Strong Prospects

I have a new client. Successful CEO. Aggressive. Assertive. Respected. Confident. Experienced…and a whole bunch of other superlatives. He was thoughtful in his decisionmaking process and made a comment on closing day that I’d like to share.

“Rick, I don’t think that your competitor will be able to stand up to me as well as you will.”
Think about that. How many times do we think that we have to ‘yes’ a client? How many times do we worry about pushing back? Real clients don’t want more of the same. They want you to fix their company or they’re wasting your time. This prospect doesn’t want to waste time. He wants change and he wants an expert that’s going to help him change, not help him stay the same.

He also used a pretty cool close on me. When I asked, “What should we do now?”, he said, “Why don’t you send me an invoice for the evaluation? It takes a couple of days for me to request a check and I want to get the controller used to the idea.”

He was so smooth that I had to send the invoice (almost immediately).

Procrastination is…..

…the art of keeping up with yesterday.

…the thief of time.

…opportunity’s assassin.

Think about them. Are you keeping up with yesterday? What did you want to do yesterday, last week, last month or last quarter that’s still not done? How many of us aren’t even finished with 2007, yet?

Have you ever spent five minutes, five hours or five days finding ways to avoid doing something that needed doing? Did you ever get that time back? GONE! STOLEN! the thief of time.

How many opportunities have you missed because you put it off until yomorrow? How many have taken advantage of opportunities that should have been yours? How many opportunities are gone forever? Dead! Assassinated!

So, here’s my point. Today is the last day that you can procrastinate until tomorrow. Tomorrow, you can only procrastinate until next year. Do you really want to do that? Maybe you should do it today, so that tomorrow you’ll be able to get a head start on next year.

If I made you feel bad, it wasn’t my intention. Rather, I want everyone to know that we all fight the same demons. We all have the same 365 days and the same 24 hours a day. Some of us get better results by doing the right things at the right time.

Finish up this year as best you can. Look forward to a happy and prosperous new year in 2009 and if you want my help, ask for it.

(I found these and many other quotes at

Learning Lessons in a Recession

Katya told us about a lesson learned when her company first began and it started me thinking about the way we learn lessons and how the way we learn lessons might affect us as we claw our way through these economic times. The experts have been telling us that we’ll have to work harder and smarter to get the same results. They’ve told us that recessions are “nature’s way” of getting rid of weak inefficient companies. We’ve been warned that our prospects may become more cautious or worried that their company won’t survive, so they conserve cash by delaying or cancelling expenditures that they had planned for growth.

Search Grow or Die in Google. One of the results starts off, “There are only two kinds of problems in business: (1) growth problems; and (2) liquidation problems….”.  Let’s see….Growth…..or…..Liquidation. Keep growing or start dying. Which do you expect? Which do you wish for? Which is unexpected and unwished for?

Unfortunately, even if a company survives, they may no longer be competitive.

Companies that conserve cash often run out of cash. Do they expect it or wish for it?

Companies that postpone growth often lose market share. Do they expect it or wish for it?

By the time a company owner realizes that they’ve made a mistake, the company will be in a worse cash position, a worse competitive position in the marketplace, or out of business.

So, back to my thoughts about Katya’s comment and the way we learn lessons. Do you HAVE to learn from your own experience? Do you HAVE to make the mistake before it sinks in? Or can you learn from other’s experience(s)? If you know why others don’t survive a recession, will you make the same mistakes or will you learn from someone else’s mistake? Do you HAVE to lose market share or go out of business before you realize that you should be growing sales rather than cutting costs?

Maybe that’s a good New Years Resolution? “This year, I will learn WITHOUT having to make the mistake myself.

Have you done this yet?

Father Andy on Sales Goals

In case you haven’t heard, we had an ice storm on Thursday, December, 11th. Elaine and I lost our electricity at 12:20 AM (midnight Thursday night) and got it back this morning (Sunday, December 21st) at 10:57.  Let me help with the math…9 and a half days. We’re not gonna talk about single digit nights when Elaine, her brother and I slept in the family room so we could be in front of our propane fireplace. We’re not gonna talk about the stories that I heard from people comparing this storm to the ice storm in Maine in 1998 or Hurricane Wilma. Or even the young couple staying at the shelter that opened in the high school with their 7 WEEK OLD TWINS! I’ve heard some great stories and had some very interesting experiences over the past 10 days, but this post is about another lesson realized in Church.

Yesterday, Father Andy talked about Advent, Christmas and what we expect and wish for. At some point he started talking about that which is UNEXPECTED and that we DON’T WISH FOR. Think about that. Father Andy’s suggesting that we should try to be ready for that which we don’t expect or don’t wish for. What a timely suggestion. At that point, we were almost nine days into our blackout. We surely didn’t expect it and I assure you that it’s not something that I’ll ever wish for. How could we have prepared for it anyway? Another reason that it’s a timely suggestion is that sales people and business owners everywhere are putting the final touches on there sales plans and business plans for 2009. How many of them will plan for the unexpected? How many will have a contingency for that which they don’t wish for? If I asked you if you’ve got a plan for ….., would you say, “Yes.” or would you deny that it’ll happen?

What if your competitor steals your best customer?

What if your favorite supplier goes out of business?

What if a key employee goes to a competitor?

Don’t expect it? Don’t wish for it? Deny the probability?

The Easy Yes

I was talking with a salesperson today about an up-coming presentation. We were discussing the merits of various solutions that could be included in his proposal. Trying to decide what type of proposal to offer.

  • Long term, fix everything, big price.

  • Menu, ala carte, cost vs ROI of various options.

  • Quick hit, high ROI, short term project.

So, I asked him, “What’s the easy, ‘Yes’?”

Do you use the easy, “Yes”? What does it sound like? How does it work? When do you use it? When do you not?

Free (That’s Right! Free!) Sales Force Grader Tool

Sometimes I feel creative. Sometimes, not.

I copied this from Dave Kurlan’s post today. Enjoy!

How would you like to be able to rate the effectiveness of your sales force?

How would you like to be able to rate their effectiveness and get your score instantly?

How would you like to know the 22 keys to sales force effectiveness and excellence?

And how cool would it be if you could use it over and over and you didn’t have to pay for it?

That’s what I thought.

Click here to use our Free new Sales Force Grader Tool.

Incidentally, if you don’t know what to get your friends for Christmas, send them this link with a note saying, “Merry Christmas!”

It’s the thought that counts!