Archive for April, 2013

Falling Out Of My Shoes And Other Pattern Interrupts!

April 30th, 2013

It was supposed to be a simple, two night camping trip with a really cool trio I like to call “me, myself and I” but life has a funny way of changing your plans.
It all started with a rookie mistake. One that would have Bear Grylls shaking his head. I had forgotten my sleeping bag […]


Go to Sales Playbook
Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).

Seeking Creative Renewal

April 30th, 2013

Todd Henry, author of Accidental Creative, speaks often to the need for those in the creative industry to recharge their ideas and personal energy long before they’ve worn out. From afternoons spent researching to mornings spent reading, being talented doesn’t matter much if most of your time is spent recovering from working too hard. The process is called creative renewal.

Photo Credit: chiptape via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: chiptape via Compfight cc

Weekend warriors certainly understand this. If they ignore athletic activity during the week (think weight training, yoga, etc.), the likelihood of injury on Saturday or Sunday goes way up, which makes it hard to do anything more than recover during the next week, which makes getting injured again likely.

There are ways to both stave off burnout AND call up those extra creative juices when necessary; but it does take a little bit of planning.

Workload
For many of us, there’s just too much work to be done. Sure, you COULD stay late every night and sacrifice necessary relaxation time to finish, but that too often leads to mediocre results. Henry suggests, among other things, to talk about the pressure.

Find someone — doesn’t have to be in your industry — and share what’s going on. This could be over coffee or beers, during a midday call or a weekend brunch. We too often think our creative renewal problems are unique to us, when most of the time we’re all suffering in silence.

Clarify Goals
Creative work typically start with a blank slate. Yes, we often have a framework or notes to draw upon, but copywriting, code and design don’t create themselves on their own. This freedom is fantastic, and allows us to build services we previously never thought possible. Problem is, how do you know when you’re done if you a) aren’t sure where you started and b) never clarified what you hoped to create?

Henry has an answer for this dance with uncertainty, and it’s as simple as focusing on clarity and staying away from imagined consequences (e.g. saying “I need to get this job done so I can get paid” instead of “If I blow this deadline I’ll lose my clients and my family”). Seek to paint a clear picture of what you’re trying to do, then figure out how to do it.

Create Unnecessarily
This last one likely makes the least sense to anyone not in a creative gig: unnecessary creation. These are projects in which you receive no pay (at least not initially) and have no timeline or deadline. Far too many professionals see this kind of work as frivolous, a waste of time and resources, and, because it’s not billable, unproductive.

Sometimes this kind of play is exactly what we all need to recharge our minds, as without boundaries or other limitations, we’re free to combine and transform our previous work and thoughts into ideas we never thought possible before.

Used to copywriting? Write a short story.
Build big websites? Try a simple app.
On sales calls all day? Sit down with a potential client and sell him nothing.

This is not to say a few days of high-pressure, deadline-intensive work can’t produce quality work — just that in order to keep that up, each of us must recognize the need to recharge periodically. With proper planning, a little willpower and a belief in our processes, we can continue to create on demand while delivering high-quality product.

Good luck.

Last Chance To Join Us Tomorrow!

April 30th, 2013

It never fails . . .
Every time I launch one of our online sales classes, I’ll get a bunch of people who approach me after we’ve closed enrollment.
Believe it or not, I’m typically told “I wish you would have told me about the program” meanwhile, I start promoting my programs 6-8 weeks prior to the […]


Go to Sales Playbook
Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).

Don’t Let Anyone Fool You Into Believing That This Is Social Selling

April 29th, 2013

I see it time and time again.
Somebody sends an invite.
It’s accepted and then . . .
It’s quickly mistaken as a green light to . . .
Spam, launch into infomercials or perhaps some implied opt in for newsletters and such.
Please hang your head if you’re doing this because it’s really wrong and somebody led you to […]


Go to Sales Playbook
Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).

What Do You Really Sell Beyond The Features And Benefits?

April 28th, 2013

I’ll never forget the day Rich sent me a picture of the pool company breaking ground on his in ground pool.
While we’re at it . . .
I thought it was mighty cool when Susan sent me a postcard from her President’s Club trip to Atlantis.
Susan and Rich reminded me that I didn’t sell them my […]


Go to Sales Playbook
Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).

One Way To Sell More Via Twitter

April 26th, 2013

There is a serious opportunity that awaits the aspiring rock star, but it is easily missed because it’s easily dismissed.
Please allow me to introduce you to the fine art of “Twitterbitching”
Twitterbitching (verb) The act of complaining via Twitter. See also piss and moan, hemming and hawing, yakkin about and twittum bitcherendi
Now, just to be clear, […]


Go to Sales Playbook
Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).

Managed WordPress plugin updates to protect your site.

April 25th, 2013

wordpress-secured-large

Recent announcements of a major security vulnerability found in 2 popular WordPress caching plugins has everyone (except you) running scared.

Page.ly has already secured your site.

One of the many benefits we provide to all our WordPress Hosting customers is our automatic plugin updates. This system keeps every plugin up to date without any intervention needed on your part. Since 2009 Pagely has been keeping thousands of WordPress sites like yours, safe from the seedy underbelly of the interwebs.

Within minutes of release, the vulnerable plugins were updated to secure versions across our entire network. Keeping your WordPress website safe and secure. There is no action needed on your part.

Just another day for us, keeping your WordPress site safe.

As always, thank you for your business.
– Joshua Strebel, Founder Pagely

One Way To Sell More

April 24th, 2013

I’ve often said that the old “We’ve always done it this way” line of BS is the equivalent of a death rattle in business.
Many times we point our finger at the business as if it were a non human thing that subscribes to that way of thinking or perhaps we humanize it by pointing our […]


Go to Sales Playbook
Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).

Rethink Something Today!

April 24th, 2013

I’ve often said that the old “We’ve always done it this way” line of BS is the equivalent of a death rattle in business.
Many times we point our finger at the business as if it were a non human thing that subscribes to that way of thinking or perhaps we humanize it by pointing our […]


Go to Sales Playbook
Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).

Computer Adjust-A-Mirror – PL-0298

April 24th, 2013

Computer Adjust-A-Mirror – PL-0298

Specifications: Over-sized mirror with swiveling bracket. Large clip for holding notes. Great for making sure you smile is in your voice!

Size: 3.5″ x 3.875″ (not including bracket)

Imprint Area: 1.75″ x .625″ on clip

Product Color: Grey or translucent blue

Imprint Color: Yellow, Orange, Red, Pink, Purple, Light Blue, Medium Blue, Dark Blue, Reflex Blue, Process Blue, Teal, Medium Green, Dark Green, Brown, Grey, Silver, Metallic Gold, Black, White

Setup Charge: .00

Layout and Design: .00*

Price Includes:

1 Color Imprint**

1 Imprint Locations**

Digital Proof

FOB to Gardner

Shipping Additional

Turnaround: 7-10 business days delivery upon proof approval


ComputerMirror

(Price Per Piece)

150 600 1200 2600
.11 .88 .58 .38

(Price Per Piece – NO IMPRINT)

150 600 1200 2600
.82 .61 .33 .16
Terms: Payment due upon receipt. Most printed items are printed per “Standard Trade Practice”, meaning 10% over/under and billed accordingly.
*This quote accounts for a half hour design time. Additional design time will be billed at our Standard Hourly Rate of 0/hr.
**For additional imprint location(s) and/or color(s) call for a quote.
NOTE: Prices are subject to change.

What’s the difference between a blog and a website?

April 23rd, 2013

Web DomainJust like with squares and rectangles, blogs and websites are very similar. To the untrained eye, it can be difficult to determine which is which. The short answer is that all blogs are websites, but not all websites are blogs.

These days, everyone knows what a website is – it’s a series of connected pages that you can access from any computer with an Internet connection. The type of content on these pages is up to you. There are not many functions that a website cannot fulfill. Some websites are as simple as text on a white background while more complicated sites can include millions upon millions of lines of code, beautiful images and graphics, animation, video and more. Websites can also have very different purposes, whether they are just for fun or a business tool.

So how is a blog different? The word “blog” comes from the phrase “web log”. Essentially, it’s a piece of a website that features regular updates and fresh content. Think of other logs, like ship’s logs or diaries. Each entry has a timestamp, so you know when it was published. Many blogs allow their readers to leave comments on each entry, which adds the element of interaction. In addition, the topics of the articles in the blog can vary from post to post, so you don’t always have to build upon what you’ve already written. If you take a look at the other entries in this blog, you’ll notice that our collection of posts include promotional product quotes, monthly reports about browser statistics, and holiday hour announcements as well as expository articles like this one.

Everyone expects companies to have websites in today’s world. oh-hai-meme-400x300The internet is the first place that most people check when they are in need of products or services. Did you know that companies who have websites with blogs actually end up attracting more business than companies whose websites do not have blogs? If that sounds like a great idea to you, call us today to get started.

Do You Keep Your Eyes On The Prize?

April 23rd, 2013

It’s been a while since I offered one of my 3 minute audio tips so I thought I’d share something that I recently had to change.
It dramatically changed my focus and its already helping me get better results.
I hope you’ll give it a quick listen . . .I think you need to hear this today!

Podcast […]


Go to Sales Playbook
Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).

SEO For Writers

April 23rd, 2013

SEO for writers sounds like some tacked on, unimportant obligation necessary for online writing, but it’s not. Similarly as to how proper formatting, page design, and subject matter can make writings more attractive to people, a few, simple tips can help make your writing more attractive to search engines without compromising the integrity of your piece.

Got it? Good.

Writers often ignore much of the SEO advice most bloggers have come to accept as part of their writing process. Keywords, meta descriptions, URLs and linkable passages are seen as dirty and cheap instead of proper formatting for a web-based article.

For years, my journalism-trained self thought the same: SEO is the devil, Google presence was less important than story integrity, and, most of all, adjusting words for any reason of than making the story better a crime against the literary gods.

It ain’t true.

In the same way fancy book covers help get books noticed, SEO can help more people see the work you’re doing. Here’s a guide to make writing for the web a little easier.

IMG_5136

What Readers Want
Fancy writers often provide long, expository statements at the beginning of their stories. Whether this is to set the mood, provide backstory, or to show off, it is WORTHLESS for most online pieces (many would argue that if a story even needs exposition, it should be rewritten). Journalism may call this a lede, but bloggers probably call it “the important part”.

This is where your keywords come in. Writing about SEO For Writers? You should mention that once or twice in your first paragraph. Heck, you should probably mention that every 100-150 words — SEO best practices recommend the same.

This is best accomplished by writing content first, then going back and changing terms where applicable. Readers don’t care about fancy wordplay, they want to know what the story is about — also, search engines will be able to properly index your content by subject.

Why They Want It
Now that you’ve identified your keywords and inserted them as necessary, the second part of our writing pyramid is telling readers why they want to read about the keyword you’ve chosen. The most successful writers are big on trying themed stories to their keywords, which makes for a nice balance of human-readable storytelling and can be used to create a properly written meta description later.

This second part is where readers can clearly tell if someone is writing with them in mind, or simply producing content for search engines. The web has enough of this, feel free not to muddy the water — toss chum in instead.

Explanation
The last piece of the SEO for writers pyramid should have all the “boring” stuff, like how to get more information, where the information can be found, and when all this is happening. Smart writers will see this section as content great for lifting tags from, as they can be used to classify content for better archive/search engine discovery.

Remember, tags are not keywords, but rather descriptive terms used to provide context for whatever results you’re looking for.

Now stop worrying about SEO and write your piece. As long as you write stories using some variation of the above framework, SEO comes easy after the fact.

Technology Can Keep You From A Deeper Relationship

April 23rd, 2013

I have a coaching client in my local area, where a good year went by before we met face to face.
Kind of sad since we live rather close but then again I could give you a bunch of excuses why we didn’t. Emphasis on the word “excuses”.  (Typed with Uncle Paul hanging his head in […]


Go to Sales Playbook
Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).

What’s Reasonable When It Comes To Email Response Time?

April 22nd, 2013

Do you believe in reading each email the millisecond it hits your smart phone and responding equally as fast?
On one hand . . . You get a gold star for replying quickly. You might also limit the probability of missing an opportunity.
On the other hand, both acts interrupt something else you were doing and can […]


Go to Sales Playbook
Paul Castain is the Vice President of Sales Development for Consolidated Graphics where he oversees the training and development of 700 sales Jedis.

Prior to working for Consolidated Graphics. Paul was the Director Of Corporate Solutions Sales for Dale Carnegie & Associates and the owner of two successful businesses.

Over the last 27 years, Paul has trained and mentored over 3,000 sales professionals, written sales training content for several Fortune 500 companies and is the author of Castain’s Sales Playbook (which just won a Sales Pop award for best sales website).