To Disconnect Or Not? An Entrepreneur Ruminates on Her Upcoming Vacation

March 7, 2011 at 9:39 am | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, entrepreneurship, holiday | 1 Comment

Ok then, I’m not going fishing but I am going on vacation and with that comes the giddy thoughts of languid days spent indulging in pursuits best suited for a warm weather break (sitting in a beach chair with a book and drink in hand, leisurely strolls down streets dotted with palm trees and eating long meals late at night with umbrella drinks at the ready). And wow, am I ready.

It’s been a particularly busy time and while I’m certainly not complaining…and who would after the dearth of new business last year….I’m happy for the break.

But here’s where it gets a bit complicated. My laptop stays in the office but my iPhone stays with me and pretty much everything that I need to do….make that “want to do” like checking email and staying on the grid, I can do with my phone.

Many folks like to totally disconnect when on their break but not me. I don’t feel burdened by checking in; in fact, doing so helps minimize my potential stress and anxiety about having to deal with the many hundreds or even thousands of emails that would await me if I did not keep up with them.

It’s all about options after all; what works for you might not work for another.

And so I’ll check in occasionally, deal with the few things that must be attended to right away, delete a lot of the “unnecessary” emails and spend the majority of the time in the pursuits described here.

What about you? Do you disconnect totally or, like me, tip toe into the work pool just a wee bit even when you are away?

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Holiday Cards: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

December 17, 2010 at 9:28 am | Posted in Adrian Miller Sales Training, Adrian's Network, holiday, Marketing, Networking, sales, Sales Training, small business | Leave a comment
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Please don’t call me a grinch but I am really starting to have negative thoughts about the holiday cards that I have received that are nicely engraved with the company name, and sometimes even the sender’s name, but have absolutely no personalization at all.

I mean not even a signature and, of course, the card comes in an envelope that has a computer-generated address label affixed to it.

The sentiments included in the cards are always lovely. Peace and happiness, health and joy but sad to say, they leave me cold.

It’s pretty apparent to me that my name has appeared on some impersonal mass database and hence I have received the card.

Do I know the people that have sent me these cards? Sometimes I do (and that feels even worse) and, of course, sometimes I have absolutely no idea with the sender is.

But in all cases the printed message in the card runs counter to its impersonal presentation.

My suggestion: send fewer cards and take the time to sign them and perhaps, in some special cases. include a brief personal message. (And I do mean sign them by hand, not a computer generate signature!)

No time for that you say. Start the process earlier in the season; heck, start now for next year. Perhaps you should whittle down your list altogether. Maybe the folks that get the
“generic” card shouldn’t get a card at all, especially if it looks as if there was no thought behind it.

I preach the importance of “touch points” and staying on the grid of your clients, prospects, networking connections and referral sources but you must make certain that you are staying on the grid in a way that supports your brand and what you stand for.

And really, do you stand for something that is cold and impersonal? If so, bring it on. There are boxes of unsigned cards waiting for their address labels.

Late is as Late Does

December 15, 2008 at 9:09 am | Posted in Customer Service, holiday, Marketing, Networking, sales, Sales Training, small business | 1 Comment

In some social circles, being fashionably late is de rigueur. However, in the business world, being late is not only tacky; it also clearly defines you in a negative light. What does being late actually say to others? Here’s the ugly truth of tardiness.

Disrespect

In a busy business environment, time is money. Keeping others waiting is a profound demonstration of disregard for others. Regardless of the business situation, whether it’s a meeting, email, luncheon, interview, appointment, or scheduled phone call, if you’re late you’re wasting others’ time and costing them money.

Lack of Organizational Ability

In this age of online calendars, day planners, and digital clocks, there’s just no excuse for losing track of time. Frankly, no one cares about your time management issues. If you can’t get to where you need to be on time, you’ll rapidly develop a reputation for being disorganized and inept. 

Inefficiency

If you’re chronically late, you’re probably inefficient in other areas of your job, as well. This may or may not be true, but this is what the people who are waiting for you assume.

Ineffectiveness

Are you the boss who is guilty of being late? Well, shame on you! And, guess what? Your employees will mirror your bad habit. Make punctuality a priority and set the example. Otherwise, you’ll be establishing a pattern of ineffective behavior that can have far-reaching ramifications.

Being on time is a hallmark characteristic of a professional, thoughtful, well-organized individual. It quietly speaks volumes about your character that will inspire others to do likewise.

 

 

 

 

That Old Holiday Spirit

December 2, 2007 at 10:10 am | Posted in Customer Service, holiday, sales, small business | Leave a comment

A couple of blogs ago, I touched briefly on an networking issue that really bugs me: people who send me unsigned corporate holiday cards. And in my haste to tell you about this irksome, vile, horrible element in our world (the unsigned corporate greeting card), you may think that this is just a wacky “Adrian thing.”

Well, it’s not.

No wait. It is. But it’s not just *my* thing. I’m not alone in this — and that’s why we need a brand new blog (this one you’re reading now) to clear this up.

Okay. Try this: have you ever received a piece of direct mail — like in your actual postal mail — and you see a handwritten note that says “Adrian, I saw this and thought of you — enjoy.” And so you start to read the material and find out what this is about, but something continues to gnaw at you from the shadows…something isn’t right…what was it though? It was the little note…it was just TOO perfect…the font, I mean. It looked like handwriting, but it was too…robotic. It was “more handwriting than handwriting.”

And then it hits you. That wasn’t a handwritten note at all, but a FONT.

You’ve been FONTIFIED. And that pisses you right off.

Why? Because you feel deceived; you feel duped. Someone “lulled” you into thinking that they went out of their way to engage you, but it turns out, you’re just a random target market database “thing.”

Who wants to be a random target market database thing? Hands up to all of you who played “random target market database thing” in the sandbox at school when you were 5. Really. When Stevie wanted to be an astronaut and Suzie wanted to be an ice skater, did you squeal enthusiastically “oh oh oh when I get older I’m gonna be a random target market database thing!”.

Chances are: no. And there’s even a better chance that, among all of your career experiences an options, random target market database thing is not on your to-do list, and has a less than zero possibility of getting on it.

When I receive holiday greeting cards that are, naturally, addressed to me and SENT to me, I expect NOT to be treated like a random target market database thing. But when I open a greeting card and realize that the sender couldn’t even be bothered to sign it — how long does that take, a nanosecond? — I get mad. I feel deceived; I feel WORSE than if I didn’t get a card at all.

I realize that nobody is entitled to a holiday card. I also realize that if someone is going to take the time to send a card, that’s SUPPOSED to be a “nice thing to do.” But if it’s unsigned, it goes from being a very pleasant gesture to being a mechanical “marketing tool.”

So this holiday season — and for everyone one after this — please, please, please sign your holiday cards. Let the people you’re sending them to know that, for a second (or a nanosecond), you took time from your busy life and thought of them. If you can’t do this, then don’t send a card at all.

At least, don’t send me one, because all you’ll do is piss me off and force me to write another blog about it.

And wouldn’t we rather focus on nicer things?

Facebook for Me

November 26, 2007 at 7:49 am | Posted in holiday, technology | Leave a comment

I’m probably addressing this topic a bit late but I’ve started to play around with Facebook and am finding it great fun. I’ve been able to reconnect with some work friends from my past and even see a potential gig or two lurking in the connections. The site offers some cool things to play with and despite the protests that Facebook is “just for kids” I dare say it holds out lots of potential for business users as well. If you’re not a member take a look and start a page. Ask your friends to join and in no time you’ll be a “regular” on the site like me.

And how was Thanksgiving? I counted 6 Thanksgiving holiday cards that came to me unsigned and without any personalization at all. Bah humbug. This is when the holidays really start to piss me off. Empty sentiments and just a whole bunch of phoniness. If you can’t sign the card, DON”T SEND IT!

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