Thursday, December 31, 2009

Today, the last day of the year.

As you may notice, I am posting a little late.  Well, I am taking this day off to do a little house work and to spend with the boys.  We have lots of new toys to play with.  I am sure today will bring some sword fights, nerf gun battles and games.

I look forward to the beginning of a new decade.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

What do I do at work this week?

So I have heard this question many times around the holidays. My customers are off, the C-Level people are on vacation in the Bahamas’ and I have nothing to do! Really? Are you kidding me? Nothing? Well let me give you some suggestions. I look forward to these times to get my ducks in order*See bottom to find out where this came from (Or best guess)*


So in a random order here are some thoughts.

1. Purposely put tasks or schedule tasks during this time. Follow up items, meeting with internal staff or proposals during this time

2. Set appointments with people you know will be asking. Hey, everyone asks if you are working this week. Many times the people who are making buying decisions work because it will be slow. This is a great time to set an appointment. They will not be distracted. And better yet they may make this appointment to break up their day!

3. Office work. Proposals, Updating files and other things that are important, however you do not want to schedule this time when you could be meeting with clients.

4. File cleanup. OK sure, this may be the exact thing as number 3. However lets face it, it is a great time to clean up your file system, file according to year (Right now it is the end of the year) or to clean out that cluttered email file. By the way, if you do not work with me you may not know that I suggest you keep files digital. Scan things in, keep them on your hard drive. Paper is old school. And another thing, if you are in this industry, you should be suggesting your customers do the same. Lead by example. Don’t give me the “My hard drive might fail” BACK IT UP. 3 Times FYI and not on tape. Or give me the people may look at it. So. They can look at paper. You can easily encrypt your Hard Drive, it is a little harder to do the same with your paperwork. Plus Paper work burns and backup is harder.

5. Set your goals for the next year. To be honest, you should have done this already, If you haven’t, it is time.

6. Do the little things. Capture birthdays of your fellow employees and put in your calendar. Call some customers and thank them for this years business. Or call your vendors and thank them for their support.

7. Find out what is in inventory. Make a year end sale. Something to motivate sales.

8. Set your marketing plans for next year.

Bottom line is this is not slacking time. It is preparation time. To be successful, you must prepare and be as productive as possible during sales times. Don’t get stuck in the office chatting for hours on how everyone’s holiday’s went. (However it is important to spend a little time doing this. It is simple relationship building. Just do not waste hours)

*Etymologically speaking, your guess as to the origins of this saying is about as good as any other. There are at least three plausible theories surrounding the origin of "get your ducksducksducks in a row," plus some others which, at least, put up an interesting argument. Some sources suggest the phrasephrasephrase was not even used in print until the late 1970s, although a magazine article from 1932 did suggest "getting our economic ducksducksducks in a row."

The most popular theory suggests that "ducksducksducks in a row" came from the world of sports, specifically bowling. Early bowling pins were often shorter and thicker than modern pins, which lead to the nickname ducksducksducks. Before the advent of automatic resetting machines, these "duck pins" would be manually put back into place between bowling rounds. Therefore, having one's ducksducksducks in a row would be a metaphor for having all of the bowling pins organized and properly placed before sending the next ball down the lane. Many bowling alleys still offer "duck pin" lanes with smaller bowling balls and shorter pins.

Another theory comes from the world of nature. Mother ducksducksducks often corral their young offspring into manageable straight lines before traveling over land or water. Any stragglers or escapees would be noticed as long as the integrity of this line is maintained. The idea of getting all of one's ideas or ingredients or team members in one organized line would be similar to a mother duck getting all of her literal ducksducksducks in a row. One concern with this theory is the use of the word ducksducksducks, since baby ducksducksducks are more correctly identified as ducklings or even chicks. The common expression suggests adult ducksducksducks, not necessarily younger ducklings.

There are also sources which argue the "ducksducksducks in a row" element refers to a carnival game or two. One popular carnival game involves the player using a small caliber rifle or air gun to knock down moving targets. Quite often these targets are in the shape of ducksducksducks, and a conveyor belt system makes sure the duck targets are aligned in a consistent row. It is possible that the expression came from the benefit of having all of the targets (ducksducksducks) arrive in a predictable and organized orderorderorder.

A different carnival game uses plastic ducksducksducks which float in a water-filled track as players attempt to select the ones with high-value prize codes hidden underneath. These plastic ducksducksducks are generally presented in a moving row for easier selection by the players.

Do a little job inventory?

Do you do what you love? I do.




Are you passionate about your work? I am.



Do you look forward to going to work? Most of the time (Hey, you have to be honest)



Do you make a difference? I do.



Are you building value? Yes. To me, my company and customers.



Are you growing and learning? All the time. Reading, researching and analyzing.



If you do not like the answers to any of the questions above. Take a good look in the mirror. It may be time for change.



I recently came across a good way of looking at this at TED.com (PS if you have not been there, I highly suggest stopping by. Justin McClung referenced earlier this year and I have been back every once and a while) Anyway, Steve Jobs gave an interesting graduation address (PS...1. Anyone that has the name Steve must have some great input and 2. This is not an endorsement of Apple!)

http://www.ted.com/talks/steve_jobs_how_to_live_before_you_die.html

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Is there anything better?

Then a childs face opening Christmas presents?  Simple joy. 

Have you found any of that lately?  Isn't that why we work?

Get back to the basics next year and find the joy.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

It is Christmas Eve.

And if you are reading this post on December 24th after 5.  Stop.  Call, see and spend time with your family.  Work will wait.  There are other jobs. 

Your family needs you.

Remember what is important.

PS I Pubished this post on Sunday last week.  So Google's Servers are the only thing working this Christmas Eve. 

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.
http://www.christmas-tree.com/stories/nightbeforechristmas.html

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The interview for Sales.

I have figured it out.   I will put sales reps on a 10 day reality TV show and watch them 24x7.  Only then can you truly get a read for their personality.  Lets face it.  Great salespeople are chamelons (SP)  They are trying to sell themselves in an interview.  And the best thing for them is they are selling the one thing they know everything about!

Even better.  If they should be considered for the position, you should really buy what they are selling.  Maybe this is why I like to find people that are not interviewing.  It is because they are just being themselves when you see them.

Anyway, make sure you get sales reps in a social, casual setting where they will get comfortable.  This way they will let their guard down.  Lunch or somthing like this.  Get the real colors.  I know that in my office I have one individual that has a unique skill of making people comfortable.  Talking sports or their family.  Anyway, they get people to open up and show their true hand.  Many times more then they would ever want anybody to know.  (I have to watch that myself)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Reading People

I have had several questions of what this means.  Well, it in the most simple way is determining what this person thinks, why they think it and what things influence them.

So, why is this important in sales? Should be obvious.  What buttons should you push.

More the question should be, how do you read people?

Not that simple.  It is one of those things that I think you have a natural skill to do or you do not.  However, like everything, you can get better.

There are some simple things. Things you probably learned in HS.  People who have a frown and crossed arms are probably not believing you.  Duh.

More complicated can be some other signs.  What is at the persons desk, what are they wearing, their use of language and more.  I wish I could give a simple explination of these things and how to read.  Hoever It would take a year long course.    I know that many times you can break down the behavior into
1.  Type A
2.  Ambivilant
3.  Social
4.  Analytical

Lets face it.  Most C-level people we sell to are not number 2.  A few are number 3.  Most are 1 and a few are 4. 

With number 1.  Facts, quick and to the point
With number 4.  Facts with support, spreadsheets.  More details are better.

Some of the other things I have seen are NEVER put a 2 with a 1 or a 3 with a 4.  Most times these do not get along well in a business setting trying to make decisions.

Monday, December 21, 2009

So what makes a good sales person?

Who knows.  I can only list some common traits that seem consistant.
1.  Competitive
2.  Able to speak to C-level people
3.  Either have a good knowledge or learns good knowledge of their field.
4.  Always learning and getting better.
5.  Consistant
6.  Able to read people

What is the difference between good and great?

Hard Working.  Or their ability to work even harder when things are going good, and even that much harder when things are not going their way.

All the above are things that are positive.  What are the negative traits?  Somtimes it hurts to look in the mirror by the way.

1.  Emotional (Great reps control their emotions.)
2.  Ability to think fast.  Make quick decisions.  (Right or Wrong)
3.  Don't listen real well (However can usually focus just enough to get by)
4.  ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) 

I am sure there are more.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

When people are riding you to do better that is good?

That means they care.  However if you are doing a bad job and no one says anything.  Then they have given up. 

Take the critisism as growth. 

If you are not growing, you are dying...

Saturday, December 19, 2009

This is totally Jenifer (My Wife)

And it happens in business every day.  I heard this story from Mike today in the office.

The question is why do you cut the ends off the ham? 

I don't know?  Let me ask Grandma.

Grandma, I do not know either!  Let me ask great Grandma.

"Because it wouldn't fit my pan!"

The point is 3 generations did it the same way and did not know why.  And there was no real reason to do it.  How many things do you do every day that are the same way?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Sirius is still trying to get me back

They are down to $4 a month for 5 months. Guess they do not realize that this is a value issue not a price issue. Stop taking away value and adding price. To keep business you add value and keep the price the same.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

In a way it is counting to 10!

When you hear news that is shocking or puts you out of your comfort level and even more important makes you mad take some time and think about your response.

It is amazing how the next day or week it does not look so bad.

This, like every thing has to be balanced out with not allowing people to take advantage of you.

Best I remember, I have never regretted keeping my mouth shut. However I have regretted opening it!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Being on time.

It is the easiest way to make a good impression.

More importantly it is an easy way to make a lasting bad impression. I have heard people say that being late make you look more important or that it makes you look busy.

Nope, it is just rude. Next time someone is late, remind them how rude they really are. They are making a power play. They are not fooling anyone.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Marketing and Sales go hand in hand.

If you were to prepare a great steak it would be tenderized then cooked. This is similar to marketing and sales.

Marketing is the tenderizer, sales is cooking.

You cannot expect a steak to taste great without proper preparation. Seasoning, tenderizing and merinating.

Same with sales. You cannot expect great sales without first good marketing. That is to get name recognition (Tenderizing), product awareness (Seasoning) then send in sales (Cooking)

Problem is many cut marketing when sales are bad. This is the worst thing you should do. All it is going to do is make your sales get worse. You are spending the big dollars on the sales team (The steak) so by not properly preparing you are not maximizing your returns.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Your potential.

Have you ever stopped to think what your potential is. At your job, your family or your hobbies? I figure that if you use 50% of your potential you are above most. Using every hour of every day to maximize your potential is important.

Maybe instead of trying to get 100% potential you should try and get 5% more than you are today. Then keep trying to improve at that pace.

Be honest with yourself. What percent are you of your potential. Are you getting more and improving?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Wow that is cold.

It got down to -10 here in Kansas this week. Cold but not a record. I got to figuring that -10 is 42 degrees F below freezing. Putting it that way it sure seems worse.

Putting things into terms for customers is part of what sales does. Quantifying costs, value or savings is very powerful in a sales process. Part of what we sometimes miss is the strength of numbers. Just think of what was said above. -10 is 10 below 0. However 42 is a much larger number below freezing.

You are not changing the facts, rather putting them in terms of impact. I suggest that when you walk out into -42 below freezing it really feels like that. However walking out into -10 is not quite as impactful. Both correct and both the same. One sound more.

Next presentation, find the impact and make sure it has the ring of impact not just to you but to everyone.

And remember, your audience is important. Tell Brad from Duluth it is 42 degrees below freezing and he might consider golfing. Tell Kathy from Florida it is -10 degrees and she is not leaving inside for a week! Peoples perspective can change based on location, position or disposition.

Friday, December 11, 2009

I cannot wait for

Google Goggles. Supposedly you will be able to take a picture of an object or location and Google will let automatically look up that object and give you details.

COOL. Hope it works on my Windows mobile phone.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Selling escape.

That is what the movie industry sells every day. Lets face it the movie experience must be a big draw. To see movies when they just come out is really important?

Jenifer took took the kids to the movie last weekend. $40. Lets figure that out. If you went twice a month you would spend almost $900 in movies (And snack)

If you allocated this over 3 years, you could have a Netflix subscription, Big screen TV and all the popcorn you could eat.

Yet, I have not been able to perfect the taste of movie popcorn, the screen is still bigger than mine and there is something about the general experience of a movie.

They have done a good job keeping this industry going with the threat of digital delivery trying to compete for the $'s. For now Jenifer can take the kids to the movie and I will stick to Netflix. I will make a small investment in my home experience after Christmas and upgrade to Bluray. I will let you know how that turns out.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

My inner 80's Geek Coming out!

After seeing my complaint to Microsoft, I have to admit I have been streaming some 80's shows that really got me interested in technology. In retrospect most of the technology is not really possible. In fact 20 plus years later it is not possible.

The shows I have been watching are Airwolf http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airwolf which has reminded me of a couple of things that was happening in the early 80's. Like the cold war and hair styles. Specifically the poof. Not a style that I hope comes back anytime soon.

Then I have been watching Knight Rider http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knight_Rider_(1982_TV_series). This show came back last year in a new release. (The original was better and Hasselhof cannot be beat for this corny series) What really comes to front in this show is how absolutely bad most cars were in the early 80s. They were square and lacked character. KITT (The car) looks very similar to the inside of my 80's corvette.

A common theme is the music and product placement on both of these series. They do not do this as much these days. Sure, they do product placement, however in these series they almost come out and say "Look I am drinking Coke and I am cool" As for the music, the main character walks into the bar and they play about 30 seconds of the song as if to say buy this album! Of course it is played on a juke box playing vinyl!

Anyway these type of shows (Along with Dukes of Hazard) formed some early TV memories for me. The futuristic technology really got me hooked on the future. Now I look today and as futuristic as they were trying to be they could not have foreseen;
1. What cell phones can do today!
2. The Internet
3. End of the cold war
4. What the PC can do.
5. Pretty much everything I work with everyday.
6. Death of film (Replaced by the digital camera)
7. They would have figured that we would have found a replacement for Unleaded. (Hey, at least Regular is gone http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gasoline
8. Ipod!
9. Death of; Vinyl, Tape, CD...
10. Netflix!!!
11. That AT&T would be BACK.
12. Haselhoff still looks the same.

Just a few things I came up with.

So I suppose I should come up with some kind of sales link. I am going with selling a dream. Many business owners have a dream of what their business should/could be. By selling something that can help achieve the dream you can really get ahead. (Never over promise however)

Sorry for making you read all of this.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Guess I have to do this for 5 more years.

So, Register.com proved that telemarketing works. They called relentlessly for a couple of days because my email address and Domains were running out.

Not to worry, I negotiated (didn't know that was an option up until now) a 5 year deal for both my domains;

www.steveriat.com
www.riatfamily.com

and my email address;

steve@steveriat.com

Anyway, I wanted to get rid of the banner that register puts on the bottom of the page. (If you get here via www.steveriat.com you will see it)

Get this, Register.com wants $50 a year to remove that (Because I am doing simple website forwarding to the real address, hang with me and I will tell you how to get rid of this) What a rip off.

If you are tired of the banner, bookmark http://sriat.blogspot.com and you will be good to go.

PS you can negotiate 50% or more. I only got them down to $38 per year to remove the banner. (1 year deal) Maybe next year I will pay it for your viewing pleasure.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Microsoft gets this one WRONG!

So as some of you know, I fully utilize Microsoft Media Center within Windows 7.

Upon upgrading my existing Vista Media center to Windows 7 I noticed that Netflix was NOT available. Well, they fixed that. It is supposed to automatically show up when it was available. It did not. Anyway, I found it and installed it. That was easy. Here comes the problem.

Netflix streaming does NOT work with Media Center Extenders. IE with XBOX. Now you say that it does. OK you are right, it does work from the XBOX. You can use it from the XBOX dashboard. Well, it does if you pay for the XBOX Gold account. And I do have one membership. The problem is I use two other extenders. One is an XBOX and the other is a Linksys. So I would have to pay another $50 for the other XBOX for a live account to view Netflix. As for the Linksys, I would be out.

COME ON MICROSOFT. Let me use the extenders. From what I read on other links is that it is not a reason of ability, rather it is you protecting the XBOX dashboard. IE making me spend money for a Live account.

What don't you think that buying 2 XBOX's, 1 extender, 1 Mediacenter and Windows 7 is not enough for you? This is the way you reward loyal customers. OH yea, do not forget the monthly ZUNE service, couple of Zunes and the other MS products I have.....

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Always

Do the right thing when people are not watching. Do the right thing for your vendors, customers, employees and yourself. You will never regret this.

If you do the questionable thing, play in the gray area, you will regret it adventually. There are no short cuts.

Everytime I have been ask about these "gray" areas, the person asking already knew the answer. Go with your gut.

PS I had to figure out Gray VS Grey. Who knew;

"Google Answers"

It appears that the "gray" varient appeared later, as an American
English varient of "grey". Both have mostly the same many meanings:

"gray1 also grey ( P ) Pronunciation Key (gr)
adj. gray·er, also grey·er gray·est, grey·est
Of or relating to an achromatic color of any lightness between the
extremes of black and white.

Dull or dark: a gray, rainy afternoon.
Lacking in cheer; gloomy: a gray mood.

Having gray hair; hoary.
Old or venerable.
Intermediate in character or position, as with regard to a subjective
matter: the gray area between their differing opinions on the film's
morality.

n.
An achromatic color of any lightness between the extremes of black and
white.
An object or animal of the color gray.
often Gray
A member of the Confederate Army in the Civil War.
The Confederate Army. "

Saturday, December 5, 2009

How do you explain to a 3 year old?

For a year or so, if you ask Carsen what his name is he may respond with either Charlie (Thanks Grandpa) or Tiger Woods (Figure out what he watches with his dad)

So, how do you explain to Carsen that saying he is Tiger Woods may no be a good idea anymore...

Tiger, your thoughts?





PS, Me and Carsen will probably figure out the answer on our own if you want to come and play a round with us...

Friday, December 4, 2009

Video as promised. OK I went a bit Grizwald

This year. Stop by and see my last project. Don't forget to turn your radio to 89.7 FM and hear the music. Every night it rotates 12 songs. I change between rock and Transiberian flavored songs.

video

And don't forget, Have a Merry Christmas from the Riatfamily!

Another shopping experience

So recently I had a shopping experience at a Mall. No, not in Hays.

So first I went through Dillards. I wanted to see if they had the black shoes I have been looking for. I have been trying to find a half size in this particular shoe for quite a while. (1 year). Anyway, they are expensive. (About $200 and No Jenifer I did not buy them). So while in the area 4 separate associates ask if they could help me. Guess what, none of them could work in the shoe department. All tried to call a person that could help. No one showed up in 10 min. Oh well, saved me money.

Next to JC Pennys. For the store that has everything on sale all the time, I could find nothing I wanted on sale?

Last to Sears. Found some great deals on brands that are solid lines. (Sometimes I wonder how they can produce clothes for some of the sale prices. Maybe they are losing money, maybe the 8 year old foreign sweat shop worker works for so little that it can happen. ) Anyway, I went to the register and there was a hand written sign saying it was closed. What was the topping to this was Woman was spelled Wuman. (Why do I always forget to take pictures of this stuff? I have a camera on my phone). PS Wuman was to tell me to use the register in the Wumans department. So off I went. 2 people in line and only one person working the multi register counter. I went to look for other registers. None to be found. Back I went. Good news, only one person in line. That person had quite a bit of stuff. Needless to say, there was pricing issues with the system, missing tags and pretty much anything that could go wrong, did.

By the time this person was checked out, there was a line of about 7 people. Now realize the one person checking was an older lady probably in her 80's (No, I am not exaggerating) standing all of 4'10". She called politely a section 10 (Or something like that ) No help ever showed up.

To the lady's credit, she was apologetic, helpful and professional to the end.

The lesson is, you can have quality products, great displays, wonderful ads to attract people. However if you do not have the sales people to complete the customer experience, first you may lose the sale and second, you may not leave the customer with a positive experience.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

I do not understand. OK Maybe I do

How can you buy a flat panel TV that can decode a satellite signal from space for $350 but the wall mount for the same TV can cost $150?

The TV probably has more processing power than it took to land a man on the moon, the mount? $5 worth of metal.

OK I understand, they have to make money somewhere.

In sales, I would call this bait and and ... Bait? U want to wall mount the TV. We are running a sale on the TV for $350. However to mount it on the wall $150 and the HDMI cable to hook it up $50. That makes reasonable sense....

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Maintaining existing customers.

In today's times it is as important as ever to maintain existing customers and keep them happy. As I am sure you are aware, I speak from a sales perspective.

In speaking on this topic today, I want to assume that the service side of the house has done a great job taking care of the customer and they are happy with your services. (However, you always want to review the service tickets prior to on site visits. Nothing worse than finding out there have been problems and you get blindsided)

So A couple of questions that seem to come up.

1. How often do you see a customer? Well, it depends. However here is a rule of thumb. If you can, stop by once a quarter. Just a drop by and hopefully your contact is available to have a 10 minute discussion. If nothing else, you get to keep up contacts within the company. You see other people in the office change and other things. I would minimum set one appointment per 6 months. IE it is scheduled and you have an agenda. Then you want to have things like a newsletter, email and other contacts in between.

2. What is too often? You have to respond to the customer and read them. Why not ask? The only person that can tell you for sure is that customer.

3. When do I ask for references? Usually when you finish a project and the customer is happiest. Always check the reference before sending it out! This can be a hard lesson to learn if you do not.

4. Should I wait for the customer to call? We are in the service industry, If the customer has to call you then you are not providing service. Then there is no reason for you. A call center can do this. Take calls.

Really, you have to listen to the customer and ask what works best for them. Some of th things that I have learned is to ask the customer about their best sales person that calls on them. Maybe not in your industry, just in general. My experience has been that only will the person tell you about this person, rather, they will rave about this person. They will give you everything you need to be their personal sales superhero. Every customers superhero salesperson looks differently.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Projects to keep me sane.

I have decided I need to have projects to keep me sane. No, I am not talking work this morning, I am talking personal projects. Working on something to keep my time occupied. I am not sure what project to start. This time of the year is difficult. I do not want something that will disrupt the house. I need to keep the house clean due to many people stopping by. I did have the Christmas light project for a while. (I will post video this week, I promise) Anyway, I am thinking on taking on the Corvette. It leaks oil from the front. I am not sure if I have the technical skills to take this on, it will involve replacing the water pump, timing chain, re looking at the valve covers and more. Over all costs will be minimal (OK depends on your vision, Jenifer may object to minimal), I pretty much have the Corvette parked for the winter. Sure I can get it out, but it is deep in the garage.

This is just one project that I have on my mind. Other thoughts involve the kids play room, building shelving or doing some computer stuff.

The point to today's post? I think you have to have something that continually challenging yourself and to keep you learning/growing. It doesn't hurt to keep yourself busy!

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Black Friday Marketing?

So each ad tries to convince me that their price is the cheapest. Lets just say...that I would get up at 3 in the morning after eating a weeks worth of calories and motor down to the local "cheapest" sale. The things that were rated the highest draw (Again) were electronics. So I go after that $200 laptop.

First of all I am sure that it has the traditional 30 day warranty (90 at best). Sure, at face value it looks like a great deal. However as most of us tech geeks know you can fake stats. IE it has a 3 ghz multi core processor with a bus speed that came with the TRS-80 (That one is for you Tammy and Kris Check out the link)

So then I stand in line to get one of the 10 they are guaranteed to have. And lets face it, they only have 10. What value did the store get. They sold the piece of junk for no profit and probably pissed off number 11.

So after minimal thinking, why not offer something of value, promise to have lots and try and sell the accessories? Maybe bring some value to this relationship. At worst, why not offer some service. Super parking lot special. We will be waiting for you?

OK not so great of ideas, however this Black Friday thing is out of control anyway.

And another thing. I love when they interview the local manager of one of the stores to see how traffic was. What did you think he was going to say. It was terrible? We were not busy? His/Her boss may be watching too.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Optimist versus Realist?

I recently saw an show about the two perspectives. And potentially you could say optimist versus pessimist. However I do not thing they are the same. You could be optimistic that you can achieve something. You can be pessimistic about achieving something. You can be a realist about the same thing. The difference to me is if your optimistic you think you can, you have a positive outlook on the outcome most of the time. Pessimists says they most likely cannot get a positive result. Realist says, 8 out of ten times I have not made it. So most likely I will not make it this time.

What is the point? Just that you need to have an optimistic outlook, however there are times that you have to face facts and be realistic so that you can plan for the outcome.

Being real is part of business. If you are overly optimistic with your goals. Or your sales figures you can count on results that realistically unobtainable. Sometimes you have to be realistically optimistic. Set real, measurable and obtainable goals.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday

Take some time today and think of those working in the stores some of you will be visiting. Many of those workers will not be getting breaks, lunch or more. Think of the time over the next month or so that they will be away from their family to serve you.

Also remember that sometimes patience will be thin and other customers will be not happy. Help these workers out when you can.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sales VS Marketing Round 1

I recently attended an event as a presenter and had a chance to watch other presentations. One of these presentations was about advertising and marketing. Hey , something I should be able to learn about. I have to tell you that I was a bit confused about some of the statements that they were presenting as fact. Here is how they were presented;
Selling VS Marketing
Selling: Concentrates on the seller
Marketing: Focused on the customer

Selling: What can I get you to buy?
Marketing: What problem can I solve for you.

Selling: A deal you can’t refuse
Marketing: I’ve got something that can help you.

Selling: Selling what I have in stock
Marketing: Stocking what people want to buy

Selling: Getting rid of what you have
Marketing: Offering what people want

Maybe, just maybe they were referring to a old school used car salesman. The presentation that I sat through did not state that. Really what they were saying is that all salespeople only have their own interests at heart. More importantly, it is my opinion that Sales and Marketing go hand in hand. Creating this conflict between them would be a huge mistake.

There were some other “Quotes” that I found questionable.

“If you can’t be the best, fake it” (They must believe they can market themselves as the best even though they are not. It will catch up to them)

“If you can’t be the best, don’t try” (I am not the best at many things that I do. I am not the best writer for example, however you are reading this! According to this person, I should not try. If you do not try, how will I not get better? This is pure BS.

Don’t let others tell you what to do or how to do it. Most of the time, others will try and keep you down. IE not to be the best. Remember this. Marketing people were the one’s that told you that smoking was cool. Now they are telling you that it makes you look stupid. Integrity in marketing (Sometimes) can be bought and sold, just like salespeple

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Positive attitude.

The best sales asset is a positive attitude.

DON'T FORGET IT!

One of the things that I find helps me get ready for the day is some motivating music. Don't over look the ability for music to get you pumped up! Every professional sporting event knows this!

Monday, November 23, 2009

If your not growing, you are on the way out.

That message seems clear almost everywhere.

If you are not growing business, you are shrinking.

If your not growing your knowledge, you are getting dumber by the minute.

If your not reaching out, you are reducing your reach.

If your not offering more value, you are losing value.

If your not making money, you are losing money.

If your not getting happier, you are getting grumpier.

If your not working towards your goals, they are getting further away.

If your not gaining weight... Darn it, that doesn't work...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The holiday power

So it is Thanksgiving week. Thursday, maybe Friday and the rest of the weekend is a great time to connect with family, relax and get refocused.

However remember you have to keep focused during work and not get comfortable. Just because the office is empty doesn't mean that work cannot get done. In fact I find that you can have some focus time where others will not be interrupting you.

In sales, (Unless you are in retail) you will find that there will be some down time to get caught up on organizing the CRM or to get some of those large proposals done. So leave these activities to these down times and set appointments during the other times.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Newspapers are done...

Statistics are not specific, however they are in the range that 60 to 70% of 12-25 year olds will NEVER read a newspaper. They also continue on to say that the newspapers will have stopped printing entirely by at latest 2040.

The other thing I found while reading on this was that people were "Very Worried" about the literacy of our youth because the do not read the newspaper. Wow, how can people assume such a wrong diagnosis off some related information. Reality is that young people just do not care to read papers due to the fact that they are too slow, that information they knew yesterday.

The sales message is that the products and solutions we sell today will be extinct soon. We must continue to grow our knowledge, identify new solutions and be looking forward. Or we will end up like an old newspaper.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Am I the only one confused?

So my dad bought a 1965 Corvette Stingray Convertible for $3,800 new in 65. (I think I am at least close on those facts). I am sure when he sold it, he sold it for less than he bought if for. However, if you had one today, you could sell it (In decent condition) for over $100k.

Now, compare that to the laptop in my basement. It is 5 years old. I spent over $1k for it and today it might be worth $200. The processors have tripled and same with HD and ram.

Also compare it to a digital camera. My first digital camera was $300 for 3 mega pixel. Now for 10 mega pixel you pay half that.

So this is where my confusion comes in. A new corvette is $50k plus. Sure, it has a lot of performance enhancements over that 65. Yet the price continues to go up. You would think that the improvements in robotics, electronics and production would reduce costs significantly. Take that a step further. The least expensive car you can buy new today would exceed $10k. Sure maybe you can find one in that range. I doubt it would provide what I would consider reasonable transportation. In other words in 50 plus years, they cannot reduce the costs, or deliver a low cost solution to the car?

Then there is supply and demand. The 84 corvette that sits in my garage with 50k original miles, new radio, paint, tires and such is worth less than $10k. Why the difference between the 65 and the 84? Sure age, however there were LOTS of 84's produced compared to the 65. Great even if I keep the car 30 years it will still be only valuable to me.

Not sure where this is going other than the value of things are subjective and many things can impact what people are willing to pay for them.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

C-Level People

What are C Level people looking for. Just in case you have not visited this site much, C-Level people are the CFO (Chief Financial Officer, CEO Chief Executive Officer, CIO Chief Information Officer, CPO Chief Process Officer and there are more)

So when you are marketing and selling to C-Level people here is a short list of things I make sure I have

1. An agenda that is
a. Specific
b. Short
c. To the point
d. On task
e. No hidden agenda. They do not tolerate that well.
2. I show up on time or early
3. I have specific details, examples or statistics (And you must be able to prove it)
4. It must be full of C-Level information. Not lower level details. (Be able to provide them, just don't waste time with this)
5. Must have the financial impact
6. Must have Business impact
7. Should have a quick breakdown of what to do next and what to expect.
8. Do not BS around unknown areas. They will attack. If you have to, tell them you will find out and get back to them. If you BS you will end up at the bottom of the chain.
9. Bring your own C-Level people if possible. It helps to be able to speak at this level.
10. Bring examples of other C-Level people who have done the same thing. It is cool to do this. Many times they do not want to follow, they want to lead.

The last piece of advice is to engage in conversations that get you comfortable with this level of conversation. You have to be able to speak in the following terms

EBITA
COLA
COA
COGS
and more.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A little snow

We had just enough snow to barely cover the grass. It is mostly gone today.

I forget how quiet snow makes it outside. That little bit of snow absorbs all the small noises and chatter that is normal this time of year. Too bad it will not stick around for another good night sleep.

Snow, Gods version of noise cancelling.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

GI Joe and Cisco?

If you have not seen the new GI Joe movie, you will see Cisco all over the movie. From the "Unbelievable" high tech communications tools to the basic handsets. Cisco's name is all over the movie.

It is working! Ask pretty much any IT guy and they will tell you the most high tech phone system is Cisco. They demand the highest dollar for their systems and the best quote I have heard about them is "Nobody gets fired for buying Cisco"

Good marketing message. Product placement works "Sometimes"

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sounds cool, just really not functional

I have been thinking about some of the tech stuff I deal with that sounds great at first, then when you get it, you really realize that it doesn't work in the real world.

First is the touch screen. You see people on TV now playing with pictures by touching the screen, resizing them, moving them and such. Sounds cool. However what is the real world use of this. OK sure if you have a 50" version in a conference room. That would be good. Otherwise, I can use the mouse more effectively and can do more!

Second the tablet PC. Sure, you can capture signatures. Other than that? I type faster than I write, how often do I need to get signatures when electronic signatures in Email work just as well, I can draw with a mouse. And if I get a regular laptop, I get a real processor. Plus the tablets cost more. Many can use the tablets as they were intended, few do.

This one may be a stretch. But windshield washers on headlights on your car. Really? If you own a car that is that expensive, don't you keep it at least clean enough to use the headlights without needing to clean them that often?

I will be updating this list as I think of more. Please feel free to add your own ideas!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Good Presentations

Are factual, informative and to the point. However it is also my opinion that they need to be entertaining.

Think about it. Some of the best and most memorative presentations were very entertaining. You remember the stories and the points that are made by the stories.

The point of today's post is to inject some fun into presenting. It makes it better for everyone.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Somtimes you have to play hard!







We did that last weekend. Most successful people I know work hard and play hard. Remember to do something for yourself to keep sane.

Monday, November 9, 2009

I wish I would have taken a picture.

In a bathroom in EPCOT last week the sign above the sink read;

Wet hands
Apply Soap
Rub together
Rinse
Dry

REALLY? Is that sign necessary? I would assume those who would need the sign can't read it. DUH!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Google Analytics

189 unique People
From 13 countries
14% increase over last month

This is just a quick snapshot of people who have viewed this blog in the last 30 days! How do I know all of this? Google Analytics A free service. If you haven't checked it out and you have any type of web page you have to. There is so much information out there. From the top searches that have landed on your page to the average amount of time each person spends on the page. And lastly how many times each user comes back.

To be honest, I signed up for the service (Again free) 6 plus months ago and forgot. After viewing a recent presentation I remembered and logged in. I was amazed the traffic that comes. If this was a business page, can you imagine the value this would have? Once again Google gets it right.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Sure is great to be home.

Pretty much travel all day today. I did have a chance to go over my presentation for next week with Tammy. I think it still needs some review however it is MUCH closer than it was.

So to review my week, there were many new things this week.

1. I learned that in Australia their expenses are high. (From Fuzzy)
2. Alligator still tastes good.
3. TaaS is becoming more up front in the VAR world.
4. Lego Land is HUGE
5. For many VAR's (Value Added Resellers) flat is the new growth.
6. Cash is king
7. Kangaroo kinda tastes like liver (However I am told by Fuzzy that it was cooked wrong)
8. It takes 12 hours of flight to get to Flordia from the UK
9. It takes 17 hours and you loose a day from Australia.
10. Tammy turns green after a launch to Mars in EPCOT
11. Many new things to utilize ConnectWise and QuoteWerks
12. Travel wears me out (I already knew that)
13. Ricky only dances when drinking.
14. Costa Rico is not Porto Rico.
15. Erin is not Kathy
16. Cuban food is great.
17. And much much more.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Homeward Bound

On my way home today. A full day in the air.

Had a great time in Orlando and look forward to seeing the boys and my own bed. As always at these events it is up early and to bed late.

This event I had a great time connecting with many new companies and vendors and look forward to following up with them next week.

Next week will be a full week. I have a Market Place presentation (SMB Businesses), PEERI and II meet, we have Toshiba in town, many meetings and catchup from this week. It will be important to keep focused on what I learned this week and not just get back with no change.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Exhausted, White, Billy Ocean and Opportunity everywhere.







I would have to say that facilitating HTG 3 is one of the most difficult things I do. Not that it is the members of HTG3 that are causing this, rather the effort, engagement and challenge of keeping all of these business owners on a a topic, providing value and moving things forward. I will get better and enjoy the challenge. It is definitely a personal growth opportunity.






Tammy learned a lesson yesterday. When they greet you and ask more intense or less intense at EPCOT you may want to ask a question like; What kind of ride is it? Define intense? Or other defining questions. I will guarntee that she will NOT make this mistake again. Hopefully today she has her color back. And as always, I am more than willing to share to pictures.






We did have an opportunity (We; Tammy, myself, Ricky and Becky (Ricky's wife)) to see Billy Ocean. He was really good. Just incase you do not know who this is? He sings Caribbean Queen, Suddenly and more. He rocked.






And as always, there are so many opportunities to connect at the HTG event. From new vendors to reconnecting with existing ones. I enjoyed sitting through Sonicwalls event titled "Why is Steve Riat Smiling" It was definitely flattering.






So HTG is now over and on to ConnectWise.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What a great first day of HTG







Like usual it was an intense day of meetings. (QBR) Quarterly Business Review to just simple introduction to new members I learned so much. It is definitely clear that the economy is impacting everyone in some way. This is the time to really leverage the relationships and make sure that you are getting maximum value out of everything you do.






We had a good lunch with MX Logic. These guys really got it. They had a very scary presentation from the amount of spam produced (I believe yesterdays number was like 87% of all email was spam. It has been higher at 92%.) And many statistics on the amount of threats out there. Really educational and gave me something to execute on.






Dinner was at a great seafood restaurant. Great time getting reacquainted with old members and finding out about the new members.






Afterwords, Tammy had to do a little more shopping. We did find out about Dylan's Lego Love and I found Caden's picture of heaven. All pictured above.
I look forward to another great day.

Monday, November 2, 2009

So much going on!

So first, congratulations to Mark St.Peter on his third boy. Visit www.markstpeter.net for pictures, and I am sure he will keep us updated.

Second, Happy birthday to my wife Jenifer. I hope your day goes well!

I write this from Orlando where the HTG event is starting today. Well that is not exactly true, it started yesterday evening with some meetings and just getting caught up. Like always, to bed at 2 and up at 6:30. I had a chance to meet some of our new members last night and will meet the rest today. It is a time of building relationships and making HTG3 what we want it to be.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A little somthing for Sara

How to freeze pancakes! (Yes it is an inside joke)

www.thehappyhousewife.com/freezing-pancakes/

Taking off

Today to go to Orlando. As usual I can't wait yet don't want to go.

I don't want to go because it is going to be beautiful weather this week in Kansas and would have a chance to play outside with the boys. It is also Jenifer's birthday on Monday.

Can't wait to catch up with the HTG group, get energized for what is remaining of the year and hopefully SWIPE some great ideas to bring back to Kansas.

I know it will be a BUSY week. Up early and to bed late. This week works out great because the time change actually makes it exactly the same as Kansas was last week. An example of how busy it will be, just look at today. Flight leaves at 8, we get into Orlando at 4 (If everything works great) then enough time to get my ironing done then to dinner, and a 7pm meeting. Hopefully somewhere after the 7pm meeting I will get a chance to meet up with some of the vendors that are presenting at our groups meeting and meet the new members of HTG3. Either way, I am sure it will be a late evening.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Caden's 7th birthday party

We had 12 little boys over to celebrate and Carsen was the one with the quote at the end of the evening...

"Younger brothers have to learn to run fast!"

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Recognition

It seems lately that many individuals have been recognized as leaders or as great performers by their ability to nit pick others work or to belittle others work. Now, I do not want people to think I am specifically speaking about where I work. It exists everywhere. The media, schools and more.

I challenge you to recognize good work. Tell people you recognize their work and support that behavior. You do not want to scared to try new things because of the threat of negative recognition.

It is ok to tell people they do a good job. Have you been told that lately?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The overheard

No, I was not ease dropping, the person was at a volume level that 1/4 of our office could not help but hear.

There was an outside vendor in our office letting an employee of his (I guess) have it. Threatening their job, making them feel very small and on top of that letting us all know how important they were.

Always remember;
1. There is a time and a place
2. Know where you are
3. You are always selling (even if you are not in sales you are representing your company)
4. Impressions are hard to overcome.
5. Was it really that important?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I was ask yesterday how I got into sales.

Really, we are all in sales. We sold someone to hire us, we sold our spouse into marrying us, we sold a used car, convinced someone to do something for us. We are all selling in some form every day.

Yet what really got me into the business? Well, I was sold of course!

It was Randy Shurtz (SP) that managed a RadioShack in NW Topeka. I was bagging groceries in the business next door and was always in checking out the latest electronics. One day he told me he wanted me to work for him. It may be cocky, however that hiring decision (Along with some others) eventually got him promoted. Not sure what Randy ended up doing, I know he ended up with Comp USA (That did not end well) other than that, I am sure he is in sales somewhere.

So, I suppose in some way I am saying thanks for that day some 15 plus years ago. (PS I am sure I would have broke out of the bagging groceries business)

Monday, October 26, 2009

The dark is near.

In less than a week the time falls back one hour. That means it will be dark when I get home. Bummer. It also means that it will be dark when I go to work. This tends to be depressing not only for me but for many. I must get into the work out routine to keep my energy up. Well and lets face it, my weight down.

Here in KS we have had an extremely cold fall. It seems like I have spend most of October inside. Usually that does not start till November, it could be a long winter. I find it easy to hibernate during this time.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Have you really thought about speed of information?

You know, when I was in HS and College, speed of answers were calling, the library or a text book. Today it is measured in milliseconds. All you have to do is Google it. I can look up more in an hour than I could in a semester. It can be done with a PC, Laptop or smart phone.

There does seem to be a digital divide. Those who think in terms of Googling things and those who do not have this as a first thought. What immediate too quick for you?

Friday, October 23, 2009

I would rather be beat down than beat up.

Here is what that means to me;

I would rather be beat down from being too aggressive, working too hard or going too far, than being beat up because I was not doing enough, getting the job done or just not pushing the limits.

It is easy to ask forgiveness for doing too much. Hard to get it if you have not done enough.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

This may seem obvious.

However the more we work with the sames people and groups, sometimes the obvious is not as obvious as we think. We spend a lot of time doing procedures not really thinking why. So next time you find yourself working on something that may be wasted. Ask why you do it. Propose a better way. You might find out that no one else knows why you are doing it either!

Monday, October 19, 2009

We did it.

Caden and I survived a week. No explosions, fires or other disasters. Only one small lunch issue.

Although it is hard to get used to having a boss around again.

Friday, October 16, 2009

We made it till Friday !

Caden and I are still doing well! We have made it to school on time or early every day, I have not forgot to pick him up and I even managed to pick up the cookie dough order.

We have even managed to have dinner every night. OK sure we only cooked on Wednesday, however we will call this the eating out in Hays stimulus package.

On a different note, it continues to amaze me how you are trying to make offers to help people and they cannot get past the fact that you might be trying to sell them something, screw them over or take advantage of them. It was interesting further that some of these people wont event take 1 minute to listen to you.

Their loss. I think the important lesson is to make sure that I don't do the same thing.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wednesday Update

Another successful morning. Everyone is on time and at the right place. I even got dinner made in time and Caden made it to religion!

On another update, we had another PEERI meeting and it was great. The discussion was as lively as ever, many synergies and much to be learned for everyone around. It continues to provide value for everyone.

Oh yea, I almost forgot

Check out our new blog link on the right.

www.markstpeter.net

He thought I wouldn't figure that out.

School Pictures and I was in charge?

Yesterday was Caden's school pictures. We did get an early copy. I will post later today.

Anyway, we have been going good. On time for school, I picked him up on time and I made a good lunch. (I am even better than mom because I remove the crust HA)

Last night Caden wanted to eat a the Burger King. We never go there (NEVER) but for some reason he wanted to go. We ate early (He wanted to) so we were home by 6. After playing together for a while, Dominic called and he came over for an hour. Then it was spelling words, snack bed.

Evenings go quick. Tonight will even go quicker with religion.

I will keep you updated.

PS yes the house is a disaster!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

More declining value

So I lost a screw on my Oakley Sunglasses. I tried everything to get a new screw. Walgreen's, Walmart and the local eyedoctor. Anyway, I called Oakley. You would think I could just get a screw for a few bucks plus shipping.

NOPE!

$50 for new frames. They don't replace screws.

OK so I send in the glasses, lenses in a case, in a ziplock bag. And of course my $50.

Well, Oakley called today (2 weeks later) and said that I was missing a lens and it would be $90

I did pay $250 for these and $90 is probably better than not having any.

I told them no. BECAUSE I DID SEND IN THE LENSES!

Well, RayBan's, here I come.

Guess I finally got my SCREW!

Monday, October 12, 2009

In case you didn't know

Caden and I are being bachelors this week. Jenifer went to her sisters till Sunday. So no cooking, no cleaning, only a little fire.

I will keep you updated on how it goes.

I am not ready for this.

This weekend there was ice on the cars and on the grass. Not quite cold enough for the streets to ice over. It seems like fall was cut short. However if you have ever lived in Kansas it could be in to the 90's by end of week. (It is not predicted to be so)

I struggle with this every year. The being kept inside and not being able to get out. It is really early for that feeling to set in. Infact usually I have those areas that need cleaned up after a long summer of piling junk. To be honest, I am almost done cleaning that up. What am I to do the rest of the winter? (PS Jenifer would probably disagree that I have them clean)

Next weekend it is supposed to be nice, I can finish the garage. I am thinking of putting the Corvette in the back of the garage to leave room for the work car. The problem with that is I wont drive it that much if I do that. Decisions...Decisions...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Declining Value with Sirius Radio

I have been a subscriber for 6 plus years and it has come to an end. I wanted to listen to my 49ers games online. I came to find out that online subscription is now an additional charge. Used to be free. (I also found out that they do not broadcast NFL games online) Anyway, after Sirius and XM combined I figured you would get more channels and more value. WRONG.

I had to pay extra for some of the content. Online is extra. Currently I pay $200 a year and that does not get everything.

Well, free radio, here I come. Since I get an unlimited downloads from Zune for $15 a month, I will be using that more.

Oh yea, another thing that gets under my skin, I cannot cancel my subscription online.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Another Vendor meeting behind us.

Spent the last couple of days with our key vendors. We had a great meeting discussing 2009 and 2010. It was definitely a trend that these vendors were seeing revenue from partners like us down from 14% to 25%. That is the bad news. The good news is that September was a good month almost across the board.

We are looking forward to 2010. Are you planning for 2010 or just letting it happen.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Confirming Meetings

Do people not confirm meetings any more? Somtimes when I make meetings with out of town people coming to see me, I do it months in advance. It amazes me that no one would call just to confirm the time and date the week or days before. Some of these people trave 1000 plus miles with not even a call. This seems like it would burn them. That being people forgetting to be there, maybe they were fired? Just so many things that could change. Why not invest in a 1 min call to verify the details.

My next issue is not having a plan. If you are meeting with people and you set up the meeting, shouldn't they know what to expect? What resources should the bring, who should attend, what is the purpose other than the basics. Maybe it is just me.

A good sales meeting should have;

1. A call prior to the meeting to confirm. (Especially when travel is required)
2. An agenda. No matter what. That way people know why you are there and you do not forget something.
3. Expectations
4. The priorities during and after the meeting
5. Follow up, thank you and such.

Monday, September 28, 2009

A little bit of technical wow.

So I have been working on PCs since the RadioShack days when I sold my first 8086. For those of you that means little to, it was one of the first PCs that RadioShack sold beyond the TRS. So it would be before Windows and was about $3000 for no hard drive and minimal ram. 5 and 1/4 drive.

So back to my story. We used to upgrade the early 486 machines with ram, Sound card and CD drive. That way it would run an encyclopedia. Yes it even had videos.. WHOO HOO.

When we did the upgrades, we had to have grounding straps to keep the static electricity from destroying the components.

Well this weekend I was upgrading the ram on one of the PCs here in the house. I put the ram in my pocket to carry something else. (Not a great idea) then I forgot about it. So after it came out of the washing machine, Jenifer then did not see it and it went through the dryer.

After speaking to Loren he suggested I give it a try. Guess what. It worked...

Jenifer did a great job cleaning out the ram on that PC:)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Less value same cost.

So the local paper (most likely a industry out of business they just don't know it yet) is delivering even less value than before. Probably to save cost. They cannot deliver the Sunday paper in the morning. It will come sometime in the afternoon. So lets go into the value they have now.

1. Paper comes through out the week after work. You know, when you have already heard what is in it via the radio, TV or Internet.
2. No Sat. paper at all.
3. Now Sun paper comes when it is too late. Great.


So why do I still pay for it? Jenifer wants the obituaries, and hey the comics are OK. Not a great investment.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

He saw a cowboy!

I was with some out of town vendors this week. They were from the West Coast. I will try and keep the state nameless to not incriminate. ILL INFORM YA about that state later. Anyway I had to get some gas and there he was. Cowboy hat, Wrangler jeans and boots with spurs. You would have thought my guest had seen John Wayne himself. In fact he introduced himself to the cowboy. After a bit of a chuckle the cowboy let the "guest" understand that he was a cowboy and actually was rounding up cattle that day. After explaining what that was, my guest was almost like he had just survived the OK corral.

It was entertaining on my part, nobody was shot and my guest learned quite a bit. I am sure that it will be a story for some time.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Cash for Clunkers

Is now everywhere. Appliances, Computers, windows, siding and more. Great idea for marketing but a little too late. If you came out with the idea a month or so ago people would have listened. Now it is just too little too late.

Many times, marketing is being first to the idea, making it unique and getting people's attention. It is all about ideas and continuously investing in the future.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Do I really have to give Obama Props?

OK I guess this time.

Kanye West's comments this weekend were out of line and even according to our President he is a "Jackass" When the president calls you a Jackass you probably are.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCWt39_Yuws

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The spelling tests begin.

Caden brought home his first spelling list. It strikes fear in me. No, not that the words are that hard. They are words like UP, RAN, DOWN and more. Rather I was so poor at memory (Which is what spelling is) that I always struggled with this. Hopefully Caden has Jenifer's memory.

So what is the point of this? More that I never was a good speller. And lets face it, it is almost not even an issue any more. When I get done writing this article, I will hit the spell check button. OK, sometime it can be a problem when I can't even come close enough that spell check can guess what I was trying to spell.

Really this is like many people's skill sets. You have things you excel at and things you do not. Finding tools and processes that help minimize their impact can make you much better. Key is don't let people tell you that you simply can't do it. My 7th grade teacher told me I couldn't write! Yet for some reason you are reading this. My 9th grade computer teacher told me I had no future in computers. He sells cars now.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Can I take advice?

To be honest, somtimes it is difficult.

Yesterday while watching Football (The greatest sport on the planet, and no I am not speaking of that European football I am speaking of NFL) there was a lineman being interviewed and he was asking what accounted for a large change in his performance in the last couple of years. He spoke of a player he was tearing him up during a game. He was feeling defeated. Then after the game that player came up to him, offered a handshake and told him how he was telegraphing his moves.

First of all, the player was shocked that someone would try and help. Next he thought he was full of it. Then after watching game film he discovered that it was true.

The story was to say that you never know where good advice may come from. Sure you do not have to take all advice (That would be bad advice from me). Rather keep your ears open for the possibility of good advice.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A new blog link

It is on the side also.

http://www.tigersports.net/index.php?page=gerard

I really feel that we must support Gerard as much as possible, lets face it if you had to put up with Tammy 7 days a week you would need LOTS of support.

(Notes; Tammy works with me and Gerard is her husband (A great guy, not sure how he got tangled in the web))

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I am loving Windows 7

So I am in process of upgrading some systems. First I have installed 7 on an Ideapad. Then on a MediaCenter. First of all Installing Ultimate. Total Install around 10 GIG. I am not exactly sure what Vista was however it seemed around 22gig. That is quite a difference. How about some of the performance differences.

1. From sleep it almost is on before the screen is.
2. It is FAST. Running on a 1.6 Atom with a gig of ram and it is FAST
3. I am running MediaCenter on a dual core 2.66 and 1.5 gig of ram. WAY faster. The transition between things is almost immediate. NOW sure I was running it on a older P4 3.0 GHZ single core with 4 GB ram. So the hardware is faster (HD's were much slower on the old box also) Great!
4. Drivers install and work great on the two units I tried. OK I did have an issue with a ThinkStation that had a quad core. It would not finish the install without locking up. Tried 3 times. The unit came with Vista 64 bit. Not sure what the deal is. I will check with Lenovo and try again.
5. Simple. No major changes that I cannot understand simply.
6. I have yet to have a hardware compatibility issue (Displays, printers or other) WHOO HOO!

*As a sub note I bought a new HD tuner for the MediaCenter. It already had the driver for 7 on the disk! Way to go Hauppage (SP)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Did the Microsoft Virtual Sales Presentation Yesterday

Was a unique experience. I think it went well and when they publish it for replay I will post the link.

As usual, Jonathan from Marco was great and we work well together. We has around 50 attendees. We posted a few questions to get a feel for our audience and only about 10 or so would vote. Why if you are going to attend such an event would you not vote?

I will have to do this again in the future. It is definitely an expanding experience!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The quickest way to repel a customer.

Is not to return their call. I have heard some say that they let people wait so that they "Look Busy" or they just do not return calls till the second or third attempt.

It is my opinion that those "People" have their ego in place of good decision making. Not returning calls is rude, inconsiderate and stupid. Really no matter who the person is.

If you have left me a message recently you would hear my 24 hour guarantee. That is to call anyone back within 24 hours of when they leave me a message. To be honest it has caused me some trouble. I forget to change the message when I go on vacation and have to call some people back when I am on vacation. That is ok. Those people really respect that.

Not returning customers calls specifically lets them know that they are not important enough for you to return the call. They will find someone who does find them important enough...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Going to have to figure out the Plaxo thing?

So I actively keep up Linked in, A little Facebook and have an Plaxo account. I recently logged in (And actually remembered the Password) to accept quite a few people as contacts. The thing is I do not understand the difference between that and Linked in. Do I really want to use both? Not really.

It has been my view that Linked in is the leader in business connections. However I do not want left in the dark. Decisions, Decisions. For now I will continue to accept invites and other wise pretty much ignore the rest.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Shark Tank!

I have been watching the Shark Tank (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shark_Tank_(TV_series) and am continually amazed what people believe their companies are worth. One example was a company that does $200k in revenue with $75k in profit (I assume that the "Sharks" have access to the real financials of the deal because there is so many ways to cut this such as is the owners salary in there, cost of goods, advertising and such? What is the EBITA (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EBITA))

Anyway the above example was wanting $350k for 15% of their company. If you calculate that out they value their company at over $2million. However they have only sold $200k (TOTAL). Even the best valuation (If that revenue was recurring) would be $1million and that would be extremely (Extremely) high.

I understand that people have high emotions tied to companies they start. However, reality is I would sell a business selling $200k with $75k in margin (if that is real) for over $2 million IN A HEARTBEAT.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Work home separation?

Does it exist anymore? In the world of technology I would say no. With email now on the cell phone and people sending calendar invites on the weekend, responding 24X7 and business now going world wide it is almost impossible to not plug in when you can just to keep up.

I believe that the good in this is that we no longer have to go to the office to make this happen. To keep up in the past meant you had to get your physical mail, messages left on post it notes and messages in the same way. Now it is all digital so it can be virtual.

It is getting faster not slower. If your not picking up the pace you will be passed by and you will be the last one to know it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

PEER III

So we are on PEER III now. This one is based in Great Bend Kansas. This Peer thing is getting a bit easier. There is lots of things we can replicate and not have to start new. This time I am going to try a little something different. Mark is going to participate in the meeting with the goal of facilitating the next group. We have interest in Peer IV and V so I am sure the groups will get going soon.

It is amazing how much time it takes to communicate with these groups, setting up the facilities and just getting organized. The reward of seeing people realize that they have the same struggles in IT and life is reward enough. Then to see them help each other become "Stronger better faster and smarter to quote Kanya West" is great!

I have had several folks ask what the direction of the groups will ultimately be. To be honest I am still developing this. We will see. I do foresee getting all the groups together once a year for a great learning opportunity, to leverage the power of the groups to get presentations that would not usually come to Western Kansas and who knows, maybe we will take this statewide? I cannot think of anything that would help IT directors more than their own community.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Are you allowing people to help you?

It seems lately that I have had some opportunities to help others. Nothing big, just little things. However most of these people cannot seem to get their minds around the fact that someone would simply want to help them. They want to know your motive. When I tell them it is to help them it only makes them more worried about the motive. It is too bad that our society has made people that paranoid about help.

I suppose there has to be a balance between making sure you have your guard up against people wanting to take advantage of you and allowing people to help.

Next time you have some one extend their hand to help. Give them a chance to help?

Friday, August 21, 2009

The weather.

I recently seem to be speaking to quite a few people from California. Mostly from LA. Besides that I could be that weather guy, I don't think I could handle the weather. 75 and sunny. EVERY DAY? I have to have some variety. More specific, I would miss the rain, thunder and snow.

Everyone from the Midwest jokes that if you don't like the weather, wait an hour. At least it changes...

Monday, August 17, 2009

Interpretation...Think about it.

The way people interpret your actions can be as important or more important than what you actually do. An example of sitting on a decision. Some may interpret that you are not acting because it is not important to you. Another interpretation may be that it is really important to you! Your past interaction may guide this interpretation.

This is why email is so difficult. There is no emotion and can have many different interpretations that you never thought it would.

In fact, many of you reading this may interpret this about you? It's not.

Spend the extra time on the email clarifying your purpose, spend a little time setting expectations in person. Don't leave it up for interpretation. If anything, when you are hoping that someone gets your point, they won't. Someone else who you are not trying to get the point will interpret it for them...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

365 Posts

So I have published a post for each day of the year.

What have I learned about blogging since?

1. More people than I thought actually read it.
2. Family and friends use this to get a better understanding of me.
3. Business people use it to get a better understanding of the IT business.
4. I have learned and passed on many sales tactics
5. I have enjoyed this more than I thought

To many more posts to come.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Doing a little R&R


I enjoyed water sports when I was in college and after. Now I get to pass them on to Caden..



A compliment from Aaron

Mr Booker the owner of Hardlines...

"I have deeply enjoyed watching you mature as a leader during our HTG3 time together. I was talking to Matt last week and he said (correctly) that from a business perspective I’d miss your amazing ideas"

Thanks for that.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Man these guys are good.

I always want to start an event by announcing "No video, audio recording and no pictures." And of course I wanted to announce the presenters as "Special Agent"(However I was really bummed when I found out that there is no such thing as a "Regular" agent)

It was interesting to watch how the FBI worked. From the individual agents who were great representatives and professionals at all times to the presentation of factual cases that happened in Kansas (Scary)

Couple of things I learned.

1. www.IC3.gov (Internet crime reporting...Check it out)
2. How involved the FBI is in stopping child pornography and predators. (If you are not monitoring your kids...DO IT...they have no rights under your roof)
3. All the encryption in the world and our government can get through it if the want. (If they want is a bit weak. They explained the process of getting the correct legal process complete and lets just say they have to have LOTS of evidence and more than just a hunch like is shows on TV)
4. China and Russia wants our information
5. Don't answer phone surveys. It can give way more away than you think
6. Social engineering is much more likely to give away the keys than the technology. (In other words what is between the ears is now the weak link)
7. If you computer is not up to date and have AV you may be participating in helping the bad guys.
8. The FBI takes the 4th amendment VERY seriously...If you don't know what it is, look it up.

All in all, I send a special thanks to Special agent Smith and Special agent Kice. And yes I did get to see their badge, gun and credentials

Like always the team performed perfectly and the event was a total success. With over 100 attending including members of the press it was great publicity for Nex-Tech.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

It all comes together today.

So the PEERI & II groups meet together with the FBI this morning, we have a special invite only lunch and then public presentation which we have over 100 signed up to attend. As usual I did not sleep very well last night.

Is the room going to be ok?
Are people going to show up?
Is the presentation going to be good?
And generally is everything what I expect it to be?

I have become more and more dependant on the team to get the details done. From Nicki taking care of facilities, to Keven and Tammy handling marketing, Mark taking care of the presenters and their needs. There are so many things that have to come together for these events to be successful that it is almost impossible to handle all the details yourself.

I am not sure why I get worried about these details, the team has not let me down in the past. In fact they have always exceeded expectation.

Maybe the lack of sleep has more to do with my performance. I have to be "ON" today. From leading the PEER group, to getting the folks down and through the lunch and of course keeping things rolling through the afternoon. I am not sure what to expect other than to have the confidence that I can handle what ever comes my way!

Monday, August 10, 2009

You would think you would know when your being interviewed for an artical?

I thought he was calling about attending the event.

Anyway, great free press.


By RYAN CHRISTNER
rchristner@dailynews.net
Two agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation will appear Tuesday in Hays for a presentation on cyber crime sponsored by Nex-Tech.
The event starts at 1 p.m. in the conference room at Whiskey Creek, 3203 Vine, and is expected to last about three hours. It is open to all who wish to attend, although registration is mandatory due to limited seating.
Addressing the audience will be Robin Smith, an agent with the Kansas field office in Garden City, and Cyber Crime Special Agent Scott Kice from Kansas City.
"We had some customers with issues that got the FBI involved," Nex-Tech Sales Supervisor Steve Riat said of how the event got started.
Riat said his company cultivated a relationship with Smith out of those incidents, and this special, free presentation for local residents and businesses was "the next step."
The two agents will begin by discussing common cyber threats, such as recent increased efforts to attack computer systems via social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, things to look for and steps to take if you have been scammed or intruded upon, and how to keep the chain of evidence intact "so they can properly prosecute the bad guys," Riat said.
A question-and-answer session will follow.
As of Thursday afternoon, about 50 openings remained for the presentation.
Registration can be completed by visiting www.nex-tech.com/fbi or by calling Tammy Wellbrock, direct sales account representative for Nex-Tech, at (877) 625-7872.