3 Secrets to Business Success and Achievement


Many times career professionals fail to achieve their goals. Even though they stay ‘busy as all get out’, they aren’t accomplishing the substantive things that will truly make a difference in their careers, lives and businesses.

Why is it that some people seem to have all the ‘luck’?

I have found over the years that some people just make more progress, have more ‘wins’ to show for their efforts, have more ‘toys’ to show off.  It’s not that life is really at all about the toys, but a few of them with personal significance to the owner help validate that something was working right.

So what is the key to having things go well? I say there are three. Read them and see if you agree. Leave a comment either way.

Cover of "The 7 Habits of Highly Effectiv...
Cover of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People


1. Have a plan

I hear all the time how busy everyone is. They are working on the ‘urgent’ things that Stephen Covey identified in Habit 3 of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. How much time are you spending putting out fires? How many of those fires could have been averted or prevented?

Being proactive and setting aside time to SET GOALS and ANTICIPATE BREAKDOWNS will keep those fires and breakdowns to a minimum. If you think you’re too busy to plan, think again. You, especially, need to devote some time to getting ahead of the curve.

2. Work your plan

It does little good to have a plan and never look at it or never work on it.

Some people who DO make plans, fall victim still to getting hung up in short-term emergencies. Their plans sit in a binder, on a shelf, in a drawer or their PC.

You must confront your plan – DAILY. Make sure you take at least one action on it each day. Do something that will make progress on your short term goals as well as a long term goal. If you have long term goals that you aren’t actively working on, they aren’t goals, they’re pipe dreams. You’re not really serious.

You’re just hopeful. But after a few months or years of inaction, you’ll be embarrassed and depressed. ACT TODAY on your dreams for the ‘morrow.

3. Assess your results against the plan

Things happen. Plans don’t go as expected. Unexpected things arise. You’ll learn more and become more effective when you look at what you said you would do, compare that with what you DID do and then evaluate how it all turned out.

What did you learn? What would you do if you could do it over? What would you NOT do? What resources did you need that you didn’t have? Whose help would you enlist?

Even though you may never have that particular goal again, you’ll still learn something about yourself, your environment and the process of ‘ACTION‘ that will be applicable to future endeavors.

Have a plan. Work your plan. Assess your results. Those are the keys to success.

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Skilled questioning, not pressuring, generates more sales

I attended a festival recently and visited a jewelry booth while I was there. (Jewelry, photography and pottery are my favs!)

The jewelry designer was a talented, but modest woman. Her sister, on the other hand, was quite the promoter.

She engaged me in conversation immediately. She asked me question after question while showing me different pieces of jewelry. I definitely knew she was aiming to make a sale but didn’t feel pressured by her activities and comments.

If you struggle to ‘close’ the deal too often, it’s likely you’re doing something in the process that is preventing the other person from stepping forward to take advantage of your offer.

What is it that has some people be great at sales while others struggle?

Here’s what I learned from this sister-promoter that could help you improve your close ratio.

One of the biggest mistakes people make in sales is talking too much. They are uncomfortable with silence and erroneously think they are ‘controlling the process’ by talking all of the time.

One of the biggest lessons I learned from my first sales coach is “People love to buy. They hate being sold.”

Armed with that info, here are some of the things the Sister-Promoter did that ended up with me buying a trinket from the designer plus a few more choice tips that should help you increase your sales.

1. Ask pointed questions
Your aim is to get the other person talking. You’ll learn more and they’ll be more invested in the conversation. People won’t walk away from you or hang up on you when they’re talking!

2. Ask open ended questions mixed with closed ended questions.
Open ended questions (How, What, Where) reveal info to guide your inquiry. They also get the other person thinking. Closed ended (Do/Have/Would) questions get people to some decision point and allow progress toward the end goal to get made.

3. Ask questions about the future
Get people to imagine a future with your or your product. Hypothetical questions suspend reality and allow your prospect to dream about the future they want and what it would be like to get their with your support. (Imagine/What if/Suppose)

I’ve learned another important sales lesson from Sharla Jacobs. She said “Your job is to ask great questions until your prospect convinces themselves, they have to work with you.”

When you can skillfully guide your prospects through that process so that they arrive at the conclusion, they have to have you, on their own, your sales will increase and both parties will leave the conversation happy and inspired.

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Conflict Resolution Tips: How to Fix What You’re Fighting About

People try to avoid conflict but conflict is inevitable. The key is learning how to effectively DEAL with conflict that occurs in life.

Generally when conflict exists, people become polarized in their positions. The more the conflict grows, the more attached they become to ‘winning’.  They fight and fight over which way the situation will go.

Tempers flare. Feelings get hurt. Resentments build. It becomes a power struggle with little hope for peaceful resolution.

It’s ‘my way or the highway!’

The way around the stalemate is to focus on interests rather than solutions.

Here are three easy tips to get underneath the situation and increase the chances of making true progress while keeping the relationships between the parties in decent condition.

1. Ask your adversary why they prefer the solution they proposed

2. Find out what is important to them about that solution they offered

3. Ask him or her what they are afraid might happen if their proposed solution isn’t implemented

As Stephen Covey so eloquently stated in The 7 Habits of Highly

Effective People, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

Stephen Covey at the FMI Show, Palestrante on ...
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Asking these questions will demonstrate to the other person that you are interested in understanding them and their situation.

Hearing the answers might actually influence your ‘position’. Let it. That puts you a step closer to finding a solution that works for both of you.

Once you’ve unearthed the rationale behind their position, share the answers to the questions you posed. Do so in a collaborative manner: not to make them change their mind, but to help them gain some insight into your situation and thinking.

Once you’ve gotten the underlying issues on the table, set aside both sets of solutions.

Brainstorm for other, more creative options that address the underlying needs you both expressed.

When you ‘attack’ problems from addressing underlying needs and interests, the solutions you devise will be more satisfying and effective.

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