The Granny Lesson

My mom and dad have seven grandchildren. Three live in the US and four live in Ireland. The ones who live in the US live relatively close to my parents so they see each other often. The grandkids in Ireland, however, don’t have the benefit of being with my parents much. But, that hasn’t affected their relationship. The kids Skype with my parents on a weekly basis so that they can see and speak with each other. It’s as good as living down the street.

One of the last times my mom went to Ireland, my youngest nephew, who was three at the time, saw her in the airport and went running up to her and gave her a huge hug. He knew who she was and was thrilled to know that his granny was going to spoil him for the next week or so.

I have channel partners all over the Americas. We email often and have good, productive, email exchanges. However, it’s the phone calls and in person meetings that are the best. We can relate to each other and there’s something about sitting in a room with someone and hearing their voice that changes a relationship. Words written in an email can be taken so many different ways so if you don’t have an established relationship, then words can easily be taken the wrong way. When you sit face to face or hear a voice over the phone, you can get the tone of the voice and can really get a better understanding of what the person with whom you’re speaking, really means.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have built strong relationships with my channel partners over the phone, and of course email, that when we meet face to face, it’s like we’ve know each other for years, understand each other and give each other hugs. (For the record, I don’t suggest hugging people you don’t have a relationship with and if you’re unsure about it. A smile and handshake will work just as well.)

My challenge to you,  get out of the email rut, stop texting, walk over to someone’s desk, pick up the phone or hop on a plane and meet someone face to face. The bond that you build can be as strong as my nephew’s and my mom’s.


Start With Turning on the Faucet

I have all sorts of blog ideas stuck in my head and some I’ve even put in draft form, but I just haven’t written a full one in a while. I have time blocked out every evening to write, but every evening I find something else to do and move the calendar slot to the next night. I love writing but for some reason, I am fantastic at procrastinating when it comes to writing.

I just got an email from IMPACT and it was a list of quotes to get someone past the writers block. This one in particular, got me motivated enough to writing something. “Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.” – Louis L’Amour, Author.

Everything I write doesn’t have to be perfect, ground breaking or even interesting to everyone. I have to accept that and move on. As I write this, I realized that the same thing applies to my relationships to my partners, coworkers, friend and family. You don’t have to have a reason to talk to someone, just talk. Start by saying “Hi, how are you?” or “Hi, how was your weekend?” and the water will flow.

We get so caught up in our daily to do list that sometimes we forget to be human. I have to talk to this person about this, and that person about that. How about talking to someone just because you want to, not because you need to? Crazy concept, but when you go to someone for the heck of it and not because you need something, you might actually build a two-way relationship and get a lot more out of the conversation than you ever thought you would. Stop thinking about what you need from someone and start thinking about him or her. People aren’t action items, so make sure not to always treat them that way.

Turn the faucet on and the water will flow, relationships will build and in the end you’ll get all the water you need.

Check out the IMPACT blog here which will give you some quotes to get you writing…it worked for me.

Don’t waste your customers’ time

I received an incredibly annoying call this week from someone trying to “confirm” information about me. It was for a publication that I had subscribed to online – this then implies that I filled out a questionnaire and who I am and what I do. After confirming my company name, my name and email, she confirmed my phone number. Um, didn’t you just call me on this number and didn’t I answer. Okay, that might be a bit picky because she could have called me on my cell when I want my work number listed. I’ll give her that one.

She then jumped into the job role questions. What’s your title? I told her senior manager in Marketing. What’s group do you belong to? Sales, Marketing, Finance? Um…I thought I just told you that. Then she asked what level I was C-level, executive, director. Um…I thought I just told you that. After asking me the same two questions about three different ways I finally jumped in and said “I’ve already told you I’m a senior manager in Marketing.” Then she goes on to the decision making questions. Do I have buyer approval, signature authority, do I suggest new technologies and the list goes on and on and on. I told her half way through that when it comes to true IT decision making revolving around her publication and who they target, I don’t have any. Her response…”please pick a category that closests represents your authority.” I told her again that based on her magazine’s target audience I have no authority when it comes to products. She still didn’t like that answer. There’s nothing to hide…I’m not an IT person and don’t play one on TV. Finally, I lied and said I had to go into a meeting.

When you are getting customers queued up to speak to prospects inform them of as much information as possible. Let the customer know that the prospect is interested in buying new staplers (if that’s your product) for all the schools in the city (if that’s the prospects goal/application). The more the customer knows of what’s going on, the better off they’ll be because they can prepare accordingly. And, it will in turn make the call for the prospect better because there won’t be wasted time on silly questions that could have been answered before.

Likewise, if you’re having a call with a customer to write a press release, case study or other Marketing material, know as much about the customer as you can before you hop on the call. Know if they have international locations, know if they’ve used a competitors product, know which products they’re using. Don’t waste their time on questions like “Where are you located? What does your company do?” If you or someone else at the company has previously spoken with the customer, get a download so that you can use your time with the customer to build on what’s already known rather than recreating information. Due your research ahead of time. The more informed you are, the better the call will go.

A great way to start calls (even if a meeting has already been scheduled and accepted) is to ask if now is still a good time to talk.  In essence, you’re asking for their permission to still speak with you.  Who knows what could have just happened before you called!

We’re all really busy. Just as you don’t want your time wasted, don’t do it to others.