Monday, January 31

Becoming a 'professional' 

From coach Michael Neill's newsletter that came across my inbox this morning:
How do you know if you are approaching an area of your life as an amateur or a professional?

Here are a few of the ways I’ve discovered so far:

1. Amateurs work when they feel like it; professionals work to a schedule.

2. Amateurs do it because they love it; professionals do it because they’ve decided to do it (although they may well love it, they recognize there are times when they will likely hate it as well).

3. The amateur is committed to their own well-being; the professional is committed both to continual learning and producing results – looking after the goose while producing plenty of golden eggs.

The fact is, investing in the professional approach pays consistent dividends. Most things in life will succumb to the simple act of putting in the hours, day after day after day until the hours have become days, the days weeks, months, and years and you have developed a previously undreamed of capacity for excellence.

Though some days will always go better than others, for the professional, every day has the potential for greatness.
David's take: As I say in my talks to both entrepreneurs and corporate insiders - Start with zero every day. Assume nothing. Put fresh targets on your radar daily. Produce work WORTH PAYING FOR every day.

This is a marathon, not a sprint! Professionals are equipped for this... amateurs are surprised by it.

Friday, January 28

The brilliance in the room - Fast Company style 

Well, the Company of Friends presentation came and went. WOW. That's all I can say.

I told several close friends that this would either be the most brilliant I've ever been, or the most utterly moronic. Fortunately, the former scenario seems to be the verdict of most audience members and my gracious host, Valeria Maltoni, the Superwoman of Philly CoF.

The thing that struck me this morning is that it wasn't ME being brilliant (Duh!) When you bounce your ideas off the brilliance in the room, you're sure to look good in the reflected light. That is exactly what happened last night. It was a truly collaborative experience. Check out whose ideas were on magnificent display:

Gerry Lantz, my dear good friend and introducer:

Barb Bosha, designer extraordinaire:

Ford Myers, Career consultant to the stars (including me, by the way!!)

Lisa Kramer, Coaching mastery guru (the coach for coaches) and business success partnership co-creator:

Colleen Bracken, SuperAchiever coach and business success partnership co-creator:

Jacques Werth, the man behind "High Probability® Selling"

Bret Rigby, brand leadership and organizational management guru - hire this man!!

Matthew Zinman, a guy who knows a bit about marketing communications, strategy, and PR

Susan Race, PCC, author, speaker, coach, super-connector (and person who brought the most friends!)

Robert Knowlton, Certified Business Coach and CoF February speaker

That's just a small sampling of the 54 people whose ideas, inspiration, and input before and during the session made last night a fabulous experience.

[Hmmm, I should have charged $9,000 for that speech. Ah, well... next time.]

Tuesday, January 25

Even prospects who don’t buy should get a Happy Meal 

Rule 15. Even prospects who don’t buy should get a Happy Meal. And prospects who DO BUY should get a feast.

Here’s what I mean. Look at your marketing materials. The key question to ask is "Will people keep your marketing materials even if they don’t do business with you?"

Are you providing REAL value? Is your message more about THEM and THEIR problems and THEIR solutions than about YOU and YOUR SERVICES and YOUR CREDENTIALS?

The bottom line is nobody cares about YOU. Period. All they care about is what ideas you have for them, how you can help them reach THEIR goals, and how your solution makes their life easier, better, or more profitable.

I’m talking about everything you send out – your sales letters, brochure, newsletters, e-zine, presentation kit, everything should be a KEEPER.

QUESTION: How can you make sure the stuff you send out CAN’T be thrown away? Think tip sheets, checklists, resources, action steps, samples, booklets, articles, how-to guides, etc.

Can you recall ever receiving a piece like this yourself? What was in it? Why did you keep it? WHERE did you keep it? Did you show it to others? Why? What was their reaction? Did you want to steal the idea and adapt it for yourself? DID YOU?!?

The more value you provide in your marketing, the more you are reinforcing the idea, “Wow! This person is sending out this great information to EVERYBODY – imagine what we’d get if we became CLIENTS!!” And then, naturally, you have to deliver tons of great value to your clients – even after they’ve stopped paying you. Here’s a testimonial I use all the time to reinforce the FEAST idea:

David Newman has to be the hardest working guy in sales training. Just one of his ideas helped us to triple the revenue from our core service. Even after we finished working together, I would get emails from David about another idea he had for us. He far surpasses any course I have ever taken, any book or tapes I have read. You cannot hire a better person for your company than David Newman.”
-- Mary Broussard, CEO, The Barter Connection

What have YOU got along these lines? Are you sending out VALUE (you-you-you) or are you sending out FREE RECYCLABLES (me-me-me)?

The true measure of a mensch 

Recently, I passed along a referral for a big-dollar opportunity to a person who I rather dislike. Let's call this person Grinchy.

Grinchy has been rude to me, confrontational, and most unprofessional on two distinct occasions. In fact, during the second occasion, his card was passed around the table as if it was manna from the heavens - the vibe being "and of course, you want Grinchy's card because he's such a local celebrity." I let the card sit on the table in front of me until it was time to leave the meeting room. Then I had a choice:

a. Leave the SOB's card on the table and let everyone see that someone could care less about this big-name kinda-has-been.
b. Discreetly take the card, slip it in my pocket, play nice, and leave larger-than-life egos intact.

I chose option B and then with some PRIVATE satisfaction, threw the card away in the comfort of my own home office.

Then today, my marketing mentor and coach Alan Weiss sends out an email from a contact of his looking for EXACTLY the kind of work that Grinchy does. It's highly specialized and quite the niche - and there was no mistaking that this work had Grinchy's name all over it. Now, don't get me wrong - Grinchy is at the top of his profession and if I mentioned his name, you'd all say, "Wow... I didn't know that THAT person was a jerk."

I can only assume that Grinchy is somewhat better-behaved around paying clients than he is around me. So I passed along the lead. We'll see what comes of it. And I've had plenty of personal experience about people starting out acting like schmucks who eventually came around.

Case in point - my best friend Ken Smith from high school. The first two weeks of 9th grade, I hated this kid's guts. We finally started our now 28-year friendship when he slammed me into a row of lockers and we had a good old fashioned fistfight. That works great when you're 13.

Now that I'm 41, I think passing Grinchy a referral was a pretty good idea.

Who have YOU helped, referred, coached, or introduced lately that perhaps you didn't personally like? That might be the true measure of a mensch [(n.) One who does good deeds: He is a real mensch, the kind of guy you can always count on.]

Thursday, January 13

Pros and cons of intrapreneurship 

In my experience with employee/intrapreneurs, here are the 4 pros of intrapreneurship:

1. More engaged, committed, accountable employee behavior
2. More well-rounded, financially savvy workers who know where the business is and where it needs to go
3. More proactive "do what needs to be done" attitude vs. "doing my best" within narrow job descriptions
4. "Ownership mindset" leads to increased openness, innovation and risk-taking, and reduced fear, negative judgement, and tension of "us vs. them"

The 4 cons of intrapreneurship are:

1. Difficult to "flip the switch" from employee culture to intrapreneur culture
2. Managing successful intrapreneurs is akin to herding cats - i.e. you can do it, but you need a can of tuna fish!
3. Less top-down control and more uncertainty in the beginning increases the required quantity and quality of communication from everyone
4. Intrapreneurs will stretch the company, and old-line managers in particular, out of their comfort zones in day to day operations such as meetings and decision-making, perhaps causing some painful (but necessary) turnover.

Wednesday, January 12

It's not about credentials 

This week, I met with a woman named Susan.

She was referred to me by a mutual friend, the best damn career consultant in the country, Ford Myers of Career Potential.

I met with Susan to see if I can help her with some contacts as she prepares to leave her solo consulting practice which she's been working on for the past 18 months for the security of a 'real' job. I'm always glad to lend folks like this a hand. At first, I thought she wanted help with building her consulting business. [I'm always interested in those kinds of referrals, too - wink, wink]

But she's not. It's too late. Time for Susan to throw in the towel.

Susan reminds me that it's really not about credentials, is it? She has a Harvard MBA, a Doctorate in Psychology, and an SPHR designation - this woman looks like an HR/OD dream on paper. Yet, she only got a small trickle of clients "through osmosis" in her own words. Bottom line: ya gotta do the marketing!!!

It's a shame when people like this throw in the towel. But, of course, I'm WAAAYYYYY biased on this issue, as you can guess. I always want the free agent to win, find the answers, get successful, and leave the 9-5 world behind. [I much prefer the 6am-midnight world that I live in!!!]

-- David [written at 5:47am!]

Sunday, January 9

4 smart strategies for 2005 

From Entrepreneur Magazine, Dec. 2004:

1. Tap the countertrend. For every trend, there's a potentially lucrative countertrend waiting to be noticed.

2. Eat off the big guys' plate. Trend agency Trendwatching.com coined the term "feeder business" for companies that feed off giants like Amazon or eBay.

3. Switch the niche. Take a tried-and-true product or service meant for one market, tailor it to a different market, and marvel at why you didn't think of it before.

4. Borrow a business model. Charging members a set monthly fee to borrow an unlimited number of DVDs by mail worked for Netflix. No wonder smart entrepreneurs have since "borrowed" Netflix's business model to use in other industries. Is there a smart concept you could borrow?

Read more here

Monday, January 3

Education + Information = Trust 

Today's complex sale requires the following:

Trust, therefore, becomes the theme for a new type of marketing.

Education + Information = Inspiring Trust

A key aspect of prospecting is the ability to provide valuable education and information to prospects up front—to become a trusted advisor. You are then perceived to be an expert. You don't sell; you don't make pitches. Instead, you provide insights and solutions, all within the realm of your expertise and thus become the first they call when there's a need.

When your marketing program has that single point of focus of developing trust, your time is freed up for other things; your business will become more profitable and less reliant on competing on price; traditional "jerk selling" is eliminated in the interest of more open and honest conversations with prospects; you win more business on a sole-source basis, and more new business referrals come your way.

Above all, you feel good about what you have to offer. That's the key to making your sales activities easy, effortless, enjoyable - and effective!!

Saturday, January 1

New Year Toast 

"In the New Year, may your right hand always be stretched out in friendship,
never in want."

-- Irish toast

A Happy and Prosperous 2005 to all!

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