Learning for Success

Do you know what one of the biggest secrets to success is? It’s really simple and it’s something we do from a very young age: learn. OK, maybe it’s not so simple, but it’s a very obvious answer to problems that plague many of us in reaching our goals and dreams and achieving victories in all aspects of our lives. Learning is one of the biggest keys to success, it’s also one of the cheapest ways to improve yourself and your life. Thanks to technology today you don’t have to spend thousands on degrees or go to a far-away college to learn something new (although for some things like medicine it’s recommended), but there are tons of opportunities online, in books, in courses and in audios to learn and teach yourself all kinds of skills that can improve, maybe even drastically improve, your life and your success potential.

People who are willing to learn (and actually can follow through on what they’ve learned) have a much greater potential for being hired as well as having success than those who are stuck in who they are and what they know. If you’re not willing to learn or try something new your future is very limited. Others might see more potential in you than you’re currently living up to but unless you’re willing to do things different or get the necessary education you won’t be able to live up to that potential. Showing that you’ve been taking courses and dedicate some of your free time to learning makes you look more appealing to potential employers because it shows them that you’re someone they can teach about their culture and how they do things and you’ll be receptive to learning from them and trying things their way.

So if you’re feeling like you’re in a rut go to your local library and check out a couple non-fiction books or find an online course you can take and learn something new. And while you could wait until the holidays are over I recommend starting now while you’re feeling that frustration, don’t put it off any longer.

“Today, when I hire, I look for people who want to be trained and molded.” Bobby Flay

Together for Christmas

I hope you’re as excited about the upcoming holidays as I am!  As we consider Christmas in a few weeks, this celebration of life, love, family, and so much more, you’ll be hearing a lot about the stories of Christmas, the messages of Christmas, why you should give, and why it’s a special time of year.  There are many good answers to those topics, but one of my favorites is said well by Taylor Caldwell:

“This is the message of Christmas:  We are never alone.” 

Yes, it’s simple, but it’s the truth.  No matter what story you’re looking at, it all comes down to the fact that we’re all here together.  There was Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Shepherds, Wisemen and more.  There was Santa or St. Nick delivering gifts to many.  There’s Charlie Brown putting on a play with his friends and decorating the tree.  There’s a Christmas Carol where Scrooge learns that merry and kindness are the right things to do.  Those are just a few of the stories that are watched, told and remembered at this time, and all have to do with the fact that no one is alone and no one can live their life without impacting someone else.

This weekend and in the weeks upcoming as you go about your life it will be easy to remember that you’re not alone: there will be all the mall traffic, emails from stores, holiday cards coming in the mail and family and friends calling up to say hi and meeting to share gifts.  Know that in these moments it’s not an exercise in frustration or annoying holiday sweaters, but an opportunity to be reminded that you’re here to help others and they’re here to help you.  You don’t have to go through anything alone in life, nor can you abdicate the responsibilities you have towards your fellow man.  Let’s celebrate together.

Sales Success Smarts

We’ve officially entered the holiday sales season. I hope that it is going well for your business and/or you have plans to really ramp it up in these last few weeks of the year and take advantage of all the spending people are more willing to do. During the holiday season many businesses are fortunate to experience increased sales, but not all potential sales turn into actual sales. But as you know this is an issue whether it’s the holiday season or not.

This week a business owner hired me to advise them and when I went to review their website while I could tell what industry they were in I couldn’t really tell what they did: the site never said who they really were or what types of clients they worked with. So I emailed them back and asked them for more information. To my surprise their response started “Yes, I figured you would have questions for me…” Why was I surprised? Because not only did they anticipate that I would be unable to completely grasp their business, knew there were issues and they hadn’t done anything about it! Unfortunately this is the case for many businesses, and one of the reasons that people don’t buy from them. So what can you do to improve the sales process and increase conversions?

1-make sure it’s clear exactly what you sell, who you are, and what the options are. This is basic (and detailed) information about your company and products/services that people have to know if they are to buy from you. After all, if they don’t know what you sell, they won’t buy.

2-share about your difference. This is where things get personal. Share how you got into the business, what your passion is, what you do differently than others out there, and how you put your personal stamp on the industry you’re in. This will be a section of your website and other marketing that shows a lot of emotion and connects with your potential clients on a very human level.

3-anticipate questions. Everyone has questions of one kind or another. The most frequently asked questions should be addressed on your website, whether in the regular text or on a FAQ page. You should also have a contact form and other means of contact easily accessible.

4-fix the issues you know you have.  If you’re aware that you have a peeling store front, dated website (either in looks or information), products on the shelves that are expired or have nasty employees and don’t do anything about it you’re responsible for the lost sales.

If it seems like these are really simple and really stupid and there’s no way that you could be screwing this up because your business is perfect, that’s probably not the case. You can look at just about every business and find at least one issue that points to a lack of perfection and opportunity for improvement.

That said, this isn’t about pointing out how terrible my client’s website was or about how you may be failing as a business. The reality is that there are millions of people out there who need help, help that you might offer but they don’t know that you do because you’re not telling them that you exist or exactly what you offer. So not only are you missing out on sales, more importantly there are people who need help and are willing to pay to get what they need.

What will you do to resolve the blocks that are hindering sales in your business this week?