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3 Ways to Outperform Your Competition

There is a lot of value for any organization to be gained from being “best in class, #1, champion, or industry leader, etc.”

But with so much competition and so much universal availability of resources, how can you consistently rise above and outperform your competition or even just outperform your own potential?

Simple.

Regardless of whether you’re trying to beat someone else or just break your own personal records, it brings us back to 3 truths that remain timeless and relevant even in a world of constant change and technological advancement.

1. Work Longer – Work more hours than anyone else or than you ever have before. There is so much power in sheer volume. Don’t underestimate it. Find a way to take time from insignificant activities you’re engaging in to reallocate towards your goals that really matter. (Hint: if you’re watching the US average of 27 hours a week of television, start there!)

It’s also not just your own total personal hours (which should of course always be maximized in the direction of your key priorities) but that of your team as well. When you grow your trained staff, you’re growing the total number of hours being invested into the achievement of your mission.

2. Work Faster – Become more efficient. Stay more focused. And increase your sense of urgency to squeeze the ultimate value out of each second out of yourself and your team every single day. If you can eliminate distractions or unnecessary work from yourself and your team that will give you instant lift.

Also, as discussed in our most recent book Procrastinate on Purpose, “automation is to your time what compounding interest is to your money.” So, anything that can be automated, operationalized, or streamlined should be because over the long haul you will get ROTI Return on Time Invested. Most of all though it’s your own internal intention, focus, and discipline that needs to be mastered.

3. Work Smarter – There is such a thing as “a sharper axe.” So, it does make sense to be intelligent and strategic. For example, if you’re in sales, learn to master asking for referrals, prospect by vertical markets, use scripts and get a sales coach.

If you’re a small business owner learn the tools that will help you scale your business and generate leads.

If you’re busy at all, learn to multiply your time by spending time on things today that create more time tomorrow.

If you’re a leader, create the space you need to spend time developing your people. You also could get a leadership coach to shortcut your learning curve.

But never use working smarter as an excuse or justification for working less.

And never use the excuse that if you can’t work longer for some reason that you still can’t find a way to beat your best.

Because it’s not just about working smarter or working faster, or working longer.

When it comes to outperforming your potential, it’s always about a combination of all of the above.

How to Immediately Increase Your Self Discipline

How to Immediately Increase Your Self Discipline

After delivering a keynote speaking presentation last week a man comes up to me and asks, “Rory what could I do immediately to increase my self-discipline?”

It’s a good question, and the best answer is pretty simple but before I share the answer with you it’s valuable to understand the context of the answer.

I think this particular man, and most people in general who might ask this question, are looking for a permanent solution.

They’re looking for something they can do once that will permanently improve their self-discipline.

But that is the wrong way of thinking about it.

Success in anything is almost never the result of doing things right one time.

Success is the byproduct of doing things right consistently over periods of time.

And you will never really be successful until you actually understand that.

But that doesn’t mean the answer isn’t powerful. The answer is powerful because it’s the same answer in every situation.

So in that way it is something you can learn to do once, and then if you can get yourself to repeat that one habit consistently over time, it will bring you the success you’re looking for.

(Which, by the way, is why our core business at Southwestern Consulting is 1 on 1 coaching because we know what people really need help with is not learning one time what they need to do but rather they need help with the accountability of actually getting themselves to do the thing consistently over a long period of time.)

So back to the issue at hand. How do you immediately increase your self-discipline?

Simple: you think longer term.

Anytime you evaluate a decision in the context of what feels good here and now, you’re going to always gravitate towards doing the easiest thing.

But anytime you evaluate a decision in the context of what is going to make tomorrow better, easier, and more fruitful then you’re willingness to endure sacrifice increases.

We often think that we don’t have “enough” discipline but that is inaccurate.

We have plenty of self discipline.

It’s just that self discipline becomes dormant in the absence of a dream.

So it’s not really a matter of increasing your self discipline as much as it’s a matter of activating it.

It’s already there.

As you get clear on what you want in the future, your energy activates for what you can endure right now.

If you’re not thinking about the impacts on your future, you default to what creates the best situation right now – which is usually indulgence.

It’s not a matter of how much willpower you have.

It’s a matter of how long is your perspective.

So the permanent solution that is immediately available to you for increasing your self discipline  is to think longer term.

But you can’t just do it once. You have to do that every time you’re confronted with a decision about whether or not to be disciplined.

Which is why we at Southwestern say “success is never owned; it is only rented – and the rent is due every day.”

The Difference Between Good Customer Service and Great Customer Service

The Difference Between Good Customer Service and Great Customer Service

Pardon the bathroom setting of this story but I think it’s worth the lesson.

It was just another normal travel day for me as I headed into a Charlotte airport E-Terminal public restroom for a quick stop in between flights.

Like most people, I’ve obviously been in plenty of public restrooms over the years and probably encountered maybe 50 bathroom attendants- but none like the one on this particular day.

I’ve rarely ever given any of them any tip because they didn’t really provide much value to me unless they had a stash of products sitting there and I used something.

But on this particular day I walked in and was enthusiastically greeted with a big presence and a large smile.

“Welcome in sir. You’re looking sharp! My name is William and my goal is to keep it fresh, keep it fun and keep it as fast as possible for you while you’re in here!”

“Fun?!” I thought to myself. “This could be interesting.”

William’s first act though was that he sprayed a very pleasant air freshener in the general direction I was heading.

Then before I had a chance to even react he said “please allow me to help” and gently grabbed my bags from my hand.

Once he saw where I was headed he actually walked over in front of me and sprayed the handle I would be using with disinfectant spray and quickly wiped it off. He smiled again.

At that point he then wiped down the handles of my bags and placed them near the exit of the restroom.

As I prepared to exit, he beat me over to the sink and turned on the faucet for me so it was running warm before I arrived and then held out a bottle of soap to squirt some right into my hand and smiled again.

Before I was done rinsing my hands, he tore off a couple paper towels and patiently waited with them standing by for when I was ready.

As I dried my hands he grabbed my bags (with a towel covering his hand) and brought them over to me with a big smile and said “my guess is you’re a busy guy with not a lot of time to spare. Can I answer any questions for you about where you’re headed in the airport?”

I simply smiled at him and said “thank you for your wonderful service William.” I handed him $5 and walked out.

Not only did I tip him, but he managed to pull off the same routine with every person as they walked into that restroom.

In the few minutes I was there, William must’ve earned around $15 in tips.

As I walked out I thought “what an incredible guy!”

And I asked myself what was it about William that made my experience so wonderful and unique that I would literally give him a $5 bill for doing things I could’ve easily done for myself?

Sure, he was positive, enthusiastic and pleasant and that counts for a lot. But I’ve met other pleasant bathroom attendants and never felt compelled to tip them.

And then I realized what his key service difference was…

He anticipated the need.

He didn’t just serve my needs. He anticipated them.

A clean bathroom with all the necessary items you need to do your business is meeting the need.

But when they’re each presented and activated for you on your behalf just moments before you need them, that’s special.

It’s special because it’s useful.

It’s useful because it’s helpful.

Because it’s helpful, that makes it valuable.

Delivering what your customers want is good customer service.

But great customer service is anticipating their needs before they come up.

It’s knowing what they’re going to need and supplying it before they even think to ask for it.

That’s what creates a great experience. And that is a part of what creates a unique experience.

It’s thinking through “what could make this experience better for my clients?”

“What could we do that would over deliver on their expectations?”

“What could save them time?”

“How can we be more useful?”

“How could we provide for our clients in a way that would far exceed anything they’ve ever experienced?”

Those are the types of questions that bring about remarkable customer service.

If William can do it with the ultimate commoditized experience, then surely we can all figure out a way to pick it up a notch for our own customers.

 

The Limit of a Leader

Your level of influence as a leader is directly limited by the size of your ego.

The larger your ego, the less your chance to reach your leadership potential.

The smaller your ego, the greater your chance to reach your leadership potential.

Ego is a conundrum that many leaders will eventually have to face.

Overcome it, and there is no limit to the impact and influence that you can have.

Because a selfless leader magnetically draws in the loyalty and commitment of a team.

But a self-serving leader inadvertently creates fractures in the team and begins to push people away.

It’s a fascinating dynamic how it all happens.

Because you often become a leader by being a top achiever.

But it’s a case of what got you here as an achiever, won’t get you there as a leader.

An achiever cares about earning respect.

A leader cares about building relationships.

An achiever is used to competing for positioning.

A leader progresses by fostering principles.

An achiever rises by pushing themselves to new heights.

A leader rises by helping others along the path.

It doesn’t mean that a great achiever can’t be a leader.

It just means that they have to lay it all down for the team.

They have to intentionally choose to put the team first.

They have to evolve and adapt and mature to the point that their personal ego dies for the sake of advancing the team.

You can have any level of personal success as long as you have a higher level of selflessness towards serving the team.

Become selfless and do it right and you and your team will reach a whole new level.

Remain self serving though and do it wrong and you may start to find yourself increasingly isolated.

The story of Southwestern Consulting – My Business Partner Dustin Hillis Featured on the EO Fire Podcast

Dustin Hillis  and I met when we were in college through the Southwestern Advantage door to door summer work program.

Dustin broke the all-time sales record in the company’s 160 year history making $100,000 in one summer. The year prior was the year I broke the company’s recruiting and team building production record.

 

This past week I was so honored to see Dustin be interviewed and featured on one of my other good friends, John Lee Dumas’ podcast. The Entrepreneur On Fire Podcast hosted by John Lee Dumas gets millions of downloads every month, has featured some of the most recognized thought leaders in the world, and is widely regarded as one of the best business podcasts in the world.

Click here to listen to Dustin’s interview with John.

The Misconception People Have About Sales

THE MISCONCEPTION PEOPLE HAVE ABOUT SALES

If you think “sales” is a bad word, then you’re thinking about it wrong.

You may think of it poorly because you’ve had a bad experience or maybe even because you’ve had bad information.

“Sales” sometimes gets a bad reputation because even sales-people often misunderstand their role and the value they provide.

Too many salespeople think of selling as “talking people into things.”

But sales is not about talking people into things at all.

Sales should be thought more of as serving people.

In fact, at Southwestern Consulting, we often use the term Servant Selling to help reinforce the core of what true professional salesmanship is all about.

Servant Selling is about helping people make decisions about what is best for them.

Servant Selling is about helping people make their lives better.

Servant Selling isn’t something you do “to” people; it’s something you do “for” people.

People need help understanding options.

People need help coming up with solutions.

People need help finding answers.

People need help overcoming fear.

People need help pushing past procrastination.

People need help making decisions.

And those are all things that a highly trained, well coached, professional salesperson will help them with!

Professional sales people help people make better decisions.

And that is an extremely valuable service.

When someone has a negative connotation around “Sales” it’s because they typically understand it as adversarial.

As in, it’s the salesperson vs the prospect. And it’s a battle and a fight to the finish about who is going to win…

Will the prospect be able to hold out or will the salesperson have the magic words to convince someone and pressure them to buy something they don’t really want?!

Yuck.

That’s not selling.

Servant Selling isn’t adversarial at all.

Servant Selling is never about the salesperson winning and the prospect losing; its always about the prospect winning.

Because Servant Selling isn’t about the salesperson vs the prospect; it’s about the prospect vs some challenge, opportunity, or problem the prospect is trying to overcome in their life.

In that way, Servant Selling is the salesperson and the prospect together, on the same team, working side by side to try and find a solution to make the prospect’s life better.

The salesperson is serving the prospect.

The salesperson is supporting the prospect.

The salesperson is helping the prospect.

And sales doesn’t happen through one way communication; it happens through a conversation.

It happens through a dialogue.

It happens through the salesperson asking questions, listening, and understanding the prospect’s situation first.

And then offering solutions to help them make their life better.

So if you want a more accurate way to think of professional salesmanship…

Think of it as a conversation about someone’s needs, where we ask them questions and understand their situation.

Then, we enthusiastically show them options that will hopefully solve those problems, and then we gracefully lead them through a decision process that helps them make a choice that’s best for them.

Sometimes they buy and that’s great! Sometimes they don’t, and that’s okay too.

The role of an expert sales professional is to just help them make a decision about what’s best for them.

Think of it as a partnership.

Think of it as helping.

Think of it as serving.