Who influences your thinking and actions?
Leaders understand that what they think about and how they act are interwoven.
In The Strangest Secret, personal development guru, Earl Nightingale said, “We become what we think about.”
Leaders also recognize that what you see, what you read, what you hear, what you watch, (you get the picture) all have influence on what you think, and what you think has an influence on how you act.
When I was younger, I learned that reading was something you had to do, which was not enticing.
Then, I met Ron Peer, the sales vice president over the area in which I worked. Ron shared his philosophy for reading with me. He showed me that reading can be fun when you read for the right reasons.
Ron said, “I usually have four books going, and each book is for a different purpose.”
-> Novels, from which he learned to tell stories about the objects of his presentations rather than simply the facts.
-> Business books, from which he learned how business leaders think and act.
-> Biographies, from which he learned that nothing comes easy to those who are dedicated to their visions.
-> Classics, from which he learned subjects that made conversing with him an education rather than a conversation.
Ron’s willingness to share valuable philosophies and principles greatly impacted my growth as a leader.
Leaders who discern the values the values of those with whom they associate, identify the right people to whom they should listen and learn to grow in significance in all facets of their lives.
Over three thousand years ago, King Solomon, in his book of proverbs said, “The thoughts of the righteous are just, but guidance from the wicked is deceitful.” (Proverbs 12:5)
When you listen and learn from the right people, your thoughts and actions will reflect their influence.
Make it a great day and keep being awesome.
Have you noticed on LinkedIn and at in-person networking events and meetings that people have a tendency to connect to you rather than with you?
What’s the difference?
Connection to someone is a surface activity where you seek to know what the person does for a living rather than learn their story which leads to an understanding of who the person is.
A question I ask when I first meet with someone is, “Tell me about your journey.”
That’s it! No more, no less.
The typical response is a question, “Are you talking about what I do now?” to which I answer, “No, I want to know about your life that brought you to where you are now.
In a recent Zoom meeting with a new LinkedIn connection, the initial question and response led to a journey that was fascinating and highlighted by lessons learned along the way.
The result of the conversation was two people who enjoyed each other’s company, not for what we do or can do for each other, but how we got to where we are, revealing wisdom and understanding.
This interaction reminded me of a story about the late, great NBA star, Bill Russell. At 6’9”, you can imagine he stood out in a crowd.
John Havlicek, one of Russell’s teammate recounted the story.
“Bill and I were standing in a hotel lobby when an older woman came up to Russell and asked, ‘Are you a basketball player?’
Russell answered, ‘No ma’am, I am not.’
After the woman walked away, Havlicek asked Russell why he answered that he was not a basketball player, to which Russell answered, ‘Because a basketball player is not who I am. It is what I do.’”
In Proverbs 13:20, Sol says, “The one who walks with the wise will become wise, but a companion of fools will suffer harm.”
Leaders recognize that wise counsel is not wrapped up in what a person does, but the story of the wisdom gained on the journey to where they are now.
Ask the right questions, make it a great day, and keep being awesome.
What is more important to you, growing revenues from the market you serve or reaching out to a new market that is completely opposite of your current core customer base?
Knowing your customers, what they want, and providing what they want are three imperative elements to building a profitable business and growing your brand.
Once you have identified the marketplace problem you solve and the customer base for whom you solve it, reaching that market and growing that base is important.
Let’s take a look at why retaining your customer base is so important:
-> Boosting customer retention by 5% increases profits by 25-95%.
-> Companies have a 60-70% chance of selling to an existing customer vs. a 5-20% chance of selling to a new customer.
-> 65% of a company’s business comes from existing customers.
-> It costs 6x to 7x more to acquire new customers than to retain existing ones.
-> A company’s top 10% of most loyal customers spend three times more per purchase than the other 90% of customers do.
So, the question of whether you really want new customers totally opposite of your base or focus on building sales within your base begs to be answered.
Of course, you need new customers. While new customers are needed and wanted, remember the benefits of keeping the existing customer while you seek new customers is vitally important.
A major beer brand lost sight of that in a recent campaign to capture a small percentage of the population while forsaking their core customer.
-> They made a business decision based on a political stance.
-> They didn’t understand the culture or values of their base versus those of the new customer being sought.
-> They failed to prepare properly for anticipating and handling unintended consequences
Good leaders ask questions that prevent self-made catastrophes while accepting responsibility for the mistake while seeking to resolve it.
Make it a great day and keep being awesome.
Brian Kennedy is an encourager who shepherds small business owners and entrepreneurs along the path of business success to preeminence by embracing time tested principles and executing the associated fundamentals daily.