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CMI Blog

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New Between Two Worlds Podcast Episode - Mike Walsh

By cmiadmin | Jul 26, 2016 | Comments Off

New Between Two Worlds Podcast Episode - Mike Walsh

Andy Stalman is an expert in launching and nurturing brands in Latin America. Author of “Brandoffon. Branding the Future” and CEO of Cato Partners Europe & LatAm, he also lectures as a visiting professor at a number of business schools and companies worldwide. We have spoken and shared meals together a number of times, from Bogota to Madrid, and I was keen to get his views on the challenges of engaging Hispanic consumers, as well as the secrets behind successful Spanish companies like Zara and Santander.

See more from Mike Walsh.

All Excuses are Equal - Ty Bennett

By cmiadmin | Jul 25, 2016 | Comments Off

All Excuses are Equal - Ty Bennett

Over 10 years ago we were a couple weeks away from our first child being born. I was busy growing our business and Sarah was getting everything ready at home.

I started the process of recruiting a new sales rep. We had a great discussion and he seemed like this could be a good fit.

The next day Sarah went into labor early and our daughter was born.

The whirlwind of our first baby took over. We were at the hospital making sure mother and baby were great. Then we brought her home and were trying to figure out what to do and how to do it.

It took me more than a week to get back to the sales rep I was trying to recruit. I told him that we had a baby and I was sorry for the gap in our conversations and then he very honestly said, “If you had called back last week, I was on board. But as time passed, I talked myself out of it.”

The takeaway for me was – “ALL EXCUSES ARE EQUAL:”

It doesn’t matter if you had a baby, or any other really great excuse. If it takes you away from your goal, in the end an excuse is an excuse.

In the world’s mind what matters is you get the job done.

I think it is a great lesson for all of us – All Excuses Are Equal

The Election Demonstrates Marketing Not Leadership - Ty Bennett

By cmiadmin | Jul 14, 2016 | Comments Off

The Election Demonstrates Marketing Not Leadership - Ty Bennett

trumpclinton-2-768x432Over the last six months I have had numerous leaders ask me “If you believe partnership is the new leadership then how do you explain Trump’s leadership success?”

I agree that Trump’s approach is not about partnership. He doesn’t focus on building relationships, investing in people or following nearly anything I teach to leaders in my books or speeches.

The error is in the assumption that the election is a demonstration of leadership – it’s not.

The Election demonstrates Marketing not Leadership.

Love him or hate him – what Trump has been is a good marketer.

So here is a quick three steps to marketing we can all learn from.

  1. He’s gained a lot of attention. That is the first thing you need to do to build a brand & stand out. The killer to a candidate or business for that matter is obscurity – remaining unknown.
  1. He’s differentiated himself through his positions & comments from all of his rivals. You may not like his approach or agree with his ideas but you can’t argue that he sounds the same as everyone else or that he is forgettable.
  1. He has created a message that answers – “What’s in it for me?” – Make America Great Again is a message that benefits the listener & resonates. Trump has been masterful at taking all topics & often crazy statements and quickly linking it to – that’s how we will Make America Great Again.

So to be clear – Trump hasn’t demonstrated great leadership. The Election demonstrates Marketing not Leadership.

But we can learn some keys to marketing from his election success no matter who you will be voting for come November.

High Touch Service for a High Tech World - Tim Sanders

By cmiadmin | Jul 14, 2016 | Comments Off

High Touch Service for a High Tech World - Tim Sanders

My neighbor Brian describes his bi-monthly meetings with his financial advisor, Ken, as “an oasis of conversation in a world of bite-sized thoughts.” Sometimes they discuss financial planning and other times they talk about current events. Over the last decade, Brian has embraced the digital information revolution, replacing store visits with Amazon.com sessions and finding many of his services online. His real estate broker, accountant and attorney communicate more over email these days than face to face. While digital technology is convenient, it lacks the human touch, especially when he has questions or customer service issues.

“Ken’s a throwback, that’s for sure,” he told me. “And I consider him an indispensible part of my life.” While Ken may be conducting analog business in a digital world, he’s also finding a way to stand out from a sea of financial planning services.

In 1995, MIT Media Lab founder Nicholas Negroponte declared, “That which can be digitized will be digitized.” Needless to say, he was right and here we are. But is it all for the better?

Several years ago, I partnered with the HeartMath Institute to survey thousands of people about their Internet use, quality of life and state of mind. The results were unsettling. We found that a high percentage of our respondents suffered from too much information and too little human interaction in the real world. The result was a condition we coined New Economy Depression Syndrome (NEDS). Complications include loss of sleep, anxiety and stress. Since then, Internet usage has skyrocketed due to mobile devices and pervasive WiFi availability.

Not only do consumers gravitate toward all things digital, but service providers are also seeking the efficiency of machine learning, bot-based service and automation to disrupt financial services. These “FinTech” innovations purport to be ushering in a golden era of convenience and consumer empowerment. But really, they increase the divide between people like Brian and Ken.

…the move to digital services likely creates an atmosphere of confusion and misunderstanding.

Financial services professionals have fallen prey to the allure of digital tools like email to extend their capabilities and save time. In 2012, Deeper Media polled financial advisors to measure their mix of communications with their clients (breaking it out into meetings, phone, email and text). Not surprisingly, email represented over half of all communications. Face-to-face meetings with clients were down, in some cases by half, due to increased workloads that advisors faced.

The problem with email is that it fails to communicate our intentions and convey any level of nuance. UC Berkeley professor Albert Mehrabian and his research team found that nothing creates clarity like one’s ability to see facial expressions and hear tone of voice. In other words, the move to digital services likely creates an atmosphere of confusion and misunderstanding. While email works for simple transactions like sending reports and updates, it’s no replacement for real-time or face-to-face conversations.

All of this presents an opportunity for financial advisors who w ant to break the digital chain and differentiate through high-touch services. Here are four ways to keep human-to-human contact front and center with your best clients:

• Warm up the channel whenever possible

Think of each of your communication channels like a cup of coffee. Email is cold, but efficient. Phone calls provide a warmer real-time interaction. Meetings present a piping hot opportunity to make deep connections. Track your interactions with clients, isolating those that need to move from email to phone or phone to in-person.

• Sell meetings and phone calls as high value interactions

One reason clients aren’t receptive to phone calls or meetings is their lack of a strong value proposition. Remember, the consumer seeks efficiency as much as — or more than — you do, so you need to convince them to take the time to talk or meet with you in order to warm up the channel. Don’t schedule vague “check-ins”; instead, offer learning sessions or personal coaching opportunities. When the call or meeting happens, make sure you bring an information gift to every interaction, and deliver a high “return on attention.”

• Listen more than you talk

A great way to build your personal brand of being a great conversational partner is to provide a sounding board to your clients. In The 8th Habit, Dr. Stephen Covey argues that one of our greatest needs in life is to be heard. We don’t want to be alone in our feelings and opinions, so those who listen well become our closest friends and partners. In my experience, I’ve found that if I talk 50 percent less in client meetings, my sales performance rises sharply because I discover more opportunities and, at the same time, produce more trust.

• Be available at the most personal level

The biggest problem with online services is that they are purely transactional. Email or chat conversations are solely focused on resolving the client’s issue as fast as possible. This is where the human touch can really differentiate. Your clients are real people with real problems, and when they reveal them to you in casual conversation, be willing to detour the conversation to the personal. In some cases, all you can do is provide encouragement, but in others, you may be able to offer a solution that goes beyond your product set or financial advice. You are a human being as well. It’s more than likely that your clients share a lot of the same kind of life experiences, and yours could easily influence theirs in a positive way. And in the process, your client comes to like you — and trust you — more than ever. That’s high touch.