This week, we’ve discussed sales basics including prospecting, presentations and sales questions. Today, we take a look at a key sale that appears to be lost, but the sale is critical to the organization selling its products or services!
In light of today’s economic uncertainty, the possibility of being in this position is quite real. As such, this is a discussion that is of utmost importance to today’s business owner / founder / entrepreneur, especially as the answer appears to subjective… or is it?
I look forward to learning various insight and perspective on this. Please share in the comments section, send me an email to email@example.com, or text me at (832) 797-9851.
When the Sale is in Jeopardy, but Failure is not an Option!
You’re close to finalizing a major deal with a prospective client that will result in a large payout and repeat business for years to come. The time you’ve spent nurturing this prospect will finally payoff. Some of your current clients have been disappointed by the lack of attention you’ve shown them over the past year, but you know you can make it up to them after you close this deal. Besides, this new client would generate a significant increase in revenue and profits that everybody knows is vital to your company’s future success.
But wait. You’ve learned in the 11th hour; the prospective client is changing directions and is exploring options with your competitor. As it turns out, the change in direction is being blamed on something you did or said that they weren’t exactly happy with. You find this out from a former employee, now employed with your competitor. He goes on to tell you the prospect would rather do business with your company but only if you weren’t involved.
You think about the potential loss of immediate and future business. What about the revenue and profits the company desperately needs? How would you be viewed by your employees (and partners) if the prospect signs with your competitor when you’ve invested so much time and resources? What happens if key employees find out the prospect could have been saved if you stepped aside? What is it that you did or said that caused the change in direction? Does it really matter now?
Forget the “this wouldn’t happen to me” response. Put aside the “it couldn’t happen like this” statement. Look beyond the “he should have seen it coming” exclamation. Let’s assume it happened exactly as it was described above – What would you do? How would you handle this situation?
As we dive back into the sales conversation, let’s start with the infamous scene from what I believe is one of the best “sales” movies, Glengarry Glenn Ross. I’d love to learn your perspective about this scene from the standpoint of sales basics.
*Please pardon the language and some phrases that are definitely not politically correct in any sense imaginable today.
“Quality performance starts with a positive attitude.” -Jeffrey Gitomer
The Role of Questions in Sales
Prepare, in advance, the questions to be asked when actually get face to face with the prospect. Of course, every selling situation is unique, and every selling situation requires some variation, but certain basic questions that come up in every sales situation can be planned in advance.
With careful planning them, all bases can be covered. Wording must be precise. There is one caution – words must be phrased in such a way that they won’t sound canned.
Ask As Many Open-Ended Questions as Possible
Closed questions that call for a “yes” or “no” answer tend to discourage people from talking, to give only limited information, and they tend to set a negative tone. During the probe (the questioning) step of most selling systems, primarily open-ended questions that require prospects to express how they feel, what they want, or what they think are essential to the process. There is always room for “yes” or “no” questions, but caution must be exhibited to not to use too many or to use them incorrectly. Now is not the time to try out words not yet fully understood.
Ask Needs-Based Questions
In the probe phase, key is to get the prospect talking. His or her needs (or desires) must be addressed. Therefore, questions must phrase to gain insight into how the prospects perceive their needs (and desires).
Ask Questions That Help Identify Problems That Need to Be Solved
Usually there’s one overriding problem that needs to be resolved in the prospect’s mind – a situation that can be understood by asking the right questions. Plus, with proper pre-call planning and strong internal advocacy, a glimpse of the problems can be identified early on.
“If we are going to be part of the solution, we have to engage the problems.” -Majora Carter
Ask Questions That Help Pinpoint the Dominant Buying Motivations
Buying motivations and needs are not always the same. Buying motivations have to do with desires, feelings, tastes and so on. Look for tell-tale signs – hot buttons.
Avoid Offensive Questions or Asking Questions in An Insensitive Way
Certain types of questions can offend prospects and cause them to back away. Here are some examples of pitfalls to avoid:
Don’t use leading or “set up” questions such as “You do want to make a profit, don’t you?” What’s the prospect going to say…”No, I don’t?!”
Probe don’t pry. Nosy questions can be a real turnoff.
Be careful about phrasing. For example, instead of asking “How much can you afford to spend?” you could phrase it a little more positively: “How much had you planned to invest?”
Ask Questions That Are Easy to Answer
Questions that require knowledge the prospect doesn’t have can often make him or her feel stupid. For example, asking most consumers, “What’s the maximum wattage per channel on your amplifier?” might get you a dumb look for an answer. The smarter the prospects are made to feel, the smarter they’ll think the salesperson is and the more they’ll like them.
Use Questions to Guide the Interview & Keep the Tone Positive
Some people love to ramble on and on, but by skillfully using questions, the interview will remain focused on point and move in the right direction. Also, questions should be asked in such a way that will solicit responses in a positive manner. Studies have shown that most people much prefer to agree than to assert themselves and disagree. In other words, the goal is to make it easy to say “yes.”
Ask – and Then Listen
The prospect can’t talk while also trying to listen. Besides, it’s hard for the salesperson to learn while they’re talking. Every word said by the prospect must be quickly grasped while staying aware of speech tone, body movement and facial expressions that may accompany the spoken word. Remember, people can be talked into buying, but listening and responding accordingly, keeping things about the prospect will create a buying experience the prospect will feel confident they made the right decision instead of being pushed to make a decision. One they may regret after the fact.
Shifting Gears… Against All Odds!
Anytime that you believe your business ideas are a long shot, think about 2022 Kentucky Derby Winner, Rich Streak who won against 80-1 odds. As long as you’re diligent in your preparations and as opportunities present themselves, a little bit of luck will go a long way. After all, luck is nothing more than opportunity meeting preparedness.
“I have never worked a day in my life without selling. If I believe in something, I sell it, and I sell it hard.” -Estée Lauder
Below are several articles with 100 examples of open-ended questions that I believe you’ll find useful:
In continuing with our focus on sales, today we will discuss sales presentations. Remember, the points we’re making are from a recent B2B sales training workshop, but the fundamentals remain the same and are applicable for today’s entrepreneur.
Research indicates that most people involved in sales put 80-90% of their time into presenting and demonstrating and leave only 10-20% of their time for other things. Professional salespeople, however, spend only 40% of their time presenting or demonstrating; not more than 10% prospecting; and about 50% of their time qualifying and planning.
Let’s look at these figures one more time. The professionals spend half as much time demonstrating or presenting as the average salesperson does, yet we find that he or she still manages to turn in at least twice the volume. And this is a conservative figure. Actually, the professional brings in between four and ten times as much business as the average salesperson will. It’s not uncommon for a single salesperson to outsell the entire bottom half of the sales force, and keep on doing it month after month, year after year.
So, what is it that the true professional does to stand above the rest? By far the greatest difference lies in his or her attention to and ability to plan sales, in selecting and qualifying the right people to sell to, in overcoming objections and closing, and in deserving and obtaining referrals.
As important as presenting and demonstrating is, if it is done with the wrong audience because qualifying wasn’t done properly, it’s all for nothing. If working with the right people, but their objections have become seemingly insurmountable because ineffective or even no preparation had been done, then it’s all for nothing. And if the person being presented to has no decision-making authority, all efforts are for naught.
If there is an inability to close, a true knack AND skill to close deals, the structure and parameters of will be in place but ripe for the person being presented to look elsewhere for something similar. The bottom line is the presenter must be a strong presenter or demonstrator to sell effectively. They must have the ability and commitment to qualify strongly, handle objections strongly and close strongly.
There are three things that must be covered in a presentation:
1. Tell them what you’re going to tell them. This is the introduction.
2. Tell them what you’re there to tell them. This is the opportunity for our product being presented.
3. Tell them what you just told them. This is the summary.
This is the outline of all successful speeches, presentations and demonstrations. In other words, the foundation is built upon repetition. The same things aren’t repeated three times, of course, As outlined above, new ideas are introduced, points are covered in depth and related to the end-user’s interests and needs and finally, conclusions are drawn from the presented points along with a call-to-action and next steps.
Repetition is the mother of learning, yet average salespeople don’t like repetition. For one thing, they have used their material so many times that it’s stale to them. All too often, average salespeople have gone worse than stale on their presentations and feel it would be better off buried. The professional, on the other hand, never tires of phrases that work, ploys that sell, and ideas that make sense to his or her buyers.
There is no doubt about it, one of the keys to the professional’s greater skill at presenting or demonstrating lies in his or her ability and willingness to use repetition effectively to reinforce every point. He or she doesn’t mind repeating the sales point because he or she knows it leads to repeated sales to the same type of clientele.
So, think in terms of tell, tell, tell and remember: Repetition is the seed of effective presentations, and successful selling. And last but certainly not least, technology should be utilized to enhance presentations. However, the presenter MUST be proficient at doing so!
Below are a few great articles about delivering great sales presentations:
This edition of Acceler8Success Cafe follows yesterday’s topic of entrepreneurial selling. If you missed yesterday’s article, Entrepreneurs MUST Develop Exceptional Sales Skills to Succeed, you may access it HERE.
Today we will address sales fundamentals and a return to sales basics – Sales 101, if you will. Regardless of your sales experience and sales skillset, I highly recommend reviewing this article, and even keeping it for future reference.
Style points do not count. Ability is not enough. In sales, winning comes only with the right attitude! And winning at prospecting or cold calling, whatever you may call it in your business, is all about attitude!
When you’re responsible for developing new business, one of the keys to success is your attitude toward prospecting.
If you don’t have the desire to prospect, or are afraid of it, you won’t do it often enough. As a result, your prospecting skills become weaker. This in turn causes your motivation to diminish and prospecting then becomes a monumental task.
When we evaluate the reasons why a salesperson has failed or plateaus at an unacceptable level, we are constantly reminded of the following: they are not motivated to prospect or have a fear of rejection. Neither their lack of motivation nor the fear of rejection is the main culprit; both are to blame. It is a catch-22. Either the lack of motivation causes the fear of rejection, or the fear of rejection demotivates them. Either way, the person never becomes the effective prospector they could be or should be.
What is being offered here are some ideas on how to get motivated and stay motivated when prospecting or cold calling. I have also included suggestions that will help you overcome the fear of rejection. When you internalize these concepts and techniques, you will become the most effective prospector you can be and will achieve the level of success you deserve.
Believe in it: it works.
Prospecting over the phone or cold calling “door-to-door” or on LinkedIn is a very effective way to find qualified leads for your business. Since the beginning of time, farmers, livestock ranchers and a variety of other vendors have been bringing their products to market on horse and buggy. Today, millions of companies spend millions of dollars and have millions of “salespeople” doing it.
Prepare yourself properly.
Prospecting is like a contact sport. You are either prepared and have an advantage over the other person, or you are unprepared and don’t. Top salespeople have regular phrases, statements and/or scripts they use to generate interest in the part of the prospect. They are also prepared with a list of common objections and responses to handle any resistance the prospect or gatekeeper throws at them. This preparation comes from practicing with a peer or sales manager and/or from making a lot of calls to prospects. The key question is, “Are you fully prepared?”
Every time you feel like quitting and/or find yourself procrastinating, you are being bit by the “Fear of Rejection” bug. The only way to beat this bug is to maintain the discipline to keep going. Discipline in business is about forcing yourself to do something that you don’t want to do. When you are staring at that name on your list or standing outside the prospect’s door – Just do it! No one has more power to discipline you than you.
Convert that feeling.
Try to understand why you get sick to your stomach when you have to prospect. Or why you hate the phone and have a fear of rejection. Ask yourself why you feel this way and then listen for the answer. When you are in a quiet place and are truly interested in finding the reason, it will come out. Do not let that feeling control you. You have to learn how to control it. Once you have control, you can convert the negative feelings into positive energy. The good news is, the worse you feel now, the stronger you’ll be when you convert it and the more chance you have of being a prospecting dynamo!
Do not take it personally.
Most, if not all, of the prospects you are going to call are bombarded with salespeople each week. And they reject most, if not all of them. They are not rejecting you; they have rejected every other salesperson that has called them this week. So, when you call, it is not you they are rejecting, they are rejecting another salesperson. Do not feel so singled out. You are among an elite group of people whose goal is to find people who are not so willing to or who are unable to reject salespeople. And that’s easy when you have a good call list and are well prepared.
Partner with a friend.
Many people that exercise would rather do it with a friend because this helps keep them motivated. Both people enjoy the workout more, plus they keep each other in line. We recommend you find another person in your organization or network that has the same or better work ethic as you and agrees to keep you motivated and positive during prospecting sessions. When you make commitments to each other of when, how long, and who you are going to prospect, you subconsciously put incredible pressure on yourself to hold up your end of the bargain. This is a healthy pressure to have.
Make the time to prospect.
This is part of the discipline theory we spoke of before. Most every person responsible for sales I’ve met says they are busy, and some say they are too busy to prospect. This is nothing more than an excuse and an infection by the “Fear of Rejection” bug. Top salespeople make a habit of allocating a certain percentage of their week to prospecting. Regardless of their workload, they put a priority on prospecting and do it regularly. It is your responsibility to make time to prospect and create this habit.
Organize your list of leads.
It is a complete waste of time to make phone calls to companies and people who are not qualified to buy whatever you may be selling. Top salespeople have at least 100 qualified leads on their call list at all times. A qualified lead is defined as a prospect you know can use and pay for the products or services you offer or is currently using similar products or services offered by your competition.
A business card is not a prospect.
We are amazed at how little value salespeople put on prospects. They get a business card from somewhere, write some notes on the back and use this as their main prospecting system. A stack of these things with a rubber band wrapped around them is an inefficient method of prospecting. I highly recommend becoming digitally organized on your iPhone or tablet and keeping as much information as possible on each prospect. In addition to the name, title, phone number with direct extension, and address of the person who has the authority to buy your product or service, you can collect additional information and use it to your advantage.
Call Decision-Makers only.
Strong lead lists will have the name of the Decision-Maker for each lead. A Decision-Maker is generally defined as the person who makes the decisions in relation to your products or services. Generally, there are two things I look for when categorizing someone as the final Decision-Maker: 1) the ultimate authority in their organization to over-rule everyone’s decisions regarding products or services, 2) the ability to allocate money, set budgets, issue POs, sign checks, give a credit card or enter into agreements. They have the money, and they can spend it!
All at once or not?
Salespeople regularly ask me if it is better to cold call for eight straight hours (one full day) or to break it up into two four-hour sessions. Frankly, I have met successful salespeople that do it both ways. One salesperson may prefer to allocate a full day to nothing but prospecting while another may prefer to break it up into two mornings on two different days. I do not think it makes a difference. I believe we all have to find a method that is comfortable for us. Provided you discipline yourself to concentrate on prospecting during this time period and not on other busy work.
Break up the day/session.
The fact of the matter is that even great prospectors are going to be rejected. Prospecting is a numbers game based on percentages. Having said that, I believe it is sometimes difficult for people to take a lot of rejection for a long period of time. So, I recommend breaking up your session in a fashion similar to this. Make a particular number of calls to brand new prospects and then, make some calls to prospects you have previously called on, then call some people for referrals, then take a short break.
What I have just described is one cycle. The length of each cycle will depend on your commitment to prospecting, your work ethic and level of tenacity. In order to effectively prospect, you are going to have to repeat these cycles as often as you can in order to get results. Only you can determine the length of each cycle and how many cycles per day you are comfortable with.
Use a headset.
Not for motivation, but for discipline and efficiency. When you are “literally” connected to the phone via a headset, it is much harder for you to walk away from your desk. So many people put the phone down and have trouble picking it back up. They don’t even realize it, but as soon as they put it down, the resistance to picking it back up is even greater. If you don’t have a headset, make it a rule that you will never put the receiver down until you dial at least “x” number of calls. Just hang up each call with your finger instead of putting the phone down. Once it’s down it’s even harder to pick it back up again!
Hold all calls.
Not for motivation, but for discipline and efficiency. A telephone prospecting session is just that – outgoing calls only. Have your admin or assistant hold all your calls or direct them to your voice mail. Telephone efficiency is all about rhythm. Once that rhythm is broken it is hard to get it started again. When you start to field incoming calls, you might get sidetracked by a friend or even worse a customer or client who needs something now. Boom: rhythm broken.
It’s a numbers game.
Even professional baseball players are only successful at getting on base 30% of the time. And they rate in terms of skills in the top 1% of all the millions of kids who start out playing baseball. So let me get this straight. They are the best of the best, get paid millions of dollars and yet actually fail on a consistent basis seven out of ten times! Why don’t they get the fear of failure? Because they understand it’s a numbers game. In sales efforts, a 20 to 30% success rate is good. When you can secure 2 – 3 appointments from every 10 prospects or leads you are doing a good job. Keep in mind that every customer “no” gets you one step closer to that elusive “yes.” Just keep stepping up to the plate.
Build on little successes.
Regardless of your experience level, you may occasionally hit slumps just as professional athletes do. To overcome this they do not quit, they focus their attention, practice regularly and keep at it. Little by little they start to succeed and get their confidence back. You can do the same by working on a strong referral list or by calling on some previous contacts. By doing so, you will get your rhythm back. As soon as you start to succeed throw in a couple of cold prospects and watch your confidence take over. Even if you are not in a slump, during a call session you may want to call on some older contacts to keep your motivation and confidence level up.
Increase your tolerance level.
You don’t start your running career with the 100-mile marathon. You start by first running the 5-mile marathon. Then you build your level of tolerance and stamina. Same with prospecting. If you are suffering from a lack of motivation or fear of rejection, start small and build your way up. Start with 10 calls the first week, 15 calls the second week, 20 calls the third week, 25 calls the fourth week, and so on.
Recently, I was speaking with a veteran salesperson of about 16 years. For the past 8 years, he had a strong account base and did not have to make cold calls. He just took a new job with a company that does most of its business by telephone prospecting. He said he was scared at first (he took a cut in pay in hopes of a bigger payoff) but had faith in the company and went at it. He told me the main reason he has been more successful on the phone than most of the other new reps is because he sets goals for himself every week. He has goals for the number of times he dials the phone, the number of contacts he makes and the number of appointments he sets. Basically, he said he works as many hours as it takes to hit his goals. Now that’s commitment and desire!
Tomorrow, we will continue the discussion about sales basics.
Regardless of the industry and industry segment, successful entrepreneurship begins with the entrepreneur’s ability to sell. He or she must be able to sell to investors, clients, suppliers, and employees from day one. Of course, it’s essential to have developed a great idea, product or service, and business model, but without perfecting the ability to articulate the vision, communicate it well, and close the deal, the company or concept goes nowhere.
Unfortunately, not enough emphasis and time is dedicated to the importance of sales in an entrepreneurial venture. Sales is a cornerstone to entrepreneurial success. However, many just wing it with the mindset of, the product or service will sell itself or build it and they will come. The bottom line is, nothing sells itself and unless there is awareness of what is being built, no one will know!
Over the next few days at Acceler8Success Cafe, taking nothing for granted I will focus on basic sales skills. From prospecting to closing, I’ll work through various steps in a sales process. For now, I will keep it simple because quite simply, understanding and implementing sales fundamentals will go a long way toward entrepreneurial success, and quite frankly, success in achieving almost any goal.
One more thing, and this is vitally important to your “sales” success, key to a successful entrepreneurial venture is the founder, the entrepreneur being the number one salesperson, the number one promoter. No one will ever do it as good as you!
“Sales is not about selling anymore, but about building trust and educating.” – Siva Devaki
Today I will share a few of my favorite articles around the subject of entrepreneurship and sales. Enjoy & Happy Reading!
Entrepreneurial Selling: The Simple Mindset Shift That Wins More Deals
You might be selling for a blue-chip Fortune 500 company (like I once did), a shiny new startup (I’ve done that too), or somewhere in between… Regardless of what you sell, to succeed in winning new business, you need to incorporate entrepreneur sales approaches into your existing sales toolkit.
In the uber-competitive world of entrepreneurial sales, it helps to learn from the best. And, Babson College Associate Professor Vincent (Vini) Onyemah is one of the best.
Onyemah was recently interview to share why he says entrepreneurial sales is the single most important business function. The interview brought to light valuable information that will be helpful to entrepreneurs and seasoned professionals alike.
Your sales division is what keeps your business afloat and allows growth. Even if you have the best product or service on the market, a lack of high-quality sales techniques will undercut its potential.
Sales skills are essential. They help entrepreneurs sell products, draw in customers, and increase profits. You need to master sales skills to help you become the next Ferriss, Gitomer, or even Dale Carnegie.
A holiday weekend is upon us. It’s a three-day weekend for many. The celebration is for Presidents Day. Earlier this week we celebrated Valentine’s Day. It’s these days that remind me a lot of my childhood.
I fondly recall entering my classroom on the first day of February in my early grades and seeing the dark silhouettes of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln on either end at the top of the long blackboard at the front of the room. Their birthdays are February 22nd and 12th, respectively. On a large side bulletin board, we were reminded of Valentine’s Day on February 14th. The decorations were vividly red hearts of all sizes.
School was closed on both presidents’ birthdays. Later on, we celebrated them together in what was then Presidents Day, the third Monday of February. Regardless of when we were off from school, they were special days. Even more so than weekends. It was about friends and family. These days and other days of celebration bring back memories of my childhood.
It brings to mind something that has been shared numerous times across social media and one that I want to share here today. I hope it brings a smile to your face and sets the stage for a peaceful and enjoyable weekend with friends and family.
I went to school in Brooklyn (grades k-5) and Staten Island (grades 6-12) with some of the best teachers during a time when everyone treated each other with respect. We didn’t eat fast food. We drank Kool-Aid, water, lemonade, and we ate homemade food. Casseroles, pasta (lots), chicken, fish, meatloaf, hamburgers, PBJ & bologna sandwiches.
We grew up during a time when kids would gather glass soda bottles to take to the store and use the deposit money to buy something special on Saturday. We cashed in green stamps for special things. We got to go to the local candy store / luncheonette for penny candy… yes, I said penny candy! (We even got a brown paper bag to put the candy in); You sure could get a lot for 25 cents!
We went outside to play games, ride bikes, or baseball in a field or in the street, hide & seek, jump rope, hula hoop, hopscotch and raced against each other down the street. We went fishing or just for an excuse to play in the creek!
There was no bottled water… We drank water from the sink or the hose if we were outside. No microwave or cable!!! No cell phones! And no one got offended by things they didn’t like. We dealt with it. We didn’t cry and act like spoiled children because we didn’t get our way!
We watched TV… like Green Acres, Beverly Hillbillies, and Bewitched, and for adventure we watched Combat, Rat Patrol and Adam-12. But only after our homework and chores were done!
Sunday night was… The Wonderful World of Disney and Bonanza and Italian cookies and pastries from that day’s guests. And there were always guests on Sundays!
If you were bad at school… you definitely got in trouble at school and again when you got home as your parents already knew and you got into trouble again! Prayer and a swat on the butt were allowed in school and you behaved!
Our house was left unlocked… Windows were always open… We would ride our bikes for hours… yes, I said HOURS! All without a cell phone or electronic games. And you made sure you were home before the streetlights came on.
Walking, running, and biking was our way of transportation to visit our friends. We respectfully asked if our friends could come out to play and one by one, we were a group playing together. We fought at times, but immediately made up and laughed about our squabbles. Kids and the teenagers we looked up to didn’t have guns and the thought of taking a life was never spoken.
We LEARNED from our parents, grandparents, and even from our neighbors, instead of disrespecting them and treating them as if they knew nothing… What they said may as well have been the GOSPEL!
You had to be close enough to home to hear your dad’s whistle or your mom yelling to tell you it’s time to come home for dinner. And we sat around the dinner table to eat as a FAMILY! You ate what was put on the table and didn’t leave the table until you finished everything on your plate, or you were excused!
We talked to each other about the events of our day. School was MANDATORY. We loved and respected GOD, stood for the “Pledge of Allegiance” with our hand over our hearts and proudly sang the “National Anthem!” We respected the American Flag and especially anyone in a uniform.
We watched what we said around our elders because we knew If we DISRESPECTED any grown up we would get our behinds smacked and it wasn’t called ABUSE, IT WAS CALLED DISCIPLINE! We held doors open, carried groceries and gave up our seat without being asked to do so.
You didn’t hear curse words on the radio or TV, and IF you cursed you did it away from the public or got your mouth washed out with soap. “Please” and “Thank you” were part of our daily dialogue! We said, “You’re Welcome” instead of “No Problem!”
We were rarely bored! If our parents heard us say such a thing, it was GUARANTEED they would find something for us to do! We knew what an imagination was, and we used it to create things to do! On snow days we shoveled snow for all our neighbors, in the summer we delivered newspapers, washed cars, and mowed yards.
I’m sure I could expand upon all the above and add a lot to the mix. It was a great time. It was a simpler time, and one that I regret children of today will miss out on.
Please SHARE if you’re thankful for your childhood and that you will never forget where you’re from.
Everything we do comes down to choices. We can hoist ourselves up, continue to hang on, or let go. If you believe the latter is the right or only choice, please, talk to someone. I’m available – text or call me at (832) 797-9851.
Well, three business owners reached out to me. I’m glad to say that none were despondent but of course, each felt the weight of the world on their shoulders. I will always keep these types of conversations confidential but I will say that each conversation today was productive. I’m confident each of these individuals felt better after we spoke and I know and we will be talking quite often. Always happy to help, these conversations motivated me to once again share one of my previous articles about entrepreneurs and depression…
Why do entrepreneurs get depressed? Answers needed for both YOU & ME!
The topic of depression and entrepreneurs is one that is being discussed more and more. It was especially the case through the pandemic and again now through challenging times. However, make no mistake about it, the issue has been prevalent for quite some time. Unfortunately, as the topic focuses on depression AND entrepreneurs, it’s not as mainstream an issue as it should be. Is it due to depression being diluted by adding entrepreneurs to the mix?
You see, the reason is due to the misunderstanding, or better said, the lack of understanding when referring to entrepreneurs. It must be understood that when referring to entrepreneurs the reference must also include small business owners, restaurateurs, and a very large number of individuals that only “eat what they kill”. Meaning, being solely responsible for generating their own income. If they don’t earn it (kill it), they don’t eat!
Also fitting the bill are sole practitioners including professional services providers; attorneys, CPA’s as well as the increasing number of coaches. Add to this, real estate agents, insurance agents, stock brokers and essentially, anyone whose position is 100% performance-based. And let’s not forget investor entrepreneurs – stock market, real estate, etc. Essentially, we’re referring to all whose livelihood is based on commissions or return-on-investment income.
Maybe even better said, we’re referring to all whose income is not derived from a regular paycheck. All who need to think and plan long-term, as well as short-term to ensure regular cash flow. All who must ensure there are cash and/or credit reserves for periods when cash flow slows to a trickle – or even to an abrupt stop for unforeseen or unexpected reasons that are totally out of their control. All who wear many hats just to survive, and if all things align just right, possibly they can thrive.
Ultimately, what causes depression is stress, and entrepreneurship, in any of categories listed above is chock full of stress. Compounding it further is the customer/client variable. From expectations to deadlines to less than acceptable personalities, all must be effectively managed by the entrepreneur. An additional factor is the strategizing and decision-making necessary to juggle it all.
An article in Inc. Magazine, Why Entrepreneurship Involves Depression (And How To Overcome It) lists other “potential” reasons why entrepreneurs get depressed as follows:
Naturally being prone to high levels of anxiety
Difficulty not feeling in control
Large numbers of investor rejections
Stress and long working hours leading to burnout
Being sabotaged by partners, staff or investors
Being fired from your own company
Struggles gaining and maintaining traction
The article states that the depression can be moderate and fleeting. Or it can be personally bankrupting and may take many years to recover from. Some don’t at all.
Further, the article indicates that entrepreneurs are:
From my perspective, a major concern today is how entrepreneurs, a class of individuals that are considered to be the ones to lead our country through recovery, will be able to do so with so many mental health issues prevalent in their lives. More so, during a time of economic uncertainty.
As I wrapped up last year’s series, Preparing for War: You vs. Recession, I asked the question, how will your mental health hold up during challenging times?
Always looking to be proactive in providing solutions to problems, I feel it’s necessary to also recognize there are problems and identify them as such. It’s imperative to ensure they’re front and center and not ignored.
I despise the proverbial “head in the sand” approach. Yet, as much as I despise it, I need to be better at practicing what I preach. To that end, please understand that as I share my insight and perspective, I do so from personal real-time thoughts and emotions. So, when I point to YOU, I’m also pointing to ME.
Here’s an excerpt from the series:
I’d like to focus on YOU. That means, YOU the entrepreneur, the founder, the business owner, the leader, the CEO or whomever is charged with business performance and ultimately, the business succeeding according to defined goals. Especially in challenging times, how do we ensure that YOU perform at the highest level possible without stressing out and/or burning out?
At Acceler8Success Cafe, we’ve spent a great deal of time discussing mental health awareness and especially as it relates to entrepreneurship, business ownership, and leadership. Articles I’ve previously shared here about Mental Health are appropriate to share for this final segment of the series.
In late-May 2022 as Mental Health Awareness Month was coming to an end; I shared the following:
Certainly, the past couple of years has had us facing many uncertainties which, quite frankly took us on an emotional roller coaster. Mostly, the driving force has been fear. I’ve realized my own fear once I was able to admit being scared. Hey, at my age and the fact I’m not in good shape, I must be realistic. So, I’ve worked through my fear and in doing so, maybe I can overcome it. As fear is such a strong emotion that easily grips the soul, it will take time and patience to overcome such a grip.
Little by little I look forward to continuing to pry it away as fear is replaced by courage gained from confidence that fear is just a challenge to be conquered. The great thing is that some of the challenges don’t have to be tackled alone. Instead, collaborative efforts aligned with common goals truly exemplify the phrase, ‘strength in numbers’ and it’s that strength that ultimately conquers fear. Easier said than done? Possibly, but the alternative is being overwhelmed by fear and that, I’ve recognized is not living.
I’ll leave you with this to ponder as I reflect upon the same…
Why, with all the challenges listed above driving ridiculous levels of stress, do individuals decide that entrepreneurship is for them – and their chosen path for their livelihood, to support and provide for their families, and to achieve long-term goals for their later years?
And, why is entrepreneurship so popular – so damn popular that despite just the known obstacles, caution is thrown to the wind?
In upcoming articles at Acceler8Success Cafe, I hope to answer these questions while also presenting solutions and resources that may help both YOU & ME!
Together we can make it happen. Together we can make it count. Have a great day!
A popular contributor to Acceler8Success Cafe, Franchise Attorney, Wayne Bunch, Jr. helps our subscribers and readers by providing timely and easy-to-read franchise advice, reminders and tips that will help our readers fortify and expand their knowledge of franchising.
Representing franchisor companies as partner in the Franchise Practice Group of FisherBroyles, LLP, Wayne has extensive experience in assisting franchise brands expand through franchising both domestically and internationally.
Just as Wayne’s previous article at Acceler8Success Cafe was popular with both legacy and emerging franchise brands, I firmly believe today’s information should be of significant interest to ALL franchisors. However, I suggest emerging brand franchisors give this extra attention. As well, this information should be of significant interest to entrepreneurs exploring or already moving toward franchising their business.
Updating Your Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD)
With the new year well underway, it is time to start focusing on the annual update to your Franchise Disclosure Document (“FDD”). Your annual update must be finalized on or before April 30, 2023, or 120 days after your fiscal year ends. The following are things you can begin working on to streamline the updating process:
Begin working with your CPA to obtain your audited financial statements. This can take longer than expected, and it helps to begin the conversation earlier rather than later.
If you have brought on additional principal officers or individuals that have management responsibility related to the sale or operation of franchises, be prepared to provide biographical information on these individuals to your attorney for updates to Item 2.
If there has been any recent litigation, be prepared to share this information with your attorney for updates to Item 3.
If you wish to alter your royalty or advertising fee structure, this will result in updates not only to your FDD, but also to your Franchise Agreement. Be prepared to discuss this in detail with your attorney.
Make sure to review your start-up costs in Item 7 and provide your attorney with any changes.
Be prepared to provide your attorney with very specific information regarding all revenue derived from supplier rebates or from sales directly to franchisees.
Be prepared to provide your attorney with any changes to your computer system/point of sale system specifications and costs.
If your FDD contains a Financial Performance Representation or you wish to include one, prepare the necessary information for your attorney to update or include in Item 19.
Be prepared to assist your attorney with the completion of the tables in Item 20, and to provide an updated list of current and past franchisees.
This is not an exhaustive list of necessary updates, however, having this information readily available for your attorney will not only expedite the updating process, but also save your attorney time and effort resulting in reduced legal cost.
Lastly, going through the annual updating process is a very good opportunity to re-acquaint yourself and your salespeople with the contents of your FDD.
Remember, your FDD must be accurate and not miss any important information about you, your franchise company, or the franchise opportunity.
Knowing the full content of your FDD is critical because in any franchise sales process, information provided to a prospect must be completely consistent with the information found in your FDD.
To learn more about Wayne P. Bunch, Jr., please check out his LinkedIn profile or if you’d like to speak with Wayne, he may be contacted directly via email to Wayne.Bunch@fisherbroyles.com.
Thank you, Wayne for your contributions to Acceler8Success Cafe.
Seeking Guest Bloggers for Acceler8Success Cafe!
Interested in writing about your brand or an entrepreneurial story? That’s great, provided it’s about a distinct point of differentiation from a typical promotional piece.
Maybe you’d like to provide insight into a skillset that benefits entrepreneurs and small business owners? That’s fine, as well. As is sharing perspective and opinion on issues of the day. Self-help and mental health? About a specific demographic group? Success and failure experiences? Yes! Definitely, yes!
Of course, in all instances, I will approve accordingly. If not approved, it will not be the case without first discussing with the author to possibly see if an edit or two would make the article more appropriate.
If you’re interested in submitting articles, of any length, and graphics, quotes, etc., or would just like to have a chat about my plans for Acceler8Success Cafe, please contact me on LinkedIn or via email to Paul@Acceler8Success.com. I look forward to speaking with you and exploring possibilities.
If you’ve already inquired about Guest Blogger opportunities at Acceler8Success Cafe, I apologize if I’ve not responded to you. If you’re still interested, please nudge me via email or LinkedIn message.
According to a recent story at Axios.com… We often hearthe American Dream is dead. But whatever you think of immigration, every year people come to the U.S. from around the world in pursuit of that dream.
Why it matters: People across borders and oceans still view the U.S. as the place to come to build a better life for their children.
And 70% of U.S. adults — across race, gender, political party and income — say the American Dream is achievable, Gallup polling found.
Three stats to chew on:
Founder frenzy: 44% of Fortune 500 companies have at least one founder who is an immigrant or the child of immigrants, according to stats from New American Economy, founded by Michael Bloomberg.
Upward mobility: Even the children of immigrants who fall in the poorest quarter of the U.S. end up in the middle class, Princeton researchers found.
Self-made wealth: 80% of America’s millionaires — foreign- and U.S.-born — are first-generation.
The bottom line: The U.S. remains the leading destination for immigrants with big dreams. 20% of all the world’s immigrants are in the U.S., according to Pew Research Center.
Historian James Truslow Adams gave an eloquent interpretation of the American Dream in his 1931 book Epic of America:
But there has been also the American dream, that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for every man, with opportunity for each according to his ability or achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, and too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.
Resources are Available
Aligned with all aspects of Acceler8Success Group comprehensive services & resources is a select team of highly experienced multi-lingual business development professionals led by Acceler8Success Group president, Erik Premont.
With a focus on Spanish, Portuguese & French speaking clientele, Erik and our team work directly with international entrepreneurs and investment groups interested in exploring development and acquisition opportunities within the United States.
In addition, we provide assistance & guidance in introducing international brands to American franchising, either as a proven brand prepared for growth or as a business model primed for launch as an emerging franchise brand. We also work with American brands interested in exploring international franchise development.
Quite often, and again several times over the past few weeks I’ve been asked about the Acceler8Success mantra…
Act swiftly. Act decisively. Make it happen. Make it count!
Apparently, there’s some confusion as to what it actually means and how it has anything to do with succeeding.
Always excited to talk about our process, I explain that acting swiftly and decisively does not mean throwing caution to the wind or making a rash or abrupt decision. Being prepared is essential when working toward a goal. So is due diligence, understanding the lay of the land, realizing potential consequences of actions to be taken, and thinking through the what ifs.
Think about the big cats. Whether it be a tiger, lion, jaguar, leopard, snow leopard, cheetah or cougar, their instincts, combined with their skills enable them to succeed. Instinct is something that all are born with, while skills are developed over time. The two together make for a lethal force practiced again and again. Essentially, it’s the big cats’ education, their preparation for survival.
From a human perspective, we all have instincts – some more acute than others. Over time, those instincts are honed by developing skills to complement and enhance instincts. Entrepreneurs are cases in point.
Actually, most anyone considering entrepreneurship must have similar characteristics as others with an entrepreneurial mindset. Of course, all have a unique mix of instinct and skill – some better than others. Thus, some succeed at a higher rate despite starting out with similar traits and abilities.
Just as big cats are educated by their parents, they’re also self-educated by perfecting their skills again and again. Their instincts minimize their failure rates, but still the process is mostly trial and error. However, their motivation remains in tact – they must succeed in order to survive. I’m sure all will agree, survival is a very strong motivation.
And, just like big cats, in order to survive, entrepreneurs must rely on eating what they kill. In fact, in entrepreneurial circles from Silicon Valley to Wall Street, the phrase “Eat what you kill” has taken on a metaphorical meaning:
Don’t rely on an hourly wage for protection. Instead, survive on your business successes alone.
With instincts fine-tuned and skills having been developed and perfected, the big cat goes on the prowl for its next meal, and as such, its next set of challenges. This is when the big cat does its form of due diligence.
It scopes out its prey. Once a potential goal is in sight, it evaluates the lay of the land – What’s between the big cat and its prey? Where can the prey run? Where should the big cat direct the prey toward to make the capture easier?
Consequences are also evaluated. Are there other predators in sight? Are they part of a larger group? If the prey is caught, how will other predators be prevented from taking it?
The big cat is ready. Let the stalking begin…
Is it any different for an entrepreneur as he or she explores possibilities and flushes out opportunities, all for the sake of achieving one’s goals and objectives? The entrepreneur’s due diligence is essential to his or her success. There can never be too much due diligence provided perfection over progression doesn’t set in. Worse still is procrastination.
With preparation and due diligence in place, it’s time to act. And just as the big cat is ready to attack in a split-second, with full confidence it will achieve its goal, the entrepreneur must act swiftly and decisively, and without hesitation or trepidation. He or she must make it happen, AND make it count!
Are you an entrepreneur looking to take things to the next level, or an aspiring entrepreneur considering [finally] taking action to move you toward your goals. If either is the case, I’ll leave you with the following:
Do you have the self confidence to succeed? Do you believe in yourself enough to ignore those who do not have your best interests at heart? Do you have commitment in your decisions that you don’t need approval or praise from others?
The quote by Peter Drucker, “The best way to predict the future is to create it” may have more relevance today than ever before. Yet, there’s more trepidation than ever before to leave what’s presumed to be a safe, secure space.
Whether deciding to start or buy a business, to expand a business, or even to change jobs and/or move to another city, fear of the unknown is an extremely heavy obstacle to move. Combined with procrastination in researching and educating one’s self of possibilities and opportunities, the obstacle appears to get heavier by the minute.
Only with full commitment to achieving a goal can the obstacle be challenged, navigated or moved. It’s not as impossible as it seems, provided commitments extend to preparation and due diligence, and to developing and honing the skills necessary to succeed. Once all are in place, key to success is to act swiftly and decisively, and to make it happen, and to make it count.
Making it count is the ultimate achievement as it addresses the Why that drives the entrepreneur’s mindset just the same as the big cat’s Why of survival for another day.
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