Strategy

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3 Things I Learned On My Sales Journey

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One of my favorite things that I get to do is teach people. I am obsessed with education for myself and I truly love being able to educate others in a way that is going to help them succeed. What’s interesting, however, is that I didn’t always know that helping others and teaching people was a passion of mine. It was something that I learned when I first started out on my own sales journey.

In fact, I learned a lot of things when I first got into sales. Some were personal lessons but others were shareable. They were things I could teach. Here are the 5 things I learned on my own sales journey.

If you have a product or service, you have an obligation to learn how to sell that product or service.

When you’re relying on a particular product or service as the livelihood of your business and source of income, you are absolutely required to learn how to sell that product or service. If you don’t know how to sell it you will never be successful. Why? If you don’t know how to sell it then you don’t see the value in it. And if you don’t see the value in it, why should others?

If you can’t sell, you’re not in business.

You can be good at your craft…excellent at your craft even, but it will do you no good unless you know how to articulate the value you can provide to other people. You may understand that your product or service has the potential to save lives or save money or make life easier, but your customers can’t know that unless you tell them. What’s more? You need to be able to tell them in such a way that you solve their problems. If you can’t do that, then they don’t buy. If they don’ buy, then you’re not in business.

Sales can be taught.

Believe it or not, you don’t have to be born to sell. You can learn sales. As long as you understand what it is that you’re in business to do, and you have a strong desire to succeed, then you can learn how to be good at sales. It’s not a weird, mysterious process that takes place in the shadows or behind closed doors. It’s a concept you can learn with a little time and a lot of effort.

There are undoubtedly so many other things I learned on my sales journey and I doubt that I can communicate all of them in the form of a digestible blog post. These are merely three lessons that stood out from the early stages of my career. You can find out more about my journey (and how to start your own sales journey) by picking up my book, attending one of my mastery classes, or following me on social media!

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7 Qualities of a Great Direct Influence

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If you’ve started taking control of your own life, odds are that you’ve thought about how that may affect the individuals closest to you. Your inner circle, so to speak. More than likely some of the people that you currently spend time with on a daily basis aren’t on your level quite yet.  They say that you become the sum of the five people closest to you. So, it makes sense that we should try to evaluate each of these people for qualities conducive to success. Think about the following seven character traits when deciding who makes it into your inner circle.

Positivity

You want the people that are around you to be primarily positive people. Why? To help you be a positive person. When you spend a lot of time with someone you tend to take on some of their attitude as your own, so why not surround yourself with individuals that promote positivity. You want them to lift you up rather than bring you down.

Dedication

Dedicated people are motivating in their own right. You know they are committed to getting a job done regardless of what the job may be. They are less likely to desert you when things get tough, and more likely to support you in achieving your goals.

Confidence

Confidence is contagious and that’s enough of a reason to fill your inner circle with people that possess this particular quality. The trait goes hand in hand with positivity and is excellent for keeping spirits high. Make sure, however, to distinguish confidence from arrogance when evaluating someone’s character.

Activation

Some people tend to confuse activation with motivation.  You use motivation to psych yourself up on a daily basis, but it’s temporary. You have to keep coming back for more and the effects are relatively temporary. Activation, by contrast, is something you can use again and again. Think of it as a tool. You want the people around you to activate you. They should give you something that you can actually use for more than a single moment in time.

Inspiration

Choose to surround yourself with people that inspire you to do better, dream bigger, or work harder. Find people that make you want to keep going, even when you’re feeling like there’s no point. Those that think differently or creatively are also great inspirers.

Encouragement

This particular quality can be one of the most difficult to get right. You want the people around you to encourage you, but you also need to remember that they are not the reason that your goals have meaning. You can find significance in yourself. These people should support your goals, not define them.

Valuable

When I say that I want you to be around valuable people I’m not talking about individuals with a high net worth. I’m talking about people that add value to your life. These are the people that make you walk away from most conversations saying, “I can use that information.” They don’t have to offer you life-changing realizations, but they should provide you with a usable takeaway on a regular basis no matter how small.

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It’s All In How You Say Hello

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In today’s climate of ubiquitous technology and to-the-minute updates, if you can’t catch someone’s attention immediately then odds are you won’t catch it at all. Now more than ever it is critical to ensure that your elevator pitch is quick, to the point, and, above all, effective. So how do you do that? The answer, believe it or not, is in your hello.

Think about your last interaction with a new acquaintance. What was your introduction like? Was it generic? Cliche? Mind-numbingly boring? Was the other person’s the same? Failure to engage right away is one of the primary reasons we fail to engage later on…when it matters most.

Now, think about the last time you attended a concert. How did you feel when the band came on stage? Did the lights go down? Were there fog machines? Did they greet you with an ear-splitting yell and a few well-timed guitar chords? More than likely, they made sure that you were on the edge of your seat, earnestly anticipating which of your favorite songs they were going to play first. This is the kind of impression you need to leave with potential clients, investors, and partners. You need to wow them.

I know what you’re thinking: “Aaron, I can’t exactly smash a guitar underneath a perfectly-placed spotlight every time I meet someone new,” and that’s true. What you can do, however, is use that 15-second window (yes, that’s all you get) to create a lasting imprint in the mind of the other person. Here’s how.

Be Genuine
Most people are capable of telling when someone is putting on a show. It sounds scripted, and the sentiment commonly found in authentic statements is severely lacking. You need to believe the words you speak just as much as you want the other person to believe them.

Be Humble
There’s no need to boast if you truly believe in the message you are sending. Peacocking has a terrible tendency to cause listeners to tune out as they choose to focus on your ego instead. You can tell them what you’ve accomplished, but do it in a way that makes you seem grateful.

Show them why it matters
It’s no longer to be matter-of-fact with your abilities. I-statements are great, but they’re not effective when it comes to captivating an already distracted audience. Rephrase your abilities as skills that benefit others. I wouldn’t say “I teach business and sales strategy to entrepreneurs,” for example. Instead, I’d say “I’m grateful to have helped more than 300,000 individuals worldwide reach their business goals and excel in their sales ventures.”

If your hello speech incorporates each of the above elements and meets the other requirements I outline in my Sales Mastery course, you not only have a better chance at winning the attention of your conversational partner but also keeping it.

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How To Manage Rockstar Employees

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Having a team full of rockstars is a fantastic feeling. They do their work and they do it well, leaving you free to deal with issues better-suited to your leadership role. But what happens when your rockstars performers expect star treatment?

While it may be tempting to give your top-grade employees whatever they want to keep them happy, it’s actually quite detrimental to your company. Special treatment could cause other employees to feel resentment…something you don’t want if you’re struggling to keep them motivated in their first place. So, your best bet is to effectively manage your rockstar. Luckily, there are a few tactics you can employ to ensure you’re getting to most out of both parties.

Do Not Reinforce Bad Behavior
Rockstars often believe that they are exempt from several rules because of their value to you and the company. They may show up late, take longer lunches, or skirt corners. This is unacceptable. Hold them to the same standards as the rest of the team.

Do Not Make Exceptions In Front Of The Team
Similarly, top-performers are more likely to ask for favors or exceptions after exceeding a large goal or exhibiting an above-average performance. While it is acceptable to reward positive behavior in front of the other team members, it is never okay to grant these requests in public. In fact, I’d strongly recommend not granting them at all but every situation is different and you’ll need to evaluate on a case-by-case basis. Just be sure to evaluate and respond in private.

Build a 1-on-1 Relationship
You want to create a certain level of respect between you and your rockstar employees to keep them both motivated and engaged. Building a strong relationship is the first step in establishing that respect. It’s not enough to acknowledge their wins in public. You need to take the time to have meaningful conversations in a 1-on-1 environment. It doesn’t have to be daily, but it should be regularly.

Use Them For Training
Unfortunately, the reality of over-performing employees is that they are likely to leave you eventually. Their strong track record makes them ideal candidates for bigger, better positions. This means it is imperative that you get use them to improve the performance and knowledge-base of other team members. Ask if they’re willing to be a mentor or let others shadow their day-to-day activities. Every rockstar you employ should be training the next rockstar in preparation for their inevitable departure.

These are just a few of the tactics you can use to manage your top-level performers on a daily basis. What’s most important is that you set the standard at the start. Find out how to set and maintain standards, as well as how to effectively employ other team management strategies, in my Sales Leadership Mastery course.