Help Others Through His Example

Earlier this week we said farewell to one of the great motivational speakers and inspirational leaders of all time, when Zig Ziglar passed away. Through his books, cassettes, CD’s, public speaking and personal development programs, Mr. Ziglar has been an inspiration to millions of people around the world.

I first had the opportunity to hear him speak at a one-day business conference in Kansas City over 35 years ago. Mr. Zig Ziglar, along with Art Linkletter and Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, were all electrifying that day. The sold out crowd of several thousand people who attended the conference, like me, were spellbound by the presentations of these great inspirational leaders and came away from the event “on fire”.

Zig Ziglar Image

Although I did not meet him in person at the event, Zig Ziglar’s books, cassettes and The Performance Planner have helped shape my personal and professional life through the years. What has also stayed with me through most of my adult life was his most inspirational quote … Continue reading…

Stand FOR Something or Take a Seat

The past several weeks have been a busy time for Americans. We have provided aid and support to those affected by super storm Sandy, re-elected our President and Vice-President and honored our veterans this past Monday on Veterans Day.

Now with the holidays looming on the horizon, our schedules should get even crazier with holiday parties, shopping and family gatherings. It should be a time for celebration, a time for renewal, and a time for thanks giving, joy and hope. However, I just don’t sense the traditional holiday spirit this year.

Maybe it is the hangover from the presidential campaign, or the growing unrest with the direction of the country that may have taken the air out of the holiday balloon. Speaking of the election, there were more than 207 million U.S. citizens eligible to vote in the 2012 presidential election. However, only 150 million were registered to vote, and roughly 118 million people actually voted. Continue reading…

Your Business Really Does Suck — Now What?

Being an entrepreneur or business owner presents its own set of unique challenges. Some of those challenges are good, some bad and some downright suck! However, when you have reached a point where it is not the daily grind, but the business itself that sucks, then it’s time for a change.

Hey, we have all been there. There are days that you just want to stay in bed and pull the covers over your head, but you can’t. However, if you have moved beyond that point and your business really does suck — now what? Then it is time to seriously explore your options. Continue reading…

Do First Impressions Still Matter?

We have all heard the old adage many times over that, “You only get one chance to make a good first impression”. But does this really apply in business today?

This past Saturday I had the opportunity to speak to members of a national association at their annual conference on the topic of “How to Improve Your 30-Second Elevator Pitch”. One of the questions I asked the participants’ was “in a networking group setting today, do first impressions still matter?” Continue reading…

Whose Story Are You Writing?

It saddens me to see how far we have digressed as a nation and as human beings in just the past few years alone.

As a society, we have become far too negative and polarized, fixated on the trials and misfortunes of others. The daily headlines are littered with less than flattering photos of Kate Gosselin 40 lbs. heavier, the latest break-up or trip to rehab by some Hollywood star, and unabashed criticism of our country’s leadership. The seemly endless stream of “Reality TV” shows that glorify bad behavior and amplify the worst in people, are a further reflection of the moral decay within the fabric of our society.

What has happened to the proud America I grew up in where people went out of their way to help their neighbors and to lift others up? We were once the land of opportunity that served as a beacon of hope for the rest of the world. Where is that America today? Continue reading…

Play Your Square Yard

Some of my fondest memories are of my children playing sports. When our son, Daniel, first began to play select soccer, I remember how much my wife and I enjoyed watching the boys compete and grow together as teammates.

Several of the most competitive matches my son’s club faced in both league play and in Chicago area tournaments were against a club from Mundelein, Illinois. The Mundelein soccer team was coached by a gentleman originally from Scotland. His players were very disciplined, particularly for their age group, and their transitions on the field and overall teamwork were amazing to watch.

Recalling the memories of how well these U-9 and U-10 soccer players worked together made me think, “Why can’t business, education and government in the U.S function this cohesively?” If these 9- and 10-year old boys can do it, why can’t we figure out how to come together to unify America? Continue reading…

Five “Bees” of Selling to Executives

One of the toughest challenges sales people face is penetrating the C-Suite and successfully selling to C-level executives. Why? According to comments directly from C-level executives, “sales people focus the conversation on their product or service, and not what is important to them.”

So, what are the five “bees” of selling to executives or to business owners you need to know?

There are five critical areas that you must address in order to “bee” successful in selling your product or service to C-level executives or business owners: Continue reading…

Business Survival Checklist

All business owners are looking for ways to improve top-line revenues, reduce expenses and increase profits in order to grow their respective businesses. However, the troubling economy and other factors have forced many of these same business owners to replace the word “grow” with the word “survive”.

The business owner’s I have met with in the past 12-18 months all responded with the same answer when I have asked them, “what is the one thing that is critical to your business success”. The simple answer is “more customers”. More customers are the life-blood for any viable business. And every successful business has a universal checklist of things that are central to acquiring new customers, growth and yes, survival.

Here is my list of ten things that should be included on your Business Survival Checklist:

  1. Business/Marketing/Financial Roadmap. What is your existing plan to deliver maximum ROI performance in the next 12 months, 1-5 years, 5-10 years and 10+ years? The roadmap for your business, at a minimum, should address the next two fiscal years. Don’t be too optimistic – it is much better to over-deliver on your projections than to fall short. Continue reading…

Want to Buy a Toothbrush?

Traditional sales and selling techniques have changed dramatically over the years.

Fading fast are the door-to-door canvassers, dinner-hour telemarketers and transactional salespeople who appear to be interested in only making a quick sale and then moving on to the next one. The so-called  “trickster” sales companies who rely upon sleight of hand selling approaches and gimmicks to entice you to buy are also dying out as consumers become better educated and informed about the products and services they choose to purchase.

One of my favorite stories from sales lore reflects the progress we have made over the years in changing the dynamics of the buyer-seller relationship. It’s the timeless story of a toothbrush salesman who consistently failed to meet his quota and was told by his boss at a trade show that if he did not achieve his sales goal for the event he would be fired. After delivering his stern ultimatum, the salesman’s boss left for a series of meetings, but told him he would return in a couple hours to check on his progress. Continue reading…

4 Words Everyone Must Delete …

It’s official, the 2nd half race to the finish line began in earnest last week. Those little internal alarms started to go off soon after the Fourth of July fireworks celebrations were complete. We now have less than six months to meet our personal, business and financial goals for calendar year 2012. This means more hard work and longer hours to get there, right?

With the prolonged economic downturn, many of us are working longer hours, much like our parents generation, in an effort to someday improve the quality of our lives and achieve our goals. However, what kind of lives are we building, really? More importantly, what values and traits are we passing down to our children and to future generations? Keep working those long hours and one of these days it will pay off for you. Well, how’s that working for you so far? Continue reading…