Matthew's Mind

Your wings already exist. All you have to do is fly.

A few weeks ago I applied to attend a networking and idea conference. I say “apply” because it was exactly that:

  • A long(ish) online application, including professional and personal accomplishments
  • Thoughts around why you were looking at their conference and
  • An upload section to include work you’re proud of

After I “passed” that first round, I was invited to a 30 minute personal phone interview with the group’s founder. During our time together we discussed things like:

  • What I’m passionate about right now
  • Success and struggles, along with
  • What gets me going every day

Overall it was a process I admire, a blend between “sales”, vetting & prospect pre-commitment. Plenty to steal from and implement in my own world.

Things must have gone well enough (from their perspective) since I was offered membership to their platform event in Los Angeles. Awesome! With that, it also opened doors into more intimate events, venture capital groups and philanthropy avenues. Needless to say, I’m excited.

That said, something else stuck out about this group even more. It’s what I walked away thinking about…

Registering myself for their event, I came to the payment screen. Getting ready to put credit card information in, I saw a button that read “Gender Differentiated Pricing”. Clicking it, this is what I saw:

Gender_Differentiated_Pricing

Talk about progressive! Talk about different! Talk about setting a tone for everyone walking into the group (women and men)!

So what can you do with this?

As a financial professional (female or male it doesn’t matter), could you steal this concept and place it into your firm somehow? Any place you could differentiate this way, as you move forward with female clients?

Or it doesn’t have to be gender inequality and the pay gap. Could you take on another issue you’re passionate about? And using that societal cause, dovetail it into a market separator you’ll speak and act towards, where others aren’t?

Because walking into this group’s event later in 2017, I’ll have a different mind frame. I know they think one level deeper, they don’t have issues taking action and they reflect current realities and passions in their platform, where others are slow to act.

And I respect that.

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“Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast.”

Let me say it again…

“Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast.”

I heard that from a former Special Operations officer talking about his training. He was taught to slow things down at the beginning. Learn efficiency, logical steps and making your process flow smooth. Once you’ve drilled something into being smooth, then you can speed it up.

“Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast.”

The same can be said for facets of your business.

  • Think about your marketing plan layout each year. Step by step have you looked for efficient, logical steps and how initiatives should flow smoothly? Then multiplied your efforts?
    Or do you speed things up (spend more money) too soon, for the sake of going faster?
  • What about your sales process? Efficient, logical flow from meeting to meeting, including what should strategically happen each interaction and communication points along the way. It should be something you’re proud of, when viewed from your prospect’s point of view.
    Or do you go too fast (unclear process, undefined expectations, a process that’s too haphazard) for the sake of going faster?
  • Should we even talk about staffing and your incredible support team? I can’t count how many times I’ve visited with a producer’s staff and thought, “How on earth does this producer keep competent, engaged help in their office?” It’s scary. In building a team, building a real business, how much of that is efficient, logical and slowed down?
    How much of that has been sped up prematurely?

“Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast.”

If it works for the most organized, disciplined, trained, and equipped defenders of our freedom; it might work for you.

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“A timid salesperson has very, very skinny children.”

You can feel it. Prospects can sense it.
There’s an aura in the room of uncertainty and question.

So do yourself a favor – and promise to never (as a salesperson) step into a conversation timidly.

Vulnerable? Sure. Candid? Absolutely. Timid? Never.

Instead, step out of that room/conversation and educate yourself. Then rehearse over and over until you find certainty! Step back in, adding conviction to your certainty – and your children will eat well forever.

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A few weeks back I said to “Quit Kidding Yourself” and declared:

If it’s not on your calendar, it’s not real.”

We hit on topics like marketing calendars, prospect funnels, deliberate campaigns, budgeting and tracking. All great to consider. All crucial to your long term professional success.

But today’s thoughts are about keeping that mindset outside the office. Because as a successful entrepreneur, if you’re not careful, you’ll quickly be overtaken and over-scheduled into work, neglecting time for life outside the office – especially relationships and family. It’s unfortunate. It’s sad. And it can become ugly in a hurry. Don’t let that be you.

Your calendar determines your priorities. Show me your calendar and I’ll show you where your focus is – professionally, personally, internal, external, now and later. Because the central principle remains: What gets scheduled gets done.

Opening up my calendar, you’d see a lot of work elements: meetings, calls, trainings and initiatives. But layered into that, you’d also find a number of other items centered around my work team and family at home. And if anything I do in those areas can be a catalyst for you, let’s share it! That’s central to why I write here.

So a few things to consider:

  • Quarterly Off-Site Team Meetings – Full day in December (Q4) and half days other quarters (Q1, Q2, Q3). These include fun dinners or activities after the work is done and always invites spouses/guests.
  • Quarterly Lunch Bunch Outings – Hosting a group of co-workers/employees for lunch who aren’t in my division; building relationships, solidarity and understanding.
  • “Spontaneous” Double Dates or Events – Personal time my wife and I share with each member of our team; showing appreciation and talking about anything other than work.
  • Off-Site Charity Events – 2 to 4 times a year off site with our professional team, working in the community towards a shared cause.
  • Saturday Morning “Guy Time” – Since 2012, I’ve dedicated every Saturday morning to providing Alice/mom a break and connecting with my sons. Breakfast at one of our favorite spots and then off to something fun together!
  • Sundays Blocked (2017 new addition) – No electronics allowed, faith, family cooking, outdoor time (sports or otherwise), reading, meditation and journaling.
  • Monthly Date Night – Dedicated time for Alice & I to stay connected.
  • Monthly 1-on-1 Boys Dates – With 3 powerhouse boys at home, they all need & crave “alone time” with mom or dad.
  • Monthly Family Movie Night – Family friendly movies, themed dinner and dessert. What’s not to love?
  • Monthly Family Game Night – Good ole’ fashioned board games with dinner, family-board-mtgcrafting time to laugh and have fun together.
  • Quarterly Off Site Retreat (2017 new addition) – Four times a year I’ll pick the boys up from school. We head somewhere new for the night (hotel or AirBNB booking) & they plan what we do, eat and experience. The kids even take time to draw up (at this stage that liter
    ally means draw) the agenda. As we grow older, it’ll be a place to have undivided, non-interrupted open conversations, as this evolves into a laid-back “Family Board Meeting”.

What gets scheduled gets done – in every aspect of life.

If you have feedback on ways to improve anything above, or if you’re willing to share other initiatives you’ve undertaken, I’d love to hear them!

Live intentional and move forward… loving your calendar.

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It’s the closest I’ve been to going viral

Wednesday, December 7th was here and just a few days before, work colleagues grabbed me and said they wanted me in a video.

“It will only take a couple hours.”

“We only want it for something to show our employees.”

And my favorite:

“It won’t be that bad.”

But I know the drill: show up, do what the director says, know you’re going to look ridiculous and own that uncomfortableness. Whether it comes natural or not, own it.

Because I go through this every couple years. The “ask” might be different, but the real request is the same – take one for the team. I’m being asked to produce something co-workers will laugh at and talk to each other about. At least it’s only every couple years though; because I’ve found these things have a “shelf life” too. Years ago I made a “What Women Want” mock video and it hung on for a little while. After that came the initial “24 Se7en” boy band video that stayed with us a little longer (think reunion requests, new hire trainings, etc.)

But now, on Wednesday, December 7th, they upped the ante. I stepped into a plane hangar to be greeted by a wardrobe and music beyond anything I wanted to comprehend. Then it started…

dad_jeans

(enjoy that full version, including 2 minutes of outtakes…)

Fast forward a week later and not only had the “Dad Jeans” video been produced, and not only had it been seen by a thousand people internally, but it launched online. Within the first 48 hours, it got picked up and shared by hip hop artists like KJ-52, personal development leaders like Darren Hardy, blast company email lists and texts message strings around the industry.

kj52_snapIn just those first 48 hours, over 30,000 views had amassed and I was getting multiple “Saw your dad jeans…Didn’t know you could dance like that…” texts every day. For the next couple weeks at events like kid’s birthday parties, basketball games, at the gym, shopping for clothes and having lunches around town, people everywhere we’re saying they saw my video!

So what’s the simple lesson? Don’t take yourself too serious. Get out of your own head and make an idiot out of yourself every once in awhile.

Because now after the video, the comment(s) I still get and the smiles I keep seeing go on and on. People laugh just at the phrase “Dad Jeans” and it gives us a connection point we didn’t have before. For some reason, when I put myself out there a little more, it makes authentic conversation more approachable.

Use the way “I rock my dad jeans and my ugly sweater…” for laughs in your world. Quit taking yourself too serious, smile more often and the next time we connect, share those stories with me!

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You’re catering a private dinner at your home. You’re headed to a high-end restaurant to host an important meeting. You’re travelling across the country to speak at a convention. Or you’re simply interacting with day-to-day service professionals (i.e. dry cleaners, dog walkers, yard maintenance, home cleaning, car detail, hair stylists, tailors, etc.).

And in all of those situations, if…hopefully when…things go well, you’re willing to tip. Most times you’ll tip generously too, for a job well done and mission accomplished. Everyone’s smiling.

But next time, try this with me…

  • When the caterer is preparing your home before guests arrive – tip then.
  • When you arrive at the restaurant before an important meeting – tip then.
  • When you reach the hotel convention, before you speak – tip then.
  • When you meet the dry cleaner, the dog walker begins, yard maintenance contract is signed, home cleaning crew enters, car is dropped off, hair stylist summons you or when the tailor takes your measurements – tip then.

No one else does it that way & it’ll catch everyone off guard. That’s half the fun. The other half is experiencing how “front-loading” turns into superior service and a heightened experience the entire time that follows. Now everyone’s smiling even bigger.

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Three bricklayers were asked: “What are you doing?”

  • Number one says, “I am laying bricks.”
  • Number two says, “I am building a church.”
  • Number three says, “I am building the house of God.”

The first bricklayer has a job. The second has a career. The third bricklayer has a calling.

Purpose (defined here as the intention to contribute to the well-being of others) matters. And the higher up the “success chain” you look, the more purpose you’ll find.

So what about you?
Are you pouring countless hours, month after month into your job, career or calling? And in the same role or not, should something change?

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If it’s not on your calendar, it’s not real.

We can talk about marketing plans, budgets, projections, leadership and goals all you want. But until you take the necessary steps, putting plans in motion to achieve your goals, it’s just talk.

But walk into the most successful professionals I coach and you’ll see 2017 already laid out.

They’re already mentally locked into achieving goals this year. The anticipation and “act as if” mindset they’ve adopted will undoubtedly bleed into results all year.

So how does your calendar look?

How much of this year is going to be talk? And how much is going to be action?

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I have a lot of discussions around “target market”. Defining who you want as a client, planning how to find them and taking action to attract them.

Sometimes that conversation shifts into specific niches (think medical professionals, members of a defined club or specific political affiliations). Other times those talks move towards targeting a certain age demographic or generation (think millennials, boomers or retirees). But more often than not, when someone wants to discuss target market(s) with me, the conversation leans towards wealth and retirement assets; and how the professionals I coach can attract a more affluent client base.

A complete discussion around attracting affluent clients takes a while – weeks, months or even years. It involves branding, image, your firm’s posture and positioning, an intentional culture fostered within your firm, the plans you’re presenting, product options you’re discussing and details surrounding what after-the-sale client experience they can expect – just to name a few.

povertyBut today I want to focus on language. Recently I came across A Framework for Understanding Poverty from Ruby Payne, PhD. Inside Dr. Payne’s findings, she dives deeper into the “Hidden Rules Among Classes” that discuss thoughts, concerns and motivators for those in “Poverty”, “Middle Class” and “Wealth”. For example:

 

Money

  • Poverty: To be used, spent.
  • Middle Class: To be managed.
  • Wealth: To be conserved, invested.

Social Emphasis

  • Poverty: Social inclusion of people he/she likes.
  • Middle Class: Emphasis is on self-governance and self-sufficiency.
  • Wealth: Emphasis is on social exclusion.

Language

  • Poverty: Casual register. Language is about survival.
  • Middle Class: Formal register. Language is about negotiation.
  • Wealth: Formal register. Language is about networking.

The list is long, thought-provoking and worth your time; especially if you want to “target” a more affluent client in the future.

(Here is a more complete list to use… enjoy!)

“Marketing is about entering the conversation your prospect is already having in their own mind.”

It’s time for you to be deliberate about this. Enter the mind and world of your ideal client, speak to their concerns and have answers prepared for what they need. Empathy can be developed.

Now you have the knowledge – but more importantly, what are you going to do with it?

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Why is it that someone could get up 5 mornings a week, run 5-8 miles a day, and do that for years – but never get any faster?

When others get up just 3 mornings a week, run 2-5 miles a day, and do that for months – to improve drastically and continuously?

One answer – deliberate practice.

If you simply go through the motions in anything (personal or professional) without a stated goal in mind, don’t expect to improve.

Improvement comes to people who plan. Improvement comes to people who track. Improvement comes to people who are deliberate, care and take decisive action towards improvement one key area at a time.

So what happens now… when someone gets up 5 mornings a week, runs 3-8 miles a day and does that years, but is deliberate each training session about what they’re going to accomplish? Greatness.

You can do that too.

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