The Alphabet Article Series – The ABCs of Solving Sales Problems – The 3 “Q’s”

[protected]Deepak Chopra is quoted as saying, “In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside you”. In this crazy, face-paced, instant information age that we call our business life, something like stillness can seem counter-productive, archaic, and maybe even silly. Who has time to be still?? It’s one of the most important things we could do for ourselves, or allow our teammates to do for themselves, but so few of us do it. And, I would actually argue that to truly be “still” also requires a lack of external stimulation, or dare I say it, a few moments of silence.

Enter: Quiet       Quickness           Quality

Quiet. Finding quiet time can be a real challenge. I get it. But making time to find quiet can revolutionize who you are as a sales leader or business owner. It is well documented that accomplished people like Tim Cook, Richard Branson, Jack Dorsey and Jeff Bezos all make time for quiet. So that leads to 2 questions: 1. Why is quiet so important? & 2. Where do I find it (consistently)?

Let’s address them in order. Having quiet time is valuable because it allows you time to think. And not just random thoughts about what must happen today or tomorrow, but focused thought. The lack of outside influence and planned quiet time can help you to think through tough challenges, come up with creative solutions, and plan for life and business. It can also be a time of resting your mind that is filled with distraction from the time you open your laptop or smart phone.

So where to find these precious moments? Here are a couple of suggestions that I find useful in the course of my business day. Try getting up early. I know, I know, that’s a tough one. But if you are up before your family or your colleagues need you, guess what? You get to be YOU, and not all the important titles you are all day long. I’d also suggest eating alone for lunch. I know there are books written about why you should be face to face with a colleague or client during every lunch, with the idea that you are picking up work time while others dawdle. I would argue when you eat alone, without access to your smartphone, you pick up valuable time to think. One last suggestion – go to your favorite place of worship during the work week. Almost all faiths have an “open door” policy on their buildings. Go inside, sit quietly, take in the architecture, and remember we are all a very small part of a much bigger picture. You’d be surprised how refreshing it can be in the middle of a hectic week.

Quickness. A couple of points to cover on this “Q”. The first, and most important, rule about adopting quickness into your business approach is to never allow quality to suffer. That means being fully informed before making a decision and monitoring the pace by which your team is moving to make sure things are not getting lost in the haste.

Let’s cover internal decisions first. You make several decisions throughout the course of the day. Some relate to clients and some relate to your team. And in some cases, both are impacted. When it comes to your team, making decisions quickly and decisively not only makes your business more efficient, it sets a good example for your team to follow. As I mentioned, though, being quick does not mean being rash. Make your decisions based on the best information you have at the time, make them judiciously, but make them quickly.

As for decisions that impact things going on outside your business, I would tell you a similar approach applies. However, I would say that information gathering here is mission critical. Make sure you are aware of all the extenuating circumstances when it comes to dealing with clients or prospects. And the best way to get valid information is for you to ask them directly when and where you can. Get as close to the source as possible, then make up your mind. But don’t let decisions linger too long, they can easily become empty distractions.

Quality. This may surprise you, but this “Q” is not about the quality of your product or service. You don’t need me to tell you how important that is, and frankly, if it suffers consistently, your clients will let you know because they won’t be doing business with you any longer.

The quality I want to talk about is as it relates to people. So, I’d like to look briefly at quality of life and quality of culture, specifically as they relate to who you are as an organization. Let’s start with quality of life, because like always, this is about YOU. Your quality of life as a leader will have an impact on you at work, period. I know being driven is important, and that your team needs to witness how committed you are to the cause. No harm there, so long as it isn’t to the extent that your business life is your whole life, that your identity depends on it. It’s a fine line, I get it, especially if it’s your life’s work we are talking about.

Keeping your quality of life in check will ultimately impact the quality of your culture. Your team are people who, while they may be 100% committed to your cause, also have personal dreams and aspirations impacting their decisions. Give yourself, and your team, the right to have quality of life. Counter to what some of corporate America would have you believe, allowing room for a work-life balance will increase productivity and workplace happiness. And, if I had to wager, it will increase the life span of your team and their commitment to your cause.

Put people first, use the 3 “Q’s” as they can benefit you best, and know that I am here to help or just chat, should you ever want to discuss what’s best for your team.

To raising all ships!

P.S. Be sure to join us next week when we talk about the 3 R’s – Reach, Relationships, ROI