The Lady or the Tiger

The Lady or the Tiger

In my last blog we see a man running. A closer look shows he is chasing a beautiful woman. Zoom in and we realize that the man is being chased by a tiger.

What are we really seeing? Is the man running from the tiger or is he chasing the lady? Is there a difference?Running is running, you must admit. So, is running to catch something better than running away from another thing? It might be even worse.

I read an article by Leonard Kim in which he says, “When you decide to chase something, what you decide to chase starts to run away.” So with that in mind, can the man ever catch the lady? And, if the man does catch the lady, will he be happy? 

What if it’s the chase that brings the rush and not the conquest? What if the conquest usually ends in disappointment? One of life’s rules is this: the fantasy of the conquest is almost always better than the conquest itself. Do we run because we believe we can, or run because we believe we must?

Let’s suppose that the man catches the lady and they stop to enjoy the bliss of the moment. As she falls in his arms, her kiss is everything he hoped it would be.

As they enjoy the fantasy fulfilled, they are eaten by the tiger.

The tiger did not stop to rest. The tiger that chases us never rests. Was catching the lady worth being devoured by the tiger? Most would say no. With that in mind, it would seem that we should face the tiger before we ever chase and catch the lady.

I’ve been lucky to achieve most of my life goals. I’ve been this way for as long as I can remember. I have a wonderful marriage, three talented and loving children and a great job. I work for a company that puts people ahead of profit. Within this corporation I’ve been able to build a company that has grown from $5 million in sales to nearly $300 million.

I’m not boasting, well maybe just a little, but I’ve been able to grab almost every brass ring as the carousel of life went around.

What’s your tiger? Maybe it will help you identify yours if I tell you mine. I am one of those individuals that never stops running. I really don’t know how to rest and relax. In many ways it is my strength but someday it will probably be my undoing.

We will talk about both the hows and the whys, but for now, let’s discuss the whys. Let me start out by telling you, in my case, the why was the tiger. My motivation to succeed was my fear of the pain that comes with failure. To be first, for fear of being last, and at times in my life, to be first, for fear of being second.

My personal life is not much different. Every day I feel I must accomplish something because I do not want the pain of accomplishing nothing. So I run. Not literally, but figuratively. I get up early every day and I look for projects. I need something to do and something to accomplish. If I do nothing, it makes me an easy target for the tiger, and the tiger never rests. Neither do I.

There are three ways to live in the jungle. The most common situation is we forever run from the tiger. Second, we can turn and fight the tiger, but the injuries we would suffer could be terrible or even fatal.

But there is a third option. We can turn and embrace the tiger.

We can discover what chases us and instead of fighting it or running from it, we can use it to our advantage. If we no longer fear the tiger, and use the tiger’s pace to quicken our own, we might indeed catch the lady.

So what’s the moral of the story? Only by facing our tiger, and using that fear to our advantage, will we ever be able to catch the lady.

Steve Haberly

Don’t miss my next blog, Catching the Lady

Everybody is Selling Something

img_0041My daughter sat down with me several years ago and wanted to talk about the future. “What should I be when I grow up?”

I said, “You can be whatever you want to be. You could  be a doctor, lawyer or even an Indian Chief.

She laughed and said “Dad, I’m serious.”

“Sweetheart, all I want is for you to be happy.”

“I want to be happy,too, but my friend Susan wants to be a dentist. She has her career path all planned out.”

So I asked my daughter to describe her ideal job.

“Something where I work with people. A job where I can make a difference.  Something where I can be happy, but still make a lot of money”.

I said, “What about sales?”

“Dad, I don’t want to sell things.  Sales doesn’t seem like a very noble profession to me. Talking people into buying things that they may not even need, seems a little shady.”

I thought for a moment and replied, “What if I told you that every profession and every job has one thing in common? Every job is a sales job, and I can prove it.”img_0040A great example is teaching, perhaps the most noble profession of all. The future of our country and the world are in the hands of our children and our children are in the hands of our teachers.  Often times in this economy both parents must work full time to make ends meet. This results in our children spending more time with their teachers than their parents. Because of this, it is our teachers who shape the way our children see the world.

I was a teacher once and it was the best  job I ever had. I taught 9th grade Science to kids who were not interested in facts as mundane as the age of the Grand Canyon.  Although my lesson plans were fact filled, the students found them to be stale and boring. In my second year I came to a great realization, I had to sell Science to them. I needed to make it interesting and exciting because I was in competition for their attention. I became a seller of knowledge. Once I realized that, my classes became fun for the students and for me as well. The key was selling, selling them the magic of Science.

We come in contact with “salesmen” every day.  Your doctor sells you on the belief medication he prescribes will cure your ills. Your mechanic sells you a tune up that will save you money on fuel. Your dentist sells you teeth whitening that will improve your smile. The teller at the bank sells you their credit card, proclaiming it is better than the card offered by the bank next door. And so on and so on. I can’t think of a profession that doesn’t at some level involve the presenting of an idea. That is sales. Sales is when you convince someone, including yourself, to do something. So don’t fool yourself. Everybody  is selling something!img_0037Opportunities to sell happen every day. I remember an interesting opportunity shortly after getting married. Debby worked for a very prestigious Dallas real estate firm. The female agents never went anywhere without their clothes perfect, their nails painted, and their hair combed just so. They were the epitome of sophistication and grace.img_0038Then came the softball tournament. A variety of companies organized teams to raise money for a local charity. Debby talked the realtors into signing up to represent their company and their profession. It was a typical summer day in Dallas, Texas. As my grandfather used to say “100 degrees in the shade.” The ladies looked great. Outfits were color coordinated and varied from walking shorts to Capri pants, worn over panty hose of course.img_0044After two innings I could see their makeup beginning to melt and mascara ring their eyes. Then, in the third inning, it happened. A line drive straight at my third baseman. There was no time to react. The ball hit her just below the right eye where the skin is the thinnest and the check bone creates a hard under surface. She put her hands up to her face and bowed her head. When she looked up, there was blood everywhere. I called time out and rushed to the field. Both teams were speechless as they watched me help her back to the dugout. My pitcher broke the silence, “Coach, you didn’t tell us we could get hurt!”  It was true, I had never mentioned the risk.

Finally, the game ended and the ladies headed toward their cars, hot, sweaty, and dirtier than they’d ever been.  I stopped them, “Ladies, great game. You won!”

My team captain grinned, “Yay! Now it’s time to go soak in a hot bath.”

I smiled and said, “That sounds great, but since we won, you have another game in one hour.” They were in shock. I guess I hadn’t explained what single elimination meant. You play till you lose.

It was a day I will always remember. We won the next game and the one after that. Midway through the championship game I could see they were totally exhausted, but somehow they played even harder than before. As I walked through the dugout offering water, my shortstop said, “I don’t need a drink. Just pour it on my head!” So I did as asked. SPLASH.img_0035I wish I could tell you we won the tournament, but I can’t. We lost by one lousy run. I coached sports for many years after that, but have never been as proud of my team as I was that day. That team was a perfect example of courage and grace under fire.

Long story, I know, but the point is that day I was not just a coach,  I was a salesman. I sold them the idea they could play through the heat, the pain, and sometimes the fear. I painted the dream and made them want it as much as I did. If that’s not sales, I don’t know what is.

Now that you realize all jobs are really sales jobs, it is time to improve your selling skills so you can be successful at any  job. There is only one logical place to start. Connection.

Steve Haberly

My next blog will show you that the same skills necessary to connect in  business relationships are just as important to have a personal relationships.  Want to know why your relationship isn’t working?  I’m willing to bet it’s because you are not connected.

Connecting with Prospects and Customers

After reading the previous blog you can now see that trust is a necessary part of building a successful relationship. Let’s explore that a little further, from a business standpoint.

img_0059One way to look at the sales situation is a simple analysis of price versus cost. Let’s define price as the dollar amount required to purchase a product or service, and cost as the price per unit of value. But remember, the customer is the one who defines value, not you or the company you represent. You might think that trust is only important when you’re selling a value proposition. This is not true. Even if you’re selling a product or service on price, the prospect must believe you can provide it at that low price and on time. That takes some level of trust. Selling on value is almost all trust driven. The customer must believe that the benefits your product or service delivers will provide them enough believable value to make choosing your company the smart choice.

img_0061This means whether you are selling on price or value it requires trust. Sounds simple, but where does trust come from? Trust is the product of connection. Continued trust deepens that connection.  Let’s circle back to out subject. How can we connect with our prospects and customers, making  the sale possible? As you may have guessed, most successful transactions can be traced back to successful relationships. The formula that works best is:

Build the relationship🔗Develop the connection🔗Deepen the trust🔗Make the commitment🔗Ask for the business

Oversimplifying the process? Yes, but I believe it is accurate. President Theodore Roosevelt once said “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”  To build a relationship you must show the prospect that you care about them as a person and not just as a decision maker.

A good friend of mine always says, “First make a friend and then make a sale.” This approach has always made sense to me. If I think of selling as just making new friends then the whole process seems a lot less stressful. In fact, it’s kind of amazing that a company would pay you just to go out and make new friends! That’s not my whole job description but it is certainly the most critical part.

img_0056

Before you can build a relationship with a prospect you have to get in front of the decision maker . Can you build that relationship over the phone or with email or even Twitter? I must admit, I am old school when it comes to relationship development. I might build some sort of relationship over these media avenues but it’s hard for me to believe it would be much more than superficial.img_0062A big part of building a relationship comes from face to face contact, body language, voice inflection, eye contact and so on. I don’t believe you can get that on social media. However, social media can play an important role and we can discus that later.img_0064Let’s assume you have gotten past all the gatekeepers that guard the decision maker’s time and here you are, face to face.  I believe you should first thank them for the opportunity to meet with them. Second, show them that you know their time is important. Let them know you recognize the time you have in this first call is limited.

img_0057

In a new call you probably don’t have a relationship established and therefore there is no trust established. Assure them you will be brief and to the point. You don’t build a relationship by starting a sales call talking about your products. Starting out by proclaiming the benefits of your product will probably fall on deaf ears. A good way to begin is by asking how long the decision maker has worked for the company and what they did before. Next, you can ask what areas fall under his supervision. This is a good opportunity to compliment the decision maker.

img_0058Now, find something you have in common. Share stories about your experiences. Practice active listening by paying close attention to the things the customer talks about and make comments that show you are really listening. Now you can briefly describe your company, your products or services, and the benefits they bring to the decision maker’s company.

Key phrases:

⚪ Thank you for meeting with me.

⚪ I know, in your position, the demands on your times are huge. That’s why I will only take a few minutes. If I am here longer, it’s because you have an interest and maybe some questions.
⚪ That’s a lot of responsibility. How do you manage it?
⚪ If you don’t mind me asking,what’s the most important thing in management that has made you successful?

⚪ I appreciate you telling me that. Maybe we can talk more about that next time I’m here, if that’s okay.
⚪ Did you catch that fish in the picture? I’ve never caught one that big. How did you do it?

⚪ I promised I would not take too much of your time so let me tell you why I’m here.

⚪ I’m glad you’re interested. To be sure this is a perfect fit with your needs, I’ll need to find out more about your process.

⚪ I’d like to meet the person in your group that can show me around and answer a few questions. Then I will get back with you and we can see if you want to go further. If not, then I still feel like I made a new friend and you could do me a great favor. In my next visit let’s talk some more about your management style and how it has made this company so successful.

⚪ I really think I could learn some valuable things from your experiences.

Make a friend and build a connection. It’s an old school formula but it still works. TRUST ME.

Steve Haberly

I think you will find the next blog challenging as well as interesting. I will explain how all jobs and professions have one thing in common. They are all sales jobs, every one of them!

Selling in a Personal Relationship

The last blog talked about a key ingredient that all successful professionals share. The ability to sell. The focus was on successful careers. What about selling within a personal relationship? A boyfriend and girlfriend or maybe a husband and wife. What about parents and children or between friends? I believe that selling is not only present in those relationships, but critical.  Successful selling is made up of certain skills that are paramount in building relationships between individuals.

The first of those skills or abilities is listening. I usually talk about the difference between active and passive listening. But there is another type of listening, according to my wife. That’s selective listening. I used to think that selective listening was a term that was only used by marriage counselors to explain why I didn’t help with the dishes when asked. Here’s the deal.  I had been watching the game when she asked me to help. It was 3rd and goal with only 60 seconds left. If I had taken time to explain why I couldn’t help right then, the play would have been over and the outcome of the game decided while I was in the kitchen. I was listening. Sort of.

However, as I reflect on my own experiences in personal and business situations, the term selective listening makes sense. Passive listening and selective listening can easily be confused. To me, passive listening is listening without hearing. Selective listening is hearing only what you choose to hear. So, of these categories of listening, there is only one that builds a relationship…active listening. Active listening means paying attention to the details of the story and asking for clarification at times. It means making remarks that show understanding and interest. Let’s circle back to the title of this blog, Selling in a Personal Relationship. Here’s an important rule in business and personal connection development. There is no real communication without active listening and without communication there is no selling, therefore no connection. So, active listening is a critical building block in any relationship.

There are, of course, other selling skills that transcend business into our personal lives. One might be needs satisfaction. When I’m selling a product or service I must uncover the needs of my prospect before I can show that my proposal will satisfy those needs. It’s also impossible to build a meaningful personal relationship without understanding the needs of your friend or partner. How can I do what makes you happy if I don’t know what makes you happy? Uncover their needs.

To uncover their needs, you must ask good questions. Asking good questions makes me a better father, husband, and friend. Questioning skills are the backbone of discovering the need you want to fulfill. Questioning isn’t necessarily an easy skill to learn and when undertaken clumsily can often do more damage than good. An example might be,”So, what did you get accomplished today?” This question seems to have a hidden meaning, making the other person feel defensive. Maybe it’s better to say “Tell me about your day.”

img_0052

What if you ask your child, “Did you have a good day at school?” The answer you will get is probably “Yes.” With that brief answer you still don’t know more than you did before you asked it. Instead, you could ask, “What did you do at school that was really fun?” You just might get an answer that opens up the conversation to more specifics. Ask good questions.

In sales, we build a relationship by showing an interest in the hobbies and experiences of the prospect or customer. It’s the same when building a personal relationship. People love to talk about themselves, so encourage that discussion. Listen actively by asking good questions . Make comments that show you have genuine interest.  img_0050

Another powerful tactic to build any relationship is by asking the person to help you learn something or teach you something that you struggle with.  “I would really appreciate some suggestions that might improve my golf game. Maybe you can give me some tips to improve my score.” Or, “It’s obvious you are very successful at managing people. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned that helps you manage successfully?” Or, “It’s always a struggle for me to know what to wear to these business parties, but you always seem to choose the right look. How do you do it?”

img_0045

Or, “Wow! You put that Lego tower together so fast. It looks great. What’s your secret?” People will almost always try to help you, once you recognize their ability and honestly ask for help. Be humble. Ask for help. “I had a great time tonight. How about you continue helping me locate the rest of the planets over dinner next Friday?” Or, “Do you think we could build more things with your Legos after you get home from school? You’re so good at it.” “Thanks Mom. I’d love to show you what else we can build.” Or, “You’re such a good friend and I really appreciate you sharing your experiences with me. I think it will help me understand my boss better. I hope we can finish our conversation very soon. How about coffee at my house Saturday morning?”

The last selling skill I want to mention is the icing on the cake. The skill that completes the journey is closing the sale. In personal relationships, just like in sales, we never get what we desire unless we ask. Don’t be afraid. Get the idea? Ask for the order.

The skills we use in building a personal relationship have a lot in common with the skills we use when selling a new account.

📌 LISTEN ACTIVELY

📌 ASK GOOD QUESTIONS

📌 UNCOVER THEIR NEEDS

📌 ASK FOR THEIR HELP

📌 ASK FOR THE ORDER

Steve Haberly

In my next blog you will learn to Recognize the Personal Disconnect and possibly save your failing relationship.

 

Understanding the Business Disconnect

business-disconnect

We can talk later about why the dog growls at you when you come home, why your kids won’t talk to you and why your partner is thinking about leaving you. Right now, let’s talk about why your business success is waning and your commission checks aren’t enough to pay for your next Starbucks latte.

What happened? You were a star and the salesman everybody voted “Most Likely to Get Rich.” You picked up the sales model quickly and your product knowledge was most impressive. You knew that organization was critical so you became the poster child for knowing where to go and when to be there.

In this tough economy the water was full of sharks and each one seemed to be circling your best prospects. But no worries, you had the confidence that came with your over developed ego. At least that’s what your ex-wife said. But then, you never really understood what she meant by that, did you?

When you started selling, you built a pretty big territory. A few customers bought your products in the beginning and you thought selling was easy. What you learned later was they just wanted something new and different and you happened to walk through the door at the right time.

However, you could never get the big orders no matter how hard you pitched them. Things were beginning to get desperate. The commission draw the company started you on was about to fade away just like your savings account and your new girlfriend! You were sure you could replace her, but the money was becoming a real issue. So you gave in. You watched all the YouTube videos showing expert after expert proclaiming their approach as the most successful in the market.  You spent the next month using every trick in the trade. Call after call. New prospects. Old prospects. Even some that were only suspects and not really prospects! You swore if you heard “no” one more time you would change your name to “no” so when a prospect said “no” you could say “Yes, that’s me. My name is No, what can I do for you?”

Don’t waste any more time looking in the wrong place for the answers, here’s what you have to do. Go ask somebody who knows why people buy. Ask a customer. Contact some of the customers you lost and ask them why they bought from somebody else.  Embarrassing yes, but at this point you really need to know why they chose your competitor. Was it lower price, cutting edge technology, or an incentive too hard to pass up?

Now, look at the current customers who buy a variety of products from other vendors. Since your connection with them is still good, ask them why they chose one company over another. What makes the difference between the winners and the losers?

You might expect a long explanation, but I’ve found that with each customer the answer came back the same. “TRUST.”  Trust is the foundation of most decisions to buy. Trust is the fuel that drives business. It doesn’t matter how good the product sounds, without trust it’s only words. Words won’t make an airbag deploy safely or a vaccine cure a disease. Trust is not just one thing. It’s everything. Trust sounds simple, but where do you get some? How do you go from being an outsider to becoming an insider? You were a master of manipulation. You don’t need trust if you’re a master of manipulation, so you thought.  But manipulation brought you to where you are now. Nowhere.

Where do you find trust? If you went back to those same customers you would probably hear that trust is built one promise at a time.  Trust is keeping promises made. Trust is the result of listening to and understanding your customer’s needs.  Trust is gained when you solve their problem first and worry about making a profit second.

You began to understand the power of trust and that it felt good; good somewhere deep inside. However, there was another word that the customers said when they mentioned trust.  A word that you had heard before, but not in any YouTube you watched or any book you read. The word was connection . The salesmen and women that were held in highest esteem were trusted because they seemed to connect with the prospect and they were connected because they were trusted. Trusted and connected. Connected and trusted.

Successful sales people connect with the customer and through this connection they build trust. Selling the benefits of a product falls on deaf ears unless there is trust. Earning trust is the product of connection. Isn’t that what your ex-wife always said? “You don’t get it. We just aren’t connected. “

Maybe without connection you don’t get the order. You just don’t get it. What if the magic you have been looking for was there all the time but you had been listening to the wrong experts. The experts are the customers. The customers are really the only ones that know why they buy.

Ask the customer.

Steve Haberly

The next blog will give you specifics on how to build a connection with your prospects and customers.  

Understanding Disconnection

In my first blog I explained connection . Now it is time to explore the disconnect, because a disconnect may result in loss of relationships, both business and personal. Understanding the disconnect is vital before attempting to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. Yes, vital, but not simple by any means. There are four concepts I feel come into play when disconnection occurs.

First, the difficulty in repairing connection is directly proportional to the amount of time that has passed since the disconnectThe longer you have been lost, the harder it is to find your way back.

img_0006

Second, the desire to reconnect is inversely proportional to the amount of time that has passed since the disconnectIf you have been disconnected too long, the desire to reconnect fades.

Third, and maybe most important, is the amount of effort required to reconnect is greater than the amount of gain received from the reconnectionIt just doesn’t seem worth the effort. I have observed many marriages over the years where it is so obvious when they have reached the final realization, “It’s just not worth fixing.” The same is true in business.

Fourth, the amount of time that elapses before you react and attempt a reconnect is a direct indicator to the other person about how much you value the relationship.  

Let me give you an example:

You and the customer have had a great relationship in the past and he always seems glad to see you during your regular calls at his location. This time his assistant says he is really busy and can’t see you. Next month you become really busy yourself and don’t get by his building to update him on the project progress.

The month after, you find yourself sitting in the waiting room while he meets with someone else. After what seems like forever, the assistant sends you in. You sit down and decision maker immediately looks at his watch and says he only has a few minutes. You say you understand and most of what you wanted to say can wait until next month.

Next, when you ask to see the manager, you are greeted by the purchaser who informs you that your contract is not being extended and the remainder of the project is being bid out. When you get back to your car you ask yourself, “How long ago did I first feel the relationship changing? Why didn’t I react?”

The amount of time that was allowed to pass has a direct effect on your desire to reconnect.

A disconnect ignored for too long is a connection forever broken.

Steve Haberly