Interpersonal Skills More Important than Intelligence | BrianBenedict.com

Salesforce blog. Read more

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) projects that over 1.8 million students will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in 2015. Despite this, and despite the fact that youth unemployment rates were at 11.9% as of February 2015 (more than twice the average national unemployment rate), businesses are still having trouble filling positions. Why is this? With so many potential candidates and available job openings, why are we still seeing such a discrepancy? The answer may be that many of today’s graduates are lacking interpersonal communication skills.

In a survey conducted by Workforce Solutions Group, it was revealed that more than 60% of employers say that applicants are not demonstrating sufficient communication and interpersonal skills to be considered for jobs. Apparently, while universities are able to nurture the necessary critical thinking and problem solving skills of the next generation of employees, they neglect teaching soft skills that employees use to interact with bosses, clients, and each other.

But just how important are soft skills? That’s a difficult question to answer, mostly because it’s next to impossible to find an aspect of business that does not depend upon interpersonal communication in some way. Even a solitary app designer who works from home and never sees another human face will still have to reach out to others in some way for his or her product to be made available to the public. Every interaction, business or otherwise, depends on a person’s ability to communicate ideas and concepts to another person. Employers recognize this fact, with 77% of employers saying that soft skills are just as important as hard skills. However, it actually goes even further than that. Interpersonal communication skills aren’t just as important as other skills, they’re actually the most important skills prospective employees can learn. They stand to become even more vital in the years and decades to come: A study performed by Pew Research Center asked a national sample of adults to select from among ten options the single skill which is most important for children to learn in order to succeed in the world, and 90% of respondents selected ‘communication’ as their answer.

To put it simply, interpersonal communication skills are more important than intelligence in the business world. Here’s why:

1. Customer service is more important than ever

Customer service has always played a part in business, but now more than ever before, organizations are realizing that the satisfaction of their customersis tied directly to the success or failure of the company. Where once customers’ purchase choices were limited to what businesses were located within easy travel distance of their homes, the modern market provides nearly limitless potential choices from around the world—all connected and accessible at any time. For businesses to really stand out from competition, they need to offer more than just convenience and low prices. Employees with the necessary communication skills to easily interact with customers in a friendly and non-threatening way provide potential clients with something they may not be able to get elsewhere, increasing loyalty and customer retention. Given that, on average, loyal customers are worth up to 10 times the cost of their first purchase, this results in significant increases in revenue for an organization. Customer experience today isn’t limited only to the individual, but a shared experience via various social media channels (positive or negative). 67% of customers have used a company’s social media site for servicing, which means a significant amount of customers are turning to social media to address service-related issues. Those with the interpersonal skills to help these customers are actually helping to create brand ambassadors, because customers who feel engaged by businesses through social media spend on average 20–40% more with that business, and are three times more likely to recommend that business to others.

In theory, the organization with the best products or the lowest prices should always be the one to succeed. In practice, however, this just isn’t always the case. When faced with decisions, most people will unconsciously lean in the direction of the choice that they feel better about, regardless of what facts and logic may dictate. This is especially true in today’s market, where many options offer similar solutions, making a number-driven decision especially difficult. While most businesses recognize that emotion and feeling play a part in the decision-making process, few realize just how large of a part that is; 98% of top salespeople identify relationships as the most important factor in generating new business. The ability to effectively understand, communicate and influence are underrated skills in the workplace. Even for those who do not work directly with clients, interpersonal communication skills are still vitally important. These skills help facilitate productive co-worker relationships, and can have a large impact on the overall success or failure of a business. For example, the stress caused by having to work underneath a manager who lacks interpersonal skills is believed to cost American companies an estimated $360 billion every year.

3. Hard skills are increasingly being performed by machines

There is little doubt as to the value of soft skills in business, but it may still seem like a stretch to say that interpersonal communications skills are more important than intelligence. Consider automation, however: As technology continues to progress, it’s becoming painfully obvious that more jobs than just those centered around production lines are in jeopardy of being made obsolete. When at one time automated systems could only perform simple tasks, now they’re able to handle a magnitude of responsibilities, including accounting, marketing, sales, and more. But one area where automation is unlikely to overtake humanity is in being personable. Those who’ve mastered people skills will always have an edge over automation. In fact, certain forecasters predict that the job market of the near future will consist of only two types of people: those who know how to design and operate automated systems, and those with creative and social skills whose job it will be to deal directly with customers. In essence, soft skills may soon be some of the only marketable skills that new hires can bring to the table.

As the costs associated with college tuition continue to climb, many students are graduating in their chosen field, only to find that the hard skills they’ve spent years studying don’t allow them the standard of living they’ve been anticipating. Instead, those who are attempting to enter the workforce should focus on developing their communications skills, and should be looking for ways to demonstrate those skills to potential employers. After all, most employers recognize a certain amount of on-the-job training is necessary when bringing a new hire into the company. What cannot be so easily taught are things such as etiquette, adaptability, teamwork, internal communication, and conflict resolution. And, when it comes to business, these are often the most important skills of all.

As you hire the employees who will potentially become the backbone of your business in the years and decades to come, ask yourself where your focus lies. Are you considering candidates based solely upon the hard skills they include in their résumés, or are you looking for something more? If soft skills are not a prerequisite for your new hires, you may find yourself operating a business filled with an exceptionally skilled—yet completely ineffective—workforce.

via Why Interpersonal Communication Skills Matter More in Business than Intelligence – Salesforce Blog

Tennessee family receives Christmas surprise when cop pulls them over for speeding | BrianBenedict.com

Delacruz explained to the Caperton’s two young boys that he also had to pull over Santa the night before for the same offense.

By Nicole Darrah | Fox News

Decherd Police Officer Tristian Delacruz.  Connecting with the community. 

“I told [Santa] that he had to slow it down just a tad bit,” said Delacruz. “He said, ‘You know what? You’re going to pull over a black Toyota today for their speed and their going to have two younger boys in their car, and I want you to give them this.’”

Delacruz is then seen giving the children toy cars and an action figure.

“Officer Delacruz was extremely kind and helped bring a little more Christmas cheer to our day,” Caperton told the news station. “[The video] was a good opportunity to remind people of the sacrifice some people have to make on holiday when they can not [sic] be with their families as they are helping protect ours.”

Watch Video via Tennessee family receives Christmas surprise after cop pulls them over for speeding | Fox News

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3 Day Fire Conference by BrothersHelpingBrothers.org: BrianBenedict.com

February 8, 9, 10 2018 Fire Conference presented by BrothersHelpingBrothers.org.

LOCATION

Atrium Medical Center, 1 Medical Center Drive, Middletown, OH 45005

 

Tickets can be purchased at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2018-miami-valley-fire-ems-conference-tickets-39808223468

Help me kick off this wonderful conference February 8th, 2018 from 9-10am.  Great speakers from around the area on important topics.  Make a difference today. BrianBenedict.com


Thursday

0700-0900 – Registration

0900-1000 – Building The Business of “U” – Brian Benedict – Richmond, Indiana Fire Department – Retired

1000-1200 – Mechanism of Injury and Hemorrhagic Shock – Ann Brock RN/Paramedic – Atrium Medical Center Trauma Outreach Coordinator

1200-1300 – Lunch

1300-1700 – Hoarder Homes: Piles of Hazards for Firefighters – Lt Ryan Pennington – Charleston, West Virgina Fire Department


Friday:

0700-0900 – Registration

0900-1000 – Ohio’s Heroin Epidemic – Angela Sebald RN/Paramedic – Premier Health Careflight Air and Mobile Performance Improvement Coordinator

1000-1100 – Developmental Disabilities and EMS – Mandy Via RN/Paramedic – Premier Health Careflight Air and Mobile Outreach Manager

1100-1200 – The Variables in HEMS – Mandy Via RN/Paramedic – Premier Health Careflight Air and Mobile Outreach Manager

1200-1300 – Lunch

1300-1700 – We Win with Water – Lt. Steve Robertson – Columbus, Ohio Fire Department


 

Saturday:

0700-0900 – Registration
0900-1200 – Enlightened Leadership – Matt Beakas – Middleton Township, Ohio Fire & Rescue & Chief Ron Kay – Washington Township, Ohio Fire Department.

1200-1300 – Lunch

1300-1700 – Twenty First Century Firefighting: Fire Dynamics and Tactics for the Modern Fireground – Jake Hoffman – Toledo, Ohio Fire Department.


 

Speaker line up subject to change.

The conference will be at Atrium Medical Center in Middletown, Ohio.

Lunch will be provided all 3 days of the conference.

EMS CEUs provided by Premier Health

Fire CEUs provided by Sinclair Community College – Charter #326

 

BrothersHelpingBrothers.org

2018 Miami Valley Fire & EMS Conference | BrothersHelpingBrothers.org

via 2018 Miami Valley Fire & EMS Conference Tickets, Thu, Feb 8, 2018 at 9:00 AM | Eventbrite

Brothers Helping Brothers

Miami Valley Fire & EMS Conference will feature 3 days packed with great speakers in the field of fire and EMS.

Speakers will be announced soon.

The conference will be at Atrium Medical Center in Middletown, Ohio.

Lunch will be provided all 3 days of the conference.

CEUs will be provided.

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DATE AND TIME

Thu, Feb 8, 2018, 9:00 AM –

Sat, Feb 10, 2018, 5:00 PM EST

Add to Calendar

LOCATION

Atrium Medical Center

1 Medical Center Drive

Middletown, OH 45005

 

Discover 10 Traits to Building the Business of “U”

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BrianBenedict.com

Goals | Steve Heise with Brian Benedict

by Brian Benedict

Great visit with Steve Heise, recently retired Montgomery County Tennessee Sheriff Deputy.  A long time friend and high school classmate.  Steve set goals years ago when he entered the Army and did his tour of duty at Fort Campbell Kentucky.  After his tour of duty he like many others got back in the game by entering the public service field with the Montgomery County Sheriffs Department.  He’s once again setting new goals after retiring.  I’m sure the plan is in place and his focus is intense.  Thank you for your friendship.

Steve Heise and Brian

What are goals?  Do you have a Goal?

A goal is only a wish if you do not write it down.

Here’s an easy way to understand what a goal really is and how to get it.   Whatever it takes!

  • G – Guide for Success
    • Write down a 1 year goal
    • Write down what you need to do each month to achieve the goal.
    • Write down what you need to do each week of each month in order to succeed
  • O – Overcome obstacles in your way
    • Understand obstacles will get in your way
    • Be ready to hurdle the obstacle by focusing on the goal
  • A – Analyze yourself
    • Do you believe you can achieve it
    • Do you believe in yourself
    • If you don’t you won’t, if you do you will
  • L – Live like tomorrow never comes
    • Ask yourself, “Are you doing your best?”
    • If not, “Why not?”
  • S – Start today
    • If you wait for just the right time it will never come.
    • Begin today.  Begin now!

Whatever it Takes.  Be the Difference!

www.BrianBenedict.blog

Once a Hero, always a Hero | Brian Benedict

By Brian Benedict

John Parry – Driven

Many great men and women are working hard in the Dayton area fire and police departments.

A shout out goes to a man most in the fire service know well. He was a Battalion Chief for Huber Heights Fire Dept until he retired at age 52. Now at age 57 John Parry continues to have the drive to help others.

John recently completed Dayton Fire Department medic academy and was number three in his class. He’s currently assigned to station 12 on the east side and began his first 24 hour shift Tuesday.

We at Police and Fire Insurance are proud to have him on our team as well. Not only does he enjoy helping the public but also helping those who help others throughout Dayton Ohio.

Thanks for never being satisfied and always wanting to achieve more. You inspire me and many others.

BrianBenedict.com

S.O.L.”U” T.I.O.N. | Brian Benedict

by Brian Benedict

S.O.L.U.T.I.O.N.S.

No matter the organization complaints will always exist.  Living in America, you have the ability to change your direction if you’re unhappy or disgruntled.  It’s up to you to decide.

Firefighters, police officers and others in public service around the country see life in a different way than the typical civilian.  If you complain you must provide solutions with the complaint.  If it falls on deaf ears of leadership you must accept or change your direction.

If you are not agreeing with current practices here is a model for providing solutions to problems that we usually create.

 

S – See things from the other perspective

O – Observe Obstacles without Obsessing Over them

L – Listen intently to what others are saying

U – Understand that others have different ideas, complaints and solutions

T – Take Action

I – Importance of asking questions

O – Offer positive suggestions

N – Necessary to know the Need to satisfy

S – Strategies for Successful Solutions

 

Build the Business of “U”

Brian B&W 2

BrianBenedict.com

Shake It “U”p to Wake It “U”p | Brian Benedict

by Brian Benedict

Picture: Clearwater Beach Police.

Complacency is a killer of dreams.   If you don’t grow yourself and know yourself you’ll become part of someone else’s plan.

So what’s your plan to grow?   Where are you wanting to go?

What do you want by age ______ ?

Are you going to let others dictate what you do with your life?

Many of you reading this have reached your goal of status quo.  For those I say congratulations.  For the others that aren’t satisfied and need more I say, “Go for it”.

Life’s too short to be pulled back.  At the time of this blog article I’m 49 years old.  If I’m lucky I’ll live to be 90.  If I’m unlucky I’ll get Alzheimer’s like my mother by age 65.  If I’m really unlucky I’ll live to 100 where all my friends are gone and I’m coherently existing in a nursing home.  Dude…

Go for it.  If not now then when.  When is a good time.

Don’t worry about “They”.  “They” never did what you’re going to do.

“Just Do It” – Nike

Why do you think Nike is Running Shoes?  Because subliminally they’re telling you to RUN, JUMP and do whatever it takes to create momentum to reach your goals.

 Build the Business of “U”

Brian B&W 2

BrianBenedict.com

Reflection | Brian Benedict

by Brian Benedict

“Look in the Mirror. That’s your competition.”

To Build the Business of “U” the first person to examine is ourselves.  Each morning we look at ourselves in the mirror but do we really see ourselves?  Is our self-perception accurate or distorted?  If we’re not honest with ourselves how can we be honest with others?  Can “U” look deep in the eyes of the man in the mirror and be honest with ourselves?

King of the mountain.  Many of us in the fire and police service become very focused and sometimes manipulative.  It comes from A type personalities living together like a family and it spreads into authoritative positions.   When you look into your own eyes do you see undesirable actions?  Motives?  Or do you see a genuine person willing to do whatever it takes to help others?

The person I know the best is myself; Self-awareness. We size up everybody in the world but ourselves!  We look at clothing, attitudes, actions and ask why did they…why don’t they… why would they…    When we need to look at ourselves in the mirror and ask the same questions.

What’s my purpose?  Step one of a healthy self-image.  Thinking negatively of ourselves will make us seek validation from others.    Having a positive view of ourselves will give us the ability to add value to people around us.

mirror

Creating your own problems.  Admitting this truth will build the business of “U”.  You will never win playing the blame game.   You’ll only whine.  If you’re a complainer and you feel you’re dragging the morale down around you you must change your focus or environment.

Change myself.  It’s not easy to admit or do.  The ability to change yourself, your attitude and want to better yourself will pave the way to self improvement.  Being willing to do so is the greatest step you could take.

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”

Leo Tolstoy

What do I want the future to look like?

What am I really passionate about?

Am I continually trying to improve myself?

Make it a point to figure “U” out first before trying to figure out others.  Believe in yourself before believing in others.  Build your credibility within yourself before depending on others.  Build the Business of “U”.

Build the Business of “U”

Brian B&W 2

BrianBenedict.com

 

Strategies to Connect | Brian Benedict

6 Strategies to connect with others

Communicating with another firefighter while both wearing masks can sometimes be very difficult.  With sounds from engine companies, ventilation fans and radio traffic it’s a challenge to get your point across.   To speak clearer firefighters use a battery operated  amplification attachment to help with louder communications.  Even with advanced equipment communicating is still difficult.

Pictured above: Lt Tom Broyles and FF Chris Morris Richmond Fire Dept

Let’s skip past the emergency scenes and go right to contract negotiations, union meetings and city events.  How’s your communication skills?  Unlike a mask or amplifier we have little assistance unless we allow ourselves to learn better ways to connect.

How’s your tone?  How’s your facial expressions?  How’s your speed and volume?

I strongly believe that building relationships by communicating effectively enough to connect with others is vital to the future of our police and fire service.  Building long term relationships with decision makers depends on our ability to connect.  Here are six ways you can learn to build better communication with others.

1. Do you Know yourself.

How many times have you said something you shouldn’t have.  Maybe you felt bad after you said it or you may not have thought much about it at all.  I’ve said things to others through the years that I wish I could take back and some I didn’t even realize how if actually effected them.  It all starts with self-awareness. When you’re communicating with other people, you need to be aware your mood.  If you’re feeling upset, angry and disturbed you may, unintentionally take it out on someone else.

We have a bad habit of throwing cynical and sarcastic zingers at others without thinking how it effects them.  If you’re catching yourself doing this outside the fire department please remember they may not be use to this type of communication.  Know yourself.

2. Who are you speaking with.

The best communicators understanding whomever they’re speaking with. Knowing what motivates them, different learning styles and what common ground you can find, allows you to adapt your message and increase the odds of effective communication. Empathy builds personal connections.   It puts people at ease and builds trust.  Understanding the other perspective will help you connect.

3. Clear points and an open mind.

Making your point clear will allow you to connect quicker.  If you have a vision but can’t seem to get anyone to buy in then ask yourself why.  Do they have an investment in the idea.  Are you allowing them to help with it?  Are you allowing input, ideas or suggestions?  People will take action on what it is your asking from them if they feel they are part of it.  If your audience is more confused after a meeting than before you know you’ve got some work to do.   It’s better to be open, clear and ready for questions than to leave room misunderstood.

yelling

4. How’s your Nonverbal Communication.

Research suggests nonverbal communication is more important than verbal communications.  Facial expressions, hand gestures, posture and eye contact all play a major role in undermining your message.

If you’re an instructor you understand.  Looking out into a shift during a training evolution can be challenging.  Glazed eyes and yawns are their way of telling you something nonverbally.  If they look like this then how are you looking?   The next time you’re speaking with someone, look at your own body language.  Then look at the body language of whomever you’re speaking to. Does your body language match your words and tone?

5. People want others to listen to them

One of the best ways to encourage open and honest communication is learning to listen. When someone is speaking to you,  listen intentionally to what they’re saying. Ask  questions.  This will let the other person know that you are listening.  Keep an open mind and focus on thoughtfully responding to what they say.  Listening will build better long term relationships than speaking.

6. Badge thumping vs Ego-less attitudes

Don’t hold your rank over others or use coercion or fear as motivators. Instead, focus on bringing an honest, positive and ego-less attitude to every situation that arises. Serving as a cheerleader helps maintain morale and can even facilitate creativity and effective problem solving.

These communication skills take practice. You’re not going to master them in a day.  In fact even though I write about communications and connecting its an ongoing challenge.  Trying to learn from communication errors is important.  Try to practice these strategies in your day to day life.  Learn by reading books, attending seminars and becoming a student of connecting with others.   The more you implement these skills, the more they’ll start to feel normal. Ultimately the more your leadership abilities will benefit.

 

 

Brian JMT B&W 150  by BrianBenedict.com retired firefighter, army veteran and lifetime student of connecting with others.  Building the Business of “U”

How’s Your Approach | Brian Benedict

by Brian Benedict

Picture:  Brian with 30 yr veteran volunteer firefighter and Lincoln Nebraska Police and Fire Dept Rep Karla Houfek

Karla has a way about her that instantly connects with people.  Her knowledge of the fire service, a previous career with State Farm Insurance and add her son a Lincoln Firefighter, She has many commonalities to connecting with others.

Her approach is simple. She’s genuinely interested in protecting and caring for police officers and firefighters.  It show’s by her non-verbal habits like returning phone calls, eye to eye contact and the ability to listen intentionally.  She’s inspired me to write about one individual who impacted everyone she met.


 

How do you approach a person you don’t know and connecting within a few seconds?

While working in a executive lobby of a hotel in Chicago I heard one of the employees communicating and connecting.  Not only was she connecting but she was connecting with each person she met. It was so amazing that I decided to intentionally listen to her and write down what she did.  First she was enthusiastic and positive.  Energetic and excited.  She gave hope to each person and a positive outlook to everyone. Her pre approach was genuine and meaningful.  I took a few notes as to what worked for her.  She was friendly and very approachable herself.  Here are a few tips that I heard that day.

Even Firefighters & Police Officers can learn to connect.  Networking is essential whether on duty or off.  If you can take just a few of these approaches and make them your own you’ll be awesome at connecting.

Her Pre-Approach to Connecting

  1. Smile and be happy
  2. Enthusiastic and positive
  3. Excited to meet others
  4. Truly enjoying the moment
  5. Be the light in seemingly gloomy days

As I watched and listened, I could see her prepare her pre-approach.  It was subtle but you could tell she would turn it on.  It takes energy to connect.  That’s probably why most don’t connect well.  To be excited, positive and enjoy the moment you need to turn it on.

Her double dose approach

  1. Hi, what a great day?  What exciting things are you doing today?
  2. Hi, are you leaving today? What adventure are you heading to?
  3. Hi, what do you want in your omelet. I’m fixing special ones for everyone.
  4. Hi, are you going to enjoy this sunshine?  It looks like plenty of opportunities out there?
  5. Hi, Oh I love that (dress,shirt,tie,nails), It looks great on you.  What are you conquering today?

Did you notice what she did in all 5 of these examples?  She began each conversation.  She didn’t wait for someone to talk to her first.  In every situation I listened to, she initiated the communication with a question.  Asking a question lets the other person speak.  Especially if its an open ended question instead of a yes / no question.  Open ended questions take a bit of practice but become very good connecting tools.  She was a masterful connector.

How do you leave the conversation?

  1.  You have a very good day.  You’ve made mine great.
  2.  I can’t wait to see you again.  You’ve really impacted my day.
  3.  Thank you for being so nice.  You’ve really motivated me today.
  4.  This breakfast conversation was so good I wish I could make lunch for you.
  5.  I loved talking with you today. I hope I see you again.

 

As I sat there and listened a i heard a married couple give her a hug of happiness.  He told her that she started their anniversary morning off right.  She had no idea it was their anniversary.  They were so appreciative that they had met her.

She positively connected with each person in the room.

As I worked I was interrupted by a bottle of water being sat on my table.  As I looked up she said, “I’m heading out for the day.  Thought you’d like a water.  Have a great day.  It was nice meeting you”.

What an impact.

 

BrianBenedict.com “Build the Business of “U”

 

Are “U” Moving Forward

What does the word FORWARD mean to you?

To me it means overcoming hurdles.  Overcoming minor set backs.  Moving past those who are preventing you from advancing.

It’s been my experience through the years, those who discount your value or discredit your ideas are just bumps in the road to greater things.  If you allow others to dictate your future you’ve given up.  The greatest person in the world is you.  You should always be moving forward in life.  If you are becoming satisfied with the status quo snap out of it.  Challenge yourself to learn something different.  Learn something new.  Be different.  Look beyond the present and have a vision towards your future.

Like Winston Churchill once said to graduating college students,

“Never, Never, Never Give up!”

Always be moving forward.  You owe it to yourself.

Be safe,

Brian

 

R “U” Helping or Hindering

Do “U” genuinely help others?

Do “U” help others without expecting anything in return?

Can you describe how you’ve helped them? Can you actually say truthfully youve given them value?

I think some people believe they don’t need to help others.  They have a false sense of what helping people actually looks like.

So many people act like their helping someone but instead they’re actually hindering them.  Some do it intentionally while others inadvertently. They give minimal effort towards others I believe for one main reason… “Fear”.  Fear the other person may get more attention. Fear the other person may advance.   Fear causes them to even search to find fault in order to knock them down a step while they use them to take a step up.

Bottom line

If “U” want to connect with others “U” must help others first.  Do it for no personal gain. Do it as your purpose and you’ll grow a network of connections that believe in “U”.

Like John Maxwell says, “If you’re lonley at the top, you’re doing something wrong.”

Your Commercial: First Contact | KeyToSuccess.Blog

Your Commercial

by Brian Benedict
Entrepreneurs  differ on what they believe to be the most important element, although many professionals will argue that creating a solid business plan should definitely be the first step. A well-crafted business plan lays out all the details and strategies, includes projections for revenue and spending, and will be reviewed in detail by bankers and venture capitalists. But in fact, the most important document that should be created even before the business plan is your 30 second commercial.

The fact is, most people will not read a business plan unless they have been motivated to do so beforehand. Your personal commercial is that motivating factor. It’s the hook that gets them into the room. It’s the catchy jingle that gets people to pay attention to the ad. It’s the best parts of the business plan, without the boring details. Your commercial is the place for the excitement, not the place to include all the technology, buzzwords and explanations.

A personal commercial statement should be able to be condensed into a single-page presentation, short enough to be memorized, or read easily within a few minutes and short enough to be presented during the course of an elevator ride. The 30 second commercial condenses your profession into something that can be presented in about a minute or two. Essentially, the parts that really matter are the very essence of your confidence and non verbal skills.

The 30 second commercial skips the hard-core financials, and gets straight to the heart of what it is about the business that really gets you excited. That’s what this pitch is about.  You don’t need to prove yourself.  You just need to quickly give a power statement that connects easily and accurately as to what you want them to know about your profession.  The commercial that gets people interested.

Your personal commercial should be inspirational and creative, hitting the high points of your business or career, and should accomplish the following:

  • Hit the high points
  • Summarize the problem/solution aspect of your concept
  • Describe the business model and how is it going to make money?
  • Create excitement on the part of the reader/listener
  • Describe the profit potential without having to bring out charts and graphs
  • Tell why you/your company are well positioned to accomplish your goal
  • End with a call to action

The first couple sentences are the most critical, and should present your core concept. If you can’t tell what it is you want to do in two sentences or less, then you need to simplify your concept. There will be plenty of time to get into all the details later, once you’ve captured your audience’s interest.

more powerful blog articles at www.KeyToSuccess.Blog

 

The Hidden Power of Networking | KeytoSuccess.blog

by Brian Benedict
We all make use of traditional forms of getting new business in advertising, direct mail, brochures etc but networking is one form of marketing which, has been under-utilized. Until now that is.  Professionals are finally beginning to under stand the power of networking.

But what is networking?

In its most basic form, it’s word-of-mouth advertising but originated by you, not your customers. It involves taking every opportunity to raise awareness of your product or service amongst the people you meet. At a more sophisticated level, networking can be achieved by taking advantage of the formal networking groups or events that have been arranged purely with the idea of putting potential partners together.

But how can you, as a professional, become a more effective networker and take full advantage of the opportunities presented?  We are going to give you some key tips and ideas on how to be a better networker.

What are the key advantages of networking?

Networking has some very good advantages over the traditional type of marketing:

  • It’s free! Talking to someone costs nothing except your time
  • It’s targeted marketing in that it’s likely the person you are talking to has a direct interest in your product or service. Consider newspaper advertising, which will mostly be read by people who have no interest in what you have to offer
  • It’s face-to-face marketing unlike direct mail, adverts and telephone calls. You have the immediate opportunity to establish rapport.
  • You have the chance to mix with other professionals in other industries, which may open the door to new opportunities you had not previously considered
  • It’s not only a way of creating business but also a great way to solve problems and seek advice. Why sweat over a solution when someone has probably already experienced and solved the same problem? Ask and find out who can help you

Where to find a network

Finding a place to network, where like minded professionals are present, is not that difficult. While you should be networking all the time and taking the opportunity to promote yourself where ever you can it’s more effective if you can meet people who are there to do the same thing; you can get onto the same wavelength that much quicker.

Here are some possible networking opportunities to think about:

  • Your local Chamber of Commerce, BNI group or business club – as well as hosting their normal meetings (which are great networking opportunities anyway) they may hold regular networking sessions which are dedicated to putting business people together
  • Trade Associations in your industry may have an association which holds regular meetings. Although you are interacting with businesses in the same line you will still be able to find solutions to problems and pick up new ideas. Who knows, if you establish good rapport with another business, they may be happy to refer surplus work to you or tap into a unique specialization you may have?
  • Keep a look out for seminars being run for small business owners. As well as being informative, they are a great networking opportunity, especially over coffee and lunch when you have the chance to start a conversation going along the lines of, How do you think you’re going to apply that point we learnt this morning in your line of business?
  • In just this one question you will have found out what business they are in and one of the problems they are currently facing. If you’re lucky, you may be able to offer help as well ñ one extra sale!
  • Anywhere and everywhere remember to network all the time! Never miss an opportunity to tell people what you do. You may only get a successful hit in one out of a hundred contacts, but one sale may be enough to make it all worthwhile!Where and when are meetings likely to be held?

Formal networking events can be held over breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast sessions are popular because it allows professionals to start the day on a positive note, leaving the remainder of the day free for business as usual. But how good are you at holding a sensible conversation at 7 o’clock in the morning? If you don’t look or sound your best in the early morning, then you had better find an alternative!

The best networking events are where you are free to work the room and not be tied to a table with food being served.

What to prepare

As with any marketing promotion, networking should be thoroughly prepared for. Badly presented introduction pitches lead to networking distrust. So what should you do before attending a networking session?

Step 1: Know your products and services inside out. If you are only just starting out, make sure you are fully briefed on all the inn’s and out’s of your product.

Step 2: Write and rehearse an opening statement to the question “What do you do?” This may sound an easy question but try thinking an answer on the spot and at the same time making it some good!  Not so easy. Write a clear and concise statement, which encapsulates everything about your business. Remember, this is your chance to impress! Having decided on your opening line, rehearse, rehearse and rehearse. It has to be word perfect and confident sounding.

Step 3: Make sure you have enough business cards. You don’t want to scribble your number on the back of a napkin! Not very professional.

Step 4: Double check the venue and time. You don’t want to turn up late and miss any opportunities or appear to be lacking in time management skills.

Step 5: Dress to impress. Make sure you are neat and tidy. Be everything a successful professional should be.

Step 6: Leave your house/office in plenty of time to make sure you don’t arrive totally stressed out

You’re off!

You have arrived at the venue and if this is your first time, what are you likely to do? Find the nearest corner and pray that someone doesn’t approach you! Networking, especially the first time, can be nerve-wracking. It does take a degree of confidence but over time this gets better.

Find more helpful information at www.KeyToSuccessBlog.com

 

44 Inspiring John C. Maxwell Quotes for Leadership Success | Inc.com

Being a great leader is all about having a genuine willingness and a true commitment to lead others to achieve a common vision and goals through positive influence. No leader can ever achieve anything great or long-lasting all alone. Teamwork goes hand in hand with leadership. Leadership is about people-and for people.

John C. Maxwell is widely considered to be one of the world’s top leadership thinkers. I have compiled 44 of the best quotations from his books to inspire you to be a great leader, too.

1. “A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.” John C. Maxwell

2. “Leadership is not about titles, positions or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.” John C. Maxwell

3. “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” John C. Maxwell

4. “Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them.” John C. Maxwell

5. “A leader who produces other leaders multiplies their influences.” John C. Maxwell

6. “A successful person finds the right place for himself. But a successful leader finds the right place for others. John C. Maxwell

7. “Real leadership is being the person others will gladly and confidently follow.” John C. Maxwell

8. “When the leader lacks confidence, the followers lack commitment.” John C. Maxwell

9. “The leader’s Attitude is like a thermostat for the place she works. If her attitude is good, the atmosphere is pleasant, and the environment is easy to work in. But if her attitude is bad, the temperature is insufferable.” John C. Maxwell

10. “If you wouldn’t follow yourself, why should anyone else?” John C. Maxwell

11. “Great leaders always seem to embody two seemingly disparate qualities. They are both highly visionary and highly practical.” John C. Maxwell

via 44 Inspiring John C. Maxwell Quotes for Leadership Success | Inc.com

Sales Strategy? Yes! Sales Approach? Yes! Sales System? NO! – Jeffrey Gitomer’s Sales Blog

I’m against all systems of selling. So are all salespeople.

Oh, sales systems are taught all the time. In fact, almost every salesperson has learned one along the way. I ask every audience I’m in front of, “How many of you have learned some “system of selling?” About two thirds of the hands go up. “Keep your hand in the air if you use that system every time you go on a sales call.” All hands go down. All.

“Why?” I challenge them. “Too manipulative.” “Round hole square peg.” “Doesn’t always fit.” “Not comfortable using it.” They scream.

Now, it’s not fair for me to mention systems individually by name. The reason I’m against systems of selling is that they’re all manipulative. They’re all “me-based.” Too rigid. And worse, they force the salesperson to think, where-am-I-in-the-system, vs. how am I helping this person in their desire to purchase what I’ve got.

Where’s my perceived value vs. where’s my place in the pitch?

So what is a salesperson to do? And the answer is develop a strategy, develop an approach, and develop an ability to engage the other person in a way that gains their interest and you don’t have to worry about systematizing it. A structure, not a system.

Please understand that I’m not saying learning a system is all bad. I’m saying learning a system and trying to follow it on every sales call is wrong. Anything you learn about selling will help you. Either in what to do or what not to do. In all systems there’s always something that you can take away and put into your sales arsenal. There’s always something that will help you get better.

By using a “structure” rather than a “system,” you make the process more flexible to the situation at hand (better known as: real-world). By structuring it, you put things in order, you develop methodology, you create tools, and then you go about the engagement process in order to create an atmosphere in which people will want to buy from you.

Systems of selling require the salesperson to think: am I following the system? Or worse: where am I in the system? This is particularly horrible when the salesperson is in the middle of the sales presentation. Instead of thinking “how can I help,” they are thinking “am I on step two or step three?” Crazy when you think about it.

Do you have a structure? And if you have one how flexible is it? The key to your structure is that it has to center around the needs and desires of your potential customer, and focus in on their motive of buying rather than your skill of selling. Ask, not tell. Help, not sell.

If you think about the logical sequential order of a sales structure it would involve making a connection of some kind, making an appointment, getting ready for the sale, engaging the prospect in a way that you gain their interest, proving the value of your offer, coming to some kind of an agreement, delivering what you promise, servicing after the sale, and creating an environment and a relationship all the way through the process that’s so phenomenal, the customer is compelled to buy from you again, refer other people to you, and speak about you positively in the marketplace… the social marketplace.

Master those elements, and the world is your commission.

Now that seems pretty simple doesn’t it? Add two words to this formula and you’ll become a billionaire. Have you guessed the two words yet? They’re two words that most salespeople don’t want to hear: HARD WORK.

No ultra successful salesperson has become ultra successful without ultra hard work.

Let me take this process one step higher. The process of approach, strategy, and structure is driven by philosophy. Your philosophy will determine your structure. How you think about, feel about, live the practices of your sales life will be reflected in your philosophy.

My philosophy of sales is:

  1. I give value first.
  2. I help other people.
  3. I strive to do my best at what I love to do.
  4. I establish long-term relationships with everyone.
  5. I have fun, and I do that every day.

This philosophy has set the stage for my success. Living my philosophy has made me a better salesperson and a better person.

Do you have a philosophy? Do you have a structure? Create both and you set the stage for a quantum leap forward.

If you’d like a nice copy of my sales philosophy go to www.gitomer.com — register if you’re a first time user — and enter the word PHILOSOPHY in the GitBit box.

Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of twelve best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude, and 21.5 Unbreakable Laws of Selling. His real-world ideas and content are also available as online courses at www.GitomerLearningAcademy.com. For information about training and seminars visit www.Gitomer.com orwww.GitomerCertifiedAdvisors.com, or email Jeffrey personally at salesman@gitomer.com.

© 2016 All Rights Reserved – Don’t even think about reproducing this document without written permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer • 704/333-1112

via Sales Strategy? Yes! Sales Approach? Yes! Sales System? NO! – Jeffrey Gitomer’s Sales Blog

Jeffrey Gitomer’s Sales Blog –

When I was 19, my dad made me production manager of his 75 employee kitchen cabinet manufacturing factory. Before I officially took the job I worked in the shop at each job, and set production standards based on what I could produce at each station.

On my first official day as boss, Ozzie, our superstar cabinet assembler (main guy in the most important position), came to me and asked for a 25¢ per hour raise. I went to my dad for advice and he said, “Give it to him, son.” So I did.

A week later Ozzie returned and demanded another 25¢ raise, and he said he would quit if he didn’t get it. I went back to my dad for advice and he said, “Fire him, son.” I went nuclear, “You can’t fire Ozzie,” I pleaded, “the place will fall apart.” “Fire him, son,” he repeated. So I did.

I dreaded the next day. But to my everlasting surprise, four guys came forward to claim Ozzie’s position. We had a contest to see who would get it. Production was up 25% and “Mr. Irreplaceable” was replaced in less than 24 hours — and was never missed.

How irreplaceable do you think you are, Ozzie?

I have heard salespeople boast on hundreds of occasions:

  • If it wasn’t for me this place would fold.
  • If it wasn’t for me we’d be out of business.
  • This place couldn’t survive without me.
  • I do all the selling so this place can operate.
  • My sales built this place.

Those are warning chants that the end is near.

Here are 9.5 early warning signals that your sales brain has stopped functioning.

  1. You think sales reports are a waste of time.
  2. Everyone else does wrong things except you.
  3. You get blamed for things you’re certain are someone else’s fault.
  4. You think your sales production could be better – if you just got a few breaks.
  5. You don’t listen to sales information in the car, or do anything to further your sales education.
  6. You’re way too cocky, cynical, and critical.
  7. At night you socialize or watch TV instead of read and plan your next day.
  8. You go to sales calls unprepared (no personalized ideas for the prospect or information about the prospect).
  9. You think most prospects and customers are dumb (or at least not as smart as you).

9.5 You think your boss is stupid.

Many salespeople are failing or doing poorly and claim they don’t know why, or blame everyone and their dog. Many more salespeople get fired and claim or blame the same way. Truth is they can’t or won’t face themselves. They blame others and things instead of taking personal responsibility.

If you’re doing poorly and you blame “circumstances,” — take a look in the bathroom mirror.
If you get fired  and you leave thinking it’s someone else’s fault – you’ll likely repeat the process at your next job.
If you get blamed  and you think it’s someone else’s fault – think again.

It may take one face down spill in the gutter to wake you up. But it’s a whole lot easier (and less costly) to catch yourself before you fall.

Success Strategies: Here are a few positive steps that will lead to better personal and team responsibility.

  • Look at your belief system. To succeed at sales you must believe that you’re the best, your company is the best, and that your product is the best. All three are needed to succeed.
  • Rededicate yourself to be more customer focused — not me focused. Customer dedication eliminates a lot of the ego problems. When you’re busy helping customers, your time to brag and complain diminishes.
  • Rededicate yourself to get more educated. Listen to attitude and sales information an hour a day.
  • Work longer hours. Get there an hour before everyone else. People who struggle to get to work “on-time” never seem to make it.
  • Get more “help” oriented. Help others get sales. Help others succeed. Help customers get what they want and need.
  • Transition from cocky to self-confident. Show it with deeds, not words.
  • Transition from blaming others to taking responsibility. Most of the time when things go wrong, you could have done something to prevent it. Admit fault. Take the hit without a bunch of defensive whining.
  • Read (re-read) How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie, and Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill. The two bibles of business and sales success. Rededicate yourself to those success principles.
  • Admit the truth to yourself. Admit fault. Then document what you could have done to have prevented the problem or made things better. Then make a daily (morning) plan to make a change for the better.

In order for the things and circumstances of your life to change — you must change first. Not much will happen without a change in your thought process, your attitude, and maybe eating a piece of humble pie. Admit it — it starts with you.

FREE GitBit. I have one more piece of secret about job success. Something to think about and act on everyday. Go to www.gitomer.com, register if you’re a first time user, then enter YOUYOU in the GitBit box.

Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of twelve best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude, and21.5 Unbreakable Laws of Selling. His real-world ideas and content are also available as online courses at www.GitomerLearningAcademy.com. For information about training and seminars visit www.Gitomer.com orwww.GitomerCertifiedAdvisors.com, or email Jeffrey personally at salesman@gitomer.com.

© 2016 All Rights Reserved – Don’t even think about reproducing this document without written permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer • 704/333-1112

via Jeffrey Gitomer’s Sales Blog –

Best Sales Blogs for Sales Reps to Follow & Why

Salespeople work with numbers. They are hustlers, winners, and moneymakers. They talk to enough people a day––and follow up relentlessly––to make sales happen. For wholesale sales reps, who spend their time out in the field having face-to-face meetings with retailers, it’s all about maintaining hard-earned relationships.

With the challenging task of sales and relationship management rolled into one, you need a lot more than just a job description. You need insights, inspiration, and a firm push everyday to make magic happen. To that end, here are some of the best sales blogs for you to follow and why.

Best Sales Blogs

1. Anthony Iannarino at The Sales Blog

Anthony Iannarino is an international keynote speaker, author and sales leader, who’s been featured extensively in publications like Forbes and ThinkSales. But that’s not why you should read his blog on sales tips and insights, entitled simply: “The Sales Blog.”

You should read his blog because he writes from pure experience, and writes in a way that is easy to understand. If you’ve never read his blog before, you might want to start with his How to Hustle Playbook.

2. Jill Konrath

Jill Konrath is the queen of sales, a highly paid sales consultant, and the author of popular books like Agile Selling, SNAP selling, and Selling to Big Companies. Jill’s blog is full of advice, inspiration and tips for sales professionals and business owners. Her blog also addresses sales managers and businesses that hire sales reps.

3. Tom Hopkins

Tom Hopkins is the author of How to Master the Art of Selling and the founder of Tom Hopkins International, a sales training organization based out of Arizona.

Start with the book, because it’s worth reading cover to cover. Following the book, the resources and the blog posts are enough to kick your sales activity into high gear. The blog serves sales people and business owners in all verticals, industries, and countries.

4. Robert Terson at Selling Fearlessly

How about a fresh, blunt, and a frank take on sales and personality development? Head over to Selling Fearlessly by Robert Terson and swallow everything he writes on sales, sales management, and customer management. If you want to go in-depth, grab his book Selling Fearlessly.

5. Dan Pink

Dan Pink is a popular author of books like To Sell is Human, Free Agent Nation and Drive. He believes that we are all in the business of selling and moving people: We try to persuade, influence, manage, and pitch all the time.

It’s hard not to let his passion rub off on you. The book To Sell is Humanconvinces you that you are in sales whether you’re a sales rep or a molecular scientist.

What are your favorite blogs? Are there any blogs out there that have influenced you or given you some great advice? Let us know in the comments.

via Best Sales Blogs for Sales Reps to Follow & Why

5 Habits That Sabotage Salespeople’s Confidence

Prospects take their cues from salespeople. If the rep sounds calm, collected, and self-possessed, prospects instinctively trust them more. But if the salesperson communicates uncertainty, timidity, or nervousness, prospects doubt their credibility — and consequently, the product’s ability to meet their needs.

It’s all too easy to seem unsure. If salespeople want to gain the buyer’s trust, they should avoid these five habits.

1) Over-apologizing

To avoid appearing like a pushover, salespeople should limit how often they apologize. Saying “I’m sorry” for trivial mistakes or scenarios that aren’t the rep’s fault makes them seem anxious and insecure

This habit also lessens the impact and weight of a real apology. As a result, reps have a harder time convincing buyers of their remorse when they do mess up.

Every time a salesperson is tempted to apologize, he should ask himself, “Am I saying sorry for something out of my control? Will/did this significantly inconvenience my prospect? Would I expect an apology if the situation was reversed?”

He should only apologize if the answer to all three questions is “yes.”

Here are some sample situations in which a rep should — and shouldn’t — say sorry:

  • Do: When he’s slightly late to a call
  • Don’t: When he can’t make the first time the prospect proposes
  • Do: When he reneges on a promise
  • Don’t: When he lets the buyer know he wasn’t able to secure a discount
  • Do: When he accidentally gives the prospect false information that hurts their credibility with their manager
  • Don’t: When he asks a tough question

2) Using Filler Words

“Um,” “like, “uh,” “you know,” and other filler words slowly but surely chip away at a salesperson’s credibility. According to a study published in the Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, frequent “ummers” seem “uncomfortable, inarticulate, uninteresting, ill-prepared, nervous, disfluent, unattractive, monotonous, unsophisticated, and lacking confidence.”

The most effective way reps can cut out filler words? Paying attention to what they say. Author and leadership expert Selena Rezvani recommends listening to a call or meeting recording and noting how often verbal crutches pop up. Once salespeople know which filler words they’re apt to use, it’ll be easier to filter them out.

Reps should also give themselves permission to pause. Silence might feel unnatural, but it sounds perfectly normal to the listener. Taking a breath while they think makes salespeople seem far more poised than saying “um” or “ah.”

3) Going Overboard With Adjectives

Although offering genuine praise helps salespeople connect with their prospects, complimenting them too frequently usually come across as obsequious. Reps should only offer a positive opinion when a seller asks for feedback.

Typically, that requires eliminating fluffy or empty statements like, “Good idea,” “Makes sense,” “Smart,” “Impressive,” and “That’s great.”

Wrong:

Prospect: “Our customer engagement increased by 200% in two months.”

Rep: “That’s really impressive. How did you accomplish that?”

Right:

Prospect: “Our customer engagement increased by 200% in two months.”

Rep: “How did you accomplish that?”

As you can see, removing the unnecessary compliment makes the salesperson sound more assertive. They also avoid making assumptions: Maybe the prospect was trying to quadruple customer engagement, and considers merely doubling it a failure.

4) Using a Salesy Voice

Some reps start using an overly chipper, high-pitched voice as soon as they pick up the phone. Not only does the “game show voice” grate on buyers’ ears, it also lessens the rep’s aura of confidence. If the product is as great as the salesperson says, why are they overcompensating with their voice?

Fortunately, the fix is simple: Salespeople should speak to prospects in their normal voices. They’ll seem more self-assured and genuine, and they’ll put prospects at ease by making the interaction feel friendly and informal rather than forced.

Reps who frequently slip into “sales mode” should keep themselves in check by imagining they’re calling a friend rather than a potential customer.

5) Letting Calls Run Over

If the call is going well, it’s tempting to go over the allotted time. But Jeff Hoffman, creator of the YourSalesMBA™ training program, argues this is a mistake.

“You want to let your prospect know that your time is valuable,” he explains. “You can easily demonstrate this fact by owning your calendar.”

Hoffman advises reps to “enforce a hard stop” for their meetings. If the conversation is progressing quickly, propose another meeting soon — as early as later that day.

For instance, a rep might say, “I have another call at 10:30. Are you available this afternoon at 3 p.m. to continue this discussion?”

This isn’t a hard and fast rule. Salespeople should stay on the line if they’ve had a difficult time getting this prospect on the phone or if the prospect seems like they’re about to buy. It’s also a good idea to extend the call if they’re midway through a delicate or sensitive conversation.

Once salespeople have stamped out these five habits, they’ll see prospects putting more faith in them. Buyers are often stressed, overwhelmed, and nervous: After all, they’re trying to figure out how to resolve a pressing need or problem. Salespeople can put them at ease by taking on a trusted advisor role.

via 5 Habits That Sabotage Salespeople’s Confidence

Sales Blogs: The 18 You Should Be Following | Sales Engine

Sales Blogs: Why Read Them?
With thousands and thousands of blogs about sales out there, it’s tough to know which ones are the ones worth reading. Between the news, LinkedIn, Twitter, and email, most people are inundated with content like: “the top 100 ways to reach the decision-maker in the first call”, “the 20 reasons why email is better than cold calling when prospecting”, and “the 30 things you should do before the end of each work day”. Everyone has their own idea of how you should be spending your time.

Like a lot of people, I like to start my day by checking out the news each morning. It allows me to ease into my work day and know what is going on in the world (which is something I think is important.). In order to cut through the clutter of the sales advice that I see on a daily basis without spending my entire morning doing so, I spend 30 minutes each morning scrolling through the most recent posts from sales blogs that I find very helpful. [Google Reader was my favorite RSS tool to use but now that Google is killing it, I’ve moved on to Feedly & would recommend it as well.]

My list wasn’t always this short. I’ve subscribed to hundreds of blogs about sales in the past 10 months. At the end of each month, I would scroll through the list of blogs and unsubscribe from those that fit this criteria:

Content has not been posted in over 14 days.
I did not share one post from the site with my social networks or my personal contacts.
I could not remember a post that provided targeted sales advice.
The content has changed direction and focuses on a niche that does not pertain to my work.
The Sales Blogs I’ve chosen to include in this list are the ones that have consistently provided great content over the past 10 months. They are regularly updated, provide a specific point of view, and give actionable advice on specific challenges we face as salespeople. I’ve included the Twitter handle for the blog’s author, as the majority of them provide content from sites they find helpful there as well. [Hint: The easiest way to quickly follow these authors on Twitter is by subscribing to our Top Sales Blogs twitter list.]

BONUS: If you are a current Google Reader user, you can subscribe to all 18 feeds in one click by subscribing to The Top Sales Blogs Bundle.  (You can then migrate your feed over to Feedly so you have all the feeds in one location.)

The 18 Sales Blogs You Should Be Following

The 18 Sales Blogs You Should Be Following

1. Sales Productivity Blog

@SellingTools http://www.smartsellingtools.com/blog/

2. The Sales Blog

@Iannarino http://thesalesblog.com/

3. Partners in Excellence

@DavidABrock http://partnersinexcellenceblog.com/

4. Dan Waldschmidt

@DanWaldo http://danwaldschmidt.com/blog

5. A Sales Guy

@Keenan http://asalesguy.com/

6. Your Sales Playbook

@PaulCastain http://yoursalesplaybook.com/

7. Switch and Shift

@TedCoine & @Shawmu http://switchandshift.com/blog

8. Matt on Marketing

@HeinzMarketing http://www.heinzmarketing.com/matt-on-marketing/blog/

9. Fearless Selling

@Kel_Robertson http://fearless-selling.ca/blog/

10. Millennial CEO

@DanielNewmanUV http://millennialceo.com/

11. Score More Sales

@ScoreMoreSales http://scoremoresales.com/

12. Fresh Sales Strategies

@JillKonrath http://www.jillkonrath.com/sales-blog/

13. Selling Fearlessly

@RobertTerson http://www.sellingfearlessly.com/

14. The Sales Hunter

@TheSalesHunter http://thesaleshunter.com/

15. Sales Training Connection

@SalesHorizons http://salestrainingconnection.com/

16. Fill the Funnel

@MilesAustin http://www.fillthefunnel.com/

17. Top Sales Dog

@TopSalesDog http://rapidlearninginstitute.com/top-sales-dog/

18. Sales & Marketing Effectiveness

@MakingTheNumber http://www.salesbenchmarkindex.com/

 

What are your favorite blogs or news sites to follow up on sales news or strategies? How much time do you devote to obtaining knowledge and tuning your sales skill sets per week? We’re always looking for a new blog to add to our roll!

Written by Jenny Poore. You can find her on Twitter and .

via Sales Blogs: The 18 You Should Be Following | Sales Engine

How to Break Through Sales Procrastination

You have a monthly sales goal, it’s the first day of the month, and all of your past successes are cleaned off the board. You know how to reach your sales goal, but you just can’t seem to pick up the phone to start the project. Instead, you find yourself doing everything you possibly can to do not begin the new sales cycle. You know you have to make your goal, but you still consider taking it easy. This is the Downward Spiral of Procrastination. When you feel your thoughts drifting or you are having trouble starting projects or making sales calls, it is important to stay positive and get to work!

Staying positive is as easy as changing your attitude toward the issue. Instead of putting pressure on yourself with negative or procrastination thoughts, turn them into productive thoughts. So rather than saying, “I have to make my goal,” say, “I will make my goal through hard work and dedication.”

Dale Carnegie said, “Do the easy jobs first, the hard ones will take care of themselves.” He was a very big proponent of getting busy and getting started as a way to break procrastination and worry.  Here are some additional tips to help stay positive and break through sales procrastination.

Just do it. Get on the phone or get in contact with your clients and sell. Remember, you are working on a deadline and the more time you have to reach your goals, the better.
Get on a roll. Make a point to get on the phone and say on the phone for a period. You will find yourself in a rhythm.
Enjoy the end product. Think of the enjoyment of accomplishing your goal and focus on the positive rather than the negative.
Give yourself a pep talk. Sometimes you need to give yourself some positive reinforcement. Remember, you have to keep a positive attitude and outlook.

via How to Break Through Sales Procrastination

Getting Rid of the Stress of Public Speaking

Many people are terrified of speaking in front of a group. Many of us can accomplish it, but feel a certain amount of fear and stress.  Speaking in front of groups does not have to be stressful or nerve racking; instead, the experience can help you stand out and get noticed.  Here are some tips that will help you fight through your anxiety and deliver an effective presentation:

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare. If you have a complete understanding of your material, you will definitely give you an advantage during your presentation. Do not memorize your material; you just need to be familiar with it.

Open with Confidence. Your opening gives your audience a first impression of your presentation. Make sure not to leave anything to chance. Your opening sets the tone for your entire presentation.

Focus on a Few Key Points. Know the major points you want to make. This will help ease your worry and increase your confidence. You should also use electronic visuals, note cards, or memory techniques to outline your key concepts.

Support Ideas with Evidence. It is always important to provide evidence to support your main points.  Supporting evidence will help your audience understand your points and will give you a chance to explain your points more fully.

Close with a Call to Action. This will be the last impression your audience has of you and your presentation.  It is important to ensure the closing reflects the purpose of the presentation. Your closing should summarize your content and give your audience a clear direction.

via Getting Rid of the Stress of Public Speaking

Control Your Stress in the Workplace

Pressure situations are present during both good and bad economic times.  However, when times are tough the situations can be magnified.  Problems at home can directly influence issues in the workplace.  It is important as a manager to recognize that your team might have outside stressors affecting their job performance.  It is your job to create an environment that reduces stress and promotes engagement.  In a workplace environment like this, employees will be more apt to reach their full potential and drive results.  Here are 8 tips to help you and your team control stress and worry in tough situations:

Live in a compartment of the present.
The professional with a commitment to service seals off each interaction with a customer so that negative experiences don’t poison future interactions. Don’t allow past successes or failures or future anticipated success or difficulties influence your current performance. When it comes to customer service, live in the moment.

Don’t fuss about trifles.
A “trifle” is something that is insignificant in comparison to other things in your life. When you focus on trifles, you lose perspective. Keep the big picture in mind. Doing so will help you objectively sort out the small stuff from the important issues.

Cooperate with the inevitable.
Realize when your situation is inevitable. If you can learn to recognize situations where you have no control, you can gain some control over the emotional aspects of the situation. By cooperating with the outcome, you are making a conscious choice about how to respond to an inevitable situation.

Decide just how much anxiety a situation is worth and refuse to give it any more of your energy.
Once you make this decision, it is easier to find ways you can improve on the situation or let it go and move on.

Create happiness for others.
This principle appeals to your nobler motives. It is difficult to sustain a negative attitude when you are doing something good or helpful for someone else. Simply put: Doing good for others makes you feel better.

Expect ingratitude.
In your job, you provide many diverse services. When you do so, you probably expect in return some signal of gratitude for your assistance. This expectation is rarely met. If you do receive heartfelt thanks from someone, you should count yourself lucky; you are dealing with a grateful person. Most people are simply not accustomed to being grateful, even when you provide them with excellent service. You shouldn’t let ingratitude deter you from providing top-quality service.

Put enthusiasm into your work.
Enthusiasm is the positive energy and sustained effort that keeps you driving toward your goals. Making a decision to have a positive outlook can be critical in enjoying your job and working with your internal and external customers.

Do the very best you can.
It can be difficult to deal with criticism, especially if you feel it is undeserved or if it hurts your self-esteem. One way to put criticism in perspective is to ask yourself if you are doing the very best you can with what you know and are able to do. If you are, then you can avoid taking the criticism personally. If there is room for improvement in your performance, you can look at the criticism objectively and take responsibility for improving your performance.

via Control Your Stress in the Workplace

Sales Training Programs: Relationship Selling Courses | Courses – Event

In an increasingly complex selling environment, successful sales professionals use relationship-oriented selling approaches to help their customers win.sales-training-relationship-selling

In today’s complex sales environment, gimmicks and tactics are obsolete: customers are just too savvy. Armed with pricing and information from your website, reviews from the Internet, and recommendations from an army of colleagues and friends, they have completed 70% of the buying process without engaging with a sales person.
Only intentional sales professionals who cut through the noise to foster authentic client centered relationships can truly help their customers win. A strong customer relationship allows the sales organization to build trust, offer insights, and then help the customer meet their business objectives. Only through enduring and meaningful customer relationships, can sales professionals learn which approach will create the best opportunity for client success. The reality is that true relationships foster loyalty, which in turn builds a sustainable pipeline, ultimately making it possible to meet or exceed goals and quotas.

 

via Sales Training Programs: Relationship Selling Courses | Courses – Event

Sales Training Programs: Relationship Selling Courses | Courses – Event

 

In an increasingly complex selling environment, successful sales professionals use relationship-oriented selling approaches to help their customers win.sales-training-relationship-selling

In today’s complex sales environment, gimmicks and tactics are obsolete: customers are just too savvy. Armed with pricing and information from your website, reviews from the Internet, and recommendations from an army of colleagues and friends, they have completed 70% of the buying process without engaging with a sales person.

Only intentional sales professionals who cut through the noise to foster authentic client centered relationships can truly help their customers win. A strong customer relationship allows the sales organization to build trust, offer insights, and then help the customer meet their business objectives. Only through enduring and meaningful customer relationships, can sales professionals learn which approach will create the best opportunity for client success. The reality is that true relationships foster loyalty, which in turn builds a sustainable pipeline, ultimately making it possible to meet or exceed goals and quotas.

via Sales Training Programs: Relationship Selling Courses | Courses – Event

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Common Energy Drainers

Here are some common things that drain our energy and emotions.

Fear:  Fear involves doing things that make you emotionally uncomfortable. For some, that may mean talking to strangers, saying hello to someone who may reject you. The thought of that creates a tremendous amount of fear in some people.

Here’s the first thing we have to realize about fear: The word FEAR stands for False Evidence About Reality. There are people who won’t even attempt sales as a career because they already have such an overwhelming fear of talking to strangers.

Others won’t push themselves into positions of management for fear of not being able to get others to follow their lead. Realizing that fear is “False Evidence About Reality” can help them overcome this. Live by the words, “Do what you fear most, and you control the fear.”

Rejection:  Rejection is part of business. Remember this:  No one has ever rejected you personally. They have rejected your proposal, the opportunity you are presenting, or maybe the skills you have to offer, but they are not rejecting you as a human being. It’s part of building character and building a business.

Disappointment:  When you are in sales and marketing, you are in the disappointment business. Why? Because people don’t always do what they say they are going to do. People will let you down. The key is to realize that you have chosen a field where disappointment happens. Rather than sit home at night being disappointed, learn how to let it go.

Guilt:  Many people are immobilized by guilt. If you decide to become an achiever and join the 5% of our population who are achievers–you’ll have to put in more time and effort, you’ll have to spend more time away from your family, perhaps work later and skip more meals and personal activities. That’s all part of being an achiever. If you are truly committed to being an achiever, don’t be guilty about it. Giving in to guilt is what creates non-achievers.

There is no reason to feel guilty about wanting to be successful.  There is more reason to feel guilty for not wanting to succeed—to your full potential.

Procrastination:  Procrastination is living yesterday, avoiding today and thus ruining tomorrow. If you have procrastination in your life, here are some ideas to avoid it: It takes time to affect a change. If you want to stop a bad habit or develop a new discipline, you must commit to changing it. By committing, you’ll gain strength and confidence and be able to eliminate procrastination from your life.

Live by these three words: Do it now. If there are things you procrastinate about, but you need to do them in order to achieve your goals, you need to make those three words your motto. Some people hate paperwork, some people hate details. Whatever your weakness is, tackle it first thing in the morning. Do it now. If you hate returning phone calls, make a game of it. Don’t let yourself go to lunch until you’ve returned at least three calls. Eventually, your hunger for food will overcome your fear of making the calls and you’ll just do it.

Understanding and preparing for these common stressors that impact your emotional stability will put you on the road to success. When you feel in control and able to handle the smaller, daily stressors, you’ll increase your self-image. When you feel better about yourself, you’ll strive to achieve balance in all areas of your life.

via TomHopkins.com

 

The Difference Between Leadership and Management

We are often asked, “What is the difference between leadership and management?”

In our experience, some managers can be great leaders, and conversely, some leaders can be great managers. Occasionally, one can excel in both roles, but this is the exception. In the US Army, managers are staff officers and leaders are commanders. What is the difference?

Leadership is an art, and is all about setting new strategic direction and leading a team to get there. The leader is one who inspires and rallies the team around a common cause with shared values and a culture of excellence to achieve a desired end-state. In the US Army, the stage is the battlefield where results are never preordained and lives are at stake. In business, the desired end-state might be a major change in direction, to include a new business opportunity, an acquisition, or culture change. Both Jim Collins and John C. Maxwell developed leadership models with five levels — Level Five being the pinnacle. Collins’ Level Five leader is one who builds enduring greatness with a paradoxical combination of personal humility and professional will. Maxwell’s Level Five is designated “personhood” and is attained through a lifetime of proven leadership. People follow these leaders because of who they are and what they represent. In both models, values-based leadership is at the heart of the matter. Most people never attain Level Five status, it is a climb where there is no summit.

Learning to lead is like climbing a mountain for which there is no summit

Management, also critical to the success of an organization, is all about directing people and resources according to principles and values that have already been established. It is the arrangement of resources in space and time to be both effective and efficient. Successful organizations must have competent managers to translate the leader’s direction to action and direct their respective teams based on established norms and procedures. The best managers require leadership skills, a high degree of self-discipline, and a creative streak to fuel continuous improvement.

In the US Army, the system seeks to identify and promote officers with the most potential into higher levels of command who excel at leading soldiers and perform well in management roles. The process to identify the leaders with the most potential includes measuring performance in tough and sequential management or staff assignments. This ensures that leaders have an appreciation for what it takes to direct people and teams within the context of changing strategic direction in complex environments.

With the understanding that growing leaders is a journey, where do you and your organization stand? Do your leaders personify the Level Five characteristics of Collins and Maxwell? If not, where are they on the journey? What will it take to get them to the next level? Do your managers have the skills necessary to control and direct day to day operations based on established norms and procedures? Are your managers capable of providing their respective teams the leadership required to win?

Much of the answer depends on whether or not you and your team acknowledge that leaders are developed over considerable time. Does your organization resource leader development programs? Does your organization employ a talent planning system? Do you certify your leaders? Do you promote from within? Is your voluntary turnover rate less than industry average? Do people stand in line to join your culture? The answers to these questions are really important to the future of your company.
There is a difference between leaders and managers. Every organization requires both. Some people excel in both roles, but this is the exception.

We’ve asked lots of questions. Let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work!

via The Difference Between Leadership and Management – Level Five Associates

6 Professional Voicemail Message Examples You Can Use – Blitz

Try out these voicemail message examples before you miss your next call!

In sales, immediate communication with your prospects and current customers is important. Being available to answer questions or further negotiate a deal allows your clients to feel secure and more apt to purchase from you. But what if you can’t answer the phone when they call? Make sure you have a voicemail system set up so your clients have the opportunity to leave you a message.

Reassuring the caller that they contacted the correct number or reached the person they intended helps reduce the number of hang-ups and wasted messages you’ll receive. Here are a few notes on how to leave the best greeting possible, along with some voicemail message examples you can use in your own company!

lead-managerWant more sales templates? Let our automated software simplify your sales process.  Sign up for a 30-day FREE trial of our lead management software and turn more leads into customers with less work!

Notes on creating a voicemail greeting:

Sound upbeat in your message. When recording, be sure to say your message with a smile on your face. It’s obvious when people aren’t happy in their message. Since your work revolves around keeping happy customers, do your part by keeping a happy-sounding voicemail message.

Don’t rush. It’s important to speak slowly and clearly when leaving your next voicemail greeting. Have you ever called someone and the message sounds like one big word? Don’t be that guy. Pronounce your words and take pauses between your sentences

Avoid background noise. Whether you have music playing in your office, or you’re sitting in a coffee shop, background noise can make it difficult for your customers to understand your greeting. Limit the noise around you when you leave your voicemail greeting.

Rehearse or write down your message before recording it. Remember that old saying “practice makes perfect?” It’s certainly true when it comes to creating an electronic greeting. The more you’ve rehearsed, the easier the message will be to restate. If you don’t have time to practice, writing down the greeting before recording it – and then reading it aloud from the paper – may help you stay focused on the correct wording.

Basic Voicemail Message Examples:

1. Share basic information:

“Hello! You’ve reached the voicemail of [your name], [your job title]. I’m currently either away from my desk or on the other line. Please leave your name, telephone number, and a short message after the beep, and I’ll be sure to get back to you as soon as I’m available.”

2. If you’re out of the office:

“Good afternoon. You have reached the office of [your name]. I will be out of the office beginning on [date] and will be returning on [date]. Please leave a brief message with your contact information, and I’ll be sure to get back to you as soon as I return on [date].  If this is an emergency or you need to speak with someone before I return, please contact [name of colleague/supervisor], [their job title], at [their phone number].”

3. Be courteous of your customers’ time:

“Hi! You have reached [your business].  All of our staff are currently busy helping other callers. We understand how valuable your time is, and rather than keeping you on hold, we will make sure to call you back.Be sure to leave us a detailed message with your name and number. We will return your call within two business hours. Thanks!”

 

Creative Voicemail Message Examples:

Here are a few voicemail message examples you can record if you have the opportunity to leave a professional sounding message, while still having a bit of fun. Before choosing one of these options, be sure your company allows for a little creativity. If you work in a strict professional position, theses options might not be the best for you.

4. Give them a realistic expectation:

“Congratulations! You’ve reached the right person! It’s [your name]. Unfortunately, you’ve called at the wrong time. Please leave a message with all your contact information, and I’ll call you back within 24 hours.”

5. Catch their attention:

“Hey, there! This is [your name]. Please leave me a message with your name, number, and the reason you’re calling. If you also tell me [insert random fact] I’ll be sure to move you to the top of my call list. Have a great day!”

Random facts could include their favorite movie, vacation spot, candy, or television show. Regardless of what you choose, it will surprise your caller and more than likely make them leave a message if they were considering hanging up.

6. Prove your attentiveness to voicemail:

“Good morning. You’ve reached the voicemail of [your name]. Today is [date]. Please leave me a message with your name and contact information. Oh, and here’s my motivational quote of the day: [read quote].”

We actually know a top insurance sales guy who did a sales motivational message every day just like this, and people used to call just to listen to his thoughts.

And remember, while you’re busy returning your calls, Blitz can be automating other parts of your sales process. We can assign leads to your staff or even send emails to your customers.

lead-managerWant more sales templates? Let our automated software simplify your sales process.  Sign up for a 30-day FREE trial of our lead management software and turn more leads into customers with less work!

Have you ever recorded something similar? Tell us what your favorite greeting was of the voicemail message examples in the comments section below!

via 6 Professional Voicemail Message Examples You Can Use – Blitz

Leadership Is Action… Not Position

People respond to good leadership! Period! It is in all aspects of our lives, not just business. A mother is a leader in her home; a son may be leader of a team sport or a daughter the leader of the debate team. A group relies on the person in charge to actually lead them to success. A true leader is highly ethical, honest and respected.

In our society we have leaders and followers. Are we born to one or the other? No! Can you hone your leadership skills? Absolutely!
People respond to good leadership! Period! It is in all aspects of our lives, not just business. A mother is a leader in her home; a son may be leader of a team sport or a daughter the leader of the debate team. A group relies on the person in charge to actually lead them to success. A true leader is highly ethical, honest and respected.

In our society we have leaders and followers. Are we born to one or the other? No! Can you hone your leadership skills? Absolutely!

The leaders that I admire seem to have all of these in place:

a) They think BIG! They don’t put a ceiling in place. Instead, no limit is set as to how big or how much better something can be.

b) The goals are firmly set in place and the eye does not come off of it.

c) They make known to all involved the final product that they are all going for, example, if you sell widgets, it takes x number of widgets to be affluent, or you want to win that football game and ultimately the title. Know what you’re going for.

d) They can get compliance to orders.

e) When goals are met they set new goals or raise the bar.

People will follow your lead willingly if you are honest, ethical, if you are consistent and treat them with respect. Rewarding someone when a job is well done is always appreciated. A good leader will also off load someone who consistently hinders the group who is just not a team player.

You can improve your own self- respect and become an inspiration to others. How great is that!

Source: Brian Benedict, www.BattlefieldTraining.com  Building the Leader in YOU

Making the Most of Influence

The John Maxwell Company

As a leader, you’re already aware that your ability to positively influence another person is the central component of your leadership. So you understand that influence matters to leaders.

But how do you measure your influence? By the number of people who work for you? By the number of followers you have on Twitter? By the number of likes you get on Facebook?

While there is some validity to those numbers, chances are that you’re missing something if you measure influence only in that way. Because there are dozens of people – perhaps even hundreds – that you influence without ever knowing it. They help you bag your groceries. They pick up your trash. They might deliver your mail, or drive next to you on the road. They pass you in the halls at your child’s school, or ride the elevator with you on the way to the office.

And these possibly unnoticed individuals are impacted by you in ways you may never know.

One of my favorite quotes on influence comes from J.R. Miller. In fact, I use it in the first chapter of my book,Developing the Leader Within You: “There have been meetings of only a moment which have left impressions for life, for eternity. No one can understand that mysterious thing we call influence…yet…every one of us continually exerts influence, either to heal, to bless, to leave marks of beauty; or to wound, to hurt, to poison, to stain other lives.”

I love that line: meetings of only a moment which have left impressions for life, for eternity.

Have you ever taken time to think about your life in that way? You impact people on a daily basis by how you choose to live.

Your life is influence in motion.

I understand that anyone can have a bad day. It happens to all of us. But how many bad days might you cut out of a year if you recognized that you have the ability to make a difference to everyone you meet?

Your capacity to transform someone’s life every day is rooted in your choice to make a positive impact, even in the most fleeting of moments. When you make it your mission as a leader to value people and add value to them, you are planting the seeds for a harvest of positive change.

So how do you get started?

I recommend you begin with your family. Get up early and make the coffee. Prepare lunch for the kids. Pray over your spouse. Set the tone for them to influence others in a positive way, and you’ll be amazed at just how different the stories around the dinner table will be.

And then imagine what would happen if you expanded that positive influence from there. Imagine if you practiced courtesy during rush hour or were grateful to everyone who served you a meal. Imagine if you held doors, shared credit, and otherwise added value as often as you could, to every person you met. Your level of influence would be off the charts.

At a time when some leaders seem only to care about those who are “for” them, we need leaders who care about everyone. We need leaders who make valuing others a priority instead of a promise. We need leaders who make others better instead of bitter. Our society needs leaders who take special care to consider the unnoticed follower.

In short, we need leaders like you.

You can change the world if you choose to – and I believe you will.

Source: The John Maxwell Company

Turning Pressure into Production

The John Maxwell Company

Like most of the world, I’ve had my eye on the Olympics for the last week or so. While I’ve not caught every event, I’ve certainly enjoyed stealing as much time as I can to watch as the world’s greatest athletes take their place on the global stage. And as I watch each event, from swimming and gymnastics to basketball and judo, I can’t help thinking of one question:

How do these athletes handle the pressure?

Now, I’m no stranger to pressure. I live with it every day as a leader. I’m sure you do, too. But when I think about the margin between a gold medal and a silver medal – often just a few hundredths of a second – the pressure I deal with somehow feels a little… less.

You see, the Olympic Games place tremendous pressure on athletes to produce, on demand, for posterity. They train for years for that one moment, usually with coaches who are some of the best minds in their sport. These athletes must learn specific skills that help them not only master their sport, but take their performance to levels previously unachieved. Then they spend months or years prior to the Olympics participating in events to not only qualify for the Games, but also get a feel for their competition.

And the end result of all of this training is efficiency and effectiveness. These athletes do what they do with apparent ease because they have trained and prepared so well.

But I believe it’s only the pressure of the Olympics – of knowing that their place in the record books rests on what they do in that one moment – that makes them most effective. All of their training and ability only matters if they can execute in the “right now” of Olympic competition. Because once that moment is over, the only thing the world will have to judge these athletes by is how effective they were when the pressure was on.

How do you handle pressure? You may never be under the same scrutiny as an Olympic athlete, but you face pressure in your own way. It may be a deadline, a new venture, or just knowing that your family depends on you, but you know the feeling of “the weight of the world”.

A former Olympian once said, “Everything negative – pressure, challenges – is all an opportunity for me to rise.” That Olympian is Kobe Bryant, one of the most accomplished basketball players of the last 20 years. His dedication to developing his skills and talents is legendary. But what Kobe is also known for is his strong desire to have the ball in his hands when the game is on the line. He doesn’t shy away from the pressure; rather, he embraces it.

I want to encourage you, my friend, to not shy away from the high-pressure moments in your life. Instead, use the pressure to help you produce. Pressure is a sign that what you’re doing counts. It means that your leadership or your work or your life is meaningful. It means you can make a difference.

The eyes of the world may not be trained on you, but you have the ability to impact the world. Trust your training, embrace your pressure, and do your best. When you do, you’ll be amazed at just how many people you’ll find cheering you on.

Source: The John Maxwell Company

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