This is a 5 and a half minute speech I gave as part of a Toastmasters demonstration at my Rotary Club last week. Here is what you can take away from it…
1. Public speaking can not only be effective for your business, but fun for you. You just need to practice, learn techniques and strategies, and gain “Stage Time” (courtesy of my pal, Darren LaCroix).
2. Humor is powerful if used correctly. Humor makes people laugh and listen. It evokes emotion and caring. And, it reduces anxiety and tension. You can effectively use humor in any business presentation, especially if it’s self-deprecating.
3. Record when you speak and put it on your You Tube channel. Get your message out to a broad audience so you can improve the condition of more people.
I hope you enjoy More…
© 2013 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
I just emailed off the final agreement to the publisher at Global Professional Publishing, Ltd in the United Kingdom for my first commercially published book titled…
Insuring Success: How to Sell Insurance When People Don’t Realize They Need It
The time frame for release of the book is 9 months, however my goal is to be done writing it sooner than that. I will keep you posted on the progress. I will be sending out an “official” press release, but wanted to get this out early to my community. I am tremendously excited and am looking forward to getting the book in the hands of as many insurance professionals as possible to help them enhance and advance in their careers! More to come…
© 2013 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
Libby Wagner speaking on marketing gravity for consultants and entrepreneurs at the last Libby & Dan event on June 21st in Seattle.
© 2012 Libby Wagner & Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
I love watching Dancing with the Stars and American Idol. Just like with the food channel reality shows, I get a lot of entertainment value and I pick up a lot of tips. I also am constantly amazed at the business lessons that come out from them.
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald Driver took home the Mirror Ball trophy on Dancing with the Stars. He had been good all season, but probably not technically the best dancer. The two other finalists, Katherine Jenkins and William Levy were probably better technically. That being said, it’s hard to out-poll a dude who plays for the Packers and is getting promos from his pals Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews. Similarly, on American Idol, Phillip Phillips was probably the leader in the clubhouse all year, but Jessica Sanchez and Joshua Ledet may have been better. When Ledet got bumped, Phillips probably scored the teenage girl to twenty-something vote to get him the title. People get mad. They thinks it’s not a real contest; just a popularity contest. Really? You’re just figuring this out now?
Of course it’s a popularity contest. When you ask the world to phone, text, or go online to vote (multiple times mind you), it’s basically stuffing the ballot box for your favorite. These aren’t truly “competitions.” They are popularity contests and to the victors go the spoils.
Think about how this relates to acquiring business.
You may be the smartest person when it comes to your product or industry. You can spout off methodology, process, and product knowledge while falling out of bed at 2 AM. You’re a walking encyclopedia of facts and any client would be fortunate to have your knowledge on their team.
But, if you have no personality; no selling skills; no ability to persuade; can’t deal with objections or rejection; and no ambition to market yourself – then you’re not going to get the business. Sales isn’t about who has the most technical “smarts.” It’s not about who has the broadest markets, the fanciest graphics; or the most credentials behind their name. It’s about who the prospect likes; who they trust the most; and who can be the most persuasive and influential. It’s about how popular trumps brains only. You need to have both. And if one is stronger than the other, if you’re in sales it’s about your ability to persuade people to “vote” for you!
Don’t get me wrong. Product knowledge is important. You have to be credible. However, I’ve met plenty of credible sales people who couldn’t convince a starving man to eat. There are roles for everyone and finding those is one of the most important things an owner or executive can do.
Final thoughts. If you are in sales and want to increase your business through professional development, invest more time and money into professional sales skills rather than methodology and process. Spend time improving your language skills, presentation prowess, marketing skills, networking strategy, and writing skills. In the end, your innate ability to persuade and inspire will earn you more business and reap greater rewards for your business.
Time for the next dance…
© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
Tiger Woods is arguably the most skilled golfer of all time. At the writing of this article, he won for only the second time since his infamous personal meltdown brought him back to earth. Regardless of his personal behaviors and choices, there is no doubt that for a period of a dozen years, he was not only the best golfer on the planet; he was the best at his craft in the entertainment industry (athletes, actors, singers, etc). And, Tiger Woods had a coach.
The fact is that Woods and other top line professional athletes like Michael Jordan, Tom Brady, and Serena Williams having coaches, goes unnoticed and with no fanfare. It’s a given. Singers have voice coaches. Actors have acting coaches. Dancers employ coaches. Coaches and mentors are considered essential to develop skills and accelerate growth and development.
Let’s take a closer look at Tiger Woods and what coaching has done to enhance and accelerate his career…
Shortly after Woods won his first Masters title by a landslide, he went about developing a new swing. He hired a new coach and set the wheels in motion to “reinvent” his swing and his game. Fans and analysts thought he was crazy? Why fix something that is so not broken? The end result is that Woods became even more dominant and more consistent. The coaching had vaulted him past being really good and into legendary status.
After Tiger’s personal life fell apart in front of the world and injuries forced him to miss needed practice time and rounds, he set out again to “reinvent” himself again. Armed with new coaching, he set the stage to work on his game. After his recent win and momentum, he may be nearing the lofty heights he had set for himself. The only way he could get there was with a coach honing his enormous skill; holding him accountable; and offering new strategy and technique for his age and physical limitations.
In business, the top executives and “rainmakers” all use coaches. Why? For the same reasons that athletes, actors, and dancers do. To challenge, motivate, cajole, and improve their craft. The irony is that the top 1% of income producers use executive coaches and mentors like Marshall Goldsmith, Patricia Fripp, and Alan Weiss; while the vast majority of professionals who struggle to make ends meet on a daily basis don’t invest in themselves through coaching.
You can’t be brilliant by yourself. Athletes and other celebrity from the entertainment world have always known this. Kobe Bryant employs five new coaches every summer to help him improve his game, even after multiple world championship rings and Most Valuable Player trophies. Woods has hired new coaches to hone his game in an effort to return to the greatness he once had. Both Bryant and Woods know that no matter the length of time you have in the “game,” you are never too old or experienced to learn. In fact, it’s those that are most ready to learn new things and be “coachable” that continue to get the most out of their talent. The most effective rainmakers in the insurance industry are beating the tar out of their competition because they use coaches and mentors.
Here are 5 reasons you need to consider using a coach…
1. Skill development. In sales, your skill set needs to include powerful use of language, visioning, overcoming objections, and fighting through gatekeepers, to name a few. The solutions are not always evident and a strong coach will guide you through strategies to create and enhance these skills. Practicing conversations and interactions is a lost art among most insurance pros. In my experience, the majority just “wing it.” Coaching will speed up the success rate of these communications and deliver quicker results.
2. Feedback. When I coached high school basketball, my teams and I would watch game film. The video never lied. My feedback to them was invaluable because I would point out areas of weakness and areas of strength to work on. How do you know you did something well (or not) without an objective voice?
3. Feed Forward. Executive coaching guru Marshall Goldsmith coined a concept called “Feed Forward.” Feed forward is about creating solutions in the future and forgetting the past failures. Once we’ve acknowledged our mistakes, then coaches provide constructive “to do” strategies to hasten development. Feed forward comes from observation and compelling questioning that peels away at the onion to reveal real barriers to progress. This can only be accomplished with a trusted coach.
4. Sounding board. Sometimes you just need to let off steam. You need an ear to vent to; someone to simply listen. In most cases, bosses, sales managers, and spouses are not good options for this. A coach is a safe place to vent anger and frustration; as well as a place to celebrate successes.
5. Accountability. From den mothers to drill sergeants; teachers to athletic coaches; parents to pastors; we’ve all had someone keep us accountable. In your business life today, it’s harder than ever to find that accountability partner. A coach takes on that role and without baggage or excuses, holds you to the things you know you need to do to be successful. As with a sounding board, those other important people in your life are often ill equipped to objectively be that person; or will let you off the hook too easily.
You can’t be brilliant by yourself. Everyone needs a coach. In the entertainment world, coaches are often less skilled than their mentorees; yet have a unique ability to ignite their talent and get them to perform at their maximum capability. Coaches in business elevate their mentorees to the same level of success and help them thrive personally and professionally. Not employing that kind of help is not only foolish, but also selfish. Think of all those who could be helped, yet never will.
Allowing yourself to be vulnerable and be coached takes immense self-confidence. The financial and time investments are usually dwarfed by the return of increased revenues, more discretionary time, and improved life balance.
Tiger Woods utilized coaches that ranged from his own father during his childhood; to his coaches at Stanford; to multiple big name golf coaches like Butch Harmon and Hank Haney. If a guy like Tiger Woods, who may be one of the greatest competitors of all time, can be coached, why wouldn’t you?
The reality is that insurance professionals, who overlook being coached because they think they can do it on their own, usually never reach the apex of their talents and thus fail to earn the income and life they could have realized. Those insurance pros that accept the challenge of being coached will reach greater heights in their career and enjoy the fruits of that success both professionally and personally.
The first tee is right this way. Are you ready to play?
© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
Many thanks to Matt Biondi from BiondiMedia for creating this new video on my business. Video is a great way to engage your readers of your web site, blog, or other promotional pieces. It doesn’t matter what your industry is, video can be a terrific part of creating a marketing presence and brand.
Check mine out an let me know what you think!
© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
The answer is simple. I pay attention and try to stay in the moment. If you’re creating intellectual property (IP for the rest of this article), then you need to find a way to use real-life, every day events that people can relate to as a metaphor for not-so-simple “stuff.”
Take Jerry Seinfeld. The dude made a boatload of money over 9 years making a television show about “nothing.” Add to it, that all of that material came from a highly successful comedy act, which he still uses today. Making money on “nothing.” That nothing, however, is what we deal with in our daily lives. One of my favorite episodes was when the gang lost Kramer’s car in the mall parking lot. An entire episode was dedicated to the goofy search for the car. How many of us have ever lost our car in a parking lot? I have…and recently at a grocery store when I realized that I have a new car and I should stop looking for the old one! That episode, as well as all the others take a real-life situation and engages the audience because we can relate.
If you follow my blog posts, my newsletters, and my speeches, you will hear stories about my dogs, my kids, my wife (although she scares me most so I have to be careful), my parents, my basketball coaching, my cooking, and my professional experiences. You’ve heard about me walking the dogs, moving furniture, burning my hand, hitting poor golf shots, and walking around New York City with $5,000 in cash. Why? Because you can relate to all of these things. They make the “stuff” I talk about – insurance, crisis leadership, risk management, executive leadership, and change management more palatable. I hope that when I draw a metaphor, the light goes on and you say “Ah Ha!”
So when you write your next blog post, article, or executive brief OR present your next speech or video, consider your uniqueness. As my professional mentor, Alan Weiss always says, there is nothing new under the sun. You’re methodology, theories, strategies, and the like are not necessarily new. However, you are unique and your experiences make your IP different from everyone else!
To create great IP, you have to add one key ingredient…YOU! Pay attention to your life. Don’t think nothing happens to you. It does. Be in the moment and find those crazy little things that make you chuckle or shake your head. Most likely, it’s the start of a great new story.
Now, if you only had a neighbor like Kramer…
© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved
From my August 2011 Newsletter sent out today. To read the rest of the newsletter and to subscribe to this free service, click here.
Let’s debunk three myths and monsters first before we answer that question.
1. It’s NOT your customer service. Everyone says they have the best customer service. And, let’s face it, most everyone does have good customer service. In most professions, this is not a difference-maker because you can’t prove it with real metrics.
2. You don’t care about your customers/clients more. This is the same as #1. You can’t prove that you care more than someone else. It’s all fluff. No steak or sizzle.
3. You’re products or services are not all that unique. Insurance agents represent the same companies. Real estate agents sell the same homes. Barbers cut the same hair. You all have similar methodology and your competitors are as capable as you.
So what’s your “secret sauce?”
It’s what you uniquely bring to the table with your experiences, stories, perspective, and personality.
- 2 cups of Experiences. Nobody else can claim your life experiences. These events have molded your thoughts and perspectives and make great stories to engage and communicate with your clients and prospects. I’ve been a volunteer firefighter, high school basketball coach, school board director, and Rotary President. Combined with that, I married my high school sweetheart, raised two daughters, and am the “voice” of the high school football team. All these experiences present opportunities to improve the condition of my client if I’m creative enough to find a way.
- 1 cup of Education. Your professional development and skill gives you perspective. Where you went to school, the professional classes you took, and a large pinch of the “street smarts’ you earned by skinning your knees countless times can’t be duplicated by anyone else.
- A dollop of Personality. You are uniquely you (at least that’s what my wife keeps telling me). Whatever your personality – introvert, extrovert, gregarious, serious, humble, or assertive – it doesn’t matter. You’re ability to relate to people make your secret sauce anomalous.
Mix together with…
Effective communication skills
Engaging and metaphoric personal stories
And, for the frosting on the cake…
Top with a large serving of CONFIDENCE.
Confidence is the killer of many an entrepreneur and professional. Lack of confidence masks skill. People want to work with those who are confident. It’s something you can’t hide. You either have that swagger or you don’t. You need this to top of your secret sauce and make your dish delicious.
© 2011 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved