What’s standing in your way?

We are either too hard on ourselves or we fail to compensate in our areas of weakness. Take a good hard look and start making a list of what you need to work on.

Over the last ten years I have spoken to thousands of people who were seeking new career opportunies and do you know, it never fails, when I would ask what is standing between them and their next great opportunity they always say “real world experience.” It didn’t matter the size of the audience (some groups were larger than 500 people!), they always had the same answer, lack of experience was standing in their way. So, then I would ask, “What’s your answer?” For the most part, they would look at me strange but I would repeat myself, “If you know experience (or lack of it) is what’s standing in your way, what are you going to do about it?” The room would fall silent. My point is, everyone in the audience knew “experience” was the objection but no one had an answer or a way to address it.

This month I want to talk about having the answer.

First off, do you even know what obstacles or business blockers are stopping you from achieving your next great step? When was the last time you took a good hard look at yourself and your business? Have you sought out the advice of others that you respect? Even as a coach, trainer and business speaker I have two wonderful mentors in my life to help me. If you truly want to attract and sustain profitable business you need to be able to look at your own business limitations and say what are you going to do to get over them? Awareness is critical to development and change. You must be aware so that you can adapt and respond.

In my “Attract and Sustain” keynote I remind people that the number one competitor they have is themselves! We are either too hard on ourselves or we fail to compensate in our areas of weakness. Take a good hard look and start making a list of what you need to work on.

One of the main reasons people avoid doing a reality check is because as professionals we hate objections. Objections are roadblocks standing between us and and the things we want most. Objections feel uncomfortable and we often take them personally. Naturally we try to minimize them, ignore them or hope that no one notices that they exist. It’s the classic ostrich theory, “If I stick my head deep enough into the ground I won’t see the enemy.” But ignoring objections seldom works because it’s the customer’s opinion that really matters, if they have them, you need to fix them (apparently, it’s illegal to bury customers in the sand!)

Let me ask you, “What would happen if instead of ignoring objections you sought them out and planned for them?” Now, I know that in reality you can’t have a solution for everything. For example, the career seekers I speak to can’t create industry experience they don’t have, but they can have a strategy for what will help them overcome the objection. Once they know they can train harder, they can find unique skills that make them more attractive and they can be prepared to face them. My advice is always face objections straight up. Instead of ignoring the problem, show your business acumen by having a well thought out answer or process for overcoming them. The great news is objections are typically great buying signals, they are usually a sign that the customer is thinking about having a relationship with you.

In my sales training program I teach a process for handling objections. In short, you want to clarify (to ensure you understand the “real” issue), acknowledge and show empathy, test a solution and then seek customer agreement that you have answered the objection. It is a powerful process that works and it lets you move forward. Remember it’s your customer that needs to feel heard and you are the one that needs to hear them.

This month, take time to do a real “gut” check. Figure out what is standing in your way. You can’t solve everything but for the most part you can have an answer that just might make the “winning” difference.

Curt Skene