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Know the Pain Points

Posted By Rayne Provost, Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, April 9, 2014

When I'm with a client or prospect, I'm told to pay close attention to pain points. Why is this important?

Pain points are irritations, frustrations, things that cause stress, or something that someone is wanting to fix. Many times, the bigger the pain point ... the bigger the opportunity ... and the quicker the engagement.

When talking to clients or prospects, they don't usually say, "This is my pain point." It's up to you to watch and listen to what what they say, and how they say it. Ways to learn more about their pain points:

  1. What do they say are their biggest, most frustrating or most urgent problems they are facing?
  2. What kind of emotion do they show while talking about this issue?
  3. Ask questions about the issue if they show (or you hear) some emotion. Repeat what you heard so they know you understand the reason this is important to them.

TIP:Not every big pain point is a big project. But understanding a client or prospect's pain point results in clients who are happy to work with you ... again and again.

Clients tend to shop around less if you:

  1. Listen closely to hear the client's pain point - the real need that is important to them.
  2. Have the client feel you completely understand their problem.
  3. Brainstorm with the client to explore solutions they believe will address their pain point.
What are ways you uncover pain points? 

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Competing with Free Information

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Updated: Friday, August 30, 2013

Some prospects (or clients) tell me they don't want to pay for my services because they can get most of it for free on-line? There are powerful research tools, templates and analytical applications. Since I use many of these myself, I can understand their thinking.

It is true that there are powerful tools available online - ways to use business planning software and the availability of many searchable databases. But don't lose sight of the differences between data or information ... and knowledge.

I may have access to anatomy texts, surgical equipment and a facility - but that doesn't mean I should be doing surgery. The ability to assemble and process data is only a minor part of our value as consultants. Information may be more freely available these days, but using that information and turning it into usable knowledge requires the value added experience, judgement and objectivity of a consultant.

TIP:Being an expert places you between available systems and the wisdom of the crowds. For instance, I help clients with employment assessments. It's my years of experience, knowledge and how to apply these tools that add value and separate me from those who are assessment sales people. Especially those marketing online.

Focus on what you bring to the prospect or client and don't compete with online resources.

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Biggest Productivity Killers

Posted By Administration, Thursday, August 22, 2013
Updated: Friday, August 30, 2013

Most people agree that meeting schedules can kill productivity. How can I lead and be involved in more productive meetings?

Jeff Weiner, CEO at LinkedIn recently published the article, A Simple Rule to Eliminate Useless Meetings.He shares how at his company, LinkedIn has eliminated the presentation part of meetings. Instead materials are sent out 24 hours ahead of time so attendees can review and prepare for the meeting in advance. His suggestions include:
  1. Start meeting with a 5-10 minute chance for attendees to review or re-read their material.
  2. Open up a discussion, eliminating the presentation part of the meeting.
  3. Strive to dig into the subject, sharing real opinions rather than rehashing or listening to talking points by those who have prepared the material.

TIP:In addition to replacing presentations with discussions, Jeff also recommends these practices for effective meetings:
  1. Define the objective of the meeting.
  2. Identify who is driving the meeting (only 1 person can drive), keeping the conversation relevant and preventing someone from talking to much.
  3. Make sure everyone is on the same page with words and concepts used.
  4. Assign someone to take notes, confirming what was discussed and agreed to, as well as for those who weren't able to attend.
  5. Summarize key actions, deliverables or points of accountability.
  6. Ask if attendees found it valuable, and what can you do better in the future.

Click on this link to read the full article==>A Simple Rule to Eliminate Useless Meetings.

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Drowning in Emails - Part 2

Posted By Administration, Thursday, August 8, 2013
Updated: Friday, August 30, 2013

Managing my emails is an important part of my day. I've read I should have NO emails in my inbox. How can this be?

A second blog from the website Asian Efficiency has some ideas to create a folder structure and workflow to your emails. It is outlined further in the article The Simple Guide to Managing Your Email More Effectively.

The concept of Inbox Zero:
  1. View your inbox as a temporary holding place, not a storage area. Only unread emails here.
  2. Folder structure: Create 3 folders - Reply, Waiting & Archive. REPLY - someone is requesting something from you. WAITING - Delegated tasks, follow-up
  3. Use the 2 minute rule. If it takes longer than 2 minutes to act on it now, put it in the REPLY folder.

You may need other folders, but this is a good start. Continually rereading emails is a waste of time, especially when dealing with many in a day.

TIP:Check out the full article, including a workflow diagram by clicking on this link. Very helpful and worth the look.

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Drowning in Emails - Part 1

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Updated: Friday, August 30, 2013
My inbox keeps growing and I feel I spend too much time on emails these days. Any suggestions on how to spend less time on it?

I've been reading good ideas on time management from the website Asian Efficiency. Because this seems to be a common problem (email overflow), my next few tips will focus on this topic. A recent blog One Simple Trick to Reduce Email Overload suggests a simple premise to start with.

They call it the Email Boomerang Effect.
  1. Most emails do not have to be sent at all.
  2. Email is not always the best medium.
  3. Send fewer emails, get fewer emails.

Before you send any email, ask yourself these two questions:

  1. Is this email ABSOLUTELY necessary? (Most are not.)
  2. Is email the best medium? (Would a text or quick phone call be better?)
If you answer YES to both questions, send it out.

TIP:Debating or unsure how to answer? Spend a few minutes reading the article. It gives ideas and scenarios that I found helpful.

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