Aug 18 2014


You’re on the threshold


of a presentation.


Are you “overkill” ready?



I once worked for an “overkill” boss. It took me awhile to figure this out because he constantly gave me the impression he thought I wasn’t up to snuff with reality, until I discovered that he was simply an OCD  poster boy . . .

“Did you key up the audio so it’s loud enough for those with hearing disorders? Is it timed to come on just as I say ‘New campaign’? Is there a crisp, clean unused legal pad and new pen with keyboard access in front of every chair at the meeting table? Who’s escorting them into the room?

“You’re wearing pinstripes, right? And plain dark suit? No crazy neckties. And kill that erring! Did you check the thermostat? You’re sure the agenda board is 100% perfect and visible from every seat? Their limo is ordered? What time’s their flight? Lunch arrangements? What about lunch arrangements? “

Of course that was just the beginning of his diatribe checklist. He would go on to the exact type and amount and freshness of the tuna salad and bread and veggies and dip and chips and cheese and crackers and fruit, and juice and soda to be served. “What’s the dessert? Who’s making it? Have you tried it?” and on and on. You’d have thought our ad agency sales pitch was a White House attempt at negotiating a global war peace treaty. “WHO,” he would always ask, “is in your pocket?”


I’d be interested in your thoughts, but I can tell you this much: While I never became the fanatic he was, I learned to respect the value of being fully prepared ahead of every client and potential client interface — in person, on the phone, and on the computer screen. While I agree that his cage-rattling directives were often excessive, over-the-top, I have come to realize that –in fact– he had a point: You can never be TOO prepared!

And perhaps most important: being fully prepared –including having some contingency plans– helps build self-confidence as well. Why? Because it leaves your mind clear to deal with the person(s) in front of you and adapt to he/her/them and/or the circumstances. If you’re not fully prepared, you may be too preoccupied with fumbling to notice nonverbal responses or room temperature or your own agenda . Sales, remember, are made in “the here and now“!

What is business (and professional practice) all about after all? The customer/client/patient/prospect . . . RIGHT? What else could it possibly be about? So if you think on this a minute or two –or a lifetime’s worth– you will undoubtedly come to the conclusion that your entire career existence is dependent on your’s and your organization’s abilities to attract and keep, and grow your customer base. What else is there?

Even if you work for a nonprofit, and think you exist to make the world a better place, you’ll never succeed without developing a base of supporters. So how does one maximize the odds of attracting and keeping and growing a support base of any kind? With as accurate and perfect and communicative a presentation as possible at every opportunity you get to make a point. You need not become an OCD basket case or a pushy salesperson to make this happen.

You must quite simply put yourself in your audience’s (of one or one million) proverbial shoes and present information at his/her/their level wrapped around expressed needs and interests. Oh, and that can ONLY happen if you listen carefully (at least 80% of the time) to what each and all of them have to say. If you’re unsure or can’t feasibly do this, hire a firm that will do it for you with surveys or focus groups or whatever methods work for your industry or profession.

Otherwise, you’re you’ll find yourself

working inside a box 

that you’ll never learn to think out of!


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Hal@BusinessWorks.US or comment below


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

Make today a GREAT Day for someone!

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Apr 22 2012

I have what you need and want now!

You are not what you sell.


You are what you solve.


True business professionals who dwell in the world of sales, and all small business owners (who live there too) know instinctively that they are not really salespeople pushing their wares and services on others.

They recognize that they are actually problem solvers who listen carefully to customers and prospects and respond with solutions. They focus on building relationships.

The problem is that solving the problem is often glossed over, dismissed, and sidetracked in the process of communicating with a customer or prospect. How often have you heard a store or organization or company rep start out (or jump to her or his safety net when a positive response is not evident) by rattling out a long list of product or service features?

It’s human nature to talk about all the strong points and unique features of a product or service we want others to like, and want, and dive into their pockets for the money we hope they’ll produce. But human nature doesn’t move sales. Customers and prospects don’t buy features. They buy benefits.

How long will this product or service last? How economical is it? How does it work? What colors are available? How spectacular is the price deal? How great is the supplier company or organization? These are all very nice kinds of things to get across because they help purchasers justify their decisions to others (bosses, spouses, friends, etc.) BUT . . .

None of those kinds of features will trigger a purchase.

Features are rational objective things. People are motivated by emotions. Maybe they’re simply charmed by the rep, or maybe they’ve been convinced that the personal benefits to be had outweigh the expense . . . because the product or service solves their problem!

We buy benefits: how easy and convenient this makes your life, how much your friends and neighbors will admire your good taste, how great you look with/in/next to it, how terrific your garden will be when this thing keeps the deer and rabbits away, what you can do for your children’s/grandchildren’s future with the savings from this policy, how wonderful this will look in your living room/dining room/kitchen.

And how do you get someone to this decision point? 1) By listening carefully (prompt customers and prospects to talk 80% of the time!), and 2) By processing what you hear and see to show how what you have to offer can solve their problem.

Anyone can ram features down someone’s throat. This loses more sales than anything else. It takes patience, understanding, and sitting (mentally and physically) on the same side of the table, working in concert to solve the buyer’s problem.

For immediate, focused, affordable sales help, call me now: 302.933.0116

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 With thanks to my LinkedIn friend Kevin Kempler for inspiring this post

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Hal@Businessworks.US   302.933.0116

Open  Minds  Open  Doors

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Mar 31 2011

Seeking Crossed Paths

If you are one of the following, you are all of them . . .!

Small Business and Professional


Practice Owners and Managers,


Educators, Sales Professionals,


and Entrepreneurs



What makes you different? Just the path you’ve chosen to take? Think about the one you’re on. 


It doesn’t matter if you teach third grade, own a chain of pizza parlors, sell advertising space or socks or perfume or gaskets. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a heart surgeon, hot dog vendor, social media guru. or a charity fundraiser. It makes no difference whether you manage a work team, a sports team, or function like the Lone Ranger.

The bottom line is that you’re not a government incompetent or corporate mogul or union thug, which means that you work for a living.

You work at what you do, what you support, believe in, were trained for, invented, designed, inherited, created, or stumbled into.

Does that pretty much cover it?


Ah, but what makes you the same? How could such diverse specialists have common grounds? Well, hey, you’re all leaders, right? You’re all communicators. And you are all (like it or not, willing to admit it or not) heavily engaged in selling on a daily basis.

You spend the bulk of your energy attempting to engage the interest and support of others in the ambitions, goals,  practices, opportunities, beliefs, ideas, and challenges that occupy your table, fill your plate and dance around your dining room.

Even when you’re not “at work,” even when you’re at family gatherings (you know, Ground Hog’s Day and Boxing Day, stuff like that), you’re still selling (oh, that nasty word again, especially for all you professional practice types; I know, there’re not too many brain surgeons rolling up their sleeves in supermarkets these days doing a “tell ya what I’m gonna do for you” presentation. There is that guy,though, with the sets of knives . . .)

What is it that you do when you get ready to give someone your spiel? Isn’t it that you (and sales professionals know this better than the rest of the world) are seeking common ground, shared interests, places where you can better relate to your audience? Aren’t you looking for places your paths have crossed?

Oh, my, there go all those light bulbs at once. Wait a second will you while my transition lenses back off. Ah, such a flood of light! 

So back to places your paths have crossed . . . of course that’s what we instinctively seek! Isn’t it, by the way, the premise for Facebook and LinkedIn?  

Whether we’re teaching a classroom full of students, explaining a procedure to a patient, a reason to donate, a special deal on foreclosed property, the benefits of sushi, the truck’s suspension system awards, how the use of Twitter can outperform Facebook, why everyone should buy a new mattress every ten days, or how easy it is to use this new bookkeeping system . . . we are constantly looking for common interest areas we can use to establish rapport.


We go to great lengths and ask a zillion questions to get to the point of “So you’re a Cubs fan, huh? Poor guy; you’ve really suffered over the years. I used to hang out with a few of them when I commuted from New York to Chicago for three years; I had an office at One East Wacker Drive on the Loop. What’s the name of that rooftop restaurant there?”

Well, maybe not all that dicey, but you get the point. We all seek crossed paths. They help us get closer to what’s under our skin. Prospecting is easier, but –more importantly– growing our relationships with existing customers, clients, patients, employees, suppliers, investors, lenders, and referrers is also easier.

Stop fighting it. Getting to know others better is a pathway all by itself . . . and one you can never tell where it will lead, but usually it will go where your authentic self opens doors and focuses spotlights. Open minds open doors.

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931.854.0474   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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Dec 08 2010

Are You Selling What You Think You’re Selling?

If you didn’t know you,


would you buy


what you have to sell,


from you? Are you sure?


MacDonald’s sells consistency, not hamburgers. Golden Arches customers know they can get the exact same fare prepared the exact same way at any of their “I’m Lovin’ It!” locations in the world. It’s like a security blanket for your stomach (assuming your stomach can stomach what’s served up!)

Revlon’s founding family president Charlie Revson was often quoted as saying “We don’t sell cosmetics; we sell the promise of sex to single teenage girls!” Airlines don’t sell seat rentals; they sell destinations. Churches sell redemption and hope. Disney World sells brain escape. IT businesses sell “solutions,” but often just add more problems.

Self-appointed SEO and Social Media “experts”? They don’t seem to know what they’re selling. But –by now– YOU must have a pretty clear idea of what works for you, or maybe not . . . 

How about YOUR business?

  • Are you putting out “mixed messages”?

  • Do those people you seek to attract as customers get it?

  • Are you presuming or have you actually asked them?

  • Do your customers buy what you have to sell, or what you claim to be selling?

  • Are you selling real products and services or images of what the benefits are that one gets from buying your products and services?

  • Have you made your marketing effort an exclusively online production?


If you are selling benefits (and you SHOULD be, by the way), does that represent some sense of ethical compromise to you? If you’re not doing that (and instead emphasizing and selling features, for example), has it occurred to you that your competitors surely are or will be selling benefits?

Do you think you would have lasted long in the passenger airline industry selling short-term rentals of seat manufacturing components while competitors sell happy couples skipping through the Caribbean surf or exploring Mediterranean fishing villages, or visiting Hawaiian mountain waterfalls, or diving off Mexican cliffs, or singing and dancing in Austria’s Oktoberfest?

When did you last sit still long enough to really take apart your sales message and examine the pieces?


Do the words work? Do they sell? Is there one word too many or too few? What you think you’re saying and what in fact communicates may be two separate things. How does your sales message look? How does it feel? What’s the intent? What did you discover by answering these questions?

How can you tweak or adjust or revamp or update what you have to make it better? To make it sing? To make it reach out and grab? If any of this leaves you puzzled and you are earnest about improving the process of selling what you’re selling, call me. No telephone fees. No strings attached. I’ll give you ideas. If you want more than ideas and I can’t help you, I can point you in the right direction.     

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302.933.0116   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!

3 responses so far

Aug 17 2010

Why Twitter beats Facebook for business!

Twitter is for extroverts.


Facebook is for introverts.


 Businesses can’t be introverts.


According to Google, there are now well over 500 million Facebook users. According to anyone engaged in social media, Facebook is an IN-bound media vehicle. This means simply that visitors, friends, customers and prospective customers must come to you to visit your profile, your friends, your photos, your comments, your network, your “wall.” All good stuff if that’s what you seek.

Interestingly, Google also reported at the same time, that there have been over 20 billion (with a “b”) Tweets (message postings) on Twitter. Again, according to social media gurus, Twitter is (conversely to Facebook) considered an OUT-bound media vehicle. This means Twitter users are reaching out to the world with their Tweets instead of (like Facebook users) trying to bring the world to them

If you run a small business (unless it’s minuscule, and caters, for example, exclusively to a neighborhood), odds are that Twitter represents a better investment of time for marketing some aspect of your business than Facebook. Yes, Facebook affords an additional personal touch for many businesses, and there’s nothing wrong with using both when you can afford the luxury of time.

But consider this:

If you already have a website, you already have an IN-bound media vehicle, and it’s one over which you have total control… and you can personalize it as much as you choose, including being able to orchestrate ongoing discussions, exchanges and commentary, even in fact as much as Facebook, if not more.

For healthy and maximally-productive promotion of your business:

  • Focus your energy on developing your own website with your own blog (or have somebody write one for you because the more active your blog is the more activity your site generates and the farther up you move in search engine rankings).

  • Realize that your website will never and should never be done. Accept the fact that the best websites are those that continue to change and reflect the changes in the business and industry or profession they target and the marketplaces they cater to.

  • Supplement your ongoing site development efforts with ongoing investments of time and creative energy in launching ongoing Twitter Tweets.

  • Avoid getting snookered by all the social media and Twitter “experts” out there of which there are probably a hundred trillion or so (and these are probably mostly people who spend all day at it and so proclaim themselves advisors, coaches, consultants, and pros). 

  • Learn the best mix the same way you learned your business — trial and error, and maybe enlist some trusted, proven experience businesspeople who are top marketing writers with a creative flair who can help you get started, or re-started.

So, you can just barely find me on Facebook only because I like to keep in touch with family and friends, but not because I have the need to spend hours “socializing” on the Web or because I think Facebook will help my business. It won’t. I look at my page every few months; that’s a clue. 

You can  find me on Twitter every night because I have built a very selective following of people who are interested in business and marketing and leadership and selling and self-development and communications and creative writing. When those people like what I have to say on Twitter, they visit my blog.

When they like my blog, they visit my other sites. When they like what’s on my sites, they call or email me and that’s how I build a prospect and customer base. In other words, use Twitter as your outbound vehicle (combined with emails and ads or whatever you choose) to get visitors to your inbound vehicle, your website. Why shuffle people into Facebook as an extra step to visit your website?

Shuffled visitors often fall by the wayside.

Don’t you?  


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!

One response so far

Nov 14 2008

You’re still WHAT? You’re still SELLING?





     Thank you, Paul Simon.  Yes, I may be.  And, yes, you may be too.  But your music is still the best.  And so are my blog posts (for those of you who are reading this, who are marching, even lumbering, along the road to success) if you’re using the posts like pitstops to fill up with sales fuel. 

     Whaaa?  I’m not even a salesperson!  BRRRrrrrrrrrraaaaaaaaat!  Wrong!  You ARE a salesperson, even if you’re a ballerina, even if you’re a roofer, even if you’re a brain surgeon, or candy apple maker, or homemaker, or rocket scientist, or truck driver, or school teacher, or priest, or (add your own titles here).  You’ve been selling since birth! 

     ALL OF US are actively engaged in selling and the sales process every waking moment of our lives.  Of course we are.  When we’re not trying to convince others to buy our products and services, we’re attempting to persuade them to buy into our ideas and beliefs and wishes. 

     And when we’re not doing any of the above (like when we’re vegging out in some yoga class or on a nature walk), don’t our minds slip into some self-talk?  Don’t we inevitably tell ourselves to do or feel or say something, or not do or feel or say something? 

     Aw, c’mon, Hal, that’s stretching it a bit don’t you think?  Aha!  And isn’t that little question a mini sales pitch all by itself?  (And that last question as well!)  Probably the longest we succeed at removing our minds from some sales process is when we’re watching some no-commercial-interruptions no-brainer movie, and even then our minds will go slip-slidin’ away (Thanks again, Paul!). 

     How long can you play with a baby or even a pet without thinking about something to buy or sell or convince someone of something related to the baby or pet?

     Here’s what’s important:

To recognize and accept that life is all about sales and that that’s okay! 

     On the opposite end, by the way, it’s estimated that each of us (in the U.S.) is exposed to close to 5,000 sales or advertising or promotional messages every single day.  That’s like a bombardment even if it’s only 2,500. 

     So, what this should tell you is that YOUR sales messages are very easily lost in the clutter, like a sling-shot pellet in the midst of thousands of major explosives (Yes, I too have been anxiously awaiting the 11/23 season preview of the all new “24” TV series, so yes, I am thinking more about edge-of-the-seat firepower than I might ordinarily). 

     Your sales message must stand out, with the right words, the right look, the right feel, the right impact, and the right back-up support (from servicing to warranties and beyond!).  

     And getting to that point requires strong product/service knowledge, strong market and competition knowledge, a burning positive attitude, a contagious sense of humor [See yesterday’s post -HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!- below!], the ability to find a need and fill it, outstanding listening skills, and a willingness (like batters and pitchers) to test and adjust and test and adjust and test and adjust.  Halalpiar    

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