Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Price of Gold

Here in the US, the price of Gold is at an all-time high. Years ago, in an old Western movie about the gold rush, a bearded old miner points to the mountainous terrain and exclaims, “There’s gold in them thar hills.”

Today that could well be a metaphor for all the gold that the average person leaves, hidden in their computer’s database. A database is an organized collection of data, today typically in digital form. The data are typically organized to model relevant aspects of reality (for example, the availability of rooms in hotels), in a way that supports processes requiring this information (for example, finding a hotel with vacancies).

A key MTP vendor just changed their name to Condusiv Technologies.  This billion dollar company was built around the amazing world of digitized gold – your “data”.

Our Vision
“We believe that technology should function and perform at peak levels. And users should benefit as promised. Condusiv products are designed to help you overcome technology limitations, realize your potential, and achieve what’s possible.”  Cool! < how do they do it? >

This less than two minute long video about their name change cost them plenty to produce, but it is one of the best I have ever seen from a technology company.  It speaks of how “data” and proper database (gold) management is key to everything in your business, and in your life.


Everything in your world is about your golden “data”.  Google, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, Oracle, none of these companies would exist if it were not for the magical power of the digitized database.

It is us “humans” that take that gold and ignore its potential. I see the world from the eyes of a salesman – but that is OK – since nothing happens in this world until someone sells something.

If you don’t like making money, feel free to scroll down, skipping the next few nuggets from a 29+ year sales and marketing professional (ahem).

Research tells us that 93% of hard-earned sales leads placed into a database are never followed up. Additionally, according to industry studies, 80% to 90% of the sales leads that a company generates for their sales forces are never even acted upon. 

Unfortunately, these leads get placed in a database and forgotten.

Chances are you have fallen into the same trap that so many other people have, failing to realize that there’s gold in that database just waiting to be discovered. Before anything is put into your database, be sure you understand its true value so you’ll know what to expect when you do call on it.

If you are in sales, be very clear about defining whether the lead is an A, B, C or D lead. No wishful thinking or spin here. That only serves to demoralize you when the C or D you convinced yourself could be an A or B turns out to be no more than what it actually is. That only leads to your thinking that maybe all the other leads were overvalued as well. 

Integrate a systematic follow-up plan into your lead generation plan. A cat may have nine lives, but your leads don’t. They require systematic, frequent follow-up or they will either die a quick death or end up as someone else’s customer. 

Be prepared for the long haul. Even in a good economy, major decisions are not made the same way as impulse buys are. Even when the decision-maker knows you and likes you, it can still take four to six contacts before they actually buy. When they have no familiarity with you or your product/service it is not unreasonable to expect ten to twelve contacts before a prospect will even consider closing the sale. It’s your job to prepare yourself for the long haul and to know the importance of not giving up. 

Develop an interesting and memorable follow-up procedure. Brilliance is great, but it evaporates fast. Instead, build relevancy into a frequent follow-up system so that you continue to remember to do it and enjoy doing it. Create some small reward system for yourself for making follow-up a habit. It doesn’t have to be expensive or outlandish—just something that helps you to stay on track and be consistent. Today’s cloud computing technology and online tools make this pretty easy to do.

Finally, as you cull out that 93% of the leads that never got followed up on before, weed out everything but the top ten percent—the one’s that are truly viable. From here on out only add quality, qualified leads to your database and make sure you continue to call on them until they buy or die.

A seven percent follow-up rate—which is what the pitiful average is—is totally unacceptable when it comes to following up on sales leads that were likely difficult to attain, qualify and organize. You can do better. You must do better. So now go make it happen and when you have your follow-up rhythm down pat, watch what begins to happen to your percentage of closures.

Here is that million dollar two-minute CondusivTechnologies video again.  It will make you think twice about all of that gold in your computer: As they say, "knowledge is power" and this power is a direct result of your life’s work, your precious digitized gold.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


When we first met, our BOSCH Dishwasher was a $1,000 Stainless Steel wonder. I was in awe by its magic; one could put in the most hard to clean pots and pans, and within the hour, out they come, spotless.  Not that I ever would ever dare to operate this “stealth fighter” of kitchen gadgets; I was not qualified to fly such an impressive technological marvel.  I would leave the pilot seat to those with “the right stuff” to operate such a domestic rocket ship.  I do think that I have unloaded “the BOSCH” once or twice, not sure. The removal of the spotless, still warm to the touch pots, pans and plates is normally reserved for those who have earned the honor; those who put the dirty dished in there in the first place, get the glory of removing them.

Today, the magic is gone. The R2D2 of the Capone household – our beloved BOSCHIE - has gone silent.

APPLIANCES — big, sturdy labor savers — seem like they should last forever. But according to data from Consumer Reports, at least a fifth of gas ranges, dishwashers and washing machines sold - broke within three years. And pity the purchasers of side-by-side refrigerators with ice machines and dispensers: after three years, 37 percent of them needed service.
With 20.96 million major appliances shipped to retailers in the United States in just the first four months of this year, that’s a lot of broken products in America’s future. 
Retailers and service technicians have long advised that it often makes sense to buy a new product rather than repair a broken one. They use the 50 percent rule: if a repair would cost half or more of what it costs to buy a new product, the product should be replaced. A new product is also likely to be more energy efficient.

But getting anything repaired can be frustrating. To stay profitable, service companies book multiple appointments on the same day, forcing consumers to sit home and wait for hours. And because it would be impossible for technicians to drive around with every possible replacement part, some repairs require a follow-up visit that can be subject to the same inconveniences.

Typically manufacturers outsource warranty service to another company, which subcontracts the actual work to a third party. So after contacting the manufacturer, consumers frequently find themselves calling yet another number, and then later, after the service call has been arranged, communicating with a third party — who inevitably seems to have a different idea about when the work will be done and what the warranty covers. Who has time for this?

The best way to avoid the hassle of repair is to buy the simplest possible appliance. (i.e. "low tech"). The more doo-dads, the more stuff you add to an appliance, the more likely it’s going to need a repair. Consumers would also be wise to recognize that the more sophisticated the equipment they buy, the more complicated — and expensive — the repairs can be.

The passing of “BOSCHIE” will not be in vain. Our beloved BOSCH SHX33A05UC has become my muse – I will be forming a new company called “The Repair Concierge”.

There are numerous independent personal concierge companies. Many of these companies provide errand services and information services for their members. Services include informational requests, setting dinner reservations, making telephone calls, researching travel arrangements and more. Typically, concierge companies will bill on an hourly rate, and depending upon the type of task, fees can fluctuate drastically. Other companies bill a flat monthly fee based upon the number of requests a member is allowed to place each month. 

What if a company could turn the nightmare of “appliance repair” and turn it into positive, money saving and time saving experience? What if all of the pain and suffering purposely created by the major appliance industry can be flipped around? They don’t want to fix it – they want to sell you a new one! That is why replacement parts are so damn expensive - they don't want to promote affordable repairs - they want new sales. That is not fair, is it? 

I can see it – I can dream it – I can do it!  Yes! is born! BOSCHIE, you will be missed - but your memory will live on. You will become the “Mickey Mouse” of my Disneyland.  

I could not find this feature in the Use and Care Manual.....