Are You Settling for Good Enough?

Guest post by Ginger Burr
Total Image Consultants

 

Total Image Consultants

When you choose a doctor do you want the best or do you say, “What the heck, good enough is good enough?”

Of course not!

When you help your child with her homework and she tells you that 2+2=5, do you say, “Oh, Sweetie, that’s good enough?”

I doubt it!

When you go out for dinner and order spaghetti and they bring you lentil soup, do you send it back or say that’s good enough?  Chances are good you send it back.

So, why do you get dressed every day in something that is just…well…good enough?

Recently, I was shopping with a woman for the first time, and she tried a top on.  As she looked in the mirror and assessed what she saw, I could feel her mind whirling.  I asked her how she liked it, and she hesitated and then said, “I’m not sure I like the fabric but it fits so I think it’s good enough.”

Oooops…I think not!  That was her old MO, but I was there to help her move beyond that and never settle for less than great or fabulous or terrific – never, ever just good enough!

She looked relieved (and maybe a tad skeptical or nervous) when I explained this to her.  Up until then, good enough had been her default.  She always felt thankful when she at least met that (low!) standard.

But, that was why she had called me and so that was all about to change!

What makes someone settle for “good enough?”

  • A belief that this is the best she can do so she’d better grab it while she can before she has to settle for “not horrible” or worse!
  • Continual frustration finding clothes/styles she likes or that fit properly…or, both.
  • Lack of resources. (I’m not talking about having a limited budget.)  Uncertainty as to where to shop to find what she likes and that is within her budget. Great finds can be found at K-Mart, Target or thrift stores, so money is not the issue most people think it is.
  • Compromised self-confidence or low self-esteem (often from past experiences with hurtful comments and unwanted advice).
  • Lack of time. Some women are just so busy that this aspect of self-care falls to the bottom of their priority list.
  • Lack of interest. Not every woman enjoys shopping (especially if she can’t easily find what she likes), and it is only recently that women have felt comfortable expressing that preference.

There is a solution to each of these situations and the pay off is a wardrobe that screams fabulous!

Consider these things the next time you shop:

  • Good enough is never the best you can do. And, no, it doesn’t always mean you have to spend more money, lose weight or drink from the fountain of youth.  When you have the proper tools to help you make good choices, it gets easier to understand how to pass up good for great.
  • So many women stay stuck in a fashion rut hoping to find something new at the same old places.  Branching out and trying something new can have exciting results (and sometimes, yes, it just gives you a good chuckle!).
  • In my home study program (www.whotaughtyouhowtodress.com) I devote an entire chapter to hurtful comments and unwanted advice.  Sadly, it is much needed since so many women harbor feelings of inadequacy related to their bodies.  The culprit is often identified as a past overheard conversation about them, a direct insult, or perhaps a backhanded compliment.   The sad truth is that as long as these feelings prevail, your wardrobe will suffer, too.  Becoming aware of the hold derogatory comments has on your psyche (and consequently your personal style) is the first step to moving past “good enough.”
  • The only solution to the issue of no time is to make time.But (and there’s a big but), it is critical that you understand how to find the things that will make you happy.  When you do this you are much more likely to enjoy the experience of shopping and then…surprise…you often find the time.  Either way you still have to shop from time to time, but without learning how to find the things you love to wear, you will continue to waste a lot of time standing in front of your closet hoping something new and wondrous will magically appear and feeling despondent when it doesn’t!
  • If you truly hate to shop you have two choices…learn to do it as effectively and efficiently as possible or get someone to help you and streamline the experience. Of course, the third choice is to keep doing what you are doing.

Here’s the bottom line: We spend too much of our life dressing – at least once a day!  You deserve to have this be a joyful (or at least peaceful!) experience.  If it isn’t, you are missing a delicious opportunity for self-expression and creativity.

I cannot say this enough.  This is not a hopeless situation for anyone.  You CAN have a wardrobe that is way better than good enough. Yes, you can!

Can I also tell you a secret…good enough is different for everyone! (One person’s good enough can be another person’s favorite outfit and vice versa.)  It all has to do with what makes your heart sing.  Once you know that, you will never settle for “good enough” again.

Ginger is the Founder and Owner of Total Image Consultants
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Watch Your Language!

languageOur language is so powerful that, at times, we don’t realize the impact.  Let’s look at an example that you can bring into your awareness that can make a big difference.

Giving Feedback:

I was working in Rhode Island a few weeks ago and did a workshop on Developing a Coaching Culture in your Organization.  It’s a very powerful workshop.  One thing we talk about in a coaching culture is to be able to give feedback that people can use, make changes and grow in their role.  Too many managers are so infrequent with feedback, that the feedback comes as a shock. Often times, we get feedback on something that happened three months ago.  And we wonder why the person becomes defensive!

I had a manager role play giving feedback to someone on his team.  He started off very positive:

“Judy, you are a really good worker, I know I tell you all the time that I admire what you do BUT you made a major error here.  You dropped the ball; the engineers were confused.  I just don’t know what you were thinking.”

The class stopped.  We talked about the BUT.  The BUT made every nice thing before it disappear.  In an instant — the BUT created fear of what was coming.

We tried another approach …

“Judy, you are a really good worker.  I know I tell you all the time that I admire what you do.  Our last project could have been smoother.  I’d love to hear how you thought it went and then I can share some of my observations and we can work together on a plan to go forward.  Can we do that?

You can give important constructive feedback when you create the right way to align.

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A Tool to Quickly Assess Your Business

AssessmentI am on the team of PointForward and we have developed the Business Health Assessment.  It is a powerful tool created through more than 15 years of experience working with companies such as Google, Verizon, AOL, Associated Content, Mapquest, Parexel and many others.

The tool allows you to quickly corral the intelligence of your workforce and to pinpoint what is working and what needs fixing across four areas critical to any company’s success.

A company who recently used this tool said:

“We used PointForward’s Business Health Assessment to benchmark our organization.  The intelligence provided by PointForward was insightful and actionable, and is being used to help us improve our organization for long term success.” – David Capece, Founder & CEO Sparxoo

The process is simple: We’ll create a custom survey link for you that you can send your employees.  The survey takes 10 minutes or less, and you will see results coming in real-time.  (Yes — I said real time.  Can you imagine doing it at a big meeting of your company?)

We have broken it down into 4 quadrants:

Targeting: Does the company have a strong and agreed upon business purpose and strategy that provides clarity of direction at every level?

Talking: Do team members effectively communicate with each other, to customers and to partners?

Teaming: Do we build cohesive and functional teams who work effectively together in reaching business objectives?

Timing: Do we have a clear plan of action, methods to measure success and flexibility to make changes as needed?

The tool efficiently harnesses the wisdom of your workforce in real-time so you can:

  1. Understand your strengths to better leverage them as you grow.
  2. Identify trouble spots in the organization that, if not resolved, can impede future growth.
  3. Understand variances in perception by subgroups (e.g., engineering, sales, finance, senior leaders, etc.) to build continuity across the organization.

Overall, the intelligence gained from the survey will enable your company to effectively plan for and measure success.  If you are a coach or consultant, you can use the tool to take that all important snapshot.  Once completed, you can then analyze the results and work with your client to create a plan of action.

Want to learn more?  Here is an example of the survey and a sample executive dashboard of results:

DEMO Survey – take survey to see all questions

DEMO Reporting

Happy to discuss this with you further to see if this would help your business or your practice.  Send an email to wendy@wendyhansonconnects.com.

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Five Business Lessons from The America’s Cup Race

America's Cup boatsOn Friday, September 20th I went to the Embarcadero in San Francisco to watch the America’s Cup Races. It was tremendously exciting to feel all the energy and see all the people. At that moment, it felt like New Zealand was going to take it. I find it so helpful to think about business lessons when I go to events like the America’s Cup Races. There is so much to be learned when you stand back and look at business through a different lens.

Lessons in Sailing from the America’s Cup

 Number One:

Sailing success is unpredictable because of the factors you can’t control.

Isn’t that so true in business? There are so many factors that we cannot control. We’ve had major storms in the U.S. like Super Storm Sandy that wreaked havoc and closed so many businesses on the Jersey Shore. Unpredictable because of things we can’t control. The market goes down. Another company gets acquired. We need to understand how to dance in that moment and shift.

Number Two:

The America’s Cup boats and the committees held assumptions that San Francisco Bay always has heavy winds.

When I was at the race on Friday September 20th, the first race was called off because they didn’t meet the time limit due to the lack of wind. It was a totally unpredictable situation. People held an assumption that strong wind was going to be the thing that shifted the races. And then out of nowhere, the wind died for one day. Thank goodness it did pick up for the second race. But we hold assumptions; we believe that things are going to happen in the same way in business that they did before, and that can shift. So just don’t be attached to what your assumptions are.

America's Cup crowdNumber Three:

There were reports on the weekend that this America’s Cup race was going to be considered “The Age of the Unpredictable.” This is what the 34th America’s Cup would be known for.

Well, they were right! Who would have thought that America’s boat would have come back from an 8-2 lead by New Zealand? It almost seemed impossible, but as we know now, it happened. It was the age of the unpredictable and only at the end do we really know how unpredictable that was. How do unpredictable things show up in your business or in your life? I’m sure we can all think of many things in our personal lives that have happened that were unpredictable. It’s not what happens to us in life; it’s how we deal with it. It’s the same with business.

Number Four:

On Friday, the skipper of The America’s Cup boat at the race talked about when you’re sailing and you’re racing, don’t look back and try to defend, just do your best and move forward.

This is really true in business, too. We can get confused if we spend all our time trying to keep up with the competition instead of looking forward and spending our time and energy doing the things that we do best. Think of how this may have gotten in your way in the past.

Number Five:

In The America’s Cup races every day we learned a lesson, just when you think it’s over, it’s not.

Yes, such is true. Just when we thought that New Zealand was going to take it with one more race, America kept coming back. What’s your experience of that for yourself? Just when you think it’s over, it’s not. It could be sales; it could be new clients; it could be negative things, too. But it’s never over until it’s really over. So keep the faith, keep moving in the right direction, and you will see great things happen.

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Why Aren’t Women Getting Paid What They’re Truly Worth? (Part 2)

Guest post by Allison Bliss with Guest Author Jo Ilfeld

( Part 2 of a two-part article –  In part 1, we looked at behaviors of smart, capable women that holds them back, along with selling on value, not on price. We review how to overcome common missteps to truly earn what we’re worth. )

 Remaining 2 Issues Holding Women Back
[& the Solutions to Increase Your Earnings]

equal pay for women3) Unwilling to Claim Expertise

Have you ever felt bewildered that you were overlooked for a job or client project when someone far less qualified or experienced was hired? This might help bring some perspective:

Women feel they must know 90% about a subject before they’re qualified to jump in (or apply for a job) while men feel they only need to know 10% and can figure out the rest once they get the job or make the sale.  While I can no longer find the source of this factoid, my long career spanning many types of business and work sadly bears it out.  Of course this doesn’t apply to all men! My clients and husband defy this stereotype.

Yet I point out this huge difference in belief systems because I see this as a significant force holding women back from charging their full value when bidding new contracts, negotiations, and raising their rates.

Are you making this mistake?

I hear extremely capable women tell me they need more classes, training or education when in fact they are just trying to avoid making sales. Don’t fall into that hole. [It’s hard to see for yourself. Try to take a really deep look!]. Get some help strengthening your capabilities in marketing and sales so you can truly earn what you’re worth!

The Solution

Prepare for the sale

Learn all you can about what a potential client needs, what issues they have, and how they like to work. Review their website, LinkedIn or Facebook profiles to get some information and have an open discussion before selling your offer. After all, most people start service businesses so they can really help their clients, right? So, make sure your service is the perfect solution – and if not, refer them to someone’s who is right for them. What goes around comes around.

Make It Easy For Clients to Say “Yes”

Remember the old expression: “If you have to ask you probably can’t afford it?” Why not make it easy for clients to say ”yes” and put your prices online! I regularly get clients thanking me for this and telling me they hired me because it was clear I wasn’t trying to hide something important like pricing.

Package Your Services.

It strengthens your sales to package services rather than sell them hourly.  Why? Because your clients don’t “control” your work so they won’t know how many hours it takes to get something accomplished. Better to let them know what results they’ll get and charge for that. If you’re not sure how to package your services, just contact us and we’ll show you how.

4) Shying Away From Conflict

As my co-author, the mother of two boys explains, boys are raised to spar, fight and wrestle.  Girls are raised to play house and co-operate.  While the gender roles might be shifting, it’s not fast enough to get women business owners to stand their ground when facing heated pricing talks instead of trying to “play nice” and feel liked by everyone around them.

Many women believe that conflict is inherently bad, rather than perceiving it as an opportunity for education and growth.  I believe conflict is about expressing “conflicting opinions” – a valuable way to explore the “what ifs” so you can really think things through to figure out the best solution. It doesn’t have to be charged with anger or negativity.  Often women worry they will be perceived as difficult rather than “easy to work with”.

The Solution

This is the hardest and yet simplest of solutions.  Be bold. Be strong. Exert your opinions.  After all, that’s probably why clients approached you in the first place!  Smart clients don’t want a “yes (wo)man” – they want someone to challenge them and show them how to make improvements.

We get it, really!  It’s hard to change patterns and beliefs that have been ingrained since your childhood.  The first step is being aware that some of these limiting beliefs might be holding you back for achieving the success you so want and deserve.

The second step is reaching out and finding help to make change so you can move forward.  Find a great mentor, a knowledgeable consultant, coach, or therapist and enlist them as your travel companion along the route to help you earn what you’re worth and fulfill your full potential.

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About the Authors:

Allison Bliss, Director, Allison Bliss Consulting

Allison runs a marketing & communications agency that delivers strategic business direction for mid-size enterprise and small companies on a growth track. Directing full-service marketing with top level teams of writers, designers, social media mavens, publicists, and the full gamut of services, Allison directs all projects to manage strategy, costs and time for companies who do not have an established marketing department but need to achieve business success. All pricing is on her site at: http://www.AllisonBliss.com.

Guest Author, Jo Ilfeld, PhD, Success Reboot

Jo is a leadership coach who specializes in working with corporate professionals and entrepreneurs to become confident, effective leaders with high-performing teams.  To learn more about Jo and download her free success kit, go to www.successreboot.com.

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Why Aren’t Women Getting Paid What They’re Truly Worth? (Part 1)

Guest post by Allison Bliss with Guest Author Jo Ilfeld

 ( Part 1 of a two-part article )

equal payWomen earn less than men.  We know that.  And in the corporate world it’s explained with talk of discrimination and glass ceilings.  But what about those in the service industry where consultants, designers, trainers, coaches, or other professionals are setting their own pricing – why do women still earn less in this marketplace?

In my consulting to hundreds of business owners and CEOs this is what I have consistently found; Men charge whatever they want, women charge what they believe they’re worth (often not their true value).

 4 Issues Holding Women Back
[& the Solutions to Increase Your Earnings]

 1) Too Much Humility

The majority of the wise, capable, passionate women CEO’s, leaders or professionals I know, often exude an air of modesty that borders on lack of self-confidence or even self-worth.

Hopefully, we’re moving past the era where women believed that being humble was an attractive quality. While the overt bravado that many of our male counterparts exhibit is not an appealing characteristic, the balance between those two behaviors does win higher earnings. We call it confidence – knowing your capabilities and deep value so you can comfortably claim it to earn more.

 The Solution

You don’t need to brag to have an accurate assessment of your value and what you bring to the table to help your clients.  For those who feel awkward stating their own value, I recommend a book by Peggy Klaus called Brag!: The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn without Blowing It.

It is also reaffirming to create a list for yourself of all the experience, accomplishments and value you bring to benefit your clients. Besides reinforcing your confidence, the list should supplement your promotional materials or sales discussions.

2) Over-Serving Others

My guest author, Coach Jo Ilfeld pointed out this fascinating perspective below . . .

As if quietly doing their jobs well wasn’t enough of a hindrance, many women in service professions (like healing professionals, coaches, consultants, trainers, etc.) feel that it’s their duty to help others and that it’s greedy or selfish to charge too much for their services.

Some professionals go even further and consistently discount their lowest prices to help clients they feel couldn’t afford them otherwise – even when it ends up being to the detriment of supporting themselves and their family.

By contrast, consider this: Have you ever met an auto mechanic who felt greedy charging $300 for a tune-up?

Don’t Cheat Your Business

As a professional you are selling the knowledge, expertise, solution or answers that took you decades of study, often costing thousands of dollars, vast time and experience to learn. By discounting that price, you are simply de-valuing your worth to your own business and to your profession at large.

I remember when I became part of the Director’s team while working in my film & television career, I charged less than many of my colleagues because I felt I wouldn’t be hired otherwise.

I got calls from the other Director’s teams whom I had learned from and so admired who rightfully called me out for “undercharging for our professional skill and value”.  I realized then that I was denigrating them as well as my own vast experience (value) – which made it far easier to raise my prices at the time.

Your job as a leader or business owner is to make your business thrive and succeed so you can help more people who need your services or solutions.

The Solution

Charge your full value to clients if you’re providing your full value to them. Don’t sell on price. Sell on value! If your price is too low in your marketplace, it undermines your value (or what your perceived value is in the market). Sure there are exceptions, but it’s critical to conduct competitive market research to find out what the market will bear and what competitors are charging so you have the full picture to determine your pricing. You don’t want to price your services out of your market, or be greedy or inflated in price, but don’t cheat your business earnings, either.

Once you have this comparative information, it will be far easier to make decisions. After all, Knowledge is Bliss!

After your pricing is fairly set, you can choose to donate your talents or profits to the charities and individuals of your choice.  Don’t make the mistake of turning your career into a philanthropic endeavor.

(Part 2 of this article looks at how to establish value to define pricing and overcoming beliefs that hold women back and tactics for making sales work.)

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About the Authors:

Allison Bliss, Director, Allison Bliss Consulting

Allison runs a marketing & communications agency that delivers strategic business direction for mid-size enterprise and small companies on a growth track. Directing full-service marketing with top level teams of writers, designers, social media mavens, publicists, and the full gamut of services, Allison directs all projects to manage strategy, costs and time for companies who do not have an established marketing department but need to achieve business success. All pricing is on her site at: http://www.AllisonBliss.com.

Guest Author, Jo Ilfeld, PhD, Success Reboot

Jo is a leadership coach who specializes in working with corporate professionals and entrepreneurs to become confident, effective leaders with high-performing teams.  To learn more about Jo and download her free success kit, go to www.successreboot.com.

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“It’s All in the BRA” Welcomes New Showcase Sponsor J. Hettinger Interiors

It's All in the Bra

 

NEWS RELEASE

Media Contact:
Wendy Hanson
Phone: (510) 9229719
Email: wendy@wendyhansonconnects.com

 

“IT’S ALL IN THE BRA: BUSINESS REVENUE ASSETS WITH WENDY HANSON” RADIO SHOW WELCOMES NEW SHOWCASE SPONSOR J. HETTINGER INTERIORS

─ J. Hettinger Interiors Design Firm Supports “It’s All in the BRA” Radio Forum and Speaking Series for Women Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs ─

OAKLAND, Calif. ─ Monday, July 22, 2013 ─ Wendy Hanson Connects today announced that J. Hettinger Interiors, a leading East Bay interior design firm, will be the new showcase sponsor of the “It’s All in the BRA: BusinessRevenueAssets” radio show, which airs on Mondays at 1 p.m. PST on Contact Talk Radio International (http://www.contacttalkradio.com). J. Hettinger Interiors is also sponsoring the “It’s All in the BRA” speaking series, which shares ideas on business, leadership and innovation throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

Hosted by Wendy Hanson, an experienced business and executive coach and coauthor
of “The Sassy Ladies’ Toolkit for Startup Businesses,” the show focuses on creating a dialogue on the issues most important to the rapidly growing community of women business leaders and entrepreneurs. Recent show topics have focused on making money with intellectual property, negotiating at work and communicating for effective results. With her “It’s All in the BRA” speaking series, Hanson brings key lessons directly to women in the community though inperson sessions.

“J. Hettinger avidly reaches out to the community. We’re excited to support the amazing work of women business leaders and entrepreneurs in the Bay Area and beyond by partnering with Wendy to offer useful training and the sharing of best practices for success,” said Jerry Hettinger, founder and CEO of J. Hettinger Interiors.

“It’s All in the BRA: Business Revenue Assets” airs live online every Monday at 1 p.m. PST on Contact Talk Radio International. The show is also available through select satellite stations and online streaming via iTunes Radio, LIVE365.com, Ping.FM, TuneIn.com, Upsnap Mobile and Xiaa Mobile. For more information, visit http://ctrnetwork.com/profile/itsallintheBRA.

About J. Hettinger Interiors
For over 30 years, J. Hettinger Interiors in Danville, California has successfully delivered designs to the finest homes and businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area. The firm’s projects have been featured in local publications and nationwide magazines such as Diablo Magazine, California Home and Design and Architectural Digest. J. Hettinger Interiors is the largest interior design firm in the East Bay and has been voted “Best Design Firm” by the city of Danville for two consecutive years. For more information, visit www.jhettinger.com.

About Wendy Hanson
An experienced business and executive coach, Wendy Hanson was born to be an
“entrepreneur’s entrepreneur” and has dedicated her career to empowering individuals and helping them maximize their strengths.

Hanson is cofounder and CEO of Corley Hanson Associates, a highly specialized coaching,
training and consulting business designed to help organizations lead change. She is also a
partner in PointForward Ventures, a coaching organization focused on supporting startups
and their investors in developing scalable business strategies and executive leadership. Her clients include Google, AOL, Patch and Verizon.

Hanson is coauthor of “The Sassy Ladies’ Toolkit for Startup Businesses,” which won the 2009 Best Small Business Books Award from Small Business Trends.

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A Budget is a Bra for Your Business

Guest post by Anne Maxfield
Accidental Locavore
shoesIf you can figure out a 20% discount on a pair of shoes faster than you can on giving an employee a 10% commission on gross profit, then you’re ready to join Wendy and me as we build a budget for her business.

Below are the top three questions to ask yourself. Join us as we make finding the answers (almost) as easy as scoring a great pair of shoes.

And if you don’t want to do it alone, call us and we’ll custom build you a pain-free solution. Best of all? That pair of Loboutins or trip to Fiji or blissful retirement is probably within your reach.

  1. This may sound like an easy one to start off with, but what do you want? What are your goals with the business? Why?
  2. What’s your biggest frustration? Are you spending more and more time working and making the same or less money?
  3. How do my numbers get organized so I can use them to achieve my goals (step 1)?

Stay tuned as Wendy and Anne put together a program in the fall to help you “tighten your bra straps” and “find your perfect fit!”!

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How to Earn a Raise – Lessons from Pricing

Guest post by Mark Stiving, Ph.D. – Pricing Expert, Speaker, Author
Pragmatic Pricing

How to earn a raiseThe other day one of my employees asked for a raise.  Believe it or not, as director of pricing at a large company, I don’t really have much influence on the salaries of my people.  However, I wanted to give him thoughtful advice on how to get a raise. This is just a pricing problem, people putting a price on themselves.  Here is part of my advice.  If you are an employee hopefully you will find it useful.

You are a product!

Just like your company buys computers, manufacturing equipment, building space and paper clips, they buy people.  Actually they buy your time and ability (your features) to generate results (their benefits).

Companies who properly price products charge what their customers are willing to pay.  You should too.

Imagine you are a PC.  One of the company’s PCs just quit working, so they have to buy a new PC to replace it.  How much will they pay for you?  The answer is it depends on how much other PCs are going for.  They will surely get more benefit than what they pay, but they will try to pay as little as possible.  If you as a PC cost 50% more than another PC you will not be selected.  The best you can do is charge the going rate.

Now imagine you are a Mac.  You charge 50% more than a PC and some people pay it.  Why?  Because a Mac has features that aren’t found on PCs.  Some people highly value the ease of use, the lack of virus, the beautiful design.  A Mac is different and some people are willing to pay more for it.

Let’s bring this back to people.  If you are like everyone else, you will get paid the going rate.  The company doesn’t owe you a raise just for being there.  The company may be willing to give you a raise but only if you provide more value to them than someone else they can hire.

Important lesson #1:  Add more value.  Ask yourself how you can build your knowledge and skills to make yourself much more valuable to your company and to the market.

Now ask yourself, are you commodity or a highly differentiated product?  If you are a new college grad, you are a commodity.  Many people graduate with the same degree you have.  Your salary will be based on the going rate for that degree.  Sure some companies pay more, but they are trying to skim the cream off the top.  Can you prove you’re cream?

Important lesson #2:  Become highly differentiated.  Pick an area where you want to focus and become an expert.  Prove you’re an expert through papers, presentations, blogs, social media, etc.  This one thing will make you more valuable.  It’s OK if other people are in the same area.  The point is there won’t be millions.  Become an expert.

IMPORTANT Aha! moment:  Doing your job will NOT get you a big raise.  Doing your job well will NOT get you a big raise.  The only way to get a big raise is to do MORE than your job.  Add more value to your company than anyone expects.  Of course this alone will not get you that raise, but it is a prerequisite.

Pricing has many more lessons to teach us employees about making more money.  We may cover them in future blogs (if there is interest).  But today remember the single most important lesson in pricing:  Charge what your customer is willing to pay.  Willingness to pay is completely driven by your value relative to the other options.

If you want a big raise, make yourself valuable.  Make yourself more valuable than others like you.  Become an expert.

(My friend Wendy Hanson and I discussed this concept on a radio show.  If you want to hear it go here.)

Photo by David Blackwell

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A Trip to the Gynecologist

Customer experienceA few weeks ago it was time for me to make a routine visit to the gynecologist. Right before going, I went for a trip to my hair dresser, Crissy King, in Oakland. Crissy and I shared horror stories about waiting in the waiting rooms of a gynecologist’s office.

Crissy said, “The last time I was at the gynecologist, first they sent me to a big waiting room. I waited there over a half an hour. Then they told me it was time to get up and lo and behold they moved me into another smaller waiting room. I waited another half hour. Then finally they moved me into the treatment room where I continued to wait. You never know how long you’re going to be waiting at the gynecologist.”

Following that uplifting conversation I drove to my gynecologist. It was a new office because I had not had this doctor for very long. I was expecting the worst, but hoping for the best. When I arrived at the building, Sutter Health Care, the building had just been completed; in fact there were still remnants of construction. The facility was gorgeous. The front of the building looked like a huge mosaic – beautiful. I pulled up to the front of the building and there was valet parking for the medical center. I had never seen that going to the gynecologist. The nice gentleman parked my car and I was able to easily go in, walk about 30 feet and go up the elevator.

When I went upstairs I checked in at a front desk. They were very nice – a great customer experience so far in a beautiful building. Then, the amazing thing happened. The receptionist gave me a card with an electronic device and said, “Please go into waiting room number 9.” She went on to explain that the electronic device was a way for them to monitor how long I had been waiting and that the medical assistant and the nurse practitioner would be aware of my wait time.  They would be following it on the computer. Off I went to wait room number 9.

I put my card down on the table with the electronic device. In about ten minutes the medical assistant came in and asked me to take a seat on the exam table. She took my vitals, made sure my information was up to date, and then informed me that the exam table was actually a scale, and she had taken my weight. That was the only thing that took me by surprise because usually I have an opportunity to remove at least my earrings and my shoes to take about a half a pound off my weight. So far the experience was seamless. The medical assistant left and in about another ten minutes the nurse practitioner came in who did the exam. It was a great business model, because I didn’t need the doctor to see me that day. She’s a fantastic doctor, but let’s save her for when we need her. I was out of there in about 35 minutes with a much better story and much more entertainment value than the story that Crissy King told about her trip to the gynecologist.

No matter what business you’re in you need to provide a good customer experience. Anything less is not acceptable anymore. Do you know how many people I have told about my gynecologist since this visit? I have bragged. Now often people tell bad stories about an experience, a place, a service, more than they tell good stories. But when you really exceed their expectations, you get a raving fan.

What are people saying about your business? Do you have raving fans? What could you do to provide this awesome customer experience? Please share with us.  We would love to know because all of us will benefit from thinking about our business differently.

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