Archive for July, 2017

Book Review: The Sales Survival Handbook: Cold Calls, Commissions, and Caffeine Addiction- The Real Truth About Sales

Dan 8A book recommendation from Dan Beaulieu

The Sales Survival HandbookCold Calls, Commissions, and Caffeine Addiction- The Real Truth About Sales

By Ken Kupchik

Copyright 2017Amacom Coming out September 21st 2017

Price $17.95

Pages: 185 with Index

A Funny Sales Book

You’ve got to laugh, right? One of the best tools to have in your kit when you’re in sales is a great sense of humor and that’s what this book is all about. Imagine a sales book written by Jerry Seinfeld and you’ll get a good idea of what this book is like. Filled with all kinds of valuable advice including everything from cold calling to handling rejection, the author uses humor to make us laugh at ourselves while learning how to be better sales people.

Mr. Kupchik takes serious subjects and turns them into funny and ironic lessons that you’ll laugh about every time you remember them.

Here are just a few gems from this book:

When having a sales call with a new customer:

Do: Listen intently to the words the customer is using.

Don’t: start speaking in a fake British accent halfway through the conversation.

Or…

When doing research on a customer:

Do: Research the prospect company before contacting…

Don’t Conduct your research by flying a small drone outside the company’s office building.

Don’t: Laugh uncontrollably when you hear the size of their budget

And…

On sending proposals:

Do: Send your proposal in a timely manner

Don’t: Get down on one knee when pitching your proposal

Or

Don’t: follow the customer around in your car after you’ve sent over the proposal.

And here are some tips on choosing then right neighborhood if you are into door-to-door sales:

Don’t go into the neighborhood if the houses all have bars in the windows; most of the buildings are abandoned; and most of the cars are up on cinderblocks

This is one of the most enjoyable business books I have ever read. But don’t get the wrong idea, this book while being fun to read is also full of very good sales advice.

I can truthfully tell you that reading this book will be the most fun you have reading a business book in your entire career.

Look for The Sales Survival HandbookCold Calls, Commissions, and Caffeine Addiction- The TrutH About Sales when it comes out on September 21st of this year.

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Tales From The PCB Crypt

dan-6Author’s note: I wrote this column last summer, but thought it was particularly fitting given my column on the DoD a couple of days ago.)

The young sales person had been waiting patiently for the buyer to come out for almost an hour. He was a bit nervous and also excited because he was finally here. It had taken him literally months to get here. He had worked very hard with prospecting and research and cold calling and leaving messages but he had persevered and in the end it had paid off he finally got an appointment with Mr. Big the buyers for one of the largest defense contractors in the country. And now he was ready. He had his presentation memorized, he knew that his pitch was perfect and there was no way he was going to fail, no sir, not after having come this far.

And now finally Mr. Big came out and motioned him to follow him into one of those little rooms off of the lobby.

Mr. Big: Okay kid you’re finally here, I’ve got to hand it to you you’re one persistent little SOB so tell me what you’ve got.

Eager sales person (ESP): Well sir let me tell you about me company.

Mr. Big: Hold on now son, before you do that let me ask you some questions to make sure we can even do business with you at all. After all we are the largest defense contractor in the country. We are the defenders of not only this country but also the free world so we can’t have just anyone build our printed wiring boards. Okay let me ask you kid. Are you ITAR Registered?

ESP: Yes sir we are.

Mr. Big: And of course you have ISO?

ESP: Yes of course sir.

Mr. Big: And you have your 55110?

ESP: Yes we do

Mr. Big: And you need your AS9100 you have that don’t you?

ESP: Yes sir we do.

Mr. Big: And 31032 do you have that? He asked eyeing the kid suspiciously.

ESP: Yes we that.

Mr. Big: And NADCAP you have your NADCAP don’t you?

ESP: Yes sir we do.

Mr. Big: And your company has instituted Lean Manufacturing?

ESP: Yes sir.

Mr. Big: and JIT?

ESP: Yes we have all of that. The young sales person was looking excited things were looking good for him now.

Mr. Big: How about a Laser Drill and an LDI do you have that equipment as well? Can you do HDI Microvia work?

ESP: (Looking a bit confused) well, yes we have invested almost four million dollars in the past year to make sure we could do HDI Microvia but I didn’t think your company bought HDI Microvia boards?

Mr. Big: No we don’t but we require all of our vendors to be top of the line in case we decide to go in that direction

ESP: Oh do you think you’re be doing that soon?

Mr. Big: I doubt it. But anyway let me ask you do you have our company’s new qualification so that you could qualify as one of our suppliers?

ESP: (Crestfallen) No sir, we have not done any business for you yet so we didn’t start on that qualification yet.

Mr. Big ( with a bright glow of satisfaction in his eyes) Aha, well son you’re going to have to go back to your company and make sure that you qualify to our new spec before we can even talk again. I shouldn’t have even met with you today.

ESP: (Trying be upbeat and not show his disappointment. So let me ask you sir once we have that qualification will we be able to do business with you?

Mr. Big: Whoa hold on there son I can’t commit to anything right now there are steps we have to go through you know. This is a process. After you meet all the spec requirements you have to fill out our survey form and then we you have to build five sample sets of boards, free of course, and then we do a site visit and the you have to submit some sample quotes and if you do all these things in a satisfactory manner we’ll consider putting you on the AVL and sending you some live RFQ’s. Finally if you can turn those quotes around in a timely fashion and if your price is the very lowest of all of our qualified bidders, then you might get an order. But there are promises son. As I told you we are the largest and I might add most important defense contractor in the country. Our products are used to defend the free world we have to be very careful who our vendors are right?

ESP: I see sir, I’ll go back to my company and well do the best we possibly can to be your supplier. Thank you for your time.

Mr. Big: Okay, but don’t come back until you are fully prepared and qualified to be one of our vendors after all…

ESP: I know sir (he says wearily) you are the largest and most important defense contractor in the country and you are saving the free world.

Mr. Big (as his cell phone rings) that’s right son you got it. See you later. I have to take this.

The young sales person leaves dragging his briefcase behind him as Mr. Big answers his cell phone.

Mr. Big: This is Big here what can I do for you?

Mr. Big’s company’s lead PCB designer (PCBD): Can you get me twenty of those 82113 cards as fast as possible Mr. Big?

Mr. Big: Probably but those are really hard to build when do you need them?

PCBD: We need twenty of them in five days.

Mr. Big: are you crazy it takes at least five weeks to get those boards. I can’t help you with that.

PCBD: Well we need them or we’re going to be late on the first system, what am I supposed to do.

Mr. Big: Well dummy why don’t you do what we always do when this happens? Go to one of those ‘no touch’ sites that advertise in the back of the magazines!

PCBD: I would but I thought all our vendors had to be fully qualified now, especially to our own new spec? Hell we’re not even sure where those boards are actually built.

Mr. Big: Oh forget about that if you need the boards get them from one of those web sites that’ll be good enough. Good enough for government work.

And they both laugh.

End of story

Great story right? The problem is it’s not just a story this happens every single day on our industry, every single day. Now for this one time only…this is not only common sense.

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Finally, The DOD Gets It! But Is It Too Late?

dan-5Last week a friend of mine sent me this excerpt from the congregational record. Yes, That congregational record. If this doesn’t set your hair on fire then nothing will.

Read on:

“National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018”)…”

114/603

 “Executive agent for printed circuit board technology

The committee is aware of ongoing efforts through the Department

of Defense Executive Agent for Printed Circuit Board Technology

(PrCB EA) to develop and execute a strategy to address the

declining printed circuit board industrial base and gaps identified

in the 2015 Department of Defense Executive Agent for Printed

Circuit Board and Interconnect Technology Roadmap. According to

a PrCB EA industrial base capability assessment, between 1980

and 2014, the printed circuit board manufacturing base declined 86

percent from over 2,000 manufacturers to just 280. The committee

is concerned that what remains of the U.S. printed circuit board industrial

base is becoming less capable of sustaining the superiority

of Department of Defense systems and growing increasingly dependent

on foreign suppliers, particularly China. This poses a risk

to the Defense supply chain in terms of the quality and trustworthiness

of the products it acquires. The committee supports continued

execution of PrCB EA functions addressing trust, supply

chain, organic capability, and research activities, including the continued

development of a network of trusted suppliers and

leveraging the DoD Trusted Supplier Program to include PrCB designers,

manufacturers, and electronic assemblers.”

So, finally they get it. Now, they realize they should not have let those contract manufacturers play fast and loose with ITAR requirements sending a lot of their defense and aerospace printed circuit boards to Asia to be built.  Maybe those defense contractors should have thought twice before demanding that all of the components in their critical mission products be the cheapest that money could buy regardless of national security. Maybe the U.S. Government should have protected the PCB industry a little more rather than leave them to their own devices to sink or swim. Maybe, someone should have realized that it never was a “level playing field” that while our shops were left to fend for themselves they were competing with Chinese and Japanese government supported board shops. And yes, maybe they should have held those defense contractors more accountable when it came to where they were sourcing their components.

Look, I know that this is capitalism and I know that we believe in free market. I also realize and support the idea that commercial products from garage door openers to coffee machines to Blue Ray players should probably be built offshore. That is just a product of a flat-world global economy. But mission critical defense  products…are you kidding me?

For years now the largest CMs and yes OEMs, have been giving the DOD one specious argument after another for why they needed to buy their PCBs offshore. At first it was the line of bull that the PCB was too low on the technology supply chain to be an ITAR protected product.  And then when IPC finally convinced them that this was incorrect and that we should be on the ITAR list, those same companies told the DOD there were no longer enough qualified U.S. PCB suppliers to meet their needs (Thanks to them by the way) so that they were going to have to go offshore to meet their DOD component requirements.

Not that the State Department has been much help over the years when on one hand they hold our feet to the fire in terms of secrecy and the much needed, I admit, ITAR protection while on the other hand they sell their completed defense products ITAR protected circuit boards and all to our frenemies whomever they may be. By the way the care to guess who our largest Arms customer is?  Iraq! Yes they are number one! And our latest good arms customer is, coming in at number three are the Saudi Arabians the true founders of the feast we call 9/11!

All I can say is that it is not too late for our defense and aerospace contractors to act more like Americans than Capitalists and protect our technology and our industry with the same enthusiasm that they protect our borders. They need to stop buying mission-critical electronics from off shore companies; they need to stop trying to squeeze every last dollar out of our remaining board shops and they need to start truly partnering with those shops helping them to stay alive. And the State Department? Well, they need to stop selling our proprietary national security weaponry to the highest bidder regardless of their current status of friend or foe. Oh, and one last thing stop blaming the shops for not keeping up, the playing field has never been level for them, they have been fighting an uphill battle for years and they have been fighting it with no help from the parties mentioned above. It’s time to cut them a break, hell, it’s time to cut the U.S.A. a break and keep our weapons here in the U.S.A.  protecting United States citizens.

It’s only common sense

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Book Recommendation – The Inspiration Code: How the Best Leaders Energize People Every Day

Dan 8A book recommendation from Dan Beaulieu

The Inspiration Code: How the Best Leaders Energize People Every Day

By Kristi Hedges

Copyright 2017Amacom

Price $24.95

Pages: 261 with Appendix and Index

How to be a better leader over all, as well as one who inspires

No matter who you are, no matter what you have done, no matter where you have been or where you are in your life journey, this book can help you to be inspirational. Look not all of us are inspirational by nature. Most of us are well, just regular people how have lead regular lives. For the most part, we have done nothing dramatic enough to be inspirational just by our very existence. We did no save lives like the pilot Sully. R change the world like Steve Jobs, or walk on the moon like Armstrong. Now we have just lead our lives the best we could trying to help people along the way. If you agree that you are one of the regular people, that you are one of us, then this book is for you. One of the regular people who want to inspire those around us to greatness.

This book is literally a systematic manual on how to be inspirational from showing people how much we care, to intentional listening to encouraging dialoguing this book provides everything a person needs to be an inspiration to those around her.

Ms. Hedges makes the case that to be inspiration is to energize those around us to do things far beyond what they thought they could do. She focuses on honestly in conversation, authenticity in what we say and even how we say it.

Here are the four steps that take people up the “inspire path” as Ms. Hedges calls it. Inspirational leaders are:

Present: Focused on the person in front of them, not distracted, visibly stressed, or beholden to an agenda. They’re open minded and let conversation flow.

Personal: Authentic and real, and listen generously. They know how to find and expand potential.

Passionate: They infuse energy, calibrate it, and manage it as one of their greatest skills.

Purposeful: They are intentional and willing to have courageous discussions about purpose, and role model how to live into their own.

There is even a focused on how to apply these four steps in different situations from a one on one conversation to giving a presentation to a room full of people.

Frankly, I think this is a book about leadership in general, good leadership which in the end does lead to inspirational leadership.

If you are serious about your role as a leader, or even a team member who strives to get the best from your team this is book is a great way to start.

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Companies That Buy Cheap PCBs Get What They Deserve

dan-6This column is meant for those customers who need printed circuit boards but don’t want to communicate with the PCB shops directly. It’s meant for those customers who believe that a PCB is just a thin piece of green plastic that anyone can build. This is for those companies who feel that the board shops are just job shops and that they should just shut up and build what they’re told to build. If you see yourself here, then read on because it is going to get worse…you’re going to get exactly what you deserve.

If you don’t want your PCB vendor calling with questions, then you’re going to get what you deserve. Here’s the deal; the PCB engineers are calling up to get all their data right and to make sure they deliver the best product possible. They are also calling you to suggest a better way since they have built thousands of PCBs and you have built none. I would warn you to beware of those vendors who never ask you a question because in the end, sooner or later your boards are going to fail and you will get what you deserve.

If you don’t even want to visit a PCB shop because you have no interest, because you feel that you know everything there is to know about PCBs, if you are thinking, “how complicated could it be putting out these little pieces of green plastic?” then you are going to get what you deserve. The more you know about the PCB fabrication process the better you will be able to design your boards. And by the same token, if you think there is nothing to learn, then of course, you are going to get what you deserve.

If you think that all PCB suppliers are the same, that PCBs are a commodity and that it doesn’t really matter where you get them…you are going to get what you deserve.

If you think that PCB fabricators make way too much money and they should let you show them how to really price their boards…you’ll get what you deserve.

If you think that a 28-layer blind and buried via board is a commodity…keep thinking that and yes, you’ll get what you deserve.

If you think that all that matters is price and that your purpose in life is to find the cheapest, lowest-priced PCBs you can get your hands on…you are going to get what you deserve. And I challenge you to go out in front of your customers and let them know how proud you are that your product is made up of the cheapest, lowest priced PCBs you could get your hands on…you will get what you deserve and if those customers buy from you, they will get what they deserve.

If you think that you can buy cheap boards from people who break the rules, people who have no social conscience, companies who bear no ecological responsibilities, or from countries who have no interest in human rights, then you are going to get what you deserve—and good luck looking your kids in the eye when they ask you what you did to help save the world.

But if on the other hand you take great pride in your relationships with your board vendors, if you take their advice when it comes to helping you to design your PCBs, or you ask them for help in providing you with the best possible PCBs to make your end products that much better, if you rely on your PCB vendors to help you with your impedance measurements, your CTE management materials, your thermal controls and all of the other parameters that go into making you products that best they can be, if you make sure that your vendors are following all of the rules when it comes to meeting their specs and qualifications, in meeting ITAR requirements, in meeting EPA requirements, in treating their people fairly and with respect….you will get what you deserve and that will be a good thing…a very good thing. Support your PCB fabricators, look out for them, listen to them, and yes respect them. Look at them as your PCB experts…because after all they are.

Its only common sense.

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Salespeople Are The Voice Of The Customer

dan-2So as that voice, make sure you get it right!

One of the greatest responsibilities we have as sales people is being the voice of the customer. This means that we must strive to always relay the customer’s message truthfully and most importantly accurately, because, very often the future of the relationship between your company and their customer is in your hands.

This means that you are the one person in the company who has the be the customer expert. It is your duty to learn everything about your customers and make sure that you convey that information accurately to the rest of your organization. Be careful to speak without bias so that you never put your “spin” on what the customer is thinking, or doing, for your own self-serving reasons.

Here are nine things to keep in mind when acting as the relationship manager between your company and the customer.

  1. Knowledge: Know everything you can about your customers, including the business they are in, the amount of your kind of products they buy, what their hot buttons are, and what their needs are both today and in the future.
  2. How to win the business: Learn what it takes to win their business. Find out who they are dealing with, who your competition is, and why that competition is successful. Learn what your customer thinks it takes to be a great supplier and then pass this on to your company.
  3. Be the news reporter: Keep your company up to date on any changes in the status of your customers all the times. Are they in trouble financially? Are they buying someone? Are they going to be introducing a new product? Are they going to be sold.? All this information is vital to the customer/ company relationship and it is up to you as the sales person to make sure your company knows everything and I mean everything.
  4. Mediator: When problems occur, it is up to the sales person to help solve those problems. This is when she really earns her money and this is when accuracy in communications is especially important. This is particularly true when things heat up, when the relationship hits the skids. The sales person is the one who must cool things down. She is the one who must do everything possible to sustain the relationship at all costs. She is the one who makes sure that the company does not win the battle but in the end, lose the war.
  5. Bearer of bad news: As they said in the Godfather, management needs to hear the bad news immediately! No matter how painful it is to hear, bad news should be communicated right away.
  6. Be an Armadillo: Yes, a true sales person must have skin as tough as an armadillo because there are times, especially hard times, when the company is going to want to shoot the messenger because they are so angry and frustrated about the news they are hearing. This means the sales person has to hang tough. He should be able to relay the customer’s negative message with clarity and without exaggeration. He cannot let his own feelings get in the way of conveying the customer’s sometimes insulting message, in a way that will get the point across but at the same time will not pour gasoline on the fire. This is a tough, but important one.
  7. Provide a live butt to kick: When the customer is particularly irate it is up to the sales person to go directly to that customer an offer himself up as the sacrificial lamb, to provide that fresh live butt for the customer to have the satisfaction of kicking. You’d be surprised at how often this works and how often it serves to diffuse the situation.  A great sales person will show up and provide the customers the opportunity to vent. Believe it or not, the sales people who do this are the most respected in the business on their industry.
  8. Accurate and complete conveyer of all news: Sales people should make sure they know all the facts in any critical situation. They need to be able to correctly report any problems a customer is having with their company. If it is a technical problem they need to know all facets of the problem so they can convey it accurately to the people at their own company. They need to be able to anticipate the questions that their engineers and Quality people will ask to be able to develop the right solution to the problem as quickly as possible.
  9. Number one customer advocate: Always, the sales person has to put the customer first; and she has to make sure that everyone at the company does the same.

And finally, there is one more, under promise and over deliver, and that one is to never over promise and under deliver something that is often the case when it comes to sales people. Look, we know that a good sales person must be optimistic, but try to keep your rosy outlook in check. You are not helping your company out if you over forecast or if you let them know that everything is all good with that large customer, when it is not. No one likes surprises, especially negative ones, so no matter how much you would love to forecast that huge million-dollar order for this year. Make sure it’s in the bag before you do. It’s only common sense.

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Book Recommendation – UPSIDE: Profiting from the Profound Demographic Shifts Ahead

dan-3A book recommendation from Dan Beaulieu.

UPSIDE: Profiting from the Profound Demographic Shifts Ahead

By Kenneth W. Gronbach with M.J. Moye

Copyright: Amacon 2017

Pages: 278 with Index

Price: $27.95

Predicting the future through demographics

If you want to know what is going to happen in the future, you can forget the crystal ball and the Tarot cards because all you need is this new book by generational researcher Kenneth Gronbach. The first thing I want to say about this book is that it is readable and interesting. I say that because I was almost turned off to the point of not wanting to read it because of the subject matter which sounded as dry as the Arizona desert, but au contraire mon frere as they say in my culture, this book is actually a page turner. The author takes you through six generations of demographics from the “Silents” those who survived world war two to the baby boomers to generation Xer’s the millennials and beyond. He describes in detail the make-up of these six generations and how they are made up and what their effect is on business both today and in the future.

Beyond that he writes about the various areas of the country showing growth slow-down in the North east and super growth in the south especially North Carolina…and why.

Which what we all want to know isn’t it? We not only want to know the what but also the why.

Probably the best part of this book is when the author shows us the future; like how generation Xer’s are turning the housing market around and how boomers are responsible for the health care issues we are having today because there are so many of them living for so long and needing so much health care.

As a bonus, the author includes brief studies of the rest of the world including Europe, Africa and of course Asia including the projected growth rate of each region.

Honestly, I went from wondering if I should even read this book, to feeling I had to read this book to learn about demographics and how to use them in my business, to my considering this book only the beginning of my study of this all-important subject. If you are serious about the fate of your business, nay the fate of your world then you have to reads this excellent and don’t forget readable book

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