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Pleasantly Stalking

Here at Highbrid I’m in charge of business development, fancy word for sales. But regardless if you’re an owner such as myself whose responsibility it is to secure business on behalf of my company  or an employee who should be focused on improving themselves and moving up the ranks development is of the utmost importance.

 

Obviously to be successful at development you have to engage other people; a prospect, a supervisor, a new vendor etc. Some of these people are going to be absolutely instrumental to you reaching that next level, getting that promotion, or acquiring that new account.  At the same time these people may not be responsive to your requests for a meeting, and interview, or a summary of their products and services.

What does one do when the individual you need to propel you forward is hard to access or completely disinterested in giving a helping hand? You pleasantly stalk! Pleasantly stalking is an approach that combines persistence, professionalism, and preparedness to put you in a position to prosper. The following paragraphs will go over the top 4 keys to pleasantly stalking.

 

1.) Qualify

It’s extremely important to qualify your target. Do you know what decision it is that you need to be made on your behalf, and is this person/department/company you're reaching out to in a position to make that decision. This should be your first step, one of the worst things you can do is waste time, energy, and in some cases money reaching out to someone who can’t help you advance your cause. This is different from dealing with a gatekeeper who you know can get you to the ultimate decision maker. You should develop a baseline of qualifying questions that you can ask a prospect to determine if he or she is the correct person to speak with.

For example if you’re searching for a new job or a promotion you might ask the HR rep if they're in charge of making the final hiring decisions or is it someone else a supervisor or department head perhaps. If so does the HR rep have any influence in the decision, if the answer is no don’t waste another minute speaking with that person but find out who is making the hiring decisions and proceed to engage that individual.

 

2.) Have a multi pronged approach

In 2013 we have more communication tools than ever before traditional (telephone), and new ways of communicating (twitter). Once you’ve qualified who you need to speak with select two or three different ways to communicate with that person and put a system in place. For example if you're in business development and you have a good prospect that you’ve qualified and are trying to set up a meeting with, and you have three ways of contacting that prospect email, office phone, social media use these tools interchangeably until the desired result is reached. The reason why this is effective until you establish rapport and a relationship with this prospect you’re not certain which is the best way to get in contact with that person.

Anyone who knows me and is trying to reach me knows calling the phone at my office is a dead end. I’m hardly ever there and when I am rarely do I pick up the phone. But send me a text  message on my cell and I’ll probably get back to you almost immediately. Put a system in place for this approach i.e; call on Monday leave a voice mail, email on Wednesday, tweet on Friday. You can also switch it up for the following week, email on Monday, tweet Wednesday, and call on Friday. After a couple/few weeks of this approach you’ll get  baseline for what type of communication your prospect will respond to and then you can move forward accordingly.

 

3). Be prepared

The worst thing that can happen is that you execute steps 1 and 2 finally getting in contact with the person(s) you need to engage, and when that time comes being unprepared to deal with it. These opportunities are few and far between wasting them isn’t an option. Make sure you have your pitch together whether you’re pitching yourself for a new position or pitching  a business opportunity know what you’re talking about and be able to answer any question and deliver your ideas clearly and succinctly. DON'T BLOW IT!

 

4). Keep it professional.

One of my first sales mentors told me “Sales has everything to do with you and nothing to do with you at the same time”. You can get your prospect on the phone and they hang up on you, curse you out or even disrespect you in one way or another. Despite your natural instincts don’t return the favor, take the high road.  and your reputation is everything it’s what carries you through the tough times so make sure that your rep and integrity never come into question.

Time is a great equalizer so that person who’s difficult to deal with now could be gone tomorrow, or just having a bad day or three, there’s been numerous instances where prospects who laughed me off the phone in our first interaction end up becoming some of my best clients, That would have never happened if I wasn’t professional at all times despite their actions.

 

Is pleasantly stalking foolproof? No! But if applied properly and following these basic steps I can guarantee vast improvements in your attempts to develop business for yourself as an entrepreneur, move up the ranks in a company you work for, or land that desired position at desired pay for the company you desired.

Daniel Gutzmore Comment
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advancement, entrepreneurs, Professional Development, Corporate America, stalking

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Superman had Clark Kent

I have what I call a “Superman” complex, thinking that I can do it all and do it well and effortlessly. No matter what the task big or small, he can swoop in and handle the situation. I can attend every meeting give insightful input, acquire and manage clients, hire and manage vendors, hire and manage employees, deal with the everyday fires that come with being a driven professional. Be a great dad, a good husband, provide for my family, be financially stable, manage my credit, plan for retirement, workout six times a week, be a good son and brother, live up to all the expectations that you’ve set for yourself and people have set for you.

Daniel Gutzmore Comment
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Small Business, burnout, entrepreneurs, Stress, Workplace, professionals, executives, depression

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Seize your Moment

Next week the 2012 Summer Olympics will begin in London England. For a few great weeks thousands of athletes from all over the globe will compete in everything from Basketball to Track and Field. 90% of these athletes are virtual unknowns to most of the viewing public. Once the summer games are finished this level of notoriety or lack thereof will not change for most a select few will Michael Phelps or Usain Bolt themselves into stardom, but for most part once the summer games are finished it’s back to their normal lives as students, working professionals, parents etc.  To become an Olympic athlete is no small feat most of these individuals train their entire lives for this moment, countless hrs. of training early mornings, late nights willing to sacrifice everything short of their own lives for this moment. And when that moment arrives either they seize the moment which is possible b/c of the preparation leading up to the Olympics or they fold under pressure fading off into Bolivia as the illustrious Iron Mike Tyson once put it. Our professional careers can take a very similar path as your traditional Olympic athlete. Whether you’re a corporate professional, work for a government agency, entrepreneur or solepreneur you will spend a tremendous amount of time energy and effort cultivating your career. Some obtain multiple degrees in order to climb the corporate ladder, others make commitments to government agencies at a very early age and stick with those agencies for many years, entrepreneurs such as myself sacrifice time, money and in some cases health in order to see their businesses thrive. Similar to Olympic athletes most professionals will get their moment to shine the lucky well prepared and super skilled professionals will get multiple moments throughout their career to display their talent and skills and flex their intellectual muscles. The question you should be asking yourself is: I’m I ready for my moment?

I know what the answer is for me unequivocally and emphatically YES! What’s your answer? A fellow WVU alum and friend once told me that a working professional gets one opportunity in their careers to double their salary. I’m not certain where he got these facts from or the scientific basis for this hypothesis, but for arguments sake let’s assume this is true. When your moment comes to drastically change you and your families and loved ones lives for the better will you be prepared to do so? Have you been training as if your life depended on it as if you knew that despite being ignored and disregarded 99% of the time there is still that 1% when your number is called and the spotlight is on. Will you freeze in the moment or seize the moment?It’s up to you as the individual to take personal responsibility and control over your professional career no one is going to do it for you, and no one is going to invite a subpar performer to the big show.  Unlike the Olympics which an athlete knows is going to be every 4 years as a professional you’re not certain when you’re moment is going to arrive, you have to be on point at all times ready to seize that moment when it comes.

As you watch the Olympics over the next few weeks think about these athletes in the context of your career.  Ask yourself the questions I’m I taking my career seriously? I’m I training harder and longer than the next person? I’m I prepared for my moment? If the answer to any of these questions is no, I suggest you get to work if the answer is yes you should have no problem seizing your moment.

@presgutzmore @highbridmedia

Daniel Gutzmore Comment
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London 2012, Olympics, Summer Olympics, entrepreneurs, Michael Phleps, professionals, Usain bolt

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Your Business Will

It’s easy for executives and entrepreneurs to neglect their health. Their jobs are extremely stressful and require long hours, which can lead to lack of sleep unusual eating habits, being forced to eat the wrong things due to time constraints and proximity to quality food. These series of events can lead to number of health related problems and diseases such as heart disease and diabetes, ulcers, or even cancer. In certain instances even when a person is as diligent about their health as they are their careers they can still succumb to illness or disease. Typically a person would have a will which is meant to outline how they'd like assets allocated and their estate taken care of in the event their disabled or deceased, this is not always the case when it comes to people and their  business's.

When running a business whether you’re  a solepreneur or part of an entrepreneurial team is very important that you have contingency plans in place for if you or one of the key team members are unable to perform for a long period of time or even worse is deceased. Staples has a current TV spot where a man “Dave” is in different clothing playing different roles in the office such as the IT guy, HR guy, secretary etc. etc. This is meant to depict the life of a business owner there are so many intricacies to running your business that don’t necessarily have anything to do with the business you’re in. How is payroll processed and employees paid, How are key vendors contacted to complete or check on orders, is contact information for clients and access to files critical to current and future projects available?

These questions must be answered as part of the overall equation to running a successful and healthy business. If you’re disabled for a time period you don’t want it to mean the end of your business especially if you’re responsible for the lives of staff and vendors who are relying on your business as part of their survival. The same is to be said when the inevitable happens and you pass away, do you have the proper provisions in place to dictate what happens to your business and the structure of your business when you’re no longer here.

We’ve always heard about the importance of having a will to outline how we’d like our personal estate handled in the instance we’re not able to do so due to disability or death. The same concept needs to be applied to your business, making sure plans are in place to keep the business running, sell the business or have a smooth transition to another staff member moving forward.

Daniel Gutzmore Comment
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Business, entrepreneurs, Advertising, staples

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