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Have You Ever Not Closed a Sale? http://

Posted in Amanda A. Anthony, Communication, Inspiration, Leadership, Organizational Management, Professional Development, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 2, 2012 by amandaaanthony

Have You Ever Not Closed a Sale? http://wp.me/p2tIb7-3f #sales #management #manager #leader #leadership #coaching #coach #character #inspire

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Have You Ever Not Closed a Sale?

Posted in Communication, Inspiration, Leadership, Organizational Management, Professional Development with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 2, 2012 by amandaaanthony

The Sales Manager in Me

I have been in professional sales for the last 12 years.  I say “professional” because I also had internships during university, waited tables, worked several retail positions…and ultimately “closed” quite a few times as a candidate (selling myself) to land these jobs which required selling skills.  Looking back at my childhood, I would say I had salesmanship in my heart all along, but only after graduating & securing that first job with a business card did I label myself as a professional.  I can share that I have been successful as a sales professional & leader, based not only on the results shown in my résumé, numbers & reviews, but also on my customer, distributor & external partner relationships & feedback.

The Guest “Sales Expert” Speaker in Me

A couple of years ago, an acquaintance asked me to speak to her Sales 101 Class at the local college she was teaching at about my experience in sales.  I was feeling a little nervous (ironically for someone who has literally been on thousands of sales calls), so I asked a former colleague & counterpart to join me.  It was great; after 4 years or so of not selling together we didn’t miss a beat.  We reviewed the basics in the “sales process“, seamlessly integrating examples & stories, finally getting to Q&A. Lots of great questions, but one stood out.

“Have You Ever Not Closed a Sale?”


You see, the audience was a group of mixed age & mixed background people like aspiring graphic designers, artists, future entrepreneurs with little “professional” experience in sales. It is the only question I remember from that day, to which I first laughed out loud & glanced over to my sidekick before answering,

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“Of course. Probably more times than I can count.  In fact, I recently coached a person on my sales team that if you are hearing more yes than no in your meetings, you probably aren’t asking for enough from your customers.  Good sales people are always looking for more, so keep asking.”

This, of course, is assuming the sales person is closing at all with their customers in their calls, a fear that many young sales people struggle with until they come to terms with the fact that closing (& trial closing) is expected by the customer.  A sales person who doesn’t close will eventually lose the respect of their customers & may be viewed as a time-waster because let’s face facts….that is the nature of the business.

The Character of the Manager in Me

For some reason this moment has popped back into my head at many times since then in completely unrelated circumstances, & I wonder how others might respond….you see, I believe a person must acknowledge both easy & hard, success & failure, challenge & obstacle. In other words, state the facts & tell the truth (as a point of view, of course).  I wonder what others would say or do when faced with this type of question from a student or young professional getting started, standing in front of a group (potential reputation on the line?) or even in private.

I had a manager at one point in my career who had the tendency to change the recollection of the story depending on the audience, embellishing or eliminating details as needed to gain recognition or resources being sought.  Another manager who flat-out changed his recollection of history when things started changing direction or getting tough.  As an observer (and an overly upfront & transparent person) I could only guess both were trying to protect themselves: their personal careers and reputations. But as leaders, I lost a little respect for them in these character defining moments.

From the looks on the faces of these students, I believe my answer was a good one. In the end, nobody is perfect; all you can do is try your hardest. Learn, practice, evaluate, improve, repeat.

And remember that the choices we make as leaders reveal the character we choose to show to the world.  We may all end up in the same place, but I know which way I’d like to travel;)

Please share your thoughts and connect with me!

Linked Inhttp://www.linkedin.com/in/amandaanthony

Twitter: @amandaaanthony

I Graduated & Found a Great Job….Why am I not Happy?

Posted in Amanda A. Anthony, Inspiration, Leadership, Professional Development with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2012 by amandaaanthony

Life’s Roadmap to Happiness…or just a Guidebook?

One thing was never explained to me growing up: that the “roadmap” to happiness so many of us follow (graduate high school then university, get a job, get married, have kids, etc) isn’t so much of a map as a travel guide written by the people before & around us. When you arrive at some of these destinations, they aren’t always what you expected. Many of us (ex. friends of mine, colleagues & me at some point in our 30’s)  look around & think,

“Is this it?!”

How I Landed on What to be When I Grew Up

I never knew what I wanted to “do with my life” in college, so I chose Business & fell into a Latin American Studies program (which turned out awesome). I figured at least I would be able to get a job and hopefully one day travel for work….that is how I started my career selling power tools as my first job out of college. I am a quick study, very passionate & highly competitive so sales has been a great match for me throughout my career. I am also creative, innovative & love psychology, so marketing became a close second to sales.

I was fortunate enough to work for 2 fantastic companies (Black & Decker, Procter & Gamble) in my professional career before recently starting on my own. Although both were “Corporate America”, the culture was completely different. I really value my time at both not only for the skills & expertise I picked up along the way, but for really seeing first hand the dynamics of working with people in different settings, under different circumstances, with diverse backgrounds and influenced by personal style + corporate mindsets. Understanding people is a lifelong journey, a skill that can really develop-especially in a successful sales & marketing person-by default…if that person is paying attention.

What’s the Point?

As you know by now, I am developing a company that will be focusing on helping people to figure out a plan for their own personal & professional development. In my travels, I find many people feel lost….the “roadmap” laid out for us from when we are young, is not specific enough to help us figure out where we are going. The real kicker, of course, is that only the individual can figure out where he/she is meant to go & what he/she is meant to do to be successful & happy. This is why I am a huge advocate of reading as well as seeking out mentors/coaches who will help you to see things in new light along the way.

Recently I spoke to a recent grad in her first job out of college & she expressed the following frustrations:

  • Difficulty finding a face-to-face mentor and to build a network outside her immediate environment
  • Dissatisfaction about her pay (& the concerns to pay off her student loans)
  • Frustration about her career path & current workplace

Haven’t we all been there? Where is that on the roadmap?!

Learning Something Every Day is a Great Start

I spent the better part of my 20’s with similar frustrations to this young woman, throughout various assignments, companies & industries.  It was only until after years of working that I realized the true value of many of the choices I made were not related to the $ amount I was compensated during each time but the depth & breadth of experience I gained.  A wise manager of mine once explained to me that value is not absolute; The value or worth of and object (or an experience) is only worth what you are willing to pay for it (or sacrifice)….and it may vary between individuals.

So, as a leader, when I am faced with challenges and stuck in situations I don’t particularly enjoy, I try to ask myself, “What am I learning here? Why is this important & what will I take away?”  This is particularly useful to anyone taking or giving feedback.  And it makes any tough life moment-work or otherwise-a little easier to manage.  The only person who can will you to grow is yourself.

The rest will come with a little hard work & patience;)

Please share your thoughts on my blog!

Linked In: http://www.linkedin.com/in/amandaanthony

Twitter: @amandaaanthony

Success: What does it Take? And Where Does Work-Life Balance Fit In?

Posted in Amanda A. Anthony, Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Professional Development, Uncategorized, Work-Life Balance with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 15, 2012 by amandaaanthony

 

I went to lunch with a friend and mentor of mine recently who has owned his own successful company for many years, and he said to me:

“Amanda, I don’t work. I love every minute of what I am doing and it is mine, so this is not work-it is play. I play all day.”

A powerful statement & an aspirational goal to any newly starting entrepreneur…but really isn’t this what we all seek for true happiness, success and personal fulfillment? And maybe this has something to do with more than just passion & luck to find the “right career”? Maybe this is beyond capability and experience.  Maybe this ties back to the ever elusive balance I have been seeking for most of my professional career…

Passion & Drive to Win

I have been passionate in just about everything I have done professionally…even the assignments I didn’t particularly enjoy. The reason? Frankly, I like to win. I always have; my family, friends & husband will all tell you I am a relentlessly competitive game/card player. I love facing new challenges & designing strategies to overcome them which is something that translates both personally & professionally.

Luck

I cannot say that I have never been tempted by superstition…but with that said, in recent years I have far less patience for others who cast luck as the responsible party for good (usually in others’ lives) & bad (usually in their own lives) decisions. We make our own luck.  As a famous entrepreneur said in a recent interview:

“The harder you work the luckier you get.  We are each presented 20 doors-you can call it luck; you create your own opportunities.”-@robertherjavec

Opportunities Won, Opportunities Lost

This is called experience in my book…and it eventually translates into capability, depending on our ability to learn along the way. The key is to take the personal emotion out when things don’t go the way we plan (which can be difficult), try to reach & learn from the situation, then move forward without baggage.  Learn from the past. Be Present. Dream of the Future.

Success = Happiness = Achieving Balance?

I am not the best (yet) at maintaining work-life balance…in fact I am just starting to get a grip on what this must mean/feel like once you achieve it. I have had the tendency to go “full speed ahead” in one or two areas at a time, slowly letting other areas slip, then readjusting the sails as needed.  Examples: A) Working outrageous hours, taking on more & more professionally, but letting my social life and/or health slip. B) Full engagement on my health & fitness along with work, but letting personal time suffer…You get the idea.

Now that I work for myself, it is not any easier to achieve balance. The difference is that now when I work too much, it’s for me, so in some ways it doesn’t feel like work. I have been on vacation for a week but when I check emails or work a little in between, I enjoy it & don’t have difficulty disconnecting afterward.  I recognize that it is early in my independence and I am not yet generating income, answering to stakeholders or facing crucial deadlines…but I wonder, is this a little closer to balance? When your work is enjoyable enough that the lines are blurry with fun time?

The tides are always shifting, the sands moving, the trees growing, the earth turning & changing…as are we. So the challenge remains how to keep everything moving at the right pace to keep balance. I will let you know what I think about this one a little later in my new career;)

If you haven’t read “The Four Agreements” by Miguel Ruiz, it is an excellent and practical guide to happiness that is a perfect accompaniment to my thoughts above.

Please share your thoughts on my blog!

Linked In: http://www.linkedin.com/in/amandaanthony

Twitter: @amandaaanthony

 

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