Success in business and life is simple when you follow these 20 pointers:
Plan for Imperfection
If your office is 30 minutes away, and it takes 8 minutes to park, ride the elevator up, and get to the conference room, do not leave 37 minutes before the meeting and think you'll find a magical minute on the commute.
You're likely just sitting around on your phone doing stupid shit before you leave, so walk out the door 55 minutes early to give yourself a 17-minute cushion for traffic, bad weather, a full parking garage, a broken elevator, a torn button, etc.
Plan for Perfection
Raise your level of expectations of everyone around you.
Do not accept excuses, drama, or passive-aggressive behavior from anyone, including your bosses, peers, vendors, and even your customers.
If your prospect demands a quote IMMEDIATELY, professionally, and politely demand all of the information from them before you create it.
If you are part of a team project, make sure all duties, responsibilities, and timelines are clearly stated, documented, and agreed upon, then drive the team to hit those milestones.
It Is Your Job
Toilet's overflowing at the office? Get it handled before the office is flooded.
The printer is out of paper? Fill it.
Coffee pot is empty? Make some more.
Conference booth isn't set up? Roll up your sleeves.
Marketing isn't getting you enough leads? Pick up the phone.
If the tight end misses his block on the defensive end, who is now about to kill your quarterback, you hit that dude square in the face even though you're supposed to go out for a pass.
Slow him down, protect your QB, then run your route.
Sometimes you have to pull double duty to win the sale and get the job done.
It Is Not Your Job
"If you want to do it right, you have to do it yourself" is the mark of a narcissistic perfectionist who cannot motivate and lead their people.
If anything has to be done two to three times a day or four to five times a week, have a process for it, document it, assign it to someone to complete, and automate it if you can.
Quite often, you will have to look two or three levels above and below you to see where the screw-up is and help fix it, but once that issue is addressed, you'll never have to do it again, and you'll never be stymied by it again, either.
Ask The Boss
Before you leave, check in with the boss to see if they need anything before you go.
Many, if not most, people don't have their acts together, regardless of their title and tenure.
Yes, you'll probably be late getting home.
Yes, you'll probably be early getting a raise and a promotion.
Tell The Boss
When a time-critical decision must be made, make it, then tell the boss what you did and why you did it.
Yes, sometimes you'll overstep your boundaries or make an incorrect decision, but leaders recognize and appreciate action-takers.
Leaders take action, even when they don't have all of the info.
It's called life. It's called business.
Great leaders want their people to get shit done, not sit around waiting for their boss to do it.
Great leaders delegate authority but not responsibility.
Show that you can be trusted with both.
Let Small Minds Discuss Small Topics
Gossip and other unproductive topics of discussion will not help you in business or in life.
Maybe it was Socrates who said,
Is it true; is it kind, or is it necessary?”
Apply that to your life, and you'll "live long and prosper." (I know Spock said this!)
Cut The Complaining
In the Air Force, we were clearly instructed,
Anyone can complain. When you request a meeting with your commander to bring to light an issue, come with three recommendations of your own, or don't request the meeting."
Small minds gossip, bitch, whine, moan, and complain. Big minds get shit done by seeing opportunities in every challenge.
Nothing is ever as it appears to be.
Just because someone is a manager or a VP or an owner or a founder or a CEO doesn't mean they know what the hell is going on, how to fix it, or where the challenges and opportunities lie.
If they had their shit squared away...they wouldn't need you.
Forget The ABCs of Selling
There's an old movie from the 90s, based on a play from the 80s, based on a guy's office experience in the 60s, as he was working with old school salesmen who were trained in the 40s and 50s, and the main character said to the sales team,
A: always B: be C: closing. Always be closing! ALWAYS BE CLOSING!"
Forget that nonsense.
Focus on opening relationships rather than closing sales to live long and prosper in sales.
Remember The ABCs of Selling
The true ABCs of Selling include:
- Always Be Courteous:
- It pays to be nice to your co-workers because you're going to spend a lot of time with them.
- It pays to be nice to your prospects because who the hell buys from assholes?
- It pays to be nice to your customers because they're the ones who can sink you or help you sail. When you're getting repeat orders, referrals, and testimonials from them, you know you're doing things correctly.
- Always Be Curious
- Be curious about how your prospects are doing.
- Be curious about how your customers are doing.
- Be curious about the products and services you sell.
- Be curious about the needs, goals, and driving factors of your boss.
Be A Know-It-All
On our first day at the Air Force Academy, they taught us our seven basic responses, which included...
Sir, I will find out!"
Your prospects come to you when they can't find the answers they looking for, so get educated, which takes time.
In the meantime, let the prospect know you'll get them the answers they're looking for so they see you as a trusted advisor.
Do Not Be A Know-It-All
Another of the seven responses included,
Sir, I do not know!"
Don't try to bullshit your way through any situation.
If you don't know what your prospect or your manager or another coworker or team needs, ask for clarification.
When you don't know the answer, combine the previous two responses, "I do not know...but I will find out."
Don't let your alligator mouth overload your canary ass, which is one of the 7 Deadly Sins of Selling.
It's All Your Fault
Another of the seven responses included,
No excuse, Sir!"
Yeah, yeah, flights get delayed, bad weather slows you down, supply chain issues delay shipments of your key components, and your dog ate your homework.
Regardless of the issue, at the end of the day, your customer did not get their quote or shipment on time, your boss did not get your forecast on time, you weren't there to help your people update the CRM, setup the tradeshow booth, or prepare the conference room for the training session, so they don't want to hear some mealy-mouthed excuse.
Just suck it up and say,
Hey, my bad. How can I make it up to you?"
Focus On The Big Picture
If you don't know why you're doing what you're doing, you'll lose focus, motivation, and desire, which you need to get you over the obstacles and through the tough times which are sure to come.
Focus On The Little Things
There's an old proverb known as "For Want of a Nail," that paints this picture accurately and concisely.
For want of a nail the (horse) shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the message was lost.
For want of a message the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail."
I like to say that "small hinges swing big doors."
Rookies practice a skill until they get it right, while professionals practice until they can't get it wrong.
Be a professional.
Do it until it becomes routine, which is when the breakthroughs happen.
Get the little things right, and the big things will take care of themselves.
Most people overestimate what they can achieve in a year and underestimate what they can achieve in three to five years.
Keep your eyes on the prize and your nose to the grindstone.
Success will come.
Why do meetings have to be one hour or 30 minutes? Why can't they be 55 minutes or 25 minutes or 15 minutes?
Do you even need to meet?
If you need to meet, can you meet standing up?
An employee earning $50,000/year is being paid $25/hour.
If 10 people are in a meeting at that pay scale, a one-hour meeting costs the company $250 + benefits plus office expenses, so that's easily close to $500 for that meeting.
Compress your timeframes to get real work done, or work will not get done until the last minute.
This is known as Parkinson's Law. It's the idea that work expands to fill the time allotted for its completion. This may mean you take longer than necessary to complete a task or you procrastinate and complete the task right before the due date.
Don't accept this. Push the pace. Be impatient and drive for a 12-week year.
Have a Good MAP
Good ol' Zig Ziglar used to say,
You can't do anything with a good attitude, but with a good attitude, you can do anything better.
Do...anything better...while being in a good mood, i.e., having a good attitude, a good disposition, a pleasant personality, and doing the right things in the right manner.
In other words, have a good M.A.P.—Mood-Action-Procedure.
Don't Just Do Something. Stand There!
If a stitch in time saves nine, a thought in time saves $900 or $9,000 or $9,000,000.
It's not the flex you think it is to tell everyone,
Oh, I'm so busy! Busy busy busy. So busy!"
When's the last time you did some decent thinking for more than a minute or two?
Build in downtime.
Build in daydreaming time.
Build in time to enjoy your success and to plan your next victory.
Sure, no war plan survives engagement with the enemy, but winging it is a recipe for disaster and is also related to one of the 7 Deadly Sins of Selling.
Make researching, planning, and thinking part of your day, and watch your sales soar.
Don't Just Stand There. Do Something!
You can't steer a parked car.
If you can measure it, you can improve it—this is procedure—but until you take action, there is nothing to measure, which means there is nothing to improve.
Here's What To Do Next
When you're in a new place or stage in business or in life, you're not sure what to do.
In my free program, 12 Weeks To Peak™, you'll know exactly what to do every day.
Join today and make this the last hard quarter of your life.
Market like you mean it.
Now go sell something.