How the power of words can change lives

Have you ever wondered just how powerful words can be? Well let me tell you a heart warming story to emphasize something I believe to be true.

Not long ago I had lunch with a group of old friends. Nothing unusual about that, you might say.

Even the fact that it was the first time we’d all been together in the same place, at the same time since the summer of 1979 was not exceptional. Such reunions happen all the time, don’t they?

Anyway it was genuinely a pleasure to see them all again and swap stories about how our lives had progressed since those far off days.

However it’s the story of one of my fellow diners that day that’s worthy of sharing with you now because I think it’s a source of inspiration and it reinforces the importance of just how powerful words can be.

Back in those distant days, we were all working together for the national telecommunications operator in Bahrain. Three of us had been young, graduate engineers on an upward career trajectory, with the future seemingly ours for the taking. The other member of our group, let’s call him Saeed, had been the handyman and tea boy in the department at that time.

Saeed was then a teenager, straight out of school. He was a bright and willing fellow but with absolutely no academic qualifications and he spoke very little English at the time. He came from a poor village and his perceived failure at school had left him feeling that he’d blown his chances and was destined for a series of low paid, low skilled jobs.

Fast forward 40 years and Saeed’s now every bit the poor-boy-made-good story.

Not only is he now a wealthy international businessman with two very successful businesses. He also has a string of qualifications including a PhD. Amazingly he’s now completed a second doctorate too.

In short, his success is impressive by any measure.

Nevertheless, how did Saeed get from where he was to where he is now?

The simple answer of course is determination and a lot of hard work. You cannot achieve anything without those ingredients.

However he also needed a reason to believe; a spark to light the fire. And that for me is where the story gets interesting.

Over lunch Saeed explained that it was a kind and encouraging word, all those years ago, from one of our fellow diners that had made him believe that he could make a success of his life, despite a poor start.

My fellow diner in question, let’s call him Tom, didn’t even remember the conversation. However back in the day it seems Tom had explained to Saeed that your future is not defined by your past, it’s an endless stream of opportunities which you can choose to take, or not, and you can make your life whatever you want it to be.

The power of these well-timed words of encouragement had an impact on Saeed so profound that they propelled him down the road to a destiny which otherwise he did not think possible. And in that is the point.

Words can be very powerful, so always choose them wisely.

A few well-timed words can inspire young people. Young people need encouragement more than they need critics.

So next time you’re working with someone in the early stages of life’s journey, remember your words can have the power to encourage them. They also have the potential to discourage them too, if you’re not careful. What you say and how you say it really matters.

Always offer positive words of encouragement, rather than harsh words of criticism.

Never, ever forget how powerful your words can be. The right words really can inspire young people to achieve their full potential.

If you want to leave a legacy behind you; it would be hard to improve on that I think.

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11 tips for improving quality of life

tips for improving quality of lifeLife has never been easy but it seems to get tougher with each passing year.

We’re all constantly juggling the conflicting demands of work and family and trying to squeeze in a little ‘me time’ whenever possible.

It’s that elusive thing known as work-life balance. Most of us aspire to it but few achieve it.

How would you describe the quality of your life right now?

This is a question we all ask ourselves occasionally.

A reader asked me recently whether I could offer some tips for improving quality of life. It’s a subject close to my heart, so I am only to happy to oblige.

So here are 11 memorable tips which I hope will help you improve your life’s quality:-

Top tips for improving quality of life:

1. Keep it simple

There really is a lot to be said for simplicity. Complexity can be stressful. So keep everything in life as simple as possible. Ditch the clutter; buy only what you really need and can actually use; and learn to appreciate what you have rather than fretting about things you think you’d like to have but don’t right now. Nothing matters much and actually very few things really matter at all. If you’re lucky enough to have family and a handful of genuine friends plus food on your table and a roof over your head then what more do you actually need? Keeping life simple will reduce your stress levels and that’s important.

2. Treat people with respect

I believe that only people matter. Yes having a nice house and a nice car is great but as human beings we are social animals. We are not solitary animals like cats. We live in groups and we need other people in our lives. And key to having friends is being a friend and treating other people with respect. Treat everyone as you’d prefer them to treat you. Not everyone will appreciate that approach of course but the ones that matter most will and surely that’s what counts. Treat people with respect and generally other people will treat you with respect. And if we could all treat each other with respect then the world would be a better place.

3. Actions speak louder than words

We are judged by what we do and not what we say. Anyone can talk a good game but not everyone can deliver real results and deliver them well. If you want to impress people then it is only your actions that will count. If you can do what you do well then you will be well on your way to achieving success.

4. Ask questions

Intelligent people ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask a question or to request a clarification about something. If something doesn’t sound quite right then don’t be afraid to challenge it. Ask questions and you’ll learn; fail to ask questions and a life of ignorance lies ahead of you. Only a fool would proceed in ignorance.

5. Look forward; never back

The past has gone and it is important only insofar as the lessons it has taught us and the memories it has given us. The future is where we will spend the rest of our lives. Therefore we should always be living in the present and looking to the future. And above all our focus should be on forging the future we really want. Live your life by looking through the windshield not the the rear-view mirror.

6. Create your own future

We can’t change the past but we can influence our future. We can have a vision of what we want to achieve and how we’d like it to be. We don’t have to accept what is given to us. We can go out and get the things we want. It takes hard work, as well as determination and discipline but it can be done. Create the future you really want and don’t just settle for anything that comes along.

7. Don’t be afraid to change direction if necessary

There will be times in your life when you head off in a particular direction only to find that it doesn’t turn out to be quite what you imagined it would be. There’s nothing wrong with that as you won’t always get it right. From time to time you will make mistakes or perhaps you’ll misjudge a situation. However once you realize something is not quite right for you then don’t be afraid to change direction.

Just take it on the chin, change direction and move on. Don’t worry about what others might think. They’ll think whatever they think but who cares? It’s your life not theirs. It’s only what you think that matters. If you’re not happy with a situation then it’s better to take action than to live a miserable existence because you’re worried about what others might think.

8. Face your fear and just do it

From time to time we all face challenges in our lives. They can often seem daunting and more than a little scary. However if life was always easy then we’d never grow as people. By facing up to a challenge we learn and we grow. That’s how we build our character. That’s how we toughen up. Yes we’ll make mistakes but it is better to have a go and fail than not have a go at all.

Face a challenge and achieve a result and we have done something of which we can be truly proud. Face a challenge and get an outcome we didn’t really want and at least we’ve learned a valuable lesson. That is how we build experience. And if nothing else we can be proud that at least we had a go.

Fear is the body’s way of warning us to proceed with caution. It’s natural to feel fear but courage is our ability to act despite feeling that fear. Have courage and face every challenge as it comes. However hard it might appear at first, you’ll be glad you did.

9. Look after your own well being

You can’t enjoy life to the full if you have health problems can you? So take care of yourself and look after your health. Eat sensibly, drink in moderation, get plenty of exercise and avoid things like tobacco and other recreational stimulants. You might think it doesn’t matter but it does. One puff on a cigarette won’t kill you but the effect of regular smoking will have a cumulative, detrimental effect on your health. You might think ‘you can handle drugs’ but that is the wisdom of a fool. Regular use of recreational drugs will affect you in time. It is only a matter of time. If you don’t look after yourself then no one else will.

10. Learn to manage your time effectively

Time is our most precious resource. We all have the same amount of time, 168 hours each week. It’s how we choose to use it that matters most. Just because someone wants a piece of our time, it doesn’t follow that we should just give it to them. Allocate your time very, very carefully.

If something doesn’t need to be done, don’t do it. If someone else can do it, let them do it. If it can wait, let it wait. And if it absolutely must be done now, get on with it.

It is all about your priorities and those actions where you and only you can add the most value. Identify those things that will allow you to be most effective and they will form the basis of your priorities.

11. Have fun; life’s too short

We all need to ensure that we take time out for ourselves occasionally. We all need a little ‘me’ time; time to recharge our batteries and relax. Work is important of course, as it gives us a sense of purpose in our lives. However it is essential that we have a little fun too.

Life is far too short to be constantly working. So having a hobby or pleasurable pursuit is a very good idea, as is spending some quality time with the people who matter most to you. Have some fun and make sure that you have it regularly.

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Self-promotion and why it matters

Self-promotionThe idea of self-promotion is something with which many readers will feel slightly uncomfortable.

Perhaps it leaves you feeling a slight sense of unease dear reader; the idea of ‘blowing your own trumpet’ and making sure that others know all about what you have to offer?

By self-promotion I am referring to personal visibility, particularly in the office or workplace.

Does personal visibility really matter that much, you may ask?

Well that depends on how you think about it really.

If you’re happy to plod along and just accept whatever life decides you should have then it probably doesn’t matter much at all.

However if success is your aim or if you want to enjoy more of what life can offer then personal visibility is essential.

How can you be a solution to my problem if I don’t know you exist? How can I possibly know what you have to offer unless I have some visibility of you in action? How can you establish a reputation if you hide your light under a bushel? If I don’t know you exist, then to me you don’t exist.

If you really want to succeed in life then you have to be seen and you must make an impression on people. That’s important, like it or not. People need a reason to remember you.

Ideally you want them to like and respect you. Even if people just love to hate you then that’s better than them being totally indifferent to you.

At least you will be known. You have to be visible. As the saying goes, ability without visibility is a liability.

The product ‘You’ will only sell if people are aware that it exists.

So self-promotion and personal public relations initiatives play an important role in building your reputation and creating demand for what you have to offer.

Humility is all very well but diffidence is at best unwise. You’ll never get anywhere unless you have visibility with people that matter.

Think about the most successful people; people such as Barack Obama, Nelson Mandela, Donald Trump, Richard Branson, Elvis Presley and John Lennon. Sadly the latter two are no longer with us. Nevertheless the examples are still valid.

They all make or made an impression on you.

You may not like them but you cannot or could not ignore them. They all have or had that special quality known as presence.

So make sure you get yourself noticed. Stand out in the crowd and give people a reason to remember you.

And remember this old Arab Proverb; “Be memorable, Be known”.

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Top 10 Tips for How to Manage Your Time

how to manage your timeIf only I had time!” is an expression I hear constantly.

People will say to me, “Oh I’d love to do that, if only I had the time.

However we all have exactly the same amount of time. We all have 168 hours each week and it all comes down to how we make best use of it. In other words, our priorities.

Time is our most precious resource, wouldn’t you agree dear reader? Yet far too many people don’t use their time as wisely as they should.

So here are my Top 10 tips for how to manage your time.

How to manage your time:

1. Be in control: Just because someone makes a demand on your time, it doesn’t mean that you have to agree to it. You are the captain of your own ship and you should always be in control. And you’re mindset should always be, “I am in control of my life and if anyone wants a piece of my time then they’ll need to provide me with a very good reason as to why I should agree to their request.”

2. Keep your life and your desk free of clutter: Dealing with clutter just stresses you out, so be ruthless and get rid of it. You cannot work efficiently at a desk which is full of clutter. And you will waste so much time looking for things you need. So clear your desk and get rid of anything in your life that will prevent you from managing your time as efficiently as possible.

3. Be organized: A place for everything and everything in its place. If everything is in its place then you’ll know where to find it should you need it. And that reduces clutter and makes for a better environment in which to work, be it in the workplace or your personal life.

4. Make lists: You need to plan your week and plan each day too. Write it all down so you won’t forget it. Having a weekly planner is a good idea. Knowing what needs to be achieved each week, allows you to identify ‘must do’ activities each day. At the end of each day make a list of what needs to be done the next day in order to achieve your objectives. And do not rest until your list has been completed each day.

5. Prioritize: Everything is urgent these days, so you have to identify those things that are important to you achieving your objectives. Those are then the activities on which you must focus. You should know your priorities and they are the things that will allow you to achieve your objectives and meet your deadlines.

6. Develop routines: Having a proper routine will allow you to get very efficient at what you do. For instance, rather than responding to emails as and when they arrive in your inbox, set aside two or three time windows each day when you will deal with email. That could be for exactly one hour at the beginning of each day; half an hour just before lunch and then say half an hour at the end of the day just before you leave your desk. Be very strict about these windows for dealing with email and don’t allow email to become a distraction at other times.

7. Set deadlines and stick to them: If you have a piece of work to complete, judge how long it will take, use that to set a deadline for completion and then focus on that work such that you complete it within your deadline.

8. Delegate whenever possible: You should only be doing those things which absolutely have to be done by you. If you are lucky enough to have people to whom you can delegate then make use of them as much as you possibly can.

9. Don’t procrastinate: Procrastination is the thief of time. If you have got something to do, then get on with it. Don’t mess around. The sooner you start the sooner you’ll finish.

10. Learn to say No: Master this skill and it is the biggest time saver of them all. Far too often we agree do something for someone else simply because we don’t like saying no. It may not even be our responsibility but we do it anyway rather than say no. Always be polite but it is perfectly reasonable to say, “I’d love to help you but I’m busy right now.

Master your time management skills:

Whilst this is not a comprehensive list, it’s a good basis on which to start improving your time management skills.

If you want to be successful then effective time management is an essential skill.

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9 tips for getting the most from your work

Getting the most from your workDo you feel valued by your employer? Now just think about that question for a second dear reader.

I’m sure you’re aware that companies are very good at circulating messages which include platitudes like, “Our employees are our most important asset. We value our employees.

However you have to ask yourself how many of them really mean it? The answer is few, if any, in my experience.

Now to be fair, many employers probably think they mean it at the time such messages are circulated to the workforce.

Staff in the Human Resources department may be genuine when they issue such statements. Nevertheless the reality is almost always quite different, however right on and trendy your employer tries to be.

Rarely are employees truly valued by their employers.

Most companies regard people as a commodity to be used when they’re useful and then discarded when they’re perceived to be no longer of use.

So what does this all mean for you?

Well for a start it means that you have to look after your own interests.

If you don’t look after your own interests then no one else will, that’s for sure. If you think someone, somewhere is thinking about your best interests then, with the exception of your parents, then that’s unlikely at best.

It’s all down to you to get the most from your job and your career.

You must decide what you want; you must decide where and how you can add the greatest value; you must decide what’s the next logical move for you, in pursuit of your goals; and you must decide on the timing of when it’s appropriate to move.

Occasionally you might get lucky and a great opportunity will fall straight into your lap. However that doesn’t happen often, if at all.

Remember that you are the captain of your own ship.

So you decide where it goes and you must steer it accordingly.

It would be a mistake to rely on others to plan your career, quite simply because they won’t and it would be naïve to think otherwise.

So today I offer you my 9 tips for getting the most from work.

Getting the most from your work1. Take a pragmatic view:

Now, reading this,  you might think that I have a jaundiced view of companies and corporate life.

Actually I don’t; this is simply a realistic and pragmatic view based on many years of experience.

Work is just doing stuff for other people in return for money.

If a company has stuff that needs doing then they are willing to pay good money to get it done.

However once that work’s been done, or is no longer required, then employers see no reason to retain people. Why would they? After all they’re in business to make money.

So be realistic and take a pragmatic view. That way you won’t be disappointed.

2. Recognise the psychological contract:

Let’s be fair, the company’s approach is no different than the one we’d take as individuals. If we need our house painting, we hire a painter and decorator. Our house gets painted and when the job’s been done we pay the painter for the work completed.

We don’t start worrying about the painter’s job satisfaction or career development. The psychological contract between us and the painter ends when the bill has been settled for the work completed. That’s the way it is. Simple.

So why should we expect our employers to be any different?

Companies are not charities or job creation schemes. Commercial companies have to make a profit, if they’re to grow and survive, and costs have an impact on profit, obviously.

The psychological contract we have with our employer is one where we do stuff for them and then we’re paid for our efforts at the end of each month. We’re the hired help and once we’ve been paid that’s where the psychological contract ends as far as our employer is concerned.

Your employer will not spend his or her time worrying about your aspirations or your dreams. Once again, it would be naïve to think otherwise.

3. Accept commercial reality:

Commercial reality whether we like it not is that all companies exist to make money for their owners. It’s that simple. Why would anyone start a company for any other reason?

So if you think that your loyalty will be appreciated by the average employer then I think you’re either mistaken or deluded.

Employers will take everything you give and a bit more besides, but once you’re no longer required they will be as ruthless as they have to be.

If they weren’t able to be ruthless when necessary then that could put the whole company and the jobs of everyone involved at risk. So there’s a good business reason for the way companies tend to operate.

Furthermore we don’t spend our money unnecessarily, so why should we expect a company to be any different?

From time to time you’ll meet leaders of real stature and class who will treat you very well. However they’re the exception rather than the rule.

Most senior executives are driven only by self-interest. Once you’re no longer of use, they will be as ruthless as they have to be. That’s the way the world works, so don’t expect it to be any different for you.

4. Don’t expect loyalty to be reciprocated:

The point I’m making is that you must be ruthless too. You must look after your own interests, constantly.

It’s perfectly reasonable for you to be working with your own agenda in mind. Deliver the results for which you’re being paid of course but always with one eye on your own best interests.

In any job you should make sure that you know what you’re meant to be doing and what you’re meant to be delivering.

What you’re delivering must add value. You should know what that value is and you should be confident that it’s not something that can be done by a machine. If it is, then the chances are that one day it will be and you will be out of a job.

Never do anything out of a misplaced sense of loyalty because that loyalty is unlikely to be reciprocated. At work you have to be very business-like in everything you do.

The name of the game from your standpoint is to earn a living. If it’s not obvious to you what your contribution is meant to be then you should start to worry. If you cannot explain what you’re meant to be doing in a couple of lines then it’s time to move on.

If you don’t know what you’re meant to be doing then the chances are that your boss is wondering too. And once your boss starts to question your role then there is a risk that it won’t be too long before your job is eliminated in a future cost-saving exercise.

5. Look after your own interests:

Remember this: No one owes you anything.

Life is what you make it. As I said earlier, you’re the captain of your own ship. You should be steering that ship in a direction that suits you and your ambitions. Steer the good ship ‘Me’ in the direction you wish to go and not in the direction someone else wants you to go.

You should be working to your own agenda and within the framework of your own plans.

If you think your employer has plans for you then you’re fooling yourself.

You will only figure in your employers plans for as long as it makes good business-sense for them to include you in those plans.

If they can’t see how you’ll add value to their plans then a parting of the ways might not be far away.

6. Take every opportunity to develop your experience:

You may make mistakes occasionally and you may do things for employers which for whatever reason come back to bite you. If you do, don’t worry. Just learn any lessons from the experience and move on.

Lessons learned are far more valuable to you than anything someone else can tell you. That commodity based on life’s lessons is known as experience and it’s a very valuable commodity indeed.

Take every opportunity to broaden your experience and grow. Work harder on yourself than you do on your job. The more you have to offer the more employable you’ll be and the greater will be your financial rewards.

7. Have realistic expectations:

Never expect loyalty from your employer and you won’t be disappointed.

You’re not indispensable and neither is anyone else.

If you weren’t around then someone else would be hired quickly and the business would move on. And in all probability you’ll soon be forgotten.

The chances are that someone else will take the credit for any significant contribution you’ve made but you’ll probably take the blame for everything that’s wrong, including things in which you had no involvement at all.

That’s life, unfortunately.

8. Work to you own agenda:

If you look after your own interests then your achievements will be all yours and you’ll be on the road to success.

You have to carve out the success you want; no one else will do it for you.

Add real value to your employer for as long as you can or for as long as it makes sense within your own plans for you to do so and then it’s time to move on to the next opportunity.

Don’t get overly sentimental; you’ve got to be as ruthless with your employer as they would be with you. It’s perfectly reasonable to work to your own agenda, and that’s exactly what successful people do.

9. Keep reading; keep learning:

Never underestimate the value of reading and continual learning.

The more you read, the more you learn and the more you learn the greater will be your value.

Read one good book related to your work or personal development each week and over a year that’s the equivalent of a PhD’s worth of knowledge gained.

Increase your knowledge by that amount every year and you’ll be light years ahead of your colleagues.

Increase your value and you increase your ability to earn more. And what’s not to like about that?

So what are your views?

Now I’d be interested to hear what you think dear reader. I’d love it if you could share your own experiences with other readers.

If you’d like to add your own views about the world of work then please feel free to add your comments below.

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How to sell anything to anybody

Selling is a subject that often gets a bad name. Some people even look down on those who choose make their living by selling.

However we’re all trying to sell something all of the time. Even if it’s just the skills we have or a service we can provide, if we’re to make a living then we must sell something, wouldn’t you agree dear reader?

Learning the art of successful selling is actually very important and everyone should seek to improve their selling skills, if only to ensure that they can sell themselves effectively.

Selling is a process and by learning a few simple techniques you can improve your ability to sell.

So what are these techniques?

1. Know your product:

Ultimately, it’s all about the product.

If you want to sell anything successfully then you need to know your product really well and you need to believe in your product too.

That product has to be something that you would buy yourself.

You need to know the product in detail, all the features and all the benefits; all the advantages and all the disadvantages.

Then you need to know all about your competitors’ products that your customers could buy as an alternative to your own.

This is important if you are to position your product against that of the competition and to counter any reasons given by your customer as to why they might be reluctant to buy.

You really do need to be able to talk about your product favourably relative to any other options your customer may have.

2. Know the problem your product solves:

Ultimately, every product must solve a problem for the customer. A product must make the customer’s life easier in some way.

If a product doesn’t solve a problem for the target customer, why would they buy it? Why would any customer part with good money unless the product made their life easier?

So it’s simple really. You must have a good understanding of the problem or problems for which your product can be an excellent solution.

And you must be able to explain this is simple, straightforward language.

How to sell anything to anybody3. Capture buying intent:

Cold-calling is the most inefficient and soul-destroying sales approach there could possibly be. Phoning or door-stepping people and saying, “Want to buy this?” will have a very low success rate.

The key to successful selling is capturing warm sales leads. In other words, you must capture buying intent.

If a customer walks into a shirt shop then you know they’re looking for a shirt and therefore you have a very good chance of selling them one.

So find ways to engage people who are actively looking for something like the product which you are selling.

To do this you’ll need to ensure that your customers and potential customers have visibility of your product.

You must raise awareness of the product, as well the features and benefits and the value it offers. You must create desirability too.

4. Know the customer’s needs:

Your product should have a target customer. You must know the sort of person for whom the product offers a solution.

In other words, you must know who the product is aimed at and what their needs are likely to be.

To understand the customer’s needs you may need to ask some questions first.

For instance, using the shirt selling example again, a customer may be looking for something to wear for a formal occasion or perhaps they’re looking for something more casual. You want to ensure that the shirt you sell them is right for their needs.

So you must identify the ways in which your product will satisfy the customer’s needs because, if you make a sale, you want the customer to feel they’ve got exactly what they wanted.

You want to ensure that they get a good buying experience. You certainly don’t want them to feel like they’ve been cheated in some way.

5. Sell the benefits:

You don’t sell the product to the customer, you sell the benefits.

In what ways will your product improve the customer’s life? In what ways will your product potentially be an answer to the customer’s prayers?

In what ways does your product offer good value for money?

You don’t have to be the cheapest on the market but you do need to be able to convince a customer that it makes sense to buy your product rather than going for the cheapest.

A customer won’t part with good money unless they believe your product will add value to them in some way.

6. Know why your product is their best option:

Now dear reader, if you’re in business, I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that it’s a highly competitive world out there.

Put simply, today’s customers have plenty of options.

You must be able to convince a customer on why your product is their best option.

If you’ve got a good story to tell about your product then you can stimulate the customer’s interest.

And once you’ve got the customer interested then you can gently apply pressure to close the sale.

And don’t be shy when it comes to applying pressure gradually.

Business is business and if you don’t close the sale you can be sure that someone else will.

There’s an art to knowing how much pressure to apply of course.

You shouldn’t push too hard because that can result in a negative reaction from the customer.

It can also leave customers feeling like they’ve been sold something they didn’t really need.

If that happens, you’ve made a sale but lost a customer. That’s counter-productive.

The last thing you want is an unhappy customer because they’re likely to tell a lot of people about a bad experience.

Bad publicity and customers bad-mouthing you can really hurt your business if you’re not careful, needless to say I’m sure.

 Conclusion:

No business or individual can succeed without making sales.

If it’s your job to sell then you really have got to sell. And if you don’t sell, you’ve failed. Simple!

If you don’t make sales and meet your targets, then the result is likely to be that you’ll lose your job very quickly.

Business can be an unforgiving environment, as I’m sure you’re only too well aware dear reader.

No company can afford the luxury of having people on the payroll who don’t deliver the results for which they are paid.

And let’s face it, we’re all paid to deliver results.

In order to sell, the question to which you must have a very good answer is, “Why should the customer buy my product?

If you’ve got a good answer and you’ve targeted the right customer then you’ve got a good chance of making a sale.

You also want to be confident that you can leave the customer feeling that in exchange for the money they’ve spent, they’ve received good value and a good buying experience.

So learn the art of successful selling. It will pay you a handsome dividend.

Further reading:

Now there are plenty of good books and excellent authors on the subject of selling.

Here are some I really like and which I’ve found very useful for improving my own sales skills. I recommend that you read them dear reader:-

The Psychology of Selling: The Art of Closing Sales – By Brian Tracy
The Art of Closing the Sale – By Brian Tracy
How to Master the Art of Selling – by Tom Hopkins

All of these books are available on Amazon and you can check them out further by clicking on the links.

DISCLOSURE: Please be aware that there are Amazon affiliate links in this post. So should you make a purchase via one of my links then I will receive a small commission from Amazon. There will be no extra charge to you as the purchaser. These commissions serve only to pay for the upkeep of this website. Your understanding is appreciated. Thank you.

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Brian Tracy: Habits of Success

Habits of SuccessIf you want to be successful, then you must develop good habits. That’s a reasonable statement, don’t you think dear reader?

However what habits should they be? That’s not quite so easy to answer, I hear you say.

Well fear not in the video included here Brian Tracy presents some interesting ideas on the habits of success.

I admire Brian Tracy and I listen to his audio programs in my car all the time.

In my opinion, Brian Tracy is always excellent and always full of wise words and good advice.

And I can tell you that this video is well worth your time.

So let Brian tell you more about habits which he believes are consistent with achieving success. Take a few minutes out of your schedule because you will find it well worth a little piece of your time.

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Why you must spend some time learning the art of negotiation

Learning the Art of NegotiationYou have to ask for money because there’s always more money and they won’t give it to you because you’re a girl. ~Claire Danes

A new year is often a time when people decide that it’s the right time to change jobs. For whatever reason they decide it’s time to move on.

That’s fair enough; if you’re not enjoying doing whatever you’re doing or you no longer feel challenged by whatever you’re doing then it’s important to find something that really does get you feeling energised again.

However whilst finding a new job is one thing, getting fair recompense for the value you will add is quite another.

As a hiring manager I’ve always been amazed by how many people settled for the first figure offered to them. It’s surprising just how many people have little or no sense of their own worth relative to their skill-set and the real market value of jobs.

Now it’s important to remember that hiring managers work within budgets obviously and they have a duty to their employers to keep costs as low as possible.

When hiring managers are recruiting they’ll know the market rate for the job on offer, or at least the HR department will and they will have advised the hiring manager accordingly.

Nevertheless dear reader you must recognise that the market rate for any job is not a single figure. The market rate falls within a range and it’s the range that will have been supplied by the HR department.

So when the hiring manager decides that you’re the person they want to hire then in negotiating a package with you they will have that range in mind.

Naturally they’ll want to minimise the impact on their budget and so they will attempt to recruit you at the lower end of that range if that’s possible.

Yes, they’ll recognise that they have to offer you a premium on your current salary if it’s to make sense for you to leave your current employer. After all you’re always taking a degree of risk when you change jobs. And so a risk premium must be paid by the hiring manager.

That premium typically will be an uplift of around 10% – 20% above your current salary.

Beyond that, for the hiring manager, it’s all about securing your services for the lowest rate possible within the market rate range. And from a business standpoint that’s fair enough.

It’s the nature of business after all. If fact in our daily lives we’re all trying to purchase products and services for the lowest rate possible; so why should we expect businesses to be any different?

However as a jobseeker, you should be trying to sell your services for the highest price possible. That too is fair game. You must always look after your own interests because if you don’t then no one else will, that’s for sure.

Think about it. In selling products and services, businesses are trying to sell at the highest price the market will stand so they can generate the highest margins possible for their shareholders.

So why shouldn’t you get the best deal possible for yourself, relative to what the market will stand? You must know your own value and you shouldn’t just accept the first figure on offer.

Essentially it’s all a game of horse-trading. The company almost always makes a low offer, so you must try to negotiate a better offer.

To do that, before going into any negotiation, it’s important that you have some idea of the market rate for the role.

That means you need to have done some research to establish the likely range the hiring manager will be working within.

You also need to have a sales pitch available so you can highlight your own unique selling proposition and why you are worth a bit more.

The key message here is that you don’t just accept the first offer.

In today’s quote, originally recorded in the British newspaper the Financial Times, actress Claire Danes reminds us that there will be more money available and if you ask for more you might just surprise yourself.

In making this observation, modestly Ms Danes said that this was what she had learned from older actresses.

It’s a useful tip for every jobseeker, female or male.

Never be afraid to negotiate and when you leave the table make sure you’re taking away as much as you can within reason.

Once again I cannot emphasise this point too much. You must know your own worth, always.

Don’t be bashful; be business-like and make sure you get a fair share of the pie.

As I said earlier, if you don’t look after your own interests, no one else will.

In the year ahead I recommend that you spend some time learning the art of negotiation. It really is a very useful skill to develop.

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Habits of Success

Habits of successHave you ever wondered why some people are successful and others are not?

In this video Brian Tracy provides some useful advice on the habits you will need to develop if you really do want to be successful.

As always Brian provides us with some great insight into how successful people behave and the structured way in which they work towards turning their goals into achievements.

Whether you’re a fan of Brian Tracy or you just want to be successful, this video is well worth a few minutes of your time.

Watch and learn.

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Why your time is valuable

Time is valuableDo you want to make money from Facebook? It’s easy. Just go to your Account Setting; deactivate your account; and go to work! ~Author Unknown

Dear reader, if you’re not currently successful, would you like to be?

Many readers will answer in the affirmative of course but then they don’t quite know how to realise their dreams. You may be one of them, perhaps?

Well today I offer you one tip that will be useful to you whatever it is you’d really like to do with your life.

If you’re not sure how to become successful then start by looking closely at successful people and you’ll find at least a few clues there.

However allow me to offer you one of those clues now. And that is that if there’s one thing all successful and wealthy people have in common it is that they don’t waste their time.

They know that time is a precious and limited resource and they recognise that they must use it wisely. And in using it wisely they avoid ‘time sucks’.

The biggest time wasters by far are television and social media. People waste hours of their time on both, particularly on social media nowadays.

Now don’t get me wrong, social media can be a very useful tool as a vehicle for communication both professionally and with friends and family.

However it can also be a distraction. And if it’s a distraction then it might just limit your earning power.

Social media really is just a tool. It might be a useful tool but it’s still just a tool.

Use it by all means but be disciplined in your use of social media.

Your time is precious and, if you want to be successful and make serious money, then you need to use your time wisely. That is today’s underlying message.

Spending your time on social media might be entertaining and informative but it’s unlikely to be profitable.

You can spend your time on social media or you can work hard, with a sense of purpose, on realising your goals and your dreams. The choice is yours; and the consequences will be too.

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