Saturday, June 25, 2016

How to increase sales

Tell me what you want, and I can show you how to get it.

Last week I spent two days with two different clients helping them understand how to get more of what they want -- increased sales.

Both four-hour training sessions with each client delved into areas unfamiliar to them, yet guaranteed to help them increase their sales -- increasing more conversions to lead to more revenue. The tools I provided them are the same ones I used over the years to close 70%, 80%, and even 90% of sales.

You see, most people are looking in the wrong direction in order to increase sales. They want the right words to say, the newest "closing" techniques, or the latest tricks. Yet, any increase in sales related to those are temporary at best, and unsustainable.

In order to increase sales -- sustainable, long-term increase that can occur immediately -- companies have to look in a different direction.

If you want that kind of increase, you have to ask the right questions, and be laser-focused on the right target to facilitate the kind of change that can lead to true sales increases.

Shoot me an email if you are interested in the same training. I have a few openings in July but expect them to go fast.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

K12 responds to the report from the charter school advocacy group

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools recently released a report that calls for stronger oversight of virtual charter schools. Albeit a little weird that the charter school alliance would call out a segment of its own, it is quite telling as to what is going on.

The Alliance's main points are:

* Rethink the ways in which virtual charter schools are governed

* Move quickly to close virtual charter schools that perform poorly

* Remove virtual charter schools from the charter designation

K12, the leader in virtual schools, issued a response to the report. (I imagine Connections will also respond soon)

Their main points are:

* The report issued was not collaborative because virtual charter schools were not consulted

* The report relied on analysis of old data and did not account for recent data

* Most troubling was the report's call for "criteria for admission" essentially removing the ability for the parents to decide on enrollment

* The recommendations from the report to improve virtual charter schools should be applied to all charter schools

We have now entered a very strange season where the charter school movement is trying to distance itself from one of its subsets -- virtual charter schools.

While I have written extensively on the problems and potential solutions associated with mainly K12-managed virtual schools, I do happen to agree with a few points made by K12 in their response:

1. "Criteria admission" would essentially negate the whole idea of school choice associated with virtual schools While I do believe virtual schools should do a much better job of helping families make the best decision for them (being more authentic about the workload, responsibilities, daily requirements, etc.), at the end of the day, it is up to the parent to decide if they are willing to commit to it or not. In reality, it is parent choice, not school choice, meaning the parents choose.

2. The K12 curriculum for grades K - 8 is, in my opinion and experience, one of the best out there. Granted, it has not helped much within the virtual charter school arena in terms of academic achievement and test scores it still remains a gold standard in terms of quality across the board. I happen to believe the academic issues associated with the virtual charter schools have less to do with the curriculum and more to do with the time commitment, workload investment, etc.

At the same time, I do agree with the idea behind the report that BOLD steps must be taken in order to right the virtual charter school ship. Actually, I say burn this ship, and let's build a different one entirely - but that's for another blog post.

The fact of the matter is, everyone agrees that virtual learning works for only some. Those it works for are willing to put in the hard work, and are self-motivated with a strong family unit for support.

However, those who tend to enroll in virtual schools are enrolling to get away from something. They are not enrolling in order to get to something.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Make each day a masterpiece?

Do you know how tough it is to design a masterpiece? And, do you realize it is the people who buy your work that decide whether or not it is a masterpiece, not you?

So, why should we strive to make each day a masterpiece? It is a pain-staking process, wrought with blood, sweat, and tears. Then, we put it on display hoping others will approve, much less buy it.

I say, instead of a masterpiece, let's allow each day to be an abstract, and let's simply create something fresh. What if we strove to simply add some color to the day, some texture, some lines rather than spend our time trying to produce some masterpiece?

It's not settling. Nor is it taking the easy way out. It is simply redirecting our expectations and allowing our day to be an abstract one where we spend our time cultivating joy, not tears.

One little spark of inspiration: Make each day messy.

Monday, June 13, 2016

There's still good in the world

Every purchase creates a kinder world.
Years ago I sat in the office of my Spanish professor at college, and we were discussing a trip I had taken to Israel on my own a few years earlier.

I mentioned to her that my trip came just a week after the TWA flight 847 from Athens to Rome was hijacked by Shiite Hezbollah terrorists who were looking for "Jewish-sounding names."

My flight to Israel was transferring through Rome so it certainly caught my eye back then. In relaying this story to my professor, what I remember most is her response.

"I have always believed that as long as stories such as hijackings are on the front page of the newspaper then the world is still good. It's when those stories move to the back page, that's when we are in trouble."

Fast-forward a few decades and we have a tragedy such as the one yesterday in Orlando. While not minimizing the horrific act of terror this was, nor the level of tragedy and effect it will have on survivors, family members, relatives, and others, what I do know is that it is still front page news.

We see stories like this on a more regular basis -- perhaps it is the 24-hour news cycle where the top five stories are repeated throughout the day and that drives the negative into our subconscious, or perhaps it is the impact of social media where stupid people now have a platform to share their hate and put their stupidity on full display. Or, perhaps it is a combination of both and it is a perpetuating cycle that simply becomes a circular argument.

Whatever the reasons, I offer that these stories are still front page news. And, I would offer that the words of my professor over thirty years ago still ring true, "the world is still good."

Sometimes it just doesn't feel that way.

Friday, June 10, 2016

North Carolina virtual schools

In October of 2014 I penned the following blog post: North Carolina stands on the virtual school precipice

At the time the state had approved two virtual charter schools -- one from Connections, and one from K12. In the post I suggested the following would happen within one year of their opening:

1. Attrition rates (withdrawal, dropout) would be high

2. Academic results would be below standards

3. The North Carolina Dept of Education would be seeking ways to improve the two schools

Today is June 10, 2016, and the schools are finishing their first year:

1. Withdrawals in North Carolina virtual charter schools continue to soar

2. NC House loosening state regulations -- it appears there is an effort to loosen regulations that count withdrawals, teacher location, number of students teachers can serve, etc. While it is difficult to ascertain what the NCDOE is doing behind the scenes, the legislators appear to be already working to assist the schools by easing the accountability.

As far as academics, the jury is still out. Results for this year are not in yet for public schools.

One little spark of inspiration: To achieve a vastly different output, you must alter the input.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Clinton v Trump 2016

In the year 2000 approximately 46% of Americans did not vote for either Gore or Bush. They didn't show up.

In 2004, approximately 40% of Americans did not vote for either Bush or Kerry. They didn't show up.

In 2008, approximately 38% of Americans did not vote for either Obama or McCain. They didn't show up.

In 2012, approximately 43% of Americans did not vote for either Obama or Romney. They didn't show up.

That means in each election more Americans voted for NO candidate by not showing up at all. The winner of each election received less votes than the NO candidate voted on by those who did not participate (or not voted on).

Just over half of Americans are making decisions for all Americans by casting a vote.

One little spark of inspiration: Cast your vote this November.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Be you

There is no other you like you.

And no one can be just like you.

In fact, no one can be as good of a you as you.

So, why be someone else when what we need is you.

Let them be them and you be you.

The world would be less of a place if you were someone else.

So, be you.

Be all of you.

Be only you.

Be you and we will all be better for it.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

The why of your life

"The two most important days in your life are the day you were born, and the day you find out why."

Mark Twain

What's fascinating to me is that finding out why is not a search we undertake. Instead it is a decision we can make.

By deciding who you want to be, and what you want in life, you can determine the why of your life.

Think about it.