Archive for November, 2010

You’ve Got….

November 30, 2010

…18 business days til Christmas Eve, 23 business days til the end of the year, 276 business hours to make this your best year ever.

Or it can be another ho-hum, wish-I-had-finished-stronger, run-of-the-mill year.  It’s your choice.  Tick Tock.


A Permanent Leg Up

November 23, 2010

We live in a world of continuous technological leapfrogs, where each widget is replaced by the next faster, better, cheaper widget.  Occasionally, new products are introduced that seem to revolutionize a market (think Sony Walkman Cassette Player).  Over time, though, competition normalizes the curve, and the leapfrogs continue, resembling Moore’s Law, shown here:

Although tempting, these leapfrogs present only a temporary “leg up” versus the competition.  And so, while the sales reps who flock to the latest and greatest companies might enjoy the benefits of First-mover advantage, pretty soon the market will catch up, and their differentiation marginalized.

It’s far better, I think, to seek a permanent leg up…a competitive advantage that exists regardless of product life cycles or features.  And this is only achieved when intelligent, motivated, caring, empathetic and hard working people focus on solving their customer’s business problems.

Forget about the product, and the company.  It isn’t about those things.  It never was.

Message Received, Mr. Seger

November 19, 2010

Your message doesn’t always sink in the first time you communicate it.  Sometimes, you have to repeat yourself for that message to get through.  Nobody knew this better than Bob Seger, the master of repetitive song lyrics, and the singer-songwriter of classics like “Against the Wind”, “Night Moves”, and his number one hit, “Like A Rock”.

Now, I’m not sure that you need to repeat your message 16 times in the span of 6 minutes to get your point across, but Seger might actually be on to something.  Very rarely do our customers fully digest our value propositions on the first pitch.  It takes a while for things to sink in.  So if you want your message to stick, you’ll probably have to tell them more than once or twice.

Thank you, Bob Seger, for the lesson.  And thank you, Chevy, for making a bad song even worse.

It’s Not That Hard To Understand

November 16, 2010

It isn’t your email system that’s holding you back, and it isn’t your cell coverage.  It isn’t the fact that you have to participate on weekly calls with your sales manager, that you work with complete idiots, or that you sell an inferior product.

It’s you.  You’re what’s holding you back.

And the sooner you take responsibility for your success, instead of thinking of reasons for not putting yourself all the way out there, the sooner you’ll realize the achievements that you’re capable of.

Take responsibility.  Take action.  Win.

Bottle The Deadline

November 12, 2010

If you could bottle the pressure, the focus, and the productivity that the deadline creates, you’d be dangerous.  But the fact of the matter is that only 5% or so of any given workweek could be categorized as a natural “deadline zone”.  So the key is manufacturing a deadline atmosphere that helps you push through the slow spots and actually get something done.

Here’s my tip of the week:  Buy an old-fashioned kitchen timer, write down a lengthy to-do list, wind that sucker up, and see how much you can accomplish in an hour.  There’s something about that tick-tick-tick that helps you stay on task and get the job done.

Find a Different Ruler

November 9, 2010

Don’t get me wrong, I think winning is really important.  It’s what puts food on my table, and what helps me keep my job.  I chuckle, though, when I hear a rep talk about his stellar “closing ratio”.

If you’re winning every time, then you’re not in enough fights.  And if you’re not in enough fights, you’ll become stagnant and you won’t improve.

So if your only measure of success is your win/loss ratio, it’s time to find a different ruler.   The losses are far better teachers than the wins.

Bad Business

November 5, 2010

There is such a thing as bad business.

You know in your heart who they are – customers or prospects that abuse their position and are never, ever satisfied.   They marginalize your value by pitting you against your competitors, leaving you with razor-thin margins.  To them, you are a commodity broker.  They refuse to recognize your value and therefore don’t appreciate what you bring to the table.

As hard as this is to consider, some customers aren’t worth it.  The B.S.-to-Income ratio is simply too high.

Fire these customers.  Tell them whatever you want; just get out.  The time and dignity you reclaim as a result will be more than worth it.

The $4 Water

November 2, 2010

When I checked into my hotel this evening, I was greeted by this:

Four bucks…..FOR A 16.9 OZ. BOTTLE OF WATER!!!  How ridiculous, I first thought.  Who in their right mind would pay $4 for a bottle of water, unless there’s Scotch in it?

Then again, maybe not.  If you were in the middle of the desert, with the sun beating down on you, and your dry, cotton-mouth building spittle at the corners of your mouth…would you then pay $4 for that bottle of Dasani?  No question. You would empty your wallet for so much as an ice cube.

And if you were in a strange city, at 10:30 at night, holed up in your hotel room, with your thirst building by the minute, and no drink machines on your floor, would you open that bottle and worry about the $4 tab tomorrow?

Of course you would.  And that’s why I’m drinking it now.  Brilliant.

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