Business

Take the Ego Out of Business

The first rule to succeeding in sales; stay humble, stay small and only bring your qualifications or accomplishments into the equation when appropriate. Unless they add value to a situation you are simply finding ways to brag. The fact is, clients and co-workers don’t care how much you think you know or what you have accomplished as much as how what you know and what you have done will help them.

The most effective way to demonstrate your knowledge and experience is through the work that you do. Show, not tell.

In my work experience I have encountered many salespeople who were quick to take the opportunity to show their expertise through voicing their opinions, and by touting their past accomplishments as proof that others should listen and respect them. In fact, little else is more off- putting than this type of person. We all have perspectives, opinions and areas we feel knowledgeable in. That does not give us license to grab the podium at every opportunity in order to showcase our knowledge. These behaviors are most often ego driven, either by way of an underlying self-esteem issue or due to a false level of self appreciation.

If you want to earn and maintain the respect of others, begin by taking a sincere interest in what they know. Give another person the opportunity to share their knowledge and experience first – it enables you to learn things, and it makes them feel respected and appreciated. Most often they will reciprocate, giving you full opportunity to share your thoughts and experiences as well.

But this time the audience will be engaged rather than off-put.

Generally speaking, the stupidest person in the room is often the one who is doing most of […]

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By |August 31st, 2012|Blog, Business|0 Comments

Win a Free Travel Mug by Submitting a Post!

Since I began this site in early April the response has been amazing. We recently celebrated our 20,000th page view, registered 11,561 unique new viewers and have well over 100 direct subscribers!

It is time to turn it up a notch. We want more of YOUR stories, and are willing to bribe you:)

Beginning now thru September 9th, submit a POST and we will send you a Second Starters® travel coffee mug!

To submit a POST, simply choose a topic that is fitting to the categories we feature and send your completed POST to phil@secondstarters.com. I will email you back with any edits and/ or suggestions, or simply post your story under your username in the appropriate category.  Be sure to include your mailing address and the username you would like to be set up under in our system in your email!

Soon after you will receive a branded Second Starters® travel coffee mug in the mail in addition to your unique username/ password for future submissions!

These travel mugs are a $15 value, and are in limited supply – so if you would like one please send your story soon! We will post notification on the site when all the mugs are gone.

Thank you, and I am excited to hear your stories!

 

<a href=”http://www.hypersmash.com”>Hyper Smash</a>

Amazing Relationships Pt. 1 – Three Sure Ways to Strengthen Relationships

It became painfully obvious to me on my first International business trip. Americans expect immediate gratification in business. The rest of the world really doesn’t work that way. I think they are on to something.

One hour is considered a normal appointment here. At the hour’s end we expect to have moved the process forward. We need results, our company has to meet its Quarterly Target. Our meeting should yield a commitment, an order or at least a next step to one of those two. Isn’t that the prevailing mindset of most companies?

I think that we Americans should slow down! I think that we should stop pushing and start learning. I think that we should recognize that we are working with informed consumers who are looking to make educated decisions, not naïve lambs being led to the slaughter.

Relationships will naturally strengthen and grow organically by simply keeping the following in mind;

1) Trust doesn’t happen according to a schedule, deadline or timeline. Be gratefully for time your client grants, and use this time to better understand their needs. By doing so you will find ways to be of service to them that may not equate to orders, but will build trust. Stop looking for creative ways to ask for the order, start looking for opportunities to prove yourself to the client that do not involve them spending money with you. Find ways to demonstrate yourself as a committed resource to your client without expectation of reward, orders will naturally follow.

2) Prepare to listen. In order to effectively listen, you have to be ready. You have to really think through the things you would like to say – and review the products, specs and services you would like […]

By |June 1st, 2012|Blog, Business|2 Comments

The Fall of Facebook?

Less than a one hour into the second day of trading of Facebook, 88 million shares had changed hands – at a 12% decline in value from the day before. Speculation abounds as to what the future of Facebook will be and if the powerful social platform is declining in its relevance. If Facebook becomes yesterday’s platform, what will be tomorrow’s? Some say Google +.

While Facebook currently dominates the online social space, it is first a web-based product. The mobile versions of Facebook have been late to arrive and are only now beginning to incorporate many of the compelling features found online. With the purchase of Instagram, Facebook has set its course toward the next evolution of the web – MOBILE. But they are playing a game of catch-up.

Speaking of Mobile – Google’s Android powered Smartphones now own an estimated 56.1% of the world’s Smartphone market and according to the BBC own 39% of the tablet market. Apple does not have a social media platform of its own, Facebook has no entry into the Smartphone/ tablet market. Advantage Google.

Google’s search engine has become synonymous with internet searches. We do not say we will “Facebook” something, we “Google” it. Further, Google has now captured the dominant share of internet browser use – reaching 32.7% marketshare vs. Internet Explorers 31.9%. Why does all of this matter? Simple…

Anything posted on Google+ will drive SEO. The more friends in your circle, the better the SEO weighting you will receive in a Google search. The more activities, reviews, etc = higher SEO results. Google’s Chrome + Google +, Google Docs and Gmail offer all the integrated tools an individual or small business may need. And with one central entry point […]

By |May 21st, 2012|Blog, Business|2 Comments

5 Surefire Ways to Stay Relevant at Work After 50

The older we get the harder it can become to keep up. The changes that touch the workplace cannot be ignored. The more unfamiliar we are with the reshaping occurring in communication and technology, the greater the risk that we become irrelevant in the workplace.

The fax was cutting edge in the late ’90s and early 2000s – not so much today. Flash drives used to be the way to keep work with you during travel, now Dropbox and other cloud based storage have all but replaced them. Even email attachments are going the way of the dodo – in favor of FTP, YouSendIt and services such as Google Docs.

The way that business is done continues to evolve, thanks in part to Web 2.0, and in equal part to other technological advances made in the digital revolution. The way that we connect with one another has changed – conversations that used to take place in person or by phone now occur across texts, status updates and even Tweets. The way that we evaluate products and services is now to read online reviews, seek peer recommendations/ likes  and to use dedicated review sites such as Yelp, Angie’s List, etc. Even business processes have changed – for example,   sales prospecting now takes place as often on LinkedIn and Facebook as it does via direct contact.

In today’s world, the digital revolution is raging full steam forward. To fall behind is to eventually undermine your job security.

Here are five surefire ways to stay informed;

1) Buy new gadgets – I have always been an avid gamer, so it was a no brainer to purchase the Kinect system as an add-on to my X-Box 360.  If you are unfamiliar, Kinect uses body […]

By |April 25th, 2012|Blog, Business, Mindsets|1 Comment

The PMAC Principle – Snakes in the Workplace

We are all familiar with the Peter Principle – ‘every employee tends to rise to their level of incompetence’. What comes after that? The PMAC Principle. ‘Every employee who has risen past the limits of their own personal competency is  faced with three choices – grow, resign or become a work-snake’.

What is a work-snake? It is someone who bullies, postures, filabusters, manipulates, or undermines.

Face it – it takes hard work  to re-create yourself in order to grow into a work position. It takes brutal self-awareness to recognize personal limitations and self-educate or step aside.

To be a work-snake doesn’t require quite so much. A dash of lazy, a pinch of selfish coupled with two cups of manipulation and the recipe is nearly complete.

Do you know work-snakes? Have you seen the PMAC Principle in action at your workplace? If so, tell your story…and make it as raw and graphic as you like. The work-snake deserves to be exposed – and here is the place.

By |April 9th, 2012|Blog, Business|2 Comments

Horrible Bosses?

Meryl Streep in “The Devil Wears Prada” – the unpredictable, temperamental boss prone to demeaning her direct reports. Dabney Coleman, the sexist lecher in “Nine to Five”. “Third Prize is you’re fired” – Alec Baldwin as Blake in “Glengarry Glen Ross”. The boss is Hollywood’s favorite workplace villain, and the first thing we think of when friends or loved ones are unhappy at work. Boss demonization is a popular sport, but studies suggest the boss is not the leading cause of stress at work. It is actually co-workers.

Jonah Lehrer, in his excellent piece titled Are Your Co-Workers Killing You?, cites two compelling studies in support of the case against co-workers. The first, conducted at Tel Aviv University, tracked 820 adults for twenty years. They found that the perceived niceness of co-workers was directly correlated with increased risk of dying. While niceness of the boss showed little impact on mortality, people with little or no “peer social support” were 2.4 times more likely to die during the study.

The Whitehall Study, begun in 1967, followed 28,000 British civil servants. Remarkably, lower ranking workers between the ages of 40 and 64 had a mortality rate four times that of higher ranking employees in the same age ranges. Factoring out genetics and behaviors (smoking, drinking) – still nearly double the mortality rate. The cause of the significantly higher mortality rate was eventually singled out. Lower level employees lacked the authority to make staffing and work environment decisions – they in other words could not control their workday. The stress caused by their inability to control workplace demands, and more importantly to control their response to these demands, was found to create debilitating stressors. Citing Whitehall’s summary – “While a relentlessly intense […]

By |March 29th, 2012|Blog, Business|2 Comments

Communicate More Effectively

Considering that we spend an estimated 70 to 80% of our workweek communicating, you would think that we would all be expert at it. Clearly that is not the case in the workplace. Answering emails, participating in conference calls and meetings, individual discussions, phone calls, Instant Messaging, texting – in one form or another most of what we do in sales is to communicate. Surely given the 28+ hours of practice we get each week we should all be on the path to becoming communication gurus. But we are not, and there is an opportunity cost in lost sales for ineffective communications.

The average person speaks at speeds of 100 to 125 words per minute, but the person listening to them thinks at speeds of 400 and 500 words per minute. Given the disparity, disconnects naturally occur. Purposed and engaged listening will neutralize the disparity – but to do so requires one core element:  Preparation is the key to more effective verbal communications. This seems like a “no brainer,” but it’s not.   With preparation the speaker will be more on-point with what is said, and the listener will not be busy thinking of their responses and instead will be attentive to what is being said to them. Add to this the practice of summarizing, and you can up your verbal communication effectiveness significantly. Recapping what was said is the best way to be sure that the communication was clear and understood – so take just a moment to debrief and summarize at the end of each conversation. It will save time in the long run.

Emails and text messages are not the correct medium for conducting a complex dialogue.  They are definitely not the place for an argument […]

By |March 23rd, 2012|Blog, Business|0 Comments

Are Your Co-Workers Killing You?

Meryl Streep in “The Devil Wears Prada” – the unpredictable, temperamental boss prone to demeaning her direct reports. Dabney Coleman, the sexist lecher in “Nine to Five”. “Third Prize is you’re fired” – Alec Baldwin as Blake in “Glengarry Glen Ross”. The boss is Hollywood’s favorite workplace villain, and the first thing we think of when friends or loved ones are unhappy at work. Boss demonization is a popular sport, but studies suggest the boss is not the leading cause of stress at work. It is actually co-workers.

Jonah Lehrer, in his excellent piece titled Are Your Co-Workers Killing You?, cites two compelling studies in support of the case against co-workers. The first, conducted at Tel Aviv University, tracked 820 adults for twenty years. They found that the perceived niceness of co-workers was directly correlated with increased risk of dying. While niceness of the boss showed little impact on mortality, people with little or no “peer social support” were 2.4 times more likely to die during the study.

The Whitehall Study, begun in 1967, followed 28,000 British civil servants. Remarkably, lower ranking workers between the ages of 40 and 64 had a mortality rate four times that of higher ranking employees in the same age ranges. Factoring out genetics and behaviors (smoking, drinking) – still nearly double the mortality rate. The cause of the significantly higher mortality rate was eventually singled out. Lower level employees lacked the authority to make staffing and work environment decisions – they in other words could not control their workday. The stress caused by their inability to control workplace demands, and more importantly to control their response to these demands, was found to create debilitating stressors. Citing Whitehall’s summary – “While a relentlessly intense […]

By |March 23rd, 2012|Blog, Business|0 Comments

Managers – Learn to Trust

Micromanaging your staff is costly and a waste of everyone’s time. It leads to a demotivated staff, and eventually to turnover. Regardless of what you may think, if your staff is pouring over reports and past communications constantly in order to stave off your questions and work challenges, you are stealing away productive time from your team.

Like everything in life, micromanaging has evolved. It is not always practiced overtly or obviously. However like the frog in the pot of cold water, the heat gets gradually increased until the water is boiling. The frog never feels the heat increase because it happened so gradually that the frog gets…well, you know what the frog gets. These days micromanagers are more subtle.

Managers – micromanaging your team is NOT the same as developing them. Here’s the distinction – if you regularly brainstorm their next steps with them and offer constructive next step suggestions that they had not considered prior to your discussion, you are developing them. If you ask them to update you under the guise of developing them, but you bring little or no insight or forward thinking ideas to the meeting – you are not developing them.  You are making them give progress reports and that is micro-managing.

Micro-managing is also not the same as holding your staff accountable to timelines and deadlines. Ask yourself –  are you inspiring your staff to critically think? Do you actively participate in helping them discover missing pieces to their plan? Do you look for opportunities to create cross-department support and then facilitate it? And most importantly, do you check in regularly for progress updates in an effort to genuinely remove roadblocks and assist in the learning and execution curve? If so, […]

By |March 23rd, 2012|Blog, Business|0 Comments