I Love Sales smaller

No business can survive without sales. If revenue is not coming in, your company will be out of business. Small business owners are more vulnerable to closing up shop due to lack of sales.

Of course, there are myriad of reasons why a business fails, but lack of sales is one of the more prevalent ones. The underling reason maybe bad marketing, wrong product, or poor customer service. Yet, when I meet with some of my clients that want to start their own business, fear of sales or lack of sales experience pop up often.

They will tell me: “I don’t like selling.” “I don’t have sales experience.” “I never sold anything before.” Jokingly, I would tell them: “Yes. You have sold before. From the time you were born, you were selling your mom and dad that you are so cute that they have to feed, bathe and clothe you.”

My view on sales is “sales is about forming relationships.” I also have to believe that through my products or services I can serve others. If a business owner does not believe that his or her products and services are not valuable or does not benefit his/her clients; then, they should close up shop right away. Why delay the inevitable.

There is no magical potion to sales. Sales is a game of numbers. The more qualified prospects you put in your sales funnel, the more likelihood you will close deals. But learning how to form relationships with your clients, delivering solutions to solve their problems and being present can result in magical moments in your sales results.

Here are some approaches I used when selling solutions to my clients:

1) Start with the Low Hanging Fruit: There are days when I don’t feel up to making the calls or going out prospecting for new clients. To get myself mentality prepared , I think of folks that are in my inner circle that could use my products and services. I focus on the ones that are pleasant to speak with, or it’s fun to be in their presence.

I don’t go with a hidden agenda. When I contact them, I ask how things are going and inquire if there is anything they are struggling with that I may be of assistance to them. If there is, they let me know. Then I offer to meet with them to see where there is a fit.

By starting with the folks that I have a great relationship builds my confidence to call on the ones that are newer to me. It makes me not fear getting a “no.” By the way, getting “no” isn’t such a bad thing. It gets you closer to a “yes.”

Having a hard time starting your sales day? Start with your low hanging fruit. Reach out to people that you know, people that you have sold to in the past, people that like and trust you.

2) Sell Only What You Believe In: When I worked in the corporate world, I had to believe in the products the companies were offering in order for me to go out and represent them. Being connected in that way made me passionate about selling those products or services.

The result of this passion was that I had more sales. There were times when a client wasn’t sure about the product, but due to my knowledge of the product and the passion I had about it, they bought from me. This is the same now that I am a business owner.

If you don’t believe in what you are selling, you will not come across as being authentic to your prospects. If you don’t believe it, why should they.

3) Sell Only What Your Clients Need: The consulting process I utilize, helps me to learn what issues my clients are experiencing in their businesses. By asking key questions, they open up to me; allowing me to learn where my products and services may be solve their business needs.

There are times when my products and service aren’t a good match for what problems they are facing. At this point of the consulting process, I let them know that it’s not a fit. I would rather lose the sale than deliver something I know will not work for them.

If you are out selling to your clients, don’t sell them an orange when they need an apple. It will make you feel better. Your honesty will pay off in the long run. Walk away from the sale. Before you do, ask them for a referral. Those that appreciate your honesty will be more than willing to open their list of contacts to you.

4) Be Present: As I mentioned previously, sales is a numbers game. If you are not on the phone making calls, networking through social media, attending networking events or visiting existing clients; you are missing out on opportunities to sell.

When I was writing my book, it took me out of the loop for a while. It was amazing how low my opportunity funnel declined. Once I kicked myself in the butt and pushed myself to Be Present online through my blogs; go to events and making the phone calls; my funnel increased, tremendously.

“I’ve found that luck is quite predictable. If you want more luck, take more chances, be more active, show up more often.” ~ Brian Tracy

If you are struggling with connecting with others due to an out-of-balance schedule, doing something small can still keep your sales funnel healthy. Make two are three calls a day to existing clients or new prospects may be all you need. Going to one event every other week might also prove to be of value.

5) Make It Fun: Life is too short to work from a place of fear, boredom, or misery. When I feel a spell of doubt about selling, I implement a reward system. I set a goal for how many calls I would make for the day. Or I may set a goal of how many qualified contacts I will make at an event. Then I would reward myself with something. It maybe as simple as treating myself to an ice cream cone or watching a playful movie.

Selling to me, is the “wine and dine” period in the sales cycle. If I’m wooing a client, I have to present the best me. This means I have to walk into any meeting on get on a call with a positive, upbeat attitude. This attitude is often infectious to the client, also.

No one wants to work with a dud. Find a way to make selling fun. Take the fear out of it. As a business owner, you have got to love selling or else find someone who does. If you don’t, your business will not be around for long.

Whether you follow these tips or not, remember that no business that rely on revenue can exist without sales. Find a way to fall in love with the sales process and take your business to newer heights.


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Marlene M. Bryan is a Distinguished Toastmaster, DTM. She is a certified speaker and leader by Toastmasters International. She is currently the District 47 Public Relations Officer, and leader of the Public Relations Team. Sheprovides her services to over 3800 members throughout the district. Marlene is the owner of Marlene M. Bryan, Corp. She is a speaker, an author, and a coach. Pick up the latest copy of her book Live a Diamond Life, A Life of Purpose: Diamond Cutters at mbryan@marlenembryan.comandsmallbizevolution.com.

Diamond Cutters

Fear of crisis with businessman like an ostrich

Got problems? Face them before they become a crisis that buries your small business.

Many small businesses are started on hopes and dreams of the owners. We get excited in the beginning, knowing that we are fulfilling our desires of being entrepreneurs.

But the road to success is not always a smooth one. Problem rears its ugly head at the most inopportune time. Don’t bury your head in the sand and ignore it. Confront this problem before it confounds you and become a major crisis.

If you are one to avoid facing a problem, you may become a part of the problem. Face this problem by being a part of the solution instead. Doing so may divert your small business from becoming one of the those that are buried in the failed business graveyard.

Here are a few quotes to help inspire you to face problems:

  1.  “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” ~ Mother Teresa
  2. “A problem is a chance to help you do your best.” ~ Duke Ellington
  3. “Do one thing every day that scares you.”  ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
  4. Problems are not stop signs, they are guidelines. ~ Robert H. Schuller
  5. “We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.” ~ Maya Angelou
  6. “Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through the argument, debate and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand.” ~ Colin Powell
  7. “I never said it would be easy, I only said it would be worth it.” ~ Mae West
  8. Most people spend more time and energy going around problems than in trying to solve them. ~ Henry Ford
  9. I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow. When there’s that moment of ‘Wow, I’m not really sure I can do this,’ and you push through those moments, that’s when you have a breakthrough. ~ Marissa Mayer
  10. “You never fail until you stop trying.” ~ Albert Einstein

While some problems are easily solved, others are a challenge. Learn to face all your problems. Take note of the lesson learned. Strive to solve problems and avoid burying your head and your business along with it.


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The word Share on a cork notice board

Do you know sharing what you know and the spotlight with others can win you new clients?

The organizer of a book club, Imani at the Dania Beach Paul DeMaio Library, honored me by hosting a book signing event for my book, Live a Diamond Life, A Life of Purpose: Diamond Cutters. Ms. Hollis created a flyer to place in front of the library entrance and sent the event out to the subscribers of the library mailing list.


Generally, at these events, I would read excerpts of of the book; then sell and sign a copy for the purchaser. With the organizer’s permission, I decided to change this up a bit. I invited other authors, would-be authors, editors and a photographer to join us at the event. I wanted this to be a sharing and teaching moment.

First, I read excerpts from the book, then I had the other authors share about their books. The would-be authors were asked to share about the books he/she is writing. This was to encourage them to keep going and set a target date for completion.

Book signing 3-14-15

Next, the editor of my book, John Weir, explained to the audience what methods he uses to edit a book. He helped the authors learn about the editing process. Andrea Robinson, an associate editor of a local newspaper, informed the group how she and other editors like the authors to submit articles or press releases to them. Ms. Robinson and Mr. Weir’s information was what most of these authors needed to get a better understanding of editing a book and preparing press releases for their books.

The photographer, Leroy, has been shooting street photography for ten years. We met while I was waiting for a client at a coffee house. He told me about his works and I asked to see them. The images are very riveting. I connected him with some of the authors at the event. Some of them expressed that they want to purchase and utilize some of his images in their books or as a part of their book covers.

The energy level in the room was electrifying. Even the ones that came out just to learn more about my book said the event was a great experience for them. It felt great sharing the spotlight with others. Although I was able to share my message and sell my books, being able to share my experience and resources with the others was a thrill for me.

As a result of sharing this event with others, I gained two new clients, one of the attendees invited me to speak at the two book clubs she participates in, and the event organizer offered to conduct another session for me to do it all over again!

It is tempting at times to not want to share the limelight, but I find that sharing has more upsides than downsides. As a small business owner and an entrepreneur, learn to share your knowledge and perhaps some of your resources; if you can afford to do so. If you can’t, share referrals. Share something that you like about your clients with other clients. You will gain the gratitude of one and the respect of the other.

If you have won clients by sharing, please share it with us in the comments section. We would love to hear your story.


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Her smile and twinkling blue eyes welcomed me as I entered the classroom. Sister Mary Catherine was my fifth grade teacher. She stood perhaps 5 feet 3 inches. She wore her habit over her gray hair that protruded from beneath it. She had a soft voice that she did not have to raise for the twenty plus kids to pay attention to her.

Being a student of Sister Mary Catherine was a blessing for me. Today I share what I learned from this wonderful, strong woman that laid the foundation of my Entrepreneurial Spirit. I hope I am able to give her the honor she is due on International Women’s Day #IWD2015. Here are some of her habits I learned:

Be Welcoming: I was terrified of my first day in my new school, Sacred Heart, in my new country, the Untied States.  I came from Jamaica at the age of ten. My mother immediately enrolled my sister and me in this school. Interacting with new people and learning new customs was overwhelming. But Sister Mary Catherine’s smile was the beginning of my lesson of welcoming strangers with warmth.

Defend the Weak: It was rough for me to make friends with some of the students. The bully of the class had her crew tease me about my Jamaican accent. Whenever, they started, Sister Mary Catherine immediately stepped in. Her small stature seemed to grow into a large shield in front  of me, as she reprimanded these students to leave me alone. In her defense of me, Sister Mary Catherine taught me to stick up for justice and those that need a voice.

Use Your Knowledge and Skills to Win: She discovered that I had an aptitude for mathematics and science. Sister Mary Catherine would encourage me in these areas. She and my mother agreed that I would get extra homework to increase my knowledge and my skills in these disciplines.

Sister Mary Catherine entered me into a Science and Mathematics contest, I placed first in the school. I represented the school at the  county level and placed third in my age group. This taught me to use my passion, knowledge and skills to go after the things I want.

Sacrifice: American History was a challenge for me, because I was an immigrant. Sister Mary Catherine told my mother that she believed that I could skip the sixth grade and move to the seventh; if I mastered American History. She sacrificed her summer vacation to tutor me in American History. Her sacrifice opened a new world to me, the love of history. I won the History award at my school’s graduation ceremony two years later.

Research: Whenever I didn’t know a subject, Sister Mary Catherine encouraged me to research it. My mother purchased a set of encyclopedia (remember those) for me to explore the areas I didn’t understand. With Sister Mary Catherine’s prodding, I utilized those books many times to learn more. I still do conduct research in my career to learn new ways of marketing my products or to make a decision on a matter.

Compassion: Sister Mary Catherine’s compassion for others, her love of her faith, her sacrifice to make children like me become better people in this world, are just a few of her habits that I take with me everyday. Whenever I’m mentoring young children, the youth in my Toastmasters club, young adults or the grown folks, I draw from her’s habit of compassion to share with them.

Becoming an entrepreneur is a frightening journey. Yet armed with the lessons I’ve learned from Sister Mary Catherine, I know that it takes sacrifice to get where I want to go. It takes research to learn more about my field of expertise and how to service my clients. It takes having a welcoming spirit to get the clients to open up to me. It takes sticking with it to get through the doubts and fears. Finally, it takes using my talents, skills and knowledge to win in business and as a leader.

There is so much that I recall about Sister Mary Catherine that it would take pages to write about her. I did this in my book Live a Diamond Life, A Life of Purpose: Diamond Cutters. Diamond Cutters are what I call my coaches and mentors. The folks that have positively impacted my life. Sister Mary Catherine is one of my important Diamond Cutters.

Below are some of the medals I won at Sacred Heart School because of Sister Mary Catherine’s efforts and habits. Though I appreciate them and they sit in a special place in my home. They cannot replace the admiration and love I have for Sister Mary Catherine. I lost touch with her. I tried to reach out to her, but the school has since closed. I pray that she realizes the difference she made in my life and the lives of many other students. Thank you, Sister Mary Catherine!



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I quit my job text on cardboard

“You’re not the boss of me!” My little 5-year-old niece said to her much older brother one day. He was telling her to stop running in the house. I had to hide my smile as I instructed her to listen to her brother, because he didn’t want her to get hurt.

Reflecting on her declaration of independence, I thought about the times I wanted to scream the same thing to some of my bosses. How I yearned to venture out on my own. Once I finally did, I realized it wasn’t so easy.

Gone were some of the predictabilities of having someone to tell you what to do. Gone was someone holding you accountable for getting your tasks done. Gone were the scheduled meetings that helped you to keep things on track.

Three of the big challenges for me were: self-discipline, accountability and time management.

Harry S. Truman once stated: “In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won was over themselves… self-discipline with all of them came first.”

1) Self-Discipline: I had to summon my willpower to do the things that makes a business successful. Even the ones that I didn’t enjoy. Sometimes I had to push myself to act, instead of overthinking a project. I created my business plan. I took the time to research the marketplace to find my target audience. 

Cold calling is not fun, but I make it fun to get to my prospects. I make time to read and learn more about my audience. Continuous learning also helps to improve my skills. This ensures that the products and services I offer is up-to-date and relevant.

Before you head out on your own, think about some of the bad habits you have. What could   cause you to stumble if you do not control yourself? Make a note of it. Commit to practice self-discipling. The more you practice self-discipline in a certain area of your life, the easier it is to accomplish that task.

“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” – Proverbs 27:17

2) Accountability: It is difficult to keep oneself accountable. Therefore, I turn to others to keep me accountable. I have a few great friends that I can share what goals I have to meet. They hold me accountable for achieving those goals. My mother notorious for keeping me accountable. If I tell her that I’m writing a proposal for a client, during our next phone conversation she would ask if I’ve finished it. She does so, because she cares about my success.

Find your accountability partner. Someone that genuinely cares about your success. Share your goals with him or her. You will be grateful to know that amazing folks are in your corner helping to make you better.

“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.” – Zig Ziglar

3) Time Management: Zig Ziglar’s quote is so true. We all have twenty-four hour days. Yet, we may think there is just not enough time in a day. I used to believe that strongly. Until I took Dr. Stephen Covey’s course “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” It was one of the best courses I participated in.  I learned to management what I do within the 24 hours I am given. I also learned to set priorities and say no to things that do not impact my productivity or positivity level.

As your own boss, you will need to prioritize your activities. By planning your activities throughout the day; you are able to adjust your schedule should an emergency come along. Once you deal with that emergency you can quickly return to your schedule. It is eye-opening to see how many hours one can waste when we don’t plan or budget our time wisely.

As I mentioned, being your own boss won’t always be easy. Yet, if you practice self-discipline, hold yourself accountable and utilize your time properly, it won’t be as difficult. Perhaps you will be able to declare your own independence to your boss, like my 5-year-old niece did to her older brother.

Come learn about writing your first book and get a copy of my book: Live a Diamond Life, A Life of Purpose: Diamond Cutters, Saturday, March 14, 2015 3-5 p.m. at the Dania Beach Paul Demaio Library, 1 Park Ave., East Dania Beach, FL 33004.



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