Scrabble

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scrabble

You can call it volunteering if you want but I just call it “an old fashioned whoopin’ that keeps on giving”

It’s true I’ve been known to head to the local Sr. Center and um… volunteer to play scrabble with some of the folks that hang out there.   My objective is twofold:  give of my time and talent to these wonderful folks and of course, to win.

Scrabble is a great game. It’s a great game for anyone.  It keeps the mind sharp.

Let’s all agree to that helping drive interest in the playing of Scrabble is a good thing – especially at a Senior Center.  Let me make an argument that it’s even better when I do it.   Scrabble in my hands for a mere hour a week, is a series of important life lessons for all of us.

  • Losing never gets old.  Chances are overwhelming that you will lose to me.  (Ok, well 2 weeks ago was an exception – but I’ve got my eye on you Betsy).  There’s no age when losing should stop.  Life is funny like that; the only time losing stops pretty much is when you’ve given up trying something or are no longer literally getting in the game.  My trouncing you is therefore, good for you.
  • Chi is good, really good.   Chi is a word that means vital internal energy.  Good chi is exactly what you want in your Senior Center and exactly what you want in Scrabble.  With me as your Scrabble guide, you’ll get vitally energized when you learn that you can spell “chi” for immense points in two other ways with just two letters as in “xi” and “qi”.  What fun!  When I did this for 31 points, Kathy shot me a look and then spewed out  two other choice letters tied together that I can’t mention, but nevertheless, this is a teaching moment!  – Teaching never grows old, even if we do.
  • Without rules there’s Chaos.   Just because we may have a little more life experience doesn’t mean rules get lax.  I have a lot of personal rules about Scrabble I think are endearing and truly in the spirit of the game.  One rule is that you should never put down a word that you cannot use in a sentence.   Nancy disagreed when I asked her about “el” and then slammed down her 4 page print-out of acceptable 2 letter Scrabble words and said “That’s stupid-  it’s a word! But to make you happy, how about you shutting the el up?”  Funny now but she’ll think about it later and realize how much I’ve taught her.

This week at my suggestion, we’ve added a Scrabble trophy for the winner of the weekly matches. The winner keeps it for the week, snapping and posting photos of you and your trophy around town.  A nice incentive to work hard every week and improve your game I say.   My Scrabble mates liked the idea but suggested if I win, to take a photo of myself and the trophy at the end of a long walk on a short pier.

Not very nice but chi is xi baby– bring it on!

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark

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The 4 Best Sales Pick-Up Lines Ever

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The 4 Best Sales Pick Up Lines Ever

 

Want to get a date with your prospect?  Want to see if you make those sparks fly?  Or maybe you want to date your current customer and move into a deeper more satisfying relationship.

Pick up lines work great.

My favorite one in college (worked darn near every time) was when I sauntered up to an unsuspecting attractive young lady at the bar and said   “I can play Lionel Ritchie songs on the piano, you wanna hear some? ”

But I’ve grown and realized that pick-up lines aren’t just for your love life.  They’re for work too.

Here are my top 4

“I know people just like you, in fact I spent the weekend in Vegas with hundreds of them” – This one is always good; you’re smart about their business – you went to a trade show in their industry and bragged about it.  You’ll be fun and a good listener.

“You may not know this, but I’ve been watching you..”.   Creepy?  No, not at all.  You’ve been watching them on social media, maybe read their posts or blogs.  You might have even read their financial reports.  You’re the type that makes people and businesses feel special.  You’re a nice talker, not a stalker.

“I’m learning about the most entrepreneurial and successful people,  do have a minute for me to interview you?” This one is always great.  People like to help people and especially if they can talk about themselves too!  You’re sure to get some time and maybe even for way more than a minute!

“Do you believe in love at first sight or should I show you that again?”   Great line to use In your presentation when you are super proud of your stuff –  your product or your solution.  It is very contagious and attractive to be proud so be proud!  You’ll have prospects fawning all over you.

 

 

 

Till next time,

Truly Grow The Business.

Mark

 

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Inherently Suspenseful

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golf

Inherently Suspenseful

The Wall Street Journal published an article touting the growth of golf on play-by-play on radio.  “So what” you say? Well, hear me out – there’s a lesson for us.

It’s true that golf on radio is growing – but that wasn’t what struck me as the most interesting point of the article.  The article touted how popular golf is on TV and  I admit I’m a huge fan.  I’ve always told people that I like to watch TV golf because it’s relaxing and frankly, being from New England, the weather is always better there than out my window.

That’s why I think I like TV golf.  But I know now that’s not the reason.

The writer of the article (John Paul Newport) said this about golf on TV,  “Television discovered that watching the little ball sail through the air for several long seconds, to land who-knows-where, was inherently suspenseful.”

Brilliant insight.

So that’s why I watch it.  It is inherently suspenseful.   And sure I like the physics and geometry of it all; playing angles and surfaces and the wind which by the way, adds to the suspense of where that little white ball is going to land.

And I got to thinking about those fleeting moments every day that are inherently suspenseful for us;  getting the mail ( what’s there?), getting an email ( what is this about?) , a comment, a poke, an update or a post ( I wonder what this is?).  And what about the scratch cards, the monopoly tickets, even the daily specials – we are suckers for this stuff.  We love small things that are inherently suspenseful.

Add up a bunch of those inherently suspenseful moments and maybe you get to be like golf on TV with some eyes watching you.  How good would that be for business?

Each Apple IOS release is inherently suspenseful ( what new features and benefits to me are there?).  Each TED series talk is inherently suspenseful (where will this go?).  These days even the smaller businesses are getting in the suspense game;  will the pizza place write out a joke inside the box cover?  Trade shows are inherently suspenseful ( what will be in the booth? What’s new?) and of course social media tools done right deliver suspense ( FourSquare, Facebook and YouTube).

Inherently suspenseful is attractive.  There’s surely a ton of great ways people are doing it today you can discover, but keep your head down and that left arm straight and look for those moments in your personal interactions with clients or in your business’s interactions and string some fleeting moments of suspense together.

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark

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Rethink

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Rethink

If you want to totally rethink what you are doing in business you need to get your customers to rethink what they’re doing. 

And if you really do get them to rethink what they’re doing – that’s a huge win for you. 

Apple did it.  Like for the last 10 years.

 Advanced Auto Small Engine Repair in my little town did it on Friday.

 It’s a tough world out there.  Most of us in sales and service know that even when customers love us – they are, by the time they call about that new service you’ve been pitching or your flyer or your email,  – they’ve done the research and while you’re still in the game- it’s a price war between you and your competitors or them sticking with the status quo- just doing what they’ve always done.

Disrupt the thinking upstream.  Teach. Preach.  Challenge. 

 Be that person or that company. 

Apple did it –blah blah blah we know that.  And their disruptive tech did make us rethink what we are doing but it extends elsewhere too.   Do you think they did some research and asked you and me if when you go in the store, that we wanted some 6 foot 3 bearded technical guru to greet you in the first 8 feet, get your name and ask what you are here for?  Heck no.

They just did it.  And that’s the way it is.  We have been taught.  But we had been taught before by Apple. They reshaped our thinking.  We believe. We trust.

I had a first world problem Thursday night.  My snowblower after a total of 3 feet exploded.  Well I thought it exploded: the chute shot into the air about 10 feet.   I don’t have a clue.  Next day, my wife got a recommendation from a friend about Advanced Auto and they drove up, loaded the snowblower on the truck and then plowed my driveway.  Plowed the driveway.  They didn’t ask, they didn’t check, they just did it.

3 hours later they returned with a fixed blower, an education about the machine, a conversation about what I should watch for, an invitation to learn more and not a word about plowing the driveway except humble acknowledgment of my thanks.

While Advantage Auto didn’t wholly disrupt my thinking – they did reshape my thoughts about service expectations and education in a small way.  It’s a great start for them.  I grabbed 6 of their business cards and a promise to myself about saying a few things on social media.

The perfect world for changing your business or your approach is realizing and then innovating on changing the way your customers not just think and work with you,  but changing the way they do their own business for the better. 

 

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark

 

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Plan Ahead (and Behind)

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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

 

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2 Videos, 3 Minutes and Grow The Business

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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

 

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Funny Bus(y)ness

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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

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