Getting things done

I have asked this question before, but not in this format: Why is it that we accomplish more the day before we leave on vacation or go on a trip than on normal days?I think urgency drives our actions. If you have a deadline at work or school, when do you do the most work? At the last minute! Why is that? Why can we not restructure our thinking so that the urgency is spread out over a few days instead of the last possible day?We have all enjoyed the tradition of cramming for an exam while in school, and I think a lot of us, myself included, cram too many tasks into one day, prior to leaving on a trip.I remember listening to a Zig Ziglar tape, yes tape; this was years ago, about how you accomplish more the day before vacation than any other day. Obviously I did not apply what I listened to, but I am committing myself to changing that; I want to get more done in less time so I am not cramming at the last minute!Some of these are rhetorical questions or thoughts running around in my head. I am curious about your thoughts; let me know if you cram at the last minute or if you have conquered your schedule and to-do list. If you have conquered your schedule and to-do list, let me know how you did it!One way that I am working on to make better use of my time; narrowing down the social networking sites that I use. I am focusing on one site for personal or fun use, and two sites for business connections or professional use. I think this will eliminate some of my time wasters and I will report back to let you know if it works.My other tool is to keep my inbox in check. Let’s face it, when we receive an email, the smart action is to act on it and then eliminate it. But sadly we, and that means me too, just keep the emails around for some reason. Not anymore, the in boxes will be at zero!Let me know what you think and get busy!!John

Ride Solutions

So, are the gas prices driving you crazy? Are you looking for alternatives to high gas prices? Visit the good folks at Ride Solutions.http://www.ridesolutions.org/index.shtmlRIDE Solutions is a regional ridesharing program operated by the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission in cooperation with the New River Valley Planning District Commission. It is a grant-funded program that provides FREE carpool matching services for citizens of the Roanoke and New River Valley regions and surrounding areas within southwestern Virginia. We work with individuals to facilitate one-on-one carpool matches, and with employers to create company-wide alternative transportation programs.My friend Jeremy is the Program Director and would love to hear from you and work with you on a ride solution that would fit your needs.John

Friendship

How many friends do you have?  Best friends, close friends, acquaintances?  Can you ever have too many? Do you count online friends as real friends?I have several offline friends as well as a lot of online friends. The interesting aspect is this, I spend more time keeping in contact with and communicating with my online friends than I do with my offline friends. Is that weird to anyone else but me? Or do I not spend enough time with my offline friends? Some people fall into both categories, both online and offline friends.Just curious as to what others think.While pondering that question, here is another one; what does it take to be a real friend or a close friend to you? I think that online friends assume that they know us more than they actually do. Let’s face it, do we put everything about ourselves on our profiles on Facebook and Twitter? Probably not.Another point to ponder; can online friends become close friends or even clients and referral sources? I think they can, but, just as with friendships or relationships that develop offline, it takes time! Online friendships and offline friendships take time! As one of my referral partners puts it, “you can’t go to third base on the first date!”Let me know your thoughts on friendship; what does it take to be a friend to you?John

Tell Me What You Want!

I can’t help you, if you won’t tell me what you want!I am a member of Business Network International (BNI); but even before I joined this fine organization, I expected people that asked for my help to tell me what they wanted!  This was not and is not the case!  In BNI, there is a saying: “specific is terrific!”  I think this concept should be taught to every person that goes into business!I may be able to help you, but not if you do not tell me what you want!Each business owner or professional and especially every single salesperson should have in mind a specific referral request or at least someone that I may be able to help you with!  I live my life and my career by the saying “you never know who someone knows, until you ask.”Luckily at a meeting this morning, a young lady did the exact opposite!  Hats off and a thank you to Traci Collins, the Business Travel Sales Manager at The Inn at Virginia Tech.  http://www.innatvirginiatech.com/Traci was not only ready with specific requests, but she was able to tell me who she needed to talk to and even referrals that may not be the best for her!  Now THAT is telling me what you want, so that I can try to refer you!Thanks Traci!  And to the rest of you: Tell Me What You Want!Johnhttp://www.bni.com/

It’s About Who You Know – Or Who They Know

For years, sales managers and owners would say, “bring us more sales, get out and call on more people.”That sounds counterproductive!  If you know your numbers and you are certain that calling on “X” number of prospects will result in “X” number of proposals, which will result in “X” number of sales, then this method will work for you.For me, its about who I know and who you know.  It is called doing business by referral or by relationship.  A much better way to reach potential clients.Recently I have started embracing social media; Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Plaxo, etc.  Some people see these new resources as a waste of time or nothing more than a social gathering place.  They are wrong! These social media sites can lead to business. Maybe not directly with someone that you chat with or “tweet” with, but who do they know?  Who can they introduce you to?Since becoming active with Twitter, I have been fortunate to meet multiple followers in person; these face-to-face meetings provide an opportunity to learn about each other.  In other words, we continue the process of building relationships.  These relationships can lead to business, but even if they don’t we are building our network.During a recent meeting with a Twitter follower, the person asked me who was on my “hit list.”  She actually wanted to make it about business and about how she could help me.  Imagine that; we “met” online via Twitter, that turned into a face-to-face meeting and she wanted to know how she could help me.  Do you think she would have asked me that question if I had cold called her?  The answer is no.As with traditional sales methods, building relationships require time, patience and follow up.  Most importantly you need to approach building any relationhip by finding out how you can help them first. This simple, but often overlooked action can make a big difference in your relationships and your business.John Lusher

It???s About Who You Know – Or Who They Know

For years, sales managers and owners would say, “bring us more sales, get out and call on more people.”That sounds counterproductive!  If you know your numbers and you are certain that calling on “X” number of prospects will result in “X” number of proposals, which will result in “X” number of sales, then this method will work for you.For me, its about who I know and who you know.  It is called doing business by referral or by relationship.  A much better way to reach potential clients.Recently I have started embracing social media; Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Plaxo, etc.  Some people see these new resources as a waste of time or nothing more than a social gathering place.  They are wrong! These social media sites can lead to business. Maybe not directly with someone that you chat with or “tweet” with, but who do they know?  Who can they introduce you to?Since becoming active with Twitter, I have been fortunate to meet multiple followers in person; these face-to-face meetings provide an opportunity to learn about each other.  In other words, we continue the process of building relationships.  These relationships can lead to business, but even if they don’t we are building our network.During a recent meeting with a Twitter follower, the person asked me who was on my “hit list.”  She actually wanted to make it about business and about how she could help me.  Imagine that; we “met” online via Twitter, that turned into a face-to-face meeting and she wanted to know how she could help me.  Do you think she would have asked me that question if I had cold called her?  The answer is no.As with traditional sales methods, building relationships require time, patience and follow up.  Most importantly you need to approach building any relationhip by finding out how you can help them first. This simple, but often overlooked action can make a big difference in your relationships and your business.John Lusher

Target Market

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What is Your Target Market?

Simply defined, a Target Market is the specific set of customers whose needs you are trying to meet. Another way to think about it: this is the audience, out of all those who might hear your message, for whom you design your marketing program.

Instead of trying to sell your product or service to everyone in the market, you should aim your message toward those who have the greatest potential need or desire for your product or service. Ask yourself this question, “Who are your customers? Who will buy your product?” I am often surprised that otherwise savvy small business people either have no idea who will buy from them, or they assume that “everyone” will. Assumptions like this can lead to wrong decisions, wrong pricing, wrong marketing strategy – and ultimately, business failure.

The most successful small businesses understand that only a limited number of people will buy their product or service. The task then becomes determining, as closely as possible, exactly who those people are, then “targeting” the business’s marketing efforts and dollars toward them. Businesses can build a better, stronger business, by identifying and serving a particular customer group – your target market.

One of the first things you should do is to refine your product or service so that you are NOT trying to be “all things to all people.” Become a specialist! Another thought is to find out where your target market hangs out.  Are they online?  Chances are, they do. Are they on Twitter or Facebook?  Has your target market embraced social media or is your target market offline?  Does your target market use referral marketing?  You need to find out! Review your customers, do the research, or hire someone to do it, and then focus your marketing efforts! 

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