Don’t find fault, find a remedy. –Henry Ford
5 Reasons to Network in a Tough Economy by Thom Singer
It seems in boom-boom times many professionals forget that they are not alone in their outstanding success. They bask in the glow of the big deals and high income and start believing that they are the central cause for their own glory.Welcome to the recession.Now people who ignored others and felt invincible are feeling the pinch of hard times. Alas, they are frantically going back to the basics of business, and one of those basics is realizing that nobody succeeds in a vacuum. Seems networking is a hot topic.
Here are 5 reasons that your network is important in a tough economy:
1. All opportunities come from people. Those who were “too busy” to go to lunch or invest time in cultivating meaningful relationships are hungry to network. In a tough economy any and all referral sources become important to survival. If you want more sales, the people you know can be the conduit to discovering new clients.
2. Your network is your safety net. If you get caught in a lay-off it is the people in your network who can help you find your next employer or lead you to consulting gigs. Additionally those with whom you have already developed mutually beneficial relationships are the ones who will be available for moral support if and when you need it. If you have no network, these tough times can seem very lonely.
3. When marketing budgets are cut, word-of-mouth is your only hope. If you cannot afford marketing, PR and advertising, you need to get out and spread the word yourself. But you can only go so far, thus having strong contacts who understand the value you bring can multiply your visibility by telling others about you and your products / services.
4. We learn from others. Being around other intelligent and creative people can motivate and inspire you to succeed. If you have a network of contacts with whom you share information, you cultivate an environment of learning. When you learn you grow. When you are stagnate you die.
5. If you are not networking, remember – your competitors ARE networking! Out of sight is out of mind. If the success of your business in this economy is important to you then you will find a way to make it to the breakfasts, luncheons and “after hours” events. Yes, it is time consuming, but with more people out seeking to make connections, you can rest assured that your competition is trying to meet your customers. If you stay home you are giving them a free pass to begin to build relationships that can and will lead them to future business.
Why the Cheap Will Never Get Rich
by Robert Kiyosaki
The other day a friend of mine approached me excitedly, saying, “I found the house of my dreams. It’s in foreclosure and the bank will sell it to me for a great price.”
“How good is the price?” I asked.
“Just before the real estate market crashed, the seller was asking $780,000 for the property. Today, I can buy it from the bank for $215,000. What do you think?” she asked.
“How would I know?” I replied. “All you’ve given me is the price.”
“Yes!” she squealed. “Now my husband and I can afford it.”
“Only cheap people buy on price,” I replied. “Just because something is cheap doesn’t mean it’s worth the cost.”
I then explained to her one of my most basic money principles: I buy value. I will pay more for value. If I don’t like the price, I simply pass. If the seller wants to sell, he will come back with a better price. I let him tell me what he will accept. I know some people love to haggle; personally, I don’t. If a person wants to sell, they will sell. If I feel what I am buying is of value, I’ll pay the price. Value rather than price has made me rich.
Against my advice, my friend sought financing for her “dream” home.
Fortunately, the bank turned her down. The house was on a busy street in a deteriorating neighborhood. The high school four blocks away was one of the most dangerous schools in the city. Her son and daughter would either have to go to private school or take karate lessons. She is now looking for a cheaper house to buy and has asked her father, who is retired, for help with the down payment. If her past is a crystal ball to her future, she will likely always be cheap and poor, even though she is a good, kind, educated, hard-working person.
My Point of View
What follows are some thoughts on why my friend will probably never get ahead financially — especially in this market.
1. She and her husband have college degrees but zero financial education. Even worse, neither plans to attend any investment classes. Choosing to remain financially uneducated has caused them to miss out on the greatest bull and bear markets in history. As my rich dad often said, “What you don’t know keeps you poor.”
2. She is too emotional. In the world of money and investing, you must learn to control your emotions. When you think about it, three of our biggest financial decisions in life are made at times of peak emotional excitement: deciding to get married, buying a home, and having kids.
My dad often said, “High emotions, low intelligence.” To be rich, you need to see the good and the bad, the short- and long-term consequences of your decisions. Obviously, this is easier said than done, but it’s key to building wealth.
3. She doesn’t know the difference between advice from rich people and advice from sales people. Most people get their financial advice from the latter — people who profit even if you lose. One reason why financial education is so important is because it helps you know the difference between good and bad advice.
As the current crisis demonstrates, our schools teach very little about money management. Millions of people are living in fear because they followed conventional wisdom: Go to school, get a job, work hard, save money, buy a house, get out of debt, and invest for the long term in a well-diversified portfolio of mutual funds. Many people who followed this financial prescription are not sleeping at night. They need a new plan. Had they sought out a little financial education, they might not be entangled in this mess.
A Thank You to Jon Stewart
Speaking of finance experts, I personally want to thank Jon Stewart of ‘The Daily Show’ for taking on Jim Cramer and CNBC. Jon Stewart did an incredible job of representing the millions of people all over the world who have lost their savings in the market. He was right in saying he thought it “disingenuous” to advise people to invest for the long term through their retirement plans while knowing full well that traders could steal Americans’ retirement money by trading in and out of the market. Most traders like Cramer realize that investing in mutual funds for the long term is financial suicide. Cramer should have spoken up, but we all know why CNBC won’t let him tell the truth. If he did, the station’s advertisers would leave.
While I applaud Cramer for going on ‘The Daily Show’ and facing the music, I’m afraid he was marginalized by Stewart — certainly outgunned — and he has lost his credibility. He may pay an even bigger price if the SEC decides to dig deeper.
Jim Cramer is a very smart man. I watch his show. I just do not follow his advice.
In closing, I will say what I have said for years: We need financial education in our schools. Without it, we cannot tell the good advice from the bad.
This morning At the Yaletown chapter of High Output Business network where I am a member ,it was my pleasure to bring along a good friend of mine Ryan Thomas. Ryan is making history in Vancouver with the world’s largest Yoga event taking place at BC Place Stadium on July 12th, 2009. There was a large amount of buzz in the room this morning while Ryan told the group about what he is doing and many members were clambering to participate. The project started with a fitness guide but has morphed into an event that Guiness is going to be on hand to recognize as the largest of its kind ever to take place. All proceeds of the event will be going to local children’s charities. Stay tuned to www.fitguide.ca as details will be released shortly.
The guide itself is full of useful tips and tricks for a healthy lifestyle and lots of great offers from local health facilities. The book is available for $25 and it will also get you a free ticket to the record breaking event. In the short term feel free to contact me for more details. Neil Hamilton of Stay Positive BC and the facilitator of the Yaletown meeting was quick to offer the support of Stay Positive and I think the two organizations will be a great fit for one another. I look forward to seeing where this goes, stay tuned for more info soon.
With all the negativity being reported in the news these days a whisper of optimism is a breath of fresh air. A group of local business people in Vancouver being lead by Neil Hamilton, Robert Arthurs, Tatsuya Nakagawa and Bonnie Sainsbury are leading the charge to keep the good news flowing.
One of the local newspapers published this article http://www.metronews.ca/vancouver/local/article/206172 in lead up to a big networking event being put on by the group. I would highly recommed anyone in the Vancovuer area to get more invovled and those who do not live in Vancouver to take some insipration by what these folks are doing and launch a similar initiative in your city. Perspective is everything and taking a possitive outlook can go a long way to bring each and every one of us great success.
The New Mental Diet
By: Brian Tracy
One of the most powerful personal programming activities you can engage in is positive self-talk. Be your own cheerleader and talk to yourself positively all of the time.Think About Your DreamsAs it happens, the average person talks to himself in a negative way. As much as 94 percent of your inner dialogue tends to be about the things you fear, your worries, the people you’re angry at, your problems, your concerns and so on. You have to consciously keep your words, your inner dialogue, consistent with what you wish to accomplish.
The Most Powerful AntidotePsychologists have proven that the words, “I can do it,” are the antidote to the fear of failure that often holds you back from trying. Repeat these words over and over to yourself whenever you feel fearful or doubtful about anything that you want to attempt. Say very enthusiastically to yourself, “I can do it, I can do it, I can do it!” When you start saying, “I can do it, I can do it,” you drive that message deep into your subconscious mind. This message lowers your fears and builds your self-confidence.
Another thing you can say to yourself is, “I make a million. I make a million.” Impress that message into your subconscious mind. Whenever you think about your work, say over and over again, “I’m the best, I’m the best, I’m the best.” Making any one of these three statements, or anything that is positive makes you feel good about yourself and causes you to be more motivated. You become more focused, more determined. Wealthy, successful people have a continuous inner dialogue that is positive and constructive and uplifting and consistent with their goals and objectives.Feed Your Mind ContinuallyFeed your mind from morning to night with words, pictures, information and ideas consistent with your goals for financial success.
Develop the habit of thinking positively and confidently about wealth accumulation. Read stories, books and articles about other successful people. Think about how you could be like them. Visualize yourself, imagine, fantasize, pretend in your mind that you are like the kind of people that you admire and respect and want to be like.Select A Role ModelPsychologists have proven that role models are essential for magnetizing your mind with the qualities and characteristics that you wish to develop in yourself. Pick a person that you admire. Whenever you face any kind of difficult situation, ask yourself, how would this person act in this situation? What would this person do? How would this person behave? You’ll find that when you think about how someone you admire might behave, your own thinking becomes better and you tend to act at your very best.
Become An ExpertRead everything you can find about your business. Become an expert in your field. The more you learn about your profession, your trade and your craft, the more confident you will become that you can do well in it.Action ExercisesHere are two things you can do to put yourself on the new mental diet for financial success:First, repeat to yourself, over and over again, the wonderful words “I can do it! I can do it! I can do it!” Whenever you are anticipating any new goal or opportunity. This affirmation builds your self-confidence and conditions you for success.Second, monitor your mental diet the way you would your physical diet.
Be sure that you feed yourself throughout the day with positive stories, words, pictures and conversations about the things you want to have in your life. Refuse to read, watch, listen to or discuss things that are negative or depressing. This will make a tremendous difference in how you feel and how you act.
You can view live in real time the Canadian Marketing Summit which is going on right now in Richmond. I am here and it is awesome content and speakers. Tune in and see what I mean
HELP! I need to get better at negotiation!
by Jeff Gitomer
Eh, no Sparky, you need to get better at everything else so that you NEVER have to negotiate – or at least negotiate 90% less.Negotiation is for people who are lousy at selling, don’t understand buying motives, haven’t provided value, are unable to differentiate themselves from the competition, can’t build trust, and have utterly failed at building relationships.Maybe that’s why you have to “negotiate.”
Negotiation is not a problem. It’s a symptom.And negotiate is only one of three words that make up your reality, and the real definition. The other two words are: your price. Negotiations are all about “concessions” and back and forth bickering about what you provide and how much it will cost. Negotiation “experts” call it give-and-take or win-win. That’s a bunch of crap. It’s lower your price, and sacrifice your profit.
I’m in the airplane as many as 20 times a month. In every airline magazine, there’s a two-page pullout ad for “effective negotiation.” It’s been in the magazines for years. It must work. I mean… they must be successful in selling the course. Their latest ad campaign states in bold headlines, “It’s like steroids for your career!” Uh, correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t steroids illegal? Hey, you too can gain an unfair advantage! All you have to do is break the law. Sounds great – where do I sign up?In the case of negotiation, it’s a violation of the law of fair play, manipulation, ethics, and relationship. Reason you have to “negotiate?” You were calling on the wrong person or people in the first place.
REALITY: People in the C-suite don’t negotiate. They discuss, discern, and decide. And they do it based on perceived value and trust, not price.REALITY: Here’s why you have to negotiate:• You failed to prove value beyond your competition.• You failed to prove you were different from others selling the same product.• You failed to gain enough trust to get a decision.• You didn’t win on the lowest price, and they called you in to “match the price of the lowest vendor” and potentially win the business.• You won the business at a low level, and were sent to procurement.
All upside down propositions (and you are at the bottom).And, once you’re “in negotiations to get the business,” you’re relegated to manipulating and groveling to get the business – at a lower price, and less (or no) profit. Great move. And you call that making the sale. I call it a pyrrhic victory.The whole concept of negotiation seems like a win-lose proposition. They win. You lose.And to make matters worse, at the end of a “successful” negotiation, you halfway hate the people you were negotiating with – especially if they were in purchasing or procurement with some big company. People who want to suck your blood, and then call you a partner, or worse, a valued profit partner.
If you want to know if it’s likely that you will have to negotiate in order to win the deal or the sale, answer these questions:How high up in the organization is the person you’re dealing are you?What is your value proposition?Do you know how the customer profits as a result of buying your product?What is the customer’s urgency to buy?How are you perceived?Do you have their trust?How strong is your relationship?What is your reputation in the marketplace?
MAJOR CLUE: CEOs tell procurement departments what to do. With one phone call, they can eliminate all negotiations and create a purchase order, from a now friendly, or even accommodating, purchasing agent.In my opinion, negotiation is nothing more than someone else trying to get in your wallet and lower your price. In my opinion, if you’re negotiating, it’s because you started too low on the sales food chain (because it was easier entry), and you’re now faced with a price war.
Departments like plant maintenance, IT, HR, office admin, and other low level (yes low level) branches of a business have budgets that they spend. Maybe you should be talking to the people that MAKE the budgets for greater success.And just so we’re clear, I’m not saying, “don’t take the negotiation course.” Any knowledge on how to win, and how to deal with customers could prove to be valuable. I AM saying if you have to use negotiation to win a sale, it’s likely you have given up your profit along the way. Not good.
The Worst Strategy Ever Devised for Selling Your Services
By Bob Bly
The other day I got an e-mail from JT, a professional proofreader, who expressed her grave concern that she had found more than one typo among the dozens of websites I own.
“Can I be direct without being offensive?” asked JT. “Let me start by saying that my only reason for writing this e-mail is that I want to work with you, because I think we could both benefit from collaboration.”
JT continued: “You need a new proofreader – and if you do your own proofreading, you need to fire yourself from that job!”
Did I hire JT as my new proofreader?
No. Because I did, in fact, find her e-mail to be both offensive and self-serving. Yet many freelancers and independent contractors who render creative, professional, and technical services take a similar approach to self-marketing. And it almost never works.
The basis of this horribly inappropriate and ineffective method is: Approach complete strangers… point out a fault with something they are doing… and then offer your services to help them fix the defect.
On the surface, it seems sensible. You are doing someone a favor by helping them correct a defect that could be hurting their business, right? So you’d think they’d be grateful and reciprocate by hiring you to fix the problem you alerted them to. After all, you have already demonstrated your expertise, skill, and value by detecting the problem for them without charge.
But here’s the problem: Most folks, including me, don’t like unsolicited advice.
One of the inviolate rules of my life, both business and personal, is: Never give unsolicited advice.
Advice is valued only if three conditions exist: (1) The advice is sought after (i.e., the recipient asked for it), (2) it is not negative or insulting, and (3) it is constructive and specific.
JT’s e-mail to me violated the first and second of these conditions.
First, I didn’t ask her to proofread for me. So why should she do it?
Prospects prefer to work with vendors who are successful and in demand… not with those they perceive as desperate and needy. The fact that JT is spending her time proofreading copy for strangers without compensation tells me she probably isn’t very busy.
Second, she insults me – telling me I am a lousy proofreader and I should “fire” myself.
Customers buy from people they like. And we don’t like people who insult us.
Another problem with trying to win business by giving unsolicited critiques or advice to strangers is that you risk looking ignorant. That’s because you lack the background on their situation to know whether your suggestions are valid and warranted.
In JT’s case, she assumed I had a typo on a landing page because I’m a bad proofreader. She’s wrong. The real reason you can find typos on some of my sites is that I have literally hundreds of pages posted on the Web. And with my team already overloaded, we simply can’t always keep up with our proofreading and other tasks that are not critical to sales.
A better approach for JT would have been to point out the typo, and then say, “Are your proofreaders overloaded? Hire me to take on the backlog and get those pesky typos off your sites forever.” That would have been more appealing to me than assuming we stink at proofreading, which we don’t.
Finally, JT violates the Silver Rule of Marketing, first articulated to me by marketing consultant Pete Silver.
He told me: “It is always better to get them to come to you, rather than you go to them.”
By violating this rule and soliciting my business, JT placed herself in a weak position.
It may be that I don’t care about typos. (Not true, but there are people who don’t, believe it or not.) If that were the case, JT would be pursuing an unqualified prospect.
Even if I had been interested in her offer, she would have to work hard to convince me that she is the proofreader I should hire. I’ve never heard of her, have no idea who she is, and therefore certainly do not perceive her as an expert or top pro in editing and proofreading.
On the other hand, if you get prospects to come to you because of your reputation as a recognized expert or top pro in your field, you don’t have to do a lot of convincing or selling, because those prospects are already predisposed to hire you.
I would advise JT to stop wasting her time criticizing the websites of marketers who don’t want those critiques, and may even resent them. Instead, she should take steps to position herself as an expert – maybe by writing a column on proper English for a respected business magazine, creating a course on copyediting, or speaking at conferences.Had she done that, I might have come running to her for help, instead of running away.
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream–and not make dreams your master,
If you can think–and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and DisasterAnd treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings–nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And–which is more–you’ll be a Man, my son!–