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.

Don’t Start if You Are Not Going to be Consistent

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The labor it used to take to simply set something up is lost on this next generation. I can tell my kids don’t relate to the pain I try vainly to communicate when it comes to how hard it was to set up websites, IT systems and even getting your message out. The people that could do the work or hire it out had a strategic advantage previously.

Today, it’s easy to set up a store, a site or any other platform now. That barrier to entry has been shattered.

Everyone feels like they have a voice now. They just have to get attention and become famous or relevant, at least with the people that matter to them.

If you haven’t listened to the Tim Ferriss interview with Derek Sivers and his journey with his CD Baby venture and exit, it’s helpful perspective on how hard it was to even build a platform in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. I like how he talks about the pain and joy of building a Buy Now button for a shopping cart. It’s a simple formality today in contrast.

Now that things are easy and everyone can play, what does that mean?

As of the writing of this article, I have over 1,400 articles posted and indexed over ten years. I enjoy sharing out my thoughts and it’s been one platform that has been natural for me to maintain with consistency.

I like writing. I like reading. I like thinking. I like sharing business strategy and helping people win.

I think that’s what has made it easy and fun for me. And, I would tell people that just because there are a lot of shiny platforms out there, don’t start if you can’t even see yourself being consistent over a period of time.

Why? Because showing up is important to the process of building trust and awareness. Getting better at something you can dial into helps you build an asset over time with a connection with your tribe of connections.

Dependability and consistency become harder as you go down the journey. Having something to say becomes more of a differentiator the further you go down the rabbit hole.

We have a lot of choices and options out there. But we are still human and building trust is not so easy to come by regardless of how much content is streaming through our lives. Part of that trust building is knowing there is passion and commitment behind what you are putting into the world. If I know something is not going to be consistent from someone, then my own enthusiasm and commitment will be affected. It’s a natural reaction because I want to invest my attention and focus where there is continuity.

Of course, this doesn’t apply to everything in nature. We don’t care so much about transactional items. But when it comes to tribe building, trust and awareness, competing on consistency can differentiate you from those that are semi-committed.

So, a thought to consider. Before you start some work, can you picture yourself being consistent over time?

Will it be painful to extract yourself later? Why not think a bit about what you might start and picture whether you will be consistent with showing up?

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?

Growth Hacking Approach to Avoid Stupid Selling

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Manners matter. We know that interrupting people face-to-face is rude and can be quite embarrassing. Our social norms make it too risky to attempt to force our agendas and wills upon people we encounter in person.

However, with distance and virtualization, there are still the unimaginative souls who persist in trying to violate basic manners. Playing a numbers game, trying old school approaches such as cold calling or other forms of spam gets knee-jerk blocking from recipients. As buyers, we have the power to block out those who invade our attention space pretty easily.

Selling without imagination is a waste of everyone’s time. Instead of trying to force your will on others, how about working on your personal sales process first? Think about how to earn someone’s attention.

Earning someone’s respect, attention and business is hard work. You have to think long and hard about how you are perceived. Then think about the touches that make sense and who will pay attention. Each step has its own intrinsic ratchet down ratio.

Testing what you have in your head and how people actually react to your overtures and gestures takes quite a bit of vigilance.

Ultimately, you can shape a sales funnel that makes sense for those you who can say, “Yes.” You can attract the right people, start conversations, and keep attention towards a path to doing business together.

You have to do this while competing with the entire world. The great thing is that if you are creative and persistent, you have the opportunity to have your own personal flowing pipeline of opportunities and deals. You can differentiate and have an asset by designing and staying consistent with your custom approach to selling and making connections with those that you can bring value to in this noisy world.

Yes, it’s strategy. It takes time. But it’s much less wasteful and more efficient to do business by figuring out what scales.

How can you design and test a better, more human approach to connecting?

Appreciate Timing

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To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail. ~ Mark Twain

When you approach someone with an idea or something you want to sell, assume you are out of phase. What are the chances of being in phase.

Sure, if you have an urgent care office, people show up because they are sick. The timing is right.

But when you are initiating in the marketplace of overcrowded, abundant offerings, people are likely not thinking about what you are offering. And if you act like the man with the hammer nailing everything around you, then you will likely find disappointment.

Timing matters a great deal. Getting in phase and helping someone’s mind get ready for hearing you gives you chance to be heard and valued. But this takes more work than simply going around nailing everything in site. It requires strategy.

Instead of asking how you can sell, ask yourself how you can help people be ready to receive what you are selling. The prerequisites likely come from your past buyers if you would study what caused them to buy.

What mindset did your previous buyers have?

How can you help someone to consider something they have not considered previously?

What problem became so acute it bugged them immensely? How can you push on this point?

It’s thinking about process and connection to create the timing and readiness for your message and offering to be received. This may require more appreciation for timing than you currently have, but in effect, you can build a sustainable pipeline by simply tweaking your approach.

Most people you engage are not ready. The question now becomes, how can you help your prospective customers become ready to hear you?

It’s pushing on the heavily weighted factor for selling – timing. Master this and you create the ongoing environment for continuous conversions.

Solve Your Slow Workflow Now

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Most people are in utter chaos. Try calling someone today in the middle of the day and a random sampling will show you how frenzied and reactive most people are operating. Our heads are spinning from the ridiculous amount of information, most which does not matter. But we still have to give attention to the requests, ideas and project work coming at us.

Do you want to solve the problem? It requires a commitment to productivity and speed. Hiding behind the overwhelming work just makes it less desirable to do business with you otherwise.

Speed is something you can gain in your workflow, but you have to acknowledge the problem – you are slow and overwhelmed.

How about learning to become fast and far ahead of the game? You have to want it. Without this, then it’s just an existence of catch-up and mediocre output.

What if you could be 5-10x faster at email? What if you could make space and time for thinking creatively rather than just getting through tasks?

You need training to make that happen. Training used to be formal and large companies had official programs to help knowledge workers move through management, productivity and projects.

Today, you’re on your own. Noone is telling you what to do. They just marginalize you and avoid doing business with you.

Consider fixing the problem and do a deep dive once and for all to get a return forever. You will spend years working. But will you be able to move efficiently day in and day out?

Want to be faster? Connect with me and I’ll show you a path to productivity. Put it to rest by getting the asset that matters more and more in this age of choice.

Growth Hacking by Networking with the Business Cycle

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If you notice there’s a weekly business cycle. Try getting someone’s attention on a Monday morning and you will find unreturned calls and a frenetic pace.

Now try touching base with people on Friday mornings and you have a much more relaxed conversation on the phone.

There is a weekly cycle we are on, and if you study the moods of your network and prospective customers you will find the best timing to connect.

As you are building your business, try an additional growth hacking strategy built on natural relationship building cycles.

Block out 2-4 times in your calendar that make sense to make phone calls, catch up or start new relationships.

Share your ideas for how to build someone’s businesses. And most importantly, don’t create work for people. Create value instead.

To do that, you have to think insightfully about what is important to them. And that is different for each and every person.

Your networking can be compressed and focused if you apportion specific times and stay organized and disciplined about when it makes sense to reach out to people.

I like to help principals, owners and executives get a natural growth hacking boost by setting up their workflow with a few tweaks they may not see:

  1. Organize and clean up their address books. Using Google Contacts is easy and fast. Ensure it syncs up with their iPhone or Android cleanly as well.
  2. Pick 10 people to touch and set them apart using a category or the Star function.
  3. Schedule 2-4 times weekly to network.
  4. Send emails that add value within those time blocks
  5. Set up calls for the following week or the current week depending on how you connected.

Now, I don’t believe in wasting people’s time. So you have to use your own time to share content that helps or ideas that build revenue or efficiency.

This is something that will cost you in intention and focus. But you can also save all the grief from being inefficient and untimely in your approach.

What do you think of adding a bit of organization to your own workflow and create a long-term networking strategy?

Use Growth Hacking To Test Your Ideas

Can you imagine simply starting 5 different entrepreneurial ideas at once? With the simple constraint of time, you would naturally minimize your risks and attention and use growth hacking strategies that would help you figure out what is worth investing further attention towards.

That’s the beauty of a world where we have digitized our positioning and products. Entrepreneurship becomes creative. Of course, you can use horsepower and money to go to market, but it’s much more risky in comparison. It’s difficult to predict what will engage and scale without seeing whether your idea will even gain the attention you imagine.

Here are a few growth hacking strategies which you can apply with little effort to see if your idea is worth further investment of your time, energy and money:

  1. Push sharing. Keep a measure on your idea in an article or Ebook and see how many shares get logged. Watch the daily metric and see if it accelerates or decelerates. Use the metric as a way to gauge whether to tweak your presentation, or to see if the idea even has legs.
  2. Get hired to perform. You may be selling a product or platform. How about seeing if you can build success via using the tool yourself. Start with consulting gigs where you use your tools to prove their value. Noone can argue with success. And you gain insights for refining your product from real-world use.
  3. Give points. Think about the things that matter to you. Everyone using your invention or getting widespread buzz. Incentivize with a simple point system around the behaviors you desire and bake it into your distribution model. Make the tiers for rewards easy and publicize the wins to create a viral effect.
  4. Bake in invitations. Designing an easy way to invite friends to engage or look at something with an easy interface to put in email addresses or pull from a Google Contacts list makes each user a node to many others. Present the invitation in a natural part of the flow. You can even build and track invitations as referrals that give cash or free months of use.

These strategies can be used virtually or adapted to hard goods. Making the product delivery a carrier of the marketing takes a bit of creativity and work, but it saves you the hard work of tactical selling. You get your fans to sell for you.

What kind of growth hacking strategies are you employing around your ideas?

The Attention-Starved Reality of Selling

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How do you stand out and sell in a world of infinite choice, easy access and endless world-class products? We have too much of everything. But we are limited in our ability to give attention to everything.

We can only read one book at a time, use one product at a time and talk to one person with full attention at any given moment.

The world has been inverted. Entire channels have been opened up for everyone to participate and get started. The hard part is not getting access anymore. That’s the previous advantage industrial age companies and brands had.

You can put out whatever you like. If you want to make a song or podcast, it’s easy to work it and get it published.

If you want to sell some of your line of products, you can open up a BigCommerce store and start posting  your wares with snazzy pictures and catchy copy.

I am putting a thought out today by simply writing and pushing the “Publish” button. It’s out there for the world to consume and use.

The product is the easier part today. The harder part is selling within an economy of scarce attention and endless options.

While the opportunity is immense, we are constrained by what makes business what it is – people. You still have to attract someone to pay attention. Then move that person through desire and intrigue. The selling is a human process that requires care and connection with where someone is at to be able to appeal to their deepest desires.

And it’s a hard nut to crack on a mass scale as well within the intimate part of the sales funnel where someone says, “Yes.”

It’s a game of process, consistency and acumen to dial into the point of resonance. The world is indeed flatter. Everyone can play now with products they want to sell. The question is whether you will be strategic and personal in your approach to selling or simply throw noise that gets ignored out into the world.

What’s your strategy?

Need one? Send me a note.

Think Big But Work Small

There’s no shortage of opportunities today. In fact, it’s cheaper and more convenient than ever to envision and put an idea you may have into play.

Imagine trying to make your idea happen in the 1960’s. It would be both extremely expensive and difficult to get it out for others to even take notice.

That’s not the problem anymore. You can get your idea started and put out into the world. However, it’s that easy for everyone else these days as well. You are inevitably playing in a crowded field. The hard part is getting enough attention to even matter. Everyone is a producer and everyone is a brand.

The dichotomy we face is how to go big in our ideas and keep that ever before us while we test in small steps. All of your assumptions have to be tested. You might assume a certain group will like your idea. If they react with little enthusiasm, it’s time to reevaluate immediately. And you can know this by putting a small test out there that represents the big idea. You can keep the idea big with small steps in the implementation to gauge how things will work in reality.

When you see positive feedback, you can enhance your idea and invest more time, money and energy.

The hard part is getting creative to solicit the reaction you are looking for before going big.

The temptation to go big early may come from our love for the idea vs. something that actually works to make people happy. That becomes more about you rather than those that will benefit.

We live in a crowded world. And people have access at their fingertips to whatever might appeal to their curiosities, pleasures or productivity.

Thinking big and working small is a strategy that can help you avoid risks out of the gate with good intentions.

How can you simplify and test your assumptions?