<![CDATA[Create To Be Great: Coaching and Speaking - cr82bgr8 Blog]]>Mon, 07 Mar 2016 22:17:55 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Stop Doing What's Not Working]]>Thu, 26 Feb 2015 20:50:35 GMThttp://www.create2bgreat.com/cr82bgr8-blog/stop-doing-whats-not-working]]><![CDATA[5 Smart Ways to Grow Your Business]]>Mon, 20 Oct 2014 17:44:28 GMThttp://www.create2bgreat.com/cr82bgr8-blog/5-smart-ways-to-grow-your-businessThe 5 Smart Ways to Grow Your Business

How do you step up and begin moving your business to better results? Well first of all you need to make some changes. That means taking a couple steps to the edge of your comfort zone and sometimes going right out there to the edge. Growth requires change. That’s why it’s called growth. 

Number One.  You need to spend more time on money making activities. If you’re not prospecting, contacting, meeting with clients or creating sales opportunities, you are not going to get more sales.  Set an alarm on your smartphone to go off at random times throughout the day and make a note of what you are doing at that moment. Is it the $100.00 per hour work or the $10.00 per hour work?  What you are doing will determine how much you’re going to make.

Number Two.  Move your least profitable accounts to others. If you have sales people or a sales assistant, reassign the bottom of our account list to them. This can be the most effective way for you to grow. Those accounts will get better service from someone else and you’ll be able to spend your time on your most profitable accounts and your big hairy audacious dream account list. 

Number Three.  Prospect for bigger fish. You do have big, hairy, audacious dream accounts, don’t you? In my career, I was able to work with huge accounts because I was either brave enough or stupid enough to call on them, to research them, to provide ideas for them. One major account took me nineteen years to land but it became a seven figure per year account for me. I believe you should have ten big dreams that you are working on at all times.

Number Four.  Create a STOP DOING LIST!  Everyone likes to brag about their long to-do lists. Having a Stop-Doing-List can be much more profitable. You need to stop doing the things that are not paying off. Activity may make you feel better but unless it’s getting profitable results for you, it’s time to stop it now. See number one above.

Number Five. Increase your average order size.  If you’ve moved your accounts that are doing small orders to others and you’ve begun prospecting for bigger fish, you have a good start on this. Become a specialist in higher end and higher ticket items. Sell programs and sell into programs such as wellness, trade shows and other areas where you can get bigger orders. It takes the same amount of overhead, same amount of effort and the same amount of time to sell a small order as it does a giant sized one. Make it worth your while.

If you follow these five steps, you’ll be setting yourself up to grow. But you need to stay disciplined, you need to risk turning over small accounts so that you have time to develop bigger ones and you need the courage to go after your dreams.

Dream Big.

<![CDATA[Amazing!]]>Mon, 07 Jul 2014 17:08:46 GMThttp://www.create2bgreat.com/cr82bgr8-blog/amazingWhat will it take to get to Amazing?

Many promotional products professionals are really getting beat up on price and see the industry’s products as becoming commodities.  Many people tell me that their customers are demanding them to match or beat impossibly low prices. What is happening out there?

The answers lie in the fact that if you are not growing, you’re dying. It’s brutal, but true. Buyers assume that you will give them quality, service and a low price. The assumption is that you will deliver goods as pictured or promised on time done right. This is the first level of a transaction based sale between a buyer and a seller.

When you raise your performance and give more, you gain a happy customer who expects that you will perform and provide them with peace of mind. Your customer expects and trusts you to make them look good.

What if you can get your client to be impressed?  What would you have to do to impress them? Perhaps you’ve anticipated their need. You may have researched their market position and brand and created some really custom, personalized and “wow-worthy” design. Your client is impressed. They will tell others.

But if you want to move to the fourth level of customer experience?  What will it take to amaze your client and seal your partnership? If you want to be an integral part of your client’s business, to be the go-to resource and problem solver — you need to be nothing short of amazing.  Amazing is hard work. Not everyone can be amazing. Can you?  

These are the four levels of customer service.  

  1. Your buyers assume that you will deliver.
  2. Your customers develop expectations of how you will deliver.
  3. Your clients are impressed with your professional service.
  4. Your loyal clients are amazed by what you do, how you do it and just how good you are.  

Here’s the thing. What customers are amazed by today will just impress them tomorrow and by next week they’ll expect it and by next month, it will be assumed.

Creating value and being the best is a journey. You need to get up every morning and ask yourself. “How Can I Be Amazing?”

<![CDATA[Feeling the Brand]]>Tue, 10 Jun 2014 14:37:18 GMThttp://www.create2bgreat.com/cr82bgr8-blog/feeling-the-brand1Without People, Brands have No Meaning.

Brands are so much more than a mark, a color or a familiar phrase.  Brands are the combination of all of the sensory messages that they consistently send and the emotions and memories the audience receives.  Because of this, brands not only derive meaning from people, but people derive meaning from brands. Because of this engagement phenomenon, brands are built over time but can be destroyed in an instant.   

This is why is it critically important to realize that branding is all about people.  And it begins at the inside of an organization.  In his best-selling book, A Whole New Mind, Daniel H. Pink describes the shift taking place from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age.  A major component of this paradigm shift is the new importance of meaning in business and in all aspects of our lives.  In addition to explaining the traction that the environmental movement has rather quickly generated, the importance of meaning further explains why corporate social responsibility has become a top issue in executive suites around the world.  And this is why branding takes place from the inside out.

A more holistic approach to business is taking place.  Integral business or conscious business is focusing more on the building value through getting in touch with people and the unique human values that they bring.  Maya Angelou’s famous quotation, “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” has relevance to building brands today.  Whether it is how your employees make them feel, how you make your employees feel or in the type of messages that your brand delivers — marketers need to be taking a holistic or integral approach that connects people in meaningful ways. 

Remember to sell emotions. Sell meaning. Ask your clients how they want the recipient to feel. You’ll make better recommendations. You’ll make better sales. You’ll build stronger and more lasting, loyal relationships.

<![CDATA[5 Reasons You’re Not Growing]]>Tue, 27 May 2014 22:30:55 GMThttp://www.create2bgreat.com/cr82bgr8-blog/5-reasons-youre-not-growingAre you over the recession excuse yet?  If you’re still waiting for the old pre-2008 days, you’ll be waiting a long time. Welcome to the new normal.  It’s time for you to let go of the past and get going again.  There is a market of around $20 Billion Dollars for what you’ve got to sell. Most of us would be very happy with just a few crumbs from that table. So what’s holding you back?
  1. You’re waiting for something. Stop waiting and start creating! If anything was possible, what would you do?  What accounts do you want? Go out and create something great for them. Learn their business and work to solve their problems.
  2. You’re trying to make sales instead of creating relationships. Every buyer is a person. A person with the same needs as everyone else in this world. They are seeking solutions for problems at work. They want to look good to their bosses. They want to make their company a hero to their customers. They want to have fun. They want to deal with fun people who are competent and confident. Start treating sales as a relationship building process. It’s fun and it pays off with loyal customers and lasting friendships.
  3. You think good is good enough. If you’re not working to be the best — and I mean the very best — you don’t deserve high margins or loyal customers. That’s right. You need to earn it. You need to be great every single time. It may not seem fair, but you’re only as good as your current project. In every project — go for the WOW factor.
  4. You’ll take any job and do anything. Instead of becoming very very good at a particular niche, you use the Chinese Restaurant menu approach to the business. In case you haven’t noticed, the great restaurants have a limited menu and they do those things very well. Specialists always make more than generalists. Experts don’t get shopped for price.
  5. You don’t work to be distinctive. You’re selling the same stuff from the same sources in the same way to the same people. That my friend, is the definition of a commodity. Any buyer who does not shop a commodity for the lowest price is not doing their job. You must be different. You must be distinctive. You must break out and stand out.

Get going and get growing. Write the happy ending to your story. Actively pursue your dream accounts and figure out ways to create value for your unique services. Treat your job as a relationship builder, a trust builder and a problem solver. Never settle for good. Be great. Specialize. Don’t just be a little different. Be distinctive.

<![CDATA[This One Thing.]]>Tue, 13 May 2014 12:24:59 GMThttp://www.create2bgreat.com/cr82bgr8-blog/this-one-thingMake this world a better place. Make this industry a better place. Make your home a better place. You can do it. Starting with you. 

A few years ago, I lived in downtown Chicago and joined Michigan Avenue Toastmasters. This was a diverse group of interesting people all dedicated to becoming better speakers and helping each other elevate their skills.  I took the #3 Bus up to the Magnificent Mile and cut through Water Tower Place to the Hotel Seneca every Tuesday evening. It was exciting, inspiring and motivating.  When I moved to Grand Rapids, I joined a Tuesday night Toastmasters Club that met at the same time but in a retirement home and with a handful of people and very little of the energy or excitement to which I was accustomed. When I whined about this to one of my Chicago friends, he replied, “Well, it sounds like you’ve got your work cut out for you.”  

What incredible advice!  It echoed the sentiment of Mahatma Gandhi who said, “You must be the change that you want to see in the world.”  We spend so much time fretting, worrying, complaining about things we don’t like. Instead, do the one or two small things that you can that will make a difference. 

We have unlimited power to allow ourselves to create beauty, love and art in the way that we live. You can be that creative force by doing one thing — BE YOU NOW.

Your gift is to be yourself — fully, fantastically and consciously — in this moment. Of course, you must love yourself to share yourself. 

You have everything that you need in this moment. So why should you worry? Worry is a fantasyland that you’ve made up and are suffering in even though it does not exist. If you believe that you know the future, life has not yet taught you just how quickly your life can change. You can believe in now. Indeed, it is the reality that there is and it is perfect.

The past is just as fabled. It is gone. It’s yesterday’s wind. Living with regrets, or worse, living with grudges, resentments or hatred over past events diminishes you and causes suffering.  Let go of the negativity from past events and discover the grace of forgiveness. It is something you do for yourself, not for the object of your negativity

We get to choose our thoughts. We get to choose our attitudes. Choose wisely.

Learn to love and to live with the awesome power that love gives you.  Fear is the opposite of love and fear is learned. Marianne Williamson said, “Love is what we are born with. Fear is what we learn. Love is the essential reality and our purpose on earth. To be consciously aware of it, to experience love in ourselves and others, is the meaning of life Meaning does not lie in things. Meaning lies in us.”

If you don’t love what you do, why are you doing it? You only get to go around once in this life, so make sure you’re doing it right. There is no dress rehearsal. This is it. You can create a better world, a better industry, a better company, a better family, a better you. Choose to create beautiful moments through your every interaction, your every choice.

<![CDATA[Two Ways To Find Your Why]]>Tue, 29 Apr 2014 13:07:12 GMThttp://www.create2bgreat.com/cr82bgr8-blog/two-ways-to-find-your-whyDo you know your “why?” Why are you doing what you are doing? Please don’t tell me to make money. Money is a result of what you are doing, it is not the why. Your “why” is your purpose. When you find your purpose and live it, you discover meaning and you get to do what you love. When you do what you love, you never have to work a day in your life.

When you find your passion and your purpose and live out your “why”, your work becomes a labor of love. Work is what we do by the hour, while Labor sets its own pace.  Living out your mission, you tap into a creative stream that allows you flow — an intense focus and crisp sense of clarity that others notice.  Simon Sinek has a TED video with more than 12.6 million views on YouTube in which he explains the importance of finding your “why”.  He points out that “people don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.”  

What is your cause? What are your beliefs that drive you and get you out of bed every morning? Why should anyone care? Most of us can explain what we do. Most of us can explain how we do what we do. But can you articulate your “why”?  Are you passionate about solving problems? Are you driven by continuous improvement? Does helping others succeed drive you? Are you trying to make the industry more professional? Do you love being part of the creative process and watching an idea germinate, blossom and flourish?  Find YOUR Why and live it courageously. Steve Jobs said, “the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. Don’t settle.”

It is your responsibility to discover your “why”. Once discovered, center your life on it and allow it to flood meaning into your life goals and daily activities and become an everyday source of integrity and pride. Your purpose should be rooted in love, not fear; aligned with your fundamentals, your passions and desires; something that moves you emotionally and not just mentally; be energizing and nourishing; inspiring and worth building a life around.

Here are two ways to help you find your “why”.
  1. You’ll find it inside. You already know the answer, but you will find it close. So step back and look inward and then trust your gut. Let go of self-interest and control and reflect with honesty on your values, your beliefs and the things that matter most to you. Ask yourself if your life serves something of value in itself and not just what you think you can get from it. If you can direct your energies in the service of creating a greater good, it will return to you. Allow yourself to have moments of “awe” that put you into the moment. Watch the leaves change color and drift to the ground. Stare at the fire and smell the smoke and hear the pops and crackles. (Hopefully around a campfire or fire pit). Get up and watch the sunrise and see how the colors of the world change and hear the birds greet the new day. And then, listen. To yourself. The answer is inside of you.
Be for the sake of being. Love for the sake of loving. Give for the sake of giving. Trust the world to give it back to you. It always does. It’s the law. The law of the universe. Pursue your purpose with a sense of service to it. When you keep your self-interest at bay, you’re able to find your true purpose.

     2.  You’ll find it by working at finding it.  Steve Pavlina suggests that anyone can do it in about twenty minutes. Begin with an open mind and a commitment to work at it until you get there.  On a blank piece of paper or a new document file if you’re more of a computer person, write “what is my true purpose in life?” Write the first answer that pops into your head. Now repeat that with each new answer that you think of. When you get to the one that makes you cry, you have found it. It could take you one hundred, two hundred or even a thousand answers but when you hit one that hits every emotional nerve in your body, you will have found it.

Will finding your “why” help your business? It will if you make the decision to live it, love it and be it. 
<![CDATA[3 Free Power Words You Should Use Now]]>Wed, 16 Apr 2014 12:58:59 GMThttp://www.create2bgreat.com/cr82bgr8-blog/3-free-power-words-you-should-use-nowYou are a marketer and you are a sales professional. If that is a true statement then you use words to market and to sell.  Words have power and you need to use them properly. Weak words equal weak results. Powerful words create powerful results. Choose your words carefully whether spoken or written. Here are three that you should use and use to their full effect.

  1. YOU. Everyone cares most about themselves. They care about their life, their job, their problems and their reputation. Make everything you do in sales or marketing about them. Take a look at your elevator speech, your pre-approach letters, your website, your brochures.  Rewrite everything and remove the “I”s and the “we”s and replace them with you and your.  Make it about them. YOU will see better results.
  2. NOW.  Create a sense of urgency. A related word, “Urgent” is powerful as well. Make your message relevant in this moment. Make your solutions active in the present. People want action now, not empty promises for something in the future. People hate to miss out and NOW and Urgent create a sense of a limited time offer. Everyone is wired to care more about losing things than gaining them.  “Instantly” is another cousin in this family of creating the sense of immediacy. We live in a world of instant gratification. Creating a sense of urgency NOW will create action.
  3. FREE.  The number one word in advertising and sales and I so wanted to leave it off this list.  But how can I leave it off? Everyone wants something for free.  It’s a powerful word that will grab your customer’s attention every time. It can even change their buying habits. It never loses its power.  It’s also very relevant to what we sell in the promotional products world. We create FREE offers for our clients, thus empowering them to use the most powerful word in all of sales and marketing. Do not assume that your customers already know this. Show them how they can use the power of FREE by offering a promotional products to reward a new customer, to create loyalty among existing customers, to draw traffic to their business or their trade show booth, to get people to sign up for their newsletter or opt-in to their email or any number of great objectives.  You may even want to offer them something for Free for ordering from you.
<![CDATA[Four Rules For Living Now.]]>Wed, 02 Apr 2014 12:06:55 GMThttp://www.create2bgreat.com/cr82bgr8-blog/four-rules-for-living-nowThere was a day when my world fell apart. Exploded or imploded might be a more accurate way to put that. A series of events beginning with the death of a best friend, the end of an important professional chapter, the start-up of a new chapter, the suicide of a business partner and then, the end of a thirty-three year relationship.  The last event came unexpectedly and suddenly and I was on the floor, my legs wouldn’t hold me anymore. Fortunately, the man I called was calm with the most profound and important piece of advice. “This is a defining moment, Paul,” he said. “What you decide to do with the moment will define who you are and who you become.”  

My journey from that moment became one of self-discovery and one of a strong commitment to certain values that would become my rules. I made commitments to make certain things happen and for certain outcomes that were important to me. Yes, my faith was important to me as I recognized certain things such as my friend’s advice that I can only describe as “grace.”  The “grace” of forgiveness was another discovery. I also discovered Eckhart Tolle whose “A New Earth” helped to understand my new consciousness. Byron Katie’s “Loving What Is” helped me to not just accept but to love everything life brings and to question my thoughts to cleanse away any negativity.  Another teacher who came to me was Don Miguel Ruiz who described “The Four Agreements.”  For me these have become Four Rules for Living Now and In the Now.
  1. Be Impeccable With Your Word. This is more than be truthful or honest or a person of integrity. It means to recognize that your words have power. They have the power to build up or to destroy. Choose your words carefully.  Be especially careful with your words to yourself.  Many of talk to ourselves in ways that we would never permit another person to talk to us. Start listening and start making yourself become not just honest, but impeccable, with your words. Make sure your words build up and create and are brimming with positivity and possibility.  To be impeccable means there is no margin of mistruth allowed. Always be one hundred percent truthful and positive.
  2. Don’t Take Anything Personally. Oh, my goodness!  How much time we spend thinking that life and others are directing their actions toward us!  If we only knew how little others are thinking about us, we would be nearly as concerned about what they think of us.  People act in their own best self interest. If you perceive the actions of others as being directed against you personally, you’re most likely wrong and you’re not being impeccable with your words. If your client steals your idea and gives your quote directly to another competitor, its not about you. It is about them. It is a reflection of them, not you. Don’t take anything from life or others as being directed at you. Live your life and be clear about who you are. It will serve you well.
  3. Don’t Make Assumptions. One of the biggest lies we can tell ourselves is that we know the motivations of others. You can never know what another person is thinking, what they are living, or the events in their life that are motivating them. Perhaps that is why Jesus recommended that we don’t judge others and that when we do judge others we are passing judgement on ourselves.  As you may be able to see, if we are impeccable with our word, we are less likely to take things personally and when we don’t take things personally, we’re less likely to make assumptions.  One of the oldest lessons we learn is how to break about the word: Ass-u-me. I believe the phrase is something about when we assume, we make a donkey out of your and me.  When you hear yourself making assumptions, stop immediately. That’s all there is to it. Simply don’t allow it.
  4. Always Do Your Best. It’s easy to coast through life and get by on good enough. You’re really denying yourself the best life you can have when you do. Always do your best. This also requires continuous monitoring or your self talk and your efforts. When you always do your best, you live free of regrets and you live with the confidence that you’re putting forth your best self possible.  When you are impeccable with your word, you realize that sometimes your best really sucks and other times your best is world class. If you’re sick or experienced a loss in your life, your best that day may not be so great. That’s okay as long as it’s your best. Get in the habit of always putting out your very best efforts. Be the best spouse, the best friend, the best promotional professional, the best parent. You can be world class. You are unique in this world and your best is your gift to the world.  Give it.

<![CDATA[5 Problems You Can Solve as a Promotional Professional]]>Tue, 04 Mar 2014 15:24:45 GMThttp://www.create2bgreat.com/cr82bgr8-blog/5-problems-you-can-solve-as-a-promotional-professionalHere’s the deal.  Problem solvers always make money!  No matter what the industry. No matter what the economy is doing. No matter what.  If you can get out of the product selling business and into the problem solving business, you will always be in demand and you will always be able to make money.  Here are five problems that you can solve.

  1. Declining or stagnate employee morale.  Companies who have employees who are not happy and not engaged with the company are companies that need a solution. Unhappy employees are likely to turn away customers. They are likely to leave the company resulting in replacement and retraining costs. They are more likely to be injured on the job and take more sick time. Create programs that reward the behaviors that will turn this around. People need to have friends at work and to speak positively about each other and about the company. Engaged employees feel appreciated and can turn a company around. Research has shown that companies that rank among the best places to work outperform others financially.  (Commit to learn about Employee Engagement).
  2. Increasing health insurance premiums and workmen compensation rates.  Healthy employees save a company thousands of dollars in health insurance costs.  Safe workers save their companies millions of dollars in insurance premiums and liability costs.  You can solve this problem by recommending programs that reward healthy living and safe work habits.  Wellness programs provide rewards for smoking cessation, weight loss and commitment to fitness programs.  Safety programs are all about catching people exhibiting safe work practices and rewarding them.  Both types of programs are more effective when communicated with promotional products and when they have meaningful rewards.  (Commit to learn about Wellness Programs and Safety Programs).
  3. Lack of Customer Loyalty. Many companies are looking for ways to get customers to order and reorder consistently without shopping around every time they are in the market. Loyalty programs recognize and reward shoppers with they be distributors, dealers, retailers or end users for making purchases.  Problem solvers in this area put together programs based on frequency of purchase, size of purchase and purchase cycles to continuously engage buyers. Most of us are familiar with airline and hotel loyalty programs. Apply these principles to business to business opportunities using promotional products and premiums as the incentives.  (Commit to learn about Loyalty Programs).
  4. Dwindling Trade Show Effectiveness.  Many organizations exhibit at business to business or business to consumer trade shows.  These face to face sales opportunities can be extremely effective as they bring buyers and sellers together in an environment where the buyer can experience the product and the people behind it.  They are also very expensive. The cost per impression of this medium may be the highest of the available options. The cost of customer contact however is extremely low when compared to individual sales calls.  The trade show exhibitor has the expenses of the booth space, the booth cost, shipping, personnel, travel, hotels and entertainment.  How can they maximize their return on investment?  They can get the most bang for their buck if they can make sure they see the right people and spend quality time with them, can tell them their story and make sure they remember them after the show. You can help them by structuring the right invitations to the right people to get them to attend the show and actually talk to the exhibitor. You can help them achieve this by recommending ideas that will make their theme memorable, that will turn their exhibit time into an experience and by providing lasting reminders of that experience.  (Commit to learn about Trade Show Marketing).  
  5. Turning strangers into friends and friends into customers and customers into raving fans.  The new definition of marketing describes the number one problem for any organization. How do you make your offering likable and approachable? How do you earn the trust and business of your new friends? How do you deliver an experience and results that make them want to tell their friends?  If you frame your presentations around these three objectives, you will become not just a swag salesperson, but a professional marketer. We make friends by caring about others, by being authentic, by showing interest in the needs and aspirations of others. It is exactly the same for any business or organization. By recommending products that are relevant to the needs of the target end users, you help your clients be likable, approachable and friend-worthy.  Recommend purchase incentives that help your customers’ prospects comfortable and eager to do business with them. These would be items that are desirable and that take away some of the risk of that initial transaction. Ask your customers what they are doing to make every customer interaction a memorable experience and make suggestions for what they can do to make their customers want to recommend them to their friends. (Commit to learn about Marketing and Advertising).

If you’re willing to commit yourself to continuing education by spending an hour per week of research and reading, to attend the great education and professional development being offered by your regional association, by PPAI, by ASI and even your suppliers, and by logging in to the many available webinars around these topics, you can become a problem solver.  If you choose just one of these five problems and commit to becoming the best problem solver in your world, you will rock your world. You will rock your sales and you will rock your income. Find the Pain. Be the Aspirin.