Above & Beyond

We need to go beyond ourselves to sustain…well…ourselves over the course of time.  In other words, we can only achieve success by stepping out and going beyond our selfish needs and serving others.

Being a safe choice for our clients and elevating the lives of others is the purest form of enrichment.  Our businesses must do the same.  The world is scary and unsettled, but it’s critical we don’t push ourselves onto people out of our need to make a buck.

We must pull rather than push because being pushy cannot work in this world.  Being pushy adds to the noise in our lives.  Pull is gentler and more helpful.  We push people into harm’s way and pull them out of their problems.  A heavy dose of self promotion or product-centric content only annoys and clouds our minds.

For decades, marketers trumpeted the features and benefits of offerings.  But most customers have learned to ignore these details…at least at the beginning of the process.  In fact, your ideal client may not even realize he could benefit from your product or service. In turn, he goes through a great deal of self discovery to determine what help he may need and, ultimately, will only engage with companies that focus on his concerns.

The most thoughtful marketers put themselves in a position to support those needs when they come to light.  Put another way, the client doesn’t care about your solution until he realizes the problem you solve for him…and while he goes through that process by himself today, the messaging from marketers must shift to the problems they solve instead of the features.

If you follow Bennett Graphics you know that we publish a magazine (Connect) six times each year.  The cover story in our current issue, “Going Dark,” is about the dark side of communications.  While many executives want a specific guarantee on their marketing investments, we examine why the most critical part of the sales and marketing cycle may actually be creating awareness for your brand.

If you don’t receive Connect and would like to, complete the subscription form on our website.  It’s free with no strings attached.  Or, call me.  I’ll have you added to distribution.

We hope you’re having a wonderful summer and we wish you all the best as you go above and beyond.


Do you know what makes you great?

It’s an easy question to ask but it’s very hard to answer. Do you know what makes you great? Do you know what you do differently when you win versus when you foul up? Other than the outcome, can you identify what you do or did different.

My golf game is full of that question. I have enjoyed rounds in the 70’s…but I have also had rounds well over 100. As far as I know, I do everything exactly the same. Should I blame the ball, course…or marketplace?

Each of us has special gifts. It’s been my experience that those most in touch with their gifts make the most of their careers and lives. They invest energy in learning, as all of us should, but they double down where they’re strong. Doing so makes them efficient, successful…unstoppable.

I’ve spent my career in sales. I’ve worked with sales managers and I’ve been one. Likewise, I’ve studied with sales trainers and been one of them too. It’s space full of people that don’t know what makes them great. It’s space full of recipes, spreadsheets, formulas…and lots of misinformation.

Sales management isn’t score keeping. It isn’t reports at the end of the month. It isn’t shifting accounts around and adjusting commissions. Those things are outcomes. They’re the golf score.

Sales management = sales coaching. It’s situational guidance. It’s helping reps with the issue in front of them while leveraging their special gifts. It’s helping reps get in touch with what makes them great and showing them how to leverage their strengths on behalf of their clients, employer and personal goals.

When you help a candidate get in touch with what makes them great, you set them up for an exciting career that requires little of your time. You’ll get asked to make calls with them, but that’s the fun part. You’ll see them grow right in front of you and go home confident that the client and your company are in good hands. You won’t be sitting with them cutting compensation or pulling accounts. They’ll gravitate toward markets that suit them and the finances will be on autopilot.

Now I’m not saying sales management or sales managers are bad. I’m simply saying that much of it is really sales meddling. We get hung up in the weeds and lose sight of the value each individual perspective can bring to our organization. We focus on machines, specs, prices and margins. Doing so can prevent us from seeing solutions that make all of those things take care of themselves.

Focusing on gifts and why they matter changes your company culture. The environment goes from one of pressure to one of possibilities. Excitement replaces anxiety. Success takes over and growth is inevitable. Clients really will beat a path to your door and they’ll pay your price to do business with YOU!

Recently, a client in our resource center said, “this is a special place.” I responded that we had worked hard to keep up with technology. She responded, “it isn’t that. Lots of people have Indigos. Even more have presses. I’ve seen all of those before. It’s your spirit. It’s your manner. That’s what makes this a special place.”

She was 100% right. Focusing on what makes us great on a company and individual level shows. It’s infectious. Our client, one with lots of contacts in our industry, saw the difference. It shows in our work and in our explosive growth.

What makes you great? You owe it to yourself to find out. You owe it to yourself and to your future to leverage those gifts. You owe it to yourself to surround yourself with people that help you be the best you can be. It isn’t score keeping. It’s coaching. The score will take care of itself.