(By Bob McCurdy) What is better than being common, normal, ordinary, regular, similar, standard, unexceptional, un-noteworthy, or usual? It’s being “unusual.” Unusual is being the exception, standing apart, standing out in a sea of sameness, approaching and viewing a profession through a different lens. Being one of the “crazy ones.
The good thing is that it is not terribly difficult to be unusual in a society where most conform and are merely interested in their profession. The unusual ones strive to elevate what they do to an art form largely due to self-pride. Birds flock and fish swarm, those who succeed in business do neither.
Some ways to become unusual:
— Offer to work or shadow an employee at a client/prospect’s place of business for a morning or afternoon to get a better feel for their business and the challenges they face. Even if the offer is declined, point made, you are unusual.
— Dealing with an out-of-town account/agency whom you’ve never met? Invest a few bucks to get there. The trip will more than pay for itself.
— Develop mentors. Nurture these relationships and multiply them. You can learn from everyone but you learn more from people smarter and more experienced than you are.
— Use Strategic Selling principles. Miller and Heiman? You never heard of them? Get their book, use their principles, and write more business — guaranteed. You have heard of them? Dust off their book and reread.
— Hold yourself to the same level of expertise with digital as radio, otherwise get ready to be competing for what’s left behind by those who did.
— Take advantage of the numerous free training webinars available from vendors and consultants.
— Podcasts are great for entertainment but are ideal for professional development as well.
— Be sponge-like. Ingesting new insights and new ideas from all industries. Keep your radar up at all times.
— Become a Nielsen Tapscan ninja. Take control of weaving your own stories. I have never not found something new to discuss with a client within minutes.
— Become your word. Do what you say you’ll do, when you say you are going to do it.
— Allocate X amount of time throughout the week dedicated to professional self-improvement. This differentiates the successful from the less successful.
— Collect client testimonials the way a philatelist collects postage stamps.
— Conduct educational seminars for your clients. This has a threefold benefit. First, you are putting yourself in a position where you are “teaching” which requires you to learn your topic more deeply. Second, you are educating your clients, which is always a good thing. Third, you are demonstrating that you know what you are talking about and someone whose POV should be valued.
— The outcome of an avail is largely decided before the dollars hit the table. Presell.
— Maintain consistent contact with prospects and clients. Develop a system and the discipline to do so.
— Utilize all of the resources of the RAB. They are ready, willing, and able to assist.
— Retain key industry information for quick access. Hording is OK.
— Ask yourself “why not” and then give it a shot. Because it’s never been done doesn’t mean it shouldn’t. Operate away from the crowd.
— Use more phone than email and face-to-face more than phone.
— Communicate your passion for your job for all to see. Have fun.
— Compartmentalize. Don’t let what happened in the morning impact afternoon’s performance.
— Mark Twain once said, “It takes two weeks to prepare for an impromptu speech.” Overdo it here.
— Look the part. Too many salespeople today seem to have forgotten this.
— Practice-Drill-Rehearse. It will enable you to be at your best when you need to be at your best.
— Make those around you better. Set the pace. You don’t need a title to be a role model.
If you are not willing to risk being unusual, you’ll settle for the ordinary. It’s more fun and more rewarding to be unusual, so care more than others think wise, risk more than others think safe, and expect more than others think possible. By doing so, you will be well on your way to becoming unusually successful.