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Archive for January, 2010

More Than A Ball And A Photograph

Posted By Michael Roby | Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Last night at the University of Minnesota Men’s Basketball game, Coach Tubby Smith presented senior guard Lawrence Westbrook with a commemorative basketball in honor of Westbrook joining the “1,000 Point Club.” This occurred at center court prior to the game with much applause and many photos. I commented to my wife that, “He will cherish that ball and the photograph for the rest of his life.”

Westbrook earned the ball not for anything he did yesterday, but for what happened over the last three and a half years. The photograph merely captured a moment of glory, which represented many hours of hard work leading up to the resulting achievement and subsequent honor. However, that photo becomes a touchstone for Westbrook that will always remind him of his achievement, and the dedication, choices, and actions that led to this moment in time.

Consider this question:

“Will you cherish the photograph of what you did today for the rest of your life?””

The things we do are a reflection of what we think about. So what did you think about today, and what did you do about it? Some additional questions are in order:

  • “Did I work for the best interest of my clients?”
  • “Did I treat them with respect, while seeking to help them make good decisions?”
  • “Did I treat my colleagues and staff with respect and did I help them serve our clients Lawrence Westbrookwhile bettering themselves?”
  • “Did I tell my story to new relationships to allow them the benefit of my services?”
  • “Did I do these things without sacrificing my integrity or my family values?

Make certain that the photograph this day of your life includes you with a smile upon your face, for you did the things you needed to do today to serve those who depend upon you.

To Lawrence Westbrook: Never forget that night, not because of the destination, but because of the journey that led you there. The lessons you learned will help you continue to achieve, no matter what dreams and goals you pursue.

To You: What do YOU choose to do TODAY?

Good selling!

Understand What You Sell

Posted By Michael Roby | Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Financial advisors commonly look for and attempt to offer the “best performing” investment products, in spite of the fact that one of the basic tenets of the industry is “Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.” An investment wholesaler (a true master of the profession) at a tier-one mutual fund recently shared an interesting thought:

“Advisors don’t really want the ‘best’ fund; they just want a really good fund that they really understand.”

Your job as an advisor is to match the proper financial strategies, products, and services with clients based upon the client’s financial situation and objectives. A part of this process involves selling. Three critical steps in the process include telling the client:

  • The Benefits of a Particular Strategy
  • How It Works
  • Where it fits

In order to explain these aspects of a recommendation, advisors need to truly understand what they recommend. When selling, you need to give the 30,000-foot view to the client and be prepared to answer questions – any questions.  Don’t try to amaze people with your knowledge, but rather provide them with enough information they need to make an intelligent, comfortable buying decision.

Ethical and regulatory guidelines demand that you know your client. Suitability remains a cornerstone issue in the industry. Make sure you truly know the products and services you recommend as well as you know the clients whom you serve.

The Great Digital Scavenger Hunt: Six Tools For Finding Professional Speakers Using the Web

Posted By Michael Roby | Sunday, January 24th, 2010

Budgets are tight and getting tighter. Every facet of the meeting planner’s day involves facing an onslaught of details preparing for an event. Selecting sites that fit the bill, building menus, choosing premium items, and coordinating agendas with the input of multiple constituencies and coordinating an endless flood of details are just a few of your challenges. Selecting outside speakers from the oratory multitudes present unique challenges. In about one-third of a second, googling “Professional Speaker” offers almost 9.8 million choices, and you don’t have time to listen to all of their demos, so you pick one and hope for the best.

The location and property are perfect. Catering over-delivers on their service promise. The schedules work, collateral materials exceed expectations, and everyone loves the room gifts. Then it happens – your speaker bombs! Consider the following six ways to effectively use the web to help you find qualified speakers that meet your needs.

Search Terms: Be as specific as possible using search terms, but keep it simple. Include terms that identify exactly what you want, including the type of presentation, (keynote, training, motivational, breakout, etc.), location, and industry. Be descriptive.

Speaker Websites: When looking at speaker or bureau websites, look for testimonials, experience, and demo videos. If finding content is difficult, then you might question the speaker’s ability to communicate from the platform. If the speaker blogs, you also see the type of content they deliver.

LinkedIn: This social media site offers a huge amount in a standardized form. General information about the speaker, as well as testimonials, links, and group affiliations all provide insight into a speaker. Testimonials become easier to expand and verify. You can even do market research that provides information from other meeting planners, as well as groups devoted to meeting planners. Networking with other meeting planners develops a massive amount of intellectual experience capital.

Facebook: Another social media networking service, Facebook is traditionally thought of as a “personal” site. However, more businesses are building a presence on Facebook. “Fan Pages” give you an idea of others who may have used the speaker’s services – or a sampling of their friends and family. This site also offers the potential to see professional speakers away from their businesses.

Twitter: Twitter is a social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read other users’ updates known as “tweets.” Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length – just enough – and it is free. Twitter is searchable, and offers a glimpse into the world of value creation of speakers. Tweets often include links to other resources that may be helpful in your search.

Professional Associations: The National Speakers Association (www.nsaspeaker.org) and their numerous state chapters (for example, the Minnesota Chapter’s site is www.nsa-mn.org) offer directories of professional speakers that provide a buffet of talent from which to choose.  The fact that speakers hold membership in a professional organization does not mean they are a great speaker or will meet your needs, but it does mean they have met membership criteria and subscribe to a code of conduct that provides some accountability. The ability to find and search speakers in one place makes associations an invaluable resource.

The web becomes a valuable tool to help your make finding a professional speaker easier, and with better results.