Secrets to a Happy Marriage, by Someone Who Has One

The following is kind of a rant. It’s not something I usually do, but I’m fed up and sad at the married world. Fair warning.

It’s so hard to believe that my wife and I have been married for twenty years. Twenty years!

I never would have dreamed such a thing, especially when I knew so many couples, including my own parents, who didn’t make it nearly that long.

Thinking about it and observing a lot of other couples, there are probably a lot of reasons why we get along: we both went through some bad relationships before we met, we have a lot of the same interests, etc. But one thing really stands out in my mind, and I believe it is the secret to a long and happy marriage:

It’s Not A Competition.

That’s it. Easy, huh?

Seriously, I’ve seen so many couples struggle through conflict after conflict, determined to win, to get the last word, or at least make sure the other partner doesn’t win.

No, really. Stop trying to win.

Remember when you first met, and you wanted to make him/her happy? (Note: A popular definition of love is, when the other person’s happiness is more important than your own.) That needs to continue. It doesn’t mean that you bow down to his every whim, follow wherever she goes, but c’mon, can’t you all compromise once in a while?

“What are my three favorite words?” “You were right.”

I’ve seen couples that will go to such great lengths to make sure that the other does not win, that sometimes they forget what they were fighting about in the first place. Is that why you got married? Is that what made you fall in love? Did you fall in love, or were you just looking for a brother or sister to kick around? Which brings me to my second point:

Your Spouse is Not Your Sibling

I’m an only child, but I’ve been around enough sibling rivalries to recognize it in married couples, which is just wrong. Competing, teasing, proving the other person wrong, laughing in their face when they make a mistake, that’s sibling behavior. That’s childish sibling behavior, and you should have left that behind, oh, about twenty years ago.

You are together because there was something you liked about each other. Something in that other person that you wanted in your life. You looked in their eyes, you wanted to spend the rest of your life with them. But not like this. Not afraid to try things or talk about things or show your feelings for fear of being laughed at.

You fell in love once. Deep breaths. Sit down, talk about it. No yelling, no blaming, no winning.

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What That Means Is…

One of the phrases that you can use to greatly improve your reputation in the client’s eyes is, “what that means is…” No matter what business your are in, you know the lingo, the vocabulary of your business, and when you are with colleagues, feel free to use it as much as you like.

But when you’re with a client or prospect, you need to explain as much as possible, unless the prospect already has some knowledge. For example, if you are in retail, you may know what the word “shrinkage” means. Often it’s used as a euphemism for inventory reduction through theft, either internal or external. But not everyone in retail knows the term, or they may have some other word for it, like “theft,” for instance.

If your prospect uses an industry term, and you know what it means, by all means use it in your conversation. Just watch for those puzzled looks or blank stares that tell you that you lost them somewhere, and slow down, choose your words, and get back on track.

Rob Wallis is The Marketing Outsider, a speaker, author, and consultant who helps business owners increase their profitability by improving their visibility. Contact him at The Wallis Group

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The Importance of Pricing Power

I’m quite the stickler for spelling people’s name right, probably because my own last name is spelled in an unusual (to the rest of the world) way.

Nonetheless, I like this post from WIC about pricing power. Please check it out, and come back and comment.

Do you have an unusually spelled name?

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Don’t Cut the Customer Service Budget

Great post here about not cutting, but increasing your service in poor economic times, i.e., now: Don’t Cut the Customer Service Budget
Robert B. Wallis is a speaker, author, and consultant who helps business owners increase their profitability by improving their visibility. Contact him at The Wallis Group

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Small Biz Marketing: A solution, not a product

Tim Miles asks “What is it that you’re trying to make happen?” I have noticed this theme in many different scenarios, business and personal.

Humans seem to have a difficult time getting REALLY specific about what they want. And business owners have a hard time getting past “I want to make money” or “People need to buy my product.”

It goes back to the principle of “you’re not selling a drill; you’re selling a hole in the wall.” A solution, not a product. A result, not a sale.

This is where all of your marketing should begin.

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What does it mean to be different?

Rob Wallis is The Marketing Outsider, a speaker, author, and consultant who helps business owners increase their profitability by improving their visibility. Contact him at The Wallis Group

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“Don’t Just Sit There, DO Something!” – The Three Keys to Powerful Achievement

1. Powerful Intentions (Tell us how you feel)

Figure out what it is you want to have, be or do. Nothing can be achieved without a clear mental picture of exactly what it looks like. You need to determine:

* What you want

* What does it look like when you have it

* When do you want it (“right now” doesn’t count, be specific!)

* How do you feel when you have it

“How you feel” is probably one of the most important and greatly neglected parts of the process. What REALLY gets your brain in gear is the emotional aspect of the desire. This is why the attraction to the opposite sex is so strong; the emotion takes over our senses, often making us do crazy things.

There are two parts to this process: visualization and gratitude. Experts call this “acting as if.” Your visualization needs to include actually feeling like you already have what you want. For example, if you want to be wealthy, and to you that means lying on a beach in Bora Bora, You need to somehow get that feeling, possibly by lying on a beach somewhere. Then recall how that feels, thinking to yourself, “how happy I am that I am wealthy enough to lie here on the beach in Bora Bora.”

Yes, I know it sounds silly, but no one has to know what you are thinking about. This is a good exercise right when you go to bed, when you can give it your full concentration.

2. Powerful Planning (Don’t just sit there!)

“Writing is the key to all wealth”-Scott Ginsberg

3. Powerful Action (DO something!)

“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” — Will Rogers

1. Write down what you want to do.

2. Imagine what it would feel like to achieve that goal.

3. Write down all of the steps you would need to do to achieve that goal.

4. Do EVERYTHING in step 3 (easy, huh?).

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