February 24, 2010

The 1 Ton Phone

If we're growing, we're always going to be out of our comfort zone.
-John Maxwell

The fear of the phone is so very common amongst business owners. There is no shame in knowing that you KNOW you have to make calls to get business, yet you avoid the phone like it's got the plague. We all understand, we have all done it.

I was having a conversation with a friend of mine who was saying how they only had a couple of customers that month and didn't want to spend a lot of money on an advertising campaign. She then asked me what I would do. I said I'd get on the phone, start calling people, see what's going on. She said she hated doing that and was going to run the ad campaign... Oh well.

Referrals can be the life blood of your business, but how do you get one and from who?

The people who give you referrals are the ones who know and like you. Lots of business owners put their social lives on hold in order to advance their business. It is a huge mistake. How can you get to know new people and have those you know like you, if they never get to spend time with you? The solution is to call them. Don't call to talk shop, call to see what's going on in their lives, call to see if there is anything you can help them with. Do they have a fundraiser going on? Any special events for their kids? I'm telling you from both a parent and a business owner's point of view, buying a few chocolate bars or an $8 roll of wrapping paper goes a long, long way in developing relationships!

Want to call people but have no idea what to say? Try keeping a log. Just a few notes on what's going on with them. See if they are on Facebook or Twitter, it will give you a better idea of what to talk to them about. In the log try to keep track of kids, pets, spouses, any issues they may be having. If they mention in January that Jane is working on her final project for graduation in June, that gives you a great reason to call back in June!!

If you need to set appointments for presentations? This is BY FAR the hardest reason on why you need to call people. Calling someone out of the blue, or even someone you know well and putting yourself out there opens a huge door on our self-esteem. There's lots of outcomes and I think I've heard them all. From rude, to excited, to unwilling to can't wait, you never know what's going to happen on the other end of that phone. But it MUST, MUST, MUST be done. Try working out different approaches, some people wouldn't' listen for a second if they thought you were trying to sell them something, but if they thought they were listening as a favor to you or to see if they know someone, it can be a different story. Try and figure out what approach would work for them and if nothing else, just try, try, try again.

Using the phone to build your business is like any other tool or skill you need to be effective. I don't think any of us were born with a great ability to set appointments, get referrals or build relationships. We have to practice at it. Start small, try 5 phone calls a day. Just keep working at it. Like all other skills, it will grow with time, and soon you will be great at it!

Have a Blessed Day,

Brandy Deming


February 15, 2010

I Suck At This!

How many a man has thrown up his hands at a time when a little more effort, a little more patience would have achieved success.
-Elbert Hubbard

Over the last month I have been homeschooling my son. It is a growing experience for us both. I have always appreciated teachers, they do something that I would not even try to do in my wildest dreams. This experience has made me appreciate them even more. As we struggle over grammar, spelling, math and Spanish, I hear myself repeating the same words over and over again.

"I suck at this!" he will cry out.

"You don't suck, you just don't have enough practice." I tell him, "No one is good at anything their first try, they have to practice, practice, practice. Just be patient"

It struck me today how true that is. It's not that we really try to limit ourselves and what we can do, it's more like we expect our god-given gifts to appear to us. As if one day we shall wake up and know that we are supposed to write a great novel, or be a great business person, or even to be the best parent. Unfortunately many of the talents and gifts that we need and want in life have to be learned.

Learning is a hard process that takes much patience. I am a seamstress, by no means the best seamstress, but I can stitch together many types and styles of clothes. I sewed my first dress when I was 11. Even after so many years of sewing, there are things I have to learn and many, many things I have yet to do well, let alone perfect. I can think back to so many scrapped projects, panels sewn in the wrong way, mis-matched button and button holes, crooked hems, bad seams and just general disasters that have lead me to this point. This point where I can take a tissue pattern, some thread, cloth and notions and bring forth a beautiful gown.

Thinking about all the work and mistakes that have gone into this learning process, I have to ask myself why I think that, in just a few years, I could change my life. Why I would be so down on myself for not succeeding in all of the tasks I set out for myself?

It is my personal lack of patience. I told myself I was being patient at 6 months and a year. That my success was right around the corner. But then after that year had passed, I started to think I must be doing something wrong. That maybe I had chosen the wrong path, that this was fates way of telling me to do something different. I spent a lot of time thinking about it, and I say "No!". It's not the wrong path, I am just learning.

I am taking steps down this long, winding, difficult road of self-improvement and self-realization. One day I will have what I want and do what I want to do. I just need to keep learning, keep reading. I will one day be able to help those around me to succeed in their endeavors. I will find those people who will help me by helping themselves. I am absolutely positive that we are not all lost causes and have a set life laid out before us. I have faith that we can be whatever we want to be in life.

This belief guides me and keeps me on my path of learning. This learning will never be done, ever. And I am thankful for it.

Have a Blessed Day,

Brandy Deming