Monday, October 31, 2011

Mixing it up can make things clear

Add a new person who is hungry and excited to help you sell to your dealership sales staff and a lot of good things happen:
You just might sell more units
The others on the staff will be influenced by the newbie who's fired up
You might see the other salespeople in a different, more accurate light
Your sales staff (and this applies to any department and to large and small companies) over time becomes its own world, it takes on its own personality and quite often, it becomes complacent. Adding someone new to the mix will open your eyes.

Unless, of course, the person you add is in the same mold as the rest of the people in that department... Then ignore the above. So, if you have a low-energy team, look for a firecracker. If you have a group of scattered, undisciplined salespeople, bring in a grounded, logical person who simply won't get caught up in the confusion.

Mix it up.

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond

Friday, October 28, 2011

Can it really happen?

Companies sit in their board rooms or offices or bars and commit to goals. Exciting goals. Big, profitable goals. And then they leave the board rooms, offices and bars and are alone in their car or at home and the moment of truth hits. They ask:

Can this really happen?

And if it's a no-brainer, Of course this can happen, then odds are good. But if the answer is I have no idea how this is going to happen, then it's not time to keep your head down, it's time to face the music. Figure it out, go ask for help, to do something other than...nothing.

We all need for all to believe to achieve. 

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond

Thursday, October 27, 2011

What is my job?

A great question to ask from time to time is What is my job? A good follow-up to that one is another good question What am I spending my time on every day?

If the above two answers are the same, you're in good shape. If they're dramtically different, you have a lot of opportuntiy to refocus yourself. And get more results and simplify your life.

BTW, doing the above, may not be what those around you want you to do, because you may very well be doing their job(s).

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Got to be good looking cause she's so hard to see

The harder it is to see or to connect with someone, the more impressive they appear to be. That's unfortunate, but very true in business.

The tougher it is to get in and see that customer, the more important and brilliant she must be. She creates a mystique.

The very best people I've known or worked for were very accessible. They returned the call, they answered the email or text right away. They didn't need to create a mystique.

Barry LaBov

LaBov & Beyond

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Words are not enough

Go in there and tell her what she needs to know
Send an email detailing the attitude we want
I think she needs a good, long talk
Here's a book that should help you with your issue

I love words. At my company, we use words to help clients inspire their sales channel and customers. But, they are words. Just words...

Words really can work if:
They are delivered well
They are crystal clear
The person receiving them cares to consider them

If the transmitter is sending our signals, but the receiver is off, nothing good is going to happen. No matter how eloquent or brilliant the wording is.

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond

Monday, October 24, 2011


At LaBov & Beyond, we have the opportunity to meet some wonderful clients. At the top of the list was Virgil Miller of Newmar RVs. Virgil, a devout, Amish man, served as a spiritual mentor for me and many others who worked for him.

He said he struggled for years with his profession--he was the president of an RV company. He felt he should have been a minister until he realized something. This is what he told me:

I've always wanted to be a minister and then one day it occurred to me that every minute of my work day, that I was ministering to the people here. I had 330 people who could be helped and influenced right in front of me.
When it comes to legacies, making a difference in people's lives, there is no job description that fits better than another. A foreman can influence people just as well as a priest, a teacher just as well as a politician, or a kid's Little League coach just as well as a rabbi.

We make our own legacies.

Barry LaBov
LaBov and Beyond

PS Thanks to Sonya for inspiring this blog from her post comment of a few weeks ago!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Five Steps to a Guaranteed Last Meeting with Your Customer

I just had my last meeting with a dealer as their customer. I have to thank them for giving me material for this message. If you want to guarantee that you will lose your customer, here's a list of how to do it:
  1. Nickel and dime them. Charge for every breath they take.
  2. Refuse to work and play with others--meaning that you are difficult for your customer's other suppliers and service providers to work with.
  3. Demand payment before you provide your promised services.
  4. Argue over small issues with the client and demand to get your way.
  5. Wait until your customer is so fed up with you that there is virtually no chance to salvage the relationship.
The above is exactly what the dealer did. BTW, the dealer is knowledgeable and they did do some good work. But they will never do business here again. And they will lose out on referrals as well. But they did receive their last payment in full, including payment for work that we felt they did not not do as promised. Hopefully, they will take that money and invest it well. They will need to.

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The latest economic woes

It seems just as we're getting out of the economic hole we've been in, something else happens to pull us back down again. People everywhere are waiting for the economy to cooperate so everything will be back on a positive track.

Economies don't cooperate. But companies can capitalize. And that's just what is going to happen. A select group of companies will emerge stronger than ever. It always happens that way.

So, what's it going to be--hope for cooperation from the economy or identify the opportunities while the competition is waiting for the storm to clear?

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Too much opportunity

Dealers want as many leads as possible. Doctors want as many patients as they can humanly handle. Manufacturers want to produce as many units as their capacity will allow. Service providers want more and more customers to serve.

But what if the dealer doesn't value the leads or the doctor shoves his patients to his assistants or the manufacturer produces flawed product or the service provider can't meet demand?
Opportunity is nothing unless it is valued and acted upon.
Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Loyal customer or terrorist?

I spoke with a long-time customer of a client of ours at LaBov & Beyond. He started off sharing his passion for the product, but quickly became animated and frustrated about the product and its brand. He felt discarded by the brand, not listened to--he was no longer a brand advocate, he was undermining it.

It is a double-edged sword often: the very customers who are with you the longest can also be the ones who are most critical. Not listening or paying attention to them or taking them for granted will backfire.

Two options: Listen and follow their advice, or fire them. There is no middle ground.

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond

Monday, October 17, 2011

Right doesn't always feel good

We go by gut feeling. We make decisions on what seems good or comfortable or right. We give up quickly if something doesn't work right away and we then go back to what's comfortable.

But if something isn't natural or easy, does that make it wrong or does it make it just different?

How often does a great idea seem strange at first? Or a gutsy move appear to be extreme? After a while those ideas or moves become comfortable to us.

Truth is, our comfort or gut feel are not the best judges of things. Often, if something feels strange, it just might be right.

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond


Friday, October 14, 2011

Too much relating

Whether it's in our personal or business lives, we can relate too much. Meaning, it's good to empathize or even sympathize, but it can be hazardous to identify and possibly confuse your situation with someone else's.

If we treat a person as if they are us, then we're assuming they have the same motivations and needs as us. We're also assuming they have behaved as we behave. Not usually true or even possible.

If we treat a person as a person, we have to accept and see who they really are. Often, that's not as pleasant as we'd like it to be. But if we can do it, that's when we can really help that person.

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Michael Iva says,

On your way to success and glory, as you pass through average everyday, stop. Take a real good look around. Realize that most people do not go any further. They lose their way by not making the right moves in the right direction. Keep moving onward and upward!

What a great insight. How often do we settle into Averageville and make a life there? As he says, it's making the right moves in the right direction, not the perfect moves in the right direction.

Thanks, Michael, maybe this will inspire many of us to venture outside of average and move, perhaps imperfectly, in the right direction.

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Technology Gone Wild

We have a new, top-of-the-line dishwasher that has been malfunctioning. It keeps saying there's an error and it stops working.

My wife talked to the dealer who told us the answer: we must not rinse our dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. Evidently the dishwasher needs to sense dirty dishes to fully function or it displays an error message. So that means we are to put the dirtiest dishes possible into the dishwasher, which goes against every fiber of my being.

Has technology gone too far??

Barry LaBov
LaBov & beyond

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Believe or not

We invest ourselves in many things every day: our company, our customers, our co-workers, our family, our church, our personal activities, etc. We are committing to a lot in many areas of our lives.

So when it comes time to decide if you should try to land that new customer, but in your heart you don't really believe you can, I say, "Move on. Don't do it."

Or when your product designers say that they don't really agree with the direction you want to go on that new product. I say, give up and have them do something else.

Hard to believe, but if you don't believe, you don't commit, you waste time (yours and others') and you take your eye off what you do believe, commit to and could succeed at.

So what happens when you realize you must succeed at something that you believe you can do? You find someone, some way--something that will help you overcome your lack of belief. Then, and only then, do you have even a chance of succeeding.

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond

Monday, October 10, 2011

Avalanche versus Analysis

Research is revealing. Metrics are marvelous. Findings are fine. As long as they are analysed and not an avalanche of numbers and inputs.

Need to make an informed decision? You need an analysis, not an avalanche.

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond

Friday, October 7, 2011

Here's the bad news, tag you're it

I played tag as a kid. It was fun. I don't play it any more. Most grown-ups don't, except in business.

Hey, we just found out the customer is unhappy, thought you'd want to know
Here's an email from the supplier saying they can't deliver
Here are the finacials on the investment we made, it looks like we lost a lot of money
My employee isn't happy here, I think she wants to transfer out

The above is common in business and it tears us down. Basically the message is: life sucks, I'm not doing a darn thing about it and now that I've told you, I'm clean--I have no more responsibility past that--and if you choose to try to solve this for me, good luck.

My mantra at business: We don't play tag anymore.

Barry LaBov
LaBov & beyond

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Power, Part Two: Speed

I have played golf with a reluctant golfer who just doesn't feel like playing unless he's playing well. When he isn't hitting it perfectly, he slows down, waaaaaay down. He barely makes it from the green to the next tee. He often says he'd rather not be playing and will leave early, before the round is over. Not a lot of fun.

He takes control by slowing down, not just himself, but everyone around him. He becomes the focal point, we now move at his extremely slow pace and consequently, the game is no longer fun for the rest of us. We will then want to leave early, too. He will have then gotten his way, he's in control.

Many a control freak is upset when someone else takes over their assignment and makes a decision and gets it done, now. That's because the world was moving at the control freak's pace and it felt good to him or her.

It is often the speed of making a decision that is a make-it or break-it situation in business--whether you make that sale or fix that problem. Control or power that slows down the response time, and in turn loses the opportunities, is not productive and is short-lived.

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Power, Part One: Holding On

Power and control are very intoxicating. We read of power-hungry dictators, we know or claim to be control-freaks, and we admire or sometimes dismiss the megalomaniacs that have founded and run some of the most impressive companies in the world.

In the lives of most of us we are not third-world dictators or CEOs of the world's best-known conglomerates, but we deal with power and control daily. Hard feelings happen when someone loses control or it appears to be taken away. It's like a friend has been taken away from you or in some more extreme cases, like your street gang has been captured and put in jail. You're all alone and less powerful.

The more you hold onto power, the less powerful you are, It diminishes you. Power is a result of what you do, not the goal of what you do.

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Some of us like to work to have fun

I went to a fancy, trendy restaurant with a bunch of friends. It was one those extremely loud, busy, clangy, noisy places. Then it came time to look at the menu and it was difficult to read, very complex and creative. Then it came time to learn that this was a family-style restaurant--you ordered a bunch of entrees for the table and had the challenge of making everyone happy. They did have a nice beer and wine selection, which made the pressure of dining there more bearable. And, the food was excellent.

But, I'll never go back there again. Too much work for me. But that doesn't mean I'm right. The restaurant was full, it has a great reputation. For those who love it, the atmosphere, the quirky design and menu and the energy (noise) are exciting. For some, the act of going through this is fun, for others it's a job. Kind of like at the workplace?

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond

Monday, October 3, 2011


It's not inspiration, it's perspiration.

The above is a great mantra that I overlook. Too often we look for that great idea or breakthrough that will solve it all, only to see it fail because there was no follow-through or the effort wasn't there.

It's the perspiration, the determination...the work that will make a great idea (or even a mediocre idea) come to life and succeed.

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond