What’s holding me back? Great question, right? Do you ever ask yourself that question? If you DO ask it, do you answer it honestly? Can you even answer it accurately?
I’ve been building out a new area of my executive coaching practice over the last three months. I’m launching and chairing a private peer advisory board made up of successful small business owners and CEOs here in the Scottsdale area. The launch of this group has split me open—forced me to ask a few pertinent questions of myself. Some of my answers made me a slight bit uncomfortable.
I believe that whenever you venture off into a new area, or you go about the business of adding new skill-sets to your toolbox, you may become uncomfortable. I also believe that if you don’t stretch out and become a little uncomfortable every so often you’re probably headed towards irrelevancy in your business or industry. Being uncomfortable is a good thing. Staying in a cumfy-wumfy place in your career isn’t ever where you experience personal growth or have a professional transformation.
After I completed the extensive training required of my new CEO coaching practice with Vistage, (a solid month down in San Diego) and decided to park my EGO at the door, it was time to do the work. It was GO time—time for Joe B. to reach out, pick up the two hundred pound phone and talk to a volume of business owners, founders or CEOs.
I had to win some time and attention from my target, and then I’d have to keep enough of their interest to win a face-to-face meeting. Not easy. All the men and women that make up my qualified prospects pool have a few things in common. They are all quite successful already—typically running businesses with 5 – 10 million + of annual revenue, but they’re small enough to still be involved (hands-on) with many aspects of their business.
So they’re super busy and very involved. Which means that you have to convince them quickly that talking to you will be of value to them, and you aren’t just another salesperson who’s going to data dump all over them.
You may want to review this classic CAP Equation mentorship article below if you struggle with understanding why a decision maker would meet with you:
And, so…this second lesson hits me…
I’m applying what I learned—calling CEOs and using the word text they gave me, but it seemed too much like a ‘canned’ pitch to me. It not only felt a little bit awkward, but it wasn’t working to the extent that I wanted it to. In other words, my conversion ratio of first phone conversations to face-to-face appointments was suffering a bit.
It sort of sucked! LOL!
So I had to pause, think and coach myself. After a long session of phone work one day I asked myself the question:
“What specific competencies and/or attitudes are holding me back?”
Of course, I took a quick inventory of the competencies, attitudes and pipeline practices that I teach religiously—the essence of the book, The CAP Equation.
My CAP Score wasn’t bad, except for one or two items. First, my front talk was very shaky, probably flawed (I wasn’t saying/asking the right things) and, as a result, my level of confidence was weakening. I reviewed any and all of the issues that could possibly be prohibiting my success (a second time) and I concluded that my concerns should be focused on the narrow area of decision maker front talk and my overall level of confidence on the phone.
I was 100% confident that I’d identified two things that were critical to my ability to move forward and that needed to be fixed.
In summary, the 2nd lesson I’ve re-learned this year is, if you’re building a business, you must…
…clearly identify the Competencies or Attitudes that you’re lacking—the ones that are most likely holding you back
Why is this simple practice so critical?
Because the competency, attitude or pipeline practice you’re lacking ability in may be (and usually is) the one that will kill your career if ignored or left unchecked. In other words, your weak spots aren’t going away. They will eat away at your business, practice or organizational development like a bad metastatic cancer.
“The competency, attitude or pipeline practice you’re lacking ability in may be (and usually is) the one that will kill your career if ignored.”
Whatever you’re missing or whatever needs fixing isn’t going to magically disappear. You have to IDENTIFY it and acknowledge it—that’s step ONE!
For me, what needed fixing was my value proposition front talk to a CEO. I needed to deliver some information and ask key leading questions in a way that didn’t sound canned. I needed to quickly engage my target. Honestly, I was really struggling with this. I’m a great salesperson…you probably are too, but that doesn’t mean that we can roll out of bed and fire on 8 cylinders as we are learning a new product, approach or market. We have to learn and RE-LEARN and refine our craft as markets change and as we add new channels of revenue to our business.
But first, we have to IDENTIFY what we’re not great at. We have to analyze what’s broken—what’s holding our success back, and begin the task of fixing it.
This may sound quite basic to you. You may even be going, DUH, why wouldn’t we work to fix stuff. However, the truth is, we work so damn hard, and at such a hectic pace that we don’t stop after the end of a session of work and ask…
“What’s really going on here?”
“What’s working for me?”
…and, “What’s NOT working for me…what’s holding me back?”
Just so you know…
Here are the most common reasons we don’t IDENTIFY what’s holding us back and create a plan to fix those things:
- We don’t hardwire the time to self-assess because we’re so “busy”
- We don’t know HOW to self-assess properly
- We think it may be easier to IGNORE problems versus fixing them
- We’re operating in isolation and can’t see what’s wrong
- We are too proud to ask for help
- We’re pretty sure there’s NOTHING wrong!
The bottom line is, if you’re not moving forward rapidly towards your business objectives or sales goals, then SOMETHING IS holding you back and you need to fix it.
The good news is…all the reasons (bullet points) above are fixable!
You can simply commit time to the calendar specifically for self-assessment or time with your coach or trainer. You can use The CAP Score as a template for self-assessment. It’s imperative that you realize that any weakness you have isn’t going away and it’s cheaper and better in the long run to fix it now. Nobody in today’s interactive world ever has to operate in isolation. If you are isolated, it’s your own damn choice.
And, pride? Really? No comment. Get over it. Ask for help.
As for my weakness—the thing that was holding me back—the inability to convert a high % of conversations with CEOs to appointments, as soon as I identified that weakness, everything changed in my sales process and pipeline!
(I’ll outline all of that in our next mentorship article)
For now…simply take step one:
Identify the Competencies and/or Attitudes that you’re lacking—the ones that are most likely holding you back from moving your business forward to profitability
Get some clarity on those things first. Make sure you ask someone you trust to help you analyze your skill-sets, your calendar management, your lead sources, funnels, pipelines, etc.
I want you to be clear on this first. Then we will take another step.
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Joe Buzzello is a nationally recognized expert on the roles of direct selling, entrepreneurialism and leadership. He has built legacy sales teams and experienced unprecedented success in individual and business-to-business markets as well as the network marketing industry. Joe has held executive level positions for Fortune 500 companies, but he has never strayed far from the art and science of selling, which he loves. In early 2014, Joe began writing, speaking, and coaching through his platform, www.joebuzzello.com and The CAP Equation©.