Archive for November, 2006

Thought for the week – 8

This is an old story but one I’m sure we all recognise…

    There were four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody.

    There was an important job to be done and Everybody was asked to do it.
    Everybody was sure Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.

    Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it.

    It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.

The flip side of this coin is that, once we all start taking just a little bit more responsibility, things do get done. As a trite but true saying goes:

    To assume makes an ass of u and me

… Have a great week!

Thought for the week – 7

I promised last week that we’d lighten up this week, so here we go with a joke I unearthed:

    The population of this country (the USA) is 237 million. 104 million are retired.
    That leaves 133 million to do the work.

    There are 85 million in school, which leaves 48 million to do the work.

    Of this there are 29 million employed by the federal government. This leaves 19 million to do the work.

    4 million are in the Armed Forces, which leaves 15 million to do the work.

    Take from the total the 14.8 million people who work for State and City Government and that leaves 200,000 to do the work.

    There are 188,000 in hospitals, so that leaves 12,000 to do the work.

    Now, there are 11,998 people in Prisons. That leaves Just two people to do the work. You and me.

And you’re just sitting there reading jokes all day!

Oops! better get back to work…

Find out what your customers REALLY want

My first job was as a 16 year old Saturday girl at Woolworth’s, where, for some strange reason, I usually managed to get what was regarded as the plum role of serving behind the cosmetics counter (this was in the days before self-service and paying at a check out).

I’d work with full-time sales assistants who, for the most part, chatted to each other, took payment from the customers, put in their time and collected their pay at the end of each week.

I figured that if I was going to spend eight hours (give or take) every Saturday behind that counter, I might as well learn as much as possible about the stock carried and the store’s customers.

Taking in whether they were wearing make up was usually enough of a guideline to assess whether the customer was likely to require help on selection or would prefer to to look around in her own time.

I noticed that many of the women who stopped by didn’t wear any make up and discovered by gentle questioning that they generally wouldn’t spend money on what they considered to be frivolities. They were most often wanting to buy a little something for some upcoming special event. Therefore to spend even four shillings (twenty pence) on a small lipstick and matching nail varnish (if they could find one) was a Big Thing. So we’d spend ages selecting the right colour lipstick first (nothing too bold or “brassy”), testing it out on the inside of the customer’s wrist, and then try and match it up with a discreet pearl effect nail varnish.

Sometimes they’d be particularly daring and succumb to some mascara (always brown rather than the harsher black, unless their colouring and skin tone dictated otherwise), and, on rare occasions, a gentle powder eye shadow.

I’m not making fun of these women; that’s the way it was then. And it taught me my first ever sales lesson, though I didn’t think of it in those terms then:

    They weren’t buying a lipstick or nail varnish, they were buying something to give themselves confidence and, together we worked out what would suit them, achieve that desired result, yet let them stay within their comfort zone.

I know that this is a somewhat simplistic example, but what we sell (unless it’s a commodity) is usually what our customers see as a vehicle to achieve a desired end rather than an end in and of itself. If you don’t spend the time discovering what end they want to achieve, chances are your sales activities will be an uphill struggle.

Happy hunting and let’s have your comments!

Thought for the week – 6

“This is the true joy in life:

The being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.

I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community, and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake.

Life is no ‘brief candle’ to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.”

George Bernard Shaw

Hmm. He’s not pulling any punches, is he?

So: Is the sum of your life to be that of a splendid torch burning brightly as it’s handed on or more like a candle that, once lit, glowed briefly and sputtered before being extinguished for ever?

Deep and meaningful stuff – we’ll go into light-hearted mode next week!

Thought for the week – 5

“Time = Life, Therefore, waste your time and waste of your life, or master your time and master your life.”

“Failing to plan is planning to fail.”

“In all planing you make a list and you set priorities.”

“One of the secrets of getting more done is to make a TO DO List every day, keep it visible, and use it as a guide to action as you go through the day.”

(Alan Lakein)

There are other quotes from this guy, all along the lines of planning, setting goals, committing them to paper and making lists of activities that will get you where you want to be.

No prizes for guessing that he’s a “world-leading expert” on personal time management – it worked for Bill Clinton…

None of this is new but all of the leading (wealthy!) motivational speakers/ trainers/ coaches include it in their repertoire so maybe we need to take a little time out this week and revisit our priorities…

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