Saturday, September 16, 2017

Men/Women: Equal and Different.




I'm the douchebag...again.

Her name is Shannon and she is one of the first women to fly Apache helicopters. She served on three continents, led two flight platoons and a line company.

She is a great story-teller; visual and engaging she spun tails and related her history to an audience of risk-taking, aggressive, selling professionals.

The fit was perfect.

Shannon told how she encountered sexism in the military, facing the wind and climbing to the pinnacle - against the odds. She expressed the tension felt while flying night missions in South Korea and leading soldiers. How in order to lead others well, one needs to own their personal story.

Know thyself.

Writer, pilot, leader, mother, wife - Shannon took us on a journey around the world.

Once finished, she opened the floor to questions.

At first, nobody spoke - we've all experienced that awkward segment of silence - hands finally took flight, banal questions flew: "...how did it feel...", "...what is it like...", and my favorite, "...what is your favorite missile?", "Well, the HellFire, of course." she answered.

Gotta love the Hellfire.

I was moving from boredom to angst.

Here we had a bonafide American Hero, a female who led men in military missions speaking to a group of technology professionals - an industry heavily populated by men - and the best we could come up with is "What's your favorite missile?"

So, in the silence just before the speaker asks, "are there any final questions?" my hand shot up and I asked,

"Can you give me three differences between female leaders and male leaders?" 

I heard a few nervous giggles, as a broad smile spread across Shannon's face - I knew she got it.

Her response, "First, I feel its the individual not the gender." - I'm paraphrasing, but you get the point. Her answer was the necessary one, eliciting requisite applauds.

Still, I felt the cool gaze of many - it felt good.

Her second and final answer is more powerful and like a Hellfire, flew over most heads - which I find disappointing.

Shannon put on her game face, looked me in the eye and said,

"One thing I've noticed is that men tend to volunteer for missions before and even though, they are not necessarily prepared. Where women tend to train and prepare to a point they feel 100% ready for a mission."

I didn't ask the question to get the room in an uproar, or receive, "You're a douchebag for asking that question." statements.

No.

Today, there are more women decision makers and insight into how women leaders may operate differently than their male counterparts, I felt, would be relevant.

Her answer was perfect.

So yeah, after she left the stage and during the bio-break, sales professionals, commrades-in-arms, expressed a bit of shock. Some saying, folks were remarking,

"Who asked that dick-head question about male and female leaders?"

Wow.


In this age of the eternally offended, I guess assuming men are from Mars and women from Venus, is considered a microaggression.  So, at the very least my question made some uncomfortable and might have actually offended others.  HUH?

I didn't ask, "Who are better leaders men or women?"  The underlying sensitivity, in my opinion, is the current generation's misunderstanding of equal and identical.

I guess it does need saying, "Men and Women are different."  I said it, I meant it, I'm here to represent it.

Strategic Selling -

If we assume Shannon's observation can be translated into the business realm, would you approach a female decision maker/leader differently?

Or would you feel the need to find a safe-place, squeeze Play-doh, and tear down 100 year old statues?

Monday, September 11, 2017

911


For as long as I can remember, I've played this video on 9/11.  Super Bowl 2002, months after the attack, our country was numb and jumpy.


Well before self-loathing americans started calling our movements in the middle-east "invasion" and "occupation", patriotism was on every street corner.

I remember that night; I remember seeing it live.  I can't tell you the football teams playing, but I can say it was one of the deepest, moving TV moments, ever.

U2 - that Irish rock band, stood up on the world stage, honoring the greatest country on earth and her fallen citizens.  Names float to the sky, as the rousing "Where the Streets Have No Name" beats on.  The song, second of the half-time set,  was written about a place without class stigma, where the distinction between religions and income are no more; a World Without Sin?

Bono ends the tune exposing the Stars and Stripes - Triumph.

Here we are, 15 years laters - The Twin Towers, replaced by that defiant Freedom Tower, slip deeper into fog with each passing 911.  The threat remains the same, if not more pronounced.

Do you honestly feel safer now than you did that faithful day of empty skies, September 12, 2001?

Day of cogitation: What have we learned?

On this day of reflection, consider not only the ones who've helped you see who you are, but remember the hearts you've "imprinted"; son's, daughters, mothers, fathers, friends, lovers and ex-lovers, customers and co-workers.

Be gratified knowing you've changed somebody's life for the better - we all have.

Take time to remember those on the 98th floor, at 8:47 AM, sipping a Starbucks, considering a sales forecast or the regret of not saying "I love you, I always will..." on that morning, 14 years ago.

"I want to run
I want to hide
I want to tear down the walls
That hold me inside
I wanna reach out
And touch the flame
Where the streets have no name..."



Click to email me.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Secret to Better Sales: Stop Reading Sales Books


"We are made of matter and nothing more, just another tiny, momentary spec within an indifferent Universe."
Open your Eye.

Today, the sales profession drowns in self-help tomes, and big-tent evangelical, esteem building events.  From redefining selling, establishing social sales and seeking disruption, the new professional is inundated with seemingly fresh advice.

Just like copiers, the books and classes are now, and always have been, the same; Universal.  

Everything has been said before.

Cut away the self-indulgence, fluff, psychobabble, and nascent veneer, what's left is basic, simple core behaviors.  First-rate selling approaches possess timeless notions.

Here are three:
  1. Unchecked Ego is bad
  2. Going with the Flow is good
  3. Your Competition isn't Fear of Change or lower pricing

"Silence Your Ego..."

Ego - 

Our manipulators bank on the thought of the Ego driving behavior. Why so many contests, glass trophies, stack rankings, and business plans?  Every 'win' feeds the Ego - we need Ego, without it, we dry up, wither and fade. Sell more, no matter the cost to your pride, standards or personal values.

Everybody does it.  We sell answers, as long as the solution sports our logo.  You know what I say is true.

Too much ego leads to unfulfilled expectations, and insecurity causing lives to "skyrocket downward"; long work hours, missed anniversaries and divorce.  The experts don't tell you that, do they?

Can you be a successful selling professional and balance the ego?  I say the Greatest Sales people do.
  • Treat others nicely and be Polite...
  • Ask permission
  • Don't speak unless spoken to...You've got two ears, one mouth.
  • Sincerity
  • Solve, don't Sell

Flow -
"You cannot beat a river into submission. You have to surrender to its current, and use its power as your own. "
We call it the Funnel, the Submarine, The Sales Process - and we fight it every, single day of the month.
"On the 1st we sell solutions, the 15th, we're moving boxes..." 

Yes, you are responsible for a projection and filling quota - you're compensated on hardware. Yet focusing on the 30 day, is like looking at life through a keyhole. Broaden your view.

I'm not advocating sacrificing the short term, I'm suggest expanding the view to include everything.

Be the river, not the stone.

Get to know EVERY lead in your territory.  Own it through research, face to face engagements and total immersion of the environment.  Forget about networking groups like the chamber of commerce - you're not doing MLM, are you?  Get to know ebb and feel of how decisions are made inside your clients, prospects and even YOUR DEALERSHIP.

This is not easy.  This is not taught. People will think you're crazy.  This will elevate you over your peers and management.

Find the flow of your world then master the tides.   It is not impossible.

Competition  -
"All Things Age.  All Things Die.  People think in terms of good and evil...when really Time is the true Enemy of us all.  Time kills everything"
Learning how to sell is complicated - systems, techniques, objections, rejection - all play a part, let alone talking to strangers who do not believe a word that comes out of your mouth.

It's a tough racket.



Our number one obstacle isn't an ornery gatekeeper, amorphous board of directors, aloof C-Level know-it-alls or fear of change.

No.

Our enemy is Time. Time, both finite and infinite, consumes All.  But like the river, we cannot overcome Time.  Can you managed Time?  No.  Can Time be bent to our will? No.

We can control what we concentrate on during our stay on this plane.  It comes down to qualification.  Not just qualification of your prospects, co-workers, colleagues and bosses.  Who deserves your Time?

I say again, "Who Deserves Your Time?"



Dark Forces will beguile with unspeakable treasures.

Take heed, for many sorcerers hunger for the souls of the living.  They will say things like, "It's a numbers game, kid." or "work the process, it's how this company was built" and "this is how we've always done it..."  This is insidious. Inside each statement, shards of truth entice.

  • It is true that the more people you contact, the better chances you have of acquiring a client.
  • It is true that the process is proven.
  • It is true repeating a known and proven flow delivers results.

The trick is equilibrium, not resistance.  Attend all the classes your employer will fund. Dutifully, jot down soon forgotten notes.  Then go out into the world, discover something new and find problems to solve.

Beware.  Imbalance will by your demise.


P.S.

There are three books about selling, I strongly recommend for beginner or seasoned veteran:


Three books about writing, DOTC approved:


Cheers!

g

Sunday, June 4, 2017

The Future of Copiers - The Wookie in The Room



by Greg Walters | 12/8/14

I'm writing this three weeks after the Executive Connection Summit and I’m still feeling the effects. Intel, SAP, Cisco — foundational members of the technology industry, stalwart believers in all things connected, came to speak here in our backyard. To be sure, it stands as the best show in the industry, with superior content. As Gavin Williams said, “The goal was really to educate as much of the industry as possible about the innovation available today.” The bar is officially higher, but there’s something more recondite just under the surface.

I comment about the players at center stage, but I’ve always enjoyed getting a feel for what the attendees find attractive - the dialogue between the talks. That’s the gold.

I thought of the Internet of Things conversations, how independent dealers are capitalizing on the technology not only in implementing but offering those same services to clients. It wasn’t until I remembered an onstage conversation when things started to click.

After one panelist on stage lamented the challenges of converting to a new accounting system, I chatted with a few people about moving to different CRMs and the difficulty around data conversion. One company decided to operate both the old and the new systems in parallel as legacy data is weaned over to the new system. Another is hiring a staff of “keypunch operators” to input all existing contracts and customer information into Forza.

The underlining tension, the Wookie in the Room, was simple: People know a better accounting system is out there, but getting to it is difficult because of our old school investments. Time and again, I spoke with people who recognized the need to switch but anticipated huge costs in labor and time with the transitional project of moving to a new CRM/accounting system. The tension was palpable.

Imagine needing to have an leg broken and reset because the original setting was primitive. At one time, healing a broken limb was as easy as tying the bone together with tree branches and twine. Years later,

read the rest at The Imaging Channel, here.