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The Real Secret to Business Success

By Michael Zipursky

Every once in a while we get an email from someone saying something along the lines of, “I just read your material and there’s nothing new here. I already know all of this…”

The fact that the person has usually sent that email 20 minutes after they received the material says a lot about how much focus they actually gave it. What’s worse though…

In every business I have been involved in, I have seen the benefits of providing above average experiences for clients and customers

…is that I know, first hand, that the same material they say is ‘common sense’ and ‘too basic’ has helped thousands of consultants build businesses doing hundreds of thousands of dollars in income (and in some cases more) each and every year.

So clearly something is going on here. When someone is only making $50K or $80K a year and they say they already “know all the information” and “there’s nothing new” in it for them…and when that same information is being used by others making 2, 3, even 5 times or more than they are, something is up.

I Get Upset

Yes, I get upset when these emails come in a few times a year. It’s not a common occurrence by any means…but my first reaction is to take it a bit personal. A few seconds later I’ve cooled down and have reminded myself of the vast majority of people that are making good use of that same information.

And while my first thought is to fire back an email to give the person a piece of my mind, that’s not the way I do things. If you’ve been around the Consulting Success® world for a while you will know that I am a huge believer in customer service and communication.

In every business I have been involved in, I have seen the benefits of providing above average experiences for clients and customers. So I don’t shoot back a hard response. Rather I see if there’s another way we can help this person.

Help Requires a Shift

What I have come to realize however, is that the answer these people are looking for isn’t something that can’t just be pulled out of a hat.

You see, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this issue. And what I’ve discovered is that…

…When someone purchases a course or a book, or attends a seminar and they come away thinking they know all of the information taught to them (yet the person that is teaching it to them is levels above where they want to be), a question needs to be asked…

That question is: “If I know all of this information already, why am I (stress on the ‘I’ part) not as successful as the person I went to learn that information from?

Most people don’t ask that question…and so they shift the blame from themselves to the others.

And most of us are smart enough to know that the approach of blaming others doesn’t yield positive results.

The Real Issue

I started digging to learn more about why this is all happening. What I learned is that human psychology can teach us a great deal about this…

There are two kinds of intentions we need to look at here.

Goal Intention – The first, and most common, is called the ‘goal intention’. To put this in context, imagine you’ve just learned something new. You think, “that’s a cool strategy. I can use that in my business.” So you’ve now made a goal to put a new idea to work for your benefit. What happens next, is, well, nothing. Many people don’t take that idea and move forward with it. And that brings us to the second kind of intention.

Learning is critical. Yet it’s the easy part. Implementing is what brings real success.

Implementation Intention – The key here is to implement. This time, you still have a goal, yet rather than just saying “it would be great to start doing this in my business, I’m going to do that”, you take action and set a detailed plan of when, where and how you are going to implement that idea in your business to reach that goal.

In our Momentum program, the biggest success stories we hear are from consultants that not only spend time going through all of the information in the course, they also take the strategies that would benefit their business and situation the most and ruthlessly implement them.

When people that set Goal Intentions hear about an idea they’ve heard before they tend to dismiss it as something they already know. “Nothing new here” they say.

My friends, this is one of the biggest factors that separates ultra-successful people from the wannabes. The first group sets goals and then tirelessly implements everything they can to ensure they reach that goal. The second group spends a great deal of time learning something, and then before implementing much of it, they are off to finding ‘newer and better’ information.

Instead, what they should be doing is filtering the best ideas that they’ve learned, and then put all their effort and focus behind those ideas by taking action and implementing everyone one.

Learning is critical. Yet it’s the easy part. Implementing is what brings real success.

I’d love to hear from you. What thoughts or comments do you have on this?

PS. If you enjoyed this article, please share it with your network on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+ through the share bar on the left side of this page.

9 thoughts on “The Real Secret to Business Success

  1. Dragos Gheorghiu says:


    Reading through the lines of your post – and I’m leaving the main subject aside as it’s not in my intention to comment it – what I really liked and learned is your approach towards treating an “issue” – I am also proceeding like that everyday or at least try (a reminder every now and then really helps).

    So, thanks for letting me realize (again) that thorough study has to precede findings when treating an issue. I do not know if you already knew the psychological types of intentions or you found them by study just now – but that’s the value point I got from your post.

    May sound “common sense” for other people – but that’s it! I do like thanking people that I can learn from.



    • Dragos – thanks for the thoughtful comment. This has been on my mind for a while. I’ve been trying to understand the deeper reasons of why some succeed while others fail.

  2. Lindsay says:

    Yes this is so true. Thank you for the push here. Great to have it.

  3. Malcolm McLelland says:

    I agree completely with your basic message: Even if people understand something, it doesn’t mean it will help them unless they implement it. Many people don’t get the distinction between knowledge and application, and I think this is the result of the vague notion that people seem to “often get paid just because they are smart” (though, it’s not true actually).

    At the risk of sounding pedantic, I think what bothers many people about the issue–like this guy you mention–is as follows. They know that client perception of service quality (Q) is a combination of actual performance (P) and, may I call it, simply “service” (S). So, they think of client-perceived service quality like this:

    Q = P + S

    … and they object to the idea that “positive client experience” can be influenced by S; because it’s not “real”; it’s not what they were hired to do per so. But this, in my experience, is (as one can see) linear thinking that really doesn’t represent reality. Clients are not so stupid that they think that a high level of general service is a substitute for actual technical performance.

    I personally think client service quality perception is a non-linear function that looks more like the following non-linear function:

    Q = a*P^b*S^c

    … where ^b and ^c are exponents representing elasticity of client perception with respect to P and S. Notice that if either P or S is zero, the perceived service quality Q is zero also. This means that consultants must do both: There must be some combination of high quality technical services and high quality general service (e.g., prompt return of phone calls, etc.).

    In short, Michael, you are correct. Some people are linear, non-empirical thinkers, and this leads to lower client satisfaction and lower consulting fees. As I mature I realize that the main obstacle between knowledge and value is ego, which leads people to assume they know best. This is not a great way to go through life, as you suggest. 🙂

    Cheers, MMc

    • Malcolm – appreciate your response and comment. It looks like this is something you’ve given thought to as well?!

  4. As Gary Halbert often said, “Motion beats meditation.” All day, every day.

    Have you seen this book trailer for “You’re Not That Smart”? –>

    It’s another powerful explanation why “present bias” so frequently makes goal intentions worthless.

    Thanks for this great article, Michael!

    • Donnie – I haven’t heard of that book though will check it out. Thanks for the suggestion and the comment! Gary Halbert had some great sayings 🙂

  5. www. says:

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