Monday, August 31, 2009

Cause & Effect

I invest in my team because I have money… I have money because I invest in my team.

I’m happy because I’m relaxed… I’m relaxed because I’m happy.

I’m healthy because I exercise… I exercise because I’m healthy.

I smile because I’m in a good mood… I’m in a good mood because I smile.

I’m intelligent because I read… I read because I’m intelligent.

I learn because I love my teachers… I love my teachers because I learn.

I’m a successful salesman because I listen… I listen because I’m a successful salesman.

I’m optimistic because life is good… Life is good because I’m optimistic.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Success Library - Part I

Do you have all of the knowledge necessary to succeed? Could you benefit by learning more information about your craft or industry? Then, that must mean that you have a success library of books that are helping you gain that knowledge.

You are the only person preventing yourself from gaining the knowledge you need to be successful.

What’s in your success library?

Here are some recommendations:

Leadership: Tribes by Seth Godin / The Essential Wooden by John Wooden

Achieving Excellence: Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell / Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin

Perseverance: The Dip by Seth Godin

Problem Solving/Creative Thinking: The Back of the Napkin by Dan Roam

Passion: Rules of the Red Rubber Ball by Kevin Carroll

Business Improvement: Good to Great by Jim Collins

Success: The Success Principles by Jack Canfield

Avoiding Organizational Disaster: How The Mighty Fall by Jim Collins

Sales: The Secrets of Closing the Sale by Zig Ziglar

Stress Management: Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff by Richard Carlson

Miscellaneous Wisdom: The Essential Drucker by Peter Drucker

Saturday, August 29, 2009

"You're Fired!"

Most people think that only bosses can fire someone. That is not true. Every individual & organization has not only the authority, but the obligation to fire the following types of people:

  • Underperforming employees
  • Unprofitable customers
  • Negative friends
  • Valueless manufacturers
  • Disengaged board members
  • Inactive volunteers
  • Boring television
  • Bad musicians
  • Irrelevant news
  • Lying politicians
  • Etc., etc.

A negative influence is worse than no influence. Who should you fire today?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Lessons From The Lawn

Personal & professional relationships are a lot like grass. Nurture them with regular attention… provide basic care… and they will reward you with many years of growth. Neglect them (for even a short period of time), and not only will you guarantee short-term damage… you run the risk of killing them forever.

For the record, it does not matter if it’s “not your fault” (like not realizing a sprinkler head is broken for three consecutive 100+ degree days). Neglect something or someone, and you might have to start all over again.

Who are you neglecting?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

"You're Special!"

Are some of your customers more ‘special’ than others? Maybe it’s the amount that they purchase… or how much they contribute to your bottom-line. Maybe it’s their longevity as a loyal client… or maybe it’s just the prestige they give you by being your client.

Whatever the criteria… every customer is not the same.

So, what are you doing about that? What are you doing to show your ‘special’ customers that they are important to you… and that you really appreciate their business?

If you want to differentiate your company, maybe you should differentiate your customers.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

How Are You REALLY Doing?

It is very easy to pretend that we care about others in our lives… because the words come so easily – “How are you doing?”… “I hope that you are doing well! With good intentions in our hearts, we ask these types of questions… make these types of statements… and, then go on with our lives pretending that everything is OK.

Underneath the surface, however, everything is rarely OK… and often those same people (who just gave us the answer they thought we wanted to hear) are desperately searching for words of advice, encouragement or a shoulder to lean upon. They are desperately waiting for someone to ask, “How are you really doing?” so that they can be honest… and trust that true friend with the truth.

As this world becomes more & more ‘connected’… we can easily become more & more detached.

Which Comes First?

Thinking & behaving like a successful person... comes BEFORE being a successful person.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Progress Reports

Many parents wait for their children’s report card to find out how their doing in school… others will wait and look closely at the mid-term reports… some diligently attend the back-to-school parent/teacher conferences… and even fewer will take a daily interest in how their children are doing.

These are all various forms of progress reports. While most of them focus only on past performance (homework, projects, quizzes & tests), some of them also realize the importance of looking at current behavior.

Last week, without any of the standard measures of performance listed above, I saw all that I needed to see to accurately predict the future success of four teenagers. On the second day of school, these four boys were huddled around a table in a library… studying their homework… Case closed!

Whether you are predicting the future success of children… employees… service providers… or elected public officials, all you need to do is observe their daily behavior (especially when no one is watching… and especially early in the ‘game’) to know the answer.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Be First!

Here is an easy way to make your ‘world’ a better place immediately:

Be First…

to make eye contact…

to say, “Hello!”…

to call a truce…

to be optimistic…

to say, “Thank You”…

to apologize…

to take care of an issue…

to smile…

to turn off the television…

to give a hug...

to offer a solution…

to say, “I Love You”…

Life is too short to wait for the others... to do what we all should be doing anyway.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Need to Know?

Once again, I attempted to endure the nation’s most popular news broadcasts… watching what were supposedly the day’s “Top Stories”. I turned off the television dissatisfied, knowing that everything I had just seen was totally irrelevant to my needs & interests.

Here is a random list of common and not-so-common daily topics circulating in your world... You decide which are truly Need to Know:

How a celebrity died

The details of a murder

The state of your personal finances

The latest gossip around the workplace, organization or community

The location of your children

The opinion of stranger barely smart enough to write 140 characters

Today’s stock market results

The latest opinion poll

The character & behavior of your child’s friends

The quality of education in your schools

The opinions of your ‘best’ customers

The gruesome details of a shark attack

The feedback of your ‘lost’ customers

Ways you could help make the world a better place

The needs & wants of your target customers

Challenge: Make a list of the most important information that you need to know. Compare that list to what you spend most of your time watching and listening to. Then, decide whether or not you should change your behavior.

Monday, August 10, 2009


By the nature of who you are… people will pretty much answer any question that you ask them… won’t they? Of course, the depth and truthfulness of those answers will greatly depend on how much trust & credibility you have created… but they will answer you. That being the case… what information do you need to know in order to help them?

Would it be helpful to know their:

  • Goals & objectives?
  • Vision of success?
  • Vision of a world-class partner?
  • Priorities?
  • Perceived value of your solution?
  • What they like about their current provider?
  • Decision making criteria?
  • Current strategy?
  • Deal breaker issues?
  • Etc., etc., etc…

If you believe that people will answer any question that you ask… and you believe that certain information would help you help them… ASK!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Mixed Messages

Marketers send out mixed messages to their target audience every day… with their actions… as well as with their words. I still am trying to figure out what my local fruit stand owner was really saying when he decided to post his sign, “CHERRIES HERE FRESH DAILY” on a huge mountain of manure.

What mixed messages are you broadcasting to the world by not being consistent in everything that you do?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Death of Retail – Part II

I Love to learn! I appreciate and take advantage of the amazing opportunity that I have to learn any subject I choose… for FREE! Whether it’s a bookstore, a library or the internet, unlimited knowledge is available to me (and you) at no cost. My preferred method is to visit my local big-box bookstore, grab a seat in the coffee shop, do work for a few hours, and read at least one book before leaving.

Today, I noticed that two entire rows of business books (my favorite genre) in the store are gone. An associate who was hard at work (not helping customers, but removing books from the shelves) told me, “Oh, yeah. We’re reducing our inventory… but don’t worry, everything is still available online!” I wondered to myself whether that associate realized that he was digging his own grave.

For those of you who have a vested interest in the survival of retail as we know it, it’s time to pay your last respects… because traditional retail is dying a slow and painful death. Unfortunately for people like me (and people whose careers depend on it), big buildings with massive inventory are no longer justifiable.

What are you doing to prepare for the demise of the traditional retail store? It’s no longer a matter of if… it’s only a matter of when.

p.s. While I do read a lot of books for free, I support my store by being a loyal customer. I pay to be a book club member, and I buy a significant amount of books for myself and as gifts every year.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

"Honey, I Love You, BUT..."

The word “but” is one of the most misused words in the English language… not from a grammatical standpoint, but with regards to the intended meaning of the speaker. This abuse happens mostly while handling objections, giving feedback, presenting an opinion and during the course of a normal conversation. Here’s how NOT to use the word, “but”:

  • “Honey, I love you, BUT you drive me crazy when you interrupt every time that I’m talking.”
  • “Mr. Customer, I know that you think this is expensive, BUT it really isn’t.”
  • “That was a very interesting point, BUT I have to disagree with you.”

Here is a way to make the above messages more powerful (starting by removing the word “but”):

  • “Honey, I love you! I would love you even more if you give me a chance to finish my thoughts before giving me your answer.”
  • “Mr. Customer, I understand that your initial reaction to the price is that it’s expensive. Some of my most loyal customers initially felt the exact same way. Here’s what they discovered when they realized what this solution could do for them…”
  • “That was a very interesting point. Here is a different perspective that I submit for your consideration…”

Sales professionals, politicians, news people, leaders, parents, etc. stick “but” right in the middle of most statements because they think they think that 'filler-word' is necessary. All that does is damage the impact of their real message. The next time that you feel the desire to say "but", consider leaving it out and see if your message is stronger and more positive.

(Note to you fellow college graduates: “however”… “although”… “nevertheless”… “on the other hand”… “still”… “though”… and “yet” are just as bad!)