I Am Joe’s Goals

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I Am Joe’s Goals

It’s my favorite time of year!  I miss Joe.  It’s been a while.

This year is gonna be a great one I can tell.  A Moleskin notebook baby, it’s Moleskin!   Joe actually went to Barnes & Noble (like really walked in a brick and mortar store) and purchased this here fancy schmancy,  jet black paper journal to write me down in.  

There I am all smilin’ and stuff – that’s me right here on the first page ready to go!

                                                                      “My Goals 2014”

Here we go!

Um.  He stepped away for a minute I guess…

While I got ya – let me tell you about last couple of years – what a ride!  Last year I was on his IPad.  That was pretty awesome slipping and sliding all over the place getting blown up and then minimized like a 5 times a day (at least in the beginning).  But by February zoom!; he’d swipe my butt every time he’d see me and I’d go screeching off to my right like at 100 mph into darkness again, again and again.    After a while I was buried in a sea of other Apps.  Not fun.  I was not front and center like this Moleskin journal.  This book is all for me baby, nobody but me.

The year before the IPad thing I was on some yellow legal paper he bought and that was cool. But I got confused when he started carrying me around to meetings.  At first I thought it was good cuz’ it seemed like he was looking at me a lot (like he should) but then he started like writing loads of stupid meeting notes under me ( that he never looked at again mind you) and then started writing numbers down just below our 5 goals for the year that had nothing to do with the goals!  The last thing I remember was he drew this flower thing right through our goals that became a dragon that became a wizard with a dog or something and then I heard this massive tearing sound and I just blacked out and started tumbling and tumbling and then…but here he comes… that’s a story for another day….

OK here we go…he’s starting to write me down for 2014! 

“Be a better father”

“Earn more money”

“Lose 25 pounds”

Oh poo.  What the heck are those?

Joe!  Joe! Joe!  Will you never learn?   My Goal friends at Club Dead (It’s where Goals go to die) tell me the great stories about the Goals that don’t come back starving and looking for some late year bloomers to pick them up in February.  They say they hang on because their original owners because they write down “why” they want to be a better father, why they want make more money and why they want to lose weight in great detail!  AND that you have to write out the real steps and timelines you want to achieve to reach each of these goals.  AND that you have to look at these every day, set a target to achieve something each day towards each of these goals and mark your progress.  

I’m guessing Joe; if you don’t do these things the same results are going to happen to us which has been for the last few years at least, mostly “nada” for our goals. There is so much room here in the journal; you’ve got to take the time to do it!

Shoot, he just closed that cover on me.  I hope he heard me.  I like the promise of this journal but if he doesn’t get better at writing me out – I’m heading back to Club Dead.  Again.    

 

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark

 

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Amp It Up: Prefacing Questions

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Amp It Up: Prefacing

Asking questions in sales, service or support is important.  There are a million theories, books and articles on what questions to ask. 

I don’t care about any of that today.

I’m going to give you 3 powerful tips however that will amp up the results of your questions and they take all of less than 3 seconds in a tactic I call Prefacing.

Each of these is additive in that if you apply just one tip, you’ll get better results than you do today with your normal questions  but  if you do all three – watch out, you’ll see amazing results immediately.

Preface #1: “I always ask…” Begin with “I always ask..” as a preface to your question of the customer or prospect.  Let’s pretend you are on software sales –   “I always ask business leaders if you see enough data on a daily basis to measure the health of the business…” Or let’s say you sell online marketing “I always ask owners where they think the best social media place to be to drive business.” Whatever your purpose is in asking the question is fine.  But prefacing it with “I always ask” makes you sound like you’ve been there before; that you have experience, that this is not your first rodeo.  In less than a second you’ve built some credibility in the minds of the listener and that psychologically will result in a more thoughtful answer by the recipient. 

Preface #2:  Add an Affiliation:  Remember this is additive – so for example “I always ask the CFO’s of Consumer Financial organizations if they see enough data… Or “ I always ask my HVAC folks where they think….”;  This addition is incredibly powerful – not only are you credible already by adding  “I always ask” but now you’ve imparted in just one more second,  that you know something, have talked to, have hung out with people like them in their world or in their industry.   You’ve talked with CFO’s (and even better talked with CFO’s in financial orgs) or you’ve talked with HVAC owners and understand what is happening.  Immensely powerful – your questions now have an even better chance of getting thoughtful and deep answers which translates into better sales service and meaningful conversations.

Preface #3:  Put a Number on the Questions:  This too is additive so in our examples let’s take it to the 3rd level, “I always ask the CFO’s of Consumer Financial organizations these 3 questions about visibility….”  Or “I always ask my HVAC folks these 2 questions about where they think the best place is…”  The theory is simple and powerful.  Placing a number on the questions helps lower time tension.  People are busy.  When you articulate the number of questions you are going to ask in a particular space then the listener knows when it will be over and in essence will stay focused for those questions and give you great information.   Not articulating a number can lead to that self-talk of “When will this be over?” or other distractions.  Prefacing with the number of questions needn’t be limiting.  You can easily move on to other subjects with for example “I always also ask 2 questions of HVAC folks about how hard it is to get paid quickly….”

Are the types of questions you ask important?  You bet.  Does everybody forget or not even think about the value of Prefacing a question?  Without a doubt.   In my opinion prefacing is as important as any aspect of questioning.

Here’s the beauty of today’s post.  It’s easy.  It’s less than 3 seconds of your time.  If you are in sales, service or support as a pro or perhaps a leader, or you are a business owner, consultant or entrepreneur looking to get better conversations and more business; print this thing, spend a few minutes wrapping your head around and go to it – you’ll be amazed at what you get in return.

 

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark

 

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Plan Ahead (and Behind)

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Plan Ahead ( and Behind) 

It’s always a risk to see my mug on video first thing in the morning – but here are two short ones to jump start your day with messages about planning.

The first one can help you like, today.. 

This next one can help you like, forever…

 

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark

 

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Important Sells

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Important Sells

  • Isn’t a meal more important when it is perceived to be a means towards losing weight or is it when it is consumed because you are hungry?

 

  •  Isn’t a car more important when you plan on passing it on to your teenage kid or is it when you just need to get from A to B?

 

  • Isn’t a business card more important when it helps you rebrand yourself or your business or is it when you just need to leave something behind so they can reach you?

 

  • Isn’t a website more important when you need to stop the competition from stealing your customers or is it when everyone keeps saying you should have one?

 

It’s always the former, not that latter.

If you sell meals, cars, business cards, websites or anything else for that matter, you’ll sell more of them when you get at how those products can help a person achieve something bigger.  When that happens, those products and you become more important.

Get at it.  Most people and businesses are not shallow.  There’s some dream, some pursuit they are after.  Tie your products and services to that dream or a goal and your stuff becomes more important.

Important sells. 

 

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark

 

Mark’s Blog

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No Wins, Not Quite

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No Wins, Not Quite

This High School football team didn’t win a single game this year.  Not one. 

But you’d never know it looking at the faces of the kids and everyone else I saw at the season-ending banquet on Saturday.  

I didn’t get to see many Varsity games this year with the kickoff times being mostly held at 4pm on Friday nights.   But I know that what had to be tough games to watch, would likely carry over into a somewhat depressed pall cast over the season ending banquet. How could there not be, having gone this year without a single win and having just one win last year.

But what I saw was a room full of cheering parents, proud young men and a half a dozen coaches who spoke of their players as if they were their very own kids.

I saw a Head Coach who talked glowingly and positively about every player from Freshman to Senior as they were introduced.  It wasn’t what you think; time flew.  He found something unique and great to say about each.   He found affirmative things to say about their work ethic, their progress, their spirit, their unselfish willingness to help each other and refreshingly for many, their outstanding grades. 

My son didn’t play a down this year having suffered a pre –season injury requiring surgery but he had his name called and was acknowledged for his commitment to supporting the team throughout the year.  He wore not only a tie (that was as required for all players) but a broad smile shaking the hands of coaches and teammates as he walked onto the floor.

There was continued talk of overcoming more injuries and obstacles, of learning new positions and new offenses, of learning a new culture and of responsibility and accountability.  There was talk about the honorable values and the unique contributions of team captions, assistant coaches and supporters all around. 

There was talk of shunning the individual accomplishment and focusing on bonding as a team, in a concerted effort with a common focus.   There was talk about reaching out to each other and encouraging each other to work together not just during football season but all year round.  And finally, there was talk that in the end of all this important stuff, one of many great results, (but not nearly the only one), will be some games to be won.

It’s trite of course, but these games are not the lead story – at least for the gatherings of these young men who yearn to push a ball across a goal line just a bit more than their competitor.  My guess is that if there were two seasons of winning records already under his belt, this Head Coach would have talked about the same things.  

I sat there thinking how wonderful these presentations and speeches were and asked myself how different are they than what the gatherings of families, groups or even companies in good times or in bad should be hearing?   These messages are the ones that we and not just our sons benefit from.   These messages are at the root of what is valuable, at the root of what drives achievement across a wide swath of life.  

Thanks for the pep talk Coach.   Thanks for the shot in the arm of prioritization and principles.  Better luck next year in that win / loss thing but regardless, there’s no doubt you’ll truly win. 

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark

Real Small Biz – Good News

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Real Small Biz – Good News

Go golfing when you want.  Play with the kids more.  Coach a team.  Be around so I can act in a play.  Get a new truck.  Sleep late when I want to.  Don’t want to be told what to do.   I like my life now.   I can change it up every couple of years.  I could always do it better anyway.  Leave an impression.  Make my wife proud.  I can fire my clients.  Work from home.  Help my brothers and their kids.  Be the boss.  Take control.  Have some fun.  Challenge myself. 

“What is the good news about having your own business?” was the question.

These are the real answers by real small business people.  I know because I’ve heard them say it first hand.    And these answers aren’t so unique or rare.  These are, when you really get down to it, what real people who own businesses say. 

And now that you know that, what the heck do you have to offer that helps these people keep rolling in this good news?   

Yeah, you’ve got some thinking and reworking to do.   Have at it. 

 

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark

 

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The DIFM Kid

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The DIFM Kid

I gave up.   January 1st was the day that I was done.

I gotta just focus on what I do well and maybe do that better.

Now I pay a 14 year old whiz kid (a friend of my son),  to just do technology stuff for me now.  “The DIFM Kid” (Do It For Me) is what I call him. (He is pictured here as rendered by my wife)  I don’t pay him a lot.  But the ROI is unbelievable.

Let him set up the Netflix on the Wii, let him set up my wife’s new Facebook Business Page, let him figure out how to connect the piano keyboard to the PC so we can record some of my son’s music.  Let him figure out why the wifi sync doesn’t work or why we need two Routers now because of all the stuff using whatever it is they use.

I’m not stupid.  Some people (and this is hilarious) think I might be a little on the  “techie” side of the ledger.   ( LOL- that’s called Acting man) but it is getting harder out there.  I don’t have the time,  but I have the need.

I just realized no matter how many manuals and instructions I read, or how many tutorials or videos I watch, I’m not going to get it.  Or I am not going to get it done fast enough.   Or sometimes I am going to make it even worse.   And maybe I need to focus on what I do well already and quit wasting time on stuff I don’t.

And now word has spread about “The DIFM Kid” and me using him.  Now everybody in the extended family is asking for him.  He disappears on Sundays 3 towns over at brother in-law’s house to go set up a new TV or to fix a slow laptop or to connect a transmitter to an outside thermometer.    There’s a darn waiting list for him and texts asking “When is “The DIFM Kid” gonna be around? ”  Things are looking great for him.

There are a lot of us out there feeling that way, consumers and small businesses alike.

You don’t have to look that far to see that Do It For Me services are going to explode not just in my family but in the marketplace too.  I see them every day grow stronger and stronger where I work.    They’ve been around forever,  but now the speed in which new becomes old, or good becomes just OK or keeping up becomes “What the hell just happened?”  is accelerating at a pace where DIY ( Do It Yourself) might soon feel so yesterday

That smacks of opportunity.  Be ready- The next DIFM Kid could ( or maybe should) be you. 

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark