Most of you have heard the old riddle “How do you eat an elephant?” Answer: “One bite at a time.” This principle can be very helpful when we are stressed about our day or week. Most of the tasks, obligations, meetings and chores we face during the day are fairly simple or easy taken individually. However, for whatever the reason, the tendency is to look at them in the aggregate. Have you ever used the expression “I have so much to do today!!”. The simple individual tasks, when all grouped together, then become very ominous and cause us great stress. Often we are so overcome by the enormity of the totality that we simply give up and accomplish nothing.
As a basketball coach, I often practice with my players the stressful situation of “making two free throws to win the game.” The approach I instill in my players is NOT to think about making both free throws. You can’t make both until you make the first. So the mindset is to focus simply on “just making one – the next one.” Once you make the first, you then have additional confidence to make the second. My experience is the players usually end up with streaks of 25 or more – not worrying about making 25 – just focusing on making one – the next one. Accomplishment, energy and success breeds more accomplishment, energy and success. The same mindset can work in your daily life.
I recently watched U.S. Navy Admiral and Seal Commander William McCraven deliver a commencement speech to University of Texas graduates. His advice on how to be successful: take the time each morning to make your bed. The theory is if you take the time to make your bed each morning you have achieved an accomplishment. One thing off your list. Once you achieve one accomplishment it propels you to achieve the next. Additionally, even if you have had a terrible day and feel you did nothing, when you get home, you will at least have the satisfaction of having made your bed.
Use this plan of attack to be more successful in your life. Write down your list of things you need to do in a day or for the week. Focus on just one to do. Complete the task and then make sure to cross it off your list (this is very important). Once you accomplish one task, the sense of achievement then propels you to complete the next task. Before you know it, you have checked off all the items on your list and you have given yourself a sense of accomplishment that will then energize you to do it all over again the next day. Before you know it, you have “eaten the entire elephant” and done so with minimal stress. So start “eating” your list one item at a time to maximize your success.
In most cases, to have a truly strong and long lasting relationship with your friends, family or clients, you need to connect with them on an emotional level. One of the easiest emotions to tap into is one’s fears. We all have them. Things that we are afraid of or scare us. I’m sure you thought of one right away just reading this.
Advertisers and politicians are constantly playing on our fears. Advertisers use our fear of humiliation about poor hygiene, not having the cleanest clothes or not driving the right car to sell us all types of products. Politicians use the fear of losing our job or getting attacked by terrorist to get elected and stay in office. In our own businesses, we can use our clients’ fears in a positive way to connect and build a successful long lasting relationship with them.
It makes sense. Think about when you were afraid as a child. Whom did you go to seek comfort? You didn’t go to your local vendor, bank teller or store clerk – the people with whom you had transactions. NO – you turned to those you trusted: your parents, siblings, other family members or your good friends.
In business, there is always going to be a certain amount of fear (or at least worry or concern) involved in every deal. I suggest you take the time to discuss these fears or worries with your clients, and really get them to open up about what scares them or causes them stress. If you listen, and are then able to calm or resolve their fears, you have gone from having a transactional relationship to an emotional relationship with them. You are no longer their agent in a transaction but their trusted adviser who is helping them through a stressful or scary situation. This will foster a stronger and longer lasting relationship with them for the future.
So next time you are having discussions with your clients, don’t be afraid to ask them about their fears or what scares them about the process. Both you and your clients will be happier you did. And remember: “The only thing you have to fear is fear itself.”
I honestly believe if you have a great attitude about things, even the most mundane and tedious of tasks go easier or better. As I speak to people about their goals and aspirations, they usually begin the response with “I want to….” As I continue the conversation, I ask “what will you do to achieve what you want?” They usually proceed to tell me what they HAVE TO do. I want to tell you there is a major difference between an attitude of “WANT TO” and “HAVE TO.”
Think about things you “WANT TO” do in life: succeed in your business, go on vacation, enjoy a great meal, do your hobbies, relax, have children, etc. etc.. With rare exception, things you WANT TO do are things that make you happy, you enjoy or that come easily to you. Conversely, things you HAVE TO do are usually chores, obligations or things that bring you grief, discomfort or consternation i.e. “I have to go to the DMV or the dentist.”
If then you truly “WANT” something in life, then you should have an attitude of “WANT TO” in order to accomplish it – or at least make it less difficult to obtain. Applying this concept of WANT TO versus HAVE TO to your business, if you WANT TO be truly successful you should have an attitude of WANT TO rather than HAVE TO about your daily tasks. You should WANT TO manage your data base. You should WANT TO make cold calls. You should WANT TO tell everyone you meet about who you are, what you do and how well you do it. You should WANT TO have great presentation skills. You should WANT TO go to all the training classes that will help make you better. Bottom line, you should WANT TO do all the little day to day things that will help you reach your goal.
This week, see if you can adjust your attitude from grumpily HAVING TO do something, to happily WANTING TO do something. I guarantee you will create a more successful you and be more pleasant to those around you.
Normally I use this space to share with you some positive marketing and/or motivational tips to help grow your business and hopefully make you more successful. But having spent the last few months watching the coverage of the national political races, it dawned on me that you don’t always have to have positive attributes or habits to achieve a positive outcome. So here are 5 things that have helped the candidates (though not all of them), that you might want to think about doing (or not), to help grow your business:
- Spend as much money as you can on your marketing. In fact, if you are really smart, you get other groups and organizations to spend money on your marketing. You may even want to consider asking for donations from friends, family and contacts or even perfect strangers, to spend on your marketing.
- Send out as many blast emails as you can to everyone on the planet on a daily or even hourly basis letting them know what you are going to do for them. Feel free to expand your data base from the 1000 or so people it is now, to say way over 10 million. Somebody, somewhere may need your services. Don’t forget to ask for a donation to help you with #1 above.
- Every chance you get, speak negatively of your competition. The worse you can speak about them the better. Do this as often and loudly as possible.
- Don’t bother telling people about your experience, qualifications or marketing plan. Speak only in generalities and clichés. Simply continue to tell them that you are the best person for the job and to trust you. If pushed to explain how you will help them, tell them it is secret and in their best interest not to know.
- Hire an image consultant. Don’t underestimate the power of a hairstyle or a properly coordinated outfit. In business, form always wins out over substance.
So there you have it. Usually I am fairly confident that the tips I give you will help grow your business. With these, I am going to put in a disclaimer to proceed at your own risk and I take no liability if anything bad should happen. However – like the politicians – if you do these things and you become ultra-successful, I will take full credit for your success!!!
Coach Chuck Miller
A recent study revealed what customers value in their consumer transactions. As it turns out, all we need to do to be more valuable to our clients is CARE. The dictionary defines “care” this way: “to look after and provide for the needs of” – which is certainly what we should be doing in all our relationships. However for the case of this particular study, CARE is an acronym for some sales skills we should all have with our clients. The most valued providers, and thus highly reviewed and rated, exhibited these characteristics:
“C” – Communicated with their clients in an effective, consistent and transparent manner. There is no such thing as too much communication. Your clients need and want to know what is happening during their transaction. Not knowing, leads to stress. Stress doesn’t make for happy clients.
“A” – Authentic – Be real and genuine, not “salesy.” Be true, genuine and as transparent as possible with your clients. This builds trust. Another “A” is appreciation. Appreciation goes along way with clients. Have an attitude of gratitude during every step of the transaction.
“R” – establish a relationship. Get to know your clients. Not just what they want to buy, but why are they buying. Who are they as people? What are their likes and dislikes? Then, be “R” responsive to those wants and needs.
“E” – Empower your clients. The most highly rated professionals were those whose clients felt empowered in the transaction through information. No one like to feel helpless. Your clients need to feel they are a major part of the process – which they should be – it’s their home!!!
So to be super successful this year, remember to “CARE”!!!!