I can’t believe it’s not Friday

This week’s blog is by Birgit Hanson, Principal at Head-Up Performance, Inc., a company committed to helping organizations develop and retain key leadership talent and enhance productivity, morale and profitability. Birgit is also the co-author of this month’s SalesJournal.com featured book http://astore.amazon.com/salesjoucom-20.

I love Fridays.  I get to enjoy the anticipation of a full weekend with my family, doing what I love to do.

I know life is really good when I have the Friday feeling on a Wednesday or Thursday.  This week I had to pinch myself because life was so good.

It’s taken me years to get to this point in my career and self-development.

I used to struggle with fear and guilt.  Both emotions came from a belief system I had adopted without thorough investigation.   Some of those beliefs might have been true, but many weren’t.

For example, I used to think that as a small business owner I had to be working all the time, just the way I did when I was a corporate employee.

I got over that.

I now know that creativity, authenticity and a fulfilled life are a much stronger business driver in my line of work than the good German work ethic that used to make me sick and tired.  Literally.

Don’t get me wrong, integrity and doing what I promised is still on the top of my list, and so is the courage to get out of my comfort zone.

But rather than pushing to get everything done I am allowing myself to enjoy what I am doing.  I am giving myself permission to live life according to my standards.  And the best thing, it’s almost guilt free.

Every once in a while I have a fleeting thought that I “should” be working harder, followed by guilt.  And I say to myself:

”Is it really true that I should work harder?”  “And how do I feel when I have this thought?” “How would I feel without it?”

I then decide that I don’t like feeling guilty and that I would feel much more inspired without that thought.  So I turn it around and make it a belief that makes me feel good.

“No I shouldn’t work harder.  Yes, I deserve to enjoy my workflow.”  Now that’s something worth believing in.

Try it.  You too have a right to enjoy every day of the workweek, not just Fridays.

Three Proven Strategies for Developing a High-Potential Prospect List

By James A. Baker
Founder and Chairman
Baker Communications
July  2009

What is every sales reps most dreaded activity? Prospecting and Cold Calling. There, I’ve said it, and now that it is out in the open, it doesn’t seem so scary does it? Well, maybe it still looks that way, but that is due, in part, to the fact that most sales reps don’t even understand how to get started. As long as someone hands you a batch of pre-qualified leads, you do okay. But, what do you do if the leads don’t pan out? What if they dry up altogether? Do you know how to start from scratch and develop your own high-potential prospect list?

Here are three proven strategies for putting together that golden prospect list.

Sales Meetings that Engage: Please Include Me!

Want to increase the value of your sales meetings?  INCLUDE your sellers in the meeting and make it about them!

Just like selling, when we INCLUDE them, they pay closer attention, participate at higher levels, see a higher perceived value and are recharged to go out and sell more!  Many sellers put up with sales meetings rather than participate in them. Why?  They aren’t INCLUDED!  Or don’t see the most important focus – What’s in it for them!!

Salespeople have social needs.  Most spend a lot of time on their own as they call on prospects and complete paperwork (hopefully lots of orders and proposals!).  When sales meetings give them opportunities to connect with each other and have attention paid to them, it recharges their batteries AND does wonders for their commitment and sales after the meeting.

To engage your sellers at the highest level, make sure your meeting includes healthy doses of interaction and inclusion!  How?  Nancy Bleeke suggests using these easy tips to include your VIS’s (very important sellers).

Can Recruiters Find YOU? 5 Online Methods to Borrow

Joe Turner was a recruiter for more than 15 years, so job seekers often ask him for advice on how to meet recruiters and how to make working with recruiters a beneficial experience. His reply is not always what they want to hear: Top recruiters don’t want to meet you. They don’t want you to call them, and they don’t want you to send your resume to them.

They are already wired into their own network of potential candidates in the fields they cover. If they’re doing their jobs correctly, they already know all the top candidates in their fields or know where to find them. In other words, if they want to meet you, they’ll find you.

But these are the people you want to meet! These are the executive search firms that will introduce you to a company or corporate recruiters who want to fill open positions.

There are ways you can increase the odds that they will find you. By making sure you are visible in the places recruiters look for new talent and by optimizing your profile to appear high in their search for candidates, you can increase the odds you’ll become one of those candidates recruiters in your field seek out.

On The Ladders, Joe describes online routes to the short list when professional talent scouts are looking for candidates.

It’s Time To Invite a Guest Speaker to Your Sales Meeting

Sales team meetings are a great time to learn new skills, exchange ideas and share best practices. They are also a great time to dig deeper on topics relevant to the sales team. This could be a product the team would like to sell more of, an upcoming marketing campaign or pricing issues.  When digging deeper on a certain topic, it is very helpful to invite a guest expert to your meeting.  This could be the Product Manager for a new product, your Marketing expert or your financial analyst.
At Naviga’s partner, Meeting to Win, Jill Myrick recommends committing to inviting guest speakers at least once per quarter. This adds a fresh voice and perspective and really adds some variety and interest to the weekly sales team meeting.  Choose the topic in advance, ask the team to choose and invite the guest speaker, make sure the topic is relevant to helping the team sell more and enjoy a nice twist on your weekly sales team meetings.

Sales and Marketing Recruitment: It’s All About Speed

Right on cue, sales and marketing hiring is on the upswing. With that comes a “need for speed” in the recruitment process, because hiring managers who take too long to make their decision run a very real risk of losing their top candidates.

The hiring rebound isn’t a surprise. The 2010 Economic Survey conducted by Naviga Recruiting & Executive Search projected that companies would again be hiring in 2010, with the bulk of activity taking place in the second quarter. What the survey couldn’t have projected is the speed at which it reverted to a job seeker’s market – at least for those candidates representing the top of the sales and marketing profession.

But many hiring managers are finding that it has done just that. Those who take too long finding the absolute perfect professional often discover that when they are ready to extend an offer, that ideal candidate has vanished. They allowed the process to drag on and the candidate has given up, moved on or simply lost interest.

Though initial signs of recovery started to emerge late in the fourth quarter of 2009, speed in the hiring process wasn’t quite so critical. Sales and marketing jobs were still scarce. Candidates were still willing – and even expected – to wait for prospective employers to wend their way through a lengthy recruitment process.

Now, however, it is not unusual for top sales and marketing professionals to have multiple job offers in play. For employers, that means that once a prospect’s interest has been captured, they must be prepared to continue moving that candidate forward along the recruitment path.

Once momentum has been established, it must be maintained or that candidate is very likely to drop out of consideration. It could be because they’ve accepted another position, or it could be because they perceive a lack of respect on the part of an employer who appears to be stringing them along.

To “win” the top sales and marketing professionals on the market today, hiring managers must show that they respect a candidate enough to keep moving the process forward. They must take decisive action and avoid prolonging the process. It is no longer safe to assume that a top pick will wait for weeks on end to move to the next stage.

In short, in today’s hiring environment, hiring managers who snooze, lose.