Monday, June 23, 2008

Be Like Matt

I want to be like Matt dancing with new friends all over the world after dancing solo in so many places. So many of us go through life dancing solo. Not only is this a great example of grass-roots international relations, it's a perfect example of how I, at least, want to interact with my clients, customers, co-workers, and everyone else in my life. "What a wonderful world," heh? What a great approach to customer relationship management!

If you want to learn more about Matt and how he came to dance all over the world, you can find his story at WhereTheHellIsMatt.com.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

It's A Bike Day

Well, not really. It's a run day in my training schedule, but thought I'd lighten up a little with some bike-related news and fun.

Many of us have been eagerly awaiting the new Campagnolo Super Record grupo featuring 11, yes, 11 speeds. The "official" release is June 18th, but Roues Artisanales has pics and info here.

If you are easily offended, then skip this video of naked cyclists in Boulder, CO. As they say, "Less gas, more ass."

In this video, the B:C:Clettesperform to SexyBack because as they say, "I wear a helmet so you can drive like an idiot...."

I love the medical study that was publishes this week that found that up to five cups of coffee daily will protect women from heart disease! Of course, the caffeine is another thing. Take this quick test to see just how caffeinated you really are! Drop me an email with your score.

Of course, we all know that a little coffee is a cyclist's best friend. Not only does it give you boost before your ride, but also facilitates recovery afterwards. Yes, that is the finding of another medical study.

Man! I am loving the doctors and scientists this week!

Always love cyclists.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Quote for June 17, 2008

"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." -- George Bernard Shaw

When I read this earlier today, I was reminded of the last job I had before starting Private Label.

I was fired.

It was the summer of 2000. Companies were imploding right and left. The DotCom where I was Managing Editor was running out of money and the CEO was scrambling for more angel or VC money. The problem was that he did not have a clear vision of what the business was, so he rewrote the business plan after every meeting. It was as if he were jumping from one piece of flotsam to the next piece of jetsam after the boat had already gone down miles from shore.

When I was hired, we, or, at least, I had what I thought was a very clear picture of our mission. And, it was working as evidenced by all the emails I got every day from our faithful readers. But, no one wanted to hear that our site visitors were SAHMs home schooling their kids. They thought it was 25-34 guys.

So, I was fired for being negative, counter-productive, not a team player, and a general PITA. The company crashed and burned six weeks later, out of ideas and money.

In this challenging economic environment, it's easy to get spooked and lose the faith, lose the vision, and stray from the company's mission. Business evolves and companies need to adapt. However, if the map of a clear vision and mission has been drawn at the beginning, the route to the future is already there to follow. It takes accurate observation, a clear action plan, and strong, confident execution minus the Pollyanna-ish platitudes.

In other words, this ain't a popularity contest, except to serve the best interests of the customers!

And, they will give the company kudos when they talk about you!

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Monday, June 16, 2008

Is "Lynda" There?

Just to be perfectly clear, my name is Lydia. But, it seems that not only will telemarketers calling from thousands of miles away stumble over my name, but also inside sales people, the majority of whom have degrees in Business or Marketing or English, can't seem to manage my name.

Just to be perfectly clear, Lydia is a very old name. It was the country in the Middle East where King Croesus ruled and the first country to use money, rather than barter.

So, why do so many people have a problem with my name?

Don'tcha think that if someone is calling to ask for something, they'd bother to figure out how to pronounce the name of the person at the other end, uh, before they get on the phone!?

Click!

The next kind of call which is even more common is where the "professional" calling requests to speak to whomever, usually me, by name (after I've answered the phone with my name) without identifying him/herself, the company they represent, or the purpose of the call.

Excuse me! Why should I want to waste my time or anyone else's time on a total stranger? What's with the subterfuge? Am I supposed to be more disposed to give them time? these are inside sales people who are following up on my having downloaded a white paper or registered for a Webinar, a warm lead. So, why am I being treated so disrespectfully? Is this how they've been trained to initiate phone calls? Have they even been trained?

The only people I know who are reluctant to reveal who they are and the purpose of the call are bill collectors. Why do I know this? Because I was a bill collector a million years ago!

Click!

So, if you're an inside sales person, employ inside sales people, responsible for training inside sales people, operate from a position of professionalism and integrity. Be proud of what you do and the information and resources you bring to the people at the other end of those calls. Introduce yourself, your company, and the purpose of your call, then ask for the person you want to reach, then ask that person if s/he has a couple of minutes to speak.

I will respect you and what you're doing and give you the time and attention you deserve.

That doesn't mean I'll buy!

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Friday, June 13, 2008

A Father's Day Meditation

I miss my Dad all the time, but more so around Father's Day. We didn't speak, or rather, I didn't speak to him for nearly 15 years. My dear cousin Jane finally got through my stubbornness, reminding me yet again that he wouldn't always be with us and I reconciled with him a couple years before he went on to the next chapter.

Daddy never stopped loving me, never stopped trying to reconnect, never stopped being proud of me. We all make mistakes in our lives and fortunately, we were each able to forgive and get past them to reaffirm our love for each other as parent and child.

In the days around his funeral, I repeatedly received private eulogies to my dad from all the people he'd mentored and whose lives were changed for knowing him. What an incredible legacy to carry with me always.

So, I wanted to share a little of what I learned from my Dad. Right now this is a Quicktime moviet, but please don't let that stop you. And, when we get it converted into Flash, I'll alert the media!

Lessons My Dad Taught Me

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

GSD Degree

"Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is a nobler art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of nonessentials." -- Lin Yutang

One of my commitments is to make daily posts M-F. Another is to make them relevant! To that end, as evidenced by the title, the subject of today's post is about the GSD, the most valuable degree one can hold because it is essential to Get Stuff Done.

But, then that quote above caught my attention this morning.

I am reluctant to write more, it is complete in its advice and philosophy. Sometimes, the best course of action is to take no action and resolution follows. It requires being quiet within oneself. Not reacting to nervously fill what feels like a void.

How does one relate this to the customer experience or online marketing?

At the lowest common denominator, it could be simply delivering exactly what the customer needs and nothing more or less.