Daniel Tardy: License To Sell

No one cares about your snow.

Posted in Business by elephanthunters on February 17, 2010

Most of the country has been experiencing more winter weather than usual.

Weather changes things

  • It’s a hassle
  • Things get wet
  • ER rooms & body shops get busy
  • People run late
  • Flights get canceled

Guess what?

It snows in the winter.  This should not come as a surprise.  Dave Ramsey led our staff in a great thinking exercise this week about staying focused midst of a storm.  He reminded us that while it’s snowing here in Nashville, our 8:30 am conference call with Tampa Bay doesn’t care.

We tend to let off the gas on our commitments when we feel like we have a ‘legitimate excuse’ (legitimate defined as something out of our control).

Sure, people will understand.  They just don’t care.

It snows every week

This week it’s snow.  Next week the kids are sick.  Then it’s tax season and, and, and…

Our customers want us to bat 1,000.  Our lack of service doesn’t become resolved in their mind when we inform them that we’ve had a crazy day.  Excellence may seem like an ambitious mantra in the midst of distractions beyond our control.

Well, your competition certainly hopes you feel this way.

We’ve all used this one:

“My dog ate my homework.”

When I tried using this line, my algebra teacher told me I shouldn’t keep a pet that caused me to fail an assignment, then pulled out her grade book and wrote F.

Customers don’t write F, they just leave.

Wrapping Paper

Posted in Personal Development by elephanthunters on December 25, 2009

I’ll spend more time looking at this than anyone else

That was my thought yesterday as I meticulously wrapped a Christmas present for my wife.  I ran some quick estimates and figured out that while it took me about 8 minutes to wrap the gift, it would probably only take my wife about 10 seconds to unwrap it.  Then, the wrapping paper that I so carefully cut, taped and folded will be tossed on the floor, and all of her attention will rightfully shift toward the present inside.  If my estimates are accurate, the ‘prep to open ratio’ is about 48:1.

Why even wrap it then?

The answer is an obvious one to those who have ever dabbled in the art of gift-giving.  I could even make a reasonable case that wrapping the gift is what actually defines it as a gift (at least in the husband-giving-to-wife scenario).  The point?  Presentation is EVERYTHING.

What’s your gift?

You have something to offer.  You get up each day and go into the world with an opportunity to influence others, to leave your mark, to offer a gift.  Maybe some things you do are similar to the things I do:

  • Make presentations or give speeches
  • Answer phones
  • Blog, Tweet, Engage
  • Make sales calls
  • Create value by listening first
  • Ask for help
  • Impact the outcome of meetings

Whether or not these actions translate into a valuable gift depends on how much I prepare, read, practice and pray about them.  If I do these things without ample focus and preparation then I’m not giving a gift…I’m just doing my J-O-B. (not good)

It’s only a gift when it’s wrapped

And wrapping takes time.  It takes more time than anyone else will spend thinking about your little project or business idea.  A fantastic 10 minute presentation could take 5 hours of your time, and you’ll be lucky if your audience actually gives you 5 minutes of their attention.

So why bother?  Why bother putting in so much more effort than what people will notice and applaud?  Because your gift keeps on giving.  Your preparation sharpens your saw and causes you to become more valuable.  You read a book to learn a concept that helps you navigate through your situation, but the knowledge gained stays with you beyond your immediate needs. You spend hours preparing for a meeting, but your efforts pay dividends as the participants absorb your ideas and begin to act on them.  If you give a 10  minute speech to 100 people, are you not actually influencing 1,000 minutes?

A gift that is valuable will be amplified upon it’s delivery…BUT it’s only a gift when it’s wrapped.

…and any action that is not a gift is just noise.

I believe it’s worth it

It’s worth taking 48 times longer.  It matters that I read more, listen more and practice more.  Excellence does not occur naturally.  I believe that taking the time to wrap our gift is what allows the world to receive the value we offer.  I believe that when we take the time to prepare and focus on our contribution, the biggest gift is actually to ourselves, because the preparation changes who we are.

Next year we all have a chance to give more and thus become more.  You can start wrapping your gift over the next few days by thinking about your goals for 2010.  Then prepare, practice & pray…and when you’re done, put them in writing so you can look at your gift, and so you can remind yourself why it matters that we spend the painstakingly tedious time to wrap.

Merry Christmas.

Cyber Monday (AKA check your brain at the door)

Posted in Business, Personal Development by elephanthunters on November 30, 2009

When you take a driver’s safety course they will tell you the first thing to do if you’re getting sleepy while driving is to turn off the cruise control.  Keeping your mind engaged in active driving will minimize your chances of ending up in the ditch.

Many Americans will turn on the cruise control today

It’s ‘Cyber Monday’ which means an estimated 100 million people are shopping online right now instead of working.  Christmas songs are on the radio and our tummy’s are still full with turkey and pumpkin pie.  ‘Tis the season, right?

Were you tempted too?

I caught myself slipping a little bit mentally this morning as I was packing my gym bag.  I thought to myself, “Maybe I should just wait until January to get going again on my physical goals”.  I was tempted to turn on the cruise control.

Dave Ramsey called me out

Dave Ramsey gave our staff a great core value talk this morning about keeping our eye on the ball during this time of year while everyone seems to be letting off the gas a little bit.

This is my take away from his talk

  • If we are doing work that matters, then it matters that we work.  It matters that we finish the race we started.  People are stressed out and hurting right now, but we have something that can help them.
  • I am the only one who can maximize the opportunity I’ve been given…no one else is going to be there to pick up my slack.  If I let off the gas then we slow down, period.  When we slow down our customers don’t get served.
  • I want to start 2010 with momentum.

Do you see the signs of people turning on cruise control around you this week?

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A letter from an old friend.

Posted in Personal Development, Selling by elephanthunters on July 15, 2009

This is written by a guy who used to be a close friend of mine…pretty interesting. – DT

——

I have a lot of friends.  I guess it’s because I’m so easy to be around.  It’s amazing how quickly people love me when I introduce myself to them, in fact, my friends are always referring me to their friends and family so I definitely benefit from the power of networking.  I get a bad rap for a lot things that I do, but one thing I am definitely good at is making people feel better when they are in pain or when they’re tired.  I’m almost always available for my friends which I guess is why I have so many.  I’m not on Facebook but I’m sure that if I was that I’d max out the friend limit pretty quick.  Call me arrogant but I’m just telling you like it is.

One of my biggest goals in life is to know someone that’s extremely successful.  Sure I’ve met plenty of successful people but they wouldn’t know my name if they saw me out somewhere.  I’ve also met a lot of people that seemed successful but when I got to know them I realized that they weren’t really that great.  Regardless of how broad my network is I can never seem to meet a really successful person.  Whether it’s in business or athletics or even a top producing salesperson…just once I’d love to hang out with someone who is at the top, a champion, but I can never seem to make it happen.

I’m really tight with a lot of salespeople because they’re always coming to me when they’re frustrated and I usually help them out.  I don’t know a lot of truly great salespeople but I know plenty of salespeople all the same.  I have kind of a love/hate relationship with the salespeople I know.  You see when they’re together with their other sales buddies they’re always talking bad about me behind my back, but when they’re out in the field and having a rough day I’m the one they call for support.  I find this ironic but I’m OK with it because I know I’m the only one that really makes them feel better.

I tend to have relationships that last a long time and I pride myself as someone who doesn’t give up on people.  Occasionally though one of my really good friends will get fed up with me…inevitably they’ll start focusing on my weaknesses and we’ll get in a huge fight about why I’m such a bad influence on them. Next thing you know they’re telling me that we’re not going to be friends anymore…kind of junior high drama if you ask me…but whatever.  This usually happens when they start hanging out with people who I’m not friends with; the successful people.  I think the successful people influence them more than I can and when they get close to them I tend to get the boot.

I don’t know if you know me or not but the chances are pretty good that we’ve met before and if it’s been a while since we’ve talked I’d love to hang out and catch up sometime.  You know me as the word “Quit”.  If you’re feeling beat down and discouraged I can take your pain away…all you have to do is talk to me and we’ll work it out.  Also if you know anyone who is successful, I mean REALLY successful, I’d consider it an honor if you would introduce me to them…chances are they don’t even know who I am.

-Q

Sports commentators don’t win championships

Posted in Business, Personal Development by elephanthunters on July 9, 2009

Howard Cosell is arguably one of the greatest sports announcers of all time.  In fact according to David J. Halberstam’s ranking of The top 50 network TV announcers of all time, Cosell comes in at number one.  Cosell has covered the ‘who’s who’ of sporting events including Muhammad Ali fights, The Olympic Games, The World Series and 13 consecutive years of Monday Night Football.  Cosell was idolized in his day for his uncanny ability to recall sporting statistics and bring energy and passion to the viewing experience.  Cosell could  tell you almost anything you want to know about boxing, baseball, football and more.  The only thing Cosell never had going for him is that he didn’t play the game.  Cosell’s expertise ended at the microphone.  You see, Cosell never took a hit, never swung a bat and never threw a pass at the professional level.  He was a commentator – not a player.

The world is full of commentators.  Some of them are very good at their art and they’re never short on book knowledge in their respective area of interest.  People comment on everything from sports to business, from sales and marketing strategies to fashion trends and fitness, the economy, politics, movies…the list goes on forever.  Commentators make life more entertaining; they can even get us to change our perspective by offering new information and ideas.  They spark debates and analyze theories.  Typically they are up front in the spotlight when everyone is listening in.

Rarely though do you find a commentator who is first a practitioner.  Far to often we give more credit to commentators than we do to experts.  If I had to bet my life on my ability to throw a football through a tire swing at 20 yards out and I was allowed to pick one person to get some advice from before I throw…I’m not going to choose Howard Cosell regardless of how much he knows about football.  I’m going to track down Dan Marino or John Elway or Joe Montana.  Why?  Because they’ve thrown the ball, a lot, and they’ve done it consistently while under pressure.  They know how to win because they’ve done it…not just because they have a theory about winning.

Who are you listening too?  Who are you learning from?  If you want to be great at something then find someone who is already great at it and study them…not the people who talk about them.

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Carry a yellow pad…

Posted in Selling by elephanthunters on June 26, 2009

Often walking through the office it is easy for a salesperson to get pinned down by someone who assumes you don’t have anything better to do than to talk to them about nonsensical matters.  Your time is money but since you don’t want to be rude you end up engaging in the conversation at the expense of bogging down YOUR productivity.  A little conversation here and there is not a big deal but these can add up throughout the day and become a nuisance.

If you carry a yellow pad everywhere you go (even if it’s just going to the restroom) you have the appearance of getting something done or going to a meeting.

This nonverbal cue will stave of about 80% of the random distracting conversations from other people who have too much time on their hands.

I rarely write anything on my yellow pad but I make it a goal to carry it around with me all the time.

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