If It Ain’t Broke … Innovate It ~ 15 Reasons Why You Should

The old saying ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ was a famous catch cry of yesteryear. Unfortunately many still live by it.  What if they were to replace ‘don’t fix it’ with ‘innovate it’?

Innovate

Change is often seen as difficult, confronting and easier to avoid, rather than embrace

15 Reasons Why You Should Innovate

Competitiveness

The world as we know it is becoming increasingly more competitive. The way people are now looking at solving problems and the way they are delivering solutions is becoming more attractive for customers to try different options.

If your business is not in a position to compete, you may not lead, win, place or even be in the running for your customer’s loyalty or dollar.

Training your people and business to be competitive is like training an athlete for a marathon.  You must plan how you will run the course, develop a strategy to overcome obstacles, and understand your competitors to know how to position yourself to take advantage, and gain market share as you run the race.

Relevancy

Do you remember when you used to buy something that you now refer to as a ‘so yesterday’ way of doing something?  At the time you probably thought you would never do without it, and it was the only way to solve your problem.  That was until someone came up with a smarter way of solving your problem and now you would never do it the old way again.

Can your business afford to be seen as irrelevant in the way you solve one or more problems? How can you think differently to solve other problems, or solve the current problem you are already solving differently, for existing and new consumers?

Opportunity

If you open your eyes and assess the market you play in, and consider other markets that have adopted innovative approaches that may bring opportunity for your market, what do you see?

Being aware and open to change and the opportunity it can bring seems to be common sense, however, many still choose complacency and fear that opening the door to opportunity may create more problems than it solves.

What are you doing in your business to discover opportunity, and when you do discover it, what are you doing with that knowledge, how are you applying it, and where can it lead your business?

Viability

At first glance the word viability might seem odd when referring to an established business, however, it is a crucial word to consider.  Your business’ viability is only as robust as your business mindset.  If you encourage or allow complacency or cost-cutting as your primary option to remain viable, you are setting your business up for performance to decline.

Is your business mindset one that focusses on growth and expansion rather than cost-cutting and contraction to solve challenges caused by the changing market you operate in?  Balance is important, but it is how you think about this question that determines the direction of your business.

Diversification

Do you have only one revenue stream that powers your business? One speed revenue models can limit business potential and will create vulnerability in operational capability, capacity and stability.

If that revenue stream diminishes or dries up how will your business survive?  How can you diversify what you offer to solve your existing, and new customer problems?

If you tap into how you can innovate your products and services to diversify what you offer your customers, how will this create an opportunity for your business?

Collaboration

You know you can’t do everything yourself, but despite this, more often than not, we continue to try to deliver solutions that are better done by someone else.

  • How does your business collaborate with other businesses, individuals and organisations?
  • What have you learnt, and continue to learn, from these relationships?
  • What value does your network offer, and how does this benefit your business and those you work with?
  • How do you collaborate to accentuate the strengths of both parties to innovate and create?

Redundancy

The fear factor of the possibility of redundancy of a business in a marketplace is often hidden under a blanket of ignorance.  Ignorance to the fact that unless the business chooses to evolve and innovate, it will rapidly lose worth in the eyes of the customer, and risk becoming redundant.

What do you do in your business to ensure that you will not become an ‘industry dinosaur’?

Scalability

To be able to scale, your business needs a strategy to guide you.  That strategy must be agile and intuitive to change and embrace innovation to enable success.

Understanding your customer, who they are, what they want, how they want to be communicated with, and where they want to engage and interact, must underpin your business strategy.

Are you building a customer-centric business strategy that demonstrates your plan to scale? If so, what framework and benchmarks are in place to measure that journey and accelerate that growth in a timely manner?

Responsiveness

Customers like to be seen, heard and feel important.  We should now consider replacing the old saying ‘Content is King’ with a new saying, ‘Customer is King’.

The reality is that without your customers you do not have a business

If your customers do not feel like you are hearing them, or they feel like they are invisible to your business, they will react by not engaging with your business.

How do you talk to your customers and where do you engage and interact with them?  Is this by your design or theirs?

When you deliver your products or services to your customer they will judge you on how responsive you are to them, and how you make them feel.  Investing in finding out how your customer thinks, and responding accordingly, tells your customer you are putting them first.

Intuitivity

When your business plans how you deliver your products or services do you do you think like your customers think?

This question is an important one to ask if you haven’t done so already.  Creating an intuitive customer journey for each of your customer types communicates to your customers that you have recognized, acknowledged and are delivering what they want.  When done well this creates ‘customer utopia’.

Investment

Do you have an exit strategy and why is this important?  An exit or/and an acquisition strategy helps communicate growth and innovation for investment.  Cash injection through investment is a necessary tool to innovate and scale, to establish an attractive investment opportunity to make acquisitions, to diversify or expand or to innovate, nurture and grow to scale and exit.

How attractive is your business to investors?  What does the evolution of your business look like and how are you planning to make this happen?

Capability

What are your capability gaps?  Like your regular doctor check-ups, analysing your business capabilities gives your business a health check and insight into where your business needs attention and where your offering is not being optimized for your customers.

This process also identifies where you can identify trends and innovate to increase not only capability but also capacity, to solve problems that you may not have realised needed solving.

When did your business last make an appointment for a business check-up to discover how healthy your business really is?

Culture

Culture can make or break a business’ ability to reach its potential.  The challenge is always to bring your people along on the journey with you.

Traditionally we create top-down hierarchies which may only serve to create divisions and disconnect.  Consider flatter hierarchies based on operational competencies and strengths that are measurable. This can enable you to innovate with agility.

Do you structure your work environment to create open communication, transparency, collaboration, engagement and ownership of tasks and processes?  What yardsticks do you use to measure performance based on responsibility and accountability?

By structuring your teams to become empowered, and not just to engage, you are able to create an environment that is collaborative and conducive to setting goals and achieving outcomes.

Appeal

We live in a world of lots of bright and shiny things that capture people’s attention and imagination.

How do you inspire, excite, shock and delight your customers?

If you are creating an experience that your customers will enjoy, remember and share, then you are building brand engagement and evangelism.

To continue to enjoy this relationship with your customers you must innovate.  Immediacy demands innovation, to not only get the attention of existing and new customers but to convert that attention into a relationship that is reciprocal, and satisfies the needs of both your customer and your business.

Sustainability

Business is facing becoming more transient than it ever has before.  To remain in the game your business needs to determine how to sustain existing customer patronage and understand how to entice new customers to come on board to grow your business.

To do this you need to have a business strategy that has sustainability at its core.  This simply means that you need to build a foundation that is true and pivot off this proactively to innovate and behave in an agile manner, to take advantage of change, trends and opportunity.

If it ain’t broke… break it and put it back together differently.

Chances are what you will find is that doing business in different ways may bring better and more measurable results than the way you have always done business before.

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Walk A Mile in Your Customer’s Shoes

Your customer’s experiences determine if they will choose your business’ products or services or your competitors.

Doesn’t it make sense that you should look at how you position what you offer through your customer’s eyes?

A customer-led rather than a customer-centric strategy will see a significant increase in your customer conversions.

Walk in your customer’s shoes to better understand how to align your business with theirs.

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Your customer’s lens may be focused on …

Security

  • Is your business’ data secure?
  • What should I do to risk mitigate my business’ exposure to hackers?
  • How do I filter my data to protect my business and stakeholders?
  • What is recommended to ensure that my e-commerce shopfront is secure?

Risk

  • How can I mitigate risk as my business undergoes changes?
  • What steps do I take to measure risk in investment to grow my business or diversify into new business ventures?
  • How do I minimize the risk of redundancy in the skill set of my employees?
  • What do I do to limit my business’ exposure to disruption?

Profitability

  • How do I structure my business to reduce cost and increase profitability without compromising my brand?
  • With industries becoming more competitive on pricing how do I maintain margins?
  • How do I ensure that my cash flow is consistent and growing?
  • With markets changing how do I position my business to not just maintain but grow market share?
  • How do I establish my brand without compromising on what I charge to engage with my product or services?

Agility

  • How do I change the way I do business to be more proactive and responsive?
  • What will agility do for my business that makes it important?
  • How can I compete with start-ups and online competitors when I am an established business?
  • How do I communicate to the people in our business that agility is important to gain consensus?

Viability

  • I am concerned that if we introduce too much change too fast we may derail what we do best now?
  • The business is not delivering the bottom line it should now so how can changing how we do things improve this?
  • The industry I am in is changing so fast how do I remain competitive?

Ability

  • My people know what they know and I am unsure if they are equipped to work in a digitally driven environment.
  • How do I know who are the people in my business that will lead change?
  • My people are loyal and want my business to succeed. Will this enthusiasm and motivation overcome any gaps in their abilities?
  • How do I educate my people when I don’t understand what I need to do?
  • When recruiting new people how do I and the right people for the right roles to align with where I have gaps in experience and ability?

Resistance

  • The people in my business are mixed in their response to change in the business with the longer serving employees resistant to change. How do you change that without getting push back?
  • I have provided training for new processes and programs but a lot of my people default to doing things the way they always have. How do you overcome that?
  • Do I need to restructure the business and let the people go in the business that are resistant to change?
  • If I let the people go in the business that will not embrace the direction we are taking they will leave with an enormous amount of knowledge and experience in my business. How do I transfer that knowledge so it is not lost?

Priority

  • I have a lot going on in my business right now and I know I need to look at new opportunities and bodies of work but there are only so many hours in each day. Why should I prioritize digital transformation and how?
  • My people are already overworked and KPI’d on what is already on their plates. I can’t possibly ask them to do more without them pushing back.
  • How do I justify prioritizing changing my business model when we need to spend so much time running the business?
  • What is the best way to communicate the benefits of transforming my business to stakeholders to get buy in from the right people?

Scalability

  • I want to introduce new products and services to scale my business but don’t know how?
  • Is scale about a geographic footprint or are we talking about introducing automation to scale the business and if so what does that mean and how much does that cost?
  • How do I scale my business without taking on enormous overheads that I cannot afford?
  • Why would I want to have the ability to scale when my business is profitable as it is now?
  • How do I communicate and market my business to scale quickly?

Sustainability

  • What steps do I take to better understand if my business is sustainable now?
  • How do I disrupt my business to set myself apart from my competitors and create longevity?
  • I don’t see how I can future proof my business so why would I invest in strategies that may be redundant due to the changing environment of the industry I work in?

The 10 reasons given in this blog are only scratching the surface.

The key to engaging customer’s to embark on a journey of digital change and transformation is to listen to what they have to say. If you take the time to listen to what your customers are saying you will hear the pain points they are trying to communicate.  This will enable you to propose approaches and solutions that will resonate with your customer and create an environment of trust and understanding.

When you make the effort to speak the same language as your customers, listen and empathize with their pain points and are able to take what you have learnt and interpret that contextually your ability to engage and convert your customers rises exponentially.

 

 

 

Originally posted 2016-08-22 08:57:12.

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5 step game changer that will make you a sales superstar

How would you like to learn how to become a sales superstar?

  • Do you want to learn how to stay ahead of your competitors?
  • Are you tired of chasing leads that don’t eventuate?
  • Do you want to better understand who your customers are and what they want?
  • Would you like to understand how you could sell your products or services differently to get much better results?

COMING SOON in January 2017            

  Register your interest in our FREE Webinar

sales superstar

Originally posted 2016-12-07 15:00:00.

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Build your ‘sales’ muscle to enhance your performance

Would you agree that to be good at anything you need to exercise and hone your approach to get the performance you are looking for?  Sales is no different! Building up your sales muscle to be stronger, flexible, resilient and competitive is integral to becoming a successful sales person.

sales performance

All it takes is knowledge to understand and the discipline to persevere to get your sales ‘six-pack’ or maybe just a little bit of sales muscle to give you the edge you are looking for in the market.

The sales formula for success is not a ‘one size fits all’ remedy but there are a number of things you can do that will improve your sales performance and help you reach those budgets!

 

The sales ‘warm up’

limber-up-flexibility-sales

Limber up to prepare before you sell.  How you prepare before you even make the appointment with your customer is even more important than the sale itself.  If you prepare well you will position yourself to know who your customer is and why they would be interested in talking to you.  This sounds straightforward but it is amazing how many sales people do not do this and therefore do not have enough insight into who their target customer is.  They are also often blissfully unaware as to what would compel customers to engage with their business to secure and retain ongoing sales.

You must invest in research, analysis, strategy and planning to establish a strong ‘core’ to work from.  To facilitate this process you can gain advantages by strategic networking, partnering and collaboration with the right people to better understand the right approach.  This will help you to align what you are offering with the right customers.  This approach helps your ‘sales muscle’ to be more flexible and resilient to attract the right customers.

Sales Goal Setting

reach-high-sales-stretch

Once you have limbered up you can start to reach high and set goals that you want to achieve to increase sales engagement, interaction and conversion.

If you have done your homework and leveraged the right resources you will have an idea of what trends and insights will impact on your sales performance and will have learnt where your strengths and weaknesses lie and where those of your competitors lie.

Strength in Strategy

strategy-and-poise-sales

 

Now that you are informed you must determine what your strategy will be to not only secure new customers but also to retain and grow existing customers.  You must conduct yourself with poise and confidence in how and what you are offering as your unique value proposition to expect your customers to become true believers.  If you are convinced what you are offering is a good thing and you can project positive and measured outcomes that are credible and realistic you will overcome any objections that you may face.

The sales performance ‘strength’ workout

go-the-extra-mile-sales

Let’s step things up and start the sales performance workout.

Now that you have an informed strategy you can fine tune your approach and practice your craft to hone your skills. This will give you some strength and focus prior to talking to ‘real’ customers.  Find  a ‘sales buddy’ who will workout with you and practice being the salesperson and the customer to get both perspectives.  This will enable you to aim high and get the most out of your workout.

Be brave and be competitive!

be-competitive-salesPush through the pain of doubt to get the most out of your sales workout.   Your customers want to get excited by what you are offering them.  They also want to feel that they are getting value in that transaction.  That value might be a saving, a bonus or maybe even a sense of belonging or exclusivity.  Remember what people see they believe.  Perception is one of the best tools you can exercise in your sales toolkit.  What you say and do will impact on your sales success.

 

The ‘sales’ marathon

sales-marathon-not-sprint

Lastly, remember that sales account management is a marathon, not a sprint.  You need to spend the time to build relationships that will last with your customers.  To do this successfully you need to be consistent in being transparent and visible.  Communicate well and often, but constructively and always with respect.  Your customers want outcomes. Your responsibility is to be able to measure and report results that matter and resonate with what your customers are looking for.   Make no mistake, your customers have more choice now, than ever before.  If you are not looking after them somebody else will be.

Make sure that there is a virtual ‘drink station’ at regular intervals along the course. This will ensure that your customers are refreshed, replenished and invigorated throughout the sales marathon. This will guarantee that they are enthusiastic and receptive and want to run the race with you and not against you.

Originally posted 2016-11-07 16:10:33.

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Secret Sales Sauce for Cold Calling

There is no doubt that we all want to making sales! How you go about making sales is critical to your business’ success or failure.

3D-Bar-Graph- Sales -Meeting-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many businesses believe that the more businesses they contact, the more sales they will make.

Are you are trying to establish a customer base?

Do you believe it is a ‘numbers’ game?

What are the top 10 reasons why a ‘numbers’ game can be costly and ineffective? 

  • Lack of credibility and reputation: If your potential client does not know who you are or they do not have a reason to believe what you say they will not give you the time of day.  Your potential clients are busy and have to prioritize their time. You need to have some credibility and/or reputation to establish your relationship. You need to have this before you can assume prospective clients will listen to you.
  • Time v’s returns: How much time are you investing in your sales efforts versus tangible outcomes you are achieving?
  • No. of conversions v’s no. of businesses contacted: For every business you have contacted what is the ratio of contact to conversion? Is it worth the effort you are putting in?
  • Talking to the wrong person:Are you talking to the person who makes the decisions or a contact in the business?  If your communication is with the wrong person it is likely to become a dead lead.
  • Talking to the wrong businesses: Have you qualified your target business/vertical?  or are you throwing the net wide to capture a size of business rather than a type of business?
  • Getting past the gatekeeper: Why would the gatekeeper open the door for you to talk to the decision maker in the business?  What is your strategy to overcome this?
  • Customer engagement: How are you telling the story of what you can do for your prospective business?  Is it in an email, on the phone or by another mass communication means?  Are you talking ‘to’ your prospective clients or ‘interacting’ with them?
  • Poor sales management: How are you tracking your sales efforts? Are you reporting time spent attending meetings, volumes of sales calls, number of active leads or are you making each sales effort fully accountable?
  • Personalization v’s critical mass approach:  The risk when you telemarket with a set script or you send a regular EdM is that you lose the ability to customize a solution for your prospective client.  You are expecting your prospective client to figure out how your solution will work with their business. Are you communicating this well enough for them to do this?

What if you had a secret sauce for cold calling that had a high conversion rate with a minimal customer burn rate?

The first phase is ‘being seen as an influencer and industry solution expert‘ as outlined below and this needs to be done immediately. The second phase is a relationship reinforcement that should be done once you identify and engage with prospective clients to make your sales recipe a success.  This gives you the impetus and momentum to grow a qualified audience.

Well here it is…

Your Secret Sales Sauce for Cold Calling

Be seen as an influencer, networker and industry solution expert! 

Phase 1:

  • Identify as many sources of authority as you can so that your name is seen where and when your target personas are looking.
  • Demonstrate your industry knowledge and experience by being seen constructively, contextually and frequently through social media, forums, group discussions, blogs and webinars etc.
  • Offer something that your client wants and position your solution as the one they are looking for.

Phase 2:

  • Research the individuals you meet with to discover who they are and what their triggers are.  What is the predominant theme of information about your prospective clients that is available? e.g. ego, interests, background, people you both know to find common ground, strengths and weaknesses, achievements etc
  • Connect with each and every prospect you meet with in person on Linkedin. When you do this you are effectively putting them on your mailing list.
  • Send your prospective clients your contact details via SMS to capture their phone number. This will also ensure that your contact details are saved in their phone so when you do call  them they will recognize that it is you.
  • Form partnership, affiliations and relationships that will benefit both parties and accelerate your sales.

Identify who your target market really is

  • What is the size of the businesses you are targeting? (small, medium, large)
  • Have you defined the decision maker entry point you need to engage with to get traction?
  • What specific verticals will embrace your products or services?

What are the key ‘pain points’ that you can remedy?

  • Research the vertical and the businesses you have identified.  You need to understand what your prospective clients are communicating through forums, social media and other channels.  This allows you to become familiar with what their ‘pain points’ are.
  • Once you have an understanding of the vertical and business landscape cross reference the ‘pain points’ that you have identified with the remedy/s that your products and/or services offer.
  • Make a distinction of why your products and/or services should be the preferred choice to remedy your prospective clients ‘pain points’. What sets you apart from other solutions in the market?

Illustrate how you can remedy the identified ‘pain points’?

  • Now that you have done your homework you will now know how to communicate your solutions to remedy your prospective clients ‘pain points’.
  • Remember that slide decks can be flat, boring and ‘old school’. Don’t default to using them. Slide decks should be minimal in content and number of slides. Their purpose is to introduce and inform, not to educate, involve and excite. Slide decks do not allow your potential client to interact with your product and/or service. Remember your prospective clients needs to do this to take ownership of your solutions and make them their own.
  • To educate, involve and excite your prospective clients you should consider a mix of visual engagement tools including:

#Clickable prototypes

#physical products that you can demonstrate or they can be used by the business to illustrate efficiency and effectiveness. e.g. free trials.

#tangible display of outcomes that talk to the ‘bottom line’ proficiency of their business e.g. reducing overheads, increasing revenue, time savings.

#introducing case studies with relatable results to promote your track record of solution sales.

Remember that we do business in a world driven by immediate gratification. How will you get your prospective client’s attention and ultimately their sale?

Originally posted 2016-04-18 11:39:05.

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Customers don’t care

That’s right you heard me…Your customers don’t really care about you!  This can be a shock to some businesses who believe that they have loyal customers who have and will continue to frequent their business no matter what.

customers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The reality in today’s world is that the customer can be bought, sold and coerced. If you do not know what their triggers are you are in danger of becoming extinct.

Challenge yourself by answering the following questions as ‘your customer’?

Be honest and brutal with your answers because these will assist you to improve your customer ‘stickiness’. It will also give you an advantage over your competitors. Once you understand where your weaknesses are where, when and how you interact with your customers you will be able to do something about it.

What are the ‘BEST’ reasons customers will leave you?

1/ Benefit

  • What value do you give a customer that no-one else does?
  • Are you solving a problem for your customers?
  • What advantage do they gain by using your product or service?
  • How do you differ from your competitors and how do you communicate that?
  • Is the benefit you deliver for the customer significant enough to establish them as a regular customer?

    2/ Experience

  • Is the customer’s journey seamless from beginning to end?
  • Do you believe your customer’s journey intuitive?
  • Do you believe that your customers feel like their needs and wants are being considered?
  • Does your customer feel that they have ownership of the process and are in control?
  • What makes the experience that you deliver different/better than your competitors?
  • Is the message, outcome or ‘call to action’ clear and relevant for the customer?

3/ Satisfaction

  • How does your product or service make your customer feel?
  • Will the experience make your customers want to tell their family and friends?
  • Did the customer feel rewarded, valued and happy with what you delivered?
  • What happened that will make the customer return?
  • How do you know that your customer’s are satisfied with what you are delivering?
  • How are you identifying and assessing the level of satisfaction you are delivering for your customers?

4/ Time

  • Was your customer’s experience timely because we now live in a world of immediacy and time is precious?
  • Are you aware of where your customers are and what they were doing?
  • Was navigation easy and quick to let your customers find what they are searching for?
  • Did the effort the customer had to put in to receive your product or service make it worth the investment that you asked them to put in?
  • How much time did your service or product save your customer and what value did it give them?
  • Did you customer achieve cost savings in other areas by using your products or services?

Do you know how you could improve your business to attract and engage customers so that they ‘care’ about what will you have to offer them?  How will you become a more customer-centric business?

Originally posted 2016-04-18 08:44:50.

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23 Ways You Could Be Damaging Your Reputation Without Even Knowing It!

How often have you wondered why people behave in different ways when they meet with you, haven’t seen you in a while, or you both know the same person? Often it is your reputation that precedes you.

reputation

23 Ways You Could Be Damaging Your Reputation

1. Dismissing people

  • Do you find that you are always busy and often people become just another source of ‘noise’?
  • Is it easier to prioritize the people that will have an immediate impact on what you, and dismiss others?
  • Are you guilty of reacting to people who become your ‘squeaky wheel’ and ignoring others?

You need to ask yourself what message this is conveying.

2. Giving people ‘lip service’

Are you telling people what you think they want to hear, rather than what they need to hear?

Often we are guilty of doing this, however, this is often because it is an easier way of keeping the momentum going and not getting bogged down in discussions that we may see as unnecessary, or that we feel we do not have enough time for.  

You need to ask yourself if your message is speaking the language your audience understands or are you speaking to them in a language that they need to have interpreted?  

If this is the case your reputation may suggest to people that you are out of touch. 

3. Talking trash

 Have you ever caught yourself listening to what you are saying to others as you are speaking, and said to yourself  …Wow!, that sounded great?

You need to ask yourself that if you felt it sounded great are you framing what you are saying to make yourself look good or are you communicating in a way that will make your audience look or feel good?  

This will leave a lasting impression as to whether your audience feels you are credible.

4. Believing your opinion matters more than others

You know your stuff right!  It is an expectation that you express your educated opinion because that is what you are employed to do isn’t it?

This is a dangerous assumption because you are more than likely to come across as expecting others to conform to the way you think, giving them the impression that their opinions are less important than yours, or worse still that you feel they are irrelevant.

You need to ask yourself what perception you are projecting and how people are interacting with you.  This will give you a good indicator of what your reputation is with the people you interact and engage with.

5. Needing to be right

We all like to think we are right, but the truth is, that more often than not, we may be trying to solve problems with solutions that are ’cause and effect’ only.

This may stem the flow of the problem initially but you will only be treating the symptom and not the disease.

Being ready, willing and able to contemplate, consider and collaborate. This is when your reputation will open doors for you.

You need to ask yourself honestly, does your need to be right means you are sabotaging you and your team’s success? 

6. Making yourself look good

This is often a fear driven behavior.  If we do not look good then people may not believe that we are doing a good job, are capable of being promoted, or of being of significant value to the business or others.

You need to ask yourself are you trying to promote yourself at the expense of others?

Are you excluding others because you feel that if you include them it will take the gloss off you?  

This can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Ultimately your ‘gloss’ will become tarnished because you cannot be everything to everyone. All you are doing if you are behaving this way is providing an opportunity to showcase your weaknesses.

7. Promising but not delivering

Words are cheap.

Actions speak louder than words.

We have all heard these phrases, but often we don’t pay them enough attention to them and this can be to our detriment.

You need to ask yourself when you suggest, direct or intimate something in conversation do you follow through even if the outcome is not favorable for the person you have spoken to?

 If you don’t, what is the impression you are giving to that person and how do you know that person will not become pivotal in your future direction?

The truth is you don’t know, but you can be assured that they will remember the way you treated them.

8. Not surrounding yourself with people who are smarter than you

Have you ever been guilty of not employing someone because you felt that they might show you up?

Do you ever have that niggling feeling that you might be caught out as an ‘imposter’ in an area that you do not believe you perform as well as you should?

You need to ask yourself if you are missing an opportunity to showcase your leadership skills and team performances all because of lack of confidence in your own individual abilities?

9. Believing that there is an ‘i’ in team

We all joke about this statement because we have all heard it said at training sessions and in motivational speaking forums.

The  ‘i’ is really an ‘e’ and that ‘e’ stands for ego.

You need to ask yourself if you are putting you first when you lead, or the team first and if you are jeopardizing your reputation?

 

Your team will follow if you lead from the front, but will leave you, if you push them from behind.

10. Pretending you know what you are doing when you really don’t

Faking it till you make it may work in some cases but in the long run you will always get caught out and this usually happens when you least expect it.

You need to ask yourself if you are always waiting for that ball to drop, how many others are able to see your vulnerability, exploit you, or pass judgment?

11. Not asking for help when you really should

Flying solo may look attractive but everyone has weaknesses and things that they are not really good at.

You need to ask yourself what will happen when those holes in your armor appear and your team realizes you are only human.  

What message you are sending to the people who are following you? 

12. Fear of failure means you avoid trying new things

Being change-averse and risk-averse means you are stuck.

Being stuck means that others will pass you by and overtake you.

You need to ask yourself if you can afford to be left behind and seen as someone who was not forward thinking. Do you want this to be your legacy?

13. Always doing things the same way as you always have

Habit is a comfortable word.

It is so much easier to repeat the same processes than to learn something new, and often this is why we default to this, often subconsciously.

You need to ask yourself if you are guilty of complacency and recognize that people could see this as your ‘Achilles Heel’ and take advantage.

14. Worried about what others think when you determine how you act

As humans, we are very vulnerable to how we are perceived.

For some of us, this controls our behavior and can, when escalated, paralyze us to act according to what others deem as appropriate and not trust our own instincts and experience.

You need to ask yourself are you allowing your actions to be determined by others, or are you taking responsibility and setting an example.

Do you have a reputation as a leader or one who is being led?

15. Overanalyzing everything

Thinking too much can cause you to overthink and over analyze.

This can lead to doubt and indecision.

You need to ask yourself how you approach your decision making?  

Are you reticent to make any decision and procrastinate because you can’t? 

What impact does this have on your performance and reputation?

16. Communicating what you say will happen, and when it will happen, and then not delivering on that

This is often seen described as time management.

Don’t focus on where you aren’t going to proceed or get outcomes.

However, this approach often means that you, in good faith, promise to come back to someone, follow up, confirm a quote or offer or give them an update within a time frame with some sense of surety and optimism that this will happen.

You need to ask yourself when circumstance and timelines change are you guilty of blowing people off, forgetting to get back to them, dropping them down the priority order or just ignoring them because getting back to them is no longer as important?  

If so what if you need or want something from that person in the future and that is not something you can foresee.  

Will they be there for you?

17. Making decisions on what others say you should do

Following the crowd or winning the popular vote may make you a hero in the short term but when the consequences of decisions that are made, motivated by others opinions, inevitably, you could be the one with egg on your face.

You need to ask yourself are you band-aiding a problem with a solution that you didn’t give consensus on?

18. Making yourself a minority in your mind:  Creating the Victims Syndrome

Society likes to create minority groups, even where they weren’t in existence before.

Why then do we move into the shadow and allow ourselves to be a minority?

You need to ask yourself…

Are you a leader with conviction or a leader without a voice?

You need to be prepared to stand up for your team, be responsible and accountable, to gain their respect and the respect of your peers.

19. Looking at the problem, not the solution

This is more common than most of us want to acknowledge.

It feels so normal to complain about the problem, how it is impacting us and if you give your team a chance they will run with this approach every time.

You need to ask yourself if you are determined to draw a line in the sand.

Expect that your team comes to you with a solution for the problem and never comes to you with the problem for you to solve. 

The solution they offer does not have to be the right one, but it will start them thinking the right way. In time, more often than not, they will be on the right track and be thinking more laterally, than literally.

20. Assuming that the problem cannot ever be part of the solution

Believing that the problem is part of the solution almost sounds like a contradiction for most people, and often it is hard to understand and process.

You need to ask yourself how you can illustrate to your team, and peers, that the problem is a symptom.

To determine the solution, the symptom or symptoms of the problem,  if reverse engineered, could provide valuable insights into the solution or solutions.

The ‘problem’ needs to stop being the barrier between you and the ‘solution’.

21. Doing what you think other people think you should do

Guesswork is about as accurate as being blindfolded and asked to perform a task that requires sight to be successful.  It is not going to end well.

You need to ask yourself if you are prepared to risk your reputation by assuming what you think others think you should do, or be bold enough to find out what should be done and show initiative.  

Travelling with the herd may feel safer but when predators move in you are likely to be trapped.

22. Not investing in yourself as a unique value proposition

Do you pay enough attention to yourself?

If you value what you bring to the table you need to invest in yourself to get the best returns.

Makes sense doesn’t it?

You would do that with any depreciating asset, wouldn’t you?

You need to ask yourself what your strategy is for continual improvement to be at the top of your game or your reputation in your chosen field may suffer.

23. Not believing you can because it is easier to give up

We all get tired living in the human rat race, competing to stay on top of the pack, and to remain relevant.

Sometimes it just seems easier to concede, rather than compete.

You need to ask yourself what the impact will be on your reputation if you choose the easy way out each time.  

You might cruise along for awhile but sure enough, you will hit the rocks if you continue without a rudder to guide you in your strategic decision making.

Your business card is your boarding pass but your reputation is your passport.  If you want to reach the right destinations you need to make sure your journey doesn’t hit turbulence.

 

 

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3 Call-To-Action Hacks That Really Work

How much impact does what, why, how, where and when you place your call-to-action have on your business, and what does it mean to your customers?  What if you could hack it and get even better results?

action

You want your customers to feel compelled to buy what you are selling or commit to what you want them to do, right?

What if you hacked your trusted go-to call-to-action to evoke a different type of emotion that makes your offering different to what others are offering?

Would that make you want to engage with your product or service if you were your customer?

What does hacking a call-to-action look like?

1. The call-to-action might be a:  FREE download, checklist, e-book etc

What emotion does it evoke now?  

The customer feels initially like they are getting something without giving you something, but they have a nagging feeling, through experience, that there will be a catch.

That nagging feeling can create a lack of trust over time and your customers can start to feel numb if you use this too often to encourage them to then pay for your products or services.

Why hack it if you are having success now?   

There are a plethora of people doing the same call-to-action and if you don’t set yourself apart from them now, you risk being painted with the same brush stroke. People become jaded.

That is the cold hard truth, unfortunately.

Hacking your call-to-action will make it different, distinguishing your genuine offer to your competitor’s opportunistic offers.

Your customer has learned to expect the latter will be what they will probably get from previous experiences.

How to hack it and change it up!

Value creation is extremely important as this is an act of good faith for your customers.

What does value creation really mean?

The unfortunate behaviour of a lot of people offering FREE as a call-to-action is that they use this as click bait for the sale.

This is where they come unstuck.

The FREE offer has to have a stand-alone value all of its own and this has to be tangible for your customers to identify and engage with it.

Some examples may include:  

You may give away a secret…

If you do, you must demonstrate how it can be applied and where it has worked before to validate it.  This must be a real game-changer and one that your potential customers can readily relate to.

You may give your customers a formula…

This must be demonstrated in the FREE offer as to how, why and where it has worked before.

If your customers can see that they will get a tangible outcome by applying your ‘formula’, this will fast-track your customers to buy your saleable product or service.  It will also compel them to buy to unlock that second tier of value.

You may use ‘the stick more than the carrot’ …

This is often used in checklists that are framed to create fear or scarcity.  If you do not comply you will suffer this consequence!  Oh, and by the way…we have the solution.

This only works when your customers don’t feel like you have trapped them.  If they feel trapped they will search for another way to comply with somebody else that they feel will look after them or give them a way out with less pain.

You can overcome this by creating value your customers can see without looking.

Make ‘the carrot’ more visible by taking away the pain point immediately and using the checklist as a reassurance that establishes a comfort zone rather than a fear factor.

Thestickmight be ….Do you comply? Be aware you could be audited!

Thecarrotmight be …  We offer a FREE audit to give you peace of mind.

This talks directly to the pain point, at the pain point, introducing your service as a ‘solution partner’ who wants to earn your customer’s trust and not just take their money.

2. The call-to-action might be:  Buy one, get one FREE

What emotion does it evoke?

Your customers feel that they cannot lose if you have convinced them that the product or service that you are selling them is good value.

They feel like they are getting a good deal once you have converted their thinking to believe that buying your product or service is a no-brainer.  Double the benefit for the price!

Why hack it if you are having success now?

Your product or service may experience great success with this approach but consider if what you are offering has limitations how long will this be sustainable?

These limitations could be the price point, competitors using the same call-to-action or a window of opportunity if your product is seasonal or a niche offering.

How to hack it and change it up!

What if you were to change the way your customers think about the ‘buy one get one FREE’ purchase?

What if you introduced the idea of the second product becoming a ‘pay it forward’ or ‘gifting’ opportunity, dependant on the type of product or service on offer.

Would this present as a different opportunity and one that your customers could use to share on social media at the sale-point to promote what a good person they are, while at the same time promoting your product or service to an unlimited, new audience?

You could also value add to this concept by ‘sweetening the pot’. You could offer your paying customer the chance to go in the draw to win a prize for making the purchase. This message could be embedded in the automated share message that your customer sends out at the sale-point to encourage the next wave of customers to do the same… repeating the sales process over and over again.

3. The call-to-action might be:  Subscribe NOW, Buy NOW,  Act NOW

What emotion does it evoke? 

Your customers may feel pressure by using any of these call-to-actions if they do not have enough knowledge to make the decision.

When your customers feel pressure they are going to act one of three ways.

  1. Your customers will make the purchase as they have already made the decision.
  2. They will abandon the post, article or cart because they are not convinced.
  3. They will look for something to validate why they should engage and commit to the sale.  This may include reviews, social media or your website as points of reference.

Why hack it if you are having success now?

The challenge is that once your customers look to validate, this exposes your product or service to scrutiny and competition.

You have to ask yourself…

  • How many potential customers do you lose through either abandonment or the validation process?
  • How many potential customers are not convinced by the time you ask them to take action and what impact does this have on the success you could be experiencing?
  • How many of your potential customers don’t even react to those call-to-actions because they see them all the time?

How to hack it and change it up!

Identifying and understanding what your customers ‘need to know’ is something that you probably do now.

What if you are missing pieces to the conversion puzzle? What might they be?

If you were your customer and you were confronted with an Act NOW,  Buy NOW or Subscribe NOW, what would your first reaction be without thinking?

Do you want more information and a better reason to make that commitment?

Speed selling is a bit like speed dating.

You want the person to commit when they don’t really know you, your products or services and they don’t know if they can trust you.  Some small talk, identifying and sharing common interests, feeling comfortable and becoming curious to learn more is the beginnings to starting a relationship and may get you that second date …but consider this … it may also get you that sale.

You are not selling a service or a product, you are selling a feeling that makes your customers believe that they will get the desired outcome.

Any guarantees you can throw into that mix will create more sales momentum (if they are believable and relatable)

What your business offers is unique and valuable. Make sure you let your customers in on the secret 🙂

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Is What You Perceive What You Believe?

How many of you are guilty of passing judgment on people based on what you perceive they look like, how they act, the role they have, how educated they are, what or who they know?

I know I have to admit that I have been guilty of making decisions based on what I perceive.

Let’s not kid ourselves perception has a nasty way of provoking emotions that often leads us to jump to conclusions that may or may not be right.

perceive

 

First impressions lead us to make decisions that we may regret and this is something that just about everyone is guilty of at one time or another.

The challenge is to change your approach and not be afraid to ask questions to determine if that perception is correct or not.

Do you find that because this takes time and effort that you often put this in the too hard basket?

If you are being honest with yourself you are probably nodding your head right now and you will gather by my words that I am joining you in putting my hand up… guilty as charged.

We are all so busy that the easiest way is often the one we choose.

Have you ever wondered how many people you may have misjudged, how many opportunities you may have lost and how many times you may have got it wrong?  I know I have.

Are you likely to perceive what you believe when…

  • you meet someone new or catch up with someone you haven’t seen in years?
  • you conduct or have a job interview and ask uniform set questions that are supported by what you see on a CV and from referees?
  • you go on a date and decide on face value that person is so not for you?
  • you meet the in-laws and decide they are outlaws on the first impression or by what you have heard before you met them?
  • you go to a networking meeting and are overwhelmed or underwhelmed by the people you meet?
  • you do the weekly shopping and see someone begging for money to buy their next meal and make an assumption on their back story?
  • you are asked to work with another employee who has a reputation for taking the credit on projects they are involved in?

Think about it.  When did you last make a decision based on perception?

Today, yesterday, every day?  If you answered ‘yes’ then perception may be jeopardizing how you interact and engage with people.

Hold onto that thought!

Ask yourself … if you had the opportunity to take the time to ask a few questions that would give you a clearer picture of what was important to that person would that have changed how you perceive, and subsequently interact with them?

To make this work you have to have a really good grip on how you, yourself, measure the importance of interacting and engaging with people.

Often we believe that it is not our social skills that are at fault but those of others so we write off failed social experiences as their fault, the circumstance or another handy excuse. Anything but pointing the blame on ourselves, right?

If you don’t do this give yourself a pat on the back because you have evolved to become a truly authentic person which is awesome!  Well done!

For us mere mortals though, it is a challenge to reach this level of social realization and optimization.

So how on earth do you change this behaviour? 

Do yourself a favour and ask yourself four questions to define how you measure your ‘what’s in it for me’ when you interact with people.

  1. What value are you looking for from the other person, the product or service they are offering you?
  2. What are you prepared to invest to get that value from the other person, the product or service they are delivering?
  3. If you invest and that value is unlocked what benefit, incentive or reward do you want to gain from that person, the product or service they are giving you?
  4. When you engage and interact with that person or their product or service what do you expect that experience to feel like? What is your benchmark of success?

Once you set the boundaries of how you measure the worth of your interactions and engagements you can then prioritize who, when and where you focus your energies. This sought of works like your own social compass if you like!

Don’t forget the part your ‘gut instinct’ plays as this helps to validate this too!  Remember perception can take the focus off your gut instinct which, as we all know, is more often right than wrong.  However, don’t forget your ‘gut instinct’ is only real if it has some sought of experience through interaction and engagement to draw its conclusion from and needs some information to give it credibility right?

However, your ‘gut instinct’ is only real if it has some sought of experience through interaction and engagement to draw its conclusion from and needs some information to give it credibility right?

So your social compass is set… what’s next?

What if you used those same four questions when you interact and engage with others as a foundation to learn how they measure the worth of the interaction and how they want to engage?  Would this help you define what that relationship could or should be?

Sometimes it is so easy to jump to a conclusion based on what you perceive to be true because it is fast and easy but ask yourself if you took the time to ask a couple of questions what difference could this make to both your personal and professional life?

 

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Future-proofing your business: Defining ‘Strategic Clarity’

Future-proofing your business: Defining ‘Strategic Clarity’

To help your start-up to gain traction and start future-proofing your business as you begin your business journey you need to learn about the six steps to start-up success

6 steps to start-up success

  1. Finding your business purpose
  2. Discovering your business customer 360-degree matrix
  3. Learning how to position your business to reach its potential
  4. Planning your business strategy
  5. Understanding how your business needs to develop in all five identified phases
  6. Deploying your business solution to create return on your investment

Check out our guide to doing that and learn how your business can discover who your business customer really is and what they really want.

 

Originally posted 2017-04-30 06:33:18.

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