Learning: What It Means To Have A Brand

Seth Godin always gives me so much to unpack. Here’s a quote and check his interview on This is Marketing.

“What it means to have a brand is that you’ve made a promise to people. They have expectations. It’s a shorthand. What will I expect the next time. And if that is distinct, you’ve earned something. If it’s not distinct then let’s admit that you make a commodity.”

For me personally there are plenty of questions

  • Are employees just a commodity? (Hopefully not)
  • Am I personally a commodity? (Hopefully not!)
  • Therefore, should I have a personal brand? (Yes!)
  • What is my personal brand? (Someone who shares unique insights)
  • Is my personal brand distinct? (Hopefully yes!)
  • And will I have to make these sessions every week forever? (Yes!)

So what’s your personal brand?

Learning: Exception to Why

I love an exception to the rule.

Chris Voss in Never Split the Difference talks about the one exception to never using a ‘Why?’ question.

I’ll give it in an example:

“We’ve got some great competitors. They’re almost all cheaper than us. They all offer the same basic service of document approvals. So why are you interested in us?

I guess it works because their not defending themselves. They’re defending someone or something else. There’s no need to be defensive. It allows people to open up.

I used it the other day and it definitely works. The customer/prospect, in this case, opened up and told me about the case.

But I think the real skill is being able to read the answer. Being able to tell just how committed they are after they’ve opened up.

Learning: Why Questions and Defensive Reactions

For years my parents asked questions like “Why are you still on the computer?”

After thousands of questions maybe it isn’t a surprise that I’ve built up a defensive reaction to those why type of questions.

And yet here I am in customer meetings asking “Why are you running one-month cycle plans?”

And maybe it’s not a surprise that customers are often defensive for those type of questions.

It’s probably not difficult to change them to how or what type of question.

So instead I could ask “What are the benefits you get from running one-month cycle plans?”

It’s the same question just worded differently and from an emotional perspective will get a different response. This is something that Chris Voss talks about in Never Split the Difference.

So have a think about how many why questions you ask throughout the day and how you might be able to change those questions to get a better emotional response.

Learning: Meeting Rapport

There’s something beautiful about a well run meeting – just how it flows.

You build that rapport up with someone over time. You know what they are going to say, how they are going to say it, when they are going to say it. You know how they are going to move a meeting so that it flows well and moves the participants.

It really came home to me when we added a new team member to a meeting. It really threw everything out – just that third person.

I think there’s two main things you can do:

  1. Prepare. Be aware of your roles and responsibilities.
  2. Give it time. You can expect that it’s going to be able to flow in the same amount of time. You need to give yourself time. Particularly in the meeting closeout – it’s probably the crucial aspect. How everyone leaves, how everyone feels when they leave.

So give yourself more time to close that meeting so you can still have a great meeting while you build up that rapport in the future.

Learning: Focus On One Thing

Learning: Focus On One Thing

It’s election season in Singapore and finally, a local politician knocked on our door.

I was ready. I ran. I grabbed my wife and child – they’re both citizens and voters.

And I had a list of things prepared, ready to go, ready to talk about. But I got stage fright.

We got a photo and the politician walked away.

I think what I really regret is that I didn’t have just one thing. One thing that I really wanted to get across. One thing that I’d focused on. Prepared for. Prepared that moment for.

So when the time came it was really clear what I was going to do.

I think rather than focus on ten things let’s focus on just one and get it right.