Focus on the Most Fascinating Thing

By Jeff Beals

What’s your area of self marketing expertise?

Not sure what that means? Well, you have one, but it’s possible you haven’t isolated and cultivated it yet.

Before defining “area of self marketing expertise,” allow me share how I unwittingly stumbled into one years ago at a cocktail party.

“You’re in real estate; you’ll know,” my friend said with an inquisitive look on his face. “What company is moving into that big office building under construction along the freeway?”

This was a problematic question for me, because I hadn’t even noticed the office building under construction along the freeway.

It was 2001, and I had just left a position in college administration for a brand-new career in commercial real estate. After two weeks on the job, I went to a party where three separate people asked me questions about office buildings, retailers and condominium construction. I must have sounded pretty stupid, because I had trouble answering all of them.

I had spent my first two weeks on the job diligently learning about the legal, technical and even mathematical aspects of real estate. But at the party, nobody wanted to know the boring stuff. They wanted to talk about the sexy, glamorous side of the industry.

Something suddenly became quite clear: It wasn’t enough to become technically proficient in my new trade. I had to become an expert on those things related to commercial real estate that were most fascinating to people outside the profession.

I made a commitment to become an expert on the most interesting aspects. I studied the local marketplace. I read every magazine, newspaper and website I could find that related to construction, real estate, business expansion and economic development. I became the “Cliff Clavin” of growth and development in my town.

Armed with a collection of eyebrow-raising stats and trivia, I had something to talk about at social gatherings. Better yet, I had material to pitch to the local media, allowing me to become a go-to source. Community groups booked me as a luncheon speaker, and I even started an economic development radio talk show. All of this public exposure was good for business.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but I accidentally discovered an “area of self marketing expertise.” Everyone is hopefully an expert in his or her profession, but an area of self marketing expertise is quite different. It consists of the most fascinating aspects of your job, company or industry.

So, what’s your area of self marketing expertise?

If you’re not sure, sit down with a few friends and explain what you do. Ask them what they find most interesting. Take notes.

Once you have decided on your area of self marketing expertise, think about how you will communicate it in an intriguing way. When that’s mastered, it’s time to put your area of self marketing expertise to work for you. Use it at networking events, in newsletter articles, in public speaking, when dealing with the press and in your social media postings.

Professionals who have well defined and carefully crafted areas of self marketing expertise will ultimately be more successful, because they never run out of interesting things to talk about. An area of self marketing expertise becomes a magnet, attracting people to you.

When people are dazzled by what you have to say, they’ll be more than happy to hire you when they need help with the more technical and “boring” aspects of your profession.

*****

You are welcome to forward this article (with author citation) to friends, colleagues, clients or anyone else who might benefit from it.

Jeff Beals delivers presentations to a wide variety of audiences nationwide. Presentations are adapted to fit your organization’s goals and can be keynote speeches (30 to 90 minutes) or workshops (two to four hours) covering the following topics: 
  1. “Self Marketing Power: Branding Yourself as a Business of One”
  2. “Tons of Room at the Top: the Attitude of Success”
  3. “National Signing Day: What All Professionals Can Learn from College Football”
These presentations are energetic, humorous and packed full of valuable information. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or call (402) 637-9300.

Relationships Keep You Going at the Speed of Business

By Jeff Beals
 
A construction executive was talking to me recently about how the job-bidding process has changed in his industry. It used to be that a company would announce plans to build a building before hiring a general contractor. The construction company would then make contact with the owner and try to win the business. That is no longer the case.
 
Nowadays, as soon we hear the first wisp of a rumor about a new building project, chances are the entire construction team is already in place. The successful construction company is the one that builds relationships and discusses ideas with real estate developers long before anyone puts pencil to paper. To win contracts, construction companies need to be marketing themselves and aggressively going after business before developers are even imagining their projects.
 
In business, relationships are more important today than ever. Successful professionals build relationships constantly, but you must be patient, because sometimes it takes a long time before a given relationship puts dollars in your pocket.
 
Long-standing relationships are particularly hard to break, which is why they are so valuable.
 
For seven years, I taught a real estate sales-and-leasing course at my local university.  I would tell the students to build new relationships deliberately and actively, but that they can’t expect every relationship to bear fruit immediately.
 
One of my former students, a very talented one, earned her real estate license and affiliated with a local brokerage company. She was from a prominent family, was active in the community and had a large network of friends. She was dismayed on two separate occasions when a relative and a friend chose NOT to use her as their real estate agent.
 
You see, these people had bought and sold houses before and chose to keep their former real estate agents. Why? Those agents had performed well and had built business relationships that were too strong for the unproven newbie to break.  My former student was persistent. She marketed herself to everyone she knew and to thousands of people she had never met. A year later, she had built plenty of relationships and was closing deals.
 
Sometimes you can become so busy working, pleasing the boss, satisfying your investors and taking care of existing clients, that you forget to build new relationships and foster underdeveloped relationships that could blossom with a little tender loving care. 
 
We are operating in a highly competitive, fast-paced, global economy that doesn’t take time to stop and smell the roses. In such an environment, we must foster relationships constantly in order to avoid being trampled underfoot.
 
You are welcome to forward this article (with author citation) to friends, colleagues, clients or anyone else who might benefit from it.
 
Jeff Beals delivers presentations to a wide variety of audiences nationwide. Presentations are adapted to fit your organization’s goals and can be keynote speeches (30 to 90 minutes) or workshops (two to four hours) covering the following topics: 
  1. “Self Marketing Power: Branding Yourself as a Business of One”
  2. “Tons of Room at the Top: the Attitude of Success”
  3. “National Signing Day: What All Professionals Can Learn from College Football”
These presentations are energetic, humorous and packed full of valuable information. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or call (402) 637-9300.

Think What Nobody Has Thought: 10 Ways You Can Be More Creative

By Jeff Beals

Back in 1866, a 19-year-old man in Louisville, Kentucky purposely requested the overnight shift when he accepted a new job working on the Associated Press news wire. The typically quiet wee hours of the morning allowed him plenty of time to do what he truly enjoyed: reading, imagining and testing his new ideas.

One evening he got a little carried away. The curious young man was working with a lead-acid battery when he spilled sulfuric acid onto the floor. It ran between the floorboards and onto the boss’s desk downstairs. The next morning he was promptly terminated.[1]

In retrospect, the whole world should be thankful he was fired, for that young man was Thomas Edison, who would go on to become one of the world’s most prolific inventors. Few people in history have done more to improve the human condition.

Edison’s creativity earned him a personal fortune and helped turn America into a world power. While creativity was important in the 19th Century, it’s immeasurably more important in today’s complex, global economy. Have you ever thought about how you could achieve more success by leveraging your creative abilities?

To help you get your creative juices flowing, here are my “Top 10 Ways to Be More Creative”:

1. Curiously explore your world – creative people never stop asking questions.
2. Be a well-rounded generalist – even if you have a specialized job, learn about other professions and avocations. Keep up-to-date with the world around you.
3. Spend time with someone from outside your industry – imagine how that industry’s practices can be transferred to yours.
4. Exercise & eat a healthy diet – releasing those endorphins helps you conjure up new ideas while good nutrition keeps your brain healthy.
5. Mentally exercise – puzzles, quizzes, games and mind-mapping help you condition your brain for idea formulation.
6. Do something artistic – this is especially important if you work in a technical, analytical or highly quantitative field.
7. Fear only fear itself – consider your risks to be opportunities. Many of the world’s most successful people have failed before getting it right.
8. Tolerate ambiguity – if your life is too administered and oppressively structured, you are less likely to encounter an “aha” moment.
9. Avoid anti-creativity traps – group-think and excessive rationalization kill creativity.
10. Use props – when trying to come up with new ideas, randomly gather a handful of physical objects and imagine how they could relate to your problem or question. Write down your ideas – even the silly ones. After a while, you just might come up with the perfect solution.

The Hungarian-born, Nobel Prize-winning scientist Albert Szent-Gyorgyi once said, “Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.” Now is the time to look at YOUR business/job/life and start thinking what nobody else has thought.

[1] Baldwin, Neal (1995). Edison: Inventing the Century. Hyperion.

You are welcome to forward this article (with author citation) to friends, colleagues, clients or anyone else who might benefit from it.

Jeff Beals delivers presentations to a wide variety of audiences nationwide. Presentations are adapted to fit your organization’s goals and can be keynote speeches (30 to 90 minutes) or workshops (two to four hours) covering the following topics: 
  1. “Self Marketing Power: Branding Yourself as a Business of One”
  2. “Tons of Room at the Top: the Attitude of Success”
  3. “National Signing Day: What All Professionals Can Learn from College Football”
These presentations are energetic, humorous and packed full of valuable information. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or call (402) 637-9300.