It’s Great to Be Grateful

Joe Girard was great at selling cars.  He’s listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the “World’s Greatest Salesman.”  For 14 years he worked at a Chevrolet dealership just outside of Detroit, Michigan.

Just take a look at his stellar record:

  • During his 14 year career, he sold 13,001 cars.
  • On his best day, he sold 18 vehicles.
  • During his best month, he sold 174 vehicles.
  • In his best year, he sold 1,425 cars.
  • By himself, Joe Girard sold more cars than 95% of all dealers in North America.

What was the secret to his success? Gratitude.  Joe Girard was genuinely grateful for each and every customer he had.  And most importantly, he worked really hard to never lose touch with any of them.

Within a few weeks of selling a car to someone, Joe would call them to thank them for the sale. During that call he would ask how the car was running. If things were going well, he’d ask for a referral. If there was a problem, he would get it fixed.  Then ask for a referral.

Every month, year after year, Joe sent all his customers a hand-written greeting card. Inside he wrote a simple message. He was careful to never include anything that could be seen as salesy. Instead, he would share an anecdote, news story, or birthday greeting.  Joe knew his customers would need a new car one day and he wanted to keep himself top of mind.

Recently I came across a book called, A Simple Act of Gratitude by John Kralik. The book is about a guy whose life was a complete disaster. He was miserable, broke, and overweight. While he was out hiking in the hills of Los Angeles on New Year’s Day, John had an epiphany. He decided he needed to find a reason to be grateful every single day. So he set a goal to write one thank you note a day for the next year.

As a result of writing handwritten thank you notes, over the course of one year, taught John some excellent lessons.  He learned to value all the good in his life and became a more positive person.

When you adopt an “attitude of gratitude”, you attract like-minded people into both your personal and professional life.  I believe gratitude is such an effective tool because it helps develop trust and loyalty. As the Launch4Life team loves to say, “People do business with those they know, like, and trust.”

There’s an old saying that if you’ve forgotten the language of gratitude, you’ll never be on speaking terms with happiness. With that in mind, perhaps we need to see each day and each new client as a gift. Every day is a new day to be grateful for all that we’ve learned or all we have yet to learn.

By Gillian Whitney

Communications Consultant

Launch4Life

gillian@launch4life.com

Does Your Business Have a Crisis Design Plan?

Steve Jobs had a quote “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” Your business must have a plan that works in every aspect, during the good times, the bad times, and the crisis times. This blog post is about designing for the crisis times.

Last week I had the humbling experience of witnessing the passing of my wonderful Aunt. In the midst of my grieving, I also had the responsibility of creating the funeral arrangements on behalf of my cousins. My Aunt had not made any preparations nor left a note with her wishes. I had to figure out what she would have wanted, what did the family want, and then rustle up a plan that could be implemented quickly. We only had a couple of days left. Fortunately, it was all in place before she passed.

Conversely when my mother passed away a couple of years ago, she had already set in motion her arrangements along with having paid for it. My two sisters and I were able to be at our Mother’s bedside in her final days as daughters, not worrying about the business aspect. When she passed, all we had to do was make a call that triggered the well-orchestrated plan my mother had created months in advance.  No stress, no arguments, no worries except to grieve. What has this got to do with this business blog you ask? Everything. Because the same plans are needed for your business when you are gone? Who is left figuring out what they should do with the business?

Accidents can happen in a moment. Sickness can beset us without any warning. One could get a bad case of the flu and be unable to even think about that appointment made for tomorrow. Or who is going to open the shop? What about that workshop that was scheduled in two days. Who is going to tell your clients you are not showing up? If you have a partner, then things might not be a total disaster. But if you are a solopreneur there is no one to manage your business while you are out sick. Worse, if you died, is anyone designated to tie up all the loose ends of your business?

No one likes to think about these things, but life happens, and death happens. As responsible business people we need to have documents and plans in place to help our partners or family members manage our business for us.

Here are some considerations:

#1 A list of all the programs you have purchased for your business. Which should be cancelled or continued? Where can they find the passwords? Is your business calendar accessibly so they can contact your clients that you had appointments scheduled with?

#2 Who to contact if you have a lease or own a shop? What about staff members contact information?

#3 If your business is a corporation or LLC, where can your tax id be found?  Your tax accountant?

#4 Is your business something that can be sold by your family? Have some notes that can assist them in the research. Depending on the size of the sales do you have a written business valuation?

#5 If you have a partner, is there a buy/sell agreement in place?

Those are a lot of questions to think about. The last thing your loved ones need to be worrying about is winding down your business stressing over how to figure out how to do that. So, do them a favor. Take an afternoon and write down the answers to those five questions. Pick someone to tell them about the plan, where to find it and what you want done.

My Mom had told us that she had pre-planned and paid for her funeral arrangements. We knew exactly what she wanted. We sisters all worked together to support her wishes. She allowed us to be with her in her final days without stress or worry. My aunt on the other hand, had not made any plans. Her children who lived in Europe, were not familiar with U.S. customs and without me would have struggled to put a plan together quickly. Fortunately, having had my Mom’s experience I was able to take charge and make their grieving a little easier. So, show your family how much you love them, write that plan today. While you at it, it wouldn’t hurt to write down your personal needs message to your loved ones. We saw what happened in Florida on Valentines Day. Things can happen at any age.

Steve Jobs knew what his “time” clock was. He worked with his team for the necessary transition. He also created new apple products that could be built and used long after his demise. We don’t always have the knowledge of how much time we have.

I hope this message gives you the courage to write that plan now. Then you can relax and focus on growing your business confident in the knowledge that “just in case”, your business will transition the way you want it.   Your loved ones or partner will thank you for it.

 

 

By Janet Elie

Internet Marketing Specialist

Launch4Life

janet@launch4life.com

Mastering Productivity, Discipline, and Focus

Believe it or not, sometimes even coaches need some coaching. Which is why the Launch4Life team recently sought out a little coaching for ourselves. At the beginning of 2018, Janet and I decided we wanted to master something new. We wanted to create a resource to help people better understand digital marketing. We’re excited to announce we will soon be launching a marketing podcast dedicated to helping small businesses and solo-preneurs promote their business.

Being avid believers in the “baby steps” approach to project management, we began by researching what’s involved with starting a podcast. We quickly discovered that podcasts are a lot of work. As we began breaking down the project into bite-sized tasks, we wondered how on earth we were going to find the time to get everything done? After all, we already have a full load – working with clients, blogging, weekly newsletters, and the day-to-day tasks of running a small business. We realized we needed a coach to help us master our goal.

Meet our new “coach” The Mastery Journal. This beautiful hardcover daily planner is no ordinary business journal. Instead, it’s 100-day mission is to help business professionals master their productivity, discipline, and focus. Using this journal you will learn how to:

  • Become more productive by accomplishing the important daily tasks that need to get done to reach your goals
  • Develop better self-discipline by setting/executing a daily plan
  • Have greater focus allowing you to win the battle against obstacles and distractions

 

The Mastery Journal

 

What’s especially unique about The Mastery Journal is all the support that is thrown in for free. Bonuses include: complementary audio book, fillable pdf version of the hardbound journal, and a private Facebook group. I like that the Facebook group admin is none other than John Lee Dumas, the author of The Mastery Journal and founder of the Entrepreneurs On FIRE podcast. John and his team work very hard to monitor the group, providing everyone with great support and guidance.

The Launch4Life team believes that by us both purchasing our own copies of The Mastery Journal, we will achieve the productivity, discipline, and focus needed to launch our new podcast. Today we began the very first step of our 100-day journey. We will be sure to post a complete update when we get to the end. Stay tuned for updates on our marketing podcast.

In the meantime, if you are interested in some coaching yourself, we encourage you to consider working with us. Check out the Work With Us page on our website. If you’re not sure if private coaching is right for you – we invite you to take advantage of our FREE 30 minute introductory coaching session. In just a half-hour you can evaluate if we’re the right coaches for you.

 

By Gillian Whitney

Communications Consultant

Launch4Life

gillian@launch4life.com

Becoming an Idea Machine: My New Year’s Resolution

Over the Christmas break I took some time out to kick back and relax. For me, the greatest way to recharge my batteries, is reading. A book I read this past week was: “The Choose Yourself Guide to Wealth” by James Altucher.

Not familiar with James Altucher? Neither was I. In fact, I had only recently learned about him while listening to a podcast. I became especially intrigued with Altucher when I discovered he was a multi-millionaire nomad. Apparently, he decided to get rid of all his possessions, sold his home, and now lives in Airbnbs. What can I say, a rich nomad is interesting?

I love to travel and was curious how someone’s business lifestyle allowed them to “permanently” live out of a suitcase and hop from one Airbnb to another – every two weeks. I did some research and discovered that James Altucher has written several books, including “The Choose Yourself Guide to Wealth.” In case you’re interested, the Kindle version is currently available from Amazon for only 99 cents (normally the book is listed for $24.95).

So, for less than a buck, I downloaded the book. So what did I think? Off the top, I have to admit the book is kind of a “stream of consciousness rant” and he could really use a good editor. However, despite that, the book is chock full of great business lessons. I learned about: living a more balanced life, the real rules of leadership, how to sell anything, how to convince anyone in 60 seconds, and how to become a great public speaker. What I found of special interest was the novel concept of becoming an “idea machine.”

According to Altucher, being an “idea machine” is the best thing you can do to advance yourself as an entrepreneur/business professional. He believes that ideas are the currency of life. Unlike money which can become depleted, your ideas can buy you good experiences, buy you better ideas, buy you better experiences, buy you more time, and even save your life. Ideas are the greatest commodity that we can have. As such, it’s important we exercise our “idea muscle” on a daily basis.

How to Become an “Idea Machine”

  1. Buy yourself some waiter’s note pads.
  2. Write down 10 new ideas EVERY single day.
  3. Repeat on a daily basis (yes, even on weekends) for at least 6 months.

You may wonder, why on earth do I have to use a “waiter’s pad”?  The answer is because it’s cheap. Plus, since it’s small it will be easy to carry around. If you can’t find a waiter’s pad, just pick up a small notebook from the Dollar Store.

You may wonder, why do I need 10 ideas? That’s because coming up with that many each day is going to be a challenge. It’s pretty easy to come up with 2-3 ideas, but somewhere around idea number 5-6 you’ll probably draw a blank. Therefore, taking on the challenge of writing down 10 ideas EVERY SINGLE DAY will give your brain a great workout.

Another question you may be thinking is, what if my ideas are no good? Don’t worry. Most of your ideas probably won’t be good. However, it only takes one good idea to make a million dollars. The important thing to remember is that it’s all about exercising your “idea muscle” on a consistent basis.

So, what happens when you do have a good idea? Altucher suggests circling the idea and writing down the “first step” you need to take. For instance, say you have an idea to start a travel blog. Your “first step” might be checking out the different blogging platforms (ex. Word Press, Google Blogger, etc.) you could use. Or, maybe the “first step” might be a great title for your blog. The important thing to remember is that your “first step” can be as complex or as simple as you want.

Apparently, it takes at least six months of writing your ideas down on a daily basis before you become an “idea machine.” However, once that happens, you may be surprised at all the changes you’ve made with regards to your personal and professional life.

So, with the new year upon us, I am going to try my hand at becoming an “idea machine.”  I will give a follow-up report in six months and let you all know how I did and what changes occurred in my life.

 

By Gillian Whitney

Communications Consultant

Launch4Life

gillian@launch4life.com

Can You Survive Being an Introvert in Business?

Being an introvert is great if you work by yourself, at your home office, or even in a office or cubby hole.  But no matter what your business is, at some point you have to come out and talk to people.  In order to be successful, you will have to engage with people either by phone, one on one meetings, or delivering speaking engagements.  You must rise to the occasion if you want to develop clients and drive your sales.  But what do you do if you are uncomfortable talking to people?  What if you are an introvert?  Or even worse basically “shy”.  I think introverts can manage the interactions if they have too, but shy people have a tougher time because they not only hate it, they get anxious about it. Social anxiety is not pleasant.

If you look at the two people in the blog title picture, it is probably easy to see who the introvert is, but they look like they are having a great meeting.  So can you.

You may be surprised to know that many of the people we admire in the online business world who lead seminars, do videos, coach, will tell you that are actually very shy and are introverts.  They have to really step up to be able to speak on stage.  But they do.  Why? Because they know if they don’t they cannot engage with their customers and get their message out.  The secret is trying to find how to stretch your comfort zone without making yourself crazy.  I have heard that what does drive introverts to stretch is their passion for their business and wanting to help others.  Choose the moments that will have the most impact.  Everyone thinks that the extroverts have it all together.  A little secret, even they can be shy and be terrified at times, and even hate networking too.

Here are a few tips that can get you started on the road to becoming more comfortable having those interactions.  Hopefully some of these practices can ease the anxiety and allow you to have some winning conversations.

Tip #1

Have some warm up statements for yourself.  When someone pounces on you and says, “who are you” or “what do you do?” have a couple of thoughts in your mind or maybe even memorized so you are not caught unaware which might totally shut you down.  Just a sentence or two will do.  Draw on your talents, your business know how. It gets you talking.  Use them to open a conversation or respond to a question.  Just let the person or persons get a sense of your passion for your business and how you help your customers.

Tip #2

If you in a situation where you might have to take the lead, begin the conversation with asking some questions about some relevant topics.  Doesn’t have to be about business.  Maybe it is just about something you learned recently on a topic that would be appropriate and ask for their opinion.  If you are conversing with an extrovert, they will take over.  However, if you are talking to an introvert, have a few soft inquiring questions.  It should get them started.  They are there for the same reasons you are probably.  Remember they may be just as nervous as you.  Be patient and let them talk.  Don’t cut them off.  Otherwise, that might be the last word you hear from them.  Your goal is to connect.

Tip #3

Listen, Listen, Listen.  Nothing turns off any person extrovert or introvert more, than having the feeling of being dismissed.  If you are interested in what they have to say, look “present” and “attentive” to their discussion.  If you are feeling a little intimidated, just back off a little and step in with a new statement or question.  It will quickly diffuse the atmosphere.  If possible adjust the conversation.  They probably don’t mean for you to feel intimidated.  It’s just that they are passionate about the subject.  They don’t realize they are coming across stronger than they should.

Tip #4

Practice, Practice Practice!  No matter how good a speaker or conversationalist you are, we need to practice.  Have daily conversations with your “Wilson” like Tom Hanks in the Castaway movie.  At least he doesn’t talk back and is attentive.  Practice talking to yourself in the mirror like the Queen in “Snow White”.  This will help you improve your body language – gesturing and facial expressions.  My favorite practice for a workshop is talking to myself while I am driving.  Thank goodness no one thinks I am a nut case.  They just think I am on the phone.

Fortunately, if you are doing a video, you can erase the bad parts.  But it is still good to practice audio and video to get more comfortable, especially if you know one day the stage is yours.  Speaking of stage, if you have ever gone to a large seminar, you often see the key speaker arrive on stage jumping around or clapping his or her hands.  They do it because it raises their adrenaline to quell the “butterflies” in their gut.  Tony Robbins bangs on his chest a couple of times before he heads out onto the stage and yells “yes”, “yes” “yes” and then runs out.  Who would have thought?  I have used his technique over and over when I am just getting ready to start.  No one sees it but you.  But you feel good when you begin your opening lines.

These four tips are probably the “tip” of the iceberg, but a great place to start.  You are always going to be an introvert and that is okay.  Introverts are the brain power of our society.  But it will help if you can learn some techniques to help you build rapport.  If you can do that, you will probably feel more comfortable and stay successful in your interactions.

Last and most important thing to do for yourself – when your event or interaction is all over, acknowledge yourself for doing a great job.  Then, reward yourself by going to that “quiet” place that allows you to recharge.  Take note of how long you can be “out” before you need to recharge. It may be just a “mental” garden, but you know where you need to go.

You are great…..

By Janet Elie

Internet Marketing Specialist

Launch4Life

janet@launch4life.com

Do You Know What This Person is Thinking?

How Do I Have a Winning Communication Experience?

I have just come back from a Thanksgiving family reunion.  Everyone came happy and excited to be with each other and have fun.  You have seen enough Movies to know how that goes.  You can always expect there will be some friction and some heartache.  Why?  Because as much as we all love each other, we have communication breakdowns.  Why?  Because we don’t always communicate in a way that the other person knows or understands.

Sometimes we don’t understand what was said, or we don’t understand their facial expressions.  What am I, a mind reader???Family is one thing.  Even if we have fights we all love each other.  We will have a few tears, maybe even some angry words, and then we hug, and say “I love you”.  We make it all better.  We forget the bad memories and come back for the next  family reunion.

 

Business, however, can be another thing.  If you are having this interaction at work or if you are trying to network with someone for business or you are having a one on one with a customer, that is another story all together.  There is no bond of love and friendship that will keep you together.  What do you do?  Even if you think you are the best communicator in the world, if you have a customer that is not a good communicator, your whole presentation or engagement could blow up in your face.  How do you overcome that?

Many, many years ago, I went to a two-day Communications course to learn how to be a better communicator.  We learned how to be good listeners.  But somewhere in translation, I didn’t quite grasp how to engage with people that are terrible communicators.  Trust me, there are plenty.  Now add to that, the additional issue of trying to communicate with someone while on a mobile phone.  That was not in that training, because mobile phones didn’t exist.  Here is a personal example: I was having lunch with one of my sons recently and I was sharing a story while he was doing something on his phone.  It became apparent to me that he wasn’t listening to anything I was saying.  I asked if he was listening.  Being honest with his Mom, he sheepishly said “no”.  Now what if that situation was with a customer.  They would have probably said “of course I am listening” and be totally lying.  Then whatever I said, would have been missed.  At least I was able to repeat my story with my son, or if it just didn’t matter in the big scheme of things, moved one.  But if it is work related, you can’t move on, you want to be sure they received your message.

Here are some good suggestions that I have learned from painful experiences:

  1. Make sure the person you are conveying your message too, wants to hear the message.  (Otherwise going to deaf ears.)
  2. Don’t try to have that important business conversation when there are distractions like loud music or other chitchat around you. Otherwise they may only hear every other word.  They will nod their head that they are hearing you and understand you.  But in reality, you know they haven’t a clue what you have been saying.  They are just being polite.
  3. Body language. This is critically important and probably my worst pet peeve.  I hate it when people respond to me with a face cringe or bobbing of the head and think I know what that means.  Try and ask questions that will elicit a response of a statement rather than a “yes” or “no” answer.  Otherwise, you may get a bobbing head and not get the answer you need. Some people may be afraid to answer your question as they are not ready to make a decision at that moment.  Asking questions that require a statement rather than a yes or no, will be more helpful.  Or that encourage them to ask a question back to formulate that decision.  That might allow for a better dialogue eventually giving you the response you need.  As hard as it might be, we need to ask gentle questions, so they don’t have the feeling of being interrogated.
  4. Try to allow that person you are engaging with to feel comfortable to speak and let you know what they are thinking and feeling. Sometimes, that just means “shut up” and “listen”.  Bite your lip if you have too.  Depending on your personality style that might be a little hard, especially if you are an extrovert like me.  But believe me if you want an introvert to respond, you have no choice, you have to give them the space and time to feel comfortable to answer.

Try this exercise: next time in a work discussion whether it is an associate or customer, look at their body language.  Do they look comfortable, or do they look anxious?  Use that intuition to decide how to “be” with that person so you can have a winning engagement.  Is it their personality or are they dealing with an issue that is making life tough right now?  You might have to ask some warm up questions to know the answer to that before you delve into your business conversation.

I found this YouTube and thought it really represented this subject.

 

We never know what someone is going through.  I would never in a million years have known what these expressions meant.  But it goes to show you, that we have to be sensitive to everyone and their needs, whether it is family, friends, business associates, or customers.

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving. Same time, next year, better equipped.  Have a better customer experience.

By Janet Elie

Internet Marketing Specialist

Launch4Life

janet@launch4life.com