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Archive for December, 2009

The time between Christmas and New Year’s has always been a period of reflection for me. As we all chalk up one more trip around the sun, it is important to me to look back on the past 12 months, sift through the good and the bad and find those useful lessons I can take with me to make the upcoming year even better.

To say that 2009 has been a challenging year would be an understatement for many. In spite of the economy, financially, we have had a very good year and considered ourselves very blessed. That said, I have witnessed others who would probably not characterize their year the same; which leads me to the following joke…bear with me.

A doctor decided to take off early, head to the golf course and try to find a group in need of a ‘fourth’ and sneak in 18 holes before supper. He was lucky as he was quickly paired with a lawyer, engineer and insurance salesman.

After some small talk and a few holes, the doctor asked the attorney if, because of his line of work, he too gets asked a lot of questions seeking advice for free, explaining that he is often queried by friends and acquaintances about small ailments, here and there.

The attorney assured the doctor that this happens to him all the time and he finally found a way to respond. “I simply answer their question and when I get back to the office, I send them a bill. That usually stops those seeking free advice.”

The doctor, thought, “Wow…that is so clever, I will have to remember that.”

The group finished their game, exchanged business cards and after having an enjoyable round all agreed they would have to play together again…

…that was until the doctor got to his office on Monday and found a bill from the attorney.

The idea for this offering came from someone who emailed me and wanted to chat. I replied that I am always open to ‘talking shop’, tossing around ideas, learning more about their business and encouraged the person to give me a buzz when they had the time.

More than a week passed and I finally received a voice mail from the person to which I called back at my first opportunity. In our discussion, the person began with, “I finally got the nerve to call…” It was during our chat that I realized that maybe this person has heard the above joke before and was afraid they would soon be on the receiving end of an invoice from me.

Hardly!

So who is this guy behind the curtain of this blog? I am just one who has been very blessed in my career and has been able to take my years of experience, combine it with a ‘healthy dose of OCD’ and found a way to do what I believe is my calling. I truly love what I do and I am truly passionate about entrepreneurs, business, the free-enterprise system and capitalism. I thrive on seeing someone take the necessary risks to start their own business and flourish. I am a big believer that this is still the ‘American Dream’.

I have always said that one’s goal in sales should be to have an unlisted phone number. That’s right, an unlisted number. You build up your client base so large, that you cannot possibly take on any new customers and you just sit back, answer the phone and take orders.

Until then, I will continue to put my contact information at the end of each blog posting for a reason. I sincerely enjoy hearing from readers and unlike the lawyer above, you will not receive an invoice from me for just talking shop. I am happy to say that I will be calling a reader today and we will discuss a few ways they may be able to ‘shave a few strokes’ off their game.

So as long as you continue to see my email address at the end of this blog, drop me a line if you like. I promise you won’t receive an invoice and who knows, we may just find at the end of the exchange, a way we can both build new business…if not today, maybe next year.

If you are one of those who will file away 2009 as a challenging year, it is my sincere hope that the upcoming year will be better in all aspects.

Happy New Year everyone…thanks!

——————–

Bobby Darnell is the founder and Principal of Construction Market Consultants, Inc. An Atlanta based management consulting group specializing in business development, sales, marketing and profitability as well as executive placement for the Architectural, Engineering and Construction industry.

http://www.cmconl.com/

Bobby can be reached at bobbydarnell [at] cmconl.com

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I know a guy that is never wrong. Ever! I kid you not, if he hits a curb pulling into the grocery store, it is the @#$% engineer’s fault for not knowing how to design a parking lot.

Now, before any clients or prospects get the wrong idea (sorry, I could not resist) allow me to explain what I mean when I say I love it when I am wrong…I am not talking about ‘not in accordance with what is morally right’ but rather ‘in error’.

The reason I enjoy being wrong is that, through the years, as I have often been wrong, I learn and grow from each experience where what I thought to be true, turned out not to be so.

Therefore, in order to share my “growth” experiences, here is a list of things where I was quite wrong.

Sushi – I use to think that the only reason anyone would eat sushi is so they could say, “I eat sushi.” That there was no possible way it could, in fact, be something somebody would want to eat.

I was wrong.

Napoleon Dynamite – The friend who told me about this movie, in my mind and at the time, way over-sold it. There was no way it could be as brilliant and funny as he described and, to be honest, the first time I watched it I was only ‘half wrong’. However, after the second, third, fourth and fifth times…I revel in its humor and brilliance. (Vote for Pedro!)

I was wrong.

Bob Chinn’s Crab House – I have many favorite eating establishments in Chicago but one in particular was a Polish restaurant on Milwaukee Avenue called ‘Irene’s’. Years ago, before children, I happened to be in Chicago on business at the same time Lane, my wife, was and we both wanted to go to our favorite place. At that time, her’s was a place called Bob Chinn’s Crab House. I was convinced here was no way I would enjoy my meal there as much as I would Irene’s. Naturally, I lost that argument and am glad I did.

I was wrong.

Nirvana and Green Day – I will lump both of these together because, no pun intended, they are the same song, different verses. The popularity of each band preceded anything I had heard from either regarding their music. I convinced myself that there was no way there could be an ounce of real talent amongst them before hearing one single song.

I was wrong.

Time Management Course – I enjoy telling people that I have found a way to make a fairly decent living out of my ‘healthy amount of OCD’. Back in the day, before Palm Pilots were the rage, we were all encouraged to sign up for a time management course with a local company and the ‘trophy’ from attending was being able to walk around with this HUGE leather, three ring binder.

If you can remember Dr. Suess’ classic, ‘The Star Belly Sneetches’ it was very much a local case of ‘those with stars and those without.’ I prided myself on being organized ‘without’.

Push came to shove and I did end up taking the course, getting my large binder and loving the processes I learned then and still use today.

I was wrong.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu – I had a passing fancy in high school and college with Tae Kwon Do and Aikido. Then, about ten years ago, I started reading about this family from Brazil, the Gracies, who had developed their own form of jiu jitsu and my first thought was, there is no way this new martial art can be all that. In order to keep this blog offering from going on and on and on…I will just say that my passion for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has yet to find its match as far as items on my list of activities that are not work related.

I was wrong.

I could offer many more concrete examples of where I thought I knew the truth only to be shown otherwise. I am happy to report that the amount of time between such incidents has grown because I have learned to be more open-minded to new thoughts and ideas. I know this past year, I have learned a great deal that has helped build my business in ways I would not have thought possible…thanks in part to those gentle reminders of when I was wrong before.

I believe 2010 will be a better year business-wise than 2009…but I could be wrong.

If your sales are down or you have hit a sustained revenue plateau or even losing market share, what are you doing differently? What do you plan to do differently? Have you pulled out your business plan and reviewed it? Do you have a business plan or are you one of those who plan on one day having a business plan?

In today’s economy, as we try to build new business, is there any better time than today to look at new ways of doing things, listening to new ideas, trying new techniques, moving towards the 2.0 version of your company and/or yourself?

I don’t believe there is a better time than now to possibly prove ourselves wrong. I also don’t believe I am wrong about this one.

——————–

Bobby Darnell is the founder and Principal of Construction Market Consultants, Inc. An Atlanta based management consulting group specializing in business development, sales, marketing and profitability as well as executive placement for the Architectural, Engineering and Construction industry.

http://www.cmconl.com/

Bobby can be reached at bobbydarnell [at] cmconl.com

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