Not Even A Dog’s Year Old

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Not Even A Dog’s Year Old

A small trip down memory lane today.  6 years ago on this day, this blog began.   I started it to help 10 sales folks I was working with at the time and it has become something different than that – but not really.   It is an effort to write something short, perhaps interesting but most importantly, something you can use that day to help you be better at what you do, and to grow the business.

Though not even a dog’s year old, there are more than 350 posts (and over 50 others in draft form so awful that you will never see them) and 180,000+ words blathered in blog form.  Thought it would be fun to share the most popular posts based on the stats as well as some of my favorite posts and a few more of my favorite posts today.

Have fun rereading or reading these today (I did).  And thanks as always for reading and sharing.

5 Most Popular (based on your views and shares)

“Piano Man” is a Bad Song

My 25 Secrets for Selling To Small Businesses

The 6 Rules of Marketing and Sales

Treat Your Boss Well

Stumped

Some of My Favorites

I am Joe’s Lead

6 Questions Never To Ask a Customer

The Perfect I’m Sorry

Angela’s Assist

Platinum Questions Are Better

My Other Favorites (a bit closer to home- but lessons nonetheless)

My Great Pumpkin Lesson

Bailey

The Luckiest Man in the World

A Wii Bit of Advice

4 Minutes with Little Miss Dangling Arms

Fixing a Throwback Problem

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark

Mark’s Blog

Mark’s Twitter

Trust Your Wince-tincts

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Trust Your Wince-tincts

We Wince.  And wincing is a big deal. 

Think about the Wince: our eyes squint up, we squeeze our shoulders together and we wish just for that moment,  that we weren’t there to see or hear whatever it is that is making us wince.

Wincing is not good.  Not good at all.  But it can help you figure out stuff for the better. 

Sometimes bad acting will make you wince (Hugh Grant comes to mind).  Some movies are 2 hours of a Wince fest (I’m still scarred by that kid movie Chicken Run a decade ago).  Nick Jonas as Marius in Les Miserable 25th anniversary show is probably this century’s greatest wince to date.  But many times you wince in the marketplace or at work.   That’s something we can fix. 

In the marketplace you often sense in advance the wince is coming like when the store clerk says to the customer in front of you “ Do you have a rewards card?” then you wince and immediately drop your eyes to the ground.  Why? Because you know what’s coming – the horrible cross sell -“Would you like to sign up for one..?”  And the wincing isn’t over because its your turn now –you’re about to get the same WinceDom from the clerk.  Ugh.

I wince when the waiter gets too familiar too soon and leans down and just about cuddles up next to me to share the day’s specials (just as he was trained to do I am sure).   I Wince at the airport when I hear the gate agent say “And now we welcome our Delta Super Flyers, Northwest Perks Puppies, Frequent Flyer Super Dupers and Platinum Star Cadets” or whatever it is they say.    It’s so rote and boring and there are just so many titles that it is meaningless and downright embarrassing.   I also wince when I hear at the end of a phone call;   “Have we met all of your needs and are you satisfied with your experience with me today?”   This is a Wince slap no matter how I feel.  Ugh.  What do you think I’m gonna do if I’m not happy?  Pick a fight?  Just tell me “Thank you for your business” and let me go.

I’ve come to think that Wince is a very good word and tell for uncomfortable sales and service.   It’s a great descriptor and is great for identifying those moments that need real help and that need to be fixed because wincing is very truthful.  You have a hard time faking or making up a wince on the fly – It’s just the way it is.    Those moments you wince in any experience are called Wince Points.

Wince Points are no fun.   We should make them go away. 

What about you? What are the Wince Points for you?   When you listen to your colleagues over the wall or listen to client interactions remotely, or along side a sales rep in the field; what makes you wince? 

I wince with my eyes squeezed shut when I hear stuff like “I’m calling just to check in…” or “We have 1/2 off anything new if want something”.  I wince when I see vendor slides that begin with their credentials and not what they’ve learned about me first.  I wince when I see 10 bullets on a WebEx, hear a dog barking in the background in a virtual meeting, see an unchanged automated invitation to me to connect on Linked in, read emails with suggested times to meet but no indication of time zone and I wince when someone tells me to consider then earth when deciding whether to print this document just to name a few more.

Wince Points are everywhere.

Focus on the winces.  And trust your “Wince-tincts. They are truthful and honest moments.   Make a plan, create a process, get a training or get some coaching to help get rid of the winces.

If it makes you wince, there is something wrong with that moment. Don’t fight it, just go and fix it.

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark

Mark’s Blog

Mark’s Twitter

Are You Scroll-Worthy?

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Are You Scroll-Worthy?

I have a colleague, someone I also consider a friend, who said something recently that I just can’t shake.

“If I have to even scroll down a tiny bit to get to the end of a post, I usually won’t do it.  I have other things to do.”

“What about my blogs?” I asked.  “Are they Scroll -Worthy?”

“Not all of them.” he smirked.

Is this what we’ve come to?  Is this Scroll thing (or lack thereof) the new thumbs up or down about the value and intrigue of your content?

Forget about views and impressions I guess, it takes almost no effort “scroll” but now  it must be earned?   Is being “Scroll-Worthy” now a measure of success?

My friend says he’s not alone; that others feel the same way about the scroll.  What else does this mean?

  • That being on the first page of Google results is great – but you better be above the “scroll”???
  • That you’d better be more thoughtful about how large the picture is at the top of your blog post is because you may not get a single swipe??
  • That you need to march out there and protest the smaller IPAD mini and the death of PC’s and large monitors because your content needs more time to be seen and deemed Scroll Worthy?
  • That Eye tracking glasses are next for all and forget the scroll issue – just looking down and left to right will some day need be earned?

With this post at just 306 words, I’m praying it stays above that scroll line dear reader, so you needn’t pass judgement on the quality of this post.  I used to think the fact that you just viewed the post was a sign of worthiness but alas if if I could get you to just scroll a bit….

 
Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark

Mark’s Blog

Mark’s Twitter

Numbers Matter

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Numbers Matter

“You’ve been a customer for many years…”

 “We have a lot of customers where you are….”

 “We build a ton of websites for small businesses….”.  

 Shoot me now.

 Numbers matter.  

No specific numbers can sound like you are lazy.  No specific numbers can sound like you are reading from a script.  No specific numbers sounds like you don’t care.  No specific numbers says you are probably making it up anyway.  

Trust is low in the marketplace.   No specific numbers makes it worse.  Customers and prospects are yearning for numbers – real numbers, real proof that you are credible or that you do care.

If you know how long a customer has been with you in the number of years or months, share it.  If you don’t know- find out and share it every time you contact them.

If you know exactly how many customers you have that are just like the prospect you are talking to (i.e. exactly how many in their town/city or exactly how many just like them (their line of business) are already customers)), then share it.  If you don’t know- find out and share it every chance you can.

If you know how many websites or widgets or thingamajigs you have that people use or buy or love then share that.  If you don’t know- find out and then spit it out.

Numbers are credible.  Numbers are proof.  Numbers get attention.  Numbers earn you a first look or even a second look.  Numbers get you sales.  

Numbers Matter.  

 

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark

Your Favorites & Mine

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Your Favorites & Mine

Happy Friday and New Year,

Here’s a quick look back at 2011. 

The votes are in (ok the views).  Here are the top 5 (listed 1-5) most viewed blog posts at this site in 2011; presumably your favorites.  Good taste I’d say and thank you for your readership. I’ve added 5 others I’d add as my favorites.

Look around a bit.  What’s the worst that can happen?  Steal something shamelessly and grow the business?  

 

Top 5 Most Read Posts (2011)

You Had Me At Hello (and then, you just let me go)

The Most Powerful Phrase In Sales

Offline, Online & Flatline

My 25 Secrets Of Selling To Small Businesses

Help For Looooonnngg Sales Cycles

 

My 5 Favorite Posts of 2011 (aside from above!) 

Customs Fail and Redemption

From Have To Believe

Crushed

A Training Veteran

Larry Bird?

 

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark

 

10 Things I Haven’t Mentioned….

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Nice picture.  Screams charasmatic doesn’t it?

Yeah I have to work on that.   But I’ll start with a little more behind the picture today.

I write about what could or should be done in the worlds of sales, marketing and training.   I’m not shy either about having a stand on a few life lessons too.   I’m OK with that. 

So, today here are a few things you won’t read about me in my About pages and that might offer an element of

Well, I have no idea really.

All I do know is that when I read a couple of posts like this one here by blogger Lisa Sonara Beam, who got the idea from Corbett Barr, it helped me. 

Not sure how it helped but it did.   When I read their posts or their tweets now I guess I feel a little more something.  Maybe it was because a little more was laid out there on a limb with the content of the blog.  It was a little more transparent maybe. 

I think too that they feel a little more something when they write having shared stuff that may not have been that easy to share.  Seems like a win- win.

So I’m stealing shamelessly.

1.  My father was a police officer and my mother was a nurse.  He worked days and she worked nights and then she worked days and he worked nights… You get the idea.  Though 4 sons and a daughter, none of us chose either profession as a career.  I feel kind of bad about that.    

2.  Toby W. doesn’t know I love him.  8 years ago he was kind enough to stop me in the hallway and say he knew I was desperately looking for an apartment and that there was one available in the next town over.  7 days and 75 miles later, I moved in, then went to the local church one hot day that summer, saw the love of my new life cantering, married her 7 years later and am still the Luckiest Man in The World.   Toby visits the office every once in a while (he’s a field sales guy), but he has no idea why I stare at him so long, often saying nothing.  He knows now.  I love you man.

3.  I was always afraid of dogs.  Till I got one.  Now I am just a little afraid.

4.  I went to college as an Engineering Major.  Oh yeah, a 5 year program with the last 2 years supposed to be at Notre Dame.   But in my sophomore year at Stonehill College when I started digging into the trash bins in the computer lab looking for hints of how to just start my computer programming assignments,  I realized this ain’t for me and changed majors right quick.

5.  For nearly 5 years I drove 4 hours a day commuting to and from work.  75 miles each way in some of the worst traffic imaginable.  Longest round trip? 9 hours.  You do what you need to do for your family, you discover books on tape and learn first hand that you never travel in the far left lane; ever,  it’s always the slowest.  Stay in the middle lane my friend.  Always.

6.  Writing is the Great Clarifier.  Writing adds more depth to my thinking, strategizing and execution without a doubt.  It’s not something I do in addition to my job.  It is something I do to get the job done.  Hard to explain, but true.

7.  It’s the little things that drive me crazy.  I’ll use cuss words that would make Capt. Quint wince (he’s from the movie Jaws for you youngin’s) when that razor falls out of the cabinet again or I am stuck having to open up a cereal package (impossible).  If I lost an arm in a power saw accident however, I assure you that you wouldn’t hear a peep out of me.  Seen it before; big stuff happens and I’m cool as a cucumber, little stuff happens and the good Sisters at St. Catherine’s would ditch the ruler and grab a 2 by 4.

8.  A 30 pack of Bud Light saved my life.  Between his second and third murder over the span of 5 days, this guy  walked up to my car window while I tried to pull out into traffic in Meredith, NH in 2001.  He leaned into my car window and asked “can I get a lift to the print shop just down the road?”.  His hand heavily resting on the door frame and his head now nearly touching mine, I just glanced at the 30 pack of Bud Light on the passenger seat, shrugged and said “Hey man, no room”.   I  then hit the accelerator harder than I planned and drove off; something just wasn’t right about him.  2 of the 3 guys he killed I found out later, had given him a lift just like I almost did.    Maybe this is why I still love beer so much.

9.  I love my Mom’s music .  On my IPod, I’ve got everything from Jock Jams to Broadway musicals to Mozart’s Requiem to Police (Live!) to John Denver to a dozen full length Biz books.  So what.  Everybody has a wild mix of music.  My favorite Playlist is the one I made for my Mom 2 years ago.  She’s 77.   I burned 2 CD’s for her of her favorite stuff ranging from Church hymns to Paul Simon to Les Miserables and I know I listen to it more than she does.

10. I know nothing about cars, babies, electronics, weapons, meat that is anything but well done, astrology, soccer, tennis and fishing.  Conversely, I know way too much about backyard sports (including dozens of made up games), football, books of lists, scrabble and cemeteries.  So there you go; that about evens it up.

Till next time,

Grow the business.

Mark

5 New Rules For Book Reading

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After a recent conference meeting, I offered to send out a particular book to any sales leader who wanted one of my remaining stash.  Many folks replied requesting the book and my guess is that others used the link I provided to purchase the book at Amazon. 

Super.  I love people who read business books.  They get it.  

It was a little odd though.

Some sent notes saying things like “Please send the book and I’ll pass it on to each leader” or “I’ll send back it back when I am done with it”.  These notes are from people wanting to invest in themselves and are very well intentioned for sure.  I’m convinced though, that our “Library” experiences and our “Textbook” experiences in school have fostered the belief that all books should be treated as we once were instructed to, or as we might treat fiction books today; That books are to be read and read only; That books are to be passed around, or resold or covered in protective paper and never, ever to be written or doodled in.  

It’s time for the old rules to go.  I don’t think those beliefs suit us well when applied to essential books.  These types of books I’m talking about can change your life at work and at home.   

Here are 5 new rules to go by.

1) Never Share:

It’s yours.  You wanted this book to read.  You will, if you do it right, write in this book including in the Kindles of the world.  In a mad rush some day in the future, you’ll lunge for your bookcase because you know that there is this book or this author who has that idea  and you need to read it again to move this effort forward or make something happen.  Make sure that this book is in your bookcase or on your desk when you need it.  Recommend a book?  Yes.  Share a book?  Never. 

2) Never Borrow:

Never borrow one of these types of books from anyone.  Not your colleague, not your spouse, not your friend.  Borrow means you have to give it back.  Borrow is a complete waste of time.  Think you can read a non-fiction critical book and remember the 10 essential themes or tools it teaches?  If you can, welcome to the tiny percentage of folks with a photographic memory.  The rest of us need to skip the “borrow” approach to books.  Never borrow.  Leave that to the fiction and fun books. 

 

3) Always Write In and Highlight In Your Book:

Have a pencil and your favorite color highlighter in hand whenever your read one of these books.  If you are into the electronic readers be careful; you have to get the ones that easily allow you to write, highlight and retrieve (and Nook ain’t one of them).  Books are a collection of moments from great teachers, researchers and leaders and like anything else, offer some moments that are better and more striking than others.  Highlight them or write a note next to that moment.  Your books should be a complete mess of color and notes.  It makes it that much easier a year later or 10 years later, to pick up this book and find what you loved about it the first time you read it.

 

4) Spend Money:

Spend at least $60 of your own money every month on books.  About a $2 dollars a day on ways to be better, be happier, be smarter or be more of whatever it is you want to be.  You decide if you are worth it but if you are reading this, my guess is that you are.  

 

5) Re-Write the Best:

If you take the time to read these types of books (and you must), do so with a small notebook that you’ll never lose (I use a small red moleskin notebook).  When you read, there are concepts that on occasion will make your jaw drop, your eyes widen and your breath quicken as within this book and on this page, a brilliant perspective screams out to you.  These thoughts are so profound that a note or highlight just won’t do and in fact, you should carry it with you. Transfer that tremendous thought to your small notebook.  Carry it with you and look at it often. 

Till next time,

Grow The Business.

Mark