Essentialism: Holy Cats!

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essentialism

One way to make sure no one reads a blog post is to publish it late on a Friday afternoon.

And even better, have that post be an esoteric, academic brain bender.

Check and Check  🙂

But before you close this window out, shut down your computer and otherwise skedaddle, take this with you into the weekend.

“In a few hundred years when this history of our time will be written from a long term perspective, it is likely that the most important event historians will see is not technology is not the internet, is not e-commerce.  It is an unprecedented change in the human condition.   For the first time – literally—in substantial and rapidly growing numbers, people have choices.  For the first time, they will have to manage themselves.  And society is totally unprepared for it.”

Holy Cats that’s deep. (Actually I never say “Holy Cats”.  One of my smart colleagues in Minnesota does though when her mind gets blown, so I thought it was appropriate).

The quote is Peter Drucker as retold in a superb book I am reading by George MeKeown called Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.

Get the book.

  • It’s not about doing less work; it’s about doing the right work.
  • It’s not about just making choices; it’s about making them so nobody else makes them for you.
  • It’s not about process and practice and structure; it’s about valuing time to think, even time to sleep.
  • It’s not about prioritization; it’s about priority.

I don’t do the book content justice in this short post and truthfully, I haven’t even finished reading it ( but it is sooo good) ; suffice to say go get the book and have a Holy Cats moment or two.

 

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark

 

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Say Something Nice (& 3 Ways To Do It)

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Say Something Nice ( & 3 Ways To Do It)

 

Your mother was right about having something nice to say.  Especially if your clients are businesses.

 

 

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark

 

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Wouldn’t It Be Nice

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Wouldn’t It Be Nice

Wouldn’t it be nice if you had a little more free time, just maybe this one Friday, to spend with your kids?

Wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to worry so much about being half way through the month and the pile of bills on the desk is already 8 inches high?

Wouldn’t it be nice if you felt like you could be more confident about what people thought of you?

Wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to worry about being safe or being taken advantage of by anyone?

Wouldn’t it be nice you felt like you can’t focus on the important things because you are so darn busy?

Wouldn’t it be nice to not always pray that nobody really knows just how confused you are about some things some of the time?

 

It sure would be.

But I’m not talking about you.  I’m talking about the small business owner you.  He or she is thinking these things all darn day and you can help them.

You serve these people.  You help these people.  You love these people.

And chances are what you do and what you have helps every one of them with all of the angst they have above.

Maybe you can help them put that best face forward to the whole world both online and off- line.  Maybe you can get them more calls, more visits, more leads and more money for that stack of bills.  Maybe you can take hours off their plates with your super cool products, services or widgets so they can take this afternoon with the kids.  Maybe you can secure their payments or their business or their workers and lessen the worry.  Maybe you can help them feel it’s OK not to quite understand digital marketing or financial products or even  custom full color print because heck, you’ll teach em’.

Make no mistake.  The products you are schlepping are worth nothing.  They are silly, stupid and dumb.   It’s what they do that matters.  And further, it’s what they do emotionally that really matters.

So go out there and help these people.  Make their day.  Don’t talk about pricing and sizes and subscriptions and colors and shipping fees.  Help them take a load off and ease a bit of their burdens.

Wouldn’t that be nice?

 

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark

 

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The 4 Best Sales Pick-Up Lines Ever

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The 4 Best Sales Pick Up Lines Ever

 

Want to get a date with your prospect?  Want to see if you make those sparks fly?  Or maybe you want to date your current customer and move into a deeper more satisfying relationship.

Pick up lines work great.

My favorite one in college (worked darn near every time) was when I sauntered up to an unsuspecting attractive young lady at the bar and said   “I can play Lionel Ritchie songs on the piano, you wanna hear some? ”

But I’ve grown and realized that pick-up lines aren’t just for your love life.  They’re for work too.

Here are my top 4

“I know people just like you, in fact I spent the weekend in Vegas with hundreds of them” – This one is always good; you’re smart about their business – you went to a trade show in their industry and bragged about it.  You’ll be fun and a good listener.

“You may not know this, but I’ve been watching you..”.   Creepy?  No, not at all.  You’ve been watching them on social media, maybe read their posts or blogs.  You might have even read their financial reports.  You’re the type that makes people and businesses feel special.  You’re a nice talker, not a stalker.

“I’m learning about the most entrepreneurial and successful people,  do have a minute for me to interview you?” This one is always great.  People like to help people and especially if they can talk about themselves too!  You’re sure to get some time and maybe even for way more than a minute!

“Do you believe in love at first sight or should I show you that again?”   Great line to use In your presentation when you are super proud of your stuff –  your product or your solution.  It is very contagious and attractive to be proud so be proud!  You’ll have prospects fawning all over you.

 

 

 

Till next time,

Truly Grow The Business.

Mark

 

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Big Whoop

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Big Whoop

 

  • You have a new dry cleaning store that also provides a unique pick up service?  Big Whoop.
  • You have a new service that writes blog posts for your business so you don’t have to?  Big Whoop.
  • You have  loan acquisition product for my bank that is cheaper than my current partner?  Big Whoop.
  • You have all in one online and offline marketing product suite?  Big Whoop.
  • You have an online fraud prevention product that is tablet friendly?  Big Whoop.

*****

  • Big Whoop cuz’ I wash and iron my own dress shirts.
  • Big Whoop cuz’ I don’t blog on my business website.
  • Big Whoop cuz’  the pain of switching to you blinds me just thinking about it.
  • Big Whoop cuz’ I don’t care what you have my business is small.
  • Big Whoop cuz’ I am very careful.

We spend a lot of time focused on why clients and prospects should choose us.  So much time.  So much time it is often sickening.

We need to spend more time on why clients and prospects should even choose at all.

Big Whoop is what you never hear your client say but what they often think.  Let’s be honest, most businesses and consumers are getting it done today, somehow or some way.

Your job is to get them to think change, to want to change, to inspire or scare them into change.  Get them to think differently.  Get them off the status quo.   

Status quo is ten times the enemy your competitor ever will be.  Go focus on that. 

 

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark

 

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Inherently Suspenseful

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Inherently Suspenseful

The Wall Street Journal published an article touting the growth of golf on play-by-play on radio.  “So what” you say? Well, hear me out – there’s a lesson for us.

It’s true that golf on radio is growing – but that wasn’t what struck me as the most interesting point of the article.  The article touted how popular golf is on TV and  I admit I’m a huge fan.  I’ve always told people that I like to watch TV golf because it’s relaxing and frankly, being from New England, the weather is always better there than out my window.

That’s why I think I like TV golf.  But I know now that’s not the reason.

The writer of the article (John Paul Newport) said this about golf on TV,  “Television discovered that watching the little ball sail through the air for several long seconds, to land who-knows-where, was inherently suspenseful.”

Brilliant insight.

So that’s why I watch it.  It is inherently suspenseful.   And sure I like the physics and geometry of it all; playing angles and surfaces and the wind which by the way, adds to the suspense of where that little white ball is going to land.

And I got to thinking about those fleeting moments every day that are inherently suspenseful for us;  getting the mail ( what’s there?), getting an email ( what is this about?) , a comment, a poke, an update or a post ( I wonder what this is?).  And what about the scratch cards, the monopoly tickets, even the daily specials – we are suckers for this stuff.  We love small things that are inherently suspenseful.

Add up a bunch of those inherently suspenseful moments and maybe you get to be like golf on TV with some eyes watching you.  How good would that be for business?

Each Apple IOS release is inherently suspenseful ( what new features and benefits to me are there?).  Each TED series talk is inherently suspenseful (where will this go?).  These days even the smaller businesses are getting in the suspense game;  will the pizza place write out a joke inside the box cover?  Trade shows are inherently suspenseful ( what will be in the booth? What’s new?) and of course social media tools done right deliver suspense ( FourSquare, Facebook and YouTube).

Inherently suspenseful is attractive.  There’s surely a ton of great ways people are doing it today you can discover, but keep your head down and that left arm straight and look for those moments in your personal interactions with clients or in your business’s interactions and string some fleeting moments of suspense together.

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark

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Rethink

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Rethink

If you want to totally rethink what you are doing in business you need to get your customers to rethink what they’re doing. 

And if you really do get them to rethink what they’re doing – that’s a huge win for you. 

Apple did it.  Like for the last 10 years.

 Advanced Auto Small Engine Repair in my little town did it on Friday.

 It’s a tough world out there.  Most of us in sales and service know that even when customers love us – they are, by the time they call about that new service you’ve been pitching or your flyer or your email,  – they’ve done the research and while you’re still in the game- it’s a price war between you and your competitors or them sticking with the status quo- just doing what they’ve always done.

Disrupt the thinking upstream.  Teach. Preach.  Challenge. 

 Be that person or that company. 

Apple did it –blah blah blah we know that.  And their disruptive tech did make us rethink what we are doing but it extends elsewhere too.   Do you think they did some research and asked you and me if when you go in the store, that we wanted some 6 foot 3 bearded technical guru to greet you in the first 8 feet, get your name and ask what you are here for?  Heck no.

They just did it.  And that’s the way it is.  We have been taught.  But we had been taught before by Apple. They reshaped our thinking.  We believe. We trust.

I had a first world problem Thursday night.  My snowblower after a total of 3 feet exploded.  Well I thought it exploded: the chute shot into the air about 10 feet.   I don’t have a clue.  Next day, my wife got a recommendation from a friend about Advanced Auto and they drove up, loaded the snowblower on the truck and then plowed my driveway.  Plowed the driveway.  They didn’t ask, they didn’t check, they just did it.

3 hours later they returned with a fixed blower, an education about the machine, a conversation about what I should watch for, an invitation to learn more and not a word about plowing the driveway except humble acknowledgment of my thanks.

While Advantage Auto didn’t wholly disrupt my thinking – they did reshape my thoughts about service expectations and education in a small way.  It’s a great start for them.  I grabbed 6 of their business cards and a promise to myself about saying a few things on social media.

The perfect world for changing your business or your approach is realizing and then innovating on changing the way your customers not just think and work with you,  but changing the way they do their own business for the better. 

 

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark

 

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