Saturday, December 27, 2008

Is it really worth IT?

I was thinking further on yesterdays post having to do with retail sales. Is it worth being open a 5am to sell some deals on the day after Thanksgiving? Being open late on the days between Thanksgiving and Christmas? This along with so many other things like 24X7 stores and ez shops?

There are people giving up family life and so many other things for this to happen. Sure, it creates jobs but at what cost? It really isn't necessary for me to go shopping at 3am at the cost of some ones family. I am sure this is reaching however was this what started the destruction of family? It sure couldn't help. All for the $. Makes me sad.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Remembering the old days.

Today I was out driving my toy and I went by Walmart, Homedepo, The Mall and other retail chains. While you could not pay me to go to these locations till after the first of the year, I did see the amount of traffic, cars, people and things going on.

This brought me back to my days of managing a Radio Shack. It all started the end of October, but really got going Thanksgiving week. Wednesday that week trying to get out as soon as possible, driving home (3 hours) and getting in after dark (8-10pm) spending half a day with family, then driving back Thursday night for the 5AM store meeting/sign postings with an opening around 6am. Being completely slammed, barley eating (Something you could probably not see in me today) then repeating it over the next day.

Then Christmas. Working Christmas eve trying to leave for home around 3. Spending Christmas day with Family and driving home that night for early opening the day after. Busier than before Christmas and doing inventory on the 1st.

To be honest I dreaded the holidays. Sure, commissions increased significantly but so did the headaches. Customers were grumpy, more employees (Part timers) and people not showing up. Trying to get inventory out, dealing with defective products, on and on. For the 8 years or so I did that, it really ruined the holidays. Not so any more. Two weeks off, kids excitement of Santa coming, friends and family and people in the job I have now are happy. They enjoy similar experience.

So what am I saying? Well our brethren in retail sales are sales people also. While some of the worst sales people I have ever met were in retail, some of the best were found their also. I learned all my core skills there. So simply, give them a break. Be nice when the experience is tense, give people the opportunity to make it right. I know I wanted to do everything I could do for a customer, sometimes due to the amount of traffic and other factors I was not able to give the attention I should have. Here is thinking of those who help us make our gift giving the best it could be.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I am an Uncle (And no, not a Monkey's Uncle)

Congratulations to my sister Michelle and her husband Jeremy on their first child Parker. She will make a great mother. I look forward to the transition to motherhood. She is the one that told me that children will not change her life. I think that has already happened!

Michelle and I are 7 years apart in age. Maybe for the first time we are able to relate. In the past she was in Grade school, I was in High School. She was in Middle school, I was in College. She was in High School, I was starting a career. She was in College, I was getting Married. She was starting a career, I was having kids. Anyway, she is in family life and I am also. I will update everyone on this.

We are going to go see Parker after the first of the year and look forward to that!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Had great expectations on getting things done.

SO spent today putting together Cadens bike (From Santa) and Bubba's 4 wheeler. Anyway, finished the bike in a couple of hours. Good thing I am not paying myself by the hour. Went and put air in the tires and noticed I put one wheel on the wrong direction (They were directional rims) Meanwhile, Jen and I had lunch and during lunch we heard an explosion. We could not find what had fallen off the wall.

After lunch I went to bring the bike in and put the tire on the right direction when I found the issue. The tube exploded... Good to know at least what the sound was. So,,,Off to Walmart, then dismount the tire that was on right (Couldn't have been the one that was on wrong) put the new tube in and inflate, fix the wheel on wrong, adjust the brakes and it is all good. Only 5 hours! 4 wheeler only took an hour. I would have made a terrible elf.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

On vacation and will be posting on such.

So I am on vacation pretty much till January 5th. I will be updating the blog on non business things mostly the next couple of weeks.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Followup to Embarrasing!

Made the sale.

Contacted the customer, they thought it went fine? As usual I was hard on myself. However I do feel this is what makes some people great.

Anyway, customer saw the changes and was happy. Go figure...

Monday, December 15, 2008


Yep that what I was of myself...

Went to give a presentation to a City tonight at 7:30. Before I went there was a sales presentation on swimming pool liners. First of all the presenter could not get the projector to work. Then he showed a canned presentation. At no time showing the value of the solution. The competitive advantage or value of the company represented. Then ended without asking for the order.

Then I was up after another quick bit of business. I started off well. Then one particular point that I should have been prepared for was hit. My response was unspecific, I was unprepared and was destroyed. So I will spend tomorrow morning providing a specific answer, details and really working up hill.

I should be prepared for such things. I will be honest I was embarrased of my own selling.

It will not happen again.

It is a whole new level of

COLD for this year. Woke up to -3 today. Sure, Brad in Duluth is wearing shorts on such a hot day. But for me it is the first really cold day of the year. The wind chill in well into the -teens and highs are in the teens. It really makes you wonder how people survived in the past without all the conveniences we have today. Even further how wild life manages to stay alive.

It really comes down to not knowing the difference. People in the past just took this kind of weather in stride. Preparing for it, insulating their home however they could and building a big fire. Sure, they limited thier exposure to the outdoors. They just knew how to deal with it.

In some strange way I think success is similar. People prepare for it, expect it and if somthing gets in there way they are ready for it.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Actually I found this actually to be a problem.

Is it me? Actually it might be. Wait, Actually it might not be. Actually I have noticed in lots of peoples speech and actually presentations that Actually, Actually may be the new "For sure!" Actually it is starting to drive me nuts. Actually, not just nuts but actually over the edge. No it isn't actually just teenagers it is actually business people and actually everyone.

Actually I am done on that rant. However...Your speech is how people interpret your intelligence. Recently I have noticed that the press is on Obama due to his...Ums and Uhs. He is very smooth when scripted but not so good otherwise.

Actually, remember, repeating actually may make someone interpret your speech as uneducated!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Another Milestone (200)

This is my 201st post. I think I have recently changed this blog from sales to more of a customer service focus. Not on purpose, it just seems to have been happening. However I will contend that sales is (or should be) 50 percent customer service. It keeps people coming back, builds relationships and builds value to the company.

Anyway, I look forward to seeing where the next 100 posts leads us and am sure with Christmas coming up, new years, my sister having a baby, a trip to Vegas with the neighbors, and just everyday life there will be many more shifts in what I post.

Thanks for reading, laughing and posting responses.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Amazon and Crutchfield

I really like buying from both these sources. Sure, I could go to ebay or other sources and save a $1 or so. However the customer service (Story: Purchased some electronics some time ago fromCrutchfield and 2 of the units worked, one was defective. I called, they next dayed the replacement, I put the defective unit in the box. No hassle, no extra questions, just service that worked. Try that with ebay)

Then Amazon, they suggest books that I would like, If I had looked at a product it notifies me if it is on sale, suggests other products and accessories. Easy to purchase and great delivery.

Crutchfield takes it even further. If you buy a car radio, they throw in the installation kit, manual specific to your car and all required parts. Taking it even further they provide LIFETIME support on the products you purchase there! No not lifetime warranty, support. Just proves, you provide GREAT customer service, people are willing to pay a bit more for hassle free, top notch service with a smile!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Joddey said somthing profound

And I had to repeat

" I was reading Thomas Freidman's book "The World is Flat". At one point he states that you can tell a health of a company or country by how much they discuss dreams versus memories. The more memories the more they are looking at the past and dying, the more dreams the more they are looking to the future. What are you looking at for yourself, your family and your company. It speaks volumes of what is going really on. "

OK Joddey was just the one repeating something profound, I still liked it!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Another bad experience?

Went to IHOP yesterday for lunch. (Was really craving Chicken Fried Steak and eggs). Anyway it should have been my first my first clue that something was wrong when at 12:30 there were only 5 tables filled (Including mine). So it took 5 minutes to take our drink order. Realize that there were 3 employees working there for every table.

To be honest the food was good. I probably even ate too much.

However drinks went empty, then 15 min after finishing eating we finally got up and forced someone to get a ticket.

So a couple of my problems
1. Always refill drinks. Don't ask. It is why you tip.
2. Bring the check in a timely manor.
3. Suggest the specials and what is good.
4. Smile, be friendly.
5. Earn a tip, don't expect it.

Really it is all sales.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I heard a phrase today that drives me crazy.

"We just don't have the time to...."

Well I will be honest, then it must not be important enough, have enough value or is painful enough to make it to the top of the list.

I truly believe that most people can accomplish twice what they get done in a day. It is all about controlling their personal bandwidth. Making the social calls shorter, focusing, prioritizing and driving results.

The next time you do not have enough time, ask yourself.
1. Was it important?
2. Can I find more time in the day
3. Am I focused on the result?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Opportunity Knocking?

You never know when opportunity may knock. A job offer (No, I am not saying anything), sales opportunity or simply a good sale (Jenifer is always looking for this type of opportunity). I think one of the ways I have been good at sales is looking for opportunities and acting on them. Not taking lots of time to ponder, wondering if I have the right solution. I am prepared for all types of opportunities (learning new ones every day)

Recently I saw where we had an opportunity to sell a new solution. We had been evaluating it for some time. Our documentation was done, we understood the value and ready with pricing. However it was a new managed service with a process of implementation that was new and this scared some people. However if you don't sell a solution because every aspect was not covered (Granted you have to make sure technically it is ready) then we would probably never sell anything.

Do your best to prepare, do due diligence and wait, no make opportunity knock.

Monday, December 1, 2008


Last blog post on November 11th? He must be busy dancing...

My before Christmas Story

Twas the night before last when all through the house, not a creature was stirring not even Molly dog in our house. When I heard a small peep and I set up from a deep sleep. When to my surprise I heard that small peep that made me weep.

What was it this time a cell phone, UPS or just the cordless phone. For last week it was the smoke detector this week I was just starting to dest or? Was it something important like the kids toys needing more tend.

I am tired of playing the find the beep in my sleep. Listening to every smoke detector in the night till I find the one that was right. Then stumbling through the dark to find the battery to silence the lark! Why Mr Grinch to you try my patience so many times? Cant the batteries last through out time?

Back to the story at hand, the beep that was waking me from sleepy land. Like I said it wasn't the smoke detector, the kids toys or even the cordless phone. It was Steph our neighbor texting Jenifer's Cellphone. It was almost midnight and she thought it important to let us know that our pretty lights, at least half were dark as night. To be honest it was planned, short one timer I am. Press read then clear I feel a deep sleep coming near.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A simple first for me!

The Christmas lights went up right the first time. Only a few broken bulbs. Ahh the small joys in life!

A sales thought. You could charge what ever you wanted for the parts and pieces required for putting up Christmas lights. I know in the past I would go to the nearest (Least busy) hardware store to buy the extension cords, splitters, bulbs and such. It almost didn't matter what the cost, I KNEW I was not going to Walmart or even close to the mall the weekend after Thanksgiving.

It is similar, make it easy to buy from you and sure, price can be a factor, however if you are easy, trustworthy and consistent customer will keep coming back.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Wow a $1.60 per gallon?

It really seems funny that gas can drop over 1/2 and some in price in 6 months (Or less). I refuse to believe that supply suddenly changed. Or that demand changed that substantially.

I clearly do not understand that industry. However, it really makes me feel better about solutions that you sell instead of consumables. I can change the solution, new products come out every day. If your selling unleaded, you may make some money this summer and not this winter.

Which brings us to selling. Sure there is selling in the gasoline market. But it is a really different market. If your company is driven by sales, it can produce a constant revenue stream versus a really inconsistant one. However a messing with sales or having a poor team will result in the same.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I had a comment about the Iron

It was why don't I take it from the Motel?

Simple that would be stealing. This raises the rates of motel rooms, causing people to travel less, less vacations and adventually leading to a depression.

The current depression was from Jamie Maska-Bowers stealing towels in the mid 90's

(Source: Obama 2008)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Stepping Up (No I am not dancing like Mike)

One of my goals this week was stepping up the pace. Not just mine but everyone around me. I really feel like today that happened. It has been awhile since I have had this feeling. I really had confirmation of this when someone told me today that they were going to have to put some things off, or it would have to wait. I am sure they didn't like my answer when I said it was time to dig in and get it done. Find a way! OK Sure it wasn't as well said. I did however state an analogy.

The Cymphonix appliance that utilized bandwidth? That is what we have to do with our personal bandwidth. Making sure the most important gets the most bandwidth and other needs fill in when available. Sure, only us IT geeks will get it. But it is a real good example for me. Prioritize, make the most of our time and no excuses.

I truly believe that most of us can increase our output significantly by focusing on tasks, avoiding the time sucks and flat out getting it done.

Some may be having to learn a new way this week. It can be fun!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Power to adapt

In the last couple of years I have had the unique opportunity to travel from Jamaica to Banff Canada. From NY to CA. Hot to cold, dry to wet from heavily populated to to sparse.

After seeing So CAL last week I wonder why anyone would live anywhere else (Except from the cost of living). Great temperatures, not a cloud to be seen in 5 days. Then I realized the ability for the human race to adapt. In contrast to SO CAL, Duluth MN. 8 weeks of summer, tundra the rest of the time. (OK I am exaggerating) However cold, windy, lake effect snow and more. Point being, people adapt. Can learn to accept almost anything.

That can be the problem also. As sales people we can get used to work load, performance and customer service levels. It is the most effective people that can continue improving. Not just getting stuck with the status quo.

Challenge yourself, don't get comfortable. If your not growing you are shrinking. Focus on continuous improvement. Find someone to keep you challenged. It is painful, lots of work still the rewards are amazing.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The experience

As usual I feel completely worn out after 2 days of HTG3. Working on life plans, new ideas in the industry and identifying struggles that will be coming. While I am worn out, in some way it is also recharging. I look forward to getting back and ratcheting it up a couple of notches.

I did have a chance to sight see. Rodeo Drive, Hollywood sign, Santa Monica pier, Universal Studios and more. Once in a life time opportunity to see these things. And yes, saw a man in a wedding dress, people dressed up as batman, Captain Jack Black and lots of other “Unique” individuals. However there weren’t as many odd things as I expected.
I would come back, 80’s for the weather, nice people, not quite as expensive as I had anticipated what else could you want.

Now for the new strange fashion. I am starting to wander if this is a sales blog or a fashion blog. Clearly a poor example of the last. Women wearing shorts and winter boots. You know the kind that you would wear in a snow storm. This looks strange to me and HOT. Oh well to each their own. I am sure I will see this in Kansas soon.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I appreciate Jeff from SMC following up to our recent Vendor meeting.

Jeff was unable to make the meeting and wanted to make sure that everything went well. It did. We had some open feedback. I think Jason (SMC rep) has made the blog before. Sure he is young (Early 20's) but is great. Excellent followup, quick responses. Open and honest. Always looking for more ways we can work together. What more can I ask for.

Back to Jeff. Jeff tells me he is expecting his first child (Lets face it, his wife is going to do most of the work! (Side note, who was the genius who thought that the man wanted to be in the delivery room, versus watching the game?) Jeff was wanting to know my advice. (I think he was kidding, but I am giving it anyway)

1. Go to sleep right now. It will soon be a thing of the past.
2. Get the book "What to expect when your expecting" Jenifer has worn ours out!
3. Don't focus on buying the new stuff. Clothes, sleepers, bedding, towels and blankets. All that will happen is they will spit up all over it anyway and half wont fit when the season comes around.
4. Get a bouncy chair. I think our youngest grew up in it (Just kidding, only when Jenifer wasn't home)
5. Don't forget to take care of your wife!
6. Remember what you do now. After your child is born, you wont be able to remember.
7. Look at your walls, car, favorite electronics and carpet. It will never be the same
8. Find your special thing to do with the kid. It is some of the most memorable time ever. (Music is the thing I bring to my boys)
9. The box will be the favorite toy. Every time...
10. Don't be scared, our parents didn't know what they were doing!
11. Go to sleep now!

Clearly I would not take any of my advice as factual or even helpful. Jenifer would be the best reference I have.

Congratuatulations Jeff. Your world is changing and I would not give it up for anything!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Why do Iron's work better in Hotel Rooms?

Made my first trip to LA today. So far it hasn't disappointed. Sitting outside the Starbucks visiting with peer group members today and saw the $200k Bentley pull up. Flying over we saw those houses on MTV that have the Tennis court, pool and enough square feet to cover a couple city blocks. I am looking forward to doing a few tourist activities this week. I will keep you updated.

Speaking of Bentley's (SP), why do the Irons work better in the Motel room? The creases are crisper, they work faster and seem hotter without scorching the material. I have tried iron board covers and different irons. (Granted both from Wall mart)

I have seen the Orek (SP) Iron at a local store. Would it do better. I am sure it is 5 times price of the Wall mart version. However like the Bentley, people are willing to pay for quality and results. (Yet not Bentley in my future)

This is important to remember in sales. Do not prequalify. An Iron seems like a simple tool. They all do similar features. Just like the solutions that we provide every day. However, if you can differentiate quality, price may not be a factor!

Another customer experience (Not so good)

This time This is where I order my digital prints. (Well ok just get them printed). Usually it works well. However this time it took several weeks with no update on the website. So I send an email asking where they might be. (Should take 5 days, has taken 3 weeks). I get a response saying they need to research the issue (With the wrong name on the email) Nothing in 5 days. So I call. They system is down. Nothing they can do. I have to call back later. I completed their survey. Admittedly I feel kinda bad ranking the agent that helped me only neutral. It really isn't their fault.

I did go ahead and fill out a complaint on their website. I am curious what response I get. I am frustrated to spend almost $50 and zero customer response.

Just doing my part to tell 10 other people. It does go to show that you can have 5 positive interactions and one destroys it all. However Wallgreens has had three times to resolve the issue.

1. If an order does nothing for 2 weeks, wouldn't you follow up on it?
2. Email. No response?
3. Phone call. Cant help you, system down. (Call me when it is up, don't make me call back, send me an email?)

This is an example of why it is important to respond the first time. Customer service is about followup, details and continued performance.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Going to Hollywood!

I know your thinking it is about time I make the big screen. Well, not this time. I am off Wed to Burbank CA for a HTG3 meeting. Like usual I am not look forward to leaving my family through Sunday evening. Then turning around for a meeting in KC on Monday. Yet I am excited to see Hollywood, the surrounding areas, the HTG folks and more. So I am torn. I am really looking for the energy that I get out of these meetings. They motivate me, make me focus and really prepare me for the future. I really feel like I need this right now.

I believe that everyone needs to get away from the grind, find a new focus and work. How do you get this done?

Monday, November 10, 2008

And there it came

Jenifer spent 20 minutes reading to Caden's Kindergarten's class. She took Carsen and the three of them sat in front of the class.

During the reading of the book, Carsen leaned over to his brother (On the other side of Jenifer) and said "Caden....Fart Smeller"

Sometimes it is the little things that makes it all worth while!

Caden and Jenifer had a good laugh, the rest of the class did not hear...Fortunately!

Friday, November 7, 2008

The vendor meeting

We had our second annual vendor meeting. I think we stepped it up this year. We had some clearer goals, higher expectations and better results.

Sometimes reviewing your results from last year can be disappointing. Really I think we were 50/50. We exceeded many goals, however we missed on others. It is important to review.

I think the thing that really stood out is we do a good job in the beginning. Keeping this up can be difficult.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I need a flashlite

Sure is depressing when you get out of work it is dark out. Nothing seems to prepare me for this time of year. It feels like the day is over when you get off work. After a while you get used to it but it takes a couple of weeks for me.

With this it is harder to get motivated. You have to work harder at keeping the motivation up. Slacking at any time can really hinder the achievement of your goals.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Fairplay's sales experience.

(Used with permission from Kris)

Kris Fair is the new inside rep. We call him Fairplay because his last name is Fair. Anyway, Kris is a successful, single, plays in a band chick magnet. So we have been studying his recent attraction.

This woman has some of the best closes we have seen. He first told him they should get together for coffee. Well Kris had to work so he let her know he would only be available for a quick lunch. He was thinking fast food. She gave him two choices between sit down restaurants. (IE the alternative close) He was committed.

He goes to lunch and forgets his billfold so she pays (Committing him to the next step) After the lunch she follows up with a Text telling him how she enjoyed lunch (The followup)

Then that night calls and suckers him into an hour long call...

She next tries to set the next appointment (Always focusing on the next step)

Unfortunately Kris ended the deal last night letting her know he was only interested as friends. I have to admit he did it in a text which was a bit CS. It will be interesting to see what her next move is.

Point of all of this was that there is sales everywhere. And the lesson is that sometimes high pressure backfires and fast.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

It Birthday time. (I bet you thought this post was about you)

Your so vein. OOPS, got on to that song. Anyway, Happy Birthday Caden, my oldest son. And yes to you too Mike Frank a Frank inski.

I will bet the two of them celebrate differently. Caden turned 6 today. We wont talk about how old Mike is.

I am looking forward to going to Caden's school, taking Carsen with us and Jenifer is going to read a book. Then we will eat lunch with him later...

Take time to celebrate. For birthdays, or the big sales win. Reward yourself!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Buying a reciever.

My old stereo receiver went out last week. I went to my favorite electronic store where I always go (You know where they know my name and account number)

I told the sales rep what I wanted.

HDMI Switching
On Screen programming.

He went straight to the $899 model. I will be honest that there is no way I am spending $900 for this. I let the rep know that it was way out of what I am expecting. Instead of moving to another model or making suggestions he stuck with his guns and lowered the price a bit ($100) but this was still way out of my expectations.

So here I sit without a receiver for the football game. Remember listen to the client. Without that some one else that does will sell it for you.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Dress Shoes are dead?

I have been looking for a pair of wingtips. I settled for some standard black shoes today after searching Hays for a month or so. When sales people showed me "Dress Shoes" it was amazing what people call dress shoes. Shoes I would not even wear in some casual situations.

OK maybe I have some kind of shoe complex. And maybe I look often at what types of shoes people wear. Sure, I want to be comfortable, but style does not have to suffer?

Appearance is important in sales. Both being too overdressed or too under dressed can be a hindrance. Dress for the situation. Always have freshly pressed clothes. Don't be afraid of the dry cleaners and when it is time to throw away the worn out shirt, sooner than later is the way to go.

Friday, October 24, 2008

A cheer to the Stuart Marketing Machine

Stuart put together another great promotion called the Extreme Office Makeover. Check it out at

It takes alot to put these together. Vendor support, chamber support, marketing and lots of followup.

Good work Stuart!

Lesson not learned?

Had another sales person visit me yesterday to sell his wares. First of all was traveling from 1/2 way across the US. Did not verify the appointment till the day before. Was late from the time we agreed on. Then presented what he thought was interesting, not by asking questions of the audience what we were looking for.

Another point that I saw that was adverse to selling was mentioning the competition. This rep did so by name and by price. I will be honest, there was little quality or service differences. So Now I have the competition and some of their values? Probably not a good idea to give these things away.

Once again, stick to the basics of sales. By no means do I feel that I am even close to the top of sales people I have seen, however the good ones always follow simple methods that are continually rewarded.

Sell on!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Are you a simplicator or a complicator?

I had a chance work with some technical programmers today. In my opinion, what the customer wanted was really simple. A couple of basic requirements. Other than that KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid).

However my friends in programming complicated things beyond reason. Asking what if's that were off the chart. Introducing more complications to their work to then later tell me they couldn't do it. (Yet it was their idea in the first place)

This lead me to the sales process. When you sell do you make the solution understandable and simple or complicate the whole issue? Clearly you do want to meet the expectations and not over sell the solution, yet provide a complete picture without complicating the sale.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Strength finder 2.0

So I finished my homework for HTG. The results of Strength Finder were less than psychic. Or at not for me. Maybe because of some of my skills I can see these. What it found was


I have decided that I need a Weakness Finder 2.0 I do well at seeing the things I do well. Its the things I don't do well I could use more help with. I have Jenifer at home for the weaknesses. I think some days she finds it in her job description in pointing out my weaknesses.

Dishwasher loading
Picking up after myself
Prioritizing her tasks

Maybe I should bring Jenifer into work as a Weakness consultant.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Our first parent teacher conference

I think everyone is aware of my run in's with the education system. So I was worried about going to the parent teacher conference. Good news...No bad news!

We learned that Caden gets along with others, is social and has no behavior issues (he only has those at home).

Sure, he needs some improvement using scissors, and fine motor skills.

Best part to me is those are things he can learn and will come with time. You can't teach personality.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Creativity, is it dead?

So in the IT sales business it is important to take the same solution and sell it over and over.

Recently I have watched several TV shows that are lacking creativity.

First is Knight Rider. The new one. I really enjoyed the first one with David Hasselhoff. The high tech stuff, computers and such. Now the new one is so predictable. KITT (The Car) can transform into virtually anything. What is hard about fighting crime if you have a tool that will do anything? Anyway, Michael is after some bad guy that stole some secret. The show has to have a girl in distress, somehow the car has some mechanical issue, there is a "SPY" party. You know, the tux, gambling and dancing. Then the hero comes through and a high speed chase. Pretty much no change in the formula. How boring.

Then is Chuck. Similar story. Geek wants hot girl, Super cool spy gets hot girl. Geek disappointed. There is the "SPY" party, and Geeks saves the day. HOW BORING

OH yea, I forgot that most of these people have a way of doing things that no one could ever possibly do. You know get blown up and live, jump 3 stories and run and know some type of karate that beats everyone.

And pretty much every show these days has some type of technology that is impossible. Holographs, cars that talk, voice recognition that works, artificial intelligence and so on.

So I am a bit down on entertainment today. I will just turn on my 3d glasses and enter the holadeck.

Clearly the networks have good marketing, I have wasted hours on their terrible television.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Its like watching fire!

Have you ever been in a trace watching a fire? In the fireplace, at a bon fire?

The same can be said about watching it rain (Or hearing rain on the house) I think that these things are what relax me. After a certain amount of time it is nice to have a nice rain storm.

It is important to know what calms you down. When you get all stirred up, seek these things out. (Clearly I can't make it rain...Yet)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Product placement?

So another rainy Sunday. Football and movies. I had a chance to watch Ironman. I would give it 3 1/2 stars. It was ok.

Interesting thing I noticed that I have not seen in some time was the strong (And obvious) product placement. First was Burger King. " I have to have a burger before... ' It was completely out of place and really not part of the movie. Then on the bag (Showed several times) the BK logo. Then there was the Audi endorsement. He could drive classic cars, lambo's and such are in the garage, however every scene it was possible he drove the Audi with the obnoxiously large logo.

I am used to the Cisco phones located everywhere! Others are catching up.

Does this type of advertising work? I think it does. I have been craving BK since.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Pumpkin Patch

What a great time. Boys went on a hay rack ride, see the animals (Chickens, goat and rabbits) and go through the maze. Really a low cost outing.

Jenifer wanted to go to the other pumpkin patch in Dorrance. In my opinion the commercialized patch. Pay for a train ride (Little carts pulled by a tractor), Pay for maze, Pay for pumpkins, Pay for petting zoo, pay for smores (You cook for yourself) and everything! Plus pay to drive the 45 min there.

What are YOU DOING?

The media is asking that quite a bit right now.

What are you doing to secure your financial future?
What are you doing to protect yourself from the recession?
What are you doing to secure your kids financial future?
What are you doing to protect your community from the recession?
What are we going to do in these "Terrible" financial times?

I have to be honest, the media has created a self fulfilling prophecy. If all every one talks about, looks for and sees is financial problems they will come true.

It even has my wife asking "What are you doing?"

I have to ask the same question. What are you doing to show confidence in the market? What are you doing to look for the positive things. What are you doing to change things up?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

More lessons in Golf

Spent a little time on the golf course yesterday. I really didn't have much focus the first 9. It showed. Poor shots, bad decisions and all around pathetic performance. After the first 9 however I had 3 par's in a row and it really came together.

I think that this is why you need focus in business. Without it you really have no goal, your wandering around the business course spraying shots and really achieving nothing. If anything you are still putting in lots of work, just no results.

This is also why you keep score. If you don't you can feel like your getting somewhere but when you check the score you just did average? Score isn't just to see who won, it is also to better yourself.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

You can't teach common sense!

I have hear the term Book smart. I would refer to myself as more street smart. In fact I would prefer common sense. It is no secret that I struggled with the book smart. How interesting that now some of my most favorite TV and books are history and discovery? When I graduated college is when I think I started learning.

Sometimes I see things that seem basic and obvious, however some of the smartest people I know do the most stupid things.

I would love to figure out a way to measure common sense. I think that most "Good" Sales people are rich in this area.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Follow up to keeping score.

I was noticing that the great coaches rarely make excuses.

Same with Quarterbacks. Sure, excuses can be made; protection was bad, receivers dropped passes, play calls were poor and more. However the great Quarterbacks find a way to win with out the excuses.

When your performance is down are you looking for answers or excuses? It can be very difficult to look in the mirror and be honest where the problem is. Next time you feel like you are making excuses, be honest with yourself and be real.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Keeping Score

Its rainy today with a 100% chance of rain tonight and tomorrow. With that I spent some time waxing the Corvette, cleaning the garage, updating the family web page and such. Of course I had to add watching the pathetic Chiefs game, Cowboys whooping up on Cincinnati, little Nascar and golf! It is a real Picture in Picture type of day.

I was thinking, it is all about the score and the statistics. Races finished, interceptions, first downs, RBI's, Greens in Regulation, and I am sure that NHL measures something. These are real signs on the best teams or individuals. Almost without exception without being ranked in the top you cannot win.

What do you measure on your team? Yourself? How often do you measure it? Knowing what is in the pipeline is related to the future. That is the great thing about sales. You can pretty much measure every part of the process. Number of opportunities, activities and of course $'s. If you don't know where you are at, you are probably at the back of the race.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Is yours 212 Degrees

What is your boiling temperature? I feel that mine is real high. It takes quite a bit to get me stirred up. Even when I find this happening, I try and get away and let a night pass before I deal with the issue. (Jenifer will tell you this seems only to apply to work)

Sometimes I wonder if this high boiling point can be a problem. Is it avoidance of confrontation? If I wait the issue will work itself out? It seems that this has come back to haunt me lately. These un-confronted issues tend to grow and get worse.

It is hard to find this balance. Perhaps this balance is what makes a great leader. Not over reacting on things that are trivial and will work themselves out. However identifying issues that will fester and grow.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I think I have to add another group to "Who Gets It"

Thanks Patty and Phyllis from Toshiba for the great call yesterday. We joked, talked a little business and really had a good connection. I have to admit that Toshiba really gets our business.

Their FYI website is easy to navigate
The applications help desk is easy to use and the people are good
Product works as described
They appreciate the business they get
Want to help you succeed

Over all this is a great relationship. I look forward to working with Phyllis and knocking it out of the park in 2009.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Kitchen Nightmares (Arlin must be the chef?)

Kitchen nightmares is a TV show I follow every week. If you are not familiar, Gordon Ramsey a successful famous chef/restaurant owner goes to struggling restaurants and helps them turn it around. There are so many similarities in this to the IT industry. Some of my comparisons are;

1. Complicated menus / Complicated IT solutions
2. Dirty kitchens / messy offices
3. Working in the business / duh
4. Cash flow / Cash flow
5. Poor customer service / Poor customer service
6. Poor food / Poor installation
7. Owners ego getting in the way / Ron getting in the way (Just kidding Ron)
8. Slow kitchen / Slow delivery
9. Employees lacking passion / Employees lacking passion
10. Selling same dishes over and over / Selling same solution over and over

Gordon goes into these restaurants and samples the food, visits the kitchen, revamps the tables and works with the employees. 8 out of 10 times the problem with the restaurant is the same formula;

Simplify the menu
Have something you are better at than any one else at
Get a process for the staff and kitchen to work well (Sales and service?)
Owners/Management usually have a show down because they think they have the right way however clearly that doesn't work (Ego) then Gordon shows them success and eventually they see success and follow

So, my question is this. Is our own Iron Chef Arlin the Gordon Ramsey of the IT Kitchen?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Does this work?

So yesterday at the game, I saw a company advertise on the Jumbotron that they are the official Chiefs Brick. Yep, that's right, they are the only brick company that the Chiefs use. Sure, lots of jokes could be made here....They can't BLOCK anyone, made of such a poor foundation.

Anyway, do people really buy their bricks because they are the official brick company for a NFL team? I wouldn't think so... It probably cost that company 10's or 100's of thousands of dollars to do this advertising every game.

I guess my point is, couldn't this advertisement be done in a better way? More focused on people/companies that buy lots of bricks. Maybe not! I clearly do not understand the brick industry.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Food, Friends and Victory

As I mentioned on my previous post, I went to the KC game today. Thanks to my neighbors (And season ticket holders) the Bainters. So thanks. Sure, KC may be BAD this year. And yes, I was expecting a loss today against Denver. However, it was a great game!

Going to a game is more than just a win or a loss. It is spending time with good friends, tailgating with good food and of course the game.

Looking at business, do you want people who support you in good and bad? Or just in the good. Being a Chiefs fan, you learn quite a bit about supporting your team in the bad.

PS my 49ers are 2 and 2! Its a start?!

Time for bed. Early rise at 4am is catching up with me.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Going to the Game!

If you haven't realized it yet, Football is my favorite sport. It trumps basketball, baseball and all others. Something about the hits, the team aspect and balance of the league. (Most teams can be competitive on any given weekend) With that said, I am going to the Chiefs/Bronco's game Sunday.

That's right 8 hours in the car for what will probably a 15 minute game. Unfortunately I think the Chiefs are in for a beating. There will probably be more boos than cheers. However still cant wait to tailgate, spend time with the neighbors and cheer on the team.

Next time you think you have performance critics become a NFL coach. Constant doubt on your abilities. Someone is always better at it than you and lose a couple of games and you are a smuck. Course for a couple of million a season, I could handle it!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Today is Equinox

That is when day and night are exactly the same length.
Usually by this time of the year, I am ready for some time inside. To get some projects done, FOOTBALL and work in the garage. For what ever reason, I am not ready this year. It seems like summer went by in a flash. Travel, cooler fall and school all seemed to shorten the summer.

With is being equinox, it reminds me of balance. That is working on and in the business equally. I think we all spend time like the seasons. Sometime spending more time on one side or the other. Remember that doing both are not bad, just balance is the key.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

So I went to my first School Open House (As a parent that is)

An in the music room there they sat. 3 Apple IIc's. Next to them were the LC machines. For those of you not familiar with the history of computers the Apple II was the machine I learned as a freshman in HS. So these machines are about 20 years old. The c in the name stand for color! They were covered in the nice plastic slips and really in mint condition.

My first thought was "What in the world could someone use this ancient technology to teach with" Then I saw it. In all it's fake metal shine. Plastic hinges and sounds like a hair dryer. Using so much energy, it alone is probably responsible for 10% of the energy used in Kansas. The DELL laptop purchased last year.

I suddenly understood why someone would keep this 20 year old technology. They needed a computer that would work. Clearly the DELL could not get it done.

This just proves, sell quality, not quantity. Otherwise the future of our children will suffer. I wept last night from the thought of children being deprived of a true computer education. I am haunted by the erie sound that Dell made...


You have to check it out

Its official, I am now a guest blogger! (not sure that anyone cares)

Check out my guest blog at

Please leave some comments like people care what I write...


Is that too much begging?


Why are blog readers good marketing targets?

?Blog readers are 11 percent more likely than the average Internetuser to have incomes of or greater than $75,000

Starting (And updating frequently) a company blog can be a great way of capturing new and quality business? I have to add though you can't just update it monthly, it has to be a on going effort.

***Note, by no way is this blog associated with the company I work for. :)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Unique marketing opportunities?

91% of advertisers haven’t figured out how to integrate social networking into their planning.
OnMedia NYC 2008 Survey (via Parmet)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Marketing What Works?

I have seen many businesses not market, I believe this is a huge mistake. How do you keep your business name at the front of mind?

So what is the best method of getting this done?

Telephone and e-mail produce the highest response rate at 2.60% and 2.45% for direct marketing media channels for generating leads.--Direct Marketing Association, November 2006

Basically, the personal touch is still most effective.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Yesterday's post

As I mentioned yesterday, we had a couple of customers that had data loss. I also mentioned that we had provided solutions for backup prior to their loss.

I have to say that I was extremely happy that we were proactive as a sales group to provide these solutions. It seems like in the past, we would have been ask by the customer why we did not provide this? So not only can service be proactive but so can sales. This must be a evolution of the sales group.

Next we have to sell that proactive solution. The sales lesson is that sales can also be proactive and we are as responsible as anyone to keep the customer aware of their risks.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Would you jump without a reserve parachute?

Hard drive rate of failure is documented between 3 and 13% ( is an example of many that can be found) But lets face it, if it was only one failure in a million, would you still backup you critical data? I would. As I have written before I have a Windows Home Server. I keep family photo's, videos, website and more on it. Sure, it duplicates data to different hard drives, then I backup that onto a usb hard drive, then I have a copy at work and on a networked PC. These are just family photo's.

If I was dealing with my businesses data and I was responsible, I would probably sleep with a copy under my pillow!

Still this week, two businesses we deal with had failures on their server. Both had NO BACKUP!. I mean none. They weren't even trying! Guess what COMPLETE DATA LOSS. What takes this to even a higher level is that we had suggested backups in the last several month! What gets me is that since we have provided a couple of solutions and one customer has done nothing (And is planning nothing)

I guess I do not understand this. Are we not educating customers enough about the risks? Is it "Too costly?" I would think that losing the data would not be acceptable. If anything it would be terms of losing your job.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Abreviations What?

Ok, I am in the IT business. There are certain abbreviations I should understand (IT Information Technology) However recently it seems like an explosion of emails and talk that have abbreviations I have never heard of. If I don't understand them then most likely our customers do not.

If your trying to look smart by using these. It isn't working. The old saying KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) works well. As sales people we should be trying to provide solutions in easy to understand language. That is our value to this process. Otherwise we would have technicians just do the whole thing!

Next time you think about abbreviating something, think again!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Watching the clock?

I recently was speaking with a guy who had been working at his current job about 20 years. He was telling me his strategy of taking breaks and lunch so that it made the day go faster. I have to be honest, I haven't done that since carrying out groceries in HS. It actually goes the opposite. Watching the clock to make sure I get done what I need to get done and home at a time that Jenifer won't hang me out to dry.

If you spend lots of time watching the clock, is your job not challenging enough? Time to look for something more engaging. I cant imagine doing this for 20 years.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

WAY OFF TOPIC but has been bugging me for a while


Why do people drive 50 in a 65 MPH zone? It is dangerous, causes everyone to have to pass on two lane. WHAT IS THE PURPOSE?

Why do people swerve left to go right? Are we NASCAR and have so much speed that this is required? JUST TURN RIGHT.

Why don't people use their blinkers? Sure makes traffic flow easier.

Why do people use their blinkers 2 miles before their turn? I would have passed you if I had known you had no intention for turning till next county.

Why do people turn into the far right lane when turning left? CLOSEST LANE not FARTHEST LANE. It was a simple lesson in drivers ed.

Why do people drive 15 mph in a 35? I don't have that kinda time.

Why do some people not know you can turn right on red if it is clear? Sure hold up everyone because you didn't pay attention in drivers ed.

OK I feel better. I didn't want to keep it bottled up. If there is any lesson here for sales. Remember, you are being evaluated as a sales person all the time. You never know if that car you cut off is the next big customer.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

It sure has been cloudy here lately

First it is 90, then 50. Rainy, misty, cloudy and just plain dreary outside. Why is it that this makes such an impact on attitude? It is estimated that we spend 93 percent of the time indoors. (Probably more as IT people)

I discovered that there is an optimal temperature for mood, according to University of Michigan researchers. It’s 72 degrees F, or about room temperature. Stray from this temperature too far, either warmer or colder, and your mood is likely to take a dip. This is probably why our friend Brad from Duluth is so grumpy. It is too cold there!

In my online research (Probably not real scientific) What’s more, generally speaking the researchers found that pleasant weather can improve mood, memory, openness to new information and creative thoughts. If it gets too hot, however, like it does during the dog days of summer, moods tend to worsen.

It is important to remember however, you control your mood. Not the weather, the people you work with, clients not even your family. Next time you feel the blues coming around, remember that you are in control. It is a decision to be in a bad mood.

Monday, September 8, 2008

More Proof in GOLF Magazine

Their article states that if you are happy and have happy thoughts it is one of the most powerful things to help your game. It can shave 5 shots or more off your game!

Once again, the positive attitude shows to be one of the most powerful things you can have in your life.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Man is it complicated

The IT (Information Technology) industry is complex. I have been doing some training lately and just explaining the types of phones can be complex

1. IP
2. Hosted IP
3. Digital
4. Analog

and then you do the hybrid thing along with different third party devices that can add functionality into almost any system.

I start to more fully understand the value that sales adds to this process. You could spend months studying this and still not fully understand it all. I have over 10 years of experience and it continues to amaze me how things I thought I fully understood, I only partially understand.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Is the phone call a lost art?

So I was disconnected from email for 5 days. I have to tell you it was a bit like an addiction. The first day, I was looking for wireless connectivity. Darn it, all secure. I was a bit figitity and on edge. Second day, I looked again, then gave up all hope. By day three, I was over it and kinda enjoying the lack of connectivity. Not that this in any way is equal to a real addiction.

Anyway, I did have my cell phone with me. I took a couple of calls on Thursday. Most of them not important. Still, several people sent me emails and, then followed up Friday wanting to know where their answer was. I did do the return email thing that stated that I was out of the office till Tuesday. Yet, this did not phase anyone of these persistent emailer's. If they would have picked up the phone and gave me a call, I would have answered and had the information (Or the right person with the information) right away.

More than not, we trust that email gets to the right person. With today's SPAM filters, multiple servers talking to each other and all the other things that can get in the way. Nothing replaces a simple phone call. Plus, it is good old fashioned customer service.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Positive attitude may make you blind?

My attitude is, if someones going to criticize me, tell me to my face.Simon Cowell

I have spent a lot of time on the benefit of positive attitude. Like everything, a little too much of a good thing may cause blind spots.

I am sure that you at one time or another have watched American Idle and it has been obvious that the persons singing is horrible. I mean not even close, even I could sing better! Trust me, it is BAD. But the person will not take criticism. They believe they are a good singer and are not going to take the word of the judges. After all, their mom told them they can sing!

Taking criticism and being open to criticism is important for development. Sure it can be painful. Hard on your ego. But development can come at the expense of ego. I am sure that Freud would have something intelligent to add here. That Psych class in HS has faded many years ago. Ego, ID and ...

Monday, September 1, 2008

Continuing the Positive Theme

Henry Ford said, "Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right." Now clearly I cannot be an ultimate fighter just because I think I can. There is training and lots of things that have to be done before this will happen. (Sure, I could step into the ring and start eating through a straw)

Fear is the worst part of a negative attitude. Fear of doing something because others may think badly of you. Fear of making mistakes. Fear of FEAR? Those who truly let fear lead their life bury their heads in the sand and hope the bad will not come their way!

So keep a positive attitude and do not let fear take hold.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

If you havn't learneded yet, I didnnt do reals wells in School

However, I finally have proof it doesn't matter.

A Harvard University survey among executive recruiters revealed that 90 percent of everything a person achieved after leaving the university, such as money, prestige, power, authority and overall success, was based on attitude and only 10 percent on aptitude or ability. They also found there was no correlation between school results and lifetime earnings. The only characteristic that determined a person’s results or how far he could go was a positive attitude.

I do want to be clear, you still have to have the education to get places in life. Yet that is only a start, not the destination.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Want to live 7.5 years longer (And keep your bad habbits?)

Be Positive and Add 7.5 Years to Your Life:
Research shows that how you perceive aging affects how long you will live. In a study of 660 people, those with more positive perceptions of their own aging lived an average of 7.5 years longer. This effect remained after other factors such as age, gender, income, loneliness and health status were controlled.

All referenced from

Friday, August 29, 2008

Why is attitude so important?

Have you ever driven home and when you get there you can't remember stopping at the stop sign? You can't remember making turns, nothing. Driving is a rather complicated activity. Knowing how fast your going, where to turn, using blinkers and watching other traffic. However we do it automatically. In our subconscious.

It is estimated by someone more intelligent than I that 95 percent of everything we do is done subconsciously. It is my opinion that your attitude can effect that 95%. It sets the stage for how your subconscious works.

Every day you make choices on how to view what happens to you. Like a rainy day. it is an opportunity to work on those inside projects that you have been putting off? Or it is a ruined day the messed up your plans. One is a positive reaction, one is negative. Losing a sale. An opportunity to learn about your customer and the competition or an opportunity to complain how unfair the process was.

I have never met a successful salesperson who was negative. Have you ever bought something from a negative salesperson?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Dude I've got a Dell. And I can't forget it...

No, its not what you think...It is a Dell TV. Four years ago when we built our house, I did some research and ended up buying this flat panel TV for our living room. Just over a year, the TV stopped coming on. We replaced it with a Samsung that has been working great.

I took the Dell to work and had one of the techs look at it and they found the power supply had gone out. So I replaced it and took it home to put in our bedroom. Shortly after that, it began acting up. You have to turn it off and on several times before the back light comes on. IE so you can see the picture.

What is the point of this story? Simply that almost every night I am reminded what a piece this TV is and how much I regret this purchase. You might say that it is one of the last things I think about every night before bed.

I am also reminded that if we do a poor job of selling solutions, our customers will think about that solution everyday and what a mistake they made in purchasing it from us. This just points out how important it is to get it right the first time!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Getting Away. Its Important

Some of you may know that it has been a bit hectic around the office lately. However I have the opportunity this week to get away. Carsen does not have a sitter Thursday or Friday so I am taking these two days off and we are loading up the Corvette for a road trip to Grandma and Grandpa's lake house.

We have not spent much time there (Actually none) this year so it will be a great time. Caden and Jenifer will come Friday night so Carsen gets some rare one on one time with Grandma while I get to play, weather permitting, over 70 holes of golf over 5 days.

Point of today's post is that it is easy to think you cannot take time away because you are too busy. Lets face it, are you ever slow? I hadn't found that time in years. I also find that during these times some of my best ideas come to me. Not that I was focusing on work, they just pop up in the most odd times.

One of the best/worst things about the Lake House is that there is no Internet. No wireless, no cellular cards, just telephone service. I have found that when I am away, my team not only gets the job done but excels. I try and not think it is because I am standing in the way normally.

PS Not to worry, (Like I am sure you are), I have scheduled some posts for every day I am gone.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Meeting Three

Meeting three was a very positive meeting. The person presenting called and confirmed the meeting. He then had ask me several questions about what I was looking for and what kind of things I was expecting from his presentation. Needless to say, I was expecting great things.

It was delivered. The presentation was exactly what I was looking for, I learned lots about their product, my questions were answered and I see doing business with this company in the near future.

The part I wanted to point out was a day later I received a thank you note in the mail. This sealed the deal for me.

So I wanted to add some things that should be done after a meeting.

1. Always return the information that you promised. Answers to questions and such. Deliver it before you promised it.

2. Send a thank you. This may be mail, email or a phone call. Depends on the relationship.

3. Bring added value to the relationship. If you can solve a problem for the customer eve is it isn't something you sell, this will make the customer come to you for solutions.

4. Ask for references.

5. Always tell the customer when you are not the right solution. People will always respect this and look to you in the future when you have the right solution.

Monday, August 25, 2008

A break before Meeting three

I have to tell the story of my dad purchasing a car.

He has been seriously looking for a car for about 3 months. He had a 5 year old (Not sure exactly how old) Toyota 4 runner that he has not been particularly fond of. It has been reliable, just not real comfortable, just transportation. I know he was looking at Toyota Camry and a Honda truck thing. Beyond that he wasn't in love with either.

Well, I spoke to him on Wednesday and he tells me he purchased a car! Not anything he was looking at before. He purchased a Saturn Vue (I think this is how you spell it). I had to ask what made him look at this? Well, it (Like all things) came down to the salesman. This sales person was honest, sincere and answered all of my dad's questions. In fact, my dad went on to tell me that he gave the salesperson several chances to lie and he did not.

This goes to proving several things.
1. Product does not drive the sale
2. Honesty and integrity are extremely important in sales
3. Working every opportunity may equal a sale

So after three months, the test drive, paper work and purchase took one hour.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Meeting Two

So the next meeting that I had went quite a bit better. The person that I met with was brought in by someone who kinda knew our business. They had done a better job preparing. Yet a couple of things were missed; Verifying the appointment, research on me or company, and we had the 62 (Literally) page PowerPoint presentation printed out. Sorry if your reading this but you will clearly identify yourself, the print outs were done on an inkjet printer that ran out of ink on the second print. So kinda color, kinda black and white. Not real professional.

Not a lot of questions, infact by the end of the meeting, the presenter had to ask what I did for the company. This was probably info you needed to start!

Anyway, here is my list on what should be required for the meeting itself.

1. Professionalism. No curse words, questionable stories or getting too comfortable.
2. Ask what people are expecting out of the presentation. Write them down to make sure you cover their questions.
3. Ask what they know about you. No reason to cover areas that people may already know. Sure you want to make sure the info is correct. But you do not need to spend 20 minutes on what has already been covered by someone else.
4. If you had a previous meeting, verify that nothing has changed since this meeting!
5. Don't waste time unless the person you are presenting to is initiating this.
6. Confirm your next steps/meetings and who is responsible for each.
7. Be genuine and truthful if this isn't a match. You can waste both people's time if your not honest.
8. Do not go over your time allotted. If you feel that everyone is engaged and you need to continue, ask for permission to continue or set another meeting to continue.
9. Don't have a preset agenda that you have to absolutly follow. Move and flow with the questions and direction of the meeting. Sure, have areas that you have to cover. Make notes of the top areas, but don't have some rigid structure.
10. Thank everyone for their time and ask for feedback on the meeting. Try and get honest feedback, not just make you feel better feedback.

Next blog I will cover the followup! This in my opinion is where real relationships are made!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Listening on what people are looking for!

Recently I have had several sales presentations given to me. Specifically three. I want to break these down because there was a variety of positives and negatives. Plus, I feel like I have not touched the core of this "Sales" blog.

1. This presentation was in person and had one person present that had never met me before. It continues to amaze me that someone will travel over four hours for a sales visit and not confirm an appointment the day before. What if I forgot, no longer there or something had changed? Eight hours would be wasted. Next, they came with prepared PowerPoint of death. If your even going to attempt this, you should probably come with something to show it to me on. Then, we went directly into the presentation.

No questions! Not what are your interests in this, business problems, are you the right person, or any type of qualifying question. Simply I am going to regurgitate this old presentation (PS with a another companies name at the end)

Keys to remember in starting a successful sales cycle.

1. Remember that people's time is important.
2. Prequalify when setting an appointment. Just getting an appointment isn't the goal
3. Set expectations early.
a. How much time it will take.
b. What you will be covering
c. Needed information or equipment
4. Visit the companies website. Know something about the company you are going to visit.
5. Try and learn something about the person you are going to meet. Facebook and Linkedin are great resources to find out about contact people. Their interests, successes and family!
6. If you are going to have a power point presentation (Personally, I suggest not to) put the companies logo on it, maybe a web shot of their page.
7. Invite the person you have the meeting with to bring other contacts within their company to attend. You may be surprised who the bring (In a good way!)
9. Confirm meeting day prior to the meeting
10. Shut off your phone, or better yet, don't bring it into the building. You looking at your phone during your presentation make me wonder if I am important enough for you.

OK, I started this entry with the idea that I would cover all three meetings. Clearly that would be a HUGE entry. So I have decided I will cover the next two meetings in the next couple of days. I will deep dive into the meeting itself and then the followup.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Speed of Trust Revisited.

I am still reading Covey's Speed of Trust. I have to be honest, the reason it is not complete is the latter half of this book is a bit hard to get through. However the first part has been almost life altering. Altering in a way that I view interactions.

The more conflict and poor business decisions I see, the more I can relate that there are significant taxes paid on distrust. People covering their back to make sure that they don't get "Caught" by those who distrust! I have made a decision (And evangelized) that I am going to trust people. The thought of spreading this to others, even in the small area's that I have tried so far, has really opened people's eyes to trust, and more about dis-trust.

Do something for me today, look at the interactions you have today, see if you trust these people. If there are issues in trust, identify them and move the trust forward. You may be shocked at the power of trust.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

"C" Level People

I was ask over my last post what a "C" level person is. This reminds me that sometimes I use terms that are industry specific. Sorry, I will try and do better.

"C" level person is a "Chief'"
Operating Officer COO
Process Officer CPO
Financial Officer CFO
Information Officer CIO

In other words a person that refers to an owner, main decision maker and can make things happen! The alternative may be a person who recommends, influences but ultimately does not have the power to make a purchasing decision. Let me be clear, this does not mean that the other recommends or influencer's are not important, rather ultimately you have to get to the C level for the purchase to happen.

Why sales people sell to the wrong people?

This morning I received a piece of spam with that title. To be honest, it sparked my interest to open this mail. I was disappointed in their thoughts. They were not even worth me putting down. However I then began to have my own thoughts on the matter.

I don't think that most sales people want to sell to the wrong people. I believe it is comfort. Lets face it, selling to C level people can be intimidating! However this is where real success can be had. Assuming that most sales people are selling to the wrong people, you automatically have an advantage.

Beyond comfort and intimidation, I believe it comes to asking. I come back to the three basics

1. Time frame
2. Decision maker
3. Budget.

Without these three things, there is no reason to move forward. I have continually been shocked when I ask if we have these three things identified. If we don't, or I have in the past accepted a not so sure answer, there is trouble to be found. The relationship is poor, we don't understand the customer and we are either proposing the wrong solution or simply providing a "Competitive Bid"

COMPETITIVE BID. These words hurt my ears. There is almost no value for the customer or us to do this process. That what this is, a process. Not sales.

Think back to the last sales cycle that you lost. Did you really understand the three basics? You may have and still lost, but experience tells me that more than not, this is where we failed.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Growin things?

Last year while Jenifer and I went to Jamaica, my dad planted a couple of cantaloupe seeds. By the end of summer we had quite a few melons.

Last fall we let a few of the melons rot on the vine and we threw some of the Halloween Jack-o-Lantern seeds into the same field.

Guess what, this year, I have more Pumpkins than I can ever use and more melons then I probably should eat. Nothing real scientific in the raising of these. Throw seeds down, wait, pick.

Maybe we spend too much time getting in the way of natural abilities. This includes people. Nurturing natural ability and not restricting it. Helping overcome other deficiencies.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Olympics are showing class

One thing that I have been amazed with is the class the athletes in the Olympics have shown. When a world class athlete makes a great move/performance, there is a small fist pump, but no gloating or in your face performances. Yet when you watch professional sports (Baseball, Soccer, Hockey or Basketball to name a few) there is always this type of poor sportsman ship.

Even when Olympic athletes make mistakes, there is not a huge pout. Acceptance and moving on.

I happened to see an interview of Colby Bryant (Professional Basketball Player in the Olympics). He was truly proud for representing the USA. He became more impressive when he spoke to the Italian press and I found out that he spoke Italian, then being even more of a diplomat he spoke to the Spanish press in Spanish. What a great representative of the USA.

Remember sportmanship everyday. Winning the big deal or losing. It will always be remembered the class that you exhibit!

Go for the gold!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Wii?

Every once in a while products amaze me. The Nintendo Wii is a great example of this. It is not superior technology, the graphics are average at best but the game play and the way you interact with this is amazing. It looks like Nintendo is going to continue to innovate this product. From online game play to the Wii fitness (the first real workout game that I am aware of but am yet to try) this is truly unique. The Best Buy that Aaron and I visited last week noted that the Wii continues to sell out in 24 hours. It has been out well over a year! What a record!

I think that this goes to teach us that truly unique solutions do not have to have superior technology, rather they have to something different from the competition. I can't wait to see what is coming in the future.

The Playstation and XBox 360 continue to be neck and neck in competition. The Wii stands alone in my mind when it comes to gaming solutions. This is how I want to develop solutions!

If you havn't had the chance to try out Wii bowling you should definitely should. My mom practically broke a lamp having fun last Christmas!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Change is Bad?

Clearly I work in an industry that change is constant. Solutions change, product changes even expectations are constantly changing. I love this change. I can't imagine working in an industry that you do the same thing day after day. I would be changing jobs frequently!

I came to the realization that sometimes keeping things the same is good. An example of this is the barber shot that I go to. That's right, barber shop. Not a salon, beauty shop or trendy hair place, just a simple barber shop. These seem to be a dying breed. They have the rotating pole thing. Which I looked up "The origin of the barber pole is associated with the service of bloodletting.[1] During medieval times, barbers also performed surgery on customers as well as tooth extractions. The original pole had a brass basin at the top (representing the vessel in which leeches were kept) and bottom (representing the basin which received the blood). The pole itself represents the staff that the patient gripped during the procedure to encourage blood flow." Who knew

Anyway, I have been going to this shop for over 10 years. Only recently did they have "Major" change. The TV went bad so they purchased a new one and the wallpaper changed a couple years ago. Other than that, nothing has changed. The same 3 barbers work there, the same clippers and the same broom.

It is definitely comforting to go to the same place and know what you are going to get and what you are going to spend. Maybe in sales we can take a bit of learning out of this. Sure, we may change the solution, but keeping the interaction comfortable and predictable will keep people happy and comfortable doing business with you. Keeping change down in the interaction may be a good thing?

Friday, August 15, 2008

I can't leave out Joddey Hicks

Joddey is another sales guy with lots experience in the industry. He has been doing this blog thing for quite some time, he just didn't want to share. Well it is out now so no more hiding. Best advice I can give you is make sure you don't mention what the boss does. He will read it!

I look forward every day to Joddey's content.

Welcome Fran&FrankINski

Welcome Mike Fafinski to the world of blogging. I appreciate your thoughts and look forward to reading what you have to say about the world around you. Maybe you will even explain the Fran&FrankINski thing.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I stand corrected

From Ron Bunch

Costco & Sam’s Club both started 1983.
Sam Walton SWIPEd his idea from Price Club which merged in the 1990’s with CostCo.

Sam’s has more stores, but CostCo has higher sales, due to the higher end ticket items CostCo sells.

Just wanted to let you people in Tennessee without CostCo’s read your blog.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Are you half full or half empty?

A positive attitude is in my opinion 3/4 of a winner. Watching the Olympics there are athletes that do some amazing events that show off strength, balance, power and pure art. Watching the gymnastics yesterday, it was interesting that you could tell when an athlete dig good just by how they acted on the dismount. More interesting was when one performance was not going perfect but on the dismount the athlete acted like it was great, his score was probably better than it should have been.

During an interview with this athlete he was ask why he celebrated at the end of the event, he stated that this was one shot in front of the entire world. He was put tens of thousands of hours into this performance and was going to put his best everything into it.

He did not win the gold in this event, however within the hour he went and performed the next event winning gold.

Do you let things get you down? Are you ready to win gold on the next event?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Feeling Green after Saturday?

I know what you are thinking, I feel fine. Rather, Aaron Booker showed me what impact logging had on the West Coast and it really hit home. Large (Hundreds of thousands of acres) area's are damaged. In fact it is unique to show areas that are not effected by logging. Scars in the land where trees no longer exist. Areas where only new trees exist where there were once 200 foot plus trees. It is hard to think that these areas will ever be the same. It is also hard to think that this can't have an impact on the environment.

It makes me more aware of the purchases I make everyday. From green PC's to recycling. It is important as sales people that we remind our clients the importance of green in their purchases. While this may be a small step, it is the power that we all have every day to make a difference.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

SWIPE is alive and well!

SWIPE (Steal With Integrity and Pride Everywhere) is practiced in every industry. A great example is Sams Club. According to Aaron Booker, Costco was the first between the two. I am taking his word for it. We do not have Costco in Kansas that I am aware of.

When Aaron took me to Costco it was like walking into a Sam's. Racks were the same, same card to get in, even similar products. Just proving that even the largest companies take ideas from the competition.

Taking other ideas, morphing them into something different that is your own is one of the fastest ways to take a new solution to market. Don't think you have to come up with something completely. A small change can be the unique difference.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Tree's, Ocean, Shopping and the Tennis Championship.

A big thanks to Aaron and Kelly Booker from Hardlines ( for showing Jenifer and I around Bellingham Washington (

Aaron showed us around his town. From his office to the property that he owns. We took a hike in the forest (HTG3 guys, this counted as one of Aaron's exercise commitments made) we also took a beautiful drive along the coast. What a great day. Thanks Aaron.

I also had time to get Jenifer to the Mall. I had to make sure that I fufilled my commitments.

Last, I did bring home the Wii Tennis championship to Kansas. It was a whooping put down. Aaron needs to get practicing.

The lesson of today that Kelly was very clear about is that Aaron spends too much time at work when he is at home. I am very similar to Aaron. It is important that when we get home to be home both mentally and physically. Thanks Kelly, point well taken.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Vancouver Canada

What a great experience. My third trip to Canada. I have to be honest, it was my least favorite. You have to take it into perspective! The first trip was to Calgary then and drive to Banff (See one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. The next trip was to Niagara, Niagara Falls and then John Daly's course Thundering Falls. (See

It was definitely a LARGE city. The one thing I did learn about sales this trip was that there is a market for anything. I had the chance to look in and see a Ferrari F4 ( listed as the the world's fastest naturally aspirated car. Then I saw the Lamberghini Murcielago (see which I found out these two cars are listed in the top 10 fastest cars in the world. The price for a Murcielago is base above $300,000 and for a Enzo is above a $1,000,000 (YES THAT IS Million $'s).

My point is, there is a market for anything! Don't think that solutions are too expensive just because you cannot see the value yourself.