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.

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.