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It’s AMAZING What happens when things go missing…… May 28, 2010

Posted by truenorthtrainingsolutions in business, Professional, Uncategorized.
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I make no secret of the fact that I’m in the midst of writing 4 books, the first of whch should be back from the publisher by months end (June). Only one of these have I REALLY done my best to keep under wraps, the reason for that will become rather obvious once its complete, but even our proprietary Remote Control System hasn’t been as closely coveted as maybe it should have.

That being said, one of musics GREATEST Producers once said that the best way to take away the power of THIEVES is to give away that which they may try and sell!

So for the next few weeks you will be privy to one of my FAVORITE sections of my “Remote Control Management book,, enjoy, and I cheerfully and eagerly hope for comments:

I was at a seminar recently and the speaker said that according to statistical data (source unknown) you had to hear something 14 – 16 times for it to sink in and truly become part of what you do every day. So if you ever attend a session and you TRULY want to get the most out of it, make sure you buy the tapes, cd’s or recordings of the information being given. At least then you have a chance of getting everything out of it you need. Why is that important here? I read a book last year by someone who was VERY highly recommended, when I finished, I didn’t really feel lie I had gotten out of it what I needed. I was telling a colleague this a few weeks later and he said, “Well wait a month and then read it again.” So I did, the second time through, I found SO many things that I missed the first time, that it was like reading a brand new book! So if you enter this chapter with a specific intent and at the end, don’t really feel like you found what you were looking for, put the chapter aside, and in 90 days, come back to it. Give your mind a chance to absorb what it offered the first time, before you try and digest the WHOLE things in one setting!

First Things First

This may seem ALMOST self explanatory but I think anytime that you have determined that you will be making a major change in your life you need to IMMEDIATELY follow that up with an action. One of the simplest, yet toughest actions that you can determine is to make a decision that you will either START doing something or STOP doing something immediately!

There is a VERY old saying that is attributed to everyone from the Yang Dynasty to Ben Franklin that says “The journey of 1000 miles begins with the first step” As with many “old sayings, the origination of this one isn’t NEARLY as important as the validity and truth behind the thought itself. In our case the idea is to make a decision that you will start or stop SOMETHING.

There are 1000’s if not 10’s of thousands of GREAT ideas that are floating around the United States at any given time, unfortunately many of these ideas are wasted by being “given” to someone who will NEVER do anything with it. Network Marketing for example, I don’t care if it’s Tupperware, Herbalife or Zing Pow; someone in the world has made legitimate money by ethically performing the things that need to be done. Unfortunately there are thousands of folks who will take these ideas, talk VERY big about what they PLAN  on doing with this information, never do ANYTHING and then place the blame for their lack of success squarely on the company, program, leadership etc. SO, because this is something that we as Americans are not used to, people need to understand that making and following through with decisions is a skill that needs to be practiced. Personally I would strongly recommend that you start with the small things and work your way UP to the big decisions as quickly as possible!

Remember, sometimes the simple act of STOPPING a thing from being done is as important if not more so than doing something. For example, has your doctor suggested that you stop with the wings every Thursday after 6pm? Has your mentor suggested that you STOP making important phone calls from your cell phone with the top down on your convertible? These are things that would have a huge effect on your life, so STOP IT! Finally remember this, no valid and important change, happened over night. Overweight? Chances are you did not wake up one day 75 pounds heavier than you should be, so do NOT expect to lose 75, 50 or even 10 pounds in a WEEK. Any decision worth making is a decision that is worth making again and again every day until it becomes a habit. Once it becomes a habit you will only need to re commit to that habit on a weekly or monthly basis. Until then, you may find yourself working at it daily or even hourly!

BUILDING BUSINESS or WASTING TIME? May 21, 2010

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First off please let me apologize for those of you who got used to me posting 3 times a week that I have been out of the loop for a week or so. I would LOVE to blame it on some world hopping social itinerairy that kept me locked up in a first class cabin jet setting around the world that I just could NOT find an internet connection. We all know that’s BUNK. Heck in some cases a fancy cell phone or really neat watch can allow you to post to a BLOG!

No my reasoning is much more mundane than that, it also reminded me of something that I had since forgotten, which led me to think about…are you seeing a pattern? It is my son’s 4th birthday this month. Yes this MONTH. When you have relatives all over the state and friends equally spread out, what SHOULD be simple, burgers on the Barbie ends up being not 1 not 2 but FOUR seperate parties, each with cake and GIFTS. My wife and I determined last year that in order to save money this year we would go to a famous kids place and let them HOST the party and clean up after the party and cook and…only to find that a 6 foot grey mouse gives my boy nightmares!

But last night, while all this CHAOS was going on around us I was reminded that MY father was almost always out of town on MY birthday PARTY days, and usually didn’t appear until it was JUST the family and it was time to cut the cake! Now it wasn’t JUST that dear old dad had no patience for kids, heck he bequeathed THREE of us ON the world, so that must say SOMETHING. But back to the subject at hand, 4 parties, 1 4 year old and LOTS of confusion equal to less than ZERO.

How does all this play and why do you care? Very simply, when you are handed something like this, a full schedule, guaranteed confusion and NO time, how can that be an advantage? Well obviously it’s an opportunity for TWO things.

1)      Learning – for those of you who have been in or near my car you know it’s a rolling library, between business and non business research I have over 150 AUDIO Cd’s in my car full of lectures, classes and various presentations from experts in one given field or another. Whether its Marketing, Lead Generation, Lists or just plain old research you have anywhere between 15 minutes and 2 hours of drive time every day, WHAT are you doing with it? What you SHOULD be doing is plugging in an expert and listening while you drive. Now the ONE caveat to that of course is that you can’t and SHOULDN’T take notes while driving. So I will be the first to admit that I have 4 cd’s sitting in my desk queue WAITING for me to play them with my headphones on, so I can take notes! That eats into the whole time thing.

2)      Networking – the one NICE thing about having a 4 year old is he has LOTS of friends and his friends have LOTS of parents who are not in our industry and therefore getting to know them and more about what they do/what they need, will ALWAYS help you to get information on the needs of other industries. Why just last night my wife spent 30 minutes discussing business with the wife of a colleague. Little did the colleague’s wife know that the industry that she is IN is actually one of MY target markets!

So the question is, are you wasting time or making progress

Rule #1 – DON’T WASTE TIME!

Always, but always find a way to learn something about what they do, what problems they have that you might solved and then demonstrate, if the situation is right, HOW what YOU do/have/sell can be made to look like its NOT all about you, but about their FAVORITE subject! – THEM!

Elevator Speeches are great, but what if I don’t have THAT long? April 22, 2010

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Wow, you KNOW you’ve got a good idea when you get SO many replies, some good and some less than good. This one however stuck out quite a bit in my mind, having been there myself at one point in my career. The email went like this:

TNT,

The concept of an elevator speech is great, I completely understand it, but I’m an independent contractor working for a firm that gives me slightly less than “cold leads” to call on. I can use an elevator speech to explain to strangers what I do, but there’s no WAY it will help me with my customers. Most won’t give me 3 to 5 sentences to do my JOB much less as an introduction.

Sincerely

On the Road Again”

Well Willie, or are you Waylon, you know I never could get those two straight in my mind. You’re right, if you’re in an unconventional business where you’re not “exactly” a salesman, but you have a short window of time to make a powerful statement about you and your product/service than an Elevator speech is NOT the best thing for you. However a Value Proposition is EXACTLY what you need, the down side to Value Props is that you can’t stop with just one. When you develop your first one, you have to use that as a springboard for generating as many as you can, because you will be using them, regularly and in almost every situation.

So what IS a value proposition? To begin with, it is a statement that is in answer to a question, either asked or UN asked that addresses 100% of someone’s needs while being PAINFULLY honest!

WOW, ok J that’s an awful lot of information in that one statement, can you break it down for the simple folk?

Better than that I’ll give you a working example so you can see exactly what it is that I mean by each and every word.

Let me take you back a few years. I was an independent Bank Representative whose primary supplier was one of the 3 largest commercial banks in the United States. But they were VERY specialized. They had NO physical branches, no vaults and no drive through. Yet they wanted me to go into every Doctors office in Florida and convince the Doctor to allow them complete and unrestricted access to his bank accounts. They were going to control over 90% of the funds that that Physician collected from Patients, Insurers and the Government insert a completely alien technology into his office workflow and do all this with a “bank” that he’s never heard of, can’t see and has almost NO recourse against, if something goes wrong. Sounds simple right? It was exactly as simple as you are now imagining!

I however had 2 things going for me. The first is that the “Association” that supplied malpractice insurance to 90% of these doctors had signed an agreement with our bank, allowing us to use their name to get in the door. Secondly, even though I didn’t CALL it a Value Proposition, I was armed with the greatest sets of Value Props EVER!

When creating a value proposition the 1st thing to realize is that it is NOT about you! It’s about THEM, them being the customer, client, patient, whatever label you apply to the folks who are give you money. So in this particular case it was about Doctors, now 20 years later, I know a WHOLE lot more about Doctors than I did then, but the one thing I absolutely knew without question and that was MANY Physicians have an inflated image of themselves and what they do. Some people call this a God Complex. So number 1 you must come in low and slow and understand that it is VITAL for the Doctor to feel that he is in 100% control of the situation at ALL TIMES!

Secondly, I knew Doctors are VERY busy people. Whether they are Heart Surgeons, Cosmetic Dentists or Chiropractors, if they are talking to YOU and not a patient they are LOSING MONEY. Therefore whatever I say has to be short sweet and directly to the point. – INTERLUDE- You know I saw a lot of guys in my business then who UNDERSTOOD this point and would therefore go in and talk fast and loud and try using dozens of “industry terms” and abbreviations in an effort to place them on an even ground with the Doctor. You HAVE to remember, most people think fast talking means you’re trying to HIDE something and there is NOTHING ON THIS EARTH that YOU can do to put yourself on even footing with a Doctor. Even if you have M.D. after your name he wont like the school you attended, or he’ll think you must have been a quack if you’re no LONGER in medicine. So just STOP IT. It’s not about YOU it’s about THEM, and remember according to the AMA 34% of ALL Doctors are female, so you may ALREADY be in a bad position.

So back to our Val Prop, Next you need to find out, aside from their ego’s what is the #1 thing that ALL Physicians want? In Florida, due to an independent survey at that time we found out that Physicians wanted to INCREASE the collection of their fees. Of course YOU would never consider this, but MANY people go to the Doctor or Hospital, with no insurance and think nothing of walking by the person in the lobby trying to present you with your bill! Even the Mortgage Industry is willing to over look negative items on your credit report, IF they are Medical Bills. So here we are in a country where Insurance is continually paying less and less, collections are going up and up, and the complementary industries are not even TRYING to help you collect your FEES!

So in I come asking him to hand over to me, what small percentage of his bills he has been able to pry out of the patients hand, and for ONLY $1500 I can…do NOTHING he wants to hear about. Because 90% of the time I never SEE the Doctor, he tells the Office manager that is she likes it, go ahead. But because she runs the entire office INCLUDING when the Doctor gets to eat lunch, she has almost the same “complex” that HE does. The only advantage is that as an office manager SHE is intimately familiar with the money in the office, AND if she can find a way to increase HIS bottom line she might get a nice Christmas gift!

So, I have about one sentence to get her attention enough to have her grant me ANOTHER sentence. SO after having made my appointment (never come in unannounced), she has made me wait at LEAST 30 minutes, that way I know how REALLY is in charge here, I am swept into a nice leather bound office and given my 10 seconds of fame.

“Joan if I can show you a way to increase your collections, both at the time of service and in arrears while making it easier for your patients to pay their invoices is that something Dr. Jones would be interested in?”

So, what did we do? First, I asked her a question. Questions are very harmless, you can ALWAYS say NO. NEXT I addressed her two biggest headaches, getting money from the patients while they are there AS WELL as giving her a way to increase the ability for folks who skipped out to pay what THEY owe her. Remember, she may be the office manager, but if she s a good one, then she considers that her money too! Then instead of making it HER decision I deflected it off her for a minute and laid it BACK in the lap of the doctor. See Joan, I’m not asking your for any money, I just want to know if you THINK there could be some way in which if we solve X and Y that MIGHT interest the physician. It not only relieves her of the need to make n IMMEDIATE decision, but it ALSO allows her to demonstrate her power to me. Because her next statement will either be:

Well the Doctor allows ME to make those kinds of decisions, how can you do that?

OR

What’s this going to cost me?

REGARDLESS of which one she comes back with, my response is going to be another Value Prop. And it would sound like this.

“Joan, most practices as large as yours find that at some point in their billing cycle they sometimes find a disconnect has occurred with the patient, disconnects can cause folks to slow or even STOP paying their medical bills, is this something that your practice might see in a down cycle?”

Again, giving HER the power, demonstrating that of course this would NEVER be a regular thing in an office as prestigious as this one, but sometimes a down turn in the cycle could cause a problem.

Now you’ve have again granted her ALL the power and demonstrated a clearer understanding of her particular situation. That even in IMPORTANT offices like this one sometimes people don’t pay their bills. Additionally making sure she sees that of course it wouldn’t be the fault of her staff or her doctor or even the patients themselves, it MUST be a change in the economy.

She might then reply with: “Well I’m sure that the Doctor has experienced some down cycles, but from what the girl said on the phone, this sounds pretty expensive.”

OK, now we have gotten the ONE concern that you NEVER assume and that is that COST could play in. Now it’s the Job of your Value Prop to completely disarm her, because you know that the girl on the phone said NOTHING about cost! So you take your BIGGEST ticket and you break it down into its smallest component, and let TEHM guide YOU.

“Well Joan if I could plainly demonstrate that your could offer the absolute MAXIMUM number of payment options to your clients for less than what the Doctor invests in donuts for the Staff meetings, would it be of interest to him?”

I have addressed her fears without mentioning an exact price, but I have also let her know that this is the MAXIMUM, and so if the BEST is worth a box of donuts I wonder what I can get for a cup of coffee?

Now, THIS is a very LONG, and yet still not comprehensive, explanation of a Value Proposition, let me give you a VERY short one that was a qualifier for ANOTHER type of banking client.

As my partner an I were discussing last week Convenience Store Owners have chosen a business that CAN be the HIGHEST profit per item type of retail store that exists in America. Unfortunately they are typically working on a shoestring budget and often the owner of the store is working 60- 70 hours a week, and his wife or son is working the remainder of the week. So here I am, once again with an appointment, but in this case it is 100% ALMOST meaningless, since construction workers seem to NEED Boxed Marlboro Reds and Super Jumbo Barrel O’Cola Gulps almost anytime of the day or night. So for me to get ANY of his attention AT all I have to grab it IMMEDIATELY, and therefore I would typically open with this:

“If I could show you, in the next 90 seconds how you can put more money in your pocket EVERY SNGLE DAY, would it be worth a few minutes of your time?”

Now the cholerics are going WAIT you told him you could show him in 90 seconds and now you’re asking for a few minutes, what’s the DEAL! Well plain and simple, I actually honed down our presentation and the HIGHLIGHTS to LESS than 90 seconds, that’s without stuttering and without interruption. But to fill out the paper, is going to take 15 minutes (you KNOW banks). Since I typically KNEW when I walked in, what his current system was costing him, I knew before I started talking whether the math was in my favor our not. As long as I could show how the system would pay its OWN way, he would then sit down with me and finish the REST of the presentation. I’m not saying that they always signed, but I will say that the first year I started using Value Props I had a better than 75% signing rate.

What would YOUR business look like with those kinds of numbers?

Tune in next week, and we will go into a little more detail as to how you can develop your OWN Value Props and where you can use them to their highest effectiveness.

HOW Will Folks FIND me on the Net? April 13, 2010

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s it just me or does everyone and their 3 year old little brother have a website?

I mean really, there are 4 BILLION people on this planet and I strongly believe that each and every one of them (except my MOM) has at LEAST 3 websites. The First one is literally the first one they ever put up, typically it contains their favorite song (from 1991), artwork from some obscure artist and some rantings and “hottest news on them” also from 1991.

Next will be their Family/Hobby or Photo site. This is where they will post photos that REALLY should NOT be consumed by the general public and in today’s day and age have EVERY chance in the world of affecting the potential job opportunities of ANYONE that they know! Or worse yet displaying 12 paged on the growth patterns of geraniums in non native soil, while suspended from a bungee cord OVER a waterfall (photos to come later – never).

FINALLY will be their 100% guaranteed money making sight that will have them on EZ Street by next Tuesday. Usually this one is generated from a template that they found on someone else’s site called www.money4nuthinchikz4free.biz .

With all that electronic confusion HOW in the world is ANYONE going to spot a legitimate business web sight! Surprisingly enough that’s where Google Maps come in. I say surprisingly because although millions of people couldn’t survive without Google they have never been my search engine of choice. BUT with this information that could all change.

How would you like to be able to post your website on the internet, have it come up in a GOOGLE search AND display a nice little advertisement, map and “picture”? Sounds pretty neat right? Well read on!

Google lets you submit your business listing free of cost to its local business center. You can add business details like address, area of operation, contact number and hours of operation to the listing.

All these details are available on the screen with a snapshot of a map which shows the detailed location of your business. All you have to do is add the listing in the local business center by going through a quick verification process and the visitors will find their way to your business website

Submit Your Website to Google Local Business Center (you can do it here). (www.google.com/local/add ) If you don’t HAVE a Google account, NOW is the time to create one. There a link there to do so. EVEN if you have one that you use privately you still might want to create one as a “business account” that won’t accidentally have any links to your grandmother’s birthday photos or anything. They are free, painless and pretty versatile.

So, now you are at Google’s Local Business Center, you are basically going to start by creating a MAP for your business. But TNT I work out of my HOME. Well you have one of 3 options. 1) Get a PO BOX 2) Put your Home address and prepare your customers to see you in your boxers, 3) Get a Mail Drop address like at the UPS Store. Any of these will work and all have been used in the past. Of course is there REALLY any difference between them? If your million dollar customer wants to “surprise you with a check” is it any better that he show up to the UPS STORE than your HOUSE?

A few things to note about setting this up. First off if you’re like me and you can’t remember addresses this is a GREAT thing. My Dog groomer’s phone number completely ESCAPES me, so I go to their website and get it from there. If they had a map setting like THIS one, then I could have ANYONE in my house drop the dog off and not worry about anyone getting lost! Next, if you have a Store/Company Logo make sure you have a scaled down version of it in .JPG saved ion your PC. How first rate do you look when someone is searching for Dog Groomers in your area when not only is YOUR site the only one that pops up a MAP, but ALSO has a nice little LOGO featured as well.

Last but not least, once you have the features up and running, you can add 30 day messages to your search links as well. For example, my Groomer could add a 25% off coupon to her Map Link that would FORCE me to go back every month (because I’m cheap), and also it could be updated with just about any other little tidbits, Like “Our Very First Bathe Your Dog Safely at Home video has JUST been released – come see it NOW!” You can keep the part about it being volume 1 of a 66 part series under wraps until they get to the store!

But seriously once you get this account and mapping setup Google will actually provide you with an entire ARRAY of Web Analytics tools that you would normally have to pay big bucks for in the private market.

Last but not least a note about setting this up. When I set mine up I was actually in the middle of an incredibly boring conference call. The reason I point this out is that as part of their verification service Google would REALLY like to be able to call you back on the phone numbers that you provided. As my phone was tied up at the time, they couldn’t DO that so they said that within the next few WEEKS they would mail me a post card with my verification code (really guys a post card?). In all reality it took about 4 days, and as hectic as things are in the True North right now, it seemed like less time than that!

Check in next time and we’ll talk about press releases!

…and now for the finals from the elevator! April 8, 2010

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Now for some more stuff from the mailbag:

TNT,

All this stuff about elevator speeches is fine and dandy if you’re in big business, but I’m just a college kid looking to make my way through school with a job. Whats the point? I mean really, whats in it for me?

Jake

WOW, OK Jake this is a HUGE example of chapter 7 of my new book “Remote Control Management” there is an entire generation out there, just entering our workforce with an air of expectation. Because they got a “time out rather than an Ass whipping they are convinced that the world owes them without them having to work for it.

Well Jake, if your still reading (which I doubt) I’ll try and type this very slowly so that you’ll understand it:

The world owes you NOTHING, one day you will ether WANT to move out of moms house or (better yet mom will toss you out) and you will be required to humble thyself and get a job that pays more than minimum wage so as to pay the rent. When that day arrives, it will be time for you to look at an elevator speech from the other side.

That of a Value Added Proposition Statement. In other words, what can you say to your superior that will convince him that you add enough value to his company and his bottom line, that paying you more than $10 an hour would be a good idea.

So lets guess, you might work in a big “box store” selling music or radios or (heaven help us pc’s and you wear a blue shirt. In all actuality you are probably the one propping up the register trying to look down my daughters shirt.

Your boss walks up and says “So Jake, what are your plans for next semester?”

Whatever you do, do NOT try and wing it, chances are THAT answer will come out like this:

“Take afternoon classes and sleep late”

Now he’s trying to figure out why he hired you.

Instead lets look at it from HIS side and what might help him:

“well sir (start with respect) I have been reading up on the latest Intel Hexacore Processors because I think that by next Christmas a lot of the big game enthusiasts will want them, and I’d like to be out on the sales floor helping to move them out!”

OK, your are reading, a feat of its own, on YOUR time, about something cutting edge that HE will have a LOT of inventory money invested in at his busiest time of year. You have identified the biggest section of buyers who don’t USUALLY buy from him, they by from the PC only store across the street, and trying to determine how to best help HIM move out said inventory. Add to that your desire to want to be “in the thick of it all” at the one time of the year most of his college age kids are packing off to Poughkeepsie and you have just sealed the deal!

All that, and you didn’t have to Lie, or HURT yourself.

Now you’re starting to see how much these elevator speeches can be used for vastly different ideas, like this one:

TNT.

I own my own business work from my house, in my underwear. I don’t see my customers except when I collect their checks. How in the WORLD would I benefit from an elevator speech?

Chris

Weill I’m assuming that Chris either sells Credit Card machines or he is a consultant of some kind. Sine CC guys rank up their with used car salesman right about now, lets assume he is a consultant of come kind.

So how could a consultant who only sees his customers at closing time benefit from a 2 -3 piece statement designed to generate some kind of indication of value?

Well lets assume that he has a business that allows him to work as he describes, lets also assume that this takes up about 1/3 of his day, what does he do with the other 2/3rds? Well if the sunshine in his email doesn’t represent his typical demeanor we would hope that he shops and goes to dinner and does those things that many of us NOT in the consulting business may do during a day.

But chances are that he also interacts with many folks who don’t know that he IS a consultant., and chances are that when he interacts with these people who don’t know what he does, SOME of them may ask what it is that he DOES do. I know that I get asked that just because I’m the only dad at story time with my 4 year old. So what DO you say when someone asks “So Chris, what do you do, that allows you to pump gas at 11am in your shorts”

So far I’ve just considered that he may be a consultant, now lets take that another step and say that he is a restaurant consultant, who helps non corporate franchise restaurants get things back on track.

So how about this as an answer: “I work with private restaurant owners to help them increase their ROI utilizing the staff that they currently employ”

Its called a value proposition and it allows you to say wonderful things about yours;if and what you do without bragging!

Now that you have some great examples of how to use elevator speeches next time I think we will move into something a little more fun…………………………

We now return to our regularly Scheduled blog…. March 29, 2010

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Today we give out a new elevator speech

Moving back to the idea of elevator speeches. I’ve seen a lot of chatter about a few different ideas that all seem to meet in the same spot = elevator speeches. I’ve seen explanations about “value added statements” or “ultimate selling proposition”, and Tony Jeary calls them ‘strategic acceleration points”

The bottom line is that they are all 2 – 3 sentence statements that transmit an honest exchange of what you’re offering as a good or service representing what you do – an elevator speech

Our .first question is this:

I work in a call center that has about 6000 other reps, we can be supporting any one of a dozen products at one point, occasionally I will find myself in line at the cafe with one of our executives, How can I use an elevator speech to our advantage? I never went to college, having joined the USMC right after HS.

Now I have to admit this does present a unique issue, how to make yourself standout when you are surrounded by 6000 OTHER folks some of whom no doubt are better at what you do than you are.

First start off by asking yourself, what do YOU bring to the table that they cant get from the other 5999 callers? Are you fluent in another language? Do you have a skillset or certification that might lend itself to what you do? Are you involved in some outside club, organization or school that might assist in what you do? Is there something that you know so well that you could develop INTO something that you could teach to others?

Well as a matter of fact, even though it is a brief letter and I can spend an hour talking about his one unique quality, but I will instead sum it up in this. I was recently contacted and asked to author a presentation, and ultimately publish a paper called “Military Leadership and Corporate Management, How close are we?

Having worked in a similar situation, I would venture to guess that this particular company has a high turn over rate. The company I was with had a 100% turn over of each floor every 39 days. Meaning that by years end almost the entire company was brand new.. Now this particular company that I was with PRIDED itself on its training system. Therefore the only thing I could come up with was that folks were learning everything this particular company had to teach, and then taking those skills elsewhere at a higher price!

I think we may have found the basis for our marines elevator speech. If we can start with the assumption that the executives question would revolve around wanting to know what product is currently being supported than a response might look like this:

Well sir although my primary responsibilities involve supporting products from the X corporation I have found myself spending more and more of my break and lunch hours applying my military leadership classes on retaining a higher percentage of the quality folks that receive their training here!

We’ve told the exec

That YOUR primary responsibilities are in line with increasing HIS bottom line. You have also explained that you have identified an issue with their business model, without sounding like a “know it all.” Lastly we have explained that through some independent studies in a previous career, we are trying to apply what we learned there, to a problem that you see here.

How Did all this come about? Lets look line by line:

Well sir although my primary responsibilities involve supporting products from the X corporation Thats identifying you with HIS bottom line, and that you DO understand what you were hired for.

I have found myself spending more and more of my break and lunch hours – This shows initiative, and more importantly that you’re NOT using HIS time clock to test your theories.

applying my military leadership classes on retaining a higher percentage of the quality folks that receive their training here! – now in this one line you have said several different things:

That you received leadership skills from a program that not only he didn’t have to pay for, but that are recognized globally

Those skills have helped you identify an issue that you have observed going on that may actually BE costing his company 10’s if not 100’s of thousands of dollar

Lastly that you can recognize the value of the training that his company provides and you recognize that he may be losing some of that training (obviously).

Obviously this is just one example of how valuable a good elevator speech can be. Next time we’ll send out a few MORE examples from the email bag, and I wont be as chatty. That way we’ll get to the REAL fun, How do I create my OWN Elevator Speech!

WE INTERRUPT THIS BLOG TO BRING YOU…. March 24, 2010

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WOW, I never could have predicted the sheer number of responses that I received from my last challenge, so I do apologize if yours isn’t mentioned here, I tried to pick some of the most common scenarios’ and address them, and then threw in an ALL to common situation of someone finding me by accident.

TNT

I have been working in the same dead end job for 5 years. When I started I had a really great boss who promised me that he saw potential in me and could help me move ahead as fast as I wanted to go.

Then no less than 6 months later he transferred to another area and I’ve been stuck here, watching 3 different managers come and go, and seen people who SHOULDN’T get promoted do so, while I’m still in the same place.

Any suggestions.

Signed;

Soldier from the Sand

I chose this particular example as my 1st because it represents 3 HUGE issues that I see.

1) Although not mentioned in my paraphrase, this person, and MANY others, came into THIS job that he has STRAIGHT off the sand from Iraq.

2) His boss said “as fast as HE wanted to go”

3) His boss left within 6 months and he is still there.

Let’s address these items individually:

  1. US Military training is some of the FINEST leadership training in the WORLD! Coincidentally I have JUST been hired by one of my areas LARGEST Healthcare concerns to author a presentation for them exemplifying JUST that.

What’s all this mean? First off our soldier has had the best teachers in the WORLD (especially if he has served in foreign countries) and worked alongside some of the worlds GREATEST leaders, and yet he is still looking to someone ELSE t help him out. That’s an attitude of entitlement and its KILLING our country. BUT I promised to try and help so here goes!

You have seen examples of the GREATEST team builders this country has ever produced, both up close and personal as well as in the lessons that you were taught of military leaders throughout history, so what did THEY do, in becoming team builders that YOU can do:

  1. They hand picked their teams and assembled them in accordance to the best abilities THEY were able to select. Maybe your situation is not one where you can hire anyone specifically for your team, but you CAN change your associations! One of the GREATEST quotes I have ever heard was this:

“You will become exactly like the people you listen to the books you read and those that you associate with, over the NEXT 5 years”

So ask yourself, who are you hanging around with at work? When you have a lunch break or (heaven forbid) a smoke break, are you hanging around your superiors desks trying to find out what projects you might become a part of? Or are you out back sucking down battery acid and complaining about the last ‘brain dead’ customer you spoke with? Which one do YOU think will help you more in the end? I actually ENCOURAGE the folks on my teams to go and get outside and mix and mingle when they have a chance to, DON’T sit behind your desk reading the sports page or cruising the help wanted jobs on Google! You HAVE a job, that’s better that 25% of the folks in Detroit! So make the most of it.

Maybe your particular situation doesn’t really lend itself to that, a lot of sales jobs aren’t conducive to sharing information. Bring a BOOK, and no I don’t mean Dan Browns latest. Bring something that will add value to what you do! Are you in IT? What projects interest you? Do you have a technical skill for that? If not start buying books and magazines and reading articles on those skills. BETTER YET make sure that your bosses SEE that you’re doing THAT kind of reading! The last job I had I was the ONLY one in the cafeteria reading a book and one of our VP’s used to ask every month or so “what was I studying now?” He had seen the books I had, and they weren’t Dilbert reruns! Associate with the folks who can help you get where you want t go, and in the absence of that read books and trade publications on projects that are of INTEREST to your organization.

  1. The guy that hired him was going to help him go as “fast as HE wanted to go.” His boss was a pretty smart guy! You know what happens when you try and drag a car with only 2 gears onto the Daytona 500 Track? You get run over! SO by his boss telling him that he would help him move as fast as HE wanted to go, he was putting the onus on the employee to step up and grab the brass ring!

But here we are several years later, the boss transferred out and our soldiers are still sitting in the same spot. That is rather indicative of their speed eh? Now don’t get me wrong, every company out there needs worker bees. Those folks who will ALWAYS come in rain or shine, and work their 8 hours dependably and do just enough so as to not get fired. But now a days I think most companies can only really afford about 1% of their employee population to fill that role. So if this guy works in an office of 20 folks, he’s out of luck. BUT were trying to look at the positive side, so our NEXT suggestion is this. IF the guy who hired you still works for the company, get back in touch with him, see what he can do to help you out. If its been more than a year since he was in that area, he probably cant get you a job, but he will probably feel some obligation (however small) to help somewhat. However, his first question is PROBABLY going to be a painful one: SO what have you been doing to improve your situation since we last worked together? Its like that one question we all hate during a job interview: What is your greatest weakness? NONE I’m PERFECT FIOR THE JOB NOW HIRE ME!

  1. Ok the last piece of this puzzle is probably the hardest to address, this guy was in a leadership position, one of hiring YOU anyway, what prompted him to transfer out so quickly, and what if any advice or direction did he give you on the way out?

Typically people don’t just BAIL. They usually move for a reason, bigger paycheck, more freedom, hate the boss, something pretty simple usually maybe our soldier should have taken the hint? But I have found that it is NEVER too late to reinvent yourself. So let’s say your buddy is no longer reachable (try face book, LinkedIn etc.), what should you be doing next? Well after working on A and B start looking at what’s available. Don’t expect to find your dream job tomorrow, even internally most companies aren’t hiring or doing much movement now a days, BUT everyone in a position of power LOVES initiative, so try this. Look at your company; look for a team made up of people that YOU want to work with. Look for a team that DOES something that YOU want to do! Then look REALLY closely at EXACTLY what the do all day. There was a time when I wanted to be a network engineer, and then I found out what they really did all-day and decided I couldn’t afford the payout. But find a team that YOU want to make a contribution to, and here’s the neat part, ask their manager AND yours, if you can job shadow someone in that area for a day or half a day, and even if you have to use up a vacation day, spend as much time as they will allow, working with this person one day. When you show up for your shadow, dress VERY nicely (if the job allows), dress 2 cuts above the person that’s there now, take a pen and a new notebook and make LOTS of notes. THEN the VERY next day (that night would be better) write a brief professional thank you letter to the person you shadowed and THEIR boss, and then send a SEPARATE note to YOUR boss, mentioning 2 or 3 things that you learned, and how they might help you do your job better. Then stay in touch

Email your shadow every now and then, see how things are going, if you see his boss nod to him (and have your elevator speech ready!), and I would make a very strong bet, that within the next 4 to 8 months a path in that dept may open up. The POUNCE. You have an in with the boss, you have an in with at least ONE team member, you’re pretty much ahead of the pack right then and there.

Ok, today was a little longer than I usually like, but this is something that I’m pretty passionate about. My dad spent 25 years in the military and some of my best friends are in it now. They are out there sweating bullets, so WE don’t have to. Check back again next time, and I promise I’ll slide in 2 or 3 more that will be shorter and much more interesting!

ok, i ADMIT IT! I got so carried away with soldier in the sand that I completely missed his elevator speech. So tune in tomorrow when we back on point. And BOY do I have some awesome stuff in the wings!

Anatomy and Physiology of an Elevator Speech March 19, 2010

Posted by truenorthtrainingsolutions in business, Uncategorized.
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”My job is to protect my boss from surprises, make him look good and make sure my team members get where their going as FAST as they want to get there

Remember THAT was my elevator speech for my ENTIIRE tenure at the hospital (almost 10 years).

But what did it mean? What was I really trying to say?

Well believe it or not it meant EXACTLY what it said, lets look at the first part:

My job is to protect my boss from surprises,

OK, now, it may come as a surprise to YOU, but if you ask your boss, manager, supervisor team lead, whatever title they are using where you are; “So how do you like a surprise visit from the President of the company?” Undoubtedly they will get flushed and a wide eyed look on their face and scream “IS HE HERE NOW?” See no one with any authority likes a surprise visit from their superiors, and THAT was one of my jobs. I sat 6 inches from the door of our office and my bosses office door was about 15 steps away. I became an EXPERT at typing a small cryptic Instant Message to my boss, letting her know WHO just came in the door, and whether they looked happy or not! “JefR on way, nt smling” Was translated as BOSSESNAME is ON HIS WAY TO YOUR OFFICE AND HE DOESNT LOOK HAPPY. So whatever she was doing was IMMEDIATELY turned into something businesslike and professional, often seeming to turn into a sudden telephone screaming match with a vendor. That way he often felt as though HE were interrupting and might come back later when she could be better prepared.

BUT thats only one way for her to be surprised. The other was in alerting her of ANYTHING that might be said, insinuated or overheard that could have a negative effect on what were doing that day. For example if the HUB went down and wasn’t expected to be up for a while because no one was answering their phones would turn into a page of “HB DWN NO1 AVAIL”. That let her know that she had about 7 minutes to find someone from that department before ye olde kaka hit said fan!

Remember no one likes to be surprised1 AND most figures in authority will take ALL the information they can get. BUT, and heres a free tip to stash away. In business the SECOND most important thing is INFORMATION. The first and absolutely most important thing is knowing WHEN to use it!

Now the other half: “make sure my team members get where their going as FAST as they want to get there”

I have a fairly ambitious personality, you could make me dog catcher tomorrow and by weeks end I’ll find a way to be mayor. However, over the years and through many LONG nights of beating my head against the wall I have come to the earth shattering conclusion that (hold on tight) NOT EVERYNOE IS LIKE THAT.

Some people actually LIKE coming in from 9 – 5 50 weeks a year for 40 years and doing the same job over and over (I know confounds me to). If you have folks like this on your team let me give you a time savings tip. Trying to pull them to a promotion is like putting a pig in a prom dress. You’ll ruin your day and make the pig pretty mad too!

So what I found was that every quarter I would have a private 1 on 1 meeting with everyone on my immediate front line and have THEM tell ME where they wanted to be in 12 months. THEN I would map out a plan for them, including mile markers for progress of how they can reach that goal!

Now occasionally someone would say “Well J I think I like doing exactly what I’m doing and I’d just like to learn everything I can about what I’m doing”

Now in my family we call those folks slugs but the rest of the world just calls them worker bees. EVERY company needs them, but most companies can really only afford to have a handful of them. So assuming your company hasn’t reached their quota your team member is SAFE. However, and this is usually the case, you might want to explain that for folks who desire to do what they have described, usually will find that promotions and RAISES are few and far between. After all if your turning a bolt ¼ turn to the left on every widget that comes down the line in 10 years how much more is that job worth? Probably LESS not more, but many folks have a sense of entitlement that teaches them that if they turn those bolts to the left every day for 40 years than they should retire with a HUGE pension. Unfortunately the truth is, they will probably end up eating Alpo sandwiches in their Sr. years as opposed to Fillet.

So the second half is, once your team member has told you their goal, and you have shown them their path, you need to make two things VERY clear. The first is “what are you willing to do yo get where you want to go?” now that is actually the easy question. Often times that will involve night school or additional training or some certificate program etc. HOWEVER thats the EASY part. The hard question is “OK Tim, now tell me what you’re NOT willing to do.”

There was a guy hired almost the same time I was one time, he even had FAR more technical skills than I did,and worked VERY hard every day learning more and more about different aspects of our job. Yet every time he was asked to stay after or come in early or what have you he always turned down the chance. Worse yet that was one of the MAIN things that our boss used to gauge for promotions, your willingness to work outside the box. Now admittedly, a few years later when I was in charge, he came to me and explained exactly what his reasoning was, and I was perfectly amiable to that reasoning and gave him many chances to advance and actually saved him from a termination, but because someone tried to move him along at THEIR pace instead of his, his primary talents got missed, and the corporation as a whole almost lost out on someone who I am sure would go on to make a tremendous corporate executive one day.

So, remember, make your Elevator speech simple, and honest and easy, and on Friday we will walk you through constructing one of your own! Send me an email, or leave a comment, give me some of your professions and I’ll choose a few and we’ll get some EVS just for YOU!

Jerome@TrueNorthTrainingSolutions.com

Where business professionals come to get more from the resources they already have!

Anatomy of an Elevator Speech Part1 March 16, 2010

Posted by truenorthtrainingsolutions in Uncategorized.
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But what is an elevator speech REALLY?

Now you have been introduced to them, maybe even done a Google or wikipedia search of them. But what is an elevator speech really and why does it matter so much?

Well remember the GOOD elevator speech is the one where a superior can wake you from a dead sleep and say “what do YOU do around here?” and you have an honest and sincere response that is thought provoking and interesting, while NOT seeming patronizing or overtly butt kissing.

Well mine, at that job was simple. It summed up EXACTLY what I thought my job was. Now realize that this had NOTHING to do with whats written in my job description, so if you thought it was going to be that easy, think again! Anyone can repeat what HR says you should be doing, heck you may be TALKING to the person who wrote it, the executive who asked this question is probably doing it to see what (and if) the folks on the team are thinking outside the box (or at all).

So mine was this:”My job is to protect my boss from surprises, make him look good and make sure my team members get where their going as FAST as they want to get there.”

Now I’ll be honest, at first glance that may seem like a pat platitude designed to make me look good, but it is in fact 100% honest, and exactly the way I felt about that position!

See I had been in corporate America for quite some time by then, and the #1 way that I saw managers get hurt was by their own teams not warning them about things that were ABOUT to explode! As a matter of fact at one point in my career I had been placed DIRECTLY by the office door so that I could warn her (via IM) about any VIPs that had entered the area. Now I was very well paid in this position I held, so I could have said with absolute authority “thats NOT part of my job” and I would have been 100% correct, nothing in my job description said anything about being a lookout. But you know what? If the boss isn’t happy I’m not going to have a great day either. Since I prefer things to go smoothly on my watch, I needed to do whatever I could to make HER job easier. And I like to think for the years we worked together I did exactly that.

However, When you do what your boss asks you to, do it VERY well and take on even more, you wont be IN that spot for very long, and son of a gun we were together 3 years, I learned a lot, and she actually left for a MUCH higher position at another company, which left me in line for HER job.

Now we can talk more about what actually happened later, but lets just say in 8 years I had 17 promotions, more raises than I can count, and not to brag, but lets say that I never missed a pay opportunity, and I never got the minimum.

Check back Wednesday and we’ll actually dissect the Elevator Speech and give you some ideas of your own!



But Boss, were not supposed to USE the elevator… March 12, 2010

Posted by truenorthtrainingsolutions in Uncategorized.
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That was the sarcastic reply the day my boss and one of my best mentors, announced that beginning that day, we would ALL start working on our “elevator speeches.”

After the sarcasm died she went on to explain that we worked in a multistory building with some of the most powerful executives in our corporation. Since what we did was considered entry level to the department we were in, we were encouraged to take the stairs, even though we were only 1 floor below the executive suites.

She further went on to say that if we ever wanted to get OUT of the position we found ourselves in we needed to make the right impressions on the right people, and those folks on the top floor were the perfect place to start. She explained that if we were to find ourselves in an elevator, or meeting room or bus stop, and the CEO turned and said “So Kathy, what are you working on for us today?” the LAST thing we wanted was to stammer out our name rank and serial number. After all our names and photos were branded on our company badges around our necks.

Instead, find something about what you do and infuse into THAT what you truly believe about what you do, and create a 30 second 2 sentence monologues that you could spit out when woken from a dead sleep, by your CEO.

For example she had moved from zero to management faster than anyone else in Department history, so her elevator speech had a smattering of THAT infused with the 2 most important things that she was working on, that she KNEW were important to the top brass!

I can tell you this from personal experience I have had the opportunity to use my elevator speech many times over the years, and it has NEVER failed to raise eyebrows, and I an QUITE confident that the person who asked me the question REMEMBERED that I had been prepared with not just AN answer but THE answer.

You see I never got to use my speech in an elevator; instead I used it when questioned by a lawyer about what we did and why we did it. I have used it during an interview by a competing corporation looking to headhunt the best of the best from our company. And yes I even got to use it at a bus stop, from those conversations I developed one of the most interesting friendships I’ve ever had, and learned how one becomes a corporate chaplain!

Now, other than being a brief description of who you are, what you do, and something you believe in very strongly, what else IS there to an elevator speech?

Check back Monday and I’ll give you MY elevator speech that I used for 10 years in 7 different teams and 10 different job titles!