You’ve heard the story before. A young gun 20-something in Sales living the bachelor’s life at a fast pace. He’s making it happen with all the material possessions that point to success – a nice paycheck, condo, a Porsche in the garage and late nights at all the hot spots in town.
Then Steve Fretzin climbed into a small plane and his outlook on life as an entrepreneur changed forever.
“I was taking a little mini-vacation with some friends and flew up to Eagle River, Wisconsin for the day to play around. One of my friends was the pilot. On our return flight, we lost our engine thousands of feet up.”
The plane crashed into a house in Crystal Lake. While feeling lucky to have survived the experience, Fretzin was badly hurt and his recovery over the next several months was anything but pleasant.
“Basically, it was the most excruciating pain I had ever felt in my life,” Fretzin recalls. “I had torn the meniscus in my knee, broken right arm and dislocated my left shoulder and hip from my body. Meanwhile, I was having nightmares about falling out of the sky.”
Upon healing after the long road back, Fretzin had the wake-up call about having a greater perspective on life and “living every day as if it were your last,” that you might expect when one has a life-altering experience. But it wasn’t confined to his personal relationships. He had a wake-up call for his career too.
“Though I seemingly had a lot of nice material things, I was lost in my priorities and overall desire to make the most of each day,” he says. “Once I peeled back the layers of the onion, I realized that I wasn’t really happy in my job. I was going through the motions and needed to get serious about the meaning behind what I did for a living. What could I do every day where I could look myself in the mirror and feel good about my role in this world?”
Today, as the President of Sales Results, Inc., Fretzin has become one of the top sales trainers in the Chicagoland area and has appeared on several media outlets as an authority on sales, networking and how to create deeper connections in business through developing strategic partnerships.
Hopefully you’ll never have a traumatic experience as Fretzin did in order to find the focus of your life’s work, but here are the top 5 suggestions he makes to entrepreneurs struggling with how to channel their professional purpose:
#1 No matter how smart you are, everyone needs help.
Find someone who knows more than you and has a skill set you don’t have. Bring people into your life who help you. “Thomas Edison didn’t do everything on his own,” Fretzin explains. “He actually surrounded himself with people who had complementary skill sets. Just as the President does with his Cabinet. So ask yourself who you can bring in as a friend, partner and mentor to help you. Top executives have coaches. I continue to do that with my business every day.”
#2 Genuinely help people and build relationships so that when you need help, you can call on them.
You can’t just be a “Taker” – you need to get to know people, help people and stay in contact for the relationship to blossom. You shouldn’t just sit on your rear end and expect strong relationships to happen.
#3 Time is your most precious asset
“My whole day revolves around business development – but it’s not just about sending out e-mails,” Fretzin says. As he sees it, entrepreneurs often have a difficult time shoving off the “busywork” that might be done during off hours, which interferes with what absolutely needs to happen during the day. “You’ve got to get out there doing productive things for your business. Who are your strategic partners? When was the last time you were in touch with them and what referrals have you brought one another lately? What networking events are you attending? Can working on that proposal wait until later tonight so you aren’t eating up precious face time with people today?”
Even here, Fretzin says that people can confuse activity with progress. Which is why he is a big proponent of setting an agenda for each meeting and by the end of that meeting, both parties agreeing to specific and actionable steps to see if there’s a fit from a networking or sales perspective.
#4 Never stop learning.
It is critical to continue your education and never stop learning. Whether it’s learning sales, how to interpret web analytics or social media, it’s imperative to commit yourself to learning new things. People who stop learning and believe they’ve learned all they’re going to learn will get stale. If you do read something you know, it’s will simply reinforce that you are on the right track.
#5 Don’t “sell” people, but rather walk them through a buying decision.
That’s right. A sales coach which is telling you not to sell in order to drive the business forward. In his new book entitled “Sales-Free Selling: The Death of Sales and the Rise of a New Methodology,” Fretzin explains that in today’s competitive marketplace, there’s no reason to carry the traditional sales approach into a meeting.
“People don’t want to be sold. What you really need to do is walk the buyer through a decision. When you stop selling and start listening more, you’re in a much better position to understand a buyers needs and help them make a better business decision.”
In a time where we hustle through life trying to make sense of it all, it is critical to reflect on what you have, what you want and how you are going to make the most of each day. In the words of Mr. Fretzin, “live each day as if it were your last. You’ll be surprised how much you accomplish.”
Read more: http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20121219/BLOGS06/121219757/entrepreneur-crashes-and-finds-career-purpose-from-the-wreckage#ixzz2FWaGsQea
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