Thursday, September 30, 2010

For Sales People Only

I just saw Wall Street....another quintessential sales movie with quotes from Gordon Gecko on the art of selling, trading, negotiating. A movie filled with slick suits, high priced cars and spacious lofts. The intent possibly to have sales people leave the theater, grab a scotch and plot their fortune at the expense of anyone in their way.

Guess What....No one cares anymore. The whole game is changing.

Sales is no longer about sharp dress, slick talk, presentation and negotiation skills. Offices are being cleaned out for mobile work, suits are being hung up for t-shirts and face to face meetings replaced by Skype.

The problem when money drives is that greed takes over. Make a quick buck, flip another deal, burn another bridge and move on.

Two things have happened while you were buying leather shoes:
* Prospects have gotten wise to the slick sales approach
* Organizations are realizing that long term relationships are far more profitable

So you walk from the high rise building, undo your tie and say 'I just tricked those dummies'. Did you consider that they have windows and that they could have seen you coming from a mile away? It's time to grow up!

Here's what matters:
Long Term Care
Reasonable Relationship Standards

How Do I Know You?
It is very difficult to win someone over in an hour. It is very easy to sour them.

Here's what you can do to win trust on a first dance:
Answer a Yes/No question with either Yes or No
Be Polite
Research your client and their company

Be concise in your responses, let the prospect do the talking and work in a curling metaphor (if your research shows that he/she likes curling).

5 years from now
Why would you build a house just to move out of it? Why would you buy shoes and leave them at the shop? Why would you work to close a deal and then lose it by revealing your false premise?

Happy customers provide guaranteed revenue, up-selling opportunities and word of mouth reference. Why toil in promising and falling short? Find the right customers, treat them with outstanding personal care and watch the flowers grow into big beautiful trees.

Sometimes You Have to Say No
Your client will respect you if you tell them you cannot promise everything. In fact, many prospects ask questions to gage your willingness to set standards. If you promise without flinching you are suspect.

Know what you can't do, promise accordingly and be gracious in the process.

It is far better to know your target market and spend your time wisely. Trying to push your solution on an illogical suitor is a guaranteed waste of time and money.

Put away that fancy tie. Save the $1,200 you were going to spend on a sales seminar. Be honest, be yourself and consult people in the right way for the right reasons (no matter how much it hurts).

When the movie ends you want to be the hero not the villain. There are a lot of villains in sales.....follow the aforementioned directives and you will win more than you lose...the only formula anyone needs to follow.

Don't Forget to Remember!


Monday, September 27, 2010

The Genuine Article

I remember being in my boss' office....the news relayed that I had (again) been passed over for a promotion. Nearly in tears, I told him I wished that 'they' understood how hard I worked and how much 'this place' meant to me.

I had performed to my quota year after year, was the first to volunteer for any new initiative and never missed a day of work. My problem? I wanted something for every inch of my effort...I was selfish and it was transparent.

The people around me recognized my hard work. They also recognized my false motivation and the volatility that fueled it. The same manic energy I put into 12 hour work days, I put into searching for kudos for everything I did. Through melt down after melt down, I eventually turned to slush.

I wish someone would have had the wherewithal to help me channel my motivation. I am here to help you do that through the following advice:
Let Genuine Intent Guide Your Actions
Ask Not for a Pat on the Back
Do Your Talking in the Ring
Understand that Promotions may not be a Good Thing

Get Real
One cannot act without purpose. The 'look busy the boss is coming' technique may only work once. You need to set a purpose to every day that involves taking organizational directives and giving them meaning to your life. You have to find meaning in every thing, understand why it is important to you and carry out said task with true intention.

People love those who carry themselves with confidence. You get to confidence by understanding the WHY behind every task and always pursuing a grandiose purpose.

Without Thank You will bust your butt on a project for which someone else will get credit. This does not happen more than once. Eventually a flood gate opens and the pretenders are revealed. It is better to be discovered behind the curtain than to be in front of initiatives you cannot expand upon.

If you expect to hear 'thank you' every time you perform, you will become a professional foot tapper. Some companies and managers are not good at recognizing achievement...that's not your fault. The key to keep from getting discouraged is to discover your personal achievement in everything and reward yourself.

The only validation that really matters is your own!

Results Shout Out Load
In a Radio interview I did, the host was freaked out to hear my technique of keeping my mouth shut for the first 6 months at a new job. I stick by that recommendation.

No one likes a person who comes in a room and starts talking about their 'past achievements' at high volume. Ease your way in...

You don't have to talk about how great you were or how great you will be...just be great!You need not talk a mean game, play a mean game. Eliminate the bravado, don't pre-frame your work, do your fighting in the ring!

Casting Call
I used to believe I wanted to be promoted to management because I saw that promotion as an ascension up the corporate ladder. When I finally got a promotion to Manager, I realised how much I disliked managing. The a-holes who held me back from promotion were right...I wasn't the guy for that job.

The bottom line is this:
You cannot let others determine what is right for YOU.
You need to pursue your career with YOUR best interest in mind.
By being true to yourself you will represent others in a more genuine fashion.

The worst thing you can do is pretend to be someone you are not, be miscast, get in over your head, under-perform, act out of character and lose your dignity.

There are many things far more important than your job. But, you spend most of your life at it the right way:
Be True to Yourself!

Don't Forget to Remember!


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Gen Why?

The shelves are filled with books about Millennials (written by people born in the 50's). Internet sites have case studies on managing Gen Y. Every publication has a benefits strategy for 'a new generation of workers'.

The characteristics of Generation Y listed as:

Have we become that simple in business management that we have to categorize everyone and put an according label on them?

I have news for you: the aforementioned characteristics are not unique to Gen Y. The people who write books about Millennials possess these seemingly frowned upon points of motivation. Everyone gets impatient when company goals do not fit their pace for advancement. The best companies are able to foster a purpose driven culture that encourages people (of all generations) to carve a career path that fits their level of commitment.

So instead of criticising the young, let's focus on what companies can do to encourage them (and everyone else):
Say Thank You!
Don't Mask Your Insecurity by Regulating Others
Stop Micro Managing
Foster a Purpose Driven Environment

The Validation of Thanks
You can pay more, afford annual sabbaticals and offer free gym memberships; but if you suck the rest of the time, I am out of here. Fact: I will not need a vacation if I love my work. There is only one thing I need to love my hear Thank You for my effort; every day!

We all need validation to keep us moving. We don't need our balls busted to remind us to work harder. When the purpose of motivation is positive we all strive for a common goals. When staying employed is a daily battle we compete internally, screw one another over, politic and create an environment of self-preservation.

Just a Little Patience
Let's look at the time line for High School Sports -
Year 1 - Freshman team
Year 2 - Junior Varsity
Year 3 - Varsity
Year 4 - Team Captain

With a clear cut 4 year scale, evolving into another 4 year scale (college), can you blame Millennials for being impatient when they achieve their quota their first 2 years at your company and receive no extended career track to encourage their results?

Take time to understand the scale mentioned above when managing Gen Y-ers. Help them navigate a 30 year career scale as opposed to dismissing their frustration as malcontent. Allow young people greater opportunities, allow them to fail and be willing to put YOUR butt on the line accordingly.

Leadership vs. Management
Let's look at the numbers......let's not!

If as a professional you have a system based on checks and balances that you plug people into, you serve no purpose. Anyone can look at to measure activity, anyone can look at a call log to see in-office time utilization and anyone can collect business cards from the fishbowl at Chilis.

Leaders take the necessary metrics for success and translate them into a personal strategy for every worker based on his/her goals. Take the activity report and help your people tell a story beyond the numbers. When asked what the purpose of filling out TPS reports might be....have an answer.....that makes sense!

I'm not frustrated..I'm just more motivated than you are
Don't tell your employees to slow down, keep up with them!

Embrace the energy of the young professionals that surround you and put a system in place that moves with them:
* Tell them the 'Why' behind directives
* Recognize their effort and help them turn time spent into results
* Let them know it is OK to laugh
* With Purpose and Intent comes Results...with results comes happiness in the workplace.

Our age matters not. We all want to see something at the end of a 12 hour shift. We all want to know that the countless hours spent in the office mean something to the world in which we live. We want to win and to be celebrated. We want to be encouraged to try, not discouraged from volunteering. We want to know you know who we are and that that is part of our company culture.

Within 7 years the people you are managing will be managing you. Think about that now and Lead accordingly.

Don't Forget to Remember!


Monday, September 20, 2010

Choose Your Voice

(the editorial on suicide prevention is featured below: 9-17-10 post)

There seem to be two certainties in life:
* Everything Written Can Be Misinterpreted
* Our Ability to Gain Insight from the Dissension of Others Drives our Success

We all want to be liked by everyone. To build a robust network of followers and receive LOL validation to the ideas we share. The questions that have to be asked are...
1. Who do I know?
2. What can I help them learn?

If you really want to get something out of this social media thing you have to make choices. You have to paint statements, stand by your work and accept input from others to more fully form your view. You cannot expect to tell 100,000 people (who have no relevance to your business process) things that they do not care about.

I have a few in-game suggestions:
* Post no more than 20 times a day
* Avoid telling us about your personal actions
* In-Put YOUR personality and Ideas

Brevity is King
It's pretty simple. If you are on Twitter and/or Facebook all day people are going to start wondering about your productivity. These tools can be a great escape and a driving force to our business prospecting. NO ONE wants to open their page and see your profile 18 times in a row.

Learn to consolidate your ideas. Know that you don't have to RT everything. Read more than you write.

Just left the bathroom..
...are you kidding me? No one cares if you are going to the store, we don't need to see a picture of your food and we do not care about hygiene activities.

I am the first to contend that the practice of 140 characters may make more concise communicators of us all so we need not Tweet our every personal action.

No One Cares!

Choose Your Voice
The great Chris Guillebeau made some excellent points in his recent blog. The premise being that your self expression will determine your network.

Think about it....why do you want 1,000 followers who sell social media e-books or are ladies of the night? Odds are the aforementioned folks are not decision makers in buying your products or services.

You need to establish a personal strategy that creates a system of advising and promoting your vision. Start helping people who really need what you can provide. You can make really meaningful connections online. You will compromise meaningful partnerships by being boring, uninformative or self serving.

Make new friends and keep the old. But do not be afraid to lose friends that don't help you challenge yourself and enhance your personal vision.

Don't Forget to Remember!


Friday, September 17, 2010

The Show Must Go On

It is summer concert time...grab your friends, load up the bus and head out to the sun drenched venue to see your favorite national act perform. Everything is perfect: great music, wonderful weather and a sense of community...the feeling of a group people leaving their troubles aside for a while. Then everything stops and chaos ensues.

The good times put on hold by the terror of a concert goer jumping to his death onto the stage.

This was the scene at the Saratoga Mountain Winery a few short weeks ago. An event that will change the way people view music and their cherished escape to it forever. The band left the stage and a community of love dissolved into a paranoid rush to the exits...what just happened?

Possibly the most unfortunate take away from this event is that the man who died by suicide on that evening was cast off as a criminal. His mental illness and the misunderstood pain of his existence cast aside.

In recent years the following people have died by suicide:
Mark Linkous
Hunter S Thompson
Vic Chesnutt
Elliot Smith

They join countless others of every age group, culture and place in society. The evening at Saratoga Mountain Winery and the fallen notable performers bring the epidemic of suicide to the unfortunate masses.

There is a stigma to suicide. An unspoken sense of disappointment for all who have fallen. An effort to dismiss rather than to understand. Dark secrets covering the elements of a life undiscovered.

What can be done?

All I can tell you is I have lost a few close Friends...people who filled any room they walked into with extraordinary confidence...and then they were gone.

All that I know is that each and every one of us is infinitly complex in our own uncatagorical way. That our actions and feelings often fool us, so how could we be understood by others?

We Are Trying...

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is an organization dedicated to finding a way to stop the stigma. To educate in a pro-active manner, to bring secrets out into the open, to save lives.

I want to ask you for one dollar. To look at this page and acknowledge accordingly. Everything helps....

Please Visit Our Donation Page...

We Need Your Help!

Thank you for reading!

Dave and Friends

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Extraordinary Conquest

We go in fits and starts throughout the year: success lifting our motivation, failures causing questions and doubt. Readers of this blog have seen the inspiration of personal empowerment and the frustration with those who deter it.

We are wonderfully imperfect and that is the whole point of living.

We must live and learn. To try harder in the eye of failure and to be humble in our success.

So today the message is simple: Achieve the Impossible!

There has never been a time when the naysayers haven't lined up to cross arms and shake heads in the midst of your effort. Allow not those whose time has come and gone to pull back your intent for greatness. They are the reason the word impossible exists.

In every phase of living records are broken, new goals are set and achieved, revenue production is exceeded and new standards are set. We have never gone backward. This mostly because someone comes around who fails to hear the whispers of distraction. If you do not acknowledge the negative, they are powerless.

So walk from your front door into a world of possibility because you have not acknowledged limits....they do not exist....they are an excuse for the failed effort of others and their inability to transcend short comings.

It's Go Time!

There are 3 Distinct Ways in which you can avoid the negative:
* Ignore
* Smile
* Question

Only If You Notice
We are all driven by our egos. So when a guy elbows you on the way out a 2 way door his hatred literally rubs off on you. When someone cuts you off and pulls up next to you on the street, naturally you want flip them off. These people are miserable and they want to drag you into their misery. When you snap back at them you add fuel to their fire.

Ignore them. They will get back to their car, shake their heads, realize the ass they have become and wallow in their misery alone.

No One Can Resist
Does your smile cause others to look over their shoulder. As if they can't imagine that anyone could be if they think you must be noticing bird droppings on their head.

I used to bock at those who smiled...wondering how they could do so in the midst of this tortured world. Make no mistake about it, those who smile are courageous! Any coward can frown, grumble and oppose everything.

Is Everything OK?
Those with stored up discontent want to share, be heard and to be validated. If you are strong enough to invite discussion with the malcontent you may find a simple question will empower get their anger off their chest, to get it out in the open and to move on.

All you have to do is invite a question. You may not have to say another word to them there after. They may thank you...and remember your positive intent.

Sometimes the best way to help someone is by helping them understand that their sissy behavior will not be encouraged.

Times are tough, every day has it's set of new challenges, one thing goes right and five new things come up.

We are imperfect! There will never be a time when everything is where it needs to be....this is our opportunity!

Grow Every Day! Stay Positive!

Don't Forget to Remember!


Monday, September 13, 2010

In Security

Do you ever meet people who feel they have to frame everything they are about to say? Do you ever tell someone Thank You and detect that they wonder what you want in return? Have you met that person that is always on the defensive?

Our insecurities in the way we carry ourselves are a result of the culture in which we allow ourselves to exist. We become a product of our environment. So, if we are consistently disparaged by our boss, and are used to building a case for our actions, that tends to spill over into our social interactions.

Do you think by saying, 'don't take this the wrong way', that I am going to take it any way other than the wrong way?

Do you think that by complimenting me before you insult me I will be less insulted?

If you work in an environment where defending your work before you even perform it is a way of life you are going to project similar behavior as soon as you get a chance. So after I had my stones busted for 2 years, I get a promotion, and the first thing I do is find someone to insult.

If you are seasoned professional and you act in the aforementioned line of motivation you need to take a hard look in the mirror. One thing to consider is that one day you will die and to work back from there. In essence, there has to be an understanding of what is genuinely important...the ultimate truth, it's according actions and a line one allows not thyself to cross.

What if it is as simple as saying Thank You when someone assists you and accepting Thanks when it is given. If you compliment someone with the other hand extended, it probably doesn't have the intended effect. If someone tells you that you did a great job tell them they are welcome.

If you work hard and stick to your Genuine Intent you need not promote yourself otherwise. Pre and Post game interviews are not necessary...we saw the game. You need not read reviews of a movie, go see it and decide for yourself if you enjoyed it. Don't tell me I did a great job if I didn't. Don't look for compliments when you do a job well, know for yourself that you performed to YOUR expectations.

It is time to build a concise and strategic plan for personal development, to work hard and to own the results.

Do your fighting in the ring and save your breath for kissing the girl!

Don't Forget to Remember!


Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Girl at the Coffee Shop

I looked out the window of the coffee shop yesterday to see a young lady consumed in thought. She was chewing her nail, tapping her foot and seemingly deeply concerned about something. I wonder what was troubling her?

All of us at a certain point in our lives will learn to stop worrying and start living. The point at which we realize what is important and to dedicate our energy accordingly.

If I could have given the young lady advice I would have said:
Accept that which You Cannot Change
Concentrate on the Positive
Find Your Place

I used to fly into meetings with the same pitch: This is what our company does, we're the best at it, buy our stuff. What a waste of time. My arrogance was transparent, my lack of interest in solution based design a real turn off.

People are always impressed when you have done your research on them. More than their company or industry, if you can site an excerpt from a blog or white paper, your vested interest will endear you on a personal level.

We are constantly inundated with minutia. Detail upon detail insignificant to our grand plan...and yet we let these little things overwhelm us. Replace the happiness of a big win with the frustration of a late invoice.

Ask yourself - will someone die if this doesn't get done. If the answer is 'no' give it only the priority it deserves.

Stay Positive
Do you have that friend who is an arrogant jerk? He is that way because he is poor communicator. His inability to express himself has failed to endear him to others and as a result he has failed to succeed on any level. He projects the frustration of his inability and unwillingness to be better on everyone but himself.

Make no mistake about it...anyone can be a jerk. If you are a person of action, remaining positive is the most difficult thing there is, but that doesn't give you an excuse to give up. If every day is not a monumental personal challenge then you are not growing as a person.

Be You
The best way to turn people off is by acting out of character. If you are pretending to be someone you are not, you are not fooling anyone. The people you think you are impressing by promoting your every action see right through you.

Give your audience a little credit, be you and endear yourself to them.

When I looked out the coffee shop window again the girl was gone. Off into her worry to run in circles of wasted let indecision run her mind in circles. I hope over time she learns the simple lessons we have discussed today. Until then..

Don't Forget to Remember!


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Farewell to Summer

I woke at my usual time early this morning into complete darkness. One thing now sure:
Summer is Gone

The blistering sun soon to snuggle into the clouds, swimsuits to find the bottom drawer, jackets dusted off, the leaves soon to say goodbye their branches. It's time for the Fall: Less hours of sunlight, cold nights, rainy days and nothing else to do but concentrate on work.

Without long evenings, with no one on Embarcadero sun decks, without a soul on the beach...It is time to look to the finish line, set goals and complete another successful year.

With the last glimpses of sunshine hung up in the labor day weekend we can only move forward with strategic intent. Say goodbye to summer, it's time to buckle down.

May I propose the following for the final third of 2010:
* There is no high greater than the thrill of victory
* Choose Your Pain
* What's Your Movie Look Like?

The one place where being last matters most is the company parking lot. As the sun leaves, I propose long hours at the office to make up for lost time. Wandering down the beach with a beer in hand is great...wandering into Santa's workshop with a wallet full of money is better.

There are those of us who sighed deeply as traffic and impending responsibility swallowed us up this morning. It is hard to let go of fun in the sun...but, it is time to keep your sunny memories in your mind and bust out the sport coat. Longing for the beach will not be an option if you are unemployed. Time to think about paying the rent.

"There are two pains in life: The pain of Discipline and the pain of Regret"
- Russ Hellickson

This quote used to haunt me in High School as it was the motto of our wrestling team. There is no escaping it; there are things that need to be done and you cannot pretend otherwise. Your responsibilities will not go away and the winter wine tastes better on the wings of productive business progress.

A Comedy or a Tragedy?
What does your movie look like? We are all aspiring movie stars. So as the cold air hits us, be it not in dramatic fashion. Nay, today we trudge forward not for ourselves but for our wives, children, country and the good lord. For they cannot carry themselves with confidence if we do not set a course for them. Shovel the driveway, scrape the windshield and brave the snow laden roads.

It is football season, the baseball playoffs are afoot, Halloween is approaching then Turkey Day and before we know it Christmas will be here.

Be A Hero. Do That Which Seems Unfun. Brave the Fall and then the Winter. The sun will be back before too long.

Don't Forget to Remember!