Archive for August, 2006

Noise vs. No Noise

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

Have you ever heard a song of silence?

In 1952, 4’33”, a piece by avant-garde composer John Cage in which the performer’s silence elevated the incidental noise of the concert hall to the status of music, had its debut in New York.

So a composer’s orchestra sits silently for four minutes and thirty-three seconds and that’s music? That’s art? Strange, but useful, if you think about it…

When do you STOP and let silence work on your head?

A great practice for all business professionals is to take time daily to get away from work, reading, watching and listening and just sit in silence.

You’ll find creative thoughts begin to move about your brain. Solutions to problems can surface. You’ll recover strength and energy for the rest of the day.

So take 4’33” sometime today and see how it nourishes you.

Marriage Mentoring Moment

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006

The bride says, “Are you going to love me when I’m old and gray?”

The groom replies, “Not only am I going to love you… I’m going to write you every day.”

First, let me say I’m a big fan of marriage. I have that old-fashioned approach that you mate for life, like eagles, swans and black vultures (90% of bird species mate for life. Only 3% of mammals do so).
However, in the sales world, you have to cut loose with some customers that are too demanding – high capacity clients, you might say. They take time and attention from others you need to attend to, whether the others are customers or good prospects.

Who is paying you to drain you dry of your products, services and attention? End that relationship and find an eagle to sell to.

Who can you rid yourself of today?

Come on, have the guts to do the right thing and see how good you feel about it later.

10 Key Reasons why Entrepreneurs Flop

Tuesday, August 29th, 2006

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there are 10 main reasons why budding entrepreneurs like you flop:

1. Lack of experience
2. Insufficient capital
3. Poor business location
4. Bad inventory management
5. Overinvesting in fixed assets
6. Making bad credit arrangements
7. Mixing personal and business funds
8. Mismanaging growth
9. Failing to respond to competition
10. Lack of sales

Actually, you could take #10 and move it to the top of the list.

If you sell well, your other business practices forgive you because you provide cash flow.

Look at the list again. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or you “run your own sales business” as a corporate rep, can you improve on any of these concerns?

Learn to ask for help or research for help, but find out where to get better, then how to do so.

You could be the next Microsoft or Google or Cisco. Somebody will be, why not you?

Woodpecker

Monday, August 28th, 2006

(don’t tell my wife I’m writing on this)

Our house needs painting.

In fact, the wood looks like real wood, rather than blue, the color the previous owners intended.

I’m lying in bed one morning and wham! a construction crew seems to have begun work outside the wall, right by my head.

It’s actually a neighborhood woodpecker who is hammering away at the house, looking to move in, I assume.

What does it take to get you to get out of bed and get better at your craft?

My mission in these blog posts is to have these thoughts serve as a flock of woodpeckers, hammering away at your brain, hoping to motivate you to improve your performance, skills and income.

Which one idea hits the hardest?

What will you do about it?

Hiring? Prefer Men vs. Women?

Friday, August 25th, 2006

Boss: Rick, Mary is right about her complaint that she deserves as much money as you. So I’m cutting your salary in half.

This gender argument should never occur in the sales world. We control our income!

Many readers are laughing anyway at the salary, thinking “When was the last time I had a salary?”

A sales job is like the epitome of democracy; freedom from the oppression of horrible wages, freedom from gender bias, freedom to control your future and more.

And if you’re reading this as a sales manager or an entrepreneur who hires reps, remember this: Hiring someone smarter than you proves that you are smarter than them.

Selling Thoughts from Jupiter

Thursday, August 24th, 2006

I’m camping with my son in the Upper Penninsula of Michigan. They have a computerized telescope at the camp. It is a very cool instrument.

I look into it and am gazing at the planet Jupiter – 390 million miles away!

But a mere 240,000 miles away I can’t see the moon. It is hidden behind some trees. And it is full, spectacularly full. I simply walk around some giant pine trees and am hypnotized by the thing.

And since we’re enamored of numbers at the time of this writing (well, at least I am), I want to mention that an experiment in 1997 – where scientists bounced lasers off the moon’s surface – showed that our neighborly satellite is exactly 15 billion inches from earth (based on viewing habits, your mileage might vary).

So that night I could see 390 million miles away, but was blind to 240,000 miles. Interesting paradox.

How’s your vision about your business, your future, your potential?

Can you spot yourself way, way, way down the road?

Can you peek at yourself around the corner?

You need the ability to see long and short term to be successful.

Stop and gaze into the telescope of your sales life. And try to survey what your future life looks like in the near and the far.

The exercise will do your eyeballs and brains some good.

Speed of Life Selling

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2006

RIDGEVILLE, S.C. (AP) — Willy the tortoise made a break for freedom — well, break may be too strong a word. It was more like a slow crawl.

But after a month on the lam, the 40-pound tortoise with a 2-foot-wide, gold-colored shell is back in the wading pool at his owner’s home.

Kellie Copeland-Burnup reported the tortoise had escaped July 1.

A local emergency medical services technician spotted Willy on Sunday along a rural road about five miles away. During six weeks on the run, Willy averaged .005 mph, well short of a new land speed record.

The tortoise is now inside a chain-link dog kennel in Copeland-Burnup’s back yard although she knows he is capable of digging under a fence.

“I’ll be keeping an eye on him,” Copeland-Burnup said.
© 2006 Associated Press

A great question in selling is do you work slowly or quickly?

Is it slow and steady to nurture relationships into accounts?

Or is it qualify quickly, then sell ’em or walk away?

Both speeds has advantages. Great sales pros can do both.

Which do you need to work on? Turtling your way through interactions or moving on more quickly?

Obsessions

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2006

In July, Cory Neddermeyer, 42, was turned down for unemployment benefits in Iowa, after a judge ruled that he was fired for cause. His employer, the Amaizing Energy ethanol plant, suffered a massive spill that created a pond of fuel alcohol, and Neddermeyer (a recovering alcoholic), after resisting as long as he could, gave in and started drinking from the pool (causing him to pass out and later register an 0.72 blood-alcohol reading). [Des Moines Register, 7-9-06]
Let’s look at obsessions. Are they good or bad?

Could be both, right? If activities related to things with which you are infatuated are destructive, that’s bad.

If your fascination with something helps you to absorb every bit of data and this leads to expertise on a subject related to work or a hobby, that’s good.

So control is the real issue here.

And good judgement.

What do you have a “sweet tooth” for?

Is it helping or hurting your goal to become a true expert in your profession?

Your obsessions – will you embrace them or let them go?

Barry Manilow Sales Tip

Monday, August 21st, 2006

A council in the Sydney, Australia suburb of Rockdale is planning to play Barry Manilow songs in car parks late at night to deter gangs of youths from drinking, smoking and racing cars.
Ref: Daily Telegraph (UK)

Who would you like least to have around your prospects and clients? The competition?

Then what selling activities or strategies are you adopting to keep the competition at bay?

Good local public relations helps, the stories keep you top-of-mind in your marketplace.

Charity work does the same thing.

Keeping in touch by email, phone or real mail is a smart way to let those prospects and existing customers know that you’re thinking about them.

So take a tip from our friends “down under” and sing your way to success by putting a Manilow move on your marketplace: Drive away those competing gangs of reps by letting them know that you are everywhere – and have no intention of going away.

Poorly-paid Insects

Friday, August 18th, 2006

An entomologist at Cornell University (US) has worked out that the annual value of insect services in the US is around US$57 billion. Insect services include crop pollination and land cleaning. Ref: New Scientist (UK)

This means that outside the knowledge of over 300 million Americans, insects are doing work for us, and not getting paid. And they’re doing it without our permission.

So aside from the fact that some scientist at an Ivy League school probably got paid a few hundred thousand of our tax dollars to do this speculative research, there’s a lesson here for salespeople.

It’s related to a theme you’ll see continue to pop up here – on being grateful for what we have.

The lesson’s in a question:

Who is helping in the background?

Today is about going beyond the obvious. It’s not about the sales assistant or marketing team or anyone you’re closely aligned with in your selling day.

Let’s make it about the other people with whom you have limited contact who support you. Internally, it might be accounting/finance and HR people. Externally, it might be suppliers or the actual manufacturers of the products you sell.

Why not sit down in a team meeting or at a networking group or by yourself. And identify who is in the background, contributing to your success.

Then thank them.

Look at it this way, the roses you can afford to send to those insects were somehow nurtured and grown by them before you even got there.