Why Time

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Increase Sales by Asking Questions

[Each customer pitch is unique and the target audience expects to hear a very specific message. The challenge is to keep the presentation focused and relevant to the immediate needs of your customer.]

In this article we focus on the power of asking questions as a means to differentiate yourself and outplay your competition. The key to any successful business relationship stems from a strong connection with your customer. Relationships are key components and time must be invested to build these relationships before you attempt to pitch a new contract or product. This is especially important in situations where you do not know the customer. These 'prospects' have no idea what it is like to work with you and your company. More importantly, they may have already have a different perception of your brand, based on outside feedback. I recommend you meet with your future customer and invest the time and energy needed to completely understand their organization, culture, success, pains and goals. This is their business and they are passionate about it. You want their business to be yours. At this point, it is what you should be concentrating on, fully. Advise them that your whole business revolves around the customer relationship and that you want to uncover their specific needs. Customers love to talk about themselves and will appreciate that you are there to help them solve problems.

Like I said, it's their business and they want it to succeed. You're there to facilitate their success. Your client will see the genuine nature in you, and your company.
Demonstrate a strong sense of empathy for your customer's current situation. Show flexibility and that you are a problem solver.
Remember, you are not there to simply sell yourself rather your intention is focused on cultivating a relationship. The last thing your customer needs, or wants for that matter, is another one-sided sales pitch. Take on the role of 'catcher' instead of 'pitcher'. Here you'll find out as much of their pain as possible and begin to understand that their needs really are.

Here are some helpful tips:
  • Schedule regular discovery meetings with your customer on a quarterly basis. Here are some questions:
Q. What are your current needs and goals over the next 60 days?
Q. What type of resources are you lacking?
Q. What research or relevant articles are you in need of?
  • Send information of interest at regular intervals.
  • Offer your technical assistance in developing the RFP specifications.
  • Offer your assistance in developing feasibility studies.
  • Provide a list of customer references.
  • Take great notes. Try to avoid recording the session.
  • Write down the important facts. It shows more trust and integrity.
  • Uncover important needs or 'pain points'.
  • Every fifteen minutes, repeat the main points you have heard. This demonstrates active listening.
  • At the end of the meeting, summarize and review a list of tasks and ask how you can be of further assistance.
  • Send a 'thank you' note or card, two days following the meeting and make sure you follow up on the items that may require immediate action.

This approach will help build trust, articulate your integrity, and engender a strong sense of confidence with your client. It goes a long way in demonstrating that you and your company are solution providers and this will help you make a lasting impression on your customer. A lasting impression can evolve into a permanent relationship.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Release of The Innovation Gap


I set out at the start of 2010 to publish my fourth book, The Innovation Gap. I am pleased to announce that this new book is complete and is available for purchase from my website or by emailing me at gerry@redchairbranding.com


The Innovation Gap is a creative message to anyone wanting to get more out of life and business. It is designed to help you thrive no matter what your position is or what stage of life you are at. The Innovation Gap digs deep into my 10 Creative Laws....For Example: 1. Uncover your Unique Ability 2.Recondition your mind...5.Build the Brand Experience....10.Live life with Passion. The Innovation Gap is also a celebration of my creative journey focused on igniting people and ideas to action. Using creativity to differentiate yourself from the competition. Cultivating an innovative culture that breeds creative collaboration at multiple levels where people work together for a common purpose. Having reached over 100,000 people as a speaker, author, coach and creative consultant, my journey has just begun.
For the past 12 months, I have immersed myself in a variety of contexts designed to induce a level of discomfort as a means for growth. I have challenged myself to achieve new levels of greatness while helping others stretch into their greatness.
I have conditioned my mind and my body, formed a series of new success habits that continue to help me thrive in a all areas of my life. The people and relationships that I have formed in this past year have been rewarding and have contributed to my personal and professional growth. I continue to be thankful for all of the success I have achieved and continue to achieve. I look forward to a successful 2011 filled with extensive travel, inspirational key notes, book signings and highly creative projects. I look forward to all that life continues to bring me.

Gerry Visca | Canada's Creative Coach: Become a Master Presenter

Gerry Visca Canada's Creative Coach: Become a Master Presenter: "I just returned from an exciting key note presentation and an inspired crowd. As I near the final editing stage of my latest book, The Inno..."

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Become a Master Presenter


I just returned from an exciting key note presentation and an inspired crowd. As I near the final editing stage of my latest book, The Innovation Gap, I want to share with you my thoughts on one of my creative principles, Becoming a Master Presenter. The power to communicate is a very effective tool when engaging people around you. As a professional speaker, it does not start and end on stage with me, it continues through one-on-one conversations. So often when I arrive at an event for which I am the key note speaker, I am amazed as to how the delegates avoid approaching me or one another for that matter. To often we enter a room and head directly to our seats instead of engaging in some meaningful conversation. What is even more interesting for me is upon completion of a key note presentation, members of the audience then approach me wanting to give them personal advice? We as a soceity put to much emphasis on roles and validation. I personally love when members of an audience approach me ahead of time and we get into a deeper and engaging conversation as opposed to waiting to hear me speak.

Having said that, my recommendation is to ask great questions when connecting with someone. Put aside the ego and avoid talking about your success, rather get to know the person that you are speaking with by asking them questions. This demonstrates that you are genuinely interested in them and what they have to say. It also allows you to [frame] your response more accordingly. You never know who you are going to meet and what this person could do for you in the immediate future. These are just a samples of the types of questions that I like to use at events:

- What is your name? (Then repeat their name back to them, it helps you remember it).

- What are you excited about most this evening?

- What was the best thing that happened to you this week?

- What are you hoping to get out of this evening?

- What are you most excited about in your present career?

As the answers start flowing in, really focus on what the person is saying to you. Try and avoid thinking of your response as they are speaking, we all do that. Rather, look them in the eye, keep the BB in your pocket and respond with what you heard them say. What you will find is that the conversation is much more gratifying and the outcomes might just surprise you.

My final recommendation for anyone introducing a speaker, take the time to meet with the speaker and review their profile/bio that they furnish you with. Many speakers have a wealth of experience and successes which are briefly high-lighted in their introduction. Introduce your speaker slowly and with enthusiasm, it helps build momentum with the audience and also is a sign of respect for the speaker. It also provides the audience with a great overview that they typically would not hear from the speaker since we typically don't like to talk about ourselves! Remember, as a speaker, I am here for you, to inspire the audience and give you as much as I can so you can walk away feeling inspired and lifted to whole new level.

Sadly for the audience, several key note presentations that I recently delivered including last night, the presenter decided NOT to formally introduce me to their audience.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

STAY FOCUSED

Many of my past clients, colleagues and friends have undergone a significant transformation over the past couple of years. Some for personal reasons, others for business (some for both). Whatever the story life has a funny way at throwing things our way. This is the time to remain focused and clear on your life goals. What you may see as negative change is actually a positive move forward and just the universe re-alligning itself to clear a path for you. Recognize these feelings of uncertainty and accept this change as a postive transformation of yourself. You are starting to become the person that you want to be. This is the time to re-examine your life goals:

Career:
What is it that you want to do with your life? What is your passion and your purpose. What do you exist? What brings you the most joy that you can see yourself doing it every single day?

Relationships + Family:
What do you want in a partner? How do you want to feel when you are with this person? Describe your ideal relationship in every way. What are your expectations from your current partner? How can you both strengthen the relationship? Perhaps you need to move yourself forward?

Personal Goals:
What is it that you want to acheive for yourself? Perhaps it is transforming your body? Running a marathon? Visiting a third world country? Writing a book or learning how to cook? This is your time and your opportunity to nurture your soul and yourself.

I set a personal goal over 2 years ago to transform myself: I wanted to become a writer, a top inspirational speaker, loose weight, have a healthier diet and inspire others for a living. I wanted to creatively transform myself. I took action and I am well on the way, my journey has just begun. I continue to live my life being thankful for everything in my life and everyone in it. Many of us get swept up in the daily routine of life and loose ourselves to it. We try and be everything that our partner wants us to be and in the process we start to loose sight of friends, people and the things that mean the most to us. One of my biggest challenges is trying to find a way to integrate all of my past experiences and friendships with my present. Sadly I have a tendency to shut the world out when I am in a relationship.

Recognize what it is that holds you back and develop innovative strategies for moving yourself forward. No one expects you to give more than you already do. No one will judge you for looking inward and focusing on your needs, desires and personal goals. You are the only one that can take care of you, this is your life and your responsibility to nuture your career and your relationships in order to experience the results that you are looking for. This is your opportunity to uncover your passion and do what you love. This is your time to drive change for yourself and take the first step in creating your life.

As you approach the next few months of 2010 my wish for you is to develop a plan for who you want to become in 2011 and the change that you want most for yourself.

I wish you all the best.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Release of Kickstarters Second Edition

I had the pleasure of releasing my second publication titled, Kickstarters mini books back in 2008 as part of my goal to help kickstart conversations. These mini books were approx. 3 x 4 inches in size and were comprised of 4 editions, Business, Family, Home and Golf. Each edition contained 50 tips to help stimulate engaging conversations. I since have combined all of these previous 4 editions into one larger 8 x 9 coffee table book. All of the 200 tips are contained in this new larger edition. To get your copy send gerry@redchairbranding.com an email.

I also set a goal to release my fourth book at the end of 2010, I am about to release my newest book titles, The Innovation Gap, cultivating creativity in life and business. Throughout 2009 and 2010 I have delivered close to 100 presentations and I have now officially documented my creative laws in this new book. Look for it around October of 2010.

I continue to live my life creatively inspiring people to action. So what does your end prize look like? For many of us, we have simply not taken the time to focus on what it is that we want most for ourselves. Well today, as my reader you are getting a 'free pass' to focus on you and start creating what it is that you want most for yourself.

Wishing you a great August.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Communicate like a Champion


I just returned from an inspirational talk that I gave to the Insurance Institute of Canada last week in Toronto. What a fantastic and inspired crowd. As a speaker I can attest to the power to communicate like a master. Words and a personal committment to collaborate with all those around you is outstanding. For me, it's not just about getting up on stage and hiding behind a podium and flipping slides. For me, its about exciting and engaging my audience into action. I emerse myself into the crowd and strive to get the best out of them and out of me. I approach the audience at the start of all presentations with a promise that I will give them 110%. All that I ask in return is that they engage with me for the next 60 minutes so I can deliver with even greater impact. I absorb their creative energy and transfer it back to them ten times as stong. I want my audience to feel my passion deep into their sub-conscious. I don't want them to just 'hear my words' - I want them to open the right side of their brain and experience a rush of inspiration.


Several days following my key-note last week, I received a fantastic testimonial via email from one of the delegates. Her words inspired me and she noted that my message was exactly what she needed to hear and I came to her at the exact time in her life that she needed me most. This individual was outstanding and I am very grateful for her kind words.

To communicate like a master requires a personal committment that starts way before the words come out of your mouth. For me it starts days in advancve of the event. I visualize the outcomes that I expect to receive. I fixate on the end prize which in this case is an inspired and excited audience. I get physically and mentally prepared before a key note so I can summon the creative energy that I will require. I approach my events as an entertainer and performer helping the audience get the most from the experience. Its not just an event, its about putting on the ultimate show.

I recently attended an evening dinner in Denver with some potential customers from Atlantic Canada. The energy in the Brazillian restaurant was outstanding. Great venue, great food, laughter and fascinating conversation filled the space. Through the meal, I focused on cultivating a relationship with my future customers. As we dined, drank and laughed, my customer felt inspired. I demonstrated a genuine interest in their personal lives, passions and hobbies. That evening I was successful in cultivating the start of a strong future relationship with our new customer. They even commented on the depth and layers of the people in our organization and how impressed they were with our approach.

My message within this BLOG is to seek new and innovative ways to reach the people around you. Strive to reach them at new levels and demonstrate enthusiasm and passion for what you do. We are all connected and the more we attempt to reach people in this manner, the more successful we will all be in cultivating relationships with those around us.
Thank you for reading.
Cheers to an inspired day.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Contemplating Innovation


Its a sunny Tuesday, just helped a new entrepreneur launch a new national company. It always gives me great pride when I can be a part of kick starting an entrepreneur. To witness their confidence and willingness to move forward and take action. The only thing that holds us back from doing what it is that we want to do is us, so get out of your way and allow the things that you want most to happen. I am currently preparing for an innovation talk to an inspired group of 88 of Hamilton and Burlington's elite business executives. There is certainly a great deal of discussion and buzz around this topic innovation. Several weeks ago I had the pleasure of working with one of the top pharmaceutical companies in the world helping their senior Canadian team get more innovative. I found the more and more I focused on each individual helping them realize their full potential the more innovative and creative they became. Here is thing, you can't commit to becoming an outstanding company until you commit to becoming an outstanding individual.


A interesting series of events this week, I was asked by a $25 million construction company (relatively small considering I am used to working with $500 million dollar companies) to help build their business development approach and team. As a Creative Coach, nothing gives me more pride than being a part of a team's growth strategy. As I spent more time with the senior executives of this company I realized that they were lacking a dedicated focus on cultivating new client relationships. They approach new business simply as a means to 'get more money' versus establishing value with their clients. The more I attempted to educate this group as to how successful companies innovate and grow with this philosophy guiding their actions, the more resistance I seemed to receive from this team. There is no question that they are pretty good builders, however, their new goal focused on growth is one that they have never experienced to date. The need for a more strategic way of approaching Business Development as a means of cultivating value within the eyes of their clients is foreign to them. I was quite surprised to learn that the owners felt I may be to over qualified as their head of business development. Why would you not want to have the best team leading your new business development activities? Why would you not want your marketing and presentation collateral be the best it can be? Why would you settle for lower quality simply because you don't understand it? A true sign of leadership is focused on collaboration and surrounding yourself with outstanding people.

The CEO of IBM quotes, "the way you will thrive in this new environment is by innovating in technologies and business approaches". You may have been successful up to this point in your way of marking and winning new clients, however, you must understand that the markets have changed so to have the buying habits of consumers and your customers. It is even more crucial than ever to demonstrate the value to offer to your customers.

I'm not sure the direction that this construction company will take? They have been handed a 'jewel' that can help them navigate through this sea of change and help chart new paths towards opening new client relationships. Will they embrace this approach even in the presence of fear and the unknown? Or will they simply continue doing business the same way over and over again expecting to receive new results? Sadly I think it will be the latter as they have conditioned their minds at this level. To become truly innovative you must challenge convention and approach business in a profoundly different way.

Leadership is about standing for a cause. Its about being Best in the World at what you do. The cream always rises to the top, the best ones always come to light and the great ones can never be held back!

As I continue to finalize my innovation presentation this afternoon I will visualize an inspired audience fully engaged and their minds open to fresh principles. They will be inspired to take action and form a series of really good habits that will help them stand out and achieve greatness. I will see the light bulb going off in the audience on top of several minds and witness their smile as they feverishly write down action statements.