Every time I take a domestic or international flight I am mildly entertained by the pre-flight safely spiel, which contains a statement that I believe transcends the aviation industry: ‘In the event of an emergency, first place the oxygen mask over your own face, and only then over your child’s.’ To do so may initially appear as a selfish act, but it expresses the need to save yourself first in order to stay conscious and alert to save your most cherished.
There is no shortage of people out there striving to make a difference in the world, and that’s an admirable ambition, just make sure you put food on your own table first. You will need your strength if you are going to truly make a dint and create a business you are proud of. Over the years I have met plenty of business professionals who are competent in their craft, yet they fail to the sniff test when you examine if they are demonstrating their own unique skills for their own commercial purposes. Think of a landscape gardener with a house surrounded with feral foliage, a dentist with pungent breath, fund manager with no skin in the game, or a search engine marketer who is not first page on Google. If these people fail to demonstrate their skills for themselves, what does that say about their commitment to their customers?
You are more influential and vastly more potent when you can successfully demonstrate how you personally benefit from the product or services you promote. You need to understand implicitly the value and benefits of those products or services. You may not be the most skilled and experienced at your company, or in your industry for that matter, but you can be the most prepared. If you develop a reputation for being prepared—that your ability to prepare for each opportunity exceeds that of your peers—it will only be a matter of time before success follows.
Here’s an example of what not to do. I met with a web company that claimed to specialise in social media marketing, but a quick review of the strategy they had implemented for their own business revealed they were barely qualified to even talk about the subject. Cash flow aside, it is often a lack of credibility that cripples a business. No proven track record and limited relevant experience in a supplier are all risks for a potential customer— for them, investing money in your product or service is too risky. To help combat this, you must demonstrate your competence at every opportunity. Dare to prepare! If you’re a realtor, own your own properties — start as small as you need to. If this suburb really is the next boom town, why aren’t you in this market already? Speak from experience. If you’re a web developer, show me a world class website and strategy—all that should cost is your own creativity, resources and some time. Mrs Financial Planner (without giving personal advice of course!) I want to know about your asset portfolio and the risks you took and overcame to achieve your own personal wealth.
If you can’t save yourself, don’t expect others to pay you to save them.
This article is an excerpt from Trent Leyshan’s second book Outlaw: Fight For Your Customers and Sell without Fear! Buy on Amazon.com!