Episode 170 – Communicating Appreciation

Simple, easy and neglected

Simple, easy and neglected

A grown man tells me, “My father never said, ‘I love you.'”

“Really? Never?” I reply.

“Never,” he says.

The pain in his eyes is real. And evident.

The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.

Williams James is credited with that quote. I don’t know who he was, but he was wise.

Recognition. Appreciation. Respect. We all want it. No, Mr. James was right – we crave it!

Why is it so difficult to incorporate into our communication? Why is it hard for a father to tell a son that he loves him?

I don’t know, but I do know it’s inexcusable.

Business people neglect many facets of effective of communication, but perhaps chief among them is the art of showing appreciation.

I know a business man – very successful financially – who believes it’s his job to “catch people making mistakes.” He’s very good at it, too. No, he won’t ever tell anybody they’re doing a good job. His success is the problem. His crude, deliberate berating of people works. Convincing him that even greater success might be his if he’d learn to behave differently is an impossible task.

I’m sad for him. And others like him.

As business people we have internal and external customers. It’s important to communicate our appreciation to all them. Simple, inexpensive and seemingly easy – but it remains one of the most neglected form of business communication.

I challenge you to set about changing that in your life – in business and in your personal life!

Thank you for listening. See, that wasn’t hard.


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An Ideal Client: Service Professionals Who Serve Local Markets

service professionals are in high touch industries

service professionals are in high touch industries

Service professionals are among the highest touch business owners on the planet. They connect to one person at a time. They have transactions that are often face-to-face. They often deliver their services in person. Service pros tend to be people skillful in physical, in person communication. They also tend to be people with a very specialized, often high value knowledge.

Your dentist, doctor and CPA are all service professionals. So is your chiropractor, financial advisor, attorney or kitchen remodeler.

Service professionals are currently my ideal clients for a pilot program I’m launching. This isn’t an ongoing program. It’s a one-time offer exclusively for 6 people and it’s only for 3 months.

Why are service professionals my ideal clients for this?

1. They serve local markets.

Not every small business operates exclusively in a virtual or online world. Even though service professionals may primarily do business in a local market they may also do business online. Web technologies provide great utility for service professionals to communicate with their clients and prospects.

Attorneys are licensed to practice in specific states. Yes, a state is a local market. A local market is simply a geographic location that serves as a boundary for the service professional.

I’m in Texas. An attorney who is a member of the Texas State Bar is licensed to practice law in Texas. It’s an enormous state – a very big local market – but it does have a boundary. That makes it, by my definition, a local market.

2. They may have products, but we mostly rely on service professionals for their expertise.

A financial advisor may be commissioned by financial products providers to sell their products. Or, a financial advisor may be unencumbered by such a relationship and simply work on behalf of the client for a small fee.

A dentist may incorporate technologies or products that help patients improve their oral health. From teeth whitening to products used to fill cavities, the dentist likely incorporates products that others provide. As a patient, we don’t have the expertise in these things. We rely on our dentist to do the right things for us.

A funeral director walks us through one of the toughest times of our lives, arranging the final ceremony for a loved one. Do we purchase a casket or do we purchase cremation? Hard decisions only made easy if our loved one left behind what they wanted. And we rely on the funeral director to walk us through the maze of choices because we lack the expertise or experience in such things.

Service professionals have an extraordinary expertise that we often need. Many have endured years of formal education and training. Many are in industries that are regulated and formally organized with certifications and licensing. The barrier of entry into their professional is high.

3. They typically spend most of their time practicing their craft because they’ve spent years learning it.

Service professionals may lack the foundations necessary to operate a profitable business. The attorney has endured years of formal education, juggled student loans, done some summer internships and may have started his career as an associate with a mid to large sized firm. Some get the entrepreneurial itch and embark on starting their own practice. Unfortunately, they’re skillful at practicing the law, not building a business. It’s a hazard of the service professional.

Michael Gerber of E-Myth fame calls them “technicians.” They have the technical know how of their craft (law, dentistry, etc.), but they likely have no experience or training in marketing, management or operations. They’re far from stupid. In fact, they’re brilliant at many levels because they know what they’re doing in their respective industries. They simply lack the training to know the things vital to building a practice or business.

So, many of them fail. Or struggle.

Too many service professionals find out that when they build it, nobody comes! Others find out that cash flow doesn’t automatically flow…unless it’s OUT.

These are my ideal clients for this limited time project. I recorded a short video and wrote a longer than necessary amount of copy to explain every possible thing. Does this sound like YOU or somebody you know? Then I hope you’ll apply.

It’s limited to only six (6) people. I will personally contact everybody who applies.


4 Things You Can Do When Things Go Wrong, As They Often Do

you feel like screaming

you feel like screaming

You want to scream.

Things have not gone well. In fact, they’ve gone very, very wrong.

You’re desperately trying to figure out so many things – all at the same time. You know it’s not how you should do it, but emotions are high and you’re not in control. Of anything. Including your thoughts.

“Why did I do that?”

“Where did I go wrong?”

“I”m so stupid.”

A head full of questions don’t seem to provide many answers.

Try these 4 things. Just try ’em.

1. Remember.

Think back to a previous failure that you endured. Didn’t it seem insurmountable? But here you are today. History has a way of putting things into perspective. Problems – in real time – seem larger than they may really be. Don’t blow your current problems up to be larger than they really are.

Gain confidence as you remember. You’ve been down and out before. You can get through this, too.

2. Inventory.

Look around at your resources. Your skills, your experience, your ability and anything else that might help you climb out of this pickle.

See these things in a new light. Maybe you’re missing the utility of some of your resources.

Have you ever seen those survival shows like Man vs. Wild? The first thing the person does is look around at what they’ve got to help them survive the situation. They get creative and repurpose all kinds of things. I once saw a guy remove the metal tray that held his truck battery so he could boil water in it. He cleaned it by rubbing dirt on it. He rinsed it off with water that was surely unsafe to drink. Then he built a fire and boiled small amounts of water in it to get rid of pathogens. What battery trays do you have in your life that you can use for something else?

Take a moment (or three) and be thankful for your inventory, no matter how large or small it might be.

3. Act.

First things first. Stop trying to do it all at once. Whatever went wrong won’t likely be fixed by jumping in a dozen different directions.

Get a plan and go to work.

What’s the first things you think you should do? Do that. To completion.

Taking another lesson from the survival shows – usually the first goal is to create safe shelter. They don’t start to build a shelter, then decide they’d better go hunting. If it’s shelter they need, first they build their shelter, then they go hunting.

Too frequently, we try to do everything simultaneously and end up failing to accomplish anything. Stay focused on the priority at hand.

4. Persist.

Persevere. Do not let anything stop you from moving forward.

Show the problem, your competitors or your naysayers that you won’t accept defeat. Be resilient.

You may have to alter your course, or strategy, but that’s just being smart. If one thing won’t work, try something else. Stay mentally engaged and be creative.

Go back to the earlier steps if you must, but never, ever quit.


Episode 169 – Talent May Be Overrated

Success takes more than talent

Success takes more than talent

The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance by K. Anders Ericsson (and others) is an interesting study about how talent may not be the determining factor for success.

The title of the study tells you the answer.

Deliberate practice – focused practice – made a big difference in three categories of violin students. One group were those who went on to have solo careers. Another group went on to be part of an orchestra. The final group wound up as music teachers. The difference in what they did was drastic. Those at the top of that food chain – the soloists – worked much harder. But they also rested more. And they practiced in shorter, more intense spurts.

We’re always looking for keys, secrets and formulas. We want an easy answer. A simple explanation. And we often find them by blaming success on fate, luck, chance, serendipity, talent and a host of other things that may play a part, but it’s highly probable that, for most people, they play a minor role.

We’d be more successful if we were so lucky. It’s fun to think so.

And it’s lazy.

Fact is, most of us just don’t want to work that hard. Most of us just don’t prepare enough for success. The result? Most of us never experience the success we could.


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Thank you!