Archive for October, 2017

#785 The business IS sales

Posted by frank October - 30 - 2017 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

Let me tell you another story about that same accountant I breakfasted with a few weeks back. He was invited to an event that took place during the first week of April. That’s right, some bonehead created an event and expected an accountant to show up during the absolute busiest week of the year for accounting professionals.
As it turns out, the inviter worked for a large bank and the accountant, Mark, had a strong affiliation with that bank. Add to that, the inviter was the new rep from the bank and called to ask him specially to stop by. The event was at Madison Square Garden and Mark’s office is close by there. When the bank rep called Mark could hear the near hysteria in his voice: “It’s a bust! Very few people are coming. Can you squeeze out an hour and at least stop by?” Mark, as I said, is an accountant. But he is a different sort of accountant. Mark has the sales gene. He is keenly interested in business development. He understands that being good at what you do will certainly get you some business but that, more importantly, people do business with people they know, like, and trust and Mark makes it a point to get out to get to know more people.
The sequestered April accountant is almost proverb but Mark broke the mold. The combination of the misguided organizer’s need and Mark’s commitment to business development won out and he decided to stop by the event for an hour. Around the cheese ball, he met one of the only other attendees. They made small talk about their respective businesses and in the course of that conversation Mark asked him a simple question; “What is your greatest challenge right now?” The guy went on to talk about a big problem he was having with security. He was in the wholesale distribution business and felt as though product was leaving out of the back door. His business had grown quickly and he did not have a very firm handle on inventory. I don’t know the particulars of the first project but after that conversation, the guy hired Mark to help with his inventory situation. According to Mark, five years later this guy is his firm’s largest client.
Selling is not limited to those of us who make commissions to move a product or service for our company. Selling is the company. Whatever product or service you offer, you must offer. And those who offer it more frequently and with conscious selling skills will garner the lion’s share of the business.
2017 Motto: Daily disciplines create desired outcomes

#784 You don’t know what you don’t know

Posted by frank October - 23 - 2017 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

First of all A BIG WELCOME to all the great people I met at Empire Bakery Equipment; an organization dedicated to excellent customer service
My friend Joe got the call. “Hello, Mr. Lazzinetti? Do you think you could come by the school? It’s about Matthew. There is something we want to show you.” “What? What has he done now?!” “It’s really not a phone conversation Mr. Lazzinetti, could you come by?” “Sure. We’ll be there at three.”
This story took place in 1990, in the pre-cell phone era. Joe couldn’t call Matt to find out what he’d done this time. Instead he paced the kitchen floor and yelled to his wife. “I swear if that kid gets suspended again, I’m gonna kill him!”
You see Matt, at 16, was a bit of a trouble maker. Nothing horrible, but Joe had been called to the school before for things like cutting class, smoking on campus and the occasional scuffle.
As Joe and his wife walked into the school Joe immediately saw the problem. “Ah, so it’s graffiti now! Matt strikes again! Teresa, I’m grounding him for a month!”
What Joe and Teresa saw was a beautiful mural on the wall with huge MATT L scrawled across the bottom. Joe was so disappointed that his idiot kid had defaced someone else’s work he hung his head in shame.
When the principal came out of the office she was beaming. Joe and Teresa looked at her confused. With Matt shyly by her side she said, “Isn’t this wonderful?”
Matt’s parents looked at one and other perplexed; wonderful?
The principal said, “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you on the phone but I wanted you to be surprised. Did you know Matthew could paint this well?”
When I read Covey’s 7 Habits I learned the phrase, “you don’t know what you don’t know.” It taught me not to assume things about people because sometimes the story is not what you’d assume.
2017 Motto: Daily disciplines create desired outcomes.

#783 It’s all sales all the time

Posted by frank October - 16 - 2017 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

Everybody is selling!

I had breakfast with an accountant named Mark. When I say accountant do you think sales? Probably not. We call them “Bean Counters” don’t we? The archetypical accountant is very Clark Kent. We picture them wearing bifocals, writing with mechanical pencils and doing their grocery lists in Excel don’t we? As my great friend Rick, who is an accountant himself, says; “You know when an accountant has personality because he’s looking at YOUR shoes!”
I figured the guy I was sitting across from at breakfast, was all of that (minus the glasses).
Then, as we spoke about our businesses, he surprised me by talking about business development and the sales techniques he brings to bear in order to increase his business.
He said he works from home a few times a month and when he does, he prospects. Now, he did not use the word prospects, but that’s what I’m calling it.
Here is what Mark said. “When I work from home I decide on a range of calls. Maybe it’s L to P today. I hit the contacts icon on my phone; go to the first contact at letter L and call. I then call every contact in order until I get through the P’s, IF I can get through the P’s! Four or five letters usually takes an entire day. I am not calling them for business. I am calling to catch up and see how they are but invariably these calls result in business. By the next day three or four of those people are calling with a project they need help with, or a person they want me to call who needs my services.”
What Mark is doing is positioning himself for selective attention. Selective attention is all about awareness. If I decide to buy a blue Subaru because while driving around I usually see green Subaru’s and I want to be different, guess what? As soon as I make the decision, there will be a virtual parade of blue Subaru’s presented to me as I go through my day. It’s not that they weren’t out there before, it’s that I wasn’t looking for them. It’s like that in sales and that is precisely what Mark is doing. When Leo Lemoncello, in Mark’s contact list, hears about a tax problem from a business associate Leo may or may not call Mark depending on his level of comfort in offering a recommendation, how many accounting professionals he knows and if Mark even enters his mind at that moment. But if he has recently spoken to Mark, Mark becomes the blue Subaru.
Mark has a very successful accounting practice in Manhattan and I am not surprised. Every successful business, at it’s core, is a sales company. Some other accountant may be able to memorize Pi to 300 digits or do the square root of 3,364 in his head, but unless he goes out and finds people who want to hire him, (SELLS!) his skills won’t mean beans.

2017 Motto Daily disciplines create desired outcomes

#782 Everybody is Selling!

Posted by frank October - 9 - 2017 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

Selling skills are nothing more than a set of tools that can help you to bring people around to your point of view. My accountant is awesome with numbers. He is very well trained and handles my tax problems with a deftness that keeps me from ever having IRS issues. My doctor has a degree from a prestigious medical school and has spent countless hours learning the science of the human body so she can diagnose my symptoms and offer me relief from what ails me. But if the three of us go to a hockey game and want to move down closer to the ice, who do you think goes to speak to the usher? Me; the guy with the sales skills.
Your ability to relate, persuade, and communicate will do more for your bank balance, personal relationships and overall career than any other set of skills you can master and that translates to sales skills.
Sales has gotten a bad rap in our society. At the mention of sales skills people conjure up images of Danny DeVito in Tin Men or the famous ABC (always be closing) scene form Glengarry. The truth is we are all selling.
The veterinarian sells you on heart worm pills for your dog. Moms and Dads are selling their kids on the importance of reading, and the lawyer is selling the jury on the innocence of his client.
I sell my kids on coming for Sunday dinner,
Who has a better chance to gain the favor of a fair maiden? The guy with no eye contact, half turned away, searching for the right words or the guy who is squared up, with soft eyes, asking questions and listening with respect?

#781 Bumper to bumper competition

Posted by frank October - 2 - 2017 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

You don’t ask…you don’t get
After my visit to Washington last week I told you about my cabbie, Belay. What I want to tell you now is what happened right before I met Belay. I was walking down Maryland Ave. which is lined with food trucks. I wanted to get something for lunch to eat on the train ride home. There were literally dozens of choices. As I walked slowly, trying to read all of the offerings, I was suffering from information overload. I was really hungry and everything looked and smelled great! I couldn’t decide.
Suddenly, from the Persian Grill truck I heard, “Hey, you want a taste?” I looked up to see a man smiling at me with a succulent piece of lamb, extended toward me, on a toothpick. I took it, ate it, and it was really good. I smiled and he said, “You want on a salad or a wrap?” I said, “It has to be neat to eat on the train.” He said, “I make you a nice tight wrap.”
This is sales. While everyone else sat back, Ali went for the business. He hooked me with a free sample and then assumed the sale. He didn’t ask if I wanted it. He read my body language, knew I liked the sample and gave me an either or close; salad or wrap.
If you’re wondering how to gain the business in your crowded market, follow Ali’s lead. He literally has bumper to bumper competition.

2017 Motto: Daily disciplines create desired outcomes

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