Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Can I Ask You One More Thing?

Are you giving away your business and your knowledge without realizing it?
Do you find you are spending time with people who want to squeeze every last drop out of you, but don’t want to pay for your service?

If you are in any kind of service-related industry, I bet you are “giving away” your business. I know as a Life Coach I come across this all the time. You know the types of clients/people I’m talking about. For example:

“Can I ask you just one more question? (and the question goes on for 30 minutes!)

“Can you just quickly tell me ……?” (and they know full well the response will take a lot longer than 5 minutes).

So what do we do?

Well we need to shift our thinking and set some boundaries on just how much free information or free services we will give away.
No one expects to walk into a supermarket and walk out again with a trolley load of goodies! Well it’s the same thing.

So what can we say to people who i) ask outright for free information or ii) who just pin you down and you realise (usually too late) that they’re trying to “borrow” your valuable resources without becoming a client?

Some things you could say would be:
· "It’s not a good time for me to discuss this right now. Would you like to briefly discuss guidelines and fees?”
· “A complete answer to your query is going to take more than 5 minutes over the phone. Would you like me to send you a proposal on this?”
· “My charge for an intial consultation is X”.
· “There’s a lot I can do to help you. Would you like to get together and work on a marketing plan?”
· “Do you have a time-line and or/budget in mind for solving this problem?”
·“I have really enjoyed talking to you, and would like to help you more. May I send you one of my brochures and a rate card:?”

Of course there is another scenario where the above responses just would not suffice and that is when a friend pins you down at a social event such as a wedding, dinner party etc. What do you say then?
Well one stock phrase that always works for me is, " I would love to help you with X. So why don't you give me a call on Monday, when it's much quieter and we won't be disturbed, and we can discuss everything then". Nine times out of ten, come Monday your friend has either completely forgotten she had a problem, or because it takes more time and effort to call back your friend usually just doesn't bother.

There are many, many more ways (and perhaps better) of responding to these types of contacts. As a service business owner, part of what we offer clients, and what they value from us is our knowledge and expertise. It’s as much a part of our services as any tangible product, so we should be treating it as such. If we don’t value our service, then no-one else will. It’s not about being stingy or hoarding, it’s about holding back information that is deemed valuable enough that rightfully should be paid for.

Copyright 2007-Vanessa Vinos

Purple hats!

IF I HAD MY LIFE TO LIVE OVER - by Belinda Emmet written after she found out she was dying from cancer.

*I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for the day.

*I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

*I would have talked less and listened more.

*I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, or the sofa faded.

*I would have eaten the popcorn in the 'good' living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

*I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

*I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.

*I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

*I would have sat on the lawn with my grass stains.

*I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more while watching life
*I would never have bought anything just because it was practical,wouldn't show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.
Maybe we should all grab that purple hat earlier.

What would you do if you had your life over again up until this stage?

I would certainly:
*worry less and think less about things that don’t really matter
*learn to “stop and smell the roses".

What book...............?

As an avid reader who devours books every month, I thought it would be nice to share some of my recommendations and hopefully add to some of your bookshelves. Also I am hoping that whoever responds to this blog will add to my book shelf.

OK, so here goes:

…….has had an impact on my life?
There are 3 different non-fiction books that have had a real impact on me.

i)TNT-The Power Within You- Claude Bristol
This is one of the most powerful books I have read regarding changing your own destiny and living the life you want. It was written decades ago (1954) but for me he is one of the original personal development experts, and certainly one of the best.

ii)Tuesdays with Morrie-Mitch Albom
This is a non-fictional story that reads like a wonderful tale. A story to remind you what really matters in life.

iii) Apples and Pears-Dr Marie Savard
This book should be compulsory reading for every woman. If nothing else it will shock you into action and possibly save your life!

……….gave me the reading bug?
It has to be Enid Blyton’s Famous Five series of books. I so wanted to be part of that gang. I would just escape completely into the stories.

………would I take to a desert island?
It would have to be something chunky and meaty. So for me it would be ‘The University of Success’ by Og Mandino
This amazing volume contains a complete course on how to succeed, taught by 50 renowned experts. Hopefully I would leave the island a more successful and inspired individual!

……………..left me cold?
As a Brit I am ashamed to say 'A Tale of Two Cities' by Charles Dickens. Perhaps because I was forced to study this at school.

……………..didn’t I finish?
The Da Vinci Code (much to the horror of my friends!).

……….am I reading now?
i)‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’- Maya Angelou
The first volume of Maya’s autobiography. As a black woman in the 1930’s she has known discrimination and extreme poverty, but also hope and joy, achievement and celebration.
ii) ‘The Virtual Handshake’- David Teten & Scott Allen-
How to open doors and close deals on-line

How do YOU measure success?

Quality of life is nowadays measured by the amount of money you make. Success is defined by the kind of car you drive; by the neighbourhood you live in and by the “toys” you own. After all, he who dies with the most toys wins. True or false?

In contrast, the people of the remote Himalayan country of Bhutan were recently rated as having the poorest quality of life of all bar one other country in the world….after all their average annual per capita income is only $500 (approx.€375) Ironically however, when you visit this country there are no beggars, only beautiful snow capped peaks, virgin forests, and clean air. The crime is relatively non-existant, no one is in a hurry, and there is a strong sense of community. Instead of depending on their belongings to entertain themselves, they’ve learned to enhance their lives by building relationships with each other.

So the moral of this little story? Be careful to avoid the trap of “ the more you buy, the more you need”. Often the more we think we need, the more unhappy we are with what we have. So next time before you hand over your credit card for that new pair of Jimmy Choo’s (I know you can hear them calling your name!) just stop and think. Will this bring me more happiness compared to perhaps a few hours shared with a loved one, or a donation to an organisation or just doing something small that will make a difference to someone? It’s your call. It’s how you measure it.

Copyright 2007-Vanessa Vinos