December 14, 2006

Kudos to Kevin Magee: sales and networking tips

December 14, 2006 - Categories: connecting

I had a terrific conversation with Kevin Magee
over coffee and chocolate chillers at Second Cup this morning. I met
him very briefly at the Mesh planning party—in fact, while I was on
my way out—but within a minute he had set me at ease, established a
connection, and left me looking forward to chatting with him some
other time.

We finally had the opportunity to catch up today, and I’m glad we did.
He had read my blog (and even some of my homework assignments!), so he
knew of my passion for evangelism and my enthusiasm for sales. (Awww!)

Role model

And boy, did he have a lot to teach! He’s the kind of salesperson I’d
like to be. Many people both inside and outside sales think of sales
as a nasty, cut-throat business. Kevin Magee proves that not only do
nice guys finish first, but that it’s really the only sustainable way
to go.

“Have we met?”

Kevin told me about the benefits of having the kind of face that
everyone thinks they’ve seen somewhere. “Have we met?” is one of his
favorite techniques for getting people to talk about their backgrounds
and interests. Looking back, I realized that he must’ve deftly pulled
that on me too! Wow.

You just need 60 seconds

Kevin also shared some of the ways he taught other salespeople to
handle cold calls. He said that for the first 10,000 calls, it’s
truly, truly horrible. After that, it’s just horrible.

You know how many people start their call with, “Have I called you at
a good time?” Kevin shared that “Have I called you at a bad time?” is
much more effective. There’s never a good time to receive a
telemarketing cold call, after all, but in general, people will be
generous and say that it isn’t a bad time.

Then Kevin told me how he taught sales people to ask for 60 seconds,
just 60 seconds to find out if this is the right conversation they
should be having. They would then time themselves, stop at 60
seconds—preferably in the middle of a sentence—and ask for
permission to continue. By so clearly respecting the other person’s
time—and piquing the other person’s interest!—they might be able to
get permission to continue for 5 minutes. And then maybe a meeting in
person. Asking *permission* draws people further in because you
respect their time and allow them to control the conversation.

Recruiters rock

Even with the 60-second technique, though, cold-calling is tough tough
tough tough. You can warm up the call by connecting with people in the
organization. Kevin found that recruiters are *great* for doing that,
which is why he’s happy to help them however they can. See, recruiters
are in the business of connecting with people, and they form special
bonds with the people they place. When Kevin wants to crack open an
account, he’ll ask his recruiter friends if they’ve placed anyone
there—almost always yes—and then he’s in with an introduction!

Wow

So for an hour and a half, this experienced, wonderful salesperson
shared all sorts of sales tips that I would probably have had to spend
years learning. I’ve read lots of books on networking and sales, but
it’s different hearing from people who are actually doing it and doing
well.

I’d love to help him grow, too. Kevin told me that reading my
reflections on this blog had prompted him to think about how he was
doing things and how he could improve. For a 23-year-old, I’ve learned
a fair bit, and that’s because of kaizen – the Japanese
principle of constant improvement. I love experimenting, reflecting on
the results, sharing my thoughts, and working on the next step.
Sharing what I’m learning about life has led to so many more insights
from other people. Wow!

Next steps

So, how can I act on his advice?

His “Have we met?” trick will be very handy for me. I meet so many
people at the local tech get-togethers. That’s one way to make that
connection and to naturally tell people about these events if they
haven’t heard of them yet.

I can look for ways to be more useful to the recruiters in my network.
I would love to introduce them to teachers who are interested in
helping their students find cool work, for example. I can keep an eye
out for students and professionals looking for work at the events I go
to. Still, I’m not adding much value that way, but at least referrals
are handy, and if I vouch for the recruiter, that’s at least a little
bit. If I get to know people better, then I can add more value.

And the things I want to do for my career? I think there’s a big
market for it, bigger than I’d realized… I can do so much to help
people connect!

I’m looking forward to getting to know Kevin Magee better in February. What a way to start my day!

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Enthusiastic rapport with Emmanuel and Rob: movies that motivate

December 14, 2006 - Categories: connecting

What a day, what a day!

I went back to Second Cup for coffee with Emmanuel Lopez and Rob Schaumer at 3:00 PM. Kevin McIntosh introduced me to Emmanuel Lopez because of Emmanuel’s upcoming series called “Movies that Motivate”. Instinct told me to invite Rob Schaumer (Purpose Realized), whom I had met at the Mesh planning party last November 15 and again at the DemoCamp afterparty. And what a conversation we had! Two hours just flew past, and we all had great fun.

Emmanuel Lopez has been a motivational
speaker for the past three years. “Motivational speaker” is too bland
a word to describe him—hence the moniker, “Motivatorman”. The movie
series this January at the Royal Ontario Museum looks really
interesting. With feel-good and thought-provoking movies such as
Groundhog Day, As Good As It Gets, and Pleasantville, he’ll help so
many people face their challenges and develop themselves. And the
events aren’t just movies, too. He’ll start each event with 30 minutes
for a motivational speech and discussion, and wraps it up with more
discussion and reflection. Sounds like good stuff!

I’m *really* excited about his second project, too: a series of
workshops on self-development for hubs/connectors. With the tagline
“network – interact – share”, it definitely sounds like my kind of
thing—heck, it’s something I wish I could’ve organized! <laugh>
It’s a pity that the first event is in January; I’ll only be able to
make it to the next one. AHA! I know, I can suggest homework…

What a delight! I’m looking forward to inviting the people I know to
those events (even in absentia!), which will help me get to know their
non-work sides too.

And I had *no* idea that Rob Schaumer had a
talent for marketing, but I’m glad I discovered it in the course of
conversation! He suggested all sorts of useful little tweaks for
Emmanuel’s marketing campaign.

He has such a fascinating life history. Self-educated in an Orthodox
Jewish community where most people are expected to complete university
degrees, he really wants to reach out and motivate other people. He
related how motivational speakers tend to break into the profession in
three ways:

Rob decided not to go for university, and ended up building a company
for the heck of it—just to see if he could. (Wow!) The motivational
companies he talked to wouldn’t consider someone without a university
degree, so by process of elimination…. I’ve no doubt that he’ll find
his niche and fill it really well!

Rob’s got such awesome experiences. One of his stories fits in
perfectly with Emmanuel’s focus on movies. He was playing squash, but
he was pretty tired and out of form. He told us how he intentionally
visualized the scene in Superman Returns where Superman flies into
space to recharge, and that just filled him with energy. Every time
his energy flagged, he’d go back to that scene. Because of that, he
played a pretty good game!

We swapped many more tips that I’m looking forward to writing about
over time, but I just wanted to help you get to know some of the
fantastic people I met today. Isn’t life awesome?

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Learning from the best

December 14, 2006 - Categories: !Uncategorized

I grew up with books and audiotapes of Tom Peters, Zig Ziglar, and Tom
Hopkins. I can *still* hear Tom Hopkins say “Unbelievable!” in my
head. Not because I was unbelievably precocious when I was young, but
because my mom was always, always, *always* learning about sales and
management and whatever she needed to learn in order to help my dad
and my sisters and me succeed. Being an indiscriminate bookworm who’d
happily read anything on the shelves (and quite a few books that
weren’t), I quickly chewed through her business books, her
interpersonal books, her writing books, her parenting books…There
was so much to learn, and it was always so much fun!

My parents often scolded me for taking books to breakfast, lunch, and
dinner. I would read while walking, while chatting, while waiting in
line; in bed, in the car, even in the shower sometimes… Looking
back, it seems as if I never looked up! Now I’ve realized that reading
was good but not as good as it could’ve been, though. Instead of
reading during meals, I should’ve been picking my parents’ brains…
but I probably hadn’t yet learned what questions to ask in order to
learn even more! =)

So if you think *I’m* interesting, you really have to meet my mom and
my dad. This process of constant improvement? It definitely comes from
them. The number of times I’d gone downstairs to check on my dad, only
to find him learning all sorts of new Photoshop tricks… The number
of books I’ve borrowed from my mother’s bookshelf…

I have confidence that my life will unfold well. If I’m really,
really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really lucky,
I’ll have the kind of partnership my mom and my dad have, and have the
kinds of close friendships my mom has.

I’m learning from the best.

(Hah! I blog something and within five minutes, my mom *blogs* a
response—a personal story she posted to an online forum before.
Blogs! Online forums! How cool is that? Now if only she allowed me to
link to her blog…)

E-Mail from Mama

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Stuffing envelopes, writing cards…

December 14, 2006 - Categories: !Uncategorized

<stretch>

Halfway through my US/Canada 2006 letters. I’m limiting myself to 100
letters for now, although I *might* send more from the Philippines if
I feel particularly diligent. Of the 100 on my must-write list, there
are 32 people in Canada. Come to think of it, that’s actually pretty
interesting. It’s only been a year and a half…

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