Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Carnie and Sales?

Some of the most early memories I have are going to Wamego Ks, where my grandma lived, and fourth of July. I remember going to the carnival and then watching the fireworks. It was always next to the big Dutch windmill ( Some of that experience was the games. You know, throwing darts at balloons, horse racing with water guns, pick a duck, rings around bottles, coins on plates. I remember the people working the games would yell at you, taunt you, tease you, dare you and more! It seemed to work!

So spent tonight with the kids going to a carnival. I think the rides were some of the rides I went on 30 years ago. They sure look the same, kinda worse for wear. Games were the same too! But, the high pressure sales were not there. The people looked the same, but no yelling, no daring, just explanation of the game and take the money. Has even the carnival realized the high pressure sale no longer works?

The carnival, I think this is only a small town thing any more. Sure larger towns have the carnival, but not the same thing. I probably saw 50 people or more I knew tonight. It is kinda like a town party. Live music, carnival, food. ( What a great time for everyone and good time to bring people together.

Friday, July 4, 2008

July 4th Something a little different today.

Yesterday I went and picked up my boys a little early from daycare. Carsen was on a bar stool eating a snack. When he saw me, his bottom lip quivered and he broke into tears. It took 5 minutes of me holding him to get him calmed down. I was only gone 3 days.

There are people defending our way of life that may have not seen their kids in months or longer. I can't even imagine. Some of these kids may not see their parents again.

Take a moment today and remember your freedoms. Remember those who allowed you to be with your family today.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Done with the SWOT

Wow, what a week. I am mentally exhausted. I hope some of the advice I gave was worth something to Marco. I am curious to see what progress is made over the next couple of months and can't wait to see the weekly updates.

Not looking forward to an early morning tomorrow. We will see if the return flights are as good as my flights getting here. I am looking forward to seeing my boys, and the long 4th weekend. Then off to Houston next week for WPC (Microsoft's World Wide Partner Conference) I have to be honest, I am kinda dreading the trip. I do know I will get lots of value from the conference. Probably more value from the HTG guys that will be there and even more from Mike Doerfler traveling with me.

If I have anything to add to sales today, it is that change happens. If you cannot handle change, get off now. It is part of our business and will be ongoing.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Well who knew?

So, done with day one of the SWOT. I have to tell you that I have met some of the most personable people with the best over all demeanor I have ever met.

I was expecting to learn alot about myself by looking at others. I could have never guessed how much I would learn. Some of the things I am contemplating;

Managed Services? What is that? So many definitions, what is the right answer? Maybe there is just different visions?

Sales processes? I think that this is just an evolution of a company. Not right or wrong, just different evolution processes.

Company objectives? Why and purpose?

Management. Passing the message along. Making sure everyone is on the same page? What is the best way to enable the communication?

Just lots of thoughts bouncing around in my head with questions making more questions.

The more exposure I get to different companies and situations, the better solutions I should have. Good theory anyway?

One more thing to add

To this mornings post.

What about referrals? Maybe that is a good medium between Farming and Hunting? It is more effective than cold calling. You have to be farming existing customers to get the leads. My experience is that referrals are better qualified and similar companies to what the existing business is.

So measure referrals!

Farming versus Hunting

I forgot a good conversation that I had with Brent from Success yesterday. He was trying to prepare a compensation program that rewarded hunting more than farming. I am really torn about this.

1. Clearly, hunting is a good thing. Can you have too much of a good thing? This to the extent that you ignore existing customers?

2. Revenue. Profit revenue to be more exact. I personally do not care where it comes from (Within reason). the more the better. If we can add one new managed service to our existing client base, isn't that as good or better than farming? Their is a cost of adding new clients. Training them on how you do business. Are they a good customer? Do they pay their bills/argue their bills? Existing customers you know what you are getting.

3. Adding too many new customers could be a bad thing? Adding new customers usually means lots of tech time. Resolving existing issues, finding surprises and other problems. So for each additional customer, you have significant tech time invested. If you sell managed service to existing customers, then you should (If the managed service is setup right) you do not have a 1 to 1 ratio in tech time investment. So then you have to hire more techs, more operations people, and more. So do you gain anything?

4. Adding new customers does grow the business. Most of the time, growing the business is a good thing? I think that the growth has to have a purpose. Not just to grow. Increasing revenues I think should be the ultimate goal. Growing people or customers does not necessarily mean growing revenues. For sure at times, it can be the opposite.

Anyway, I am still up in arms as to the correct action. Ultimately I believe watching profit revenues is the right decision. So Brent, I am sticking with my origional opinion.

Animals, Sumo, Rockband and SWOT

Lots to talk about today. First, Frontier was great today. On time, even early, their employees were very helpful and could not have ask more. I have not flown them that I can remember. They had Direct TV at each seat (You could watch live TV or movies)seats were spacious and stewards were very professional. Their slogan was "A whole other animal" Each plane had an animal on the tail. I believe the one I rode on had Penguins. Great over all customer experience. I know when I have a choice in the future, I will look for Frontier.

Then came the rental car area at the airport. Now granted, I did not have reservations. So I prefer Avis, I have their gold card. Hertz was right next door. Avis had about 5 people in line to Hertz's zero. The line was going slow. About the time I started to look at moving to Hertz, 4 other attendants came in and I had a car instantly. Again, great customer experience.

Next, I went to see Mike from Syand. We had a good lunch and we made a lot of progress on some of the Managed service offerings we have been developing. I look forward to finishing these projects. Thanks Mike for lunch.

Then I went to visit Erik at Success. Erik had a concussion. The details were a bit fuzzy, but it involved sumo suites and getting beat down. I guess those helmets are not as padded as they looked. Erik showed me around his facility where in one room they were hooking up the XBOX to the projector and setting up Rock Band. I do not want to imply that they do no work. Rather opposite. I have never seen a more fun, creative and loyal group than Erik's. Sure they do play, but it was clear that work was getting done and well. Sometimes in today's corporate world this fun can be lost.

So what are the lessons I learned today?
1. You can set up programs, create slogans. But ultimately the people make the difference.
2. Having fun in the work place is important for productivity, and long term job satisfaction.
3. Wear football helmet when sumo wrestling.

Monday, June 30, 2008

On my way to a SWOT

What is SWOT? Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Clearly I will not be posting specifics of the company that I will be visiting. However, I feel that I will learn a LOT about myself and company by looking at another.

Today, I am looking forward to seeing Mike Fafinski (Owner Syand) for lunch, then we are going to see Erik Thorsell (Owner Success Computing). It will be good getting updates from them and about their companies. I especially look forward to hearing from Brent (Sales Manager at Success) and seeing how things are going. Plus it is going to be cool in Minnesota.

Well, off to catch a plane and continue my reading to prepare for the SWOT.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Nana Made the Blog

Its official, Josh is now married to Lauren. It was a big party. I have been hearing stories of Nana's Dress for some time. Nana is Deb Maska my mother in law, just to let you know who she is. She bought one, returned one (Or more, I really wasn't paying attention). Anyway, usually I didn't pay attention to such things. In fact normally I couldn't tell you outside of maybe that the bride wore white what anyone was wearing at a wedding. But I have to give Deb a compliment, she did look very nice.

I have to keep something about sales in here, so what is that nugget of advice? Pretty simple after this weekend, people use emotions when buying. There is no way for them to separate their emotions from purchasing. The only exception would be a purchasing agent. However they are responsible for trading commodities. I don't sell commodities. Back to emotional buying. If you don't believe me. Talk to the father of the bride who spent (Average from $14k to $43k), and this does not include the Honeymoon or the rings!