Mark McCarthy's Blog

Grow The Business

Posts Tagged ‘life

Big Whoop

leave a comment »

big whoop

Big Whoop

 

  • You have a new dry cleaning store that also provides a unique pick up service?  Big Whoop.
  • You have a new service that writes blog posts for your business so you don’t have to?  Big Whoop.
  • You have  loan acquisition product for my bank that is cheaper than my current partner?  Big Whoop.
  • You have all in one online and offline marketing product suite?  Big Whoop.
  • You have an online fraud prevention product that is tablet friendly?  Big Whoop.

*****

  • Big Whoop cuz’ I wash and iron my own dress shirts.
  • Big Whoop cuz’ I don’t blog on my business website.
  • Big Whoop cuz’  the pain of switching to you blinds me just thinking about it.
  • Big Whoop cuz’ I don’t care what you have my business is small.
  • Big Whoop cuz’ I am very careful.

We spend a lot of time focused on why clients and prospects should choose us.  So much time.  So much time it is often sickening.

We need to spend more time on why clients and prospects should even choose at all.

Big Whoop is what you never hear your client say but what they often think.  Let’s be honest, most businesses and consumers are getting it done today, somehow or some way.

Your job is to get them to think change, to want to change, to inspire or scare them into change.  Get them to think differently.  Get them off the status quo.   

Status quo is ten times the enemy your competitor ever will be.  Go focus on that. 

 

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark

 

Mark’s Blog

Mark’s Twitter

Written by Mark McCarthy

March 18, 2014 at 3:59 pm

There’s Something About The Plastic!

with one comment

Cat

My Cat in a rare moment not licking plastic

There’s Something About The Plastic!

“There’s something about the plastic!” is a hilarious phrase around our house these days.  And I think there’s an interesting business lesson to it as well.   Let me tell you why.

I have a cat.  I like cats.  My cat likes plastic.  I like plastic too.  But not like my cat.  My cat would lick plastic all day long if you let him.  Plastic bags, plastic wrappers, plastic sheet protectors, empty plastic zip lock bags ( his fav) or pretty much anything plastic including the Tupperware kind of stuff.   I have no idea why.

My son’s friend Jamie heard me incredulously exclaim (after seeing the cat lick a zip lock bag for an hour) how crazy it is that the darn cat licks plastic all day long and Jamie shouted “That’s what all cats do!!” He said it with the obvious tone that he knew the answer as to why they do.   I leaned forward and could not wait for the answer – I needed to know!.  And then Jamie said…. “There’s something about the plastic!”  

That was it.  He had no idea why either.   And that’s why we all collapsed on the floor laughing and why the phrase now is spoken, texted and emailed randomly among us for last 6 weeks especially when someone texts or says something worthy (unworthy)..   “There’s something about the plastic!” is the label we put on something said that brings absolutely nothing new, interesting or valuable to the conversation. 

There’s a bit of that that goes on at work too eh?   Here are 6 of my favorite phrases (often shouted out ( like Jamie did)) that mean nothing or are just plain let downs.  I have been guilty of a few of these myself for sure.   Please feel free to add yours in the comments section!

  • We tried that a few years ago, it worked great.”  [And why is it not still here? Usually heard in a brainstorm meeting]
  • “Just gotta get people to offer it more. ” [usually in a sales meeting- we all know it’s more complicated than that]
  • “There’s a right way and a wrong way to do this” [usually followed by silence.  Thanks cpt Obvious.]
  • “We need better leads” [ I’ve been on all sides – selling to feed my family, sales management & training and I can say never in my 25 years have I seen where that is true – it’s how you work the leads ( or better, make your own) that matters ]
  • “People need to be retrained” [OK –so this hits home today in my role but seriously- it’s a rare day that folks need “retraining” – what they really need is” re-selling” of the content by a leader or  “re-coaching” or “re – holding people accountableness-ness”
  • “We have to prioritize this with everything else.”  [Guilty am I here at times on this but think about how often we really hear it. And how “future tense” it is. Worthless.    And usually it never does get prioritized because that means something needs to be “de prioritized” and that is courage not enough of us have in excess.  ]

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark

Mark’s Blog

Mark’s Twitter

Written by Mark McCarthy

January 16, 2014 at 5:08 pm

I Am Joe’s Goals

leave a comment »

moleskin black

I Am Joe’s Goals

It’s my favorite time of year!  I miss Joe.  It’s been a while.

This year is gonna be a great one I can tell.  A Moleskin notebook baby, it’s Moleskin!   Joe actually went to Barnes & Noble (like really walked in a brick and mortar store) and purchased this here fancy schmancy,  jet black paper journal to write me down in.  

There I am all smilin’ and stuff – that’s me right here on the first page ready to go!

                                                                      “My Goals 2014”

Here we go!

Um.  He stepped away for a minute I guess…

While I got ya – let me tell you about last couple of years – what a ride!  Last year I was on his IPad.  That was pretty awesome slipping and sliding all over the place getting blown up and then minimized like a 5 times a day (at least in the beginning).  But by February zoom!; he’d swipe my butt every time he’d see me and I’d go screeching off to my right like at 100 mph into darkness again, again and again.    After a while I was buried in a sea of other Apps.  Not fun.  I was not front and center like this Moleskin journal.  This book is all for me baby, nobody but me.

The year before the IPad thing I was on some yellow legal paper he bought and that was cool. But I got confused when he started carrying me around to meetings.  At first I thought it was good cuz’ it seemed like he was looking at me a lot (like he should) but then he started like writing loads of stupid meeting notes under me ( that he never looked at again mind you) and then started writing numbers down just below our 5 goals for the year that had nothing to do with the goals!  The last thing I remember was he drew this flower thing right through our goals that became a dragon that became a wizard with a dog or something and then I heard this massive tearing sound and I just blacked out and started tumbling and tumbling and then…but here he comes… that’s a story for another day….

OK here we go…he’s starting to write me down for 2014! 

“Be a better father”

“Earn more money”

“Lose 25 pounds”

Oh poo.  What the heck are those?

Joe!  Joe! Joe!  Will you never learn?   My Goal friends at Club Dead (It’s where Goals go to die) tell me the great stories about the Goals that don’t come back starving and looking for some late year bloomers to pick them up in February.  They say they hang on because their original owners because they write down “why” they want to be a better father, why they want make more money and why they want to lose weight in great detail!  AND that you have to write out the real steps and timelines you want to achieve to reach each of these goals.  AND that you have to look at these every day, set a target to achieve something each day towards each of these goals and mark your progress.  

I’m guessing Joe; if you don’t do these things the same results are going to happen to us which has been for the last few years at least, mostly “nada” for our goals. There is so much room here in the journal; you’ve got to take the time to do it!

Shoot, he just closed that cover on me.  I hope he heard me.  I like the promise of this journal but if he doesn’t get better at writing me out – I’m heading back to Club Dead.  Again.    

 

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark

 

Mark’s Blog

Mark’s Twitter

Written by Mark McCarthy

January 7, 2014 at 9:19 am

Amp It Up: Prefacing Questions

leave a comment »

amp

Amp It Up: Prefacing

Asking questions in sales, service or support is important.  There are a million theories, books and articles on what questions to ask. 

I don’t care about any of that today.

I’m going to give you 3 powerful tips however that will amp up the results of your questions and they take all of less than 3 seconds in a tactic I call Prefacing.

Each of these is additive in that if you apply just one tip, you’ll get better results than you do today with your normal questions  but  if you do all three – watch out, you’ll see amazing results immediately.

Preface #1: “I always ask…” Begin with “I always ask..” as a preface to your question of the customer or prospect.  Let’s pretend you are on software sales –   “I always ask business leaders if you see enough data on a daily basis to measure the health of the business…” Or let’s say you sell online marketing “I always ask owners where they think the best social media place to be to drive business.” Whatever your purpose is in asking the question is fine.  But prefacing it with “I always ask” makes you sound like you’ve been there before; that you have experience, that this is not your first rodeo.  In less than a second you’ve built some credibility in the minds of the listener and that psychologically will result in a more thoughtful answer by the recipient. 

Preface #2:  Add an Affiliation:  Remember this is additive – so for example “I always ask the CFO’s of Consumer Financial organizations if they see enough data… Or “ I always ask my HVAC folks where they think….”;  This addition is incredibly powerful – not only are you credible already by adding  “I always ask” but now you’ve imparted in just one more second,  that you know something, have talked to, have hung out with people like them in their world or in their industry.   You’ve talked with CFO’s (and even better talked with CFO’s in financial orgs) or you’ve talked with HVAC owners and understand what is happening.  Immensely powerful – your questions now have an even better chance of getting thoughtful and deep answers which translates into better sales service and meaningful conversations.

Preface #3:  Put a Number on the Questions:  This too is additive so in our examples let’s take it to the 3rd level, “I always ask the CFO’s of Consumer Financial organizations these 3 questions about visibility….”  Or “I always ask my HVAC folks these 2 questions about where they think the best place is…”  The theory is simple and powerful.  Placing a number on the questions helps lower time tension.  People are busy.  When you articulate the number of questions you are going to ask in a particular space then the listener knows when it will be over and in essence will stay focused for those questions and give you great information.   Not articulating a number can lead to that self-talk of “When will this be over?” or other distractions.  Prefacing with the number of questions needn’t be limiting.  You can easily move on to other subjects with for example “I always also ask 2 questions of HVAC folks about how hard it is to get paid quickly….”

Are the types of questions you ask important?  You bet.  Does everybody forget or not even think about the value of Prefacing a question?  Without a doubt.   In my opinion prefacing is as important as any aspect of questioning.

Here’s the beauty of today’s post.  It’s easy.  It’s less than 3 seconds of your time.  If you are in sales, service or support as a pro or perhaps a leader, or you are a business owner, consultant or entrepreneur looking to get better conversations and more business; print this thing, spend a few minutes wrapping your head around and go to it – you’ll be amazed at what you get in return.

 

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark

 

Mark’s Blog

Mark’s Twitter

Written by Mark McCarthy

December 12, 2013 at 10:07 am

You’re Doing It Wrong

with 3 comments

wrong

You’re Doing It Wrong

Duh.  Sad part is at some points in my life (and some more recent than others) I’m guilty of every one of these.

  • Coaching to “gaps” first.  Neurological and observation data proves coaching to strengths first and more often than coaching to gaps, results in better performance.
  • Thanking a customer for calling.  How silly.  Welcome them, Greet them or Wow them and then Thank them (profusely) for the business at the end of the call.
  • Nobody has ever asked anyone, in the entire history of the world, for more PowerPoints to help them learn something. But we keep on giving.
  • If what you bring to the sales or service party is the exact same thing that can be found on your website, brochures or catalogs, you’re doing it wrong.
  • Thinking that in this global, democratized and highly connected world that the real selling is over when they “sign on the line that is dotted”. Au contraire – it is just beginning.
  • Time snobbery.  Obsessing and devaluing content, books, blogs and videos if their origination date is more than 6 months old. Newer is not always better or different or smarter. Quit it.
  • 8 days and near 24/ 7 hours spent in a war room to fix a run of bad performance and just 8 minutes on a conference call celebrating landing a large client or exceeding performance for the month.
  • In your office.  All day.  On the phone.  And you haven’t seen a manufacturing floor, the call center, some customers, suppliers or a lunch with a department in months.
  • Asking a question of a client or prospect that has no apparent immediate benefit to them to answer.  That’s just not smart.
  • Reading this post and agreeing (or not) and just leaving it there.  Pick one, two or six that resonate with you and make a plan and execute upon it today.

 

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark

 

Mark’s Blog

Mark’s Twitter

Written by Mark McCarthy

December 11, 2013 at 10:52 am

Plan Ahead (and Behind)

leave a comment »

Plan Ahead ( and Behind) 

It’s always a risk to see my mug on video first thing in the morning – but here are two short ones to jump start your day with messages about planning.

The first one can help you like, today.. 

This next one can help you like, forever…

 

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark

 

Mark’s Blog

Mark’s Twitter

2 Videos, 3 Minutes and Grow The Business

leave a comment »

 

Two very short videos today.  One about doing something way better than the phrase “How I can help you?” and the other about the power of not always having the answer!  Take the 3 minutes and apply right away.  Business growth ahead! 

 

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark

 

Mark’s Blog

Mark’s Twitter

Written by Mark McCarthy

November 15, 2013 at 8:40 am

Simple Remote Love

with 2 comments

neon clock

I have a ManCave.   Yep, I do.

It has cool signage like “Eat Bacon”, “Hydrate with Beer” and has an awesome neon clock.   It also has a classic table hockey game, a framed Jaws movie poster, a nice TV and of course, the DVD Tommy Boy (the Holy Schnieke edition). 

But what I love most about the ManCave is the TV remote control.   It’s so… simple.

I don’t have a sound system like surround sound or a sound bar in the man cave.  I have just the TV/ Cable and as such, just the one remote.

What a joy to sit back thinking of bacon and barley and when I want to turn the volume up or down—I just use the remote.  The one remote.  The simple lonely silver remote that turns on the TV, the cable, changes the stations and controls the volume.

Remote controls are by their origin, the birthplace of simple 40 years ago but as you all know, they have become anything but that (don’t tell me about the “universal remotes” out there—I’ve tried those—they don’t do it all no matter what you say).

Upstairs it takes no less than 4 remotes (TV/Cable, Sound, DVD & the TV Standard (to change Input)) to manage wasting hours and hours of your life you will never get back (upstairs is where stuff like “Bridezillas” and “Sex in the City” reruns play). 

Last night in the ManCave during the Red Sox game (Go Sox!) I turned to my wife (she is permitted into the Cave with advance notice) during a commercial break and said “Don’t you love that you only have to use one remote to do everything here?”  She about jumped off the couch and said “Like you would not believe!” She continued with “It’s so simple..I love simple..”

And that’s the lesson today.   In an effort to simplify we often create confusion, frustration and stress.  It’s great to have social media sites simple to use to keep us connected but to have like 11 of them where you need a bloody presence to get through your work or personal life day is maddening.  It’s great to have smart phones glued to your hands but the chargers, the connections, the storage, the email boxes and the updates are maddening.  It’s great to have a quadrillion websites with information, education and tutorials, testimonials, ratings, opinions and pontifications but figuring out which of these quadrillion you can trust is maddening. 

Every one of us I suspect longs for something simple that just plain “works” today.   Something you can find, something you can trust, something that is simple to use and something that doesn’t make you feel like there are 7 more things just like you I have to go check out or “I’m not doing it right”.    

If you can do for a business or consumer what my remote control in the ManCave does – you’ve got a winner. 

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark

Mark’s Blog

Mark’s Twitter

Written by Mark McCarthy

October 29, 2013 at 12:34 pm

Funny Bus(y)ness

leave a comment »

Bumpus a.k.a. Snowball?

Bumpus a.k.a. Snowball?

Funny Bus(y)ness

It’s Friday and it has been a very busy week.  Time for something fun.  

Funny things happen when you’re really busy.   It’s true.   So here’s to this week’s funny moments (mine anyway), for they are precious levity in the crazy busy times.  Maybe a bit of levity for you too.

  • I so badly butchered the word “glorious” sending an email on my IPhone, that it autocorrected and sent as “halitosis” as in “Your daughter’s wedding must have been a halitosis day!”  The guy is only a valued partner of my company is all.
  • On Monday, there was a project kick – off meeting in the morning and then seriously, the first project meeting for that same project, was 5 hours later.
  • “Did Snowball go potty recently?” I asked my wife Tuesday night as I walked downstairs toward the back door.  Our dog’s name is Bumpus.  I don’t have, never had, and never will have an animal named Snowball or beach ball or butter ball.  And just look at him, makes no sense.
  • I watched “Bridezillas” by accident.  I don’t think I realized what was happening as I stared at theTV.    I’m feeling better now, thank you.  Though some things, once you see them, you cannot unsee them.
  • On a conference call with about 11 people Wednesday, a beep came on and the meeting owner actually said  “ I think someone else just joined the call, if you need to tell us who you are you can,  but we are gonna just keep going….’ 
  • Kellogg’s Raisin Bran for dinner Wednesday night.  Yes, it was awesome. 
  • In less than 2 hours Thursday my team created a 3 minute quality training video for hundreds of employees from concept, to design, to development, to production and delivery all with imagery, animation, voice over, and video because…..that’s what was needed. (Nothing funny here (except the timeline!) – (Shout out to simply the best L&D team in the history of the world!)

That’s my week (so far).  I think it would be awesome if you share some of your signs of a busy week – that would be fun today. 

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark

Mark’s Blog

Mark’s Twitter

Written by Mark McCarthy

October 11, 2013 at 8:39 am

Lucky For Us

with 2 comments

Man silhouette2

Lucky For Us

I’ve only known him for about 10 years.

But I know today, a whole bunch of people are about to get lucky.

He’s worked on things he can’t talk about with his family that protect you, me and this country.  He’s worked on things we take for granted.  He was there at the beginning when we first started bouncing signals off satellites to tell us where the heck we are in the world.  Most of us can’t get to the next town today without frankly, him and the team back then.  He’s not stopping being smart.  More of us will get the chance to be a little bit smarter now.

He worked is butt off.  For his family I suspect mostly.  But for himself I think as well. There’s a cause that drives him or there’s a code, I’m not sure, but it doesn’t really matter – he needed to do.  There were too many hours on the job I heard, too many moves across the country for work but there really never was a choice for him.  Work is hard.  Work is rewarding.  Work provides. There’s no ‘feet up” for this man.   He’s not stopping working hard.  More of us will benefit from wherever he decides to work hard.   

I’ve heard the stories from my wife about how Dad and Mom would dress like a “king and queen” for the occasional Military Balls and how glorious that was.  Must have been a sight for those 5 young kids – as far as they knew they lived in a castle with Mom and Dad back then and sleeping all in the same bedroom was awesome.  He’s not stopping being a veteran or sacrificing.  More of us will get to see and emulate him.  

Selfless is a word that gets tossed around too much and smacks of hyperbole but I can’t help it here.  Life happens big and small and he’s just… there.  Most of us marvel at what he does after work and on weekends and think – could we ever, would we ever, is it possible for us to be so generous in time, support and advice for others?  It’s genuine.  If you let it slip you happen to be out of something it often magically appears that afternoon at your front door. When the bigger needs arise he’ll drive, fly or call you and listen.  And then without so much as a few words, he’ll just plain help. He’s not stopping being selfless.  More of us will feel that kind of generosity now.   

Like I said, I’ve known him for only about 10 years.  But I’m just one of 4 sons- in- law so what the hell do I know.   I’ve never lived in his home or worked with him every day but I’ve sat and talked and listened and watched.    He and his wife raised four girls (I got to marry one of them) and a son.  These lessons aren’t lost on the children, the grandchildren, the neighbors, his colleagues or the community.  None of that is stopping.  It’s not in him to stop.  More of us will get to learn now. 

**

As this post publishes today, no doubt Poppi is driving into the office for this, his very last day of work.  And when this day is over and he gets in his car and heads home on 495 perhaps a bit anxious or apprehensive, he needn’t worry.  Things won’t really change that much.  He’s not stopping being smart, working hard, sacrificing or being selfless.  Nope, not for a second.  Best I can tell, that’s who he is. 

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark

Mark’s Blog

Mark’s Twitter

Written by Mark McCarthy

September 30, 2013 at 7:34 am

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,620 other followers

%d bloggers like this: