New Client? Avoid This Major Misstep

Does your business have a way for new clients to sign up or request service without speaking to you or your staff personally? You should.

We've entered a wonderful new world in client recruitment. Clients today can research, review, and ultimately choose a new vendor for products and services (including yours) without ever talking with you or your staff. It's a beautiful thing to turn on your computer or pick up your mobile device and find new clients requesting service.

But, because they have signed up without our help, we'll likely make a big mistake the first time we interact with them. It's the same mistake salespeople make all the time that creates confusion in the mind of a prospect and ultimately kills the sale. We want to tell them everything we think they should know about our product or service.

In the past, salespeople would keep telling about features and benefits long after a client had decided to buy, only to find their zest for their product or service has killed the enthusiasm of the client in making a buying decision. Having missed the obvious "I'm ready to buy" moment, the salesperson kept talking and lost the sale.

How do we do this today when clients tell us, "I'm ready to buy" online? We keep talking and do everything we can to keep them talking too.

Here's what it looks like. A client places an order or service request. We reply through email or text thanking them for the order (appropriate to be certain) and then we add something more. Sometimes it's a little more about the product or service than the client needs to know to buy but we feel they need to know in order to get full enjoyment or value.

What we've forgotten is the client decides what full value or enjoyment is, not us. And, because the client has decided without our help, our help is a distraction to their satisfaction.

But, the most obvious killer of the joy of purchasing your product or service without our help comes in the form of a question. It's the worst possible question.

"Do you have any questions?"

Ugh! Now we've placed uncertainty in the mind of the client and in their decision to buy. If they had a question they likely found the answer through their own research. And if they didn't find the answer they most assuredly would ask if it would determine a purchase or not.

Let's say I've just signed up for your service and you've asked me if I have any questions. Since I've never experienced your service, I'll assume you know more about your service than I do. I'll assume I should have a question for you since you are asking me if I have one. I'll wonder, "What am I missing?"

Maybe you know something I don't know. In the absence of any real question I may have, I'll likely ask if there are any specials or discounts I don't know about. And now, you're on defense. Defending your product and price and in the process devaluing it to the one person who had decided it was worth the money to buy it.

Whatever you do, don't ask someone who has already made an intelligent purchase in their mind, "Do you have any questions." Trust me, they don't.

The Five "C's" That Keep Us From Growth - #1 Contentment

Not so long ago I decided I'd make a few changes. I did what all the gurus tell you to do. I had a "why" that was bigger than my "how". I had a plan. I even started. And then, a few short days into my new life, I found myself doing the same old thing I had done before. Have you been there?

Of course you have, we all have. But what causes it? I've found there are several culprits and they all start with the letter "C".

So today, we'll take a look at the first "C" - Contentment.

Chances are if you don't make changes you think you wish to make, you're really contented with where you are. After all, if you weren't contented, you'd make a change, wouldn't you?

Perhaps not. There's a different "C" for that situation, and that's for another post. But, very often, we fail to change because we are unknowingly content with our situation. I discovered this quite by accident.

I found that I was content with my current situation when I started to rationalize my failure to change. "Hey, you're already pretty good here" I'd say and follow with, "You know if you stay right here you're going to be good enough, don't you?"

But here's the fallacy. In life, it is impossible to stay anywhere for any length of time. You might stay the same, but the world won't. The likelihood that you will be the same three years from now is an impossible idea. The thought that you won't change is ludicrous. By simply interacting with the world you'll change.

And if you try to change just as the world changes, you'll most certainly be left behind. The world changes so fast, you must either be proactive in changing to stay ahead or be changed by the world at its whim.

So, I've determined that I cannot be contented any longer because at the moment I'm contented, the world around me changes and thereby I do too. My contentment can only be momentary.

If you're contented with your current situation you might just want to take a closer look. Oh look, things just changed. Best you plan to change too or you'll be changed in a way you might not care for.


People Shouldn't Have To Dig To Find The Value You Bring

It's #ThrowbackThursday and I was wondering, "Who started Throwback Thursday anyway?" So I thought I'd look it up. According to Wikipedia, Sports Illustrated attributes the original Throwback Thursday to a blog called Nice Kicks. In 2006 they began the ritual of posting pictures of old basketball sneakers on Thursdays and it somehow stuck.

It did more than stick, it took off. Now, people around the world know to post old, nostalgic pictures and quotes on #ThrowbackThursday.

But here's the thing. I can find a website called but I don't really see them taking credit for #ThrowbackThursday. Maybe I didn't dig too deeply, but it would seem to me if you were responsible for changing the lives of so many people in a somewhat positive way, you'd want people to know about it.

Maybe I'm on the wrong site. Maybe the site doesn't exist any longer. Or maybe, just maybe, Wikipedia and Sports Illustrated have it wrong. Fact is, with a movement like this, who really knows who started it and perhaps no one really cares either.

But it brings up a good point. If you are fortunate enough to start a movement, even if you perhaps borrowed it from someone else, you'll need to be certain to let people know about it, especially if a credible source is doing everything they can to credit you for it.

If you build a better mousetrap it doesn't matter if no one knows about it except for the one poor mouse who finds it unexpectedly. And just think of all the people who could be helped by your product or service that won't know about it if you don't tell them.

#ThrowbackThursday is a great example of how something can take off. It has no built-in ideal customer or constituency that receives value from it and yet so many do. But, it has no owner either (that I can tell).

Remember, people shouldn't have to dig too deeply to find the thing or things you've done to improve the lives of people you serve. If you launch something special (like your business), make certain to retain ownership, tell everyone you can about it, and have a way for them to share it with their circle. Then, maybe, you'll have your own cultural phenomenon and hashtag.

What Business People Can Learn From Global Running Day

Did you know today is Global Running Day? Unless you are a runner or someone close to a runner, probably not. And that's a really important principle to understand when you think about your business.

My son and I are runners. Early morning runners actually. Five days a week,  between 5 am and 6 am, we get up and run (hence the goofy reflective vests).

And, since we're runners, we know about Global Running Day (the first Wednesday in June each year). And since we know, if you know us, you know too.

How does this apply to your business? When something is familiar to us, something as familiar as our business, we begin to think everyone knows about it and likes it as much as we do. After all, how could they not know about the wonderful products and services we supply that change peoples lives for the better?

Then, the inevitable happens. We talk to a friend (or worse yet, a relative) who purchased a product or service that we provide from one of our competitors. How could this happen? And it happens all the time.

I had a full-time consulting job in a different industry during the beginning of our dry cleaning pick up and delivery service.  My boss did dry cleaning virtually every week. But she never used our service.  She knew me, knew my family, cared about us, and even knew about our service but she never used us. Why?

I can only guess but it is an educated one. I think perhaps she unconsciously didn't want the business to do too well because she knew I'd leave and go to the dry cleaning service full time (and I did).

You see, people do or don't do business with people for a number of different reasons that are all their own. But, and here's where Global Running Day applies, they will almost always do business with people they feel are like them. And they'll know about businesses that are in their opinion "like them" because we're always on the lookout for something that says, "Hey, that's just like me!"

Better still, once people find something "just like them" they'll tell all their friends who are "just like them." But only if you ask them to do so. (By the way, if you're one of our clients, please let your friends an colleagues know about our service, they'll thank you for it and we will too!)

So yes, today is Global Running Day and now you know, for better or worse. But you also know how something that may or may not matter to you can become something very important to your circle. It only needs to be important to someone like you and soon it will be known by you too.

What Really Matters In Success

Nearly a half-century ago, I was told, "It's what you know that matters, so learn all you can." And I did (well, at least until I was in high school).

When I started my career in sales, I was told, "It's who you know that matters, so meet as many people as you can." And I did (although I didn't' really care much about who I met).

Sometime in my thirties, I was told, "No, It's not who you know, but more importantly, who the people you know happen to know. Get to the second level of the relationship." So I did, I met people who knew people I knew. This was my first clue.

Then, later in life, I was told, "Look, it doesn't matter who you know, what really matters is who knows you. You've got to get people to know you." So I did. I self-promoted and got people to know me. This was my second clue.

But then I was told, "Look, it's really not about any one thing. It's about everything. It's about what you know, who you know, who the people you know happen to know, and who knows you. That's the secret to success." So I put it all together. I focused on all of it.

And I came to realize, what really matters is what you do with what you know, who you know, who the people you know happen to know, and who knows you.

It's all about action. It's all about execution. The clues were, "take some action".

It really doesn't matter if you're the smartest, best connected, best connector, and the best known. If you do nothing, you'll get nothing.

And those who know little, know only a few, and have only a few know them but take action will lap you over and over.

You've got to take action with and on the assets you have.

That's what really matters in success.