Shane is a serial entrepreneur and podcaster, living in Linden, Michigan with his family.
How can you consistently stand out from your competitors?
I think in this day and age, everyone's so bombastic and trying to stand out especially in the social media world, I think to do the opposite. Remember the old cliche, the loudest one in the room is the weakest one. I think when we can understand that, without even going into the layers of it, it's easy to just kind of kickback be a little bit quiet and draw people in. We're so eager to talk about ourselves and talk about our reviews or certification or whatever it is, but when we can hang back and just be present at the moment, that is what's going to draw people in and create real interest. When you can be that warm, fuzzy blanket and make yourself stand out from the noise that we live in.
How can you create raving fans in your marketplace?
So my obsession in my service company was the customer experience. If you were to break down and rank on a 1 to 10 scale, all the different parts of your business from service, to sales, to follow-up, most people never focus on the experience. How does it feel to do business with your company? There was a certain point in time with my service company that we were literally double the price of our competitors and we did the same exact thing, but the way it felt to do business with us was significantly different. It's like a good song where you might not know the words or the lyrics or what the song means, but you just like the way the song makes you feel. That's how you create an amazing customer experience and stand out in your market.
How can you win by embracing your authentic DNA?
I think a lot of times we view weakness as some sort of sin. It's bad about our business, it's bad about us, but in reality, that is the thing that's going to humanize you. Perfection is intimidating, but when it's real, that authenticity, that's what that is, it's real, it's transparent. That's when you connect to a real person, an authentic real person. A lot of times our weaknesses, when we know and understand them enough become an actual strength. When we can write down what we're not good at, when we can meditate on it, when we can marinate in it, that is the thing that is going to make you stand out, it's gonna develop a connection with you. As I said, perfection is intimidating so I think I think it's a great way to go to embrace your imperfections and the things you're not good at.
Can you share with our listeners one of your most successful or favorite networking experiences that you've had?
When I started my first company, BNI was the thing that got us off the ground, and as a 25-year-old kid, it was hard at first. But man, it really got me going, it forced me out of my comfort zone, it forced me into some relationships that ended up being extremely profitable. I'd say get over yourself and start to network, if it's a Chamber of Commerce, if it's BNI, relationships are so much a part of business and so when you can understand that you'll start to develop those relationships. Life is what you do with fear and so when you can get over those social fears, you will create allies and create a lot more money when you can develop those relationships.
How do you stay in front of and best nurture the relationships you’ve created?
Don't be clingy or needy, but stay top of mind. Relationships are everything so stay top of mind. Whatever industry you're in, make sure people in your town in your circle of network now that you're the person that does that and attend as many as you can, but don't be the person who's begging for leads or begging for work. Be the person that provides value, that they themselves would want to do business with. Don't be so dependent on your network that you need them for leads, but referrals are the best type of customer to have because there’s no customer acquisition cost. I think I think networking is a great way to develop a steady stream of leads.
What additional advice would you offer to those business professionals really looking to grow their network?
I'd say going all-in on BNI. I think most chambers are much more laid back, but you can't go wrong with BNI. If nothing else, you're sharpening your own skills, sharpening your elevator pitch and it's a real commitment. You pay to play and, and you will develop your skills. BNI is a steady stream of leads, it's not a lever that you pull, but you'll get your very best customers from the referrals you'll generate.
If you could go back to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell yourself to do more or less of or differently with regards to your professional career?
I think I would have gone all-in on marketing much quicker or taken a loan or an investment from a family member. I just spent so many endless days trying to drum up leads by passing out flyers in mailboxes. Networking groups are great, but you've got to market your business, there's no way around it. To be able to get over my pride as someone who really valued self-reliance, just to take a small loan or a small investment just to start marketing would have gotten me on my feet much, much quicker than the route I ended up picking.
Do you have any final words of advice for our listeners with regards to growing and supporting your network?
I think when in doubt, don't focus on how you feel about your fear or your insecurities. Don't be that clingy person. Don't tell everyone how you're the smartest person in the room, make them feel that they're the smartest person in the room and be the warm fuzzy blanket and provide value and the leads will come flooding in I promise.
Connect with Shane
Reach out to Shane if you’re interested in a free copy of his eBook!