Changing Course: 3 Ways I Will Prosper in 2019

Forget about making a New Year’s Resolution.  They don’t work!  If something is worth doing, it’s worth making the change right now.  Are you looking to improve?  I sure am.  After some personal soul searching, there’s 3 things I’m going to work on, starting today to become a better Ira.  If you’re like me, you should consider incorporating all of these into your life too.

Eating to Live, not Living to Eat

As a 40 something married male living in America, I have some bad habits that negatively affect my waistline.  They affect my weight and also my mood, energy level and how I interact with everyone else.  We all know that eating right is smart and we should do it.  A quick glance around most rooms will tell you that too many of us don’t actually care.  Our society is full of overweight and out of shape citizens.  I am guilty of spending too much time behind the wheel of a car in traffic and my desk.  Once upon a time I was in great shape, an athletic kid who grew up playing sports.  Those days are long gone.  A workout now isn’t a tenth of what it once was and I feel it for days which is hardly motivating me to repeat the process.

What I need is a good slap in the face.  Heart disease, stroke, diabetes and more are all things that could easily set in on me, if I don’t make rethink my priorities and poor choices.  I know eating right will help me have more energy.  Even working into the wee hours of the morning instead of sleeping contributes to my demise.

So there it is.  I have to chart a better course.  My new regime isn’t fully developed.  I will work on an exercise routine, eating better and getting more sleep.  These improvements will help me be a better person, have more energy and impact others.  If you need to make similar improvements, you’re not alone.  The change might be hard, but sweat, blood and tears, the rewards will be worth it.  We only get one go around.  Let’s not waste it being mediocre.

If It’s Not Scheduled, It Doesn’t Happen

Do you fly by the seat of their pants?  Do you wake up each day and get a ton done without having an established to do list?  For me, if it isn’t scheduled, I won’t do it.  I have a so many things that I need to do every day, with my work, my philanthropy, my family and my devotional time.  I have been skipping a lot of sleep by catching just a precious few hours a night and I’m still behind. Now I can’t even do that anymore, thanks to my new lifestyle commitment.

The new and improved Ira is going to work off a master priority list each day.  I have done this for work for years, but now I will expand it out to all aspects of my life.  This list will include: working out, eating, reading, spending time with my kids, dates with my wife and sleeping.  If it’s not on the list, odds are it won’t get done.  That might seem like a rigid and unhelpful thing, but I believe it will help me be more efficient.  Things that are a priority will make the list and the fluff won’t.  I wonder why I didn’t make this change sooner?  Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

How about you?  Are you having trouble getting things done consistently?  If so, join me and try working off a master schedule.  You are in charge of setting it.  Make sure you plan well and make the most of your time without burning out.

Connect with Ira Bowman on LinkedIn.

Leaders are Readers

John C Maxwell says “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.”  The older I get, the more I understand his position.  Being well read helps leaders with a diversity of things.  I never used to want to read, as I actually can’t stand bad writing.  As I’ve grown in experience, I have found I actually enjoy reading, non-fictional, well written books.  Sports, politics, history, religion, philosophy are the topics I tend to read, when I make time to do it.  Lately, I’ve been so busy doing things for others, that I haven’t invested time in ingesting wisdom.

I wonder how much more I could help job seekers and those looking for advice on how to deal with the modern AI/ATS landscape, if I was better read?  Perhaps building rapport with my print prospects would be easier if I was up on the latest book releases?  Reading not only gives us information, it provides our brain an opportunity to process other data as we relax.  There are a multitude of benefits gained by reading a book.  I like to read hard copy books.  I still use old fashioned book marks and have a real library in my office with hundreds of books.

When’s the last time you sat down and read for pleasure?  For me, it’s been a few months.  I read my Bible daily but beyond that not much.  I have read some things for reference and for a church ministry class, but nothing lately simply for me.  So here and now, I’m adding it to my list.  The sheer joy of consuming new thoughts and data is something I look forward to doing.  Perhaps I will start with “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership,” By John C. Maxwell.

Book Reviews By SPN

Time Waits for No One

As 2018 starts to slip into the rear view, 2019 is in full view of the proverbial windshield.  What changes will you make to improve?  Are you on the road to heart attacks, strokes and diabetes like I was?  If so, I implore you to consider making some course corrections.  Decide enough is enough.  We all need to consider the long term affects of our daily choices.  I want to be better.  You can be better too.  We’re not competing with each other here.  If you determine to work on becoming more disciplined and improve where you fall short, I will cheer you on.  I hope you’ll do the same for me.  We can all do better, by sticking to a well thought out, to do list that includes working on our physical and mental health.  2019 can be great.  We can do this!

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Four Simple Tips to Improve Your Sales Performance

Four Simple Tips to Improve Your Sales Performance

Are you looking to step up your sales performance?  Seriously, who doesn’t want to win more deals?  I am always looking for techniques to help increase my sales in a given month to blow past my quota.  The cycle repeats every month.

Seasoned sales professionals are always looking for ways to improve their sales performance. The business world continues to evolve, so we must adapt or chance being left behind. The more up-to-date we are on technology and changing times the better our sales performance will be.

In a world full of information, it can be hard sometimes to extract the most helpful tips to propel forward in better ways.  Relax, as this article contains four simple yet impactful strategies you can incorporate to achieve better results moving forward.

Icebreakers and Rapport Building

First, you simply can’t rush to get to home plate. To score, you need to slow your roll just a bit. I know the time is ticking and you need sales now. We all do. To get better results, you need to take a moment and get to know your prospect. You’ve heard, “they don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” before right? This profound truth is paramount to successful selling in our world today. Sensitivity and perceived disrespect are at the high end of the proverbial pendulum. You can lose before you get started if you come off as too aggressive.

People will respond to your desire to show them what you have to offer if they know you are not just in it for yourself. You have to let them see you as a real person before they will open up to you. Humility and staying humble will help with this approach. You can be confident and not be arrogant, so be mindful of your nonverbal communication too. Small changes in how you build rapport and use your body language can have a huge impact on your sales performance.

Do some research before a sales meeting with a prospect so you have ideas on how to break the ice. Check out the social media profiles of your potential clients before you engage with them. You can brush up on what makes them tick and perhaps discover their goals.

A little research can also help you avoid potential landmines too. Don’t feel bad about using public information to improve your sales performance. You are simply adapting to the new information available at your fingertips. Use everything you can to help establish a new professional relationship. Be authentic, remember to smile and don’t talk too much.

Talking less will help your sales performance

We tend to focus far too much on ourselves and our product or service when speaking with potential clients.  Instead, we need to get them to talk to us about what they want and like.  We can tell our friends all about our day and what we like after work is over.  During work, our role is to talk less and listen more, so we know what to say when it’s time to speak. Listening more and talking less is the best way to improve your sales performance in a hurry.

Doors can shut or open wide depending on how we use our verbal communication.  The same is also true of our nonverbal communication. If you want to win more deals, ask questions. Make sure to be a good listener when the potential client is answering your questions. It is so important that your nonverbal cues tell the client you are paying attention and care.

Learn to let your audience do the talking and watch their excitement build as they let you see inside.  This method of questioning will help you further develop rapport too, if not establish a budding friendship. Making friends with your potential clients makes improving your sales performance a whole lot easier.

So how do you apply this technique effectively? Give it about ten seconds after asking a question and the potential client quits speaking before you continue. An awkward silence sometimes leads to the gateway of success as your new friend opens up.

Use open-ended questions to get as much from them as you can.  Sure you need to be mindful of the clock, but if you talk more in the conversation than they do, you have lost.  Basically, you can learn to win more by saying much less.   When it comes to sales performance less is often more.

Benefits to the Potential Client Make the Difference

After you break the ice and discover how to help them specifically, you now are ready to use closed-ended questions and speak in sentences.  You can now start leading your new friend to the solution to their problems.  To gain the most traction, use your words in ways that clearly highlight the benefits your solution offers.  Try your hardest to keep it short and sweet.  Remember to keep terminology simple and your message will hit the mark.

Please don’t discuss feature details, or talk about specifications at all.  Instead, tell them how a feature will help them.  Starving sales reps focus on the product.  The best sales performers adapt.  Your clients’ interest lies in what you can do, not how you can do it.

Show the Win-Win to Close the Sale

Breaking the ice, building rapport and sharing the benefits that will help your potential client are key to increasing your sales.

You won’t win, until you show them how to win.  Are you currently struggling to add sales, but unsure of why your prospects are choosing your competition?  Do you want to know why they are not choosing you?  Many deals are won or lost based on emotion and logic.  Losing deals can come down to simple comprehension of how the purchase helps.

The vendor with a better relationship and the one who explains their value proposition better, will win most sales bids.  If you are losing more often than you win, you should look at the value you are offering.  Consider how well you are explaining the impact implementing your proposal will make.  You might have developed a great solution but need to improve your method of sharing it.  Are you showing them how they will win?  Can they see clearly how you both win when they sign with you?

Clients don’t want to be sold.  Clients want to buy things that help them!  Build excitement, add value, paint the picture of how you will help them get what they want.  Too simple?  No, it’s simply brilliant.  Apply these techniques and close more deals.

SPN Contributor: Ira Bowman

Ira is a proud member of SPN, the founder of #projecthelpyougrow and a 20 year business to business sales professional. As an Account Manager for Californa Surveying & Drafting Supply, Inc (CSDS) and a happily married man with eight children, Ira never lacks for things to do, but writing is one of his passions and helping people is always a top priority.

Other SPN articles with LinkedIn tips

LinkedIn Networking Tips: What’s In It For Me?

How To Use LinkedIn

Win-Win Marketing & Networking

*SPN would also like to thank this month’s sponsors Cottage Corp & GW DISTILLERY.

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LinkedIn Networking Tips: What’s In It For Me?

Join the Service Professionals Network (#SPN) social media groups on LinkedInFacebook and Google+. These groups are full of small to large business owners and entrepreneurs from around the world. Learn how to submit content like the SPN contributor that wrote this article on LinkedIn networking.

LinkedIn Networking

Are you part of the “What’s In It For Me” On LinkedIn Networking Crowd?

I got on LinkedIn in early 2009.  My career has always been face-to-face sales, so internet marketing was not my forte. Up until a few weeks ago, I was hovering around 1,500 connections. I was doing what most people do and going to Google. I did a lot of searching for LinkedIn networking tips.

All I could seem to find was basic information that really gave everyone the same generic results. It was very frustrating and a complete waste of time in a lot of ways. People were constantly offering me their LinkedIn training or life coaching. My desire to learn more about how to use LinkedIn networking began to wane, so I quit looking into it.

It was starting to seem like the “what’s in it for me” crowd was beginning to take over. The feeling I was getting was everyone wants things from me, but no one really wants to just help. Getting a straight answer and solid advice was a chore.

The SPN Project Can Help You Grow

I came across a video on LinkedIn one day that was different. The person in the video was breaking all the rules and was so passionate. The words Win-Win and the Golden Rule kept coming up. I felt like I was watching a comedy show. It was too funny to be someone telling people how to sell on LinkedIn. I was laughing out loud, but I was also learning how to think differently.

The person was Mike O’Connor with #SPN.  In the video, he also dropped a rope for me to climb. “If you’re smart, you’ll call me” was a bold statement he made, so I made the call. We spoke for over two hours and I got real value from it.

Mike was different than other people that I had spoken with from LinkedIn due to his approach. He began asking questions right off the bat and I didn’t really know he was digging for info. After a few minutes, he began to ask about why I didn’t have a bigger network. I was using LinkedIn to sell and doing well with it, but it was a lot of work. It was a lot of cold calling and prospecting.

I work for California Surveying & Drafting Supply Inc. I’m a local account manager, so I didn’t see the value in having a large LinkedIn network. We are in a niche sales market in California, so I wasn’t thinking about the big picture. The more first degree connections you have on LinkedIn the more likely you are to have access to local customers in any niche market. Simply put the bigger your LinkedIn network the better, if you’re trying to sell things. The bigger the network of your first-degree connections the easier it is to sell things on LinkedIn.

How To Get Over 30k Followers On LinkedIn

Mike wrote a LinkedIn article on “How to get over 30k followers on LinkedIn“, so I read that. It was then that I had my ah-ha moment and began to think differently.  I got a lot of tips on the call and the content Mike puts out really helped me get it. Focusing on the growth of my LinkedIn network became a priority. The SPN project is unlike other open networking groups on LinkedIn due to the focus on building real life relationships. Hence, the push to pick up the phone and make a call to get to know your connections.

It was with this new way of thinking that I really began to make LinkedIn networking really work for me. My networking took off right away and began making some really awesome connections. I also began getting a lot of calls from people in California or in need of my services. Mike began referring people to me. He was actually telling people about Ira Bowman with CSDS. That was not something I was really expecting.

It was on the call where I was saying thank you that I got it was just business as usual for him. This is what he means by Win-Win marketing and networking. He took the time to learn about how he could help me and began to help right away. His only concern was that I was to pay it for forward by dropping the rope for the next person.

LinkedIn Networking Made Easy With Project Help You Grow

The Service Professionals Network was so good to me that I was hoping to contribute more to the group. Mike actually told me to start my own #SPN group, so I could focus on helping people like me. His focus is on helping people in #SPN grow through his charity marketing and contributor projects. The idea behind the #ProjectHelpYouGrow group on LinkedIn is to help SPN continue to help LinkedIn beginners.

We work together to make it easier for people to learn how to make money and find jobs through LinkedIn networking. I am currently over 6k first degree connections with over 2k of them in the California area. Making the call to learn how to market on LinkedIn better was the best decision I made in a long time.

I take lessons that I got from Mike and apply them to my every day life. SPN teaches people how to communicate in business, online and in person. People pay big money for higher education and the type of training courses that SPN gives out for FREE.

Network With C-Level Executives And World Leaders

The best part about SPN is you really do get to network with c-level executives and world leaders. SPN has millions of people in it due to the massive network that Mike has built. Joining the Service Professionals Network groups on every platform really opens a lot of doors people don’t pay attention to. It’s all in who you know, who knows you and how they feel about you. Mike is known as #TheClownOfLinkedIn.

The truth is he is more like the ring leader of the circus due to the way he connects so many people. Mike works tirelessly to raise money for charity while also helping nearly everyone that reaches out to him. He helps everyone from the people with the smallest of networks to the largest of corporations equally. Knowing Mike and connecting with the SPN social media groups really does change lives.

The Service Professionals Network is project that can help you grow. SPN is a networking project that helps better connect millions of people with C-level executives and world leaders. It is also growing daily on multiple social media platforms.

SPN Contributor: Ira Bowman

Ira is a proud member of SPN, the founder of #projecthelpyougrow and a 20 year business to business sales professional.  As an Account Manager for Californa Surveying & Drafting Supply, Inc (CSDS) and a happily married man with eight children, Ira never lacks for things to do, but writing is one of his passions and helping people is always a top priority.

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