Skim Sessions‎ > ‎

2013-03-05

“The reason most people never reach their goals is that they don’t define them,
or ever seriously consider them as believable or achievable.
Winners can tell you where they are going, what they plan to do along the way,
and who will be sharing the adventure with them.”
- Denis Watley

2013-03-06
2013-03-04

I had a great meeting with Joe at Fulfillrite, who will be handing our shipping and fulfillment once our spring styles arrive from Italy in a few weeks. I'm excited to have another part of the business setup and outsourced to be run by someone else.

I had lunch with Steve, a 67 year old business coach who I was referred to by my financial adviser, Mike Chartos. Our originally scheduled two hour lunch meeting ended up lasting for three hours because we had so much to talk about. I'm going to recap several parts of our conversation in today's skim session. I will include links to various things we talked about for you to review.

Steve has worked on a variety of projects and companies over the years, and he did a great job of sharing personal stories that included key lessons he had learned. We discussed ways I can implement the lessons from his stories into my current business and personal relationships. We talked extensively about sales and relationships and how to negotiate with folks. One key tip was to focus on asking questions instead of doing all the talking. Listen intently to their response, and then ask another question that builds off their response. Steer the conversation, but allow them to lead the dialog. In doing so, you are able to learn more about the person you are talking with, and you can figure out more ways to help them in various areas.

When discussing price at the end of a great meeting, don't say a number. Ask them "what is the range you can afford to pay for this service/product?" You'll be amazed at how much higher they may set the number. You can also kindly agree to take the middle of the range, so it makes them feel like a good deal. Feel free to include any other perks (free shipping, stickers, coupons for friends, etc) in the package to make them enjoy the experience.

Steve was married to his first wife for 15 years before getting divorced at age 43. He remarried later in life and has a step daughter who just took the bar exam. As our conversation tended to focus on relationship building, stories from his first wife came up frequently - some of the good and some of the bad. Relationships are hard. There are ups and downs and struggles along the way. It's never supposed to be a smooth ride, but it is supposed to be an enjoyable ride. And you're supposed to like the person sitting next to you in the car. Relationships come in all shapes and sizes with all sorts of emotions and past events that influence future behaviors. We discussed the importance of handling different relationships in different ways.

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Circling back to relationship building, that's at the core of everything in our lives. One thing that I struggle with is closing. I'm not a good closer. I'm really good at going 80-90% of the way there, but I usually fail to finish things 100%. This is especially true in relationships. It's been 2+ years since we broke up, but I still have a tremendous fear of commitment. I go on a lot of first dates. I don't go on very many second dates because I always run away (both literally and figuratively) by the end of the first one. It's tough.

One thing we discussed was the importance of getting the other person (cute girl, business partner, student, teammate, etc) to cross over and chase you. You shouldn't do all of the chasing - they should be chasing you. You need to make yourself, your product, or your service so desirable that the other person demonstrates they are willing to put in the effort required to make the relationship work. One of the best parts of relationships is knowing and feeling that other people genuinely care about you and your overall well being. Ideally they want to spend time with you occasionally, or even more often if you are lucky enough to not live in different cities. Distance makes it harder.

Show. Tell. Check. Correct. That's how you teach people and empower them to work on projects. Start off with show and tell and demonstrate how something works (or how you want it to work). Let them start working on it. If necessary, let them schedule a time every day when they can ask questions if they are stuck. But only during that time can they ask questions, so they should charge up their list of questions to make the brief meeting as efficient and valuable as possible. When they get the answers to the questions, they should write them down and save them on the wiki to share with anyone else who may have the same question. This is an efficient way of teaching people what they want to learn and maximizing the value you can produce with your time by making the advice easy to reuse by anyone at anytime.

Once they start doing work for you, you will need to check on their progress and provide feedback. If you need to write a full sales email to someone, delegate it to someone else and then come back with a red pen to provide feedback. Let them do 90% of the work and then get your approval. Let everyone else drive projects and you can just do the steering occasionally as needed. People learn from doing and people feel empowered by letting them do things. Learning is a lifelong journey, so every new task that you are assigned is an opportunity to learn how to solve a new type of problem or a similar problem in a more efficient way.

It's all about making things as efficient and automated as possible, so you can always focus on other areas and spending your time doing the things that only you can do to drive the business, project, relationship, etc forward.

Steve and I talked about some of the resources on the wiki. I shared with him my list of good books. Some specific ones that I recommend to him based on our conversations include:

A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller
Anything You Want by Derek Sivers
Everything I Know About Business I Learned from the Grateful Dead by Barry Barnes
Freedom is Blogging in Your Underwear by Hugh MacLeod
How to Win at the Sport of Business by Mark Cuban
Mastery by Robert Greene
Read This Before Our Next Meeting by Al Pittampalli
Rework by Jason Fried
Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon
StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath
Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield
You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One) by Jeff Goins

We talked about the importance of meeting a wide variety of people and learning about what they do, so you can "steal a page from their book and put it into yours." This concept is something I apply every day, and it is talked about extensively in Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon. Stealing like an artist is a great way to acquire new skills and knowledge by learning from your surroundings and other people. We also reviewed the results of my StrengthsFinder 2.0. I encourage you to go through this exercise to learn more about your most dominant traits. My top five strengths are positivity, futuristic, individualization, communication, and woo.

Individualization came up again when talking about sales and marketing and how to custom craft messages for different customers. Different people have different needs from you and your business, so tailoring things to meet their needs is ideal. For example, you should learn the method of communication that others prefer (email, text, skype, phone call, in-person, over a meal of food, etc). By communicating in the channel the other person is most comfortable with, you are able to enhance the overall conversation in numerous ways.

Karma. It's a thing. Life has a funny way of working itself out. Do good stuff and good stuff will happen to you.

You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One) was another good book that we discussed. During that conversation, we also talked about Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield. I told Steve that I just published my first book, Becoming So Good They Can't Ignore You, last month. You can click this link to download the free PDF version of the book:

http://www.tinyurl.com/becomingsogood

Along with relationship building, another key theme of our discussion was fixing things internally and studying how we think about ourselves. We play games with ourselves everyday about what we want to be doing. Steve does what he wants to do whenever he wants to do it.

Role reversal is key with relationships. Switch sides and put them in your shoes and see what the view is like on their side of the table. It will help both of you to work better together and better understand the needs and expectations of both parties. Steve hired an assistant at one of his jobs and told her how important she was and empowered her to schedule his entire life, and that he worked for her. This is the relationship I am trying to build with my Zirtual Assistant, Stacy, who I started working with last week. As our relationship continues to grow, I look forward to document the relationship building and delegating that takes place on the wiki to teach others who are working as assistants for people. Everyone should be someone's assistant in some facet of your life, so you have people who you can learn from. You should view this as the apprenticeship phase of your personal development in that specific area.

Relevant Links:

http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2013/03/understanding-local-media.html

http://under30ceo.com/why-you-need-to-stop-waiting-and-start-doing/
http://under30ceo.com/creating-your-goals-list-in-3-easy-steps/
http://under30ceo.com/9-things-that-make-a-champion-entrepreneur/
http://under30ceo.com/10-free-places-to-learn-how-to-code-online/
http://under30ceo.com/7-things-entrepreneurs-need-to-understand-about-human-communication/
http://under30ceo.com/human-media-movement-why-google-is-a-great-idea-for-business/
http://under30ceo.com/17-lessons-from-17-books-to-learn-from-in-2013/

http://chrisguillebeau.com/3x5/life-is-for-spending/

http://calnewport.com/blog/2013/02/26/on-the-art-of-ambition/

http://www.unsectored.net/shattering-our-social-silos/

http://thinktraffic.net/4-new-writer-traps-and-how-to-avoid-them
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Mike Malloy,
Mar 5, 2013, 8:54 PM
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Mike Malloy,
Mar 5, 2013, 8:54 PM
Ċ
Mike Malloy,
Mar 5, 2013, 8:54 PM
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