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Top of Mind: December 14, 2017
December 14th, 2017
by Bill Boyajian

Tell the Story

When I dine in a restaurant, particularly one that is new to me, I like to ask my server what she likes on the menu.  I want to hear her story about what she likes and why she likes it.  She may also give me some added info about what the chef does to prepare it or something unique about the dishes she likes.  I also like to gauge my server’s enthusiasm for what she’s telling me.

Isn’t that what selling is all about?  Having a product or service worth sharing with others and telling the background story behind it.  That’s where a lot of sales are missed.  Salespeople are often ill-equipped to talk about a product or their service or their store in a way that conveys knowledge and enthusiasm.  They are often even less inclined to romance a piece or describe its distinctiveness.

But even before you start talking, you need to ask the right questions to get a conversation started and to develop a rapport with a customer that sells yourself and your business.  First impressions are critical, and when we can connect with people on their level we have a much better chance of gaining their trust.  Trust may be the most vital element in selling.  No one wants to buy anything from anyone they don’t trust.

So the next time you engage someone in selling – maybe even today – begin by asking the right questions and telling a story that connects you with your customer.  You’ll be much more successful if you do.

 
Here are a few Business & Life Tips to think about….

Business Tips:

  • When you show someone an exquisite product, much of what they think about it is based on what you tell them about it.
  • Standing ovations seem overdone these days. Save them for those rare speeches that move you to both emotion and action.
  • If you have something worth sharing, share it. If people like it, they’ll tell others. Good referrals are worth their weight in gold.

Life Tips:

  • Persuasion vs. Influence: It’s the difference between trying to convince someone vs. drawing them into your point of view.
  • Emulate the heroes in your life. You won’t always succeed, but you’ll find your true self, and become a hero to someone else.
  • Questions indicate interest. They probe for knowledge. Listen to a four year old ask questions of his mother. That should be us.


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Tell the Story
December 4th, 2017
by Bill Boyajian

When I dine in a restaurant, particularly one that is new to me, I like to ask my server what she likes on the menu.  I want to hear her story about what she likes and why she likes it.  She may also give me some added info about what the chef does to prepare it or something unique about the dishes she likes.  I also like to gauge my server’s enthusiasm for what she’s telling me.

Isn’t that what selling is all about?  Having a product or service worth sharing with others and telling the background story behind it.  That’s where a lot of sales are missed.  Salespeople are often ill-equipped to talk about a product or their service or their store in a way that conveys knowledge and enthusiasm.  They are often even less inclined to romance a piece or describe its distinctiveness.

But even before you start talking, you need to ask the right questions to get a conversation started and to develop a rapport with a customer that sells yourself and your business.  First impressions are critical, and when we can connect with people on their level we have a much better chance of gaining their trust.  Trust may be the most vital element in selling.  No one wants to buy anything from anyone they don’t trust.

So the next time you engage someone in selling – maybe even today – begin by asking the right questions and telling a story that connects you with your customer.  You’ll be much more successful if you do.



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Top of Mind: November 30, 2017
November 30th, 2017
by Bill Boyajian

Have a Hobby

It’s important to have a hobby. Or two. Hobbies feed our creative juices even if we don’t believe we’re particularly creative. We don’t try to make money out of our hobbies, though sometimes we can and they become joyful businesses. And we don’t get famous from our hobbies, although we might gain some local notoriety if we’re really good at it.

But we don’t have hobbies to get rich or famous. We have hobbies to give us an outlet or two, and to make us happy. Hobbies give, rather than take. They keep us from being one-dimensional. They broaden our horizons. Hobbies make us whole.

Can we overdue our hobbies? Probably. I guess if we play video games all day, it may be a bit much. But generally, I wouldn’t worry. You probably have some kind of self-limiting time frame or consciousness that keeps you from overdoing it.

So the next time you feel obsessed with your hobby, relax. You’re doing what you love to do. You’re exercising your creativity. You’re making yourself into a more joyful person. It doesn’t matter if you’re strumming a guitar, planting a plant, knitting a sweater, cooking a delicacy, or swinging a golf club. What matters is you’re enjoying an extension of yourself. And maybe that’s all that really matters.

 

Here are a few Business & Life Tips to think about….

Business Tips:

  • To work is good. To work too much is bad. Pace yourself. Work is more a marathon than a sprint. Work will be there tomorrow.
  • Many entrepreneurs thrive in chaos, but their subordinates generally don’t. Maybe it’s time for those entrepreneurs to lighten up.
  • Ever wonder why your best business ideas occur in the shower, on a walk, or in the garden? Your mind is free to think.

 

Life Tips:

  • If you can create meaning in your life and derive happiness from it, you will become a joyful and complete individual.
  • People tend to want what other people have. We would be far more content (and happy) if we learned to appreciate what WE have.
  • A great goal is to volunteer your time to a nonprofit that needs your help and expertise. It’s good therapy for the soul.


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Have a Hobby
November 22nd, 2017
by Bill Boyajian

It’s important to have a hobby.  Or two.  Hobbies feed our creative juices even if we don’t believe we’re particularly creative.  We don’t try to make money out of our hobbies, though sometimes we can and they become joyful businesses.  And we don’t get famous from our hobbies, although we might gain some local notoriety if we’re really good at it.

But we don’t have hobbies to get rich or famous.  We have hobbies to give us an outlet or two, and to make us happy.  Hobbies give, rather than take.  They keep us from being one-dimensional.  They broaden our horizons.  Hobbies make us whole.

Can we overdue our hobbies?  Probably.  I guess if we play video games all day, it may be a bit much.  But generally, I wouldn’t worry.  You probably have some kind of self-limiting time frame or consciousness that keeps you from overdoing it.

So the next time you feel obsessed with your hobby, relax.  You’re doing what you love to do.  You’re exercising your creativity.  You’re making yourself into a more joyful person.  It doesn’t matter if you’re strumming a guitar, planting a plant, knitting a sweater, cooking a delicacy, or swinging a golf club.  What matters is you’re enjoying an extension of yourself.  And maybe that’s all that really matters.



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Top of Mind: November 16, 2017
November 16th, 2017
by Bill Boyajian

Enjoy the Process

People usually want to know the end result, the finished product, or the climax to something they are moving toward. And that is certainly important. But as important is the process we go through to get to where we need to be. Seldom do people relish in the process because it can be hard, messy, prolonged, and tedious. But the process of learning, growing, building, transforming, and improving is what creates the end result, and it is that same process we need to embrace and enjoy.

In his best-selling book, Outliers, The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell made a big point about The 10,000 Hour Rule. His assertion is that in order to achieve a level of excellence, expertise, or superiority in anything from sports to music to money-making, you have to put in 10,000 hours of practice, involvement, learning, fine-tuning, or any such effort that takes your skill and talent to a world-class level. Ask any true expert in any subject and they will tell you that their success didn’t come naturally. It had to be nurtured and developed over countless hours, 10,000 to be sure.

That’s what I mean by enjoying the process. The end result of achieving a Ph.D. in history, making it to the major leagues in baseball, or even composing a concerto didn’t happen without endless study, constant practice, incredible focus, a measure of talent, and almost total dedication to the process. The end result, the goal for which you strive, is more than the sum of the parts it takes to get there. But the journey to achieve that end is what makes the experience so exciting. It’s the culmination of effort that makes the ride to the top so successful, not just the end result of getting there.

 

Here are a few Business & Life Tips to think about….

Business Tips:

  • Don’t extend your business dealings too far beyond your core knowledge. You’ve spent years building expertise in an area. Use it.
  • In business, it’s good to ask to what degree you are maintaining and improving what works, and purging or replacing what doesn’t.
  • Take a chance. Start a business that fills a need. Create the product that no one has. Do the work that doesn’t exist. Just try.

 

Life Tips:

  • If we learn something each day, help someone each day, and bring joy to another each day, we can consider that a really good day.
  • Things move really fast today. It’s good to practice slowing down. John Wooden said it this way: “Be quick, but don’t hurry.”
  • Life is too short to waste, yet we think nothing of throwing precious time away on meaningless issues and irrelevant people.


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Enjoy the Process
November 8th, 2017
by Bill Boyajian

People usually want to know the end result, the finished product, or the climax to something they are moving toward.  And that is certainly important.  But as important is the process we go through to get to where we need to be.  Seldom do people relish in the process because it can be hard, messy, prolonged, and tedious.  But the process of learning, growing, building, transforming, and improving is what creates the end result, and it is that same process we need to embrace and enjoy.

In his best-selling book, Outliers, The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell made a big point about The 10,000 Hour Rule.  His assertion is that in order to achieve a level of excellence, expertise, or superiority in anything from sports to music to money-making, you have to put in 10,000 hours of practice, involvement, learning, fine-tuning, or any such effort that takes your skill and talent to a world-class level.  Ask any true expert in any subject and they will tell you that their success didn’t come naturally.  It had to be nurtured and developed over countless hours, 10,000 to be sure.

That’s what I mean by enjoying the process.  The end result of achieving a Ph.D. in history, making it to the major leagues in baseball, or even composing a concerto didn’t happen without endless study, constant practice, incredible focus, a measure of talent, and almost total dedication to the process.  The end result, the goal for which you strive, is more than the sum of the parts it takes to get there.  But the journey to achieve that end is what makes the experience so exciting.  It’s the culmination of effort that makes the ride to the top so successful, not just the end result of getting there.



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Top of Mind: November 2, 2017
November 3rd, 2017
by Bill Boyajian

When to Terminate

One of the hardest things to do in any business is to terminate an employee.  It’s even harder if the employee is a family member.  Here are some thoughts on termination.
Let someone go if:

  • You are miserable.  When the value an employee brings is over-weighed by the frustration and anguish they cause – and you feel – it’s time to part ways.
  • The person is disgruntled.  Unhappy people make others unhappy.  It’s a cancer that spreads within your business or department.  You will be better off if they’re gone, and so will they.
  • You’ve done everything you can to save them.  People deserve a fair shot at succeeding, but if you have given them every opportunity to do well and they just haven’t responded, termination is the answer.
  • They haven’t performed according to the specific criteria you have identified for them.  It then becomes fairly easy because they effectively end their own employment by failing your well-documented expectations.

Terminating employees is hard, both emotionally and tactically.  But it must be done periodically to enhance the likelihood of your team’s overall success.


Here are a few Business and Life Tips to think about….

Business Tips:

  • The people closest to a business problem often have the best understanding of it. Ask the right questions and listen to your staff.
  • Good people leave bad bosses, but bad people seldom leave good bosses. And why should they. They’re along for a free ride.
  • “Flat” companies and organizations are moving from “managers” to coaches. Nothing is more important than coaching people.

Life Tips:

  • Blaming others for our problems won’t get us to where we need to go. Being proactive will get us moving toward solutions.
  • A bully berates people as a result of extreme insecurity and an inferiority complex. Don’t let a bully take you down to his level.
  • Who do you know that might be in need of help, who would benefit from a phone call or a word of encouragement today?


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When to Terminate
October 20th, 2017
by Bill Boyajian

One of the hardest things to do in any business is to terminate an employee.  It’s even harder if the employee is a family member.  Here are some thoughts on termination.
Let someone go if:

  • You are miserable.  When the value an employee brings is over-weighed by the frustration and anguish they cause – and you feel – it’s time to part ways.
  • The person is disgruntled.  Unhappy people make others unhappy.  It’s a cancer that spreads within your business or department.  You will be better off if they’re gone, and so will they.
  • You’ve done everything you can to save them.  People deserve a fair shot at succeeding, but if you have given them every opportunity to do well and they just haven’t responded, termination is the answer.
  • They haven’t performed according to the specific criteria you have identified for them.  It then becomes fairly easy because they effectively end their own employment by failing your well-documented expectations.

Terminating employees is hard, both emotionally and tactically.  But it must be done periodically to enhance the likelihood of your team’s overall success.



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Top of Mind: October 19, 2017
October 20th, 2017
by Bill Boyajian

Play to Win

We’ve all seen it.  A football team is ahead by two touchdowns in the fourth quarter only to lose the game.  A basketball team is up by 10 points with three minutes to go but loses.  A golfer is ahead by four strokes going into the final round of a tournament and loses to a player who finishes strong.

 
We see it in sports all the time because the team or individual in front gets too conservative and loses.  It doesn’t make sense to abandon the one thing that got you a lead for a strategy that tries to keep you from losing.

 
It’s the same way in business.  We fight hard to become successful and then we become complacent, thinking that what got us to where we are will keep us there.  Trying to maintain the status quo – and playing it safe – will cause us to fall behind.  Every business needs to constantly innovate and experiment with new ideas and strategies.  Not every new concept will work, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.

 
So instead of playing “not to lose,” we need to “play to win.”  Winning involves continuous learning, constant experimentation, and relentless innovation.  It isn’t enough to be good.  We need to strive to be great.  It’s the only way to stay ahead in the game, and win!

 
Here are a few Business & Life Tips to think about….

 
Business Tips:

  • Good leaders maintain a sense of urgency with controlled energy. They never get too high or too low. They operate like a thermostat.
  • Organizations, boards, and businesses struggle without new blood adding new ideas to the conversation and the strategy.
  • You can’t get hung up on what your competitors are doing. Be aware, for sure, but don’t let it get in the way of what you must do.

 

Life Tips:

  • If you know you’re biased, take yourself out of the decision. If you don’t know you’re biased, well, that’s a different problem.
  • Wisdom comes from living life skillfully. Experience matters and self-reflection assures introspection.
  • Behaviors – even immediate, automatic reactions – can learn to be controlled and modified if we recognize the choices we can make.


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Top of Mind: October 5, 2017
October 5th, 2017
by Bill Boyajian

Food for Thought

  • If you want to be liked, you have to be likable.
  • If you want to be loved, you have to love others.
  • If you want to be respected, you have to respect others.
  • If you want to be noticed, you have to be out there and noticeable.
  • If you want a raise, do more than is expected.
  • If you want a promotion, prepare yourself for the job you want.
  • If you want to build loyalty, be loyal.
  • If you want people to believe in you, care about them.
  • If you want to have more meaningful relationships, be nicer.
  • If you want to show integrity, don’t put others down.

If you don’t believe any of this, well, that’s a problem.

 

Here are a few Business & Life Tips to think about…

Business Tips:

  • Build a good name. Keep it clean. Don’t worry about making money yet. Do good work. Your name will become your currency.
  • To get more time in your work day, analyze everything you do. Eliminate time-wasters, delete unwanted emails, and reduce interruptions.
  • Keep your day job. The routine is good for you, even if a little boring. Boredom forces you to take risks. Risks take you to new places.

 

Life Tips:

  • Insecurity is a debilitating condition. Why choose to be around people who have to put others down in order to prop themselves up.
  • Materialism is getting things for yourself. Generosity is giving things to others. There is no better time to give than now.
  • You only get one chance to make a first impression, so make it good. First impressions have lasting value, good or bad.


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"Bill Boyajian is a leader people follow, with a proven track record of success. He will provide solutions to your biggest challenges and deliver terrific results."

–Howard Herzog
International Jewelers Block Insurance

"A sought after role model, Bill reminds us that how we lead our business has everything to do with how we live a fulfilling life."

– Pam Levine,
Levine Design Group