How to Game Opportunities Your Way

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It really is enticing to buy into some fad, secret sauce or crowd hype especially when it comes to deal making and opportunities. It feels secure to do the “right things” and rely on determinism.

That kind of thinking may have been true before the floodgates of access were opened and anyone and everyone could participate with their voice, ideas or projects. On the one hand I’m excited and root heavily for all the new participants in the marketplace. I like being able to think of something, look it up and implement it quickly if it is worthwhile. I like that I can connect with everyone and anyone quickly.

However, getting through all that noise to get attention and being someone that stands out becomes even more challenging. You get mixed in with the noise hitting everyone’s phones.

Business is a game of probabilities. You can increase your chances to make a connection, entertain an opportunity and get a deal done from habits and consistency. Here are some strategies that game opportunities your way with your consistent commitment:

  • Get on the radar. Connecting consistently and daily goes a long way to expanding touch points and opportunities. Business, ultimately, comes down to people. Make daily connections and start fanning the flame of awareness. You have so many channels – social media, email, texting, etc.
  • Show up. Share your journey, your struggles, your celebrations and your thinking. It gives people a feel for who you are, what you do and attaches a brand, a synonym to you.
  • Act first. I like to think about people I like and listen and observe what is going on in their lives. There are all these problems that everyone is trying to solve in their life. Caring enough is the start. Then sharing the resources and ideas that will help them becomes pretty fun, creative and easy. But you do have to care first.
  • Outlearn everyone. It’s hypercompetitive. There’s a lot of garbage ideas out there. Having better ideas that are specific and can be used in context for someone’s pursuits makes you stand out. Of course, you have to keep learning and make it part of your own habits. Then you have to share your learning personally.
  • Make the ask. Most people are waiting around for something to happen. You have to take the risk of proposing something that can be an immense benefit. You have to move people from their status quo to something that is worthwhile to expend the energy to meet, discuss or act on.

Gaming opportunities in a world of ridiculous noise has to come from your convictions and leadership. Nothing is stopping you from taking initiative or leading. In a sense, those that are choosing to initiate and lead have all the opportunities that their endless reach can afford. You have to stay fresh, be observant, care and put yourself and your ideas in front of your network consistently.

What new habit can you implement to create opportunities for yourself?

In a World of Too Much

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We live in a world of too many options, not too little. Solving your business problems is less about innovating and developing something new, and it is much more about putting together the pieces that are available in our democratized tech and knowledge world.

Consider all the options you have at your fingertips these days:

  • Talent. You can access and evaluate technical, managerial and clerical talent on LinkedIn, Upwork and Fiverr. It’s not hard.
  • Tools. Everything is either free or has a low monthly subscription. Extremely powerful collaboration for project management, CRM for selling, email marketing to stay in touch or website building sites to put your presence out there.
  • Messages. Everyone can post, publish and comment these days. It’s not hard. Any thought, valuable or wasteful, can be put out there instantly for the whole world to access and see.
  • Knowledge. What can’t you learn? Education via Khan Academy is available. Universities are putting their courses online. You can ask Siri or Google for answers and you get access to everything that is out there to learn.

We live in a hyper-efficient economy where you can navigate a day in a strange city simply with your phone and get rides, book meetings, find places to live and get a Meetup going.

And everyone has the same access.

However, everyone does not have the same motivation, creativity, or guts. Most people are waiting around for something to happen. Most people are wanting to be told what to do even though there’s a universe of building blocks available to start something or build a useful project.

If you moved from entertainment to trying to make one strategy work that would bring value to other people, you can move from a net consumer to a net producer.

If you did this on a single platform for a year, studied it inside and out, and built expertise to the point you could execute on your ideas that flow in and out, imagine the possibilities with very little risk you could gain.

Living in a world of too many options and access opens up opportunities that are limited by your imagination and determination.

Being Little and Thinking Big

I can remember when I was a kid playing with my legos having an overwhelming feeling of not knowing where to start when I saw all those legos on the floor. The mass amount of colored bricks caused me to pause. I did not know where to start. Looking at the sheer number of pieces created some anxiety.

But, I would sit and pick up a brick. Then I would grab a second one. I let my mind start to wander and my hands start to grab and try fitting pieces together.

I was sitting in a pool of infinite choices. And I simply started. Putting pieces together, seeing how they fit and arriving at some kind of car, structure or device emerged after playing.

The world still looks the same. We have this vast amount of information, technology, access and connections. We can stare and stay in our corner. Or we can explore and start putting pieces together having fun and seeing what we can build from the pieces.

What can you start?

Before and After

In a world of knowledge work and where creativity is much more valued than pure productivity, it is critical to take care of your health. What you intake has an immense impact on your energy, clarity and creativity. You are the factory when it comes to your work.

My wife, Sonya, took some time to share how you can gently and conveniently lose weight and increase your overall health and energy with some rails to run on in this article. Our family has been forever changed with these habits on eating.

Sonya Dalrymple

Fun to think about our family’s health journey before and after Arbonne!

Before

One of the things I’ve always cared about throughout my adult years was eating healthy foods, especially as we started raising our own family. When I was pregnant with my first child, my mom sent me some cassette tapes on healthy eating (yes, cassette tapes, and our car actually could play them!). We listened to them as we drove cross-country from Texas to South Carolina for business in 2001.

That information on eating organic foods and staying away from processed foods really helped start our family on a good path. We read box labels to stay away from the big dangers like “partially hydrogenated soybean oil,” and “high fructose corn syrup.” But somehow sugar still remained, especially for little treats and celebrations.

We’re a very active family. My husband ran cross-country and track in college, and I’ve always…

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You May Need a Roadmap

To build revenue and a successful path to gaining customers and freedom is a difficult and tricky undertaking. No doubt. I have spent thousands of hours coaching talented people. But I have figured out a few things and realized that there is a roadmap, a path per se, that works.

There is no overnight success. If that were so, then everyone would simply copy that template and be done with it.

No, the true path is about becoming who you are with power and clarity. Then using that to learn to increase the probabilities for opportunities.

Here is a roadmap that I like to work through as we build a relationship and eventually a venture:

  1. Subscribe to my blog. This is a great way to get to know me and hear from me weekly. Share your thoughts on Twitter and think about the content and how it lines up. I try to share out what I am about and what I learn with my clients. You can subscribe in the right sidebar to get emails when I publish.
  2. Hire me to Know Your Strengths. You will win by becoming more of who you are. It’s not going to happen by trying to copy someone else different or working in your weak areas. Successful people keep focused on their strengths and manage their weaknesses so they have more fulfillment and a straighter path. You have to know your style and approach and keep living into it with clarity.
  3. Purchase a Business Sales Roadmap. Having an efficient sales funnel that is continuous and optimized requires an understanding of how your target customers behave, where to find them and what works to attract and engage them based on their buyer profiles.You have likely tried many different sales strategies. If you have traffic, then the challenge is to understand the data and look at how to build a sales funnel that works continuously. If you lack traffic, attention or regular sales conversations, then your priority is to drive the top of the funnel and create engagement with your brand and products.
  4. Be extremely productive. If you are slow, unresponsive or inefficient, how can you expect to win? Learn how to be responsive, decisive and efficient. It allows you to take advantage of opportunities when they come and act on them with clarity of purpose and with ease in your efforts. Being ready for anything opens up the world of opportunities.
  5. Solidify your online platform. This is critical for gaining clarity about what you care about and want to share with the world. You will be forced to live into it with conviction and consistency. And conviction is compounding and attractive. People want this more as they see your passion.
  6. Grow your network. You have to be consistent, organized and purposeful about building and nurturing a strong network of people that you can add value to and that will help you get to where you are going.
  7. Serve your customer. The quality of how you service someone is critical. Learning how to build a service process that delights and has extremely high quality allows you to be stand out and be referred. That’s the hallmark of a compounding business.
  8. Growing in leadership. Executive coaching that helps your reflect, refine and continually address your challenges with actions and decisions help you stay on course, build strong teams and increase the value of your business. Leadership is a continuous journey that becomes the cornerstone of everything you venture to grow.

Yes, these steps are sequential. I have taken many people down this roadmap. You can’t skip steps. There is a psychology for you and for your customer that has to be present to create that compounding effect in your business that you might witness in others.

It’s thinking long-term with habits, clarity and focusing on what matters. It’s about you, ultimately. Who you are, how you tick and what works based on your style makes the journey highly customizable. Let me know if you are interested.

Watch People’s Faces to See What They Value

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I’m glad I get to do business in the connected economy rather than times past such as the industrial age. You can make your ideas happen so quickly without a ton of gatekeepers that had to give you access and permission to create, distribute or sell something.

If you want to put a book out, you can do it by getting to work and publishing on Amazon.

If you want to launch a business, you can put an idea out there by getting a new customer and refining your product.

The hard part is about how you approach testing your ideas. There’s such a temptation to be narcistic and think about what you want. The idea has to start with your own assumptions, creativity and zeal.

However, whether people want to pay for your idea or value what you are selling is entirely up to them. And it’s hard to break through the noise when everyone has access to any goods, content or information from their iPhone. You are competing for attention as well as quality presented by every major brand out there.

I don’t like to assume anything. At the end of the day, people want what they want and it’s our job in business and selling to figure out what resonates.

I like to come up with ideas all the time. That creative process is critical. Furthermore, what is valuable today becomes old news and stale in a short time. So that idea machine has to be continually running.

I think the critical part is dialing in on what people want and one of the best ways to approach making money is to watch people’s faces closely. That’s right, look for their reactions. When you have something you are presenting the world, the ultimate question is not the intrinsic value you believe exists in your idea, product or service. It’s the value perception and reaction your customer carries in their mind.

There are 3 outcomes when you risk presenting your idea:

  1. Your customer perceives immense value.
  2. Your customer is indifferent and does not perceive value.
  3. You are close, but something is missing.

The first reaction is the home run. You can expand and repeat. Great job.

The second means you have to pivot. People vote with their wallets. Either the idea is majorly flawed and you have no hope. Or your idea needs refinement, thus number 3. More work and engagement is required to see what is missing. It’s an exercise in filling in the gaps.

This is why you have to watch people’s faces. See how they react. Probe and find out where you need to tweak or whether you need to abandon the idea altogether to put your energy into a better concept.

If you miss the reaction and refinement then you lose opportunity to delight, connect and make money. You don’t get to be the judge. The customer is the judge and is incapable of being wrong when it comes to determining value.

Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs get too married to their idea and miss that value perception is the key thing that matters.

You can affect your own revenue and loyalty by taking heed and watching people’s faces closely. See what they truly value and keep coming back with positioning, framing and enhancements to your offering.

How are people perceiving your value? How can you increase it 100%?

Making Impactful Introductions

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There are certainly a great many messages that get ignored. We tune out what is irrelevant as a way to simply survive the noise and to focus on what is important.

However, one gesture that gets attention and is extremely high value is to make introductions that lead to deal making. Opportunities are hard to come by for many of your friends, clients and business relationships.

Those that are looking to grow their business or pay the bills are working hard to find meaningful opportunities. And as you are bumping around the universe, you have the change to bring immense value to others by thinking like a connector, someone who is able to bring together two parties that can greatly benefit from each other.

I like to keep my eyes and ears open to opportunities. I like putting the jigsaw puzzle of value together for people I like. It’s fun. Sometimes the people I put together get immense value and remember me. And that helps my own business goals.

Here’s how I like to introduce people that can do business together, being considerate of both people’s time and attention:

  1. Pinging. I like to stay in touch with people and see what they are up to. When I read something, I may share it with people that come top of mind. I let my contact list and my mind lead me to people to check in with. I send out a lot of pings with ideas to help.
  2. Listening. In all the interactions I have with people, I listen for what is happening and where the problems are. I was educated as an engineer. My mind is built to solve problems and what I hear all the time are problems after problems. Usually, the problems revolve around money, health and parenting.
  3. Connecting. I have a large network of people that I like to think about when I hear triggers around problems. I have to connect around the question, “Who can help?” People come to mind. I may search my old emails and my contacts. Then I think about how I can connect the two people.
  4. Ideas. I hate wasting time. I hate anyone wasting my time and I hate wasting other people’s time. I think my friends know this and pay attention when I do approach them. I like to think about goals and outcomes. When I think someone can help, I take the initiative and send an email connecting the two people and share specific ideas of how these two friends of mine can help each other and how they can benefit. It takes thought and effort.

I assume that if two people talk long enough that there are many areas where both can mutually benefit. However, we don’t always have the luxury to probe and find those areas of convergence.

I do the work of making an introduction that helps everyone win. And I try to be respectful and put myself in the shoes of others so I can evaluate, “If it were me, would I find this extremely valuable?” I make the connection. Then I get out of the way.

The process of making impactful introductions is creative work for me. I have to keep tuned in. I have to be learning. I get a lot out of being resourceful and efficient with connecting people around ideas and strategies they can both benefit from.

How do you like to make introductions? Can you think of anything that is of more value to your friends?

You Have Limited Options for Selling

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When we discuss sales strategies with clients, there’s commonly a misnomer about what options are available. We live in an attention-starved world full of information and glamorous messages that cloud our thinking.

The reality is that for B2B Professional Selling, especially of professional services, you don’t have that many options for selling consistently and growing your business.

Here are your options:

  1. Inbound Selling. You set up selling systems to get people to contact you.
  2. Outbound Selling. You reach out and engage people that can say, “Yes.”

The Challenges of Inbound Selling

If you are not famous, it is very hard to get attention. Yes, it’s easy for you to set up social media profiles and put video and written content out there. But it’s also that easy for everyone else as well. You are competing against the entire world.

There are millions of blogs, Youtube videos and posts on Facebook and Instagram. And your last post or Tweet is out there within various users’ streams for an extremely short while.

If you are going to make inbound selling work, you must be fully committed and not miss a day. You have to work extremely hard for a long time to dial in the messaging. You have to be interesting and build an audience that looks forward to seeing the next ideas, entertainment or story that you put out there. It’s a long game based on attention, consistency and quality.

The real questions to ask are:

  • Will you remain consistent for years?
  • Will you invest in resources to keep your branding out there.
  • Can you be interesting and stand out?

The Rigor of Outbound Selling

Getting people to call you is a continuous process. You need to be set up like a media company that puts your message out there for building a critical mass of attention.

Your other option is outbound selling. You reach out to people who may not be aware you exist.

In outbound selling, you have the option of two approaches:

  1. Mass contact
  2. Networking one-to-one

If you approach people with numbers and communications blasts, you risk being labeled as spam. Approaches like cold-calling, email blasts or any other form of spamming will only get you ignored. We are used to blocking out unwanted or non-personalized messages.

Look at what you do with your junk mail, advertising and caller id blocking. The numbers for conversion are extremely poor.

For professional B2B selling, deals happen based on trust. If you work backwards for how deals are made, you can see a pattern:

  1. A signed deal happened, but before that
  2. A negotiation occurred, but before that
  3. A conversation happened, but before that
  4. An appointment was scheduled, but before that
  5. You got a referral or attention in a personal way, but before that
  6. You reached out to someone via networking

The outbound selling approach works because you are human and interacting in a personal way. However, it is a lot of work that also requires being organized, efficient and consistent. It’s building relationships, remaining professional and increasing trust.

Ironically, we pay attention to someone addressing us personally. It breaks through the enormous amount of noise.

The question then becomes whether you will do the outbound selling or partner with someone that will execute day in and day out.

We all need to sell and keep a pipeline of opportunities and deals flowing.

Can you think of another selling strategy or option? What makes sense for your B2B business?

Look What I Did For You

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It’s much easier to sell “Look what I did for you” than “Look what I avoided for you.” ~ Nassim Taleb, Antifragile

I lament that our society and human nature exalts the glamorous over the shrewd.

“Look what I did for you” garners perceived value so readily. Perhaps it’s because we are wired to respond to what we can see, feel and touch more so than what was accomplished conceptually.

And, quite frankly, what can be sensed sells more efficiently than what is avoided.

For the seller, tuning into what you do communicates value. That’s your task. Make the unseen felt and valued.

There’s the challenge of helping customers with what may be needed and then ensuring they get what they wanted.

Insistence on what people should perceive as value can be fatal if that’s your goal.

How do you show what you did for someone?

Work Less

There’s a viral article at Medium, This Morning Routine will Save You 20+ Hours Per Week.

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The overall thought is that our workdays are antiquated. Where you work, how long you labor, and the fact that your energy levels approach diminishing returns are valid constraints to take into account in our brave new world.

What if you cut your work day in half? Perhaps work 4 hours a day?

Have you tried such an experiment?

Perhaps you gain more efficiency because you can’t waste time. You have to have your stuff together. It’s Parkinson’s Law used in reverse to your advantage. You start gaining efficiency and focus on what matters.

We are in the age of robots. Relatively speaking, massive amounts of the workforce made money because we were inefficient before. Human beings did legal work, worked accounting jobs and analyzed information to create meaning in the knowledge space.

But when there are initiatives like IBM Watson and artificial intelligence relentlessly working to take input and output information, trying to become more efficient than a robot is a losing strategy. Robots win when they can perform millions of computations and look for trends, local maximums and crunch data better than humans.

The Luddite can argue their position, but that is what blue collar workers pleaded when automation took over manufacturing jobs. The output was too great to argue with.

Trying to work longer, harder and faster may not be the best overall strategy for your business.

How about freeing yourself up. Build your health back up. Clear your mind. Invest more in creativity rather than productivity.

Your input/output ratio for money may reflect a much better outcome and you will be the better for matching your workflow and lifestyle to the speed and efficiency you see all around you.

Dare to try working less? What’s holding you back?

Be Smarter On Your Cycles

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I agree with Socrates’ famous lines,

The unexamined life is not worth living.

After all, simply continuing to repeat mistakes and not recognizing the opportunities to make something different happen is tragic, at best.

You have likely seen the ebb and flow of your business cycles, relationships and even cash flow. There are market moods, natural interactions and social psychology forces continually at work around you.

While especially true in a connected economy, we are not in control. We are part of a greater cycle and interplay with people.

If you are continually in despair or surprised by the down cycles, then how about taking a step back and look for the patterns? Is there a predictability in your business? Can you anticipate how your customers and marketplace behaves?

A better strategy instead of pushing harder in the down cycles is to use those times for activities that have more impact.

There’s a time to plan and a time to work.

Based on business cycles, how about spending more of your time aligning where you put your focus. Much like farmers sowed and reaped in season, you can do likewise in your endeavors. When it’s not time to reap, spend a lot of time sowing.

Pull out a sheet of paper. Think about wild ideas.

Or schedule out the next six months of what is important and break it down to weekly activities that will get you to the milestone. Put it in your calendar and do those priorities first in each week.

Cycles can be a real gift if you use them for strategy and perspective and then take action with the right timing. It’s not only a productive use of your time, but you can manage your energy, emotions and direction by stepping back and appreciating the natural cycles of your business.

What cycle are you in? Can you be more strategic with how you apply your attention and resources?