Monday, December 31, 2007

On Assignment

As of the end of December I will be away on a consulting assignment and won't be writing on

For more information you may contact me at


Saturday, November 03, 2007

Windows Vista... Wait a Year or Two

Recently I lost the video input on my Dell laptop and I decided to try a new Toshiba unit. I was excited to try a new laptop product line, and especially interested in using Windows Vista for the first time...

So after 2 months, I can tell you without hesitation, that Vista is not a stable operating system. I am not sure how Microsoft makes an operating system, but I do expect it to work fairly flawless! From a business position, I think Vista is too much too soon and much to do about nothing. I have used NOTHING in Vista that has enhanced my sales productivity that wasn't already present in XP.

In addition, Vista start up and shut down is a dicey endeavor. It takes forever and it often runs me through a system safe-mode/restore routine. Hit the wrong button and you can lose everything. Vista also runs me through error messages on a daily basis. Add to that the security issues it presents in browsing and I call it a lame product.

This isn't a bash Microsoft post. I have a desktop unit and three other laptops in my office that run on XP and it is extremely stable.

Only one thing is more stable... my 24 inch iMac running Mac OS X.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Wireless Access in Hotels

USA Today had an article in the GREEN Section today on wireless access availability in major hotel chains. The key word - WIRELESS.

There's nothing worse than being tethered to a desk in your hotel room just to have Internet access. Many chains have had wireless access in lobbies and some cafes, but not the rooms. That's changing. The other issue after access is money. Some hotels charge $9.95 a day or more to connect and others are free.

The Hyatt Place product seems to be the sales travelers best bet. All locations have wireless access in rooms and lobbies. Best of all - access is free. Hilton Garden Inn's match Hyatt Place with the free price but not all locations have wireless access in rooms. The article states "Majority of Locations."

Also according to the article usage of in-room Internet access has grown by 255% in just the first half of 2007. That's huge and outpaces airports and cafes - other top connection spots.

What sales people and other road warriors want is instant, free access. No registration and no hassles. Start promoting that service and I'll book a reservation in that hotel first.


Saturday, September 22, 2007

Constant Contact

One of the best products I've found in the last year is called Constant Contact and it's a website designed to manage your email advertising to your clients.

Constant Contact allows you create email campaigns for your database including newsletters, announcements, press releases and thank you messages. You have the ability to begin working with numerous templates and make all types of adjustment including uploading logos and photos.

Here are some of the uses I've implemented with CC:

1. Newsletter - I send semi-monthly newsletters to my clients.
2. Event Reminders - I send reminders to clients of upcoming seminars.
3. Surveys - CC has a survey feature that allows you to send surveys to your clients.
4. Press Releases - I use these to announce new products and events.

It's extremely easy to insert links and direct readers to others sites. Constant Contact tracks all the clicks and each email that you send can be evaluated in multiple ways.

If you're collecting email addresses you need to take a look at Constant Contact. Check them out at


Friday, September 21, 2007

Multitasking for Sales People

I don’t recall the first time I heard the word, or of the concept, but multitasking is the topic of today’s post. Multitasking is the concept that has made disciplined people “production machines” and normal people “hit or miss” in their performance.

The moment pagers began leaving an instant text message along with a phone number multitasking has been a blessing and a curse for sales people. Spinning our wheels with multiple pieces of technology suddenly became an acceptable endeavor if we simply said “I’m multitasking.”

According to an article in the Arizona Republic, writers Christia Gibbons and Andrew Johnson “Whether it’s text messaging during a meeting, emailing while writing a report or calling from the car, recent studies have shown that multitasking can lead to a loss of focus and a decline in work quality.” It makes total sense to me. If your mind is focused on one thing then the ability of that same mind to focus on something else is diminished.

Should we be able to skillfully use different forms of technology? Of course. Should we be expected to compose an email, talk with a client on the phone and text our spouse back that Chili’s is a great place to meet for lunch, all at the same time? Nope.

Here’s some advice from someone who multitasks when needed but knows when too much is too much:

1. Never do anything with a mobile device when talking face to face with a client unless you are both waiting for a call, email, text message.
2. Don’t surf the Internet when you’re on a call with a client unless you are reviewing something that pertains to the call. Just don’t do it. Go to your desktop and stare at a blank screen.
3. Don’t text and drive. This is crazy and just became a primary moving violation offense in Arizona.
4. Be very careful when driving and talking. When you’re supposed to be driving – drive. Try taking a call then saying this to your client “hey this call is so important and I’m driving. Let me pull over and I’ll call you right back.” Then do it. You look good and deliver on a small little promise too.
5. Work in “day-tight compartments.” In other words when you launch a project, large or small, don’t start doing something else until that project is done. Need to write a letter? Don’t take a call until it’s done. Need to make an important call? Don’t check and respond to email until you’re off the call.
6. Turn off the automatic send and receive on your email. Check when you’re free. What if the mailman brought your mail throughout the day one piece at a time… would you run to the mail box every time he threw a letter in the box? No, you’d wait until he was done delivering the mail. If you’re expecting an important message, hit the send and receive message until you get it.

These are only a few ideas. Be careful out there, the world of technology really is a blessing and a curse. Make sure you’re on the right end of the dilemma.


Saturday, September 15, 2007

Google Docs & Spreadsheets

I've given dozens of presentations on the topic of using technology to be more productive in selling. One of my favorite websites has always been Google and the various products they have created to help users solve their technology problems.

It amazes me that their various software solutions are free. Don't get me wrong, I understand the business model, but it still amazes me how cool it is that the average consumer (and sales professional), get so much benefit for nothing.

One of the products I've been using lately to work on writing projects and proposals has been Google Docs. I actually stumbled onto the product when my laptop crashed and I needed to put the finishing touches on some writing I was doing. Like all Google products, Docs is a web-based program that allows you to create documents and spreadsheets.

Using my desktop at work with my laptop down, I would write all day and then simply save my work in Google Docs. Later in the evening I would log back into Google Docs and pull up my project exactly how I left it. Sound simple? Good solutions usually are... Check it out at Google.


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Mobile Phone Maniacs

Every day I see too many people acting like idiots with their mobile phones and Bluetooth headsets. When is the last time you saw and heard someone talking on their mobile phone that was being rude? Yesterday? Today? A minute ago?

Rudeness is on the the rise according to a survey by the Pew Research Center... 86% of respondents have said that they are occasionally irritated by other people conducting "loud and annoying" mobile phone conversations. This survey, and a 2004 survey done by Sprint, imply that those saying they see and hear rude mobile phone talkers don't believe they themselves are rude when they use their own mobile phones.

Hmmm. Doesn't seem to make sense. Obviously we mobile phone users think we're courteous when we're talking on the phone and most everyone else is rude and disruptive.

Where's the truth?

The truth is we all have a little bit of a mobile phone maniac in us. To purge the maniac in you, stop doing these three things immediately.

1. Stop making calls, and only take important calls, on your mobile phone when you are in a restaurant, using public transportation or in a non-private office setting.

Too many times when we're waiting for someone to join us for lunch or dinner we grab our phone and call someone, anyone. Just give us something to do instead of making us wait, alone, in a restaurant. Try this instead of making a phone call - look at the menu. Ask for crayons if you have to, but give the phone and everyone around you a break.

2. Stop having private phone conversations in public settings. No one cares about your personal business, but that doesn't imply they want to hear it. Walking through the mall talking about inappropriate topics isn't okay just because no one knows who you are.

3. Stop using "I'm multi-tasking" as an excuse for being rude when interacting with a human being and technology at the same time. Here's a simple rule of thumb - the human comes first! Multi-tasking when you are working alone may be a good thing... but even that is debatable. There is no debate when you are talking with someone face to face and you suddenly just grab your phone or activate your Bluetooth headset and start talking to the person one the other end of the phone. That's called being rude.

Try these three things. The noise level in the universe will decline and you can purge yourself of some poor behavior at the same time!