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February 2016 Topics:

February 5th, 2016

As of 2/1/16 The New Blog can be found at http://charlievanhecke.com/

Topics: The Link between Attitude, Motivation and Goal Setting

Recent feedback suggests that people like stimulating situations with practical solutions. First, I’m going to tell you about a friend who built his dream house. This real life story highlights the role of visualization, belief and persistence in goal attainment.

Then we’ll borrow from Peter Drucker’s famous management theory and apply our version, both to losing weight, and then to resolving a business’s cash flow problem. The objective is to apply S.M.A.R.T. goals to personal and professional accomplishment.
Finally, we’ll do a simple exercise that can really open up your own goal-setting process. You may be able to apply the same ideas and techniques to building your own future.

These stories prove that success requires a positive attitude, drive and organization. There are real ‘how to’ steps and skills to help your development. Make sure that you sign up for the blogs so that you get all the content sent directly to your personal email account!

Is Gratitude One Key to Happiness?

November 26th, 2014

According to the Harvard Medical School: “Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.” {1} So what brings on thoughts and feelings of gratitude? I believe we must know who and what we value. Further, we need to ask ourselves internal questions to build an attitude of gratitude. Yes it rhymes and this helps and reminds. It is a matter of conditioning our minds to be grateful. The next question is ‘how do we allow our gratitude to manifest?’

Say Thank You!
‘Thank you’ is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding.’ {2}Alice Walker

I once watched a young sales person skyrocket into management with two simple words: Thank You! She thanked her employees, her customers, her managers and everyone else. On the surface, it might appear that this is some sort of fake gimmick. Rather, she had come from humble beginnings. Her new job meant clothes, transportation and a sense of purpose. This example of extreme gratitude suggests that our outward behavior reflects our inner attitude.

Getting to this core feeling and intuition of deep, extreme gratitude may mean we need to remind ourselves of where we came from; who we love and the blessings that we have had in our lives. Do we love our freedom? Living in the shadow of Monticello, I am becoming aware of Human Rights.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” {3}Thomas Jefferson

I am not right because I am white. I am no better (and no worse) than you or anyone else. Equality suggests respect and I believe the best way to show that is to say Thank You to anyone who serves me. Tips also help. I AM grateful for America. It humbles me to have the parents I have and hope to God I can become more like them. I pray my heart can soften to the torment of others. Life can make us tough but it must not harden our hearts.

As we move into this Thanksgiving holiday in 2014, let’s make gratitude a habit. I believe it will make you healthier and wealthier. Saying Thank You will promote better relationships and a culture of respect. If I forgot to say this along the way, thank you. Thank you for your hard work and your contributions. Thank you for being a fellow American and for your service. Let us condition ourselves to appreciate others by counting our blessings daily. If you are healthy, then smile. If your family is safe then be grateful. If there is food on your plate, then appreciate it. Live. Be Free. Be Happy.

[1] http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/harvard_mental_health_letter/2011/november/in-praise-of-gratitude

[1] http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/a/alice_walker.html

[1] http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html

Why Ask Questions?

June 2nd, 2014
The ability to ask questions and to qualify are two core competencies in sales. In Dan Pink’s Book ‘To Sell is Human” he states:

“In the New World of Sales, being able to ask the right questions is more valuable than producing the right answers.” Pink. To Sell is Human. Riverhead. 2012 p 147

Whether you target businesses or consumers in your industry, you need questioning abilities to connect and to engage your customers. I agree with Dan Pink when he says “we are all in sales”.

On this site, you will find references to a new book “The Art of the Q.” I wrote this because I passionately believe that questions and qualification (a sequence of questions) will help you to save time.  Further, my experience is that people who ask the right questions make more money! Why?

Questions help you understand the needs and wants of your customers.

Questions help you counsel buyers to identify and to remove obstacles that stand in the way of your success.

The difference between “The Art of the Q” and other books is that it is based on 17 actual case studies with real life examples. You get actual questions stripped from high performing sales people that you can immediately use in your day to day business life. If you want to download “The Art of the Q”, it is available in e-book (Amazon.com | Barnes and Noble). A print version is coming soon.

You probably use questions now. My hope is that you have the desire to hone these skills to become an expert in communications. I hope you will also share YOUR questions (and answers) with me at facebook/salestrainer4U!

Thank you,

Charlie Van Hecke

 

Book Review: “Please Understand Me” by Kiersey and Bates

March 20th, 2012

Personality is one dimension of psychology that is both interesting and practical. In the classic book “Please Understand Me” by Kiersey and Bates, there is support for the research conducted by Myers-Briggs. One immediate gain you will get is a self-test (non-computerized) that is easy to grade. Once your ‘type’ is identified, you can read about your tendencies and preferences.

This book is recommended for:

  • Improving family relationships
  • Getting along better with the opposite sex
  • For sales / business people who would like  to learn how to influence others

This is the book that popularized the term “extrovert and introvert.” Most people believe that an Extrovert can be identified as a social person. That is a tendency of an extrovert, but the real way to understand either an Extrovert or an Introvert is to understand how they recharge their batteries. “The person who chooses people as a source of energy probably prefers extraversion, while the person who prefers solitude to recover energy tends toward introversion.”[1] A very common misconception is that introverted people do not enjoy people or socializing. In my family, we have two extroverts and two introverts.  All four members of the family enjoy friends, family and parties. Each member of the family mixes at a party; engages in conversation and would be described as friendly. The two introverts are drained after hours of interaction and need time alone to get recharged. The two extroverts have 100 % battery power! But extroverts get drained as well by having long periods of solitude, paperwork or individual assignments.

By taking time to understand (and discuss) our differences, you can be more considerate. As an extrovert, my adjustment would be to tame the socializing and leave the party at a decent hour. The very fact that you have taken an effort to learn and adapt to family members is a goodwill gesture. A great application of “Please Understand Me” is taking the Myers-Briggs personality test and comparing types. For instance, my wife and I have opposite characteristics. The section on potential clashes in personality between our two types was both fascinating and eerily accurate.

There are many more dimensions to the Myers-Briggs personality studies. Some of the topics include:

  1. How We Learn (and Teach!)
  2. Decision Making dynamics
  3. Task vs. Relationship orientation

Displaying the book on the kitchen table normally generates curiosity and spurs conversation. When someone in the family asks ‘what are you reading?’; Just reply “Oh, I’m reading about you!’ (then make eye contact and smile!) You can put the book down and in about 15 minutes, someone is looking at your copy trying to see what you are learning! That is the chance (the opening) to read (out loud) the passages that relate to your family and friends. Don’t miss this opportunity – it’s why you got the book!

Imagine if you could extend that positive energy towards co-workers and customers. So there are several pay-offs for reading “Please Understand Me.” That’s good because while the first third of the book is easy reading, you will have to be motivated and persistent to get through the middle section of type comparisons. I’ve read this book four times and still find nuggets in different sections. But building better relationships is hard work, right? My prediction is that you will get years of enjoyment out of the knowledge and skills gained by reading this fundamentally sound book about the Myers-Briggs personality research.  If you apply it in business, it should improve your ability to positively impact people and get more profitable results. Challenge yourself to purchase, read and apply “Please Understand Me.”


[1]
Please Understand Me. Kiersey and Bates. 1984. Promethetheus Nemesis Book
Company.

Friday – “Everybody’s Working for the Weekend!”

September 16th, 2011

Back in the day – there was a band called Loverboy. They had a song that still gets airtime called “Everybody’s working for the Weekend.” Friday at 5 you can often hear this on F.M. stations – but I have never heard it on satellite radio.  For my sales activities, my week normally ends with filling out my expense reports and creating a to do list for the following week. In regular times, I would be whistling this iconic song and head to the golf course around 2 P.M.

But, recent economic developments have changed the possible meaning of this song.

All across America, I meet people who are working the weekends to make ends meet. Perhaps these folks want to pay off debt – or maybe they are trying to make the mortgage payment. Some are starting companies without the help of a bank. So literally, “Everybody’s Working for the Weekend.”

So like these fellow Americans, my work week is not over – just the end to my day job.

On the weekends, I’ve been building a new company:

  • Activities included getting organized as an S Corporation (Legal Zoom – it’s easy!)
  • Creating Web Sites (Use a professional – it’s not cheap, but well worth it)
  • Writing a book and producing an audio

At first, it seemed like a grind and a drain on expenses. Then, I took a more long term approach. If I just did two things each weekend, every month would yield incremental improvements, The investment was less because I was making small changes. Best of all – it’s tax deductable!

So yes, “Everybody’s Working for the Weekend” – and so am I.

Thursday is for Following Up

September 15th, 2011

You have stirred up so much activity this week, that someone is going to order, right? That’s true if you believe in following up on your activity:

  • When you send an e-mail or letter, you follow up with a phone call
  • If you finish a web meeting or live consultation, then you send a thank you note or text message
  • After you send a proposal by e-mail, you may want to follow it up with a phone call to make sure that it did not get caught in the Spam folder of your email application!
  • When you connect on social media, you may want to send a message on linkedin or facebook thanking your new contact!

One of the great things about technology is pop-up reminders:

  • You can put in tasks and follow up items that will pop up and remind you.
  • Most Customer Relationship Management software applications (Sage Act!, salesforce.com, etc…) have more detailed records with the reminders so you actually remember ‘why’ you needed to contact the customer.

Following up is good on any day – not just Thursdays. It shows people that you care and advances the sale. It also builds trust because buyers view you as credible and thorough. If you provide great customer service, you will win the business!

Whirlwind Wednesdays

September 14th, 2011

Whoever coined the phrase ‘Hump Day’ accurately described Wednesday. The middle of the week is so hectic that it’s like a whirlwind. These days often start early and include planes, trains and automobiles. There are proposals to present, objections/obstacles along the way and of course – negotiations. This is the life of a professional sales person. In this pace, the traveler can sometimes lose their way.

Like most men – I don’t like to stop and ask for directions. GPS systems are awesome for guys like us – but logic, maps and facts are not enough for the autonomous professional.

  • We have to use hunches, intuition and emotional intelligence to find our way in life, don’t we?
  • If we stand for something and strive for mastery at our chosen profession – then an internal compass takes over.
  • Values become more important than tactics
  • If you violate your ethics, there is tremendous stress.

The cliché ‘honesty is the best policy’ applies to professional selling. If a mistake has been made, escalate it immediately to management. Apologizing to the customer never hurts (except our pride) and the chance to make up for the mishap can solidify a relationship. There will be disappointments. We cope with these setbacks as we seek greatness in our chosen profession. If you screw up, don’t repeat the same mistake. Take corrective actions and prove to yourself that you can turn this weakness into strength.

Whirlwind Wednesdays are good days to take out the trash. Don’t forget to recycle!

Tuesdays are like salads, fruits and vegetables

September 13th, 2011

Tuesdays to me are a lot like salads, fruits and vegetables. Every plan that was laid out on Monday gets rearranged by customers, situations and clients. Sometimes you want fruit, but you get veggies instead. If you seek achievement, you will have highs and lows throughout the day.

Tuesdays are filled with meetings that include needs analysis and solution based presentations. It will include questioning, listening, technical analysis and clear communication. Concentration balanced with customer centric empathy can yield fruit. There are no guarantees – sometimes you seek peaches and get brussel sprouts.

The purposeful soul seeks accomplishment higher than work. Understanding that setbacks occur prepares us to overcome obstacles or to deal with the fact that we can’t control every outcome. Sometimes people undermine us and it is an opportunity for forgiveness.

Forgiveness is cultural and habitual. In our family, we all have made mistakes. Like most husbands, I’ve learned the words “yes dear” and “I’m sorry.” There are principles and preferences at work in our marriage. There are some things we don’t bend on and there are lots of compromises. Everyone has heard the phrase “pick your battles.” Principles are things you strongly believe in – not just things you want or have opinions about. Preferences are merely individual wants based on personality or situations.

Flexibility is often more an attitude than a strategy. Adjusting to other people – like to their tastes – is an example of being aware of the preferences of others. Being willing to switch restaurants is a good example. She may want salad – you may want steak. Will you adjust?

The real challenge to being empathetic – you know…. understanding the other person’s point of view… is that your own needs and wants can get ignored. So – you have to be assertive if someone starts walking on you. I like the phrase “do you see the word doormat on my back?” You have to watch your tone of voice as you say this – and yes, I get in trouble all the time!

Monday – Aspire to Greatness!

September 12th, 2011

Two leadership attributes are prioritization and organization. Here are some questions that I ask myself at the beginning of every week:

  1. What are my goals this week?
  2. What are the priorities?
  3. What needs to happen and why?

You may be a job seeker or the C.E.O of a major Corporation – but one simple truth still applies. Life without goals is a life without purpose. Purpose fuels motivation – so identify those goals and priorities early in the week. Then, make it happen!

There are action items that usually carry-over from the week before, so it pays to be organized with a task list.

  • This is a coping mechanism for busy people – because items can be put aside and ‘stored for
    later.’ Following up on important tasks means that you get to the finish line.
  • Tackling the most important priorities – or the most time sensitive – gets the week off
    to a smart, focused start.

In addition to professional accomplishment, there are
personal goals to reach as well. Most of us like to be good – or great at our
jobs. Monday is a perfect day to aspire to greatness. It is not enough just to be
motivated – we should reach the heights of our chosen profession.

Greatness at work should not be our only priority. One daily goal you might want to adopt is to
help two people a day.

  • I don’t count opening doors or general politeness – but some form of assistance or positive
    contribution.
  • It may be lifting a suitcase for an elderly person on a plane or
    an anonymous act that no one knows about – those are the best.
  • These positive acts multiply and after a year become exponentially thrilling to the
    soul. It also serves as an example to others who are watching you!

Start out each week aspiring to greatness! Being a leader
means setting your goals and trying your hardest. Set your priorities and use your
time wisely. Along the way – see how many people you can help. Your
contributions matter!

A Week from Sunday

September 11th, 2011

My wife and I took a walk to the historic home of Thomas Jefferson. A walking trail begins at the bottom of the mountain and winds through the beautiful woods, until you reach Monticello.

There is a plaque at the top that says “Thomas Jefferson loved and believed in the people.” I picked 9/11/11 as the day to begin this seven day article series to communicate this sentiment in my own way.

At Monticello, there are gardens, bridges and a large, ancient petrified tree that is hollow. As we were descending the trail, we noticed a father pushing two baby strollers.

  • My wife and I admired the man for taking on two strollers and exercising at the same time.
  • Then – the strollers became entangled and the young man was struggling.
  • We offered to help and he allowed us to push the stroller with one of his children.

At the bottom of the trail, next to the petrified tree – he introduced his family to us. What a privilege to be able to help someone and to meet a young family.

Enjoying Sunday as a day of rest with worship, family and relaxation is ancient, biblical and wise. We need a rested soul built upon a foundation of gratitude. Counting your blessings with humility sets the stage for a service mentality. Isn’t that what 9/11/11 is all about – people that sacrificed and served? As we look ahead – and stop looking backwards – we will need a spirit of common bonding, patriotism and entrepreneurial spirit – just like we had ten years ago.

The next seven days will be a trip outside of the wire and inside the mind of the professional sales person. There will be insights into the imperfect world of the salesman who wants to be your sales trainer. You will get a glimpse of a husband and his unorthodox methods. You will see where practicality overlaps the dream of launching a business. You see – I’m a full time sales person with a weekend American dream. This is my answer to economic uncertainty. Care to come along?

 

 
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