Whether you are trying to launch your entrepreneurial vision, close a big deal, land your dream job, get that promotion or support a philanthropic effort, we are all looking for that spot-on gesture that's the perfect balance of clever, classy and creative to help us move our intentions forward.
The quest for great ideas to stand out from the competition is challenging, but it can also be a fun adventure.
My friend Terri Sjodin, a public-speaking and communications consultant, suggests, "It may be time to get a little scrappy — make a bigger effort and shake things up to create new opportunities and connect with key decisionmakers."
A scrappy effort is a winning mix of attitude, strategy and execution. Small actions can have a big impact. Then again, sometimes you need the big ideas to get the big results.
To help you to connect with that key contact, here are a few simple, easy-to-execute ideas to get you started from Terri's book "Scrappy: A Little Book About Choosing to Play Big."
Small efforts might include:
• Handwrite personal cards and notes. I'm a big believer in this strategy and like to say that small notes yield big results, in part because they are a rarity today. Don't just send a generic holiday card with no personal sentiment or note. Terri said that "doesn't make an impression, except to say, 'You are one in a large stack of people on my list.' "
• Reach out to people on unique holidays or occasions. Why send a traditional holiday greeting card and get it mixed in with all the others? Send a Thanksgiving card instead.
• Perform random acts of kindness. Simple gestures like volunteering to help at an event or stay late to work on a project can go a long way.
Terri also lists several medium items that are near and dear to my philosophy, like using your social calendar to network; inviting people to breakfast, lunch or dinner and picking up the check; and sending creative and unique gifts.
Among the large efforts she recommends are:
• Hire a ride or provide the ride. If you are going to the same event, why not offer to pick that person up or possibly even hire a chauffeur and go in style?
• Treat your guest to a special outing. I built my envelope manufacturing company on T and E — tickets and entertainment. There are lots of events to take clients to — concerts, sports and charity galas.
In all, Terri provides a wide range of creative ideas on scoring points and building relationships. It doesn't have to be an over-the-top gift — it is about creating authentic connection. What I noticed in all these points is the importance of knowing your customer or key people. That's where the Mackay 66 Customer Profile comes into play. Get to know your decisionmakers inside out — their families, hobbies and interests. Discover what turns that person on, and then use this information to humanize your selling strategy. Find the Mackay 66 on my website: harveymackay.com.
Terri's book puts you in the right mind-set and provides creative examples and tactics from scrappy people who crafted a "clever workaround" and got the win, the deal or the opportunity.
She stresses that scrappy execution comes down to the little things. Or as I like to say: Little things mean a lot — not true. Little things mean everything." Terri stresses that you must take action and launch an effort, adding, "Execution kicks strategy's butt! Stay Scrappy!"
Mackay's Moral: Don't worry, be scrappy.
Harvey Mackay is a Minneapolis businessman. Contact him at 612-378-6202 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.