Tag Archives: Corporate

Yep… your New Year resolutions are worthless.

It’s that time of year again where we take stock of our poor performance from last year and write down blissful wishes for what we want to make happen this year.

It actually a pretty worthless activity…

From joining a new gym to going to church more to drinking less — whatever you resolve come New Years has a 78% chance of ultimately failing.  That’s almost everybody!

I didn’t make that up.  That’s what a recent international study of almost a thousand people indicated.

Just like we have been trained to do nice things for people around Christmas even though we act like inconsiderate jerks the rest of the year, so we have also trained ourselves to pause ever so briefly at the beginning of each year to wish we could do a few things differently in the coming year.

And it’s a worthless waste of time for 8 out of 10 of us.

And while I am on the subject, why are we still talking about 3-year and 5-year plans when we can’t get this yearly thing figured out?  Seems like a bunch of silly nonsense.

Seriously, are we committed to real change? Real sacrificial “it hurts like hell” change.

We don’t even apply the same level of respect to our own goals as we do the dudes we watch on ESPN.

We respect an obsessive work ethic that makes an all star like Michael Jordan sink 100 free-throws in a row before leaving practice.  We marvel at the obscene practice put in by perfectionists like Tiger Woods who practice distance putting at 3 and 10 foot intervals for hours a day.

And yet when it comes to putting in a little more effort for ourselves, we tend to be the first to come up with excuses (good ones too).  And the older we get, the more experience we gain explaining why our failure was really a good thing.

Aren’t you tired of mediocrity?  Of being an “almost all-star”?

Are you willing to do something about it?  To change?

Are you willing to:

  1. Connect your goal with a larger mision in life… (turn “making more money” into “helping a small company flourish”)
  2. Construct your goal into a series of smaller monthly milestones… (turn big deadlines into a series of progressive tasks)

If so, you might be ready to see breakthrough this year.  This might be the year of YOU… ALL of the 22% who accomplished their annual goals noted that these two were the two primary drivers for their success — passion and planning.

It’s amazing what you can do when you really want something more for yourself.

You might just change the world.

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Obsessively Searching for “Stellar”…

Many thanks to the dozens of you who have sent me kind messages over the last two weeks asking where The DEW View! had gone. 

Nowhere.

I just didn’t have anything shockingly inspiring to share.

I really do want to change the world not waste your time.

ALSO… this blog is getting a massive upgrade.  I am working on some new content at danielwaldschmidt.com for you along with my friends at Channel V Media that I am SO excited to share with you.  That should be coming to you at the beginning of the year.  It’s really going to be VERY cool.  I will finally have a platform to offer you so much more content…

Everything that I am working on falls in the general category of high performance.  It’s a curious thought.  How can you consistently perform at amazingly high levels?

……….How can I do that?

………………..How can you do that?

…………………………How can you hold you employees to that standard?

These questions are on my mind these days.  Frankly, I think it’s on a lot of your minds too — if your emails and calls are an indication of what you are thinking about these days.

Being amazing, awesome, stellar — whatever you call it — really comes down to three attributes that any of us can have.  It’s not a hard formula to understand.  Is is however a painfully hard act to live…

Here is what defines “stellar”:

  1. Desire — You have to want to be better.  This is where it all starts.  Without desire, you will quickly fall off the mark of consistent high performance.  It happens all time — well intentioned, passionate people giving up way too soon.  Their will is broken.  Their passion is quelled.  WHY?  They give up because they forget how bad they really want to be successful.  You need desire now more than ever.  With the gloom of global economic negativity in our face every day, desiring more for yourself is a must.
  2. Dedication — You have to focus your time on being a high performer.  You can’t just simply want to be amazing and it magically happen.  You’re life isn’t a David Blaine performance, it’s a battle — for your time and attention.  Daily activity toward your goal is the only way to be a consistent high performer.  Small things add up to big things over time.  They do.  With the dedication toward accomplishing small goals, you will find yourself doing huge things over time.
  3. Discipline — You have to train yourself to endure the bad stuff that happens along the way.  Despite the best plans and the most altruistic of ambitions, people and circumstances will rain all over your parade.  They will discourage you.  Many times they will deliberately try to hurt you.  You have to be ready to take a punch, get knocked out, and then stand back up and keep fighting — time after time after time.  No matter what happens, you have to have the discipline to reach deep within your soul and fight on.

Success is not usually an intellectual challenge.  It’s a mental challenge.  Desire, dedication, and discipline are not taught in the classroom.  They are a harsh reality of life.  You can be stellar.  You can find excellence.  You can be amazing…

How are you searching for stellar?

—————

By the way, if you missed the “Edgy Conversations” webinar I presented for Top Sales Expert International last week, click here to check out what 740 other people clicked on to see.  The video is about 60 minutes long and got some tremendous reviews from those who saw it live.  As a side note, there were a handful of the hundreds who saw this that thought I was a complete moron — so you know it has to be “spicy”…

Sales Stat Strategies Suck!

web_counter_stats

Sneak up behind someone and poke them with a safety pin and they jump.   Do it 100 times to a 100 different people and you will get the SAME result.

It’s human nature.  It’s a reaction that all people have.  Going a little deeper — it’s a subconscious reaction to feedback from our nervous system.  Millions of impulses every second tell you that you are in pain — to move your body away from the source  of pain.

It’s not even something you think about.

Which brings me back to the topic of my recent angst — sales strategies based on stats…

Sales research is cool (our teams do a ton of it), but building your sales strategy around market perceptions research is absolutely senseless.  I am not sure where we business people went so wrong, but the practice of “wind sniffing” is eroding the foundations of our businesses.  We happily produce neutered sales teams while happily sharing the stats around why we are making stupidly uninspired decisions.

We attempt nothing grand, challenging, or edgy.  Instead we “grow a set of stats” and use them as a billy club to keep the sales guys in line and unoriginal.

Here is how it works:

  1. “Business A” wants to generate more money in their marketplace…
  2. Executives research what people are buying and doing in the “Business A” marketplace…
  3. Sales team tasked to deliver on getting more people in the “Business A” marketplace to buy more…

Seems harmless.  In fact, you might be thinking: “this sounds like a great idea to me; why so much frustration, Daniel?”

But here are the problems:

  1. You can’t improve something by executing a “more of the same” sales strategy… (i.e. Bad people doing bad things produce bad things in bad ways.  Copying that is bad too.)
  2. Multiple snapshots of buyer activity produce vastly inconsistent data… (i.e. Like 5 blind dudes with a elephant you get a difference perspective every time you roll out of bed and check your numbers.)
  3. People don’t want what they say they want… (i.e. People don’t want to pay a “fair price”.  They want to pay “their fair price.)
  4. Stats bear “builder bias” not facts… (i.e. You can’t escape that you will already have most of the answer before you start working on looking at your “viral stats”.)
  5. Everybody else is equally as motivated to improve mediocrity (i.e. Improving your hustle over your competitor just means that you look like an idiot more times to more prospects.)

Building on mediocrity still has the failure of mediocrity at the foundation — which really negates the “building” part of the scenario…  (DEWism)

Watching what people are doing or how they are acting is a good operational practice but quite limited when it comes to sales.  It breaks down to Maslow and understanding people.

People do what people do because they are people  and that’s what people do…

Instead of researching what already exists  — what people are already doing — spend time on what you WANT people to be doing.  That should be your ONLY concern.  What people are doing is already the past.  Your vision for them promises a new and better future.

Here is a stat for you:  99.99% of people want to live and love… Lose your sales stats and sell that with passion…

[…and a Happy Birthday to my mother who taught me to live with courage, to strive for excellence, and to never back down from my obsession with changing the world…]

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Just Do It Already…

Your Effort Differentiates!

Your Effort Differentiates!

My CEO buddy Kriss Wilson posted a quote on Twitter from Buddha that fit right in to some of my recent thinking about selling and the differentiation between those who SELL and those who are “working on it.”

I return to my passion about effort and the idea of the PQ that creates All-Stars.

First — a quote from the mind of Kriss:

“Fools wait for a lucky day but every day is a lucky day for an industrious man.” ~Buddha

Quite a lot of selling is doing

It’s about putting in the necessary effort to navigate your way around obstacles to be successful.  It’s about being indefatigable, unstoppable, completely motivated…

It’s NOT:

……saying,
…………thinking,
………………planning,
……………………preparing
…………………………debating,
………………………………creating,
……………………………………testing,
…………………………………………searching,
………………………………………………building,   or
……………………………………………………making calls!

It is about EFFORT and the art of EXECUTING!

It’s the age old principle of “making your own luck”!

No sooner had my mind stopping spinning when I got a call from Tom Searcy which led to another discussion with a CEO in need of “sales execution” — not any of the things listed above.

And I again questioned this.

WHY? Why is execution so hard for start-ups?

And it really comes to a handful of explanations:

  • You don’t know how
  • You are too busy with less important details…
  • You underestimate the required amount of hard work

I usually find in working with high performing CEO’s that the last reason is by far the most common reason for lack of sales.  The “sweat cost” of “always on” selling is easy to underestimate and it’s deadly if not fixed”

Entrepreneurs give up just before they become successful.  CEO’s quit long after they should have given up on poor selling ideas.  High-end “sellers” over promise results without understanding the resources they are being promised by the organization.

What to do?

  • Put in the effort!
  • Stay committed to putting in the effort!

You can change just about anything when you have the effort to back up your planning!

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What’s not being said….

I get asked all the time to take a look at a business plan or review a sales process (which I usually find intriguing).  There is something about a new idea with plenty of potential that gets me pumped up.

Not every investor is worth “getting in bed with” just because they have a bankroll.

I ran into this presentation poking fun at VC investors a few weeks ago and wanted to share.  It is pretty humorous how many of these are right on…

Here is what a VC would never say to you:  🙂

Here is something else they wouldn’t say:

  1. Investors have to believe in you executing (not your product magically becoming the next Google).
  2. Investors are too busy  to hold your hand every day and make sure you meet all the other people in their portfolio.
  3. Investors expect you to have the answers not to have to answer the same questions every meeting…

Just be informed!

Like your mom used to tell you, “Don’t believe everything you don’t hear…”

Transparency = 1990’s Snake Oil

CAUTION: This is kind of a worthless rant!

screen-capture

Can You Fake Trust?

I just went to Amazon.com and ran a search on the subject of transparency and I got 111, 327 books on the subject — let alone DVDs, a few VHS options, and several hundred MP3’s to download. (For reference sake, there’s only 1,347 books on the topic of “home land security“…)

SUMMARY:  Stop believing that being “transparent” is by itself a virtue!  I know that it’s a sexy topic.  I know! It’s just NOT all that you think it is…  Seriously.

So what is this idea of transparency? And why is it such a cult? And how did this even get on The DEW View radar screen?

I was reading through Jeffrey Gitomer’s new book on TRUST (it’s the teal one, if you buy into his color stuff).  I generally am engaged by the quirky information sharing in a typical Gitomer book (big quotes and changing font sizes intermingled with cartoons and other “goodies”).  As I got about 2/3 of the way through the book, I ran into the passage aimed at sales dudes (like me) talking about a particular weakness with appearing genuine to the customer.

To build trust, Gitomer listed his 7.5 ways to be more “real” — and here is where I ran into an issue.  Reason number 6 or 7 (I forget now) was “Fake it Until You Make It”.  In other words, if you aren’t genuine then you should pretend like you are until you actually are genuine.  WHAT?  Really?  Is that how it works?

Sounds a like a huge insult to me…  Fake it — instead of just working on it?  I shut the book on basis of principle and haven’t read the rest of it yet (I’m considering getting back into it) and then began to think more about this idea of trust and transparency…

The idea of “transparency” became a sexy subject in the late 90’s after the bubble blew.  Parallel to our own Madoff scandals, investors screamed for more insight (more transparency) into how they lost money.  No one wanted to know what was going on while the returns were there, but after the collapse, in a faux sense of “getting to the bottom of the matter”, business gurus started talking about the need for transparency — which doesn’t entirely make sense.

The idea behind transparency is that it’s supposed to make me trust you more.  It’s like your own little credibility machine.  But that doesn’t really add up if you think it through.  Does your “transparency” cause me to trust you more?  Do I really want to know everything?

Here is my transparency: I PROBABLY DON’T EVEN TRUST YOU TO START WITH!

Did you want me to be transparent about that?  Do you trust me more, because I shared that with you (holding nothing back).

My bro asked me today if I trusted something that was told to me about my old business which caused me to think about the fact that my strategy all along the way had been to verify rather than trust.  WHY?  Because I don’t trust them to start with.

I may shake my head at you and pretend that “it’s all good”, but I don’t trust you most of the time.  Now before you jump all over me at that last statement let me note that I do trust a few people (most are in my immediate family) but that probably isn’t you!

And that’s OK!

I don’t need to trust you for us to get along.  Words are words — I want results.  I won’t ask you anything you need to lie to me about and you won’t need to lie to me.  That helps both of us out.  And, do you really want to know about my personal life and what goes on inside my head?

You don’t!  And if you do want to know, why is that?  It’s probably not healthy…

Can I make a suggestion?  Let’s change the debate from being “transparent” to a simpler concept:  BE HONEST!

  • Don’t intentionally mislead people to get your way…
  • Make ever effort to follow-up on the promises that you have made…
  • Stop f*cking people over on purpose because you think it’s cute…

That’s all!  Be honest.

P.S.   Don’t tell me that old argument that if you don’t trust other people it’s because you aren’t “trustworthy”.  I subscribe to the “BE HONEST” Model of business, but I don’t buy the “TRANSPARENCY” Model.

Executive Toolbag At The Ready

Every now and again I get around to using LinkedIn.  Since I do not actively market my “linking in”, I am not on the site as much you might think.  I was just on the site this evening and I noticed a great question from an associate of mine, John Warner, who is launching a wiz-bang communication platform utilizing “trusted relationships” to get more things done.

John asked several of us the following question: From simply email to something sophisticated, what’s the primary software you use to do business development?

Feeling chagrined that I hadn’t responded to any questions in a while and my own curiosity being aroused, I proceeded to chart all the tools that I use on a daily basis.   A little longer that I would have liked but a good exercise for me, I thought that it would make sense to share this answer with everyone…

Here is what I responded:

John,

I wish I had a “silver bullet”, but I use quite a few tools — a mix of open-source, free, and pay-to-play tools. The philosophy is that everything is cross functional and fully mobile.

I need to be able to manage client files and contact info from my phone and my laptop without any interruption. Here are a few of the tools:

  • JOTT (www.jott.com) — still the best way to leave yourself notes, have them transcribed into text, and emiled back to you for $4 per month…
  • reQall (www.reqall.com) — as good as JOTT (maybe a little cooler because it categories your voice notes) and completely free…
  • InstantConference (www.instantconference.com) — your own conference call line with direct integration with Outlook…
  • Funambol (www.funambol.com) — open source way to sync your calendar, contacts, and email with your mobile device …
  • Acrobat (www.acrobat.com) — free online file storage (5GB), WebEx alternative, word-processor, and online PDF creator…
  • Evernote (www.evernote.com) — free note-taking online, desktop, and mobile tool for managing customers (or anything)…
  • ZamZar (www.zamzar.com) — convert any file to ALMOST any other file format and then have it emailed back to you for free…
  • DimDim (www.dimdim.com) — competitor to WebEx but completely web-hosted and free…
  • Viviti (www.viviti.com) or Wix (www.wix.com) — marketing website creators with amazing templates and storage…
  • Qipit (www.qipit.com) — take a picture of your whiteboard “genius”, email it to Qipit, and it will be converted to a searchable PDF…

Less info and more enterprise, but open-source and useful:

  • Alfresco — Content Management
  • dotProject — Project Management
  • JasperReports — Reporting
  • Liferay Portal, Enterprise Portal
  • Magento — E-Commerce Platform
  • Pentaho — Business Intelligence Portal
  • SugarCRM — Customer Relationship Management

LIVE Mesh from Microsoft allows me to keep all my files synced (up to 5GB) across my Macbook and WinMo phone. ADrive offers me 50GB of free storage that is web-accessible. A few more I have used are:

  • Syncplicity — sync up to 2GB across mobile, laptop, and desktop
  • DropBox — sync up to 2GB across mobile, laptop, and desktop
  • SugarSync — best sync tool for mobile contacts and files but not free

When I was using Vista (before OS X) I loved XOBNI (www.xobni.com) which allowed me to integrate LinkedIn, Forbes, Hoovers (and more) directly into Outlook. Apple Mail does not have anything comparable right now (still holding out hope) but there are Apple Scripts that allow me to automate appointment creation and email syncing. I have two products running on my desktop constantly:

  • Calgoo — free tool that does bi-directional syncing between iCal and GCal…
  • sfCubed — free tool that does bi-directional syncing between iCal and Salesforce.com…

Managing social media is another matter (and more complex). Tweetdeck is the favorite desktop Twitter tool and Adium manages all my protocols (Yahoo, GTalk, Yammer, etc…). DIGSBY is the best Windows tool and when they release a Mac version I’ll drop Adium in a flash…

For raw, unabashed lead development, I use IMPLU or JigSaw or LInkedIn to qualify and “flesh out” prospects. A series of Google news feeds, RSS links, and “target” alerts keep me informed as to the latest into client specifics.

For managing voicemail I use YouMail (www.youmail.com) exclusively.  My GrandCentral voice account is largely unused…

I forgot — I also use: QIK, DashWire, Huddle, Xpenser, Bitstrips, Animoto, blist, Twilert, Dial2Do, Lookery, DropCard, jConnect, Drop.io, SlideShare, BrandDoozie, reTaggr, Flowgram, Filterbox, Woopra, Issuu, Spock, DocStoc, and few others on a case-by-case basis. A dozen different options for the exact right weapon to close any deal…….

While it seems like there are too many tools to manage here, I would note that each of these tools  (while also free…) provide unique value.

— Shout out to @joefeser for the pingback that my links were not all working…  (for a semi-tech write-up you would think hyperlinks would be taken care of……)