What is Your Brand?

Coke or Pepsi?

Mac or PC?

BMW or Mercedes?

Brand preference is always an interesting debate.  It involves fact and emotion.  It takes into account marketing spin and performance results.  It requires head and heart.

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Organizations and individuals are often guilty of buying into their own hype machine.  If left unchecked, a personal or company brand can confuse what they want to say to the marketplace with what the market actually says about them.

Remember, your brand is what other people say about you…not what you say about yourself.

Companies are not the only entity that have a brand…people buy from people and consumers buy from brand preference.  Brand preference, in turn, is developed by establishing value creation.

Questions to consider -

1) What value are you creating for your customers?

2) Can a client take you out of their buying process or are you so valuable to them that it would disrupt their business to do so?  Vendors can be replaced, strategic partners are more difficult to change.

3) Do I have a “tiebreaker” that sets me apart from other brands?

The answers to those will define if you truly have brand identity or not.

…and it makes all the difference in the world.

CC

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I Quit…

I quit.

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Not exactly the most inspiring words in the English language, are they?  We all learned as children not to quit.  The phrase “Quitters never win and winners never quit” always stuck with me.  There’s just one problem with it:  It’s wrong.

Every year during lent, I decide to quit things:  Fried foods, caffeine, red meat, etc., but fall off the wagon pretty quickly.  I’m not sure God cares if I abstain from double cheeseburgers for 40 days, but there was never permanence in it and it had no spiritual meaning for me.

In Seth Godin’s excellent book, “The Dip”, he discusses the principle of quitting the right things…and perseverance through the ideas, principles, & strategies that have meaning.

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“Winners quit fast, quit often, and quit without guilt,” Godin says, “until they commit to beating the right Dip for the right reasons. In fact, winners seek out the Dip. They realize that the bigger the barrier, the bigger the reward for getting past it. If you can become number one in your niche, you’ll get more than your fair share of profits, glory, and long-term security.”

This is great advice for those, including myself, who face the discernment challenge of choosing great over good.  I could spend my time on average to good things, but my life is full and I bet yours is too.  I need to quit certain things in order to do others that have the most meaning in my life, yield the highest ROI for time, & do what really counts.

So, for the remainder of Lent, my goal is to get very clear about the things that are, as Godin describes them, “Cul de Sacs” where there is no path.  They may not be BAD things, but in a world where we try to fit 10 pounds of stuff in a 5 pound bucket, I only have room for good to great.  I only have room for things that glorify God and build up other people.  I only have time to invest in the people who aren’t toxic.  I only have space for things that increase my quality of life, rather than suck the life out of the quality.

So do you.

CC

Keeping it Together

There are several tools that I use to stay productive with a hectic schedule.  I thought I would share a few with you and would love to hear what YOU use to keep you effective during the day.

1)  iPad / iPhone

http://www.apple.com/ipad/

It’s no secret that I am a big fan of Apple products.  Why?  Their products are just easy to use.  They work right out of the box and I don’t have to spend time figuring out the directions.  Within seconds of unpacking, the device is ready to go.  That’s a huge time saver for me.

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2)  Evernote

I’ve always struggled with organizational filing.  I am a copious note taker, but I’ve used notebook after notebook (sometimes 2-3 at a time).  I’ve also left meetings wishing that I could take the props (flip charts, photos of product, etc.) with me to reference when I reviewed my notes later.

Evernote solves all of that and more.  I now can go nearly paperless by organizing all of my notes in this app, easily pull up files that are sorted into “notebooks”, and save pictures, videos, links to websites, and more into this app.  I’ll detail more in an upcoming blog on the top apps for productivity.

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http://www.evernote.com

3)  Brydge keyboard

While I love the iPad, my typing skills on touchscreen are much slower than I’d like for them to be.  The Brydge is a sleek wireless keyboard made from aerospace-grade aluminum that is machined and anodized to perfectly match the look and feel of an Apple iPad.  In short, it quickly turns your iPad into a Macbook Air.  It’s easy to use, extremely portable, and high quality.

http://www.thebrydge.com

4)  Mophie

When I travel, I’m on my iPhone a lot – making phone calls, texting, using the web, etc. and my battery life just seems to plummet.  I don’t mind plugging my phone in at night to recharge, but am not always around a power source during the day to get extra juice.

The Mophie Power Pack is an external case that also serves as a charger.  The phone rests on a rechargeable dock and can be activated with the simple flip of a switch.  While it won’t keep you going for days, it does prove to be a lifesaver when you are running low.

http://www.mophie.com

5)  Phillips goLITE BLU

I don’t know about you, but during the winter months, I feel sluggish and my creative level plummets.  Everything outside seems to be grey, cold, and lifeless.  Not exactly the best environment for productive thinking!

The Phillips goLITE BLU is a portable, desktop “energy” light that provides blue lighting similar to a clear summer sky.  This light source has been clinically proven to be helpful in fighting Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) during winter months and to increase energy level all year around.  Great find.

http://www.usa.philips.com/c/light-therapy/golite-blu-plus-rechargeable-hf3332_60/prd/

These are just a few productivity tools I use to be the most effective in my personal and professional life.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on what products you’d recommend to maximize productivity.

CC

Scarcity vs. Abundance

When someone asks what you do for a living, what is your answer?

For most of us, we respond by a quick definition of our job title.  “I’m in sales” or “I’m the president of my company”.  The next time you are asked, try this response on for size:

“My job is to help people.”

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There’s a radical step-change from taking one’s thought process from “all about me” to “everything about you.”

It moves you from a mindset of “scarcity” to a mindset of “abundance.”  Think about that for a second:  In sales, if your definition of success is to get something from a potential customer (scarcity), your approach will unconsciously be much more about your needs and less about the customer’s.  Doubt it?  Think about the last time you were the consumer in the market and had a salesperson you knew was only interested in what he or she could “get” from you.  I bet you can think of plenty of examples and, even a few times where you said, “I’ll never do business with that place again.”  Now, the hard part:  Inject the truth serum into yourself and look in the mirror.  Have you ever been viewed this way?  No?  Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I talk about product features before asking probing questions…and listening to the answer?
  • Am I trying to sell to a need or am I attempting to create a need that isn’t there?  Selling to an existing need is much more consultative initially.
  • Do I ever go into a call WITHOUT my product and tell my customer that the only purpose of the call is to learn more about their business, so I can bring the RIGHT solutions?

Or do you approach your customers with “abundance?”

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An abundance mentality is the mindset that you have a broad offering of possible solutions for a customer and that you would like to share these to help them.  Customers are willing to buy when their needs are met and if you can find where their “burning platform” issues are, few individuals respond negatively when offered help.  I can tell you that in my profession, I’m looking to help people and to partner with resources that can help me accomplish my goals.

Try this on an upcoming prospecting call:  Go in with pen & paper (or a mobile device – whatever you take notes on) and tell your customer that you didn’t bring samples at this point, because you want to learn more about their business.  Have a set of questions that are all about them, not you.  Then have them identify which one of these business issues keeps them up at night.  Those are your drivers on where you can help them.  Issues could be product, service, maintenance, – who knows until you ask?  Focus on these and then go into “solutions mode” to meet their need.

Sound simple?  Then why don’t we use the abundance mentality more often?  Have the courage to approach your next call with the thought, “My answer is yes, I just need to find out the question.”

Oh, and a by product?  There are studies that show that I want to help others when I have been helped myself.  Reciprocity is the case more often than not.

So – here is my challenge to you:  Write down all the ways you can “help” a potential customer and go into your next call using this approach.  Find their burning platform and rescue them.

Be different…

CC

Welcome to the Blog!

Welcome!  So glad you stopped by.

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I’m very excited to launch http://www.christopherclement.com. as a new blog!  Think of this as a “virtual coffee shop” where there is a free exchange of ideas and best practiced to help you grow personally and professionally.  “Paying it forward” is a marvelous gift and, when freely given, can create a shared community that has enormous social leadership and influence.

My plan is to ultimately have podcasts, video blogging, subject matter experts, & links to other resources to help you develop into your fullest potential.  We’ll journey together along that path in the coming months.

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If you have suggestions or ideas on topics you would like me to cover, please feel free to email me at clement4@me.com or leave a comment below.  Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @chrisclement70 as well.

Thanks for coming!
CC