Confucius Says …….

Real Knowledge is Knowing the Extent of One’s Ignorance.”

That’s the way this article starts. Sometimes I think that I should stop writing and just point you to great posts that I find. As I read this article, I remembered do-it-yourselfers who have tried to fix their own plumbing and wound up calling the plumber to fix a big problem, or try fix their own car and wind up making a mechanic rich fixing the resultant screw up, or wind up “injured” with a do-it-yourself exercise program. Whether we think we know more than we do, or we’re trying to save some money the end result might be that we make a bigger problem.

The same thing happens when we start a business. I did things backwards. Many business owners have an expertise, but can’t sell. I.E. – They’re a doctor, lawyer, CPA, franchise owner, grew up in the business, went to school to learn a skill, whatever. So, they could actually fix their prospect’s problem. They may not be able to “convince” their prospect to do business with them, but if they do, they can fix them. When I started in the debt collection business, I could sell, but I knew almost nothing about collecting debts. The result was that I always had more business than I could handle. I collected what I could and over the years had various other collectors and lawyers help me. They made money. I made money. I kept the clients because I could sell. Not because I could collect.

I guess my point is that I’ve seen many business owners wind up out of business, in debt, or bankrupt even though they were experts at their craft. They spent money on advertising, promotion, memberships, and other marketing, but couldn’t close the business when they got in front of the prospect. There’s really only three fixes.

1.) Go out of business now. Get a job before you lose your house.
2.) Hire a professional salesperson or create a partnership with a firm that can feed you business.
3.) Learn how to sell.

You pick! Thanks for the seed Rob!

Consistent Excellence

Most of you know that Elaine and I have a house at Goose Rocks Beach in Kennebunkport. Most of you also know that I like to eat. All of you know that I appreciate people that are good at what they do. This post is about all three.

We eat out a lot and over the years, we’ve enjoyed many excellent meals at the restaurants in the area. Several years ago, Elaine and I took Craig and Nancy to Windows on the Water in Kennebunkport. I won’t get into their background, but, trust me, Craig and Nancy know good service, fine food and wine. After the meal, they said that they would not only recommend Windows to their guests, but would mention John (our server that day) by name. Elaine and I brought our sons and their girl friends to Windows to celebrate when each turned 25. Marshall & Sharon to celebrate their 25th anniversary. Danny & PJ to celebrate their 25th and thank him for introducing me to a major client. Dinner with Mark, Robin, Dave and Brenda in a pre-wedding planning conference. Two years ago, Elaine and I hosted Mark and Robin’s rehearsal dinner in a private room at (Guess where.)…..Windows on the Water. Everyone that we’ve ever brought to Windows has left full, satisfied, impressed and with their little surprise. Everyone! Every time!

The food is always perfect. Exactly the way that you want it. The wine list always satisfies me and we’ve experimented and never been disappointed. We’ve had the pleasure of being greeted by Eva, Elaine, Christine and Laura. In addition to John, we’ve been served by Pat, Mike, Michael, Danai, and last night, Karen. It’s not unusual to have the owner, John Hughes, open the door and greet you when you arrive or stop at your table to ask for an opinion on your dinner selection. I’m reminded of this post. I wonder if John Hughes read the book. Obviously, he’s using the same play book. Everything and everybody walks the talk. Fantastic attention to detail. Everyone makes a difference.

Thank you John Hughes for delivering consistent excellence! Many could learn from you!

And to my readers: It’s worth the trip. Kennebunkport is beautiful in the fall. Schedule your trip, now. You can contact John and/or make reservations here.

Pete Caputa and Ed Batista

In early July, Pete Caputa orchestrated an email introduction and some blogversation between Dave Kurlan, Ed Batista, and myself. Since then, I’ve been kinda reading Ed’s blogs and yesterday this post made me call him today. I’m not gonna talk about the post. Read it. I can’t say it better. Ed’s very wise.


 


This post is about starting and growing relationships.


 


Ed and I talked about the way technology and “belly to belly” skills can complement each other. We also talked about some new things that Ed’s doing and I’m loving the fact that I know it before Pete. As it turns out, Ed’s gonna need to talk with Eric Tapley and Linda Cohan. Ed was on Eric’s website as we were speaking and I’d bet even money that he’s already read Linda’s guest post on this blog.


 


OK. Here’s the question and lesson.


 


Why did it take me six weeks (42 days) to call Ed? Pete made the introduction on 7/11. I called today, 8/22…….Answer – “I’m not perfect”.


 


You decide if the lesson is, “Just, do it.” “It’s never too late.” or “Every referral and/or introduction is valuable if you’re open-minded.”


 


Let’s see how long it takes Ed, Eric, and Linda to get together and how long it takes for Pete to find out what I know that he doesn’t know.

Just what is Emotional Intelligence, anyway?

Here’s another first! You may remember this introduction and invitation.

Linda responded with, “I want to respond, but I have never written a blog, and I do not know what to write about???”. I replied with, “Just what is Emotional Intelligence, anyway?”

Herewith her response and consequently her first blog post.

Hi Rick!
 


You are at the beach and now. I am also at the beach with some time to collect my thoughts about being a guest blogger.  I am responding to a question that you sent by e-mail that many professionals may wonder about:


 


just what is emotional intelligence, anyway?”


 


Over the past 25 years, much research has taken place to try and identify what makes top performers in the workplace.  What makes one person succeed while another with the same intellect, training and experience doesn’t fare as well?  These “soft skills” or lack of them, can make or break a professional’s career.


 


When we were in Kindergarten, the most important task for us to learn, was “to work well and play well with others.”  If we could do that, we would make friends more easily and have more play-dates. Our teacher would also be happy.  Maybe she would call on us more, give us more privileges and refer us on to a great first grade teacher! When we become adults, this “ability to manage ourselves and our relationship with others” is extremely important, because we are constantly exposed to new challenges and life experiences, and if our EQ competencies are highly developed, then we can meet these tests in a productive and positive manner.


 


There are different models for Emotional Intelligence depending on the expert you refer to.  The 5 areas that have been identified that are essential to our ability to be effective leaders are:


 


1. Self- Awareness and Control


2. Empathy


3. Social Expertness


4. Personal Influence


5. Personal Mastery and Vision


 


I must give credit to Adele Lynn from Lynn Learning Labs, who trained and certified me.  Adele’s model incorporates Vision and Purpose, which is an essential quality that all leaders must possess in order to be successful.


 


A professional who has developed their EQ competencies, will be able to build trust, improve their performance and ultimately increase their business results.


 


Hope this answers your question.


 


Warm Regards,


 


Linda


 


Linda Cohan MSW,CSC
Business/Personal Coach

Entrepreneurial Freedom

Read this post about entrepreneurial freedom. Now, many of you know that I spend a lot of time at the beach, near a golf course, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Bahamas, ski resorts, Disney and not much time in a traditional office. However, I seldom get complaints from my clients indicating that I’m not available to them, nor responsive to my needs. I have to tell you though, it appears that Bernie’s doing it up right.

So here’s the question. What’s the difference between you and Bernie? How can Bernie do this, but you can’t/don’t? Is it a good thing? Post a comment, or send me an email.

Dave Kurlan and Jim Huston

If you haven’t already read my last post, you need to go to: I’ve Got It! and if you haven’t read Dave Kurlan’s last post, you need to go to: More Death, because this post is the promised follow up and response.

The world is just a series of opportunities and coincidences, and this is both. I was lucky enough to attend Jim Huston‘s Three Day Brainstorming Session in Portsmouth, NH last Thursday-Saturday. We toured two very successful landscaping companies. We spent many hours in open forum, brainstorming discussions where no topic was off limits and everbody (20+ landscaping company owners) shared openly. A few experts were asked to speak and one happened to be Jeff Carowitz, a nationally known marketing guru for the green industry. Jeff fielded the question (not from me), “What’s the difference between marketing and sales?” He replied that marketing typically deals with a 3-5 year plan. Sales deals with right now. He told the story of the owner that called to say, “I’m near bankruptcy. I need a marketing plan.” Jeff’s thought, “No thanks!” and wouldn’t help. My thought was, “Go sell something.” Later, Jeff added that Sales is a part of Marketing. He also fielded questions on Public Relations, Advertising, Promotions, etc. and pointed out that each was a part of Marketing. I expect that Jeff and I will be interacting in the future and anticipate that it will be fun and productive.

One of the site tours included presentations by the landscape “designers”. Allison commented that Amelia had already met her entire 2006 sales quota in July. Amelia commented that Allison’s designs were excellent! Great detail. Perfectly to scale. Etc. Allison went to landscape design school. Amelia was a Mary Kay “Pink Cadillac” lady for 10 years. Allison wants to get to the design. Amelia does the design if she has to. Get it? How important is sales ability here? Both designers benefit from the same marketing program.

I talked with several owners during the weekend. One said that they closed 20-25% of their proposals, another said 65%. The rest were in between. Incidentally, we’re talking about proposals that take anywhere from 2 hours to 2 weeks to put together before the chase begins. Do you think the difference in closing rates is due to a difference in marketing ability or sales ability?

Some of you may know that I worked in the energy conservation industry from 1990 to 1994. A government facility put a project out to bid. Three companies responded (including our crack VP Engineering and his team of engineers). None were selected. The facility re-bid the project. I led the team. My ability to ask the right questions and develop SOB made it so that everybody was listening to us more than the competion. The difference:  $1.4 million. That’s only one story. I’ve got a million of them. How about 3 years, 100’s of competitors, blank slate RFQ and RFP, dozen’s of sub-contractor’s help leading up to Governor Weld’s signature on our contract and $4.2 million? All due to our marketing program? Yeah right!

Get with the program, marketing is important. It can positively predispose a prospect. It can plant a seed. Using pay per clicks, forms, catalogs and the like, you’ll make some sales. But, when human comes in contact with human it’s a sales opportunity and whether or not your marketing program works is about to come down to how well you can sell.

I was going to end here, but I have two more points.

First, Some of you are entrepreneurs. You might get your face time with a VC because of a letter, email, or other introduction that you send, but when you’re in front of the VC, talking about a number in front of a bunch of zeroes, you better be selling.

Second, Marketing, stop worrying. Sales people will never make you obsolete because most would rather answer the phone than make a cold call. Do a mass mailing than knock on a door. Blame marketing than take responsibility. Strong Salespeople, don’t start worrying. Make your calls. Work your networks. Do your deals. Recognize that you can make marketing look good by doing your job and the only opinion that matters to you is yours. Weak salespeople, continue worrying, get fixed, or get a job in marketing. Uh-Oh, Pete!