Daniel Tardy: License To Sell

The Queen has the cookies & it’s paying off.

Posted in Business, Selling by elephanthunters on August 26, 2009

Two of the greatest inventions on the planet are Dairy Queen Blizzards and Girl Scout Cookies.  In the month of August Dairy Queen has combined these two tempting vices into one cool treat.

This has been a brilliant marketing campaign for Dairy Queen.  I know this because my wife made me drive her 30 minutes across town just to get one of the highly acclaimed thin mint blizzards (I might have had a bite or two myself).  Do you know the last time we drove 30 minutes across town just to go to to go to Dairy Queen? Umm, Never.

The genius in this campaign is that Dairy Queen is now offering a product who’s brand has already been seared into the minds of every American alive.  In fact, consuming Girl Scout Cookies each year is arguably at the core of what it means to be an American in the first place.  If Dairy Queen was just offering a new style of hamburger with an extra piece of meat or a new special sauce for their chicken strips then no one would be talking about it.  No one would care.

We are in the process of deciding where our next EntreLeadership Master Series event will be held.  The brand that we choose for location matters a lot.  Places like Cancun, Atlantis, Hawaii & Vail have all been heavily marketed as great locations before we even started thinking about doing events.  It’s up to our team to figure out which location has been marketed the best in addition to accomidating our needs for the event.  It looks like Atlantis stands a good chance of being our thin mint cookie for the Spring of 2010.

How can you tap into the power of other brands that have already been marketed well?

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This awkward question is fun to ask…

Posted in Personal Development, Selling by elephanthunters on August 19, 2009

Here’s a fun thing you can do starting today to add some seasoning to your conversations:

Ask someone this powerful question: “What’s your story?” and then shut up.

Here’s some cool things about this question:

  • Everyone has a story
  • You may think you know their story but you’ll be surprised at how they answer.
  • Not everyone will get it and they will ask what you mean. Just reply with “You know, your story…everyone has a story.” (Smile and then shut up again)
  • They may tell you their life story or just a short summary of how they started working here or a story that’s not even theirs.
  • They will assume the context but that’s what makes it fun. (don’t give them guidance)
  • They may have to think about it for a while and they may blow you off.
  • You will always hear something you didn’t know or at least learn something about their personality based on HOW they reply.

Ask people you know. Ask people you don’t know. Ask your spouse. Ask your flight attendant. Ask your parents. Ask your boss. Ask yourself.

Everyone has a story.

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He can use my card

Posted in Business by elephanthunters on August 17, 2009

My family is taking a trip to NYC soon and my Dad is working with a tour guide to help plan our trip. I’m a triathlete and in an effort to stick to my training regiment I asked my Dad to see if the tour guide knew of a lap pool close to our hotel that I could pay to use.

Here was the tour guide’s response:

“I am a member of New York Sports Club. I can let Daniel use my card to get into the 49th and Broadway club where there are lap lanes- 18 yards long. He will just need to call and make a reservation under my name, Matt K., for Thursday Night, any time Friday, or Saturday morning. 212-977-8880, ask for the pool and give them my name. He will be using my personal card.”

WOW! Now that’s going above and beyond.

I wonder how many times we have opportunities to ‘wow ‘ our customers in a given week.  It’s not too hard…it just takes a little intentionality and treating them the way you’d want to be treated.  If I had to guess I would wager that Matt’s company is not participating in the recession.

Great Monday mornings happen when…

Posted in Selling by elephanthunters on August 17, 2009

I don’t recommend scheduling sales calls on Monday mornings. My week is more productive if I use this time to plan and prepare for the things to come. Just like a marathoner needs to fuel up before a race we tend to preform better when we reconnect with our goals and our team first.

On Monday mornings I like to:

  • Meet with my teem about anything on the table for the week ahead
  • Read some blogs that are inspirational and motivate me. (Put gas in the tank)
  • Review my goals and modify actions for the week that have a bearing on my goals
  • Look over my calendar and clarify/delete/modify appointments based on priorities and relevence
  • Make sure my desk and work area is free of any clutter that could distract me from being efficient that week
  • Walk around and connect with the people on my team in person.  Compliment them, ask about their weekend, let them know if I can do anything to help this week that I’m here for them.  This is huge!  This sets the tone for any email/voice mail/text they get from you for the rest of the week.  In a digital age it’s imperative to establish rapport in person with your core team each week before you start firing off task heavy emails and meeting requests.

It’s tempting to just roll in to the office and start returning voice mails and emails and have a completely reactive approach to catching up on everything from the weekend.  If you’ll just take a few hours to set your week up then by the time you get to Thursday you’ll have twice as much done as you would have otherwise.

“Luck favors the prepared.”

Play baseball on your next sales call.

Posted in Personal Development, Selling by elephanthunters on August 13, 2009

I remember getting my first baseball bat and ball when I was a kid and running out into the backyard ready to smash the tar out of that new ball.  Whenever my dad would pitch to me I was on cloud nine, and just like every other kid my age I was now on the fast track to become the next Babe Ruth.

I did face the problem that most aspiring ball players face during that season of life which was that  I wanted to hit the ball more than people wanted to spend time pitching it to me.  I formulated two solutions in an attempt to overcome this dilemma.

  1. Tie a rope around the ball, throw the rope over a tree branch and swing away.  This worked.  Sometimes.  However, after one solid hit the ball usually flew out of the yellow nylon rope and it took forever to get it tied back just right.  This was not a good plan since you only had so much time before the sun set to get your batting practice in.
  2. Self pitch.  This method requires a lot of focus for a nine year old boy.  You simultaneously hold the bat in your right hand, toss the ball up with your left hand high enough to give you time to grab the bat with both hands and take a swing as the ball plummets back to the ground.

The problem with these methods is they are both awkward. They are also inaccurate training for a real game scenario.  They do very little to actually prepare you for a ball being pitched to you with velocity from the pitchers mound.  They also don’t allow you to hit the ball very far.  A ball that is pitched to you will travel much farther than one that is horizontally static because the contact with the bat not only applies new force to the ball but it actually re-directs the momentum the ball already has.

Here’s how this applies in selling:

We often tend to be self promoting in an effort to build credibility and trust.  It’s extremely difficult to do this without sounding cocky plus it’s awkward for both you and the prospect (i.e. trying to pitch to yourself).  It’s extremely dangerous to ever say anything that is self promoting.  But what if you really need that credibility to be established?  What if you really do have things that if your prospect just knew about you would lead to them respecting you more?  How do you communicate those things??  You get someone to pitch to you.  Here are 3 action points you can start applying today to get someone to pitch to you:

  • Get a written testimony from an existing client about how great your product is and be sure it includes something about how great it was to work with YOU…how fun you were to work with,  how diligent you were to get them the best price, how you went out of your way to serve them.  We ask for testimonies about our product all the time but why not ask for it to include something about your character.
  • Coach your references on how to talk about you.  Let them know that you’re counting on them to build you up for the sake of the prospect and that you don’t feel comfortable bragging on yourself.  They’ll get it and they’ll be happy to brag on you if you just ask them to and explain the goal behind this method.
  • Take an associate with you to a sales call or meeting.  This always adds what’s called Third Party Credibility.  Talk through the dynamics of the meeting ahead of time and agree to promote each other and set each other up to win during the meeting.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a peer, your boss, or a subordinate.  Just having them there changes the dynamic considerably.

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. – Proverbs 11: 2

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People are assets, not obstacles.

Posted in Business, Personal Development, Selling by elephanthunters on August 11, 2009

I walked out of a meeting yesterday frustrated.

I had this thought:

“Things take so much longer to execute now and move so much slower than they used to.”

(this is a lie but the thought occurred nonetheless)

The project seemed simple: Send out an email and let people know about a promotion that we are going to run.  5 years ago the execution time from when the project idea was born to implementation would have been about 2 hours.  Yesterday in this meeting I came to the realization that no matter how much I tried push for a rapid launch this same project will take about 2 weeks.  It takes longer because of what my immature paradigm would deem ‘all the stupid processes we have to go through now to get something done’.

The reality is that this project could not have even been pulled off 5 years ago.  At best I would have written an email with a few links in Outlook, blind copied the recipients, fired it out and hoped for the best.

This project today will be a beautifully crafted piece of marketing genius including HiDef video, graphics, a dedicated web page, content edited by professional writers, email tracking, administrative follow up, celebrity endorsement and a marketing plan overseen by an accomplished  MBA/project coordinator.

All of the sudden it hit me that what we lose in ‘speed’ we more than gain in quality which ultimately is a gain in speed.  Yes it takes longer but we’re running faster and we’re reaching more people with a higher level of excellence than ever before.

Growing with a company is challenging.  I’m learning to appreciate what new team members bring to the table instead of complaining about how their new position complicates our process.  I’m learning that together is better.

“Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.”  – Ryunosuke Satoro