Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Like Sand Through The Hourglass...

These are the days/daze of my life.. (My knowledge of daytime soap operas start and stop with that tagline. I swear.)

In fifth grade, I acquired my first library card. I recall seeing the expiration date: it read "1978". I thought "Why even bother put a date that is so far away?". It was 1975 and, to me, 1978 might has well been a date in which the world became a 24/7 scene from the film Blade Runner. It was just so flippin' far away.

Tomorrow will be 2009 and I've pretty much resigned myself to the fact that, by mid-week next week, the year will be 2033.

Of all the Mark Twain-isms, Youth is Wasted on the Young might be his most profound. I can say that now I've reached the age where I have hair sprouting out of places that I didn't even know I had body parts.

What a great gig he had, by the way. Writing stories, wearing strange hats, growing and grooming his shag-carpet mustache and rattling off aphorisms so memorable that they still regularly appear in blogs read by millions. Or, in this case, blogs written by me and read by a guy named "Ernie" who lives in Pigsknuckle, Maine.

Back to the passage of time.

Today would be an excellent day for me to stop and smell the proverbial roses. Unfortunately, I live in New Hampshire where a rose garden lives about as long as a fruit fly. For those of you unfamiliar with the lifespan of a fruitfly, their existence is about as long as a sneezing fit.

Maybe I'll go smell one of the estimated 1,298 scented Yankee Candles my wife bought in 2008. I think we have one that's called "Fresh Linen" that, according to Internet scuttlebutt, smells eerily similar to the freshly-washed white linen suits that Mark Twain used to wear while thinking up clever homilies about linen or the film Blade Runner, which he wrote the original screenplay.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Have you folks decided?

Yes, my friendly waiter wearing a powder blue tuxedo, we have decided we would like at least two more rounds of beverages before we start grazing on food.

But seriously...

People are terrified of making decisions- especially making the wrong decision.

But often it's any decision at all. A guy I like who writes about business and marketing uses a parable about a bunch of salesguys at the watercooler just before lunchtime. They decide they want to go out to lunch.

Twenty-five minutes later, these banana brains ARE STILL TRYING TO DECIDE where they are going to eat!! Are you kidding me?? Nobody can make a freakin' decision!! And these are the people PAID to get others to make decisions.

This same writer makes an excellent suggestion.

If you do this for a living, selling that is, do the following. When you're speaking with the decision-maker early in the game, tell them if you two do the dance together and move this thing WAY along, let them specifically know subsequent to the (insert sales cycle moment here...proof of concept with the CFO there, whatever) tell Mr. Decision-maker that, if you get that far, you are going to ask him for the business. Boom.

No surprises. They know it's coming. And, at this juncture, you have WAY earned the right to ask. Then try to figure out where you want to go to lunch.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Greasy Eddie’s Software

As the old expression goes, “you don’t fired for buying Greasy Eddie’s Identity Management Software”. Or was it you don’t get fired for buying IBM?

Doesn’t matter. I can make my point just as easy either way.

People are going to buy what best serves their self interest. In this case, their self interest is often don’t screw this up, Wilbur!!

Employers often hire new people in sales to have access to their rolodex. It’s a good idea. We always prefer to deal with the devil that we know. But nobody with more than 42 brain cells is going to make a corporate or an individual buying decision because they think “that Timmy fella sure is a nice”.

In the case of buying corporate software, your contact at MegaHyperCorp won’t blow up what he’s already pregnant with because, you,“his friend” at Wile E. Coyote Corp (a wholly owned subsidiary of Acme).. well, he thinks you’re a swell guy and his boss thought your PowerPoint presentation was just delightful. They only way they’re buying your stuff is if they have a gaping hole in the roof, it’s raining anthrax spores and you’re selling Acme’s Instant Roof Hole Fix’er Upper (and the Acme product is compatible with their 3 million dollar investment in IMB infrastructure).

What if there are no pre-conditions to a sale happening? That’s great. That rolodex helps here, providing lubricant to that squeaky door that everyone keeps trying to push open.

But back to self-interest, because it’s highly relevant here also. Whether you’re incredibly kind and benevolent (like the Dalai Lama) or not (like Charles Manson), humans put their self-interest first. Always. This includes the guy who volunteers at the soup kitchen. He’s a nice guy, don’t get me wrong…a very nice guy. But a HUGE reason he does that volunteer work is because it makes him feel good to do good. That’s self interest being exercised in an enlightened way. If everyone consistently served even part of their self-interest in that manner, we’d all live in paradise. But most people’s laundry list of needs is highly tainted by trying to avoid pain, unpleasantness and just trying to avoid being disturbed.

It doesn’t make you a bad person, it’s the way 99.999% of the planet operates, including many very nice people. It’s a time-stamped trait super-glued on our DNA and, sometimes, it serves a purpose like keeping us alive. But usually we act in this manner because we are afraid. We are afraid of losing what we have, we are afraid of losing what we know. We don’t want any surprises; we want to be “secure”.

So, kids, what can we take from all this if our job is to sell things? Find the people who not only needs your stuff but won’t be constantly playing doomsday scenarios in their head. How do you do that? You ask them DIRECT questions in a polite, diplomatic yet firm way. Ask them to be truthful and assure them your feelings will not be hurt if they are unwilling or unable to legitimately consider what it is you hope they’ll consider.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Bone asks you to get creative.

You know that product you pitch? There's no less than two dozen companies whose product/service, for the most part is as good as yours or better.

As uttered in the opening credits of the multi-Emmy winning TV show Cops, What cha gonna do?

("sir...can you please put your shirt on??...ummm, ah..and you, too, sir..I'm sorry!!..I meant 'Miss.").

I'm going to walk you off the ledge but, before I do that Vinnie Vertigo, tell your Marketing/PR hacks to shear off some of their asinine adjectives they use to describe how life-altering and spiritually uplifting your particular brand of widget is. Nobody reads that garbage. They line their birdcages with it and train their puppies on it.

If the person you're trying to see doesn't know you or your company, you've got one shot and it doesn't have anything to do with what company you work for or what kind of stuff they're making. What they might be interested in is you.

It's been said that if you pick up a ringing telephone and the you hear (in this exact order) 1. First Name 2. Last Name and 3. Where they are calling from...what follows is not going to be good. It's the police or possibly a lawyer or maybe even a staff member from the local hospital. Worst case scenario, however, it's some "account executive" interrupting you with a pitch.

If that's all you got or your enlightened boss/company demands you do that all day long, Starbucks has health bennies, it's climate-controlled and it smells just lovely in there.

If you don't consider yourself creative but you feel strongly you have something to say or that may interest someone, find someone who is able to create a crack in that door. And don't worry about the humor-impaired or who may find your approach "unprofessional". You don't need to be Chris Rock but you do need to be yourself because that's what they may be interested in.
They're not interested in leading edge, bleeeding edge, out-of-the-box, blah, blah, blah blather.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Guilt Trip

I'm watching a television show geared towards my six-year old on television. It's a commercial break and a Sinister Stepford Mom is doing the hard sell on me. In the background, her young children are finishing up their learning-tool program while simultaneously accepting their advanced degree diplomas from Harvard.

According to the mother doing the pitch, If I don't buy the product that will help my child learn to read the entire works of Tolstoy by the time he's done eating his bowlful of Sugar Fruit-Simulated SpongeBob High Fructose Corn Syrup Snaps...if I don't buy this freakin' product from this wildly grinning Automaton Soccer Mom, I'm essentially confirming her suspicion that my goal is to destroy the children of the earth.

This technique practiced my marketers is, in my opinion, on an ethical par with randomly attacking the elderly in shopping malls with spiked bats. It's a pre-mediated attempt to make money by attempting to make you, the parent, feel like squirrel manure.

Resist, my fellow parents. Let your children be children. These people are concerned about your kids well being about as much as Charlie Mansion was concerned about grammatical syntax.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Compelling, isn't it?

I’m hardly breaking new ground here when I say that, without a compelling reason to buy, well, people don’t buy things. Whether it’s their own personal money or somebody else’s. They just don’t.

Oh yeah, there are a couple of exceptions. The impulse buy is known to all, usually most recognizable as you’re about to drop a hundred and a half on eats at your local supermarket. You’ve got that downtime waiting in line and, amongst other marketing messages assaulting you, including those new LCD brainwashing screens, you are blasted with headlines and glossies about the Celebrity du Jour and how their lives have reached the tipping point. Damn you, Brad and Angelina!! Couldn’t you have shelved and rationed some of that perfection for the rest of us?

There’s a whole industry, sometimes called the impulse giftware industry that falls in line here. Remember the Troll Dolls? I once had a compelling reason to buy a troll doll but then my meds wore off.

If your livelihood is dependent on others buying your stuff, re-read the first sentence.

If also what you’re selling is a commodity, your job just exponentially increased in difficulty, in particular, the time it will take to build, nurture and manage the relationships necessary for people to buy from you instead of the eighteen other knuckleheads with identical products trying to knock down their door.

So what is a compelling reason? Well, that’s easy. You’re a consumer, also. You buy goods and services. Most of these things you buy because you need them; some because it strikes a chord. Either way, unless you’re extremely gullible and/or easily manipulated, NOBODY has EVER sold you anything. You bought it.

The bad news is unless your employer happens to be The Buddha or some other enlightened person or entity, they’re not interested in your sob story. All they know is, twice a month, the direct deposit goes from their account into yours. They pay you for results. Everything else is Charlie Brown’s teacher addressing the classroom.

If your company has a marketing division capable of providing quality leads, you may be in a very good situation. If you are expected to create your own leads- on top of turning these people (most of them complete strangers) into customers- pack a lunch because it’s going to take awhile. Perhaps most important, if you are skilled and clever enough to not only produce these leads but to walk the prospects down the aisle and into the abject bondage that is marriage (Sorry….I completely lost my head there…let me start over).

If you posses the skills required to turn a complete stranger into a customer of ANY product or service (yours or somebody else’s), you are the custodian of probably the most important tool required to be an entrepreneur and business owner instead of an employee.

Editor’s note: Sadly, this also happens to be the ONLY skill of world-class con men.

Assuming you are a decent human being and you have the requisite communications skills, some marketing savvy, basic management skills, something to offer that people either need or want, at least a two-litre container of integrity and (THIS IS HUGE) the unwavering confidence to shed yourself of the dependency of the moods and whims of others (read: a boss), it’s time to pull the rip-cord and stop making others wealthy in exchange for security.

On the concept of security, and not just job security. I’ve got some bad news for you, Sunshine. Pink isn’t well, he stayed back at the hotel and there is no security in life. Ask the bazillionaire as he draws his last breath about security. That’s not negativity, its reality and it’s not a bad thing. It just is.

Editor’s note, Part Deux: This piece was intended to be about a concept known in Marketing as “Compelling Reason to Buy”.

As John Belushi’s Bluto Blutarsky’s character in Animal House said to the untalented acoustic guitarist on the stairwell in Delta House, moments after utterly humiliating him in front of several fawning females by turning his guitar into electron-sized wooden splinters……sorry.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Need, Want and Money

Lawyers, guns and money.

RIP, Warren were always so ahead of your time.

That tune got and gets alot of airplay and it so succinctly defined how his problem could be solved. He needed three things and he needed them right away; three things that will "..get me out of this this, HEY!!.."

My title should have read Need, Money and Working With the Person Who Can Pull the Trigger but that hardly flows with how I wanted to blend Zevon in here so we're all going to have to just sit with that.

(people will debate whether it's easier to do business with someone who wants something as much if not more than they need it. That one is a jump ball).

You know the roughly the 2,878 book titles currently available on Amazon that tell you how to sell stuff? With the exception of about 10 of them, they're about attempts to teach you techniques in control (the benign) or full-blown manipulation (the malignant).

Gain a degree of expertise in an area(s). There's your personal value, there's the reason someone takes that meeting with you. Tact and diplomacy. Unfortunately, that one really can't be taught. Do your very best to understand your audience. Make sure you have access to the person with the authority, the need and the money to buy from you. Do your darndest to uncover the person lurking around the corner who can throw a monkey wrench into the deal in the 9th inning. (oh, there is almost always one person who fits that description). If you can say with COMPLETE certainty you've done all of the above and your offering unequivocally meets their need, you're in pretty good shape. They're no closing, here. I am consumer, too. I close myself all the time.

That's it. Good night.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

And you are??

College. Bluebook exam. Creative Bone....Explain.

My primary offering is facilitating conversations between senior managers with current specific needs to vendors who can fulfill these requirements. If that sounds like fancy-pants language for "selling" or "appointment setting", I am DEFINITELY not the right service for your organization.

My efforts often become augmented with the collective and collaborative output of half a dozen or so independent business specialists...brought in on an as-needed basis.

I am at arms length to people with Mergers and Acquisitions expertise, some Finance folks, some Operations people, Information Technology pros and an array of sales and marketing types. But I am both the engine and the a little about me.

I'll stick to the not in disputes, for now. Born in 1965, father of one and the youngest of five. I've spent almost of all my life in New England, born raised and reared on Boston's Northshore in Marblehead, Mass. I've lived in New Hampshire's Seacoast in Dover since 2002.

I did my first two years of college at ULowell (now called UMass Lowell), took a semester off to rake leaves professionally then transferred to The Zoo (sometimes called UMass Amherst).

I lived three years on the Redneck Riviera in Pensacola, Florida as a kid in the early eighties and did roughly another three in the early nineties in Raleigh, North Carolina. Was stunned to learn that much of the deep south was unaware that Confederate and Union soldiers were no longer fighting. I'm speaking of the Pensacola area. In fairness to those folks, from a purely geographical standpoint, they were required to travel NORTH to reach the Alabama state line. Many of them didn't get out much. Raleigh was great as were the roughly four natives of Raleigh I met while living there.

I don't see myself leaving New England again. Being separated from the collective regional grouchiness, not to mention five months of icy slush would be just a little more than I could bear.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Lobotomize Me

I see and read an untold number of people in the business world describe themselves as "results-oriented". Or companies seeking such individuals.

Are they typing this with a straight face?

As opposed to what? Let me're "dynamic", too...and a "strategic thinker" Well, I'm sorry, we had more of an utterly random thinking, stagnant person in mind with a propensity to deliver not so much results but substandard and incomplete work.

Unfortunately for me, as I try to market my business and services to managers to corporate America, I read hundreds and hundreds of businessperson bios and business websites. 97% of them say THE EXACT SAME THING. For the record, every software company in America, regardless of their niche, is the "leading" company in their respective markets. It's gotta be true because it is in a recent press release and their validity is right up there with the latest headline from supermarket tabloid, World Weekly News.

(This weeks headline in WWN: Elvis, using Paris Hilton as a shearing device, cut Britney in half and out popped a space alien who looks remarkably similiar to Chelsea Clinton!!)

Is there a conveyer belt in a factory somewhere in the U.S. of A where where these GroupThink automatons are rolling off into boxes and being shipped to Silicon Valley, Rt 128 and Research Triangle Park? For the love of God, does anyone have the courage to be themselves?

If you're a leader/manager at any level in a corporation and can not get through several minutes of conversation without uttering at least five of the following:

critical mass
think out of the box
paradigm shift
strategic fit
strategic partnership (as opposed to?)
client-focused (as opposed to?)
best of breed
circle back

Congratulations! You'll fit right in! There's a comfortable living wage awaiting you. You can sashay from meeting to meeting, bluetooth and blackberry enabled, and insert these and the 100 or so throwaway words I left out, at will. While you're doing that, several million others across the world will be busy either making things that people need or somehow assisting their fellow human beings get through the day.

On a more upbeat note, The Sox won last night.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

How about never, does never work for you?

(Editor's note: By inserting the image of this upstanding gentleman, my paragraph spacing got tasered. It's a bug with the software. It's a good read but the paragraphs are huddled together like plane crash victims waiting for Search and Rescue).
The dreaded Sales Technique.

If you're in your in your thirties or beyond, you've probably been exposed to books and training whose purpose was to impart the wisdom of various sales techniques. Essentially they are methods of manipulation in an attempt to trap or get a prospective buyer in a position they may otherwise resist. The example below is parody but this is what buyers typically associate with strangers trying to solicit their business...even in the year 2008.

Salesperson: Hey..listen, just so happens, I'll be in your neck of the woods Tuesday and Thursday.
Prospective Buyer: Who is this?
Salesperson: ABSOLUTELY!
Prospective Buyer: What are you trying to sell me? Who is this?
Salesperson: I ABSOLUTELY hear you on that!...are mornings better for you?
The marketing part of any sales position is definitely a contact sport. If things eventually align correctly, you don't want to be calling strangers asking them for their time and money. They hate it, you hate it. But in the short run, you may not be so lucky. You will likely have to reach out to someone who isn't expecting your call or correspondence. In almost all cases, they will be engaged in something else and you will be an interruption. Put yourself in their shoes. Don't be an idiot.
Be concise. Give them an out. If they give you the floor, don't talk about how freakin' incredible your products are. Don't ask them "what keeps you up at night". Telemarketers keep them up at night. That milk carton's expiration date of a phrase is six weeks old. Buyers are sick of it.
Ask them if they have any business problems that, potentially, your company can solve. Most important, work on the rapport part without being a phony. It isn't easy and if you're incapable of the nascent building blocks of building rapport with a complete stranger, you might be in the wrong business. (Doesn't make you a bad person. Very few can pull this off. It's very difficult.)
Bottom line: There are plenty of companies that can solve their business problem, several might already be on their rolodex.
But if you've gotten this far, you're in the game.
Again, if given the opportunity, try to have a conversation. The rest (e.g. next actions, their buying process, drilling down a little, etc..) should come as a natural part of the conversation and not be forced.
Pretend you are they, chaos is in full session and, for whatever reason, you decided to pick up the ringing telephone.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Kim Jong IL, Inc.

The next time I'm on a company's website and they use the language "the leading"... as in Strategic Cyber Paradigm Shift Solutions, the leading Enterprise Application Integration company, today announced it will be entering a strategic partnership with Win Win Solutions.

Says Strategic Cyber Paradigm Shift Solutions (SCPSS) CEO, Tucker Buffington, "Being a dynamic, customer-centric, client-focused global leader means, among other things, we hope the value-add created synergies will clearly exhibit our penchant for entering utterly meaningless partnerships, issuing inane press releases and using the word strategic as frequently as possible-including but not limited to- all written descriptions of our senior management's trips to the restroom"

Where was I again? (not to worry- I'll tie this in to that little menace Kim Jong IL in a moment)

Oh yeah, the insistence of companies in describing themselves as "the leading" no matter who they are, what they do or, perhaps the most patently absurd-if indeed they are the "leading" anything.

I casually glance at the text of hundreds of business websites a month. It’s riveting stuff, really. They basically all say the same thing. And that thing is “we are an un-freakin’ believable company..”!! Read what random people are saying on our website!! We’re the leading company in our space!! We might even be the leading company in Outer Space! You say IBM is in that space? We’ll take their lunch money and issue a press release about a strategic partnership we just formed with IBM’s lunch money!

North Korea’s state media has stated several times that Kim Jong Il is an avid golfer and routinely nails three or four holes-in-one per round. That just one of several dozen whoppers that they feed their incredibly oppressed people.

Here’s where I'm going with this.

There’s a marketing guy named Perry Marshall whose writing I enjoy. Several months ago he stated that the promotional materials that typically emanates from totalitarian states-past and present- hardly differs in bombast from the promotional materials/drivel marketing departments of U.S. Corporations churn out every day. I had been thinking this for years but he beat me to the punch.

I understand an organization wants and needs to present themselves in a most favorable manner to their customers, potential customers and the investment community. One can tell a very nice narrative of an organizations history as well as their present and future directives without sounding like some cement-head from The World Wrestling Federation.

Can we just, for openers, put an immediate moratorium on the usage of the adjective phrase “the leading”?

Any study of the truly great people who’ve walked among us and before us reveals they didn’t spend a helluva lot of time wordsmithing their press releases.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Cost of Acquiring a new Customer

The cost of acquiring a new customer and the formula that goes with it are very simple.

Take your complete marketing budget, add in the salaries and bonuses of Inside/Outside salespeople, take the cost of pre and post sales support and add in the price of a barrel of crude oil on the commodities market, blend in the estimated yearly cost of toner cartridges, pare in the variable cost of picked lobster meat, divide it by the number of business days in a year and take the piece of paper in which you detailed this elaborate formula and promptly set it ablaze.

The only thing smart business people know is it costs A LOT of dough. So much that most businesses concentrate all their efforts on their best prospects…their customers.

And that’s not a bad idea. Reward is not the only thing that comes with Risk.

But if real, organic growth is targeted, you better figure out a way to find new, profitable customers- hopefully within a budget that isn’t going to reduce your business to a third rate lemonade stand. Or the Business Boneyard.

No matter how you slice it, it’s going to cost money and it’s NEVER easy.

Most senior managers choose to beat the crap out of their existing, salaried Sales Managers and salespeople. “Open some new doors!!...what the hell do you do all day?..”

If you’re the guy either meeting payroll or answering to the people responsible for direct-deposit checks arriving in a timely fashion, you probably feel more than entitled to asking that question. I been asked that question many times, usually accompanied with a menacing stare.

If it was easy, every business that sells to other business would be operating at 20-40% gross operating margins.

If your team is smiling-n-dialing with their hats in their hand, good luck with that. I mention this many times in these pieces. Have you or anyone you’ve ever know EVER bought ANYTHING from a cold, telemarketing solicitation?

At best, you fielded a cold call from a highly skilled, very patient sales/businessperson professional and, over a period of time, the relationship grew and a mutual understanding of each other’s unique business challenges and offerings evolved. Eventually, a business problem materialized. You selected that vendor to solve the problem. I just laid out what takes place in approximately .00000401 percent of business-to-business cold telesales calls.

If you’re not creative or the people you’re paying to sell are not creative, things are not going to get any easier. And I don’t mean Guerilla Marketing creative though some of that can be effective. If you’re not positioning your outbound sales and marketing efforts to where the prospects are eventually calling you, it might be time to take a step back.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Sales Guy on Line Two

Has anyone since the fall of Rome ever purchased anything from a cold-call Telemarketing call.

I'm not speaking of the androids who call you at home at night (though they have a special place in heart), I'm talking about this nation's estimated 29 billion ham-n-eggers who refer to themselves as anything from "Senior Account Executives" to "Senior Strategic Marketing Specialist Courtesy Calling Carbon-based B2B Executive Special Advisor to Other Specialists".

Seriously. Since we've been keeping the records, has anyone ever bought anything from one of these calls?

And it's not just the outsourced boiler room telemarketing "firms" that do this. Most of the Fortune 1000 that are in the product or professional services business do this to their customers and the people and companies they want to be their customers. And here we are, early in the year Two Thousand and Eight, waiting for the first big "close"; the first transaction.

While waiting, I advise us all to pack a lunch four times the size of the buffet line @Uncle Tony's Wicked Huge All You Can Ingest Pasta Factory".

Nobody is buying because Cold Call Telemarketing stopped working shortly after that Mother of an Asteroid took down those four-story lizards that the children love so much.

Ask 100 businesspeople who routinely buy things from vendors...Ask them about any recent purchase/transaction. Go ahead, ask them. "How many of you cats bought that widget because some stranger interrupted you in the middle of the work day and pitched you on how you can leverage their strategic, mission-critical, scalable, critical mass, dashboard,infrastructure solution...with two tablespoons of levergable strategery".

Now I'm going to flip this, completely.

Some of those 100 businesspeople have bought from a stranger who approached them first. In fact, several.They just don't think of these people/vendors as strangers because now they think of them as friends or at least advisors or trustworthy vendors.

So how do you do that?

I know how to do that.

I takes some time, at minimum several weeks. Typically a few if not SEVERAL months. But in the end you get a customer, hopefully one of those coveted 80/20 types, but there are NO FLIPPIN' SHORTCUTS. You don't manufacture relationships. It's not a helluva lot different than romantic relationships. It needs to be cultivated and nutured. You don't ask the person you were just introduced to to marry you. 99% of the people who have the words "Sales Weasel/Sales Manager/Sales Director/VP of Sales/ in the Occupation Field on their W2 do not understand this.

And the world keeps spinning.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Lawyer Up

I've heard the same as you. If I or a loved one was in a world of trouble, I would want would the best possible legal representation. One of the reasons my daily "to do's" includes stay the F%$k out of trouble.

I also know every lawyer- from the cub who just passed the bar to the uber-cuddly Alan Dershowitz-believes that due process and every person's right to a fair trial supersedes anything. ANYTHING. Anything like, you know, every fiber in their lawyerly being KNOWS the guy sitting across the table from them is the same guy who molested and carved his wife and children into roughly 4,486 pieces.

Better a bazillion guilty people walk than a single innocent getting locked up, right?

Completely Destroying America's Hopelessly Outdated Legal System and Re-Building It For Dummies...When is that hitting the bookshelves?

The United States Constitution and some of the documents that followed were and are extraordinary. They're not perfect or resistant to addendum. That's already been exhibited.

I understand the fear our founding fathers had in the total and absolute power of The State. The litany of historical horror stories that preceded the establishment of our Union is long and grotesque.

But when does a collective consciousness step in and say "..O'kay, enough. No more serial rapists are walking on technicalities." There is some breathing space between absolute power of the State and crippling everyone who's job it is to catch both the egregious rule breakers as well as the vermin who literally torture others while laughing at the system with their pin-striped posse' in tow.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Tony Robbins could crack a coconut with that lowel mandibel

Neither myself or the people I affiliate myself with would ever want to be called Sales Gurus. In fact, I might want to throw down if you called me that. Unless you are significantly larger than I. A calm, reasonable exchange of ideas would then suffice.

I think 90+ percent of that How to be a Super-Duper-Can Do Storm Trooper in sales is utter horse feces. 10-15 years ago I would have said all of it should be lining bird cages. The teachers and the messaging, however are getting better. That's a good thing. A discernable drop in the amount of sales automatons attempting to sell you should register soon.

Nothing of worth or value comes easy. Didn't your Grandpappy tell ya that? After he sobered up a little? No? He'd disappear for days, huh?

Let’s go the full-disclosure route, here . I’ve been fired from corporate sales jobs before for not selling enough, not selling fast enough, not selling aggressively enough, not watching and then emulating the ultra high testosterone-laden films like Boiler Room enough. Ho-hum.

Sell, damnit! Close them!! Find new customers…NOW. Close em’ out. You sell anything today, maggott?? That’s pretty much the message (after all these years) in the VAST majority of corporate sales groups. Especially when the numbers get a little light. Good times, huh? I wonder why salespeople are so universally loathed.

Flip side: I’ve approached hundreds of complete strangers in my career who didn’t know me from Batman, what I was representing or the company behind it. They ended up buying my stuff. And then, later, they bought more.

Oh, sure, I like to think it's in part because I’m a pretty clever guy, I learn fairly quickly, I present well and I know I can consistently make people laugh. All in all, fun guy to have a beer with. But that's a relatively small part of.

You know that old sales training line, People are not buying your product...they're buying you!! Unless what you sell is a pure commodity, that line is dog poop.

All joking aside-but only for a moment-I understand and employ some of the methodologies out there that are critical to get in front of the right companies, the right people, at the right time while maintaining and nurturing those relationship. Not exactly Sales 101 but not splitting the atom either.

But the people who buy or have bought my stuff did so because they either wanted it or, more importantly, they needed it. And when they were ready, THEY CONTACTED ME.

Need to buy me some more of them there banner ads

People buy from people they know. That’s the just the way it is. Ask Bruce Hornsby, he knows...he knows lots of stuff.

All your business is coming from your customers. That’s just ducky but, unless they’re receptive to all your new wrinkles, consistently buying new products and services/service agreements while grinning broadly and hitting their Net 30’s every month, not a lot of growth going is going on under your roof.

The short version: You want to grow the business. You’re spending a lot of dough on things that clearly aren’t working.

Not to hit you over the head with this but if you or your team is not consistently sitting across the table, eyeball-to-eyeball with companies and people who haven't done biz with you before, you’re not going to grow. Case closed, Judge Ito.

Doctors don’t do demos.

Physicians, good attorneys and the vast majority of specialized professionals don’t directly solicit business. Their background, experience and possibly even their pedigree puts them in a position as experts or at least gives others that impression.

People call them. No dragged out Dog-n-Ponies. No rain delays.
Unless you’re one of the small handful of companies on the face of the earth, strangers are not calling to call you and simply give your their business.

It doesn't matter how many great reference accounts you have.

-I don’t know you.
-You don’t know my business
-I don’t know if you can solve my unique business problem

-If you can solve my root-canal of a problem, I'm sure one of you many competitors can as well….at a better price.

Options. The buyer always has options unless they're roped into a situation. The Microsoft Corporation sells ropes, by the way.

Sorry, not interested in you or your stuff

There are a ton of products out there in which the buyer/consumer needs little or no human contact.
When I last checked, all but three of them are a mouseclick away on (Seriously..what aren’t they selling these days? Can I buy a pancreas on Amazon? What are pancreases running these days? With Shipping?)

You’re not so lucky. And it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It can be an expensive thing (especially upfront) but it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. No matter how you slice it, you need Face Time with the people who can buy your offerings and grow your business.

Problem is, nobody wants to see you. They’re WAY too freakin’ busy, they don’t like salespeople pushing product on them and, oh, they’re all set. Did I mention how they feel about smile-n-dial telemarketers? About the same way you do when you sit down to dinner.

It gets worse before it gets better.

People don’t buy from strangers.

When they have a business problem they need to solve, they’re taking action. They’re getting on the internet, they’re getting on the phone. They calling people they know and they don’t know you.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Telemarketing-The Horror

Business to business telemarketing.

I won't be commenting on the human tragedy that is somebody calling your home, reading from a script and (without stopping for a breath) telling you of the mind-blowing benefits of some twisted upgrade to your high interest credit card. Please stop talking for just a moment so I can buy an eighteen-wheeler full of whatever it is your selling...seriously...I'm listening!'re good..your're damn good....I'm in!

No, that industry has its own place and its own table reserved for it in a place where it is quite warm and it isn't a dry heat.

I'm speaking of some schlep calling some manager of some business telling them about their solution. (is everyone in the freakin' solutions business?..can we rid ourselves of that word in business. It's exhausted).

Telemarketing, telesales, Telly Savalas, courtesy it what you will-complete waste of oxygen. If in the effort to market your product or service you decide this is a swell idea, please take a nap, wake up refreshed and cross your fingers that a creative inkling will come.

So for all of you Inside Sales Managers, all jacked up with testosterone and fresh from your 26th viewing of Boiler Room , reciting passages from Glengarry, admiring your poster of Vince Lombardi or the hanging framed poster with the definition of the word Success..ready to lay into your reps because they couldn't close a door, step outside of that Corporate Park block of concrete you call work...step outside and start walking. Keep walking until you figure out how to create something.