About Face

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mark mullet years   

Let’s pretend you are just like this handsome dude in the picture;  a guy, single, and in a bar.   And it’s 80’s night.

Your name, as always and of course is…Rock Ledger.  (Just go with me on this – my blog, my rules).

Even though you are still a certified Sales legend, these are not Good Times in the romance department.

Things are so bad that one woman said “No” to a date with you,  even after you handed her 2 concert tickets, promised you wouldn’t bother to show up and that you’d never contact her again.

You don’t understand what’s happened to you!  You have never had these kinds of problems in the singles scene before.  Heck, your buddies named you years ago, “The Other Rock Legend”.   Maybe you’re in a rut.   Maybe the world is changing and your approach has to be different.  Maybe it’s just a run of bad luck.  Real bad luck. 

Despite the cool Tears for Fears music, you’ve had it.  You get up to leave.   But then..…

…….She ……slowly…..walks…..by………

She is stunning.  She is more than stunning…… she is amazing. 

She actually turns around ……………….and looks at you.  

You realize your mouth is awkwardly agape as you bask in the awesomeness of her beauty. So you snap it shut, straighten up and give her The Look.  (The Look of course, was invented by you back in the day.  It’s the one in which the left eyebrow arches, the head bobs with a half smile that says, “Hi there, I am Rock Ledger, and you deserve me).

It worked!   She starts to walk over to you.

Good Times are back.

Her name is Cassandra and well; you are feeling good so you’ll spring for something special.  You motion to Marty that you’re moving “uptown” now and will pass on the normal Bud Lite cuz’ for the lady, only Bud Lime will do.

“You are so beautiful” you tell her.  And she is.  “You’re so beautiful that you don’t even need much make-up”.  You can feel you are getting your groove back now.   She smiles sweetly and takes a sip of her Bud Lime.

You are a romantic guy so you keep on with the sweet talk.  “Not much make-up at all Cassandra.”  She smiles again.  You know it’s a great move to get her to talk about herself, so you ask a good one.  “Are you happy with the way your face looks now?”

“Excuse me?” she says.

You reply “No, what I’m saying is I’ve seen a lot of other women ….do like a whole total makeover thing on their faces and even look more beautiful than ever.”

“Are you talking about my FACE!” she cries.  “What is wrong with my FACE?!” a little louder. 

You’re thinking maybe you are in a little trouble but this is the best you’ve done in a while so you keep on keeping on.

“Cassandra, your face is beautiful.  I bet everyone loves your face and knows your face, but you have had that look for a long time.   I think I have a few good ideas you might like if you want to you know, freshen it up a little bit.”

She stares at you.

Yep.  You suspect that now you are in fact, still in a rut.  Deep in a rut.

Cassandra slams her Bud Lime bottle on top of yours and as that explodes all over you and the bar, she takes the rest of her bottle and dumps it on your head.  

Good Times no more.

*******

I needn’t beat you over the head with the lesson we learned at the bar today.  So I’ll keep it brief.

Cassandra has a face and a business has face.  And both are things you as sales people,  consultants and advisors need to be very careful about. 

That face is very important to a business owner,  especially if that business is small to medium sized.  Be it the logo, the website, the facebook or LinkedIn page, the storefront,  brand promise, the status in the community, the unique services they provide or the colors, the cars,  or even the style of the owner- it’s all a crital “face” of the business.

And it can be that personal.   

If you are in the business of helping businesses get better and or change; be careful how you go about messing with the “face” of that business

Small business owners in particular are a prideful ego-laden bunch.   You can’t talk like Rock Ledger did here (yes that picture is really me, but the nickname..not so much)  and suggest tactlessly a  business makeover, a switch in strategy or revamp of their websites or marketing plans – whether you’re a marketing consultant, a printer or software salesperson.   If you do, trouble might brew (pun intended :)).

Whenever you foster change a business, especially a smaller one, you can be changing that “face” of the client.  Be smart about it.   Do it wrong and it can go very wrong.    It’s not taboo – It’s just different.

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark

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Mullet Over

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mark mullet years

Sales and Dating just don’t mix.  But when they do, there are lessons to be learned.

Tonight you are super sales guy Rock Ledger.  You are single and in a bar.  Good Times.

And lucky you, it’s also 80’s night.  This feels good.  This was your time.  This was where the Rock Ledger legend began.  So even though you are not much of a dancer, it’s flashback (and Flashdance) fever tonight so you have got it going on!

You Rock Ledger, you super sales man, you  did your pre – party research, and prepared well for this 80’s night.   And holy leg warmers, you spy someone you think you’d like to talk to.  You remember her name is Tiffany.

Excellent.   Time to make your move.

A bit sweaty now because you just had to break out some moves to the blaring tune Safety Dance, you are comforted knowing that the rusty Aquanet hairspray you found buried in your dresser drawer (literally from the 80’s you suspect), had enough juice to keep hair  securely shaped into that “oh so cool” Mullet.  You amble over to Tiffany in your now ill – fitting Members Only jacket and say:

“Well Hello there.” 

“Well Hello to you.”  She says.  She looks at you coyly.  She’s curious.  You look back.   An awkward pause ensues, but you are ready.  Conversation is your game.

“I was wondering” you say, (knowing full well how good your John Stamos Full House Mullet looks)….  “Are you happy with growth of your family or are you just looking to keep the family you have?”

 “Whaaaat?” She cries.

 “No, I ‘m sorry.  What I meant was, how happy are you recently with things?  Is life going well for you?  Are you really happy with your current boyfriend or do you want to be happier?”

“Listen Skippy, I barely know you..”, she says. (And of course you’re thinking that “Skippy” was Michael J Fox’s dorky friend on Family Ties and you definitely do not, look like Skippy)

“Ok I’m really sorry this is not starting off well.  All I want to know is why can’t I have a serious conversation with you?”

WHAP!! Your face, ego and hair sprayed Mullet all get whacked at once.  Face and ego bruised, the Mullet surrenders too and snaps back from whence it came.  Your 80’s night is now over.

**

Mildly entertaining?  Sure.   But Rock Ledger’s conversation with Tiffany is not that much different than some of the early conversations we have with our business customers and prospects.  Though we are well intentioned, many of us launch into some very deep questions right off the get go.

We are quick to ask these deep and frankly quite “personal” (especially when speaking with small to med size businesses) questions that while your customer won’t likely literally “slap” you like Tiffany did, they sure as hell might want to.

Think about what many of us ask after a few moments of introduction or in our first meeting.

  • “Are you focused on growth or maintaining your customer base?
  •  “How is the economy treating you, are you guys doing OK?”
  •  “Are you happy with your current supplier?
  •  “What’s the biggest challenge you are facing this year?
  •   “I want to understand your needs better, so I have some  questions..”

Should we be asking these questions of our customers?  Yes we should.  But should we take some time to buy the prospect a metaphorical drink or two and build a little trust and value about ourselves or our company first?  Prove we care about really helping the prospect first?   You bet.  Tiffany would have appreciated it.

This doesn’t have to take too long.  It can take as little as a first date but more often than not (especially today in this low trust competitive environment), you shouldn’t ask these types of “personal questions” till you’ve had a few dates or you might get whapped.  It’s tough, the pressure is on.  You need to perform.  Rock Ledger wants to close the deals right quick too, but you saw what happened to him.

You can dance if you want to.   And I suggest you do.  But dance the long dance version please first.

Till next time,

Grow the Business.

Mark