Trust your sales instincts

I worked a sales opportunity about two to three years ago. It was potentially a really cool gig, for a really cool organization.

There was interest. We had several phone conversations. We had several face-to-face meetings.

Plans were sketched out. Timelines were drawn up. I was beginning to build the project into my work flow.

And then all of a sudden…poof.

It was gone.

The fellow stopped returning phone calls. Stopped answering emails. And then one day, quickly, and matter-of-factly, sent an email to say “Leave me alone.”

It was strange, but as we know from our own sales experiences, this happens with some frequency.

But I was frustrated. For two reasons:

1. I had invested a lot of time in my efforts to advance the opportunity.

2. And as I said, it was a really cool organization, and what I had in mind would have both served them well, and been really fun to execute.

It saddened me to update the CRM to reflect the latest news.

But then a funny thing happened:

I later found out that the fellow I had been coordinating efforts with had soured on the organization, and had moved on.

Turns out, he just lost interest in the organization itself. It was NO reflection on what he and I had been working up.

Flash forward to a few months ago, I came to meet the new person installed in the organization that had taken his place, and had the pleasure of running across him at a meeting.

I mentioned some of the ideas that had been bandied about a few years back. And what do you think happened?

“Wow, those are great ideas! I like them. I want to explore them further. Where do we go from here?”

Boom. We are having coffee in two weeks.

At the end of the day, trust your sales instincts. Your ideas, your solutions are good.

Sometimes, just sometimes, the person you are pitching them to just has his mind on something else.

I had allowed myself to question whether my ideas just weren’t good enough.

Turns out I was wrong.

Keep after it. Sometimes it is just a matter of the right person hearing your ideas at the right time.

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My case for INBOX ZERO

Todd Schnick

My iPhone, Sunday, 232pm

Look, how you manage your INBOX is your business. Far be it from me to judge you if your inbox is cluttered and full, tight and under control, or at ZERO each day.

Doesn’t matter to me. Like snowflakes, each human is different, and each of us utilize and manage our INBOXES differently.

I happen to be one of those advocates for striving for INBOX ZERO each day. For me, it works. For me, it brings a sense of order to the chaos.

There are plenty of people in the world who mock me for taking this position. Doesn’t matter to me. They have a different operating system.

Oftentimes, their point is legitimately this: there is the question of people focusing on the URGENT, rather than focusing on the IMPORTANT. This is critical to life success. On this, there is NO debate.

Their point is that worrying about INBOX ZERO is busy work. They argue we should be focusing on our important creative work.

I agree.

But this assumes people think I focus on email rather than focus on my important work. And I will admit this did use to be me.

There was a time when I received hundreds of emails per day. Hundreds. I used to measure the size of my self-worth by how many emails I got. I used to boast on Twitter about how many emails I received on a given day, as if this made me important.

For INBOX ZERO to work for me (and probably you), you have to simply get control of your INBOX. You have to only subscribe to things that matter to you.

And if something arrives in your box that doesn’t immediately convey value to you, you should mercilessly delete it. What you should NOT do is set it aside and see if it matters to you later.

It won’t.

But this is key to this, prioritizing the content you receive in your INBOX is a constant curation. One that you have to keep on top of. And one of the reasons I have to be meticulous about achieving INBOX ZERO each day, for this allows me to delete what needs to be deleted NOW, rather than letting all that stuff pile up.

Because it is at that point that email DOES distract me from my important work.

For those of you who use your INBOX as a task list, well, that’s your choice, and if that works for you, that’s great!

Doesn’t work for me. Over many years of experimenting with dozens and dozens of task management strategies, I’ve finally landed on the one that works for me. And it isn’t through my INBOX.

But at the end of the day, INBOX ZERO is just a symbol of something: was I disciplined this day? Was I on my game? Was I focused (on the right things)?

The one thing I obsess over now more than anything? Striving to receive as FEW emails as possible. But that’s how carefully I manage my INBOX, how carefully I have to curate the content that arrives there.

And spam gets dealt with. Immediately. And like weeds, this will get out of control without constant attention.

No, my goal is that whatever email I do receive is important communication that I WANT TO DEAL WITH: It is communication from clients or prospects, or other people important to me, information I’ve specifically requested, or media that I very much want to learn from.

Funny thing is? My business operates better when I have a streak of weeks of achieving INBOX ZERO. [Yes, I actually track this on Lift.Do]

I am on top of my game better when I am regularly hitting INBOX ZERO. I close more deals. I better serve my clients. And I am truly learning from people I want to learn from.

For me, INBOX ZERO is how I drive towards success.

You can mock me for taking this position, tell me I am anal retentive. Or accuse me of focusing on the URGENT rather than the IMPORTANT.

Your problem.

INBOX ZERO works for me.

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Look, I hope you will opt-in to my mailing list, where I talk about other business and life hacks. But you had better NOT sign-up if all I will be is clutter in your INBOX. Decide carefully!

j j j

Taja Dockendorf on Intrepid TV: Help Me Help You!

Taja

So begins the new series of marketing and branding conversations between myself and Taja Dockendorf. Taja is the principal and creative director of the marketing and branding shop Pulp + Wire, out of Portland Maine.

Today’s show: Help Me, Help You: How to Maximize the Working Relationship Between Client and Vendor!

Discussion topics include:

1. What makes a good client/vendor partnership? As Taja says, many clients don’t know what they want, but they just want to be better.

2. How to determine, and work towards, an appropriate marketing budget for your organization.

3. In discussing design and creation, Taja and I talk about how to truly develop your brand. This was one of my favorite discussions around branding ever…

4. We discuss the best ways for clients and vendors to work together, and to optimize the design and creation process.

5. We close with the importance of open communication being the engine behind powerful client/vendor partnerships…

Tune in next month for our next conversation!

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Announcing Shine A Light Radio!

We have just wrapped up our “Shine A Light” presentation as part of Social Media Atlanta Week.

It has been a fun experience as we prepared this conversation, and look forward to where this is going to go next (stay tuned – more to come).

But what we are really excited about is a new internet radio show co-hosted by myself and Robyn Cobb – Shine A Light Radio.

The goal? Simple. Shine a light on the good works of others, provide a forum for OTHERS to shine a light, and frankly, to demonstrate by practicing what we preach.

If you want to be a guest on the show to showcase something your company is doing to shine a light on others, you can EMAIL ME HERE. Stay tuned to this blog for more details, but plan on the show launching NOVEMBER 18th!

Shine A Light!

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[photo by david paul ohmer on flickr]

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He Said She Said, Round 8 | Interruption Marketing = Evil

Interruption marketing…represents all that is bad about modern marketing. Being forced to watch commercial messages against your will is nowadays just. bad. marketing.

In this episode of He Said, She Said, Stephanie and I discuss some alternatives to interruption marketing. And, stick around to see a surprise ending!
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJ80Zt6skCc]
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSsF9BVsVdw]
A great thrill for us to have Chris Brogan join us for He Said, She Said. Thanks Chris, you are a class act!

Here is the original post on the He Said, She Said blog. Here is Stephanie’s version of the post from Radiant Veracity.

Miriam Salpeter, Chris Brogan, Stephanie Lloyd, Todd Schnick

Miriam Salpeter, Chris Brogan, Stephanie Lloyd, Todd Schnick

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He Said, She Said – Round 6 – Multi-Dimensional Blogging

Last night, my colleague Stephanie A. Lloyd and I discussed the merits of multi-dimensional blogging. Stephanie’s question was inspired by our attendance the night before at Atlanta Bloggers…

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2CBp3Q5ygKo]
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPjwZfWCrvU]

Round 6 was filmed live at the inaugural Atlanta Red Shoe Project TweetUp at FuegoMundo South American Wood-Fire Grill.

Here is the Round 6 post direct from the He Said She Said blog. And here is Stephanie’s version of Round 6…

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