Runner up!

Who remembers 2nd place?
That may not be a good question if you are asking a sports enthusiast like my husband, he remembers every NASCAR race, college football game and please don’t get him started on my son’s cross country races!!

Second place has been called the first loser, and often we discuss that no one remembers who the “runner up” was. I feel very differently about second place. In my opinion it is a perfect place to be. Let me share a typical second place scenario with you…

I place a call on a prospect, get the appointment, discuss the value we add to each other with a relationship – but I am told any one of the following reasons that a business relationship will not work out:
“My mom, sister, brother, uncle, dad… is in the same business.”
“I am really happy with my current relationship and do not want to upset my current relationship.”
“The company we use now does business with us and that means a lot to me.”
“I get really good service and I don’t want to risk changing that.”
“It is just too much trouble to make a change.”

To every one of those responses I say:
“I completely understand. Would you mind if I hang out in second place? We could build a relationship and then if anything changes, we won’t be strangers. And, if you ever want a second opinion on something, I am right here.”
Second place has served me pretty well. Life changes all the time. Second place becomes first place very quickly. One or two poor customer service problems, a family member changes jobs, companies change policies… anything can happen to move you into first place.
Let me caution you- if you ask someone for their business and they like you, and they trust you, but they don’t pick you… they will watch you very closely. You are automatically in second place in their mind. So, be very careful with that position. Nurture every prospect beyond the “ask.” It is a little bit like the “never give up” attitude.

This week I was honored to be in second place, I was probably in third place but who’s keeping track, right???
Recently, our Columbia Mo. Chamber of Commerce’s Women’s Network honored an outstanding female leader and mentor in my community (Athena International Award). I was one of three finalists; the other two women were pillars in our community and I was deeply honored to even stand with them. Nope, I did not win, but being a runner up was pretty good. Athena was the Greek virgin goddess of reason, intelligent activity, arts and literature. She was a goddess of wisdom and courage. Well, I may not have all of those traits (my sisters are falling out of their seats right now!), but maybe I have one or two – and that is pretty darn cool!

Photo: Jan Grossman, Vicki Russell, Me! (Athena International Award ceremony, Vicki Russell was named 2017 Athena)

PUSHY!

Pushy.

[poo sh-ee]

Adjective – obnoxiously forward or self-assertive.

We have all experienced this behavior from someone.  We have all felt uncomfortable because someone thought they had the right to place their goals and objectives ahead of someone else’s.

 

I call this “blinded by the light.”

Think of a movie scene where the light is at the end of the tunnel and a human is attracted to it with such gravitational force that it is like a meteor plummeting to the earth with a crashing force that it will annihilate anything in its wake.

 

Just this week I experienced this energy, drive, self-fulfilling behavior with complete disregard to my needs and my feelings.  I was approached by an older gentleman who asked for 20 minutes of my time in the next hour.  I was told it was not an option for me to meet and have a discussion.

Not only was I not feeling well, my husband was not feeling well and I had a number of priority items to handle.  It was also presented to me right before I had to stand and present before a group of colleagues.  I felt a number of emotions: shock, exhaustion, fury, wonder, and even a large lack of self-confidence.

 

Incredible as it may seem, I succumbed to the pressure and made myself available.  Much to my dismay, anger, frustration – the meeting did not go well and made all the feelings I had even worse.

 

Great salespeople never push their agenda before that of their clients or prospects.

Great salespeople always ask permission for someone’s time.

Great salespeople never expect someone to drop everything for them.

Great salespeople always want what is best for the prospect or client, and believes that a consumer is intelligent enough to come to a good decision for themselves.

Great salespeople never say “well you better do it this month or else…”

 

You may be told by your trainer to create a sense of urgency.

You may be told by your trainer to be persistent, “constant contact.”

You may be told by your trainer to share with your prospect how much it will help you if they do it today.

You may be told by your trainer that the prospect doesn’t know enough or cannot make that decision without all of your information.

 

Whether you are selling or not, professionals don’t behave this way either.

 

People!  Stop being pushy!!

Let me offer you how I approach asking someone for their time.  And if you are asking enough people for their time, you will have plenty of people to talk to.

First, call, email or ask face to face if someone would welcome a conversation with you.

Ask permission to reach out to them, with the purpose of scheduling a time for that conversation.

Follow through and reach out, via the channel that has been agreed upon, and schedule an appointment for that conversation.

When you do reach out, ask if it is a good time still, (sometime circumstances change and what was planned does not work,) be generous – time is the most valuable item anyone can give to another, handle it with great care.

Thank the person for their graciousness to you.

 

Do you want to be a great salesperson?  Start with courtesy.

 

I am so incredibly courteous with others time that this week when I asked someone if they thought I was a good salesperson they answered “I don’t really think of you as a salesperson.”

Good.  I am not blinding anyone by my light.

 

Deal Making Happens Every Day

Was there a time in life that I did not need the ability to make a sale? No.

As the middle of eight children, I worked a deal every day. Two of my sisters wore the same size shoes and clothes as I did, so we were dealing. Who got to sit next to Mom at church? We were dealing. Getting the front seat of the station wagon? We were dealing.

In all these instances, getting what I wanted had more to do with my preparation—my pre-call plan—than it did with convincing my siblings to see things my way. If you weren’t the first one to get out of bed, the first one to be ready and the first one out the door, the chance of getting the front seat was very low.

So in this, I learned a key to sales. If you don’t plan to make a sale, then you will never make a sale.

If you conducted a survey, more than half of those asked would say they cannot do sales, or even that they hate sales. The other half would not only love sales, but because they love sales, they would generously add how good they are at the art of making deals.

Harvard Law School has a certificate in deal making, which they call “negotiation.” And every good negotiation starts with preparation. In this first post, I’m first going to urge you to consider all the deals you make each day.

Once you realize the deals you’re making each day, I want you to consider how the results of those deals might have turned in your favor with a bit of preparation.

For example, if I have a morning meeting with clients, I’ll figure out all the minute details the day prior—down to the coffee. You see, if I didn’t, I might be busy making coffee when the prospect arrives. So, I struck a deal with a coworker through value creation.

First and foremost, I selected the right prospect (in this case, the best person to make coffee). If they have time to talk, I start by asking for help. Any basic psychology course will talk about humans’ innate desire to help one another.

”Jack/Jill, I think I have a great prospect coming in to work tomorrow and I’m wondering if you might help me with some set up for the meeting?

Unless they’re having surgery, who will say no?

“Sure, how can I help…”

After a great meeting with delicious coffee, update Jack/Jill on how it went, and thank them in front of others. When we give compliments, others learn how to earn compliments.

Another daily example is your daily lunch break. For example, if you’d gone to see who was in the break room before taking your lunch, you might have been able to time your midday meal with a colleague that has a strength or skillset you admire. If you’d time your lunch right, you might be able to strike up a conversation.

It’s a common exchange of value. They will enjoy speaking about something they love, and you’ve made them feel good by showing them you value their art. In return, you get to learn a bit of their expertise.

Opportunities are everywhere. But you must plan to make great deals.