Suspects, Prospects, Customers, Clients, and Partners

"Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher." - Oprah Winfrey

I group people with whom I do business into one of five categories. I am interested in all of them since you need all to succeed, but I am most interested in the last category because it’s not only the most profitable, it’s the most personally and professionally satisfying.

Suspects

These are people you suspect might like to do business with you. You identify them because of some factor: They may live in your local area, receive a certain magazine, or be on a list that might make them look like possible prospects. Online, they might frequent the same chat rooms and discussion boards you do.

The Best Advice I Ever Got in My Life…

“An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” - Ben Franklin

When I opened the first of my eventual four hundred karate schools in 1987, I was ignorant, clueless about every aspect of running a business. Most importantly, I didn’t know how to attract customers, nor did I know how to sell to them, even when they did show up. Consequently, my business struggled to do anything more than survive!

Right about this time, I was lucky enough to be given an audiotape by the great thinker Brian Tracy. I took his sage advice to heart. “If you invest in nothing else, invest 3 to 5 percent of your income in yourself. In your personal growth and commit to NEVER stop learning. Take the advice and shortcuts offered to you, by those who have gone before you and actually done what you seek to do.”

How to Get a Job!

I have never really had a real job, in fact the only two jobs I ever had before becoming self employed were that of waiter and bag boy at a golf club. Neither of these jobs took much skill or paid much. The chances of advancement were zero and yet it was still easy to be far better at either job than the many people I encountered in similar positions at the time.

The secret to my success in the four years I held these positions was simple. Never in four year as a bag boy or a waiter did I call in sick. Never at least in the case of the golf club where there was a definite time to be there everyday did I show up late. This made me very valuable to my employer because he knew he could always count on me which was rarely the case with the scores of other employees my own age who would use any possible excuse not to show up any time they felt like it!

There was one other thing I did that made a difference, I always even as a teenager tried to pro active. I looked for ways to help, to be of more value to my employer. This simple strategy works in any industry, for anybody and yet it is rarely used.

Life’s Three Great Income Multipliers

Beyond your immediate technical skills, life has three great multipliers. We can all commit some of our time to enhancing our skills, but which skills you choose to enhance will have dramatic effect on your income. Say what you like, Mrs. Dale, about the educational benefits of learning Latin, but I assure you it proved to be—as I suspected at the time—a total waste of one hour of my life, twice a week for three years while in high school!

There are three skills you should acquire or enhance, regardless of your profession or business. These skills have the potential to multiple your income by a factor far greater than any other skills you could possibly learn.

The three great income multipliers are:

  • speaking skills
  • copywriting skills
  • sales skills

Your ability to communicate your ideas and convert people to your cause through speaking and writing results in a sale of some kind. It may be financial, it may be an alliance, or it may be just getting an interview, but the X factor in your ability to do this more successfully than others results in an almost unimaginable difference in income—and therefore in lifestyle and wealth.

The three skills are all quite closely intertwined, as they all deal with your ability to communicate and generate action from others. Getting others to act in the way you want them to act, be it your employer, your employees, or your customers, is the key to all business success!

  • A typical golf coach makes about $50,000 a year.
  • Those who are good at sales make over $100,000 doing the exact same job!
  • Those who are good at all three will make $150,000, triple the average instructor—not because they are any better at teaching but because they are better at communicating (selling) their expertise!
  • Those who are really excellent at speaking, writing and sales like David Leadbetter or Dave Pelz make $8 to $10 million a year!

You can apply this formula to just about any industry or profession. A person with the ability to communicate his worth at a high level will get promoted faster, although his actual performance may be no better than his coworkers’.

Golf instructors, martial-arts instructors, and dance-school owners all have years of experience teaching their art. It’s no different for accountants, dentists, or chiropractors with years of experience perfecting a professional skill. Yet all will undoubtedly be paid far less than their talent and experience is worth if they are not also masters of sales and marketing!

Universal Law: The professionals with the best sales and marketing skills make the most money, not the professionals with the most talent in their chosen field.

No matter what your skills are in these areas right now, you can quickly and easily improve or hone them. These skills are the x-factor in just about every business or career. Once you have them, you can add financial management to the list.

Start enhancing your education in these three areas today, and multiply your income immediately!

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Consistency Breeds Confidence, Confidence Builds Brand

"A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well." -Jeff Bezos

One thing that many small business owners overlook in building their brand is the simple power of consistency. Obviously, consistency of quality and service are important, but there are many other factors, big and small, that must be consistent to build your brand.For example, a big consistency factor for restaurants is hours of operation. There

For example, a big consistency factor for restaurants is hours of operation. There are any number of restaurants in my area that close on Sunday. Some also close on Monday, especially in the summer (Florida’s downtime), and many are even more erratic in the times they open. Some close because they are small, owner-run businesses. Inconsistent closing policies are bad for a brand.

The Power of Problems

"Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning." - Bill Gates

Listen to other people’s problems because problems are often opportunities in disguise – especially the problems of the customers and clients you serve. In every problem there is an expression of a need. Needs can very often be translated into additional products and services for your business.

For example, many of my golf course clients in Florida were asking where on the Internet they could advertise their websites to golfers in the Northeast so they could persuade them to visit their courses in the winter. At the time there were no good options, so I created some by building an Atlantic City Golf portal, a New Jersey Golf portal, and others. This allowed me the opportunity not only to help my clients, but also to sell them ad space on my Northern sites to help them drive traffic back to their sites.