1. Editorial: Taking a customer perspective – Richard Winfield
This week's editorial is about awareness. My concern is about awareness of the needs and situation of others.
We recently had the opportunity to submit a tender for a management development programme that was very relevant to our particular skills and experience. It looked ideal, but we had learned of it at a late stage and I was concerned about our ability to prepare an appropriate proposal in the short time available. We prefer to work with our potential clients rather than to submit only a written document. I suggested that before going ahead we find out what the competition would be.
A few years ago I was working with an environmental company in California. This company had a team focused on the wood products industry, where they were very successful in winning business. They averaged one win in three on their proposals for this industry, but one in ten on proposals in other industries. As a result they devoted three days of their top team to preparing each proposal for the wood industry and turned out ten proposals a week for all the others. Could it be that they had confused cause and effect? Perhaps they won one in three for quality proposals and a low score for off the shelf proposals. If they were more selective and spent three days on fewer proposals would their hit rate go up and their total wins increase?
This was the basis of my concern last week. What was the point of a mediocre proposal? Was it worth working over the weekend to get a winner.
Imagine my horror when I discovered that the organisation had invited 200 companies to tender and was expecting a 20% response. Clearly I had asked the right question before committing our time.
Consultants have to cover the cost of sales within the fees they earn from jobs they win. This organisation had apparently given no thought to the needs or situation of the companies they had invited to tender. But who is the loser? Most of those who had prepared proposals would have wasted their time. However, the greatest loser is the organisation. They will probably have to choose between some 30 second rate proposals, when they could have built a relationship with three or four suppliers and ended up with a choice of relevant and thoughful proposals.
It is in our own interst to think through the needs of others. Put ourselves in the place of another individual. Many years ago I did some work for Amec, a large civil engineering company. My secretary sent them an invoice. They probably receive hundreds a week. She did not think about how it would be received, so it never occurred to her to provide any evidence of who or what it was for. We did not get paid on time.
Recently I signed up for a newsletter with a company Iwanted to do business. It required me to complete two lines of address in addition to 'City'. My address only needs one line. When I drew this to their attention, the reply was that if I entered the town name twice, then the software would work. Simple enough. But what do you think was my impression of the customer care I would receive if I bought from them?
In the book review, below, Andrew Halfacre reports on a book by Stuart Wilde on attitudes to money. Just as many people are worried about public speaking, so, many people in Britain are worried about money. Not about shortage of money - but about receiving money. It embarrasses them and can be a real block to success. Sales people who lose effectiveness when they reach a certain earnings level. Consultants who find difficulty in asking for their fees.
Money is a highly emotional subject involving all sorts of beliefs about self worth and fairness. Stuart Wilde's books are about abundance and a willingness to accept what comes towards you. It might be better to give than to receive, but if you will not receive graciously, then others cannot give. We live in a time of abundance. Those who refuse to accept can block the flow of abundance to us all. So let go of your inhibitions and accept the gifts that are offered.
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2. Book review: The Trick to money is Having Some
- Stuart Wilde
Review by Andrew Halfacre
How is it that some people just seem to attract money and opportunities while others struggle to get by?
Most of the stuff that we bring you in these newsletters is fairly solid and from the mainstream personal development field but every so often we come across someone operating on the far fringes of what is possible. One such character is Stuart Wilde, and if you want to know what I mean then take a look at his website http://www.stuartwilde.com.
In one of his most popular books The Trick to money is Having Some, Wilde takes a look at the esoteric side of attracting money and opportunity into your life. The book is a written in a breezy, anecdotal style packed full of very practical, hints tips and ideas for increasing your flow of abundance.
One underlying theme is the power of congruence. Many people would like more money but unconsciously operate from a set of beliefs that money is wrong or bad or can only be gained by doing something illegal. Often when we are offered something for free or as a gift, we push it away and at one level we are telling ourselves that we are not ready to receive more. Wilde recommends practising the art of acceptance as a way of opening yourself up to abundance.
For example, in the next 10 days, simply accept whatever people want to give you with a simple “thank you”. In the past where you might have said “Oh no, I couldn’t possibly” or “That’s kind of you but no”, now just say “thank you”. You’ll find that at a spiritual level, this sends a clear congruent message that you are ready to accept what is given to you.
A development of this idea is to accept whatever money you find. It's no good having an affirmation like “I am abundant and money flows towards me” unless you are prepared to be totally consistent about it. Make this affirmation real by picking up every bit of money you see or come across, including those dog eared pennies lying in the gutter. When I first started practising this I only ever found pennies but now I am finding 5 pences. You’d be amazed, there is money all over the place just waiting to be picked up.
The book develops a wider theme on treating money as simply a symbol of energy and suggests ways of attracting more of that energy. Energy is a flow and by adding your energy to the world, then it will return to you, some of it as money and some of it in other ways.
This concept really helped me to understand that my role as a coach and facilitator is often to take energy, shape it, add my zing and then package it in such a way that it is suitable for those who I’m working with. As long as I increase the energy in the world then it will flow back to me.
One last idea. Many of us are out of touch with money. We rarely handle it and it moves around our lives in a tangle of plastic, debits and paper movements. One of the laws of money is that it demands attention on money and one way of doing this is to move back to operating on a cash basis for as much of your spending as possible. Take out a cash reserve, say £1,000, and use it as a float. As far as possible, spend cash and replenish when necessary so that you are always in physical contact with a meaningful symbol of energy (the cash). Many of those I know who have done this have reported an increase in business opportunities or a new attitude or focus on their results. Let me know what happens.