Present Perfect

“Every negative event contains within it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” ~ Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich

Perhaps you’re familiar with present perfect as a grammatical term, but I would like to offer a different perspective of these words – as in “the present is perfect.”

Now, before you scream at me that your present is anything BUT perfect, please indulge me for a moment and consider an event from your past that you judged to be ‘bad or ‘wrong’ at the time. Now, think carefully about what transpired as a result of that experience.

What events unfolded because of it? What was the outcome? Is it possible that something ‘good’ came about? I would venture to say that it did… every time.

At first, it may be difficult at accept that there was any ‘good,’ but I guarantee that if you look hard enough and long enough, you will ALWAYS find it. Something ALWAYS happens as a result of an experience that makes it perfect.

The first personal example that comes to my mind happened a few years ago. One morning, I woke up with some discomfort in my lower back. Within a couple of hours, the discomfort had escalated to the point where I couldn’t move without excruciating pain. The only way I could get around was by dragging myself across the floor. Raising my body to sit on the toilet was almost unbearable, and sitting on a chair or couch was impossible.

Walking was also out of the question, so I ate very little that day. It was far too painful to stand up and prepare food, and I could only manage a few minutes at a time. I swallowed some pain-killers, gathered some cushions around me, and tried to make myself as comfortable as possible on the floor. With the TV remote on one side of me and the telephone on the other, I managed to get through the day.

Sleep that night was fitful to say the least, but I managed to get in a couple of hours. The next day wasn’t any better. The pain was still unbearable, so one of my daughters came over to help. She took one look at me and carted me off to the Emergency Department of the local hospital where we waited for almost ten hours to see a doctor and for them to examine me. They took x-rays, they poked, and they prodded. Their diagnosis was ‘probably’ sciatica so they gave me drugs for the pain and referred me to my family doctor who later referred me to a specialist for tests.

At first blush, there doesn’t appear to be anything positive about this experience, but let me elaborate a little about my circumstances at that time. I had returned from Thailand a few months earlier and had made the decision not to work at a traditional office job because my boredom with office work was what sent me to Thailand in the first place! But, we all have to eat and pay for a roof over our head, so I had been working for a couple of temp agencies to tide me over until I came across the “perfect” job. I hadn’t the faintest idea what that would be, but I had faith in the Universe that it would materialize.

The only problem with temp work is that there are no benefits: No sick leave, no medical insurance, no drug plan. Plus, no work = no income. How was I going to pay my rent? My savings were nonexistent since my Thailand trip and my family were in no position to help out so my financial outlook was pretty dismal. My only recourse was… dare I say it?… WELFARE.

Just the word sent shivers down my spine! I had never received ‘charity’ in my life and even disliked unemployment insurance the couple of times I had been laid off past jobs. How was I ever going to accept welfare?

To cut a long story short, Social Services treated me with dignity and respect and I have nothing but praise for their help. Sure, walking into the building was tough on my pride. (Who would see me?) What would my bank say when they recognized the source of the funds paid into my account and realized I was on welfare? (As if they had someone checking!) How would I answer friends’ inquiries about what I was doing these days? It was a very humbling experience to say the least.

So what was perfect about it, you may ask. Nothing… at the time. Enduring pain, humiliation and guilt are not my idea of positive experiences. However, there was an up side to it all. As I was unable to sit for extended periods of time and therefore unable to work in traditional jobs, Social Services directed me to a self-employment program that taught participants how to set-up their own business as well as the skills necessary to maintain it.

In the months prior to my sciatica episode, I had written my first book “Joy Makers” and had the brilliant idea of creating a business around it. I wrote up a proposal for my idea and was accepted into the self-employment program. As a result, I received impressive instruction from a wonderful business advisor/trainer who also became a personal friend. In addition to this friendship, I also benefited in other ways. Here are some of them:

* My new business advisor/friend generously invited me to participate in a private course she was teaching about creating your own life. This led to some amazing personal revelations and was a turning point in my life.
* The same person also introduced me to another wonderful friend who I would probably never have met otherwise.
* My book was eventually published.
* The experience I gained from publishing my own book, led to a meeting with another self-published author who also became a very good friend.
* This friend became my business partner in two different ventures.
* I now co-own a self-publishing service where we assist writers to become published authors, and another wellness business which provides healthier, safer products for families and the environment at very reasonable prices.
* I still maintain contact with many of the people I met on the business course and have been able to share and network with many others.
* I learned a great deal about online marketing.
* I taught myself website design to market my book and my businesses.

These are just some of the results of that event. In addition to the above, one of my daughters who had been living in Pennsylvania, was prompted by my sciatica challenge to come back, and we continue to share a home. Since I had been missing her very much, I was overjoyed at her return as we get along very well. This relationship has proved to be a godsend to us both and we continue to grow from it.

I hope this account of a ‘bad’ incident has provided you with an example of the perfection of our experiences. Certainly I didn’t look upon it as a ‘good’ thing at the time but, in retrospect, a great many good things came about because of it… both the sciatica and my ensuing welfare episode.

There have been many other incidents where I can look back on a ‘bad’ experience and recognize the blessing that transpired as a result. In retrospect, I can’t think of one single event in my life that was not positive. So now, when something “unwanted” takes place, I look at it with acceptance – the attitude that this too shall pass and I will eventually find the ‘pearl within.’

For me, this is a much better way of looking at my life situation. For me, the present is ALWAYS perfect!

How To Use PowerPoint During Sales Presentations

Using PowerPoint during group sales presentations is a no-brainer as far as I’m concerned. But how you use it, is something else.

The person giving the presentation is center stage not the PowerPoint slides, which is often the case. Your PowerPoint slides should reinforce your presentation – it should not be your presentation.

You know, I do a lot of keynote speeches and sales training programs for corporate America. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been bored to tears by somebody’s presentation. It makes me want to itch!

Look, I didn’t wake up in a bad mood today. I was just reading an article in Entrepreneur Magazine about a venture capitalist guy named Guy Kawasaki whose reaction to PowerPoint presentations is just like my own.

So it got me thinking. I thought I’d put together some do’s and don’ts to help you, just in case you’re committing any of these faux pas’s.

Don’t darken the room – it really can put some people to sleep.

Don’t fall in love with your technology. You don’t need glitzy transitions between every slide.

Don’t fill up every slide. Less can actually be more.

Don’t have sentences that build one after another, and another, and another. It literally drives people crazy when presenters do this.

Don’t walk in front of the projector and cast a humongous shadow on the screen.

Don’t use a small font size. If people can’t see it from the back of the room it doesn’t belong on a slide. Use a handout!

Don’t use a dark background color on your slides.

Don’t use too many slides and make too many points.

Don’t keep your slides on the screen during your entire presentation. It becomes a distraction. There’s a better way – keep reading.

On the other hand here’s a short list of things you should do.

Do turn on all room lights.

Do use a white background color for your PowerPoint sales presentation slides.

Do hit the period key on your keyboard to darken the screen in between slides.

Do hit the period key on your keyboard when you want to show your next slide.

Do move around a little so your audience doesn’t get the impression you’re tethered to the podium or anything else in front of the room.

Do follow Guy Kawasaki’s recommendation of 10/20/30. Keep reading.

Do use no more than 10 slides. Focus on what you want people to remember. You can make it stick if you use fewer and better slides.

Do set aside 20 minutes for showing your 10 slides. People have shorter attention spans today.

Do use a font size no smaller than 30 points. Bigger fonts lead the way to making better points.

Do be brief and to the point when you’re making your key selling points.

Do have a sales conversation with your audience by asking them for their reaction to your key points.

Make your next PowerPoint sales presentation a more powerful one by using fewer PowerPoints!

And don’t overwhelm your audience with nauseating details.

Always leave them wanting more.

Art of Negotiation – Knowing When and What to Negotiate

As a professional sales person how good are you at negotiating? The answer lies in the size of your pay check, so don’t kid your self and say you are great at negotiating if your pay check is consistently small, by small I mean less than $250,000.00 per annum! I personally would not be happy with a pay check of that size, so I would make it my business to learn this skill and hone my negotiating skill into an art form.

Professional sales people must understand this simple truth: Selling and Negotiating are totally separate phases of the selling process, most sales people are poor to average negotiators, and believe that negotiating is all about reducing the price to finally achieve a sale, little wonder then that the customer expects this and tries to squeeze the last ounce out of the sale person that they are dealing with and usually are still not satisfied. Have you as a sales person experienced this?

You definitely would have, as today’s informed and savvy customer is continually bombarded both electronically and by the media and friends to never pay list price for any thing and in fact to ask the sales person these Fatal questions “What is your best price?” or “I have been offered this price from your competitor down the road, can you better it?” You may be asking at this point yeah I have so why have you called it a Fatal Question? Fair question and here is my answer, to a professional sales person this question is fatal, as the customer is taking control of the sales process putting the sales person into a price point corner, either way the sales person stands to lose once they allow themselves to be dragged into this quag mire, if they make the sale their commission is affected dramatically so a lower pay check and if they lose the sale their pay check and their self esteem is damaged. Lose- Lose, so can you now appreciate how important the skill of negotiating is?

Here is another question, has a customer said this to you “Just tell me what the price is?” What is the customer doing? Do you know? If you do, do you know how to neutralize it? Keeping the customer happy and involved?

How often has this happened to you? and how have you handled this situation? Have you gone straight into giving the customer the price and then had the customer say “Thanks I will think about iy and get back to you” Yup it has happened right?

Negotiating is an art that right an ART, something that superb sales persons do extremely well, in fact none of my customers have ever paid less than the price I have asked for! Can you say the same?

Before you enter the negotiating phase you must do so after you have answered these two questions, 1. Do I know the customers needs? 2. Does the customer appreciate what is on the table? If the answer to either of the questions is no, you are not ready to negotiate, slow down, regain control and go again. If the answer is yes, you are ready to start the negotiating phase. Let us just go back a step and see how we would handle a customer that is insistent and wants to know the price, the easiest way that I have found to handle this situation is to go along staying in control for example “Yes, customer, we can discuss price, could I ask a few questions to get the details I need to assist you better?” At this point the customer may still refuse to give you information that you require average sales people succumb at this point and give them the price, (either specific or ballpark) this practice is risky as you have now lost control, getting control back from this position is difficult and you will now get squeezed by your customer, resulting in a smaller pay check for you.

If the customer is insistent, work to get below the surface to the customers specific need with out establishing the need. Why? Knowing the need allows you several ways to meet your objective whereas a Demand is narrow leaving you with few if any choices to satisfy. Selling on price is damaging for your pay check and your companies long term viability, companies need to make a profit to survive, so don’t give it away freely!

Negotiation is a tool that you use to preserve your price and terms. I learn’t this when I went into our local Mercedes Benz dealer ship lately to purchase the new Mercedes SLS Gull wing I asked the sales person for the best price without allowing him the time to get into the sales process, he was a superb sales person and turned my question on price around seamlessly getting me to give him the reason “needs” at no time did he ask me to make an offer and when price was eventually discussed it was when he was ready for the negotiating phase and I was made to feel that the price was minor in comparison to what was on the table. I paid full price that is the art of negotiating by a superb sales person, little wonder he is the highest paid and holds the number one position for Mercedes Benz sales in Australasia.

You can as well once you have mastered the art of negotiating.