millionusd

If you want to be a $Millionaire

One Page About… Time Management

Time management is one of the fundamental things about business. It is also fundamental to manage time in life, also… but this gets a little philosophical and we don’t want to go that way.

Like all fundamentals, we can describe it in millions of words or just keep it simple.

Long version: there is a time matrix, resulted from the crossing of the Importance degree of a task with the Urgency degree of the same task.

We get 4 situations (and 4 kinds of tasks):

1. Important, Urgent

2. Not Important, Urgent

3. Not Important, Not Urgent

4. Important, Not Urgent.

1. Every now and then we get an Important-Urgent task; these are the most unpleasant. This happens and it is the result of some unplanned event that creates an unprecedented opportunity for people or business.  In these cases, you should jump right in taking the opportunity and postpone all the other tasks.

It is also possible that this is the effect of an Important-Not Urgent task that was neglected for too long. Please don’t do that… it will complicate your life and make you miserable.  Just don’t wait until is almost too late…

If all the tasks that you handle are Important-Urgent you need a change: change yourself or change your job. This is not going to work on the long run. More than that, when dealing with important tasks with the pressure of the time, it is not unusual to make mistakes… a lot of them.

2. Every day we have to deal with some Not Important-Urgent tasks. It is about being polite, answering the phone, helping a colleague with the copy machine, etc. My way of dealing with it: solve it at once and move forward. Not Important makes it very clear for me: it is not worth spending too much time with it.

3. What should I say about Not Important-Not Urgent tasks? They are easy to spot and easier to deal with (if you really want to use your time in the best way for business). These tasks are all those little things that are part of normal life, but should not get into the office: chatting, coffee drinking, order in the papers, etc. Do it when all the other things are solved.

4. Some people never work on Important tasks unless they get Urgent. And that’s wrong. The best time to deal with Important tasks is when there is no time pressure.  If you will allocate more than half of your time to work on the Important-Not Urgent tasks, you will get a lot of time for your work. That even means that you can afford some breaks from time to time. Isn’t that nice?

One minute of planning saves about ten minutes of execution. The point is to think first, prioritize and only after that to act. And of course it helps if you take your work seriously and not lose time with worthless tasks.

Short version: Focus on the tasks that take you faster to your goals.

This might mean anything, but it sure working. Focus and goals are 2 things you should always have in mind; when you do that, almost all problems get their solution.

One Page About… Sales Meetings

I attended more than 5000 sales meetings. I had all kind of experiences: successful or lousy meetings, meetings with nice people or with terrible people, long or short meetings, interesting or boring, with lots of people or just me and the buyer, easy or hard sales, memorable or forgettable. I saw a lot of them.

There are some comments on what do I think is a good meeting. There are things that are not in our control (like when the weather is rainy, or some of the people we are supposed to meet are late, or any other things that may happen and we can’t do anything about), so I will not focus on them.

We will talk about the things we can set-up and influence in order to have a good meeting. I do not want to describe “the perfect” meeting as I don’t think we can define “perfect” very well. It may not even be such thing as the perfect meeting, at least I wouldn’t know how to evaluate this: sometimes the results are important, sometimes the objective achievement is important, other times the method of getting the results is important; it is all very relative.

 

A GOOD MEETING should be:

1. With the right people

2. With the right topic

3. With clear objectives

4. Short

5. With achieved objectives at the end.

 

1. With the right people. Please concentrate to understand if the people you invite to the meeting are the most relevant for the topic. If you sell products for the production department, don’t talk to the marketing people. Save you time and energy. Better spend some time before the meeting, so you will identify the important persons and get them to meet you, instead of making the best sales presentation to the wrong people.

Pay attention: do not think that if you have the General Manager or a VP in the meeting you have hit the Jackpot. Don’t be naive, the GM or VP do not care for ALL the details of the business. This is why they have others that help them. Sometimes the GM will consider your presentation a waste of HIS time and make this very clear to his team. The result: lost sale, nobody will work on something that is upsetting the BOSS.

 

2. With the right topic. Salespeople want to impress. And they do this sometimes by trying to present everything at once. Please, do not present everything that you know. Do not show all the products, services, concepts, features and improvements in the same sales meeting. A sales meeting should focus only on the NEED of the customer. Find the need and solve only that specific need, if possible with only one product or concept. If they buy that, then they will be ready to share more needs with you.

Pay attention: do not think that you know better then the customer what is his NEED. Do not assume. Just ask, and be very attentive to the answer. Then offer a product or a service that is relevant for solving the need.

 

3. With clear objectives. If you enter a meeting with no objectives, that is a lost business opportunity. To set-up the objectives it is really easy. You just have to ask yourself “WHY?” Why do you want to meet those people; why do they want to meet you. And of course, there is the basic method of the SMART objectives that we can describe in detail some other time, because it requires a page of its own.

Pay attention: if you will have no clear objectives for the meeting, you will waste your time and the customer’s time and you can lose a sale even if the customer is eager to buy. I lost sales like that, and also I gave up buying products that I really needed because of a lousy salesman.

 

4. Short. If you meet the right people, you talk to the point and you follow clear objectives, there is no reason for the meeting to be long. Remember that you meet for business, not for pleasure. The customer will appreciate the care for his time and will consider you a true professional. This way he will have more time for more pleasurable things (spend time with the love-ones, for example).

Pay attention: Don’t think that if you spend more time with the customer they will like you better and you will increase the chances to sell. Sometimes things are misleading: the customer may consider you annoying and time-consuming, rather than fun and pleasant, but he is too polite to end the meeting. You will spend 2 hours together and at the end you will think that you have built a great relationship and on the other side he will be very happy that the meeting finally got to an end. Next time he will avoid you and you will don’t know why :).

 

 

5. With achieved objectives at the end. If you prepare well and aim for an objective, then you will have a good meeting in which both you and the customer will achieve your goals. Maybe it is only the goal of meeting each other and founding the relationship, if the sale is a little more complex (in terms of product, service or sales cycle). Not the scale of the objective is important, but the fact that the set objective is achieved.

Pay attention: If only YOU have achieved YOUR objective, the meeting is far from being good. You both have to achieve the personal objectives. This is the start of a business relationship and this will only be strong when both parties are satisfied. Some think that there is no win-win situation, but just thinking about your own interest is not the best sales approach for the long run, in my humble opinion.

 

Quote of the Day: The Third

“Knowing isn’t enough; we must apply.

Being willing isn’t enough; we must do.”

~Leonardo Da Vinci

 

How to Write

On Writing by Stephen King

 

I was inspired by Larry Winget to read this book. He says that anyone that wants to be a writer, no matter on which subject, should read this book. After reading it, I couldn’t agree more.

The master of the horror stories is teaching us how to write. Stephen King is also an English teacher, besides being an author that has sold millions of copies of his books.

I like the recommendation for the young writer to have a “tool box”. This means that he should always carry basic tools like the vocabulary and grammar, and of course also learn how to use them.

King is thinking from his point of view, as a fiction writer, and some of the teachings only help if you want to do the same. But there are also good ideas that apply to all kinds of writing.

I want to write for the purpose of communication with the users of sales knowledge. I use writing to get to those people and there is no need for figures of speech of other artistic elements in my texts. Nevertheless there is one very important piece of advice that I can follow always in my writing.

Stephen says:

“Keep it simple. Eliminate all the unnecessary words.”

I think this is gold. It is just like life should be: simple, without unnecessary parts. We should all focus on the good and clean fundamentals.

Stephen is very fond of simplicity.

He likes Hemingway:

He came to the river. The river was there.” (Big Two-Hearted River)

He hates useless phrases like: “A the end of the day…

He hates passive diathesis; that is when things are done to somebody, not done by somebody. It is when we avoid describing the facts in a straight manner, just like they are.

Example: “The meeting will be held at seven o’clock”, instead of “The meeting is at seven o’clock.” It is there an element that should not be. It is better when we remove it.

Please note that I didn’t use “It is better when it is removed”.

Remove it, for God’s sake. Keep it straight and simple.

Even if we talk about a corpse we shouldn’t say: “The body was carried in the hallway.” Better use: “Frank and John carried the body to the hallway.

It’s cleaner and clearer.

So, in terms of Larry Winget, I got a valuable idea out of the book: I will write simply, clean and straight. This way everybody can understand and focus on the content rather then on the form.

I wanted to write my opinion on the book. I wrote it. :)

How to Successfully Promote Your Business

 

Think Rich to Be Rich by Larry John; part 2


Coming back to the book of Larry John. He has 4 more ideas to introduce us to in our quest for richness. Four valuable ideas that will work for every person and it will particularly work for somebody that wants his business jump-started.

 

Here they are:

  1. Sales Fundamentals
  2. Create and wait
  3. “To want” vs. “to do”
  4. Sales – the ultimate key to success

 

Just some quick words on every idea.

1. Sales Fundamentals.

When it comes to sales Larry values consistence and perseverance more then anything.

His first advice is to initiate the sales process every day. I must agree on that as I also commented this, if you remember, when I referred to the accountant-salesperson. You must engage in 20 sales contacts every day. The original version was 20 calls every day, but with the new technology and with the social marketing, I have to turn calls into “chats”. Nevertheless nowadays the customers are not all in the same location (I here mean Continent) as we are, and sometimes it is far more easy to have a contestation via Skype or some kind of chat. I will keep the original “call”, by this also meaning other ways of instant connection.

So you should initiate 20 calls daily. The recommended time is 10.00 AM, when you had time to start the day but you are not tired yet. Your prospects will also be in the same physical stage. Sure, it’s more difficult to sync if you are in Nebraska and your customer in Sidney. But these are small details.

You will not speak with 20 decision makers every day. You will not even speak to 20 persons every day.  You will just initiate 20 calls every day. If you do that every day, you will have about 400 calls per month and about 5000 calls per year. If you do that, you will manage to get enough customers so you will keep your business successfully running.

Simple task done with consistence and perseverance will drive results.

 

A valuable advice: always qualify your prospect. Make sure that you talk to the right person. It is no use to spend a lot of time with a person that has no real potential of accessing your product or service. Time is a valuable resource. Handle with care.

First lines of your conversation will be decisive on whether you go on with the prospect discussion or you just find an elegant way out. Make sure not to hurt the person’s feeling even if it’s not your perfect prospect.

 

When you find the perfect prospect, be the first to act. Offer something before receiving. Offer to send him a sample of your product or make him a small service similar to that you usually do. Offer to send him some data about what you do (it’s ok once you spoke with him; otherwise it will be considered spam and treated in consequence).

If you send something, there will be a reason to get back in touch, to collect the feedback. Next time, when he will provide the feedback you will just act naturally. If the feedback is positive, then you can close on the sale. If he says “I will call you”, you just have to play along, say “ok, great” and contact him in about one week.

 

Another important step is to meet the customer. It is quite a big step. If you don’t sell him anything over the phone, “sell him” only the meeting (we will discover together how to do that, sometime soon). At the meeting you will just talk about the business, not sell anything. If you have half price and twice the quality of the competition, 50% of the prospects will ask for your product, you do not need fancy sales skills and tricks.

 

Just to remember you the Power of big numbers:

 

If you call 20 people you will talk to 2 people.

From that 2 people, one will become a prospect.

Out of 5 prospects, one will be good.

Only one of 2 good prospects will be a customer.

 

This means 1 customer out of 200 calls. The sooner you make the 200 calls, the sooner you get your next customer. 20 calls per day generate about 25 customers/ year. Usually this amount is enough for young business to start-up. If you need more, you should just call more people J.

 

2. Create and wait.

This is Magic. Larry says that usually he is very pragmatic, but this is something that is not to be scientifically explained. However, it works every time.

I will not detail very much as I will cover it in another post, but I agree with Larry. I experienced on my own and it works every time. It is pure Magic and you should use it with no questions asked. Just do it.

 

You are supposed to imagine the outcome in the deepest detail. I mean, really see the beautiful flowers you want to pick in your wonderful holiday in Europe or Hawaii. Really be able to smell the freshness of the leather on your dream car.

Just do that for a while, until it becomes something natural, unforced.

Then wait for it to happen. Because it will.

 

3. “To want” vs. “to do”

It’s fun to have fantasies. It is enjoyable. We always dream about the things that we want. And sometimes we think about the things that we had and the experiences that we lived.

This makes us neither very happy nor productive. It is about living in the future or living in the past. To fantasize constantly and always compare what you have with what you want is not letting you live in the present.

Larry asks you to live in the present, “do” more and enjoy the present moment and situation rather than always look for the better future.

Once you reach a goal you must celebrate and enjoy it for a short while. The satisfaction will normally fade away in some time, and you will need to get another thing done to get the same good feeling.

 

A famous Football coach was asked about the secret of his team’s success. He answered: “We focus on every match; one at the time. We have the 24 hour rule. If we win, we celebrate for 24 hours then prepare the next match. If we lose, we debate, argue and blame each-other for 24 hours then prepare the next match.

Stay in the present and act. Now.

    

4. Sales – the ultimate key to success.

Bottom line: nobody gets paid until somebody sells something. No business survives without customers.

So the most simple and basic idea: do not neglect selling your product or service. Good sales make the business successful.

Gain and retain customers.

In the end it is not the brilliant management, the beautiful product, the perfect organization.

It is as simple as selling to the CUSTOMER.

So… sales, sales and sales.

 

And as a dessert, the final idea is that being rich is generally not solving to many problems, but provides us from thinking about money (which is good, I would say :)).

But Larry also said it openly, no richness without a lot of work and on this point I have to refer to an article of my newest friend, Clay Franklin.

Don’t forget: being rich is not a number, but a lifestyle. It’s all relative.

 

 

 

Quote of the day: The Second

 

“With a BAD attitude you can never have a POSITIVE DAY” & “With a POSITIVE attitude you can never have a BAD DAY”

The Choice is yours.

Something about Sales Fundamentals

 

The most frequent mistakes sales-people do:

1. They don’t LISTEN.

2. They don’t ASK questions.

3. They TALK too much.

I would like to talk more about all this but I will just prefer to ask questions and listen to the answers :).

 

 

 

How to Successfully Start-up

 

Think Rich to Be Rich by Larry John; part 1

 

This is another book that has a lot of wisdom in not so many words. It reveals some basic and fundamental principles of any successful business. It’s a book like a Pug (“multum in parvum”, big content in small package).

There are the same steps that help either an experimented business man or a wannabe entrepreneur to successfully begin and launch a business from scratch.

 

I particularly like Larry’s definition of richness. His belief is that richness is a lifestyle rather than a number or a quantity of money. Some of us might not feel reach earning 200.000 USD/year. Others would be rich with much smaller revenue. It is all about how much we need to fulfill the needs of a certain lifestyle. He says: “it’s all about the toys”.

I have to agree: My toys are my dogs. I feel rich if I have enough revenue so I can afford to have whatever dog I want and to travel wherever I want for canine events. This is being rich for me. Everybody is seeing richness in own terms.

It’s not about having; it’s about being and doing.

 

Next revealed “secrets” of Larry:

  1. Twice the quality at half price
  2. Share your knowledge
  3. Share your wealth
  4. Stop working

 

That’s all. Now we know how to become rich :).

 

Not so fast.

 

1. The advice is that whatever we have to sell it should be twice as good as the competitor product or service, and the price should be half that competition’s price.

Now… this is easier said than done, however… not impossible. The idea is that the new business should be based on products or services that are better that the existing ones. Also, it would be easier to get if launched fast if the price would be better than the existing prices.

This is the easier way to sell high quantities in short time and keep customers for longer time.

Price is an important part of the buy-impulse or buy-decision. It is in human nature that we are attracted to small prices. One of my favorite jokes about buying habits: “A woman will pay 1$ for an item that costs 2$ even if she doesn’t need it. A man will not pay 2$ for an item that costs 1$ even if he really needs it.” This is how much we all love small prices; in both cases, they will buy our product, because it is at half price.

 

Even if we offer a product at that small price, this doesn’t mean that we should compromise on the quality. After all, we need customers to be satisfied, buy recurrently and recommend us to their friends, family and acquaintances. It is all about lasting long-time, not about hit-and-run strategy.

 

You will probably ask: what if your costs of making a quality product are not allowing you to sell at half price? In this case, you should consider starting a business based on another kind of product. It is not worth it to start a new business with the same products, same prices and same quality like others before. The companies that are already on the market are way ahead, and you need a solid advantage to get your market-share.

If you offer better quality and higher price, it is possible to succeed, but you need much more effort and very well trained sales force.

 

The product that is twice as good and half in price will almost sell itself, so there is a problem solved. I like the approach on sales (leaves me, as a sales specialist, out of business, though :)).

 

2. Share your knowledge: after things are started you as the owner have to teach somebody else to do your job. This is hard, considering that you started the business as a “labor of love”. Everybody advised you to get started on whatever you love the most, you love web-design and now they say you should let others do the design. Makes not much sense.

It makes sense: if you are successful, you will get a lot of orders for you to design. First you will be happy and start working, then get more orders and you will be very, very busy. In a short while you will not be able to serve everybody that would ask for your help, or worse, you will mess-up your designs. In both cases, customers will start leaving you.

Solution: when you get to be busy at 70-80% with design, start teaching somebody else how to do what you do. The time you save, you have to use it to attract more customers. Clearly: more customers means more money, and if you are able to hire more people to do the design and teach them to be great, then you won’t choke on you own success.

As I do not do web design, but sales, it doesn’t apply to me. NOT. Teaching sales is what I do, and at one moment I should step off and only focus on selling the teaching of sales (it’s getting difficult to understand even for me). You got the picture…

 

3. Share your wealth. This is easy: if you want to keep your best people, pay them. The best and most motivating pay: a cut of the profit. It makes them more loyal and interested to lower the expense, because this is lowering their income. This will also make the alternative to leave you for the competition very hard to put into practice, most of the time the competition is not paying so well.

Don’t be cheap. People are the ultimate resource. Pay them big, and they will make you rich.

 

4. Stop working. Really easy: step off the stage, and only look at the outcome. If you trained, motivated and empowered your people well, you have no more to do there. Don’t disturb them in their work, let them work their magic of making you rich.

However, there is a small think that you could do: get more customers for the business. So, you will totally stop designing and managing the business and only sell, sell, sell. This is the key.

Nobody in the company makes any money until the customer buy one item. More sales, more money. This is the most important part of any business: getting the customers and selling the product. All the other activities can be outsourced or delegated.

Sale and sale again. Educate you selling skills and sale some more. I have to agree firmly with this point, as sales are my lifetime learning experience.

 

Once again, Larry’s “secrets”:

  1. Twice the quality at half price
  2. Share your knowledge
  3. Share your wealth
  4. Stop working

 

The book contains 4 more other important ideas, but I leave them for my next post.

 

How to start Change Management

Who Moved my Cheese? by Spencer Johnson

Here is a classic.

Small book with such a big influence. Makes me think that many times “less is more”. It doesn’t always matter how much space you occupy, but sure matters the strength of the concept and the art of communication.

I like the fact that the book is written as a parable. That is the approach that really stays in people minds. The method is used by Og Mandino in The Greatest Salesman in the World, I referred previously to it. It is used also by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen in Chicken Soup for the Soul. And of course many other authors that have a more poetic style and want to be memorable in the most enjoyable way.

There are more valuable lessons to learn from this parable and I think the main thing that we have to consider is the fact that change is always imminent. I could say that this is a manual of Change Management. We would all wish that success is eternal and the good Status Quo is never going to switch to failure. This is the thinking of kings (a monarch wants to preserve his status, doesn’t allow much change in the kingdom). However, we have not so much feudalism in the modern world.

This idea is supported much recently by Seth Godin in his book, Tribes. Everything is changing at a very high speed. We have examples all over the planet and all around us. The things that were great yesterday might be obsolete tomorrow. It is not only about fashion, but this is the very essence of human kind:

The global population is growing very fast: there were 1.6 billion people in 1900, 2.5 billion people in 1950 and 6 billion in 2000. In the next hundred years this will be double.

In 1990 the email was barely know, in 2011 almost all of us have at least one email account; most of us have several.

Must I bring-up the evolution of print, radio, TV, Internet, Social Media and in general the democratization of the access to information? The things that we used to pay big money some years ago, are now free or have very small prices. Check on the phone call costs in 1980 compared to 2011.

On the other hand, material resources and mineral richness is diminishing and the costs are getting higher and higher. But research is finding solutions to give-up on the demand for the expensive raw materials: wood is replaced with plastic and steel; coal is replaced with wind energy; leather is replaced with microfiber, Flash Components are being replaced by HTML5. Therefore the wood the successful wood merchant of yesterday is doomed if he will not change.

What is Spencer Johnson’s opinion?

He seams not to get involved in our judgment. He created 2 types of characters: 2 mice and 2 men. Mice seek and run to the cheese (aka success). Men fear to change their Status Quo, even when it is obvious that Status Quo means nothing at all, it is just a memory. People will stay still, starve and claim their so-called rights, instead of building another Status, maybe even more comfortable and more glorious than the initial one.

I make no difference between the behaviors of the 2 mice. They both act on instinct; they do not feel sorry for themselves, do not “see” the obstacles, do not feel the fear of change. When the success of their first part of the life is over, they just put on their “working clothes” and start building their future. I am sure that they will do it over and over again, all their lives and stop only when their final rest comes. I have never had the honor and privilege of meeting a retired mouse. Also, I didn’t see any mouse weeping, or pitting himself, or claiming his born-rights. I have never met a mouse that stops at obstacles. I am pretty sure that they don’t even see any obstacle.

We only see the obstacle when we take our eyes off our dreams.

Mice never do that. They always dream about their CHEESE.

On the other hand, the 2 men have different behaviors: One is totally frozen, afraid of change and claims his rights. The other one feels fear, is struggling and overcomes fear. He beats himself and gets to the cheese after doing it. He applies “Fortis est qui se vincit.”

Unfortunately, in our fight for success, we are people. We do not act on impulse and purely on instinct. We FEEL. We THINK. And then we OVERTHINK. And we see the obstacles because fear makes us forget what our objectives are, what are our dreams.

Some of us don’t even know what are their objectives and dreams, because they didn’t think about it seriously yet. They didn’t even define their CHEESE. In this case it is no wonder that they can’t find it :). But this is another topic that we should argue about some other time.

In the end, one of the 2 men is successful. He fights his fear of change, leaves old success behind and looks for the new success. In the meantime he forgets his habits of comfort and laziness and “gets back on the horse”. And this actions and behaviors pay him back.

“I will develop good habits and I will become their slave” Og Mandino says.

We are what our habits make us to be. If we educate ourselves as Change Managers, we will embrace change and make the best out of it. We will not go far by believing that Status Quo will be the best for ever.

“Change the way you look at things and things will change” Jim Bagnola says.

Look at obstacles as they are the signs that lead you to the CHEESE, and this is what they will be.

A good day

Yesterday it was quite a good day for my projects.

1. I met a wonderful, energetic, young business consultant that is looking to coach 5 people in their journey to self-development. His name is Carlos Miceli. He represents the “Y Generation”, and this is good fuel for my businesses. He is also a writer and blogger; so we have a lot in common and I have much to learn from him. He will also be able to learn from me, if he will feel like doing it.

I like his work so far, I reviewed his blog and asked for a seat in his program. Looks like I got myself a mentor.

2. Later the day I had a meeting with one of my partners and we had a coaching session, quite successful I should say: we have set-up the general frame and the first part of a new project.

This time I acted as a coach for him. We work together on a networking project. He is a beginner-networker and we agreed that I would help him become a power-networker. The objective is that he wants more customers for his core business and he needs to expand his “social economy”. What better way to prove that it can be done in an easy and pleasurable way, but just doing it. He will attend our coaching sessions, document it and include all in an e-book about successful personal branding and networking.

He will be able to “kill more birds with only one stone”:

  • Become a better networker
  • Get more valuable contacts
  • Gain some mentors
  • Get more customers for his business
  • Put together a valuable resource (an e-book about efficient networking and social economy management)
  • Have fun while doing it.

I will be able to “kill more birds with only one stone”:

  • Become a better coach
  • Do some volunteer work
  • Showcase my skills
  • Get access to the resource (the e-book :))
  • Get more customers for my business
  • Polish my networking skills, get more out of my present relationships and create new relationships
  • Maybe even get a percentage out of his benefits
  • Have fun while doing it.

Bottom line: in the same day I became coach and coached. Great! I would have to say it was a good day. I think I already said that. Oh, well… I am excited to see and share the outcomes of these new roles that I have.

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