Work and Travel... Finding the Gifts

bath photo 1For those of you who are road-warriors please know I empathize with the trials and tribulations of “working on the road”, especially over the last couple of months. The weather has been brutal, causing cancelled flights, missed meetings, etc. It can be really frustrating… at some point you just have to take a deep breath, sigh, and let the road take you where it’s going to. The up side of being a road-warrior is that sometimes it can be a gift. So let’s focus on finding the positive in what can be a challenging part of our careers. For example, when work travel takes you to cool places and you can piggyback an amazing side trip, it makes it all worthwhile. I recently had that opportunity while working in England last month. In addition to visiting with family and friends, I was able to carve out a little personal time and visit Bath, England for a two day spa retreat. While in Bath, I explored the Roman Baths and visited the Jane Austen Centre, a permanent exhibition which tells the story of one of my favorite authors, English novelist Jane Austen.

Don’t worry, this isn’t a post about my love of “Chick Lit” (by the way, Jane Austen does NOT write “Chick Lit” and yes, I do love her book Pride and Prejudice.) — That said, the takeaway from my visit to the Centre was learning about her commitment to her work and love of writing without ever receiving public credit or recognition…

bath photo 3-2bath photo 5-2Her first published book, Sense and Sensibility, only said “written by A Lady”. Can you imagine? Her second book, Pride and Prejudice, only said “written by the author of Sense and Sensibility” and so on. Each book only referenced the author as “the author of the previous book”. Why? Allegedly, it wasn’t appropriate for a middle class woman to be publicly recognized and paid for her work. In addition, she is said to have been quite shy, so for privacy reasons and to protect her reputation, her books were published anonymously. It was only after her death in 1817 that her brother, Henry, had everything republished under her name.

It made me wonder if all the quotes, books, etc. written by Anonymous may have been written by women? What if I had written Small Message, Big Impact in the 1800s! That said, it sure put things into perspective for me when I realized how blessed I am to live in this time when a woman can write under her own name, make a living and travel the world doing her work. Sure makes dealing with a few challenging flights and travel struggles more manageable. So let’s stay focused on the gifts of travel… wishing you safe and sane journeys for the rest of the year!

The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster

Do you dream of someday becoming an entrepreneur and owning your own business?  If so, my friend Darren Hardy (Publisher of Success Magazine), has written a new book called, The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster, that you may find to be of interest.

To accompany the launch of his latest work he created a “live” event called the Entrepreneur Roller Coaster Experience… which I attended last Friday.  (I like to support the efforts of my friends when I can — I always learn something new and get great “nuggets” for showing up.) The program was designed to inspire individuals to “answer the call of entrepreneurship”, provide guidance, and help people find success on their journey.

His 3Darren Hardy Roller Coaster Book 2 Act Workshop discussed the highs and lows, the anxiety and rewards of saying, “yes” to owning your own business, and made a case for why now is the best time in history to do so.  It then explored idea’s to equip people to prepare and of course – succeed,  should they choose to get in the game… focusing primarily on the mindset to make it happen.

I am sharing this information with you because, even though I have owned Sjodin Communications for 20+ years, Darren’s material was still a nice reminder of solid ideas, philosophies and concepts that are good to review.   As always, it is my goal to share a variety of different notions that might be of value to you… so, check it out.

Darren’s book officially launches on March 3rd…you can learn more about it at: http://amzn.to/1FpH1BS

TS

Mentoring: A Look Back and a Step Forward

By Floyd Wickman and Terri SjodinMentoring_book cover

In 1997, we co-authored a book on the subject of mentoring called “Mentoring: A Success Guide for Mentors and Protégés” with the subtitle, “The Most Obvious Yet Overlooked Key to Achieving More in Life than You Dreamed Possible”. Our goal with this book, which was published by Irwin/McGraw-Hill, was to showcase the significance of mentoring and its relevance to people of all walks of life in the 1990s. Our perspective on the topic was a bit different from others at the time as we shared more practical and real-world material from actual mentor-protégé relationships versus just academic research and case studies for why mentoring works. Floyd shared from the perspective of the mentor, and Terri wrote from the perspective of the protégé or mentee, as it’s often referred to today. We didn’t write just another how-to guide for people looking to be good mentors. We offered the perspective of both parties. Most of all, we moved beyond the old-school notion of having only one major mentor in your life and put forth the concept of having multiple mentors—people who can serve as guides in specialized areas at different times during your life and career.

Fast-forward eighteen years and mentoring is once again on our radar. In early 2014, we were notified that our book was officially declared by our publisher to be “out of print”. (In fairness, it was time. The book’s content and research is now a bit dated.) We had many long talks about this material and its inevitable ending.  At one point, we considered writing a revised version, but it just doesn’t make sense for us. We have both moved on to other projects in our lives and businesses. That said, we are grateful for the experience and the success of that little book and believe the core of the content still offers several timeless pearls of wisdom. (You might be able to get one of the last few copies on Amazon. Or, call us if you want a slightly damaged, old copy.)  Much about modern life – culture, technology, the Internet, and access to information – has changed drastically since 1997, but some things haven’t changed at all. Mentoring continues to be one of the most valuable things a person can do to move their intentions forward and reach their goals. So, to close our mentoring chapter (pun intended), we wanted to write a final article to remind people about the value of mentoring, share a few insights about what we have learned and offer a few quick tips for mentors and protégés. We both feel that mentoring is still the most obvious yet overlooked key to achieving more in life than you dreamed possible!

A quick history lesson

When Odysseus, the king of Ithaca in ancient Greece, went off to fight in the Trojan War, legend has it he left behind his trusted friend, Mentor, to look after his son. The young boy, named Telemachus, was without a father for more than 10 years while Odysseus first fought the Trojans then wandered for a decade in a journey recounted by the poet Homer in his epic tale “The Odyssey.”  The word mentor—meaning a wise and trusted teacher or counselor—has been with us ever since.

Think Yoda

A mentor is someone who helps us learn the ways of the world, someone who has our best interests at heart.  The difference between a mentor and a teacher is usually a teacher is paid to train someone in a specific discipline, whereas a mentor is more like a friend who gives time and knowledge without asking for anything in return. A mentor’s student is commonly referred to as a protégé or mentee, generally a person interested in learning all that the mentor has to offer. The protégé is someone the mentor regards highly enough to consider worthy of his or her time. This type of relationship between mentor and protégé has been honored for thousands of years. Think “Star Wars” – Yoda is the mentor and Luke Skywalker, the protégé. Think “The Karate Kid” – Mr. Miyagi and Daniel. Think “Rocky” – Mickey Goldmill mentors Rocky Balboa in and out of the ring.

 

Why it works (3 Reasons among many…)

(Source: “Mentoring: A Success Guide for Mentors and Protégés”, 1997)

 1.      Experience is the best teacher

No one can argue that experience is the best teacher when it comes to learning. Though reading about something or seeing it on television is interesting, having another human being explain it to you and answer your questions is a time-honored and preferred means of learning values, skills and information. Usually, there are so many details involved in the average career today that only someone who has been there and done it really understands all that is required. A mentor is someone who has experienced what you are trying to learn. He or she knows the pitfalls. If you are clever enough, you probably could figure out on your own much of what a mentor can teach you. But how long would it take? You might get there eventually, but why go through that taxing process when someone out there knows the answers to your questions?

 2.      The amazing benefits of synergy

Synergy is the ability of two or more people to achieve an effect that each is incapable of alone. Mentoring works because two people, if well matched, can create more energy and accomplish larger goals together. The power of synergy is well documented and comes into play in many ways in the mentoring process. You can use this synergy with your mentor or protégé to accomplish things you never would have attempted by yourself. It is a powerful force and one of the many reasons why mentoring is so effective today.

3.      Perpetuating positive action

The ancients knew numerous secrets that have become lost during the course of time. The way the Egyptians prepared and preserved their dead is still a mystery.  The secret to the magnificent sounds produced by a Stradivarius violin disappeared forever when Antonio Stradivari died. The great magician Houdini mastered many illusions that went with him to the grave. And many other secrets that would benefit humankind have been lost in the deaths of their discoverers. The mentoring process allows the secrets, tips and tricks of an accomplished master to be passed from one generation to the next without the information finding its way into the public domain. It provides assurances to the mentor that his or her hard-earned knowledge will be preserved yet not made available to everyone. That secret fishing hole you took your son to you may now want to introduce to your grandson, but you don’t necessarily want to publish it in the local newspaper. A protégé has the responsibility of picking up the baton previously carried by the mentor and carrying it to the next runner on the track.  Through the mentor’s decision to pass on the knowledge acquired in the course of a career, he ensures the positive effects of his actions will continue without him.

 

What we’ve learned

Here’s some of what we have learned about mentoring in the past 18 years:

  • The most successful mentoring relationships are protégé (or mentee) driven.  (The relationship succeeds when the protégé does the significant work, and makes it happen. The mentor is the guide.)
  • Many mentors become protégés later in life as they launch second and even third careers.
  • Age simply isn’t a factor in terms of who plays which role. It’s about the transfer of knowledge.
  • Mentoring is a contact sport. The magic is in the connection – that mashup of trust, skepticism, brainstorming, pushback, laughter and tears.
  • While countless studies have proven mentoring creates successful outcomes for both mentor and protégé, the best evidence is that which has not and cannot be scientifically measured – only shared through the stories of those who can testify how these relationships have drastically changed their lives for the better.
  • At times we got “push back” about mentoring…some said, the older generations can’t help the younger generations now because too much has changed…but that is not true. Marianne Williamson addressed this beautifully in an interview with Oprah when she said, “While it is true that young people know more about all the things that have changed, Older people know more about all the things that have not changed.”  There is so much access to information…but what is needed is the ability to wisely interpret, analyze, assess, understand and use this information. Young people often times understand better how to access information, but mentors help them to understand what to look for, and then what to do with it.
  • Mentoring can be accomplished in a number of ways. Protégés can certainly take an active role in choosing a mentor. They can seek out a specific person who has mastered a skill or craft they admire. But sometimes the most amazing mentor is found by happenstance. He or she shows up when the protégés are already on their path. Think about it – Luke Skywalker didn’t walk around muttering, ‘OMG, if I only had Yoda!” Mr. Miyagi wasn’t really looking for a Daniel-san to take under his wing. They all just found each other, and the mentoring unfolded from there in a natural, organic way.

 

Quick tips for mentors and protégés

(Source: “Mentoring: A Success Guide for Mentors and Protégés”, 1997)

 A great protégé or mentee:

  • Respects a mentor’s time
  • Takes action on the information the mentor provides
  • Shows respect for the mentor’s efforts
  • Passes on the gift of mentoring

A great mentor:

  • Gives time unselfishly
  • Possesses valuable experience
  • Has a willingness to share knowledge
  • Makes a commitment to provide counsel

 

A Summary of Floyd’s and Terri’s 16 Laws of Mentoring

(Source: “Mentoring: A Success Guide for Mentors and Protégés”, 1997)

 1.      The Law of Positive Environment

Create a positive environment where potential and motivation are released and options discussed.

2.      The Law of Developing Character

Nurture a positive character by helping to develop not just talent, but a wealth of mental and ethical traits.

3.      The Law of Independence

Promote autonomy; make the protégé independent of you, not dependent on you.

4.      The Law of Limited Responsibility

Be responsible to them, not for them.

5.      The Law of Shared Mistakes

Share your failures as well as your successes.

6.      The Law of Planned Objectives

Prepare specific goals for your relationship.

7.      The Law of Inspection

Monitor, review, critique and discuss potential actions. Do not just expect performance without inspection.

8.      The Law of Tough Love

The participants acknowledge the need to encourage independence in the protégé.

9.      The Law of Small Successes

Use a stepping-stone process to build on accomplishments and achieve great success.

10.  The Law of Direction

It is important to teach by giving options as well as direction.

11.  The Law of Risk

A mentor should be aware that a protégé’s failure might reflect back upon him. A protégé should realize that a mentor’s advice will not always work.

12.  The Law of Mutual Protection

Commit to cover each other’s backs. Maintain privacy. Protect integrity, character and the pearls of wisdom you have shared with one another.

13.  The Law of Communication

The mentor and the protégé must balance listening with delivering information.

14.  The Law of Extended Commitment

The mentoring relationship extends beyond the typical 9-to-5 business day or traditional workplace role or position.

15.  The Law of Life Transition

As a mentor, when you help a protégé enter the next stage of his or her life or career, you will enter the next stage of yours.

16.  The Law of Fun

Make mentoring a wonderful experience—laugh, smile and enjoy the process.

 

So what’s next?

Doesn’t it make good sense to seek out a mentor’s advice as you move forward?   Someone who can help you learn the ways of a new world, someone who has your best interests at heart? It’s old school, to be sure. Yet, it’s a proven strategy that can yield life-changing results. It can save you time, money and sanity! After all, reaching a goal often takes the insight and guidance of a combination of people. At its core, mentoring is a vehicle, a medium that can take you from one stage of life to another. It requires fuel in the form of motivation, initiative and curiosity. It requires action. You can wish, dream hope and pray, but as the old African proverb suggests, “When you pray, move your feet.”

The story of our book may have come to an end, but our wonderful friendship and mentoring relationship continues to be of great value to us both. Twenty years later we are still learning with and from each other.

We hope this article is of help to you, and inspires you to serve as a mentor to others and to always be a protégé at heart! We wish you great happiness and continued success on your journey.

Floyd and Terri

Terri & Floyd 1-9-97Photo: Mentoring Book Release Party 1997 – Floyd Wickman and Terri Sjodin

About Floyd Wickman, CPAE:

Floyd Wickman is the Founder and Chairman of the Floyd Wickman Associates/Team, an organization that produces results-oriented, successful training programs and systems with millions of students worldwide. He was named by the National Association of Realtors and Realtor Magazine as one of the Top 25 Most Influential People in Real Estate. For more information about Floyd, please visit: www.floydwickman.com.

About Terri Sjodin, CPAE:

Terri Sjodin is the Principal and Founder of Sjodin Communications, a public speaking, sales training and consulting firm based in Newport Beach, CA. She is the Author of the national bestselling book, “Small Message, Big Impact” (Penguin/Portfolio Publishing). For more information about Terri, please visit: www.sjodincommunications.com.

Share Your Creative Perspective...

We all see beauty in the world through our own unique lens…  when you share your creative perspective with others, then they get to enjoy the magic as well!

I read this article online yesterday from the San Francisco Globe and wanted to share it with you.  The article is about Photographer Clark Little and how he has captured some incredible shots on camera as he dives head on into some of the largest waves on Earth.

The images are amazing, and I just love his creativity!  People have been photographing waves forever…but he brings his own natural view to a timeless subject…and that is noteworthy in my book!  A perfect little “share” to compliment the “Get Scrappy” theme in the Q2 Presenters Post!

Enjoy!  TS

 

Check out the video:

 

View the article here: http://sfglobe.com/?id=1074&src=share_fb_new_1074

 

Time to Get Scrappy!

quote-about-there-is-always-a-way- no words580x580We all have dreams, wishes, and hopes for the future… and a desire to accomplish certain things in our lives. We hope someday we will get a break and “it” will magically happen, right? As time goes by, sometimes we find ourselves burdened with daily life and we realize those dreams don’t come easily. Sometimes it feels like everyone else wants what we want (but they don’t). Others can do what we do (but they can’t). Maybe we’re really not that unique (but you are). The odds of being seen, heard, discovered or selected for a specific opportunity may seem slim – So, how do you make yourself stand out? How do you get noticed in a positive way? You apply some creative inspiration to your situation. You give yourself an edge. You work smarter and you get a little scrappy!

Scrappy: definition: “…Full of fighting-spirit”

From the American Heritage Dictionary

It’s shocking how easy it is at times, to be lulled into complacency by the monotony of similarity. Products, services, messages, even people, are somehow all the same. We are hungry for and thrilled by the imaginative entrepreneur or artist who gives us cause to pause and say, “wow, that was good”.

So, getting scrappy is about stepping into the space of being clever, fun, and unique – giving yourself permission to be the exception and not follow the herd, but rather look for and actually create windows of opportunity to showcase your differences and your ideas.

The impetus of a scrappy mindset often begins when a person (insert you) might admit that  you may be a little bored,  that you haven’t been pushing yourself to “use your voice” and  “live your dream”  — not just checking the box or “living the dream someone else has for you”.  Maybe it’s time to make small but powerful changes in your approach to your vision of your future.  It’s not easy at first, but it’s worth it. The challenge is to assess the roadblocks in your path and figure out how to get around them. Being scrappy is about making things happen, getting in the game, and going for it.

There are countless examples of legendary “Scrappy Stories” – of now famous entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and Oprah – but there are many more non-famous people pulling off incredible scrappy stories everyday: Steve Schussler’s story of how he created and launched “Rainforest Cafes” (he built the prototype of the restaurant by converting his entire home into a rainforest), Roman Tsunder’s backstory of the creation of PTTOW! (how he was able to get his Holiness the Dalai Lama to speak at his private event), and even the young enterprising Girl Scout who set up her table to sell cookies in front of the legal marijuana dispensary—that’s scrappy!

It might seem like a simple idea, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to execute. Here are 7 quick tips to help jump start a scrappy mindset:

 

#1: No Excuses! (You’re Not Too Young, Too Old, Too Inexperienced…Too Whatever)

In this life, excuses abound, and most people will let you use them. So seek out and learn from people who rejected those limiting beliefs about themselves and forged ahead. You will find that a common trait of those who have attained their “crazy dreams” is that they all refused to give up and ultimately accomplished seemingly ridiculous goals.

#2: Get Out of Your Own Way!

We all have dueling voices inside our head. There’s the snarky one that says, “You’re probably not going to win, so why even try?”, and there’s the sweet, scrappy voice that says, “You can win and should never give up!” Unfortunately, the snarky voice is the one that most often has our attention. It whispers its message of doubt into your ear. It’s obnoxious and steers you away from fulfilling your highest potential. Turning it off might not even seem possible, but you can drown it out. I encourage you to explore the stories of the everyday champions who weren’t “super brave” or “super creative” or “super confident”, but listened to that scrappy voice and reached their goals, both big and small.

#3: You Gotta Pay to Play: It’s Going to Cost You Time, Talent or Treasure

Scrappiness alone will not land you that appointment or win you that dream job. You have to be willing to invest time, intellect, money, and do the work – whatever it takes – to reach your goal. Being scrappy requires more than nerve and creativity, it demands due diligence. It is important to thoroughly research your prospects.  You can explore their interests, needs, and past accomplishments to help completely grab their attention.

#4: Develop Your Scrappy Approach: Craft Your Strategy

Like anything worth doing well, a scrappy approach takes time and planning. Take the time to learn how to craft a strategy employing key resources in your life including colleagues, friends, family and your own creative instincts.

#5: Execute Your Plan: “Easy Does It, Don’t Scare the Bunny!”

Getting scrappy doesn’t necessarily mean going for broke and making radical changes or grand gestures. In fact, baby steps can make all the difference when you’re executing a plan to get around an obstacle. Yes, we want you to get scrappy but not overly aggressive or off-putting. “Easy Does It, Don’t Scare the Bunny!”

#6: Leave Room for Serendipity

Sometimes there are cool little things that happen along the journey that we think are insignificant and then you turn a corner and that “little thing” leads to an amazing opportunity. Also, watch for the signs. Don’t limit your options with old beliefs and your negative forecasting; you don’t know how the journey will end or how things will unfold.  “Trust the force, young Skywalker!”

#7: Crash and Burn: The Plans That Don’t Work Lead To What Does

It’s all about trial and error. If you set out on a journey, you will have wins and losses along the way. Failure is a fact of life, but it doesn’t have to signal the end of your quest. Failure – that maddening inability to succeed – often is just the beginning. Crashing and burning is always a possibility, but it’s in the recovery that we grow and improve. It’s OK to be unfinished, because maybe your idea or message is still cooking, still becoming.

 

Scrappy = Happy!

If you follow my posts, you probably know I’m an Oprah fan and I recently saw an interview she did with Harvard Professor Shawn Achor (author of two books on happiness).  He shared this beautiful definition of happiness that directly relates to the value of being scrappy:

“Happiness (noun) is the joy we feel striving towards our potential.”

Remember:  The victories that feel the best are the ones we claim after knocking down what seemed like an unbreakable barrier. When we have pushed through to the other side and creatively eliminated obstacles to reach our goal, those “wins” are somehow the sweetest. Why? That’s living! Now is your time. Go forward with hope and get scrappy!

P.S.  For those of you who read my previous post “What’s Next” …I’m still working on my what’s next, but if you were curious…yes, getting scrappy and the possibility of this material leading to my next book just might be “what’s next”…we’ll see, let me know what you think of this post.  TS

 

Terri Sjodin is the principal and founder of Sjodin Communications, a public speaking, sales training, and consulting firm. She is the author of the national bestselling book, Small Message, Big Impact: The Elevator Speech Effect (Penguin/Portfolio). Terri lives in Newport Beach, CA.  For more information visit: www.sjodincommunications.com

What is Your Answer to the Question: “What’s Next?”

000001-R1-00-00A_editedSeems like right after you complete a big project, or accomplish a huge goal, one of the first things people say to you is, “So, what’s next?” I have been hearing that a lot lately.  I trust that it’s a well-meaning question.  Of course people who know and love you are genuinely interested in your life, and what you might like to do in the future…I mean, that’s fair…right?  But what if you just don’t know?

The fact is I do feel a little pressure to know, “What’s next?” Have you ever felt this way? Maybe it is because I have successful Mentors who have always instilled in my mind that I need to set a big audacious goal, plan ahead, set things up for my future, keep things moving and so on.

Having spent the better part of the last 5 years focused on all things, Small Message, Big Impact (Penguin/Portfolio), writing the book, getting the deal done, launching the book… twice (LOL), promoting the book, the audiobook, the online training course, the international book launch, etc., plus helping to put on a huge charity event for Olive Crest, I must confess, I need a little break from heavy duty “output!”

Hmmm, taking a break — a little time to pause, and reflect.  Enjoy the fruits of your labor? This seems like a reasonable thing to do, but do you ever struggle with actually doing it?

I think I do. Sometimes.

A break gives you the time and space so that something new can come in, while you recharge your batteries, right?

Of course, as you read this, you may hear a little voice inside your head saying, “Well, how long is that going to take?” A day, a week, a month, a year? What are you going to do?  How are you going to do it? (Trust me: The “let’s get things done girl” inside of me really has a field day with these questions at about 3AM when I can’t sleep.)

Apparently, F. Scott Fitzgerald had the same feelings, about “What’s next?” When he said:

“I am not sure what I’ll do, but – well, I want to go places and see people.  I want my mind to grow. I want to live where things happen on a big scale”.

 For now, I am still traveling, speaking and moving forward with all things “Sjodin Communications” and at the same time, taking a little break from heavy duty “output!”

How? My thought is there is no need to go crazy. You don’t have to quit your job, take a yearlong vacation, or move to another state. Try taking little time outs (think: baby steps).

Here’s a simple list of 3 things I have been doing to explore possible “what’s next” pathways (So far they are working for me. I hope they can help you figure out what works for you…):

 1. Watch “outside the box” Speakers, and attend conferences where thought leaders share new ideas. 

There are some great Ted talks online! I loved Dave Grohl’s, SXSW 2013 Music Festival keynote speech. (Watch on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Efv0Y5Fs7m4)

(Warning: He does use language that may be offensive to some people, but try and overlook that. Don’t judge, just listen. It is raw, authentic, and you will get great nuggets from his story.)

 2.  Commit to creating conversations with people that explore the idea of doing “something different.” –The crazy no limits kind of conversations. (If money were no object, and you had the time, and the freedom to do whatever you wanted, what would you want to do with the next year or 2?

My friend Jana Stanfield put it simply in a song: What would I do today, if I were brave?

Ask yourself this question, and then ask your friends and Mentors as well, maybe over a nice relaxing dinner. You will be dazzled by the answers you hear, and it may just help you learn more about the people you love while you discover things about yourself!

3. Get back to nature, reconnect with Mother Earth and let your mind wander…

My favorites: chilling out and reading a great book in my tree-house, walks on the beach, any path through nature: hills, forest, farmland, it doesn’t matter, I love them all! If you want to go off the grid, take a friend, and share the experience.

I am grateful for the crazy amazing experiences I have had, the wonderful people I have met, lessons I’ve learned, and the wild ride that comes with launching big projects. I am excited about the future, and like F. Scott Fitzgerald said, I want to go places, see people, and live where big things happen…

I am not sure yet, “what is next,” and maybe you aren’t either. I will figure it out. I am pretty sure it’s okay to not know. The point of this missive today is, we all just need to give ourselves permission to take an “output – time out” every once in a while, to see where the road (and our imaginations) may take us!

I am learning (albeit slowly) that pretty cool things will “show up” when we give them the time and space to do so.   TS

Reach Out To Your Prospects Before The “Holiday Chill”

C’mon!  You can do it!  One more big effort to reach out to 25 (or more) special handpicked prospects before the “Holiday Chill”!

reachout

It’s coming! The “Holiday Chill” – that special time of year when we all “wind-down” and hope to enjoy the Christmas and New Year’s Holiday “break.” But it’s not that time…yet! So let’s get inspired! 

Terri’s Top 10 list of things you can do to reach out to new and existing clients and keep the pipeline full before the “Holiday Chill”!  (Note: Have fun with it!)

1. Hand-write. Don’t  just send generic holiday cards with custom engraving and no personal sentiment or note…that’s just checking the box, and I don’t think it makes any impression at all except to say… you are one in a large stack of people on my holiday card list.  So boring!  You don’t have to write a novel, just a line or two with a nice “hello” and your real signature. 

2. A simple polite gesture goes a long way. The holidays can be a stressful time of year. Sometimes a random act of kindness goes a long way. Someone whose attention you have been trying to grab may acknowledge and remember your effort.

3. Pick up the phone. A simple phone call to some of your existing clients during this time of year can help keep you top of mind for future business.  Often you will just get a person’s voicemail – So what? Leave a nice message. For example, “Hi Bob, its Terri Sjodin, just wanted to reach out and say, “Hello” – and wish you a very Merry Christmas! (New Year, belated Hanukkah, whatever you feel appropriate.) Hope we can connect when your schedule permits.  I still love the good old fashion telephone (949)723-3132.” 

4. Network (gracefully) at holiday events. Use your holiday social calendar as an opportunity to put yourself in new environments and social circles. It’s okay to share with others what you do, and how you can be of service, just remember; be gracious and respectful of your environment. “Don’t scare the bunny!”  It’s okay to explain briefly how you might be of help to someone, but don’t go into a big sales pitch. 

5. Send treats. Pick 10 people that you want to send a tiny treat to. (I find that sending a small treat is often just as good as or better than a big gift!) 

For example: Burn a CD of your favorite holiday tunes to share with others, send just one nice cookie,  little chocolates, an ornament, homemade goodies, or a New Year’s holiday streamer package…you get it. (The goal here is to share a warm and friendly gesture that helps you “stand out” from the masses.  Note: Only do what represents your style and your voice.)

6. Hire a ride or provide the ride. Going to the same party? Add a touch of class and offer to go together in style. Hiring a chauffeur or car can allow for more connection time to and from parties – not to mention it can be safer. Not in the budget? Offer to be the designated driver and provide the selfless service of forgoing the open bar to have the time with those select passengers!

7. Integrate your activities. This is a busy time of year for everyone so why not try to mix a little business with family. Going to a tree lighting? Invite a client and their family to join you and yours. Catching a holiday movie? Extend the invitation to your business contacts. This is the one time of year we all become a bit more social than usual together anyway, so why not just ask. Either way you’ll be remembered for the thought!

8. Start setting up meetings NOW for the New Year. Believe it or not, calendars are already filling up for Q1. Why not try and schedule as many meetings as possible in January to kick off the New Year and set yourself up to meet your goals for 2014?

9. Remember your persuasive arguments on why someone needs you, your service, or your company. The holidays are chaotic; why not address your clients and prospects needs. How can you save them time? Money? Mental sanity?

10. Go for class and substance. You can’t be everywhere at once and chances are you are turning down invitations. Choose the parties that will provide the greatest return on that which is the highest value for you right now and be fully present. Can’t make it to another event or party? Send a note or something festive in your place. Follow-up with the hosts of the parties you attend to properly thank them. (Remember they are the connector to everyone else that was in the room!)

**Bonus. Give. Be a part of something that helps others. In addition to being a great thing to do, this is a smart business move and an opportunity to engage clients and prospects. Do something that fits who you are and your company’s style. Then get involved and invite others to join you. Use your social media and Q4 newsletter to share what you were a part of.  It will also help others to get to know you from a different perspective, and make a stronger connection with you. 

For example, Sjodin Communications was a proud sponsor of the Olive Crest: Sadie Hawkins Fall on the Farm event held at Tanaka Farms in Irvine, CA on October 5th. It was a beautiful evening, with great music and fun activities. (There was even a Hay ride, a hitch’n booth, kissing booth, and more!) The goal of this “Friend-raiser/ Fundraiser” was to develop a multi-generational event to introduce more  Gen X and Gen Y donors to the work that Olive Crest does in Orange County (Olive Crest is dedicated to Preventing child abuse, to Treating and Educating at-risk children and to Preserving the family… “One Life at a Time.”® For more information on Olive Crest please visit: http://www.olivecrest.org/)

Check out the 3 minute video clip from the event (Courtesy of Dani Thompson, DNT Entertainment)!

Want more content and inspirational nuggets? Join our Presenters’ Post Quarterly Newsletter. For more information, or to join now, visit: http://www.sjodincommunications.com/pilot.asp?pg=Order_Newsletter

Wishing you a Wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend!

john-fitzgerald-kennedy-thanksgiving

 

Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful for the gifts of the past year and to think about all the special people who have touched our lives.  So, we want to take this moment to let you know how much we sincerely appreciate you!

 

Sjodin Communications celebrated our 23rd anniversary on November 15th!   That we have made it this far seems, at times, astounding.  We have many people to thank, including you, for our growth over the years, and just want you to know how much your kindness and support means to us.  Thank you!

As the holiday season begins, we wish you and your family great joy.  May today and everyday be blessed with simple quiet moments of Thanksgiving.

 

Kick this Fall off with a few “Recommended Readings”

In my industry, I have the pleasure of meeting wonderful speakers and thought leaders from all walks of life. As a result, it turns out that three of my friends all have books coming out this month: Dan Schawbel, Jeffrey Gitomer and Shep Hyken. (You’ve gotta support your friends, right?) So, I wanted to take a moment and introduce you to their material. To follow, please find a little info about all three for your consideration. They are all very different and offer unique messages for today’s competitive market. Check ‘em out! Enjoy! TS

Promote-Yourself-3D-CoverPromote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success by Dan Schawbel. How people perceive you at work has always been vital to a successful career. Now with the Internet, social media, and the unrelenting hum of 24/7 business, the ability to brand and promote yourself effectively has become absolutely essential. No matter how talented you are, it doesn’t matter unless managers can see those talents and think of you as an invaluable employee, a game-changing manager, or the person whose name is synonymous with success. So, how do you stand out and get ahead? To learn more about this book or to purchase your copy now please click here.

 

 

Amaze-Every-Customer-3D-High-Res-1024x1024Amaze Every Customer Every Time: 52 Tools for Delivering the Most Amazing Customer Service on the Planet by Shep Hyken. You must deliver an amazing customer experience. Why? It is the competitive edge of new-era business–in any market and any economy. Renowned customer experience expert Shep Hyken explains how consistently amazing customers through stellar service can elevate your company from good to great. To learn more about this book, or to order your copy now, please click here.

 

 

 

9781885167798_p0_v3_s260x420 Jeffrey Gitomer’s 21.5 Unbreakable Laws of Selling: Proven Actions You Must Take to Make Easier, Faster, Bigger Sales….Now and Forever by Jeffrey Gitomer. There are universal laws of selling that    determine whether you succeed, or don’t succeed — whether you earn enough to enjoy the lifestyle you want or struggle to make ends meet. When you align the wind with your sails, you move effortlessly across the water. When your sails are out of alignment, you flounder and go nowhere. If you align your thinking and actions with these powerful laws of selling, you will be more effective and efficient. You will encounter less friction, require less energy, and get bigger results faster. To learn more about this book, or to order your copy now, please click here.

 

These “Recommended Readings” were originally featured in this quarter’s Presenter’s Post newsletter. To get more content and inspirational nuggets subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here.

Failing to Close the Sale: A Little Reminder about Closing at the End of Your Presentation

 

If there is something to gain and nothing to lose by asking, by all means – ask!  – W. Clement Stone

Despite tons of attention and ideas on various closing techniques that sales professionals can use to encourage prospects to buy, one of the biggest mistakes people make today is failing to close at the end of their presentations.

After giving a presentation that is not only informative but persuasive as well, why would we shoot ourselves in the foot by not closing? Perhaps it is because we mistake a “conclusion” for a “close”. A conclusion is a wrap-up, usually a summary- an end to what we have been discussing. A close employs the specific call to action. The close tells our listeners what we want them to do next with the information we have given them.  What is your goal? What do you want them to do as a result of hearing this message?

In my training workshops, we ask participants to deliver an entire sales presentation from start to finish. The overriding realization once we go through the playback on videotape is that many people do not close-they just wrap it up, and that’s it. They never ask their listener or prospect to “do” anything, like buy their product or service, or work specifically with them, or even set up the next appointment time. This is exactly what not to do, but it is an extremely common problem and accounts for the millions of dollars in lost sales every year.

The problem some people have with closing relates to the tendency to be too informative rather than persuasive. If you don’t build a strong enough case, then you are going to have problems getting your listeners to act.  Perhaps you tried to close after giving merely an informative presentation and were unsuccessful. That may be because you didn’t build a strong enough case in the first place.  Based on what you have learned so far, let’s assume your presentation is well constructed and persuasive.  But having a great presentation isn’t enough.  You are still going to have to ask your listeners to move forward.  Once you have built your case, you must ask them to take an action step.

We might ask ourselves, “Why don’t people ask for such an action step more often?”  One of the leading reasons is that they fear rejection.  The fear of rejection makes closing uncomfortable, so they just “skip” doing it.  It feels like you are setting yourself up to take a fall.  But all you really are asking for is a commitment from your listener.  There is something about human nature where people may very well do what they are asked, but if it is a little uncomfortable, like parting with their hard-earned money, they likely won’t do anything until they are asked.

The reluctance to close is seen throughout the business world with significant consequences. Sometimes even in interoffice meetings, when we are required to get together to discuss certain things that are happening, many of the meetings end up being informational…and there is work to be done!  What’s sad is that there frequently are no action steps as a result of the internal meeting.  That is why it takes so much longer to get things done.  A good recommendation would be that the close for an interoffice meeting is to ask:  What are the action steps we must take?  What do we want to happen as a result of this meeting?  Who’s going to do it, and by what goal date?

Whether you are in an interview and asking for a job, an interoffice presentation where you need to call for an action step as a result of the meeting, or a traditional sale with a potential prospect, the point is you have to close.  Give yourself permission to ask the listener to do something at the end of every presentation.  Do it gracefully and with your own personal style and flair…but do it!  Trust me, it’s an integral part of completing a persuasive presentation and you might realize just how easy it really is and how incredible the rewards can be!

To learn more about crafting your persuasive presentations, check out Terri’s latest book, Small Message, Big Impact. Click here for more info.