Startup Entrepreneur to Storyteller

Making the transition from startup entrepreneur and storyteller, today John Gray is a full time freelance writer. He enjoys sharing stories about startups, entrepreneurs, and emerging technology. It's all about exploring the intersection of our human experience with technology. He's a regular contributor to BetaKit and can be found on twitter at grayspective.

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An Outsiders View on a Lean Implementation

In this 2nd part of 2-part podcast, Bob Petruska, author of Gemba Walks for Service Excellence: The Step-by-Step Guide for Identifying Service Delighters, discusses what he has learned about  Sur-Seal Corporation.

Bob is working with Mick Wilz, Director of Enterprise Excellence and Co-Owner of Sur-Seal Corporation, on one of the tracks, Keep Your Organization’s Chain Straight., at the upcoming ASQ Charlotte Conference on April 8th, 2014.

In part 1 of the podcast, How Sur-Seal Became a Visual Organization, I discussed with Mick, Sur-Seal’s Lean journey. In this 2nd part, I put Bob on the spot and asked him from an outside perspective (Bob is one of the best change agents, I know) to comment on what Sur-Seal had accomplished.  The insight Bob gives is excellent.

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How Sur-Seal Became a Visual Organization

Mick Wilz, co-owner of Sur-Seal Corporation, began his own journey to personal and business excellence about five years ago by actively seeking a variety of tools to meet his needs and the needs of the business. He says, “My interest is to take tribal knowledge and make it visual and accessible to everyone.” Mick is the Director of Enterprise Excellence and Co-Owner of Sur-Seal Corporation.

We talked about Mick’s journey in part one of the podcast. In the 2nd part of the podcast next week, I have Bob Petruska, author of Gemba Walks for Service Excellence: The Step-by-Step Guide for Identifying Service Delighters. talk about as a consultant how he might apply what he has learned from Mick to other organizations. Bob is phenomenal at leading change and his take on Mick’s journey was remarkable. 

You can find both these guys on the same day and at the same place at the upcoming ASQ Charlotte Conference on April 8th, 2014. It will be held at the Harris Conference Center. Not that I am biased, but Bob and Mick’s track is called Keep Your Organization’s Chain Straight.

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OCD: Organize, Create and Discipline

Justin Klosky strives to help people find organizational discipline in their lives. Through his own obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) Klosky created the O.C.D. Experience.  Klosky and his team bring full-service organization to high-profile clients and businesses across the country. 

Organize & Create Discipline: An A-to-Z Guide to an Organized Existence is Justin’s new book and a complete guide to getting and staying organized. The book is carefully arranged into more than 300 A-to-Z categories for everything from laundry to legal documents, shoes, toys, kitchen drawers, medicine cabinets, utility closets, overflowing email inboxes, and dozens of other sources of daily detritus. Klosky’s unique advice yields peace of mind and radically improves productivity.

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Storytelling: Helping other People Come to Their Own Conclusions

Annette Simmons wrote the book, The Story Factor (2nd Revised Edition), and a hidden gem,Territorial Games. The Story Factor became a classic when 800-CEO-READ named it in their book as one of The 100 Best Business Books of All Time (Penguin, 2009). Annette is the founder of Group Process Consulting.

One of the gems from the interview:

Annette: Storytelling is not clear and focused because you’re pulling out details that could be interpreted in several different ways. But the only way you can get someone to participate, i.e. called listening to story, is to leave room for them to make their interpretations. Storytelling at heart is about helping other people come to their own conclusions because they value theirs more than they value yours.

Story Dialoguing your Sales Pitch

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The Potential of Consumer Behavior

A serial entrepreneur having founded multiple start-up companies, including one of the first profitable Internet enterprises. Eric V. Holtzclaw is the Founder/CEO of Laddering Works, a marketing strategy firm.

He has spent 20+ years creating opportunity by identifying and capitalizing on emerging trends and disruptions to business. His professional experience includes: founding multiple successful start-up companies, including one of the first profitable Internet enterprises, and serving as the strategic lead in the implementation of dozens of products and services worldwide. His last company appeared on the Inc. 5000 list three years in a row.

In summary you could say Eric advises clients on the whys” of business:

  • Why customers buy,
  • Why teams work and
  • The all-important “entrepreneurial why”.

Eric’s new book is Laddering: Unlocking the Potential of Consumer Behavior.

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Challenging The Challenger Sale

What sets apart the The Challenger Sales Reps? Who so happen to be the most successful sales reps.
In the book, The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation author Matt Dixon points out are six attribute that showed them statistically significant in defining someone as a Challenger rep:

  • Offers the customer unique perspectives
  • Has strong two-way communication skills
  • Knows the individual customer s value drivers
  • Can identify economic drivers of the customers business
  • Is comfortable discussing money
  • Can pressure the customer

Matt Dixon, an executive director of strategic research at CEB, has an unrelenting drive to find the answers to questions senior executives often take for granted. For more than 15 years, Matt has worked to uncover the truth behind many pillars of conventional wisdom in sales and customer service, often overturning long-held assumptions that are costing companies dearly in terms of wasted money and lost market opportunity.

Matt was my podcast guest last week, Need Customers, Create an Effortless Experience, where we discussed his latest book, The Effortless Experience: Conquering the New Battleground for Customer Loyalty. This podcast will get you up to speed on the latest thoughts on one of the most significant sales book written in the past several years.

My Thoughts about The Challenger Sale: Lean Salespeople are Challengers, not Problem Solvers

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Need Customers, Create an Effortless Experience

How much of your business innovation focuses on ease of use versus being on the cutting edge? How much of Apple’s success was a result of making things simpler to use versus being innovated? Few Apple products were first to market; they usually were 3rd or 4th to market. However, they always excelled at USE or as Matt Dixon’s new book is titled, The Effortless Experience: Conquering the New Battleground for Customer Loyalty.

Matt Dixon, an executive director of strategic research at CEB, has an unrelenting drive to find the answers to questions senior executives often take for granted. For more than 15 years, Matt has worked to uncover the truth behind many pillars of conventional wisdom in sales and customer service, often overturning long-held assumptions that are costing companies dearly in terms of wasted money and lost market opportunity.

I started the podcast and engaged Matt Dixon about his book, The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation but found his new book equally as fascinating. Get ready because Matt is such a fast talker that in these podcast he says more than the average podcast that is typically twice as long. So much information and so quickly that I decided to split the podcast in half with this one concentrating on The Effortless Experience.

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The Power of 3: QFD, Taguchi, TRIZ

Dr. John Terninko has integrated his diverse experience base (electrical engineering, operations research, organizational development, teaching, continuing education and management consultation) to develop a unique intervention style for organizations. He has been teaching and using TRIZ for 13 years. Consistent with his professional life of being on the cutting edge in QFD and Taguchi for 23 and 27 years, respectively, John has integrated TRIZ, QFD and Taguchi in his approach to design problems.

I can honestly say that John’s Step-by-Step QFD: Customer-Driven Product Design, Second Edition book, besides being on Amazon.com's top 50 Management book list, is the “raggiest” book on my bookshelf. His Systematic Innovation: An Introduction to TRIZ (Theory of Inventive Problem Solving) (APICS Series on Resource Management) is being used by universities and industry for training. John has been advocating getting out of the office and seeing customer for over thirty years. It was my honor to have him on the podcast.

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Working Positive in a less than Perfect World

Dr. Joey Faucette (@drjoey) is the internationally known author of the #1 Amazon best-seller, Work Positive in a Negative World: Redefine Your Reality and Achieve Your Business Dreams. He is the founder of Listen to Life, a business coaching company that helps owners, leaders, sales professionals, managers, and others to achieve their business dreams primarily through his coaching programs, “7 Weeks to Work Positive” and “The Work Positive Master Coaching Program.” He is also the founder of the Positive Media Network, a fully customizable online streaming music marketing tool (described in podcast).

Dr. Joey’s specialties include broadening outcomes, collaborative team building, increasing productivity and lowering turnover. He is an exceptional speaker and was a great podcast guest. Hint: He makes it sound easy!

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Habit Forming Products

Nir Eyal distilled years of research, consulting and practical experience to write Hooked: A Guide to Building Habit-Forming Products. He founded and sold two technology companies and taught at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Hasso Plattner Institute of Design. His writing appears in the HBR, The Atlantic, TechCrunch, and Psychology Today.

An excerpt from the podcast:

Joe Dager: How does this blend with Lean startup?

Nir Eyal: That’s a great question. So I’m a big fan of Lean StartupTM, and I think that what I seek to do in my processes is to help makers overcome what I struggled with. And that was that of the three phases of the Lean startup, the three steps as proposed by Eric Ries, of build, measure, learn, the hardest phase, the place where all the blood, sweat, tears, and of course all the money went, was the building phase. That’s the hard part. So my work really fits hand and glove because it seeks to help product makers identify what they should build. A few years ago what we should build was determined by the highest paid person in the room. And then if you’re really progressive today, you’ve heard the Lean startup methodology, and you listen to customers – the customer development and hearing what customers want.

I think there’s actually a deeper layer that there’s things that people want that they’re not able to articulate and yet predictably will guide their behavior even if it they can’t tell you they want it. I believe by looking at consumer psychology, by looking at these tenants, these design patterns of habit-forming products, we can build the right thing sooner. We can reduce waste by informing which of our many features we build. The entire point of the hook model is to plug in to the build, measure, learn methodology. To have a little bit of a framework, to have these four steps to ask yourself if your product requires habits, does it have these four steps and how can you brainstorm new features based on where you might be lacking. So the book is really meant to be super practical. I give these, “Here’s what you do.” I call these little sections at the end of each chapter, “Do this now,” to help product makers literally with the next step. And it’s all about creating ideas for new features. What else can do to your product to make it more habit-forming? But it all still has to fit into the Lean Startup methodology of building, measure, learn.

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Sales Conversation Lessons

Linda Richardson new book,Changing the Sales Conversation: Connect, Collaborate, and Close is one of the few sales books that I have read that puts an emphasis from a Service Dominant Perspective (SD-Logic) versus selling from a Good Dominant Logic (GD-Logic) position. It is the new sales conversation that had to happen.

Linda is the Founder and Executive Chairwoman of Richardson, a global sales training business. As a recognized leader in the industry, she has won the coveted Stevie Award for Lifetime Achievement in Sales Excellence for 2006 and in 2007 she was identified by Training Industry, Inc. as one of the “Top 20 Most Influential Training Professionals.”

Linda is credited with the movement to Consultative Selling, captured in the book Perfect Selling, which is the cornerstone of Richardson’s methodology. Other innovations Linda has spearheaded in the sales training industry are: development of a comprehensive, integrated curriculum dedicated exclusively to sales, commitment to customization vs. generic training, and development of an interactive coaching-type training methodology.

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