Sales techniques that work as hard as you do

August 17, 2017

Whether you run your own business or work for a company in a sales-related role, you’re always looking for sales techniques that work.  I’ve developed and learned many over the years from readers providing great advice. One person advised me to ask yes and yes questions.  He worked for Hyatt and asked himself, “What else can I do for Hyatt?”  Then it hit him – “Increase the average check price.” He said:  “Restaurants are always looking to grow the average amount of money their diners spend.  Usually, they do this by pushing wine and other alcoholic beverages, and dessert.  But those weren’t options […]

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Decide to be a decision maker

August 10, 2017

A confused young man went to a psychiatrist.  The psychiatrist intently listened to his patient and then offered his insight. “It appears to me you have trouble making decisions.  Would you agree?” The young man pondered for a moment and then responded, “Well, yes and no.” Many people struggle with making decisions.  Whether the issue is personal or professional, the inability to decide on a course of action can ruin relationships or careers. “Inability to make decisions is one of the principal reasons executives fail,” said leadership guru John Maxwell.  “Deficiency in decision-making ranks much higher than lack of specific […]

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Take a few minutes to learn the 2-minute drill

August 3, 2017

I could fill volumes about chance meetings that have changed people’s lives, led to jobs, business opportunities, partnerships, new ideas . . . all because people sought other people with similar interests. The secret is to seek them out. Every time I’m in a line, on a plane, at a sporting event, wherever … I introduce myself.  I’ve met some of my best customers on a plane, resulting in millions of dollars in business.  You always have to have your antennae up. I think this is one of the biggest mistakes people make.  They don’t introduce themselves when they have […]

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Stop procrastinating before it stops you

July 27, 2017

Procrastination is a thief.  It robs you of the one commodity that you just can’t buy back:  time.  It throws off schedules.  It replaces accomplishment with inaction.  It turns dreams into nightmares. When faced with a task that you just don’t want to do, many of us simply put it off until tomorrow.  That’s why tomorrow is often the busiest day of the week.  And one of these days become none of these days. Putting off an unpleasant task until tomorrow simply gives you more time for your imagination to make a mountain out of a possible molehill . . […]

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Parents take on the hardest job

July 22, 2017

The Boy Scouts were at camp.  In an inspection, the director found an umbrella neatly rolled inside the bedroll of a small Scout.  An umbrella was not listed as a necessary item, so the director asked the boy to explain. “Sir,” answered the young man with a weary sigh, “did you ever have a mother?” Everyone has heard of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, but do you know about Parents’ Day?  In 1994 U.S. President Bill Clinton established Parents’ Day as the fourth Sunday in July for “recognizing, uplifting and supporting the role of parents in rearing of children.”  This […]

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The best lessons are short, sweet and useful

July 13, 2017

Readers of this column are remarkable when it comes to telling me what they like most about my weekly musings.  Of course, I’m honored when they tell me they have posted my words on company bulletin boards or used the lessons as motivation. But without question, the most frequent feedback I get is that the column-ending morals are a very useful summation of the message.  Occasionally I compile a list of my favorite morals from the past couple of years.  Be my guest to share them! Whatever you’re selling, you’re selling yourself first. Don’t presume what you assume is correct. […]

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Don’t give up on your dreams

June 29, 2017

J.C. Penney, founder of the retail giant that bears his name, once evaluated one of his young clerks, stating he “wasn’t thorough and wouldn’t have much of a future in the retail business.”  The employee?  Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart. Despite Penney’s hopeless prediction, Sam Walton built the largest retail empire in the world.  The opinions of honest, well-intentioned people can sometimes be off the mark.  Don’t let misguided judgments keep you from pursuing your dreams. I love to read about people throughout history who were told they couldn’t do something, or wouldn’t amount to anything and then achieved great […]

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Friendships can lead to good working relationships

June 23, 2017

Two friends were walking through a dense jungle.  Knowing the dangers, they promised to stick together whatever happened. Suddenly a tiger appeared in the bushes.  One friend immediately turned and ran, climbing up a tree and leaving his companion behind.  He watched as his friend dropped to the ground and played dead. The tiger approached, sniffed around, and leaned down, seemingly whispering something in the man’s ear.  It roared once, then stalked away. Feeling ashamed, the other man climbed back down the tree.  “What did the tiger say to you?” The man looked up.  “He said, ‘Never trust a false […]

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More street-smart ideas to try

June 15, 2017

You learn to be book smart in school, but you better not forget that you need to also be street smart.  As I like to say, knowledge does not become power until it is used!  I succeeded because I have street smarts that I either developed or picked up throughout my career from some of the world’s smartest and most interesting people. I have done four previous columns on street-smart ideas that have generated terrific reader feedback.  Here are some more of my favorites. First idea:  Know thy competitor.  Walmart founder Sam Walton, richest man in America at the time, […]

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Your business is known by the customers you keep

June 8, 2017

Few issues baffle me more than the lack of service that businesses think their customers will tolerate.  I just don’t understand how some companies keep their doors open.  On the other hand, I’m sure that some of those businesses can’t figure out why they lose customers. I receive lots of mail from folks who have had unpleasant or even nasty experiences trying to get problems solved.  I hear horror stories from readers who waited patiently for help only to be told they should come back another time when it wasn’t so busy . . . phone calls getting dropped while […]

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The worst failure is the failure to try

June 1, 2017

Failure can become a weight or it can give you wings. That is the message I hear every spring when I attend the Horatio Alger Awards Ceremony in Washington, D.C., where 10 new members are inducted annually.  I was honored to be one of them in 2004.  During the short speeches given by new members to the audience, which includes more than 100 scholarship students, the message I hear over and over again is – Don’t be afraid to fail. The Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans is a nonprofit organization based in Alexandria, Va., that was founded in 1947 to honor the achievements of […]

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Optimists see opportunities in challenges

May 25, 2017

Two hikers were camped out overnight in the mountains.  A thunderous voice roused them from their sleep.  The voice said, “This will be the saddest day or the happiest day of your lives,” then instructed them to pack up their belongings, make their way to the river, gather stones in their backpacks that they couldn’t look at until morning, and continue on their journey never to return to the river or the mountain again. The hikers did as they were instructed and stumbled through the darkness to the river.  They stuffed their packs with cold, wet stones and carefully trekked […]

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Be careful when offering criticism

May 18, 2017

When you offer criticism, be aware of whom you are criticizing and how they might receive it. Case in point:  A number of years ago, my son David was entering his senior year at Stanford University.  He thought it might be fun to spend his last college summer freewheeling in San Francisco, working five or six shifts a week as a waiter.  He figured he would earn enough money to really enjoy his leisure hours.  He was pretty driven and interviewed at a swanky brand new restaurant called Stars, being opened by renowned chef Jeremiah Tower.  It was scheduled to […]

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Mentoring works both ways

May 11, 2017

Anyone who doesn’t understand the value of one minute hasn’t been paying attention to my good friend Ken Blanchard.  Starting with his “One Minute Manager” and moving through a series of bestsellers, he has shown his millions of fans how just sixty seconds can improve your chances for success. Good news – he’s at it again, this time with “One Minute Mentoring,” a must-read for folks looking for some help and those who are prepared to offer it.  He’s teamed up with Claire Diaz-Ortiz, a former Twitter executive and author of “Twitter for Good.”  Their combined knowledge of intergenerational mentoring […]

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Values determine who we are

May 4, 2017

In the famous French story, “The Little Prince,” a fox becomes the best friend of the young royal on a fictitious planet.  When the fox must depart from the prince forever, he offers to tell him the world’s most wonderful secret if the prince meets certain conditions.  The little prince agrees, does what is expected and then asks to be told the greatest secret. “Only that which is invisible is essential,” the fox replies. The most valuable things in life cannot be seen with the naked eye:  love, friendship, hope, integrity, trust, compassion and values. You can’t see values, touch them, […]

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