April 30th, 2012

Winners,Losers AND Participants

I read a couple of stories this week that contrast two vastly different outlooks …

1.  A Story About WINNERS!  The first story was a BBC story about a school in kenya where children train with the hope of winning scholarships to US universities as runners.  To them, this is their way to escape the poverty that otherwise defines their lives.  These people are motivated to exceed, to be the best, to escape their fate through hard work and talent.

2.  A Story about PARTICIPANTS.  I also read a Globe and Mail story about Sport Canada’s latest approach to sport here in Canada … one that I will call the Road to Mediocrity.  It was a story in the Globe and Mail titled The Case for Killing the Competition.  The focus of Sport Canada and the 56 national sports it represents will be on participation and fun … not on winning! 

Newsflash Canada!  In the REAL WORLD … there are winners and there are losers. 

People learn how to be winners, by winning and by losing … NOT by “participating”.

There is nothing wrong with being a winner … nor is there anything wrong with losing.  What is wrong is not playing to win!

If you want mediocrity this is a great way to get it.

I LOVE the fact that Sport Canada want more people to particpate … I HATE the fact that they think this is how to do it!

If you want success in life you will not get it by “particpating’ you will get it by … working harder than your competition, by being smarter than your competition, by having a stronger mental attitude than your competition.

We operate in a Global Community and there are people just like those Kenyan runners, all over the world who want to WIN.  They want to WIN at everything we compete in, from sports to business to wars!  The ONLY way that we stay competitive is to be WINNERS not participants … because otherwise we might as well just give up now!

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Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Centre!
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April 26th, 2012

Five Good Habits YOU Should Develop!

Five Good Habits to develop …

1.  Look after yourself … EVERYTHING is better when you are healthy.   Read my Healthy Executive series of blogs for some ideas!  (PS You don’t need to be an executive to get some good ideas there!)

2.  Start using GOALS to set yourself up for success.  I have written many blog entries about Goals …  this is just one, but maybe it will get you thinking about whether this is a good habit you can invest in!

3.  To Do lists are a must have item … if you are at all busy then I don’t know how you could survive without To Do lists!!! 

4.  I see people in meetings every day and they never write anything down.  Taking notes is a basic skill that you should develop … definitely a good habit to cultivate!

5.  My fifth good habit is what prompted the idea for this blog … I wrote just yesterday about the power of checklists.  Add that good habit and watch the positive impact!  Remember, checklists can work for anyone, not just sales people!

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Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)

Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) VirtualRecruiter service?

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April 25th, 2012

Sales Checklists … Get Serious About Success!

Our world is complex and we are expected to remember a lot of things, and no matter how good your memory you will not remember everything! 

How can you best deal with that?

1.  Take notes … lots of them!  I have a lousy memory but I ALWAYS take notes, in EVERY meeting. 

2.  Use Checklists!   Many professions use these to ensure that nothing is missed.  Pilots (for example) use checklists at various stages of the flight process to be 100% certain they don’t miss anything.  Obviously the consequences could be disastrous if they “forgot” to put the landing carriage down before landing, or to check the fuel situation before taking off (just a couple of small examples).

Any salesperson could create some very simple checklists to make sure they covered everything off … in every situation.  Checklists for sales meetings, for entering notes in the system, for weekly reports, for setting up meetings, for reviewing goals, for creating To Do lists etc. 

Here are a couple of very simple examples …

1.  The meeting checklist … a list of common things you should be talking about with a client in most meetings.  This doesn’t stop you from having your usual style of meetings, talking about personal things or about any other subject.  The checklist will just remind you about gathering information before you head in to the meeting … and you can double check it just before leaving.

Your company may want you to gather the folowing type of information in any sales call:

Are there any opportunities … now, soon, longer term.

Is there anyone else you should be talking to?

Are there any coming changes … budgets, projects, personnel etc?

Is the client aware of other offerings from your company?

Does the client have any feedback/suggestions for improvement?

Where does this person fit into the client organisation?

You should set up your next meeting now.

That is a lot of things to remember … and for most meetings you will remember some of the items, but likely not everything that you should.  One way to ensure that you always remember to gather all of the information is to have a quick reminder.

The meeting checklist that you see here will do just that!  (Modify it to suit YOUR requirements).

2.  What about those Monday mornings when you come to the office ready to start the week .. but still not quite “into it”.  Do you wait until you have had your second coffee, and caught up on everyone else’s weekend adventures before “figuring out’ what you need to do? 

Maybe a simple Start of Week checklist will help you to focus, get organised and make you that much more efficient.  It could be VERY simple .. maybe something like the one here, or modify it to YOUR needs.

Checklists can help you be more efficient, and being more efficient means selling more!   That should be a good incentive to give it a try!!!

PS.  Checklists are not JUST for sales, they are for EVERYONE! 

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Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Centre!
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April 23rd, 2012

We Are All Different … BUT All the Same Too!

What do I mean by that?

More importantly how can it help me?

1.  We are all different …

We are a unique combination of the physical and the mental.

We are as unique as snow flakes.

We cannot assume that other people think like us.

If we understand that we are all different then the IMPORTANCE of listening is not lost on us.

2.  We are all the same …

Sometimes we worry too much about our competition, about whether we are good enough, about what others will think, about the guy with all the letters after his title, the woman with all the experience, about the fact we are talking to a senior executive etc.

ALL of those people have, or have had, the same concerns and fears that you do.

Some of those people are thinking exactly the same thoughts that you are!

If you enter “the fray” (sales situation, business transaction, negotiation etc) assuming everyone is is more qualified, better at their job, won’t take you seriously … then you have lost already!

Always assume you have everything it takes to be successful in the situation you find yourself … if you learn otherwise then nothing is lost and at a very minimum you learned something!

Life will surprise you both good and bad … but give yourself a chance by remembering

(i)   Your uniqueness might just win you the day; and

(ii)  Your sameness means you have nothing to fear! 

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Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Centre!
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April 20th, 2012

Hit the Sales Wall? 7 Ideas to Get Sales Rolling Again!

Insanity is doing the same thing you’ve always done and expecting different result … Albert Einstein  (also Bob’s rules)

Kevin’s two truths about selling:

#1  Sales is  the lifeblood of every company;

#2  The sales profession is demanding!!!

Every sales person hits a point in time when “something changes” to adversely affect their results.  The market changes, the economy changes, the competition changes, your clients change … it doesn’t really matter because (a) it is inevitable and (b) it means YOU need to change things up!

Here are seven ideas that can help you to change what you are doing … and just might help you get back on track!

1. Set aside parts of your day (or week) for calling clients. It sounds simple but so many people don’t do it … they let their calendar run them instead of driving their calendar.

Example: Block out from 4pm till 5pm for calling clients to (a) get meetings (b) understand if there is current business opportunity (c) get referrals to people who might have needs.

2. Take a few minutes to write hand written cards each day (or week). They don’t need to say much, but they need to be personal and relevant.

Example: Send cards to all of the executive assistants you talked with this week telling them you appreciated their help. Send cards to all of your clients that gave you business this month and thank them … “Joe, I just wanted you to know I really appreciate the business. Thanks”.

3. Set aside time each week to call people you don’t know. They don’t need to be COLD calls, you can get introductions from other people, there are lots of ways to make “WARM CALLS” but just call people who are not in your regular list.

Example: Always ask for referrals when talking to clients and people in your network. Set aside time to follow up with those people every week.

4. Change up your routine and get out of your comfort zone. We all tend to get into a groove which we follow day in day out, week in and week out. If you want to increase your sales then you need to do something different.

Examples: Come to work a little earlier or stay a little later and use the time to plan better. If you always call clients after 9am, try calling people very early, maybe before you leave home (you might be surprised how many people start early).

5. Change your dress code, buy some new clothes that make you feel GOOD!

Example: If you have been a very casual dresser, then opt for suits and ties for a while. If you have been very formal, then loosen it up just a little. Obviously you need to dress appropriately for your role, but there is leeway in there.

6. Join some new groups. Maybe Toastmasters, an industry association, a charity group or just a social group of some kind. This helps expand your network and adds new contacts that may help you with leads, or just advice.

Examples: I spent a couple of years in Toastmasters which was great for my confidence, presentation skills etc. Charities expose you to senior people from many different industries, exposure to the industry association broadens your contact base and helps you better understand your competition.

7. Invest in your self development. Get some formal training related to your role.

Example: If you sell in the tech world then do a tech course. Do sales courses such as the CPSA certification training. Do time management, negotiation or writing courses. There are tons of options.

There are many obvious things that you can change to effect better sales, but so many sales people just don’t do it.

Just the mere act of changing things up will change the most important thing … your attitude.

If you get into a mindset that embraces and welcomes change, then you have the best chance to be successful in sales.

Try it! 

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Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Centre!
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April 19th, 2012

Selling … Nothing Happens Till You Do Something!

If you are in sales you hear comments like that heading all the time … and over time they become background noise …

Stop waiting for the phone to ring.

Get out and find the business … its not going to come knocking on your door.

What you hear is blah blah blah blah

What you think is Tell me something I don’t know, why don’t you help me?

Here are some thoughts that just might put those “sales manager”-type comments into perspective:

1.  The way that you find out what is happening in your market is by talking to people.

2.  EVERYBODY has an opinion … so talking to one person gets you one opinion.  (How many times have you heard there was nothing going on in an account only to find out later that your competition has an inside track?)

3.  Every conversation that you have does not lead to business … but every conversation that you have can (a) build on a relationship; (b) give SOME insight about where to have your next conversation; (c) just might lead to business.

4.  You don’t need to talk to the “big boss” to understand if there is opportunity.  Assistants, receptionists, junior staff, supervisors, managers and even competition will all have some knowledge if there is “stuff happening”.  Once you understand possibilities then just maybe it can lead to business!

5.  Being “out” in your market talking to people feels good, feels like you are achieving something and provides you with accurate information about the realities of the market.

6.  Sitting at your desk just leaves you open to those comments and it doesn’t feel good either!

It is dangerous to get to the point of hearing “blah blah blah” when your boss talks. 

You know you need to “do something”. 

Just try talking to as many people as possible and finding out if it really does lead to business … PS. don’t forget to document those calls! 

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Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Centre!
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April 17th, 2012

Kevin’s Sales Manifesto!

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Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Centre!
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April 17th, 2012

What Successful Sales People Do

“It is not your customer’s job to remember you. It is your obligation and responsibility to make sure they don’t have the chance to forget you.” … Patricia Fripp.

The best salespeople are driven, they really want the sale, they will work towards the close and will not sit back and wait for things to happen. The traits necessary to be a successful salesperson usually involve an ability to relate to others, a sense of urgency and a likeable personality. If you have these traits then potentially sales could be a profession to consider … but there is far more to being a successful salesperson.

The successful salesperson WILL fill their days by talking with clients and prospects, understanding their needs and working to solve their problems. They will invest their time on any activity that will generate sales.

The successful salesperson WILL NOT spend time on activity that is not focused on generating business … busy work, personal activities, excess paperwork etc.

The successful salesperson WILL be organised, have good time management skills, be a master of the CRM and religiously commit to their “to do” list.

The successful salesperson WILL NOT float through their day, waiting for things to happen, waiting for the phone to ring and an email to pop into their inbox.

The successful salesperson WILL always be looking for ways to get better at what they do.

The successful salesperson WILL NOT rest on their laurels, expecting that their previous success means success tomorrow. They know they need to invest in themselves.

There are many misconceptions about the sales profession. The reality is that every business needs sales and the sales professional is responsible for the success or failure of those companies. Sales is a rewarding profession but in order to be successful it requires hard work and dedication.

“Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman – not the attitude of the prospect” … W. Clement Stone

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Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Centre!
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April 16th, 2012

You Are Who You Associate With

“If you are not in the process of becoming the person you want to be, you are automatically engaged in becoming the person you don’t want to be. ”  … Dale Carnegie
 
The people that we associate with (our friends, mentors, relatives) shape the person that we become … just a fact, but a fact that you can use to your advantage.

It works in the same way “glass half empty” people can have a “downer” affect on your mood, and “glass half full” people can give your mood a lift. 

If you spend more time with people who are professional, career driven and want to get ahead, then you will adopt the positive aspects of that association and they will reinforce those qualities in you.  If you have entrepreneurial aspirations and you associate with entrepreneurs then you will find that to be a positive influence on your goals.

YOU need to decide who you want to be … be your own person!  It is OK to choose to live your life with, OR without, career aspirations …  just do it consciously, not because the people you associate with are like that.

Once you decide who you want to be then choose who you spend your time with carefully … spend the most time with people who help you become who you want to be! 

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Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Centre!
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April 12th, 2012

CANADIAN JOB MARKET – First Quarter 2012

General Observations:

From a job market perspective, the first quarter of 2012 here in Canada has been very similar in many respects to the last quarter of 2011.  The unemployment rate has bounced around a little but today at 7.2% unemployment it is somewhat better than the 7.5% unemployment rate in December.  After a couple of months of little change we added 82,000 jobs in March which means that Canada has added 197,000 jobs in the last 12 months.

The high price per barrel of oil is the primary driver behind the “hot” job market in Calgary, yet that is somewhat dampened by the strength of the Canadian dollar which has been at or close to par with the US dollar for some time now.  The continuing extremely low prices for Natural Gas have somewhat dampened the demand for talent in Western Canada, if you can believe it.  A high gas price would result in a severe shortage of talent!

The financial sector in Canada remains strong and hence is a strong source of employment, with new projects and initiatives creating jobs that impact primarily the GTA and Montreal … and we continue to see demand in those cities. 

A stable economy is essential for business to invest in growth, and while Canada has been very stable for some time now, we are affected by global economic conditions creating a dampener on job growth here.   This can be seen in the continuing fluctuations in the stock market with the TSX bouncing between 11,500 and 12,500 for about the last nine (9) months, yet performing very slightly better this quarter than last.

The multiple levels of Government here in Canada employ a lot of people and yet most governments have been struggling to reduce deficits and contain costs, which will affect the opportunity for work in this sector.  There will always be work with these employers even as lay-offs happen, but current restraint means there is a reduced demand there. 

The staffing industry is obviously a good indicator of the job market and the first quarter of the year has been quietly positive.  The Canadian Staffing Index is up about 10% over the same period last year but down a little from a busier last quarter of 2011 … again suggesting a “3 steps forward, 2 steps back” type of recovery.  On the professional staffing front here at Eagle we have seen demand from our clients increase by about 20% in the first quarter of 2012 as compared to the last quarter of 2011.

More Specifically:

For Eagle the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) has been Canada’s hottest job market for some time now.  This is because it is Canada’s largest city, with a large number of head offices and home to the greater part of the financial sector in Canada.  The Ontario Government is still hiring, but the opportunities are definitely impacted by a need to cut back costs.  The biggest drivers for growth have been the financial, retail, insurance and telecommunication sectors.

The continued strength of the oil patch keeps Calgary as the hottest job market in Western Canada with a continued demand for skilled resources at all levels and across all of Eagle’s lines of business.  As mentioned earlier a high Natural Gas price  would create serious skills shortages in Calgary, but the demand is strong based largely on the high price per barrel of oil.  Edmonton and Regina are also enjoying strong employment, so Western Canada continues to be a busy place, and jobs are there to be had.

Eagle’s Eastern Canada region is impacted largely by the Federal Governments cutbacks and reduced demand in Ottawa.  Montreal however continues to provide job opportunities, most specifically in the financial, insurance and telecommunications industries.  The Maritime provinces are generally tough places to find jobs however the ship building contracts for Halifax and the oil off Newfoundland should create some decent demand.  In SW Ontario the Auto sector has stabilised again but RIM’s woes cast a shadow in this region.

 Summary:

The first quarter of 2012 has been “more of the same”, a slow recovery (if we can still call it that) and unemployment rates in the low to mid 7% range.  The recovery remains tentative but probably more optimistic than 2011 as the US and Europe seem to be finding their way through their significant challenges.

Anecdotally (Eagle’s experience) and from a staffing perspective, there has been increased demand for people this quarter over the same period last year.  The indicators are that the pace of demand is increasing and that the second quarter should see that trend continue.

The Canadian Federal Government, along with many other levels of government are looking at ways to cut costs and reduce deficits.  This has led to lay-offs and a reduced demand for people and thus the bigger opportunity for jobs is the private sector.

The cities with the most opportunity remain Toronto and Calgary, with Montreal still showing good signs.  Some other markets like Edmonton and Regina seem to be faring well too.  Outside of that the Maritimes will enjoy some job growth associated with the shipbuilding contracts and oil business off Newfoundland.

The hottest markets are experiencing some skills shortages for the highly skilled professionals, and we expect to see these issues worsen in Q2.  I would also expect to see increased demand for skilled trades particularly in hot areas like Toronto and the oil patch.  By necessity, hiring managers are beginning to recognise the “need for speed” in their hiring decisions.  Thus I will end this write-up with my “standing advice” to ANY company needing people:

(a) Start the process now with a strong PLANNING phase;

(b) Develop very clean processes to find, screen, choose, hire and onboard these new resources;

(c) Know that you will have a lot of competition and therefore speed in decision making will be critical;

(d) The job doesn’t stop there … retention becomes the next challenge! 

That was my monthly look at the Canadian job market and some of its influences. 

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Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
Want to know where Canada’s hot jobs are?   Visit the Eagle Job Centre!
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