Archive for March, 2014

Why is Facebook pushing birthdays on me? (and how to disable the notifications)

March 31st, 2014

Why is Facebook pushing birthdays on me?One of the most recent and noticeable updates to Facebook in recent weeks is the addition of a birthday notification. Now, just like the notification from a comment on your status, you’ll get a little red reminder at the top of your screen that today is someone’s birthday.

Why? Why did Facebook expend time, effort and money to have their programmers develop this feature? Why do they care about birthdays? And why is it so difficult to disable these notifications?

Why is Facebook pushing birthdays on me?Regardless of how you feel about birthdays, if you have hundreds of Facebook friends, this feature is just one more notification on top of so many more. Facebook’s automatic birthday reminders have robbed much of the genuine meaning from this interaction. You don’t even have to keep track of birthdays – Facebook does it for you. Then, when your own birthday comes along, you’re bombarded with vague messages from people you haven’t spoken to in years. Is it just me, or is this approach to birthdays completely off the mark?

I hypothesize that Facebook is trying to get away from their growing reputation as a sort of shopaholic Big Brother. This emphasis on birthdays is one of the few built-in ways they can drive more Facebook interaction between users that is based on genuine friendship instead of marketing. It strongly resembles an attempt to make users feel more at home on Facebook. In addition, Facebook rolled this feature out without announcing it, and opted everybody in by default. If they were developing this feature as a special treat for us, don’t you think they would have at least mentioned it, and tried to pass it off as a great new feature? The underlying message behind their decision to force this on everyone is that they need everyone to participate, and that they know people are very unlikely to opt in.

Some people love birthdays, whether it’s their own birthday or someone else’s, but others do not like to acknowledge them at all. As such, Facebook’s notification feature can seem like an embarrassing, self-centered announcement to those who prefer to keep their birthday details private. The only way you can ensure that your Facebook connections will not be notified on your birthday is to go into your Facebook settings and change the audience for your birthday so that nobody can see the month or day on your profile.

Another motivation is that Facebook wants you to spend money. Facebook prompts its users to spend money on each other for special occasions, such as birthdays, anniversaries, and more. When you write a “happy birthday” message to a friend, as soon as you click send or hit send, you’re confronted with options for gifts from a variety of well-known stores and brands. This feature applies to more than just birthday messages and can seem ludicrously inappropriate when compared to real-life interactions. For example, if someone said to you “Your friend just got a new girlfriend? Why don’t you buy them a $20 Target gift card?” you would most likely laugh in their face. But really- this happens all the time on Facebook these days!

Why is Facebook pushing birthdays on me?Facebook is clearly pushing the idea that relationships = spending money. This is simply not true. Because Facebook eliminates so much of the effort involved in keeping in touch, it has managed to get a foothold in our private lives like no other form of technology that I can think of. I believe Facebook is attempting to condition us to feel comfortable using a platform that is based on money, transactions, and marketing. It’s up to us, as individuals, to resist, and no, resistance isn’t futile in this case!

Many users have taken to the message boards in the Facebook Help Center and on non-Facebook websites to decry the new features and to share their frustrations. Through these, I was able to find a way to disable the birthday notifications. It seems that my only option was to use my device (I have an iPhone) and change the settings within the Facebook app (details below). Hopefully changing these settings will mean that I will no longer receive birthday notifications in any form at all. It seems to be working so far… but you never know!

As Facebook embraces mobile more and more, they are beginning to neglect the full version of their site. I would be interested in seeing how these settings are presented to someone who has not registered any devices using their Facebook account.

How to disable birthday notifications on Facebook (using an iPhone 4S)

1. Log into the Facebook app

2. Click the “More” icon in the bottom right of the screen (three horizontal lines).

3. Scroll down and select “Settings”.

4. Select “Notifications”.

5. Scroll down and select “Mobile Push”.

6. Scroll down and deselect “Birthday Reminder”.

Last Chance!

March 30th, 2014

If you plan on joining us for our April online sales training course, you’ll need to enroll today because come 6:00 pm EST, we’re closing the doors!
Many of you are not having the year you thought you would and there are others who are having a pretty damn good year and could use, I don’t […]


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).

Last Week In The Sales Playbook Communities

March 30th, 2014

Here are a few of the things you may have missed this week in our Sales Playbook communities.
On Facebook
On a scale from 1-10, how disciplined are you with regard to your social networking and NOT letting it take up more time than you have planned. Do you have a set amount of time or do […]


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).

The Middle Finger And The Meaning Of Life!

March 28th, 2014

I decided to do the unthinkable today and slow down to take an actual lunch break. You know, one that involved leaving the world headquarters of Castain Training Systems
I get to a 4 way stop and this lady starts honking at me furiously, speeds around me and gives me the finger!
In retrospect, I […]


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).

See, I Told You This Was Going To Happen!

March 28th, 2014

Earlier this week (Sunday to be exact) I shared 10 ways for you to change things up in the week ahead.
I mentioned how sometimes we just get so caught up in the “same old, same old” that we just keep getting the “same old, same old results”
Did you take action?
I also mentioned (and I quote) […]


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).

Did You Miss The Point?

March 27th, 2014

Actually, I should have asked . . .
“Did you miss the blog post earlier today?” because whether I chose a crappy title or you just didn’t want to deal with the message (both?) only a handful of you clicked and read it.
That’s a shame because many of you needed that message today!
Sorry to do this […]


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).

I’m Pretty Sure This Won’t Happen At The End Of The Year

March 26th, 2014

A bad year!
The funny thing about a bad year is that it won’t all of a sudden show up on New Year’s Eve!
A bad year shows up in the little things you put off.
The activities that you know you should be doing but you don’t.
The little things where you missed the mark but never took […]


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).

But Would You Do It All Again?

March 25th, 2014

It was 3 years ago today that I officially launched Castain Training Systems.
The first thing I said to myself when I realized that was “I’d do it all again in a heartbeat!”
Made me think that I should have turned that into a question and asked it of myself years ago.
Since I don’t have a time […]


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 if my company goes by two different names?

March 25th, 2014

SEO advice from website expertsRecently, one of our long-time clients came to us with some questions about SEO. Since search engines are always changing their algorithms and coming up with new fancy updates, SEO (search engine optimization) tactics must always adapt to the new changes. However, as we have mentioned before, don’t trust everything you hear about SEO! Some individuals make a living by lying to people about Google’s requirements. Here’s some advice you can trust from the team of web experts here at inConcert Web Solutions.

Question: Most of the time, we use an abbreviated name for our business that does not match the legal name of the business. Which name should we use in the title tags on our site?

Answer: To determine the topic of any given webpage, search engines use title tags, meta descriptions and your actual content.  So important and relevant phrases are the best phrases to focus on in your title tags and meta descriptions.

If your non-abbreviated company name contains a word that is used to describe the services you offer, such as “insurance”, then by all means include that in your title tags. Having “insurance” in the title of the page can help you show up in search engine results for that term.  Words towards the beginning of the title tag are given more weight than the words at the end of the title tag, so our usual method is to include the company name at the end of each title tag.

People who already know your company name will most likely be able to find your website, so you do not need to optimize your website using your company name as a search term. It is far more important to develop a website that people will find by searching for the services or products that they need.

So in conclusion, your website’s content should include words and phrases that people type into the search bar when they are searching online for goods, products and/or services. If your company’s abbreviated name is how people usually refer to your company, then it is a good idea to include that on your site. However, your focus belongs on developing the content that talks about your products and services.

The Two Best Days To Contact A Potential Client

March 25th, 2014

The two best days to contact a potential client are . . .
The day they need something and . . .
The day you find yourself rationalizing why you shouldn’t reach out to them.
While I’m pretty good at finding higher probability prospects through  social networking platforms, my rss feed reader etc, I just don’t know […]


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).

How To Change Things Up This Week!

March 23rd, 2014

Want to avoid that “same old, same old!” feeling this week?
Here are 10 things you can do, this week, that will help you change it up . . .
1)    Remember that your phone calls are lonely and in need of some companionship from snail mail, FedEx, drop offs, drop by’s, email, traditional networking, social […]


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).

This Week In The Sales Playbook Communities

March 22nd, 2014

Here are a few of the things you may have missed this week in our Sales Playbook communities.
On Facebook
Are you seeing more and more decisions made by committee or a single decision maker?
What are your thoughts on this practice: There are some companies that in an effort to show gratitude from the sales department, they […]


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).

A Different Way To Slow Down This Weekend!

March 21st, 2014

So I bet you read the title and figured I’d write something about hanging out with your family or perhaps “taking a chill” and relaxing?
Not today!
Instead, I’ll offer you a strong reason to slow down and a productive method to help you get there.
One of the best reasons I would offer is that when you […]


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).

There’s Nothing “Social” About This Type Of “Social Selling”!

March 20th, 2014

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).

Cold Calling Vs Social Selling

March 19th, 2014

Like many other bloggers I look at my stats and every time I do a blog post on things like LinkedIn or Twitter the bulk of you hightail your ass out of here and head for the door.
It’s to the point where on the days I post about LinkedIn, Twitter, “Social Selling” my website visits […]


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).