Building People. Spreading Hope.

Monday, June 23, 2014

How to Sell to Anyone

Whether you realize it or not, everyone is selling something. Of course, none of us like being sold to, but the fact of the matter is, we’re always either buying or selling from each other.

Robert Stevenson said, “Anyone who sells a product, services or an idea is a salesperson.” For example, a mother sells her values to a child. The rewards are emotional and not monetary. As a minister, I “sell” the idea of Christianity to people who have not yet experienced Christ as their Lord and Savior. As a professional, when a person sells a solution, it is called a win-win because both parties end up gaining. The bigger the problem you solve the more profit you make!

Sales people often make the mistake of pushing their product. They’re eager for a quick gain but it’s not very effective in the long run. Always remember that people don’t buy products and services; they buy the experience of you. This is why it is so important to focus on building relationships and not so much on hard sales.

Be a better listener. You’ve heard the phrase, “If you’re telling, you’re not selling.” If you’re always dominating the conversation, you’re losing. It is far superior to learn the art of asking open-ended questions. I spent a lot of money and hundreds of hours watching interviews by Larry King on multiple DVDs because he could talk to anybody — presidents, film stars, celebrities, drunks, and crazy politicians! More accurately, he puts everyone at ease and they’re willing to share with him. Today, people compliment me as being a good listener. Why? It is because I take genuine interest in the person I’m in front of. This is what Jesus did. He took time to talk to ONE Samaritan woman by the well and the whole city came to know Him! Ask about the person, their family, values, and their lifestyle. The more they talk, the better educated you’ll be to provide a solution to their need. My banker friend Gale Wagner always says, “We’re interested in YOU and not just your money.” What a great way to add value to people!

Believe in yourself and your product. As a doctor, if you’re not going to give that medicine to your child, then it’s unethical to prescribe it to others. If you’re going to sell anything, you must believe in it. Recently, I was talking to a friend who needed to sell certain services to his constituency. He had been working hard but something was missing. I told him to share his passion with the people he was contacting and ask, with boldness, if they wanted to provide a solution to his cause. Within three days he had raised thousands of dollars for his mission. What was the difference? He added conviction to his cause. People see you as you see yourself. If they don’t see your faith, enthusiasm, and desire to help others, people won’t buy from you.

Don’t focus on the price, focus on value. You have no competition because there’s no one like you! Certainly, consumers want to buy the best and pay the least. But any sensible person knows that you get what you pay for. You have to find creative ways to add value to your customers. I know business owners who have full-time employees to answer the phone. Why is that? It is because human nature is to feel important. Nobody likes to talk to a machine. If you’re providing value, your customers will pay for your product.

Always do what is right for the customer. Once, my suitcase was lost during international travel. It was not a pleasant experience because the airline didn’t even know where my luggage was. Finally, the airline sent me a settlement check compensating me for my lost luggage. Only a couple of days after that, I got a phone call from a different airline in Mexico City (it was not my destination) saying they had found my lost suitcase. A few things were missing but I got my luggage back. Since I got most of my belongings back, I called the airline and asked them where I could send a check because they’d now overpaid for my lost items. They said, “Mr. Anderson, you can keep the whole check. We’re sorry for your inconvenience. We hope you will travel with us again.” Yes, I will. Why? It is because they did me right as a customer.

Friend, this week go out and believe that you can sell. Internally, you must see yourself closing a sale long before you talk to a customer. Talk less, listen more. People don’t care how much you know unless they know how much you care. Believe in yourself, believe in your product,and most of all, believe in the favor of God. He wants to bless you so that you can be a blessing to the world. I’m praying for you!

"The LORD your God will then make you successful in everything you do. He will give you many children and numerous livestock, and he will cause your fields to produce abundant harvests, for the LORD will again delight in being good to you as he was to your ancestors” (Deuteronomy 30:9 NLT).

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Friday, June 20, 2014

Don’t Curse the Wind

When things are not going our way, we tend to think God has forgotten us. Our lives are out of control, therefore, God must be mad at us. This may be how we feel but we serve a God who is intimately involved in every affair of our lives.

At the turn of the century, cod fish were in high demand on the east coast. News of this tasty fish spread across the country, all the way to the west coast. However, there was a problem. How could they get the fish across the country and still keep it fresh? They tried to freeze the fish and send it by rail, the fastest means at the time. When it was prepared, it turned out to be very mushy and lacking in flavor. Then someone decided to ship the fish live — turning railroad cars into huge saltwater aquariums. When the cod fish arrived, they were still alive but when prepared, they were still mushy and tasteless. After studying the cod fish someone discovered that their natural enemy was the catfish. This time when the cod fish were put in the tanks, they placed a few catfish in with them. Those catfish chased the cod fish across the country all the way to the west coast. This time when they were prepared, they were flaky and had the same flavor as they did when they were caught fresh and prepared on the east coast. You see, the catfish kept the cod from becoming stale. The catfish kept them fresh.

This may sound like a bad news to you but let me assure you, God will never allow more “catfish” into your life than you can handle. The sickness, financial difficulty, divorce, pain, and problems are there, not to destroy you, but to propel you into your ultimate victory. Shift happens! But nothing happens to you, everything happens for you.

I travel quite a bit. At times, the pilot would announce that our flight would take longer because the tail-wind was against us. It’s disheartening to think we have to sit on the long stretch of a flight for an extra hour or two. However, there are times when the pilot announces that the journey will be shortened because the tail-wind is in our favor.

We don’t want to wait. We like for everything to be instant. Fortunately, God is not Burger King. You can’t have it your way and eat it too! The same God who is in control of our lives in the good times is in control of our lives in our “bad” times. He is orchestrating our lives. He promised never to leave us nor forsake us. He would never allow the difficult things into our lives unless He could use them to deliver us. God is always looking at our best interest. He will never let us end in a minus; with God, we’re always going to be plus. What looks like a setback now is actually a setup. The same wind that is blowing against you will propel you to a place of greater blessing and influence.

Have you ever been lost while driving? When we find ourselves confused, what do we do? We look for our GPS, don’t we? When we type the right destination into that little device, it automatically calculates another route to get us there in approximately the same time, if not sooner. Even when we’ve made a mistake, the GPS will correct our course and take us to the right destination. Friend, God has already pre-programmed you for health, success, peace, and prosperity. His Word is like the GPS. The Bible is the Guide Book for life! I encourage you to read the life-manual for directions in your life. It will give you strength and purpose. His Word will lead and guide you and act as an umpire. Even when we make a bad choice or fall victim to others, He will still get us to our original destination on time. He is never out of sight from our lives. He controls the wind and the “catfish” in our lives!

Remember, the kite only rises against the wind. Only dead fish float downstream. A rainbow is visible only after the rain. My challenge to you today is not to curse the wind. Every negative situation in your life is not from the devil. The enemy may have meant it for harm but God is going to make sure the tail-wind is in your favor and you get to your desired destination safely and on time. The “catfish” are there only to will keep you fresh. You don’t have to figure everything out. The Master Designer of your life has it all figured out. He will take your trials and cause you to triumph. Your trial will become your testimony. Your tears will turn into your treasure. Your pain will produce a purpose. Enjoy the journey my friend! God is not only with you, He is for you. I love you and I’m praying for you.

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (I Corinthians 10:13 ESV).

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Sunday, June 15, 2014

Magnify the Good

We all go through difficulties in life. We can either chose to magnify the good or the bad. When we dwell on the good, we glorify God. When we’re being negative, we’re diminishing His power working in us.

If you’re fighting a sickness in your body, it’s ok to acknowledge your illness or express how you’re feeling. You can be real about the pain in your body. You need to get well but don’t just say that you’re sick. Go on to declare that you’re healed by the stripes of Jesus! When you magnify God’s ability, you’ll experience the supernatural power of healing.

I’m sure you’ve experimented with a magnifying glass. When we hold it up against something, it doesn’t change its size, instead it changes our perception. In the same way, when we magnify God, we don’t make Him bigger than He is. We make Him look bigger in our own eyes. We can chose to magnify the goodness of God or what the enemy is doing. Every father wants to bless his bragging child. Our heavenly Father is the same way. We cannot make Him bigger than He already is but when we talk about His bigness, mercy, and kindness, we’ll draw in the good happening to us. You say, “Isn’t that flattery?” Not, if you do it sincerely. Love God and be grateful for what He’s done already.

Today, if you’re going through a slump in your business or you are in lack, you need to focus on God’s goodness to provide. Just the fact that you’re still here is a testimony of His mercy. God has promised to never leave you. He has promised to supply all your needs. God’s sending you clients that you don’t know about. Good breaks, inheritance, and promotions have been released in your immediate future. Don’t get sucked into the temporary. Everything you see now is subject to change. Say, “I’m blessed and highly favored.” When you speak faith, you release God’s goodness.

One of the greatest sources of frustration is our family. The devil tries so hard to put family members against each other. Don’t let that be you. Your family is the only people God has hand-picked for you. Find ways to unite. Don’t be so touchy and easily offended. Overlook a few faults. Never speak negative or angry words that hurt like a burn long after they’re said. Of course they have flaws but that’s why you’re there. Show them that you love them—unconditionally. Men, be willing and available to listen (without interruption) to your own wife and children without making them feel like it’s a burden. Wives, admire your own husband as you do with other men. When we create an environment of love, peace, acceptance, and honor then we’re building a good family. Eventually, they’ll reciprocate.

There are times in your life when you can see the good in others but you just can’t find anything good in you to celebrate. This is a very dangerous way to live. If you want to be happy, you need to take time to find the good in, and for, yourself. It’s okay to love, admire, and inspire others but you must also learn to celebrate the genius in you. God made you in His own image. You belong to the Royal class. You may have a few flaws but don’t let them deter you from celebrating you! One of the best ways you can do that is to learn to encourage yourself. The scriptures say, “David encouraged himself in the Lord.”  You must find a way to become your own cheerleader. You’re important. You matter. You cannot give what you do not have. It’s never about you but it must start with you having a healthy self-image of who you are in Christ.

Friend, no matter what you’re facing, magnify what God is doing. Focus on what you have and not what you lack. Develop a healthy self-image. Love others the way you love yourself. Give and you shall receive. You have more going for you than against you. Say what you want and you’ll see what you say. Magnify the good. Magnify God!

“Come, let us tell of the LORD's greatness; let us exalt his name together” (Psalm 34:3 NLT).

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Monday, June 9, 2014

Shake it Off

We all go through disappointment, doubt, and discouragement. It is not wrong to feel defeated at times. However, if we don’t learn to shake off our disappointments quickly, then we’ll lose valuable time regretting things beyond our control.

Most of our disappointments are due to our lack of better judgement. I know people who made a mistake thirty years ago but they’re still sitting on the sideline of life lamenting it. They’ve allowed themselves to be the prisoners of their past. Others are victims of their fellowmen. Unjust things were said or done to them. It was unfair. However, they’ve allowed unforgiveness and bitterness to take root in them. Now they’re breathing but not living. No matter how the disappointment or hurt got into you, you’ve got to let it go. Unless we learn to quickly shake off the negative words, experiences, and deeds done against us, we will not live a fulfilled life.

The other day I was putting gas in my car. I saw a young attendant, Rebecca, cleaning up the trash can right by my car. I asked her if she was going to college. She said, “Yes.” I was very impressed and told her that she was going to go places in her life. She smiled and moved on to the next trash can. I was still waiting to fill up my tank when the Holy Spirit gently nudged me in reminder that I hadn’t done anything practical to show her God’s love. When I finished filling up my gas tank, I drove around looking for her and called her to my window. When she came over, I gave her one of my inspirational CDs and some money to buy her lunch. I reminded her again that God loved her and He will reward her hard work. Rebecca was very happy and grateful.

I was feeling good about reaching out to Rebecca. I wasn’t paying attention to where I was driving. Accidentally, I was exiting the gas station from the entry point. Immediately I realized my mistake. The first car came by while I was waiting for the traffic to clear. I had my hands up in apology. He didn’t seem to mind and went around my car at the wrong exit. I still had my hands up in apology when the second car came around. This man wasn’t as forgiving as the first one. He was shaking his fingers and yelling at me. Even though the windows were closed, I could feel the rage in this man! I was so taken aback. Of course, I was in the wrong exit. It was a mistake but I felt like rolling down my windows and giving this stranger a piece of my mind. Thank God the Holy Spirit prevailed. I just smiled and gestured apologies and drove away. This kept bothering me for almost an hour. Every time, I had to shake off the negative and remind myself how God’s love was able to touch Rebecca!

When discouragement and hurtful thoughts come to your mind, I suggest you do the same. Shake off the guilt, shame and criticisms. Forgive the people who have done you wrong. Replace your negative feelings with positive ones. Nothing is worth mulling over past mistakes, negative thoughts, comments or actions of others. It will only drag you down. Shake it off and step it up!

A couple of months ago, I was driving down the road by my house. I had a lot on my mind before a missions trip. I was coming to stop at a traffic light and I saw some birds on the road. This is common and obviously, I didn’t pay much attention to it as they always fly away. Well, this time they didn’t. I ran over three of them and they were just babies. I felt so horrible. I reversed my car to see if I could rescue them but it was too late. The mama bird was sitting by the road watching! I felt so guilty and condemned myself. It took me days to get over it. Finally, I had to do what I’m telling you today. I had to shake it off and move on. Friend, there will be times in your life when you have to forgive yourself. If we don’t have a healthy perspective, we’ll live a life of regret and lamentation.

Today, may I encourage you to shake it off and move on? We cannot control others or justify their actions, but we can choose to forgive them and move on. Let us not be so hard on ourselves. When we’ve done something wrong, the best thing we can do is to ask for forgiveness and press forward. God is not a scorekeeper for our faults. The biggest button on His computer is the delete button. My question is, “Will you press the delete button as well?” God has forgiven you; it’s time to forgive others and yourself. I love you and I’m praying for you!

“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1 NLT).

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Friday, June 6, 2014

You Have Abundant Supply

Often the enemy wants to remind us of what we don’t have, especially in our finances. Today, I want to remind you that in Christ, you have more than enough. But first, you have to say it and then you’ll see it. You cannot have a poor mouth and have a rich life. Wake up every day and say, “I’m blessed and highly favored.” This is how faith works!

God has hidden treasures that you do not know of. You have been responsible to pay your bills. You’ve been generous. You’ve helped others. You have planted your seeds in famine. He’s putting you in other people’s heart right now. Sales are going to go through and commission checks are coming to you. Expect a raise at your work. Strangers will want to be good to you and your children. You will inherit a fortune.

Did you know Jesus recognized and blessed people who served Him and supported His ministry? That’s you! “Now it came to pass, afterward, that He went through every city and villages, preaching and bringing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with Him, and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities – Mary called Magdalene, out of whom had come seven demons, and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Heord’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who provided for Him from their substance” (Luke 8:1-3 NKJV).

These people helped God’s work on earth. You’ve done the same for your fellowmen, Build International Ministries, your church, friends and family. Today, I want to remind you that you’re the head and not the tail. You’re above lack and mediocrity. God has plenty in store to help you pay your bills and plenty leftover to impact the nations. Shake off the dust of condemnation and critical voices within. God looks at you with favor and approves of you. He remembers your sacrifices and the seeds you’ve planted in tears. Today, His face is turned toward you and His Hands are outstretched toward you. Will you receive His provision? He’s still Jehovah Jireh – the Lord our Provider. You don’t have to know how but rest assured He knows what you need and how to get it to you. Now give Him a shout of praise like you believe in His promises. God will not fail you my friend. Remember, you’re too blessed to be stressed. I’m praying for you.

“Let them shout for joy and rejoice, who favor my vindication; And let them say continually, "The LORD be magnified, Who delights in the prosperity of His servant" (Psalm 35:27 NAS).

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Sunday, June 1, 2014

Be Ambitious for God

Since the day we were born, most of us are taught to be happy and pursue happiness. It is not wrong to be ambitious. However, if that is the focal point of our existence, then we’re missing the boat. The greatest happiness you’ll ever find is experiencing God on a continual basis.

Being ambitious for God is not about performance. It is having a desire to please God in everything we do and make decisions affect Him. God has given us the freedom to choose. We have entered into a relationship where everything is based on love and trust. When we wake up every morning and ask God for His direction, we’re being ambitious for God. When we leave our homes looking for people to help, we’re being ambitious for our Master. When we’re representing Him with honesty and integrity in the marketplace, we’re standing out for our God. If we’re not intentional about these things, we will have little impact for our Lord and Savior.

William Carey, the great missionary to India, said, “Expect great things from God. Attempt great things from God.” When we set spiritual goals, we’ll have an opportunity to achieve them. If we involve God in our personal lives, homes and at work, we’ll change our world for the betterment of God’s Kingdom.

In our personal lives, we can start with a commitment to connect with God daily. A recent survey in America showed the average household has 4.4 Bibles. Fifty-seven percent of those people only read their Bible four times a year or less. Young people are moving away from the Bible. A majority (57%) of those ages 18-28 read their Bibles less than three times a year. Only twenty-six percent of Americans say they read their Bible on a regular basis (four or more times a week). We all agree that our country is on a moral decline, but what are we going to do about it? I challenge you to read the Bible every day. Start with only a chapter or even a verse. Keep the Bible in your favorite couch. Have a set time (morning is the best) to read the Wisdom Book. When you give God’s Word priority over your life, you’re honoring God, and He will honor you back in everything you do. In communist China, underground Christians share one Bible between dozens of believers. Leaders get arrested and thrown into prison for owning a Bible or conducting a house church. Is there any wonder, China is on course to become ‘world’s most Christian nation’ within 15 years?

The best Christian homes take their families to church. This is a great start but don’t just be a pew-warmer. Yes, we must gather together in the house of God. But we will have little or no impact if we do not honor God in our own homes. J. Edgar Hoover said, “If discipline were practiced in every home, juvenile delinquency would be reduced by 95%.” What children get, they give to society. When kids watch their parents living in harmony, honoring each other, and living a God-fearing life, they will pick up on it. They too will model their lives to be ambitious for God. The greatest investment we can make on our kids is not to leave a great inheritance, or give them a great education in their career, but to help them encounter God and pursue His plans for their lives. The world doesn’t need more professionals; we need more disciples of Christ.

At work, we can be ambitious for our God as well. In certain religions, they take time out in the middle of their work hours to worship God. Why are we afraid to bring our faith to work? Allow me let you in on a secret. If you’re the best producer and hardest worker at your job, management doesn’t care what religion you practice. I’m not telling you to be obnoxious, but to gently, quietly, and deliberately live your faith at work. If you do not compromise your character or your faith, you’ll be working for God at your job and make the devil pay for it!

Friend, set some impossible goals for the extension of His Kingdom. Don’t just settle for giving 10% of your income to God. How about joining a neighborhood evangelism team? Serve at a local food bank. Visit the elderly, homeless and the prisons. Go on a missions team with Build International. The possibilities are endless. If you have a desire to attempt great things for God, He will make is possible for you to experience great things for Him.

“Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us” (1 Peter 2:12 NIV).

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