>What are successful people doing right now? Ever wonder why some people, no matter what (shifts in the economy, lack of customer demand, or increased competition) seem to “luck” into success.

Well here’s the good news, it’s not luck! It’s focus and priority. More good news – setting priorities and choosing focus is something we all can do. I study and do research for a living. My job, as a coach, strategist and business development expert is to recognize, identify and track positive trends in the area of business development – networking, sales and service, and share it all with my clients.

What do I see working right now? The individuals and organizations that I see succeeding right now are those that are focused on networking, adding value, and learning. They’ve got their heads down and while they admit these are less than perfect times, they see the path to success lies in their ability to expand their relationships, truly add value to those relationships and invest their time and efforts in personal development.

Networking
Individuals and organizations focused on expanding their existing relationships and adding valuable new ones are finding amazing opportunities to grow their organizations. In my opinion, this is the most important area anyone needs to focus on right now. I am such a believer that if you build your network you will change your life! Relationships are critical to success and survival no matter the market. If you want your business to grow you need to retain the clients you have, as well as add new ones to your portfolio. In addition, you need to surround yourself with positive and successful people, with great ideas and an inner passion to be successful no matter the economic conditions. Are you expanding your network? Start with a relationship review of your top clients. Set a time to sit down and really listen to what they’re going through and what they need. Next, review your prospect list. Do you have a focused list of clients you want to move to your company in the next year? If so, are these the right prospects and what are you actively doing to win their business? Lastly, where and with whom are you spending your time? What networking events do you attend? Ask yourself whether you are maximizing your limited networking time. Make sure you are using it to meet and build relationships with people that renew your energy rather than deplete it, people from whom you can learn and grow, and people that look for opportunity in challenging economic times.

Add Value
If you are not growing your business or your relationships right now there is a good chance you are not adding value. The organizations and individuals that are growing right now are putting the needs, concerns and challenges of their clients, and their prospects ahead of their own. They are looking for long term sustainable growth rather than short term (possibly limited) gain. This is definitely a different mindset. Growth right now requires building trust with prospects and clients. With all that has happened in our economy trust does not come easily right now you must earn it. You truly have to listen, solve the right problem (theirs) and sell solely based on needs the client understands they have. How can you be sure you are adding value?

  1. Change your daily question from “how can we grow our business?” to “how can we help our clients?” 
  2. Learn from rejection. Every time you get turned down, you have just been told that this person does not perceive enough value in what you have to offer to do what you are asking them to do. No does not mean no forever, it means no until you can help me understand why doing what you want me to do it more valuable then the one-hundred other things I have on my list.
  3. Approach every sales call, networking opportunity, or service call armed with a set of open ended questions that not only keep you from talking about yourself and your needs, but give you the opportunity to learn about the needs of the person you are engaging.

Learn
Confidence is so important right now on so many levels. Your prospects and customers want to do business with people they can believe in, and people they believe can be successful.  Confidence gives you the inner strength to deal with the challenges (and find opportunity) we are all facing right now. While there are several practices and procedures you can do to build your confidence, investing in your personal growth and development is one of the most critical. Our economy is not down, it is different. Doing things the way we have always done them is not the answer or the path to success. It is going to take new ideas and new skills to be successful now. Making time daily to invest in your personal growth and development is going to expand your mind, inspire innovation, and open you up to find those new opportunities. So how do you commit to personal development, and how do you find the time?  Here are three easy things you can try, commit to even just one and I think you will be shocked by the high rate of return you receive on your investment.

  1. Commit 30 minutes every morning to reading a blog, a magazine article or a chapter in a book. Choose business topics you are interested in, want to know more about, and that you will find value in learning. Consistency is key here.
  2. Change your exercise music to a download on leadership, marketing or customer service. Again, only 30 minutes will do the trick, then you can go back to the upbeat tunes that you need to make it through the last part of that workout.
  3. Use car time as learn time! We all know it is not good to be on our cell phones, so use this time as your opportunity to invest in your personal development. 

Success can happen right now, and we don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Learn from people who are finding opportunity in these challenging times. History, tells us that the first people to adapt and grow in changing times, are the first to find success and happiness!