Rock Stars

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Leading, Sales and Influence, We=All Who Matter
Reading time: 1 min.

When we are worried about what to say, how someone might react, or how we’ll be judged, we are pointing the camera at ourselves. We get so concerned about our performance that we wreck our ability to perform. This is true most everywhere including marketing, sales, influence, negotiations, and leading.

The antidote is to turn the camera away from us and towards those we want to lead, sell to, influence, etc. We turn our attention toward the others, what they want, and what makes them tick. By getting out of our own way, we become rock stars at understanding their needs and creating win-win solutions.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: Mia Martins cc

We Need These Two Unexpected Leadership Traits for Growth

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Leading
Reading time: 2 min.

If we want to grow our companies, there are leadership traits far more important than ones we might imagine. Things like intelligence, experience, persuasion, decision making, strategy, who we know, systems, developing people, or getting people to do stuff are not the most important.

No, the two leadership traits that matter the most in growth are 1) understanding our customers’ (ever changing) needs, wants, & desires and 2) finding better ways to meet those needs.

Surprising? Probably not when we pause to consider. Of course, we can’t stop here. We need other tools in our leadership toolkit such as building the team, fostering collaboration, financial and operational smarts, and strategic thinking to deliver for our clients. But if we don’t focus knowing and helping our them, we will be building a great company that not enough people buy from.

A good way to start or re-start focusing on our clients is to call them or meet them for coffee. Asking questions like, “What are your goals? What are the obstacles? What have you tried? What would you like to see?” and listening carefully will tell us their needs and the language they use to talk about them.

Coffee time!

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: These top two leadership traits come from a report by McKinsey. It also says that we personally do not have to have these traits but that at least one person on our leadership team must.

 

Today’s photo credit: Marc Biarnès cc

Sharpen Your Market for Fun and Profit

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Uncategorized
Reading time: 2 min.

There is a huge temptation to say, “Our target market is everybody.” After all, the bigger our market, the more opportunity, and the more likely we can continue to grow and provide our products and services, right?

No. A large target market is difficult if not impossible to engage and serve. It’s tough to be useful and relevant to too many different groups of people. It’s hard to differentiate ourselves in a large market. It’s also really hard to be seen, trusted, and selected by so many different people.

Even if our ultimate goal is to be useful and the choice of all sorts of people, our best approach is to start with a single, very focused niche.  Though it can appear to be limiting our prospects, selecting a niche helps us learn their language and address their particular needs, wants, and desires. And they come to trust us and refer others to us.

If you are having trouble getting traction, try shrinking your market: select a more sharply defined niche.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: Having succeeding in helping one niche, we can always expand to another and another. This is how many now-huge companies like Uber began.

PPS: Niches can include people with similar demographics (including location) and/or psychographics (such as life dreams or business goals).

PPPS: Select a niche that is not too small, dispersed, or hard to identify.

 

Today’s photo credit: Joseph Francis cc

The Wrong Approach to Marketing That Almost Everyone Uses

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Marketing
Reading time: 2 min.

There is a wrong way to market ourselves or our company and a right way.

The wrong way is to describe ourselves and our product’s or service’s features, functions, and benefits. Example: “We are the leading, global provider of kitchen tools including our award-winning turnip twanglers. Committed to excellence, we produce high-quality, low-cost tools such as our new Twanglers 2.0 featuring our patented turbo turnip topper.” Read 100 company websites and at least 80 will use some form of this “why we’re so great” approach. Ugh.

The right way is to say how we help our clients move closer to happiness by getting past the obstacles that they encounter and that we are good at surmounting. Example: “We help chefs of very busy kitchens who enjoy making great food for their clients but whose team spends too much time preparing ingredients. They end up rushed and chaotic every night. We help by training the sous chef team to streamline their preparation routines and by introducing our line of chef-designed prep tools.”

Clients first.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: This isn’t just being nice. Starting with our clients’ values and concerns matches the way they want to explore and eventually buy products and services.

Today’s photo credit: Rosa Say cc

secret

The Oddest Career and Marketing Secret

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Leading, Sales and Influence
Reading time: 1 min.

The secret is that the people we can help the most and best are the ones who struggle with the same things we struggle with.

Wha..?!

It’s true. We really understand the things we’ve been wrestling with. We learn as we struggle with anything like respect, money, connection, leadership, followership, self-worth, power, intelligence, happiness, love, safety, judgmentalism, balance, influence, communication, beauty, calm, openness, effectiveness, chaos, understanding, acceptance, justice, emotion, health, creativity, groundedness, belonging, etc. Though we may think we are not qualified, who better than us to assist those people or organizations working on the same issue(s) we are working on?

There’s no need to master anything first. Just dive in. Lend your talents to people struggling with whatever you struggle with. The alignment will be very fruitful, meaningful, and rewarding.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: Nathan Rupert cc

orator

No Need for Big Messages or Profound Arguments

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Leading, Sales and Influence
Reading time: 1 min.

When we have something important to say–when we want to convince someone of something–we may be tempted to make our messages big and our arguments airtight and profound. But in marketing, leadership, influence, sales, or politics, we only have to convince our next client, employee, or colleague–not the world.

Tune your message to the person you likely will next speak with about your important something.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: And, of course, the best way to lead, influence, or sell to that next person is to start by learning what a win would look like for them.

 

Today’s photo credit: India Amos cc

the camera

Turn the Camera

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Sales and Influence
Reading time: 1 min.

Most organizations spend untold time and money explaining what they (and their products and services) do and why they are so good. Look at their websites to see that they have the camera firmly turned at themselves.

Most prospective clients, on the other hand, focus on the the results they want and the obstacles they face.

Doesn’t it make sense, then, to spend time and money understanding what clients want and face? Then we can show how what we do would help.

Turn the camera.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: Deana cc

suiper

Superlatives Can’t Replace Honest & Effective

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Sales and Influence
Reading time: 1 min.

Unique! Unparalleled! Exceptional! New! Improved! Unprecedented! Award-winning! Powerful!

When marketing (internally to the team or externally to clients and partners), we must not fall into the trap of superlatives. No one listens when we use flowery words to explain how good our product, project, or service are. Superlatives are no replacement for honest, effective messaging.

What does work is turning the camera. Instead of saying how great we are, let’s show our audience that we understand what they face and how what we offer can help with that.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: Hint: try removing every adjective from your messages. If they still make sense, great. If not, keep the camera turned and edit away.

PPS: Impactful! World-class! Leading! Best-of-breed! Ultra! Extra! Hot! …

ignore

For Big Change, Ignore the Naysayers

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Strategy, We=All Who Matter
Reading time: 1 min.

If we want to influence a big change, we need not spend much time trying to convince the naysayers, the haters, the opponents. They will change or not. And they are only a minority.

Instead, we concentrate on the lovers, the crew, the vanguard. They are also a minority. But once they are inspired, we can help this minority create win-win buy-in from the once indifferent majority.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: Of course, the opponents will try to sway the neutrals their way. Your sustainable, secret weapon is the win-win: “let’s find a way for us both to have our interests met.” The opponents will likely use fear tactics that alienate.

 

Today’s photo credit: Lainey1 cc