What Are Your Values?

valuesYour values shape you and your career decisions more than you may realize. Before making any changes in your professional life, you may want to sit and think about what you value. You may be surprised what answers you come up with.

Your values are qualities that are important in the way you live and work. These are different for everybody, so you should be sure to answer this question for yourself and not take another’s answer. Values help us to determine our priorities, and when our actions stray from our values, we can feel the negative ramifications in all aspects of life.

To start with, we all have core values that resonate in our lives. These core values are the building blocks that all of our other values build upon. These values will be stable throughout your life, and typically won’t change based on that situation. To determine some of your core values, answer the following:

  • What career should I pursue?
  • Should I accept this new job/promotion?
  • Should I compromise in this?
  • Should I follow tradition in my family/circle?
  • What do I want from my personal life?

After figuring out your core values, you can move on to the values specific to helping you move forward in life. When thinking about new opportunities in your life, it is important to understand your values – particularly the ones that may play into the changes. To determine these values, follow the following steps.

  1. Identify times when you were happiest. Find examples from both your personal and professional lives, and figure out what factors and people played into this happiness.
  2. Identify the times you felt a sense of pride. Ask yourself, “why was I proud?” and figure out what factors played into that.
  3. Identify the times when you were most fulfilled and satisfied. What need or desire was fulfilled to leave you feeling satisfied? Why was the experience memorable, and how can you recreate it?
  4. Determine your top values, based on your past experiences of happiness, pride and fulfillment.

Each person’s experiences will help them build a unique set of values, and staying true to your values can help you get the most out of your professional life to be the happiest in your personal life.

What are some of your most important values? What questions above helped you find these values? Let me know in the comments section below!

 

What’s the Payoff for Developing an Effective Word-of-Mouth Strategy?

Developing an effective word-of-mouth strategy that results in a strong referral-based business takes endless time, energy, effort and, above all, commitment. The actions and steps necessary to create a successful referral-networking campaign are simple, yet far from easy; they take tremendous dedication and drive, and results can be a long time in coming.

So why should you put forth the time and effort to develop a word-of-mouth strategy for your business?  Because, if you commit to doing it right and don’t give up, the payoff can be unbelievably high.

In fact, many businesses have become so adept at referral marketing that they get most of their sales through referrals and spend little or no money on advertising — and they never have to place cold calls. Some of these businesses hire most of their employees through referrals, manage complex financing arrangements and even procure necessary products through referral contacts they have cultivated for many years.

But a referral-based business can reward you in ways beyond those measured in dollars. Dealing with people you like and trust is a better way to live and work than sparring with strangers all day long. You may even find the relationships you form with your referral sources more important than the dollars your new customers bring you. Such relationships are central to both the referral-generation process and the satisfaction you derive from your work.

So, the next time you find yourself doubting whether your networking efforts are really worth it, remember: If you don’t give up, and you continually devote yourself to working on making your word-of-mouth strategy better and better, the payoff can be enormous both financially and in terms of happiness in business and life.

How Soon Should You Expect Profitability from a Relationship?

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve written a few blogs on the VCP Process® of networking and, since I’ve already covered visibility and credibility in detail, today I’m going to tell you what you need to know about profitability, the third and final phase of the VCP Process.

The mature relationship, whether business or personal, can be defined in terms of its profitability. Is it mutually rewarding? Do both partners gain satisfaction from it? Does it maintain itself by providing benefits to both? If it doesn’t profit both partners to keep it going, it probably will not endure.

The best piece of advice I can give you in regard to when to expect to get to profitability is to be patient. The time it takes to pass through the phases of a developing relationship is highly variable.  It’s not always easy to determine when profitability has been achieved: A week? A month? A year? In a time of urgent need, you and a client may proceed from visibility to credibility overnight. The same is true of profitability; it may happen quickly or it may take years, but most likely it will be somewhere in between. It will depend on the frequency and quality of the contacts and especially on the desire of both parties to move the relationship forward.

Shortsightedness can impede the full development of the relationship. Perhaps you’re a customer who has done business with a certain vendor off and on for several months, but to save pennies you keep hunting around for the lowest price, ignoring the value this vendor provides in terms of service, hours, goodwill and reliability. Are you really profiting from the relationship, or are you stunting its growth?  Perhaps if you gave this vendor all your business, you could work out terms that would benefit both of you.  Profitability is not found by bargain hunting. It must be cultivated. And, like farming, it takes patience.

Visibility and credibility are important in the relationship-building stages of the referral-marketing process.  But when you have established an effective referral generation system, you will have entered the profitability stage of your relationships with many people–the people who send you referrals and the customers you recruit as a result. It’s an essential part of successful relationship marketing and networking.

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