Over a decade of Sandy’s weekly written articles on strategies and motivation for your business and your life.
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Leading and managing have become so synonymous with each other in our language that an employee might refer to his boss as either. But the two terms are not interchangeable.
RetailerNow offers succinct definitions for leaders and managers: leading serves as the heart, they propose, while managing acts as the brains.
Managers come up with the vision for the company and then establish systems in order to enable their team to reach the goal they have set. They establish measures to determine whether or not their team is staying on track.
Leaders, on the other hand, inspire and motivate the group to work together to achieve the objective. They monitor the progress of the team, urging them on to meet those goals.
So, is a good CEO more of a leader or a manager? According to BFS Capital, he or she should have both skillsets. It’s important for CEOs to be the visionaries for where they want their company to go. At the same time, however, they need to do their part to motivate and inspire their employees so that they are excited to get into their work every day.
This is particularly true in small companies–especially startups. In larger organizations with larger resources, leadership and managerial roles may sometimes be handled by different individuals.
Inc.com provides a helpful guide that differentiates the tasks performed by managers and leaders so that the people performing these functions will better understand what is expected of them.
A recent Forbes article also provides some examples that help CEOs recognize the difference between the responsibilities of leader and manager in a company. The article focuses on Coca-Cola’s CEO Doug Ivester, who makes a conscious effort to provide direction and guidance to his managers so that they can make decisions over matters under their control.
The article points out that in any organization, there should be a clear understanding between CEOs and their managers with regard to who performs which roles so there won’t be any overlapping. It also stresses the importance of collaboration, pointing out that neither the leader nor the manager will be able to perform his/her job effectively without working closely with the other.
While in any organization, roles should be clearly defined, the CEO still retains the ultimate responsibility to be both a leader and a manager. But what if a CEO is good at only one of these skillsets and not the other?
In ’What Will You Earn Your ‘Oscar’ Doing?’, I talked about the importance of mastering your craft. If one of these aspects–being a leader or a manager–is not natural for a CEO, he should look to develop these skills. By consistently self-reflecting to see his weaknesses in one or both areas (and, of course, working with a coach) he can take steps towards improvement.
If you’re a CEO, work on your skills as both a leader and a manager, and keep REACHING…
This month, I began working with the advisors at a national financial institution under an exclusive agreement which limits my ability to take on new financial advisor clients. I will be finishing up my work with current advisor clients and will not be taking on new advisors.
I will continue to work with CEOs and professionals in other fields (attorneys, consultants, coaches, etc.) And my e-letters will return to their motivational and business advice roots.
While my regular one-on-one clients are generally entrepreneur-CEOs of companies that have grown well past the $1 million earnings mark, I have partnered with a couple of incredible business consultants to create online learning centers for businesses that are either just starting or established but generating less than $1 million annually: our Business Leadership Training Center and our Business Startup Training Center.
Today’s article is aimed at these smaller businesses and professionals, who often spend most of their time trying to find and convert new customers and clients…
Does Your Marketing Grab Your Prospects’ Attention?
Do your marketing messages compel your prospects to buy what you sell? Do they tap into their basic emotions? Are you leveraging the fact that most prospects buy on emotion and only then justify their purchase with logic?
Your marketing must convince your prospects that you offer “extraordinary value,” and resonate with them emotionally.
Simply telling them that you’re the best at what you do, or that you give the best service or care about them won’t work. You can’t just say you’re trustworthy, reliable and exceptional. That’s the same thing your competition says. Prospects won’t believe you. Instead, you must find a compelling way to educate them as to why you’re trustworthy, reliable and exceptional.
To consistently attract more clients to your business…and to effectively convert prospects into clients… it’s critical that you create a series of short, clear and concise messages that compel your prospects to instantly want to know more. These short messages must focus on the benefits your business provides to them, and on the value you provide that your competition doesn’t. Here’s an example:
“I help confused and frustrated guys find that perfect discounted diamond that has the highest quality, the lowest price and is backed up with the boldest customer protection guarantee in the industry.”
Compelling messages about what you do and the value you provide will have prospects seeking you out for additional information. They’ll be”pre-qualified.”
Find a compelling message that resonates with new prospects. When you have something that works, it can be incorporated into scripts that you or your staff can use to convert those into paying clients.
Effective marketing is the key to small business success, and the small business owner who learns how to do it will dominate his or her industry.
If you’d like to learn more about this and other topics addressed in our inexpensive, powerful online training, take a Test Drive at http://businessleadershiptrainingcenter.com/guidedtour
And always keep REACHING…
Let’s talk movies. My father loved the “lone hero” characters played by Gary Cooper, who faced off with all of the bad guys virtually solo in the 1952 movie High Noon.
To my dad, Cooper represented the idea that action heroes had to find their way by themselves. Dad believed that strong, successful people don’t ask for help—and while he was always quick to help others, he found it almost impossible to ask anyone to help him.
I loved my father, but he died broke and broken. And I believe that a large part of the reason for this was his view on what it takes to be successful.
He had missed one of the main points of his favorite Gary Cooper movie. Cooper’s marshal, Will Kane, asked everyone in town for help—they were just all too afraid to stick their necks out. In fact, soon after the movie’s release, veteran “lone hero” John Wayne was publicly infuriated that someone had actually made a Western wherein a marshal asked for assistance. Wayne found a counter-vehicle for himself in the 1959 film Rio Bravo, in which he played a sheriff who didn’t ask anyone for anything.
Personally, I’m a fan of the 1992 movie My Cousin Vinny, with Joe Pesce and Marissa Tomei. In the ending dialog, Vinny becomes upset when he realizes that he didn’t succeed all on his own. His fiancé, Mona Lisa Vito, mocks him:
You know, this could be a sign of things to come. You win all your cases, but with somebody else’s help, right? You win case after case, and then afterwards you have to go up to somebody and you have to say, “thank you”. Oh my God, what a f*cking nightmare!
The moral? Keep trying, but STOP trying to do it yourself.
We all recognize that athletes have coaches. That’s where the idea of professional and life coaching comes from. But we are stuck with this archaic view that it’s okay for them, and not for us. They have special needs, and we don’t. Do you accept this view?
If not, find someone who you’d want to let help you. We spend our lives trying to convince other people that we have our acts together, but it’s an achievement to be able to say, “Here’s what I don’t have and here’s what I think is holding me back. Can you help?”
Whether it’s an assistant, a coach, a therapist, or a friend or loved one you never quite let in all the way, make it your hero’s mission to ask him or her for what you need. Often times, you don’t need more information to get things done; what you need is more application–an extra set of hands on the challenges of your career, practice, or personal life. And the motivation to get it all done is often most accessible when you’re working with a teammate, partner, or colleague.
Asking for what you need is courageous–and essential. Please, don’t end up like my dear old dad did. Choose to voice your needs to someone–anyone–who can help you accomplish your dreams.
In the meantime, keep REACHING…
I often talk with clients and in workshops about the “success formula” Napoleon Hill shares in his 1935 classic, Think and Grow Rich:
(1) Set a clear goal. What do you want to accomplish?
(2) Develop a detailed plan to reach that goal. Define exactly what actions you will need to take
(3) Take immediate (and, as Tony Robbins would say, “massive”) action on that plan, and
(4) Persist until you reach the goal
I use Edison’s invention of the light bulb as an example:
Edison’s clear goal was to create a lamp that operated safely and inexpensively using electricity as its power source, replacing gas and kerosene lamps in buildings and on streets.
His detailed plan was extraordinarily simple: test materials and combinations of materials until he found something that would not melt, burn or explode and would, instead , safely and inexpensively cast off light whenever and for however long someone wanted it.
His immediate action was to begin testing materials by running an electric current through them and he persisted in that action by continuing to test materials day in and day out for what turned out to be thirteen months (and not 6 weeks, as he had projected).
In his book, Straight Line Leadership, Dusan Djukich adds two important components to the formula: (1) deciding if you are willing to pay the price, and (2) monitoring your actions, making corrections as needed.
The price Djukich is referring to is the willingness to take the specific actions and to persist until you reach the goal. In other words, if it isn’t working, are you willing to keep at it, monitor it and make adjustments until you get it to work, or do you know at the outset that if you run into difficulties, you will stop.
With few exceptions, almost all of the failed projects and initiatives the CEOs and professionals I work with can point to failed for a simple reason: When the specific actions required became too difficult, they allowed the project to stop.
The remedy for this is simple: STOP STOPPING. Starting a project and stopping is not the result of a lack of conviction or desire, or of willpower or courage. It’s a habit—a choice.
If the history of your business is littered with projects and initiatives that didn’t pan out, it isn’t because they were not good projects. It’s the result of either a lack of willingness to pay the price, or the choice to stop when it became too difficult or too expensive.
If you’re taking action on an important goal and you’re 100% committed to it, choose a new habit…STOP STOPPING.
Oh…and keep REACHING...
“I found a new way to talk with clients about referring me,” Ryan, a financial advisor, once told me excitedly on the phone. “I use a diagram! I’ll show it to you.”
Ryan emailed me a little while later with this:
Of course, I was interested, and I called him back right away to have him explain how it worked.
“First, I draw a circle in the center of a yellow pad, where you see the ‘Joe W’, representing the client,” he started.
“Then,” he continued, “I draw circles surrounding the first circle for people they’ve already referred to me. I thank them for the ones that worked out and tell them that these referrals are happy; I also point out the ones that didn’t work out, explaining how it just wasn’t right for whatever reason.”
“Finally,” Ryan exclaimed, “I ask them who’s missing from the chart! I say, ‘Who haven’t we talked about yet?’”
Ryan told me that the client at the center of this drawing, Joe, looked at the chart and said to him, “I wonder why we never talked about my niece, Barbara, and her husband.” He gestured to the open circles on the page. “Add Barbara in there.”
Ryan was very proud of his piece of “referral technology”—and so was I! I went on to suggest to him that any time a client or prospective client volunteers information, his next response should be a magical question—either “who else?” or “what else?” Once Joe volunteered Barbara, for instance, a “who else” could identify another person for Joe and Ryan to discuss, and with whom Ryan could go on to arrange an appointment. Asking “who else?” again might have brought to light a third—and then even a fourth—potential client for Ryan.
Most professionals are terrified of the referral conversation and they either avoid it entirely or approach it so awkwardly that it doesn’t end up working for them at all.
Tim, one of my current clients, told me earlier this week that he was uncomfortable “switching” from being a professional to asking for referrals. The goal, I told him, is to be a professional while asking for referrals. There shouldn’t be a difference. If you’re helping someone by providing a service, why not offer the same service to someone else in his or her life who might also really need your help?
If you have your own method of talking about introductions or referrals that works for you, please share it with me, and with the other professionals in your life! If referrals aren’t yet working for you, contact me now, and I’ll let you in on a few of the ideas that have worked for me and countless others in my network of clients and colleagues. No matter what strategy you implement, one technique is certain: ALWAYS be sure to keep REACHING…
Do you suffer from it, too?
“It feels like my hard work has paid off, but at the same time, I still have the Impostor, you know, Syndrome,” Davis said. “I still feel like I’m going to wake up and everybody’s going to see me for the hack I am.”
Several years ago, during a teleconference where motivational author Josh Hinds had interviewed me about my work around fear and limiting beliefs, listeners got to hear one attendee, Matt (not his real name), tell us that he was about to receive an acceptance of his offer to work with a big, new client.
“How do I deal with the feeling that I may have oversold them,” he asked, “—that I’m not really capable of delivering what I promised?”
“My wife calls what I’m going through ‘imposter syndrome’,” Matt continued, “but whatever you call it, it is really making me feel like a fraud, and as though that at some point, they’re going to figure it out.”
Imposter Syndrome describes that collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist even in the face of information that indicates that the opposite is true. It is the feeling that you are not really competent; that you are only posing as someone who is competent. It often hits professionals at the worst time—when they are negotiating an exceptionally large contract.
Josh and I both came to Matt’s aid. I pointed out that Matt should tell himself that it is okay to have this fear.
“Instead of trying to fight it,” I recommended, “acknowledge that it’s there—that it’s okay to be afraid—and take steps to do what you need to do to get rid of it. Be the expert you told them that you are.”
I explained to Matt that the first step anyone takes in order to become an expert at something is to declare that he or she is an expert. Then, he or she needs to “walk the talk”.
“Get whatever training, materials, and books you need to make what you told them true,” I advised him.
Josh and I both also pointed out that Matt needs to trust his clients’ gut opinion of him. “Believe that they have thoroughly considered your credentials and background,” we coached. “If they have more faith in you than you do,” we told him, “Then you need to borrow theirs.”
Like Viola Davis, many of us have a gap between what our abilities are and what we perceive that they are. While it sometimes works the other way, usually our abilities are greater than our perception of them. If you’re feeling the symptoms of Imposter Syndrome, more often than not, your inner critic is undervaluing you.
If the feedback you’re getting is overwhelmingly positive, trust in your clients’ perception of you! If you’re still afraid, acknowledge the fear, and contact me for help getting over it. Move into your best self in spite of the syndrome, and keep REACHING…
Last year, I did not take my own advice, and I lost my temper with a vendor. I suggested that a price was too high and the vendor, Erica, went ballistic in her email response, saying, essentially, “How dare you question my price after working with me in the past?”
My response was less than kind, and it ended our relationship abruptly.
I know, I know. I would counsel my clients not to lose it, but I did. That ended our relationship…Until December. Two weeks before Christmas, Erica called me and apologized for her part in our little mishap. I accepted her apology and gave her my own.
That incident made my holiday a better one.
Erica’s call somehow reminded me of cleaning out an attic. It’s unpleasant, dusty work, but when it’s done, you feel as if you have more room to grow–more space to grow into.
Clean out your attic now. Start this New Year by forgiving some of the people who wronged you last year–not to make you a better person (although it might do that); not to bring you closer to heaven (although it might do that); not for the person who wronged you–but to get rid of the “stuff” you don’t need that may be keeping you from growing.
To be truly focused on what we want to accomplish, we need to let go of the junk in our attics–carrying around anger and hurt undoubtedly clutters our minds, working against us.
So, follow Erica’s example, not mine. Call someone to apologize for your part in a misunderstanding. Call someone who knows you’re angry or upset about something they did or said. Call someone who doesn’t even know why you stopped calling him or her, and tell them it’s okay.
Then, get back to pursuing your dreams.
In the meantime, keep REACHING…
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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