Saturday, July 26, 2008

Going The Extra Mile

As a teenager, I used to work in my father's card, gift and party supply store on Saturday's. The store would close at five 0'clock but I was always ready to leave at 4:45. At five o'clock, my father would lock the doors to the store and then check out the cash register, he'd place the money in a brown paper bag and bring it home to prepare the bank deposit. I was always excited when we were ready to leave.

Invariably, after the doors were locked and we were preparing to leave, a customer would knock on the door and want to come in to the store to buy something. My father would gladly unlock the door and welcome them in and help them. I, in-turn would get antsy and agitated. All I wanted to do was leave, go home and be with my friends.

I would ask my dad why he let them in after he had already closed the store? After all, the hours the store was open were clearly posted on the door. If it was after five, the store was closed, period.... end and we should go home! Right! Wrong!

My father taught me a valuable lesson about going the extra mile that I did not come to appreciate until many years later. He told me that you never new if that customer who came knocking on the door after the store closed would be the customer who would spend hundreds of dollars on wedding invitations, holiday cards a Cross pen or they needed party supplies for their church or school social. Either way, he was in business to serve his customers and he would do what ever he had to do to make them happy and earn their business.

And then it happened. A couple came knocking at the door after five. He let them in and we didn't leave until nine o'clock because he was writing up a big wedding invitation order (big sale, big margins). I remember how excited my father was driving home that night because that order probably made his week.

My father got it ( I didn't). He new that if he went the extra mile, he'd get the sale, get the referrals and have a customers for life.

Fast forward to this past Thursday evening. I walk down to the parking garage to find the front, driver side window on my new car smashed and sitting in the front seat. My new GPS and garage door opener were stolen. Needless to say, I was a little upset.

I go back up to my office and Google 24 hour auto glass repair businesses. It is now after six and I'm getting everyone's answering service. They all want to schedule an appointment for Friday sometime. I keep dialing because I'm sure that I can find someone to come out and fix the window that evening. I finally call Glass1One. Ray, the owner answers the phone. I tell him my tale of woe and he explains to me that I can call everyone in Phoenix and no one will be able to fix my window that evening, because no one stocks the glass. They all go to the same wholesale warehouses to get the windows and they all close at five.

Ray, then went on to say that he would be more than happy to be at the warehouse at six in the morning, pick up the window, be at my house before seven and have it replaced by 7:30. With that said, Ray and I get on a conference call with the people at State Farm Insurance to work out all the details for payment. We agree on everything and then Ray made a comment to me that reminded me of my father and the lesson I had learned from him many years ago.

Ray said....
"I was closed and just getting ready to leave and heard the phone ring and decided to answer it before I left."
Ahhh..... Ray gets it!! Ray went the extra mile! He didn't have to but he did! I appreciate it and I will let everyone know about it.

As promised, Ray showed up at the house at 6:45 in the morning, replaced the window and I was good to go.

Thanks Ray!

Going the extra mile is just smart business!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Be The Watchmaker

Both Fran and I come from a family of sellers. Fran's dad was was in the printing and office supply business in the garment center in New York. My father was in the greeting card, gift and party supply business in Chicago. I really believe that selling is in both of our bloods.

One thing that both my father and my father in law had in common was that they were both good story tellers. For many years I have affectionately called my father the "Watchmaker" because when you ask him a question you don't get an answer you get a story. You know the old saying, "If you ask him what time it is, he tells you how to make the watch." Thus, the "Watchmaker" moniker.

In retrospect, I see how my fathers "watchmaking" abilities made him successful in sales and business. My brother tells me that I have the gene and am carrying on the family tradition (I don't think he meant it as a compliment) and I have a bit of the "Watchmaker" in me. The truth is, as I get older, he is right.

I don't profess to be a great seller or a even a great story teller. Although, I do feel that a great story that is relevant to the presentation engages people, they remember you and it sets you apart from the pack. You stand out!

Paul Anovick recently highlighted former KOOL Radio, Phoenix General Manager and author, Brian Bielers's new book the Sales Operator. Paul's Blog entry is "We're Wired For Stories: Telling and Selling" Paul and Brian did a great job articulating the concept of telling stories and how it relates to sales. Paul goes on to say that....
"If you want to sell more, tell more tales. A good sales story stimulates the mind and engages people to conversation. If you are selling and people are not tuned to what you are saying, it's almost impossible to move them to action. Executives and world-class sellers tell stories to get people involved."
I'm reminded of a favorite quote from Michael Eisner. former head of Disney about story telling....
“At a certain level, what we do at Disney is very simple. We set our goals, inevitably fall short, try to learn from our mistakes, and hope that our success will continue to out number our failures. Above all we tell stories, in hope that they will entertain, inform and engage.”
Great story tellers are great sellers and leaders.... Be the Watchmaker!!

Are you a watchmaker or do you know any?

Read Paul's Blog here:

Brian Bieler,
author of The Sales Operator, visit Brian’s website at

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I Downgraded! ... Save Money on Gas

Over the weekend I Downgraded! I downgraded from a six-cylinder Infiniti to a four-cylinder Honda. I could not be happier. It is a great car that is very fuel efficient. Hopefully, I will get around thirty miles per gallon on average as opposed to the twenty (which is not bad) that I get on my Infiniti.

Evidently, I'm not the only one making the switch. J.D. Power reports that the auto market is shifting and that "smaller rides", four-cylinder vehicles had one of their strongest months on record during June.

Conversely, "In contrast, sales of eight-cylinder vehicles dropped industry-wide to just 13 percent in June, driven in part by a shift to six cylinder powertrains in the large sedan market," the report noted.

Read about it here:

Cars with poor gas mileage are having a huge impact on media sellers. With gas prices well over four dollars per gallon, the cost of doing business is increasing exponentially. More fuel efficient cars are the way to go.

Although, not everyone is in a position to buy a car right now. Here's a tip to save on gas.

Tip: Sellers need to be smarter about the way that they plan their day and week.

Sellers should divide the market into four quadrants (North, South, East and West). Each day they should focus on one quadrant and see clients and prospects in that area. For example, on Monday they should focus on the West side of town and Tuesday they should be on the North Side etc. This will eliminate huge drive-times between appointments and eliminate the need to drive back and forth across town wasting time and money on gas.

I'm reminded of the Five P's of selling that my friend Bruce Olson the National Sales Manager at Sandusky Radio in Phoenix always used to talk about.

"Poor Planing Promotes Poor Performance"

In today's economy, poor planning costs you MONEY in more ways than one!

UPDATE 7/21/08: I just filled up for the first time (regular not premium) and I'm getting 28 miles per gallon. Very Excited!!!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

More Secrets to Selling.....

Harvey Mackay once again served up another list of powerful attributes that contribute to making us all extraordinary sellers. Here's another list to print up and display prominently. Look at it and practice them daily....they work!

The secrets of selling:
Believing something and convincing others

(reprinted with permission;

I've been a salesman my entire life, so I've learned a lot of sales secrets over the years. It's rare to be an entrepreneur or a CEO without being a salesperson. I'm often asked for my "sales secrets." I have plenty to share, but they're hardly secrets. Success follows lots of hard work.

Here is my list of secrets that every salesperson can benefit from.

  • It's not how much it's worth; it's how much people think it's worth. Marketing is neither the art of selling nor the simple business of convincing someone to buy. It is the art of creating conditions by which the buyer convinces himself. And nothing is more convincing than hard evidence that others want the same thing.
  • Knowing something about your customer is just as important as knowing everything about your product. If you're a regular reader of my books and columns, you know about the Mackay 66 Customer Profile. Knowing your customers means knowing what they really want. Maybe it's your product, but maybe it's something else too—recognition, respect, reliability, service or friendship.
  • You are not important. Our challenge, whether we are salespeople or negotiators or managers or entrepreneurs, is to make others see the advantage to themselves in responding to our proposal. Understanding our subjects' personalities is vital. Let them shine. Our own personalities are subordinate.
  • Your reputation is your greatest asset. While you, yourself, are not important, your reputation is. It's not product, price or service. Everything flows from your reputation—customer loyalty, referrals and more.
  • Apply the law of large numbers. Position yourself as Number Two to every prospect on your list, and keep adding to that list. I can promise you that if your list is long enough, there are going to be Number Ones that fail to perform, retire or die or lose their territories for many reasons. What I can't tell you is which ones. If you're standing second in line, in enough lines, sooner or later you're going to move up to Number One.
  • Short notes yield long results. I'm amazed by how many salespeople don't write thank you notes. It's all a matter of personal recognition and courtesy, just as important as remembering names and taking a personal interest in people. And it's not just for sales.
  • Keep your eye on your time, not on your watch. A salesperson really has nothing to sell but her time. Her product exists independently of anything she adds to it. Her personality will win her or lose her accounts initially, but if she isn't around to provide service and be accessible to customers, she'll lose those accounts.
  • Position yourself as a consultant. The mark of a good salesperson is that his customer doesn't regard him as a salesperson at all, but a trusted and indispensable adviser, an auxiliary employee who, fortunately, is on someone else's payroll.
  • Believe in yourself, even when no one else does. Who says you're not tougher, smarter, better, harder working, more able than your competition? It doesn't matter if they say you can't do it. The only thing that matters is if you say it.
  • If you don't have a destination, you'll never get there. Everybody and every business needs a set of basic goals and beliefs, but most of us are seat-of-the-pants, one-day-at-a-time operators. Our goals are fuzzy and our plans for achieving them non-existent. Goals don't have to be elaborate either, just realistic.
  • Practice positive visualization. I have found this to be one of the most powerful means of achieving personal goals. It's what an athlete does when he comes on to the field to kick a winning field goal with three seconds on the clock and 60,000 screaming fans and millions more watching on TV. Great athletes and businesspeople have the ability to visualize themselves in successful situations.
  • Ask for the order. It's amazing what you don't get when you don't ask. An insurance agent whom he had known for many years, once asked the famous automobile pioneer Henry Ford why he never got any of Ford's business. "You never asked me," Ford replied.

Mackay's Moral: Tell me, and I will forget; show me, and I may remember; but involve me, and I'll understand.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Go the Extra Mile

Dan Kelly of the Classicrockfm Blog featured a post and commented on an entry from Seth Godin's Blog.

When you least expect it

I sent in a t-shirt order to customink a few weeks ago.

Three days later, I got a note from someone named Lori that said,

"Hi Seth,

I noticed that you have designed shirts that appear to be for a charity event. If that’s the case, CustomInk would love to make a small donation to your team or to the charity itself on your behalf.

Please let me know if your order is for one of these events. If you would like us to pitch in and support your cause, please include information about your charity event, a link if you have one or the organization’s name if there is no link to a team web page."

That's it. No policy, no standard operating procedure, no promise in advance. Just plain generosity.

It turns out that customink does this as a matter of course, regardless of whether the customer has a blog or not. They don't do it as an inducement, they just do it.

Formula: The value of a perk is inversely related to the expectation of that perk.

Dan's comments......
How could this be applied at your radio station?
I mentioned here months ago about having members of your airstaff calling a few different listeners in your database to thank them for listening.

Dave Martin took it further by suggesting the airstaff do the same with advertisers.

What if your station did this with community organizations too? "Hi, this is Bob Morning Jock at WXXX. I noticed that your organization is doing X. I'd love to know more so I can talk about it on the air."

Unexpected. And who do you think that organization might contact when they're planning something really big?

Just a thought.

My thoughts......Seth and Dan bring up good points. Make your clients and your listeners feel special. Genuinely let them know that you appreciate them and that you are on their team. Provide them with "real" added value with out a catch or a premium.

We make it a point at the station to support our clients philanthropic efforts. Not because it is good for business but as broadcasters, it is the right thing to do. It helps the community!!!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Good News!

Good News on the fire front. We had a lot of rain up north this weekend and it pretty much extinguished the fire.

Debbie Maneely of the Prescott National Forest said today......

"Continued moisture and high humidity have sufficiently lowered fire danger levels throughout the Prescott National Forest allowing officials to lift current fire restrictions on Wednesday, July 9 at 6 a.m."
Read the entire press release here.

In total over 9,000 acres were burned, four residences, four outbuildings and one commercial structure were destroyed. Get all the details on the fire here.

A Big Thanks to our engineers, Robert Reymont, Clayton Creekmore and Michael Day for going above and beyond this past week to insure that we were on the air during the fire.


Due to efforts to reduce hazards and open roads, firefighters have had greater access to the interior of the burned area which has led to the discovery of more structures lost. To date, five residences, twelve outbuildings, and one commercial structure have been destroyed.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Sales Tip From Eleanor Roosevelt

From today's comes a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt that goes hand in hand with my post from Wednesday, June 25, "The Closer to Number One, The Closer We Are to The Money".

"Never let anyone tell you no who doesn't have the power to say yes."
Eleanor Roosevelt (1884–1962)
U.N. diplomat, humanitarian, U.S. first lady

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Keep Your Fingers Crossed

It has been an anxious couple of days at the radio station.

Our new KAJM transmitter site, high atop the Bradshaw Mountains, just north west of Phoenix in the Prescott National Forest is only a mile or two away from the Lane 2 forest fire. Our site is in a lush pine forest. It takes about three ours to get there from our studios in Scottsdale, this is due to the treacherous four wheel drive road that you have to traverse to get there.

The fire was started by a lost hiker who lit a signal fire. Unfortunately the fire got out of control. To date, seven buildings and 7,300 hundred acres have been destroyed. The entire town of Crown King (population 400) has been evacuated. Due to the many canyons and rugged mountains and monsoon weather conditions, this is a difficult fire to contain. After almost four days the fire is only 5% contained.

View Larger Map

The forest service has done a tremendous job keeping the fire out of Crown King and away from the two communications sites that are above the town. Those sites are home to FM radio stations, two-way, pager, long distance and cell phone companies along with local, federal and municipal government communication installations, the FAA and more.

The forest service has also done a terrific job of keeping us informed of their progress in fighting the fire. They have mobilized their team and communicated to us personally over the phone and directly via email as well.

Even though forest service has evacuated the area and closed all roads except for fire, forest and emergency use, they have granted us access so we can get to our site for maintenance and ensure that we stay on the air (APS shut down the power grid up there).

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they get a handle on the fire so it doesn't spread our way or towards Crown King and that there is no loss of life and property damage is kept to a minimum.

I know that there are a lot of anxious people out there like us. We are very grateful to the forest service and fire fighters that have come from all over to help fight this fire.


Here is a link to the Prescott National Forest Service where you can read their updates on the fire,

Click here to read what the the Arizona Republic is reporting. Fire raging near Crown King up to 7,300 acres

Watch a report from AP Here:

Watch a report from KPNX TV Here: