Selling Energy Blog

Posts in the habits category

Tips for a Better Tomorrow

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Many people that struggle to stay focused and happy at work spend too much time planning for the future, completely missing the present moment in the process. While they still work hard and produce good work, they just destroy themselves by being stressed out and neglecting their mental and physical needs. 

If you find yourself living life like a zombie trying to complete all the tasks on your to-do list and belittling yourself when you fail to reach your impossible standards, you should check out this article in Success magazine. It has some great tips to motivate you to make the most of the present.

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By info@SellingEnergy.com (Mark Jewell, President of Selling Energy | www.SellingEnergy.com) | | habits, productivity | Read more

Are You Sending the Wrong Message?

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At our trainings, we teach all of our students about the importance of writing well and proofreading carefully. Sloppy emails and mistake-ridden proposals not only reflect badly on you and your business, but also reduce your closing ratio. 

I’d like to share an article I found on the Inc.com blog that provides some excellent questions to ask yourself before you send an email. It’s a quick read, and definitely worth the time.  

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By info@SellingEnergy.com (Mark Jewell, President of Selling Energy | www.SellingEnergy.com) | | communication, habits, sales | Read more

Tips for Mastering Remote Work

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Technology has evolved so much that it has made it increasingly convenient to work from home or anywhere. Companies recognize the benefits of working from home for both the organization and their workers. In fact, we at Selling Energy have created thriving, engaged remote teams.  As more forward-thinking companies adapt this approach, there are challenges when it comes to maintaining engagement.

Fast Company recently published a guide that walks you through the major challenges faced with at-home working and how to overcome them. Take a read and gain some insights into the methods that lead to productive, successful, enjoyable and rewarding at-home work.

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By info@SellingEnergy.com (Mark Jewell, President of Selling Energy | www.SellingEnergy.com) | | habits, productivity, sales tips | Read more

Active Listening, Part Three

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Here are some additional active listening tips.  Realize that restating what the speaker has said indicates you've heard them.  But what if they say something negative?  Do you want to repeat that?  I don't think so.  You want to put a positive spin on what they’re saying, so while you let them know that you heard it, you should also let them know it might not be a completely negative thing. 

How important is humor when listening?  It’s really important, because in many cases people will indicate that they aren’t ready to leave their comfort zone.  Using humor allows them to be more comfortable because it reduces the stress in a conversation. 

Other questions you might ask yourself are: 

  • Are you prepared to listen for what is not being said in the conversation?
  • What's missing?
  • What does the speaker value?
  • What is the speaker concerned about?
  • Is there a question behind the question?
  • Have they asked a question that's unusually vague?
  • Are there any changes in the speaker’s level of disclosure and/or tone when addressing certain topics or colleagues?
  • If they talk about something as if they're happy about it - but shouldn't be - you have to ask yourself, “Why are they doing that?” 

Lastly, here are some advanced techniques: 

  • Listen for keywords that can be used to build rapport and repeat them later in the conversation. This is a tenet of rapport-building taken from NLP training (i.e., neuro-linguistic programming). 
  • You should listen for phrases that indicate whether your prospect’s primary communication modality is a visual, auditory or kinesthetic. If they say words like “see,” then they're likely visual.  If they say words like “sounds to me,” or “I heard him say,” then they're likely auditory.  If they say, “I feel strange about making this decision right now,” or “I think it's going to be a heavy lift,” you might assume that the person is a kinesthetic person.  This all comes out of the annals of neuro-linguistic programming as well, which I definitely recommend that you explore further.
  • Does the speaker favor certain phrases or metaphors that you could repurpose in your presentation or follow-up correspondence to gain additional rapport? 

Bottom line: There are a lot of things that you can do to make sure that the person understands that you're truly listening.  Find the right methods for you, turn them into habits, and reap the benefits.

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By info@SellingEnergy.com (Mark Jewell, President of Selling Energy | www.SellingEnergy.com) | | communication, habits, sales tips | Read more

Active Listening, Part Two

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Today, we’ll continue with active listening tips. 

A lot of people prefer to do things in person because they get more visual input: body language, gestures and facial expressions.  But what if you’re on the phone and can’t see your prospect?  Could closing your eyes make you a better listener?  After all, you're not looking at anything in your office.  Your prospect is not there.  If you close your eyes and listen, you will find that you get a tremendous uptake in available mental processing power.  Just as a computer performs better with fewer high-intensity programs open at the same time, you’ll free up your brain’s processor… And when you do, you’ll be amazed at how many additional nuances you can pick up, just by listening:  minute changes in volume, tone, breathing or communication lags (i.e., the time between the end of your question or statement and the beginning of their response). 

Now, while you're on the phone, how else can you allow people to know you are paying attention?  Well, you can confirm what they’re saying with statements like: 

  • “What I'm hearing you say is...”
  • “Help me understand this…”
  • “Let me make sure I've recorded this properly…” 

You can also use listening noises, like “Uh-huh,” “I see,” “Tell me more,” “Hmm, that's strange.”  If you do choose to repeat something your speaker has said, make sure you paraphrase it, to imply that you're not just parroting what they've said. 

One of the more nuanced tips is to change “we” statements to “I” statements when speaking about your offerings.  It demonstrates your personal commitment to your customer’s success.  Don't be afraid to use that to underscore that you’ll do anything necessary to make sure they're successful once they engage your services. 

Also, a word about notes. I've seen a lot of professionals use leather journals, copy books, composition books and Moleskines.  There are a lot of ways to make hard copy notes.  Frankly, I don't like any of them.  I take electronic notes by typing them into an Excel worksheet.  It’s a format that is backed up immediately to the cloud and reliably searchable.  

And while you’re taking those notes, be sure to jot down anecdotes the speaker has shared with you so you can reference in later in the conversation.  Why?  Because they'll appreciate that you remembered a story they've told you. 

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By info@SellingEnergy.com (Mark Jewell, President of Selling Energy | www.SellingEnergy.com) | | communication, habits, sales tips | Read more

Set Yourself up for a Productive Workweek

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The workweek may be done, but you are still hammering away this Saturday. Maybe you’re finishing up that proposal due on Monday? Perhaps it’s your turn to watch the kids?

Fast Company published an article on 5 things to do this weekend to make Monday that most productive day of the week. Of their tips, my favorites include: set goals for the week ahead; think big-picture thoughts; and, do something fun. Read the full list here and consider fitting them into your weekend.

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By info@SellingEnergy.com (Mark Jewell, President of Selling Energy | www.SellingEnergy.com) | | habits, productivity | Read more

Active Listening, Part One

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"A good listener has the ability to better understand and process information.  A great listener has the ability to use this information to negotiate, to influence, and avoid misunderstandings and conflicts." – Christopher Pappas 

There is a variety of online content about active listening from experts like Tony Robbins, Christopher Pappas, Julian Treasure and many more.  Each of them offer advice on better listening techniques, especially those of us that live in the city.  We’re used to being assaulted by a cacophony of noise in traffic, our office environments, our neighborhoods and whenever we go out on the town.  

When you’re listening to your prospect, all of that needs to be tuned out.  Here are some helpful tips: 

  • You want to be fully in the moment, focusing at least 75% of your time to listening while remaining calm, resourceful, and flexible. You certainly want to maintain a sense of curiosity.  Nurture the silence; however, don’t be afraid to ask questions.
  • Most of the revelations in a meeting come from the pauses between speaking. For example, if you ask a question, make sure there is enough time for a customer to answer.  They shouldn’t feel rushed. They need to feel relaxed enough to ponder their answers.  I often say that speaking is a lot like music.  There would be no music if there were no space between the notes.  It would just be one constant sound… not very interesting, for sure!
  • Don’t compose your response instead of listening. That’s not listening at all, and very often it comes across as rude.  Although you aren’t speaking, you’re giving off non-verbal cues that you aren’t giving your full attention.
  • You certainly shouldn’t multitask when listening.
  • One of the questions I often get asked is, "How do you tell when someone's multitasking on the phone?" One of the things you can do is stop talking, because when they hear the unexpected silence they will immediately snap out of it and think “Uh-oh,” or they'll think you just asked a question and are waiting for an answer. Other ways to deal with multitasking on the phone is to ask a lot of questions, because they'll eventually have to put their other projects aside and give you their undivided attention. Another solution is straight-up honesty.  Say, "You know, I feel as if you've got a lot going on there.  Would you like to call me back at a more convenient time?" More often than not, the person's going to say, "Oh, I'm sorry.  I'm just a little bit distracted here.  I wasn't paying attention as much as I should've been.  I promise you, I'm all yours now.  Give it to me again." 

There are other aspects of active listening that can help anybody regardless of where they stand in their sales career, neophyte or veteran: 

  • You must be taking notes. When a customer sees this happen, it reassures them that what they're saying is important and will not be forgotten.
  • If you don't understand something, wait until the speaker has finished speaking, then ask a qualifying question. You might ask them to demonstrate what they just said to ensure that you understand the point they’re trying to make in the proper context. 

Stay tuned for more on this topic next week...

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By info@SellingEnergy.com (Mark Jewell, President of Selling Energy | www.SellingEnergy.com) | | communication, habits, sales tips | Read more

7 Tips to Prevent Burnout at Work

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As efficiency sales professionals, we deal with stress on a regular basis. Sometimes the stress comes from setbacks or lost deals; other times it simply comes from having too much to do and too little time to do it. Whatever the source of your stress may be, it’s important to have some coping mechanisms to help you stay motivated and productive.

An article published on the Forbes blog suggests “7 Ways to Prevent Stress at Work and Regain Productivity.” If you struggle to cope with stress, I highly recommend checking out this article and applying some of these ideas yourself.

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By info@SellingEnergy.com (Mark Jewell, President of Selling Energy | www.SellingEnergy.com) | | habits, productivity | Read more

10 Time-Saving Tips for Stressed Working Parents

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As every working parent knows, time is a scarce commodity more valuable than gold. Finding new ways to squeeze every second out of a typical day and get as much done honoring all your obligations can feel like a mountain too high to climb. Thankfully, we have put together this list of time-saving tips to help busy, working parents achieve just a bit more each day and feel less stressed doing it. 

  1. Delegate/Ask for Help - When there is too much on your plate juggling the kid's activities, additional stuff at work and you can’t seem to find any relief, ask a friend or family member for help. Anything they can help with to free up extra time will make a big difference. On the weekends, have kids “help out” cleaning up the garage or working on a project. Make it fun by turning it into a competition or game. This way you can spend family time together but also get some household chores done as well.
  2. Double Up on Recipes for Lots of Leftovers (Easy Reheat) - When making dinner consider doubling the recipe, so you always have a quick reheat meal ready to go for those nights when the time is dwindling quickly. Don’t worry about being the perfect parent and serving up a freshly cooked meal every night; your sanity is worth more than your reputation, and the kids won’t care.
  3. Hire Someone for Pickup/Drop Off of the Kids or Carpool with a Neighbor - Dropping off or picking up the kids can take up an enormous amount of time each week. Just by hiring someone for these two tasks or carpooling with a friend or neighbor can free up a lot of extra time. On those mornings when you don’t have the kids, go to the office extra early, before anyone else and get a lot done. On the evenings when you don’t have to pick up the kids, you can stay extra late and accomplish even more.
  4. Assign a Time Limit to Each Task and Stick to It - A fantastic way to manage time, especially if you never have enough of it, is to assign a time limit to each task and when the time is up, move onto the next item. Limiting your time may seem counter-productive, but it helps on a subconscious level. Your brain knows you only have a specific amount of time to complete your task and therefore works more efficiently to accomplish it on time. It also gives you a relief valve knowing that the job will end at a particular time, and you will reward yourself with a forced break.
  5. Use Your Lunch Hour Wisely - This golden nugget of time is perfect for many tasks that are hard to accomplish at any other time of day. Use the Internet to pay bills online, check on the kids (nanny-cam or other similar services), schedule appointments, and even order products for home delivery. Just spending half of your lunch hour crossing things off your to-do list will ease the stress of the rest of your day. Use your lunch break efficiently every day and watch your whole week improve.
  6. Take the Kids to Work on the Weekend - There is no better time to get a lot of work done than on a weekend when no one else is in the office, no phones are ringing, and no emails are coming in. However, if you have children, this can present a problem. The solution, bring the kids to work. Bring plenty of toys, snacks and things to keep them occupied. Set them up in the conference room or another office while you get some quality work done. The kids will love going to work with mom or dad and view it as a field trip. While you get points for the fun adventure, you also get caught up on work before your busy week.
  7. Prioritize Your Time - Juggling family and work is hard enough, but when faced with an invitation to do something extra, it can quickly reach Take a minute to determine whether or not it is worth your time and the stress. Do you really need to attend the company picnic or your third cousin’s barbecue? Does the lawn need to be mowed or can it wait a week (or even better, outsourced)? Prioritize what is most important and cancel any extra events and activities to help free up time and relax your schedule.
  8. Track Your Time - What are you doing each day? There are some great time-tracking mobile apps such as Tyme 2 where you can use timers to track your entire day’s worth of events. Try it for a full week to see where you can regain some free time. Perhaps you have a habit of reading the online news before work or checking the sports scores during lunch. You may find that freeing up these short bits of time and using them for other tasks can be the difference between having a stressful or non-stressful workday.
  9. Prepare the Night Ahead – Remember when you were little and your mom laid out your clothes the night before? This same practice can be a lifesaver when you are juggling work, home, and kids. Do as much as you can the night before. Get the kid's clothes ready, pack lunches, have your bags packed and even try showering in the evenings instead of morning. Anything you can do the night before shaves precious minutes off the morning bustle.
  10. Organize Everything - Keep everything in your home and office organized. There are dozens of great resources for keeping kids toys, clothes and office items in their proper place. Stick to routines and habits so that you don’t waste precious time hunting around for things. For example, always put your car keys in the same place every night when coming home. This way you will never lose them and frantically search when you need to be in the car on the way to daycare. And if you always seem to misplace your keys, you can get a wireless “key finder” on Amazon for less than $20 that will keep four items as far as 100 feet away within easy reach with a loud beep and a blinking light! 

We live hectic lives these days, and every bit of timesaving helps ease our stress. These tips can add minutes or even hours to your busy week and help put a smile on your previously stressed face.

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By info@SellingEnergy.com (Mark Jewell, President of Selling Energy | www.SellingEnergy.com) | | habits, productivity | Read more

10 Things the Most Successful People Do

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At the end of the week it’s a time to relax and reflect before gearing up for what’s ahead.  If you’re feeling overwhelmed, what could you do to get through the next week and be better? 

The good news is you can take time to prepare with some great advice.  Eric Barker, the author of Barking Up The Wrong Tree (see HERE for this week’s book recommendation), took it upon himself to interview fellow author and entrepreneur Tim Ferris about the daily habits of successful people.  You can read it at Time.com and start integrating these ideas as soon as possible.  

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By info@SellingEnergy.com (Mark Jewell, President of Selling Energy | www.SellingEnergy.com) | | habits, success | Read more
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