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    Blog Index
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    The Quiet Groove of Focus

    The world is very noisy today. Social media, television, radio, with the endless volume of declaration, persuasion, opinion, and disagreement in the air is louder than I ever recall.

    I’ve always cherished my quiet time, but today I do so more than ever. Being able to retreat from our ever present, multi-media existence is essential to our well-being professionally and personally. I’ve always understood this, but today’s environment has certainly given me greater focus.

    What I do requires contemplation. I observe the world, reflect on past, present, and personal experiences, and try to deeply consider approaches that would be best for my clients. I’m no different than any other professional. I just make sure I do this in the context of quiet – or the least noise as possible, as I know how empowering this can be.

    If you’re talking all the time, you can’t listen. And if you’re always listening to others, you run the risk of forgetting how to listen to yourself. If you can’t hear yourself, you might miss the ideas, and insights triggered, not only by your thoughts while quiet, but those that come through other channels such as when you get the impulse to read, engage in conversation, and take part in experiences.

    I am thrilled to have developed an understanding of focus over several decades that differs from what I observed in others, early in my career. Originally, I thought of focus as hard, tense, and aggressive but in time I’ve found the most rewarding ideas come when there is less push, less pull, and certainly less noise. Try tapping into the power of quiet focus to guide you to exactly the best steps in your career or business.


    In 2019 Work on The Intangibles

    I’ve always taught that the intangibles make a big difference in business. This is particularly the case when it comes to selling. Take for example, retail environments. Customers will pay steep prices when the right words are used by you and your staff.

    Usually those words are linked to the intangibles in the mind of the prospect. When the wrong words are used, you’ll have a difficult time getting basic price points. Here are five examples of words to use during sales interactions.

    “It’s My Pleasure,” a phrase popularized by the Ritz Carlton organization remains one of the best examples of how you can set the stage for any sales conversation. Many young sales professionals will adopt phrases like “No Problem,” which is all too common, and does not convey a high-level interaction. Don’t use it.

    “I’ll Be Right Back With Your Change,” is another phase that is appropriate. In restaurants today it is common to hear servers ask: “Do you need change?” This is an offensive question where the focus is more on the convenience of the server than the service of the patron. It is in fact an approach designed to speed the tipping process. Don't do this either.

    “Thanks for calling. Sara, I’m wrapping up with another customer, and I want to give you my full attention. Can I call you in a moment?” Many sales people make the mistake of offending in-calling customers by saying, “I’m with a customer,” or worse, asking the caller to call back. In an active sales environment, you will certainly have times where you cannot handle multiple customers. The key in this situation is to make the incoming customer knows you are “wrapping up” shortly, to reinforce their value as a customer, and to take responsibility for calling back.

    “I was just about to get in touch with you.” This is a great way to let customers know they are on your mind, and pre-empt any concerns about you not getting in touch with them fast enough. This phrase can set the stage for a great connection.

    "Welcome Sir. Welcome Ma'am." I was recently at a business luncheon and witnessed a young supervisor instructing a member of the wait staff. The young server turned to her supervisor and said, "Yes, Ma'am!" The supervisor yelled at the young person and said, "I am not my mother. Stop calling me Ma'am!" I felt bad for the young woman who was part of the wait staff and the supervisor because terrible instruction was begin given. Today it is common to have servers and just about everyone refer to clients as "Guys," an overly familiar, and in my view, disrespectful wany of addressing clients and customers. One intangible you can address this year is finding another way to address your customers and clients -- unless you run a bar or pool hall, don't say, "Guys!"


    The Multi-Platform Business Opportunity

    Since the mid-1980s I’ve been involved in information, media, and technology. There were exciting times back then as each year we saw major changes surface in what was possible – from the expansion of targeted television programming and interactivity, to proprietary information industry networks like the real-time market data industry on Wall Street. But I can tell you there’s no time as exciting as right now for what I call, “the multi-platform business.”

    Instead of one platform and channel creating a path to customers, businesses have the opportunity to drive new business and serve clients with multiple platforms. What does this mean? You can service clients face-to-face, you can service them online, you can service them using mobile devices, you can service them through the post office, and you can service them through multiple other channels working along with partners. In other words, there are no limits today to the way you can reach clients, engage them, drive new activities, and thus create new transactions, revenues, gifts, and donations. The problem is that I rarely run into a business that is doing this effectively.

    Email and text notifications, video access, online purchasing, e-membership cards, on-boarding online, online training and orientation, coaching online, virtual classes and conferences, audio guides and instruction, and much, much more is possible for every business today. But most businesses are locked into one model which has worked for them. The challenge is that most business leaders think of new advancements as trends – and not tools.

    The growth of the Internet and social media has had everyone rushing to put in place the lastest technology capability that’s heavily promoted. Over the years I’ve seen private corporate television networks, videoconferencing, teleconferencing, email, webinars, social media, live webcasting and more have its turn as the dominant enabling technology.  But what’s interesting is that none of them go away. Instead, we now have all these tools in our arsenal. Aside from the fax machine, we typically don’t replace technology platforms, we just add them to our toolkit. (The exception could be in the music business where the shift to digital-only has been real – but even there we’re seeing vinyl records reclaim their place and cachet.)

    The question: how can you better use the available technology toolkit – now cheaper to implement and fully accepted by the marketplace -- to expand your reach as a business and send your message of excellence to your tribe? This is worth pondering for more than a few minutes as we enter a new year of possibilities for your organization. What most businesses need today is the will to move forward, and a well-thought-out plan to execute across multiple platforms, creativity and experimentation in doing so, and a commitment to make more than one of these vehicles work financially.

    At no other time in history have there been more ways to drive results to your business. And today the technology is there to do it, more affordable than ever before. I say, you must make the development of a multi-platform strategy to serve your clients, audience, fans, and supporters among your top priorities right now. That priority is at the top of my list.


    Create Momentum

    Many do not understand the role that momentum plays in success, and failure. Put simply, successful people become more successful due to momentum, and those who are failing, continue to fail due to momentum. It’s why the rich get richer and the poor get poorer – they build on existing momentum, doing more of the same. To get going in the direction you desire, you must stop the momentum going in the wrong direction – and get it going in the right direction.

    Momentum is very important in business. Many entrepreneurs spend lots of time not recognizing momentum patterns they’re creating or extending. Business markets move so quickly, particularly powered by today’s technology, that in 18-24 months you can find yourself working on issues and in patterns that are no longer relevant. Even worse, your competitors may have been working on the right things and you appear irrelevant to the market. That’s where understanding the fundamentals of the business are important. Are revenues increasing? Are we increasing the number of customers? Do we have a sizable and growing pipeline or pool from which to grow revenues and profits? These and other metrics are key momentum indicators.

    If you’re wondering if you should make certain moves, where you should put your energy, the foundational question is: where do you want more momentum? Whether you are selling, managing people, engaged in product innovation or any other endeavor, what matters is that you deliberately take steps toward creating the momentum (which leads to results) that you desire. Then, the objective is to get those modest successes, which begin to create patterns of success.

    As you create successes, you’ll recognize how to get the next one, and the next one, and soon it becomes easier. Your apprehension goes away, you’re not self-conscious – or worried about mistakes and outside perceptions. Things that would have slowed others down, don’t slow you down. And in time, you develop a pattern of results.

    How can you get more energy into your business? How can you start to see a more successful pattern emerging? You must get deliberate about it. To improve your business, your organization, or your sales territory, work on creating momentum, now.



    Why Not Me?

    One thing that has kept me going over the years, continually reaching toward greater opportunities, achievement, and success is pondering this simple question: "Why not me?" It’s a question that forces you to consider why it is others can enjoy certain levels of success while you settle for less. Do you ever challenge your own thinking?

    One key to a great and prosperous life is consistently challenging yourself to ask for more from life. Why not be the one that succeeds in that role? (whatever it is.) Why not be the one who lands the deal? Why not be the one that figures out how to build a business? Why not be the one who attracts the big money, lives in the great place, or does any number of other things that are available to us in this world? If you have difficulty selecting yourself for great things, you are accepting far less from life than you can and should enjoy.

    If you’re willing to challenge yourself with this question and decide that you can be, do, and have what you want, then you can begin experiencing more. It begins with mentally challenging yourself, thinking differently about your potential, feeling and acting differently, holding the vision, and expecting it. While there are some people who never question their ability to have more in life, some are conditioned to see great possibilities as something that others have – not them.

    Begin today, challenging your assumptions. Challenge those irritations that occur day-to-day. Challenge the relevance of rejection and setbacks. Put statements on your wall to see, on your desk, in your phone. Expect more from your life each day. If there is ever a question whether you can be, do, or have what you want, say “Yes!” to your desires and keep moving toward them. It is what those who reach premier level performance in their endeavors demand of themselves.