Posts Tagged ‘Work’

My Face Palm

Running your own small business, you pretty much have to do everything yourself.

Yeah, you think it’s fun and cool and sexy to be your own boss.  You didn’t realize you used to have an accounting department that keeps all the books, there’s an HR department to do all the tax withholding and hiring/firing, and geek squad to help you with every tech support problems.

My least favorite is tech support… for my dad.

Me: “Why didn’t you call in this order?”
Dad: “I didn’t receive it.”
Me: “It’s sitting right here in your inbox’s trash”
Dad: “How’d that get there?”
Me: “Probably because you deleted it”
Dad: “I didn’t delete it”
Me: “Right, and I didn’t eat all those cookies in the cookie jar when I was 7.  The email was marked as READ”
Dad: “Well, how do I get it back?”
Me: “Mooooove….”

[…. oh btw.  YOU’RE WELCOME!]

If you can tell me which SNL skit I’m referring to you win some cool points.


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My Buying Signs

“Is there a minimum order?”

That’s a buying sign. Stop talking and close the deal.

I was meeting w/ a prospective client and this question came up.  I was happy I recognized this.  I knew it was a commitment, albeit a soft one since both parties were venturing into something new.

When people talk, there are the words they say but there’s also emotional value behind what they’re saying.  As you proceed through the sales process, at a certain point the table will turn and the prospect will start asking question, essentially to make sure he/she will not regret this decision, aka buyers remorse.  *Usually in the beginning of the conversation or meeting I’m the one asking tons of questions.

Unfortunately sometimes sales people keeps on talking… talk and talk their way out of a deal.  Look, if you were asking someone out on a date and she’s asking you what time the movie is and if you can come pick her up what would you do in that situation? You answer the questions and solidify that commitment.  “Oh yeah, I can come pick you up.  So 8pm right? Cool, see you then!”

Basically the prospect is trying to paint a picture for himself on how what you describe would become reality.  You start talking about more details instead of the big picture stuff.  Here are some more possible buying signs/signals I usually come across:

  • Have you worked with other companies in my area?
  • Can I speak to one of your current customers?
  • Are there any colors?
  • What’s your lead time?
  • How much is it?***
  • Do you offer financing?
  • What’s your quality control process?

*** This one is trickier.  Depending on the industry, sometimes you’ll want to defer this question until later.  Just say “I’ll get back to that a little later.”  Sometimes people are genuinely interested but it’s also possible they’re just looking for a quick reason to blow you off.  That’s when your professional experience comes in, where sales a little bit of art rather than science.

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My Sleepless Nights

I’ve been having trouble sleeping for a while now.  People have been telling me it’s a stress thing.  It’s weird that I would feel tired but once I’m lying in my bed I can’t fall asleep.  I would start thinking about what I have to do or ideas would pop into my head.  “ooh, that could be a cool job to pursue, I should talk to so and so tomorrow” “did I remember to do xxxxx?”  After an hour or so I basically give up on trying to sleep and get up to read instead or watch some TV.  Inevitably, I would then fall asleep on the couch w/ the lights and/or TV on.

Who knows, maybe I’ll give Benadryl a try… or Ambient.  If not that doesn’t work I wonder where I can get some horse tranquilizers.  Seriously, I could be completely exhausted from playing volleyball or working out and still lie there for a good… 2 or 3 hrs before I somehow manage to fall asleep.

It’s affecting my schedule and my productivity.  I hate it.  Does anybody have any suggestions

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My Site

I’m very happy to announce that our website is LIVE NOW!  We’re still doing a little tweaking and adding more content.  Our company is pretty simple though, and I like to keep things simple.

Working with Victory Dog has been fun.  I learned a lot and inspired new thoughts on how to grow the family business.  I think my dad likes that I do bring some fresh, young ideas to the business.  Can you believe we’ve never had a website all this time… like 20+ years in business?!

I don’t know how much all this will help though.  It’s not like the people and the industry we work in is so on the fore front of all this social media crap with Twitter and Tumblr, Mashable, etc etc.  I mean, they might have a Facebook or Linked In profile but that’s usually about it.  However, any effort to grow the business is worthwhile exploring.

Victory Dog also did our logo. Let me know what you think!

Live out loud,


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My Prospects

Haven’t been writing much at all, which is actually a good thing b/c it generally means I’m too busy to blog anything.  In fact, the same applies to twitter.  You only see updates from me if it’s a slow day and I’m browsing around the web.

We’re working on two new potential accounts.  One’s in England and another one in Memphis.  I am applying some discretion when I talk about them, but should be enough info to help you get an idea.

Let’s talk England first.  We have been working on entering the European markets for a while, doing some leg works and pre-approach info digging.  When one of our U.S. customers decided they want to fill chemicals for European companies, we were pretty much all ready to go.  right now we’re just trying to make sure all the technical requirements meet and come up w/ the right price.

The second prospect is in Memphis and I actually flew to meet with them by myself.  Solo!  My dad was out of tow and they sounded like they want to move pretty quickly.  Since it was short notice Delta, even though they use Memphis as a hub, tickets were around $1,200.  I decided to fly to Nashville and save some money instead and drive 3 hours down to Memphis.  It’s not too bad.  It’s like Austin to Dallas.  Plus I have some friends in Nashville.

The prospect is in the medical field.  We’re usually in the automotive industry.  It’s a new challenge, but plastics is still just plastics.  We’re excited to see what kind of doors this might open.

There are awfully lot of IP (intellectual properties) that we’ll be dealing with.  The one sample I got has 18 patents on it!  It’s gonna take a while to do the due diligence.  Because of this issue I think they were careful in trying not to disclose too much, or at least more than necessary.  Believe me, I’ve tried to dig a little more but I didn’t want to press the issue.

I think I give myself a 7 on the sales meeting, on a scale of 1 to 10.  I think I represented myself well, asked enough questions to get the info that I need to see if it’s a good match, and answer any questions the client have to the best of my ability.  My contact was someone we had done business with at a different company but he has switched jobs since.  Along with him and another staff from purchasing I think I’ve got them on board.  The third person in the meeting was a higher up, maybe C-level executive that I couldn’t get a good read on and I can’t tell if he was totally on board or in love w/ the idea of working w/ us.

They asked me about China, and we actually manufactured out of Taiwan.  There are some distinctions from an international trade perspective.  I won’t get into the political aspect… I personally think it’s pretty silly.  It is a little cheaper to manufacture out of China, but there are also drawbacks as well.  I think I answered that objection just about perfect.

btw, if anybody asks you if there’s a minimum order, that’s a buying sign.  Close the deal.

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My Business Trip

I’m on the road w/ my dad.  Can’t sleep… so weird.  I’ve slept a total of at most 5 hours in the past day and a half, two days.  2 and a half in the car, 2 and a half when we first arrived at the motel.  My mind is just so active sometimes with ideas and thoughts after lying in bed for half an hour I’ll eventually get up and read or work.

Business trips with my dad is one of my favorite things, right up there w/ rain drops on roses and whiskers on kittens.  And it’s just not quite the same when mom’s here.  Just us two boys.  We don’t talk that much guy stuff as you might imagine, mostly it’s still business related.

For some reason the clarity of my thoughts are a lot higher when I’m on the road.  I might’ve mentioned that before.  We just came up w/ a pretty cool idea to push our new product at SEMA/AAPEX trade show in Vegas this November.  Well, it’s mostly my idea.  No really, seriously.  I had originally wanted to pitch to companies of giving out our little gadget at their booths during trade shows.  Something different from your typical pen and mug and whatever.  Now we’re going to give them first to our current partners who have higher presence than we do for free, and convert that into some commercial success.  (I left out a lot of details intentionally)

Stopping by the warehouse tomorrow.  Planning to get some shots for our new websites.  Meeting a few people, including our accountant.

We were gonna head up to Missouri as well to see our biggest customer and I wanted to stop by Arthur Bryant’s BBQ in Kansas City but my dad cancelled that leg of the trip.  At least we’re gonna go to Chicken Annie’s and Chicken Mary’s in Pittsburg, KS.  Plus now I can make it back to Austin to see Kim on Friday.  I’m taking her to one of my favorite breakfast/brunch place in Austin: Juan in a Million.



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My Failures

I came across this article while I was waiting for my flight at the airport over the weekend by Inc. Magazine.  It mentions about the secret of sales success, which reminds me how we are trained to think of sales as a numbers game in Southwestern, and to embrace your failures.

Coincidentally, the weekend trip I took was so I can get some late season snowboard practice time in Tahoe.  Back in January I took some lessons in Vail.  I wanted to get better before the season ends and possibly start all over again later.  You fall a lot more in the beginning snowboarding compared to skiing, but it’s more fun gliding and not having to put so much stress on your knees.

With the exception of a minute or two of the first morning, I did not have fun at all.   I was still falling a lot, and now at steeper slopes so I’d fall harder, faster, farther… =(  I couldn’t get comfortable to the faster speed while still have control of my board.  There was one time I fell forward and I stuck my arms out to brace myself but because I was going so fast my momentum drove my fist into my chest, knocking the wind out of me.  What sucks even more is that a cute Asian girl just happen to ski by and ask me if I was ok.

In the end, I did get a lot better.  I was going down blues pretty comfortably by the end of our second day.  What helped was just going for it sometimes and experience that scarier, faster speed.  When you fall you have to analyze a bit what you did wrong.  Asking my friends for advices and trying out different approaches helped as well.  If you want a different result you have to make changes.  Finally I was able to gradually turn my board down hill more after coming out of a turn instead of a harsh, abrupt stop.  Bending my knees to get lower coming out of the turn also helped so I don’t have a stiff high center of gravity.

I have failed many times before.  I’m more proud of some of my failures than my achievements.  At least I went out there and tried it while you are still just sitting w/ your buddies, drinking beer, and talking about “one day, I’m gonna do blah blah blah”

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