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Speak With Influence

Microphone-on-Stage

“A confused mind says no but a clear mind says go.” Craig Valentine

I remember my very first speech when I had newly arrived in the United State. I had arrived at a new job and stood in front of a group of successful sales people. I was asked to introduce myself and remembered every second of the 3 minutes as if it were three hours. I had never done this before and had no idea where to begin. My mind was so full of information, thinking all of it was important to share that I truly didn’t know where to begin. I ended up providing too much information and felt I hadn’t introduced myself or really shared who I was. It was clear the audience was confused to the point of asking a lot of follow up questions to get clarification. Needless to say, I was very embarrassed and frustrated. It would have been easy to share that English wasn’t my first language, but that would have been an excuse that would have hurt me the most. Instead, I made the choice that this was a “Golden Opportunity” to improve connection with others and communicate with influence.

If you are planning to launch into any of these areas or currently are a public speaker, in sales, feel you need to increase on making an impact in meetings, presentations or interviews, read on, as this can benefit you. In the next three minutes you are about to learn some basic fundamental skills about the Power of Speaking with Influence.

By the way, just to finish my story, 15 years after that defining moment, I now have the honor to coach and mentor thousands of professionals and have been invited to speak with highly influential people throughout the world. I am fortunate to work with talented sales teams in offices regionally, as a sales manager and executive coach, speaker and advisor. This brings me great pleasure as I continue to develop and define my efforts as a sales manager, executive coach and speaker.

5 Fundamentals to Speak With Influence:

  1. Tell Your Story – You create an invaluable connection when your audience feels your emotion and can relate to your story through similar experiences, whether it’s a challenge, opportunity, or growth. Let your story lead to their

“Connecting with the audience isn’t just a skill, it’s an art.” Farshad Asl

  1. Make Your Point – While you share your story, make clear strong points that frame what you’re telling your audience. Your audience will remember you through the story you tell because of the “Golden Nuggets” shared.

Golden Nuggets = The Value Added to the audience

  1. Use Emotion – As you take your audience through the journey of your story, help them to feel the emotion. Use humor to soften and help illustrate the challenges, ending with a powerful lesson and a positive end to the story. Leave people with a feeling of optimism and eagerness to go forward with their journey. Uncover emotional moments within your story that keep the audience engaged and interested.
  1. Visual Goes Before Verbal – You’ve heard the phrase “A picture is worth a thousand words”. It’s so true! Use visual aids but keep them simple.   If you are speaking about “Dreams”, show a “mission statement”, “dream board” or a symbolic picture. If you are speaking about “Increasing Sales” show them your “Why”.
  1. Close with a “Call to Action” – Speaking with influence requires you to conclude your speech with a “Call to Action”.  This is often overlooked yet so critical to everything you’ve said up to this point. Make it clear and simple, customized to each audience. Include a strong invitation to have your audience act upon it. Focus on clear results with a sense of urgency to act NOW.

Additional examples might include:

  • adopt a new business process
  • increase month-end sales
  • sponsorship and event
  • attend a sales meeting or workshop
  • donations or funding for research
  • join a club or organization

It’s important to stop in our busy lives and remember that God has a plan for each of us. We all have an individual purpose to be our best in his great plan. There will be set-backs that occur from time-to-time. Do not let them get in the way of your talents and gifts that have been given to you.

Most important, never lose hope and never give up! You have a unique story to tell to the world.

http://www.linkedin.com/in/farshadasl

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How Can You Become A Better Leader?

leadership

“Leadership is influence, nothing more…nothing less.”

~John C. Maxwell

 

My journey with leadership began about 20 years ago. During the last four, I was fortunate to be mentored by Dr. John C. Maxwell, the #1 leadership coach in the world. From his teachings I have made considerable progress which I’d like to share with you.

But first, let me ask you this question. Have you ever worked with a leader who holds you back? Or that you feel your growth is limited, perhaps lacked opportunity or felt you’ve gone un-noticed? Maybe you and your manager don’t have the same vision and this slows down or stops your progress? It isn’t that your manager is a bad person or has it out for you, it’s more likely that they are comfortable in their leadership and lack the effectiveness. We refer to them as “leaders with low lids”.

Let me explain how this works. If you’re a leader who has become comfortable with “what works” you have limited yourself and everyone you influence with a low lid. This goes along with not having any interest or idea how to lift the lid. It leaves the team feeling frustrated. I’ve experienced this scenario in the past and know the feeling. Instead of quitting, I made the choice to learn from the experience and provide effective leadership to the people I coach and influence. Here are the three lessons that I’ve applied to my leadership skills.

  1. As a leader, I strive to become a “Lid Lifter” for others and invite open communication, respect and coaching.
  2. I never want to be a person comfortable with a “low lid” and hold others back. Instead, I learned to be that “lid lifter ” for the team and everyone I work with.
  3. And finally, in “lifting the lid”, it’s a choice that doesn’t happen by accident. It takes discipline, self-awareness and dedication.

I have deliberately created a “growth” environment surrounded with positive people and daily accountability. I decided to challenge and grow myself working with some of the best people in the world. It begins with understanding your level of effectiveness and what you can do to develop it further. This is explained by Dr. John Maxwell who teaches the fundamentals of “Becoming a Better Leader”, with understanding.

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Understand the “Law of the Lid”

One’s leadership ability is determined by a person’s level of effectiveness. The lower an individual’s ability is to lead, the lower the lid. The greater the desire to influence through leadership, the greater the effectiveness and ability to increase growth and direction. The issue is not that you have a “lid”, but instead, what are going to do to lift it? You cannot lift the lid on your own, it’s based on the personal and organizational effectiveness of the leader.

Understand the “Law of Influence”

The true measure of leadership is through influence. Without it, it’s difficult to lead others. Watch out for negativity and maintain a positive influence. Leaders have the choice to create a winning environment. Remember, it’s the level of influence and not the challenge that determines our ability to accomplish the end result.

If you want to impact your community, country or the world, you must start at home with yourself and your family.

Understand the “Law of Process”

The secret to success is found in our daily plan. Leadership development occurs daily and not in a day. Growth as a leader takes a lifetime. The plan requires patience and the ability to develop and improve your skills. The process is part of our daily habit to build a strong leadership foundation.

Understand the “Law of Faith”

Get to know God’s plans and perspective in your life. Return to the fundamentals and your purpose becomes clearer as a leader.

The Bible is one of the most powerful leadership books ever written and has some great passages to include in your process of becoming a better leader.

Proverbs 16:9 – A man’s heart devises his way: but the LORD directs his steps.

Psalm 78:72 (NIV)

And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.

Proverbs 11:14 (NIV)

For lack of guidance a nation falls, but many advisers make victory sure.

Romans 12:8 (NIV)

If it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

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The Advantage of Adversity

Challanges

“Adversity causes some men to break; others to break records.”

-William Arthur Ward

It was a couple of days before Christmas, and I was driving to one of the offices when I received a call from my doctor insisting I see her right away. A couple weeks prior, I had a very small bump removed from my thigh as part of a routine check-up. I’d had this small growth for some time and didn’t think anything of it. Despite the doctor’s insistence, my reaction was to put her off, not taking her request seriously. I was focused on getting to the branch and reminded her that I was very busy going so far as to suggest seeing her next year. Against my better judgment, I drove to her office.

Adversity can signal a coming positive transition IF we respond correctly to it.”

I was told that the small bump I’d ignored for so long was cancerous and could have possibly spread throughout my body. To make matters worse, I couldn’t see an oncologist until after the holidays and New Year’s. I felt like everything had come to a complete stop and was sitting in a void without sound or feeling. This was the first time I’d heard of anyone in my family having cancer, let alone where to begin or how to deal with it. I had been so focused on work and now it was the last thing I could think about.

“You need to know yourself to grow yourself”

Saying I was overwhelmed with the situation was an understatement. All I could do was worry and reflect on life. I wondered if I had told my wife and daughters often enough or how much I loved them. Had I told my team members at work how much they meant to me and that I valued working with them? I also realized that a tremendous shift was occurring within me. I began to realize that I’d been too busy to think about my life. My entire focus had been on others and work. Now the paradigm was shifting and a new perspective was unfolding.

“I feel God wanted me to reflect for the two weeks before finding an oncologist. It was much more than removing cancer, it was an important life changing opportunity as well.” 

What once seemed important didn’t matter anymore. Previously being busy at work had changed to being efficient. Communication had transitioned to connecting with people. I realized that striving for quality time and not quantity, was the best time spent with my family. It became crystal clear that spending time being busy with others was empty and now wanted the time to create memories. I was taking a stern look at how I had placed a lot of value on success. That too had changed with my need to live a life of significance.

“There are seasons in a leader’s life when adversity, failure and hardships seem to be the only thing we encounter. It may feel like we can’t catch a break.”  

Fortunately, I had the cancer removed and learned it had not spread throughout my body. From this experience, I had a profound life change.

I’ve learned to think of challenges not as being bad or a setback, but as an opportunity to grow and take action. For some, challenge is a roadblock and an easy way to give up. Challenges are part of our everyday life, some greater than others.

Lessons Learned From Adversity:

When you encounter adversity, take a step back, assess the situation and determine best next steps.

Remember why you started on the path in the first place.

Overall, “Adversity writes our story and if our response is right, the story will be good.

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Leadership Lessons from 9/11

Leadership Lessons from 9/11

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The fight or flight instinct is one of our most basic survival tools. Everyone was running on 9/11. Most ran away from trouble. The heroes ran toward it. And the leaders helped others run in the most appropriate direction.

What does 9/11 teach us about leadership? I’ve found five compelling things:

1) Servant Leadership: The incredible selfless courage of first group of those responders to this unforgettable tragedy. They rushed into the twin towers even they knew they were risking their own lives.

2) Leaders must be willing to make sacrifices: They risked their lives in order to save the lives of others.

3) Leaders inspire by ACTION: Their noble acts commanded the admiration of the nation.

4) Great leaders put the needs of others first.

5) Leaders face unknown crises: Leaders lead by example in any circumstances. They clearly understand their core values and make the right decision based…

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Don’t Quit – Just Do It!

time

So often we find ourselves excited about the prospect of starting something new. Human nature requires that we break large task down to a manageable size with the tendency is to avoid being overwhelmed and limiting our success.
Let’s see if this applies to you? We’ve created a short questionnaire to assess how effectively you manage your time. Take a moment to answer the 18 questions below. Add up the points to see if you score 5 or higher, indicating how well you utilize your time. If you score 4 or below, you might review how you’re approaching projects. Be honest with yourself as this is meant to be helpful.

OK, Let’s GO:

1. Are you laser focused on the project without distractions? (+1 point)

2. Do you find yourself being distracted with other things instead of starting on the project? (-2 points)

3. You work hard but feel uncertain that you’re getting the right

information. (-2 points)

4. You work hard and feel good about what you’ve accomplished. (+1 point)

5. You have limited yourself to 3 projects and put all your effort into getting them finished successfully. (+1 point)

6. You have a lot of catching up to do and have 15 different projects to finish. By the end of the day nothing is done. (-2 points)

7. You take action to get the job done. (+1 point)

8. You talk about your actions, but never really get started. (-2 points)

9. You give 50% effort because you’re apprehensive about committing to the project. (-2 points)

10. You give 100% effort to the project. (+1 point)

11. You celebrate after the project is completed. (+1 point)

12. You celebrate before you begin the project. (-2 points)

13. You try to figure out a plan while you’re in the midst of

the project. (-2 points)

14. You have a clear plan before you start. (+1 point)

15. You are inconsistent in working on your project. (-2 points)

16. You are consistent and make good progress. (+1 point)

17. You have clear goals to accomplish. (+1 point)

18. Your goals are not clear or you haven’t set them up. (-2 points)

 

As an example, see if this situation or something similar has happened to you. How did you handle it?
 You’ve decided to assemble a desk or computer stand. The project comes with instructions and over 200 parts, some you have no clue what it is. If you find yourself with the objective to finish putting it together in an evening, make a plan. 1. Confirm you have the space, all the pieces and tools necessary to put it together and no distractions; 2. Carefully read the instructions to ensure it makes sense, 3. Carefully assemble the computer stand step-by-step as noted in the directions. If you begin to second guess yourself and decide you’ve never done anything like this before, you can easily talk yourself out of succeeding. Stay focused and see how much you can accomplish.
Statistically 32% give up – determining that they don’t know how to do the task. They often create “busy work” that derails their success.
Time management is a powerful tool that allows everyone to achieve success no matter how great or small the task.
Allow yourself to recognize the size of your project. If it is big, so may be the challenges that you meet along the way.
”We all have the same 24 hours in a day to get the job done” – Farshad Asl

Time Management

You hear people say “there aren’t enough hours in the day”. Managing your time is an art. It requires discipline and consistency. The main thing to remember is that we all have 24 hours in a day. Successful people like Bill Gates, Nelson Mandela and Abraham Lincoln all had big goals to accomplish and all had the same 24 hours in a day.

Some people  accomplish more, some will accomplish less and some may never accomplish anything. If I ask you what you are going to do for the next 60 days, you probably will give me your plan. But if I ask what you would do in the next 60 days if this were your last 60 days of life, the answer would most likely be different.

The key to productive work and successful life management include:

“Sense of Urgency” – Treat each day like it will be the last to do what’s important. Act immediately – because procrastination kills momentum.
“Power of 3” – There is an amazing power in preparing yourself mentally, physically and emotionally. Remain laser focused, ready to take action and remain passionate in the belief you are doing something important to succeed.
“Prioritize”Select 3 projects for the week or month, based on the size of the project
“Patience” – Don’t get ahead of yourself – anything worthwhile doing, takes time.
“Write Your Goals” – When you write your plan, project or goal down, it becomes real, actionable and measureable. You are committing to getting the project done.

“When it comes to productive work and the management you do everything with intent and purpose.” – Farshad Asl
Share your project with someone. Make yourself accountable and share what you are doing with others. Be aware of the uphill road, taking a look at every challenge as an opportunity. When the challenge seems larger, it’s probably because your project is larger.

Productive Work
 You are laser focused
 You work hard and feel good about it
 You have 3 projects and put all your energy into all three and finish them successfully
 You take action
 You give your 100%
 You Celebrate after the project is done
 You have a clear plan before you start
 You are consistent
 You have clear goals

Busy Work
 You are all over the place
 You work hard but you feel lost
 You have 15 different projects and by the end of the day nothing is done
 You only talk about your actions 
 You give 50%
 You celebrate before even starting and you never finish timely
 You try to figure out a plan while you start
 You are inconsistent
 Your goals are not clear

Lastly, get rid of your “To Do List” and start your “To Stop List”. When you change your habits, the world around you will change.

 

I am LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/farshadasl

“The Art and Science of Selling” – Dispelling the Myths

Sales

I know what you’re thinking, there’s an “Art and Science” to selling? “YES”, there is…When you hear the word “Selling”, it often suggests that someone is trying to get you to buy something you’re not sure or think you want. The fact of the matter is that everyone sells in one way or another. That’s why I want to share “The Art and Science of Selling” with you. It’s as simple as “A, B, C”. It begins with the right mindset, followed by a big heart to help others and last but not least, a lot of ambition to follow through with your promises. People in the sales profession have a product or service and understand the profound impact it has on the economy, people and our lifestyle. Believe it or not, sales can influence our future and sometimes heal the past. Imagine when an insurance agent delivers a life insurance check to the family having just lost their mother or father. Or the family has a loved one who requires care in a nursing home. The risk has been transferred to the insurance company to pay the expenses. These are a few examples of why I feel selling is the most amazing profession in the world! 

 

A few statistics quoted from Zig Zigler, one of the greatest sales people of our time, shared that:

  • There are more sales people who are millionaires than doctors
  • In the first year of your business, successful sales people earn between $20,000-$30,000 or more
  • Charles Schwab was a master salesman, earning over $100,000 in his first year

There are many myths about sales people and the negatives. I’d like to share a couple of them with you.

Myth #1 – To sell, you must be an extravert/outgoing and can talk about anything.

Actually, it’s been found that introverted people outsell the extraverts 100 times out of 100. They connect with the client, know their information, tend to be better organized and detailed, and find what the customer needs.

 

Myth #2 – You are who you are and cannot change. Not true, with anything, you can learn a subject, trade or technique. Apply an optimistic and positive approach and people can adapt.

A survey was taken at the Forum Corp. in Boston, Massachusetts regarding sales:

  • 341 Sales People were surveyed
  • 173 were Top producers
  • 168 were Average producers
  • They all had 5 years minimum experience
  • They came from 11 different companies and 5 different industries: petro chemical, banking, life insurance, real estate and 1 other

They all had the same sales skills to get the prospect, set the appointment, demonstrate the features and benefits, close the sale, and handle the objections. The dramatic difference was “trust”. The top producers understood that it wasn’t about selling to the customer, but instead, building “trust”.

“Selling is essentially a transfer of feelings” – Zig Zigler

Take a look at these four (4) important circles which represent a successful sales dynamic for the entrepreneur, supported from the center by Leadership because as an entrepreneur, you’re also a leader. Take a look at how “The Art and Science of Selling” is explained below.

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The “Art” of Sales

  1. Culture – establish the culture, understand why people behave and act the way they do and make good choices. Culture is a mannerism of the entrepreneur/sales professional. Whether you’re in an organization or one or two individuals in business, it’s important that you have a good work ethic, clear vision, positive attitude and uphold strong core values to have a winning culture.
  2. Marketing – is made up of three components:
    1. BRAND – A very important area that will build both you and the company’s reputation in the market. What are you doing to brand yourself?
    2. CUSTOMER SERVICE – “Good” is no longer acceptable. People are looking for “Excellent” customer service.
    3. CLEAR PLANS – Successful sales entrepreneurs have at least three different plans designed to assist and help them with clients and customer service.

The “Science” of Sales

  1. Product Knowledge – Successful sales individuals know the features and benefits. They are willing to invest the time needed to learn, and go the extra mile to become an expert. Product knowledge is important to provide the features and benefits that will help the customer.
  2. Sales System – No matter how much you know or how good you are with the product or service, it will not sell itself. The sales system is a process.
    1. Warm up/build the relationship
    2. Ask questions /identify the needs
    3. Present the product/service
    4. Show the benefits
    5. Close and actively listen to any objectives
    6. Warm down – continue to build the relationship and get referrals

As a sales professional, you must stay laser focused and overcome any distractions that will interfere with your business. You are responsible for the outcome and management of your success.

“You can provide information to others and be a great educator, but information only won’t sell the product or service, that’s why we need the entrepreneurs’ ~Farshad Asl

 

Now that you see where you’re standing, take a moment and rate yourself. Use the diagram above and rate each circle on a scale of 1-10. If you score at least a “7” in each of the four areas, or are willing to invest in the areas that need help, you have a good chance to succeed in the sales profession.

If you’ve thought about it but are teetering on the edge of whether to become a sales person as an entrepreneur, feel free to contact me directly. I will help you take your career to a new level with coaching and mentoring you on “The Art and Science of Selling”, so you can live your dream life like millions of people out there. Create the well-deserved balance in your life and in your business.

“The Art and Science of Selling” – build your success!

“A good entrepreneur knows how to communicate, connect and coach the client to make the right buying decision” – Farshad Asl

 

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Independence Day, July 4th

 

It’s a special time to celebrate, reflect and remember how truly blessed we are to live in America. It was 238 years ago that our fore-father’s fought for our independence. To this day, many fight for their democracy and seek freedom in this great land. I am so grateful to live in a country that promotes the growth of the human spirit to succeed in all that we do. From my family to yours, we wish you a safe and joyful celebration this 4th of July – “Happy Birthday America!”

 

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