Friday, January 12, 2018

Potential Is Not Enough

Your sales team needs more than potential. Selling is hard work, and if you company is going to grow this year the people who are responsible for new business development have to be focused.  Many companies struggle year after year with grand ideas of what they hope to achieve, and then get results that are not what they desired.

If your company is wanting to do more this year, you have to get everyone focused on a series of strategic actions that will lead to increased sales.  Potential is good, but potential does not equal results.  The paradox of potential is that many managers think the capabilities of their people are key to moving the needle.  

Nope.

Even in recessions there are companies and sales professionals that excel. Plans, purpose and people are the key to growing sales, no matter what is happening in the economy. 

7 Tips To Sales Success

Plans:

1. Have Goals.  You must know what realistic success is all about and clearly be able to identify the steps needed to reach those goals.

2. Put in the time to execute on the necessary actions. Failure is inevitable without action.

Purpose:

3. Understand your "WHY".  If someone is not clear as to the reasons they come to work each day, they will not succeed.  This is about knowing both a personal "why" and the mission of the company.

4. Know Your Value Proposition.  If you are not clear on what you bring to the client, they will not believe you are the best option to their problem.

People:

5. Network like your future depends on in, because it does.  All opportunities come from people and the better job you do of connecting in your industry sector, the more sales you will make.  

6. Ask for referrals.  Too often people do not tap into the network they have created, and they miss out on additional sales.  People want to help you, but you must let then know how they can have a real impact. 

7. Help others.  If you are always looking for ways to be genuinely helpful, some of the people will reward you with more business.  Too often we think the self-focused people win, but in the long run the giver will succeed.  

Unlock your potential and sell more than ever before.

Have A Great Day

thom singer




Monday, January 08, 2018

Finding Your Path To Potential

Having “high potential” does not mean performing at maximum capability. While many believe they are doing all they can, a huge number of professionals are frustrated because they are coming up short of expectations. There is a paradox of potential that haunts many people in their career journeys. 
There is a real gap between potential and results, and if you want to do more and unlock your potential you have to be clear about what you are trying to accomplish.  Not every bit of potential will interest you in going for the highest levels. I have a daughter who is a great archer, and may have Olympic level capabilities, however she does not want to pursue archery beyond attending classes for fun. We all have many things we are naturally good at that are not our priorities, and that is okay.
But when you want to excel, you have to be clear on the path your want to take and you cannot do it alone.  You need to seek out the right people to help you maximize your potential.  Plans, purpose and people are key to your success.
1. Plans.  Many debate the value of goal setting, but if you want to perform at your highest levels you must know where you are headed.  Knowing the destination is something you would hope for your airline pilot. Those who discredit goals setting would never board a plane with pilot who do not have a plan. Having goals does not guarantee a clear path to all your desires, but without knowing the direction you can easily get lost. Having a goal makes it very easy when you are faced with decisions along the way.  
2. Purpose.  Simon Sinek says it best in his first book "Start with Why".  Much like a plan, Sinek says knowing you why makes it easy to make choices in your career.  Everyone has a purpose.  It is what gets us out of bed in the morning and keeps us working into late hours.  If you know your "Why" you will be get more done and inspire all who you encounter.
3 People.  All opportunities come from people.  In our world where so many are addicted to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media tools, most agree that after a decade of these tools they do not really have more friends.  Some feel they have fewer strong relationships. When you invest in people and cultivate meaningful connections, you will always find more opportunities.  Choosing people and establishing real friendships is paramount to achieving all you can do in your life.
In trying to find you right path, you have to pay attention to where you skills and your ambition overlap.  You must be clear on what you want, why you want it, and seek allies to help you get there. 
In my long and ongoing study of "potential" I am finding the more I examine my own capabilities and the steps I am taking to do more, the more I am able to accomplish.  Never leave success to chance.  Potential is great, but without clear actions you will get lost in that gap. 

Have A Great Day
thom singer 

Saturday, December 09, 2017

How To Grow Your Business

Most people in business seek to grow.  Growth is the key to creating the long-term.

There are many ways to measure this growth, and it is not all about money.  But money is important.  Never listen to anyone who tells you the numbers are not important, as without income there is no business.

No one person holds all the answers to helping you grow your company or enhancing your career.  There are many people out there trying to sell their ideas as the best or only answer, but I have found over the decades that you have to take ideas from many places, assemble the concepts that resonate with you, and then take actions.

The part I teach is people.  All opportunities come from people, but we live in a world where social media, mobile gadgets and other digital shortcuts get all the attention.  If you want to do more, you must make a strong commitment to the humans you engage with regularly.

I recently watched a video where some "guru" was saying that nice isn't respected in business.  His opinion was that jerks are more respected because they know what they want and that you cannot necessarily trust someone who is nice.  Bull. I am sure his contrarian boasting gets him coaching clients, but my own experience has shown that it is the person who is an ass that will burn you time and time again.

This does not mean you want to be a push-over or weak in your decisions.  This guy tried to pain nice as viewed as weak. He sighted a survey as if there are no studies that take the other point of view.

It is easy to get frustrated or burned-out from dealing with others, but in a world where so many are hungry to connect (look at the success of connection apps in business, dating, etc...), it seems people are more alone than ever.  Vivek Murthy (former US Surgeon General) wrote an article for the Harvard Business Review about the epidemic of loneliness in the business world.  With all of our digital links, likes, shares and follows people feel isolated.  

This is where we can all grow our businesses.  If we can figure out how to connect with people and make them understand when we see them, they will look back and see who we are and what we do. To grow our business we must grow relationships.  We must ask questions.  We have to find ways to serve others.  It is not about selling in the old manner (pitch and close), but instead it is about showing people we are part of their community.

I have been teaching this for a decade. Many other speakers, consultants, gurus, and others have repetitively told me my topic will not sell, as meeting planners, association committees, and audiences are too easily drawn to those who have contrarian topics.  I disagree.  People are smart and are not tricked as often as people think.  In every economy the power of long-term and mutually beneficial relationships will rise to the top.

I have grown my business and I have always tried to care about people.  Even when others do not return the feelings, I still wish them well in my thoughts.  I don't get bruised too easily in the area of making connections, because I am aware you cannot connect with everyone.  But by choosing people on a consistent basis I have seen my income rise.

Take all the advice you can find that works for your industry and personality, but never believe for a minute that people are not important.  Those who say otherwise are possibly correct in some instances, but not most of the time. 

Grow your business by growing your relationships.

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Purposely Prepared: How To Recession-Proof Your Career

Industry associations provide a lot of value to their members, but none is more important than how they provide a venue for people to get to know others in their lines of work. The people who are engaged in their trade groups in good times are the best situated to navigate the inevitable downturns in the economy.

It is common for those who are active in their associations to have strong reputations within their companies, with their customers, and among their competitors. While the online world is full of great tools for people to gain "fame", lasting reputations come from shared experiences.  

I have been working on a new program for association conferences called"
"Purposefully Prepared: 
How to recession-proof your career"
Many finance experts are predicting a pending recession. While nobody can say for sure when it will happen, they are sure of one thing... it is coming.  If we get hit again like we did in 2008 there are many people who will get hurt who have barely recovered from the economic disasters of eight and nine years ago.

Thus, we cannot wait to have a plan of what to do if the bottom falls out and the amount of corporate layoffs go through the roof.  You have to dig your well before you are thirsty.  Too many have no plan of what they will do if their job goes away, and it seems almost nobody wants to talk about it.

That is why this program is so important to be added into conference agendas now.  If we are educating people on how to be prepared, we are providing real value.  To look the other way and hope there will not be a crash is not fair to anyone. 

What would you do if you lost your job tomorrow?  Most people, after getting past the shock and anger, create a plan, identify their purpose, and network with key people.  But if you wait to do this until the worst case scenario happens, the problem is you have no momentum and are caught up in competition with everyone else who is suddenly unemployed.

To purposefully be prepared means to start behaving today like your life depends on the right goals, the purpose that motivates you to work hard, and your connections to people.  The truth is if you do these things and there is no recession, you are likely to get more promotions and other opportunities.  However, if a crash does come you will be light years ahead of all the other newly unemployed.  By the time they can get it figured out, you will be the one with the new job in hand.

If your association wants a program that will get your members thinking and acting in ways that do not resemble ostriches in the sand, let's have a conversation about how to customize this program for you next association meeting.  It is our responsibility in the meetings and association world to help people learn the necessary skills that will help them succeed.  The last recession is not so long ago, and the wounds are still fresh.  Another economic upheaval could have a worse impact on people.

I promise this program is fun, and forward thinking (it is not gloom and doom). It will also get people talking about your event about how important your organization will be to their future no matter how the stock market is trending.  

Check out the information about my keynotes and workshops at www.ThomSinger.com

Have A Great Day

thom singer


Monday, November 13, 2017

Live Meetings Exist To Help People Connect

Last week I was asked to comment in an article in the San Francisco Chronicle and on SF Gate about why people attend live conferences.  


Events like Dreamforce are more than an agenda of speakers.  The best conferences are experiential and have an impact on people. Live events bring people together, and in our digital focused world, people are hungry to engage with other humans in a live setting.

Ten years ago the death of meetings was predicted.  Economic pressures around the high cost of travel were coupled with the advancement in streaming video, causing many to think that business gatherings would become less popular.  Yet that could not have been farther from the truth.  In 2017 there will be more face-to-face events than ever before, and the meetings industry is experiencing record numbers.  More hotel and convention space is being planned in almost every major city, and barring another recession, the trends are showing up and to the right.

But why?  If we can connect with others through a like, link, share, or follow, what is the purpose of getting together in person?

Because people are still people.  We are social creatures and we do our best when we collaborate with others in our communities.  While some elements of this can be achieved remotely, there is still something about looking another person in the eyes and sharing experiences.  

When I speak at live conferences, or act in the role of master of ceremonies, my content is about connecting.  In a world where we have more access to people all around the world, people are more lonely.  Former US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy wrote in a recent article in the Harvard Business Review that we face an epidemic of loneliness.  Over 40% of adults in the United States report feeling lonely.  This is only getting worse as we retreat deeper into our phones and look up at those around us less often.

Live meetings used to be the place we went to learn cutting edge information about our industries. There were few other ways to gather information and stay relevant.  But now all the information we could ever want is available online.  There are free and paid resources in every field that will help professionals learn.  

However the other reason people have always attended meetings, for the networking opportunities, has become even more critical. Surveys of attendees across verticals shows that people want to make connections when they come to a conference (and yes, learning is still a key draw, too).  

It is the responsibility of meeting organizers to provide both.  Too often they seek high impact topics and data, but hope the networking will just happen on it's own.  Making contacts at a live event, however, has gotten harder over the years because people are commonly looking at phones and tablets.  They miss the chance to have conversations and thus go home feeling they missed out on much of the networking.

The more companies and associations embrace their key role in helping their attendees engage, the better experience people will have at the event.  The better experience they have, the higher chance they will return the following year.  It is a vicious cycle.  Conferences like Dreamforce, SXSW, and others that have high repeat attendees are very aware in how the success of the meeting is tied directly to the human experience. 

If people attend for "networking opportunities" and we do not provide them with the chance make meaningful connections, than the conference has failed.  I spend a lot of time talking with clients about their goals for the experience and the networking.  It does not matter if the audience is made up of millennials, introverts, academics, etc... (all reasons sited as to why they do not prioritize the networking on par with the learning).  People are people.  We spend too much time labeling our audiences and separating them.  Instead we need to seek the similarities and build a community. 

Live events exist to help people connect.

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Call for Speakers

Is a "Speaker" a commodity?

A friend who works at an large association called to ask me something about sourcing "good" speakers.  She said that her organization has gotten so good in their "Call for Speakers" that they get amazing proposals, and crappy speakers.  

After several years of instituting a strong grading system for ranking submissions, the results of audience satisfaction declined.  Since I am a professional speaker, she wanted my opinion.

I have never worked for this association, and probably am not the right fit to keynote their conference or present breakouts for their highly technical niche audience.  But I do know one thing: Writing a great proposal and being a talented speaker are not the same thing.  Content is not king.  While content is very important, they have placed too much emphasis on how well someone can craft a list of audience learning objectives, and moved too far away from caring if the person knows how to deliver a speech. 

I rarely get selected to speak if I fill out a "Call for Speakers" form.  As a person who attends a lot of conferences, I can tell quickly if those on the planning committee had a policy of "audience first" or "how do we look smart".  There is a big difference.

The smartest people are not always the best speakers.  That is not suggesting that we should not care about the information and expertise (those are very important).  But speaking is an art form.  You would not pick someone to paint a portrait of your dying grandmother based on a written essay.  There is so many little things that make a great presentation, and the intangible parts have to be given the credit deserved.

When people create a "Call for Speakers" they need to decide what constitutes a speaker.  My friend's organization was really conducting a "Call for Good Proposal Writers Who Want To Speak".  

If they really care about having better speakers they will need to let it be known that experience and speaking style is important.  Some groups have a minimum number of presentations that the speaker has given in the past years as a requirement to apply.  Even if people fudge those numbers, this requirement sends a message of what is expected.

A speaker is not a commodity. 

What do you think?

Have A Great Day.

thom singer


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Social Media Disruption

Over a decade since we all became engrossed in the online and digital world of social media. 

Do you feel like you are better connected?  I don't mean by the ease at which you can superficially be connected to many people, but instead, do you feel closer to the people in your life?

Are there more people you consider close friends? Do you have more intimate connections to business colleagues?  Are you more fulfilled with your social life?  Is there a stronger feeling of camaraderie with clients, co-workers, vendors, etc?

Some will day yes. But many say no.  Social media seemed like it was going to enhance our lives (and it has), but are we really experiencing the benefits of stronger connections?

I argue we are not suddenly more engaged with people than we were a decade ago.  Maybe it is the same, but it appears for some we are worse off.  Yes, we know when strangers ate a burrito for lunch, but while in restaurants I often see people not talking to the people at their table while they stare at their phones.

For ten years people have talked about how social media was made up of amazing tools, and that is true.  But I have talked to audiences for the past decade about how to get back to the basics of human engagement.  Early on the "social media gurus" mocked my position of not linking to everyone with a pulse as my being old fashion.  Now those same "experts" are teaching people how to purge their social media contacts to eliminate those with whom they have no reason to be connected.

One of many things I have taught is the "Coffee, Meal, or Beer Rule".  It simply states that you do not need to connect on LinkedIn or Facebook to people you have not had a real conversation with (and by real, I mean approximately 30 minutes or more).  Granted, there are exceptions and reasons to link with some people you have not really met, but for the most part strangers just fill your feeds with crap. I argued with "experts" on how you should build up your numbers, only to now see them disrupting their own teachings to veer back to a more realistic approach for connecting online and in-person.

Don't get me wrong, I love social media and have used it as a valuable tool since it arrived on the scene.  But do not think it has magic powers, or that giving Facebook $10 to boost your posts will have much of an impact.  The key word is "social".  If you can use these tools to engage people hand enhance conversations, then do it.  But if you think likes, links, shares, and follows have any value by themselves, then you are lost.

I enjoy seeing the "gurus" of ten years ago adopt ideas that are in line with my "Coffee, Meal, or Beer Rule". as a lot of time and money has been wasted in this whole ideas that social media will sell things for the average person. The average person cannot look to a Kardashian business model, as that is simply not how the real world works.

When I began my career as a speaker ten years ago, I was warned that I could not make a living talking about "networking" from a traditional perspective.  I was advised to jump on the social bandwagon as it was the "hot topic".  Today my long-standing ideas are not only gaining ground, but they are what is working for people in a variety of industries.

We can embrace social media tools while at the same time disrupting the hype.  If you want to be more successful and uncover unlimited opportunities, you need a "Choose People - Not Screens" mentality.  

All opportunities come from people.  There are no real shortcuts.  

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Best Year Ever

As we enter 4th quarter of 2017 my business numbers make me smile. Having worked as a speaker, facilitator, and master of ceremonies for 8 years, this is the year I want to replicate. I have worked with the most amazing clients, earned a great income, and have grown as a person.

I have always had the potential to get my business working as it is this year, but there have always been something holding me back.  My work on "The Paradox of Potential" has oddly been part of the reason that I am accomplishing more this year. Asking so many questions of others about the gap between their potential and results, and seeking for their answers on how to bridge that gap, is leaving me inspired in countless ways.

This year I have operated with more intention. This has had a huge impact and has overlapped with my goal of making ages 50 -75 the best years of my life. 

If someone asked me for advice on how to cultivate their own path across the gap, here are the 10 steps:    
1.      Take ownership of your life 2.      Set clear goals 3.      Work past the fear                                            4.      Connect with people  5.      Be aggressive with gratitude  6.      Deliver on all projects                            7.      Accept that change happens 8.      Ask for help and delegate 9.      Try new things                          10.   Believe in yourself 
 In seeking your own potential, you need to find your intention.  If you need help, join the Potential Mastermind Group (so some other group) and get around people who are there to assist you in finding your best year ever.

Have A Great Day

thom singer

Sunday, October 01, 2017

10 Steps Toward Your Potential (1 of 10)

"The Paradox of Potential"

#1 - Take Ownership of Your Life

There are many reasons that we are where we are in our personal and professional journeys.  The past is the past, and we each had to navigate many good and bad experiences to get here today.  

Finger pointing is a common pass time and it holds us back from moving closer to our own potential.  In my discussions with people at all stages of their careers, the ones who are struggling the most are quick to place the blame on someone or something.  

In my own career path I have had some highs and some lows.  If I desire to take credit for when my hard work and ingenuity paid off, I also have to take ownership of the low times. While there were always other people involved in the ups and the downs, the once constant was me.  

If you are not feeling positive about your current gap between your potential and your results, grab hold of everything that has ever happened to you and let go of the blame.  Do not blame yourself, but also do not blame others.  You are where you are and that is a great place to start.  

You are the architect of everything that happens from this day forward. You do not need to ask for permission from anyone else to make changes.  Take ownership, but with that you must take 100% of the responsibility.

Personally I have struggled with doing this, as I worry that if I fail all the fingers will be pointing at me.  Yet once I learned that I must be in control if I want the levels of success that I desire, then I am willing to take my chances as the one in charge of my life.

Have A Great Day.

thom singer