Market Me First - The Positive Career and Work Action Plan Market Yourself | Make Money | Be Happy

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Since 2005. Market yourself. Find better work. Make a name. Survive Layoffs. Be successful.


Marketing Me! Layoff anouncements

Checked Google News for layoff information around the U.S. Here is what I found..

Micron announces a "headcount reduction".

The City of Tampa Bay eliminated a number of city jobs.

VOIP provider Sunrocket is allegedly planning a round of layoffs.

Banking and credit card company Capital One has announced 2000 layoffs this week.

And The San Jose Mercury News has a number of layoffs planned for employees.

Okay, so we have an established high tech company, a city, a start up, a financial company and a media outlet all announcing layoffs.

What is the point?

There are no safe jobs. I hear from job seekers frequently asking about industries with "safe and secure jobs" and "job security".

Answer: there are none. There are no "safe" jobs. Not anymore. And you know the reason why. Don't ask for "safe" jobs anymore because either they do not exist (as proven above) or they aren't worth the time to do.

Solution: Stop wanting work to be safe and start thinking about what your want to do. The golf pro who teaches part time at the municipal range is doing what he wants and is living his dream. There are no guarantees that he will have enough students willing to pay 60.00 an hour to improve their swing, but if he gets just enough, he will be making money just helping someone play golf - a game he loves anyway!

Think about what makes you happy and if there is a way you can make a living doing it. Once you get there, the real security begins as you start living your dream doing what you want.

Have a great weekend,


Marketing Me! How to make sales

You are sales professional for a company with a real product (no vaporware reps, please).

You want to make money from commissions or compensation based upon sales.

Now that we have that established, I am going to tell you a few hints for making sales in today's consultive selling environment.

First, what I won't tell you is:
- how to get leads.
- how to make contacts, network or get referrals.
- how to market yourself for lots of inbound traffic (you should know that already by regularly reading Marketing Me!).

Now, how to make sales.

Love your product - sell it everywhere you go. Explain to anyone you meet (on plane, at events, picking up your kids at school, etc) what your products or services do and why you love what you do. This is practice which with repeated performances will make it easy when meeting real economic decision makers.

Talk and listen to your customers - Quit wasting time talking to the other sales folks, your secretary or friends. When working, talk with customers. Even if they have no intention of buying anything today, your customers and prospects will buy from you when they are ready IF you have invested hours getting to know them and understanding their needs.

Ask for sales - 99% of all sales fail because this simple rule is not followed by so-called sales professionals. Training, classes, consultive selling approaches and second guessing have decreased close rates for sales professionals. Practice asking for the sale. If you followed the second step and understand your customers and prospects, you will have no problem getting business when you ask for it.

Sell again - After the agreement is in place, thank youf customer and reassure them of their purchase. Do this frequently. Call (better yet, visit) your customer regularly and let them know the status of their order and when they can expect delivery. Let them know about upgrades, enhancements, new products and endorsements your product has received. Let their decision be validated repeatedly.

Sales is not hard. Closing is hard if you are not prepared. But sales is easy. Follow the steps above and make more sales every quarter.

Q2 is almost over. I hope you made your numbers. If so, congratulations. If not, go try harder next quarter.


Exercise tips and advice for business travel

Starting an exercise program is easy according to my last post on this subject. But what does the road warrior do under their busy travels?

First, I make a point to exercise before any business trip. If my flight is at 7:00 AM let's say (which is pretty typical), I wake as early as possible and go for a quick run (20 minutes or so) and lift a few weights.

Now this works for me because I built my exercise program around the home rather than at a gym.

When I arrive at my destination, I attempt to stay in hotels with fitness centers naturally. I also check the locale and see whether it lends itself to running in the hotel neighborhood if possible. This usually is not a problem, but running in Vegas near the strip is an experience unto itself.

Also, one piece of advice I offer to anyone is watch what you eat when travelling, get plenty of rest, drink lots of water and avoid excessive alcohol consumption.

By no means am I a fitness freak or exer-Nazi; However, I realize the benefits of being fit physically in business, whether working or interviewing.


Exercise tips and advice

In business, sales and marketing, we are in a marathon, not a sprint.

Sounds cliche, but it is true. That being the case, it is important that you stay sharp mentally and physically fit.

A few months ago, I took a look at myself in the mirror. I had put on a few pounds, felt tired and run down and lethargic.

I needed to change my diet and start exercising - but how to start.

The first impulse all of us have, usually around the beginning of the new year or when warm weather is upon us, is to run out and join a gym. My wife belongs to one and pays thirty dollars and change monthly for the privilege. The problem is getting up and going to the gym.

Even if the gym is close, it is ten minutes to get dressed, fifteen minutes to make the drive and five minutes to get checked in and set up. In that same 30 minutes, I have completed more than half of my workout routine.

My suggestions for exercise from someone who recently got back into "getting in shape".

First, consider running or walking. The equipment is the cost of a decent pair of running shoes. I picked up mine at a big box sporting goods retailer for less than forty dollars.

Today, those shoes are worn and the seams are starting on one shoe, but what a return on my investment.

Next, plan a time and course for a run/walk. For location, I chose my neighborhood because the barrier to entry would be walking out the front door.

For time, I chose the early hours of the day, around 6 AM.

The hardest part was getting up in the morning and getting started. I wanted to sleep in and start the next day. Lying in bed, I told myself, "If I start running today, I will be late to work."

But I got out of bed anyway and got started.

I planned on running for a straight twenty minutes. As I started, I wondered "How many miles will I make today?". Instead, I ended up walking most of the way and only making it around the block, (with shortcuts).

The next day, agony. My back and legs felt like I had been in a car wreck. My head hurt. When I woke up, I could not find my running shoes or shorts. I was starting later than the day before. I almost rolled back into bed and called it a day.

But I got out of bed and went anyway.

And so it went for the next three months. Day in and out. Rain or shine (ever run in the rain?).

Three months later, I still run every day. I change my course and try to add new streets and neighborhoods just to keep it interesting. Despite early meetings, out of town trips and even a short vacation, I stick to my running schedule.

A couple of weeks after I started running, I began lifting weights. Again, I refused to join a gym. Rather, I went into the garage and used those weights I had bought piecemeal over the last decade.

I started with some curls, butterflies and presses.

Again, the sore factor was in overdrive the next day. But I kept on. Today, I cannot imagine a day without some sort of weight lifting or exercise like pushups or situps.

The result of my three month experiment: More energy, less stress, lowered blood pressure and decreased cholesterol. I have been more patient and less angry. My focus has improved as has my critical, long term thinking. I don't know why, it just has happened.

Also, I have lost weight and my spare tire is running on empty. My wife noticed for the first time this weekend, how different I look. Clothes are starting to fit again and my children have not remarked lately on my "fat stomach".

All good in my book.

Remember, exercise is not a gym, expensive equipment or trainers. Pick up those dusty running shoes and get out for a walk, then run. Ride that bike in the garage. Clean off the clothes hanging on the treadmill or machine in the corner of your bedroom and get started.

Just get started. You new body is waiting for you in the near future.

Now get back to work.


Airline Service Frustrations

Travel story for the week of June 18th.

1. Arrive at airport at 6:43 AM for 8:10 flight.
2. Go to self-service kiosk for airline boarding pass (in line with about 100 other travellers).
3. Airline self-service system cannot find ticket based upon my name or destination city.
4. Go back to airline terminal entry and retrieve flight number from monitor.
5. Input flight number in airline self-service kiosk (after waiting turn a second time, there are 100 other travellers in check-in line) - still no workie.
6. Go to airline baggage counter and ask for assistance from airline agent. "We are too busy, get in check in line for assistance" was told. Line is about 20-25 deep and moving 1PPH (1 Person Per Hour).
7. Get in checkin line and call 411 for number to airline reservation desk. 411 operator short with me because I do not know the city of number requested.
8. Five minute hold with reservations. Airlines reservation attendant says try this code for flight at self-service kiosk. Two minutes later, I find my flight reservation. But it is now 7:23 AM, too late for check in for flight. Reservation lady on phone says reschedule for 1:55 PM flight later that same day. Bzzt! Have meeting at noon. That is a no-go so I cancel my flight.

I ended up taking a 8PM flight that evening (on different airline) and rescheduling the meeting for the next AM.

Note to self - print e-ticket before leaving for airport.
Note to airline - Dear Airline CEO, please visit Gate B at your hub. It is a testament to disorganization and customer service apathy.

The next day ... Coming home...

1. Arrive early at airport for 7:15 flight. Rain delay, flight leaves at 7:30 instead.
2. Arrive at connecting flight airport with 20 minutes to take off - 9:20 take off now 10:20.
3. Connecting flight delayed again until 10:55.
4. Pilots not on plane until 10:26, flight delayed; boarding commences at 10:55.
5. Traffic jam at gate prevents the plane from pulling back for 30 minutes.
6. Pull back from gate and wait an additional 30 minutes for slot on runway.
6. Arrive at home airport at 2:30 this AM.

Air travel has devolved in the U.S. from glamourous and exciting to third world conditions. Some days I expect someone to board my flight carrying a goat or a cage of chickens. Nearly every flight I have been on in the past six months has been delayed or cancelled the day of the flight.

When I voice my frustration, my fellow passengers shrug their shoulders and say the same thing, "What can you do about it?".

I don't blame the flight crews. They do a great job with positive attitudes despite having to deal with layoffs, missing benefits and salaries (not to mention surly passengers).

I don't blame the gate or ticket agents, most who do an incredible job keeping a half dozen balls in the air at any time.

Rather, I blame the airline management for squeezing every dime out of customers without showing the minimun amount of respect to the people who pay their salaries.

I blame the FAA and federal government for creating as many idiotic rules and obstacles as possible most of which only serve to incapacitate and inconvinience law abiding, taxpayers.

Hint for airline management: If a flight is late, for any reason, don't blame the feds, the unions or the weather. Empathize with your paying customers and toss them a bone. Maybe a gift card, a sandwich, a few hundred frequent flier miles.. any act which says "I appreciate your business and I realize you are late to a business meeting or getting home. I can't change the world, but I want to make you feel a little bit better by showing our appreciation". How hard can that really be?

As for the feds.. please seek advice from airline gate employees about security, neccessary safety rules and proper procedures. They have some great ideas. Also, apply a little common sense at those security checkpoints. Please.

I will still fly. I have too. My job depends upon it. I would only like to get to my destination on time occasionally and with fewer problems.

Please consider the paying passenger and figure out a way to make travel a little more fun and glamourous. Like it used to be.


Reading this week

What I picked up for light reading.

Overachievement by John Eliot.

I have really enjoyed this book so far. Author Eliot dismisses the "Zone" thought process which proponents have described as the success spot for high flying athletes, corporate professionals and individuals. Rather, Eliot says obsession and stress are the keys the winners use to overcome barriers and become the top performers they are.

Especially targeted are performance coaches and sports/business psychologists who Eliot believes look for problems rather than develop innate qualities for success.

There are plenty of real world anecdotes and personal stories from sports and business lumunaris. Definitely worth a read from your local library, bookstore or Amazon.



You may of not have heard the term 'freeters' in the popular press lately. The idea comes to us from Japan. More information can be found here, here naturally, here and here.

Freeters, for those new here, are 20 and 30-something Japanese professionals who are underemployed (working temp or contract jobs) and effectively cut out of mainstream society. In a country like Japan which prides itself of long-term, stable employment and company loyalty, freeters are a black eye in the land of the rising sun.

Freeters live on the fringe's of Japan's society. Eating at street stalls, sleeping in Internet cafes, and juggling temp work and Internet storefronts for extra money, a freeter's life is not enviable.

Many move back in with their parents or hope to meet a gainfully employed potential spouse.

In Japan, some freeters are actively campaigning for better job opportunities and housing. On the other hand, some freeters are trying the opposite; they are embracing the freeter lifestyle as their own form of rebellion against traditional Japanese society.

According to some of the news stories online, many freeters essentially live in Internet cafes paying rent by the hour in between jobs.

When I first read about freeters, I immediately thought of the character "Hiro" in Neil Stephenson's groundbreaking and hilarious novel, "Snowcrash".
If you have not read it, make a point to pick up a used copy from Amazon or check you local library.

Snowcrash follows Hiro's adventures in the Southern California of the near future where the Mafia delivers pizza, the US Government is run by a hodge podge of franchises, computers are wearable and the skateboard riding couriers "poon" cars on the freeways.

Hiro lives in a storage unit with a Russian illegal immigrant rockstar, hijacks power and cellphone networks when necessary and practices Samurai sword fighting with virtual reality goggles.

The connection is Hiro's lifestyle, while far more exciting, closely mirrors freeter's lives in Japan. Hiro essentially drifts between freelance information technology and programming jobs which is enough to keep his cellphone active and an occasional shower at the nearby Scrub-up franchise.

Meanwhile, back to reality...

Since I live in the U.S., my question is "How many American 20-somethings are living the freeter lifestyle?".

I think there are some (perhaps in the Slashdot crowd) who find the life Hiro led in Snowcrash as sort of cool. However, I really wonder how many are living a life similar to Japanese freeters only with an American twist to it.

I think in the U.S., one is far more likely to find an underemployed and/or underachieving freeter back at home with Mom and Dad rather than sleeping in a Starbucks between tech support jobs.

I think the American freeter is more likely to have big plans ("I need to find a start up tech company I can latch on to, help design a product and get acquired by Google") yet still hold basically a cynical outlook on work and jobs in general.

I think the American freeter is more likely to be in school (university) or between schools (dropped out) rather than graduated and actively looking for full time work.

Unlike Japanese culture, work in the U.S. is often tied to "where" one is rather than one's hirability. Before the tar-and-feather mob shows up at Marketing Me, consider the tech worker in California as opposed their counterpart in Michigan. Most likely there are alternatives readily available in the Golden State which are not a possibility in Detroit, let's say.

Further, there is less of a social stigma in the U.S. (as opposed to tradition-bound Japan) against drifting between low-paying jobs and searching for one's self. In fact, in many cases it is encouraged. There is a glamour in the U.S. with "dropping out of the system" and living to the beat of your own drum.

I don't think the pure "freeter" lifestyle will appear in the U.S. any time soon. I don't think Starbucks will allow overnight squatters. But I do think that freeters are another manifestation of our global economy and how it is changing society.


Where do sales come from?

First, I am kicking myself for my lack of posts the past 30 days. I have been working double time at my "real job" and combined with a short family vacation, have had a hectic past few weeks.

During a recent sales review, I was asked, "Where do your sales come from?". The answer can apply to any field of sales; in the workplace or for your own personal marketing endeavors.

Networked referrals - Probably 50% of my sales come from here. These sales referrals come from professional contacts and partners in my industry. These do not come easy. I had to prove myself and my products and gain other's trust and sales. It took about 12 months to build a reliable and profitable sales pipeline with networked referrals.

Customer referrals - Another 20% of monthly sales on average. Again, trust and reliability determine customer referrals. But remember, the customer who has invested in your product is more likely going to tell others about their good experience! Also, you can't get the sale or the referral unless you ask for them. Prepare an email, letter and phone call ahead of time in which you ask your customers for referrals.

Front door leads - Often sales leads come to your company from interested parties. Grab these low hanging fruits and run with them! These count for 5% of my new sales monthly.

Personal Marketing - I use LinkedIn, Plaxo and others for building my brand and product reputation for new sales. Sometimes I see 5 or more leads per month this way. Also, consider building a website touting you and your company products. I like to use my personal website and Squidoo for this type of sales activity.

Events - Trade shows, conferences, and any other get together of professionals and decision makers can open new sales doors. Take advantage of anything your company has access too.

Sales is not easy, but new sales leads can be made more easy with a diverse lead strategy. Find yours today.
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