Thursday, August 28, 2014

Knowing It All

Yesterday I had the opportunity to sit in on a great educational Webinar with Danny Rosin (co-founder of Brand Fuel) about harnessing the power of Social Media in order to grow your business.  I am a big believer in leveraging the "social side of selling" so I was excited.

Before the class, someone asked me why I decided to take the time.  They pointed out that I already do a lot of social so I might not take much away.  I think this is a common thought process, and for the most part, a flawed one.

One of my favorite quotes is, "The greatest distance in the world is the distance between 'I know' and 'I do."  Regardless of the topic, you can always learn more.  In addition, if you are like me, there are many things you know but are not actively doing.  So these kinds of educational opportunities are great reminders of things you need to get back after.

But even if a class seems basic to you (and this one did not by the way), there is always more to learn...especially in a field moving as fast as Social Media Marketing!

So don't assume you know it all.  It not only makes you a pompous jerk, you also miss the opportunity to get better.

Now if you'll excuse me I have to go work on my Linkedin profile.  Thanks to Danny I know I need to do better on that platform!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Listen To The Other Side

I have been known to describe certain people I know as “Often wrong but never uncertain.”  It’s not a compliment. 

Though I love someone who has the courage of their convictions, I find that allowing yourself to consider (and then re-consider) your opinions has value.  The way I felt when I was 19 is not always the way I feel when I am 40.  Nor should it be.  But many people find an opinion (or a party, or a group, or whatever) that they side with and then never re-consider.  They cling to the same ideology regardless of what is in front of them. 

One of the best ways to really re-evaluate is to listen (REALLY listen) to the other side of an argument.  What is their perspective?  What do they know that I don’t know?  Why do they feel the way they do?

You might change your mind.  Or you might not.  But then you would really know.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Enthusiasm Is Contagious

Have you ever been in the room with a person who has started a new business, job or hobby?  When they tell you about all of the exciting things happening, they are bubbling with excitement.  After a few minutes, you start to get excited too!  The energy in the room goes through the roof!  Questions are asked and answered quickly and the volume and pace of the conversation increases.

Now bring to mind a time when you talked to a person that was tired of their job or predicament.  How was that conversation different?  Most people try to be empathetic, but no one wants to be a part of that conversation.  The energy level of the conversation and the room is brought down.

Consider those two scenarios when you walk into a room to talk to a customer, prospect or even employees.  Which are you?  What energy level are you bringing?

If you are excited, enthusiastic, and positive it will translate to others in the room.  If not, the opposite will happen.  Want to be an entrepreneur, leader or sales person?  Be enthusiastic!

Enthusiasm is contagious…and also necessary!

Lift The Heavy Stuff First

One day, many years ago, my mother had asked my father and I to move some furniture around in our house.  This was early in my life, probably the first time I had been asked to perform such a “manly” job and I was happy to do it.  As we looked at the group of furniture that needed to be re-located, my dad pointed the biggest couch and said, “Let’s get that one first.” 

He quickly explained that when faced with a tough task, “lift the heaviest one first” and the rest would seem easy.

That is the exact opposite of what most people do.  We see something that looks daunting or uncomfortable or “heavy” and we put that off.  Maybe it will go away! 

I find myself going back to that sage advice quite a bit.  When faced with a plate full of activities, a hard conversation, or, yes, even a group of furniture, I want to get the hard part out of the way first.  Once that is addressed, the rest of my day almost always goes a lot easier!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Be More Patient

I am chronically in a hurry.  Though there are times when this can be good (getting quite a few things done) it makes me impatient.  I can’t stand lines.  I don’t care for public transportation.  And if someone gets in front of me that is walking (or driving) slow, I have to constantly overcome the urge to shove them out of the way.

But every once in a while I find myself asking “what the hell is the hurry?”

The fact is, that person in front of me might need help.  They might be struggling with something.  And my breathing down their neck is not helping their challenge.  Interestingly enough, it’s not helping me either.

So when you find yourself in the position of trying to “beat the clock” with that slowpoke in front of you…take a breath.  Look around. 

Be patient.  Unless it’s really life and death, it can wait a few more minutes.

P.S.  On the other hand, if you are going slow in the left lane, you are just being rude.  :)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Be Un-Apologetically You

Sometimes the hardest thing to be in life, is different.  Most of the time the world wants us to fit into boxes and straight lines.  It’s easier for everyone.

The problem is, no one has ever done anything remarkable by doing what “everyone else” was doing. 

Being different can be hard.  You will get questioned.  The world will push back.  

But never apologize for being you.  You’re the only one qualified to do it.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The COST of a Raving Fan

This post is quite specifically not about the Value of a Raving Fan.  I think the Value of a Raving fan has been pretty well documented.  The Raving Fan is willing to pay a little more.  (Simon Synek would say they get your ‘Why”).  They are willing to share your message for nothing in return.  They enthusiastically shout down your detractors (and everyone has them) when they come across them.  They send you subtle referrals just by speaking highly of you in a crowd.

The Value of a Raving Fan is tough to quantify, but nearly everyone would agree that it’s there.

But what is the COST of losing that voice?  What is the penalty for turning them away?  What price do we pay when we let them down, de-value them or simply let our ego get in the way of appreciating them?  What happens when that voice goes away?

It’s even tougher to put a number on that COST.  But just because you can’t put a number on it, doesn’t mean that cost doesn’t exist.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Cost of Not Going

This year I have made the commitment to try and visit some of my customers that are farther away from our home office.  I want to have the opportunity to look them in the eye and show my appreciation in person.  Not a big deal, but as any sales person or entrepreneur knows, these visits take time, effort and money.  To drive 6 hours away to visit a client, to simply tell them thank you for their business, generally ends up taking a couple of business days.

It's easier not to do it.  So a lot of the time, we don't.  We justify that it costs too much, takes too much time, or is not worth it.

But what is the cost of NOT going?  It's a hard number to quantify.  Sure, maybe the client still does business with us if I have not met with them.  But are they as committed to us?  Do we get every opportunity?  Do they spend just a little longer quoting us out?  It's hard to say.

That is the case with so many "soft selling" skills.  It's hard to measure.  Was their an increase because I went?  Sometimes that can be seen.  But was there a decrease because I didn't?  Hmmm.

But it feels like the cost of NOT going can be higher in the long run.  

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Be Open To Learning All Your Life

The older I get, the more I understand how much I don’t know.  The great news is, I am open to learning more now. 

But that has not always been the case.  A professor in college once told me that “Education is the only thing in life we pay for but don’t want to get our money’s worth.”   That was certainly true with me.  I wanted to “get through” college.  I did the bare minimum.  What a shame.

Later I spent time reading books on business to catch up! 

My hope is that you don’t do the same.  Be open to learning all your life.  By doing so, you will not only be more educated and more well rounded and more interesting.  You will also be happier. 

Now…go learn something.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Sometimes the Most Fun Is Unplanned

My wife and I recently had the opportunity to spend a few days in Chicago.  The first day was a full “work” day.  We spent the day in a trade show environment doing what we could to learn about trends in our industry and then networking.  Great stuff.

The next day we had the chance to spend some quality “tourist” time in Chicago.  Amy and I really love the town and were torn about what to “schedule” so we could have fun.  There is so much to plan in a town like Chicago! 

We opted for planning nothing…and we were glad.  Sometimes the most fun is the impromptu adventure.  When you get to explore with a person you really enjoy, these unplanned times can be the best.

You don’t always have to plan it.  Let the fun come to you!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Find the Best In Others

When asked to describe someone in your life, how do you do it?  Where do you start?  Do you begin with the good or the bad?

A good friend of mine named Todd has an ability to see the best in people.  It’s a trait I so admire.  When you ask about someone, Todd will always tell you his or her best features.  I love that.  It’s probably why nearly everyone likes him!

I don’t know if Todd does this on purpose, but it’s a great way to look at life.  In your next interaction, spend some mental energy finding the thing you like best about that person…not the other way around.

By constantly looking for good in others, you just might find it.