Monday Mornings with Madison

Getting Back in High Gear after a Vacation

Word Count:  1,613 

Estimated Read Time:  6 min.

Everyone needs a vacation every so often.  According to countless studies, people need time to disconnect from work and allow time for “play.”  For some, play might mean just relaxing at home, reading a book and doing some gardening.  For others, play may constitute high-adrenaline sports such as snowboarding, skydiving or bungee jumping.  For the vast majority, play is all about changing scenery and exploring a new place and all that entails.  Culture; architecture; cuisine; language; history; the arts.  Whether it’s an adventurous vacation or a calm staycation, the one thing all vacations have in common – if done right — is a complete disconnect from daily grind of work.  It’s a mental break… as in breaking away from the day-to-day routine.  Even people who love what they do for a living and thoroughly enjoy their jobs need an occasional vacation. Continue reading

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To Amp Up Productivity, Creativity and Career Success, Go on Vacation

Word Count:  1,368 

Estimated Read Time:  5 ½ min.

Attention workaholics, movers and shakers, corporate climbers and rising stars!  Want to increase your productivity?  Have a desire to get your creative juices really flowing?  Hustling to shift your career into hyper-drive?  If you answered yes to any or all three of these questions, then there is one simple thing you can do that will help with all.  Stop working and go on vacation.  As counter-intuitive as that may sound, a vacation is the best way to increase output, inspire the imagination into high gear and achieve even greater career success.  If this sounds like millennial HR hype, it’s not.  Vacations are essential for long-term success. Continue reading

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Overcoming the “Bad Day” Blues

Word Count:  1,328 

Estimated Read Time:  5 ½ min.

Everyone has had a “bad day” at one point or another.  Certainly everyone in business – and especially in sales – has had bad days… periods when nothing seems to go right.  And every business owner has most likely endured his or her share of bad times.  An important piece of equipment breaks.  A big account switches to a competitor.  The computer network goes down during a peak time.   A deal falls apart.   It happens.  In fact, bad days can even stretch out into weeks or months or longer.  2009 was a downright bad year for builders, investors, bankers, lenders and financiers.  Many could not take the stress and left the real estate and financial sectors in search of greener pastures.  Those “bad day” blues can be devastating… even killing careers.  But they needn’t be so damaging. Continue reading

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Turning Storytelling into Sales

Word Count:  1,476 

Estimated Read Time:  6  min.

Great storytelling – from Rumpelstiltskin to War and Peace– is one of the basic tools invented by the human mind for the purpose of understanding. There have been great societies that did not use the wheel, but there have been no societies that did not tell stories.  Storytelling has been important to every people in history.   It is a cornerstone of human existence, enabling people to communicate and connect.  It’s been a primary tool used in government, religion, education, and – of course — business.  The world’s most persuasive, compelling, and successful communicators were all great storytellers.  Socrates was a great storyteller.  Ben Franklin was even better.  Walt Disney was masterful. Continue reading

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How Good is Your Company’s Storytelling?

Word Count:  1,229 

Estimated Read Time:  5  min.

Today’s sales and marketing efforts require good storytelling.  But storytelling is nothing new.  Even before people could write, they were telling each other engaging stories to share information.  That’s because no one is – or has ever been — interested in absorbing dry information.  Even with today’s technology, dry information is still unpalatable whether it is delivered in a print ad, a radio commercial or video. Information is simply more likely to be accepted if it comes gift-wrapped in a story.  Storytelling has the power to transform drab business details into something interesting. Continue reading

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Growing a Business

Word Count:  1,593 

Estimated Read Time:  6  min.

Most companies are in growth-mode.   Successful businesses are always looking for ways to increase sales, revenue and – ultimately — profits.  And there are a multitude of ways for a company to grow.  A company might be ready to expand its geographic reach and open another location or hire more sales staff.  Or it might want to diversify its products or services.  Or it might have won a major government contract that necessitates operational expansion.  Or it might be looking to franchise its operations.  Alternatively, it might want to license its products so it can be sold by other companies.  Or it might want to form an alliance with a partnering organization or merge with another business entity.   These are all valid approaches to grow a business. Continue reading

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Under-Promising and Over-Delivering

Word Count:  1,382 

Estimated Read Time:  5 1/2  min.

It’s been said (many times) that companies should strive to under-promise and over-deliver.   Under-promising and over-delivering is seen as a good philosophy to control customer expectations and ensure that every customer becomes a raving fan when they get more than they expected.  On the other hand, there are those who would argue that this is a great way to drive a business into the ground.  Some see this as a formula for failure because it lowers the bar internally so that what is considered “above and beyond” is really nothing more than what the competition does on a regular basis without breaking a sweat.  It therefore encourages mediocrity.  Which is true? Continue reading

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11 Things Salespeople Should Do but Often Don’t

Word Count:  1,791

Estimated Read Time:  7  min.

Ask any salesperson and they will tell you that selling is hard work.  In fact, anyone who has ever had a job in sales will likely admit that it’s the hardest work they’ve ever done.  If a salesperson gets a yes immediately, they haven’t really sold anything as much as taken an order.  Selling starts the moment a prospect says no.   Selling is what happens when a salesperson turns a No into a Yes.   And yet, most salespeople make common mistakes throughout the sales process that keep them from making a sale. Continue reading

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Staying Top-of-Mind… For Better or Worse?

Word Count:  2,114 

Estimated Read Time:  8 1/2  min.

Part Two:  For Worse

It is difficult to live life completely unaffected by what other people think or say.   Like pollen, the attitudes and opinions of people blow into the lives of others, shaping their perspectives and influencing their decisions.  This is especially true in the age of technology, with digital winds blowing every bit of information farther and faster than ever before.  When those opinions and messages are positive, it can be a valuable thing.  In business, arguably nothing is more valuable to a salesperson, exec or company than for a customer to share a positive review with others.  Customer and vendor recommendations are like gold.  They yield a harvest of opportunity and good will over time.  But what happens when the opinions and attitudes are negative?  What happens when people are talking but what they are saying is not good? Continue reading

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Staying Top-of-Mind… For Better or Worse?

Word Count:  1,432 

Estimated Read Time:  6  min.

Part One:  For Better

There’s a saying that goes: “Talk good about me; talk bad about me; just as long as you’re talking about me!” It is also kiddingly said that the only thing worse than death is to be forgotten.  This may seem extreme, but it is emblematic of the pressing need to be known and remembered; an epidemic that has spread to all industries. Overwhelmed by constant digital noise, companies and business people struggle to be remembered and stay connected with contacts. It’s referred to as “staying top-of-mind.”
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