How a Really Bad Day Can Help You Have A Great Year

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Ever have one of those days when everything just goes wrong? You spill coffee on your shirt as you’re running out the door, miss the bus by a minute, get stuck in traffic, and then… you know the rest. We’ve all had it happen, but have you ever had a day that was so bad it forced you to reevaluate your entire life? Days like this have a way of putting our lives into perspective.

Bad luck is out of our control, but luck has little to do with bad days. Most of the time we have a bad day because we’re just stressed out and we fail to take on the day prepared and organized. Most days we manage to push through without much notice, but sometimes our scattered lives combine with the forces of bad luck into a perfect storm that knocks us to the ground and forces us take a look at ourselves.

When this happens, it’s a good time to evaluate what we’re doing in our lives that’s making us lose control. In fact, one really bad day might just be the catalyst that leads to a really great year! Here’s how a bad day can teach you how to have a great year:

You become clean and organized

A bad day is the perfect time to take a good, hard look at your life and see how many different directions you are being pulled at once. This is part of being in the modern world. It’s also why now, more than ever, it’s important to organize your life.

Maybe you need to buy a whiteboard or calendar to hang on your wall that tells you what needs to be done and when. Looking at it every day will nudge you to take care of tasks sooner rather than later. Maybe your solution is setting up a more regular schedule for your day or programming calendar alarms into your mobile device. When you can stay on top of things, you can take control of your life.

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You will be inspired to set goals

If anything, a bad day will bring out all your frustrations at once. Sometimes the little frustrations will bring out the big ones and suddenly you’ll realize the more general dissatisfactions in your life. With this big-picture angle, it’s easy to begin setting goals for where you want your life to be down the road.

Set a goal for the end of the year and establish milestones throughout the year that will get you closer to it. As you begin making changes here and there, you’ll find that you’re getting nearer to your ultimate goal. At the end, you can look back at all the progress you made and see that you had a life-changing year.

So, next time you have a really bad day, remember that it’s temporary and embrace it for what it is – a chance to turn it into a really great year!

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How to Turn Your Employees into Leaders

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Hello, Samuel Striker here.

Some people are born to be leaders and naturally have the skills and poise that makes a perfect leader. Others, however, need to be taught how to be a leader. It’s always good to constantly be teaching and growing your employees, no matter where they are in their career. Plus, if the time comes for you to move up in the company, a well-trained employee could make filling your position an easier task.

Employees that are leaders can make tough and informed decisions, will be better qualified, and can teach others as they move up in their career. Here are a few tips on turning your employees into leaders:

Encourage Them to Work Through Problems Themselves

Real leaders can work problems out themselves, but aren’t afraid to ask for help when they really need it. Teaching your employees how to work through problems, big and small, is an important step in the development process.

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Show Them How to Network

Networking is key to career growth, and is a great learning opportunity as well. Talking to other professionals builds skills and confidence. Encourage your employees to network by inviting them to events. This gives them the opportunity to talk to a lot of professionals and watch you in action.

Tailor the Assignments

Sometimes there are tasks that need to get done that no one wants to do, and that is just a part of life. However, try to keep in mind what your employee excels at (Writing? Analytics? Sales?), and try to give them more of those tasks. Put some thought into which tasks are assigned where. Not only will this result in higher quality work, but your employees will also enjoy what they do more.

Allow Them to Have an Ownership Mentality

Allowing your employees to take ownership of their work will help both of you. It will make your employees feel trusted, valued, and like they have a real say in what they do. Encourage employees to take ownership of the work that they do, and you’ll begin to see what they’re really made of.

How to Get More Flexibility at Work

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Having freedom and autonomy in a career is always a valuable perk for anyone with an entrepreneurial mindset.  Being able to set your own schedule is always an ideal goal.  Most people have to operate within business hours, however, and so it can sometimes seem like there is no time for anything other than the immediate tasks at hand.  How do you find the time to work on side projects, research, train, or build your team?  Time management and communication are key aspects to finding more autonomy at work, but it is also important to set goals, eliminate unnecessary tasks, and produce outstanding results in order to gain freedom within your work schedule.

Time management is being aware of how much time a task takes and scheduling appropriately.  If you are spending too much time on emails, for example, schedule thirty minutes to read email and respond as quickly as you can to as many as possible.  Responding right away will cut down on future follow up emails from the same senders.

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Communicating to your team will help get administrative tasks delegated appropriately.  If you are on your own, consider hiring a virtual assistant to cover the everyday work tasks that will allow you to work on other projects.  Communicating clearly what you need from your team not only delegates lesser tasks and frees up your time, but also prevents having to explain something a second time.

Setting goals will help you know whether you have put enough time into your work.  By setting goals and benchmarking your work, you can feel more comfortable stopping one project and moving on to an extra one.

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Eliminating unnecessary tasks can be a difficult one, as we often fall into habits at work that make us feel like we have to do something that is actually not productive.  Do you need that extra meeting? Is an email more efficient than a call in some cases?  Are there redundancies in payroll or management processes? Look at each task you do every day and think about what can be eliminated.

And always remember that producing outstanding results will instill enough confidence in your office to give you freedom to do the things you would like to do.

Tactics for Dealing With Criticism

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Hi, I’m Samuel Striker, a business professional and expert salesman.

At some point during our lives, we will all be criticized for something. On the job, we are even more likely to come up against criticism, and there more than anywhere, it’s important to respond appropriately. Often, our initial reaction to being criticized is to defend ourselves—tell the other person our perspective and reasoning behind why we behaved a certain way. But truth be told, this tactic isn’t always the best. So how can you more effectively deal with criticism?

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Actively Listen

Instead of forming your response or analyzing criticism as the other person is giving it, actively listen to what they are saying. Consider without bias their perspective and try to find seeds of truth within their statements. A little humility can go a long way.

Expand Your Perspective

Allow criticism to expand your thinking, and look at the situation from a different viewpoint. Take criticism as a challenge to think differently, and allow yourself to learn and grow from it.

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Don’t Dwell

The more time you spend dwelling on something someone said, the less time you have to either get back to work or resolve the issue. Take criticism at face value, come up with a solution, and then move on with your life. Dwelling on criticism only serves to compromise you emotionally and damage important work relationships.

Take Time to Collect Your Thoughts

If criticism has made you especially emotional or upset, it’s almost always a bad idea to respond right away. Take some time to cool yourself down, get a grip on your emotions, and logically think through the situation. Responding well is often more important than responding right away. If you are receiving harsh criticism face-to-face, it’s perfectly acceptable to thank the person for their feedback and then excuse yourself. Once you’ve had time to develop some coherent, well-constructed thoughts on the matter, then you can respond if necessary.

Simple Tricks for Faster Email

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Hi, I’m Samuel Striker, a business and sales expert.

On average, office workers spend at least two hours a day on their email. However, while sending emails might feel productive, it does not help you grow professionally. Here are some time-saving hacks to keep email time down.

If you are always sending similar emails – your address, your elevator pitch, you availability – then craft a few templates for responses in Gmail. This will allow you to dish out responses much more quickly.

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Avoid unnecessary emails by sending a text, IM or by just walking over and talking in person. E-mail might not always be the best or most efficient method of communication, so you could save yourself and others valuable time by varying your methods.

Click the “unsubscribe” button as much as possible to get rid of spam emails or unread newsletters. Don’t just shovel them into a folder you never want to open—stop them before they ever have a chance to get to you.

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Stop treating email as an ever-growing to-do list and instead act on them immediately.

Make a daily routine, develop habits (including segmenting out time slots for when you respond to email) and stick to them.

Quit overdoing your inbox filing system. It can get in the way because you still might not recall which folder you put a message in; instead, try using different labels—this will not move messages, but it will allow you to search by label when needed.

Keep your subject lines and email body shorter. People are more responsive to emails that are concise; a wall of text is overwhelming and likely to get lost in the pile.

We’ve all experienced how much of a time-suck dealing with e-mail can be, especially when there is a high volume of incoming email each day. What tips or tricks have you used to cut your email time down?

The Best Habits For a Sales Person

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A sales leader and expert, Samuel Striker leads a team of salespeople to success.

Our brains are set up in a way that makes us creatures of habit.  Habits guide much of how we engage the world and often without us even being consciously aware of them. But while habits can be dangerous they can also be used to propel yourself to greater heights in sales, if you form the right ones.

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Which habits should you work at?  Here are some of the best habits for sales professionals:

1. Active Listening

The best sales people know how to engage a potential customer without even saying anything.  They make strong eye contact, demonstrating that they are paying close attention, and use prompters like “go on” to encourage others to continue talking.

And all the while they are gathering information,  looking for underlying clues and hidden messages which can help them tailor their pitch for their concerns and issues.

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2. Ask for Referrals

It can often feel embarrassing to actively ask for referrals, despite the fact that everything shows that referrals are more likely to develop into a sale than a cold call.  The only way to get over the uncomfortable nature of asking for referrals is to continue to do it until it becomes second nature.

3. Answer the Question, “How Can I Help?”

This is one of the most important habits for sales professionals to master.  Getting out of the mindset of “how can sell I this product” and “how can I help this customer” changes the way that you communicate and builds trust with customers.  It also provides the very practical side-effect of answering the question that your customers most want answered, and one that is likely to convert into a sale.   Customers don’t buy products, they buy solutions.

4. Set Goals and Measure Them

It is easy to feel like a failure or be overcome with anxiety if numbers are down, so much so that some sales professionals ignore their goals and hide their head in the sand.  However, getting in the habit of setting measurable goals helps you identify problems as they come up, rather than when it is too late to do anything about them.  And setting regular goals allows sales professionals to focus their planning towards their goal, rather than throwing everything at the wall and just seeing what sticks.

Perfecting the Sales Follow-Up

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Hi, I’m Samuel Striker, President at KMG Consultants and a sales expert.

So you’re on the cusp of a big sale, and you want to “touch base” with the client, but don’t know how. Many salespeople struggle with keeping in touch with their clients for they are worried that they may come off as another annoying salesperson. Perfecting the sales follow-up doesn’t have to be such a chore. To keep your momentum going, you must be able to give value to every message you send. A great follow-up is required to maintain your current clients, as well as bring in new business.

The act of following-up can be a tough thing to start. The follow-up should come within reasonably short amount of time from the last time you spoke with the client. Greet them, and bring up your sales pitch. Try not to force the sale to happen; instead let them client know it is their decision, and that you are there to help. Showing that you are committed to the customer, and not just to get the commission, can help build trust in the relationship. Following up on a sale requires a type of attitude that is committed to take action. No sale has ever fallen into the lap of someone; they put an effort to sway the customer. Hone your craft, and following up with a client will become a piece of cake.

 

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When contacting a client, always be able to bring a new suggestion to them that they weren’t thinking of. Never just ask if they are ready to accept the sale; always keep in mind what they needed help for before, and bring them something new that can make them say yes to you. Think of something that will improve their business and present it to them. Reiterate that you can have an impact on their day-to-day, and can make their life easier. Think of the follow-up as part two to the original sales pitch; give it a great ending by closing out the sale.

It’s very important to know your client’s needs and their business front to back. Typically, the client will have many questions about what you’re selling, so make sure you know what you’re talking about. It’s not all about who talks to them first; its all about who answers their questions the best. This can build trust and increase your chances of creating a business relationship that could last for years to come. Stand out from your competition with a killer follow-up; your clients will be blown away by your preparation and effort.

Getting the most out of clients and follow-ups requires consistent hard work and professionalism. Build a system that works and can maximize your pitch. Not every follow-up will work out. If the customer end ups saying no, do your best to figure out why that happened. Analyze your selling technique and fix the things that aren’t working well. Did you go push too hard? Was your price too high? The only way to get better at the sales follow-up is practice and chipping away until your technique works the way you want it to.

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