Inspiration – What Can We Learn From Inspirational Leaders? And, Why Isn’t The Average Worker Joe Just As Driven As Them?

And, What can the Average Working Joe do about this?

Have you ever observed the energy, focus, and peaceable state of the truly inspired and inspiring leader? Hopefully you will have worked closely with someone on their way up or an exceptional person pursuing excellence – Passionately radiating light, wisdom and enthusiasm to all those around them.

In this piece, we will explore what the phenomenon of inspiration is all about and answer some of the questions you may have about how these remarkable people came to be great in the first place, why some of us mere mortals are not so inspired, and, in closing, we will bring it all together to see what can be borrowed or stolen from these shining stars for our own amusement, benefit and improvement.

11 Qualities Of An Inspirational Leader

  1. Focus

The common factor linking all inspirational people is single-mindedness. Question – If I ask you today, what one industrial sector, single product or service would you focus on, to the exclusion of all other things for 7 days a week for the next 10 years, what would you select?

Answer – If you came up with anything just now, you may have the potential to join the pantheon of greats. If you felt scarce, fearful or overwhelmed when faced with making a critical choice and excluding all other things, then you are… NORMAL!

The vast majority of us wish to keep our options open, hedge our bets – Indeed we believe that risk is reduced this way. The price we pay for our safety is that we will never make a Steve Jobs’ sized dent in the universe.

It is laser focus excluding all distractions, (along with some of the other factors described below) that differentiates the truly inspiring leader.

  1. Work Hard Play Hard, Or Just Work Hard?

Magazine profiles of successful people mostly contain visceral descriptions of their wealthy, comfortable and luxurious life styles and the extraordinary benefits, exclusive access and general privilege that they now enjoy.

These puff pieces miss the point.

The formula for sustained success is abstinence, self-control, frugality and temperance. The venal and self-indulgent tend to be entitled brats – The offspring of dynasties or “clogs to brogues” parents. Many of these silver spooned party animals will end up in jail, rehab or sitting injured having wrapped their luxury car around a tree.

It is not about the trappings.

These can be seen as simply a visible measure of success (as if life was a video game.) The other end of the showing off scale is more useful to observe. Warren Buffett, the most successful investor of all time, lives nowhere, in an average house and drives an average car – And, he is the best.

Sustained hard work requires that we move beyond laziness, passivity and inaction. Once we have conquered our lethargy, the next demon temptation to be resisted is giving in too early to the rewards of our initial success – Victory lies in restraint. We must win out over our primitive lust to consume and our need to alter our psychological state. If we can get passed this, then we reach the final, where we are asked to… conquer ourselves. Success will amplify our essential personality. If you are an asshole now, then building a global empire will turn you into a world-class asshole. Many would look at the lives of Zuckerberg or Gates and find them dull (who wants to wear a grey T shirt every day or spend 10 years + coding?) Their stimulation and psychological pay off came from turning ideas into innovation and having that innovation take hold, and, then be super adopted by the world. And, through making an impact on a scale that only they could ever have believed in. Formula – Hard work, discipline, focus, single-mindedness, etc. etc.

concept of success in business: many members of the business tea

Who is inspirational?

  1. Being an Agent of Change

Question – Are you more inspired by a humble hard working entrepreneur’s eventual success or by a brash and vulgar show-off? Answer – Your reaction probably says more about you than them. Industrial growth requires a blend of just the right amount of God Complex and hard work, combined with an exhibition and demonstration of repeatable behaviours, shown to acolytes as the inspiring leaders radiates out their model of winning behaviours that others can then copy and carry out on a vast scale and at great pace. The leader is a working role model, modelling the best version of what is possible to be picked up, adopted and multiplied by their followers. You are only a leader if others choose to follow and you must be relatable in the workspace, so that average Working Joe will want to join your club. With this formula your crowd of fans will grow in devotion aiming to emulate your example.

The inspiring leader must be seen to be working harder than their staff, contributing more input, and, generating plenty of unique output connected to measurable success. It is this loop that deepens the tribe’s faith in the leader’s brand, myth and legend and so carries the crowd on a cushion of trust and belief to perform with excellence, even when the boss is not present.

  1. Engagement & Delegation

Over the years I have had the privilege to work with some of the greats. They are, mostly, easy to talk to, charismatic and fluent, clear and simple in their communication style, and, generous with their time and attention. They appear to have plenty of free mind space and intellectual bandwidth. They indulge the newbie with curiosity, constructive enquiry and emanate encouragement. In fact, they often skip Blanchard’s “Tell” phase (from his Situational Leadership model) and move right along to inspirational coaching.

They use a mechanism.

No man is an island. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and, you need a lot of people to build a cathedral. Inspiring leaders know that it is about inducting people to your vision, your version and your club. Then, it is about engaging the hearts and minds of your new acolytes. Now comes the ordinary bit – Thinking up and organising what the new, high potential worker bees will actually be doing. This turns a visionary blue print for world domination into an on the ground, reality based, work project.

  1. Passion

Heads of Global web platforms, dominant software companies, World beating manufacturers, super financial institutions, or, far-reaching retailers have something in common – They understand their subject matter and domain to the highest possible level. And, these leaders are able to communicate, despite the complexity of their sector, in a way that is hypnotically engaging, authentically exciting, and clearly, beneficial to their new workers and the end customer. This level of depth is achieved not ascribed. They must hone their vision and translate their dream into the most inspiring story and present this to all around them with a deep and insightful knowledge of the hopes, fears, dreams and aspirations of their audience. They must sing a song that everyone wants to hum along to.

  1. A Natural Born Influencer

Great leaders can emerge from the best of backgrounds or the worst. Both tracks end at the same station. Managed privilege can lead to “Nobless oblige” and the self-fulfilment of an in-group’s high expectations. Here many hot-housed princelings rise to the gold standard. They do so combining effort and access. Along the way they must develop resilience, confidence and pick up the secrets of success, whispered exclusively to members of their rarefied club.

In contrast, the 7th born of 9, brought up in poverty in the countryside can, in exceptional circumstances, rise up from obscurity to become something of note. With contrarian will, these extraordinary outliers grab their lucky break with both hands (finding a sponsor / mentor / conducing work environment) and work twice as hard as their peers, to make progress up the greasy pole. Think old Hollywood, Gerry Robinson (CEO of the Granada group of companies) or the stories of Billy Connolly coming from the slums of Glasgow.

  1. Obsession Obsession Obsession

What else but a pure and constructive form of obsession could have you loose everything TWICE, and, still want to get back on your entrepreneurial horse and try again? Their drive is unnatural and is not solely motivated by the goal itself but by their deep, burning and unanswerable question – “Am I good enough?” “Will I live up to my peer’s expectations?” “I am worthy?” “Am I loved?” Or, they are whipped by a mantra every waking hour – “I will never be poor again” “I will never go hungry again” “No one will laugh at my failure ever again” “I must be the best at this one thing” “Nothing will stop me” etc.

The consequence of these, quite frankly, unhealthy and exhausting drivers is a forged determination for progress, growth and forward momentum that laughs in the face of doubt, fatigue or taking an easier path.

Office workers side by side, celebrating, portrait, elevated view

  1. Purpose

The marriage of drive and discovery produces purpose – An all-consuming engine of work, invention, implementation and problem solving – Getting up, dusting yourself off and starting again and again and again.

Their purpose can be simple. If you wish your men to build a ship, inspire them with a vision of a far off and exotic land.

The inspiring leader’s vision must be clear, relevant, believable and achievable. We forget that Kennedy’s “We will land on the moon” speech was made almost a decade before the moon landings actually happened.

The inspirational leader begins with the why? Why this is important. Why does it matter? Why the benefits outweigh the risks, cost and effort. And, why change needs to happen.

Then comes the what? – Of before, and, the what? of after – Contrast is important in converting a speech into an effective instrument of inspiration.

Then, in small release batches, comes the how? – The method, route and many problem busting solutions.

  1. The Iceberg Leader

We need to remember that whilst we see the share price, the mansion and, maybe, choose to envy the lifestyle, we do not see the 1000s of hours and all the failures and defeats that went into creating the leader’s success evident today. We need to be reminded that they started in their parent’s garage. We do not focus on the multiple rejections that the inspirational leader suffered and successfully recovered from or the 99 other people who attempted the same thing and are now living in modest obscurity – Their version being one of the many versions that did not go on to be adopted by the masses. The current dignity and poise of our hero belies the struggle, the price paid and the pain overcome.

They laughed in the rain long before you saw them smiling in the sunshine.

Competition in business

The Iceberg Leader

  1. Why is Worker Joe Less Inspired or Inspiring than our Hero Leader?

Great question – You probably come from neither privilege nor poverty. You were not programmed by fear or favour. You were not drilled in hard work or subjected to punishments that needed to be escaped. Worker Joe was programmed for compliance, loyalty, community and belonging. Worker Joe was conditioned to settle for a quieter life, a safe life or one where physical and emotional pleasure came at the weekend and became the measure of happiness and success.

Not everyone is destined to be inspirational. In fact, if everyone became an entrepreneurial legend, then…who would muck out the stables or run the machines busily extruding plastic widgets?

  1. What Can Worker Joe Learn From The Inspirational Leader?

At last, we get to the payoff! The inspirational leader naturally assumed their place. For them, there never seemed a choice in this, or, a viable alternative. The same cannot be said of Worker Joe.

But Worker Joe can change.

Worker Joe can follow the inspirational leader’s behavioural formula, think like they do, drive hard like them and communicate like them too. Each moment or sentence is possible. Putting them all together though and sustaining action and momentum? – That is a different matter.

For you, there is now more thinking, choosing and voluntary sacrifice to contemplate before you decide to step up, step into the inspirational leader’s shoes, and, begin the long and hard journey to the top.

Are you ready to face yourself? If you wish to attempt the process of becoming an inspirational leader, it will be conscious and more difficult than it was for the people born to sit in the hot seat.

If you feel like trying on the cloak, do please reflect upon and answer some of the questions below…

Question 1 – If you had to choose to do one thing and one thing only for the next 20 years, what would it be? Where would it be? Who would be involved? And, why would you choose it? (And what sacrifices would you willingly make to stay on that path?)

Question 2 – Have you ever had the discipline to move beyond physical and emotional gratification to achieve something higher and more worthwhile? What was it? Did you stay the course and complete your journey? Did it pay off? And, are you prepared to step up, scale up and risk all by having another go now?

Question 3 – Have you ever succeeded in inspiring those around you (friends, colleagues or family) to attempt something new? Have you jumped up on a chair and broadcast your vision with passion, using the best of your persuasive abilities to inspire a hungry crowd? And, did it work? Did they buy into the future you were selling? Did they follow you? Did they take action? BTW – Did you get a big rush out of it? And, do you want to repeat that experience many times over?

How do you feel about your answers?

Action

If you wish to have a conversation about inspirational leadership and learn more about our courses and coaching, then do call Matthew Hill today, leaving your details and availability on 07540 65 9995.

And, Please like, share and forward to the star in your tribe… Thank you.

About the Author

Matthew Hill is a coach, trainer, keynote speaker, author and, sometime leader of talent. He teaches and works with some of the largest companies in the world as well as helping young talent, SME companies and independent thinkers. His first book – Learn how to LEAD; Believe, Behave & Become was published in 2012 and is available now on Kindle.

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Deep Culture or Cult? Are you being lured into a CULT? – How Everyday Cults Draw In Intelligent People.

 It’s never too early to sidestep a cult

We don’t have to stretch and think of Waco, ISIS or the Moonies to find examples of Cult recruitment methods at work today. There will be many attempts to recruit you this year, much closer to home.

Whether it is Veganism, Brexit, continued support for Trump’s wall, Sci-entol-ogy, The NRA or Jehovah’s Witness – All have disturbing aspects of a Cult and we need to be more aware of the mechanisms they employ to protect ourself and our loved ones from being inducted against our conscious will.

BTW – If you are part of one of these groups, reading this article will in no way change you. Your programming will enable you to easily resist the 5 points below – In fact you will have already been inoculated against anything in written form that calls your group a cult. And, articles such as this one will drive you in deeper as they act as proof that the “enemy without” exists, thus reinforcing your commitment to your group.

Bizarrely, it is the phenomenon of your inoculation that forms part of the proof that your group is… a cult.

arrow of crowds

5 False assumptions about cults.

We think of US extremes and people being taken away from their families, being brainwashed to reject all outside communication and performing any act to support and show loyalty to their charismatic leaders – Including bringing in cash and actively recruiting new members. Yes that describes the obvious destructive cult, but be warned, there are other versions that can be equally bad for your rights, your agile mind and your future.

  1. Destructive Cults only prey on the weak – As you sit amongst your small family, reading a newspaper that is supposedly part of the free press, you may feel pity for the poor saps sucked into some a remote compound or made to sleep with their cult leader.

But, is it time the alarm went off? Actually, the sick, simple and poorest in our community are not the main target of cult recruitment. It is YOU. The hypnotic mechanisms of an effective cult induction programme are, actually, reasonably sophisticated and work best on the educated mind. Most dangerous is the thought that your education is sufficient to protect you from cult messages or you will never be inducted into a cult because you live your life exercising choices, freedom and your wits. Remember. there are those that went to investigate and never came back…

  1. Negative force is used in the recruitment process for cults

Whilst the mechanisms are manipulative and powerful, force is not normally part of the initial process. The opposite is the case. Love, energy and acknowledgement of the individual are the tools that will attract you in at the beginning (You will be enslaved later.) In my work with corporations as a soft skills trainer, I see that tough love by management is used as part of a behavioural regime of intermittent behavioural reinforcement, that conditions executives to work extra hard, buy into stretch goals and sacrifice more of their free time and other choices in the service of the main corporate mission and a big company vision.

With cults, a dirtier and more subversive version of this happens later in the conversion process and cult induction journey. To start with, the targeted individual is showered with praise, positive affirmation and is deliberately encouraged to feel fabulous and great about themself. This aims to break down the barriers that any sane individual would have when contemplating joining a band of isolated extremists.

The subtle part of the process then follows. The target passes through a barely noticeable series of non-return doors. These suck the prey in and make resistance difficult. Think about yourself at this point. You are really nice, middle class, and an educated person. With a good level of self-worth? So, what will it be difficult for you to do in these surroundings – being showered with love by decent and, supposedly, like-minded people? The answer – Be rude, ask challenging questions, get angry or walk out. (For the Brits it is, “I didn’t want to make a fuss.” This allows the brainwashing to take hold…

  1. They keep you there by force

The mechanisms of the one-way route during your induction into a cult are ingenious by design. Once your mind has flipped over from resister to congruent follower, You will be filled with a simplified alternative version of reality and “educated” that all other ways are not just wrong but that they threaten the existence of the cult itself. Brilliant gas lighting. When you are fully under the spell of the cult, you will eventually be trusted to venture out on your own. You will be theoretically free to run away – but you will not.

hand in jail

And, it is YOUR mind that will keep you there.

You will, by this stage, super-believe in the tenants of the cult. Hour upon hour of repetition of the key cult messages and models will have worn you down and ensured your compliance with the beliefs of the cult group. And, you will be super-inoculated against all attempts by outsiders to rationalise with you, contact you or plead with you to leave.

So clever is the communication strategy, that the more you plead the more the new cult recruit will smile and say, “They said you would say that.” Evil genius – Your newly brainwashed logic circuits will assign the role of “testing your faith” to outsiders where their pleas make you an active participant in maintaining the cult’s parallel universe. The outsider’s logic will ensure the new cult recruit now believes that the all-wise cult leader was RIGHT all along!!! In a twisted way – you have to admire their dirty craft.

  1. I live in a democracy and am, therefore, immune from cult recruitment

No, there will be a point in your life when you will be vulnerable. This will come when you are in a state of emotional flux – The death of a parent / child / friend, divorce, recovering from long illness or after being made redundant.

At this point in your life journey, your normal programming about, “Life being fair” or “You get out what you put in” etc. will fail you. In this moment there will be no easy answers at hand. It is now that you will find yourself most open to external warmth, love and the “meaning” of a cult. This is when their powerful weapons of persuasion will work best on you.

Your uncertainty and doubt is their opportunity.

Think of young offenders in prison – lonely, frightened and confused – perfect fodder for the clear, simple story of a radial preacher – Providing a richer context and narrative for their poor and low value lives. It is almost too easy.

  1. Charisma won’t work on me – I am too rational

People are not rational. That is a myth. We buy emotionally, hate irrationally and our fears can be manufactured quickly, grown cheaply and exploited simply. We are herd animals with the additional hindrance of actively seeking out stories, membership to tribes and having a desperate need to be loved and approved of.

Time and again in Europe, South America and the USA, a population has been swept away by a charismatic leader, only to pay a great cost later. Cult mechanism fuelled the growth of Soviet communism, Chinese communism, Nazi propaganda, the messages of Brexit, and, the divisive communications of British Trade Unions in the 1970’s and the persuasion of the many to give up so much for the benefit of the few. (- please note the balance.)

A Cult Leader

A great public speaker, who understands rhetoric and the key fears of their target audience, can quickly work out, practice and find a platform to deliver cult promises representing a clear and simple alternative to the current state of business.

You too can become a cult leader…

You could do it yourself – Just jot down all the complaints of your community (no matter the actual origin), work out which faction to blame (it does not have to be this targeted group’s fault), come up with a simple alternative reality (it does not have to work) and, hey presto – You have a cult and a speech that will definitely start to draw people in and have them loyally follow you.

You will grab the hearts, minds and wallets of the people who resonate with your list of rapidly cobbled together complaints – just about every time.

For good or evil, a repeated message of clarity, simplicity and improvement works – Obama’s “Yes we can”, Blair’s “For the people”, May’s “The will of the people”, Trump’s “We are going to build a wall”, Thatcher’s “No one has to remain working class – vote for me and your can own your own home”, or, Boris and Dominic Cummings’ “Take back control and save the NHS with lots of money we currently pay to the EU.”

Irony

It is so much easier to start a cult than fix real core problems. Problems are

complex, multi-sourced and require intelligent consensus, time, money and commitment from a disparate range of stakeholders. Gathering the necessary support requires… a compelling vision, a charismatic speaker and the recruitment of followers. OMG – we are back here again!

And a democracy (multiple groups having a say and being listened to) makes it much easier for one strong and clear alternative cult guru’s voice to be heard and followed.

Irony stacked upon irony

And once in, there is no quick way out. Rational debate is not possible. The time for listening will be over. Facts will fail.

For the cult member, the need and desire to stay congruent with the cult’s key messages, to feel consistent, loyal and belong to the cult in-group, requires violent rejection of logic and all alternatives. And, more – Rejecting, even the possibility, that their cult might have got it wrong.

And it is this dynamic that generates aggressive words, physical intimidation, lawyers letters, or, at its most miserable extreme, fighting to the death in a foreign land, whilst deluding yourself that you are dying for something valid and real, and, you are dying as a sainted martyr.

Man ear listening, copy space background

Stay vigilant people

Your next cult recruitment message promising a good and simple alternative the complex issues we face today will be coming your way today or tomorrow. Wake up and smell the coffee before you end up being asked to drink the Kool-Aid!

 About the Author

Matthew Hill is an Intercultural Trainer, Speaker and Marketeer.

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Is OLD Marketing Holding Back Your Growth? Here Are The Top 10 Out Of Date Marketing Mistakes Many Are Making Today? (Along With How Your Marketing Efforts Can Easily Become Effective Again?)

How Many Of The 10 OLD Marketing Crimes Are You Guilty Of?

With the rampaging march of technology, social media and ever diminishing audience attention spans, it pays now, more than at anytime in the last 20 years, to keep on top of your marketing output. We are all competing with more suppliers over a greater area and need to stay ahead of the, “Not them again” fatigue that causes poverty through customer irritation.

In no particular order here are the TOP 10 MARKETING CRIMES – Do keep score of how many old habits you are guilty of as you read and check your results at the end. Be honest now. Good luck…

Hill Networks Marketing

1) A Newsletter carved in stone. You stressed and worried about the first one you launched to 50 people all those years ago and were so proud at receiving your first pleasant response. Do you remember? You may have even received an order for business from your first few issues! Wow.

But

Several years later, you have fallen into a routine. You haven’t updated your format. And, the content is all about you. The text is repetitive and tired and you are going around the block for the umpteenth time giving out educational advice that, in your heart of hearts, you know most people either already know, are not interested in, or, think is slightly quaint and, itself, out-dated.

Action – Start again. Ask, “Who will be my paying customers over the next 2-3 years?” Where are they? What do they read / listen to / watch? What channel works for them? And, where is the GAP today in their knowledge or wisdom that I can fill with insights and service?

(More on this in a moment)

2) The Repeating Repeating event. Again, do you remember feeling like you had just discovered penicillin when you held your first Breakfast Briefing, Monthly Mixer or Multi-Speaker Do? And, good for you. You put your all into inviting senior decision making people to a high value demonstration of your wisdom and originality and it was probably lapped up by your audience and generated a healthy return on your invested time and money.

But

Times have moved on. Now everyone seems time scarce, attention scare and oh, so cynical. Your prospects now send juniors who spend too much time looking at their phone. Your venue costs have gone up and your returns have all but disappeared. And the quality of speaker you can attract to help you out has diminished too.

Action – Once more – Is it time to think again? – Do you need a physical event? If so, what about partnering with a complimentary service or product provider and splitting the cost whilst enlarging your potential base? Who could dove-tail with you and bring a wider and fresh audience? As customers become more scattered around the globe, is a remote version of this event a good idea – A webinar or filmed demonstration? It is definitely time to change your whole approach?

3) Your Dusty Flat Website – It was so exciting when you updated your old 5 page brochure site to include rotating pictures, a call me back button, or even added a news feed. Wow – Nosebleed territory.

Hill Networks Marketing

But

Your returns on the website peaked many moons ago and people are finding you through other means now. As you read through your site today, you realise it all about you you you. It is overly factual and your copy fails to engage the customer or prospect. It does not interrupt them and take them on a journey. There is no story, no insight and no call to action that is compelling enough for them to – CALL YOU. And, you have a list of teaser happenings to lure new customers in that makes two assumptions –– That you have enough traffic to make this work for you, and, that they don’t mind the thin content you are providing as bait.

Action – Let us get real. Unless you are going to spend real bucks on getting something web-tastic with a shopping cart, then we are probably wasting our time here putting all our eggs in the website basket. Whilst websites are no longer number one, why not think about an intelligent strategy to proceed with. There are cheaper and more flexible versions of websites via WordPress that incorporate blogs, measure responses and allow for far more interactivity. And ones that allow opt ins for joining your list that can be connected to your newsletter via an autosponder sequence to take new joiners on a relevant and escalating journey of engagement, and, with a proportion of them, will lead to an initial sale – an automated journey that does not require human intervention and the salary that accompanies it.

4) Words Words Words – Not SuperCopy – It still amazes me that plenty of otherwise bright company executives (over performing in their core areas of expertise), continue to operate with a complete blind spot to accepting that persuasive and well written copy actually generates action, a response and represents a return on time and the marketing money you spend! Instead we see 1000s of words about me me me, facts, features and detail that bore readers, turn away needy customers and fail to promote the company’s best assets – Their product / service, the quality of your interaction, or, your unique selling advantage.

So

The answers are out there enabling you to learn about key influencing copy devices that will move your observer prospects up to an energy level where they take action; that will shift those passive but needy customers to reach out and get in touch with you. And, with automated systems, they will do more than half of this whist you are getting on with delivery.

Action – If you can’t wait until number 10) then do call me (Matthew Hill 07540 65 9995) with your details and we can talk through the immediate actions you would be wise to contemplate, decide to do and get started on.

5) Non Selling Sales People – When you employed that merry band of brothers and sisters in your sales department, you did not realise just how sales-phobic they would become and how quickly they would chose to grow cosy and cosseted in that comfortable office you provide, making nice warm calls to already warm connections whilst failing to break new ground and look for new players on the block.

Fotolia_203276020_XS.jpg

And

Given a chance to change, you find that they defend their cosy “keeping in touch” non-selling version of communication… to the death, and, resist your pleas for them to step up their game and do something challenging and relevant.

Action – Is it time to challenge your whole sales and marketing process and simplifying it down to something that works?!?! Your new successful process will emerge as you study the sales decision making process of your median customer? Where do they begin, enquire, question? And, What do they need? What assurances work? What demonstration and proofs convert? What words work? And, What is the quickest or optimum route from “Don’t know you” to “Know you, like you, trust you and let’s buy from you on multiple occasions”? When would now be an excellent time to start asking these questions?

6) E Mailed to sleep – Whilst E Mail has been around for 25 years, it’s abuse and massive overuse has lead to GDPR, spam screening and a vast decrease in the power of any single E Mail.

And

The average marketing executive still thinks they know how to write a compelling and hip message that will work. OMG.

ActionIf there is one thing to commit to doing in the next 12 months, make it be this – Find out how to write compelling, sincere and action inducing E Mails that work. Please, pretty please and please with a cherry on the top do this one thing.

7) Brochures – There was a time when having your own bespoke, designed and professionally printed brochure was a sign of status and kudos. With studio package shots and agency copy, they were a thing of beauty and value.

But

Now everything moves quickly, is on-line and uses realistic looking E mock ups of printed books and boxes, making your product look even better than it does in real life. So, what is the point of a brochure? And how much does it cost to print and send out one copy? And, does anyone read them anymore?

Action – Break that habit. Add up the real cost and ask yourself if it is the way to go? Dan Kennedy, the undisputed king of marketing, would advice moving that budget into flyers, newsletters and offers. And, who is to say he is wrong?

8) Trade fairs – Do you remember 2 or 3 recessions ago, how much fun trade fairs were? We had gift bags that contained things we wanted! Alcohol flowed freely. There were gimmicks and gadgets and, the pace of change in some industries was so fast you HAD to be there, to get the education and new contacts you needed, just to keep up.

Matthew Hill culture author leadership

But

All of that has gone. The budgets are slashed, the attendees are now juniors and not decision makers, the speeches are pat and less inspiring, and, the gifts are not worth collecting.

Action – Let’s get back some of the magic of the olden days with a bit of pizzazz, some energy and humour and a speech that has a CTA – Call to Action at the end of it. And, let us make it super-professional. Save money by designing your communication pathway to qualify out the time wasters and tire kickers. And, actively qualify in your real prospects, engage with them, warm them up, and, follow up proactively, professionally and with purpose. Have them remember that first meeting with you at the trade fair as the start of something exciting and exceptional.

9) Social Media

Do you remember your first brave steps on Facebook and LinkedIn? And do you remember your first successes? Oh, treasured memories.

But

Oh dear – If there were just one Crime Sheet area that had to be pointed out, this would be it. – A litany of FB and LI groups with 72 members. Me Me Me posts that singularly fail to connect with your customers. Twitter accounts with 17 followers. I could go on…

Action – Stop your awkward half-hearted presence campaigns on social media now before you embarrass yourself. And, start the whole thing again. Curate meaningful content, test your text, write from the perspective of the reader and not your company, and, don’t just scatter your seed to the wind – Ask for opt ins and exchange a small meaningful product for your target’s contact details and permission to communicate with them.

10) Database – My regular readers will now be mouthing my following sentence – “If you don’t have a database, you don’t have a business”. And by database, today, we do not mean a list typed in from that dusty collection of business cards kept in each marketing employee’s desk. And, we don’t mean the list you call a database that the Trade Fair gave you – That is a spam list of people who actively don’t know you and are becoming increasingly irritated at getting random offers and interruptions just because they visited the Excel centre once and came away a some lousy bag full of pointless brochures and low quality gifts.

And,

All data was not created equal – The undifferentiated pile of contacts!!! – Are they hot, warm or cold? How old are they? Are they prospects, suspects, peers or competitors? What contact have you had with them? Do you have permission to contact them? Have you qualified them IN or OUT? – NOBODY KNOWS.

Action – Start again – Use your intelligence to start a completely new database with a big set of doors on it. Only let in warms and hots. Qualify and examine each dataset on the way in. Have one plan for the warms, and a more energetic one for the hots. Automate the generation of new enquiries and spend some time working with each one to get those all-important first encounter touch points right.

Go back and ask, “Who do you best serve?” Who will benefit most from your wisdom and experience? And, build a funnel to contact and develop all warms and hots in an intelligent, legal and optimally effective way.

Do forward this post please to someone who urgently needs to get with the programme.

Add up your score – How did you do? Any sweaty moments? (Have you been totally honest?) – Where are you falling short or finding yourself stuck in bad old habits and the past? Please now read on about what to do next, based on your results…

Score – So, what is your Crime Sheet number?

***3 or Less – You are in the modern era. You are keeping yourself abreast of modern methods, investing in knowledge and marketing. You are on the ball – We know you will do well this year and next. Good for you.

***4 – 7 – OMG – Call this emergency hot line now! – Matthew Hill 07540 65 9995 – You are at the edge of the cliff and it could crumble under your feet sooner than you think. Growth is by no means assured for this year or next. Now is the time to take action.

***8 – 10 – Don’t worry – Whilst you are beyond help, you will have hopefully bagged enough cash when your old marketing delivered cash and peaked in a bygone era and you do not need to be competitive in the modern era. We wish you well in your hobby company and upcoming retirement.

About the Author

Matthew Hill helps organisations and solopreneurs spruce up their marketing efforts to quickly, cleanly and effectively leap into short sequence, copy driven and ethical marketing endeavours that seek out active customers, interrupt prospects respectfully and exchange value-for-access to allow for a speedy and dignified accent from “Who the hell are you?” to “Ah, great to hear from you. I am looking forward to learn more about how you will be helping me this year”

Matthew has worked with some of the largest companies in the world and now concentrates on small and medium sized training services businesses that wish to turn around their “survival” mode of existence and start to grow top line income, the quality of their target customers, and, begin to create super-fan clients that are happy to rave about you, advocate for you and help you become positively busy, happy and successful.

For a f’ree conversation with zero obligation, do take action now and call me – Leave your details with Matthew Hill on 07540 65 9995. Thanks and speak to you soon.

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