Pardon Me While I Sell You This Chair


Pardon Me While I Sell You This Chair

Mark’s Blog

4  essential reminders on how to really create interest and sell just about anything.  In just 139 seconds.




Till Next Time,

Grow The Business.



4 Minutes with Little Miss Dangling Arms


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4 Minutes With Little Miss Dangling Arms

I  am not one of those people.  I write about great service, not bad service.  If I write about bad service it’s usually about how we the consumers aren’t as saintly as we like to believe we are.

But then Monday happened.  4 minutes of shock and awe(ful)

It was so bad it was almost funny.  It was actually funny.  Like out of a movie funny.

I’m not sure of the lesson here today.  Maybe it’s to say that even in a highly competitive market with technology alternatives ( and really, isnt that true for all of us? ) that service like this still exists or maybe it’s just to prove the old adage that you will indeed tell 10 people ( or um..a bit more if you have blog :)) if really bad service happens to you.  Not sure, but here goes.

Monday 11:41 am.

I had to go to this unnamed place.  You’re familiar with it I suspect.  It is a place where you can get a package to someone who needs it.  And boy,  was that ever true.   My 16 year son who lives with his Mom during the week 80 miles away, left his Galaxy S4 Smartphone on my kitchen counter Sunday as we were leaving.  For my son ( and for many of his ilk), that’s like leaving your severed limb in the wood chipper and knowing that in mere hours, certain death will ensue.  

“Hi, I need to make sure I get this package to my son tomorrow, I’m not sure the best way to do it.”

 “Where does it need to go?” she said.

 I gave her the town name. 

“Do you have the zip code?” she said.

“No, I’m sorry – I don’t remember it.”  I replied.

She stared at me.  Slight smile.  Arms relaxed by her side.  She stared at me some more. 

Awkward.  Really awkward I thought.  I concentrated and gave her a zip code that came to mind.  She typed it in.  “Nope,  that’s not it.” 

She stared at me.  Those arms dangling by her side.  Dangling by her side.

Finally I said “Do you want me to look it up?” I asked, as I reached for my IPhone.  I didn’t know what else to do.

She just smiled.

I googled it.  It took 2 sites and 5 clicks to finally get the zip code and I gave it to her.   And yes, as I googled it,  the shocking irony occurred to me.  I am standing in a place where the Zip Code must be King, where The Zip Code is probably an Ebook with a 5 part ethics pledge employees must swear to and where TV shows like 90210 run continuously in the break room.   And I can’t get a bloody zip code from anyone but me. 

And it wasn’t over. 

“Just fill the out the To and From addresses right here on this and it will be $16 dollars. ” she said.

“And when you are done with that,  Ann can help you.” she added. 

Ann?  Who’s Ann?  I thought.   I looked up from writing and then past Little Miss Dangling Arms and saw no one.

Before I could figure out who Ann was,  Ms. Arms slid forward a big plastic sign under my nose that said “Next Window Please”.

I looked left and saw who must have been Ann at that next window with 2 customers in her line. I returned my gaze to my now staff-less service desk and realized my 4 minute transaction would be much more than that as I was about to be getting back in line to Ann.

Heading back to my car after finally getting my son’s smartphone shipped off in an ice packed cooler, I realized the effort Little Miss Dangling Arms took to overtly not help me and make darn sure no one and nothing was getting in the way of her 11:45 am break.  Wow.

Now you know one of the all time lows in customer service.  Not sure how that helps but I think now I know why I wrote it –  I feel better having told um,  let’s call it 10 people. 

Till next time,

Grow The Business.



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1 Minute Helpful Videos Anyone?


I’m experimenting with a new media but with the same goal of giving you something to help.   I’m a little addicted to it I admit this week while traveling.   So two for you today.

3 Powerful Words and How to Avoid Sales Pain in the Shower.  How can you resist?  

If they help you grow your business even a little bit, that would be (as we say where I’m from), wicked awesome!  Have a great day!






 Till next time,

Grow The Business.



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Nobel Prize winning Psychologist Daniel Kahneman said  “The remarkable thing about your mental life is that you are rarely ever stumped.” 

How interesting.  This little quote has roiled around in my head for a month.  Can’t shake it.

Think about how true it is.   Heck, I’m gonna do this or I’m gonna do that.  Or goshdarnit, I’m going to do nothing!  Bottom line is most of the time,  I know what I’m gonna do.   And most of the time we make judgements and decisions in a flash and rarely are stumped or stuck in a quandary.

I read Kahneman’s quote in the Heath Brothers latest book called “Decisive” ( big thumbs up from me). The book has some compelling methods to help us all make better decisions of course ( if we ever allow ourselves to be stumped) but that’s for a later blog or two.

Lets just chat a bit about the stumped thing.  Stumped is what I think we should be more of.  Here’s why:

  •  When was the last time you talked to a prospect, did some great discovery, built credibility and commonality, talked pain points and said, ” You know, you’ve given me some things to think about and I’m not sure exactly what the best thing to do is, let me get back to you in a couple of days.”  Answer? Never.  You’re in sales, you’re never stumped and you and I both know it. 
  • When was the last time you launched a project to tackle a problem and didn’t  pretty much have the answer already embalzoned in your brain about what you think is the right solution?  Way less than you think.  You’re not stumped.  No Never.  Not you. You can, like nobody else, see the future clearly.
  •  When was the last time you didn’t judge, label or categorize someone you just met because you were so comfortable with “waiting and seeing” what this person was really about?  Not often enough.  You’re never stumped when it comes to giving an opinion on the new person even if you just give that opinion to yourself.

The you here is me ( and yes, likely you too). 

I’ve pitched an idea or a solution well before I knew what I should really do – I should have been stumped.   I’ve launched a project ( just this week as a matter of fact) tackling a problem that I am brazen enough to think I already know the answer to, until my LEAN mentor smacked me upside the head and said “You need to be stumped in the beginning for this thing to work.”  I’ve judged someone in just 20 minutes of conversation and another in probably 30 seconds – and did it not long ago either – both are awful things to do.  Not fair and frankly, stupid.   Stumped is what I needed to be there and always. 

Not being stumped can get us into trouble; that’s the message here.  Conversely,  being stumped can do some great things like impress the hell out of a customer and get them the best help possible.  Being stumped can get your problem solved better because you didn’t presume you knew the damn answer.   And being stumped is certainly the best way to treat people you meet all the time and to get the most and the best out of that relationship.

Stumped ain’t bad.  Stumped is good.  So all you people out there with the answers ( and that means you too McCarthy) quit talking to me, I gotta work these things out like I don’t have any idea. 

Till next time,

Grow The Business.



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I stared at it every day.

A lot of snow on it for sure.

Lots of snow everywhere.  75 inches of snow so far this year where I live.  I know, I keep track.

I’d take the dog out and yes, I’d stare at it.   Gee, that’s a lot of snow on that.  It was pretty in the snow.

I’d put the dishes in the sink, make the coffee, rinse a plate or two and I’d stare at it more out the window.  

There’s a lot of snow on that roof.  Boy, it’s snowed a lot this year.  It’s a big old shed the previous owner built.  He was a contractor.  It was strong.   I don’t have a garage, so that shed is very helpful.  I put the lawn mower, the bikes, the paint, the old furniture and a dozen other important things in there- you know how it works.

On Sunday I stared at it more.  

The snow on the roof was gone.  Wow.  Where did it go? 

I stared at it more and realized the snow was gone because the roof was gone. 

Collapsed. Crushed. 

The shed exploded actually.  The sheer weight of what had to be 4 feet of snow crushed it in the center crumpling out all 4 sides.  Truth is, the shed looks like it might have been stepped on by a brontosaurus.  Drive on by my house and you’ll see it; it’s quite the sight.


I soooo realized Sunday that sometimes problems are right in front of us but we simply don’t see them. 


I had heard the warnings on radio about roofs and buildings collapsing under the weight of snow but I did not really hear.  I saw the neighbors taking snow of roofs of sheds and homes and schools for fear of collapse but did not really see.   I stared at the bloody shed for weeks and really did not act.

Wow.  A lesson right there in my own back yard.

What will you notice now?  What can you learn from my now crushed shed I just stared at for way too long?

What is right in front of you and gnaws at you? What doesn’t look right?  What just “bothers” you that you stare at every day.  What do you “hope” does not happen so much that you just avoid it?  What are people telling you that you uncomfortably just “brush off” or ignore?

Be wary.  Whatever it is if you do not act, it could collapse.  And you’d be crushed.

Till next time,

Grow The Business.


Avoid Problems In The Shower


Selling is not always about problem solving.   If you are reading the hottest sales books and listening to the trendiest sales gurus though, you might think it was.


It ain’t.

Every time I travel, I check into the hotel, throw the bag on the bed, adjust the heat down to 66 degrees (who can possibly be comfortable at 72?) then step into the bathroom to try to wash away a bit of the day’s travel.  I then invariably look up into the mirror and realize the recurring dream I have when dozing off in a plane about my sudden hair growth alas, did not come true.  I move on and peer into the mirror past my balding pate focusing in the space just behind me.

I see now as I always do in the reflection, the curved shower rod above the tub and get reminded once again so powerfully,  that sales is definitely not just about problem solving.

If you haven’t stayed in a hotel in the last 3 years and have not seen the curved shower rod, this post may not make much sense to you though I think they are being sold in some Home Depots and Lowes now. (Here is a picture):

The curved shower rod.   This thing is amazing.  Without changing the size of the shower, it just now feels bigger with a curved shower rod.  Who woulda thunk it?

That’s kind of the point.   Do you think hotel managers across the country were suffering for decades with the pain of having straight shower curtain rods?  Had they been for years dealing with complaint after complaint that the showers were feeling too small for the patrons?  Do you think they got thousands of letters demanding they make the showering experience feel like there is more room in said shower?  

Do you think then that a crack team of salespeople, product developers, sales leaders and marketers hunkered down in some basement trying for years to come up with the product that would fix this terrible problem of the normal straight shower rods?    Do you think they created the curved shower rod as a solution to a problem and sold it that way?

Nope.  Never happened.

Some brilliant person created and sold this product because it made the experience better, not because there was a problem that needed fixing. 

Sometimes if we obsess with “solution” selling or “problem solving” as our lead mantra on the phone or in the field, we’ll fall on deaf ears or worse as we try to illustrate problems that don’t exist in the mind of our customers or frankly in the mind of anyone.

You might get more business when you sell products that add better to a business, not just solve a problem.

Till next time,

Grow The Business.