Posts tagged - marketing

Focus on doing good work, not money

You are saying “What? But I want to work to make money.” We all work to be able to support ourselves. What I mean is if you focus on doing the best you can, the money likely will follow. If you only focus on money you will try to close deals that shouldn’t close or sell something to someone that they don’t need. If you are okay with that and the bad karma you deserve, you should take a look in the mirror and see if you honestly  like what you see.

The point is we generally all are selling something, whether to consumers, other businesses or internally, such as at a large company. If you only are about the sale, you will lose in the long run and may never know. Sell someone something they don’t need or have them pay too much and it will come back to haunt you. As they say, do a good job and the person will tell a few people, but do a poor job and they will tell a lot of people. Reputation is everything and you should care what people are saying about you.

A smart person I know, who is in sales, told me long ago that by focusing on the deal being win-win, as opposed to forcing a deal that shouldn’t close, success has followed with exponential referrals over the years. And then the money follows with happy clients or customers who tell others and will come back to you in the future.

If you work the scorched earth policy of doing as much business as possible instead of doing good business well, you will lose both opportunities you will learn you lost and opportunities you will never know you lost.

If you do this the right way it will allow you to escalate the level and type of work and deals you work on. This will give you more choice in who you are dealing with and what you are working on. If you work in a larger company it will allow you to move up the food chain to greater options and opportunities.

Of course, with all of this should be more money. Remember that work is about fulfillment more than money. I know what some of you are thinking, that in your business there is no unseen financial upside to working better or harder. You may be right for your given situation, but if you are not into or passionate about your work, you will be empty and unsatisfied. In that case, find something else to do or your risk having a mediocre job and a unfulfilled, and possibly mediocre, life. But if you like what you do, there is no harm to focusing on doing your best and what is right. Try it and see what happens.

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Live in today with an eye on tomorrow

Life is long. You will work for a long time. There is no winning instantly. Success takes time. What you do each day matters for your future. The big picture makes living for today essential, which means having a plan and working it. By doing so you really are playing for the future, and for your first taste of, or your continuing, success.

The person you do a favor for today will help you tomorrow. The client you are honest with today will say good things about you to others in the future. This goes with the truth that everything is who you know.

This does not mean that what you know doesn’t matter. It is part of the puzzle that is success. The time you spend to be an expert at what you do is a play for tomorrow when you will be better at what you do than today, and so on and so on. Continual learning and improvement is part of the process.

So the long game is what you have to be playing. Yes, we all can step off of the curb and get hit by a bus at any time, but it is unlikely. By having a plan and working it you will be playing for tomorrow and set yourself up for attaining or continuing success.

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Be Informed

Everywhere I look these days people are arguing. At least it feels that way. About politics. About the environment. About issues big and small.

 

I have written before about how important it is to be an active listener. When I listen I hear a lot of people simply parroting what others say without any independent thought. Or worse, they are speaking about something they clearly have no idea about.

I see this professionally too. I have been in Court and watched opposing counsel simply quote the brief some younger attorney at their firm has written, but simply repeat what is in the brief instead of adding anything additional, which is what Courts are looking for at oral argument.

Being informed sounds easy, but it takes work. Learning about any topic in your work or personal life takes time. But doing so is investing in yourself. When you do you will speak from a place of authority or a position of knowledge.

Does this mean you will always come out better in an argument, or I will always win in court if I go the extra distance? Of course not, but it will bolster your reputation that you know what you speak about, as opposed to simply having an opinion or position you cannot actually support or defend.

And I am not encouraging arguing, but, instead, being able to defend a position or speak knowledgeably. If you do get in an argument or discussion, the goal should be to remain respectful while coming off as informed of that about which you speak.

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Always strive to improve yourself

You can do better. You can be better. Always. If you don’t think so you are only fooling yourself. You must invest in yourself.

If you put your money in a can and bury it in your backyard, it will earn nothing. If you invest these funds instead, they will have the chance to grow. The corollary is if you do not take the time to improve yourself, to learn, you will become stagnant and, in this fast-paced world, probably be passed by others. If you instead work to improve you will grow.

This also should involve improving in your given business or in your personal life. It can be class related to what you do or guitar lessons or for me, keep up with current legal opinions.

I know you are busy. I know you don’t think you have time. But the truth is you don’t have time not to invest in yourself. If nothing changes, well, you get thee idea.

So think about what you can do by investing in yourself. It not only can make you a better professional or person, it will help improve the world around you, your world.

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Credibility and Trustworthiness

Be honest; don’t lie. And say what you mean. This seems simple, but too many people have trouble with what are to me qualities that we shouldn’t have to strive for. I mean talk about a low bar: be honest and forthright. And be this way all the time to everyone you deal with. You want people to believe in you.

The alternative is being two faced and dishonest. Can anyone honestly say that is the reputation they want? I hope not, because reputation is everything. People remember.

If you do right by saying what you mean and being honest, people will know they can trust you. Trust and respect are the foundation for all meaningful relationships, whether professional or personal.

This is not something you want to take for granted. When the time comes for you to jump off a proverbial cliff, there will be more people there to catch you, i.e. help you get to where you want to go, if you are credible and trustworthy.

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Teamwork is necessary

No one really makes it on their own. Everyone is part of a team, whether internally at their business or with partners at other businesses. Anyone who thinks their success is only attributable to their own actions is mistaken and myopic.

You need to know your colleagues. Does this mean you have to be best friends with everyone and know everything about them? Of course not. But it does mean you need to know more than their name and which office they are in.

For what I do, I need to know the practice areas of other attorneys at my firm. If not, how do I serve my clients and referrals generally and when they have needs outside of my practice area? I can’t, and then I lose and my firm loses, because I can miss valuable cross-marketing opportunities.

It sounds so simple: you need to know the services your business provides. It is easier in some businesses than others. In mine, it means I need to remember a lot of information or be organized enough to access it or know who to asks in a given situation. And when I need to ask, it is another time being on a team helps.

Internal teamwork also fosters trust and collaboration. Sometimes you are the quarterback running the offense and sometimes you are the receiver catching the ball from a leader or supervisor and running with it. If you do not have an effective team, there is a better chance the ball is dropped, which reflects badly on your business.

Of course teamwork can lead to situations where some people get more credit than others, even where other members of the team were necessary and did the actual legwork that resulted in the credit or accolades. Good leaders recognize those who lift them up and enable the recognition. Most of the time you see someone getting recognition or an award, there is a group of people behind him or her who are responsible. And without their teamwork, the project being recognized likely would have gone nowhere.

So remember that every member of your team is impactful and has a role to play because team work is the rule, not the exception.

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Networking v. Connecting

Networking is about knowing more people. Connecting is about knowing people more. The distinction is obvious. You know a lot of people professionally and personally, but you are connected to only a fraction of those you know.

When you are at a business, social or charitable event, you likely will run into many people you know. But with many, you will know them “socially” or “professionally”, which is a way of saying you know them, who they are, but are not deeply connected with them and have no investment in their successes or failures.

I think a good example is a small town of say 1,000 people. In a small town, you are likely to know everyone else who lives there. At the same time, you will not be connected with 999 other people. Maybe you are connected with 40-70. This is because connection requires a deeper connection than simply meeting someone. It involves time, mutual respect and participation in the relationship by both people to become more than mere acquaintances.

Another good example is LinkedIn. I have 2,184 connections on LinkedIn. But it would be more truthful to say I am networked with 2,184 people because it is not possible for me to be connected to that many people. If I went through that list, maybe I am actually connected to 50 or 75 or 100 of those people, maybe more, but nowhere near 2,184. It’s just not possible.

True connections make up your community. People in communities care about their connections’ success and have a relationship built on mutual respect and trust, which have to be earned before someone in your network becomes an actual connection.

Once you have a connection, you are interested in transfer of knowledge and information and each other’s successes (and failures). When you reach this level you add another layer to the community you are building. So network with many to find the few solid people you want strengthen the foundation of your community and help you build the type of community you want to be a part of.

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Do things for others and expect nothing in return

One thing I have learned is to do things for others, yet expect nothing. That’s right, you need to rely on karma. Do good deeds and you will be on the receiving end in the future.

Connect people. Refer people. Forward that article you know your colleague, friend or family member will be interested in. Send a card or a letter – you know, the way we used to keep in contact before email and texting – and handwriting it may be good for bonus points too, i.e. know your audience. Or send a gift just because or just because you saw something you knew the recipient would appreciate.

And when other do these things for you let them know you appreciate it. It both closes the circle and starts the circle anew again.

Try it and see what happens.

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Say thank you like you actually mean it!

We live in a fast-paced transactional world. With the speed everything moves people sometimes resort to a text, email or similarly transactional electronic thank you. But if you resort to relaying a thank you by email, text or social media flavor of the month it is destined for the electronic scrapheap and likely will not be remembered. Be different and either write thank you notes or call.

It takes more time, and, yes, you may have to buy stamps if you write, but it leaves a lasting impression. I remember when I receive a letter or card thanking me for something much more so than a quick email, text or LinkedIn message.

The same goes for making a call. It doesn’t have to be a long call, just long enough to say “thank you.” You would remember that kind of call, wouldn’t you? The answer is of course.

You want people to remember you. The few minutes to write or call do this. Thank you letters, cards and calls never will go out of style. So are you willing to invest a little time in yourself?

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We all are salespeople

I wanted to go to law school, but knew for sure after an interview with Pitney Bowes. The interviewer asked me to sell him widgets. I never tried to close the deal, so you can imagine the result of the interview. In addition to thinking law was interesting, I thought I was going into a profession that didn’t require selling. I was wrong.

In law you can sell or not. But if you don’t, others will control your destiny, not you. It is the same in many professions and businesses. It is the difference between leaders and others.

I learned to sell through sheer force of will and the help of many great mentors. All these years in I continue to listen to others to try continuously learn how to do it better.

So set goals and takes steps if being better at selling will improve your career. If I can figure out, so can you.

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