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Two Saturdays ago, we went out fishing on a lake near us.
We went for the first few hours to the favorite spot where we usually, I would say 75% of the time catch fish. There were bites but nothing moved much. We got one fish, that's all.
So we decided , us ladies to get to the next part of the lake, where the guys were not that keen. But of course, having been out for a while, we wanted to get more action. So we went, and after another hour or so, no bites, no fish, nothing.
My father-in-law said that maybe we should just trawl and see what's inside these waters. So we did, and we caught two by just crisscrossing the lake going back to the same old original spot that we had earlier.
Back to the same spot, we waited for an hour and a half. No bites, no fish this time.
Everybody immediately agreed, that maybe we should just trawl. Trawling is an accidental success that we should maximize.
Sure thing, we trawled to the farthest left and to the farthest right section of the lake, but lo and behold, no fish. It was getting late and it was time to go home.
Positioning is important. I recall what one business trainer would lecture that, "It's all about positioning."
What do you do when there's no bite? Do you move around to get to where your customers might congregate, perhaps a watering hole or a hub? Do you modify your strategies for outreach? Do you sit tight until new opportunities arise for you to take advantage of?
Patient waiting, positioning, and creative outreach. That will get you your fish and lots of them. The key is to move around and not get stale.
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For the past few weeks, I have been busy preparing my community for its first beta program. I know I have a few interests but as I looked at their profiles in their application, I noticed a few things.
These are the people that are undermarketed, under-reached, and would be unable to respond to any North American programs unless, these programs are totally free or heavily subsidized.
Some of them do not have a credit card system or functional online payment system in their countries.
Some have no means whatsoever to afford any continuing education or coaching support.
Some have a variety of outstanding responsibilities and will not have the time.
Some will have it for later and for next year.
This is the reality of the market. I am continuously listening and reiterating to determine what seemed to be the best course of action, the best product, and the best market and for the right value.
If you're not listening to your market, you're listening more to yourself, which is the default position.
There is no first-time got-it-right kind of way. Everybody's adjusting and reframing.
What are you reiterating today? What is this reiteration based from?
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I have heard this several times, and every time I know exactly what's going to happen next.
But, your rate is high.
But, I just don't think it's the right timing.
But, we are having a major reorganization right now.
But, we just hired two people full time for this.
But, I just don't know if we have the budget.
But, I can't guarantee you she would give you time to meet.
But, I'm not the decision-maker here.
But, we hired two consultants recently.
But, I have to consult first, figure out what we want and get back to you.
But, the Board decided we will do x,y,z first before taking this process.
Excuses. Excuses. Excuses. When you don't want to buy, there are many reasons. Some are valid enough, and some are concoctions to get the person out of the door. It boils down to trust.
For the seller, build trust no matter. Relationship comes first.
If they're not the right buyers, walk away with your head high.
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We are all buyers, clients, customers for various goods and services. Recently, I encountered three vendors for the service I would like to get. The three vendors operated in various ways to get the sale.
The first one was the patient type and to a certain extent, the friend of the customer. He was understanding, knew his products very well, and listened intently. He was there at every stage of the process. During the final negotiation, he presented a impossible barrier for the customer to decide to buy from him. He wanted an upfront payment for the preliminary assessment so that he would know what solutions he can offer!
The second one was also helpful in the beginning. When it was time to get serious, he pedaled back, wanting to build a more trusting relationship with the customer. He wanted to prolong this 'trust stage' so he would know that the customer will surely buy from him. Instead of presenting the most credible solution and addressing the need of the buyer, he wanted to 'test' the buyer first!
The third one was a non-nonsense vendor. He stated his methods, prices, and his approach to the solutions. But at the earliest stage, he started criticizing the customer for the state of his affairs. He was also saying that after he was done with him, expect that there will be more work (costs) to be done. His contract was one-sided, all provisions pointed to his risk mitigation.
All these three vendors were successful in helping the buyer not to buy from them. Their perspectives were self-centered- to protect themselves at all costs. Instead of helping solve a need upfront, they relied on their tactics and methods that backfired.
Contrast to this one vendor. He didn't care about the trusting process, the 'fit' between customer and vendor, stated his methods and explained his fees. He was consistent, on-the-ball, and no drama. When the customer talked to him, he was assured, well-versed, and credible. He didn't promise the moon but the way he would approach the project was reassuring. The rest of the process was smooth and unencumbered.
A trusting relationship is critical to any sale. But forcing the trusting relationship by rigging it do not serve the transaction. Building trust is about serving the needs of the client now (when he/she is talking to yo) and being consistent throughout all the stages of the sale.
Is your process, communication, and projection pro-customer or pro-self-preservation?
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Deep fried chicken battle continues.
In the summer of 2019, Jollibee, which is the number 1 fast food chain the Philippines opened its first store in Edmonton. There was a hype amongst the Filipino community because it was their very own unlike the Canadians who simply couldn’t understand the whole point. In its opening, there was a 3-hour line-up with two big tents outside to shield the patrons from the rain and the cold.
Last night, there was one or two odd Canadians that stood amongst the Filipinos. Either they are friends or family members and have come to love or appreciate the dishes and tastes that are uniquely from the country. We gave in to the craving and made some critical comments that can make it better. But yes, it reminded me of home.
The Korean fried chicken had been a global hit ever since the craze became an obsession in that island country. They have the Korean Fried Chicken University and exporting the know-how and technology all over the world. This is worldwide domination.
Who would have thought that KFC will be the number fast food in China of all countries in the world with its rich culinary heritage? Guess what, KFC however badly denigrated in North America is having its massive success in the Asian region.
Popeyes are going Canadian with several outlets popping left and right in Alberta and other provinces. The Southern flavor attracts patrons who are not afraid to take some heat from time to time.
What is the secret to this?
The secret is understanding what makes a product appreciated by the locals, adjusting the flavor and making cultural appropriations in the right way. Massive advertising and also using local endorsers that can speak for the product. It is a tried and tested formula nobody could argue its success.
The consumer is a global consumer. It is not a North American consumer, who is painted in one big brush stroke. We live in a global consumer society with heterogeneity and diversity as its highest state. There is always a consumer waiting to be converted.
The battle continues...........
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There are major shifts happening in the sales world.
Call it buyers' empowerment. Before they even call or make inquiries, they are already familiar with what you offer, scouted around for the best price, quality, and features, asked around for feedback and comments, and almost always ready to buy.
What sales and marketing folks forget is that, instead of ramming through all the features, benefits, and salient points of your services and products, they need to ask the buyer, these probing questions:
1. Why did they come to them?
2. Who they consulted/checked first?
3. What are they looking for outstanding value? as it relates to need
Once you know the answers to your questions, you can create an irresistible offer that is incomparable from all the places they had visited/consulted. Emphasize what owning the product or service will have on the quality of their lives or relationships or health or status.
Don't forget people buy, not based on logic, but on emotions.
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Last week, I met two service providers and had a chat about business. Both of them have admittedly, that their businesses were not doing particularly well.
One cited the lack of clients, while the other one cited the lack of time for the delivery.
Obvious to their situation, it doesn't take time to figure out that both of these professionals lack the awareness of their own marketing effectiveness or just plain effectiveness.
Time is also a silly excuse considering that this is not an avocation but a fully operational business. Lack of time to market and get in front of your customers means that you have decided that doing other activities are important than that. Period.
Lack of client means one thing: you are lacking the activity that will attract, convert, and retain those clients that are precious for your business to grow.
You can control these variables: time, talent, and available resources.
If you are, not then either you have given up, have inadequate strategies, or you are not executing those things that you know you should be doing.
Check yourself in the mirror.
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A few things about me:
I am not a best-selling author.
Having this label means one day you are the top of the heap. That being said, you can say that you a 'best-selling' author.
I didn't do TEDx.
TEDx self-selects those that will be in front of the audience.
I am not in a millionaire/billionaire league.
This is the worst league to be in when you don't have a message just the monies to throw around.
I am not a PhD.
Having a PhD doesn't make you successful, smart, and happy.
I am not covered by Fast Company, New Times Journal, Time Magazine, etc.
Being covered by those media companies is great but it is more an icing to the cake.
I am not voted 43 out of 45.
Who gets to do that? Those people that are looking for more subscriptions.
I am not in the whos' who list.
You pay your way in there.
I am not in the Speakers bureau.
You have to audition and they get a cut out of your hard-earned work.
I am not in the YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter ad.
Trolling in those media is not what by clients do.
I am not a podcaster, TV or media host sensation.
Buying your way into this business is a sure sign you are in deep trouble.
I didn't speak with Deepak Chopra, Tim Robbins, or Michelle Obama on stage.
Having shared a stage with these personalities does not make you effective, relevant, and truly amazing.
Who has this profile? Thousands of people claiming to be a celebrity expert, author, blogger, marketer, consultant, etc.
But who am I?
I help organizations and individuals achieve organizational excellence.
I mentor many people from different parts of the world.
I am a community collaborator and builder.
I navigate many spaces and interesting networks that I enjoy learning from and giving value.
I have a lot of friends in many industries and sectors.
I am a global person with deep roots in communities.
I love to travel and enjoy cultural and psychological aspect of it.
I believe that you can make it anywhere.
Genes and your upbringing contribute to your resilience and grit.
I love my family, neighbors, friends and church.
I love to share my insights, lessons, and knowledge to those that are ready to hear.
I believe in the honest-to-goodness decency and goodness of people.
I believe in values, virtues, and principles to live by.
Being real is not hiding behind these labels and approval sheets that can be manufactured overnight. Being real is knowing that you can make a difference in real-world and in real-time to real people.
So tell me, who has the real worth, the fabricated sense of self or the real self?
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For marketing your products and services, there are a few words for you, brave souls.
To be relentless in your belief that your product/service has a great value to offer. You have to believe it wholeheartedly in order that the buyer will not only know that you are truthful but you take great pride in what you do and the products that you market.
To be relentless that in our everyday work, you believe that there are many people that can benefit from your products/services that will improve their lives, whether professional, personal, economic, healthy, spiritual, or a combination of these.
If you don't believe in your own products and services, no one else will be convinced of its benefits, potency, relevancy, utility, and ease of use (other features!).
To be relentless is to provide outstanding customer service, before the sale, into the sale, and after-sales, building relationship so that the customer's needs are addressed and that they know they can count on you for help any time, whether they decide to buy from you or not.
For the best doctor, dentist, foot massage therapist, baker, lawyer, accountants- we go by the word-of-mouth and referrals from people we trust-our families, friends, and co-workers.
Referrals come from delighted clients and customers who are eager to spread the word because they were helped, their problems solved/alleviated, and their needs met. In other words, delighting the customer in your everyday work (not just when you are out there and banging the pavement) is paramount.
Whether you are on the phone, meeting new people, writing an email, in the subway or bus, queuing for that coffee, these are opportunities to market your products/services in a positive way- by telling them exactly why you love your own products/services.
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Have you heard lately? People in organizations say beware of the consultants. They borrow your watch and tell you the time!
There is a reason for that. From top 5 consulting giant firms, to any Tom-Dick-Harry, everyone is saying they are consultants. From coaches, mentors, palm readers, salespersons and marketers, suppliers, computer geeks, web designers, coders, and anybody that is a solo business owner, they call themselves consultants too!
Well, there are management consultants, technical consultants, executive coaches, psychological counsellors, legal advisors, and many more are plenty around in different professions.
The marketplace is field with consultants of various stripes and colors, peddling different sorts of solutions based on various formula and potions.
Nowadays, there is a bit of cynicism about consultants because not all are good, not all are ethical, and not all could make it in six-figure take home income.
There may be hundred of consultants in one room but there is a huge diversity in application, in background, in skills set, in expertise, in geographical, sectoral experience, and many other essential variables.
It is up to the discerning client or prospective client to figure out the fake from the true ones, filter out the noisy from the substantive elements, and engage those that have actually created real value to comparable organizations in this sector. This is not a daunting task and more and more organization need that extra third party, objective, external validator, verifier, sounding board, advisor to accelerate your growth goals to the next level.
-Check them out. Get recommendations and references from previous clients.
-Know what you really want to achieve in every transaction. Just like any partnership, it should be a win-win proposition.
-Does this person have the credibility, integrity, expertise, and connection that you need? Are there things in your list that are a must or good-to-have?
-Don't go around shopping for the cheapest one. Price is not a predictor of value. Look for quality, value, and undisputed credibility in the field.
Whether you are buying a training material, planning a company retreat, or designing a performance management program, know you needs versus what your want. This will save you lots of time, effort, and troubles.
Take it from me. I am a consultant.