Thursday, May 31, 2012

Jellyfishes - Koop - YouTube

Jellyfishes - Koop - YouTube

Monday, May 28, 2012

Check integrity before you hire

A father who had been laid off from his job had been watching expenses for months. He'd made a promise to his twin sons that he'd take them to a nearby amusement park to celebrate their tenth birthday.

When the day came, the father withdrew some money from his savings, and he took his two sons on the bus to the amusement park. When they reached the front gate, he saw a sign:

"General admission (ages 10 and up): $10. Children under 10: $5."

If he'd come a day earlier, the father realized, he could have saved $10. With a sigh, he led the boys up to the ticket window and said, "Three general-admission tickets, please."

The woman in the booth looked them over and smiled. "How old are you boys?"

"I'm 10 years old today," said one son.

"So am I," said the other. "We're twins!"

The woman leaned forward. "You know," she whispered, "you could have asked for two 'under 10' tickets, and I never would have known."

"Yeah, but they would have," said the father.

Why do so many executives and employees apparently go along with blatantly unethical and illegal conduct? The answer may be that people don't always know what to do when confronted with requests (or demands) that aren't on the straight and narrow. But that's not a good enough answer. Organizations need to be clear and specific about what is acceptable and what is expected.

Here are some suggestions on how to respond when someone in your organization asks you to do something unethical:

Explain your concern. Tell the other person how you feel. Use "I" statements that describe your position without attacking the other person: "I have some reservations about that plan because ..."

Offer an alternative. Chances are there's an honest way to accomplish the same goal or a similar one. Concentrate on that, emphasizing your common interests: "We both want to make more money on this product, and I think we can do it better by cutting some less-important features rather than by using cheaper materials."

Go upstairs. This should be a last resort, but if the other person insists on behaving unethically, you'll have to protect the company and yourself by discussing the matter with a superior.

Careful hiring can often help avoid problems from the outset. We use a reliable method at MackayMitchell Envelope Co. to supplement our usual background screening process called the Merchants Pre-employment Integrity Test, developed by Merchants Information Solutions.

The Integrity Test will help you reduce the number of criminal records you are required to review under the new Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidelines. Using this test will speed up the hiring process and keep you in compliance without reducing the scope of your candidate review.

It is a self-admitting "overt" test that has been validated and adheres to EEOC non-discriminatory standards. In fact, Merchants' website identifies integrity testing as an acceptable pre-employment screening tool, especially effective in identifying applicants with a propensity to commit employee theft. The Integrity Test is proven to identify applicants who are engaged in employee theft, have a high level of hostility which can spill over into workplace violence, abuse drugs and alcohol, and have other high-risk behaviors. You can learn more at

Honesty is always the best policy. You must be able to trust the people you work with.

Mackay's Moral: Corporate integrity begins with personal integrity.

by Harvey Mackay May 27, 2012

Check integrity before you hire

Aging of U.S. creates business opportunities

With each passing birthday, some wise guy asks if I'm finally going to retire. Oh, how I hate that question. I love my work, and I love to work. As it turns out, I'm part of an emerging demographic: the longevity revolution.

To learn more about this over-50 generation, I turned to a real expert in the field. My good friend Ken Dychtwald is North America's foremost visionary regarding the lifestyle, marketing, health-care and workforce implications of the 50-plus generation. American Demographics magazine honored him as the single most influential marketer to Baby Boomers over the past quarter century. He's the best-selling author of 16 books on age-related issues, available at

He has devoted nearly 40 years to studying what happens when more and more of us live longer and longer.

Ken started his explanation by asking some basic questions: What happens to media, marketing and advertising that have been oriented nearly exclusively toward 18- to 34-year-olds when that age group diminishes in size and the 50-plus population, which has always been a throwaway group, suddenly has all the money and growth?

What business opportunities are going to emerge as we have new bunches of 50-year-olds, 60-year-olds, 80-year-olds, 90-year-olds, maybe 110-year-olds, in the years to come? How might that indeed be a new frontier?

Those are important questions. The widely accepted retirement age of 65 is an age that many consider "old." But Ken is quick to point out that 65 was established by Otto von Bismarck in the 1880s, when he was designing Europe's first pension plan -- and when the actual average life expectancy was 45. Clearly, 65 looks dramatically different in 2012.

That fact should shape the market, which we mostly think of as being shaped by young trendsetters, Ken says. But targeting young people is not the best strategy, because as that group ages, you have to go back and start over with the next group of young people. And they don't have the power or the money.

Ken argues that rather than focusing on trendsetters, we should turn our attention to the "influentials," the people whom other people take note of and want to be like. Young people are looking up to those who are successful, powerful and good at what they do. It is not true that kids have all the power in this country.

"Young people are broke and have been made more broke by the recession," Ken says. "If you do all the analytics on this last five years, the age groups that have gotten battered the hardest in terms of losing money, losing their homes, losing their jobs, are people in their 20s and 30s.

"People 50-plus have actually done not bad. Look simply at net worth, and the portrait becomes quite compelling. The older population, whether you like them or not, whether you want to be one or not, is where the money is. Seventy percent of all the wealth in North America and Europe is controlled by people over 50.

"The growth is coming from people in their 50s, 60s and 70s. What kind of industries will take off in the next decade?"

Then Ken unleashed another statistic that should refocus marketing strategies: The most entrepreneurship in the last 10 years in America has happened among 55- to 65-year-olds.

But he's not convinced that money is the ticket to a happy retirement. Some people work because they have to, but many continue working and exploring new careers because they like to. Perhaps they aren't planning to work full time, but they are looking for a good work-leisure balance.

What do people really want?

"It's freedom," Ken says. "I'm going to do what I want to do, how I want to do it, on my own schedule. People also want to be respected for their wisdom, for their power, for their coolness, for their influence, for their experience."

Ken Dychtwald gave me plenty to think about as I defer retirement. And maybe even gave me a couple of ideas for my next career.

Mackay's Moral: We all have to grow up, but we never have to get old.

by Harvey Mackay May 20, 2012

Aging of U.S. creates business opportunities

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

'Fifty Shades' of a kinky sex revolution? Maybe not

What's happening to the sex lives of American women when an erotic trilogy focused on kinky sex becomes a top seller? The trilogy of books have received national attention for their popularity and subject matter.

The books in question explicitly describe bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism (BDSM) as a relationship unfolds between recent college graduate Anastasia Steele and handsome young billionaire entrepreneur Christian Grey, who wants her to share his secret dominant/submissive sexual proclivities.

British writer E.L. James' Fifty Shades of Grey," "Fifty Shades Darker" and "Fifty Shades Freed" took the top three spots in USA TODAY's Best-Selling Books list, out today. The first book has been in the No. 1 spot for three weeks. It has been banned from library shelves across Florida and Georgia and parodied on "Saturday Night Live."

"It's challenging for many people to define what a BDSM behavior is," says Debby Herbenick, an educator at the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction at Indiana University- Bloomington.

The spectrum ranges from "handcuffs and little devices meant for spanking and things like that" to more extremes involving real pain.

Experts say that a big part of BDSM involves role-playing and an exchange of power. So how many people are tying up their partners or brandishing riding crops behind closed doors?

And is it OK?

"I would certainly say millions of people participate in it," Herbenick says, but there are no good numbers because no large national surveys have asked.

Don't call it 'mommy porn'

"We hear fairly often that the estimate on prevalence of BDSM is one in 10. We don't know whether or not that's accurate," says clinical psychologist Peggy Kleinplatz, a certified sex therapist and professor of medicine at University of Ottawa in Canada.

Susan Wright of Phoenix, founder of the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, an advocacy group, says the trilogy shows BDSM "in a very responsible way," citing the "extended discussion about what each character wants from the sexual relationship, with great examples of 'hard limits' but also compromises."

She says, however, that the term "mommy porn" some have used to describe the books is "another way of denigrating women's interest in sexuality."

Despite the heroine's sexual submissiveness and some anti-feminist sentiments, there's "nothing gender-subversive in the book," says Staci Newmahr, an assistant professor of sociology at Buffalo State College in New York.

"In regular vanilla eroticism, women are supposed to want dominant, rich men. This is 'Cinderella-kinky,' " says Newmahr, author of 'Playing on the Edge: Sadomasochism, Risk, and Intimacy.'

"It surprises me that an erotic book is a best seller in this country, but if there's going to be one, it does not surprise me this kinky twist on Harlequin romance is it, because the characterization of what's erotic is so consistent with what's supposed to be erotic for women and men in this country."

Sallie Foley, a certified sex therapist and educator in Ann Arbor, Mich., says James shows "a woman being strong in her capacity to knowingly submit."

In the end, it's a fantasy

"More people will realize it's OK to explore this and have a fantasy life," says Foley, author of "Sex Matters for Women." "It doesn't mean in any way women want to give up the vote."

But just how emotionally safe is BDSM?

"The mantra of the BDSM world is 'safe, sane and consensual,' " says Kleinplatz, author of "New Directions in Sex Therapy: Innovations and Alternatives," a second edition out in March. To the extent that's followed, "they are not harmful."

Herbenick says that as with any sexual behavior, the key is "how you do it, under what circumstances you do it and how you feel about it. Nobody should engage in (it) if they don't want to or if they don't feel good about it."

But Foley says there are emotional risks. "If you're doing it to be liked, to be loved, in order for your boyfriend to pay the rent, or if you're doing it because you think that's what's expected of you but it's psychologically not comfortable for you, it could be potentially quite harmful for you," she says.

Clinical psychologist and sex therapist Barry McCarthy of Washington, D.C., says ongoing relationships do have trouble keeping alive that sense of "eroticism, unpredictability and vitality," which may be why the books could be spicing up sex lives across the USA.

But he cautions that fantasy and behavior are different.

"For most people, the erotic fantasy is better as a fantasy," he says, because acting it out may make them "feel self-conscious and intimidated."

Despite "Fifty Shades'" popularity, Herbenick, author of "Sex Made Easy," out last month, says she doesn't expect lots of people to "engage in hard-core BDSM as a result of the book.

"I do not expect massive changes in the bedrooms across America," she says.

by Sharon Jayson - May. 10, 2012 11:41 AM USA TODAY

'Fifty Shades' of a kinky sex revolution? Maybe not

Show people, customers you care about them

On a national sports radio program recently, two talk-show hosts were discussing star quarterback Peyton Manning and the enormous impact he is having in his new football home, Denver.

They mentioned that Manning had already learned the entire playbook, but even more interesting was that he had learned the names of the entire press group and as much as he could about them and their families. One host opined how brilliant that was of Manning.

Perhaps Manning does this because he knows the value of scouting reports, which colleges and major sports leagues use to assess their competition and draft choices.

I don't know if Peyton Manning is familiar with the Mackay 66-Question Customer Profile, which I wrote about in my book, "Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive," but Manning certainly knows the power that it yields when used properly to build relationships.

I have been preaching about the power of the Mackay 66 for my entire career. It's a tool to help you humanize your selling strategy. To be successful in life -- and especially in sales -- you must have a desire to help people. Studies show that you can't talk business all the time. Your customers are people first!

I developed this 66-question customer profile when I was 21 years old. (The Mackay 66 is available for free on my website, At MackayMitchell Envelope Co., we require all our salespeople to fill it out about every customer.

You wouldn't believe how much we know about our customers. The IRS wouldn't believe how much we know about our customers.

And I'm not talking about their tastes in envelopes. We want to know, based on routine conversation and observation, what our customers are like as human beings. What do they feel strongly about? What are they proudest of having achieved? Are there any status symbols in their offices? In other words, we want to know the person behind the desk.

And remember this is not just for our customers. It's also for our suppliers. We want the best paper suppliers in the country. We want the best ink suppliers.

Use the Mackay 66 for employees, competitors and anyone you can benefit from knowing more about. Every time you encounter those people, you learn a little bit more about them. You will probably never fill out all 66 items, but 30 are better than 20, and 15 are better than 10. They cover things like education (high school and college), family (spouses and kids), anniversaries, hobbies and interests, favorite sports teams, vacation habits, previous employment, professional and trade associations, clubs and so on.

Question No. 66: Does your competitor have more or better answers to the above questions than you have?

The Mackay 66 is a concept, a philosophy and a tool. You still must perform. But if you perform and build a good relationship, you not only get the order, you get all the reorders.

You simply cannot know enough about your customers, employees, suppliers and competitors.

Here's a story that dates back about 100 years that illustrates the importance of noticing the little things and knowing your audience.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, was quite impressed with the observational powers of a cab driver who picked him up at the train station after a vacation to the south of France. As he stepped into the cab and put his suitcase on the seat next to him, the driver surprised him by asking, "Where would you like to go, Mr. Doyle?"

Doyle was shocked that the man knew his name and asked whether they had ever met.

The driver said no, which prompted Doyle to ask how he knew who Doyle was.

The driver replied, "This morning's paper had a story about you being on vacation in Marseilles. This is the taxi stand where people who return from Marseilles always come. Your skin color tells me that you have been on vacation. The ink spot on your right index finger suggests to me that you are a writer. Your clothing is very English, and not French. Adding up all those pieces of information, I deduce that you are Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. That, and your name is on your suitcase."

Mackay's Moral: People don't care how much you know about them, once they realize how much you care about them.

by Harvey Mackay May 13, 2012

Show people, customers you care about them

Applications for medical-marijuana sites open

Marijuana grower Steve Valdez takes Ross Smith through his varieties of marijuana plants at a Maraijuana Farmer's Market in Phoenix at weGrow Hydroponic Supplies Superstore. Growers were on hand to meet with medical marijuana patients.
Pat Shannahan/The Republic Marijuana grower Steve Valdez takes Ross Smith through his varieties of marijuana plants at a Maraijuana Farmer's Market in Phoenix at weGrow Hydroponic Supplies Superstore. Growers were on hand to meet with medical marijuana patients.

The Arizona Department of Health Services will accept applications for medical-marijuana dispensaries through 5 p.m. May 25.

Under the voter-approved Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, the state can have 126 medical-marijuana dispensaries, but the application process had been stalled because of lawsuits and rule making.

Would-be marijuana-dispensary operators must pay a $5,000 fee. If they are not selected, the state will return $1,000, state health officials said. Applicants must be at least 21 years old and cannot be a law-enforcement officer or a physician who is currently writing certifications for patients. Applicants also cannot have certain felony convictions within the last 10 years. Applicants can operate up to five dispensaries.

The law limits the number of dispensaries that can operate geographically throughout the state, and if there are too many applications in any one area, health officials will award dispensary certifications through a lottery system.

State health officials expect to award dispensary certificates this summer.

If selected, the dispensaries can grow medical marijuana and acquire it from other registered non-profit dispensaries or from registered patients or caregivers.

Arizona Department of Health Services Director Will Humble expects to award fewer than 110 applications, based on public interest so far, and likely between 70 or 80. He doesn't expect Native American tribes to apply for dispensary certificates, based on demographic data the state has collected showing little or no interest in the program.

That same data show that people of all ages and backgrounds -- including the elderly, Baby Boomers and 20- to 30-somethings -- use medical marijuana.

More than 22,200 people have received permission to smoke, eat or otherwise ingest marijuana to ease their ailments. Of those, nearly three-quarters are men, and nearly 85 percent of all patients have requested to grow their own.

Sunny Singh, owner of WeGrow Phoenix, helps medical-marijuana patients and caregivers grow marijuana to target certain ailments. Recently, he's been working with patients and caregivers to help them design grow rooms. He hopes to expand his business and contract with dispensaries.

"We want to change our focus to target the dispensary sites, but there's really been nowhere for us to go" since the dispensary-application process stalled, Singh said. "Being that there can be 126 dispensaries in Arizona, we think we'll be very successful."

by Yvonne Wingett Sanchez - May. 13, 2012 08:40 PM The Republic |

Applications for medical-marijuana sites open

Motivate Your Sales Force

The most common answer to the question of how to better motivate a sales team in a small-business environment (or any business environment, really) is to provide monetary incentives. Experts don’t argue the benefits of using money to motivate sales, but note there are other areas managers and owners can address to further improve the process. A few suggestions include setting and clarifying goals, making sure those goals are not so easily reached for all members of the staff, keeping communication clear and transparent, providing educational opportunities and offering lots of positive reinforcement. For more on this continue reading the following article from TheStreet.

You've launched your business, your product or service is gaining attention, but after some initial success your sales staff seems to be wavering a bit. How do you keep the team motivated?

While the obvious answer may be to throw money at them, few small or young companies can afford to put significant amounts of cash towards this kind of incentive. But this may not be a problem. In fact, many experts say money only goes so far in motivating workers. In order to truly set your sales staff on a path for success, you need to first understand their personalities and preferred ways of working so that you can then set attainable goals for them.

"If you're empowering your people to set objectives and goals and reach them -- you're winning as a manager by very definition. It's really about committing to make your team great rather than worrying about being great yourself," says Karen Leland, president of Sterling Marketing Group.

Leland says the first order of business is to identify what you are motivating your staff to do: Should they be selling more products? Should they be getting higher-quality customers?

Once that is determined, managers need to recognize that workers are motivated in different ways. This is important to understand because once you know that, you can begin to present their goals -- and a system for attaining them -- in a way they can relate to.

"As a manager you have to uncover the motivational underpinning of each staff member. You have to pay attention to what people do and the language they use," Leland says.

Salespeople who are motivated by numbers and analytics tend to talk in technical lingo and data-speak. Salespeople who are more about the excitement of the idea tend to talk more in language that is expressive. If they're motivated more by the relationship, they'll tend to talk about the people side of things.

The biggest mistake a manager can make is to assume that all of their staff is motivated by the same factors. Nor should they assume that just because someone is enthusiastic about the sales process it means they can bring in the expected results, Leland warns.

Greg Scheingold, president of The Growth Coach, a business-coaching franchise, cautions that managers should also ensure they hire the right kind of person for the job, not just someone who fits the job profile.

Managers or owners should assess whether the prospective salesperson shares their values. Scheingold suggests that in order to find that out, put people in hypothetical situations and ask them to tell you how they would react.

The best salespeople tend to think in a positive light, are self-confident, present themselves well, are professional in appearance, are caring (or at least appear to be) and are persistent, he adds.

"In general most sales people and teams face a lot of rejection," Scheingold says. "It takes a certain type a person to handle [that]."

Here are five suggestions from Scheingold and others to keep employees motivated and excited about their positions:

1. Clarify expectations.
The more you can explain what it is you're trying to do, the easier it will be to get staff on board.

2. Challenge employees.
A little competition is healthy for your team. Set the bar high enough so that not everybody reaches the goals but they are attainable.

3. Keep the communication doors open.
Make sure your staff is aware that you are willing to help them achieve their goals.

4. Education and training is important even for the most seasoned salesperson.
"Motivation is really about education, communication and care," says Tony Horwath, founder and CEO of Sales Focus, an outsourcing company that provides sales staff mainly to small businesses that can't afford full-time hires, or to Fortune 500 companies that want additional support.

"Most companies bring somebody in, they train them and then say 'Ok, go get them.' It doesn't work that way. Sales training has to be a constant and evaluated," Horwath says. "We [already] assume all salespeople need to be motivated by money."

5. Provide plenty of positive reinforcement.
"That will allow you, when you need to, to challenge them or hold them more accountable. They're going to be much more accepting of your message. You don't want them to give you excuses, you want them to give you solutions," Scheingold says.

Horwath agrees that recognizing achievements, whether that's in front of the whole staff or as simple as a text message, is necessary. "You want to build the momentum of success on a daily basis. We're not going to wait until the end of the month or the end of the week," he says.

by Laurie Kulikowski NuWire Investor May 14, 2012

Motivate Your Sales Force

Sunday, May 13, 2012

How to make your customers love you in seven ways - GeekWire

It’s not an exaggeration to say “the customer is king.” Customers are the ones who will pay your bills as they hand over their hard-earned cash in exchange for your product or service.

So getting…and keeping…customers is important. But why do so many customers never return to a company or never buy a product more than once?

The answer is they don’t care about your brand. And they don’t care about your brand because you haven’t given them anything to care about. Most customers don’t feel like they belong.

But they desperately want to. Your job is to get them to want to belong. And you can do that with the following seven ways.

1. Know your customer inside out

This is where it all starts.

Just because you think you have the perfect product doesn’t mean people are going to love it. If you assume anything, you may waste a lot of money and time.
Unfortunately too many companies feel like marketing research is expensive and time consuming, so they skip it.
Here’s the deal: It’s not expensive or time consuming. And it’s a must. The following tools and tips can help you collect information about your customer cheaply and easily.

Host a DIY customer panel – Unlike a typical focus groups where you leave the group alone in a room by themselves, a customer panel puts you in the same room with the group to collect customers intelligence.

Run a viral public opinion poll – You can run traditional surveys using tools like KISSinsights (my company) or Survey Monkey, but when you use a tool like Urtak you supercharge your results, getting 100X the interaction.

Test your product against the 5-second rule – With a simple wire frame or mock up of your website you could get users to test it over at Free.

Create the Minimum Viable Product – A simple sketch or screencast is all you need to float an early product to customers…gather information…tweak…and repeat.

2. Always ship

When it comes to turning one-time customers into returning customers, you have to deliver exceptional service. Not just once or twice…but all the time.

And if you have problems that crop up delivering their product, tell them right away. Tell them what you are doing to fix the problem. And after you deliver, follow up again. Do this repeatedly to make sure that everything is okay. You can turn a disaster experience into a wonderful one by the way you respond to crisis.

Richard Branson turned an ugly publicity stunt into a better outcome when a passenger sent him a 6-page letter complaining about the food on his flight. Branson offered the guy who complained a job as an official food taster for their flights.

And don’t forget that the customer service experience should be exceptional at every touch point…whether you are sending an invoice or simply trading emails.

3. Train your staff

Another way to create customers who love you is to embed your culture of exceptional customer experience into your staff…and you can do that by providing scripts and training sessions.

Each touch with a customer should be within the boundaries you set for it so that you maintain that trust with customers, protect your reputation and improve the efficiency of communication with your customers.

You don’t have to necessarily micro-manage the process by having a script for every single encounter. You could take the Zappos way and simply give them five guidelines:
Respond quickly – Based on the size of your company and your resources, decide on what “quick” is…and then make sure employees are responding within that time frame.
Never argue about returns – If you have a 100 percent return policy, never argue with a customer when they decide to take you up on that offer. It will encourage repeat sales.

Upgrade loyal customers – For those customers you’ve identified as repeat and loyal, give them some privileges. In Zappos case they would upgrade a loyal customer to one or two day shipping.

Solve problems – Anticipate problems and then be the solution. How simple is that?
Treat customers like people – Train your staff to view every customer as a person…with a unique story, personality and challenge.

Taking the time to train your staff to care deeply for your customers will turn them into fans who absolutely love you!

4. Stay in touch

If you want customers to love you, then you have to reach out and touch them. This includes an off-line touch, too — an act that we online marketers often ignore.

That can mean the difference between a one-off sale and a long-term relationship. For example, one of the things I offer in my QuickSprout Traffic System is a 30 minute phone call.

That’s a clincher for a lot of people.

After that, an opt-in email newsletter is a must. This touch can be once a week or once a month, depending on the size of the newsletter. To optimize your email newsletter list, avoid these mistakes and implement these 4 marketing automation techniques.

If your touches are full of relevant and useful content, it’s inevitable that you will build real relationships with your customers that lead to long-term loyalty.

5. Take care of the loyal

While it’s super important to drive more and more customers through your door…you can never forget about your current customers.

You need to treat these current and loyal customers with respect and give them adequate attention. For example, if you run a special that gives new customers a discount on your product and service — how are you going to handle those loyal customers who see the special?

One thing you can do is offer exclusive loyalty programs. A Manhattan clothing retailer created a loyalty program that allowed customers to earn points by submitting receipts they could redeem from 7,000 different reward options.

A regional bank grew number of new loan contracts by 25-30 percent, expanded into new geographical markets and averaged 2,000 more loans a month by using a points-based incentive program directed to current customers.

As you can see, sometimes you can generate the most growth from simply paying attention to your current customers through exclusive incentives.
6. Personalize the loyalty program

If you want the best loyalty program, however, you have to create…and execute it…so that it is customized and systematized. Then you need to stay on top of it.

One of the best examples of this is the Caesars Entertainment. On a huge scale they’ve mastered the science of customer loyalty with their Total Rewards program.

For example, Caesars knows:

How much their top customers are likely to spend at any one of their casinos. And they know this down to the penny. These points can then be redeemed for rooms, meals or shows.

They also know what activities…dining, seeing a show or gambling…customers prefer when it comes to staying at one of their hotels.

And since Caesars knows this information, they can send their loyal customers specialized offers that will appeal specifically to them. In fact, Caesar’s CEO Gary Loveman said the company would not be the company it is today without the program.

7. Be grateful

Customers love companies with employees who not only say “thank you” but who are enthusiastic about saying it! The cool thing is you can create a really great vibe at your company — among the employees and the customers — simply by making it a policy that everyone say “thank you” to customers.

You can extend this beyond a simple phone call or email by going out of your way to say “thanks.” The director of Search at Sparkplug Ditigal, Charles Sipe, showed what kind of impact being grateful and helpful can have on a customer (in this case a potential customer) when he went out of his way to deliver a 12-pack of Diet Coke to one of the top SEO bloggers.

You don’t have to do something that crazy for every customer to get them to love you. You just have to be grateful for them – and tell them.

All customers want is a feeling that they belong. That means for you as a business you don’t have to focus on too much. Your job is easy. Just give them that great product and that great customer service that shows them you care about them.

Of course this takes leadership because everyone strays from a focus on customers. So, your job is to keep everyone on track, focusing on the key ways to keep customers coming back for more and more.

What other ways can customers create customers who love them?

by Neil Patel GeekWire Mar 1, 2012

How to make your customers love you in seven ways - GeekWire

'Medical director' required at pot dispensaries, judge rules

Medical-marjiuana dispensaries will have to employ a medical director at their operations, as state health officials require, a Maricopa County Superior Court judge has ruled. The non-profits could begin opening this summer.

Judge Richard Gama's May 1 decision is an important one because it could prevent abuse of medical marijuana, said Will Humble, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services.

"This is a really important component of the program because without it, over time, it would've evolved into each dispensary just moving product," Humble said.

"But if you have a medical director, you have someone who's invested time and money in that license, they've got that license to protect, and they need to act in an ethical way and make sure their organization works ethically."

Dispensary medical directors must train dispensary agents at least once a year, develop guidelines for informing patients about the risks, benefits and side effects of medical marijuana, and know how to recognize signs and symptoms of substance abuse.

Would-be dispensary owner Gerald Gaines sued last year over the state's dispensary regulations and the governor's failure to fully implement the program. In January, Gama ruled in favor of Gaines, saying the state cannot restrict who runs medical-marijuana dispensaries based on where they live or their financial history.

The state is moving ahead with implementing the program and later this month will begin to accept applications for dispensaries. Also, state officials will hold a public hearing on May 25 to consider whether to add post-traumatic stress disorder, migraines, depression and anxiety as conditions that qualify for medical-marijuana certification.

Gaines filed an amended complaint to challenge the state's requirement on the medical-director requirement, saying they were unnecessary. "It's not the exact ruling we wanted," Gaines said Tuesday, saying he may again challenge the requirement.

Under the voter-approved law, state workers issue special ID cards to people with certain medical conditions, authorizing patients to use marijuana. Proposition 203 also allows the state health department to issue permits for up to 126 marijuana dispensaries across the state. State officials set up the rules for the program.

Health officials will begin accepting dispensary applications Monday through May 25.

More than 22,200 people have received permission to smoke, eat or otherwise ingest medical marijuana to ease their ailments.

by Yvonne Wingett Sanchez - May. 8, 2012 09:08 PM The Republic |

'Medical director' required at pot dispensaries, judge rules

Monday, May 7, 2012

Following a few rules can simplify life

"Everybody needs four things in life: Something to do, someone to love, someone to believe in and something to hope for."

I wish I had said that, but it is from my friend Lou Holtz, an author, motivational speaker, sportscaster and retired football coach. I recently invited Lou to speak to a professional group I am mentoring, and he was his usual outstanding self. It's no wonder that the Washington Speakers Bureau calls Lou one of the best speakers in the world.

I've heard him speak 100 times, and he still amazes me with his practical, down-to-earth and simple advice.

For example, we have all kinds of rules and laws. We've got federal laws, state laws, corporate laws, bylaws ... you name it. Holtz simplifies things by following three simple rules:

1. Do right. "Just do the right thing," Lou says. "We've all done dumb things and wish we hadn't done them, but you can't go through life with an albatross around your neck saying, 'I made a mistake.' Say you're sorry, make amends and move on."

He added: "I think it's wrong to be bitter. We all have a reason to be bitter. We've all had injustices done to us by society, by a spouse, by a friend, but you can't go through life being bitter. We're always blaming someone else. Wherever we are, it's because of the choices we make."

2. Do everything to the best of your ability with the time allotted. Lou says: "Not everybody will be an All-American. Not everybody will be first team. Not everybody will be great. But everybody can do the best they can with the time allotted."

3. Show people you care. I have seen this rule in action many times. Lou is constantly asking people, "How can I help you?" He means it. He has a burning desire to help people.

Lou Holtz says he can get by with only three rules because the people you meet have three basic questions.

1. Can I trust you?

"Without trust, there is no relationship," Lou said. "Without trust, you don't have a chance. People have to trust you. They have to trust your product. The only way you can ever get trust is if both sides do the right thing."

2. Are you committed to excellence?

Lou explained, "When you call on a customer, you send a message that you are committed to certain standards. How much do you know about your company and what opportunities your company offers to satisfy people's needs? The only way that can ever be answered is if you do everything to the best of your ability."

3. Do you care about me?

Holtz said: "Do you care about me, and what happens if your product doesn't do what it's intended to do? Caring about people is not making their life easy. Caring about people is not being their friend. Caring about people is enabling them to be successful."

A few years ago, I was asked to help raise money for a Lou Holtz statue at the University of Notre Dame. On the pedestal, his players had chosen three words -- trust, love, commitment. Those words represent Lou's core values.

If people follow these three rules, their self-confidence grows. They don't worry when the phone rings. They have no doubt about what they are doing. They lift everyone up in their organization. These rules help hold organizations together.

Holtz finished with an exercise. He asked us to pick two people: someone you love, admire and respect and someone you've got a problem with. Ask these three questions about both people. You should answer with a simple yes or no.

"I guarantee you, the person you admire and respect, you said yes to all three questions," Holtz said. "The person you've got a problem with, you pinpointed a problem. Either you can't trust them, they aren't committed or they don't care."

When you have a problem with someone who falls into these three categories, you have to decide if you can change it or live with it. If you can't do either, your only other choice -- and probably the right choice -- is to divorce yourself from the problem or the individual.

Mackay's Moral: Life is a lot easier if you always play by the rules.

by Harvey Mackay May 6, 2012

Following a few rules can simplify life

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

1 in 10 teens smoking pot frequently

WASHINGTON - More teens are smoking marijuana, with nearly one in 10 lighting up at least 20 times a month, according to a new survey of young people.

The report by the Partnership at, being released today, also says abuse of prescription medicine may be easing a bit among young people in Grades 9 through 12 but still remains high.

Partnership President Steve Pasierb said the mind-set among parents is that it's just a little weed or a few pills -- no biggie.

"Parents are talking about cocaine and heroin, things that scare them," Pasierb said. "Parents are not talking about prescription drugs and marijuana. They can't wink and nod. They need to be stressing the message that this behavior is unhealthy."

Use of harder drugs, cocaine and methamphetamine, has stabilized in recent years, the group's survey indicated. But past-month usage of marijuana grew from 19 percent in 2008 to 27 percent last year. Also alarming, Pasierb said, is the percentage of teens smoking pot 20 or more times a month. That rate went from 5 percent in 2008 to 9 percent last year, or about 1.5 million teens toking up that frequently.

Alex, 17, in Houston, said he started smoking pot at age 13, mostly on the weekends with friends.

"I just liked being high," said Alex, who is in a recovery program and asked that his last name not be used. "I always felt happier. Everything was funnier, and my life was just brighter."

Alex then started abusing prescription drugs at 14. He blacked out one day at school, got arrested and ended up in rehab. After being sober for two years, Alex slipped and smoked pot last month. Still, he said he hopes to work toward a more sober life.

The findings on marijuana track closely with those in a recent University of Michigan study sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health. That study also found marijuana use rising among teens the past few years, reversing a long decline in the previous decade.

The partnership study suggests a link between teens who smoke pot more regularly and the use of other drugs. Teens who smoked 20 times or more a month were almost twice as likely as kids who smoked pot less frequently to use Ecstasy, cocaine or crack.

Other findings:

One in 10 teens reports using prescription pain medication, Vicodin or OxyContin, in the past year. That's down from a peak of 15 percent in 2009 and 14 percent in 2010.

Just over half of Hispanic teens say they have used an illicit drug, such as Ecstasy or cocaine, in the past year. That compares with 39 percent for White teens and 42 percent for African-American teens.

The Marijuana Policy Project, which advocates legalization, said making pot legal for adults might help cut teen usage.

"We definitely don't think that minors should be using marijuana any more than they should be drinking or using tobacco, but arresting people for doing that never stops minors," said Morgan Fox, a spokesman for the group.

"If we remove marijuana from the criminal market and have the market run by responsible business people that have an incentive to check IDs and not sell to minors, then we might see those rates drop again," Fox said.

The partnership's study was sponsored by the MetLife Foundation. Researchers surveyed 3,322 teens in Grades 9-12 with anonymous questionnaires that the youngsters filled out at school from March to June 2011. The study had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Based in New York, the Partnership at is formerly the Partnership for a Drug-Free America -- perhaps best known for the "This is your brain on drugs" ads of the 1980s and 1990s.

The non-profit group launched its new name in 2010 to position itself as more of a resource to parents and to avoid the misperception that the partnership is a government organization.

by Jennifer C. Kerr - May. 1, 2012 10:52 PM Associated Press

1 in 10 teens smoking pot frequently

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Harvey Mackay: Use tie-downs to tie down sales | Tulsa World

If you knew two little words that could improve your sales, you'd use them, wouldn't you?

When you see your customer has some reservations, it makes sense to get the issues out in the open, doesn't it?

After the ink is dry on the deal, you should make every effort to make sure your customer is satisfied, shouldn't you?

Why all the questions? They illustrate a simple technique - sales tie-downs - that can help you improve your sales. By getting your customers to agree with you in small steps along the way, you have a better chance of reaching agreement when it's time to do business.

Salespeople who effectively use tie-downs are more successful. It's that simple.

What exactly are sales tie-downs?

They are short phrases that can be added to statements to turn them into questions that get your prospective customer to start saying yes long before you go for the close. You ask these little questions throughout your sales presentation to engage your customers and get them used to saying yes. Psychologically, they will then be more likely to say yes when you ask for the sale.

Too often, sales representatives just regurgitate their presentations and expect that strategy to work. It doesn't. People tune them out because they aren't engaged in the process. The remedy is to ask little questions along the way, and monitor the feedback. Doesn't that make sense?

You know what I mean? Are you following me? These are tie-downs. End statements with questions like: Wouldn't you agree? Is that right?

Perhaps you have been using these questions with your customers all along and didn't know there was a name for this technique.

Tie-downs have to become a natural part of your conversation before you can use them in your sales presentations. Be aware of your tone so the questions don't sound threatening or argumentative. Learning how to use tie-downs effectively takes rehearsal. Practice tie-downs on your spouse or friends. That will help you develop a rhythm that will include enough, but not too many, tie-down questions.

Unfortunately, many people in sales don't ask these little tie-down questions, and then lose their customers during their presentations. Give your customers a chance to respond and ask questions of you. Pay close attention to their reactions, because that will lead you to your next tie-down.

Tie-downs keep you in control and confirm that your customers understand what you are saying during your sales presentation, and that it's OK to continue. Are you with me?

Most often, salespeople use tie-downs at the end of sentences, but they can be used at the beginning of a sentence. For example, if you are selling an alarm system you might ask: Isn't it important for your family to have peace of mind? Can you see how this will provide safety?

A lot of sales are based on price, so you want customers to agree that savings are important. You might ask: Saving money is important to you, isn't it? If I could show you a way to save, is that important to you?

Another benefit of using sales tie-downs it that you don't need a big close, as many sales representatives believe. You risk losing your customer when you save all the good stuff for the end. Keep the customer actively involved throughout your presentation, and watch your results improve.

Mackay's Moral: Use sales tie-downs to lasso more customers.

by Harvey Mackay Apr 29, 2012

Harvey Mackay: Use tie-downs to tie down sales | Tulsa World

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