Thursday, January 29, 2009

Proud to Disappoint!

Recently, I was on a plane run by our country’s most profitable low-fare airline. I heard the following announcement, “Ladies and Gentlemen, we are proud to announce that we have gone cashless! You may use credit cards or coupons to purchase drinks and snacks, but you can no longer pay with cash.” That was the entire announcement.

I applaud the crew for attempting to make this change in policy a celebration, but why are they so proud? They have decided (without exception) to not accept cash as a form of payment... which is guaranteed to disappoint and inconvenience passengers (better known as customers) on every flight.

I understand that this ‘No Cash’ policy will result in operational & efficiency savings, and I have no problem with that business decision. I only ask that they be honest about it. Here is the announcement I would have liked to hear: “Ladies and Gentlemen, in order to maintain our low prices and to speed up your in-flight service, we are no longer able to accept cash as a form of payment. We apologize for the inconvenience, and we thank you for your continued patronage.”

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Dedicated Practice

What skills do you need to develop in order to achieve your personal and professional goals?

Time Management?

How much dedicated practice time each week are you investing to develop those skills? While it might not be that easy... it is that simple. Practice, discipline, sacrifice and dedication will enable you to develop the skills and confidence necessary to succeed. Are you doing what it takes?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Lost in the Clutter

What if your company offered a product, service or solution that actually addressed your target market's needs... was reasonably priced... and was better than the competition? Would that be enough to ensure your success? Of course not!

Then, why do so many individuals and organizations think that's all that it takes... or think that's the 'hard' part of the sales equation? It's not! In the game of poker, that's what's called the ante (the 'price' to play). That's when the real game begins... While technology continues to 'help' the world become smaller and smaller... many sales professionals and their companies find themselves lost in the clutter of available options. Here's the paradigm shift that needs to be addressed:

Being "Great!" is not good enough any more. Being valuable or cheap doesn't help much either.

What are you doing differently from last year to make your team, your message and your solution stand out in the crowd? If the answer is "Nothing", then don't be surprised if I can't find you.

Monday, January 26, 2009


-adjective: something needing no explanation

That is the common definition of this expression. But, is it true?

What does it mean if I tell you that "you're too expensive"?
  • You're more expensive than I expected?
  • You're more expensive than what I'm doing now?
  • You're more expensive than your competition?
  • You're more expensive than I can approve?
  • You're more expensive than the value I perceive?

How about "I can't"... what does that mean?

  • I can't do that yet?
  • I can't do that under the current circumstances?
  • I can't do that alone?
  • I can't do that within your timeline?
  • I can't do that without more budget?
  • I can, but it would be extremely difficult?
  • I can, but I don't want to?
  • I can, but I don't think I need to?

The only thing self-explanatory about something self-explanatory... is its description, "self-explanatory".

There is only one way to be 100% sure what somebody means... Ask!

"Thank You!"

How often do you give your sincere thanks to others?

I’m not referring to the type of casual “thanks” that you whisper under your breath after a ‘transaction’. I mean a sincere, thoughtful “Thank You”… to your spouse for her hard work, support and Love… to your parents for all that they’ve done for you… to your children for helping out… to your friends for being there in times of need… to your boss for teaching you… to your co-workers for covering for you… to your team for going above & beyond… to your customers for their patronage…

Do you appreciate all of the things that Family, Friends and others do for you?

If so, when was the last time that you looked one of them in the eyes… or called one of them on the phone and said, “Thank You”?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Digital Footprint

First things first...

Nothing beats face-to-face... for teaching... selling... building relationships... or any other type of communicating. Speaking directly to someone is the next best thing. Third, is probably a good 'old-fashioned' personalized handwritten letter. After that, your 'best' options become much less clear.

When electronically sending a message, most people still use e-mail... But, if most people are doing still something... it usually means that a newer and better way is already available. There are 'countless' ways to utilize technology to build your network and communicate with others. (Click here for a Top Ten Review.) Which type and how many you use is entirely up to you. However, if you are not taking advantage of something 'beyond' e-mail, you are missing a huge opportunity.

Millions of people around the world already utilize sites like facebook / MySpace / LinkedIn / Plaxo / Blogger / Lulu / Squidoo and others to connect with and deliver their message to others. Before you think that your personal marketing program is complete, ask yourself this question: "What is my Digital Footprint?"

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Home Field Advantage

Most sports teams & individuals have a significantly higher winning percentage when competing at 'home' than when they are 'away'. This is called a "Home Field Advantage". As with most lessons learned from sports, this phenomenon can also be applied to the world of business.

A sales professional once told me about his plan to grow his new business pipeline. He was going to travel to far away cities and cold call as many companies in a day as possible. After complimenting him on his initiative, I innocently pointed to the large business park across the street from his office and asked, "When was the last time that you called on the companies over there?" My question was followed by an awkward silence... and then by the realization that he had forgotten to leverage one of his most valuable assets.

Whether it is an actual physical proximity or the 'closeness' of an existing relationship, there are a countless number of similar opportunities that you have right now. What is your Home Field Advantage?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Main Thing

In this world of never-ending To-Do's... where it is literally impossible to complete every 'important' task... here's a classic quote I found entitled "The Main Thing" that will help you keep things in perspective:

"The main thing... is to keep the main thing... the main thing"

Regardless of how busy you are, if you do not do the 'Main Thing' that will take you closer to achieving your goals... that is a wasted day. And, I'm not even bold enough to pretend to know what the 'Main Thing' is for you. But, the good news is that you know, don't you? Never lose sight of the 'Main Thing'... because the main thing... is to keep the main thing... the main thing!

Celebrate Today… then, let’s get back to Work!

The Super Bowl… Stanley Cup… World Series… Daytona 500… World Cup… Olympics... Every year, hundreds of millions of people spend countless time & money following their team or individual athletes. They celebrate in the victories… and anguish in the defeats. There is nothing wrong with this behavior because that is the nature of spectator sports. A tiny percent of us Do… while the rest of us just watch. This behavior, however, is no longer acceptable in Life. January 20, 2009 is truly a day of celebration… for a Race… a nation… and the world.

While celebrating milestones is appropriate (and sometimes even important), we must never lose sight of the ultimate objective.

Sometime during all of our celebrations today, our new leader will ask us to Unite… Commit… Sacrifice… and Persevere. Unlike with sports, this is not the time to sit back, watch the action from the sidelines, and celebrate like we have already won or complain like there is no Hope. In this game of Life, there are no spectators… only participants.

Celebrate today… then, let’s get back to work!

Sunday, January 18, 2009


I see the signs everyday - "Free Phones"... "Free Cable''... "Free Membership"... I even saw a sign recently that proclaimed, "Free Rent!" The thing that interested me the most about those places was the fact that nobody was lined up to get their "free" stuff. Companies had chosen to give their 'valuable' creations away... but nobody cared. Therefore, the question that begs to be asked is this:

What happens when your product, service or solution has so little perceived value that even "free" is not cheap enough?

There are very few winners in the Commodity Game, but many companies still try to play. If what you sell truly is a commodity, then you better be cheap and sell a whole bunch. On the other hand, if you actually provide a product, service or solution that has Value... Prove It!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Skill vs. Will

Back in the day... when I was a front-line sales manager searching for ways to improve my sales team's performance, I often divided everyone into one of two categories: Skill or Will.

I asked myself the following simple (yet powerful) question about each person:

"Is this person's performance gap a matter of skill or will? Are they not achieving their potential because they lack the ability... or is it due to a lack of desire?"

When you get down to it, they're aren't too many other possible reasons. Either they are not able to do something... or they do not have the motivation/discipline necessary for success. The next time you are evaluating some one's performance (including your own), ask yourself, "Is this a matter of skill or will?" The answer to that question will give you a much better idea how to fix the situation.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Wet Paint?

It's so easy to take something 'ordinary'... and make it Extraordinary with a minor change. It's a shame that more individuals and organizations no longer seem to even try.

What could you do to transform your 'ordinary' message to make it more memorable and impactful?

Often with 'only' a little extra thought and caring, you can demonstrate to the world that you're better than the rest.

Kudos to the Hilton Hotel - Marco Island Beach Resort, Florida for this Extraordinary "Wet Paint" sign.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

There's A Difference - Part 1

There's a difference between:

  • hearing... and Listening

  • talking... and Communicating

  • understanding... and Believing

  • committing... and Following Thru

  • spending... and Investing

  • cheering... and Supporting

  • watching... and Protecting

  • saying... and Meaning

  • participating... and Contributing

  • teaching... and Coaching

  • managing... and Leading

Friday, January 2, 2009

Tell A Friend

Are there people who believe in you enough to recommend your services to others? Have you ever received business through a referral? I'm guessing that the answer to both of those 'warm-up' questions is "Yes"... Here's the real question:

What is your Referral Strategy that results in consistently asking your friends, family, customers and prospects for 'warm' introductions?

Properly asking people (who already know and trust you) for referrals is possibly the most effective way to grow your business. "Mr. Customer, I am pleased that you are satisfied with my services. Who do you know that I should contact to see if I can help them in a similar way?"

If you ask that question to 10 satisfied customers... or close friends, how many referrals could you get? You learned somewhere that you don't get what you don't ask for... Are you getting enough referrals?

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Anybody with a 'reasonable' amount of intelligence... who analyzes a situation objectively... has a good chance of making an accurate short-term prediction.

But, when it comes to the long-term, no one can honestly see very far down the path. Even the best honest guess will not sound much better than this: "Barring any major changes, I predict..." or "At current course and speed, I believe that..."

All predictions have at least one major challenge. The person making the predictions can never know what type of change will actually happen. Regardless of how straight and 'certain' a course might seem, the only thing that is truly certain... is that Change Will Happen. Researching, planning, practicing, executing and analyzing can put you in the best possible position to succeed IF you are also ready for change. It's how you adapt to that inevitable change that will make the difference.