Game Changer – Implementing the Power of Five

by JP Moery

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Early this year I was “firing up” about the prospects of 2018 – and, scouring my resources to find a new tactic which might add a gear to my productivity. Fortunately, I connected with @andyfrisella and his MFCEOProject – a series of advice podcasts and postings. Warning: Very explicit.

What resonated so much was his Power of Five concept. I’ll tell you about the impact, but to learn the details you might connect with his content. It happened for me this way.

  • List 5 actions to take every day. The same, non-negotiable actions – some personal, business, spiritual, etc. Write them down every single day.
  • Determine a Win or Loss every day based on completion of the 5 tasks daily. Write W or L on your action sheet.
  • After 21 days of consecutive completing a task it comes off the list. This action is now likely a habit.
  • Then, add a new task to the Power 5

Here are the results of this simple system in 16 days. 600% increase in my sales activity (and folks, trust me, I wasn’t sitting on my ass before) and a massive pipeline. Spiritual connection almost every day thru prayer and Scripture. Thought leadership posting up 500%. Increased workouts/physical activity.

And, this is with a “won/loss” record of 12-4.

An incredibly simple and powerful system. I hope you think about a similar launch program in your life, today!

Creating a Real Win-Win: Opportunities for Associations to Help Sponsors Become Thought Leaders

by JP Moery and Bob Buday

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Every association CEO’s No. 1 job is helping members be successful, whether they are companies banding together in a trade group or individuals convening in a professional society. As such, many association leaders are often asked to guard the sanctity of their members against heavy-handed sales tactics of vendors and sponsors. They keep sponsors on the sidelines at their conferences, relegate them to the advertising (not the editorial) pages of their publications, and block them out of planning those and other key association programs.

That’s understandable, and laudable when sponsor demands threaten an association’s integrity. But it’s also increasingly shortsighted and fundamentally misses a tremendous opportunity. Keeping vendor members on the sidelines is a black-and-white stance that precludes associations from fully tapping the expertise of sponsors and vendor members. If your vendors’ expertise is developed, packaged and presented in educational (not blatantly self-promotional) ways, it can be extremely helpful to your mainstream association members.

Doing that means helping association sponsors and vendors to be viewed as thought leaders –i.e., as experts in their domains who can help members solve pressing business problems.

While such expertise can be valuable to many association members, it can also provide associations with a new revenue opportunity that most haven’t tapped: providing services that turn vendors into thought leaders. Becoming a popular thought leader (as Bob’s company has found with professional services industry clients) doesn’t happen overnight. It doesn’t occur by simply telling people to write articles, speeches, books, and blog posts.

People and firms with knowledge become recognized thought leaders only after extensive efforts to codify, package and display their expertise. It happens only after they capture the impact of their expertise on customers (to prove its value), when they can explain their expertise in language the target audience can understand, and when they take it to market through speaking presentations, white papers, blog posts, research reports, books and other educational formats that don’t appear at all to be marketing.

We believe that turning vendors into thought leaders is a major opportunity for associations. Because they historically have played a crucial middleman between members and sponsors, associations have a unique chance to turn their sponsors into thought leaders. That, in and of itself, could be a sizable revenue opportunity for associations because they are well-positioned to offer such services to sponsors, for three reasons:

  1. Associations are highly trusted by their members. They act in their members’ best interests and advocate for them. Thus, when associations open their channels to sponsors that the associations have helped turn into thought leaders, those sponsors become strongly connected to associations and to their member constituencies.
  2. Associations provide the means for effective research focus groups: Sponsors can get quick feedback on their messages from a select group of association members, which allows those sponsors to make rapid and necessary refinements before going mainstream with those messages.
  3. Associations enable sponsors to present their expertise in the most effective channels for thought leadership marketing: conference and seminar presentations. Bloom Group’s 10 years of research on the effectiveness of thought leadership marketing channels consistently shows that conference presentations are the best way to generate leads and market awareness for a firm’s expertise. Close behind are editorial publications, which many associations also issue to members. What’s more, the development of live streaming and broadcast presentations provide even more channels to deliver vendor thought leadership content to members who can’t attend an association event.

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Associations that turn their sponsors into thought leaders generate value for both members and sponsors. They give sponsors speaking slots of conferences because they know their insightful speeches will go over well. They give vendors editorial opportunities in their publications because their articles provide big insights and useful case studies.  And they permit vendors to show off their expertise in other association programs because they know members will welcome it.

However, the assistance an association provides to vendors to become thought leaders must be the starting point. Associations with programs to do this can transform sponsors’ sales pitches into valuable educational advice for association members on how to solve their business problems. Vendor conference presentations, briefings, articles and sales meetings shift from blatant sales pitches that turn off members into educational content that appeals to members who are hungry to learn from their peers.

Associations that don’t do this are leaving big money on the table: preventing sponsors from becoming thought leaders to their members. We fully understand the reluctance of association CEOs and their teams. But we also believe that there are effective ways to satisfy both side’s goals – your members’ interests in learning, not being pitched, and your sponsors’ need to communicate their value to your members. One goal doesn’t necessarily have to be in opposition to the other.

Let’s examine the opportunities for associations that can turn sponsors into thought leaders – opportunities for your members, your sponsors, and your association.

The Historical Member-Sponsor Divide

The best member-driven associations have historically resisted pressures from companies that sell products and services to their members even if those companies are paying big fees as vendor sponsors. JP knows from his experience in leadership positions at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Trucking Associations, and from his work at The Moery Company. Perhaps afraid of appearing weak, many association leaders have created hard-and-fast rules about how vendor members can play:

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  • Confining them to the exhibit hall booths
  • Barring them from serving on the conference committee
  • Preventing them from taking key speaking roles at high-profile, and even very targeted, conferences
  • Keeping them out of association publications other than to advertise
  • Or even worse, limiting their participation as a member altogether

The most frequent request by vendors of association leaders is getting speaking roles at conferences. This is frequently rejected by associations, which seem shackled by their perception of vendor presentations as pure sales pitches. Indeed, association leaders who cave into such demands can begin a slippery downward slope with vendor members calling the shots and dictating an association’s programming. If you don’t help vendors turn their pitches into thoughtful content, you will become the forum everyone wants to avoid. Sponsors will come to the podium and make presentations that are totally tone deaf to the objectives and cues of the meeting.  JP has seen them … hell, he’s been forced to put them on the agenda!

But it doesn’t have to be this way. You shouldn’t allow vendors to pitch their offerings in conference presentations. That reflects poor event planning. However, if an association can work with vendors on their presentations and make them highly educational about some problem of members and a better way to solve it, those presentations are likely to be met favorably by members.

Think of it another way: Associations are willing to pay premiums – tens of thousands of dollars – to name-brand speakers who don’t have a clue about an association’s industry and the way it works – just to avoid having the companies that are closest to them (which include vendors) participate. That doesn’t make sense.

Why Vendor Pressures are Unlikely to Recede

If you believe that globalization, Internet competitors, and institutional investor pressures will only increase in the years ahead, then you should also assume that vendor sponsors will place increasing demands on associations to get in front of their members.

That only makes sense. Sponsors recognize the importance of associations, especially in B2B sectors, as a key channel to sell their products and services.

Many B2B companies – both product and service firms – recognize the need to sell not only their offerings but also to communicate the expertise they’ve collected about their offerings: i.e., the customer problems their offerings address. There’s no better evidence of this trend than how B2B companies have embraced of “The Challenger Sale” concept. The concept came out of research from the Corporate Executive Board (CEB), now part of research powerhouse Gartner. The first book in their series was a bestseller. CEB studied hundreds of B2B salespeople through the eyes of their sales managers and compared the most effective salespeople to the average performers. The key trait of the best salespeople was their ability to challenge the customer’s view of his problem – to redefine the problem, and then offer their firm’s unique solution to it.

The Challenger Sale concept calls for B2B salespeople to be considered industry thought leaders by customers, not as salespeople who focus on product features and benefits. In this light, it’s no surprise that many association sponsors want to be viewed by members as thought leaders at association events and in association publications. We believe this helps explain why so many association leaders are getting pressured by sponsors to play bigger roles in their programs.

But we also believe the best way for association leaders to deal with it is not to oppose it, but to actually welcome it – they can create a win-win-win for their members, the sponsors, and the association.

JP once spoke with one of the world’s largest and best-known companies. The only association programs this company supports are those in which its people are permitted to deliver thought leadership content to high-ranking executives. That is their only game. If associations don’t grasp that idea, the potential sponsorship revenue will walk.

The result of placing such restrictions on vendors? They will run their own meetings or events in your venue, gathering and hosting at the hotel bar. Don’t be mistaken: They will fill the void you are creating by not providing a solution to their business objectives. Far better to help vendors become thought leaders through your help and your programs.

The question more and more for association leaders is not whether they can help sponsors turn into thought leaders, but how – and how to profit from it. In the following section, we’ll discuss how to do so.

Turning Vendors into Thought Leaders

From Bloom Group’s work over the last 20 years in turning B2B companies into recognized thought leaders (especially professional services firms such as consultancies, IT services, accounting, architecture and law firms), we see five foundational elements for associations that want to do the same for their vendor members.

  1. Help vendors create a thought leadership strategy to determine where to focus content development and marketing resources. Such a strategy will identify which problems of association members a vendor wants its thought leadership marketing campaigns to focus on over the next 12 to 18 months – i.e., which topics (which are big problems of association members) it wants to “own” and shed light on. For example, a manufacturer of construction equipment and an association of construction equipment users might decide there are two topics for that manufacturer to cover in its thought leadership campaigns: construction site safety and theft. Thought leadership campaigns are far more effective when they drill deep on an issue and shed new light on it, and when the presentations, articles, blog posts, research reports and other content formats all focus on the same issue(s). That helps association members gain deeper knowledge from the vendor than if that vendor covered 12 topics superficially in a year.
  1. Set quality standards so that vendor presentations, articles, research studies, blog posts and other content are useful and insightful for members. Bloom Group’s research has found that the most successful practitioners of thought leadership create content that excels at eight criteria: novelty, relevance, depth, evidence, coherence, practicality, rigor and clarity. The exceptional insights their content offers (articles, research studies, conference presentations, books and other thought leadership formats) are a big reason why they generate leads and revenue from thought leadership that far exceeds the investment in content and marketing.
  1. Help vendors codify, develop and capture their thought leadership content in speeches, articles and other writings and presentations through a structured process. Bloom Group has found that the core skills to do this – idea development and writing – don’t exist at the quality levels that they need to be in most B2B companies outside of the largest consulting firms (e.g., McKinsey, Bain, and Boston Consulting Group). (And even those firms tap outsiders for those skills). Exceptional thought leadership content development skills are rare today. Associations that want to play in the game of turning sponsors into thought leaders must tap into those with the skills (or hire them outright). Additionally, since association members love hearing about best practices from their peers, vendors need to help their best customers capture their best practices in using their products. The most believable conference presentations are best-practice case studies by a vendor’s happiest customers.
  1. Determine the optimal marketing mix of thought leadership content for the vendor to use in the association’s programs (and outside of the association’s programs if a vendor asks for that advice) – and, then help execute it. For example, thought leaders are better off publishing articles, blog posts and using other “one-directional” communications before they do public presentations on that content. The reason is that audiences prefer to read new ideas for the first time, rather than hear or see them “on stage.” Articles that resonate can then generate more conference attendees who want to hear and see the authors do presentations. All to say, a thought leadership campaign must be carefully orchestrated, with certain activities (e.g., blog posts, self-published articles, articles published in leading publications, social media) happening first, second and third — long before the audience hears the conference presentation versions of them. Associations that can help their vendors execute these campaigns (i.e., ghostwrite their blog posts, articles and conference presentations, design and execute research studies with members, etc.) will provide additional high value to the vendors that can’t manage these activities with excellence.
  1. Require vendors who ask to be turned into thought leaders to become association members, not just advertisers. Helping a sponsor turn its people into thought leaders is a major effort. It requires a close partnership between an association and its vendor members, and a major investment by the vendor in the association that offers to work with it in this manner. It’s a long-term play for vendors – and, for association leaders – who want a win-win-win for all three parties. That’s membership value at its core, and a benefit many vendors have never been offered. In this increasingly competitive market, we believe it’s a tremendous advantage to offer.

These five elements are the underpinnings of highly effective thought leadership programs run by associations. There are other services that associations could offer if they want to play an even bigger role in the success of vendors’ thought leadership programs. For example, one of them is helping get a vendor’s salespeople well-versed in the thought leadership content of their company’s authors and presenters and trained on how to engage association members with that content.

Associations that can regularly and reliably turn sponsors into thought leaders will not only generate substantial value for their members (vendors that become more effective at solving their problems), but for their sponsors as well (being seen by members as leading experts in their domains).

These associations will generate new income from making this happen. What’s more, they’ll create a competitive advantage for themselves over other associations – one that will grow especially important during economic times in which members and sponsors are focusing their investments on fewer associations.

JP Moery is Founder and President of The Moery Company, a consulting firm focused on helping associations grow membership, sponsorship and other revenue resources. The firm is headquartered in Alexandria, Va.

 

 

Bob Buday is a Founder and Partner of Bloom Group LLC, a Boston-based thought leadership marketing consultancy.

 

 

 

 

 

The Dangers of December

JP Moery

IStock/Credit:dikobraziy

December really is like August for me – both are months in which business traditionally tends to slow down, but I view them as opportunities to do some of your best work. However, the December “danger” is not executing or making poor business decisions, which may cripple your business for the next year.

December pipeline deals can close faster with end-of-year budget money available; and, that’s great. But the challenge stems from a desire to meet our business goals and manage the client’s urgency to buy. And, very often, the details aren’t vetted.

That all-important attention to detail, which takes tie and frustrates us the other 11 months of the year – seemingly fades in December. But, take my advice:

  • Be clear on project expectations and timeline.
  • Nail down billing cycle details.
  • Conduct due diligence to learn if the partnership is truly a fit.  Trustworthy? Credible? Good partner?
  • Ensure the end-result of the project provides a solution to your client’s problem.
  • In December, work hard, remain vigilant on the specifics and finish strong.

Enjoy the holidays!

For more content on business in December – check out Tips for Success in December

Fired-Up Friday & Your Quest for Success

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Three things to remember regarding your quest for success:

  1. Fear robs your potential.  It keeps you from asking for the deal, getting the information needed to deliver, meeting the person who can make a difference in life or you just don’t even try.  Kick fear in the teeth!

Whenever you feel fear…do exactly what you are afraid of.  You will reap the benefits!

  1. The street of results is paved with ridiculous amounts of action.  Every time I have reached an unprecedented success, it is because of breaking previous records of activity.

Every Friday your competition is late to the office, reading the paper or knocking off early.  Buck the conventional, make today your most productive.

  1. Ask this question right now.  “What is the most important thing I can do right now to accelerate success in my life?” Do it… Now.

Heck, now I’m even fired up!

Life Hacks for Success in Business

by JP Moery

IStock/Credit: yuriz

When are my best days in the office? Those are the days I get out of bed and WORK OUT. I hit CrossFit 3 times a week because it’s something that gets my blood going. By the time I walk into the office, I’m ready to go, instead of trying to do it with a cup of coffee. And, by the way, coffee is my fall back on days I don’t work out. Now, CrossFit isn’t for everyone. But, I encourage you to find something that gets you moving in the morning.

Leaders of today are really “corporate athletes.”  Over the years, I’ve learned productivity and effectiveness increases the better physical condition of the executive.  I  have to be in pretty good physical shape to run a business. The day of the ‘fat cat’ is done, because frankly, people can’t maintain success with a lethargic approach or without great energy.

I remember talking with a corporate attorney who, back in the day, would wake up; go to the office; open the mail; and, dictate to an assistant his responses to the mail. He’d then go have a big lunch, throw back a few drinks, and go home – because his day was done. And, then he’d do it again the next day – mainly because the flow of work was so predicated on the rhythm of snail mail. What an incredibly passive approach to work, which obviously can’t keep pace in today’s business.

My second strategy is a powerful exercise I’ve read about and successfully incorporated into my mornings: the personal journal. I write about anything and everything – like, “Man, my baseball team really sucks,” to “Isn’t the world wonderful?” The topics run the gamut, but pushes me to be more reflective.  To start the day thinking.   I believe this exercise starts to work the emotional intelligence muscle a bit. When I’ve mistakes in business, it’s often the result of emotion. Keeping a personal journal keeps life in perspective and a place to pour my emotions out.  Journaling has become a safety valve – so my business thinking is more balanced.

The third part of my overall approach is effectively scheduling my time. My docket is essentially full each day and I work as hard as I can motivate myself. Meaningful scheduling keep things moving for me. If you wake up with an empty calendar, you become a victim of other’s agendas and priorities – they take over your life, because you have allowed it.

So these are things that keep me fired up and moving forward: physically, emotionally, and structurally.

How do your best days start? I challenge you map out your best days – and try to replicate those activities that make it so.

What Does It Take? Brains or Behavior?

by JP Moery

IStock/Credit: ismagilov

To be the best, you need to hire the smartest people or those with the best attitude and self awareness?

Recently I thought about my most fantastic colleagues and what made them so. Upon reflection I realized many of these special individuals weren’t the “smartest in the room,” or maybe they were. In this knowledge economy, with information so readily available, I rarely see a situation where the team or the company is not smart or informed enough to succeed.  But the team that behaves best, collaborates well or buys into the values and mission are the long term winners.

The individual superstars may not have looked best on paper. But, they did get great results through behavioral qualities:

They showed up and posted a quality effort every day. Hall of fame baseball players get an extra hit each week more than the run of the mill journeyman. That is what it takes – an extra hit each week. The key is to engage every day – be solid.

Without exception, they possess a “let’s light this candle” attitude. It’s really simple. Do you generate energy or suck it out of your organization? Organizations have very little time for the excuse, the maintenance or the drama. Those types of individuals eventually just play themselves out of the game, largely because there is just too much time on the negative. The very best just keep grinding away with a “can do” approach.

They are passionate solution providers. I’m convinced most companies, associations and people are a little (or a lot) screwed up. However, great talent is willing to do something about it. The person griping about the problem can hit the door, and the person willing to fix it (or keep improving) gets the promotion.

Behavior over brains has been my experience.  What’s yours?

5 Things I Wish I’d Done Differently in My Career

by JP Moery

IStock/Credit: Francescoch

Looking back at my career path, I find myself reflecting on the decisions I made or actions I didn’t take along the way. This blog has been an excellent exercise in self-reflection as every experience I’ve had has led me to where I am at this moment – both professionally and in my personal life. Perhaps, you can relate.

#1) I wish I’d started my own business sooner. There is nothing like the challenge of it – the energy, the motivation of building up your own organization.  Hiring people and giving them an opportunity to prosper.  I also thrive on controlling a bit of my own destiny. If the notion of starting your own business is strong and you’ve got that fire in your belly – let me tell you: go for it. Do it. Because you may be looking over your shoulder regretting you didn’t take the leap.

#2) I wish I’d learned more about money. For a big part of my career, my sole money strategy was this: to make more of it. But, that was it. I knew zero about investing, cash flow, asset allocation – really, how the money systems work. And, it took me way too long to start digging in on it. This is a problem for many people, probably because we think money is too complicated.  And, there are those folks who want us to think that the complexity is too daunting because they gain from our confusion, fear and lack of knowledge. So, yes. I wish I’d learned more about money sooner.

#3) I was also late recognizing that organizations are limited by leaders.  Fortunately, I’ve had the opportunity to work for great leaders and poor ones.  Yes, it’s totally possible to learn just as much from the poor leader.  Through these experiences, I learned organizations are most often limited by its leadership.  It’s the root of success or failure.  I recognize that leadership can actually be “the” problem if a business is failing. But, here’s the good part – leadership is also part of the solution. I wish I’d recognized that sooner: recognized that leaders of organizations are the driving force for success. As a business owner, I wish I’d studied facets of leadership earlier.

#4) I regret not recognizing sooner the importance of giving and receiving candid feedback. Regretting the notion I should have spoken up earlier or listened more. How many times in your life have you walked out of a meeting or an interaction and said, “Man, I wish I would have said …” It happens to all of us, right? I wish I would have been more candid earlier in my career – even today. I’d like to be more open to candid feedback than I am now. Less defensiveness on my part. I recognize how constructive it can be. The bottom line is: if someone is willing to go out on a limb and offer you his thoughts; there’s probably an issue.

#5) And, finally – I wish I’d had the self-awareness earlier on that I can’t compartmentalize work and my personal life. They are intertwined. They always have been. Believe me, the way you behave when no one is looking in your personal life affects the way you are going to lead your company or organization. And if you don’t believe that, then you are fooling yourself. It would have benefited me greatly to have learned earlier that compartmentalizing your work and personal isn’t possible. So, bring everything you have at work and at home.  Friends, family and colleagues will all know whether you are or not.

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Four Secrets to Success from Small Town Oklahoma

by JP Moery

Recently, I had the great pleasure of visiting my hometown of Hennessey, Oklahoma, and my high school alma mater – where I shared a few thoughts with the 2017 graduating class. It was fantastic to be there.

I lived there for 18 years – spent 12 of those in the school system and I graduated with about 70 people back in 1983.

Here are my 4 small town-takeaways for success:

First: There is no one else to do the work when you live in a place like Hennessey, Oklahoma – population 2,100 people. There were so few of us, that to get anything done (like winning a championship football game, putting on some type of program, or holding vacation bible school) you had to be willing to do the work because there just weren’t a lot of people around.

The call would come, “Hey, we need someone to coach a team.” A quick response, “Yeah, I got that.” “Hey, can someone run this committee?” Again, “Yeah, can help.” The thing you learn from living in a small town is that you have to get involved or nothing gets done.

Folks from small-town America take the tasks at hand and engage right away.

Second: When you grow up in a small town, it’s really hard to “fake” it. I lived there for 18 years and everyone knew my mom and dad, what they did, where we went to church, and where we bought our groceries. Everyone knew everything about you. And, as a result, it was very difficult to fake things in life – so, in a way, you grew up as your authentic self – no pretense, no faking.

As a result, I grew up with a real sense of the true self.  That also instilled a certain amount of self confidence that would serve me well.

I had no idea a more humble beginning would actually provide more confidence moving forward.

Third: There’s always a game day. My friends and I were always in game mode.  We knew it would take extra reps and laps, extra practices during the day, and leadership from our coaches and teachers was necessary.  And, everyone would turnout and focus on game day.  In effect, this was great training ground for the world of big presentations, sales meetings or other deadlines.  You knew that preparation was key.   The practice and extra repetition prepared us for disruptions like injuries on the field, officiating calls that didn’t go your way, adjustments by the opponent, etc.

How to respond to game day was ingrained in all of us. This experience taught me to meet every single day with that same focus and energy, because game day was coming eventually. The more often you are ever present – like game day –  the more success ahead for you.

Fourth: We were all connected in a small community. When tragedy occurred, we always came together. All different types of people (religion, socio-economic status) banded together to respond to a problem, opportunity or tragedy in our town.  I learned quickly that the quality of character had very little to do with position or financial status.  Our proximity to each other bound us together, whether we liked it or not. Our current society and systems can make our network very homogenous, so we are never consistently present with those different than us.  On any given day, workplace, school or social scene is comprised of those that look, talk and practice much like me.  So, the introduction of a different perspective is lacking.  If this is your life, I encourage you to venture outside your bubble for different experiences.

Upon reflection, you can learn a great deal in a small town.  It wasn’t better, but it was different.  And, it provided the opportunity for truly unique experiences.

Photo credit: http://www.hennesseyok.org

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Three Leadership Truths

by JP Moery

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I’ve learned successful leadership often comes down to some simple truths. Whether you are an association CEO, company president, or head of a department: here are 3 things I hope can help you run your show just a little bit better.

First: Don’t expect people who work for you to hit it harder than you do. If you aren’t getting the results you need from your team, you should take a look at yourself. Are you bringing it to the table every single day? Your employees are simply taking their cue from you. There should be no one more invested in your organization’s success than you – so make yourself the example and bring 110% engagement to everything. You should be working so hard, your people are paddling fast to keep up. Make sure your example is a damn good one.

Second: You are the #1 sales person in the company. You are the evangelist. No one is going to carry the message like you can.  This is most important to the small business owner. If you think someone else is going to sell it for you, get that resume together, because you will be out of business real quick. Get out there – you’re the one who came up with the idea. You are the person with the most passion about your company. Even if you have sales people – you need to be out there with them engaging prospective clients; and, oh by the way, communicating with existing clients on how you can do it better. Spread the message about your product, your people, you company culture and how awesome it is. You’re the #1 sales person.

And, third: Do you have someone on your team who just isn’t cutting it? If the answer is – “Yes,” that’s your fault. Either you didn’t train him well enough, clear goals weren’t established, or you didn’t give him the candid feedback required when he went off track. If you took all those measures and you’re still not satisfied with the results – that’s on you.

Take some time to reflect on your leadership truths and consider changes to improve the overall. Again, 1) don’t expect your people to work harder than you do; 2) embrace the notion that you are #1 sales person, and 3) take the responsibility for those who aren’t a fit for your organization. After all, you hired them.

If you’d like to receive more content focused on leadership, association growth, sales and more – JPMOERY-Select.

Client Relationships – Are You On The Same Page?

by JP Moery

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The #1 reason client relationships tank is you’re often not on the same page. Typically, goals and expectations are not clearly defined at the outset. When the deal is signed, you’re often so excited – this key conversation is often missed. You’re motivated to get the ball rolling with the momentum of the launch, but you haven’t taken the time to clearly delineate what you or the client specifically expect out of the deal.

Three years – that’s how long it took for me to realize the importance of discussing and documenting mutual expectations during a launch meeting (In fact, this component is now a big part of our sales process). Project goals and expectations are an agenda item with everyone at the table.  When I launched the company, I felt so damn fortunate to have a customer, I thought I could make everyone happy just be sheer hard work, passion and energy.  But I learned that just isn’t enough.  More thoughtful planning and goal setting is important to a successful engagement.

I also learned, it’s difficult to conduct any project without full collaboration between both parties. For success, consistent communication between consultant and client is required. “What’s the status?” “What’s the direction and strategy?” “What’s working and what isn’t?”  Weekly exchanges are essential. A winning partnership requires a team effort – we’re all pulling on the same rope, right? Let’s act like it.

Additionally, I have found it absolutely critical to talk about values.  Our company values – collaboration, integrity and dedication are key to every relationship, including those with clients.  I like to stress those values in the launch meeting too.  And, if we aren’t exhibiting those values, I want to know about it.  If the client isn’t, I’ll let you know about it.

Isn’t that fair?

The underlying theme is transparency, goal setting and open communication. If those are in place, you’re off to a great start.

 

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