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Are You Solving the Problem or Treating the Symptom?

diagnosis Picture yourself sitting in your doctor’s office. You feel terrible – so terrible that you finally went to get your doctor’s prognosis. Your doctor walks in, takes one look at you and tells you what’s wrong.

No questioning. No prodding. No poking. No cold stethoscope.

How much confidence would you have with your doctor’s diagnosis?

None at all, right?

Yet time and time again, we see this in the business world. Prescriptions are offered without a thorough diagnosis. So many times, we treat the symptoms of the problem, rather than solving the problem itself because we don’t take the time to discover the real problem.

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Ad hoc diagnosis cost this salesperson a client

We have a friend who sells television commercials. Recently, he told us about one of his new clients. This client had been running radio ads for his high-end grills. They didn’t work. So the radio salesperson put him on another station. That still didn’t work. So the guy switched to television.

Our friend produced a great ad showing people having fun around his client’s grills. Sales are booming! His client is thrilled!

But the radio salesperson missed an opportunity. By thoroughly diagnosing the situation, it could have been determined that the problem wasn’t the station, it was the message. Couldn’t you use sound effects to create a picture in the listeners mind? If you hear the sound of food on the grill, can you put yourself there? If you hear people having fun, do you want to join in?

The radio sales representative could have kept the client by thoroughly diagnosing the problem to come up with the right solution, instead of just trying something else (i.e. changing stations).

5 steps to diagnose the problem

With everybody looking for cost-effective solutions today, diagnostics are increasingly important. If you don’t get to the root of the problem when you prescribe a solution, you’ll damage relationships. So follow this simple five-step process to thoroughly diagnose the problem:

1. Ask probing questions

2. Listen
This is really part of the first step, but it’s so important that we felt it should be listed separately. Listen actively and attentively.

3. Clarify
Keep asking follow-up questions and making clarifying statements until you fully understand the issue. If your client offers a vague answer to your question, ask a question that digs deeper. Or repeat your client’s answer back in your own words. Now you’re ready to …

4. Define the problem

5. Offer the prescription
Now, and only now, are you ready to offer your solution to the underlying problem.

If you care about your clients, you will seek to build the relationship even if it’s not in your best interest today. Without question, it is in your best interest long-term.
 

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Next time, we’ll talk about tapping into your creativity this Halloween to have some bigg fun. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00249-102208.mp3

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Mixing Business with Pleasure

las_vegas
We took the Bigg Success Show on the road for today’s post. Here’s what we talked about on the show …

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We’re in the Bigg Success Mobile Studio, broadcasting to you from Las Vegas. We’re here for the New Media Expo, which started yesterday.

This is the fourth annual New Media Expo, but it’s only our second. Last year, when we attended, Bigg Success was just an idea. We had our name, an idea and some business cards – that was it!

Now we’re recording Show #200!!

What a difference a year makes!

This year, the New Media Expo is so much different for us. Last year, we were completely green. It seemed like we didn’t know the first thing about launching a site or doing an online show. We got back to our room every day just exhausted.

Thinking is hard work!

Just like last year, we’re splitting up because there are so many great sessions with fantastic speakers. We’re learning a lot about the business side of our online venture. 

A chance to connect … and reconnect

Just like last year, the fun and education doesn’t end with the daily sessions. Every evening, there’s a networking party or three. We’ve already made some new friends – people we admire who are doing great things. They gave us some great advice!

We’re also reconnecting with people we met last year, as well as meeting some people in person for the first time who we know from networking online.

All work and all play

We’ve said before that work – life balance doesn’t work for us. We do better integrating the two together.

That’s what we’re doing on this trip. When we booked it, we found out that it was a lot cheaper to fly out of Vegas two days later than we originally planned. So much cheaper in fact that it paid for our hotel!

So we took the cue – we’ve planned a little extra downtime into this trip. We have a couple of days after the conference just for fun. For time together away from work. Yet it’s because of our work that we’re able to do it.

We feel lucky to get to work together and play together. That doesn’t work for everyone, but it does work for us. That’s the important thing – find what works for you and go for it! 

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

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Warren Buffet’s Single Piece of Wisdom

A bigg salute to Josh Whitford, who writes the Unconventional Marketing blog, for inspiring today’s post.

Josh read the The 4-Hour Workweek, written by Tim Ferriss, and decided to accept the challenge to contact a famous person. Josh chose Warren Buffett.


He wrote a letter to Buffett asking him for “his single piece of wisdom” and sent it along with a self-addressed, stamped postcard. To Josh’s surprise, the Oracle of Omaha responded a couple of weeks later. Buffett simply said,

“Read, read, read.”

A typical Buffett answer – short and to the point!

It’s interesting advice because a poll by the Associated Press – Ipsos showed that one in four Americans hasn’t read a single book in the last year. At least, that’s how the news reported it – we look at that and see that three out of four Americans did read a book last year!

In fact, the last Gallup poll that we saw on this subject showed that over half of all Americans have read more than 5 books in the last year!

Read, read, read … for the sake of your career (and finances)

We hear about the “haves” and the “have nots”. A study by the National Endowment for the Arts [pdf] showed the impact of reading on a person’s well-being – reading less leads to lower reading proficiency which leads to fewer (and lower quality) career opportunities.

For example, according to the study, “Proficient Readers” are 2.5 times more likely than “Basic Readers” to earn at least $850 each week. This study also showed that 44% of Basic Readers lack a full- or part-time job, two times the percentage of Proficient Readers.

So, Warren Buffett said it well … read, read, read.

Read, read, read … to expand your imagination

"When I was young … okay I’d like to think I’m still young … so when I was younger, I used to just read non-fiction, and specifically books on business and investing. Then I took a literature class with a phenomenal professor – a short-story class. It made me use my imagination in a way I didn’t do when I just read books that I thought were more practical."

And as Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than intelligence.”

What’s nice about reading, rather than watching, is that you are the director. You create a vision of the story – the characters, the setting. 

 

"Just think about how many times you’ve read a book that gets turned into a movie. So you get all excited and go see the movie … and it’s not as good as the book! For me, a great example is Stephen King’s book, It. I scared myself more reading that book than watching the movie!"

It’s much more interactive mentally and the skills carry over to your professional life. 

A simple commitment to reading that’s worked better than a college degree
We have a friend who worked his way up in a small business. In fact, he ended up buying the business from the owner. After he bought it, he wished he would have gotten a college degree. But he didn’t have the time – he had a business to run!

So he made a commitment to himself – to read one business book every week. He reads the best sellers and he talks to friends for recommendations. He has that done for years now. He knows more about business than just about anybody we know.

Do-it-yourself knowledge … that’s what Warren Buffett is talking about.

What are you reading? 

Related posts

The Fastest Way to Learn (Re-learn)

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(Image by lusi)

Warren Buffet's Single Piece of Wisdom

A bigg salute to Josh Whitford, who writes the Unconventional Marketing blog, for inspiring today’s post.

Josh read the The 4-Hour Workweek, written by Tim Ferriss, and decided to accept the challenge to contact a famous person. Josh chose Warren Buffett.


He wrote a letter to Buffett asking him for “his single piece of wisdom” and sent it along with a self-addressed, stamped postcard. To Josh’s surprise, the Oracle of Omaha responded a couple of weeks later. Buffett simply said,

“Read, read, read.”

A typical Buffett answer – short and to the point!

It’s interesting advice because a poll by the Associated Press – Ipsos showed that one in four Americans hasn’t read a single book in the last year. At least, that’s how the news reported it – we look at that and see that three out of four Americans did read a book last year!

In fact, the last Gallup poll that we saw on this subject showed that over half of all Americans have read more than 5 books in the last year!

Read, read, read … for the sake of your career (and finances)

We hear about the “haves” and the “have nots”. A study by the National Endowment for the Arts [pdf] showed the impact of reading on a person’s well-being – reading less leads to lower reading proficiency which leads to fewer (and lower quality) career opportunities.

For example, according to the study, “Proficient Readers” are 2.5 times more likely than “Basic Readers” to earn at least $850 each week. This study also showed that 44% of Basic Readers lack a full- or part-time job, two times the percentage of Proficient Readers.

So, Warren Buffett said it well … read, read, read.

Read, read, read … to expand your imagination

"When I was young … okay I’d like to think I’m still young … so when I was younger, I used to just read non-fiction, and specifically books on business and investing. Then I took a literature class with a phenomenal professor – a short-story class. It made me use my imagination in a way I didn’t do when I just read books that I thought were more practical."

And as Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than intelligence.”

What’s nice about reading, rather than watching, is that you are the director. You create a vision of the story – the characters, the setting. 

 

"Just think about how many times you’ve read a book that gets turned into a movie. So you get all excited and go see the movie … and it’s not as good as the book! For me, a great example is Stephen King’s book, It. I scared myself more reading that book than watching the movie!"

It’s much more interactive mentally and the skills carry over to your professional life. 

A simple commitment to reading that’s worked better than a college degree
We have a friend who worked his way up in a small business. In fact, he ended up buying the business from the owner. After he bought it, he wished he would have gotten a college degree. But he didn’t have the time – he had a business to run!

So he made a commitment to himself – to read one business book every week. He reads the best sellers and he talks to friends for recommendations. He has that done for years now. He knows more about business than just about anybody we know.

Do-it-yourself knowledge … that’s what Warren Buffett is talking about.

What are you reading? 

Related posts

The Fastest Way to Learn (Re-learn)

Read a Business Book Every Week

(Image by lusi)