Monday, March 30, 2015

Opportunities are everywhere

This weeks sparkenation.

The following are two of my favourite quotes:

Opportunities really are everywhere. What decisions are you making? What actions are you taking to create and make the most of opportunities?

Be remarkable.

More sparkenations here.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The #1 Online Selling Mistake Even Smart Business Owners Make

The #1 Online Selling Mistake Even Smart Business Owners MakeIf you already have an offline business (selling either products or services) and are trying to sell online, you might be disappointed with the results you are getting online. The biggest reason is that your customers treat you differently.

I'll explain ...

Here's how a sale works offline and online ...

Think about a typical customer buying from an offline store - for example, a tourist in a new city who wants to buy some sunglasses. Here are four things that happen in the buying process:

  1. First, they choose - for example, by walking through a shopping mall or seeing a retail store on the street.
  2. Typically, there are only a few options to choose from, and they choose one of them.
  3. Generally that store has a reputation, because of the brands they sell, because many other customers are also in the store, or because it just looks reputable.
  4. When they walk into the store, the sale starts. Even if a sales assistant does not come up to them immediately, they eventually talk to a salesperson, who guides them through the sale.

Now contrast that with your online store, which also sells sunglasses. Consider a customer who comes to your Web site for the first time:

  1. They might stumble on you – say, through a Google or a link on somebody else’s Web site.
  2. When they did a Google search, there were many options for them to choose from – sometimes thousands and even millions.
  3. Unless you are a well-known brand, you are an unknown. They can't see other customers buying at the same time, they can't be sure you will still be there next week if there are any problems, and they know that even scammers can build nice Web sites.
  4. They don’t immediately start a sales process. There isn’t a live person there to chat with them about what they want, and answer their objections. There is still a lot of marketing.

These are significant differences - and all before the customer has even started exploring the Web site! If you assume your offline and online customers think the same way, you'll fail because of these differences.

For example, let's say you are a professional speaker who runs workshops successfully, and now you want to build a membership site offering the same material as your workshops. Here's how an online customer sees your sales process:

  1. They might stumble on your Web site from a Google search (rather than choosing you from a few workshop trainers).
  2. There might be many options to choose from. For example, if you have a sales membership site, you're competing with all the other sales information out there on the Internet.
  3. For strangers who stumble across you, you are an unknown, and you're competing with Brian Tracy, Tom Hopkins, and every other well-known sales expert.
  4. You have to do quite a bit of marketing even before you get into the sales process and before they start thinking about their objections.

Here's the biggest difference between offline and online sales ...

In a nutshell:

  • Offline, your customers are fairly comfortable about you when they enter your store.
  • Online, they have a lot of doubts.

This might sound simplistic, but it's an important point. Your customer's frame of mind is different.

If you're planning to sell anything online, you have to work very, very hard to get the customer in the right frame of mind before you even start showing them your product or service.

Start with the four factors I've mentioned: they are stumbling on you, you're just one of many options, you're an unknown, and you have to do a lot of marketing. If you don't address and manage these effectively, you will fail at online sales.

Monday, March 23, 2015

How simple is it for people to bring their best to their work every day at your workplace?

This weeks sparkenation.

Of the 96 questions I seek answers to when I conduct a remarkability review for organisations there is one overarching question I want an answer to:

How simple is it for all the people here to bring their best to their work every day?

What would the answer be at your place?

Be remarkable.

A leader’s job is not to put greatness into people, but rather to recognise that it already exists, and to create the environment where that greatness can emerge and grow.
Intuit CEO Brad Smith

More sparkenations here.

Monday, March 16, 2015

The first step to winning your greatest leadership challenge

This weeks sparkenation.

The greatest challenge for all leaders is that there is a gap between what people do and what they’re capable of doing. This of course has massive implications for your business, let alone your life/work harmony, and your peace of mind. Read/watch more about this here.

The first step to winning this challenge is to ensure you’re doing what you’re capable of doing. Soon you’ll discover what you don’t know that you’re capable of doing. When you do that not only does everything change for you personally, you become an inspiring role model for others to change too.

I describe this as the personal change journey as pictured below. All remarkable leaders travel this path.

Self-leadership precedes leading for others and leading for change. What’s the next step you’ll take?

Be remarkable.

Upcoming complimentary personal and business growth opportunities:
Innovation is simpler than you might think Online this Thursday March 19th.

Self-leadership is everyone's business with special guest Andrew Bryant. Online Tuesday March 24th.

Preview workshop Ian Berry's Personal and Business Accelerator program In Ballarat March 25th.

Performance management is dead. Long live performance leadership with special guest Dan Groch. Online Tuesday April 21st.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Are You Neglecting The Most Important People In Your Network?

Are You Neglecting The Most Important People In Your Network?In our obsession with social media numbers - followers, Likes, connections, reach, Klout, and so on - it's easy to forget that the people who will make the biggest difference to you are the small group you already have trusted relationships with. Treat them with respect and they will be more powerful than all the shallow connections at the edge of your network.

This isn't only about what you can get from them; it's also about what you can offer them. Here are some simple ways to leverage these relationships.

Connect them to each other

As the common link between them, you know something about each of them, but they might not know much about each other. One of the easiest things you can do is introduce two members of your network to each other. Even if you can't add value to their relationship, simply starting that relationship might be the most important thing you can do. In many cases, all it takes is a simple e-mail to both people, with a brief paragraph introducing them to each other, and then leaving it to them to take the next steps.

Recommend them to others

Even if you can't connect people to each other directly, you might be able to recommend or refer them to your wider community. For example, you can write a LinkedIn recommendation for them, which boosts their profile.

Partner with them

Some of them could be candidates for some sort of partnership with you. In fact, if you already have a partnership idea, these people are the ideal candidates when starting your search for potential partners.

Share your journey

Your close connections want to recommend, refer and promote you, but they can only do this if they know what you want. So don't be shy in sharing your progress, goals, and projects. You don't have to ask for anything specific; it's just about letting them know what you're doing.

Ask for their input

It's easier than ever before to invite "outsiders" into your projects, and many of them will participate enthusiastically with no reward expected except the opportunity to contribute. Here are some examples:

  • Fashion designer Carte Blanche asks consumers to vote on their favourite designs, and only manufactures the most popular designs.
  • When Etihad Airways was designing their new A380 service, they asked consumers for ideas, and incorporated eighty per cent of those ideas in the aircraft's design.
  • In 2012, the Egyptian government invited citizens to contribute ideas for solving Cairo's traffic problems.
  • Airbnb asked users to create Vines (six-second videos on Twitter) for their short film Hollywood and Vines.
  • The basic idea behind crowdfunding services like Kickstarter and Indiegogo is that you're asking people to back a project before it's even started, and to put their money behind it as well.
  • The National Car Rental company asks 300 frequent business travellers to share ideas in an online forum.

Ask them for feedback

It's not always possible to invite people early into your project process, but you might find it easier to ask them for feedback later. For example, Auckland City Council uses the Streetmix service to show residents the proposed changes to street layouts, and invites residents to dynamically adjust the designs online to suggest improvements.

Many people conduct surveys asking for feedback, but most surveys have a very poor response because people are so busy. However, if you ask a select group of trusted connections, they are more likely to respond and with high-quality feedback.

Ask them to do the work

Some people in your network might even be willing to do your work for you – for example:

  • Many software companies set up online forums for users to help each other, rather than relying on the official customer service channel.
  • The "Dead Pedal NY" project asks New York residents to report broken bicycles that have been left abandoned but still tied to bicycle racks or posts. The project wasn't even set up by the city council; it was created by a local resident who saw how to use Instagram to provide this service free.
  • Monmouth, a town in Wales, became the first "Wikipedia town", posting QR codes throughout the town, linked to Wikipedia pages online that local residents can update.
  • Wikipedia itself works this way: It's the world's largest encyclopedia, written entirely by thousands of volunteers.

Tap into their network

Ask your close connections for introductions, referrals and recommendations. Even search engines like Google and Bing rank search results based on recommendations from your friends. You can do the same by asking them directly.

In fact, asking for introductions has always been one of the key features of LinkedIn. You can use it to reach out to people you would like to reach, not just by contacting them out of the blue, but through somebody who knows you both. Because that person in the middle is trusted by you and the other person, the initial connection is far warmer than just a cold contact.

What are YOU doing for your closest connections?

Which of these ideas can you apply right now? Look through this list and set a goal to do one thing every week - even something as simple as connecting two people in your network who don't know each other.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Being uncomfortable with the uncomfortable is a key to doing great work

This weeks sparkenation.

Doing the best I can .. is actually not the same as, "doing everything I can."

When we tell people we're doing the best we can, we're actually saying, "I'm doing the best I'm comfortable doing." As you've probably discovered, great work makes us uncomfortable. 
Seth Godin

Be remarkable.

More sparkenations here.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Your leadership and management are driving your momentum (positive and negative)

This weeks sparkenation.

The speculation about the future of Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott continues. He is a victim of negative momentum and his own leadership and management and lack thereof.

The same is true for you and me.

Your leadership and management are driving your momentum (positive and negative).

21st management is all about PPPPSs (policies, procedures, practices, processes and systems). Do your PPPPS's make it simple for people to bring their best to their work? Your truthful answer to this question has profound consequences. I define management as the practice of making it simple for people to bring everything remarkable that they are to everything they do.

21st leadership is all about people.

A key question real leaders must ask and answer with action is: How are my leadership and management adapting and growing in this mobile centric, technology driven world?

Today and for the future effective leadership is all about mobility which of course is a key to positive momentum. And management must be in sync or everything grinds to a halt.

Mobile “able to move or be moved freely or easily.”

Leadership is about feelings, emotions, matters of the heart. Leadership is a verb. Leadership is about moving people.

I define leadership as the art of inspiring people to bring everything remarkable that they are (that one-of-a-kind that each of us is) to everything they do.

Leadership falters, and usually very badly without management.

How 21st century are your leadership and management? Your truthful answer to this question is a clear indication of whether you're riding the wave of positive momentum or struggling to breathe in the torrent that is negative momentum.

And remember this: leadership increases momentum and management maintains it.

Be remarkable.

More sparkenations here.