It’s Time to STOP

It’s Time to STOP

Be Sociable, Share! Tweet This post is going to be short and simple. One of the most overused quotes on the Internet – maybe in general – is by Albert Einstein. “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” There’s a reason it’s overused. It’s because people still constantly do the same thing and expect different results. Here’s my response. “Duh.” There’s another quote. “Fail fast.” I’m not sure who said it first, so I’ll leave it unattributed. My response? “Bravo” And herein lies the problem. People are resistant to change and are usually afraid to pull the plug on something that’s failing. They’ll keep doing it and they’ll expect it to start working at some point. They’ll pump time and money into it without thinking about how that time and money could be better spent. That leads me to my next quote. “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” Now, I don’t fully believe in this one. For example, how do you quantify creativity? But it’s right – so right – on many levels. If you can’t quantify something, it’s near impossible to know whether it’s working. So let me create a new quote that, perhaps, brings all of this together. “If you don’t define success, you’ll never know if you have it. The same goes for failure.” When was the last time you took an “outside looking in” view of everything your company does? How about the ways that you do things? Sales, marketing, websites and social media. Customer service, product and service delivery and support. Human resources, management and...
Smarts + Experience + Listening = Greatness. The Magic Formula.

Smarts + Experience + Listening = Greatness. The Magic Formula.

Be Sociable, Share! Tweet People often ask me how I was able to make my last business successful. What special skills and capabilities did I bring to the table? How was I able to make the Inc 500 list for several years and manage continued fast growth? Having a big ego definitely wasn’t the skill that made it happen. So what was? For corporate leadership, I was good at finding people far smarter and experienced than myself, and then I listened to what they had to say. Groupthink, and the opportunity to have others evaluate, give me feedback, and tweak my smartness and stupidity as I built strategy – and executed on it – was the only reason I was successful. Notice that there are three parts to the above statement. Three very important parts that need to be in sync for it all to work. I was very good at finding people far smarter and experienced than myself, and then I listened to what they had to say. Woo Hoo. Three Parts. So What? Each statement means nothing on its own. If you hire smart and experienced people but don’t listen to them, you’re greatly limiting your opportunity for success. If you hire people who “haven’t been there and done that”, or just don’t “get it”, and then take their advice, you could be headed for failure as easily as greatness. I’ve seen both happen on a regular basis. In addition, note that I said “smarter and experienced”. Intelligence without experience means they still have to go through the process of learning what works and what doesn’t. They have to have...
FWS Weekly Business Roundup n.3

FWS Weekly Business Roundup n.3

Be Sociable, Share! Tweet It’s the beginning of June and it’s finally warming up here in the great Northeast.  There’s less than a month of school left for the kids.  Summer vacation plans are all the buzz at the virtual watercooler, and everyone is prepping for the great Summer business slowdown as offices become ghost towns and beach resorts is where things are happening. What better time is there to start looking at some of the tools you use, and to leverage some great ideas and inspiration from others to improve your small business.  Welcome to the Fair Winds Strategies Weekly Business Roundup, third edition. Managing Projects and Lists in a small business → I’ve been using Trello for a long, long time.  First of all, it’s free, and it’s a great small business tool.  You create a “board”, and then create multiple “lists” on the board.  You then populate the lists with “cards”.  Each card can contain checklists, group comments, attachments, due dates, people, voting and more.  As cards are updated, members of the board are updated.   Let’s look at a quick example of how I use it.  When we work with clients, we have a 200+ question checklist we go through to assess our client’s business.  How do we add questions to that list, but do it in a team way?  In Trello, we have three lists – general discussion, proposed questions and approved questions.  Everyone adds the questions they like to the proposed questions list and the rest of the group comments and votes on the questions.  The questions with the highest votes then move into the...
72 Interview Questions to ask a Sales Rep

72 Interview Questions to ask a Sales Rep

Be Sociable, Share! Tweet Last week I posted about 20 questions to “see” during a sales interview.  This week, let’s get a bit more absolute and talk about questions you can really ask.  When you talk to an account exec it’s great to understand what makes them tick.  It’s good to remind them that there are no wrong answers to these questions (although, in reality, there can be).  It’s good to put them on the spot and see how they react. With that said, here’s the list of questions I use when I’m interviewing someone for an account executive role, account management role or a business development role.  You’ll notice that many of them help you align the interests, goals and personality of the prospect with your company culture and offerings.  I’d love to take credit for all of the questions, but they are really a mix of my own questions plus questions I’ve heard others ask over a long period of time. 72 Interview Questions to Ask a Sales Rep Do you prefer to find new accounts or farm existing accounts? What motivates you as a sales professional? What traits do you believe make up the most effective sales representatives? What sales quotas are you accustomed to? How comfortable are you with cold-calling? How long was the average sales cycle at your previous jobs? Who were your most profitable target markets at your previous jobs? How would you describe your sales technique? What are some common hurdles you’re facing right now as a sales representative in your current position? Can you give me an example of a complex...
20 Questions to “see” during a Sales Interview

20 Questions to “see” during a Sales Interview

Be Sociable, Share! TweetHiring an account executive is tough.  Really tough.  Can they prospect?  Can they build a relationship? Can they close? Interviewing an account exec allows them to do to YOU what they do best – sell.  It’s very easy to fall into the trap of liking the guy in front of you.  They’re trained to make you like them. Their whole career revolves around getting people to like them.  Especially during an interview.  So how do you tell whether the person in front of you is going to actually be good for your company? It’s really important to turn normally qualitative facts into quantitative analysis.  What does that mean?  Instead of going by “feelings” you have during interviews, look at various approaches and characteristics that are important and have a checklist or scoring list of whether the candidate accomplished what you want. In another blog, we’ll get into some questions you have to ask.  But first, examine the process the candidate took to get in front of you.  How aggressive were they?  What did their resume look like?  How was their cover letter written? Did they reach out to your company in multiple ways and at multiple levels?  Answering some of these questions will tell you a bit about how the candidate opens doors. While you ask your questions, look at their behavior and presentation.  Are they dressed the way your company dresses?  Do they mirror your body language?  Do they answer with concrete examples or vagueries?  Do they think about questions before answering, or jump right into it?  Do they have a lot of comfort words like...
What NOT to do in an interview

What NOT to do in an interview

Be Sociable, Share! Tweet  I’ve been interviewing a number of people over the past several weeks for an internal IT job.  It’s a fairly entry level position and the compensation information is spelled out on the job ad.  We also suggest a few things to do to prepare.  Here are a few observations and tips based on the interviews. If we’re going to spend an hour with you, spend an hour figuring out what we do.  In my case, I work for an Internet Marketing company.  Our website spells out everything we do, and there are tens of thousands of articles on the company.  I’m fairly certain that you can figure it out.  It’s almost immediate disqualification in my book if you can’t answer the simple question, “What can you tell us about our company?”  Also, spend some time researching the people who will be interviewing you and read through press releases to see what’s important to the company today. Don’t BS.  If you don’t know the answer to a question, don’t make one up – especially if it’s a technical question that really only has one right answer.  Throwing acronyms combined with numbers and punctuation marks at us doesn’t make you sound smarter.  In our case, we’re only partially hiring the person for what they know.  We’re also hiring the person for what they can learn, and their personality.  But – if the position is for a technical role, expect to be asked technical questions and set expectations correctly at the beginning. We might wear casual clothes on a daily basis, but dress for success.  You don’t have...
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