A Monthly Ritual

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On the last day of every month, I sit back, look at everything that’s happened over the last 4 weeks and set my sights on what’s ahead. I pick up a pen and write out my goals for the upcoming month. Some are personal, some are professional, the key here is that every line I write is important to me. Whenever there’s anything that I can share that might make a difference for someone’s self-motivation, I’m always game and this blog post is just that; me, sharing a habit that has a positive impact on my life.

The Ritual:

  1. Details matter.

I set monthly goals. Again, this is a personal choice. My projections at work layout my yearly and monthly expectations (that helps me determine what my professional goal will be for the month). As an example, I’ve set a goal to personally add 1,000 users to our platform in the month of July and that’s what’s on the monthly goal list. From there, I break down that goal and specify the ‘who’ and the ‘how’.

  • Who – what customers, specifically, do I plan to bring on? Where am I at with each of those people and what will it take to get them on our platform?
  • How – looking back at the last question above, I take into consideration timing, method and resources and plug away.

In other words, it’s great to list that you want to lose 10 pounds this month but how do you plan to achieve that? Meal plans? Workouts? When will you workout? If you add details and thought to the goal you can guarantee 2 things. First, you care enough about this goal to flesh it out. Second, you’ll have a detailed plan to help you achieve or maybe even exceed your goal.

  1. Include things that matter to you.

Fleshing out a goal and divvying it up across your month as a plan can be done for anything: saving money, losing weight, career advancement and the list goes on. What’s important is that every goal you list has a legitimate reason for taking up space as a monthly goal at all. I list things from date nights with the hubby to which books I plan to read. I think of my career, my family life and my home. I have goals to advance and/or nurture each one of those. While my focus might shift slightly from month to month, I always ensure to only add things that matter to me. When you care about the ultimate outcome, you’re bound to put the energy needed to check those boxes off at the end of the month.

  1. Push yourself.

Most people have heard the term ‘SMART goals’, right? There’s one letter in that acronym that bothers me, the “A” for achievable. Depending on what article you’re reading, it stands for different things but overall, it always comes back to setting goals that you know you can attain. That, to me, is the wrong way to go. If you think you can save $1,000 this month, push yourself to save $1,200. Why even bother to write it down if it’s a safe assumption and achievable? What satisfaction will you gain from checking it off if it was a given anyway? I’m a believer in pushing yourself beyond your limit. Our limits are set by what we allow ourselves to believe. Why not try harder, believe a little bit more and come out ahead?

There you have it—Mel’s goal setting 101.

melblog

 

 

Social Media Day

Happy Social Media Day!.pngDid you know that June 30, 2017 is observed as Social Media Day across the globe (and the web)? It’s no doubt that social media has completely changed our lives over the years and has defined how we interact with our friends, family, colleagues and the rest of the world.

The launch of MySpace in 2003 allowed teenagers and college students to connect with each other, post bulletins (think Facebook Statuses, but much, much longer), share their top 8 friends (that changed weekly and was the source of a lot of drama in friend circles), and try their hand at HTML coding to spruce up their profile. Although it is no longer being used for its original purpose, many consider MySpace the beginning of the social media era.

Next came Facebook—the social network founded in a college dorm back in 2004 for the purpose of communicating with other college students and was referred to as http://www.thefacebook.com at the time. Early adopters surely remember the days where virtually “poking” others was all the craze and how the permanent “is” at the beginning of status updates resulted in poor grammar for many. The demographics on this platform shifted and Facebook recently surpassed 2 BILLION USERS! Yes, you read that right—2 BILLION! Gone are the days where individuals used this social network solely for the purpose of creating weekend plans with friends. Businesses and advertisers have recognized the significance of using Facebook as a tool to market their products and services directly to those in their target market—at a cost that typically beats that of traditional marketing. Live videos, news updates, instant messaging, trending topics, pages and groups round out the many reasons why people LOVE Facebook.

Shortly after the launch of Facebook came Twitter, a “microblog”, where users are forced to confine their thoughts to 140 characters or less. Its growing popularity has allowed users to quickly find trending news topics, Tweet along to live television shows, find others at events with a simple hashtag search, show your support for causes, host question & answer periods, conduct polls, and connect with brands. Have a question regarding your new present on Christmas Day at 10 AM? Simply Tweet to the company and you just might receive a response. Breaking news story? Search a relevant hashtag on Twitter and receive the latest updates from various news sources, bystanders/attendees, and opinions from others reflecting on the story. Stuck at work for the Olympic championship hockey game? Luckily for you, other Twitter users can provide us all with play-by-play Tweets so we won’t miss a minute of the action.

The rise of Instagram followed soon after. The popular photo-sharing platform (acquired by Facebook in 2012) boasts approximately 700 million users! The allure of creating and sharing a professional looking photo feed with friends and the rest of the world is what allowed its popularity to soar. Now, users can interact via direct message, live feeds and stories to share glimpses of their lives. Brands can advertise, create communities through hashtags, and even provide customer service to their followers in seconds in a more personalized way.

One of the newer platforms taking the world by storm is Snapchat, an image messaging application that launched 5 short years ago and is already exceeding 165 million active daily users. Something about sending self-destructing images and videos with animal filters on them to friends and family or broadcasting moments in your day just feels right to many. Users can spend a large chunk of time discovering and reading news stories and articles from popular outlets (such as DailyMail, Buzzfeed and Cosmo) and watching video stories from their favourite celebrities, influencers, brands, and events. Perhaps the reason for Snapchat’s growth is the fact that it consistently provides updates to keep things fresh and exciting for its users, while many other networks have yet to embrace this strategy.

Whether you use social platforms because 1- you’re generally curious (or nosey) about the lives of others, 2- you want to learn more about what’s happening in the world, 3 – for entertainment purposes, or 4- because it’s simply your job, we can all agree that social media has shaped the way we communicate, and that’s something that should be celebrated! So on June 30th, 2017, I encourage you all to share what Social Media Day means to you using the hashtag #SocialMediaDay on your favourite platform.

MeganSignature

Rejection Handling – Part 2/2

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Here we go, part two of two.

Today I’m going to discuss one of the most common rejections that we face as sales specialists working with technology: “I’m not interested”.

Talk about a blow to the ego. You’ve taken time out of your day to reach out to this person (and it usually takes more than one attempt to actually get a hold of them!) and offer them a solution that you know would serve them well to consider and they completely blow you off with three simple words, “I’m not interested”. How do you respond? What do you say to come back from it?

To start, do whatever you can to avoid having that rejection thrown in your face at all. Once you have the chance to connect with your prospect, begin the conversation by getting to know them – ask how their week is going so far, ask how they’re enjoying the sunshine, talk about the news article that you read last week about their organization etc. This sets the stage for a ‘conversation’ rather than a ‘sales call’. It will also make you seem more trustworthy if you start the conversation by asking about them and not throwing in their face whatever it is that you have to offer.

Even though you may start the conversation off positively and it may seem as though they are genuinely interested, the “we’re not interested at this time” rejection may still come out. In that case…

Consider their geographical location and their size (number of staff for example) before calling. If you’re able to compare them to another organization that is using your product/service successfully that they may be familiar with, that might be enough to make them rethink their response. If you have a good enough rapport with that organization, you could even consider the idea of requesting to use them as a reference for your prospect if you see enough potential with them. Hearing about the benefits of a product/service from a user has much more of an impact than hearing it from a salesperson!

If you’re bold enough, come out ask the question that everyone wants to ask, “What makes you say that you aren’t interested?” Hopefully their response will answer a few of the following questions: Are they the individual that you should be speaking with? Are they not able to see the value because their position wouldn’t be affected by the implementation of your product/service? Has their budget been used up for this year, meaning that next year would be a better time to connect? Do they not have a need for your product/service because they already use something similar? It may seem bold to ask, but without asking questions you won’t get any answers!

If after that point you’re still receiving pushback, you can’t force anyone to say yes or want to know more about what it is that you have to offer; at some point you have to step back and accept the “no”. I once sat in on a sales seminar where the speaker told us that no only means no in social situations, so keep that in mind. Just because they’re saying no now doesn’t mean that the answer will be no three or six months from now. Set yourself a reminder and try again later on!

Tessa-NEW

Rise Together

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There’s no doubt that StaffStat has seen its fair share of success over the course of the last few months.

  • Innovator’s Den winner at the OLTCA Fall Conference
  • Ahead of the Curve Innovation Award – Business With Brian Awards
  • Innovation Award – Bell Business Excellence Awards
  • 2017’s Intrapreneur of Year Award – BPW

Of course, recognition, above all else is something we strive for. It’s wonderful to win an award but being nominated in and of itself is something to be proud of. The best part about this entire journey is when someone else comes around, taps you on the shoulder and says “Hey, I think you deserve this nomination”. We’ve been lucky to have the support of our entire community along the way and this blog post goes out to them!

I want to encourage everyone to be a cheerleader! I know this sounds like fluff and it may be something that you feel you have very little time for however, helping someone else rise oftentimes comes back to you (not that I’m suggesting this is why you should do it)!

Here’s what I know: since we’ve launched StaffStat, everyone is obsessed with the concept of competition. Questions like: “Who else is out there that’s doing what you’re doing?”, “How easy would it be to replicate what you’re doing?”, “Are you worried about who’s coming down the line with a similar product?” are frequently asked. Don’t get me wrong, the wise thing is to always be aware of what’s going on in your space and we would be fools if we didn’t acknowledge that we keep a pulse on anything and everything that’s similar. However, what I am suggesting is that beyond keeping your eyes peeled for the threats either to your own company or someone elses, remember to keep an eye out for what’s happening around you; what’s innovative, what’s up and coming and what you can help elevate by supporting!

Based on what we’ve experienced personally here at StaffStat, I can say with 100% certainty that when you receive encouragement, it can be a game changer. That can be in the form of mentorship, nominations and/or advice. It doesn’t cost a penny to take a little time out of your schedule to help someone else. The feeling you’ll get from helping someone else will long outlast and will undoubtedly outweigh doing nothing at all.

Here’s how you can help:

  1. When you hear of upcoming awards, consider the people you know and nominate someone that fits the bill. Just a few minutes of your time could have a major impact on that person and their business.
  2. If you’re ever asked, take the time to meet with budding entrepreneurs and provide them with sound advice based on your experience. Do this without the expectation that the person will follow your advice but with the knowledge that something you say may trigger and impact that person’s company for the better.
  3. Become an official mentor. Here in Sudbury, places like the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce and the NORCAT Innovation Mill are open to seasoned entrepreneurs providing mentorship to startups. If you’ve got the goods, you can certainly lend your expertise to someone who may have little to no knowledge regarding some of the aspects of running a successful venture.

Above all, open your eyes and your mind to the possibility that the next best thing could benefit from your help. Why not be play a role in that? Rather than focusing on what can threaten an up and coming company, let’s focus on how we can help each other and rise together!

melblog

Trade Show Exhibiting Done Right – Part 3

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Welcome back to part 3 of my series Trade Show Exhibiting Done Right, where I share tips and tricks to make the next trade show you exhibit at a huge success!

A quick recap from the last 2 weeks: booth location is important so book early, use your brand colours when designing your booth, make sure your logo can be seen from far distances, be engaging & friendly, connect with other exhibitors, dress similarly to your team, add some element of fun to your booth, have a unique offering, bring free promo items, and be sure to switch things up each time. You can read these posts in their entirety for more information: Part 1 & Part 2.

Now, on to part 3…

Bring business cards & name tags. Seems straightforward, but surprisingly many people forget both of these important items. Bring more business cards than you think you’d ever use because you never who you may meet. Ensure your name tags are branded so when others see you off the trade show floor they can still make a connection and remember which company you represent. Remember, attendees and exhibitors will likely see thousands and thousands of people over the span of a few days and it’s hard to memorize that many names and faces.

Get social. Use social media to your advantage before, during and after trade shows or conventions. Prior to the event, find out if there is a hashtag for the trade show you are attending. Build hype prior to attending by creating content for the week leading up to the conference. Search the hashtag on Twitter and see who else has already Tweeted and make a connection. Find the social media accounts for the the organization/association that is hosting the event and reach out to them on social media letting them know you’re excited to attend. Be sure to include your booth number/location when posting content. When you’re at the event, ensure one person is in charge of using social media; snap photos of booth setup, trade show hours, seminars, special events, panels, etc. and share them across various social media platforms. Again, be sure to use the hashtag and your booth number to join the conversation WHILE you’re at the trade show! After you attend, share moments, make connections with exhibitors and attendees alike, and reach out to hosts and thank them for a great time!

Follow up promptly. After the trade show, make note of all the individuals you connected with and follow up with them via email. Don’t be too “sales-y”, but let them know it was a pleasure to meet them and remind them of your exclusive offer and its expiry date and don’t forget a call-to-action! Just a reminder: even if you connected with other exhibitors and you feel like they may not benefit from your product/service, be sure to touch base with them regardless because you never know what may come from a simple email.

There you have it—over 10 tips to ensure your company gets the most out of the next trade show you attend. Good luck and happy exhibiting!

MeganSignature

Rejection Handling – Part 1/2

rejection blog 2.jpgWhen getting into a sales career, dealing with rejection is definitely something that should be expected. Being rejected or ‘brushed off’ has honestly become part of my everyday life since starting in my role as Solution Sales Specialist with StaffStat! Everyone in the industry will experience rejection in one way or another, whether it be through email, over the phone or in person, but how you handle it and deal with it is what will set you apart from other salespeople. Something that I’ve come to realize is that the rejections that we usually face are a way for people to brush us off, thinking that we’re just another sleazy salesperson. It usually has nothing to do with what we’re actually selling.

Whenever we’re able to, the sales team likes to set some time aside to brainstorm and discuss a few of the rejections that we’ve recently encountered. Putting our heads together allows our ideas to grow and snowball off of each other, and it also ensures that we are all on the same page when it comes to rejection handling with our prospects. That way we’re constantly learning from each other and considering new approaches that we might not have thought about before.

For my next couple of blogs, I’ve decided to do a series on rejection handling where I’ll share the rejection that we discussed as well as the ideas that were brought forward during the brainstorming session. If you have any feedback or advice to share on how you deal with similar rejections, please leave it in the comments!

Rejection: “We’re happy with our current system/process. Thanks anyways.”

First things first, praise them. Obviously they’re doing something right if they don’t need to consider what you’re offering, right? By congratulating them on their success before continuing on, the call will feel less ‘salesy’ and more like a conversation. It will also help lighten the discussion and pave the way for the next step.

Step number two involves asking them about their current process. When you ask the question, “Can you tell me about your current process?”, you’re looking for them to tell you something that you can use later on to continue attempting to sell whatever it is that you have to offer. Keep a pen and paper handy for this part of your conversation; think of this as the ‘information gathering’ stage. At this point you’re likely going to learn whether or not they are using another product/service that’s similar to yours as well (If you’re lucky, you might even learn that they are using a product/service that one of your current customers used prior to switching to yours!). If they are, you now know that you’ll have to come up with a way to convince them that you have more to offer without coming across too strong or speaking negatively about the competition.

Lastly, remind them why you’re calling by referring back to their pain point. If you’re absolutely certain that they would benefit by purchasing your product/service, then you should be aware of the pain point that they’re dealing with prior to getting to this point. If not, did they happen to share a pain point that they’re dealing with during step number two? Would your product/service help with their pain point? This is where you sell yourself. This is where you make them change their mind and leave them wanting to learn more. Take all of the information that you’ve learned throughout the call and use it to your advantage!

Tessa-NEW

 

 

It’s OK to Make Mistakes

MistakesEvery business, every employee, and every leader fails at some point in their career, but the difference between a success and a failure is what you learn. Mistakes are a valuable resource that should never be overlooked — here’s why:

  • It’s ok to make mistakes – seriously. As an entrepreneur I try to look at every mistake as a lesson. I want to understand why the mistake was made and how I can avoid making the same one in the future. More importantly, I want to understand how that mistake has changed or affected our business. Whether it’s a significant error in judgment or a minor oversight, I try to find value in the outcome.
  • Mistakes teach you to forgive. When a mistake is made, especially a big one, forgiveness is an essential aspect of moving through it.  Most of the time there is no malicious intent by the person who made the mistake (us or others).  Sadly, we tend to spend and waste a lot of time and energy either with blame or resentment, instead of focusing our attention in a more productive, positive, and healthy direction — forgiveness. If we can remember that most of the time we’re doing the best we can (as are others), we can hopefully get off our own backs and allow ourselves to be human (which means we aren’t perfect, nor is anyone else).
  • Mistakes fuel you. Once you make a mistake you are determined to do better. Mistakes help you better yourself. Mistakes push you in ways you never knew you could be pushed. No matter how many mistakes you make, you will have chances to make them better. You need to make mistakes to encourage and inspire you.
  • Mistakes help you grow as a person. Making a mistake seems like the end of the world, but it’s not. It means that you have to fix it and start over. After making a mistake, the best thing you can do is try to fix it. You can reflect on your decisions and learn the right way from the mistakes you make. They help you learn more about yourself and grow. Inevitably, they help you realize what is right and wrong to you. You can’t learn anything without messing up and trying to put things back together.

Ultimately, when mistakes are made 1. Learn from them, 2. Own them, 3. Fix them, and 4. Put safeguards in place to ensure the same mistake will never be repeated again. Don’t engage in days, weeks or months of self-blame or battering your self-esteem because you should’ve known, should’ve acted differently, or should’ve been an ideal person; you’re not, and neither am I. That’s just life.

melblog