Saturday, 28 November 2009

20 Tips for Great Newsletter Design


1. Opt-In Page Expectations — An effective content strategy starts with your opt-in process. Be certain you manage subscriber expectations at the start. Describe in a sentence or two the type of content your newsletter contains and the value it will deliver readers. Also provide a link to back issues so that prospective subscribers can see exactly what to expect.

2. Identify and Stick to an Editorial Focus — Your recipients only have room for a limited number of newsletters on their list of “must read” newsletters. Identify the core focus of your newsletter, establish an editorial approach and then stick to it.

3. Establish Regular Columns and Features — A key to sustaining ongoing value is to institute recurring columns and topic features. Subscribers will know what to expect and it also allows you to plan and focus the content and develop a real position and expectation in recipients' minds.

4. Table of Contents — If you have more than two articles include an “In This Issue” section at the top of your newsletter. Give them a quick sense of what the articles are about and provide a link down to each article within the newsletter.

5. Use Short Teaser Articles — For articles longer than three or four paragraphs, use short “teaser” introductions that whet your reader’s appetite and motivate them to click through to the entire article posted on your Web site. This makes it easy for readers to determine their interest in the topic and enables you to track which articles and topics are of most interest.

6. Sidebars — Use sidebar boxes and columns for promotional and supporting information that is not the primary focus of the newsletter. This includes company and new product information, news, events, resource links, brochure links, etc. This enables the reader to easily find this information while clearly separating it in their mind from the primary editorial value of the newsletter articles.

7. Have a Personality — Just because you are producing a corporate newsletter doesn’t mean it can’t have a personality. You want the reader to have a sense that there are humans on the other end of the newsletter. Establish someone as the editorial face of the newsletter and don’t be afraid to have them interject some humor and personal flavor. Humor can be great, but be careful not to offend.

8. Tips and Best Practices — In our experience B2B readers love “tips” and can’t get enough of them. No matter what profession, workers are always interested in practical ideas and best practices they can put to use. Consider including a Quick Tip feature and focusing some of your articles around actionable tips.

9. Benchmarking and Statistics — Your customers and prospects are keenly interested in how they are doing compared to other companies. Providing benchmarking information and industry statistics will keep readers coming back for more each month.

10. FAQ/Ask The Expert — Columns devoted to answering questions are a great way to generate reader interest and feedback, while simultaneously enabling your company to establish its expertise in particular areas.

11. Case Studies — Customer case studies are always of interest to readers. They provide practical examples of success stories and strategies, and enable you to convey your company’s value proposition.

12. Use Click-Through Stats to Refine Editorial Focus — Continuously monitor which columns and type of articles are driving the most clicks. Use this information to refine both topics and editorial style.

13. Monitor Web Analytics — Check your Web site log files on occasion to determine which articles and content on your site are most visited. Use this information as key input into your editorial focus.

14. Reader Surveys — Consider conducting reader surveys a few times a year. An annual survey can uncover changing needs and interests among your readers. Additional reader surveys can be conducted on specific topics on which the results form the basis of future articles.

15. Ask Sales and Support — Other employees are great sources of ideas for content. Sales and support staff in particular can have great insights as they are dealing directly with customers and prospects on a daily basis.

16. Competitor and Industry Newsletters — Read industry and competitor newsletters and make a list of future story ideas based on interesting topics in these newsletters.

17. Subject Line is Key — Tie your subject line to a specific article in your newsletter that will generate the most opens. Don’t feel limited to use the same words used in an article title. Think newspaper headline style and craft a subject line that will stand out in your recipients’ inboxes.

18. Subtle Self Promotion — While educating your readers with tips and best practices, insert subtle, but supporting, references to your company, product or service. Done well it won’t seem out of place for your readers and helps achieve your overall goals for the newsletter.

19. Feedback — Provide a “Feedback” link after each article so that readers can easily send you feedback and suggestions for other articles.

20. Partner/Customer/Expert Articles — Solicit articles from your clients, partners and industry experts. Using these external sources will help position your newsletter in readers’ minds as having greater interest and value beyond your company’s self promotion.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Mind your own Business - FREE Seminar

"Winner" European Seminar Coach of the Year 2009 presents ...
Mind your own Business!
Knowledge + Mindset + Action
  • FREE Seminar Friday 27th November 12.00 to 14.30
  • Venue: Innlodge, Eastern road, Portsmouth, P03 6HH
  • Book TODAY on 02392423218 or via the web at www.iandickson.biz/events
Ask yourself three simple questions -

Do you.....
  • have al the knowledge you need to succeed?
  • have a millionaires mindset?
  • what action to take right now to make it happen?
No ........ ?

Then you need to attend this FREE EVENT
Seating is genuinely limited, so BOOK TODAY

The BIG Plan

The magic of the business plan is not the “plan” itself, but the process that the business goes through in putting it together, and then using it as a living document to guide and direct the business. Here are 5 Steps necessary to begin the Planning Process:

1. Know where your business is going. Do you have a vision of what you want your business to look like in 5 years? 10 years? It’s impossible to put together a realistic plan if you don’t have a destination in mind.

2. Break the plan down into realistic chunks. Rather than just do an annual plan, break it down into Quarterly Plans so that you can focus on short-term accomplishments while working towards long-range goals.

3. Assign tasks to team members. Do not think you can do everything yourself. Make sure you get your team involved in fulfilling the plan.

4. Dedicate a block of time to do the plan. Once a quarter spend an entire day away from your business putting the plan together. This will get you away from all of your day-to-day distractions and help you focus on completing the plan.

5. Have a Business Coach assist you. Having an outsider’s perspective to give you ideas and guidance keeps you from developing unrealistic expectations, and going down a direction that doesn’t make sense for you and your business.

Having a solid and realistic business plan can help you overcome the pitfalls that every business owner will encounter. Start today, and make your future happen.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Be careful what you wish for!

The Subconscious Mind – 6 Basic Functions
The subconscious refers to that part of the brain which directs behaviour performed reflexively or without conscious awareness. There is now considerable evidence to suggest that the subconscious forms the sum total of all our past experiences and guides the majority of our daily thinking, information processing and behaviour. Taken in concert, research suggests that the subconscious performs a number of functions:

1. Recording and storing: The first function of the subconscious is to record and store our interpretation of reality, much like a computer hard drive. It has been estimated that the human brain contains 10–14 billion neuron cells and that each of these cells can store one to two million bits of information. This automatic recording process begins operating before birth and stores all our experiences, including what we think about and feel in response to those experiences. We might think of the subconscious starting life as a blank canvas, each experience then adds a brush stroke to our picture of reality, which we then call the ‘truth’. This picture or reality stored in the neuron structure of the brain may not be the absolute truth, however, it is only the truth as seen and remembered by us.

2. Habits: A second function of the subconscious is to handle automatic functions (heart-beat, breathing, circulation, digestion, blinking) and learned automatic functions (tying shoes, walking, driving, playing a guitar, multiplication tables). All of these learned functions begin on the conscious level then, through repetition, are turned over to the subconscious and become habits. Most of the time habits are helpful and assist with greater efficiency. Sometimes however, habits stored on the subconscious level can also be barriers to change, adjusting to new situations and to safety.

3. Auto-pilot personality: The third function of the subconscious is to maintain our perception of reality by making us act as the person we believe ourselves to be. This picture is based upon our current dominant image of the ‘truth’ and ‘reality’ as recorded from our subjective interpretation of the world. For example, if an individual believes that they are a poor public speaker, this will drive their approach to a public speaking engagement, creating feelings of anxiety and nervousness, which impact negatively on the individual’s performance during the speech. This effectively reinforces the original belief that they are a poor public speaker. In a similar fashion, the subconscious also drives the commonly cited ‘risk-taking’ personality. In this case, a ‘risk taker’ will approach a potentially risky situation believing that they ‘enjoy taking risks, it is a part of their personality, and that they will survive the experience’. These thoughts cause a release of chemicals that the individual interprets as heightened arousal and excitement, which in turn, confirms their belief that they enjoy taking risks.

4. Creative problem-solver: The fourth function of the subconscious is to solve problems creatively. Just like a researcher, the creative subconscious scans one’s memory banks for information in order to piece together bits of information into a possible solution. Effectively, problems can be solved without conscious effort and daily challenges and new experiences are more likely to be accepted.

5. Energy source: The fifth function of the subconscious is to provide drive and energy to resolve conflicts and accomplish goals. If an activity is not DIPI (dangerous, important, pleasurable, and interesting) the subconscious mind will release no energy to complete the activity. This is the science behind procrastination, whereby people avoid tasks and experience little drive to complete them until shortly before the due date. As the deadline approaches, the potential danger and importance of the task increases, and the subconscious releases more energy to complete the task. The challenge therefore, is to work with this function rather than against it. What this means is that instead of considering the negative, hard, or mundane aspects of important activities, emphasise the important, interesting and potentially pleasurable aspects of completing such activities.

6. Goal-seeker: The sixth function of the subconscious is to ensure human beings are goal oriented and achievement striving. This function operates in conjunction with that described above, in that goals ensure that an activity remains ‘DIPI’, ensuring energy is released to complete the activity and achieve the goal. With the conscious mind having such a limited processing capacity, it is the subconscious that drives almost all of our daily processes. Indeed, given that the conscious is limited to processing seven units of information at any one time, the subconscious drives more than 99.7 per cent of daily functioning. This means that we essentially are our subconscious. As the subconscious is comprised of memory and habits, and memory and habits are basically types of thinking patterns (attitudes), it is therefore also true to say that we are our thinking patterns. Hence, an understanding of thinking patterns is crucial for effective leadership and improving safety performance.

GIGO

The GIGO principle originates from the computer industry and stands for ‘Garbage In, Garbage Out’. That’s what computer experts refer to when a computer is programmed with the wrong information and hence gives the wrong result. The computer is an incredible machine that can only work with the information you give it. GIGO is true of the human mind too, with the relationship between the subconscious and conscious often likened to that between a computer and its programmer. That is, garbage thinking patterns in: garbage results out and good thinking patterns in: good results out.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

10 Basic Skills Every Salesman Should Have

Basic Skills Every Sales Person Should Have

In my experience, I am convinced that techniques and methods of sales are teachable to anyone who has the desire to learn. However, there are a few natural skills that are of great benefit if they already exist within those that want to be successful in sales. Without these, success will take a longer time but it can still be achieved. If there is no desire and dedication to learning or developing these skills, then the selling will be much more difficult and often very stressful.

Effective Communicator
Communication covers a lot of territory. I am not talking about superb orator skills here, but the ability to speak clearly and in a manner that is easy to understand. Sales is all about talking to people and getting them to understand what you are trying to communicate.

Ability to Listen
Along with speaking, a great salesperson knows when to stop talking and listen. They never cut someone off while they are talking, because in doing so they would fail to hear a key element in identifying what that person's needs might be.

Asks Great Questions
Salespeople are naturally inquisitive and know that in order to isolate what the real need or desire is in the buyer, they need to ask questions that will lead them to the answer. They naturally ask questions because they have a desire to help solve their problem.

Problem Solver
Another natural skill is the desire and ability to solve problems. Great salespeople are always solving problems. The ability to hone in on what the buyer's problem is and offering suggestions that will effectively solve the problem with respect to what products or services you sell, generally results with a sale.

Well Organized
I am not necessarily speaking of your personal surroundings, but more with your thoughts and methods of planning. Sales people have a keen ability to break things down into smaller steps and organize a plan of action. They know how to analyze what their goal is and in what order the steps need to be in in order to reach that goal.

Self-Starter and Self-Finisher
A successful sales person moves forward on their own. They never need anyone to tell them when it is time to go to work because they know that if they do not work they will not earn. They are also very persistent to finish what they start. They achieve their goals, even if they are small ones.

Positive Self Image
Having the attitude that they can do just about anything that they put their mind to is usually very common among sales people. They do not cower from meeting or talking to people or trying something new. They rarely allow negatives that are either spoken to them or about them to effect what they are trying to accomplish because they know who they are and what they are capable of doing.

Well Mannered and Courteous

The best sales people are very well mannered. You may not realize it, but good manners is a way of showing respect for others. People are attracted to those that respect them and mutual respect is fundamental in building lasting relationships with people..including buyers.

Naturally Persuasive
Another very common inherent skill with great salespeople is that they are very persuasive or know how to get what they want. They focus on what they want and they are persistent to keep chipping away until they get what they want. They almost never give up or give in.

Person of Integrity
A salesperson without integrity will have many struggles which will often include hopping from job to job. Honesty in sales is so important and it is almost impossible for this skill to be taught. You or the person you are looking to hire is either a person of integrity or are not. Be as analytical as possible on the evaluation of this skill.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Keeping Cash Flowing in a Down Economy

Keeping the Cash Flowing in a Down Economy

1. Get your mind focused on what you can control, and the opportunities that exist. Look for positive influences and people who take this climate as a welcome challenge.

2. Trim the fat. It’s easy for expenses to creep in over time; now is the time to examine each one. Re-negotiate payment terms if possible. Each employee must make a tangible contribution to profit, with numbers you can measure.

3. Stay liquid. If you know your business will cyclically have a negative cash flow, line up financing now - before you need it.

4. Your current clients are worth pure gold. Go the extra mile to retain them.

5. Go where the recession is not. Many industries do just fine in a recession, and the folks who are employed there make good target clients

Saturday, 11 July 2009

21 ways to increase your cash flow

Cash flow is essential during a downturn. Here are 21 ways to make sure you are maximizing your cash flow opportunities.....

1. Test & Measuring System - for everything
2. Improve Conversion, Use Phone Scripts – Incoming and Sales
3. Put Prices Up
4. Add on Sale – Cross sell & Up sell
5. Public Relations Article
6. Direct Mail to existing Clients with telemarketing backup
7. Cold Phone Call – Use script
8. Extend Supplier Credit – or any other creditors
9. Pre paid sales
10. Use Debt Collection Agency
11. Closed Door Sales – bring a friend
12. Packaged offer – Quick moving line with slow moving line
13. Product Range add on sale – limited campaign (this week only)
14. Reverse Host Beneficiary (sell other peoples product for % )
15. Increase stock turns – stock rationalisation (slow stock out )
16. Events – novelty events to generate publicity
17. Sell excess assets
18. Small ads – classified – spot ads - for lead generation
19. Sales Team Incentives
20. Split level Pricing
21. Referrals – Have a referral or non referral price & ask for a referral after sale

Friday, 10 July 2009

TRUST is the key to any sale


Here are some simple elements of trust that you must MASTER in order to make it possible for a relationship to blossom:

  1. Tell the truth. This is the number one element of trust AND relationships. Once truth has been violated, trust evaporates and may never return.
  2. Deliver what you promise. People hope and expect you to deliver on promises.
  3. Do what you say you will do. This is a test for being reliable and trustworthy.
  4. Communicate in a timely manner. Rapid response shows you are responsible, on top of it, and that you care.
  5. Bring value beyond your product or service. What you do to help others be more successful will be a true reflection of your character.
  6. Be on time. Being on time shows you respect the other person’s time. It also proves your reliability.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Brainstorming Ideas - Seeing the wood for the trees!


Sometimes you’re so close to a problem you can’t see how it will ever be solved. This situation is so common, it even has it’s own cliché – “you can’t see the wood for the trees”. Here’s a brainstorming game to help you see things differently, and aid the problem solving process.


Show these shapes to your team, and ask them to individually write down what they can see. You may find descriptions such as; three coloured shapes, or a green circle with a diagonal line, a red hexagon and a yellow thought bubble etc.

Some may have made a small creative leap and seen the top left figure as a green “forbidden” road sign. Others may have taken bigger creative leaps and see a winking, bearded face or an imminent solar eclipse on a cloudy day. It doesn’t matter if you can or can’t see these more outlandish images – there’s no right or wrong answer.

Looking at things in a fresh, new way can trigger a whole train-load of thoughts, and that’s the essence of effective brainstorming.

Get the team to look at the shapes again and see how they describe them differently, second time round.

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Knowledge v's Learning


We all have knowledge.. With so much information available to us today via so many different mediums we would struggle not to gain knowledge every day.

So, I challenge Dunn and Bradstreets comments and say nearly all the business owners I meet and work with do indeed have KNOWLEDGE. The difference is they don't have the LEARNING.

So what's the difference?


For me the difference is in what we do with the knowledge.
Knowing is not enough, we must DO. Doing turns our knowledge into learning. Once we learn something it then becomes cemented or locked in and is far more likely to stay with us. A habit if you prefer...

A good example of this is driving. I can read books on the theory of driving and I can watch videos of how to drive. This is KNOWLEDGE, I become knowledgeable of driving.
In order to LEARN to drive I need to get into the drivers seat and DO driving.. Now I am learning. This ensures I generate the habit and as a consequence retain the information.

So read, watch, listen, observe... Great KNOWLEDGE providers...
But you need the DO to get the learning..

I meet many business owners who ask for my help to keep them accountable on the DO... They have some the knowledge but have not learnt from it and so don't DO it..

The best way to get both KNOWLEDGE and LEARNING is to get a great coach or a mentor to help you They will give you information/skills (knowledge) and help to keep you accountable by setting goals and planning and doing (learning)

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Consulting vs Coaching

What is the difference between Consulting and Coaching?

Many people today are considering hiring the services of a coach. There are business coaches, life coaches, employment coaches, etc. But do you need a consultant or a coach? Is the difference significant and of any consequence?

Yes, there is a significant difference between a consultant and a coach! A consultant is someone you hire to solve a particular problem you have. The consultant is the one solving the problem not the client.

As soon as the client has another problem, the consultant is called and they solve the problem. The relationship for the client is a very dependent one. They depend on the consultant to solve the problem.

The relationship with a coach is very empowering and geared towards the client becoming independent from the coach. In the coach relationship the client solves the problem. The coach works with the client to help bring out their strengths so that the client can solve the problem for themselves.

A professional coach has been trained to be quite the opposite of a consultant. The consultant is the expert and can have their ego involved in the process. The coach has been trained to not have an agenda, to be neutral and egoless, so that the process is all about the client, not about the expert.

The consultant is all about giving the client the answers. The coach is all about asking the right questions. The coach believes they do not have the answers for anyone, but have been trained to ask the right questions to bring the answers out of the client.

Let’s say a client has called both a consultant and a coach to solve a problem they have. The problem is that the client can’t seem to reach the revenue goals they desire. The consultant would analyze the situation and give specific suggestions as to achieving the desired goals. The suggestions would probably include some kind of system or process to implement. The coach would help the client understand themselves to the extent that the client would be able to create their own system that would work best for them.

For example, the consultant may give the client specific processes to go through in order to implement a successful cold call to prospective clients. The coach would help the client determine if that were their strength and therefore the best method for the client to use. What if the client’s strength is promoting to a room full of people, possibly hundreds of people but feels completely uncomfortable talking to one person via the telephone about the very same thing? Which would be the most successful? The coach would look at what will work best for the client.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

The secret to selling - My 7 top tips


A critical success factor for all businesses is how good they are at selling.

Every business is selling something, a product and/or a service, but very few are actually trained in the art of selling. Here are seven keys to selling to help you on the track to greater business success:

1. Ask more Questions:Questions are the answers in sales. Too many sales people tell their customers the features and benefits of their product or service but never take the time to find out which of the benefits the customer is actually interested in. So, ask them to tell you what they want.

2. Set daily targets:A common theme in sales - chase enough customers in the hope that one or more will buy. In reality this leads to sales people only selling to the early adopters or price shoppers who would probably buy from anyone. However by keeping track of how many customers buy on average from a given number of leads and then introducing strategies to convert a higher percentage will ensure your sales team learn how to improve their results. Set daily targets and assess your performance against these targets.

3. Use sales scripts:No one likes to hear someone read from a script but customers do expect us to be consistent. So how do you ensure all your interactions with prospects are consistent and that you deal with objections in a professional way? By writing down what it is you say in any given situation and by training your team to use the same questions and language you can bring a lot more productivity to your sales process.

4. Offer / Guarantee:Why should someone buy from you and not a competitor who can provide the same product or service at a lower price? What is it that you offer them or can guarantee them that will differentiate you from your competition? Your offer must generate excitement to get prospects to make a decision to buy now.

5. Ask for the Sale:One of the biggest common failings in sales is not asking the prospect to buy. A fear of rejection, that the sale will be lost, prevents many sales people from actually asking the final question. Just do it and learn from those that say no so you can improve your conversion rate over time.

6. Learning:To be successful in sales there absolutely must be a habit of learning. Learn from other sales experts, learn from books, learn from your best customers and learn from past experience. Both your good and bad experiences can be a huge help in improving your sales success. You must record these experiences and build your knowledge over time. Write it down so you do not keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again.

7. Testimonials:We all need to be reminded of what we are doing right and why our best customers love dealing with us. Sometimes we focus too much on what is going wrong rather than what we are doing right. Focus on the good stuff and we will do more of it! Get your customers to write down their testimonials so you can use it in your marketing and attract even more great customers.

Question: When is the best time to make a sale?

Answer: Just after you made your last one. Ever hear stories of football players who stop scoring goals and it seems they will never score again? Well generally they change something about themselves; their attitude or a superstition or a habit; and then suddenly they are back in scoring form again and they keep scoring.

Get the message from your Business Coach, change something about your sales process and improve your scoring.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Discipline

DISCIPLINE
The price of excellence is discipline.
The cost of mediocrity is disappointment.



  • Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.
  • We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.
  • All disciplines affect each other. Mistakenly the man says, "This is the only area where I let down." Not true. Every let down affects the rest. Not to think so is naive.
  • Discipline is the foundation upon which all success is built. Lack of discipline inevitably leads to failure.
  • Discipline has within it the potential for creating future miracles.
  • The best time to set up a new discipline is when the idea is strong.
  • One discipline always leads to another discipline.
  • Affirmation without discipline is the beginning of delusion.
  • You don't have to change that much for it to make a great deal of difference. A few simple disciplines can have a major impact on how your life works out in the next 90 days, let alone in the next 12 months or the next 3 years.
  • The least lack of discipline starts to erode our self-esteem.

Monday, 15 June 2009

T.R.A.F. -What to do with that mountain of paperwork!


A large part of our time is consumed by attention topaperwork of various kinds, in both our business and personal lives. How effectively we deal with all that paper will influence what we can accomplish in terms of ourpersonal growth and development.
You might benefit from a review of the TRAF method,popularized by Stephanie Winston, to manage the constant onslaught of written material that faces you every day.

This method allow for only four things you can do with any paper that ends up on your desk:
  • Toss it
  • Refer it to someone else
  • Act on it
  • File it

Notice that the TRAF method does not include putting the paperwork aside to address at another time! Typically, most of us keep more paper around than is advisable. If you have little or nothing to lose by tossing something, by all means, get rid of it.

SMART 'en up your goal setting


S.M.A.R.T. Goal Setting

  • S = Specific
  • M = Measurable
  • A = Achievable
  • R = Realistic
  • T = Timely
Specific
Goals should be straightforward and emphasize what you want to happen. Specifics help us to focus our efforts and clearly define what we are going to do.
Specific is the What, Why, and How of the SMART model.
WHAT are you going to do? Use action words such as direct, organize, coordinate, lead, develop, plan, build etc.
WHY is this important to do at this time? What do you want to ultimately accomplish?
HOW are you going to do it? (By...)
Ensure the goals you set is very specific, clear and easy. Instead of setting a goal to lose weight or be healthier, set a specific goal to lose 2cm off your waistline or to walk 5 miles at an aerobically challenging pace.

Measurable
If you can't measure it, you can't manage it. In the broadest sense, the whole goal statement is a measure for the project; if the goal is accomplished, the is a success. However, there are usually several short-term or small measurements that can be built into the goal.
Choose a goal with measurable progress, so you can see the change occur. How will you see when you reach your goal? Be specific! "I want to read 3 chapter books of 100 pages on my own before my birthday" shows the specific target to be measure. "I want to be a good reader" is not as measurable.
Establish concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of each goal you set. When you measure your progress, you stay on track, reach your target dates, and experience the exhilaration of achievement that spurs you on to continued effort required to reach your goals.

Achievable
When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure out ways you can make them come true. You develop that attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach them. Your begin seeing previously overlooked opportunities to bring yourself closer to the achievement of your goals.
Goals you set which are too far out of your reach, you probably won't commit to doing. Although you may start with the best of intentions, the knowledge that it's too much for you means your subconscious will keep reminding you of this fact and will stop you from even giving it your best.
A goal needs to stretch you slightly so you feel you can do it and it will need a real commitment from you. For instance, if you aim to lose 20lbs in one week, we all know that isn't achievable. But setting a goal to loose 1lb and when you've achieved that, aiming to lose a further 1lb, will keep it achievable for you.
The feeling of success which this brings helps you to remain motivated.

Realistic
This is not a synonym for "easy." Realistic, in this case, means "do-able." It means that the learning curve is not a vertical slope; that the skills needed to do the work are available; that the project fits with the overall strategy and goals of the organization. A realistic project may push the skills and knowledge of the people working on it but it shouldn't break them.
Devise a plan or a way of getting there which makes the goal realistic. The goal needs to be realistic for you and where you are at the moment. A goal of never again eating sweets, cakes, crisps and chocolate may not be realistic for someone who really enjoys these foods.
For instance, it may be more realistic to set a goal of eating a piece of fruit each day instead of one sweet item. You can then choose to work towards reducing the amount of sweet products gradually as and when this feels realistic for you.
Be sure to set goals that you can attain with some effort! Too difficult and you set the stage for failure, but too low sends the message that you aren't very capable. Set the bar high enough for a satisfying achievement!

Timely
Set a timeframe for the goal: for next week, in three months, by fifth grade. Putting an end point on your goal gives you a clear target to work towards.
If you don't set a time, the commitment is too vague. It tends not to happen because you feel you can start at any time. Without a time limit, there's no urgency to start taking action now.
Time must be measurable, achievable and realistic.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Gimme, Gimme, Gimme!

Go Givers!!

It's been said that you cannot give away what you do not have. One of the most spiritual important insights or secrets in life is that you already have, and always have had, what you need to give away! If you impart the message that 'I am not worthy' the universe will send it straight back in many shapes, forms and circumstances.

When we say 'give me' we are imparting this message. We are saying we think we need to get something to complete ourselves or prove our worth. Most of us are taught to live a life of gimmie gimmie gimmie - always striving, desiring, wanting, struggling.

We do so only because we think that when we get what we want we will be fulfilled and esteemed by others. But it's an illusion. We are all already complete and worthy but we cannot know it and experience it, until we give it away!

Only giving allows us to know what we are and what we have within. Ask the question- how can I serve? The intention to serve will point you towards what you need to give. If the intention is real it also generates the will.

The most successful people in life are not go getters, but go givers!

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Hearing and Listening are not the same thing

Active Listening

Hearing and listening are not the same thing. Hearing is the act of perceiving sound. It is involuntary and simply refers to the reception of aural stimuli. Listening is a selective activity which involves the reception and the interpretation of aural stimuli. It involves decoding the sound into meaning.

Listening is divided into two main categories: passive and active. Passive listening is little more that hearing. It occurs when the receiver or the message has little motivation to listen carefully, such as music, story telling, television, or being polite.

People speak at 100 to 175 words per minute, but they can listen intelligently at 600 to 800 words per minute (WPM). Since only a part of our mind is paying attention, it is easy to go into mind drift - thinking about other things while listening to someone. The cure for this is active listening - which involves listening with a purpose.

It may be to gain information, obtain directions, understand others, solve problems, share interest, see how another person feels, show support, etc. It requires that the listener attends to the words and the feelings of the sender for understanding.

It actually takes the same amount or more energy than speaking. It requires the receiver to hear the various messages, understand the meaning, and then verify the meaning by offering feedback. The following are a few traits of active listeners:

  • Spends more time listening than talking.
  • Do not finish the sentence of others.
  • Do not answer questions with questions.
  • Are aware of biases. We all have them...we need to control them.
  • Never daydreams or become preoccupied with their own thoughts when others talk.
  • Lets the other speaker talk. Does not dominate the conversation.
  • Plans responses after the other person has finished speaking...NOT while they are speaking.
  • Provides feedback, but does not interrupt incessantly.
  • Analyzes by looking at all the relevant factors and asking open-ended questions. Walks the person through your analysis (summarize).
  • Keeps the conversation on what the speaker says...NOT on what interests them.

  • Takes brief notes. This forces them to concentrate on what is being said.

Monday, 8 June 2009

The Brain Test!

THE Right Brain vs Left Brain test ...

Do you see the Dancer turning Clockwise or Anti-clockwise?

If it is clockwise, then you use more of the right side of the brain, if she is spinning anti-clockwise then you use more of the left side of the brain. Interestly, some of you will be able to get her to spin in either direction. This is you switching sides of your brain from left to right and visa versa.
The brain sides have very different functions and the trick is to generate "whole brain thinking" to get the best from your life. Find ways to incorporate both left and right brain into your learning.

LEFT BRAIN FUNCTIONS
  • logic
  • detail oriented
  • facts rule
  • words and language
  • present and past
  • math and science
  • order/pattern
  • perception
  • reality based
  • forms strategies
  • practical
  • safe
RIGHT BRAIN FUNCTIONS
  • emotions
  • colours
  • control of our 5 senses
  • big picture oriented
  • imagination rules
  • symbols & images
  • present & future
  • philosophy & religion
  • spatial perception
  • fantasy based
  • presents possibilities
  • impetuous
  • risk taking

Another really important (and often over looked) point is that the right side of the brain looks after your long term memory. So if you want to remember something then I always recommend finding ways to learn that involve the use of colours, our senses and good use of the imagination.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

7 Steps to make that “follow-up” call a Success

1. Don't assume the sale.
Prospects are used to the traditional buyer-seller relationship. They assume you’ll pressure them. Therefore, they may decide not to tell you things that make them vulnerable to pressure. Until you’re sure you know the complete truth, you can never assume the sale is yours.

2. Keep making it easy for potential clients to tell you their truth.

Toward the end of your conversation, ask, “Do you have any more questions?” If the answer is no, follow up with the 100% final truth gathering question: “Now, are you 100% sure that there’s nothing else that I can do on my end to make you feel more comfortable with this situation?” You’ll be amazed how often people will reply, “Well, actually, there’s one more issue...” It’s at this point that you really start to hear their truth.

3. Call back to get the truth, not close the sale.

Most potential clients who suddenly disappear expect you to chase them down. They expect you to call and say, “Hi, I was just wondering where things are at?” Instead, eliminate all sales pressure by telling them you’re okay with their decision not to move forward, based on their not having called you back. In other words, take a step backward. Most of the time, this will open the door to a new level of trust-filled communication.

4. Reassure them that you can handle a “no.”
Of course, we’d rather hear a yes. However, the only way to free yourself and your clients from subtle sales pressure is to let them know that it’s not about the sale – it’s about the best choice for them. If that means no sale, it’s okay with you.

5. Ask for feedback.
Whenever prospects disappear, call them back (e-mail only as a last resort because dialogue is always better). Simply ask, “Would you please share your feedback with me as to how I can improve for next time? I’m committed to understanding where I went wrong.”
This is not being feeble or weak. It’s being humble. This invites the truth.

6. Don't try to “close” a sale.
If your intuition tells you that the sales process isn’t going in the direction it should be going (which is always toward greater trust and truth), then trust those feelings.
Make it safe for prospects to tell you where they stand. It’s simple. All you have to say is, “Where do you think we should go from here?” But be prepared because you might not want to hear the truth of how they’re feeling. You can cope with this by keeping your larger goal in mind, which is always to establish that the two of you have a “fit.”

7. Give yourself the last word.
Eliminate the anxiety of waiting for the final call that will tell you whether the sale is going to happen. Instead, schedule a time for getting back to each other during your conversation. This eliminates chasing. Simply suggest, “Can we plan to get back to each other on a day and at a time that works for you? Not to close the sale, but simply to bring closure, regardless of what you decide. I’m okay either way, and that’ll save us from having to chase each other.”

You'll find that these suggestions make selling much less painful because you stay focused on the truth instead of the sale. The truth is, the more we release the idea of needing to make the sale, the more sales we will likely see.

Top ten tips to improve your memory

HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR MEMORY

Four simple truths about memory:

  1. It is normal to forget.
  2. You can remember more and retain more for a longer period of time than you probably think you can.
  3. A few memory aids that many people have found useful may work for you.
  4. The best memory technique may be one you create for yourself, one that corresponds to your learning style.

Top 10 tips

The following is a list of strategies that have worked for many people:

  1. Decide to remember. Resist passivity. Become an active learner by making a conscious, deliberate decision to remember. Follow through on this decision.

  2. Combine memorizing with a physical activity. Each sense that you use while reviewing provides another pathway for information to reach your brain. Recite either silently or aloud, while riding a bicycle, while doing aerobics or calisthenics (floor exercises like sit-ups and jumping jacks), and while walking or running. Feel good about yourself for keeping fit and for exercising your mind.

  3. Use mnemonics. Mnemonics are tricks, games, or rhymes that help you remember things. You learned some as a child—“In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue.”

  4. Use acronyms. An acronym is a word formed by the first letters of other words or items that you want to remember. For example, “TEAM” is an acronym for --
    “Together Everyone Achieves More”.

  5. Associate to remember. Association is the process of connecting new information that you want to remember to something that you already know. An association is often
    personal. For example, use something personal to you to remember something unrelated. A friends name or a place you know can be used to trigger the association.

  6. Visualize. Form an image, or picture, in your mind of something that you want to
    remember. Visualization is an especially good way to link names with places or parts with
    locations. Draw things on a board or in a book that will remind you of the thing you need to remember rather than listing in words what needs to be remembered

  7. Use an organizational technique. Organize information in a meaningful pattern that shows how each item relates to the others. List steps in a process. Outline complex
    materials. Make charts, diagrams, and information maps that show the relationships of parts to a whole or one part to another.

  8. Sleep on it. Reviewing before sleep helps you retain information. Because you are relaxed, concentration is focused. The information stays in your mind while you sleep. When you awaken, try to recall what you reviewed the night before. Chances are good that you will remember.

  9. Remember key words. Sometimes you have to remember a series of connected ideas and explanations. To recall items stated in phrases or sentences, select a key word to two in each item that sums up the whole phrase. Recalling key words will help you recall the whole item.

  10. Memorize. Useful for recalling certain kinds of information, memorization can be an effective tool if it is combined with other memory techniques. Memorization works best when recalling spelling, definitions, maths and facts about historical events, life cycles, etc.

Remember: A flexible memory system is best. The basic elements of successful memory work also include the following:

  • Be organized. Information that is organized is easier to find.
  • Be physical. Learning is an active process. Get all of your senses involved.
  • Be clear. You can reduce the background noise that may interfere with recall.
  • Be smart. Intelligent application of memory techniques can save work.

Your memory is a muscle.. if you exercise it, it will become bigger and stronger… Exercise your memory daily…
By improving your memory, you can find greater success in your career and in your personal life.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Business Owners 10 great questions to ask yourself

1. Customer base
Ask yourself: If I just bought this company, how would I sell more/expand what I sell to this customer base?

2. Cash
Ask yourself: If I could invest this cash in any one part of this business/niche/product line for the biggest cumulative return/profit over the next 5 years, where would I invest it all?

3. Market Leadership
Ask yourself: To remain the market leader for the next 25 years, where should I invest my time and company's resources right now?

4. Reputation
Ask yourself: What can I do to double the strength of our current reputation, within the next 6 months?

5. Momentum
Ask yourself: What's working well right now and how can I keep it working well?

6. Key Staff
Ask yourself: Who are the 5 key people in my organization and what game/plan can I create with them so they'll stick around for a long time?

7. Systems
Ask yourself: What systems work so well that we take them for granted? How could we improve them?

8. Responsiveness
Ask yourself: How quickly and completely do we respond to changes in our customers, market, technology, staff needs or economic conditions?

9. Intellectual Property
Ask yourself: What do we have, IP-wise, that just isn't being as leveraged as it could be?

10. The X Factor
Ask yourself: What do we have that's very, very special and that we could really maximize, just for the pleasure of it?

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

18 STRATEGIES FOR HIRING THE BEST


  1. Focus on hiring only the best.
  2. Make sure you have a written job description.
  3. Don’t limit your sources for good employees.
  4. Avoid hiring someone who averages more than one employer every two years.
  5. Use a rating system so that early candidates are not forgotten in the interview process.
  6. Where possible, promote from within to maintain employee morale.
  7. A person with an extensive self-employment background is very likely to go back to self-employment as soon as possible. Hire this person as a consultant.
  8. Disabled workers often do a better job with greater loyalty and less absences.
  9. Use a temporary employment agency instead of hiring an employee in haste.
  10. “Over qualified” people are better than “under qualified” people.
  11. Have the person leaving the position interview their replacement.
  12. Test the skills and industry knowledge of a prospective employee. Get specific.
  13. Look into a potential employee’s energy levels. If you engage in more than one interview, try to do it at different times of the day.
  14. Look into any significant gaps in employment.
  15. Consider using outside recruitment agencies if you won’t follow a process.
  16. Use pre-employment questionnaires.
  17. Check an applicant’s background and all references thoroughly.
  18. Memorialize the terms of employment.

Monday, 1 June 2009

The Power of NO!!!!

The Power of NO!

You don't know how to say No to a person then please learn because a single Yes can eat up your fruitful quality time.

1) If you don't know how to say NO, people will take undue advantage of you. At office you will be bogged down with work and others will enjoy while you will be doing their stuff.

2) Adapt yourself to all circumstances and situations because it may so happen that your Boss or your peers may transfer their own work to you because you cannot say “NO”

3) If you are a parent you very well need to understand when to say NO or else children's take undue advantage and when you give in they become a spoiled brat.

4) If you cannot meet a person’s expectations just tell him NO rather than thinking what will he think if I say NO and then worrying and getting sick.

5) Its always better to say NO rather than saying YES for a work and then suffering afterwards.

6) If you cannot drink alcohol say NO, Cannot smoke a cigarette just say NO rather than getting addicted and suffering afterwards.

Be true to yourself, you understand yourself better than anyone else. Believe me this is the truth and reality. You have to understand when and how to say NO. The people who are close to your heart may feel bad if they hear a NO from you, so you very well need to understand how to tell NO to them assertively without hurting their feelings and without giving in to the situation.

It happens with everybody and you are not the only one. In day to day life we face these situations and it’s upon us how well we can manage that situation.

We have got 24 Hrs in a single day and we need to manage that time for all our work. We need to go to office, look after home, do shopping for home, look after parents and children, do social activities, take out time for friends and take out some time for ourselves and our personal life.

If we start doing others work there will be a great imbalance in our own life which may lead to irritation and frequent quarrels.

Try out the power of saying “NO” and be a different and transformed person

Eat a Frog for Breakfast!

The secret to successful time management.
From a book by Brian Tracy

The key to happiness, satisfaction, great success and a wonderful feeling of persona power and effectiveness is for you to develop the habit of eating your frog, first thing every day when you start work.

Fortunately, this is a learnable skill that you can acquire through repetition. And when you develop the habit of starting on your most important task, before anything else, your success is assured.

Here is a summary of the 21 Great Ways to stop procrastinating and get more things done faster. Review these rules and principles regularly until they become firmly ingrained in your thinking and actions and your future will be guaranteed.

1. Set the table: Decide exactly what you want. Clarity is essential. Write out your goals and objectives before you Begin;
2. Plan every day in advance: Think on paper. Every minute you spend in planning can save you five or ten minutes in execution;
3. Apply the 80/20 Rule to everything: Twenty percent of your activities will account for eighty percent of your results. Always concentrate your efforts on that top twenty percent;
4. Consider the consequences: Your most important tasks and priorities are those that can have the most serious consequences, positive or negative, on your life or work. Focus on these above all else;
5. Practice the ABCDE Method continually: Before you begin work on a list of tasks, take a few moments to organize them by value and priority so you can be sure of working on your most important activities:
6. Focus on key result areas: Identify and determine those results that you absolutely, positively have to get to do your job well, and work on them all day long;
7. The Law of Forced Efficiency: There is never enough time to do everything but there is always enough time to do the most important things. What are they?
8. Prepare thoroughly before you begin: Proper prior preparation prevents poor performance;
9. Do your homework: The more knowledgeable and skilled you become at your key tasks, the faster you start them and the sooner you get them done;
10. Leverage your special talents: Determine exactly what it is that you are very good at doing, or could be very good at, and throw your whole heart into doing those specific things very, very well:
11. Identify your key constraints: Determine the bottlenecks or chokepoints, internally or externally, that set the speed at which you achieve your most important goals and focus on alleviating them;
12. Take it one oil barrel at a time: You can accomplish the biggest and most complicated job if you just complete it one step at a time;
13. Put the pressure on yourself: Imagine that you have to leave town for a month and work as if you had to get all your major tasks completed before you left;
14. Maximize your personal powers: Identify your periods of highest mental and physical energy each day and structure your most important and demanding tasks around these times. Get lots of rest so you can perform at your best;
15. Motivate yourself into action: Be your own cheerleader. Look for the good in every situation. Focus on the solution rather than the problem. Always be optimistic and constructive;
16. Practice creative procrastination: Since you can’t do everything, you must learn to deliberately put off those tasks that are of low value so that you have enough time to do the few things that really count;
17. Do the most difficult task first: Begin each day with your most difficult task, the one task that can make the greatest contribution to yourself and your work, and resolve to stay at it until it is complete:
18. Slice and dice the task: Break large, complex tasks down into bite sized pieces and then just do one small part of the task to get started;
19. Create large chunks of time: Organize your days around large blocks of time where you can concentrate for extended periods on your most important tasks;
20. Develop a sense of urgency: Make a habit of moving fast on your key tasks. Become known as a person who does things quickly and well;
21. Single handle every task: Set clear priorities, start immediately on your most important task and then work without stopping until the job is 100% complete. This is the real key to high performance and maximum personal productivity.

Make a decision to practice these principles every day until they become second nature to you. With these habits of personal management as a permanent part of your personality, your future will be unlimited.

Just do it! Eat that frog.

TRYING DOESN’T WORK!

Trying doesn't work. When we say we're going to try, it presupposes failure.

I tried for years to make certain changes and do certain things. What I didn't realise was that the feeling of trying was becoming familiar. People like what's familiar, so once I got used to trying, my neurology didn't want to shock me by having me succeed. So I went on trying for years.

Have you become familiar with the experience of trying or struggling? If so, it may be time to find out what happens when you move beyond trying. What happens when you imagine getting what you want? How does it feel?

As Yoda said "Do or do not. There is no try." Trying doesn't work.

Sunday, 31 May 2009

Power up your Presentation Skills – 10 Tips for Better Presenting


Power up your Presentation Skills – 10 Tips for Better Presenting

Presenting in front of an audience is not everyone's cup of tea but with the correct advice, guidelines and practice it can be enjoyable for both the presenter and the audience. Preparation is everything and it is essential that you know your subject matter. The more prepared you are, the more confident you will feel which makes for a better presentation.


Follow these simple tips and your presentations will be fun, interesting and rewarding for both you and your audience.

  1. Keep your PowerPoint visual – Keep them clean, not too wordy and relative to the presentation. They should just be a visual representation of the subject. The audience isn't there to read your slides; they are there to listen to you present.

  2. Engage with the audience - Make eye contact with everyone throughout the room. If you don't do this then you aren't engaging the audience, you are just talking to yourself. Each person should feel like you are speaking to them personally.

  3. Deliver with a passion – It's amazing how catchy enthusiasm is. If your voice is expressive and your gestures animated, you will appear confident and passionate.

  4. Make them laugh – Have some fun! Although you want to educate your audience, you need to make them laugh too. In essence, it keeps the audience alert and they'll learn more from you than someone who just educates.

  5. Ask questions - People hate it when they get talked at, so don't do it. You need to interact with your audience and create a conversation. The easiest way to do this is to ask them questions as well as letting them ask you questions.

  6. Be human –Simply be truthful to your audience. Telling the truth and being human will earn you respect and people will trust you for your honesty. Putting yourself on a pedestal and being super-human can work against you. So tell them how it is.

  7. Don't over prepare – Of course, you need to be prepared enough to know what you are going to talk about but just enough to make sure your presentation flows naturally and not sound memorized. Experienced speakers will tell you not to rehearse your presentation too much because then it won't sound natural.

  8. Show some movement – Keep yourself moving. People will stay engaged if you are animated. If you have a large audience or big stage make sure you spend an equal amount of time in front of all of your audience. Being animated also helps display a sense of passion too.

  9. Watch what you say - You may not notice when you say words like "uhm" or "ah", but the audience does. If you use them a lot when presenting it can get quite irritating; so much that some members of the audience will probably count how many times you say these useless words and tell you!

  10. Don't read directly from your notes – One of the most common mistakes made by first time speakers is to stand up and read directly from notes. If a speaker is looking down at a page of notes it does not allow them to engage eye contact with the audience to hold their interest. As alternative, bullet point key messages that you wish to get across on cue cards to keep you on track and it won't sound so scripted.

Friday, 29 May 2009

Giving it away! - Delegation


Giving it away! - Delegation

People use many excuses for not delegating. Their reasons are usually unfounded. You'll get more done through delegation if you assume the opposite of the following statements is true:

  • I could do it better myself.
  • I don't know if I can trust her to do it.
  • He isn't qualified to do it.
  • She doesn't want any added responsibilities.
  • I don't have the time to show anyone how to do it.
  • There is no one else to delegate to.
  • He already has enough to do.
  • I don't want to give up this task because I like doing it.
  • I'm the only person who knows how to do this.
  • She messed up last time, so I'm not giving her anything else to do.
What To Delegate
  • Don't delegate what you can eliminate. If you shouldn't be doing an activity, then perhaps you shouldn't be giving the activity away to others. Eliminate it.
  • Delegate routine activities, even though you don't want to:
    • Fact-finding assignments
    • Preparation of rough drafts of reports
    • Problem analysis and suggested actions
    • Collection of data for reports
    • Photocopying, printing, collating
    • Data entry
  • Delegate things that aren't part of your core competency. For small businesses, these include accounting, web site design, deliveries, hardware upkeep, software help, graphic design, travel arrangements, patenting, legal issues and even HR functions such as payroll.
  • Some things you can't delegate: performance reviews, discipline, firing.
  • Create a plan to delegate. Don't give out assignments haphazardly.
  • Invest short term time in training to gain a long term increase in productivity.
  • Others may end up doing a better job than you can or finding new ways to complete a task.
  • Delegate, don't abdicate. Someone else can do the task, but you're still responsible for the completion of it, and for managing the delegation process.

Delegation Instructions

Make sure the standards and the outcome are clear. What needs to be done, when should it be finished and to what degree of quality or detail?

  • Delegate the objective, not the procedure. Outline the desired results, not the methodology.
  • Ask people to provide progress reports. Set interim deadlines to see how things are going.
  • Delegate to the right person. Don't always give tasks to the strongest, most experienced or first available person.
  • Spread delegation around and give people new experiences as part of their training.
  • Obtain feedback from employees to ensure they feel they're being treated appropriately. A simple "How's it going with that new project?" might be all that's needed.
  • Be sure to delegate the authority along with the responsibility. Don't make people come back to you for too many minor approvals.
  • Trust people to do well and don't look over their shoulders or check up with them along the way, unless they ask.
  • Be prepared to trade short term errors for long term results.
  • When you finish giving instructions, the last thing to ask is, "What else do you need to get started?" They'll tell you.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Reticular Activating System - The RADAR in your brain

Part of your brain is known as the Reticular Activating System or RAS. Your RAS plays a vital part in your ability to achieve goals.

Imagine that you're walking through a busy noise airport passenger terminal. Think of all the noise - hundreds of people talking, music, announcements, luggage carriers. How much of this noise is brought to your attention? Not a lot. True, you can hear a general background noise, but not many of us bother to listen to each individual sound.

But then a new announcement comes over the public address system - saying your name or maybe your flight. Suddenly your attention is full on. Your RAS is the automatic mechanism inside your brain that brings relevant information to your attention.

Your reticular activating system is like a filter between your conscious mind and your subconscious mind. It takes instructions from your conscious mind and passes them on to your subconscious. For example, the instruction might be, "listen out for anyone saying my name".
There are some interesting points about your reticular activating system that make it an essential tool for achieving goals.

First, you can deliberately program the reticular activating system by choosing the exact messages you send from your conscious mind. For example, you can set goals, or say affirmations, or visualize your goals. Napoleon Hill said that we can achieve any realistic goal if we keep on thinking of that goal, and stop thinking any negative thoughts about it. Of course, if we keep thinking that we can't achieve a goal, our subconscious will help us - not achieve it.

Second, your reticular activating system cannot distinguish between 'real events' and 'synthetic' reality. In other words it tends to believe whatever message you give it. Imagine that you're going to be giving a speech. You can practice giving that speech by visualizing it in your mind. This 'pretend' practice should improve your ability to give the speech.

What we need to do is to create a very specific picture of our goal in our conscious mind. The RAS will then pass this on to our subconscious - which will then help us achieve the goal. It does this by bringing to our attention all the relevant information which otherwise might have remained as 'background noise'.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

5 Simple Ways to ensure your testimonials work best for you..

Using customer testimonials in your advertising, marketing materials and on your website is a common practice. If your customers are saying great things about your business, then why not publicize those positive testimonials for the world to see?

Not so fast: There are two main problems with customer testimonials--overuse and legitimacy. Testimonials are used so often that they have lost some of their value. Furthermore, prospective customers don't always trust the truthfulness of testimonials.

How do you make your customer testimonials stand out from the crowd and make them more meaningful for your prospects? To create effective, meaningful customer testimonials, they must be:

1. Authentic
2. Quantifiable
3. Specific
4. Diverse
5. Approved

In short, don't leave room for guesswork when it comes to your customer testimonials. Leverage the role of your loyal and best customers by asking them to provide testimonials. Make sure your customer testimonials are verifiable, and specifically tell prospective consumers the benefits of doing business with you.

If your customer testimonials are honest and trustworthy, then people will respond to them which will translate to positive results for your bottom line. See my examples here...

You might also want to consider using a third party to gather your testimonials for you. Companies like The Disc Directory will pro-actively promote and publish positive commments from your satisfied customers. It adds great value and credibility having these published by a third party.

Sack the Juggler! Is it just balls????


A few years ago, I thought it was just an isolated case- not commonly found. Now it has become epidemic; so many of the small business owners I meet suffer from it. (Jugglers Syndrome)...

So many balls in the air.... Its symptoms include difficulty focusing on one thing at a time, trouble sticking to one subject or topic, not being able to finish a task, poor follow through in general, and the in-ability to stick with a new pattern or habit until it becomes consistent.

I’m no medical doctor and I write this in some jest, but honestly there is a real correlation between this and and being your own boss. Somewhere along the line, the same gene that makes a person bold, daring, smart (even brilliant), insightful and a leader also contains an inability to stay focused.

It’s actually sad to see brilliant and hardworking business owners spin their wheels and not get anywhere because they simply don’t know how to focus. Sound like you? I have coached numerous different business owners who have had Jugglers Syndrome (JS) to varying degrees, so I have learnt the best way to coach them.

As soon as I see the first signs of (JS), I equip my clients with the following tools to help them fight this very curable infliction\addiction:

Quit multi-tasking. The ancient Chinese saying, “A man who chases two rabbits catches none,” is true. Focus on one thing - do it well and only after completing it, move on to the next one.

Maintain a to-do-list and keep it in one secure place. Rather than carrying your to-do's around with you, or listed in your head.. Have them tied down to a "place" In simple terms you are no longer carrying all those balls... You put one down to pick another one up.

Plan before you take any action. Your first urge may be to answer that ringing phone or respond to the first piece of paper you come across, but in many cases, that is the wrong thing to do. You are much better served by adding these tasks to your specially designed to-do-list, then reviewing it in order to prioritize (using the 80/20 rule used in sales coaching), and then take the appropriate action.

Keep another section where you can record and store your great ideas. Having too many ideas can sometimes paralyze you. Keeping your future ideas in a “parking lot” will free up your valuable mind-space and allow you to focus on the matters at hand.

Commit to sticking to new habits- and only one new habit at a time- for six weeks. People with (JS) seem to be trying something new all the time- and most of the things they want to try are brilliant but they have to stick with these. Making a commitment to your coach or someone else in your life that you will try your new habit for six weeks can help you follow-through with your commitments. After all it takes at least a month to create a habit..

Because.... Practice makes Perfect - WRONG - Practice makes PERMINENT. By committing to a six week run you are far more likely to perminently change your habits and be cured of the dreaded Jugglers Syndrome.....

These basic steps can go a long way in maintaining focus- a quality that is paramount for success.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Turn Your Customers Into Raving Fans



Turn Your Customers Into Raving Fans

Raving fans are customers who are so over the moon with us that they not only tell all their friends and colleagues about us, they actually bring them to us and help us to sell things to them.

It’s a frightening fact of business life ithat we spend six times more to attract new customers to our businesses than we do to up-sell, on-sell and generally over service our existing customers so that they stay our customers and don’t leave us and go to our competition.

Just to add another frightening fact, 68 percent of customers who leave a company do so simply because of a perceived indifference, you actually didn’t do anything wrong, the customer just thought you didn’t care enough!

How do you show you ‘Didn’t care enough’? Well, it can be in many different small ways, you forget to thank them, remember their name, offer that extra little bit, suggest that accessory which would be perfect or any one of dozens of other little perceived indifferences that your competition can capitalize on.

Here are some simple tips that you can introduce in your business today which will help you to keep your customers coming back, bringing their friends with them and generally shouting your name from rooftops telling people why, if they’re not dealing with you, they’re missing out on something wonderful!


  • Send them thank you cards
  • Sell them everything they need to gain maximum benefit from the purchase
  • Use their name frequently
  • Call them up just to make sure everything is going well
  • Invite them to special sales just for a privileged few, exceptional clients
  • Cal them up when something new arrives in stock that you know they would like
  • Ask them for their suggestions as to how you could improve your service to them
  • Follow up & follow up again
  • Under promise and over deliver
None of this is difficult, it starts with you and you must lead by example because your team does everything you do, if you do care for your customers they will care for you and help you to grow your business.