Extra Points: In Sync

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40Last week, I had a golf swing analysis done, along with 90 minutes of coaching. My game has been inconsistent for the last several years, and after trying to fix myself, I elected to get professional help. I’d also never performed a swing analysis before, and I was eager to see how it worked.

The result was that the foundation of my swing was very good, but had one major flaw. My weight shift was bad, meaning that my arms were coming through faster than the rest of my body causing inconsistency hits and results. I originally thought I was swinging too hard; in reality I was “out of sync.” The golf pro gave me tools and drills to help me get back that feel back. When I inspected my high school yearbook, I found a picture of my swing from my junior year. It was perfect. I’d managed to inadvertently and unknowingly deteriorate over the years and desperately needed expert help to get back “in sync.”

Have you allowed your business, your career, or your life get “out of sync?”

Too often, in any (or all) of these areas, it’s easy to allow past success and satisfaction to grow monotonous and pedestrian. You don’t even realize your “swing” becoming diminished because it “feels” the same. It’s one thing to have that happen to a golf swing (that’s easy to fix). It’s quite another to let it impinge on your business, career, and life.

Go get your own “swing analysis” on your personal and professional life. Get help in the areas that you want to improve or achieve change. Be disciplined to implement that change. And start shooting better scores in the much more important “game” you find yourself playing daily.

“Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely.”

~ Auguste Rodin

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

 

Extra Points: Numbers

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40A 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

Quote of the Week:

“The purpose of life is a life of purpose.”

~ Robert Byrne

Perilous For Your Business Health

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40I 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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

 

 

Extra Points: The Business of Relationships

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40Tomorrow, 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.

Quote of the Week:

“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.”

~ Socrates
© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points: The Cloak of Invisibility

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40This 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!

I love watching television. Barb and Dan seem to find it remarkable that my attention can be so focused on a TV program. I don’t know why. If they can focus, I can probably do it even better. I’m a dog, after all.

We just got done binge watching all eight movies of the Harry Potter series. Kelli came home after college, and they’re her favorite movies. Since Dan and Barb hadn’t seen all of them, she convinced them it would be a fun family activity. Of course, I joined in on the watching. I was most impressed with the whole “cloak of invisibility” thing. You know the cool cloak that, when Harry hides under it, keeps him invisible? Imagine what I could do with that!

I know humans that put up a similar thing called “an invisible fence.” The invisible fence is like the cloak concept. It hides the fence; except in this case, there is no fence! At least Harry Potter is underneath the cloak! Dan is smart enough to know I won’t fall for that trick. Some dogs don’t see it, but they’ve been trained by their humans through a form of “shock and pain therapy” to avoid going through the gate. If I had a few minutes with those dogs, I would teach them how to break free.

It’s only a small amount of pain. You take off running hard at your destination, understand that you will get a quick blast of pain, but then you’re free! Once you’re “unleashed,” you can move on and explore your options and gain new adventures and experiences.

Here is what some humans do: they act like those other dogs behind invisible fences. They think the hurt is fatal. They avoid taking that big run to their dreams. They stay in their yards doing whatever it is that they are doing and then get bored. If they only knew that great adventures and experiences are out on the horizon and that the little pain is part of that, they would do what I do.

Be like me. Know that in life you might have to take a little pain to get the results you want. “No pain, no gain” is what I’ve heard humans say about exercise. It’s probably truer about life.
Just saying. . . .
Captain Jack
Quote of the Week:

“Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.”

~ Robert Heinlein, writer
© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

How to Exponentially Grow Your Revenue in Less Than 30 Minutes a Day

20 Under 40 20_3My 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. You make it a priority. That means committing to investing time, finances, and resources.
  4. 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…
  5. 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

Extra Points: The Wrong Gate

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40Last week, I spoke at a conference in Spokane and flew in and out of their airport. After dropping off my rental car to head home, I hightailed it straight to the nearest security point. Spokane is not a huge airport and I have TSA pre-check, so the process was pretty painless. Until I went to find Gate C22.

Fortunately, I decided against getting lunch right away as I was early. Instead, I started searching for C Gate. There was A; there was B, and then there was nothing. I asked one of the security people where I could find C Gate. She looked at me with empathy (as if I was not the first person this happened to) and told me I needed to go back outside to the terminal, take a left and start walking. She said, “If you think you’ve walked too far, you’re not there yet.” So off I went.

Basically, I lost time, effort, and energy (and added a pinch of frustration) by going to the wrong destination. The security point clearly stated this was for A and B gates. In my haste, I overlooked reading the signs and planning ahead. It might have been much worse had I not arrived early.

It’s also easy for business owners and leaders to go to their own “wrong gate.” In our haste to achieve revenue goals, project completions, leadership development, and a myriad of other objectives, it’s easy to overlook the signs and planning required for a successful outcome. That leads to your own loss of time, effort, and energy; and might also include loss of opportunity and more than a pinch of frustration.

Bottom line – read the signs. Get help when you need it. Know where you’re going and why. And make sure you get to your destination safely and rapidly.


Quote of the Week:


“Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it.”

~ Lou Holtz, former college and pro football coach and analyst
© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Be Good To Yourself

20 Under 40 20_3Jordan Spieth was arguably the best golfer in the world in 2015. He won two major championships – the Masters and United States Open – and culminated the year with the FedEx Championship. All the golf pundits were not taking a giant leap of faith when proclaiming he was going to have another terrific year in 2016.

Spite has gotten off to a very slow, and in some cases, a rocky start. He’s been uncharacteristically poor in his shots and noticeably more agitated on the golf course. Now let’s be fair; Spieth is only 22 years old and has had a ton of early success. People have been amazed at his poise and savvy at such a young age. Regardless, it’s been a surprising start to the new year.

Last week, Spieth finally admitted in a press conference that he was being too hard on himself on the course. His self-talk was bad; he was intolerant of his own mistakes; and he found himself trying too hard to make up for poor shots. Basically, Spieth has fallen victim to what many of us do more regularly. That is not being good to yourself.

Many entrepreneurs and business owners left one boss to start their own business, and ended up working for a tyrant. Themselves. Is that you? Just like Jordan Spieth is susceptible to being too hard on himself on the golf course, business owners can do the same thing. For that matter, business professionals and all people can do the same thing. We are willing to cut somebody else some slack, but incapable of doing to ourselves. Sound familiar?

I’m pretty sure Spieth will adjust. His track record already indicates that. What about you? Are you willing to improve your self-talk and cut yourself slack when you aren’t perfect, make mistakes, and fail? In order to maximize your talent and unleash your potential, you must. In order to take your business or company to greater heights, you need to have positive self-talk and be able to forgive yourself for failures and try again.

Are you willing to be good to yourself?

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

 

Being Memorable

20 Under 40 20_3I was recently interviewed for an article on being “memorable.” This is a quality that is important for any business professional. I thought I’d share my answer to the interview here with all of you…

To be “memorable,” a business professional (or anyone for that matter) must:

  1. Be willing to be contrarian. Agreeing with everything and everyone becomes white noise. Even if one agrees with the concept, they must find a different way of framing it to create interest.
  2. Be a compelling storyteller. If we think about those people that we consider memorable, I bet everyone of them was a great storyteller. Stories stick – you’ll find these in both your professional and personal life – and those people that can match a story with a message are even more notable.
  3. Have a broad vocabulary. In an age where perspicacity around vocabulary seems to be on the decline, those with a strong one stand out. It should never be meant to be snobbish, rather a component of creating a better understanding with the right words.
  4. Have a 35,000 foot view of life. I’m always amazed when people say they don’t like to travel. Travel is the quickest way to broaden your perspective around other cultures and peoples. Those that are able to broaden their own view through things like travel, reading, education, and accomplishments, will transfer that characteristic to to their personality, and lend themselves to being memorable.
  5. Leave something lasting. It might be a book, a speech, a movie, a song, etc. People that leave something as a legacy that comes out of their talent and skills leave a lasting memory.

Read the entire Fast Company article HERE

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points: The Power of Persuasion

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40This Week’s Focus Point: The Power of Persuasion

When I was in New York City in March, I had the great pleasure of dining with friends at historic Keen’s Steakhouse. The Manhattan restaurant was founded in 1885 and is famous for its steaks, chops, and collection of 90,000 clay pipes that line the walls and ceilings.

I was there during Lent and it was a Friday, which meant no steak for me. Fortunately, their fish selections were fantastic. The menu featured their acclaimed Dover sole. I was also intrigued by the chard because while familiar with the Atlantic fish, I’d never tried it. When I asked the waiter for his suggestion between the two, he of course said they were both grand, yet he had a twinkle in his eye and a heightened hint of enthusiasm when he spoke of the chard (which was decidedly less expensive than the sole). It intrigued me enough to get it, and boy was I glad I did! It was one of the best fish dishes I’ve ever had, if not the top. The power of the waiter’s suggestion persuaded me to a great dining experience.

The waiter gave me his honest opinion in spite of a lower bill (meaning the possibility of a lower gratuity). His candor was in my best interest and translated into a memorable experience. His focus was on the value of that experience.

In your business, sales are mandatory for survival. Are you (or your sales team) persuading people with enthusiasm based for the value your customer or client will receive, or based on money in their pocket? Sales people focused on earning a commission rather than the client’s best interest ultimately get found out. The problem is they bring your company’s reputation and future sales down with them. You can do a lot for the growth and sustainability of your business by building a culture of outcome-based sales. In other words, believing in the tremendous value to others and transferring that benefit in exchange for equitable compensation. In the end, it’s a win-win-win situation.

In my story, I won (magnificent experience) , the waiter won (equitable compensation), and the restaurant won (reputation and brand). I can’t wait to go back.

Are your clients saying the same thing about you?

Quote of the Week:


“In order to attain the impossible, one must attempt the absurd.”

~ Miguel de Cervantes (16th century Spanish novelist)

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved