Be a Person of Great Value

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How many caller id calls have you ignored? How many emails simply go unanswered?

We are all suffering from attention deficit and most people have to keep the noise out and focus just to survive and get what they think is important done.

If you are not a person of value in someone’s busy workday or life, then you are wasting their time and attention. And we have many ways to simply ignore what does not compel us to pay attention.

Deals get done with a lot of the important ingredients we know, but have to remain disciplined and focused on creating:

  • Attention. You have to matter.
  • Pain. What is it that your customer wants to improve or get rid of? What is it specifically?
  • Solutions. How do you make the pain go away or get resolved?
  • Conversations. Buying is largely done with human beings connecting and creating understanding and agreement. How many of these interactions are you having a day?
  • Value. You have to pay attention carefully and help people get what they want. Everyone’s different. Some people have kids. Others have health problems. Still others need a great networking connection.

Being a person of value means you are valuable. And you become valuable by continually growing personally. You know things that others can use. You apply your knowledge. You also know people that can help. You connect the dots and you proactively make connections.

When you start your days, say, “I will be a person of great value.”

Commit to being someone who gives continually.

And if you want to stay consistent, be sure to review the resource I share on using Gmail as a simple CRM. It can make your commitment happen day in and day out consistently with the people you want to be valuable towards.

Find the Few and Disregard the Many

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A few projects matter. So do a few relationships and a few tools. It’s so easy to simply accumulate stuff and throw horsepower into everything. While thinking that should cover over any deficiencies, what is often hidden is the cost in the form of waste, unclarity and management overhead.

We don’t have unlimited attention, resources or energy. It’s hard enough to make something work well or achieve success. However, more noise will only add drag to your best intentions and efforts.

Think about how you want to do business and consider inverting your model. What if you chose to focus on the few that matter rather than the many that have diminishing returns? Your process can look something like this:

  1. 10 clients – The absolute number I want to work with at one time.
  2. 20 deals – Because I close half and only 20 matter.
  3. 40 prospects – People I would be happy to work with and that are an ideal fit.
  4. 2 channels – Places that my prospects I like hang out. Strategies I am committed to fully and will refine.

This kind of strategy can work, but you have to be thinking about what you want and focusing your conversations and approach to the few that matter. In a way, it is a form of abundance thinking. You are realizing there are specific, valuable people you want to work with in a vast world and you simply need to connect and get clear with them.

As a side effect, you are avoiding creating a lot of waste, irritation and noise out there for people that are not a fit.

You also ask better questions of yourself:

Who are the 10 people I want to have as friends and spend my time with doing business?

What do the few people I work with have in common?

What don’t I like?

I bet you find yourself more relaxed and easier to work with. I bet you find abundance by focusing on the few. Clarity and focus have a way of bringing that kind of increase and efficiency.

Can This Person Say Yes?

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There’s a world of opportunity out there for what you are pursuing. But one piece of clarity that gets overlooked too often is qualification. Most people you meet cannot say, “Yes,” to what you are offering. However, a few people can.

I’m not sure why we have this block, but the clearer you can get on who you know can say, “Yes,” the more fun you can have doing business.

Thinking everyone is a prospect is discouraging, costly and wasteful. You can leave relational carnage in your wake. Maybe, it’s hard to feel that fact. Pitching everyone is like spamming, but you don’t feel the cost necessarily.

When you are clear about who can say, “Yes,” you can enjoy the relationships in front of you for what they are – people to enjoy or avoid. You can relax. You can create goodwill and focus on others more than simply what you are trying to sell.

And for the people that can say, “Yes,” you are simply helping them become aware of something they need. They are the ones your firm has been built to serve. You have to put yourself in front of them in order to help them.

Ask the question clearly if you seem to push too hard, “Can this person say, ‘Yes?'” If they cannot, then keep finding people that can.

Secondly, get clear on who does say, “Yes,” that you can bring immense value to.

This is abundance thinking. The world is your oyster and you can go out building amazing relationships with the right people as well as avoid perturbing people that don’t even have a shot at saying, “Yes.”

Who says, “Yes,” to what you offer?

Be Personal in Networking But Don’t Take Things Personally

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How much value do you add? That’s the key question I ask each day when I am out in the world of business. It may not be a perfect question, but the free market is open. People are free to make decisions on their own on what they value.

You are valuable when you can connect, articulate and deliver value to another person.

You can’t insist.

You can’t force people to do what you want.

You can’t whine and hope others will pacify you.

We have choices and we tend to choose in our self-interest.

The great thing is that every day your customers spend money and look for value.

That’s why in your networking, you have to keep tilting the odds in your favor by being helpful and clear in what you are offering. It’s about being personal but not taking responses personally if they don’t go your way.

Consider Mark Ford’s tips on networking:

Gain interest first, earn trust later.

Always be specific and sincere in your praise.

Don’t expect to receive an answer to every note you write.

Ask questions.

Be grateful for answers.

Suggest business only when your target person is ready.

Business is people. And the business of people relies on you being valuable out there and networking in a way that is consistent, clear and respectful.

Every day I am looking for those that would truly add value to my life. Hopefully, we connect in a way that makes life better because we met.

The Only Answer is Repetition

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At some point, there’s nothing more to change or create. You know what to do and only dogged determination and repetition with accountability will work. This is the part of scaling that moves the ball inches at a time and is quite painful.

Repeating what everyone has agreed to can seem tedious, but it is critical. Articulating your core values until everyone buys in is indispensable. Reviewing what steps need to be taken to make customers happy cannot be compromised. These rituals are relentless and are daily mantras that are part of execution.

Repetition is an age-old habit that gets groups moving in the same direction. While I wish that people could simply download instructions once and execute perfectly thereafter, that is not the case when it comes to scaling. You have to say what you want many times and do it repeatedly until a task, process or habit sticks.

Our temptation is to go back to what we know or did before. Growing is hard and we resist it because our old embedded habits have a grip on us.

The new tasks or habits are there for the taking. We are not necessarily fighting an information misunderstanding. We are fighting ourselves. We have anchors that have been established and something new is a disruptor.

If you are in the business of growing, you undoubtedly will run into the reality of execution. You have to do what you have agreed upon is the new way. And that kind of implementation will come down to saying it and doing it over and over until you see what needs to happen materialize consistently and become the new normal.

What are you trying to execute repeatedly?

Get Real and Ignore Vanity Metrics

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Are you wasteful with your time?

My clients and friends know that I beat that mantra, “Most things don’t matter.”

One area that this particularly applies to is vanity metrics. These are the stats, conversions or data that simply do not matter or are too cluttered to manage towards the one thing that does matter – results.

Your carefully defined goals are what matters. How much money do you want to make? Are you clear on this?

Who do you want to have a strong relationship with?

Where do you want to live? What work do you want to do on a daily basis?

What activities will make you happy?

Put a number down or a specific person or place for your goals.

The activities you choose to engage in will produce results that either get you closer to these carefully defined goals or simply make you feel better emotionally.

We have to be careful of simple feel goods. You can’t say you want a fit body and feel comfortable running 5 miles, but you spend your time eating donuts and socializing when you should be putting in the work. The results are not related to the goal.

You can’t talk about growing a business with a team and ignore or misjudge each member’s competency because you favor personal likability more.

We have this amazing ability to rationalize our choices and activities and insist on goals we want, regardless of whether those actions are related or not. This is where getting real with yourself, either from someone advising you, or your personal choice to wake up, becomes critical.

You may be feeling good because you see things like:

  • Lots of Facebook likes
  • Many different social media logins
  • Lots of emails in your inbox
  • PR in an industry publication
  • Hundreds of handshakes at a conference
  • Flying all over to meet prospects

Perhaps you have a dashboard and you measure these activities. It feels good to talk about the social connections. How long have you been connecting with this many people, and how many customers have you gained?

What about all that traveling or activity? What did it turn up in business or friendship?

We have a lot of sexy technology that arises in our lives. But does that translate to meaningful results? We can be seduced into thinking that the activity we experience matters, when it does not.

If you are looking at vanity metrics which have no relationship to your goals, then its simply delusional. What you claim you are wanting will not happen. The activities don’t relate to the outcomes.

The better strategy, if you are serious about winning, is to ignore all the hype and do the following:

  1. Decide that most things don’t matter and are a waste.
  2. Define clearly what you want. Quantify it.
  3. Review how you have achieved your desired result in the past. Evaluate whether you can replicate the process.
  4. Set up a scorecard that measures the activity that contributes to the result.
  5. Look at the scorecard daily. Keep yourself accountable or have someone that will do the job honestly hold you to your goals.

This takes thought. You have to think it through and get off the high of vanity metrics and get real with yourself. It’s how winning is done.

We Need a Whole Lot of Better Listeners

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“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” ~ Dale Carnegie

It sure would be amusing if we heard people speaking their minds when they tire of someone talking too much. Can you imagine the painful, humorous candor if people were simply blunt and said, “I don’t think you’re that interesting to talk to,” or “I can’t stand listening to your bragging anymore.”

Maybe we would get people to be more considerate and have healthy conversations that go back and forth like a smooth air bearing on rails.

I do think there is immense fatigue from being talked at inconsiderately from advertising, social media and people that lack listening skills. The great thing is that we have more power and choice to shut out the noise.

Noise is so wasteful.

I like learning new things, and a lot of learning happens by simply asking good questions and genuinely listening and being interested in someone else’s story.

Have you worked hard at becoming a better listener? I mean with rigor, intentionality and passion?

If you took Dale Carnegie’s observation to heart, he’s stating a truism. You get more friends by becoming interested in other people. It’s a habit. And I think it means paying attention and caring about something beyond your own agenda by:

  • Learning to completely focus in the moment on someone else
  • Being a continuous learner. Remember everyone can teach you something. “In my walks, every man I meet is my superior in some way, and in that I learn from him.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Growing a heart that cares about others and their problems

Imagine if you stand out because you simply are a better listener than most people. Why wouldn’t people want to spend time with you and lean in on friendships? It’s a natural response because you are trading value. Someone feels heard. It validates their thoughts and identity.

Every day, I think there is something I can learn and there are people that can teach me. The skill of listening is an age-old virtue. But, it’s becoming more valuable simply because so few people listen well or even care to.

It’s not fancy technology. It’s part of being human and connecting that makes a difference to get influence and results in life. All we have is time and connection. And you can choose to harness this wonderful habit to make the time we have with others worthwhile.

Most Things Are a No

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I like to start my days working my ongoing Gmail Task list. The best way to complete a project is to simply delete it, forget about it and move on. So, the first thing I do is eliminate tasks and projects that may have originated with sincere intentions but lack impact towards my goals today.

Those are my first No’s in a day. This simple productivity practice keeps me evaluating what’s important towards my business and life goals. I start with the assumption that most things don’t matter.

I tell my kids that there are two kinds of people in the world:

  1. People that are waiting for something to happen
  2. People that are making things happen

Most people are waiting around waiting for something to happen. Our family is about making things happen.

However, that kind of initiative comes with a lot of No’s. Putting your ideas out there, making deals and driving towards results disrupts the status quo most people find security within. Perceived risk scares most people. So, being someone that creates ideas and makes ideas happen comes with a lot of knee-jerk No reactions.

But that’s ok with me. I do wish people were more naturally creative and driven. But the challenge is less about convincing others and more about finding the people that want to take action. Patrick Riley summarized it well when it comes to the vast majority of unresponsive, maybe people:

A maybe tempts you to sit around and hope for a yes. I treat a maybe as a no. Waiting stalls the process, makes you anxious, and takes the wind out of your sails. I say give her a few days to decide, then call her. If she says no, move on. If she isn’t available or won’t take your call, move on. You are looking for a person who wants to take action. A maybe person will never get you where you want to go.

There are a lot of maybe people out there. They can’t say, “No,” and they don’t want to say, “Yes.” But their lack of responsiveness is an implicit No. Too bad. Practicing the habit of inaction or lack of conviction has long-term consequences in business and relationships.

With the ever-increasing world of inattention and the fact that most people are highly disorganized, there’s going to be a lot of No’s out there in deal making, regardless of how apt the fit or valuable the proposition.

Accepting that reality helps me with my own sanity. But even more so, I can move on knowing that there are only the few that will take action. Most things are a no because of inertia; it’s easier to remain where you are.

The challenge becomes about being efficient and asking, “Is there any way this person can be a Yes?”

Persuasion or motivation may work. But if the case has been made and the best foot has been put forward, the rest of the Yes people out there are waiting to engage.

How good are you at moving on and assuming No’s?

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?