Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting a farm in southern Illinois called Ernst Family Farm. The owner, David Ernst, is a third generation farmer in New Douglas, Illinois. He attended college and studied agricultural science and took over his family farm after his father passed away.
During my hour long visit there, I found three things that you can learn from this farmer that will help you and your business.
- Passion – David has a passion for sustainable farming and cattle raising that is palpable. As he talks about the no-tilling rotation crop farming, you can hear his love of the concept, you can see it in his face. He truly cares about taking care of the earth and taking care of his animals humanely.Passion for product or service is the first thing that YOUR customers will sense about you as you discuss business. When you have passion for offering what is best for the potential client, they will feel that and be attracted to it.
- Lifelong learning – David Ernst didn’t stop learning about agricultural science when he left college. He has continued to attend farming and livestock conferences. He spends time watching YouTube tutorials about sustainable farming. He attends business trainings through the referral organization that he joined this year. Because he continues to learn and grow, so does his farming business!When you spend time to educate yourself about your product, service, clients, sales, customer retention, customer service, general business education and more, that learning will pay you back in dividends. You will learn things not only about your business, but also about yourself.
- Delegation – Through his continued self education, David learned about the full benefit of earthworms to the soil for both tilling (earth movement) and fertilization (worms eat the organic material in soil and their waste further fertilizes the soil). He used to use tractors to till his acreage four times a year. By building up the population of earthworms, they now till the soil SIX times a year without the use of fossil fuels or harsh fertilizers. He is now able to use the time that he spent tilling to do other things for his farm, including marketing his beef, pork and beefalo meat sales.
What parts of your business can you delegate to an employee, a contractor or even your kids? I know a direct sales leader who would pay her kids their allowance only after they helped her fill out party invitations, envelopes and stamped them. Or they would create hostess packets for her. Clean her office. Clean the house. All so she could focus on the parts of the business where she actually made money.
My visit to this farm really opened my eyes to how all businesses really do have a lot in common, regardless of how unique we all think that we are.
“I’m not good enough.”
“I’m so stupid.”
“Nothing good ever happens to me.”
“Of course they backed out of our plans, I’m no fun.”
“Great, this is going to ruin my whole day.”
“I’m a total failure.”
Retraining Your Negative Inner Voice
Unfortunately, the quotes above are the negative things many people say to themselves on a daily, if not hourly, basis. This negative self talk does more than effect one’s self esteem, it also has an effect on the mindset, language and behaviors that one exhibits. Negative self talk prevents people from taking any steps that aren’t a guarantee. Risks, regardless of level of chance for success, are not an option for a negative self talker. Leaving the comfort zone is not an option, even if the comfort zone includes negative self talk.
How do we change this behavior that is rarely visible to others? First, we need to identify when we are thinking and even saying these things to ourselves. Second, we then challenge that statement, prove to ourselves that in some or in total that it is not true. Third, using daily affirmation statements will work over time to change our mindset, language and behaviors towards a positive self view. Finally, hold yourself accountable for a more positive approach to life.
Types of Negative Self Talk
The first step in retraining your negative inner voice is to know the different types of negative self talk. Knowing what they are helps to stop it in its tracks before you even complete the thought or statement. There are many types of self talk, but we are just going to focus on the four most prevalent; filtering, personalization, catastrophizing, and polarization.
- Filtering: A person proficient at filtering focuses only on the negative, filtering out any positive from the situation. In fact,they not only focus on the negative, but they also magnify it, intensifying the negativity and its effects. Take for example someone who wins a $350 Million lottery. A filterer focuses on the taxes, fees from financial advisors, and requests for loans and handouts from the people, family and friends who will come out of woodwork because they won. A positive person focuses on the final amount that they end up with, glad that they now get to work with a financial expert to help them save and invest the money so they can continue to help those that they want to.
- Personalizing: A person who personalizes makes all the bad things that happen to them all about them in the most negative way possible. This often shows up as a statement like,”Of course Sally cancelled plans with me, I’m no fun to hang out with,” or “My favorite team lost because I was watching.” We see this often in children because they are naturally ego-centric, believing that everything is about them (positive and negative). In cases of divorce, children will personalize their parents’ marital difficulties saying, “If I had just been better, they’d still be married.” And they honestly believe it.
- Catastrophizing: Someone who catastrophizes well takes the negative, or even expects only a negative outcome, despite ample evidence to the contrary. For example, one might have a really great lunch out with their best friend, return to their car only to find a parking ticket fluttering on the windshield. “Great! This ruins the WHOLE day.” Taking a small inconvenience such as a parking ticket and allowing it to effect their perception of the flow of the whole day is a hallmark of someone who is awesome at catastrophizing. “Mountains out of molehills” is their mantra.
- Polarizing: Those who polarize take a complex situation and simplify it into a dichotomous one of “good” or “bad” with no room for anything in between. You know this person because they are “total failures.” Because they only see life life in black and white, perfect or failure, good or bad, and they have a negative mindset, perfection is not possible, so logic flows to prove that they are a failure.
How Do We Change Negative Self Talk?
Now that we know the four most common types of negative self talk, how do we change it?
First, we identify it as it is happening and stop it in its tracks. Even if you can’t recall which type of self talk you are experiencing, just knowing that you have either said or thought something less than positive will begin the process to positive. Literally stopping the thought mid-sentence is necessary to jolt the brain out of that thought pattern.
Second, we must challenge the thought. Identify what about the statement is untrue. Let’s go through the four types of negative self talk and figure out how to challenge each statement.
- Filtering: Keep in mind that a filterer ignores the positive, so the best way to challenge a filtering thought is to search for the positive in the situation. In the example of the lottery winner, the challenge would be to focus on what the winner could do with the $100 Million that they didn’t have before the lottery selection.
- Personalizing: In this case, take yourself out of the equation. Ask the friend if they are okay, how can you help? Often, the reason for cancelled plans has absolutely nothing to do with the negative self talker and everything to do with the other person and what is going on in their life. As I taught this at a women’s group today, we ended up realizing how much power the Personalizer gives them self and yet they feel completely powerless.
- Catastrophizing: Asking the true impact of the “bad” event and assessing the actual level of inconvenience that will be cause by the event. Often when the Rule of 5 is applied, they’ll find there is no reason to make a mountain out of this molehill. (Rule of 5: Will this matter in 5 minutes? 5 hours? 5 days? 5 weeks? 5 months? 5 years? If the answer to any of these is “NO.” no big deal, you can deal with the consequences.)
- Polarizing: Identifying that there is a spectrum of options and it’s not just black or white, good or bad, perfection or failure.
- Ask yourself, “Would I say this to a child or my best friend?” If the answer is “NO” then don’t say it to yourself!
Third, daily affirmations will work to not only counteract negative self talk that has formed who you are for the past 20, 30, 40+ years, but it can also build a positive self view that allows you to be more successful, identify your successes and actually feel more successful. Some tips for effective daily affirmations:
- Daily affirmations are stated in the present tense. This tells the brain that this is currently true, rather than will be true in the future.
- Daily affirmations are most effective when they are said out loud, to a mirror while looking into your own eyes. This adds emphasis to the brain that these statements are about YOU.
- Daily affirmations use only positive language. i.e. “I am debt-free” is not as effective as “I am financially free.”
- Daily affirmations are said DAILY to be most effective. Even if you only say them a few times a week, that is better than not at all. Implement imperfectly, then tweak to get better!
Finally, hold yourself accountable for being a more positive thinker.
- Announce your efforts to think and speak more positively. Ask family, friends, co-workers, and your coach to gently point out to you when you could adjust your language to be more positive.
- Surround yourself with more positive people. Being around others who build you up will support your efforts to be more positive.
- Give yourself grace. One does not simply go from being Eeyore to Mary Poppins overnight! It is a process that will take time and effort. You are worth it!
While doing research for a proposal that I was writing for a company to do their sales training, I came upon this awesome infographic that I just knew I had to share with you. I found the information to be compelling and in some cases quite eye opening!
For starters: The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70% while the probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20%. So what does this mean to you? It means that maintaining regular contact with your customers to build your relationship with them will translate into a greater likelihood that when you offer them another product or service, they will buy it.
Where are you focusing? On new customers or your current customers?
And to add to that, an existing customer is 50% more likely to try new products and will spend 31% more compared to a new customer. When you maintain your relationships with existing customers and debut a new product, you have a 50/50 shot at them buying it. Not only that, but they are going to spend up to 31% more than a new customer will on that new product line.
Probably the biggest eye opener for me was that increasing your customer retention rate by 5% increases profits by 25-95%! To put this into perspective, this means that doing that little extra to reach out to your customers, stay in touch, keep top of mind, and let them know you care about them for more than your paycheck can help retain and increase the number of existing customers such that your profits increase by 25-95%.
Now that you know this, what will you do to move forward and retain customers?
Infographic by- Invesp
Are you shooting yourself in the foot by prioritizing the incentives from your direct sales company rather than putting your BUSINESS first? In this conversation with Virginia Muzquiz (The Referral Diva), we talk about the pitfalls of direct sales when representatives don’t prioritize their business and in fact make the incentives that they can earn first. The incentives should be the icing on your business cake!
Click the cake to go listen to our conversation:
I had such a great time talking with Michelle. She is a great interviewer who really did her homework on me and asked great questions that brought out information that I hadn’t shared on any other podcasts yet. Make sure to check out her YouTube channel if you’d rather watch interviews than listen.
Click HERE to listen to my interview with her.
Again, I cannot stress how much I LOVE interviewing with Doug Sandler. Wanna know why? It’s not an interview. It’s a conversation that ends up having business value for the listener.
While I didn’t get to actually talk with Strickland Bonner, he and Doug did have a little fun with a mini episode of “Fuckery” before my interview played. If you don’t want to laugh, then skip the first 14 minutes.
P.S. I do listen to the Nice Guys on Business podcast regularly, and I HIGHLY recommend that you subscribe and listen as well. Go find them on iTunes, Overcast, Stitcher or your podcast player of choice and subscribe. Thank me later.
As you all may know, 2017 is the year that I stepped out on my own to start my coaching business. It took a huge leap of faith in myself and those around me to support me as I did this. In the past week, I have been looking back to learn from this year not only professionally but personally as well. What I have learned from my clients, my business associates and family and friends this year has a theme to it:
“What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
We often hear that actions speak louder than words. Have you ever sat back and thought about why that is? It is all about effort. It takes very little effort to say words. It takes effort to say the words, retain them, and then act upon them. You know that someone means what they say ONLY after they have made the effort to follow through. As I learned from a mentor of mine this year, when working with others, it is smart to go through the G.W.C. process: do they Get it, do they Want it, do they have the Capacity to follow through? It is also prudent to do the same for yourself when approaching a project or large goals.
I also posit that INACTION speaks louder than words. Inaction can teach us about a person’s level of desire and faith in themselves. What a person does or does not do is not about you. Let me repeat this, what a person does or does not do is not about you. It IS about them. It is about their desire to follow through. It is about their faith in themselves and capacity to complete the action that they said that they would do.
This is where having a coach is invaluable. We often overcommit ourselves (yes, I’m definitely guilty of this, too) because we want to help out, because we think we have the time and capacity, because we want to do that thing we said we would do. A coach helps to remind us of those goals that we SAID we wanted. A coach reminds us of the action steps we SAID we would take to reach that goal. A coach provides perspective when we are much too close to the situation to see the big picture. A coach helps us to focus on our priorities.
In 2018, what are your goals? What are the action steps that you will take to move toward achieving those goals? Who will hold you accountable in taking those steps?
My goals in 2018 are as follows:
In December 2018, I will have an online community of 500 or more participants. I will set up an account with an online community management system to create this community, post daily, host weekly 10 minute LIVE coaching tips, and once monthly Hot Seat interviews with a member of the community.
In December 2018, I will have 64 or more clients that are participating or will have completed small group coaching with me. I will use Facebook ads, podcast interviews and networking to meet my potential clients.
In December 2018, I will have 15 or more clients that are coaching with me individually. I will use my coaching with Master Connectors, Inc. to develop the skills and relationships to meet these clients.
Each month in 2018, I will participate in self education to improve my coaching skills, my networking skills or personal growth. I will do this through participation in online webinars, completing a book each month, and workshops and conferences.
I will launch at least one podcast in 2018. I will set up a recording schedule, sign up interviews with notable authors, coaches, experts in business and personal growth.
I love, Love, LOVE doing podcasts with Doug Sandler. He’s a true wiz in the business world and a phenomenal podcast host. This conversation that he and I had was so much fun and we covered a TON of information. Heck, there was so much, I referred to the show notes from the podcast to try and remember it all. So here’s a recap of what we talked about:
Questions you’ll hear on the podcast today
- Why does selling suck?
- How can I develop rapport and relationship with customers?
- How do I make my customers RAVING fans?
- Part of my business is to recruit sales team members, how do I get team members who will work?
- What are the traditional business practices that I’m not implementing in my direct sales business?
Click the link below to listen to the whole interview and get the answers to those questions.
As a coach, transparency and accountability are extremely important and in my interview with Justin Recla of In the Clear Podcast, we talked in depth about them. Click the link to go listen directly from your device of choice.
Whether you have just started your direct sales business, or have been doing it for a while, there are three horrible habits that even the most successful direct sales professionals have developed that are keeping them from growing and building the way they could be and should be. I do not want you to beat yourself up over them, and you can definitely come back and be successful after changing them. The key is to learn what they are and put thoughts, language and behaviors into place to keep from making these mistakes again. When you grow past them, you are less likely to make them.
1 Minimalist Money Mindset
This shows up when a direct sales representative says, “This is my FUN job!” I understand why many might say this; they are likely trying to make their business look easy, fun and duplicable. Let me put it to you like this: how would you feel if your doctor walked in the exam room and during your appointment said,” This is my fun job!” You would wonder if she was the professional expert that you believed her to be. Or a tattoo artist who mentions they are doing this on the side. Wouldn’t you want a professional? The expert?
2 Family and Friends Trap
The fastest way to run yourself out of business is to ignore or avoid the most effective way to create a funnel of new customers. Real wealth in direct sales comes from meeting new people every week, not from hounding the same 15 friends and family to buy this, host this party, join my team. Traditional business owners network to meet new people. Many ways to network exist, and not all of them are effective nor are they all the best use of your time
3 The Flexibility Faux Pas
Do not get me wrong, the direct sales opportunity is a fantastic, flexible business that works for many people. The habit that representatives get into is that they do not prioritize their business and they flex themselves right out of business. I often hear, “I joined this company so I could be there for my child’s sports/dance events and make money.” The key to success is finding the balance of prioritization between being there for those events and making sure that time is being set aside to work on growing the business. If someone is not making money on their business, they will give up.
If you would like a downloadable printable copy of this article to share with your sales team or a friend or family member in direct sales, please click the image below!