Wednesday, March 31, 2010

18 ways to improve your body language

by Henrik Edberg

Continuing from the previous post 6 reasons to improve your body language, here is just a few of many pointers on how to improve your body language. Improving your body language can make a big difference in your people skills, attractiveness and general mood.

There is no specific advice on how to use your body language. What you do might be interpreted in several ways, depending on the setting and who you are talking to. You’ll probably want to use your body language differently when talking to your boss compared to when you talk to a girl/guy you’re interested in. These are some common interpretations of body language and often more effective ways to communicate with your body.

First, to change your body language you must be aware of your body language. Notice how you sit, how you stand, how you use you hands and legs, what you do while talking to someone.
You might want to practice in front of a mirror. Yeah, it might seem silly but no one is watching you. This will give you good feedback on how you look to other people and give you an opportunity to practise a bit before going out into the world.

Another tip is to close your eyes and visualize how you would stand and sit to feel confident, open and relaxed or whatever you want to communicate. See yourself move like that version of yourself. Then try it out.

You might also want observe friends, role models, movie stars or other people you think has good body language. Observe what they do and you don’t. Take bits and pieces you like from different people. Try using what you can learn from them.

Some of these tips might seem like you are faking something. But fake it til you make it is a useful way to learn something new. And remember, feelings work backwards too. If you smile a bit more you will feel happier. If you sit up straight you will feel more energetic and in control. If you slow down your movements you’ll feel calmer. Your feelings will actually reinforce your new behaviours and feelings of weirdness will dissipate.

1. Don’t cross your arms or legs
You have probably already heard you shouldn’t cross your arms as it might make you seem defensive or guarded. This goes for your legs too. Keep your arms and legs open.

2. Have eye contact, but don’t stare
If there are several people you are talking to, give them all some eye contact to create a better connection and see if they are listening. Keeping too much eye-contact might creep people out. Giving no eye-contact might make you seem insecure. If you are not used to keeping eye-contact it might feel a little hard or scary in the beginning but keep working on it and you’ll get used to it.

3. Don’t be afraid to take up some space
Taking up space by for example sitting or standing with your legs apart a bit signals self-confidence and that you are comfortable in your own skin.

4. Relax your shoulders
When you feel tense it’s easily winds up as tension in your shoulders. They might move up and forward a bit. Try to relax. Try to loosen up by shaking the shoulders a bit and move them back slightly.

5. Nod when they are talking
nod once in a while to signal that you are listening. But don’t overdo it and peck like Woody Woodpecker.

6. Don’t slouch, sit up straight
but in a relaxed way, not in a too tense manner.

7. Lean, but not too much
If you want to show that you are interested in what someone is saying, lean toward the person talking. If you want to show that you’re confident in yourself and relaxed lean back a bit. But don’t lean in too much or you might seem needy and desperate for some approval. Or lean back too much or you might seem arrogant and distant.

8. Smile and laugh
lighten up, don’t take yourself too seriously. Relax a bit, smile and laugh when someone says something funny. People will be a lot more inclined to listen to you if you seem to be a positive person. But don’t be the first to laugh at your own jokes, it makes you seem nervous and needy. Smile when you are introduced to someone but don’t keep a smile plastered on your face, you’ll seem insincere.

9. Don’t touch your face
it might make you seem nervous and can be distracting for the listeners or the people in the conversation.

10. Keep you head up
Don’t keep your eyes on the ground, it might make you seem insecure and a bit lost. Keep your head up straight and your eyes towards the horizon.

11. Slow down a bit
this goes for many things. Walking slower not only makes you seem more calm and confident, it will also make you feel less stressed. If someone addresses you, don’t snap you’re neck in their direction, turn it a bit more slowly instead.

12. Don’t fidget
try to avoid, phase out or transform fidgety movement and nervous ticks such as shaking your leg or tapping your fingers against the table rapidly. You’ll seem nervous and fidgeting can be a distracting when you try to get something across. Declutter your movements if you are all over the place. Try to relax, slow down and focus your movements.

13. Use your hands more confidently
instead of fidgeting with your hands and scratching your face use them to communicate what you are trying to say. Use your hands to describe something or to add weight to a point you are trying to make. But don’t use them to much or it might become distracting. And don’t let your hands flail around, use them with some control.

14. Lower your drink
don’t hold your drink in front of your chest. In fact, don’t hold anything in front of your heart as it will make you seem guarded and distant. Lower it and hold it beside your leg instead.

15. Realise where you spine ends
many people (including me until recently) might sit or stand with a straight back in a good posture. However, they might think that the spine ends where the neck begins and therefore crane the neck forward in a Montgomery Burns-pose. Your spine ends in the back of your head. Keep you whole spine straight and aligned for better posture.

16. Don’t stand too close
one of the things we learned from Seinfeld is that everybody gets weirded out by a close-talker. Let people have their personal space, don’t invade it.

17. Mirror
Often when you get along with a person, when the two of you get a good connection, you will start to mirror each other unconsciously. That means that you mirror the other person’s body language a bit. To make the connection better you can try a bit of proactive mirroring. If he leans forward, you might lean forward. If she holds her hands on her thighs, you might do the same. But don’t react instantly and don’t mirror every change in body language. Then weirdness will ensue.

18. Keep a good attitude
last but not least, keep a positive, open and relaxed attitude. How you feel will come through in your body language and can make a major difference. For information on how make yourself feel better read 10 ways to change how you feel and for relaxation try A very simple way to feel relaxed for 24 hours.

In the beginning easy it’s to exaggerate your body language. You might sit with your legs almost ridiculously far apart or sit up straight in a tense pose all the time. That’s ok. And people aren’t looking as much as you think, they are worrying about their own problems. Just play around a bit, practice and monitor yourself to find a comfortable balance.

Take a couple of these body language bits to work on every day for three to four weeks. By then they should have developed into new habits and something you’ll do without even thinking about it. If not, keep on until it sticks. Then take another couple of things you’d like to change and work on them.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

How to Become a Millionaire

All of us have dreamt of becoming a millionaire at one point, if not every single day, of our lives. We just want to know what it’s like to not worry of any financial situation as your bank account holds more money that you’ll ever be able to use up in your lifetime.

Wouldn’t it be nice to spend the weekend at a distant tropical paradise, shop all day long and man your own multi-national company? In fact, there is absolutely nothing wrong about dreaming to become a millionaire. And it’s not even about greed – it’s just about enjoying life comfortably, without much of the constraints brought about by lack of money.

No Exact Prerequisites

You might be wondering: Am I cut to be a millionaire? There’s an easy way to find out. Just go ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you have millionaire relatives?
  • Did you do well in school?
  • Haven’t you experienced financial problems before?
  • Don’t you have an office job?

If you answered “no” to each of the questions, it’s okay. Actually, none of them really matter. According to studies, majority of millionaires did not inherit their riches, were “C” students, have had financial crises before, and do not work for someone else. So if you’re dreaming of becoming a millionaire one day, well, maybe you are on the right path after all. But don’t just dream about it, act to get it!

No Stoke of Luck Needed

Perhaps nothing else would hurt the feelings of a millionaire than being told he or she just got lucky. While it’s true that some people became instant rich because of winning the grand prize of the lottery or a TV game show, the “real” millionaires, on the other hand, worked so hard to get to where they are.

Such millionaires didn’t just wake up one day to see and enjoy a hefty amount of cash in their bank accounts. It took them time and energy, and even some failures, along the way to fortune. Being a millionaire is not about having good luck; it’s about making good choices on your way there.

No Undisclosed Secrets

Of course every millionaire might have put in a little trade secret of their own, but the truth is, there are really no known secrets to becoming one yourself. Even millionaires themselves are very much enthusiastic about sharing their life experiences, in their attempt to help out others also reap financial success.

If you’ve been consistently following tips on how to become a millionaire and still not getting there, it may only be because of two things: you’re not patient enough, or you’re picking up the wrong tips all this time. So if your become-a-millionaire strategies right now involve getting into large-scale businesses you’re not too keen about or trying to be too much like a popular millionaire without adequate research, then you may be treading the wrong path since the start.

Monday, March 29, 2010

How To Impress Your Potential Customers with a Guarantee

By Staff Writer

When buying products, consumers are always concerned with how genuine a product is, and how effective it is. People need to be assured of the quality expected from a product offered for sale. More often there is a promise of reimbursement in case the product does not meet the supposed standards. How does one impress potential buyers with the guarantee? Of course, there are consumers who seem to be cool with anything, and there are those who are too skeptic to believe.

One good idea is the "get your money back" warranty. There are risks that entail this process. So instead of really giving back the customer's cash, some establishments make give away a product for free in case something goes wrong. For example, a local pizza joint delivers around the metro, and they ensure that the consumers get the pizza on time. In case the delivery service gets late, the buyers will have the pizza absolutely for free.

If you do not want your potential customers to greet you with raised eyebrows, then you better convince them with realistic guarantees. For instance, if you are selling therapeutic equipment, you must demonstrate how to use it. And when people ask you about what good the product can do, give them simple, yet specific and realistic answers, like "It is supposed to relieve you of backache upon first use." Avoid making too-good-to-be-true comments, such as "You won't experience any back pain anymore." That is just so impossible.

Also, honor the deal that you give. If you promised you would repair any damages or malfunction in the product (as long as it is not entirely the customer's fault), then you must do as you said. When you serve your customers without complaints, they will come back to you.

I once had my hair rebounded in a salon. After a few days my straightened mane went back to wavy layers. I went back to the salon and they immediately remedied the problem - cost-free! Now that's what you call customer-friendly service. No doubt why there are lots of women who avail of their products. However, I also had this experience with a salon who promised me to repair for free any damage to my hair after having it relaxed. To my dismay, she did rectify the error and repeated the whole hair-straightening process, but asked me to shell out a few bucks for the supposedly-free guarantee service. That's a big no-no if you do not want customers running away from you. Guess what, I never returned to that salon.

Product guarantees are good marketing devices. And you may increase your potential customers if you exceed expectations. Instead of repairing or giving the product for free, you may also replace it with a new one. This way, the customers will feel that you prioritize them and that you put their interests on top of the list. Likewise, this strategy will make your

customers trust you more.

Always remember that your customers should be on top of the game. Serve them with honesty and promptness, and they will reward you with unfailing loyalty. That is a guarantee.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

live Passionately

By christine

1. BE DECISIVE Success is a choice. You must decide what you want, why you want it, and howyou plan to achieve it. No one else can,will,or should do that for you.

2. STAY FOCUSEDA close relative to being decisive, but your ability to sustain you focusfrom beginning to end determines the timing and condition of youroutcomes.

3. WELCOME FAILUREThe fundamental question is not whether you should accept failure. You haveno choice but to except it as a temporary condition on the path way ofprogress. Rather, the question is how to anticipate failure andredirect resources to grow from the experience.

4. WRITE DOWN GOALSYour mind while blessed with permanent memory is cursed with lousy recall.People forget things. Avoid temptation of being cute. Write down yougoals.

5. PLAN THROUGHLYPlanning saves 10 to 1 execution. Proper planning prevents poor performance.

6. INVOLVE OTHERSNobody goes through life alone. Establish your own "Personal Board ofDirectors", people whose wisdom, knowledge, and character you respectto help you achieve yourgoals.

7. TAKE PURPOSEFUL ACTIONSuccess is not a spectator sport-achievement demands action. You cannot expectto arrive at success without having made the trip.

8. REWARD YOURSELFRewards work! Think of what you will give yourself as a result of you hard work, focus and persistence - you deserve it!

9. INSPECT WHAT YOU EXPECTThe shelf life of all plans is limited. No plans holds up againstopposition. Everything changes. Therefore inspect frequently andclosely, it's an insurance policy of your success.

10. MAINTAIN PERSONAL INTEGRITYMaintain your commitment to your commitment. Set your goals; promise yourselfthat you will achieve them. Eliminate wiggle room and excuses.

"Your power to choose the direction of your life allows you to reinventyourself, to change you future, and to powerfully influence the rest ofcreation."~ Stephen R. Covey

Friday, March 26, 2010

Five Effective Ways to Curb Workplace Stress

Learning to curb office stress effectively is a sure way to improve productivity. Approaching tasks and situations logically can help meet those looming deadlines and complete the mountain of tasks that were due yesterday. Here are five ways to accomplish that.


Make a list of all the things that need to be done. Decide which of these things are the most important, which is second, which is third, etc. Remember to keep in mind due dates and which you have to do today. Fill out a "to do" list and follow it. Start with the first task and work your way down the list. If someone else comes to you with something "urgent, find its place in the list and keep on going.

Don't procrastinate

If you have a task or job that needs to be done and you are dreading it, deal with that task first. It may not be as bad as you first thought. Sometimes we put things off because we think they are going to take a lot of time, are going to be difficult or are just plain boring. We can be pleasantly surprised when we realize "it wasn't that bad!" Procrastination allows things to pile up and piles cause undue stress. A PhD is not short for pile it higher and deeper.

Say "NO"

If you are already overburdened and people have a habit of dumping their work onto you, learn to say no. The world won't end because you could not get something done that wasn't your responsibility in the first place. If it is a boss who is asking something of you, then you what work you already have do and explain that you just can't get the new work at this moment. Tell them you might be able to get to it later. Ask the boss to go over your priority list with you.

Don't be judgmental

Forming opinions of your coworkers can cause resentment. Resentment is me taking poison waiting for you to die. Not real productive. Don't stress yourself out by worrying about how other people conduct themselves at work. The only person you need to worry about is yourself. Be more tolerant and you will get farther and even if you don't you'll be happier where you are.

Take a short break

If things become overwhelming, remove yourself from your environment for a few minutes. Go have a coffee, take a walk. Just get up for a few minutes and stretch your legs. Take some deep breaths and relax.

Taking these steps can make a difference in how you feel about life and your job. Who knows? You might even come to enjoy it.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

6 Strategies to Overcome Adversity

by David Heenan

By every conventional measure, J. K. Rowling was mired in her darkest hour. Her exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded. She had been sacked and was as poor as it was possible to be in modern Britain without being homeless. “By every usual standard,” she admits, “I was the biggest failure I knew.”

Against all odds, the spunky single mother poured her energies into finishing the only work that mattered to her—a book about a boy wizard. However, the publishing world hadn’t caught up with her genius. Twelve publishers rejected her manuscript before a small London house picked up Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. And the rest is history.

Like Rowling, in our small businesses we are all confronted with our own dark hours: equally traumatic, life-altering events. Some of us are unshakable in our belief that anything is possible if we find the courage to forge ahead. Others, however, can’t seem to escape the jaws of defeat.

Whatever their route to success, these courageous and inspiring men and women prove that taking on a truly hellish situation is not necessarily a death sentence. Bright Triumphs From Dark Hours celebrates those who are able to face adversity—and transform near-defeat into a bright triumph. And let’s face it, during this economy small business and sole proprietors are facing some very difficult times. So, what I did learn from these relentless bravehearts? Here are six lessons, exemplified by the individuals profiled in my book.

1. Learn From Adversity

“Success is going from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm,” said Winston Churchill, whose life was littered with disappointments. The Last Lion, as William Manchester called him, was the dominant personality of the last century. He understood that setbacks are inevitable when we pursue a bright triumph. What set him apart was his incredible grit. To Churchill, anything was possible. Victory was always at hand. Remember his words at Harrow: “Never give in!” he told students. “Never give in, never, never, never, never!”

Like Churchill, the folks I have profiled refused to equate the occasional setback with defeat. They expected some dry spells along the way. Dark hours—let’s face it all are inevitable, and we can learn from them. Expect some dry spells—and move on.

2. Fashion a New Dream

Oftentimes, it’s necessary to recalibrate your dreams. Corporate titans, for example, inevitably make mistakes, new competitors emerge, new technologies and consumer habits disrupt established practices in unseen ways. When things begin to spiral downward, successful folks make the appropriate corrections. The alternative to grime-encrusted lenses isn’t rose-tinted glasses: It’s a healthy dose of reality.

3. Sell Your Vision

“A leader must be a dealer in hope,” Confucius wrote. Those who can illuminate the darkness are experts at restoring people’s faith in the future, especially the faith of talented people who have run into brick walls. Even if you’re the only person running your business, you have customers and clients, vendors and sub-contractors who need to see your vision.

The golden core of leadership is the ability to raise aspirations. Transition is an ideal time to do so. Our intrepid adventurers are unflagging optimists. In many respects, this special species of leaders is “delusional,” according to veteran executive coach Marshall Goldsmith. “They are not as good as they think they are, but they have the confidence to pursue big things.”

So tune out the cynics and second-guessers who say you can’t beat the odds. Don’t let pouting pessimists rob you from pursuing—and capturing—your dreams.

4. Share Your Dream

“We can do as partners what we cannot do as singles,” Daniel Webster observed. Therefore, build alliances. In one example profiled in the book, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s recruitment of outsider Joel Klein as the head of the city’s schools succeeded where a long line of predecessors had failed. The talented twosome—working together—used their close links to affluent New Yorkers to lure much-needed funds to their reform effort. These powerful allies, in turn, have been invaluable in helping turn around the Big Apple’s long-troubled school system.

So keep good company. Create a brain trust of people you can call on in tough times in dark hours. Share your dreams!

5. Focus, Focus, Focus

Make life as simple as possible. Focus on what you know you can do. Know what you’re capable of on any given day, what you can count on. Do the simple things well, and then use that confidence to forge your own bright triumph. Learn to differentiate between what is truly important and what can be dealt with at another time.

Technology giant Steve Case, now getting his second wind at Revolution, refuses to get sidetracked. He believes zeroing in on the endgame has led to his success in business and beyond. “Anything is possible,” he says, “but it all starts with having a dream and sticking with it through thick and thin.” People like Case possess a tenacity that eludes those who wilt in the face of adversity. They don’t let a few potholes in the road erode their confidence. They share a steadfast determination to secure a bright triumph.

6. Start Now

As Teddy Roosevelt said, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.

Let new ideas take root. Explore. Rattle hidebound thinking. Chuck yesterday’s assumptions. Don’t rely on what made you successful, but no longer works. The worst baggage we can carry is the baggage from a successful past.

Set goals that are specific and attainable, then break them down into manageable pieces—one step at a time. In the process, passing each milestone builds confidence and creates momentum. Self-confidence, in turn, develops much like a coral reef—layer on layer compresses into a solid base.

Don’t lose sight of your main goal by focusing on intermediate objectives. Take a wide-angle view of the challenge. As Gary Guller slogged his way up Mount Everest one painful step at a time, he never forgot the endgame: shattering stereotypes of the disabled. Summiting the top of the world was simply part of the process.

But don’t dillydally. “A degenerative disease will not be cured by procrastination,” said management guru Peter Drucker. “It requires decisive action.” Unlike sports, you can’t call for a time-out when things get rough. You must get out of the blocks quickly.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Key to Influencing Others

By: Brian Tracy

Do Nice Things For Others
One of the best ways to influence someone is to do something nice for him. I know many successful salespeople who make a habit of taking their prospects out to breakfast or lunch. During the breakfast or lunch, they do not talk about their products or services unless the client brings it up. They merely make small talk, ask questions and listen. They work on building trust, and they work on establishing a friendly relationship. At the end of the breakfast or lunch, they tell the prospect that they will be getting in touch with him sometime in the future with the possibility of talking to him about helping him in some way.

See Them As Friends and Partners
The best salespeople and businesspeople in America today are those who look upon their customers and prospective customers as friends and partners. They always look for ways to help their partners improve their lives in ways that are not directly related to the products or services they sell. They sow seeds, and they reap a harvest. They trigger a desire in people to reciprocate. When the time comes for those salespeople to approach their prospects with the possibility of buying their products or services, the prospects are wide open to the questions and inputs of the salespeople. The prospects have a deep-down desire to reciprocate.

Send Thank You Notes
One of the best ways to use this principle in your interactions is to continually look for ways to say and do positive things for people. Look for ways to do kind acts and favors for your friends and prospects. Send thank-you notes. Send birthday cards. Send clippings from newspapers about subjects that you feel may be of interest to them. Always keep your promises, and follow up on your commitments. Always do what you say you will do. Do everything possible to put in, knowing confidently that you will ultimately be able to get out far more. You will reap if you sow.

Be A Go-Giver Rather Than A Go-Getter
Someone has observed that no one ever built a statue to a person to acknowledge what he or she got out of life. Statues are built only to people to acknowledge what they gave. The most powerful, influential and successful people you will ever meet always look for ways to do nice things for others. When you meet someone under almost any circumstance, one of the best questions you can ask is this: "Is there anything that I can do for you?" Always look for ways to put in rather than to take out. The successful man or woman of today is a "go-giver" as well as a go-getter.

Be Open and Empathetic
The more that people feel that you are open and empathetic and sensitive to their needs and concerns, the more open they will be to your influencing them positively in some way. And the more you can influence others with the power and impact of your personality, the more you will accomplish, and the faster you will accomplish it. The more rapidly you will move toward the great success that you desire and deserve.

Action Exercises
Here are two things you can do immediately to put these ideas into action.

First, look for ways to do nice things for other people, especially your family, friends, and customers. The more nice things you do for others, the better you feel about yourself.

Second, take time to really listen to people, especially your staff and coworkers. The more and better you listen to others, the greater is your influence over them.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Determinant of Your Success

By: Brian Tracy

Perhaps the most powerful single factor in your financial success is your beliefs about yourself and money. We call this the Law of Belief. It says simply this: Whatever you believe, with feeling, becomes your reality.

What Successful People Believe

Whatever you intensely believe becomes your reality. That we have a tendency to block out any information coming in to us that is inconsistent with our reality. What we've discovered is that successful people absolutely believe that they have the ability to succeed. And they will not entertain, think about, or talk about the possibilities that they'll fail. They do not even consider the possibility of failure.

Positive Thinking Versus Positive Knowing

You always act in a matter consistent with your beliefs. The most important belief system you can build is a prosperity consciousness where you absolutely believe that you are going achieve your financial goals. We call this positive knowing versus positive thinking. Positive thinking can sometimes be wishing or hoping. But positive knowing is when you absolutely know that no matter what, you will be successful.

The Foundation of Willpower

Another principle related to your beliefs is willpower. We know that willpower is essential to any success. Willpower is based on confidence. It's based on conviction. It's based on faith. It's based on your belief in your ability to triumph over all obstacles. And you can develop willpower by persistence, by working on your goals, by reading the biographies of successful people, by listening to audio programs, by reading books about people who've achieved success. The more information you take into your mind consistent with success, the more likely it is that you will develop the willpower to push you through the obstacles and difficulties you will experience.

Beat the Odds on Success

Remember that success is rare. Only one person in one hundred becomes wealthy in the course of a lifetime. Only five percent achieve financial independence. That means that the odds against you are 19-to-1. The only way that you're going to achieve your financial goals is if you get really serious. To succeed, you must get serious. You must get busy. You must get active. You must get going. Remember, everything counts.

Resolve to Achieve Greatly

Self-mastery, self-control, self-discipline are essential for anyone who wants to achieve greatly. And control over your thoughts is the hardest exercise in self-mastery that you will ever engage in. See if you can talk and think about only what you desire and not talk or think about anything that you don't want for 24 hours. Then you'll see what you're really made of. It's a hard thing to do but with practice, you can reach the point where you are thinking about your goals and desires most of the time. Then, your whole life will change for the better.

Action Exercises

Here are two things you can do to build a belief system consistent with the financial success you desire:

First, continually repeat to yourself the words, pictures and thoughts consistent with your dreams and goals. Whatever you repeat often enough, over and over, becomes a new belief.

Second, set a goal for yourself to think and talk only about the things that you want for the next 24 hours. This will be one of the hardest things you ever do. But if you can keep your mind on what you want and off of what you don't want for 24 hours, you can begin to change your entire future.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Ten Simple Steps to More Customers with Better Networking

by Kevin Stirtz

Networking is a great way to meet people in a "non-selling" setting. So, don't sell. Meet and greet. Ask people about their businesses. Be friendly and relaxed. Enjoy yourself. Get to know people. Above all, do not sell.

If and when someone appears to meet your target criteria, ask for their business card. Then follow up with them later to see if there might be a fit.

Here are some ideas to help you get the most from your networking:

1. Set a time budget each week or month for your networking. Plan to attend a specific number of meetings or events at which you can network. Make sure your other tasks and responsibilities fit around these meetings. It's best to balance networking with your other lead generating activities. This way you can measure the value of your networking leads against the time spent acquiring them.

2. Pick networking opportunities that put you face to face with people most likely to need what you offer. Or try to meet people who can connect you with people who need what you offer. Both are good prospects.

3. Understand why you're there - to begin relationships - not to sell. Networking is the first step in a long dance. Don't rush.

4. Don't give your cards to everyone. Save your money and some trees. Hand out your card only to people who ask for it.

5. Ask people questions. Learn about them and their business. This is how you pre-qualify them. If they meet your target criteria ask for their card. If not, don't.

6. Don't sell yourself. It's okay to tell people what you do. Give your "30 second commercial" but stop after that. You're there to gather information and to meet people, not to sell.

7. People love people who are interested in them. Ask questions, listen and engage people. This is the fastest way to develop rapport with someone. It's also the best way to determine quickly if they're someone you should be doing business with.

. Have fun, relax and enjoy yourself. People like being around people who are relaxed and having fun.

9. Don't corner people and don't get cornered. Manage your time and conversation so you can meet enough people to justify your time spent networking.

10. Offer referrals. The best way to begin a relationship is by giving someone something - like a referral. It doesn't cost you anything. If they're the kind of person you want to do business with, they'll reciprocate and a valuable, long-tem business relationship could develop.

Networking is a time-honored way of developing business relationships. It can be done in networking groups or clubs. It can be done through Chambers of Commerce. It can be done anywhere you meet people. If you are active in your community or industry, you can easily network. Some people "network" while shopping for groceries!

It all depends on your attitude and your focus. The more people you meet who might need your product or service, the more potential customers you can have.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Law of Persuasion

By Brian Tracy

The purpose of the selling process is to convince customers that they will be better off with the product or service than they would be with the money necessary to buy the product. When you make sales presentations, you are asking customers to engage in a trade.

You are telling customers that if they give you their money, you will give them a product or service in return that will be of greater value to them than the money they pay. In addition, it will be of greater value than anything else that they could buy with the same amount of money at the same time.

Satisfied Needs
The customer always acts to satisfy the greatest number of unmet needs, in the very best way, at the lowest possible price. A major part of your job is to demonstrate that customers will get more of what they want, faster, by purchasing your product or service than they would get if they bought something else.


Proof that the other people similar to the customer have purchased the product builds credibility, lowers resistance, and increases sales. Every bit of information that you can present showing that other people, similar to the customer, have already wrestled with this buying decision, have decided to purchase, and have been happy as a result, moves you closer to making the sale.

One of the most powerful of all persuasion techniques in our society is called "social proof." We are all influenced by what others have done or are doing. We are much more open to buying a product or service when we know that other people like us have already bought it and are happy with it.

Testimonials of any kind increase desirability and lower price resistance to a product or service. Testimonial letters or photographs of happy customers using and enjoying your product or service, or lists of satisfied customers, are powerful influence factors in persuading a person to buy. You should persistently solicit testimonials from your customers.

Acquire them from every source possible and every way you possibly can. Testimonials can make your sales work much easier. You will find that almost all top salespeople use testimonials that praise and support the product or services they are selling and that are relevant to the customer they are selling to.

Action Exercise
Gather testimonials of every kind from every satisfied customer you possibly can. Build your sales presentation and your sales materials around these testimonials. Continually prove to your prospects that other people, just like them, are happily using what you sell.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Live the Life You Have Always Dreamed Of

Sick and tired of the job, feeling dissatisfied and trapped? Is there anything that can be done or must we just grin and bear it. Is this the way real life is?

Surely there must be some inspired steps we can take to correct the situation so that we can live the life we always dreamed of. If only we knew what.

There are steps that we can take to be successful in self improvement but it is not easy. We must come out of our comfort zone, conquer our fear of change and take calculated risks. We need to stay focused and persist through the difficulties we encounter.

Success will not be achieved easily. It will take determination, passion and time. there is a real need to learn from our experiences. This article could form the basis of our life journey to success and self improvement.

It will take hard work and sacrifice to achieve our ambitions. We must never believe the world is against us whenever we meet difficulties. Remember 'If you hate the world, the world will hate you back.'

What must we do to get to the point where we can live the life of which we dream? Here are some suggestions that can serve as a guide in our quest for self improvement.

1. We must start our journey with courage and passion. Knowing our destination we should travel towards our dream positively with persistence and enthusiasm.

Remember this journey is a long one, so we should travel at a steady pace, being patient but remaining truly enthusiastic. We should not rush and forget how to enjoy life. We must always welcome and thankful for the beautiful things that we meet along the way.

2. We should always remain positive and enthusiastic. Appreciating our situation. Valuing our boss, co-workers, family, friends, and even the strangers we meet.

This will not be easy, but not impossible if approached with determination. But we should never forget our dreams. We can love, but must hold on to reality.

3. Dream and then take positive action to achieve those dreams but we must always maintain the correct balance. Taking one step at a time and not being over ambitious.

We will receive much "self improvement advice", some good some bad, along our way. But there will be a shortage of real advice from people who are happy to help.

We must remember that we are not alone. There are always others in far more difficult situations.

4. We should finish our journey with a fanfare of accomplishment and a well developed desire to help others succeed in their lives. We have finally achieved what we have always desired. We must not mock those who belittled us on our journey. We should forgive and forget.

5. We should always be unassuming. We should not be critical of others, once we are successful, helping them to remain positive and assisting them along their own journey to success. We will find that when we give, we will receive back equal or greater rewards.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Foundation of Leadership

By: Brian Tracy

The most important quality of leadership, the one quality for which you want to be known, is extraordinary performance, with the goal of achieving extraordinary results. These results then serve as an inspiration to others to perform at equally exceptional levels. People ascribe leadership to those men and women who they feel can most enable them to achieve important goals or objectives.

Why People Respect You

We develop great perceptions of those men and women we can count on to help us achieve what is important to us. Men and women who make great sales, or who establish admirable sales records, develop influence in the minds and hearts of their coworkers and superiors. They are spoken about in the most positive way.

The Halo Effect

Men and women who are responsible for companies or departments that achieve high levels of profitability also develop charisma. They develop what is called the "halo effect." They are perceived by others to be extraordinary men and women who are capable of great things. Their shortcomings are often overlooked, while their strong points are overemphasized. They become charismatic.

The Source of Charisma

Charisma actually comes from working on yourself. It comes from liking and accepting yourself unconditionally as you do and say the specific things that develop within you a powerful, charismatic personality.

Be Determined and Purposeful

When you set clear goals and become determined and purposeful, backing those goals with unshakable self-confidence, you develop charisma. When you are enthusiastic and excited about what you are doing, when you are totally committed to achieving something worthwhile, you radiate charisma. When you take the time to study and become an expert at what you do, and then prepare thoroughly for any opportunity to use your knowledge, skill or experience, the perception that others have of you goes straight up.

Accept Complete Responsibility

When you take complete responsibility and accept ownership, without making excuses or blaming others, you experience a sense of control that leads to the personal power that is the foundation of charisma. When you look like a winner in every respect, when you have the kind of external image that others admire, you build your charisma. When you develop your character by setting high standards and then disciplining yourself to live consistent with the highest principles you know, you become the kind of person who is admired and respected everywhere. You become the kind of person who radiates charisma to others.

Focus on Results

Finally, when you concentrate your energies on achieving the results that you have been hired to accomplish, the results that others expect of you, you develop the reputation for performance and achievement that inevitably leads to the perception of charisma.You can develop the kind of charisma that opens doors for you by going to work on yourself, consistently and persistently, and becoming the kind of person everyone can admire and look up to. That's what charisma is all about.

Action Exercises

Here are two things you can do immediately to put these ideas into action.

First, ask yourself every day, "What is the one thing that I and only I can do, that if done well, will make a real difference to my company?" Whatever your answer, go to work on that.

Second, decide upon the most important results you can get for your company and make sure that you and everyone else is working on those results every hour of every day.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

How to Stop Complaining

by Steve Pavlina

Perhaps the most important step in quitting the habit of complaining is to disconnect the undesirable behavior from your identity. A common mistake chronic complainers make is to self-identify with the negative thoughts running through their minds. Such a person might admit, “I know I’m responsible for my thoughts, but I don’t know how to stop myself from thinking negatively so often.” That seems like a step in the right direction, and to a certain degree it is, but it’s also a trap. It’s good to take responsibility for your thoughts, but you don’t want to identify with those thoughts to the point you end up blaming yourself and feeling even worse.

A better statement might be, “I recognize these negative thoughts going through my mind. But those thoughts are not me. As I raise my awareness, I can replace those thoughts with positive alternatives.” You have the power to recondition your thoughts, but the trick is to keep your consciousness out of the quagmire of blame. Realize that while these thoughts are flowing through your mind, they are not you. You are the conscious conduit through which they flow.

Mental conditioning
Although your thoughts are not you, if you repeat the same thoughts over and over again, they will condition your mind to a large extent. It’s almost accurate to say that we become our dominant thoughts, but I think that’s taking it a bit too far.

Consider how the foods you eat condition your body. You aren’t really going to become the next meal you eat, but that meal is going to influence your physiology, and if you keep eating the same meals over and over, they’ll have a major impact on your body over time. Your body will crave and expect those same foods. However, your body remains separate and distinct from the foods you eat, and you’re still free to change what you eat, which will gradually recondition your physiology in accordance with the new inputs.

This is why negative thinking is so addictive. If you keep holding negative thoughts, you condition your mind to expect and even crave those continued inputs. Your neurons will even learn to predict the reoccurrence of negative stimuli. You’ll practically become a negativity magnet.

The trap of negative thinking
This is a tough situation to escape because it’s self-perpetuating, as anyone stuck in negative thinking knows all too well. Your negative experiences feed your negative expectations, which then attract new negative experiences.

In truth most people who enter this pattern never escape it in their entire lives. It’s just that difficult to escape. Even as they rail against their own negativity, they unknowingly perpetuate it by continuing to identify with it. If you beat yourself up for being too negative, you’re simply reinforcing the pattern, not breaking out of it.

I think most people who are stuck in this trap will remain stuck until they experience an elevation in their consciousness. They have to recognize that they’re trapped and that continuing to fight their own negativity while still identifying with it is a battle that can never be won. Think about it. If beating yourself up for being too whiny was going to work, wouldn’t it have worked a long time ago? Are you any closer to a solution for all the effort you’ve invested in this plan of attack?

Consequently, the solution I like best is to stop fighting and surrender. Instead of resisting the negativity head-on, acknowledge and accept its presence. This will actually have the effect of raising your consciousness.

Overcoming negativity
You can actually learn to embrace the negative thoughts running through your head and thereby transcend them. Allow them to be, but don’t identify with them because those thoughts are not you. Begin to interact with them like an observer.
It’s been said that the mind is like a hyperactive monkey. The more you fight with the monkey, the more hyper it becomes. So instead just relax and observe the monkey until it wears itself out.

Recognize also that this is the very reason you’re here, living out your current life as a human being. Your reason for being here is to develop your consciousness. If you’re mired in negativity, your job is to develop your consciousness to the point where you can learn to stay focused on what you want, to create positively instead of destructively. It may take you more than a lifetime to accomplish that, and that’s OK. Your life is always reflecting back to you the contents of your consciousness. If you don’t like what you’re experiencing, that’s because your skill at conscious creation remains underdeveloped. That’s not a problem though because you’re here to develop it. You’re experiencing exactly what you’re supposed to be experiencing so you can learn.

Conscious creation
If you need a few more lifetimes to work through your negativity, you’re free to take your time. Conscious creation is a big responsibility, and maybe you don’t feel ready for it yet. So until then you’re going to perpetuate the pattern of negative thinking to keep yourself away from that realization. You must admit that the idea of being the primary creator of everything in your current reality is a bit daunting. What are you going to make of your life? What if you screw up? What if you make a big mess of everything? What if you try your best and fail? Those self-doubts will keep you in a pattern of negativity as a way of avoiding that responsibility.
Unfortunately, this escapism has consequences. The only way true creators can deny responsibility for their creations is to buy into the illusion that they aren’t really creating any of it. This means you have to turn your own creative energy against yourself. You’re like a god using his powers to become powerless. You use your strength to make yourself weak.

The reason you may be stuck in a negative thought pattern right now is that at some point, you chose it. You figured the alternative of accepting full responsibility for everything in your reality would be worse. It’s too much to handle. So you turned your own thoughts against yourself to avoid that awesome responsibility.

And you’ll continue to remain in a negative manifestation pattern until you’re ready to start accepting some of that responsibility back onto your plate.

Negativity needn’t be a permanent condition. You still have the freedom to choose otherwise. In practice this realization normally happens in layers of unfolding awareness. You begin to accept and embrace more and more responsibility for your life.

Assuming total responsibility
You see… the real solution to complaining is responsibility. You must say to the universe (and mean it), “I want to accept more responsibility for everything in my experience.”

Here are some examples of what I mean by accepting responsibility:
  • If I’m unhappy, it’s because I’m creating it.
  • If there’s a problem in the world that bothers me, I’m responsible for fixing it.
  • If someone is in need, I’m responsible for helping them.
  • If I want something, it’s up to me to achieve it.
  • If I want certain people in my life, I must attract and invite them to be with me.
  • If I don’t like my present circumstances, I must end them.

On the flip side, it may also help to take responsibility for all the good in your life. The good stuff didn’t just happen to you. You created it. Well done.

Pat yourself on the back for what you like, but don’t feel you must pretend to enjoy what you clearly don’t like. But do accept responsibility for all of it… to the extent you’re ready to do so.

Complaining is the denial of responsibility. And blame is just another way of excusing yourself from being responsible. But this denial still wields its own creative power.

Conscious creation is indeed an awesome responsibility. But in my opinion it’s the best part of being human. There’s just no substitute for creating a life of joy, even if it requires taking responsibility for all the unwanted junk you’ve manifested up to this point.

When you catch yourself complaining, stop and ask yourself if you want to continue to deny responsibility for your reality or to allow a bit more responsibility back onto your plate. Maybe you’re ready to assume more responsibility, and maybe you aren’t, but do your best to make that decision consciously. Do you want sympathy for creating what you don’t want, or do you want congratulations for creating what you do want?

Friday, March 12, 2010

One Great Effort to Be Successful

Who knows Benjamin Franklin? He is really famous for being the great American inventor, publisher, statesman, and economist. He created thirteen virtues with complete summary, then he practiced them everyday.

He had this idea to improve himself. He wrote down a table with a row for each virtue and a column for each day of the week to his journal. If he made a mistake then he made a mark in the certain column of the table to remind him of the mistake. Every week he paid attention to a different virtue and tried hard to keep the table clean from marks of mistakes because it meant that he was free from any mistakes.

The journal with thirteen virtues led his life into a better condition and soul. He was able to control his life and desire to be better. Unexpected character that he wanted to change could be removed by using this method. He told that he used this personal examination for some years. He tried developing good habits and eliminated bad habits.

The thirteen virtues that Benjamin Franklin tried to develop were order, silence, frugality, resolution, sincerity, industry, moderation, justice, tranquility, cleanliness, humility and chastity. These are what Benjamin Franklin wanted to do and he used to report the development on his journal. For the summary arrangement, he made a little plan of spending his time every day. He got his time really scheduled and rearranged well. Benjamin Franklin was a great person that had great desire to be better on and on. His wonderful success in politics and life was a result of his hard effort to make himself better.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Factors of Risk in Selling

By Brian Tracy

The Critical Factor: Risk
The critical factor in selling today is risk. Because of the continuous change, rapid obsolescence, and an uncertain economy, the risk of buying the wrong product or service has become greater than ever before.

One of our powerful needs is for security, and any buying decision that represents uncertainty triggers the feeling of risk that threatens that security.

There are four main factors that contribute to the perception of risk in the mind and hear of the customer.

Risk Factor 1: Size of the Sale
The first factor that contributes to risk is the size of the sale. The larger the scale, the more money involved, the greater the risk.

If a person is buying a package of Lifesavers, the risk of satisfaction or dissatisfaction is insignificant. But if a person is buying a computer system for their company, the risk factor is magnified by hundreds of thousands of times.

Whenever you are selling a product that has a high price on it, you must be aware that risk enters into the buyer's calculations immediately.

Risk Factor 2: Number of People Affected
The second factor contributing to the perception of risk is the number of people who will be affected by the buying decision. Almost every complex buying decision involves several people.

There are people who must use the product or service. There are people who must pay for the product or service. There are people who are dependent of the results expected from the product or service. If a person is extremely sensitive to the opinions of others, this factor alone can cause him or her to put off a buying decision.

Risk Factor 3: Length of Life of the Product
The third factor contributing to the perception of risk is the length of life of the product. A product or service that, once installed, is meant to last for several years, generates the feeling of risk. The customer panics and thinks, "What if it doesn't work and I'm stuck with it?"

Risk Factor 4: Unfamiliarity
The fourth major risk factor is the customer's unfamiliarity with you, your company, and your product or service. A first-time buyer, one who has not bought the product or service before, or who has not bought it from you, is often nervous and requires a lot of hand-holding.

Anything new or different makes the average customer tense and uneasy. This is why a new product or service, or a new business relationship with your company, has to be presented as a natural extension of what the customer is already doing.

Overcoming Risk
In every case, you must overcome the customer's fear of risk if you are going to make the sale. Everything you do, from the first contact, through closing, the delivery and installation of the product or service, and the follow-up to the sale, must be done with the customer's perception of risk uppermost in your thinking.

Successful sales people are those who position their products or services as the lowest-risk product or service available to satisfy the particular need or achieve the particular goal of the customer.

Low-Risk vs. Low-Price
Your job is to be the low-risk provider, not necessarily the low-price vendor. Your job is to demonstrate clearly that your product or service represents the safest and most secure purchase decision rather than merely being the least expensive or highest quality.

Our customers today are the most experienced in customer history. They know that there is usually a close correlation between higher price on the one hand and greater security and after-sales satisfaction on the other. Your task is to make this differential clear in your sales presentation, especially when positioning you product or service against lower-priced competition.

Action Exercise
Identify the risks that a customer might find with your product or service. Once you have clearly defined those risks, it will be easier to find solutions for them to ease nervous customers.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Tips to Increase Brainpower

There are hundreds of ways to increase brainpower. They range from dietary practices and specific supplements to creative thinking techniques and even environmental changes. Here are short examples of things you can try today to boost the power of your brain and mind.

Act Intelligent
When you act as if you're more intelligent, it sets up an expectation in your mind that your unconscious mind tries to meet - and this affects actual performance. This isn't merely speculation. In fact, studies in which subjects pretend to be either a failing student or a university professor, show that those who do the latter score higher in the testing that follows.

Reduce Your Sugar Intake
Consuming too much sugar creates many long-term health problems, but the immediate effect is a blood sugar imbalance that will leave you feeling sluggish and hazy in your thinking. To test this you can do math problems fifteen minutes after eating a piece of cake on an empty stomach - you'll get the point. Reduce your sugar intake if you want a clearer mind. All simple carbohydrates can have this effect, so you may want to also avoid too much white flour, corn syrup, and white rice.

Learn Using Imagination

When learning something new, imagine how you'll use what you're studying. Of all the information we are exposed to, little of it is the "important stuff" that is crucial to understanding. But when imagining how you'll use it, you tend to focus on those things you really need to remember. This aids understanding and aids in retention of the new knowledge.

Limit Criticism
It's important to know when not to be critical. Analysis is important, but it also can kill creative thinking if done too often and/or too early in the process. Think freely, withholding critical analysis until the right time, which is never during a brainstorming or a creative problem solving session, but after. Allow ideas to develop a little before you shoot them full of holes, because there may be a few good ones in there if you give them a chance to grow.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Four Rules of Time

By: Brian Tracy

There are four rules of time. The first is that time is perishable. This means that it cannot be saved. In fact, time can only be spent. Because time is perishable, the only thing you can do with it is to spend it differently, to reallocate your time away from activities of low value and toward activities of higher value. But once it is gone, it is gone forever.

Time Is Indispensable
The second rule of time is that time is indispensable. All work requires time. No matter what it is you want to do in life, even looking out a window or sleeping in for a few extra minutes, it requires a certain amount of time. And according to the 10/90 Rule, the 10% of time that you take to plan your activities carefully in advance will save you 90% of the effort involved in achieving your goals later. The very act of thinking through and planning your work in advance will dramatically reduce the amount of time that it takes you to do the actual job.

The Currency of the Future
The third rule of time is that time is irreplaceable. Nothing else will do, especially in relationships. Time is the only currency that means anything in your relationships with the members of your family, your friends, colleagues, customers and coworkers. Truly effective people give a lot of thought to creating blocks of time that they can then spend, without interruption, with the important people in their lives.

Spell the Word Correctly
There is a question: "How do children spell the word 'Love?'" And the answer is "T-I-M-E." It is the same with your spouse, as well. The important people in your life equate the amount of time that you spend with them, face to face, head to head, knee to knee, with the amount that you actually love them.

Grow Your Relationships
The more time that you spend with another person, especially a member of your family, the deeper grows your understanding and affection for that person. If you get too busy to spend time with your children, you eventually lose contact with them and they go off into their own personal world of school, peers and other activities.

The Key to Goal-Achievement
The fourth rule is that time is essential for accomplishment. Every goal you want to achieve, everything you want to accomplish, requires time. In fact, one of the smartest things you ever do, when you set a goal, is to sit down and allocate the exact amount of time that you are going to have to invest to achieve that goal. The failure to do this almost always leaves the goal unaccomplished.

Action Exercises

Here are two things you can do immediately to put these ideas into action:

First, decide today to redirect and reallocate your time away from low-value tasks and toward high-value activities.

Second, make a plan to spend more time face-to-face with the most important people in your life. The more you think about the use of your time, the better you will become.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Look on the Bright Side

By Brian Tracy

The most important application of the law of cause and effect in your life is this: thoughts are causes, and conditions are effects. What this means is that your thought is creative. You create your world by the way you think. Nothing in your world has any meaning except for the meaning you give by how you think about it and talk about it. If you don't care about something, it has no effect on your emotions and actions.

How to be Happy
Many thousands of people have been interviewed over the years to find out what they think about most of the time. Can you guess what the most successful and happy people think about all day long? The answer is simple. Happy healthy people think about what they want, and how to get it, most of the time. When you think and talk about what you want, and how to get it, you feel happier and in greater control of your life.

How to be Unhappy
What do unhappy people think and talk about most of the time? Unfortunately, they think and talk about things they don't want. They think and talk about their problems and pains, and the people they don't like. Sometimes, their whole lives revolve around their complaints and criticisms. And the more they think and talk about what they don't want, the unhappier they become.

The Most Important Quality
Based on many psychological tests, the happiest people seem to have a special quality that enables them to live a better life than average. Can you guess what it is? It is the quality of optimism! The best news about optimism is that it is a learnable quality. You can learn to be a more positive, confident, and optimistic person by thinking the way optimists do—most of the time.

Look for the Good
Optimists seem to have different ways of dealing with the world that set them apart from the average. First, as we mentioned, they keep their minds on what they want, and keep looking for ways to get it. They are clear about their goals and they are confident that they will accomplish them, sooner or later. Second, optimists look for the good in every problem or difficulty. When things go wrong, as they often do, they say, "That's good!" and then set about finding something positive about the situation.

Seek the Valuable Lesson
The third quality of optimists is that they seek the valuable lesson in every setback or reversal. Rather than getting upset and blaming someone else for what has happened, they take control over their emotions by saying, "What can I learn from this experience?" Fully 95% of everything you do is determined by your habits, good or bad. When you repeatedly look for the good and seek the valuable lesson in every obstacle or disappointment, you very soon develop the habit of thinking like an optimist. As a result, you feel happier, healthier, and more in control of your world.

The Body-Mind Connection
More and more doctors are coming to the conclusion that 80% or more of all diseases and ailments are psychosomatic in origin. This means that "psycho," the mind, makes "soma," the body, sick. You do not get sick from what you are eating, but from what is eating you.

Action Exercise
Resolve from now on to see your glass of life half full rather than half empty. Give thanks for your many blessings in life rather than worrying or complaining about the things you do not have. Assume the best of intentions on the part of everyone around you.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Open Your Mind to New Ideas

Bernadette Doyle

Do you know what is wrong with the following two statements?

"I already know that."

"I can't see how that applies to my business."

Both will put a lid on your income.

You've likely uttered them at some point. They may seem like perfectly reasonable statements, but they are not. They are blinders that will prevent you from seeing new opportunities to grow your business and increase your revenue.

It is so important that you keep an open mind about new ideas for your business. It is important not to dismiss something simply because you've heard it before, or think it doesn't apply to you.

In business, repetition is a valuable tool. For instance, in my business. I use the same principles, the same processes over and over. And I get results, over and over.

When you hear or read about something you've come across before, you may be tempted to say, "I already know that." But there is a big difference between knowing something intellectually and knowing it, as dancers say, in the muscle.

So instead of tossing the idea away, challenge yourself a bit. Try the "Dr. Phil test" - ask yourself, "How is it working for me?"

If you are producing the results that you want, only then may you can say you truly know something. But, if your external results aren't quite where you want them to be, then there is something that, at some level, you still don't know.

You may grasp the idea intellectually, but you may not have it fully integrated and absorbed. There is always a chance that you can learn more about something that you think you already know. Keep your mind open.

The second problem statement is related to keeping an open mind. Just because you can't readily see how an idea applies to your business, doesn't mean that it isn't applicable to your business.

For example, you might hear about a great marketing technique for selling to individual clients, but think, "I can see what you're doing, but I'm selling to corporates, so I can't see how it will work for me."

Or if you hear about a product idea, you think, "What I'm offering is more intangible. It's not a hard offering that's going to help people make more money. So how do I map that over to my business? I can't see how it would work."

Even if you can't immediately see how it applies to your business, it doesn't mean that it's not applicable. It just means that you can't see it yet.

To get beyond this, start paying attention to the difference between the external form and the underlying structure of the new idea.

E-mail marketing may not be the right tool for your type of business. But if you look beyond the external form of the idea - the e-mail - and consider the underlying reason behind it - reaching more clients simultaneously - you might find that it leads you to the tool that is right for you.

You need to start looking beyond the face value of things. You need to start looking beneath the surface. Delve into the underlying reason behind an idea.

When you do this, you will find that there is more to an idea than you already know. And you may find a way to employ a new or different technique to increase your income.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

7 Steps to More Customer Referrals

by Kevin Stirtz

One of the best ways to increase revenue and profits in a tough economy is to get more new customers who are already sold on your product, service or brand. These customers can be hugely profitable because they require very little marketing or sales costs. By the time they reach your door they have already heard good things about your business and they are interested in learning more. If handle them right a high percentage will become customers with little effort on your part.

Here are seven things you can do to increase customer referrals at your business. They’re not complicated and they won’t cost you a fortune. And if you do them well and consistently, they’ll help you build a better business.

1. Talk to your customers.
Have real person-to-person conversations with as many customers as you can. If you have a lot of customers relative to your employees, then you’ll need to prioritize. Find ways to have real, meaningful and ongoing conversations with them.

This might mean inviting some to lunch. It might mean hosting get-togethers at your business. It might start with a survey and end with a phone call or a meeting. For others it might be virtual conversations using email or Web 2.0 tools.

2. Serve their needs.
Of course you’re doing this to make your company better. But everything you do in your customer referral effort needs to be useful from your customer’s perspective. Educate them while you engage them.

3. Engage your customers.
Find multiple ways to get your customers involved. For some people, just a regular phone call or lunch will be enough. For others you might get their help finding solutions to challenges you’re facing (using brainstorming or other facilitated meetings). Create communities for your customers to participate in. Forums and blogs are great for this. Software and online companies have done this for years but so can small businesses.

4. Get your employees involved.
Let your employees participate. Don’t script them or micro-manage their involvement. Let them get to know your customers and vice-versa. The more your customers know and like your employees, the more likely they will tell others to do business with you.

5. Hire customer friendly.
You can train, teach and coach a lot of things but being friendly is not one of them. And beyond just friendly, you should look for employees who make a habit of focusing on the customer, who go out of their way to take care of customer’s needs. One of the best ways to do this is to keep your eyes open when you are a customer. When you meet people who are very good, tell them what you do. Start a relationship so if they look for other work they might call you.

6. Post reminders.
This sounds basic but it works. Make posters of the top things your customers want from you. Include your “customer service standards” so everyone knows what the expectations are. Place them around your business so everyone can see them. Also, use post-it notes, emails, customer service calendars and any other fun ways you can think of to refresh your employee’s memories.

7. Celebrate good news.
When customers give you and your staff good feedback, share it. Have a party! Let all your staff know about it. Show your employees how important it is. Post it where people will see it. Send emails. Talk about it at staff meetings.

When your company is driven by service, your customers will notice. And they’ll like it. Serve them well and they’ll keep coming back. Even better, they’ll tell their friends too!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Eliminate the Time Wasters in Selling

By Brian Tracy

The first major time waster in selling is procrastination and delay. This occurs when you find every conceivable reason to put off getting there with people who can and will buy from you. Everyone procrastinates. There is always too much to do and too little time. The difference between successes and failures is determined by people's choices about what they put off. Losers put off the important things that could make a difference in their lives. Winners put off low-value tasks and activities.

Stop Wasting Time
According to Robert Half International, half of all working time, in all fields, is wasted. Most of this wasted time is taken up with coffee breaks, phone calls, and personal business, or other useless activities that make no contribution to your work.

Resolve to Overcome Procrastination
The best way to overcome procrastination is to plan each day in advance, set priorities on your activities, and then make your first sales call as early as you possibly can. Get up and get going. When you launch quickly into a workday, doing something important as early as possible, you will work at a higher level of effectiveness all day long.

The Incomplete Sales Call
Another major time waster is the incomplete sales call, requiring a callback. This occurs when you have not thoroughly prepared your presentation or taken all the materials you need for your sales call. When you are with the customer, you find you're missing the correct order forms, or other materials needed to close the sale. You then have to make arrangements to go back and see the prospect a second time, something that often does not happen.

Inaccuracies and Deficiencies
You waste a lot of time in selling when you find yourself with a prospect, but without all the information needed to make an intelligent presentation. You may have the wrong facts, the wrong figures, or the wrong specifications. You have misunderstood what the prospect said she wanted and made a proposal that does not solve the prospect's problem or satisfy her need.

Lack of Product Knowledge
This weakness can cost you hours of hard work. It boils down to ignorance of the product or service you are selling. This is invariably caused by laziness on the part of the salesperson. Fortunately it can be very easily overcome with time and study.

Poor Preparation
Thorough preparation separates the sheep from the goats among sales professionals. The top salesperson takes the time to diligently study every detail of her product or service. She reviews and then reviews again. She takes notes. She decides in advance that no one will ever ask her a question that she cannot answer intelligently and completely.

Unconfirmed Appointments
Here's a common scenario. A salesperson sets off across town to see a prospect for an appointment. It was arranged in advance, so everything should go as planned, right? But when the salesperson arrives, the prospect has been called out of town, is in a meeting, or cannot see him for some reason. As a result, he has wasted the entire trip, including the time it now takes him to get back to the office. Sometimes a salesperson can lose half a day because he did not reconfirm an appointment.

Action Exercise
Plan every day in advance; make a list of everything you have to do, and then set priorities on your list; always start with your number one, most important task.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Boost Your Productivity

By: Brian Tracy

Push to the Top
All successful people are very productive. They work longer hours and they work better hours. They get a lot more done than the average person. They get paid more and promoted faster. They are highly respected and esteemed by everyone around them. They become leaders and role models. Inevitably, they rise to the top of their fields and to the top of their income ranges, and so can you.

Everything is Learnable
Every single one of these tested and proven strategies for managing your time and doubling your productivity is learnable through practice and repetition. Each of these methods will eventually become a habit of both thinking and working.

The Payoff is Remarkable
When you begin applying these techniques to your work and to your life, your self-esteem, self-confidence, self-respect and sense of personal pride will go up immediately. The pay off for you will be tremendous, for the rest of your life.

Make A Decision!
Every positive change in your life begins with a clear, unequivocal decision that you are going to either do something or stop doing something. Significant change starts when you decide to either get in or get out, either fish or cut bait.

The Vital Quality of Success
Decisiveness is one of the most important qualities of successful and happy men and women, and decisiveness is developed through practice and repetition, over and over again until it becomes as natural to you as breathing in and breathing out.

Why People Are Poor
The sad fact is that people are poor because they have not yet decided to be rich. People are overweight and unfit because they have not yet decided to be thin and fit. People are inefficient time wasters because they haven't yet decided to be highly productive in everything they do.

Become An Expert
Decide today that you are going to become an expert in time management and personal productivity, no matter how long it takes or how much you invest in it. Resolve today that you are going to practice these principles, over and over again until they become second nature.

Action Exercises
Here are two steps you can take immediately to put these ideas into action.
First, hold your own feet to the fire. Resolve to start earlier, work harder and stay later. Don't let yourself off the hook.

Second, become an expert in time management. Learn and practice time management techniques every day until they become habits.