Why You?

Can you answer the question, “Why you?”

When I interview insurance agents for my clients, I always ask this question at some point of the conversation. The answers vary greatly. Most agents will talk about what they do, the services they provide, the years in the business, blah, blah, blah…

The same thing seems to happen frequently in any business conversation. The “why you” question is a good one. But, it means you haven’t built up enough credibility yet to make them take the leap of faith.

The next time you are asked this simple question, instead of rattling off the things you do or the services you provide, deluge them with value . Things like:

  • Improving profit margin
  • Minimizing risk
  • Increasing sales
  • Improving market reach
  • Enhancing reputation
  • Saving time
  • Improving efficiency

Your prospect only cares about what’s in it for them when choosing someone to work with. Don’t tell them what you do – provide them with the reasons they can’t be without you!

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Patience

One of my hobbies is playing fantasy baseball. Baseball has always been all about statistics and for us baseball geeks, it’s a great way to add fun to watching a season. My team looked pretty good before the season started. I was ready to get off to a fast start. Well, as often is the case, my bats were silent and my pitchers got shelled. By the end of the first week, I found my wife and daughter both beating me in the standings.

However, in baseball there’s another great axiom. Patience. I tweaked my roster just a bit to catch hot players, but basically stayed the course. Now through 2 weeks I’ve gone from the bottom to the top of the standings. Of course, that will undoubtedly be a fluid situation for only the next 6 months, but that’s the fun of it.

The lessons to take from this are pretty simple:

  • Patience and staying the course through rough waters generally pays off
  • Making smart “tweaks” to your strategies, activities, attitude, and life provide much needed spark, positive energy, and results
  • Just because your on the bottom now doesn’t mean you’ll stay there unless you want to. Likewise, being on top can also be temporary unless you diligently continue to work on improving yourself

If you believe in what you are doing, be patient and stay the course. If it makes sense to tweak things to test or gain better results, do it. But most of all, have confidence in yourself and your plan.

Batter up!

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Use Testimonials for Value Proposition

I spoke to a group of business leaders yesterday on the topic of value propositions. I recently wrote an article in the Kitsap Business Journal encouraging you to dump your elevator speech and take the stairs with a powerful value proposition. One of the best ways to get ideas to create a terrific value propositions is with using testimonials.

Ask your best clients why they use your services, what values they realized, and what they would tell others about you. It’s often difficult to think up your own value, but when you use the words of others, it provides you with two things:

  1. Great ideas on key words, phrases, and sound bytes to your value. You may even learn that you are giving value that you didn’t know about!
  2. It’s always best to use the words of others to describe your value. It carries more weight with prospects.

Ask your clients why they like working with you to help you develop a killer value proposition. Then go out and find people and business to help!

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Blogging for Gravity

I was a guest speaker for the North Mason Chamber of Commerce this morning. The topic was how to create, write, and leverage the marketing gravity for a blog.

One of the great things about blogs are that they can build credibility globally. One lady in the audience is an interior designer that also specializes in “staging” homes for sale. I asked the question, “What does she gain by having a global blog?”  Here are a few answers:

  1. She can use it as credibility in the marketplace to gain publishing opportunities – books, e-books, articles, columns, syndication, etc.
  2. She can become a speaker for national conferences for realtors, architects, construction, interior designers, etc.
  3. She can gain opportunities to be used as a source for interviews in national publications.

That’s just 3 things. What about you? What marketing gravity can you gain from your expertise? It can all start with a provocative, value-laden blog.

© 2010. Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Lessons from Project Runway

I just finished lunch upstairs and was listening to Project Runway. Really.

My wife has the day off and so does my daughter. They love the show and were watching it when I came upstairs to eat. Understand that tonight features Opening Day for the Mariners and the National Championship game in college basketball (and I still have Butler playing). You get my point.

I did hear one thing that caught my attention. Host Heidi Klum (another good reason to occasionally tune in) made a comment to one of the contestants that I belive transfers over to business. She told him, “You are consistent. Consistently safe. That is a bad thing in this business.”

Being safe is a bad thing in any business. You must be willing to be contrarian; to push back; to offer opinions outside of the mainstream. Otherwise, you’re just part of the white noise. Look at the people in your industry who are most successful. More than likely, you will find that they were willing to take risks; to be unconventional; and to buck the trend.

Do you play it “safe?” If so, how can you change that? That will be your key to enhancing your name, brand, and product or service.

Maybe I need to keep watching Heidi Klum for more blog fodder….

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Need to Get Away? Not Good for Frontier Bank President

Frontier Bank’s president John Dickson was fired this week by CEO Pat Fahey because he went on vacation. Really.

The bank is in deep trouble and has until April 15th to get better or sell. CEO Fahey was angered that President Dickson took a planned vacation with his family to Hawaii when the bank was in such crisis. In his words, “it was not the appropriate time for either of the two leaders to be gone.” Dickson countered that he was always available by phone and e-mail. Dickson is actually the son of the founder of Frontier Bank.

Read the story from the Puget Sound Business Journal

Here are my thoughts:

  1. If Dickson was as accessible as he said he was by phone, internet connection, and being able to fly back for an investor, then what difference did it make? Business is now done globally, 24/7, wherever you are. Did he have to be physically in the bank? I don’t think he did.
  2. Fahey may argue that from a morale standpoint, he did. But, let’s be serious. The employees have nothing to do with this. It’s about investors. As long as he could do whatever it took to raise capital, who cares where he is?
  3. Does it look any better to investors or customers that the CEO fired the president two weeks before the deadline? Does that help morale? Does that get you closer to making a sale? My guess is no.

Certainly, in an era where bank executives are being scrutinized every which way, Dickson could have opted for a different time. Certainly, Fahey is hunkering down and wanted all hands on deck. He most assuredly requested Dickson not leave. Dickson defied that and it was his undoing. I’m thinking there has been more to this story than this one episode.

If you were the CEO, what would you have done?

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Confidence

The first sale is to yourself.

Confidence is the most important tool for any business professional. Ironically, it’s one that is most often lacking.

This past weekend, I was a judge for the Miss Moses Lake Scholarship pageant. They crowned three winners who will each go to the Miss Washington event. I was impressed with all the young ladies because it takes a great deal of confidence to speak and perform in front of judges and a large audience. That being said, you could tell the different levels of confidence for each. Those that had competed before showed more confidence than those who hadn’t. That confidence comes out in all you do and usually means you come out on top. The more these young ladies compete and practice, the more confident they will become and it will carry over into all phases of their lives.

The same can be said for business. You have to have confidence to toot your own horn; to take risks; to be contrarian; to be in the spotlight. If you don’t have great self-confidence, you just won’t be as successful as you could be. Business is tough and can be “dog-eat-dog.” It’s easy to become discouraged. But if you’ve made that first sale to yourself, then you will have the true belief in your services and products to help others. But that first sale must be made, and it’s often to most difficult.

How strong is your confidence? What must you do to make it stronger?

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Big Mo is Good for Basketball and Business

Watching the NCAA tournament reminds me of the power of momentum. As a former high school basketball coach, I remember pounding the idea of “Big Mo” into my players on a regular basis. Momentum, both positive and negative, is contagious. It often decides the outcome of a basketball game. It also often determines the outcome of your business.

Where is your momentum? If it’s on a negative slide, you must do whatever it takes to change it. Make alterations to your schedule, try new techniques, visit clients, ask for more referrals, etc. Take calculated risks and get the momentum turned.

If you are on a good cycle, put your foot on the accelerator. Keep momentum going as long as you can because it will literally “will” you to success.

“Big Mo” is decisive in basketball and in your business. Get it on your side.

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Disaster Recovery

Are you prepared to handle adversity?

I got an opportunity to practice what I preach today. I was holding a free teleconference today on Extemporaneous Excellence. I was sitting on hold with two minutes to go…alone. I was supposed to have 25 people on the line. With one minute to go, I saw my cell phone ringing. It was a friend who was taking part in the call. “Dan, the phone number you gave out says it’s not in service.” Upon checking closely, I realized that I had inverted two numbers when transposing to my memo to everyone (Dyscalculia as I have later learned is the term). At that moment, e-mails and phone calls started flooding in. Now was the time for Extemporaneous Excellence!

I managed to shoot out urgent e-mails as quick as a the fastest gun in the wild west. Within 12 minutes, we had almost 100% of the group in. A little tardy, but we went the whole 60 minutes and I believe no worse for wear. At least that’s what I heard back from people…I am looking forward to hearing the recording!

Here’s your message. Mistakes will happen to the best of us. How you respond is critical. Recovery means making the best decisions you can at the time with the knowledge you have. My decision could have been one of two things:

  1. Cancel today and send out a re-scheduled day and time
  2. Try like heck to get everyone on board, start a little late, and do my best

I opted for the latter. Either one could have worked but my gut feeling was to get these folks taken care of today because another time might not work. I had the recording so for those who never made it in, or were late, we had a solution for.

What’s your disaster recovery plan? You can’t know them all (that’s why they are called disasters), but you can know your own personal style and have a standard response. This happens to be mine. If you can identify what yours is, the next disaster won’t end up being so disastrous.

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

How to Find Stories to Blog About

One of my mentor clients asked me today, “Where do you find things to blog about?” A good question that I thought many of you may also be asking.  Here it is. Get ready to cut and paste this interminable answer in your brain. Ready?

Life.

I guarantee that things happen to you every single day that you can write about, blog about, or use for a story in a speech. You just have to be in the moment and be able to use your life as a metaphor.

Here’s an example from today for me. I was working around the house and I love to listen to Pandora while I work. I had it on the Greased Lightning station and listening to an oldie song called, “What a Wonderful World it Would Be.” One of the lines said something like, “I don’t know what a slide rule does…” I chuckled. Neither does about 2/3 of the world anymore. However 40 years ago, everyone not only did, but used them all the time. So how do you use this as a blog post?

My mentee is in the technology world. The changes in technology are happening at warp speed. Just like the slide rule, many things we take for granted today may be obsolete in just a short time. In fact, much shorter than ever before! If you are unwilling to change and learn about new technologies in real-time, you and your business will be left behind playing with your slide rule.

OR…

If you are a consultant for helping businesses work with a diverse generational workforce, you might find a way to use this story in a speech comparing the slide rule to the Texas Instruments calculator to an iPhone app. You get the picture.

The key is to be aware of things around you; note peculiar things that happen or that make you laugh; find irony in everyday happenings; and make note of all of them. The next step is to try to relate them as a metaphor to something in your business. Then start writing…

The reality is that your audience will better understand a difficult topic or be more engaged in your speech when you use everyday life occurrences that seemingly have no commonality. It’s a great way to never run out of stories. All you have to do is live!

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved