Showing posts with label Selling. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Selling. Show all posts

A childhood launch into sales

Jeannette Marshall
Jeannette Marshall, Sales pro; business dev't; sales leadership
What a great question! Reminiscence of my childhood that was blessed in many ways, yet showed me that I really wanted something bad enough I had to be resourceful.
My family had a planned vacation to Cyprus and I really wanted a snorkel set to allow me to explore the Mediterranean ocean beneath me. Imagine, I was a kid stationed in Germany and items like this were not in the base PX (store).
Sales mission:  My idea launched: operation paperback! My mom was an avid reader and gave me full access to selling any of her paperbacks. First I set up a command post on weekends at the community center with all the paperbacks for sale. When people asked how the money was going to be used, I explained that it was to buy a snorkel set for a family vacation. (NOTE: Objective)
In the evening, I would pack up the books and go door-to-door in the community, inviting people to purchase the books. (NOTE: Action)

Outcome: I got the snorkel set and a sales career was born.

Objective. Really. Sales is about having an objective or target that you must attain. How you go about achieving your objective is vast and varied, dependent upon innovative thinking and tenacity. When you tie in your objective with what you want to accomplish, it makes the motivation much easier.

Enthusiasm. If you are excited about the end result, what you are selling, the benefits you bring, it is much easier to be convincing to entice others to buy.

If you would like me to answer your specific sales or social media question, just go to Quora and ask away!  Alternatively, I will respond from comments.

Why do sales professionals use email?

The following was my answer on Quora:

Follow up. Follow Up. Follow UP.
Thank you Monica for asking me to answer this question.
Let’s assume that the sales professional and the client or prospect have exchanged business cards. On said business cards is the email address.
Let’s consider what sort of emails a sales professional would send:
  1. Thank them for the connection. Short sweet, to the point. (Reminds them that you connected).
  2. After a meeting: you send an email with bullets on
  • What was discussed.
  • What actions each party promised to make.
  • Confirm follow up actions you will take or information you promised.
  • Confirm next steps: when you will follow up and how?
  • Schedule a meeting
  • Reinforce the mutual benefit to be gained with focus on the reader.
Almost all top sales professionals would not rely solely on email. It is another touch point. It is not a license to spam.
A savvy sales pro would think of it as a form of keeping in touch but stays on topic.
Close the email with the next step: usually promised in person.
Email shows the ability to stay true to one’s word.
Email can be used to provide information or articles the reader expressed interest in.
CRMs (Customer Relationship Management) tools have email features that allow sales pros to track the relationship, record notes, follow up when promised. They also indicate the last time you touched base. Act accordingly.
If the recipient responds, even with a simple “thank you” it would indicate you are not lost in the SPAM folder.
The recipient will usually respond with agreement on next steps.
They may respond with a referral to someone else in their buy cycle. Leverage that name, cc the referrer as acknowledgement that you did act on their recommendation. Then refrain from including them in every other communication.
Email invitations to events, open houses, etc.
From the beginning, a sales pro can establish the rules of engagement. What sort of information they are interested in (i.e. sales, announcements)
People are adverse to unsolicited email, keep that in mind.
REMEMBER: email should never replace face to face communications.

MIND your business

If you have any online profiles under assumed names, pseudonyms, professional ID, identity, personal name, you are responsible for the impression that it gives.  

I certainly have many facets to my personality, as do most of us.  Therefore, I write prolifically now on different topics that I am fond of or digging for more knowledge on, wanting to express myself on.  Here, on optioneerJM, my first blog, I've dappled in social media along with my tips on sales and leadership examples.  I had someone [that is not an online person or personality, just a very good lady] read my MEANDERINGSabout blog first [ weird part is she said she found it via LINKED IN which is connected to optioneerJM].  Her words of advice seemed to indicate that I was a bit of a crackpot.  Now, she is an esteemed professional, not someone whom would be called a friend.  

That sucked.  I was a little bummed out about it to be honest.  Now, after four days off work, spending the better part of the day at Kananaskis Park, just 45 minutes from Calgary, after a hearty breakfast by 9:30am at The Chuckwagon Restaurant [ featured in "You gotta eat here" realized once we were there!].  I went with my beautiful, talented daughter whom I shall not name and whom I am ABSOLUTELY forbidden to show photos of ANYWHERE.  It's this promise that I have such a hard time keeping, but I'm doing pretty well, no slip ups accounted for [ just confirmed spies of her's that keep on eye on me on all the social networks that she has since BLOCKED me EVERYWHERE.

A Virginia G. "Brain Fart"
Virginia was the most polished, professional businesswoman I've ever worked for.  That would include my first sales manager and my former colleague who is now the CEO of a very favorite institution.  Out of all the questions ever posed to me, she was the "Barbara Walters" of my life.  She could ask a question in such a way that you could never not answer, but want to answer in a very concise, articulate way.  Because she represented the same.  She had survived this extraordinary brain decease that very few survive.  The fallout was one eye askew.  It danced when she laughed but it peered right through you when she looked at you and asked you a question.  Now that IS an art!  Some of my best teachings and guidance came from Virginia.  She WAS the art behind the deal.  She made it masterfully simple.  Being able to ask a question that was concise and got to the heart of the matter.  She had boundaries, was relatively private [ if that is possible living and ongoing renovation of a historical heritage site in Edmonton, while centralized career revolved around Vancouver ].  Yet she had the uncanny ability to ask a question that was borderline ethical while said in a caring manner.  I may describe myself as inquisitive, flexible and willing to look at a number of situations but when my homework is done, I'm steadfast in my opinion formed by dedicated research and knowledge quest.  However, when Virginia G. asked a question, it was said with an authority that couldn't be missed, communicating non-vocally, that she expected an immediate answer.  Her bullshit meter on high alert.  You knew that, so you didn't even bother to try rolling any excuses out or avoid your own blame.  Accountability with an iron fist and a feather touch.  Thank you notes were always personally penned in her beautiful, flowing, script handwriting.  When you got one, you knew you had earned it.  Out of all the people I've known in my life, Virginia G. would be the last person one would think of where the term "brain fart" originated from.  That were she.  I use it often.  

It means I don't take myself too seriously even though I sound firm and attached to my pride at times, I'm considered too personable by my immediate family.  Where my daughter asked me at one point today:  "why are you so trusting with people and start talking with strangers?"

It would seem that she got the Virginia GIFT.  Me taking the question, absorbing it and turning it around to examine all the sides.  Wanting to come up with a perfectly logical succinct response.  What a great question.  I'll have to mull it over and give it some time to ponder, reflect and figure out the reason.  It's not just a matter of not being shy.  There's something more.  

SETTING GOALS ::.... I love numbers!!!

Isn't that ^ the greatest quote?
It is definitely magical when you are humming along, clicking here, scrolling there, and something pops out at you!

A thought.
It can be a news story, something you heard at work?  Something you were reading in the past week.  It was bubbling in the background, for me anyhow.  I was writing and writing and channeling some vibe on my blogs.  

For every action there is a reaction or action
It all depends on how you keep focus on your goal.  What drives you?  What floats your boat?  Do you want more of that?  

I have had my Guiding Principles to the right at the beginning of my blog.  As I was creating a vision on what I wanted to accomplish, I started to set goals, tagging an action in smaller, achievable steps.

except if you're TRUMP
ed = the man, his family, his circle of  extended friendships, his Advisers [which he pays attention to in varying degrees, ultimately falling back on his own opinion, perhaps just have a sphere of those who will continuously say or show he is the greatest of anything or anyone that ever was], his adversaries [ stand in line because there's a big crowd in here ].

I highly doubt that his first words were Mama or Dada, I'm sure it sounded more like "Me" or "My" or "Mine" or in that sequential order.   He probably was in Grade One [making mincemeat of Michael Keaton's boy genius in, shoot, what was that television sitcom of the 80s he made being a wonder boy charming and endearing ] SEE sidebar -> Trump would have told the teacher, in an instructional pattern not quite fully matured as he is accustomed to now, that he was going to be the GREATEST of anything or anyONE!  

You have to like numbers to set goals Because most goals can be carved into indices (index: singular).  I remember doing sales coaching to my most receptive students.  It doesn't matter if you are a former great football player, cum NFL team coach, you have a lot to offer.  That is very apparent when I watched the NFL Draft last night.  Maybe, just slightly, I've grasped that the game of football that is the razzle dazzle in entertainment, when knowing the stats is the steak.

If you like numbers, you will be receptive to setting goals. If you examine the highest echelon of the executive and CEO offices of the most sophisticated and successful corporations, regardless of location or country, they all have that in common.  They LOVE their numbers.

An aha moment of sorts.
I don't think that a non-numbers linear thinker, can relate to another person who is highly linear, as in focus on numbers.  In real life and as it is these days, I am not following a script per se I am reacting and picking up on what is being placed before me and scooping up the numbers.

That's how it works
If you are going to talk to an executive, especially a CEO, you had better know the numbers.  Depending on which company I've worked for in the past, I've paid attention to the CEO of the organization.  I've even been lucky enough to report directly mostly to a President, Vice President or CEO, or COO.  <- I'm going to intentionally leave that without parenthesis and if you share what it stands for under COMMENTS on this blog + tweet at me = a guest blog here.

I remember the only few who picked up
on my style of sales coaching.  I was so away from the norm (and some would say not normal either).  I was not focused on scripts at all.  Sales people are not parrots because the prospect or customers are not apes (as in attempt to mimic what you say or do).  If anything, that is not a bad idea::... train your sales people to be apes or great mirrors.

Here is an idea for a sales meeting after you have shared the teams numbers.  In fact, if you are any corporation or organization that relies on numbers to meet their obligation or goals, you have numbers and anyone you work with or works for you had better be really adept with numbers.

Data is millions of numbers
as in information and digits of letters.  I remember being at the cusp of the dilemma that companies are going to get bottle necked by:  numbers.  Everyone, every company, every executive is soaking and gulping up numbers by the millions, compounding into gazillions.

The technology to amass numbers like algorithms are generating a huge, massive, to the moon in numbers compiled from clicks, sites, words, or scroll, time in numbers, times formulas to attract those  multitude upon millions of more numbers.

Back in the late 1990s when digital printing
began, one of the coolest technologies that XEROX invented, to go along with the gear | box | equipment | device | photocopier | xerox machine > was the front end.  The technology that made the engine hum.  Nothing like the sound of a noisy clicky clacky sound of a duplicating machine overused beyond its intended capacity and ignoring suggestions that it could be improved upon.  The front end turned a really big machine into a humming mouse, constantly kept happy and fed as long as it was eating a lot of paper before regurgitating it out into advance copies of novels for publishers to review, possibly edit, and return for more.  It could be only a digest size [ next trick question if you want to try to respond for a chance for me to post your picture on my blog [ or keep your name anonymous, your choice }.  Under a hundred pages but more than 5 copies should be left for the copy room to produce in less time and have it delivered back.  Can you imagine?  Well, that's what those biggie machines were designed to do.  OH, plus being connected between geological reasons, different cities, nose-diving the shipping cost and eliminating the cafuffle that happens when there is a mistake _ where else? _ YES _ the NUMBERS!!

You will never see a big big company come to a complete standstill if there is no meeting the numbers.  You don't have to like them, but at a company, you HAVE TO MEET THEM.   Maybe if you hate numbers that much you can revisit your goals if you are in sales of any kind.  If you don't like numbers, you will never "GET IT" why some people can be average while a few catapult to REMARKABLE.  

The number lovers
instinctively know that the numbers have to work.  That's when great questioning skill is handy to jump in.  I had a great manager who happened to rise very fast into the big companies' executive ranks.  It really is no wonder, I'm fortunate of had that opportunity.  But, LET ME TELL YOU, MIKE loved his numbers.  If you were going to work and move along at his breakneck smart speed, you had to love numbers too to be able to keep pace with him.  If you did do that, then talking numbers was like a serenade of praise.

I'll have to write about one of Mike's greatest motivational tactics and public recognition he did for me that really made the difference for me.  Unfortunately, timing wasn't always aligned because as Mike moved into a fast trajectory to executive place, I was really lucky to have had the chance to have spent along side him, while he nourished my love of numbers.

Gord will remember our first number of sessions [ or perhaps not because I wouldn't know now how those first conversations unfolded but I do].  Gord knew that I had newly been anointed his sales team leader [ same, if not more, exact responsibility as my male counterparts who were called "Sales Managers" or "Operations Managers" ].

Gord said:  "I'm not looking to invent the wheel.  You appear to get how to sell this digital printing based on your results and awards.  I am looking to learn so that I can get up to speed quicker."  Smart guy eh?  You won't improve and you won't get better if you aren't being a sponge.  It won't work if you think that throwing scalding hot water at your sponge [ subordinate who reports to you regardless of title ] will work, it will do the opposite.  I had an example today where I was talking numbers with someone who in 30 seconds (grammar rule:  use numerical symbol when 10 or higher, written out numbers when nine or less.  Except when you are coming numbers like 10, 30 or 300.) was able to zero in on an exact instance and instance figure precisely.  I came to a realization that my former training that developed into habit became very natural to me to pick out a bunch of numbers and attribute the big picture.

When Gord and I sat down that first day and he said that, I must have been giddy with excitement ... because he was asking me to show him how I got to the NUMBERS on the BOARD?  If you don't love numbers, you won't relate to this at all.  [ thank YOU if you still hang with me and pick up a few pointers along the way or at least until now so it becomes worth your while! ]  

I opened my file on my desk and showed him a printout of all of my clients and prospects and a bunch of columns that I had developed that probably was extrapolated or cross-referenced to CRM [ for a prize for one of my hand-painted one of a kind mask please comment with what that acronym stands for? ].

Then I probably talked and talked and talked about the numbers.  I likely rattled off numbers like my top 5 accounts, account for 15% of total annual sales; next to my proudest, consistent numbers:  what their sales at the same exact date of the former year.  That was my badge of honor and what I guarded like a hawk pouncing on its prey.  Year over year sales gains.  Almost euphoric in giddiness a real numbers sales or executive or CEO role will have.  That would also be readily supported by percentage of year over year gain:  the ones that would have dropped {heavenly gasp for who would EVER lose an account?} clearly colored in red.  Like a badge of shame.

If you could really get the psychology of numbers in sales or get into it, then you would become gloriously at the top of the chain.  If you can take numbers from just about anywhere, interpret them into unique meaning, then you got what it takes.  

Now, in reflection upon this blog, one may think that I must have thought I had it made since I've embraced, massaged, moved, summed, added, subtracted, divided numbers a lot.  With the help of a calculator a good 75% or more of the time (it is also perfectly acceptable to join 75 percent like that, often looks more intellectual than academic, use based on your audience).  I am just trying to show examples on how I love numbers.  I am also being evangelistic about numbers too.  

As to my earlier point:  as the world and everyone and every company and every government and every citizen and every person creates more and more numbers someone is going to have to read them, sort them, make some sort of sense out of them.  The technology is already around to generate patterns and predict habits from numbers or create algorithms to navigate or maneuver them, numbers are going to increase in importance.

Back in the early days of digital printing in the late 1990s, something like 1998, a very big organization gave me the chance to give my team a whirl at printing something for them:  It was a one page letter, but it was going to 20,000 differently, individually addressed correspondence to appeal for something.  You don't ask for anything that is associated with asking someone for money without it appearing as customized and handwritten as they have ever seen.  As a [ you got it! ] one of a kind!  Those special numbers.

I've scooted around and scattered some thoughts.  Recognized some insight that I hadn't examined for quite some time.  Does anyone remember "the QR CODE"?  [I will guest write a blog FOR YOU if you can comment with the answer for that]..  Maybe I can stay on this train of thought and go back into my sales roots to impart some wisdom, if there is any to be had.  You are the decider of that. 

 Thank you,

NEVER stop asking a lot of questions

would be the advice I would give to my 20-year-old self.

I am going to explore this awesome question that I just heard today.  For about one minute as the other half was flipping through the channels, like he's warming up for that imaginary battlefield game he likes to play.  Flex those fingers and press those thumbs to the beat of your favorite song.  


What advice would you give your 20 year old self? 

I can grapple with myself 
as much as I'd like and that would be the thing that I would tell my 20YOS (abbreviation for 20 year old self), never stop asking a lot of questions.  It is part of the wisdom I can say that I have 30 odd years later.  The difference between good and great is the ability to ask insightful questions.   The other one is to believe in PEOPLE.   I'd like to share my own discovery that becomes a tidy parcel within wisdom.

The person who comes to mind?
I think of Barbara Walters.  I think most, if not all of the greats, emulated Barbara Walters who is the benchmark of interviewing PEOPLE everywhere.  Carve away the personas, politicians, musicians, artists, directors, entrepreneurs, athletes and we all end up the same:  we're PEOPLE.  All of us.  Shed the religion, color, race, country, city, rural, occupations, preoccupations, interests, bias, knowledge, truths, sovereignty.  You.  One of the PEOPLE.  No better than the next, exactly the same.


What makes us different, 
as in our DNA, is our characteristics that make up our personality which evolve by our traits.    What your traits are are steered by you based on the attention you may give it.  If you want to go into the gutter (PORN, RACISM, VIOLENCE) it is because you didn't keep that trait at bay, you continued to explore it, specify an interest level, and even perhaps it evolves into a really bad thing.  You are untrustworthy, not loyal, lean towards meanness, belittle, shuck others aside ... regardless of method.  

I would tell my 2YOS to stray away from those who want to drag you into a deep dark hole with them.  Don't feel sorry for them, as you may ought to do.  Don't even acknowledge them.  Not the slightest hook to snag your attention, however briefly.

These three traits I would suggest are worth considering honing in on:

  • Ask a lot of questions, every time, every situation, every where.  Once you establish it firmly as part of the core of who you are, you will continue to expand and ask even greater questions.  Others may even be amazed at the quickness and sharpness to ask a question just as it is entering others' radar.  It blips, and then before processing, be the person who asks a question that captures what everyone could be barely registering, never mind thinking.  It can return at a later time.  Removed from the message other than it appearing like a puff of smoke:  that was a great question because it required an answer that was more in depth and detailed.
  • Secondly, be aware of people.  Be open to new people, different people, in different situations, different backgrounds (whether economic, intellect or standing).  Find a way out of the aversion to odor, or behavior that is distracting, so as to be able to hear them.    I could have more easily suggested to pay closer attention or just simply listen but I didn't.  To make a point.  
  • Be your own person or personality.  Stick to your values, don't let anyone intimidate you, bully you, make you feel inferior in any way.  Gender is even stripped away so that you can be the person from the inside out.  Starting on the inside first.  Completing the outside is the easy part.  Understand your style or karma or aura you exude.  Don't try to hold back or allow others to censor you.  Any person [ whether friend, family, employer or place ] who wants to encourage you will not make you feel like you should hold back nor be told to be quiet [ whether written or vocal ].  

Don't let anyone try to squash that personality and enthusiasm for the continuous journey you are on.  

You won't be able to sell anything.  Your company, your case, your qualifications, your institution, your cause, your view, your anything will not be able to sell anything unless you can learn how to ask the right questions.

For example.  You are the CEO of your company and you are rubbing elbows with your colleagues and staff while selling your company's product or service.  It is pretty hard not to.  Especially since you probably got the job based on your charisma, leadership essence, confidence, vision.  

I wrote a while ago ..... I'll have to look it back up and link it here ] INSERT LINK [ ... about not working IN the business but work ON the business if you are its OWNER< CEO<PRESIDENT.  Well it is not exclusive, but the point is for anyone who has to sell anything.

If you are a sales representative >> you NEED to work on YOUR business!
What is that business?  We'll get to that later on.

In order to sell anything to anyone, you have to be able to ask great questions.  Those great questions will catapult you at the center of the PERSON [ views, criteria, influence, bias, desires, needs, headaches ].  By understanding the PERSON in front of you:  your parent as you ask for an increase in the university fund;  the sales rep who is asking his potential customer for the order; the CEO who is asking the Board for something to be approved.

If you've asked the right questions, it will magically be staring right at you.  The OASIS of sold!   When you can formulate, practice, evaluate a series of questions to ask that first important first impression meeting, to ask of your audience, hopefully of one as it is far easier.  [ You may need to assess why you are meeting in front of a group ... that's a red flag.  It usually means that the audience doesn't have enough confidence in themselves or have become so rigid that they've lost the ability of sensing instinct, gut feeling, seeing expression.

Five Questions?
Come up with a list of five questions that you want to ask your next prospect [remember, that prospect does not have to be a SALES call or situation].  Then, make it a practice to have five questions written down before any sit down for a meeting, a review, an interview, a report, a presentation.  Spend 10 minutes looking through the web page [ I realize that I should write about that now:  how to review a company's website and grasp their culture, their vibe, their engagement with visitors ] so that you can come up with five questions.

Think of yourself as an investor.  Yes, that sounds backwards when you think that you don't have the money to buy even "a share" in this company, just ignore that and transcend yourself.  Ask yourself:  "would you buy shares in this company?".

If you are attuned to selling to people, you will want to invest in them just as much as they will want to purchase or give you whatever it is you are asking for.   That is called evening the playing field.  Remember what I said before?  PEOPLE are the same except for how they BUY things.  

can be just the same as buying into things.  Do you buy into this opinion or that show or that writing or philosophy?  See, we are all BUYERS and there are sparks that initiate the action to buy.  

If you are not attuned to PEOPLE you won't get as far.  You will have to meet more and more and more PEOPLE to get into your zone.  Then again, as you meet more and more PEOPLE in whatever situation FIVE QUESTIONS imagine what will unfold.  

If you like to cut corners, you probably didn't even last to the finish of this post.  Unless it benefits you immediately [ can you copy, plagiarize or imitate this?] you are long gone.  Those are probably the less honest type of sales anyhow and they won't jive with my philosophy derived from my traits.

is a trait or characteristic.  Which does it mean is which.  It is both an adverb I think and a verb in English, as in a thing or noun rather than an action.

In order to have a DISCIPLINEd PERSONality, you will have had to hone your traits to come up with the right ingredients for your own unique PERSON.  I am wondering somewhat if I have ADD or attention deficit disorder.  Someone with a psychological background I was [here it is again] asking more insightful questions asked me if that were a possibility.    Not as an assessment, nothing like that, simply generated from a conversation.  

Examine your own traits.  What are your leanings?  What gains your interest quicker than others?  Explore the maybe and the why.  


A visionary extraordinaire ::.... Philippe TREBAUL of Social Fave

Sometimes it's simply okay to be a fan or a Supporter.  I realized that unbiased and reciprocated respect is what makes one become an advocate for another person.  

The power and capability of social media is unstoppable, truly, as long as our imaginations continue to stretch and blend what is possible from the impossible.

The strength of character one needs to build a fantastic reputation, regard and respect can be captured in one person I've come to known, only communicating on social media, never a Skype or telephone conversation.  Where you have to be succinct in getting your words across, to be able to be snapped up, grasped and understood all at once.

I've meandered on here about how far you can stretch yourself to achieve new heights in your ability to discover who you really are.  How else can you lower your defenses and expose your true self, or explore the journey on figuring out who or what that means.

Along the way, you find people who just POP out of all the noise who you think:  WOWzers, this person REALLY gets IT!

_______________________________ ::......

Here we go .... here are some links to some incredibly visionary, explicit and wise to take heed to.  Philippe unravels a lot of the mystique of social media that is far too long put off by traditional advertisers and their advisers, like ad agencies, who cannot really possibly charge exorbitant fees when their are social media MARKETERS willing to step in and step up in a fraction of the time and fraction of the price.  After each article link, I will post my own comments to show how much I enjoy being a Supporter, cheerleader, advocate, enthusiastic optimist of their success.

4 Social Media Tools to Get Marketers off the Treadmill

Great article, per usual Philippe TREBAUL .... not only will Social Fave be explosive in 2017, but its founder will be finally recognized as an extraordinary visionary of how far we can stretch social marketing to expand vastly and quickly.  Maybe I can learn how to become a better online brand, improved enough to generate an income ... eh?  Well, a trip to France at least to celebrate when you set the clock to end the free trials and it is sought after and paid for.  Distinguishing your current supporters from all others.  Wonderful writing.  Thank you ~ Jeannette Marshall aka @optioneerJM on Twitter as a fan

_________________________________ //......//

3 Tools to Improve Your Social Media Marketing Right Now!

FANTASTIC Philippe TREBAUL .... WOWzers!  What an informative article and so factual with knowledge based insight.  You, my dear innovator, are catapulted into the stratosphere as not only a visionary on where social networking can take us, but the practical academic approach you have.  So easy to understand, obvious to embrace and supported by all the data you've absorbed.  I hope to see the day when you are given your due:  and to think, we started on LINKED IN six years ago, which allowed some of us to step outside our comfort zone a little but allow our gregarious natures to expound, others like you, Philippe TREBAUL have demonstrated convincingly how great this world is that is unfolding.  Thank you, your fan and advocate, Jeannette Marshall 

A social experiment

"If you are not prepared
to step out of the BOX
~don't complain that
you're squared in."
~ Jeannette Marshall

No, the quote wasn't the main purpose of writing this blog.  I am always fiddling around in PAINT ..... or I'm looking for something, like you do when you have a recipe in front of you, looking to see if you have all the ingredients you want to place in your writing.  Or, something just pops out and I think, that is a quote:  I should go look for an image to use to create the environment to host the quote.  Then, I store them for rePOSTing later on other social media sites like Twitter or Facebook or Google.  I'm not a celebrity so they won't be famous or anything.  If they catch on and are used more than once, I'm humbled.  I plant them on Pinterest too.  Pinterest being my virtual storage of sorts.  A collection of "stuff".

The experiment I was on to was trying something different to see what happens.  It is as a result from not finding a source for checking in with my followers:  on Facebook.  I had over 500 views of my blog today, which is a nice jump, thank YOU!  I like to see if I can understand what people may like, what posts they're reading and what they're sharing, liking, reTweeting and from where?  The numbers showed me against a surge from #Brazil .... thank you BRAZIL!!  I'm trying to figure out where this surge originated from or by whom.  

HINT HINT:  Facebook or someone out there should create a follower algorithm based service that tells you who clicks, likes, comments, shares your content:  in other words:  who are your supporters.  (Only someone famous can call them "fans").  

I think this does source back to my former talent in sales:  I like to hunt.  I became more strategic as time progressed, depending upon what I was selling or to whom I was selling to.  That was something that was learning in the strategic sales arena, consultative selling, or selling to executives.  You really can't peddle your wares to important audiences if you don't get who they are, what they may be interested in or looking for.  Writing a blog or blending in on social media is kinda like that.  Your following will tend to gravitate towards things that matter most to you.  In my case, they would be:

  • social media CONTENT to share that others enjoy
  • CURATING beautiful images, art, photography
  • WRITING, blogging, growing audience
  • networking, MEETING others with similar interests
  • eventually PAID for what I am learning or writing
When reading the numbers, I look at the posts that have all of a sudden gained momentum, or others seemed to enjoy more.  That is suppose to be my guide on what more to write about.

I scale social media sites as a Queen does her empire (ooo, yeah, that's a quote to describe me that I will have to remember to fall back on and create an image to go along with it for sharing).

I started to go through doing clean up.  Since Facebook gives Google its money's worth by sometimes leading in driving viewers (and hopefully readers, rarely subscribers sadly).  I've talked about it before.  Sometimes it shocks me when people I would have just assumed would follow my Facebook Page haven't.

Let's just say the ones I'm more shocked by are the ones I faithfully share their stuff.  It is like a nudge aside.  My stuff isn't important enough.  Or, they may assume that if I post it on my Facebook stream, I would also on my optioneerJM page.  But I don't.  I don't want people to think I'm spamming.

Which reminds me of my few blocks on Twitter:  the guy never said anything to me, just tweeted at me with his own blog.  Grrrrrr, he doesn't get it:  if you want people to notice you on social media:  share their stuff.  If you want to really connect, comment.  Geesh.

Well, to begin my experiment, I am going to carve back a bit.  In time for American Thanksgiving.  I want to give thanks to those that support me all the time and don't just acknowledge me when I'm doing the same for them.

Klout indicates that your influence rises as your ratio of following to followers ratio widens to a hearty gap.  We shall see.  I'll let you know if the opposite happens or a few people scaled back on will notice.  The reason is a positive one:  I want to be more focused on helping those that support me.

I'm selling my words here.  I'm not making any money.  At least yet.  I trudge on firmly in the belief that eventually it will mean something and even pay off.

I loved this cartoon shared by a connection on Linked In (name withheld because "she" is a PhD and unlikely keen on having her name shared .... if she did, I'd know her on Twitter, G+ and Facebook .... right?

Powerful points on PowerPoint

I had captured the above image of Bugs Bunny a few weeks ago.  I can't remember how I came across it, but I did capture and save it to my PC.  I think I was considering using it for a powerpoint presentation I was creating as a proposal of sorts and was going to use it for the final slide.  As in "that's all folks".  

I didn't use it because the slide deck I created used the same image consistently throughout.  That's my style, a clean look with powerful images that convey what I think the .ppt conveys.

In this case, the audience was launching a social media presence for its corporate identity:  they were in operation, they had subscribers to their service, with zero social media presence.  I related it to climbing a mountain to reach the top, the goal defined as reaching out to vast audience in a crowded industry -- not unlike climbing a daunting mountain.

I ended up using the slide for social sharing, now wishing I had made the     right corner type smaller and more underwhelming 

If you read and observe the best presentations on SLIDE SHARE (a wonderful extension of Linked In) the common thread is that strong graphics and minimal words seem to be the most identifiable and powerful.

I wrote a few years back about presentations.  If you are in sales in any form:  selling a product or service or selling your company, you use .ppt to create a dialogue with an audience of one or many.  It is like a memorable guide to what topic you are covering.

I've had Eugene Cheng on my side gadget under recommended reading for a few years.  He really is talented in creating powerpoint.  Check out his website and see if you agree: | |

It looks like Eugene rebranding and extended his reach under a new umbrella @High_Spark ... as is always the case, when I discover a talented individual, I like to keep them in my folder of idea enhancers, people who resemble the #bestofeverything there is to offer as talent, creativity, knowledge, exceptional learning.

I did initially upload the .ppt to SLIDESHARE and I have to say that the reaction and reception is a disappointment.  That isn't too surprising since I have used SlideShare as a resource and source for feeding my knowledge junkie habit.  

It takes confidence to consider that others may be interested in what you have created.  It can also trample it if the reaction is minimal or slight.  Then again, creating .ppt presentations hasn't been an area I would consider myself defined as worth sharing.

That is where the challenge comes in.  I force myself to be honest and then challenge myself to become better.

Why? Because if you are a CEO or sales professional, presenting .ppt is something you should become strong at.  

Most CEOs have a marketing department or communications professional to create their .ppt for them.   All they have to do is create and rehearse the notes to avoid reading off of them or reading from notes.

That takes practice.  The flow between slides and narration is a lot harder than it looks.  I've played with various tools to become stronger.  It was critical to get better after doing a presentation to a leadership evaluation for a senior project management role within my organizations.  As a self-critique, that is realistic and forms my own evaluation on how I could have been better (see if any of this strikes a cord with you):

  • The time for the presentation, including Q&A (questions and answers) was scheduled for an hour.
  • The amount of slides was too many to cover the Q&A period.
  • After the dismal, unprofessional set up of the room for the video conference, I was scattered but not shattered.
  • I read more off the slides than narrated them.  That was a disaster.  I could have just emailed the .ppt and been done with it.
  • Reading from notes or directly from the slides makes the narration stilted and boring.
  • While reading off of slides or notes, you are not engaging with your audience.  
  • When your eyes are on the slides, reading from them or the notes, your eyes are on the slides, not with your audience.
  • When you are not looking, scanning your audience, you are not feeling out their interest.  Are they smiling or looking bored or planning their grocery list for dinner that evening?
  • When your intent is to impress, you can do yourself an injustice on what you are capable of doing.
I was lucky.  The leader did give me feedback.  It was direct and a little brutal:  telling me that in that position, I would have minimum 10 minutes to report to an executive.  My presentation was way way wayyyyyyyy too long.  

The second .ppt I did, was not asked for.  Not directly.  I was asked to present how I, personally, would launch a digital marketing program for this corporation that had no presence.  Fortunately, I had been reached out to by the Founder of the organization.  Unfortunately, it was a group decision.  Instead of being asked to present to the founder and his partner, I was invited to meet with two key players on the team who's input would be deciding votes on my being hired.

My takeaway?  Well, the two audience members had a list of questions they wanted answered.  However, I had my own agenda because I had spent the time preparing the powerpoint that would answer a lot of the questions.  I could tell by the age of the lady in my audience, by her attire and attitude, that she was a driver and really couldn't care less about the intricacies of social media or me.  She had a multi-page questionnaire that she wanted to follow.  Her own agenda.  

I didn't inquire about the room setting for the meeting, nor about the technology available.  Maybe I wanted it to be a nice present surprise that I was so professional and prepared.  

I had saved my presentation on not one but two flash drives, along with emailing it to the meeting scheduler.  However, the room wasn't set up and at least 10 minutes was wasted getting it up and running.  10 valuable minutes that could have been spent on building rapport with a stilted audience.  

I had learned from my previous presentation that I needed to shorten my presentation, avoid reading the slides, and rehearsed enough so that the narration was smoother once I got started.  Yet, the fumbling over getting technology going and the resistance from the one audience member that she just wanted her questions answered.  The second team member was the organizer who let the other person dive in and drive the meeting.

My first horrific executive presentation was about 15 years ago.  I remember it as if it were yesterday.  My boss and I were invited to present to an executive as to why our company should consider our proposal to be awarded the vendor of choice.  

My boss and I had rehearsed:  in so that we knew who was going to do the speaking and who was going to do the clicking of the powerpoint.

I was unprepared for the executive's response:  after barely 10 minutes he jumped in with direct, pertinent questions, that made me stumble and falter.  Needless to say, we weren't awarded the contract.  In all fairness, it wasn't only because our .ppt had failed to impress them, it had a lot to do with the incumbent being the favorite.

My husband and I review some of his own presentations with his own executive team.  He is tasked with saving money for the company in the oil-shorn city of Calgary where falling oil prices are taking thousands of jobs and companies are in survival mode.  

I listen and pay attention.  That's because my husband is an ops guy who doesn't have a lot of time to waste on meetings and being wined and dined to buy from his suppliers and vendors.  He works with a talented young fellow who is a pro at Excel and .ppt.  He often says over and over:  

Just give them the facts and have the backup to support it.
He seemed to be bang on, stating that the executives just wanted the bare bones numbers, without the fluff.  The executives had specific questions on how the numbers were determined (aka back up).

I want to get better at this.  Some would say that I'm not nearly as bad as I tear myself up over.   I would say that there are some critical nuances you have to keep in mind when preparing and presenting. 
> Don't spend more time on creating your powerpoint than preparing the facts.

> Know the facts: details, how the numbers were arrived at, where the source came from.

> Back up your numbers by knowing them intimately, have them on the top of your head 

> Substance over style: it isn't so much about the pretty .ppt as a direct hit on message

> Be succinct in your narration.  (I have a weakness for being too wordy which is a disadvantage that needs to be excelled at).  Don't read the slides or off of your notes

> Know your numbers: spend more time on how you are going to explain your numbers in your preparation.

> Planning should equal preparation: ask the meeting organizer if the room will be set up to allow for a powerpoint presentation.

> Technology can defeat preparation and planning, thus a backup plan is critical (i.e. printed copies of the presentations)

> Establish the agenda:  are they expecting you to have a powerpoint to present or do they have a sheet of paper with questions they want to scribble on?

> Keep time on your side:  confirming the meeting time is typical for professionals.  Sticking to the allotted time is critical to a favorable impression.

> General rule of thumb:  Divide your Agenda by 0 or 20 minute segments if your meeting is 1 hour.

> Understand expectations:  What decision will result by this presentation?  

                   * Award/awarded contract
              * Sell service or product
              * Be hired (contract or employee)
              * Performance review
              * Report on business
              * A proposal for funding, endorsement, sale
              * Brainstorming ideas

> Read your audience:  Maintain consistent eye contact, watch body language.  Active gestures like shuffling papers is a sign that they're getting impatient, looking at a watch demonstrates a concern over schedule, exchanged looks from audience (rolling eyes, aka here we go again).

> Define the rules:  for instance that you will be presenting a .ppt that should take no more than 10 minutes, with the remaining time on answering questions

> Who's in charge?  in most, if not all cases, your audience is in charge.  Define within the audience who is a decision maker or supporter or recommender.

> Next steps?  Should always be asked at the end:  it will tell you the decision making process and by whom the decision will be made.

> Married to the agenda:   You can't assume your own agenda.

> Cultural missteps:  Sometimes having a .ppt will communicate your superior communications skills, your imaginative powerpoint slide creations, or comfort using technology.  It isn't always welcome.

> Cultural acceptance:  A lot of major organizations use .ppt as a form of conducting meetings.  Others not so much. 

> Rehearse, rehearse, rehearsal:  Knowing your presentation inside out and backwards is the best way on a path to guarantee success.    There are a lot of ways to practice and test yourself:

* Videotape yourself presenting
* Present to your bathroom mirror
* Practice by presenting to a colleague 

In hindsight, I goofed around a lot doing my research.  I tend to struggle between having a solid understanding of the company I'm presenting to and its industry and competitors.  That is not such a bad thing.  Yet, my takeaway is I can be too committed to my presentation than meeting the expectations:  winning the sale, being hired, being considered as a vendor, selling your company, and so on and so forth.

The biggest takeaway I have learned from observing and learning from talented presenters within companies I've worked for or outside influence:


have an AGENDA
>  what are you going to talk about? i.e. topics

how are you going present? i.e. present first and allow for Q&A at the end, or more informally 
questions accepted by interruptions throughout?

by having an AGENDA, you are asking your audience if anything is missing or if there is anything else they would like to add to the AGENDA?

> confirm the time for the presentation because someone could have been late and your allotted time may have shrunk by 15 minutes because someone was late or technology was disruptive or someone was supposed to log on as a teleconference

There are a lot of other things you can determine before you go to all the trouble and effort that you put into the actual data, creating the powerpoint, and practicing its presentation:

> who is going to be in your audience?
> what is the role (or roles) of your audience?
> what is going to happen after the presentation? (i.e. next steps)
> is what you are presenting second nature, instinctive and something you are comfortable with?  (if not, add more practice time)
> what sort of industry are your points about?  You can showcase your research or authority if you hover around this area.
> what position will the audience take?  being informed? judgemental? receptive? analytical? 
> feedback if time allows may give you a gauge on how you did

Murphy's Law

Applies every and all times you plan, rehearse, confirm, define, prepare:  the one thing you didn't expect or account for happens.

You can always surf through You Tube, Ted Talks (which I've been meaning to check out for a while) to see which style matches your own.  Don't try to be anyone else.  Be yourself.  Allow the viewer to gain a strong sense of who you are and who they can expect for months or years after being part of your audience.

"You can't always win the sale or get the job, yet you can always influence leaving a lasting, positive impression."
~ Jeannette Marshall

Powerpoint Resources:

SOURCE:  Powerpoint Templates ~ Slide 

SOURCE:  Pinterest 

SOURCE:  Pinterest PRESENTations BOARD