Saturday, December 19, 2009

Recession Selling

Neil Rackham, "Customers will often buy much more expensive solutions in a recession if they perceive them as less risky." Selling Power June 2009

Selling in the “New Economy”

I was reading Selling Power - June 2009 (Yes, I am behind in my reading), Gerhard Gschwandtner wrote, "We can no longer dictate how prospects buy, and we can no longer act as if we know what's best for the customer. Such terms as "solution selling", value selling", and "consultative selling" sound good, but they no longer matter. What matters is what the customer wants."I agree. Technology has changed and provided customers with incredible new ways to purchase or at least research products. Changes in technology have changed society, and have changed the buying process and the selling process.At the end of the article, Gerhard continues, "...there is better technology to to manage every step of your sales process...renovate your sales technology so you can accelerate your sales. If you don't like that change, get ready to be irrelevant."

Monday, November 16, 2009

Being Quoted

I was recently quoted in "10 Steps to Successful Sales" by Brian Lambert... My words of wisdom: "Your customer’s customer is your customer too. Help them increase their sales and they will increase yours."

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

MIT Personas

Enter your name, and Personas scours the web for information and attempts to characterize the person - to fit them to a predetermined set of categories that an algorithmic process created from a massive corpus of data. The computational process is visualized with each stage of the analysis, finally resulting in the presentation of a seemingly authoritative personal profile.

I orginally came across this through a post at Tech Crunch: 

I use my full name and also my nickname so I ran it twice and here are the results:

Personas - MIT - Antoine Loup

Personas - MIT - Tony Loup

Virgin Listens

I flew back from London a few weeks ago on a Virgin Atlantic flight. As we were flying I was taking photos out of the window. I noticed there seemed to be something flapping near the wing.

I zoomed in and took as many photos as I could. Once the plane landed (it wasn't much longer after I took the photos), I talked with some of the staff. The flight attendant asked me to speak with the captain, who then wanted me to show the picture to the engineer. I waited for the engineer to arrive, showed him the photos, and told him where I was sitting.

They all seemed very interested and even while I was waiting to go through customs, the pilot, stopped and said thanks again.

I hope it was nothing serious, but at least they all took the time to listen and seemed genuinely concerned. That was good customer service.

Photo from inside a plane

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Dear Dell, What Happened?

Dear Dell Gold Team,

What happened? We had such a good relationship at one time. I called you yesterday, but you wouldn't answer, why are you screening my calls? I sent you an email, but you didn't reply.

I found a number you gave me and called again this morning, and the operator tried to give me the run around. I used a different number and the person who answered said they could not open the record of our relationship. Have you blocked me out completely?

That person said I should call you directly. I did. It breaks my heart when I leave you messages and you don't call back.

Is it me? Was I too needy? If you sell me just one more laptop I promise I won't call you again. I know you are busy and are involved with a lot of people (they told me you were too busy for a serious relationship), but I thought we had something special. I guess I was wrong. I will always cherish the good times we had. I hope you all the best in your future.

Sincerely disappointed,

-your customer


It has been at least twenty four hours, four phone calls, three voice messages, and one email and I still cannot purchase a laptop from Dell.... I guess this dude doesn't get it.


So I just got a call from Dell, they say they changed the email address, the girl who called didn't ask for a customer number or anything, but also said she would send a quote over to me immediately. The strange part was we did not talk at all about anything other then me giving her a model number. So I am wondering if I will have to call her back and ask her to revise anything and talk about shipping since I need it ASAP? It will be great to find out if they actually changed any of the information they had wrong also.


As I suspected, I had to contact them again, this time through email with the girl who provided the quote, we did have change a few things and fix the shipping. I will admit - it arrived the day they said they were going to send it, so that was nice.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


Today I took the GMAT. The scores I received were lower than anticipated. My initial reaction was that I really should have studied more than ten hours over the past week if I had really wanted to do better, especially since it has been at least ten years since I have tried any of the math that may be on the test.
After thinking about it though, I thought that since the amount of people taking the GMAT had to be those that were already well above the average population, that maybe my competition was getting more difficult. I then thought if I beat more then half of the people who are taking the test and I barely studied, what does that say about the pool of candidates?
I was worried about whether the scores were good enough for the programs I was thinking about entering. I started looking at what scores were needed for what schools, and found that my scores were just fine and there is no reason to take the test again – unless I do it for personal satisfaction to prove to myself that I can beat 80%-90% or more of the people.
If I find the time in between actual work and course work, and am inclined to spend the $250 again, I may take the test a second time. Until then let me try and help those who have not as of yet taken the GMAT.
I found that after the math portion I still had about 10 minutes out of the 75 allotted. After the verbal section I had about 20 minutes left. This indicates that I moved to quickly through the questions. I should have taken more time to clearly read the question and all the answers.  If I was to give advice it would be to take your time and be sure to isolate the real question that is being asked. Once you think you have the answer – try to plug it back in and see if it works.  If it is the verbal part, take out all of the fluff and distracting parts the test writers put in and then reread the sentence. If the sentence talks about the most honorable baron of wherever, why not just make it simple and say “bob”.
I wish everyone luck who has to take the GMAT, and for those of you can afford the Harvards and Whartons of the world – I wish you even more luck, because you are the ones who really need it.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Order Difficulty

So, I just tried to order a laptop from Dell. I called one of the numbers listed in a previous quote they emailed me. After dealing with the automated line, a women answered and explained that I have a dedicated rep (I am that special you know), and that I would have to call him. I was surprised that I was not transferred, or that she did not ask if I would like to have them call me back. So I called the number she gave me and got a voice mail. So now I wonder if I should not take this time between me wanting to place an order and actually being able to place the order to do more research on other vendors products?


I just got an email from my "personal account representative" (the email lists him as a Relationship Sales Advisor) at Dell. He says he tried to call me, however, I have no voice mail and the receptionist did not have any incoming calls for me in the past 20 minutes (a nice little break!). The email subject line was "please call" and he instructed me to "please call him" and was kind enough to give me a phone number. The phone number however was not in service. I replied to the email and he called me and took the order. Now I am waiting to receive an email confirmation. We will have to see what happens next.

Update 2: So it is now the next morning and I still do not know if the order has even gone through. I was lucky enough to receive an email advertisement from Dell offering to sell me....a laptop.

Update 3: Two hours have passed since I left a voice mail at the original phone number I had. I have not received a call back or an email confirming the order. So is there a laptop on the way?

Update 4: So at 5:30 they sent the confirmation, and not only did someone list the fax number as a phone number, but after three years of direct contact with me, they still have the name wrong on the account - not misspelled, but completely wrong.

Update 5: So Dell has gone to hell... I didn't bother to write how two days after confirmation we received a letter saying Dell opened a new account for our business. I also didn't mention the unbearable torture I had to go through to find out why they opened a new account. I really do not want to even begin to talk about Dell Financial Services, as they seem to be completely incompetent. So 5 days after the laptop was supposed to be here, I was asked where it was. It seems Dell has decided it was going to need 3 more weeks to get the laptop here. So I called to ask why I was not updated? The automated system hung up on me twice and so I repeatedly pressed zero until a human answered. He was nice of enough to tell me I had a "personal account rep" and then transferred me to voice mail.This is customer service at its best. I left a message and am now waiting, again. Why would anyone want to deal with Dell if this is the service they are going to receive?

Update 6: So I finally got through to Dell and they said there was a problem, but they did send the laptop by overnight delivery. I then received the letter saying they were making changes to their accounting systems. I have to give them credit for using overnight delivery and for sending the letter, but maybe they could have sent the letter, before actually changing everything over? And maybe the CSRs who answer the phones for the accountign departments could be given some more information.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Voice Mail Standards

What is the number one item we need to leave on a voice mail if we want to make sure we get a call back? I would say a phone number.

So why do so many people wait till the end to leave their callback number? Sometimes it gets cut off. Sometimes it is said so fast that we need to listen to the entire message again just to get to the phone number.

So this is my attempt to try and set a standard for leaving a voice mail message.

We should always start with the big three:

1.       Our name.

2.       Our company.

3.       Our phone number.

After those are covered we can then leave our brief message and politely ask how we would like the person to respond to us or if we will try back again another time. At that point we should repeat the “big three”, pausing after saying “…and my number is…” thus giving the recipient a moment to begin to write our phone number.

If we need to listen to the message again to capture the phone number, we do not need to listen to the entire message just for that one little piece of information.

I hope someone can utilize this suggestion to improve their communications, either leaving or receiving messages.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


I came across this today and thought it was very appropriate based on the current financial situation occurring around the globe.

“Without change there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement. Those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable.”

- William Pollard

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Common Keyboard Shortcuts for Word

These are some standard shortcuts that can be used from the key board to perform simple tasks. I found this list at the Microsoft Office Online Training site. There is an incredible amount of information there. I am re-posting the list here for my own convenience.

SHIFT + LEFT ARROW = Left one character at a time
SHIFT + RIGHT ARROW = Right one character at a time
SHIFT + DOWN ARROW = Down one line at a time
SHIFT + UP ARROW = Up one line at a time
CTRL+ LEFT ARROW = Left one word at a time
CTRL+ RIGHT ARROW = Right one word at a time
HOME = To the beginning of the current line of text
END = To the end of the current line of text
CTRL+HOME = To the beginning of the document
CTRL+END = To the end of the document
PAGE UP = Up one full screen
PAGE DOWN = Down one full screen
CTRL+PAGE U = P To the beginning of the previous page
CTRL+PAGE DOWN = To the beginning of the next page
CTRL+O = Open
CTRL+Z = Undo
CTRL+Y = Redo
CTRL+S = Save
CTRL+P = Print
ALT+F4 = Close the active window
CTRL+B = Bold
CTRL+I = Italic
CTRL+U = Underline
CTRL+R = Align right
CTRL+E = Align center
CTRL+L = Align left
CTRL+C = Copy
CTRL+X = Cut
CTRL+V = Paste
CTRL+C+CTRL+C = Open the clipboard
CTRL+F = Find
CTRL+H = Replace
CTRL+A = Select whole document
F7 = Spell checker
SHIFT+F7 = Thesaurus
CTRL+SHIFT+S = Style box
CTRL+SHIFT+N  = Change font to Normal style

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Technorati Linking

I have registered my blog with Technorati. Here is a link to my profile:

Technorati Profile

Monday, February 2, 2009

The First Post

Another blog....

This is not intended to become a regular item on my list of things to do, however following the theme of the rest of the site it is just a sample of who I am and the abilities I have.

I do appreciate you taking the time to read a little though.