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Tuesday, July 27, 2021

#WorkFromHome or #WorkInACube: The Choice is Yours

Do you know how much the corporate BBQ, Christmas parties, and other events cost your company?  

Sure, it's nice to go see a baseball game or get to sit in the corporate suite for a basketball game...yet...consider this: 

Would you rather get dressed up, hear a band, eat good food and listen to an executive pontificate with a bunch of co-workers or receive a check for the amount your company paid for the event? (divided among employees) Maybe use that money to take your significant other out on a date.

Does your company sponsor a minor league baseball team? Why?  
Do you see your company's logo all over your "free" swag? How many copiers do you need to sell, in order to buy 14,000 logo'd coffee mugs?  Sure, vendors kick down funds in support - what's in it for them?

We've been trained to believe these events are acts of kindness or perks from our benevolent employers, and for the most part, we're all appreciative.  

But that was the old model, the pre-Fear of Covid way. Today is different.  Today, you are different.

I dare you to ask for the company's internal "entertainment" budget.

The point is this: you are a 'Resource'(go ask Human Resources) and resources are meant to be used to the maximum for minimum cost.  

There is nothing wrong with this model, it is revenue-cost=profit and what we sign up for when we work to support somebody else's dream. (No shame)

It's just that now we can recognize the manipulation - this is a "Red Pill, Blue Pill" situation. 

Blue Pill: Buying into the dogma and believing the narrative you’ve been lead to believe is the truth.

The Red Pill: The Truth

The choice is yours.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

#WorkingFromHome Is A Battlefield

I received this message in my LinkedIn box, a few weeks ago:
"Thank you for pressing the #WorkFromHome influencing messaging. Many of us out here can't say it and don't react to your posts because we're afraid our companies will see us advocating for something that can be construed as self-interest rather than company interest. Makes us targets if we do. You're blazing the trail for all of us.  KEEP IT UP PLEASE”
Pretty cool, eh?  I've been remote for just over a decade, outside sales is conducive to working at Starbucks, and parking lots - it was the beginning of work from anywhere.  Indeed,  I was cold calling businesses, on my Nextel, from the beach in SoCali back in 2003.

Consider this rudimentary timeline:
  • Data(files) were always at the office; everyone had to be under one roof just to be 'on the same page'
  • Fax machines allowed us to send copies around the world
  • Email helped us share bigger documents with prospects and clients 
  • Laptops made us more mobile; I could now bring my files home to work on over the weekend
  • Pink phone message notes were the standard until numeric and alpha-numeric pagers became the rage
  • Cell phones replaced pagers
  • Smartphones let us connect to email from the palm of our hand
  • Ubiquitous WiFi gave us the ability to conduct online meetings from hotel lobbies and poolsides
  • Today, with data in the cloud and apps on phones, the CEO can track revenue, sales reps can monitor delivery schedules from the 9th tee or pontoon.
Who wouldn't want to be free to work from anywhere?

Here's why the establishment doesn't want you working from home:

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

The Gift of Covid19 - Unshackled Employees

So you worked from home. 

You figured it out, and built office space in your kitchen, second room, or closet, with no guidance from HQ.

  • You learned Zoom. 
  • You became more 'self-managed. 
  • You weren't considered 'essential'.  That high standing was reserved for the antiquated accounting department and even more old-fashioned mailroom. 

And now, today, the taskmaster wants to look out upon a sea of workers toiling away in the cotton fields of the 21st century - the cube farm. 

Managers hope we don't figure out how obsolete they've become - they fear for their jobs. 

The most fearful are in the C-Suite. Those "Killers of Passion" who command their complacent, easily replaceable, and 'loyal' chattel back to the stalls. 

It's worse.  Upon return to the office, everything you learned and did 'for the company' during Covid is to be forgotten or suppressed - the hierarchical, top-down rules of management must be enforced to maintain order.

They entice and seduce:
  • Friday is blue jean day.
  • Group outings to the baseball game.
  • Free cappuccinos in the luxury kitchen; beer.
  • Catered breakfasts, corporate BBQs, and Christmas Parties.
  • 401k's, healthcare, and 2.5% yearly pay increases.
Ignore the 45-minute commutes, and missed recitals.
Enjoy the useless, mundane, and mindless 4PM meetings that inevitably and predictably run over by 60 minutes - "this could have been an email."

Don't forget co-worker personalities and hostile environments - HR is not your friend.
"Some simply refuse to schlep back and forth to an office, taking two-plus hours a day commuting into a crowded, dirty and crime-ridden city. Insurance and financial services giant Prudential conducted a study that found “one in three American workers would not want to work for an employer that required them to be onsite full time.” - Forbes
People are quitting jobs more than ever.  

Here's the nasty and silver lining:  Covid19 and remote working opened our eyes to bigger possibilities.  We can pursue our passions and our passion is not a 9 to 5 prison.  Sure, there are great advantages to working for somebody else from anywhere.  The big, huge transformation will not be technology-driven, it will be powered by passion your passion, unleashed.

This is a great fear the establishment denies - workers, once unshackled, will move away from the establishment and towards their personal, unique dreams.  Maybe that dream is to be the best Events Manager in the industry - why would the best work for one company?  Better yet, why wouldn't she work for herself instead of Big Brother?

Fascinating...the possibilities are endless.

Gambling man rolls the dice, working man pays the bill
It’s still fat and easy up on banker’s hill
Up on banker’s hill, the party’s going strong...
Down here below we’re shackled and drawn

Monday, July 5, 2021

New to Copier Sales: Sales Lessons Learned in the Last Year

I’ve been saying for almost 12 months that virtual selling and remote work is the wave of the future. I’ve also predicted that few people will go back to the office to work — which as you know will greatly affect your ability to sell copiers.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, I’m prepared to say that I was wrong with my prediction on how few people will come back to the office because some major corporations have announced a back-to–the-office policy. Companies like Bank of America, Wells Fargo and T. Rowe Price are announcing policies, and predictably, so are large commercial property firms. Any company with an interest in commercial real estate, office space and financing encourages everyone to come back to the cubicle.

This is counter to what happened over the last 12 months. Revenues for companies that operated during the pandemic went through the roof.  Productivity for work-from-home employees increased by double digits. Employees were happier, reconnected with their family, ate fewer cold dinners, and never missed a soccer game.

However, this didn’t bode well for people who make a living renting office space, running parking lots, or selling copiers.

People will be coming back to the office, but does this mean they will be buying more copiers?

Probably not. But the gift the rest here.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

"Nobody Wants To Work."

Maybe, if you treated employees better when they were working for you, they'd come back to you today.

"We can't find any good employees and we're just starting to come back."

"People do not want to work and who blames them? They can stay at home and make just as much as I would pay them!"

Well then, maybe you should pay them more.  Maybe you should have valued them more when they did work for you.  Maybe, you shouldn't have demanded they stay late, and miss their kid's soccer game.  

"Our employees don't want to come back to the office.  They are the least engaged."

Could it be that after nearly 100 years of office work, everyone is recognizing that engagement with a corporation is a one-way escapade?  

That corner office, 401k, and 12 days of vacation are all part of the trap.

Companies have convinced employees that long commutes, cube farms, terrible co-workers, hostile working environments, company policies that defy logic, 2.5% pay raises, overtime, water coolers, ping-pong tables, and company half-barrels are worth the cold dinners, missed little league games,  red-eye flights, brainless managers, and corporate disloyalty.

They've convinced you that your worth is determined by who you work for, how many hours you put in, and how loudly you tow the company line.  They had you believing that if you worked anywhere but under the florescent sting of an open floor plan, you wouldn't get anything done.

Remember the companies who just 12 months ago were saying, "We're all in this together.  We want what's best for all our employees." and are now treating the same employees like nothing happened you are shameful.  They worked in a completely unfamiliar environment and learned more about technology, human-to-human communications, and getting things done than a dozen of your "corporate training sessions" could ever muster.

Your revenues went through the roof.  Company travel costs approached zero - no client visits, no hotel, dinner, or drinks on the expense reports - FOR A YEAR.  Sure, bigger companies still paid rent - but utility costs tumbled, and what about all those government loans?

Every one of your employees who worked at home deserves a HUGE increase in salary, a bonus, or both and you know it. 

Additionally, the mantra, "Everything has changed because of the fear of COVID-19." is true - so why are you going to manage your workforce the same way you did in 2019?

But if we let our employees work from anywhere, we'll lose that personal touch and will kill our corporate culture."

Personal connection in the business world is a fallacy - it does not and can not exist.  Any bond established under the influence of business transactions is by definition, impersonal.  All the relationship-building, all the dinners, lunches, and drinks spent with a client or prospect are designed with one goal in mind, get their money into your pocket. 

Don't play the "personal touch" card in an effort to force employees back to the cages. 

By the way, working from anywhere doesn't kill the corporate culture, it IS corporate culture.

The argument for returning office workers back to the office revolves around:
  1. A need for centralized management is built on mistrust and insecurities.
  2. The Luddite view of "getting back to normal".
  3. An effort to bolster commercial office space return on investments.
We are witnessing the struggle between indenture and freedom; between value and being unvalued.

The good news is that your skills are transferrable to organizations that want to be part of the future and understand monolithic structures of management are part of a bygone era.  Find those companies and go work for them - from anywhere on the planet.


Friday, May 14, 2021

The Age of the Introvert Salesperson

Sales has changed. You remember how it used to be, right? Waiting in the lobby for that big appointment. Impersonal boardroom meetings.  You sat across the table from each other; you didn’t tell him too much and he didn’t give you any clues as to what he was thinking.

You bantered and built trust through non-verbal communication techniques — the ones you read about in the sales book du jour.  Or maybe during a sales meeting, one of the more seasoned professionals imparted you with knowledge. “Pace your prospect,” he told you. “When he leans in, you lean in. When he crosses his arms, so do you.”

Your presentation skills involve walking the room, waving your hands, smiling, nodding, looking people straight in the eye. All this comes easy for you, doesn’t it? You are an extrovert.

Back in school, you were the center of attention.  You have no fear of attending parties by yourself. Peers, prospects, and colleagues consider you outgoing and engaging. You’re boisterous, lively, energetic, entertaining, maybe charming.

Friends and family have been telling you for years, “You’re such a people person, you should go into sales.” So one day, you took their advice and jumped into the sales profession.

Read the rest, here.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

If Your Company Wants You to Work in The Office - Quit.

Updated June 21, 2021

"Getting back to normal" is the new mantra.  

True, people are sick of fearing Covid19 and want to get back to business. Also true is the undebatable fact that Covid forced you to work for home and you loved it.  While at home, your productivity went through the roof as middle management lost the traditional facilities of control.

You've proven yourself more productive. You are a Zoom Room king.  Heck, over the last 12 months, you've learned more things than in the past three years.

You're happier now, aren't you? No 10 hours a week commute.  You've reconnected with your kids and missed fewer dinners.

Above all, you helped the company get through the largest global catastrophe ever.   That's right.  You weren't "lucky" to have a job.  Your company was most fortunate to have YOU there.  Through all the challenges, changes, insecurities, and unknowns, you were loyal to the company.

And how does your company reward your loyalty?  

They tell you to "Come back in, but stay six feet apart, get tested, and get the jab...", drive back and forth, miss your kids' games, let your dog whine, remain in a frazzled state of mind, and go further into debt.  

Monday, April 12, 2021

Can We Get Rid of Quotas?

The selling profession after Covid19: 
"We have to start doing what was said we were doing but never did."

We're all talking about the "new" ways to sell.  

Covid19 is forcing galactic shifts in the way we do business; from the back-office to the sales trenches. What I find striking is the more we talk about what needs to be done in a post Covid19 sales engagement, the more we find the basic selling skills apply more than ever.

Here are a few of the concepts and skills presented over the decades regarding sales and selling:

  • Build Trust
  • Attract Like-Minded Prospects
  • Consult
  • Be the Trusted advisor
  • Increase Your Business Acumen
The books, lectures, and classes of the past decades all told us to be more a consultant and experts in our industry. Lately, in the last decade, salespeople have been told to become thought leaders, create content, find a 'good match', and help the prospect in their purchasing journey.

We've been saying it for decades.  These are basic skills. Now is the time to ACTUALLY do what we have been saying we do.  Engage the basics, and get to the root of the art of selling.  Once we do this, virtual selling will return to 'Selling'.

Friday, March 19, 2021

It's Time to Refresh Your Website, isn't it?

Q1, 2021.  Covid19 is magically fading and people are starting to break out of their homes and hunker-down mentality.

We don't know how the next 18 months will pan out.  Certainly, 2021 will be nothing like 2019.

The business to business realm is pivoting and re-aligning everything from employee work environments to remote customer engagement protocols.  Everyone, providers, and customers are considering the following aspects for the 'new way':
  • Remote work
  • Remote customer engagement
  • Social selling
  • Video
  • Omnichannel approach
  • Introvert vs. extravort
All dynamic issues.  The question arises, with everything that's changed in the last 18 months and all that will in the next, why is your website stuck in the year 2019?

Consider this:  prospects are going to the web daily, you understand this fact - most prospects know more about you BEFORE reaching out to you directly.

The bedrock of your web presence is your dot Com, you're website, and here's why you should consider and re-build your website:
  1. Business has changed
  2. Common and shared struggle 
  3. Changes in Facebook and Google
Changing times -

Before Covid19, your web presence supported the face-to-face customer experience, now it is reversed.  What you say and do online, drives how customers feel about you.  A screen does not convey the same emotion as "belly to belly", but emotion does get through and it is easier if your prospect feels confident BEFORE the Zoom session.

Common disaster - 

Covid19 was and still is a struggle.  The impact will be felt for the next couple of decades.  Unlike a hurricane, earthquake, or tsunami, EVERYONE experienced the Chinese flu.  We all went through the same struggle.  Your prospect might around the corner or on the other side of the globe, they went through this just like you have. 

This is a bonding experience like never before.  Tap into this energy with an authentic approach.

Facebook and Google Are Not Your Friends -

You are not their customer.  You are the product. One of the millions.  In 2021 both FB and Google are changing their algorithms and hiding end-users from potential sellers.  This is a move towards privacy much like Apple just implemented.  Apple is blocking user data from data collectors and marketers - it is going to be more difficult to reach prospects directly - you're going to need to ATTRACT new relationships.  Enter your circa 2018 website.  Ug.

Here's the deal.  Websites are considered primarily static; once created, they never really change that much.  Environments like Facebook, allow for up to the minute updates and announcements, but your audience is controlled.  Search results on Facebook may include your competition.  Also, customer relationships on Facebook are a bit shallow, which is fine for selling crafts and old sneakers.

I've always felt we never maximized the website experience.  I believe that a company website should be an immersive environment, not a billboard sign.  Of course, over the decades, this is exactly what has happened.  Most corporate websites are single dimension advertisements that brag and beg attention. 

The post-Covid19 era is the perfect time to reconsider your website and your overall web presence.  Reach out to me today and let's get started. 

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

New to Sales: The Pandemic Paradox


Here’s the big paradox of the COVID-19 pandemic — the lockdowns and remote get-togethers have made us more connected. Online sessions reveal more humanity than big, important meetings around the oak table in the executive conference room. Even with all the challenges, bad audio, odd camera angles, and clumsy mute buttons, we’ve seen more of our prospects and customers than ever before. 

Think about it. 

How many kitchens, dens, and home offices have you seen since March of 2020? Have you met clients’ and coworkers’ pets and children? Of course. Have you seen paintings, books, sports memorabilia, and messy desks? 

Yes, you have. We all have. Web meetings, with cameras on, give us the chance to be vulnerable and connect with prospects and customers on a deeper level than before COVID-19. 

Vulnerability is foundational to building a bond, establishing rapport, and creating a solid relationship. And what can be more vulnerable than inviting the CEO of your biggest prospect into your home? One of the many “silver linings” of the pandemic is the ability to see more of our customers’ lives. Who would have thought that physical separation could bring us closer? 

It is counterintuitive, ... read the rest here.

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Greg Walters, Incorporated