Archive for May, 2011

The Importance of Networking, and other Lessons

Thursday, May 19th, 2011
by Amber Brown

I’ve just returned from spending two idea-packed days in Dallas for our Annual Major Market Conference.  It’s refreshing when sales innovators from all types of media come together to share successes, ideas, and best practices. Radio, television, newspaper and online sales executives from various ownership groups, east to west coast, together shared over 50 business development programs….that’s something special. In addition, as a result of a continued relationship with an automotive manufacturer, we learned directly from a Regional Marketing Manager the specific challenges and goals they are currently facing in the industry. It was a fantastic meeting and I’m reminded of some lessons I learned in my early sales career.

It’s Good to Network Outside Your Market…and Industry

There are some brilliant people not only in sales, but other industries across the country.  With tools like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, it’s easy to keep an active network.  Sometimes just gaining a new perspective can stimulate an idea that can solve a need for a client.  Networking today is more critical then ever.

Who’s in the Elevator, Airplane Seat or Bar ?

When I started in sales 20+ years ago, my manager said “talk to anyone because you never know who you’ll meet that might be your next client”.  I was reminded of this recently on two occasions.   First, I was recently in a lobby lounge with one of my co-workers.  A very nice business man was also sitting next to us.  We struck up a conversation and before you know it, we realized we were sitting next to an SVP for a major telecom company.  The conversation was remarkable!  Secondly, I rode home on a plane from Boston with a gentleman reading a Triathlon magazine.  After I inquired about his Ironman plans, he shared about how his company was considering working with media companies on a content project using an iPad app.

Tap Free Learning Resources

I’m a BIG FAN of the website.  Why?  It’s a place where some of the best minds in the world are sharing innovative ideas in free videos that are 18 minutes or less (by design).   Many of the talks are worthy of entire sales meetings and are also a great way to jump start your mind.

Turn the Box on it’s Side

Recently I heard someone speak about turning the sales funnel on it’s side.  It was fascinating, but I’ll spare you those details.  It made me think about the cliché “Think Out of the Box”.   The box is what we do, so why not turn the box on it’s side?  Turn products and ideas on their side, think of the new ways you can make the box innovative with all the new media offerings.  Bend the box, flatten it, pull the sides off and only use what works for you, then bring in new ideas that make it amazing.

So what will you learn this week?  What idea is the next big one for you?  Who’s in the elevator?

My iPhone vs. Tree Saw

Friday, May 13th, 2011

by Amber Brown

I’m amazed these days at how many more ways I receive information than I did just last year, not to mention the sheer mass of information that comes my way on a daily basis.  With real time news, views and opinions, my attention can swing from one thing to the next without ever taking the real time needed to process, learn and form my own opinions before someone tells me it’s different.

This brings to mind an old story about sharpening the saw.  The story is of two men given the task to cut down equally enormous tree trunks with the same type of saw blade.  While the task was equal, each took a different approach to solving the problem of cutting down the tree.

The first man took the strategy that his muscle and hard work will produce the end result.  Not to be too cliché, but he was plugging way, hitting the pavement, calling on more people, working fast and furious to cut down the tree only stopping for bare essentials.  Imagine his dismay, when he watched the second man, start off not even cutting the tree, instead observing the tree, looking for knots, thinking of the best approach then carefully sharpening his blade.  The first man thinking to himself, “Who has time for that?  I must keep working at this feverish pace to keep up or stay ahead of him.”   But think of the contrast, the man who stopped to sharpen his blade several times during the task found he was refreshed, identifying problems before they arose, evaluating progress, thinking clearly about any hurdles that might be thrown in front of him.

So you know where this is going….the man that stopped to sharpen his sword finished faster.  He worked smarter and finished in record time with energy to spare and time to think about solving the next task or new ways to cut down the tree.  I’m certain man #2 dreamed up the chain saw.

So when do you sharpen the sword for learning new ways to generate new business and NTR?  Many times people will repackage their new products the same way as they sold the old ones, to yet the same clients and decision-makers hoping for a different result or more revenue.  Sounds to me like plugging away.

In today’s connected world the skills and strategy that made you successful in the past may not take you to where you need to go.   Being consumed by being connected all the time leaves little time to actually think and learn.  We need to take time to sharpen the mental sword that propels great problem solving ideas, smarter ways to work and improve skills!

So how are you sharpening your saw for developing new revenue?