Expect sales? Good. Most of us do. Action differentiates the winners from the others. Sales-oriented actions start with a customer focus.
First quarter looks terrible for Debbie, a coach, facilitator, speaker and trainer. She’s scheduled few prospecting appointments. Most of her regular coaching clients are taking a break. Don’t even ask her about cash flow. Debbie’s bummed because she needs to make the certifications she acquired last year pay off. As she says, “It’s not looking good.”
Just across the street, Allan, an IT service provider, is training a new employee. Business is booming, he says. He had to bring in help earlier than projected. He explains his goal is to work himself out of a job. His smiling attitude is backed with enthusiasm. You sense rather than hear that Allan solves problems.
To find the differences in these businesses, consider:
• Problem focused
• Negative self-talk
• Little proactive scheduling
• Positive self-talk
• Action steps to move forward
Each story offers an insight to the heart of business, the reason that clients care.
What insight do you project? Do you worry about problems or get busy solving them for others?
“Client first” sets the tone for service. Priorities are in order. Daily activities begin with client contact and end with the same.
Take time everyday to put clients first. Contact them. Take care of their problems. Collect their stories.
Think clearly about one incident of a person using your product or service. Limit yourself to a few key words or sentences and practice telling the story of what happened.
What one action will you take today to put your client first?
Karen keeps a list of the books she plans to read. She regularly visits the library, checks out her choices and read the books. Months later she can access the notes she made. Obviously, Karen has a system.
In his December-released book, “The Pledge: Your Master Plan for an Abundant Life” author Michael Masterson a serial entrepreneur, advises: “Read less, learn more.”
He tackles many self-improvement subjects including time management, goals, and general happiness. Of all the takeaways, I focused on the UBI, or the Useful Big Idea as a change I could make.
Masterson encourages us to read for only one UBI at a time. He encourages speed reading the book or article to highlight sections pertaining to the UBI. Then, as he explains, you must use the UBI.
Bring it up in a conversation or an email communication within 24 hours. Reference the UBI twice more in the next 48 hours. The system requires a total of three references within 72 hours.
According to Masterson, UBI improves the ability to link and remember useful information. As a result, you read less, read better and read faster.
How many books did you read last year? What UBI did you implement as a result of your reading?
How will you use the information you read today?
Gail, a contractor to her previous employer, confronts a big issue: everyone is after the same dollar. Consider:
The corporation hires numerous consultants. How will Gail stand out?
Dozens promote themselves using similar social media channels. What will Gail say to be different?
In the midst of numerous networking groups, how will Gail showcase her expertise in a way that provides return on the time invested?
If you’re struggling to stand out from the competition, surrender. Quit trying to compete and turn your attention to collaboration.
Three givens about competition in 2011:
- Transparency. Thanks to the proliferation of social media and easy web access, a surprising amount of information is available through the Internet. Your responses and statements reveal detail about your work, your clients, your professional and personal life. What does your online reputation say about you?
- Cooperation. In the spirit of providing stronger programs and better resources, many service providers now team up. Specialists band together to offer a complete menu of services. Cooperation actually requires less energy than competition. Whew. How can you cooperate for profit?
- Community. Give up the idea of perfection. Bring best practice ideas to your efforts. In the process, you’ll gain recognition as a source of information.
Joan Stewart, The Publicity Hound, regularly gives credit to others. Her Best-of-the-Publicity Hound’s Tips of the Week 2010 lists more than 25 different resources, many, other publicity experts. Download the ebook and see for yourself.
Will you change your view of competition in 2011?