Peak Your Profit: Three to thrive

Jeff Blackman

A reader asks, “Jeff, what strategies, attitudes or behaviors, will help me drive results for the rest of the year?”

Super question. For these remaining months to be days of significance and success, be sure to implement these “three to thrive!”

  1. To destroy an enemy, make him your friend.
  2. Deliver image impact.
  3. Vote for value.

1. To destroy an enemy, make him your friend

Businessman spraying dollar sign shape cloud paint on the cliff with cloudscape background.

In Mario Puzo's best-selling book, “The Godfather,” Don Corleone calmly states, “Never get angry. Never make a threat. Reason with people.” While you may not agree with “the Don’s” method of negotiation, it’s hard to find fault with his philosophy!
Like “the Don,” Abraham Lincoln, our 16th President, must have been a superb negotiator. Abe once said, “The best way to destroy an enemy, is to make him your friend.”

The key to a successful negotiation is a sincere attempt to understand the other person’s perspective. A negotiation never means lace-up your boxing gloves and prepare for battle.

Don’t be argumentative, confrontational or abrasive. Don’t try to “destroy your enemy.” For if you do, the other side leaves annoyed, frustrated or angered. You both lose. And you, have one less trip to make to the bank.

When you negotiate, it should truly be from a win-win position. It’s your opportunity to solve problems, reach agreement and move forward for the benefit of all. Avoid the quick and fleeting “hit.” Play the game and the relationship for the long-term.

2. Deliver image impact

It isn’t fair, but it’s fact, first impressions influence buying decisions. And especially when buyers can’t physically hold or see your product, they try to find reassurance. That reassurance or peace of mind is often provided by your presence and professionalism.
Daily, decision-makers are bombarded by countless external stimuli: from travel, work, advertising, the media and your competitors.
Many times, these external factors and buying influencers are analyzed quickly. Buyers make snap judgments and then are off and running, ready to attack the next crisis. Therefore, you want to make sure every judgment made about your products, your services, your company, your communication and especially you, is positive and favorable.
According to my friend, communications specialist Lynn Pearl, “You only have five seconds when you enter a room to make a positive impression. A confident manner characterized by a strong stride, a friendly smile, good posture and a genuine sense of energy commands respect.”
Studies have even shown that a firm handshake, good eye contact, or simply remembering names are critical sales and business-growth skills.
So how’s your image impact?

3. Vote for value

Don’t be driven by only commissions, quotas or contests. These are your motivators, not your decision-makers.
Today’s buyers don't simply want a product or a service, they want you. And they expect you to be a consultant. A strategic adviser. A partner. Partners are invaluable. Vendors are expendable.

Don’t peddle products and services. Instead, deliver results and value. And, know two crucial things about value:

  • First, always deliver more in perceived value than you take in actual cash value.
  • And second, realize, that in the absence of a value barometer, your relationship is reduced to a price eliminator.

For years, I've had a card called “values” written by John Ruskin.  It says: “It’s unwise to pay too much, but it’s unwise to pay too little. When you pay too much you lose a little money, that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing you bought it to do.
“The law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot. It can’t be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it’s well to add something for the risk you run. And if you do that, you will have enough to pay for something better.”

The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. She has been reading since she was 3 years old and never goes anywhere without a book. Terri lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 11,000 books.