Archives April 2013

Self-Respect: The Two Way Street and Loving the Reflection!

Self-Respect - My life never worked till I started developing it!

Self-Respect – My life never worked till I started developing it!

I am very grateful to have yet another amazing day in my marketing consulting business.  This post I would like to dedicate to my awesome CPA with whom I met with today.  I am also thinking of the hard-working and amazing Jenny Kuo (from Sociable Space) as I write this article.

Like many of my clients (who are about 70% awesome female business owners), my CPA fits the perfect profile of many of them.  Kind, good natured, technically brilliant, hard-working and of course not realizing how awesome they actually are!

Relating to this experience myself, I have spent many years of my life with little respect for myself.  This has led to a disastrous life for myself in a range of areas.  One big one was how badly my career progressed.  As I never had respect for myself, I would always be attracted to employers that merely gave me respect matching my own internal respect.  This resulted in earning far less than what I deserve, working incredible hours, generating results without any long-term benefit to myself and having nothing to show for years of hard work when I was moved on in all instances.

Many corporate rebels like myself are dealing with fallout from years of ill treatment in corporate environments.  I used to think it was “only ee” (which is no doubt their intent) only to realize there are many which had it worse than me a range of ways.  I have heard amazing stories and personally observed a range of things covering:

– Sexual harassment (e.g “sex for job security”).

– Forced to commit crimes to keep your job (happened to me once, and I said no and called their bluff).

– Standard corporate bullying.

– Theft by withholding entitlements and commissions.

– Women being penalized.

All very sad stuff and after speaking with my CPA and reflecting on my past, it’s all about respect.  That is, many corporates and even people in our own lives treat us with such disrespect and contempt, we must be careful not to let it change our own view of “self-respect”.  The big mistake I made was not keeping up my self respect and them getting to me and their lies rubbing off on me.

When I went into my own business and escaped that abuse, the thing that I found strange (as many others do) is that it can take some time to detox from what happens to us.  In my case, even years later:

– I still have nightmares.

– I still act with poor confidence at times.

– I still don’t treat myself fairly.

– But I am getting over it!

To my poor friends and clients alike – if for whatever reason you don’t have good self-respect, I encourage you to really work on this part of your life.  As my self-respect has increased, my income and results have increased! So it’s important and totally critical!

There are no secret answers, but I can say one great technique I learnt in the church and did myself:

– Every day Write 10 x Things (every morning) about why you can realistically self-respect yourself!

It can be little things! Eating health, loving your children, helping someone – or even from your past, reflecting on big things and missions you have won.  I did this exercise mentally and it worked, but many need to write it down.  Reflect on why you are awesome!

So if you are down on yourself and letting yourself get walked over, you have little self-respect, so please work on it! Don’t stuff up your life like I did, and if you have – just improve and don’t punish yourself!

Premium Products & Services: Why People Pay More?

Certainly Premium Products Right Here! :)

Certainly Premium Products Right Here! 

This article I would like to dedicate to the fantastic couple Eddie & Manni Manirath.  They are  husband and wife enterpreneurs working on health coaching and helping business / professional women get their sexiness & sass back like they were in their 20’s!

In spending some quality time working with them, they are doing what I always love to hear:

– Delivering the Best Quality Possible and Asking a Fair Price!

That really resonates with me (and also the market) and only too often I meet small business owners doing the direct opposite. That is, many try and “go cheap” and compete on price which is incredible dangerous!

“The cheap / low pricing” strategy is often used by large companies and why? Because they comercially can! For North American readers “Wal-Mart” is an obvious one and for us Australian’s “Officeworks” is a notable other.  They are massive companies, with massive supply chains and can afford to do this with relative easy and profitability!

In a very weak example, let’s say you wanted to sell pencils.  As a small business owner, how much would they cost you? Say $0.30 per pencil and you sell them for $2.00? How much would it cost Wal-Mart? Probably $0.30 for 100 pencils or more.

As small business owners, we can’t compete on price and our bastion of success is quite often “high quality / personalised services & products”.

Hence this is where the problem kicks in! I see too many business owners convince themselves they are “premium” when they really suck. They have sub-standard training, products and services (sorry life coaches – you are guilty of this one all the time!) and most visibly of all have poor quality business cards and promotional materials (even home made printed on Ink-Jet’s, ewww!!!).

What ads insult to injury is that they are trying to charge “Mercedes” type of pricing for something that just doesn’t command it, but are using “hype” & “exaggerations” to try and justify pricing they are just not entitled too.

What I loved about meeting with Eddie & Manni today was that they want premium pricing, but they totally get it has to be reasonable, fair and they need a premium Image / offering to support that!

I get it all the time from great clients, how can I fairly increase my prices without losing volume? My answer is simple:

– Make sure your Product has the Image / Quality that fairly deserves it!

As a guide, things I often suggest to fantastic clients are:

1) Make sure your product / service is worth it.  If not, upgrade it!

2) Make sure the market wants that and will pay for it!

3) Make sure you deep down believe that without any hype!

4) Make sure it’s ethical charging that price!

5) Make sure your Image is perfect and “Mercedes” quality!

6) Be consistent and trusted!

7) Work non-stop to build your reputation!

Really important and talking image, the first thing we often look at is ensuring things like personal presentation, business cards, flyers, promotional materials, Facebook, LinkedIn and websites are up to scratch. I always recommend this to anyone in business, go visit say the Hilton / Mercedes and see how the premium brands play it.  Then say go visit a 3 Star hotel / Ford dealer and see the difference. Our businesses are no different and I hope this has provoked some kind thought.

Thank you from Edward Zia for taking the time to read this article.  Wishing you the best and maximum success out there!

From Ashes Part 1: Stuffing up my life and losing everything!

From Ashes: Never Stop Smiling!

From Ashes: Never Stop Smiling!

I have been working with some amazing people lately and this blog post I want to dedicate to two people, one of my old friends Theepan (who is now a big manager at the RTA “Sydney’s Road and Transit Authority) and this great man I met by the name of Luke Goodman – a rising mortgage broker based in Sydney.  I also want to mention my mum! Tiani who was there for me, when the cards were down too! I feel that these people are kindred spirits and can relate for sure!

I am 34 years old (turning 35 in June) and when I was about 28, I totally stuffed up my life and lost everything.  I was lucky not to be in any legal trouble and I kept my health which is good – but from a social, financial and career perspective I lost everything that I previous took for granted.

Like many it was around GFC time and as much as I want to blame it on an external event, it was my fault.  I grew up in the “milk and honey” days were the economies were growing and anyone could make money.  It gave me that “wealth creation / seminar / happy clappy / retarded” mindset that I can make millions in moments and I was spending money left right and centre on luxuries, bogus get rich quick schemes and luxuries that a man in his 20’s should not be buying.

Even though I was a Christian,  quit drinking (which I had some massive issues with) and I donated to the poor – I won’t lie to you, I had a sense of arrogance and would frequently put myself above others all the time.

Then I wasted tens of thousands on failed business ventures, stuffed up some relationships with fantastic women (one a long term one), quit my job only to move interstate and lose my own social network.  The GFC was at it’s peak then and I lacked necessary business skills then and I could get work!

I went from $120,000+ salaries to nothing – eventually found a job selling health goods in shopping malls for a measley $15 / hour.

If you know a bit about psychology, some of the pillars talk about “death” or “emotional ending”.  What this means is that throughout our lives, events (be it positive or negative) hit us which ends the person we are.  Positive examples can be having a child, a big promotion, getting a license or even making a big decision.

Negative examples are probably more common, divorce, death, injuries, sickness and the most common cliche is finding out as a child that “Santa Claus isn’t real”.

It’s basically an experience where your old self is gone and in the negative case, “from ashes” the new shall rise.

My own arrogance, stupidity and laziness got the better of me which led to my destruction. I got in a big trap of depression for a few months and to get me through the hard times, I actually turned to the Bible! Ha, what a religious nut I am – but it helped me survive and I have nothing but JC to thank for that one!

What losing everything and not being able to get that old job again like the old days taught me was to get over myself and get back on my feet.  I got some work that was rubbish compared to my 20’s peak which tied me over, but what I started appreciating was good friends.

The big thing I realized is the whole “from ashes” theme – I took me a while to accept it, but using a I suppose “city / nuclear war” analogy, my whole “planet” as I knew it was destroyed.  I had suffered many old times blues, but after a while (maybe about 3 – 6 months) I accepted that the old times were gone.

Continuing the nuclear war analogy, it was about pulling together what I had left and working out what to do next.  At the time and looking back, I coined it the “from ashes” part of my life.  To be frank, it was hard looking back there but as I am now “successful” business wise – I can reopen that book and not shudder at the horrors written on the pages.

Getting back on track was about me accepting my old planet was destroyed and with what I had left – rebuilding something new.  What I found amazing from this experience was this:

– Without destroying the old, I could not rebuild the new!

That is, my old-self HAD TO DIE. My old self wasn’t allowing me to experience the success I am lucky to enjoy now.  I am going to write much more about “from ashes” in coming posts, but I just wanted to say if you have stuffed up your life like I have – or you are in the process of it, please go easy on yourself! You stuffed it up and you can un-stuff it up! Just have faith, work ahead and pull together what you have left and figure out how to get back on track.

I am working with some amazing clients and people who are divorcing or have divorced and many are an example the human spirit. In some cases, they have no money, their children are taken, and they pay child support to a scenario where the other half is loaded!  The reverse is true, they are getting child support, but say the ex-husband is terrorizing them as much as “legally” possible.

I hope I never do experience that type of pain, but I can relate – they are truly great people who are really coming “from Aahes” and trying to re-take / re-build what they lost.

If you are doing it tough – I can relate! If I know you and we have spoken great, but if we don’t know each other and may never meet I just want to say this to you:

– I care for you whoever you are! I hope you are okay and please have faith and hang on! Life get’s tough sometimes, but you are tougher!

The Ups and Downs of being a Business Person!

Myself (Edward Zia) and Jenny Kuo, one fine business woman who witnesses my highs and lows often!

Myself (Edward Zia) and Jenny Kuo, one fine business woman who witnesses my highs and lows often!

This blog post I dedicate to the wonderful Jenny Kuo (from Sociable Space). She is this fine business woman who I originally hired to help me with her reputation marketing services over time.  On a funny note, she hired me right back and we have become personal friends over a short period of time.

In working with her on some quite intense projects, in a very short space of time we have both been through some big ups & downs together.  One thing I noticed about business (especially when one is starting up), is that in the early days the “high’s are high” and the “low’s are low”.

That is, many people (including me) felt like death warmed up the most of the time, you get a win and you feel euphoric – then say a bit later you all feel bummed out again not realizing your dreams the way you want!

Many say for business you need a “good mindset” and that I couldn’t agree more! If anything in looking back, technically and skill wise I am beyond question when it comes to marketing – but like many, my own personal mindset was always holding me back.

Without being too general, it was mostly:

– Feeling scared and pessimistic about the future.

– Being freaked out by so called “competition”

– Over-work and exhaustion and then “hitting the wall!”

As I write this article I am in the process of hiring staff to help me out in my business as I have just too much administration which is hurting me.  I work say a full day then have hours of administration when I get home which is just no good.  I have done some crazy hours this week, eaten so much junk food and today I feel like pure heck!

Jenny tends to watch me go through my “overwork” cycles and she always gives good commentary and trying to get me to slow down – she is right, but the problem of when your business is expanding is that you got to keep up the with it!

So the point of this article, I think is the highs and lows of business.  You are well rested, closed a client the day before and you feel awesome! Then the opposite, you lose a client, things are quiet, you are exhausted and physically sick and crash!

In watching Jenny do it, myself doing it, almost all of my clients doing it – and then meeting with clients while they are in the thick of it – it’s given me I think a new maturity on accepting the highs and lows of life! As Ralph Rintoule this fantastic property investor I work with says:

– “In life, S*$T happens, so get used to it!”

Great advice and great maturity! I think my personal experience from all this comes too:

– “You have rough days, rough weeks! But they don’t last forever!”.

So as I work away, I am eating vegetable soup – going to hit bed soon and make sure I am back on my game tomorrow!

Thank you for reading this too – very appreciated and you are welcome to drop me a line at edward@excellenceabove.com.au if you want to connect!

Our Passion and Love for Selling and Small Business Success!

Got to Love Selling! It makes Business Owners big Dollars!

Got to Love Selling! It makes Business Owners big Dollars!

I have had an amazing week and very blessed again to be working with 2 amazing business operators, Glenn Meilak (Definitive Wealth Management) and George Germanos (Alliance Accounting).

The boys have both built impressive businesses in the short space of about 2 years and its funny seeing them in action.  I have known plenty of business people doing exactly “the same thing” (e.g. Accounting and Financial Planning) to mostly not make it or have a marginal existence at best.

Glenn & George are sharp operators for sure and today we were talking about face to face selling! That is, like myself and many fine people I work with we are all nice people, technical experts and of course having to sell our services.

Being guilty of this myself, it can be easy to get involved in the detail of what we do and “temporarily forget” the importance of having to understand where our clients are at, what their hot buttons are and of course how to sell! After re-sparking these memories with George and Glenn today – it has motivated me to write a fine check list and guides for business owners wanting to brush up their selling:

– LISTEN – Always find out where people are at first!
– ENSURE – Before choosing to sell or push a point, make sure you know your product is just perfect for them!
– SUBTLE DISCUSSION – Most selling these days is not the old “Door to Door” days, but a subtle and friendly conversation leading people a certain way.
– TRANSPARENCY – No bull, the facts. This goes both ways, facts about what you do and facts about how awesome it is.
– DIRECTNESS – If your product is the best and they need it, you tell them that and you believe it!
– JUSTIFICATION – If you are charging $500 then have a great reason, $1000 a great reason, $100,000 a great reason! Whatever you charge, justify it fairly!
– ASK – Ask for the order or just get to work!

Depending on where you are it, this may be obvious or a revelation to you! One big thing that came to the surface is dealing with “price objection”. That is, there are two reasons that people object to price:

– They are just jerks.
– They aren’t convinced it’s worth that much.

Jerks are jerks, but don’t assume that! Always justify your price. For example, if you are say more expensive / premium than the rest of the market, you must know why! Then explain that in precise detail.

For example, my hourly rate is $250 / Hour + GST and I am sure there are plenty of marketing consultants around that will do it for $100 / hour or even less! So if I am head to head, why am I worth what I am charging if I get asked?

– Because I have almost 15 years of experience.
– It is a fair rate for my experience / reputation.
– My advice can save plenty of mistakes costing more than $250 / Hour!
– My advice has made other’s thousands of dollars, far in excess of it’s charge.

That is why I charge more! I rarely get confronted on this issue, but in the rare cases I do this is the standard answer. If I know I am perfect for them, then I go for it! If they don’t want to work with me great, but it won’t stop me making a HARD suggestion! As for you, if you are learning how to sell or dealing with price objections – really understand why you are brilliant and go hard for it! You never know who will hire you!

Hope you enjoyed this fine read and thank you for your attention! Of course if you are after some powerhouse Sales & Marketing Strategies – make sure you check out the Awesome Marketing Vault right here.

Thank you from Edward Zia and have a great day or night wherever you are!

Trading Introductions – Getting Big Referrals for Small Businesses!

Nothing like Politely asking for Introductions & Referrals!

Nothing like Politely asking for Introductions & Referrals!

A BIG thank you for this blog post goes to the fine Robert DelVecchio from IT Support Guys! He is this fine IT support guy based in the “Hills Shire” of Sydney, Australia.

While we were working together we talked about a powerhouse topic very close to my heart, being getting referrals through business networking! Most business networking groups (e.g. 4Networking, BNI, She, Success Womens etc) are mostly dominated by small business owners.  Why? They need to have their own support community and is a great opportunity to target fellow small business owners.

In my case, I have the luxury of of being “lazy” in that many of my potential clients are in the room – BUT, for quite a few they target larger businesses (say with at least 5 staff). In that case, it’s a bit harder and instead of say “selling to the room” we advise they characters to “sell through the room!”.

That is, instead of trying to do business (buying / selling) in the room, the goal is to build partners.  That is, friends they trust – preferably who share the same target market.

One amazing strategy many have used to make top dollars is what we call “introduction trading”, that is:

– They make friends and trust each other.

– Educate each other as to the type of clients.

– Sit down, go through each others databases.

– Work out who to introduce each other to who.

– They then do it!

A great approach may be do 5 x each with each other.  That is, give each other 5  introductions each to relevant people they can do business with! That is where the money is for many, as if you approach people from scratch it may take 3 – 6 months to get the sale (if ever!).

Through an introduction from a trusted source, it can turn into more “order taking”, that is rocking up to fulfil the order rather than sell hard!

So my advice, find a good friend and trade with them like this! Powerful!

Drop me a line for any success stories of if any questions at edward@excellenceabove.com.au – best of luck!

Thought Leadership, Yes Thought Leadership!

Thought Leadership - Well that's one way of getting attention, but perhaps tweak the approach on this one :)

Thought Leadership – Well that’s one way of getting attention, but perhaps tweak the approach on this one!

I had a fantastic day today, met with some totally awesome clients and one in particular was a fine gentleman by the name of Ciaran Keating from East Software.  This was right in the Sydney CBD and we enjoyed lots of fine coffee and food for a Friday morning.

We spoke for hours and hours at length and great minds think alike – we have a similar business strategy that we are pursuing called “thought leadership”.  I originally learnt this term some years ago through the Australian Marketing Institute and this is basically:

– Being known inside and outside your industry as a reputable leader and someone who sets the pace!

It’s my dream to be that myself and although the “kindling” of that process is there for me, it’s a far-cry from that! But still aiming for the stars I am!

Putting on my marketing mentor / consultant hat, this is quite different to what most people do. I am all for survival – but too many people I find go from month to month without any clear direction! Not good for anyone, people can get in ruts, make poor decisions (i.e. especially not saving up cash or not thinking ahead) and it’s bad! What I like about “thought leadership” is that beyond the cliche it actually get’s one thinking long term! It makes you think about your reputation and make more considered and intelligent decisions which I think it awesome.

For example, to become a thought leader there are probably hundreds of ways of doing it, but I think nothing beats the long hard grind. In my case, I am personally:

– Writing this blog post! Ha, I got you

– Networking like crazy.

– Speaking all over town.

– Going hard for my clients ALL THE TIME.

– LinkedIn, Facebook, Facebook Advertising.

– And many more!

I think the trick for this working is really considering, “What must I do to get that reputation that people look up to me?”. And of course, we are doing this for far beyond EGO reasons – Industry leaders usually get paid the most, so ha ha ha! Hope that helps and gets you thinking – I will have to write more on this topic!