Vol. 11, No. 8 – June 6, 2011

June 6, 2011


The 8020Info Water Cooler

Highlights from the latest information
for managers, leaders and entrepreneurs

1. Emptying You Sales Trash

Out for an early-morning run and seeing a group of city workers picking up the trash on the Miami Beach waterfront led consultant Colleen Francis to ponder the importance of jettisoning our sales trash — strategies and tools that no longer work. Those might include:

  • Hanging on to bad leads who are never going to buy: There seems safety in numbers, even padded numbers, so we hang on to any lead we have ever been given without moving them further along the sales pipeline or dropping them. “Bad leads will always be bad leads and will only suck time and resources out of your day,” she writes in her EngageSelling newsletter.
  • Citing outdated testimonials and client references: Your testimonials should be current, compelling and credible.
  • Using a poorly executed sales script: She urges you to be objective. Are you using “salesy” sounding language when you go into sales mode?
  • Relying on features-and-benefits marketing without proof: Effective marketing should emphasize the results you can achieve. That’s where those testimonials can be vital.
  • Relying on a single-media strategy for your sales: To get attention and be memorable, you should leverage several media channels at once. “From websites to social media, from paper-based marketing to face-to-face meetings — invest time in ensuring your message is loud and clear across a number of platforms,” she advises.

For the full article, see: http://www.engageselling.com/articles/article-take-out-the-trash.html

2. Kindness At The Office

Consultant Davia Temin still remembers an ugly incident when she served on the hard-charging management committee of a large corporation. During a quarterly review she was shocked when the group, starting with the president, started yelling at the head of a business for his division’s poor performance.

The man, in his mid-60s and their oldest head of a business, turned pale, then red, and then blue — his condition was ignored and still the humiliation continued. She finally excused herself to go to the washroom, but came back to find them all joking with one another! “I had witnessed some bizarre, sadomasochistic game that was seemingly acceptable to all.”

It left her with the lesson that kindness should be an important attribute for a leader, even if you have to be tough. She stresses that you can be demanding, perfectionist, unrelenting, ambitious — and still be kind, and a success.

“Kindness — once people realize that it does not mean being a pushover — can be a profoundly motivating force. Loyalty can bring just as good results as fear or greed, and probably more sustainable growth. And loyalty is bred, in part, by kindness,” she writes on Forbes.com

For the full article, see: http://www.forbes.com/2010/12/09/kindness-office-workplace-forbes-woman-leadership-loyalty_2.html

3. Five Tips for Buying A Server

Computer file servers are not routine purchases for smaller organizations, so when we must buy one, uncertainty and confusion can reign. Servers can also be costly, and must be secure since they host sensitive information. On Inc.com, John Engates, Chief Technology Officer of file-hosting company Rackspace, offers this advice:

  • Find a snug fit: Servers vary markedly, so be sure you know what your own needs are. If you only need to share basic files and it’s a small office, you can configure a wireless hard drive to share files amongst employees.
  • Consider renting: Many companies are moving away from owning servers and hosting their data on “the cloud,” computer networks stitched together by the Internet. It’s possible to rent space on a sliding scale, with maintenance services.
  • Anticipate future growth: Don’t buy a server for today’s needs. Think a year or two out.
  • Make sure your server can take the heat: If you don’t have an air-conditioned space to house your server, undertake some online research and talk to the salespeople about the likelihood and frequency of overheating. He says a server with advanced features will be able to sense when it’s overheating and shut itself down to prevent damage, but a no-name brand might lack this heat-sensing protection mechanism.
  • Pick a provider that specializes in small organizations: Unless your staff has lots of networking professionals, buy from a well-known company that knows how to support small organizations.

4. On Being Rational — And Irrational

When we enter work every day, we are expected to be rational. But entrepreneur Seth Godin notes that there are times to be irrational at work: Indeed, irrational passion is the key change agent of our economy.

“Steve Jobs is irrational about product design. As a result, focus groups make no sense. Who cares what other people think? He has faith in his gut. Your website: Is it rationally designed? Should it be? What about the process you use to create new products or ads?” he writes on Seth’s Blog.

“There’s room for both rational and irrational decision making, and I think we do best when we choose our path in advance instead of pretending to do one when we’re actually doing the other. The worst thing we can do is force one when we actually need the other.”

5. Zingers

  • If you’re operating with one list of projects and tasks to get through the week, consider using a two-list approach. Establish a Master Task List, with everything that needs to be done, and add to it during the day as new items crop up. But to manage what you actually do, choose from a Daily Action List of items you have chosen from that master list to accomplish on that specific day. Choose a realistic action list with a handful of achievable tasks. (Source: Daytime.wordpress.com )
  • We often go wrong at work when we assume we understand another person’s intentions from their actions. But in a piece titled Conflict Resolution Techniques: Question Your Assumptions, consultant Guy Harris notes that you never know another person’s intentions until you ask. (Source: TheRecoveringEngineer.com )
  • Leadership expert Peter Drucker once observed that a lot of time is spent teaching leaders what to do and not enough on what they should stop doing. With that in mind, consultant Wally Bock suggests asking your peers and team members what you should stop doing. Don’t argue with what they propose — just thank them, and use the information to develop a Stop Doing list. (Source: Three Dog Leadership )
  • Belmont University Professor of Entrepreneurship Jeff Cornwall recommends starting any new work idea with the presumption that it won’t work — and then try to prove yourself wrong. That’s equivalent to what statisticians call the null hypothesis, and allows you to uncover weaknesses in your idea. (Source: DrJeffCornwall.com )
  • Research shows that people who wear name badges are perceived as delivering 15 per cent better customer service than those who do not. (Source: The Donald Cooper Corporation Newsletter )

6. Q&A with 8020Info:
Tips on Presentations

Question: What would be on your checklist of most important points for great presentations?

8020Info President and CEO Rob Wood replies:

There are many tried-and-true tips you may already follow, such as “Tell ’em what you’re going to tell ’em…” (briefly) to orient your audience, use stories to engage them, or employ a physical symbol to make a conceptual point more concrete (for example, manipulating a Rubik’s Cube to convey alignment or disorder).

This week we had a chance to sit in on a MarketingProfs.com webinar with Guy Kawasaki, Apple’s former Chief Evangelist and author of Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions (his tenth book). Many of us can benefit from advice offered by this master presenter:

  • The 10-20-30 Rule: His 10-20-30 rule is that 10 slides are optimal for most 20-minute presentations, and format text at a minimum 30-point size. (Smaller type is less readable and, when audiences see a lot of copy, they spend their time trying to read it instead of listening to you.)
  • Avoid a Generic Opening: Another good tip from Kawasaki is to always take time to customize the introduction of your presentation for the particular audiences you’re speaking to, taking two or three minutes to establish points of connection. For example, he once introduced a presentation to a manufacturing group by showing them a photo of their product in his home and a story of how he used it.
  • Language Should Convey Relevance: He also stressed the importance of using “salient points” during a launch. Why do we pitch miles per gallon when consumers are concerned about annual costs? Or talk about dollars for a food bank when the real measure is months of food? Or refer to the size of storage on a device in terms of gigabytes rather than the number of songs or movies the device can store?
  • Use Memorable Key Phrases: Pepper your presentation with memorable phrases that will make it easy for your audience to take home your most important points. (To great effect, Kawasaki used phrases like “Enchant All the Influencers”, “Plant Many Seeds” and referred to propositions that are “Sweet, Short and Swallowable”.)

My own favourite tip is to Finish With a Flourish. We remember best what we experience last, which means you must finish strongly. Dribbling to an end with a traditional question and answer format usually fails that test — if you need a Q&A, insert it near the end of your talk, following the last question with the conclusion of your talk, which should have a flourish.

7. News From Our Water Cooler:
Video Rising

It may be time for you to take a look (or another look) at how you might incorporate video in your marketing communications — it seems to be on the front burner everywhere we look. For example:

  • This past week a marketing group we work with identified the use of YouTube- style video as a top new priority for follow-up with their member businesses. Clips just 1-to-3 minutes long can be produced quickly and easily and used in social networking, on websites, at events and during presentations.
  • Our hometown Grand Theatre recently broke ground when it posted a terrific little video to present its new 2011-2012 season online. You can watch video clips from upcoming artists and performances, testimonials from theatre patrons and an explanation of programming approaches by the Cultural Services Director.
  • The departing commander of a local Canadian Forces Base was recently interviewed by a newspaper — they came for a story and picture, which he expected, but the print journalist also wanted a video clip, which the paper posted along with the online story.
  • A couple of issues back, we plugged Kickstarter.com, a website where cultural entrepreneurs and inventors post descriptions of their projects and invite complete strangers to help fund them. Guess what tool they use to make their pitch?

Local pastors are using video. Politicians are using video. Proud parents are using video. They have impact when motivation and brand-building are goals. Costs have come down, technology is getting easier, and springing up everywhere are small companies to help with professional production services. It may be time to consider adding video to your marketing toolkit.

8. Closing Thought                                                                 Top

“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.”

— William A. Ward