Think Ownership If You Want To Win

Act like you own it.

For over 33 years I have been selling in the B2B world. I consider myself a professional salesman and am damn proud of it. Despite this profession occasionally being maligned, it can be quite rewarding.

To be professional, one needs to continually learn, adapt and apply new ideas. One needs to be a student of the profession, read books and blogs, seek out new ways of getting results and learn from successes and failures. There is one trait that I learned to apply early on that I haven’t seen too often in books or blogs and that is to “act like you own it.” And I don’t mean the customer, because no one can or should assume they own a customer, but that’s a different story.

Early in my career I took the approach to act like I own the company I work for. I mentally became the company, looking for ROI from my time and effort. I made decisions as if the risk or rewards were my doing. I learned how businesses are run, what are the components needed and how they all mingle and interact for success. With this “business” approach, I was now able to have real value discussions based on my customers’ business issues, and not come off as another pitch-man talking product, features and benefits or simply delivering yet another “all about me” presentation. It’s the real “win- win” business to business, eye to eye relationship. If it’s not good business for both parties, so be it. Move on without all the games.

The point to this is not to brag but to emphasize how this simple mental adjustment can make a big impact on one’s career. Give it a try.

Act like you own it.

I’m Too Busy…..

Too Busy…… what a lame excuse.

How many times do you hear this excuse or use it? Who controls your time or controls actions?

“I’m too busy” to do blah blah blah, has become a major excuse these days and I know; I am a user of it and I also hear it way too often. How important are the issues or tasks that you are putting off?

Here are a few popular ones- I’m too busy to…..

  • Spend time with the family
  • Follow up on the proposal to a customer
  • Send the information I promised
  • Return phone calls to friends or colleagues
  • Prepare for next week’s sales calls
  • Finish those projects from last year
  • Write a Blog
  • Make new contacts
  • (add of few more of your favorites here)

So, if you are accountable and in control of your time and actions, then why are you too busy to do some of things that you need to get done or should get done? Are they important to you? Have you made commitments you can’t keep because “you are too busy”? Maybe it’s a time management or prioritizing issue.

I can say there is no easy solution these days with everyone wearing multiple hats but we need to be aware of how it affects us and those around us.

Next time you say “I’m too busy” think before you make excuses.

Knowledge Is Power………..Really?

“Knowledge Is Power”

This is an old but viable statement that has been around for some time. I believe in it strongly and feel how you use your knowledge is a game changer. I even had a banner in my sales office with the saying on it to remind all how important it is.

[Insert mental sound affects here- screeching tires, alarms and sirens]

So What?

What good is knowledge if you can’t communicate it? What good is knowledge if you can’t apply it?

You can have diplomas, certificates; have read hundreds of books and it still won’t help if you can’t share it effectively.

In my organization, we are beginning to embrace Social Media as another vehicle for knowledge exchange, connecting with customers on a variety of available sites and platforms. Making knowledge available anytime needed. I believe this will give us a competitive edge getting the message out on who we are and what we can do. It will allow us to develop stronger relationships and deliver consistent value. We can also modify our messages and content to specific industries, customers and even applications making it more pertinent and usable.

So how powerfully is your knowledge working for you?

How do you do it? What am I missing?

Your Sales Process Can No Longer Stand Alone

For close to 10 years I have been working on my company’s Sales Process, constantly tweaking it, modifying and enhancing it to match the changes in customer’s buying habits, markets, products and services and our personnel. In simple terms, identifying opportunities, going through the steps and stages and winning or losing was all that was needed. And it worked fine. However, over the last few years as “Social Media” has become a bigger player in the business world I have come to realize that the Sales Process is no longer the sole component for running and improving a sales organization. The Sales Process is really a component of your total “Customer Engagement Process” blending “Social Media”, “In-Bound Marketing”, traditional marketing and your Sales Process for creating the buying experience that will make you different from your competition, engaging more prospects and customers.

We’ll need to develop LinkedIn and Google+ pages not only for the company but for the sales force, specialists and product managers as well. Integrating HubSpot with our Website and Salesforce.com will drive more inbound marketing traffic. We’ll need to create value focused blogs that will deliver more pertinent content into the engagement and interaction.

It can no longer be just a single dimensional process that drives us but it must become multidimensional and dynamic.

So now it’s back to tweaking, modifying and integrating “Social Media” into our Sales Process.

How are you changing your processes to engage more with your customers? What are we missing?

My Bad

My Bad. I have no excuse. Haven’t posted a blog since December 30, 2010, it’s time to practice what I preach.

I constantly marvel at others abilities to write their blogs on a regular basis. I follow around twenty or so blogs and there is always interesting content with great tid-bits of information. So I need to get it in gear and what better way to start with is an update on my last update………

2011 continues just as crazy as 2010 ended. Business was excellent despite what I mentioned in my last post about the miserable economy in the NJ/NY area. We are evolving into what my vision for the company will be at a steady and manageable pace. Our website is producing and I have my older son, Mark to thank for that. Balancing some of our marketing and his product management responsibilities is keeping him busy. So from the business front all is good.

On the personal side, it was slightly less hectic but not by much. Matt, our youngest child, left for Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina in June. Graduated as a PFC in September, immediately left for Combat Training in North Carolina and is now in Georgia for his MOS training. He seems to be doing a lot for a child we couldn’t get to go to any camp growing up. Sarah, our middle child, an Ensign in the Navy left for deployment in January and returned in July to an excellent homecoming event. It was an experience I will never forget. Sarah recently earned her Surface Warfare Pin. Her husband, Josh just graduated Air Force Pilot Training in Texas earning his wings this past month. In addition Mark’s wife, Kelly has joined the company in our customer service department and is making a huge impact.

As for my wife and I doing more to enjoy a few pleasures has not been fully realized but is still in the plans as the year winds down.

So 2011 has been a good year. How has yours been?

Next up, a business issue I am pondering………..

 

Moving Forward

As 2010 winds down I can now reflect upon what kind of year it was. For my wife and me, we had quite a busy year with our three kids- two Graduations, one Commissioning and two Weddings, all within six months. As for my business, 2010 was an improvement despite New Jersey’s poor small business policies and economic climate. We sure had to work smarter and harder, but there is plenty of room to do better.

Now it’s time to attack 2011. You can’t drive a car forward looking in the rear view mirror. So as 2010 goes in the history books I am looking ahead to make some changes. First on the list is to enjoy life more. My wife and I plan to do things we have never done before and start to appreciate what we have accomplished. As for business, I plan to kick it up a notch by continuing changes to how we market, what our message is and experiment with new business directions. What improvements are you planning for 2011?

Happy New Year to all and a big Hello to 2011.

A Favorite

This is one of my favorite quotes.

“The galleries are full of critics. They play no ball. They fight no fight. They make no mistakes because they attempt nothing. Down in the arena are the doers. They make mistakes because they try many things. The man who makes no mistakes lacks boldness and the spirit of adventure. He is the one who never tries anything. He is the brake on the wheel of progress. And yet it cannot be truly said he makes no mistakes, because his biggest mistake is the very fact that he tries nothing, does nothing, except criticize those who do things.”

David M. Shoup
General
United States Marine Corps