When inspiration hits

For a long time now, I have been listening and reading a hell of a lot of business, self improvement and educational material from a number of experts in those fields. Guys like Grant Cardone and Brian Tracy (who is my go-to self development guy by the way!- absolutely life changing content) have kept my mind out of the dark pit of despair at crucial times in my life.

But I never truly understood what it meant to learn and study self improvement and development until just recently. 

Thanks to the marvels of social media, I stumbled across a miraculous human being named Bob Proctor. He is 82 years old, and has more energy and zest for life than most teenagers I know, and he’s still working! I wish I had his energy!

The reason why he is so miraculous is because he was given a copy of Napoleon Hill’s now classic book “Think and Grow Rich” way back in 1961, and to this very day, he reads a portion of that book every single day. 

Bob Proctor has been studying that same copy of that same book for over 55 years- longer than most of the people I know have been alive! And that in itself should be a lesson to us all: success is a life long pursuit, not a 5-year plan. 

Although I have only just come across his teachings, I know that I have so much to learn from him. Thank you Bob for continuing to do the work you do, because in what are dark days for many people, it’s individuals like you who shine the brightest of lights on what is truly possible, with the power of belief in our own in-born potential. 

The Power of Action

Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.
Thomas Jefferson

  
I have learnt that action is far more powerful than planning. Yes planning is vital, but action accomplishes things.
I am an analyser. I can analyse and mine data and read and learn all day long – I love to learn. But after going into business for myself, I’ve had hammered into me time and time again that the only way to achieve anything, especially in business, is to take action. 
You know what the cosmic joke about that whole idea is? That 99% of the time, it doesn’t even matter what actions you take! All you need to do is move. Act. Decide.
So act now, and decide to take action. Call that customer, negotiate those supplier prices, make a better deal. Just do it and do it now.
What actions are you going to take today?

The Train in your way?

  Every morning, every single morning without fail, I get stopped on my way to work by a train crossing in the single most inconvenient place, and always at he most inconvenient time. No matter when I leave home, or from what direction I approach this train crossing, I always get stuck there and have no way of getting around it.
Sometimes, business is like this: we butt heads with an obstacle again and again trying to break through the wall, but no matter what we do, it seems we cannot break that obstacle. 
Solution? You betcha! 
1. Make sure your end goal is aligned with your purpose

2. Review your action plan and determine if this is an obstacle that you truly must crush

3. Trust. If your purpose and goal are aligned, and you determine that dominating this obstacle is critical to your long term success, then you need to trust and commit to having the persistence and determination to keep hammering away.
Yes the train gets in the way, yes it’s inconvenient. Yes, it is annoying and frustrating and time consuming. But is it important to suffer this small setback so I can reach my office every day and service my customers and my clients? Absolutely! 
What’s your train crossing today?

Are you On Purpose?

  Recently I had what I can comfortably call a complete crisis of desire. Basically I had lost any and all drive for my businesses and I couldn’t figure out exactly why. It took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that like most humans, I am fallible and can suffer from fatigue. 
After some time of dedicated soul searching, I realised exactly what was wrong: I had forgotten my purpose! Once I re-established my purpose in life, I started to view things very differently and began idealising and visualising a new and exciting future.
If you ever feel like you don’t know where you’re going or what you are doing in your life, ask “what is my purpose? What am I here to do?”
Figure that out and life will begin to sparkle again for you. 

 

Value for Money is a Myth

Value for money is a total, utter and complete myth. The fact that people use the phrase “value for money” means they have no idea what their product or service is worth.

Let me give you an example. Let’s say you are in the desert, and you have a lunchbox with a single sandwich in it, and there is a man walking across the desert who is absolutely starving. He has been out in the desert for days, trying to find his way back to civilisation. Then, he spies you and moves in your direction and asks for help.

Now, what you are unaware of is that this man has a money clip with $10,000 in it. He obviously can’t eat the money, but once he meets you and sees your sandwich, he immediately offers you his entire money clip for your single sandwich. Imagine that: a $10,000 sandwich!

He doesn’t know where he might get another chance to eat, and he’s desperate. Was that sandwich good value for money for the starving man? You bet it was! He got to eat for the first time in days and didn’t care that the sandwich cost him $10,000. He gets to eat for the first time in days! Was that sandwich worth $10,000? You bet it was – to that man right there, that sandwich was worth that much if not more.

You hear that expression that salespeople and businesses use all the time in order to get prospects in the door and help customers walk out: “This product is great value for money”. Have you actually taken a moment to think about what that saying means? Who invented it? Why is it used constantly by salespeople? Do they actually know what it means?

It’s worth exploring the dictionary definition of the word “value”. The simplest available definition for the word value is this:

  • the amount of money something is worth
  • usefulness or importance

Now if you examine those two definitions further, you will note that neither of those descriptions means “low price”. Saying something is value for money, as if that is a reason for someone to buy your product, is the same as stating the fact that your product is of good quality, and then expecting your prospect to buy on that basis. It is not on it’s own a good enough reason to buy something.

Value for money is not a reason to buy something. Value to your customer is absolutely a reason to buy something. Remember, your customer wants to solve a problem, not save $X by spending $X! Your customer has a genuine need. Solving the issue and fulfilling the genuine need – that’s where the value is.

The question should never be “Is my solution good value for money?” Your question should be “Is my solution valuable?”

The dying art of Persistence

A little more persistence, a little more effort, and what seemed hopeless failure may turn to glorious success.
-Elbert Hubbard

Every day, I learn a little more about persistence. I learn more about the meaning of the word, where it comes from, and how it applies to so many aspects of ones life, including but not limited to business. 
Probably my favourite definition of persistence is this:

the state of occurring or existing beyond the usual, expected, or normal time

Existing beyond what’s expected- how many times in your life can you say that you have existed within a circumstance or a problem and accomplished what others thought was insurmountable? 
What occurs to me more frequently nowadays is that persistence doesn’t have to mean “forever”, it just means slightly longer than the next longest person. It means you hang in there slightly longer than the next best, the next most persistent. 
Think about it: what could you accomplish if you knew you only had to hold on for one second longer, make one more phone call, sign one more piece of paper, or have one more conversation? What could you accomplish if you knew the point where other people give up? 
What a wonderful world it would be, if everyone just held on for one more second.
Leave a comment about a time when you persisted enough to accomplish something great.

The Value of Credibility

Credibility is someone else’s idea of what I should be doing.

Paul Stanley

I think we can all agree that credibility in business is everything when it comes to customer relationships. If you don’t hold a certain level of credibility in your relationships with your customers and clients, you will struggle to sell them on your products and services. Establishing credibility is even more difficult when you have just stepped into a role within an organisation or taken over a new business, and even tougher still if you don’t have core skills, abilities or knowledge in that particular area.

While I understood the idea, I found the act of establishing credibility immensely difficult in both of my businesses when I was just starting out. The advice I received at the time was hardly helpful either, being along the lines of “Look, you’ve just got to earn your stripes mate. That’s all there is to it!”. Most people suggested to me that I just simply needed to grind away and do it tough, while I knew deep inside myself that there had to be a way to “do it smart”.

If you look at the dictionary meaning of the word credibility, the definition is as follows:

The quality or power of inspiring belief

Remember, what you are doing is trying to inspire the power of belief within your customer enough to trust what you say and to be able to feel comfortable working with you.

So below I have compiled a short list of actions I would take going forward that would help to establish my credibility in the industry with my customers, and enable them to place their confidence in me that I could get the job done and solve their problem. If you are struggling with this idea of establishing credibility with your customer base, then I urge you to put these simple methods into action.

  1. Study up on your top 10 customers/clients in your list. Who are they? What is your contact’s name? How old are they? Are they male or female? What do they like? What do they hate? Find out these details, drill them into your brain so you never forget them and you will have a solid base to work off for the next actions.
  2. Study up on your top 10 customers’ top 3 most frequently purchased products. What are they? How do they work? Whats the active ingredient? Why do they purchase that product or service from you? Why do they purchase anything from you? These ideas will give you something to discuss with your customer/client and a jumping off point for further discussion.
  3. Study up on the technical specifications on your customers most frequently purchased products. What is the ideal application? Could there be a better product for them? If you own/operate a service-based business, what are the technical aspects of your business that apply to each customer individually? By that I mean what aspects of your service can you highlight and tailor to your customer’s needs?

Just doing these 3 small things alone will lend you more credibility with your customers than you would have had just by “earning your stripes” or “grinding it out”, and will put you head and shoulders above any competitors in the market place.

Leave a comment and let me know how you go.

Crush Opportunity

If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.
– Milton Berle

I have recently spent a massive amount of time exploring new business opportunities, and I’ve found that there really is only one way to take advantage of opportunities that come your way: You actually have to create them.
Everyone remembers the old Richard Branson quote “Opportunities are like buses- there’s always another one along shortly”. I disagree so strongly with this quote, because opportunities don’t just “come along”.
No matter what, opportunities are created or built. They never, ever, EVER just happen. No matter how easy an opportunity to increase something or improve something seems to fall into your lap, the only reason something has become available to you is because you put in the work to get you to that point. 
So never ever feel that you haven’t worked to gain an opportunity. Those opportunities that do just “come along” happen because you’re ready for them and you did the work to get there. 
Leave a comment and tell me about some times that you had opportunities come your way, and whether you took advantage or not.  

 

The Customer Service Formula

Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.

– Muhammed Ali

No matter what job or business I have been involved in over the years, I have always found that customer service is a vital component of the make up of any good business. And yet, so many businesses are absolutely dismal at the delivery of this one simple thing called service.

The fact is, it has been so long since I had a “Wow!” experience delivered by a customer service rep, that I’m now immune to it – that’s right, I’ve built up a tolerance to poor service.

Remember the old saying “If you keep telling yourself something for long enough, you end up believing it to be true”? Well, the same thing can be said for customer service in the modern business age. There are very few players out there in any sector that deliver a true “Wow” experience anymore.

What has become increasingly clear to me now though is that true commitment to customer service is coming back. It’s slow and steady along with business confidence and spending, but it is coming back. The thing is, business confidence only increases when sales increase, and sales only increase when service increases. I noticed this some time ago in my business and after placing a heavy focus on sales and customer service at the same time, I saw a massive jump in sales results as a function of my renewed commitment. I had finally worked out the formula!

The formula that I use for determining my level of service that I provide is this:

Your need for your customers > their need for your product or service.

And guess when your need for your customers is less than your customers need for what you sell?

Short answer? Never!

You always need your customers more than they need what you sell. Remember this formula and you will see your results grow in leaps and bounds!