Your Secret Sauce

From my August 2011 Newsletter sent out today. To read the rest of the newsletter and to subscribe to this free service, click here.

What differentiates you from your competition?

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

Bound for Bogota #1 – Rejuvenating the Mind and Body

This is a blog post preparing for my presentation on August 25th in Bogotá, Colombia a at the Occupational Health & Safety Management Summit. These posts will be precursors for my presentation and I welcome any and all comments. I will attempt to translate in Spanish below the original post through the magic of Google Translator!

I went running this morning for the first time in 2 and a half weeks. I didn’t necessarily plan that long a layoff, but it happened. As it turns out, at that point I was getting a little tired of running. My body hurt, I wasn’t getting in spirited runs, and I generally was inefficient and apathetic.

Today, I decided to start back slowly so I wouldn’t hurt myself. To my surprise, I had a terrific run. I planned on running a 5K on the treadmill and actually did a 7.5K. My spirit was great, my body felt wonderful, and I had fun. The little extra rest I took had rejuvenated my mind and body.

That concept works for your employees, too. I’m not talking about merely vacations. Your employees work hard (if they don’t we have a different problem). How often do you reward them? I recently met a woman who runs a very successful business in the Seattle area. Every week, she provides “play time” for her employees to be creative, rejuvenate, have fun, and share experiences. The results? A tremendously successful and growing business; engaged employees, low turnover; and clients that love them.

I encourage you to find creative ways outside the scope of planned vacations to rejuvenate your employees’ minds and bodies. Rewards and incentives; special outings; and recognition go a long way towards that. My bet is you can find even more innovative ways to engage your employees to improve morale and create a more efficient and safe work environment.

© 2011 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

En Espanol

Fui corriendo esta mañana por primera vez en dos semanas y media. No necesariamente el plan que a largo de un despido, pero sucedió. Pues resulta que, en ese momento yo estaba un poco cansado de correr. Mi cuerpo duele, yo no estaba en carreras de espíritu, y en general, era ineficiente y apático.

Hoy en día, decidí volver a empezar poco a poco para no hacerme daño. Para mi sorpresa, he tenido una carrera increíble. Pensaba en el funcionamiento de una carrera de 5 km en la cinta y, de hecho hicieron un 7,5 K. Mi espíritu era grande, mi cuerpo se sentía maravilloso, y me he divertido. El resto poco más que se había rejuvenecido mi mente y cuerpo.

Que el concepto de obras para sus empleados, también. No estoy hablando simplemente de vacaciones. Sus empleados a trabajar duro (si no tenemos un problema diferente). ¿Con qué frecuencia se les recompensa? Recientemente conocí a una mujer que regenta un negocio muy exitoso en el área de Seattle. Cada semana, se ofrece “tiempo” para sus empleados a ser creativos, rejuvenecer, divertirse y compartir experiencias. Los resultados? Un negocio de gran éxito y crecimiento, los empleados contratados, baja rotación, y los clientes que los aman.

Os animo a encontrar formas creativas fuera del alcance de las vacaciones previstas para rejuvenecer la mente de sus empleados y órganos. Recompensas e incentivos, salidas especiales, y el reconocimiento de recorrer un largo camino en esa dirección. Mi apuesta es que se puede encontrar la manera más innovadora de abrir a sus empleados para mejorar la moral y crear un ambiente de trabajo más eficiente y segura.

Extra Points – Being Fearless

#17 Apple Tree Golf Course - Yakima


When I was younger, I played a lot of golf and was pretty good. I was part of my high school team that competed at the state tournament in 1982. One of my strengths in those days was that I was fearless on the golf course. I would take risks, attack tough pins, try to clear fairway bunkers from the tee. I imagined myself the swashbuckling Seve Ballesteros! Sometimes my daring would land me in trouble, but more often than not, it turned out well and I was rewarded with a good hole. It was fun.

Now, nearly 30 years later, I’m not quite so daring. I can actually hit the ball longer than I did back then and some of that skill is still there. However, I’ve lost some of that fearlessness. Now, I overthink three-foot putts. I’m scared about hitting a ball out of bounds or in the water. I take fewer risks, but more concerning, I’m more tentative. The outcome is never as good. Funny thing is that it’s just a game. I’m not in any danger, nor will hitting an errant shot drive me to financial ruin. It’s dysfunctional thinking and I’m working on that to improve my game.

This fearlessness affects your business in the same way. Young people come into business with an assertive, confident, and often arrogant attitude. They are viewed as “hard chargers” and “go-getters.” Over time, they turn increasingly cautious as they start families and increase financial obligations. Do you find yourself there? I have and that really changed two years ago when I attended Million Dollar Consulting College by Alan Weiss. I realized that this is supposed to be fun and what I do in business isn’t life and death. I was hitting too many balls “out of bounds” by being tentative and not succeeding to the level I wanted. I had to eradicate that dysfunctional thinking.

My takeaway for you this morning is to be bold; have fun; and be fearless. You may just find that your business “game” scores more birdies!

Now back to that golf game…

This week’s quote – “The most rewarding things you do in life are often the ones that look like they cannot be done.”
– Arnold Palmer

Upcoming Speaking Event in Bellevue

I will be speaking on the three P’s of Crisis Leadership at the Equinox Business Focus event on Wednesday, July 27th in Bellevue.

Here are the details

If you’d like to attend as my guest, there is no charge. However, you must RSVP with me so I can get you on the list. This will be an outstanding event. In addition to my program, you will also hear from Dave Shapiro and Michelle Bomberger. I hope you can carve out some time in your morning to join us. It will be worth your time investment!

P.S. If you want me to give the same presentation to your group or association in a location nearer to you, just contact me.

© 2011 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

I’m a Gang Member…

Now there’s a statement I thought I would never make, but there it is. I’m a gang member. But, this sort of gang is the kind that helps business leaders and executives in all matters related to running and thriving in business!

Here’s the deal…

Alan Weiss, author of Million Dollar Consulting and about 30+ others, has created a forum for business leaders and entrepreneurs to access the immense firepower of his global consulting community. The program is called Alan & the Gang. There are 25 “gang members” and I’m thrilled to be included as one of them (no tattoos or piercing required at this point).  Alan & the Gang is a repository of articles, white papers, templates, audio, video, etc. just for the business leader that needs his or her questions answered by an expert in their field. There are 4 levels of membership to access Alan or the gang in areas like technology, human resources, insurance, risk management, crisis leadership, leadership, communications, diversity, generations in the workplace, and much more. In total, there are 25 gang members with already 60 articles, 320 video pages, and 426 audio pages. It’s a place where entrepreneurs discuss, learn, and grow!

View may bio page on the site

If you own, run, or manage a business, I encourage you to check it out. There are levels of membership for everyone and the return on investment is tremendous.

This is one time, it pays to be part of a gang!

© 2011 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points – Opportunity Knocking

This week’s focus point –

Opportunity Knocks – Take It.

I watched with great interest the United States women’s soccer team playing on Sunday for the World Cup Championship. They completely outplayed Japan for the majority of the game, yet lost in a playoff shoot-out when they gave up goals near the end of both the regular and overtime periods. You might think that their inability to close the games and critical gaffes at the end were what lost the game. These were contributing factors, yet in my opinion, the game was lost in the first half. The USA was clearly the aggressor and the better team, outshooting Japan by a 15-5 mark well into the half. They had wonderful opportunities but failed to capitalize on one. Had they scored on any of those, they would have won in regulation. Opportunities lost.

The same can be said of us in business and life. How many opportunities to “score” do we get, yet blow over the net, or hit the crossbar? Do we play a great game, yet fail to “finish the deal” and take advantage of our opportunities? What are the consequences we face for not answering the door when opportunity knocks?

The good news is that just like sports, we will get another chance. I encourage you to keep your mind open and be in the moment to take advantage of your next shot on goal!

This week’s quote – “The road to Easy Street goes through the sewer…”
– John Madden, Hall of Fame football coach and TV commentator

The Accelerant Curve: Part 1


As a Master Mentor of the Alan Weiss Private Roster Mentor ® program, I’m pleased to present his Million Dollar Consulting ® Accelerant Curve to the fine consultants and entrepreneurs at the Lake Washington chapter of Biz Enrich last Friday. I’m also pleased to present highlights to you.

This model was developed by Alan and his community. This model is ideal for all consultants, coaches, speakers, entrepreneurs, and professional service providers. I hope you enjoy…

© 2011 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Saving Money on your Personal Insurance

I was just interviewed for a story in a parents magazine on how to save money on car insurance. I’m happy to share the tips, strategies, and suggestions with you…

Here are few quick “tips” and suggestions to significantly reducing personal auto insurance costs…

  • Raise physical damage deductibles as high as you can “stomach.” The more expensive the car, the more you will pay and the more you can save with higher deductibles. (Note – this is your comprehensive and collision coverages)
  • Shop your auto insurance policy competitively every 3 years at a minimum. Rates and company appetites change and you need to be current on your options.
  • Deal with a real person. These online programs may appear to save you money, but unless you’re an industry expert, you don’t know what you’re actually buying. You may save money initially and lose it when you are either not insured or underinsured. Use a professional.
  • Make sure you’re receiving all the “credits” you are eligible for. Companies give discounts for good students (your young drivers which really raise your rates), non-smokers, no claims, multiple policies, multi-car, etc. Ask for a list of all available discounts.
  • Make a deal with your teenage drivers. If they don’t qualify for a good student discount, then they don’t get licensed. Seem harsh? Yes, but the cost to insure a student without the discount can be as much as 35% more expensive! I did it with my two daughters and it works.

© 2011 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points – Active Mind and Body

Hole #11 - Harbour Pointe Golf Course

Active Minds and Bodies.

This past weekend was a blur…

I started Saturday morning packing my golf bag and duffel bag and heading to Seattle via the ferry to play golf at beautiful Harbour Pointe Golf Course in Mukilteo. My friend Dave picked me up on the other side on a glorious day and we headed over for 18 holes in my Washington Athletic Club tournament. After the round, I scarfed down a turkey sandwich and beer and then like Superman in the telephone booth, changed into my “symphony” clothes. My wife Barb was herding cats by bringing my two daughters, my 87-year old mother, and our Rotary foreign exchange student over to Seattle to meet me for the playing of the Wizard of Oz with the Seattle Symphony in the background. Dave dropped me off at exactly the same time they arrived, we went to dinner at Wolfgang Puck’s, and then spent the evening re-visiting Oz.  The next day, we got up early after a late night, went to morning Mass, and then hit it out to Barb’s parents for a day trip and visit. Whew! I’m waiting for Monday to relax!

Active minds and bodies are essential to living a well-rounded life. Sometimes maybe a little frantic, but always good to keep the brain synapses popping (or whatever they do). Staying active both physically and mentally is the real fountain of youth. It also is the “stuff” that a healthy life is made of. I encourage you to find ways in your busy professional life to add plenty of balance with a healthy dose of activity. It’s good for the body, mind, and soul…

This week’s quote – “You don’t have a professional life and a personal life. You simply have a life…”
– Alan Weiss, author of Million Dollar Consulting