Month: April 2011

Are you confident? Comfortable?

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In my work as a profiler I notice that there is often a difference between our self-image and the image that other people hold of us. Come to think of it – that realisation was why I started this journey so many years ago! Let me tell you why I’m thinking about that again now.

We sometimes look at things we do and all we see is the positive aspect, when some of the people we know might see only the negative. This is the basic reason why a strength, taken to an extreme, becomes a weakness. Yes, it has to do with the differences in your perspective, and your previous experience, and it could be that neither of you really sees what really is! (Don’t forget – what we believe we see, hear, feel and taste are only impulses sent to our brain where they are interpreted!)

ConfidenceLet’s say you’re a confident type. You are very capable, feel good in your own skin, and like to try anything that seems interesting, challenging or profitable. Within the limits of not being immoral, illegal or fattening, of course! You exude energy wherever you go. Nothing ever gets you down, you remain positive and solution-focussed at all times. You happily tell people“I can do that”, almost regardless of what it is because if you don’t already know how then you know you can find out.

You may be surprised to know that this can appear to be arrogance. Other peopleArrogant might see only bravado, and when you think you’re helping others see only that you tale over. How do you find out how you are perceived? Ask some people who know you well and that means well enough to give you an honest answer, not just to have an opinion.

As it happens about 30 years ago I used to say I had a “healthy self image” and someone else at that time used the term “arrogant —–“! I was quite surprised when I heard that the first time, since I thought that I was just the nicest guy!

What that all means is just that there is a difference between the internal reality and the external reality, and it means that you need to consider how you are perceived – at least you do if you want others to actually understand what you really meant.

ComfortableAnother pair that are often confused is “comfortable” and “scared”. Some people really are telling the truth when they say “I’m comfortable already, I don’t need to expand my business any further”. Others really mean “I don’t know what to do or even where to start. I don’t want to rock the boat in case it has an adverse effect on my existing business”. In other words – they are stuck inside their ‘comfort zone’, and that isn’t always comfortable.

Stop and think before you tell people that you’re comfortable with the topic of conversation. Are you really? Or are you just afraid of change? Or of the unknown? Or of even finding out?

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And here’s the real kicker – it is almost certain that either you or someone you know suffers from one of these misconceptions. If you can’t think of anyone you know who qualifies…. it might be you!

Now we know that – what do we do about it?

If the person is you then that’s easy – just start to see how others perceive you and modify your words and deeds so that the confidence and comfort show out without their negative side-kicks.

If it isn’t you then you need to get them to understand, and that’s because arrogant people don’t get the best out of life, they suffer because the rest of the population treats them differently from everyone else. Confident people are lauded, arrogant people are usually avoided.

People who live in fear of the future spend the greater part of their lives being concerned about something that will never happen! People who only think they are comfortable are self deluded and not having the level of success that they could achieve if they got out of their comfort zone (I call that being “Inside your Excitement Zone” – What happens when you get excited? What happens when you are outside your comfort zone? Both cause your breathing to get shallower, your pulse rate to increase, your face gets flushed… they are the same thing!).

So in both cases people need to know that they are not achieving their full potential, and now you know about this you’re the one who can tell them. Oh, and by the way – if a someone referred this article to you then you may need to gently ask them if they were trying to tell you something!

What other pairs do you think are sometimes mixed up?

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It’s Not My Job!

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Employees that say… “It’s not my job to do that!”

Has this ever happened to you?  How did you deal with it?

It only takes the escalation of one sour day where an employee decides that today is a day of rebellion to something you have said or done.  That person may be hoping you will tell them that you are about to `help them expand their career opportunities’ elsewhere.

Yes, you have very willing and very happy little vegemites doing whatever you ask of them now in the workplace.  We are all good buddies and working as a team but there is always the chance that down the track an existing employee will change their mood.  You may even have a new employee that has the sole intention of taking their next employer to the cleaners if your business HR systems are not sharp enough.

One element of the HR system is the Position Description or Duty Statement and it is important in defining an employee’s role in the business.  However, this is where some people like to play the `Its not my job’ card.  In other words, I can get out of this because it is not in my duty statement, so I do not have to do it.

An example is a housekeeper in a motel is asked to clean some fresh cobwebs noticed in the hallway.  The response was that it is not on her duty statement to do this task in the hallways, only in the rooms.  On reviewing the duty statement document (and all other employee statements) there was a simple sentence missing at the end of the text.  It was missing from all the documents.

Now our normal reaction is to decide that we do not really want that type of attitude from our staff, where they dictate what they will or will not do.  First impulse is to send them on their way and replace them.  However, we are now in an age where even an unsuccessful `unfair dismissal’ claims can cause havoc to a business, let alone a successful claim outcome.

So what to do?

Overall, your business needs to have its HR systems and paperwork up to scratch.  Watertight.

There is a simple sentence that can be used throughout your recruitment.  It is a statement to the effect that the employee is to undertake any other duties or tasks as directed by the supervisor/management/owner etc.

You do have the law on your side.  Unfortunately, you forfeit the use of the law when your business does not have a good HR system in place to protect both the employer and the employee.

What you do have on your side is the law that acknowledges that an employee is obliged to undertake any role or task as requested or directed by the employer.  any directive or request to undertake a task is to be within the bounds of the employee’s skills and ability.

The HR system in any business can usually include the chance to culture staff as to what is expected in attitude and behaviour in your workplace and as your employee.  This culturing is preferable from the outset –  in the recruitment, formal inductions and orientation process.   It does not have to be a great tome of information as long as it sets the scene for what is expected.  You can download a proforma set from the Internet but it is best to find on the ground help.

If your business has an induction and orientation routine for new employees that covers the basics of where the tea room and emergency exits are, then you may want to consider expanding it to include a sit down talk about expectations.  Then present a document that outlines what was discussed and have the employee sign off that they understand what was discussed.  The more documents that an employee has to sign that create the full picture of your business values, ethics, standards of behaviour or code of conduct etc then the better chance that they understand exactly what you expect of them.

Another item to be signed off and helps in reinforcing expectations is the  employment contract.  It is an agreement between you and your employee and should at the very least include the employee’s:
Job title and duties
Hours of work and number of hours to be worked
Days of work and where
Rate of pay
Employment status, conditions and entitlements

The employee contract can be used to emphasise the expectations of employees by including statements that reinforce these behaviours and attitudes.

This all helps your existing and prospective employees to know exactly where they stand before any ambiguous situation ever arises.

These are simple steps to take but there is a lot more that can be done than to just add a few line sentences into your documents.  If you have any concerns about the effectiveness of your HR, take the time to find a good specialist to help get this side of your business into `bullet-proof’ shape.

You may want to consider outsourcing you HR help together with one or two other similar businesses in your area.  Ask other business owners what they are doing about it or you can find a contact by starting with your local Chamber of Commerce.

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What do you need to know about Neuro Marketing?

Every so often science develops something of real value to a business, and this is one of them. Learn how playing the right music might increase your sales by 200%

Thinker1Neuro Marketing (also called Neural Marketing) is in effect marketing to the subconscious but it isn’t the old fashioned subliminal messages thing!

To work it must be out in the open, clearly available, and yet connect deep down inside the potential buyer. Let me give you an example.

A liquor shop created a display with two similar red wines, one French, and one German. The wines were of similar price and quality, both attractively presented, and again both were on the same display, so everything was as equal as possible. During the experiment – because that’s what this really was – the shop played music that was clearly German or clearly French on alternate days. One day the shop would play German music, the next day it would play French music.

On the days that German music played the German wine out-sold the French wine by three to one. On the days that French music played the French wine out-sold the German wine by – you guessed it – three to one.

University studies have gone as far as complete brain scans while people look at business logos. Some logos trigger a flight response! How much better would those businesses be if their logo was even neutral?

Hippocrates documented four types of people over 2,000 years ago, and many profiling systems have reaffirmed that over the intervening years. In recent years experiments with brain scans have confirmed that – for any given image there are four patterns of brain scans. That’s important because the different types are motivated by different things. Let me say that a different way.

Any individual is only interested in one quarter of the reasons to buy an item. The other reasons either mean nothing, or are actively reasons to not buy – for that specific person. The next person you try to sell to might well be positively inspired to buy by the exact reasons that turned off the last one.

Neuro Marketing can tell you which reasons the person you are talking to will respond to. Do you need to treat them as though they are the most important person in the room? Or get them to participate, and show them how much fun it will be if they buy from you? Maybe you need to tell them how their family will benefit, or perhaps the better practical result they will get?

What that means is that in the average sales presentation about 75% of the time you are actually talking the person OUT of buying from you!

Does it make a difference, and if so – how much? One sales person who used these techniques achieved a 97% sign-up rate. Most companies are happy with 10% or 12%! (And for the facts based folk reading this – the 97% were stronger, more loyal customers than those signed up by other sales people.)

Neuro Marketing costs almost nothing to implement other than a little effort involved in getting trained, and of course some course fees. Here is knowledge that will at least double your current sales for zero extra (ongoing) costs. Would you like double your current sales?

Neuro Marketing works both face to face and in the online/print media, and all forms of audio/video marketing. In fact the techniques allow parents to talk to, communicate with and be understood by their teenage children!

If you want to know more then contact us and I’ll send you details of the most valuable course you will ever attend. (No, it isn’t my business, but I have done the courses and I know the difference they make).

Have you heard of Neuro/neural Marketing, or maybe experienced it as shopper or owner? Just click on the Comments link below and let us know what your think!

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Who do I need in my network?

Yesterday we learned about networks and the spread they must have. Today we focus on a different kind of segmentation.

happy05102125138Would a network of 10,000 people, all customers, all regular purchasers, be a good network? Well, it may not be a bad network, but there are better networks, and I don’t mean one that has 10,001 customers!

To make the absolute best from your network you need to have at least a couple of people in it who regularly bring you new opportunities. Otherwise you can get stuck doing the same old same old.

You need another couple of people who help you evaluate these opportunities, and still others who will finance the business that results from the new opportunities.

Then you need some people who you can trust to look after – to manage, to lead – these new opportunities, and still others to work in them.

You need financial wizards who can take your money and make it work for you, to in effect create another opportunity, or at least another income stream.

You also need a group of peers who keep you grounded, who stop you from believing that every opportunity is a winner, or that somehow you have become infallible.

You need solid support from friends and family, and you need to look after your physical, emotional and spiritual health. Each of those adds another group into your network.

Can you see that you need a network that contains many different types of people, and that you need a good, strong connection with them all as per the previous article?

How do you build a network like that? That’s in our next article.

What experience do you have with you network that you’d like to share? Do you agree or disagree with this article

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How do you build a network?

If you’ve read the last two posts then you know that your network is already bigger than you think – or it needs to be, and you know that it has to have the right kinds of people in it. So – what do you need to do to build it?

Strictly speaking there are as many answers to that question as there are people who need to know the answer! With that in mind we will still discover how to build a network, though you may have to change a detail here and there.

SpringFirst of all – there are different kinds of networkers. The first article touched on the two types of networkers, those that naturally build big networks themselves and those who don’t.

If you are not a natural networker you need to understand that you need to develop at least some skills in this area. I’ll share a shortcut soon, but you still need to participate in your own network building!

Every technique described below applies to both natural networkers and everyone else. All that changes is the degree to which you embrace each technique.

Now let’s talk about the shortcut for those who are not natural networkers. Make sure that someone who has a substantial network is in your network. Make sure that one of the few that you trust is very well connected, and that they are OK with sharing their network with you.

They may be more inclined to share their network, or more correctly bring you into it, if there is a clearly understood benefit that you bring to them and/or their network. Let them know what value you bring, help them look good to their friends by having someone like you as a resource. (Not a free resource, but a valuable and valued resource that is paid a fair price for what they do).

First, attend any formal networking events near where you work and live. Just showing up at these events marks you out is a great networker! Be prepared that your new friend might ask you questions, so be know what your answer is going to be.

Formal networking events can be those run by business network organisations such asWinter BNI, BoB, Chambers of Commerce, and Government sponsored expositions.

Informal networking events include school and college reunions, trade shows (especially where you are not a stall holder), public talks held at a local University or other business premises.

They are great for making connections with the members of  your extended network – yes, you can catch up with customers too, and these events are ideal for widening your sphere of influence.

You widen your sphere of influence by (for example) sponsoring local events or teams, by being a part of the social fabric of your community.

Speaking of ‘social’, you also make use of online social networks. There are many social networks now, and you can even build your own via WordPress and a few plugins! You can spread as far as you want or as targeted as you need by being particular about who you accept as friends and what groups you belong to.

In principle, any gathering of people, either where you are or via an internet connection, is a possible networking opportunity. Now here is a bonus for you: remember that they are ‘networking’ opportunities, not ‘sales’ opportunities.

Most people attend so they can build their network, not so they can listen to your sales pitch. If you discover that you can help solve a problem for someone (the basis of all marketing is being able to solve a problem for someone and telling them) then arrange to meet them at a convenient time and place to explain your solution. You may give them your elevator pitch while you describe your solution, but don’t turn it into a sudden presentation. You will lose more sales than you gain.

And that’s networking. In principle, anyway. All you have to do is practice it, or have someone practice on behalf of your business.

What are your best networking experiences? Funny, foul or fantastic, share your story and learn from others.

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