Thursday, June 23, 2005

Don't Give it Away

Tuesday Ed gave a great "ah ha" moment through a cute story. We were discussing getting paid what your worth. He commented that his doctor only charges for a test if it comes back with a diagnosis. Of course everyone had a blank stare on their faces and then he said it again with a bit of a grin. Then the light bulbs went on. Of course the Doctor charges you for his services even if he performs a test that comes back negative. And yet, he noted, professional sales people are still giving things away. It was interesting to watch that moment and the lights go on.

So charge what your worth. Charge for you spec. work or proposals. You are worth it and if nothing else, you were paid for the work you did even if they take your bid and shop you with your competitors.

Monday, June 20, 2005

The Gut Factor

I have come to determine that this factor is probably the most critical factor in determining success. At least that is the case for me. In my previous world, I built a business on guts and did not even know it. I just kept on and before I knew it I had a real business.

Now that I am "selling" for a profession it is a whole new world. I guess I need to work the gut muscle again, it has begun to atrophy. So where do I begin?

  • Well it starts with a plan, and then work the plan.
  • I realize I will have to do the hardest things first or they won't get done.
  • I will build rewards into my plan as I make small accomplishments. (I need to give myself those strokes.)
  • It means facing head on the "brutal facts of your current reality."
  • And for me, it means reaching out for help to all my resources. (I don't do that well.)

The payoff will be worth the workout. I guess it really is no pain, no gain. So I am doing my stretches and getting ready for the workout.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Hold Your Ground & Take The High Road

I just read an interesting article about underground workers undermining the contracting business. In the article it noted that companies are underbidding on projects by as much as 50% and getting the jobs. How do they do it? Well they hire illegal immigrants or pay people under the table (cash), and therefore keep their overhead low. The problem is becoming so big the government is getting involved. Read the article, it's fascinating. Notes From the Underground Economy

In the article a contractor is optimistic.

Although he gets underbid by competitors using underground workers, McLaughlin, the contractor in San Francisco, says he has found a viable niche: homeowners who want proof that the contractors they hire are licensed and covered by
workers' compensation policies, but don't want to pay the prices that larger contracting firms charge
. Until the government settles on a way to assimilate the stealth labor force, McLaughlin says, he'll refrain from turning to the day workers who line the sidewalks of San Francisco's Cesar Chavez Street every morning, gesturing to passing pickup trucks in hope of landing a job for a few hours. But once he can hire them legally, he's looking forward to it. "The work ethic of those guys is unbelievable," says McLaughlin, who regularly logs 12-hour days. "They put me to shame."

This story really made me think about our system and why bidding is not always the best answer. Obviously, there are times you have to place a bid. However, without developing a relationship with the client/prospect and getting a full understanding of the project and their decision making process, it is a no-win situation. And if they are only looking for the lowest price no matter what the consequence, does it make sense to play in their game. I think not.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The Power of Communication

It's funny what you take for granted. I recently became painfully aware of how important communication can be. I tend to have a very low key style of doing things. I basically do things but don't generally feel the need to make a big deal of things. It became a big deal. Now I understand that even though I know I do, it doesn't mean people know I am doing.

So for me I have learned the power of a "cc:" on my emails and just a quick email in general. When you are working with clients and in particular prospects, make sure you let them know you are working for them or on their stuff. Jot them a quick note or copy them in your correspondence. I believe this simple item can go a long way into building a strong bond with who ever is important in your world.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Your 30 Second Commercial

As I work with clients, one of the areas they work on is changing their 30 second commercial from one that is based on FAB (Features and Benefits) to one that shows how you can help solve problems (pain). At a recent presentation that I did for the Women's Network of York on how to take networking to the next level, I shared the following two questions. As the table discussed these questions, they were able to do some very cool networking. Remember you are networking all the time.
  1. You are at a dinner party with some of your best friends and someone says "By the way, I've never really understood what you do, can you tell me what you do and who would be a good client for you." What would you say? How can you be prepared to answer that question?
  2. At the same dinner party you overhear your friend talking about a challenge they are facing in their business, can you think of ways you can offer help through your circle of influence. Come up with ways on how you might be prepared to help a friend.

Remember the best way to become a trusted advisor is to help others with out expecting something in return. Usually people who are grateful find ways to help you. That is what the second question is all about. Always keep in mind how you can help your friends and clients. They will in turn help you.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Is it June Already???

I sat down and reviewed my schedule and I realized it is June. Yes, we are in the 6th month. I know for me that meant the realization that I am no where near where my goals say I should be. Hmmm. So it is time to get serious and revisit the goals, adjust the plan and come up with a strategy.

Are you where you expect to be? Are you ahead of schedule? Do you have a plan? or Are you flying by the seat of your pants, hoping to get a good ride?

If it is the latter, it is time to get a plan. This is a great time to get serious.