Sunday, November 29, 2009

About Jobs...Enough is Enough

As a businessman, I'm committed to creating value for my clients and will be out of business if I were to stop doing that. With the thought of value in mind and fresh from reading about the Job's Summit in D.C., I offer the following to those who are out there searching. You're likely to not get any help from Washington. The odds are that you're going to have to do it yourself.

Let me tell you what employers are looking for;

  • People they can count on to keep their word.
  • People who jump in and get the job done.
  • People who do more than they are asked to do.
  • People who are not afraid to offer ideas and suggestions that will help the company.
  • People who are committed to generating positive cash flow for the company.
  • People who bring their best positive mood every day
We live in the age of collaboration and commitment. That is, business people get together to invest in and form companies to sell products and services and if they don't do it, they will go out of business. Like you, as a business owner operator, and professional salesman, I'm looking for a new job each and every day when I speak with prospective clients. At the same time, there are moments where I need to hire a new staff person and I'm sharing this so that you feel empowered in your mission. I know what it's like to look into the future and not see anything. So we've got to create it.

Employers are looking for people who want to play the game of creating value of inventing a new future. If you come simply 'looking for a job', or a company who will pay you to do some stupid task, you had better wake up. Those days are over.

When you go looking for a job, look for an opportunity instead;

  • Learn something about the company before you go for the interview.
  • Learn about the products and the markets they serve.
  • Figure out what promises you can make to the owner or manager that will make his/her job easier.
  • Make a commitment to the owner or manager to do something that will be sure to add value to the bottom line of the company.
  • Speak with clarity and force about how they can count on you to get the job done, to add value to the company.

We live, like I stated earlier, in the Age of Commitment and Collaboration. That is, no one can do it alone. Entrepreneurs need other people to 're-create' the vision and commitment of the company, with energy and passion. Therefore, you need to be able to bring value to the table each and every day. You need to be able to speak about your company with passion and purpose.

Making rock solid commitments to your prospective employer is the place to start.

If you have questions about how to do that, do some research about my company and then call me - 877-212-6001

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Solid Fundamentals - Another Sport Analogy

As an endurance athlete (triathlon) competing on a national level my objective at this time of the year is on expanding my aerobic engine. That is the capacity of my body to operate for long periods of time at a fairly high heart rate (135-145) without experiencing the build-up of lactic acid in my muscles. To do this, I go for long runs and bike rides with the focus to keep my heart rate at about 137-140 with an occasional spike to 150 being acceptable, as long as it's a short period of time. This type of training builds aerobic capacity and will provide a strong base upon which to build endurance during the next phase of training to begin in mid December. I'm also working on overall physical strength and core strength during gym workouts. The foundation is being set for the third phase of training later on, early next year where I will focus on sport specific performance, speed and competition.

How does this apply to business?

There are dozens of books on training and base building and something called periodization, where you divide up your training effort into periods of specific training, each with specific goals.

The same thing can be done in business and this is the focus of much of my work and the work of the entire Molloy team. We have broken down what business is, into core linguistic moves which can be practiced and learned over time. Then we break down the core moves into two areas of design, Sales / Customer Service and Management / Leadership.

The objective of course is to win... which means to sell more, generate more profits, operate more effectively and grow the business.

We also say that the foundation necessary to win the game in business is commitment.

More specifically, since commerce is only generated when two people exchange commitments than becoming a 'commitment based organization' is the first move. Adopting the Language Of Commitment as an operational philosophy is the starting point. Teaching your sales and customer service people to become commitment machines can be likened to building an aerobic base. Once your entire sales and customer service team has been 'conditioned' than you can get into sport specific training as you get ready for the real competition.

And what's that you might ask?

You engage in real competition when you write checks for advertising and marketing designed to grow the buisness. And you take the money out of your bank account... from profits that you've already generated... money that you've saved... and you pray that your investment... your advertising gamble is going to work.

When I show up on the starting line in a race, I'm either going for the win (in my age group) or I'm going to start the race with the hope that I can hang on and simply finish.

I can tell you from experience that going for the win is much more satisfying and more fun. It also means that I've done my homework and have a strong foundation in place.

What's it going to be for your business?

When you go to write the big check for the new on-line marketing program, are you confident that your team will be able to get you across the finish line in first place? Or are you living in the domain of hope?

I hate to have this blog sound like a sell piece, but I'm going to make the offer, because I'm committed to my clients. Call me! We can help you build a strong base upon which to grow your business. You do the work and the base will be there... guaranteed. Your people will be ready when you write the check. It's a promise.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Strategic Coaching for Business - A Sports Analogy

It's November 22 and you've got a big college basketball tournement in during Christmas week in December, about one month away. Oh, did I forget to mention, you're the coach of a college basketball team. Your guys have been working hard and have a good foundation in the fundamentals of the game. They're in good shape, but the tournament will be tough as it will bring the best teams from several conferences to NYC and the games will be held on the national stage that is Madison Square Garden. How are you going to prepare for the tournemant?

Questions we need to answer include;
How's our conditioning?
How are the guys fueling their workouts and games?
What areas do we need to work on?
Can we improve foul shooting by then?
Can we improve our zone defense by then?
Can we improve our perimeter shooting by then?

As the coach, you make an assessment about the competiton and begin to formulate an action plan to prepare the guys to win the tournement.

You do this by starting with the goal of winning and the date of the event and work backward.

You've got to have a team meeting and get the guys 'pumped up about the prospect of winning'. They have to believe that they can do it. The entire team has to be aligned and in the right mood. Then we set up our practices to achieve the goal. More foul shooting, more perimeter shooting, more conditioning work... all of it focused on the start of the tournement.

The week prior to the event, you begin a taper, that is, the guys have fun in practice, but you do not want to tax their bodies during practice. You've done that already, the week before the event is for having fun, staying fast and light but not for working too hard. It's called an active taper.

The day before the tournement you have a team meeting and bring in Willis Reed, a former chamion with the NY Knicks to speak with the guys about having heart and about leaving everything on the court. He talks about winning the NBA title on a bum leg and all your players are amazed and inspired.

Why not follow a similar approach in your business. Molloy clients do and here's how.

Once we've begun a formal coaching program with a client and the sales people, CSRs and managers have a relationship with our coaches it becomes very easy. First, the marketing manager declares that we are going to run a special offer during the week of ________. Usually they make these announcements far enough in advance so that we have time to prepare the 'team' for the big promotion.

Note: one of the most frustrating things for customers is when you call a company and ask about an advertised special only to have the CSR or sales person indicate through their speaking and actions, that they are ignorant about the special. I mean after all, the company is advertising the special and the sales person is clueless. What's that all about... but it happens every day.

Here's how we get a company ready for the big advertising spend and the launch of the new special.

First we learn all we can about the event. Next we work with the CSRs and sales people to create what we call 'foundation moves' or a simplistic way to speak about the special. Next we get together several time to practice speaking about the special. And finally, we mystery shop each of the stores before the launch date so that everyone is totally prepared.

All this happens very quickly and efficiently. In additon it's cost effective and it give everyone confidence that they are ready for the day when the big sale shows up. Most importantly it gives the advertising department and the owners the confidence that their staff is ready to convert sales prospects into customers. This point is critical, because without that confidence they are likely to hold back on spending ad dollars to promote the new special. At the same time, when they know that their team is ready and competent, the marketing department is looking for more money to invest in promtions.

This process is absolutely no different than the approach you would take as the coach of the team, except that most companies never do it. Sure they may have a meeting and talk about the special, but without practicing the 'foundation moves' in advance, they won't be ready when the 'game is on'. A successful team has been practicing in such a way that the company special lives in their bones and is part of their world before the special day (tournement) arrives.

We call it the Molloy Process... simple... yet very effective.

Till next time.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Why Cheap Is Better Than Free

This entertaining and informative blog was submitted by our Director of Communications, Deidra Lookingbill.

Why Cheap is Better than Free: Getting Inside the Customer’s Mind

Not too long ago, I was facing a dilemma. Our spare bedroom is happily needing to be transformed into a nursery, which means my family and I faced the removal of many of our seldom used furnishings. Among these items was a futon that was purchased with the intent of serving as an extra bed on those holidays that were bustling with family scrambling for a soft place to lay their heads. We did not take into account, when we purchased the futon, how little it would be used. In seven years, it was slept on a total of two times.

I sent out a notice through my social networking groups, telling all of my friends and family that we had a practically new futon with two covers that they could have for free so long as they agreed to pick it up. No one showed the slightest interest, so I took it a bit further. I took my ad to a group that specializes in the giving away of household items; nary a bite. I then went to the popular online ad service, Craigslist, and listed my futon again for free.


Just for fun, I relisted the futon with the same description, this time with an asking price of $20. Within hours, I had a half dozen offers, with one gentlemen offering more than my asking price to guarantee that he could get the futon, sight unseen. He picked it up the next day and before I removed the ad I had at least 20 inquiries.

One would think that this is an isolated incident, but when relaying the story to a friend, she had an idea as well. She had been unable to get rid of an old but working refrigerator. It sat unused in her garage for weeks because she did not want to pay to have the over sized item removed. She changed her own ad from “free” to “$200” and the refrigerator was gone before the night was over.

Why, then, do would be customers prefer to get a “deal” rather than a free item? The old adage “you get what you pay for” comes to mind. Many consumers are skeptical of free offers, thinking that there is a catch or that the item in question will cause more harm than good. Conversely, when a customer receives a discount, large or small, he or she is more apt to feel as though they are benefiting from a valuable opportunity, and they are more likely to jump at the chance to take advantage of the offer.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Absurd - A Professional Coach Who Never Watches Game Films

I had promised to continue writing about the six moves in language, however I am compelled to write about the role of listening or rather transforming your company into a listening organization and the importance thereof. (I like the football analogy at the end of this short blog).

Much of my work has to do with this fact;

When most leaders in corporate America study their business performance, they look to their up to the minute P&Ls accurately prepared Financial Statements and a host of other performance reports. And they neglect to look at the one area of the business that is directly responsible for all the closely examined numbers. I propose that it's just a case of normal blindness, like I'd been discussing in an earlier blog. That is, the executives study what they know and are oblivious to what they don't know or observe.

Here's the ah ha fact that has the potential to transform most companies;

All the financial results carefully tabulated in the reports are generated by conversations taking place throughout the company and until leadership has a way to assess the language responsible for the results, they are in touch with only half the picture. Until they can accurately assess the competence of their people to coordinate action with each other and with customers they are not in touch with what's really going on.

What it requires to get in touch is to begin to listen to what is actually being said department by department. If you, as a leader in your company, do not actively engage in listening to the conversations in your company, it would be akin to a football coach never watching game films. Ridiculous right! But how many of us never make the time or better yet, even know what to listen for if we do listen.