Get ready for the Meeting

Back in 1994 I attended a Tony Robbins seminar. It was held at the Navy Pier in Chicago. Five or six hours into the session, Tony had us in a state where he could ask these two questions: “Think about something you always wanted to do, but for some reason, you never did it. Write it down.” Then, “Think about something you always wanted to have, but for some reason, you never bought. Write it down as well.” Within six months I earned my private pilot’s license. Six months after that I owned a single-engine Cessna and had earned my instrument rating. Now that’s what I call motivation. Thanks,  again, Tony.

But Tony didn’t just motivate the audience. He gave us some real business value.  Here is something I learned that day and have used dozens of times since: BEND-WIMP.

Tony explained that when meeting with an important executive for the first time, we need to have a pretty comprehensive understanding of who they are and what’s on their mind. BEND-WIMP is an acronym for Tony’s checklist.  Here it is:

B – Beliefs. What are the person’s beliefs about you, your company, your product? It would be really helpful to know that before you meet the person.

E – Evaluate. How does the person evaluate? Gut feel? Dependence on a recommendation from a trusted advisor? What questions might they ask?

N – Needs. What are their business needs? What will enable them to achieve their business plan?

D – Desire. What do they want on a personal level? (I think about Larry Ellison and the America’s Cup.)

W – Wounds. Where have they gone off the track. Mistakes, errors in strategy, execution, judgment? What subjects should you stay away from discussing?

I – Interests. What are their personal interests? What common ground might you have with them?

M – Mentors.  Who are their mentors? Whose books do they read? What business leaders do they emulate? I won a new customer years ago because I found out that the CEO had all his people read Who Moved the Cheese? I read the book on the plane on the way to the sales call.

P – Proud. What are they proud of? Accomplishments, big wins, etc.?

LinkedIn, which wasn’t around in 1994, is a great tool for executing your BEND-WIMP process. I find people in my network who have worked directly or even several levels down from my targeted executive. As I fill in my checklist, a clear picture of that person emerges. I’m sure you can imagine how much more effective than an ad-hoc Internet search this process is.


For start-ups: Best Interview technique

Eventually, almost every interview turns into a question-and-answer session. You ask a question. The candidate answers as you check a mental tick-box (good answer? bad answer?).

You quickly go to the next question and the next question and the next question, because you only have so much time and there’s a lot of ground to cover because you want to evaluate the candidate thoroughly. The more questions you ask, the more you will learn about the candidate.

Or not.

Sometimes, instead of asking questions, the best interviewing technique is to listen slowly.

In Change-Friendly Leadership, management coach Rodger Dean Duncan describes how he learned about listening slowly from PBS NewsHour anchor Jim Lehrer:

Duncan: He urged me to ask a good question, listen attentively to the answer, and then count silently to five before asking another question. At first that suggestion seemed silly. I argued that five seconds would seem like an eternity to wait after someone responds to a question. Then it occurred to me: Of course it would seem like an eternity, because our natural tendency is to fill a void with sound, usually that of our own voice.

Lehrer: If you resist the temptation to respond too quickly to the answer, you’ll discover something almost magical. The other person will either expand on what he’s already said or he’ll go in a different direction. Either way, he’s expanding his response, and you get a clear view into his head and heart.

Duncan: Giving other people sufficient psychological breathing room seemed to work wonders. When I bridled my natural impatience to get on with it, they seemed more willing to disclose, explore, and even be a bit vulnerable. When I treated the interview more as a conversation with a purpose than as a sterile interrogation, the tone of the exchange softened. It was now just two people talking…

Listening slowly can turn a Q&A session into more of a conversation. Try listening slowly in your next interviews. (Not after every question, of course: Pausing for five seconds after a strictly factual answer will leave you both feeling really awkward.)

Just pick a few questions that give candidates room for self-analysis or introspection, and after the initial answer, pause. They’ll fill the space: with an additional example, a more detailed explanation, a completely different perspective on the question.

Once you give candidates a silent hole to fill, they’ll fill it, often in unexpected and surprising ways. A shy candidate may fill the silence by sharing positive information she wouldn’t have otherwise shared. A candidate who came prepared with “perfect” answers to typical interview questions may fill the silence with not-so-positive information he never intended to disclose.

And all candidates will open up and speak more freely when they realize you’re not just asking questions–you’re listening.



Here is how I set-up my own Business

There’s no age limit to start dreaming about your own business and making the dream come true.
Since my masters in business administration got completed , I was also willing to do something at my own but did not have any knowledge regarding  business procedures and funding even after knowing the scope of my business.

One day I got introduced to the team of Business Plan Writers US for their services of Business plan writing, presentation and proposal submission to investors network , That looked perfect to me according to my need, still I was not sure if putting the mentioned amount of money would deploy the satisfactory results or not. from the initial requirement gathering till the complete report submission, I must say the team was supportive to me and great on business plan due to their experts knowledge f financial analysis, market watch and marketing strategies.

The business plan i received from them was such wao that I almost became sure to get funding on it plus it included my coming years operational and business strategies, smart enough. I must therefore say, if you are a start-up looking for business plan, funding or bank loan and feasibility plan; the best solution is available at Business Plan Writers US.

Business Plan Writers US have worked for more than 650 business to help obtain funding. they do not provide start-up business written plans and funding as well complete consultancy for law related matters, infrastructure, Technology solutions as well as digital and conventional branding.

You may reach them on following email address: info@businessplanwriters.usor visit their website :

Custom Business Plan writing from top Business Consultants

Today, starting or sustaining a business requires more market watch than before. In order to obtain business capital funding, set targets and measure feasibility of business; companies require business plans along with market analysis and projected financials.

Business Consultant Reviews have decided to review some of the business writing services provider for our reader’s guidance in obtaining professional services at startup. One of the ventures under review is Business Plan Writers US that is based at California, USA having team of professional researcher and writers committed to deliver the best solutions.  They have already served more than 175 businesses in business plan writing and fund acquiring; some of them also obtained their IT services and solutions.

In order to measure with their excellence of services and quality of deployment, we decided to get a confectionery business start-up plan in Canada by Business Plan Writers US. It all begin after providing contact details at their Website with one-line inquiry, got a call back within next 10 minutes by the customer care department and details of business were discussed, later we received a questionnaire from them to provide essentials of business as exact requirements to document the project and forward to their team. Once things were finalize, we also had conference call with them and first draft of business plan delivered in next 2 weeks as committed. The outline of the documents was as accurate as discussed leading to business plan delivery till the end of 4 week time which was detailed enough.

Along with business plan they also provided the opportunity to apply for bank loans and investors that are already working with them.

We were satisfied enough from the information provided in the form of plan within frame as discussed, also their other services helped us to quick start the business after we got investment with their help. We may consider Business Plan writers US as business consultants as they provide assistance at levels from business plan to getting funds, branding guidelines to complete communication elements, and other technological and promotional solutions.

Our experience with them was really great and inspiring at levels, we therefore recommend our readers including investors, managers, business owner or Entrepreneur to consider them in obtaining relevant services. Business plan from them can directly be submitted to apply for Bank Loan or same can be obtained by their assistance.

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Stay connected for more reviews with us, and do not forget to share your reviews on Business Plan Writers US and others providing similar services.

12 Business strategies learnt from Microsoft

Recently Tren Griffin, a strategist for Microsoft, shared 12 quotes that summarize what he feels he’s learned as a businessman for one of the world’s most prestigious tech companies.

Here are three favorites along with some insight:

Our whole business model is to do a few things very well and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Jim Spady, chief financial officer of Dick’s Drive-in Restaurant

“Anyone who has ever eaten ‘Chicken Rice’ from a hawker stand in Singapore knows what happens when someone spends 40 years making the same dish,” writes Griffin. “You get awfully good at it. People line up to buy it, your costs drop, and you get scale advantages. Costco limits what it does in a way that generates attractive sustainable competitive advantage.”

It’s incredibly arrogant for a company to believe that it can deliver the same sort of product that its rivals do and actually do better for very long.
Michael Porter, director of the Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness at Harvard Business School

“Just trying to rely on being good at what you do is a hard road to walk,” insists Griffin. “Maybe you get some scale benefits by making great Chicken Rice, but that is a weaker form of moat than network effects.”

A customer that ‘chooses’ your firm’s services will be much more satisfied than one that is persuaded to buy your product through spend.
Bill Gurley, general partner at Benchmark

“Big firms have these huge marketing budgets and forget that the essence of business is being able to cost-effectively acquire a customer,” writes Griffin. “Spending on customer acquisition should be tracked on a per customer basis. People who want to spend, for example, ‘$100 million’ on marketing without breaking it down and working it out on a per customer basis are due for a fall.”


Know Your Customers

I do most of my grocery shopping at a place called Olivia’s Market, a small grocer in my neighborhood. In fact, I stop in at least three times a week, so I’ve gotten to know the owner, Bill Maheras, fairly well.

Now, I’m not saying we’re best friends, but over the years we’ve traded a bunch of emails and had coffee down the street, and he’s even offered me some choice Bulls tickets. Good guy, this Bill.

We also enjoy talking shop. To say that the grocery business is cutthroat would be a major understatement. Every day, Bill has to contend with slim margins, lots of competitors, scores of suppliers, and high inventory costs. No surprise, then, that Bill always tells me how lucky I am to run a software company. With high margins, no spoilage, and no inventory, our businesses are polar opposites.

But I always remind Bill how in at least one respect, he is far luckier than I: He actually knows his customers.

In today’s hundred-data-points-on-your-customer world of online business, Bill has one data point that really matters: He can recognize a customer if he sees her walking down the street. Can you say that about your company? I know I can’t.

We owners of Web-based businesses love to gloat about how many customers (make that users) we have. But do we really know any of them? Sure, we can calculate their lifetime value and figure out how many times they’ve logged in over the past 90 days, what brand of mobile phone they use, and how much they spend a month. But we wouldn’t know who they were if they walked in our front doors.

The owners of such locally based businesses as Olivia’s don’t get glossy magazine covers, and industry websites never claim that they are changing the world. But I am more convinced than ever that we can learn a lot from the Bill Maherases out there.

Why don’t I know my customers the way Bill does? Obviously, scale is one reason: We have tens of thousands of individual paying customers. Another is geography; we have users in more than 50 countries, and it’s not so easy to strike up individual relationships with them.

But the main reason is that our business is built on self-service. Customers buy Basecamp without ever having to interact with us. If they do have a question, we handle everything via email. We’ve been in the business of automation. We’ve never really valued full service.

There is nothing wrong with this. Our customers love our product. And they love that they don’t have to talk to salespeople, make any phone calls, or wait for someone to approve their purchase to sign up.

But what if we tried to run our business more as Bill does? Is it possible to create a model in which we get to see–or at least hear–our customers on a regular basis; in which we know their names, their businesses, their stories; in which we might even recognize them if we bumped into them on the street?

I want to see if we can do this kind of thing at 37signals. How much better can we be if we know our customers for real, not just as data points?

So that’s what we’re going to do with our next product. It won’t be self-service; it’ll be full service. Rather than no touch, it’ll be high touch. If you want to buy it, I want to get to know you a little first. A phone call, a videoconference, whatever–I just want to know who my customers are so I can really understand why they want to buy. I want to know if I can really help them.

What’s this product? Well, that’ll have to wait for my next column. Until then, go meet your local grocer, dry cleaner, and shop owner. Really talk to them. And let them inspire you.