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

Getting The Referral

This month we have been covering the topic of Networking and Referrals:

1. Developing the Attitude for Networking (and life). The old saying is true that your “attitude determines your altitude.” You will only go as far as your attitude will carry you. We looked at the kind of attitudes that enable you to successfully expand your network and make your life all that it can be. There are certain attitudes you must have toward circumstances and those that you must have toward yourself and others. Your attitude also governs the process of what takes place when you are networking. We discussed attitude three weeks ago.

2. Becoming a Person of Influence. The ability to attract and influence others is paramount to being a successful networker. We covered the principles of influence and what motivates others to follow your lead, which, in turn, builds your network. We also discussed how to expand your contact list with people who want to go with you to greater heights. We covered this in detail two weeks ago.

3. Working your Network. It takes a certain skill to search for and gain new referrals in order to expand your business. We showed you how to develop your network and grow your business—what to do before the meeting, during the meeting and after the meeting, all designed to help you grow your business through an expanding network of people. We covered this in last week’s edition.

4. Getting the Referral. The success of your business depends on keeping your current customers satisfied while at the same time gaining new customers. The key to getting new customers is getting the referral. In this week’s edition, we will discuss a technique for this and cover the ins and outs of working with people in such a way that they help you find others to grow your business—and gladly refer you!

This week, under the topic of “Getting the Referral,” I want to talk about what you have to offer as the person asking for the referral and the mindset of the person giving it.

Let’s think through this situation. You have worked to develop a relationship with a person and have now arrived at the moment of truth: Will they give you the referral? You’ll find some specific techniques for getting the referral later, but I want to draw our attention to something we may not think about often enough: the mindset of the person who has been asked for the referral. If you can understand how this person is thinking, what their fears are, you will be able to negotiate and bring them to the point where they readily give you the referral.

So, what exactly are people thinking, either consciously or unconsciously, when they are asked to give a referral? Here are a few things to keep in mind:

The person they are referring you to. One of the things they think about is the person who you are asking to be referred to. For example, you may ask to be referred to a high-level executive, and the person’s first reaction might be, knowing the person you are asking for, that the person does not like to be referred to. That may be a deal killer right there. It may not have anything to do with you. (However, even those high-level people can be referred to if you provide enough value). This is the next point.

Value. The person you are speaking with is going to decide whether or not you provide value. Are you valuable to them first and foremost, and will you be valuable to the person they would refer you to? The more valuable you have been to them, the more likely you are to be to the referral. And this is key. The last thing they want to do is send you to someone and have them say, “What did you think this guy was going to do for me?” You want to create so much value in their mind that they know you will provide value to the person they would send you to.

Safety. The way you interact with people will create either a safe or unsafe atmosphere. If they had to go around and around with you in negotiations, or if you made them feel uncomfortable, then they will not refer you to another person. You see, people hold their contacts closely. Those contacts represent business, relationships and income to people. They will not refer you to someone if they think you will cause that person to feel uncomfortable. The best thing you can do is to create an atmosphere where the people you work with feel at ease and with no pressure to make decisions, one that will be a win for both sides.

What’s in it for me? Ultimately everybody wants to know what’s in it for them. This may not be money, but at the very least, people want to know that they are going to look good to the person they’re referring someone to. If they recommend you, they want to be sure that the response from the other person is going to be something along the lines of, “Mr. Nick, thanks so much for giving my name to Tom. He was really helpful, and I think we are going to do some work together. I appreciate it.” See what that referring person gets? They look good in their contact’s eyes.

Basically, in order to be good at getting referrals, you must understand the relationship a person has with the person you are trying to get to: They are gatekeepers. They are willing to only let the best through their gate. They want to protect both that person and their own future relationship with that person. If you can create those kinds of situations, and build your own relationships in such a way that they are open to you and what you do, you will be well on your way to getting what Bob Burg calls “Endless Referrals.”

Until next week, let’s do something remarkable!

-Nick James

Supplemental Notes

Here are some specific thoughts on “getting the referral.” As mentioned last week, this is Networking 101. If you want to make sure that when you ask you receive, then follow the tips we’ve outlined.

Seven Practical Tips Guaranteed to Get You the Referral

1. Sow the seed. The referral is really secured (or lost) long before you ask for it. What you do in the preliminary stages is what will determine what happens when you ask. Nick has so much excellent material from the last few weeks on what kind of people we need to be in order to get the referrals and build our networks. Remember, you sow the seeds of referrals by being a good person, showing great skills, providing value, behaving professionally and having high integrity and the like. These are the kinds of things that “till the soil.” One other specific thing you can do to sow the seed is to drop a couple of references throughout the relationship that tips your hand that you will be asking for referrals. A good way is to say something like, “Eventually, I am going to ask you if you would help me find a couple of others who may be interested in this kind of thing,” or something similar. This just lets them know it’s coming—but you better deliver the goods or it won’t matter anyway!

2. Give them something first. This is what persuasion and influence expert Robert Cialdini calls the “Law of Reciprocity.” If you want to influence and persuade someone, a very important thing to do is to give them something. This makes them “in your debt,” so to speak. Now, we are not suggesting that you do this simply as an act of manipulation, but just as something that will help both you and the other party, and solidify the mutually beneficial relationship. For example, let’s say that you sell insurance and you are working with a person who is looking to add to their term-life insurance. Let’s say they sell advertising. Do you know anyone in a small business who may be interested in advertising? Then give them that referral! So you might say at your first meeting something like this: “You know, before I tell you about the insurance, I have a friend who is opening a little restaurant in town. He is going to need advertising. You should call him. His name is Fred, and his number is 555-2626. Give him a call and tell him I sent you.” Now, when it is your turn to ask for the referral, what do you think the ad guy is going to do? He is going to give something back to you.

3. Ask. Maybe the main reason you don’t have it is because you haven’t asked for it! This may seem basic, but many people just never ask. They do the deal and say thanks and walk away. If you want to get referrals, you will need to be sure to build the “ask” into the process. Ask everyone! There is never any harm in asking.

4. Be bold. Most of the time you will get to the moment of “ask” and you will just have to reach down deep within yourself and find your guts. You will have to be bold. We always have to remind ourselves to “be bold.”

5. Make it easy. You want the referral process to be as easy as it can for the person who is giving you the referral. Don’t ask them to spend an hour writing down names. Don’t ask them to call you. Don’t ask general questions like, “Do you know anyone who…” As Bob Burg suggests, make it simple by saying something like, “Would any of your Monday afternoon golf partners be interested in…” or “Would any of your siblings like to…” This gives them a small field to think through and makes it easy for them. The question you want to answer is this: How much work am I asking them for?

6. Ensure safety. As I mentioned earlier, they are looking for safety, both for themselves and the other person. They are protecting their contacts, their time and their reputations. Do you ensure safety? One way to do so is to assure them of that (this assumes you have already shown them that in your own dealings). Here is a sample of what you might say: “I know you have a lot of contacts and value them a lot. I would like to contact a few of them with your permission. I know they are busy and important people, but I would like to call them and see if they have any interest. Obviously, I would treat them with respect and be sensitive to their time. I assure you I that would in no way hard-sell them. Now…” And then comes the “ask.” If you have been safe with them and tell them you will do the same with their contacts, they will be more likely to give you the referral.

7. Be thankful. Be sure to say thanks immediately upon getting the referral. Be sure to send a thank you card or call them a few days later and say thanks. Be sure to keep them posted when you finally do business with their referral. If it is appropriate, send them a gift of thanks when the deal goes through.

You know, when it comes right down to it, getting referrals is just about people skills and human nature. If you study it and play by the rules of human nature, you will get all the referrals you can handle!

-N.J.W Blog

Working Your Network

This month we have been covering the topic of networking and referrals:

1. Developing the Attitude for Networking (and life). The old saying is true that your attitude determines your altitude. You will only go as far as your attitude will carry you. We will look at the kind of attitudes that will enable you to successfully expand your network and make your life all that it can be. There are certain attitudes you must have toward circumstances and those that you must have toward yourself and others. Your attitude also governs the process of what takes place when you are networking. We took a look at the whole world of attitude two weeks ago.

2. Becoming a Person of Influence. The ability to attract and influence others is paramount to being a successful networker. Last week we covered the principles of influence and what motivates others to follow your lead, which, in turn, builds your network. We also discussed how to expand your contact list with people who want to go with you to greater heights.

3. Working your Network. It takes a certain degree of skill to search for and gain new referrals to expand your business. In this week’s edition, we will show you how to develop your network and grow your business—what to do before a meeting, during a meeting and after a meeting, all designed to help you grow your business through an expanding network of people.

4. Getting the Referral. The success of your business depends on keeping your current customers satisfied, while at the same time gaining new customers. The key to getting new customers is getting the referral. We will discuss a technique for this and also cover the ins and outs of working with people in such a way that they help you find others to grow your business—and gladly refer you! We will cover this in next week’s edition.

This week we are covering the topic of “Working your Network,” and I want to talk a little about what kind of person you need to be in order to maximize your network. Remember, the kind of person you are is ultimately what will determine the kind of success you have.

So, let’s take a few moments to think about what kind of person is successful in networking.

Successful Networkers Are:

Hard workers. I have found that the most successful networkers are those who work hard at their business for long periods of time. Just as in life, there are up times and down times. Strong economies come and go. What doesn’t change is that successful networkers are hard workers.

Yes, occasionally, you will hear of someone for whom wealth and success came easily, but this is the exception, not the rule. The same is true with networking (and all of life): The person who gets the network up and running and firing on all cylinders is the one who is up early and goes to bed late. They are working the phones. They are sending follow-up notes. They are working their network.

Diligent. Diligence is an offshoot of hard work, but with a subtle nuance. Webster’s defines diligence this way: “characterized by care and perseverance in carrying out tasks; quietly and steadily persevering especially in detail or exactness.”

Those who expand their network and are successful at networking are those who care about their work enough to persevere. They are not the loudest, but they are those who quietly go about their business. Like the ant that goes back and forth over and over again, carrying his bounty back to the nest, the successful networker does their business diligently, knowing that if they have a good plan, and if they work that plan, they will see success come their way, even when it may not appear that way at first. This is diligence.

Prepared. I like the old credo of the Boy Scouts: Be prepared. There is not much better advice in this world than to be prepared. Give me two people—one who is thoroughly prepared, but with average skill, and one with above-average skill but flies by the seat of his pants, rarely prepared—and I will take the prepared person of average skill every time. Preparation is a key component of long-term success. In Sun Tzu’s Art of War, he says, “The general who wins the battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought. The general who loses makes but few calculations beforehand.”

Sincere. One of the problems with many people in business, and a particular problem in many businesses that rely heavily on networking, is that there is a distinct lack of sincerity. In their desperation to get new contacts, some people can lose their sense of sincerity and simply say things in order to decide whether or not a particular person is a viable prospect or not. This isn’t a good practice for business or life. Remember, we are humans first, networkers second. In all of your dealings—not just in business—be sincere. Be genuine. Get to know people and care about them; don’t just focus just on whether or not they are going to buy from you. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not suggesting we spend all of our time on people who will not be customers. I am talking more about our attitudes toward people—they are people, not just prospects. People will be able to tell how you feel about them, and if you are perceived as lacking sincerity, you will soon be lacking a thriving business!

Friendly. Let’s be candid: People like doing business with friendly people. If you had to pick between a friendly and an unfriendly salesperson, you would pick the friendly salesperson to work with you, wouldn’t you? So, as you go about your business, be friendly. Smile. Compliment people. Don’t instigate problems or controversial subjects while in conversation. This doesn’t mean you have to “keep it light” all of the time, but just keep it friendly. The alternative is that when it is no longer friendly, you will find that business and networking are much harder to do. You have most assuredly heard someone say, “You have to meet Charlie—he is such a great guy— really friendly and nice to be around.” But have you ever heard, “You really have to meet Charlie—he is terribly unfriendly”? Never. So, be friendly, and people will want others to meet you!

Focused on others. To be successful in networking, you need to be “others-focused.” We covered this in great detail last week, so we won’t spend too much time on it this week, but it warrants repeating. One of the most important things you can do to be successful is to get your eyes off of yourself and onto meeting the needs of others. People who meet others’ needs are “in-demand” people! If you want to someone who stays foremost in the minds of others—and at the top of their network—be a “go-to” guy or gal!

Inquisitive. I love people who love to learn. Successful people are people who have an immense desire to learn. They are innately inquisitive, and if they aren’t, they learn to be! Do you love to learn? When you get together with others, are you inquisitive about them, their lives and their work? The more questions you ask about them, the more you learn about them and their business. The more you are sincerely interested in them and what they are about, the more likely you are to become a successful person and networker.

System-oriented. Just as you know that successful people have a plan and a system, the same is true with those who want to be great networkers. Develop a system that accomplishes the following things: enables you to track people, allows you to prepare for meetings and sales calls, helps you know exactly what to do while at your meetings, and helps you methodically follow up with people. Get these things down to a science and into a system, and you will be way ahead of the game. Work the system, and let the system work for you.

Do you have it within you to become a successful networker? You sure do! But it will take a strong desire to develop yourself. It will require devotion to that development over a period of time. It will require your full attention and heart. Take some time this week to do just that, and you will begin to see results that you can be proud of.

Until next week, let’s do something remarkable!

Nick James

Supplemental Notes

Here are some very practical pointers on what to do before, during and after a meeting that will help grow and expand your network.

Think about these two specific scenarios to have some context to work from. The first scenario we will look at will be a large group gathering, like a chamber of commerce meeting. The second scenario will be a one-on-one meeting.

This can be considered Networking 101. It’s not advanced networking. If you master Networking 101, you will never have to go to advanced networking—you will have more than enough business. Networking is simple. It just takes discipline, which is why most people don’t excel at it.

So let’s take a look at what to do before, during and after a meeting.

The Large Group Meeting

Before the Meeting

– Prepare by deciding what your goals are. That might be making 10 good contacts, getting 50 business cards or spending good quality time with three people. Your goals are yours and are determined best by you.
– Be sure to have plenty of business cards or small promo materials with you, but don’t go overboard.
– Know your “elevator speech.” That is, be sure you can tell people what you do in 30 seconds or less because that’s about all the time you will get.
– Dress sharp.
– Get plenty of rest.
– Listen to some great music that will energize you.
– Eat some breath mints.

During the Meeting

– Put on a smile.
– Be gregarious. Walk up to people and say, “Hi, my name is _____. What’s yours?” When they tell you, follow up with, “So what do you do?”
– Don’t try to close the deal! You are there to network, not sell. They are there to network—not to be sold! Ignore this principle, and you will be known as a person to be avoided!
– Ask for the card. It’s simple: “Hey, do you have a card I could have? I would love to follow up with you.”
– Excuse yourself shortly. Don’t dominate a person’s time. They want to meet new people, too. After a few minutes, say, “Well, I know you want to meet some new people today, and I don’t want to take all your time, so I will let you go. It was great meeting you. I’ll be sure to follow up.”
– Be memorable. The person you want to connect with will meet 50 to 100 people that day. Why will they remember you? Because, remember, there is a difference between being memorable and being forgettable! Don’t think that wearing a ridiculous tie will make you memorable (unless you are a comedian, clown or juggler). Be smart. Say something witty. Or the mother lode: Give them a contact! For instance, they say they sell insurance. Your brother just told you he needs to increase his disability insurance. Give the agent your brother’s phone number with permission to call and say that you sent him.
– Take a long-term approach, especially with a regular meeting like the chamber of commerce. They will be there next month. Get to know them. Show them you will be there, too—that you aren’t “fly by night.” This will breed trust, which is the gold standard for networking success!
– Remember, the idea is to make good contacts so you can then follow up, develop a relationship and close the sale!

After the Meeting

– Give it a few days and then follow up by phone. Don’t call 20 minutes after the meeting, or they will think you’re a stalker. But don’t wait three months, either, because they will forget you. Instead, wait four or five days, and then place a friendly phone call.
– Here is how the call should go: “Hi, Joe, this is Tom Jackson. I met you at the chamber meeting a few days ago and wanted to follow up with you.” They then say, “Oh, yes.” At which point you follow with, “I’m wondering if you would be interested in getting together for coffee sometime early next week. I would love to buy you a cup of coffee and talk about a few ways we might be able to help each other out. I have a few ideas and contacts that may be helpful to you. Which day would work for you?”
Of course, they could say they aren’t interested. At this point—and this could be going against the grain—let them go. Some people say you have to answer objections, etc., and we can appreciate that, but you will have to determine your own style. They are either interested or they aren’t. You will be able to tell most of the time.
– If they are interested, then you have a chance to network or you may have a sales job to do, which we will talk about next month!

The One-On-One Meeting

Before the Meeting

– Again, be prepared. See the same helpful thoughts from above. Be dressed, well-rested, etc. This will put you in the proper frame of mind.
– Be prepared to pay for the coffee or a meal, or whatever you may be having. Remember, you asked for the meeting. We just think it is proper etiquette to pay. So make sure you have the money to do so.
– Be prepared with what exactly it is that you want to talk about and accomplish. If you have certain things you want to talk about, be prepared. If you have questions to ask, be prepared. If you have a goal for the outcome of the meeting, be prepared.

During the Meeting

– This is a given, but it’s worth repeating: Be friendly. Smile and be engaging.
– Take the first bit of time to just ask questions about the other person and get to know them. Don’t just cut to the chase about business. (Side note: Did you know that over a business meal it is a breach of etiquette to talk about business before the first course has been served? It’s just a thought to keep in mind that will help you in your timing.)
– Remember, you are building a relationship—yes, a business relationship—but a relationship nonetheless (and you never know where your new best friend may come from), so act like you are getting together with a new friend.
– Once you get down to business, ask how you might be able to help the other person. Ask what they are involved in and see if you can help them. Many business relationships begin with a lead that helped another.
– Eventually, you will have an opportunity to receive help from them. Approach it just that way. Here is what you can say: “You know, I am wondering if you might be able to help me. I am trying to accomplish something (be specific here), and I was wondering if you have any ideas that might be beneficial for me. Any advice?” (Note that you aren’t asking for referrals yet. You are getting business advice—you never know what you can learn from people.)
– Next, ask for some referrals (if they haven’t already given them to you). At this point, we love what Bob Burg says in that we shouldn’t say, “Do you know anybody who may be interested…” Instead, let’s say that you know they golf twice a week. Say this, “Would any of your golf partners be interested in this?” This gives them a specific group of people to “sort” through rather than thinking through everybody in the universe.
– When you are finished talking business, turn the conversation back to other things for a few minutes, pay the bill, thank them and then head on out. Remember, you don’t want to be there too long or take up too much of their time. If there are synergies, there will be future meetings.

After the Meeting

– Be sure to thank them for the time and the referrals. There are two proper ways to do this, one of which is better than the other. The first, and lesser way, is with the telephone. “Just calling to say thanks for getting together and let me know if I can help you in the future” is OK. But even better is a classy card sent through the mail. Invest in some very nice cards with your name embossed on them. They are invaluable.
– If you follow the above recommendations and take the time to prepare, your networking skills will begin to improve, which will positively affect your business and results.

What Is Risk Management?

Risk management is one of the most important topics you will ever read about trading.

Why is it important? Well, we are in the business of making money, and in order to make money we have to learn how to manage risk (potential losses).Ironically, this is one of the most overlooked areas in trading.

Many forex traders are just anxious to get right into trading with no regard for their total account size.

They simply determine how much they can stomach to lose in a single trade and hit the “trade” button.There’s a term for this type of investing….it’s called…

GAMBLING!

When you trade without risk management rules, you are in fact gambling.

You are not looking at the long-term return on your investment. Instead, you are only looking for that “jackpot.”

Risk management rules will not only protect you, but they can make you very profitable in the long run. If you don’t believe us, and you think that “gambling” is the way to get rich, then consider this example:

People go to Las Vegas all the time to gamble their money in hopes of winning a big jackpot, and in fact, many people do win.

So how in the world are casinos still making money if many individuals are winning jackpots?

The answer is that while even though people win jackpots, in the long run, casinos are still profitable because they rake in more money from the people that don’t win.

That is where the term “the house always wins” comes from.

The truth is that casinos are just very rich statisticians. They know that in the long run, they will be the ones making the money–not the gamblers.

Even if Joe Schmoe wins a $100,000 jackpot in a slot machine, the casinos know that there will be hundreds of other gamblers who WON’T win that jackpot and the money will go right back in their pockets.

This is a classic example of how statisticians make money over gamblers. Even though both lose money, the statistician, or casino in this case, knows how to control its losses.

Essentially, this is how risk management works. If you learn how to control your losses, you will have a chance at being profitable.In the end, Forex trading is a numbers game meaning you have to tilt every little factor in your favor as much as you can.

In casinos, the house edge is sometimes only 5% above that of the player. But that 5% is the difference between being a winner and being a loser.

You want to be the rich statistician and NOT the gambler because, in the long run, you want to “always be the winner.”

Becoming A Person Of Influence

 

we are learning the importance of networking and referrals. If you stop and think about it, almost everything we do involves networking in some fashion. You can have a great deal of influence just because of the sheer amount of “networks” you are in. Stop and consider how many different groups you are a part of—your family, your work, your friends, your church, your industry, clubs you are a member of, sports teams you or your family participate in, your children’s school and activities, etc.

Even though you may not be aware of it, you are also considered a part of someone else’s network. There is value in that. You have the opportunity to influence any or all of these groups/networks you are part of. What kind of influence do you want to have in your networks? You can develop and/or improve your ability to influence others. Jim shares in today’s edition how to become a valuable resource for others, which will, in turn, enable you to become an influencer in your world.

Here is what we are covering this month under the topic of Networking and Referrals:

1. Developing the Attitude for Networking (and life). The old saying is true that your attitude determines your altitude. You will only go as far as your attitude will carry you. We will look at the kind of attitudes that will enable you to successfully expand your network and make your life all that it can be. There are certain attitudes you must have toward circumstances and those that you must have toward yourself and others. Your attitude also governs the process of what takes place when you are networking. We took a look at the whole world of attitude in last week’s edition.

2. Becoming a Person of Influence. The ability to attract and influence others is paramount to being a successful networker. We will cover the principles of influence and what motivates others to follow your lead, which, in turn, builds your network. We will also discuss how to expand your contact list with people who want to go with you to greater heights. This will all be covered in today’s edition.

3. Working your Network. It takes a certain skill to search for and gain new referrals in order to expand your business. We will show you how to develop your network and grow your business—what to do before the meeting, during the meeting and after the meeting, all designed to help you grow your business through an expanding network of people. We will cover this next week.

4. Getting the Referral. The success of your business depends on keeping your current customers satisfied while at the same time gaining new customers. The key to getting new customers is getting the referral. We will discuss a technique for this and also cover the ins and outs of working with people in such a way that they help you find others to grow your business—and gladly refer you! We will cover this in two weeks.

Principles of Influence

When I think about the basic principles of influence, I think of three main elements. These are the very core elements that give people the ability to influence others.

Do you want to expand your influence and become a leader? Of course you do. There are many benefits to doing so—you can have better relationships, you can make more money, and you can make a difference in the lives of others. That’s fun!

When you apply these principles to your life you will see yourself become a better and more highly skilled person, and that will cause you to see your influence in your network grow exponentially. So let’s take a look.

Three Basic Principles of Influence

Principle One: Character does indeed count.
I always find it interesting when there is a discussion on whether or not character matters in leadership. Of course it does! You simply cannot become a person of long-term influence if you lack good character.

Of course, the obvious questions are “What is character?” “What does it consist of?” and “What are people looking for in character?”

Character is an issue of trust. People want to be able to trust you. They need to know that what you say is true. They need to know that when you say you will do something, you will.

What makes people trust others? Honesty. Do you tell the truth? Always? If you do, you will greatly enhance your ability to influence. People will listen when you speak. They will know that what they hear is what they get.

Honesty is being the same personally and professionally. You don’t act one way in one situation and another way in a different situation. When people see you tell a “little white lie” in one situation, it is only natural that they will wonder if you are eventually going to tell them a “little white lie” as well.

If you want to influence others, first and foremost make sure that you are a person of character and integrity. This is a central issue of influence.

Principle Two: To influence, you must be great at what you do.
The last in the class is not usually the influencer, right? Right! Who is usually the influencer? The first in the class. People look up to those who produce the best results. People want to see that those they listen to have already achieved a certain level of success. So if you want to influence, develop a reputation for excellence. By continually sharpening your skills and knowledge, by improving your relationships and your finances, you will more easily position yourself to be an influencer in the lives of others.

Principle Three: Influence is based on helping others.
One of the most influential quotes in the arena of personal and professional development in the past 50 years has been my friend Zig Ziglar’s quote about how you can achieve anything you want in life if you will help many others achieve what they want out of life. It has been so influential because of its innate truth.

It reminds me of Jesus’ words, “Whoever wants to become the greatest among you must become the servant of all.”

You see, true influence is about serving and helping others. Do you want to be the “go to” man or woman in your network? Then be the best helper or servant in the group. Do you want to be connected like no one else? Then be the person whose name comes to mind when people ask themselves, “Who could help me with this?” If your name pops into their mind, that is influence! Why? Because they will call you and you will get the opportunity to influence. And if you can deliver the goods, your reputation will grow even more!

Let’s make some simple applications of these principles.

You want to be a person of influence in your network, right? Good. Let’s take a group of 50 people you know. Who will rise to the top and become the influencers? Will you? Who will be listened to most closely when they speak? Who will move the group when they share their opinion? It will be those who combine the three elements above in the most integrated way. If you are a person who is known to have high character, a reputation for excellence, and who helps others, then you will be in a strong position of influence.

Think about those things this week. Think about where you are in relation to each of these principles. Grow in each and you will position yourself nicely in your network!

Until next week, let’s do something remarkable!

-Nick James

Supplemental Notes

One of the most important things you need in order to develop a large network is a contact list.

Expanding Your Contact List
The first thing to keep in mind is that you have to have a contact list (some refer to this as their Rolodex). Now, we know there are many different ways to keep information in this day and age, including smart phones and other electronic devices. But the basic principle is that you need to have something in which you can keep—and easily access—information about the people in your network. So, whether you prefer paper or electronic versions, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you have one! If you don’t, go get one! If you do, let’s move to point No. 2.

Decide to take the time to build your contact list. You will have to invest time entering data and honing the entries. This may take a little time each week or so, but if you are doing it right, it will be well worth the effort.

The collection. To build your contact list you have to be aware that everywhere you go is a collection opportunity. As you talk to someone, determine whether or not this is a person you will want or need in your network. In the old days of paper only, you had to use more discretion. Now with smart phones you can keep tens of thousands of names in one handheld unit. So, if you are using paper, you will need to enter the information by hand. This means you need to get their business card. Most people will offer it to you, but if they don’t and you want it there is only one way to get it—ask!

Now, for those big networking opportunities when business cards are flowing freely: When you are talking to someone and they offer you their card, make the decision whether or not you want to put this person in your network. If so, take a look at the card and make a note on it if that would be helpful. Then stick the card into your right pocket. When you come across someone you know is not a person who will end up in your network, and they offer you their card, stick that card in your left pocket. Women can follow a similar system using their purse, etc. Then, when you leave the meeting with 40 or 50 business cards, you will have an automatic filtering process in place. The right people to keep in your network are found in your right pocket. The left pocket cards go into the circular file. Pretty good system!

If you are using electronic forms, then this process is relatively easy today. Most smart phones have a function wherein you can transfer or text your information from one phone to another. That is about as easy as it gets!

The entry. As mentioned above, you will need to spend some time entering the information. The key is to focus on two things:

1. Put in the right information.
2. Develop a built-in process of follow-up.

Put in the right information. Below is a modified version of the Mackay 66—a tool that our friend Harvey Mackay developed for his own use. We have shortened it to only the very basic elements that everyone should have.

The Modified Mackay 66

Name:
Company name:
Address:
Home address:
Business Phone:
Home Phone:
Email and website:
Birthday:
College attended/Year graduated/Degrees:
Sports played?
Military service? What branch? How long?
Spouse’s name and occupation:
Anniversary:
Children, if any, names/ages:
Previous employment:
Professional/trade associations they belong to:
What do you feel is his/her long-range business objective?
What do you feel is his/her immediate business objective?
What do you think is of greatest concern to the customer at this time—the welfare of the company or his/her own personal welfare?
Does the customer think of the present or the future?
Clubs, fraternal associations or service clubs (Rotary, Kiwanis, etc.)
Politically active? Party:
Active in community? How?
On what subjects (outside of business) does the customer have strong feelings?
Favorite places for lunch and dinner:
Hobbies and recreational interests:
Spectator sports interest:
Conversational interests:
What adjectives would you use to describe the customer?
What do you feel is the customer’s long-range, personal objective?
What do you feel is the customer’s immediate personal goal?

As you can see, if you can keep this kind of information available to you on the people in your network, you will be way ahead of the game!

Develop a built-in process of follow up. So, when you look at the information above, what areas do you see that would be built-in reasons to connect with those in your network? Here are just a few: Positive news in the paper on their company, birthday, anniversary, their favorite sports teams, or positive news on any associations or clubs they are active in. Anytime you can contact them in regard to positive happenings, it reminds them that you are thinking of them and it also associates you with that positive event. At the very least, be sure to remember birthdays and anniversaries! Drop them a note or make a quick phone call to congratulate them and let them know that you noticed!

The important idea to remember is to regularly connect with the people in your network. Keep your name, face, and voice in front of them, help them achieve their goals, and basically be there for them, and they will be there for you!

Developing The Attitude For Networking

Part One—Developing the Attitude for Networking

We have some terrific stuff for you on networking and referrals this month. Here is what we will be covering:

1. Developing the Attitude for Networking (and life). The old saying is true that your attitude determines your altitude. You will only go as far as your attitude will carry you. We will look at the kind of attitudes that will enable you to successfully expand your network and make your life all that it can be. There are certain attitudes you must have toward circumstances and those that you must have toward yourself and others. Your attitude also governs the process of what takes place when you are networking. We will take a look at the world of attitude in this week’s edition.

2. Becoming a Person of Influence. The ability to attract and influence others is paramount to being a successful networker. We will cover the principles of influence and what motivates others to follow your lead, which, in turn, builds your network. We will also discuss how to expand your contact list with people who want to go with you to greater heights. This will all be covered next week.

3. Working your Network. It takes a certain skill to search for and gain new referrals in order to expand your business. We will show you how to develop your network and grow your business—what to do before the meeting, during the meeting and after the meeting, all designed to help you grow your business through an expanding network of people. We will cover this in two weeks.

4. Getting the Referral. The success of your business depends on keeping your current customers satisfied while at the same time gaining new customers. The key to getting new customers is getting the referral. We will discuss a technique for this and also cover the ins and outs of working with people in such a way that they help you find others to grow your business—and gladly refer you! We will cover this in three weeks.

Get ready, because this month is going to be great. If you follow the ideas put forth in the following weeks, you will begin to see your network expand and your business flourish!

Developing the Attitude for Networking
When we talk about developing an attitude for networking, we need to break it up into a few areas: First, you have a general attitude about life and work. Second, you have an attitude about circumstances. Third, you have an attitude about yourself and others. And fourth, you have an attitude toward the process.

In every area, your attitude will be a significant factor in how successful you become in your networking endeavors. Just as in life, your attitude determines so much. If you have a bad attitude, it will affect how well you work with others and how you perform. So it is imperative that you consistently work on maintaining a positive attitude that will carry you on to success—not only in developing your network, but, more important, in developing your life!

Let’s take a look at the attitudes that will help make you a successful networker.

1. Your attitude about life and work. There are two basic attitudes that determine how we experience life: “Life is good” and “Life can get better.”

These are basically the tenets of optimism. Let’s take a look at each.

“Life is good.” It seems as though many people like to talk about how bad things are. They are constantly focusing on what they don’t have. But what would happen if you decided to focus on what you do have? Yes, there are going to be things that happen that you could point to and say, “See, life is bad.” But there will always be things you can point to that will enable you to say, “Life is good.” In fact, the very idea that you are alive to say it is proof that life is good! Like the old saying goes, “Every day above ground is a good one.” Think about life this way: If you are here to live, then you can certainly find a reason to enjoy it.

“Life can get better.” No matter where you are in life, it can get better. Yes, it can get worse, too, depending on what you choose. No matter where you are financially, it can get better. No matter how successful your business is, it can get better. No matter what kind of relationships you have, they can get better.

Think about these two attitudes, and, more important, embrace them. They will saturate your life with good things, if you will let them emanate from deep within you. They will shape your destiny. They will make you a better person. They will enhance every area of your life and work. They will make you a positive influence around people, and that will help you be a better networker.

2. Your attitude about circumstances. Circumstances come and go. The Bible says, “God causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” In other words, good and bad things happen to everybody. These “things,” or circumstances, don’t matter. What does matter is what our attitude is in the middle of the circumstances.

Here is the best attitude to have in any circumstance you find yourself in: “I can learn from this and use it to become even more successful!” If something good happens to you, then take advantage of it. If circumstances are less than what you would like them to be, decide to find out what you can learn from the circumstances. If you maintain a positive attitude about your circumstances, you will always be a step closer to achieving your goals.

3. Your attitude about yourself. The attitude that you maintain about yourself is probably the single most influential factor in your pursuit of success. What you believe about yourself and your possibilities almost inevitably comes true, no matter what it is.

Here are the best attitudes to have about yourself to guarantee success as a person—and as a networker.

“I am a person of value.” If you believe that you are a person of value—and you are—then you will be a person who provides value to others. What you believe about yourself and what you have to offer is exactly what you will give to others. Remind yourself frequently that you are a person of innate value and worth. Don’t be afraid of being an egomaniac. For most people, that isn’t the problem. You have a lot going for you and a lot to offer others. Never forget that.

“I determine my future.” You cannot wait around for someone else to make it happen for you. You alone set your course and determine what you will strive to achieve and what you will become. If you don’t decide to succeed, you won’t. If you don’t decide to work hard, you won’t achieve your dreams. If you wait for others to move you along, you will wait your life away. Remind yourself that you determine your future, and then do it each day.

“I can make my dreams happen.” If you do not believe that your dreams are possible, they won’t be. You are the key to whether or not your dreams come true. If you believe that you can achieve your dreams, you will most assuredly achieve them. If you think that they are just pie in the sky, then you will most likely never experience the thrill of living your dreams.

4. Your attitude about others. Your attitude about others comes shining through. In everything you do and in everything you say, it is easy to determine what you think about other people, and that will have a huge effect on how successful you become. Success requires interacting with other people. There is no such thing as a self-made man or woman.

Here are some attitudes that will make you successful with others.

“I am here to serve.” Ultimately, the key to success is to have an attitude of service. The more people you help, the greater your impact will be and the greater your income will be. We should never think of others as though they are simply here to fulfill our wishes. Instead, we are here to help them, and in doing so, we will achieve greater success. This is true in all areas of life, including networking.

“I have a responsibility to treat others as I would want to be treated.” The golden rule states: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” When we treat people poorly, we not only break the laws of humanity, but it is also bad business! Some people just don’t understand that! No matter what situation we are in, including our business situations, we should maintain the attitude of treating the other person in exactly the same manner we would like to be treated. This will go a long way toward ensuring a successful life and a successful business.

“I need others in order to be successful.” Although we each determine our own future, that does not mean that we do not need others. We choose our routes, but those routes always include other people. We need other people. We need them for ideas. We need them for help. We need them as customers. We need other people at every stage of life and work.

5. Your attitude about the networking process. How you act and what you believe in the middle of the process will determine to a great degree how the process will end. A good attitude about the process will help you see a positive outcome. Here are some attitudes to maintain throughout the networking process.

“No matter what happens I will remain positive.” If you still have this attitude, the outcome doesn’t matter. This puts you in a position of strength as you go about the process.

“The networking process makes me better.” We learn in the middle of it. We grow there. We get better, and eventually we will get to the point where we are “firing on all cylinders,” meeting new people, making new customers and closing all the deals we can, and that is great!

“Both parties should win.” This is Covey’s principle of a win-win. If one party loses, then both parties ultimately lose. If you “win” in the process and the other loses, do you think that customer will come back? No way. What does that mean? You lose, too. If you win and your customer loses, then your career will be a parade of one-time deals—and that is a pace that is hard to keep up. Your network should be filled with happy people who know they will win when they do business with you.

Remember, your attitude is so important. It is central to who you are, what you will become and what you will achieve. In the next few weeks, we will get specific on the networking process, but this week it is important to focus on the attitudes that govern our lives. In doing so, we will set ourselves up to become the best networkers we possibly can.

Until next week, let’s do something remarkable!

Nick James

Supplemental Notes

There are lots of things in this life that we don’t get to choose. On the other hand, there are lots of things in this life that we do get to choose. Our attitude is one of them. Nobody else lives inside our brain. Nobody else controls what or how we think. It is up to us, moment by moment, to choose what our attitude is. It is up to us to determine how we will look at and perceive the world around us. It is up to us to decide how we will react to the world around us.

Our advice? Choose a positive, optimistic attitude! Here are some thoughts on choosing your attitude.

We cannot choose our circumstances. For the most part, this is true. We cannot control if someone around us gets ill. We cannot control how another person treats us. We cannot control the global economy. We cannot control the direction our society as a whole will go. For some, this may seem scary, but it can be freeing. We don’t have to control our circumstances—running the whole world would be a big responsibility. It is good to know that we are not in charge of, or in control of, all of our circumstances. This dose of reality frees us to focus on what we can control: our attitude.

We can choose our attitudes. That’s right. We get to choose what our attitudes are for every situation. The definition of attitude is “the feeling or opinion about something or someone, or a way of behaving that follows from this.” We choose how we feel about others and situations. We choose our opinion about people and situations. We choose the way we will behave in relation to other people and circumstances. We choose it. It doesn’t have to be bad, and it doesn’t have to be anything but what we want it to be. We have the option.

The choice of a right attitude will significantly determine all future circumstances. Choosing to have the right attitude will change the world around you. This isn’t any sort of magic; it is just how the world works. Now, don’t get us wrong, it won’t cure everything and turn your world into a virtual Shangri-La, but it will significantly improve the world you live in. For example, let’s say that every day you go to work and gripe about life and work from the moment you get there until the moment you leave. Will others want to be around you? Will others ask your opinion? Will others like you? Will others ask you to join them for lunch? Probably not! But what if you come to work every day and you are the positive optimist of the crowd? Will everybody love you? No, but significantly more people will than if you are the office pessimist! Your choice of attitude will determine what kind of circumstances you get!

Ultimately, what kind of attitude we have is our choice. Nobody else can force you to have a bad attitude. Nobody else can force you to have a good attitude. It is simply a choice you make.

So, what kinds of attitudes make a difference? Here are five attitudes that will make you soar:

1. “I can.” This is the most basic of all attitudes. We simply must choose to believe that we can. Telling yourself that you can’t, will, in effect, make it so that you can’t. But telling yourself that you can, will, in effect, enable you to achieve much more. Even if you actually only achieve 50 percent of what you tell yourself you can achieve, you will achieve at least that much more than if you told yourself you couldn’t.

2. “I will be generous.” Another attitude that will make you soar is being a generous person. The attitude (and discipline) of generosity increases your likelihood of success for two main reasons: One, you are happier about yourself, and that puts you in a state of mind that is prepared for successful living. Two, people pay back people who are generous. Generous people receive in kind, and being generous will raise you to levels yet unseen.

3. “I will make a difference in the lives of those around me.” People who soar are generally people who have the attitude of helping other people. Yes, they may do it for monetary gain, but they are people-focused. They want to change the way people live and make life better. They are difference makers all around.

4. “I am not easily angered.” Whether or not we get angry is a choice of attitude. We determine whether or not we will be angry. Often someone who is struggling with achieving something comes off as an angry person. They have held onto an attitude that is angry at its root. When we take on an attitude that raises the bar on what makes us angry, we are positioning ourselves to be in a state of mind that is better able to live and work in such a way as to achieve success.

5. “I will look for the good in every situation.” This is basic optimism. Successful people who soar through life are those who are optimistic. They see the good, think the best and strive for greatness, believing all the while that they will achieve it because it is possible!

Where are you with your attitude? Do you have a good one? Why not sit down and give it some serious thought? Then, no matter where you find yourself, decide to take your attitude to the next level! If you have a bad attitude, decide to improve upon it by a couple of levels! If you have a good attitude, take it to the “great” level!

Your attitude is your choice. Choose wisely.