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Resolutions DON’T WORK. Create a BUSINESS PLAN This Year!

In college, my roommate Jack announced his big New Year’s Resolution—to finally stop smoking.  He was a long distance runner and was seeing the toll his habit was taking on his performance.

By mid-January, however, it was clear that his resolution was was not to stop smoking cigarettes, it was to stop buying them.  Every time he felt the urge to smoke, he asked to “borrow” a cigarette from one of my other roommates.  By February, his resolution was forgotten.

Resolutions don’t work.  Think about the thousands of people who sign up every year with a local health club, resolving to go a minimum of three times a week for the year to finally get in shape.  The owners and managers of those clubs love this time of year because they know that by February, most of those people will have stopped coming on a regular basis, but they’ll have to continue to pay on their contracts until year’s end.

As you’re reading this, financial and insurance professionals everywhere are making 2017 New Year’s Resolutions to make more calls, or to make and keep more appointments—to make more sales.  But by the end of January, those resolutions will most likely have been forgotten as well, and these professionals will be back to the habits of 2016.

This year, create a real, detailed, working Business Plan.
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The difference is in the details.  Resolutions fail because they are the expression of a wish—something you want to try to accomplish. They don’t include details, planning, an analysis of where you are and what needs to change, smaller process goals and periodic milestones.  These are things that go into a Business Plan.

If you want to move from the incremental growth of 2016 (if you had any growth) to exponential growth in 2017, a resolution won’t cut it—but a written, detailed, working Business Plan will give you a fighting chance.  I’m not talking here about the kind of business plan that someone prepares for investors, I’m talking about something that will make 2017 your best year ever.

Here’s what you need to do to create a Business Plan:

1. Determine what your Mission for the year will be.  What’s your ultimate goal?  How many new applications do you want to open?  How much more do you want to add to assets under management?  How much more money do you want to earn?  How many people do you want to help so that they can retire comfortably when they’re ready?  What’s your “burning desire”—as Napoleon Hill called it—for 2017.

2. Identify your Sales and Personal Goals.  What are the smaller goals that fit into that Mission?  Do you need to get healthier to improve your available energy to meet the Mission?  What Sales Goals will be key performance indicators?

3. Analyze what’s working for you, what isn’t.  In the business world, this is called the SWOT analysis: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.  What are you good at that you can leverage, and what opportunities are out there that you can take advantage of?  What will hold you back—internally, and in the world around you?  You’ll need to address all of these.

4. Choose the client you will build your Plan around.  Your ideal, target client should be clearly defined before designing your Plan around this prototype.

5. List and schedule the activities that will get you there.  Starting with the end in mind, figure out what needs to be done daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly, to accomplish your Mission by the end of the year.

6. Set Milestones.  Where should you be at the end of every month?  Know where you are now and adjust what you need to adjust to get where you’re trying to go at each checkpoint.

7. Have someone other than you hold you accountable to stick to the Plan.  Most advisors—most people—aren’t sufficiently disciplined to hold themselves accountable.  Give someone a copy of your Plan and report your progress to him or her, both when you’re on track, and when you’re not.

For a limited time, I’m offering a zero-cost webinar training: CREATE THE ULTIMATE 2017 BUSINESS PLAN.  When you register, you can download the Business Plan template that we’ll be talking about.  If you want 2017 to be exponentially better than 2016, join me.

And always, keep REACHING…

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Don’t PURSUE Clients, ATTRACT Them

Do you pursue clients, or do you attract them?

While both methods of finding new business work to some degree, finding the right prospects through attraction is a lot more fun and–for professionals and entrepreneurs who provide individualized service to their clients–it’s usually more effective than finding them by pursuit.

Attraction methods involve drawing prospective clients to you: People who relate to you, people who have an interest in what you have to offer, people who share your values and beliefs, and people who believe…in you. If you do it right, the people you attract are your ideal prospects. It’s a natural, comfortable, professional, and self-perpetuating process.

Pursuing clients, on the other hand, means spending a great deal of time and money on efforts such as social media advertising, e-blasts, or casting a huge, expensive fishing net of direct mailings to catch the next great client. One of the problems associated with this method is that people are so inundated with marketing messages that repeated mailings and advertising are necessary before someone will actually respond. This means more and more expense.

When the growth of your business relies on pursuing prospects, rather than on attracting them, the effort to find new prospects through these same methods is continual. If you stop the pursuit, the flow of prospects stops, too.

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Attraction, on the other hand, has just two self-sustaining components:

~Being “attractive,” and
~Giving your target clients an opportunity to connect with you.

Being attractive. By being attractive, I don’t mean having an attractive appearance, although you do need to have a professional appearance. An easy way to understand this is to ask what kind of people you are attracted to–in the business sense. Who do you enjoy being around and working with? What character/personality traits do they have? What is it about them that attracts you?

Some traits are universally attractive: personal integrity, having a life purpose, and passion, for instance. People want to be around a person who is clear about who he or she is and what matters to him or her. Such a person is often viewed as a leader.

If you want to be attractive in business, become clear about what matters to you, and then work to develop a clean and concise way to let others know what that is.

Giving your target clients an opportunity to connect with you. There are a number of ways to give others an opportunity to be with you. Most of these involve getting out of your office and interacting with them. That means going where your prospective clients can be found, talking to them, and letting them know what you are all about—not just as a professional or business owner, but as a person.

Attraction methods include serving your clients on a level that makes them want to tell others about you, and learning to ask them to connect you with more people like them. It also includes speaking and writing about what you do.

By sharing about yourself, you allow others to understand who you are. Once people see who you are, you will attract the ones who relate best to you.

In the meantime, keep REACHING…
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Exercise Your Influence Muscle!

Even clients who’ve been adamant about not giving referrals will be willing to introduce you to someone if you’re specific about who you want to meet. But how do you figure out who to ask about? In today’s PowerMinute, I explain how to do your research…

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Register for My Webinar Today!

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Want to substantially increase your qualified leads? Not comfortable with asking for referrals?

Join my Webinar Training today or tomorrow: How to Triple Your Qualified Leads in 30 Days

If you want more clients with less stress and without spending a lot of money, you’ll want to tune in right away!

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And don’t forget to join us for our PowerMinutes Coffee Break!

TODAY, November 15th
And every Tuesday at 10 AM Eastern.

Get answers to your questions about prospecting, sales, marketing, time management, practice management and more.

Just grab your brew and come to http://sandyschussel.com/conference

_____________________________________________________________________

sandy09

Want more info?  Email issues?  Please, contact me here!

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Boo! Serve, Surprise, and Delight

Growing a practice or a business is way easier than most professionals and service entrepreneurs make it out to be.

Their problem is that they’ve been taught that they need to be frantically and furiously networking, buying and then contacting members off of “hot lists”, writing press releases and making public appearances, and bombarding social media outlets to get their brands “out there”.

All of these practices may have some value, but the most powerful and too often overlooked way to grow a professional practice or service business is to focus first on the clients you already have.  You do this by serving them with all of your ability and in every way you can, and by surprising and delighting them along the way.

If you make your interactions with your past and existing clients as powerful as they can be, they will want to tell stories of their interactions with you to other people.  Fiercely loyal working relationships begin with providing unparalleled service.

SERVE

Great service starts with making “good lemonade”.  In his now-out-of-print 1998 children’s book, Good Lemonade, author Frank Asch tells the story of a boy who starts out with a busy lemonade stand because he offers a better price (with lots of discounts) than his competitor, the boy up the street.

The boy up the street is charging more for the lemonade at his stand.  As the summer days roll on, however, the higher-priced competitor is becoming busier and busier, and fewer people are coming to the less expensive stand.

In the end, our little boy visits his competitor’s stand and learns that the lemonade there is simply much better than his.

How’s your lemonade?  Are you giving your current and past clients enough personal contact?  Are you serving them in every way you can?  Are you doing your best job for them?  These are the minimum standards for great service.

SURPRISE AND DELIGHT

Clients tell stories about you when you do special things to show you care, such as:

~Calling them on their birthdays
~Knowing when their anniversaries are and surprising them with timely gifts
~Sending them articles or books that you know they’ll find interesting or helpful
~Bringing their kids face-painting kits on Halloween or pies on Thanksgiving
~Remembering their favorite flavors of ice cream
~Bringing chew toys for their pets
~Stopping by or calling for no reason at all—just to see how they’re doing.

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In my past life as a lawyer, I would arrive at a real estate closing with a bottle of champagne for my clients and present it to them when all the papers were signed and the money had finally changed hands.  Not only did I delight my clients—who came back to me again for other reasons and who referred their friends and associates to me—but sometimes I also delighted the people on the other side of the transaction, who would hire me the next time around.  Was it just so they could get a bottle of champagne at their closing, or had they seen how well I worked with my clients all along?

I remember one realtor saying, I should have thought of that!”  (And she should have.)

If going out of your way like this seems too much to fathom, remember that there’s a huge difference between doing things so that your clients will think you’re “a nice person”, and doing things to acknowledge and value your clients as human beings—to thank them for their continued relationship with you.

Make an effort not only to serve, but to surprise and delight your best clients, and they will tell stories about you to their friends and associates.  Those listeners may just want to have good stories to tell about their service provider, as well—and they’ll know where to find one the next time around.

Learn to send chills with your spookily-good service, and keep REACHING…

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Register for My Webinar Today!

3-leads

Take advantage of my 17 years of experience working with financial and insurance advisors at all levels by attending my webinar: How to Triple Your Qualified Leads in 30 Days

If you want more clients with less stress and without spending a lot of money, you’ll want to tune in NOW!

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And don’t forget to join us for our PowerMinutes Coffee Break!

TODAY, November 1st
And every Tuesday at 10 AM Eastern.

Get answers to your questions about prospecting, sales, marketing, time management, practice management and more.

Just grab your brew and come to http://sandyschussel.com/conference

_____________________________________________________________________

sandy09

Want more info?  Email issues?  Please, contact me here!

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Relationship Question: Is It the Right Time…

We’ve heard all the theories on the “right timing” of getting referrals from your clients. But there’s an easy way to tell if it’s ok to ask! First, ask about the relationship…using the core questions in this week’s PowerMinute.

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Register for My Webinar Today!

3-leads

Take advantage of my 17 years of experience working with financial and insurance advisors at all levels by attending my webinar: How to Triple Your Qualified Leads in 30 Days

If you want more clients with less stress and without spending a lot of money, you’ll want to tune in NOW!

_____________________________________________________________________

And don’t forget to join us for our PowerMinutes Coffee Break!

TOMORROW, October 18th
And every Tuesday at 10 AM Eastern.

Get answers to your questions about prospecting, sales, marketing, time management, practice management and more.

Just grab your brew and come to http://sandyschussel.com/conference

_____________________________________________________________________

sandy09

Want more info?  Email issues?  Please, contact me here!

Sandy-Signature.jpg

Focus on Where You Want to Go–Not the Wall!

If you’re racing toward a curve and you focus on the wall you don’t want to hit–you’ll probably hit it.

Race car drivers like Scott Dixon and Jimmie Johnson know that whether it’s a wall or a wreck in front of you, your focus needs to be on where you want to go, not the obstacle.

This idea has been on my mind lately as the news focuses on America’s political circus. One thing people tend to forget about politics is that you can’t have a show without an audience. The discord becomes a spectacle because people are focused on the drama, rather than on facts and forward movement.

Informed citizens, on the other hand, take the view that they play a part in how the country will shape up, and they know that if they pay attention and contribute wisely, they’ll have a positive impact. They’re looking at where they want to go–not at the “wrecked” political system.

My purpose here, however, is not to give you political advice. It’s to show you that while external events beyond our control–like political crisis or accidents on the racetrack–do throw roadblocks in our way, the people who continue to have successes are the ones who focus on where they want to go and how they can get there, not on the mess right in front of them.

I hear struggling professionals focused on their walls every day:

“Voting this year will be a lose-lose.”

“Recruiting for new salespeople is impossible.”

“No one is buying [my kind of service] right now.”

When you focus on where you want to go instead of the wall, what you say sounds more like this:

“I’m doing all I can to decipher the facts and vote wisely.”

“I’m speaking to more and more people and strengthening my recruiting skills.”

“I’m finding ways to add value so that people buy [my kind of service].”

Don’t hit the wall or become part of whatever wreck is on the road in front of you. Focus on where you want to go, and you’ll have a lot better chance of getting there.

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So keep your steering sharp, and keep REACHING…

_____________________________________________________________________

Register for My Webinar Today!

3-leads

Take advantage of my 17 years of experience working with financial and insurance advisors at all levels by attending my webinar: How to Triple Your Qualified Leads in 30 Days

If you want more clients with less stress and without spending a lot of money, you’ll want to tune in NOW!

_____________________________________________________________________

And don’t forget to join us for our PowerMinutes Coffee Break!

TODAY, October 4th
And every Tuesday at 10 AM Eastern.

Get answers to your questions about prospecting, sales, marketing, time management, practice management and more.

Just grab your brew and come to http://sandyschussel.com/conference

_____________________________________________________________________

sandy09

Want more info?  Email issues?  Please, contact me here!

Sandy-Signature.jpg

We KNOW That Referrals Are Good for US, but…

You got into your business because you wanted to help people. But the people you help want to do the same! Change your mindset to give CLIENTS the opportunity to serve those they love by referring them…to you.

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Take advantage of my 17 years of experience working with financial and insurance advisors at all levels by attending my webinar:

If you want more clients with less stress and without spending a lot of money, you’ll want to tune in NOW!

_____________________________________________________________________

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And don’t forget to join us for our PowerMinutes Coffee Break!

TOMORROW, September 13th
And every Tuesday at 10 AM Eastern.

Get answers to your questions about prospecting, sales, marketing, time management, practice management and more.

Just grab your brew and come to http://sandyschussel.com/conference

or join us by Phone: (646) 558-8656 or (408) 638-0968, Meeting ID: 712-034-6888

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sandy09

Want more info?  Email issues?  Please, contact me here!

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Success Is about Action…

How is your world occurring to you? Play a game where you do and say what the “best” in your profession would, rather than what you would usually do and say. Sandy explains how being that successful person (by acting as though you are) will open the door to your own personal best.

Give ‘Em a Pickle!

In 1973, at the age of 46, Bob Farrell sold his 55-store ice cream business, Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlors, and became a motivational speaker. Some time before that date, he had received a letter from a customer who was very disappointed.  She had asked for an extra pickle with her meal at one of his stores, and had been charged for it.

Farrell promptly sent the woman an apology and began teaching his staff to “Give ‘em the pickle!” Bob died last year at the age of 87–but to the very last, the former ice cream king was talking about this principle.

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Farrell defined “pickles” as those extra-special things you can do to make customers happy. In one business, it may be walking a customer over to an item she’s looking for rather than just pointing. In another, it may be a handwritten “thank you” note in every order shipped. The trick in any practice or service business is figuring out what the particular pickle is for your particular clients, and then to make sure they each get one as often as possible.

Farrell’s Pickle Principle contains four main concepts:

  • Service: Farrell said serving others must be your number one priority. You work in a noble profession–whatever profession it is–so be proud of what you do and where you work.
  • Attitude: Every day you get to choose your attitude. How you think about your clients is how you will treat them. “In a way, you’re in show business,” Farrell told his audience, “so play the part!”
  • Consistency: Clients return because they like what happened the last time. Set high service standards and live them every day. Tea on a silver platter twice–but not the third time–can rattle a client.
  • Teamwork: If you’re working with a team, commit to providing service through together. Look for ways to make each other look good while you’re serving your clients.

Always give your clients or customers a pickle, and keep REACHING…

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To Close the Sale…

If clients like and trust you, they’ll want to do business with you. But when you’re trying to close a sale, you can’t be focused on pleasing people. You have to be focused on serving them.

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