Tag Archives: making things happen

What’s Next in Communication?

Most people agree, communication is among the most frequently-used tools in today’s business world; and it is a critical component of success, whether selling, managing, marketing or just trying to get along with others.

One Simple Little Habit…
While there are obviously many facets of communication, there is one simple habit that, if well developed and consistently executed, will improve your business communication and success level in a BIG way!

It is the practice of specifically identifying and scheduling the next steps that are consequential to your communication — consequential to your discussions, your meetings, your teleconferences, your interviews, your sales calls, and so on.

The act of setting a date and time for the next step is simple, but not necessarily easy. But once you make it a habit, you’ll be able to enhance your productivity as well as the productivity of others… you’ll save countless hours of trying to connect with others to finalize plans for next steps after sales calls, meetings, or conversations, because you will have already done it!

One Hurdle to Jump…
There is one obstacle of which to beware. This hurdle is often referenced as being the “thief of time,” and it can make it difficult to accomplish this habit and many others. We refer, of course, to the bad habit of procrastination.

If this seems too simplistic, please read on…

What’s Next in Communication?

Effective business communication is a critical component of success, whether selling, managing, marketing or just trying to get along with others.

While there are obviously many facets of communication, there is one simple habit that, if well developed and consistently executed, will improve your business communication and success level significantly.

When asked to identify this habit, most people think it involves the conveyance of one’s message – either a smooth or powerful delivery, or a pleasant voice tone. Others suggest that the best communicators are good listeners, and some opine that the art of asking good questions is the key.

These are all very important elements of good communication, but none of these represents the habit to which we refer. The critical skill we have in mind is the one that helps you make things happen. It is the habit that brings about action! And, as promised, it is simple…

message_in_the_sand_18916It is the practice of specifically identifying and scheduling the next steps that are consequential to your communication — consequential to your discussions, your meetings, your teleconferences, your interviews, your sales calls, and so on — and doing so while the details of those interactions are fresh-in-the-minds of all parties.

If this seems too simplistic, please think again. Consider the fact that all business communication, regardless of its form, must be purposeful. We conduct meetings to share information on which people must act. We make sales calls so that people will buy. We run training sessions to help people perform better. We go on interviews with hopes of being hired; we conduct interviews with hopes of hiring. Each form of business communication has a purpose, and that purpose involves action.

So, for example, at the end of each sales call, what can we do to make something specific happen… the next step in the process? What can we say at the end of each staff meeting to make sure everyone is on-board with the conclusions drawn and that each participant is clear on his or her role in implementing agreed-upon solutions or processes? After meeting a new prospect at a networking event, is there a way to end our conversation that will result in a meaningful future discussion about a business relationship?

The answers to all of these questions may vary in content, but in principle they’re all the same – we must identify and then arrange the next steps, and we must do so definitively.

For instance, after meeting a good prospect at a trade show, it is far better to arrange a specific follow-up plan such as, “I’ll call you Monday at 3pm,” rather than a vague plan such as, “I’ll call you next week!”

“It has been nice meeting with you today, Ms. Buyer. Based on the information you’ve shared, I’ll put together a formal proposal for outfitting your facility with widgets. Can we schedule a brief meeting to review the proposal’s details? How about next Wednesday or Thursday…?”

“OK sales team, our goals for the upcoming week are clear. Along with our regular sales calls, each of us will make twenty-five additional courtesy calls to current customers because we’ve all agreed that retention levels must be improved. These calls will be documented in the newly-created section of our CRM program, and we’ll get together on Wednesday at 4pm to discuss progress – any questions?”

 

 

Proactive Selling: Keep the Ball!

ballinyourcourt copyIn the selling world, it’s not a good idea to “put your ball in the other person’s court,” says Jack Falvey, author and founder of makingthenumbers.com.

In a recent article, Falvey writes, “Let me know if you need more info.” “Just thought you would like to have the latest literature.” “Call me if anything comes up.” These are all give-up statements!

Don’t give up control. “I will be back Tuesday.” “Put me on the bid list, and can we get a trial going in the meantime as a second source?” “I am traveling and will have to call Mr. Big back. What’s a good time to try?” are all keep-control statements.

“It’s not a good idea to put your ball in the other person’s court. Don’t just make weak returns. Hit an approach shot. Be aggressive. Go for a winner. Endless points are in no one’s best interest.
Even if you are playing “first one to speak loses,” you are dictating the rules of the game. You just can’t sit home and hope something good happens in the middle of the night. Not to worry. You will never be awakened by a phone call saying you got the order.

Always make the next step your step. “Is it all right if I do thus and so?” “What will it take to move things along?”

You are the one who is going to be paid for the results. You are the one who will have to move heaven and earth to make things happen. Move it! Move it! Move it!”

Are You A Conative Person?

excusesA recent BusinessInsider.com article identified the word “conation” as being a critically-important element of success.

If you’re wondering (as I did) exactly what this word means, here’s one of the more straightforward definitions provided: “The will to succeed that shows up in single-minded pursuit of a goal.”

A “conative” person has this will.

The article notes that the opposite of conation is the tendency to think about doing things but not necessarily taking action; “excuses rather than action.” The article then goes on to suggest that the way we’ve been taught to learn is, unfortunately, cognitive, not conative; but being conative is better… “We do not think our way to a new way of acting. We act our way to a new way of thinking.”

If you want to change or achieve something new in your life, then you must do something different.  Be conative!

Paving the Road to You-know-where!

good intentionsIn the business world, many of us will set strategic plans or resolve to pursue key objectives yet struggle to implement our plans.

Our intentions are good… but, it is commonly said that the road to “you know where” is paved with these good intentions! And as the adage suggests, many of our goals will sadly join the ranks of the unachieved, falling prey to the countless emergencies and new priorities that will most assuredly present themselves in the day-to-day whirlwind in which we work.

If you’d like to take measures to avoid this oh-so-typical situation – that is, to avoid sacrificing the important in favor of the urgent, here are five ideas that might help you achieve your longer-term objectives:

  1. Set both “result” and “activity” goals. For example, many of us will plan on increasing sales revenue by X%, but fail to also set the activity goals that will generate the desired result. These may include making an extra number of sales contacts each day, attending a certain number of networking events each week or planning more customer retention meetings each month.
  2. Schedule the activities identified in step #1. Research indicates that things entered into calendars are less likely to be “postponed” or procrastinated due to other demands on our time.
  3. Keep score. Goal achievement will require documentation and consistent implementation.
  4. Measure progress and results; hold yourself and the team accountable for not only completing action steps, but also for assessing the effectiveness of each step. Make improvements or refine the approach as necessary – and be careful to avoid the usually-inaccurate conclusion that, “if the activities don’t produce the desired gains, then these activities are a waste of time!” Instead, if outcomes fall short, it’s better to reexamine execution.
  5. Hold yourself personally accountable for steps 1 through 4; lead the way!