The Advantage Letter by Dave Martin
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Friday, November 01, 2013
Volume 19 | # 443
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Your present circumstances don't determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start. » Nido Qubein

Song and Verse

One of the mantras I’ve long preached to groups is that talent is overrated. And no, I’d never suggest that talent isn’t a great thing to have.

But many folks seem to think that successful people are simply more talented than everyone else. And their success stems from a “gift” they have that others (we) don’t.

It’s that common misperception that I’ve railed against for years.

A documentary I came across while in my hotel room recently struck a nerve and had me grabbing a notepad. I was also able to find great clips of it later online. This biopic by Alison Ellwood is “The History of the Eagles, Part One.”

I found a particular segment of it to be both humorous and instructive. In one segment, Glenn Frey explains how he learned to be a songwriter.

He had long wanted to become one but had no idea of how to go about making it happen. He thought maybe that songs just had to “come to you.”

He ended up being lucky enough to move into an apartment just above another struggling musician named Jackson Browne. Every morning, Glenn would wake to Jackson working on his craft down in the basement apartment.

He tells the story of being awakened by Browne playing a piano and singing the first verse and chorus of “Doctor My Eyes” over and over again. Frey would listen as Browne would play that piece 10, 20 times and more until he liked it.

Then he would grind out the next verse. Then he’d go back and put them together 10, 20, 30 times.

He’d periodically take a break for tea… and then go back to grinding out the song again and again…for weeks… until he was happy with it.

Frey explained with a smile on his face, “I'm up there going, so… that's how you do it: Elbow grease... time… thought… persistence."

Frey obviously had considerable talent. He became one of the most prolific and profitable song writers of his generation. But he always had talent. So did many of his aspiring peers.

It wasn’t until he observed and copied the secret to success – a determined work ethic - that his career took off.

Whether our craft is song writing or sales or managing people or mowing lawns or (you get the idea) our highest successes are only reached when hard work complements whatever talents we may be blessed with.

Are you writing a success story today?

The Name of the Game

While sitting in the audience at a banking conference recently, my mind wondered as I tried to estimate how many conference speakers I’ve listened to in the past 20 years.

My initial estimate is about 12 bazillion… but don’t hold me to that.

As I listened to another one this week, a comment made by a bank executive had me chuckling just a little. Yes, the comment made total sense. But the fact that it may have come as breaking news to a few folks was amusing.

In studying their customer satisfaction scores, the bank executive noted that there was a 13% jump in satisfaction when a customer knew his banker’s name. As she continued to address the group, a thought stayed in my mind.

Customers who don’t know their banker’s name really do not have a banker… do they?

Sure, the bank may have that individual or small business owner “assigned” to a banker. In the bank’s database, that customer has a banker. But in the real world, would that customer say the same?

There is a slide I’ve used in various presentations for a few years to point out some of the commoditization dangers banks face.

Almost everyone has a bank. Far fewer have a branch. Almost no one has a banker.

It’s a pretty simple quiz to give folks. Ask them to name their bank and the answer comes quickly. Ask if they have a branch, and many folks will have to take a few seconds to remember when (or where) their last branch visit occurred.

Ask if they know the name of anyone who works in that branch (if they have one) and practically no one can give you a name. If you’re running a coffee shop or fast food restaurant, I don’t think there’s all that much harm done.

If your business is ostensibly about being a trusted financial advisor to customers, well, we may have an issue.

Hearing this, I’ve had managers ask for suggestions on ways to increase their name recognition. I’ve often joked they should look into some pretty high-tech handheld devices called “business cards”.

That’s a joke... but I’m not kidding.

All that said, with great challenges come great opportunities. Just because the folks you’ll see today have and know their bank doesn’t mean they actually know a banker.

Make it a point to walk over, exchange names, and change that for them today.

There is no never... just long periods of not yet. » Solenn Heussaff

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