Friday, October 30, 2015

Inspirational Sports Leadership: BORN TO LEAD:JIM CALHOUN

As a Strategist/Consultant/Writer/and Producer, I create compelling content and ideas which transform the way people see and react to the world.  I have been recognized for award winning ideas, leadership strategy, consulting and entrepreneurship capabilities.  Recognized for quality of business development, innovative creations/solutions and risk/reward assessment successes, I have written and implemented creative ideas across print, digital and broadcast platforms. 

Most recently I co-executive produced a film, the first in a series on leaders titled BORN TO LEAD: JIM CALHOUN about the recently retired and sometimes controversial UCONN Men’s Basketball Coach. This inspirational film champions themes of discipline, underdog determination and the never ending quest for greatness.

Information as to the film’s screenings and on-line viewing are available at

Lauren (L.C.) Cragg

Thursday, October 29, 2015

What Do Your Readers Crave?

Let’s start answering the question by crossing off a few things your readers don’t want… They don’t really want to know about your children or your pets. They don’t want to know what you had for dinner last night. And they don’t want to know about your new shoes, car, or laundry detergent. (The obvious exception is when one of those subjects is your specialty.)

You might think that sounds harsh because there is a whole school of thought that talks about building relationships, and building relationships includes divulging information about yourself to entice someone to want to know more. That’s the perfect course of action for building personal relationships, but when it comes to establishing a relationship with people you hope to inform, educate, inspire, and encourage, starting out by talking about yourself is akin to telling someone you love them on the first date – TMI!

When it comes to enticing readers to read your words of wisdom, your first job is to let them know you understand where they’re coming from. In many ways your words are like a map. The challenge is to make sure your directions start from where they are standing—not where you are standing.

Your next goal should be to break down your information into groups of digestible information and action steps. It’s easy to be so excited with what you’ve learned and accomplished that you want to share all of it at once. Again – TMI. If the journey looks too long, difficult, or filled with obstacles, people might be inspired enough to start, but they will fall away quickly because it’s just too much for them to do, think, and feel all at once. Think “baby steps” in the beginning to build momentum.

People want what you have to offer. It’s just a different landscape these days that requires an awareness of how little time you have to make an impression on a potential reader. Don’t waste those precious seconds. Use them wisely by sharing something that lets your reader know you can help them. Do a good job making that point and they will definitely crave more.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Is Business Protocol Dead?

Is Business Protocol Dead?

If you ask a highly successful sales person what the keys to their success are, they would likely start by pointing out the importance of doing due diligence research prior to approaching a potential client or customer. They’d be less likely to start by pointing out the importance of protocol when it comes to interacting with potential clients and customers. They would however remind you not to forget it.

The tools we have access to have changed the business landscape, and it would be easy to convince ourselves that all business decisions come down to dollars and cents so it shouldn’t matter how we present ourselves. In one sense that might be true. But think of it from this perspective… if both you and your competition have access to the exact same information, and can offer the exact same deal, how will you differentiate yourself from them?

One way to ensure your forward momentum is to take the time to make sure you do as good of a job presenting yourself as you do of presenting what you have to offer. Here are 3 time tested do’s and don’ts of sales protocol.

1.     Don’t talk to people like you know them—before you know them.

Do:  Dale Carnegie said, "A person’s name is the sweetest sound to them in any language." But that doesn't mean Mrs. Debra Nice, the president of a company you’d like to do business with, will appreciate you calling her Debbie. Address people formally until you are invited to do otherwise.

2.     Don’t disregard the chain of command.

Do:  A chain of command might be annoying to deal with, but it serves a purpose. If you disregard it and go straight for the chief decision maker, you might get the “yes” you were hoping for, but he or she is very likely to turn the deal over to the people you just stepped over—not the best way to build a business relationship. Be respectful of the people you interact with as you work your way up the decision maker chain, and they will be more likely to return the favor by speaking well of you and what you have to offer to their higher-ups.

3.     Don’t speak poorly of your competition.

Do:  Successful sales people know that their clients and customers aspire to rise to the top of their market. But trash-talking your competition doesn’t provide any positive information about how you and your company can help them achieve that goal. Keep your presentation/discussion focused on what the client really cares about—how the product and/or service you offer will improve their position in their marketplace. Do a good job with that and your competition won’t matter.

Yes, these sound like common sense protocols everyone would know and follow, but they’re rarely taught, so many sales professionals end up learning them the hard way. Once you include them as part of your own best business practices though, they are evidence to potential clients/customers of your confidence, professionalism, and experience.

Alan Luoma is a Sales Coach with extensive experience in industrial sales, sales management, new product development, sales and product training. He works with a national sustainable packaging company and their distributors to increase sales. Alan is an expert that speaks on eliminating behaviors that prevent you from being successful in sales and uncovering sales prevention departments that hinder your success. He is a member of the Hartford Springfield Speakers Network, The National Speakers Association and New England Speakers Association. You can view his profile on LinkedIn, or contact him at