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Crossroads Business Development Inc. | Meridian, ID

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Jim Stephens

When we talk about Transactional Analysis (TA) in our classes, we focus primarily on the ego states of the Parent and the Adult. The Parent is split between the Nurturing Parent and the Critical Parent. The Nurturing Parent is the instinct to empathize without indulgence and offer solutions, to help someone feel heard and validate their experience. The Critical is the instinctive habit of providing unsolicited advice out of the present. Statements such as, “You should do this…You should have done that…What were you thinking?”

When we are engaging in conversation we rotate between ego states, typically triggered by the nature of our relationship with the other and the content of the conversation. When it comes to your constituents, your prospects, or your family, what is your predominant ego state? Read my blog on a quick synopsis of TA and let me know where you see yourself and whether that serves you well.

What derails your meetings? Often when I talk to managers or owners one of the road blocks to successful growth is building a management team within a large organization that is competent and productive. Competencies grow, but productivity is determined at the onset of the conversation.

The technique to ensure a sales discussion goes positively is the same technique that can drive a successful meeting with your constituents. If you find yourself typically trapped in meetings that end up unproductive, feeling anxious about your next team meeting, or concerned that your meetings are liable to end up with no clear objective, you may find value in reading up on our up-front contract, how you can use it, and what it can do for you.

If you have questions on how you can use this tool in your organization give me a call or send me a reply and I’d be happy to go over it with you.

When we’re feeling deprived of admiration or acknowledgment, we typically find ways to manifest the answer to this need. Business is not the place to get needs met, but without a clear view of what our reactions look like, we don’t have a solid way to measure what we need.

The importance of our own needs, however, pales in comparison to those of our constituents and clients. When it comes to winning an account, inspiring a team, or building a permanent relationship; it requires us to help them get their needs met so we can avoid games being played and share the joy of results and revenue. Remember: people won’t remember what you say, they remember how you made them feel.

Read up on my blog on the types of strikes, the difference ways to express them, and the stroke counter, which when low, can often lead to games being played. 

Turnover is a serious issue with unemployment rate so low. Too often we lose focus on retention of employees when we’re having perpetual issues with hiring and do not look for solutions in hopes of finding the right employee.

A well-established company has an onboarding and offboarding process that ensures we learn lessons from the employees we let go and set everyone who joins our organization up for a successful venture. If you currently have issues with hiring, letting go, or retaining employees I encourage you to read my blog on five strategies to ensure your next hire is a fit and your next termination has a built-in system to learn from the relationship.

If you were independently wealthy and did not need the business of others then when it came to building business relationships, how would you act? Likely, you’d spend a lot of time qualifying the relationship. You’d give yourself permission to ask questions to discover whether you were exploring an ideal fit or if there were warning signs that the engagement might fall well short of the ideal.

Every day I profess some version of this to myself in an affirmation. I am independently wealthy, and I don’t need the business. Understand, though, that the thing which I am outlying to affirm for myself is the very language that sabotages my efforts when qualifying a relationship. To profess is to carry the chance of insincerity and to use a negative statement is to remind my brain that the opposite might likely be true. Which is that I may in fact need the business. So how do we break out of this double bind and use language to affirm beliefs?

Read my article this week on the value of believing vs. affirming and better strategies to know what is valuable for you and your business.

We’re programmed to buy in a certain way and we’re programmed to sell in a certain way. Sellers qualify based on the ability to use a good, rather than any actual qualification. Are you qualified to get your carpets cleans? The question is, do you have a home or carpets? People who are technically qualified get pushed into a state where they’re looking at solutions.

Salespeople are problem-solvers and fixers who want to present their goods as opposed to investigate the ability for a buyer to want or use these goods. Buyers naturally gain an advantage in this area in that they begin getting really good information on solutions and ideas to solve their issue with free information. The salesperson is doing this to get their needs met and to feel optimistic about their job but are being trapped into doing unpaid consulting which is engaged with no commitment by the buyer. Often times, sellers don’t realize they create unequal business stature and are willing to be abused in hopes that they are chosen at the end of an engagement.

Most people underestimate the power of first impressions. We often don’t think of who we might bump into or what role that person you just met could have in your future. If you knew that you were meeting someone who was going to loan you a quarter of a million dollars or invest in your firm, what extra preparations would you make to insure that you don’t blow the opportunity?

Managers are given the opportunity to lead, supervise, mentor, and motivate others, and their ability to do so makes a huge impact on our company’s overall success. But, typically we find that first-time managers are often thrown into their new role with little to no management training.

This can lead to poor management, high turnover rates, workplace stress, and declines in employee productivity. No one sets out to be a poor manager. In fact, many managers may not even realize they are doing anything wrong. When we recognize it, though, we need to act quickly and decisively to determine whether or not we want to help build success or look for a new individual for the role.

Sandler’s strategic management training for developing manager’s is a great bi-monthly class that I host to help organizations develop their management teams—however, if you’re interested in the twelve signs that your new managers may need training read this.

Most of us are good listeners, the people we talk to just never know it. They don’t know it because we don’t engage in a proactive manner which ensures they feel heard. Often when conflict arises, we try to listen, but because the individual we engage doesn’t feel heard, their defensive gates remain firmly shut and we can’t find resolution.

Typically, defensive gates to communication are brought up out of response to a situation similar out of the past. It is a preprogrammed reaction against a historical precedent that we have to fight against. To do this we have to illustrate and explain how the present and ourselves are significantly different from the past and past experience.

So how do we make sure that the other party knows that we are not only listening, but that we understand what they are saying? When breaking down communication there are a few key strategies which will help your counterpart feel heard and ensure you can get to a resolution, read more on how to be heard and help others feel heard.

When I was rejected for a job at McDonald’s I faced an existential crisis over the fact that I was unemployed and likely unemployable. I went from being a handy-man to a painter and out of that built a construction business. Somewhere down the line, with 40 employees, I realized I had no idea what I was doing. I spent most of my time firefighting and being over-protective of my business to the point that I believed I was the only one who could solve the problems of my business.

Upon this discovery I set out on a series of goal setting determining where I wanted my life to go. I wanted to expand and grow my business and I wanted to spend time getting to know my children and being a part of my own family. These goals were at odds, as I was spending more than 80 hours a week working and getting to know my children’s most comfortable sleeping positions.

When my oldest son was 9 and my oldest daughter was 14, I have very little recollections about their experiences over the next four years. I had built so many commitments to clients and prospects that I neglected my commitments to my family. I needed help and bought a Sandler franchise to get training by the promise that, while I could not guarantee a monetary return in a month, I could get control over my schedule and see my family. If you’re interested in some of my story read my transparent blog on the actions I took to take ownership of my life.