Saturday, June 30, 2007

Winner or loser?

According to Brian Tracy, winners are action orientated and losers are excuse orientated.

Winners use phrases like: "I will achieve ..."

Losers use phrases like : "I will try ..."

Winners set goals, write them down and keep the goals in a prominent place.

Brian asked us to do a simple exercise. For me, it was a life-changing one. Write down at least 10 goals in 3 minutes. GO!

After the 3 minutes, choose the most important goal, circle it then do something in the next 24 hours to get you closer to achieving it.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Double your income

If you have time, you will double your income.

It's up to you whether it takes 25 years or 2 years.

According to Brian Tracy it is knowledge and skills that will take you on the expressway to success, rather than relying on experience & luck which will keep you on the back roads of mediocrity.

The secret is to get off the back roads and on to the expressway!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

An amazing morning with Brian Tracy

I attended a half day sales seminar with Brian Tracy today and came away with new skills and a new outlook.

I enjoyed some of his "Tracyisms":
  • "Get yourself voted off "Someday Island""
  • "They need a check-up from the neck up"
  • "You can only coast down-hill"
  • "Some people have too much month at the end of the money"
  • "A JOB means Just Over Broke"
  • "Politics comes from the Greek word "poly" meaning "many" and a tick is a blood sucking parasite"
  • ""I'll try" is an excuse for failure"
  • "The 3:30 rush hour is all the sales people heading home"
I'll share some more gems over the next few days.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Help! I'm lost

I recently drove my car through an unfamiliar city and got lost.

It reminded me how customers might feel dealing with a company or trying to navigate a website.

I got lost when my intuition let me down and the signposts didn't help. I finally resorted to a map, but it wasn't detailed enough. So I jumped on my cellphone and got directions.

The experience made me reflect on what I can do to make it easier for clients, by being more intuitive and having better navigation tools. Apparently the name for this is usability - helping clients use things more easily.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Smart marketing

Last year I entered a 5km run and today a colleague reminded me about a new gym that launched its brand at the event.

Why did my colleague remember it?

Because the gym printed some smart black tees with its brand on it & gave them to athletic, attractive people.

Like many brands, using people we want to be like (actors and models) enhances a brand's appeal. In the case of this gym, it didn't need to spend a lot to get noticed.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Do 1 thing really well

I was watching the TV programme "Top Chef" and the judges made the comment that some chefs tried to do too much and they would be much better to do 1 dish really well.

This is a lesson that we can also use in business.

I know I'm (sometimes) guilty of trying to do too much, or give too much information.

Over the last few days I've become a keen crusader of less to provide more. Less range of topics, but more detail on one topic.

The feedback has been very positive as I present myself as an expert in 1 topic.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Stories create brands

I know I'm more passionate about a brand when I understand the story around the brand.

For instance, I was intrigued to see a vehicle branded "The Immigrants Son", and then read about the story on a recent flight to Auckland. It would be hard not to fall in love with the story, and therefore the brand.

If you are in business, do your customers and prospects know the story around your brand?

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Donating money to charity

I received a phone call from a person who works for a large charity and wanted some help with their tele-marketing script.

Personally, I have trouble with giving money to a charity where a significant portion is used to pay the collector.

For instance, If I donate $20 based on a phone call, and the telemarketer is paid $17 per hour, and only makes 1 sale an hour, then the charity isn't getting much out of it. By the time other overheads are taken into account, the charity is making even less.

I would've thought that there would be enough goodwill to do some smarter marketing, especially through corporate sponsors.

Imagine a corporate that offers some of their telemarketing capability to get donations for a charity, & then donates all of that money to the charity.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Money for ideas

Wellington City is offering good money for good ideas that can make a fortune.

Wellington has benefited from some great business ideas including Weta workshops and TradeMe.

Like any good idea, it not only takes a vision, but the guts to turn the vision into a reality. I'm sure the prize money will go some way to making it happen.

Do you know any worthy Wellingtonians with great business ideas?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The irony of expectation

Yesterday I had lunch for the first time at a local bar that had been voted #5 in the top 20 bars in the world - The Matterhorn in Wellington, New Zealand.

My expectations were HUGE. A bar of this quality must be outstanding.

Interestingly the bar was down a very ordinary corridor and behind a very ordinary door with very ordinary signage.

As I walked in, my expectations had been dampened... until the waitress welcomed me as if I was the most important person in her day (which was a great feat considering there was a film star in the restaurant), invited me to a suitable table, enticed me with recommendations and delighted me with ordinary culinary delights that had extraordinary taste.

The secret to their success (I believe) is their ability to manage expectations, then blow them out of the water.

Will I go back? - For sure!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Michael Campbell e-mailed me!

What a great way to maximise sponsorship! Get the celebrity to e-mail the subscribers.

I'm not so naive to believe that Michael actually e-mailed me personally, or that he solely wrote the e-mail, but it really feels good to see an e-mail from someone famous in my in-box.

It's such a simple way to maximise sponsorship spend effectively and create engagement with your customers and fans!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Compelling tradeshow exhibits

After recently attending the biggest agricultural show in the Southern Hemisphere (Field Days at Mystery Creek in Hamilton), it was interesting to reflect on the compelling exhibits that grabbed my attention.

There were certainly thousands of people trying to get my attention. From modified cars to free coffee, dancers with hammers and freebies to seminars and discounts, it was hard to choose what to spend my time (and money) on.

The successful sites had done their homework and followed the 3 steps to success.

Step 1: Who were they trying to attract? What were their potential customers interested in? What would make them stop and look? Are there related products the exhibitor should set up near to? What pictures or props could draw in the customers with the right demographics?

Step 2: What issues or problems did their potential customers want solved? This is where an effective (open-ended) question can provide the exhibitor with a gold-mine of information. Interestingly, most questions or comments were lame or unrelated (like; "Are you enjoying the show?", or "Nice weather."). They could've asked "What's interested you most today?" or "How did you hear about (our product)?".

Step 3: How would their product solve those problems? Use testimonials, guarantees and special exhibit-only offers to complete the deal.

Most of the work in being successful at tradeshows is doing your homework & preparing effectively.

Remember to give yourself a budget - some of the most creative thinking occurs on a limited budget!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Have you got enough votes for re-election?

Imagine if you had to apply for re-election in your job. Would you get re-elected?

Have you achieved enough?

Have you consistently performed at your peak?

At your next performance review, present a compelling list of achievements to ensure you are re-elected (or at least get a pay-rise).

Friday, June 15, 2007

Turning your customers into experts

Are you expecting your customers to make good decisions?

If so, they need good information.

On a recent trip to Field Days at Mystery Creek (Hamilton, New Zealand) I saw some excellent examples of suppliers providing in-depth, interesting information about their products and services.

There were seminars, newsletters, e-mail subscriptions and personal attention by experts.

An additional advantage of turning customers into experts, is that they become advocates for your product and can tell others about your points of difference.

How can you turn your customers into experts?

Monday, June 11, 2007

Is passion enough?

I listened intently as the interviewer explained to the 75 candidates what it would take to be granted one of the 11 places at a special farm training school.

The word that stood out was PASSION.

He wasn't looking for the emotion. He was looking for examples of how the candidate had demonstrated their passion.

What had they done? How had they differentiated themselves? What had they learnt?

How do you demonstrate your passion? For your job? For your loved ones?

Think carefully about your actions, will others say: "WOW! They're passionate".

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Don't let facts get in the way of a good story

I recently found out that a well-quoted study into goal setting was never done.

I've heard Zig Ziglar & Tony Robbins inspire people with the knowledge that people who set goals will be many times more successful than people who don't.

If you want the full low-down <click here>.

If you want to quote facts it is always best to check with credible sources to ensure your story is believed and your message heard.

Friday, June 8, 2007

In Pursuit of Happyness

Having watched this movie again I am reminded about the excellent lessons it contains:

  • Failure can often lead to satisfying success.
  • Have a success plan and execute it.
  • Success isn't always about the money.
  • Beware of the hype around fads.
Understand what happiness means for you and then pursue it!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Congratulations Team New Zealand!

What can we learn from Team New Zealand winning the Louis Vuitton Cup?

I remember the team motto from the last series - "Will it make the boat go faster?"

Each team member's focus was on making the boat go faster, but as we learnt from the last series speed can sometimes come at a cost.

This race series proved that the team had achieved a balance between making the boat go faster & getting it across the finish line first (in one piece).

By understanding and focusing on the important things in our business we can be so much more successful.

What do you do every minute of every day that will make your boat go faster (in one piece)?

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Loyalty works both ways - mate

Thanks for your personalised letter with your special offer Dymocks.

I already received one in the post 2 days ago!

If you want me to join your loyalty programme, why don't you give me special treatment?

You competitor, Whitcoulls, sent me an e-mail telling me of a special offer that starts in 2 days. As a loyal customer, they have told me I can take advantage of the special offer a day before the general public.

Now that makes me feel special!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Friends and family

Are you maximising your existing relationships?

My daughter started a new job and her employer extended a special family offer to us.

This was a really easy way for them to grow a new business relationship with very little effort.

My daughter felt great about promoting the offer to us which we felt really good about too.

Can your staff (or existing clients) be ambassadors to help grow your business to their friends & family?

Monday, June 4, 2007

I don't know how to write a great story

Great story tellers don't have to be great writers.

In a recent
blog, Kevin Roberts uses George Lucas as an example of a great story teller and he is absolutely correct. In this example Lucas was also the creator of the story.

But you will know people who tell great stories they haven't written.

An example is New Zealander Peter Jackson. He brought Tolkien's Lord of the Rings alive on the big screen and retold a great story.

You can also read Jim Collins' book, Good to Great. He took the fable of the Fox & the Hedgehog and repackaged it into a top-seller.

Find (or create) your story (or the story of your product or service), then get great at telling it.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Use the Force

I was reading Kevin Roberts post about the lessons from Star Wars at the same time I'm currently reading Malcolm Gladwell's book "Blink".

The Star Wars lesson about using the Force seems similar to Gladwell's message about trusting first impressions, or "instincts".

Being a bit of a Star Wars geek (I was 11 went it came out) I like the idea of trusting the Force to make decisions.

If you haven't checked out Chad Vader , beware about straying to the Dark Side though!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Could your client embarrass you?

This week one of my colleagues was embarrassed when a client knew more about a new product development than he knew.

Clients expect us to be the expert in our field of expertise.

There are 3 important points to note:
1. Do you commit enough time to stay on top of the developments in your industry? If your client gets asked by a friend, would they feel comfortable referring their friend to you as the expert?

2. Are you focused enough? Sometimes if we try to be experts in too many things, we end up only being average in all. Remember the saying "Jack of all trades, master of none"?

3. Do you wait for your client to ask you about new products, or do you proactively tell your clients about the latest & greatest? If you don't, somebody else will!

It's a great time to reflect on what you do to become the expert, stay the expert and keep your clients up to date by sharing your expertise.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Don't kill your customers

A very tragic situation of a mother who died when her power was cut off is making front page news in New Zealand.

Mercury Energy, the power company involved, is being hauled over the coals. A PR nightmare.

Obviously the family should have paid their power bill, but companies need to ensure their customers are looked after.

Its a wake-up call for businesses to ask themselves - "What if I was on the front page of the newspaper?".

Are there processes you need to review to ensure your customers are being looked after and feel looked after?