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Why Being A “Good” Technician, Manager, Salesperson Or Entrepreneur Is NOT Enough – You Need To Apply The “Second Effort”

Posted On August 5th, 2010

Vince Lombardi loved to talk about the concept of the second effort. In fact, it’s the basis of a short sales training movie created in 1968 that is still showed to sales teams in training programs today. Lombardi is famous for showing his players football clips of receivers who almost caught the ball, but let it slip through their fingers. Then he’d show clips of players who made the second effort; same situation, but when they realized the ball was slipping through their fingers, they dove and caught the ball just before it hit the ground. Other clips were of running back who were almost crushed but managed to somehow wiggle free and made the touchdown.

His point in showing these clips was to point out that everyone makes the first effort. To even get on his team you had to do that; but so did all the other players on the opposing teams—and those standing by waiting for an opening to get on the team can do that. But if you want to be great, you have to go beyond that. He knew the difference between the good players and the great ones is that the great ones always make the second effort despite their first failure or setback. Just doing everything the coach expects of you is not good enough for the great players—and that CAN already be a lot. They are compelled to go beyond that every time and THAT is why they succeed.

In business, the fact that you’ve decided to cobble together some type of services offering and go into the marketplace and ask for a check shows you’ve made the first effort. But remember this: your competition is able to do that. Hiring, managing, bookkeeping, marketing, selling and customer service are bare minimums of running a business. You HAVE to be at least average at these things in order to survive. And for many, those FIRST efforts are just about all they can handle which is why they struggle to get ahead. Read full article and comment →

Go Hang Off of a Billboard “Naked” During Rush Hour Traffic!

Posted On January 11th, 2010

This is a continuing series of posts of my top 8 New Years Resolutions for IT Marketers.  This is part 3 out of a 4 part series…  If you haven’t read them yet, make sure to check out Part I and Part II from last week.

New Years Resolution #5:  If you’re going to pick the lock and steal the treasure map, use it!

Here’s an all-too-typical example of what I’m talking about… 

A marketing campaign was e-mailed to me for critique from a long-standing member (who, by the way, should know better both about the campaign which I’ll explain in a minute AND e-mailing me something important, expecting a response). He’s perplexed as to why he’s getting no response from his campaign when he’s “using the strategies exactly as I teach.” Except…

He’s sending a postcard instead of enveloped mail using the sneak up approach. Except, he’s mailing a cold list without scrubbing it first.  Except, the postcard has no testimonials, no headline and doesn’t SELL the free audit.  Except that despite the fact he’s mailed the list before, he’s only mailed the same offer once, and mailed the other offers about a month later, not referencing the first, building no urgency to respond, no deadline and confusing the prospect with a different offer each time. Except, except, except. Other than that, he’s following my strategies exactly as I’ve taught them.  Now I’m not beating up on this poor fellow because I give him credit for taking action and trying…also for reaching out to us when things are going pear shaped…BUT it does need to be pointed out because I see so many other members making these same mistakes. This is like having the plans for baking a cake, but you leave out the eggs, cut the flour in half and bake it for only half the time, then wonder why you have something that looks like a flat uncooked pancake instead of an award-winning chocolate cake. Look, learning new skills takes time and practice and you can’t do it half-way. If you want to generate the same success as someone else, you have to model their behavior and actions to a “T,” not just doing what is convenient, easy or agreeable to you. Vary from the process even a little bit and you’re not going to get the same results. Read full article and comment →

My Brainstorm Lunch with a Billionaire

Posted On December 21st, 2009

Me & Sir Richard

As many of you know, back in October I flew out to LA to attend a private, 1-hour brainstorm session with Richard Branson, the 261st richest person on the planet (according to Fortune Magazine). This meeting was organized by Joe Polish who runs the Master Mind group I belong to. In attendance was yours truly along with 16 other very successful entrepreneurs including Yanik Silver, Eban Pagen, Brad Fallon, and Joe Sugarman to name a few. The meeting was tied to Branson‟s “Rock the Kasbah” charity event to raise money for Virgin Unite, a non-profit that uses business as a force for good in helping build entrepreneurs in impoverished countries, helping the homeless, improving healthcare and dealing with environmental issues.

What impressed me the most about Branson was how polite, considerate and downright charming he is. You would imagine most of the mega-rich to be arrogant, but he was incredibly gracious in answering our questions and showing an interest in each of our businesses. When one of the people in the room handed him a book they wrote, he pushed it back across the table insisting that they sign it. Small thing, but a perfect example of his character. There were a few things he said that struck me, but nothing that really surprised me. I had taken the time to read his books in advance of the meeting so I already knew a lot about his personal philosophy on business, people and success; and as you might imagine, it’s fairly close to the same success principles you’ll read in many other multi-millionaire’s “how I did it” books. The more I study success and the wealthy, the more I’ve come to the conclusion: there’s no secret to getting rich, successful or achieving any other worthy goal in life. The examples and lessons are all well documented in piles of books on the subject, with nothing held back. I believe it’s simply a matter of your determination to achieve more and ability to carry goals and projects through to their successful completion without excuses. That’s it.

As I coach IT business owners and take calls from members who are struggling, I see a consistent theme in all of them: they’re dabbling. They’ve “tried” to do a little networking, “tried” JVs, “tried” sending out newsletters, etc., etc. Tried being the operative word. They’ve skimmed and skipped over the research with clients, gathering testimonials and case studies, researching their competition and don’t measure or track their performance on a regular basis. They’ve not really committed to the work involved by clearly defining their value proposition. In fact, I can usually stump clients with one or two easy questions regarding how many active clients they have or revenue and profits to date. Worst of all, they KNOW they aren’t giving it the effort it deserves, but still seek an easy way out, some magic pill to fix what’s wrong. This conversation often leads to the second most common request I hear from struggling clients, which is the desire to have someone to hold them accountable or someone to “do it all for them.”

That’s a scapegoats excuse. No one is going to make you successful — only YOU can do that for yourself; and wishing for someone to be your “Mommy” and make you do what you already know you should be doing is not the answer. Personal trainers can’t make you thin if you cancel appointments, constantly complain about them working you too hard, give it only a 70% effort and then hit Burger King on your way home. Sure they can encourage and guide you, but they can’t MAKE you successful at losing weight.

Richard Branson didn’t look for someone to hold him accountable or to do his marketing for him when he was starting up, nor did any other highly successful business owner. And no one did it for them…THEY made the phone calls, connections and marketing early on before they were able to hire people to help them execute. THEY designed their vision and plan to get there, and they executed on it. Not a marketing agency, not a coach. I‟ve never heard of any truly successful entrepreneur who completely delegated the responsibility of revenue generation or marketing strategy of their organization.

I do realize this is not a popular answer with clients and they would rather work for someone who would “do it all for them.” But where those companies, services and people already EXIST— what they are looking to delegate is the STRATEGY and MANAGEMENT part, which is NOT something they should be delegating. Successful entrepreneurs aren’t upset or frustrated by this; they know it’s still up to them to set the direction and vision of their company, then formulate strategic plans to achieve their goals.

My Mastermind Group with Richard Branson

I know, here I go back to the difficult… Read full article and comment →