Money can’t buy everything.
Currency, on the other hand, can.
And if the struggling economy is making life difficult, you might consider seeking out alternative forms of exchange.
Today we’re going to explore a collection of currencies to help you buy what you need:
1. Respect buys loyalty. If you want make employees stay, make customers buy, make suppliers sell and make competitors drool, respect them enough to be radically honest. Respect them enough to build expectational clarity in everything you do. Respect them enough to create a climate of joy. And respect them enough not to waste their precious time.
That’s the easiest, cheapest and smartest way to earn people’s attention – respect. The irony is: While it costs nothing to give, it could cost everything to neglect. So just make sure you bother to bother. Make sure you dare to care. Because if you can help people feel more honored and more respected every time they deal with you, they’ll stick around forever. Who are you accidentally disrespecting?
2. Class buys referrals. Customers are nice – but repeat customers are necessary. If you want to earn those second, third and fourth time buyers, here’s a concept to consider: Build a bridge to your competitors. I know it sounds counterintuitive. But if it were just you, it would be hard to survive. If it were just you, there would be nobody to lean against.
Competitors – when treated like partners – can become your power source. What if you posted a handy list of your top ten major competitors and their offers on your website? Can you imagine the message that sends to your customers? Be willing to share in almost every direction. You’ll learn quickly that class is the new quality. How many referrals did you give this week?
3. Compassion buys forgiveness. Next time your customers or employees screw up; respond with a foundation of affirmation. Thank them for being vulnerable enough to be imperfect. Thank them for giving you the chance to love them unfairly. That’s what you call an act of spirit in a moment of struggle. And it doesn’t just make your people happy – it makes them more likely to forgive you when you screw up too.
Because you will screw up. Probably a few days after they do. As long as you’re not managing forgiveness like some corporate scoreboard, the reciprocation of compassion will be worth it. How are you creating an environment where people feel comfortable making mistakes?
4. Consistency buys credibility. Do something once, and that’s a treat. Do something twice, and that’s a trend. But do something every single day for a decade, and that’s a triumph. That’s what your customers are trying to teach you: That they don’t buy what you sell. They buy what you stand for; why you stand for it and the process you endured to make it.
They buy the belief that you will deliver on your promise to solve their problem. And they buy the faith that if their problem isn’t solved; you’ll work tirelessly until it is. That’s why consistency is far better than rare moments of greatness: Because anybody can be great for a month. How many days off did you take last year?
5. Flexibility buys longevity. Lack of flexibility isn’t a fitness problem – it’s a business problem. And unless you’re wiling to develop a predisposition to compromise, good luck staying relevant. The good news is, flexibility doesn’t make you weak or small – it makes you human and malleable. It also makes you more likable and less of a pain in the ass to work with.
There’s nothing worse that getting stuck with a company that suffers from terminal certainty. The point is, being flexible isn’t about touching your toes – it’s about touching people where they’re at. Because if you want them to spend, you’ve got to bend. Are you an expert at meeting people halfway?
6. Generosity buys heartshare. First, it was all about marketshare. Next, it was mindshare. Now, it’s all about heartshare. I define that as, “The level of emotional responsiveness your work commands.” And if you want more of it, you have to become a gift giver. Not bottles of whiskey. Not boxes of brownies. A gift is anything that leaves people altered.
For example, give the gift of art, or, solving a problem in a way it’s never been solved before. Give the gift of initiative, or, being willing to go off script and work without a map. Lastly, give the gift of elevation, or, helping people walk away feeling more in love with themselves. Those are the types of gifts that change the recipient. Who knows? You could even document each of those heartshare moments in a blog. People would notice. What gifts are you known for giving?
7. Visibility buys belief. Woody Allen is famous for saying that eighty percent of life is showing up. I disagree – I think it’s higher. More importantly, it’s not just about showing up, it’s about showing up when it’s hard. For example: Showing up when you’re tired, when you’re scared, when you’re not asked, when you’re not prepared, when you’re not expected, when you’re not being paid, when you’re not in the mood and especially when you’re not on the clock.
That’s the kind of visibility that matters. Both online and off. And if you can build it with the people who count, they will believe in you. Because in their eyes, just showing is a synonym for going out on a limb. Do you have a marketing plan or a visibility plan?
REMEMBER: There are some things money can’t buy.
But if you have the right currency, no price is too high.
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That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Mentor
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