Sales

As a web designer and a small business owner I’ve often had to make sales calls to followup on leads.

When I first started out I was intimidated. A 19 year old kid trying to sell a full blown website to a business professional. Through the school of hard knox I’ve learned two basic principles for making sales calls.

  1. Ask questions and listen

    Don’t do all the talking, listen. We have two ears and one mouth. The ratio should give us a clue about how much they should be used. If you’re genuinely interested in what the client has to say and are listening to provide a solution to their problem, it will show.I’ve learned that a phone conversation is so much more valuable than sending an email. Email is more like a monologue, while the phone is a dialogue. I like to get on the phone, ask questions, and then close my mouth and listen.

  2. Know your stuff

    Of course in order to ask the right questions it’s important to know your product or service to the core. If you do, asking the right questions will be easy. Since the point of the phone call is to see if your services can help make a difference for your client, it’s important to fully know what you can offer.Learn everything you can within your area of expertise, and be willing to tell the client when you don’t know something or are not completely familiar with how something works. The honesty will be refreshing.

Realizing that I really just need to listen and ask questions has made a huge difference in making sales calls. I get on the phone with the client, introduce myself, then ask how I can help. Obviously I lead with different questions as the project progresses, but really I’m just there to listen and figure out how my services can be a match for their needs. That’s it.

Getting off my butt

From what I’ve been hearing and reading, sitting at work all day will shave years off our lives.

I don’t want that to happen. So, today I decided to use a standing desk. I’ve tried standing up at work in the past, but for various reasons have stopped. I’m giving it another whirl. I’m tired of just sitting on my butt all day while I work. As the picture shows I have a chair underneath the desk, that’s for propping up one leg at a time; it helps give my feet something to do.

Now, if I only I could put a treadmill under this desk. Then I’d be ready to go!

Writing Emails

Before you send an email, read it. Then read it again. Read it a third time to be absolutely safe.

Each time you read it remove unnecessary words. Oh, and if you use Gmail, make sure you enable the “undo send” feature in Google Labs. It allows you to undo a sent email for anywhere from 10-30 seconds. It’s been a lifesaver!

The Power of Reading

My life has changed in the last year since I began to read. Now of course I’ve read before. I developed a love for reading at eight years old.

My brothers and I were homeschooled by our mom. Until we each turned eight we had what parents today call unschooling. Mom helped us learn important life principles in our young days in an informal way.

Once I turned eight and began to read my brain soaked up everything that came my way. Within a year I was caught up to my age level for reading. At age 10 I read through a 2,000 page book of Mark Twain’s published works. I would lay under the covers at night with a flashlight and become part of Huckleberry Finn’s adventures as well as following the journeys of the Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s court.

When I was 11 mom purchased reading software which contained about 150 classical pieces of literature for young people to read. I sat at the computer desk for hours reading through books on our old CRT monitor. From then until the age of 23 my interest in reading was alive and well.

However, it wasn’t until 2011 that I really began reading with a purpose to change my life for the better. It happened when I attended Dave Ramsey’s one day EntreLeadership simulcast. I realized that Dave Ramsey’s level of knowledge and expertise was at least partially related to what he had learned by reading books. Throughout the seminar he recommend several authors, I wrote their names down.

I read through books like “Thou Shall Prosper” by Rabbi Daniel Lapin, as well as books by Seth Godin, Malcolm Gladwell, and nearly any other author Dave Ramsey mentioned. In the months following I listened to Dave Ramsey’s radio show and added authors and books that he recommended to my wish lists on Amazon and Audible.com.

Since then I’ve read, and am in the process of reading about 45 or so books. Yeah, I’ve probably got a dozen books open right now. But the point is that I’m reading.
By the recommendation of Leo Laporte, from MacBreak Weekly, I started an Audible subscription. Thanks to Audible the bulk of my reading has been through audio books . I’m currently signed up for two Audible credits a month.

Reading has changed my life, and more recently that change has been drastic. As Dave Ramsey says, 10 years from now the only thing that will make us better is the books we’ve read and the people we know.

One thing of interest. As far as I can remember I haven’t read a single fiction book in the last year. I’m not sure where I stand on works of fiction, I would be curious to know what experiences others have had in being inspired and encouraged by reading fiction.

New website

Wow, what a day. I started out this morning with worship, then got straight to work on my 15 day writing challenge. If you wish, feel free to join me. This is becoming life changing for me.

The design of my site has changed drastically between yesterday and today. I’m always tinkering with the layout and trying to come up with new ideas that inspire me. I decided to start with an awesomely designed theme, and use that as the launching point for continuing to develop my website. I’m sure things will change drastically between now and the ever uncertain future, but for now this design works.

I’ll see what I can do to tweak this layout as the days pass.

Update

It’s been a little over a year since I’ve updated this blog. Originally it was an attempt to write on the topic of minimalism every day. I had a good four month span and then felt overwhelmed and stopped writing.

Since then I’ve thought about writing and how rewarding it had become. I want to share with people what I’m learning.

I’m going to try and revive this blog, or figure out a new platform for sharing my thoughts.

Dave Ramsey

I want to thank Dave Ramsey for all that his ministry has done to help provide hope to millions worldwide. I started listening to his radio show last April, and it has literally changed our family’s life. We are following through his baby steps and are now out of debt, praise the Lord! The show helps to keep me motivated on many different levels. I also write down the authors and books Dave recommends. Almost all of the reading I’ve done has been from either director or indirect recommendations he has made.

Love is the Killer App Part 1

While I’m still reading this book, I wanted to share a few thoughts. Tim makes a strong case for reading books, specifically. He likens a book to a hearty meal. It fills you up, nourishes you, and prepares you for the day ahead to dispense your knowledge and bless others.

Other forms of reading such as magazines, newspapers, blog articles, and more are likened to snacks and candy. There are appropriate times for each but you’ll suffer if they are the only thing you’re digesting.

A non-fiction book is a whole meal all in one. Sometimes it can be a person’s lifework all wrapped up in one complete thought. They’ve worked through an idea, living through it every day, and have spent time to hash it out on paper to share with others. A magazine article, on the other hand, may be a single thought that hasn’t been fully developed. To use the food analogy again books are fully baked and ready to go.

Books

My plan is to share what I’m reading as often as makes sense. I’m realizing that if I want this information I’m learning to stick, I need to be constantly writing it down in a way that makes sense and can be shared with others. Following are the books I’m reading:

  • The Legend of the Monk and the Merchant by Terry Felber (hardcover)
  • Handbook of Seventh-Day Adventist Theology (hardcover)
  • Love is the Killer App by Tim Sanders (audiobook)
  • 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey (audiobook)
  • How the Mighty Fall by Jim Collins (audiobook)
  • Boundaries: When to Say YES, When to Say NO, To Take Control of Your Life by John
  • Townsend (Kindle)
  • The Flinch by Julien Smith (Kindle)
  • Do the Work by Steven Pressfield (Kindle)

Here are the books I’ve read the last six months or so:

  • Thou Shall Prosper: Ten Commandments for Making Money (hardcover)
  • The Dip by Seth Godin (audiobook)
  • EntreLeadership by Dave Ramsey (Kindle)
  • Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson (audiobook)
  • Free Price Inside!: The Next Big Marketing Idea by Seth Godin (Audiobook)
  • Tribes by Seth Godin (audiobook)
  • Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? by Seth Godin (Kindle)
  • We Are All Weird by Seth Godin (audiobook)
  • iWoz by Steve Wozniak (audiobook)
  • Poke the Box by Seth Godin (audiobook)
  • The Go-Getter by Peter B. Kyne (Kindle)
  • Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability by Steve Krug (Kindle)
  • Miss Minimalist: Inspiration to Downsize, Declutter, and Simplify by Francine Jay (Kindle)

As you can see the from the lists above I am currently reading quite a few books at the same time. I think this is partly an issue of focus, and partly an issue of different books being in different mediums. Audiobooks, for instance, are some of the quickest to digest and go through. I can listen to them during different portions of my day. I share this list partly to encourage myself with the things I have read through and partly to help keep accountable to completing the books I have open. I would like to finish reading as many as 30 books this year.

Reading

I’ve made a commitment this year to increase my knowledge. The best way to do that is by reading. Right now I’m reading Love is the Killer App by Tim Sanders on audiobook. This book has further established in my mind the importance of increasing my knowledge as a way of reaching out and blessing others. I plan to share what I’m learning with those around me. This blog will be one way of sharing the highlights as well as helping me keep track of what I’m going through.