Slow and Steady Wins the Race
Illustration: Phil Couzens

Slow and steady sets the pace

Time to turtle my friends, in this rabid rabbit race.

Everything happens in un-real time with no pause to digest before the next world changing wiki-leaked event. Google results are too quick for us to come up with our own answers, information is overloaded with pertinency underminded, and we are stumbling into another decade tired and are of course, wary of what lie ahead.

This new year will be one of "mob rules" and with their access to speed—no not that kind—we will see flocking business models and panicked activity like never before.

My 11 nibbles of advice for sales people and business owners in 2011:

11: As the flockers gather to drink in the latest mirage, stick to your roadmaps.

Your planning sessions are an end to themselves. Include different types of employees in them, and you’ll be amazed at the input. Once decided, stay the course!

10: Give yourself targets, or budgets, for failure this year.

Why? Because if you are not failing, you are not trying hard enough.

9: Get in good shape, or out of your bad shape.

I was almost rudely late for a critical meeting last month, but made it on time because I can sprint 5 blocks, carrying a bag, in business shoes.
Give yourself and your teams targets to get in better shape. This reduces absentee-ism and worse, present-tee-ism where people "drop in" to the office sick and under the weather for days at a time producing nothing but germs.

8: Focus on fewer relationships and deepen the ones that you have now.

Connect with people you work with or can help, don't be a part of someone's spam list just because.

7: Un-tech your sales activities and upgrade your back-office operations.

Less paper-work, more focus on people-work!

6: Read less news.

Need I text more? No, your business will not fail if it takes you a few hours to learn about the next trending news topic. If so, your people
relationships suck, don’t blame me.

5: Be boring, do the tedious work first and regularly.

In the previous 2,000 years, this was also known as consistency and reliability. Try it sometime. Buyers respond to it well. Weekly meetings at the same time, regular calls, same type of great service.

4: Give first, then take.

Buyers want to work with people that are sources of sharing, not just taking. You’ll notice that C-level people look at your out of business activities just as much as what’s on your brochure.

3: Use the phone

This one needs it’s own category. The phone is for COMMUNICATION and e-mail is for CONFIRMATION. Call people whenever possible and shut down your e-mail when you’re working or talking on the phone!
Better than an E-Spam season's greeting card is a phone call to say happy new year!

2: Believe in yourself

The biggest sale of this year will be the one to yourself. Trust that you have a strong value message for clients and can help them. This trust will keep you at your desk late and up earlier when the trail seems too far to tread.

1: Shut your mouth

A successful client meeting is 18 percent of you barfing about how great you are and 80 percent the client talking about themselves and what they need.

The remaining 2 percent is for mature, mutually upheld silence.
You can’t listen when you’re talking. In this overloaded social network obsessed global real-time vomiting, a mature silent listener is a lightening rod for new deals.

People are dying to be listened to, not chatted at!

Any good magician will tell you, that lack of movement is at times the best form of deception. In selling, lack of talking, is the best way to show your professionalism and expertise.

For all the "change," actual client needs will be the same and spending energy chasing trends will get you little more than goose-egg zero results and a mouth full of feathers in our new abnormal.

Therefore, it is my sincerest hope that 2011 is a year of failures, silence and growth for you all.

When the next new mirage appears, ask yourself, am I turtling towards success, running rabid, or just flocking around?

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