My idea of bringing out the best in clients is using any legal, moral and ethical methods. If it is doing 10 push-ups, then so be it. Let's not get bogged down in methods or labels, like coach, gravedigger or chimneysweeper. Lets focus on the end result.
"There will always, one can assume, be need for some selling. But the aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous. The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well that the product and service fits him and sells itself. Ideally, marketing should result in a customer who is ready to buy. All that should be needed then is to make the product or service available; i.e., logistics rather than salesmanship, and statistical distribution rather than promotion." ~ Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices - 1974
So, the goal is not merely ramming stuff down people's throats, but, through well orchestrated marketing programmes, reaching out and inviting people to your feeding frenzy by communicating to them how much they will enjoy the food and how much better they will feel after being fed. The force of "brute" selling must be replaced by the finesse and power of attraction of marketing.
"I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think"
It means you have to be open to my input. I don't say I'm always right. All I'm saying is that together we can figure out the best answer to a given problem. It's a basic law in nature that where there is a problem, there is the solution as well. If we look at things from a different perspective, we start seeing different things. You just have to be willing to take a look from another point of view. Jonar Nader writes in his brilliant book, How to Lose Friends and Infuriate People...
"It's not that I see things differently. I see things that other people haven't looked at."
"Only the prince who himself is wise can be wisely advised"
Working with advisors and clients is a two-way street, and yes, certain people are not suitable for a collaborative relationship. They are so wrapped up in their own superiority, which is really lack of self-esteem and low self-worth, that they refuse to listen to other people's perspectives. If their personal preference is to figure things out all by themselves, that's fine. Great clients are wise enough to be open to receiving advice.
"A good plan acted upon right now is better than a perfect plan acted upon some day"
I could even say, one bird in the hand today is better than a whole flock flying overhead tomorrow and shitting on you. This is the price of hesitation. Don't get me wrong. I believe in planning. I don't buy into this "fire -> ready -> aim" bullshit. You run out of ammo, and then the enemy blows your arse to Kingdom Come, which is a pretty miserable way of ending an otherwise nice day. Get ready, aim as well as you can and pull the damn trigger.
"Untidy truths are better than smooth lies."
Every change effort is painful to a certain degree. Just think about giving birth. Yet, in spite of the pain, agony and - even in the 21st century - a certain chance of dying, it is one of the most spectacular change processes nature has to offer and most women are looking forwrd to it. Clients must be ready for some hardship, sweat and tears here and there. Significant changes are not all beers and skittles.
"No one can do your push-ups for you."
It's your business and your life. You're the captain at the helm. No doctor can heal a patient who has already given up on life and is ready to kick the bucket. And no doctor can heal a patient who is not willing to participate in the healing process. My work is the same. It's done WITH clients, not FOR, AT or TO them. What you put in is what you get out.
"If you want to make minor, incremental changes and improvements, work on practices, behavior, or attitude. But if you want to make significant, quantum improvement, work on paradigms."
If we want to change our results, it's not enough to carry on doing what we've always done harder and longer with a psyched up artificial positive attitude. We have to do - using the famous Monty Python phrase - something completely different. It's about being effective not merely efficient. Effectiveness is about results. Efficiency is about being impressively busy.
"Thinking is one of the hardest things there is. That's why only so few people do it."
And because of the truth of this statement, many business owners blindly accept the conventional wisdom of their own industries and absolutely refuse to do other things that work like charm in other industries. Like demented parrots, they keep repeating the, "Our industry doesn't work this way" bromide. Maybe it's time to make it work in another way.
"When people started taking MBA seriously, that was the beginning of the ruination the North American industrial society. When all decisions are based on an MBA concept of numerical reality, you are deep shit, because the only thing that can be judged as real is that which can be proved by columns of figures. And when all aesthetic decisions are turned over to these kind of people, who use these criteria to make steering decisions for a company with no regard to people and no regard for what the product really is, and the only thing that matters is maximising your profit, you have a problem."
The overall success of your business is a reflection of the character of your people. The character of your people make up the culture of your company, that is, the energy of your business. And it is either the kind of energy that attracts prosperity or the kind of energy that attracts hardship.
And you can have the best business plan, strategic plan and marketing plan, you're still on the doom loop going down and down. And there is not a sausage you can do about it. Great business cultures with people of great characters attract great clients and in turn create impressive bottom lines.
It's only fair to say that character is the cause and the profit is the effect, and managing the effect to change the cause is just as retarded as commanding the earth to stop rotating.
"For every thousand hacking at the leaves of evil, there is only one hacking the roots."
Whatever people think the problem is, is merely a symptom they experience. Farmers know that when their apple trees bear substandard fruits, it's got nothing to do with the fruits, but it's all about the roots. They have to adjust the roots to have different fruits. In business, just because you have low sales, it doesn't mean you have to hire more salespeople. The root of the problem may well be somewhere else.
"Formulas can only inhibit freedom. They are externally dictated prescriptions that only squelch creativity and assure mediocrity. Learning is definitely not mere imitation, nor is it the ability to accumulate and regurgitate fixed knowledge. Learning is a constant process of discovery. A process without end."
When Bruce was developing Jeet Kune Do, his approach was: 1) researching his own experience, 2) using the useful stuff, 3) tossing the useless stuff, and 4) adding his own uniqueness. My work is similar. We blend your experiences with mine and create something totally new.
I work WITH clients not FOR clients: Everything I do is 100% collaborative, fully involving clients in each step of the process. That is, this is a "teach me how to fish" relationship. At the beginning of each project we jointly define what clients want to achieve and what they want to learn from our collaboration, and we work on two plans: Achieving specific improvement objectives, and achieving specific learning objectives. This way we're improving your company's performance capabilities, and these capabilities are yours to keep because youe don't need me or other consultants to sustain it.
I expect 100% of you: Because of my background and approach, people who work with me are serious about making positive changes in their lives. I value my clients very highly, thus my demands and expectations of them and very high too. By default, people do their best every time. My job is to help my clients to move beyond the self-delusion called "I'm doing my best" or "That's all I have". People have much more than they think they do, and they need some pedigree arsekicker to bring it out in them.
I make direct requests: Direct requests, like "Will you accomplish X by the end of the month?" You may accept the request, counteroffer (say what you can do) or decline (we will talk about this). I make you right whichever way you respond. But of course, the results won't be the same.
I don't miss much: I have had my fair share of life, so I have a sensitive bullshit detector. And my years in the military and years of skydiving have made my senses even finer. I call you on missed accountabilities, broken promises and self-delusions.
I am judgemental, provocative and confrontational: I respect my clients and the investments they make in their own businesses, therefore I don't give them much slack. As the saying goes, under heat and pressure coal turns into diamond. I am very good at providing the right amount of heat and pressure at the right moment because I believe my clients have the diamond within them. So, we just dig it out together and make it shine.
I expect you only to leverage, but not to depend on me: As your advisor, I am a resource for you to use to your best advantage. Depending on investment options, clients have unlimited access to me and since I work with a very low number of clients, I'm pretty responsive
So, the process is an oddball mix. Consider me as a cross-breed of a drill sergeant and a cheerleader. That is, the drill sergeant without yelling. I didn't yell in the army, and I'm not about to start now.
|Objective: Creating awareness over time: "Look at us! Aren't we cute?"||Objective: Creating a specific action right now: "Contact us right now for instant answers to some of your biggest problems"|
|Attitude: Let's close our eyes, hope and pray, and see what happens. Let's throw more mud (marketing money and effort) at the wall, and hope some sticks and bring us business. Regardless of results, repeat process until all money is gone.||Attitude: Let's measure and tweak everything. Throw mud and measure. Tweak, throw and measure again. Repeat process for improved ROI.|
|Acquiring and retaining great clients and customers is part of the business||Acquiring and retaining great clients and customers is the business itself|
|Investing more money for better results||Investing both money, time, finesse, energy and imagination|
|Scattered and vague||Clear, laser-focused and specific|
|Geared to businesses with more money than finesse||Geared to businesses with budgets and imagination|
|Measuring gross sales (what we make)||Measuring net profits (what we keep)|
|Based on experience, manipulation, judgement and guesswork||Based on human psychology which is consistent and predictable|
|Growing and diversifying||Growing with focus|
|Linear growth - Adding new customers one by one||Geometrical growth - Adding bigger and more transactions|
|Making the sale right away and move on to next prospect||Creating a funnel in which people buy when they are ready. Then you keep in touch|
|Eliminating competitors||Partnering with open-minded competitors|
|"Me" marketing: "Look at how cute we are", "Let me tell you about our great solution", "Look at our great credentials"||"You" marketing: "Tell us about you and your problem"|
|All about taking, using and getting||All about giving and helping|
|Drumming up new money||Drumming up new relationships|
|Rigid, following conventional wisdom, allergic to change||Flexible, unconventional, change-cosy|
|Pellet gun approach: Mass-marketing aimed at large groups||Riffle approach: Niche-marketing aimed at small groups and individuals|
|Unintentional - Works with mass media||Intentional - Works with several media|
|Attempting to make the sale right away||Gaining consent to stay in touch, making repeated sales when prospects are ready|
|Using few marketing tools used in isolation||Using many marketing tools in synergy|
|No quantification and no further improvement||Constant quantification, and improvement|
|One size fits all - mass solutions||One size fits only one - customised or even personalised solutions|
|Based on manual labour prospecting grunt work, like cold calling, pavement pounding, door knocking and chasing people||Based on automated systems operated with minimum effort to have qualified prospects come to you, being predisposed to doing business with you|
|Market's response: It makes people think about the offer||Market's response: It makes people act on the offer|
|Result: Being perceived as a peddler people resent and run and hide from||Result: Being perceived as an expert resource your market seeks out for your insights and wisdom|
This is all in a nutshell. A rather large nut, that is.