Think about breaking out of the conventional approach you’ve been taking in as many different areas of your business or career as possible. Break your activities into as many subactivities as you can. Each one can be targeted for one or more breakthroughs. Imagine what it will be like when your mind is thinking about overlooked opportunities as fresh possibilities in each activity you do. Make a list of outside sources of information about other industries’ business practices you could plug into.
Identify both your biggest and easiest existing breakthrough opportunities. Try to come up with thirty breakthrough ideas in thirty minutes for thirty different areas of your business or career. Next, try to identify twenty overlooked opportunities that your business or job is sitting on. Come up with ten possibilities you could test that, if successful, would result in a major breakthrough. Make a list (and keep adding to it) of as many breakthroughs as you can identify that other industries have produced. Finally, start applying the mind-set you’re now developing to the subject matter of each chapter you are about to read.
How Can You Go Forward If You Don’t Know Which Way You’re Facing?
You can’t make the best decisions, pursue the best strategy, or focus on a big goal until you first recognize and evaluate all the options, opportunities, and business intelligence you have available to you. So, identify what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong. What you could be doing better, differently, more effectively, and more profitably. And what you know, but don’t act upon.
You can’t know what area of your career or business to focus on and improve until you know the realities of these areas.
Your Business Soul—the Strategy of Preeminence
Think about the different people you deal with, sell your products or services to, buy from, and work with. Think about them one at a time. Then focus on what that person’s real need in dealing with you is. What results are they truly after? What’s the impact your action, product, service, or function has on their career, job, future, wellbeing, etc.? How have you impacted their quality of life in the past? What has it meant in terms of their business or personal success? How much more could you do to improve your impact on that result? Think about their hopes, dreams, fears, interests, families, goals, and dependency or trust in you.
Realize these people are all your friends. Trusted and trusting friends. You’ve built a deep connection with them. Find something about them you can get even more enthusiastic and excited about. Then try a little test. Let your renewed passion and purpose work for you and them. Connect (in person, by letter, E-mail, or fax) more compassionately, respectfully, and loyally to that person. Then see what a dramatic difference it makes in the way they respond to you.
Break Even Today, Break the Bank Tomorrow
Make a list of every product or service you or your company sells. Then figure out how you can lower the resistance barrier to a prospective client, employer, or prospect by lowering the entrance fee you ask. Remember, focus attention on the fact that where you begin has nothing to do with where you end up. A new client first coming in for a lower-priced starter offer will turn into a client who buys over and over at full margin. Likewise, an employer who promotes you to a higher position (or a new employer who hires you) but will pay you only your previous salary for the first thirty or sixty or ninety days is the same employer who will probably agree to pay you 30 or 50 or 100 percent more in the long term. But before you get that 30 or 50 or 100 percent salary increase, you have to get in the door.
Try it out in a small, safe test approach first. You might offer to do a project for your current employer or work in a new position for three months with no raise. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how many people take you up on your proposition. If you use the logical strategy of lowering the barrier of entry to get started in a relationship, it will produce significant business and career results.
Make ’Em an Offer They Can’t Refuse
Look at your business, products, services, or employment skills and talents. Make a complete list of every obstacle to your clients or employers that might prevent them from purchasing, dealing with, or choosing you over your competition.
Break them into the following categories:
- Financial reasons: the initial cost or expense of choosing you. And the potential financial loss if the transaction doesn’t work out.
- Emotional reasons: how bad the client or employer would look or feel if his purchase or commitment to you fails to perform.
- Measurability reasons: Can it be measured and evaluated to show the tangible impact you or your offering could or should have on the client’s life, business, or career?
Ask yourself what the real downside is in offering the client that product or service or your own employment services on a risk-free basis. Or even a better-than-risk-free basis.
Look at your product, service, or personal performance history to see how many people have been dissatisfied, asked for a refund, cancelled, or complained. If the number is low or nonexistent, that means a high risk reversal would do wonders for you. If you have a high incidence of problems or dissatisfaction, it means either you promised too much or your product or services are inferior and need quality attention.
If you provide and deliver true quality and value that can be appreciated, perceived, and understood, don’t be afraid to offer risk reversal. Try it out with a few prospects or clients. Or ask one salesperson to try it for a day or week or in one market to see how much better clients respond before you incorporate it continually or systemwide.
How to Never Fall off a Cliff
Make a list of all the major elements or variables in your business or career activities that produce measurable results. Include all regular situations where persuasion or influence are important to your success. For example, sales presentations, board presentations, setting phone agreements, advertising, catalogs, sales letters, E-mail, faxes, the conduct and attitude of your order department, client services, technical support, accounts receivable, etc.
Next, identify the key transitional elements in each of those activities (i.e., headlines, presentation openings, sales, closes, USPs, etc.).
Then come up with at least two alternative ways or approaches to those activities. Create at least two different ways to say or communicate your “message”: different pricing strategies, different positionings, different presentations, etc.
Then conservatively and modestly test these different approaches against your current control approach.
You’ll be surprised at how many of your new tests outperform your old standards.
Find every process in your business or career that could be improved and focus on making small incremental or large exponential improvements in each process. If you do that, the combined effect will be dramatic and geometric.
Your Ten-Thousand-Person Sales Department
Make a complete list of every business contact you make—in person; by phone; when people call you, your order department, or your client-service or technical people; accounts payable and receivable; etc. Each is a perfect opportunity to add one or a series of direct-mail letters to the sales process you currently use.
Then list every critical situation or opportunity in your business where a preceding or follow-up direct-mail or direct-response letter could result in a more positive outcome.
Next, remember that continuous contact and communication with the client has been proven to have a significant positive impact on order size, frequency of purchase, loyalty of clients, referrals generated, etc.
Now rank your various lists on a priority and frequency-of-occurrence basis. Once you’ve done that, start writing some powerful, purposeful, and profitable letters. If you don’t have the time or talent, find a salesperson in your organization who can write. Or sit down with someone you respect and just naturally talk out what you’d like to say to someone—a spontaneous flow of thoughts from your heart. Record this conversation and then transcribe the session. You’ll be surprised at what a good letter you’ve created once it’s edited.
Once you’re focused, and some letters are written, try them out in small test-run quantities or applications and see what a difference it makes.
Also, the same applies in career situations when you need to impact someone in another department, in upper management, or a board member. It applies to civic activities and community work as well.
Fish Where the Big Fish Are
Sit down with your client files and salespeople (if you have them) and make certain you have a complete, comprehensive list of all your clients.
Separate your clients by their various buying patterns or interests. Determine which clients buy what category of products or services and which ones buy larger units of sale and buy more frequently. Identify people or businesses that purchase more of specific categories of products and services or far more specialized applications.
Note if there are similarities among various buying groups that point to opportunity trends. For example, if you discover that your biggest buyers are all doctors, or chemical manufacturers, you’d be able to target more of these groups as primary prospects.
See if there are geographical trends, demographic indications, or general age, family, business type and/or size factors that correlate to specific buying patterns.
When you recognize what these patterns are, you can use that knowledge to fashion propositions geared more to that segment.
It only makes sense that you’d want to deal differently and spend more time or communicate more extensively with clients who buy more and buy more often than ones who don’t. Yet few businesses do this. The only way you can start is by finding them, then acting on the information you’re sitting on.
Once you start analyzing and interpreting your data, it will lead you to significant opportunities. Because now you can start targeting precise lists of the highest probability and viability prospects—people or businesses who most mirror the patterns and characteristics of the clients you already serve. Don’t forget to include the Internet and Email in any strategy and action plan you develop.
Your Never-Ending Success
career grows and evolves, these strategies continue to work. You’ll find new ways to use them, new applications for them. The only limit to your income is how much you believe is enough. Don’t lower a false ceiling on what is truly possible for you, your company, or clients. Think of these strategies as you would water—allow them to constantly flow freely and let them seek their own level of success, which will frequently be far higher and richer than you’d normally take them to.
When you start applying these strategies, your business or career will improve. There’s absolutely no question of that. Look into the future. Plan ahead.
Will you need more inventory? Will you need to add more staff? Will you be able to fill more orders with your current distribution system? Think these things through so when improvement happens you are prepared to handle it.
Be prepared for more clients, raises, or promotions, and a much, much better life.
You Are Richer than You Think
You have to figure out who it is you are and what it is you want. That’s critical because most people don’t have a clue of where they’re going in life and what they want life to give them. Any success, any fulfillment, any joy, any prosperity, any goodness, they get is almost accidental.
Life has the capacity to give you, in your career or business, and especially in your personal life, everything you ever want and then some. Multiples of that, in fact. But you can’t have any of it if you don’t know where you are going. And what you want out of the experience. You need to ask, “Who am I? What do I want? What makes me happy? What doesn’t? Where is my strength, where is my weakness? Where can I make the greatest contribution in my life, in my job, in my business, in my relationships?”
To some people, money making may be a real thrill. You may only want to make enough money to have the time to enjoy it. You may not care about material things. Other people may want all the material things. I am not passing judgment. What I’m saying is you can’t have what you want until you first know what it is. And you can’t know what it is until you really first realize what success means to you.
Your first priority is to identify what you want and then make sure you take the path that’s going to give you that. There’s nothing sadder than to see someone get to be seventy-five or eighty years old and look back regrettably because they pursued the wrong target.
You want every day to be a day of joy and enrichment that advances you to the maximum along the success path you want to pursue. On whatever you define as enjoyment and enrichment.