What is Your Reality?

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Businessman Giving out CardCame across a new website I had never seen before – www.Glassdoor.com. this site allows employees and applicants to rate the companies for which they work and/or apply to. It is a fabulous tool for the job applicant to determine if this company is a desirable fit or not. Builders, have you checked out your company to see what is being said about you?

We all know that first impressions count. First impressions will either entice the prospective employee or the looking prospect to come in closer or to leave as quickly as possible. Considering the challenge it is today to attract top-notch sales professionals or qualified prospects, we must make doubly sure our first impression is a great one.

How do we create a great first impression?

  1. Be on time. Nothing will take the gilt off the lily faster than being late to an appointment. Being late tells the prospects they are not that important.
  2. Be yourself. Another thing that is a turn off is plastic or forced joviality. Be genuine in your manner, in your tone of voice, in your smile.
  3. Be appropriately dressed. Today is all about being genuine and being real, but your “realness” at the expense of proper clothing is not a plus – it’s a major deterrent. Just as being on time tells the prospects they are important, being appropriately dressed for the occasion lets them know they are valued. After all, we put on our best clothing in honor of a special event, so why would we think dressing less than professionally would honor our prospects?
  4. Smile! A genuine, warm smile not only acknowledges prospects, but invites them in.
  5. Be positive, courteous, and attentive. A positive mental attitude will show in your face, in how you talk, and even in how you walk. Also, turn your cell phone to silent. Don’t interrupt those first few moments of bonding by looking at or answering your phone. That definitely tells them whoever is on the phone is more important than they are.

After making a good first impression, what then? How is your reality positively affecting your customers, your employees, your business?

Adam Savage on TLC’s Mythbusters has a saying, “I reject your reality and substitute my own.” The following is a story about how a small company rejected the reality of the present difficult times and created their own success.

A landscape gardener ran a business that had been in the family for three generations. The staff was happy, and customers loved to visit the store. For as long as anyone could remember, the current owner and previous generations of owners were extremely positive, happy people. Most people assumed it was because they ran a successful business. In fact, it was the other way around.

A tradition in the business was that the owner always wore a big lapel badge saying “Business is Great!” The business was indeed generally great, although it went through tough times like any other. What never changed however, was the owner’s attitude, and the badge saying “Business is Great!”

Everyone who saw the badge for the first time invariably asked, “What’s so great about business?” Sometimes people would also comment that their own business was miserable, or even that they personally were miserable or stressed.

Anyhow, the “Business is Great!” badge always tended to start a conversation, which typically involved the owner talking about lots of positive aspects of business and work. For example:

  • The pleasure of meeting and talking with different people every day
  • The reward that comes from helping staff take on new challenges and experiences
  • The fun and laughter in a relaxed and healthy work environment
  • The fascination in the work itself, and in the other people’s work and businesses
  • The great feeling when you finish a job and do it to the best of your capabilities
  • The new things you learn every day, even without looking to do so
  • And the thought that everyone in business is blessed because there are many millions of people who would swap their own situation to have the same opportunities of doing a productive, meaningful job in a civilized, well-fed country, where we have no real worries

And the list went on. No matter how miserable a person was, they’d usually end up feeling a lot happier after just a couple of minutes listening to all this infectious enthusiasm and positivity.

It is impossible to quantify or measure attitude like this, but to one extent or another, it’s probably  a self-fulfilling prophecy on which point if asked about the badge in a quiet moment, the business owner would confide, “The badge came first. The great business followed.”

So, what is your reality? Is it a positive, successful one?

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Adapting to Change

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ImageHow have you and your company adapted to the changes in the marketplace? Change is hard. It requires one to think differently, to let go of the comfortable and embark upon a new path.

The one thing we should all be old hands at accepting is change. Life is about constantly changing.

The tide of change has swept into the new home sales arena and brought with it a distinctively different method of selling and closing the sale. Throw out those old tapes and videos! The revolution is here! Sales personnel who sell the old way will be left in the dust of unrequited commissions.

So what’s new? With today’s markets, everything is in a state of flux. So change is inevitable. However, knowledge of the game with its new rules, new playing field, and new players is critical to success today. Has selling really changed? Perhaps not that much. The blocking and tackling are still the same, but boy, has the playbook changed.

John Kotter wrote a short book, a business fable about a colony of penguins, Our Iceberg is Melting. One astute penguin notices the iceberg is melting. He must use all the tools in his arsenal to convince the town elders, the critics, and the masses that the iceberg is melting and that they need to move.

He gathers a group of penguins each with a different skill set and infuses them with eight principles of problem solving. After much problem solving and communicating, the colony did move and was saved.

The eight principles Kotter espouses are:

  1. Set the stage – create a sense of urgency.
  2. Pull together the guiding group – make sure there is a powerful diverse group guiding the change.
  3. Decided what to do – develop the change vision and strategy, clarify how the future will be different from the past.
  4. Make it happen – communicate for understanding; make sure that as many as possible understand and accept the vision and strategy.
  5. Empower others to act – remove as many barriers as possible.
  6. Create short term wins – create some visible, unambiguous successes as soon as possible.
  7. Don’t let up – press harder and faster after the first success.
  8. Make it stick – create a new culture; hold on to the new way of behaving.

Use these eight principles to pull together your sales team and head for more profitable grounds.