Remember the helicopter on the stage of the play Miss Saigon? What does a helicopter do? It hovers, hovers, hovers. Has your career or your business been hovering at the same height? The good news is that you have not crashed to the ground. But how long can you hover before you run out of gas? The bad news is that you are not soaring. Are you ready to go to your next level? Are you ready to soar? Before you answer the human helicopter question, let’s first look from a chronological perspective. Let’s look at the last decade … the Internet has certainly become the information highway; dotcom’s have come and gone and come again. Now look at the last couple of years. Martha went from PR queen to prison to prime time. And what have you done? Sure you work hard. That’s not the point. The question is, do you work smart? Are you doing the things you need to be doing to move from hover to soar?
Ten tips to stop hovering:
1. Think, talk, and act with clarity. Answer or instruct in the time it takes to walk across a room. Each call, conversation, and communication needs to have a clear call for action. That means no excuses and no second-guessing. The marketplace does not have time to clarify confusion, and neither do you.
2. Identify your true value. This isn’t something you can do for yourself. Ask those around you: “What value do I provide to my customers?” You’ll be surprised to find that it often isn’t what you think it is. Your value is not in how many years you have been in business. Your value is in how you can use those years to make a difference in your customers’ personal or professional life.
3. Adapt a 21st century mindset. You have to think, talk, and act differently than you did just five years ago if you want to soar. You need to talk in terms of the results you provide rather than the process. Your value is in how your client will be different after working with you: the results that you bring to your clients.
4. Identify your defining moments and don’t talk through them. A defining moment is a moment that can change the future. When you’re lucky, you recognize those moments at the time they happen. Less lucky, at least you recognize them in retrospect. When you most want to talk … that’s when you want to ask questions. Try asking just one more question today than you did yesterday.
5. Have a game plan. Agree up front with the client on the objectives and expectations of the project. Agree on how you will measure success and the value success will have to your client.
6. “Heat-seek” the decision maker. There are many people who can say no, but only one person that can say yes. At the end of the day, who will sign off on this project? That is the person with whom you need to develop a relationship. You can only soar if you have the actual pilot in the seat.
7. You’ve got to know all that you’ve got to know. Do you know what you don’t know and are you willing to learn? Do you know why someone should choose you, your product, or service? Can you grow your business while you are learning about sales, marketing, sports, technology, and the world? Everything you learn will help you in one important defining moment.
8. Embrace the twist. How can you twist what you know to stand out from others in your field or in the marketplace? You already know everything you know to stop hovering and start soaring. What you need to do is present it in a way that attracts business. You want to be the light not the moth.
9. 80/20 rule. You’ve heard about this rule before. Now here’s the twist. Your job is to keep moving forward. You can’t afford to wait for 100 percent perfection. Get to 80 percent and then GO. Each conversation, each encounter, and each day your criterion for soaring is to keep moving forward.
10. Be a peer … not a vendor. If you or your company see themselves as a commodity, you are tethered to Earth. If you see yourself as a vendor, and if others see you as avendor, you are doomed to hover. See yourself as a peer to the decision-maker, develop relationships, and you will soar above your competition. Now you have the steps you need to stop hovering. It’s up to you to implement these steps one-by-one. You will stop being a human helicopter using your energy to only go side-by-side and front-to-back. Using the same energy you can now take your career or your business to the next level.
By Leslie G. Ungar
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