Featured Blog: How to take advantage of the new ‘caveat venditor’ world in sales

shutterstock_213174388We’ve all been there – you walk onto a car lot and a sales person comes up and asks if he or she can help. You know what car you want, and you know you need a sales person, but chances are that your answer will be that you’re “just looking.” But why? It’s probably because you want to avoid what feels like a high pressure sale from someone who is paid on commission, even though you know exactly what you want. So what’s the issue?

Ingar Grev, the managing director of The Growth Coach in Washington D.C., recently published a post on the Business Journal’s website about commission. Consider this: If someone is paid on commission, aren’t they more likely to go the extra mile to help you have an amazing buying experience? Grev’s post also addressed the “caveat venditor” – or seller beware – that addresses the issue of working with a buyer who comes to the table knowing exactly what they want.

Check it out on the Business Journal’s website: http://www.bizjournals.com/bizjournals/how-to/growth-strategies/2015/08/take-advantage-of-new-caveat-venditor-world.html.

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Need inspiration? Try These 22 Powerful Quotes

shutterstock_159255023History is full of great people leaders – in business, art, humanities and more. Sometimes, when you’re in need of some serious inspiration, their words can make a big difference. Here are 22 powerful quotes for the next time you need a little motivation.

  1. “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford
  2. “Remember no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
  3. “Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.” – Les Brown
  4. “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
  5. “Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs.” – Farrah Gray
  6. “Nothing will work unless you do.” – Maya Angelou
  7. “We need to accept that we won’t always make the right decisions, that we’ll screw up royally sometimes – understanding that failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success.” – Arianna Huffington.
  8. “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” – Albert Einstein
  9. “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” – Dwight Eisenhower
  10. “Please think about your legacy, because you’re writing it every day”. – Gary Vaynerchuk
  11. “The only way around is through.” – Robert Frost
  12. “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky
  13. “Your time is precious, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” – Steve Jobs
  14. “The road to success and the road to failure are almost exactly the same.” – Colin R. Davis
  15. “I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.” – Thomas Jefferson
  16. “Stop chasing the money and start chasing the passion.” – Tony Hsieh
  17. “Do one thing every day that scares you.” – Anonymous
  18. “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” – Walt Disney
  19. “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” – Albert Schweitzer
  20. “Live daringly, bolding, fearlessly. Taste the relish to be found in competition – in having put forth the best within you.” – Henry J. Kaiser
  21. “Leaders think and talk about the solutions. Followers think and talk about the problems.” – Brian Tracy
  22. “A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.” – Rosalynn Carter
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Wake Up Call! Are You Where You Want to Be?

Wake UpIn today’s busy, work-based world, it can be extremely easy to get so wrapped up in your work life that you forget everything else. If you’re a business owner, this can be especially challenging. But it’s important to remember that you opened your business so you could have a better life – not so you could work 80 hours per week. Take 10 minutes today to consider your work and personal life. What makes you happy? What doesn’t? And, if you could change one thing, what would it be?

At The Growth Coach, we’re willing to bet that your answers will be some version of “I wish I had slowed down” and “I hope I will have built something people will remember me by.”

We’ve all heard people say that time flies by – even when it doesn’t feel like it. How often do you say things like, “Is it July already?” or “Wow your kids have gotten so big!” And even when you take time to reflect on times that may have seemed to take forever (try high school or the first six months when your newborn wasn’t sleeping), doesn’t it seem like time went too quickly? Just remember that, until your time is up, it’s never too late to slow down. Set aside time this weekend to take your spouse somewhere romantic and then schedule a meeting with yourself next week to block out times throughout each and every week doing what you love and spending time with people you care about.

When it comes to building a legacy, try not to forget that it’s not all about money. In most cases, we’d all rather be able to look back on our lives and say that we made a difference – that the impact of our being alive meant that the lives of others was improved. For entrepreneurs and business owners, this might also mean leaving a physical business to the next generation. If that’s your plan, start making those preparations now! You need to have strong business systems in place if someone else is going to take over – whether that’s in two years or 25 years.

So before your dedicate your days to reflecting on your days from a porch swing, take some time to do that now! It’s not too late to make changes and live an even better life.

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Finding Work/Life Balance – Especially in Family Business

BalanceWe’ve all heard the phrase “following in my father’s footsteps” – but does that phrase indicated that you have to find a way to step exactly into each step? Or does it come down to just sticking to a similar trail? When it comes to following in the footsteps of the previous generation in a family business, finding your own footholds is vital part of helping the company thrive AND still wanting to talk to your mom or dad when the phone rings.

What I’m saying is that you have to find the right balance between work and life, especially when it comes to working in – and eventually inheriting or passing on – a family business. Here are some solutions families can use to build a healthy working relationship while maintaining a happy relationship at home:

Create boundaries: Make sure that all family members involved in the business understand that there is a time for work and a time for family. Although it’s difficult, try to keep those two things separate. It’s also important to respect the boundaries of others, and remember that Christmas is not the time for a board meeting even if you’re all in the same room!

Compartmentalize: If you’re bringing a family member into the business and you want that person to take any level of ownership in the business, give them certain tasks or departments to oversee and lead. Not only does this take some of the day-to-day operations off your plate, but it also gives your family member a place to grow and make their own. Also, work to keep work at work and home at home, no matter how tempting it may be to talk shop over Sunday dinner.

Build an Identity: If you’re the one joining the family business, you need to be more than Mr. Smith’s daughter or Mrs. Johnson’s son. You have to earn the respect of your employees as your own person and not just as the next generation and that all starts with building an identity. It’s also a good idea to find a place where your name doesn’t matter – like as part of a community group.

– Growth Coach President Nathan Owens

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Sales – It’s Not a Department

SalesHow does a business become successful? Is it about the quality of the product or service? The customer experience? The convenience? The local need? Building a successful company is about all of those things – but it all really comes down to SALES. You can have the best product with the most helpful team, but if you can’t close the deal, your business will still fail.

For this blog, I thought it would be a good time to talk about a common misconception – that sales is a department. Sure, you may have people who dedicate their entire day to selling your product or service, but every single person who works in your business needs to understand that sales is part of the job. Even if they won’t be putting sales on a resume, every single person a potential customer interacts with is involved in the sales process.

So how can you help your employees understand that selling is part of every job? It’s all about changing the mindset. If you can get your team to understand that providing an excellent customer services experience translates directly to improved sales and a stronger business, your products and services will nearly sell themselves.

If your sales people – or your entire team – could use a mindset adjustment, then it might be time to consider bringing in a Growth Coach to work through our year-long Sales Mastery program. Sales Mastery will provide your team with the tools and experience needed to be successful. It’s about more than teaching professional skills, it’s about helping the members of your team grow personally. Learn more: http://www.thegrowthcoach.com/business-coaching-services.aspx.

– Growth Coach President Nathan Owens

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Business Owner, You Need a Vacation

RelaxPicIt’s that time of year! The kids are out of school, the days are longer and the temperatures are warm and inviting. While it’s important to dedicate time to your family and friends throughout the year, summer is that special time of year for family vacations, trips to the beach, making memories at a local theme park, going to the county fair and more. Unwinding is important because gives you the chance to regain your emotional balance and the opportunity to reflect on your business and passions.

But checking out without checking in on your business can be a real challenge for some business owners. Can your business survive without you? Or, if you decide to take a vacation, will you be hanging a closed sign in the window? Even a very small business should be able to operate without the owner in the shop every day. You wanted to OWN a business – not just RUN a business.

So, can you leave your business unattended? Ask yourself these questions:

  1. If you won a cruise vacation and had to leave tomorrow, what would happen to your business?
  2. If you decided to leave for a month, who would run your business?
  3. If you were injured and had to leave work for three months, would your business survive?
  4. If circumstances were to change in your life and you decided to sell the business, who would buy it? Can it run without you?

If you found yourself unsure of the answers to those questions, you need to put systems in place so your business can run without you! Your operating systems need to be in writing, you need staff members who can operate the business in your absence and you need managers who are trained to do your day-to-day tasks. If you’re struggling with this, then it’s time to meet with a Growth Coach: http://www.thegrowthcoach.com/locator.aspx.

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Featured Blog: The Biggest Myth About Will Power

Glenn Smith

Glenn Smith

There’s a phrase out there you’ve probably heard, “The first step is always the hardest.” Whether you’re a new runner, a business owner, or both, this phrase holds serious weight and it all comes down to will power. If you want to make a change in your life – or your business – you have to have the will power to actually take the first step toward making things better.

Earlier this month Growth Coach Glenn Smith published a blog on exactly this topic entitled “The Biggest Myth About Will Power” and we thought you all might enjoy reading what he has to say. Glenn is the owner and CEO of The Growth Coach in Houston. Glenn was our Coach of the Year for 2011 and has received the Ursala Coates Memorial Award for his service to the Fort Bend County area. He was also the Board Chairman for the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce for 2014.

The Biggest Myth About Will Power

When business owners and professionals decide that they need to make a change in their business or personal life, they typically try to muster up their “will power” and start implementing a new behavior. This nearly always fails!

It has been reported that approximately 95 percent of all New Year’s resolutions are broken by the end of January. Most people assume, when they fail to keep their resolution, that they did not have enough “will power.”

Does Your Will Have Power? Read more on Glenn’s blog: http://www.thegrowthcoachhouston.com/the-biggest-myth-about-will-power/.

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Building a Business on YES

YESPicWhen you say “no” to a customer the customer really hears “go somewhere else to get your solution.”

Creating a spirit of YES in your company all starts at the top. As the leader, you have to encourage your entire team to be focused on excellent customer service by setting a great example. You need to succeed in getting all of your employees to remove phrases like “that’s not my department,” “that’s not my job,” “it doesn’t work that way” and “maybe if you call back someone else can help” out of the company vocabulary!

That might sound obvious, but even great employees can fall into a rut of saying no instead of focusing on satisfying each and every customer. At The Growth Coach, we know growing a business all starts with making sure you’ve built a strong foundation. So if you need some help creating a culture of YES, here are a few tips:

  1. Set the example: Your employees look to you, even subconsciously, for guidance on how to operate in the workplace, including how to treat customers. Do your best to provide excellent service and treat customers the way you would want to be treated.
  1. Relay the story: As the leader of your company, you need to tell stories of YES. If you spend your time telling employees horror stories about customers and talking about how customers are taking advantage of you, that will stick with your employees. Keep it positive and encouraging!
  1. Encourage YES: Take every opportunity to encourage your team to focus on customer service and even consider starting each shift with a reminder about doing your best to meet the needs of each and every customer.
  1. Reward and Recognize: Sometimes providing an excellent customer service experience means someone on your team has to go above and beyond the usual job. When that happens – and when the result is positive – ask the customer for a review and then reward the employee with at least a pat on the back in front of the team.
  1. Focus on YES from the beginning: Bringing on the right team member is always challenging, but next time you have a position to fill, focus on more than the resume. Hire for YES and hire for ATTITUDE. People can learn how to do the job, but they can’t always learn how to be a positive person with a focus on excellent customer service. Look for that in your job candidates!

– Growth Coach President Nathan Owens

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Building Relationships and the Art of Pinging

pingingAt The Growth Coach, we’re frequently telling our telling our coaches – and their clients – that building a successful business and a balanced life often starts with creating and prioritizing relationships. Not all of your clients or the people in your life should be ranked equally and it’s important to spend more time with the most important people, but that certainly doesn’t mean you can ignore the rest of your contacts!

So how do you balance and track who you reach out to and when? There are services out there, like 22Touch, that can keep you on top of this list, but even if you’re doing it on your own, it’s all about prioritized networking. Or, as a blog we read this week puts it, The Art of Pinging.

The idea of pinging is making sure that you stay in touch – and top of mind – with the people important to you and your business. That doesn’t mean you have to schedule lunches with people every day of the week or dedicate your entire day to hour-long phone calls, but it does mean you need to specifically set aside time to send a hand-written note or leave a comment on their blog.

Read the full blog post from Mark Shead here: http://www.productivity501.com/the-art-of-pinging/9155/. Are you pinging your network? Share your best practices in the comments!

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Building Integrity by Doing the Right Thing for the Right Reasons

integrityblogThere’s an old adage that says: “Wisdom is knowing the right path to take. Integrity is taking it.” It’s easy to say that you have integrity and are trustworthy, but actually having integrity – and just doing the right thing for the right reasons – is something we don’t always actively think about in business.

Of course you WANT to do the right thing, but it’s not always the easy choice. Honestly, when was the last time you let the bottom line keep you from making the right decision? When did your emotional investment sway you to act in a way you regretted later? But doing the right thing is about more than making the right decision for your business; it all comes down to doing the right thing because you should. And the kicker? NOT expecting recognition for doing the right thing. The right thing should be the default – not something that earns you a pat on the back.

That said, just because you shouldn’t expect acknowledgement doesn’t mean you should forget to recognize others. If everyone was always out for themselves, what kind of world would be live in? As a business exercise, think about the best boss you ever had. Chances are that you felt you could trust that person and they treated you fairly, complimented you on work done especially well, corrected you when needed and encouraged you to grow personally and professionally. That individual was a good role model for you because they did the right thing and they had integrity. Do you run your business and manage in a way that would make that boss proud of the business person you’ve become?

So what decision are you facing this week that could pull you away from doing the right thing? How will that decision affect you and your business next month or next year? It’s easy to be cynical and take the well-traveled road, but it’s always better to be the light in a sometimes dark business world.

– Nathan Owens, President of The Growth Coach

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