Practice management: Clear your head

In my firm, we call our limiting beliefs "Head Trash." Limiting beliefs are like little recordings that play in our heads over and over. Without realising it, we allow them to drive our behaviour and even hinder our success. Following are some methods you can employ to build a culture of creativity and innovation.

Wednesday, August 27th 2008, 10:33AM
Head trash 1: Client presentations and proposals should be conservative
Rethink your tired and boring proposals. Your client's or prospect's comments should dictate the overall theme of your work. Remember, buyers seek an "experience" with us.

In one proposal, we used the company's founding year (1956) to create a theme. The hit movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers premiered in 1956. We used the movie poster for our cover and 1956 cars -even pictures of their town in the 1950s - to present our points. We were later told that our proposal was the only one taken immediately to the CEO for review because it was so imaginative.

Head trash 2: Good service distinguishes us from competitors

Good service is just the price for admission in the sophisticated markets we serve. Explore the potential for quantifiable value to the customer. What are your agency's statistics? What do you measure and report to your clients? If a journalist came to inquire about the vital statistics of your firm to be published in the pages of your local business journal, what would they write?

Head trash 3: People don't change
People only change for two reasons: The current situation is intolerable, or the potential situation is irresistible.

Determine the motivators of change in your prospects and clients. Make sure you are not limiting your business growth to only those prospects whose current situation is intolerable.

Intolerance is one formula for getting hired, but how often have you heard a prospective client tell you, "We already have a broker, and he/she does a good job"? This type of head trash can cause you to walk away from the client without giving some consideration to the irresistibility factor.

Head trash 4: Any sale is a good sale
Nine years ago, I realised that my eight best customers were literally subsidising the losses of 102 bad sales. We made a decision to stop pursuing sales to clients who did not appear to have the probability of remaining our client for a goal of seven years. We defined our ideal customers and changed our producer compensation plan to financially reward sales to our ideal customers, while dramatically reducing the compensation for non-ideal customer sales.

Today, we have fewer than 100 clients under management, but each one generates at least $30,000 in annual compensation to the firm. In short, we decided what we were passionate about and then identified the ideal customer to fit that mold - not the other way around.

Once we begin to question our limiting beliefs, new ideas and innovations blossom. Challenge yourself and your staff to examine their beliefs. You'll be astounded at what is revealed. Only then can we begin the process of unraveling the real truth and turning all of our head trash into unlimited opportunities.

Practice management: Becoming a business »

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