Category Archives: Profit

Ep 15 – How You Can Leverage Service to Build Value and Drive Profits

How My “robo-ticket” experience in Iowa Will Grow YOUR Business!

EPISODE LENGTH: 19:31

QUOTE:  “If your ‘system’ is preventing great service for your clients, don’t be surprised when they head for the door.” – Scott Cooksey

TAKE AWAYS:

  • Craft value-added services FOR FREE that attract more business without sacrificing your integrity.
    • Examples from financial services and professional services providers
  • Sometimes going “old school” and getting present with your audience, clients, or prospects is all it takes to draw them into your business.  Stop killing them with PowerPoint (R) slides!
  • When it goes wrong, sometimes it makes it right!
    When it goes wrong, sometimes it makes it right!

CONNECT WITH THE SHOW:

  • @IdeaCharger – Follow the Show on Twitter
  • @CookseyConnects – Host Scott Cooksey on Twitter
  • www.IdeaCharger.com – for Show Notes, Articles, More episodes and learn how we can bring Success Charger to YOUR business or screen!

ABOUT THE SHOW:

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Send us your questions, thoughts, improvements, rants, feedback, ugly truths and guest suggestions to us at PODCAST@IdeaCharger.com.

If you’re interested in having Scott Cooksey speak at your upcoming event, work with your organization or deliver a private workshop for your team, here’s more!  Scott also offers one-on-one and small group packages for Success Chargers looking to take their career to the next level.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Podcast is NOW LIVE!

height_250_width_250_SUCCESSCHARGER_ARTWORKAS OF AUGUST 13, 2015, THE PODCAST IS NOW LIVE!

SUBSCRIBE TODAY:

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Just a quick update to let you know that while I haven’t posted any new articles in a while, the IdeaCharger has been generating some new content, and you are going to love it!

Podcasting Microphone Coming in August 2015, I am excited to announce the launch of “Success Charger Podcast with Scott Cooksey”. As soon as we have the particulars worked out, I’ll be posting the details, but here’s a quick look at what you can expect:

  • Stories behind the tips shared inside “CONNECT: 77 Idea Chargers to Generate High Voltage Results TODAY!”  Don’t have a copy, order one HERE
  • Interviews offering deeper insights behind the stories and concepts YOU NEED TO KNOW
  • Concepts  to re-energize your business and generate deeper, profitable relationships with your clients and customer RIGHT NOW
  • Much, much more!

Production is already underway for our first episodes, so get ready to be energized with SUCCESS CHARGER: The Podcast!

How to Generate A Connection With Any Audience

Just about the time the candidate is tired of giving the speech, the audience is starting to accept the message.

George_Caleb_Bingham_-_Stump_SpeakingStop for a minute and think about how many times you have “told them what you needed them to understand”, yet your audience  still doesn’t seem to  get it.

Recently, I listened to a presentation suggesting if a parent repeats a question seemingly ignored by their child, to repeat oneself is disrespectful to the child.  There was more to his point than I’ll get into here, but it got me thinking:

Why is it disrespectful to repeat a question to your child when they seemingly ignore you, yet it is expected that to get a marketing or campaign message to stick- multiple impressions must occur before it sinks in with a potential buyer?

Over the years, my experience working with leaders from organizations of all designs, sizes and locations around the globe, I have found the one skill to ensure success is development of one’s ability to connect with others.

As human beings, we tend to see the world through layers of filters- each shaded by the unique experiences in our lives:

  • Environment in which we were raised,
  • Influence of teachers/coaches/authority figures in our life;
  • Color of our skin;
  • Primary language(s) spoken at home;
  • Previous managers, both good  & bad, and
  • Many other factors singularly experienced by us.

It is the combined effect of each of those filters which directly impacts our own ability to connect with others in a meaningful and productive way.  Simply speaking to people the way WE want to be spoken to misses a very important element of connection…what matters most…TO THEM!

Earlier today, I caught part of an interview with former U.S. presidential candidate Newt Gingrich.  In an effort to continue sharing his message while also keeping himself from getting bored with the repeated message he wanted his supporters to understand, he used flash cards.  Each card contains one point he wants audiences to retain.  Before each speech, he would literally shuffle the deck, forcing him to make transitions from one point to the next, each time in a different, unique, authentic style which made the remarks sound more “real” and genuine– a technique I found fascinating.

In conversations with my own daughter (a VERY talkative and curious pre-schooler), I have now deliberately stopped repeating myself when I think she isn’t listening, instead choosing to  re-phrase, re-frame, and re-direct our conversations toward her making a decision (or deciding for Dad to make the decision for her.)  I’m not sure what long-term effect it may have on our relationship, but I do know the way we communicate is already beginning to change for the better.

plug inEach week, I work with leaders to help them identify and consider how they might communicate more effectively to drive action & results while simultaneously building trust and (re)igniting the flame of performance and engagement among teams.  There is science behind the “how”, and great leaders utilize that science to get real, measurable results much faster than lesser successful counterparts.

When your direction “doesn’t land” with your intended audience, are you simply saying it again…but louder?

This week, pay attention to HOW you are communicating with your target audiences (both inside and outside your organization). Does it seem authentic?  It is effective and impactful? Or does it feel like a lot of work without much response?

Need some help getting back on track?  Post a question below in the comment section or share a success story demonstrating how you deliberately communicate with others to drive real success!

Be A Connector, Not A Commodity!

“It’s not always the most popular person who gets the job done.”

-Gordon Gekko, Wall Street

Are You A LION? WHY?

I have had the privilege of working with leaders from over 1,000 companies over the years. My personality is one that suggests I have never met a stranger.  Networking is something intuitive for me, yet I find the idea of LinkedIn Open Networker (LION) appalling.  In fact, I would rate it one step above a cold caller who believes the phone book is a list of your personal contacts.

(NOTE:  For my younger readers, a phone book is a huge listing of households and businesses every land-line telephone number in a particular city or metropolitan area.  These used to be provided free of charge for everyone and delivered to your house annually.  The most impressive use I ever saw of an actual phone book was seeing it ripped in two in a feats of strength act at a school assembly.)

Big Data Is Not All Its Cracked Up To Be

Algorithms rule the world.  Everything is math. Data is meant to be crunched.  But, not all data.

According to my LinkedIn profile, my “network” has over 1,700 connections.  If you quickly do the math of “connections of connections of connections” I apparently have a “reach” of about 4 gazillion people.  The problem is, most of those people, until I offer a bit of knowledge useful to THEM,  do not care about me or the connections I have.   The point here is NOT about how many connections one has, rather, it is about the quality of those connections that truly counts.  For the record, I have personally interacted or held some kind of conversation with nearly every one of the people I am connected to on LinkedIn. (There are most certainly a few who slipped by me in a weak moment or as result of some long forgotten exchange.)

Add Value First, Reward Will Follow

If you speak as part of promoting your business, you should encourage your audience members to connect with you.  LinkedIn, however, may not be the most appropriate place.  Friends you met at a party, but don’t necessarily have any significant common ground with professionally, likely are good enough for Facebook.  If you find someone’s perspectives interesting, but not sure you are willing to commit to more than an arm’s length admission, Twitter works great.  Should you have a meaningful exchange with someone under the auspices of business, however, LinkedIn is likely appropriate.

In a previous article, I shared how you could leverage connections you have collected on Facebook into your business world. Whether you are “old hat” with LinkedIn or just getting started, I recommend beginning to build value with people you already “know”.

Say It. Don’t Spray It!

Plenty of people claim to be “networking experts”.  I have known many over the years.  The problem is, if they have to TELL YOU they are a “networking expert”, I would offer they probably have a large of business cards, but no earthly idea of what to do with all of those contacts. Here’s a photo of what I found in the desk of a previous co-worker who complained he wasn’t able to generate more sales: Business Cards

If only he had ever just tried to contact half of those cards to learn what problems they needed help with TODAY.

Here’s the gold:

Find out what problems or challenges your contacts are needing help with today and connect them with someone else you know who can offer assistance or BEST SOLVE that problem! Just GET INVOLVED with your network!

Hey, LIONs:  Less IS More!

Stop collecting connections and building a useless “network” of people with whom you never actually get to know, interact, or connect!

In my experience, a list of 100 people you know well and interact with regularly with a specific message  yields much greater results than building a long list of people whom you hope, pray, and wish someday might buy from you.   Be of assistance to your network and you will build a loyal following for life.  Who knows, they might even refer some business your way.


Scott Cooksey works with organizations to build sustainable, lasting, profitable relationships with clients and reignite the power of teams.  Learn more about how he can work with your organization or speak at your event by visiting www.IdeaCharger.com.

When Being Average Means You Are On Top

circus freak poster

You become the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
-Jim Rohn, 1930-2009

Several years ago, following some significant, life-changing events, I found myself adrift.  I had lost my focus.  While I had the “know-how”, my energy for building a business had faded from a roaring fire to a smoldering pile of coals.  Something needed to change.

Filling the Gap

When I visit with clients about the difference between where they are and where they would like to be, I have often found the gap to be both deceptively narrow and dangerously deep.  In order to traverse the crevasse, one must first summon the courage to try. It helps if you have a support system around you.  Are the people with whom you spend the most time building you up, or pulling you down?

Five Steps to Re-Ignite Your Success

  1. Intentionally select to become active in meetings with like-minded people.  By choosing to surround yourself with people who share your values, ideas, passion, excitement and/or skill set, you will be practicing the idea that “iron sharpens iron”.
  2. Deliberately attend gatherings of people with views different from your own. Living in a bubble is dangerous.  Get close to your competitors and detractors to gain a peek into their playbook.  While ideologies may not match, knowledge beats “winging it” every time. In some cases, keeping an open mind will often lead to new solutions YOU can implement as well!
  3. Upgrade your circle of influence. Look around.  If you are not learning FROM the people you consider close, it might be time to upgrade your circle of influence.  Already upgraded and still not getting better? Shuffle the deck and try again.
  4. Form a mastermind group. Find people who can be part of your accountability structure (yes…you need that) and for whom YOU can offer fresh perspectives.  These are the people who are gathering to make their businesses better.  Turn off your filter. Give the best advice you know.  What you receive in return is priceless.
  5. Go on a date.  Yep.  Get a sitter and go out with your spouse or significant other.  Book an exclusive dinner with your child.  DO NOT TALK ABOUT WORK. Be present.  Listen. [For best results, repeat this step regularly.]

Desire Is Like A Campfire

Once a fire settles down from a roaring blaze to a bed of hot coals, a smart camper banks them up into a tight bundle before heading off to their tent.  In the morning, simply adding some dry tinder onto the coals re-ignites the flame to shake off the morning chill and warm up that first pot of coffee.

The five steps above are the tinder you need to re-ignite the fire that comforts your success.  If you are surrounded by the right people, average is all you need.


Scott Cooksey works with organizations seeking to improve team performance, forge unbreakable bonds with clients and generate sustainable, profitable results.  Learn more at www.IdeaCharger.com.

 

Why I Love LinkedIn Connected App and You Should Too!

In my experience as a leadership development expert, I have found the single skill, when used correctly, that stands above all others to solidify a foundation for success.  In fact, I even put together a book about it.  That one skill is connection.  

Knowing Is Not Enough

2013 State of the Industry ASTD.org Infographic

The Association for Talent Development (Formerly ASTD), estimates U.S. organizations spent approximately $164.2 billion on employee learning in 2012. Of this total direct learning expenditure, 61 percent ($100.2 billion) was spent internally. – 2013 State of the Industry Report, ASTD.org
Organizations want their people to be EFFECTIVE in their roles, produce MEASURABLE RESULTS, and create SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES.   For one to acquire the skills necessary to accomplish these objectives, there have historically been two basic tracks:
  1. On The Job Training (OJT)  “I had to figure this out on my own, so can you!” Or,
  2. Send Them To A Class “I don’t have time to teach you, so I’m going to send you to a seminar/workshop/class/conference and let somebody ‘fix you’!”

The first option can be quite expensive, for reasons I will not fully get into today. Let’s just agree that a “let’s cross our fingers and hope” plan is kind of like hoping to win the lottery when you never actually purchase a ticket.

The second choice, as I have observed many, many times in practice, is effective at creating awareness of what people should do.  The disconnect, however, lies in the all-to-often lack of a support system surrounding that person while they learn how to apply the techniques and practices from the training session(s) into their actual job on a consistent basis.  Watching a “how-to” video on YouTube is much different than doing what it takes to achieve your desired outcome.

$164.2 Billion is a LOT OF MONEY to try to change people’s behavior.  At “IdeaCharger”, we focus on ways to implement deliberate, impactful change for and maximize your Return on Investment (ROI) for your development dollars.

The third track, where I work with my clients, is to generate a natural, easy-to-implement plan with specific steps, practices and intent to easily turn the “what” into the “how” in a seamless manner and deliver measurable results.

Here’s your free IdeaCharger for the day:

Focus on the Connection

Social media is not the answer to all of the world’s problems.  Yes, impactful movements have begun with a single “tweet”. Families and friends stay connected on “Facebook” (Here’s why I broke up with Facebook…sort of).  LinkedIn, however, is interesting.

On the surface, LinkedIn is just a version of your resume’ or C.V. posted online for others to find.  In a previous article, I discussed the value of going beyond that “hey, we went to high school together” connection of Facebook and how to turn it into something more meaningful (e.g. business). The what (creating a profile on LinkedIn) is the “easy part”. The magic lies in what you DO with your LinkedIn network.  Today, I introduce you to the next critical step in building those connections

The Secret Sauce of LinkedIn in 5 Easy Steps

  1. LinkedIn Connected App IconInstall “LinkedIn Connected” on your smart phone or tablet. (It’s in the App Store -at this writing I did not find it yet for Android, and,like LinkedIn-which you should also install, it is FREE.)
  2. Sign in to the app.
  3. Open the app every day. [The app will suggest people from your network with something noteable (job change, professional anniversary, birthday, etc…) about members of your network.
  4. Send individual notes to them (It’s simple, just click the link).
  5. Repeat tomorrow.

Watch Your Connections Deepen & Solidify Into Opportunities

The most seasoned salespeople never cold call.  They focus on the connection.  Contact your customers, clients, and members of your sphere of influence just to say ‘Hello!’. Better yet, take the online cues and send them a handwritten note, put it in an envelope and mail it to them.   NOBODY ELSE, I will repeat, NOBODY ELSE IS DOING THAT ANYMORE, and it will set you apart.

You don’t always have to be “the guy/gal”, but you should ALWAYS be the first person that comes to their mind when they need to do some business.  CONNECT!

What Other Ways to YOU Build Connections?  Share your IdeaChargers in the Comments section below.

How to Leverage Your Expertise Into Profits

Be an inch wide and be prepared to go a mile deep with your target market.
“Good enough” simply will not cut it, anymore!

Volunteering to serve on the board of a professional association takes time.  Professionally, your time was a value. Perhaps you are “worth” (professionally speaking, of course) $80,000+ a year.  Maybe you charge clients $350 an hour.  If you are really in-demand, perhaps your clients pay you a six-figure retainer, just in case they need your expertise to solve a problem! No matter the amount, your skills have value, right?

boardroomBoard service is often more give than take.   Long hours, un-reimbursed expenses, and the added stress of carrying the responsibility to keep said organization on the right path often take a toll on your energy (or worse, your own business & family).  When you serve, however, the journey of your tenure is often repaid by way of making new friendships, establishing connections you might otherwise have never made, and often learning that “one little nugget” of information that has eluded you for years.

A couple of years ago, my friend and colleague Lois Creamer (Visit her at www.BookMoreBusiness.com) was in town to speak at our local chapter of the National Speakers Association.  As has become customary for our chapter, the night preceding the monthly meeting includes a dinner with the visiting speaker and members of the board, along with their spouses – as an informal way to help the presenter get a feel for the chapter & enjoy some time with fellow speaking professionals.  What typically happens, though, between the laughter, connections, and sharing of stories from the road, is the bubbling through of constructive ideas in a rare, one-on-one session with an expert.  That is the real payment for the job, and it is awesome!

That night with Lois, the conversation turned toward the inevitable, “So, what do you speak about?”  For the first time that night, a few of the attendees were speechless (funny, if you consider the association). What followed next for some was a collection of responses so convoluted even the best cryptographers would have struggled. Not to be outdone, others delivered a concise retort so vague and broadly worded Lois STILL did not understand “what they meant” any more than the first group.  Then it came to me.  “Well, Lois,” I began, “What I want people to understand …” Then she stopped me and gave me this:  “Scott.  When someone asks what you do, I want  your topic to be an inch wide…and a mile deep.  Your expertise needs to be obvious and relevant right away. When you cast too wide a net, the listener hears a lack of conviction and does not understand why they should hire you over someone else more specific.”   We worked on it after the dinner, and came to a confident, concise statement that says “I work with financial services professionals and sales teams to enable them to build lasting, profitable relationships with their customers and clients.”  [A statement which conveys my expertise in a way that solves the kind of problems my ideal client might be willing to pay to address.  You’ll have a chance to try out a statement of your own in a minute…Keep reading.]

Her point:

Equilibrium
floato via Compfight

Be an expert. Vague does not sell.  Audiences, buyers, and the people with whom you network do not have time (or the incentive) to work through everything you have said, just to try to figure out what you really meant or why you are relevant for what they need.  Do people really KNOW how you can help them solve THEIR problems?  (This is critical if your livelihood depends on it!)

You have an expertise.

No matter your job title or professional role, you know something better than someone else. Your expertise may have nothing that directly ties to what you do at work, but may lie in a passion.  Do you like to cook?  Maybe you are into running, cycling, or working out.  Perhaps you are the world’s greatest avoid-er of commitment.  Whatever your talent, draw a connection back to your profession. (e.g. Chefs take raw ingredients to create wonderful dishes.  Explain how you do the same, figuratively, with your clients.) Regardless of how the recognition manifests itself, deep down, we all want to be respected for our knowledge of some task, skill, craft or ability. For you, it may be mission critical that others be so confident in your expertise that they are willing to pay to access that expertise.  It is your job to connect the dots for them, so you become easy to hire.

Be clear about your area of knowledge.

If you are not sure what that is, ask 20 people whom you trust to tell you an honest response.  Your expertise may not be what you think it is.  Should that be the case, I challenge you to consider how that might shift how you approach what you do or how you do it -leveraging that expertise.

Grow confident in your expertise.

Continue to refine your practice and knowledge in your gifted area.  It will open doors for you.  Most importantly, your enjoyment and satisfaction in how you spend your time just might become even more rewarding for you.  What a great repayment for just being “you”.

PLUG IN:

Give it some thought and share in the comments to this article what your reflection or research says might be your own area of expertise.  If you have a website relating to who you are or what you do that allows you to leverage that expertise, please include a link to your website / Pinterest page / YouTube channel / Twitter account in the body of your reply below.  Let’s connect a network of experts and see what happens!