The Keys To Confidence?

Recently I have been speaking to companies, corporations, Associations and individuals about a topic that had not been one that we would publicly speak about. No it’s not sex, drugs, religion or any of the taboo topics.  It’s one that until now, many of us hid…and did it quite well.  The topic is CONFIDENCE and it’s something that many of us struggle with… and many more of us deny we have trouble with.

This morning I was glancing through a magazine that caught my eye.  In the middle of the cover was an article called “The Keys To Confidence”…you can bet I started to thumb through it and hopefully find even more data for this new awareness of this old struggle.  I was completely disappointed as the entire magazine was about losing weight, plastic surgery, dental procedures, eye lifting, butt enhancing and the list goes on. Where will I kind the Keys to Confidence in any of these featured stories and ads? Perhaps it should be called “Where Did I Lose My Keys To Confidence” instead.

What are we doing to ourselves, our daughters, our granddaughters? What about our husbands and sons and grandsons? This issue of the magazine was about gifts to give for the holidays. If your husband came home with a gift certificate for weight loss, I would bet you could release 180 pounds or so by tossing him out the door?  All kidding aside, we are not creating happiness or joy or gratitude or confidence or loving ourselves when we read these magazines. As we get older should we hide the fact that we have lived decades and have the amazing life changes in our faces and bodies to prove it? The children you brought in to the world, the bonus children you inherited by choice, the places you’ve visited, the lives you’ve changed…certainly that accounts for something…doesn’t it?

Today I am without internet service. Who knows why and who knows when it will return. Instead of pouting and doing nothing, I decided to pick up some of the magazines I had put in a pile to read and pull out articles that I could use about programs I want to write and add to.  I guess this magazine was not the right one to start with except it gave me a reason to write a blog post.

It’s time to be kind again. Kind to each other, kind to strangers, kind to those that need our help, kind to our friends, kind to our family but most of all…kind to ourselves. Confidence doesn’t mean photo shopping ourselves to look like a model. It doesn’t mean we look beautiful only after we have plastic surgery or lose weight. It means we look in the mirror and love who is looking back.  Susan Sarandon said it best, “I look forward to being older, when what you look like becomes less and less and issue and what you are is the point.”

Go ahead, take a good long look. I don’t know about you but the person you are seeing has the “Keys To Confidence” that you are looking for.

How High Are Your Standards?

I always have interesting conversations and incredible people watching episodes when I’m at the airport.  I listen and observe, I engage and I observe some more.  At one airport, I was waiting for a flight and we were delayed so many times that it was almost a game to see when the app and the actual board in front of us would match as to the newest departure time.  There was a woman standing next to me. She was well-dressed and was friendly enough.  We were sharing some travel stories and then we got to “what do you do?” I told her I was an Executive Coach, a speaker, trainer, radio show host and author. She asked who I worked with and I gave her that information. I of course turned the conversation to her and asked what she did. She worked for a large organization and had been there for many years… “After all, why should I leave? I get paid, don’t have to do too much and I get to do some traveling.” The conversation went on for a bit and she mentioned that she had never had a coach but her boss swears by them.  Of course I needed to probe a little more and she told me, without any hesitation, she had never and would NEVER hire a coach because she would be expected to work more and harder and that is not what she wants to do. It started me thinking about standards and how as entrepreneurs we need to set the bar higher than we can even imagine. People will choose to work with you if what you are offering them is the best quality or service to solve their problem.

The truth is most people don’t like high standards because they create a lot of work – especially the kind of work that nobody likes in the first place. In the real world, getting from good to great requires extraordinary efforts and high standards. It demands more time than you want, more energy than you have, and more cooperation than any normal person can be expected to contribute.

That’s IF you want high standards. If you are willing to settle for “good,” things can be much easier – and you can be much nicer. How about if we talk about standards…for instance what are they anyway?

Your standards define how you act, which, in turn, builds trust in your brand. They can be guidelines that describe your quality, your performance, your style or your systems. Standards must align with your mission, business objectives, and leadership, and be implemented consistently.

What about our own personal standards? Are they written on a wall for all to see? Not necessarily, but think about this; personal standards are what separates the highest achievers from everyone else. Personal standards are nothing more than a set of behaviors. These behaviors are built upon expectations you have of yourself in a variety of situations. Your personal standards are reflected in how you treat yourself, and also in how you treat other people. They are also reflected in how you expect to be treated by other people. When you have high standards you expect to be treated with the highest of regard. However, when your standards are low it suggests that you are lacking in the self-esteem department. Remember though, no matter who your customer is, you shouldn’t change your standards to meet theirs.

Your personal standards are also reflected in the promises you keep, the way you show up, and are reflected in the quality of your work, values and communication. In fact, everything you do and say gives others an indication of the personal standards you live by. As women, we might have to work a little harder and set the bar a little higher to be treated on an equal playing field, and that’s ok.  It’s just a little extra stretch…and we’re used to that.

Luckily, if you turn to entrepreneurship as a way to fulfil your potentials and meet your standards as well, there are so many valuable resources to learn from. No longer do we need to learn everything through trial and error! And that feeling that you’re not alone in your striving, that helps. Just recently I’ve interviewed Stefan Pretty, an interesting Scottish entrepreneur who created Subbly, a management software for subscription businesses. But what really inspired me is the way he shows a step-by-step approach (that’s what I love about it…plus it’s easy to follow) on how to start a subscription box, making that start line (which is often the most difficult one) as straightforward as possible. And once you actually start something, it becomes easier to continue evolving and also, raise the standards when you realize that goals were more achievable then you thought!

Speaking of which…Do you have goals that you would like to achieve? Have you ever considered that in order to achieve these goals that you must first raise your personal standards in certain aspects of your life? Setting low standards will only take you so far along your journey towards your goal. With low standards you will simply not put enough work, time, energy or resources into this goal. You will not be able to give this goal what it requires, and therefore you will end up not getting the results you truly want.

When you set high standards you immediately raise your expectations of what’s possible. You suddenly expect more from yourself, more from your actions, and more from others. And with a higher set of expectations you are willing to do more to get the results you’re after, and your performance level shoots straight up.

As Tony Robbins said, “Any time you sincerely want to make a change, the first thing you must do is to raise your standards.”

Don’t be like my airport buddy thinking that having a coach means others will expect more from you and that is a negative thing…after all, what is wrong with that?

 

The Value Of Coaching

When I started my company in 2009, one of the first things I did was to understand what I didn’t know how to do. I loved people, I could sell, I wanted to make a difference and always wanted to bring value.  All sounds great so far right? What I didn’t really know how to do was to create a company or a business that would support me in loving people, selling, making a difference and bringing value.

So the first step was knowing what I needed and then realizing I didn’t know what I didn’t know and that is where my business coach came in.  She sat me down and asked me a lot of questions, listened to my goals or dreams and together we worked together to put that in place.  Again, sounds great so far right?  Here’s the REAL truth.  You have to know how to listen to your coach.  They have the experience and expertise. If you had an athletic coach who told you to hit the ball or kick the ball or catch the ball or whatever with the ball and you thought you knew better, where do you think that would end up?  Ok not much different with a business coach.

Everything she told me to do made perfect sense, however, I already knew that, already tried that and was already to dismiss that.  Let me just say that if you asked me what type of person I don’t ever want to coach…it would be the ones that say I’ve done that already, I’ve tried that already and the rest of that nonsense.  During one of my sessions, it was decided that I would write a book.  It wasn’t necessarily my decision as it was never on my radar, but my coach suggested that since I had 30 years of “stuff” in my head, why not organize it and share it with others.  I finally agreed and she told me to have an outline, not the book itself, just an outline completed by a certain date.  I sheepishly agreed and didn’t really give it another thought.  Remember, I knew better…The date came and we were having a session and towards the end she asked me to show her the outline. It was not completed or really, it was not even started.  She was less than happy but very professional.  She didn’t say what she probably wanted to say but she did say this… “Let’s get in the car and drive for a few minutes.  Then let’s open the windows and throw all your money out, roll up the windows and leave.” I thought she had lost her mind and then she finished with “Why are you paying me all this money when you don’t do any of the work? How will your business ever get off the ground? How will people know who you are?  How will you ever make a difference or bring value?”  That was the day I realized how important a coach really is.

The truth is that coaching helps people focus on the things that are contributing to their being stuck, and then move beyond them.  I knew I was stuck in a place that I didn’t recognize and I needed someone who knew better than I did and who was totally objective to move me along. Harvey Mackay said, “Athletes and actors have long hired coaches to help prepare for a specific competition or role. But they aren’t the only ones who can benefit from expert advice. Coaches are available to help people in any field improve their “game.” You see will all need to improve our game…no matter what field that is in.

There are so many reasons to have a coach for your business. Ever think about what qualities you should look for? I put together a Slide Share about this topic.  Here are the highlights and you can go to slideshare.net- 15 Qualities You Should Look For In A Business Coach. You can check it out at https://www.slideshare.net/JHoberman/15-qualities-you-should-look-for-in-a-business-coach.  The highlights are below:

  • FRIENDSHIP Builds a Mutual Relationship based on mutual respect. Look for someone who uses respectful dialogue. This could turn into a life-long friendship. Even though this begins as a business relationship, in order to be truly effective, it generally goes beyond that phase because the coach learns as much from the client as the client learns from the coach.
  • TRUST Not everyone in today’s society has a trusted advisor they can count on. Many people have ulterior motives when they are asked to help someone else. A great coach is someone you can trust and has true interest in your success and reaching your self-declared goals.
  • LISTEN A great coach really understands good listening is often taken for granted. The very best conversations and relationships involve our intentional listening- listening to learn, with a clear and quiet mind, not just waiting for our turn to speak. Listening is a great coach’s gift to their client!
  • INSPIRE A great coach helps create a vision and helps describe it. They will understand your passion and continues to inspire you by reminding you of your original passion and purpose.
  • EXPERIENCE A great coach should have years of experience and speaks your language. Their experience should not only bring an understanding in business, but more importantly, experience with people.
  • GOALS Many times goals are set too low requiring minimal effort to reach them, or too high where it becomes unrealistic to reach them. A great coach helps you set realistic goals that are achievable but requires effort to reach them.
  • MOTIVATION What drives you? What are you looking to achieve? It’s easy to be derailed when your goals aren’t reached quickly enough. A great coach defines your goals and breaks them down into small steps so that you can see successes along the way.
  • ORGANIZED A great coach provides organization & simplification. They help order thoughts and gives a formula for success and help develop a process to achieve whatever you want to accomplish. A great coach customizes the process to align with your needs.
  • CHALLENGE A great coach identifies challenges. Including ones that you may not even see which can prepare you for a smoother outcome. Remember, you don’t know what you don’t know!
  • PATH A great coach develops solutions. They help develop a path out of the challenges at hand. A road map that runs interference and provides a clear path to achieve your vision.
  • EXPECTATIONS A great coach is someone who helps guide expectations. They help you to understand your own expectations which tend to be influenced many times with over optimism. Reasonable expectations with early successes, victories and important milestones reached will take away the discouragement many find while navigating a difficult path.
  • GROWTH A great coach ensures your growth by challenging you. They move you out of your comfort zone with necessary steps and actions to achieve your goals and create scenarios and opportunities for you to be well rounded.
  • MEASURE A great coach evaluates your performance. They develop a process that measures your performance. Constantly evaluating your performance with real time feedback gives you the opportunity to learn and trains you to solve your own challenges with a set of effective tools.
  • ACCOUNTABLE A great coach is an accountability partner. For your self-declared goals, a coach will provide constructive feedback so that you can achieve what you set out to do. You are less likely to hold yourself fully accountable if you don’t share your goals with someone that is a trusted and objective partner.
  • SUPPORT A great coach is supportive. They are always there for support even when there may not be anyone else that can see, believes in, or supports your vision.

Remember, Coaching is the universal language of change and learning.

What Would You Do-Over?

I was thinking about some of the things that have happened in my life, both the amazing and the not so much fun times.  I started daydreaming about the woulda, coulda, shoulda ways the outcome might have been different and realized that things happen just as they are supposed to and that everything we do has a lesson attached to it…but what if we got a second chance to change things? What if we were able to take some of the adversities we go through and turn them around and what if we had a Do-Over?

When we think about fairy tales, everyone lives happily ever after…but even fairy tales have adversity…the poison apple, the lost shoe, being locked in the tower…. That is something that every one of us has to go through at some point in our lives. Will it create us to feel broken or damaged? Will it make us feel stuck? Will it define who we are?  What if we decided that we are going to overcome this situation and perhaps look at it from a different perspective?  Is it possible to step outside of your situation and think about the advice you would give to that person going through it?  Of course, we are our own worst critics and as a coach, I can see clearly what’s going on in someone else’s life…but the truth is that I’m just too close to what’s going on in mine to step outside of it. And sometimes, you can’t even put into words what is happening in your life. Ever feel like that?

When I was working in my corporate position, I knew I wasn’t in the right situation.  I loved part of what I did but what I didn’t love definitely outweighed the positive.  I knew there were changes that needed to be made but wasn’t sure what, how, when it would or could happen.  When I decided to think about me for just a few hours, I listened to someone, who later became my business coach, speak to a group of women.  Her message was “Get Radical” and although I am a child of the bra burning, pants-suit wearing feminist’s era, getting radical and being radical was not on my bucket list. However, it was as though she spoke directly to me in this crowd of women and I knew that I could get out of my situation and start over…again.  I had started over for other reasons in my life, but this was going to be a doozy.  Let’s just say, I’m like a cat and land on my feet, but this time felt different.  The first thing I had to do was emotionally detach myself from my situation.  Sounds easy right?  Well here are some ways to do just that:

~Accept what is going on-the more you fight, the more you lose.  Why stay in a situation that will eventually cause you more suffering, whether it is emotionally, financially or physically.   What the key is in the situation is not getting rid of it, it’s how you react to it. Remember life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% of how you respond to it.

~Try and look at this as a positive thing-As much as we don’t want to admit it, going through adversity can actually be a good thing.  As I said, every situation you go through should give you some lessons to take you forward.  If everything was easy breezy, don’t you think life would be just a little boring?  I know we wish for boring some times, but the challenges we face bring us to understanding just how great it is to get beyond the challenges.

~Keep your purpose alive-If you lose your purpose and passion, adversity wins. Remember why you started doing what you are doing.  Remember who and what brought you to the dance and remember that the outcome is bigger than the present situation you are going through.

And finally

~Remember your personal board of directors-make sure that the people that are around you, can guide you away from the adversity you are going through.  You cannot and should not try to do things by yourself.  When you choose staying in bed with your blankets over your head rather than facing the situation head on, you are destined to go enter that downward spiral.

Let’s admit that life has its ups and downs and as we all know and have been taught, that what doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger . Sometimes the challenges we go through seem to last much longer than we had hoped for but that shouldn’t mean we give up and accept defeat.  It just means that there could be a second chance heading our way that gives us an opportunity to begin again. Now that doesn’t necessarily mean that you get to have a complete do-over and rectify your mistakes.  But it does mean you have the chance to look at ways to make different choices and try it again. Taking that second chance may just give you back some of the confidence you lost or see things in a different light or maybe even defy all odds.  Sometimes life gives you a second chance because maybe the first time you weren’t ready.

When I go back through my life and think about all the different challenges I faced, it’s a wonder I am still standing and smiling.  As a single mom for 19 years, I had the challenge of supporting my children emotionally and financially.  I did not have the luxury of not succeeding.  It was my job to create an environment where they were loved, nurtured and had the ability to succeed.   My motivation were my children.  In fact, people laugh when I tell them that on my desk, where I made my calls to schedule my insurance appointments, were pictures of my children and their tuition bills…nothing more motivating than that.

I also had one hand tied behind my back because I added to my own situation when I was the only woman in my company and I was a commission based salesperson.  You see, I chose my career.  I chose to do what I did and how I did it.  I chose to make things happen.  We all make choices and whether or not some of our adversities are because of choices we had made or not, again, it’s how we are prepared for battle.  I relied on believing in myself, my family, my friends and my faith that I would get over that enormous challenge and be successful…whatever my definition is.  As Zig Ziglar said, “Sometimes adversity is what you need to face in order to become successful”. A little background music can add to that as well J

Making Your Sales Relationship Into A Selling Relationship

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making Your Sales Relationship Into A Selling Relationship

Building relationships requires time, effort and patience. It requires a strategy unique to each situation and prospect. It doesn’t mean developing a shrewd approach to ingratiate yourself with your prospects. If your approach is not heartfelt, it won’t work because people can see through a phony attitude. Successful companies and salespeople are service oriented with one goal in mind…getting the best and most for their money.

I’m sure most everyone is familiar with Southwest Airlines.  Their focus is on building relationships and customer service and oh, by the way, they also fly airplanes!

 

Many salespeople go right into promoting their product or service as soon as they get the prospects attention instead of focusing on the relationship.

Most successful salespeople are relationship focused rather than sale focused.  This is important before, during and after the sale.

 

Some things to remember:

  1. Listen more than you talk. This is the key to building relationships. Jeffrey Gitomer said this so eloquently~ “You will never listen yourself out of a customer.”
  2. Stop talking and ask questions-Asking questions begins the relationship, listening cements it
  3. Be generous with your time even before you make a sale. Treat them “as if” give them valuable information, give them referrals to their business and send a handwritten thank you…even without a sale
  4. Use tools to stay in touch- detailed notes you can refer to i.e. new baby, wedding, new home. You would be surprised how you stand out of the crowd just by asking how their vacation was or how the wedding was or in one case for me, remembering that the reason the original appointment was rescheduled was because a new floor was being put down
  5. Touch people without selling them i.e. congrats on an award, google alert or even a great article that reminded you of them. It’s not always about selling to them.
  6. Be consistent, persistent and professional. You want to be remembered for the right reasons

 

Selling is about building relationships. This cannot be said enough.

Did you know that it costs 5x more to get a new customer than to keep an existing customer? Translation=there is value in long term relationships-they turn into repeat buyers and become your walking ambassadors. Businesses don’t do business; people do business. Don’t miss out on the opportunities to develop relationships with a prospect because you are too focused on your sales pitch…Research confirms that companies and individuals who work hard at building and maintaining strong business relationships consistently outperform those who do not.

Remember always to Be Interested and not Interesting

 

 

It’s The Little Things That Count

little things
Here’s the scenario….you are in a restaurant way out of town. You have no connections or relationships there yet you are treated as if you have been going there forever…
The Colonel and I decided to get out of town for the weekend. We headed northwest to a little town in Oklahoma….ok some of you are already rolling your eyes thinking of me in Oklahoma….but, it was a cute and quaint town and resort.
The first night for dinner, we went into the resort restaurant and wanted a glass of wine. Well, the choices were limited and I’m not a wine connoisseur so when we were told that most weren’t available, I went to the bar with Kitty, our waitress. She was very apologetic that there wasn’t enough of one kind for the two of us. I told her we would have different wines and no worries. I went back to the table and told the colonel and he too was fine. Kitty did find us enough of one kind, not our first or second choice, and thanked us for being patient. She did ask us what kind we would have wanted if available from the choices at the bar and we told her.
We had dinner, the food was good and we drank our glass of wine and left.
The second night, we went back to the restaurant and had our same table, and guess what? Kitty was waiting for us with a bottle of wine and glasses, and it was the kind we said we would have wanted. She didn’t know us or even sure we would show up, but she was ready…just in case.
We were flattered and told her how amazing she was. She has a huge smile and thanked us…she thanked us rather than thinking we should be thanking her.  We did over and over again and she came and checked on us numerous times and I know not only did she make our night, we made hers.
Being in Oklahoma was special because I was there with the colonel but also because it’s the little things that change your life….and I think she felt it as well.

 

It’s All About Relationships

This past year, I have been featured on Fox Business News radio so many times and of course, I have my favorite stations and hosts.  When I get my list of stations at 5am, I always look to see if I’ve been on their stations before and if we have a relationship built or if it’s a new station and it’s time to begin a new relationship.
You can always tell when I’ve been on a station multiple times because there is that ease and comfort and maybe even some bantering back and forth.  Many times the host will say something that he/she remembered about our last encounter….it’s all about relationships.
As many of you know, my second book, Famous Isn’t Enough, Earning Your Fortune As An Entrepreneur”,  is ready to be launched and I’m super excited about sharing some lessons learned, and trust me there are LOTS to share.  I contacted one of my favorite hosts because I wanted to send her a copy.
She and I have built a wonderful relationship over the past year and I value her opinion and friendship.  Guess what?  She asked if I would be on her show to talk about my new book?  So please give a listen to my friend and fav, Mary Jones on The Talk of Connecticut as she dives into my book!
It’s all about relationships!
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What Is It About Networking Anyway?

networking-shaking-hands

Everyone you talk to tells you the way to build your business has to do a lot with networking.  Some people say you need to meet hundreds of people, others say it’s just those around you that are important.  No matter what school of thought you subscribe to, networking can be and should be a component of your marketing plan.

Why you ask?

Consider these factors:

• Anyone can do it.
• No formal training is necessary…maybe just some guidelines.
• People do business with people they know and trust.
• It can be extremely affordable.
• You can serve as a resource to help others succeed.

Let’s go one step further….

if you know me you’ll know my next sentence will be that men and women do just about everything differently…and networking is no different. In simplest terms, men will generally collect business cards and compare their “pile” with their co-workers to see who had a better result?  Women, well you guessed it, we are looking to build relationships and would rather meet a smaller number of people that we can really connect with than a hundred business cards that are one-dimensional.

One thing you do have to remember is that one of the goals of networking is to make a lasting impression with someone that you met at a networking event. Networking is less about meeting new people than having them remember you after the fact.

How do you get them to remember you?

Here are three simple questions to make a lasting impression:
1. Where do you normally network?
2. What do you like best about what you do?
3. What got you started in that direction
Always remember….Be interested, not interesting…..
Read more about Networking in my new book Famous Isn’t Enough!

 

What If You Had A Secret?

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I would bet that at some point in your life, someone told you a secret and told you not to tell anyone. Would you tell? Even your best friend? Or your spouse? Or perhaps a total stranger just to say it out loud? Maybe your pet, or stuffed animal or even your pillow…. Really, would you?

So I know something that I’ve known for a few weeks and I can’t tell anyone….really no one and all I want to do is tell someone…anyone! It’s going to be great and it will happen in a few weeks but I promised to keep it confidential until it was time to tell. A study was done that showed women can keep a secret for 32 minutes.

In that same study, it stated that men talk more than women. And I should let you know that in a study done just a few years prior, that time was 47 hours…that’s quite a slide in a few years! Check out the study! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/14/women-keep-secrets-32-minutes_n_1092512.html Well I’m way beyond 32 minutes….So what would you do?

It’s All About Relationships

 

We are constantly told that in this economy people are looking to build relationships. They want to do business with those they like and trust. It makes perfect sense to me.

Recently on my honeymoon trip to Italy, I was constantly reminded how relationships are everything. In the small towns, people waited to see if you were staying for a day or a week. The longer you stayed, the stronger the relationship. They smiled more and welcomed you into their business as part of their tight knit community.

In the larger cities, the concept of relationship building was more important and also more obvious. I took my new husband and some friends to a family owned restaurant that I frequented with my children a few years ago. It took the owners a few minutes to remember this crazy American but as soon as they did, we were family and the relationship grew to include my husband and friends. I brought in pictures of my last visit there and before you knew it my iPad was all around the restaurant showing my pictures and now adding new ones to the collection. A family album was now created and the promise of emailing on a regular basis is in the plan.

But, it was never more obvious when a waiter named Franco built an immediate relationship with us within seconds. Rather than saying good afternoon and take our order, he asked where we were from. When we said Texas, he pulled facts from his memory bank about Texas, friends that he has there, cities that he was familiar with and showed us his bracelet from the university of Texas with the saying “hook ’em horns” and added y’all to his sentences. But, we weren’t the only couple he embraced. Everyone that walked into this restaurant he built a new relationship with simply by asking that same question….where are you from? He had a fact, saying, sports team or other fact that he pulled up. You immediately felt like he was a friend.When we left he said his goodbye and see y’all but the most interesting part was an hour or two later we walked past the restaurant and he called to us by name…..

It’s all about relationships and that is true with so many cultures around the world.