Great Questions

How often do you ask questions? What kind of questions do you ask? The questions you ask have a direct relationship on the results you get. To put it simply, great results come from great actions which come from great decisions which come from great questions. Let’s say that again … great results come from great actions which come from great decisions which come from great questions. When you ask great questions:
  • You gather quality information from people who know more about a topic than you do.
  • You can learn from the mistakes and trials of others, without making the same errors.
  • You can gain deeper insight and attain multiple perspectives, while broadening your sense of understanding.
  • You can develop a better idea of what people want and what they need, which helps you focus your actions.
As you can see, the hallmark of great questions is the value you gain when asking them. How do you ask great questions?
  • Be curious. Research and investigate anything that catches your attention.
  • Work on expanding your dreams, beliefs, and knowledge. When you broaden your horizons, you will start to gain a wider perspective.
  • Get a great mentor or teacher. They can help you attain perspectives you have never had before.
The more knowledge you gain the better decisions you will make, which will lead to better actions and give you better results. Your challenge: Take notice of how often you are the one asking questions or the one being asked. Then, start asking questions and keep asking questions.   If you would like further information or you have any questions about this blog, you can email me at pjweiland@actioncoach.com or call 847-739-3079. Please visit www.workingonthebusiness.com to register for our complimentary workshop, 6 Steps to a Great Business, and let’s work together to help your business grow.

Manners Matter

As children, our parents would prompt us to use manners…
  • What’s the magic word?
  • What do you say?
  • Did you thank Mrs. So-and-so?
  • Is that how we act?
  • Don’t interrupt!
  • Call if you are going to be late.
  • Did you let them know you are coming?
  • Were you polite?
Sound familiar?  Well it probably brings back fond childhood memories for many of you.  And at the risk of your reminding you of your parents, I will remind you much of the same in your business…
Use the magic word…Please.  Use it with your staff, with your clients, your prospects, your vendors, anyone you are interacting with.
Say thank you.  Use it often and mean it. Say it.  Write it.  Tell others how much you appreciate someone.
Use your manners.  Don’t interrupt, listen attentively, and be present in the conversation.
Your actions reflect your manners.  Do you step aside when entering a door, or perhaps hold the door.
Do you smile and greet others that are in your presence whether you know them or not.
Respect others time.  Confirm appointments, call if you are running late be clear on your agenda, honor the time set aside for the meeting by ending on time, or asking permission to go long.
RSVP, let folks know you are coming.  Not just minutes or hours ahead, but give them the courtesy of days when possible or honor their deadline.
Manners are just good business.  They reflect you, your brand, your reputation.  The showcase your compassion, grate fullness,  integrity and character.  And it doesn’t cost a thing.
YOUR CHALLENGE:  Make manners a priority in your office, and notice the difference it can make in your attitude and in your business.

Great Connections

Throughout our networking we are often focused on referrals, giving them and getting them.  Lets not forget about making great connections, for yourself and connecting others. When we focus on connections referrals and business will follow.
Here are some tips on making great connections.
  • When making great connections, look for the quality of the person, less about the industry or line of business.  If they are of quality then they will be a natural at connecting and expanding your sphere of influence.
  • Have great conversations, a high quality conversation can open doors, deepen the connection, or create natural alignments based on common interests.
  • Because people do business with people they like and trust, be yourself.  Be sincere, be real, and let your personality show, use your sense of humor and enjoy the moment.
  • Ask others who they have found to be great connectors, and then ask for an introduction.
  • Spend quality getting to know those people who seem to know everyone and are well connected.
As you look to make great connections, remember, compliments, courtesy, compassion and common ground – and get busy.
YOUR CHALLENGE:  Look to make one great connection with someone you have been putting off.

The Eyes Have It

Eye contact is something that we don’t think a lot about until we experience too much or too little.  Eye contact is a very powerful communication tool that can be easily overlooked. Positive eye contact, which is usually 70-80% of the time, can convey genuine interest, a sense of connection or empathy, and sincerity.  When we make meaningful eye contact with our prospects and clients  it accelerates the trust level and builds a deeper connection that allows us to better get to know them which results in better customer service. It was found that people give more eye contact to those who smile to them more often. If you are looking to keep others attention, a smile might just be the way to keep their focus. In today’s world we are distracted by our phones, texts, emails, and other alerts, that take us away from maintaining positive eye contact.  We also live in a world where more and more is done on the phone, on a webinar, and in person communication is not always possible. We have all been to networking events where someone we are talking to is looking over our shoulder, watching the door, or perhaps we have been guilty of that ourselves.  If charisma is about, prescience, power and warmth – then it is important to stay present.  Be present with the person we are engaged with and eye contact is the biggest indicator of presence. YOUR CHALLENGE:  Make an effort to look people in the eye, when speaking and when listening, and office the deeper connection that you make and the better listener you become.

Commitment

We have made a promise.  We have agreed to do some-thing, for some-body or it could be a commitment we made to ourselves.   When we make commitments we become bound by an obligation, duty or responsibility.  Call it what you want, but it’s our word.  We have to decide how we act on our word. 
Most of us have made a commitment to do something, send something or followup on something and found ourselves slow to respond or in some cases even fail to respond.  Here are some ways to make sure that you are making good on your commitments.
  • Don’t take them lightly.  Only say what you will do and stop there.  You would rather under-commit and over-deliver.
  • Be judicious with your time and energy, if you really don’t intend to do something or truly don’t see the value in the follow through, then show some self-constraint and don’t make the commitment.
  • Write it down.  Putting it on paper and keeping front and center will lessen the chance that you can’t recall the details of what you were committed to followup on.
  • Be clear.  Don’t leave things to chance, be clear on who has the action and what the expectation are.  This will avoid the open ended – let’s meet, where neither party is making it happen, so the invitation hangs open until you meet again.
YOUR CHALLENGE:   Take notice of the promises you make and the promises others make to you, then prioritize and schedule the follow through that you have committed to.

The Power of Observation

Have you ever driven to work and not remember anything about the drive, or ordered at a restaurant and have no idea what your waiter looks like? Most people don’t pay attention to the world around us, so many of us, just don’t pay attention as we move through our day.   Observing people and situations is an incredibly valuable skill. By noticing the subtle cues during a conversation you can then adjust and react more meaningfully to the situation and improve the impact of your interaction.  If you notice that someone is less engaged as we cover a particular topic you can lessen the amount of time you spend covering that are or if they lean forward when you shift the focus of the conversation, you can then engage them directly in articulating why they might benefit from what your are discussing. Observation is a skill that can be learned and developed through training.  Observation is a muscle that once exercised will become stronger and more enhanced.  Here are a few ideas on how to enhance your power of observation. Notice something new each day.  Make it a point to notice the people you ride the elevator with or the people standing in line with you at the coffee shop.  Take a good look and notice the little details, like how they are standing, how they part their hair, their jewelry or watch.  By exercising your power of observation each day, you will enhance your observation skills in other areas of your day. By improving your power of observation you will begin to notice, businesses that you had not seen before – but have always been there.  People right in front of you of your eyes that have the potential to be good connections for you.  By enhancing your observation you will improve your performance, your relationships and your business. YOUR CHALLENGE:  Slow down and observe the world around you, notice the little things this week and start working on your power of observation.

What is your Purpose?

Purpose is having clarity and mastery over the direction you are driving your life and your business. Are you clear on how you are delivering on your purpose? Do you know what you want? It may be the same thing you wanted at the onset of your business, it may have evolved as you explored what could be possible.  When you have a compelling purpose it penetrates who you do business with, how you do business, and why others do business with you. First, who you do business with? If your purpose involves providing peace of mind, managing risk, or helping others – get clarity on what types of individuals or businesses align to your purpose and are in your demographic.  Once you have clarity – be specific. Second, how you do business?  Does your purpose lend itself to very personal relationships, does it focus on convenience for your customer, is it about simplicity? Whatever your purpose it should align to how you interact with your prospects and customers. And finally, your purpose can serve as a magnet for why others do business with you.  When others are drawn to your approach, your philosophy, and your purpose, it penetrates your interactions – others want to be around you, human beings are naturally attracted to serving a great purpose. YOUR CHALLENGE: reconnect with your purpose and make it a noticeable part of how you do business.  

Super Size Your Marketing

Marketing is the action of promoting interest in good or services for the purposes of selling.  If you are looking for some ways to reinvigorate your marketing efforts – here are a few ideas. Be Present. People do business with people they know and like, so build your network, extend your reach.  Attend events, join community organizations.  Be seen frequently.  Make the personal connections, don’t rely solely on email or online presence. Get Listed — Free. It would be a shame if you didn’t take advantage of free listings online.  Be sure to set up your free business pages in Google Places, Yahoo Local, Yelp and others.  Include as much as you can about your products and services, hours of operation, specials, even add photos or offer specials. It’s a key, free way to market on mobile devices and Web search engines. Focus on the Top 10. Make a list of your top 10 prospects or referral sources and keep it visible.  Put the list on your desk, your mobile phone, or use it as the “wallpaper” on your computer.  Contact each of these key income-generators at least once a month. Know Your Brand. Be clear in your branding.  Make sure it conveys who you are – then use it consistently on everything, your website, business cards, packaging, newsletters, marketing materials, invoices. If possible, give your brand some zip and personality that makes it memorable. Talk Value. Let people know what they get, not what you do.  Keep your marketing materials and messages, focused on the benefits the buyer receives – of course, customers compare features and services, so you’ll need to include those. But always emphasize the benefits those features bring. Stay in Touch.  An e-mail newsletter or e-blast can be an effective and inexpensive ways to regularly stay in front of customers, prospects, and referral sources. Make sure your newsletter provides some value for the recipient, such as useful information, details on discounts or a special offer. Online Visibility. Be proactive about your online presence.  Make sure you have a website that promotes your business and is mobile friendly.  Learn about social media. If you sell to consumers, get a Facebook page if you are selling business to business than leverage your Linked In connections.  Actively monitor your reviews on Yelp and other review sites, encourage your customers to post reviews. Tracking Connections. Keep yourself organized by using a contact management system.  Track details of past and current customers, prospects, referral sources, and more. This data is an invaluable business asset — use it for staying in touch, making sales calls, announcing new products or sales and more. There are endless ways to get in front of your potential customers and stay in touch with current customers. YOUR CHALLENGE:  Build a marketing strategy for your business and track your activities and your results.

From 0 to 60!

Time and time again we give our sixty second commercials.  It is easy to fall into a routine, and lose our edge. Here are a few ideas to pump up and reenergize your 60 seconds. Be specific about what you do – don’t oversimplify, don’t generalize – describe your work in detail. Organize your commercial – give a clear intro, then tell a story or describe a situation, be clear on your ask, then wrap up with your tag line. Use your commercial to inform, stay away from being salesy, give insight and value first. Be yourself. There is no substitute for authenticity. Talk about the benefits, appeal to both the head or logic with hard benefits and the heart with a soft benefit like peace of mind. Be specific about what you want.  Ask for a specific person, a specific company, describe your request in detail so others can help you. And lastly, be a great listener of others commercials. Careful listening builds goodwill, trust, and confidence. When you make a commitment to networking, then make the effort to communicate for results. Your Challenge: Think about your 60 seconds, and how can you be even more effective.

Are You Attractive?

There are two elements involved in becoming a magnet:  Your ability to attract people and your approachability – the extent to which others perceive you as being open.  Together, these two qualities create a positive attitude, one of the top traits of a master networker.  Together, they influence how magnetic you are for your business. Author and professional speaker Scott Ginsberg has done extensive research on approachability.  Here is a summary of Ginsberg’s tips on how to maximize your approachability. Be ready to engage.  When you arrive at a meeting, event, party or even your kids ball games – be ready with conversation topics, questions and stories in the back of your mind.  Focus on CPI or Common Points of Interest. Show enthusiasm.  Avoid the routine questions and answers, like “How’s it going?” “What’s up?” or “How are you?” “Fine” or “Good”, instead offer something like “Amazing!” “Everything is beautiful!”  The other person will instantly change his or her demeanor, smile and most likely match your enthusiasm. Don’t cross your arms at networking events.  It makes you seem defensive, nervous, judgmental, close-minded or skeptical.  People see crossed arms, and they drift away.  You don’t appear approachable. Give options for communication.  Your friends, colleagues, customers and co-workers communicate with you in different ways.  Some will choose face-to-face; some will e-mail; others will call; still others will do a little of everything. Accommodate them all. Always have business cards.  Simply said, you just never know who you might meet and where.  Tuck them away in multiple places, so you are never without, in your golf bag, in your glove box, even give a few to your spouse. Wear your name tag.  A person’s name is the single piece of personal information that is most often forgotten – and people are less likely to approach you if they don’t remember your name.  In addition it is also free advertising, and lastly name tags encourage people to be friendly and more approachable. So, if you want to be more attractive, work on your approachability. YOUR CHALLENGE:  Rate yourself and your team on approachability.  Get a name tag, replenish your stash of business cards and up your game.