Archive for February, 2011

28
Feb
11

you down with OPP? (other people’s product)

My father, Charlie “Tremendous” Jones, was an author whose motivational classic Life Is Tremendous had sold several million copies. Every time he spoke, he was waving piles of books about the podium, kissing them, reading from them, letting people know that the key to everything they ever wanted in life was between two covers.

The interesting part was that the books he waived about were rarely his own. And so I learned at an early age that helping people was best served by introducing them to as many others as humanly possible. My father’s motto was, “You’ll be the same person you are today five years from now except for two things: the people you meet and the books you read.” And he wasn’t just referring to himself or his book.

So much of what I encounter on a daily basis is people talking about themselves. When I was in the military it was about their rank. When I was in corporate America it was about their ideas. Now that I’m in publishing it’s about their book. I think we’d all agree that there really is nothing new under the sun so what makes a person think that their words or experiences are the only ones that matter?

Zig Ziglar said, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.” Everything we communicate should be a compilation of the best and the brightest ideas that have touched us.  Every great autobiography will be a testament to the individuals and experiences that have made that person what they are.

The Holy Bible is the bestselling book of all time with an estimated figure of over six billion sales. It is a compilation of 66 authors. What if the Apostle John or Paul had insisted that theirs be published separately? What if the Old Testament prophets’ words had not been sewn together into an eternal tapestry?

Look around you. Read. Listen. The next time you are tempted to talk about yourself, include the insights of several others. Bundle your words with others’ genius and see how exponentially more powerful they become. In the end, you may become the person responsible for changing someone’s life, even if the ideas or words are not your own.

22
Feb
11

i fought the law and the law won

Failure brings greater notoriety and legacy than success ever could. General Robert E. Lee led a failed revolt and yet is held as one of America’s greatest icons. We honor soldiers with the Medal of Honor in some cases posthumously, for their ultimate sacrifice, despite the fact that it is every parent’s dream they return home alive.

I’ve locked horns with the best of them and gotten whooped time and time again. I’ve dealt with character assassination, insubordination, corrupt individuals promoted above me, and HR directors that refused to enforce standards. But they are still talking about me despite the fact I left the organization years ago.

Mahatma Gandhi said, “Joy lies in the fight, in the attempt, in the suffering involved, not in the victory itself”. And that’s why they remember me, because I brought joy. Whatever the end result was, everyone knew that we had done our best, that we had pushed the envelope, and had no regrets.

Poor judgment born from human frailties is what leads us to good judgment. I can’t say that all the times I fought the “law” I was right in my assumptions. Sometimes I let my emotions get in the way, sometimes I expected things to change too rapidly, but until you do it the “wrong” way, you’ll never know how to do it the “right” way.

So be thankful for the times you get kicked to the curb. If your actions were motivated by a sense of increasing the value of the people in the organization, you should wear your battle scars with pride. If you’re one of the few who fights for what’s right, you’ll be the stuff of water cooler talk long after you’re gone.

16
Feb
11

you are your own worst enemy

Last week I had breakfast with a friend who shared his life’s journey with me. Like all of us he found himself at yet another crossroad and described his lane changes in a very interesting way.  He said, “You spend all those years helping people to become as successful as they could be, but in the end, I wanted their success more than they did.” The real-world translation of this is: “time to find a new job”.

Ariel Dorfman stated, “The greatest sin of all is satisfaction.” Enabling organizational or individual status quo is unacceptable. If today is as good as you’re ever going to be, why continue consuming the earth’s limited resources? Make room for somebody who wants to breathe deeply and drink unceasingly from the pool of life.

I think one of the most difficult questions in the universe isn’t “what am I going to live my life doing?”, but “how committed am I to continuously excel in my current occupation?” After all, that’s the reality that each of us faces every day the alarm clock sounds. A visionary isn’t somebody that has some kind of clairvoyant ability to see the future; it’s the person who acknowledges the tasks at hand and then does them to the best of their ability.

Any time I state a problem but not a solution, I am broadcasting to the universe that I don’t care enough to be successful. If I truly did, solutions, and not excuses, would be bubbling out of my head and flowing from my lips. As Thomas Jefferson so eloquently said, “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”

10
Feb
11

be a pal, not a HAL

This month our newest release is a sales book, one of the most “back to basics”, “how to personally interact with the customer” books that I’ve read.

Sales, like all other industries, is constantly changing. Technology has changed how people get pricing, locate, and even review, products. In short, everything is out there. This is great, but the bottom line is that people do business with those they know will treat them fairly and who go out of their way to provide an outstanding product or customer service. That’s the human equation. And no amount of SEO ranking can take away the importance of that in the long run.

I sold books for two years in college during my summers with the Southwestern Company. My father, the consummate salesman, told me that if I could make a sale from a cold call, I could do anything in life. In a lot of ways he was right! He also used to joke with me that I should put my head through the door, and not my foot, because then I could keep talking even when they slammed the door!

But the most important thing I learned during those summers was the criticality of the human interaction. Many feel sales is a numbers game. If I make ten calls and close one sale that means I have a conversion rate of 10%. Determine the number of sales I have to make to meet my goal and I can extrapolate the number of calls I have to make.

 But what if I made two sales calls a day and closed both of them? That’s what I did. That means I can spend a lot more quality time with each customer. I spent hours at people’s houses. They cooked me meals, shared family photos, gave me kittens, and yes, bought my encyclopedia set. It was a great product, they liked me, and that made the sale happen.

I love technology because it allows me to begin to connect with a wider audience. But in the end, it’s all about how we personally interface with each other that defines the relationship, be it sales or otherwise.




Tremendous Tracey


CEO Tremendous Life Books. Book Evangelist

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