Archive for November, 2011

How To Reinvent

“That’s what Americans have done for over 200 years: reinvented ourselves.”
            -President Barack Obama

2011 began with President Barack Obama the world in the State of the Union Address that we need to reinvent ourselves and our businesses as we move forward.  The ryear-long debt ceiling debate, lack of foreign confidence in the US recovery and sluggish economy here at home and in Europe has ramped up that challenge.

Now many Americans feel that repeating the same actions they have gone through in the past won’t produce the results they once did.  They need to overcome the obstacles and challenges of a “different” environment, climate and economy.  They need to be themselves, different, too.

So how do you meet that challenge?

As I have observed innovators and practiced the art of reinventing myself, I identified six skills that all creative innovators have in common.  They aren’t technical.  You only have to be open to the possibilities around you and seize the opportunities the universe and God put before you.

One: Observe Details

The first skill is the ability to closely observe details, particularly those of other people’s behavior.  For you it might mean having to reposition your focus, of becoming alert and aware of folks around you.  The clues you observe will give you an advantage over those who talk and don’t observe.

Two: Leaders First Listen

Before they talk, leaders use their listening skills. In most conversations, people will tell stories about themselves. Re-inventors listen. Your greatest skill in leadership is the ability to initially keep your mouth closed and your ears open to listen for trends, ideas and opinions.

Three: Ask the Right Questions

The third skill is questioning – an ability to ask “what if”, “why”, and “why not” questions that challenge the status quo and open up the bigger picture. Reinvention leaders constantly question the status quo.  They ask questions like, “Why does that work in this place?”   If you want to get ahead in the market, you need to go to your most loyal customers and ask them why they buy from or do business with you.  It might surprise you.

Juanita Kelly, founder of Goddess Magazine, the Juanita Kelly Foundation and fashion entrepreneur was bold enough to ask the right person questions. “My advice to all (of) you business owners are to never feel comfortable being just that, keep wanting to show your clients what you can offer them and how it’s better than all the rest that’s out there; always stay on your toes because your competition is always going to try and out-think you.

The better the questions you ask, the better the answers you will receive.

Four: Risk & Experiment

The fourth skill is the ability to experiment – the people we studied are always trying on new experiences and exploring new worlds. You have to have the courage to take risks.  With failure comes growth, but only if you are open to learning from your failures.

Five: Associating Unrelated Areas

Professor Jeff Dyer of Brigham Young University calls the next skill “associating.”  He says, “It’s a cognitive skill that allows creative people to make connections across seemingly unrelated questions, problems, or ideas

Six: Build Your Network

Finally, self-reinventors are excellent at networking with others from whom they can learn.

Re-inventors start by being uncomfortable with the status quo (whether it is from within, or in their environment) and go from there.

Where are you going?

Jim Mathis is an international professional speaker and Best Selling author of Reinvention Made Easy: Change Your Strategy, Change Your Results.  You may receive his monthly free e-zine with articles like this by sending a message to:  Subscribe@jimmathis.com.

Do You Reward Great Reviews?

Everyone loves a great review.

On a family trip my wife and I stopped into a spa for a relaxing massage. There was a sign in the lobby saying that if you liked your treatment and their service, they would appreciate a good review on Yelp, the social media site.

They offered a discount off your next visit for a good review!

That’s pretty awesome. I know, it looks like a “bribe” for good feedback, but it worked.  I gave them a great review (and I wasn’t staying in the area long enough to return).  Obviously they are aware that if you DON’T like your visit, you might give them a negative review. But they are willing to encourage their customers to give great feedback and reward with value their people will appreciate.

How are you rewarding people for good reviews?

Today anyone can go online and write a review on restaurants, air conditioning service calls, hotels, books, movies, appliances and YOU.   Great reviews influence people.  Negatives throw up a caution flag.  You can’t do much about the negative reviews other than to respond with your own comments.

But you CAN reward people who LOVE what you do enough to write about it.  Sport Cuts hair salon gives customers $2 off their next cut for giving great reviews.  It’s contagious!

Everyone loves a great review.

Jim Mathis is an international professional speaker, coach and author of the best-selling Reinvention Made Easy: Change Your Strategy, Change Your Results. To receive his free monthly e-zine with articles like this, send a SUBSCRIBE message to: subscribe@jimmathis.com.

Betting on Reinvention

Reinvention is a gamble.  In fact, Daniel Dravot, professional blackjack player says, “I sold my hotel business. Due to partnership problems, I did not have enough money to retire. I had to be creative.

An old passion of mine was blackjack. I went to my bookshelf and started to reread all the books on card counting. I read them this time with the intent of taking 5,000 dollars and testing my mettle.

Five years later, I make over six figures a year. I travel with my wife and we see the great sites all over America. I wrote a book and made a DVD… They are both best sellers on Amazon.”

Only through repeated trial and error do you learn and grow. With failure comes growth, but only if you are open to learning from your failures.

It is a risky business.   Are you willing to make the gamble?

Jim Mathis is an international professional speaker and author of the Best-selling Reinvention Made Easy: Change Your Strategy, Change Your Results.  To receive his free monthly e-newsletter with articles like this send a SUBSCRIBE message to: subscribe@jimmathis.com.

Ask Questions!

“You have not, because you ask not.”  Jesus, The Bible

Do you have the ability to ask “what if”, “why”, and “why not” questions that challenge the status quo and open up the bigger picture?

Reinvention leaders constantly question the status quo.  They ask questions like, “Why couldn’t that work in this place, as it does over there?”  Start asking questions of yourself…  and others.  If you want to get ahead in the market, you need to go to your most loyal customers and ask them why they buy from or do business with you.

It might surprise you.

Juanita Kelly, founder of Goddess Magazine, the Juanita Kelly Foundation and fashion entrepreneur was bold enough to ask the right person questions. “My advice to all (of) you business owners are to never feel comfortable being just that, keep wanting to show your clients what you can offer them and how it’s better than all the rest that’s out there; always stay on your toes because your competition is always going to try and out-think you.

Keep trying to surpass previous goals by asking staffers what they think about an idea, be open to their perspectives because they may see it in a different way than you imaged it.  Lastly, stay open to criticism by your staff, ask them what their having issues with and how they’d going about changing or fixing it; being a growing company and entrepreneur you never going into anything knowing the business from the beginning to the end.”

By asking questions, Juanita pulled off a reinvention that surpassed her dreams.

The better the questions you ask, the better the answers you will receive.

Jim Mathis is an international professional speaker and author of the Best-selling Reinvention Made Easy: Change Your Strategy, Change Your Results.  To receive his free monthly e-newsletter with articles like this send a SUBSCRIBE message to: subscribe@jimmathis.com.

You Can Pay Me Now…Or You Probably Won’t Ever!

I watched a guy lead a very motivating program in front of insurance adjusters a few months ago.   There were many people who stood up and applauded because his presentation was very well done.  When the program ended, he met the throngs at the front of the room who wanted to buy his book with cash and debit/credit cards.

He only takes cash.

“Why?” someone asked.

“It takes too long to fill out the credit card information and give you a receipt.” was his answer. More than than two thirds of the prospective readers walked away…sad and discouraged.  UN-motivated!

We rented a home for a vacation and tried to pay with a card.  The realtor, who is hurting for business, doesn’t know how to take a card to hold the deposit.  We eventually got tired of working for her convenience instead of her working for ours.  We moved on.

A friend told me several years ago this phrase: “Never turn down money when someone is eagerly handing it over to you.”  Good advice.

I now take every type of card with a swipe device on my cell phone.  And when that goes down, I have a companion device.  I can also just write it down and enter it myself later so as not to in-convenient my customers when they are eager to purchase on the spot.

I know the stores that won’t take a credit card (Tim Horton’s coffee), the ones who won’t take American Express (the luggage repair shop in Atlanta) and an airline that refuses to take cash (Delta). Why?

It is more convenient for them to make YOU go out of YOUR way for THEM. Rather than the other way around.  If people are eager to hand you their payment, you should make it as easy as possible.

Costs on cards too high? How about the cost of inventory no one will buy from you? I have never had anyone walk away and buy from me online if they refuse me in person, with the phrase, “I’ll think about it.” I often laugh and say, “No you won’t!” It’s okay, they know I am joking….and I am right.

The next time you are eager to buy, check out how hard it is to get checked out!  How does that make you feel?  Your customers feel the same way.

Think about THAT!

Jim Mathis is an author and international professional speaker.  His latest book is the best selling: Reinvention Made Easy, Change Your Strategy, Change Your Results. You may subscribe to his free monthly newsletter with provocative articles like this by sending a SUBSCRIBE message to: subscribe@jimmathis.com.

Are You Listening?

In most conversations, people will tell stories about themselves.  After all it is our favorite subject to talk about.  Us!

Re-inventors listen. Your greatest skill in leadership is the ability to initially keep your mouth closed and your ears open to listen for trends, ideas and opinions.  Particularly if you listen to those that you don’t agree with.  Few people learn from those who are just nodding approval. Abraham Lincoln surrounded himself with his former opponents in his cabinet.

Allison Suter, Elite Nutritional Coach says this:  “I have spent the past 12 years completely surrounded by men. If you are not familiar with the guitar industry (her former career), it is about 90% men. I traveled all over the world talking to men, selling to men and of course…hanging out with men. In order for my marketing to be effective I had to study my male client down to the shoes they wore. I spent many years studying men’s behavior, eating habits and social habits.

Over the course of many years, I met men who are committed to being single, many who longed for a relationship and plenty who lived in a dead marriage. I became obsessed with studying the masculine and feminine complementing differences. I extensively studied nutrition and how our foods effect our mood, physic and zest for life. (Now) I am an elite nutrition coach that specializes in supporting men who experience low energy, frustration around work and who want to experience a hot relationship and ignite her to crave you.”

Employing keen listening skills around the men she worked with, networked with and sold to helped Allison create her reinvention.

Are you listening?  To whom and what are they saying that you can learn from?

Jim Mathis is an international professional speaker and author of the Best-selling Reinvention Made Easy: Change Your Strategy, Change Your Results.  To receive his free monthly e-newsletter with articles like this send a SUBSCRIBE message to: subscribe@jimmathis.com.

The Best Cold-Call Opening Line!

“Could you help me, please?”

My friend and mentor, Joe Bonura taught me that opening line.  It is the most effective question when making cold calls I have ever run across.

Why? Five advantages make it clear:
1. Everyone wants to help someone. We don’t like doing a “favor,” but we love to help others, even if they are total strangers.
2. It makes the person on the other end think (and say) “Yes.” Do you remember the last cold-call you got?  You were probably thinking “No” from the moment they mispronounced your name or started a sales pitch without engaging you at all. Asking for help elicits a “Yes” from people who are usually very busy with other tasks.
3. It disarms wary, busy executives. It allows them to be in control of the conversation in their mind and puts them in the role of enabler and aide, not sales target.
4. It opens doors to people who otherwise would have no interest in talking with a stranger. Even in workshops when I demonstrate it, I will casually ask for a volunteer by saying, “Could you help me, please?” and in front of hundreds of people they will say “Yes” to me, a stranger.
5. It works. It makes the receptionist (or gatekeeper) react friendly and helpful.  It keeps them from thinking that you are a jerk if you fumble or don’t know the person you are calling by name.

It must work.  Three clients told me in the past week that they hired me because I kept calling them for the business…  and used a great opening line!

Jim Mathis is an international professional speaker and author of the Best-selling Reinvention Made Easy: Change Your Strategy, Change Your Results. To receive his free monthly e-newsletter with articles like this send a SUBSCRIBE message to: subscribe@jimmathis.com.


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