CEO Blog

Are You Achieving Your Potential?

Be amazing quote by Maya AngelouWe are all born with certain talents.

We all have the ability to improve those talents through education, practice and effort … and we can do this at any time in our lives.

Some people will take full advantage of those talents and others will not.

Robert Schuller asked the question, “What great thing would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?”

The intent of that question was to make us think about why we are not chasing our dreams or reaching for goals.  If the fear of failure were eliminated then would we have some goal in mind?  If so, then why not go for it?

Here are a few thoughts on this subject:

  1. When humans are forced into situations they can accomplish incredible feats.  Think about the stories of people who survived great hardships, or the heroic stories we hear about people who found themselves in tough situations.
  2. When we decide to “go for it” we are proven to be able to achieve great things too … think about professional athletes or even very successful entrepreneurs.
  3. Failure is not a terrible thing. Through failure we learn invaluable lessons.  Each new attempt will bring us closer to our goal.  There are many people who have achieved great things, before which they had many failures … think Abraham Lincoln.
  4. We can fake ourselves out easily … by focusing on all the things that can go wrong and the possibility of failure. OR we can focus on making it happen.
  5. Why do you need to be forced? Why do you need circumstance to push you?

We all get one go around at life.

Why not take our talents and make the most of them?

Why not give ourselves goals, and go for them?

Why not achieve our potential?

What is stopping you?

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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 Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
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Develop Your Curiosity

Curiosity quote by EinsteinWikipedia describes curiosity as: (from Latin curiosus “careful, diligent, curious,” akin to cura “care”) is a quality related to inquisitive thinking such as exploration, investigation, and learning, evident by observation in human and animal species. Curiosity is heavily associated with all aspects of human development, in which derives the process of learning and desire to acquire knowledge and skill.

I would suggest that curiosity is an under-rated trait that is present in almost any successful person that I know!

“Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.”  Voltaire

This is one “skill” that can be developed … and can be hugely useful in both your career and your personal life.

For example, it is a strongly held belief that great leaders do not accept the “status quo”.  They are continually looking for ways to get better, to improve the process, to reduce the costs and to be more efficient.  A great way to do that is to be curious, and to truly understand why things are the way they are, because when you understand it well you have a decent chance of improving it!

“It is important to remember that we cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are.” Max De Pree

Let’s talk about relationships, both business and personal.  The number one way to start a relationship is to be curious about the other person!  By asking questions we get to know people better, and conversation flows easier leading to an easier relationship which might develop into friendship.  So, whether you are networking for business or meeting socially … being curious is a great way to “get ahead”!

“You can make more friends in two months by being interested in other people than in two years of trying to get people interested in you.”  Dale Carnegie

Work at it!

Consciously start to ask more questions.

Work at developing better questions.

Set yourself a goal to learn something new every day … by asking questions.

If you are hiring people, look for those who are curious … they will WANT to learn!

Are you good at getting people to open up, by asking good questions?

Do you agree that curiosity is a valuable skill?

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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 Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
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CANADIAN JOB MARKET Review Second Quarter 2015

jobsGeneral Observations:

The first half of the year has been a challenge here in Canada, driven largely by the struggling oil sector, which tends to ripple through the economy.  The general feeling is that Statistics Canada will announce a recession, given that Canada will have experienced two consecutive quarters of contraction.

Target LogoFollowing a tough first quarter of low oil prices, mid-$40 range, and layoffs in the retail sector (Target, Sony, Mexxx) the second quarter has continued to see the effects of a depressed energy sector.

The employment rate at the end of Q2 is unchanged from the end of Q1, sitting at 6.8%.  There has been a loss of about 11,000 jobs in the oil sector however Canada has actually added 33,000 jobs in Q2, and 176,000 jobs over the last 12 months.

TSXAs another economic indicator the TSX has been fairly steady, despite other volatility in the markets.  At the end of Q2 the TSX was at about 14,500 which was down about 500 points from the 15,000 reading at the end of Q1.

As already mentioned the price of a barrel of oil has plummeted and is currently sitting around $55 a barrel, but at the end of Q1 was below $50.  This had a significant impact in the oil patch, resulting in cut backsOil can, reduction in spending and layoffs.  When coupled with a low Canadian dollar however it is not ALL bad news, and Canadian manufacturers and exporters are benefiting.

The financial sector is one of the largest employers in Canada and continues to be a busy user of talent.  This sector is centered primarily in Toronto, but with a significant presence in Montreal. There are many reasons why this sector remains busy including its highly competitive nature, evolving technologies, regulatory change and volatile markets.

Mobile antena. Communication conceptThe telecommunications sector is another big employer in Canada in a very competitive world.  Differentiation is achieved through infrastructure, technology advancements and new offerings.  In addition they are dealing with the effects of an aging workforce and the retiring baby boomers.

ConstructionThe construction industry is a large consumer of labor and remains a great place to find work, both in the trades and in the head offices of the large companies. You can see cranes dotting the landscape in most major cities with infrastructure projects, office towers and condo developments. The drop in oil prices has cost jobs in the oil sands and other large projects but in general, if people are willing to travel there is work to be had.  There continues to be high demand for “trades” in the home renovation and small scale construction world.

Despite the need for governments to contain costs we have seen a fairly steady demand in Federal, Provincial and Municipal Governments.  They are huge employers, and people with the right skills are always in demand. The required downsizing is generally achieved through attrition and there is always work to be done. Regulatory change, policy development and general administrative needs dictate the need for a large and skilled workforce that receives competitive incomes and very attractive pensions and benefits. As we get closer to Federal and Provincial elections the projects are slowing down and funding is harder to get.  I would expect to see a slowdown in this sector over the next six months At least.  It is difficult to say what will happen in Alberta with an NDP government that has no experience governing.  The general consensus seems to suggest a steep but fairly long learning curve that will cost jobs.

The Canadian Staffing Index is an indicator of the strength of the largest provider of talent in any economy (the staffing industry) and an excellent barometer of the health of Canada’s economy. The index suggests that the slowdown in the demand for talent we saw in Q1, continued into Q2.  Increased demand for staff augmentation resources is often the first sign of recovery, and we are not yet seeing that.

Here at Eagle we have seen significant impact on our Western Canada business however other markets remain fairly steady.  Following a first quarter drop of 30% in orders, we saw a further dip of almost 10% in Q2.  The impact has been almost exclusively in Alberta and Saskatchewan.  While other markets have been fairly stable there has been no offsetting increase in demand.

More Specifically:
cn towerWith more than 6 million people, and the largest number of head offices in Canada, the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) is by far Canada’s, and Eagle’s, largest market.  This market accounts for approximately 60% of Eagle’s business which comes from the major industries here, which include the financial, insurance, government and telecommunications sectors.  The retail sector and the construction industry also generate significant demand, in addition to the engineering space.  Despite a technical recession the GTA continues to demand talent.

The Saddledome in CalgaryIn Western Canada Alberta, and more specifically Calgary has taken the brunt of the hit from the drop in oil prices, and it has been a significant hit.  In addition to the hit in oil prices has been the uncertainty of an NDP government coming to power, who have already raised corporate taxes and have an environmental agenda that will impact big oil.  Companies are still evaluating whether their investment dollars should be redirected outside of Alberta!  It remains to be seen whether confidence can be restored to the business sector, and what affect that will have on jobs and the Canadian economy.

Parliament building in OttawaEagle’s Eastern Canada region covers Ottawa, Montreal & the “Maritimes”. Ottawa is essentially a “government market” and as such will rise and fall based on Federal projects and spending.  As an election nears we are seeing the typical slowdown in demand which will continue until well after the election.  Montreal is relatively steady but not booming, with demand coming from the financial sector, the telcos and the construction industry. There will be some impact from the oil price felt particularly in Newfoundland.  This region is typically slower for job creation at the best of times, so I expect it to be even slower than normal until we see an uptick in oil prices

At Eagle our focus in on professional staffing and the people in demand from our clients have been fairly consistent for some time. That would include Program Managers, Project Managers and Business Analysts who always seem to be in demand. It might just be our focus, but Change Management and Organizational Excellence resources are in relatively high demand too. Big data, analytics, CRM and mobile expertise are specializations that we are seeing more and more. On the Finance and Accounting, side we see a consistent need for financial analysts, accountants with designations and public accounting experience plus controllers as a fairly consistent talent request. Technology experts with functional expertise in Health Care is another skill set that sees plenty of demand

Summary:

The first half of 2015 has seen a wide difference in the economies of the East versus the West.  The West has suffered through the predictable fallout from a dropping price of a barrel of oil, the East has continued somewhat unabated.  The general consensus appears to be that oil prices will not recover to their recent highs, and will not increase significantly in the near term.  This outlook has companies taking a conservative approach to investment and growth plans.  The impact in Calgary has been most significant, and now we are seeing impact on other markets, including Edmonton and Saskatchewan, which was expected.

The other big verticals such as Financial, Insurance, Telecommunications and Construction have not been greatly affected by the price of oil. Demand for talent appears to be strong and we are seeing these sectors benefit from newly available talent, previously employed in the oil sector.

The recent lowering of the overnight interest rate was a sign that the Feds want to get the economy moving again.  With a Fall election coming they will hope things will improve, although the signs are that we are unlikely to see a much improved economy in the near term.

Despite the current crunch, we expect continued skills shortages in our knowledge economy, partly fueled by the boomers retiring, but also caused by our education system not turning out the right skill sets and the advancements in technology creating a shortage as the skills catch up.

The unemployment rate at 6.8% is not great but it is also not terrible.  Professionals are probably seeing an unemployment rate more like 4%, so companies are still having trouble finding the right talent, at the right time for the right price!

That was my quarterly 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 Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
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Don’t Stop Trying!

Success quote by Conrad HiltonGenerally speaking the best things in life come at a cost.

Whether it is money, or effort, or time; or some combination of those things, invariably there is some cost.

I would also suggest that very often that cost is greater than you expect!

So, when we want something or want to achieve something we need to keep that in mind.

“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.”  Dale Carnegie

The way we improve ourselves, and our lot in life is by investing in ourselves, by trying new things and by effort … a lot of effort!

More often than not, those ideas, projects or attempts at improvement will not work the first time.  They might even fail multiple times!

The biggest difference between those who achieve their dreams and those who do not is persistence … an unwillingness to give up on that dream.

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” Thomas Edison

Are you willing to do what it takes?

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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 Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
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Eleven Thoughts About Keeping It Simple

Peter Drucker quote about useless efficiencyYou would think it fairly obvious that the more complex a solution is to a problem, the bigger the chance of failure.  Yet we often over complicate our lives, our businesses and the problems, both small and large, that we are trying to solve.

We see the risks all the time with BIG projects … they take longer, cost more and generally don’t do what they set out to do.

That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do big projects … big “things” still need to get done.  Maybe it means going about it differently,  OR maybe it just means setting different expectations.

What I am talking about is our (Human beings) penchant for over complicating things.

In business that could be as simple as striving to solve a perceived issue with a technology solution … when perhaps all that was needed was a common sense change in process.  It is like when the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, it is amazing how often a hammer is the answer to your problems.  Sometimes we have business issues that don’t need the IT department to solve them, when all it might take would be a sign in sheet at reception to track the 5 visitors a day or a manual log to track the 2 cash transactions a week!

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”  Albert Einstein

Some random thoughts about “keeping it simple”:

  1. Ask yourself if a proposed solution really NEEDS to be technology based, or is there a more simple way?
  2. Do you really NEED a room full of people in a meeting to discuss a solution?
  3. Are you trying to solve a systemic issue, or are you reacting to a “one off”?
  4. If you are looking at a computer solution that needs to be built from scratch, have you considered the possibility that buying an off the shelf solution that solves 80% of your needs and requires some in house change to your processes might actually be a better way to go.  (Shooting myself in the foot with this one … we LOVE big development projects that need contractors!)
  5. Even if you need to have great time management skills, you do NOT need complex tools … keep it simple.  Calendar; TO DO List; and Goals.  Paper or electronic … whatever works for you!
  6. If you are doing strategic planning, account planning or any kind of business planning it is easy to let things get complex.  Simple plans get executed, complex plans … not so much!  Break it down into manageable “bite sized” pieces that are easily executed!
  7. Decide what is important for you in your life, and focus on those things.  Don’t be distracted by all of the million other things that you COULD do, or COULD have!
  8. Sometimes the most direct approach is the easiest … it is easy to over think situations.
  9. Communicate using words everyone can understand.
  10. There is an old adage that “a picture is worth a thousand words“.
  11. Bonus … and perhaps the easiest answer.  Ask yourself if someone elsewhere already solved your problem.

“Complexity is your enemy.  Any fool can make something complicated.  It is hard to make something simple.”  Richard Branson

It’s About the Client NOT About You! (More Sales 101)

sales attitude quote by  w clement stoneIn my ongoing series devoted to the sales profession I am focusing today on subject that I know resonates with clients.  It is also a subject that I remember struggling with as a young salesperson.

Sales calls need to be about the client, not about you, your company,  your product or service.

“Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers.”  Seth Godin

We get taught this early … but then we get inundated with training about our product or service; our differentiators; our  key messages; our pricing discounts; our elevator pitch and any other number of things that we are supposed to talk to clients about.

There is not a lot of time spent on the client side of things.  Perhaps the assumption is that we will identify a potential client and they will be so happy to see another salesperson that they will just sit and listen to our wonderful pitches and obviously write a cheque?  (Excuse my cynicism here).

“Make the customer’s problem your problem.“  Shep Hyken

So what is it that we should be doing?

“A good listener is not only popular everywhere, but after a while he knows something.”  Wilson Mizner

I don’t profess to have all the answers, but here are some thoughts to be going on with:

  1. We all know what assumptions do … so NEVER assume that the person you are talking with has the same exact problem as the last person you talked with.
  2. You need to get a prospective client talking about their business issues, that relate to your product or service.  One way to achieve this is with an agenda (as previously discussed) that outlines the kind of issues that might be relevant.
  3. The great salesperson will get their client talking, and will listen carefully (without interrupting).
  4. A salesperson needs to establish some credibility with a client.  This can be achieved in many ways, and might have been partially achieved because the client granted the meeting.  Credibility might be proven by bringing appropriate knowledge to the meeting, or perhaps experiences of similar clients.  It might be because of the company credibility, or through a referral.   If you leave the meeting having never established some credibility your chances of ever coming back are diminished.
  5. A salesperson should try to establish some rapport with the client.  Again this can come in many different “flavors” and can be a personal type of rapport or a professional type of rapport … depending upon your own style.
  6. Salespeople need to know when they are talking too much.  We tend to get excited and then we talk, and talk … and talk!  Watch for the glazed over eyes, but better yet have a watch in front of you that tells you how long you have been talking.
  7. If you did your sales training well, then you will have goals for the meeting … but don’t meet your goals at the expense of the client.  Understand what goals the client might have, and help them to meet their goals.
  8. You need to be able to have a peer to peer conversation with the client about the subject of the meeting.  You must be confident or you will lose that hard earned credibility.  Always remember that this is your area of expertise, and most likely just one of many areas your client needs to address.  If you feel out of your depth then take a manager!
  9. If you have something of interest to the client then establish next steps before leaving the meeting.  Once you lose their attention they will be focused on the 101 other priorities on their desk.
  10. Always follow up.  Thank the client for the meeting.  Meet any obligations made in the meeting.  If possible send something of value such as relevant market data, relevant articles or subject matter knowledge that will help the client.

“If you are not taking care of your customer, your competitor will.”  Bob Hooey

By delivering value to our clients we will eventually become winners!

“All things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like, and trust.”  Bob Burg

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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 Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
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Technology Industry News for June 2015

Tech News HeaderThis is my 30,000 foot look at events in the ICT industry for June 2015. What you see here is a précis of the monthly report I produce, which will be available in more detail at the News section of the Eagle website, where you will also find back issues.

A Little History of June in previous years …

Five years ago in June 2009 Intel paid $884 million for Wind River Systems and Nokia Siemens took advantage of the fire-sale at Nortel, picking up their CDMA and LTE assets for $650 million.  June 2010 was a slow month in M&A but Canadian data centre company Fusepoint was snapped up by Savvis for $135 million; Twitter bought Oracle logo a large software company originally noted for its databaseSmallThought Systems; and IBM bought Coremetrics.  In June 2011 the big deal of the month was Ericsson’s $1.5 Billion purchase of Tecordia; Oracle made a couple of acquisitions (storage vendor Pillar Data and Fatwire Software); Google also made a couple of acquisitions, (analytics company PostRank and advertising management company Admeld).  Two years ago in June 2012 Microsoft’s $1.2 billion purchase of Yammer was the big deal of the month.  Salesforce paid $689 million for Buddy Media; Google reputedly paid $100 million for Meebo; Facebook bought facial recognition company Face.com; and Oracle bought “social intelligence” company Collective Intellect.  Another “buy” of interest to us at Eagle was the reputedly 7 figure purchase of Bullhorn by Vista Equity Partners (Bullhorn Salesforce logois Eagle’s front office software). In June 2013 Salesforce.com’s $2.5 billion purchase of marketing technology company ExactTarget was the big buy of the month.  Other acquisitions saw Irish mobile company Three pay $780 million for O2 Ireland; SanDisk paid $307 million for SMART Storage Systems; Cisco bought Composite Software for $180 million; IBM bought cloud company SoftLayer Technologies; and Buytopia.ca has been on a spree with six recent acquisitions .  June 2014 Sandisk logosaw some significant deals announced with Oracle’s paying $5 billion for Micros Systems;  Sandisk paid $1.1 billion for solid state storage company Fusion-io.  Google continues its push into home automation, witnessed by its subsidiary Nest paying $550 million for cloud based home monitoring service Dropcam.  Google itself paid $500 million for Skybox Imaging a satellite maker that will enhance the Google Maps capability. Twitter paid $100 million for mobile marketing platform Tap Commerce and Red Hat is paid $95 million for eNovance.

Which brings us back to the present …

jobs section of a newspaperJune 2015 was another decent month for the US economy, with another 200,000 jobs created and hiring plans positive.  There were however some negative influences, including the oil and gas sector which is no surprise and a slowdown in growth expectations which given the rate of growth recently was just inevitable.  Overall the US still looks very positive.  Canada announced that it added almost 59,000 jobs in April but other indicators are less positive with hiring prospects diminished and the impact of the oil prices on the economy.

Blacks logoThis month we saw Telus shut down all Blacks stores in Canada, which is the end of an era for a, previously well known, brand.  Intel also announced an interesting diversity program investing $70 million in its venture fund towards minority start-ups.  Uber continues to hit the news beyond protests and jailings, with its desire to build its own mapping technology.

Intel logoOn the M&A front Intel paid $16.7 Billion for semiconductor company Altera Corp.  Cisco paid $635 million for security firm OpenDNS in addition to picking up OpenStack company, PistonCloud Computing. Microsoft bought 6Wunderkinder, maker of task management app Wunderlist; Ricoh Canada bought Graycon Group a professional services firm headquartered in Calgary; and finally IBM bought OpenStack company Blue Box Group.

Jolly RogerThe final word goes to a story with a twist on the malware front. because it appears criminals are now using extortion to release people’s data back to them!  Be careful out there!

That’s what caught my eye over the last month, the full edition will be available soon on the Eagle website.  Hope this was useful and I’ll be back with the July 2015 industry news in just about a month’s time.

Walk Fast and Smile.

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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 Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
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More Sales 101 – Take Notes!

Taking notes quote by DanteIn my last blog entry I talked about using an agenda as a means of covering off all the points needed, including asking for the business!   It is also important that the agenda has time for any subjects the client wishes to discuss … obviously taking precedent over the salesperson’s points … and opening the door for a follow up meeting!

Today I want to talk about note taking, because I rarely see salespeople taking notes today, and I don’t understand it!  WE work hard to get client meetings so it is imperative that we get the most out of them that we can!

Here are just 10 reasons why salespeople should take notes when meeting with clients.

1.  Your memory is not as good as you think, so take note of what one of the world’s smartest men said!  Albert Einstein once said, “why should I fill my brain with facts I can find in 2 minutes“.

2.  Many meetings are filled with facts, names of contacts, names of projects, details of those projects, budget details etc.  You will not remember all of that data after the fact!

3.  When you can show detailed notes from a client meeting it demonstrates your professionalism to your manager.

4.  Later you can use your electronic calendar to identify the date of any meeting you have had (because of course you also use your calendar religiously) and go back to the notebook you used at that time, to tell you what was said at that meeting.   This can be useful for a million reasons.

5.  Amongst your notes will be tidbits of information that may prove crucial at some future date … contact names, phone numbers, dollar amounts (eg revenue spend of a client), commitments etc.

6.  If you have notes written down then you can quickly share them with anyone … scan and email, transcribe into a CRM or even photocopy and drop on someone’s desk!

7.  The act of writing things down actually improves memory of the facts … so you remember those facts better when you write them down!

8.  Taking notes means that you am not going to forget commitments you make … if you are in a meeting and commit to sending information later it will be highlighted in your notes.  If it is only in your memory then there is a chance you might forget.

9.  When you are meeting with a client and take notes it demonstrates your seriousness/professionalism to the client.

10.  I consider this to be one of the habits I have built that have led to any success I have enjoyed in my career. It is a good habit to cultivate!

“I never dreamed about success.  I worked for it!”  Estee Lauder

Here are 10 TIPS for note taking.

1.  Ask the client if they mind you taking notes, it is just another way to demonstrate your thoughtfulness.

2. Your notes should be legible to you … if your handwriting is bad then use capital letters.

3. Leave lots of space in your notes to add commentary later.

4. Keep all of your notes on one topic or meeting together … don’t have it in different places.

5. If you take notes in a sales meeting it is good practice to transcribe the information into quick notes for the CRM.

6 If you use a consistent method of taking notes then you can always find what you need later when wanting to refer back … so use a notebook, a time management system or some such organised method of collecting notes.

7. Always date notes and list who is present (eg. Joe & Ted or Sales Team etc.), a title would be good too … these can be done before the meeting in your best handwriting to make the notes easier to find.

8. Offer to take notes in company meetings and share them … its a good way to develop note taking skills.

9.  Always review the notes from your last meetings before going to the next meeting.

10.  Work at building good sales habits!

“Its the little details that are vital.  Little things make big things happen.” Coach John Wooden

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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 Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
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Sales 101 – Asking For the Business

Colin Powell thoughts on successSalespeople tend to be social by nature and that can be a double edged sword.  The good part is that they can very often build relationships with people, the bad part is that they spend so much time socialising that they forget about the business!

If your salespeople are getting client meetings but not getting business then there is a good chance this is exactly what is happening!

The client makes time to meet, and your rep has a decent rapport.  The conversation focuses on some non threatening subjects like sports teams or golf, followed by some personal stuff like kids or hobbies.  If the client is smart they will get some information from the salesperson about what they are seeing in the market and before you know it the allotted time is up!

“The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses—behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.”   Mohammed Ali

The salesperson leaves feeling good because it was a “great meeting”, “the client really liked me” … or some other such “non revenue generating” points.

The client might be okay with the meeting, but will not have addressed any of their business needs … so they could actually feel like they wasted time, because nobody has time to spare these days!

How do you get your salespeople to address business issues, and potentially ask for business?

One answer is to have a standard practice of using a meeting agenda for every sales call!

  • It forces the salesperson to ensure there are valid business reasons to have a meeting;
  • It puts in black and white the kinds of subjects that lead to business discussions;
  • It demonstrates that you are professional;
  • It is a good sales practice; and
  • It demonstrates that you will not waste your client’s time.

A client can always change the agenda as they see fit, but at least with an agenda there is a starting point that has some thought behind it.

“Thorough preparation makes its own luck.” Joe Poyet

Build good sales habits … ALWAYS use agendas!

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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 Board!
Have you tried Eagle’s (very cost effective) Virtual Recruiter service?
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Goals Without Plans are Pipe Dreams

Dream becomes goal quote by Bo BennettI am a big fan of goals.

  • They give you something to aim for.
  • They provide focus.
  • They are the foundation of any great time management system.
  • They are necessary for any company that wants success, and highly recommended for anyone who wants to achieve success in almost anything, personal or career oriented.

A goal without a plan, that is actionable, has timelines and is realistic, is just a dream.  Martin Luther King Jr famously said, “I have a dream!”  The thing is that his dream also had a plan … he was working to make his dream a reality!

If you have ever looked at business plans from early stage companies there is a trend among some percentage of them to have a growth goal that looks like a hockey stick (very slow growth now followed by exponential growth in the future) .  Invariably the “business plan” will cite statistics for the size of the world-wide market and a comment that suggests if the company just takes 3% of the worldwide market they will achieve their targets.  THAT is not a plan … THAT is a dream (or a wish).

One of my personal favorite pipe dreams is the “If we just grow by 10% per year for the next 7 years we will double in size.”  That is a goal, not a plan.  The plan is needed to show the path to get that 10% growth each year, and will likely include multiple means to achieve the growth.

So … if you have a goal (or dream) then you have a good starting point.

The very next step is to lay out a plan that will get you to that goal.

  • It needs to be measurable.
  • It needs to be actionable.
  • It needs to be doable … even if it is a stretch.
  • It needs be tracked.
  • It needs to be reviewed periodically.
  • It needs to be flexible so that as situations change, then the plan can change.
  • I would suggest getting help developing the plan, and also help holding you accountable to the plan.
  • I would suggest having milestone goals along the way, that will demonstrate your progress.
  • I would suggest celebrating wins as you go, to stay motivated.
  • You might also want to stretch your goal as you get closer … because success breed more success!

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery