Tactics for Dealing With Criticism

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Samuel Striker Business Criticism

Flickr CC via Christina Saint Marche

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.

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Simple Tricks for Faster Email

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Samuel Striker 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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Samuel Striker Sales Habits

Flickr CC via Tom Leuntjens Photography

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.