My mother-in-law told me a story that perfectly points out the difference in how people make decisions. I’d like you to reflect on it and answer for yourself, “Are you a talker or a doer?”
When her father passed away it was up to my mother-in-law and her younger sister to figure out what to do with his home. It was a cute little bungalow he’d bought in the 1940’s near the beach in Southern California in the area called Belmont Shore. Through the skyrocketing house prices in the area, the little house had appreciated in value very nicely.
My mother -in-law and her sister decided to rent out the home while they decided what to do with it. Sell it soon? Keep it long term as an income property? Wait for more appreciation and then sell? There were several choices and several things to consider.
They advertised the rental and a woman came to look at the house. Both sisters showed the home to the prospective tenant. The woman liked the house. The location was perfect; near the beach and boutique shopping, yet on a quiet street. She was interested in renting it. But she didn’t want to move in only to have to move again in a few months. So she asked a simple question to both sisters. “Are you talkers or doers?”
The two sisters laughed and replied in unison, “We’re talkers!” They knew themselves. They are delightfully chatty people who analyze every detail and delight in discussing every nuance.
“I’ll take it,” the woman said. She figured that “talkers” wouldn’t make a decision about whether to sell quickly.
That renter had asked exactly the right question. She got to rent that little house for a full two years because it took the two sisters that long to finally decide to sell it. A doer would have sold the house right away, or remodeled it quickly then sold it.
Are you a talker or a doer? There’s no right answer. Both have their pros and cons. What’s important is to know which you are so you understand how you problem solve and make decisions. A combination of ‘talkers’ and ‘doers’ in a team or in a family is a big benefit. Then you’ve got the best of both worlds: the people who make sure all the questions are asked and answered, and the people who take action.
Post a comment: Are you a talker or a doer? How do the different types help your team?
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I have a neighbor who just ran for election for a non-partisan office. A week after election day ballots are still being counted and he still doesn’t know if he won the tight race. I saw him walking in the neighborhood and I asked him what he learned from running for office for the first time. What he said surprised me, and it shows how every decision has an impact. Even the ones you wouldn’t expect.
The first thing he said was, “I hadn’t factored in the shorter days.” As the days grew shorter, he explained, he had less time to canvass door to door. In the summer, he had four hours to talk to people at their homes in the evening. As the election approached, that was cut to just 2 hours. Apparently people don’t want to open their doors to strangers when it’s dark. The candidate said he needed to start campaigning harder, sooner. It’s a good lesson for business and in life. Start early, and get out fast and first.
Target Likely Customers
The second thing he learned was to spend more time talking to the voters who were most likely to vote for him. Though his office was a non-partisan office, people still asked what party he was affiliated with. Those who were members of the opposite party were more likely to end the conversation immediately. He didn’t have a chance with them. He needed to spend more time canvassing the voters who were already in his camp. In other words, talk to existing customers. It’s a basic rule of doing business. You’re much more likely to get a sale from an existing customer, or one who fits the profile of your perfect customer, than one who doesn’t fit your customer profile.
Paying attention to small details can make a big difference. Here’s the link for the sunrise/sunset table at the Naval Oceanography Portal website. You can pick any U.S. location and get the entire year of data. You’ll be surprised how often you can use it!
The Ten Second Pitch
It’s an impatient world. We are all distracted and overloaded. In today’s environment, your personal and professional positioning statement better be short and compelling. Forget the 30 second “elevator pitch.” You’ve got ten seconds. That’s how much time you have to grab someone’s attention. Ten seconds to communicate what you or your company does. Ten seconds that communicates to the other person the one thing they’re thinking: “What’s in it for me?” Whether you’ve just met someone at a networking event, or you’re applying for a job, or initiating a cold call, you’ve got ten seconds to make an impression. It’s brutal, I know.
People make the mistake of thinking that their spiel has to say everything about themselves or their company. They spew out a long monologue during which the other person has already mentally checked out. Their eyes are already wandering around the room looking for someone else more interesting to talk to, or they’ve decided to end the call as soon as they can. Hear that tapping? They’re responding to their email while you’re yammering on. What you want is to stimulate curiosity. You want the other person to ask you questions; preferably, “How do you do that?”
The Focused Ten Second Pitch
Your ten seconds must be centered on the personal benefit. In media, we constantly ask why someone would care about a story. How does it affect them or their family? What solutions are we going to offer? What new information will we impart?
Think of a one-sentence description that would elicit the response, “Tell me more.” If you’re a sales trainer, your one sentence could be, “I help companies double their sales.” A business owner is definitely going to ask how you do that! Then you tell them more. Here are some more examples. Note none of them include the name of the occupation in the sentence. I’ve put the occupation next to the sentence.
“I tell stories that change lives.” (reporter)
“I give peace of mind to families.” (insurance sales)
“I help people find happiness.” (speaker and author)
“I make people laugh.” (standup comedian)
“I help make buying a home easy.” (mortgage broker)
“I help people with life changing events” (therapist)
“I help people get what they want out of life.” (My own statement as a time management expert)
Work on it!
Work on your one sentence. It must feel authentic to you. It should feel good to say. Keep working on it until it feels good. This is much easier than memorizing a 30-second spiel. You’ll find that the extended conversation about what you do will now feel more natural too!
Like this or have a comment? Have your own line you’d like to share? Post it here!
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Every industry has its game changers. The moments when someone springs an entirely new product on the market that completely changes consumer expectations and the competitive landscape. The digital world has brought numerous game changers that have impacted many industries. Think downloadable music. Cell phones. CNN, then Fox News. The DVR. MySpace. YouTube. The iPhone.
The question is…are you paying attention to noticing the game changes in your business? Music companies didn’t understand the true threat of downloadable music at first, and when they did, they fruitlessly tried to battle it instead of embracing it and making it part of their business plan. Newspapers kept their heads in the sand about the internet until they’d lost hundreds of millions of dollars in classified advertising to the web. Readers who wanted information on demand abandoned newspapers in droves, and young people never embraced newspapers at all. The newspaper industry is a shadow of what it once was. Television broadcasters allowed cable to grow on the strength of network and local programming that stations gave to the cable companies for free.
I remember when Apple first released the iPod that could play video. This was years before the ability to easily view video on the web. Before YouTube or Facebook. I went to the Apple store with my husband and daughter to check it out. Traditional media people had been dismissing the product. The sniffed, “Who would want to watch video on a tiny little screen?”
I watched the demo in the store. I held it in my hands. It was light and sleek. The little screen had incredible quality. It was completely cool; a breakthrough product. I felt as though the ground shook beneath me. I looked up and announced, “This changes everything.” And it did. Once people understood that they could have movies and video entertainment of their choosing when they wanted, it paved the way for the growth of online video.
The trick is to identify a game changer before it overtakes you. A game changer can be a small thing at first. It’s always the events that are occurring right now that pave the way ahead. This is true in your own career and personal life too. Are you listening and watching?
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My husband and I were recently hiking on Mt. Hood in Oregon. Even in the middle of July a lot of snow remained at Timberline Lodge where our hike began. We carefully made our way across numerous snowfields, delighting in the occasional wildflower peeking out in the grassy spots. It was a warm day with a cloudless sky. We’d been hiking about an hour and a half when we came to a sizable ravine. It was a steep way down on the trail, then we’d have to cross a wide swath of snow that hugged the side of the ravine, then trudge back up the other side. It looked like a long way back up the hill. We gazed at it. “That looks really steep,” said my husband. I was ready to wimp out, already thinking about the post-hike late lunch at the Ram’s Head bar. Instead, we both said together, “Let’s go for it.” And we began the descent.
We found the way down was easy. The snowfield, after traversing dozens, wasn’t that difficult. We laughed as we held hands to keep our footing. Minutes later we’d climbed all the way back up to the other side. We stopped to look back. The ravine again looked steep and foreboding. We agreed that the steepness was simply an illusion. Just like a lot of things we face. “Things are easier than we think,” commented my husband Steve.
That’s the way our goals are. When we see them in a distance they can appear daunting. We pause to begin because we’re not sure we can do it. Or that we want to do it. Is the view from the other side worth it? We have to learn now things. We have to risk. But as soon as we begin, it gets easier. It’s always the moment of standing on the precipice that is most frightening.
Just get going. Right Now.