Wealth Attraction: 202

PEP.NET  Educational Moment (10/18/12):
Wealth Attraction 202

Our brains become magnetized with the dominating thoughts which we hold in our minds, and, by means with which no man is familiar, these ‘magnets’ attract to us the forces, the people, the circumstances of life which harmonize with the nature of our dominating thoughts.– Napoleon Hill

v  “For this educational moment I thought I would switch gears and talk about something other than marketing for a change.  However, it’s a topic that is still near and dear to my heart: Money!  More specifically: Wealth Attraction.

In Wealth Attraction 101 We Discussed:

  • Breaking The Shackles Of The Money=Work Link
  • Money Is Not A Zero-Sum Game
  • The 3 Pillars Of Wealth Attraction: Behavioral, Strategic, & Philosophical
  • &5 Wealth Magnets

Wealth Magnet #6: NO FEAR

  • If I Fear It Then I Must Face It
  • Why Fear Change?
  • Failing Your Way To Success
  • Abandon Any & All Wealth Related Fears
  • Expect The Unreasonable; Be Unreasonable

Wealth Magnet #7: NO GUILT

  • Ayn Rand & Objectivism = “the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute…
  • How Much Of Your Life Is Controlled By Others?
  • Market Share Is An Antiquated Concept.
  • The World Is Yours; Start Acting Like It!

Wealth Resources: Maxwell Maltz, Napoleon Hill, Dale Carnegie, Matt Furey, Lee Milteer, Warren Buffet, Earl Nightengale, Zig Ziglar, Paul Newman, Dan Kennedy, Robert Ringer, etc.

In Conclusion:

  • Knowledge Without Action Is Useless
  • Incorporate The 7 Wealth Magnets Into Your Life
  • Be Creative
  • 21 Days = New Habit

Proprietary Note Taking Method

“Ideas are like slippery fish.  You can’t catch them if you don’t write them down.” – Mike Black

  • Ideas Are Like Slippery Fish = It’s very true.  You never know when a great idea may strike.  So you really have to be ready to catch them with a pen and paper.  Today I’m going to share with you my proprietary note taking method that is useful in generating ideas and managing your business.
  • The Process:
    • Step 1 – Create Your “Seed” Document = The seed document is simply a word document that you use that is divided into sections.  These sections will vary based upon your specific business needs.  As you work through the course of your business day, you want to be cutting and pasting useful information into the different headings of your seed document
    • Step 2 – Paste Your Information = Simply paste your vital details into your seed document. .  Does this sound like a pain in the ass?  It’s not …  It only takes 10-15 extra seconds per new task.  Remember: CTRL + A. CTRL + C, CTRL + V.

–       Example #1 = My seed document contains headings such as Swipe File Appendix, Copywriting Appendix, Graphical Elements, Contacts, BIG Ideas, etc.

–       Example #2 = For your business you might use it for a variety of reasons.

  • Attach links to important documents, emails, or tax returns
  • Add general notes regarding a process
  • Use a supplies section to track inventory
  • Save passwords, login information, and more
  • Put in outsourcing information or contractor information
  • Etc.
  • Step 3 – File Your Seeds = Create a “Seed File” in your business directory to store your daily seed documents.  When you place these document in the folder your want to name them with the date and brief word or two about key themes.
  • Step 4 – Rinse & Repeat
  • “But…  What do you use these Seed Documents for?”
    • Reference = It makes a great reference.  It will save you time from looking for passwords, tax stuff, addresses, etc.  It can all be found in one place.
    • Infoproducts = If you have a unique system or way of doing things than you can track it and turn it into a system that can be sold to others in your industry.

–       Question: “Bruce, after our conversation yesterday, how big could this idea be for you and what you’re doing?”  It would be a great to build some type of training manual for your courses.

  • Capture Money Making Ideas = Don’t let those fish slip through your fingers.
  • Employee Systems = This is a great way to generate a system for your employees to follow.
  • Franchising = If you want to start a franchise these documents make the outline for an operations manual.
  • Blog Posts / Articles = These make great fodder for posting on your website, blog, social media, etc.
  • Miscellaneous Tips
    • Notepad = Keep a notepad by your bed and write down your ideas in the middle of the night.  If you think about a problem before you go to bed your subconscious mind will work on it for you over night.  You’ll often find that you discover the answer to your problem when you awaken.
    • Digital Recorder = You can use these to remind yourself of things to add to your seed document when you are away from your desktop.  It’s particularly useful to store these items on a recorder that has a USB port so you can copy it straight to your computer.

Your Wild West Wagon Wheel

“In marketing diversity leads to stability.” – Unknown

  • Pikes Peak Or Bust! = Imagine you and your family are travelling across this great land of ours in one of those old timey wagons.  You know the ones with those big ole wheels.  That’s what we’re here to talk about today.
  • Wagon Wheels = Those wagons as they travelled depended heavily upon their wheels.  If one of them broke they were in a lot of trouble.  So those wheels had to be strong and to keep them that way they used a lot of spokes… the more the better!
  • Your Wild West Wagon Wheel = Marketing your business is just like those wagon wheels except the spokes on your Marketing Wagon Wheel are the different methods you have to generate business.  The more ways you have to draw business in the better.
  • Would You Rather Have 1 Way To Get 100 Customers Or 100 Ways To Get 1 Customer= I always tell my clients that I would rather have 100 ways to get 1 customer than 1 way to get 100 customers.  The 100 ways to get 1 customer is far more dependable.  The other way leaves you susceptible to having your business wiped out… or dare I say legislated out of business.  Whole industries have been wiped out or created by the stroke of a pen.
    • Examples Of Destruction: 1) Telemarketing companies with the do not call list, 2) eMail and spam filters / regulation, 3) Fax Broadcast, and 4) Voice Broadcast.
    • Examples Of Creation: 1) Carter (I believe?) created the home brewing industry and 2) Reagan deregulated the airwaves giving us the Direct Response TV industry or infomercials.  You decide which is better…
    • What Decides Who Lives & Who Dies? = The government that’s who!  If you look those industries that get regulated are the ones that the government doesn’t get a taste of.  That’s what makes direct-mail so powerful!  The government gets a taste of every letter sent so they don’t regulate it!
  • The WORST Number In Any Business Is… 1!  If you are overly depending on any one thing in your business than you are vulnerable!
  • Spokes You Can Add To Your Wheel:
    • Just In PEPnet alone you’ve got resources for:

–       New Mover Mailings (Susan)

–       SMS & Mobile Marketing (Terri)

–       Appreciation Marketing (Sandy)

  • In The World Of Marketing There’s:

–       Local Marketing

–       eMail Marketing

–       SEO

–       Direct Mail

–       Social Media

–       YouTUBE

–       Cold Calling…

  • Good Marketing Works Regardless Of The Media = From my perspective there is no difference between marketing offline or online.  There isn’t social media marketing vs. Internet marketing.  They are one and the same.  What I practice is Direct Response Marketing over the air, or in print, or on the internet.  The principles of good marketing work wherever they are tried.
  • The Benefits Of Strengthening Your Wild West Wagon Wheel Are Numerous:
    • You’ll Be More Resistant To The Whims Of Government
    • You’ll Make More $$$
    • You Can End The Roller Coaster Effect
    • You’ll Be More Resistant To Changes In The Economy
    • You Will Think More Creatively

The Socratic Sales Method

“As for me, all I know is that I know nothing.” – Socrates

  • The Socratic Method = The Socratic Method, named after the classical Greek philosopher Socrates, is a form of inquiry and debate between individuals with opposing viewpoints based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to illuminate ideas. It is a dialectical method, often involving an oppositional discussion in which the defence of one point of view is pitted against the defence of another; one participant may lead another to contradict himself in some way, thus strengthening the inquirer’s own point.
  • The Socratic Method Of Sales = Taking the idea that we know nothing and applying that to sales means that we need to elicit information from a prospect so as to determine their motivations, their fears, their agendas.  We want to know as much as possible about our clients and prospects so that we can make the best sales presentation possible.  The best way to find these things out is to ask them!
  • 4 Benefits Of Asking Questions In Sales:
    • Makes You Look Smart = If you just close your mouth and listen, you will be amazed what people will tell you.  They think you are the greatest conversationalist ever if you ask fact finding questions and listen to what they have to say.  It really is that simple!
    • Uncover Objections = Discover what their objections really are.
    • Authority Figure = It places you in the driver seat and increase your perceived authority.
    • Drive The Conversation = Not good at questions?  Use good questions to ease the flow of a conversation.
  • People Never Say What They Mean = Throughout the sales process you should remember that people never say what they mean (i.e. date example).  It is an inherently adversarial process and you have to be careful to ask the right questions to get the right response.  Don’t take their word for it.  Be persistent.  Dig deeper.
  • Killer Sales Questions
    • Discovery Questions (Questions That Uncover Hidden Information):

–       What are your short and long term goals?

–       If I could wave a magic wand and fix 3 things in your business, what would they be?

–       What concerns do you have?

  • Project Questions (Questions About A Project):

–       How do you normally deal with these issues?

–       What obstacles can I expect to encounter as I move forward with this process?

–       What do you see as the greatest risks in making a purchasing decision?

  • Impact Questions (Discover Who Else Is Affected By The Decision):

–       Who else do you need to consult with before making a decision?

–       Who in your organization is affected most by this problem?

–       How does this issue personally affect you?

  • Deep Impact Questions (Takes Your Questions To A Whole Other Level):

–       How Is that?

–       What do you mean by that?

–       Can you help me understand?

  • Closing Questions (Make $$$):

–       What’s the cost of not taking action right now?

–       What happens if you don’t start doing X this year?

–       What could happen if this problem worsens by X% over the next quarter?

  • Soft Sell Questions (In Case You Don’t Want To Go For The Jugular):

–       What do you enjoy most about your business?

–       What is the one thing you would do with your business if you couldn’t fail?

–       What is the craziest / funniest experience you’ve ever had in your business?

Time Management For Profits

“There Is No Shortage Of Time,
Only A Confusion Of Priorities.” – Unknown

  • Introduction = Who here has complained in the past that they haven’t had enough time.  Enough time to work, spend with loved ones, what have you…  We all have the same amount of time but some people get more done than others…  Why is this?  I submit to you that it is our confusion in priorities that allows us to not achieve our desires.
  • Acting With Intention = Throughout life, all too often we react to our circumstances.  An emergency or unexpected inconvenience pops up and we focus our energies on dealing with that problem.  The key here is to remember your priorities and not just react to the situation – act with intention.
  • Time Management & eMail = Don’t check eMail first thing in the morning. Check it only at certain designated times.  Don’t allow yourself to be thrown off track by non-consequential eMails.  Today since we have such ready access to communication, eMail can often be scatterbrained.  Since it takes no effort to send an eMail people will send you eMails about unformed thoughts, vague musing, and other inconsequential dribble.  Look at what it’s done for Harry!
  • Create & Implement Systems = In my business I have systems for referrals, testimonials, lead acquisition, lost customers, etc…  The product I’m working on is essentially a system of systems!  The benefit of systems is that they are easy to follow and yield a consistent result.  Make sure things are done the same way every time and you can’t help but see an increase in your bottom line.  Train your staff on these systems and review them periodically.
  • 80 / 20 Rule = You should apply the 80 / 20 rule to everything you do in your business: employees, product evaluations, work patterns, customers, etc.  It will save you alot of time!
  • 2 Questions To Ask Yourself:
    • 1) Is this the most profitable thing I could be doing right now?
    • 2) Does this advance me towards my stated goals?
  • Faster & Cheaper = You always want to be on the lookout for faster, better, cheaper, smarter, easier ways of doing what you do.  Test, track, and evaluate your business for ways to improve.
  • Work On Your Business; Not In Your Business = Think of an independent automotive repair shop.  Do you think the owner of that shop makes her money by turning the wrenches and repairing cars?  Or does she make that money by hiring an employee and spending her time getting customers in the door?  The thing about turning wrenches is that your arm will eventually get tired.  Don’t believe me?  Give a try some time…  Marketing is where the money is made people!
  • FAQ = Do you have a frequently asked questions sheet?  Take the most common questions you get and put together a FAQ.  You can throw your FAQ in your shock & awe packages, eMail it to customers, or post it on your website.  Why keep answering the same questions over and over again?  Plus, it makes a great sales tool!
  • LISTS = You always hear me talking about the importance of creating and maintain your customer lists…  However, today, that’s not the type of list I’m talking about.  I’m talking about TO-DO lists.  I am a big believer in lists.  Every morning I evaluate my progress on yesterday’s list and make a new list for that day.  As I check items off this list, I get a strong sense of accomplishment.  Especially, when I finish an item that has made it onto multiple lists.  Review your work at the end of the day…  You might be surprised how good that feels.  You want to make sure that your most value creating work is making it onto those lists and getting done!
  • Differentiation = You must focus on separating activities and tasks into categories of: non-emergency / non-crisis vs. Emergency / crisis.  You have to stay focused on what is important.
  • Deadlines = In my own marketing I use deadlines a great deal.  They motivate action, increase response, and overall improve any marketing piece.  You should also consider using deadlines for your daily tasks.  Keep a timer on your desk and use it.  Preferably, one of those old wind up timers that quietly tick to remind you of the passage of time.
  • End Times = How often do you set a meeting with someone without a clearly defined end time?  You really can’t have a meeting if you don’t know the end time.  If you don’t have an end time how can you manage your time effectively to ensure that the important stuff gets done?  Tell people, “I only have X minutes.”  Manage Your Time Manage Your Life!

Neuro Linguistic Programming & Persuasion Techniques

PEPnet Educational Moment (07/19/12):
Neuro Linguistic Programming & Persuasion Techniques

“Character may almost be called the most effective means of persuasion.” – Aristotle

  • NLP = Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) is an approach to communication, personal development, and psychotherapy created in the 1970s. The title refers to a stated connection between the neurological processes, language, and behavioral patterns that have been learned through experience (“programming”) and can be organized to achieve specific goals in life.
  • It Is About Character!= DISCLAIMER:  It really is about character.  You have to believe that the product or service that you provide is truly beneficial to your clients and prospects.  If your product or service fulfils a very specific need, if it solves a problem, if it makes the world a better place then why wouldn’t you sell it as strongly as possible?  Don’t you have a duty to sell every single person you see on the benefits of your business.
    • Shameless Self Promotion = It really is about shamelessly promoting yourself and your product or service because it is in the best interests of your prospects.  Shameless self promotion means promoting yourself in all the means, methods, and media possible to the greatest extent possible.  It’s about making money people!
  • The Process: Rapport, Criteria, Resistance, & Success:
    • Rapport = Building a ropport with those you wish to influence is of paramount importance.  Too often people talk AT one another and don’t pay to WHAT the other is actually saying.  There are 2 primary types of rapport – physical and mental:

–       Physical

  • Mirroring
    • Body
    • Breath
    • Speech

–       Emotional

  • Taking Action    – Verbs
  • The “HOOK”
  • Feelings…
  • What / When / Why / Where / How / Could / Can / If / May / Might / Must / Etc.
  • Loops =  Points within a sales narrative that you depend upon for a “story” or ongoning narrative.  The Simpsones did an episode where it was a story, within a story, within a story, within a YAWN…
  • STORY-SELLING
  • Criteria = Do / Can / Will They Buy What Your’re Selling?

–       The “Mother” Role = People do business with one another for a host of unpredictable reasons.  “My friends think I am cool, I eat well, or I vote Democrat (Just Kidding)” are things you have to consider when you are trying to decide WHO you are selling to…

–        Ask Questions… NOONE DOES! = There is an epidemic of people going to see doctors about Cancer, Obesity, & Diabetes… the biggest killers in today’s society…  Diagnosis after diagnosis, nobody asks any questions…  I realized this recently going through my own Achilles Tendon Rupture.  Afterwards, there were so many questions that other people had that I never thought to ask.  I can tell you that, looking back, I should have decided my criteria for success.  Just another example…

  • Resistance

–       To Influence = Emotional Connections Thru Stories, Acknowledgement, or REFOCUS

–       To Proposal = Guarantees,Timeframes, and a Sales Vision

  • Success = Follow through and you get SALES… what could be better than that?

PEPnet Educational Moment (07/19/12):
Neuro Linguistic Programming & Persuasion Techniques


“Character may almost be called the most effective means of persuasion.” – Aristotle

 

·         NLP = Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) is an approach to communication, personal development, and psychotherapy created in the 1970s. The title refers to a stated connection between the neurological processes, language, and behavioral patterns that have been learned through experience (“programming”) and can be organized to achieve specific goals in life.

·         It Is About Character! = DISCLAIMER:  It really is about character.  You have to believe that the product or service that you provide is truly beneficial to your clients and prospects.  If your product or service fulfils a very specific need, if it solves a problem, if it makes the world a better place then why wouldn’t you sell it as strongly as possible?  Don’t you have a duty to sell every single person you see on the benefits of your business.

o    Shameless Self Promotion = It really is about shamelessly promoting yourself and your product or service because it is in the best interests of your prospects.  Shameless self promotion means promoting yourself in all the means, methods, and media possible to the greatest extent possible.  It’s about making money people!

·         The Process: Rapport, Criteria, Resistance, & Success:

o    Rapport = Building a ropport with those you wish to influence is of paramount importance.  Too often people talk AT one another and don’t pay to WHAT the other is actually saying.  There are 2 primary types of rapport – physical and mental:

       Physical

·         Mirroring

o    Body

o    Breath

o    Speech

       Emotional

·         Taking Action    – Verbs

·         The “HOOK”

·         Feelings…

·         What / When / Why / Where / How / Could / Can / If / May / Might / Must / Etc.

·         Loops =  Points within a sales narrative that you depend upon for a “story” or ongoning narrative.  The Simpsones did an episode where it was a story, within a story, within a story, within a YAWN…

·         STORY-SELLING

o    Criteria = Do / Can / Will They Buy What Your’re Selling?

       The “Mother” Role = People do business with one another for a host of unpredictable reasons.  “My friends think I am cool, I eat well, or I vote Democrat (Just Kidding)” are things you have to consider when you are trying to decide WHO you are selling to…

        Ask Questions… NOONE DOES! = There is an epidemic of people going to see doctors about Cancer, Obesity, & Diabetes… the biggest killers in today’s society…  Diagnosis after diagnosis, nobody asks any questions…  I realized this recently going through my own Achilles Tendon Rupture.  Afterwards, there were so many questions that other people had that I never thought to ask.  I can tell you that, looking back, I should have decided my criteria for success.  Just another example…

o    Resistance

       To Influence = Emotional Connections Thru Stories, Acknowledgement, or REFOCUS

       To Proposal = Guarantees,Timeframes, and a Sales Vision

o    Success = Follow through and you get SALES… what could be better than that?

What you should have on your website home page

In business, you only get one chance to make a good first impression, and your company’s website is no different. When customers arrive at your site they should instantly have a clear understanding of who you are and what you do. But statistics show that many small-business websites lack the basics, which puts them at risk of losing a customer with just one click.

The relationship between a customer and a business is based on trust. Is your website customer-friendly? Start with the five things that belong on the front page of every business website.

1. Contact information:

A recent survey by Chantilly, Va.-based local media and advertising research group BIA/Kelsey indicates that nearly 75 percent of small-business websites don’t have an email link on their homepage. And six out of 10 don’t have a phone number.
Minimally, your site should have a clear email link and a phone number. If you have a physical location, consider including the full address with the state and zip code, as well as a map and directions.

2. Images that represent what you do:

If you sell wedding cakes, for instance, the front page of your website should have a picture of one of your cakes. As basic as this sounds, many business sites use irrelevant graphics such as butterflies and family photos, or worse, no graphics at all.
But be mindful of how you display images. Think twice before making them spin or shake or do anything else that can be distracting or irritating.

3. Clear navigation with working links:

The front page of your site should have a clear navigation system either across the top or down one side of the page. The buttons should be clearly marked with words that correspond to the content on your site and help customers quickly find what they’re looking for. Also consider including buttons for shipping options, FAQs and background on your company.

It’s also important to click your links on a regular basis to make sure they all work, or use Google Webmaster Tools to identify any 404 errors. Broken links not only prevent shoppers from completing their orders, they can also make it appear as if you don’t care about your business.

4. An email signup box:

One effective way to encourage customer loyalty is with a regular newsletter. Put a signup box on the front page of your website and offer rewards, such as a discount on a future order to anyone who submits his or her email address. Services such as Mailchimp offer simple ways of doing this.

5. Social media links:

Help customers stay in touch by providing links to your social media accounts right on your front page. Use recognizable icons linked to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or LinkedIn. You can also use feed widgets to encourage instant follow-up as well as social media sharing.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn announced a new feature called Endorsements that gives users a simpler way to recommend their professional connections.

Until now, the primary way to suggest a friend or coworker for a job on LinkedIn has been to go through the process of writing a formal recommendation. Now, with the Endorsement tool, you can simply click the “Endorse” button to recognize one of your connections for a particular skill or skills.

When you look at a contact’s profile page on the social network, you’ll see a list of skills at the top of the page and be prompted to pick which ones if any you’d like to endorse. Similarly, if you scroll down to the Skills and Expertise section of their profile, you’ll have another option to endorse certain skills just by clicking a plus-sign next to each of the skills listed.

LinkedIn will notify the user by e-mail when he or she has been endorsed by someone and these endorsements will be displayed on their profile page. Users still have the option to write longer recommendations as well, but Endorsements may be more popular for more casual recommendations.

In essence, the Endorse button is really just LinkedIn’s version of Facebook’s “Like” button, but geared towards professionals. This is just the latest example of LinkedIn trying to boost engagement on the social network by taking a page from competitors like Facebook and Twitter. Earlier this year, LinkedIn introduced a Follow button for brands, similar to Twitter, and just this month the company rolled out a Facebook-style notifications system to keep track of network updates.

 

Free Phone Calls on LinkedIn:

Farewell, phone numbers. Plingm, the Swedish mobile VoIP app, takes the
innovation lead on smartphone communication and introduces free phone calls
for LinkedIn’s 151 million users. Without a single digit, Plingm users with an
iPhone can call their own contacts on LinkedIn directly.

Across the world, LinkedIn has more than 151 million LinkedIn users. Thanks to
an innovative back-end solution developed by Plingm, LinkedIn users can now
also call and talk to their LinkedIn contacts for free anywhere in the world.

“Mobile numbers are legacy. By using our LinkedIn calling feature, you can
always reach the person you want to speak to even if they switch jobs or
change their number,” says Pandelis Eliopoulos, co-founder of Plingm. “With
the growing use of social media, the possibility to call your LinkedIn
contacts directly without a phone number is a logical evolution of mobile
communication.”

How to do it

Download the Plingm app from the App Store and accept to connect with your
LinkedIn account. The app automatically scans and imports all your contacts.
Calls between Plingm users are free, regardless if you are in the same town or
on the other side of the world.

About the app

With the numbers steadily increasing and an impressive consumer rating on App
Store, the mobile VoIP app Plingm combines high sound quality with
user-friendliness. All calls made to other Plingm users are free, regardless
of where they are in the world, and there is no time limit. Calling with this
service instead of a traditional operator will save people large sums of
money, particularly on international calls. At a low rate, consumers can also
call friends not yet using Plingm.

Plingm develops innovative, people-friendly technology that enables people
cost efficient ways to communicate. The company was founded by entrepreneurs
from the telecommunications and Internet industry. Plingm is based in
Stockholm and active in 170 markets. More info on plingm.com .

The Ultimate Success Skill

This past year only one out of every 20 sales people has spent $25.00 or more on their own improvement!  Let me repeat it to make sure you read it correctly: In the last 12 months, only one out of every 20 sales people has spent $25.00 or more on their own improvement!  That’s based on lots of anecdotal evidence collected over the past 25 years of working with sales people.

Only five percent of my colleagues are sufficiently dedicated to their own personal growth and professional success that they will invest their own money in their careers.  That means that ninety-five percent are not sufficiently motivated to take their own personal development seriously.

I am convinced that the process of continuously improving — not only professionally in the core competencies of a professional sales person, but also personally — is the ultimate success skill for our time.

The ability to learn and grow in a proactive and disciplined way is several things:

A method to do better at your job.  Good sales people sell more than mediocre sales people.  Good sales people make more money, enjoy more success and greater status than mediocre sales people.  Good sales people work at becoming better.

A way to distinguish yourself from the masses.  Remember, ninety-five percent of your competitors and colleagues don’t care enough to invest in themselves.  When you do that, you separate yourself from the pack.

A minimal requirement from your employer.  I often tell my clients that every sales person — and every employee, for that matter — has two jobs: a).his job, and b) continually improving himself.  If someone is not interested in improving his skills, I don’t want him working for me, or for my clients.

An ethical imperative.  It is, I believe, immoral to not improve yourself.  Your employer has hired you not just for what you know and what you can do, but for your potential to know more and do more.  When you refuse to improve yourself, you rob your employer of some of the reasons he pays you.

That’s a lot of value wrapped up in a single, fundamental process.  You can see why I believe that the ability to learn in a focused, systematic way is the ultimate competency — the foundational skill that, if mastered, will eventually lead you to success.

I call this ultimate self-improvement skill for turbulent times and beyond “self-directed learning.”

Self-directed learning is the ability to absorb new information and to change one’s behavior in positive ways in response.  The key is behavior change.  Learning without action is impotent.  Knowledge that doesn’t result in changed action is of little value.  Constantly changing your behavior in positive ways is the only reasonable response to a constantly changing world.

For example, let’s say that you’ve read a book on advanced sales techniques.  That’s a good first step.  But, it’s one thing to read and understand the material in the book, and it’s another to actually use it.  It’s nice that you understand it, and it’s good that you think it may help you.  But that particular piece of information is worthless until you actually start using it.  When you change your behavior and incorporate those ideas into what you do, then you will have learned.  It is not until you actually do that new thing — ask questions more effectively, for example, that you will have learned.

Self-directed learning differs from the traditional approaches to training because it requires you to assume complete responsibility for your own behavior change.  The stimulus for the learning must come from within you.  You must develop your own learning program to expose yourself to new information and to change your behavior appropriately.

I firmly believe that the ability to take charge of your own learning, to consistently expose yourself to new information and then to systematically change your behavior in positive ways based on that new information, is the ultimate success skill for the Information Age.

If you can master self-directed learning, you’ll eventually master everything else that you need to be successful.

Prerequisites to Mastering Self-Directed Learning

Proficiency at the ultimate self-improvement skill demands some fundamental attitudes on your part.  I like to characterize those attitudes as being a “seeker.”

A seeker attitude is composed of several parts.  First, you must have an attitude of proactive responsibility for your situation.  In other words, you must believe that your actions have consequences and that, to change the consequences, you must change your actions.

This sounds so fundamental as to be ludicrous, yet it seems to be a concept that is foreign to much of the world’s population.  Most people tend to blame their problems on forces outside themselves.  Your parents didn’t raise you correctly, your spouse doesn’t understand you, your boss doesn’t like you, your customers don’t respect you, the stars are aligned against you, etc.  As long as you remain, in your mind, the victim of someone else or some outside force, you have no responsibility to change your own behavior.  After all, your situation isn’t your fault.

That’s the wrong attitude.  If you are going to be successful, you’ll need to begin with the conviction that your actions have consequences, and that you can change your future.  Once you get that, then you are ready to discover what actions will have the greatest impact on your success.

So, you must accept the responsibility for your own behavior as well as for the consequence of that behavior.

Next, sales people with a seeker attitude need to be open to new information.  One of the sure harbingers of pending failure is the attitude that you know it all.  Sales people who continue to improve themselves understand that they will never have all the answers.  There is always something new to learn. They become like magnets, constantly attracting new ideas, new perspectives, and new information to themselves.

Finally, a seeker has the ability to follow through on his plans.  You must have the ability to act on decisions you make and to become a creature whose actions arise out of conscious thought rather than unconscious habit.  In other words, you must have the strength to decide to do something and then to follow through with that decision and actually do it.

The sales people who attend my seminars are open minded, interested in outside perspectives, willing to learn, and committed to the growth of their businesses.  They’re seekers.

It’s interesting that this description only applies to a small percentage of the population.  It probably describes you, or you wouldn’t be reading this.  Take heart in that.  In a rapidly-changing world, the competent, self-directed learners will end up on top.  The fact that you’re probably one of them means that you’re already separating yourself from the mass of sales people who are more interested in maintaining the status quo.

Richard Gaylord Briley, in his book Everything I Needed to Know about Success I Learned in the Bible, talks about the five percent principle.  It holds that five percent of the individuals in the world provide success and opportunity for 50 percent of the rest of the population.  Applied to sales, the Briley rule would hold that five percent of the sales people in the world contribute 50 percent of the volume.

I believe that these five percenters are active, self-directed learners who maintain the seeker attitude I’ve described.  And I believe that you have the potential to be a five-percenter for the rest of your life.  The starting point is the cultivation of the seeker attitude.

Given this set of attitudes, you can begin to master the procedures and disciplines that will characterize you as a self-directed learner and equip you to be successful in our turbulent times.

Core Strategies for Self-Directed Learning

If you have the right attitude, you’ll find the following two strategies to be powerful ways to practice self-directed learning:

1. Inject yourself into learning opportunities.

There are two parts to the learning equation.  The first is to constantly expose yourself to new information, and the second is to change your behavior in positive ways based on that information.

For example, reading this article is a way to expose yourself to new information.  So is reading a book, listening to a podcast or CD, attending a seminar, etc.  That’s the first half of the process.  If you now make changes in what you do as a result of it, you’ve accomplished the second half.

The second part rarely happens unless the first part precedes it.  So, to put the whole process into motion, you must regularly expose yourself to new information.  To do that, you must inject yourself into learning opportunities.

Remember that it’s not enough to go to a seminar once a year, or read a book every now and then.  Learning should be a regular part of your work week.  I’d like to see you do something to exposure yourself to new ideas every week.

Reflect on your failures.  You’re probably thinking, “Where did that come from?”  I have learned that my failures, both as a sales person and in my life in general, have provided me with my most intensive learning experiences.  In fact, I remember all my failures far more vividly than I remember any of my successes.  As I thought about each one of them, I discovered what I had done to produce that failure, and I made specific decisions to change to prevent them from happening again.

Personally, I think that this practice has been one of the key reasons for the success that I have enjoyed as a sales person.  You can do the same thing.  You are going to fail from time to time.  Everyone does.  The most important part of failing is taking the time to reflect on the failure and to learn from it.

2. Question everything.

There are two big obstacles to learning that are especially typical of sales people.  The first is “stuck in a rut” behavior.  The second is the tendency to over-rely on assumptions.  The cure for both is the same: to question everything.

Stuck in a rut behavior evolves out of an attitude that you already know enough.  If you’re content and smug about your current situation, you’re not going to be open to new information.  This satisfaction hinders learning because it hampers the motivation to learn.  Without the motivation to expose yourself to new information and seriously consider changing your behavior, the necessary changes won’t happen.  You’re stuck in the status quo — oblivious to the need to move out of it.

One of the best ways to pry yourself out of a rut is to begin to ask yourself questions.  Question everything you do.  Is this the best way to present this product?  Should you be calling on this customer once a week?  Are you presenting the right solutions?  Do you really know your customers as well as you should?

The other major obstacle to learning is the tendency to do your job based on unchallenged assumptions.  This occurs when you operate on the basis of an assumption that you’ve never really thought about.  For example, you assume that two or three competitors are quoting the same piece of business you are, so you discount deeply.  Or, you assume that your customers always know exactly what they want, so you don’t take the time to question them.

Because you work on an assumption instead of taking the time to verify it, you make decisions that are inappropriate.

The solution is the same as getting out of a rut.  Question everything.  From time to time, stop and ask yourself what assumptions you’re working on, and then question those assumptions.  You’ll often find that your assumptions are in error, and the decisions you made that relied on them were also in error.

 

By: Dave Kahle, www.davekahle.com

 

Google Calendar

Google Calendar has become the standard for Web calendars. It allows you to share any event with others and sends reminders to any device you own. Scheduling events with friends, family and co-workers is a breeze.

You can manage your calendar on any device, as well. Unlike other calendars, you’re not locked down to your email client or a website.

7 reasons to use Google Calendar

Organizing your schedule shouldn’t be a burden. With Google Calendar, it’s easy to keep track of life’s important events all in one place.

1. Share your schedule
Let your co-workers, family, and friends see your calendar, and view schedules that others have shared with you. When you know when everyone is free or busy, scheduling is a snap.
2. Get your calendar on the go
With two-way syncing to your mobile phone’s built-in calendar or a mobile version of Google Calendar that’s made for the small screen, you can access your calendar while you’re away from your desk.
3. Never forget another event again
Customizable reminders help you stay on schedule. You can choose to be notified by email or get a text message sent right to your mobile phone.
4. Send invitations and track RSVPs
Invite other people to events on your calendar. Guests can RSVP to your events by email or via Google Calendar.
5. Sync with your desktop applications
Access your calendar however and whenever you want by syncing events with Microsoft Outlook, Apple iCal and Mozilla Sunbird.
6. Work offline
Know where you’re supposed to be even when you don’t have internet access. With offline access, you can view a read-only version of your calendar no matter where you are.
7. All this is free?
Yep.

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