Several months ago, I was conducting interviews on a panel for a company I worked for. The panel interviewed about 8 different individuals. Sadly, what I remember most about the process, even more than the two individuals that actually got hired, was the second prospective employee interview. He was a young buck right out of college, a little eccentric, and simply wasn’t what the position required. You could just tell.
After thanking the applicant for coming in, he stood up, pointed to himself with both thumbs in the air and said, “I’m your guy! Let me just tell you that I’m your guy!” Don’t tell me you’re my guy, show me! Worse still, who taught this kid to do this? Needless to say, it was an awkward moment.
I’ve had my fair share of bad interviewee experiences too, however. About three years ago, I was interviewed by Payless Shoe Source for some corporate position (don’t ask, not that there’s anything wrong with that, I’m just a Nike guy). The company had found my student resume while I attended BYU, and invited me to interview. I was flattered and obliged, but neither I nor the interviewer were impressed. I remember at the end asking him what he liked most about working for the discount shoe company, and his response was that he got to “wear business casual instead of suits.” It was awkward, funny, and yet, a little sad at the same time. I can’t imagine the primary reason for working somewhere to be the wearing of casual attire, that is, unless you have an unusual fetish for sweatpants.
Steve Pavlina writes: “Having been a non-employee for about 14 years now, I’ve made my share of stupid business mistakes. I’ve also coached a number of people to start their own businesses, and I’ve seen many of them make similar mistakes.” Continue reading…
I’m currently reading Love is The Killer App. Though not the most prolific business book, the title does an excellent job in formulating what makes for a successful business career in terms of happiness and producing a return on your “networks.” Author Tim Sanders defines a “lovecat” as an individual that intelligently and sensibly shares his/her knowledge, network of friends and associates, and compassionate service with bizpartners without expecting anything in return.
What’s a bizpartner you may ask? Every person in our work life, be it a boss, banker, competitor, client, or just about anyone else. I especially like the competitor one and have recently discovered how much of an asset and help they can be for any type of business striving to improve.
For all you salesman out there (which is just about anyone who tries to influence others), here are three of the most consistent prospecting methods:
Asking for referrals. Remember to always ask clients, colleagues, even prospects if they know anyone who could benefit from your services.
Executive Networking. Let your work speak for itself. Get your client CEO’s to call or email others in their industry on your behalf. Executive-to-executive sales will always outperform seller-to-executive sales.
Cold Calling. Yup. That’s right. Contrary to popular belief, the reason this method keeps re-occurring in sales is that it works. No other method can increase your prospecting efforts like cold calling can. (I have personally closed many profitable clients this way.)
There are lots of other ways to build your pipelines, but hopefully this will prioritize them and remind you of what works.
[Source: Power Prospecting by Patrick Hansen]
Because it’s written for already good companies. A majority of US businesses being run by entrepreneurs have yet to prove themselves. Therefore, I would like to see From Nothing to Good. Then I’ll focus on taking my company the rest of the way.
I only got through half his book, but plan on finishing it once I’m good.
Small business employees have the opportunity to wear many hats. My main “hat” for example says Project Manager, which is a fancy way of saying I take care of and manage all client projects and make sure they’re done on time. I’m also an HTML designer, proposal writer, secretary, general manager and even a salesman from time to time.
So what makes a good salesman? Well that question would be like asking, “What makes a good baseball team?” or “What makes a good human being?” for that matter. There are obviously many functions involved in answering the above questions. With that said, however, I do believe one thing is common in all great salesmen.
There is a plethora of business books out in the world claiming to reveal the next big thing to make money or better run your business. Some are good, most are bad. There are books on management, sales, and even customer service. The last one I think is laughable. Customer service is equivalent to how you cordially serve your customers to make them happy. If you don’t understand that, I don’t know how you would be in business.
I therefore present Griffio’s “corporate policy” on customer service. It’s rather simple and is based on one thing: accountability. Be responsive to those you interact with. Here’s how:
Return phone calls within 1.5 hours – it’s tough, but it can be done. You will be surprised how comforting a returned phone call can be to your customers. By your doing it, they will have more respect for you and your company.
Reply to emails on the same day – When someone writes an email, respond to it. It usually takes about 10 seconds to do so. I recently emailed a gentleman last week inquiring about his marketing services. I still haven’t heard from him. My bet is that if he treats his potential customer’s poorly, a paying customer probably won’t get much response from him either.
Reason being: customer service is about character not dollars. It’s something that is hard to teach although it can be done. The two above items should help your efforts in showing your customers that you care enough to respond to them. They have been the only formal customer service policies we follow and have taken our company a long way in being one of the most responsive firms in our industry. Sure beats reading a long, boring business book on customer service.
Some of you may like to know: exactly how does Griffio go about solving our clients’ business challenges? Well, we’ve loosely documented but rigidly followed the below ideology. (It applies to all sorts of problems and not just how to make web-based business software.)
Discover. Find out what the problem is. A lot of times, you can just ask, “What’s the problem?” or “How can I make your job easier?” Otherwise, conduct in-depth research, such as thorough exploration and investigation to expose the predicament.
Design. After you understand where the problem is, you need to think it through. What ways can you solve the issue? What would work best? Continued research must take place to test your ideas during this phase. Contrary to popular problem solving formulas, this is where most of the testing should take place. An example would be how a certain web page will work or how my audience would react to this idea. Try to uncover any potential hang-ups the idea or process may have.
Develop. Create or build the supporting materials. This step generally includes the use of technical tools such as a software editor, a hammer, or even written notes. Good craftsmanship must take place to ensure quality.
Deliver. Once the system or idea is built or completed, deliver it, launch it, present it, or sell it. This is the part where you give and/or tell the “problemee” what you think will best improve their current state.
Support. This is where you help implement you solution, be it an idea or website. Problem solving requires change, both logistical and behavioral. Good support facilitates that change. The audience should be free to ask questions or get training as to how to best use your idea.
Hopefully, this will help or add to how you approach problems. The idea is to use these steps or a derivative of them in solving just about anything. If you come up with any areas that this might not work (i.e. marriage) please let me know by filling out our quick and easy comment box.
I get asked now and then how I came up with the name of my company, Griffio. Here’s the answer:
In the summer of 2003, Dave Andersen (my first partner) and I were trying to decide on a name for our new web company. We created a long list of prospective words. Some good. Some not. Some flat out silly.
Anyhoo, I was reading an article one day by an Italian author named Griffo. At that time, I was also mentoring with a gentleman from Experio (now known as Hitachi Consulting). I liked the “io” in Experio and the “g” in Griffo. So I experimented with the two words until Griffio came out. The name stuck. Armed with an art degree, my sister Lexia told me to emphasize the “g” in the logomark. That stuck, too.
So there you have it. That’s how Griffio came to be.