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24 Seconds that Will Change Your Life

This post originally appeared on my blog in July 2014. It has been shared thousands of times on social media, Huffington Post and on my site as well. I welcome your comments below.

Life gets complicated. We all have the same 24 hours each and every day. And it’s up to us how we spend our time. We need to invest our time wisely in order to maximize our day and yet, no matter how good we are with time management, we never seem to have enough time to accomplish what we set out to complete when we wake up in the morning. Putting one more responsibility on your daily to-do list may not seem like a practical thing to do, and yet, what I am about to share is so simple that even the busiest person can carve out 24 seconds for it.

People Skills 101 teaches us the importance of building connections. Without relationships, all business will come to a halt. You might have an amazing product or service but without solid relationships, you have no business. And on a personal level, without connecting with others, life will be far from happy. So my 24 second task is designed to help build, strengthen and solidify existing relationships. It is fast, effective and reliable. And best of all, it requires no prep, planning or practice. Ready?

Take out your smartphone. I know you have one. Some of you are reading this blog on your smartphone (according to Mailchimp, 32% of you are actually reading this blog on your smartphone). I only have 24 seconds, so do it now. The clock is ticking. Pick any name on your contact list. It does not need to be a client, anyone will do. Send a text message saying the following:

“Just thinking about you. Hope you are having a great day.”

Hit send. Boom. 12 seconds. Repeat it one more time. Task complete, 24 seconds. And done. If you are fast at texting like my son Adam, you may even be able to send out three or four text messages in the 24 seconds you’ve allotted. 

Here is what happens when you start this practice. Sometimes, you will get nothing in return, and that’s ok. Many times you will get back a response saying thank you and wishing you a great day in return. But every time you send a message like that, you are making the receiver of your text smile, feel good and be happy. I am confident I do not need to tell you the importance of happy people in your life. Happy is contagious and if done right, happy will be paid forward. Ultimately happy will come back to you, guaranteed.

Make it a practice to pick two or three contacts during your day to send text messages to while you are standing in line, pumping gas, or having your coffee at Starbucks. Try not to repeat the names too often since your goal is to be random. Approach this task to spreading happy, not to gain business. If some of these messages are being sent to customers, you are proving (12 seconds at a time) that you are a human being, with feelings. Important rule of this practice -- You cannot text about business, unless the response from the recipient involves business. 

Switch up your message. It would not be unusual for me to send a message saying, “I love you. That is all.” or “Thanks for being in my life.” or “My life is better because you are in it.” If that doesn’t sound like your voice, build your own set of messages that work well. Under no circumstances should you send this message as a group message (don't automate this practice -- I want you to stay human please).

I’ve been doing this for over 15 years, and many days I send out much more than 2 messages. I know that as a result of my messages, others have adopted this as a way to spread love, happy and good vibes as well. I now get messages daily from friends, clients and others telling me to have a great day. Plenty of times those messages come to me when I am in a tough spot in my day or when I have had a challenging moment. 

Twenty four seconds wisely invested can change your life. Want to try this out? I am happy to be the recipient. Feel free to invest 12 seconds and send a message to me. 410-340-6861. I will return the love, I always do.

I am passionate about my message and ask that you spread this message on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. I would love to get text messages from around the world wishing me a happy day and I wish the same for you too.

Want to find out about other simple to adopt techniques that can change your life, check out my Business Building Bootcamp by clicking here.  I am available to present my programs to your group as well. You are welcome to message me or email me at doug@dougsandler.com

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Lip Service

Lip Service.png

While I would like to feel confident that any professional would think before he speaks, through experience, I find this may not always be the case. Take a moment before you let words fly and think about the impact of the words you are using as well as the attitude you are projecting.

Stop using or greatly curb the number of industry buzzwords you use. It makes your customers, vendor partners and others feel stupid if they don't follow along. If you think buzzwords make you sound professional, add value to your conversation or help you to be seen as the expert, keep in mind that statistically 75% of the buzzwords you use will land on ears that do not understand them. When in doubt, imagine your audience is in third grade.

Be sure brain is engaged before putting mouth in gear.

Learn how to take a compliment. Now that you feel good, turn the compliment around and make the giver feel good too. It's so much better to spread the love than to keep it all for yourself. For example, "Doug, thanks so much for listening to me and making your blog shorter and providing concrete action items," said Susan. "It's the least I could do," said Doug.  "Thank you for reading my blog and for making the suggestions to help me improve. You rock!"

Be humble, share credit. Reflect credit to those on your team. Keep in mind you got to where you are because the support of so many others. When you pass the praise on to others, (word will spread quickly) they are more likely to want to help and support you again as well. Being humble while sharing credit takes your ego out of the game and again helps you project the value of teamwork while growing your business. 

I'd love to hear about the lip service that you have gotten (or given) and any examples you can provide to the Nice Guy Community to help us grow our relationships.

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7 Reasons Why Average is Your Enemy

Photo by piyathep/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by piyathep/iStock / Getty Images

It’s rare that someone or some company aspires to be average, and yet it’s the exception rather than the rule when the average glass ceiling is broken.  While what it takes to go beyond average might be minute, why is it that not many achieve this level of service? As a motivated business owner, I see average as my enemy and something that I must guard myself from becoming. I’ve got to hand it to average, it does a great job of looking so easy, attractive and irresistible. Maybe that’s why organizations everywhere fall into the trap of thinking their customers, clients, shareholders, partners and employees will be ok with average results. I mean, average is good enough, right?

We are faced with a dilemma each and every day we show up. Choice number one (a choice of "HAVE" to do), to go about your tasks, fulfill your obligations, check off items on your to-do list and to arrive at the end of the day having completed it, in an average manner. Choice number two (a choice of "GET" to do),  being excited about the opportunities provided, being a problem solver, looking forward to achieving great things, promoting change for the better. I don’t understand how or why anyone chooses option 1, I see it as letting life happen as opposed to making like happen.

Average affects everything, the relationships in your life, the decisions that you make, the opportunities that are presented to you and the way you live your life. Average holds you back by telling you everything is good enough and that everything is going to be okay. Seriously, would you rather be okay or would you like to thrive and excel? 

Average affects everything, the relationships in your life, the decisions that you make, the opportunities that are presented to you and the way you live your life.

Here are 7 reasons why average is your enemy:

  1. Average doesn’t let you take responsibility. When the buck doesn’t stop with you and you feel the need to blame someone else, you are falling into the category of average. Once you start the blame game, it’s very hard to stop it. Consider for a moment being on the receiving side of a situation where you are not able to find a responsible party, no one is taking responsibility. It’s very frustrating and unsatisfying to not have a resolution. Your calls for help are answered by verbiage like, “Sorry, that’s our policy,” or “That is not our department, I’m not sure why they do it that way.” 
  2. Average provides little opportunity. When you aspire to be average, opportunity will not often come knocking. Unfortunately when it does knock, you usually will not recognize it as opportunity. More often, it will be seen as an inconvenience, too challenging to act upon and if acted upon you will be so deep in average, your climb up may be too much of a burden to get out of average.
  3. Average robs you of your creativity. Average is holding your creative side at bay. Stuck in a routine, not excited about what life has to offer and unable to see your potential? Whether you are a number cruncher, a burger flipper or podcast host, use your creative brain cells and maximize your potential. When average robs you of your creativity, you take a colorful world and make it grey and beige.
  4. Average is extremely contagious, immediately stop spreading it. Ever notice that average people tend to hang out with each other? They clock in at nine and they leave at five. Average often expresses itself in poor diet, poor outlook on life and a woe is me attitude. Average creates a victim and holds you down. Since average is contagious, other people that caught the condition commiserate with you and make you believe, "it is what it is."
  5. Average keeps you from looking at all the possibilities. As your enemy, average tricks you into thinking when you solve a problem satisfactorily you can move onto something else. Instead of stopping here, go beyond satisfactory and move into exemplary. Think back to an experience you had with an company that provided a service in such a way that your expectations were exceeded. Help someone become a raving fan of your work, exceed their expectations and you will be hooked. Destroy your enemy, average, and you will be happy you did.
  6. Average equates to good enough. When good enough becomes enough, it’s time to find something better to do. What I do know about you is this, I know that you were not put on this earth to be good enough.  I welcome the argument from anyone reading this to share with me your story of why good enough is good enough.
  7. Average holds you back from growth and keeps you in your comfort zone. While I admit I do find a measure of relaxation in my comfort zone, I will have to also admit if I graphed the time in my career when I grew the least, it was the same time I found myself in a comfortable routine. I liked the routine, but I hated the lack of growth. Once I started to step outside of my comfort zone and into unfamiliar terrain I usually met temporary setbacks followed by explosive growth. When you are average, things are comfortable, but everything, including the comfort zone, is temporary. Instead of failing via lack of growth, I was determined to step out of my comfort zone, and wait for growth to happen. Working in this pattern, I have always been successful.
Average holds you back by telling you everything is good enough and that everything is going to be okay.

When you start to believe in your heart that good enough isn’t, you start to see your world through an entirely different lens. You become more responsible for your actions and your behavior, you start to make your own opportunities, you develop creativity through-the-roof, your possibilities become limitless and you take risks because you know the rewards far exceed the dangers. You begin to spread your message with purpose and conviction and you step away from average and destroy your enemy. When you first start your journey the flywheel becomes tough to move, but once the flywheel is cranking at full speed, the enemy (average) will never stand a chance.

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How to spot a liar in one word

I guess my mom says it more eloquently. "He isn't lying, he handles the truth recklessly."  Statistically, we are exposed to over five thousand marketing messages a day. How do we know who to trust? Marketers entice us with offers too hard to resist, results too good to be true and guarantees that are impossible to fulfill. Yet, somehow we believe them, the evidence of our belief is in the billions of dollars we spend every year on their products; we want to believe them. A pill to cure this, a product to cause that. What we do know is this, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. 

The obvious ones -- Lose 16 pounds of belly fat in 14 days! The not so obvious ones -- Save 10% on your insurance in 15 minutes. We've been coaxed and prodded, persuaded and cajoled, seduced and flattered into thinking we can be thinner, healthier, richer, stronger, faster, better, happier, safer and more wanted if we simply use their product. I don't know about you, but it's hard to tell who is shooting straight and who is pushing the needle on the lie-o-meter. 

Marketing is storytelling. The truth is elusive. No one knows the truth about anything.
— Seth Godin

Seth Godin on marketing, "Marketing is storytelling." Godin on truth in marketing, "The truth is elusive. No one knows the truth about anything." I one time had a boss that used to say, "It's tough to live a straight life in a crooked world." The comment made me feel like I HAD to bend the truth in order to get ahead, close a deal and succeed at anything in life.

What it comes down to is this (and here is your one word); what's your intention? Are you focused more on yourself or your customer? There is a fine line between attention getting and misleading. And if you are the one making the offer, what happens next is completely up to you. Professional marketers understand there is power in their words and they take the user experience and results into account. Their intention is to be truthful yet creative. They may be great storytellers but they care about their market, because they don't see them as a market. They see their market as people, human beings, individuals using their products and services. They also care about their company and their reputation. Liars only see dollar signs, signed contracts and closed deals. If their products and services also benefit their market, that's just a bonus. 

Don’t focus on the sale, focus on the person.
— Shep Hyken

If your intention is to help others by solving their problems, you're a professional. Focus on what is important, helping your customer. While meeting goals, deadlines and quotas are all critical elements in business, make sure you have your priorities in line as well.  Align your intentions with exceeding customer expectations, adding value to your relationships, solving problems and being a better you. 

So when you see products claiming to cure the common cold, reduce wrinkles overnight, boost your bottom line by 80%, or reduce your bottom by 20 pounds in 20 days, you may want to steer clear of the sales pitch that comes next, they may not have the best of intentions. Make it your goal to keep your focus on what it takes to earn the business while keeping the best of intentions in mind. Your customers will be happy, and so will you.


Continue the Nice Guy learning and check out The Nice Guys on Business podcast

Continue the Nice Guy learning and check out The Nice Guys on Business podcast


See why NICE is the new way to do business (well, it's new to so many meanies out there)

See why NICE is the new way to do business (well, it's new to so many meanies out there)

 

 

 

 

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4 Ways To Get Noticed Starting Right Now!

Photo by Nastco/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by Nastco/iStock / Getty Images

The noise is everywhere, making it more challenging than ever for your message to be heard. With so much noise , how is it possible to get noticed, stay top of mind, or even get your brand off the starting line? The goal isn't to get noisier, that would be the answer if your were looking to be more annoying.  Business will not just find you, you have to go and get it. But how can you get more business and rise to the top, above the noise and get noticed?

It's time to get your head out of the sand and start focusing on the real reason people will do business with you. The answer is NOT about having the lowest price, the best features, the quickest delivery or even by being the best at what you do. Certainly, some of those things are nice, but they are not the universal answers to building business. Building business is about building relationships and that starts with each and every encounter you have. Start getting noticed now, regardless of whether you are developing a relationship online or face to face. Use these 4 tips to start getting noticed beginning right now:

The most rewarding things are the things you do for others. Especially when you’ve done it because you’ve wanted to, not because you’ve had to. @Mark_Sanborn
— Mark Sanborn

Catch people in the act. Getting caught in act is not about finding people doing something wrong. This time, catch them doing something right. People respond well to compliments and businesses respond the same way. If a brand you want to get noticed by does something good, let them know it. Create a "social scene" if they have done something good for their community. Tweet it out. If they have resolved a problem with a customer, let it be known how quickly the issue was brought to resolution. Too often companies are chastised for doing something wrong. Not often enough are they given praise. If a brand you are trying to build a relationship with does something right, catch them in the act, and it will get you noticed. Action item: Write a handwritten "caught in the act" letter to a company you are trying to do business with and watch how quickly they notice you.

It’s a matter of thinking how you can add value. It’s not through what you sell, it’s what else you can bring to the table. @davekerpen
— Dave Kerpen

 

Add value to your relationships. Don't make it about you.  Spend more time on what you can do for those you want to be noticed by. As an self-help, business book writer, in a field filled with hundreds of other authors I work hard to promote my book, Nice Guys Finish First. Although there are dozens of podcasts that can help promote my book, the field is still very crowded and gaining access to podcasts is not an easy feat. Instead of sending an email describing the benefits of the book to their audiences, I tell them how I will be able to help promoted their show, sharing not just my episode but other episodes as well with my social network and email list. I've been told several times I was selected as a guest because of my willingness to share information with others and that I did not come across as selling. Action item: Write a list of 3 ways that you can add value to a brand you wish to pursue. In other words, what can you offer them and in what ways can you help them to achieve their mission.

Be genuine, authentic and have peoiple in your life that will call you out and hold you accountable. @getjimpalmer
— Jim Palmer

 

Be unique. Don't be normal. Normal is a setting on your washing machine. Be unique, creative or downright entertaining. That doesn't mean that you have to break into song when you walk into your office or start tap dancing when get into the parking garage. A friend of mine, Ted Rubin is known for wearing crazy socks. Before delivering a keynote, audience members have remarked, "I wonder what socks Ted has on today?" Bowties, eye glasses or cufflinks are great ways to gently show your unique nature.  Maybe fashion isn't your thing, and that's ok. To be unique and add a bit of personality to my emails, I sign almost every email with an "XOXO." I've gotten email responses from people thanking them for the smile and the X's and O's. Action item: Make it your goal today to do something unique to get yourself noticed. If that scares you, start small, but realize your uniqueness will set you apart from the rest of the world. Be uniquely you.

If you think about the relationship first, if you are nice, and treat people well, it will enhance your relationship. @tedrubin
— Ted Rubin

 

Put yourself out there. In order to get noticed you have to take action, starting today, right now. Open your mouth, let your opinion be known, be remarkable and go big or go home. Putting yourself out there might mean volunteering for a project at work, stepping outside your comfort zone, doing something that you have never done before and taking some risk. Risk does not mean reinvention. You don't have to turn your life upside down if the risk outweighs the potential reward, but push yourself beyond the walls that you have built around yourself for so many years. Stop telling yourself NO and start telling yourself YES. Life comes at you fast, take control of the direction you are heading on the path you are on. Action item: Putting yourself in a position to be noticed is about putting one foot in front of the other and taking baby steps. Sign up for Toastmasters Club or attend a networking meeting and take control of your future today. 

Work hard to eliminate mediocre, average and an attitude of insignificance from anything you do. Each action step you take will help get you noticed. Getting noticed will help grow your existing relationships and will help build new relationships relationships as well. As an added bonus, the more you get noticed, the more confident you will become. Keep in mind, in order to see growth you will need to approach these changes with a genuine desire to improve and help others in the process and that's so much more cost effective (and helpful) than renting out Time Square.

Check out the latest episode of Nice Guys on Business....it pairs quite nicely with today's post.

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