Tag Archives: memorable

Clean up your act… (or else)

For those of you who ignored my rage against the fad of making New Years resolutions, I say “bravo”…  Sure it’s a mindless waste of time to commit to an important goal for just a few months, but you already knew that.

All rage aside, I have goals for my life and most of you do too.    I have to think you wouldn’t continue to hang out here at The DEW View if you didn’t want more from your life.  I tend to be pretty annoying.

(By the way, I hope several of you made resolutions just because I told you, you shouldn’t…)

So back to goals….

We all have them and we all would say that we want our goals to work out.  The reality is that you can have what you want. Your goals really can happen…

You just need to clean up your act.

Here’s a fun fact for you: You guy’s don’t need me to tell you how to be successful.  Most of us know what to do to be productive people.

  • We know that we need to prioritize better…
  • We know that we need to manage our time more effectively…
  • We know that we need to be more disciplined…

Right?  So why don’t we?

I think it has a little to do with how I spent my weekend:

I have had the house to myself for the past few weeks and with two boys and a maddenly busy schedule, things get sloppy.  Despite the pics you see of me on Facebook and elsewhere with my hair uncombed and collar pushed up, I am kind of a neat freak.   It doesn’t hurt that I grew up with a mom that made me clean the toilets and polish the sinks each more morning before I went to school.

So I went back to my roots and decided to get the house back in shape – bathrooms, hard word floors, and carpets.  And it wasn’t easy.  For starters, I couldn’t find the supplies.  I mean, isn’t there supposed to be a caddie thing with all the sprays and soaps and stuff?  Where is it?

I couldn’t find it.

I made a trip to Wal-Mart with the boys to rectify the situation.  Forty-five minutes later, a bucket, a mop, soap stuffs, a little green duster, and a pair of elbow-length pink gloves later, I hit the scene like Saturday night at the movies.

It was nasty. I won’t go into detail here because it will likely reduce my readership quite dramatically.  It will suffice to say that things got sudsy in a hurry.

And about four hours later, the house looked better.  It still needs a professional though…..

Here is my observation.  I could have the most beautiful house in the world, but without periodic cleaning, it’s going to get pretty nasty, pretty quick.

That’s exactly what happens to your goals.

Your sales goals for this quarter.  Your commission goals for this year.  Your 3-year plan for conquering the world.

What starts in January as beautiful and full of delight turns into a March disaster, June denial, and November depression

Along the way your goals get dusty, dirty, and downright nasty.  What’s started out nice and beautiful quickly becomes something you can’t stand to be around.  They stink.

“And when your goals stink, they start to rub off on you…”

So what am I saying?

  1. Donate regular time to clean up bad habits that limit your potential…
  2. Spend effort shining up new talents and skills…
  3. Soak up any advice you can get from great books, bios, and magazine articles…
  4. Don’t let failure and negativity leave scum on your beliefs…

So clean up your act!

It’s not me being a jerk; it’s your best chance of changing the world.

(I need to take my advice with this one too…)

What do you think? 

What Was Your Name Again?

Business Model Revenues

less NOISE = more SALES

I put this presentation together about 6 months ago for an internal presentation to our team about the need to create a compelling message in spite of all the NOISE surrounding our business.

After recent sales discussions with entrepreneurs, I thought it made sense to share this with The DEW View community.  Its worth reviewing your “sales pitch” while asking yourself the question: “Do I cut through the noise?”

To really harness EXPLOSIVE revenue performance, you have to create a message that is compelling enough to cut through the NOISE of:

  • Your competition…
  • Your prior performance…
  • Your customer’s perceptions…
  • Your personal deficiencies…
  • Your customer’s personal agenda…
  • Your recent commute to work…
  • Your fears about not “closing the deal”… AND
  • a squigillion other variables you’ll learn about after you lose a few deals because you didn’t plan for cutting through the NOISE

Winners create a fanfare that arouses action, intensifies urgency, and capture the mind and motivation of a buyer. (DEWism)

Be a winner!

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Create A Legacy of Trying

This could also be subtitled something like: NOT “Putting out” Only Works When You are Looking for a Girlfriend (and then sometimes “not-so-much”)… or  The “E” for Effort stands for “Everytime”

And so I give you some musings on “trying” and (2) videos you need to watch…

If you run a search on The DEW View for the idea of effort, you get like 50 or 60 posts on everything from investigating the best of open source technology to how to run a presentation so that people stay awake to how to get back up when you get your ass kicked (all good topics, I hear…).  The reason I am writing another post on the idea of trying is that a lot of entrepreneurs I speak with get the idea of trying all wrong.  They think “trying” is something to do after planning or building or everything else…  TRYING is what you DO while you DO all those OTHER things!

Try Harder Smarter like AVIS

Start-ups have one really differentiating quality — the art of trying harder.  Sure market timing, customer sensitivity, price incentives, management insight, cash flow, and a thousand other micro-factors impact your chance of success.  Sometimes, these factors have a HUGE impact on your success.  But the great equalizer is the effort the entrepreneur (YOU) puts into their own success.

Trying harder, better yet, “trying harder smarter” is the ONLY guarantee that you have.

You can’t change the economic outlook to get better financial terms.  You can’t change international geo-political trade regulations to grow new markets.  You can’t force people to care about you are doing…

YOU CAN ALWAYS TRY HARDER SMARTER!

If you haven’t read The Dip by Seth Godin, you need to go buy it from Amazon.com for the entire $5 that it costs.

Seth Godin Talks about Losers!

I read this some time back and recently did a re-read of all 96 pages.  It’s a 45 minutes pithy read on WHEN you need to quit.  Seth did a brilliant job of talking about this concept called the DIP, where most entreprenuers give up (or “stop trying” in DEW-speak).

I like that Seth puts some science behind the experience that I have been through several times in my life.   I certainly have been in the DIP several times in my career and it’s BRUTAL…. until you power out the bottom of the curve and get  superstar results.  Life is miserable at the bottom until you “figure out if you have enough guts to keep pushing”.

When critics complained to Abraham Lincoln that his leading general was a drunk, Lincoln made the witty response:

“Tell me what brand of whiskey Grant drinks.  I would like to send a barrel of it to my other generals.”

That summed up Lincoln’s analysis of what he wanted from his leadership — not DRUNKENNESS but FIGHT!  (By the way, the story of Grant as a warrior is inspiring by itself.  He had no friends and no real experience like General Robert E. Lee and yet his courage to FIGHT on was a deciding factor in his success.  He didn’t quit…)

Have you ever noticed that quitting is something that we perfect as we get older?

We try to say sophisticated things like “market research indicates that current demand ratios point to slower growth patterns” or “I need to think about this some more.  I don’t want to make the wrong decision”.  What we really need to say is  something along the lines of  “I am really scared right now.  I think I have a great idea and I passionate about it, but I could lose everything if I’m wrong.”  Now we’ll getting somewhere.  Now we have the personal integrity that is foundation for deep-rooted, passionate enterprise.

It’s hard work.  No one said being successful would be easy.  But you CAN do it.  You CAN be the WINNER you want to be.  If you are in a DIP right now, here are a few things you can do to stay sane and motivated:

  1. Recognize that you are in a DIP.  There is no use denying the obvious…
  2. Refocus your attention on the basics (customers and cash flow)…
  3. Rationalize what “seems” or “seemed” to be working into a process that you can examine at a later date…
  4. Repeat to yourself and anyone who will listen your core values driving what you are doing…

There is no silver bullet that makes your pain go away or your fear of failure disappear.  You are your own best medicine.

Let me leave you with this quote from a reader and commenter of The DEW View, Lydia Sugarman: “I do it because I can, I can because I want to, I want to because you said I couldn’t…”  If you really understand that quote then you are on your way to creating your own legacy of trying!

Keep Trying!

Try today!

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Joe Learns, Joe Kicks Ass…

Joe Learns to Kick Ass!
Joe Learns to Kick Ass!

If you happen to need a good real estate agent or more importantly, really want (or need) to sell your home, then Joe is my recommendation to you.  He handles my personal business because someone “kicking ass” for me is what I need.

Who is Joe? And why does he matter?  He’s a modern success story that you need to hear about…… and my friend.

Joe Blackton, (who you can find on twitter as @JoeBlackton) just sent me a letter a few days by email that I wanted to share with you.  Joe is a real estate agent that I recruited to work at ACCESS when I was CEO there.  I was constantly looking for junior sales talent that could be transformed into All-Stars (still am looking for more), and Joe certainly has become an All-Star — after leaving ACCESS!

I was first introduced to Joe by a long time friend that I went to High School with.  My friend told me that there was this guy “Joe” who was working really hard and was a great sales guy – so I picked up the phone and called him.  Two weeks later, Joe started working with me learning the ropes on a completely new vertical — the legal industry.  Instead of tackling homeowners, Joe was talking with attorneys and often working with my own personal list of more than 3,000 clients — most of which were in the Washington, DC area.  He did a super job, especially when you consider all the obstacles that he faced:

  1. The company was in the process of being sold and the chief sales-dude, ME, was not so available for training like I used to be…
  2. The process of “shopping the company” had created uncertainty within the firm, making it difficult for newcomers to adjust…
  3. Joe was completely new and trying to work with brand-new lingo, law firms, and internal technology teams was brutal…

In spite of this, Joe demonstrated class and talent and was well on his way to becoming a leading sales executive with us.  I was quietly impressed.

Here’s the kicker: On the first day that the buyers of our company took over officially, JOE WAS FIRED!  No warning!  No Discussion! No 90-day Goal Period!  Nothing!  Just a pink slip.

And you would think that Joe was crushed — many people would be!  He wasn’t.  Pissed off sure, but when he called to tell me that he had been fired (I didn’t know at the time) and that he had to think about things, he mentioned that he would probably be going back to his real estate roots.  And that’s where the story really starts.

Read his letter first to me and then I’ll tell you the rest of the story:

Dan,

I know you’re a busy man so I will keep this short and sweet.  I just wanted to take a brief moment of your time to thank you.  You thoroughly changed my entire view point and perspective in this ever changing sales industry.  You taught me that technology is the key factor in not only generating leads but turning the majority of those leads into clients with a “WOW Factor”.

Witty remarks and a down to earth demeanor placed you a step above the rest in my book immediately in addition to your reputation of success.  My respect level was immediate as I found that you were a twenty nine year old CEO of a multimillion dollar industry in Washington DC and after working with you I could not have been more impressed.  With the extreme multi-tasking and technology proficiency you possessed it was as if these were common prerequisites that EVERYBODY had perfected.    I have always been an avid believer that if I see somebody attain a goal that seems nearly impossible with such ease; then there is NO reason why I cannot achieve these same accomplishments in my field or practice.

You have been a true mentor to me in the past year and I felt a thank you letter was in order.  I enjoy our brain storming and networking strategy session phone calls.  Whatever my increase in sales are this year, a better part of it will be contributed to the man that positioned me a step above the rest.

It has been a pleasure, Sir,

Joe Blackton
Avery Hess Realtors
Direct: 571-437-7285
Office: 702-802-8200
www.joeblacktonsellshomes.com

Getting a letter like this is emotionally rewarding and an ego boost — but it’s really a HUGE credo to JOE!

What did Joe do?

The first clue is to take a look at Joe’s website (www.JoeBlacktonSellsHomes.com).  It’s his first one and get’s him between 55-100 emails and phone calls a day – every day.  It’s a simple website!  Nothing crazy.  In fact, you might even criticize the soft tones (Joe is a tough “fitness nut”) and all the information that he provides directly without you having to call him.  According to the leading sales and negotiation books, you aren’t supposed to provide that  service without getting something in return.  It’s supposed to NOT work!

But something seems to be working, because in a “down turn” economy Joe is busy all hours of the day!  We actually played “phone tag” for a few days until I actually reached him last week around 8PM on my drive home from the office.  Joe is doing the impossible — selling homes in Northern Virginia while  everyone else seems to be having a problem doing that.

So what is Joe doing? AHHHHH!  Now that this is $64,000 question.

Better yet, what is Joe doing that you should be doing?

  • Joe is using technology to find, track, and manage his clients.  Joe uses some pretty sophisticated technology to match up his sellers with buyers out there and provide value to both.  That enables him to sell homes faster and with both sides feeling great about the process.  It’s fun to hear about…
  • Joe is following EVERY lead and clue until it falls apart completely.  Instead of hiding in the corner, Joe is offering advice (like his website) to people who aren’t even selling their homes right now.  He is working with entrepreneurs who want to get into the “buy and sell game” and talking to banks who want to unload foreclosures.  He is everywhere twice as fast as the competition…
  • Joe is passionate about his own success.  Joe went from angry and pissed off to completely focused back into his old business of selling homes and he is doing 10x better than he was in the upswing economy days!  WHAT?  Joe is purely passionate about selling homes for his clients and providing value that no one else is taking the time for.
  • Joe is learning.  I like that sentence in the letter where he says: “I have always been an avid believer that if I see somebody attain a goal that seems nearly impossible with such ease; then there is NO reason why I cannot achieve these same accomplishments in my field or practice.” Learning from the bad things that happen to us is more powerful that learning from our successes.  Joe learned a little from me.  But more importantly, Joe IS LEARNING from himself and life.

You can be a “Joe” too. Follow the same steps that he did and you’ll be “kicking ass” too…

———-

KUDOS to you, Joe, when you happen to read this blog post!  Thanks for the letter.  I am excited to see you put into place the things that we talked about.  I am sure that you will be a high performer this year for Avery Hess and you deserve the awards that are coming to you.  Keep “Kicking Ass”…. and keep learning!

Stop Sucking and then I Might Care

Seth writes the #1 ranked blog in the world on marketing...

Seth writes the #1 blog in the world on marketing...

I was just on the phone last week with Seth Godin (who is one of my heros) and I couldn’t help but be blown away by his amazing take on marketing that works.  I love that practical sense of “let’s really get the job done” not just pretend to show up.

This morning I read his post on “You’re Boring!” — and basically ran through the GNOSO hallways clicking my heels with delight that I wasn’t the only “nut job” in the world that believed in the concept of BEING MEMORABLE

Here is what Seth wrote:

If the marketplace isn’t talking about you, there’s a reason.

If people aren’t discussing your products, your services, your cause, your movement or your career, there’s a reason.

The reason is that you’re boring. (I guess that’s what boring means, right?) And you’re probably boring on purpose. You have boring pricing because that’s safer. You have a boring location because to do otherwise would be nuts. You have boring products because that’s what the market wants. That boring staff? They’re perfectly well qualified…

You don’t get unboring for free. Remarkable costs time and money and effort, but most of all, remarkable costs a willingness to be wrong. [There’s more in an interview I just did with John.]

Remarkable is a choice.

Brilliant, Seth!

I get calls all the time from people engaging in discussion around branding and selling big deals (that’s the stuff I obsess about on a daily basis) of new products, new services, or new ideas….  Cool stuff!  The reason I am being called is usually to be a sounding board for how an idea or product might be best sold (all that “who, what, where” stuff).

I have not had a call YET where we did not start talking about how to memorably market the idea or who we might connect with for a viral springboard.

And, here’s the kicker:

Being memorable is an investment made long before the gain is realized…. (DEWism)

And here’s the #1 rule of being memorable:  STOP SUCKING at what you do!  Seriously!

  • Stop “half-assing” your relationships with clients… do the unexpected and do it with passion!
  • Stop being normal and un-risky with getting your message out… believe in your story deeply!

You have to care about your message more than anyone else in the world (several times over) before you start seeing results — so Stop Sucking and Start Selling yourself…Be memorable.  Be passionate.  Be obsessive about your story.

Being Memorable (Part2)

 

ZAG when you see others ZIG...

ZAG when you see others ZIG...

I just put together my thoughts on the idea of being memorable in differentiating business models…  and then I read the following article on www.lifehack.org which added fuel to my fire!  Fundamentally, it is crucial to develop the art of being MEMORABLE

Life is full of little situations that you encounter regularly.  Some people don’t see these for the opportunities that they are: a chance to stand out, be different, and be memorable.

They’re a way to quickly built rapport with someone so they can think back later and say “Brian…hmm, yeah he was the guy who does [BLANK]” or “Barbara, oh yeah she is the gal who said [BLANK]“.  You stood out enough to be remembered.

By breaking out of your comfort zone and doing something a little different than everyone else you can connect with new people on a regular basis.

1.  How’s it going?  This is perhaps one of the most common questions you will here, and everyone gives the same answer.  Instead of saying “fine”, “ok, how about you”, or “keepin busy”, next time try giving some uncommon honesty.  Don’t parrot back your usual response.  Think of something positive, unique, and/or funny that you are doing, and give them a one line summary.  Keeping it positive is key.  You should be bringing smiles to people’s faces, not unloading your baggage or stress.To the receptionist: “Today has been crazy, I just closed that deal I’ve been workin on for the last month.  High five!”To the checker at the grocery store: “I’ll tell you what man, it’s gonna be going a lot better after I eat this sandwhich, I’m starving!”

To the cab driver: “Stupendous!” 

2.  The Handshake  Another common pattern we all go through is the handshake.  Why not do it a little differently?One of my favorites to do in a social setting (especially with someone you just met recently) is to go for the hug instead of the handshake.They will put out their hand.  Just stare it for a second as if you are confused and then open you arms wide and say “I think I’d like a hug instead” with a big smile.  People will crack up laughing and instantly you have a connection.When everyone is going around the circle doing a handshake and it finally comes to you, you can also give them “the rock” to stand out.  The rock is when you make a fist and bump it with the other person’s fist.  This is a pop culture thing common among younger folks but it can also be humorous and help you stand out. Now you two have an inside joke.

If you are in a business setting, you can still do variations on the handshake to stand out.  Try coming in wide from the outside with a little bit of a sweeping motion.  Or bringing in your left hand too for a “double” (send the left hand up to his/her forearm for extra rapport).  These will also show confidence and charm if done correctly.

3.  What do you do?  Where are you from?  These are the two most common questions in small talk.  Come up with good answers to them that help you stand out.The key to a good answer is that it provides little pieces of information that would be easy for them to ask a follow up question about.For example, if someone asks “What do you do?”, you could say:  ”Well, I’m an accountant”.  Then there would be an awkward silence as the person tries to think of what to talk about next.Or….you can say something like “Well, when I finished up school I decided to try working for XYZ company, but I realized after about 30 seconds that I didn’t want to do that, so I got into ABC.  But honestly that’s just what I do for a job, what I really love doing is DEF and GHI so I do that pretty much every weekend.” 

Now they have lots of places to take the conversation.  They could ask you about what school you graduated from, your hobbies, why you didn’t like XYZ, etc.  It’s uncommonly candid and gives them a better picture of your life.

The same goes for the dreaded “Where are you from?”.  Give a miniature story in your answer with some interesting details they can follow up on.