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Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
March 24 2021
How we do things

How we do things

How do you do things?

Do you answer email in the evenings? Do you or don’t you? Whether you clearly state you don’t, or think you’ll do it “just this once”, you signal to the world how you do things.

Do you take on other people’s deadlines as your own? Or do you operate on a timeline that’s healthy for you? Whether you clearly state you do the latter, or you make exceptions for the former, you signal to the world how you do things.

Do you work with anyone who pays? Or do you have specific criteria for who will be a good fit to work with you? How we behave signals to the world what’s important to us.

We send signals whether we mean to or not. Better to think about them ahead of time and send them deliberately.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
March 23 2021
NO ASAP

NO ASAP

Say no to ASAP:

ASAP gets things done slowly because there’s no time to do them quickly.

ASAP gets things done badly because there’s no time to do them well.

ASAP gets things done frenetically because there’s no time to do them calmly.

ASAP gets things done at the expense of morale because there’s no time for vision or fulfilment.

Things can still get done without ASAP. Quickly, properly, calmly and with fulfilment.

Why would ASAP ever be the better option?

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
March 22 2021
Do it again

Do it again

Is it worth doing again?

Things not worth doing again: Blindly running PPC ads hoping for a return. Trying another social media channel because the last one “didn’t work”. These kinds of thing are often done over and over again, despite the lacklustre results they produce.

Things worth doing again: Deep work refining a brand’s message. Spending time connecting with (and really listening to) customers and prospects. These kinds of thing are often only done once or twice, despite the progress they are sure to create.

Compare the results of your efforts to their frequency. Prepare to be surprised at how little time you might be spending on things that work.

Maybe it’s worth doing those things again?

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
March 21 2021
Sell The Slant

Sell The Slant

What’s your slant?

Whenever you spot market opportunities, you bring your slant along for the ride. A unique perspective that, when combined with the opportunity, creates a solution that’s distinctly “you”.

Whenever our teams review market opportunities, they spot opportunities to create better market connection through better narrative and messaging. It’s the same slant they bring to all current product and service offerings.

Buyers buy (in no small part) thanks to an appreciation for your slant.

The slant is what’s for sale.

Again: what’s your slant?

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
March 20 2021
The right kind of better

The right kind of better

Our team are in the process of changing the business cards they use.

If the online money experts are to be believed, the best reward/charge/cashback/whatever business cards are usually AMEX cards, usually thanks to a half-percent increase in some esoteric point or reward scheme you may or may not understand or care about.

They’re “better.”

But being based primarily in the United Kingdom, almost nobody accepts AMEX cards.

They’re not “the right kind of better.”

So they’re switching to an alternative that provides no esoteric point or reward schemes of any kind whatsoever. They simply make it easy to manage our cards across our teams, with a gateway (Visa) that everybody accepts.

For us, that’s “better”.

As our work develops, we’d all benefit from challenging every product enhancing idea with this question: “It might be better, but is it the right kind of better?”

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
March 19 2021
Nope

Nope

No is a really under-utilised word for those who really care about those they serve.

No is thought of as a removal of service, or the denial of enhancement in the lives of our customers.

No is seen as a bad thing, a shun toward our body of work, or toward our fiduciary responsibly to serve people fully.

No is neither of those things.

No means saving people from themselves when they’re taking a path that won’t take them to their chosen destination.

No means not compromising your own rules in order to protect those already in your care.

No means respecting yourself so you’re able to show up fully and reliably for those you serve.

No helps you focus on what matters. It helps you help others focus on what matters.

If you truly care about helping others achieve their goals, use No more often.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
March 18 2021
Feedback That Doesn’t Land

Feedback That Doesn’t Land

You think you’re sharing feedback.

What folks hear is different:

‘Feedback + Insecurities’ results in your feedback not quite being heard over the sound of, “I hope everything is okay.” The volume of the insecurity determines how much feedback lands.

‘Feedback + Ego’ results in your feedback not quite being heard over the sound of, “But I’m right and there’s an external explanation for this.” The volume of the ego determines how much feedback lands.

We get to make things better by giving feedback that recognises these competing noises.

We get to make things better by turning those noises down in ourselves, so we receive feedback better.

What’s your volume set to?

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
March 17 2021
But I think it’s great

But I think it’s great

Careful.

If you think it’s great and yet it’s not creating the response you’d like in the market, perhaps you forgot who you’re making it for.

If you think it’s great and you’re not seeing room for improvement, it doesn’t mean it’s not there. Only that you lost sight of it.

Be proud of your work and your progress. You did good.

But don’t lose sight of your potential just because you think what you made today is great.

Those you serve need you to keep levelling up, for their sakes.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
March 16 2021
Integrity Shouldn’t Cost Extra

Integrity Shouldn’t Cost Extra

Integrity shouldn’t cost extra.

But when it does, your whole team pays.

Twice this week, I’ve watched people compromise their image as a “nice guy” because something was more important to them.

The first wanted to stretch a supplier to save a few dollars. When they couldn’t, they turned sour, attacking the integrity of their supplier. Of course, all they really achieved was exposing the cost of their own (a few dollars).

The second wanted a refund on a product they’d bought years ago. When the terms of their purchase didn’t warrant one, they turned sour, blackmailing the manufacturer into getting what they wanted. Of course, all they really achieved was exposing the cost of their own integrity (the price of the product).

Integrity among professionals often carries a small sticker price. It costs them their relationships, reputation, and opportunity to serve people who don’t put their integrity on sale.

That opportunity remains with you, providing you can still demonstrate conduct that reflects that of those you wish to serve. Just don’t put your integrity on sale.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
March 15 2021
You Can

You Can

Just a quick reminder for your subconscious:

You can.

You can communicate better with your target audience, helping them see how you make their world better so they can come along. You just need to do the work (such as with NarrativeWorkshop.com).

You can learn that skill that could be instrumental to the next innovation or breakthrough in your progress or business. You just need to do the work.

You can get over that mental barrier you’ve been wrestling with, about yourself or your abilities or your self worth. You just need to do the work.

Can’t is often just an opinion. It need not be yours.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
March 14 2021
Team, Customers, and Focus

Team, Customers, and Focus

Where’s your focus?

If you only focus on team building, you may wind up with a great team but not many customers. Things designed exclusively around you don’t usually have the same appeal to your target market.

If you only focus on customers, you may wind up with lots of customers but a weak team. Things designed exclusively around customers don’t usually have quite the same appeal to a team.

If you focus on the customer’s journey, you may wind up with a great team aligned to help great customers along their way. Designing for the demand of an existing journey gives both ‘sides’ the clarity and appeal they need to be engaged and fulfilled.

So. Where’s your focus?

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
March 13 2021
Answers need homes

Answers need homes

When we see a great offer, but we don’t have a need, there’s no demand and the offer isn’t great (for us) at all.

When we see a better product, but we don’t need all the cool stuff it can do, there’s no need and the product isn’t better (for us) at all.

When we see content full of great answers, but we haven’t asked a question those answers they fit into, the answers have nowhere to go mentally, so the answers aren’t great (for us) at all.

Offers, products and content are great when they help your people move forward.

Do yours?

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
March 12 2021
Ruining deals with best practices

Ruining deals with best practices

I bought a card game last week.

The game I bought would have been off my list immediately if:

  • The creators harassed me on the phone
  • The creators followed me around online with targeted ads
  • The creators put ‘tripwires’ and ‘funnels’ in my path

…All of the ‘best practices’ you hear you ‘must do’ to market online would have ruined the sale.

Products are recruited into the lives of those who need to move from problem-land to a solution-land. Those two locations are different for every product, and so every journey must be plotted accordingly.

The practice that’s ‘best’ is to turn helping your audience along their journey your best practice.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
March 11 2021
Dumb is smart

Dumb is smart

How can being dumb be smart?

If you love shoes, you’ll tell me why certain shoes are technically superior to others. But if it only comes in “the wrong colour”, many won’t care. Being dumb (forgetting all that and listening to what your audience really needs) is smart.

If you love writing code, you’ll tell me all about the innovations of your proprietary codebase that uses all the latest tools. But if it doesn’t “run faster” or “look easier” many won’t care. Being dumb (forgetting all that and listening to what your audience really needs) is smart.

If you love what you’re working on right now, you’ll tell me all the reasons why. But if you don’t know what problem it’s solving in the world of those who might buy it, many won’t care.

Listen, uncover new discriminators, and get excited about those instead.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
March 10 2021
White-Label Lessons

White-Label Lessons

Could you white-label your service?

The upside: it means you’ve made a methodical, predictable product or service that others trust can be repeated over and over with consistent results. This is good.

The downside: it means you fulfil upon a stereotyped problem without strong opinions that point to a better way. Without the logo, you’re unrecognisable. This isn’t good.

What if you were so predictable you always deliver (the upside), while simultaneously delivering something that elevates the expectations and ambitions of your audience beyond the status quo?

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
March 09 2021
Slow down to go fast

Slow down to go fast

A good lap time is almost always accompanied with a boring, methodical, almost “slow” looking replay.

Slow down to go fast:

When you skim emails about a project, you miss details that may require backtracking or reworking downstream in the project. The seconds you save skimming cost days or weeks in production.

When you hurry through your working relationships, spending as little time as possible with each in the name of scale, those relationships will wither. The minutes you save not nurturing your network could cost you countless opportunities with those people.

When you slow down, you go faster.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
March 08 2021
Average and Great

Average and Great

Average and great – what’s the difference?

Average salespeople require a ‘silver tongue’ on sales calls, moving people forward through force of will alone.

Great salespeople don’t need any of that because they put in the work ahead of time – in research, attention to detail, carefully crafted roadmaps etc – so that calls are a breeze.

Average designers require a swipe-file of cool visuals that will help wow stakeholders. They describe their output with words like ‘pop’ and ‘flare’.

Great designers require an understanding of who they’re designing for and what those people want to achieve. They describe their output with words like ‘clear’ and ‘focused’.

What’s the pattern?

Average practitioners fulfil the expectations of their role. Great practitioners focus on solving problems for others.

Most of us have (or belong to) teams. Which are we surrounding ourselves with? Which should we be surrounding ourselves with?

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
March 07 2021
Kill it with software

Kill it with software

Found yourself in this situation?

“Website conversions are down.” The temptation is to look for the top WordPress plugins and tracking tools to install, in hope the conversions problem can be killed with software.

“Our marketing message isn’t quite landing.” The temptation is to look for the top tools or panel-review platforms to throw tech and unqualified prospect opinions at the problem, in hope the messaging problem can be killed with software.

Some things don’t benefit much from being “killed with software”.

Sometimes they benefit much more by doing the hard work: connecting with those you wish to serve and listening to how they’d like you to serve them better.

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
March 06 2021
The problem with knowing

The problem with knowing

“I already know that.”

Ever caught yourself saying this?

If so, let’s find your type:

The ‘Obvious’ type: “It’s obvious, I knew that already.” To these guys, everything is obvious. The fact that none of the obvious stuff gets implemented is tangential.

The ‘Reader’ type: “I read five books a month.” These guys have mastered the art of “already knowing” because learning outpaced implementation.

The ‘Delegator’ type: “I don’t need to know that, I have people.” These guys have successfully leveraged their time, but did so by abdication.

The problem with knowing, but not implementing, is that we lose our sense of what’s missing. Solving a problem intellectually and mentally moving on – prior to executing what we uncovered – fractures our growth and stunts our progress.

Next time you learn something, ask yourself, “What am I going to DO with this knowledge?”

Adam Fairhead Adam Fairhead
March 05 2021
Closing & Ego

Closing & Ego

“I close in one call” is a perverse brag.

It’s the business-version of “how many chicks I got off with last night”, or similar gestures of emotional negligence.

Some conversations happen to lead to a buying decision right away. The ability to help others by leading them to clarity and action promptly is a valuable service in itself.

Other conversations quite rightly take longer. Not due of lax salesmanship, but due to an appreciation of the journey those you serve are on, and a willingness to put their needs above your ego.

In pursuit of service, we should strive to have deals close in the right timing – not longer (it’s of service to no one to not connect people with what they need) and not shorter (for ego).

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