Tuesday, May 28, 2013

3 Traits of a Great Credit Union Leader

There are some CEOs who are pretty good, then there are those who weave their personality and vision into the fabric of an organization, creating a lasting legacy. A few years ago, I had the great pleasure of meeting the CEO of Ascentra Credit UnionPaul Lensmeyer (as a bonus, he is a huge Green Bay Packer fan). Ascentra Credit Union has 10 locations in the greater Quad Cities Area. 

Paul Lensmeyer, Ascentra Credit Union, CUNA leader, Iowa Credit Union

I also had the honor of working with the great team at Ascentra in a consulting capacity, and they displayed excellence at every level. Last week Paul passed away, but his memory will continue to live on. Paul was a dedicated family man and a great leader. Here are 3 great leadership traits that every great leader (including Paul) display every day:

1. Realize that your work family is just that...a family. 
When an employee enjoyed success inside or outside of work, they were eager to share it with Paul, who always lent an eager ear. He was also a voice of encouragement when times got tough. If you needed a cheerleader, he was there; if you needed a kick in the butt to accomplish your goal, he was there as well.

2. Weave a vision into the fabric of your organization and reinforce that vision continuously. 
Like many CEOs, Paul could boil down the most complex ideas into bite-sized sayings and action items. Keep your mission simple and repeatable. Ascentra's mission of "Listening, Caring, Doing What's Right" embodies just that.

3. Engage your community!
No one builds a business alone. Your community must be reminded that you are on their side. The best local banks and credit unions make it a point to help a sick or injured customer or member when times were tough (See my previous post on Business Awesomeness), they'll involve their people into community events, and will generate goodwill in their community.

Whatever your business may be, strong leadership principles and hard work will help shape it into everything it can become. The true test of a great leader is how something runs when they are not there. Paul will be missed by many people, but his legacy will live for generations to come.

For more information about booking The Shef for your next event, visit http://www.theshef.com or call our offices at 1-563-343-5412

Thursday, May 9, 2013

3 Business Building Strategies for Professional Speakers

"If I could just find someone to book my speaking dates, life would be great!" says 90% of the speakers on the planet. Get over it. Unless you are a celebrity, or a very established speaker; it is up to you to fill your calendar. Successful motivational, sales, and other expert speakers invest 90% of their time  marketing their speaking services.

Gitomer, Shef, The Secret Speaker, Sales motivational speaker, Speakermatch
John Assaraf, Jeffrey Gitomer, and Shef in San Diego

The way that you position your expertise and style to an event planner makes a world of difference with regard to the success you will enjoy as a professional speaker! Regardless of if you are just starting in the speaking business, or if you are a veteran; these strategies will help you produce great results:

1. Specialize and Customize to Monetize
If your message is for everyone, your message is for no one. "Helping people get the most out of their lives." is a common reply that I hear when asking speakers about how an audience benefits from their message. With a few very rare exceptions, no one hires a generalist. An example of a better, more focused reply could be, "I help women entrepreneurs with children build a successful business without feeling like they are robbing their family of their time."  
My previous post titled, Un-Stick Your Speaking Business, contains a few other ideas that will help you.

2. Ask the right questions
If you walked into your doctor's office seeking relief from a broken leg, but he launched into a long conversation about allergies, you would still have a broken leg and would have wasted your time. Many speakers do the same thing. Your message is not a "One size fits all" type of message.
Some typical information that I require when someone is booking me to speak includes audience size, gender split, income range, and the key objectives and problems that the client is hoping to address with this event. By asking the right questions, you are able to craft your language to become a solution for their problem.

3. Create Pretty Promo
My promo package used to include a cover letter and a few references thrown into a Priority Mail envelope with a couple of my books. When I first visited Speakermatch (an amazing lead source for speakers), I looked at the professional-grade folders that other speakers were submitting.
From that point forward, my promo information is not only customized, but is neatly tucked into a folder. I also include a one-sheet for them to review. (Look at my Keynote Speaker One Sheet Here). Many industries suffer from the same ailments, yet replacing a few words within your promo material can make a world of difference in positioning you as an expert in the client's eyes.

You cannot steer a boat that is not moving. The only way that you will transition from someone who can speak to a professional speaker is to get moving! Civic clubs are a great place to start. I wrote an awesome guide titled, Tapping the Goldmine of Civic Clubs, and it is yours for free. Just contact my office and request it.

What has been the most effective marketing for you as a speaker?

For more information about booking The Shef for your next event, visit http://www.theshef.com or call our offices at 1-563-343-5412