Disruption: A Tale of Two Industries

Disruption: A Tale of Two Industries

Disruption is a popular term these days. Everyone wants to disrupt in their respective industries, but few actually get it right. If done well, disruption can not only challenge the status quo but also change the way we think. In the article,  3 Major Things Social Media Can Teach Us About UX, author Sean McGowan explored the implications of the phrase, “most users spend their time on other websites.” He also talks about Jakob's Law which deals with people having predetermined design expectations—like a website with a logo in the top left corner, or the use of a shopping cart…read more >
Being “Pitch Perfect” is Not Just for the Birds

Being “Pitch Perfect” is Not Just for the Birds

We can learn a lot from the way songbirds learn perfect pitch. A bird’s ability to sing is a core, fundamental skill, but it doesn’t happen right away. Scientists from UCSF tell us that birds must train their voices from an early age. “When zebra finches are born, they don’t make a peep for 30 days. Instead, they listen to adults around them and develop  a mental model of what a song should sound like.” Postdoctoral researcher at UCSF, Hamish Mehaffey, goes on to say that this mental note acts like a template of what they should be practicing. Then,…read more >
Corporate Training & Customization

Corporate Training & Customization

Recently, I came across an old Forbes article that linked advertising and training, “Staff training budgets are like advertising budgets; you can waste a sizeable chunk telling the wrong people the wrong things, but as with advertising, developments in technology are giving companies less and less excuse for doing so.” This is potential good news for those wanting more engaging training programs Training budgets are tight. Personalization, particularly with video, seems expensive. But how much money (and employee engagement) is wasted by delivering the same content to everyone, even if they don’t need it? Customization is the answer. The innovation…read more >
Handling Questions & Interruptions

Handling Questions & Interruptions

In recent blogs, we’ve discussed two topics—agendas and summaries—both covered in great detail as interactive courses in Viddler Sales Gym. To coincide with this week’s launch of Sales Gym, I’d like to conclude with the third topic in the series: responding effectively to questions and other interruptions during sales conversations. First of all, if you’re not expecting tough questions during a sales call, then you’ve chosen the wrong profession. By definition, you’re asking someone to give up their hard-earned money. Any prospect who’s still in business will want to know why. They’ll be skeptical of just about everything you say,…read more >
The Difference Between Skills Training & Knowledge Transfer

The Difference Between Skills Training & Knowledge Transfer

There’s a huge difference between the knowledge of something and the skills needed to actually DO that something. At a concert, you as an audience member may know all about opera (or rock and roll) but would be helpless on stage. At a sporting event, you might know all the stats, but against an actual 99 MPH pitcher, you would strike out every time. That’s the real challenge of training. Knowledge is universally obtainable. Skill only comes with relentless practice, fitness, and dedication. To explore the difference between skills training and knowledge transfer, let’s dive into what they really are.…read more >
The Power of Summaries

The Power of Summaries

Last week, I wrote about the beginning of a good sales interaction, namely the importance of having a good agenda. This week, I’ll take it from the other end. What makes the conclusion of a meeting a good experience or a poor one? The answer is of course the summary. This topic is another one covered in the new online offering, the Viddler Sales Gym, but it applies to any meeting—sales-related or not. (I heartily recommend the free trial, by the way.) Here’s why: We’re in the midst of an attention economy, a phrase popularized by the likes of IT…read more >
Do You Have an Agenda?

Do You Have an Agenda?

Today’s political environment has taken a perfectly good word—agenda—and made it a bad thing. I’d like to reclaim the word, and make it a positive part of our interactions with others. Ideally, a good agenda is something that clearly communicates needs and goals beforehand. It’s all about transparency. For the record, I think the negative associations we have about the word come from the phrase “hidden agenda.” No one likes to find out that the real purpose of an interaction has been deliberately kept secret. We prefer openness and honesty. We also want to save time, and not go through…read more >
Leader of the Pack?

Leader of the Pack?

There are many popular misconceptions about wolf packs, especially when we over-simplify phrases like “alpha male” or “alpha female” and use them to explain human interaction and teamwork. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t learn something from the way hunting animals rely on each other to survive and even thrive. Case in point: The photo in the Snopes piece is from a BBC documentary that points to the alpha female clearing a path through the snow, to save energy, making it easier for the rest of the pack to get through. She’s clearing the path. That example of literally “leading…read more >
How to Sell Like a Rock Star

How to Sell Like a Rock Star

The other day, I moved some boxes and found a cache of CDs from my college days. (Remember CDs? They’re the 8-tracks of my generation, just like MPs and thumb drives will be some day.) So I dusted off my boombox (yes, yes, I know) and played Gorillaz’s Clint Eastwood. Instantly, I was taken back to all-nighters, disgusting fraternity floors, and red solo cups. I could remember every single word, even though it’s been years since I last heard it. I’m sure you can relate. A song comes on that used to be your jam. You remember the whole thing,…read more >
The Art of the Email Subject Line

The Art of the Email Subject Line

Believe me, people tend to make snap judgements about incoming emails based in part on the subject line. Even if you’re not super busy, you’re likely to ignore and/or delete any email whose subject line doesn’t pass the “is-this-legit?” test. I’ve been on both sides of the email subject line: the person crafting it and the person receiving it. For years, on the outreach side of things, I’ve been crafting email subject lines that got opens, responses, and content placement from places like Mashable, Entrepreneur, CNET, and Business Insider. While there is no scientific method or exact theorem, there is…read more >