Archive for December, 2009

Thanks to the Niles Chamber of Commerce for a Nice Christmas Party

December 29, 2009

This December the Niles Chamber of Commerce hosted their annual holiday party, which is a great opportunity to not only network but to catch up with friends. This year, I invited Art and Daniel to join me at the festivities. Never too much holiday cheer for Randolph Sterling, Inc., especially when there are clients and prospects to catch up with. It is a great way to enjoy each other’s company and just get to know each other in a “less business” setting. People will buy form people they know, like, and trust, you have heard me say many times.

I had an opportunity to spend time with three of my favorite people at the chamber: past president Bob Ryan form Express Employment Professionals, Executive Director Katie Schneider, and newly installed president, Joe Walsh from Access Benefit Solutions.

Bob Ryan and I got to become friends simply as a result of getting to know each other at chamber meetings. As president, Bob attended every event, a very difficult task if it was all you had to do, but Bob and wife Sheila also have to run their own business.  As chairman of the Niles Marketing Committee and stints as Second VP and first VP on the chamber board, I sat next to Bob a lot. Bob is a class act. He is “Mr. Niles” and what you see is what you get with him. What makes him successful is that he is very down to earth. I don’t get to see Bob as much as I would like, but every time is a joy.

Katie Schneider is the Executive Director at the chamber. Without her, along with her team at the chamber office, nothing would ever get done. Katie teases me because she can guess my age simply by the CDs in my car when I take her out for lunch to discuss chamber business (apparently, if you have a Van Halen CD, you are probably in your late 30’s. She was right on target so I guess it is true!) She and husband Andrew are just wonderful, kind people and she has done so much for me personally to help Randolph Sterling, Inc. grow over the years. She has become a good friend.

Watching Joe Walsh get “installed” as the chamber president this year was a little bittersweet. Joe is absolutely the right man for the job and will do a great job in taking the chamber to new levels in membership and services. I look forward to seeing what he will bring to the chamber in 2010. The bittersweet part comes in that originally 2010 was going to be the year I was Niles Chamber president.

I had been on the chamber board and moved up the ranks, however after chairing the Niles Night of Roses Committee and co-hosting the event, I realized that there was no way I would be able to be chamber president with my work schedule the way it has been. With Raleigh booming and me still the main person there, it was tough to get back for chamber events and give it the time and energy necessary. Randolph Sterling, Inc. and my clients always come first.

Thanks again to the Niles Chamber for a great event and for helping Randolph Sterling, Inc. to continue to grow. We look forward to great things in 2010.


Did you see mommy kissing Santa Claus? Help us find a better Holiday song and win a $25 gift card!

December 14, 2009

OK, so I finally went out and bought an iPhone, much to the delight of my good friend, iPhone app developer extroidenaire, and client, Alex Bratton, CEO of Lextech Global Services. My plan was to just use it for business purposes, so when I was assisting Alex in bringing in new clients, I could show them some of his apps (if you Google “most expensive iPhone apps,” you will find some of the solutions Alex and his team have provided.) That plan lasted about 48 hours, or until I found the free Pandora app.

For those of you not familiar with Pandora, it is basically an Internet radio station where you pick the music that you like and it will find more like it. Very cool, actually. Since it is the holiday season, I decided to set it to my “Rockin’ Holidays” preference so I can hear songs like Bruce Springsteen’s “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and, well practically anything by Trans Siberian Orchestra or Manheim Steamroller. Unfortunately, my least favorite holiday song came on “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.” (If you clicked on the link, did you see how bad it was?)

It doesn’t matter what artist plays this song, I just have a problem with it. Seriously, who decided it was good to write a song about a little kid seeing his mom kissing Santa? Isn’t life confusing enough for kids already? Back in the day, all we had to worry about was whose house we were going to play at or trying to figure out how our parents somehow walked to and from school uphill in the worst weather climate possible. Now we have to add in concerns that our mom might be fooling around with Santa?

“What a laugh it would have been, if daddy had walked on in…” are you kidding me? A laugh, really? Where are our values? If I someday meet Miss Right and she becomes Mrs. Burghgraef, and we have kids, I really hope one day I don’t come home from a long day’s work to have Junior come up to me and say…”Hey dad, you will never guess what happened today. I came downstairs and saw Mom smooching with a guy in a red suit, grey beard, and about 50 lbs. overweight.” What are we teaching our kids?

That’s why I stick with the simple songs. Bruce asking “The Big Man,” Clarence Clemons, if Santa is going to bring him a new saxophone; and then later in the song you hear him laugh as he belts out “Santa Claus is Coming to Town!” I hope it is because he is having a great time doing the song and not because he just caught his wife kissing Santa (see, I just can’t get over that!)

How about David Bowie and the late, great Bing Crosby singing “Little Drummer Boy?” Can you find an odder pairing this side of Frank Sinatra and Cyndi Lauper, but they make it work into one of the most beautiful Christmas songs out there. How about the “old time classics” like Gene Autry doing “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” or Burl Ives crooning about “Holly Jolly Christmas?”

What is your favorite? We’d like to know.

Please send us an email to (put Christmas as the subject), or post your answer as a comment here, telling us what your favorite Christmas song is and why. The winner (here is your chance to convince our staff why your favorite should be “the favorite”) will win a $25 gift certificate for a local restaurant as well as an autographed copy of my book “Closing the Deal: Hot Sales Strategies That Make Money.” You Have till Christmas day!

Merry Christmas to all…and to all a good night!

Closing the Deal on the Go: Honing Your Telephone Skills

December 9, 2009

In these economic times more than ever companies are looking for ways to cut costs. Business travel is a prime target. Conducting business by phone is a solution. It is a quick and inexpensive way to keep in touch with accounts. You are not calling to make small talk, but you are not calling to race through names and number either. Here are some tips to get the most from your calls.

  1. Know why you are calling.
  2. Stay focused.
  3. Leave a voicemail, but not a message with the wrong person.
  4. Don’t be too pushy.
  5. Be polite.
  6. Grab attention by mentioning your prime benefit early in the call.
  7. Be brief. Prime benefit. One or two equal or secondary benefits. Close for an appointment.
  8. Be able to quickly and articulately answer objections.
  9. Have prepared phone openers that work.