Over 20 years ago, an email arrived in my inbox that mentioned “the CEO Program” in the first line of the email. Even all those years ago, I was already a professional at ignoring any kind of sales email – and yet this pierced through my wall. At the time, I worked at Bank of America, where I led a team responsible for training new bankers. I was thoroughly intrigued by a program that could teach people to think like a CEO, so I reached out to the author of that email, Nick Miller, founder of Clarity Advantage. He taught me some important lessons back then.
He’s still teaching. We have stayed in touch ever since, and platforms like Linkedin make it so much easier. A few weeks ago, Nick posted a weekly sales thought on the speed of speaking titled “Again Please…slower (so clients can process what we are saying.)” Once again, he pierced through my wall. It’s exactly the kind of reminder I needed. More than once, people have asked me to s l o w d o w n. Ok, they do it all the time. I was grateful once again for what Nick taught me.
Interestingly, Nick sees himself more as a storyteller than a teacher. We really do learn better through stories than lectures. I did a happy dance when he agreed to do a podcast with me.
If I had to name a theme for this conversation, it would be all about the quality of the question. Nick Miller is a phenomenal question asker – as you will hear in this conversation, where more than once, he turned the table and asked me a question. You will also hear where I asked a question he had no answer for – because I didn’t ask a great question. After you listen to this podcast, I would love for you to help me out – how could I have asked that or any question better?
Back to the conversation with Nick. We covered his weekly sales thought – as he’s coming up on number 1000, on his writing and storytelling mentors, what he learned about asking questions from a graveyard, how he got a famous author and coach to take him on as a client and the only three things we really need to know how to do. Hint: one of them is to learn, and we dove deep on the topic of how we know we are learning, and what he wished he had learned earlier in his career.
Here’s what Nick has to say about himself:
Nick Miller is a consultant and business owner who, for a few brief and glorious moments at a much earlier time in his life, thought he would be a professional musician. One night after a show, he was invited to join a well-known (at the time) band that was just about to start a world tour. …… and, two days later, he decided to go to business school. A serious business school. After a few years in banking and a lot of years in consulting, he founded Clarity Advantage.
Now, instead of picking guitars, he helps banks and credit unions pick and execute strategies to generate more profitable relationships, faster, with their business prospects and customers, their owners, and employees. It’s been better than the world tour. No regrets.
In his day job, now, he works with bank and credit union branch, field sales, and call center sales team members focusing on which businesses to sell to, how to engage, how to explore, advise, and recommend; how to close; and how to manage relationships.
Nick has consulted with community, regional, and money center banks in the US, Canada, and Mexico. For several years, he developed programming for and MC’d a national conference on small business banking. His “Weekly Sales Thought” column circulates globally and his articles have been published or quoted in journals including ABA Bank Marketing, BAI Banking Strategies, Sales & Marketing Management, Commercial Lending Review, The RMA Journal, and American Banker. Videos and hundreds of Nick’s articles are accessible through Clarity’s web site, www.clarityadvantage.com.
Nick lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts; walks throughout the Greater Boston area; sails at Community Boating on the Charles River; and picks up his guitars whenever he can.
Stay for the end of this conversation to hear how Nick describes his relationship with music-there’s some very useful wisdom there.
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