This is the 11th blog of a series, “12 Simple tricks to Success” from Findamentror.com. We reveal one trick each month for you to read and practice so that in 12 months you’ll have developed some habits that can expedite your success. Enjoy!
Just like every trade and profession has its’, “tricks of the trade”, all very successful people have 12 tricks they do, no matter what industry or institution they work in. They do those things consistently. They are important processes that great and successful people follow.
Trick number Eleven:
Keep Books and Sell. . . manage your finances and sell yourself
I think that running our personal life like a successful business is a good idea if we want to be successful and grow our wealth.
One of my mentors once told me that to be successful in business you have to do two things really well. You have to keep impeccable books and you have to sell consistently. We can likely do one adequately and the other really well and survive in business. If we do both poorly we will fail for sure. But when we do both really well, we dramatically increase our chances of success. Same thing goes for personal life.
Business people make up detailed budgets for expenses and revenue. They keep books. They have to for banks and government. They know what’s happening financially in their business or they don’t get loans from banks. As people, we can do the same thing on a personal level, to great detail, like a successful business.
When we watch our personal finances really close we have a better chance of growing our personal wealth. Even if our income is low, we can budget our finances to grow our wealth, when we know what our expenses are in relation to our take home pay. The simple basic rule to follow in all businesses, and personal life, is that we must spend less than we make if we want to grow our wealth.
My mother raised 5 children on her own working a low paying retail job. We struggled and lived on very little and she had almost nothing left over after payday, until the kids left home. Yet, she still managed to grow her wealth enough to give her a comfortable life and own her own home, as well as a car. She never had fancy stuff or a lot of toys, but owning a home and car in Canada put her in the top 20% of the world’s wealthiest people. I’ve traveled to many countries and most of the world’s people would be happy to own a nice little house in Canada and their own car while still being able to pay all the bills, eat well and be healthy.
She was blessed to have been raised in Canada. Her parents emigrated from Poland so she and her siblings could have more than they did. They followed the same rules of spending less than they made and they were able to give their kids a more comfortable life than they had. My mom did the same and so did I. The financial habits were passed down in a natural mentoring environment of parent child relationships.
We all followed the basic rule of spending less than we made. We watched and counted every penny made and spent. It takes discipline but it’s really not that hard.
Successful businesses make budgets to know what they are spending compared to what their revenues are. You and I can do the same thing. When we make personal budgets, we know what’s going on financially for ourselves and we can act accordingly. If we don’t know what we’re spending our money on, we can’t make wise decisions.
Write down what you are spending your money on. Do a personal budget and follow it. I’m sure you know how much you are making. Compare the two and keep it simple — spend less than you make.
Some of us will need an accountant, or outside help, to set up a basic personal finance plan and budget. If you need it, get help. Plan your finances.
The second part of successful living and successful business operation is selling.
Businesses know the importance of selling. They build entire departments for it just like they build accounting departments.
As people we are selling ourselves every day. When we are applying for jobs, we are selling ourselves. When we are building our networks in any way, we are selling ourselves. When we are trying to get new friends or looking for a spouse, at a basic level, we are selling ourselves.
Most people don’t know the basic selling process. Businesses spend thousands and millions of dollars training sales people. I’ve been fortunate to take many sales courses. I worked in the sales field for many years and I owned business for many years after that. By the time I was thirty five I had made over twenty thousand sales calls.
I want to give you the basics of selling. The most important thing to do first is to dispel a myth. Have you ever heard someone say, “You’re a good talker; you’ll make a good sales person”. That is the most incorrect statement to make in regards to sales.
The best sales people are actually the best questioners and the best listeners. After they question and listen, they speak as little as they have to. I promote a Socratic Method of sales. The Socratic Method is about asking questions. The more we ask questions and understand our customers, the easier it is to sell them something they need or want.
Here is the simple Socratic SUCCESS Sales Formula.
Search for customers: Prospect. Talk to as many people as you can about what you are selling and ask questions to see if they want or need what you are offering. Build your network for business or personal wealth.
Understand and share: Introduce yourself briefly and ask questions to understand your customer or potential network person. Get to know them a little on a personal level. Be inquisitive. Show you care.
Clarify: Discovery, qualifying and expectation management is key: Find out exactly what the customer or potential network person wants. Ask questions to know their expectations. Qualify them to make sure you can meet their expectations and that you can provide what they want or need. If you can’t meet expectations or offer them what they really want or need, tell them where to go to meet their needs and wants — refer them. Don’t waste time with the rest of the sales process if they don’t qualify for the product or service you are offering.
Connect on a deeper level. Now that you know what their expectations are and that you can meet those expectations, present your product or service and demonstrate how you can meet their needs and wants. If you’re building a personal network do the same thing. Show them how they will benefit from the relationship — do it informally on a personal level.
Manage expectations and trial close in this part of the process. Closing in the sales process means asking the customer to buy and then closing the sale by writing up the paper work. Trial closing means testing the waters to see if they are ready to buy. Asking a trial closing question might be asking if they think this product or service will meet their needs. It might be asking if they want to pay for this by cash or credit card. It’s testing to see if they really want to buy or engage at this time. If they aren’t ready, we address the objections and concerns by clarifying at a deeper level.
We get clearer on what the needs and wants are, and we adjust expectations accordingly. We ask more questions to make sure we can satisfy the customer needs, wants and expectations. Once we have answered all their objections, concerns and are confident we can meet or exceed expectations, and that our product or service fits for them, we go to the next step.
Execute: ask for the order, close the sale, and manage expectations again. Make sure their expectations are accurate and can be met and exceeded by the company. Then write up the sale. Complete the paper work accurately.
Paper flow, information flow and procedures have to be followed exactly so that any possible future issues can be resolved quickly. Having accurate records of agreements is crucial to success. A sales contract is an agreement that must be kept whether written or verbal. It might be needed to clarify expectations if there is a issue with warranty or service deliverables.
If you are building a personal network or applying for a job, make sure you can do what you said you will do, and keep your agreements (verbal or written).
Survey: Ask how we did. It’s important to know how we are being perceived if we want to grow our customer base or network. The only way to truly do that, is to ask. A survey or questionnaire is a good method for finding out how we are doing or being perceived. When we know where we are making mistakes we can correct ourselves. When we know what we have to improve on we can make adjustments. If we don’t know, we can’t change or fix. Be aware. Ask.
On a personal level, ask your friends and network people how they perceive you. You might learn something about yourself. You might learn about a character goal you need to set and work towards achieving.
Solidify: Follow-up and ask for referrals. Solidify the relationship. Follow up at a later time to make sure the expectations are met and, or, exceeded. Genuinely ask how the customer is doing. If the customer is happy, ask for a referral.
A personal network will naturally grow with introductions when people like us. The more you make an effort to connect with people and show interest in them by asking about them, the more they will like you. People introduce friends all the time. Your network can grow.
We are selling ourselves everyday to some degree. When you get in the habit of using the SUCCESS selling method, your network will grow.
There is one last very important basic component to running a successful business. We have to communicate really well and have cooperation and collaboration between all departments.
Same thing in personal life. We have to communicate really well and build collaboration into our lives. Go back to the 12 tricks posts about communicating (Part 8) and networking (Part 4) and refresh your memory. Keep books, sell, communicate and network and your life will be fulfilling. Cheers. Have a wonderful day. Thanks for reading !
Mike Garska, FindAMentor.com
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