A great speech started with these two laws

20 Apr

Wow. They actually worked.

Two of Jeffrey Gitomer’s 21.5 Unbreakable Laws of Selling helped me nail my presentation this past week: Law #4 Employ Humor and Law #19 Perform Dynamically.

I present every other month to a group of 150 sales and marketing colleagues. The audience always includes my boss and the CEO: two incredibly dynamic presenters.

I usually rely on an interesting (at least to me) marketing story as the anchor of my speech, but this time I took a leap: I tried humor.

Here are a few of the guidelines I followed from Gitomer’s book that helped me succeed:
* Make sure the laugh is at your expense
* Study humor (thank you Stephen Colbert)
* Test your humor on a friend or family (Thank you Linda Kay O’Reilly)
* Know your material
* Speak from the heart, not a script
* Have a compelling, transferable message

I’ll add one more: gauge the energy in the room. This group is very upbeat and was ready to laugh.

Gitomer issued a challenge that gave me the courage to take the leap: If you’re a leader in front of your people, ask yourself this: Do they WANT to listen to me, or do they HAVE to listen to me?

I think next time they’ll WANT to listen to me.


The first step to excellence

30 Mar

Sitting at the mall waiting for my daughters and wife to shop…no, this is not the step.

This is:

List the qualities you perceive in yourself as excellent. Then list the qualities your customer expects from you. Compare lists. Your plan to achieve excellence is now self-evident.

Thank you Jeffrey Gitomer for another bit of inspiration from 21.5 Unbreakable Laws of Selling, and for giving me something constructive to do at the mall!

Do you abide by the laws of selling?

30 Mar


Hello Blogosphere! I’m back! Did you miss me?

I’m reading a book by Jeffrey Gitomer titled “21.5 Unbreakable Laws of Selling.”

Technically, I’m not in “Sales,” so I wondered if I would find any value. After 58 pages, the answer is a definitive yes.

Short chapters, lots of bullet lists, actionable suggestions that apply to anyone who wants to sell his or herself.

One suggestion: brand yourself by blogging at least once a week! (The inspiration for this post.)

Here’s another nugget:
Your voice starts with the inner voice you hear before you speak a word.

For more, check out http://www.gitomer.com, or come on back to my blog!

Creative discovery begins with Scrambled Eggs

25 Dec


The song that MTV and Rolling Stone magazine deemed the number 1 pop song of all time was originally titled “Scrambled Eggs.”

It was months after Sir Paul McCartney wrote the melody, that he replaced the working title “Scrambled Eggs” for the name of the song we all know so well. After landing on the name, McCartney said, the lyrics fell quickly into place.

The creative path rarely follows a straight line. Whether you’re writing a song, creating a new work flow system or designing an advertisement, sometimes you need to start with “Scrambled eggs/Oh my baby how I love your legs.” before you get to “Yesterday/All my troubles seemed so far away.”

Am I supposed to like this?

25 Dec

Seth Godin has come up with another keen marketing insight. Or at least it seems so since I’m reading a blog which is inherently the source of all modern-day keen insights. Isn’t it?

Check out this post and see if you agree.


I can think of a few more examples where my surroundings have influenced my thinking as Seth describes.

1. The indie record store: Back in the day when these existed in just about every mid-sized city or college town, I loved to hang out among the musty warrens of crates and shelves. Specifically, The funky, creative vibe made me want to buy old blues albums.


2. Starbucks: Why else would you spend $4 on a cup of coffee if it weren’t for the cool decor and elegantly hip music?

3.  Creative office spaces: We recently re-organized the marketing department at the Tampa Bay Times where I work and redesigned our surroundings at the same time. We broke from the color (or lack of) scheme found throughout the building and painted posts orange, purple and green. It added energy and freshness to the floor that made us all feel more creative, and other departments believe we were.

Any one else been seduced by his or her surroundings?

The Easiest Thing A Manager Can Do

16 Sep

I’m reading Seth Godin’s book “Tribes.”

It’s only 147 pages but it’s packed with many thought-provoking, inspiring and motivating passages on leadership. Like this one entitled: The Easiest Thing

“The easiest thing is to react. The second easiest thing is to respond. But the hardest thing is to initiate.”

“Reacting is intuitive and instinctive and usually dangerous. Managers react. Responding is a much better alternative.”

“Both pale in comparison to initiating. Initiating is really truly difficult, and that’s what leaders do. They see something others are ignoring and they jump on it. They cause the events that others have to react to. They make change.”

Wow. Inspiring and daunting at the same time. What do you think?

Bruce Springsteen and The Essence of Marketing

2 Sep
The Boss

The Boss

I’m a big Bruce Springsteen fan. I love his music not because I know the notes he’s singing or the chords he’s playing. I love it because of its essence: the raw emotion that comes pouring out. The powerful rhythms and the mixture of instruments.

To become a better marketer, I’ve been reading up on the subject. Today, however, I realized that the essence of marketing isn’t in the theory; niche vs. mass, b2b vs. b2c, bait vs. switch. It’s about one thing: ideas.

Here’s how the epiphany came to me.

I was at a meeting at church today and we were discussing how to get people to come to our connection group. The connection group is called Café Connection since we drink coffee, eat donuts and sit around talking about God and our challenges. We were brainstorming how to get others to attend and one woman said: “Why don’t we hand out empty coffee cups after church with ‘Join us at Café Connection in Room 300 at 11 a.m. for a free cup of coffee.’ written on the side.”

What a great idea!

And I bet she had never cracked a marketing textbook.


7 Keys to Inspiring Leadership

19 Aug


While sitting on my rear-end tonight watching a baseball game (no, the guy in the photo above is not me), the words I read in Entrepreneur magazine came to mind.

It was a comment on a story about leadership from a guy named Ken Fritz. He was answering a question posed in the previous month’s Entrepreneur magazine: What makes great leaders?

Here’s what he said:
“You need to know your job better than anybody. Better than your boss, better than your peers and certainly better than anyone who works for you. You know all those HR manuals and regulations that nobody wants to read – you read them so you can help your folks. Any professional magazines that deal with your discipline — you are on them. It’s important that when one of your folks comes to you with a question, you have the answer. By the way, it’s amazing how easy decisions come to you when you know your job that well.

I agree with Ken’s comments. I’ve seen them in action.

Here’s another great comment from Mike Montague:
“I would add one underlying quality: hard work. Great leaders rise earlier, read more, communicate with many, plan ahead, organize others, delegate appropriately and push themselves to stay engaged – and they make this effort part of their daily routine.

Curious about the article that generated the comments? It’s called 5 Keys to Inspiring Leadership by Gwen Moran. Here’s the link.

So the original story, plus the two comments gives you 7 keys: aren’t you glad I got off the couch?!

I am.

Don’t Fall in Love — and 4 other Keys to Success

30 Jul


Weeding out some files recently I came across a hand-out I picked up at a newspaper conference several years ago. Every year or so I stumble across this list and each time I read it, it seems to still apply. The difference now is I have a blog to share with the world! Enjoy!

5 Keys to Success

1. Review the expense side of the business and evaluate dollars spent for return. Reallocate to innovative programs.
2. Communicate goals to internal partners and develop mechanisms for accountability.
3. Understand occasions for use that are most important to the audience and identify programs to “super-satisfy”
4. Find the sub-segments and build
5. Have fun! And don’t fall in love.

– Author Unknown

Any debate? Other Keys? Let’s hear ’em!

Creative uses for duct tape that really work!

25 Jun

Duct Tape Shoe

My daughters love duct tape. Not the silver kind that I am fond of. They love the zebra stripe or pink duct tape that is now popular as a craft project. They make everything with the stuff from folders to flip-flops as seen here. This is definitely not their father’s duct tape.

Their father, the marketing guy, has always used duct tape creatively. In fact, recently I attempted (unsuccessfully) to fix my transmission with the stuff. This is nowhere near as creative though as the person who thought to make it various colors and patterns and convert it to a craft item.

I wonder what other household items we use are ripe for a reinvention? I think I’ll go ask my kids.