Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Prepare1's Eight Trends for "Business and Social Media"

Prepare1 has noticed the following 8 social media trends and business:

1. Businesses are still new to Social Media

2. Businesses focus on the top 5 Social Media Platforms

3. Businesses are Broadcasting vs. Connecting

4. The confidence Mark is around 2-Years

5. Social Media Adoption Obstacles

6. Businesses Turn to Internal Sources for Social Media Support

7. Lack of Social Media Measurement

8. Businesses Lack Confidence in Their Social Media Strategy.

This matter of social media is becoming more and more prevailant and important. Almost two years ago a Richard Balius with Sales Management Academy and Brandon Dady told me I needed to get going on Twitter and LinkedIn. I wasn't even sure what they had just said, but trusting both, I began exploring and dipping the preverbial toe in new waters. Without a doubt it has and will continue to be a very important part of my marketing.

Blair Ball writes and practices extensively about social media strategies to increase business sales. For more about this important subject, go to and following http://www.prepare1.com/.


Blesssings,

Danny

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Elvis Presley - If Everyday Were Like Christmas

I've always enjoyed Elvis' Christmas songs and found myself recently pondering the lyrics to If Everyday Were Like Christmas.

"..what if everyday were like Christmas,
why can't that feeling go on everyday?
Yes...what a wonderful world that would be!..."

Many around the world don't know what this feeling is like, but it's likely that those reading this do know......some of us even get the meaning of the season mixed up, or not. But the season, Christmas-time, has a certain feeling. Everyday would be something like this; Listening to special songs that bring back special memories, traditions for shopping (all on Christmas Eve!), special foods (chocolate covered cherries, candied yams!), a season of music that brings back certain memories (hopefully good ones), just having a glow (that you can't explain) that fills your heart, the sound of singing, opening gifts, gift wrapped packages (of candy) talking to you from across your desk..., saying thanks for gifts we don't need..or even want, everyday; and lights...the lights are amazing...even the gaudy ones; excited about getting up every morning; people trying to get along for the sake of keeping the peace; more gifts, more cheer, food, and naps! everyday.

And, everyday most of the free world would celebrate the birth of God who became man. Everyday.

What if everyday were like Christmas...what a wonderful world this would be!



I pray that you have a wonderful Christmas free of family quarrels, anxieties, and uncertainties; that your Christmas be one of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.


God Bless,

Danny and Cathy

Monday, December 20, 2010

Book: The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization

Whether you are the head of an entire organization or a department manager, reading and following the simple principles found in this book can help get your thoughts headed in the right direction for 2011.

Book: The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization

By Peter Drucker, with Jim Collins, Philip Kotler, James Kouzes, Judith Rodi, V. Kasturi Rangan, and Frances Hesselbein

Any group, team, company or organization should always be aware of what you are doing, why you are doing it, and what you must do to improve the organizations performance;

Drucker tells us to ask -

1. What is your mission?

2. Who is your customer?

3. What does your customer value?

4. What results are you looking to achieve?

5. What is your plan?

He and the editors of this new addition encourage the reader to further explore, analyze, assess, determine and develop in and around those five questions:

Explore….the five simple, yet essential questions

Analyze….your organization’s mission, which should be a short, sharply focused statement that tells everyone why you do what you do, not how you do it.

Assess….who your target customers are, who and what influences them, what they value, how you can create satisfying experiences for them, and which customers you should stop serving.

Determine….what specific results your organization should be striving to achieve, and where you should focus for future success.

Develop….your organization’s plan, which must define the particular place you want to be as well as the budget and action steps that will enable you to get there.

These notes are from my previous review of this book posted at In-the-Box: Reading Well.


To that end...

Danny L. Smith
Sr. Mortgage Loan Officer
Certified Guerrilla Marketing CoachTM
Impact Leadership Coach
NMLS #138873
Phone: 512-773-6528
Fax: 512-551-0006
Danny@DannyLSmith.com
www.DannyLSmith.com




Friday, December 17, 2010

Continue to Follow Well, Staying Naked

At a training class a few months ago I was asked "have you read Getting Naked." Ha! While others in the room were a bit shocked at the title, being the Patrick Lencionni follower that I am, I knew it was the title of his new book. My answer was no, but I've been keeping up with Lencionni on web and carry around a white paper he's written on the subject.

I have since read the book and it is a great read for many reasons; it's filed under my "about following" category. Those that know me know that I believe we need to be excellent followers in order to EVER get close to being a good, much less, great leader.

Getting Naked was an easy book for me to digest because it fits my style of work. I'll regularly start doing work for someone before we ever get into a financial engagement; normally that works out well.

A current client recently stopped the use of my services because he did not feel he had gotten the full benefit of the money he had paid me; the market is a bit different than what he'd thought and much of the work was research, the research itself he thought would bring about some different results. I was notified of this in an email response to my request to get with him to discuss the status of the project. Besides stating he had not gotten the results he had expected, he did let me know half way through the month in which he had already paid for services and I did appreciate that.

Hopefully, he is happy with my response, which included a quick note of understanding, plus the fact that I would continue to complete the work we'd agree on (though I don't believe he expected me to) plus I would forward results of that work to him as long as it continued to come in.

That's being a good follower, that's staying naked.

To that end.....

Right People,
  Right Place


Intro or Extro Verts: Which Makes the Best Salesperson?

If you're an Extrovert, you just laughed and thought "you've got to be kidding?"

Introverted sales types.....you're shaking your head because you know you are but also know the extrovert believes he is.

Tanveer Naseer writes "Are You Fitting Employee Personality Into Your Leadership Puzzle?" and I add "and your sales type puzzle?"

In Good-to-Great, Jim Collins gave us very tangible evidence that a Level 5 leader was very rarely a charismatic person and many of us think of introverts as charismatic. At an off-site meeting of some 18 company leaders I showed a film where Collins talked in depth about Level 5 leaders and at least one person in the room needed counseling afterwards. A very charismatic leader, he had built his career, sparadic at best, on that strength and was at first appalled that someone was saying such, but came to the realization of its truth. At my encouragement, he tried to overcome his weaknesses, through coaching, teamwork, and technolgy. That was difficult for him and we stopped working together a couple of years ago; progress had not been good. Many of his charismatice ways kept rising to the surface and wore others out; lots of start, not near enough finish.

But is that normal? Yes, it very well can be if your personality doesn't fit with the job. This person was a great starter and connector. He was not a good finisher. Naseer points to a recent study by Adam Grant, Francesca Gino and David Hoffman and "where the researchers pointed to particular situations (I say jobs) where certain personality types can help leaders better manage the collective efforts their teams."

This is where my everyone that connects with a client is a salesperson, or should be.

The Austin American Statement ran a series of articles back in the early '90s with the results of the interiews with numerous sales managers. The reporter asked the managers "what type person makes the best sales person? Introvert or Extrovert?" The article was heavily favored towards the driven introvert.

By-the-way, Naseer's article is very good. You can read it on his blog at http://www.tanveernaseer.com/.

Remember, pay attention to what your selling, because you are.

To that end.

Danny

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Patrick Lencioni - THE FIVE DYSFUNCTIONS OF A TEAM

I stepped into a mess of problems recently and have had all but said "no" to working with them. The players are three different entities looking at how they might combine their resources and work together. Yet, they aren't communicating. There is undoubtedly differences of opinions and processes that need to be discussed and reconciled, but.....!


Lencionni's Five Dysfunctions of a Team come to mind and they aren't even a team yet. Here's Patrick telling a bit about these dysfunctions. I'm recommending these parties watch this and read the book.




These are really good people and they want to do well. Hopefully they'll pay attention to what it takes to become a team.

Hidden Agendas

I received an email yesterday morning from our Neighborhood Group; not an association because it is an informal entity. There is an issue with a piece of property being sold and will be used for what appears to be non-allowable purposes (according to deed restrictions).

The first few emails were intended to alert people of the pending sale and the email and phone numbers of the parties involved, along with an urge for all of us (50 or so) to call and email.

Personally, I felt there are some questions that needed to be asked, and answered, about the sale, how it violates the deed restrictions etc. So, I asked those involved to explain some things, including how the deed restrictions would be violated.

I clarified that I was simply asking questions and appreciated the dialog.

Wow. What a bunch of spin. I can only imagine the hidden agendas when people aren't willing to be transparent and just answer questions. I've been ignored, accused of not wanting to follow the deed restrictions myself, and even asked why I moved here 12 years ago if I didn't like the deed restrictions.

Ha. Obviously, some  didn't want to explain anything, only spin a bunch of others up to fight for them.

Trust but verify Mr. Reagan said. Sometimes that's hard to do when others won't answer your questions.

So...don't trust 'em.

K. I can do that.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Sales: Is Math and Logic Important?

Math and logic competence has proven to be an important part in how well a sales and marketing person performs. Individuals who engage in logical and critical thinking recognize patterns and provide a way to use those patterns in order to solve problems or to answer questions perform well in a sales and marketing postion.

Performing well in this category on the MuRF SMARTS assessment has proven to be an important part in a person's likelihood to be successful. He/she will determine what information, preconceptions, biases, and values are irrelevant or extraneous as well as the way in which these affect his or her thinking. Individuals who think logically and critically can usually see that there may be more than one solution or more than one way to solve a problem. These individuals are comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty. The top 20% of marketing and sales people tend to approach problems with a high degree of logic and critical thinking.



The person in the example above has scored within the average range of logical math and critical thinking. He will usually approach a problem from more than one point of view. He appears to have a normal ability to solve complex problems through logic, but he may not always use this approach. He appears to possess an average skill level in this area and is somewhat similar to individuals who are usually identified among the top 20% of sales and marketing people.

To learn more about the SMARTS and how you can use this powerful report to achieve better results in your entire organization please contact Danny Smith at 512-773-6528 or danny@DannyLSmith.com.


We'll also send you a sample copy of the entire SMARTS report for the asking.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Sales...Gotta Have 'Em

About 10 years ago that I was preparing to go through a transition and I walked up on a group of employees who were making the transition with me to the new venture. Every one's spirits, or so I remember, were generally pretty good. I know mine were.

While everyone was visiting, rambling, just talking, I must have gotten a far-off look because I suddenly realized they were all looking at me and someone said "wow, he sure looks relaxed."

I'm not sure relaxed was exactly the right word, but I was relieved and my reply told what I was relieved from;

"Well, I don't have to sell any longer. That someone else's job now."

Ha!! How naive.

I was a producing manager for a wholesale organization and we had a good track record; production, processes and profitability were all in great order. It was rare that I got a call from my corporate manager and when I did it was to see if I was still alive. While I was the only real "sales" person, I spread the responsibility out among everyone. My goal was to get the business in the door and then KEEP IT!

And we did a good job of that. Our production was not near the level of the company's other 7 such branches, but profit per unit was highest and we were ranked in top 50% for overall profitability.

Years later I realized what an incredibly stupid statement I had made and somewhere along the way I realized that "sales" had steadily moved away from everyone and focused on "salespeople."

A well run, results getting, professional organization needs people selling. Sales people are our most important asset and we will either live or die based on how well everyone is selling.

To that end; sell and be sure everyone is selling.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Top 20% of Sales People......Empathy

Understanding the other person's point of view is a trait that is found in the top 20% of all marketing and sales people.

The MuRF SMARTS (Sales Marketing and Representative Traits Survey) identifies this trait in an individual. The ability to get along with, to develop trusting relations with, and to communicate effectively with others comprises a set of skills that has long been deemed central to the job of marketing and sales.

Taken as a whole, this set of interpersonal communication competencies deals with the person's ability to establish warm, empathic, nondirective, trusting relations with others and with potential and current clients.

In the scale below, this person appears to be somewhat comfortable in expressing his feelings and in understanding the feelings of others. He seems to have a good understanding of the importance of empathetic communication in the marketing and sales profession. He is comfortable when others come to him with strong feelings and will tend to listen.




To learn more about the SMARTS and how you can use this powerful report to achieve better results in your entire organization please contact Danny Smith at 512-773-6528 or danny@DannyLSmith.com.

We'll also send you a sample copy of the entire SMARTS report for the asking.

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Baby's Hug

From an Anonymous author…..

A Baby's Hug ~

We were the only family with children in the restaurant.

I sat Erik in a high chair and noticed everyone was quietly sitting and talking. Suddenly, Erik squealed with glee and said, 'Hi.' He pounded his fat baby hands on the high chair tray. His eyes were crinkled in laughter

And his mouth was bared in a toothless grin, as he wriggled and giggled with merriment.

I looked around and saw the source of his merriment. It was a man whose pants were baggy with a zipper at half-mast and his toes poked out of would-be shoes. His shirt was dirty and his hair was uncombed and unwashed. His whiskers were too short to be called a beard and his nose was so varicose it looked like a road map. We were too far from him to smell, but I was sure he smelled. His hands waved and flapped on loose wrists.

'Hi there, baby; hi there, big boy. I see ya, buster,' the man said to Erik. My husband and I exchanged looks, 'What do we do?'

Erik continued to laugh and answer, 'Hi.' Everyone in the restaurant noticed and looked at us and then at the man. The Old geezer was creating a nuisance with my beautiful baby.

Our meal came and the man began shouting from across the room, 'Do ya patty Cake? Do you know peek-a-boo? Hey, look, he knows peek- a-boo.' Nobody thought the old man was cute. He was obviously drunk. My husband and I were embarrassed.

We ate in silence; all except for Erik, who was running through his Repertoire for the admiring skid-row bum, who in turn, reciprocated with his cute comments. We finally got through the meal and headed for the door. My husband went to pay the check and told me to meet him in the parking lot.

The old man sat poised between me and the door.

'Lord, just let me out of here before he speaks to me or Erik,' I prayed. As I drew closer to the man, I turned my back trying to sidestep him and avoid any air he might be breathing. As I did, Erik leaned over my arm, reaching with both arms in a baby's 'pick-me-up' position. Before I could stop him, Erik had propelled himself from my arms to the man.

Suddenly a very old smelly man and a very young baby consummated their love and kinship. Erik in an act of total trust, love, and submission laid his tiny head upon the man's ragged shoulder. The man's eyes closed, and I saw tears hover beneath his lashes.

His aged hands full of grime, pain, and hard labor, cradled my baby's bottom and stroked his back. No two beings have ever loved so deeply for so short a Time. I stood awestruck. The old man rocked and cradled Erik in his arms and his eyes opened and set squarely on mine. He said in a firm commanding voice, 'you take care of this baby.' Somehow I managed, 'I will,' from a throat that contained a stone.

He pried Erik from his chest, lovingly and longingly, as though he were in pain. I received my baby, and the man said, 'God bless you, ma'am, you've given me My Holiday gift.' I said nothing more than a muttered thanks.

With Erik in my arms, I ran for the car. My husband was wondering why I was Crying and holding Erik so tightly, and why I was saying, 'My God, my God, Forgive me.' I had just witnessed Christ's love shown through the innocence of a tiny Child who saw no sin, who made no judgment; a child who saw a soul, and a mother who saw a suit of clothes. I was a Christian who was blind, holding a child who was not.

I felt it was God asking, 'Are you willing to share your son for a moment?'

When He shared His for all eternity.

Friday, December 3, 2010

My Dailies

I have a list of things that try to do everyday. Over the years there have been items on this list that I do even on days I forget to look at the list. I supposed those items have become habits.

Others though, I have to be reminded to do, especially those items new to the list. New items show up and taken off the list based upon the fields I'm preparing, seeds I'm planting, and the harvest that comes from that work and prayer.

I call this list My Daylies; things I need to do everyday. My Daylies are general in nature that drives the "to-do-list."

My Daylies include things like:

1. look at yesterday's calendar,read emails, a couple of websites I need to stay tuned into...
2. make notes from meetings about yesterday's work
3. make a list of follow-up needs on yesterday's work
4. make a list of things to do today
5. prioritize
6. add followers to social media...

Actually, the list is more of a circle that sometimes rolls throughout the day and I'll even start it over on the same day; Collin's hedgehog comes to mind.

This is a weakpoint for me; coaching has helped and I use technology to keep the list in front of me.

I just need to remember to look at the list everyday; it's amazing how I can ignore those calendar/task pop-ups on my phone.

To that end.....

Blessings

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

What Makes a Good Loan Officer....

Thanks for those who have joined and those who have dared to weigh in on the LinkedIN discussions on this topic. This subject about Loan Officers, what makes a good loan officer, define a well producing...

Well, it's not an easy subject to define and as many members of this group, we have that many differences of "opinions."

But, there are "common behavioral characteristics" among well producing people in almost any job position and that is what this project will eventually show about loan officers. I've tested small groups, within companies, in the past and have shown job-fit patterns to hire against to get better funding results. This project is much broader, extensive and will produce more information and data than any other such study done on a vital part of the mortgage industry.
 
I encourage you to review the sample report I've posted on my LinkedIN profile and weigh in on discussions, ask questions and seek understanding about how we hire and train at a more intense and productive level.
 
More information about this project and subject matter can be found on our website and blog.
 
To that end....
 
Danny