Most business owners follow a similar pattern, trying to beat their competitors with a faster service or larger discounts, but either way it’s a huge business expense that doesn’t drive behaviour. To a degree, it may be cost effective in the short-term to buy customers but it’s not inspiring and it doesn’t create loyalty.
People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it!!
To give you an example, why would you buy double-glazing from any company, it’s a very competitive industry with lots of competent companies. You are likely to commit yourself to making a purchase of several thousand pounds and need to leave a sizable deposit without knowing what the result will be like.
Most companies can offer a similar product, made to a similar standard and fitted just as well as their competitors. It becomes a sterile process of comparing prices, haggling for discounts and hoping as a consumer that you’ve made the right decision, it can become a matter of luck.
The inspired few companies out there don’t sell windows they tap directly into the emotional drivers that people want. They sell comfort and security; also they sell reliability and reassurance. These aren’t items on their price list, but are far more important to the end user than any sales pitch a keen representative can muster. People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it!! The focus should be, to match an emotional solution to an emotional problem, and for the end user to engage with the real reasons why you want to help them.
I believe that we tend to talk our way into a state of mind on a daily basis just by the language we use. We get sucked into our environment and start to absorb the tone of other people, whether it’s relevant to us or not. Associating ourselves with either positive or negative people will have an influence on our mind-set, but we don’t have to accept what is forced upon us, we can make a difference.
One thing that did have a huge impact on my life was to change the language I used. Rather than saying something was good, I changed to say it was great. Rather than saying my day was okay, I changed to say it was brilliant. Just by changing the emotive words to carry a stronger emotional attachment, made me believe that it was true. Because I engulfed myself in stronger more positive feelings my mood changed for the better.
Alternatively if you tell yourself that something is bad enough times you believe yourself. The subconscious part of the brain can’t rationalise language, it tends to believe what it is told and drives our behaviour accordingly. The conscious part of the brain allows logic, how we interpret and process facts, but it is also influenced by our feelings. Therefore by purposely using more positive words, you can lift your mood and your subconscious brain believes it to be true, creating better behaviours and responses.
Factually the situations going on around me hadn’t changed, but my perception towards what was happening had. My chores became challenges and life seemed a little brighter because I was in control of my language. When negative things happened, they never felt so bad and I could cope with them far better.
Try it the next time you speak to someone and they ask how your day is. Rather than saying that your day is okay, tell them with enthusiasm how brilliant it is and watch their reaction. Generally people will influence the behaviour of others around them, so the words you use can be the catalyst for something better for you and other people.
I often meet business professionals from various industries and I’m fascinated to find out more about their company. Usually I prompt them with a leading question, “So what makes you different from your competitors?” in the hope of receiving an inspired and enthusiastic response. Many times I’m presented with a list of their services and they expect me to be impressed.
I’ve found a percentage of people truly believe their “Unique Selling Point” is way ahead of their competitors and if that is true I would be sorely disappointed by the others following in their wake. What companies fail to recognise is the end users’ expectations and typically the trail blazers only match what the client expects. As a society we have become accepting of poor service as the norm and accept the excuses which are readily provided, as long as it’s cheap enough.
I recently spoke to a firm of solicitors who were proud of their personal service, their prompt responses and their success rate. When challenged “what makes them different”they were confident that they excelled in their industry, but as an end user I would expect these as a minimum starting point.
As a consumer we all end up choosing where to spend our hard earned cash, but our choices generally come down to a sterile process of who can supply a product or service“faster, better or cheaper” and we just accept all the shortfalls that go with the transaction. Usually these cost the company’s bottom line and often the suppler gets squeezed out of the market by decreasing profit margins because their ethos is money driven.
Surely the inspired companies that will win the business and stand the test of time are the ones that do genuinely exceed the customers’ expectations by adding value to the transaction rather than discounting their shortfalls. I believe that creating customer "buy in"is never about money but more so about how you are different.
We have all been ingrained to chase after goals, as this appears to be a measure of our success. Often we fail because we are chasing after the wrong things and feel let down by the process.
How do you feel when you miss out?
Imagine your goal as if you were baking a cake. The plan is to go shopping for the ingredients, the strategy is how you blend them all together and delivery is putting the mixture into the oven. If you’ve managed to complete the process, “hurray” you have made a cake. But, you’ve merely created a result not a reward, which isn’t very inspiring, most motivated people can follow a similar process. Regardless of whether the cake turns out to be a technical success or a culinary failure, you have still achieved your aim to bake a cake.
So do you leave your results to chance and accept meritocracy or do you want to aspire to something that bigger than that? Think about your baking creation and how it makes you feel, the smell of the sweet ingredients, the perfect appearance of the fluffy masterpiece and the pride you feel when you know that it’s turned out really well. You can now understand “what’s in it for you” that feeling behind the task, the emotions that create a burning desire to excel.
Now focus on how others salivate over your masterpiece, rave over your achievements and aspire to bake a creation worthy to compete; now you are starting to create a legacy. You will be known as the person who encouraged them to cook and be remembered for how you make them feel when they have a baking success just like yours, that’s “what’s in it for them”.
In essence, a sterile process doesn’t drive behaviour whereas positive emotions do. By focusing on the emotional rewards rather than just the end result, you will turbo-charge your successes and receive a far greater level of satisfaction.
A successful business colleague of mine always had a smile on his face. He was relaxed and happy with a spring in his step. He walked with his head held high displaying quiet confidence. His aura was fantastic for a man in his late sixties. I asked him how he managed it. He said that he didn’t boast about his successes or cry about his losses, he just made sure every day was a good day.
Although he was never a man to stand out from the crowd, he was a genuinely nice guy that became very wealthy from his successes. He had such a confidence about him that he didn’t have to boast his achievements or broadcast his future plans, he took every day as it come and just enjoyed the moment.
I understood that I could get results I so desperately wanted right now, if I focused on “the now” rather than worrying about tomorrow. I couldn’t influence tomorrow when today wasn’t the best it could be. I needed to focus on, my experience of today, because this moment “NOW” is the only true experience I will ever have. I found that making today a good day, then tomorrow an even better day, then next week even better, was the formulate for achieving results that lasted.
I spent too much time trying to perfect my future when my present wasn’t as good as it needed to be. So try it for yourself, changing just one element in your day today and see the rippling effect that it will have tomorrow. Create the foundations everyday for a better day tomorrow, then the day after.
For many years I had asked myself one question, which I could never answer. It was three words and eight letters, so simple to ask but for me a nightmare to answer, the question was “Is this it?” I was never satisfied I always wanted more.
My character forced me to push forward my in life, striving to be the best version that I could be. I placed huge amounts of pressure on myself to succeed, often feeling frustrated and let down, when things weren’t progressing as quickly as I had hoped. Many times outside influences would create obstacles and hamper my progress. I never took time to reflect whether I was content with what I had and where I was going, I was living my life at 100mph and focusing on the Holy Grail. It wasn’t until I began to accept that nothing in life is totally satisfactory, that nothing in life is perfect and that nothing in life is permanent, that I started to gain clarity.
When I realised the only guarantee in life is “Change” I started to accept the way things were at that moment in time, nothing remains the same. There are so many outside forces that can knock you off track, that even if you don’t want to change your life, your life will get changed for you. Also, there are so many positive influences that can give you a lucky break when you least expect it.
I changed my own question from “Is this it?” to “Is this enough for now?” and took the pressure off myself. I realised that I was striving for a perfect me in an imperfect world. Even if I hadn’t achieved what I wanted to, there was always another day to get there. Although we can influence how our life turns out, we have to question how much ultimate control we have on our destiny and whether we choose to accept how things are at any particular time.
Typically we are all social creatures that want to be accepted by society in general. Often we strive for approval through popularity and yearn for the need to be liked, but is this a true measure of our worth?
Although it is nice to be liked it is not essential in shaping the person that you are. Whether you are liked or loathed, it isn’t your responsibility to chase after someone else’s opinion of you. Whatever you do will be judged by them regardless of how you do it, therefore their perception of you is formed without your control. Some people may be drawn to you for personality or appearance whereas other people may be repelled by it, but you can’t change that. It is an impossible task to be all things for all people, but often that is what we try to achieve. When we don’t get the response we crave for, we feel let down and rejected.
Surely it is more important to be respected for your influence and ability which are more tangible aspects of your personality rather than someone’s personal opinion about you. Forthright people such as Alan Sugar may not be your choice of social company but there will be an element of respect for what he has achieved.
Toxic relationships of any kind can slip under our radar and go unnoticed until we become consumed and suffocated by them. They creep up on you like silent assassins and often take hold of our well-being long before we notice. The same applies to our comfort zone and often we don’t realise how painful a situation is until it’s already too late. It becomes more difficult to change as we have already formed an attachment, so we try to justify the discomfort as being acceptable.
If you were to place a frog in a saucepan of boiling water, it would instantly feel pain and hop straight out. It knows that it’s a harmful environment to be in and takes instant action to survive.
If you were to place a frog in a saucepan of cold water it would feel safe and comfortable. Then turning up the heat slowing would go unnoticed by the creature inside. Eventually the water would reach boiling point and the frog would die without realising the danger.
Often we engulf ourselves in situations, which may suit us initially, but when we out grow them they become more harmful that good. If we are mindful enough to recognise the signs we are the lucky ones, but often we go passed the point of no return and struggle to let go of the poisonous scenario. It would be interesting to look at your own situations and decide at what point you need to change, before the pain becomes unbearable.
Knowingly or not, he orchestrated my childhood memories by creating various personas that the masses wanted to copy. He created role models that people could aspire to be, it help them escape their mundane existence. This was never a physical transformation but he did create emotionally satisfaction thus he will be remembered for the way he made people feel.
People wanted to be just like him, copying his dress, his makeup but also his dreams. They wanted to own his success for themselves and they strived for people to follow them, in the way they followed him. He created a lifestyle for others to aspire to and his music was just a tool to get there.
I believe that the memory of a feeling is far more powerful that what someone gives you. Dave Bowie was an artist just like many others, but what made him so special was how he constantly reinvented himself to appeal in a fresh and exciting way. He gave a message that if you reach your pinnacle and accepted the prize, you could still invent a new summit to chase. He inspired a nation to explore an emotional journey which I applaud.
Have you reached the top of your career or personal ladder and are now wondering what happens next?
Your inner most thoughts, doubts and passions tend to get shared with your circle of family and friends, but they may not be the right people to champion your cause. They may not be the objective people that you need to help you make your dream happen.
Whether you are the Managing Director of a company or the latest apprentice you can feel lonely at your individual pinnacle. You can even feel lonely in a crowded room or in a loving relationship if something is bothering you, something that you can’t share. If left unattended the problem can fester and escalate until it controls you rather than you controlling the problem.
Often we reach an impasse when challenging words or challenging thoughts stand between us and the next goal.
Typically people use me as a confidential sounding board to either share what is bothering them or to help them plan the future. I help clients to have the difficult conversations either with themselves or other people and create an understanding of what needs to be said.
In the pursuit of a goal, your inner critic can sometimes hamper your progress far more than any physical barrier and often you can feel irrational talking to your nearest and dearest, so finding someone to offload your concerns can be an added burden. Finding someone to share your enthusiasm and determination can be even harder.
When a company is created the motivation is most commonly financial, but as the company grows it always means something more than that, it becomes emotional. How would you feel in 30 years time when you sell your business and the new owner dissects the company and ruins your reputation, would you be distraught?
Many people would like to leave a legacy, their mark on this world.
Creating a suitable successor to your vision or your work can sometimes be left to chance, but the inspired few take proactive steps to develop a sustainable legacy. Again it can feel “lonely at the top” being in conflict with your logical and emotional thoughts. This is where I can help my clients to gain clarity and find ways to pass on their life’s vision and create a legacy in their own life time.
Everyone’s plans and aspirations can create a legacy that makes others remember you, whether that’s for commercial or personal reasons, so why leave it to chance?