Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A shift from Tuesdays to Thursdays

Dear La Douceur Letter Subscribers:

To insure a higher quality product, the delivery day for the La Douceur Letter is moving from the Second and Fourth Tuesday of each month to the Second and Fourth Thursday.

This shift permits us greater time in our company's workflow to craft a document worthy of your time and attention and which is in keeping with our high standards.
The upcoming edition has several interesting stories, including the wrap up of our Speaker Spotlight with Michael Wickett, our continuing series on database business intelligence and more. We also welcome your contributions, especially if you are conducting public presentations and events, releasing new materials or have news of interest to your peers.

I invite you to tune by our ON THE DEAN'S LIST podcast on Wednesday July 24th to hear keynote speaker and sales trainer Don Zavis.  Don and I have been friends for several years now, and I assure you that we will have a presentation that is informative, insightful and entertaining. Click here at 11 AM to hear us LIVE or any time after then to enjoy us in the archives:  http://bit.ly/1c0K4DN

Look forward to having our newsletter in your inbox on Thursday, July 25th .

Best Regards Always,

W. Dean La Douceur, MBA
The La Douceur Letter
a service of Dean's List Publishers

On The Web - 7/9/13

Reputation Management

Howard Bragman from Reputation.com and  Fifteen Minutes Public Relations talks about the celebrity double standard. A must read for anyone who chooses to be high profile in their speaking and training:  http://linkd.in/10ILiyG


Through his best-selling books and speeches, Og Mandino deeply touched the lives of many men and women. His wife Bette and Dave Blanchard have created a coaching business model worthy of your review and consideration:  http://bit.ly/12fRyir

In Your Ears

All speakers need to be lifelong learners. Seth Godin talks about the power of audio books and has a link to his all-time favorites: http://bit.ly/183ZCXX

Off The Bookshelf

Peter Daniels is one of my favorite speakers. The Australian entrepreneur and presenter always had the right mix of humor, content and wisdom that drew me back every time he was in town.  His book, The Awesome Power of Public Speaking, details his secrets and insights from the front of the room:  http://amzn.to/13wt2fO

On The Dean's List

On a recent episode of my ON THE DEAN'S LIST Podcast, Sharon O'Dell talked about Gamification. This is a powerful technique on how to engage audiences, direct people through a learning process and keep them as loyal supporters.  As speakers, trainers and marketers, using this technology is an important arrow to have in one's quiver.  Learn how to do it right and avoid mistakes in doing so.  http://www.blogtalkradio.com/onthedeanslist/2013/06/19/sharon-odell 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

You are only as smart as your business intelligence

You are only as smart as your business intelligence.

As a speaker, trainer, consultant or expert, you need to get serious about an effective system of business intelligence. Your decisions severely affect your future, whether you realize it or not.

Business intelligence is the reservoir of all the data you have that will tell you why this person is a prospect or client for your products and services or serves as referral source.  As a reservoir keeps a community hydrated and growing by supplying its need for water, your business intelligence reservoir will do the same for your career.

Business intelligence is as valuable as cash and lines of credit in the new economy.  You will be left stranded and broke on the other side of the digital divide if you fail to maintain an effective system of technology based business intelligence.

Business intelligence is also critical for use with various social media platforms.  Each time you join a new site, the first task you’re asked is to upload your email list. Why clutter this with contacts just for the sake of having contacts?  A better use of the site is to upload a list of target prospects and clients from your business intelligence database. Then, use the site as another method of direct communications about your expertise, your training and your ideas and insights.

Notice I never say “a mailing list.”

Mailing lists can be drawn from your business intelligence database. You can develop and segment various lists to target customers, buying habits, areas of interest, geography and other factors. A targeted list acts like a red hot, focused laser that hits the target at which you aim. A bad mailing list shoots like a shot gun blast in any general direction.  It may hit some of your targets, but also wastes resources, effort and fire power.  Experience shows marketing to a tight list of two to three hundred people who make the purchasing decisions about who to use is more effective than telling twenty thousand people in hopes that two hundred people will then consider using you.

The Power from Knowledge

Speaker and bestselling author Harvey McKay is famous for touting this principle. In a recent blog post, he said:

 At Mackay Envelope Company, you wouldn't believe how much we know about our customers. The IRS wouldn't believe how much we know about our customers. All our salespeople on our staff fill out a 66-question profile of each one of their customers. We're not talking about the customer’s taste in envelopes, either … When you know your customers, some of their special interests or characteristics; you always have a basis for contacting and talking to them.
From: http://bit.ly/14GiOWX

What should I do?
Like fitness goals, you need to set business intelligence goals and objectives and then develop the similar habits and discipline you have to have with a fitness regimen in order to achieve them.

Look at your past experiences.  Right now, you fall into one of four categories:

You don't do this and know you should;
You do this and haven’t seen the success you’d like;
you do this and have demonstrated some success; or
you do this and want strategies to improve your results.

Next, look at your method of contact.  Is your ‘system’ really just using your base email program?  Have you ever used a next step solution, like Send out Cards, Constant Contact, Mail Chimp or Eventbrite?  Do you have a contact management system or CRM software?  Learn how to work with these tools. It is key in achieving the specific results you seek.  Get it all working together in a program of database marketing to achieve the results you want.

You always want contacts to be interested in receiving information from you. It is seen as a natural extension of your relationship. This makes for higher readership and greater response rates. Every time someone hands you a business card when networking, ask them for permission to stay in contact.  Learn to qualify these cards for their future potential.  What is a reasonable expectation from this person in terms of need of speaking, training, consulting or other services?    A common mistake many make is asking someone to “borrow” the list that they have compiled. Don’t ever use someone else’s lists.  People who don’t want this will see it as spam.  You will lose valuable credibility.

Many people also have sign up pages on their social media pages or web sites, which collect interested subscribers.   They offer incentives such as audio recordings or special reports for exchanging this information.  This can be a powerful method for increasing your business intelligence database into a global list.

You can improve in your effective use of business intelligence and database marketing for greater success in converting your prospects into clients and customers in to repeat business. In upcoming La Douceur Letters, I will outline the process of how to produce the greatest amount of return on your investment with the least amount of effort possible.

-- WDL

Speaker Spotlight: Michael Wickett

Michael Wickett, Wickett Corporate Training

“After 15 years of hearing all the great speakers, the two best speakers in America are Zig Ziglar and Michael Wickett.”
--  Dan Strutzel,  Vice President of Nightingale-Conant, the world's largest producer and publisher of personal development products and services.

After thirty years of speaking and training, Michael Wickett is considered one of the top speakers, trainers and seminar leaders in the industry.

Wickett is known for both his sales and communications skills training, as well as his presentations on such topics as goals, visualization and forgiveness.  He has recorded well over 20 different audio programs on success, the most of anyone in the world. His signature program, It’s All Within Your Reach, played on American Airlines flights around the world for over a year.  Wickett also recorded the world’s first complete forgiveness program, Forgive and Be Free.

In part one of this two part exclusive interview, Wickett reflects on his career and the lessons he’s learned in hopes of sharing these thoughts and insights with the next generation of speakers, trainers and presenters.  He also shares candidly his opinions about two of the other big names in the profession, Zig Ziglar and Dr. Wayne W. Dyer.

DL:     Thank you Michael for your help and support in launching The La Douceur Letter. Our core audience is composed of both people who aspire to be speakers, trainers and presenters, as well as those who have been in the industry for some time.  Let me start by asking you, what do you feel is the most important idea or suggestion that you would give someone to improve their skills?

MW:    Speaking is really an art form.  The payoffs are enormous.  You can be extremely well paid. You can earn a substantial living.  You can make great connections by being an impactful speaker.  But if you are really going to go into it, you need to work with a coach with a wonderful reputation as an outstanding speaker.

DL:      I know we hear about the value of coaching for athletes and performers. Talk to me about the value of a coach for a speaker.

MW:   I’ve had ten coaches. Each of them had different strengths and I made it a point to listen to them live or work with their books and recordings.  As a result, my presentations became more and more impactful, people loved my storytelling which I learned from working with others, and I was able to generate a prosperous career as a result.

DL:     And so, you are now offering all this wisdom and experience as a coach yourself?

MW:   I have actually done speaker coaching for many years.  As one of the highest rated speakers in America, I can help speakers become dynamic on the platform and develop an extraordinary reputation. This ultimately leads to more bookings and greater demand for their services.  I also know how to help my clients produce highly profitable products with this much experience. This is a critical part of the speaking industry as well.

DL:    As someone who has spoken in front of hundreds of thousands of people, what do you see as the key to an effective talk?

MW:   When an effective talk is your objective, you have to be able to get favorable attention.

DL:     Talk about that. What do you mean by ‘gaining favorable attention.’?

MW:  You have to get in people’s mind; the subconscious mind thinks 40, 50 maybe 60,000 thoughts a day.  People are preoccupied all the time.  You have to get people off all the issues of their life and into your message.  There are six different ways to get favorable attention. People have to learn what they are.

DL:     Many people who are successful sales professionals feel that they can just segue into speaking and training as a result of their sales success.  Having been successful yourself at both, what do you see as the important distinctions between speaking and selling.

MW:   Dale Carnegie said “exemplum docet”  or “The example teaches.”  So you have to have very specific, crystal clear examples in order to be a better communicator.

The highest paid, hard work in the world is professional selling and yet, eighty percent of the people don’t do it very well.  You have to learn how to use very specific illustrations. For example, you have to use very specific examples to eliminate doubt or to demonstrate the value you offer.  Selling and communicating is an art form.  Most people don’t do it very well. It doesn’t mean they’re not nice people or they don’t have good intentions.  There are people in my own life who are not great listeners.  They talk and talk and talk and talk. When it comes to selling, the most important thing is to get feedback on what the other person is challenged with or what the other person is missing, wants to accomplish or needs most.  Listening is a real art form.

DL:    Sales people have to listen that’s the main difference. So as a speaker, you’re selling your wisdom, your thoughts, and your ideas to others. Do good sales people also make good speakers?

MW:  Not necessarily.  I have some friends that are number one in America in their field. One is a great speaker, but the others are not. Speaking is very different than when you’re selling. You’re selling to one or two people … maybe a small committee.   As a speaker, you could be in front of hundreds of people.  Capturing their attention is much more challenging.  I have seen some very famous speakers who got initial attention because they were famous, but they didn’t get the attention based on what they said.  I have also seen very famous speakers get off course and ramble on with advice.  Again, it’s the example that teaches and not your advice as a rule.

DL:    What sort of a mental check list should someone put themselves through if they are considering this as a profession?

MW:  First, we connect with stories.  So, which stories are going to most going to impact the audience?  My rule of thumb is if I love the story, I’ll tell it.  If I don’t love the story or the illustration it makes, I won’t tell it. It doesn’t matter if it’s about a famous person or the publication the story came from. You know that from working with me.  If I really like the story, I’m glad to tell it.  One of my ground rules is be very cautious about telling stories about famous people, like Donald Trump or Mary Kay Ash, because 90% of the audience can not relate to them.  You want to talk about really relevant, believable stories that the vast majority of the audience can relate to.

         Number two, be very cautious with humor.  Sometimes people tell jokes and they are not funny at all. You have to make sure the mantle of humor has descended upon you, as I heard someone once say about the use of humor in presentations.

          Third, you need a very strong opening. You need to have a very strong close … especially a very strong close. You want to make learning easy. Human memory isn’t really all that great after a month.  I saw a statistic that people retain less than 10% a month later. So you don’t want your audience to retain less than 10% of what you told them or what you were paid to show them. You want to reinforce it with a hand out.  I use a 4” x 6” card and I put down the three or four most important action steps.  You want to make learning and retention as easy as possible.

 It’s all about them and it’s not about us.  That’s why gestures are not the most important thing. Looking appropriate is important. You can be beautifully dressed and still not engage the audience.

DL:    While you have received many great accolades and acknowledgements over your career, the quote from Dan Strutzel of Nightingale Conant about you and Zig has to be up near the top.  Who do you consider the top speakers?

MW:  I think Zig was brilliant. I really believe that he was the best speaker in the world. I think however he made a major mistake.  He talked about his religious beliefs.  I heard Zig said that on many occasions, and I saw people get up and  walk out.  They didn't come to a business meeting to have religious beliefs looking for someone to proselytize to them.  I respect whatever people want to believe and if you're in  your church, that’s fine. If you're in a business meeting with managers, leaders and owners; they might not want to hear that your specific religious belief is the only thing that’s right and true.  That’s the mistake that he made.

          My personal favorite is a man named W Mitchell.  Do you know his story, Dean?

DL:    Yes I do. He overcame great personal adversity.  He endured a major motorcycle crash where he was burned over 90% of his body; and then experienced a crash in an airplane which he was piloting and was confined to a wheelchair. It is truly a story of overcoming adversity.  I met him at a convention of the National Speakers Association.

MW:  I thought he was a brilliant speaker. I heard him speak several times.  I was on the platform with him once.  He engaged an audience as well as anyone I’ve ever seen.  He spoke from a wheelchair, and that’s a huge attention getter.  I just thought he was wonderful. I don’t know if I would have the sense of humor he had in that situation.  Part of his charm was the humor he had about the way he looked.   Mark Victor Hansen and Jack Canfield are also were brilliant in their story telling.

DL:   Who inspired you in the early days?   Who did you see and think, “I could do that.”

MW:  Zig Ziglar and Wayne Dyer.  In 1980, I had only been in the speaking business one month and I was asked to introduce Wayne Dyer at Ford Auditorium, which I did.  It was his “Your Erroneous Zones” talk.  At the beginning, I thought Wayne was great. That’s before he headed in so many different directions.  In my opinion, this literally lost half his core audience.  He did an however do an extraordinary film, The Shift , about one’s direction  and meaning  which was captured at a retreat center on the Pacific Ocean.

DL:      So, speakers need to stay on message?

MW:  Absolutely. On several occasions, I have heard many famous speakers wander all over the map in a sixty minute talk. I once heard speaker Bob Richards, who was coaching a former Miss America on speaking. He told her, “You need to have a whole series of stories that support your point and not wander all over.”  I feel it is the power of specificity that makes you as a speaker. You have to share stories that support your main point.

In part two of the next La Douceur Letter, Michael details more about the critical mistakes that speakers make when working with corporate decision makers and how to overcome them, who he feels is the greatest seminar leader ever and offers more practical insights on how to move your career forward in powerful and dynamic ways.

PUBLISHERS NOTE: Michael Wickett is available for individual coaching on speaking and training and has several programs available on both CD and DVD.  For more information on his products and services, contact him directly at michaelwickett@yahoo.comand indicate your interest and objectives. Included your full contact information and he will return your message.