Guest Blog: Burning bridges, by Nick Elston

For those people who know me – or have heard many of my Speaking Engagements – a common theme is to title my talk, no matter the subject – with the title of a Country Music song.

Yes, I am an odd bloke!

But, the reason why I do this is because it forms a strong emotional connection between my mind and the content of my talk.For me, Country Music is what I have grown up with –I believe the lyrics speak to my very soul – and I form memories and attachments around songs – which can transport me to a different time, mood or outlook immediately.

Don’t believe me? What about your Wedding song – or the time you jumped around, completely...erm...drunk...to Summer of ’69 by Bryan Adams? Or the first song that was playing when you met the love of your life? Or the song you sing at every football game you go to? Think about that a moment...I guarantee you will be able to see my point.

So, back to the title of todays post Burning Bridges– an awesome track from a true Country Legend – Garth Brooks. Here is a sample of the lyrics which I refer to for this months Sales advice; 

Knowing that the day  
My lesson's finally learned  
I'll be standing at a river  
Staring out across tomorrow  
And the bridge I need to get there  
Will be a bridge that I have burned  
Burning bridges one by one  
What I'm doin' can't be undone  
And I'm always hoping someday
 I'm gonna stop this runnin' around  
But every time the chance comes up  
Another bridge goes down  
Another bridge goes down

Do you see the lesson in this? This can be applied to any area of life.  

If so – great, thanks for reading this and keep it Country! 

burning bridges

No? Ok – let me explain more...

Are you a busy fool? Serious question, ask yourself that now...

Its easily done. I do it. Even after (cough) years in Selling!

networking effectively

Is your diary full of;

  • Networking meetings you don't maximise the potential of?
  • Meetings with no agenda, outcome or added value?
  • Staff meetings that have no relevance or you have no input into?
  • Over commitment – with the best of intentions – to things that hold no benefit?

Or, do you do these things to save time;

  • Fire unstructured emails out to prospects hoping one will stick?
  • Go for the sale way too early by poor prospecting?
  • Ruin your chances with a key prospect by not doing your research?
  • You don't invest time in preparing quality content as you haven't got time?
  • Write off Social Media and Marketing as a luxury?
networking and marketing effectively

You need to remember these things;

  • Know your why

  • Keep it simple

  • Keep your eyes on the prize

As I said, trust me, I fall in to the trap of doing all of the above – I suffer from shiny object syndrome–its important to know your weaknesses as well as your strengths!

So what I am currently doing is – QUESTIONING EVERYTHING!

Big challenge eh? I mean everything – from the minute I wake up – even to why do I get up at that time – would I be better getting up earlier – or later? Right through to looking at the value of everything I do in the day – not just business – but also on my Wellbeing – the food you eat, the fluids you drink – the amount of sleep and switch off time I get. Do it tomorrow, you'll be amazed at how you feel when you isolate what you do and see how you can do it better – or not at all!

Actually, make it a monthly sanity check! Now, many people will massively frown at what I am going to say next – but:

Don't put an ROI on everything!

What do I mean by this – this statement that flies in the face of the norm in business?

What I mean is that some things I do are for Personal Development – for example, in one of my business networks – I do not monitor the financial return from the meetings – but I use it as a testing ground for new talks that I am preparing, for a positive boost for the day ahead and also to gather insight from many different businesses and individuals.  

There is no £ to put above this – but I know how invaluable that space is in breaking out of comfort zones, testing new material and building my networks and increasing my profile.

So think bigger picture when you are reviewing things.

So, what happens, in a business context when you DON'T do the things that I have mentioned above? 

  • You will lose prospects.
  • You will not show people your best self.
  • Your reputation will suffer.
  • Your credibility will decrease.
  • You miss out on opportunities by not working smarter.
  • Your conversion rates will dive.
  • You end up letting people down. 

And the side effects to you;

  • Lack of confidence.
  • Self-belief nose dives.
  • Takes focus away from your Wellbeing.
  • Increases anxiety & pressure.
  • Negatively affects your health.

So your homework for this month is this;

  • Know your why – why do you do what you do?
  • Keep it simple – what do you do that doesn't have to happen, or can be done smarter?
  • Keep your eyes on the prize – align your activity with how you want your end game to be.
  • Perform a monthly sanity check on your life – business & personal – Your new essential tool!

 Or....

Another bridge goes down....

And as always, I am always happy to help you – just tweet me @NickElston_ or look me up on LinkedIn...Have a fantastic month ahead – smash it!