How to Win

December 30th, 2013

Alex Ferguson

Winning is an attitude – lessons on winning and being the best from one of the most successful soccer coaches of all time.

After 26 years leading one of the most successful soccer franchises on the planet, Sir Alex Ferguson stepped down as manager of the Manchester United soccer club earlier this year. His tenure at Manchester United (Man U) was epic. During his reign the soccer club won 13 Premier League titles, 2 Champions League titles, and 5 FA Cup titles. He also mentored mega-superstars David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ferguson was a stud.  He was a true leader of men, a warrior, and a true innovator on the soccer field.

So what’s his secret?

Ferguson simplifies his leadership approach to several specific points – points that each of us can adapt into our own lives.

1) Expect to win. His teams win because they expect to win. Losing isn’t an option. Even if down by 3 goals with 5 minutes left in the game they never wavered in their determination and expectation to win. Expectation of any kind sets in motion unseen forces that push you to succeed. When you expect to win, you do. Expect to lose, you will.

2) Set high expectations. Man U expects to win the English Premier League Title (for non-soccer types… think Super Bowl) every year. Anything less is missing expectations. The team expects to win, and win at the highest level. The result of this, other than strings of championships, is the intimidation factor. Many opposing teams would get skittish before even taking the field, which further propelled Man U’s chances of winning. Set high expectations for yourself and others will respect you.

3) Embrace change. The old adage goes the only thing stable is change itself. When it comes to winning this axiom couldn’t be truer. Change comes in many forms. Technology drives change. Legislation drives change. Cultural customs drive change. If we don’t embrace and adopt to the change that drops into our lives we only put ourselves to an unnecessary disadvantage.

Expect to win, set high expectations, and embrace change. It’s a sure-fire recipe for winning.

Your friend,

Dennis Paresa

Got other ideas on winning? Drop a comment below and share it with other readers.

Oh, and if you haven’t already be sure to sign-up for my free weekly newsletter. It’s slammed with tips on marketing, sales, and other useful business building topics. Click here to sign up! 

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How To Use Social Media To Tighten Your Family

November 24th, 2013

FamilyMany parents view social media as an intriguing, but foreign “thing.” There’s such a buzz these days about tweets, trends, hashtags, post, and a ton of other gooey terms. It’s hard not to take notice. It’s equally hard not to be overwhelmed by the massive amount of social media sites, tools, and tricks.

Social media is simple. Social media is simple a set of technologies that derive its value from people sharing with one another. It’s one big sharing and collaboration hub. It’s a hub that’s provided us with a whole new avenue to bond and stay connected with others.

Social media is also a bit intrusive! Since it can be accessed anywhere it seems to permeate everything, which can cause some friction. I see many parents who get frustrated by the amount of time their kids spend on social networks and by the amount of energy they pour into their mobile. There’s no question that the way we communicate is changing at warp speed, and our children are on the front lines.

The easy reaction to this change is frustration, or worse, outright resistance to embrace any of these emerging tools. This might work for a bit. Parents may be able to sneak by using more traditional forms of communicating with their families. Ironically though, there’s actually a tremendous opportunity to use this technology to bring your family closer!

The answer? Get involved. Embrace it. Use it. There may come a time when email is replaced by social media tools. We’re heading into an entirely different communication world. One that’s digital. We can either reap its benefits, or we can resist. By resisting we’re just holding-off the inevitable, and worse – missing out.

Here’s what you can do right now to embrace change. Go sign up for Facebook and Instagram. Use them – they can be a ton of fun. Learn the lingo. Create private family groups. Share what you know with your family, and encourage them to share with you. It may seem like a big waste of time at first, but as you start using these tools and milking their benefits you’ll find they can offer new and creative ways to bring your family closer. Picture yourself as digitally savvy and you’ll become it!

Your friend,

Dennis Paresa

Got other social media ideas? Drop a comment below and share it with other readers.

Oh, and if you haven’t already be sure to sign-up for my free weekly newsletter. It’s slammed with tips on marketing, sales, and other useful business building topics. Click here to sign up! 

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Mastering Your Brand: 3 Lessons from the Duck Dynasty Empire

October 31st, 2013

Rubber DucksSo maybe I’m living in a cave.

Up until just last month I had never heard of the enigma that is the cast of the reality show Duck Dynasty. In fact, it took the laziness of sitting poolside in Cabo that finally “motivated” me to pick up my wife’s copy of US Weekly.

(Yes, I promise it actually was my wife’s copy!)

It was there that I became somewhat enamored by the lives of this reality show clan.

Anyhow, the Duck Dynasty cast was the feature of the week. For those of you who were like me and now sit clueless as to what Duck Dynasty is… it’s quite simply a show examining the lives of the family who created the massively popular duck signal caller brand called the Duck Commander.  They’re basically millionaire hillbillies.

Why they matter

So why are these guys intriguing and what can they teach you about building a brand? If I’m sitting in your shoes I’m asking myself the same thing.

The fact is these guys are doing things right. And when it comes to branding, they’re at the genius level. Let’s see how you can bring what’s proved successful for the Duck Dynasty crew into your own life to bolster your brand.

3 branding lessons

1)   They occupy the top spot in our brain

This one’s important. Our brains can only remember a limited number of products/services in any one category.

What’s this have to do with a brand? Everything. All brands are fighting against irrelevance. We should all strive to be #1 in something. If you’re a Personal Trainer, you should strive the #1 person that people think about in your niche market. If you’re a Carpenter, you should be the #1 Carpenter in the minds of the stakeholders you serve.  Nobody remembers #2. It just doesn’t happen. Go be #1. Your future depends on others knowing who you are AND thinking about your business.

 2)   They’re an interesting story

Yep, it’s pretty hard to compete with millionaire duck-hunters who have their own reality TV show. Those three things just don’t go together!

But you know what? It creates one helluva story. It’s like the Tax Accountant who rides bulls. Or the Plumber who does Pilates. Contradictions create compelling stories. 

You can be a great person with a compelling product or service, but if nobody thinks about you, it just doesn’t matter. Think about how you can create a compelling story and image that you can burn into the brains of the people in your network.

 3)   They know who they are and they don’t hide it

There are no bones about it – the Duck Dynasty guys are 100% comfortable with who they are. Knowing who you are and what you stand for are a powerful set of qualities. We can all benefit from being comfortable in our own skin. People admire those who know what they’re about and aren’t afraid of showing it off. Take it from the Duck Dynasty gang – it’s working (and paying) for them.

Quack, quack.

Your friend,

Dennis Paresa

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3 Words That Could Change Your Life

September 6th, 2013

3 Words That Could Change Your LifeExperts in the science of motivation and performance will tell you that one of the keys to getting what you want in life is mindset. Science has proven that if you can simply change your state of mind that you can instantaneously improve stamina, energy, creativity – and a number of other benefits.

Tell me something I don’t already know

Ok – so you probably knew that. It’s no big secret that having a positive mindset will help you be more productive and get better results.

But if you’re anything like me you probably run into hurdles every so often that kick you off track. It’s one thing to maintain a strong mindset when the going’s good – when you’re not talking to an angry customer, when you hit every green light on the way to work, and your kids woke on-time and didn’t complain about the cold toast. Yep – it’s easy to keep a powerful state of mind when things go off without a hitch.

But what if you hit a bump?

We hit snags everyday. It’s pretty rare that when we’re gliding along in a state of flow that we’ll stay there for long. So what happens when we come across an unexpected problem?

If you curl up and keel over at the slightest sniff of a problem life’s going to be tough. If your initial reaction is to feel frustrated and annoyed when some unexpected challenge comes your way, you may feel disempowered and less confident in your actions; both of which wreak havoc on our ability to perform at a high level.

How you respond to the unexpected will dictate your success in everything you do. This is why it’s so important to keep a powerful mindset. If how you react to life’s problems and challenges directly impacts how much success you’ll have, why not do everything in your power to maintain a mindset that manufactures it?

3 Words That Could Can Your Life

Here’s a simple way to shake-up your state of mind. You won’t have to do much. In fact, all you’ll need to do is ask yourself one simple question:

How can I?

That’s it, nothing more than that.

Here’s why this little question is so potent. You see, our brains are problem-solving machines. You give your brain a problem, it’ll immediately jump into problem solving mode. And you physically can’t stop it from doing this.

For instance, what’s 10 minus 3?

If you know basic arithmetic you physically won’t be able to think of anything but the number 7. When I asked you this question your brain shifted into automatic problem-solving mode.

The same principle applies to other, more complex questions. If someone asks you a question that you don’t have an answer for, your brain will still go to work. Again, it can’t help itself – it’s just how we’re hard wired.

And that’s where the power lies

If you can ask yourself this simple question – how can I? –  you’ll be able to respond to any problem thrown your direction. No matter how big or small. Even if you can’t answer the question or solve the problem on your own, your brain will help you find the resources you need.

Asking yourself this question will put you back into a more empowered, confident state of mind. And remember, when you have a more empowered mindset, you’ll be more energetic, creative, and productive.

WARNING!

If you don’t ask yourself this question, and instead focus on why you can’t do something, your brain will search for all the reasons why you can’t. It’s a 2-way street, and is certainly something you’ll need to keep in mind. Your brain can just as easily find all the reasons you can’t do something. Don’t let this happen!

Wrapping it up

Give it shot. The next time you’re confronted with a challenging problem and you find your mindset shifting off track, ask yourself “how can I”? Instead of feeling frustrated or overwhelmed, you’ll feel empowered, motivated, and more confident just knowing that you can take action on any problem or question.

And it could, quite simply, change your life.

Your friend, 

Dennis Paresa

Got other massive change ideas? Drop a comment below and share it with other readers.

Oh, and if you haven’t already be sure to sign-up for my free weekly newsletter. It’s slammed with tips on marketing, sales, and other useful business building topics. Click here to sign up! 

 

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How To Increase Sales (Part 3)

August 15th, 2013

How to increase sales - retail bagsThis is the third of a four part series on how to increase sales.

In this article I’m going to show you how to increase sales by using a maneuver that far too many businesses fail to deploy. It’s a massively effective tool that most of us experience every so often – though it’s something that should happen during every sales transaction.

Introducing the Upsell

In business there are really only three ways to grow: 1) Find more customers, 2) Increase the order size of each transaction, and 3) Increase the number of times that your customers buy from you during a given period of time. If you focus your efforts on each or a combination of these you’ll undoubtedly grow your business.

One of my favorite sales boosting techniques is the upsell. The upsell falls under point #2 above. And for those of you who aren’t familiar with it, an upsell is what you do to increase the order size of a transaction. For example, when you’re getting your oil changed and the maintenance technician recommends that you change your air filter, he’s trying to upsell you. If you can increase the order size of each transaction you make, you can create massive sales increases all while not spending a dime on extra marketing or advertising.

Why the upsell is so powerful

This is why the upsell is so powerful – you don’t have to do any additional advertising or marketing because the upsell typically happens after you’ve already secured a decision by your customer to buy something. All you’re doing during the upsell is adding additional services or products to the initial order. That’s it. Using the example of the oil change, I’ve already decided to get my oil changed. All the maintenance tech is trying to do is add to the service package I’ve already decided to buy.

Consumer behavior studies have shown that customers are more open to buying additional services right after they’ve made the decision to buy something. In fact, a mind-blowing 60% of customers will buy more if you offer it to them.

The reason? We have a tendency to do this because we want to confirm our rationale for making the purchase in the first place. We confirm that our initial purchase was a good one by adding more to it. A very simple, but powerful concept.

There are emotional things happening at this point too. But the main point is: second money is ALWAYS easier than first money. You will always be more likely to secure more sales right after you’re customer has decided to buy something from you. And if you fail to try it then you’ve blown a humongous opportunity.

Why it’s your obligation to offer your customer more

Now read closely here…

Without even the slightest bit of doubt, it’s your obligation & responsibility to offer your customers more if you know that it’s going to add to the value of the primary purchase. This is essential.

If you know that your customer will benefit from adding to the primary purchase, then it’s your obligation to offer more. This is important to hammer home because many business owners are reluctant to add more to the primary purchase. And if you think about it, it’s pretty silly not to!

If you don’t offer your customer the choice of rounding-out their purchase then you’ve just done them a disservice. And that’s unfortunate.

Don’t make it awkward

If you know in your heart that you’re providing a better service by upselling your customers, then offering more is going to be easy. If you’re coercing your customer into an upsell for the sake of lining your own pocketbook – then it’ll show. And your customer will hate you for it. Think about going to the car mechanic. Although most mechanics are honest and hard working professionals, haven’t you felt that some were convincing you to buy things that you really didn’t need? How did it make you feel? Crappy, I’m sure.

The fix? Shoot from your heart and only offer upsells where you feel they’re necessary. And for the most part, nearly every transaction you make with a customer will offer a ripe opportunity to offer more. If you know that you’ll be offering your customer with better service, more protection, and more value – then why in your right mind would you not try to do it? You wouldn’t.

How to do it

Offering an upsell is easy. Upselling typically falls under one of these offers:

1)   Adding products or services. Offer the opportunity for your customers to add related products to their primary purchase. (Example: an oil change provider offering you an air filter in addition to the standard service package.)

2)   Adding time or volume options. (Example: a plumber offering you routine maintenance check-ups after he’s made an emergency service call at your home.)

3)   Adding combinations. Offer your customers the opportunity to purchase combinations of products that improve the end result. (Example: a cable company offering you bundled internet and phone services as part of a broader television package – typically the bundled package is cheaper then buying each service on its own.)

Wrapping it up

If you increase your upsell efforts you’ll see rapid and immediate sales increases. If you don’t do it, you’re blowing a massive opportunity to boost sales and profit margins. It’s a no-brainer business must-do – and is one that I hope you do!

Your friend,

Dennis Paresa

Got other creative upsell ideas? Drop a comment below and share it with other readers.

Oh, and if you haven’t already be sure to sign-up for my free weekly newsletter. It’s slammed with tips on marketing, sales, and other useful business building topics. Click here to sign up! 

 

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