Archives for April 2013

Lazy + Careless: The Enemies of Successful Selling

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Lazy Homer

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Innovation is alive and well in this country.  I see it firsthand every week by the number of “pitches” I hear from start-up companies as well as the big boys.

If I were tracking the number of pitches per week from sales people that have approached me in 2006 vs. today I bet the number is easily doubled.  Many of them have SOME type of technology under-pinning:  e-commerce, social media, SEO, PR measurement.

Nearly all of them have an out-bound effort to try and open the door:  A cold call, unsolicited email (“cold email”).  Said another way, sales people trying to get in the door.

I hold sales dearly, both as a profession and a business manager that understands strong top-lines are an enabler to strong BOTTOM lines.  But the fact is, the brutal reality of the bell curve exists in the sales profession (like all fields).  There are a small % of people that “Get it right.”

2 common traits that I have been seeing lately among the hunters?

1)  Laziness.

2)  Carelessness

Both traits undermine the person’s credibility and guarantee the door will never get opened.

Laziness is easy to spot.  It’s the unsolicited email where it’s obvious little to no effort was put in.

Carelessness sometimes ruins what is potentially a great approach.  I will share a real life example this past week with key names and data disguised to protect the careless.

I was actually tempted to learn more from Freddy Careless, as this was a relatively well written note.  But it had a one problem:  I sensed it was lacking a “truthiness.”  What do you do when you sense that?

2 Options:

1)  Hit Delete

2)  Ask and confirm, or learn differently

I always choose option 2.  I almost always “coach” a sales person, most probably find it annoying.  I hope some find the feedback constructive and get better as a result.  If they want results they will certainly appreciate it.  Note:  Sometimes “Coach” is as simple as shining light on the salesperson’s approach, asking a question.

Freddy Careless Email[Continue Reading…]

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When A Million Smiles Beats a Home Run

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Home Runs are great in baseball, and they always affect the score.

But on April 18th, 2013 the home run took a back seat to the story behind it.

Teddy Kramer Greets Todd Frazier's Home Run

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When the bat boy asks the player to hit one over the fence, and the player says he will do just that…..sounds like a scene from a movie.

When the bat boy is Ted Kremer, an adult with Down syndrome who was invited back for a second time after a game last summer because he made such an impression……well there you have a story that breaks through your nightly home run trot at the ball park.

Watch the joy of Teddy on the video link below.

Even more important?  Watch the joy of Todd Frazier after he hit it, and on the interview.

Do you think Todd’s life is just a bit different, dare I say better because of his relationship with Teddy?  What about the team and city of Cincinnati?

I’m not sure who in the Reds organization brought Teddy in the first time and invited him back.  That person is sleeping well I’m sure.  He put smiles on a ton of faces, and opened a few eyes in the process.  

Sometimes joy and little game-changers can be found in unlikely places.

“He is so funny,” Frazier told “He said, ‘come on man, hit me a home run. I love you.’ And I said ‘I love you, too. I’ll hit you one. It was great how excited, that look, I started smiling before I even hit home plate.
“He’s such a great guy… Even if you have a terrible day, you can’t be mad with a guy like that around.”

Watch the video and interview here….

Teddy Kramer With Todd Frazier Cincinnati Reds

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Teddy Kramer & Todd Frazier


Image Credit: USA Today.comTeddy Kramer

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Update 11/2/13

Teddy Gets his own card

Image credit: MLB Fan cave

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Quick Reactions @ the Speed of Twitter: Be Careful in Leadership Decisions

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A thought popped into my head during a 4am work-out session.  I was thinking about Marissa Mayer’s work from home ban decision at Yahoo and a few of my tweets.  Yes, odd thoughts to creep into the mind at even crazier hours.  The thought?

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer

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If I were writing a blog post about the decision, would the post resemble the general sentiment of my tweets?

I’ll admit it.  I reacted with the masses on the news that Yahoo remote workers will need to relocate back to the office.

Some of my Tweets on this topic:

A tech company making not allowing them to work from home?  Give me a break!

Trust your employees for crying out-loud!

Face time does not guarantee innovation!

And perhaps one of my wittiest, clever and ridiculous tweets:

The ‘80’s called……they want their CEO back!

It was all kind of fun seeing the chatter, engaging, listening.  There was no shortage of opinions, news coverage and humor.  A general good time had by all.

If I were writing a leadership post, here are some additional perspectives I would have considered:

What if I were in HER shoes?

What if I served on the Yahoo Board?

What if I were a Yahoo Shareholder (I am)?

What if I were a Yahoo employee, both a work from home or headquarter based employee?

Would my critical tweets hold up to the scrutiny of approaching this topic from a variety of angles?

So here goes….[Continue Reading…]

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Stuck in Quicksand? Start Counting, And Results Will Follow

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Have you been stagnated lately?  Feeling like your in quick sand and not able to achieve you’re goals?

Maybe you have some New Year’s resolutions but have not made any progress to get them “resolved?”

Sometimes performance in the business world is simply hard.  It could be ultra-competitive markets, a culture that is struggling to gear up for performance, or you simply feel swamped with your day to day to-do list.

When this happens, sometimes it helps to FORGET about the business world and turn to your personal life.

Getting better results in one area of your life tends to translate performance in others.

Let’s turn to a critical, related area:  Your own physical fitness.  

Doesn’t it makes sense if you can improve your physical fitness; you will improve all areas of life?  The benefits of fitness are undeniable.  However, the APPLICATION of improving your fitness level and the specific methods it takes will directly translate to improving results in the business world.  Fitness and weight management is easy to measure and countless struggle with it, myself included.  But there is no better proxy for “cause and effect” results management outside of the business world.

Here’s the foundation:  [Continue Reading…]

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The Ultimate Inspiration For Action?

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Simple isn’t it?  The best, most effective tools to drive you towards your goals often are.  Simple tools usually drive results.

Unfortunately, Deadlines usually conjure up thoughts of stress.

Some may think about their college days and the “all-nighter’s” that were pulled to crash study for an exam at 8am.  In the real world it could be a product launch with a hard date.  Or a critical delivery needed for a customer.  Or just a last minute “fire drill” that disrupts a methodically planned day.

Any way you slice it, deadlines drive behavior as good as any “tool” in the business world.

Deadlines fall into 2 categories:
  1. Imposed by OUTSIDE forces –  These deadlines  act on YOU.  Your boss, customer, team, co-workers, basically anybody OTHER than you
  2. SELF-imposed – You act on IT.  Set by you, for a simple reason: To drive your actions towards an important goal, result, outcome.

Where is most of the stress?  No brainer, the ones that are NOT self-imposed.

What do average or poor performers focus on?  #1

What do top performers focus on?  SELF-imposed deadlines.

Top performers have common traits when it comes to managing their time.
  • They BLOCK OUT “thinking time”.  Could be for planning, goal setting, or reviewing their 20% of activities that are generating 80% of their results.  
    • Some companies actually structure this into their employee’s week.  Google is famous for allowing their employees to spend 20% of their week on discretionary activity.  You want innovation; you need to allow time for it.
  • They match the most important activities at a time of day when their energy is highest.
    • Morning people don’t schedule critical, high mental energy activities at 7pm.
  • The “big goals” are broken down into smaller steps.  Those smaller steps have deadlines.
    • How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.  If you want to start eating it, give yourself a series of deadlines.

Excellence and learning from other’s go hand and hand.

To learn about other people’s habits, you need to get in the rhythm of asking solid questions that help YOU learn things that will make a difference in your results.  

Ask enough different people great questions and you will see some themes emerge.  Some starters….

  • How do they structure their day?  Their week?  Their month?
  • What % of their deadlines fall into bucket #1 vs #2?
  • Is their planning methodical or random?
  • Do they consider themselves organized or not?  How do they define “organization?”

You will likely find elements that extend beyond my big 3 common elements of block out, matching energy, and breaking down.

I would love to hear what you learn or see as other common traits of effective time management….drop me a comment at the bottom of post!


Image Credit & A Great Resource for Time Management:

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