Kids are getting new sneakers and college dorms are starting to smell like beer again, but just because we work full time doesn’t mean we have to miss out on the fun of Back-to-School.
You can create our own Back-2-School party! Here are some ideas that can work for both solo operators and teams.
1. Invite clients to the party and learn more about your niche. Identify 2-3 clients who stay current on industry news and invite each of them to join you for an on-line coffee chat. You can even send them a Starbucks eGift card to reinforce the ‘can we grab a cup of coffee and chat” theme (because who doesn’t like a themed party, right?) and conduct the meetings as a video chat (Zoom.us offers a free videoconferencing option.)
· Flatter the client; let them know you’re always wanting to get smarter about the industry and you value their point of view.
· The ‘grab a cup of coffee and chat” session will be 15-20 minutes.
· No pressure; they don’t need to do any preparation. You’re interested in hearing about their perspective and their experiences as an industry leader.
· Sample discussion questions include:
i.What do they see as the most compelling challenge the industry is facing right now?
ii.What does their crystal ball say is coming down the pike in 1 year? 3 years?
iii.What do they see as the most critical skill sets for success in their industry?
iv.What are the most difficult to find skill sets in the industry?
v.What do they recommend you be paying attention to as a Trusted Advisor to your clients?
· You may find clients are reluctant and nervous when you invite them for the first time because it is so rare they are invited to share their perspective without feeling like they’re being “sold”, but you’ll likely find that they’ll be asking you when you’ll be asking them back again.
2. Get smarter about our business. Go to YouTube; search on words of your choosing; sales techniques, consultative selling, crucial conversations are great starting points. Select several and make each of them a topic of conversation for a 30 minute training session. If you’re a solo operator, find yourself another solo operator buddy and pair. If you’re part of a team, make this a team activity. You can enjoy these meetings in person, over the phone or via video conference.
· Schedule the 30 minute training session and honor the schedule.
· Assign someone to select the training video and create discussion starter questions. Examples:
o How can this technique help us in our work?
o What situations have I had in the past where this technique might have created a different outcome?
o How can this technique help me with what I’m working on now?
· Take note of what/if/how you want to put this technique into action, write it on a sticky note and mount it on your monitor to keep your attention for the next 7 days.
1. Learn more about YOU. The better we know ourselves, the more often we can choose to work from our strengths. We can focus on developing our weaknesses or we can choose to outsource those tasks that don’t play to our strong suits. So much of our work with candidates is about connecting them with opportunities to do more of what they love, and I think we owe the same to ourselves. The better you know yourself, the easier it will be to figure out if you’re avoiding cold calling because you’re afraid of rejection because it triggers childhood trauma or if you’re afraid of looking silly because it triggers childhood trauma (it’s almost always one or the either, so you may as well deal with it now so you can grow past it). We are in a business of communicating with others and it’s important to understand how what we say and how we say it is heard by others. Here are some interesting assessments to prompt self-learnings and interesting team conversations.
· The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin, author of the #1 New York Times Bestseller The Happiness Project. It’s helpful to know our own and other people’s Tendencies. It’s hard to grasp just how differently we can all see the world. When we can see other people’s perspectives, we understand why, from their point of view, their actions make sense. Come to understand if you’re an Upholder, Questioner, an Obliger, or a Rebel, and learn how to interact with others with different Tendencies.
· DISC is a personality assessment and is based on the premise that each of us expresses our emotions in various combinations of four ways: Dominant, Inspiring, Supportive and Cautious. It’s interesting to see your own combination so you can appreciate your own strengths, but it’s even more interesting to appreciate your own blind spots.
Take advance of the Back2Skool hype and create your own fall season learning buzz!