Character: The Core of Leadership & Leadership Mistakes to Avoid

Our topic this month is Leadership, and when it comes to great leaders, we think of people like Winston Churchill, George Washington, Martin Luther King, Abraham Lincoln and Mother Teresa. Thinking of leaders in those terms, it’s easy to think of leadership in a “far-off” context and forget that it relates to each of us in a very personal way. First and foremost, leadership is a state of mind. The great leaders of our time didn’t just one day decide that they wanted to lead a country. Instead, it was because of who they were and the character (which is the main topic of N.J.W discussion this week) they worked to form throughout their lives that, when the opportunity—and in some cases, crisis—presented itself, they were propelled into positions of strong leadership. In the same way, whether we like to think of ourselves as leaders or not, we are. So if we’ve taken the time to prepare our character and hone our leadership skills, when the opportunity presents itself—if we have done our homework—we will be ready.

Abraham Lincoln said that he would study and prepare himself so that he would be ready when opportunity came. As you go through this week, ask yourself, “Am I ready for when the next crisis comes or the next opportunity presents itself?”

Leadership, Part Two—Character: The Core of Leadership and Leadership Mistakes to Avoid

Remember our key phrase this month: You are a leader, and you can grow in your leadership position so that you can effectively lead the group around you, no matter what size it is!

This month we are covering the topic of Leadership:

  1. The Foundational Principles of Leadership and Developing a Powerful Vision. In last week’s lesson, I covered the basic foundational elements that are central to becoming a person with tremendous leadership skills and abilities. I also discussed secrets to having a powerful and compelling vision that helps you attract others.
  2. Character: The Core of Leadership and Leadership Mistakes to Avoid. This week I will look at what I believe is the core element of leadership—the issue of character. I will look at what it means to be a person of character who can lead others forward, and how character is essential to successfully lead others. I will also look at some typical leadership mistakes people make that hinder their ability to lead and move their organizations forward, and how you can avoid making those same mistakes.
  3. Skills Needed for Effective Leadership and Developing Other Leaders in Your Organization. Next week I will turn our eyes away from the character traits of leaders and look more at the basic skills effective leaders demonstrate. I will also be looking at some strategic ways to develop other leaders around you so you can ensure a new generation of leaders.
  4. Becoming the Best Leader You Can Be—Taking Care of Yourself as the Leader and Motivating Those Who Follow You—In Good Times and Tough Times. In the last week of this month, I will take a closer look at making sure you take care of yourself. In this day and age, it is even more important for the leader to closely guard their own growth and development. I will also look at how to motivate others to follow you.

Character: The Core of Leadership

There has been a lot of discussion lately about character and leadership. Most political elections today seem to have an element to them wherein one candidate suggests that the other doesn’t have the character that it takes to lead. Just a cursory glance at the business page in the newspaper shows a major discussion of character and ethics in the corporate world. Schools are rocked with scandal, as are some churches. Everywhere you turn, it seems as though there is a lack of character. But doesn’t this beg the question, “What is character?”

Here are a few definitions of character that I have found that, when put together, give us a good understanding of what character is:

1. Strength of mind, resolution, independence, individuality

2. Moral or ethical strength

3. Who you are when no one else is around

In other words, a person of good character is a person who has a strong moral base and acts on it. They have the core inner strength, fortitude and determination to do what is right, whether anyone else is there to validate it or not. They operate out of what is good and right, not out of personal expedience.

Once we have defined character, we must also ask: Why is character important? Character is important because it is what we place our trust in when dealing with other people. When we decide to follow a leader, we evaluate their life, their skills, etc., and then make a decision to trust them. We trust that they are who they say they are. We trust that they will do what they say. Trust is built on good people who are consistent in their goodness. Those are the people we can trust—and the leader/follower relationship is, at its core, one of trust.

Six Essential Traits of Good Character

The following are what I believe to be the basics of good character. Miss one of these, and you will find a weak link in your character—one that may be your leadership’s undoing. As you go through the following, soberly reflect on your life as it relates to these integral parts of good character.

  1. Integrity. Integrity is a good catch word that is similar to character but provides us with a different way of looking at the idea of character. The root of integrity means “whole” or “undivided,” and that is a terrific way to help us understand what integrity is—an undivided life. For example, you don’t act one way in one situation and another in a different situation. There is integrity and wholeness to your life. Living this way will build trust in your followers. Another use of the word integrity that provides insight for us is when the word is used in regard to a physical structure. A wall or a building that is strong and has no cracks is said to have integrity. The same could be said for great leaders.
  1. Honesty. It is regularly said that honesty is the best policy, but I would add that honesty is the only policy for great leaders. Think about it. Why do people hedge the truth? Usually for a few basic reasons: they are either afraid of the ramifications or they are trying to hide something. Either way, a lack of honesty results in the fact that you destroy the trust of those who follow you. Even if you tell them the truth, but they know you have lied to others, it will destroy the trust you had with them. They find themselves thinking, “If he will lie to them, will he lie to me?”

I have never understood what people hope to accomplish by being dishonest. As the Bible says, “Your sin shall surely find you out.” Eventually people come to know that you are not honest in your dealings, and that is what you become known for. Your reputation is what your leadership is based on, though. When we are honest and live transparently before our followers, they are able to see us for who we are and make solid decisions to follow.

Loyalty. People of good character are loyal people. They have a “stick-to-it” attitude when it comes to others. Anybody who knows human nature knows that people fail. It is just a matter of time, no matter how talented someone is. A person of good character stays with their friends even in the downtimes. Anyone can be friends with others when times are good. People of good character stay with their friends when they need them most. How this translates into making you a good leader is this: People want to follow a leader who will stretch them beyond where they are now, but who will also allow them to try—and to fail. When we are loyal to our followers, they will be loyal to us and make every effort to succeed on our behalf and on behalf of the organization. There are few things that strengthen the leader-follower bond more than when a leader shows their loyalty to a follower in need.

Self-Sacrifice. Lee Iacocca became a legend when he said that he would bring Chrysler back from the brink of bankruptcy and would take only a dollar a year in pay. This was a classic example of a leader sacrificing for the followers. It also showed his understanding of empathizing with the average line worker. As a result, the workers of Chrysler rewarded him with an incredible following as they built Chrysler into one of the world’s leading car companies. What is it about self-sacrifice that breeds followers? Followers do not mind putting in the hard work. They don’t even mind a leader making more money or reaping benefits from their work. What followers do mind, though, is when the leader is using them for personal gain. People of good character do not use other people, period. So when a leader shows sacrifice of personal gain, it says to the followers that they are willing to come alongside of them—and followers reward that almost universally. A person of good character shows that they can give up personal gain for the good of the whole.

5. Accountability. People of good character do not mind accountability. In fact, they welcome it. This is the act of allowing others to have a say in your life, to speak to you straight about your life and conduct. The brutal truth is that we have blind spots and need other people to be in close to us so we can advance down the road of success. The need for accountability doesn’t prove lack of character. Rather, it proves the presence of character. G.K. Chesterton said, “Original sin is the only philosophy empirically validated by 3,500 years of human history.” The person of good character knows this and invites others to speak into their life.

We see this is especially true today with all that has gone on among our leaders lately. Followers are growing tired of leaders who will have nothing to do with accountability. They do not mind leaders who make mistakes, but they do mind leaders who do not take responsibility for their mistakes by being accountable. When we allow ourselves to be held accountable, our followers know that we are serious about keeping our own house in order, and thus will do a good job in leading the rest of the organization.

Self-Control. The ability to make decisions—good decisions—about what we will and will not do with our actions is at the core of what we become in regard to our character. There will be plenty of options to participate in things that are not moral. Everybody has temptations, but a person of good character knows to exercise self-control—literal control over their choices. When people do not exercise self-control, they sabotage their ability to lead. People lose respect for them and will follow less, if at all. Self-control is the ability to choose to do the things we should, and to refrain from doing the things we shouldn’t. When we exhibit self-control, we again build trust in our followers. They respect us and want to follow us.

You can strengthen your character. We are born with clean slates. As we grow, there are many influences that shape our character—our parents, teachers, friends and choices all mold that inner character. The good news is, no matter where you are right now, you can decide that your character will grow stronger. You can choose to be around those people who will challenge you to become better. You can choose to put positive materials into your mind and heart. You can begin making choices that reflect a change in lifestyle, and thus, in character. No one is “stuck.” You can change—if you want to!

Until next week, let’s do something remarkable!

-Nick James Co Founder of N.J.W Blog

The Foundational Principles of Leadership and Developing a Powerful Vision

This month I tackle the topic of Leadership. Although there are many definitions and facets to leadership, one of the most practical and clear realities of leadership is that it is all about the ability to influence. And since everything we do and say has the potential to influence others, we all are in the position of leadership.

For example, even if you feel you are the “low man on the totem pole” in your office (or job), you still have the opportunity to influence others—through your attitude, your example, your work ethic, your decisions, your philosophy, and everything you do. This would also apply to our children at school. And for those in a literal position of leadership.


Because leadership is obviously a very important part of our daily lives and relationships, we should be telling our kids, “You are a leader”; telling our staff members, “You are a leader”; and telling ourselves, “I’m a leader.” And soon, the very truth of this powerful statement will grow more each day, as we internalize it and allow it to influence us and those around us.

Remember to download the Activity Lessons workbook pages from here.

Lets make it a great week!

The N.J.W Blog

Part One—The Foundational Principles of Leadership and Developing a Powerful Vision

I love to talk about leadership, because when I talk about personal development, I am looking internally at what I do for myself. But when I talk about leadership, I am transferring those concepts outward so that we begin to affect others around us and improve their lives as well.

One brief note before we begin. Many times, people mistakenly define leaders as people who hold high-profile positions, such as the president of the United States or the leader of a large social movement. But leadership is so much more than that. Anyone who has a role in shaping the lives of others needs to develop leadership skills, whether it is a parent or a small-business owner, or the CEO of a large multinational corporation. And, surprisingly, most leadership principles are highly transferable between a broad cross-section of leadership situations.

So, plant this thought in your mind: You are a leader, and you can grow in your leadership position so that you can effectively lead the group around you—no matter what size it is!

This is what I am covering on the topic of Leadership this month:

1. The Foundational Principles of Leadership and Developing a Powerful Vision. In today’s lesson, I will cover the basic foundational elements that are central to becoming a person with tremendous leadership skills and abilities. I will also discuss secrets to having a powerful and compelling vision that helps you attract others.

2. Character: The Core of Leadership and Leadership Mistakes to Avoid. Next week, I will be looking at what I believe is the core element of what it means to be a leader: the issue of character. I will look at what it means to be a person of character who can lead others forward, and how character is essential to successfully lead others. I will also look at some typical leadership mistakes people make that hinder their ability to lead and move their organizations forward, and how you can avoid making those same mistakes.

3. Skills Needed for Effective Leadership and Developing Other Leaders in Your Organization. In two weeks, I will turn our eyes away from the character traits of leaders and look more at the basic skills that effective leaders demonstrate. I will also be looking at some strategic ways to develop other leaders around you so you can ensure a new generation of leaders.

4. Becoming the Best Leader You Can Be—Taking Care of Yourself as the Leader and Motivating Those Who Follow You—In Good Times and Tough Times. In the last week of this month, I will take a closer look at making sure that you take care of yourself. In this day and age, it is even more important for the leader to be closely guard their own growth and development. I will also look at how to motivate others to follow you.

Let’s look at some foundational principles of leadership:

Leadership is the challenge of being above average. If you want to be a leader, you cannot be part of the average. You must not be ordinary, but extraordinary. “Getting by” is not an option, but excelling is mandatory. If you truly desire to lead others, you must first decide for yourself that you will do what it takes in your own life to set yourself apart from the rest, in your character, your skills, your passion and your vision. Those who lead others must be further ahead of those they lead.

Leadership is driven by character. I will talk more about what character is next week, but overall, character centers on who you are, not just what you do. Yes, skills are important to a leader’s success, but the core is character. It is about the integrity, honesty, honor and passion that come from deep within. Some may argue that we have had many leaders who had little or no character, and my response would be, “But not for long.” People eventually find out about poor character traits, and if they have any say in it, they choose a different leader. People will not follow men and women who cannot be trusted. More on this next week.

Leadership requires vision—a long-range, organizational vision that takes the whole scope of the group into mind. That is what sets the leader apart. Most people think about tasks that need to be performed day to day, sometimes even stretching that out to monthly or quarterly goals. Leaders think about the big picture—a 30,000-foot view of the organization. For example, a 7-year-old child will think of doing their second-grade homework for the week, while Mom and Dad think about paying for that child’s college education. Or a store employee will think about placing an order to restock for the week, but the store owner thinks about seasonal changes in inventory and how to take the business to the next level. In other words, most people think about taking care of what the organization is, while leaders dream of what the organization can become. A great vision should be big, clear, compelling, understandable and achievable.

Leadership is about mastering the art of influence. When it comes right down to it, leadership is the ability to convince others to follow. Whether you lead a large group or a small one, or even if you lead just one person, you’re a leader if you can influence that person or persons to follow when you lead. Influence is an art. You do not just pick up a book, read it and then decide you will influence. No, influence is something that you develop over time. You improve your character and increase your skills. You learn to communicate better. You learn how to take risks. And as you do, your influence begins to grow in two ways: First, you are able to have a greater influence over those who already follow you. Second, you are able to influence more people. Your influence grows in depth and breadth.

Leaders are initiators. Leaders are people who see where the group needs to go and then do what it takes to initiate the movement toward that destination. Leaders do not sit around and wait for others to make the first move (if they did, they would be following). The key is knowing where you want to go, and then how to get there. Once you know this, it is only a matter of taking the risk to step out and lead. If you have mastered the art of influence, then others will follow your initial step.

Leadership requires highly skilled communication. We must have great interpersonal communication skills so that we can develop relationships with our “inner circle.” We must learn to communicate clearly so that everyone can understand our vision. And we must know how to communicate passionately so that people will see that passion and respond accordingly.

Until next week, let’s do something remarkable!

-Nick James

Supplemental Notes

Leadership is essentially influence, and the leader’s vision is tied to the message used to influence. So the key is to make the vision powerful enough to influence and persuade others to follow. What, then, are the key ways to make sure that your vision is powerful and persuasive? What are the core elements of a powerful vision? One of the best answers to this is found in the writings of a man who lived a long time ago.

Basic points for the notes below are based on Aristotle’s Rhetoric. We call these points “Three Legs of Persuasion and Influence.” Together, they enable us to fully persuade people. They are the core elements of a powerful vision. Leave out any of the three legs, and it is like trying to sit on a three-legged stool that is missing one leg!

What are the three legs as Aristotle defined them? They are:

1. Logos (logic)

2. Pathos (passion)

3. Ethos (ethics)

Let’s start with the two that are most prevalent, logic and passion, and end with what could be considered the most important: ethics (Jim will cover this extensively next week).

In order to master the art of persuasion and develop a powerful vision, you must have:

1. Logic. Your vision must make sense to the person following you (or the one you are trying to persuade to follow you!). How is this done?

Vision. Do you have a vision of where you want to go? Do you have a destination in mind? If you want people to follow you, you need to have a vision, a result that you are targeting.

Clarity. Is the vision clear? Can it be articulated clearly? Is it simple enough to grasp? Does the message make sense?

Communication. Can you communicate your vision so that it is understandable and compelling? Do you communicate it regularly so that the logic of it sinks in?

Strategy. The strategy for getting to your destination must make sense to your followers. Is it logical for them to follow you on the journey of your vision for your organization? A well-thought-out strategy for realizing vision is a must.

2. Passion. People underestimate the principle of passion. Today, more than ever, this element of being passionate about your vision is paramount to the idea of persuasion.

As we leave the modern era and move into what sociologists are calling the “postmodern” era, people are going to be persuaded less by logic and reason than they are by passion. We live in a video age that uses images and music to move people more than sense and reason. For example, think about how basketball shoes are sold today. The ads don’t say, “These shoes are made from the finest rubber and leather and will sustain the shock of X amount of pounds of pressure, etc.” No, today shoes are sold by showing basketball players dribbling the ball to a methodical beat. Image. Passion.

So, do we throw out logic? Certainly not, but we understand that the passion we demonstrate is extremely important, probably more so than logic, and will increasingly become more important in the years to come.

Are you passionate about your vision? Does that come through when you speak about it? Does it come through in the materials that you distribute to support your vision?

People want to know that you are passionate about your vision. If you aren’t passionate about it, then why should they be? Your vision must be passionately compelling. After all, you are asking them to put themselves on the line, to give it all to get the group to the vision. It takes a passionate person to move a group toward a vision. And the bigger the vision, the more passion you need to get there!

3. Ethics. This could be the most important aspect of these three legs of persuasion. Ethics. Integrity. Character. However you want to say it, people look at you and constantly judge your character.

You may have tremendous skills. You may have all the logic in the world and passion to fill a sports arena, but if your followers see a crack in your character, they will run for the hills. Now, don’t get us wrong, we’re not talking about mistakes. Followers will allow for mistakes. But they will not allow for poor character.

You might be thinking: Wait a minute, we have all sorts of leaders with poor character—just look at the politicians! A few thoughts on that very good point:

Many of the people we think have poor character have many others who think their character is fine (and in a politician’s case, they just need 51 percent), or at least sufficient. So, for some, the question of ethics has been answered, just differently than we would have answered it. For example, polls show that most people think politicians are generally unethical and corrupt. But when polled on their own representative, they say that person is just fine, thank you very much.

We also have seen very talented leaders eventually undone by their lack of character, or at least thwarted in their goals of leadership.

Where does this leave us? Hopefully you aren’t dealing with the kind of character issues we have often seen in our political process, but you should be asking yourself what your character is like.

“Am I honest? Am I who I say I am? Do I do what is right? Am I responsible? Am I the same behind closed doors as I am in public? Am I a person of integrity?” These are the most important questions. The way your followers answer them about you will determine to what degree they follow you. Will people follow you if your character is less than stellar? Maybe. But all other things being the same, having a strong character will put you over the top.

Logic, passion and ethics are the three legs of persuasion. Combine becoming a person with a vision who is logical and well-thought-out with a passionate pursuit, and you will be well on your way to persuading people and achieving your organization’s goal. The key will be what kind of character you have. If you develop a fine, strong character, with high personal ethics, you will have all three legs of persuasion—and you will become the leader you were meant to be!

You can—and will—develop a strong vision that will appeal to people and cause them to follow. The key, as we see above, is to make sure that your vision influences people on all three levels: the head, the heart and in how they view your character.

Powerful and Effective Presentations and Using Communication

1. Fundamentals of Effective Communication and Overcoming the Obstacles of Communication. A few weeks ago, I covered the basics of communication so you can say it well. This lays the groundwork for everything else I talk about this month. We also covered those obstacles that might get between you and effective communication.

2. Improving Relationship and Business Communications. I will cover the two basic kinds of communication: business communications and our everyday relationship communications. In this week’s edition, I will look at how to improve both, so we can excel and enjoy every area of our life.

3. Verbal and Nonverbal Communication and Listening Skills. Last week, I will cover the two kinds of communication I use and how to better use them. Most of us are aware of our verbal communication but less so of our nonverbal communication. I will also take a look at how to be a better listener and why it pays to do so. I already cover this in last week’s edition.

4. The Essentials of Powerful and Effective Presentations and Using Communication to Further Your Dreams. This covers all you need to become a better speaker for when you are called upon to give a presentation. Whether you present once a year or once a week, the tips you get here will make a big difference. We will also cover how communication plays a significant role in the pursuit and achievement of your dreams—all of this today.

This week, I am going to cover some basic elements of powerful and effective presentations.


So let’s get started with this week’s topic.

Seven Essentials for Powerful and Effective Presentations

1. Know your goal. Are you there to inspire? Encourage? Challenge? Comfort? Motivate? Deliver bad news? Good news? Is it just informational? Are you trying to motivate them to action? If you know where you are going and where you want to take the audience, you can then work back from there and create your presentation. Like Stephen Covey’s old axiom, “Begin with the end in mind.” Be sure to know your goal.

2. Keep it simple. Be yourself—you don’t have to be someone else. One mistake many people make is in trying to emulate the style of another person. This rarely, if ever, works. Why? Because you are not that person! Be yourself. That is who others are expecting.

Don’t attempt elaborate presentations. Maybe when you’ve mastered your skills, you can get elaborate. But even the most polished professional speakers rarely get elaborate. The Zig Ziglars, Brian Tracys, and Nido Qubeins of the world—the crème de la crème—are straight-ahead, no-fancy-stuff speakers. Take note of that. You can be simple and very good at the same time. So be sure to keep it simple.

3. Be passionate and optimistic about your topic. People want to see that you are passionate about your topic. Aristotle said that there are three areas integral to persuasion: logic, ethics, and passion. You need to be a person of good character, have logical reasoning, and say it with passion. Also, be optimistic. Napoleon said, “Leaders are dealers in hope.” As presenters, we pull people in and bring them along by giving them hope. Be sure to let your passion and optimism come through!

4. Balance the format of your information. Use facts, figures, and stories. Include lectures as well as audience participation. In this day and age, with waning attention spans, we do well to change up the format at regular intervals. People are used to modern media, which makes a single-person speaking a tough act. Be sure to use different formats in your presentation.

5. Tell stories. When you think of Jesus, the greatest teacher of all time, you think of a man who told stories to help root the principles into the minds and hearts of those who heard him. Stories are things that people can connect with. They can remember them. They see them in pictures. What would you be most apt to remember two weeks after hearing a speaker: the exact percentages of his or her statistics, or a well-told story? Be sure to build stories into your presentation so people remember the points you want them to.

6. Know your material. This is the foundation of an effective presentation. It tells people you are serious about the topic, that you care about it and that you are qualified to speak to them about it. Do whatever you can to know your material inside and out before you get on the stage to present. You will feel more comfortable and will come across as very credible. Audiences are looking for credibility and can see through someone who is winging their way through a presentation. Be sure to know your material.

7. Start on time and end on time. One of the skills of an effective presenter is that they can craft their presentation to fit the allotted time and then discipline themselves to stay within that time frame. Starting on time and ending on time will show people that you respect their time. Too often, a speaker will do a fine job in their allotted time, and if they were to end there, they would be remembered well. Unfortunately, they go overtime, and all the audience can think is, “I can’t believe they went so long!” These speakers shoot themselves in the foot by not finishing on time. Be sure to always stay within your time limits and leave your audience wanting more!

Follow these seven rules, and you will begin to see greater effectiveness in your presentations. I believe that everyone can become a better speaker and presenter if they practice their skill. And it doesn’t require a tremendous amount of advanced training, either. Just mastering the basics will take you to the next level and allow you to become a much more effective communicator.

Until next week, let’s do something remarkable!

-Nick James

Supplemental Notes

Using Communication to Further Your Dreams

What does communication have to do with achieving your dreams? A lot! Here are some thoughts on how communication helps you achieve your dreams and why it is so important.

Your dreams cannot be fulfilled alone, and, thus, you need to communicate with others. No matter what you dream of accomplishing, you need the help and support of others. Because of this, you will need to communicate with them. What precisely? How about your vision and strategy for starters? To get you to your dreams, you will need to be able to tell those who work with or for you clearly what your vision is so they can buy into it. If they don’t know where you are going, they can’t help you get there. Secondly, if you can’t communicate a clear strategy, then they will be unclear about what to do to help you get there. The vision is the big picture and the strategy is the “nuts and bolts.” Both require very clear and articulate communication.

The moral support of others requires clearly communicating your dreams. You will have people who will work with you toward your dreams and you will have others who will simply provide moral support. They are your “boosters,” or your “cheerleaders.”

Your network requires good communication from you. You will have those who work with you, you will have those who give you moral support, and you will have those in your network who will be your “salespeople” out in the field for you. They are your friends and business acquaintances who, if you have communicated clearly with them, will be able to steer business your way when they meet someone in the marketplace.

Lastly, let us touch on a different kind of communication: communicating with yourself. You see, the most important person you communicate with is yourself. You talk to yourself all day long, and what you say to yourself will do more to determine whether or not you reach your dreams than any other communication you do. So be sure to communicate clearly and optimistically at all times!

Communication, both with yourself and with others, plays a major role in achieving your dreams. Whether it is with those who work with you, those who support you, those in your network, or with yourself as you look in the mirror each day, clear communication will take you far down the path to achieving everything you want out of life!

Nonverbal Communication

let’s take a moment to review the topics I am covering on the subject of communication this month:

1. Fundamentals of Effective Communication and Overcoming the Obstacles of Communication. Last week, I covered the basics of communication so you can say it well. This lays the groundwork for everything else I talk about this month. We also covered those obstacles that might get between you and effective communication.

2. Improving Relationship and Business Communications. I will cover the two basic kinds of communication: business communications and our everyday relationship communications. In this week’s edition, we will look at how to improve both, so we can excel and enjoy every area of our life.

3. Verbal and Nonverbal Communication and Listening Skills. Next week, I will cover the two kinds of communication I use and how to better use them. Most of us are aware of our verbal communication, but less so of our nonverbal communication. We will also take a look at how to be a better listener and why it pays to do so. We will cover this in next week’s edition.

4. The Essentials of Powerful and Effective Presentations and Using Communication to Further Your Dreams. This covers all you need to become a better speaker for when you are called upon to give a presentation. Whether you present once a year or once a week, the tips you get here will make a big difference. We will also cover how communication plays a significant role in the pursuit and achievement of your dreams—all of this in two weeks.

So let’s get to it!

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Nonverbal Communication

What you say affects how you communicate, certainly, but just as important is what you don’t say. Yes, your nonverbal communication has a major impact on how well you communicate. Have you ever given much thought to how you communicate non-verbally? Here are some thoughts on ways to use nonverbal communication to support what you are saying verbally.

Use your hands. Keeping your hands by your side will make you seem stiff and uncomfortable. Instead, use your hands to communicate. Now, don’t get too demonstrative to the point where people are wondering where your hands are going next. One way to see what you do non-verbally is to tape yourself speaking. Watch what you do with your hands.

Use your eyes. The eyes can be a very powerful tool in communication. You know the old saying, “The eyes are the window into the soul.” It is true. Think of what a mother communicates to her newborn when she gazes into their eyes, or what a husband and a wife say without words when they look into each other’s eyes. The eyes speak volumes.

Have you spoken with someone who is constantly looking around? What does that communicate? A lack of interest in what you have to say.

When you speak to someone, look at them. Give them your attention with your eyes. Listen to them with your eyes. Communicate with them that they are important.

Your arms. Some people do not even realize when they are “closed off” to someone else by crossing their arms when the other person is speaking. Those who study this tell us that crossing the arms is a surefire way to close yourself off from the other person. It communicates closure, fear and opposition.

Speaking position. When you are communicating, especially in a presentation situation, your speaking position, whether you are standing, sitting, kneeling, etc., can communicate a lot. For example, Zig Ziglar, a master of the stage, will frequently move to the front of the stage and kneel. What is he non-verbally communicating? He is saying, “Listen closely to this. This is really important.” He is bringing the audience in for an “intimate moment.” Even in a room with 1,000 people, this way of communicating can make every individual feel like Zig is speaking closely to just them.

Sitting communicates casualness. I know many speakers will give a considerable part of their presentation this way. John C. Maxwell, and a world-class leadership expert, gives quite a bit of his speeches while sitting. His style is informative and casual—and it is effective.

There are other little things to be aware of: Nodding your head says, “I’m listening.” Tapping your foot or jiggling your leg says, “I’m bored, nervous or impatient.” Everything we do with our bodies communicates, whether we are speaking or listening. As a person who desires to take their communication to the next level, you should be aware of what you communicate non verbally as well as verbally. As you begin to master both, you will begin to communicate with a higher and higher level of excellence!

Until next week, let’s do something remarkable!
-Nick James

Supplemental Notes

Communication has always been two-way, not one-way. It involves more than one person. Effective communicators understand this.

There are many things to listen for that will tell you a variety of things about the person who is speaking.

Here are some things to listen for:

1. What the speaker is actually saying. This is taking their comments literally, not reading between the lines. First and foremost, listen to this.

2. What the speaker is trying to say. Sometimes, people try to say something but have difficulty getting it across. Work to hear what they are trying to say.

3. How they are trying to position themselves. Sometimes people will try to make themselves seem better than they are. Sometimes they will downplay themselves. This is “positioning,” and it is usually done with a purpose. When you know how they are positioning themselves, then you can figure out why as well.

4. The speaker may be trying to impress you. If they are, what are they really saying? Perhaps it is self-esteem issues or trying to cover a weakness.

5. What the speaker think of themselves. Ultimately, the longer they talk, the more they will reveal what they think of themselves. This is important to know.

6. What the speaker hopes for. People will talk about their dreams and what they hope for. Listen closely.

7. What the speaker fears. Fear is a powerful force. Listen for what they fear, and you will gain a great understanding into what drives them.

8. What the speaker’s emotional attachment is. Are they emotionally attached to what they are talking about or could they care less? It is important to know.

9. How important the speaker thinks the topic is. How highly do they value the topic at hand? Are they committed to it? If you listen closely, you will be able to tell. This also goes for how important they think you are (or your product or service).

10. What the speaker’s educational/socioeconomic/culture level is. You can tell a lot by the words they use, their vocabulary, their accents, etc. Listening can give you some insights into the people you communicate with. Certainly you do not want to stereotype, but you can sometimes hear a lot by listening for these things.

11. What the speaker likes or dislikes. Ultimately, people are driven by what they like and dislike. They move toward what they like and away from what they dislike. These things are important to know.

If you listen and take mental notes (or real notes if you can), you can learn a lot about people as they speak. This will help you understand them better, which will enhance your communication. It will help you build relationships and will help you help them. It will help you sell to them if that is a goal.

Listening is key—you just have to know what to listen for!

The N.J.W Blog

Improving Relationship and Business Communications

I am constantly making presentations in just about every relationship and communication I have. Whether it is to persuade someone to my point of view, teach a life lesson to your child or to comfort a friend during a difficult time, we are in the process of trying to achieve effective, positive communication.

On the surface, the subject of communication can appear to be an abstract skill that is mainly needed for professional speakers/trainers, teachers and leaders of companies. But the subject of communication is a major skill and tool that we need to incorporate every day.

Now let’s move on to Part Two of Communication.

Have a great week!

The N.J.W Blog

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Communication/Presentation, Part Two—Improving Relationship and Business Communications

Over the years you’ve heard me say that if you just communicate, you can get by. But if you communicate skillfully, you can work miracles—miracles in your family relationships, your business relationships and your friendships. So we must take advantage of every opportunity to practice our communication skills so that when important occasions arise, you will have the gift, the style, the sharpness, the clarity and the emotions to affect other people. What a unique opportunity to touch others with something small but powerful—our words. Having said that, let’s take a moment to review the topics I am covering on the subject of communication this month:

1. Fundamentals of Effective Communication and Overcoming the Obstacles of Communication. Last week, I covered the basics of communication so you can say it well. This lays the groundwork for everything else I talk about this month. We also covered those obstacles that might get between you and effective communication.

2. Improving Relationship and Business Communications. I will cover the two basic kinds of communication: business communications and our everyday relationship communications. In this week’s edition, we will look at how to improve both, so we can excel and enjoy every area of our life.

3. Verbal and Nonverbal Communication and Listening Skills. Next week, I will cover the two kinds of communication I use and how to better use them. Most of us are aware of our verbal communication, but less so of our nonverbal communication. We will also take a look at how to be a better listener and why it pays to do so. We will cover this in next week’s edition.

4. The Essentials of Powerful and Effective Presentations and Using Communication to Further Your Dreams. This covers all you need to become a better speaker for when you are called upon to give a presentation. Whether you present once a year or once a week, the tips you get here will make a big difference. We will also cover how communication plays a significant role in the pursuit and achievement of your dreams—all of this in two weeks.

So let’s get to it!

The Goals:

The goals of business relationships differ from the goals of personal relationships, although they do entail utilizing some of the same interpersonal skills. The goals of business relationships are the following:

1. Build positive working relationships that allow us to work together for profitable, win/win business dealings.
2. Enhance the value of work production.
3. Create win-win, mutually satisfying business opportunities.
4. Produce a profit while providing the marketplace with value through our goods and services.

So, if the above are the goals of business relationships, then the goal of our business communications should support the overarching goal of the business relationship. Here are four qualifying questions that will help form guidelines necessary to accomplish this:

1. Does our business communication support positive working relationships?
2. Does our business communication support the value of the other party?
3. Does our business communication support win-win relationships?
4. Does our business communication support profit-making ventures and value to the marketplace?

In our communication with people (our employees, vendors, clients), our constant goal should be to uphold those basic values, in all aspects. It is easy to do this with a client who has just made a large purchase. It is far more difficult, but equally important, when we are working with someone whom we are having challenges. The idea is to be so in tune with our goals that it affects how we communicate with those we do business with.

Now I want to talk a bit about different kinds of communication and some tips to improving your skills.

There are five basic forms of communication in business today.

1. In Person: One-On-One
One-on-one meetings are very effective if done properly. The obvious downside is the limitation of time, especially if you have numerous people you need to meet with. Here are some ideas to make your one-on-one meetings more effective:

Brief the person you are meeting with beforehand on the topic. This defines the basic expectations of the purpose of the meeting and maximizes the time you have. More will be accomplished, and it prevents the possibility of having to schedule a follow-up meeting.

Be on time and end on time. This is paramount and communicates that you value the other person’s time.

Meet in an appropriate setting. Sometimes a coffee shop may be appropriate. Other times you will need to be in a meeting room. Take into account who the other person is, what you are hoping to accomplish and how much time you have. Is the meeting place conducive to communication? Be sure your chosen location enhances, not detracts, so that the possibility of missed communication is greatly reduced or eliminated.

Practice the communication skills we have studied in past lessons. Listening skills, speaking clearly, etc., are vital skills you need to put into practice here.

Sum up. At the end of the meeting, take a moment to sum up what you think you have heard and what you have attempted to communicate.

Follow up. This can be done with an email, a note card or phone call. Again, sum up what you spoke about and be sure to thank them for their time and the opportunity to meet with them.

2. In Person: Group Meetings
Brief the group beforehand on the topic. Just as with one-on-one settings, this creates expectations, enables everyone to be prepared and will maximize everyone’s time.

Again, start on time and end on time. A dual purpose is accomplished here—this communicates that you value their time and it says that no one person is more important than the group.

Appoint a note taker. One person should be in charge of putting the information on a whiteboard or AV screen while the meeting is in progress. This is an improvement over the traditional way of someone taking notes on paper because the meeting participants can see how the topics are being recorded and can immediately make corrections if there is misinterpretation.

Give everyone an opportunity to participate. Be diligent in keeping one or two people from dominating the meeting. Make sure you ask for the input of everyone. If they are valued enough to be invited to the meeting, their views are important.

Stay on task. The biggest time-waster of meetings is the proverbial “rabbit trail.” As the leader, or even if you are just attending the meeting, you should be willing, when the topic veers off course, to encourage the group to get back to the purpose of the meeting.

3. The Phone
The phone has wonderful applications for communication. There are some roadblocks with the proliferation of voice mail, but the phone still remains a great tool for communication. Here are some tips for making the phone work for your business communication.

Use it to keep in touch. The great thing about a phone is you can pick it up, dial and be connected with someone in just moments. Use the phone to stay in regular communication with your business contacts. A quick call to see how they are doing or to ask how you might be of help to them will not only bring you business but raise your profile in their mind as a person who provides great customer service and follow-up.

Schedule times for phone meetings. Sometimes, just picking up the phone is ineffective because the person you are trying to reach will not be able to talk at that time. If they aren’t available right then, take just a second and set up a time to speak with them. Ask them to schedule a time to speak by phone and then record it in your calendar/planner. The longer the time you need, the more advance notice you will need to give them.

Know what you are calling for. In personal relationships, people are much more willing to sit around and “shoot the breeze,” but not so much in business relationships. “Time is money,” as the old saying goes. Instead, with business relationships, we should tell the person we will be speaking with what the topic will be and what we hope to accomplish. This should be done beforehand. Then stick to the topic and don’t digress.

Don’t take too much time. The phone can also become a real time waster for both you and the people you speak with if you are not careful. If you know what you want to accomplish and discipline yourself to stick to the agenda, you will be able to limit your time and be very efficient with the use of the phone.

4. Written Communications
The written word is still very effective for communication. It can be more powerful than the spoken word in some instances because it can be edited before being released. In addition, it can be referred to again.

Some tips for written communications:

Keep it simple. Obviously there are some communications that need to be long and complex—elaborate contracts for example—but for the most part, our business communications should be very pragmatic. That is, they should simply get the job done; there is no need for trying to be too eloquent.

Use various forms to keep interest alive. A memo, a note card, a letter and email all are different methods that will entice the reader to read. Varying methods can help our message be communicated better.

5. The Speech
At times, you will be called upon to speak to an audience; this can be a powerful form of communication that will help build your business and your relationships. In two weeks we’ll cover speaking and presentations, and we will give you some tremendous tools for making your presentations a powerful and effective means of building your business!

Until next week, let’s do something remarkable!

Nick James

Supplemental Notes

Just as I covered the goals of business relationship communications above, we’ll go over the goals of interpersonal relationship communications.

The first few goals are similar to those in business:

1. Build positive personal relationships.
2. Enhance the value of the other person(s).
3. Create win-win, mutually satisfying relationships.

The next few points are specific to the interpersonal relationships and essentially take the relationship aspect beyond where one would go in a business relationship. The difference is this: in a business relationship you create relationships that enable you to do business. The relationship is essential, but the end goal is the ability to do business.

Conversely, with interpersonal relationships, the goal is the relationship itself—to deepen it. Because there are a variety of standard interpersonal relationships—marriage, sibling, or friendships—these skills are meant to take the relationships to deeper levels. So here are the goals unique to building strong interpersonal relationships:

1. Deepen the relationship. In business, there isn’t the need for a deep relationship; it certainly has to be workable. With interpersonal relationships, the desire is to make them more meaningful.

2. Bring a greater, richer meaning to your life and the life of the other person. It isn’t necessarily what comes out of the relationship, but the relationship itself.

3. Have a stronger, more bonding connection. In business, a person may choose to shop elsewhere if they feel the prices have gotten too high. Relationships are not as temporal as that. The connections we make in interpersonal relationships are not as easily broken.

4. Serve one another. Interpersonal relationships are designed to help two people enter into a relationship with each other wherein they serve one another rather than seeking the other person to serve them.

So keeping these things in mind, the goal of interpersonal relationship communications is to establish, build up, increase, deepen and maintain the relationship itself. Let’s take a look at some ideas that can help us become better communicators and use that ability to communicate with others in order to deepen our relationships.

Interpersonal relationship communications involve:

1. Affection. This doesn’t mean telling your next door neighbor that you love him, but it does mean that we need to let people know how we feel about them and how much the relationship means to you. There are parents who have never told their children that they love them. Astonishing as this is, it is true. There are spouses who rarely speak words of affection to one another. And of course the result is that their relationships, while they may work, are not nearly as meaningful and rewarding as they could be. Do not neglect to communicate your affections.

2. Vulnerability. One of the ways relationships deepen is having vulnerability between the parties. This doesn’t happen as much as it could because people are fearful that the other person will reject them if they divulge information that will make them vulnerable (and unfortunately, there are too many times that people have rejected others for this reason). The power in being vulnerable is when the person you share your vulnerability with totally accepts you for who you are. So when it is appropriate, be sure to communicate vulnerability.

3. Fun. Of course business relationships may at times be fun, but for interpersonal relationships, having fun and communicating fun together is an integral part of the communication process. Be sure to talk about fun things sometimes.

4. Understanding. Seeking to know the other person and understand them. Of course there are varying levels of this. Friends do not need to know each other as deeply as spouses do. But an aspect of meaningful interpersonal relationships is the ability to communicate in ways that help the other person know you more deeply. Be sure to communicate in such a way that deepens your understanding of the other person, and vice-versa.

Interpersonal relationships can be challenging, and the communication aspect can be equally challenging as well, just as we discussed last week. However, great interpersonal relationships are possible. And when communication is working, the results are incredible. When we commit ourselves to working with others and communicating with them in ways that enable deeper relationships, the meaning those relationships bring us is what life is all about.

The Fundamentals Of Communication

This month I am launching —Communication/Presentation. This is such a vital piece to the success equation in both our personal and professional lives. Effective communication will greatly enhance our lives, and I invite you to join me on this journey into the key components of communication that I will discusses this month.

So let us keep moving on and reaching higher on this journey together.

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Part One—Fundamentals of Effective Communication and Overcoming the Obstacles of Communication

Our topic this month is a critical component of mastering success. By mastering the art of communication, you will increase every level of performance related to your company, staff and individual performance, as well as all your personal relationships.

This is what I am covering this month the topic of Communication:

1. Fundamentals of Effective Communication and Overcoming the Obstacles of Communication. This covers the basic parts and kinds of communication to help you convey your message well. This lays the groundwork for everything else I will talk about this month. I will also cover those obstacles that get in the way between you and effective communication. All this in this week’s edition. How exciting!

2. Improving Relationship and Business Communications. This covers the two basic kinds of communication: business communication and our everyday relational communication. I will look at how to improve both kinds so you can excel and enjoy every area of your life. I will cover this in next week’s edition. Don’t Forget to subscribe

3. Verbal and Nonverbal Communication and Listening Skills. This covers the two kinds of communication we use and how to better use them. Most of us are aware of our verbal communication, but less so of our nonverbal communication. I will also take a look at how to be a better listener and why it pays to be one. I will cover this in two weeks.

4. The Essentials of Powerful and Effective Presentations and Using Communication to Further Your Dreams. This covers all you need to become a better speaker the next time you are called upon to give a presentation. Whether you give one a year or one a week, the tips you get here will make a big difference. I will also cover how communication plays a significant role in the pursuit and achievement of your dreams. All of this in three weeks.

So let’s get to it!

The Fundamentals of Effective Communication

Our very success is heavily dependent upon our ability to communicate. This is not just for professional speakers. From schoolchildren to grandparents, everyone should work on improving their communication skills so they can improve their lives. Improving your ability to communicate will be one of the most important things you ever do.

One of the easiest ways to improve your communication is to start by solidifying your base, so to speak, by working on and improving the fundamentals. To get you started, here are a few areas that everyone should know and master.

Communication is powerful—for better and for worse. There is a proverb in the Bible that says, “The tongue has the power of life and death.” This is true. What a person says can build people up or tear them down. The ability to communicate is a powerful responsibility. Whole nations have been inspired to action because of single individual’s passionate words. On the other hand, countless millions of children have been deeply hurt because of the derogatory words spoken to them by their parents. You have within you the incredible power of communication. You can create tremendous things in your life if you take communication seriously and use its power to help others and yourself. Combining this knowledge with a heart set on doing good is the first step in unleashing this incredible force!

Communication must be purposeful. In order to be effective, your communication should be on purpose. Yes, occasionally you may say something off the top of your head and that can hold weight with others, but this is the exception and not the rule. In order to become an effective communicator, you should be very purposeful about your communication. Know what you want to communicate, when you want to communicate and how you want to communicate. Decide what kind of communication will enhance your life and the lives of those around you, and plan your steps for communicating in that way. And then work your plan—know what it is you want to accomplish and how must you communicate in order to do so.

What you say must match what you do. Remember, people watch what you do, not just what you say. What you do always outweighs what you say. If you say one thing and do another, people will follow what you do. If you say something and back it up with your actions, you will provide the “proof” for people who are listening to you, and they will much more willingly follow your lead.

Improve the “Big Two”: speaking and writing. When it comes to communication, these are the “Big Two” that everyone can improve upon: speaking and writing. For every one step that you take to increase your ability to speak and write, you will improve your career position two steps. Don’t think that you have to become the best speaker or writer in the world; just set your sights on the next level above where you are now. Once you get there, then continue to work to the next level.

Here are a few tips for becoming a better speaker and writer:

Becoming a better speaker:
– Join Toastmasters.
– Take a college course on public speaking.
– Give a speech in front of a mirror.
– Just speak—wherever you can.

Becoming a better writer:
– Keep a journal.
– Join a writing club.
– Have people who are more skilled than you help edit (and critique) your letters and e-mails.
– Take a college course on writing.
– Write that book you’ve been thinking about.

Becoming a better speaker and writer will be based on three things: doing it, getting feedback and acting on that feedback.

Learn to listen. Communication is not one direction—it goes both ways. To become an effective communicator, you must be a good listener. All of the following examples show the power of listening: the parent who listens for the feelings of his or her child; the salesperson who listens for what kind of product the client wants; the boss who listens to the concerns of his employees. Can you see how listening in those situations enables you to become a better communicator? Once you know what your “audience” wants, you will be able to better communicate to them. We covered listening skills last month in detail. I would encourage you to go back over those items until they become a natural part of you.

Care about the people with whom you communicate. Talk with them, not to them. People don’t want you to talk at them. They want to communicate. Think about it: The root word is commune, which means to live and share together. This is what we do when we communicate together—we share words and ideas. This means we must care about the people we are communicating with. We should be interested in their needs and desires. And when we know those, we can communicate more effectively with them.

Focus on clarity. The most effective communication is clear communication. Many beginning speakers believe that they should be as verbose as possible—but that is not what makes them effective! The important principle is clarity. Do they (the people in your audience) understand your message? That is the question. If they don’t, then you haven’t communicated. Be as clear and as concise as you can. Never go any longer than it takes to make the communication as clear as it needs to be. And, above all, make sure your audience understands your message when you are finished.

Communicate over and over again. In order to be effective, communication must be done over and over again. The parent or boss who yells, “How many times must I tell you?” is really just proving again that people need to hear a message many times before they internalize it. That is just the difficult nature of communication. Very rarely will you be able to communicate something just once and have someone or some group walk away with full understanding. It just doesn’t happen that way. You need to do it often and in varied ways. This is what will make your communication most effective.

Improve your vocabulary, pronunciation and spelling. When people hear you or read what you have written, they look for class and style. This can often be noticed through your vocabulary, your pronunciation and your spelling. If you want to be more effective, focus on improving in these areas. A key phrase is that our vocabulary directly affects the way we both view and interpret the world around us. If we have a small vocabulary, it limits our ability to define or communicate what we see, feel and hear. The larger the vocabulary, the better our ability to relate. What size is your view—a peephole or a huge, clear window showing the great expanse of this amazing, wonderful world we live in?

You can become an effective communicator! Start with improving the fundamentals, and you will get better. Once you have mastered the fundamentals—and very few have—then you can start on the advanced areas and become world-class!

Until next week, let’s do something remarkable!

-Nick James

Supplemental Notes

Most people have never thought about just how difficult communication really is. If we would recognize this, we would be much more patient and diligent in our communication efforts, which would, in turn, make us much more effective.

Think about one person speaking to another—the most basic form of communication. Sounds simple, right? Not so quick. Imagine all the places where communication can break down, just in one person saying one sentence to another person. Let’s take a look at the progression that one sentence goes through:

It starts in the heart or emotions. The thought starts not in the mind, but in the place where people feel. Of course, you can already see that, in and of itself, this can cause difficulties.

Next, feeling needs to be translated into a rational thought. Transforming an irrational feeling into a rational thought is another chance for breakdown.

Next, that thought needs to be transformed into words. Have you ever heard someone say, “I am just not saying what I am thinking”? Just the six inches from the brain to the tongue provide ample opportunity for breakdown in the communication process.

Can you see that before words are ever heard there are three opportunities for the communication to break down? It is a wonder anything ever gets communicated correctly!

Most people suggest that the next stage is the other person’s ear. Not true. The next step is what we call “circumstances or atmosphere.” This includes culture, noise, time of day, language, etc. For example, a joke told at a wedding may elicit laughter, but that same joke told at a funeral would be looked down upon. Invite most people to a backyard barbecue where you are serving pork ribs, and they would probably feel glad you invited them. Make that same offer to an Orthodox Jewish person, and you may risk offending them. We need to take into account our surrounding environment, circumstances and “audience” and allow those things to help direct our communication method and style.

Next, we get to the ear. Did the other person even hear you? Did they hear you correctly? These two questions will have a profound effect on your ability to communicate effectively. They also provide another area where communication can break down.

After the other person hears what you say, they have to interpret the words. Do they understand your language? Do they understand the meaning of your words? Do they interpret the words positively or negatively?

Lastly, the words go into the other person’s heart or emotions. How do they feel about it? Maybe you have communicated that your organization has to change. They understand it and agree with you on a rational level, but, deep down, change may scare them. They may fear the loss of their jobs. That is something that will definitely affect your communication!

So, how do we overcome these obstacles? First, by understanding what we are up against. Leaders can’t have the “Well, I told them once, they should get it” attitude. This is especially true in our day and age, with the inundation of communication.

Take precautions at each stage:

1. Know how you feel about what you are communicating.
2. Know what you are thinking about what you want to communicate. Get clear on it.
3. Prepare yourself to articulate your message as clearly as you are thinking about it.
4. Be aware of the challenges your circumstances and atmosphere will present to your communication efforts.
5. Make sure that the person you are communicating with hears you correctly. That is done by clarifying with them.
6. Clarify with them about how they interpret what you are saying.
7. Find out how they feel about what you are communicating.

The same goes with communicating to a larger audience. If communicating with one person is difficult, then communicating with 500 people is even more difficult. It can be done, though. It just requires diligent preparation and execution in our communication plans.

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Negotiation skills

This is what I am covering this month:

1. Attitudes of Successful Salespeople: The profession, setting your goals, attitudes of successful salespeople and getting and staying motivated. This is the basic overview of the profession of selling. Selling is a noble occupation, even though some people might think otherwise. In fact, we are all in sales. We are selling people every day. In addition, our attitude as well as getting and staying motivated are vitally important and will make or break a salesperson. We covered this at the beginning of the month.

2. Prospecting. Sales and success is a numbers game. I will covered the importance of and how to get in front of a large number of people to close a higher percentage of sales calls. I also showed you the importance of “knowing your stuff”—what you need to know about you, your prospect and your product. Then, we looked briefly at the importance of understanding how to sell to different personality types.

3. Building relationships that position you as an educator/consultant to your clients. In last week’s edition, I touched on listening skills and making the sale. We also looked at the all-important issue of relationships. Relationships are in selling, as in life, the most important factor. We don’t sell to companies, we sell to people! People always make the decisions. We looked at how to be a great listener and also discussed how to reposition yourself from being known as a salesperson to being seen as an educator and consultant who helps people make the best buying decisions.

4. Getting referrals/Negotiation skills. This week, I will take a look at how to get referrals so your business is ever-expanding. That is the key to a successful sales business—the ever-expanding network of people to draw sales from. I will also cover the basics of negotiation. This will have an emphasis on how to get both sides into a winning position so they can be happy with the sale. I will give you specific skills to get into win-win negotiations.

Win-Win Negotiation Skills

The word negotiating can automatically make some people feel uncomfortable. Often their perception is of two people, each trying to get the advantage over the other. In many instances this may be true. But if we are living according to the kinds of values and principles that we have talked about extensively related to giving and win-win relationships, then we want to find a better, higher way. And the good news is there is a better way!

Here are eight keys to creating win-win negotiation opportunities:

1. Accept negotiation as a part of life and business. When you are talking to your spouse about what to do on a Friday night, you are negotiating. She wants to go to dinner and a movie and you would like to go listen to some good jazz music. The negotiation begins. Perhaps your children want to get a puppy and you don’t think it is a good idea. They will push for negotiation. Maybe the neighborhood decides to have a garage sale. Where will it be? When will it happen? You have strong opinions—and so does your next door neighbor. There will be negotiations. You see, we negotiate often in our lives. Anytime there are two parties there will be two different opinions on what should be done, and there will be a need for negotiations. It is true in life and it is true in business. We should accept that fact.

2. We must approach the other party with an attitude that desires that they also win. It is a given that we will look to win ourselves. That is human nature, to cover ourselves and make sure that we get what we need. It is not human nature, however, to look out for the other guy. So, if we want to develop long-term relationships that prove to be mutually satisfying, we should approach the situation with an attitude that desires to see the other side come out as a winner too.

3. Be willing to listen. When negotiating, perhaps the most important skill is listening. Decide beforehand that you are going to listen intently to what the other side has to say. Perhaps you can write down some questions you would like answered and bring them to the meeting and then write the answers down as you hear them. The key should be to make sure you hear the other person. What do they want? How do they think? What do they feel? What are their goals? These are things you can listen for that will enable you to come back with a way to help them achieve what they want while positioning yourself to win as well.

4. Be clear and concise in your desires. Often, people talk too much. What is it you want? What are the boundaries outside of which you will not negotiate? Know what they are and be able to clearly and concisely communicate them. Start with the most targeted version of what you would like and state it. Then as you go back and forth, work from there, as long as you stay within the boundaries of what is acceptable for you. The key is to communicate in such a way that the other person can state what your needs are in a brief way.

5. Keep emotions out of the dealings, if at all possible. Many times the downside to negotiating is that people get emotional. If you offer something too low they may feel offended, as though you don’t appreciate them as a person or appreciate their product or services. There are many reasons you may have presented a low offer, none of which have to do with what you think of them as a person! Sometimes, you may be the person who allows emotions to creep in. The key here is to continually remind yourself to see the facts clearly, and nothing else. What are the facts? If you are expecting $10,000 and they offer you $5,000, don’t get mad. Just look at the facts. Know what number you need to make it work. Don’t make emotional assumptions about the other person or their motives or intentions. Work on the facts. Your next step should be to negotiate that number, not to discuss how offended you are!

6. Make sure each side understands the other. A couple of good statements to make from time to time are these:

“Let me see if I understand you correctly. What you would like is…” (to make sure you understand them).

“So, based on what I have told you so far, do you mind repeating back your understanding of what I’ve said?” (to make sure they understand you).

The idea is to make sure that you are hearing what they want you to hear and vice-versa. Just because you say something doesn’t mean they hear it! The only way to make sure this happens is to clarify, clarify, clarify… until you both know that you understand the other. Only then can you make satisfying agreements.

7. Focus on solutions. The key to having good negotiations is to focus on solutions, not problems. What are the solutions to each of the issues? They need it at a certain price and in a certain time frame. You need a certain profit margin. The agreement will come when you negotiate a situation that solves each of your needs. So, keep coming back to this question: What is the solution to this?

8. Cultivate this negotiation so that the end result is a platform for a future business relationship. When all is said and done you do not want this to be a one-time deal. The most successful businesspeople do multiple deals with repeat customers that produce ongoing and increasing profits and solutions for each party. This means that as you negotiate, you should do so in a manner that keeps the ongoing relationship intact, so you can continue business. For example, would you rather negotiate too hard and get a one-time $2,500 profit or negotiate a win-win solution, give up a little, and come away with a relationship that will produce a monthly profit of $1,500? That ongoing profit adds up, doesn’t it?

Win-win relationships are possible, even in relationships where you have regular opportunities to negotiate. The key is to focus on the principles and philosophy that govern your actions and will in turn produce mutual satisfaction.

Until next week, let’s do something remarkable!

Nick James

Supplemental Notes

Let’s talk more about building a referral base. We touched on this last month a bit, but this is such an important part of any successful business that we want to cover it again with you this week.

There are two primary ways of getting referred.

The first is to ask a person to refer you to someone else. This is where you ask for a name and they give you one and you then follow up with a phone call and mention the referring person.

The second is to have someone refer you to someone else without your knowledge. Then that person calls you seeking a discussion about potential business. For example, Bob tells Joe that he needs to buy some more life insurance. Joe then tells Bob that you are a great insurance salesman and gives him your number. Bob then follows up with you. This is the most powerful way to get referrals.

Let’s talk about the key elements to each kind, because each kind is important in developing our networks.

Here are a few pointers for asking others to give us the names of referrals:

1. Ask. That’s right, ask. Many times we let referrals fall through the cracks because, for one reason or another, we decide not to ask. Remember the old saying that “If you ask, you shall receive!”

2. Be specific. Bob Burg teaches that we should not just say, “Do you know anybody who needs life insurance?” That is way too broad! Bob says you really should give them a place to start. The better alternative is to say, “Do you think any of your Friday afternoon golf partners might be in the market for insurance?”

3. Be good to the person you are asking for the referral from. Why? Because they will rightly assume that you will treat the referral the same way. If you are too “hardball,” they may tolerate you themselves, but never refer you to a friend or family member.

4. Tell them exactly what your process will include and then do it. One thing you need to do is calm the fears of the person. They want to make sure that you aren’t going to call their friend 50 times. They want to make sure you won’t put them on some e-mail spam list. Let them know exactly what you are going to do.

5. Follow up with them to thank them for the referral and let them know how the referral worked. This will give them the information and feedback they need to know in order to make their future referrals better suited for you. (You want them to continually make referrals for you!)

Here are some pointers for having others refer us, even when we aren’t there:

1. Let people know what you do and that you would like their referrals. Do people know what you do? Everybody you know should be aware of what you do. This is the first step in getting your name plugged into their brain so they can refer you. Secondly, be sure to let them know that you rely on referrals to increase your business. The first step plugs you into their brain, while the second step programs them to think about you when they hear that someone is looking for someone like you.

2. Be likable. That’s right—people will only refer likable people. Do they like you? If so, they will refer you. If not, they won’t. Sorry, that’s the way life works—no way around it. What is “likable?” Friendly, helpful, having a positive attitude and being generous are great places to start.

3. Be good at what you do. If you are good at what you do, it will go a long way. If you are excellent at what you do, you are probably a lock for referrals.

4. Treat the referral well when they call you. Take care of them. Do them right. They will surely tell the person who referred them how well they were treated. That will determine whether or not that person refers you again.

5. Say “thank you.” If someone refers someone else to you, be sure to say “thank you” to that person. And make the thanks regardless of whether or not the referral does business with you. At least send a card that says you appreciate the referral. If the referral does do business with you, be sure to make the thank you commensurate to the value of the referral. If the person buys $50 worth of goods from you, send the referrer a gift certificate for a free coffee latte. If they buy $10,000,000 worth of goods from you, send the referrer and their spouse on a week’s vacation to Jamaica!

These are the basics of the referral game, but if you master the basics, you will go far! Memorize them, apply them and stick to them. If you do, you will see your network grow like you have never seen before!

And in all things, obey the golden rule: Do to others what you would want them to do to you.

Building Relationships

Welcome Back!

We’re focusing on the relationship aspect of selling this week. When I attempt to generate revenue in my business or profession, my mindset usually becomes set on performing actions that can accumulate sales leads or prospects. As a result, many times, my results reflect that mindset and I end up with names on a list. Instead, try this: Rather than just finding sales leads, go out and look to create new relationships/friends. Make the process fun and enjoyable. Look for and focus on the things you like about someone and overlook the negative. Because, let’s face it, isn’t that what we want other people to do for us? And even if we meet someone we don’t end up doing business with, we have a new friend and have added another source to our personal network.

By shifting our paradigm and working to create new relationships, it also becomes easier to position ourselves as an educator/consultant. (I cover this more in depth later). Then, as an educator or consultant, you focus on listening to others’ needs, which, in turn, helps you maintain a larger perspective of looking out for the interests of that person, not just the dollar value they may represent to you or your organization. In addition, this can also put us in a position later to help or support people through a crisis or struggle in their life. What a great feeling it is to help someone because we genuinely care about them and want to see them overcome their obstacles, rather than just seeing them as a sell. If we do this, rest assured, the rewards will come.

Special Audio Bonus! Sales expert and author of two award-winning sales books, Jill Konrath speaks about making the choice to excel in sales, blocking out time for learning and being flexible as a salesperson.

That’s all for now—go make a friend this week

Building Relationships

This is what we are covering on the topic of Sales this month:

1. Attitudes of Successful Salespeople: The profession, setting your goals, the attitudes of successful salespeople, and getting and staying motivated. This is the basic overview of the profession of selling. Selling is a noble occupation, even though some people think otherwise. In fact, we are all in sales every day. We sell to people all the time. In addition, our attitude and getting and staying motivated are vitally important and will either make or break a salesperson. We covered this topic two weeks ago.

2. Prospecting. Because sales and success are a numbers game, last week we covered how to look at sales from this perspective in order to be successful. We looked at how to get in front of a large number of people so that we can close a higher percentage of sales calls. We also showed you the importance of knowing your stuff—what you need to know about yourself, your prospect and your product. Then we looked briefly at the importance of understanding how to sell to different personality types.

3. Building relationships that position you as an educator/consultant to your clients. In this week’s edition, we will touch on listening skills and making the sale. We will also take a look at the all-important issue of relationships. In selling, as in life, relationships are the most important factor. We don’t sell to companies—we sell to people! People always make the decisions. We will take a look at how to be a great listener and also discuss how to reposition yourself from being known as a salesperson to becoming seen as an educator and consultant who helps people make the best buying decisions.

4. Getting referrals/Negotiation skills. Next week, we will take a look at how to get referrals so that your business becomes ever-expanding. Creating an ever-expanding network of people to draw sales from is the key to a successful sales business. We will also cover the basics of negotiation, with an emphasis getting both sides into a winning position so they can be happy with the sale. We will give you specific skills to get into win-win negotiations.

This week we are covering a few basics on positioning ourselves as an educator/consultant in the sales process, as well as developing our listening skills.

Over the years, the sales profession has gotten a bad reputation, particularly in certain industries. And some of it is deserved because of unethical behavior. That being said, many people today want to stay away from “salespeople.” They don’t want to be “sold.” But that doesn’t mean they don’t want to buy. They want to buy, and they need to buy. But they expect—and deserve—a different kind of relationship. And when we enter into those kinds of relationships with people, we will be much more effective at moving our products and services, as well as building our sales careers.

There are two basic positioning tactics to take. One is to consider and bill yourself as an educator. The other is to consider and bill yourself as a consultant. You see, a salesperson is seen by many as someone who wants to take another person’s money. Educators and consultants are viewed differently. Let’s take a look at each and the benefits that come from positioning yourself in these ways.

The Educator. What does an educator do? He or she teaches others. Educators are perceived as helping others learn so they can make their own decisions. Rather than saying, “I sell widgets to people,” when describing your work, say, “I educate people on the widget industry and the choices they can make to improve their lives or business.” There is a big difference. Who wants to get sold? No one. Who wants to learn? Everyone! Position yourself as an educator. Tell people you are in the education business.

The Consultant. What does a consultant do? He or she consults. The perception of a consultant is that they are a third party. The idea here is to position yourself as someone who consults with people who would like to know and be educated about their options. You work on behalf of the customer. That is key. You work for the customer as a consultant. You help them see all of their options so they can make an informed decision. Who wants to be sold? No one. Who wants to see all of their options? Everyone! Position yourself as a consultant. Tell people you are in the consulting business.

Now let’s take a look at listening skills. It is a fact that if you listen and ask good questions, the customer will tell you what they want. And once they tell you what they want, you can sell to them. Imagine that you sell cars and someone comes on the lot and says, “I am looking for a blue, two-seat convertible under $30,000.” Would you take them to see the large four-door luxury sedans that cost $60,000? Of course not, and yet many salespeople focus on what they want the customer to buy rather than servicing the customer in what the customer wants to buy—and getting the commission as well as the long-term relationship. Yes, your job as a salesperson is to first and foremost listen.

Here are some tips for becoming a better listener. These tips will serve you well in sales—and in life:

14 Tips for Becoming a Better Listener

1. Keep eye contact with the person speaking. Don’t look around.
2. Focus on what they are saying. Allow your brain to process it so that you understand.
3. Avoid emotional responses. Don’t get mad or sad at what they say.
4. Don’t get distracted. Don’t let your mind wander or give your attention elsewhere in the room.
5. Ask mental questions. Think and interact with the information you are hearing.
6. Use your body language to show you are listening. Don’t slump. Sit straight—just like your mother taught you!
7. Nod your head to show that you understand them.
8. Keep your body open—don’t fold your arms. That signals that you are closed off to what they are saying.
9. Lean toward the speaker. This shows engagement.
10. Ask questions to clarify. You want to make sure that what you are hearing is what they are intending to communicate.
11. Don’t make assumptions. Hear what they say and take it at face value.
12. Paraphrase what you hear them saying. Say it back to them.
13. Restate the key points or issues. This will make sure you are on the same page.
14. Listen without interrupting. Let them finish. Interrupting says, “What I have to say is more important than what you have to say.”

Until next week, let’s do something remarkable!

-Nick James

Supplemental Notes

Here is what we have found to be true about sales:

It is always about relationships!

When we think about sales and think through what it really is, we inevitably end up at the fact that selling is a function of the relationship. In fact, selling is always about relationships. Let’s take a look at how to build relationships conducive to selling.

So what is our working definition of sales? The ability to influence others to purchase products or services by helping them change their beliefs, thoughts and actions.

That is selling in its simplest form: influence. Don’t make it any more difficult than it has to be by getting too lofty about it. Selling is just the ability to influence others to purchase.

Well then, how do we influence? There are basically two ways to influence someone to change their beliefs, thoughts or actions. One is by power or coercion. In other words, you make them do it. This is either the use of actual force (literally making them do it) or perceived force (the idea they have that something bad will happen to them if they don’t). We certainly do not recommend power, coercion or force to influence. What is the second option? Building a relationship. When you influence through a relationship, the customer follows voluntarily, and when the customer follows voluntarily, the sell is stronger and their patronage lasts much longer!

Fundamentally, successful selling is about leading and influencing through relationships. The key then is to find out how to develop the kind of relationships that are conducive to getting people to allow your influence in their lives.

Here are the main keys we have found to developing the kinds of relationships that will put you in position to sell more. Now, remember, relationship building is by principle and not law, so these ebb and flow, but the more you practice them, the more your influence will grow and people will follow your lead.

Four Keys to Extraordinary Relationships

1. Your own integrity. That’s right, it begins with you. People will follow you based on two things: your character and your skills. A person with good character and bad skills is a nice guy, but not a sales leader. A person with good skills and no character is a charlatan. A person with good character and good skills is a sales leader! So what is your character like? How is your integrity? Are you the kind of person people can trust and believe in? We hope so, because that is paramount in building relationships! When they believe in your integrity, they will be much closer to following you.

2. Time together. Think of your best relationships. They take time, don’t they? And what got them there? Time. If you want to lead people effectively and build a relationship with them, then time is something you must spend with them. This will allow them to begin to trust you, understand you, like you and follow you. This can be something simple like a regular cup of coffee, or something longer such as a customer-client trip. Either way, invest time in those you want to develop relationships with.

3. Communication. We don’t just mean shooting the breeze, although that is good and needed. Eventually, though, we have to begin to communicate. You know, really get through to the meat of the matter. Relationships are built on getting through to one another, speaking clearly and listening intently.

4. Care. The old saying is true that people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Relationships are built on the care we show for one another. Do you show care for the other person or people who you want to purchase from you? If you do, you will see that they will repay you with more devotion to you and your products or services. They want to know that you care about them, and when they do, they will follow.

Don’t start with a bunch of deep theories about selling or elaborate sales skills. Start with a basic understanding of human nature: People buy from those they have a relationship with. All things being equal, people who have to choose between two people to buy from will choose the one they have a better relationship with. So be that person!

Remember, it is always about relationships!

Prospecting

As we focus on the topic of sales this month, one way to increase results is to become a product of the product. When we are benefiting from the product we are marketing, we begin to create our own story, which lends credibility to us and our product and creates a curiosity about what it can do for our prospect or possibly someone they know. We should leave a trail of testimonials behind us and use them for each sales call. People remember stories, even if they might not remember facts and figures. The first testimonial, of course, should be our own.

Lets keep growing and learning. I hope everyone has a great week!

The N.J.W Blog

Selling and Negotiation Skills, Part Two—Prospecting

This is what we are covering on the topic of Sales this month:

1. Attitudes of Successful Salespeople: The profession, setting your goals, the attitudes of successful salespeople, and getting and staying motivated. This is the basic overview of the profession of selling. Selling is a noble occupation, even though some people think otherwise. In fact, we are all in sales every day. We sell to people all the time. In addition, our attitude and getting and staying motivated are vitally important and will either make or break a salesperson. We covered this in last week’s edition.

2. Prospecting. Because sales and success are a numbers game, this week we will cover how to look at sales from this perspective in order to be successful. We will look at how to get in front of a large number of people so that we can close a higher percentage of sales calls. We also show you the importance of knowing your stuff—what you need to know about yourself, your prospect and your product. Then, we will look briefly at the importance of understanding how to sell to different personality types.

3. Building relationships that position you as an educator/consultant to your clients. We will touch on listening skills and making the sale. Here, we will also take a look at the all-important issue of relationships. In selling, as in life, relationships are the most important factor. We don’t sell to companies—we sell to people! People always make the decisions. We will take a look at how to be a great listener, and we’ll also discuss how to reposition yourself from being known as a salesperson to becoming seen as an educator and consultant who helps people make the best buying decisions. We will look at this next week.

4. Getting referrals/Negotiation skills. In two weeks, we will take a look at how to get referrals so that your business becomes ever-expanding. Creating an ever-expanding network of people to draw sales from is the key to a successful sales business. We will also cover the basics of negotiation, with an emphasis getting both sides into a winning position so they can be happy with the sale. We will give you specific skills to get into win-win negotiations.

The Boy Scouts have a motto: “Be prepared.” No matter what situation a Boy Scout finds himself in, he is to be prepared. If a Boy Scout gets lost, he should know what to do. In other words, he needs to know his stuff. This is why the young men practice all the different skills they need and earn their badges as they go. All of this practice culminates in becoming what the Boy Scouts call an Eagle Scout. The Eagle Scout is fully prepared, and he’s certainly the guy you want with you when you get lost!

So what about salespeople? Shouldn’t we learn something from the Boy Scouts and their philosophy of preparedness? I am fully convinced that the average person would become much more successful if they simply prepared more and knew their stuff inside and out.

Here are three areas that I believe are key for any salesperson knowing their stuff:

1. Themselves
2. Their prospect
3. Their product(s)

Let’s take a closer look at each of these areas.

What you need to know about yourself:

Your strengths. When you are selling, you need to know and use your strengths. Each person is different and possesses unique strengths. When you know what you are good at, you will want to focus on that. For example, you may be very good at connecting with people relationally. If that is the case, then you will want to spend as much time as possible, or needed, to make a connection that will serve you well and enable you to make the sale and earn a customer. Don’t try to jump right into the facts and figures—go with your strengths. If you are good verbally, spend time describing the products. If you are good at answering questions, spend time letting the customer fire away! Go with your strengths.

Your weaknesses. Just as you need to know your strengths, you also need to know your weaknesses. What are you not particularly adept at? Stay away from those things, because they may become a hindrance in your ability to sell. If you aren’t a particularly relational person, do your best, but then get down to business. If you aren’t particularly well-spoken, then use PowerPoint presentations or brochures as much as possible. Stay away from your weaknesses and steer the person toward your strengths.

One last word on weaknesses: Just because you aren’t very good at something doesn’t mean you can’t improve. Work on yourself to overcome those weaknesses!

Your potential. Do you know what your potential is? It is limitless! You can become anything you want to become. You can choose your destiny and achieve it. You can sell anything you like, and you can be successful doing it. Did you know that? Are you constantly aware of that? Do you remind yourself of that? If you know your potential and decide today to act based on what you know you can and will become, you will elevate yourself to another level, and that will reflect itself in the success of your sales career.

Your goals. What do you want to achieve in your selling? Only you can decide what you want. Yes, your sales manager, if you have one, can give you goals, but if you don’t buy into them, you will never hit them. You have to own what you want to achieve. When you know what it is that you want to achieve, then everything else comes from that, including how many people you need to meet, how many you need to close, etc.

What you need to know about your prospect:

Their personality. You’ll get more in-depth information later in this edition, but I wanted to mention it here as well. The personality of your prospect is very important because all people are different. The day of the one-style-fits-all sales call and close is over. It is extremely ineffective. To be successful, you have to know what your prospect is like and how to best make a connection with them and sell to them. Take time to know who they are and what makes them tick.

Their goals. You know what you want, but do you know what your prospect wants? That is key. If you can figure out what your prospect wants—what their goals are—and can deliver it, then you will be able to get what you want, which most likely centers on making the sale! Take the time to understand what your customer’s goals are.

Their needs. There are things that your prospect wants and there are things that they need. One of the keys is to discover—and sometimes even help them discover—what their needs are. (Sometimes they don’t even know what they need, so it’s your job as an educator to help them discover that.) Once you have established what their needs are, you can then show them how your product or service meets those needs. Robert Schuller says that the key to success is to find a need and fill it.

Their history. People are significantly shaped by their history. A prospect may meet with you out of courtesy, but if they have a bad history with a similar product or with salespeople in general, they may predetermine that they simply aren’t going to buy. Also, knowing their history may help you make a connection. Maybe you were both born in the same city. These kinds of things are good to know because common ground helps create a relationship.

Their fears. What are they afraid of? Often, people buy out of their fears. This is not to say that we should play to their fears, just that we should know what they are and try to help alleviate them if we can. Certainly knowing someone’s fears can help you position yourself as one who can help. If you are a financial salesperson, you should know if they have a fear of having too little at the end of their life. You may ask them to define “too little,” and if they reply $5 million, you will know just what kind of financial vehicle you need to sell them as opposed to someone who would be content with $1 million.

What you need to know about your product:

Its strengths. What are your product’s strong points? Of course, this is what most people do know about their product. We can talk all day about how great our product is. We know what it does well.

Its weaknesses. Also important is to know the weaknesses. I think knowing your product’s weaknesses is imperative if you want to maintain your integrity. Now, I wouldn’t recommend that you spend an inordinate amount of time on the weaknesses, but honestly disclosing them to your client (if applicable) will certainly be disarming and let him or her know that you are honest, that you are an educator and that you aren’t a “sell them at all costs” kind of person.

Its place in the market. Where does your product stand? Don’t position it as a market leader if it isn’t. Is it the best quality? Or is it the best price? Maybe your service is what will distinguish your product. It is important to know these things and to then accentuate them to your customer. This will help them compare you with your competitor and come up with the best solution for themselves. And if you can help them do that, they will be happy. And you know what happy customers mean—repeat business!

Its uniqueness. What makes your product unique? Know your product well enough to be able to describe in detail the unique aspects that set it apart from the rest of the field.

All of these things—what to know about yourself, your prospect and your product—should be internalized. They should be a part of you. To be the best, you need to drill these things over and over so that you know them, as they say, like the back of your hand. Do that, and you will be light years ahead of the average salesperson who is just out there hoping to make the sale.

Until next week lets do something remarkable!

-Nickolas James Whitmore

Supplemental Notes

Selling to different personality types.
People are different (thankfully!). What would the world be like if everyone were the same? Boring! But everyone being different does make the selling game a bit tricky. A great way to be more successful is to know the kind of person you are selling to. It is also fascinating to learn about what makes people go. There are a couple of different theories out there that are helpful. This is not an exact science, but both certainly can make a difference for you.

Birth order. This theory says that people have different personalities based on where they are in the birth order of their siblings. Oldest or only children are one way, while middle children are another, and youngest children are still another. Here are some interesting facts:

– Did you know that certain professions are dominated by oldest and only children? Accountants, airline pilots and astronauts are almost always oldest or only children.

– Did you know that middle children are most likely to move away from their families when they get older? It’s true.

– Did you know that the best marriage situation—most likely to succeed and be happy—is one where an oldest girl marries a youngest boy? It’s true (no jokes about mothering)!

This isn’t a hard science, but it does make sense that these tendencies can play out in the selling situations. There are some general guidelines to follow. Now, you certainly want to perceive the person while you are with them, but this will give you a general idea. For example, oldest children are most likely to want the facts (remember, they become accountants). So if you are selling a car to them, you want to talk about gas mileage, torque, mileage on the warranties and the like. Youngest children, on the other hand, want to hear the engine roar, smell the leather, know what colors the car comes in, etc. These are things to keep in mind.

The best resource we’ve found on the subject of birth order is Kevin Leman’s book, The New Birth Order Book, which tells all about the different orders and includes a section on marriages, as well as a section on selling to different birth orders. His book is worth the price and is a very interesting read with an abundance of stories and examples.

Personality types. You have two ways to look at this: the simple way, which would be through profiles like the DISC profile, or the complex way, like the Myers-Briggs profile. The DISC profile—and others like it—focuses on four personality traits, while the Myers-Briggs gives 16. It would be great for you to familiarize yourself with personality traits at least at a cursory level, because it certainly does affect how you sell to people. Just do an Internet search on either of these, and you will find more information than you will ever need.

Now, how to win the numbers game…

They say it’s a “numbers game.” And it truly is. Because there are enough people in this world, you can sell anything to at least someone. What makes it even better is if you have a great product, because then lots of people will want that!

Here are a few tips on getting visible and winning the numbers game:

Get visible at community events. Help out with Little League or at the community center.

Volunteer. There are tons of opportunities to do a good deed and meet people.

Join a group. Kiwanis, Rotary Club, Lions or the Chamber of Commerce. You get it.

Check the library board. There are all sorts of meetings happening. Go to a few, introduce yourself to some people, and learn a thing or two.

Join a health club. Meet people and get in shape at the same time—what a deal!

Attend a house of worship. Attending worship services provides another opportunity to be around and meet people who may share your values.

Give a speech. Offer to talk anywhere, any time. We know a photographer who does local library talks on how to take pictures of your children and walks away with leads from parents who are looking for someone to do the family portraits!

The idea is to get out there and be where the people are so you can meet them!

OK, so now you’re out there—now what?

Well, assuming you have honed your sales pitch, you need to make as many as you can. If you ask enough people to buy, a certain percentage will take you up on it! And if you have a great product, such as one that will improve people’s health or help their finances, you are going to get a much better return, but you will always get some return! Let’s say you close five out of 100 pitches. That’s not great, but if you make $1,000 per sale, then you would want to present to 200 or 300 people a month, right? It is just a math game. Figure out how much you make per sale, how much money you want to make a month, and what your closing percentage is, and do the math and then work the plan.

The secret is to get out and about. You aren’t going to make money by hiding in your office, unless you are on the phone dialing for dollars.

Get in front of as many people as possible—pitch ’em and close ’em!

So I hoped this helped. I wish you the best of luck. Always remember to never quit.

Selling and Negotiation Skills, Part One

Hello and welcome back to Week 31 of The N.J.W Blog. I hope you’ve had a successful week and you’re ready for this week’s edition.

This week we begin with our topic—Selling and Negotiation Skills. I will be sharing many great insights on this topic, and I know that you will definitely benefit from them.

One of the most important things I can do to ensure success in sales is to have an air of expectancy. Even if I’ve just had 20 “no’s” in a row, we must expect and believe in a positive outcome, and we can do that if we visualize ourselves receiving the “yes.”

But before I even take the first step toward making a sales call or asking for a raise, etc., I must prepare myself mentally. It has been said that thorough preparation eliminates stress, and while that is true, we must not merely go through the motions of preparing our material and presentation without first preparing mentally. That is the most important part of preparation. What are we saying to ourselves before we make the phone call or ask the question? We must tell ourselves, “My prospect is looking for what I have; my prospect has a problem that I can solve; I will get the appointment and my calendar will be full by the end of the week.” As we continue to do this all the way through our presentation/sales process, we can more easily visualize receiving the sale, which in turn will allow our belief level to increase. When our prospect sees our belief and passion for what we are doing or selling, that will raise their level of belief too, and increase their enthusiasm toward our product.

So with that said let’s move forward with belief and positive expectancy this week/month!

Remember to check out the Activity Lessons.

To your future and your success!

-N.J.W Blog

Selling and Negotiation Skills, Part One—Attitudes of Successful Salespeople

Sales… some refer to it as one of the oldest professions, and rightly so. Whether your chosen profession is in sales or not, selling skills come into play throughout our daily lives. In fact, so much so that we often forget that the selling and negotiation process is constantly being used. Because we all have daily opportunities to apply these skills, it is important that we understand the different dynamics that affect the selling process. For example: What attitude is going to help you experience success in your selling/negotiating process? What is the best way to prospect? How do you build relationships that lead to sales? And finally, What is the best method for getting referrals and negotiating throughout the selling process? This month, under the topic of Selling, we will cover the following topics:

1. Attitudes of Successful Salespeople: The profession, setting your goals, attitudes of successful salespeople and getting and staying motivated. This is the basic overview of the profession of selling. Selling is a noble occupation, though some think otherwise. In fact, we are all in sales every day. We are selling people all of the time. In addition, our attitude, as well as getting and staying motivated are vitally important and will make or break a salesperson. We cover all of this in this week’s edition.

2. Prospecting. Because sales and success is a numbers game, we cover how to look at sales from this perspective in order to be successful. We will look at how to get in front of a large number of people so we can close a higher percentage of sales calls. We also show you the importance of “Knowing Your Stuff”—what you need to know about you, your prospect and your product. Then, we will look briefly at the importance of understanding how to sell to different personality types. All of this will be in next week’s edition.

3. Building relationships that position you as an educator/consultant to your clients. We will touch on listening skills and making the sale. Here we will also take a look at the all-important issue of relationships. Relationships in selling, as in life, are the most important factor. We don’t sell to companies, we sell to people! People always make the decisions. We will take a look at how to be a great listener and we will also discuss how to reposition yourself from being known as a salesperson to becoming seen as an educator and a consultant who helps people make the best buying decisions. We will look at this in two weeks.

4. Getting referrals/Negotiation skills. In week four we will take a look at how to get referrals so your business is ever-expanding. That is the key to a successful sales business—the ever-expanding network of people to draw sales from. We will also cover the basics of negotiation. This will have an emphasis on how to get both sides into a winning position so they can be happy with the sale. We will give you specific skills to get into win-win negotiations—all of this in three weeks.

In spite of all that you may hear, selling is a noble profession. It gets a bad rap, I know. People see you coming and think to themselves, “I wonder what he’s selling?” And it isn’t generally a good anticipation. But think about it: Selling is an everyday occurrence. We all do it! Don’t think that young child isn’t selling you when she asks to spend the night at her friend’s house or go to a birthday party. Isn’t that teenage boy selling himself to the young woman he wants to take to the prom? Of course! Isn’t a college student selling when trying to upgrade his final score on his term paper? And aren’t we all selling when we try to get a raise from our boss? You bet we are. Doesn’t a husband have to sell his wife sometimes when he wants to get that new boat? You bet. Selling happens all of the time. We all do it. Even those people who “don’t like selling” are salespeople themselves. They just don’t know it or they have put the concept of selling into a box where it doesn’t belong.

Yes, when you sell you have entered into an arena that consists of the best… and the worst. There is a reason that “sales” has a bad reputation. There have been countless men and women through the years who have earned their reputation as snake-oil salesmen. They represent the worst, and unfortunately have put you and I in a bad light.

But there is hope! I can show people what a truly great salesperson is all about. I can help change the opinions of people about what it means to be in sales. I can help shift people’s paradigm so they see that salespeople are really there to help them according to their needs, not the salesperson’s needs.

I can help people understand that not everyone is out to get them. I can raise the humanity of it all and show that some people are out to help, not out to get you. Yes, sales is a profession you and I should be proud of. We should be able to look at ourselves and those around us who are “in sales” and think respectfully of each other. If we do it well, and show others how to do it well too, we can begin a fundamental shift in people’s minds as it relates to selling and salespeople. And that’s a good thing.

Here are some thoughts for you to consider as we begin this month focusing on sales:

1. Setting your goals. Now I know its not the most exciting thing to talk about. but its very important for you to understand . A few brief words on goal-setting, since it is at the core of a successful sales career. Do you want to be successful? I imagine that you do. Then it is imperative that you learn to set goals. As we covered goal-setting in great depth during month two, here is a short refresher course:

Know what you want. Do you really know what you want? It is one thing to say, “I want to be rich.” It is another altogether to say, “I want to have one million dollars in the bank.” It is best to be specific—that is a goal. If you aren’t specific, it is a wish. If you want to be successful in sales, you need to have, as well as define, a clear idea of what that means to you.

Write it down. Once you know what you want, write your goals down. Be specific. Put them on cards and keep them in front of you. Put them in your journal. Put them on your mirror. Put them in your car. Write your goals down and read them constantly throughout the day. Writing your goals down facilitates reading them and reading them will condition your mind for success. If you want to be successful in sales, write your goals down and review them every day.

Regularly evaluate. You need to establish some regular interval at which you sit down, look at your goals and evaluate them. Have you hit them? Are they too big or too small? Do you need some changes? When you look at them, make these decisions and then act. If you want to be successful in sales, you need to not only set goals but evaluate your execution of them.

Celebrate. What good is achieving a goal if you can’t celebrate it? All of the great goal-setters I have met and know are people who celebrate or build in a reward for hitting their goals. This is one more incentive that will encourage you in your pursuit of the goal—knowing you will get the reward for it! If you want to be successful in sales, you will want to reward yourself when you reach your goals!

Stretch again. No getting lazy here. Have your celebration, but then stretch yourself again. No time to sit around, you know. Instead, take a look and see where you want to go from here. You have the whole world before you. You have proven to yourself that you can set and achieve goals, so why not do it again, only setting your sights higher than before? If you want to be successful in sales you will always be looking for the next goal to set and achieve, stretching yourself to go further than before.

2. Attitudes of successful salespeople. Your attitude in life and in sales determines to a great degree where you will end up. If you think that life is a drag and nice guys finish last, then your attitude will keep you at the bottom rung. But if your attitude is great and you believe in what you are doing, your attitude will take you to the top of the ladder.

Here are the three most important attitudes I believe that salespeople should have to make them successful.

My product or service is good for people. You have to believe this. If you don’t then you may never be successful. Make sure your attitude is one that says you are proud of what you are selling. If you are proud of it, then that will shine through to your customers. They will sense that you believe in it, which will bring them closer to buying.

I can be successful. This may seem basic, but it is at the root of all success. Do you believe that you can not only do well but be wildly successful in sales? If you are going to the top, you will need to train your attitude to know that it is only a matter of time before you get that “Salesperson of the Year” award. The road is steep but the reward is great. Tell yourself, “No matter how tough it gets, no matter how many obstacles I face, the reward I am aiming for is worth the effort. I choose the goals, I choose the rewards, and I choose to persevere until I get them all! Roadblocks won’t stop me, and I’ll do whatever it takes to achieve my reward!”

If you are in sales, you have chosen a noble profession, my friend. You are making a great contribution to the world around you by the products and services you offer, but also in the kind of person you are. I offer you my greatest encouragement! If you are not “officially” in sales, you still will have daily/weekly opportunities to apply all the ideas and insights this month has to offer.

Until next week, let’s do something remarkable!

-Nick James

Supplemental Notes

Getting and staying motivated: One of the major keys to ensure success as a salesperson is to get and stay motivated. Even the best salespeople hear the word “no” too often, and unless you know how to get and stay motivated, you are in trouble. Sales requires long hours, a lot of discipline and the ability to keep on going even when times are tough. So with that in mind, we want to share some thoughts with you on the top six ways to stay motivated.

The Top Six Ways to Stay Motivated

Get Motivated Every Day. Zig Ziglar was once confronted about being a “motivational speaker.” The guy said to him, “You guys come and get people hyped up and then you leave and the motivation goes away. It doesn’t last, and then you have to get motivated again.” Zig reminded the gentleman that baths are the same way, but we think it is a good idea to take a bath every day!

It is true that motivation doesn’t last. We have to renew it each and every day. That’s OK. It doesn’t make motivation a bad thing. We simply have to realize that if we want to stay motivated over the long term, it is something we will have to apply ourselves to each and every day.

Have a Vision for Your Life. The root word of motivation is “motive.” The definition of motive is, “A reason to act.” This is the cognitive or rational side of motivation. It is your vision. You have to have a vision that is big enough to motivate you. If you are making $50,000 a year, it isn’t going to motivate you to set your goal at $52,000 a year. You just won’t get motivated for that because the reward isn’t enough. Maybe $70,000 a year would work for you. Set out a vision and a strategy for getting there. Have a plan and work the plan.

Fuel Your Passion. Much of motivation is emotional. Emotion is a powerful force in getting us going. Passion is an emotion, so fuel your passion. “Well, I like to work on logic,” you may say. Great, now work on your passion. Set yourself on a course to have a consuming desire for your goal, whatever it is. Do whatever you can to feel the emotion and use it to your advantage!

Work Hard Enough to Get Good Results. You can build on your motivation by getting results. The harder you work, the more results you will get, and the more results you get, the more you will be motivated to get more. These things all build on one another. If you want to lose weight, then lose the first few pounds. When the belt moves to the next notch you will get fired up to get it to the notch beyond that!

Put Good Materials Into Your Mind. I can’t say this enough: Listen to personal development audios and read good books. Listen to and read books that teach you new ideas and skills, that tell the stories of successful people. Buy them, consume them and get motivated! Buy great music and listen to it, too. Music can get you going and motivate you!

Ride the Momentum When It Comes. Sometimes you will just be clicking and sometimes you won’t. That is OK. It is the cycle of life. When you aren’t clicking, plug away. When you are clicking, pour it on because momentum will help you get larger gains in a shorter period of time with less energy. That is the Momentum Equation! When you are feeling good about how your work is going, ride the momentum and get as much out of it as you can!

These are simple principles that, when you put them to work regularly, will change your life by keeping you motivated all the time! so don’t wait and get started.

Until Next week lets do something remarkable.

N.J.W Blog