This week there were some very impressive numbers that came out of IBM's service side. It clearly shows, as with much of the vibrant IT sector, that while businesses are not spending wildly, they are investing in themselves. It's a perfect illustration of a selective recovery nursing our economy back to health.
So, what can we, as individuals, learn from this smart approach?
Now is the time to invest in yourself.
Businesses understand that with an economy in a fragile recovery, it is impossible to ruthlessly raise prices and to aggressively grab market share. Instead, it would appear that the game is to add value, offer the customer more and constantly justify their existence.
From an individual perspective, we need to take note. Taking a leaf out of the book of 'big business' for our own use as individuals is worth a go.
What are you worth?
Never forget that people buy people -- and every time that you explain the benefit of your offering, the value of your products or the brilliance of your service -- people are really choosing whether they buy YOU or not.
Despite the arrival of Google+, this Twitter thing is clearly here to stay -- and yet so MANY people have yet to dive in. If you tweet only once a year or have never yet issued your thoughts to the Twittersphere -- start now. Be outspoken, attach photos, give people a little insight into who you are, curate cool articles from blogs or websites -- create your online brand. If you need a rude awakening, check out your Klout score (an algorithm-driven score based on the influence you have on the world) at www.klout.com
Whether we admit it or we don't, we all have lucky clothes. Maybe it's a suit, shirt, even some underwear... When we are wearing that specific item we feel more powerful. We imagine that, somehow, by wearing something we have anointed as very lucky we now possess a strength, a power that we can use to get ahead.
What really is happening is that we know we look good in this particular item of clothing. When we look good, whether we realize it or not, we exude a certain confidence that people want to buy. This works and is a great investment in our overall efforts to continue selling ourselves. (moral: Spend money on clothes, make yourself look good!)
We are all in sales
If people buy people, then, by default, we are all in sales! When I make this point at the conferences and conventions where I am lucky enough to speak, I can often sense the initial disbelief in the large audiences (especially the lawyers, CPAs and IT professionals). But, and you know this, it's a fact of life.
With everything we say and every step we take, people choose whether to buy us, our ideas and our suggestions... or not.
Spending time truly understanding if you are selling yourself to your best ability or you are perhaps falling short, is a very strong way to Invest in yourself.
Would you buy you?
If you were sitting in an audience watching YOU would you be interested?
If you were watching television and YOU came on, would you stay on the channel?
During this lovely summer, as temperatures soar and we spend time by the water and in the sunshine, take a few minutes to consider how you have invested in yourself -- your clothes, your tone, your brand, your knowledge, your stories... your buy-ability!
There is no greater way to invest in yourself than to stop focusing on what you want to sell and really concentrate on what you know your customers, your colleagues and your bosses want to buy.
Follow Mark Jeffries on Twitter: www.twitter.com/markjeffries1