Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Monday, November 24, 2014
- The local participants yell at the ceiling or the table when speaking to the remote participants instead of speaking naturally and looking into the camera
- The users can’t share documents with the other end easily and naturally
- The people on the far end cannot look around the room and look for reactions as they would if they were in the room
- Desktop sharing and remote collaboration are not seamless with remote users
- Local AV integration does not consider the remote users – there is no option for dual screen so that camera and content will be an option
- Local whiteboarding is not included as part of the remote sharing features
- True collaboration is not the overriding application
- The room is not intuitive to use and people would rather travel
Friday, October 31, 2014
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
Monday, August 18, 2014
The same day that I had the awesome pleasure of being in front of a best and brightest class of 22 CTS candidates from the Atlanta market of the AV industry, my 5 year old grandson started his first day of kindergarten. Today we both had a great day of back-to-school. Once again, I was reminded why I love what I love doing. Being a consultant and trainer allows me to blend passion and profit. Passion is the most important part of that equation. I imagine standing in front of a class of professionals that are looking to further their careers gives me the same nervous joy that a new kindergarten student feels on his first day of school.
Saturday, August 16, 2014
- Anything worth doing is worth doing right. If you are going to show and tell a customer about something, show them in the right setting and show it in its best light.
- If I believe something is going to be good for your business, it must be good for mine first. This means I won’t try to sell you anything I am not willing to use myself. If I want to encourage you to use my product, it had better be something my organization uses to better our business.
- Those who don’t know, teach - is a dead wrong principle. The only way to truly share information and knowledge is through experience. If you have not lived the joys of having collaborative technologies solved your pains, you will never truly be able to relay the message of how it can do so.
- Fund and resource your Demo Facility as if it were a customer project
- Stick to the schedule, require change orders, no cannibalizing, etc.
- Assign an owner of the project/room (briefing center program manager)
- Go through the full needs analysis rather than just slapping together all the free gear
- Consider the functionality of the room first then determine the equipment
- Yep, seems redundant from the one above, it’s important!
- Use the room; this is not a museum. Demonstrations must be well practiced and natural.
- Treat your demo facility as a lab (nothing gets swapped without proper change orders)
- Do not test equipment or code in this room. Let manufacturers determine what goes in the room (users decide through a needs analysis)
- If demos of new equipment are to be done in the room, it should be done through guest interfaces. Do not “take apart the room for equipment demos from new manufacturers.”
- Try to show everything in one space (it is important that the room have function first)
- Having a single room do too much makes it confusing to demonstrate and makes it confusing to the customer. Even using “vignettes” is risky.
- Simulate – if you are demonstrating global videoconferencing or collaboration, do not simulate a videoconferencing with someone by doing it from room to room. Customers catch on quickly and will keep that concern locked in the back of their mind. Demonstrate the capability from out of the gate.
Sunday, July 27, 2014
Your meetings with your customers will be at least 10X more productive if you spend time before the meeting rehearsing what your approach is going to be based on the research you have done on the customers pains and buying process. You can then focus your rehearsal around knowing the answers to their "So Whats?" The customer will thank you for not wasting their time. Notice that I assume you research the pains and buying process for the buyers prior to your meeting. I also assume you are meeting with buyers (decision makers) and that you rehearse your meeting. I have done countless sales presentations and training and I still rehearse almost every time to some degree.
Using the "So What?" method allows you to get to the three core questions sooner in the sales meeting / conversation. For this, you should have answers to these three core questions prepared before the meeting ever starts:
1. Why do something? Have you given the customer a compelling reason for action? Have you made the customer realize a pain or competitive disadvantage he/she wasn't aware of? This is sometimes a tough one to remember because when you are passionate about your products or solutions. They seem like a no brained solution and you may forget that you need to make a compelling presentation or "argument" for it to your customers. Not everyone sees the obviousness of the value of the solutions you provide as you do. You need to pretend that the customer knows nothing of our business and that they are always saying "So What?" This just happened to me when I was telling people about grAVITation TECH. To me, it was so obvious that our industry needed training that I didn't need a clear value statement, but my customer needed to hear it from me. I can't tell you how many lessons I've learned from my customers.
2. Why do something now? Have you convinced your customer of the urgency of the situation? Have you even tried to? Or did you just go with the customer's budget and timing? One of the keys to " So What?" Sales (part of the Da Vinci Sales model) is to assign urgency for the customer. You need to guide the customer in setting the expectations and understanding of the timeline. They need to have an understanding of the detrimental impact of waiting to implement your solution. By showing the customer the cost of not doing anything or delaying action, you assign urgency to the implementation of your solutions. Whether it is a continued lack or lessened productivity or loss of customers because of perceived lack of innovation (example being not invested in collaborative solutions), these examples need to be shown in strategic, political (competitive landscape), financial or cultural terms. These are the areas that people of power (decision makers) are focused. There are many ROI, TCO, ROO and other top end calculators (free from vendors in our industry) out there to use for this purpose. These are typical in selling to C-Level people, but they are helpful in making the business case and showing your strategic literacy when working with all types of key decision makers.
3. Why do it with you? Have you made the compelling case for the customer to select you as a business partner? Sure people do business with people they like but that is after all the other things are said and done. And by the way, no sales person has a relationship quota. It is great if you make a lot of friends out there but you need business partners more. So have you given the customer the compelling reasons to do business with them? These reasons have more to do with the people, programs and processes within your organization. Have you given the customer reason to believe that your people will take care of them after the sale and that your programs and processes match their needs and wants? Make sure that you talk with their purchasing, operations and support teams to see what types of programs and processes you need to offer to support the after the sale "So Whats?" and make sure that is included in your offer up front. The whole idea is to answer the “So Whats?” before they are ever asked.
Just imagine that there is a little version of your customer sitting on your shoulder. That little version of your customer is there while you are rehearsing in the mirror the night before or while you are driving on your way to the big meeting. He/she is there saying: "SO WHAT, SO WHAT, SO WHAT?!?!?!" If you remember that, you are half way to the big sale. Remember, half the outcome is determined by the preparation. Keep listening to that "SO WHAT, SO WHAT, SO WHAT?!?!?!" Have your answers ready and you'll knock them dead!
"So What" Selling, is part of the Da Vinci Sales model. You can read more about Da Vinci Sales in the upcoming book by Max Kopsho. Pre-Order today at www.davincisales.com or book a Da Vinci Sales Seminar at www.grAVITationTECH.com.
Monday, July 21, 2014
P.S. By the way; Eskimos do need ice cubes, so what is that all about?....
Thursday, June 26, 2014
Monday, June 2, 2014
What is your sweet spot? Are you doing what you love? Are you doing what pays a fair wage? Are you doing what you can do better than anyone else? If you can answer all of these questions with YES, than you are in your sweet spot.
Pro Sound and Video in Florida (and Los Angeles, CA) is a full service design-build audiovisual, communications and collaborative technology integration firm that provides solutions in entertainment, travel and tourism, corporate, government, house of worship and sports complexes. This class was made up of an awesome team of people from Pro Sound and it was a great group to spend my first event back in the training saddle with. I strongly recommend Pro Sound for your upcoming integration projects.
Finding your sweet spot
Doing what you love: This is not just limited to the one thing that you think you were meant to do or the one thing that you dream about. It does not have to come to us like American Idol contestants or actors that are finally discovered after waiting tables in Hollywood. This can be that thing that just brings you peace or makes you feel complete and/or content. What is it that allows you to feel well rounded and like you are contributor? It can be the thing that answers the question, do I feel good and happy about what I do? It takes a lot of work to find what you love doing. You have to try many things to really find the things you are good at and that are good to you (those are usually the things you love).
Doing what makes a fair wage: You don't have to make big money doing what you are doing, but it should be fair. Are you making a comparable wage to what others make in this field and can you live comfortably doing so? You should not have to sacrifice too much to do what makes you happy. It would be counter to the goal if you have to sacrifice your way of living for happiness. Happiness is balance and therefore requires a fair wage. There are ways of finding the right wage for doing what you love by adding things you love as added responsibilities to what you currently get paid well for or vice-a-verse, adding things you get paid well for to the things you love doing. It does not have to be an all or nothing. I was a sales person for a long time and I loved it only because I was able to incorporate a lot of training into my sales techniques. Because I could do both, I was paid fairly and was happy at what I did.
Doing what you do better (or different) than anyone else: You will be able to do what you do best for a long time and remain happy at it for a very long time if you are doing it different (and add value) or better than anyone else. You need the competitive edge to do something for a long time and make money at it. If you can't compete at what you love it will have to remain a hobby and if you are trying to do a hobby for a living it can become very expensive. In business if you don't know what you competitive edge is, you can't win. If you want to do what you love for a long time, know how you do it better or different than anyone else and focus on that. If you have ever been through my training you would likely agree that I do it like nobody else. My training sessions are very unique. I can almost guarantee that you will have fun, That is my competitive edge. If it comes down to it, I will educate you better than most AND you will have fun doing it. I am, after all, (as one dear friend puts it) the "2010 Edutainer of the Year" (His spin on InfoComm Educator of the Year).
Bottom line is I love what I am doing and this week I was reminded of that. I re-caught the bug and I am back 100% training and consulting. Why? Because I love it! I am one of the lucky ones who gets to do what I love for a living. Now hurry up and book your training with grAVITation TECH so it stays that way!!!
Thursday, May 15, 2014
Sunday, April 27, 2014
I was recently told by a business owner and successful entrepreneur that they were not "a leader". They admitted they know technology and operations but lacked true leadership skills. Their solution to this challenge was to hire outside to bring in "leaders" for their team. I can't help but think about how sad that is for this business owner and for their employees. How cheated the employees must feel to be led by someone who doesn't consider themselves a leader and how much the boss misses out on when they don't take on a leadership role. It is a blessing and responsibility to be in the role of leader. In an earlier blog I talked about career stewardship, but i didn't get to go into detail about how an important part of that stewardship responsibility is guidance and direction (in a nutshell - leadership). As part of that stewardship responsibility it is the business owner's position (or anyone who grows into a leadership role) to grow into that role. Your team is counting on it and you owe it to them. You can delegate some of the aspects of leadership, but you can never relegate your leadership in its entirety. If you do, you risk having less respect than if you had never taken that role. You owe it to your team to respond to the position they have entrusted you with by acting in their interests instead of pawning it off to someone else.
Here are three key aspects to delegating your leadership and not relegating it completely:
1. Vision and Values - You should actively participate in the vision and values determination. The entire team must know that the direction of the collective is set by you. Of course a group of managers should be used to guide the direction of the team, but you as the leader should set the pace. No one should wonder what you believe the company is capable of and what you dream for them.
2. Goals and Targets - As the leader in your organization your team needs to know exactly how you are measuring their success. This is not only in terms of revenue and margins, but other measurable and objective means of setting targets and goals. These need to be short, mid and long range goals.
3. Mission - This isn't just the blah, blah, blah statement on a plaque or on the website, but what is your company's make meaning? More than compensation, people want to know they belong to something bigger than themselves. Can you put a message behind what your company stands for? Can you lead that "mission?" This is important. You need to be the one to be able to bundle the company message. The mission should be your banner.
You need to be able to verbalize these three topics before you get into the weeds. Too many leaders can rattle off the small details of the organization, but don't have these leadership aspects down. The vision and values, goals and targets and the mission should all be cast the same way a mission is cast for the crew of an aircraft carrier. Every member of the crew plays a part in determining where the aircraft carrier is heading. Engineering, navigation, operations, quartermaster and so on all play their part. All of these crew members must know the overall mission in order to play their part in determining the direction and making it happen. If they do not know the vision, values, goals, targets and mission, they are left to driving the ship without a plan and all hell breaks loose. The entire team works better when the plan comes from the top and the plan is well communicated with commitment and care.
You don't have to have great charisma or an Executive MBA, but you do have to step up and use what you do have. Use your strengths and gather the strengths of the rest of your management team to build on. Your team is counting on you to lead and delegate and not relegate. Your job as a leader is to lead. You can delegate some, but you cannot relegate at all.
Thursday, April 24, 2014
Thursday, April 17, 2014
Max Kopsho – VP/CTO - grAVITation Technologies, LLC