Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day everyone!

If you are bored and have too much free time on your hands, feel free to check out my new sales vlog at www.connect5000.com/videos .

(A VLOG is short for video blog)

16 short videos to give you a better feel of who I am and what we’re passionate about.

Join me as we honor the brave and countless men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military.

I’m Ray Ruecker with Connect 5000 and as a Vietnam orphan, I am very thankful.

5 Timeless Sales Lesson Learned From Jury Duty

Hey everyone!

Hope you had a great Easter holiday.

Last week, I was selected to be on a jury trial for the first time ever in my 45 years of living.

It was a civil trial centered around the Plaintiff suing a City and their Police Department for a car pursuit that ended in a fatality and unfortunately, an expectant mother lost her life. Thankfully the baby survived. This took place back in 2016 and the trial centered around recovery of lost lifetime wages of the deceased.

Both the plaintiffs and defense presented their cases and rested. The judge dismissed us for the day but instructed us to return the next day at 9:30 am to deliberate. (The case was settled before deliberations.)

Here are 5 takeaways that I noted while sitting in the jury box:

  1. Appearances, NOT looks matter.  You can’t control your looks, but you can control how you dress. When in doubt dress up and step up your wardrobe appropriately for the situation. I’m not suggesting you wear a suit and tie or dress, but dress accordingly to the situation.
  2. Make eye contact when communicating with people. One side barely made eye contact with the jury. Maybe it was done intentionally or because they were nervous. The other side hardly looked at the person asking questions and mainly looked at us jurors and answered the questions. Look people in the eye!
  3. When the Plaintiffs questioned the economics professor who was giving his analysis of what the lifetime value of lost wages were, he was pretty specific in his number. He could have easily rounded up a number to say, $1,000,000, which we are all familiar with. Nope, he used some figure like $983,753.00. It sounded more believable. When presenting pricing to prospective clients, perhaps use not so slick numbers but round up or down a bit? When sharing with prospects on how much you saved a client or helped generate some revenue figure, use some non-rounded off numbers that are more believable and increase your credibility.
  4. Both sides seemed prepared and thorough. When meeting with a client, do the same. Don’t be sloppy or lazy. Come prepared. Enough said.
  5. Whoever communicates the best, usually wins. The Plaintiffs and Defense were engaged in a sales contest. Money was involved. It was a sales contest. They were selling each side of the story. Thankfully us jurors didn’t have to declare a winner or loser. Communicate well, be concise, and ask good questions!

I’m Ray Ruecker with Connect 5000 and proudly performed my civic duty!

 

2 Good Questions To Ask Inbound Prospects

Happy early Easter everyone!

I met Ed Gandia back in 2006 when we worked together for a software company. I was in sales and he wrote copyright for the firm.

He’s been a wonderful friend and mentor from afar the past several years.

His LinkedIn profile is: https://www.linkedin.com/in/edgandia/ and is a master at what he does.

He wrote an article recently and here are the highlights:

Sometimes instead of doing proactive outbound prospecting, we get incoming inquiries from prospective clients.

Regardless of how they found you, here are two important questions to ask them:

“How did you find out about me?”

(Usually, you can uncover motive or intention with this question.)

If you get a vague response, follow up with “What made you reach out to me in particular?”

Flush it out, figure out why the heck they decided to stop what they were doing, reach out to you and seek your help and expertise.

1 of these 2 questions should help uncover the real prospect’s reason for reaching out to you.

I’m Ray Ruecker with Connect 5000.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

Ray Ruecker with Connect 5000 here.

Does anyone remember the movie “Bed of Roses” back in 1996 starring Christian Slater and Mary Stuart Masterson?

It’s about this guy who delivers flowers to random people, falls in love with a gal, etc. Romance movie.

I connected with a local florist here in town a few years ago.

He said he needed extra help on Valentine’s Day since it’s his busiest day of the year. So I agreed to help him last year and this as well.

It’s fun to get out of your normal routine and element and do something different.

I delivered flowers to people at their work, homes, offices and even the hospital.

As I walked into different locations, everyone smiles and is extra nice to you, while wondering who the lucky recipient will be.

It was perfect weather as well for 50 degrees in February in Kansas City.

The moral here: get out of your daily grind, do something different and go brighten up someone else’s day!

Sometimes while you’re out of your element, you get new ideas and solve problems while it’s not staring you in the face. Cheers!

The life of Zoey Anne Ruecker

Happy New Year everyone!

Ray Ruecker with Connect 5000 here.

I survived the holidays and no in-laws or relatives got harmed in the process. (I’m kidding.)

Personal story: My wife and I got married Memorial Day weekend in 2005. We agreed the first year of marriage we wouldn’t start a family or get any pets as we transitioned to being newlyweds.

A year later, my wife said she wanted a baby. I said, “Let’s get a dog.”. So we did. We went to a breeder and picked out a 6 week old Labrador Retriever and brought her home 12 and a half years ago.

Zoey was a wonderful dog and great companion for our household. In April 2018, we noticed she had a malignant mass on her ear and she had surgery in July 2018. In December, her health started deteriorating badly and unfortunately we had to send her to doggie heaven on December 28.

She was a wonderful dog and will be sorely missed in our family.

What’s the sales lesson here?

There’s no obvious lesson but here’s a takeaway if you want one:

When you’re communicating with clients or prospects by phone, email, or in person, you never truly know what’s going on in their personal or professional lives. Us humans can put on a good fake front. I know for me personally as we made plans to take our dog to the vet for end of life finality, I was pretty quiet and stoic on the outside.

If they seem down, distracted, or impersonal, there may be things going on in their lives that you may know nothing about.

I’m pretty extroverted and social, but I can keep a good front like the rest of world when I don’t feel like showing my true feelings.

Your prospects and clients can do the same.

Cheers to a successful 2019!

A Blog Post About Blogs and Blogging

Happy Tuesday everyone!

I came across this article yesterday.

Apparently, there are more than 440 million blogs in the world!

For comparison’s sake, there were 325.7 million people living in the USA as of 2017.

That’s more than 1 blog per man, woman, and child in the United States! Yikes!

Is blogging important? Depends on what kind of business you’re in.

I, myself, subscribe to numerous blogs. I consume them but have never bought from several thought leaders who have quality content. Chris Brogan, Michael Hyatt and others come to mind. Top notch thought leaders who provide lots of content marketing, but I’ve yet to invest in their products or services.

I’m not saying that blogs aren’t important and that you shouldn’t have one.

With attention spans at a premium and executives are dealing with severe information overload, how do you stand out?

Unless you have gobs of money to spend like Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and other tech giants, how do you compete?

Can you trace a new client or sale directly to a blog post(s) you created?

If not, should you keep blogging? It’s a rhetorical question of course but I hope it makes you think before blogging.

What’s the end game? To get more clients? Look more credible? Be a thought leader?

None of these are bad but with the sheer volume of blogs out there, does it make sense to continue doing so just because everyone else is doing it?

I’m Ray Ruecker with Connect 5000. Thanks for reading my blog.

Happy October!

Happy October everyone!

Fall and football are here! College basketball starts later this month.

Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

I wish I had something profound to say on this blog post, but I don’t.

One quick update from last month’s post seen here.

One company moved forward.

Another company who was looking for a fractional Sales VP emailed me they were going in a different direction.

The company across from my existing client is still engaged and they have a ton of initiatives going on. They haven’t said yes or no.

The company who moved forward? They graciously sent me over a referral who started October 1 as well. For that, I’m thankful and grateful.

On a completely separate note, I sent a Cutco knife to an old client of mine. I didn’t need anything from him but hadn’t talked to the CEO in several months.

The note simply said: “Thank you for “carving” out time to add me to your team last year”.

That was it and I had his name embroidered on the knife.

Ironically, I ran into him at a restaurant Saturday night while out and about.

Cheers and success to you all as you enter the 4th quarter of the year!

I’m Ray Ruecker with Connect 5000! Go Denver Broncos!

Happy Labor Day!

Happy Labor Day everyone!

Ray Ruecker here with Connect 5000!

Hope you all are having a relaxing Monday!

This past Thursday, I hopped on a plane at 12 pm and landed in Oakland around 2:00 pm.

I checked into my hotel, changed and then took a Lyft to downtown San Jose.

I met with a prospect that I had been chatting with since June. They heard about us through our client across the street. We had talked by phone but hadn’t met.  So I met with the VP of Marketing and Director of Demand Generation in person and it was great talking face to face on their initiatives.

I then walked across the street and said hello to my current client who’s been with us since November 2017. My initial contact, the Chief Marketing Officer, left the company and I had 2 new contacts that I hadn’t met yet. We chatted a bit, they brought up a couple things, we all shook hands and left.

I then met with a new client that just signed up for September 1. We grabbed sushi, chatted and walked around downtown San Jose a bit. Gorgeous 75-degree weather! Can’t beat that in Kansas City in August.

I then took a Lyft from downtown San Jose to Dublin where I was staying. 40-minute ride at 7 pm at night.  KC doesn’t have a traffic problem, comparatively speaking. I went to my hotel, exhausted from meeting and traveling, and went to bed.

Friday morning, I woke up, got ready and met with a company who I happened to connect with back in August who happened to be in the Bay area.  We chatted by phone previously and I told him I was going to be in his area and to see if it made sense to meet up.

So I met with the CEO, CFO, and Director of Sales. We had a good chat and he requested a proposal.

Then I returned to my hotel, checked out and went to my 11 am final meeting. I had connected with another technology company in May and they were looking for a fractional VP of Sales for their 4 sales reps. We had a great discussion as well.

I left the office, changed, grabbed In-N-Out Burger and headed to the airport back to KC.

5 meetings in 1.5 days. $799.50 in expenses. It was worth it.

I love technology but there’s no substitute like seeing prospects in person or sharing a meal with a client.

All 5 of these meetings started with an introductory email. They didn’t know me from Adam.

As you gear up for the fall, now that most everyone is back from vacation and kids are back in school, please keep this mind. Get out of your routine and comfort zone. Go see other parts of the country. Plan a whirlwind 1 or 2-day trip. It will be worth it.

 

Lead Generation / Client Referral Gift Idea

Hey everyone!

I’m an avid reader and about a year ago, I read John Ruhlin’s book, “Giftology”.

It was a fine read with practical advice on corporate gift giving that’s not too self-serving.

A few months ago, I happened to get one of his emails since I had subscribed to his newsletter. Apparently, he hadn’t written in a while and he was out of sight, out of mind to me.

I decided to re-read his book since it’s a short read and gave me some fresh reminders.

Meanwhile, one of my client’s recently referred me to another client and I’m very grateful.

I’ve never met the woman in person and was trying to probe and get some ideas on what she liked to send her a thank you gift.

She wasn’t too revealing on her restaurant and shopping preferences which were fine.

I ended ordering a Cutco knife she can use on a daily basis with her name engraved on it.

I had it gift wrapped and sent to her home.

She loved it! Here’s part of her email response:

Hello Ray,

I received your surprise gift today. Thank you very much. It was a very kind and thoughtful personalized gesture. Your gift will be much used.

I don’t think what I did was anything that warranted more than a simple Thank You. Patti’s good work bore fruits. Nothing more.

Cheers

2 takeaways:

  1. When you send a corporate or client thank you gift and you have it engraved, don’t put your company name on it. Put the person’s name instead. They’ll remember who gave it to you for the rest of their life.
  2.  If you’re trying to break into an account and are having difficulties, send your prospect a knife with their name on it with a note saying something to the effect of: “Can we carve out some time to chat?”

I’m Ray Ruecker with Connect 5000!

Long time, no blog! Happy Spring!

Hey everyone!

Happy Spring and early Easter!

Ray Ruecker here with Connect 5000.

I realized I hadn’t posted since our Christmas staff luncheon in December 2017.

It’s almost April! Where does time go? 3 months went by quickly.

I’d like to say that I was busy but that sounds like a humble-brag or too pretentious in today’s culture.

Business is as usual and I met with some prospects in New York City in February and did a sales prospecting training session in Seattle a few weeks later.

The beauty of being an entrepreneur and owning your own company is that you get to set the pace.

I’ve been married for almost 13 years in May and have an 8-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son. I work to live and not the other way around. Finding the right work balance is always tricky.

I don’t have anything earth-shattering to share but one thing constantly sticks out:

In a noisy, crowded, technological world, how do we stand out and get our message across?

Yes, it’s rhetorical but lots of factors at play:

Decision fatigue.

Information overload.

Ad bombardment.

Short attention spans.

The experts tell you to have a blog, produce lots of content, have a Facebook page. Instagram too! Don’t forget Twitter, Youtube, LinkedIn, etc.

I could go on and on but you get the point.

The answer might be one human, high quality, personal connection at a time.

Yes, it’s not sexy but what’s the alternative, unless you have a marketing budget like Apple, GE, or Amazon?