Do you have sayings or mantras or idioms that keep you focused on being a leader?
“I realized that all the really good ideas I’d ever had came to me while I was milking a cow. So I went back to Iowa.”– Grant Wood, American Gothic artist.
There is always a backstory to art, music and life. The simple painting above by Grant Wood called “American Gothic” has captured the imagination of Americans since 1930. The farmer was actually a local dentist and the wife was Woods’ sister. Wood painted the models at separate times. At some point, every element of this work of art has been mined for meaning.
Every film, song, play, startup and company has a backstory that made it what it is today. The parties involved spent days, months and even years developing the final result before releasing it to the world.
I write this to remind myself to pay attention to the details of the backstories that I’m involved in now. For instance, I saw this picture on Facebook this afternoon:
That’s Bradford Loomis playing his solo act at the Seattle Airport. Bradford is a new friend of mine and is one-half of a band called “The Banner Days” . I asked Bradford and the other half of The Banner Days, Beth Whitney about the backstory behind playing in the airport. Here’s my Facebook chat with them this afternoon:
It’s a unique situation for an act to have a regular gig inside the main terminal of a major international airport. So we are talking about filming a set at the terminal.
I share this story with you to remind you to pay attention to the details of the backstory.
Read more about the story behind American Gothic here.
Get the new Christmas album from “Mayors of Europa” for free . The “Mayors” are a new artist collaboration between Stewart Gray (yes, we are related. He’s my oldest son) and Nathan Johnson. Stewart and Nathan are both very talented lads and also seniors at Colorado Christian University in Lakewood, CO.
Take a listen by clicking on the arrow in the player box below!
You can download their album for FREE by clicking below!
And while you are at it, follow them on Facebook by clicking here
A few years ago I had a self-hosted pop culture blog that later became the inspiration for the creative marketing firm that my wife and I started. After some dreaming and reviewing my passion for blogging this type of content, I really wanted to get the old gang back together! I’m beyond excited to be partnering with Tim Engstrom again to bring this project back to life. I’ve attached a rather recent cartoon he created for me below.
More about this in the weeks to come, but for now, checkout http://threethirtypm.tumblr.com !
[Photo by Jim Gray, me]
I’m not sure about you but for me writing stuff down like this blog post takes a lot of effort. I’m more of a offline person. I like real life conversations with people in person. Old school face to face. I have the privilege of a home office; owning my own company, etc.
My friends who know me well expect me to call. I’m also a phone guy. You might find this hard to believe, but I get sick of texting, emailing, etc. I just think we have become such a walled culture. But that’s opinion. I also think that in order to get work done, you need to turn off the distractions. But I also need the interaction of others. It’s fun or cool to act lone-rangerish , but it comes with a high price.
Enough of that…allow me to get to what brought you here…the headline. Here’s my sales pitch to a potential client:
“Now you know that I exist.”
I have always been highly relational in business. I’m also a bit of an introvert, so the hard sell is not interesting at all. That does not mean that I am not clear on what I do, how I do it, what the price is, etc. It’s good to be thorough. I learned a long time ago that if you are already good at what you do, you shouldn’t have to hard sell. You tell the story and allow the other person to get to know you and make a decision. My normal tactics are:
1- Establish contact: you might be introduced by a friend via email or meet at an event.
2-Research: Find out something about who the person is you are meeting with.
3-Print: Bring a piece of paper with something on it that they can take with them. It might even be a proposal.
4-Direct: Shake hands, look them directly in the eyes and greet them.
5-Listen: Ask questions and learn their story.
6-Story: Tell your tale. I have a lot of different stories from companies I have worked with and projects. You don’t have to tell your life-story. Keep it short. Go with your overall theme. Be conscious of time.
7-The End: Stay on schedule for the meeting. Ask for their business. Keep it simple “I’d love to explore how we could work together.”
8-Follow-up: Send them an email with ideas.
9-Release: I’ve learned to let some go and others require pursuing. Be smart and know when to let it go. This is the hardest step. Sometimes it’s easier to let it go and move on, and them other times you need to keep following-up.
I hope this helps you.