Strategies To Increase Sales Through Leadership

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Market leadership starts with knowing which market you want to lead. ~ Mike Clark

Is your sales team clear on your strategy?

Is each team member focused?

Do you lead your market niche?

When analysing successful companies, there are many lessons to be learnt. Countless articles are written on leadership styles, culture, vision, values and marketing prowess. Many of these are difficult to duplicate in small to medium businesses. We simply do not have the resources of manpower, budget, market share, brand power, etc. Yet each of these ‘giants’ started small.

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A lesson we can take from their growth story, and continued success, can be summed up in a single word: “Focus” Successful companies get clear on:
Who they are best set up to serve
What they offer
Why people want it & what people are really buying (remember people do not buy what you sell - they buy what it does for them)

Clarity bring focus. One of the best tools to help focus marketing and sales efforts is The Awnsoff Matrix. 

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Use the above matrix to decide which strategy will best suit your growth plans and then aim to be the best at what you do in that space. Owning a space requires clarity on what you say “yes” to and saying “no” to a lot of options.

Where will your your company excel? What strategy is best for your team to use with your client base? Would you be best trialling a few options/strategies and seeing which is the most successful?

Chart your path. Travel the course. Check in on progress – Review. Improve. Become the best at what you do for the people you are best set up to serve.

Managing As A Working Parent

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“You’re like a mother duck with all your little ducklings trailing along behind.”  The observation was shared uninvited as I worked through the monthly shop, five helpers scurrying to various places for needed items, a small child seated in the trolley and another growing in my swollen belly.

Nowadays, the supermarket shop is vastly different – although many of our ducklings have flown the coop, there are still a few to grow, and dovetailing this with a managing a thriving business has its challenging days.  “How do you manage?” is still a question I field between creating videos for our business, organising client bookings and travel logistics, and mothering four school children while maintaining relationship with six adult offspring scattered near and far across New Zealand.

It's a journey. From managing our schoolwork as children, to managing our personal lives as we head into adulthood, to managing working 40 hours a week while managing our personal lives, we are set up in life to increase our skills and ability at managing, on a fairly constant basis. Here are my top three tips for management.

 #1 Prioritise. Management comes with an implication – you have to prioritise.  You have to know what’s important and what is urgent and what is distraction.  I remember a time when I would repeg the washing my mother-in-law hung, so it fitted my way of how it should be done.  Now I am grateful when the washing is hung and only repeg if the person who thought that item of clothing would dry pegged into a bunched up heap like that, is not around to retrain how to do it so it dries effectively and quickly, efficiently using line space which is occasionally at a premium.

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#2 Vision. Knowing what you’re working to achieve and getting there are not the same thing.  Directing, keeping account, training and delegation are necessary for survival, but more than that, they are necessary to achieve the goal. There are too many things to be done to get them all done yourself.  A good manager knows how to delegate, and how to maximise the potential of their team.  This comes bundled with a necessity to know your people – their strengths and weaknesses, their roles and responsibilities, and to help them to own their “cog in the clock”, to contribute to the team as a whole, and to grow personally.

#3 Keep people accountable. Listening to Mike discuss deeply with a potential client, and promise to have a proposal to them in the next couple of days, I found it necessary to point out the list of things that he had jotted down to do before the weekend and remind him that while he’s pretty incredible, he only has a finite amount of time.  It was logistically impossible to do everything and he needed to refocus on giving realistic timelines to clients.  Ensuring that you can have real, building and aligning conversations with your team creates an environment of trust which means both the team and the business thrive.

As you hit your workplace today, whether it’s simply your own role you’re managing (I know – that may not be simple); managing people in a team;  or managing a home/work balance – keep focused on the big picture while working through the details, daily routines, and tasks that need to be done.  Get the big and important things done first, and enjoy the journey.

Here’s to your success!

Do You Have Self Mastery?

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Lead yourself first, then look to lead others.  - Mike Clark

If you were an animal what would you be? Why did you choose that? What animal would you pick for the people you work the closest with? Thinking about that, how would the harmony be in the menagerie that would then be created? As humans we are all so different in many ways. Shaped by our families, upbringing, culture, beliefs, experiences, birth order and so much more. There are countless leadership articles on how to be a better leader, the 8 key traits, the 7 fundamentals, the 12 laws, etc. Working with so many leaders across a huge range of businesses I have found that the most effective leaders have one key factor in common - they have mastered themselves. So what does self mastery actually look like?

  • Settled in who they are. Accept themselves and work to their strengths and surround themselves with people who can counter their weaknesses.
  • Empathetic in nature. Their self awareness allows them to put themselves in others' situations and see things from a different perspective.
  • Like themselves. This is different from arrogance and pride. It is self acceptance that is at peace with oneself. “The man in the mirror” is their friend.
  • Freedom from other people's opinions or judgments. While input from others is welcomed, it does not dictate how they view themselves.
  • Mindset that is growth orientated. Challenges are accepted and seen as opportunities to grow and improve.
  • Action orientated. Self mastery increases willpower enabling leaders to achieve more because they master their emotions rather than being dictated to by them.
  • Set habits that help them. We are the sum of our routines and rituals and with this knowledge great leaders develop habits that serve them well.
  • Take time for what is important in their life. This includes taking time to discover what is important. Clarity allows focus. We make time for what we value.
  • Encouraging in the way they speak to and about themselves. The realisation of the power of words means leaders effectively encourage themselves and the people they work and rub shoulders with. 
  • Respect is an essential element. Respect for oneself which is reflected every aspect of how they conduct themselves, overflowing to those around them.
  • Yearning to live in the present moment, while living to be all that they can be. Leaders decide who they want to be, live this way every moment of every day and that is who they become.

Lead yourself to the life you truly want and as you do so you will be amazed to see you have followers. Step out, and become a master of yourself.

Here's to your success!

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Growth Occurs Outside Your Comfort Zone

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Get uncomfortable.  Sensibly and with guidance, but get there. - Mike Clark

Do you have a desire to improve yourself? Do you want a better reality than the one you currently have? Do you feel you could be more, have more, do more?

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“Personal growth” is one of today’s fastest growing industries, coming a close second behind health. Personal growth occurs in many ways and can be applied to every facet of your life. Skills are developed by doing, repetition, practise. I see skill enhancement as the honing of what you already have. A way to improve inside your current circle of comfort and ability. Today I wanted to explore what happens outside of your comfort zone.

Stepping outside of your comfort zone is uncomfortable (funny thing that!). The further the stretch, the greater the the corresponding levels of caution, fear and anxiety. Often people look at others who push themselves and think it must be so easy for them. Countless interviews reveal that they “felt the fear and did it anyway.” Caution and fear at the unknown is your brain's way of keeping you alive.

When we are clear around why we want to go out of our comfort zone, it emboldens purpose. The art of visualization is a powerful tool at this step. Take time to ‘see’ the new reality and how it will make a positive difference. It is at this point where a positive, growth mindset enables action. Seeing any ‘failure’ as a learning experience. Watching kids learning to walk or ride a bicycle is an inspiring illustration of this.

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Self talk is incredibly powerful. The way you talk to yourself and about yourself will either limit or liberate you. If you make a mistake or have a failed attempt and proceed to beat yourself up verbally - “Trust me to stuff this up. I never get things right. I’m so dumb”, then progress will be hard and painful. Seeing mistakes as learning opportunities changes the whole internal conversation, “That did not work. What can I learn from that? How can I do that differently or better next time?” is an far more empowering and liberating approach. The “Little Train that could” is a children's story that is a superb illustration of this. As it pulled the supplies up the hill, the mantra it speaks to itself is, “I think I can, I think I can” and as progress is made, “I’m sure I can, I’m sure I can.” Then, “I know I can, I know I can”. With this approach the end result is the excited proclamation, “I did, I did!”

One of the greatest benefits of stepping outside your comfort zone is the extraordinary ability of the human mind to correlate experiences. When we have done something we know is extraordinary for us, maybe run a marathon, or deliver a talk to a large audience we enlarge our self image. This then enables us to look at tasks that previously lay outside our comfort zone and say, “If I can do that, then I can do this.”

Growth in ability, leads to an enlargement of self image which leads to greater challenges being considered and surmounted. It is a self-fulfilling, positively trending upward cycle - growth! What could you stretch yourself to achieve today?

Here's to your success!

What Tools Do You Use?

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Everything must be made as simple as possible, but not one bit simpler.  -Albert Einstein

Today finds me back hunting for time. If life is a game then time must be the gold coins you pick you with great delight and glee. They are hidden in the most peculiar places and today I thought I would share some treasures I could not do without and some I have recently found.

Google Doc and their new File Share format is amazing! We completely shifted over to this and have seen a marked difference in collaboration and finding files. A new survey by SearchYourCloud revealed “workers took up to 8 searches to find the right document and information.” “According to a McKinsey report, employees spend 1.8 hours every day— 9.3 hours per week, on average—searching and gathering information. Put another way, businesses hire 5 employees but only 4 show up to work; the fifth is off searching for answers, but not contributing any value.” Source: Time Searching for Information. Google sheets is a new tool we are exploring to reduce the time we spend capturing data - if we succeed on all fronts we will use less reams of paper and save 10’s of hours of data capturing.

I am grateful to Nigel Macintyre from Advance Flooring for suggesting the following social media tools that will deliver you more time in your week but maintain or even enhance your effectiveness.

Klout https://klout.com/home This is what gives you the KPI/score on how all your platforms are performing and more importantly which ones are getting used and which aren’t by your audience. A high profile person like Sonny Bill Williams or Taylor Swift can expect to have a score very close to 100, out of 100.

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A very good company rarely gets past 50 but you can at least see how you are going. You link all your profiles to it. IFTTT(IF this then that) https://ifttt.com/ – essentially a tool you set up like a recipe that if you do something on one profile it automatically does something on others – this way you can concentrate on posting well on the ones that matter(as proven by Klout) and don’t waste time and energy on the others but it is still actually happening.

Buffer - https://buffer.com/ This buffers/drip feeds your media out over whatever period of time you set which saves getting a surge of views etc when you do the posting and then nothing until next time: just spreads it out which is more appealing to followers. Task switching is a thief that is scaringly efficient at stealing time. Computers, internet and social media only make it easier to fall victim. According to www.statista.com, as of 2017 the daily social media usage of global internet users amounted to 135 minutes per day, up from 126 daily minutes in the previous year.

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Reading Jill Konrath’s excellent book “More Sales Less Time”, two time-tracking apps that she has suggested for tracking digital behaviour are: RescueTime www.rescuetime.com for your computer and for your phone or tablet using Moment or BreakFree. At the end of each day the programme tells you how much time you have spent on various applications as well as different websites. If you are prone to self sabotaging distractions, Freedom app https://freedom.to/ will “block all online time-sucks for whatever timeframe you designate”.

Know the Course - Stay the Course

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Success is made up more of the continual movement forward than one-off actions - Mike Clark

For the month of April we chose the topic of “overcoming.” We set the topic at the beginning of the year and it has been an interesting topic to delve into. For me the topic resonated around the resolutions I have set towards achieving our goals especially in the area of being more consistent and focused.

It has not been without challenges as I suffer from “the next shiny thing” syndrome and overcoming being distracted by the exciting, new, interesting has been too easy. The key difference this year is that I am quicker to self correct. I resolved to ‘stay the course’ this year. When I see I am off track with our annual goals I go back to what I know is important.

My 4 keys for to help you STAY the course:

Set what you want. This is crucially important. It needs to be done properly. Yes it is hard doing this. It is much easier to set some goals to sound right and move on. Don’t do this. Setting what you want requires clarity in what success looks like, why you want it and what life will look like when you achieve this. In setting your goal, ensure you set the strategic goals and the daily KPI’s. The better these are set, the sooner you will know when you are off track.

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Team clarity on the goal is key. When the team knows what they are aiming for and why, then there is an exponential amount of unified effort - synergy in motion! We all know we are far more likely to do something when we know someone is going to check on us. Leverage this tendency by regular reporting and transparent progress against KPI’s.

Action gets results. Planning has its place but it is only as good as the action it creates! Have good reporting that shows how close you are to achieving your goal. Great feedback is quick and precise and allows you to adjust your actions as necessary.

Yield of your efforts is important. ROI is one of the most important measurements in business. Ensure you are getting the return you want. Financial return is only one measure. Faith, family, friends, contribution, learning, health and wellbeing are all important make a complete life that is worth living. Your goals and actions must align and be underpinned by your values and your greater life purpose.

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When you know who you want to be, you can set out each day and be that person and that is who you will become. Know what matters. Focus clearly on that. Start and STAY the course!

Here's to your success!

Being Consistent

 Last year I came across Chris Bates on LinkedIn and was impressed with how he posted every day. At that stage I was doing one blog and a post or two a week. What struck me the most is that Chris, much like myself, chose to share information and interesting viewpoints rather than pitch and sell.  In December as we reviewed our business and marketing plan for 2018 I reached out to Chris and asked if the daily posts worked for him. He generously replied with straight forward answer and advice, “Yep works very well :) stay consistent and be yourself.”  2018 has seen me post most days. It does work. The “be yourself” bit I find easy. The “stay consistent” bit - not so much. I have stuck with it however and these are the 10 things I have learnt about being consistent.   Clarity  matters. Be clear on what you will do, when, with what purpose, and know why you are doing it, then commit to it completely..   Only  commit to what you know can manage ongoing. In the past my tendency to leap into “the next shiny project and idea” has seen me over-commit and over-promise.   Nail  down a time and ideally make it part of a routine - it makes it a lot easier to remember and to action!   Stick  with it! 3 or 4 out of 5 days is not a failure - it is better than before and the more you do it the easier it is to do. Keep going. Habits take a while to form and stick.   Images  make a difference with doing a post. It is a lot easier to write when there is a picture. Look for ways that inspire and make following through easier for you.   Standardise  as much as you can. I aim to share a tip people can apply immediately or to ask a challenging question, or share an insight. Using those 3 formats reduces thinking time which increases my bias towards action. (Nothing quite like over thinking to convince yourself you will get back to it later!)   Tell  someone who can hold you to account. Tip: Pick someone you do not want to let down and whom you know is not going to be ‘nice & understanding’ but rather hold you to account. We all know we are much more likely to do something if someone is going to check in on us.   Examine  your progress honestly and look for what you do well - and repeat it (For me the ‘Images’ and ‘Standardised format’ work well). Also look for what you could improve on and improve on it. We had my brother and sister in law stay for 2 weeks and my post suffered because our routine was thrown. (at the end of the two weeks the “stick with it” while not beating yourself up was very useful!)   No excuses . While this might seem to contradict the above it actually is more aligned with “Sticking to it”. Life happens. Let it be a speed bump, not a breakdown. It is so easy to get to the end of a ‘bad patch’ (my 2 weeks) and go “Oh that didn't work” and not continue. Don’t entertain excuses.   Time  waits for no man or woman! As we teach in our “Time optimisation creating effective teams” course - time is the only thing we are all born equal with. It is what you choose to do with what you have that determines your success.  “Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying basic fundamentals.” ― Jim Rohn  What do you need to be more consistent with? When will you start? If you have a tip that you can share to help myself and others be more consistent please do share it!

Last year I came across Chris Bates on LinkedIn and was impressed with how he posted every day. At that stage I was doing one blog and a post or two a week. What struck me the most is that Chris, much like myself, chose to share information and interesting viewpoints rather than pitch and sell.

In December as we reviewed our business and marketing plan for 2018 I reached out to Chris and asked if the daily posts worked for him. He generously replied with straight forward answer and advice, “Yep works very well :) stay consistent and be yourself.”

2018 has seen me post most days. It does work. The “be yourself” bit I find easy. The “stay consistent” bit - not so much. I have stuck with it however and these are the 10 things I have learnt about being consistent.

Clarity matters. Be clear on what you will do, when, with what purpose, and know why you are doing it, then commit to it completely..

Only commit to what you know can manage ongoing. In the past my tendency to leap into “the next shiny project and idea” has seen me over-commit and over-promise.

Nail down a time and ideally make it part of a routine - it makes it a lot easier to remember and to action!

Stick with it! 3 or 4 out of 5 days is not a failure - it is better than before and the more you do it the easier it is to do. Keep going. Habits take a while to form and stick.

Images make a difference with doing a post. It is a lot easier to write when there is a picture. Look for ways that inspire and make following through easier for you.

Standardise as much as you can. I aim to share a tip people can apply immediately or to ask a challenging question, or share an insight. Using those 3 formats reduces thinking time which increases my bias towards action. (Nothing quite like over thinking to convince yourself you will get back to it later!)

Tell someone who can hold you to account. Tip: Pick someone you do not want to let down and whom you know is not going to be ‘nice & understanding’ but rather hold you to account. We all know we are much more likely to do something if someone is going to check in on us.

Examine your progress honestly and look for what you do well - and repeat it (For me the ‘Images’ and ‘Standardised format’ work well). Also look for what you could improve on and improve on it. We had my brother and sister in law stay for 2 weeks and my post suffered because our routine was thrown. (at the end of the two weeks the “stick with it” while not beating yourself up was very useful!)

No excuses. While this might seem to contradict the above it actually is more aligned with “Sticking to it”. Life happens. Let it be a speed bump, not a breakdown. It is so easy to get to the end of a ‘bad patch’ (my 2 weeks) and go “Oh that didn't work” and not continue. Don’t entertain excuses.

Time waits for no man or woman! As we teach in our “Time optimisation creating effective teams” course - time is the only thing we are all born equal with. It is what you choose to do with what you have that determines your success.

“Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying basic fundamentals.” ― Jim Rohn

What do you need to be more consistent with? When will you start? If you have a tip that you can share to help myself and others be more consistent please do share it!

Balance

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Balance - a simple word, holding in it the promise of peace and equilibrium; sought after by cultures, countries, religions, people of every race and creed.

Do you want it? Do you have it?

Mindfulness is a current trend that holds, as one of its appealing attractions, more “balance”. Looking into mindfulness, I was intrigued to discover that it has been around in mainstream society for years under the rather boring (albeit self explanatory) title of “attention training”.

In an increasingly noisy, distracting world the growing cry for more balance is easy to understand. Be it a work-life balance, or family time/personal time; screen time/outdoor time; exercise/food – we know it is good for us but can seem to be a little elusive. A pot of gold at the bottom of the ever moving rainbow, the elixir of life, the philosophers stone! While I do not have any of those, below are what I have found works (when I apply it!).

Have a look at how you actively create balance in your life, and encourage it in your team and family.

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Be present. Be in the moment. Every moment.

Attentiveness is a gift to yourself and other. There is greater depth and joy with increased attention to the present moment.

Live in the present. It is a gift. We are born to live not just exist. Find out what makes you feel alive and do that often.

Appreciate your blessings. It creates an attitude of gratitude. Be aware and grateful for what you do have rather than all that you don’t have. Living in appreciation makes you happier.

Now is the only moment you absolutely have control of. Live in the now. Make the most of now.

Create the life you want, purposely, with vision, persistence, and care.

Every day has its up’s & downs. Learn. Grow. Enjoy the journey!

Be Attentive, Live Appreciating Now Creatively, Entirely

Process - The Answer To Everything

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Question time finished and after the customary photo I could scarcely wait to call and share my biggest learning with the team – “The answer to everything is process!” Earlier this year I was privileged to hear All Black Ben Smith share some insights on Team Motivation and high performance. My single biggest takeaway is wrapped up in one word “Process.” As we look at the topic of “Flow” with our Learning BITES I felt it was perfect to briefly share my top takeaway.

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AARRGGHH!!

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Ever looked at something someone in your workplace has done and slapped your hand against your face in absolute frustration? Or burst out in anger and outrage? What were they thinking? Did they even think? From observation in many sessions of our team training, it would seem this is not an unusual state for team members to find themselves in. This week, I was reminded again that observation is not the same as experience, and that theory is best understood in practice.

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The Power of Choice

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I remember the first time I encountered Dale Carnegie’s classic book – How To Win Friends and Influence People. My free-flowing mind had never encountered the idea of choice over its pathway. If it took me to a state of joy, or of anger, or of despair, I had previously thought that I was at the mercy of where ever life and circumstances had led me. The challenge of Carnegie’s book for me was that I have a choice. I can influence the path of my life by the things I choose to think about, focus on and give my time to. So can you.

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Appreciate Your Community

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In the busyness of everyday it can be so easy to get caught up in “our own little world”. We can drive, walk and pass by people and places without even seeing them. How often on your regular run to work have you arrived and had to double check with yourself that you actually drove there - because you really don’t remember it?

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Tough Calls - Reality Check

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How many calls do you get in a day? Ever had one that made you stop and gave you a reality check? We had one this week. Saw a call coming in from Australia and answered thinking it was a work call. It was my in-law's next door neighbour. She told me to sit down and then said that my Mum and Dad in-law had dropped 5 meters off an embankment and had been cut out of their car and taken to hospital in highly critical condition.

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Choose What To Focus On

Travel has a way of bringing the best and worst in people. After the hottest January in NZ history, the month ended with a super moon and February started off with more rain in one day than is expected for the whole month. This great combination caused newsworthy weather and, as happens, caused some flight disruptions.

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The Best and Worst of Meetings

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The best meetings don’t waste people’s time. They add value to businesses and team members by giving them the opportunity to tackle issues collaboratively, and by involving every member. They are action- based, not appearance-based. In other words,their purpose is to get something done which needs to be done. It may be to create a product or form a strategy, or it may be to foster internal connections and an understanding of each team member’s importance in the business. They value the people and the purpose of the meeting. They have a goal, a structure and an outcome. Whether your meetings are regular or spontaneously as required; contribution, acknowledgement and action focus make the best use of the time your people have chosen (or are required) to invest in turning up.

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START!

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The key to success is to start before you are ready ~ Marie Forleo

How do you create a successful business; run a marathon; raise happy, healthy children to adulthood; build a community? There is a common element in the success of these widely differing goals – each one requires a start. From flipping burgers, to running the first mile, to looking into the face of your baby, to settling in the place you live – each one is a start of something bigger – a small step in large journey. Start is a verb – a doing word. As we begin this new year, here are a few suggestions on making a START.

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Most Important Client Visit of the Year

Regular client visits have long been a passion topic of mine. The little e-book “Repeat Sales Calls made easy” was written in response to a questions I often get in sales training around ‘what to say when you are seeing a customer several times in a year.’

If you regularly visit key accounts, which visit would you say was the most important?

I would argue that...