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Archive for November, 2009

Go To The Movie This Week: Gratitude

Posted By Michael Roby | Monday, November 23rd, 2009

This weekend I saw the new movie from  Alcon Entertainment / Warner Bros. titled, “The Blind Side.” The movie stars Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw, Quinton Aaron, and Kathy Bates, and tells the true story of Michael Oher, a homeless teenager who is taken in by a family and given a second lease on life.  The lessons learned from this movie include the power on one person’s decision to make a difference in the life of another, and a reminder of how grateful I am for everything in my life. Give yourself and your family (and possibly your staff) a gift, and go see this movie.

During this season of Thanksgiving (Why is thanksgiving compartmentalized into a season?) take inventory of all you have for which you should be grateful. Remind those people listed in this inventory of your gratitude for the part they have played in your life.

How does one put something back into life? Can you change the world? Yes, and the best place to start is by giving thanks by choosing to make a difference in the life of just one person.

This time of year businesses send holiday cards to clients, customers, and vendors. Consider picking up the phone this week and calling your best relationships to say thank you, and ask how you can help them now and in the future. Translate your gratitude into actions. Thanksgiving knows no season!

One more thing; please allow me to say “Thank you!” to my family, friends, clients and readers.

Happy Thanksgiving!

You’re Too Good To Be Free!

Posted By Michael Roby | Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

On I-94 near Jackson, Michigan, there stands a massive yellow billboard with the following line in huge black letters:

“Free Land for Industrial Development”

This definitely attracted my attention, but my first thought was that these people are desperate. After all, the September 2009 unemployment rate in the state is 15.3%. Michigan continues to hemorrhage jobs. You continually hear people lament about how bad the economy is statewide. However, while a large workforce is available, a question prospective businesses might ask is, “What’s the catch?”

Several years ago I was doing some work for Commercial Federal Bank in Omaha, Nebraska, which was acquired by Bank of the West in 2005. They displayed large promotional posters offering “FREE Financial Planning.” In a meeting with a (very young) marketing officer, I asked a fill-in-the-blank question.

“You get what you…”

She almost shouted the answer.


Oh well; she just didn’t get it.

Everything has a price. Consumers want and expect value for their hard-earned dollars, but when you position your services as free, you immediately place cost as the primary determining reason to buy, in addition to making the client suspicious. People understand the concept of ,“No such thing as a free lunch.” Certainly you want to justify the cost of doing business, but do so with statements of value, as opposed to being cheap. Tell clients how they benefit from your services, and how you can help them reach their goals. Paint a vivid picture of how clients achieve their financial objectives, and you will attract more clients.

You are too good to be free!

Good selling!

Choose Greatness

Posted By Michael Roby | Thursday, November 12th, 2009

In Thomas Merton’s autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain, Merton is pondering his life’s work. At some point in their lives, successful people struggle with their purpose, goals, and direction. In a conversation with his friend and mentor, Robert Lax, Merton is confronted by Lax, who suggests Merton should aim higher with his ambitions than being a writer:

“’What you should say’- [Lax] told me-“what you should say is that you want to be a saint.’”

“A saint! The thought struck me as just a little weird. I said: ‘How do you expect me to become a saint?’”

“’By wanting to,’ said Lax.”

If you are to do great things, you must first choose to do great things. This is not always easy, not always fun. However it is simple. In his famous speech titled, “The Common Denominator of Success,” first delivered in 1940 at the NALU Convention in Philadelphia, Albert E. N. Gray uttered a timeless truth:

“The common denominator of success — the secret of success of every [person] who has ever been successful — lies in the fact that he formed the habit of doing things that failures don’t like to do.”

So what do you choose? Will it be to aim higher? You must first decide, then gather your resources, develop a strategy, put it into a plan, then do it. As I said, a decision for greatness is not always easy, but very simple.

It’s time. Make the decision. Choose.