Archive for Tip of the week

Are your online files at Risk?

Tracy George, Traylee LLC

If you are on line your files are at risk. It is important to do a few simple tasks to help optimize safety. (1) Check with your hosting company as to where your files are being stored and backed up. If it is on the same server it would be best practice to make a backup copy of your files on an external hard drive to keep them safe from cyber criminals. Ensure the hosting site is 256 bit encryption. (2) Also, use a VPN service which will encrypt your internet traffic and protect your online identity.  (256 bit encryption) (3) Use your usual security suite to block cyber criminal activity and viruses. (4) If more security is needed consult with an IT Security Specialist. 

Don’t Give In To The Guilt

As a new business owner and mom, I’ve found managing my time extremely difficult. It’s not the practice of actually planning and blocking off my time that’s difficult. It’s the guilt from family and friends when I’m working on a weeknight instead of going out to dinner to ensure that I make a deadline. What they don’t consider is that with a one year old, I’ve taken a decent amount of time away from work during normal business hours to take care of personal appointments and issues. 

One of the things that I’ve noticed with many of the people I’ve met through WAM! is that none of us are counting hours or doing busy work. We have a goal or a deadline and we do what needs to be done, when it needs to be done to make sure that our goals and deadlines are met. 

For me, the struggle isn’t the responsibilities that come with being a wife, mom and business owner. The struggle is with the guilt that others project onto me. I’m not perfect, I make mistakes, and I’m definitely still learning how to manage all of these titles. The important thing is that I know what I want and I have a plan that my husband is supportive of. My friends and mentors see the effort that I’m putting in and are supportive of my dreams. 

If the most important people in your life are supportive of your dreams and plans to achieve them, who cares about the people who are guilting you for the decisions you make about your time management. To quote one of my favorite authors and podcasters, Rachel Hollis, “Don’t let someone in the cheap seats have an expensive opinion in your life”.  

Do the math!

During one of our meetings last week I watched as a member was taken through the process of calculating the time their employer expected them to call prospects, the expected meetings made and the time those would take and then the expected sales and the time that would take. If prospecting is part of your sales process, have you ever put the math to it like this? If you did, what did you think of the results? 

One of the big things that our members are working on helping each other with is the maximizing of their time. Almost every time, you can put the math to it and should. Putting the math to it will help you to make better changes going forward. 

Without the math, many will end up on a path in which they are working harder and harder but still unable to achieve their goals. What else in your business should you be breaking down in this manner? Write them down and bring them to your next WAM! Meeting. While everyone helps you figure this out, you may in turn be helping everyone else in the meeting.

I hope that “sums” it up for you! 

Personal Development

The most successful people in business work longer hours and don’t take care of themselves. Wrong! While working longer hours and neglecting personal care might describe a large percentage of people and while many may even brag about doing so, the most successful take care of themselves first.

How do you think your decision making skills are affected by your stress level? Do you think you might have a better decision making process and make better decisions if you are less stressed? I do. If you don’t take the time every day to mentally prepare yourself and take steps to better handle stress you could very easily become another victim of burnout.

How’s your health? You don’t have time to exercise? You don’t have time to eat proper meals? Hard work is a part of almost every success story. That success is much better when you can actually enjoy it. Spend a couple extra dollars on the healthier food, take a little longer to eat properly and even if it’s only fifteen to thirty minutes a day, find a way to get some real exercise in. If you can’t squeeze it out of your work schedule, squeeze it from other activities that aren’t helping you long term. 

Finding the right combination between working hard vs. working smart, spending vs. investing and being selfish vs. taking care of yourself can be challenging but it is possible. Join us in one of our meetings or contact me if you need help figuring out how to make this work for you. Have a successful week.

What does a successful salesperson look like?

My answer continues to change. As a matter of fact, just about everything I learned about sales has changed. I went through a lot training when I was selling advertisement, cars, timeshares and landscaping. I was also taught that a successful sales person was the one “closing the most deals”.

What if the most successful people don’t sell anything? Crazy right. I have been meeting with more and more folks who are helping new clients on a daily basis, continuously growing and at the same time, telling that they are not salespeople and hate everything about selling. How can this be?

The most common way I see this accomplished is that these folks have positioned themselves in very unique ways or with specific expertise and are referred in such a way that they are more of a consultant and instead of making a sale, they are simply offering solutions to problems. They don’t have to create the need, their clients come to them already in need. They don’t have to “close the deal”, they simply offer the solution and the client either agrees to the terms or walks away.

As a salesperson, I was constantly under pressure to find another lead, try to convince someone else to buy and then enter that ugly world of negotiation. Have you been there? Do you want to explore a different path? Does this change your prospective of what “success” looks like?

Have you taken a vacation this year?

Things are not as simple as they seem. Our training topic of the month, Do You Want To Be A Leader, has been introducing a lot complexities. To say the least, it has created some great conversations and really opened my eyes to a lot of new thoughts about the topic.

Who is the better leader, the person who is the first one to the top cheering for everyone to join them or the person at the end pushing everyone to finish? The person rewarding others for what they have accomplished or the person pushing people to do even better?

I would enjoy anyone writing in and sharing how you would answer these questions and your additional thoughts on the subject. I’ll share my answer in next week’s letter.

As with so many things, I think the answer falls in the middle. It’s a balancing act. I think the best leaders are the ones creating even better leaders and it is my hope that many of our members will further develop their leadership skills by becoming facilitators and then helping other members to do the same. 

Our next quarterly facilitator meeting is coming up and I am looking forward to it. It’s shocking to see how much progress we have made in just over a year. I’m excited to see how much more we can do in the next year! Do you want to be a WAM! Facilitator? If so, just let me know. 

Meanwhile, I hope you have a fantastic and productive week.

Do You Want To Be A Leader?

How do you define the word leader? What are bad examples of leadership? What are good examples of leadership? What are the benefits of becoming a better leader? What are some of the reasons you might be hesitant to be a leader? 

This is our monthly training focus and the questions pertaining to it. The first two meetings last week explored these and came up with many more.

I was reminded of why I joined the Marine Corps. Many may be surprised to find out that I was first enlisted in the Air Force. My father had discouraged me from joining the other services and all for different reasons but a great friend of mine, Brian Peters, pushed me hard to talk to his Marine Corps recruiter and I finally gave in just to get him off my back. That recruiter, Sargant Kirk greeted me with something completely different than all of the other recruiters had. Instead of sharing with all that the service could give me in the way of more tangible benefits he instead introduced me to the 14 leadership traits. He had a ring with 14 plastic tags on them, each with a different trait listed. He went through them one by one sharing with me what they were and meant. Justice, Judgement, Dependability, Initiative, Decisiveness, Tact, Integrity, Enthusiasm, Bearing, Unselfishness, Courage, Knowledge, Loyalty and Endurance. I haven’t spent any time on these since my active duty days but will definitely be digging back into them this month. 

One big one I got from the feedback of the members in the two meetings this past Thursday was that good leaders look to create good leaders. I hope that I can be a part in helping people in that direction and that I can become a better leader myself in the process.

I would really like to hear from more of you on this topic. Look back to the questions in the first paragraph and bring your thoughts to one of our meetings or write me and let’s explore this and help each other.

Why Do I Need To Know This?

Ever meet a person who is intensely curious and loves to learn, but in school was a rebel and struggled with academics?

Strange contradiction right? Do you remember that teacher-infuriating question they were always asking?

Why do I need to know this?

Industrial education is pretty bad at answering this question to the satisfaction of the class clown, and the human brain asks the same question every time it’s confronted with new information.

The more complicated the information – the better the answer needs to be, but most of the time we don’t even bother to answer the question before launching into a complicated explanation.

Then we wonder why nobody seems to want to listen.

Nobody has time to learn everything. Most of our day is spent ignoring the irrelevant. The first step to successfully educating somebody on something important is making sure it’s relevant to them – and second helping them see why.

Like the class clown who goes on to launch a billion dollar business after school – you’ll find most people are eager to learn something – if they understand why they need it.

The People I know who receive the most referrals, don’t ask for referrals.

The people I know who receive the most referrals, don’t ask for referrals. The people I know who receive the most referrals, don’t ask for referrals.

I wrote it twice on purpose. Take a moment and ask yourself how that is possible. Think a minute about the last person you gave a referral to. Not a lead, but an actual prepared and pre qualified referral for someone. Did that someone have to ask you to give that referral or did you do it for other reasons.

My experience is that when given the opportunity to refer someone I want to do the best job I can do in referring them. I want to refer them to the person I think is going to best serve them. Often, this person is not in my immediate circle and I even refer people that I don’t even like very much. Why would I do that? If that referral is the best person for the job and I want to truly help the person in front of me, then it’s the best decision.

Are you the person I should be referring my friend to? I bet a whole bunch of people reading this answered quickly and with a “yes”. What makes you the best? Does your answer truly separate you from your competition? In most cases, it doesn’t. If your answer centers around the best customer service that might be work if my friend is looking for the provider that offers the best customer service. I was speaking with a loan officer recently and they were explaining to me how great they are at closing on time. I think I shocked them when I responded that, closing on time, was not a concern of mine.

I had a friend recently ask me to help them find a realtor. I ask my friend what they were trying to accomplish, what type of home it was, where the home was located, etc. I found that they were selling an 80’s built home with some minor issues, that was located in western Hanover and that they had already worked with a couple different realtors. I am close with a lot of realtors and want to help them all but I instantly remembered one realtor who has shared with me on multiple occasions that they specialized in helping clients sell mid-range homes in the Hanover and New Kent areas after they had already worked with other realtors. WAM! I felt that they were the perfect fit for my friend and made the referral.

There are a lot of moving parts and pieces to this but once you figure it out, it actually becomes much simpler and much more effective. Come sit at our table, brainstorm with us and see what WAM! is all about.

How Receptive are you to constructive criticism?

Throughout my education and pretty much my entire professional career, I feel as though all of my mentors have pounded into my head that I must be able to listen to constructive criticism. As a “9 to 5’er” I’ve spent my professional career working for a small business. Between networking and the nature of the small business I work for I have had numerous interactions with small business owners. Despite what my mentors have always told me, I’ve seen a pattern of the exact opposite from small business owners. 

It could simply be the nature of the construction industry, but I have to wonder. Many of the interactions I’ve witnessed or been involved with the business owner refuses to listen to anything that contradicts the way they do things. It could be something that’s large and involves many moving parts, like how they manage communication from their employees to their 50+ customers or something as simple as how they keep their financial records. 

As a business owner who has recently launched their business, I am trying to learn as much as I can from other bookkeepers and other business owners in general. I feel that change is necessary for growth and that being uncomfortable is a good thing because that means you’re changing your norm. However, I see so much resistance to change and even hearing others out when they’re trying to provide constructive criticism. 

I strive to be as receptive to constructive criticism as possible and remember that the criticism is a potential opportunity for me to improve myself and my business. How receptive are you to constructive criticism? Is it about the delivery of the criticism or possibly just a mind set that certain people have? I’d love to have a discussion about it, so please reach out and let me know what you think! 

Shelby Haydel
The RVA Office Sub
[email protected]