5 Pointers to Improve Sales + Keep Yourself Energized for the Long Haul
Are you running out of steam in the entrepreneurial marathon? Do you struggle to keep things fresh and focused?
Here are five pointers to help keep you energized for the long haul.
1. Work fewer hours
Being your own boss, working from home and having iPads, iPhones and Blackberries means that you’ll be tempted to stay connected all the time and respond to everything as soon as it happens. For as long as I’ve been my own boss, I’ve always been this way and I’m learning that it’s not only bad for health but it’s also counterproductive to sales.
Here’s what I’ve learned:
• Set office hours in your head — even if we keep office hours, it’s important that we allow our minds to shut off when we’re not doing the work. Unfortunately, I find it’s easier to do the task as I think of them, rather than recycling the ideas for hours, sometimes through insomnia, till the next business day. But I do at that my own expense!
If this happens to you, set mental office hours and don’t even go there in your head. If you don’t keep mental boundaries, you can be physically working 8 hours a day but feel like you’re working nonstop.
One of the techniques I’ve used is to picture a gate in my mind’s eye and to push all the work outside of those gates. They can stay there, in temporary storage, until I open back the gates the following day.
• Limit your work to a set number of hours — I used to work 12 hours per day when I ran one business, and now I’ve scaled it down to 6 hours running two businesses and a healthy number of clients. I’m finding that the less hours you work, the more focused, productive and selective you are to doing what’s only essential.
Too much time, especially unstructured time, creates aimlessness and float–iness. If you have big goals and lots to do, give yourself less time — you’ll be motivated to cut out the nonessential stuff and focus on what’s truly important.
2. Stay in tune with your intrapreneur
These days, there are too many marketing tactics and too many potential opportunities that all seem equally enticing and game changing. The problem is that doing too much can give yourself the illusion of moving forward and being productive, while in actuality it just keeps you spinning and very busy.
Being an entrepreneur is external — we sell, engage with our audience and put ourselves out into the world.
But being an intrapreneur is where the real connectivity and miracles happen. By connecting to our inner, higher self, we have access to the larger road map of our businesses, as well as clarity about the things that truly make us heart–happy.
As conscious business owners, we must be instep with both aspects of our work. So, every night, dump into a journal — record your emotions, fears, ideas and tasks. Even if I don’t have a lot of time to journal, I sum up my day in a sentence or two, just to acknowledge myself and everything that happened that day.
Then, once a week, connect with your entrepreneur self and take care of the tangible, tactical pieces of your business. Schedule in small tasks, big projects and organize your calendar.
Finally, once a month, have mini–retreats with your intrapreneur (and don’t forget to schedule this ahead of time!). Take out a few days to do nothing and journal, create, envision, write and record. Plan ahead so you can unplug from your client commitments and sales, and make way for a big space to listen to or create what’s coming around the corner.
3. Broaden yourself
Success in business and sales comes from practice, self–confidence, knowledge and learning to be a creative problem solver. Cultivate curiosity about businesses in other industries, because that will teach you more about business than looking at your peers.
Lots of times, I bring in the best practices that companies are already doing in other industries and apply it to my own. There’s tons of business principles to learn, if you keep an open mind and cultivate a thirst for knowledge about things.
For instance, when I want to learn and study customer service, I take my cue from the hospitality industry. By observing the way professionals treat guests and customers, I know what benchmark I want to work toward for myself. Or, when I want some perspective about handling failure or developing persistence, I look at sports and professional athletes.
Another way to broaden yourself is to travel internationally — take your passport around the world. Traveling abroad clears the way for new, fresh ideas. It moves lots of energy and broadens your horizon. You also give way to more interesting, synchronized encounters and be able to see yourself much better after observing how others live. Having new experiences will give you fresh ideas and solutions to problems you didn’t think had answers.
4. Review yourself
I believe in perfection, but only in a relative manner. What I mean by that is, I believe all of us are capable of doing the best work that we can possibly do, with the current knowledge, understanding and experiences that we have. That means, we can do excellent work for where we are right now — not compared to someone who is much further along or has more knowledge or experience than we have.
That being said, the way to keep improving yourself and raising your bar is to review yourself. If you are a services provider — after every sales call, after every coaching call, after every class or program — make note of some objective, factual, non–judgmental comments of how you did, and the points you want to improve or change the next time around. Don’t judge nor bash yourself. You only need to recognize the aspects you want to change, and then work toward those changes. Stick to the facts only.
If you are a product provider, periodically review your work and revise and update them. Keep your products current by adding content that you’ve learned and releasing them under a new edition or version.
5. Love your ego
Lots of teachings will say that the ego is a bad little monkey always trying to screw you up! While that might seem like it’s a fact, the truth is that you can learn to love your ego and use it to your advantage.
I love my ego because without it, I wouldn’t be impulsed with ambition, drive and a personality fit for entrepreneurship. What I’ve learned to do is to make it work for me, and here’s what I mean:
If you don’t control your ego, it controls you and your business. And while it’s in the driver’s seat, it can sometimes do very counterproductive things that don’t work. Find a way to put your higher self or your heart in the driver’s seat, and have the ego work for you.
I gave mine a name, which I call my Prime Minister (and I’m the Queen), because the personality of my ego sounds very much like that: very naggish, fearful and obsessed with being perfect and right (not that any Prime Ministers are, but that was the first character that popped into my mind!).
In contract, the Queen, which is my inner voice, is very authoritative and balanced — she’s got the last word. But she doesn’t get there without first ironing out all the wrinkles with the Prime Minister. They’ve got to work things out, because otherwise, the PM would secretly sabotage the Queen’s commands.
At first, this relationship was hilarious to me, especially since I love to watch period films and television shows, where the Prime Minister tries to sabotage the Queen, and the Queen wants to destroy the PM.
But while it may feel surreal and silly, such a feuding dynamic does exist between your ego and higher self — we all have these mental battles. By engaging the two of them in serious and open conversation, you can smooth out tension and help yourself get to your goals much faster without being at war with yourself all the time.
There ya have it — I hope these 5 pointers help you improve sales and keep yourself energized for the long haul.
Hi, I’m Ana Coeur
I teach entrepreneurs how to create their business straight from their soul. I offer a complete Intuitive Business Suite to help you create, design, write and sell all from your intuition. Here’s the services you can take advantage of to empower your business: Intuitive Web & Brand Design, Intuitive Copywriting and Intuitive Selling. If there’s anything I can help you with, I would love to hear about it! You may email me at anaintuitivepicture.com
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