When new or potential clients ask me how we can make our first meeting as productive as possible it is an easy answer. Prepare. That means me too. I ask them to look through all of the documents, emails and information they have that is relevant to their issues. And I ask them to send me the operative contract, documents, emails and or an outline of the pertinent facts prior to the meeting.
This applies to you too. You cannot prepare too much. Knowledge is power.
If you are meeting with a salesperson, know what you need and have a plan. This helps you order what you need, not make emotional decisions and keep the meeting on point.
If you are the salesman, know the company or person you are trying to sell. Research. It helps to keep notes about people, their companies, their families, etc. The personal touch is everything (but you need to be sincere and care, or you will hurt your cause). Search the Internet, review your notes, or take whatever actions will help you be prepared for your meetings. Knowledge and preparation make meetings go smoother, and better, and more productive.
By doing so you will help yourself, and help others. Time is money is true. Most people would like more money, and we all can use more time, so prepare as well as you can and you will have a better opportunities for more of both.
It seems that everyone is an expert on something, or is, at least, trying to position themselves as an expert. But are they? Depends.
Some are. Some, well you know.
You may wonder whether it is important to be an expert at something. I believe it is. It is how you differentiate yourself from others. You may be thinking who you know is more important than what you know, but who you know gets you in the door while what you know keeps you there.
And it isn’t easy to become an expert. It takes time and effort. It is like investing in yourself. Many of you will have heard of the 10,000 hour rule that Malcolm Gladwell has written about; It takes 10,000 of practice at something to become an expert. The point is that nothing worth doing or knowing is simple and there is no fast road to expertise.
But if you put in the time and effort into something important or central to your career or business, others will notice. So what do you know or do better than most others, or your competitors? Or what do you want to know or do better than most others? It is never too early or too late to figure this out and start putting in the hours now. So, what do you know??
You may have heard the word. One way it is used today is to describe people who refuse to embrace technology and want to stay grounded in the ways they know, i.e. the past. This seems timely given Apple’s announcement yesterday of two new phones and soon to be released watch that seems equivalent to something from an old science fiction movie.
Today, in business, refusing to embrace technology is a mistake. And this does not mean you have to purchase every new device that comes out, but that you have to find devices that work for you and allow you to be more efficient and serve your customers and clients better.
People are proud when they don’t have smart phones or use current technology in their business lives. I understand this because I have caught flack in my personal life for years from friends and family for not being on Facebook. For me it’s not about being proud to not be on Facebook, it’s about time. But in my business I am open to try whatever I can to save time, use less paper, stay in better contact with my connections, access information faster, be better organized, etc. And it is not about being left behind. It is about positioning myself to do my job better and better serve my clients.
We live in the 21st century. If you, your company, your employees are not utilizing the available tools you already are behind. Scoff if you want, but lamenting the loss of the way business used to be done will get you nowhere and the past is never coming back. You don’t have to like it, but you have to be somewhere on the learning curve of technology, riding the wave. Don’t be left behind.