Knowing what you know now compared to when you started your chosen profession or business, would you do all over again the same way? Would you even be in the same profession, or would you make a complete overhaul tomorrow morning and start fresh if you knew you couldn't fail?
Anyway you look at it; most people would absolutely make the changes necessary; whether it be in their chosen profession or their own business. Professionals have already made the mistakes and paid the price along the way, so they have the knowledge of what not to do and what to do.
So why don't they, or you, re-engineer your business? Why do you keep continuing down the same path, reaping the same activities and strategies, and sowing the same results you've always settled for? The answer is fear. Even armed with the knowledge that you cannot fail, most people are so overtaken by fear, that they won’t even do what they know to be right. William Shakespeare wrote in, Julius Caesar, “Cowards die many times before their deaths. The valiant never taste of death but once.
Experience is expensive and you always pay upfront. Well, you've already paid the tab, so why not put that experience to good use. Take what you know and re-engineer yourself. You can become anyone you want. Your business can become its ideal form.
This economic climate is the absolute ideal time to reinvent yourself and re-engineer your business. You must position yourself now to anticipate and take advantage of the upswing. It will come, and when it does, will you be ready, or will you just be content to keep the status quo?
Don't be controlled by fear. Dance with it, be friends with it, embrace it, and most importantly kick its ass and take your life and business to levels you keep day-dreaming about. Harness your knowledge of what you've learned and transform now.
Who are your dream clients?
No really, who exactly do you dream about doing business with? Who will make the biggest impact on your top and bottom line, and who will make the biggest impact on your life? What do these clients businesses, lifestyles and investing habits look like?
Some experts claim your list should be 25 people or companies, some 50 and some 100 people or companies. It really all depends on your sales cycle, industry and the number of clients you are capable of supporting.
For arguments sake, let’s assume you know the exact description of what your dream client looks like, and let’s assume you even possess their contact information (which you must). Now what? Now here's the absolute most critical series of questions period:
- What common ground or relationships do you have?
- Why exactly should they take your phone call, read your email, or accept your LinkedIn request?
- What exactly is in it for them? And I don’t mean your marketing departments list of company or product and service features.
- How will you save them time? Specifically, how much time, where’s it coming from and why?
- How will you save the money? You must know exactly where the savings are coming from and have concrete results and testimonials to back it up.
- How will you save them aggravation? What sources of stress are you going to cut out? Can you prove it?
Once you have exact answers to these questions, you can focus on meeting them and building a winning relationship. Until you have them answered though, the relationship is all about you and your pompous platitudes. I’m sure those are wonderful, but they don’t support your clients or you long-term.
So, who are your dream clients and why should they become your clients. Answer those questions and you set yourself and your dream client up to win.
Forgive my rant, but I’ve run into a rash of entrepreneurs lately who want it all yet aren’t putting the necessary effort in. It got me thinking about entrepreneurship, parenting, athletics, really anything worth anything in life.
Let’s say you’re in your local electronics superstore and you see a television you really want. The only way to take it home is to pay the price, and the only way to pay the price and take it home is to earn money by paying the price in your profession.
That doesn’t mean waking up at 7 am after hitting your alarm 4 times, daydreaming 80% of the day about what you wish you were doing, spending an hour with friends at lunch or the coffee shop instead of clients and prospects, going home at 5pm, and it certainly doesn’t mean hanging out in front of the TV eating Cheeto’s and surfing the internet for meaningless nonsense.
If that’s the price you’re paying, you’re getting everything out of life you’re asking for – nothing; failure at your job, in your personal life, and your health. Life will pay you any price you pay it.
So, if you want real success on your terms with your health, your happiness, your relationships, your business, your sales, and success as an entrepreneur then it’s time to start paying the price necessary. Here’s your American Express Black Card plan for success (pardon the metaphor):
- Get up an hour earlier. If 7 is your normal time, get up at 6
- No internet, no television
- Read something inspirational and uplifting for 15 minutes
- Get some form of exercise for 30 minutes
- Review your goals – they’re written out, right?
- Eat a healthy breakfast, skip the pork fat
- Glance over the days schedule
- Get to your office before everyone if you have an office
- Schedule a coffee meeting or lunch meeting with any prospect or client – have a thank you game plan
- Spend 2 hours prospecting for business, a new hire, or whatever is the most pressing issue for you. If you’re in sales it better be prospecting
- Take a ½ hour and hand write, no email, 5 thank you cards. You’ll feel better, no one else is doing it, and whomever receives them will never forget your elegance and class
- Spend your day hustling with actions that drive you towards your goals. There’s no such thing as the 4-hour workweek if you want success no matter an author tells you
- When everyone else has quit for the day, make one more call, send one more email, review your successes for the day and reread your goals.
- Go home and commit that time wholly to your loved ones
Life will pay you any price you ask of it, but you must be willing to hustle, to work your butt off, and commit to do whatever it takes to make it happen. Don’t be like the entrepreneurs I’ve run into lately. Get everything you want out of life. You deserve it.
There’s perhaps no greater skill that will get you ahead in life further than, listening. This presumes you’re asking the right questions of course, but for arguments sake let say you are.
I call it, practice not art, because to be an effective listener you must practice every day. Sadly it’s a skill most people fail miserably. Most are so focused on what they have to say or contribute that they fail to understand and relate to whoever is talking. It’s completely disrespectful and self centered.
Yet, effective listening does so much for you. It builds instant trust with others, because they can tell you are genuinely interested. You gain valuable insights, knowledge, skills, love, and respect. If you’re in sales effective listening reveals all the critical information necessary to build relationships, handle stalls and objections, and make deals happen. If you’re a parent or in a relationship, listening builds bridges of trust, rapport and love.
So how do you become a better listener? Practice these 7 strategies with every conversation and you will drastically improve your skills and your future.
- Give them your undivided attention. Put down the iphone, blackberry, cell phone, stop emailing, texting, and tweeting and pay attention.
- Look them in the eye
- Listen to understand and empathize, so you can put things in your own words
- Repeat back to them key points for clarification
- If you have something to contribute or ask, write it down so you don’t forget. But do not interrupt their train of thought
- Take notes, nod, acknowledge them
- When they’re done talking engage them with questions and your own insights
Follow these 7 strategies, and you’ll open up a world of respect, cause your success to happen easier, and build a more fulfilling future filled with rich and deep relationships and greater knowledge.