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Saturday, May 30, 2009

D-DAY

2-25-09 Apex, NC... SALESPEOPLE... CUSTOMERS...It is the end of the month. For the customer this is a no brainer. The deals get a little edge on them at month-end. And the edge is to the customer. The big problem for salespeople today is getting these customers in and getting them to buy or lease. Today let's focus on getting them in.

"Man, I have NO traffic!" Yep. Hear it all the time. Try the TRIO METHOD...Business cards, a great attitude, and a HUGE SMILE get you customers who are not in your owner/ referral base.

Every time you open your wallet or pocketbook to spend your hard earned money, give the person taking your money a business card, a great attitude and a HUGE smile. It takes 15-30 seconds to tell the person who you are and what you do. Two cards are needed in the Wendy's drive-thru. Remember the second guy that hands you your single and fries is a potential customer as well.

Dig into your social network, from your next door neighbor to your Rabbi or Pastor. If the 400+ people you know out of the work environment do not have your card, then shame on you. Heck, this is the easiest group to work.

Finally, your professional network; people you work with will buy from you if you give them a card and always have the positive attitude, coupled with a huge smile. People in the nearby departments, nearby buildings, and nearby businesses will include you in their buying loop if they know you exist.

Remember card, attitude, and smile. Have a 30 second elevator speech ready and DIG, DIG,DIG. It is not rocket science. I have proved it.

Happy selling!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Virtual Certainty

5-27-09 Apex, NC

Yesterday afternoon, I received a call from a job candidate. This candidate was from out of state and had 12 years of experience. She now found herself on the outside looking in. I get a lot of these referrals; mostly, they come from managers I have done business with in the past. My contacts (connects) know I will listen and help the candidates who call. As I assessed her situation over the phone, I again gave my "you need to become a social media junkie" speech. Use Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Inside 919, Word Press, Blogspot, Live Journal, and Jobing to make yourself known out in the Virtual Reality.

Complete the social platform profiles. Be a regular blogger. I call it Soft Personal/ Professional Marketing (SPPM). The key is not the constant e-hammering of how great you are. No. The strategy is the consistent message that you are a good person who is good at something that is needed, and you are looking for honest work. The recruiters and employers will pick up on that message. Your blog should be useful information about what you are an expert at. Remember that an expert by definition is someone who knows more and more about less and less! And fill the blog with key terms that are easily searchable. I do it automatically in every blog I author. Take advantage of the tags at the base of every blog you do.

You simply have to be different and unique. You must to be Dorothy in the Land of Oz. And you need to be focused only on positives. Life is not over when you lose your job. In fact, now is the time to get your bearings and spend time with family; finish that deck or project. Give yourself time to re-establish a commitment to your new beginning. And why not? You deserve it...

Remember that there is a BIG O O in the middle of GOOGLE. So do not put any oh-oh's out there in the Virtual Reality that will kill your job chances. Get a professional photographer to take your picture and have it photo shopped so you look simply marvelous, and put it out in your profiles along the Ning network. YOU MUST HAVE A PICTURE. And not the silly one someone took at the party.

Finally, PLEASE make your resume accomplishments specific. If I see one more "possesses outstanding leadership skills" rather than "led team of six that saved the company $13,000 in establishing recycling processes within the sales department floor", I will cry...

The generalities will drive employers AWAY!

Remember SPPM...

Good luck. Call me if you need me.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Small is Good

5-24-09 Apex, NC

Back in September, I left a very good company and started my own business. I knew it would be a challenge. And I knew it would take a while to grow. I, in essence, am doing the same thing I did for someone else; I train and recruit people. But I quickly realized one thing. Small business is the driver of this economy. In fact about half of the people employed are in small business.

Here are some things about the small business people I have met over the past eight months.

When you start a business, you must expect to starve for about a year because every dime you have and make goes into the business.

Your past lifestyle is a pleasant memory. You might even look at pictures now and then.

When you start a business you go from knowing everyone to knowing no one. It is all you now, from the leads to the lights.

Connections are essential. The more people you meet, the better your business will be.

Be prepared to fail a ton! But every mistake is a great learning tool.

Most small business people worked their behinds off before they started the business. That does not change. Have you ever heard of a lazy small business
owner?

Expect a customer or two NOT to pay you for your hard work. Obviously, some people are ethics-challenged.

High energy and vision are critical. Our true leaders come from the small business ranks.

All small business owners are students of business, from marketing to janitorial.

Everything we do is local. One-on-one is central to success. And we like it like that.

We never have time for lunch. But remember when we worked for others? We didn't then either.

The brick and mortar of America are small business people.

The risk-takers define small business.

The only perk I have experienced is a very personal one. My family is 725 miles away in Detroit. Now, whenever I want to go home I can. My current boss always puts family first and he understands that life is too short. My current boss allows me to grow with no restrictions. And my current boss does not play favorites, politics or games. My current boss loves family and he loves the business. My boss will always be ME.

Remember our troops this weekend... It is a Memorial in every respect.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ho Ho. Hi Ho! It's Off to Work I Go!

5-20-09 Apex, NC

Sometimes as job seekers, you can get discouraged. And then you make excuses. Man, are you good at those. It's the economy, stocks, banks, the weather, etc. STOP!

Pick yourself up (mentally), dust yourself off and get back to your real job... finding a real job. Call someone today to network with. Do it every day. Sent one resume out, every day. Get business cards, I would use vistaprint, and give a card out to everyone you bump into. The more rocks you turn over, the more creatures you will find. Go to every job fair, business expo, and transition group you can. They are in the paper. Buy one. If you are not eye-ball to eye-ball with people, you will not be successful.

Need strategies? Google them. Take notes and develop a plan from that. Ask the w's, who, what, when, where, why, and how.

Never give up. Opportunity comes from luck, patience, and dedication. Spit-spot your resume. Make it perfect with NO mistakes and make it personal to the job you seek. Put specifics in the thing not generalities. If you are someone with outstanding leadership skills, tell the employer WHY!

I do not mind looking at your resume. But you are cheaper than I am, so first work on it yourself. Take every generality OUT of the resume, and keep it to one page unless you are a teacher, researcher, doctor, or CEO.

Recruiters have candidate ADD (another dang denial). DO NOT be in that pile.

Remember things are half full not half empty. And if you need me, go to my website, www.vtrconsulting.com

Good luck! I am also a tweet away.

Jim (@salestherapist)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Detroit Idle Thoughts

5-19-09 Apex, NC

Very quietly, every Big Three medical plan has changed. Now there is less coverage and more cost.

RUN don't walk to a Chrysler or General Motors dealership. They are now customer heaven. Work out a good deal that is fair to the store and to you. There have never been better deals.

If you work in or with the auto industry, you are not dreaming. It is a low grade nightmare that is not ending for awhile.

Yes Virginia, there is indeed more Fords running around in areas where there are a lot of imports.

Mr. President, please understand Americans do not want small cars with great gas mileage; they want cars with good gas mileage and cars that are comfortable. The tiny cars you expect us to drive are harder to get into than a Sprint Cup Car, and long distances guarantee pinched nerves and scary moments. Remember Mr. President you cruise I-95 in a bullet-proof stretch Cadillac Limo. What is your MPG?

Toyota announces a new, cheaper Prius; desperate times and desperate measures.

Google The Henry Ford in Dearborn and head there for the day; stay at the Dearborn Inn, the most historic Marriott in the country. And grab a Buddy's Pizza when you are up there. Summer is gorgeous in Southern Michigan.

How about the Red Wings and the Tigers? Good news is rare in this town.

Google American Dream Rally.

Buy American. I check the labels, and the nameplates.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

MESSellaneous Idle Thoughts

Apex, NC 5-17-09

The Apex High Women's Lacrosse Team took home the NC state title after a thrilling 13-12comeback win over Charlotte Catholic yesterday. Great Job!!

I have been thinking that the deflection of incompetence is a growing art form within poor leadership.

Raising gas prices two cents a day, every day, is not good for anyone but big oil. As the economy gets healthier, let it naturally rise based on usage. NO NEED to hurry it up.

Airlines are raising stowed baggage fees again. Why not? Captive audience and easy money make profit.

President Obama and Notre Dame.

Domino's Oven-Baked Sandwiches are just plain yummy.

My beloved Detroit Tigers are in first place. Please pinch me in a non-usable part.

Have you ever had anybody walk out of your life leaving you with all the bills? When dealership tax bases cease to exist; they are coming after us!! And you know who the THEY are.

Former Governor Easley sure has his challenges today. As any good farmer will tell you, you have to dig deep for the richer soil.

GM + Chrysler = 100,000 - X. Whether we want to or not we are solving for X. I cannot even get into the algebraic reality let alone the calculus. But 100,000 fellow Americans still is 100,000. It is the constant not the variable we have to worry about.

On Memorial Day, before you crack open a beer or slice open a bag of hot dogs, get on your knees and pray for our troops, our veterans, and our history of freedom and heroes. There is only one country like the USA.

No one will ever fly into one of our skyscrapers ever again because of our brave men and women in the Armed Forces, the CIA, the Secret Service, and the FBI. Keep them in our prayers. Their business is Freedom and their product is Bravery. Godspeed.

Finally, here is career advice. Find out what you have a wild passion for. Plan honest profit from that passion. And then draw customers to your passion.

But remember changing careers can sometimes be a simple process, BUT it is never an easy one. If someone recruits you and promises you easy money, turn and run... FAST!

Have a great week and happy selling!

Friday, May 15, 2009

40,000

Apex, NC 5-15-09

40,000. Quite a number; stadiums would love that many fans piled up for a game. This number is the population of a good sized town. For example, Northwood University, the largest automotive university in the country, is nestled within the wonderful Mid- Michigan town of Midland. It is the home of Dow Chemical. And it has roughly 40,000 people.

40,000 is a lot. And it is the amount of Chrysler Dealership Employees soon to be out of work. That is about 50 people per store. As a recruiter, I am trying my dangest to help as many as I can. The calls I made this morning were to big box used stores looking for quality people. Keeping people employed is one thing. But these are your brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, best friends, and neighbors. You know these people by their first name. These are the same people who participate every year in a Toys for Tots program. They are the ones who put uniforms on your kid's soccer team. They sit next to you at church.

They are us.

And we need to help them in any way we can.

You see, it is not about you and me. It is about them. Placing them back into the work environment as quickly as possible is paramount to the United States and to the Automotive Industry.

They have been there for us. When we needed a part or service they were open for us. When we needed a car and could only shop on our day off, they were there.

The business needs our help. Figure out a way and show your support for the brothers and sisters who now need it more than ever.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Slowly Shutting Detroit Down

5-15-09 Apex, NC

As I listened this morning to WWJ Radio 950 in Detroit, I sat stunned and sullen. The radio newscaster was reading the Chrysler Dealership Closing list. It sounded just like a snowstorm hit and a list of school closings were being announced. Here in the Raleigh NC market, we have not heard who will be hit; but in Metro Detroit 15 dealerships are done.

This cannot be happening as my mind races to the past when health and profitability were the ingredients of Detroit. The business has to be saved. American manufacturers have to remain alive to produce American vehicles for the American public.

The car business is a gritty hard working group of blue and white collar individuals. But these closings affect employees in the stores and affects every business within 20 miles of these stores. Government will lose millions in taxes and it has to come from somewhere. it will come from us. It will come from Americans. Japan, South Korea, Germany, Great Britain, China, Italy, and even Russia all benefit from our market. These nations will just watch this taking place. I do not foresee baskets being passed out to save Detroit.

WE MUST ALL STAND IN CAMARADERIE and keep the car business alive. In 1959, the car business died in Cuba. Today Cubans use duct tape and wire to keep their 1950's vehicles rolling. I do not believe that people in this country want to pass their vehicles to their children 25 years from now.

If the actions today do not push you to patriotism, then wait until June 1 and watch General Motors fate.

Those of you who scoff at Detroit going away, think about this. One of seven Americans is directly or indirectly working for the car business. Detroit nameplates produce quality vehicles high on JD Powers and Consumer Reports lists of quality cars, trucks and SUVs.

Detroit does not lead manufacturers in recalls; the Japanese companies do.

You will soon know if all these sad events affect you and your family. My guess is you will know someone affected by this day. My advice is to stock up on duct tape and wire.

Good luck.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Idle Thoughts Yet Again

Apex, NC 5-13-09

Reality and common sense; are they still around? Just asking...

Ford outsold Toyota in April. Nice job Dearborn.

If you know any college grads out there without a job, help find them one.

Gas has gone up at the pumps. That is a bad sign for wallets and purses, and a great sign for the economy.

Memorial Day should have more drivers on the road. Everyone must be tired of the $15 a bag fee with the airlines that started when it was four bucks a gallon.

This is the time to buy a car. The lots have inventory and the sales managers have incentives. If you have good credit, you will get awesome rates.

Cheerios is under government assessment for alleged health claims. The White House has also authorized background checks on Tony the Tiger and Capt'n Crunch.

You know times are still challenging when Las Vegas has 10% less visitors so far this year than last. Not a bad time to go to Vegas in your new car, how American is that? And we kill two birds with one stone.

General Motors execs are dumping stock. This is never a good sign. It's like Smokey the Bear leaving the forest ahead of the big fire.

When the car dealerships shake out throughout the country, only the ones that move sheet metal will survive. Remember only you can prevent your local store from vanishing.

How come if there is nothing but time, we never seem to have enough of it.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Are You Feeling It Yet?

5-6-09 Apex, NC... The signs of recovery are on the horizon. The market is up. Gas prices are rising. Credit is available to those who qualify. And the Chrysler makeover coupled with the shedding in GM has created a calming effect to the economic
situation. Mr. Obama is losing his new car smell as he puts some miles on his experience as the most powerful person on Earth. Considering what we have lived through the past seven months, this peek into the second quarter has some very positive signs.

We get the car business stable and we get the economy stable. If people start buying cars at a 15 million (a year) pace as we head to Summer, things can only get better.

If the automotive industry goes upbeat so will the vendors and suppliers. And I am one of those. Small business across the United States will also benefit. Unemployment will lower and consumer confidence will rise. Both will move in different directions at about the same rate. People are not dumb. But they are worried and they are watching.

Time will tell but I really feel it coming!