Expert: Leader, Follower or Copycat?

When it comes to social media, probably 4 in 5 people you meet these days are experts. A quick Internet search reveals there are 310Genius baby million “social media” experts with 166 million grabbing the “social selling” expert moniker. That’s a lot of experts.

The problem, as I see it, is that “social media” is so big, so broad and so misunderstood that it is tough to pinpoint what expert really means. How do you really know if you are talking to one? Are you talking to someone who leads, follows or just copycat’s the work of others?

It takes 10,000 Hours (or close to it) 

Just yesterday I was interviewed for an edition of Top Sales World’s HardTalk podcast series. While talking to Jonathan Farrington about what it means to be an expert, for grins, I had looked up the definition before we got started with the interview. With so much noise being created by self-proclaimed experts, potential customers need a way to determine who’s got the goods and who does not, which might be tough if they aren’t even sure of the questions to ask or what skills to vet.

As defined on Wikipedia, “Experts have a prolonged or intense experience through practice and education in a particular field.”

While some will argue that you don’t need the 10,000 hours of experience that Malcolm Gladwell talks about in Outliers, I happen to believe that demonstrable experience actually matters. Do you think someone with no athletic experience can take up figure skating and within a year be competing in the Olympics? Anything is possible, but I’ve  NEVER heard of it happening.

Gladwell said in his book that “the key to success in any field is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing a specific task for a total of around 10,000 hours.” If you did nothing else but study, work with clients and practice your craft 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, you could get there in just over a year. Of course, we all know that isn’t realistic at all. More likely, we are talking in the neighborhood of five years at least. Expert status, I believe, takes time, it takes hard work and especially where social media is concerned, you must be constantly learning and adapting.

Tactics and One Trick Ponies

When it gets right down to it, you know you are talking to someone with social media chops when they demonstrate breadth and depth of knowledge of the various platforms and how they fit together. You may be a really good LinkedIn trainer, but that does not make you a social media (or social selling) expert. Someone who understands social media strategy and how it impacts Sales, Marketing and Service will have a clear sense of best practices, and they will also know where the potential for disaster or failure lies. They will be able to show you the strategic work that they’ve done.

Be wary of one proven process or one way of approaching things. What works for one customer won’t necessarily work for another one.  A truly experienced social media player knows that it all begins with strategy and that strategy is crafted after you invest the time to understand the core of a customers business. Tactics come after strategy and not the other way around.

Buyer Beware

At the end of the day, I suppose it is the way of the world. People latch onto hot ideas and hot terms and want to ride the wave without learning how to surf. But trusting your reputation, your sales and your business to “experts” could be dangerous. You may find out that all they are expert in is taking taking your money.

 

It’s All in the Details

As a new member of a non-profit board, the chair recently asked all of us to complete the Everything DiSC Work of Leaders assessment. Having completed a number ofbob the builderassessments through the years – Myers Briggs, DiSC, Hermann Brain Dominance, Strengths Finder, Emotional Intelligence 2.0 – the results were no big surprise. As Popeye would say, I am what I am. Still, I always find the data helpful in reminding me where I might have blind spots or where certain situations and people may challenge me.

Understanding personality and behavioral styles is a good thing. In business we deal with people. For sellers who understand style differences and how that plays out in sales meetings and communication, it can give them a real leg up when selling. When they adapt their style to give their buyers what they need, deals are won more often than lost. Sell the same way to everyone and the probability of missed opportunities increases.

Let’s say that your style is more high level thinker, optimistic and good at verbal communication but you tend to gloss over the details. If your buyer happens to have a style that requires details to make an informed decision, you need to be prepared to go there. If you try to reassure them through promises that you’ll do whatever it takes, that just will not be enough.

So assessments and understanding human behavior can be helpful in selling and in all interactions with other people.

Where assessments – and they are assessments not tests – become problematic is if other people try to box you in based on your style designation. This assumes that an assessment score is the sum total of who you are as an individual. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Assessments provide big clues as to a person’s dominant way of thinking, behaving or decision making, but even two people with the same style designation are not exactly the same. And, in the case of DiSC, which is based on four quadrants, you may be most dominant in two of them but that doesn’t mean you have no strength in the other areas.

If you don’t know DiSC, let me briefly break down the four quadrants.

  • D=Dominance. Priorities include Results, Action, Competency. Avoid the small talk and focus on demonstrating quick, confident action.
  • i= Influence. Priorities include Enthusiasm, Action, Relationships. Upbeat, outgoing, openness is important. Negativity, too many details or detached people are bothersome.
  • S=Steadiness. Priorities include Sincerity, Relationships, Dependability. Casual and low key, these folks like predictable, harmonious environments.
  • C=Conscientiousness. Priorities include Quality, Competency, Dependability. Quality and high standards is of utmost importance. Be prepared to present logical reasons for decisions.

Curious about my style?

My style is a balanced Di. These are my natural tendencies. Core priorities that shape my leader traits are:

  • Being Pioneering – strategic, big picture thinker, I often see trends ahead of others. Always willing to risk trying something new and untested.
  • Being Commanding – that’s the D in me. I will drive for results. Meeting after meeting but accomplishing very little or nothing at all… makes me nuts.
  • Being Energizing – positive, glass half full gal is who I am. I believe the best in others until they prove me wrong. I tend to focus on what we CAN DO not what someone thinks we can’t.
  • Being Affirming – seeking to include others comes naturally. Collaborative in nature, I like to share and acknowledge the good work of others.

And while these four descriptions are accurate, they are not the total picture of Barb. Though details can sometimes bore me, my style does not mean that I am not a detail oriented person. It means that you wouldn’t want to place me in a role that required detailed work 100% of the time. It drains my energy, and I’m the first to tell you that looking at detailed spreadsheets can make my head spin. But I’m pretty darn detailed when I need to be. If it is important, I do it. To assume otherwise strictly based on my personality type is incorrect and unfair.

What got me thinking about how people make assumptions about each other, especially when you complete assessments and share results among team members, is a comment made at recent meeting. The conversation related to a particular project that I am responsible for and jokingly someone said, its good that so & so is on your team because you aren’t much for details. It was a stupid thing to say. It is untrue and disrespectful. As a practitioner in the field of people development, that individual should know better.

Human beings have so much more depth than any assessment, regardless how detailed or scientifically validated it is, can ever fully describe. In team building, coaching or hiring, use assessments to provide insight about the styles of others, but never assume you know all there is to know about them.

The Future of Business is Change

Though I maintain my steadfast passion for igniting sales transformation, I do not believe that placing emphasis on improving just one silo of the business makes sense if anything is expected to change. The conversation should no longer focus on social selling or social media marketing, as if each is operating in a vacuum. Organizations need to become much more focused on becoming a “social business”. Time for change. Stopwatch on white background. Isolated 3D imag

Engaging consultants or trainers to help improve Sales, Marketing or Service capabilities – in silos – won’t net much more than marginal improvement. With departments myopically focused on their own improvement, not surprisingly, you rarely see the large scale, institutional change needed when the market evolves to a point where it is clear that business practices must change.

Social media did that…it disrupted business completely. Most companies were not – are not – getting a real handle on what that means for the future of their business. And I haven’t even started talking about the impact of multiple generations on a social business strategy.

As social, mobile, cloud and digital technologies are going to force business leaders to rethink everything they thought they knew about how buyers choose to purchase something, it isn’t only Marketing or PR that has to change things, but Sales, Service and every other department too. The connected buyer communicates through any number of modalities…text, phone, email, mobile, social networks – LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, blogging – and cloud computing services like Evernote or Dropbox. Not everyone with dollars to spend will want to interact with your company in the same way. If you keep trying to force them to do that, you’ll lose.

After eight years, I thought companies would be seeing greater success and be a little farther along in their strategic use of social media to support business objectives in Marketing, Sales and Service. One reason it isn’t happening is because social strategies ARE NOT LINKED to the performance of business goals. According to Brian Solis and Charlene Li in their white paper, The Evolution of Social Business, they suggest that business use of social media is often guided by a peer or competitive-driven “social for social’s sake” philosophy. Unfortunately, there is a ton of truth in their observation.

It is rare to find the company that doesn’t relegate the social strategy to the Marketing department even though social now impacts the entire enterprise (inside and out), but certainly Sales and Service in big ways. Even if companies establish measurable outcomes to track, and it’s a big IF, social initiatives fizzle and die due to a lack of strategic vision, funding and oversight that is guided by top down vision from the C-Suite. This has to change.

Buyers have choices…lots of them. You are kidding yourself if you think otherwise. Do you know what happens from that very first interaction with a prospective customer? Do you know what they are thinking? Do you know how you stack up in their minds?

What about your customers? Are they sticking with you? Are they happy? Are you sure? What happens if something goes wrong? What’s the service and support experience like? You may think you know the answers to these questions, but my bet is that your company is not doing as well as you think.

If you expect to have a future in business, your business has to change. Stay tuned for my next several posts, because I will be sharing my own personal experiences as a business buyer. Hopefully, as a business leader, it will give you a bit more to think about.

No is a Complete Sentence

For a long time, I’ve struggled with saying no to people. Hard to say if it is simply my natural inclination to want to help out, or my ego feeling puffed up because someone wants my help. It could be a little of both. Either way, saying yes to the wrong activities has very often gotten me in trouble.iStock_000016608876Small

The curious thing is that I’m not alone. I ran a quick web search on the phrase “hard time saying no” and in .85 seconds, I receive 450,000,000 results. Clearly, I’m not the only one with a problem.

For years I have pondered why I have difficulty saying no. After all, I have friends and colleagues who are masters of no, never giving it a second thought. Not me. Uttering the word used to eat at me. I felt guilty. I felt like a jerk.  It stressed me out to cancel something when I should never have agreed to it in the first place. Worse is when I’d honor the commitment but then be completely ticked off at myself for wasting my time.

Without learning to say “no”, here are just a few of the things that are likely to happen:

  • Your priorities become secondary and you may end up never getting to them.
  • Acquaintances burn time you can spend on your goals, your hobbies or with friends and family.
  • Burn out.
  • Lack of focus by allowing yourself to be pulled in competing directions.
  • There is no time left to say “yes” to the really important opportunities that come along.

I don’t remember exactly where I heard it, but it is said that, “No is a complete sentence.” As simple as that sounds, it still feels a little harsh to me. What I’ve done instead is thought about the various requests I’ve received through the years and have a plan for what I’ll say when the next ask comes along.

Here are three examples…

If you want a “pick your brain” meeting with me, be prepared to send me a written agenda and the clear purpose for the meeting. NOTE:  this stops about 99% of all requests. Should I agree to meet in person, it will cost you more than a cheap lunch. Dinner at an upscale restaurant and a really nice bottle of red will get you in the neighborhood of my typical consulting fee.

Want to meet to talk about how we might “partner”? A first meeting in person isn’t in the cards, but I may agree to a 15-minute exploratory call. You’ll need to give me a compelling reason why 15-minutes is worth it. You can start with the agenda.

If you want me to speak at your conference, you need to pay my fee. I’ve racked up plenty of “visibility” thank you very much. When I do say yes, don’t make ridiculous demands on my time. I don’t send my presentations weeks in advance.

Going forward…

At the start of the year, I blogged about going big, big, big, which will be tough to do unless I remain selfishly focused on what matters most to me. I want to encourage you to be selfish too.

Looking back on the first month of 2014, I’m pleased to say that I’ve done a great job turning down requests that don’t fit my purpose and plan. Go Barb! It isn’t all perfect though. I have some egg on my face for agreeing to at least one project that sounded great at first, but ultimately wasn’t a fit for me. It is embarrassing to back out.

Simon Sinek asks, “What’s your why?” I’m asking, “What’s your no?”

The Road Ahead

In 2006, I began evangelizing what I would eventually call “social selling”. I can promise yousocial-selling1-300x2272 that at that time sales leaders thought I was nuts. They believed that social media might impact marketing’s role and that was about it. These leaders did not understand that what social media (in the collective) really meant was that buyer behavior was changing. Buyers were no longer relying on sales people for information about products and services. They were using the Internet and social networks to start the selling process by doing their own independent homework.

By 2009, it was absolutely crystal clear that sellers – B2B sellers in particular – needed to start taking the changes in buyer behavior a lot more seriously. It is why I felt compelled to write a book on the topic called The New Handshake: Sales Meets Social Media.

Moving into 2010, LinkedIn was definitely evolving into more than just a job seekers tool. Significant platform changes gave sellers ways to find prospects more quickly and to promote a brand impression of credibility and expertise through rich, dynamic profiles in which presentations, white papers and all manner of great content could be shared. Twitter was becoming more of a force in selling and blogging created new opportunities for sellers to create branded, educational platforms that helped them showcase their industry knowledge and perspectives.

And now we have entered a New Year. Before we look to what I believe lies ahead, let’s take a quick look in the 2013 rear view mirror.

This was a year when mass numbers of trainers, sales experts, marketers, software companies and even Joe the Plumber began pushing something brand new – to them – social selling. This is new, this is radical, you need to get on board, the experts shouted. This will make all your sales problems disappear. Social selling will fill the top of your sales funnel, increase revenue and pipeline, bring more prospects to your doorstep and qualify all your leads.

Heck, if you believe all the experts, social selling will make your breakfast, dress you, handle your outbound phone calls, book your appointments and conduct your sales meetings without you being required to attend. Frankly, you don’t actually need to show up at work anymore, because social selling is going to close those deals without you. Just expect your commission checks in the mail. WOW – sign me up!

Can we PLEASE dial down all the B.S.? It isn’t doing sellers or their leadership any favors.

By all accounts, 50% of sellers missed quota in 2013. This has been a continuing trend for years. In fact, 2013 saw more decline in quota attainment than during 2011, 2010 or 2009…all tougher economic years. Perhaps you could get away with blaming the economy then, but what about in 2013? Not so much.

Does social have a place in selling? YES. Does it work? YES. Does social selling solve every conceivable sales problem beginning with… sellers with abysmal sales skills? No. No. No. Did I say no?

I’m one of the first two people to begin using the term social selling in 2009. From the beginning, I never promoted the ridiculous idea that social selling was THE thing that would cure widespread sales problems. Social selling – as I defined it and promoted it (then and now) – was meant to represent the evolution of the buyer’s journey, which by necessity meant that sellers need to evolve their sales approaches right along with the changes in buyer behavior.

1. Buyers were/are leveraging alternative mediums to research and vet possible vendors.

Tired of pitches and sellers who don’t understand their business, they take to the net to do their own homework. In 2013, as much as 80% of buyers are researching business solutions before talking to sales. While buyers may not have all the information they need to make a purchase, they absolutely have enough information to determine which companies make their short list.

2. A social seller learns and integrates new technology (social media) into their overall sales process.

If buyers are shutting out sales people by deleting emails and unsolicited phone calls and doing their initial research online, using social networks provides alternative ways to be seen and demonstrate credibility and expertise, in order to earn the right to have a sales conversation. Using social media/social networks as part of a selling strategy creates opportunities to “proactively” give buyers reasons to talk to sellers.

Obviously, I’m a huge proponent of using social as part of selling, but using technology is a fraction of what great selling is all about. Where does social selling play a role in the sales process? Networking, prospecting, building referral relationships, lead gen, sales research and fostering ongoing customer relationships. But these are tactics and you don’t just sit at your desk all day long pounding away on social media. As Joanne Black would say…pick up the damn phone!

What I see happening in 2014 is…

More of the same dismal sales performance if sales leaders keep allowing themselves to be convinced that quick fixes exist or that technology does the selling. Suck it up! If 50% (or 40%, 30% or 20%) of your sales team didn’t make quota, it will take longer than 30-days and one or two training’s to move the needle in any significant way.

To all the self-proclaimed social selling experts I ask… how exactly does social technology solve any of these problems?

  • Sales people who cannot sell.
  • People who should not be in sales positions at all.
  • Selling like it is 1980. Feature dumps are useless.
  • Using technology to hammer prospects with pitches.
  • Measuring activity for activities sake.

Oh, I could create a much longer list about the problems plaguing sales organizations, but I’d rather have you read colleague, Jonathan Farrington’s excellent post underscoring what he believes went wrong for sellers in 2013. It will give you a lot to think about!

My passionate hope for 2014 is that sales leaders will stop believing the hype pandered by people who profit from promoting the quick fix. One or two training programs – I don’t care how good they are or who delivers them – will NOT resolve the systemic problems that have been building over time. It is time to wake up and face reality. I want to see sales leaders step up and create a bold new vision for what’s possible. And I want to see sales leaders go to the mat to ensure that widespread changes are undertaken, in order to support the new vision. Band aids fix nothing.

The real question is will sales performance in 2014 be any different than in the years gone by? Only time will tell.

Go Big or Go Home

A few days ago, I returned home from a much needed vacation in Germany. International travel is a passion of mine, and I had let four years pass since my last trip to Ireland. It was time to get away. Fifteen days of travel through Cologne, Heidelberg, Nuremberg, Berlin and Dusseldorf, living from a small suitcase and a backpack. It was heaven.

Break out of your rut. Lighten your load. Recharge your energy. Transform your thinking. Go Big, Or Go Home Concept

I had fallen into a serious rut, but I kept making silent excuses for doing nothing about it. Thank goodness for that moment of inspiration a few months ago when I said to my brother, “What do you think about traveling to Germany for the holidays?” He’d been to visit me in Atlanta the last two years, and though I could have journeyed to his California turf, I felt I needed to do something much bigger for myself. He was game and off we went.

As I lived life without a car, hung out with my bro, enjoyed the Christmas markets, ate great food, enjoyed the beer and wine, marveled at the castles and dreamed of what life must have been like for the royals who had built them, the boredom and stagnant energy I’d been feeling dissipated into thin air. I was unplugged, present and happy. Obligated to nothing and no one. Freedom in every sense of the word.

As 2013 winds down, I’m thinking about what lies ahead in the coming year. The causes I want to champion, the contributions I’d like to make, the life I plan to live. I don’t make “resolutions”, but I am making a commitment to myself to do things differently. My new mantra can be summed up with this one simple phrase…go big or go home.

My plan is to play a bigger game, and here are 5 ways that I intend to do it.

1. Surround myself with different people. As it relates to business, I like what Chris Brogan said about this one…”If the people you surround yourself with are in the same game as you, how will you play bigger?” On the personal front, I’m just not wasting time with people who do not inspire, motivate or energize me. Conversely, people shouldn’t want to hang with me if I’m not doing the same for them!

2. Stop censoring myself, don’t let others try to censor me and say what I want to say. I wrote a few blog posts this year that stirred up some controversy. I plan to do more of that going forward. Not because my goal is to create a shit storm to get attention, but because I feel strongly that there are some injustices that will never be righted if no one has the courage to say anything.

3. Take more risks. Geezoo, at this point in my life, what have I got to lose? Playing safe equals boring. I don’t want to be boring or get to the end of my life and have a mountain of regret staring me in the face.

4. Filter out the noise. Tune out the chatter from people who don’t matter. Surprising how many folks show up unannounced with opinions about what others should or should not do. I’m tuning them out. They don’t matter. Pretty much as simple as that.

5. Say no more often. When it comes to saying no, I’m definitely a work in progress. It is in my DNA to want to help people. The problem is that if I’m always helping everybody else, there is no time left for me. Playing bigger means it is OK to put me first!

Traveling Germany woke me up from what can only be described as a walking coma. That’s why it is so important to take vacation, make time to completely check out and get away. It gives you new perspective and provides a strong reminder that going through the motions of daily life isn’t actually living.

Getting the Sales Forecast Right: A Sales Mastery Interview with Rob Brown

Last week, I talked to Rob Brown about sales compensation and forecasting and a new tool that he has developed to help ensure that those forecasts are actually accurate. Prior to the interview, I had Rob walk me through how his forecasting tool worked, and I admit that I was impressed. Easy to use and it uses a visual appeal to help you spot potential problems easily.
Let me tell you about Rob…

Robert Brown, President of Incite! Decision Technologies, is an experienced decision strategist with over 17 years of professional experience. He provides advanced decision guidance, risk management, and business analytics to help executive decision makers gain deep insights into complex and risky capital investment opportunities, system behavior, and planning exercises. Robert is a 1992 graduate from the school of Mechanical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

When you listen to the interview, you’ll learn:

  1. How sales compensation and sales forecasting typically functions today.
  2. The gaps that sales management needs to know about and why.
  3. The problem that Rob’s forecasting tool attempts to solve.
  4. Conceptually how the tool solves the problem that Rob uncovered in his work with sales teams.
  5. The information that the tools provides to Sales Executives when striving to accurately predict their revenue.
  6. The sales groups that benefit most from Rob’s forecasting tool.

And more…

Enjoy the interview!

Stop Doing That: An Entrepreneur Mastery Interview with Essie Escobedo

In January, I wrote a blog post about a little book called Stop Doing That! 21 Activities Critical to Business Success that YOU Shouldn’t Do written by my colleague Essie Escobedo of Office Angels. The message is powerful. If you want to succeed as a business owner, you have to transform your thinking and stop trying to do everything yourself. The book prompted me to start a new podcast series called Entrepreneur Mastery. Naturally, I wanted Essie as my first guest.

Let me tell you about Essie…

A veteran small business owner with more than 20 years’ experience starting and running two success businesses, Essie knew what she needed when she was in the corner office – stellar accountants, administrators and project managers who were flexible enough to fit in where they were needed and move on to the next challenge. She also realizes that the employee-like performance she wanted had to come at a nonemployee-like price. Essie launched Office Angelsto bring the skills and talents of a world class support staff to even the smallest business owner.

Here are a few of the things you’ll learn about when you listen to my conversation with Essie:

1. Why she wrote the book in the first place.

2. Why it is difficult for business owners to let go and feel they have to do it all themselves.

3. The #1 thing that Essie believes business owner MUST understand about their business to be successful.

4. What you lose when you insist on doing everyone alone.

5. How the concept of Office Angels came together.

6. The difference between Office Angels and a traditional staffing agency.

Thanks for listening! Oh, and go buy the book!

STOP doing that!

As an avid reader and learning junkie, I can’t think of a nicer gift than to receive a book. Just such a gift showed up in my mailbox during the holidays, and I was delighted to see that it had been written by my colleague Essie Escobedo, the Chief Executive Angel at Office Angels. The book is called STOP doing that! 21 Activities Critical to Business Success That YOU Shouldn’t Do.

At fewer than 100 pages, Essie words of wisdom smacked me right upside the head yesterday morning. I didn’t have so much of an “ah ha” moment, as I did an “oh $%*#” moment when I realized that out of 21 activities, I’m guilty of doing 15 of them. Ouch!

Right then, I decided that I needed to change some things. How else can I expect my business to grow to the level I’ve been envisioning? But it is a funny thing about change. We commonly think that change of any significance takes a long time to make happen. I’ve come to agree with Tony Robbins that this is a myth. Start feeling enough pain and I guarantee you’ll change anything – instantly.

Entrepreneurs largely think that they have to do it all themselves and often use lack of money to fund the necessary resources as the excuse. Been there. I’ve boot-strapped it like everyone else, but the problem is that there will NEVER be enough free resources available to help you get to where you need to go. You must invest in yourself and your business and guess what…you must delegate the things that you don’t do well and that pull you away from your core strengths. The fact is that you’ve got to spend money to get the professional assistance you need in order to create a thriving business.

While I’m not going to share the entire list – because I want you to buy Essie’s book – I want to use activity #8 Creating Your Own Business Plan, as an example of what I resolved to change immediately. Yes, I have a sales and marketing plan, which probably puts me farther ahead than many small business owners, but an honest-to-goodness business plan that looks at all aspects of my business and considers today and the future of my company? Uh, a little lacking there. And I know exactly why. Not only am I too close to the situation and think all of my ideas and strategies are brilliant – come on, what business owner doesn’t? – but I’m not the most skilled at it. I am fully aware of the importance of having a clear and detailed roadmap but with so many opinions out there about how to do planning well, I become overwhelmed before I even begin. Convenient excuse, isn’t it?

If you truly want to succeed, you must hire help! It really is that simple. I know. I did it yesterday when I hired a business advisor to help me get that plan in order.

Now it’s your turn. Read Essie’s book. Determine what help you need. Commit to hiring someone immediately, do it, then come back to my blog and share your success story.

By the way, I’ll be interviewing Essie about her book in an upcoming podcast on Entrepreneurial Mastery. I know you’ll want to tune in!

New Year, New Questions

sales, social media, social selling, planning, goalsI’ve spent a substantial amount of time over the last few weeks reflecting. Personally and professionally, 2012 was another pivotal year that included, among other things, the loss of my beloved shepherd/retriever Shorty, and the closing out of a business partnership that didn’t quite turn out as I had hoped.

Though tough for me to admit, I was feeling a little defeated at the end of the year. After all, I worked hard. I gave my all. But there I stood at the end of the year, feeling as if I’d taken two steps backward, and I wasn’t happy about it.

What to do?

For me, the choices were pretty simple. I could choose to focus on what went wrong and spend time entertaining myself at my own private little pity party. Or, I could choose to ask for the help that I needed to get myself back on track. I chose the latter.

Help came in the form of a book called Awaken the Giant Within. A long-time fan of Tony Robbins, I’d read the book twice before. At least I thought that I did. This time around I must have been more open and receptive to doing the work, because I found myself saying many times…How did I miss that before? The insights I’ve gained have been invaluable.

And I want to share one with you today:
Ask better questions. Questions that empower you and inspire you to take action.

For some of you, your sales year begins anew. For others, you are at the mid-way point in your fiscal year and may have just gone through some grueling reviews of your sales performance. In either case, what you choose to do next, where you decide to focus your attention will chart your course.

When things don’t work out, it can be easy to default to Why me? If you focus on that question, you are sure to come up with a list of all the reasons why life just isn’t fair. All that does for you is to create more negative energy, which can never lead to a positive outcome.

Regarding any challenges you may be facing, I want to you to use these 6 questions as you think about them.

How can I turn things around?
What is positive about the problem?
What am I willing to do to create the outcome that I want?
What can I learn so that I never have to repeat the situation again?
How can I improve my product or service?
How can I enjoy the process of turning things around to get what I want?

Working through questions such as these leads to a more empowering and positive state of mind. And that’s when miracles occur!

Want better results, a better outcome? Ask better questions.