Grace Stands the Test of Time

It was April 8th, 1974 and I was 9 years old. I was watching a nationally televised baseball game featuring the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers. Glued to the television and clutching my brand-new Hank Aaron “714” baseball mitt, I was waiting anxiously to watch my hero come to the plate. I can still smell the leather of the glove. Aaron was tied with Babe Ruth as the Home Run King and his next homer would leave him standing alone. I’ll never forget it – his second at bat against Al Downing was hit over the left-field wall and as he rounded the bases, he was mobbed by two fans who somehow managed to elude the police. It was quite a scene and a thrill for this young fan. I remember how gracious “The Hammer” was in his comments before, during, and after the chase. Ruth was a legend and Aaron endured much hatred and contempt. His graciousness under these circumstances was more heroic than his accomplishment.

Now, 12,173 days later, Bobby Bonds stands alone as the new Home Run King. This article isn’t about blasting Barry Bonds. This is his time, plus there are enough people to tackle that job anyway. This is about a man who 33 years later still exudes graciousness. Hank Aaron wasn’t in San Francisco last night for the festivities. He had said all along he had no interest in attending and stuck to his word. However, he did issue a video statement that was played on the big screen congratulating Bonds for his “skill, longevity, and determination.” He considered himself “privileged” to have held the record and sent his best wishes to Bonds and his family. In conclusion, he said this, “My hope today, as it was on that April evening in 1974, is that the achievement of this record will inspire others to chase their own dreams”.

It makes mo wonder if I’m always gracious in challenging times. How about you? If we can learn anything from Henry Aaron, it’s this; baseball records will come and go, but what stands forever is the character of a human being.

Oh, by the way, read his final statement one more time. Are you still chasing your dreams? As my friend Jim Key has said, “It’s never too late to dream”! My hope is that you will be inspired to keep your dreams, whatever they may be, alive and well.

Dan

Dial One for Frustration, Two for “I need a LIVE person!"

Do you remember the last time you called a big company and got stuck in their voice mail system that left you feeling you were in the Twilight Zone? Just this morning, I spent at least 45 minutes on the phone with Dell, speaking to 4 different people on at least three different continents trying to figure out how to buy two notebooks. Alan Weiss, the famed consultant and speaker, always says “Make it easy for the customer to buy”. Geez! I found myself screaming at my phone begging to talk to a real person. The phone just kept telling me that wasn’t an option.

Last Friday, I went online to buy a notebook for me and one for my daughter, Mindy who is going away to college. I have a Dell Business account so I wanted to purchase them with that. The system didn’t recognize me because I wasn’t a “personal” customer, so I had to wait through the weekend to talk to the business office. Between the phone and the “real” people I talked to, I got transferred, switched and stymied all over the place until I reached a guy named Guy (really). The guy named Guy figured out that my orders needed to be re-built into the business section because, well I guess the “personal” and “business” side of Dell must have as hard a time communicating with each other as their customers do! Bottom line…Guy could fix the problem (I think. I haven’t heard back from him yet as I write this article). I guess Dell is lucky I have a business account with them or else I would have taken my business elsewhere.

This is a great lesson in communications and customer service. If you’re in the business world, make it easy for your customer to buy AND to talk to a real live person. Technology is great but the advent of convoluted answering services has really made personal communications much more difficult. In the end, that’s how we build relationships and sell more of our wares. This has made me look at my distribution system to make sure I’m client-friendly. Perhaps it’s a good time for you to look at yours, too.

P.S. Want to learn how adding humor to your business marketing and practices will make you more attractive to customers? Why don’t you sign up for my workshop with Sandra Kolb on Tuesday, October 23rd in Bremerton, WA? Click here to learn more. You can also buy the book Laugh and Get Rich by Darren LaCroix and Rick Segal. It’s a groundbreaking look at how humor will leave you laughing all the way to the bank while having fun yourself. What a concept! Click here to learn more.

Facts Tell, Stories Sell

If you are in sales and/or marketing, you may have heard this phrase before. It’s as true in any presentation as it is in sales and marketing. Stories have a unique way of connecting with people in a very personal way. Your stories used in a presentation or speech will likely invoke memories and feelings in your audience that you desire to help promote your message.

Have you ever been at the buying end of a sales pitch that just spent most of your time presenting facts and figures about a car, vacation plan, or some other major purchase? Did you feel disconnected from the “seller”? If you’re like me, you probably did. But, was there a time when someone presented you with a story that helped you to see the message they were conveying more clearly? If you were with me and my clients in an insurance agent’s office last month, you would have seen the power of storytelling.

As an insurance consultant, I frequently sit in on proposals given by agents to my clients. I had the opportunity to hear an agent very poignantly tell a story of a close friend who had been involved in a terrible car accident. His friend’s life had been permanently altered by the consequences of the accident. A once very active athlete, he was now physically wracked with pain and had huge medical costs. This chilling example hit home to my clients in making financial decisions on their insurance. The agent didn’t make up a story purely as a sales gimmick. It was a true and personally touching story meant to give a real-life scenario to an intangible product. In the end, it was a win-win for both parties.

Regardless of the message you are going to deliver, or the audiences you will deliver it to, stories are your key to success. Whether you are in the board room, the locker room, or your teenager’s room, your message will be best delivered with examples of true stories that happened to you.

Do you need help remembering stories? Create a document file in your computer and keep track of stories – humorous, sad, or dramatic – that you feel will help you “sell” an idea or message later. Use it as a resource as you plan your next presentation and it will help you connect with your audience.

P.S. My educational CD called Panic to Power: Swift and Simple Speaking Strategies Anyone Can Use will help you overcome any anxiety you have in communicating your message and give you valuable tools even if you are an experienced presenter. Take a look to your right and look for the giant CD to buy it today!

P.S.S. I have a new workshop called Panic to Power for Business: Turning Panic into $$$$. It’s so new it’s not even on my web site yet! Call me at (360) 271-1592 or send me an e-mail at dan@danweedin.com to find out more, including how to get my CD free!

Shake On It!

FROM MY JULY NEWSLETTER – THE VOICE

Have you ever noticed that sometimes when you go to shake another person’s hand, that their eyes are looking somewhere else? How does that make you feel? If you’re like me, it probably makes you feel that you’re not very important to that person. Just another hand in the line to shake, right?

Shaking hands is one of the oldest forms of communications. It originated by showing the person you are greeting that you come unarmed. It’s a standard business and personal practice, particularly in the western world.

Too bad we are often thinking about something else when making that communication link. It might be about the sales presentation we are about to give. Or, if you’re in a group of people, you might wonder if the other person is scanning the crowd to see who else’s hand they need to shake instead of greeting you. Does this make you wonder where your eyes are when you shake? It did for me.

Why don’t you take the same challenge I gave myself. Make a concerted effort to slow down and enjoy the greeting of the person who’s attached to that hand. Making solid eye contact along with a firm hand shake and kind word not only is good for business, it’s also good manners. It will make you memorable to that person.

The next time you’re in a situation to meet and greet, think about your posture and the message you’re sending. Remember, eye contact is a form of communication. I believe you will find the quality of this communication as well as your relationships will improve. They have for me.

Webinar for Coaches slated for September 13

Wow…first a blog and now a webinar. Scary how much time I’m spending looking at the computer monitor. I’m really pleased to announce that I’ve started doing webinars. What’s a webinar, you may ask? Basically, it’s a meeting or seminar you can attend from the comfort of your own home. You simply dial in on your phone, or cooler yet, log onto the web and tune in there.

In September, I’m hosting a webinar for high school and youth coaches on how to earn more money fundraising so you can travel to tournaments, buy needed equipment, or attend camps/clinics. If you’re a coach that wants to be a more efficient and productive fundraiser, this webinar is for you. The best news is that it’s FREE. Yes, you read correctly…FREE. Here’s the information you’ll need to join the event:

EVENT: Sweating the Little Things – Fundraising Solutions
DATE & TIME: Thursday, September 13th at 6:30pm Pacific
FORMAT: Simulcast! (Attend via Phone or Webcast — it’s your choice)
TO ATTEND THIS EVENT, CLICK THIS LINK NOW…
http://instantTeleseminar.com/?eventid=472845

That’s it…very easy. You can even ask questions leading up to the event that I will answer.

Psst..here’s a secret. Even if you don’t coach, you may find this webinar valuable. If you’re like me and are a member of a service club or non-profit organization, you need to raise money, too. These concepts and tools work for ANY type of fundraising. You’re welcome to join. After all, it’s FREE!