Sunday, September 19, 2010

Overnight Success

Is it possible to just be in the right place at the right time and boom're an overnight sensation? ... an instant success?
Hmm ... probably not.  The belief that success can happen over night is a myth.   Please don't buy into the images of success you see in the media when you look at athletes, entertainers and highly successful entrepreneurs.  All we see when we look at those individuals is their status, their current level, their income and their fame.  Rarely ever do we stop and think or even try to acknowledge the long road they had to travel to get to this moment in time.
Success takes time and it takes patience.  It also takes hard work, practice and a vision of what is to be achieved in the long term.   When we admire some one's success, or even our own, we often focus on the end result and not so much on the effort (and time) that it took to get there.  We begin to develop unrealistic expectations, and some of us even assume that "they must be lucky!".
Luck has absolutely nothing to do with it!  To make it today, you have to have a "no quit" attitude!  Being successful doesn't mean you have to be a superstar, it just means you have to remain committed to your goals.   Be consistent in your efforts, stick to it and over time you will see results. Failure only exists in the minds of people who quit.
Success is built on a foundation of bricks called "little events and achievements".  Sometimes these small achievements can seem to take an eternity and those little events often include a few disappointments along the way.   They can challenge everything about you to the core - your stamina, courage, integrity, and even your willingness to keep going.
But if you focus on what's not working, you will likely become frustrated as your mind wraps around all that is wrong.   You may even have negative thoughts like "I'm not good enough," "It will never work," or "Something must be wrong with me."
The key is to focus on what IS working.Celebrate every step along the way.  Recognize your growth as future milestones.  A simple practice to help you keep your focus and record these smaller accomplishments might be to maintain a journal.  It is a great way to steer your attention to the positive and continually renew your vision for yourself.   Start each day with reflections on what you are grateful for in your life (list them out!) and end each day with notes on what went right (again, write them down), however small they may seem.
So what happens when you have done all that and you are still not seeing results?  I'll ask you then, are you taking real action? In order to achieve your goals and feel the success you wish to define for yourself you must understand it's not what you say that will get you there, it's what you do!
Now, you may be taking the actions you are used to taking.  But if you keep doing what you've already done, then you'll keep getting what you've always gotten. It's a matter of practicing some new behaviors. Shake things up a bit and see if you can take new actions or modify existing ones.
Every day do five specific things that will move you closer to your goals.  Change up the five actions regularly and be open to feedback so you know when you're off course.
It's natural to underestimate how long a certain goal can take, especially a profound one.  Patience is a virtue.  But keep at it, and in no time, you'll be only one week, or one day away from your ultimate success.
Be GRATEFUL, reflect on what IS working and continue to take ACTION!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

22 Ways to Generate New Leads!

Generating new and constant leads should always be the #1 priority of every business owner.   It is how you support the continued growth and prosperity of your business.  
Without the ability to meet new people and create a constant flow of leads where will your next business opportunity come from?  
New customers or leads are everywhere and you can never get enough!  You come in contact with so many people every day and who knows who those people know!  You can find ways to generate new leads everyday, as long as you make it a priority.   Face it, if you don’t think about it or plan for it, it doesn't happen.  
But, lead generation doesn't have to be something you turn on and off .  It is as easy as saying hello to the person behind you on line at the grocery store.  It can be fun and easy, just be yourself and look to create connections with new people wherever you go.  It can happen quite organically.  Yes it can be as easy as striking up a conversation there are also lots of creative ways to increase your market.  Here is a list of 22 out of the box ways to help you generate more leads and grow your business: 
1.  Be visible everywhere you go and be sure your company name is too.  Wear a name tag or clothing with your company's logo as often as you can. 
2. Make a habit of staying in touch with past clients.  Call them to "check in" – thank them for their business.  Find ways to keep in touch in order to build relationships.  It is much easier to ask  for referrals when you speak to your customers more frequently. 
3.  Take a look at some of the other professionals you know.  Who can you partner up with when it comes to marketing?  Who has a business that pairs well with yours?  If you are essentially marketing to the same people why not work together and create special events to attract new customers.
4.  Attend seminars and workshops that will not only provide you with personal & professional growth but will also give you an opportunity to meet new people.  These new connections can result in new customers and referrals.   Business building seminars will have other professionals in attendance and that can lead to new connections for referrals and additional co-marketing opportunities.   
5.  Participate in Trade Shows/Home Shows  as a vendor to promote your business but also make a plan to attend them as well.  You will meet tons of people at events like these! 
6.  Host client parties with the purpose being to say "Thank you.  I appreciate your business."   Your customers will feel special, they will want to continue to support you & you WILL be thought of the next time they hear of someone looking for the service or product you offer.   Client parties can be done as small intimate groups periodically throughout the year or as big customer appreciation events.  The ideas and themes are endless ... host a summer bbq, tea party, ice cream social, brunch, wine & cheese,  holiday party …. Whatever your budget allows!
7.  Attend Networking events, but keep a few things in mind.  First, choose the right ones.  Many mixers and networking events can be fun, but always validate your time there by asking  "Am I making valuable contacts with the right people?"  Second thing to keep in mind, don’t just show up, engage!   Make connections with people, be yourself, have fun, make small talk then discuss what you each do for a living.  Make genuine connections before you start passing out all of your business cards.  
8.  Host your own networking event!  You know lots of other professionals.  (Probably from all the other mixers you go to!)  Choose the people you really want to get to know better.  Keep the number small, maybe 10 or 12 so you can really spend time talking with each other.  Choose the people who can really impact your business.   Have a mixer of your own, hold it at your office, home or local restaurant.  This is a great way to learn more about each other’s business and how you can refer work to each other.  As the host, you will be sure to have the stage for a portion of the night so everyone there will get to learn about what you do.
9.  Give back to the community and attend Community events.  Join Civic groups such as the Lions  Club, Kiwanis, or church, etc.  Get involved or become a sponsor.  You will usually have a way to advertise your business & people will have an opportunity to see you in a positive light!
10.  Get in the habit of  ASKING  for Business!  Expect business when you give business.  Don't be shy about handing 5 business cards to your hairdresser or dry cleaner and saying something like, "I appreciate your service and always look forward to coming here.  I am a business owner too.  Here are some of my cards.  Would you be willing to share my name with your friends as I often do the same for you."
11.  Become an expert and show what you know to others.  Share your knowledge.  You can write a blog, or an article in a paper, magazine or online version of the same.  When you can become a trusted resource of information pertaining to what you do, your customers and potential customers will see a deeper value in doing business with you.
12.  Sponsor or create informational and FREE seminars for people.  For example if you are a Realtor, put together a Home Buyers Seminar.  Share valuable information that will let these prospective clients know you are the right choice to do business with.  Give yourself even more leverage and invite other professionals from industries that also relate to first time home buyers like mortgage lenders, home inspectors, moving professionals and stagers.  By inviting these professionals to speak at the seminar (even if it's only for 10 or 15 minutes each) will also deepen the professional relationship between you and them. 
13.  Create reasons and opportunities to call people in your data base.  For example, special invites to some of the events we mentioned or to share newsworthy info, even just to remind them to change their clocks! (that's always a good one because they will hear from you at least twice a year!)   
14.  Hold monthly or quarterly prize giveaways.  Post a trivia question on your Facebook page or email it or include it in your newsletter.  When it comes time to notify the winner, Call them!  It's a reason to speak!  
15.  Create and send a newsletter to everyone in your database on a quarterly or monthly basis.   Share valuable tips and ideas, don't just make it a sales pitch.  You might also ask other vendors to contribute to your newsletter with their own articles and information.  Co-marketing can be great!
16.  Set a daily goal to exchange business cards with at least 5 people.  
17.  Look for Free radio spots to promote yourself.  You can be an in studio guest or call into a show to provide tips, information or ideas that support and enlighten what you do for a living.
 18.  Offer to be a guest speaker at business meetings.  This is a great way to show what an expert you are and promote your services in an in-direct way.
 19.  Use Social Media to expand your reach.  Not sure how?  Find someone who can help you.
20.  Have a great website and be sure to update it regularly.  Provide valuable information in addition to solid marketing.
21.  Create video blogs, instead of the usual written blogs and emails.  You can start your own You Tube channel to host these blogs and you can also link tehm  to your social media sites like Facebook as well as your website.  Be creative, mix valuable information about your service or product as well as entertain and delight.  So for example, if you own a cafe, don't just say please join us for lunch.  Instead, video the prep and cooking of one of the lunch specials!
22.  Provide good service.  Be professional at all times and always respectful.   Think of your clients needs and deliver what they expect.  Treat them the way you would expect to be treated.  Clients will be loyal to what you represent.  Remember that professionalism extends past business hours too, so be sure to always be consistent in your behavior even when the customers aren't around. 
When it comes to growing your business and developing a marketing plan do what feels right and do what will move you closer to your goals.  And also think without fear, without limits and try new things – think out of the box… today to be successful – you must stand out from all the rest! 
Modest actions = Modest results
Not one of these ideas alone will work to grow your business.  You need to diversify your marketing approach and try multiple things to cast a bigger net and gain more customer leads.