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Tuesday, 28 May 2013 02:17

4 Surprisingly Effective Things to Say

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As the boss, you have to know it all and always be in the right. 


Try these simple, yet powerful words to build trust and lead with integrity.

We all make mistakes, say the wrong things, and misjudge a situation from time to time. But not everyone will admit their errors, especially in a competitive environment. Perhaps legendary leadership author and pastor John C. Maxwell said it best: "A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them."

I learned that very important lesson early in my career at NBC-TV. As the assistant to the vice president of sales, I reported to an amazing mentor who relied heavily on my judgment and diligence. But on one occasion I had a terrible lapse in common sense and fell short of her expectations. I really screwed up.

Naturally, my boss was livid. She immediately called me on the carpet for my error in judgment. My defenses reared up; my fight or flight instinct screamed, "Fight to survive!" Thankfully, in a moment of sanity I took a more sensible approach. Here's what I said.

“I was wrong. I'm sorry. I know that I still have a lot to learn. Please let me fix it.”

Apparently, this reply from a young, ambitious employee was far from expected. I will never forget the series of internal responses reflected in my boss's eyes: surprise, confusion, acceptance, and something that may have been admiration. Whew! In that moment, I knew I'd done exactly the right thing.

This experience taught me something I've carried with me through the years: A little honesty and humility go a long way in life. It enriches relationships, prevents unnecessary confrontation, saves time, and builds trust. What could have destroyed my career instead earned the trust of a powerful and successful woman and opened the door to growth, learning, and many promotions over the years.

The next time your defenses are up you may find instant relief in one or more of these surprisingly effective, yet simple statements. Give it a try; the only thing you have to lose is a little ego!

I'm sorry.
A short and sweet apology lowers the levels of resistance and anger in the room. Diffuse the situation with these simple words. The conversation will become less stressful, and a solution to your problem or challenge is more likely to surface.

I was wrong.
Admitting your mistake is cleansing. No need to defend yourself, no need to create a litany of excuses. How freeing! Admit it and correct it. It's that simple!

I need help.
Go ahead. Accept that you don't know it all. A great entrepreneur surrounds herself with people who know more than she does. Reach out to your army of supporters and save yourself a lot of frustration and time.

I don't know.
Do you think you have to have all the answers? Well, you're wrong. Even "experts" don't know it all. Any true expert will tell you that no one is expected to have all of the answers. Let's face it: If we knew everything, life would be boring! This is an opportunity learn and grow—something every entrepreneur loves to do!

Source: Marla Tabaka is a small-business adviser who helps entrepreneurs around the globe grow their businesses well into the millions. She speaks widely on combining strategic and creative thinking for optimum success and happiness. @MarlaTabaka

Tuesday, 14 May 2013 03:25

8 Pitfalls on the Path to Success

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Avoid these eight "traps," and your long-term success is assured.

I recently received an e-mail from the motivational speaker and real estate investor Paul LeJoy. He's been wildly successful in real estate sales and has mentored and worked with dozens of entrepreneurs. In his e-mail, LeJoy identified eight pitfalls that lie at the heart of every pathway to success. His thoughts were so deep and insightful that I edited them and condensed them.

1. Timidity

Every path to success begins with a great idea. There's only one problem: Great ideas are a dime a dozen. What really matters when it comes to becoming a success is not having the idea, but having the courage to transform that idea into reality. This usually means a risk of losing the security of a regular job and risking a steady paycheck. Only the brave ever overcome this first of the pitfalls.

2. Laziness

Even with a great idea and the courage to pursue it, your efforts will be for naught unless you're willing to take massive action. Write down your goals and (more important) the action steps you'll take to pursue those goals. Post your vision and plan in your bedroom, bathroom, office. Share it with others, so they'll hold you accountable for delivering on your plan. Make yourself accountable and become the master of your destiny.

3. Complacency

Without passion, even the most compelling vision will wither on the vine. Without passion, your energy and enthusiasm will flag when you encounter inevitable obstacles. Make your passion into an almost physical characteristic of your personality, an inexorable force that keeps you engaged every moment of every workday, bringing you one step closer to the measure of success that you desire.

4. Distraction

The modern world clamors for your attention in ever-louder ways, a deluge that can distract you from your course. It takes self-discipline to persevere amidst the noise and haste, to assert your willpower over casual desires and instincts. Channel your emotions, behavior, and desires toward obtaining the reward of success. Remember: Living a life of self-discipline is less painful in the long run than regretting "what might have been."

5. Doubt

Once you've made a decision, doubt is a worm that eats away at your ability to succeed. Life and work can be hard and even cruel. Remember, the race is not for the swift but rather those who persevere. Rather than allowing doubt to seep in and poison your process, you owe it to yourself to remain confident in your vision and your plan. Adapt as needed along the way, but always know that success will ultimately be yours.

6. Disconnection

The old sayings "no man is an island" and "there's strength in numbers" may sound corny, but that doesn't make them any less true. Even with self-discipline, in the long run, you'll need contact with kindred spirits and mentors. Meeting regularly can be a great boost to your morale and provide new perspectives on your approach. The Internet makes it extraordinarily easy to find a coach, mentor, or mastermind group that can provide the emotional support, experience, and wisdom to help turn your vision into reality.

7. Dishonesty

As you begin to be successful, you'll be tempted to lie, exaggerate, and deceive in order to move your agenda forward. However, taking the easy way of dishonesty has a tendency to sneak back up on you. In the end, it causes far more problems than taking the risk of telling the truth. True success comes when you are a person of your word, when you have a pure conscience, and when you have not cheated others on your way to the top.

8. Ingratitude

The final pitfall is by far the most dangerous, because it's so easy to miss. When your vision becomes a reality, you are still a failure if you cannot remember your humble beginnings or recognize the contributions of those who helped you along the way. Remember: There is no such thing as a self-made billionaire. If you can't experience gratitude, you might as well have stayed exactly where you started.

Written by: Geoffrey James writes the Sales Source column on, the world's most visited sales-oriented blog. His newly published book is Business to Business Selling: Power Words and Strategies From the World's Top Sales Experts. @Sales_Source

At its best, the relationship between sales and marketing is like a fresh romance. Sales still tells marketing it appreciates all the hard work and revenue contribution. Marketing thanks sales for bringing home the big checks. Each department is in sync with the other, and even knows a little about what its counterpart is thinking. They finish each other’s sentences. Other departments look on with envy and nausea.

At its worst, dishes break against the wall.

Chances are, your organization’s marketing and sales relationship is somewhere in the middle. So, to help your organization move towards blissful compatibility, we recommend a process-driven, metrics-oriented approach.

Here are two keys to marketing and sales alignment will help each team build the trust they need to attract and win revenue for their company—and live together in harmony.

Define a Sales-Ready Lead

The handoff between sales and marketing is a key part of the relationship between sales and marketing—and is often an area of frustration for both sides. For this reason, it’s crucial for sales and marketing to work together to define the process for the handoff.

The sales team is on the front line, working to convert prospects to customers on a daily basis—so they usually have the best insight into what factors and qualities contribute to making a lead more or less likely to buy. Work with your sales organization to define when a lead is ready to talk to sales. “This is best done through a service level agreement, said Maya Kamoshita, senior account manager at Lead Lizard. “The SLA is a binding document that sales and marketing produce together that defines many aspects of the handoff, including which leads are ready to go to sales, why those leads are qualified, and how leads are passed to sales.”

In a perfect world, every Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) sent to sales would convert into a customer, eliminating the need to distinguish between MQLs and Sales Qualified Leads (SQL)—but information is asymmetrical. Using data in concert with information gathered from the sales team to define “sales-ready” leads can help bridge this gap. Closed-loop reporting reveals which marketing activities and criteria are associated with higher conversion or close rates, and this information should be used to determine which leads make the cut.

Qualify Leads Using Best Practices

Helping sales generate more pipeline and revenue is perhaps the greatest impact that marketing can have on an organization. A considerable component of this is insuring that the leads delivered to sales are at the appropriate stage in their buying process—which should not be confused with your organization’s sales process. Qualifying leads through a combination of automated processes, such as lead scoring, and manual validation-qualification allows a demand marketing organization to deliver greater volumes of high-quality leads efficiently.

There are plenty of examples lead qualification templates that can work well for qualifying leads.  Brad Giles, senior director, Global Demand Marketing at PTC, has helped his organization build one of the more successful demand generation processes. “Our lead qualification team prioritizes based on two primary parameters,” said Brad. “First is lead score, and we tele-qualify leads that score as highly relevant and highly engaged (based on a proprietary formula) to insure we are providing sales with the highest quality and fully verified leads. The second parameter is based on the value of the most recent asset that the contact/lead engaged with. High-value assets like buyer guides, ROI calculators, or attendance at an event will take priority over lower value assets such as info-graphics and early stage white papers.”

Source: Define and Conquer: Tips to Improve Sales and Marketing Alignment is from Eloqua’s It’s All About Revenue, a Blog Covering Business To Business Marketing. About the Author: This post is courtesy of Sam Boush, the president of Lead Lizard, a marketing automation agency based in Portland, Oregon, that delivers world-class demand generation strategy, lead nurturing and lead scoring programs, lead management processes, and sales enablement programs. The following is the first of a two-part series on strategies to bridge the gap between sales and marketing. 

Monday, 29 April 2013 11:41

How to Be the Best Version of You

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"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice."—Steve Jobs

Truly happy and successful people get that way by becoming the best, most genuine version of themselves they can be. Not on the outside—on the inside. It's not about a brand, a reputation, a persona. It's about reality. Who you really are.

Sounds simple, I know. It is a simple concept. The problem is, it's very hard to do, it takes a lot of work, and it can take a lifetime to figure it out.

Nothing worth doing in life is ever easy. If you want to do great work, it's going to take a lot of hard work to do it. And you're going to have to break out of your comfort zone and take some chances that will scare the crap out of you.

But you know, I can't think of a better way to spend your life. I mean, what's life for if not finding yourself and trying to become the best, most genuine version of you that you can be? That's what Steve Jobs meant when he said this at a Stanford University commencement speech:

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out     your own inner voice.

You have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in somethingyour gut,     destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle.

Now, let's for a moment be realistic about this. Insightful as that advice may be, it sounds a little too amorphous and challenging to resonate with today's quick-fix culture. These days, if you can't tell people exactly what to do and how to do it, it falls on deaf ears.

Not only that, but what Jobs was talking about—what I'm talking about—requires focus and discipline, two things that are very hard to come by these days. Why? Because, focus and discipline are hard. It's so much easier to give in to distraction and instant gratification. Easy and addictive.

To give you a little incentive to take on the challenge, to embark on the road to self-discovery, here are some huge benefits from working to become the best, most genuine version of yourself.

It will make you happy. Getting to know yourself will make you feel more comfortable in your own skin. It will reduce your stress and anxiety. It will make you a better spouse, a better parent, a better friend. It will make you a better person. Those are all pretty good reasons, if you ask me.

Besides, you really won't achieve anything significant in life until you know the real you. Not your brand, your LinkedIn profile, how you come across, or what anyone thinks of you. The genuine you. There's one simple reason why you shouldn't try to be something you're not, and it's that you can't. The real you will come out anyway. So, forget your personal brand and start spending time on figuring out who you really are and trying to become the best version of that you can be.

You pay a huge price when you engage in mindless distraction. The only people who really care about you are your loved ones, your friends, and family. Everyone else is too busy living his own little mini drama. To put it bluntly, your network couldn't care less about you.

That's why engaging yourself and others in mindless distraction isn't worth your time or theirs. More important, it will absolutely keep you from focusing on accomplishing whatever great things you might manage to achieve in life if you set your mind to it.

There's a business concept called opportunity cost. When you choose one course of action, you miss out on all of the other opportunities you might have chosen to pursue but didn't. People rarely stop to consider that until it's too late.

It's the most exciting journey you will ever embark on. We're all enthralled by adventure. We love to read and watch movies about other people's journeys, real or imagined. The Hobbit. Raiders of the Lost Ark. Into Thin Air.

We love to take vacations, to travel to all sorts of places. And when we do, we revel in the natural beauty of Kauai's Na Pali Coast, the Grand Canyon, the Alps. We marvel at the great works of others: the art, the architecture, the Pyramids, Stonehenge.

And yet, the opportunity for adventure is right there in front of each and every one of us. Until you take it, you'll never know what you might achieve. What marvels you might create. What you might discover. All you have to do is start the journey.

Source: Steve Tobak is a management consultant, an executive coach, and a former senior executive of the technology industry. He's managing partner of Invisor Consulting, a Silicon Valley-based strategy consulting firm. Contact Tobak; follow him on Facebook,Twitter, or LinkedIn@SteveTobak


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