October 8th, 2013
YouTube isn’t just a platform for sharing videos, it’s also one of the most popular search engines on the web–second only to Google. And YouTube is the third most popular website in the world, with over a billion unique visitors each month according to the company. Using YouTube for your business has the potential to energize your current customers, and attract new ones.
Still think YouTube is just for cat videos and the like? Well, if you’re a business selling to another business you might want to take another look; 92 percent of B2B customers watch online video and 43 percent of B2B customers watch online video when researching products and services for their business, with 54 percent of these watching on YouTube. Here are a few ways you can harness the potential of video for your business.
Stand Out from the Crowd
Two-thirds of B2B customers consider three or more companies when purchasing and over half don’t know which company to purchase from according to information from the recent Google Think B2B Conference. What can sway their decision? A brand’s reputation was shown to be highly influential in how B2B customers decide.
We know that 22 million B2B customers watch YouTube videos every month, so how can you tell your story and express your brand in a compelling way to engage directly with your customers? Look at Cisco, a global provider of networking systems from routers to webinar software. They’ve developed a YouTube channel full of videos and tutorials to help prospective customers learn everything they want to know about network solutions. When you think routers you don’t think,”oh, I’d love to watch some videos about that!” but Cisco presents their content in a way that hooks you from the get-go including their headline, “Welcome to the future-ready network.”
At the core of good content marketing is providing utility to your prospects and customers and a great way to do this is using video. It’s as easy as producing simple how-tos and showing how to solve common problems (just look at the Vine videos Lowes did recently full of simple six second home improvement tips). You can also talk about cool new tools and apps that will make your customers lives easier. At my e-mail marketing company, VerticalResponse, we recently began a once a week video series called What’s New Weekly. Our social media manager and a weekly guest each pick a cool tool or app they want to share with our customers and record a quick video. We publish the video on our blog, share the link on our social media channels, and send out an email with a link to the video to our subscriber base. And slowly, we’re building our YouTube subscribers from a measly five when we started to over 200 in a few short weeks. We still have a long way to go, but we’re laying the bricks. You can do the same thing with a fairly simple set up. The VR team got everything they needed from Amazon for less than $150 (not including the camera).
We wouldn’t be talking B2B if we didn’t talk about generating leads, and you can do plenty of that with videos and YouTube. Here’s the trick: make sure that with every video you produce that you include a call to action and an URL of a landing page or page back to your website where folks can learn more, sign up, register for a demo, etc. YouTube also offers overlay ads that you can use if you’re a Google Adwords advertiser. According to YouTube, “The overlay will appear as soon as the video begins to play and can be closed by the user. You can use the overlay to share more information about the content of your video or to raise interest in your channel, other videos, or additional websites. When users click on the overlay, they are directed to your external website as specified in the overlay’s destination URL.”
By: Janine Popick
October 3rd, 2013
Do you ever wake up in the morning and ask yourself: “Am I in the right job?” “At the right company?” “On the right career path?” “Doing what I am supposed to be doing with my life?” If so, you are not alone.
After almost a decade of research, Tempe, Ariz, based “purpose” firm Ignite reports that more than 95% of workers in the U.S. are in the wrong roles. In another study by the company, 1,916 randomly selected employees between the ages of 23 and 28 were asked if they were interested in changing jobs, and 1,571 said yes. A recent Gallup study concluded that 71% of American workers are not engaged at their jobs. And Deloitte’s Shift Index survey indicates that 80% of workers don’t like their jobs.
[More from Forbes: 10 Things You Should Never Ask About In A Job Interview]
Considering that the average American works 8.8 hours every day, not many people are jumping out of bed these days.
So why can’t people find jobs they love?
“Work hard, my boy, and you will be successful” was my grandfather’s childhood advice to me. Even though he has been dead for over a decade, I can still hear his words ringing in my head. You may have heard the same from your grandparents or parents. However, they were all only partially right.
While long hours may be required, successful people spend their time on the right things and in the right roles. When all these factors are aligned, most of these people can’t even tell you how hard or long they “work.” For them it is not a question of how many hours they put in during a week or work/life balance, but about doing what they love as much as possible.
In Larry Smith’s video Why you will fail to have a great career he mocks the idea that hard work is a noble goal in itself: “You want to work really, really, really hard? You know what? You will succeed…the world will give you the opportunity to work really, really, really hard.”
When searching for a life partner, people often create fantasies around someone they are attracted to. This is all part of a human tendency to romanticize the world – something that usually ends badly when each sees the other for who they really are. A consultant I worked with for many years would say, “When couples break-up arguing that their partner does not understand them, the exact opposite is true: They understand them – they simply do not like them.” And the same human tendency towards fantasy partners that helps explain the 50% divorce rate for first marriages in the U.S. also goes a long way toward telling us why American workers have an almost total lack of job happiness.
When people are looking for jobs, they scan the web for “attractive” companies that grab their immediate attention. They look at a company’s career page for openings, read the job descriptions posted, and then redraft their resume and pitch to fit the role they think they want. They recreate themselves to another’s specifications. From the outside, we can easily see how this could end badly. The company is pitching its most attractive side – whether real or perceived – and the candidate is tailoring who he or she is to meet the needs of the company. Six months down the road both sides are unhappy. Some of the relationships limp along for years producing minimal value; others end abruptly, causing disruption and financial strain for both parties.
Most people will tell you that the secret to career happiness and success is finding what you are passionate about and doing it. However, the Founder and Chief Ignite Officer of Ignite, Tom McDermott believes that this thinking is flawed. He asserts that passion is only part of the equation. For example, like many American Idol contestants you maybe passionate about music but not a gifted singer. Or a talented teacher but not teaching something you are passionate about.
[More from Forbes: The 25 Best Places to Work]
Tom believes the real game-changer is our natural child-like curiosity – without which a person will not find true alignment, happiness, and success in life. He argues that most people never go far enough in exploring and questioning what they are profoundly curious about. For Tom, finding a job that you love requires doing something you are “passionately curious” about and born to do.
To illustrate this principle, you may be passionate about sprinting but not have the natural ability to be a gold medalist in the 100-meter dash. You may really be curious about how humans can move faster and be better placed as a sports science researcher, coach, or perhaps an aerodynamics engineer. Without asking the right questions, your passion may drive you to sprint in the wrong direction in life – investing in a running coach, the best shoes, and having hopes to achieve a world record when your natural strengths and curiosity don’t align with that goal/passion. According to Tom, you need to ask why you enjoy sprinting. What about it? If your talent, strengths, passion, and curiosity are in sync, you may find yourself setting records in the 100-meter – or inventing the Hyperloop train that carries people at speeds up to 800 miles an hour.
A child fascinated with glasses may not be destined to be the next great eyewear designer but may be curious about how people can see further. She could become the inventor of the world’s most powerful telescope, discovering unknown planets. Without asking the right questions, a life can easily be wasted on a wrong path and deprive the world of important advances and innovations…or a world record in the 100-metre dash!
Money hasn’t been around that long in the scheme of human existence, but it has quickly become the ultimate distraction. In fact, the first question most job seekers ask is “How much does the position pay?” The answer usually determines if things move forward.
[More from Forbes: Seven Ways to Perfect Your Résumé]
When I first met Tom McDermott of Ignite he asked me: “If money were not an issue, what would you do in life?” This is a great theoretical question to probe your desires. On the other hand, most of us can’t eliminate money from the question of where and why we work.
Dr. Paula Caligiuri provides one answer to this quandary in her book Get a Life, Not a Job: Do What You Love and Let Your Talents Work For You. Caligiuri suggests that you actively seek multiple streams of income to achieve the freedom to follow what you love and not be financially beholden to a job you don’t want. This can be in the form of a home-based business, speaking on your topics of expertise, teaching others about something you love, or perhaps investing.
The Right Match
In 2000 the online dating site eHarmony was launched with the tag line “Beat the odds, Bet on Love with eHarmony.” It pioneered a new scientific approach to matching couples that relied on pre-assessments to gain a deep understanding of its clients and compatibilities before any pictures or profiles were shared. It was a concept that changed relationship matching forever and improved chances of successful dating, marriage, and fulfilled long-term partnerships.
In such a process there is no gaming the system – no imagined personas – because neither side knows of the other until a personal match is made. This same concept will ultimately revolutionize job search and placement for the next generation workforce that is looking for purpose over “work.”
Arizona based Y Scouts is the only recruitment firm I am aware of that operates a model similar to eHarmony’s, but they currently only handle executive searches. However, the dating site is contemplating offering a non-executive job search option soon. Until then, job seekers will need to be proactive and create their own process. To do this, you should have the answers to the following questions prior to starting your search and stay true to them when you are looking to apply to jobs. If you are working with a recruitment agency, share your questions and answers with them before they introduce roles to you. Ask them to only connect you to organizations and jobs that are a clear fit.
—What job would I be excited to share with others?
—What would an organization do that would make me excited to share with others?
—What gets me out of bed in the morning?
—If money weren’t an issue, what would I do?
—What do I do best?
—What am I most passionate about?
—What am I most curious about?
—What have I most enjoyed doing throughout my life and why?
If you are having problems answering any of these questions, below are a few resources to help.
Dr. Paula Caligiuri’s book Get a Life, Not a Job: Do What You Love and Let Your Talents Work For You has excellent personal discovery exercises throughout.
Clifton StrengthsFinder tool will assist you in discovering what you do best.
Ignite’s on-line course will help you discover your passionate curiosity and bring your purpose to light. The company also offers private purpose coaching.
Y Scouts’ website is a good resource to help you discover your “Why?” and also has a free purpose-based Talent Community that anyone can join.
By : Louis Efron
October 1st, 2013
Have you ever found yourself wondering: “Is it just my imagination or is this interviewer trying to get under my skin?”
The questions all seem a little rude. The tone is sharp and overly critical. Sure, a job interview is nerve-wracking by nature. And of course you’re being judged – that’s a given. But this just feels like overkill.
You know what they say: Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you. Some interviewers are intentionally trying to freak you out.
It’s actually a real interview technique: Pile on the pressure and see how the candidate responds – sometimes called a stress test. And while it may feel like the interviewer is just a jerk who likes to make people squirm, there’s more in it than that. The technique has a very specific purpose and you, as the interviewee, should respond in an equally purposeful way. Here’s what you need to know.
First, it’s not just you. If you feel intimidated, overwhelmed or even on the verge of tears, you’re normal. The interviewer is not out to get you; he’s out to get every candidate. He’s intentionally trying to elicit a reaction. The interviewer wants to see how candidates handle themselves in these kinds of high-intensity situations.
The kinds of questions you’re likely to encounter are designed to put you on edge. For example:
–Why weren’t you promoted in your last job?
–Why haven’t you accomplished more in your career?
–Why didn’t you go to a better college?
–What makes you think you can survive here?
Those questions feel a little “in your face” don’t they? Well, that’s the point. The interviewer is watching your reaction: your body language, facial expressions, behavior and communication. Do you go speechless? Do you stutter? Do you get angry? Do you shift and fidget and show your discomfort?
To handle stress interview questions, your main goal is to stay calm. Don’t take the bait. As best you can, shorten and simplify your answers. Don’t be afraid of repeating yourself – especially if the same question is asked repeatedly in different ways. And don’t be afraid of standing up for what you know is right. You were invited to the interview for a reason, so don’t let them push you around or make you question your capabilities.
Interviewer: “Wow. You really haven’t done much in your career. Why is that?”
You: “Actually, I respectfully disagree. I’m quite proud of my professional accomplishments, particularly the work I did on project XYZ…”
When it comes to a stress test, the answer itself typically doesn’t matter as much as your unspoken response. So keep your cool, smile and stay strong. Speak slowly and intentionally. It’s perfectly fine to pause and take a breath when needed.
A sense of humor can be your best ally in a situation like this. It’s even perfectly OK to acknowledge what’s going on in a lighthearted way by saying something like: “If you’re trying to rattle me, it’s not going to work.”
Most people who encounter stress interviews are well aware of the high-pressure nature of their profession, so it’s not altogether surprising. It’s most common in interviews for sales jobs and other roles where there is a high level of stress to meet quotas or deadlines. Of course, if you’re not prepared for a high-stress interview and it happens, you may want to consider what this says about the company and the role you’ll be in should you take the job. If it upsets you deeply, it might not be the right position or environment for you.
Stress test interviews aren’t easy. But understanding what’s going on makes them much easier to handle. It’s not personal; it’s business. Make sure your reaction reflects that – stay professional and poised
Chrissy Scivicque, the founder of EatYourCareer.com, believes work can be a nourishing life experience. As a career coach, corporate trainer, and public speaker, she helps professionals of all levels unlock their true potential and discover long-lasting career fulfillment.
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deadkenny • 11 days ago
Why didn’t you go to a better college ? Well…..what’s WRONG with the school I attended? ………What makes you think you can survive here ? Well ……generally speaking , if YOU’VE managed to thrive here , I figure I’ll be just fine . ?…….Why haven’t you accomplished more in your career ? Well …..sometimes it’s hard to overcome the drag from uncooperative teammates , that’s why I came to interview here . And on a personal note , I’d Like to ask you if you think YOU’VE accomplished as much as you should have ? It’s obvious that you’re not as smart as you think you are because you’re still working for a living ………That was the end of my interview ……I then went in business for myself .
Adam Smith, Jr. • 11 days ago
What makes you think that I won’t reach over your desk and bludgeon you with a desk lamp until you are crying for your mommy?
Michael • 11 days ago
Meh. There are a bunch of #$%$s in the world. You will come across one from time to time. Makes sense that your prospective employer would want to know how you’d react to one. Is an interviewer who takes this approach being an #$%$? Yes. That’s the point.
JEM • 10 days ago
Well, if you become aware that this is a stress interview, you have to ask yourself if the benefits of the job merit this much stress. If yes, continue; if no, politely thank the interviewer, and say “I’ll be in touch.”
Tb@G!NgHello • 11 days ago
HR peeps are legends in their own minds! Everyone laughs behind your back just like you fear they do!
Willie Fistergash • 9 days ago
A hiring manager once made a smart#$%$ stress-type remark in an interview to my ex-wife and really upset her (of course that didn’t take much…). A few years later, his company went BK and he was squirming for a job from her. She crucified him for hours. No, he didn’t get the job. It turns out personal relationships are important.
John • 10 days ago
Someone does this to me, I just quietly get up and leave.
indy lady • 5 days ago
Bring a poodle with you to do tricks… You will have a better chance at getting the job!
Joe • 8 days ago
A few shots before the interview would put me in the correct frame of mind to answer these questions…
Keil • 6 days ago
There are jobs and organizations where a high-stress interview is the only reasonable way to be sure that the candidate can actually perform under realistic conditions. Police officer, firefighter, soldier … Depending on what the job entails, you’ll do the candidate and the organization alike a disservice if you DON’T comprehensively evaluate the candidate’s ability to perform under pressure. I have examples of these techniques listed over on my columns at Business Technology.
That being said, there’s no reason at all to be a jerk in an interview. I like running full-immersion scenarios during interview that can be quite stressful. Immediately after the interview is concluded, though, I have the actors de-brief the applicants. They explain what their role was during the scene, discuss the applicants’ strengths and weaknesses, and give them positive, encouraging feedback on how to improve their performance. The interview should (I believe) be a meaningful and productive two-way exchange, not a hollow farce.
Ms Scivicque made an excellent point when she advised the reader to *recognize* that the stress-inducing attitude is part of the evaluation, and to treat it as such. Once you realize how the game is played, you can at least try to play to win.
By Chrissy Scivicque
September 26th, 2013
A few months ago I was talking to a 31-year-old entrepreneur, Aalap Shah, who is a co-founder of SoMe, a social media consulting company in Chicago. I have known him for a couple of years now, and this time he didn’t seem to be his usual chipper self.
He confessed that he was wearing himself out trying to balance the needs of his young family with those of his young business. It was so bad that he was actually thinking that maybe he should get a job. A job! I slapped him and told him to get a hold of himself. All right: no, I didn’t — but he was on the entrepreneurial window ledge, and I had to talk him down.
Before I go any further, I have to say that I do not believe in the oft-quoted mantra, “never, never, never quit.” I think there are times when you should quit; for example, if you finally figure out that your business is not going to work, or that it is too demanding, or that you just aren’t happy. Entrepreneurship is not for everyone.
As a matter of fact, it is probably a good choice for relatively few. As it happens, I know Mr. Shah well enough to know that he is among those few. I know his talents and his track record. I also know that there have been some underlying issues wearing him down.
I recognized this for what it was, a form of battle fatigue. But after five minutes discussing what his life would be like if he were to go back to the large consulting firm where he used to work and another five minutes figuring out some things he could do to lessen his load, he seemed to relax. He knows he is too crazy to work for anyone else and just crazy enough to be a successful entrepreneur.
When I started thinking about it, I realized that I have similar conversations several times a year with entrepreneurs. Occasionally, I have these conversations with myself. I have been through many storms, have made pretty much every mistake in the book, have written a book, and have come up with four thoughts that can help entrepreneurs maintain their balance — or at least keep them from thinking about getting a job. Not that there is anything wrong with getting a job. That would be a problem only if everyone did it. The world needs entrepreneurs. So here are the things I like to tell entrepreneurs (and sometimes myself) when things aren’t going well.
You are not normal. Where you see opportunity, other people see too much competition or no market. (Sometimes they are right.) Where you see no problem signing away your life — on a lease or a bank loan — other people see only risk and danger. (Sometimes they are right.) When you chase your big deal with not much more than raw ambition and the hunger to succeed, other people may think you are in over your head. (Sometimes they are right.) Thankfully, they are often wrong.
It doesn’t help to torture yourself. For years and years, I would make mistakes — hiring the wrong person, spending money on the wrong advertising, pricing a bid wrong and either losing the bid or getting the job and losing money on it, and a hundred other things. Eventually, I would figure it out and learn something valuable from the experience. After doing this a few thousand times, I have actually become conditioned to not look back. I accept that I will continue to make mistakes and that that is O.K., as long as I do many more things right. I have forgiven myself. Forgive yourself. Move on.
It does help to maintain perspective. Nobody ever said business was easy. But it should become easier as you go along. There are no pity parties in entrepreneurship. At least there shouldn’t be. Deal with it. Fix it. Fire it. Sell it. Ignore it. Do whatever you have to do to move forward. Many people in this world have bigger problems than you and I do. Entrepreneurship is an honor and privilege of living in this country. If you have the brains and the ability and the means to start a business, you are one of the lucky minority who either make money on their own terms, or go broke trying! Hallelujah! God bless America.
Listen to that little voice in your head that says, ‘Get lost!’ I actually prefer a stronger version — when the bank jerks you around, when an employee quits without giving notice, when a prospective customer chooses someone else, when it becomes clear that the universe is not joining you on your mission. It’s generally best to keep this voice in your head, but letting it speak can relieve tension and remind you that you are in control. You can find a better bank. You can find a better employee. You can find a better customer. You are invincible. You have to be: there are people counting on you. You will not be beaten. Like Rocky when he looked up at Mickey and said, “I ain’t going down no more.” You need to have tenacity, resolve and determination. But you also have to do things right. Are you a force to be reckoned with, or a farce to be reckoned with? Don’t ask me. Ask your customers and employees, and maybe your accountant.
As for Mr. Shah, he has just landed two Fortune 500 accounts, and is actually getting home on time, at least some of the time.
By Jay Goltz
September 24th, 2013
It can be challenging for Willan Johnson to know how many people to employ at his pool-cleaning business, VivoPools, in Los Angeles, for a number of reasons.
First, he needs more people in the warmer months. He also has to consider where his jobs are and how long it will take his workers to drive from one job to another. Some jobs take longer than others, because vacuuming and scrubbing take more time than chemical treatments. Plus, he said, “Everyone wants their residential pool service on Friday.”
Of course, like most business owners, Mr. Johnson always wants to avoid having too many people and not enough work.
“Determining when and how many employees to hire is a bit tricky for our business as the demand for services varies based on account growth, seasonality, geography of homeowner addresses and customer requests,” said Mr. Johnson, who started the company four years ago.
Many small-business owners remain skittish about hiring. The National Federation of Independent Business reported that nearly 80 percent of small, private companies made no hiring changes in July and 12 percent let workers go.
Especially after the recession, many owners have been reluctant to spend the money to hire workers, especially if there’s a chance demand will recede and the workers will have to be laid off. The on-again, off-again recovery hasn’t helped. And with small businesses representing 49.2 percent of private sector employment, according to the Small Business Administration, this reluctance has inevitably had an impact on unemployment rates.
Some owners have turned to paying overtime, which makes it easier to scale back if demand slips. The downside is that it can be expensive and it can lead to an overworked staff.
For example, the work force at Narragansett Creamery in Providence, R.I., has grown slowly even as more customers are drawn to the company’s homemade yogurt and cheeses, said Mark Federico, the owner. Started in 2007, the company has grown to a staff of 30.
“We found that if we worked too many hours for too long a period of time, people get burned out,” Mr. Federico said. “People need days off. It’s not scientific, and we’re not right all the time.”
Based on the experiences of owners like Mr. Johnson and Mr. Federico, this small-business guide looks how owners determine when it’s time to hire.
Mr. Johnson said he ran his employment numbers weekly, as clients were added and lost, to ensure he had enough people. He uses a spreadsheet to help him decide when the company can support the wages of new employees.
He keeps careful count of the number of pools the company cleans and the hours required for each job. He separates residential jobs, which typically require 30 minutes of time, from those at commercial pools, which can take two hours.
To calculate the required number of employees, Mr. Johnson estimates the number of hours required to clean all client pools and divides that by a standard 40-hour workweek. When the result is greater than the number of employees on staff, he makes a new hire.
THE PAYROLL PERCENTAGE
Earlier this year, when there was a surge in demand for swimming lessons at SwimLabs, in Highlands Ranch, Colo., Michael Mann was taken by surprise. Suddenly, the 15 full-time employees he keeps during the off-season — as opposed to 25 or more during spring and summer — were not enough.
Opened in 2006, SwimLabs offers one-on-one lessons to children and adults. All students are videotaped and analyzed as they take their strokes in small pools equipped with water jets.
The company saw the same surge in business after the 2012 Summer Olympics.
“The Olympics always elevates the sport,” said Mr. Mann, who holds several masters swimming records. His business got an extra boost because the four-time gold medalist Missy Franklin lived nearby.
To decide how many instructors he needed to hire, Mr. Mann looked at monthly gross earnings and calculated that the payroll should consume a maximum of 25 percent of his operating costs. If he generates an additional $10,000 a month in revenue, he knows he can afford another instructor who is paid $2,500 a month. As a result, Mr. Mann started hunting for two more part-time instructors.
Growth can be deceptive. Sometimes, efficiencies may keep three times as many customers from meaning three times as much work. That is a lesson learned by Hudl, a company in Lincoln, Neb., that builds video analysis tools for coaches in 20 different sports, allowing them to break down plays and share them with their players.
The company’s big market is high school football. In the 2011 season, its six-person service team went from working with 2,000 teams to working with more than 6,600. “We were staying up all night” to manage problems like software bugs, said Bryant Bone, who heads the support team. Clearly, Hudl needed help.
Mr. Bone had noticed that between 2009 and 2010 Hudl’s clientele had risen by more than 550 percent, to 2,300 teams from 350 — but the volume of service calls had grown by only about 400 percent. Mr. Bone reasoned that service calls would continue to rise at a lower rate than the number of clients as the company improved its software design, development and training.
Given that, he concluded that Hudl needed to increase its support team at a rate between 70 and 80 percent of the company’s client growth. Today, the company has 105 employees.
“We trust that a combination of better design, development processes and more experienced users helps keep our overall growth outpacing our team’s size,” Mr. Bone said.
Like SwimLabs, PeggyBank in Omaha got caught short-handed recently. The company scans family photographs, VHS tapes and slides, preserving them in digital formats.
Its founder, James Simon, made a deal with a social commerce Web site that offered discount coupons for PeggyBank’s services. Orders poured in, and the staff was soon overwhelmed. Suddenly, it was taking four to five weeks to finish some projects, as opposed to the customary two. And some employees were logging up to 15 hours of overtime a week. That prompted Mr. Simon to hire more help.
He said that he tried to avoid the problem by looking at two crucial data points every day: the number of orders in the queue and the time it was taking for the orders to be fulfilled.
He knows that he needs more workers when he is “running an excessive amount of overtime and the orders aren’t getting filled,” said Mr. Simon, who employs 16 people. “When I see the number of orders in the backlog start to breach 100, that’s my cue to start hiring people,” he said. “When it gets over 100, I know our production times will take longer than two weeks to turn around.”
There are times when numbers do not tell the real story. Sometimes, Mr. Simon said, the best indication that he has to hire more people is when his supervisor starts screaming from the production floor, “Hey! We need serious help down here!”
“That’s the God’s honest truth,” he said. “I listen to her instincts more than anything else.”
By Suzanne Saltaline
September 19th, 2013
Do you ever feel out of control of your world? A client leaves unexpectedly. Your internet goes down when you’re on deadline. Your team keeps missing deadlines. Sometimes it feels like you’re living in the perfect storm, doesn’t it?
But even in the most frustrating of times there is something within your control that can have a huge impact on your life: your attitude. The attitude and energy that you have in any given situation, and toward life in general, is what determines your actions. It also influences how others respond to you and how you feel about yourself.
Our attitude and actions are dictated by our perspective and interpretation of reality. If you have a negative, pessimistic disposition and believe that life is filled with nothing but problems, you will make decisions that draw more difficultly into your life.
An individual with a more positive, open-minded disposition is likely to draw desirable events into his or her life. These folks will try new things, take emotional risks, and learn from and enjoy the outcome. They are more likely to find solutions, shift gears as necessary, and see the upside of most situations. They also get more support from employees, peers, friends, and family.
Which disposition do you generally lean toward? If your attitude is most often negative, think about how you typically feel, both emotionally and physically. Could your world be better? Could your health be better? How about your stress levels, could they be lower? Yes? Perhaps it’s time for a change.
But how quickly can that change occur? And how much work will it take? You may not be able to flip a switch and choose to have a positive attitude toward everything. But you can make a conscious choice to slowly reduce your pessimistic tendencies and opt for a sunnier outlook on life. And just like an exercise program, it will take determination and dedication.
That’s right, we have to exercise our minds just like we do our bodies. The more we work toward change, the better our results. It may take a while but you can shift your attitude to create more desirable results in life and business. You can take back control–of yourself.
Here are three simple steps to a better outlook (it’s worth the work):
Reframe your thoughts.
When you find yourself thinking things like, that won’t work, or I never catch a break, ask yourself: Is that really true and do I believe it with all my heart?The answer is usually “no.” Choose a prevalent, negative thought and make a list of reasons why it’s not true. You will begin to see that your perspective is not based in reality. Now reframe your thought to the next best option. Instead of, that won’t work, try maybe there is a way I can make that work. You’ll find things working out much better.
Reframe your comments.
When a negative statement is on the tip of your tongue, change the shape of it. People naturally respond defensively to negativity, even if it’s not directed toward them. Instead of telling someone how bad your day is, ask them how their day is going. Or choose one or two things about your day that feel good to you and talk about those. Soon you’ll find yourself focusing on the positive aspects of a situation to shift your mind away from the negative. It works wonders.
Reframe your criticism.
Entertaining negative thoughts about yourself or someone else lowers your energy; both physically and emotionally. Instead of looking for things that people (including you) do wrong, look for the good qualities and characteristics in them. This is a fun experiment because people show up in life just as you expect them to. If you generally view someone as uncooperative, for instance, that is the side of them you will see. Look for a more favorable attribute and soon you’ll see them in a different light.
Reframing is a simple process that is drawn from Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). This process, actually “rewires” your brain and “erases” the negative thought patterns you currently have in place. You can teach yourself to think and act differently, and the outcome will be well worth your time and effort.
By Marla Tabaka
September 17th, 2013
Referrals are touted as being the best prospecting tool in any salesperson’s toolbox. According to sales legend, referrals are the key to becoming a top producer.
Virtually within 30 minutes of entering the sales field, most salespeople are told that if they want to succeed, they must get referrals from their customers and clients.
Yet, the truth of the matter is that few salespeople generate very many quality referrals. Certainly, a few salespeople have figured out how to generate enough quality referrals to run their very successful sales businesses. These men and women are by far the exception, not the rule. Moreover, studies have shown that those men and women who have learned how to generate a large number of high quality referrals earn four to five times their industry average.
There are others who get a few names and phone numbers here and there and think they are getting referrals. Unfortunately, most of these “referrals” don’t turn into sales. They do, of course, get a sale out them every so often, but for the most part, these “referrals” are nothing more than names and phone numbers that are no more qualified than if they simply picked names at random out of the phone book.
Most salespeople, however, find that referrals are not all they’re cracked up to be. In fact, referrals have proven to be so disappointing that the majority of salespeople don’t even ask for them. Many salespeople quickly conclude that referrals just aren’t worth their time and effort. These salespeople determine that referrals are just a myth, or that their clients won’t give referrals, or that their clients don’t have referrals to give, or that they will irritate a client if they ask for referrals.
In fact, the problem isn’t with referrals or their clients. The problem lies with how the salesperson goes about asking for referrals. Here are the top 10 referral mistakes salespeople make:
1. Not asking
It shouldn’t be a big surprise that if you don’t ask, you won’t get referrals. Almost 70% of all salespeople don’t even ask for referrals. They don’t even bring the subject up! Of course, they don’t get referrals. Of course, referrals are a myth. How can you expect to get something if you don’t even try?
Seldom do referrals simply drop out of thin air like manna from heaven. Moreover, those who don’t ask have a legion of excuses as to why they don’t ask. They don’t ask because they know they won’t get them anyway; their clients don’t know anyone to refer; they will upset their client; their clients are too busy to give referrals; they don’t want their client to think they are begging for business or that they are needy. These are simply excuses. Salespeople don’t ask because they are afraid of asking. Pure and simple.
2. Asking only once
Studies have shown that those salespeople who do ask generally only ask once. Certainly, asking once is better than not asking at all. But statistically, asking once will only generate 1.47 names and phone numbers. Less than one and a half referrals per client. And since most of the “referrals” the typical salesperson gets are of poor quality, getting less than one and a half referrals per prospect is pretty discouraging. That means they’ll have to ask several clients to get a single sale.
However, the same studies that show salespeople receive less than one and a half referrals when they only ask once show that salespeople who ask for referrals twice receive 2.03 names and phone numbers from each client. That means for every 10 customers asked, the salesperson who only asks once for referrals will get 14 names and phone numbers, while the salesperson who asks twice will receive 20 referrals-almost 50% more. Now, these aren’t any better quality referrals than the ones the salesperson who only asks once receives, but at least they have many more opportunities to make a sale-simply by asking for referrals a second time.
And those who had the temerity to ask a third time? They received, on average, 3.28 referrals from each customer. Therefore, for every 10 customers asked, these salespeople receive 32 referrals, more than three times the number of the salesperson who only asks once. You think they might make more sales than the person who isn’t asking or who only asks once-or even those who ask twice?
Those salespeople who use the PWWR Referral Generation System(TM) averaged 5 referrals per customer. In addition, these weren’t the typical name and phone number but were high quality referrals. For every 10 customers, these salespeople received an average of 50 referrals, most to high quality prospects. If their close ratio is only 25%, they will close 12 sales without having to spend time prospecting and money marketing.
3. Suggesting instead of asking
Many salespeople “suggest” referrals instead of asking for them. Instead of making a direct request, they try to soft peddle the request by saying something like: “Mr. Client, if you happen to run across someone who could use my product or service, would you give them one of my cards?” Alternatively, “Mr. Client, if you know of anyone I might be able to help, I’d appreciate it if you’d tell them about me.”
This is the chicken’s way out. They don’t want to offend, so they don’t ask. But they don’t want to miss the opportunity for a referral. The solution is to suggest that the client pass their name along. If this is your referral generation format, don’t hang around the phone waiting for the calls to come in.
4. Waiting until the sale has been completed to bring up referrals
Most who do ask wait until the sale has been completed before they even bring the subject of referrals up. One of the issues salespeople have with referrals is they believe based on their experience, that asking for referrals makes their clients uncomfortable. The request seems to be an unwelcome one by most of their clients. And it is-not because the request for referrals is itself an intrusion, but because of the timing of the request.
By waiting until the last minute to bring the subject up, the salesperson has given the client no time to think of whom to refer and they have waited until the client has mentally moved beyond the sale. The sale is complete. It’s over. The client has already mentally moved on to other issues. They’re simply waiting for the salesperson to leave so they can begin to take care of other business. And, bam, here comes a request out of the clear blue that tries to pull them back into the sale. What should have been a simple request is now an intrusion.
5. Focusing on their needs, not the client’s
The typical referral request goes something like this: “Mr. Client, let me ask a favor. It would really help me if could give me the names and phone numbers of a couple of people (or companies) that I might be able to help as I’ve helped you.” Or, “Ms. Client, do you know anyone else that might be able to use my services? It would be a great help to me if you could give me their names.”
Clients don’t give referrals because they like you, because they respect you, or even because you did a good job. Clients are human beings. Therefore, like most human beings, they do things because they perceive them to be in their own best interests. For the most part, clients don’t really care what will help you; they care about what will help them. That’s not to say that a few clients won’t give referrals for no reason; there are a few who will. Most will not.
The majority of salespeople focus on themselves when requesting referrals instead of focusing on the client. To be successful in generating referrals, you must give the client a reason why giving referrals is in their best interest, not yours.
6. Not defining what a good referral is
As basic is it is, few salespeople let their client know what a good referral is. Instead, they assume the client understands what a good referral is. Bad assumption.
Although you know what a good referral for you is, your client doesn’t. They need direction. While you are standing there thinking, “Give me someone just like you,” they’re thinking “what does this person want and how do I get rid of them.” If you want a quality referral, you must let your client know who you’re looking for. If you don’t, no telling what you’ll get.
7. Not understanding the psychology of the referral
Getting a large number of high quality referrals from clients and prospects isn’t easy. In fact, less than 15% of all salespeople generate enough quality referrals to significantly impact their sales.
In order to become a successful referral salesperson, you must come to understand the psychology of referrals. Clients and prospects assume that whomever they refer you to will be more demanding and more critical than they have been. They assume that whomever they refer you to will be less forgiving of the little issues that come up in a sale. They assume that whomever they refer you to will be less satisfied with the sale than they have been.
In addition, clients and prospects will refer you to people whom they have various types of relationships with. Some of the people they refer you will trust and respect them. Others will be casual acquaintances who neither trust nor distrust your client. Some will even be people who distrust and disrespect your client.
To make matter even more complicated, you must understand your psychology of referral selling. What goes on in your brain is just as important as what goes on in your client’s and the prospect’s brain.
Unless you have a thorough understanding of the psychology of referrals and the relationship between your client and the referred prospect, your likelihood of massive success is minimal.
Like much of selling, the process is more psychological than physical.
8. Calling the referred prospect
The natural inclination when you’ve received a referral is to pick up the phone and call the prospect. Wrong move. When you simply pick up the phone and call, you’re giving the prospect the opportunity to determine you’re nothing but another tele-marketer and to mentally cut you off before you even have the opportunity to bring up your client’s name.
There are a number of ways of contacting a referred prospect, but the key is to get a personal introduction, not just a name and phone number.
9. Not helping the client give referrals
Despite their best efforts, even mega-producers who make huge incomes off their referral-based business have clients and prospects who claim not to know anyone to refer. Yet, these men and women still walk away with a fistful of high quality referrals.
How do they do this? They don’t rely on their client to come up with people or companies to refer. Instead of hoping that their client has referrals for them as most salespeople do, they are proactive and help their client make high quality referrals. They discover whom the client knows that they know they want to be referred to and they ask to be referred to those people.
10. Not earning the referrals
If you want a large number of high quality referrals, you can’t just ask for them-you must earn them. They’re not just given, they’re earned.
Successful referral salespeople understand that the number and quality of the referrals they receive is dependent upon giving their client the purchasing experience the client wants, not the one the salesperson wants to give the client. Consequently, they find out what the client wants and expects to happen during the course of the sale and then they give the client the exact purchasing experience the client wants, thus earning the referrals.
You cannot ask and expect referrals if you haven’t earned them. And you don’t get to determine whether or not you’ve earned them-the client makes that decision so you must give them an objective way to determine whether or not you have earned them.
Obviously, generating a large number of high quality referrals is difficult. If it were easy, every salesperson would do it. However, by understanding the issues that kill referrals and then learning how to eliminate those issues, you can generate a huge volume of high quality referrals. Referral selling isn’t dependent upon luck, or having the “right” clients, or using bribes or incentives. It is dependent upon knowing the process that will overcome the issues associated with getting referrals, implementing that system, and then honing your referral selling skills. And once you’ve learned the system and honed your skills, it becomes a natural part of your selling process.
No matter your product or service; no matter whether you sell to individuals or businesses; no matter the cost of your product or service or the length of the selling cycle, you can build a referral-based business. It simply takes knowledge, skill, and practice.
By Paul Mccord
September 10th, 2013
I am often asked about how I keep employees inspired and productive. It’s an essential question since companies today must accomplish more, with fewer people. The most successful start-ups must be lean, nimble, and fierce.
In a nutshell, you should hire bright, energetic, innovative employees. Then offer them the right incentives–the ones that will impact their personal brain and personality types–to keep them mentally and emotionally invested in doing their best.
It’s impossible to talk about motivation without mentioning Drive, a book by best-selling author Daniel Pink. (His TED lecture was turned into a fabulous video.) Pink notes that people perform best when they are given autonomy, opportunity for mastery, and the belief that their task is meaningful. He says money is not the best motivator, and that employees want to be “players, not pawns.”
Pink believes Google’s “20% time,” in which employees may spend one day a week on whatever they want is a shining example of how allowing intrinsically-based motivations (a sense of accomplishment or purpose) can flourish. Personal endeavors from “20% time” resulted in Gmail, Google News, Orkut, and AdSense. Long before Google–back in 1948–3M instituted the “15% solution” or “dream time,” which yielded both Scotch Tape and Post-It Notes.
There’s no question that intrinsic motivation is essential. However, I do not agree with Pink that all extrinsic motivation (raises, bonuses, commissions, awards, titles, flex time, and other perks) is harmful. A skillful entrepreneur keeps employees motivated with a combination of both.
That said, there is no cookie-cutter approach to motivating your people. What inspires one person may leave the next cold. When you understand an employee’s thinking and behavioral preferences, you’ll be able to maximize his or her enthusiasm. This will help you get your workforce aligned and moving in the same direction, and you’ll see incredible returns.
1. Analytical types want to know that a project is valuable, and that their work makes a difference to its success. They need a leader who excels in a particular area, and whose expertise they believe benefits the group. They prefer compensation that is commensurate with their contribution. If they have done a tremendous amount of work on their own, don’t expect them to be happy if you reward the whole team.
2. People who are “structural” by nature want to know their work aids the company’s progress. They prefer a leader who is organized, competent, and good with details. They like to be rewarded in writing, in a timely manner, in a way specific to the task. An encouraging email is appropriate to communicate with them.
3. Social people want to feel personally valued, and that what they are doing has an impact on a project. They go the extra mile for a leader who expresses faith in their abilities. They prefer to be rewarded in person with a gesture that is from the heart. If your own preference is for written communication, send a handwritten note to a particularly social employee.
4. Innovative employees must buy into a cause. To them, the big picture matters more than the individual who is leading the charge. They prefer to be rewarded with something unconventional and imaginative, and would find a whimsical token of your esteem very meaningful.
5. Quiet staffers don’t need a lot of fanfare, but they appreciate private, one-on-one encouragement.
6. Expressive people feel more motivated when assignments are openly discussed and an open door is available. They like public recognition, with pomp, and ceremony.
7. Peacekeepers hope everyone will move in the same direction. They’ll never demand a reward or recognition, so it’s up to you to offer it.
8. Hard-drivers are independent thinkers. If they agree with you, they’ll be highly motivated. They will let you know what they’d like as an extrinsic reward, and they tend to want whatever it is right away.
9. Those who are focused team members must have confidence in the leader and in the project, or their motivation may falter. They want know up front what kind of reward they can expect. Make sure you follow through on whatever is promised.
10. Flexible people go along with the team, as long as a project does not contradict their morals or beliefs. They’re also happy with any kind of recognition.
Watch for the weakest link among your employees. If you have a slacker who consistently does less than everyone else but seems to get away with it, this can dampen the motivation of everyone else.
BY GEIL BROWNING
September 5th, 2013
If you’ve read Gallup’s annual State of the American Workplace report, you know the numbers aren’t encouraging: 70 percent of employees are disengaged or actively disengaged from their jobs. Odds are, some of your employees are among them, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Though personal issues may account for some of this disengagement, “When I look at the fundamental cause for disengagement within the workplace itself, the number one reason is that employees’ concept of what they should be doing and where they should be in their careers is different from the reality of their jobs,” says Josh Warborg, district president at Robert Half International.
The usual solutions may not be that helpful, he adds. “Most of the stuff you see about engagement, there’s a stock pattern: Make sure you listen to employees, and thank them, provide competitive perks, be flexible about work times and working from home.” While all these things are important to do, he says, the best solution is to make sure right from the start that you’re hiring employees who will come into the job engaged and excited and stay that way in the future.
Here’s how to do that:
1. Look for those who’ve been engaged before.
“A lot of successful companies look for people with a pattern of engagement in the jobs they’ve held before,” Warborg says. “Certain people are driven to work hard, no matter what job they do.” You’ll be able to tell in part by meeting the person, but especially when you check his or her references. “Those people leave a trail of people who are raving fans, and will cite things like their desire and drive,” he says.
2. Make ‘runway’ hires.
That doesn’t mean, of course, that you should hire someone underqualified. And it’s undeniable that a job candidate who comes with established industry contacts can add value. But while it can give you a sense of security to hire someone who has already spent years doing exactly what you need, that’s a recipe for disengagement.
“Often you have people walking in the door with a sense of ‘been there, done that.’” Warborg says. “The employers who seem to have a high retention rate and high engagement look at a person’s potential, not whether they’ve already done the job they’re being hired for.” Thus, instead of hiring someone who’s already doing a similar job, consider hiring someone for whom this position is a step up.
3. Ask what they want.
“Listen to why candidates are making a job change,” Warborg says. “Ask what they’re looking for in the next five years, what they’re looking for in a corporate culture, and what will get them excited about the position.” In fact, he says, a smart interviewer will have a checklist of these questions to go through during each interview.
4. Be honest with yourself.
Now that you know exactly what the candidate is looking for, will your company and the job you’re offering meet those desires? Is your company the environment he or she is seeking? Will you be able to provide the wished-for challenges? And while it’s unlikely you’ll have a perfect match, can you have a candid conversation about what does and doesn’t fit?
“If you can really listen and be 100 percent honest about the opportunities you’re offering, then you’ll make good hires,” Warborg says.
By: Minda Zetlin