Everything in business today is fraught with peril. The opportunities for failure are many. For success, they are much fewer. There are many who are paralyzed by the thought of failure and, therefore, do the best they can to minimize failures in their life. In the end they limit their own success in the process. There are a few who embrace their failures, having the confidence that it is not the end of the world. The obvious difference between the two is a mindset for what success is.
In the movie, Pretty Woman with Richard Gere and Julia Roberts, there is a scene where Richard Gere takes his date to a business meeting, a rather unfriendly business meeting. I like this setting because you can feel the emotion in the room when the business negotiations become tense. However, there is a calmness and predictability as to how Richard Gere reacts in the moment, as he positions himself and chooses his words. It’s not only his choice of words, but his style, his appearance, his manners, and his stage. It is a picture of professionalism. Living in the moment. Perfection!
The reality is, it was staged. It is only a movie. But there are some things that we can learn from this movie that can impact our success.
If you are seeking to be regarded as a professional you must treat your work as theatre and your business as a stage. In other words, know your sales and buying processes. How does a person experience you? Is it boring? An amateur will find excuses for not making it perfect – such as: not enough resources, not enough time, not enough budget, etc. The professional will realize that failure is part of perfecting the process. The goal is large enough to make it worthwhile. They find a way to make it happen. They will pay the price that others won’t.
If you are seeking to be regarded as a professional, you must be professional. Do you know your lines? Do you have a “breadcrumb” trail that makes a sale predictable, or are you winging it? Does your business card speak professional or economical? Does your website say wow or ho-hum? Does your appearance need a makeover? What about your business process? When unexpected road bumps or obstacles occur, how do you treat your customer?
If you are seeking to be regarded as a professional, you must elevate your performance. Is your mind occupied with meaningless chatter around the water cooler at work or do you have ideas that people want to hear? What books are you reading? Do you have a Kindle that is readily accessible in a business setting with notes from a particular book that would make a difference for that customer you’re dining with? Do you know two or three books that can help a customer who is interested in opinions on business process or why people buy? Are you sought out for your knowledge or because you’re just a clog in the wheel?
The majority are not thinking about these things. They are just going through the motions with hope as their strategy. The professional, on the other hand, is always working on their trade. Refining their processes, improving their knowledge, growing their influence, and leveraging their failures.
What about you?