Nov 30, 2007

Get Traffic Through Hit Articles At Digg And StumbleUpon

Social bookmarking sites can help you drive traffic to your site. A social bookmarking site is an online site that enables you to "mark" or share with an online user community what you feel is important. It could be a video, a link, an article, an event, you name it.

Typically, you have to join the community to post. Then, you mark the item, include a description, a title (important), and insert keyword tags to help drive traffic and relevance of topic into the community.

Digg and StumbleUpon are two of the best bookmarking sites you can increase traffic to your blog. These two sites, used properly, can get you quite a few more users visiting your blog than other sites - even pay per click.

One of the tricks I've recently discovered to get a lot of traffic through Digg and StumbleUpon, is to find what articles are HOT in my target categories. I'm experimenting with this, but it seems that if I find an article at Reddit or other place, and then post it to Digg, I get more Diggs than when I post a retread to those places. Interestingly enough, many of the articles I position for SEO and high blog interest DO often score well, in terms of traffic, but they don't score as well at Digg and StumbleUpon as when I find something refreshingly new to those sites, and submit it first.

How can you be first to find a hot idea? Any time you see a post within your target subject matter that seems new and unusual to you, look it up on Digg and StumbleUpon. If it isn't listed, Digg it! Then go over to StumbleUpon and StumbleIt, too! You just might see an additional 1,000 users hit your page over that one Digg or StumbleUpon.

What strategies have you discovered to get more hits from social networking and bookmarking sites? If you have a strategy like this (or better), please share with me here.

If you're not using social booking with Digg, StumbleUpon, and other sites like Technorati, you're missing out on some of the best ways to promote your blog. Just use them more intelligently, in a rifled approach, and you'll do better than the typical generic blasts that receive little mention.

This article is written by Scott Andrews, Founder of AspireNow. Copyright 2007. All rights reserved. You may republish this article only AS A COMPLETE WHOLE with ENTIRE LINKS and copyright messages attached. All rights reserved. To read more articles like this, subscribe to the A-Blog.__________________________________

Post by Scott Andrews, CEO of ARRiiVE Business Solutions.

ARRiiVE Business Solutions helps executives improve sales, launch products and services, and build dynamic, cross-functional collaborative teams. For more information, contact info (at)ARRiiVE (dot) com or call us at 1 (805) 459-6939.

Copyright © 2007 by ARRiiVE Business Solutions. All Rights Reserved. You may republish this article only if you publish in WHOLE with the COPYRIGHT and ALL ACTIVE LINKS intact.

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Live Chat

I'm trying something new today. I've decided to add Live Chat to the ARRiiVE blog and AspireNow's A-Blog. Now, whenever I'm dialed in, you can ask me questions LIVE. This is also cool for people who like to email me, now you can check the blog first. If I'm here, I'll try to be dialed in, so you can just send me a simple text message in the Meebo Live Chat Widget.

It's super easy to use: any AOL, MSN, Yahoo, or ICQ IM chat will work with it.

The next time you're online, check the widget. If I'm here, IM me. You can ask me questions about launching new products, improving sales and marketing, or building teams.

Post by Scott Andrews, CEO of ARRiiVE Business Solutions.

ARRiiVE Business Solutions helps executives improve sales, launch products and services, and build dynamic, cross-functional collaborative teams. For more information, contact info (at)ARRiiVE (dot) com or call us at 1 (805) 459-6939.

Copyright © 2007 by ARRiiVE Business Solutions. All Rights Reserved. You may republish this article only if you publish in WHOLE with the COPYRIGHT and ALL ACTIVE LINKS intact.

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Nov 29, 2007

How To Draw Live Participants To Your Talkshoe Radio Show

My Top 11½ Tips for Drawing Live Participants, by Dave Nelson, CEO of Talkshoe

TalkShoe is built for live interactive podcasting. Many podcasters find that it's more fun, fulfilling, and profitable than regular podcasting! Hosts often ask about the best ways to increase the number of live participants in their Talkcasts. This is definitely one of the key challenges when you’re first starting out. My best advice is:

11) Schedule your Talkcast on a consistent day and time so that your audience knows when to join you.

10) Choose an interesting and descriptive Talkcast name so that people who might be interested will “get it” just from the title. For example, “Grey’s Anatomy Live Fan Podcast” says it all if you’re a fan of the TV show.

9) Always have at least two future episodes scheduled so that when one show finishes, your listeners know when to join you again.

8) Publicize the regular day + time + time-zone of your live show everywhere possible. Put it in your blog, in your email signature, on message boards and forums, on your MySpace page, etc., and have your friends do the same.

7) Build an email list of friends and participants to invite to every episode. Click “Invite Guests” on your Talkcast Profile page and add to your list frequently. Send invitations about 48-hours in advance and again 30-minutes before your live show.

6) Remember that about 95% of listeners will hear your recorded podcast before they discover your live show. During your Talkcast, tell those "off-line" listeners when your show is live (e.g., “Join us live on Wednesdays at 9:00 PM Eastern Time.”) and highlight the benefits of joining live (e.g., “You can text chat with other listeners.”).

5) During your live show, say your email address frequently. When people email you with questions or compliments, add their email addresses to your TalkShoe “Invite Guests” notification engine (see #7).

4) Recruit interesting guests and have live contests and giveaways – give your listeners a reason to join live and to interact!

3) Remind people to subscribe to your show. That way, they’ll get every episode, and as they come to “know” you, they’ll want to join live.

2) Keep in mind that participating can be intimidating. Encourage people to move from listening off-line, to listening live, to chatting, to talking. It may take time.

1) Have fun and be entertaining! People will want to join you again and again. For the host, and forlisteners, it’s fun to connect with people that you like; people who share your interests.

½) No matter what, always remember _______________________________.

Please share with me your best ideas for this last item. Thanks!

I've been utilizing these tips to grow my own radio show, called ARRiiVE: Innovations In Business. I've been broadcasting Wednesdays at 2PM PST. Make sure to visit TalkShoe, and type in show i.d. 37798 or ARRiiVE.

Come visit the show when I'm on and interact with me - it makes it way more fun. Or, if you're interested in getting more exposure for your Bid Idea, sent me an email at info [at] arriive {dot] com with a show theme idea. If I like the idea, you're on! You'll need a bio, break plug, and 10 questions for me to ask you about your show theme idea. This is key to my show being a success and helping me make you look like a star. The other thing I request is you promote the show to your own following (list) one week prior and the day of the show, to maximize attendance.

Out of all the points above, I think Dave's point on (a) consistency, (b) inviting guests to make the show more interactive, and (c) promoting the show regularly are all part of why my ARRiiVE: Innovations In Business show is starting to really take off.

Hope to see you at talk shoe for my next show.

Post by Scott Andrews, CEO of ARRiiVE Business Solutions.

ARRiiVE Business Solutions helps executives improve sales, launch products and services, and build dynamic, cross-functional collaborative teams. For more information, contact info (at)ARRiiVE (dot) com or call us at 1 (805) 459-6939.

Copyright © 2007 by ARRiiVE Business Solutions. All Rights Reserved. Article posted with copyright permission by Dave Nelson, CEO of Talkshoe. You may republish this article only if you publish in WHOLE with the COPYRIGHT and ALL ACTIVE LINKS intact.

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Nov 28, 2007

5 Myths of Sales Prospecting

Sales Prospecting.

When you see those two words, what do you think about?

In my training sessions and talks on Cold To Gold: Prospecting Methods to Overcome Fear and Build Long-lasting Successful Relationships, I find people have some misconceptions about prospecting.

Here's the Top 5 Sales Prospecting Myths:

1. Prospecting is a numbers game.

This isn't completely true. It is about the QUALITY of the numbers. If you are marketing to people who can't afford what you're selling, you'll probably not make as many deals as you would marketing to people who CAN afford what you're selling. When I sold time shares, this was proven true on more than one occasion. If people were allowed to tour who didn't meet the minimum income, they usually didn't buy. Why? They had a hard enough time just keeping a roof over their heads and food in their kids' mouths! Not only that, but if we didn't qualify the tour properly, we might lose a chance to sell. For example, if only one of the partners in a marriage was present, our odds of making a sale went down to almost nil. So, we'd NQ (not qualified) the tour.

You could have a huge leads list, and poor leads, and a small leads list, and great leads. The key to good prospecting is to have a QUALITY list. Working to build your list is the goal of the expert marketer. When you combine great marketing with great prospecting and great selling, the only other things you need are great products and great service.

2. Prospecting is the same as selling.

I actually see marketing, prospecting, and selling as three separate activities. Marketing is the activity you do to discover prospects. This might be an ad, a radio show appearance, or a trade show. Those activities are all marketing related; they are meant to attract people to your company. Prospecting, on the other hand, is outbound activity you make DIRECTLY to targeted companies or individuals who you believe might have an interested in your company's products and services. If you do not prospect, your odds of making a lot of sales by sheer marketing go down dramatically. Selling is the activity of what happens once you have the appointment (telephone, webinar, face-to-face meeting) to determine the prospect's needs and pitch your solution.

Notice: I didn't say you ought to pitch in your prospecting activities. My direct experience indicates you'll have more success by RELATING to your prospect and finding out something that they need than you will by pitching to them. The best way to do this is to share a story, filled with a few key nuggets on how they might benefit, then asking how they might need something similar.

3. All prospects are worth selling to.

In fact, many suspects are simply that. Suspects. You really don't know if someone is a prospect until you've spoken with them. Even then, you might want to disqualify them prior to meeting. After you meet, they still can disqualify themselves. If you are honed in on what people need, and your solution meets that need, then you need to match those two together. Anything outside of that is either a custom solution or not a prospect at this time. Your time is valuable. We can only make so many calls and if you're getting nowhere, move on. Just remember that 90% of sales are made after the 6th contact with a suspect, not the 1st.

4. Strategy and scripting is for newbies.

Strategy and a Prospecting Script are both important to prospecting success. I don't believe you should sound like a rote telemarketer, I just think you ought to know what you're going to say, choose your words carefully, then follow that plan. When I've been most successful, I followed a script. Why? Because I was the most focused and knew why I was doing each step of the prospecting process.

Your strategy is something like this:

a. Get lead from marketer
b. Determine quality of lead
c. Find commonality with prospect (research)
d. Write a letter
e. Make a phone call of introduction
f. Follow-up phone call with a gift

Your script ought to be something more like this:

Example phone call:

ME: "Hello John? I'm glad I reached you. I just spoke to one of your counterparts, Jane Doe, in the Rotary association who indicated you're struggling with some of the similar problems she has at ACME corporation. When we worked with Jane, we helped her grow sales by over 50% in just six months. Her sales team was missing their quota routinely before working with us. Do you have similar challenges with your sales team?"

PROSPECT: "Yes, we do... we're actually having some challenges with sales here, too... who is this I'm speaking with?"

ME: "Thanks for asking. I'm Scott Andrews, from ARRiiVE Business Solutions. John, would you mind sharing, briefly, what type of challenges are you having with hitting sales objectives?"

PROSPECT: "Sure. We're missing quotas. Not only that, but sales people are having a hard time completing their weekly activities. We're seeing a lot of the same prospects week after week. I'm pretty sure they're not picking up the phone enough. My boss wants me to fire half the team, but I know we have good people. They're just not getting enough activity happening."

ME: "Ah. So, the challenge is in getting your team focused on better methods of prospecting, then, would you say?"

and so on. As you can tell, I have a script, but I'm willing to modify it depending upon what my prospect says. I'm not immediately trying to close for an appointment. And, I'm trying to determine if my prospect is, in fact, a qualified prospect, rather than just a suspect. If I value my time, my prospects will value it, too.

I share the scripting process in much more detail in my Cold To Gold sales training program.

5. Propecting is a time-consuming, grueling process.

Actually, prospecting doesn't have to take too long, if you know what you want to accomplish.

When you're blocking out time for prospecting, make sure you dedicate that time to the process of calling prospecting clients. Pick up the phone and ask for them, directly. Get in and talk with them as if they were an old friend. Don't be too chummy, be professional. But, you may find that when you call people you ought to aim to discover what they need more than worrying about whether or not you have the appointment.

Frankly, I'd rather not meet with someone who is only meeting to be nice. If they don't know they need what I offer, and are ready to buy if I meet their need, then they might be wasting me time. Be aware of what they tell you. Ask them if they will buy your solution if you meet their need and offer an price that meets their budget. If they say "no" to this question, you've got an obstacle. You've either got to clear the obstacle or clear meeting with them in lieu of meeting with someone who will actually buy from you.

Prospecting can be fun, if you give yourself little rewards. For example, when I'm making calls, I'll block out a four hour stretch. I break this down in to one hour segments. Then, I work each hour to get into three companies. If I can get into a total of 12 companies, I had a pretty productive prospecting session.

Try to focus on what you want, begin with a strategy, script your call around what the prospect needs, and then block out time to make your calls. See if this doesn't help you turn around your new sales appointments and improve the quality of your sales calls.

Post by Scott Andrews, CEO of ARRiiVE Business Solutions.

ARRiiVE Business Solutions helps executives improve sales, launch products and services, and build dynamic, cross-functional collaborative teams. For more information, contact info (at) ARRiiVE (dot) com or call us at 1 (805) 459-6939. Visit Cold To Gold for our newest sales training program.

Copyright © 2007 by ARRiiVE Business Solutions. All Rights Reserved. You may republish this article only if you publish in WHOLE with the COPYRIGHT and ALL ACTIVE LINKS intact.

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The REAL Value of Online Networking

I've been using social networks in an avid way since about 1997. The first site to intice me to use a social network for business was Ryze. Ryze was really booming in San Francisco in 2002, then sort of tuckered out, although every now and again I find someone new getting active there. I was involved during the year that we had these cool business mixers, followed by a party. I was into that. Some business people were turned off by the alcohol, the loud music, and such, but I thought it was all part of the fun. I met several of my best friends through the Ryze mixers in San Francisco.

You'll notice that I'm not talking about the online activity nearly as much as the FACE-TO-FACE activity that resulted out of Ryze. Because, that is truly the value of an online network: it leads you to face-to-face networking.

FACT: The best online networks increase your face-to-face networks.

So, look for this in your network.

In fact, now that I think about it, AOL chat rooms that were popular in the late 1990's were about this, too. You'd connect online, then meet in person. I'm sure most who read this will remember the movie with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan called You've Got Mail, which introduced the concept of online dating to the masses. Again, they met online, but then took it into real life. That's the way a good social network ought to function. I met a former band-mate, Dino, through those AOL Chat rooms. I also got connected with American Cancer Society events, and met a few other people, too.

A couple of years ago, I built a profile on LinkedIn. But I didn't push it, because I felt it a bit limiting. And, here is where I must lament the value of LinkedIn versus my latest craze: Plaxo. The problem with LinkedIn, in my opinion, is that the system is too closed. I can only email. I don't see a full stream of what people are doing, and it is difficult to navigate. Also, I can't even email half the people without having to pay $30/month fees (or higher). That can get costly. Is LinkedIn worth my cable bill? Frankly, I'm not sure. Since LinkedIn displays your career time line like an online resume, I'd say it is great for recruiters. For everyone else, it's mostly a time-suck. Yes, I use it, but I'm not nearly as active as when I first joined. When I use LinkedIn now, I always include my phone number and invite a call. I just want my connections to be real life connections.

Better online networking:

Now, on the contrary, the new Plaxo, with their Pulse streams, have made it easier to network, view your contact's phone number, email, websites, and so forth. If I want their resume, I can always ask for it. Five people in the last week have called me from my Plaxo networks, in desire to KNOW me. That rocks. Yes, Plaxo sucks time, too. But, the difference is that I'm building a vast global network of people interested in the same things I want to build through my groups function. Not only that, but because I moderate the group, I can control postings. If people get off-topic, their post is deleted. Repeat violators are tossed from my group. I know: I'm harsh. But I hate SPAM. The groups are great, though, because you can connect with like-minded people.

Spam in online networking is a problem, but I get surprised when people report my AspireNow newsletter as SPAM. Why would they do that? After all, they have to double-opt-in to join! This simple fact alone means that my emails are SPAM compliant, not to mention that I run them through Constant Contact, which also enables me to follow the rules. People are so touchy about SPAM - but with good reason. REAL SPAM, is the type where people post to every group a feed about their MLM (Multi-level marketing business), or some other venture, that often appears totally unrelated to the group(s) they posted into. At Plaxo, I detest SPAM, and will quickly rebuke those who violate it in my groups. At the same time, this doesn't negate the power of the group.

An example of online networking results:

For example, this morning I met three new people who are interested in my latest programs, and I would not have met these people had I not been active in Plaxo.

Another example of the power of Internet networking, is how people have involved me in their technology. Today, somone posted an inquiry in my group. I read the post. At first, I thought it had nothing to do with Advanced Collaboration, then I realized it had EVERYTHING to do with Advanced Collaboration. Since I'm building a software program under the veil of, I'm deeply interested in posts like the Wikinomics: the future of social networking.

If you're seeking ways to boost your own social networking, check out Plaxo, and also drive your network back into real-time. No, they're not paying me to plug them. I just like their site. But take the online networking into the real world. Pick up a phone, call the person. Schedule a meeting if you live close to each other. That way, you'll really reap the value of your online networks.

Post by Scott Andrews, CEO of ARRiiVE Business Solutions.

ARRiiVE Business Solutions helps executives improve sales, launch products and services, and build dynamic, cross-functional collaborative teams. For more information, contact info (at)ARRiiVE (dot) com or call us at 1 (805) 459-6939.

Copyright © 2007 by ARRiiVE Business Solutions. All Rights Reserved. You may republish this article only if you publish in WHOLE with the COPYRIGHT and ALL ACTIVE LINKS intact.

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Nov 27, 2007

Why Leaders Fail

7 Ways To Build High Performance Teams

Are you managing an organization and want to boost your team's performance?

Whether you are heading up a division of a major corporation, leading a governmental agency, coaching a sports team, starting a new company, or just took the position of President from your local Toastmasters, you'll need to know the secrets to building a great team.

Questions new leaders will likely face are:

How do we get people contributing unselfishly?
How do we create unity, a sense of community, and wanting to be part of the team?
What can I do to make an immediate impact?

You must have a plan. You must act. You must be decisive. You must be inspiring.

Fail to do these things and you likely will struggle to achieve your objective(s).

Questions may arise about your leadership capabilities if you do not answer difficult questions quickly. As someone who studies leaders, I recently completed a poll of the actions and strategies of great leaders who build great teams. In this study, I evaluated previous leaders of great nations, head coaches of winning franchises, and interviewed teachers and other local leaders in California. In sharing these qualities with you, the goal is to help each of us create better teams to lead to more empowered and successful organizations.

Here are our seven most successful strategies to build a great team:

1. Build a core nucleus.
2. Raise the bar of expectations.
3. Keep consistency in all things.
4. Have a singular objective, supported by three related objectives.
5. Promote people with performance success to leadership positions.
6. Recruit new winners to build around the core nucleus.
7. Create an atmosphere of fun, success, and being part of something special.

1. Build a core nucleus. If you want to build a fire, you will not succeed with one log. With two logs, you might get a fire to burn for a little while, but the fire will almost always goes out before the full energy of the logs are consumed. Yes, a fire requires three or more logs to burn efficiently. You cannot build a bonfire without three logs. So, start with your three "logs" and build a nucleus around them. Phil Jackson of the Chicago Bulls used the power of three in his "triangle offense" which featured Michael Jordan, Scotty Pippin, and Horace Grant. Pat Riley used the power of three with the Lakers' 80's dynasties with Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and James Worthy as his "showtime" offense. Bill Walsh and the 80's 49er organization used the power of three with Jerry Rice, Joe Montana, and Roger Craig. The Cowboys used the power of three with Troy Aikman, Emmit Smith, and Michael Irvin in the 90's. The power of three is the key to your nucleus, and it must start there.

2. Raise the bar of expectations. Did people fail before you? Is your organization in chaos? This is a good time for you to implement your program, as people are looking for leadership in times of chaos. In times of failure, we must learn. In times of chaos, we must lead. Leaders raise the bar of expectations. Winning is the objective. Building upon success is usually the strategy. So, find a small goal, set it, and achieve it at all costs. But raise the bar. The first year, set a goal for 30% improvement. The second year, raise it again. The third year, set a goal for 100% success, with 200% effort, and watch your success grow. Jon Gruden, Coach of the Raiders from 1998 to 2002, set a goal to beat division rivals in his first year. He did that in 50% of the games, a marked improvement upon his predecessor's record. The next year, Gruden aimed for the playoffs. He missed the playoffs but his team fought valiantly. The following year Gruden's team won twelve of sixteen games and went all the way to the AFC Championship before losing to the Ravens. The next year, the Raiders lost to the Patriots in a game many felt was a gift from the referees. A step back, Gruden left. The new coach kept his nucleus. He also kept the same workout schedule, the same playbook (with some new wrinkles), and the same great players (Jerry Rice, Rich Gannon, Tim Brown) and took the team to the Super Bowl before losing to Gruden's Buccanneers. Which leads me to our next key: consistency.

3. Many leaders fail because they are not consistent. If you have a plan, and you know it is a GREAT plan, then STICK to your plan. Use consistency to grow your team. In consistency, there are three components to success:

a. consistent habits
b. consistent location
c. consistent people

Consistent habits are important for individual performance, and also important for team performance. If you hold a meeting for your organization on Tuesday at 7pm, keep it at that time and don't change it unless absolutely necessary. Location is also important. My father is a Distinguished Toastmaster, which is Toastmaster's International's top ranking of achievement. He informed me that when he stepped down from President of his organization, the new President changed locations three times in one year. Their club went from twenty-eight members to eight. When the club drops to eight Dad says "that's when they start to fail." Well, I figure a DTM ought to know a key to consistency.

I once had a sales manager who frequently pulled salespeople out of one territory, then assigned them to a different geography. The team struggled under his poor leadership. The new manager assigned both geography and vertical markets to his team, and kept those territories 80% in place for three years. His team succeeded dramatically higher than the previous manager's team.

Consistency in people is the biggest problem organizations face. The pressure to succeed is enormous -- especially when you have been failing (missing quotas, missing playoffs, blowing budgets, etc.). New leaders often have such enormous pressure to win it all in their first season as coach. I've always felt there are two reasons why relationships fail: inability to communicate and unrealistic expectations. It is no different in leadership. Reasonable expectations, clearly communicated, should result in higher success over time. However, organizations with consistently poor performance usually have an unusually high record of "firing" or "replacing" their top leaders. Organizations that succeed keep their top leaders, keep their top players, and through that loyalty attract others to their winning ways. I've noticed the biggest key with consistency in people isn't so much the exact people or the people in what position, but defining the TYPE of person for each position, so that people can come and go, but because the system is established you still succeed. We've seen this success demonstrated with the Super Bowl team New England Patriots. They have a "team" system that creates opportunities based upon a network of inter-related events. When one person drops out of position, the next comes in with knowledge of the system to fill the gap. They're winning a lot of games, so clearly it works.

4. Not knowing an objective can sabotage leaders. Have a singular objective, supported by three related objectives. Great leaders almost always strive for a singular objective. In basketball, it might be to win 50% of games. Or, it might be to attain the playoffs. A winning organization might set a goal to win their top trophy and the big game. In government, an objective might be to eliminate wasteful spending and hit a new budget figure through innovations in organization. Whatever it is, figure out what is most important, and achievable, and set that as your goal. The very best leaders go a step further and implement a SYSTEM of success. Beneath that goal, there are usually three ways to focus on daily or weekly actions, which if succeeded will lead to success of the major goal. I look at it as the singular objective is your mission. The related objectives are the goals. Achieve each goal, mission is accomplished. Fail to achieve goals, you'll know where to adjust the next season.

5. Learn from failure. Promote your successful people and learn from your failures. It is okay to fail. In fact, many organizations do not appreciate the full height of success unless they first experienced the full despair of losing. The previous examples of the Cowboys and 49ers were both preceded just several years earlier with two win seasons, with twelve or fourteen losses. To put it mildly, they were ugly. The new coach first got a quarterback, then a running back, then a receiver. And they were on their way. The way the coach found those great players was by trial and error, at first, and the players who delivered in clutch situations were promoted to those key positions of leadership. It is the same for successful sales organizations. If you wish to achieve sales success, give each salesperson an equal territory. See which one performs the best during a test period of time, and you likely have your nucleus of performers. Or, if the nucleus is established, the way to figure out who will rise above the pack is to encourage each person equally, and place them with mentors. Make sure the mentors are informed as to how to "coach" their mentored teammate. The mentors will then let you know if their teammate will make it, and also help them succeed by teaching them their own secrets to success. If people do not succeed with mentors, they might require special handling, but promoting people who repeatedly fail is not likely to result in success. Learn from failure, promote from wins.

6. Poor recruiting can be costly. Recruit new winners and surround them with winners. Sometimes we cannot promote from within. Either we are growing quickly and we must bring in new people, or the people previously in our organization left for other opportunities. Either way, we must grow from an atmosphere of success. I once was recruited from my college campus for the Businessland College Recruit training program. This program was loosely structured, yet worked on many levels. For one, my manager placed me under the supervision of the top salesperson in his branch. This was invaluable experience, as during my first three months the ace salesperson achieved the highest percentage sales success anyone had ever had in Sacramento. It was phenomenal to see the growth and excitement this success created. Other salespeople started selling successfully. Even the salespeople who struggled eventually broke out and found a way to succeed. Nobody was replaced without first shifting them onto other teams. This system created loyalty. But the old ace moved on to a new assignment. What would have happened if my manager had not recruited new people and surrounded them with winners? His success would have walked out when the ace salesman left. While he was with the branch, my manager also brought in other salespeople, and groomed the younger salespeople for success by partnering them with the veterans. It worked more than I'd have guessed. For when each previous top performer left the firm, the second or third highest performer would step in and succeed just as highly as the predecessor. A key to attract high performers is to let them know they are part of something special. If you're building something special, and the mission statement matters to the recruit, they will join your team.

7. Not having enough fun may cause you to lose top performers. Top performers like to have fun. Create an atmosphere of fun, success, and unique mission (being part of something special). If you want to win, you have to have fun. People don't have fun when they are losing. They also don't have fun if they are blamed for failures, backstabbed in communication, or treated poorly. So, eliminate poor methods of management and replace them with empowering methods of communication.

People will rise to the occasion when you empower them. How do we empower others? Let them know the expectation, create a sense of fun, urgency, and doing something special, and then coach them by letting them know they are believed in, supported, and will be looked after. How many sheep will stay in a flock where the shepherd drives one out from being in a bad mood? Like the good shepherd, look after your strays, bring them back in, feed them, and love them. Yes, love your employees. It goes against popular human resource opinion, but it is a core to ARRiiVEs mission. If we are to create more abundance, we must create more love. And love is an action word. What actions do we show? Care? Concern? Do we listen and know what makes our team want to perform? What are individual needs?

I once gained a new manager when my company merged. The old manager was reassigned to a new territory but left a short while later. Besides being affiliated with an Ivy League school, I never figured out why that manager was successful, because he never did anything to empower me or show me he listened to me or my concerns. For example, the company had failed to pay me rightful commissions because the personal in accounts payable had a bad attitude. She had decided I didn't deserve payment on the sales in question, and with my previous manager, that was as far as it went. This issue was worth $10,000 to me at the time, which was not a small amount of money to me. In my first meeting with my new manager, he asked me why I hadn't been performing much lately with my ability to sell services. I explained candidly that I was holding out on the company because the company wasn't showing me they cared about my efforts. The new manager stopped me, gained clarification, then asked for the name and phone number of the commission accounting clerk who had decided I didn't deserve payment. I then saw him pick up a phone, right then and there, and proceed to chastise this clerk for not paying "his salesperson" and asking "who are you and how could you decide to keep this man from earning his money at our firm?" She had no valid answer. I was paid five days later. My manager took care of my needs, and two months later I was at 500% of quota. I think his needs were met from that success, too.

Another manager could get people to jump through hoops for him. How? He created fun. I remember he once traded computers for box seats at a local sports arena. Yes, we took our clients there. We also took our friends and family to top notch sports events for free. It's fun to have perks from our job. It makes us want to work harder when we have fun on our job. How do we create fun? Through humor, special events, being a little goofy sometimes. The dot-coms were great at creating fun in boring atmospheres. Think about it: what's fun about computers? Not much. But what's fun when you get to work on new technology that helps people do more in new ways, and at the same time, instead of boring break rooms you can play Foosball or table tennis on your break? That's fun for many people. Some organizations launch special events, others install toys and games, others have company parties or bar-b-ques to let people know they're having fun. Sometimes, just being funny creates fun. Try putting up your goal, and explain it with humor, yet seriousness, and watch how much people embrace the new goal. As long as the humor isn't disparaging, it almost always works better than the dry approach.

As a manager of a company, show your employees that they are part of something special. At ARRiiVE, we aim to change the way business is done in the world. It sounds lofty, and people get excited about it. But if you think about it, you don't have to change 10,000 companies to change business. You only have to convince ten to change, and when they are wildly successful and when others emulate them, through the power of the "Jones" mentality, the world changes with them. How would you like to be part of a fun, exciting, successful organization who strives to make a difference? I sure do. So, I'm creating one here at ARRiiVE Business Solutions every day. Make sure to communicate what makes your organization special in each of your meetings and frequently at other times, and see how people respond.

If you are a new manager or have an organization where you want to create a great team, you now have seven tools to add to your bag of success:

1. Build a core nucleus.
2. Raise the bar of expectations.
3. Keep consistency in all things.
4. Have a singular objective, supported by three related objectives.
5. Promote people with performance success to leadership positions.
6. Recruit new winners to build around the core nucleus.
7. Create an atmosphere of fun, success, and being part of something special.

Create something special with your team and let me know about your success. I love to hear about winners and great teams. Make your team great, and you'll be considered a great leader.

Post by Scott Andrews, CEO of ARRiiVE Business Solutions.

ARRiiVE Business Solutions helps executives improve sales, launch products and services, and build dynamic, cross-functional collaborative teams. For more information, contact info (at)ARRiiVE (dot) com or call us at 1 (805) 459-6939.

Copyright © 2007 by ARRiiVE Business Solutions. All Rights Reserved. You may republish this article only if you publish in WHOLE with the COPYRIGHT and ALL ACTIVE LINKS intact.

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Nov 26, 2007

Announcing "Blogging For Business"

I launched a new program last Monday and forgot to mention it here at the blog:

Profitable Business Blogging

Through this valuable course, which starts Tuesday night, November 27, at 6PM PST - 7:15PM PST (don't worry, I'll provide audio downloads of the teleseminars you might miss), you can learn:

  • How A-List bloggers built their blogs
  • How to launch your own blog
  • How to use blogging software technology
  • Powerful promotion strategies
  • How to get your articles Top Ranking in Google (what I call G-juice!)
  • And much, much more!

The information in this course is compiled from over 500 hours of personal internet research. If you're starting a blog, why invest all that time when you can learn what I know within one month? If your time is worth more than the cost of the course, (discounted from $447 to just $245 through November), then you will benefit from this powerful program.

If blogging isn't your bag, but you know someone else who is launching a business, or trying to find ways to grow traffic to their business, then you might want to refer them to this program which will help them become much more productive in much less time.

One tip from Profitable Business Blogging:

"Did you know that when you search for a name on search engines, that domain hawks might be watching your search? This means that someone else might reserve the name before you do. Do you know which search tool lets you search for a name without tracking your search? Just this tip alone can help you protect the name you so dearly need to protect. (This tool link is provided in the program.)"

I've got about 1,001 more tips like this, and many of them worth immediate money to someone who is just getting into blogging. Even if you're an experienced blogger, you will find this course to be a valuable refresh -- not to mention that I'll be adding more and more resources to the PBB website every month - your course fee gives you access for a whole year to this valuable resource database.

If there is a way I can help make the program better, specifically, for you, please email me and we can discuss. I'm always seeking ways to improve my content of the programs I offer through ARRiiVE Business Solutions.

Post by Scott Andrews, CEO of ARRiiVE Business Solutions.

ARRiiVE Business Solutions helps executives improve sales & marketing, launch products and services, and build dynamic, cross-functional collaborative teams. For more information, contact info (at)ARRiiVE (dot) com or call us at 1 (805) 459-6939.

Copyright © 2007 by ARRiiVE Business Solutions. All Rights Reserved. You may republish this article only if you publish in WHOLE with the COPYRIGHT and ALL ACTIVE LINKS intact.

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The Power of Internet Groups

The Power of Plaxo:

I've been investigating ways to promote group concepts through the Internet. One of these drivers is my desire to build and promote better collaboration software.

This has led me to other business and social networks, too. There are many ways to sort data and build collaborative networks. The two services I'm most excited about, right now, are Plaxo (PULSE) and TWINE, by Radar Networks. I still haven't got a chance to USE Twine, as they have me on their beta list, but I've seen some demos. For the latest on Radar's Twine, go here. But, for this post, I want to focus on the value of GROUPS.

Now, for Plaxo, which is more widely released (in beta) and EXPLODING as we speak, check out this clip, which gives a thorough (yes, you may fast-forward if you get bored) review of the features, bells, and whistles:

Now, this is the first power of Plaxo. People first thought of Plaxo as an online contact manager. That was nice, but not compelling enough to make me want to use it. It was only when I started receiving invitations to join other people, two who I didn't know and one who I did know, that I decided to discover what this was all about.

Plaxo has been described as the new "Switzerland" on social networks and answered the call of what I've been asking for: one social network to rule them all. I'm really not thrilled with maintaining a Facebook, Myspace, Reddit, Digg, Stumble, Technorati, HubPages,, oh... I'm out of breath... I think you get the idea. It's just overwhelming. Not to mention LinkedIn, Ryze, and others. Plaxo finally combined the things I like about LinkedIn and Ryze (networking, groups) and added the value of Facebook, Myspace through FEEDS from those sites into Plaxo. LinkedIn may be the most powerful business networking social network; however, Plaxo is FASTER and QUICKER and MORE OPEN. And, it COSTS LESS. Those are all features that got my attention.

But, Plaxo is also a contact organizer on steroids. It's not a GREAT contact organizer, like ACT, or Goldmine. But it is a GOOD organizer, with a promise to be a lot more as it expands. The thing I like best about Plaxo is that everyone who signs up in my business network now gets access to my blog feed (thank you) and that means dozens more adding daily.

I'm evaluating Plaxo as a contact manager, task list, calendar, and group manager. I'm also using it to push my blog feed to people who otherwise might not be exposed to this. As a group manager, I have a passive-aggressive strategy to promote my two newest programs, Profitable Business Blogging, through my Blogging For Business Group, and Semantic Collaboration, through my Advanced Collaboration Group.

I'm also in a sales group, where I'll be mentioning my newest program, Cold To Gold: Prospecting Methods To Overcome Fear of Cold Calling And Build Long-Lasting Business Relationships. Pretty much anyone seeking to grow their sales could benefit from this, so my goal is to share and hopefully a percentage of people in related groups will sign-up through my group affiliation. I'll report back on my success in a month or so. As far as the power of Internet Groups? Well, I see the best way to use this power is as an opportunity to SHARE IDEAS. What I've found is that when we share ideas, and our ideas are good, people are drawn to us and want to connect. I've already had dozens of people connect with me because they liked my post comments within the groups.

And that is the early power of Plaxo's new platform. It continues to get tweaked daily, so they're only going to make it better.

See if the power of groups, through plaxo, doesn't improve your own business network.

Post by Scott Andrews, CEO of ARRiiVE Business Solutions.

ARRiiVE Business Solutions helps executives improve sales, launch products and services, and build dynamic, cross-functional collaborative teams. For more information, contact info (at)ARRiiVE (dot) com or call us at 1 (805) 459-6939.

Copyright © 2007 by ARRiiVE Business Solutions. All Rights Reserved. You may republish this article only if you publish in WHOLE with the COPYRIGHT and ALL ACTIVE LINKS intact.

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Nov 21, 2007

What Is Collaboration?

People are so junked-up on new catch phrases in business. It seems like "collaboration" caught on as the big buzz back in the late 1990's, but it's re-emerging as something of interest. Why?

Because people will always find collaboration useful when they are building anything new.

Collaboration has been around since the dawn of time. In fact, I think of the Tower of Babel, the story in the Bible, where people from all over the world got together to create this massive tower touching the heavens. If you want to build massive projects, or communicate across various cultures, collaboration seems to be the key to making it happen faster, and more impressively. This may not always be a good thing, but we can hope to make it so. The Wikipedia definition of "Collaboration" drills deeper into the meaning of these teams:

"Collaboration is a structured, recursive process where two or more people work together toward a common goal by sharing knowledge, learning and building consensus. Collaboration does not require decentralization. In particular, teams that work collaboratively can obtain greater resources, recognition and reward when facing competition for finite resources."

Let's look closer at Collaboration. Collaboration may not require decentralization, but to maximize it, a paradigm-shift to a new model of organizational structure is suggested.

Collaboration is another word for teamwork, in a sense. But moreover, a certain type of teamwork can accomplish almost any goal, and seemingly more effectively than people could do on their own, by utilizing the knowledge, talents, and resources of the collective group experience towards a common purpose.

I've been investigating the structure of teams for about ten years now. The most common structure of teams is to build the team from the top-down. This reminds me of the old playground system where two "popular" students pick other favorite students to be on their team from the kids standing there thinking "pick me, pick me!" Why teachers ever thought this was a good idea was beyond me. If you were picked first, you figured you were popular, while if you were picked last, you didn't even want to play (mostly due to the emotional damage to your self-confidence). But, this is exactly what business leaders, organization leaders, and education leaders are still doing to this day:

1. The people at the top of the pyramid get paid the most and have the highest and most "important" rank. 2. The people at the top pick the people under them, and so on, until you get to the ranks of sales, customer service, admin, and the mail room. And it all usually ends up in the mail room, doesn't it? Want to find out the health of a company, start there before reading the annual report. Anyway, looking at the top, everyone else in the pyramid has to answer to their direction, and either "get in-line" with the program or get out. It's not a very empowering situation, unless you're at the top. And, even if you're at the top, the experience is a bit like the Lord of the Flies, as described in the classic by William Golding, where the lieutenants often seek to tear down the chief at their first opportunity in their own greedy thirst for supposed power. As the cliche goes, "it is lonely at the top."

The situation in schools, businesses, and government organizations is much like that of this quote by Shakespeare, within King Lear - "As flies to wanton boys, are we to the gods, — They kill us for their sport". (King Lear Act IV, Scene 1[1]). Isn't that how it feels when we're in a top-down organization?

I recall watching a political debate last week, the concept of "merit pay" for teachers being discussed. My parents, who were both teachers, were watching this debate with me. My mother said, "they were discussing this merit pay thing thirty years ago. It isn't a good idea. The teachers that kiss-ass the most would be the ones promoted to higher pay and administrative positions." Well, that's kind of what happens now, anyway, but it would just make it worse by putting money behind it, wouldn't it?

I've been evaluating a new approach: the concept of turning top-down systems inside-out(SM). I believe that if our spiritual strength is at our core, then that is how an organization ought to be structured. Everything goes out from there. Plus, this allows more natural concentric circles of movement to occur. Jobs become less about the functional descriptions and more about organically and properly distributed use of talent.

I just stumbled across a book that is discussing exactly this situation in schools, called Deep Change: Professional Development from the Inside Out By Angela B. Peery. In this book, Peery makes arguments that all the pressures to "horizontal-ize" teaching methods have come "top-down" or "outside-in" when the profession of teaching is an "inside-out" affair. Is it any different for any OTHER job? It is for me. I've always felt that if I'm not SPIRITUALLY motivated, I'm not that into it. More than that, if it isn't FUN, I'm really not that into it, no matter how much they're paying me.

In a quote from page 15 from this Deep Change book, the author quotes Ann Twigg, a teacher struggling with the movement to standardize teaching. Twigg, who is described as an "exemplary, passionate teacher in her 17th year of teaching," shows uncharacteristic dissatisfaction from the teaching community:

"I'm still tremendously frustrated by my feelings about standardized testing. . . sometimes the angry feelings turn into apathetic shrugs: I never thought I wouldn't care about what I am doing. I've been waking up prior to the alarm, but not wanting to get out of bed just because I don't want to face another day at school. Who wants a teacher with these feelings? I wouldn't. Of course, my teacher self takes over by the time I arrive in the parking lot, and I give it my all. And sometimes I'm not satisfied with that! Where's the fun?"

How poignant.

I felt the same way in my final days at EMC2. I remember feeling, "where's the fun?" I remember feeling distrust in the system and in the organization who employed me. After all, this is the same company that, according to my former CEO at Data General prior to the merger, had promised to keep the company intact, keep the same teams, and move forward with the Data General company as a positive move. Two months later, my entire line of command was eliminated in ONE DAY. I remember not wanting to be there anymore. Those feelings cannot help but overtake us at some point and affect the quality of our work.

It seems that a pressure is mounting from top-down organizations to continue to cling to a broken system. But there is another pressure mounting within these organizations that is aching to be set-free.

It is the system, not the person, who is at fault in the modern organization. Moving into a post-modern organizational era, life has become more chaotic, more unpredictable. The expansive movements of open-source, grass-roots, and global dynamics are making it difficult even for the shadow leaders to control what is really happening. Why?

We've moved into an information era. From the industrial age to an information-age, the shift has occurred to an era where simply "producing something" is no longer the primary goal. It is now about how we share ideas, and how we share what we've produced; with "share" being the operative word. And that is where the model is breaking down.

Pyramid models are excellent for creating marching orders and going off and executing them. Notice my words: they sound like words you'd hear in the military. Because that is how a pyramid feels: like you've been stripped of your individual rights and made to conform to a system for a common purpose. And, last I checked, the military isn't really described by most people as spiritually empowering, or even as fun. But, within the traditional pyramid, sharing isn't a primary directive. And, the nature of rungs in the ladder, along with functional hierarchy, and pay systems that support this pyramid, all reinforce the mistrust in whether sharing is wise or a good idea. Certainly, more than one executive has had an idea stolen by a peer, in order for that peer to get ahead in the system. Other creative-types get stagnated, frustrated, and leave to try to find something better elsewhere (often only to get more frustrated with the next pyramid-system organization). And, this is also why so many women are leaving to start their own companies. Believe me, most women agree that the system is broken. And, this is another reason why we must embrace a new system: women in the workplace need to be women and not have to act like men to get along in that workplace.

Isn't about time someone stood up and talked about the elephant standing in the corner of the room? Forcing women to work a male-dominant model (pyramid) is not healthy to women. Women need a new model, based upon a structure that integrates male and female energy.

This is why it is time for a change. The change we need is to move from top-down to inside-out. I've created a model that makes it easier to facilitate this transition. It takes more than HUMAN RESOURCE buy-in to initiate this process. Sales, Customer Service, or Operational groups can start the movement. But, the core executive must buy-in, too. Truly, it requires an executive approach, as well as human-resource approach, if the organization is to succeed in completing the paradigm shift.

Why is this change a paradigm shift?

Think about it: while trying to write about the change, I am temped to write, "it requires a top executive buy-in..." See the problem? If I wrote, "It requires an inside-out buy-in from the executive to the functional roles of HR, Operations, Marketing, to the outer fringes of Sales, Customer Services, and even the Mail Room, to succeed," that requires you to RE-ORIENT your mental picture, and how you perceive the organization. Literally, this perspective reorientation turns the organization from top-down to inside-out.

So, if you're an advanced, cutting-edge thinker, and you agree with me that "yes, we need this type of model in our organization," then why not engage me to help you implement it? I'd love to help. It is my calling in life to advise world leaders how to create more spiritually aware, more productive and powerful organizations, through facilitating this paradigm shift. I'm working on software to help implement this type of change, and other tools to make it easier for organizations to implement.

Collaboration is a buzz that becomes more important when we find ways to strengthen the circle that swirls through the post-modern organization. Work is becoming defined less and less from a functional role and more and more into ways to harness our talents and resources. This is what I've meant about empowering the individual, and empowering the organization. It truly is an exciting era. We can define how to make this new model even more powerful in the days ahead. The choice is ours to accept the old, outdated model of the pyramid, or to embrace turning the top-down inside-out with the Diamond-Circle Model (TM), and truly build more collaborative, productive, and powerful organizations.

Post by Scott Andrews, CEO of ARRiiVE Business Solutions.

ARRiiVE Business Solutions helps executives improve sales, launch products and services, and build dynamic, cross-functional collaborative teams. For more information, contact info (at)ARRiiVE (dot) com or call us at 1 (805) 459-6939.

Copyright © 2007 by ARRiiVE Business Solutions. All Rights Reserved. You may republish this article only if you publish in WHOLE with the COPYRIGHT and ALL ACTIVE LINKS intact.

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Nov 19, 2007

Increase Sales By Tweaking Your Business Card

Want to learn how to make your business card more professional AND increase your sales?

HINT: Make your business card INTERACTIVE.

It is funny how few people miss this opportunity.

Doctor's offices are great at putting your next appointment on their card.
That creates interactivity. Just print "next appointment" and a line to write it in, and as easy as that people are more likely to carry your appointment card around or put it some place where they see it. This will increase your eyeball factor of your card dramatically.

When I designed cards for Seaside Cafe, I added little coffee cups across the bottom, so that when customers buy 7 espressos they get their 8th espresso free. Tim and Liz punch your card cups out when you come in, so that they can tell when you have the 7 holes in your card. It's a bit on the honor system, so if you're in a place where people might punch their own holes, you might use initials, or some other stamp to signify an order.

Another set of cards I designed for a beauty shop uses a stamp each time you purchase $10 or more of product. So, if you purchase $50, you get 5 stamps. Once you have the whole edge of boxes around the card completed, you get free product.

Another way to create interactivity is to offer a discount if they mention a code printed on the card. This method is clever but hardly ever used. Just these words: "mention code 555 for a discount on your next purchase" might encourage people to keep your card and refer to it when they call you to order.

You could also make part of the card tear off, so that if you bring the torn-off part of the card, you qualify for a prize, gift, or discount. This could also work for a play or production. Restaurants could make this a buy 2 get one at half off type of promotion - just from their card.

Bands and DJ's are really good about printing their schedule of gigs on there cards. I'm surprised that more professional speakers don't use a schedule on their card. (This can also be printed on the back of your card). Other organizations who hold regular events can print a small schedule on the card or on the back of the card and improve attendance.

I'm surprised how few businesses use interactivity with their business cards, as you can increase attendance, sales, and more by at least a few percent. With just this little change in how you are marketing yourself and your business, you can really improve customer loyalty. In addition, the odds that people will keep your card in their wallet, along with their other most important things like cash, baby pictures, and credit cards, goes up dramatically when you make the card interactive. You gain a side benefit of other people seeing your card every time they reach for money or show off their latest kid pics.

Try making your card interactive, and see what it does for your business.

Post by Scott Andrews, CEO of ARRiiVE Business Solutions.

ARRiiVE Business Solutions helps executives improve sales and marketing, and build dynamic, cross-functional collaborative teams. For more information, contact info (at)ARRiiVE (dot) com or call us at 1 (805) 459-6939.

Copyright © 2007 by ARRiiVE Business Solutions. All Rights Reserved. You may republish this article only if you publish in WHOLE with the COPYRIGHT and ALL ACTIVE LINKS intact.

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Nov 17, 2007

The Best Way To Increase Email Open Rates

The Top Way To Boost Your Email Marketing Is To Increase Your Email Open Rates.

Seems easy enough, right? Well, not really. Most people don't realize the #1 way to increase email open rates all keys on one concept:

Write Better Subject Lines.

STRONG SUBJECT LINES are the single most important way to increase your email open rate on emails sent out to a list, database, or newsletter.

That's right. You often end how you begin. Begin with a poor subject line, and people opt-out or fail to open your email (or e-mail). So, be smarter than that, and write catchy headlines that increase traffic and increase website traffic.

Ways to increase your email open rates:

1. Write from the reader or prospect's perspective (instead of the marketing perspective). This is the #1 problem with most email subject lines. Their perspective is backwards. Just as with selling, when the salesperson is obsessed with telling you all about their product, if they don't know what YOU NEED or build a RELATIONSHIP PRIOR to trying to sell something to you (or just allowing you to buy) they'll fail, it is the same with Email Marketing. First, build a relationship. Second, understand the buyer's needs. Third, understand their emotional reasons and logical reasons why they might need your product. Fourth, position your product to address those reasons. Fifth, make it easy to buy. Okay, I digress.

A better way to increase your open rate:

Write to what your customer or prospect cares about instead of writing what you want to sell. We need help with things like (a) more traffic, (b) more customers, (c) more sales, (d) losing weight, (e) staying young, (f) quitting smoking, (g) dress to impress, (h) how to get more love, (i) better meals, (j) more restful sleep... and so on. So, take smoking, for example. You wouldn't say "Five patches to help you with smoking." It would be better to write "Having problems quitting smoking?" Now you're writing about the problem, not your solution. (The solution will come inside the email, not in the subject line.) You will increase your open rate if you think about what the reader needs to see rather than what you want them to see.

2. My most powerful method to increase e-mail opens is to ASK A QUESTION. Using a question is the single best way to increase an email open, because what must we do with a question?

Right. ANSWER IT. So, try rewriting your subject line from a statement to a question. Instead of "We found a way to quit smoking," Better would be "Want a new method to quit smoking?" Fortunately, I have seen very little SPAM with a question mark, so your email is not likely to get flagged for SPAM violations.

3. Find a problem. Increase opens because they will care more. The first thing customers care about is their problem. Write about it. Just as with good headlines in PR, it's the same with Email Marketing in trying to increase your email opens. Find a problem that your article, product, or service solves. Then look at the email from the perspective of the PROBLEM, not the solution.

Say, for example, that you're selling highly professional website design. Your headline might be: "Warning: Is Your Website Ruining Your Professional Image?"

4. An email gets opened when it offers something new, better, or secret. So, offer a secret to get your email opened. Or, offer something new and improved. These words have been staples in the Consumer Packaged Goods industry for so long for a good reason: because they work! "New and Improved! Want new secrets to Vista?" Might be a developer's handbook subject line for secrets to using Vista. Or, "Secrets From A Guru Revealed: How To Build Your List Faster With Less Effort" might be a way to sell an email list marketing solution.

5. Using names to improve your email open rates. First Name/Last Name? People think if you use my name, I'll open it. Perhaps, but what if you used the WRONG name. That's a surefire way to make sure I'll delete it. Or, if the end-user goes by Mike, but his website name is Michael, he can screen you because you'll say "Hey Michael..." See what I mean? As an email recipient, I'd rather you tell me YOUR name. If I like it, I might open it.

For example, "ARRiiVE Discovered The Top Problem With Email Opens" might get read more than "Michael, buy this powerful email marketing tips e-book." Even better: "Want to discover ARRiiVE's secrets to increase your email open rate?"

6. Poor word choice limits email opens. Good word choice will increase your open rate. Words like Welcome... Free.... Win... might either turn off your prospect, or worse, get caught in a SPAM filter, so your prospect never sees the message at all. Exclamation points are over-excited. Avoid those. Even F-R-E-E could get you blocked. Hey, Hi... What's up? Are all getting blocked by some people. No subject line at all is definitely a no-no.

Better word choices: Secret... Top 5 Ways... Challenges facing...

7. Make a joke. Depending upon your industry, saying something funny might increase your open. Or, if it is a holiday, you might say, "A Funny Message for Thanksgiving" as people like funny emails. You can also get clever. Words with the "K" sound make people laugh. If you want people to think your email is funny, you could say, "Want To Touch Something Squishy?" That sounds funny, silly, and inviting. I'd expect a goofy email to follow.

8. Offer a Statistic to increase open rates. Even better yet, a statistic is more powerful if the statistic is something shocking. For example, a company who helps you quit smoking might say: "15 Million People died of lung cancer this year. Are you next?" They're hitting the problem square in the nose: it isn't smoking, it's HEALTH! Identifying the right problem, then giving a statistic for that, especially a shocking one - people's health, baby health, loss of something, or so forth, can be shocking. Like "100 Billion In Toxic Waste. What About Your Baby's Diapers?" might be a way to sell "green" diapers, for example.

One funny email I'm thinking about trying is this: "Only 3% of people will open this email." Just to see what percentage opens it.

9. Keep Is Succinct. The only thing I don't like about the last example I gave is the LENGTH. Sometimes, length matters. As in, brevity. And, the more powerful way to say it is with the right words, in as few words, as possible. In my tests to write this blog posts, I found that subject lines with 49 or fewer characters had click-through rates 75 percent higher than for those with 50 or more characters.

Try these tips to increase email open rates and see if you don't increase your email opens in your email campaigns.

If you're seeking more of this type of information, I'm publishing a new e-book on email marketing, which will be coming out in about a month. Add our feed and you can keep track of the product announcement.

Remember, with your subject line, you've got about 3 seconds to impress someone, if that. So, it has to be powerful, concise, intriguing, funny, shocking, or at least intriguing enough to get an open.

I'm actually thinking I need to update how I do my newsletter, to address these, rather than say "AspireNow's Monthly Newsletter" as that does not follow the guidelines of my subject lines. So, see, sometimes in writing advice, we improve our own material. If you subscribe to AspireNow's Newsletter, you'll see how I do at following my own advice!


Post by Scott Andrews, CEO of ARRiiVE Business Solutions.

ARRiiVE Business Solutions helps executives improve sales and marketing, launch products and services, and build dynamic, cross-functional collaborative teams. For more information, contact info (at)ARRiiVE (dot) com or call us at 1 (805) 459-6939.

Copyright © 2007 by ARRiiVE Business Solutions. All Rights Reserved. You may republish this article only if you publish in WHOLE with the COPYRIGHT and ALL ACTIVE LINKS intact.

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Nov 15, 2007

Top 6 Secrets To Success

Almost every person I know WANTS to succeed. Or, at least, they say they do.

Some people want friendships. Others want financial wealth. And others want to reach power or influence many people. Some just want to live a contented, happy, and simple life. Do you know what you want? What is success to you?

Here is my Top 6 Secrets To Success list:

  1. Set and write down your goals. The 3% who write down their goals achieve more wealth, happiness, and success than the other 97%. Be one of the 3%.

  2. Work a plan to achieve your goals. Do something EVERY day. Tackle some of the long-term goals every week.

  3. Know your limitations. Then expand what you can do. Don't let anyone else tell you what your limitations are. Only you can determine this list.

  4. Trust your intuition. Your gut feel is usually right. There is an "inner core" that you can drill into. And that core is whatever brings you closer to SPIRIT or the INFINITE CONSCIOUS ENERGY that runs through all things (some call this God). To the extent that you tap into this core, this is the "gut" that drives success in organizations.

  5. Never quit. In the words of Sir Winston Churchill, "Never, never, never, never, never give up." Many people are on the verge of succeeding right about the point where they quit. It might make sense to adjust and modify a plan. But to quit is the definition of the person who stops learning, because failure ought only be a "learning experience" on the path to success.

  6. Dream larger dreams. Often, people do not achieve great things because they don't reach for their larger dream. As much as we need to know our limitations, we also ought not limit our own greatness. There's enough obstacles to overcome without putting our own thoughts in the way. Think big. Then do big things.
There are other secrets to success, but these are the six secrets leaders ought to master first.

Post by Scott Andrews, CEO of ARRiiVE Business Solutions.

Copyright © 2007 by ARRiiVE Business Solutions. All Rights Reserved. You may republish this article only if you publish in WHOLE with the COPYRIGHT and ALL ACTIVE LINKS intact.

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Plan For Success

I'm always amazed when I talk with a business leader and find out they don't have a business plan or sales plan. Why? Because, they just failed the most important step in ensuring success with their business:

Develop a plan!

A former manager of mine, Dick Boren, used to put a slide up on the overhead in every sales meeting. It read the following words: "Fail to plan, plan to fail."

Now, while that slide is perhaps against the Law of Attraction (why put the words fail on a slide in the first place?) it does highlight a basic truth in selling: you must plan to succeed if you are going to increase your success. As a law of attraction coach, I recommend another quote Dick used even more:

"Plan your work, work your plan. Measure your success."

See, because, when you have a plan for success, you're much more likely to succeed, because you've made a written agreement for success. People tend to honor written agreements more than verbal agreements. Why do you think that out of 100 graduating students, the 3% who wrote down their goals achieved more than the other 97%? This statistic came from a study of graduating students at Harvard University over fifty years ago. In the study, they found that the 3% who wrote down their goals were wealthier than the other 97%, combined. Not only that, but they were also more content. Big surprise, huh?

I recently read that less than 1% of Americans write down there goals. While I haven't yet substantiated that statistic, perhaps that might explain why Americans have so much debt! Land of the free? It's hard to be free when you're buried under a mountain of debt. I've been on both sides of that picture and I'd much rather be debt-free, with money in the bank, than fighting debt collectors.

So, if you're considering how to succeed, maybe you're nodding and realizing, "Hmm.. Scott's right! I need a plan."

Do you have a plan for business success?

If you're writing a sales plan, you'll need some basic elements, which include:

  1. Vision. What are you trying to accomplish in your selling efforts?
  2. Goals. What numbers, strategies, and basic goals do you wish to accomplish?
  3. Company numbers. I've always found a good rule of thumb is to take other people's expectations of me and double them. Why? Because, if I miss MY goals, I'll still HIT THEIR GOALS. And, that's all upper managers seem to care about. You can even do this for yourself, just pretend you're a manager. Give yourself a quota. Then put on your salesperson hat and double the quota! Write down the new number as your goal.
  4. Know your territory. If you're going after a sales territory, chances are high that you probably are either organized by a geography, product offering, or vertical market. Out of all the strategies, I've always found that organizing outbound telephone or email calls by vertical market to be wisest, as then you're speaking with the same vernacular during your calls. For example, problems managing the flow of paper in healthcare will carry over from one hospital to another. Language can be quite different between prospects, so by organizing by vertical you can lower the impact of this challenge. However, when making outbound face-to-face calls, it is wisest to organize by geography. This is to limit the cost and time-impact between calls. So, use both strategies to effectiveness if you wish to maximize your time both inside and outside while selling.
  5. Know your customer. If you were to ask me the single most important skill a salesperson might possess, I'd have to say "The art asking intelligent questions and listening to the answers for meaning." How many salespeople are great at telling you all about their product? How many salespeople are great at asking intelligent questions, listening, and then converting that knowledge into a solution for the customer? The latter is the salesperson I want to hire.
  6. Know your product. Okay, so you did a good job questioning your prospect. You listened to their problem. But when it comes time to describe your solution to their problem, you need to know what you offer, and specifically how it relates to what THEY need. I've been shocked at the number of times in my life when a salesperson either "winged it" or outright "lied" when they didn't know the answer to a question. Don't be lazy. Do your homework, know your product. Especially the features, functions, and benefits that will apply to your prospect's needs. Don't leave it up to them to figure it out. Make it easy for your prospect to buy from you.
  7. Have a gifting strategy. Gifting is the #1 most powerful way to build relationships quickly.
  8. Have a follow-up strategy: Following-up is the #1 most powerful way to get remembered and strengthen the relationships you build.
  9. Have a plan to build value, differentiate, and surprise your clients on EVERY call and in every meeting. This is the #1 most important rule in executing sales calls.
  10. Have an action plan. Which accounts, contacts, and strategy will you utilize for each prospect? You ought to at least define your strategic plan for your top ten prospects.
Similar techniques may be used in a business plan, although you'll add in competitive reviews, marketing strategies, market segmentation, financial analysis, and more.

Do you have a plan for personal success?

I even suggest to people to write down their personal goals each year. If you're running a business, evaluate your goal achievements on a monthly and weekly basis. Don't just wait for the quarterly review, as that might be too long of time-lapse between review cycles.

Last, if you need help with a plan, seek out professional assistance. My firm, ARRiiVE Business Solutions, offers executives help writing business plans to raise funding, business plans to improve strategy, sales plans, and personal growth plans. When you work with a professional, you cut the bull from "template" business plans you can buy. You eliminate the generalized answers and fluff you might get from your SBDC (small business development center) and software templates. Many software business planning systems use a "fill-in-the-blank" type of approach to generating business plans. I don't recommend fill-in-the-blank business plans. They are really obvious to someone familiar with reading plans. I use a template, yes, but I custom-write each plan for each client. Why? Because I find that I don't have as many holes. And, even more than that, I don't get FLUFF in my plans. You really don't want a plan if it is full of guesses and generalizations.

Get a plan that offers specific actions, dates, and ways to measure results against the plan to ensure you succeed with your objectives and strategies.

Last, remember, if you plan your work, you plan to succeed. Plan your work, and work your plan. Measure your results. And celebrate your wins! Life is too short not to have a little fun along the way. After all, success is in the act of doing, perhaps as much or more than the act of accomplishment.

The quality of your plan for success directly related to the quality of your results!

If you don't have a solid (quality) plan for success, you might be blocking your development. Either write one yourself; or, better yet, hire an expert to help you plan for your success. Watch how many positives will be drawn to you when you are working from a well-written plan. You can succeed. You will succeed. Make this your mantra. Make a plan. Write it down. Tweak it, work it, measure it, and celebrate it when you win.

Post by Scott Andrews, CEO of ARRiiVE Business Solutions.

ARRiiVE Business Solutions helps executives improve sales, launch products and services, and build dynamic, cross-functional collaborative teams. For more information, contact info (at)ARRiiVE (dot) com or call us at 1 (805) 459-6939.

Copyright © 2007 by ARRiiVE Business Solutions. All Rights Reserved. You may republish this article only if you publish in WHOLE with the COPYRIGHT and ALL ACTIVE LINKS intact.

More useful than a cup of espresso: SUBSCRIBE to our feed to stay "in the know" with articles like this.

Nov 14, 2007

Everybody Wins - The Game

Join Scott Andrews, CEO of ARRiiVE Business Solutions, today at 2:00 P.M. PST for a special interview with Carmen Lynne, creator of EverybodyWINS (, on the ARRiiVE: Innovations in Business Online Radio Show.

Carmen ran one of the most successful dance studios in Southern California during the swing revival in the 1990's, and is currently a master hypnotherapist operating out of Redondo Beach, CA. Carmen is a graduate of the Hypnosis Motivation Institute in Tarzana, the only nationally accredited school for hypnosis in the USA, and she graduated with honors and the Director's Special Award for outstanding achievement in clinical practice.

She is also the inventor of the first socially conscious board game, EVERYBODY WINS.

We'll be discussing the purpose of the game, how groups can facilitate teamwork and collaboration through the interplay of a fun game, and other concepts like cooperation v. competition, and more!


Dial: Phone Number: (724) 444-7444 and enter Talkcast ID: 37798. You might have to download the Talkshoe software first if you haven't yet listened to a talkshoe podcast or radio show prior to this show. This promises to be a very engaging and lively show. Call in with questions or simply listen in at your convenience.

Post by Scott Andrews, CEO of ARRiiVE Business Solutions.

ARRiiVE Business Solutions helps executives improve sales, launch products and services, and build dynamic, cross-functional collaborative teams. For more information, contact info (at)ARRiiVE (dot) com or call us at 1 (805) 459-6939.

Copyright © 2007 by ARRiiVE Business Solutions. All Rights Reserved. You may republish this article only if you publish in WHOLE with the COPYRIGHT and ALL ACTIVE LINKS intact.

More useful than a cup of espresso: SUBSCRIBE to our feed to stay "in the know" with articles like this.

Nov 13, 2007

Have A Big Idea?

I have a big idea.

And, I am inspired by a CEO, who in his past also has demonstrated big ideas. His company has done some really great things. In fact, this company is now a multi-billion dollar empire. I want to share my thoughts and business model with the CEO, and see if he doesn't have a usage for ways to utilize my big idea within HUGE (my fictional renamed version of his company's name). It could be a big win for my company and a win that would lead to other wins.

Can you relate?

So, I visit HUGE's website to see how to contact the CEO. But, rather than that, there was an invitation to submit my big idea. It glared like a neon light from HUGE's website page:

"Do YOU have a BIG IDEA?"

"YES, I have a big idea!" my insides practically screamed out to tell the website operators of HUGE. Their format of inviting this question seemed innocent, enough.

And, perhaps, they DO intend to honor my big idea.

However, big corporations are caught, literally, between a rock and a hard place. They want to be innovative. They even want to compensate people for innovation. In talking with the largest corporation executives, my experience has been pleasant in that they SEEM to want to encourage innovation within their organizations, supply-chain, partnerships, and consumers of their products and services.

Yet, they are bound by legalism, corporate codes, human-resource policy, and the sheer challenge of simply sorting through the mountainous barrage of email, mail, and SPAM hitting their organizations on a daily basis. But, that's not all. Large organizations are also impacted by the fact that they might have multiple divisions. And, in many cases, these organizations do not communicate with each other very well --if, at all.

I began my search through their site to try to initiate a discourse with HUGE to submit my big idea. As I drilled down past the qualifying page describing if I had a big idea, my excitement waned as I found myself reading the HUGE company's request that I figure out which of their vast organizations would be the best fit for my idea, then to figure out who to contact from there. My approach felt more and more nebulous, rather than more and more defined. Then, I found a form! Ah Ha! Perhaps this was the magic bullet to cut the corporate-crap and get to the heart of the matter: how to submit my BIG IDEA to this wonderful company!

Here is the form, with the company name changed to "HUGE" and other detailed information omitted or edited to protect the innocent (including me!):


HUGE and its affiliates, including without limitation HUGE USA and its divisions, subsidiaries and affiliates (collectively, “we” or “us”) understand that you have an idea, proposal concept, project or transaction (“idea”) that you think will be of interest to us. You should realize that an idea that is new to you may be old to us, or may be in the public domain, or already in a planning or development stage by us. Thus we have found that good business practice requires a full explanation of the conditions under which we can review your idea."

I cannot reprint this exact clause. However, suffice it to say that HUGE is outlining that they are not under obligation to use your idea, nor are they under obligation of an agreement should it be previously submitted or considered by them.

Blog post editor's comments: This means that HUGE doesn't have to use your idea. That seems fair enough. It also means that HUGE might use your idea and they are not bound to you if they use it. Does that seem fair to you?


This clause, while I cannot reprint the exact wording, states that your intellectual property is protected under patent, trademark, and copyright law. It also stated that consideration of your big idea submission in no way impairs their right to contact the validity of your intellectual property.

This gives HUGE the right to contest your patent, trademark, and/or copyright should they decide they want to use your idea. This clause limits YOUR rights as idea submitter and broadens HUGE company's rights if or when they ever decide to use the idea or creatively "borrow' it. At least, that's how I read this. Call me paranoid.


Basically states that finder's fees, commissions, and so forth are not entitled.

This means that you're agreeing you won't be paid for HUGE bending down to hear your big idea. They're not agreeing to pay any fees for it at this time.

This Idea Submission Agreement shall be construed and governed by the laws of the State of OMITTED without regard to its conflicts of laws rules. Any questions or disputes arising hereunder shall be exclusively resolved by either Federal or State courts situated in the State and County of OMITTED and you hereby submit to the jurisdiction of such courts.

This is a standard paragraph that means if you have to sue HUGE, it's going to be on their attorney's turf and in their home state. This is a legal disadvantage, in many cases, to the idea submitter. If I had to sue a company, I'd much prefer it to be in the State where MY company is incorporated than THEIR company's home state. Would you agree?

Your Acceptance of the Idea Submission Agreement

I acknowledge that no promises or representations either oral or written have been made to me by HUGE concerning my idea. Further, it is agreed that no change may be made in the Idea
Submission Agreement unless it is in writing and signed by both myself and HUGE. I have read
the Idea Submission Agreement set forth above. I agree to accept each of the conditions contained in the Idea Submission Agreement.

Brief Idea Description:___________________________________________________________
Signature:_____________________________ Address:__________________________________
Name (print):__________________________ Date:_________________________________ Phone:___________________________________

Are you shocked in that I decided not to fill out this agreement. Maybe I'm just paranoid. Either that, or I hate forms. I'm not sure which is greater. I can certainly say that all of my enthusiasm to discuss my big idea with HUGE's CEO practically vanished after reading their Big Idea Submission Agreement. Yes, I'd still be excited to talk with him if he called me, but I stopped submitting my idea right there.

You see, I just find it extremely off-putting that HUGE would need a legal agreement to protect themselves and limit me in how I might approach them with a Big Idea. While it might satisfy the legal-eagles, it turns my entrepreneurial stomach and makes me yearn to sit across from HUGE company's CEO and ask him "How did it get to this?"

This agreement is actually a "nice" version of these corporate agreements. I actually felt it was the most kind and least limiting of agreements I've seen of agreements of this nature. That's right, I've seen worse. This is the fifth agreement like this I've either received directly or reviewed at a corporate website in the past 6 months. It seems to be a growing trend among corporations like HUGE. Is your own corporation utilizing an agreement like this?

You must realize that I cease to submit when you send me this agreement.

Why? Because I see it like this:

If I agree to this statement, I may have just limited my rights. I may have given you permission to use my big idea without compensation, recourse, and even given you the right to challenge my copyright in writing, which to some extent might be construed as inviting such challenge. this agreement makes me feel that my idea is not protected except by copyright or trademark law, may not be kept confidential, and may be used without any compensation to me, even though you might benefit enormously from implementing my idea. I realize that you didn't say OUTRIGHT that you would pirate my idea, but having an agreement LIMIT my protection of my idea, rather than PROTECT my idea, seems in YOUR best interest and not in MY best interest. And, that's counter-productive to the entrepreneurial process.

Disclaimer: I am not an attorney and I am NOT providing LEGAL ADVICE.

This post is for entertainment purposes only and merely to help entrepreneurs see the value in protecting their ideas. If you have a legal matter or wish to submit an idea to a corporation requiring you to sign a similar agreement, I strongly suggest you seek your own legal counsel.

That said, I welcome anyone with a law degree to tell me whether or not this agreement is as binding as I've outlined in this post. Is the agreement fair to the entrepreneur? I'm curious to get your take at it. Because, to me, signing an agreement like this is counter-productive to the experience of building a relationship where I'm excited to share my big idea.

If you're an entrepreneur with a BIG IDEA, how do you feel about signing such an agreement? It seems as if, more and more, the Idea Submission Agreement is becoming an obstacle to sharing your idea with corporations.

Please, discuss - I welcome your feedback and comments.


Post by Scott Andrews, CEO of ARRiiVE Business Solutions.

ARRiiVE Business Solutions helps executives improve sales, launch products and services, and build dynamic, cross-functional collaborative teams. For more information, contact info (at)ARRiiVE (dot) com or call us at 1 (805) 459-6939.

Copyright © 2007 by ARRiiVE Business Solutions. All Rights Reserved. Reprinting of the agreement included some minor modifications. HUGE is a fictional company name intended to protect the larger company name's copyright and trademark. No copyright infringement is intended. You may republish this article only if you publish in WHOLE with the COPYRIGHT and ALL ACTIVE LINKS intact.

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