Thursday, October 30, 2008

Help! My Sales are Slumping and I don't Know Why!

Have you ever taken a look around your company and wondered what in the heck the other people were doing to bring in so much business to the company? You may feel that you’re on equal ground with the other sales person or people, but for some reason they are way ahead of you in the numbers in sales. What is it? Do they drink a magic potion every morning? Do they have a better territory or do they just have better customers?

Here are some questions to ask yourself to see where the gap is:

Are you a master at your craft? Consider the length of time that you’ve been with the company. Do you know everything that you can about your product and your service? How are your relationships with those within the company? Are there people who can do you favors, even for your clients, that you should get to know better? What about your competition? Do you know them inside and out? Do you know their weaknesses and their strengths? Do you know how to get a sell away from them in a tactful manner by emphasizing your strengths where they are weak?

What time of day do you get in the office versus your co-workers? Are you wondering in the office at 8:30 or 9am and settling in to have your coffee? Are they at the office at 7:30 and getting coffee and catching up on the news an hour before you even get into the office? Are they on the phones already when you’re just getting ready to look at the paper? Consider getting in earlier or planning your day the night before so you can get into the office and start communicating with your clients the second you get to the office.

How much is email taking you away from your work? Are you spending part of your day reading jokes, and watching YOU TUBE videos that are entertaining, but are keeping you away from your work? Did you know that even if you DON”T read your emails, just having to delete them is taking valuable time away from your work and making a profit for your company? Consider putting everything in the JUNK file that doesn’t pertain to business and put a sign on your desk that you’ll only check email 1x an hour or late in the day. See if this addiction that has hit most people in America can free up some of your time.

Have you had instability in your life this past year? Have you had major stress or changes in your life? Has anyone closed to you died? Have you changed jobs? Have you moved? Have you gone through a major life transition like a divorce or become and empty nester? Has anyone close to you been relying on you emotionally and you feel drained? Sometimes, our emotions can be dragging us down and we don’t even know it. If this happens to be you, consider getting in a therapy group or counseling, or finding a support group to help you process these changes and the emotions that follow. You can be doing everything you’re supposed to be doing in business, but the sadness you feel might be leaking through your attitude. Get support where you need it. None of us is an island and no one expects anyone to go through tramatic times completely alone.

How is your attitude? Are you depressed that your sales are sagging and you get down about that? Are you angry about something at work or do you have problem clients that you’re trying to avoid? How is your relationship with your boss and those in the office? Your attitude may be negative if you’re going through a slump and it’s going to take dramatic measures to get your attitude back in a place that is positive and care free. Consider listening to motivational tapes every morning on the way to work , in your car or when you get up in the morning. If you’ve got the news on, you’re probably getting more negative messages than you are getting positive messages, so you need to take control. This tiny step can change your sales figures literally overnight. For a great resource go to:

Are you a gabber or a closer? How much time are you spending socializing and reading or doing busy work versus spending time with your top customers or reading about sales or learning about your product? Start putting a clock by your desk to monitor your phone conversations and evaluate where your spending your time throughout the day. If you’re socializing more than your making calls to customers or working, then it’s time to alter some of your habits. If you need to connect with others emotionally, schedule 15 minutes a day to make your personal calls and keep them short and sweet. Time management is one huge area to be constantly on top of for long term success.

What are you listening to? What are you reading? If you spent 1 hour a day listening to a motivational tape or reading a book to enhance your learning, in one year, you’d probably triple your income by learning success secrets of the superstars. Go to the library and check out books and tapes. Turn off the radio and TV and start educating yourself every day. Trade great books with others, and keep a book with you at all times so when you find yourself standing in line or waiting for someone, then you can use the time wisely. You can become an expert in your field and 5 others in one years time!

Are you getting enough sleep? Often times we might get into bed in plenty of time to get a good nights sleep, but spending time with Jay Leno is often more enticing than turning off the lights. Eating well, exercising and sleeping enough are basic self care items but if one of these is unbalanced, then your body isn’t going to have the energy to keep it going when things get slow. The body will slow down and stop and then it takes 2x as much effort to get it going. Make sure you get at least 7-9 hours of sleep, drink plenty of water, take your vitamins and exercise at least 3 days a week.

I’m Unorganized but I know where everything is. Organized Chaos? That’s just an excuse for those of us who don’t have great organizational skills. And when you’re not organized, you spend precious time looking for things and trying to GET organized. What you need is a good system. So sit down with someone who can help you get a system in place, and then do your best to implement it and use it every week. Some sales people have an administrative person come in weekly to file, or to throw away things that aren’t useful any more. But they keep on top of things and it helps them throughout the week. This precious time saver can not only save time, but loads of frustration.

Are you in the wrong field? . Is there a chance that you stand on the sidelines longing to do something different and feeling jealous that you’re in the wrong field? If this is you, no matter how organized you get, you might never have the heart, soul and passion for your job. This might take some time for you to discover your true passion, but it can be done in mini steps by talking with others in other professions or at other companies, going to the bookstore to see what subjects intrigue you, and by searching the internet for other careers and jobs that might suit your personality better. Try things out first.. read about them, and study about them and then talk to people who are doing them. Perhaps you might have to take a salary cut to start a new career, but in the long run, you’ll be happier with doing what you truly WANT to do, rather than just working to bring home a pay check.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Losing Friends may Happen when Raising a Child with Sensory Processing Disorder

My child got diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder when he was 5 years old. Before that time, doctors told me that he’d grow out of his screaming and crying when I tried to dress him and that he was just a picky kid who was slow to move and to listen. Five years ago, doctors weren’t as familiar with the signs of Sensory issues, or the Autistic Spectrum, and they just classified my hyper son as ADHD.

Over the years, I’ve learned so many things that work for my son. We keep the house low on stimulation, with little TV, music or computers. I know that he takes time to transition so we make sure he wakes up really early every day, which means he has to get to bed early every night. Because he takes ADHD medication to get through school, he often can’t sleep at night so in addition to our night time prayers, he gets a melatonin to help him sleep. I know that if he doesn’t sleep well, that morning will be a disaster.

I also know that Jeremy needs a lot of activity which means that sports are a priority in our house. I have spoken to the teachers and explained that while he has inattention, that ADHD is not the core to his issues, it’s an underdeveloped system that is still building. It’s the body, not the brain that is the issue. Additionally, he has auditory processing disorder so we’re aware that he has to be told things a number of time and we have to get his attention first before talking.

All of this awareness took trial and error and thankfully, because we changed his diet, his defiance is mostly gone. That happened in a few short weeks, by getting the preservatives out, high fructose corn syrup out, and the vitamins into his system. We stopped doing white bread and gave him healthy alternatives. The difference in his behavior was and is remarkable. He can now eat a bunch of candy or chips and he’s off the wall within 15 minutes.

Imagine the complaining that we get from an 8 year old who wants to get high on candy like his peers. We have to set limits and we discuss it thoroughly. We let him have candy or sugar if there is nothing planned but outdoor activity. Otherwise, we tell him that he will have to live with his behavior and if he can’t control himself and if and when he goes a bit nuts while having a sugar high, which can be hyper or annoyed and whiney or uncomfortable somehow. The result is never fun.

Imagine a child though who has mostly gotten through a lot of these issues. At age 8, he’s able to mostly determine how to conduct himself and when he doesn’t, his mom is right there making sure he apologizes to the kids or to the parents or whomever. He is on ADHD medicine which helps his impulsivity and constant talking but there are days when he still has to apologize. But, he doesn’t keep repeating these things over and over. He finally gets the message usually by us taking away play dates. He changes his behavior immediately when he knows he’ll lose privileges.

So I guess I understand when I kept hearing our best friends slip when they were talking about the evenings their families got together and noticeably we weren’t invited. Over and over it happened this summer and my husband and I explained it away that they’re all on the same baseball team or all go to the same school. But then, last weekend at the Cub Scout campout, I realized how mean their boys were to Jeremy! Jeremy told me that they told him they didn’t want to play with him. They didn’t give a reason, they just told him to go away.

When we got home, I tried to put together a Halloween party for us all and mentioned that perhaps my friends could mention this to their sons and that whatever I needed to do to get Jeremy in line, I’d do. Their answer? “We need to talk”.

At first I told them I’d talk, and I shared with them by email that I’m sure that Jeremy was hurt, because I was hurt that they had stopped socializing with us, and that shouldn’t we learn how to deal with our differences? And regardless, no one should be mean in spite of our challenges. If it were me, I’d go right to the parent and tell him or her that their child was saying inappropriate things, or I’d go right to the child and share with them that saying hurtful things aren’t going to win friends and then demonstrate another way of doing it. I would have shared with them to come to me if Jeremy was saying anything or doing anything that wasn’t nice as well.

But, nope, my friends have chosen to not socialize with us unless they have to, and because of that, I’m now reevaluating whether I want to talk it through or even hang with them at all. After all it was them who heard me share my frustration of trying to figure my child out, and they knew how difficult my daily life was and were there as things got better and better. And I never dreamed that they’d decide that they’d stop seeing us because of it and can’t imagine that they think this was the right thing to do. And perhaps if they would have talked with me first, then I would have been a bit more open to hearing about how frustrating it was from their end.

Instead, my husband and I have discussed that some people just cut others off without saying anything about it, even if they’re your so called best friends. They don’t know what it’s like to raise a child with a disability and they would rather not deal with it. And even though I’ve told them I’ll talk with them about it, I feel like I’ve been kicked in the gut and I don’t even want to be around them right now. Perhaps in time, I’ll understand that they didn’t know how to discuss this with me in the first place and that they may feel that the kids need to get older before they should play together. But I’ll never understand why a person would not apologize for their child being rude or mean. It’s just a different way of handling things I guess.

We all grow in compassion when we go through trials and challenges and make it out on the other side. Perhaps I have had to lose our best friends temporarily so I can be of service to another family who will go through the same thing. It’s not fun, but perhaps its part of life when you’re dealing with a child who is a bit out of the box.

I found this quote that I thought was a great line:

A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out."~ Walter Winchell

And it made me realize, perhaps they weren’t really friends who would be there through thick and thin. That was the most hurtful thing of all that I thought they were real friends and instead they were just friends out of convenience not commitment.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Unloading the Stuff

Like many Americans, my jobs have been dramatically cut back this fall. I heard it time and time again, that the jobs have been cancelled and my services were not required. I noticed it slowly started happening this summer and saw the writing on the wall, even with outstanding contracts that were in place, companies were slowing down and stopping all of the spending. As an entrepreneur, I’ve had to now readjust my living and what that means is that we’re cutting back.

Out with the new cars, and I’m cutting back on all sorts of services that we just don’t need. At first, it was stressful to go through the bills and expenses to determine which ones I needed and which ones I didn’t. Now, it feels fresh and free. I’m starting to look at the tons of decorations in my home and wanting to collect things and put them all in a bag and send them to the Good Will. That’s exactly what I’m going to do too. I understand now that I was living with all of these things to make my life pretty or feel good, when in reality it was a lot of stuff to keep up with.

My husband and I have even decided that we are going to refinance the house and then sell if we can. We know we’re going to take a loss, but we also don’t want to be living with financial stress, so we’re of the mindset that we can and will rebuild, but from a much better place. A much more simple place!

All of this cutting back sincerely is exciting. I’ve realized that in living with a chronic disability like we have for many years that there is absolutely nothing in the world more important than our health and our peace of mind. We haven’t had much peace of mind lately until we decided to get rid of all of the “stuff” that drains our accounts and is supposed to really make us feel good, which it’s not.. its actually doing the opposite.

I feel light and uplifted now, and feel like the world is my oyster! I wonder if I want to find another place to live that will give my son more space to run around, and more kids to play with? I’m even thinking that we could move for a year or two to another location in the country, to somewhere small where the people are important to each other and not their things. It’s a fascinating concept to consider, and it’s exciting to think that we literally could just pick up and go if we found a place that we could feel our son would enjoy. He’s so independent that he can and does adjust to any kids any where. As long as he’s swimming and running and able to spend time outdoors, he’s happy as a clam. And the older I get, I’m reverting back to my childhood and those are the only things I really want as well!

I am craving the simple life and one without the stress of keeping up with the Jones’ and having to lead a life that is worthy of other people’s expectations. I just want to enjoy what I do, and enjoy my family and enjoy my friends. I don’t want to have to keep up with all of the gadgets we own, and do maintenance on everything, and always work on the house and the yard and.. whew.. I know if I go down that path, I’ll become exhausted. But trust me, I have as many material trappings as the rest of this modern world, and I just plain don’t want to keep them anymore.

I still desire to be successful, and my TV show is now underway and I truly believe that this will help so many people. This will be an answer to so many organizations…. It’s my passion and my cause, and I’m excited to continue down this path.

I know I’m blazing a trial that many, many others will be on soon. I’ll report in and let you know how things are going!

To our life.. living beyond the stuff!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Have You Posted a TWEET Today?

The hunger for being noticed, validated and connected runs deep in our culture, and now with thousands of people jumping on line to do video blogging through sources like You Tube, everyone can be seen across the world immediately, and the reality is that no one even has a “private life” anymore. Ten years ago President Clinton requested that people leave his private life out of the media. This would never happen today. People are now mixing personal life with their business life, and putting it on line for the whole world to see!

Recently, I’ve become engaged with which has become quite the “buzz” among many business professionals and individuals. According to their website, “Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?”

After signing up, the main purpose is to update your “Tweets” as much as you can. These mini messages are up to 140 characters in length so it forces the writer of the message to be short and concise. It’s almost like a real time mini blog or a crib note version of the real blog. You can link and control your Twitter account to your own social networking sites like Facebook, your cell phone, IM or most 3rd party applications by using designated Twitter commands. Twitter messages can sent out as text to cell phones.

Once you start inviting your own friends or business contacts, which you can do by uploading your data base or just selecting people you want to engage with on a regular basis without picking up the phone or having to email, you then can start “following” friends and they can start “following” you. Many people end up following the “stars” in their own profession, so they can learn a bit about them professionally and personally. It does appear that most people update it throughout the day, so they mix a bit of their personality in with their business conversations.

Imagine having to take a mini poll of your friends to find out who is going to a particular networking event or whether or not if anyone has any good ideas of where to take the boss to lunch? Or, you are finding you aren’t so creative at the moment and need to come up with a good idea, so you decide to throw a question out to your friends on Twitter. So, you write a “tweet” and post it and within minutes, several of your friends or associates fire back with different answers that are listed right before you. It’s a time saver and an efficient way of communicating, similar to texting but to a much larger group of people.
For the business person, there are many other ways to use Twitter. First of all, it’s a great way to alert your friends and customers about what is happening in your workplace any given time. It can announce upcoming events, a new post on your blog; to share resources, to make announcements that might also traditionally go out in a newsletter and generally to build and strengthen relations. Lee Odden of Top Rank Blog has conducted a reader poll asking how people use Twitter. The top three uses of Twitter as
· Sharing links to items of interest to your network (34%)
· Networking for new contacts (18%)
· Reinforcing current network contacts (16%)
A potential downfall that I see happening is similar to the blogging behind the scenes about companies. Since many people are using Twitter to communicate with friends throughout their work day on a real time basis, it might be wise to discuss with all employees about any confidential information that should not ever be discussed or written about in any form. Additionally, if you are sharing personal information along with professional, you always have to keep in mind your professional identity and reputation.
On the other hand, because people update their Twitter accounts quite frequently, you can start to see a pattern of their work habits, their personalities, what interests them, the causes they care about, information about where they go after work, and you start to understand them as a person on a different level. You even start to care about them and respect them for the amount of work that they seem to get done or for being such a caring family person. This is just one more way for our customers to engage with us as people, and not just as a business.
By building and maintaining your clientele and community through Twitter, you can create a fun, hip and edgy way to create a buzz around your product, service or company. And while you are having all of this fun, you can be engaging your potential customers not only as people but as fans.

How Things Work out When You Have Faith

It’s amazing, that a few weeks ago, I was talking to my husband that I was really ready to be working with friends. I’ve been working in coaching and training and Television for a very long time and while I love these things, I come and go out of peoples’ lives all of the time. I end up having a great time with people but then I’m gone and don’t see them again for a month or even 6 months.

So I was really longing to have a connection with a group of women who I could be 100% authentic with and be expressive and fun and rowdy or whatever mood hit at the time. Basically, I wanted a group of women to work with where I could have a great time and to learn and grow and to grow a business.

I had no idea that when I put that dream or wish out there how quickly it would develop.. and how exciting it would be.

I had been interviewed about two weeks ago for a website called In the interview, it came at a time where I was very uncertain about my next step. I’ve loved my TV tours that I do, and my lifestyle reporting, but I needed something a bit more full time and profitable. So, I started interviewing for jobs and went to a recruiter to get a full time sales job. I was ready to give up my life as I know it to go and work for a company where I could work and live a comfortable life here in Winter Park.

Little did I know what was in store!

In the interview I was completely open about where I was in my life and unsure of the next step. The founder of the social networking site, Robin Gorman Newman in NYC shared with me that she had recently felt the same way so we said we should do something together and how about a radio show? So, I loved the idea and jumped on it. The next day, I was talking with my good friend Liimu McGill in Philly, and she was sharing some great wisdom with me like she does and I said to her, “Liimu, you should have a radio show!” And she said immediately, “I”D LOVE A RADIO SHOW” and so I told her, “well, Robin and I are doing one.. and I think you’d be a great addition”!!! When I introduced the concept to Robin, she was gracious and excited. Now there were three.

Then, my friend Leslies’ name came coming to me over and over and over. So I called my friend Leslie Evans-Thorne, and told her, “Leslie, I don’t have time to talk, but your name has been coming to me over and over and over and so I want to tell you that my friends Robin, Liimu and I are going to do a radio show and are you in? Leslie responded, “yes, I’m in.. and have been wondering what my next step would be!” The group was now up to four!

The next day I was having lunch with two good friends Kelly Brown and Bruce Fagan. As I sat there and listened to the wise and wonderful Kelly, I said to her, “Kelly, I have created a radio show with four other women and it would not be complete unless you were a part of it. Are you interested?” Of course she said yes, and then Bruce, my dear friend who loves to be in the thick of everything exciting said he wanted in too! So there it was.. we had a group that was all like minded, open, 100% authentic, real, fun, engaging, and who had all been through numerous challenges and were still surviving in a manner that was uplifting to others.

The group was all introduced via emails and finally met this week on the phone. The initial meeting was nothing short of wonderful and entertaining and incredible and everyone felt the same. We all believe that this group is special and magical and I definitely believe that it has had a divine beginning! Seriously.. it came together so quickly and so naturally and it was almost supernaturally. And the personalities are so strong and it all flowed so nicely.

So that’s one of the great things I’ve learned. That when you’re tired of trying on your own, and you can’t quite get it all working right, to surrender your intentions to God, and let Him take a turn at running your life. I’ve had numerous conversations with Liimu about this, and surrendering is the hardest thing a person will ever do, but after you do, you find out that it is a much better, more peaceful way to live.

I’ll keep you all updated on the progress of the show. We’ll be looking for sponsors and for a network. It’s a special group, so we hope to find a home that will be of the most benefit to the most amount of people, because we know that millions of people need to hear the positive message that this group has to share.

Onward and upward!!!