Kirsty

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Prime Netfurking Season
November and December are when the silly season starts to kick in and office functions and networking events go into overdrive, it is a fabulous time to *netfurk.

November is one of those months where we may start to buy into the mindset of being almost there...almost at the finishing line. This can be a very dangerous thing for our business momentum as we wish away November, party in December and recover for most of January. Practically losing 3 months of our year.
 
Don't buy into the office and industry talk of 'Oh, December is the quietest month, there is no point working etc..." often Decembers are my busiest months. This is also the time to be creating work for a busy January and February.
 
Quieter times of the year can also be the best time for you to have time to reflect on where your business is at and where it is heading. To make new plans, to catch up on all the things you haven't had time to do, to integrate and implement new systems and structures into your business. To have time to finally upload all those business card contacts into your database.
 
It is a fantastic time to contact clients for no other reason than just to say 'hi, how has your year been' and 'have a great Christmas'. As December is a very social month it is the best month of the year to *netfurk as it is when everyone else decides it's appropriate to have client lunches. So organise some drinks, lunches and catch up with your wonderful clients in the months ahead.


 Netfurking Success Ideas

1.      Looking for places to *netfurk - Try some of these websites
    Business chicks - www.businesschicks.com.au
    Chambers of Commerce - www.acci.asn.au
    Business Networking International - www.bni.com.au
    or look into your industry association Christmas party.

2.  Carry spare cards with you at all times: it is the easiest way to be growing your business everywhere you go. I find it staggering how many events I attend where people don’t have their business cards on them…or else they have not brought enough with them and run out. I have bundles of spare business cards in my handbag, wallet, jacket pocket, car, desk and everywhere else I can think of. I have won a lot of business through casual conversations turning into contact details being exchanged.

 
The Missing Ingredient
Just meeting people is not enough to open a relationship: you need to catch up and follow up with them as well.  Imagine how many mates you would have if you never actually took the time to catch up with them... Also you probably wouldn’t know very much about them; their likes and dislikes, where they hang out or how they like to spend their time.

Make sure if you are going to spend time networking that you follow up by organising a coffee meeting to get to know them better and then stay in touch. That is the missing ingredient for most people. Staying in touch.

I can’t emphasise strongly enough how crucial it is. During the course of my career I have encountered countless sales people who lay all the groundwork, spending valuable hours meeting people and then they drop the ball and all their work goes to waste.

December is a great time to follow people up. Send a personalised Christmas card or invite a client to attend an event with you. Something magical happens when we spend time together outside of the boardroom, genuinely connecting and getting to know people.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 November 2010 01:49
 
Cold Calls - Calling clients do you love it or loathe it?
Whether you like it or not, I am afraid the phone is a big part of our success, either in your own business or in any career where you have clients. Face to face contact is always my preference but is not always possible from a time perspective to stay in touch with everyone regularly in that way.

This past week, I have had the pleasure of coaching numerous people in numerous industries around ‘cold calling’. Yuck! I hear some of you say...well yes, that’s what I thought, too. It sounds so wrong. Perhaps instead we should be calling it ‘new client calls’ or ‘potential friend calls’. That sounds so much nicer.

At the same time, I had by chance been making my own client follow up calls. Some were cold and some warm. What I found incredibly interesting was how differently we felt about this task; while I was excited... my clients were terrified or simply loathsome about the very idea of making their calls.

So what I wanted to share with you this month was what my process is, in the hope it will help anyone who may suffer from a little call reluctance to actually enjoy the process and to achieve some great results.

The first thing to understand is that you are NOT cold calling and you are not calling to ‘close a sale’. You are calling to ‘open a relationship’ to just open the door a fraction and get your foot in it. So that over time, it will open fully and they will invite you in.  


It is so important that you let go of having an agenda and that your intention of making the call - is simply to open a relationship.

Recently I was making a series of client calls. My coaching client was sitting in on the session and when I finished she turned to me and said ‘now I would feel depressed after all that’. I asked her why? And her response was ‘because you didn’t make a sale’.

I hadn’t realised that this is what most people are expecting when they make calls. I guess that is what we have been conditioned to expect and pushed to do when ‘cold calling’ through traditional selling techniques.

Somewhere along the road I had learned to understand and appreciate that all relationships take time and are not about the agenda of trying to close an immediate sale but rather opening that door.

So after an hour of calls I felt fantastic, excited in fact that I had had such a great morning chatting to clients and reconnecting with them and opening those doors just a little further.

If we understand the incubation period we respect this idea. Many sales sessions focus on the fact that a sale often comes on the fifth to seventh call. This is not because you have finally ‘closed them’ it is because they have finally had a need.

Statistics show us that a client will take on average anywhere from 9-18 months from the time they first meet us or come into contact with our brand to the time they do business with us.

All we need to do is stay in touch long enough and provide enough value that when they have a need for our product or service, we are top of mind.

That really is all you need to do, that is the big secret, the golden idea, that’s it! Please understand that, it’s so important I will say it again....

All we need to do is stay in touch long enough and provide enough value that when they have a need for our product or service, we are top of mind.

So, basically I meet people and I stay in touch. I meet people and I stay in touch...that’s it.
I meet people and I stay in touch...

In terms of losing the agenda: Understand that not every client will convert to business either. Some will be in the incubation period longer, some may never have a need and that is also ok. Golden tip number 2 - other things come out of our relationships, than simply a sale.

I have one particular client who is more of a friend and we have never used each other’s products or services as we have never had a need, but over the years we have referred each other $100s of thousands of dollars in referrals and even if we hadn’t, I love her to bits and the relationship itself is invaluable to me. So reframe the calls in your mind, from the end result being a sale which will leave you feeling disappointed, to ‘opening relationships’ which will mean you have a greater chance of a successful call occurring.


So let go of the agenda and let your intention be to open a relationship. For more information on handling initial calls with clients, check out my free audio on this topic which is downloadable from my resource center just click here.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 October 2010 01:42
 
Tough Conversations With Clients
 What might be some of the types of tough conversations we need to have with clients ? Perhaps;
 
    •    You are negotiating a deal and have to be the bearer of news they will not be pleased with, for example the offer on their home is less than they were expecting
    •    There is an issue with a client and obvious tension in the relationship
    •    Something has gone wrong and the client is distressed
 
In the first scenario when we have to share what could be bad news with a client, an empathetic person can make the mistake of trying to soften the news or ‘rescue’ the client. This doesn’t help anyone as at the end of the day you need to assist your client to accept the situation as it is. They need the facts and have a right to be aware so they can make an educated decision.
 
I recently studied with one of the world’s leading non-verbal communication experts Michael Grinder and one of the sessions focused on ‘don’t shoot the messenger’ one of the tips was, when sharing negative news, distance it from you by having a third point. For example a piece of paper, contract or offer that is the third point. So when you discuss the negative news, you look at the third point that is separated from you on the table. This communicates non-verbally that this ‘news’ is not attached to you. You are talking about the issue... over there. For years, when presenting offers as a real estate agent I used this technique and found it to be very powerful.
 
Secondly, when we have a difficult relationship with a client and there is obvious tension. What can we do?
 
Honesty really is the best policy. Speak from your heart and clear the air. If something has gone wrong talk about it.
 
It takes practice to get good at communication in particular having difficult conversations. It takes a willingness to let go of anger and your position. You need to accept that you may not be right and be open to their perspective.
 
When things go wrong we can tend to hide out behind our computer on emails. The most important thing is to get face to face as soon as possible. You need to be able to sense each other’s genuineness and it is very difficult to empathise with an email or read the tone.
 
I encourage you all to think about someone you need to have a tough conversation with and consider how much better your relationship could be if you were willing to have it.
 
 
Interview with Morton & Morton 'Tough Conversations'
This month I have the pleasure of bringing you an amazing interview recording with a company that knows what #furk is all about as they were ranked by the BRW as one of the Top 50 places to work.
 
One of my favorite parts to the interview was when we discussed how important ‘tough conversations’ are.
 
I am sure everyone can relate to how difficult it can be to have tough conversations. Whether it is with a partner, a family member, a colleague or a client. We can often shy away from having to have uncomfortable conversations. This past year I have had to have some really tough conversations with family, friends & clients. I am so grateful that I had the courage to be vulnerable with them, in my experience when you are willing to have these conversations they deepen a relationship and take it to another level of connection. When we are open and honest enough to share how we are feeling it can clear the air and build trust in a way that few things can.

Click here
to listen to my interview or download it to your ipod. This month’s interview is with Director Ewan Morton from Morton & Morton real estate in Sydney. Recently ranked in the Top 50 places to work by the BRW list. I wanted to find out what it takes to make such a list.
 
Some of the key lessons I took away from speaking with Ewan were;
 
1. You have no idea how your staff members are representing you in the market place unless you spend some time with them in the field. Not only did he learn what they needed to change, he realised he had forgotten what it felt like to be them out in the field.
 
2. Be open with your staff about what is going on ‘the good & the bad’ so you can come together. ‘I don’t have all the answers, sometimes the answer comes from the team’.
 
3. The ‘boarding school principle‘ you end up at school with people you don’t have any choice about being with and at times you hate each other’s guts... but at the end of it all you come out very close, you know each other very well ...you know each other’s worst bits and you come out much stronger’ and I apply this principle to my team ‘when things get tough with a team member if you are willing to stand beside them and help them, it builds a strong connection between you and them and it builds loyalty’.
 
‘What makes having hard conversations easier is that the other person knows I am not going to say anything to them that will hurt them’.

Top tips for having tough conversations
 
1. Be open to a varying point of view
2. Let go of your ego, you cannot go in being judgmental
3. Have empathy and try to put yourself in their shoes
4. Don’t take it personally or as criticism
5. Be open to learning, see it as opportunity to grow
6. Come from a place where you are genuinely interested in their well being
7.  Stay calm


 
Video; Tough Conversations With Our kids Leads To A Better Future...
Click here to watch this hilarious video by the author of ‘Don’t eat the marshmallow yet!’ . I urge all parents to watch this. It is with our children that we have to have the toughest conversations of all to ensure the best in life for them. If we can teach them to delay gratification we ensure a far better chance of them succeeding in life.
 
Furking anywhere, anytime...
As I traveled across the US, I was reminded how fortunate we are to live and work in today’s times. Technology has made so much possible for us. I write this as I sit on a train traveling from San Diego to L.A admiring the gorgeous coastline. The train has a power outlet for my laptop battery and wifi internet access. Incredible! This enables me to work in a way that fits the lifestyle I love. Which in turn means it never feels like work. It’s #furk. I get to do what I love, with people I love, while spending time with my global family. All the while remaining connected.
 
Ask yourself where might you like to #furk ? and how can you make it fit into the lifestyle you want, so you never have to feel like your working again. Even something as simply as changing your environment can turn work into #furk. For example get out of the office and into a cafe, or down to a park bench or the beach with your laptop. Go on, I dare you...


Furk; Combining FUn and woRK and blurring the lines. It’s about integrating rather than compartmentalising and separating the two. In essence it is about doing what you LOVE with people that you love.
 
Getting Past First Base...
It’s all well and good to meet potential clients but it’s not enough to open up a relationship, the kind that we all want that leads to word of mouth repeat, referral business and lifetime loyalty: you need to get to second base. The ‘catch up’.  Imagine how many mates you would have if you never actually took the time to catch up with them – not many.  You  probably wouldn’t know very much about their likes and dislikes, where they hang out or how they like to spend their time.
 
It is imperative that just like personal relationships you take the time to connect and get to know your clients if you want a lifetime relationship. So that’s the focus of the article below;
 
Find The Part Of You That Is Like Them...
 
For me taking the time to care and get to know people is about really connecting. It’s where rapport, empathy and our emotional intelligence really comes into play.
 
One way of building rapport and connecting quickly is by finding those small things that you have in common with someone. I am sure most of you have heard of the technique called ‘matching and mirroring’ which is often used in sales training. For those of you that haven’t it’s where you match and mirror things such as a clients body language, breathing and interests in order to build rapport.
 
The principles great but it can be difficult to carry out in a real life situation.
 
For example it isn't easy to carry on a conversation with someone when we are analysing them and trying to match their behavior.
 
Let me share with you my twist on this technique. Now we all have parts of ourselves that are like others, different parts to our personalities and rather than trying to be like them by copying them, find the part of you that is like them.
 
I’m sure you can relate, when your with your partner you are different than when you are with your mates, or with a colleague. I know that some of the sides to my personality are...when I am with older clients I have a few in their 70’s and with them I become what I have called the ‘The Granddaughter’. When I was in real estate and meeting with my building clients their was the ‘Ocker Aussie’ who would put on work boots on the building site....or when I am with someone who is having some problems the ‘counsellor Kirsty’ comes out...or when I am with someone more analytical and serious the ‘philosophical’ side of me may come out...
 
Now I am still being the real me in each of these situations... As I have always loved hanging out with my Grand dad and I grew up in the bush so have a little Ocker Aussie in me. These are all parts of who I am.
 
There will always be common ground with someone else and you must find that piece or part of you that is like them and bring it out.
 
If you really want to open relationships with clients for life, then find those ways to connect and show you care and book a couple of ‘catch ups’ this week.
 
Create An Experience That Your Clients Will Remember
I have been a big fan of Red Balloon for many years because when they provide a gift it is about creating an experience. In my book, I wrote about the importance of sharing experiences, below is an excerpt;
 
Once a year I would do something special for my V.I.P clients. Some of the unique personalised experiences I have shared with them over the years include: taking one of my clients out for a day’s V8 driving and exploring the wine region by luxury limo with another client who was passionate about wine.  I chose each activity thoughtfully to suit each individual’s interests and personality and created an experience that was memorable for each and far exceeded their expectations – which is a wonderful thing to accomplish.
 
Check out the amazing experiences Red Balloon provides to help plan a special day you can share with one of your clients. To recognise and thank them for their ongoing support.
 
 Top Tips For Great Gift Giving
 
·make it personalised to show you care
·make them feel special by showing you understand their likes and dislikes
·deliver the gift in person where possible
·make it representative of you and your brand
·include your business cards / company branding in the wrapping paper
·where possible make the gift an experience you share with your client, something to be remembered and talked about!
 
Kirsty Spraggon Interview's Red Balloons CEO
This month I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing Naomi Simson the CEO of Red Balloon a company that is changing gifting in Australia. They have been on the BRW list 6 years running and were ranked by Hewitt’s with a 97% staff engagement score. One of their top values is FUN at work. Click here to listen to the interview;
 
Some of the highlights from the interview for me were;
 
  • Seeing how a CEO of Naomi’s calibre is so connected with her team.
  • She leads from the centre of a tribe not the top of a hierarchy.
  • Hearing how fun can be commercially a great business decision and a profitable one.
  • Of course it would be remiss of me not to mention meeting Dexter the dog. He was a great interviewee with Mum Naomi and certainly made work #furk.
Last Updated on Sunday, 10 October 2010 05:36
 
Perth Public Event
I am coming home and running my first public event which is very exciting! I would love to see you there and if you could help by spreading the word to colleagues and your team, I would be very grateful.
 
I wanted to create a fabulous offer so what I am doing is a ;  2 hour evening workshop on ‘opening relationships to close more sales’ on the 30th June for $49 plus gst and including a copy of my book ‘work as if you own it’. A great deal, plus it’s a tax deduction.
 
There is a new feature at the top of my newsletter that allows you to share this newsletter via email or your social networks. There are a limited number of seats at the venue so book your place online.
 
For bookings click here and head to the event section.
 
Nescafe Appointments...
I remember being in a training session about 18 months into my real estate career. The trainer berated us for wasting our time on ‘Nescafe appointments’, which according to him were appointments where we were wasting our time having coffee with people that weren’t qualified to buy immediately.

However, when I looked at my current client list I noticed something. Out of the 15 clients I had at that moment, I had met 12 of them at a ‘Nescafe appointment’ 9-18 months prior.

This was the first time I started to question the sales training and I thought ‘perhaps this guy’s got it wrong and I’m onto something’. It seemed my way of ‘relationship building’ was working.

You see all of those coffees are deposits in your future business bank account and your personal bank account. Each relationship was valuable in different ways...some teach you about relationships! Without the early meetings in my career, how would I have improved my abilities to build empathy, trust and rapport? Some relationships provide support and others become clients and referring partners, and a million other benefits can come from building great relationships rather than focusing on an immediate sale.

In the short-term, it may appear that just closing a sale with someone who has an immediate need is more effective, but you could be missing out on 90% of your potential market!
 
This is because you would be limiting yourself to dealing only with the very small percentage of the market ready and willing to work with you today.  Yet industry research strongly suggests that depending on your particular sales industry there is usually a 9-18 month incubation period from the first point of contact until the time when a new client actually purchases your product or service. 9-18 months! Just like my Nescafe appointments. That means you would be missing out on a lot of business by only working with the ‘right here, right now’ prospects.  Not only would you be making things a lot harder for yourself in the long run, but you would also be doing yourself out of all the extra repeat and referral business that would otherwise come your way effortlessly through clients feeling so well taken care of and appreciated.

 
Value furk as profitable work
Most of my days are spent creating, catching up and having breakfast, lunch and dinner with clients who I consider friends, many of whom have become lifetime clients that I love having in my world. I believe this is a much more sustainable way of doing business than the traditional 'close the sale' ideology that the sales industry has been sold, where you are on the one-off treadmill and constantly looking for new business.

However, I remember feeling guilty at one point that I was so successful with such minimal effort. Initially, this didn’t feel right. After all, like many of us, I had been taught that I shouldn’t mix business with pleasure, that I “shouldn’t do business with friends” and old clichés like: “another day another dollar” and “life wasn’t meant to be easy”. 

Work was meant to feel hard, wasn’t it? And if I didn’t feel like I had worked hard, I would feel guilty. I may have made a lot more money by having fun and mixing business with pleasure, but part of me felt driven to continue to work even harder because I felt guilty that I was having too much fun.

If you have ever felt guilty that you are not working hard enough, it may stem from what is known as the ‘protestant work ethic’. Over time, we have been conditioned to feel an inner obligation and sense of duty to work. It has become part of our identity and how we value ourselves and if we don’t work hard enough, we may feel guilt, shame or consider ourselves unworthy.

I have learned to consider my coffee meetings and networking events as me being ‘hard at work’ and include this in my weekly schedule as prospecting time.  I now realise that the journey to success can be as difficult or as much fun as you choose it to be.  Because of this, I love my work and my days are filled taking a genuine interest in people’s lives and chatting away having a wonderful time and they call this work? Well, as you all know I call it #furk.
 
#Furk; Combining FUn and woRK and blurring the lines. It’s about integrating rather than compartmentalising and separating the two. In essence it is about doing what you LOVE with people that you love.
Last Updated on Monday, 07 March 2011 07:09
 
Mediocrity Man
Some of you may be aware that my father was also in real estate and awhile back he was telling me the story of how one day he decided to clean out his office. After being in real estate for well over a decade, he had an enormous amount of paperwork in filing cabinets. Every time he went out to see a potential client to do a quote, he would start up a new client file, and he actually had hundreds if not thousands of these from over the years. He was a very successful agent. In his day, he was often ranked in the top 10% in his field in the state. Now he was cleaning out all the old files from potential clients that had never converted to business, or that had chosen to go with another company. As he continued to clean out file after file after file, the pile slowly got higher and higher, until it was almost taller than him. He started to contemplate this pile of old files and he thought that it represented a tower of mediocrity. Equating to hundreds of thousands of dollars in business that he had let slip away. I wonder, how many of us have our own tower of mediocrity buried in in-trays, in filing cabinets or in our computer databases? A pile of missed opportunities because we didn’t follow up or stay in touch well enough or for a million other reasons, that so many potential opportunities can slip through our fingers. Relationships really are one of the simplest things we can learn to do well in business. Yes, they take effort, but they don’t cost us anything. We can spend thousands of dollars on marketing and advertising and branding that gets us nowhere. The statistics tell us that it’s 5 to 8 times cheaper to keep an existing client than to try and market to new ones and yet, we continue to do this. When all we need to do is learn to connect and build strong lasting relationships. To be consistent and stay in touch regularly. I urge you to take a look through your pile of opportunities and turn it from mediocrity into excellence by picking up the phone and following up. By booking a time to catch up face to face and connect with past clients and new ones.
 
Giving a 100%
This comes from 2 math teachers with a combined total of 70 years experience. Here is a little something someone sent me that is indisputable mathematical logic. It also made me Laugh Out Loud. This is a strictly mathematical viewpoint...it goes like this:
 
What Makes 100% ? What does it mean to give MORE than 100% ? Ever wonder about those people who say they are giving more than 100%? We have all been to those meetings where someone wants you to give over 100%. How about achieving 103%? What makes up 100% in life? Here's a little mathematical formula that might help you answer these questions:
 
If: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
is represented as: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26.
Then: H-A-R-D-W-O-R-K 8+1+18+4+23+15+18+11 = 98%
and K-N-O-W-L-E-D-G-E 11+14+15+23+12+5+4+7+5 = 96%
But , A-T-T-I-T-U-D-E 1+20+20+9+20+21+4+5 = 100%
And, B-U-L-L-S-H-I-T 2+21+12+12+19+8+9+20 = 103%
AND, look how far ass kissing will take you. A-S-S-K-I-S-S-I-N-G 1+19+19+11+9+19+19+9+14+7 = 118%
 
So, one can conclude with mathematical certainty, that While Hard work and Knowledge will get you close, and Attitude will get you there, its the Bullshit  and Ass kissing that will put you over the top
Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 March 2010 08:12
 
Malcolm Gladwell live in Santa Barbara shared wisdom on....
I had the pleasure of hearing Malcolm Gladwell speak last night and I wanted to share some of what I heard. I can only hope the message comes through quite so eloquently. He started by saying he wanted to discuss the concept of 'are we moving on from the global financial crisis without fully extracting the lessons' and he went on to cover in detail what he believes to be the disease of experts ‘over confidence’ or what he technically refers to as ‘mis-callabration’ which can lead to the demise of experts (such as the wall street bankers) when they become blind to the facts of the world around them. They no longer see reality as it is. Unlike incompetence ‘the disease of idiots’. Experts have the ability to screw up on a monumental level and affect us all. There were several questions asked around how then do we find the balance? of being an expert and confidant but not being afflicted by overconfidence, as in many roles for example doctors and army leaders are required to be over confidant, it is necessary and we look to them expecting them to be certain.
 
I asked the question can we avoid this as we become more successful or is it inevitable and has Warren Buffett for example avoided this. He commented that it could be avoided. ‘The key to optimal success is to remain marginally deluded. To keep yourself in a place where your nicely deluded rather than pathologically deluded’. Expert bridge players he said are the best in the world at not becoming over confidant. As they receive steady accurate constant feedback. Feedback is one of the most important tools to remaining humble, never thinking you know it all. We need to understand that mistakes are part of the process of success and are a never ending part of life. He seemed to agree that Warren was a good example of someone who had not succumbed to over confidence. He has been able to achieve such balance. The key qualities he discussed were; remaining humble, remembering your roots, gaining regular feedback so you stay connected and know your humanness. Having people in your world that disagree with you so your ego stays in check and doesn’t blind you. I could have listened to him all night long and took pages of notes! and of course got my book autographed. Follow him through his website www.gladwell.com
Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 March 2010 08:13
 
Public Events - Kirsty Live
I will be presenting around the country at four public events. Rethink Your Approach Adelaide 12 May ⋅ Sydney 14 May ⋅ Brisbane 18 May ⋅ Melbourne 28 May Go to; https://sphinxx01.worldsecuresystems.com/BookingRetrieve.aspx?ID=49930 to download the flyer. About half way down the page you can click to download the brochure. (note the leadership speakers will vary in each state and we now have Australian of the year award winner Ronni Kahn on the program) You can book online ; Pricing is $345 til 16/4/10 then $445 or group booking is $2950 til 16/4/10 then $3950 Please put my name in the "How did you hear about us?" field" 'Kirsty Spraggon'
 
How happy would you be to find your car had been towed?
Normally I probably wouldn’t be to impressed to find my car had been towed but when your with Sam Cawthorn ‘inspirational speaker’ who has bounced back from a car accident that cost him his arm. You tend to see not only the glass half full but that the glass is over flowing. You see the car was towed to South Central in L.A. We were instructed that when we wen’t to pick it up ‘we should NOT get out of the car’. The taxi driver informed us he had been held up at gun point there and his brother in law had been shot. Now at this point I am a little hesitant as you can imagine but NOT Sam, he cant wait! Sam thought it was the best $280 he had ever spent. As it gave him an experience, an adventure! We’ll by the end of the week Sam’s boundless enthusiasm and zest for life certainly left a mark on me and his ability to turn any situation into a positive is a character trait we should all aspire to have and is at the heart of his message on bouncing back.
Last Updated on Thursday, 11 March 2010 18:53
 
Are you a lassie or a pitbull; when it comes to relationships...
I went for a walk recently and this hilarious dog decided I should play ball with him. The thing is I don't do 'ball' especially wet, slobber covered tennis balls. He was very persistent and continued to drop and throw it at me as I walked on. I couldn't help but laugh. This went on and on and on until I found him so cute (he did resemble Lassie) I had no choice but to throw the damn ball. The moral 'gentle persistence’ in a playful way gets the sale. Make sure your relationship building style is more Lassie than pit bull. My top 3 tips; 1. Work out your Pareto Principle - 80% of your business comes from 20% of your clients. Do you know who they are? Who is bringing in 80% of your business and what was the last thing you did to recognise them. 2. Statistics show there is a 9-18 month incubation period between when someone first comes into contact with us (or our brand) and when they will contact us (or have a need for your product or service). Be mindful of this and be patient, consistent and tenacious when it comes to staying in touch with clients. 3. Touch points; in the 9-18 months you must be staying in touch and I don’t mean stalking or harassing people. You need to have permission by opening a relationship and genuinely connecting. You might do this by catching up for a coffee, making a phone call that isn't about selling, or connecting online through social networks. The important thing is to build a relationship so when they are ready you’re still around. Now remember to make sure your relationship building style is more Lassie than pit bull.
Last Updated on Monday, 01 March 2010 03:16
 
Interview on Establishing Relationships
To listen to my latest interview on Establishing Relationships follow the link below. “Building a lifetime relationship with your clients is more important than just closing a sale and moving on. Taking the time to get to know your clients, and allowing them to know and trust you, more than pays off in repeat business and referrals. It can also enrich your life, as you expand your client base into a support network that is mutually beneficial”. http://www.kirstyspraggon.com.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=85
Last Updated on Tuesday, 30 March 2010 08:26
 
What matters now? What one word matters to you in 2010
Seth Godin one of my favorite writers, and blogger extraordinaire, has persuaded 70 other innovators, writers, and bloggers to participate in a project he calls What Matters Now. The idea is simple: Each suggests one word — literally one word — that all of us should think about in 2010, and then takes one page to explain why and how that word matters. The result is an inspirational, profound and deeply moving read which at the same time educates and opens the mind to new possibilities. I encourage you to download the pdf and then share it with as many friends, associates, and colleagues as possible. Seth begins with his word ‘generosity’ one of my personal favorites and he says "When the economy tanks it's natural to think of yourself first," he writes. "You have a family to feed and a mortgage to pay. Getting more appears to be the order of business. It turns out that the connected economy doesn't respect this natural instinct. Instead, we're rewarded for being generous." As most of you know my word, of course is furk! Furk is the area that forms shades of grey between fun and work. It is a combination of two words FUn + woRK and therefore two things. It is not simply work on it’s own or fun on it’s own. It is when we combine the two things together that we get furk. Furk is about blurring the lines between work and play, colleagues and friends, clients and friends, and it’s about not compartmentalising and separating our lives. Work and fun don’t have to be two separate things. We can have fun doing what we love, with people that we love and that can be productive, profitable and enjoyable work. Instead of feeling like work has to be a struggle and effort we can find a middle ground that is effortless. http://www.scribd.com/doc/24774121/23711234-What-Matters-Now
Last Updated on Monday, 01 March 2010 03:11
 
Hawaiian style furk
After finishing my incredible kayak tour I was chatting with one of the guides ‘Bailey’ a delightful character full of knowledge & information about the history of the islands.  We were chatting about his work when he said to me ‘I don’t feel like I worked today...I had lot’s of fun and wen’t Kayaking with a bunch of great people. Plus I got to do what I love ‘kayak’.  Now clearly most people would have to agree with him. It doesn’t sound like work at all. The thing is as fun as it was I can’t think of anything worse than being tortured by kayaking every day. As for me this is not my idea of fun and would most certainly feel like work. However speaking and writing everyday is what I call *furk. I get to ‘play’ all day. So the key is to find what is fun for YOU, your hobby turned into work and to be doing what feels joyful and effortless. On my Lual Tour the guide also had a similar conversation with me that she never dreaded going to work each day. That it brought her great joy and she loved what she did. Do you feel this way each morning?

 
I dont know if I can do this....
We’ll there I am out at sea alone in a Kayak thinking ‘what the hell was I thinking’ and ‘now would be a good time to have a strong fit boyfriend’ as everyone else paddles effortlessly in their 2 man kayaks and I struggle against the waves solo, the little annoying voice entered my head. It said ‘give up! and just sit here and float’ the only problem with that was I would have been swept out to sea, not into shore. By this stage we had been gone all of 20 minutes and my hands and arms were throbbing...pathetic I know. It seemed every time I stopped to have a rest I undid all the ground I had covered. I was angry with the ocean ‘how could it do this to me’ didn’t I deserve a little help? Some nice waves pushing me a long in the right direction. Clearly not. So I struggled on and reminded myself that I had overcome this little voice before and I had inner strength in reserves somewhere.

 I just had to tap into it and distract myself from the pain, to stop being a baby and get over myself. It was about this time I thought of Justin Jones & James Castrission speaking colleagues who had Kayaked from Australia to new Zealand for 62 days. I had new found respect for them, as until you have been in a Kayak you don’t really get it.
 
So I am sitting there paddling with all my might (which was probably wasn’t much) and thinking if they can do it so can I. When we finally land on the island I am relieved and when we eventually return for the day (it has only been 2 hours) I am elated. Not only because it’s over but because once again I had that lovely happy feeling you get when you do something for the first time, that you didn’t know you could do but inevitably we are always capable of more than we know. You know that feeling it’s the one you get when you build Ikea furniture. I hope this year is full of new experiences that push you out of your comfort zones and give you that happy feeling.
 
I don't know if I can do this....
We’ll there I am out at sea alone in a Kayak thinking ‘what the hell was I thinking’ and ‘now would be a good time to have a strong fit boyfriend’ as everyone else paddles effortlessly in their 2 man kayaks and I struggle against the waves solo, the little annoying voice entered my head. It said ‘give up! and just sit here and float’ the only problem with that was I would have been swept out to sea, not into shore. By this stage we had been gone all of 20 minutes and my hands and arms were throbbing...pathetic I know. It seemed every time I stopped to have a rest I undid all the ground I had covered. I was angry with the ocean ‘how could it do this to me’ didn’t I deserve a little help? Some nice waves pushing me a long in the right direction. Clearly not. So I struggled on and reminded myself that I had overcome this little voice before and I had inner strength in reserves somewhere.

 I just had to tap into it and distract myself from the pain, to stop being a baby and get over myself. It was about this time I thought of Justin Jones & James Castrission speaking colleagues who had Kayaked from Australia to new Zealand for 62 days. I had new found respect for them, as until you have been in a Kayak you don’t really get it.
 
So I am sitting there paddling with all my might (which was probably wasn’t much) and thinking if they can do it so can I. When we finally land on the island I am relieved and when we eventually return for the day (it has only been 2 hours) I am elated. Not only because it’s over but because once again I had that lovely happy feeling you get when you do something for the first time, that you didn’t know you could do but inevitably we are always capable of more than we know. You know that feeling it’s the one you get when you build Ikea furniture. I hope this year is full of new experiences that push you out of your comfort zones and give you that happy feeling.
Last Updated on Sunday, 17 January 2010 22:15
 
Martin Luther King did not say “I have a strategic plan”,
he said: “I have a dream.”  As I am a very visual person I found that instead of writing my goals down I preferred to use a technique called ‘Dream Boarding’ which is where you take a large piece of cardboard and stick pictures of all the different dreams and goals you are wanting to achieve in the different areas of your life. In other words, you create ‘a Vision Board’. Dream Boards are a lot more fun than a business plan and can be a great way to involve the whole family in your goals and create one together as well as individually. It has been found that the subconscious mind does not know the difference between what’s real and what’s not, so trick it into believing you are already living the life you dream of through visualisation. I stick my dream boards up on the back of the toilet door or the wardrobe in my bedroom: that way it is in my awareness every time I walk past and glance at it. Some amazing things have happened to me over the years I have been using them.

 
Space to Create
As most of you know I was in the UK this month for work and of course more than a little furk. It was a great reminder for me how wonderful it is to have time away from your business to reflect and review.

I love my work so much that I often find it very hard to stop and take a break, I really have to force myself. What’s great about this time of year is that we are forced to stop. Over Christmas and New Year most places shut up shop and it’s a time to be with your family and stop all the busyness and craziness of the build up towards the end of the year. This forced time off is a great refresher as we prepare to start the year ahead and often I have found that in the space, I have been able to have room to think. The space has allowed me to create and innovate, to think, reflect and plan...

As I said last month we don’t want to be taking 3 month’s off but I think a week or two every 6 months is a great thing to allow you time to get off the high speed ride and ask yourself some questions. Like:

what do I really want in the year ahead
where do I want to go in 2010
who do I want with me on the journey

I find it allows me time to get re-inspired about my goals and reflect on where I am heading. To get excited and have a renewed passion. Once I start I can't stop, ideas just flow. I encourage you to use this time as the year winds down  to ask yourself these question and allow the space to create your dreams for 2010.
 
Your Not At The Finish Line Just Yet....

November is one of those months where we may start to buy into the mindset of being almost there...almost at the finishing line. This can be a very dangerous thing for our business momentum as we wish away November, party in December and recover for most of January. Practically losing 3 months of our year.

 

Don't buy into the office and industry talk of 'ohhh December is my quietest month, there is no point working etc..." often December's are my biggest months. Perhaps as there is less competition?

 

Quieter times of the year can also be the best time for you to have time to reflect on where your business is at and where it is heading. To make new plans, to catch up on all the things you haven't had time to do, to integrate and implement new systems and structures into your business. To have time to finally upload all those business card contacts into your database. (see the free coaching information below, this is a great way to help you reflect).

 

It is a fantastic time to contact clients for no other reason than just to say 'hi, how has your year been' and 'have a great Christmas'. As December is a very social month it is the best month of the year to *furk as it is when everyone else decides it's appropriate to have client lunches. So organise some drinks, lunches and catch up with your wonderful clients in the months ahead.

 

 
K's in Looovvveeee

For those of you who keep up with my non existent love life I am sorry to disappoint you but it’s not that kind of love! I am in love with my new business card scanner. It’s one of those things when you finally have it, you say ‘how have I lived without you for this long’. I avoided it for some time as I do with all technology. Yet once it was here it took just 5 minutes to install and has a similar format to outlook. It is easy to use, saves me time and means I work less and *furk more. For those of you who have a very advanced card saving facility ‘a shoebox or worse the bin’ please invest in a card scanner

I guarantee you will fall In love too and it will assist you to capture your contacts.

 
Technology... Are We Loosing Our Personal Touch?

I was chatting with a client the other day and she was retelling the story of how devastated one of her friends was when her son sent her a text message informing her that he was now engaged! It got me thinking about the positive and negatives of technology and in particular how the different generations perceive and use it in their every day life.

 

My mother is not very tech savvy, for example she recently asked my brother if he could send an email for her through the fax... Yet my 19 year old brother practically lives online through face-book, twitter and connects with his friends daily if not by the minute via texting.

 

What I believe is important for us is to know is what our clients needs are and at what level they are at when it comes to technology. Not to assume they are as old fashioned or as advanced as we are, whichever it may be.

 

If for example you have lot’s of younger Gen Y clients they would perceive that you are out of date if you don’t have a face-book and twitter account then they would have no problem with 80% of conversations taking place online via, emails and sms’s. However an older client could be offended at the lack of personal connection and may feel you just don’t care. That’s not to say that the older generations are not tech savvy. My father is in his sixties and has gotten himself a face-book account (though like most parents his kids won’t accept his friend requests) and I have a Gen Y friend who hates mobile phones and refuses to text. So don’t assume, make sure you take the time to connect with your clients in the beginning and find out their preferred methods of contact.

 

Personally I think it is best to mix it up a little. I would never allow technology and the virtual world to replace face to face human contact. It is an added way of me connecting and touching my clients in between seeing or speaking to them, not a replacement.

 
Get off the one off treadmill & into opening relationships for life


I really believe that relationships are everything 2-3-4 careers and business later the key to my success has been that my relationships have come with me over a 17 year period in sales.

I am a passionate advocate of relationships and the power behind understanding how valuable they can be when you get out of the ‘closing the sale’ mindset and off the “one off treadmill” and you truly understand the long-term power of ‘opening relationships’ for life.



We really need to start focusing on how we can build strong relationships that come from a genuine place of intent about connecting with people. Not just selling or closing a sale, but about opening a relationship. 



Networking isn’t something we do once a week it is something we create. A ‘network’ by definition is ‘an interconnected system’ it’s about more than just dollars...yes we need sales but we also need a community to draw on for advise, wisdom & emotional support, to teach us, to share experience with, to collaborate and leverage from. Creating a pseudo family around yourself. I call this my family tree. Unlike our real family that we don’t get to choose this one you get to create!

 Who is on your tree? Who are your roots? Your support networks, the people you go out on a limb for & vice versa. Are you watering your tree by giving and nourishing it by taking time to nurture your relationships. Is your tree more of a shrub or possibly dying rather than flourishing. What can you do to water and fertilise it this week?
 
Emotional Inteligence EQ vs IQ


I always knew there was a reason why I was successful in spite of the fact I was academically challenged in high school...In Daniel Goleman’s book ‘emotional intelligence’ he quotes statistics that IQ is only responsible for determining about 20% of our chances of success. The other 80% is determined by our social and interpersonal skills & our emotional intelligence. EQ is described as our ability to have empathy, understanding and rapport. To be able to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes.



There is no greater skill for relationship building than EQ and for life and business success there is no greater skill than being able to build great relationships.

Now if we want to get off that one off treadmill and start opening up lifetime relationships one of the first things we need to do is start transitioning relationships through from closed to open. If we were to imagine concentric rings / circles and on the outer circle is where we start when we meet people, we are strangers and have superficial conversations. The idea is to move these relationships inwards to our inner circle. Closer and closer in to start building a connection. Through using EQ ‘empathy, understanding & rapport’ we slowly get to know each other and you will slowly be rewarded with trust, loyalty and a lifetime relationship. 

Just like personal relationships; we need to spend time together and get to know each other.  If we didn’t spend any time with our friends or we only spoke to them on email or the phone we wouldn’t get to know them very well. Clients are no different we need to invite them into our world and spend time together outside of business to truly connect.

Most of you have now heard me talk about ‘furk’  I believe for too long now, we have been separating and compartmentalising FUn and woRK and it's time we blurred the lines a little... So I took the 1st 2 letters from the word FUn and the last 2 from the word woRK to make the word FURK. It’s about blurring the lines between work and play, colleagues and friends clients and friends but its mostly about not separating our life and being ourselves. 

So by furking there are many ways we can invite clients into our world and spend time together outside of business to truly connect. In my next blog are my top ways.

 to tun work into furk.
 
My Top Tips On Ways To Turn Work Into Furk



1.Go for a walk & talk; why not meet your clients for a walk, a game of tennis or golf


2. Get an iphone and with the multiple applications you can twitter and facebook on the go


3. Turn business meetings into coffees or lunch at a local cafe
4. 

Host an annual client function such as ; bowling, a movie night, picnic or wine tasting
5. 
Bored with your office?  Take the laptop to the beach, a park or a cafe


6. When working from home have the music up loud and get comfy in your pj's and uggboots so it doesn’t feel so much like work


7. Put your Top 100 client contacts into your mobile phone and when you’re driving call for a chat with no  other reason than just to say hi

.

The idea being that if you truly like your clients and you get to know each other, it won't feel like work and you will both benefit by gaining a lifetime relationship of repeat and referral business that goes beyond transactions. 



I CHALLENGE YOU to book a coffee, lunch or a walk and talk meeting with a client this week and start getting to know them on a deeper level.

 Most importantly have fun and build your network and I guarantee you it will fill up your life and business with more riches than you can imagine and turn work into furk.




Last Updated on Thursday, 10 September 2009 10:02
 
Books on Steroids

Love reading but don't seem to have the time these days. Well, this amazing service 'bookrapper' does all the hard work, by reading for you. The rap summarises all you need to know from the book. You can read some of the most important books of the year in under 30 minutes each. The latest rap is on the social networking site 'twitter', a great summary which has helped me to turn my twittering around and increase my followers in a matter of days. Some of the advise is relevant for other online social network sites as well. Click here to check out bookrapper's free downloadable raps.

Twittergy;
How to Succeed at Twitter Derived from: Joel Comm's Twitter Power.
Also featuring: Paul McFedries' Twitter Tips, Tricks and Tweets Twitter leads the micro blogging revolution 140 characters at a time. It merges SMS with the web. And, it provides a new communication channel that, for the first time in human history, allows many people to easily communicate with many others.

 
K News of the month

Well, hasn't the month just flown by. It's been another busy month most of which I spent in the recording studio creating some fantastic new products. So watch this space as next month I will be launching a sensational new interview series with 8 of Australia's most successful business women who epitomise the 'work as if you own it' philosophy. 

 

Coming up in September, keep an eye out for the following publications in the media;

Cosmpolitan, Sold & My Business Magazines & Qantas Radio 'Talking Business' with Peter Switzer as you will find I have been quoted, interviewed and in one case will be on the cover! Feel free to check out the media section on my website for copies of last months publicity articles.

 
Acts of Kindness
I love the emails I recieve as a subscriber of helpothers.org and thought I would share this one. "When I was young, I used to admire intelligent people; as I grow older, I admire kind people." --Abraham Joshua Heschel Idea of the Week "Last month I started a family kindness journal. Every day each family member must write down the good deed that they did that day. It is amazing to see how far my children's deeds have come. At first they helped the teacher or shared school supplies, but it has progressed to wonderful things I never imagined. For example there is a boy my son has not gotten along with since the first day of school. My son came home and told me his good deed for the day was to make friends with this boy. I said, "What possessed you to be friends with someone who has been mean to you all year?" His response? "I gave it a lot of thought and realized he was lonely and didn't know how to make friends, and that was why he was mean." Some deeds are big some are small, but the point is for us to think of other people." --Yvonne For more stories http://www.helpothers.org/story.php
 
Calling All Furkers
Hi Everyone, I am writing to ask for your assistance as I am starting to write my new book furk. I would love it if you can provide any feedback on the below topics to assist me with case studies and research. For me the word furk came about when I got sick of people saying I worked all the time like it was a bad thing! For me I dont work, I furk. Furk is the word FUn and woRK combined and it's time we blurred the lines a little... Which for me is about blurring the lines between work and play, clients and friends, colleagues and friends and not compartmentalising them as separate categories. Furk comes down to an anagram of 4 things; F - Family (creating a pseudo family, a tribe around you) U - Be You (not putting on the professional work suit during work hours) R - Reciprocity (giving your time, wisdom & advise) K - Kare, Share and Be there (the ways we connect with others to build deep lifetime relationships with clients her are also friends) For so long we have been sold on the idea that work takes effort, that we cant mix business with pleasure or do business with friends and the ‘work / life balance’ ideology is unattainable for many and it is based around the idea we need to do less work or finish it quickly to move onto the fun balanced part of our life. Please email me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with your responses to any or all of the following questions or any opinions you feel would be of value in my research process. YOUR FAVORITE POSITION How do you furk? WHY YOU LOVE TO FURK What makes it furk for you and why do you love it HOW FURKING HAS HELPED YOU in your life Thanks you in advance for your support. k
Last Updated on Saturday, 08 August 2009 05:05
 
Great Book Recommendations

I saw this great list and thought I would share it with you:
Switzer's Must-Reads: By Peter Switzer

Great books to help you grow your business, no matter your needs - for everything from system development to strategic direction, from people problems to being in need of a little pick-me-up.

For help with system development...
Read Michael Gerber's The E-Myth Revisited (HarperCollins). Develop systems to develop your business, so you can work on your business, not in your business. To be successful you have to free yourself from technical day-to-day work to take on the true role of the entrepreneur and grow your business. You can only do this with good systems in place.

For strategic direction...
Read Jim Collins' Built to Last (Arrow) and Good to Great (Century). Building a business takes hard work and a clear vision, and like-minded people within your organisation to make a good business great. Collins shows you the best way to do this with his catch cry of "disciplined people, disciplined thought, disciplined action".

Read more...
 
Furk - By Being Yourself
Last month I introduced you to the concept of 'furk' so this month let's touch on one of the key elements to successful furking. So for me furking is about blurring the lines a little bit between work and play, colleagues and friends... clients and friends, and its about not compartmentalising our life and separating work and fun. Work is 'effort' where as furk is about making things 'effortless'. Where work has become unfun. Furk is all about having as much fun as possible. Now we cant be having very much fun if we are not being ourselves.

 

Yet most of us go to work and put on some kind of suit. A metaphorical suit that is. Where we become responsible, proper and professional. Often leaving our goofy, silly, fun selves at home for our family and friends to get to know before and after work hours.

 

Yet authenticity is said to be the new buzzword of the 21st century and it's about people craving something real from someone genuine. Authenticity is what they want! When it comes to relationship building one of the quickest ways for you to connect is to be you, to be real, open, honest and raw. To share something real with someone from the heart not the head which will enhance your connection and make it memorable. So open up and share part of who you really are. We are in business for a long time so it is a lot easier to be ourselves and build relationships with people who like us and are attracted to us for who we are.

 

I encourage you all to take the suit off and bring more of you to your furk.

 
It's a numbers game...or is it?
When I was last up in Queensland I caught up with a fellow speaking colleague. We were discussing all the traditional sales techniques and jargon when he brought up the old saying 'it's a numbers game" he told the story of how years ago when he had been a young salesmen himself he had to report in each day to his manager to make sure he had hit his targets of 12 calls a day. One day he got pretty close he made 11 and his manager congratulated him on nearly reaching his target for the day. With his quick wit he replied "I would have made 12 if number 9 hadnt stopped me to ask what I was selling!" Humourous I know I was in fits of laughter. But on a serious note, when we are encouraged to focus on numbers we can often get into this kind of mindset, churning through numbers instead of focusing on what really matters 'a quality connection' we are far better of spending time with a smaller number of prospects that we genuinely connect with and can form lasting relationships with that generate the kind of lasting repeat and referral business we need.
 
Interview with best selling author Dale Beaumont
There are many ways that we can leverage being an author so that we are seen as an expert in our field. In this interview with best selling author Dale Beaumont we explore this very topic. So whether you have thought of writing a book of your own or would just like to know how you can position yourself as an expert through the medium of writing through, articles, newsletters and blogs this is a must hear interview.  Dale published his first book at just 19 years of age and went on to published 11 books in one year! Click here to download the interview.
 
Are you twittering or still trying to figure out what it is?
There is a whole other world out there with it's very own language. The land of twitter and if we are not careful they will take over the world and we will be left behind. When I was in the states last year attending the National Realtor Conference with 15,000 sales people it blew me away how many sessions they had running on online networking and how in many cases 70% of their leads were coming through blogging or tweeting. With online social networks being the size of some of our largest countries in the world I decided it was about time I got a bit of a handle on twitter.  I joined about 3 months ago and I must admit I was a bit disappointed with the lack of interactivity I thought "is anyone out there or am I just tweeting to myself" Who's the twit?... Anyway things came to a head when a friend was showing me 'twitter grader' where you can monitor your activity. I was very upset to find I was flat lining! being a bit of an over achiever this was not a result I was used to. I have not admitted defeat and the battle is now on. I am throwing myself into learning about twitter and will keep you up to date with my findings. If like me you are daunted by innovation and all this new technology then just ask for help. Most of us have a younger niece or nephew who is about 5 who is very up to date with how everything works. I decided to cook dinner for a friend in exchange for their twitter powers. Feel free to join me and help me out, apparently having friends and followers helps . My twitter name is: kirstyspraggon.
 
Showcase Events Sydney

If you haven't seen me present yet and are wanting the opportunity, consider attending one of the 3 public events below.

 

25th June: The Last Thursday Club:  http://www.lastthursdayclub.com.au/

 

2nd July: Thought Leaders Showcase: I am presenting along side 8 other dynamic speakers. If your corporation are in need of some fresh and innovative thinkers for your training sessions or conferences this is an event not to be missed.

 

Register at:  http://www.thoughtleaders.com.au/wintershowcase2009
Where:  Sofitel Wentworth Hotel | 61-101 Phillip St | Sydney CBD
When: Thursday 2nd July 2009 | 9.00am - 1.00pm

Cost: Free

 

"Some of our countries best speakers will present their fresh & captivating keynotes which inspire, energise and change the way you approach business and life. Matt Church will emcee the event and introduce you to these exceptional minds and give you the chance to discover how their expertise and relevance could work for your up and coming events"

8th July: Connect Event for Small Business Owners (panel style) :  http://www.connectmarketing.com.au/html/s02_article/article_view.asp?art_id=770&nav_cat_id=448&nav_top_id=89

 
Negotiate your fee's NOT discount them...

Are you experiencing clients asking you to reduce or discount your fees? When coaching sales people across Australia, I am finding that the ones who are being asked to discount their fees are generally those newer to their industry or without a loyal following of raving fans or those who are not yet a master of their craft.

Once you get to a point in your business where you are dealing regularly with repeat clients or those referred to you, they rarely ask you to negotiate on fees. You are also in more of a position where you don't need to negotiate and can stand firm in the confidence that you are worth it, as you are great at what you do.


If you are starting out or have not gotten to the point where you are a master of your craft, then generally it is a common occurrence to be asked to reduce or discount your fees.

I get my hair blow dried twice a week for $25 at Just Cuts in Sydney, but on a recent trip to Canberra, I was in a shopping mall with 5 hair salons. I asked the price at the 1st store, it was $40, the 2nd $38 and so on...I said to the 3rd store that was empty, would you be willing to match the price of Just Cuts? You see, as I had not 'experienced' any of them, I didn't see the difference or value in paying any extra. They agreed and I had a fantastic 'experience' and would go back next time and pay the full fee as I got to see their value. The young lady did not begrudge having to give me a discount nor did she rush my service experience. She treated me just as she would any other customer and gave me a fabulous scalp massage.

So don't discount your fees but you may have to negotiate on them to get a new client to 'experience' you and see the difference you offer and then become a loyal client and raving fan in the future.

Make sure that you leverage the negotiation where possible, think about what you want to get out of it. If you agree to reduce your fee, what do you gain? In the beginning, it may be that you gain the experience of honing your craft, that you get the opportunity to showcase your talents, or they may have contacts they can recommend you to if you do a fabulous job.

If your store is empty, you may as well be blow drying someone's hair and giving them an 'experience' of you that will lead to more work and assist you in mastering your craft and gaining experience.
 
What's Your Kare Factor?

As I have started traveling and staying in hotels a lot more often of late, I started thinking I needed to make a list of my favorite places to stay. I decided to grade them from 1-10 based on how much they cared, newly named their 'KARE' factor. For me, the 'KARE' factor is based on how they make me feel. Do they go above and beyond my expectations? Do they over deliver? Is someone there to greet me on arrival and take my bags for me, will they provide a late check out, do they remember my name and are they friendly?

So what's your care factor? Are you a 10? How do you make people FEEL when they have an experience of you
- your product and service?


Most importantly
, the kind of things that make you stand out are free. At the end of the day, a 5 star hotel room is a 5 star hotel room. What makes them stand out is things like, remembering someone's name, following up promptly, doing what they say  they will and being friendly.

 

The type of things that make people say 'that made me feel special or important' and make you memorable are due to how you make someone feel.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 July 2009 23:34
 
How To Lead A Focused Life...

I found this interesting article on 'daily good blog'........With so many things now demanding our attention -- emails, Web sites, BlackBerry alerts, incoming text messages, Twitter tweets, Facebook updates, blogs, stock updates, and old- fashioned meetings and phone calls. Many of us fret about losing our train of thought. "Life," says Winifred Gallagher, "is the sum of what you focus on." In "Rapt," she concentrates on what science has to tell us about the mind's capacities for paying attention... click here to read more.

Last Updated on Thursday, 30 April 2009 21:43
 
What is it that most people are lacking in todays market ? Confidence...

I started coaching two new groups of sales people a couple of weeks ago and when I was reading through the session questionaires, I noticed one word that kept coming through, "confidence". I started investigating this word and what it means to have confidence.  After speaking with many people, they all seem to feel the same, that they would like to be more confident. 

So what is confidence and why might it be so important? Confidence is described as - freedom from doubt, belief in yourself and your abilities, freedom from anxiety or fear, a state of confident hopefulness that events will be favorable.

Sounds like it's pretty important. Imagine if you're walking around exuding a lack of confidence, how successful do you think you would be? No matter how hard you work and how many presentations you do, chances are, you wouldn't be able to close the deal.

Most people have heard of the 7%, 38% , 55% rule. According to Mehrabian, these three elements account differently for our liking of a person who puts forward a message (such as pitching or presenting): words account for 7%, tone of voice accounts for 38%, and body language accounts for 55% of the liking. The non-verbal elements are particularly important for communicating feelings and attitude, especially when they are in congruent: if words and body language disagree, one tends to believe the body language.  Now, in relation to confidence, what does this mean .... well if you are not confident inside, it will show in your body language and they will sense it. We all know when we see people who walk into a room confident and strong, full of conviction and passion, it shines through. Just as it does when you are hesitant, fearful, anxious or desperate. This is why I think confidence is the most important aspect in the current climate. Would you buy from you? Would you give you a job? Would you list your home with you? Whatever it is you are selling, you need confidence to do it.

If you feel you need to work on your confidence, there are some great free resources on google! 

 

As I shared this concept this week, people shared with me what they did to gain confidence, perhaps one of these might work for you. A friend used to work behind the scenes with a band and before going on they would get in state by doing push ups to pump themselves up. As a speaker and even when I was in real estate I have always used music to get in state.  Think 'the Rockie soundtrack' and turn it up loud! Another friend decided to take it to the extreme and when sitting down at the kitchen table to write her resume decided to 'dress for confidence' she spent hours doing her hair and makeup and sat down in her full suit complete with heels to type.  The result the best resume ever with an interview secured. So do what ever you need to do to feel more confident.

 

 
Sales Viagra Anyone?

The second realisation I had concerning confidence was that in some instances it was not just a lack of confidence that was affecting people. There was a whole bunch of things thrown into the mix. One, I would like to talk about is this.....Imagine you're a great sales person or business owner, you are fabulous at building rapport and therefore receive a lot of repeat and referral business.

What might you have to be fearful of? What may affect your confidence? The PRESSURE, the pressure to perform and to produce a fabulous result for your client which in this current climate may be a bit like pulling a rabbit out of a hat. The pressure of their expectations for you to perform as you always had in the past may be too much. The pressure of providing them with a fantastic result. If this sounds familiar, what can you do about it? Firstly, recognise the situation, be aware that you are not the market. Secondly, don't take it personally ...easier said than done, I know. It's important that you care and connect with your client, that  you have empathy and understanding for their situation but you must not take it on board as your own problem. Above all else, tell the truth about the situation, protecting them from the truth will not help them in the long term. They need to have all the facts to make an educated decision and this will build trust. They will know that no matter how difficult, you will always tell them the truth and lastly remind them not to shoot the messenger!
Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 April 2009 22:07
 
Get Down and Dirty...

For me, this is what getting back to basics really means. It seems to be the catch cry of the moment. Go back to basics! For me, this is letting go of ego and pride and simply doing what ever it takes. Whether that means burning the midnight oil or working on a weekend. Or it may be enveloping your own letters, doing your own data entry or god forbid, following clients up.

I heard a wonderful story recently, of a top performing sales person, who 12 months ago was earning a million a year. Now that things aren't flowing in so easily, she has gone back to delivering her own letter box leaflets. So, as my brother in law woud say, 'harden up' and go get your hands dirty. It's referred to as 'back to basics' as it's doing all the things you had to do in the beginning. A truly humbling experience which as the picture shows can be quite fun.
 
Going Beyond Hope & Fear
A fabulous article that ties in with the theme of 'confidence' and feeling hopeful! By Meg Wheatley....  "For me and most of my colleagues, life these days is a roller coaster ride between hope and fear, oscillating wildly between what's possible and what is. Like all roller coasters, this one is both exhilarating and terrifying, often simultaneously. We are fully engaged in being part of the solution, and then we plunge into despair at the enormity of the challenges and the fear that our efforts will fail.

And yet, such a wild ride between hope and fear is unavoidable.  Fear is the necessary consequence of feeling hopeful again.  Contrary to our belief that hope and fear are opposites where one trumps the other, they are a single package, bundled together as intimate, eternal partners. Hope never enters a room without fear at its side. If I hope to accomplish something, I'm also afraid I'll fail. You can't have one without the other". Click here to read more...
 
How To Get Self Confidence

Here is a fabulous article I came across on 'confidence'......"As we go through life, we face different situations and problems that make us doubt of our selfs and sometimes we get really down, when things just go wrong despite our efforts. It is in those moments that we need to reinforce and get self confidence to keep moving forward and project the a self image of a winner.

We can see it in our friends, some of them project a very strong and self confident image while others project a low self esteem image. Its important for us to improve our self confidence so we can be more successful in all our relationships and get over problems no matter what.

If you believe in what you are doing and have the confidence that it will be successful, it doesn't matter what anyone else say, you can achieve it, even if you failed many times before. However, we know that self confidence can be applied to different areas of our life relationships, business, success, love, determination, persistence, etc.

But, How to get self confidence? You can do different things to develop your self confidence, here are some of them"....click here to read more

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 April 2009 21:09
 
Have you looked in the mirror lately....Have you changed ?
We have all heard it before, in tough times to thrive and not just survive. We must change and evolve. But the question I put to you today is, have we? Ask yourself, are you actually doing anything radically different than what you were doing 12 -18 months ago? Are you personally different? What have you done to adapt, grow, change and evolve as a person?
 
Personally, I believe this is the key to success, not just in business but in life. In speaking with  a variety of people this week from the homeless teens I mentor, to ex partners to sales people and other speakers, I noticed a common theme in those that were not living their dreams. They were not changing. They were the same people they were 6 months ago, a year ago or even worse, some as much as 10 years ago. For me, change is something I have always loved. and the key has been having 'new experiences' as they give us so many important learnings about ourselves.

That's why I have never hesitated to move cities, houses or try a new restaurant, all the experiences I have had have helped me to grow as a person. From the big and the bold, traveling to over 40 countries, gorilla trekking, being there when my sister gave birth or volunteering at an orphanage in Africa.  To the small every day experiences like chatting with the person next to me on the bus, watching the sunset or trying yoga, they all assist you to change and grow. The earlier you can be open to learning through books, courses, people, travel and a variety of experiences, the sooner you will discover yourself, your strengths, your courage and what you are truly capable of.
 
So be open to new experiences, go create them for yourself by doing something new. What new skill, tool or way of being do you need to adapt and grow right now? It could be anything from learning to network, meditate or taking on new tasks or roles in your career or business and be open to learning what those around you have to teach you.
 
We can learn so much from the people around us but it's important to take the time to connect with everyone around you in your office and in your world. I have learned some of life's most important lessons from those around me. From the drug addict, to the multi millionaire, to the wisdom from the elderly. Everybody has something to teach you if you are open to the learnings.
 
It's in the big and the small experiences we have everyday, so don't wait till it's to late to start experiencing life as who wants to be exactly where they are and exactly who they are today in 10 years? ...not me. Through these new experiences you will transform.  If you want to thrive in business in the times ahead and thrive in life!  Don't wait till your old enough, rich enough, wise enough, good enough to do things you want in life, get out there, because experiences are everything.
 


 
How to be a 5 out of 5 in Outstanding Customer Service

Recently I had the absolute pleasure of having the BEST customer service experience I’ve had in years.  I took my car to a new mechanic for a service. This is where I met Con & Marlen at Euro Automotive Services in Sydney. What was it that made it the best experience ? They cared! yes a long forgotten art in customer service. They went above and beyond my expectations. Lending me a loan car, taking my car into the mercedes dealer for parts. Taking the time to advise me certain parts were still actually under warranty. They actually cost themselves money to save me money, however would I ever go anywhere else? No, and I have told anyone who will listen how fabulous they are.

Think about the last time you received outstanding customer service. Not just good or reasonable or satisfactory, but outstanding. Whether it was at a restaurant, the office, your mechanic or in a department store there will be some key top quality service components that stood out. Try to distinguish what they were. Name them. Write them down. Some of the common answers people come up with include an appreciation of service that was:
• Cheerful (“nothing was too much trouble”)
• Helpful (“they went out of their way to help me”)
• Knowledgeable (“they either knew the answer or took the
trouble to find out for me”)
• Personalised (“they remembered my name / my kids’
names”)
• Attentive (“they remembered what I ordered last time and
suggested things I might like to try”)

Seems pretty simple, really. Well it is. What we’re talking about here is how much people like to be made to feel special – and all the ways you can do that which are easy and free. It does not cost you anything to put a system in place to remember and use your customers’ names, to be a friendly, helpful and knowledgeable expert in your field. It can be as simple as asking after their children or giving your customers a courtesy call to see how they are getting on with their new purchase.

Last Updated on Saturday, 21 March 2009 23:08
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Have You Been Affected By The Shift ?
It seems every one I speak with has been affected in some way big or small. Everyone from the newbies to the seasoned veterans. No one, it seems, is getting as much business as they were last year. Across the board, no matter what industry people are in, this is the case. In Eckhart Tolle's book "The New Earth" he says: "When faced with a radical crisis, when the old way of being in the world, of interacting with each other and with the realm of nature doesn't work any more...... will either die or become extinct or rise above" So if the old ways are no longer working, what must we do to find our new way? I believe it starts with accepting that there has been a shift and an acceptance that the old ways are no longer working. Have you let go of the old ways or are you still resisting, hoping that things will stay the same way?

In his latest book Shift Gary Keller says "Are you facing a shift? When a shift occurs confusion follows. Not only in the marketplace but also in the mind and body. What to think and what to do becomes fuzzy because what once worked is no longer working and you may not know why.... In truth, there are two shifts you must make. A mental shift and an action shift". If confusion follows, how many people are still wandering around dazed and stunned?  We need to shift and we need to shift fast. We must adapt to change and we need an environment that supports this. 
 
We need to draw strength from our communities. Make sure we have strong support networks around us. Let go of ego, shame or embarrassment and open up and ask for help. Lean on each other and be supported. If your a business owner then you need to ensure you are providing this support  for your team, through your culture and through coaching and mentoring.
 
What I know is that in tough times we need new qualities, talents and skills to survive. In this new market the question we need to be asking ourselves is: What new qualities, skills or tools do I need to birth to survive these times? You may have gotten away with not having to do 9 months of cold calling and relationship building in the previous market. You may not have needed to meet enough people, or to network, or to nurture long term relationships after the sale ... in a lot of cases, business was walking in the door in spite of ourselves.

Yes, it takes more time and it's not the quick fix, magic bullet you may be hoping for. The reality is it wont be easy. So, you have 2 choices: to accept it, harden up or to sit and have a pity party while losing more time and opportunity while everything around you shifts without you.
Last Updated on Saturday, 21 March 2009 23:11
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5 Top Reasons Why You Can Do More Business in A Recession...
I came across this great article today from TRET......."When the going gets tough, the tough get going! We're sure you, like us, have had enough of all the endless negativity, bad press and doom and gloom surrounding us about this economic downturn. To change your outlook all you need to do is look around and see we are living in one of the best countries and economies on the world. What has changed for most people is their attitude. We came across these five great reasons on why doing business in a recession is better than in boom times"... click here to read more.
Last Updated on Saturday, 21 March 2009 23:12
 
Eckhart Tolle A New Earth - Changing Times...

As I went to bed last night I picked up a book by Eckhart Tolle "A New Earth" as I hadn't read it for quite some time I turned it over and re read the back cover.  I thought how relevant it was and it seemed to me as if it had been written for a time just like that which we are going through today. ......It said "When faced with a radical crisis, when the old way of being in the world, of interacting with each other and with the realm of nature doesn't work any more, when survival is threatened by seemingly insurmountable problems, an individual human - or a species - will either die or become extinct or rise above

Last Updated on Monday, 11 October 2010 10:41
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Prospecting and how to find more prospects...

If the start of your year is feeling a bit slow my recommendation is to get networking. A couple of weeks ago I attended my first networking breakfast for the year.
I was once again reminded that opportunities really are everywhere we just need to get out amongst them. We must do 4 things -

1. Create opportunities
2. Have a radar on when opportunities present
3. Grab the opportunities and take them up.
4. Following up the opportunities (do what others feel uncomfortable doing)

Last Updated on Monday, 11 October 2010 10:38
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Positive Thinking Is So Powerful
I was watching the Ellen De Generis show last week when she was interviewing Wayne Dyer the author of The Law of Attraction. One of the things they spoke of that stood out for me was that "we should go to sleep with positive thoughts about the life we want to create”.  As often we go to bed and start to think about the day that was, the worries and the stresses. Subconsciously we can be programming ourselves over night with this negativity.

A great tip I once heard Rangy Gage suggest is to read a couple of pages from an inspirational and uplifting book last thing before you go to bed. You could also try creative visualisation where you think, feel, taste and hear what it is you wish for in your life as if it already was. Sleep tight and don't let the bed bugs bite.
Last Updated on Monday, 11 October 2010 10:36
 
Customer Service - Do You Know Who I Am
I was out with friends this week for dinner and we were discussing how no one seems to know who we are anymore, reminiscing over the days when we didn’t have to line up at a club or restaurant we were “in” so what happened..... For one, we got older and are not so “in” and secondly people stopped caring who we were. It seemed customer service had hit an all time low as we sat there and each ate our meal separately as they were served about 10 minutes apart over a 45 minute period and no-one seemed to care! I’m finding lately there is an epidemic of these kinds of customer service experiences. It makes me wonder if the business owners are aware of what’s going on.
Last Updated on Monday, 11 October 2010 10:35
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The Market - Is it really all doom and gloom...
I found this article from Daily Good fascinating...With the global finance system imploding, maybe this time of creative destruction offers us the chance for a fresh start. What sort of society do we want to rebuild? What will expand our life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness without diminishing the chances for other people, now and in the future, to have the same? Maybe we'll learn to share the work and reclaim time for the aspects of our lives that research tells us contribute to real happiness -- time with families and friends, civic involvement, exercise, creativity. And painful as it may be in the short term, we can emerge from this crisis healthier and wealthier, with the sort of wealth that really matters: strong communities and relationships with loved ones, healthy ecosystems, and the skills to make a living and enjoy life.  Click here to read more.
Last Updated on Monday, 11 October 2010 10:32
 
New Year’s Resolutions The Psychology

I find it fascinating that as humans we have this ritual of picking a single moment per year to decide to change certain things in our lives. Something we should do monthly or at the very least quarterly. I found a fascinating article on this exact topic and some interesting scientific information which assists with optimising your chances of actually achieving your desired resolution.....click here to read more.

 

Last Updated on Monday, 11 October 2010 10:33
 
Seth Godin - Inspiring Resources A Wealth of Information

 If you haven't heard of international best selling author and top blogger Seth Godin you may have been living under a rock. After reading his blogs I am always left questioning, inspired and often laughing. Here is his top blogs that I would love to share with you: Seth's Blogs 2008

Last Updated on Monday, 11 October 2010 10:33
 
Small Business May Cause You To Ask - Psychologist Anyone?
I receive regular updates from a fabulous blog www.dailygood.org. I enjoyed one recently about Michael Perhama a 16 year old who is the youngest person to have sailed across the Atlantic alone. He would be alone at sea for over four months and his only contact with family would be through satellite link-ups. Michael said: "I'm a little bit nervous but otherwise really, really excited. I thought how similar it sounds to the journey we face as entrepreneurs. When we set off to blaze our own trail. How exciting it is as we start out on this journey.
Last Updated on Monday, 11 October 2010 10:19
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Business planning - Space to Create
I’m such a workaholic I often find it hard to stop and take a break, I really have to force myself.   It’s just that I enjoy my work so much.   What’s great about this time of year is that we are forced to stop. Over Christmas and New Year most places shut up shop and it’s a time to be with your family and stop all the busyness and craziness that is December - the build up towards the end of the year. This forced time off has been wonderful. I have found that in the space, I have been able to have room to think.  The space has allowed me to create and innovate, to think, reflect and plan...
Last Updated on Monday, 11 October 2010 10:17
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Networking - Chicago Style with Business Networking international

We’ll you know me a city tour wouldn't be complete without my attending a networking event and BNI is one of my favorite organisation's to stop in at. With over 100,000 members worldwide there is always a meeting on no matter where you are in the world(www.bni.com).  The bonus with attending any American breakfast meeting is that you don't need to eat for the rest of the day as my breakfast arrived on 3 plates.

With the changes in the economy in the US it has been an interesting time for me to be traveling in the States.

Last Updated on Monday, 11 October 2010 10:16
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Fun at Work - Do You Have Stuffed Toys In Your Office ?
I was speaking at Radio Disney’s offices in Chicago a few weeks ago and couldn’t believe my eyes. It was a corporate office like no other I had ever seen. Everyones desks and offices were filled with toys, stuffed animals, posters and merriment of all kinds.
Last Updated on Monday, 11 October 2010 10:14
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Positive Thinking - Turn Off the TV


I was in an office in Chicago the other day where the Manager had a plasma television on playing 24/7. In America cable runs on hundreds of channels with 80% being news channels where as he put it “I can watch the world crumble before my eyes” .....

Last Updated on Sunday, 10 October 2010 05:31
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Blogging my new best friend

I cant tell you how much I am enjoying blogging... you must try this ! and while your at it convert to an apple mac :)
I have been a journal writer for as long as I can remember which I think was since about 10. I have hundreds of them under tight lock and key!

Last Updated on Sunday, 10 October 2010 05:28
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Networking - Nobody cares what you do...
As you all know I am a serial networker and this week was no different. I attended three events and as I stood opposite person after person chatting and having fun I started to see a pattern.  I would switch off and disengage mentally with the people who launched into their ʻelevator speechʼ and started selling me on who they were or what they did.
Last Updated on Sunday, 10 October 2010 05:29
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Client Relationships - Can't we catch up for the sake of catching up anymore?
I have noticed lately that so many people are so focused on what outcome they are going to get from a meeting or pitch they miss the opportunity to just ʻcatch upʼ with people. How about instead of going to meet a potential client with an attachment to what you ʻexpect from the meetingʼ such as a listing, potential business or a sale, you instead just went to ʻcatch upʼ and get to know each other.
Last Updated on Monday, 11 October 2010 10:02
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