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5 Important Traits + Skills of Successful Business (and Sales) People

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Every blog, podcast, and book give you tips and tricks to grow your business. You can drive yourself crazy trying to take in all of the advice and implement in your life (not that I’ve tried…).

There are a few traits and skills that successful people seem to put into play, regardless of role, experience, or “technique” they use in their business. Good news, most of these are things you can work on and improve, with the right guidance and support.

Let’s dig in!

1 – Always learning

Successful people are always learning. They’re consistently making themselves better. They read books, they take classes, they seek out people that have more experience or different skills. Successful people know that they never want to be the smartest person in the room. They intentionally seek out places where they can connect with and learn from others. It’s a never ending journey for those experiencing success in their business.

2 – Time Management

While not all super successful business owners are amazing at time management, they fully understand the importance of it. They know that they have to intentional with their days or their schedules can easily run them.

Simple things like planning each week and blocking off time for income producing activities help make sure that the business is constantly moving forward. In addition, they make time for themselves; including meditation, working out, and personal development.

The most successful business owners (and salespeople) you’ll meet know that if it doesn’t get calendar-ed, it doesn’t get done. And while they’re not all amazing at it, they make an effort each day to be intentional with their time.

In a world where “busy” is a badge of honor, successful people know that well thought out, income producing, or strategic activities are key.

3 – Goal oriented

In line with being specific and having a plan for how each day is spent, successful business owners are extremely goal oriented. They’re constantly taking inventory of where they’re at and where they’re going.

It’s more than just setting goals though, it’s about monitoring the progress towards each of those goals that set the “best of the best” apart. It’s not enough to just write down a pie in the sky goal, but rather taking time to to develop a plan to hit that goal.

Successful business owners know that there are some goals that they will miss, but rather than let that get them down – they use that as fuel. They find energy in continuing to stretch themselves and push themselves outside of their comfort zone.

4 – Persistent

Those with the most successful businesses (and the biggest book of business) are those that are persistent. They know that that their first try isn’t always their best try – and that they’re going to have to try over and over again to find a way to make things work.

They don’t back down at resistance and they understand that often times “no” is a “not right now.” They fully understand that the “fortune is in the follow-up” and are tenacious with their outreach when they know they have something of value to offer.

The biggest differentiator for those with the highest success is that they understand the different between persistence and stubbornness. They’re very strategic about where they put their time and energy.

5 – Relationships

In all areas of life, it’s really about building relationships.

In business and in sales, high achievers spend a large portion of their time building relationships with clients, people in their community, their teams, and their vendors. They fully understand that their network is a critical part of their business, regardless of industry.

In an online environment, those that are most successful actually time to spend online interacting with others. It’s not endless scrolling on Facebook or LinkedIn, but finding their people and being thoughtful about starting relationships.

Like most things in life, it’s about the basics. It’s about being intentional with your activity. It’s about connecting with others and never taking the first no as the final no. Working a plan is one of the most underused ways to find success, but a critical one that most successful people follow.

 

Top 3 Networking Tips

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I remember hating networking. I avoided going to events. It made me think of crowded bars, and not being sure if someone wanted to having a conversation or was hitting on me. It was a room full of salespeople, none of which were going to buy anything from me. I mean, gross. Who would WANT to do that?

I avoided it  for years. I told people that I was too busy, had too much going on, and that it wasn’t for me. My career was going okay without it. It got worse when I took a job working for companies outside of my city. Then, I was never home and had no business interest in Kansas City.

When I got laid off, it started to dawn on me how important it was to have a network of people. But, within a year, I was recruited by another company with a job on the road and building a network took a backseat again.

When I finally landed in a local job again three years later – I was still network-less, hated networking events, and overwhelmed at where to start.

I committed to building my network in 2018.

I was going to get uncomfortable and start connecting.

When I hit my first Chamber of Commerce event I was so anxious. I was shocked at how much fun I had. It was nothing like the picture I had created in my head of networking. The people were friendly and I even met a few great contacts to continue the conversation with.

I slowly started checking out different events. I really fell in love with networking when I discovered female based networking organizations. It was a total game changer for me. I found that connecting with and learning from other woman filled my cup in so many ways.

I started attending networking events weekly. I schedule networking coffees weekly and have to be mindful of my calendar so as to not go overboard. I’ve building an incredible networking of people (both men and women, believe it or not) and am finally (10 months later) starting to see the dots get connected. One connection has led to another.

I’ve made friends. I’ve made business contacts. I’ve met mentors. I’ve found people that just want what you can give and move on. I’ve found people that are so gracious and giving with their time, it’s amazing.

I tell you all of this to let you know that networking isn’t as scary as you think it is.

Here are my Top 3 Networking Tips

1 – Find something that works for you.
Don’t waste your time or energy attending events that don’t fill your cup or meet your needs. Is it a local Chamber of Commerce? BNI? Women’s organization? Volunteer organization? Find the kind of networking that works for you. It’s a game changer in the people you meet and the value you can bring to one another.

2 – Give. Give. And give some more.

I feel as it my view of networking really changed when I realized it was about what I could give and how I could serve versus what I could get and what I could sell. When you attend a networking event without an agenda and truly seek to meet people and build relationships your network expands quickly.

3 – Get personal.

Attending great big networking events with tens if not hundreds of people are a great place to start. It’s the perfect opportunity to learn from and connect with others. The real “fortune” in networking is about connecting with other people in a one on one environment. When you meet someone that you think you can help – take the conversation offline. Grab coffee or at least a quick phone call to connect.

That’s where the real relationships start to form. One on one conversations let you learn more about one another and find ways to be a resource to each other. It’s a magical thing.

I know that none of this advice is super helpful if the mere thought of going to a networking event makes you want to cry. If you have to, bring a friend or a co-worker. Check out some small networking events in your neighborhood or industry. Often times local Chambers of Commerce have small group settings, so don’t be afraid to ask. Some markets offer “speed-networking” which is as much like speed dating as it sounds, but it’s a simple, organized way to meet a lot of people in a short  amount of time.

The more often you go, the more comfortable you will get. You also have to keep in mind that at most events there is somewhere that gets paid to make sure that everyone feels welcome and gets connected. Look for that person – they’re typically on staff with the Chamber or the organization that organizes/coordinates.

Networking is an invaluable resource for you and your business.

Even if you have an online business, getting out into your local community can be incredible. If you’re brand new to business – in person connection opportunities are your fastest path to cash.

You have to remember that most people in the room are often as anxious about being there as you are. I like to think that most of them are there to serve their local business community, connect, and grow. Show up with a smile and your business cards and see where it takes you.

It’s not as scary as you think it is, I promise!

 

How To Follow Up Without Being Annoying

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One of the biggest push backs I get when I talk to coaches and entrepreneurs about sales is the that they find sales “annoying” and “pushy.” The more I dig into this, the more I learned that the follow up is the part tripping up most female entrepreneurs. They hate reaching out repeatedly to see if someone has made a decision.

However, it’s 100% true that “the fortune is in the follow up” and that a large portion of your sales conversations aren’t going to close on the spot. Which means, you need to get comfortable with follow up.

The key is to follow up without being annoying.

You can’t just text or email someone and say “Hey, have you made a decision yet?” or “Hey, are you ready to get started?” You have to provide value and have a strategy.

It has to start with getting permission to follow up. If your dream client can’t give you an answer right away – you have to ask for permission to follow up. I recommend scheduling your next conversation before you end the current one. It might go something like “Sarah, I totally understand that this is a big investment in your business. I want you to be confident in investing in yourself. Let’s jump on the phone first thing on Tuesday morning to answer any questions and get things moving forward.”

Then, Tuesday morning rolls around. And Sarah is busy. She got pulled into another meeting. I would ask Sarah if it’s okay to follow up again the following day. When she says yes, I’m going to schedule an email to go out to Sarah the following morning.

Here’s what it looks like:

Sarah,

I’m so excited to work with you. I’m confident that investing in sales coaching for your business is going to help you leave your corporate job and run your business full time!

Here is one of my free videos that my clients love about implementing a sales process in their business.

If I don’t hear from you by Tuesday of next week – I will give you a call.

Cheers,

Ryann

Here is why this is email is important.

1 – I mention the specific goal that Sarah told me she wanted to hit (quitting her corporate job).

2 – I send Sarah a video to get her re-engaged with me and my content. I want to her to remember why she wanted to work with me to being with.

3 – I get “permission” to follow up with Sarah again in a few days.

By telling her that I am going to follow up – she knows that I am holding her responsible for making a decision (whether it’s yes or no!).

The really, really important next step – CALL SARAH ON TUESDAY!

We’re still building trust – and the way to do that is to do what we say we’re going to do.

So, Tuesday rolls around. I get Sarah’s voicemail.

Here is what I say…

“Sarah – it’s Ryann Dowdy with Uncensored Consulting. I am still so pumped to get starting on hitting your big goals. Sarah, I know you’re busy. When you can – give me a call. If I don’t hear from you – I will reach out on Friday.”

Then, on Friday – I send Sarah a text…

“Sarah – Ryann Dowdy with Uncensored Consulting. We’re having a hard time getting connected – are you still interested in working together to hit your goals and grow your business? Sarah – no is a totally okay answer – keep me posted! If I don’t hear from you – I will reach out again next Wed.

Then, on Wed – I send Sarah an email…

Sarah,

When we first chatted – you told me your 3 bigs goals were..

1 – Goal #1

2 – Goal #2

3 – Goal #3

I want to help you hit these goals. But, I totally understand if the timing isn’t right for you and your business. How can I help you, Sarah? Is the program we discussed still on your radar?

Sarah – I want the best for you and your business – even if we’re not working together right now! Let me know how I can help you.

Cheers,

Ryann

P.S. Don’t forget that the amazing women in the Sales Skills for Women in Business Facebook Group are always available as a resource, too!

After that many touch points, we can assume that Sarah isn’t ready to move forward.

Which is 100% okay.

You only want to work with people that really want to work with you. We’re not in the business of forcing a business relationship where it doesn’t make sense, right?

At this point though – I don’t write Sarah off and stop reaching out to her. In fact, I add Sarah to a specific email list in my database called “follow-up.” Unlike my typical bi-weekly email that goes out, Sarah (and anyone else that doesn’t say “yes” right away) gets her own set of emails. These emails are more specific and more tailored, as I have a stronger relationship with these people. We’ve chatted on the phone. I know their true pain points and frustrations.

I also recommend calling these “warm” leads at least every 30-45 days. The key to success here is to not call them to sell them anything. Call them to check in on them. Ask how they’re doing towards reaching their goals. Ask them if you can help them.

THEN, if the opportunity presents itself – you can ask them to work with you.

If the answer is still “not right now” – ask them if you can follow up again in another 6 weeks or so. You will be amazed at the number of people that say yes.

Here is what that follow up call might sound like…

“Sarah – I’m so excited to catch up with you – how are things going? Last time we chatted, your kiddos were just starting softball – are they loving it? I bet it’s keeping you so busy!

Sarah – how is your business? You were working toward some serious goals – how is that going?!”

If Sarah says she’s still struggling, my answer might be..

“Sarah, I totally get it. Starting a business alongside your full-time job is TOUGH! You’re doing a really great job. Have you made any additional investments in yourself or your business since we last spoke?

If Sarah says that business is actually going really well…

“Sarah – OMG, I’m so excited for you. I knew you had it in you. So proud of you and your commitment to your goals. Sarah, can I be a resource for you in anyway?”

The key to follow up is to continue to the build the relationship.

Don’t make it about you – make it about them. Not every conversation is an “ask.” Show support. Be genuinely excited for their success. You never when they’re going to need you and your services – or meet someone that does.

The biggest opportunity with each touch point is to provide value. Send a video. Send a blog article (could be yours or someone else’s) with great content. Send a handwritten note. Send a recent client success story.

Stay in touch. Keep reaching out and providing  value. The fortune is in the follow-up. If you follow a cadence like this – you will be amazed the compound success your business will see as it grows.

Selling Versus Helping

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How many times have you said (or hear someone say) –

I hate sales.

I’m not good at sales.

I just hate feeling pushy.

I never know how to follow up.

I get really nervous when I ask for money.

I struggle with being confident in my rates.

I could go on. But I won’t.

There are a few things going on here that I want to address.

Your subconscious mind is powerful.

Like unbelievably powerful. And every time you say “I hate…” you’re telling your subconscious mind that you hate something. And so it is.

Your self-talk around this is so important, guys. The more you tell yourself it’s bad, yucky, icky, pushy, sleazy and so on – the more true that becomes.

When you can’t sell – you don’t have a business. I hate to be so blunt about it, but it’s true. And it’s important. Change your self-talk – change your business.

You have to believe in yourself.

You have to have unshakable belief in what you’re doing. You have to believe in the value that you bring to the table. You have to know that the people you work with will be better off because of their time (and money) they spent with you.

Instead of thinking of how “easy” your skill set is to you – think of the value you bring to the person you’re working. If you think the keto diet is super easy – think of the value that your knowledge of the keto diet is to someone that is a hardcore sugar addict. If you’re a digital marketer – think of how valuable your marketing skills could be to someone’s business. If you get them the leads they need for their business – what would that mean to them? How would their life be impacted?

You have to believe that what you do changes people’s lives. Even if it’s in the simplest way.

Okay, so Ryann, how do I address this? I really don’t like selling though – how can I change that talk track? And I believe in what I do – but I’m still super nervous about people not seeing the value in it. 

The first thing you need to do is give yourself a little grace.

We don’t all become superstars overnight. Even the most successful online business owner or #1 producer in a large sales organization started somewhere. And they were probably terrified, too.

Here’s the small shift I want you to make immediately. Instead of thinking about “selling” to your ideal client, I want you think about “helping.”

How do you help people?

No one wants to be sold, but most of us want a little help. Most of the time, we’re willing to pay for life changing help.

You’re not selling someone health coaching or digital marketing services. You’re helping someone hit their weight loss goals and chase their kids. You’re helping someone get more visible in their business and make more money.

When you put it in that perspective – you’re doing the world a disservice by NOT selling them your solution. I was listening to a podcast this week by Kendrick Shope (she’s my unofficial mentor) and she talked about feeling like it is her obligation to keep serving and to keep helping.

Once I let that sink it – it really cleared things up for me. On the days that you don’t want to, on the days that you feel like you’re not serving anyone well, on the days where you would rather do ANYTHING other than take another “sales call” – keep in mind that by NOT doing it, you’re cheating someone out of their opportunity to get the help that they need.

Like all things in life, we can’t force people to get help when they’re not ready to. People have to ask for help. They have to want to put in the work, make the investment, show up every day, and take quit off of the table.

That’s what sales is.

It’s showing someone the way. If offering a solution. It’s understanding their situation, their goals, their pain points and what it’s worth to them to fix those problems. Once you do all of those things – you tell them how you can help, if they’re willing to helpf themselves.

#micdrop

Seriously though. Change your mindset around your sales conversations and really think about the value that someone gets when they work with you -you’ll be amazed how quickly your business will grow!

 

How To Write A Prospecting Email

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When engaging with brand new prospects, it’s important to create familiarity, show your personality, and ask for what you want – all while not appearing to sell before you’ve earned the right.

Easy, right?!

I know that it’s not and that sometimes reaching out to a brand new prospect can be really scary. If you follow these steps to writing an effective prospecting email, you can have confidence that you’re setting yourself up for sales success.

What is a prospecting email? And how is it different than the email sequence you send out to someone who has opted in for your freebie?

A prospecting email is an introduction email to a totally cold prospect. This prospect likely hasn’t engaged with you in anyway other than perhaps a quick meeting at a networking event.

Your email sequence for your email list is a story telling opportunity that helps you get to know the prospect. This person has opted in to receive email from you, allowing you to be more casual and start showing your personality!

A few things to remember, before we start writing our prospecting email – 

1 – Not everyone is your customer. You can send out hundreds and hundreds of emails, and still only 1-2% of people are going to respond and further the conversation. Don’t take it personally.

2 – Email is best when combined with other touch points. Social media, LinkedIn messages, DM on FB or Instagram, phone calls, even a handwritten note can help make your emails more effective.

3 – Not everyone will read your first email. Or your second email, Or your third email. It’s best to have an email sequence of 5-8 emails sent 3-5 days apart to be successful in getting some sort of response (good or bad) from your prospect.

One of my best sales tips is to put yourself in the prospects shoes. What kind of emails do you read? What kind of emails do you respond to? How often do you check your email? How often do you forget to respond to emails, even the ones you want to?

Being mindful of all the things we just talked about, we can start putting together our prospecting email.

Part 1: Personalize your greeting but do not ask how they’re doing.

Nothing says “SALES EMAIL” like a “Hi Sarah, how are you doing today?”

I also recommend taking that out of your prospecting phone calls, but we can talk about that another day.

Use their name, then move on.

Part 2: Tell them why you’re reaching out.

I’m reaching out because I saw your awesome FB video…

I am emailing you today to congratulate you on the award you received…

I wanted to connect because I saw your thoughtful post in that FB group/LinkedIn message…

You get my point. There has to be a “because,” and it can’t be about you. Meaning, your “because” can’t be – I’m writing you because I think you’re my ideal client and I want to sell you something.

Part 3: Get to the point…quickly

You’ve explained why you’re reaching out, now you need to create some interest without selling. To do this, you can focus on the challenges or issues your ideal client has. You can also focus on results. Basically, tell them why your current clients hired you!

Sarah, I help business owners like you do three things…

1 – Result #1

2 – Result #2

3 – Result #3

Sarah, when I work with entrepreneurs I find that they have these challenges..

1 – Challenge #1

2 – Challenge #2

3 – Challenge #3

Sarah, my clients tell me that their biggest issue is…

1 – Issue #1

2 – Issue #2

3 – Issue #3

I like having three specific examples, results, issues, instances, etc. It will up your chances of one of them resonating with them.

Part 4: Tell them how you can help.

This one is easy for most of us! What are two to three ways you can solve the problems we mentioned in Part 3.

Sarah, if you’re looking for those kind of results – I can help. By (doing this) and (this) and (this) – my clients see results in as little as 4-6 weeks!

Sarah, if you have these issues – I can help. By (putting this process in place) and (this simple idea) and (working on this) – I can help solve your problems and have you hitting your goals in 90 days!

Sarah, if these challenges sound familiar – I can help! I work with my clients to (do this) and (this) and (this). Implementing these changes often wind up paying off of my clients in as little as 14 days!

Tangible time frames are helpful, but not mandatory.

Part 5 – Ask for the appointment.

Sarah, if you’re interested in learning more about how this solution can work for you, let’s connect for a 15 minute call.

Sarah, I’d love to see if this solution is a good fit for you and your business. Let’s jump on a quick call to discuss.

Sarah, can I offer you a complimentary 15 minute strategy call? We can talk through your specific challenges and see if we’re a fit to work together.

Part 6 (optional) – Add a P.S.

If you have a freebie they should download or a FB group you’d like them join, add that to the P.S. If there is a specific offer they can take advantage of – that works, too!

The key here, guys, is to start building a relationship with the prospect and establish credibility. If you ask for the appointment without doing those 2 things – you’re likely to get ignored, regardless of how good your follow up emails are.

The more specific you can be in the results you provide or challenges you solve for, the better!

If you’ve met this person before (virtually or in real life) – start your email with something personal. Bonus points if you tell them how or where you met.

If you’d like me to review your prospecting email – join Sales Skills for Women in Business – and I will review and give you my feedback!

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