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Thursday, May 31, 2012
Robert Caplin for The New York Times
Mario Marsicano needs to find someone to make his whimsical home furnishings.
We’ve just published a case study about Jellio, a maker of whimsical home furnishings that is based in New York. Mario Marsicano, a former advertising agency account director, had long collected old toys — Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Robots were among his favorites. He collected so many that he decided to experiment with embedding some in a table made of Lucite. When his friends started asking for their own Rock ‘em Sock ‘em tables, he figured he might be on to something. He and Chris Lenox, a co-founder, introduced Jellio with a Web site in 2005.
The products have been well received but Jellio has struggled to figure out how to make enough of them — and how to make them at a price that people will pay.
We asked several manufacturing specialists to offer their advice. Please read the article as well the comments below and then tell us what you think. Next week, we will publish an update on how Jellio is doing.
James Dyson, chief executive and chief engineer of Dyson Ltd., a British-based manufacturer of vacuums: “Committing to produce something yourself is terrifying. But if you have a product you believe in and a market for it, it makes sense if you can secure the capital. It gives you total control, particularly over quality, which is incredibly important when you start out. To keep costs down, it’s essential to pick the right suppliers and develop good relationships with them. A bad supplier can hold you hostage. But, ultimately, I believe it’s better to sell a better product at a higher price than an inferior one for less.”
Paul Fichter, president, Tap Handles, which manufactures beer marketing products: “I suggest adapting the designs, currently optimized for one-off production, for manufacturability at volume. For example, find a way to hollow out the GummiLights while getting nearly the same effect, to save material and shipping weight. It’s the difference between an original hand-painted painting and a print. Jellio customers should get a choice: Do you want the $250 original Marsicano/Lenox-made GummiLight — $125 is too cheap — or the $50 print from China?”
Garret Hirchak, owner, Manufacturing Solutions, a manufacturer in Morrisville, Vt.: “Jellio is creative, good at invention and launch, and even small-scale manufacturing. I would encourage them to focus on invention and marketing while developing a regionally local manufacturer that can respond quickly to changing demand and design. To find one, get leads from contacts and suppliers, reach out to manufacturers of like items, or try the New York economic development agency. We work with Vermont’s version. With the right partner, this model is low-cost and low-risk.”
To focus your action, you must have clearly defined goals. Can you in this minute write down your goals clearly and succinctly? When did you last review them? Yesterday? Last week? On January 1st? If, in all honesty, you have to admit that you have a string of unfulfilled goals, it's time to recalibrate. One, know your purpose. Two, hold yourself responsible for your choices. Excellence and determination never go far without the purpose that fuels clearly defined goals and intelligent decision making.
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Enhancing the haircut experience: Michael Portman of Birds Barbershop.
Photography by Sarah Wilson
Michael Portman has heard his salon customers share information with their hairdressers that they wouldn't confide in anyone else. As he says, it's a business built on trust. After all, how many deals compel the service provider to wield a sharp pair of scissors to your scalp or neck?
Today, six years after he and childhood pal Jayson Rapaport opened the first of five Birds Barbershops in Austin, Texas, Portman is especially pleased when a customer comes in for a haircut in advance of a job interview. "That's a pretty trusting moment there," Portman says.
Like many entrepreneurs, Portman has found that savvy branding efforts go a long way toward cultivating that trust. And while there's no single formula for branding your way into a client's warm embrace, it's generally agreed that it takes more than a clever slogan or a catchy jingle. At the very least, it takes strong job performance, effective marketing (often online) and favorable public opinion. Yet experts say building trust through branding also requires an ineffable something that leaves customers feeling good about the whole exchange.
"Branding now is trying to measure not just the affinity, but the trust a consumer has in you," says Todd Copilevitz, a branding consultant in Atlanta.
To build trust through branding, says Karen Post, a Tampa, Fla.–based consultant and the author of Brand Turnaround, an entrepreneur must establish a distinct identity. Portman and Rapaport did this by offering standard haircuts at below-market prices--$19 for men, $39 for women--and keeping salons open seven days a week. ("Every salon in the world is closed on Mondays," Portman says. "What's with that?") Tapping into Austin's rich musical heritage, they installed old-fashioned jukeboxes, then turned up the volume. Because Austin is such a bicycle-crazy town, they offered men who rode to Birds a free hair wash. (Women get a shampoo with the standard cut.) And abiding by the company ethos of keeping things local, they formed myriad partnerships in support of hometown causes and events.
Their mission was simple, really: They wanted to make the haircut experience more fun. And that's where the beer comes in. After noon each day, anyone who gets a haircut at Birds receives a free can of Shiner beer. Birds pays nothing for the beer but gives Shiner plenty of promotional punch, including a neon sign in every salon window. Shiner comes from the Lone Star State's oldest independent brewery, so it holds a special place in the hearts and minds of Texans. For Portman, the arrangement has been invaluable in helping Birds establish its identity.
And that has led to success. Last year, Portman says, Birds took in nearly $3 million in revenue.
Birds has relied heavily on social media to build its brand. Copilevitz says the online world, which gives consumers a robust and timely forum for expressing opinions, has forced businesses to revert to old-school customer service. "That is, dealing with people as people," he says. "They're using social media to talk to their customers in an open, honest way, and they do that on a stage where millions of eyeballs can focus on that discussion."
Using social media effectively, adds Portman, also means knowing when to lay low. "We're part of the conversation, just like when you're sitting around the table with friends," he says. "You don't say anything unless you have something to say."
This article was originally published in the April 2012 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: In Brand They Trust.
In both sales and life, guts come before glory. But sales professionals will not succeed solely by a willingness to take risks. First and foremost, honor and purpose must exist. Nothing good comes to those in sales who think only of themselves. Define for yourself the fundamentals of honor and good sense. Leave no room for failure to meet these expectations. You should never be caught with unclear convictions. Make sure your purpose is definite before committing to taking the necessary risks to succeed.
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Strength can be seen as an act of self-leadership. Remember the leadership skills of Winston Churchill and the way he helped a nation to endure the hardship and pain of war and survive with its humanity intact. He understood that, for his country to survive, he would have to inspire people to build strength – strength of purpose, strength of vision, strength of will. This isn't just history. Our world today fumes and flares with danger. Chronic frustrations and thwarted expectations tug at us all the time. If we build our strength, however, we will safeguard ourselves from feeling victimized by negative experiences.
You know what you’re going to get with a well-branded product or service.
In another sense, a brand is a specific combination of logo, words, type font, design, colors, personality, price, service, etc.
It’s also a bundle of attributes. Think of Volvo, for instance, and your first thoughts are probably going to be something like “well built, comfortable, Swedish” and, most of all, “safety.”
The promise, look, personality and attributes can eventually acquire a special patina of what I call “me” appeal. Buying a certain brand says something about the person who buys it. Apple has that patina. So does Prius. The booze and clothing businesses are filled with patina products: Cristal, Guinness, Ralph Lauren, Manolo Blahnik.
All of this can lead to sub-brands, like iPhone and iPad which acquire the aura of the parent brand.
It takes a lot of time, money and very hard work to build and maintain great brands like that, brands that can speak volumes in just a few syllables.
That’s why I’m usually rendered speechless when a prospective client asks us for a quick “Brand”.
It happens a lot more often than you’d think. I love developing brands from scratch but when the client needs something quick, there’d better be a strong existing brand already in place.
If you’re going to develop your brand, the last thing you want to do is follow the beaten path. You want to head down your own road. Your brand has to plant itself in the hearts and minds (especially hearts) of prospects and customers.
It also has to be memorable. Your brand is the focus of all your marketing efforts (yes, it needs to say something about your company, connect with your target market, be motivating in some way and always create loyalty).
Sometimes a brand is memorable because of the little things.
TD Bank has a special place in their branches for you to deposit all those coins you collect in jars. It’s called the Penny Arcade and makes it a fun game and you can even win prizes. If your kids collect coins, you might want to open a TD account so they can enjoy the process of saving their money there. Years ago Dime Savings Bank in New York had a small dime carrier it gave to kids and then they’d fill up the 50 slots with a dime in each one (Dime Bank, get it?) and bring it to exchange for a $5.00 bill. Little things can mean a lot (and little things are all do-able on the smallest budget.)
When you think about your brand, think about all the elements: promise, personality, look, voice, service, attributes, memorability, even patina. There’s a good chance that if you ask customers, prospects and competitors about it, you’ll be surprised at how strong your brand actually is.
It’s shorthand for what you are.
Does your brand make you feel great about your own company?
This is our logo on the wall when you walk into our agency office. It always makes us smile!
Let me know and please comment below.
Lois Geller, Contributor
I advise on how to create stand out brands via direct marketing.
Monday, May 28, 2012
Anatole France once commented, "We do not know what to do with this short life, yet we yearn for another that will be eternal." When we solve problems, we feel satisfied. By solving problems, we develop into who we are. That is why it is so important to develop good habits when it comes to our choices. Once we accept responsibility for our own accomplishments and growth by choosing wise paths for ourselves, our options become more abundant and clear. Remember: whenever you make choices, you are also creating yourself.
Research has shown that approximately 25 percent of people (and businesses) will pay a premium for a high-quality product or service. These are usually your ideal customers, by the way.
At the other end of the spectrum is the price-focused person, who makes most, if not all, of his or her buying decisions based on the price of a product. These individuals account for about 25 percent of buyers or consumers—and they are usually the most difficult to deal with.
This bottom group of people tends to be high maintenance. (You know who they are.) These are the people who will grind you for a nickel or dollar on every single purchase and then complain over the tiniest problem. They call you more often than your other customers, and they are very seldom loyal because they are always looking for a better price.
On the other hand, your top customers are usually the easiest to deal with. They are much more loyal. They rarely have problems, and more often than not, any problems they do encounter are easily resolved.
The problem is that the bottom 25 percent sucks up valuable time, and they prevent you from finding more high-value customers to add to your client list.
Make room for top clients. Here’s my suggestion: Limit how many low-value customers you sell to and increase your efforts to find high-value customers. I won’t say that this will be easy because it won’t. However, you will improve your margins and profitability, reduce your stress and aggravation and increase your sales by investing more time finding customers who understand and are willing to pay for the value of your product, service or offering.
The key to achieving this is to keep your pipeline filled at all times so you won’t feel compelled to sell to every Tom, Dick and Harry who asks for a quote. If you can accomplish that, you will find that you will be able to make more high-value sales to fewer clients.
Kelley Robertson helps sales professionals master their sales conversations so they can win more business at higher profits. Get a free copy of “100 Ways to Increase Your Sales” and “Sales Blunders That Cost You Money” at http://www.Fearless-Selling.ca.
Sunday, May 27, 2012
Saturday, May 26, 2012
The reason you make the choice. There is a reason your business does things differently. Some of your choices can give you a competitive advantage in the marketplace, if you can compete on the values that underlie those choices. The reasons that underlie certain decisions about how you do business can be a compelling platform from which to compete. Here’s an example:
I have a client who works in an industry where it is common to subcontract work and receive payment from the subcontractor for the job. This payment can often be more than the contractor makes from the client directly. My client does not believe he is entitled to keep any portion the money he receives from a subcontractor.
My client makes the choice not to accept payments from the subcontractors he uses because he believes it is dishonest and because the profit from the subcontractor arrangement affects his decision-making. It’s a kickback, and he refuses to play because his values are honesty, integrity, transparency and fiduciary trust (treating his client’s money like it is his own).
Those are the reasons that drive his decision to do business the way he does, and they are reasons worth competing on. His values resonate with his clients and end up bringing him more business in the long run.
What are the values that drive your business decisions?
Your values can differentiate you and define you. Your values demonstrate that there are some things that you care deeply about. They show that there are some things that you are unwilling to comprise on, that there are things more important than money.
Those values and the decisions you make based on those values must be based on something higher than your profit alone. They have to be meaningful enough that your client will share that value and understand how it serves them.
How do your values differentiate and define you?
Values drive a wedge between you and your competitors. When your values differentiate and define you, they drive a wedge between you and your competitors, who may sell based on something less than values.
Your values provide your client with a story that goes to the heart of who you are. Your values speak to your purpose and meaning. They provide your prospective dream clients with an understanding and explanation as to why you do what you do.
Your values give life to the decisions you make in how you serve your clients. It’s one thing to compete on what you do, and it’s quite another to compete on why you do it. Providing the why drives a wedge between you and your competitors.
Anthony Iannarino is the managing director of B2B Sales Coach & Consultancy, a boutique sales coaching and consulting company, and an adjunct faculty member at Capital University’s School of Management and Leadership. For more information, so go http://thesalesblog.com/s-anthony-iannarino/
"You need someone with a built-in polish that matches that of your target customer."
The longer I've been in business, the more I realize that the business of selling any product or service has very little to do with the product or service. Sales is about building relationships of trust, and you build relationships of trust by finding common ground.
As a CEO, I always knew that I was in sales and that I was in a unique position to try and build relationships with my peers at the organizations we try to sell to. The problem is that Beryl is a small service provider in the huge health care industry. And I found getting into the "C suite" of a large hospital is pretty much like walking into a White House dinner without an invite. Not a high ratio of success. Even bigger possibility of being manhandled by guys in sunglasses on the way out.
What I realized over time is that the best way to sell is to "elevate the conversation" beyond the product or service we provided. Frankly, the higher up in an organization, the less interested the executives are in the features and benefits of your product. In fact, your product or service shouldn't be the topic for your first several conversations. Find another way to foster a trusted relationship. The sales will come. You just have to be patient and disciplined.
1. Become a thought leader
There isn't anything particularly sexy about what I do. I am in a commodity business: outsourced hospital call center services. So I started a separate entity, a research institute, to tackle the bigger questions and issues around patient experience in health care. The institute produces case studies and white papers chock full of data on topics that are top of mind for health care executives. It has given Beryl a level of credibility I could have never imagined, which results in a halo effect over our services business.
2. Find a common passion
My personal passion in business is company culture and employee engagement. Those are subjects most CEOs are ready and willing to talk about, especially in health care, which is going through a cultural transformation.
3. Share knowledge
When I connect with another CEO around a topic I learn he's interested in, I stay on top of the news to find and pass along additional relevant information. I often send a hard copy of an important article with a short hand-written note. (I'm an analog guy in a digital world.) The personal touch is still a very powerful tool in building relationships.
4. Ask for advice
Rather than sell a CEO something, describe your company vision and strategy, and ask if you are on the right track. A top executive is always more than happy to give you honest feedback. And now he will have some buy-in for your success.
5. Interview top executives for a book or article
I'm now writing my third book, which is specific to the health care industry. I've already interviewed 25 hospital CEOs and I'm not stopping now. An interview shows sincere interest and is non-invasive. Most people feel honored to be interviewed for a publication.
Notice something missing from these tips? The product. Many of my "prospects" may not yet know what my company really does. But, in the process, I've most likely learned about a potential new client's business challenges, know what he is passionate about, and have begun to develop trust and credibility.
If you follow this advice, it is more likely than not that your new friends will be asking you if you can help them. If not, you'll certainly have earned the right to offer up assistance. And now, rather than working through the organization and having to prove yourself over and over again, you've got sponsorship, and buy-in from the top.
I swear, you'll see your sales grow out of the relationships you've built, and feel rewarded helping to meet the real needs of the new, smart people you know.
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Friday, May 25, 2012
STUDY: One In Three Homeowners Owes Bank More Than Home Is Worth By Loren Berlin Posted: 05/24/2012 5:16 pm Updated: 05/25/2012 9:11 am
The difference in findings may be due to methodology. Whereas previous estimates rely on public record of home loans, Zillow partnered with credit rating agency TransUnion to get information about second mortgage loans and the portion of the loans that had been paid down, according to the Wall Street Journal.
According to a blog post by Zillow's chief economist Stan Humphries, U.S. homeowners who are underwater owe on average $75,644 more than what their home is worth, and collectively owe a whopping $1.2 trillion more than the value of their homes.
But the problem varies by geography. For example, nationally, less than five percent of these borrowers owe more than twice the value of their home, but in the Las Vegas metro area, it's closer to 25 percent of homeowners. And across Nevada, a stunning two-thirds of all homeowners are underwater, making it the state with the highest percentage of underwater borrowers nationally. Other states with high percentages of underwater borrowers include Arizona (52 percent), Georgia (47 percent), Florida (46 percent) and Michigan (41 percent). (To see how your state compares, check out this map from Zillow).
Underwater homeowners face a number of challenges. For starters, it's hard to sell your home, as you won't be able to get as much as for it as you owe to the bank. As a result, it's difficult to relocate for a better job or cheaper housing. Research indicates these homeowners are also at a higher risk of losing their home to foreclosure, either because they can't afford to keep up with the mortgage or don't see the point in making payments on a home that seems impossible to ever pay off.
And yet, despite the challenges these borrowers face, 90 percent of underwater homeowners continue to pay their mortgage on time, according to the report.
To read stories from underwater homeowners about how the experience has affected them, check out this blog, which is a collection of stories from borrowers. Or if you are currently underwater on your mortgage you can share your story with us by sending an email to: email@example.com.
What's your first reaction when you close a deal? When the sale is fresh in your mind, take a few minutes to review it and write down what you did right. What steps did you take? What were the factors under your control that contributed to the sale? You don't want to have to reinvent the wheel every time; what winning behaviors can you replicate to make sure you have a good chance of winning again?
Thursday, May 24, 2012
If you want to learn something, ask questions. That's the best and most straightforward way to get information and uncover opportunities that you didn't know existed. When salespeople don't ask enough questions, it means they're talking too much. You might think you have a lot of valuable information to impart, but know that the more you talk, the less room you have to discover new things. The next time you feel the urge to talk, ask a question instead, and see where it takes you
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
The world is inundated with sales tools: worksheets, playbooks, sales scripts, software, brochures, and so forth.
But all of those sales tools put together are insignificant if you don't have the intellectual and emotional tools that truly create success.
Here are seven sales "tools" you need to develop:
If you're patient, you let customers decide at their own speed. You realize that nobody ever got a plant to grow faster by pulling at the leaves of a seedling. If you lack patience, you'll be frustrated whenever things take longer than you'd like. Customers will sense your frustration and hesitate to buy.
If you're truly committed to both your customer's success and your own success, you'll do whatever it takes (within legal and ethical bounds) to get the job done. You'll banish all thoughts of ever giving up. If you lack commitment, you'll consistently fail to follow through–and will often drop the ball at the worst possible moment.
Enthusiasm is contagious: If you're enthusiastic about yourself, your firm and your product, your customers will "pick up" your enthusiasm and believe in your ability to improve their lives. If you lack enthusiasm, however, you'll always find yourself surrounded by naysayers and endless "objections."
Curiosity is essential to growth–and if you're growing as an individual and a professional, you'll spend time each day learning something new to better serve your customers. You'll read books, listen to audio training, take courses, and network with peers. If you're not growing, your ideas will become stale; your career will languish and your ability to compete will slowly drain away.
If you've got courage, you take the necessary risks to expand yourself and your business into new areas–even when you're facing enormous odds. You'll see setbacks as learning opportunities rather than failures. But if you lack courage, you'll freeze up when things get weird, turning small failures into big ones.
If you've got integrity, there's no disconnect between your stated purpose and your real motivations. Because there's no hidden agenda, customers sense the honesty and feel comfortable working with you. If you lack integrity, however, customers will have a nagging feeling that something is "not quite right"–and tend to balk rather than buy.
Life is all about change; nothing stays the same. If you've got flexibility, you can observe what's working and what's not and change your approach to match changing circumstances. If you lack flexibility, you'll pursue brittle strategies and tactics long after they've ceased to work.
The above is loosely based upon a conversation with Jeff Keller, author of the bestseller Attitude is Everything.
When you read a good book, you visualize. You create mental images of the scenes and characters, and you may even project what you think they'll do next. Another type of imaging you probably use is worrying. Worry is the visualization of negative outcomes. According to Dr. Wayne Dyer, 90 percent of the things we worry about never come true. Think of all that time you could be spending visualizing positive results - results that can help you make sales, achieve your goals, and reach your full potential.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
You know that what you say to prospects can make or break your presentation, but what you say to yourself can be just as important. Self-talk affects your attitude, and your attitude affects sales performance. Are you aware of any tendencies to engage in negative self-talk, either to yourself or to others? Increase your awareness so that you stop talking down to yourself. Make a commitment to start sending yourself more positive and constructive messages.
Monday, May 21, 2012
Robin Gibb, Bee Gees Co-Founder, Dead at 62 Singer had been battling cancer Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/robin-gibb-bee-gees-co-founder-dead-at-62
Robin Gibb performs in Rotterdam, Netherlands in 1991.
By David Browne
May 20, 2012 6:35 PM ET
Robin Gibb, one-third of the Bee Gees, died Sunday after a long battle with cancer, his spokesperson has confirmed via a statement. Gibb was 62 years old.
"The family of Robin Gibb, of the Bee Gees, announce with great sadness that Robin passed away today following his long battle with cancer and intestinal surgery," reads the statement. "The family have asked that their privacy is respected at this very difficult time."
Two years ago, Gibb battled colon and liver cancer, but despite making what he called a "spectacular recovery," a secondary tumor recently developed, complicated by a case of pneumonia in April. The singer was hospitalized last month and fell into a coma at one point, although he was later said to have regained consciousness and communicated with family members.
Gibb was born in the Isle of Man in 1949, along with twin brother Maurice. (Maurice died in 2003 of complications from a twisted intestine; eerily, Robin had surgery for the same medical issue in 2010.) Along with their older brother Barry, the brothers began harmonizing as a trio in Australia, where the family moved in 1958. Although the Bee Gees had some success in Australia – they hosted a weekly variety show there – they didn't truly arrive until they returned to England and signed with manager Robert Stigwood. Robin's quivering, vulnerable voice was featured prominently on several of the group's earliest and most Beatles-eque hits, including "New York Mining Disaster 1941," "I Started a Joke," "Massachusetts," and "I've Gotta Get a Message to You."
Although he looked and sounded like the meekest Bee Gee, Robin grew into the family rebel. By 1969, he and Barry were feuding over whose song should be singles, and Robin, then 20, was declared a "ward of the state" by their father when his drinking and partying seemed to take over his life. "It happened so fast that we lost communication between us," Gibb later recalled. "It was just madness, really."
But it was also Robin who, in 1971, made the first call to Barry to reunite with his brothers. Robin's solo career had stalled, and Barry and Maurice's attempts to continue the Bee Gees as a duo had floundered as well. "If we hadn't been related, we would probably have never gotten back together," Robin said at the time. Robin's voice was heard, beautifully, on the chorus of their minor 1972 hit "Run to Me."
The Bee Gees' massive second wind arrived with their proto disco hit, "Jive Talkin'," in 1975; two years later, their contributions to Saturday Night Fever made them bigger stars than ever. Most of the hits from that era featured Barry's falsetto voice, but the brothers' vocal blend remained an indelible part of their sound.
The group entered another fallow period during the early Eighties, although during this time, Robin produced a semi-hit album by Jimmy Ruffin, brother of the Temptations' David Ruffin. The last Bee Gees album, This Is Where I Came In, was released in 2001. Two years later, Maurice died, and with his passing the Bee Gees ended. (Their other, younger brother Andy died in 1988.)
Robin and Barry reunited periodically – in 2010, they made an appearance on American Idol and inducted ABBA into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – and talked about a duo tour, but nothing materialized. Robin, though, kept his hand in music. With his son Robin-John, he wrote an ambitious piece, The Titanic Requiem, a mix of orchestral and vocal pieces telling the story of the doomed liner on the 100th anniversary of its sinking. "It's a serious subject and it's not a rock opera," Gibb said before its debut. "There are no backbeats. This could have been written 300 years ago."
Featuring the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the work had its world premiere in London on April 10th. But in a sign that Gibb's health had taken a turn for the worse, he wasn't able to attend.
Sunday, May 20, 2012
* What services do you provide?
* Why would people want to do business with you?
* How are you better than the next guy?
These simple questions stump too many agency executives. Often the answers become clouded by the abstract concepts and strategies we read about in trade magazines (often designed to mask the fact that we are selling insurance).
The quandary is further complicated for those agents who strive to be everything to everyone—and risk becoming nothing to no one.
The fastest and most effective path to cleaning the dust off your value proposition and finding your true mission as a salesperson or producer is to narrow your focus. Keep throwing your darts at the bull’s eye until you can consistently hit your target. Only then should you contemplate a larger area of endeavor.
The answers to the above questions should come to you immediately. They should be second nature, pinpoint accurately your mission and be easily grasped by yourself, your employees and your customers. If you have to mull over the answers, you may need to tighten your focus. Do so and you will be rewarded for your effort.
New Details Are Released in Shooting of Trayvon Martin By SERGE F. KOVALESKI and CAMPBELL ROBERTSON Published: May 17, 2012
Officers administered CPR and “rescue breaths,” and one officer said in a report that he “put gloves on, placed a plastic bag over the wound to the victim’s chest and proceeded to provide chest compression.” He added, “Our efforts were continued until” the Sanford Fire Department “arrived and took over.”
“Briefly thereafter, SFD declared the victim deceased,” the officer’s report said.
These and other details were part of a trove of new documents and photographs released Thursday by the special prosecutor in the case, Angela B. Corey, that form part of the discovery process in the murder case of Mr. Martin. Ms. Corey was appointed by Gov. Rick Scott to handle the case, which has galvanized national attention.
George Zimmerman, 28, the neighborhood watch volunteer charged last month with second-degree murder in the case, was apparently known to some members of the Sanford police, according to the documents. He had called the police frequently and had contacted them to set up the neighborhood watch in the Retreat at Twin Lakes, where he lived and where he shot Mr. Martin.
One of the officers to respond to the Retreat arrived there to find “George Zimmerman, in protective custody, which I know to be the head of the neighborhood watch,” the officer stated in a report.
“Zimmerman appeared to have a broken and a bloody nose and swelling of his face,” the report said.
According to a report by another officer, Timothy Smith, the police offered Mr. Zimmerman the chance to be taken to hospital at least three times — at the scene, during the ride to the police station and after arriving at the station — and he declined each time.
Mr. Zimmerman has said that he acted in self-defense the night of the shooting. But with no witness who saw the entire encounter, and with Mr. Martin dead, there has been much debate about whether the evidence supported such a claim.
The documents also stated that after a detailed account of the investigation drawn up on March 13, which included witness interviews and re-interviews, Investigator Christopher F. Serino concluded that “there exists probable cause” to charge Mr. Zimmerman with manslaughter.
Mr. Martin had been visiting other residents of the complex and had been out that rainy evening to go to a nearby store. He was returning with some iced tea and a bag of Skittles when Mr. Zimmerman saw him and considered him suspicious.
Mr. Zimmerman called the police before leaving his vehicle, after which the confrontation occurred.
The documents released Thursday include an autopsy report that showed Mr. Martin had been shot once through the heart at intermediate range. In his pockets were $40.15, the Skittles and a red 7-Eleven lighter. Headphones were found next to him.
A toxicology report performed on Mr. Martin’s body found traces of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, in his blood and “cannabinoids” in his urine, according to the medical examiner case report. Mr. Martin had been taken by his father to Sanford from his home in Miami Gardens after he was suspended from high school when traces of marijuana were found in an empty baggie in his book bag. Some of the most hotly disputed aspects of the case will only become more contentious with the release of these reports. Though Sybrina Fulton, Mr. Martin’s mother, has said she believes that the voice crying for help on 911 tapes was that of her son, the victim’s father, Tracy, is shown in the reports to have a different opinion.
In a meeting at the Sanford police station on the morning of Feb. 28, police officers played all the 911 calls for Tracy Martin “in order to provide a better understanding to Mr. Martin as to why the individual who shot his son was not arrested and charged with homicide.”
Having played the recordings, Investigator Serino asked Mr. Martin if that was his son’s voice crying for help.
“Mr. Martin, clearly emotionally impacted by the recording, quietly responded ‘No,’ ” the report reads, though it adds that this exchange was not itself audio recorded.
Mr. Zimmerman’s father had told investigators that he believed the voice on the tape was that of his own son, not Mr. Martin.
The cache of documents also said that an F.B.I. agent based in Tampa sent the 911 recordings to an F.B.I. lab to examine two of the most disputed portions of the case: whether Mr. Zimmerman said a racial slur under his breath when he was pursuing Mr. Martin, and which of the two was screaming for help. On both requests, the lab was unable to respond with a definitive answer because of poor sound quality or, in the case of the screams for help, the “extreme emotional state” of the person screaming.
The reports may give rise to other mysteries as well, including the identity of a woman who called another investigator, less than two full days after the shooting.
The woman refused to identify herself or give any callback numbers, but told the investigator that Mr. Zimmerman “has racist ideologies and that he is fully capable of instigating a confrontation that could have escalated to the point of Zimmerman having to use deadly force.”
The police were never able to track her down.
It has been a busy couple of days for Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook.
On Friday, Mr. Zuckerberg took his 8-year-old company public at a $100 billion valuation.
As if that weren’t enough, on Saturday, the 28-year-old multibillionaire announced that he had married his longtime girlfriend, Priscilla Chan. The announcement was made, of course, on Facebook.
Details of the ceremony were scarce, but according The Associated Press, “the ceremony took place in Zuckerberg’s backyard before fewer than 100 guests.”
Mr. Zuckerberg did not wear his traditional hoodie for the ceremony, but instead chose a black suit and tie with a white shirt.
The couple met almost a decade ago, while attending college at Harvard.
Mr. Zuckerberg and Dr. Chan–she just graduated from medical school– also quickly updated their relationship status to say they were married to each other.
Friday, May 18, 2012
Dr. Norman Vincent Peale used to compare negative thoughts to birds flying overhead. "We can't keep the birds from flying over our heads," he said. "But we can prevent them from building a nest in our hair." We all have the power to choose what kinds of thoughts take up space in our mind. The fact that you sometimes produce negative thoughts doesn't mean you have to accept them unconditionally.
But there are countless more distractions that aren’t so obvious. Some of them look and feel like work, but they’re not.
Legitimate distractions. When you wake up in the morning, how many emails are waiting for you in your inbox? How many of those emails are internal emails from your own company? How many of them are requests from within your own company that ask that you to do something, request a reply or request information? How many emails provide information of very little value to you, yet you are CC’d on them anyway?
The internal emails you received from your company are legitimate, right? They must be important, yes? This is the way your company has chosen to communicate and share information, so it’s work, right? Wrong.
Most of your email is not legitimate work. Even some email asking you for information or a reply isn’t really legitimate work. Most of it’s a distraction from the real work of sales and selling. Much of the email you receive are tasks assigned to you by other people without you ever agreeing to the task.
The email you receive and the tasks embedded in them feel like real work. It’s real communication from within your own company, and what they request of you feels important. And some of it surely is. But most of it will do nothing to improve your sales results.
This is why you should avoid checking your email until you have completed your most important tasks for the day.
There’s more. Email is a brutal taskmaster, nagging and reminding you about all the work others need from you. But wait, there’s more.
There are also meetings that are scheduled even though many have no agenda and no real outcome. Some meetings are requests for information that could be delivered faster and more effectively through a quick phone call, an email or a report. Meetings feel like legitimate work, but many produce no real outcomes at all (let alone sales outcomes).
Then there is reporting. Your company needs information from you. You have to provide it. It’s important that you provide reports and information, but your efforts and energies here do nothing to help you acquire a new client or to better serve your existing clients.
Some work from your clients isn’t right for you either. Let’s say your client needs help with a support issue. Have you trained them that you are the only one who can help them? Does that client call—which feels like real work—mean that you will need five additional calls to transfer information back and forth between your operations team and your client? Are you the best person to handle that work, or would your clients better served by talking to the folks who can really help them? What value are you adding to the process?
Your clients also need reports. I believe there are people within most organizations who are infinitely more qualified to generate reports, none of whom are responsible for selling. You dilute yourself and your effectiveness when you do the work that should be delegated to others. This allows you to focus on the one task where no one else can create the same value: selling.
I am not for a minute suggesting that you should never again open your email, nor am I suggesting that you stop making your required meetings or n longer turn in the reports that your company needs from you. But what are your real priorities? To make real progress, you must do the real work that produces the real results before you do anything else.
Anthony Iannarino is the managing director of B2B Sales Coach & Consultancy, a boutique sales coaching and consulting company, and an adjunct faculty member at Capital University’s School of Management and Leadership. For more information, so go http://thesalesblog.com/s-anthony-iannarino/
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Certain people seem to have a gift for rising above setbacks. They appear to glide from one stage of life to another, gathering steam and accolades as they go. But what do these people have in common? The secret is the way they look at failure. What some people think of as failure, these folks see as a natural part of a process. Setbacks are part of our evolution. Start thinking of so-called mistakes as a chance to reinvent yourself and move forward with curiosity and adventure.
There is only one real difference between a startup that exits and a startup that fails: who quits. If the entrepreneur keeps going then the startup isn’t a failure. It’s just in a rough spot.
Here are four ways to get through a rough patch:
1. Tell people.
There’s this terrible code of silence in the startup world. You never tell people when you are having trouble. Your products are great, your customers are great, your cash flow is great. You have to say all this in order to get funding. At least this is the common wisdom.
In fact, though, I have found that the more honest I have been about my funding troubles, the more help I’ve received. At one point, I wrote about how my company was at the edge of financial ruin and I was an emotional wreck. The post did not attract any funding, but it did attract an incredible number of emails from A-list entrepreneurs who offered moral support and encouragement. And that is what got me though the rough spot, mentally, so that I could get myself to the funding sources I needed.
2. Play mental games.
So much of a startup is having a crazy, irrational faith that you are going to be the one in ten that actually makes it.
But no one is perfect. You can’t be perfectly crazy every moment. Which means that either you go completely nuts (not healthy) or you have bouts of rational self-doubt (healthy). During this time of self-doubt, you should find some mental tricks for forcing your brain to remember what it feels like to have faith in yourself. Each person finds their own ways of reaffirming their faith in themselves. Here are five things that help me regain faith in myself.
3. Pivot. Big.
I know that the idea of the pivot is very hip right now. That is, if things are not working with your current model, just change it. You can do this pretty easily if you ride another trend as well: lean startup. If you pivot with a lean startup you get lots of chances to mess up with a very low cost (Bonus: When you talk about what you’re doing, you’ll sound like the king of jargon).
Something I’ve been thinking about is that people don’t pivot big enough. For example, I’ve been thinking that homeschooling is a huge trend right now. And the parents who are jumping on this trend are not religious fanatics. They’re upper middle-class and educated: a perfect market. So why not take a failed startup and open it up for kids to run? Then it’s a homeschool model, with a self-learning component to compete with the VC darling Khan Academy. See what I’m talking about? The farther afield you get with your pivot the more opportunity you have to succeed.
4. Sell your company for a dollar.
Really. The thing you really need from a company is an exit. Because then you’ll be able to get funding for your next company, and then you’ll have more fun and excitement with a high learning curve. It’s hard to say that you’ve failed if you can keep your career full of times like that.
So if your company is faltering and you fear its demise, think about selling at almost-give-away prices, just so you can say you had an exit. Often times, your story is more important than the reality behind your story. I’m not saying lie. But when you say, “I had an exit,” no one says, “Was it for a penny?” Here’s how to do the quickie sale and move onto your next, great thing.
The bottom line, for each of these ideas, is that you are never truly backed into a corner. It’s always up to you to decide if you are better off with this company or without this company. That’s the great thing about owning your own company. You push your very hardest because it’s yours, but also, you’re the one who gets to decide when enough is enough.
Penelope Trunk is the founder of three VC-funded startups. She is the author of the bestselling book, Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success, and her blog, penelopetrunk.com, receives about one million views a month. Earlier in her life Penelope played professional beach volleyball, which, believe it or not, taught her just about everything she needed to know about marketing.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Monday, May 14, 2012