Believe in Your Sell!

All throughout college I knew that I would want to be in sales, but a big question kept popping up: What do I want to sell?

I learned about sales through both my coursework and personal experiences as well, which led me to believe that sales can be easy. People are actually selling every day - even those who aren't working in a typical “sales" position. Remember the time you went to a restaurant & couldn't make a decision on what to order? Maybe you asked the server for a recommendation, and she gushed about a particular dish they serve, or insisted you try the chef's special. That's selling! They are persuading you to purchase a specific dish - and you will most likely try what she recommends because it's clear that she believes that item is the best on the menu.

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"Aren't you glad you listened to me? Of course you are. I'm awesome."

Imagine, on the other hand, your server shrugs & says, "Well, I guess the chef's special is pretty good," or gives some other lukewarm non-answer devoid of excitement or fervor. You probably wouldn’t be as inclined to trust her recommendation. She doesn't seem to think that dish is good - does she like anything the restaurant serves? Maybe you should have gone somewhere else for dinner...

I knew that I didn't want to be like the 2nd server, who seems unsure of the menu & doesn't appear to believe in what she is selling. I knew that I wouldn't be happy in sales unless I could sell something I believe in - something that gets me excited to sell. Studies constantly show that happy employees are more productive employees, and productivity is everything in sales, so this requirement seemed obvious and essential. It would be the best way for me to be productive & happy while successfully serving my clients. Not to mention, confidence is a strong indicator of whether or not someone succeed in sales, and I knew I couldn't be confident were I to settle for selling something I didn't believe in. I couldn't even fathom the idea morally. I wouldn’t want to sell a product or service to clients that I wouldn't feel comfortable buying myself - they won't be happy because I've ultimately wasted their time and money, not to mention betrayed the trust they placed in me. At the end of the day, I want to feel good about myself and my work.

Although I had no intentions of selling advertising, I am very fortunate to have found RSVP. Even though I am new and still learning new things, I can honestly say that RSVP gets me excited to sell, and I enjoy telling people about our company and what we do to help small businesses. I admittedly even get a little frustrated when a prospect doesn't want to listen or learn about what RSVP can offer  - but that is just because I know that I can provide him or her with a vehicle to increase revenue and generate solid, qualified business for their company. I sincerely want to help these business owners, and I am certain that the best way for me to do so is through helping them advertise with RSVP. I am confident in our service and excited to continue my journey here - always learning & growing - and I want to pass this excitement on to prospects (and eventually, clients) as I invite them to join RSVP's publications & take their businesses to the next level!


Contributed by Travis Haren.
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My Time in Peru: a Photo Essay

“You have to be brave before you can be good.” - Brian K. Vaughan

Earlier this month, I spent about two weeks in Reque, Peru volunteering at a school with a group of about 14 others from the U.S. Our job was to prepare the base for another wing to the school, so I spent my first day coating rebar to prevent it from rusting in the salty ocean and dry desert air. I was soon, however, given a new job. Along with another artist, I had the pleasure of restoring an old mural over the playground for the kids. Our volunteer work allowed us to connect with the children of the school. I saw the Pacific ocean for the first time, and our group attended several festivals and parades. The experience was exciting & overwhelming, full of new sights, people, and cultures. I even managed to get kicked by a horse and put on the back of a motorcycle in a parade! (I'm fine now, but was definitely a little sore for a few days, and I certainly don't recommend getting kicked by a horse)

It’s hard for me to find the words to explain everything I witnessed in Peru, so I hope these images I captured can speak to you a little better than I can. I will say that I have never seen people with so few material possessions be so happy - easily much happier than the average person in the U.S. (not to speak poorly of us folks from the states!) It just seems that there’s something to be learned from their spirits of gratitude & joy. After this experience, I strongly encourage others to try things that may be scary or different, to travel to unfamiliar & foreign places, and to simply try to experience life from someone else's point of view. It's enriching, rewarding, and beautiful. 

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Contributed by Syd Miles.
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All photographs are the author's own & may not be reprinted or published without express written consent.

 

Free Your Time

Every day, I feel blessed to meet inspiring business owners through my work at RSVP. Each of them started their business with some passion, end goal or dream in mind. Each story shares that uniquely American can-do spirit & independence. I hear things like:

  • "I was tired of the corporate rat race."
  • "Why work for someone else when I can work for myself?"
  • "I want to create a legacy."

But their reasons run even deeper than that. At the heart of their decision to strike out on their own is the desire for a sense of control over their lives and futures. They year for independence, yet they find themselves working harder, burning the candle at both ends, no end to the workday, perpetually tethered to the business they created & nurtured. Instead of resting easy they lay awake thinking about hiring new employees or tackling the next big project, answering emails in the wee hours of the morning or at their kid's soccer practice.

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"OK, we do monkey bars until 3:15, then the slide from 3:30-3:40, and that should give us enough time to have juice & crackers before our 4:00 meeting with Mom regarding your most recent finger-painting performance."

That original laser-focused dream that started it all becomes a little cloudy in the weary mind of that business owner. Now she may be totally in charge of her own destiny now, but she's somehow a little more out of control. And yet she still has the same spark of passion and energy that inspires her to get up every day and do it all again, living the madness to create her dream for herself. Despite the unique challenges and struggles that come along with being an entrepreneur, most are proud and wouldn't trade the freedom that comes along with it for the world.

Our conversations often turn to the real reason they're working so hard: the freedom to do what they want with their downtime. The desire to be able to take a vacation without requesting time off from someone else, relying on another person's approval. Common escapes include foreign travels, a beach, a lake, camping. Living a life of pleasure & relaxation in a place of peace & serenity. A place to reboot & recharge. I have to smile when I hear that their escapes are often jam-packed with activity, from adventure sports, boating, or other adrenaline-pumping, white-knuckle, edge-of-the-seat activity.  It isn't surprising that the same business owners who pour their passion into creating & sustaining a business during working hours tend to approach their downtime with the same fervor.

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For example, this is how I relax.

But it takes time, dedication, and delegation - and delegation seems to be the hardest part! For business owners whose ventures are in their infancy or growing years, these escapes must be postponed. Sometimes it may be for personal reasons - "We're waiting until the kids are a little older before we buy a cabin on the lake." - but often it's for professional reasons. They have to wait until such-and-such employee is able to handle the workload - or even have to wait until their business grows enough to hire employees! Other business owners have grown their company & begun to hand the reins over to capable individuals. These owners are enjoying their time, living in the moment...and looking back, they wish they would've done it sooner.  They wish they would've spent more time with their children and escaped from the daily grind even if that grind is one they created for themselves. If you're nervous about delegating business responsibilities to others so that you can enjoy the life you've created for yourself, let Entrepreneur magazine help you out with their 4-step guide!

In his book The 4-Hour Workweek, author Tim Ferriss recommends to readers to not to work until retirement, but rather to live your retirement a little each week. Build those little escapes into your life so you can enjoy them now, rather than waiting for some undetermined future date - when you hire more people, open another location, add another service. I know it's hard to believe, but work can wait.  What may seems like an urgent problem requiring your attention RIGHT NOW, TODAY may simply work itself out in the hands of capable & trusted employees if only you would make like Elsa & let it go.

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And now the song is in your head. No need to thank us.

So as my family & I pack up and head to the lake this Fourth of July season, I'll be counting my blessings: not just my own personal or professional success, but also our nation's independence, and our country's long history of encouraging men & women to make their own way by doing things their own way, freeing us to create the life of our dreams. I like to think that the fantastic fireworks displays with all their awe-inspiring moments of "Ooh!"s and "Ahh!"s are symbolic of these blessings, and a reminder to keep your head up, dream big, be grateful, and be present.

I hope these business owners see it the same way, and that they continue to work to fulfill their dreams, but remember to get away and savor the here & now.


Contributed by Heather Craaybeek.
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Image sources: 1, 2 and 3. Frozen copyright Disney 2013.