A message to share and inspire others

In 1998 Baz Luhrman released an album called “Something for everybody”.

Out of all of the songs featured on this album, one and only one has stuck with me and continues to inspire me to travel through my memories and explore myself as a person. “Everybody’s free to wear sunscreen”. If you have never paid close attention to the lyrics, please take the time to read them now. It’s one of those songs that will be forever relevant to any human’s journey through life as a young person looking ahead and as an older person reflecting on their youthful days.

**Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of ’12,

Wear sunscreen. If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis or reliable then my own meandering experience.  I will dispense this advice….now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind, you won’t understand the power and beauty of your youth until they’ve faded, but trust me in 20 years, you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.

Don’t worry about the future, or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum.

The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind: the kind that blindsides you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.

Sing.

Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts; don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.

Floss.

Don’t waste your time on jealousy.  Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind.  The race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive; forget the insults. (If you succeed in doing this, tell me how).

Keep your old love letters; throw away your old bank statements.

Stretch.

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life.  The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives; some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t.

Get plenty of Calcium.  Be kind to your knees — you’ll miss them when they’re gone.

Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t.  Maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t.  Maybe you’ll divorce at 40; maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary.

Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself, either.  Your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s.

Enjoy your body: use it every way you can.  Don’t be afraid of it or what other people think of it; it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.

Dance…even if you have no where to do it but in your own living room.

Read the directions (even if you don’t follow them).

Do not read beauty magazines; they will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents; you never know when they’ll be gone for good.

Be nice to your siblings: they’re your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but what a precious few should hold on.  Work hard to bridge the gaps and geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard.

Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.

Travel.

Accept certain inalienable truths: prices will rise, politicians will philander, you too will get old; and when you do, you’ll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble, and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don’t expect anyone else to support you.  Maybe you have a trust fund, maybe you’ll have a wealthy spouse, but you never know when either one might run out.

Don’t mess too much with your hair or by the time you are 40, it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it.  Advice is a form of nostalgia; dispensing it is a way of wishing the past from the disposal–wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts, and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

But trust me, I’m the sunscreen.

I hope you enjoyed it

Nancy

**The year quoted has been changed by me to suit the present

The lyrics were written in 1997 by Mary Schmich 

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5 tips about how not to sell

We have all experienced the act of selling and being sold to in our lives.  The question is when do we like being sold to?

As consumers, we receive countless phone calls and marketing leaflets encouraging us to buy or rather “act now” because you don’t want to miss this deal.  What some salespeople and companies don’t realise is that regardless of their targets or quotas, the customer has to need or want the product or service.  Competition is tough, but not that tough where companies should feel the need to pressure their staff into selling something that a potential customer does not need or want. Even companies that we do business with sometimes miss the point of valuing their existing customers.

My husband and I recently received a letter from our bank, stating that they have tried to contact us on several occasions to no avail.  The account manager did not even provide his full name, only his initials and as for trying to contact us.. they only had our mobile numbers, email addresses, home phone number and an on-line banking messaging facility to do this…. hmmmm this was obviously a ploy to get us to arrange an appointment to “review” our services hoping that we will buy more.  This is sadly the standard way that a lot of companies are managing customers these days, but is it the right way and what are their competitors doing? Maybe we would have contacted them if their approach was more personal.

When I was a kid, the biggest running jokes were the encyclopedia salesman and of course the stereotypical used car salesman.  In most cases, these salesmen were “groomed” to persuade the customer that they wanted what they were selling, without finding out what they actually needed or wanted. Countless families ended up with a set of bulky, dusty books that quickly became outdated. (my family were one of them)  What do I remember from these antique paperweights?  The pictures of course and being one of the lucky ones that didn’t have to carry the box of bulkiness when we moved to another home.  As for the used car salesmen, well.. you only have watch the movie “Used Cars” to know what I’m talking about.

So without further ado, here are my 5 tips on how NOT to sell:

  1. Do not treat selling as an art-  (You may be a sales genius, but leave the art factor to Michelangelo please)
  2. Do  not hustle your customers- (I know this is quite a harsh statement, but customers will only remain loyal to you if you provide an honest service, quality products and good value for money)
  3. Do not treat sales as a transaction- (Yes, it is a transaction however; if you are purely treating it as a transaction you are  missing out on providing a good customer experience)
  4. Do not treat selling as a science- (Okay, for some it may be considered to be a formula or experiment relating to the perfect way to seal the deal, but try thinking more about how you will continue to keep the customer coming back)
  5. Do not guilt your customers into buying- (Informing your customers that you will win a holiday in the Caribbean for two if they buy your product or service is well…. wrong and I’m sure you’ll agree)

Now for those of you who know me, it’ll be quite clear that I’ll be finishing this blog off on a positive note…

Here is what selling means to me:

  • Selling is finding out the customers need and then filling it
  • Selling is all about relationship building
  • Selling is about trust
  • Selling is coming to a mutual agreement

By the way, I like being sold to if the salesperson has done their research and really cares about what I want or need.  That’s not an Art..that’s a Skill.

Thanks for reading!

Nancy