A few weeks ago, I started a countdown to my daughter’s wedding by posting on my Facebook page a photo of the jersey number of a famous (normally local) athlete followed by “…days until #MindyandPaul2016 wedding.”
The idea came to me from posts by the NFL Network counting down to kickoff for next season. I thought it would be fun. After some random posts, Mindy told me she really liked them and wanted me to start a daily countdown. We decided to start at#40.
I made this known publicly on my page and before I knew it, I was getting “requests and suggestions” from my friends. I started hearing privately from people about how much they enjoyed the countdown. Both Mindy and her fiancée Paul liked them. And,they were garnering lots of “likes.” There was momentum and anticipation building. (By the way, today is #26)
Something very small and subtle, mixed in with some commonality and humor became very popular and memorable. Who would have thought athlete’s numbers for a wedding countdown could do that?
How is your business creating small, subtle, and memorable moments for your customers and clients? Is your career gaining momentum, or is it blasé? Are you seeking to find creative and fun ways to market your value or are you satisfied with just doing the same thing over and over because it’s easier.
My daughter and future son-in-law will always remember the countdown. So will family and many of my friends. It’s created a memory. How can you take this simple example and create your own “countdown effect” in your business and career?
Note: Check out my interview for Fast Company on being memorable.. READ
“The purpose of life is a life of purpose.”
~ Robert Byrne
I read this morning that professional golf superstar Rory McIlroy is skipping the upcoming Olympic games in Rio due to concerns about the Zika virus. I recently saw him interviewed and he stated how he was very eager and excited about representing his native Ireland as an Olympian. Golf hasn’t been an event in the Olympics since Theodore Roosevelt was President of the United States, and there’s no guarantee it will make the next one. Obviously, the growing concern over the virus has swayed this 27 year old who is getting married within the year to look beyond golf and glory. His legacy as a father and health of his family took precedence. He’s not the only one…
Athletes want to compete in the Olympic Games. For many, it’s the crowning achievement of their craft and because it only comes around every four years, the window of opportunity is small. What the Olympic Committee has basically created is a terrible situation where you have demand, you have ample supply, but that supply is tainted and toxic.
Consider those in the business of selling products and services to individuals and business…most likely you are one of them. Do you have a demand and supply, but make the process of buying toxic?
Certainly you aren’t dealing with a health hazard like mosquitoes and polluted water. However, your client experience may be such that they will avoid you like the Zika virus! Here are three quick ways to avoid being spurned:
- Make access to you easy. Look at your web site, social media platforms, email signatures, and digital or hard copy brochures. I’m amazed at how difficult it is to find contact information for some businesses. It should be easier than ever! And once they can find you, make the call a pleasant experience, not akin to having a tooth pulled.
- Be solutions driven. Problems happen from time to time. It’s one of the costs of doing business. Instead of fearing or dreading dealing withe them, employ people that seek the opportunity to solve problems quickly, fearlessly, and with authority. That last one is vitally important. The overwhelming majority of your clients and prospects understand that challenges and adversity occur; they simply want someone that can rapidly and professionally solve them.
- Be consistent. My experience is that consistency, even in less than perfect situations, keeps clients and customers coming back. Inconsistent policies, procedures, responses to questions, access, and products/services alienate those that want and need your help and product.
Here’s the deal…I know you’re not harmful to the health of your client, but you very well may be harmful to your business by not being cognizant of the factors that contribute to client and prospect dissatisfaction. Work to be exceptional on my three solutions I listed, and you won’t have to worry about anyone bowing out of your “event.”
© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Tomorrow, my lovely wife and I will celebrate 30 years of marriage. Barb and I were high school sweethearts and our actual time together as a couple spans nearly 34 years. To say we’ve been blessed is an understatement as we have raised two wonderful children, have countless family and friends we’ve enjoyed, been to many places, shared rich experiences, and been butler to a total of four crazy dogs. I’m looking forward to the next 30 years!
All that being said, what’s this sappy message mean for you?
Relationships have a lot of common threads regardless of whether they be personal or professional. Allow me to examine just three that you can use to examine yours:
First, you have to be resilient in relationships. I can attest that Barb is forced to be way more resilient than me! Professional relationships will also undergo highs and lows; challenges and triumphs; and even points of feeling stale. In the end, you must keep perspective at a high premium becasue if you “love” your client, then be prepared to be resilient for the long haul.
Second, communication is king (or queen). Your clients want candor, empathy, clarity, and above all else, presence (I’ve been known to lack presence during Seahawks games).
Finally, relationships require fun. Their can be many weighty issues that all relationships face, so without humor, joy, and just plain fun, they can’t survive or thrive. Barb and I have had – and will continue to have – lots of fun together. I’m certain that Captain Jack and Bella consider themselves the channels to fun.
Bottom line – businesses (like marriages) are based on loyalty and relationships. In order to be successful at retaining both, you must strive to be resilient, communicative, and fun.
“By all means marry. If you get a good wife, you’ll become happy. If you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher.”
This Week’s Focus Point: The Cloak of Invisibility
Hello, this is Captain Jack. I’m the charming, witty, and highly brilliant pal of my human. Dan is out golfing with his old high school pals – and boy do they look old! He asked me to fill in. I’m sending you this excerpt from Chapter 1 our new book, Unleashed Leadership. If you think Dan writes well, you ain’t read nothing yet!
“Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.”
~ Robert Heinlein, writer
My June column for the Kitsap Sun’s Business Journal…
Let’s be very clear about one thing…
The most important function you perform in your company is acquisition of business. Period.
That ends my prepared comments. Questions?
Okay, allow me to elaborate. Without sales to your company (or a company you’re employed with) there can be no employee benefits, no impact to clients and customers, or no charitable donations or good works in the community. Without constant and sustainable revenue growth, your family will suffer, your anxiety level climbs, no one feels satisfaction or reward, and ultimately everyone loses the chance to benefit from what you offer.
You can’t name a business that is successful, philanthropic, or significant that doesn’t count on revenue being generated. That includes every non-profit because without fundraising, they can’t provide much needed help to those who need it.
Are we in agreement? Good. That was the easy part. Let’s discuss how you assure that your business can exponentially grow its revenue with the minimal investment of 30 minutes a day, so that you can exceed your expectations and accomplish much more for your family, employees, and the world around you.
I’m going to provide you a 5-step blueprint to either execute yourself or train your sales team to. While it seems simple enough, I will help you to also overcome critical obstacles to its success.
Step 1: Make a list of every single client you have. Divide them into current and past. Find the name of the decision maker. It doesn’t matter if they are still with the company. Include their phone number and email, as best as possible.
Step 2: Call every one of them systematically. This will be a daily function, so you don’t have to “hurry.” Call the current ones first because they know you best. Your objective is to get a testimonial and ask for a referral. Plan on 10 minutes a call.
Step 3: Once you’ve reached them, ask two main questions. First, what are some of the favorite things of doing business with you? Second, how have they been most impacted by your work together? Ask clarifying questions in return. Quantify their answers. Take copious notes and ask them if you can use their words in your marketing and website. Once you’ve gained permission, take one more step…
Step 4: Ask for a referral. Simply ask whom they know that can also benefit from the same value and experience they did.
Step 5: Add testimonials to all your marketing. Call on every referral.
That’s it. Allocate 30 minutes a day to this function. If you have a sales force, each person should do this.
Sound too simple? While I’ve omitted a lot of key language and other methodology because this is a column and not a book, the process is that simple. The biggest problem is that actually implementing this and sticking to it. Let’s consider the three key obstacles:
- Fear. Fear of rejection, of not being liked, of the uncertainty of responses all lead to not picking up the phone and calling (note I said call, not email). Your fear has no basis because these people already like you and want to help you. Stop getting in your own way.
- Ignorance. Not knowing how to respond and being unprepared lead to many trying, failing, and then giving up. This is all in the language and influencing skill. While the process is simple, training on the “how” needs to be invested in for the sake of success.
- Lack of accountability. Often, everyone is excited at the outset, but “gravitational pull” can easily take hold if someone isn’t holding people (or themselves) accountable.
Let’s fix this. The 5-step process to exponentially growing your sales works if
- You seek out help. Find experts through a variety of channels to help you train your sales people (including you) in influential language. This will increase confidence and effectiveness. The better they get, the more fun they will have and the better results you will achieve.
- You set accountability. This isn’t a dictatorship with dire consequences for not meeting quotas. Rather, it’s a professional approach to empowering and teaching. It requires a high level of trust and collaboration with the right people at the leadership position.
- You make it a priority. That means committing to investing time, finances, and resources.
- You make it fun. Whether it’s you or your sales people, the acquisition of business should be fun. You’re providing a great value of service or product to help improve someone else. Which leads to the last one…
- You provide genuine value. Sales will never be sustainable if they are manipulative. You must believe that you are providing valuable products and services and helping others. You’re just receiving equitable compensation for the tremendous value you give.
Everyone in the organization must contribute to sales, not for greed or malice, but for the opportunity to benefit others and provide for every employee and their family. Without revenue growth, stagnation sets in and the slippery slope turns into a landslide and takes out everyone that’s counting on your business.
By making the commitment to invest 30 minutes a day to my 5-step plan, you’ll be serving clients, employees, families, and the community.
Now that’s what I call an exponential return on investment!
© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
I remember the first time I saw Muhammad Ali fight. It was versus George Foreman in Zaire, dubbed “The Rumble in the Jungle.” Ali knocked out Foreman, then the heavyweight champion, in the 8th round. Some pundits have argued it was the greatest sporting event in history. For me personally at 9 years old, it solidified Ali as my boxing champion.
I was privileged to have watched the last years of Ali’s career, including the brutally painful loss to Larry Holmes in 1980, when it was becoming apparent that age and some infirmity had caught up with “The Greatest.” He was pummeled by Holmes, who later sat in his locker room after and wept out of his tremendous respect for Ali. Certainly it can be argued that Muhammad Ali was the best boxer of all time. But ultimately, his legacy was much greater.
I’ve often written about being resilient. My definition has been that resilience is the ability to take a punch and get up and throw two back. Ali was the epitome of resilience, both in and out of the ring. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 1984 and the young age of 42. Years of being hit upside the head had for him, exacerbated the disease. For 32 years, the champ fought the biggest and most impressive fight of his career, while all the while championing freedom, civil rights, cures for his disease and others, and global peace. Largely forgotten is his 1990 trip to Iraq to negotiate the release of 15 American hostages by Saddam Hussein. Ali was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush in 2005. How amazing, that a man who was so reviled in the late 1960’s and early 70’s would ultimately become one of the most loved and respected people in the world.
Friday night, I walked down to my small exercise room where among images of Russell Wilson, Ronda Rousey, and my favorite Washington Huskies, hangs the greatest photo ever taken of Muhammad Ali, as he stands boldly and triumphantly over Sonny Liston on May 25, 1965. I was just under five months old when that fight happened, yet it holds a special place in my home. That night, I appreciatively and respectfully saluted Muhammad Ali, for being “The Greatest.”
Rest in peace, Champ….
Quote of the Week:
“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.”
~ Muhammad Ali 1942-2016
© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved