You Can't Solve A Problem Unless You First Admit You Have One

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The Same Goes For Business Problems

Alcoholics Anonymous has used that principle as a starting point to reclaim thousands and thousands of lives. Thousands more are never reclaimed because it’s so hard to change.

Sheer stubbornness has destroyed a lot more bottom lines than new technologies.

There were just as many mean spirited jibes at Coca-Cola for abandoning its original formulas as there were at Ford when it unveiled the Edsel. The difference was that Ford decided it was going to prove the marketplace was wrong and stuck with its mistake far too long. Coca-Cola realized early that while humiliation was inescapable, horrendous losses need not be. It cut its losses, and its mistake cost it a lot less money than stubborn pride cost Ford.

Campbell’s spent years developing a new offering in what’s called the “functional food” category. Named Intelligent Quisine (IQ), marketing consultant Sangita Joshi describes it as ” a frozen food line that would help older Americans” needing to modify their diets. It had “great endorsements from the medical fraternity; many trials…and yet it bombed due to poor taste.” Campbell’s acted quickly and regrouped.

Product withdrawals these days don’t have to be just timely. Sometimes they are real time. Bill Gates was demonstrating the introduction of an improved Windows 98 program in front of a slew of journalists and live TV cameras. As the demonstrator touted the program’s virtues, Windows crashed in front of GOD… and Gates! On the monitor appeared the infamous “blue screen of death” and its white-typed error message. The ever quick-witted Bill intervened in a nanosecond with: “That must be why we’re not shipping Windows 98 yet.”

One thing professional stock and commodity traders learn early is that they don’t give away medals for courage in the marketplace. There is only one reward the marketplace has to offer: money.If you’re not making any, bail out. Quickly

Connect with me on Facebook and Twitter to hear more about some of my real world experiences and the lessons they’ve taught me.

 

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Trust Your Hunches

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My favorite Peanuts character, Charlie Brown, is on the pitcher’s mound psyching himself up: “It’s the last of the ninth. The bases are loaded. there are two outs, and the count is three and two on the batter. If I get him out, we win!” At this point, Charlie is surrounded by his friends and teammates who are shouting, “Throw him a fastball! Throw him a curve!” And so on.

All alone on the pitcher’s mound, Charlie thinks to himself, “The world is filled with people who are anxious to serve in an advisory capacity.”

Decision making is jungle warfare at its worst. Choose well, and you are a hero. Make a bad choice, and your career could be over. Sometimes the choices are so dicey, the options all look alike. Or as Yogi Berra said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

After you’ve done all your homework, when making decisions, I’ve found that you have to trust your gut. Deep down, your gut is likely to know what’s right. Keep track of what instinct tells you to do. It’s amazing how often expert advice sides with your gut.

Psychologist Joyce Brothers advises, “Trust your hunches…They are usually based on facts filed away just below the conscious level.”

Mackay’s Moral: Don’t be afraid to make a decision. Be afraid not to make a decision. 

Learn more about my new book, The Mackay MBA of Selling in the Real World

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Rain Can Make Your Parade

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Retired Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy is a master of helping those around him visualize victory. He’s been that way ever since his high school playing days, which is one reason I worked so hard to help recruit him for the Minnesota Gophers, where he was a college gridiron star. In fact, I was extremely proud when Tony wrote in his blockbuster 2007 book, Quiet Strength, “Harvey, I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you.”

It’s no surprise that his quarterback Peyton Manning is a big believer in practice and preparation. You might recall the constant, relentless, sidewinding rain at the 2007 Super Bowl in Miami between Indianapolis and the Chicago bears. The terrible weather was ideal for the Bears’ running game, but the conditions looked bad for Indianapolis, which plays in a 60-degree indoor stadium.

However, just the opposite happened.The Bears turned the ball over five times and quarterback Rex Grossman bobbled two snaps, losing 10 yards on one to kill a scoring drive. Indianapolis recovered the other fumble. Manning encountered no such game-changing calamities. Why? Every season Manning practices the “wet-ball drill” with the starting center, currently Jeff Saturday. Manning fills a bucket full of water, grabs a football and heads out to the field. He dips the ball into the bucket and practices snap after snap.

Manning said his center hates the wet-ball drill, and he admitted getting a little bored with it himself. But they still do it every year. When asked about the infamous wet-ball drill in the raucous Colts locker room after their Super Bowl win, Saturday laughed and said, “Not my favorite drill. But it paid dividends tonight.

When you visualize, anticipate negatives and how you will overcome them. Then create a practice plan that makes your response instantaneous. At every meeting I hold with my managers, we end with the same exercise. We go around the room, and I ask, what are you going to do to fix the problem? What matters isn’t that a customer pounces on you with an overwhelming objection, for instance. What matters is that you’ll deliver an unbeatable answer with utter confidence when that objection comes sailing at you.

Mackay’s Moral: Anticipating catastrophe is the surest way to avert it.

Learn more about my new book, The Mackay MBA of Selling in the Real World

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If you already bought my new book, make sure you download or request the hard copy of my new Network Builder for FREE Here.

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So You Aren't Johnny Depp...

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Do you lack the dazzle of Angelina Jolie’s lagoon-blue eyes or the regal command of Meryl Streep’s screen poise? Come up short on George Clooney’s suave or Daniel Craig’s rippling abs?

Well, you don’t have to rate first billing to be billing first.Call attention to your strengths, recognize where you fit in the team, and you’re guaranteed to shine.

When actor Karl Malden, born Malden Sekulovich, dies in 2009, the New York Times hailed him as “the uncommon everyman.” Malden frequently shared credits with the likes of Marlon Brando and George C. Scott. With an epic schnoz, Malden knew he could never command center stage, but he swore he would run the last mile “to be #1 in the #2 parts I was destined to get.”

So it was in On the Waterfront and Patton… and he was second to no one in a string of high-credibility endorsement ads for American Express

Decide where your psyche fits in the cast and shine. That may mean:

  • Be known for your reliability and steadiness of vision.
  • Remain the unflappable source of judgment in crisis and turmoil.
  • Execute the impossible when logistics degenerate into spaghetti.
James Mason, another stellar silver-screen #2, once said, “how do I wish to be remembered, if at all? I think perhaps just as a fairly desirable sort of character actor.” Hollywood and the critics remembered him their way when his colleagues nominated him for three Oscars and three golden Globes.

 

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The Mackay Elite 8: A List of Life Changing Sales Books

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I’ve consulted top salespeople, sales trainers and booksellers, and all concur that these volumes belong in ever serious salesperson’s collection. All are currently in print and readily available; they appear in no particular order below. These authors have inspired me over the years. I know they’ll help you too.

 


 

Learn more about my new book, The Mackay MBA of Selling in the Real World

Click here to help me spread the word about my new book.

If you already bought my new book, make sure you download or request the hard copy of my new Network Builder for FREE Here.

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Big Cats: Rarely In The Bag

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Oil magnate John D. Rockefeller once opined, “I do not think there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature.”

I’ll never forget watching the broadcast of The David Susskind Show some years ago. He had on three guests who were self-made millionaires, in their mid-30s. Each had averaged being in a dozen different businesses before hitting it big.

History abounds with such tales of perseverance. Theodore Geisel died in 1991 at the age of 87. Before he died, he wrote 47 books that have sold more than 100 million copies in 18 languages. What most people don’t know about Dr. Cat-In-the Hat Seuss is that he didn’t write his first book until he was 33 and it was rejected by 28 publishers before Vanguard Press picked it up.

The line between failure and success is so fine that we scarcely know when we pass it–so fine that we are often on the line itself and do not know it. How many people have thrown up their hands at a time when a little more effort, a little more patience would have achieved success?

 

Learn more about my new book, The Mackay MBA of Selling in the Real World

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If you already bought my new book, make sure you download or request the hard copy of my new Network Builder for FREE Here.

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Trust Is A Must

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People in business don’t have to like each other, but they do have to trust each other. At MackayMitchell Envelope Company, we don’t tolerate anything less than honest negotiations and delivery guarantees.

An envelope is a very standard commodity. Sure, the paper, the glue, and the size can vary. The end product can probably be duplicated by a hundred companies. But nobody can match us day in and day out, job after job, envelope after envelope, smile after smile. Our customers know we’ll do what we promise. They’ve even occasionally forgiven us for an honest mistake because they know we’ll make good on our word.

We also don’t do business with vendors who are less than up-front. It could eventually affect how we deliver to our customers, and we don’t like to lose customers. Our sales force wouldn’t stick around for long if we made their job harder. Can you blame them?

Ethics are not remote, pie-in-the-sky considerations. Every time you’re tempted to short quality standards or fudge a delivery date, it can have ethical consequences. 

Mackay’s Moral: Mark Twain put it well when he said, “I am different from George Washington. I have a higher, grander standard of principle. Washington could not lie. I can lie, but I won’t.”

Learn more about my new book, The Mackay MBA of Selling in the Real World

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Without A Goal, You'll Never Score One

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I once heard a math teacher announce an unusual dream at a school assembly: “I hope you all fail,” he said to an audience of high school seniors eager to go out and conquer the world. “Because if you don’t, you haven’t set your goals high enough.”

Betting by without setting goals is the ultimate way to shortchange your life. It’s not a way to failure. It’s the definition of nonstarting.

Evangelist Robert H. Schuller describes four kinds of people:

  • First come the cop-outs. These people set no goals and make no decisions.
  • Second are the hold-outs. They have a beautiful dream, but uncertainty makes them afraid to respond to its challenge.
  • The dropouts are third. They start to make their dream come true. but when the going gets tough, they quit.
  • Finally, there are the all-outs. These brave souls know where they’re headed and do what it takes to get there.
It all starts with goals: Winners make goals. Losers make excuses.
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The Slippery Slope

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You can’t know enough about your customers, suppliers, employees, competitors and audiences. Incomplete information can sometimes be riskier than none at all. Here’s an example: Harold got a phone call from Al who asked if he was going to Rotary the next night.

Harold said, “Yes.”

Al said, “I have a big problem. My guest speaker just canceled. Would you be able to speak?”

Harold said, “Sure.”

Al said, “What might you talk about?”

Harold said, “Sex.”

The next day Harold delivered a 45-minute speech and got a standing ovation. He came home and his wife asked him, “What did you talk about?”

Now Harold was smart enough to know that his wife thought he didn’t know anything about sex, so he said, “Skiing.”

The next day Harold’s wife was at the supermarket, and she saw Al’s wife one isle away.

Al’s wife hollered out, “I spoke to my husband and he said your husband gave a great speech at Rotery. He must be terrific.”

Harold’s wife gollered back, “I don’t understand. He’s only done it once and his hat blew off.”

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Arrogance: The 7 Deadly Signs

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Here is my watch ist for the seven deadly signs of salesperson arrogance:

1. “Our product sells itself.”

2. “The only people on our sales team who matter to me are my superiors or at least my equals.”

3. “Who cares that our competitor’s accounting manager is afraid they’ll be taken over and is out looking for a job? I listen to input only from vice presidents and above.”

4. “I don’t need to walk our plant. Leave that to those grunts in manufacturing.”

5. “You’ll never learn a thing from a competitor weaker than you.”

6.”We can always rely on X for a reference. I may not have talked with him for a few months, but he will never forget how we saved his bacon two years ago.”

7. “Customer complaints don’t matter. Those e-mails are just written by oddball cranks.”

Learn more about my new book, The Mackay MBA of Selling in the Real World

Click here to help me spread the word about my new book.

If you already bought my new book, make sure you download or request the hard copy of my new Network Builder for FREE Here.

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