What 30-year BD Vets Could Learn From a College Student

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Hi, I’m Mo. I’m doing something a little bit different this week. I am filming this from my computer in our offices in Midtown, Atlanta, because something just happened. I am really fired up about it, and I want to share it with you.

In our training classes for GrowBIG or in the book, “The Snowball System,” we cover lots of different ways of generating leads. How do you get in the front door the first time, using value in a way that the recipient is excited to meet with you after they get your outreach?

The item we get the most pushback on is called cold marketing. It is the method of last resort. Of course, it is better to get an introduction to someone that you’d like to meet from someone that knows them, that can sing your praises, or to meet somebody at a conference when you’ve delivered tons of value. They come up to you afterwards. They say, “I loved what you talked about. I hope we can talk more.” Those kind of ways that are very warm are the best.

But there are times when you do not have that. There are times when there’s somebody you want to meet. You know for sure you want to meet them. You want to start interacting, and you don’t have a warm way in. What do you do? Cold marketing comes into play here.

First, here is what not to do with cold marketing. What you do not want to do is fire off an email that has no personalization and just blathers on about getting 15 minutes of your time. These are the worst. I bet I get 15 of these a day. “Mo, it looks like your business is going great.” By the way, there is no mention of them even knowing what my business is, so it is completely copied and pasted to everybody else. “Mo, looks like your business is doing great. Can you spare 15 minutes about moving your business to the Cloud?” Or “Do you need HR services?” Or “Maybe you need accounting services?” Or whatever. And I get so many of these. There is no personalization. I can skim it and in two seconds realize what it is. Delete.

Here is the way you should do it. A few weeks ago, I got a chance to be an Executive In Residence at Ball State University, where I went to school. I got a minor in business, a major in actuarial science. Loved my time at Ball State, and I went back to the Miller College of Business as an Executive In Residence. I gave dozens of talks that day; I met hundreds of people and I really enjoyed it. And I was blown away, in general, by the students.

Well, today, I get to my desk and I have a letter. It is hand-written. It is from a guy named Andrew. It is funny. He starts with humor. What he wrote made me laugh out loud. He clearly thought about it. He ties back to something he learned from a session that he attended that I had spoke at. There were 100 people there. And then he makes a specific request for a call for 30 minutes, about some follow-up questions he had, and he would love some career advice.

In a normal cold marketing effort, if we were truly offering assistance that was paid, we would probably want to offer a give-to-get here. Andrew does not have to do that, because he is a student, but the give-to-get, in a way, is that I am gonna get the feeling of helping someone. So things are really busy right now. It is crazy with our book launch and all the other things going on at BIG. We are growing like crazy. But you can darn well be sure that I would love to talk with Andrew, after he put this much work into this note. It is clearly well thought out and I want to help him. I cannot wait to spend 30 minutes with him on the phone, see what his questions are, and see if there is any way I can help him.

This is how you do cold marketing well. Personalization. Tie back to what links you do have together. Put a lot of thought. Make every word work. And end with a specific ask for what you would like to do. Andrew, I’d love to meet with you, and I am gonna reach out to you right now and set it up.

As with all our videos, we hope this one helps you help your clients succeed.

The Math of Winning More

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In this video, I want to describe something that I have learned from one of my favorite writers that has helped me immensely. His name is James Clear. I have been subscribed to his email list for a while. He has got over 400,000 people subscribed to a list, over two million people see his website every month, and I have learned a ton from him.

The first thing I learned from James is in an article he wrote. In this, he said, “The rewards of winning are really interesting. Almost all the rewards of winning something go to one person, one hundred percent, but that one person might only be 1/10th of 1% better than everybody else.” Think about a simple Olympic event, the 400 meter dash. The winner that gets the gold medal in the Olympics might only be 2/100ths of a second better than the next person, but only one gets the gold medal. A hundred percent of the rewards go to people that are barely better than everybody else. I thought that was really interesting.

The second thing I learned from James is the way that you get just a little bit better than everybody else is just getting started. I think it can be human nature, myself included, to put things off to analyze. Instead of going on a run, we start analyzing what is the best running shoe. Instead of just eating a salad, we could spend hours trying to find the perfect dietary method. In business development, we could be worried about a client we have not talked to in two years, but we do not email now, because we have not talked to them in two years. Just getting started on something is where all the value is. I think that was really interesting insight that I got from James. When I think specifically about business development, maybe you are writing an article and you just do not get started, because you cannot think of the first line, just get started and start writing, the line will appear.

Maybe there is that client we talked about that you have not talked to in two years, you feel awkward about it. It is easy for another year to go by. No. Just get started, write him an email. They have not contacted you either. Send them an article, be proactively helpful. Do whatever you can. Maybe there is that conference you would really like to speak at. Call up the person who runs the conference, say, “Hey, I would love to speak. What do I do next?” A lot of times these just getting started things are just a few seconds and we stall out for all kinds of various reasons. But all the value is just getting started.

I will tell you what I am really excited about, as somebody who looks forward to every single one of James’ articles that he emails me. I am really excited he has got a book coming out in October. It’s called Atomic Habits. I cannot wait for it to land on my doorstep, because I know it is going to be chock-full of wisdom that I am going to use every single day.

As with all our videos, we hope this one helps you help your clients succeed.

Why Am I Wearing a Viking Hat?

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In this video, we are going to talk about the number one behavior I am going to use on myself that I am most excited about. I think it is going to have the biggest payoff for me personally over the next couple years. Here is what happened.

In June, I got to go play Worlds for Ultimate Frisbee for people of my age. It was in Sardinia, Italy, an island off the west coast of Italy, and we were playing against the very best teams in the world in Ultimate. It was awesome. On the first day of this five-day tournament, I had a heck of a day. I played really great in our first game against Sweden. At the end of a game of Ultimate, especially in these world championships where people have flown in from every corner of the globe, there is something called a Spirit Circle. We get together, our team and their team, in a big circle and we talk about the game, and we give out some funny awards. It is really just a wonderful experience.
The Swedish team gave me an award. They named me MVV. Most Valuable Viking. I got the MVV award against Sweden. I had scored three times, played good defense, made a layout catch in the end zone. Just had a wonderful day. Had a good second game against the other team, and then things went south.

We stayed out pretty late that night because there was a big festival in Villasimius, where we were staying. I was jacked up from the game. I did not sleep very well. I think I only slept three or four hours, and the next morning, we played them again.

And, let me tell you, I did not win the MVV award that day.

I had a tough day. I was tightening up in my hip flexor. I could not run in my normal gait. I was super tired. I was not as alert as normal. I had a tough day. Unfortunately, I sort of collapsed in on myself and I quit communicating as much with my teammates.

When I went to sleep that night, I just did not feel good about my play or myself. I realized something had to change. So, on day three, I went back out to the fields, warmed up, and pulled a couple of people aside and said, “Listen, give me feedback. I need you isolating me on the field every time I am on the RD line; I need you yelling at me front, back, strike, nothing deep, you are hot. All these Ultimate code words that tell me what to do and how to position myself on the field on defense, and then, hopefully, if we get a turn. It helped immensely. Dan helped me. Dawson helped me. Lars helped me. Lars especially helped me. We just hit it off and he would not only yell at me on the field, but after every point, I had come off. He would always tell me two things: keep doing this and change that. We got into this rhythm where my play started to improve and I started performing a lot better.

We did great. We won Worlds. We went 10 and 0 in a five-day tournament. Had really tough games against Finland and Germany in the end, but we won. I had a wonderful experience. Since I came back in the United States, I have tried to bring this idea of asking for more feedback all the time to my team at work. What should I keep doing? What would you change? For this email, what would you keep? What would you change? For this copy we are writing, for this video, for that pitch, for this meeting, everything we are doing. What should we keep? What should we change?

What I have found is if I generically ask for feedback, too often I get, “Oh, it was great!” And we all high five. Maybe it was great, but I am not getting anything I can improve on. But when I specifically ask people, “What would you keep? What would you change?” You have to pick one of each. That is when I am getting meaningful information that I can use to get better. So, I hope you can employ this tactic. What would you keep? What would you change? And asking it from everybody at every opportunity, because I think it is going to help me improve faster and more often than I was before.

As with all our videos, we hope you win MVV, and we hope these help you help your clients succeed.

How to Build Out Your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) System

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In this video, we are going to talk about how to combine technology with your own habits to be more successful at business development. A lot of times we have somebody who will come up to us in one of our classes, and almost imply they could program everything into Salesforce or Lexus Nexus interaction or Microsoft Dynamics or some other CRM. And say, “Oh I can program this stuff in there, right, and it will take care of itself”.

Not so much. Technology can enable you to be more efficient, but you have got to have the right habits to be able to really move things forward in your business development pipeline and with your relationships. In this video, we are going to tell you just how to do this.

The first thing is to set up your technology appropriately. We really look at two major views. I am taking it for granted that you are using your CRM as a repository for note taking in your client’s mobile numbers and things like that.

We are going to take it to the next level here. And what we want you to do is two things. One is build an opportunity list or an opportunity pipeline with various steps so that when you see those steps, you know what you are going to do next. Our steps are really oriented around the client, meaning we are where they say we are at in the client process versus where we would say is at. Most folks program their CRM from our perspective, meet client, send proposal, close deal. Almost like they are cavemen or something, but the problem with that is, it really incentivizes you to nag the heck out of your clients. Did you get my proposal? Did you get me email following up on my voicemail? We want you to orient it from the client’s perspective. Those steps we use are listen and learn. Have we learned what they are doing? Can we propose something? Create curiosity. Start to turn the lens back on us, light back on us, so that the clients interested. Build everything together, think about all the little decisions that need to be made to get to a yes, and have we orchestrated a wonderful buying experience so that the clients want to do that and then lastly gain approval.

When we write it from the clients standpoint in a CRM, then we know what to do next. They are the judge and jury for where we at. Once you do that, the second thing you want to do is crystalize or get really specific on the most important relationships that you want to invest in. This is a different view because these people may or may not have an opportunity for you right now, but you know over the next two, three, four years, if you invest in those relationships, you are going to have the most success. These might even be people that never buy from you but provide you with referrals or other lead generation means; we call those folks strategic partners. So, we think you should get a protimoi list. Protimoi is a Greek word, we call first among equals. Figure out who are your eight or ten most important people you want to make sure you invest in those relationships and tag them in the CRM to create your own protimoi list.

That is the technology side. Now let us talk about the habit side. On the habit side of things, we can lend or we can look at some research by Anthony Greenwald at of the University of Washington. He really dug into voter habits and why do some people vote and some people not vote. We can broaden that to think of why do some people do things they intend to do more than others? And Greenwald’s research shows a couple of things. Level one is, when you put something into a to-do list, you have a higher likelihood of doing it. If you put something in your to do list and you schedule time to do it, visualizing where you will do the task, there is a higher likelihood that you will do it. If you do that and have somebody that you are going to circle back with after you do the task, to either tell them that you did it or did not, that is the highest likelihood that you have for doing something. So when you think of hacking your own habits, think about it this way. Schedule time for actually moving your opportunity list forward and investing in your most important relationships. Those things we are going to put in the technology we talked about. Schedule time to do that, put it in your to-do list and think of somebody that you can circle back with later to let them know if you did the things or not.

And then you can program your technology to shoot you an email with your list of opportunities and your list of most important relationships, with maybe the last couple of interactions you had documented. And that email gets dropped in your inbox at the minute that you start your scheduled time to move those two things forward. When we see people build the technology in the proper way, as a nudge and then also hack their won habits with the to-do list, the calendar and their accountability partner that’s where we see the magic happen. And technology and your own habits are used in the most beneficial and efficient way.

Hey this business development stuff is tough. You can kick a can down the road every day, you cannot do the next proactive thing, nobody is going to know. So we need to build in these mechanisms and technology and habits to make sure we stay on top of our own game, we hack our won habits so that we can be successful.

As with all of our videos, we hope this one helps you, help your clients succeed.

The Biggest Mistake People Make When Pricing a Product or Service

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Before people come to our classes, one of the things we hear is that one of the biggest stumbling blocks is all about how to talk about money in an effective and efficient way with clients, in a way they will enjoy. In this video, we are going talk about one tip that you can employ right away that will enhance your client’s perceptions of how you are talking about money and help them hire you more often.

Here is the problem. Research from Malia Mason of Columbia University showed that people negotiated more for rounded prices than they did for specific prices. When things were specifically priced, buyers felt the price was more accurate and negotiated less.

Here is the deal. Perhaps you are in healthcare and you have to set those per employee per month rates every single year and work with consultants and brokers to get that deal done. Or if you are a professional service, every single project might be a different pricing and little different scope in value and you have got to work with a team of people inside to figure out what your pricing should be. What usually happens in those situations is you are in an internal meeting.

For the professional services example, you are working on a relatively small project. You’re running the numbers and it comes out to be $52,916 is going to be the price on this project.

What would most likely happen is that they would spend about a half hour debating what they should round the number to, $50,000 or $55,000. They would have a big conversation that becomes diluted about why it should be 50 or why it should be 55. The problem with that is, not only does it take a half hour for say six people, so you can just burn a total of three hours of people’s time, but you have actually harmed your relationship with the client. When you circle back, and say hey we looked at the project, it is going to cost $50,000. To the recipient of that message, they feel like you just made it up or that they could feel like you just invented the number because it is so rounded. So ironically, you are trying to do your client a service by lowering the price a little bit, but you actually harmed their view of you by giving them the rounded number.

Here is what to do in the future. Whenever you are working with an underwriter on the per employee per month costs or whatever your world is, when you are in that internal meeting, and the pricing comes out, and it is a specific number, leave your pricing really close to that specific number. Do not round it. If you do that, when you do communicate with a client, they will perceive the effort that went into it for what it really is, which was a lot, as opposed to have the first inclination feel like you just made it up, which is bad news.

So, with that one little tip, we found that our clients can help their clients to a great degree. As with all our videos, we hope this one helps you help your clients succeed.

A Powerful Pair of Habits Leading to Success

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There is one pair of habits that I see more than any other that I think correlates to the success of the various leaders we have worked with at Bunnell Idea Group.

The first one is setting very clear goals. The research behind this is unbelievable. Edwin Locke did a meta-study of over 110 other psychological studies to see, across all the psychological studies that looked at goal-setting. He looked to see if there is a statistical correlation between goal-setting and higher performance. There was. In 90% of the studies he looked at, there was a very strong statistical correlation between simply writing down a goal and accomplishing more in life. How powerful is that? I cannot think of a better use of a Post-it Note than simply writing down the goal. I see that as the direction.

The other pair of habits that correlate to that is celebrating incremental progress, and having a plan to do so. Theresa Amabile at Harvard has done a ton of research on this. She calls it The Progress Principle, and what she found in her own research is that people that are more successful and happier, I think that is interesting, the more successful and the happier people are ones that celebrated incremental progress on the journey.

Isn’t that interesting, the pair of these together? Locke’s research says setting the direction tells us where we are going to go. Theresa’s research shows that celebrating each little step of the way can lead to more happiness and more success. The pair of these is really powerful.

The first time I ever saw somebody set a goal that was so clear it just struck me was a friend named Doug Parker. Doug was a couple years ahead of me in Delta Tau Delta, the fraternity I was in at Ball State University. He wrote down on a piece of paper “student body president” and stuck it on the ceiling above his bed. When I walked into his room one time and I saw that on his ceiling, I went, “What? Why is that up there?” And he goes, “Oh, I am going to be student body president before I leave Ball State.” Lo and behold, two years later, Doug Parker, out of fifteen or twenty thousand undergraduates, was named student body president. He was a man on a mission. He wrote down and reminded himself of the goal.

The example for celebrating incremental progress is me. Several years ago, I realized on most Fridays I was entering the weekend sad because I did not get this or that done. I would only remember the things in the week I would not get done, so I forced myself into having a weekly little meeting with myself, first it started on Saturdays and then evolved to Friday afternoons, where I forced myself to write down all the progress I made that week. What should I give thanks for? What should I be thankful for?

That little event, that one-time event each week, has been tremendously powerful for me, because instead of entering the weekend worrying about what I did not get done, I just recapped all the things that did get done. Even if there was a couple setbacks, by and large you can always make progress in a week, and I would celebrate that and move into the weekend very happy. Completely changed the way I would look at each week.

I think these two things are powerful, and especially in tandem. Set the goals. Write it down. Figure out where you are going. And then the progress principle, have some kind of method for revisiting that from time to time, I like weekly, and forcing yourself to celebrate all the great things that you have done. When you put these two things together, really, really great things happen. As with all of our videos, we hope this one helps you help your clients succeed.

No One is Good Under Pressure. Here’s How to Handle It

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In this video, we are going to talk about the biggest myth that I see for people preparing for client meetings. I see this especially with those big, high stakes client meetings, such as a finalist meeting, where you are either going to win or not win a massive body of work.

This is where the myth occurs. Some people think that some folks rise under pressure or they perform better under pressure. Meaning that when the stakes are high, they do an even better job. Let me tell you, the research shows this could not be further from the truth.

Roy Baumeister at Florida State University has done more research on this than anybody. He says that the idea that we can become Michael Jordan or Reggie Jackson or Lou Brock or any of these people that performed outside of the human realm of what expectations would be is not likely. His research shows that for 99.9% of us, we actually perform less well when we are under pressure. Here is why and then I will tell you what to do about it.

The reason we tend to perform less well under pressure is some amount of our time and energy gets yanked away from performing a task and focuses on our process of the task. If you have got five hours of work to do in three hours, you spend a lot of that time thinking, “Am I on the right path? How much time do I have left? What do I need to do next? Should I change my course? Is there another way?” A lot of these questions then yank you away from actually performing the task. The more pressure we feel in general, the more time and energy we spend worrying about how we are doing.

Here is what you do about it. When you are preparing for these high-stakes meetings, whatever you do, do not just rehearse over and over again what you are going to say. This makes preparing or meetings fall into some kind of linear path with your 78-page PowerPoint slide deck. You say you will do them in this order and think about when you will say them. That chart on page 17 is new and I just did it, so I am going to really think about that. Do not think of preparing for these meetings in that linear fashion.
Instead, think of how you can be ready for a dynamic pliable meeting were things might change and you are ready for the change. What we do when we teach our classes is we break that down into six really simple parts. Here they are.

Number one. Define your goal for the meeting. What do you want out of it?

Number two. Define your frame. How can you describe that goal to the client in a way that they would love to accomplish the goal as well? How can you describe the goal in their best interest?

The third thing is asking yourself, what will I do if crazy things happen? What if the decision maker does not come? What if they come and they bring their boss? What should I do if I get double the time I expect? What should I do if I get half the time? Think of all the crazy things that can happen and how you will respond to them. If you have done that, you are ready for anything.

Step four. Think about what questions should you ask them that are really insightful. Take a long time to think of the really great gravitas-like questions you want to ask them.

Fifth, think about the crazy questions they might ask you, the ones that you are really worried about. How are you going to respond to them? Who on the team should respond to them? How do you frame the answer to ask a question and really dig into what their question is, so you can respond to it with precision?

Sixth, think about relationships. What are the little things you can do to enhance the relationships while you are there? Maybe something you can bring as a small gift, such as a business book, an article, or a thought piece. Or maybe there are connections you can make in the room or connections with other people they know as well. What are the little relationship things you can do while you are there to enhance things and provide a really enjoyable experience to your client?

We find when people do those six things, their meetings go great. Even if something crazy happens or they are just feeling a tremendous amount of pressure to make the meeting go well, when you are prepared in that dynamic way, you will have success as opposed to when you prepare the linear way of how you are going to blabber on about yourself the whole time.

We hope that helps you help your clients, and with all these videos, we hope this one helps you help your clients succeed.


The A-number-one, most funnest way to hold yourself accountable

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In this video, we are going to talk about probably the most powerful way to hold yourself accountable for getting better at business development and do the things you need to do in the short term to be successful in the long term.

Business development is an interesting craft because it is something that can easily be put off. The rewards are far down the road, sometimes a year or two out in front of yourself. It is easy to kick the can down the road and not do the things you need to do today to be successful in the long-term.

What does that sound like? It sounds like exercise and being in great shape.

A couple months ago, I find myself at 9:00 a.m. in 30-degree weather. It is windy as heck, and I was doing a track workout with a couple of friends. And I was actually enjoying it! This really struck me because I was tired the night before. I did not get a lot of sleep, and here I was at 9:00 a.m., excited to be there and to be doing 200-meter sprints over and over again until I felt like I was going to fall over.

Why was that? It is because I had an accountability group.

We have a group of four people, myself included. We call ourselves “The Underdogs.” We meet almost every Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m. We go through a specific routine because we are all gearing up for various Ultimate Frisbee tournaments. Some of us compete at the national level and some of us compete at the world level, and none of us want to look bad. We want to be in great shape, and we want to perform well.

So, we meet every Saturday morning at 9:00. We have adopted different roles in the group. A guy named DK is our technical guy. He likes putting the workouts together. A guy named Dawson is really great at motivation. He is always shouting out our times, and he is really fast, so you want to try to be as fast as Dawson. A gal named MJ is sort of our spiritual leader. She keeps us on task and tells us what we need to hear even when we do not want to hear it. She is a great coach. I am not sure what my role is for the group, but I really love doing it.

My workout accountability group is really powerful because, number one, our default switch is on. We are going to meet at 9:00 a.m. at a specific track every Saturday morning. We have to text each other if we are not going to show up. Setting that default switch on is really powerful.

The second thing that is powerful about the accountability group is everybody has roles. We know what those are, and we are striving to get better in that workout.

The third thing that is really powerful is that we have a group text set up. We text each other throughout the week as we do workouts. Then we can cheer each other on, or gently nudge somebody that has not texted in a while to make sure they are doing what they need to do in-between our sessions.

Here is how you can apply these things to business development.

Find somebody that is at the same place you are in their approach to business development. Someone who is trying to learn similar things. It does not even have to be someone in the same industry, just somebody that you think can share the same methodology. Maybe you both have gone through our GrowBIG Training, share the same methodology, or talk the same language. Here is the key. That other person or persons, they have to be comfortable getting in your grille if you do not do what you need to do.

Once you get a group of people together, you might even set different roles for everyone, like we have with our workout group. Maybe somebody is the technical expert. Maybe somebody is the one that is cheering everybody on. Maybe somebody else is the creative strategist. Whatever your roles are, you can define those and then start acting those out, and when you see something that needs to be fixed, you go to the right person.

The last piece is critical. Pick a time that you are going to meet, either virtually or in person, and put that default switch on. We are going to meet at 7:00 a.m. at this coffee shop every Friday and, in between the meetings, I am going to send you my data. Here is what I worked on this week. Here are my leading and lagging indicators. Here are the results I am getting. Then that person is either cheering you on if you did what you needed to do, or they are in your grille if you are not doing what you need to do.

We find that by having that sequence of events, where the default switch is on, where you are meeting on a very periodic cadence. And you are never letting each other down. Then all of a sudden, a month has gone by, or a quarter has gone by, or a year has gone by, and you have all accomplished more than you ever thought you could. All because of the mechanism of accountability.

Try to think of who you can pair with. Who is your perfect team? Who would not be afraid to get in your grille if you need a little bit of tough love? Get that group together, set a general framework, write it down on a one-pager, get agreement on what you are all going to do, and what you are not going to do, and start executing an accountability group. You will be blown away by the results.

As with all our videos, we hope this one helps you help your clients succeed.