Don’t Be Cheap.

“Cheaper” is never a deep human life goal.

I don’t often hear people say “I wish my life was cheaper”.

We never buy because something is cheaper. We buy because of the story we can tell ourself and others when we buy cheaper… I am a smart person because I get good deals.

But, Apple is not cheaper. It is about making you feel bigger.

Selling your services or products on the “cheaper” tag is not building a brand.

Ryanair is cheap, but cheap is not its core value.

Apple is 5% of the revenues of smartphones, but 85% of the profits. They create an experience that people desire, and the people are happy to pay.

My service might be cheaper… but there is something about my service that is far more valuable; there is an experience you can give others that is far more valuable.

If they end up paying less, that is a side benefit.

Few powerful brands are built on the value “cheaper”.

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Success = 80% Diagnosis, 20% Prescription

Don’t rush to the solution.  You need to go through a good diagnosis process before the listener is ready to hear the solution.  If you rush to solution, the listener is not ready to trust you.

Do you take time in your meetings to really ensure that everyone shares the view of what the problem is?  I have been to many meetings where the conflict is really due to the fact that each person is trying to solve a different problem.

7 Critical Elements of an Entrepreneurial Pitch

There are 7 critical elements of an effective entrepreneur “Pitch” that works (video here on the blog):

The 7 elements of a good entrepreneurial elevator pitch 
A good entrepreneurial elevator pitch will contain these 7 elements:

  1. description of the problem you solve 
  2. the individuals or groups that will benefit 
  3. the specific product or service you will deliver 
  4. how you differ from competitors and other substitutes 
  5. how you will make money 
  6. what resources you require (money, time, support, expertise) 
  7. an outline of the value that will be created
What do you think?  What is the best pitch you have seen?  How much time do you spend preparing and practicing your pitch?

10 Commandments for Business Development from Goldman Sachs

John Whitehead, co-head of Goldman Sachs in the 1970s, wrote the following 10 commandments that guided their business development efforts:

  1. Don’t waste your time going after business you don’t really want.
  2. The boss usually decides— not the assistant treasurer. Do you know the boss?
  3. It is just as easy to get a first-rate piece of business as a second-rate one.
  4. You never learn anything when you’re talking.
  5. The client’s objective is more important than yours.
  6. The respect of one person is worth more than an acquaintance with 100 people.
  7. When there’s business to be found, go out and get it!
  8. Important people like to deal with other important people. Are you one?
  9. There’s nothing worse than an unhappy client.
  10. If you get the business, it’s up to you to see that it’s well-handled.
Good list.  What do you think?

I came across this list thanks to Mark Graham’s post over at The Entrepreneurs’ Organisation blog.

What is an Entrepreneur?

My definition of an entrepreneur: Someone who has more ideas than resources.

“But I don’t have any ideas…”

If you don’t have ideas, then you are not an entrepreneur. There are millions of things that frustrate me every day. Find something frustrating and think how to reduce the frustration. If you are not frustrated by something every day, please send me the instructions for how to live like you!

If you have too many resources, then you are lucky.

Lucky is not a great long term life strategy.

No Entry
photo: Martin Deutsch

“But I can’t find an investor…”

The lack of resources is a test. If you can do something with very little, then you can do more with a bit. No investor wants to give you a bit until you can show that you can make progress with what you have. Investors really want to be in projects that will work without them (just slower).

There is always a step you can take without anybody else’s permission. Find it and do it. Keep doing that. The money will come when you prove you don’t really need it.

Do the next right thing.  This is what an entrepreneur does.

How do I know if I have a good idea?  Here is a simple test.

This post was inspired by a discussion started by Ciara over at my Linked-In Group.

Sales is 18-3-1

Sales is 18-3-1.

18 calls.
3 meetings.
1 sale.

It is never any faster, quicker or shorter.  There is no easy way.  There is no 100% close.

There are 7 billion people in the world.  1 billion have phones.  800 million are on facebook.

Keep up the 18-3-1.  Don’t try to make it into 18-3-2.  Never works.

Jerry Seinfeld was asked the secret of his success “hard work”.  He went on stage as a comedian twice a night for 18 months straight before he was paid his first dollar as a comedian.  He gave the 5 minute routine that he gave on the Tonight Show in 1981 200 times before delivering it live on the show.  
The short cut?  Stop reading this and get accumulating your 18 calls.
——–
Another way to improve your confidence is regular practice.  I have been developing an online module of my Persuasive Communications seminar.  It is available here: Improve My Speaking. Feel free to share this resource with friends (and people who need it).

Trust

What is Trust?  

Trust is the currency of social relationships.  Trust is the willingness to rely on the actions of another person.  In a relationship of trust, the trustor is willing to release control over the actions of the trustee.

Trust is an economic lubricant, reducing transaction costs.  Greater levels of trust in a society accelerate business activity, increase employment and increase prosperity.

A good thing then this Trust.

What is Trust made of?

Charles Green describes the 4 ingredients of Trust in the Trust Equation:

Where:

  • T = Trust
  • C = Perception of Credibility
  • R = Perception of Reliability
  • I = Intimacy
  • SO = Perception of Self-Orientation

How do you Increase Trust?

In order to Increase Trust = Increase Perception of Credibility or Increase Perception of Reliability or Increase Intimacy or Reduce Perception of Self-Orientation.

Ways to increase Perception of Credibility:

  • Tell the truth.
  • Don’t exaggerate.
  • Avoid saying things that others may see as lies (eg “We’ll put our best people on it”)
  • If you don’t know, say “I don’t know”.  Quickly.
  • If you don’t belong, don’t go.
  • Do your homework.
  • Care about the work.


Ways to increase Perception of Reliability:
  • Make specific small commitments and deliver 100%.  
  • Send meeting materials in advance.
  • Make sure meetings have clear goals, and that those goals are met.
  • Use the words your listener would use.
  • Review agendas for meetings.
  • Re-confirm events 24 hours before.


Ways to Increase Intimacy:
  • Ask insightful questions.
  • Share first.


Ways to Reduce Perception of Self-Orientation:
  • Ask questions.  
  • Listen and paraphrase without adding anything.
  • Resist the need to fill silences. 
  • Focus on defining the problem, not guessing the solution.
  • Say “I don’t know” if you don’t know.
  • Take responsibility for failed communications (“I have failed to communicate clearly” vs “You don’t understand“)
  • Think as if you were completely responsable for this person’s future success in all aspects that are important to the other person.
  • Care about the work.  If you don’t care about the work, it is inevitable that you will focus more on yourself.  Low self orientation is all about intensity of your commitment to help your listener.
FriendsAn example:  
Imagine that we rate each variable on a 1 to 10 scale.  We have a business relationship between a client Tom and a salesman Mary.  It is early days in their dealings.  Tom’s perception of Mary is:
Credibility = 7
Reliability = 5
Intimacy = 4
Self Orientation = 8
Trust = 7 + 5 + 4 / 8 = 2
Any mathematical minds will rapidly have seen that changing the divisor SO will have the greatest possible impact on trust levels.  Reducing SO from 8 to 4 doubles trust.  Reducing SO to 2 quadruples trust.  Reducing SO to 1 multiplies trust by 8.
Perfection would be a score of 30.  
Reducing Self-Orientation
Reducing Self-Orientation is the greatest lever to increase trust.  Ask more questions.  Listen.  Don’t fill silences.  Trust increases wealth.  Trust is the lubricant of wealth creation. 
Do people perceive you as reliable?  Do people perceive you as credible?  Do people perceive you as interested in them, or ego-centric?  (How do you know?)