We’ve all heard the rhetoric: “Do this and this and this and you’ll be successful.” Over the years, my observations in the field of high performing business professionals has led me to discover seven bad habits that characterize the real losers.
Sure we can all fall into some of these traps from time to time. Successful business professionals recognize their shortcomings and make the appropriate changes necessary to get back on the right track.
Below are seven bad habits that you need to make sure you are not doing.
I know you’re cringing as you read this. Most people procrastinate at one time or another. The question is, can you eliminate or minimize the number of times that you procrastinate?
In life, we are either moving towards something or away from something. We are either trying to make something happen or keep something from happening. We tend to procrastinate because we don’t want a possible negative result of a particular activity.
We don’t call that prospect back because we don’t want to be rejected. We think, “If we don’t tackle the project, we can’t fail.” Procrastination is simply a manifestation of the fear of failure.
Additionally, procrastination can come from poor time management. We tackle the easy tasks on our to-do list first rather than doing the most important items. The end of the day arrives and we still haven’t completed those tasks that really have the opportunity to produce bottom line results.
At the beginning of the day, take five minutes and determine what three to five things must happen today for your time to be well spent, and for you to be happy with the way your day went. Then, do those items first!
2. Sell At Low Margins Just To Get The Business
We’ve all run into the client that negotiates like Attila the Hun. They simply, “don’t pay full price.” Maybe you don’t want to pass up the business, or maybe you just can’t stand the thought of your competition beating you out and getting the order, but we all run into tough customers at some time.
If you lose money on the sale you can’t make it up on volume! Remember, you have costs associated with every transaction. Your time, your assistant’s time, company resources, equipment, manufacturing capacity, and other overhead must be considered in your costs.
Determine in advance what is the lowest possible margin you can work on. Don’t get sucked into the emotion of the moment. When faced with an opportunity that goes below your predetermined minimum margin, either come up with a creative way to up the margin, or pass on the business.
Remember, when you pass on this low margin job and your competition takes it, they will not be in a position to take the next big job that comes along and it will be yours!
3. Don’t Make Time For Strategic Planning
I’ve had clients come to me for mentoring that say, “Basically, I’m doing just as much business as I did five years ago. What am I doing wrong?”
My first thought is to investigate the amount of time that they spend each year strategically planning.
If you don’t spend time planning your assault on success, then it’s highly unlikely that you will ever improve your current situation. Growth rarely happens by chance. Advancement comes as a result of a planned campaign.
Each month you should set aside a specific amount of time for strategic planning. Additionally, each year I recommend my clients plan a strategic retreat, or join one of mine. You would be amazed at what two days of intense strategic planning will do for your yearly achievement.
On a weekly basis, take thirty minutes and evaluate your monthly progress. Don’t let a complete month go by without results. Before you know it, three months have gone by and you still haven’t improved your situation.
Strategically plan on a yearly basis. Adjust and modify those plans on a monthly basis. Then, monitor your progress on a weekly basis.
4. Try To Be Everything To Everyone
This is the bane of most business professionals that I see wallowing in the mire. They want to sell everyone. They want to provide all possible products. They must offer everything in every color imaginable.
If you have heart problems, do you go and see a general practitioner? Not me! I want to see a specialist.
I saw flashing lights recently. My eye doctor sent me to a retina specialist. I felt much more confident that the specialist’s opinion was accurate, and that he could do what was necessary to solve my problem. I didn’t want just anyone using a laser on my eye.
Your clients are the same way. If you try and promote yourself to be knowledgeable in everything, then they will probably see you as an expert in nothing.
For those of you who have been long time subscribers of this newsletter, you know I am passionate about focus. In particular, you must be laser like focused on the value that you deliver, and who you deliver that value to.
It is difficult to commit to focusing. It can mean the possible loss of not selling those other products, services, or clients.
What you are not able to calculate is exactly how much your business will grow because you are focused on specific markets, and your clients trust you more and give you more business, and then your referral rate goes up.
Your closing rate will also increase, as prospective clients will be more comfortable doing business with you, the expert.
After you learn how to focus your thinking, it is time to then create a memorable marketing message that specifically states the value you deliver, and who you deliver that value to. You will be a more effective marketer, and your clients will use this same simple statement to market to others on your behalf.
Part II to follow.