WHY is More Important Than How or What

October 21, 2011

Ever wonder why some people seem to be able to get more done than you?  Or how about the dedication that some people have to their family, business, a charity, cause, or whatever.  It always intrigues me to see someone so passionate about something that they are not only willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish their goals, but they are also getting stuff done at a speed that is just mind-boggling.

The secret to their success can be summed up in this little word:  WHY

Why they are doing whatever “it” is, is what drives them.

Having a PURPOSE makes you purposeful with every move you make.

Understanding what’s on the line, drives you to care about the end result more than the steps that will get you there.

If we take a step back and examine the way most people work and think, you will see a distinct difference.

The average person thinks….  How do I accomplish this? And then they ask the question, What do I do now or next?  But while those questions are good to ask, they often take center stage and overshadow the why.  It’s easy to get wrapped up in the [How] and the [What] and actually forget about [Why] altogether.

Ever hear the phrase, “life is a journey not a destination”? or “you have to take time to enjoy the ride”?  While that’s great advice to enjoy the journey, we often get distracted from our destination by all the speed bumps and challenges along the way.

Ever see the movie “Vacation”?  Easily one of my favorite movies of all time.  Clark Griswold was definitely focused on the destination.  Didn’t matter what happened along the way, they were going to Wally World and they were going to have fun whether they liked it or not.  I admire the passion, but it’s not quite the example we are looking for here.  But I bet many of us relate.

The other example I think of is one of my favorite athletes when I was growing up and that’s Michael Jordan.  Most people think they know his story about being cut from the basketball team in high school.  But what most people don’t know about that is why he got cut.  You see, he had the talent to be on the team.  In fact, he had more talent than everyone on the team put together.  The problem was that he didn’t understand WHY he should be on the team.  His coach saw something in him that he hadn’t seen before and knew it was special.  So he made Michael commit to practicing every day with him for a year with no guarantee of getting on the team.  While I don’t have time to explain the whole story, let’s just say he found out WHY during all those practices.  His WHY was a long-term vision of being the greatest player to ever play the game and winning an NBA championship along the way.  Many would agree he is the greatest player in NBA history and he won 6 titles.

So how does this all relate?  Many people go through life like Clark Griswold barreling their way toward something.  The secret to real success is knowing WHY.  You see, while it’s a great movie (and I wouldn’t change a thing…), if you dig deeper you’ll see that Clark really didn’t have any reason why other than getting to the park and having some fun.  What if his [WHY] or [Purpose] for the trip was to create a bond with his family, make heartfelt memories, and make the trip their best summer vacation ever!  You get a different outcome when your WHY is right.  You also enjoy the journey!

To put a little more perspective on this, imagine being so passionate about your WHY that you enjoy the otherwise meaningless daily tasks.  Or better yet, you relish the opportunity to take on each challenge along the way.  Do you think you would do a better job if you enjoyed the challenges?  Do you think it’s easier to do something when you know the impact it will make to the long-term WHY?  You bet it does.

Some questions you can ask yourself to be more effective:

  • Always ask, WHY am I doing this?
  • What’s the purpose of this?
  • What part does this play in my long-term vision, my WHY, life goals, etc?
  • How can I enjoy even the most trivial tasks or challenges?

This is a big can of worms for most people.  So my last bit of advice is don’t got it alone.  Find a coach, mentor, or friend that can help you get perspective.  If need help discovering your WHY, reach out to me at michael@michaellejeune.com.  I’m happy to give you some specific advice for your situation.


12 Disciplines Of Every Successful Company

October 14, 2011

A common daily question that business owners have is:  What should our company be doing better?  I literally hear this every time I meet a business owner.  Initially, I thought the answer to this question depended on what that business did, or their industry, or maybe several other factors that were unique to that business…  BUT what I’ve found after studying this for several years now is that almost everything you need to do to improve your business will fall into the following 12 Disciplines.  If your company can master these and constantly work on them, you will see tremendous results.

So here are the disciplines and a brief outline of what I’m talking about for each.  More info to come on each of these in the future….

1. Optimizing – Most people are great at starting new things or doing stuff the same way forever.  But to build a truly amazing company, you must have a focus on improving and optimizing what you are doing.  I like to focus on a couple of areas first.  I like to work on current promotions, tracking leads and opportunities, and expenses.  These areas can have a fast impact and boost your bottom line quickly.

2. Team Building – If you want a strong company that operates with or without you, you need a team.  The foundation of the team is your leadership team.  The core of your leadership team is built on communication, mindset and beliefs.  Your building blocks for making it all work together are your Vision, Culture, Integrity, Accountability, and Systems.

3. Sales Process – Map it out from first impression to a closed sale.  Use a CRM!  This is a nonnegotiable.

4. Sales Scripts – What do you say and when do you say it in the process?  What phrases work and which ones cause problems during a sale?  Know this stuff and teach it to EVERYONE on your team!

5. Overcoming Objections – Start by making a list of common objections.  Address common objections during the sales process to minimize them at the end.  Position all your interactions with the prospects so they expect the sale…

6. Customer Service – How do you treat your customers?  Do you survey them?  Do you have standard response times?  How about WOW factors?  What information do you gather about your clients so you can impress them?

7. Knowing Your Ideal Client – Know who you like to work with and who you don’t.  Know who’s a good fit for your company and when you are forcing a round peg into a square hole just for a dollar.  Have a set of criteria that you use to accept a client.

8. Telling Your Story – What makes your company special?  What problems does your company address for the industry.  What makes your product/service better than the rest?  What are the real intangible benefits to working with you?

9. Perfecting Your Follow Up To Current Customers – The first sale is only the beginning of the relationship.  How can you keep your customers coming back over and over again?

10. Hiring – A bad hire will cost you as much as 60K.  Learn how to find, recruit, screen, and train good talent.  It will change your business from the inside out.  Very powerful.

11. Strategy – This is the long-term piece of your planning.  Thinking and planning 5 years or more out, creating a roadmap, milestones, and targets.  Involves thinking about what you want to accomplish and working your way backwards to the present day.  Also includes thinking of ways to accomplish more with each move you make.

12. 90 Day Planning – The strategy is great, but if you don’t get out the business every 90 days and clear your mind, review where you are, and get down in the details, you are going to be in trouble.  This is a key part of growing and maintaining an amazing business.

Want to know more about these 12 disciplines?  Want to Master them?  I have a 6 month training series coming up on this soon.  Email me  michael@michaellejeune.com and set you up with all info…


Mike’s Top 10 Ways to Grow Any Business

October 5, 2011

I get asked all the time about how to quickly and easily grow a company.  My short answer is that there are NO silver bullets!  It doesn’t matter what business you are in, there’s no single way to jump your sales overnight.  And there’s really no way at all to do it effortlessly.

That said, if you want tried and true ways to grow literally any business on planet, read on…

Here’s a list of my personal 10 favorites that work in literally every situation I’ve ever been in.  And by the way, that ranges from advanced business solutions to manure farmer (Yes, I’ve actually coached a manure farmer).  I’ve used this in all situations and they flat-out work!

Mike’s top 10 ways to grow any company

  1. Reach out to past leads that didn’t close and see if they are now ready to buy. – Most sales are lost for lack of follow-up.
  2. Reach out to current customers and see if they could use an upgrade or cross sell them into another product or service.  What if every one of your customers purchased just 10% more from you?
  3. Ask everyone, past clients, current clients, people who don’t close in a demo; for a REFERRAL!  People will give you referrals if you ask.  Even if it doesn’t work more than 10 or 20% of the time, that’s better than 0% which is what I bet most of you reading this are getting right now.
  4. Increase your prices.  If you are worth it, charge more.  Cheap = you get what you pay for.
  5. Review your promotions and discounts to find ways of adding value instead of just giving discounts.  I recently reduced the cost of a promotion for a client from $15 to $9 (a savings of $6 per sale).  We reduced the plain cash discount to $5 cash off and a product that cost him $4 but had a perceived value of $10 (still a $15 value to the customer).  Doesn’t sound like much until you hear that he sells 200 of these deals per month.  That equals 200 sales times $6 or $1,200 per month/$14,400 per year.
  6. Review your marketing to see what’s working and what isn’t.  Cut what isn’t working and redirect those funds to what is.
  7. Pick up the phone and call all your customers just to see how they are doing.  You will be amazed at how many will refer business or let you in on a need they have (that you can help with) if you just communicate with them regularly.
  8. Invest 1 hour a week honing your sales skills, presentation/demo, etc.  Get better at closing!
  9. Implement a multi-touch sales and marketing system so that every lead gets “touched” a minimum of 20 times before you give up on it.
  10. Be authentic! – It’s not enough to be funny, cute, or original.  People want to see how real you are.  Show a real side to who you are and what your company is about and more people will buy.
Bonus 11th and 12th Tips…
11. Implement KPI’s in each key area of your business.  Tracking is actually a strategy that will improve your performance.  This one is highly underestimated.
12.  Implement a CRM into your sales process.  There’s no excuse here.  Zoho.com has an amazing free system, Salesforce.com is superb.  This step will increase your sales departments effectiveness by 40% or more.

For more strategies and tips on how to grow your business, email me at michael@michaellejeune.com

Have an interesting tip or strategy you want to share?  Send them in.  I’d love to share with the world!


Failure doesn’t mean you stop trying

October 2, 2011

There’s one horrible trend that I see in a lot of entrepreneurs and it’s simply that they quit very easily.  This is especially true when it comes to marketing, hiring, and their sales process.  Now I know what you are thinking…  Most entrepreneurs you know are the kind of people who never quit.  They never give up and they will fight to the death to make their business succeed.  While that it is true on the surface, this article will dig a little deeper into this epidemic.

This all starts from a recent conversation I had with a lawyer client of mine.  I asked him about what marketing had worked in the past and his answer was, “nothing”.  Seriously???  So I dug deeper and asked how he got his past clients.  The answer, “I did some networking, some post card mailers, and a couple of ads in the paper”.  So as I was scratching my head with confusion, I asked this, “So if nothing worked for you, how did you get those clients?”  His response, “well it worked once, but it hasn’t worked since”.  My response was simple, “so how many times do you think you’ve tried it that it didn’t work?”  The answer was kind of funny [to me, not to him].  His answer, “at least once or twice”.  Wow…  So I guess that’s a good reason to stop trying.

Follow my train of thought here.  You may not remember when you learned to walk, but I’m guessing you tried it more than once and I’m guess you failed several times along the way right?  What if you had just stopped trying to learn to walk the first or second time you fell?  You’d be in a wheelchair right now!  What about this major milestone in every person’s life, learning to successfully use the toilet.  Did you get that right the first time?  What about the second or third time?  Probably not.  It probably took weeks if not months of trying to get it right.  Imagine your life without learning this little skill…  I don’t care how smart you are, how talented in sports you are, or how charismatic you are, if you are 30 and still going in a diaper [because you are lazy and don’t want to learn to do it right] no one is going to hang out with you!  And that’s a fact.

One of the sad facts here is that learning to walk and going potty are probably the last times in your life where you were encouraged to keep trying NO MATTER HOW MANY MISTAKES YOU MADE!  Am I right?  Maybe riding a bike ranks in there with these, but then it stops there.  What if your networking skills stink the first dozen times you try it?  What do you think is going to happen?  Someone is going to come along and give you this pearl of wisdom, “why don’t you try something else?”  And of course that will make sense because networking is hard for many people and your brain goes into protection mode and says, “look, this yahoo said you should try something else.  That sure would make you happy.  Let’s just quit?”

Sometimes we just need to smack ourselves for listening to that little voice in our brain that is trying to hold us back.  It reminds me of the cartoons when I was a kid.  You know, the one where Sylvester the cat has the devil on one shoulder and the angel on the other.  That voice in your head is the devil saying to take it easy.

Back to my Lawyer client….

So I asked him this, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how good do you think you are at networking, marketing, etc.?”  His answer was a 2.  So I fired back with this, “Do you think if we worked on those skills and got you to a 5 or 6 out of 10 that you would be successful using those strategies to get customers.”  He answered with a resounding, Y-E-S!  So here’s the magic follow-up question, “How long do you suppose that it’s going to take to get from a 2 to a 6?”  He thought about it for a minute and said, “At least 6 months.  Maybe more.  Just depends on how fast I catch on.”  That was a brilliant answer.  You see, you can’t possibly the know the answer.  It depends on many factors like how fast you learn, what learning style works best for you, if you are an intellectual or if you are more hands on, how much knowledge you already have in this area, and your mindset or beliefs around the skill.  Another question I asked was, “if it will take you 6 months to get to a 6 out of 10, how long do you think it will take you to fully MASTER this and be a 10 out of 10?”  He thought for a minute and said, “probably a couple years.”  Again, right on the money…  A couple of studies I’ve read say it takes about 10,000 hours of practice to MASTER something. Which would take you just under 5 years if you practiced 40 hours a week.

I had one final question for my client…  “Are you committed to just 6 months to learn this or however long it takes?”  You see you have to be committed to however long it takes.  In his case, he said he was committed to eventually being a master at it.

Simply knowing what you are getting into at the beginning is an important step in maturity, but also success.  You see if you know going in that there will be mistakes, but that each one is a milestone that gets you one step closer to success, you treat the mistakes much differently.   When inventing the light bulb Ben Franklin made over 1,000 failed attempts.  His famous quote was, “I now know 1,000 ways it won’t work and just need to find one way to make it work.”  Are you willing to fail 1,000 times to get to success?

Let me leave you with this final point.  Each time you try, you INCREASE your percentages that your next attempt WILL WORK!  This not only applies in marketing and that sort of thing, but in prospecting as well.  I tell all my clients that you have to keep making calls, sending emails, and direct mail to your list at a minimum, 20 times.  Anything less and you’ve wasted all your efforts.  Yes, some will take action right away, but most people need you to keep reminding them about your business until they buy.  My famous line is, “I’m going to keep after them until they are a client or they get a restraining order.”  My clients and I always have a chuckle at that, because I would never cross a line that would cause something like that, but the point is real.  I keep after and just don’t give up.  As a result, I need much fewer prospects than the average person because over time I close 6 times as many.

Got a story of how your persistence paid off in learning something?  Please share it…