The Power of Choice

Sam Silverstein Articles 1 Comment

We become what we become because of the way we choose and will ourselves to think. Our choices affect our thoughts and our thoughts affect who we are, what we stand for, and the footprints we leave on this planet.

Throughout our lives, we are faced with a myriad of choices. We may not always recognize their presence, but, like it or not, we are constantly faced with the responsibility of choosing. There is no escaping this responsibility. Not deciding what to do or how to act in a given situation is, in itself, a choice.

Making choices also means accepting the idea that we are part of a bigger picture. We are not alone in our choices. Our choices affect not only ourselves, but the people around us. Our choices shape our actions. Our actions are received and interpreted by those around us. These actions shape the opinions and feelings of those individuals and, ultimately, the actions they take for or against our behalf.

Some choices we make, like our financial well being, will ultimately affect the members of our immediate family. As we grow financially, we are in a position to provide on a different level for those we love. We make choices regarding our values and how we balance our lives. These choices will certainly impact our family and friends. How you treat others professionally will impact the results your business team achieves. As you can see, the choices we make can affect a wide array of people in our lives.

To a great extent, our beliefs about ourselves and our own capabilities, as well as how we see the world and the forces at play in it, affect what we will find possible. These beliefs will impact our choices. Our choices will shape our actions and our actions will determine our results.

Our choices not only affect us today, but affect our abilities and our choices in the future. For instance, if you feel out of control in a given situation, you may choose to withdraw or avoid the problems at hand. This choice leads you to escape from a challenge instead of confronting and possibly overcoming it. The degree to which you avoid or escape from problems today impairs your ability to face, deal with, and grow from various challenges in the future. Choices you make today will prepare you for choices you will be faced with in the future. As the complexity of life evolves, one choice will build on another, enabling you to handle increasingly difficult situations.

An awareness of choice is the first step towards growth. It is critical that we understand the importance of our choices and also the value of the present. By focusing on our current actions, living in the moment, we develop a certain mindfulness and can apply ourselves to do the very best job possible right now! Clarity of mind allows us to recognize the choices at hand and deal with them in a positive and proactive manner. You can create the future you desire based on the choices you make today!

Selling The Invisible

Sam Silverstein Articles 0 Comments

I just returned from the winter workshop of the National Speakers Association. It is a great opportunity to renew friendships, share ideas, and hear the latest buzz. I had particularly been looking forward to the Saturday morning keynote, delivered by Harry Beckwith, the author of “Selling The Invisible.”

If you haven’t read Harry’s book, I strongly recommend it. Although a large percentage of our business economy is based on selling goods and services that you can’t hold in your hand, such as insurance, investment counseling, and other professional services, the principles are certainly relevant to physical products as well.

Harry stated that there are four main issues you must manage in order to achieve success in “Selling The Invisible.”

1. Price

Price is important, but not in the way you may think. Price denotes value. Therefore, if you sell at a low price, then your value is perceived as low. If you sell at a substantially higher value, then your value is perceived as high. People naturally desire to buy high quality.

Taking this concept further, studies have shown that a client will be intrigued by a 25 percent price difference. They see this price decrease as a significant saving and may justify a lesser quality in order to save the money. If your prices are 5, 10, or even 15 percent lower, then odds of making the sale do not increase. You will only be giving up profits.

If you want to use price to help convey value you must be more then 25 percent higher then your competition. Remember, price alone does not determine value. Your perceived value will also be conveyed through the level of service you deliver, as well as the other features and benefits of doing business with you.

2. Brand

What are you known for? What reputation do you or your company have in the market place? A brand is a promise that you make with the market. When someone chooses you and your service, they should know what they are going to receive.

Think of your brand as your reputation. Then the question is, “How do you grow your reputation?” If you work on developing and strengthening your brand, the value of your business will grow.

One way of conveying to the market place what you do is through stories. Don’t just tell people how great you are, how wonderful your service is, and the fantastic results you will help your clients achieve. Tell stories about actual experiences that your clients have had working with you. People relate to stories, and they learn from stories. Stories are believable, and are a very powerful way to make a point.

Use stories in your marketing efforts, and you will build your brand.

3. Packaging

How are you visually communicating with your clients? What does your office look like? How do you dress? Are your letters and other printed materials presenting the image that you should be sending?

Everything about you and your organization should present a great first impression. Your “packaging” has a direct correlation to your perceived value.

Look at your competition and the industry in which your work. What type of packaging do they use? How do they dress? What do their presentations look like? What is the quality of their web sites, printed materials, and any other collateral marketing materials?

Once you have a good grasp on what everyone else is doing, you are in a great position to determine if you are on the right track, or if you need to make any course corrections.

4. Relationship

What are your relationships with your clients and prospects like? Relationships are built over time and through service. When your clients call you, how long does it take for you to return their call? What type of commitment does this response time show your clients?

What do you sacrifice for your clients? Do you give them time, attention, and assistance? How do you welcome them when they call, or when you meet with them? What are you doing to show your clients the level of importance they hold?

These are tough questions, but the answers to these questions will reveal how you are building relationships, and they will identify possible shortcomings.

People like to be valued. We want to feel important. Invest the time and energy to make each client and prospective client feel important, and they will show tremendous loyalty to you.

Focus on these four areas, and you will be on the road to being accountable for your organization’s success!