So, Like, How Can I, Um, Clean Up My Speech?

Our brains don’t like silence, so they fill in the gaps with words. But these “filler words” can make us sound unsure. Do this to keep your credibility. Have you ever been in a meeting and heard the speaker say something like this: “We need to, um, focus our attention, on aah, this proposal.” We often use filler words – um, aah, so, like – when we’re trying to think of the next thing to say. Our brains don’t like silence, so it fills in the gap with words.

4 Hiring Practices You Needed to Drop Yesterday (and What to Do Instead)

Today's job-seeker requires a whole new hiring strategy, and employers need to adapt. In recent years, the power in the hiring process has shifted to the job-seeker. From company career sites to employer-review platforms like Glassdoor, job-seekers have access to endless information about a company. As a result, they’re better informed and able to go about the job search in a new way. Employers? They have yet to adapt.

Diversify or Suffer the Consequences

Many industries have businesses that suffer from client concentration. The company lands a desirable client, gains more market share, picks up additional business lines, and before long, that client is generating a disproportionately large percentage of the company’s overall revenues and profits. The company is now at risk. What if the client changes things suddenly and without warning? Will your company weather this storm or will it suffer irreparable harm because of it?

6 Out-of-the-Box Ways to Up Your Sales

Identify your customers' individual needs and prove your value. Regardless of what line of business you are in, your company is unlikely to flourish if you can't drive strong sales. But where do you turn when your best tried-and-true sales methods are leaving you cold? How do you convince potential customers that your product is the one they've been looking for? Below, six entrepreneurs share their best out-of-the-box techniques to close the deal and keep clients coming back time and again.

Don’t Bet the Farm on Brainstorming

I can tell you with some precision the moment I first doubted group brainstorming. This was many moons ago. A medium sized media firm that wanted to grow much larger had engaged my consulting services. They held a company-wide powwow, flying most of the managers and yours truly to corporate headquarters in Darkest Peru. The CEO was a good speaker. He shared his vision for the company in broad strokes. He then invited us to help build on that by filling out post-it notes and placing them all over the room – grouped by category and recorded via camera phones for future use.

Why Talented People Don’t Use Their Strengths

If you watched the Super Bowl a few months ago, you probably saw the coaches talking to each other over headsets during the game. What you didn’t know is that during the 2016 season, the NFL made major league-wide improvements to its radio frequency technology, both to prevent interference from media using the same frequency and to prevent tampering. This was a development led by John Cave, VP of football technology at the National Football League. It’s been incredibly helpful to the coaches. But it might never have been built, or at least Cave wouldn’t have built it, had it not been for his boss, Michelle McKenna-Doyle, CIO of the NFL.

Make it Easier for Prospective Clients to Buy

To simplify the buying process for B2B customers, sales reps should guide them through the complexities that precede a purchase. Customers and buyers have changed in the new, digital environment. B2B customers have access to more information, have to gain more buy-in internally and have a growing number of options to evaluate. By the time these customers interact with sellers, they have a slew of questions and demands. Sales organizations then respond with prompt information and answers and adjust offerings to better meet customer needs.

Why Employment Probation Periods are Ineffective

Can you ever imagine HR ever uttering these words, “For the crime of agreeing to work for us, you're on probation"? Well, it happens every single day. The concept of the employment probation period is a corporate carry-over from days long gone, but it's time to shut it down. Before the pro-probation enthusiasts attack, let me be absolutely clear - I get it, hiring the wrong person can be costly, and those costs are climbing. A 90-day employment probation period is a sensible safeguard that ensures a new employee is the right fit, but if she's not, the manager and employee can just shake hands and part as friends, right?

Want to Keep Your Employees? HR Pros Share Their Best Defense Against Turnover

Hiring great employees can be a significant challenge for businesses. Even more difficult is keeping those employees around. In the current landscape of talent wars and job-hopping, retention can seem like a nearly impossible task, but it's one that must be prioritized: Employee turnover can cost organizations tens of thousands of dollars per year. If you've noticed a couple of team members submitting their resignation, don't panic. There are steps you can take to defend against turnover and keep your staff happy and comfortable enough to stick around.

Dealing with a Manipulative Person

Manipulative people are challenging and terrifying to deal with. They prey on fear, insecurity, and uncertainty to get what they want. Deception isn’t out of bounds for them. Dealing with them requires you to change the game. We’ve all encountered or dealt with a manipulative person at some point in our career. These people induce fear, anxiety, and stress. In some cases they will stop at nothing to get what they want.

Deductive vs Inductive Reasoning: Make Smarter Arguments, Better Decisions, and Stronger Conclusions

You can’t prove truth, but using deductive and inductive reasoning, you can get close. Learn the difference between the two types of reasoning and how to use them when evaluating facts and arguments. As odd as it sounds, in science, law, and many other fields, there is no such thing as proof — there are only conclusions drawn from facts and observations. Scientists cannot prove a hypothesis, but they can collect evidence that points to its being true.

How to Recruit and Promote Effective Managers

Promoting your best salesperson to a management position is no guarantee the individual will be an effective sales manager. The same goes for promoting any top performer to management. You just never know. Management requires certain skills and not everyone has them, high performers included. Recruiting effective managers, either by promoting people from within the organization or by going outside, can be a difficult task and sometimes those appointments wind up as colossal failures.

You May Need to Adjust Your Calling Practices: Verizon

If you haven't yet learned about efforts by carriers or software providers to block or label automated calls to consumers, you soon will. Or at least you certainly should. When you dig in, you'll learn that there are more than 500 application (app) providers, which consider themselves 'editorial services,' and four major carriers (though there are many more smaller ones) which have recently been given permission by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to a) not deliver certain calls and b) provide their customers with the ability to opt-in to additional blocking/labeling services to help avoid fraudulent or unwanted calls.

Sandler Brief: Is This Prospect Qualified?

Jim had been working on a big deal for four months. Before he gave his presentation, his sales manager asked, “Is this prospect qualified?” Jim answered “Yes” with total confidence. The next day, however, he learned that a competitor had gotten the deal – because of a very recent change in his contact’s buying priorities. Jim hadn’t picked up on this change. During his debrief with his sales manager, Jim asked, “What do you think I could have done differently?”

B2B Selling in the Digital Age

We chat with Manny Medina, CEO of sales acceleration tool company Outreach, about where salespeople, sales tech, and alignment with marketing is headed in the age of data, AI and digitally empowered buyers. Sales professionals operate in the same hyper-digital environment as marketing professionals, but the B2B buyer's journey has changed so drastically in the digital environment that B2B sales professionals need to recalibrate their mindset, approach, and tools to achieve their goals effectively.

3 Small Mistakes That Can Totally Mess Up Your Business

You work hard to stay ahead as an entrepreneur. It'd be a shame to fall behind because of a few simple mistakes. In business, as in life, the devil is in the details. You might have a great product, a great team and a great work ethic. You might have enthusiasm and ambition out the wazoo. Even with all that talent, however, you can get tripped up by paying insufficient attention to a few small, unsexy subjects that are easy to overlook but crucially important. I've been tripped up a few times myself, and know plenty of entrepreneurs who've made similar errors.

Want to Avoid Hiring People You Can't Trust Later? Ask These 5 Powerful Interview Questions

Warren Buffett famously said that you should interview for intelligence, energy, and integrity. And if they don't have the last one, don't bother. Are you a hiring manager or a person who conducts interviews as part of your job? Well, if you're not employing the science of behavioral interviewing in your hiring process, you're risking disaster by bringing in the wrong people. Behavioral interviews are the foolproof method to validate skills, strengths, and job fit on the basis of fact, not theory or vagueness.

6 Leadership Strategies to Build a Bulletproof Business

Excellence. It’s the focus of every leader. It’s the aspiration of those who seek to make a mark. How to achieve organizational excellence is the subject of a new book by David Mattson, CEO of Sandler Training. THE ROAD TO EXCELLENCE: 6 Leadership Strategies To Build A Bulletproof Business is the result of his research and experience as a CEO of a global organization. I asked him to share some of his leadership insights as well as some blind spots that can catch business leaders off guard with potentially disastrous consequences.

A Modern Approach to Productivity for Entrepreneurs and Executives

Many entrepreneurs, executives and digital nomads are changing their daily habits and routines in the name of maximizing their personal and business productivity. Sparked by Tim Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich, this mindset emphasizes “lifestyle design” by doing more in less hours in order to earn “mini-retirements.” Movements like Ferriss' are a part of a larger influx of philosophies aimed at improving individual health and productivity.

Here’s When it’s Actually Good to Multitask

Yes, most of the time trying to do more than one thing at a time just means you are doing several things poorly. But there are some exceptions. Multitasking has a terrible rep in productivity circles. Ever since the “deep work” movement hit the mainstream corporate world, “monotasking” became the gold standard. Multitasking is reportedly detrimental to our brains, causes our IQ to drop, and is one of the biggest time wasters of our era.