Is 2013 Your Fiscal Cliff or Opportunity to Soar?

Monday’s article, “How to be a Sales Rock Star in 2013” is probably going to be one of my most popular articles of 2012 even though it’s only going to have been published for one week at years end. If you haven’t read it, you may want to do so now to have it as a backdrop for this article. The United States has been ‘in business’ for a few hundred years and has weathered hurricanes, earthquakes, the Great Depression, wars, etc. Many have died, but some ended up better off than before the catastrophe occurred. Every time I turn on the news, I’m hearing that we are approaching a “Fiscal Cliff” and that people should worry. Respectfully, I don’t know how it will turn out and I don’t care, because I, for one, won’t die. I’ll use the opportunity to do what I do best and that’s definitely not ‘hunker down’ and prepare for bad times and interestingly, my sons, my clients, my closest associates aren’t hunkering down either. Each one of them is getting ready to have 2013 be they’re best year ever.

Switch gears to your business and Monday’s article. Are you gonna be a Sales Rock Star in 2013? If you answered each of the 5 questions, “Yes!” You go girl! (or boy!)
If you had any no’s, why haven’t you called me? Over the past few years, I’ve realized that there’s a lot of mediocrity in the world, but you don’t have to be mediocre unless you’re ‘hunkering down’ and waiting to die. Which of the five questions got a “no”? Would you like to fix it? Look around you, Are there people doing better than you that aren’t as good as you? Do you work harder than they do? Aren’t you sick of it? Are you looking at your fiscal cliff and wishing that you could turn it into the opportunity to soar?
I just finished a conversation with somebody that I worked with in 2011, but did not work with this year. Interestingly, 2011 was his best year ever, but 2012 wasn’t as good. However, I’m totally confident that 2013 will be his new best year ever and no, he did not sign up to be coached. He just needed his head twisted.
Want your head twisted? Want to change a no to a yes? Want the opportunity to soar and have your best year ever in 2013? Click here.

#FF (Fun Friday Post) Buyer’s View vs. Seller’s View

This came as a joke. Please read it. Then re-read the title. Then comment if you wish.

Remember, it’s a joke with a lesson!

Distracted Driving Incident

This morning on the Interstate, I looked over to my left and there was a Woman In a brand new Cadillac

Doing 65 mph With her Face up next to her Rear view mirror Putting on her eyeliner

I looked away For a couple seconds… to continue shaving

And when I looked back she was Halfway over in my lane, Still working on that makeup.

As a man, I don’t scare easily.  But she scared me so much; I had to put on my seat belt

and I dropped My electric shaver Which knocked The donut Out of my other hand.

In all The confusion of trying To straighten out the car Using my knees against The steering wheel,

It knocked My Cell Phone Away from my ear Which fell Into the coffee Between my legs!

Splashed, And burned Big John and the Twins, Ruined the damn phone,

Soaked my trousers, And disconnected an Important call.

Damn women drivers!

How to be a Sales Rock Star in 2013

Five questions:

Are you looking to change the world? Rock stars have a passion for what they do. They’re on a mission. It’s probably not about the money. Do you have a personally compelling reason to get up every morning and a plan to get there?
Do you believe that it’s all about sales? It’s not about what process you use, new ways to close, new ways to get leads. It’s about the number of customers that are incredibly happy for having bought from you and telling the world about their experience because they want everyone to be as happy with you as they are. It’s not about helping you get rich. It’s about you making more people happy.
Do you have a sales mentor? Sales Rock Stars have math teachers, English teachers and people that taught them how to swing a hammer and sew. They also have people that have taught them sales in a classroom or managed them in the field, but they have one person that they’ve come to realize changed their life when they worked together. (BTW, you can’t hire a mentor. It’s something that you realize after.)
Do you understand your network and is it relevant? Rainmakers of old seemed to know who to talk to when. They always seemed to know the right person that can move things along. That’s a lot different than having a gazillion followers on Twitter or thousands of LION connections on LinkedIn. Do you continuously cultivate your network? Are they connected to you the way that they want to be connected to you? Do they proactively share your content? Are they actively evangelizing on your behalf?
Are you regular? When I read the book, Passages, the author mentioned that at some point in your 20’s or 30’s, you realize that your mentor and your father were just regular guys trying to get through life. Rainmakers and Rock Stars don’t usually seek the attention or title. They’re typically going about the daily business of attracting new prospects, nurturing those prospects into customers and converting those customers into evangelists. They seldom say, “I am wonderful!” and usually exhibit quiet confidence.
I recognize that this article might not be what you expected, but recognize that millions of kids play baseball. Some play professionally in the farm system, but very few make it to the majors. The same can be said for musicians. How many of us took lessons as kids, sing in the choir at church, or even get to play night clubs, etc, but never Carnegie Hall or Madison Square Garden?
If I can help or you’d like to talk about yourself, feel free to schedule a call.
If not, have the best 2013 that you can!
BTW, if you enjoyed this article, please forward it, tweet it, post it, or write about it and link back to it.

#FF (Fun Friday Post) Leads and Salespeople

I received this as a joke this week. Please, read it. Then, re-read the title. Then, comment.

Today’s Lesson:
The Food Stamp Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, delivers free meals and food stamps to over 46 million people. 

The National Park Service, administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior, PROHIBITS feeding the wild animals – because the animals will grow dependent on handouts and never learn to take care of themselves.
Thus ends today’s lesson.

Effective Sales Coaching vs. Pretend Coaching

I know that you expect me to tell you “How to be a Sales Rock Star in 2013“, but a client asked me to re-read “4 Steps to Metrics-Driven Sales Coaching“. Now, I already commented on Mark’s article, but I had a point that I wanted to emphasize.

When I used to teach salespeople how to apply Baseline Selling to their sales process, I used to explain that we use a baseball diamond because in baseball, you can’t skip a base or you’re out. If you don’t make it all the way to a base, you must go back to the prior base before you are tagged out and that although there are 4 major bases (benchmarks in the sales process), there are a series of steps that are taken along each base path that you need to take in order to earn the base.
Coaching fails because many coaches spend most of their time in the fantasy world of the salesperson’s ‘what-if’ mind. They spend their time talking about stuff that never happened and probably never could happen. Let’s go back to baseball.
If a runner gets tagged out sliding into third base. his coach need to ask questions about how he slid, why he slid, whether or not he should have left second. The coach and the player probably don’t need to debrief hitting the ball or any part of getting to second (unless they need to address rounding second on the way to third). They also don’t need to talk about what they would do once they reach third. That’s fiction. Didn’t happen and couldn’t happen given the current scenario.
But sales coaches all around the world continue coaching all the way through to the close and they’re wasting their time. I had a client who is now very successful. When he was a client, he called me on the way to his sales calls and we spent a few minutes ‘getting ready’. We focused on what we knew and what we needed to know. We developed several high level, big picture questions that we could lead with to start a drill down and that was it. We couldn’t practice the close because we didn’t know why this prospect would buy. So, pre-call strategization is strictly developing those high level questions. That same client would also call me immediately after the call and we’d debrief. I’d ask where they ended up, then I’d ask what happened before that and before that and before that until I knew where the process got off track. Then we’d fix that. Coaching is simple when it’s offered at the right time and aimed at one specific need. Fix that. Move on.
Want to talk about 2013? Get on my calendar. (no charge)

Can YOU be a Sales Rock Star in 2013?

I started writing this post 4 days ago, but found myself distracted by the killings at Sandy Hook. As a father, grandfather and former coach of youth sports, I felt that the world, as I know it, was violated. Is the world getting weirder?

Then I read Stephanie McLaughlin’s rant, “Hold The Media Accountable“. She’s upset (rightfully) with the reporting of misinformation by the mainstream media this weekend. Read the article.
Then I read Pete Caputa’s post “5 Big Things I’ll Be Writing About (And Implementing) in the New Year“. Now, you should know that I really like and respect Pete, but that doesn’t mean that we have to see eye to eye on everything.
Finally, as I look back at 2012 and how I’ve spent my time post-Kurlan, Smarketing, Sales & Marketing Alignment, Analogies with Dating, Social Media’s Disconnect with Sales, Inbound12, Inbound Networking, My “I Have A Dream…” post. Speaking of my blog, I’ve had more guest authors this year than the previous five years combined and I think that you’ve liked it because traffic has tripled.
But when I wrote, “RainMakers and Rock Stars“, I realized how much I disliked people that tolerated mediocrity. Now, let me tie this together.
The mainstream media lies, but any Tom, Dick or Harry with a smart phone can post or tweet a lie. We the people can’t trust politicians, but we also can’t trust bankers, lawyers or salespeople. What’s that saying? “Figures don’t lie, but liars figure.” Respectfully, do past performance statistics have anything to do with future performance with a particular client. Figures don’t lie, but they may not be relevant. The bottom line is that your prospects probably don’t trust you. They will check you out on line first. They will need your on-line presence to be consistent with their experience when they start talking to you and working with you and in order to be a sales rock star in 2013, you, personally have to have a strong, professional and inbound oriented presence on line and it must be consistent with the way you are in reality.
Stay tuned. My next post will lay out How to be a Sales Rock Star in 2013.

The Best LinkedIn Invitation EVER!

I’m sitting in my recliner, minding my own business when I get this LinkedIn invitation.

Sarah Papachristos has indicated you are a Friend:

I’d like to add you to my professional network.
– Sarah Papachristos
Then I get this InMail.

Hi Rick,

I have finally got around to being more active on LinkedIn and I would love to connect with you. I clicked connect on your name and I believe it sent an auto connect message. I know how much you don’t like those, so I am sending this message to make up for it!

Hope we can connect and chat about your awesome LinkedIn tips!

Talk to you soon,

Sarah Papachristos
I replied,     This is gonna be a GREAT blog post!
Look at how ‘in the moment’ she is. She replied,

Haha it would be! I didn’t realize that it automatically sends the connect message without letting me edit it. I am slowly learning…
Hope to see you at the Portsmouth HUG tomorrow!

Clearly, Sarah gets it! You can connect with her on LinkedIn at Sarah Papachristos, follow her on Twitter at @SarahPapa or read her articles at Great Island Technologies’ Inbound Marketing Blog.
BTW, I will be at the Portsmouth HUG. FREE BEER!

How often do you use Wikipedia?

Wikipedia is one of my bookmarks. I used it tonight and there was a note at the top of the page with a very nice note that reminded me that there was no advertising on Wikipedia, that they were the 5th most popular website on the internet and requested a donation. There was no threat. I could have ignored it and still done my search, but I made a small donation. I received this response.

Dear Richard,

Thank you for donating to the Wikimedia Foundation. You are wonderful!

It’s easy to ignore our fundraising banners, and I’m really glad you didn’t. This is how Wikipedia pays its bills — people like you giving us money, so we can keep the site freely available for everyone around the world.

People tell me they donate to Wikipedia because they find it useful, and they trust it because even though it’s not perfect, they know it’s written for them. Wikipedia isn’t meant to advance somebody’s PR agenda or push a particular ideology, or to persuade you to believe something that’s not true. We aim to tell the truth, and we can do that because of you. The fact that you fund the site keeps us independent and able to deliver what you need and want from Wikipedia. Exactly as it should be.

You should know: your donation isn’t just covering your own costs. The average donor is paying for his or her own use of Wikipedia, plus the costs of hundreds of other people. Your donation keeps Wikipedia available for an ambitious kid in Bangalore who’s teaching herself computer programming. A middle-aged homemaker in Vienna who’s just been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. A novelist researching 1850s Britain. A 10-year-old in San Salvador who’s just discovered Carl Sagan.

On behalf of those people, and the half-billion other readers of Wikipedia and its sister sites and projects, I thank you for joining us in our effort to make the sum of all human knowledge available for everyone. Your donation makes the world a better place. Thank you.

Most people don’t know Wikipedia’s run by a non-profit. Please consider sharing this e-mail with a few of your friends to encourage them to donate too. And if you’re interested, you should try adding some new information to Wikipedia. If you see a typo or other small mistake, please fix it, and if you find something missing, please add it. There are resources that can help you get started. Don’t worry about making a mistake: that’s normal when people first start editing and if it happens, other Wikipedians will be happy to fix it for you.

I appreciate your trust in us, and I promise you we’ll use your money well.


Sue Gardner
Executive Director,
Wikimedia Foundation

Boy! Do I feel good! If you’ve used the website, and haven’t donated, please click the link and do it now. If you haven’t used the link, check it out. They out rank my blog!

How do you pick your clients?

This post wasn’t planned. It’s the result of a series of events.

  1. A new client had one of their customers write a testimonial for their blog.
  2. I wanted to post the testimonial to the Hubspot Partners Forum on LinkedIn, but it didn’t say what I wanted it to say.
  3. I searched my client’s blog to find a more suitable article.
  4. I found one by Matt Heinz, but it didn’t say what I wanted it to say. So, I kept looking.
  5. Then I found “Three Things Sales Managers Can Learn from Olympic Coaches” and thought, “That’s more like it.” (Jeez! I wonder why!)
The process of searching got me thinking about why I wanted to find this testimonial and that got me thinking about how I decide whether I will work for any particular client.
So, how/why do you pick clients?
  1. Do they have to fit a particular persona?
  2. Do they have to have a specific problem?
  3. Is it their passion?
  4. Is it the person?
  5. Do you need the money?
  6. Are they a big name?
  7. Is it what they do?
  8. Something else?
Tell us in the comment section.
BTW, as you probably figured out, my new client is FactorLab and the reason that I work with them is that they make it easier for a coach to be immediate, honest and consistent. If you or one of your clients would like to improve communication with their salespeople, ask for an introduction.

How to screw up great content

On Friday, a fellow blogger sent me his most recent post suggesting that I might like it. He was half right. It was a great topic. Right in my sweet spot. The problem was that the article was 639 words and 38 of them were “I”, “me” and “my”. He took a great topic and turned it into how wonderful he was. He’s a great guy, but it wrecked the article for me and I wouldn’t forward it.

Yesterday, a member of the Inbound Networkers Group on LinkedIn posted a link to a landing page on his website. You should know that this particular group is about engaging, not just connecting, following, lurking, stalking or spamming. We meet on-line on Thursdays at noon and the world is invited. We’ve had some great meetings.
So, anyway, back to the member and his landing page. We have 17 rules that start with “Do”. We have for that begin with “Don’t”.
  • DON’T – spam!
  • DON’T – be salesy when you have a conversation.
  • DON’T – post YOUR content, events, stuff in the discussion area no matter how brilliant you are.
  • DON’T – get upset when it gets deleted. See if you can get someone else to say that you’re wonderful or that your event is worth going to.
His content was useful, but I deleted it anyway and I hope that he doesn’t get upset because he’ll be breaking another rule!
So, how do you screw up great content? Make it all about you or post it in the wrong place.