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Archive for January, 2013

One of “those” days…

I cut myself shaving this morning – of all mornings.  Was it going to be one of “those” days?  I was getting an updated head shot on my LinkedIn profile later today.  Ut-oh: 

            Murphy’s Law 

If anything can go wrong, it will. 

Well, maybe no one will notice.  I headed off to the office, just like any other day: 

            Maah’s Law 

Things go right so they can go wrong. 

Upon arrival, I discovered that I had left my briefcase (with office keys and computer) at home. Ut-oh.  Guess I was preoccupied with stopping the bleeding on my chin.  As I retrieved the necessary tools of my trade I experienced what the morning reverse-commute is like: 

            Law of Life’s Highway 

If everything is coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane. 

I returned a bit late but ready to face the day; the first incoming call came from one of my colleagues.  He asked if I knew how to run this new application we were given to create content for our learning management system.  Like me, he had received instructions on how to use this program from our application expert.  Ut-oh.  Like me, he followed the instructions as best he could. And like me, he was now reaching out to someone other than our “expert” for assistance, because: 

            Rudnicki’s Nobel Principle 

Only someone who understands something absolutely can explain it so no one else can understand it at all. 

We ignored the biblical prophecy of “the blind leading the blind”; avoided the ditch; and figured out how to record his content; although it consumed the rest of my morning. 

Trying to break the pattern of one of “those” mornings, during my lunch hour I read a few posts in my LinkedIn Groups.  One Group comprised of sales and marketing executives, had this post, “What concerns you most about the new year?”  Ut-oh. 

I responded to this post because I believe the sales profession is (or at least should be) a profession of optimism.  A post about “concerns” can be made by anyone I suppose, but for us sales professionals, we look at the world through a different lens: 

            Too much respect for problems kills faith in possibilities.  

Unknown Sage 

I felt better after sharing the Unknown Sage’s perspective with the “concerned” sales executive.  But then the phone rang.  Ut-oh. 

It was one of my clients calling to complain about an email he received from one of my other colleagues.  I agree with you – I’m thinking he should have just called her vs. me, but hey – it was definitely one of “those” days. 

After clarifying his issue (which could have been easily resolved by calling my colleague vs.me), I was tempted: 

Look, do you want to make a decision on this?  Or do you just want us all to drive home tonight and feel bad about it?

John F. Akers 

But for some odd reason a scene from Shakespeare’s 1596 play Henry IV, Part One, popped into my head reminding me that, “discretion is the better part of valor”.  So I agreed to speak to my colleague on his behalf, which I did.  She resolved his “concern”.  And I headed to a meeting: 

Oh, you hate your job?  Why didn’t you say so?  There’s a support group for that.  It’s called everybody, and they meet at the bar. 

Drew Carey 

Now that’s my kind of meeting when I’m having one of “those” days – you? 

GAP 

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My machine to yours?

How do you know who wrote this little ditty?  Was it me?  Am I re-posting someone else’s work?  Am I human?  Or are The Quote Guys a computer program?  Hmmm.

Well, if you will indulge me for a bit I’ll share a few experiences, questions and opinions and then you decide if this is human or machine generated, OK?

I attended a webinar recently sponsored by InsideView; “31 Must Have Sales Tools in 2013”.  It was delivered “lightning round” style by six sales subject matter experts, each offering a 90-second overview of five social selling products.  Sort of a verbal Tweet – although I didn’t count to see if they stayed within 144 characters.  Hmmm.  They actually highlighted 32 Sales Tools; I guess I’m not sure how “social math” works these days.  Hmmm.

The crux of all the subject matter experts’ presentations was how to leverage technology to automate our social media selling efforts.  There were tools to automate Internet searches for prospective companies; for targeted contacts; automated searches to find someone else’s content to re-post; automated email “pings”; automated email signature line commercials; automated everything!

Question: 

Is automation of social selling counter-intuitive?

“Social” according to Wikipedia: Attitudes, orientations, or behaviors which take the interests, intentions, or needs of other people into account.  “Interests, intentions, or needs of other people”.  Hmmm.

Question: 

Do other people typically look forward to automated “pings” from sales reps’ social selling applications?

“Social Media”?  According to Jan H. Kietzmann, social media employ mobile and web-based technologies to create highly interactive platforms via which individuals and communities share, co-create, discuss, and modify user-generated content.  “Highly interactive platforms via which individuals and communities share”.  Hmmm.

Question: 

What does an individual share with an auto-generated, re-post, from some sales stranger’s computer program?

“Social Media Marketing”?  According to Wikipedia: Social media marketing programs usually center on efforts to create content that attracts attention and encourages readers to share it with their social networks. A corporate message spreads from user to user and presumably resonates because it appears to come from a trusted, third-party source, as opposed to the brand or company itself.  “Presumably resonates because it appears to come from a trusted, third-party source”.  Hmmm.

Question: 

Exactly which automated, computer programs are our “trusted, third-party source” these days?

Sorry, it’s not resonating.

Wikipedia does not contain a definition for “Social Media Selling”; yet I’m inundated with invitations to social media selling events literally ever day.  I suspect I’m just in a plethora of Internet databases, and these invitations are not actually coming from people, but rather some number of automated, “Must Have Sales Tools” programs.

In 2012 I wrote the little ditty; “Technology, Toaster-Ovens, and the Future”.  It was about a seminar I attended – the keynote speaker was David Smith, a technologist and a futurist (see http://thequoteguys.com/2012/04/technology-toaster-ovens-and-the-future/ ).  In that seminar, David stated:

70% of the Internet traffic does not involve a person; it’s machine-to-machine communications (often posing as human beings).

“Machine-to-machine communications (often posing as human beings)”.  Hmmm.

Well, I guess you will have to decide for yourself whether this little ditty came from “me” or from my automated, technology surrogate.  Of course, I am equally unsure if you are really reading this; or if “you” are one of those automated, “31 Must Have Sales Tools” trolling the Internet for re-postable content.

If we are automated at both ends; I hope our machines are keeping themselves amused.

GAP

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Welcome to 2013…

What do you think?  Will this be “our year”?  Well if it is to be, then we better get going, OK?  I always advocate starting at the beginning; writing an Annual Achievement Plan.  In writing

It’s more than just thinking about it; or merely jotting down a few vague goals.  Goals without milestones are just “hope” as I wrote about in 2011 (see http://thequoteguys.com/2011/01/1st-rule-of-personal-business/

Writing our Annual Achievement Plan is important, so let’s get started: 

The first and most important thing about goals is having one. 

                                  Geoffrey Albery 

When writing out our 2013 plan, I believe it’s also wise to incorporate the “Principle of Balance”:

Many of us write “business plans” at our companies thinking only in terms of Financial Success, true?  Financial Success is important and it requires true commitment to achieve it.  Lottery tickets are probably not the wisest retirement investment strategy. 

I remember while leading a top sales team, I would occasionally hear one of my Producers say when he or she faced the crossroads of a good year vs. a bad year, that being “family-oriented” was what was most important to them.  Well, me too.  However, I believe a great way to care for my Family is to have Financial Success; you? 

OK, you get the Financial Success quadrant; let’s move on to Family.  Actually writing down personal goals for the role we play with our Family can easily be overlooked, true?  Certainly, the goals for our Family are quite personal – but this is just as important as any other quadrant in our Annual Achievement Plan; maybe more so.  Go on – take a few moments to write down your 2013 goals for your Family; we’ll wait. 

The importance of Personal Development in our plan should not be minimized either.  It is another key to success – whatever our abilities are today, we should strive to be better tomorrow, don’t you agree?  It could be as elaborate as pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree; or as straight-forward as reading one or two books each month.  Personal Development is personal; yet writing goals in the Personal Development quadrant reinforces the Principle of Balance. 

Leading us to Fulfillment.  Doug Larson put it this way: 

Establishing goals is all right if you don’t let them deprive you of interesting detours. 

Although I believe in writing an Annual Achievement Plan; with specific goals; measureable milestones; striving to make the New Year better than the previous; I also believe in the power of imagination; the presence of magic; and the wonderment of Fulfillment.  

The idea came from a former colleague of mine, Peter Goodwin.  He believed in the annual planning process too, but he added a unique twist to his that I have followed ever since.  Each year I write down lifetime dreams that if I could be so blessed, I will achieve.  And when I realize the Fulfillment of one of these dreams, I don’t cross it off my list.  No, it remains on my Annual Achievement Plan with the date of Fulfillment; serving as a constant reminder of the power of imagination; the presence of magic. 

OK then, go ahead and update your list of dreams in the Fulfillment quadrant of your 2013 Achievement Plan; we’ll wait.  And remember to DREAM BIG!  James Collins in his book, Built to Last©, called them: 

“Big, Hairy Audacious Goals!” 

Besides, 

            Who wants a dream that’s near-fetched? 

Howard Schultz

May 2013 be your best year yet! 

GAP 

Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my book, too:  The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective©  Please check it out Subscribe.