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Thinking

A passtime many don’t seem to participate in. Oh sure, everyone thinks, what’ll be on TV tonight, what’s for dinner, what excitement will the weekend hold; but that’s not the kind of thinking I’m talking about. I’m talking about action thinking. Thinking that leads you to, or helps you focus on actions that increase knowledge and helps you progress.

Action Thinking is a discipline

It takes drive and determination to act on goals and improve performance that leads to success. Keeping a desire to grow at the forefront of your mind is imperative if you truly wish to succeed in business or life. We really are what we think. If we think it, we will become it.

What to Think about?

Here is a list of some of the things I think about every day as I sit at my desk and help others grow their businesses:

  • How did I better myself today?
  • How can I serve better?
  • Have I learned something new today?
  • How is my attitude today?
  • How can I help my customers profit by the use my products?
  • Why are my customers loyal?
  • What can I do today that will help me earn more loyalty and trust?

This is just a short list of thoughts. Many of them are written and hung around my office. This helps remind me that growth requires action and my success weighs heavily on whether or not I’m complacent or proactive. Even if my body isn’t always moving, my mind is. I strive everyday to turn thoughts into actions. What are you thinking about during the day?

Two key tips for better Action Thinking

1. Make the time to do it – Set time aside to really think about how you want to grow, what you want to be, how you can improve what you do now; even if it’s only for 10 minutes a day set this time aside.

2. Keep a notebook, smart phone, or any other recording device  handy – Thoughts come at the strangest times. Have a way to record them.

Take the time to think, actively, and then take the time to turn thoughts into actions. It’ll chance your life.

Image: Success from the Nest – One of my favorite blogs. Wish Tony was still writing it.

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Those of you that know me know that one of my passions is entrepreneurialism. In fact I spend most of my time working with both new and seasoned entrepreneurs every day. It’s rewarding, fun, and challenging.

Because of this love, it shouldn’t be a surprise to you that I like the site freeenterprise.com, a project of the US Chamber of Commerce. It was started to encourage those who would like to start a business, those that have, and those that wish to support those who are entrepreneurially minded.

While freeenterprise.com posts regularly about small business, what I really like about this site is the video contest they’ve been running encouraging people to tell the world what entrepreneurialism means to them. Once a video is up, the Free Enterprise Community is encouraged to vote on their favorite videos. The contest is almost over and they are down to the top 5. All are great videos. All are very encouraging and/or inspiring. Here are my 3 favorites in order from top to bottom. To view the rest of the vidoes, visit freeenterprise.com’s video page.

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I was talking to one of my colleagues the other day and we got to talking about how few salespeople actually know how to sell. So when I came across this post by Gavin Ingham, I had to agree him. Garvin said:

“I never cease to be amazed by how little effort many salespeople put into improving their sales skills.”

So true! The thing is, there are millions of sources out there that teach people how to sell better, but few take advantage of them. To prove this point, look at what Garvin says about reading books on the subject of sales:

“One of the questions that I ask of the audience in my Selling in Tough Markets (or Selling in a Recession) keynote speech is, “Who is currently reading a book on selling?” The answer is usually about 2% of the audience at any one particular sales conference.”

Pretty sad! Like Garvin, I wish I could get salespeople to invest time in reading about sales. The old wives tale that you either are born to sell or you’re not just isn’t true. While some are naturally better at sales than others, anyone can learn to sell that puts their mind to it. So what benefits will reading bring you:

  • Learning new skills, strategies and techniques. If each book that you read delivered you even just one new strategy, one new skill and one new technique what would that mean for you, your sales results and your business over the next 5-10 years? A heck of a lot – that’s what. Top performing salespeople tell me that they always learn something from every sales seminar they attend or every sales book they read. It’s only less successful salespeople that come up with the line, “I knew it all already”.
  • Revising, improving and re-energizing existing skills. As Anthony Robbins is fond of saying, “Repetition is the mother of skill”. If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it. I am constantly amazed by how much I “get” from rereading really quite basic books that I have read before. Sometimes, several times. It’s not that there is something new in there, it’s that you see stuff differently and make critical distinctions that you did not make on the first read.
  • Building motivation and self-confidence. People who study have an inner confidence. It comes from knowing that you know your stuff, knowing that you are in the top 5%, knowing that you can do a professional job and knowing that you have put your time in.

This is just three points Garvin made, to see more swing over to his post. So we see there’s power in books on this subject, but there are so many other ways to learn if books aren’t your thing.

  • Audio Books. Why read when you can listen.
  • Blogs. This is a great way to get a short daily burst of sales encouragement.
  • Podcasts. It’s like blogs on tape.
  • YouTube. There are many great videos on selling too. Just look around

So here’s the point. Most salespeople suck. They don’t understand how to organize themselves, how to follow up, how to build trust, or how to close sales. It’s time to wake up! With all the ways you can learn to improve your sales, there is no excuse to not excel! The ball is in your court, how will you play it? To give you a head start, here’s a great video by Garvin about cold calling:

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One of the best ways to get known is to get published. Jeffrey Gitomer touches on this point often. His column, Sales Moves, is published in a number of Trade Journals around the country. He also writes an E-zine called Sales Caffeine that is distributed electronically to well over 100,000 subscribers weekly. He practices what he preaches!

Another way to get published is blogging. That’s what I do. But how can someone just starting out drive some hits to a blog like mine, or to a page to sign up for an E-zine like Jeffrey’s? One way is submitting articles to Article Submission Sites. These sites are places you can go to submit free reprint articles to promote yourself by sharing what you know about what you specialize in. Sites like these are an outlet for companies that write E-zines or blogs. Many of them are on the prowl for good content they can use as a filler. This makes producing their publication easier for them, because they don’t have to come up with all the content. And it’s a great opportunity for you, because if a company includes your article in their publication they’re required to include your byline, which can lead people to your site.

Here is a list of Article Submission Sites. Some are active, and others are dead. There are many more, but this is a good start. Part of networking is getting known. This is just another way for you to get the word out about yourself.

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While out perusing the web, I ran across this great post on Some Assembly Required. It served as a reminder to me that I need to start writing more hand written thank you notes. I do it from time-to-time, but often neglect it. Each time I’ve taken the time to do this though, I’ve received an overwhelming response!

Hand written notes really do work. Don’t let the excuses Thom mentions keep you from utilizing this powerful tool. If you’re trying to build a relationship, a personal touch goes a long way!

Image: charmaineyoest.com

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It’s tempting to avoid face-to-face meetings for some, but they are still the best way to build relationships. While you’ve heard me say that it’s important to learn how to network online, especially for Owls, you can’t just fill out the information in LinkedIn and expect people to flock to you with their friendship and referrals. There is more to it than that.

Ivan Misner makes some good points about this in one of his latest posts on his blog, Networking Now. Click here to learn a little more about this subject.

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Are You a Seal?

Seals were one of my favorites animals when I was a kid! I loved watching them swim like a bullet through the water and then leap effortlessly onto one of the rocks in their pool. When I think of the Seals I watched as a kid, I think of grace. But when you see them on a nature show, they are so much more!

One thing I’ve always noticed about Seals is they work well in groups. They herd fish together and help protect each other. They’re very social, know how relax together and know how to have fun! We can learn a lot from Seals.

Networker’s that are Seals are social creatures. They like being around people and they work well with others. They enjoy helping their contacts herd fish (get business, AKA “referrals”), and protect their contacts by encouraging them and feeding them positive information that helps build their business. They’re also great at maintaining multiple relationships and building new ones!

One thing a Seal has to learn to resist is the tendency to become consumed by their network. At some point they need to remember to work too!

Seal’s make powerful networkers! A Seal has many of the good qualities of both the Tiger and the Rabbit. They fit in well in most any group, they’re relaxed around others and they provide extraordinary value!

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