not. Many industries do just fine in a recession, and the folks who are employed there make good target clients

Sunday, 10 May 2009

The sale “hinges” on you!

The sale “hinges” on you!

It’s not who you’re calling on, or what you’re selling. It’s how you present yourself. If you sell used cars, computers, perfume at a department store, or million pound yachts -- there’s very little difference in anything other than your earnings. Your ability to excel and be happy in any of these jobs -- including your job right now -- has very little to do with the economy, very little to do with your product, and even less to do with price.The sale hinges on

  • and your communication ability.
  • ..your belief in what you’re selling.
  • ..your attitude about yourself.
  • ..the way someone else perceives you.
  • ..your believability.
  • ..your friendliness.
  • ..the customer’s perceived value.
  • rare cases, the sale also hinges on the price.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

TRUST is the key to any sale

TRUST is the key to any sale

Here are some simple elements of trust that you must MASTER in order to make it possible for a relationship to blossom:

  1. Tell the truth. This is the number one element of trust AND relationships. Once truth has been violated, trust evaporates and may never return.

  2. Deliver what you promise. People hope and expect you to deliver on promises.

  3. Do what you say you will do. This is a test for being reliable and trustworthy.

  4. Communicate in a timely manner. Rapid response shows you are responsible, on top of it, and that you care.

  5. Bring value beyond your product or service. What you do to help others be more successful will be a true reflection of your character.

  6. Be on time. Being on time shows you respect the other person’s time. It also proves your reliability.

And you thought it was Price!

And you thought it was Price!

Most of your customers will have more than one vendor selling them the same product. Some have several. So you may have a customer, but not all their business.
Voting decisions are based on either history or trust or both. Don't get caught in the discount spiral during difficult times. Simply add more value and improve your levels of service.

  1. • Ease of doing business
  2. • Belief in product
  3. • Perceived value of product
  4. • Reliability of product
  5. • Durability of product
  6. • Reputation of product
  7. • On-time delivery
  8. • Correctness of order
  9. • Correctness of billing
  10. • Ease of return
  11. • Ease of order add on
  12. • Friendliness of people
  13. • Performance comparison of product
  14. • Customer’s belief in company
  15. • Customer’s belief in salesperson
  16. • Response to service needs
  17. • Response of salesperson
And you thought it was price. Nope, price is only the issue in the absence of value.

6 Keys to a Winning Team

1. Strong Leadership

Most important key to a winning team is ... Strong Leadership. Why what is leadership? Dictionary says, position of a leader, ability to lead. Leader: a person who leads, directs commands or guides. So what is strong leadership? What qualities must they have?…Passion and Responsibility. Why? Passion to inspire others to act. Like a high I, excited enthusiastic. Responsibility so they take it for their actions so will always keep trying and admit mistakes. If you aren’t willing to handle failure you will never succeed.Imagine there were 16 cylinders to a person. How many do you think body and mind make up? 3 each. Is that most important? What about heart and spirit? How many for these? 5 each. Which is best to hire on? What do councils hire on? Just the body! If you have heart and spirit will you strive to learn and grow as a person? So will they learn the skills necessary even though they may be less than they need to be? So what do you think the difference is. Ones a manager and ones a leader. People will always follow a leader but not always a manager.Perturbation. People simmer like water. People hit the wall. Need pressure to go through the wall. Then can handle more pressure after it. That which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. To get a championship team to perform there must be pressure. How often have you seen it in sport. Need to have pressure to get them through the wall. May let off steam in emotion.Cycle of Business. What’s the normal cycle of business? Which way is the cycle? In a great business this is how it works. Leader looks after team etc. otherwise customers are looking after the team.

2. Common Goal

2nd Key to a winning team is…. Common Goal. Why? Often in business every team member has a different vision of the team. So it’s a bunch of individuals doing their own thing pulling against each other.Goals give a vision for the business. With no dreams the business can die. It gives no focus of where the business can go. It enrols and inspires. The team needs to have a sense of where the business is going so they can get inspired as well. You want the team to have their heart and spirit involved. So need to be… Setting Goals. Why personal goals for the business and ourselves? They give us… direction and focus. Movement and momentum. It’s about the person you want to … become. A bit about goals. They need to be…. SMART.

3. Rules of the Game

3rd Key to a winning team? Must know the rules. Who must? Everyone! You must know the…Standards to work live up to and work to. Must know what’s normal practice. Must be written down. If not why not? Everyone in the team needs a standard. What’s the normal thing in the business? (It’s the CULTURE you set up.) When the standards start to lift people don’t keep up to them and drop off. Like the old rotor at Luna Park that spins around. After a while there are only 2 people left. For a business to improve what really has to improve? The people! People are the business. Therefore for it to improve it must change. For it to change people must change. Some people don’t like change or resist it. They will be left behind. Sometimes you have to help people to leave. You must always keep raising the standards. Which sets up a…Loose Tight culture. People are loose and have room to move and grow, which means can make mistakes and not blame others for it. Take responsibility. So content of the game is loose. The rules are tight which is the context. If you were dropped onto a playing field with a helicopter and were blindfolded and told to start running with the ball what would you do? Why? Is that similar to business in that the team doesn’t know the goals or where they are so they can’t start running. Same happens when a new person starts, they don’t know what’s normal or standard so it takes them a long time to get going. And team can just amble about looking at each other. So you need to know the goals for the business. It either grows or dies. Which leads to the…

4. Action Plan

Next Key to a winning team which is… An Action plan. Which is about…Your Action Plan… Who Does What by When? Which leads into more specifically…Your Action Plan… Positional Contracts, Systems Manuals, Your Plan and so on… You need to have them for the team as well as the new people coming in. Then they can get up to speed very quick.

5. Support Risk Taking

Next key to winning team is? Support Risk Taking. Why? Go to expect to lose a few. But is success about trying one thing or many? Be allowed to make mistakes, only way to learn because… a break through can follow a break down, break apart, break with and break up. So after a defeat can come victory. The greatest athletes have failed more than anyone else.There is a Japanese word for it… KAIZEN, which means, constant and never ending improvement. If you look at growth under s microscope it looks like, growth plateau, growth plateau etc. you must always be trying to improve by taking risks, stretching the comfort zone setting goals every week. If you don’t take risks you don’t improve. You need a loose culture.

6. 100% Involvement\inclusion

6th key to a winning team is… 100% involvement and inclusion. If one person loses you all lose. Must be win: win. It creates… NO COMPROMISE and RESOLUTION

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

How to Sell at Trade Shows

How to Sell at Trade Shows

According to the Centre for Exhibit Industry Research, the majority of trade show attendees are decision makers or influencers that plan to make a purchase within the next 12 months. Don't waste an opportunity like that -- follow these guidelines to help make sure you are ready to sell effectively.

Avoid soft sells
Trade shows require a hard-sell approach. When attendees show interest in your booth, approach them immediately and invite them to learn more about your products or services. Don't leave people waiting -- trade show attention spans are short, and people will leave your booth if they can't get help in 60 seconds or less.

Be engaging
The way you greet a visitor to your booth shows your professionalism and willingness to help. Avoid innocuous greetings like "Can I help you", "Hi, how are you?", or "How's the show going?". Instead, ask a direct question that engages the visitor and helps you gauge their interest in your company's products or services -- "What information can I tell you about our new heating system?" or "Hello, what are you looking for in a patio door?".

Watch your manners
Certain booth behaviour looks sloppy and conveys that you're not interested in your customers. Don't sit down. Don't eat or drink at the booth. Never leave your booth unattended. Don't spend time chatting with colleagues instead of focusing on customers.

Qualify prospects quickly
The first thing you should do once you meet someone new is establish who they are (buyer, decision maker, supplier, competitor, etc.) and where they're located. This way you won't end up spending important time with a person who isn't responsible for buying your product/service, or who is located in a region your company doesn't serve. You can find this information out by asking some key questions, looking at their badge, or requesting a business card which will have the person's title and address.

Ask lots of questions
Engage a prospect by asking open-ended questions -- ones that require more than a yes/no answer. This will help you determine their needs and interests. Focus your responses on how your product or service can meet these needs. Be sure to observe the 80/20 rule -- listen 80% of the time and talk 20% of the time. Try to avoid any kind of prepared sales pitch, which can begin to sound robotic after you've said it for the 50th time.

Keep good records
Write down all the relevant information about a prospect on a "lead card" which contains: the person's name, title, address, phone/fax number, e-mail address (all these can come from a business card), needs/interests, budget and timing. Use this card for your post-show follow-up when you return to the office.