Posts Tagged ‘sales training for new home builders’

Video Mystery Shopping: Don’t Fear the Shop!

December 20, 2013

woman-scaredDo you want to know the quickest way to silence a room full of New Homes Sales Associates? Tell them they are all going to be Video Mystery Shopped over the next 2 weeks. Not only will they become dead silent, but a look of horror and fear will quickly appear on their faces. Trust me; I have seen it happen numerous times in my 30 plus years in the video mystery shopping business.

After the news sinks in that they are going to be video shopped, the fear begins to grow and grow. Every man, woman, and child that enters their sales office is a possible ‘shopper’ suspect! The phone lines heat up between the sales offices, with sales associates comparing notes with each other about their recent visitors.

The conversations sound something like this:

“Did you get a visit from a lady with big red hair claiming to be relocating from California?”

“No, but what about the man who said he was going through a divorce and was interested in purchasing a townhome?”

“I didn’t see him, but I swear I saw a small video camera hidden in my last customer’s baseball cap!! I AM SURE HE WAS THE SHOPPER!!”

For some reason, sales associates really FEAR being video shopped! The truth of the matter is, being video shopped is nothing to fear. If you are doing your job, and know how to conduct a professional sales presentation from start to finish, you should actually WELCOME and EMBRACE the opportunity to be video shopped. It’s your time to shine!

When we fear something, it usually stems from our preconceived perception of the outcome. IE, you might fear bears because you know they can EAT you.

In most cases, sales associates fear video shops because they falsely believe their sales manager will use the shop as a “GOTCHA” to ridicule or, in severe cases, fire them. Simply not true. Sales Managers look at video shops as an opportunity to get a ‘snapshot’ of their sales associates in action. This video can then be used as a powerful training tool to highlight areas of strength and also identify areas for improvement in the sales presentation.

My advice to sales associates that fear being video shopped is simple: Relax and give the best sales presentation possible to every single person that walks into your sales office. Let’s face it, that really IS your job…whether you are being video shopped or not.

Video Mystery Shopping: Does this dress make me look fat? The TRUTH about honest Feedback! Part 2

December 6, 2013

Job-Interview[1]Last week we discussed the importance of feedback and how it can help us grow professionally and personally.

This week we are going to focus on ways to actually give and receive feedback.

Let’s start with GIVING feedback:

Schedule a meeting in a private conference room, not across from your desk. Remove all barriers. Give the salesperson enough time to gather information on how improvements have been made since the last evaluation. If you are discussing their shop, encourage them to watch it at least 2x privately. Schedule enough time so you are not rushed and turn off all electronics during the meeting.

Explain the purpose of the evaluation prior to the meeting. People like to know WHY they will be getting feedback. Start by saying “we’re meeting next Monday to go over your video shop in addition to your last 30 days of sales performance. I’d like to discuss your positives and a few areas where performance can be improved.”

Start with overall performance and highlight specific accomplishments. Ask the salesperson areas where they believe they are doing well and ask them to cite specific examples.

Ask the salesperson where they think they need improvement. Avoid offering your comments first. Sit back and really listen. When they are done, offer some of your observations with suggestions for improvement. If the salesperson is not doing well with follow up, offer some ideas on how that can improve. IE., setting a time each day to focus on it, learning more about buyers so follow up can be more impactful, etc

Give the salesperson the opportunity to ask questions and make statements and together develop a reasonable timeline for improvement. Write everything down you discussed with a deadline for improvement, sign and date it. This gives you a way to hold the salesperson accountable for their actions.

Follow up and see if improvements are being implemented. Continue to offer words of encouragement.

Receiving feedback:

Ask for it!! If your sales manager doesn’t review your work, ask them to. It will show your dedication to the job and that you are serious about your career and being successful.

Welcome constructive feedback. Honestly, it truly is the only way to grow and become better at what you do.

Control your defensiveness. Listen closely to the feedback and refrain from judging or denying it. Also, please don’t feel the need to justify why you did something. Just LISTEN.

Don’t take it personally or negatively. Look at feedback as a way to improve! No one is perfect. Instead of thinking ‘I am terrible at closing!’ reframe the message to be ‘I am a great sales person and I see an opportunity to become even better if I work on improving my closing skills”.

Ask questions. If you are not clear about the feedback ask your sales manager to clarify and give specific examples of areas you need to improve upon.

Set a goal for improvement and hold yourself accountable. Find a mentor, listen to audios, attend a SMC meeting, work on obtaining your IRM designation, read the latest sales books, all of these actions will help you perfect your craft!

One final thought about feedback.

 In order for it to be effective you must: Deliver it effectively. Accept it with a smile. Learn from it…. Remember,  your career depends on it.

Melinda Brody, MIRM is president of Melinda Brody and Company, Inc. For three decades, Melinda’s firm has video mystery shopped over 25,000 on site salespeople and knows what’s REALLY going on in the field of new home sales. Melinda is a keynote speaker and seminar leader, presenting at the International Builders Show popular Super Sales Rally. Her new book, “They Said WHAT??!!” explores how to excel at selling new homes by doing everything WRONG!

Video Mystery Shopping: Does this dress make me look fat? The TRUTH about honest Feedback!

November 25, 2013

Part 1 of a 2 part series. Published in Sales & Marketing Ideas Magazine

funny-girls-dress-make-me-look-fat“Boy, do I look FAT in that outfit! And, do I really have a DOUBLE CHIN??” 

“OMG! I can’t believe I wore that suit! Look at how wrinkled my jacket is!!”

“I look so old and tired! They must have distorted MY video!”

If you have ever been on video (or video mystery shopped) one or two of these statements has probably come to mind upon seeing yourself on video. We ALL do, even me! And this is what I do for a living. It is only natural to be critical of yourself when you first see your video. This is why we encourage ALL our clients to watch their videos AT LEAST twice! The first time you watch, you are paying too much attention to your physical self and not really listening to your shop.

Once I did a video and it was shot outside, I actually wore sunglasses because I was so self-conscious about my looks. My company’s sales coach and marketing consultant, Leah Turner, said to me: “Melinda….when you show up to speak, you look the way you look, you can’t change that. It is what it is, and it is time to get over it.”

I hated to admit it, but she was right!! (By the way, I think I look good for 70! Ok, I’m really 60 years old but when I share that with audiences, I get no reaction so I had to bump it up 10 years!)

Anyway, in my role as a professional speaker it is imperative that I watch countless, painful videos of myself speaking in order to improve my performance. Once I get past the physical shock, I can really focus and hone in on my message to improve my presentation. This allows me to continually develop my skill set as a speaker and presenter.

One thing that I have found to be especially helpful and motivating for me is to actually seek feedback from my peers and friends. I welcome it from others and I always listen with an open mind.

You see, your ability to handle candid, brutally honest feedback is in direct proportion to your confidence level. The more confident you are the less defensive and more acceptable to feedback you become.

Remember, you don’t ALWAYS need to follow the feedback, just take it in and decide what works and what doesn’t work for you. If you ask for opinions, you will certainly get them. It does not mean you need to apply every opinion!

If you allow yourself to sift through and analyze the feedback, you will become aware of what you need to pay attention to. The bottom line? Feedback is always about opinions. Not all opinions are the same and not all opinions are right. You have to determine what feedback works for you that will allow you to grow, prosper and be successful.

I have several people who give me feedback, both solicited and random:

My mastermind groups. I sign up and participate in these specifically FOR the feedback. I respect each member of the group and value their input!

Close friends and my boyfriend Howard. This group will ALWAYS tell me straight up how something hits them, how my new headshot really looks, if my new IBS speech is a winner or a flop!

My clients. Their feedback leaves no room for interpretation…it is always crystal clear. When I succeed, they are still a client. When they are gracious enough to give me feedback and allow me to make adjustments to solve a problem, I am very grateful. Sometimes, they just move on to another video shopping firm. That feedback is the most obvious…..it is basically saying “you’re fired”!

Since I am in the evaluation and “feedback” business (video mystery shopping), I thought it would be helpful to write about feedback, both receiving it (for salespeople) and delivering it (sales managers). The key to a successful experience with video mystery shopping is to provide feedback and use the shop as a learning tool that will allow your sales people to grow.

Next week, I will get into specifics on how you can give (and receive!) effective feedback.

 

Video Mystery Shopping: You had me at hello!

August 21, 2013

tumblr_lzd7wlhtsr1qjq8s2o1_500In Chapter 2 of my new book ‘They Said What??!! Behind the Scenes of 25,000 Undercover Video Mystery Shops’  I talk about the importance of making a strong first impression.  This message really hit home with me when I first started my mystery shopping business in 1986. One of my first assignments was to shop a small builder in Orlando. As I entered the sales office, I heard muffled voices in the back of the model near the bedroom area. Suddenly the back door to the model slammed shut! A short time later, a flustered female sales agent (with mussed hair!) appeared. She greeted me while quickly buttoning her shirt. Oh, no! She was on a ‘date.’ Suffice to say, the rest of the shop didn’t go very well. You see, the way you greet the prospect sets the stage for the entire visit. Period.

The goal of the Approach/Introduction is to break preoccupation and help your prospect relax and feel comfortable. In order to establish this kind of rapport, you must become the new home sales counselor.

The questions that we score by on our shopping report in the Approach/Introduction process includes:

  • Did the SA welcome the prospect warmly and with enthusiasm?
  • Did the SA initiate introductions?
  • Did the SA use the prospect’s name more than twice during the visit?
  • Did the SA offer the prospect refreshments?
  • Did the SA complete the registration card?
  • Did the SA determine if the prospect had visited the company’s website?

All of these questions work together to create a successful Approach/Introduction. If you follow this procedure up front, I can promise you that the rest of your presentation will have a nice, natural flow to it.

Your prospects are ‘guests’ in your home and it is your job to make them feel comfortable and welcomed. I am sure you have all gone through an experience where you entered a store or business and have been ‘snubbed’ by the salesperson who’s supposed to be waiting on you. You know the kind of person I’m talking about. They make you feel as though your very presence is unwanted! Not a good feeling.

Don’t make these mistakes. Make each person feel as though they are your highest priority at that very moment. I tell clients to imagine that a famous celebrity or movie star has just walked through the door (think Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie). How different would your sales presentation be?

“I read your book today, cover to cover. You have given the sales staff the material from which they can become great successes. To know is one thing, to know how to pass it along is a gift. You have it.”

Marilyn Whelan, Business Owner

 

To learn more about how YOU can master your sales presentation, purchase your copy of Melinda’s book today. Click below to order

http://www.melindabrody.com/they-said-what.html

Video Mystery Shopping: Dream it, Plan it, Do it!

July 23, 2013

Melinda2013This week’s blog has absolutely nothing to do with new homes sales…..nothing, nada, zilch! Instead it has to do with dreaming big and achieving those dreams! As many of you know, I recently published my first book ‘They Said What??!! Behind the Scenes of 25,000 Undercover Video Mystery Shops.’ Now, I never set out to be an author, it wasn’t part of my plan. However, for the past few years I started imagining what it would be like to share my three decades of new home sales video mystery shopping experience with others. It was my intention to be able to provide a tool that would motivate and encourage new home sales agents to improve their sales performance and achieve professional success. But first, I had to fully Dream It.

The dream started small, I would casually mention my idea of writing a book to friends and family members. They were encouraging and supportive! This response actually provided me with the motivation I needed to take my dream to the next level.

I started to Plan it. I planned what the key message of my book would be. I planned what types of examples I would use. I planned how many pages it would be. My dream was slowly starting to take flight and become a reality.

The planning stage is the most critical in achieving any goal you have in life. This is the turning point in which a ‘dream’ actually becomes a goal, with strategies and action plans to support it. I decided that 2013 would be the year that my book would be published. Now, I had to DO it. To truly visualize my book becoming a reality, I added it to my 2013 Vision Board. I created my book cover and put the deadline next to the picture!

The next step was then carving out the time to actually WRITE the book! For me, writing and being creative is something that I need to do outside of the normal hustle and bustle of everyday life. So, I looked at my calendar and planned three writing retreats for myself. I actually left town and emerged myself in the writing process. Once I was away and focused on writing the book, the words just seemed to flow onto the pages!

I am proud to announce that the book has been written and is now pre-selling! The journey to go from a dream to a reality is complete. If someone had told me 10 years ago that I would one day write (and publish!) a book, I would have probably laughed in their face!  But, that was before I had visualized the dream. What is it that YOU want to accomplish in your life? What do YOU dream about? Remember, if you can dream it, you can do it!

To order Melinda’s book, click the link below.

http://www.melindabrody.com/they-said-what.html

Video Mystery Shopping: POP! 10 Secrets to Build and Manage a Firecracker Sales Team!

May 28, 2013

Fire-Cracker[1]Are you ready to build a Firecracker Sales Team? Most new home sales managers WANT to build the best team possible; however, it isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Before we start giving you tips on HOW to build your firecracker, I thought it might be useful to share with you some common mistakes that sales managers make in the process

Most managers assume that A GREAT new home sales rep will have the same characteristics of a GREAT new home sales manager. Not true. The characteristics you need to be an effective manager is pretty much the polar opposite of the characteristics needed to be a firecracker salesperson. Take that into consideration when building your team.

1-Hiring in your own image and beneath you.

When hiring your sales reps, sales managers often think they need to hire someone in their own image. While this might be flattering to the sales manager, it doesn’t always work out since the skills sets for the two roles vary so much. Also, I have seen sales managers hire people ‘beneath’ them, or with less sales talent. One reason could be that they do not have to worry about the sales rep wanting to take their job, but the reality is these ‘under achievers’ require a great deal of hand holding and training.

2-Becoming the Fire Marshal

Fire Marshals are always solving everyone else’s problems. Don’t take on the problems of your team. Allow your team members to become their OWN fire marshals.

3-Getting too friendly

It is common nature to want to become friends with the sales team. However, as a sales manager you must always remember that YOU are the boss. It is often hard to discipline or reprimand a friend.

4-Only interviewing when you have a spot to fill.

Part of your role as a sales manager is to Interview all the time. You always want to keep abreast of fresh talent!

5-Managing, not developing, the team

Develop your team into becoming strategic thinkers. Poor video shop scores are a direct sign of poorly developed or trained sales people. It is YOUR job to get out there in the trenches with your team on a daily basis. Remember, you can’t run the zone if you are sitting on the throne.

Next, let’s discuss Sales Meetings. This is your one consistent opportunity to be in front of the entire team. It should be a time for team building, training, and motivating! Not just a time to update everyone on policies and procedures! Here are 5 Secrets for conducting a Super Sales Meeting.

1-Involve the sales team –

How do you involve the team? You get them engaged and interacting during the meeting. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways:

  1. Delegate a team member to host and coordinate the sales meeting
  2. Ask Questions throughout the meeting. No one likes being ‘talked at’ for an hour.
  3. Team Building activities
  4. Add a Training component – ask your sales people to conduct a mini-workshop on a skill or subject matter they excel in (IE. Overcoming objections)

2-Change it up!

Sales people getting bored easily. If you are conducting your sales meeting week after week in the same sterile conference room, think about changing it up a notch!

  1. Try meeting in a mystery location (a car dealership or retail store)
  2. Hold your meeting in spec home that’s sitting a long time, and use part of your meeting to brainstorm ideas on how to sell the home
  3. Have a ‘standing’ room only meeting (Meetings tend to move much quicker if the entire room is standing up!
  4. Give the bagels and donuts a rest! Why not take the team out for pancakes, or better yet, have a pot luck meeting and ask your team to bring in their favorite breakfast or brunch foods.

3-D-I-M-E…..Develop, Inspire, Motivate, Educate.

Make this the overall theme of ALL your sales meetings. Keep administrative topics to a minimum. Your role is to motivate your sales team to SELL more homes, not bore them to death!

4-Have an agenda with action items and “next steps” for accountability

People don’t plan to fail…they fail to plan. All the great advice and motivation you provide your team will be for naught if they set goals and create action plans to meet those goals. Ask them to get very specific with their goals…providing you with dates, names, next steps, and timelines.

5-Show Best Practices

SHOW your sales people what you expect from them. If you have a sales associate who did exceedingly well in a video mystery shop, SHOW specific scenes to the entire team. Another idea is to incorporate role-playing into your meeting.

These 10 Tips will help your sales team to grow, prosper, and become the FIRECRACKER team you envisioned. It ALL starts with you. Remember, you are their leader and you lead by example. By getting involved with your team, and showing them that you are their coach, they will support you and do everything possible to make your proud!

Video Mystery Shopping: Why a GREAT salesperson MAY NOT be a GREAT Sales Manager

March 13, 2013

Part 2 in a two part series

Boring presentationIn my last blog I discussed a few of the reasons why a GREAT salesperson may not make  a GREAT Sales Manager. The primary reason being: there are major differences in the characteristics of a great sales and a great sales manager.  We discussed that a sales leader typically has a great sense of focus, they know what they want (a SALE) and go after it! While a sales manager usually has more of a vision rather than a focus. The sales manager sees the ‘bigger’ picture, builds a team and crafts a strategy to make that vision a reality.

Another reason that is worth discussion has to do with coaching. Coaching has become quite the buzzword today. Businesses and individuals are recognizing the significance and importance that coaching has in the work place. It takes a certain type of person to be a coach. One of the primary skills needed to be a good coach is the ability to listen….and I mean REALLY listen. Not just to what the other person is saying, but oftentimes to what the other person is NOT saying.

Sales associates tend to be great talkers (and closers!), but their listening skills typically are something they must consciously hone in on. Great sales managers, on the other hand, have perfected the fine art of listening to a tee! And in doing so, they make excellent coaches for their sales team.

Great coaches (and sales managers) understand how to provide effective coaching to their team.  They are comfortable putting out fires, being problem solvers, and providing constructive criticism when needed. They are also very good at praising and giving credit to their team. In fact, they have an innate need (and derive great satisfaction from) being able to provide this type of leadership and motivation to their sales people.  Nothing satisfies a great sales manager more than watching his or her team achieve their goals. This is what empowers and motivates the sales manager!

Sales people NEED this type of coaching. They SEEK this type of motivation and empowerment! A great sales person will tell you that they have no objection in asking for help and direction from their managers.

So you see, promoting your top sales person to sales manager MAY NOT be the best idea for your organization. When people uncover their talents and strengths and are aware of their weaknesses, they will thrive in their position.

Video Mystery Shopping: How to Sell Your Builder, Demonstrate Your Model and Close Your Prospect

February 14, 2013

I  had the privmelprofilepicilege of conducting over 1200 video shops for 59 builder divisions in 2012 and I’m going to share some of the results of my annual Benchmark Study. The Benchmark Study compiles all the results from the shops and allows us to analyze and see the ‘trends’ that are taking place in the home building industry. I’ve pulled out the 3 most important components we’ve seen in 2012 that are making a difference for the top earners:

 1.     The builder story

2.      Demonstration  other the model

3.      Closing the prospect

Builder Story

Everyone does a builder story. How can there be anything new to report here? Well there is.

The Bad news…..

41% of agents today are NOT TELLING A BUILDER STORY AT ALL.

Here’s the good news! 59% of agents are telling a compelling builder story according to our research. They are ENHANCING the builder story. Top producers are listening to their customers and telling a stronger version of the builder story that is customized on what the customer’s needs and expectations are. These agents are delivering a more compelling, customized builder story AND are making more money by closing more sales. It’s not just a pitch or a script, the builder story is changing. The builder story builds trust and confidence with your clients.

Here are some REAL LIFE examples of how we have heard the builder’s story presented by new home sales agents.

Good                     “You can knock on anyone’s door and ask them how their experience was working with our builder…you will be pleased with the response…”

Bad                        “There are older homes here from the previous builder but don’t worry, they aren’t slums…”

Ugly                      “My builder is one of the best in the area, except for the illegal stuff that happened at corporate a few years back”

 Demonstration

The 2nd area of importance in the sales presentation is the demonstration of your model. You might be thinking ‘how hard can this be?’ We are seeing many sales people memorize a script of features and benefits, and then DUMP that script on the prospects!

Here’s the bad news…92% of all sales reps demonstrated the model home! You are probably wondering how THAT can be a bad thing. Of the 92%, only 32% are doing this correctly, through personalization and customization. The other 68% are FEATURE DUMPING. Give the customer what they want:

A model demonstration that is specific to the needs, wants and desires of the client! Imagine that!

Here are some REAL LIFE examples of what we have seen and heard.

Good                    “What’s not working in your current home?’ Tell me some of your ‘must haves’ in a new home.”

Bad                       “Our Models are filled with crazy upgrades and we don’t offer a lot of that stuff anymore!”

Ugly                     “I sometimes put a sign on the door that I’m out but really go to the mall shopping…you’re not one of those secret shoppers, are you?”

Closing

Closing is the 3rd critical area in your sales presentation. True closers are a distinguished and privileged group of sales people. Here’s the bad news……

58% of ALL sales associates we shopped did not try to close the prospect.

The 42% of the sales people who did close their prospects are what we call ‘master closers’. They come to the Sales Rallies and attend Workshops, Conferences and Builder’s Shows. If their builder doesn’t pay for them to attend, they pay their own way. They read the books and listen to the audio.

Here are some REAL LIFE examples of how we’ve seen sales reps close their prospects.

Good                     “My job is to match your needs with a floor plan…I believe we’ve done that..let’s get started with the home site selection…”

Bad                         “This home is $250 but honestly, we will take less for that..we’re not supposed to do this, but I think if you offer $200, that would be good…”

Ugly                      “Between you and me, we can just ignore those lot premiums”

So, there you have it! These three components of your sales presentation can (and WILL) increase your sales!

Video Mystery Shopping: Why a GREAT salesperson MAY NOT be a GREAT Sales Manager

January 17, 2013

(Part 1 of 2)

Ahhhhhhh!!I’ve seen it happen a million times in the building industry. The builder has a SUPERSTAR sales person. She can sell ice to Eskimos! She meets (and usually exceeds) her sales goals week after week. She knows how to overcome objections, win over clients, and CLOSE the deals. She’s awesome! So awesome in fact that the division president decides to make HER his new Top Gun Sales Manager! She has all the traits of a GREAT Sales Manager. She is a self- starter, problem solver, goal oriented woman who is also very professional in her appearance and demeanor. Everyone is THRILLED……for the moment. Now, let’s fast forward 3 months.

Our Superstar sales person has lost her mojo.  She resents attending so many meetings. She doesn’t like all the fires she has to put out on a daily basis. And, her sales people DRIVE HER CRAZY! She becomes very frustrated and starts to feel like a loser with a capital L. Finally, in desperation, she goes to her Division President and BEGS to have her old sales job back!

How could this happen?? Don’t ALL sales people strive to be promoted to management?? The answer is NO. Promoting your top salesperson to sales manager is NOT usually a good idea. The reason is simple, there are major differences in the characteristics of a great sales and a great sales manager.

If you are heading to the International Builder’s Show next week be sure to attend my POP! 30 Secrets to Building and Managing a Firecracker Sales Team’ workshop on January 22nd, as this is just one of the things I will be talking about and I will have a hand-out that shows the MAJOR differences between what constitutes a Salesperson from a Sales Manager.

One of the primary differences between the two has to do with focus and vision. You see, a GREAT salesperson has focus. They understand what the immediate end result should be (getting the sale) and they come up with a game plan, focus on it, and work towards that goal.

A Sales Manager on the other hand, has VISION. He has to see the BIGGER picture, not just the immediate result. He has to look at every aspect of the process, including how to create a team culture and then how to motivate that that team to get results. The Sales Manager’s focus is not on self. It is on his team. While a great sales person may or may not be a team player, it is imperative that a great Sales Manager is!

For another analogy, think about your favorite sports team…in most cases, the ‘star’ athletes do not go on to become coaches, and most of the coaches were never the ‘star’ athletes. There is nothing wrong with this, actually is makes perfect sense. We are all given strengths and weaknesses and the REAL magic happens when we understand our place within the team. That’s when it becomes a Win/Win for everyone!

Video Mystery Shopping: Want to KEEP your New Year’s Resolutions? Get some SKIN in the game!

January 4, 2013

new-years-resolutions[1]I read an article this week that asked: “What is a New Year’s resolution?”

The answer was: “A ‘to-do’ list for the first 2 weeks of January.”

Sadly, this is true for many people. We start out with GREAT intentions and action steps to achieve our goals, but after a few weeks we tend to fall back into the same old patterns.  I myself used to do this same thing year after year until FINALLY I discovered a fool proof way to KEEP my resolutions for the long haul. How did I do it? I got some ‘skin in the game’.

Here’s how it all went down. Last year my friend Becky and I were setting some goals for 2012. I mentioned to her that I wanted to start enjoying my weekends more and quit using them as ‘extra’ work days to catch up. You see, I LOVE what I do and when you love your work so much, sometimes you actually forget that it is work, and you end up doing it 24/7. That’s what had happened to me. I was not spending my weekends with my family and friends; I was instead using that time to work!

Becky then challenged me to commit to not working one single weekend for the entire year. Feeling very sure of myself, I quickly agreed! The thing she did next was what I refer to as the ‘game changer’. She asked to put some ‘skin in the game’.

Becky asked me: “Melinda, what is the one group or organization that you would NEVER, EVER, EVER support?”

I replied: “The American Nazi Party!”

“Great,” she said. “Write out a check for $1,000 to the American Nazi Party.  If you keep your resolution of not working weekends for the entire year, I will return the check to you. If you break your commitment, I will personally mail your check to the Nazi’s.”

So, I wrote out a check for $1,000 to the American Nazi Party and gave it to Becky for safe keeping. (I also made a copy for myself to use as a daily reminder). You see, I now had some skin in the game!

From that moment on, my life began to change in a BIG way. I stopped working weekends! I started hiking with friends and going to movies with my daughter. Anytime I got the ‘urge’ to check e-mails or make just a few follow up calls, I simply looked at the check I had written to the Nazi’s and decided against it!

If something came up where I absolutely had to work over a weekend (IE., a speaking engagement) , I had to do two things. I had to get Becky’s approval and then I had to schedule ‘comp’ time for myself during the week to make up for the weekend. This exercise worked for me like no other thing I had ever done before!

This year my goal/resolution is to write a book. I have wanted to do this for a long time, but never seemed to be able to find the time to do so. Well, I just wrote a $1,000 check to the RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company…..how much do you want to bet that my book will be completed this year??

So, here is my 2013 challenge for you……decide what you want to change in your professional life that will have a positive impact. Maybe it is something as simple as TURNING OFF your cell phone from 6 pm until 9 am. Next, ask yourself what group or organization you would never, ever , ever consider supporting. Then, write them a check and give it to a friend to hold on to for 365 days. It’s amazing how much easier it is to accomplish your goals when you’ve got ‘skin’ (or money!) in the game!