I addressed a group of young people in their early twenties and in their first jobs, on building their careers.
During the conversations, when asked about how they were contributing to the company’s success, most said they were not aware of the management team’s plans, and that I should ask their super bosses.
The same week, I met a few more mid-level managers who had decent experience and were reasonably good in their functions and jobs. I curiously asked them again how they were contributing to the company’s success. Again, the answer was almost similar to what the rookies in the first jobs said.
In both cases, this is what I shared with them, and I thought it would be worthwhile to share in this post –
All businesses need three things.
Everything and anything that you do as a business or in your job will fall under one of these things. All functions – sales, marketing, finance, technology, operations, customer support, or human resources – focus on one more of the above three. That is the purpose of their existence.
So, if you are the CEO, a rookie, or a mid-level manager, when you wake up every morning, you can ask yourself these questions (or similar) and work towards them during the day.
The questions you may ask each morning?
What are my revenue sources?
How can I increase my sales?
How can I add more customers/ partners ?
How can I go into new markets?
How can I increase my profits?
How can I reduce the costs of my operations?
How can I do more with less?
How can I build efficiency when to all the things that I do?
How can I build effectiveness into all the things that I do? Can I do something better or find a new way to begin things that can help me become faster, cheaper, or better.
How can I get closer to my customer/ partner?
How can I address my partners/ customer’s unsolved problem?
How can I get more share out of the customer’s wallet?
How can I increase the sales?
How can I get into new markets?
How can I get new customers’ questions?
What can I do to cut costs?
What can I do to increase profits?
What can I do to play better with the pricing?
How much should I increase the product’s price to bring in 25% more in absolute profits?
How much will a decrease of 5% in the selling price affect my profits in absolute terms?
How can I build efficiency and effectiveness in the system?
How can I hire better people?
How can I write a more efficient code?
What technology or framework should I deploy to give better response time to my users?
How can I motivate people so that they deliver their best every day?
What can I do play build a culture of continuous improvement in the organization?
What can I do to improvise on a current way of doing things so that I can increase more sales or get into new markets?
I share my experiences from a devastating accident in which I almost lost three fingers, and what I have learned from this miracle ordeal.
Three years ago, it was late Sunday evening in January when I met with a freak yet devastating accident. As I was working on a 12,000 RPM rotary metal cutting tool, a momentary lapse of attention and I severed my three fingers on the right hand.
This jolted my family and threw life out of gear. With three small beautiful children and a family that is dependent, an entrepreneurial journey, and a whole life ahead, a useless right hand, was the last thing one would want on.
By the time I was wheeled into A&E, the situation was grave, and more than one hospital in the area refused admission as they did not have the doctor on call over that weekend. It was a weekend night, and Bangalore roads were choked with heavy traffic.
The Two-Wheeler Ride To Eternity:
And clutching the tree dismembered fingers of my right hand tightly with the left. I rode pillion on a two-wheeler, and my wife was the ‘ambulance’ driver. The blood loss was significant as The body gushed out blood to the fingers. Sitting in the pillion, the one thing on my mind was to keep myself awake, come what may, and not become unconscious and fall off. I hugged my feet to the sides of the scooter, much like how you would on a horse and kept talking to my wife, lest i fall asleep. The notorious city’s traffic was not helping and a good 30-40 minutes later, and what seemed like an eternity, we reach a hospital that would admit us.
What happened during that ride was nothing short of awakening and rebirth.
What happened during that ride was nothing short of awakening and rebirth. My mind was filled with an intricate mix of self-doubt and self-acceptance on what-if and how I will live with just a thumb and a little finger for the rest of my life. A billion thoughts crisscrossed my mind. Would this be the end of me? Will I be accepted in this world? How will I have an opportunity to pursue my hobbies and passions for which I came back to India? How will I do as an entrepreneur? Would this end my professional life forever?
The Surgery And The Recovery
It was an intense 4-5-hour surgery under general anesthesia, and I remained drugged for hours afterward. I still remember the light banter in the Operation Theatre with the surgeon. He informed me that he would need me to sign the consent form, as he said, “….we can save one finger, be ready to lose two of them, but we will try to save the second one”. This was before the General Anaesthesia, and I replied, “Doc, without those three fingers, I cannot sign. How about you fix them, and then I can have the form signed in no time.” After a good guffaw, they got the consent form signed by my wife, who was there through out the phase not sleeping a wink.
Cut forward to 6 weeks later – As we went for the removal of cast and stitches, my doctor was awed and euphoric – for this recovery was beyond all his expectations. He mentioned I was ‘one big lucky man‘; While I was relieved, I knew deep within that the hundreds of prayers and positive energy from many well-wishers and the doctor’s dedication would not go waste.
And all that was backed by a rock-solid backbone by wife and children, strong support of family, prayers, blessings, and encouragement from many friends. Over the next few months – life had ‘raced back to normalcy – in 6-8 weeks, much earlier than the expected 6-12 months.
I was welcomed from the hospital with a cake, and the little ones were more excited to see me, than to have a piece of that cake.
I have learned a lot in those few months and unlearned many more. It indeed was a rebirth. With many cobwebs in mind removed, the mind knows what is essential in life. In retrospect, this was the best exerience in my life, yet. Couldn’t have been luckier to have this experience.
Here’s a summary of the six most important lessons that I’ve learned:
Throughout the adventurous journey, I realized the importance of having the love and respect of family, whom you could always depend on. My parents-in-law were all the time and my parents flew in from Dubai immediately after hearing this. With that confidence of the support of my family and friends, I would sail through this life. I was also fortunate to have support in the form of many hundreds of telephone calls and WhatsApp inquiries from all corners of the world. Many of them dropped by for a visit. Words of encouragement, flower bouquets, courier packages with holy water, ashes, and prasadams(similar to holy water, in the form of solid or liquid) from holy places were pouring in.
Within minutes of the accident, and immediately after the shock, I had mentally prepared to accept whatever was on the cards and whatever googly life threw at me. If it means living with just my thumb and the little finger for the rest of my life. I was ready for a life the way it was dished out to me.
Gratitude was the most important of all the learnings. Through the process of a long recovery, I was filled with immense gratitude for all the amazing things that life had to offer. I was grateful for all that so many people have done for me. Through the countless solitary moments, I thanked thousands of people, yes, thousands of people. I could vividly remember the faces of the many persons I had encountered since childhood. And, I believe that act alone was the single most significant contributor to my miracle recovery, a record of sorts.
Let alone not losing any of the fingers as the doctor had said, the recovery was much lesser than six-twelve months; I was ready and kicking and six weeks. In fact, just a day after the bandages removed and even without physiotherapy I went ahead and did what I love to do – an 800 km Road trip, more than half-which I was at the wheel.
I could vividly remember the faces of the many persons that I had encountered in life since childhood.
If there is one important thing other than gratitude, mentioned Earlier it is the law of attraction. Much I was accepting each day for what it was; I was not willing to let go of the optimist in me and the fighter in me. Each day, I would visualise miraculous healing and see the senior surgeon tell us that he was amazed at the speed of recovery.
Adaptability Of Human Body:
Through my journey, I was able to be aware of and observe remarkable aspects of the internal workings of the human body. The experience of ‘electric shocks’ from nerve endings as they try to heal, regrow and reconnect to the nervous system, the incredible way my left hand took over seamlessly, much like a doubles partner, to compensate for my every weakness. The reflexes had dramatically improved. Never in my entire life would I have experienced such a level of alertness and strong reflexes .
Dramatic Increase In IQ Tests
Here, I’m going to speak about something incredible that happened and is beyond imagination. This was more of an unintended consequence, serendipity if you may, for what you are about to hear is not something even I foresaw in my wildest dreams.
I am a regular player of online brain games like Lumosity. After that break of about 6 to 8 weeks, scores consistently surged way higher than any previous of the high scores. Not believing this magical twist, I took 20 -30 different brain tests. The scores were consistently 30-70% higher than my earlier high scores. On further research, I learned that sudden use of the left hand for the considerable amount of time helped activate the other half of the brain.
Today, I am so grateful to the people around me, my life, and the universe. When I play badminton, play with children, pick up those weights in the gym, or make that 10,000 km road trip – and all of them are still a bit of effort, nonetheless – not a day passes without feeling how blessed life has been.
This rule is some what counter-intuitive. Most aspirants to the top jobs, usually jump at the opportunity to travel with the superiors. They think that travelling with bosses gives them that extra time to shine. Don’t do it. Good senior executives judge on results, not on clever conversations.
Good top managers are also busy and unless you are working ion their projects, in less than ten minutes they get back to what they are working on. You must spend your travel time working . Airplane time is work time, so you may want to fly by yourself and gain those extra few hours. If you travel with a top executive and end up working on the flight, they would think you are doing it to impress them. Worse still, they want to read a book, relax, take a nap or may be watch a movie and they will be unsettled by your industriousness. Even if you have to fly the same plane, sit in a different section. Hotel time is also work time. If you travel with superiors they may be obligated to ask you for dinner. If they don’t you will feel hurt. Either ways your valuable time is wasted.
Hi, it’s an important day for us. Finally after many years on the web as aspire2be, we have moved to a domain peoplefriday.xyz
Almost all of us have aspirations. Aspirations make us, us. And we are all people. People First.
Aspirations energise people, and we aim to achieving those aspirations. It does not matter when we begin, we want to get ‘there’ fast. So much like Fridays. As soon as the week begins, we look forward to a Friday.
Aspirations are for most part like Fridays. We love them, we slog to get there and there we are at it again – for our next Friday.
People’s aspirations and thus PeopleFriday. Oh Boy! it is a Friday, today.
Over the last couple of months, I have struggled with this. Carrying years of negative energy, anger at people who I once trusted, and who let me down- all that affected me all these years. It has started again now- and I am trying my level best to move on.
Steve W. Martin Steve W. Martin teaches sales strategy at the USC Marshall School of Business. His latest book on sales linguistics is Heavy Hitter Sales Psychology: How to Penetrate the C-level Executive Suite and Convince Company Leaders to Buy. If you ask an extremely successful salesperson, “What makes you different from the average sales rep?” you will most likely get a less-than-accurate answer, if any answer at all. Frankly, the person may not even know the real answer because most successful salespeople are simply doing what comes naturally. Over the past decade, I have had the privilege of interviewing thousands of top business-to-business salespeople who sell for some of the world’s leading companies. I’ve also administered personality tests to 1,000 of them. My goal was to measure their five main personality traits (openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and negative emotionality) to better understand the characteristics that separate them their peers. The personality tests were given to high technology and business services salespeople as part of sales strategy workshops I was conducting. In addition, tests were administered at Presidents Club meetings (the incentive trip that top salespeople are awarded by their company for their outstanding performance). The responses were then categorized by percentage of annual quota attainment and classified into top performers, average performers, and below average performers categories. The test results from top performers were then compared against average and below average performers. The findings indicate that key personality traits directly influence top performers’ selling style and ultimately their success. Below, you will find the main key personality attributes of top salespeople and the impact of the trait on their selling style.
Modesty. Contrary to conventional stereotypes that successful salespeople are pushy and egotistical, 91 per cent of top salespeople had medium to high scores of modesty and humility. Furthermore, the results suggest that ostentatious salespeople who are full of bravado alienate far more customers than they win over.
Selling Style Impact: Team Orientation. As opposed to establishing themselves as the focal point of the purchase decision, top salespeople position the team (presales technical engineers, consulting, and management) that will help them win the account as the centrepiece.
Conscientiousness. Eighty-five per cent of top salespeople had high levels of conscientiousness, whereby they could be described as having a strong sense of duty and being responsible and reliable. These salespeople take their jobs very seriously and feel deeply responsible for the results.
Selling Style Impact: Account Control. The worst position for salespeople to be in is to have relinquished account control and to be operating at the direction of the customer, or worse yet, a competitor. Conversely, top salespeople take command of the sales cycle process in order to control their own destiny.
Achievement Orientation. Eighty-four per cent of the top performers tested scored very high in achievement orientation. They are fixated on achieving goals and continuously measure their performance in comparison to their goals.
Selling Style Impact: Political Orientation. During sales cycles, top sales, performers seek to understand the politics of customer decision-making. Their goal orientation instinctively drives them to meet with key decision-makers. Therefore, they strategize about the people they are selling to and how the products they’re selling fit into the organization instead of focusing on the functionality of the products themselves.
Curiosity. Curiosity can be described as a person’s hunger for knowledge and information. Eighty-two per cent of top salespeople scored extremely high curiosity levels. Top salespeople are naturally more curious than their lesser performing counterparts.
Selling Style Impact: Inquisitiveness. A high level of inquisitiveness correlates to an active presence during sales calls. An active presence drives the salesperson to ask customers difficult and uncomfortable questions in order to close gaps in information. Top salespeople want to know if they can win the business, and they want to know the truth as soon as possible.
Lack of Gregariousness. One of the most surprising differences between top salespeople and those ranking in the bottom one-third of performance is their level of gregariousness (preference for being with people and friendliness). Overall, top performers averaged 30 per cent lower gregariousness than below average performers.
Selling Style Impact: Dominance. Dominance is the ability to gain the willing obedience of customers such that the salesperson’s recommendations and advice are followed. The results indicate that overly friendly salespeople are too close to their customers and have difficulty establishing dominance.
Lack of Discouragement. Less than 10 per cent of top salespeople were classified as having high levels of discouragement and being frequently overwhelmed with sadness. Conversely, 90 per cent were categorized as experiencing infrequent or only occasional sadness.
Selling Style Impact: Competitiveness. In casual surveys I have conducted throughout the years, I have found that a very high percentage of top performers played organized sports in high school. There seems to be a correlation between sports and sales success as top performers are able to handle emotional disappointments, bounce back from losses, and mentally prepare themselves for the next opportunity to compete.
Lack of Self-Consciousness. Self-consciousness is the measurement of how easily someone is embarrassed. The by-product of a high level of self-consciousness is bashfulness and inhibition. Less than five per cent of top performers had high levels of self-consciousness.
Selling Style Impact: Aggressiveness. Top salespeople are comfortable fighting for their cause and are not afraid of rankling customers in the process. They are action-oriented and unafraid to call high in their accounts or courageously cold call new prospects.
Not all salespeople are successful. Given the same sales tools, level of education, and propensity to work, why do some salespeople succeed where others fail? Is one better suited to sell the product because of his or her background? Is one more charming or just luckier? The evidence suggests that the personalities of these truly great salespeople play a critical role in determining their success.
In this post, I want to share with you a few key characteristics of successful sales people and how they differ from the normal sales people. You would probably agree the majority view that successful sales people meet their quotas, are happy with their profession and are enthusiastic about their customer satisfaction. On the contrary, those struggling to meet quotas (quarter on quarter), that are stressed and worried each day and have a habit of constant complaints about their customers are possibly unsuccessful sales persons. Having seen thousands of sales people and managed and coached hundreds of them, I thought it would worthwhile to share my experience in a simplistic six-point format. I share these based on my observations on what happens when the sales person meets their customer – where the rubber hits the road. A successful seller has a distinct approach to selling. He/ She
concentrates on buyer’s need and solving their pain
is focused on customer satisfaction; The purchase order for them, is means to an end.
always, converts features into benefit statements for the prospect
is an active listener; asks questions to clarify his own understanding
cooperates with the prospect in making the buying decision
congratulates prospect on making the right choice
A normal salesperson is very unlike the above and usually demonstrates the following traits –
is focused on the product
is only interested in getting the order
can rattle out product features tirelessly
talks endlessly, never missing a beat
pushes for the sale, oblivious of what is running in his prospect’s mind
thanks prospect for the order
These fundamental differences almost always do sift between the rice and husk. Happy Selling!
One of those big myths about business decision making is about the inherent admiration of a aggressive, super-sure, quick decision maker. This strategy may be great in certain situations – not so good in others.
Some decisions in haste can be reversed, altered or has little impact. These haste decisions are necessary if there is a fire in a factory. Decisions made for the sake of speed is a little different from decisions that require swiftness. Understanding the difference is critical. There are two kinds of decisions – revocable and irrevocable. Revocable decisions are changeable decisions that can be made relatively fast and if it is wrong or needs to be altered, can be changed again relatively fast wit comparatively minimal impact. Examples would be – Office layouts, Advertising schedules, Not making a decision, Pricing, Phone service provider, Choosing an insurance company, even hiring a contract staff or a tier 2 reseller. Irrevocable decisions such as brand name, acquisitions, executive hires, buildings, IT architecture are usually not easily irrevocable. Exercise caution while taking irrevocable decisions. Even if you need to take these decisions under time pressure, then you need to read fast, assimilate information fast, analyse fast, think fast and then decide. The decision may seem fast – but as a manager – you know you have done your due diligence. Sounds easy! The essence of understanding the difference is the situations under which you operate in a particular mode that will make you successful. Tim to decide! Merry Christmas!