There’s just something so wonderful about the smell of a baby; that sweet soft skin and special just made smell. I love it!
But have you heard about this? Dolce & Gabbana have announced a new perfume that is meant to enhance the natural scent of a baby. The scent -- which reportedly smells like citrus, honey and melon -- retails for $44. One perfume designer, Frederick Bouchardy, tells the blog Fashionista, "It's not just about a scent for a baby, but it's also a scent for an adult that's meant to be evocative of the scent of baby. I think it's supposed to be a shared experience -- mom and child are meant to smell the same." (Huffington Post)
Should a nursing home's efforts to take care of its residents extend to inviting prostitutes and strippers to offer their services? That's the question being asked after reports that British nursing home Chaseley Trust, which is located in a seaside mansion, is doing just that. Manager Helena Barrow told The Sun newspaper, "People have needs. We are there to help. We respect our residents as individuals so that's why we help this to happen. If we refused, we would not be delivering a holistic level of care." Barrow says the practice has the support of Chaseley's staff, who might otherwise be sexually harassed by the residents, some of whom are as young as 18 and have neurological conditions. She told the newspaper, "Most of the time, these are people who feel frustrated by a primeval need they cannot fulfill." The revelation has set off a nationwide debate in Britain over the rights of the disabled, and over the role of sex in assisted living facilities. Meanwhile, the local East Sussex County Council has started an investigation, with a spokesman telling The Inquisitr, "This has the potential to place vulnerable East Sussex residents at risk of exploitation and abuse." What do you think of this nursing home inviting prostitutes and strippers to offer their services to residents? How do you feel about Barrow's explanation that offering these services is part of a "holistic level of care," and that it helps to prevent sexual harassment of the staff? Is the right to sex something everyone is entitled to, therefore falling under the umbrella of rights to the disabled that they should be guaranteed?
A new study suggests a person's facebook profile may reveal signs of mental illness that may not be apparent in a session with a psychiatrist. For the study, researchers had 200-college students fill out questionnaires designed to evaluate their levels of extroversion, paranoia, enjoyment of social interactions and endorsement of strange beliefs. The students were then asked to log onto Facebook, and told they had the option of blacking-out certain parts of their profile before some of it was printed out for the researchers to examine. Researchers found that people who disliked social interactions in real-life usually had fewer Facebook friends and generally communicated on the social network less. They also found that students who took the option of blacking-out certain parts of their profiles were more likely to hold odd beliefs and exhibited higher levels of paranoia. (Fox News)
Every seller hears about dreaded stalls and objections that they’ll need to overcome; and, the request for information is one of the most often-used stall tactics. Prospects use the tactic because it works! Sellers are usually more than willing to send out materials because they think the prospect is likely to buy. In fact, they have no intention of making a purchase; they feign interest to end the conversation.
The conundrum: The better your marketing materials look, the greater the chance that your sellers will be more than willing to send them out. Once they’re sent, the game of cat and mouse has begun, and may never end because, in reality, the ‘prospect’ is still a ‘suspect’.
So, what should you do? Here are three responses that might work for you, along with one point for consideration.
Use humor – “May I ask you something about that? I’ve always been curious: You’re busy, right? So, what do you really do with stuff companies send you? Fold it into paper airplanes and use it for stress relief? Put it in your recycling bin?”
This takes them by surprise so let them answer, then say “May I make a suggestion? Why don’t we get together for 30 minutes to figure out whether what you need is a fit with what we offer – no pressure?”
Make a direct statement – “I’m happy to send you some information, but it really won’t answer all of your questions or help you determine whether we should work together. So, you’ll have a nice brochure and a salesperson that will continue to follow up with you. Why don’t we meet for 30 minutes and figure out whether we’re even a fit?
Ask a direct question – Being that I’m a service provider, this is one that I use most often. I ask: “Is this a test? If you were considering hiring me to work with your sales team and I told you that I planned to teach them to send out materials, you’d never hire me, would you?” (Well, no.) Okay, so may I make a suggestion? Why don’t we meet for 30 minutes……”
Something to consider: cutting back on or not producing one-sheets and marketing materials at all. Scary thought? Take a few minutes and discern how your materials are really being used. While everyone likes to have slick and pretty brochures at their disposal, are yours really effective in helping you develop business?
Your attitude, not your aptitude, determine your altitude - Zig Ziglar
An observation was made of how both the hummingbird and the vulture fly over our nation’s deserts. All vultures see is rotting meat because that is what they are looking for. They thrive on that diet. But hummingbirds ignore the smelly flesh of dead animals. Instead, they look for the colorful blossoms of desert plants. The vultures live on what was. They live on the past. They fill themselves with what is dead and gone. But the hummingbirds live on what is. They seek new life. They fill themselves with freshness and life. Each bird finds what it is looking for. We all do.
As a leader your attitude will make you or break you. The right attitude can guide you through times of adversity with poise and grace and be a source of inspiration for others to emulate. And at the end of the day it is all about the daily decisions you make. Here are four choices for a good attitude your consideration.
What you choose to see. The vulture sees rotting dead meat. The hummingbird sees colorful blossoms. Why? It’s their choice. As you look over the landscape of your business or organization do you see recession, fear and uncertainty or do you see opportunity, growth, and new markets?
What you choose to see speaks of your perceptions. Your perceptions are shaped by your attitude. That is not to say you are not mindful of the negatives that exist but you are making a choice not to be defined by them. If you are going to have an attitude of excellence it begins with what you choose to see and ignoring the rest.
What you choose to believe. By its choice the hummingbird chooses new life and growth over what is dead and gone. Your belief systems form the foundation of your personal growth and that of your leadership potential. What you choose to see formulates your perceptions but your beliefs formulate how you live. This attitude is the deal breaker both personally and professionally and it truly matters.
What you choose to believe speaks of your passion. Your passions are a reflection of your attitude and that is a reflection of your heart. What you choose to believe may not always make sense at the time. Yet when you choose faith over fear, hope over despair, trust over doubt, forgiveness over resentment, and love over hate, you are living out an attitude of belief that will set you apart as a leader.
How you will spend your time. The vulture thrives on things dead and gone. The hummingbird spends its time seeking life and beauty. When your attitude is aligned with what you believe and what you see it makes how you spend your time an easier proposition.
How you spend your time is all about priorities. Whether in business or in your personal life your priorities are a good indicator of a healthy attitude. Your time is your most valuable possession and a smart leader learns how to master it.
How you will live your life. The vulture and the hummingbird, for better or worse, have made their choices and live their lives accordingly. Your attitude as a leader has consequences that will determine your altitude. The choice to have a good attitude is not always easy. Someone cuts you off in traffic, the deal you thought you were going to close doesn’t happen, your earnings report falls short of expectations; a friend betrays you; these scenarios and more constantly challenge your resolve to have a good attitude.
How you will live your life speaks of your purpose. Your attitude should be one of your strongest attributes that sustains you in the good times and what gives you the courage needed when times are tough. Make it your priority to live your life as a leader with purpose in your heart.
With your attitude you can see the beauty of life like the hummingbird or you can sink to new lows like that of the vulture. Attitude-- it’s your choice.
While each of us should be adding value to our relationships in some way every day, let me be clear about the difference between adding value and added value.
Adding value is when you take the unprovoked initiative to be of additional help or service to someone else. This takes many forms and may include referring business, writing a recommendation, and/or connecting others who may have enough synergies to form a strategic alliance. In other words, being someone who is constantly thinking of ways to help others grow and realize greater success.
Added value is the stuff that gets added on to deals, at low or no additional cost, to incentivize purchase. Whether you agree with me or not, I believe most advice given out to prospects in the hopes of proving credibility falls into this category as well. Therefore, should you employ a tactic of including added value, do so with extreme caution and precise strategy.
Remember, something given away for free is likely perceived as worthless; things provided at low charge are likely perceived as almost worthless. The following examples are offered to prove this point and illustrate how added value tactics can backfire by becoming long-standing practices that are now expectations.
The mathematical expression for the absence of value is zero. Every time you provide something that has a $0 noted in the cost column, you put yourself at risk; and, there’s a strong probability that over time you and your team will also believe the item has no value. So, even if your plan is to offset higher priced inventory and bring the order in at a pre-determined market cost, once you sell some of your inventory at $0 to a customer, it will forever be sold at no or low charge. Why would they ever pay full price or a premium for it? The result, your team will need to maintain higher rates on your remaining inventory to generate profit.
Here are some key questions to ask before including added value:
What do I think/believe will be the result of adding these items? What led me to that belief? What might happen if I don’t add anything? What might happen if I promise this quantity at no charge and can’t deliver? How does my adding these items affect the profitability of the order? Are other clients purchasing from us without these added items? If I cut the number of planned freebies in half would they still purchase? How much do I really need to include? How might these gradually be phased out?
That leads us to the strategy conversation. Anyone who has ever run a business knows that there can be compelling reasons for providing something at no or low cost. And, we understand the importance of ensuring that doing so results in a positive impact for our business and our customers that doesn’t have negative long-term consequences. That requires purpose, forethought and planning.
If you have items that are slow sellers and/or product that spoils, you might decide to use those as loss leaders to help drive sales elsewhere. If your business model is one of high volume, your rates may have to remain low to stay competitive. Entrepreneurs may decide to initially offer their products and services at lower rates to generate clientele and much needed capital. There are a myriad of other sound business reasons to provide added value, and with each a specific plan should be crafted that answers how many can we afford to give? How often? At what rate? For what period of time? Always include a specific end date with these offers.
Be sure your sales team is well aware of your pricing strategy, including any thresholds or ranges you’ve established. For the sake of protecting your business, they must know what they are permitted to include and the lines they cannot cross and they must be willing and able to walk away when asked to cross those lines.
Now more than ever it’s critical to have a sales and pricing strategy in place to ensure that your business is presented properly and profit goals are protected. It’s equally critical to have the right team of sellers who buy in to your strategy, have belief in your product’s value and the courage to stand firm on price, where needed. We have found that pricing concessions are always made in the absence of having either a sound strategy and/or the right team.
Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it – Charles R. Swindoll
A story is told of two men who lived in a small village who got into a terrible dispute that they could not resolve. So they went to the town sage. The first man went to the sage’s home and told his version of what happened. When he finished, the sage said, “You’re absolutely right.”
The next night, the second man called on the sage and told his side of the story. The sage responded, “You’re absolutely right.”
Afterward, the sage’s wife scolded her husband. “Those men told you two different stories and you told them they were absolutely right. That’s impossible—they can’t both be absolutely right.” The sage turned to his wife and said, “You’re absolutely right.” The sage controlled how each man approached their dispute by the simple power of agreement. How nice it would be if things really were so simple.
The humor from that story is not lost on CEO’s who look at their prospects for 2013 and how the global economy will affect their bottom line. A recent study released by The Conference Board highlights their thinking and how they plan to approach this New Year with a different strategy. The point being, external global economic factors may be out of their control but not everything internally.
In data collected between September and November 2012, over 700 senior executives were asked to identify and rank the most pressing challenges they face, and their strategies for addressing each one. Worldwide, human capital – how to best develop, engage, manage, and retain talent- was named the leading challenge. Operational excellence stood in second place, followed by innovation and customer relationships. This new shift among CEO’s worldwide quite possibly fits the running narrative for your company in 2013.
American theologian Reinhold Niebur penned the words to what is commonly known as the Prayer of Serenity. It reads, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Like many CEO’s worldwide who participated in the survey your plans may have shifted from the uncontrollable to the controllable. The uncontrollable can be difficult to accept, but as you focus on what you can your perspective begins to change. Here are a few tips to help you chart the course and three questions you must answer going forward.
Bloom where you are planted with an eye to the future. What is out of your control now can be a bright spot in your future. Prepare today in order to prosper tomorrow. As you ride out external cycles you can train your talent, develop their skills, and raise up your leaders. When you bloom where you are planted you are putting down roots that will position you for the long term. The future can be promising but only if you are prepared.
Perfect your craft. Well within your control is the quality of your product and how it is delivered. Take the time while you have it to improve quality, delivery, and shore up customer relationships. Now is not the time to stress over things out of your control. Take the initiative and evaluate your systems, streamline for efficiency, and build your brand. It is only as you prefect that which you can control you will be prepared for what is now out of your control.
Create a culture of innovation. The survey highlights how important innovation is to your success. Rebecca Ray, Senior Vice President, Human Capital with The Conference Board said, “As CEO Challenge 2013 shows, human capital is not only a critical function in itself, but is also intimately connected with innovation, operational excellence and other challenges.”
Encourage and promote a culture of innovation with your team. Welcome ideas, reward innovation, and reap the benefits. Remove any and all barriers that stifle create thinking and improvement. Being prepared for what’s next can’t be achieved with narrow minds and lack of vision.
As a leader, you have to answer these three questions: What is out of my control? And then release it. What do I control? And then embrace it. What is the plan? And do it.
Remember Mark Sanford? The Republican governor of South Carolina whose staff famously said he was hiking the Appalachian Trail when he disappeared for days in June 2009 when he was in reality with his mistress in Argentina? Sanford and his wife, the mother of his four children, divorced the following year, and he served out his term as governor ending in early 2011, falling off the radar after that. But Sanford has decided to try to make a political comeback, telling National Review's Jim Geraghty yesterday (January 15th) that he's going to run for the U.S. House seat that was vacated when current Republican Governor Nikki Haley appointed Rep. Tim Scott to replace fellow GOP Senator Jim DeMint, who recently left Congress to head the conservative Heritage Foundation. It's also the seat representing the First District that Sanford previously held, from 1995 to 2001, before being elected governor in 2002. Sanford told Geraghty, "In life we're all going to make mistakes, we're all going to come up short. The key is, how do you get back up and how do you learn from those mistakes? . . . But I think that the bigger issue is, don't judge any one person by their best day, don't judge them by their worst day. Look at the totality, the whole of their life, and make judgments accordingly." Sanford is currently engaged to the Argentinian woman with whom he had the affair.
What do YOU think...will he be re-elected to his old seat?
A noted Psychologist claims the results of a new study show that praising your child in an exaggerated manner might do more harm than good. Stephen Grosz, author of The Examined Life, says saying something to your child like, "you're so clever" might cause to be unhappy because they feel they cannot meet the false expectation. He recommends bestowing compliments less frequently and using phrases that acknowledge the child for "trying really hard." In the study, psychologists from Columbia University asked about 130 students between ages ten and 11 to solve a number of math problems. Afterwards, some kids were told they did very well and were very clever, while others were told they did very well and that they must've tried really hard. Both groups of children were then given more difficult problems to solve, and researcher found that children who were told they were clever did not do as well as the others. (Daily Mail)
I think that praising your child is of such great value that it can make or break their spirit! It’s something all parents should do. Praise them from staying inside the lines while coloring, or for being creative and working outside the lines. Praise them for wearing matching clothes or for being brave enough to don stripes and checks.
Build them up! Many times, a parent is the ONLY one who will do so all day long!
Don’t be afraid to praise them; kindness is far too often taken for granted! But then again, I’m no psychologist…just a loving and blessed mom and YaYa!
You’re sales team is probably not struggling with prospecting. But, if you’ve ever been frustrated by inaccurate projections, insufficient new business or being shopped for price, this article may be of help.
The main prospecting issues are:
Spending time with people who won’t do business with you.
People who say they’re interested and would like to see your presentation.
Those that give you a projected start date, then can’t be found.
Over the years, I’ve witnessed that sellers too quickly accept their prospect’s response at face value. The rippling effect of this is countless hours of wasted time spent in leaving messages, sending e-mails, creating presentations, incorrect reporting, and revised projections, all of which make business owners and sales managers cringe.
If more sellers practiced skeptical curiosity in all selling activities, there would be more productivity and less meaningless activity. Let me explain. Adopting the following beliefs will help you understand the power of skepticism and help you to qualify and disqualify more quickly.
Belief 1: Prospects should never be taken too seriously, especially when they’re overly positive.
Belief 2: Prospects deliberately don’t divulge all the information so they can keep you guessing and them in control.
Belief 3: Most times they have no intention of switching from their current supplier, even though they’ve asked for quotes, they are just shopping you for price, etc.
Belief 4: They feign interest because their goal is to gather as much information from you as possible at no charge.
Belief 5: They want you to make a presentation and leave a hard copy with them when you leave. This way they’re armed with facts for negotiating with others.
Belief 6: They want your pricing because once they get that from you, they have all the leverage.
Belief 7: The start date they share with you is fictional. Always.
Once you internalize these beliefs and approach your prospects with a healthy dose of skepticism, you’ll better understand the importance of asking more questions to get to the truth. So, let’s review the above three issues and how approaching them skeptically would help. A sampling of questions is included with each for your consideration.
First, only spend time with people who match your ideal target account profile. Then realize that it’s likely they really won’t have a pressing need. That way you’ll be prepared to ask them questions to uncover what they’re struggling with, whether that’s just an irritant or actually costing them money; how important it is for them to fix; what they’ve already done about the issue; whether it’s worked, or if they intend to keep trying on their own. If they’re losing money and they’ve tried everything they can think of to no avail, they need help. How much help depends on the amount they’re losing. Ask for an appointment. Otherwise they don’t have a real need right now, so move on, staying in touch periodically for a pre-determined amount of time.
When prospects say they’re interested in your product/service, don’t get excited. Rather, ask them why? What precisely are they interested in? What’s happened to put them in the market to buy? Who else are they contacting? Who are they currently working with? Why would they switch? Ask them when they’ll make a decision. Why then? Ask them about their key buying factors, price, delivery, etc. If they’ll only buy from the low bidder, your company’s policy will dictate whether you continue. If their request is simply part of an annual bid process, you should know some history. How often have they changed suppliers after bids were submitted? If bids enable them to get better pricing from a current vendor without making a change, that’s precisely what they’ll do and you want to know that upfront. I suggest you not play that game. However, if they’re experiencing issues with a supplier, discovering exactly what those are will help you determine your next steps.
When they give you a start date and ask you to let them think about it for a while, I hate to say it, but they now hold all the cards. Once you’ve given them pricing, they have all they need to leverage your information against others; and, can take their sweet time in making the decision. So, now what do you do? Apologize, saying that you obviously misunderstood they would be making a decision that day. Ask what information you’ve left out because it’s clear they still have concerns or questions. If they say everything’s fine, ask for the order. If they still won’t give it to you, it’s a glaring sign that they aren’t serious buyers. State when your current offer expires and be clear that if a decision hasn’t been made by then you’ll have to resubmit. If they’re the decision maker and are really in the market to buy, they’ll have a date, a budget and be able to decide. If not, they’ll string you along.
So, if you’re tired of spinning your wheels and would like greater success with prospecting and generating new business, become skeptically curious. Do so sooner rather than later.