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Monday, January 31, 2011

Are You Committed?

Every week I mentor Alex, a sixteen year old with Aspergers. Despite people with Aspergers often seen as lacking social empathy and highly resistant to change, Alex has made huge progress in the last nine months. Once extremely rigid, he's now learnt to adapt to last minute changes. He doesn't always like the change, but he adapts.

He used to give me a barrage of complex life questions every time we'd meet. He now answers many of his own. He used to ask how much he could spend, if I could buy McDonalds or if we could have lunch at the Hilton?

Alex now knows the word budget, and together we work out how much he'll spend each week. It's a highly satisfying and rewarding experience.

This week Alex asked me what the word commitment means. I wanted to keep it simple without patronising him so I said, 'It's a contract you make, it's being your word.' He looked at me, blankly. Going well so far, I thought. So I said, ‘Commitment means that no matter how hard something gets, you'll see it through and do your best.' Alex smiled. He got it.

Recenlty I've realised how crucial commitment is to the success of your business, making that next sales call or anything you care deeply about for that matter. It's an act, it's something you do Not just something you say to yourself such as 'Okay I'm committed now. What's next?' You have to keep committing.

We all have setbacks and last minute changes to overcome and adapt to. They're inevitable. But where you make real ground is in the recovery, because there lays the greatest opportunity for growth. Not just personal, but also financial. I'm sure you've set goals this year. I hope they're big, hairy audacious goals (or BHAGS as Jim Collins calls them in the business classic, Good to Great.) But more than that, I hope you're committed to them, know why they matter to you and back them with specific actions and deadlines.

Remember, you make the commitment. It doesn't make you.

To your business success
Michael Neaylon
Author of the forthcoming book, 'Marketing Makeovers: How to Bring in Big Money for Your Small Business.'

Friday, January 28, 2011

Your Presentability

They're not just buying your product or service. They're buying you.More often than not, your client is visual. They're buying you based on your appearance. And first impresssions count. You only have one chance to capture that person's interest and even then, you usually only have 4 seconds.

The same goes for telelphone sales. I've been doing a lot of cold calling recently and the best conversations are the ones where the opening line is assured, confident, knowledgable and focuses on them, the client. And yes, all within 4 seconds too.

You can do it. It just takes practice. That's why it's vital to keep practicing and fine tuning your introductions. Play with them. Stretch them. Polish them. But keep it real. Avoid being over friendly or worse, patronizing, especially if they're the secretary. Think about it. If you're a secretary, chances are you get patronzied all day long. If you patronize them, you've just joined the mob. If, on the other hand, you remember their name, speak with authority and remain friendly your chances of getting past this gatekeeper have just tripled.

Your clothes Always dress well. A great rule of thumb I read last year from author Kristy Spraggon was that you're best to dress like your client, only just a little better. I've tried it, and it works. Good real estate agents do this extremely well. They mirror thier client yet they're always aware thier on show. Another tip frm Brian Tracy; spend twice as much on your clothing but buy half as many. If you don't already do this, put it into practice. And don't be afraid to go outlet shopping. The wealthiest people I know buy from outlets. Spending on your appearance is a worthwhile investment. Plus, you get the added bonus of feeling good.

These are just some of the ways you can increase your presentability...and your sales.

Do they help? Thoughts? Ideas? Tips for others?

To your sales success
Michael Neaylon

Author of the forthcoming book, 'Marketing Makevoers: How to Bring in Big Money for Your Small Business.'

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Prospects Take Persistence

Prospecting is the art and science of generating leads.

There are 2 distinct types of sales.

1. Large accounts: this is your bigger, higher ticket sale and usually has a longer lead time. In general, the higher the price tag, the longer the lead time. For this sale to be successful you need to concentrate on the relationship.

To give you an example, it's just taken me 6 months to get a meeting with a potential corporate client. At a networking event a colleague told me it took her 3 years to make a sale with one of their major clients.

2. Small sales: just because they're small doesn't mean they're not important. Ideally you'll have these in your product or service mix, because they're vital for cashflow for most small businesses.

These are shorter relationships, based on speed and efficiency. The relationship takes a back seat to convenience.

Ideally you'll have products or services that fall into both these categories. Real estate agents do. While they have the long lead time of selling the big house on the hill, they'll also have small studio apartments for sale (or even mark up the advertising for owners as a short term cash generator). But they're prospecting all the time.

The key is to constantly be prospecting. Schedule it. Make it a priority, Know whether you're selling for the long term higher dollar value sale and treat that client accordingly.

For the longer term lead keep checking in, feeling out the right time to sell. Keep them on your database. Send a newsletter and stay in touch.

As for the short term prospects treat them with respect and give them quick, solid and convenient reasons to buy. Now.

To your sales success
Michael Neaylon

Author of the forthcoming book, 'Marketing Makevovers: How to Bring in Big Money for Your Small Business.'

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Planning and Prioritising

Planning can be tempting to resist. But the more you plan on paper or your computer the less time you waste out on the field or making calls that are taking you down a long, unproductive path.

You don't want to get bogged down in planning either. Here's a simple, six step process for getting the ideas into action .
1. Keep your planning simple. Write the sales challenge you have at the top of a sheet of paper and brainstorm as many ways as you can in 30 minutes to meet that challenge head on. Your mind might drift to begin with, but hang in there. Keep asking yourself the question at the top of the piece of paper, and write as many ideas as you can.

2. Leave it a while. Let it go and come back to your plan after you subconcious has had some time to rest.
Look at the ideas and highlight the best.

3. Pick your top 3. If you have 3 good ideas then you're doing well. Take these 3 ideas and give each idea a prioirty. 1 being the most immediate and important. 3 being the least.

4. Make a timeline. Give each of these a date to be put into action. Keep working on them consistently and persistently. Put the dates somewhere you'll see them. In Oulook or Entourage are good places. Print out a calendar and stick the times where you can see them to keep you on track.

5. Make these new sales practices habits. Keep practicing them so that they become part of your new sales routine. These are a part of you now. They can be refined, but they're simply what you do.

6. Review. Strategy is 98% course correction. Once you have a plan, keep checking in to see it works. If it's not working, change the tactics to reach the sales goals and targets.

Tweak this to suit you and your routine, but stick with it. Make it your own. And above all, remember even the best laid plans mean nothing without action.

Ideas? Questions? Feedback? Email me.

To your sales success
Michael Neaylon

Author of the forthcoming book, 'Marekting Makeovers: How to Bring in Big Money for Your Small Business.'

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Research Your Market

Few Basic Job Interview Questions and Answers question mark
If you skip this step in sales you pay a high price. How high? You won't know because you simply won't get the business.

Start general and keep becoming more specific. Your research is a funnel. You need to keep asking questions. Smart questions that don't waste people time.

If you're just starting out, or starting with a new market, write down all the information you think you need to know about them. These sort of questions help.

1. Why would they buy my offering?
2. What are they missing from my competitors?
3. What are their biggest pains?
4. What are their biggest dreams?
5. How can I solve those?

Keep asking questions about who these people are, what they want, why they want it. Start thinking of answers as to why and how you can help better than the next person.

Now, when it comes to actually speaking to these people take a more pragmatic approach with questions like:

1. What challenges do you face?
2. What do you have on for the year? I'd like to see how we might support you with that.
3. Wha'ts missing from your current provider?

When they start giving you answers, keep asking genuinely and persistently. Think like a kid. Have cheerful enthuisasm for them and their wants. Listen to their cues. If they're busy, they're busy. Let it go for now. You've got more research to do. See if you can call them back. This is as much about building a relationship with a future client as it is about research.

Avoid sellling.

Not yet. That comes later. Thank them for their time. See what happens.

What do you think? Would you like to tell us how it went?

To your sales success
Michael Neaylon

Author of the forthcoming book, 'Marketing Makeovers: How To Bring In Big Money For Your Small Business.'

Monday, January 24, 2011

Who Says Sales Plans Are Boring?

Do you have a sales plan? That is, do you know who your target market is, what they really want and why they're likely yo buy from you? Do you know what's stopping them from buying from you?

During the week we'll look at these key areas.

1. Preparation
2. Research
3. Planning and prioritising
4. Prospecting
5. Presenting

Let's start with preparation.

We'll often put more planning into a holiday than we will a sale. Why? We can see the pay-off. Lying in the sun or climbing a mountain, cocktails on a deserted beach or dancing till dawn in a hidden nightclub are all instantly attractive. We're motivated by the fun, relaxation, cultural exchange or the adventure. Whatever a holiday means to us.

The key is to find out what more sales means to you, and what will motivate you to make more.
What are the dreams you'll fulfill and the pains you'll avoid?

When you write these, I cannot stress this one point enough. They must be specific and they must matter - to you.

Diivide a page into two columns. Write a list of all the things you'll get that you'll enjoy on one side (your exotic island holiday, perhaps, or more time with your family).

On the other side, write a list of all the things you'll give up by creating more sales.( less credit stress or no more ironing).

Write as many specific, tangible pains and dreams as you can for each.  Pick your top goals and higlhight them. Give them a date to have or lose them buy. Read these every day, out loud.  They're your reasons why. And they're a motivating place to start.

Questions? Challenges? Great holiday destinations?

To your sales success
Michael Neaylon

Author of the forthcoming book, 'Marketing Makeovers: How to Bring in Big Money For Your Small Business.'

Friday, January 21, 2011

Closing Sales

Closing the sale. It's where we can all fall down, but it's crucial to our sales success.

Here are some pointers for closing:

1. Plan the close in advance.
2. List the questions that you can ask your clients to close, so that you have those for when the buyer is ready.
3. Practice the closing moment with someone else from your team. Making mistakes in a safe environment will help you make less in appointments.
4. Build a repertoire of closing techniques. Like any muscle, the more you flex it the stornger it will be.
5. Those technqiues can include getting a pen out and starting to take the order - acting as if the sale is happpening will often make it happen. You can also move the sale to a close by simply asking 'so happy to give us a try?', 'let me take care of the details for you,' or even 'how many would you like?'

Depending on the client, the moment and the relationship you can often make this fun. Of course, none of this can happen without good preparation, building rapport and educating the client, but they're all elements that need to be planned, rehearsed and practiced.

To your sales success
Michael Neaylon

Author of the forthcoming book, 'Marketing Makeovers: How to Bring In Big Money For Your Small Business.'

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Always On Show

If you're in a sales meeting you're on show. Everything you do or say is either moving toward a sale or away from it. There's no neutral in a sale, only yes or no.

Imagine you were being video'd. What would you like? What behaviour would you see? Urgent, panicked, desperate, or in control. Asking as many questions as the ones you recieve. Asking more is better, because the person woh asks the most questions is in control.

Steer the sale. Be confident. Ask questions. Stay on show until the cutrtain comes down and you're back in the lift or on the train or in your car. You've got this far you owe it to yourself to give your best performance. 

Find how you're coming across, because once you do you can present ideas and that opens the game very big.

Author of the forthcoming book, 'Marketing Makeovers: How to Bring in Big Money For Your Small Business.'

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sell The Benefits

If you're looking for a surefire way to lose a sale, talk about you and ignore them.

If, on the other hand, you'd like to increase your income here are some pointers for steering the sale.

1. Be prepared. Know who you're speaking to, what they do and the benefits you can provide them. List the ways in which they'll benefit by doing business with you.

2. Know that the question that's front of mind is this. 'What's in it for me?' Speak to that. Let them know the money or time they'll either save or gain. Important: Put a dollar a value on this. If someone knows that you're saving them $1,000 then they're much more likely to spend $497 with you than they are $197.

3. Let them talk. Apart from giving them the oppportunity to be enthusiastic about their needs or wants, you give yourself valuable thinking time.

4. To brainstorm the benefits of what you provide, try this.
Write your offering at the top of a page. Underneath write, if you buy this_______________you can _______________which means you will have / do_______________

Do the same for every beneift your offering gives. Use it in your copy and in your meetings. Don't blurt them out, but have them there in your mind ready to be called upon at the appropriate time.

Practice at least one of these and you're ahead of the game.

 Remember that everything you do is either taking you away from or moving you toward the sale. Therefore you only want to give them the information that makes you and your offering look good. If, however, you go in on auto pilot, dumping features on them then they'll switch off. Why? You're giving them reasons not to buy.

To your sales success
Michael Neaylon

Author of the forthcoming book, 'Marketing Makeovers: How to Bring in Big Money for Your Small Business.'

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Follow Through

As many of us have set our big goals for the year by now, here's something simple for your sales.

Write down everything you do in your typical sales day, from research to sales visits, networking events, right through to the follow up. Then rate yourself on each of these. Good, not so good or smoking hot.

With the not so good, how could you improve on those? Write down five ways for each step you could improve upon, pick the best for each one, set a time to improve this by and get to work on improving it.

If you're not sure which ones need the most work, ask a colleague or your boss.

I found mine was follow through, and am making it a point to catch up with all the half baked leads from last year that make sense to contact. Follow through is a common one for small business owners. We're often so busy doing all the things a small business owner does that we put off the follow up.

Whatever you put off the most is usually the one thing you need to put to the top of the list.

What's on yours?

Write and tell me. Let us all know what works for you.

To your sales success
Michael Neaylon

Author of the book, 'Marketing Makeovers: How to Bring in Big Money For Your Small Business.'

Monday, January 17, 2011

Handling Objections

A simple, effective exercise for handling objections is to draw up two columns on a sheet of paper, write all the reasons people tell you they're not buying from you underneath one column.

Underneath the other leave enough space to give at least three ripostes to their objections. Clear answers that compel them to buy now. If you have a team, brainstorm these. If you work on your own, bounce them off a friend or another solo operator in your industry.

Let them know others once had similar objections and are now your best clients All our clients had an objection at some stage, didn't they? What we need to identify is how we overcame them so we can have those answers on call and front of mind for all our sales.

Hope this helps.

To your success
Michael Neaylon

Authr of the book, 'Marketing Makeovers: How to Bring in Big Money for Your Small Business.'

Friday, January 14, 2011

Getting to Know You

Your clients want to know you. They alos want you to know them.

Give them an insight into what drives you, makes you tick. Show them photos of you on your site, at your store, wherever you do business. Let them see your passion, your fire, your motivation.

Then ask them. 'What makes you passionate about what you do? Is it more money? Better sleep? Helping people? Seeing more of the world? Why? What does that give you, apart from the money? What keeps you up at night? How can we take away that pain?'

Now, you're smart. You don't need to be literal about this. You won't need to come right out and give them 20 questions.

But find ways to build this into your site, your enquiry form, your customer service. Get their feedback and tdo something about it. Dont just fill them with empty promises and flash them a meaningless smile. Build their trust with your follow through. Find out if it worked. Take the time.

And customer loyalty sounds like a lot of work, have you sat down and costed out how much each new client actually costs you? It's worth doing. Keep your clients happy. Keep them close. Serve them better.

To your succcess
Michael Neaylon

Author of the forthcoming book, 'Marketing Makeovers: How to Bring in Big Money for Your Small Business.'

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Celebrate Your Wins

I've found a sentence I like. A lot. It goes like this.

'I did it.'

Not 'I wish I'd done it,' or 'I could've done it better,' or 'if only I'd done it this way,' or 'I really should've done it their way,' or 'If only I'd done it sooner.' 

If you haven't celebrated at least one win this week, do that now.
If you need to take one action to get you one step closer to that win, do that. Now.
Celebrate that action. Take another one. They add up, you know.

I don't care what that action is. I do care how much that action matters to you.
There's no time to waste. You're your own best client and you deserve to win.

Write a list of your top 10 wins this year. Add them to your top 100 from last year.
Don't have that list yet? Write that now. Publish it. Put yourself out there.
Share them with a friend. Give them to a businesss colleague, your daughter, your mother.

Ask them theirs.

Celebrate your wins, let go of your losses, and move ahead. It's much more fun.

To your success
Michael Neaylon

Author of the forthcoming book, 'Marketing Makeovers: How to Bring In Big Money
For Your Small Business.'

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Magnetise Your Marketing Plan

If you want more clients to pay you more money more regularly, you need to give them what they want. Not what you think they want. Not what you think is better for them or what you think they need. What they want. How they want it. This is essential.

You need to know what they will be willing to pay for. That means getting to know your target market well. You can do this in surveys, both formal and informal. is good if you're not already using it. You can attend networking events or client functions and ask them when they’re relaxed. You can ask in the middle of a sales call (otherwise known as qualifying the prospect). You then incorporate this invaluable feedback into your product or services, pricing structure, and delivery. This magnetising becomes an essential part of your key message and the way in which you position your business and yourself.

It’s the old adage of supply and demand. You find what the market place wants and is willing to pay for. What they want more of – or how they might want the same offering delivered differently (such as iPads over laptops). You match your natural talents and abilities with that gap in the market. You brainstorm all the opportunities to reach that marketplace using all the available resources (traditional, multi and social media, email, phone and face-to-face sales, events, trade fair, networking). You narrow it down to the most pertinent channels for your marketplace, researching the results of your brainstorming to check its validity. You try some of the stronger hunches on for size and see what sticks.

That’s the abbreviated version. It’s an ongoing process. However, it’s one you can repeat by getting into a strong marketing mindset and creating good habits.
Questions? Thoughts? Ideas?
This is a section from the (soon to be published) book, 'Marketing Makeovers: How to Bring in Big Money For Your Small Business.'
To your success
Michael Neaylon

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Please Don't Show Me Your Effort

Show me your ease
Please don't show me how hard this is
Show me how you rise to each new challenge
Please don't give me your grief
Show me your joy
Please don't tell me how great you are either
Just show me the incredible things you do
Surpise me
Delight me
Inspire me
Thrill me
Fulfill me

This isn't me talking.
This is your client.

Are you making it easy for people to buy from you?

To your success
Michael Neaylon

Author of the (rapidly) forthcoming book. 'Marketing Makeovers: How To Bring In Big Money For Your Small Business.'

Monday, January 10, 2011

End Gaining or Starting Out?

I read about Calvin Klein starting out, years ago, before the brand became the icon it is today. Apparently, he would run through the streets going from fashion house to retailer to fashion house to another retailer, trying to sell his brand to them. Whenever I see a Calvin Klein billboard, I see this image. I remember it when I’m buying stationery at 9:00 pm, getting up early to write the third draft of a proposal, or when I’m making sales calls from my boiling hot car at lunchtime in the middle of summer. This is the cost of building a business.

Our aim is to keep reducing these costs and increasing their profitability.

But often we end gain. That is, we take short cuts to get to the finish line or want to win without running the race. We expect to have the billboard before the sweat.

I had a client who suffered from this. She impatiently expected results without being in the moment to realise how she could maximize her time, and her sales. A lesson I know only too well. One I’ve had to learn myself.

Are you end gaining? Or are you starting the year with well-laid plans, unafraid to take a leap but not too impatient to reach the finish line?

To your success
Michael Neaylon

Author of the forthcoming book 'Marketing Makeovers: How to Bring In Big Money For Your Small Business.'

Friday, January 7, 2011

Every Conversation Counts

This week has been about ramping up the pace for the New Year ahead. There's a book out soon, and a commitment to the people who've placed faith in this and the help I know it can give them.

As I've been calling prospects, leads, colleagues and other speakers to join the fold, as I've entered forums or taken the plunge to blog daily, I've become acutely aware of how much each converstation counts. 

So I'm starting this year with an authenticity inventory, and I've decided that every meaningful movement forward is one that lacks assumptions. They're easy. Convenient. A cop out.

I intend to surprise myself this year. And I've decided that can't happen unless I allow a predicatable mindset and habitual thinking to get in the way. This is year is about pushing boundaries, not just nudging them but getting a sledgehammer and smashing right through them, this year is about questioning and travelling.,this year is about leaping buildings in a single bound.

This year might not be easy. Or it could be the easiest yet.
I dont't know. And my vote is, don't trust anyone who does.  

Your thoughts? Challenges? Questions?

To your success (whatever that might be for you)
Michael Neaylon

Author of the forthcoming book 'Marketing Makeovers: How To Bring In Big Money For Your Small Business.'

Thursday, January 6, 2011


Watching this video from Box Of Crayons courtesy of a post by Chris Brogan, the word flow flew across the screen like a wave of quietly determined calm.

I wrote a heap more about this but I think the words speak for themselves. Plus I've decided to take my own advice, get out of my way and let things flow a little more this year.

Let it flow
Michael Neaylon

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Is This The Year To Invest In You?

I've never been much of an investor in shares. Never had the eye for it.

Only yesterday I realised I have a lot to learn about asking better questions when it comes to investing.
I also realised I'll be paying for these financial lessons for a couple of years. Ouch. My mistake.

I've decided to go back to basics. For me. For now.

Speaking to an advisor yesterday she told me the world is still shaky financially, markets are still down, points are far below where they should be and people are holding on to their money. I'm sure they are, and I'm sure there's a lot more to it. But every time I hear words such as this - I realise it's time to reinvest in what you can control. Your own assets.

So, here's a list that might inspire you to write your own (if you haven't already)
  • Learn my craft
  • Learn new skills: Leadership and delegattion are two big ones this year for me
  • Learn more about my clients and how to serve them better
  • Learn how to make more money in less time serving more people
  • Learn more about pricing
  • Learn about giving, without giving everything away
  • Learn to ask for support
  • Learn to magnetise my marketing (yes, even a marketer needs to keep refining that)
  • Learn to publish the best book possible and promote it well
  • Learn to be consistently confident
  • Learn to invest in my greatest asset. My mind.
See a theme? Hope it helps. And please, feel free to share yours.

To Your Success
Michael Neaylon

Author of the forthcoming book, 'Marketing Makevoers: How To Bring In Big Money For Your Small Business.'

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sales Superstars

Looking at covers and layout for the book in Borders over the weekend, I found some tempting reads.

One was 'Be A Sales Superstar. 21 great ways to sell more, faster, and easier in today's tough markets.' by Brian Tracy.

He excels in explaining the focus you need to achieve the sales you want. Practically. Clearly. Succinctly. Essentially he reminds us that when it comes to our sales, we all need to be doing one of these three activities all the time.

1. Prospecting.
2. Presenting.
3. Following up.

Couldn't agree more. Making sales is an area I see clients avoid all the time. Been guilty of it myself. But if we're not selling, we're not producing. If we're not producing, how can we profit? We can all be doing more of these three. Contstantly.

To your sales success
Michael Neaylon

Author of the forthcoming book, 'Marketing Makeovers: How To Bring in Big Money for Your Small Business.'

Monday, January 3, 2011

Will You Persist or Prevail in 2011?

Welcome to the first Brand Stand for 2011. I hope you had a relaxing break with the people that matter in your life.

I'm keeping the first newsletter simple this year. Might not be the shortest yet, but it is simple.

As many of us use this time to reflect, set goals and resolutions for the year ahead, I thought I might start where many good goals finish; the end. The end, that is, of the book I've been writing for some time now. The second draft is now with an editor (being a recovering perfectionist I couldn't hand over the first).

We'll no doubt thrash the content about a bit to make the best book possible. But I thought I'd give you what is currently the last section of the book, as it sums up a couple of lessons I've learnt and, I hope, gives some inspiration for 2011.

Don't Prevail. Persist.

There are days I force myself to make that extra call or attend that meeting I'm not entirely sure about, to design a brochure, hone a campaign or rewrite the website. Perhaps you know the feeling. You'd rather hibernate than cultivate. That's when the real work starts. But it doesn't mean the work can't be fun.
I urge you to inject some variety in your routine. Enjoy the journey. Don't be your own slave master. One of the best exercises I did this year was to face my own inner taskmaster. He's still there. I have to keep him at bay some days. I've got a vigilant work ethic, and can be pretty disciplined but that can also work against me. Being clearer on what I want and why, enables me to ask that same clarity of clients. Its a win-win.

This book is an example of persistence over prevailing. There was a time, not that long ago, when I decided that I was over hearing myself on group coaching calls sounding like a victim. Not to my coach or the other callers, but myself. That moment made me think that I've invested too much in this book, in telling people about it, sharing the process, blogging about the book to keep feeling like a failure; especially as I believe I can help more people - including myself - by writing it.

Funnily enough it was around the same time that I decided to change tack with my target market and how I approached them, to increase the research, reinvest in the learning I was receiving and concentrate on getting the book written and published. I soon started inviting people on to be case studies, a hunch I had from the moment I wrote the book - to give you the reader a greater variety of thoughts and experiences beyond my own.

This is persistence. It worked when I gave up smoking eleven years ago and its working now. It beats the hell out of prevailing.

Someone who's persisted much more than me is James Gribble. He's a great guy; quietly self-assured, positive and bright, with a great sense of humour. He's also quadriplegic.

I was privileged to MC an event to raise the chances of Sydney artist, Jessica Murray, getting her painting of James into the Archibald Prize. Two years ago James had a severe accident in Zambia while travelling around Africa.

Waiting to go Tiger fishing on the mighty Zambezi River on a terribly hot day, James fainted whilst sitting on a stool, falling backward onto hard sand. The result of this seemingly innocuous occurrence was catastrophic. The impact of the fall severely bruised his spinal cord and broke his C4 and C5 vertebrae, leaving James with voluntary movement only from his shoulders up.

Meeting James and his family was inspiring. Everyone I spoke to mentioned that James is never bitter, not even for a moment, about his fate. He works at least 5 hours a day 6 days a week in an effort to walk. That effort is paying off. He made just over 200 steps on crutches the day we did the gig.

That's not prevailing, that's persistence.

For the days when you don't want to pick up the phone or feel terrified about speaking in public or negotiating that higher fee, don't just think of James, think of yourself. Think of the times you've conquered your own demons or won your own battles. When something mattered to you so much that the fears dripped away. Think of the time your desire to achieve your goal, backed by consistent, persistent action, took on a life of its own.

The word prevail implies to me to suffer. To persist, however, means to overcome the suffering stuff and get on with it. I encourage you to persist. And make your marketing matter.

Make 2011 your best yet.
Michael Neaylon

Author of the forthcoming book 'Marketing Makeovers: How To Bring In Big Money For Your Small Business.'..and yes, it's soon to arrive, complete with case studies.