Nov 24 2010

Thanksgiving Greetings!

Thank you! I am grateful

                                                                   

for you, for your time, your 

                          

attention, your visits here,

                                        

 and your ongoing support!

  

 

Please join with me in adding the following to the grace you say at your family gathering Thursday:

… and special thanks for all those whose 

courage and vigilance allow us the freedom

to celebrate this great family day together”

                                                                                                  

And please click on the link below (and turn your volume up) to enjoy this terrific smile-making (G-Rated) video from Business Week that you can share with everyone (except perhaps devoted vegetarians!)

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kR0OrgKtgsM    

 

Have a great Thanksgiving weekend! I’ll be back with some big-time small business observations Sunday night.

In the meantime, please take a cruise through the Archives (or by Search Window topic) here, and be sure to see the scoop on my latest new book, “GOOD LUCK!” by clicking under the  “Literary Agents” heading at the top of the right-hand column. See you Sunday!

 

~~~~~~~~~

www.TheWriterWorks.com  

302.933.0116 or Hal@BusinessWorks.US  

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You,

 “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson] 

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Oct 18 2010

Is Your Business An Illusion?

Walking Through Illusion

                                           

A book by Betsy Otter Thompson

                                                                                        

An unpaid-for (can you believe it?) book review

                                           

As you know if you’ve stopped by here any time over the last few years, I don’t do paid endorsements or reviews of products. services, productions, publications, or ideas.

On very rare occasions, I offer unsolicited recommendations for a product, service, person or organization if I think there’s a real value opportunity connection for small business owners, entrepreneurial leaders or sales professionals.

Even less often than rarely I entertain a review request, though never by a total stranger. But I’ve also always taught that there are no rules in business. So here, dear blog visitor (ta-ta-ta-ta-tah-tah), is a rule breaker for your consideration:  

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                                                                 

In Walking Through Illusion, her sixth book, author Betsy Otter Thompson www.BetsyThompson.com has written a unique self-help paperback (241 pages; published 2010 by O Books, Winchester, UK, and Washington, USA; $19,95US; ISBN 978-84694-292-1).

I heartily recommend this disarming series of short stories for those seeking an insightful and provocative guide and chapter-by-chapter worksheet approach to introspection, to spiritual self-development and examination.

It’s something to carry in your briefcase

or tote bag and give your business

waiting time –and your life– new meaning.

                                                                             

The author takes readers along a bold new path of thinking, using the fascinating premise of a series of Q&A sessions with Jesus! Yes, yes, I know — as a business owner, entrepreneur or sales professional, you turn your head at the suggestion, right?

Maybe you say something like:“I’m not interested in making time to read a religious treatise when I’m busy trying to help my business survive this economy.”  Or “I’m not even Christian!” or “I go to great lengths to keep religion OUT of my business.” Hmmm? Sound familiar? Or am I just imagining?

Well, I can only offer the suggestion that it is possible that you could be wrong.

This book is–first of all — not a religious tome as much as it is a spiritual hand-holder into the spiritual self of you, the reader, and an opportunity to see a positive new perspective of what your real self is all about.

Now if you’ve seen even a few of my blog posts, you know that I am constantly crusading about the business success importance of perpetually working to know more and understand more about what makes you tick as a prerequisite to dealing more effectively with others — in sales, customer service, operations, and in all forms of leadership.

This book can help you discover,

and take action . . . and think.

                                                                            

Walking Through Illusion can be the vehicle you’ve been seeking to help you explore, better understand, and motivate yourself to adjust and achieve your goals . . . to make a positive difference on this planet.

What have you got to lose? Twenty bucks? Ha! You probably spent that on something dumb this week, right?

Hey, Happy Walking!

 

www.TWWsells.com or 302.933.0116 or Hal@BusinessWorks.US  

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You.
 “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson] 
Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Aug 08 2010

QUALIFYING PROSPECTS

Window-Shoppers

                                  

and Tire-Kickers

                                                

Do Not Make For Productivity 

                                                          

FAR beyond the vast sea of incompetency that floats the government boat, and WAY past the time-wasting frivolity of corporate giant muckity-mucks, America’s 30 million small business owners–together with countless millions of managers and sales professionals–live with the day-to-day reality that TIME is money!

                                                      

Time (yes, it’s worth repeating) is money!

Why the big lead-in? Because time is not money for the politicians who pretend to be running the business of managing the country (unless it’s electiontime!). And because big business CEOs, CFOs, CITs, CMOs, COOs, and all the other Cs out there are preoccupied with how to justify their 9-5 existences, instead of how to make the most of all available time — including nights and weekends! 

Now that that’s settled, lets’ move to those who invest themselves in wasting other people’s time. Retailers are used to them and happily accommodate them because the tire-kickers and window-shoppers will almost certainly return some time to make an actual purchase if their non-purchase trip is a rewarding enough, pleasant experience.

BUT B to B services can die long, slow, painful deaths by dealing for too prolonged a time with this mentality.

In other words, customer service begins at the front door of a retail business and it really doesn’t matter if the individual coming in, is there to ask for driving directions or is going to be walking out  with a $1,000 purchase. “Kill ’em with kindness and bend-over-backwards service” is the rule.

When you’re selling services to other businesses, however, customer service begins AFTER the sale is made, so the qualifying-of-the-prospect need is to be courteous and expedient. Prospects need to be qualified and then dealt with accordingly. To let someone who sends an email inquiry or who calls in a telephone request for a customized proposal (a particularly common occurrence in consulting) — especially when fees and rates are asked for — jerk you around for an hour or two is a bit masochistic on your part.

People who pull this stunt are usually looking for free . . . free ideas, free outlines, free plans, free approaches, free advice, free services. Many of them will call half a dozen sources and combine responses to set a budget for themselves and use the input for criteria in setting the stage for another competitor to do the job. 

                                                                                

Giving away what you make a living 

 at does not make for productivity

under any circumstances . . . .

except perhaps for charity

— when it’s affordable.

                                                                 

The solution is to quickly qualify prospects to determine the seriousness of their intents by promptly informing them that you will be happy to do as requested the minute you can get an advance of $500 or $1000 to cover your costs, and that that amount will be credited against any work you end up doing for them.  

Your job is to make sure the “inquiring minds that want to know” are serious and committed to doing what they claim to be interested in doing, and that they’re willing to pay for your time to help them figure out how to get started. Without this, you’ll end up with enough ankle bites to drop an elephant (which, in case you never noticed, have really fat ankles!)

And it’s hard for business owners and managers

  and sales pros with bitten ankles to run full speed.

 

 # # #

www.TheWriterWorks.com or 302.933.0116 or Hal@BusinessWorks.US  

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You.

God Bless America and Our Troops.

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson] 

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Feb 02 2010

Your Business’s Psychological Health

Is Your Business

                                      

A Headcase?

                                                                              

The word therapy may sound ominous to the business mind. It evokes the specter of illness, or worse, of craziness. That should not be. Therapy is part of education. Therapy teaches us through personal experience about who we are and how we became that way. Therapy teaches us how personal responsibility plays a role in who we are. Therapy teaches us how we relate to others and how important other people are in the conduct of our lives. And therapy helps us claim our freedom and take charge of our lives. These are all elements of growing up and getting a complete education.”

–Dr. Peter Koestenbaum, in his groundbreaking book of 1987: The HEART OF BUSINESS
                                                                                                 

     If this seems like a strange and out-of-place subject for you, let me assure you that it is extremely relevant. Why? Because every business –like every human– has problems to solve that have been created and nurtured internally. And, more often than not, a great many of these are denied and consciously or inadvertently glossed over by the boss.

     If you were to distill down all my years of diverse career experiences into one defining function, it would be that I have been a reality therapist to businesses. Powerful corporate executives, entrepreneurs, sales and healthcare professionals alike have called me in the middle of the night, reduced to tears. They have called on the verge of lighting fuses to blow up their businesses.

     I’ve seen business temper tantrums where filled file folders, office equipment, and even scalpels were flung in rage across offices and into doors. Because businesses that needed therapy, that were being run by owners and managers who refuted the need for it, had no place else to bury upsets but inside the troubled stressed-out minds of their leaders.

     Every person and every business, I believe, can benefit by some degree of professional therapy engagement at some point, perhaps continuously, in their lives. Therapy need not be as threatening or embarrassing as Hollywood would have us believe, nor as intimidating as the naysayers around us claim.

     The truth is therapy can be extremely enlightening, masterfully empowering, and a magnet for improved mental, physical, and emotional good health — the secret keys to increased sales!                  

     It may be useful to pause here and be reminded that the feelings of being threatened, embarrassed, and intimidated –like those feelings of enlightenment, empowerment, and improved health — are all behaviors and all behaviors are choices. Why choose negative over positive? Because of some fear? If the fear is not genuine, realistic, and physical, it is imagined; it is fantasy; it is also a choice!

     Many businesses fail because the leaders operate under a self-fulfilling prophecy that a business is beyond repair and nothing can be done to save it. The economy. The bank. The landlord. Lousy sales. Lazy employees. Products or services without real benefits or competitive advantages. No future. Poor track-record. They fail.

     The fix? Hire an informed, experienced, fresh, outside perspective to shrink out your business and coach your leaders.

     Savvy business owners and managers recognize that the business needs to be considered a living, breathing organism, and treated as if it were a separate individual entity apart from the paperwork, computer files, and physical workspace.

     In this context, business therapy can be a healthy and productive intervention capable of turning problems into opportunities. The distance from survive to thrive is measured in receptive leadership that’s willing to explore and innovate.

Hal@BUSINESSWORKS.US 

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You!

Make today a GREAT day for someone! 

2 responses so far

Dec 20 2009

USING BODY LANGUAGE…

Tapping Feet Tap

                                         

Untapped Potential

 
—–Take Note Owners, Managers, and Sales Professionals—– 
                   

     Any good coach will tell you that nervousness is often a good source of energy that can be productively channeled.

     Stress is not always negative. Positive stress is required to be able to read this right now, to sit in a chair without falling off, to make love and excel in sports (well, okay, maybe not at the same time!), to talk on the phone … even, btw, txt msg!

     When stress, however, becomes negative … when it reaches a point of dis-stress or over-stress, it becomes physically, mentally, and emotionally unhealthy … often taking the high-risk leap from nonproductive to COUNTER-productive. It can quickly suck unsuspecting others into the whirlpool it creates.  

NOTE: Holidays are a primary cause of both negative and positive stress. To be better equipped to manage your holiday stress effectively, and keep it tipping to the “plus” side, go here for a 60-second quick fix:  http://bit.ly/Bb1Tw

     When you observe a customer or employee tapping feet (or other extremities), odds are (almost universally) that the individual does not want to be where she or he is, and is anxious to get out of the room or extract her or himself from the present situation.

     When you observe this, acknowledge the anxieties attached to the circumstances — show some put-yourself-in-their-shoes empathy (unless their shoes are by this time, really clicking away recklessly, in which case you may want to 911 a podiatrist!) —  and suggest an option like:

“Why don’t we take a break here and…”

“Let’s think on that subject for a little bit and talk about this other issue…”

     Like a speaker who’s focused on shifting verbal gears in order to prompt defensive arms-crossed listeners to “unfold” arms and rest their hands more receptively at their sides or on the table, you need to try out different thought directions.

     See if you can get the tappingto subside without calling attention to it. Raising someone’s consciousness about her or his nervousness can make that person even more jittery.

The more the tap subsides, the less you need to dance!

# # #               

Reply Hal@BUSINESSWORKS.US (Subject: “Blog”) or comment below. Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You! Make it a GREAT Day!  Blog FREE via list-protected RSS email OR $.99/mo Amazon Kindle. Branding Line Exercise: 7Word Story (under RSS). GREAT GIFT:new Nightengale Press book THE ART OF GRANDPARENTING http://bit.ly/3nDlGF

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Dec 07 2009

KNOWLEDGE IS NOT POWER!

Product/Service Knowledge

                                                                                                    

Does Not A Sales Star Make!

                                                                                                

     What makes entrepreneurs and sales professionals successful is having the ability to go waaay beyond the point of just knowing about the products and services they represent.

     It takes a very rare “geek,” for example (e.g., Bill Gates, Steve Jobs), to be able to come up out of the techie hole and have a clear vision of everything else that surrounds her or him.

     I’m not suggesting the need to be an expert at everything, but to instead appreciate and value what’s there (in your market, in your industry, in your universe), and know when to call on (and how to manage) others’ skills.  

     This “failure shortcoming” is unfortunately not something that’s easily adjustable because it’s more a product of the system than of the individual. It is the single greatest failing of academia that students are rarely if ever taught how to use what they’ve been taught to know.

     While touching on our misguided educational system, I should add that the best college for successful business career preparation (besides the proverbial “school of hard knocks”) is the one that fosters student internship and cooperative education programs and/or real-life experience opportunities. A taste of reality always beats none.

It is the single greatest failing of academia that students are rarely if ever taught how to use what they’ve been taught to know.”

     Why should this matter? Having a single purpose and collective goals is one thing, but no business is successful that is run with closed-minded fantasy-land controls. Product / service knowledge is just one part of the success equation. Having the vision and organization skills to apply that knowledge is what counts.

     No sales professional has ever made it on having total command alone of her or his company product or service features. No one “buys” features. Buyers may justify their purchases by itemizing features, but what makes the sale are emotional triggers to benefits. Product and service knowledge can only serve as the launchpad for those triggers. 

     What are the answers? I believe they vary with each set of circumstances, and I don’t pretend to have all the answers … BUT:

     I CAN tell you that if you and your sales message have been heavily focused on what goes into a product or service and how it’s made, and you see all the guys down in the trenches (the scientist /technician / analyst types) smiling up at you and nodding agreement, you need to adjust what you’re communicating to the rest of the world!

     Like the dentist ads promoting mucosal blade inserts, which would only have a recognition factor and be a point of interest among other dentists, many businesses go down the tubes grasping for receptivity to jargon that only they and a handful of staff (and competitive!) “experts” understand.

     Real Business “Power”— the Power of entrepreneurial and sales success, comes not from merely knowing — comes from knowing who, how, when, and where to put the knowledge that you have to work.    

# # #               

Reply Hal@BUSINESSWORKS.US (Subject: “Blog”) or comment below. Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You! Make it a GREAT Day!  Blog FREE via list-protected RSS email OR $.99/mo Amazon Kindle. Branding Line Exercise: 7Word Story (under RSS). GREAT GIFT: new Nightengale Press book THE ART OF GRANDPARENTING http://bit.ly/3nDlGF

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Jun 08 2009

SALESPEOPLE YOUR BEST CUSTOMERS

“Ja’hear how to catch a rabbit?”

                                                                

     If you want to be a great writer, you need to be a great reader.If you want to be a great actor, you need to be a great theatre-goer. If you want to be a great doctor, you . . . well, no, I don’t want to be urging you to be a patient (but I’m told by many doctors–especially those specializing in proctology and colo-rectal surgery(!)– that it certainly makes a difference to have been on the receiving end!).

Great salespeople are great customers.

     What makes a great customer?

  • You make firm purchase decisions and rarely return what you buy [Unless, of course, it’s __Defective; __Inoperable; __Clashing color; __Missing parts; __Wrong size; __Bad hair day; __Decided my father can’t afford it, or any of those other wonderful escape reasons you’re offered on the “Reason For Return” checklist that comes with most catalog or online sale shipments].   
  • You exhibit enormous patience with and are empathetic and understanding toward an over-burdened clerk or salesperson[Even though it may be your bad fortune to have bungled into the dimmest human being to ever comb his hair with a fork… inevitably someone in possession of an IQ that’s just a few notches higher than a piece of scrapple, who is totally preoccupied with removing bubblegum from his shoe with your credit card].
  • You use your great sense of humor to occupy waiting time and even cheer up other customers in line.[“Hey, Ja’hear how to catch a rabbit?” (Empty looks) “HA! Ya hide behind a tree and make a noise like a rabbit! hahahaha.”]
  • You don’t whine, moan, bitch or complain about a company’s false, misleading or deceptive advertising [because you know they need to survive in a tough economic marketplace and it’s understandable that they might need to exaggerate the quality or price issues. You’ll write them a wussy letter asking them to let you return the merchandise or get a re-do of the faulty services. They laugh.] Seriously, you hopefully confront the boss, then file reports if the response isn’t appropriate. 

     Truth is sales professionals ARE often the best customers. They ask relevant questions. They have more engaging personalities than most non-sales-oriented customers. They do their homework ahead of time on major purchases—they know what they should pay and how to pay for it; they know what the warranties cover and what kind of performance is to be expected; they buy on impulse only when it’s affordable, and/or when they like the business or the store or the sales rep.

     In fact, many professional salespeople PREFER to sell to other salespeople. If you don’t, and you’re in sales (and you are “in sales” if you own or manage a business of any kind), you may want to re-examine the image you have of sales, the approach you use, and the attitude you project to others… especially to other salespeople, who can often be your best customers!  

# # #  

Input welcome anytime: Hal@TheWriterWorks.com (”Businessworks” in the subject line) or comment below. Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals, good night and God bless you! halalpiar  # # # 

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Jun 02 2009

When one UNclosed sale beats three closed sales

“It’s like knowing when to

                                                     

  walk away from the table”

–A worldclass sales professional on the subject of closing a sale

     “…know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em…” goes the old country Western song about gambling card players. Well, it happened today and served as a good reminder. No, I didn’t lose at cards. I UNclosed a sale I thought was closed by stepping back and politely away.

     I felt like Jimmy Durante stepping back softly through the spotlights at the end of each show, tipping his hat and wishing Mrs. Calabash goodnight, wherever she was? You’re too young for that? Well, I’m sure it’s someplace on YouTube. The point is there are times when it’s best to UNclose a sale. Driving a prospect into commitments she or he really isn’t ready or able or willing to make will surely backfire.

     There are also a lot of wonderfully well-intentioned people out there who can waste your time, energy and money by stringing you along with maybes. half-hearted commitments, and (every lawyer’s favorite word) delays. Sales professionals (and that means you if you run your own business or professional practice!) do not have time, energy and money to waste.

     So how do you know when a convincing, engaging, personable, charming prospect isn’t serious about buying what you have to sell? You ASK! It’s that simple. If a person IS a serious prospect, he or she will not be put off at being asked to affirm that interest. If NOT, that person will say so or be insulted and walk away (which is just a huffy “NOT”). And, in fact, the “Are you serious” question will often kick up the real reasons for hesitating to commit, which puts the evasive target you need to hit smack in your lap! (Ouch!)

     I had what I thought was a hot prospect–after six weeks of three personal visits, three email exchanges, and four telephone calls (all positive and encouraging)–who accepted completely my well-founded assertions that I could double her business sales at no added expense except my easily-affordable fee.

     And today, I asked if she was serious and ready to get started. She started hemming and hawing about needing her husband’s approval and that he thought he could do what I do and they would save the fee. I agreed. I told her that was great, a genius move, thanked her, and did my Jimmy Durante act.

     Another couple of weeks worth of of maybes would snap the old rubberband. It’s all about opportunity loss when you get yourself wrapped up with a foot-dragger who has some other agenda besides buying from you! This unclosed sale beat three closed sales. And I didn’t have to bet the farm!

# # #

Input welcome anytime:

Hal@TheWriterWorks.com or comment below.

Thanks for visiting. 

Go for your goals, good night and God bless you!   

No responses yet

Mar 29 2009

Death of a Salesman

As communication continues

                                      

to experience convulsively

                                                

explosive change, so do the

                                                                             

methodologies we use to sell.

                                                                                                                                                            

     Playwrite Arthur Miller clearly had something else in mind at the time he wrote and titled his classic Death of a Salesman, but there could never be a more apropos expression for what’s happening today, right this very minute, that is about to forever extinguish the “sales process” as we have known it since the day anyone reading this was born. 

     What, for example, does it suggest to you that even as recent as a year ago, effective sales communication was commonly reported to consist of as much as 87% nonverbal ingredients–gestures, posture, tone of voice, appearance, eye contact, active listening, etc.– and today major companies are talking about the sales process in terms of “digital body language”?

     Except for those salespeople who haven’t caught up (or, on) yet (and you surely know who they are and where they breed), business is at the crossroads of revolutionary change, and savvy salespeople spurred on by the blinding speed of technological advances are quick on the heels of entrepreneurs worldwide in leading the way.

     With entrepreneurial base-camp entrenchments established, salespeople will be muscling their way up the mountainside and serving the rest of society and the business world as the catalysts of change who will ultimately shake our depressed economy back into place. But this will only happen if those engaged in sales careers are able to fully grasp the dynamics of what’s going on around them.

     Entrepreneurs are spirited innovators who start enterprises, and who find the fuel and who get the engines fired up, and who get that initial forward thrust to happen (which is probably the most monumentally difficult and underrated task in all of business), but it is the world’s salespeople who who are responsible for revenues and growth and profits more than any other entity.

     Ah, but therein lies the potential problem. Salespeople who don’t see what’s happening, who don’t jump at the chance to instantly and dramatically shift into higher gear, who think they can keep doing the same old things in the same old ways, will fall by the wayside and die. And there won’t be any mercy rules!

The bottom line for salespeople:

  • You must adjust your mindset to become more of a marketer and less of a sales representative.
  • You must provide prospects/customers with new buying process experiences that are anchored by product/service/idea and market knowledge.

         You must rely more heavily on proving performance with demonstration and testing and sampling.

  • You must increase your focus on benefits and ways of integrating purchases with existing products/services/ideas.
  • You must spend more energy sitting on the same side of the prospect/customer’s problem-solving table and working as a partner instead of as a representative.

HIGH TRUST/credibility, proven performance and database marketing are now the three kings of sales! Are you making it happen, or is it happening to you? 

# # #

Good Night and God Bless You! 

Make today a GREAT day for someone!    

 

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