10 Ways to Tell if You’re Confident – or Arrogant

By Carmine Gallo, The Ladders 

There’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance. This is especially true given both entail a strong belief in one’s own abilities. When it comes to the responses they provoke, however, that’s where the similarities end.

Confidence is inspiring; arrogance is a turn-off.

Confidence gets hired; arrogance is shown the door.

Building confidence takes work; arrogance is simple. In fact, it’s easy to come off as arrogant. Avoid these 12 behaviors so you don’t leave the impression of being a Class-A jerk people would rather avoid instead of the confident leader they want to follow.

1. Drop names out of context.

The name-dropper is a character who frequents many local Chamber of Commerce mixers. Name-droppers are a dime a dozen. Completely unsolicited, they will jabber endlessly about who they know, who they met and who they pal around with. As a journalist, I interview many great business leaders, one of whom was Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz. Bringing up his name in a presentation about leadership is appropriate; talking about Schultz with a barista at my local Starbucks is arrogant.

2. Avoid eye contact.

Arrogant people could care less about others. They’re only interested in themselves. The arrogant person will constantly be looking past you for someone else to talk to — someone they think will benefit them more than you. Confident leaders look you in the eye and make you feel as though you’re the most important person in the room.

3. Arrive consistently late to meetings … and don’t apologize.

Arrogant people think their time is more important than anybody else’s. Being late means nothing to them. Confident leaders are timely and quick to apologize when they’re off schedule.

4. Use condescending phrases and put-downs.

Some well-known business leaders have been known to put down others with phrases like “that’s stupid” or “you’re a bozo.” These particular leaders are supremely confident, of course, but they’ve crossed the line into arrogance. I worked for one famous broadcast executive who routinely demeaned his employees and colleagues. Before long there was a massive brain drain from his department. He was bright; ambitious; and yes, confident. But his arrogance turned so many people off that he lost the loyalty of his team (and ultimately his position).

5. Strut or swagger when you walk into a room.

The best way to describe arrogant body language is “dominating.” Examples include pointing a finger at someone’s chest, hands on hips or waving someone off with a flick of the finger. Confidence is open and less intimidating.

6. Interrupt conversations … frequently.

Since arrogant people are only concerned about themselves, they’re not really listening to you. Not only are they always on the lookout for someone else to talk to, they interrupt the conversation frequently.

7. Have an answer for everything.

Psychologists say that arrogance is a compensation for insecurities and weaknesses. An arrogant person will rarely say, “I don’t know the answer, but I’ll find out.” Confident people admit mistakes and learn something from those experiences.

8. Always one-up the other person.

The other day I was speaking to someone who has a reputation for arrogance, and I noticed a common theme in his conversation with me — he always tried to one-up everything I said. For example, when the conversation turned to a documentary that I had recently seen on sharks, this man said, “That’s nothing, I swim with sharks.” This trait in arrogant people is so common that the famous Dilbert cartoon strip has a recurring character named “Topper.” Confident people don’t feel the need to brag. Their accomplishments do it for them.

9. Blast competitors.

Arrogant people can’t see the strengths in their competitors, and if they do, they seek to minimize those competitors by bad-mouthing them. This simply makes the arrogant person look even smaller. I recently overheard a woman talking to a recruiter and saying vicious things about her former company as well as other companies in the industry. The recruiter listened patiently. When the woman left, I leaned over and asked the recruiter what he thought. He simply rolled his eyes. Take the high road so you don’t get the eye roll.

10. Blame someone else.

Arrogant people can’t ‘fess up to their own mistakes. Watch “America’s Next Top Model” with Tyra Banks. The most arrogant young wannabes are the ones who blame others for not taking a good photograph — it’s either the fault of the photographer or the makeup artist. Needless to say, they don’t last long, even in an industry that has more than its share of divas.

Some famous business leaders are unquestionably arrogant — people about whom you may have heard or for whom you work. But the vast majority of inspiring leaders are confident, not arrogant. Be a leader people want to follow and not one people would rather avoid.

Carmine Gallo is the communication skills coach for the world’s most admired brands. He is a popular speaker and the author of several books including his current title, “The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience” (McGraw-Hill). Visit Carmine directly at http://www.carminegallo.com

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How to be a functioning workaholic

By Steve Tobak / CBS - MONEYWATCH

 

(MoneyWatch) COMMENTARY A few recent articles use Google vice president Marissa Mayeras a model for how swamped executives should handle the extraordinary demands of their jobs without burning out.

What a spectacularly bad idea.

Mayer says she typically works 90-hour weeks packed with 60 meetings. InGoogle’s early years, she says she worked 130-hour weeks by being “strategic about when you shower and sleeping under your desk.”

Why doesn’t she succumb to burnout, working nearly all the time, year in and year out? “I don’t really believe in burnout. A lot of people work really hard for decades and decades, like Winston Churchill and Einstein,” she says. And she schedules a week off every six months or so.

Let me say this about that. I did the math. The woman works all the time. She loves what she does. She has $300 million or so in the bank. She’s happy. Good for her. I’m happy she’s happy. But it’s a rare case that nobody, and I mean nobody, should use as a model for how to work, how to live, or how to avoid burnout. Period.

Now for something that may make a little more sense to mere mortals like you and me.

There’s so much written about work-life balance and time management these days, it’s easy to get lost. And I, for one, am no expert on either. What I can say with absolute confidence, however, is that, over a 30-year career, there were times when I worked my tail off, times when I had loads of fun, and times when I was lucky enough to combine the two. Looking back on it, I have few regrets and none that I can’t live with.

Sure, I made some sacrifices, but who doesn’t? That is perhaps the only thing Mayer and I agree on. You can’t have it all so you have to figure out what’s really important to you. Amen to that. Here are a few more not-so-obvious insights into how to be a functioning workaholic, whether you chose that lifestyle or it was thrust upon you.

What’s a workaholic? Somebody who puts work first, works more than he should, gets in trouble with his wife about it, maybe misses the birth of a child or two, obsesses about work, is “on” 24×7, has trouble not working when she doesn’t have to, that sort of thing. Anyway, it’s always good to know what you’re dealing with.

Don’t be over-the-top proud of it. If you chose the lifestyle, you should definitely be comfortable with that. But don’t go running around shouting about it to everyone who’ll listen or wear it like some sort of badge of honor. That’s just annoying. You should never apologize for the life you choose, but there’s nothing especially noble about being a workaholic, either. And don’t complain. That’s even more annoying.

Work your tail off when you have to; not when you don’t. That’s how I did it and it worked great. When duty called, I was there as needed. A quick trip for a meeting in Japan, a week or two on the road, long days and nights, that’s why executives make the big bucks. But when things simmered down, so did I. I chilled plenty. No guilt, either. That way, it all evens out. Magically, no burnout.

Have fun doing it. Yes, I know that’s easy to say, but if you’re not passionate about what you’re doing, if it isn’t fun on at least some level, you’ll never be able to handle the workaholic grind. You’ll make yourself and everyone around you miserable. You’ll ruin your health and your life. Don’t bother. You have to find something that turns you on in some material way to be able to work hard at it.

Know the signs of burnout. Okay, so the truth is that there were situations when I wasn’t happy. It had more to do with the company, the culture or my boss than the work itself. Those, in my opinion, are more common causes of burnout than just working long hours. Anyway, burnout is when you’re miserable all the time and there’s no end in sight. Watch out for the signs.

Don’t be a dope and sacrifice your health for work or anything else, for that matter. If you can work consistent 90-hour weeks for years and pull off looking and coming across as well as Mayer does, be my guest. Knock yourself out. However, in 30 plus years working in and around the high-tech industry, I’ve rarely seen it. But then, just about everyone I know is actually human.

 

Steve Tobak is a consultant and former high-tech senior executive. He’s managing partner of Invisor Consulting, a management consulting and business strategy firm. Contact Steve or follow him on Facebook,Twitter or LinkedIn.

Your Choice Yields Your Result

By Jeb Brooks  

Every morning when you wake up, you face a choice. And in the instant you make that choice, the rest of your day is locked into place. The choice is whether you’ll have a good day or a bad one.

Sure, things happen to all of us throughout the day that can throw us “off.” But, most of us have the ability to affect our reactions to the things we experience. And I believe our reaction is determined shortly after the buzz of an alarm clock rouses us out of bed.

Let me share two versions of the same story to illustrate what I mean:

On this particular morning, you wake up and choose to have a bad day…

When you woke up, you instantly knew you were in a bad mood. On your way to a meeting with a prospect, you spill coffee on your shirt. Your anger with the coffee cup is so palpable, it can be felt three cars away. Clearly upset, you keep on driving. A few minutes later, you remember the extra shirt in your trunk. You stop to change, but you’re running late because you didn’t get out of bed when the alarm went off. This doesn’t do any good for your level of anger. A few minutes later, you arrive at a prospect’s office for a 9:00 meeting. At 8:55, you walk toward the lobby. On your way there, you drop your papers. This infuriates you. Again, your anger is visible. You didn’t realize that your prospect happened to be in the lobby while you were walking up. He sees you cursing the parking lot, papers, and the wind. After you gather everything, you learn from the receptionist that he’s unable to meet with you.

Now, let’s take a look at the same day, but with a different choice…

When you woke up, you knew you were ready for a great day. On your way to a meeting with a prospect, you spill coffee on your shirt. It’s no big deal because you always have an extra in your trunk for an occasion like this. You pull over at the next opportunity, which isn’t a problem because you have plenty of time. After all, you jumped out of bed this morning, ready to attack the day. You get going again and before you know it, you’re arriving at your prospect’s office for a 9:00 meeting. At 8:50, you walk toward the lobby. On your way there, you drop your papers. You start laughing at the situation. You didn’t realize your prospect happened to be in the lobby while you were walking up. He sees you laughing in the parking lot and rushes out to help you gather everything. After the two of you pick everything up, you’re meeting in his office.

So, choose to make it a good day or a bad day. Because either way, you’ll be right.

Top Three Reasons Why Football Increases Sales

By : Colleen Stanley 

Top sales professionals have the ability to manage emotions during tough selling situations. Like top athletes, they practice more than they play. They don’t just practice when they are in front of prospects!


Let’s be perfectly clear. I have never played football and I am not a ‘groupie’ that is glued to the TV set each week watching my favorite team. However, I am an admirer of elite athletes because they demonstrate the mindset, actions and behaviors needed to be an elite salesperson. They also possess emotional intelligence skills. Yes, these macho guys do have soft skills that help them win ball games.

So if you want to get better at sales, turn on the television, observe and incorporate the NFL players’ best practices into your day-to-day sales. Here are my top three favorites.

#1: They have the mental game mastered. Every week, these elite athletes that have been playing football for years show up to practice in order to execute under pressure. Think about the quarterback who is getting ready to throw the ball. He has huge linebackers charging him, hoping to get a ‘sack.’ The seasoned quarterback manages his emotions. He doesn’t get flustered and throws a perfect pass to a wide receiver that is also under pressure because he is also being chased by another big guy.

Emotion management is important in sales because it helps you execute hard selling skills under high pressured sales situations. (Have any of you ever left a meeting wondering why you didn’t say this or this?)

A salesperson may not be getting charged by a 300 pound linebacker, (although some sales calls can feel that way) but he is getting challenged by prospects to ‘give me your best price’ or answer, ‘what makes your company different?’

Top sales professionals have the ability to manage emotions during tough selling situations. Like top athletes, they practice more than they play. They don’t just practice when they are in front of prospects!

As a result, they don’t get thrown ‘off their game’ by tough questions because they have an appropriate response. “Mr. Prospect, we will definitely get to price, but I am not sure

I have been able to ask enough questions around your challenges to determine if my company has the appropriate solutions. So it’s hard for me to quote a price.”

How would you rate your emotion management? How often are you practicing? Both skills are essential to executing hard selling skills.

#2: They like what they do. It always cracks me up to see a bunch of big, adult men hugging each other, dancing on the field or giving a high five after a good play or touchdown. These athletes love the game of football. And because they love the game, they are willing to put in the work of grueling practices. They take time to study game films in order to learn and correct mistakes.

In the emotional intelligence world, this is referred to as self actualization. People that are self actualized are always on a journey of personal and professional improvement.

Research shows that top salespeople possess this same trait. They are lifelong learners and lifelong sales producers.

How many of you love your job? How many of you love the profession of sales? The sad news is that many people default to the profession of sales rather than choose sales as a profession. You can spot ‘default individuals’ quickly. They never:

• Read or listen to a sales book in order to improve their skills. They are still pitching features, advantages and benefits.

• Ask for coaching or advice. They don’t ask for feedback because they aren’t looking to improve.

• Prepare. These individuals have decided to be average so they invest little or no time in pre-call planning. They show up to sales meetings without customized value propositions or carefully prepared questions. ‘Winging-it’ is their sales approach.

How would you rate yourself on self improvement? Are you learning or lagging behind?

#3: They never give up. How many of you have watched a football game, where one team is behind in the fourth quarter and comes back to win the game? The best athletes give 110% until the whistle blows. They might be tired, they might be beat up, but they don’t give up.

Top salespeople operate with the same mentality. They never give up. They show up every day to play ball. If they lose an opportunity, their mindset is I will win the next one.

Top salespeople, like top athletes, are optimistic and resilient. They don’t blame lack of results on anything but their own personal efforts. If the economy is bad, they work harder and smarter.

Growing Sales Through Leadership

By Francisco Dao, Inc.com

Instill a natural passion in your sales team to see your profits rise.


Can better leadership contribute as much to the bottom line as good sales training? One of the biggest challenges of teaching leadership is how to directly and immediately increase sales and profits. I’m often told, “These leadership ideas sound great in a perfect world, but changing culture seems like a long, tough process. What can I do right now to improve my business?” Since increasing sales is the first and most obvious thing that most business owners look at when they want to grow the bottom line, I looked into what sales trainers were doing and found a gaping hole in conventional teachings. A hole that a good leader can immediately fill that will grow a company’s sales and build infinitely more trust with customers.

In my work with companies and individuals, the one consistent trait in top- performing salespeople is a strong belief in the product or service that they are selling. If you want to increase your sales without resorting to high-pressure tactics or high stress incentives, simply ask your sales team if they believe they are selling the best product in your industry. If they don’t believe that they are selling the best, it is extremely unlikely that they are performing at their highest potential. People naturally sell what they believe in, and while a slick salesman might be able to sell a product that he dislikes, it is extremely difficult to fake enthusiasm for extended periods of time without appearing transparent to clients. Think about it. Could you sell a product that you thought was inferior? Could you sell it well? Or perhaps more importantly, would you want to sell it at all? Many people assume salespeople are motivated by money, and while this is largely true, it’s absurd to think they are motivated only by money. Salespeople are still human and while commission bonuses and sales spiffs will probably remain an important part of most sales compensation plans, studies consistently show that financial incentives never have the same lasting impact as an employee who is passionate about his work and it is a simply not possible to be passionate about something that you think is inferior.

Besides instilling natural passion into your sales team, a salesperson who truly believes in his product or service is far more likely to sell with integrity. Recently, I was discussing ways to increase sales with John Buerger, a client of mine who works in financial planning. John explained that in the financial services sector — like many commission-based industries — there is a huge conflict of interest created by the pressure to up-sell clients while still providing the best solutions for their needs. Since sales is not my core area of expertise, we looked at different sales training material — but all of it was based on teaching the salesperson to push harder, talk smoother, close faster, and make more money. Not only did they assume that salespeople were essentially driven only by financial incentives, they also paid very little attention to product quality or even the customer’s needs once sales resistance had been overcome. This kind of sales training only exacerbated the conflicts of interest faced by many salespeople.

Instead of adopting these methods, which would have turned him into another typical high-pressure salesman, we decided a better way for John to grow his business was to restructure it so that he honestly believed in all of his product offerings, the manner in which he serviced his clients, and even the colleagues with whom he shared his office. The result of these changes is that John’s business is now growing with very little additional sales activity on his part, while past colleagues who continued to do business the conventional way find themselves in a constant state of trying to replace existing clients due to a high rate of churn.

There will always be a place for good sales training, and professionals should continually hone their skills by learning new ways to get past gatekeepers, find the decision makers, and overcome objections. But when it comes to building a truly motivated sales team, the first step is to find out if your people honestly have passion for their products. By definition, “soft skills” like leadership are difficult to measure, but passion is infectious, and by making sure that your salespeople believe in their offerings you can increase your sales while maintaining complete integrity.

 

Three big challenges every sales executive struggles with and how you can solve them

By Colleen Francis

As a sales executive, you’re constantly on the lookout for that winning edge to help you and your organization consistently achieve and even surpass your revenue targets.

Success in sales is everything. Among executives, it is the most important thing that we are all measured on.

Therefore, it’s vital that you check in with your own work regularly. Ask yourself the following three important questions and take action with the following three solutions.

How effective are your hires?

Are you hiring the right sales people? Far too often, VPs of sales make the mistake of letting their hiring decisions be guided by personal likeability rather than by criteria squarely focused on giving your business the boost it needs to succeed.

Solution: Take stock of business habits that your organization needs to emulate more often. Hire people who are the right fit for those business habits. If, for example, you have a long sales cycle featuring multiple buyers, hire professionals with experience selling under those conditions. If your product sells quickly in one sale over the phone, then hire sales people who have extensive selling-by-phone experience.

A misaligned hire can put at risk your organization’s sales success for many quarters. A strategic fit, on the other hand, can pay dividends again and again.

Are you investing enough time in coaching and mentoring?

Coaching Time

Most VPs of sales don’t coach or mentor their sales teams enough. Studies have shown that three hours or more of coaching between a sales leader and an individual sales rep per month results in 103% quota attainment, whereas less than two hours of coaching a month results in 87% of quota attainment. The impact is huge, and you can just imagine how many opportunities are lost in cases where no there is no coaching at all on a monthly basis.

Solution: Make sure you are spending at least three hours per month per sales rep coaching and mentoring them for success. Not only will your organization achieve better results more often, you will also become more intimately involved in your sales pipeline. This means you will gain a much more objective view of what your sales numbers mean, and of the sales process needed to get those deals closed. You cannot over-coach a sales person. Your top reps are no exception. In professional sports, even at the top of their game, Wayne Gretzky and Michael Jordan showed up for practice regularly. Look to the top performers in your business—people who are already doing great work—and look to make them better.

Is your sales process well understood and applied consistently?

The final thing that you can do to ensure your sales team is successful this year is define a sales process that everybody sticks to. Don’t let your team sell just any way they want.

Solution: Think of your sales process as a playbook. It has to be understood and used by everyone consistently. That’s the only way that it can give you measurable results. The outcome is that you are able to analyze your sales process on a weekly, monthly, quarterly, annual basis and make adjustments based on the market conditions. This gives you data, and data is your key to objectivity.

Far too many sales VPs that I work with coach or manage from a subjective place. They rely too much on emotion and not enough on facts. The best way to start the transition to objective measurement is to have a process that everybody sticks to, and that you can measure results against.

Stay tuned for more!

Be sure to stay tuned for our upcoming Engage podcast, which you can access on our blog or in our itunes channel, where I describe in detail the right attributes for hiring top-level sales talent for your team.


Colleen Francis, Sales Expert, is Founder and President of Engage Selling Solutions (www.EngageSelling.com). Armed with skills developed from years of experience, Colleen helps clients realize immediate results, achieve lasting success and permanently raise their bottom line.

Start improving your results today with Engage’s online Newsletter Sales Flash and a FREE 7 day intensive sales eCourse: www.EngagingIdeasOnline.com.

 

 

Passion as a Sales Tool

By Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter”  

We all know that sales is really all about “closing the sale.”  There is not a salesperson alive who does not use a variety of techniques to help them be successful with customers. However, I believe passion is the most underrated and underutilized sales tool in our arsenal, because it is too hard to measure and no one has found an effective way to teach it.

Why don’t more people use passion to their advantage?  It’s simple.  Passion exists in those who are humble, focused and unlikely to advertise their expertise.

Passion is an effective sales tool because it isn’t artificial and can’t be faked for a long period of time.   It is displayed in people who genuinely care and are willing to take the time to serve their customers in whatever manner is necessary. If your mindset is not to compassionately serve people, you can stop reading because the rest of this article is not for you. If you do have a willingness to serve and demonstrate concern, then continue reading.

Passion in sales is evident when the salesperson takes the time to listen to their customer and attempts to really understand what it is they are looking for. It is displayed not only in the questions that are asked, but also in the tone of voice and body language the salesperson uses and the follow-up demonstrated after the sales call.

Salespeople who have passion are able to create long-term profitable relationships with their customers. They also routinely benefit from referrals by their existing clients and, on many occasions, these prospects come to them ready to buy.

It’s ironic to note that the individual characteristics that reveal passion are also the same characteristics that are demonstrated by many top-performing salespeople. However, without passion resulting in a steady supply of new prospects, their status at the top is short-lived.

Before you rush out to practice your body language and tone of voice in an attempt to find passion, let me add the secret ingredient: heart. Passion comes from a genuine belief of wanting to help the customer in both good times and bad. It is at its truest form when things are not going well for either the salesperson or the customer and the salesperson is still willing to serve first and sell second.

Don’t get me wrong:  having passion does not mean you’re giving up profit indefinitely. It might mean you are sacrificing a little short-term gain, but when you are committed to having passion for your customers, you will achieve a higher level of long-term profit, not only from the customer you’re serving, but also from the referrals they bring you.

Passion can actually be measured in a couple of ways. Begin by asking yourself this simple question: “When the day is over and my customers are reflecting back on the people with whom they’ve interacted and the activities they’ve done, do they think of me in a positive light that contributed to them having a good day?”

It is important to consider whether your customers truly believe you are helping improve their day or simply contributing to the chaos of it. Another assessment tool is found in analyzing the number of referrals you get.  Referrals are an accurate measurement of how your customers view you, even more than repeat business with a current customer. If they honestly believe in you, they recommend you to others. (Keep in mind, however, that if they don’t like you, they’ll still talk about you, just in a negative light).

Passion in sales is underrated. Therefore, your ability to genuinely care about your customers, to show an interest in them, and to serve them will determine your long-term sales success.

Mark Hunter, The Sales Hunter, is author of “High-Profit Selling: Win the Sale Without Compromising on Price.” He is a consultative selling expert committed to helping individuals and companies identify better prospects and close more profitable sales. To get a free weekly sales tip, visit www.TheSalesHunter.com. Read the first chapter of his instant-classic “High-Profit Selling” here.