The New Vacation

Florida-Beaches-115-PCEnjoying the sun and fun in Florida on vacation.   Answered emails and made a couple of return calls, too. This has been called the “New Vacation,” where you remain connected to work while away.  I’m lucky that my company doesn’t expect it, though previous have.  I do what I do is based upon self-imposed criteria.  To achieve balance, the “Workation” needs to:

  • Have limits – Limit to what you respond, to whom and confine it to certain hours (with your first cup of coffee, or when you return from the beach).
  • Have “bumpers” – In TV, ads (spots) just before or just after a news item or tease are called bumpers.  You need to have bumpers around your work during vacation, so space is maintained and defined.  If you are handling things on your smartphone while you wiggle your toes in the sand, you are decreasing its benefit.
  • Know when to say NO – Choosing what calls to take, what emails to which to respond or what crises to deal with is critical.  Good rule of thumb:  If you can still put out the fire when you get back, get back to the pool.

There has been much written on work/life balance and it is a critical balance.  You need to find your own personal fulcrum, establish the rules and stick to them.

Scuse me, it’s Happy Hour!

4.11.14 – Friday Faves

TheIncredibleHulkCoasterWhat ups and downs this week.  Three accounts on the brink, three saves.  Great, but not without tension.  Perhaps a future post.

Vacation next week, so posting is a 50/50 shot.  Enjoy these in the meantime.

Looking for validation in all the wrong places - So much value in having a trusted resource to give you objective, if painful, feedback.

Do People Still Buy from People? - I think yes, but you must add value, or you are just another vendor.

13 Ways to Resolve Concerns and Get to Yes - Buyers have never been more cautious and more informed.  This is a good idea list for handling the seemingly endless stream of questions.

4.4.14 – Friday Faves

Plane thumbs upAnother busy travel week.  While this one had flights and lots of traffic, fortunately no snow and great outcomes.  Will get back in writing groove, but never stop reading and learning.  Here are some I particularly enjoyed.

Looking for the sure thing - Anything worth having is worth working for.

On the Perils of Avoiding Accountability - You can run, but your CRM system (and your Boss) won’t let you hide.  Embrace accountability and make it your ally.

To Call or Not - If you haven’t seen this before, the survey data is compelling.

Cracking the pottery - Rewriting is a good thing.  Every proposal can be improved.

3.28.14 – Friday Faves

tu glowersA wall-to-wall travel week this week, but I did manage to squeeze in some reading and here are some of the notable posts I read.  Hope you like them, too.

Inertia—Your Biggest Competitor - This post talks about external inertia, I’ll be posting soon about internal inertia.

The Case for Presenting Last - It is said a good Broadway show “sends everyone home whistling the tunes.”  There is a strong case to be made for presenting last.

“Above all, I want to work with a manager from whom I can learn.” - I would go even further and contend teaching/mentoring/coaching is one of a manager’s primary responsibilities.

A Breakthrough Comes In Small Steps - In Baseball, OBP (on-base percentage) is more important than home runs hit.  Give me the rep who steadily, methodically works their pipeline to move deals forward everyday, and you’ll see someone who regularly beats goal.

3.21.14 – Friday Faves

spring thumbs upSpring is FINALLY here!  I don’t know about you, but after the miserable winter we’ve endured, I couldn’t be happier about it.  With the change of season, it’s a great time to assess your business plan, processes and look for ways to improve your targeting, efficiency and time management.  (That extra hour of daylight can be put to very profitable use!)

What’s not here? - Great advice for presentations, meetings and discussions.

Confidence is a choice, not a symptom - Just like a smile can be “seen” over the phone, confidence, or the lack thereof, is even more visible.

Why Should You Care About Mobile Learning? - Mobile is an exploding ad medium so why not a learning modality?

What You Must Build Early - Productive, lasting relationships begin with strong foundation and develop over time.

The Daily Routines of Geniuses - Not sure about the last one, but fascinating nonetheless.

Grandma Rose

I was fortunate to have had two Grandmas.  Both loved their grandchildren unconditionally, both are gone now and both taught me many wonderful life lessons.  You’ve heard about two lessons I learned from my Grandma Bertha, so now it’s time you met my Grandma Rose.

Grandma Rose was larger than life.  A striking blonde with a great sense of humor and a zest for life, she emigrated from Odessa when she was about 4 years old.  I remember she brought with her the Russian custom of complimenting your dinner host by loudly belching at the end of a great meal, although she Americanized it by adding “Pardon me” immediately thereafter.

As a child, my Grandpa Sam would sometimes pick me up after school on Friday, so I could spend the weekend at their apartment in Brooklyn (providing much-needed relief to my parents).  On the way, we’d stop and pick up Grandma when she got off work.  She worked at a retail store on 34th Street, across the street from the Empire State Building.  And here starts the lesson.

G+G was a corset shop, or so they were called back in the day.  Think of it as an unsexy Victoria’s Secret, which sold various women’s undergarments, stockings and the like, which were more necessity (non-surgical nip and tuck) than fashion items.  In that kind of store in those days, customers wouldn’t browse as they do today, but would ask a salesperson for assistance.  So, the salespeople drove the business.

As the business changed, so did G+G.  With the advent of pantyhose, corset shops needed to diversify.  So, the owners of G+G, who hired my Grandma, began adding clothing to the store. First, women’s clothing, then younger women’s (juniors) clothing.  These decisions proved successful, as they opened many new stores across the Greater NY Metro area.

Grandma used to tell me stories about working with customers.  Some were very difficult and demanding.  She told me how she would deal with difficult customers – she listened to them. Through their bluster, they told you what they wanted if you listened.  Think about customer complaints and how you handle them.  This was a great lesson she taught me.  First, you listen.  This is not only effective for complaints, but also for objections.  Listening is a seller’s secret weapon.  Clients feel empowered when they tell you  their needs and wants, and you learn valuable information along the way that helps you guide them to an effective solution (or the right size brassiere).

I also heard stories about customers that didn’t know what they want, or were tourists who spoke other languages.  Though she claimed to speak several, Grandma was fluent in English and Yiddish.  But, these customers were steered to her.  She told me she would ask them questions, to try to understand what they were looking for.  Despite occasional language barriers, her empathy, patience and engaging, warm personality won these customers over time and again.  Asking questions is an under-utilized sales skill, and Grandma Rose taught me how important it is, especially with reticent customers.  Ask appropriate questions, engage your customer, listen to their answers, then offer targeted solutions and your cash register will ring, too.

The store and its customer base changed many times during Grandma Rose’s tenure there. The ownership changed too, with the original owner passing the business on to his sons.  But Grandma Rose remained at 34th Street until she chose to hang it up.

Friday Faves – 3.15.14

day lateA day late this week because I was wrapping up a tradeshow and beating feet outta Dodge yesterday.  If you’ve done tradeshows, they are great opportunities to meet the people who delete your emails and don’t return your voicemails.  With a little good facetime, some doors start to open.  But the event does take a big chunk out of your week, including your ability to keep up with your blog reading.

Stop Being Transactional on the Inside - Great customer-centric ideas

Why Set Out For 2nd Prize? - Good ideas to improve your cold calling.

Does a Sales Organization Have to be Fun to be Good? - It IS called “work” but I say if you don’t have fun, it doesn’t count.

A Conference Call in Real Life - If you haven’t seen this, you’re going to laugh your butt off.

old and alone - A story of compassion from a seasoned ED Nurse.