Monthly Archives: February 2006

Fast Pitch Networking: Do You Have The Time To Waste On This?

I must be living in a microcosm of the business world. Every time I think I have seen it all something else pops up to entertainment.

The latest thing that chuckles me is Fast Pitch Networking. I can’t be too critical of it since I have not gone to one, but their SPAM email was entertaining.

Entertaining enough for me to check out their web-site and call around to a few of my business associates to see if anyone has gone to one of their events.

And now their program is being spread across the country.

Since the headquarters is in Florida, I will assume after reading the Fast Pitch Concept that there are a lot of business people there who need to have large volumes of people to pitch to reap the small percentage that will or want to do business with them.

Sad, but true, many businesses who are in a large pool of competition find that reducing the margin of profit on their services or product is the only way to survive or make a living.

If you are making a penny from every dollar you make, and your product or service is only a dollar you have to sell a lot of service and products each day to make the mortgage. But, if you are forced into being in business with such a small margin then is it a business to be in?

I can only assume that it was these type of business owners, or sales people, who think the time they spend to REALLY get to know a client is a waste of their time and REALLY all they want to know from the time they spend Fast Pitching is if the person they are talking to is going to do business with them, or know someone who is going to business with them, RIGHT NOW.

Expanding on this assume even further, it must be that these business people are wasting time on something else that would cause them to take such a risk of being involved in something that is such a contradiction in what they are trying to achieve.

Could it be that they are not managing their time effectively that would make them want to invest in building a partial relationships instead of solid relationships?

My guest is that they probably are not managing their time effectively which forces them to have to find the large volume of potential customers all at once.

I have a few friends who are the Type A, high pressured sales oriented, never out of sales character, fasting talking and are always selling type of personality. My business coach was one of the best until she realized how the Fast Pitch method of sales was not getting her anywhere.

I calmed one of these friends down on the golf course the other day and asked him between his Cellphone calls what is causing him to be so busy he can’t stop and talk to me?

The first thing out of his mouth was his clients who call to talk about a problem they are having or wanting to change their order takes up his entire day.

My question is WHY!? And the answer is always something else then the root cause…lack of trust which should have been built at the beginning.

Customer services starts from the introduction you make when you first meet the potential customer. If it is hurried or the pitch is put on the clock, you are not going to be able to get the true message across on what you are selling, YOU. Not the product or service. YOU!

It does not make a bit of difference on what you are selling if the person you are selling it to does not trust you. It’s as simple as that…

If you take the time, whatever amount of time is takes, to let the customer get to know you while you get to know them, your sales will go smoother and nothing in the deal with made with your new friend will not have been discussed leaving little negative customer service, which is what is wasting a lot of these people’s time.

Now I simplified this down because remember, I live in a microcosm. There is not a lot of room in here for mistakes or do-overs so I have to simplify things down so mistakes are reduced and the do-overs are done right away. No place to store these things in here.

In reality, there are always going to be a need to service your customers’ concerns. You never stop building business relationships. So, yes, you might have to answer your Cellphone on the golf course every once in awhile. But if you customer really knew you they would know you are on the golf course and leave you a message at the office to call at your convenience. Can you get that into a Fast Pitch???

The point is that if you take the time up front to service the customers during the pitch, you stand a better chance of not having to spend more time later on something you could have taken care of earlier. This leaves you with more time to build another business relationship at the pace you need to make it.

Now I am sure the Fast Pitch Networking is cut out for someone, who?, I do not know. I will have to keep looking because none of the 500 people I emailed have gone to any Fast Pitch Networking event. SPAMMED, yes, but not gone to once of their events.

Since I told all of my clients who asked me to provide them with my take on Fast Pitch that I was going to BLOG my concerns with Fast Pitch so I could gather other peoples thoughts on this subject, I think my going to one of their events now may not show the true picture since they now know I would be coming.

So, I have asked a few of my clients I am mentoring to attend and let me know what they think. I can assure you I can trust them because I have built the solid business relationship it takes to trust them.

So, maybe I will be back to tell you what they though, or maybe I will just let it go and work on getting people to look at what suits them best before spending money to talk fast and collect a bunch of business cards.

Scot Duke

President

Innovative Business Golf Solutions, LLC.

scot.duke@innovativebusinessgolf.com

www.innovativebusinessgolf.com

Author of: ‘How To Play Business Golf’, From The Boardroom To The Fairways…

The best investment you can make for your business…

http://www.innovativebusinessgolf.com/business_golf/cb_order.html

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A New Business Fashion Is Coming

Seems CNN and USA Today have been reading my blogs on the coming change in appropriate business attire.

I mentioned sometime ago, and touch on this in my book, How To Play Business Golf, that the need for dressing professionally is returning. The day of the sweat shirt and cargo pants as formal business wear is gone.

When I consult with business people on appropriate and successful business imagery I am usually am asked what causes Business Fashion. My answer is; Business Fashion is reflective of success. What, or whoever, is successful in business today usually sets the standard for the latest business fashion. How successful business people are seen in public will be portrayed as the business fashion for today.

Every business today should be looking for a successful business image. Nobody wants to do business with someone who has a bad business image. So, to find an appropriate business image the best place is to look to the market and at the business people in the media who are successful. Whatever these successful business people are wearing starts the business fashion that other business people will quickly pick up on as an appropriate business fashion.

There is quiet a history on business fashion. Just pick up a history book or archive old news paper articles. Look what the business people of that day were wearing. And then look at a picture during that same year at a group of business people. Aren’t they all dressed alike?

Each fashion swing is called an era. So, what business fashion era are we coming out of and going into? Business today is rapidly leaving the Casual Friday era and moving into an era of what I am going to call Post .COM era.

For the benefit of anyone starting a business today, or is getting into the business world today, that was born after 1982, when the pre .COM era was really cooking, let me fill you in on where business imagery is coming from and going to.

From the start of the .COM era, which was almost on a parallel with the grunge fashion movement, came the business fashion that created the Casual Friday movement. Again, business owners and managers looked to the people of that day who were making big bucks and deducing that the way they looked is the look of success, so came I want to look successful I need to look more like them.

But, to keep from jumping off the cliff of such a drastic change in business fashion, from a world of three piece suites to blue jeans, the large corporations decided to take it in stages and started the Casual Friday, which became the largest changes in business fashion in nearly 20 years.

Now, for those of you who missed out on the fun and frolic of the Casual Friday era and came into the business world seeing Casual Friday now being Casual Monday thru Friday let me provide you with the 411 on the evolution of Casual Friday.

The concept of Casual Friday began where on Friday you could take your tie off. That was the first generation or version .01 of Casual Friday. The next version went from taking off the tie to wearing a golf shirt under you sport jacket, to getting rid of the sport jacket and wearing just a golf shirt and khaki slacks on Friday. Then as the .COM owners started cashing six figure paychecks the image of success jumped off the cliff to now allowing jogging suites, sweat shirts, blue jeans and bad haircuts everyday of the week just to stay up with the successful business fashion of the day. Or, what was commonly known as the Cuban Era.

From there the business fashion rapidly evolved into being so absurdly casual the business’ customers, or clients, did not know if they were in their business office or a shopping mall. But that all changed in late 2002.

From the first quarter 2002 to the fourth quarter of 2004 the business community was flooded with business people laid off from the now defunct .COM tech industry and the downsizing of large fortune 500 corporations. Along with the surplusing of thousands of corporate America’s junior executives, the unemployed market was then provided thousands of professionally trained executive’s managers with tons of leadership skills.

What were these two diverse groups to do in a market with high unemployment? Here is where the new business fashion started. These highly experienced corporate executives let their instincts and training kick in and looked to the current market’s weaknesses and immediately started filling in the voids by starting businesses that support the current economy. In some cases the two groups joined forces to compete with the now leaner large corporations.

But, since most of the small businesses were self funded ventures, the playing field was still not level. So, In order to compete, the smaller businesses, now lead by the savvy executives and out of the box thinking techs, had to find innovative cost effective ways to catch the consumer’s attention.

What also started in early 2002, and is really cooking today, is scamming. Consumers over the past four years have been hit every which way by business people who are purposely misleading consumers as a way of doing business. What has developed is a mistrust of anyone in business, large or small.

So, what are the savvy new business owners and managers doing to catch consumer’s attention and gain their trust? They did what large businesses find not worth their time or effort. They took their message to the streets. They stated networking with other small businesses to find who and what they needed in the market place. They changed the way they go about doing business to building one solid business relationship at a time. They changed the way they think about doing business. And most importantly, they changed the way they personally looked. And, with making these changes, the consumers started flocking to these new businesses making them become successful.

The biggest successful change was in the way they look. They look successful; like someone you can trust. And what happens when other business people see business owners who are successful? A business fashion starts….

No longer are the oversized LL Bean flannel shirts, Abercrombie and Fitch pants and REI hiking boots a sign of success and deemed something you would wear to a board meeting. Today, for the men, the sharp dress shirt and dress slacks are back, and for the ladies, the business fashion is getting back to the classic look with patterns and color now being appropriate. And the movement mandates a more professional haircut with no facial hair on the men. Coats and ties are now expected during sales meetings and the all important business networking gatherings.

Look in any business journal or newspaper or business related television program and you will see the successful people dressing UP, and not down….

How long with this business fashion era last? Today’s business fashion of people dressing to reflect their professionalism is here fro a long while. Projects are that the damaged caused by the last days of causal Friday dress was so grat that mothers are now not allowing their kids to be caught up in the fashion industries trends and fads. The consumers have caught on over the past forty years in the business fashion swings and see the common denominator is to a more professional look being more universal and more cost effective. Some what like the leisure suite era of the 60’s and 70’s, today’s business people and consumers are not going to get caught up in fashion hype and invest into changing their entire wardrobe to the latest business fashion.

My projection would be that not until we move towards space travel will there be another business fashion that will change the basis of today’s business fashion. And that might not be really that far away…

No matter what business you are in, from a street artist to a plumber, to an office worker to a corporate CEO, you need to feel good about yourself and what you are doing. The way you look to other people is a advertisement sign of yourself to other people on how much you respect your self and them. Think about that when you look to finding ways to improve your business’ bottomline. The little investment it takes in looking like you like yourself will draw more people to want to get to know you. And the more people you know the better chance you have in improving your business.

I applaud CNN for reporting this trend in their newscasts yesterday, and for the news line sending the articles out on to the newspapers on this change in direction for businesses. The message was loud and clear, if you want to be successful you have to look successful and look like you care about who you are and what others think of you… The righteous dude from the .com era now wears a three piece.

Scot Duke

President

Innovative Business Golf Solutions, LLC.

scot.duke@innovativebusinessgolf.com

www.innovativebusinessgolf.com

‘My Blog’ http://businessgolf.blogspot.com

Author of: ‘How To Play Business Golf’, From The Boardroom To The Fairways…

The best investment you can make for your business…

http://www.innovativebusinessgolf.com/business_golf/cb_order.html

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Are You Ready To Learn To Play Business Golf?

Spring will be here before you know it and the golf courses all across the country will start hopping with activity.

Is your game ready?

Do you need a refresher?

Would having a reason to play more golf be helpful to taking your game to the next level?

How about a REAL business expense to cover the costs of playing golf?

And better yet something that will bring security to your business’ bottomline that will pay for the golf you want to play?

Well, stay tuned, I am launching my pilot seminar on How To Play Business Golf on April 26 here in Dallas. After that, I will be hitting the road with my full day seminar/workshop that includes a REAL round of Business Golf.

Hopefully I will come to your ‘neck of the woods’ to show you how to play Business Golf… Plus, much, much more…

What’s all of the fuss? You say you currently play golf now with your clients and have made it work for you?

Great, then you know one of the five steps I teach on making sure you have a better chance to benefit professionally from every round of golf you play.

But, you probably have not thought of the other steps I teach in my seminar/workshop. Like the Do’s and Don’t and Why Golf is the ONLY sport or game that promotes Business…bar none.. I provide NON-Golfers with plenty of explanation on the benefits golf can make to business and a number of reason why they should start playing golf.

And, if you have read my book How To Play Business Golf, and have used my five step method, then coming to the Seminar will reinforce what you know and will add one more thing you probably did not think about…

Your employees? Have you thought what impact it would have on your business if everyone of your employees joined in your efforts to secure your customer base by them playing Business Golf with clients or prospective clients?.…

HUM…Yes, I provide you even more thoughts and I also will be bring in top business coaches to enlighten you on what challenges today’s businesses face.

Yes, it is a seminar and it is a workshop. The seminar covers the business part of Business Golf and the workshop puts the ‘meat on the bone’ for you to take back to your office what you learned to guide you through your first round of Business Golf.

And how best can you learn how to Play Business Golf?

By playing a REAL round of Business Golf and that is what will be part of my Full Day Seminar/Workshop. A round of 18 holes on a country club golf courses …

and, for you who have to satisfy the ‘bean counters’ of your business, yes, it is a business instructional seminar that is a business expense, so You have that covered…

More details are coming, so stay tuned and get on my mailing list so you can get the announcement where and when my ‘Dog & Pony’ Show will be coming to you.

If you want in on the Pilot, send me an email and I will see if I can get you in…

Scot Duke

President

Innovative Business Golf Solutions, LLC.

scot.duke@innovativebusinessgolf.com

www.innovativebusinessgolf.com

214 549-0306

‘My Blog’ http://businessgolf.blogspot.com

Author of: ‘How To Play Business Golf’, From The Boardroom To The Fairways…

The best investment you can make for your business…

http://www.innovativebusinessgolf.com/business_golf/cb_order.html

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Talk Radio, Is Anyone Listening To This Stuff?

A few months ago I was invited to play golf with a gentleman who wanted to know more about what it is I do. After our round, before we got into what I do, I asked what he does for a living. To my surprise he said he was in Retail Development. Not knowing much about what Retail Development was exactly about we spent more time talking about what he does than on me and Business Golf.

When I got around to asking the questions I ask all of my contacts, ‘What is the ugliest, smelliest, itchiest pain in the backside business problem you want to get rid of?’ He looked at me for a moment and said,

His Marketing Plan.

Now this was nearly a first, I have had senior executives through around dumping Marketing Plan before, but this one was different.

We talked and I told him how marketing plans are developed. Then came the statement that brings excitement and satisfaction to a business person, he said, ‘Could I hire you to take a look at my Marketing Plan to tell me where I need to change?’..

Well, this has been one of many opportunities that have developed after Business Golf, but the story doesn’t stop here.

I showed up at his office a few days later and was introduced to his staff and immediately set up camp in his conference room to go over the Marketing Plan with his marketing group page by page.

All looked normal with the exception of the plan calling for advertising on a morning radio. He pointed to the paragraph where it said they wanted to place advertisements on Morning Radio so they could have the radio playing when their stores opened at 8AM. They wanted the customers in the store to hear their commercials. He asked if I had any recommendations for stations.

I sat back a moment and thought out what would best fit his demographic and said there are a few choices. He then said the magic words, ‘Can you research which of the stations in Dallas would best serve is stores need and give his staff my recommendations?’

I agreed and we wrapped up for the day. The next day I was working in my office I started my research by considering which station would best fit his demographics of 18 to 32 year old. I reacted to Alternative Rock.

I called around to a dozen or so of my contacts and told them of my assignment. I asked if they would join me for two weeks in listening to the Alternative Rock station in the morning from 6AM to 9AM. All agreed and I told them I would touch base with them from time to time.

Since there is only one Alternative Rock Station Dallas, the fifth largest radio market in the country, I turned the station on.  Immediately my intelligence was insulted by more than 20 minutes of talk about subjects that had absolutely no general interest before I heard any music.

I went on about doing office work listening to the station like I was an customer or employee. When the music was on I was highly productive, but when the on air personalities came on I had to stop what I was doing and turn the volume down.

If it was just one personality on the air it would be very simple to manage, but when there was three, all with nicknames. It was hardly bearable. Then when the sports news came I thought, finally, something of general interest, but no. The sports jock was worthless and was more into womanizing than talking sports and when he did he had absolutely no idea what he was talking about.

I picked up the phone to call a few contacts and all confessed that they did not enjoy the assignment because of the TALK and all had already changed the channel.

This went on for the entire two weeks.

I filed my Executive Summary to my client and included my recommendations to not use Morning Radio to advertise due to the TALK. My client agreed and reported that they got the same advice from their adverting agency and consultant.

I went back to my office and fired off an email to Clear Channel here in Dallas telling what is taking place and to consider trying a format of radio that was more popular to the age group, like playing music. I got a polite reply thanking me for my comments.

Last week, my client called and asked if I had listened to the Alternative Rock station the last couple of days. I replied I had not. He said they got rid of the TALK…. My reaction was REALLY, and I turned on the station, and sure enough there was MUSIC….

I listened for a few days in bliss enjoying the latest hits and other unusual music I would normally not listen to, and I heard ads for sponsors that I did hear before.

I fired off another email to Clear Channel thanking them for the change and soon as I sent it there was an advertisement on the radio about the New Talk Show they will be starting Tomorrow….

My phone range and it was one of the Sales and Marketing people leaving me a message. I called back and we chatted. I enjoyed the conversation and we shared what we each do, but I left disappointed because Clear Channel management will not think outside the box to offer the people in the market what they want, Music. Their style of management is to ‘Competition reaction’. If their competition is playing Talk they have to play talk….

Is anyone listing to the TALK SHOWs?, not anyone I know…or want to know…

About The Author: As President of Innovative Business Golf Solutions, Scot Duke provides over 31 years of corporate management experience to helping small businesses improve their marketing strategies.

Innovative Business Golf Solutions, LLC.

scot.duke@innovativebusinessgolf.com

www.innovativebusinessgolf.com

214 549-0306

‘My Blog’ http://businessgolf.blogspot.com

Author of: ‘How To Play Business Golf’, From The Boardroom To The Fairways…

The best investment you can make for your business…

http://www.innovativebusinessgolf.com/business_golf/cb_order.html

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What Happened To Your Customers?

Are you noticing that the number of customers you have is decreasing? Or, if they are increasing, how many of them come back again. Do you know why?

You may think you know by shrugging off the actual reason as being because of something else that is out of your hands, like foreign competition or those other things in the news the business guru say is causing business problems.

If you want to know the real reason the best way is to ask your customers. I don’t mean send out a survey. Yes, that will get you a few open comments, but will not tell you what you really want to know.

Most people, about 85% (Based on my personal experience) want to help and when you send out a survey will not want to be negative, so they will flower up the survey with stuff to make you think of them as being the best, when all they are doing is not wanting to look bad and have you look upon them as someone you cannot trust.

Well, you don’t; need that, do you? You need straight talk and not some politically correct comment to make you feel good , when you have a problem.

The BEST way to get to the bottom of what your customers think about your product or services is to stand eye-to-eye with them and ask them. But before you go storming into their office and put a ‘Sergeant Carter’ on them, think about how you want to do this.

In my book, How To Play Business Golf, I talk about how to go about finding out how you are doing. I also talk about how you can find out how your business is doing by talking to your employees or vendors. I really believe Golf is the best way to find the answers to your questions. If you don’t play golf and your customer base does, here is a great way to do two things at once. And, be able to write your golf as a business expense….

By asking your customer or customers to join you at a golf school, where you are learning to play golf, you can take the opportunity to do both, learn to play golf and learn how your business is doing.

Folks, this is called building TRUST, which is the number five challenge today’s businesses will have to deal with to become successful.

OK, you say ‘Duke, I would like to do what you are suggesting but I don’t have time or know how to set this all up..’. That is what Innovative Business Golf Solutions has to offer. A full range of opportunities for business people who want to find innovative solutions to solving their business problems..

Read my book, How To Play Business Golf, or contact me today, and we can talk out what IBGS can do to find the answers to your questions.

About The Author: As President of Innovative Business Golf Solutions, Scot Duke provides over 31 years of corporate management experience to helping small businesses improve their marketing strategies.

Scot Duke

President

Innovative Business Golf Solutions, LLC.

scot.duke@innovativebusinessgolf.com

www.innovativebusinessgolf.com

214 549-0306

‘My Blog’ http://businessgolf.blogspot.com

Author of: ‘How To Play Business Golf’, From The Boardroom To The Fairways…

The best investment you can make for your business…

http://www.innovativebusinessgolf.com/business_golf/cb_order.html

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Yellow Pages Advertisement-Is It Right For You???

Lets talk yellow pages advertisements. Bottomline: Yellow Page advertisement can work, but do not invest more than 10% of your advertising budget in Yellow Pages ads.

The ONLY thing Yellow Pages Ads do is validating you are in business in the community the book is delivered. That is all, so don’t fall for it producing the volumes of business you are told it will produce. Those days are pretty much over.

There are much better ways of using your advertising dollar. Internet web-sites are now the best way to get across what it is you do and who you are, but still is not the best marketing tool.

Word of Mouth business networking is still the best way for any business to get to customers. It is cheaper and produces quicker and higher quality results.

The other day I went to a meeting and was approached by a young man asking if I knew an electrician. Now, an electrician come in all shapes and sizes and is one of the few connections I do not have, but I did ask to the gentleman if he looked in the Yellow Pages. With a look of frustration he said that is where he started ‘but how do you know who to trust out of the hundreds in the book?’.

What a great point and an excellent example of how Yellow Pages ads work. There is absolutely no way to build trust with someone from looking at a Yellow Pages advertisement. Not even with a picture of the owner. Which is a totally different blog I am writing on why Real Estate Agents feel it necessary to have their photo on everything they do…

No, you cannot build trust from an advertisement.

I find it astonishing the number of business people I have run into who report that they put everything they had in their advertisement budget in a fancy yellow pages ad with the promise that their door will be knocked down with customers. And now are asking if I could refer them to a bankruptcy attorney.

Let me tell you, the business world is changing and one of the top five challenges business people have to deal with is Trust…the lack of it, or no having any in anything…

How do you build trust, make sure you are able to look every person you do business with in the eyes. That will insure you know who you ar doing business with. You treat them right and they will be back. You treat them wrong and they will not, but you did not have to drop a bundle in advertisement.

Getting to Know who you are doing business with is now how businesses are doing business. Not from looking at a Yellow Pages ad and determining because the company has a fancy large ad that they can be trusted. That is over folks…

Get out and meet your customers. Find ways to keep the customers you have. Put every employee to work telling people they know who they work for and what product and services they offer. That is the way of tomorrows business advertising plan and those who are out there doing it now will be the ones who survive.

Read more on other alternatives of improving your business marketing in the widely popular eBook, How To Play Business Golf. The book will be the best investment you can make for your business…

Duke

www.innovativebusinessgolf.com

‘My Blog’ http://businessgolf.blogspot.com

Author of: ‘How To Play Business Golf’, From The Boardroom To The Fairways…

The best investment you can make for your business…

http://www.innovativebusinessgolf.com/business_golf/cb_order.html

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How To make business connections at Golf Tournaments

If you are REALLY wanting to put yourself, and your business, ahead of your competition you need to network your business. One of the best ways to do this is to become a volunteer for a Charity Golf Tournament. But, make sure it is a good one or you are just working for a cause. An officially sanctioned PGA event like the Screen Door Open Charity Golf Charity Pro-AM is a great way to get to meet other business people. Sign-up as early in the process of planning of the tournament as possible to get the maximum effect. That way when the day of the event comes you can refresh your connections with the people you have been working with in the planning. Performing well as a volunteer by doing an outstanding job of the assignment you have been given also places you and your business at the top of the list when it comes time for people to remember someone who is in your profession. So, sign-up now for the Screen Door Open Charity Pro-AM Golf Tournament. Screen Door Open Charity Golf, Inc., is actively recruiting men and women who are interested in volunteering to help organize the number 2 Pro-AM Golf Tournament in Dallas, the Screen Door Open Charity Pro-AM Golf Tournament. Now in its 8th year, the SDO has become one of the powerhouse charity golf tournaments in Dallas. Come join in the great Business Networking opportunities of being a SDO Volunteer. Contact Scot Duke 214 549-0306 or info@screendooropen.org for more information.

Screen Door Open Charity Golf, Inc.
A 501c3 tax-exempt non-profit organization
14232 Marsh Lane #486
Addison, TX 75001
info@screendooropen.org
www.screendooropen.org

Proudly presenting the 8th Annual Screen Door Open Charity Pro-AM Golf Tournament on June 5, 2006 at the Los Colinas Country Club, Irving, TX

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