Does Your Business Have Heart?

Does Your Business Have Heart?

July 19, 2017 |

Businesses have a unique personality just like people do. Sometimes it isn’t easy to see from the outside … but sometimes it is.

Take Southwest airlines. It’s founder and CEO until 2008, Herb Kelleher, is quite a character … a guy who never confused being serious with being somber. In one of his official CEO photographs, he’s sticking his tongue out at the camera. The people at Southwest are encouraged to have fun and keep a lighthearted atmosphere. It makes a difference.

Contrast that with the now defunct Eastern Airlines. Eastern operated cattle cars with wings. Their slogan was, “We have to earn our wings every day.” What they earned instead was the contempt of their customers. Their slogan should have been, “Sit down and shut up. We’ll get you there.” That’s the attitude they had.

So, what does this have to do with you and your business? Well, ask yourself, what kind of personality does your business have? What does the world see when it looks at you?

Read More

Help Them Make A Decision

Help Them Make A Decision

June 22, 2017 |

I‘ve had discussions with a lot of service providers who seem unsure as to exactly how their clients and customers come to the decision to work with them. They seem to think it’s a somewhat random process. A potential client either needs them or doesn’t and it’s the flip of a coin as to whether the person will become a client.

Yes and no.

There’s no foolproof way to know what someone will do and no airtight way to explain what motivates people to do what they do, but we do know a couple of things really worth knowing. It’s not really a random process. Multiple calculations are being made … some logical … some psycho-logical. And we can divine what most of those are. There’s a very useful and simple model that the persuasion process follows.

And you, as the person helping to define the problem and provide solutions, play a huge role in whether a prospect becomes a client beyond just telling them what you can do for them.

Read More

You’ll Love the New Way to Network

You’ll Love the New Way to Network

May 31, 2017 |

Who do people do business with? People they like and trust. And they’re much more likely to do business with you if they have an actual relationship with you.

Duh.

Okay, that’s elementary, but let’s map that simple truth onto the typical networking experience and see how inadequate it is.

You “work the room,” telling each person what you do and passing out cards, then you dutifully listen to what they do and take their card before moving on.

That’s drive-by networking. There’s no real contact made. No real relationship built and no real opening to get to really know each other and build a mutually beneficial and trusting relationship.

Is it better than nothing? I guess … if you can stand doing it. Someone may just happen to need the services you offer that day or they may keep your card and call you if the need arises. But man, counting on that kind of weak connection to build a business isn’t likely to get you very far.

You need to build a relationship, so the person comes to like and trust you.

Okay, so what do you do? Read More

What Makes A Rainmaker A Rainmaker?

What Makes A Rainmaker A Rainmaker?

April 19, 2017 |

One thing’s very clear. In any service-based business, such as a law firm, certain key players bring in the great majority of the business.

Why is that? Are some people just born with a certain combination of genes or a particular personality type that enables them to make the necessary connections and generate business while others simply lack those vital characteristics?

I think so. And yet, it’s not that simple.

Let’s break it down.

Read More

He’s Gone

He’s Gone

March 21, 2017 |

He died.

Dropped dead from a ruptured aneurysm in the brain.

Who?

A senior attorney at a prominent law firm, a guy who brought in a LOT of business. We’re talkin’ a thriving high six-figure practice.

It was a tragic event for his family, his friends … and his firm. Tragic for the firm in that they lost someone they were close to, but they also lost a leader, a mainstay of the firm, and someone who really knew his way around … not just the firm, but the entire city. He was a repository of knowledge … a wise and savvy man.

And now he’s gone.

Read More

What’s Important To You?

What’s Important To You?

February 28, 2017 |

People do things for two reasons … to maximize pleasure and minimize pain.

Don’t’ want to have Alzheimer’s … otherwise known as Type 3 Diabetes … when you’re 60? Then don’t eat sugar and empty carbs. Pain averted.

But wait. Eating sugary baked goods definitely maximizes pleasure in the moment.

Choices!

So, which will it be?

Read More

I Want To Live, That’s Why!

I Want To Live, That’s Why!

January 18, 2017 |

It’s clear you need to do something … make a change. But you aren’t doing it! You’re reluctant … if not outright resistant. You’re anxious … if not flat out scared.

What’s going on? What’s the problem? It’s the logical next step. It’s the clear path forward. Just do it! What’s stopping you?

Yeah, well, it isn’t logic that’s calling the shots, and it usually isn’t the particular change in question that’s causing you to hesitate.

It’s change itself. Change sets off a stress reaction … in most, that is.

Read More

Two 20 Somethings Talking

Two 20 Somethings Talking

December 21, 2016 |

“The best laid plans of mice and men so often go awry.” – Robert Burns

I recently overheard a conversation between two young women at the coffee shop.

One was distressed by the fact that she wasn’t already married and having her first child by the age of 23, because she wanted to be done with children by the time she was 30 since that’s, well, you know, so old.

It made me smile. And it made me think of all the surprises life’s brought me … big and small … happy and not so happy. Things I could never have imagined in my wildest dreams … or nightmares … when I was 23.

Read More

No Referrals?  What?!

No Referrals? What?!

November 18, 2016 |

Okay, let’s talk about crazy.

Referrals are gold. We all know that. And the people who refer their friends, family, and associates to you are happy to do it. They feel good about it.

They like you and your work, and they want to tell other people about you, so the people close to them can get some of the benefits you’ve given them. Sweet. Word of mouth … yes!

Alas, unprompted referrals are rare. Why? Partly because people just don’t think about it, and partly because we send out the wrong signal to clients and friends when they ask us how we’re doing.   Read More

Asking For Testimonials

Asking For Testimonials

October 19, 2016 |

For many professional service providers, easily 70% or more of their business comes from referrals. This is particularly true for lawyers. I know a number of people who never advertise and really don’t do any kind of active marketing.

They rely on word of mouth. A good word from a satisfied client is the best advertising there is.

That’s great, except for one thing. Your clients may be delighted with the service you’ve provided, but unless somebody asks them to recommend a provider in your field … or you get bold and ask them to introduce you to people they think you could help … they’re not talking about you.

Read More

Winning Can’t Be Everything

Winning Can’t Be Everything

September 19, 2016 |

Competition is good.

It keeps us sharp and spurs us to greatness, since we’re always looking for better ways to do things, ways to get an edge. And that benefits everyone, from the individual competitors to society at large.

Cooperation is essential.

If people don’t work together toward common goals, if they don’t co-operate with each other, there’s no civilization, no progress, only personal advantage-seeking. Dog eat dog, the other guy be damned. And that’s not a world anyone really wants to live in.

I don’t think anyone would seriously disagree.

But what happens when the virtues of competition and cooperation come into conflict.

Read More

The Martyr Professional

The Martyr Professional

August 19, 2016 |

A strength taken to an extreme becomes a weakness.

You see examples everywhere. We’re all at risk.

The decisive person misses a critical detail by acting too fast, while the careful analyst is paralyzed by over-analysis and the inability to make a decision.

Someone who is good at handling details herself becomes a dreaded micromanager when asked to supervise others.

Someone who is easy going, able to go with the flow and roll with the punches gets taken advantage of by people who know he’s accommodating to a fault and won’t stick up for himself, because he hates confrontation.

What’s that have to do with us as service providers?

Read More

It Has To Be You

It Has To Be You

July 20, 2016 |

It has to be you.

I’d like you to consider that sentence from 3 different perspectives.

First, if you’re going to be successful as a service provider, you have to be comfortable in your professional skin, so to speak.

It has to be you in the sense that the work has to fit you. It has to play to your strengths and you have to like doing what’s required of you. It may seem obvious, but you can’t hate your job. You can’t even feel lukewarm about it … for lots of reasons, both personal and professional.

But there’s one reason that stands out for me. If you don’t love, or at least enjoy, what you do, how in the world do you expect to successfully market your services? It’d be a charade.

Read More

Marketing & Introversion

Marketing & Introversion

June 27, 2016 |

Carl Jung, the Swiss psychologist, invented the distinction “extraversion / introversion.” And yes, he spelled extraversion with an “a” and introversion with an “o”. Go figure.

But what I want to talk to you about is introversion.  Specifically introversion and marketing.

Read More

The Double Bind

The Double Bind

May 19, 2016 |

The double bind: “An emotionally distressing dilemma in communication in which an individual (or group) receives two or more conflicting messages, and one message negates the other.” 

Example: You’re told to say what’s on your mind or it’ll be held against you in some way, but when you do, what you said is held against you.

The concept isn’t new. It’s what’s known in everyday speech as a Catch 22 … stuck “between a rock and a hard place” … “damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”

Read More