The Missing Link to Ongoing Sustainable Sales Growth

Statistically, across industries, employers spend approximately 90% of their efforts training their sales team on product knowledge. The remaining 10% is spent training their sales force how to develop connection, relationship and trust with customers. 

Obviously, both are very important but in and of themselves, or even collectively, these disciplines are not enough to achieve the ultimate goal of any sales organization - ongoing, sustainable sales growth.

So what's the missing link? What does it take to get sales people off of the sales rollercoaster, and on to a consistent growth pattern that continues?

While more emphasis on sales training (i.e., connection, relationship and trust) would definitely improve results short term, the only true long-term solution is in developing and increasing the sales professionals ability to influence customers and outcomes.

To improve your own ability, or the ability of your sales team to influence customers and customer outcomes, register below for our complimentary video training series on Sales Influence.

Complete the form below to request the complimentary training. 

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How to Design an Influential Presentation in a Pinch

Whether your boss asks you to deliver a fifteen minute summary of your findings to the Board of Directors on just five minutes from now, or you're preparing to deliver the opening keynote at an annual conference and have 3 months to prepare, this video is for you!

This simple formula will have you look like a hero in one-on-one presentations as well as large venue events.

If you'd like a deeper dive into this structure, watch this video.

Pleas like, share, and leave a comment (or question) below if this served you.

[Video] How to Build Trust, Relationship and Influence with All Types of People

One of the the greatest skills we can possess is the ability to have influence with all different types of people. People are the ONLY source of opportunity in the world around us, If we know how to better and intentionally connect/build relationship with others, even the most difficult of people, we can serve them better and achieve greater outcomes.

Whether you are a small business owner, corporate executive, sales professional, behind-the-scenes employee or an entrepreneur, this video will open your eyes to the possibilities that await you when you truly understand people.

Although I'm addressing a group of sales professionals, at a national sales meeting for The Binding Site in San Diego, CA, this message is relevant and applicable no matter your occupation. This video is jam packed with insights, content, humor and fun takeaways.

Why most people do not negotiate effectively

For the past six and a half years, I've taught business professionals, executives and employees of all ranks, how to negotiate a win-win outcome.

Through the many experiences I've had negotiating my own deals, teaching and coaching negotiators,  and the direct feedback from the participant "laboratory," I've learned that there are basically three distinct reasons why people fail to achieve a fair and comfortable outcome for themselves, and the other party:

1. Lack of clarity - simply put, people show up to the negotiations table not even knowing what they want. They simple don't take the time to get clear, focus and prepare.

2. Their way or the highway - to make matters worse, they hunker down on how they want things to play out, and alienate the other party in the process.

3. They are trying to take, and it doesn't work - they are more concerned with what they're going to get, rather what they can freely give to add value to the other side first.

Obviously, when anyone approaches negotiations this way, the outcome might be a temporary win, but it does so much harm long-term. Trust is erroded, relationships are bruised, and the doors of opportunity are often slammed shut.

To be an effective negotiator, it is imperative that we add value to the other party first and foremost. We must be clear from the beginning on what we want to achieve, and what we're willing to give and ask for to achieve a mutually beneficial outcome. 

If you are ready to develop or hone your skills as a skilled negotiator, look into our upcoming negotiations seminars, and join us for an experience that will get you results for the rest of your career.

How to Influence Positive Change in Your Organization

I will be the first to admit that I haven't always erred on the side of influencing positive change in my past corporate life. In fact, there were many times when I flat out refused to positively influence anything, or anyone, out of a false sense of entitlement and rebellion. I'm not saying that that is right, I'm just saying that this is the way it happened. I had a little growing up to do.

However, in the process of my senseless rebellion and entitlement mindset, I accidentally stumbled across some key distinctions that helped me to purposefully influence positive change in the companies for which I worked, and in the people around me, intentionally.

In this article, I will share 5 key things you can do to have affect positive change and have influence in your organization, and with people.

First,  a working definition of influence, as it relates affecting positive change. I once heard John Maxwell, the number one leading expert in the world on leadership, say that "leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less." He went on to add that "influence is simply adding value to people."

If we take that definition of influence, in the context of affecting positive change, here are five things you can do immediately to affect positive change in your organization, and with people all around.

1. Find out what they value: Obviously, all change, both positive and negative, hinges upon people. We can change policies, procedures and processes, but it's ultimately the people who make it or break it. I've seen organizations "try"to implement change, only to have positive progress derailed by the negative influence of people within the organization.

Rather than just introducing change abruptly into the organization, circle the wagons with your people, communicate with them, and work hard to understand what it is they value as part of the organization. Don't assume that everyone values the same things. Change is inevitable, but the way you introduce change into your organization should be inclusive of the people of the organization. Remember that people support what they help create. Implement change in your organization, without giving the people a voice, at your own risk. 

Takeaway: People support what they help create. Find out what people value as you implement change. Give them a voice and understand what they value. As you roll out change, help them to get what they value from the change, and you'll have a much better shot a having that change be positive. 

2. Help them get more of what they value: The days of corporate leaders dictating what people are going to do are over! Sure, you can tell people what to do, because you're paying them, but soon thereafter, you will find yourself with a revolving door of people entering and exiting your company. That will reek havoc on your bottom line. It's better to invest your time learning what your people value, both at work and in their personal lives. There are three ways to do this:

a. Guess - Who knows, you may just get it right, especially if you're making an educated guess based on what you've heard or observed about the person. Beware, however, this can come back to bite you if you guess wrong. You: "Hey, I bought you some Reese's peanut butter cups for dessert." Them: "Um . . ., I'm allergic to peanut butter. Quick! Someone grab my Epi-Pen!" Whoops!

b. Ask them - Not always the easiest conversation to have when you don't really know someone. That's why it's so important to invest ourselves in growing relationships every time we interact with someone. Once you have a certain level of connection and/or rapport with someone, however, just ask them what it is they want, value or hope for. Most people will go on for days if they trust you, and if you'll just give them the floor.

c. Pay attention - You can pretty much tell what people value by what they give their time, attention and money too. Listen to what they talk about, the pictures they surround themselves with and on the topics for which they express passion and enthusiasm.

3. Champion what they value: If you know that something the people in your organization value, that has common interests, or aligns, with the change your are trying to influence, throw gas on the fire and champion that common interest (value). Connect the dots for people on how they and the organization can mutually benefit around the common interest, and reach a win-win outcome through the change that needs to be made. For example: The company wants to reduce operating expenses and you know that a group employees would prefer to work remotely than come into an office everyday.

4. Serve what they value: Once you understand what they value, go out of your way (meaning expend tons of effort) to help them get more of what they value. Connect them with someone, open a door of opportunity for them, make something for them, or do some research for them. Something along those lines - just help them experience more of what they value. They will appreciate you so much for your selflessness, that you will be able to influence them is a positive way, pretty much effortlessly.

5. Partner with what they value: I once had an incredible leader/manager model this for me better than I'd ever seen anyone before or since. She put her agenda aside, asked me what I wanted, and then proceeded to help me get it. Keep in mind that what I wanted hd nothing to do with my job or what she was trying to get me to accomplish within the context of her business objectives. All that she asked me for in return, was that I completely dedicate myself, as her employee, to helping the team reach the new goals she had set for the coming year. I gladly honored her request and we all achieve positive results individually and collectively.

Takeaway: When you set your agenda aside, and selflessly partner with people to help them reach their own personal & professional goals, you influence them, and they will go the distance for you. At that point, you have a pretty favorable chance of influencing any positive you'd like to implement within the organization. People may not get on board, at first, with change, but they'll readily get on board with you and your vision.

At the end of the day it really comes down to what Zig Ziglar often said: "You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want."

If you're ready to influence positive change in your organization, and have your people embrace it the first time around, schedule a free, no obligation, consultation with us at Influence Seminars. Or send is an email info@influenceseminars.com with your number one question about influencing positive change in your organization.

Article by R. Duane Huff


10 Things Truly Influential Leaders Give Up

Though you wouldn't know it from many of the examples we're consistently exposed to in the media. From corporate executives, to politicians, to rogue heads of a variety of questionable organizations, the true leaders of the world understand, lead and live by principles and ideals that help them to make good decisions with complete integrity. All while preserving the strength of their organizations and caring for the people who have made those organizations successful.

I have studied, practiced and done my best to apply the principles of servant leadership throughout my life since I was fifteen years old. Though I've not always attained the standards of leadership to which I have aspired, I have seen true leaders across a variety of industries live out and uphold the values and principles I've embraced since I was a teenager. 

These same principles, as relevant and valued today as they were back then, are interwoven into the DNA of every true leader I've observed to date. I believe it's time to highlight these principles so that we can get back to the core of what makes the leaders, and the organizations they lead, some of the greatest in the world.

Often, great leaders can be identified by the things they sacrifice to serve the people they've been given charge to lead. Below is a list of ten things that all true leaders surrender in order to be effective:

1. Placing Blame - Nothing erodes trust and respect amongst people faster than some arrogant child, claiming to be a leader, blaming people, circumstances, problems they've "inherited," or the lack of cooperation of others. Real leaders take responsibility, accept what currently is, roll up their sleeves and get in the fight with their people to make change happen.

2. Finding Fault – Any fool can look at something imperfect and point out its flaws. It takes a visionary to see the possibilities others dont see in a person, department, organization, process or system.

3. Gossip – Many times it becomes painfully obvious that we didnt actually leave junior high when we were thirteen years old. Office and organizational gossip can be extremely toxic, killing the morale and effectiveness of its people. True leaders avoid even the near occasion of gossip at all costs. When they encounter gossip accidentally, they immediately combat it with words of positive encouragement and truth.

4. Putting Results Before People – True leaders focus on the growth, education and development of their people even in lean times. They understand one simple yet powerful principle of building a strong organization long term: If you take care and develop the people who take care of the business, the results will take care of themselves.

5. Ego – Ive seen companies and organizations fall because the person at the helm was to prideful to let anyone but themselves have the spotlight. Rather than seek the knowledge, wisdom, expertise and insights of the people in the organization who might have been able to develop innovative solutions, they put it all on the line, and compromised the future of others because they just couldnt let go of their ego.

6. Being a Lone Wolf – True leaders understand that they will never accomplish great things in and of themselves. If they want to make a significant contribution, on any level, they understand that it takes a team to get them there.

7. Taking All the Credit – The only time a leader should take all the credit is when things go wrong or fail. Ultimately, the buck stops with the leader. Otherwise, credit, recognition and accolades should be shared liberally with all members of the team responsible for creating the successful result.

8. Keeping it to Themselves The ultimate kiss of death for a leader, when an organization is going through any level of change, is silence. In these times the worst thing a leader can do is not communicate, that which he is able, with everyone across the organization. I once saw a CEO disappear for an entire six weeks after a changing of the guard and organizational take over. I would personally call for his resignation. Its a proven fact that disclosure builds trust. When people are going through change, they can rally together and handle that change as long as they are not kept in the dark.

9. Inconsistency - Leaders must be consistent to be effective. Consistency earns the trust of the people following the leader. If people don't know what to expect from their leaders, they will push their boundaries until they do. Alternatively, they may completely disconnect from the goals and vision of the organization, costing that organization tons of money in lost productivity.

10. Acting Unilaterally - How arrogant and self absorbed does a leader have to be to make an executive decision without the guidance and input of his most trusted advisory team? While I believe there are exceptions to every rule, a leader that acts unilaterally, especially when it's not in the best interest of the organization, should be removed from his position immediately before he does irreversible damage.

Article by R. Duane Huff