Fast-Food Rage: The Absence of Responsibility & Accountability

By Jeff Beals

Those who know me personally know that I have an iced tea problem.  I can’t get enough of it.

So one day, during a long drive, I pulled off the freeway to get an iced tea at a fast-food restaurant.  I decided to stay there for a while and catch up on some reading.  As soon as I sat down, a heated conversation caught my ear.

I looked up to see the restaurant manager, somewhat flustered and very red in the face, arguing with a middle-aged woman whose face was even redder.  A third person, a high-school-aged girl wearing the restaurant’s uniform, stood close by with both hands on her hips listening intently.

It turned out the girl had just completed her shift at the restaurant and was angry because she didn’t receive the 15-minute break to which she was entitled.  Apparently, the restaurant had been quite busy, and for whatever reason, it didn’t happen.

So how did the young fast-food worker handle her disappointment?  She called her mom.  Apparently a “helicopter parent,” the mother rushed to the store to defend her young daughter’s rights.

The confrontation between mom and manager took place right in the middle of the restaurant in front of several customers. It was ugly and frankly difficult to watch.  I can still hear the mother yelling at the manager:

“The law says she gets a break no matter what,” the mom threatened. “You better treat her right, or I’ll have her get a different job someplace else. I know you have a hard time getting workers to come all the way out here to the interstate!”

The incident was disturbing and a perfect example of a common problem in our society.  There are too many people who don’t understand three important words: responsibility, authority and accountability. There are too many people who live like dependent victims. There are too many people who don’t take charge of their own lives.  I’m worried about that young fast-food worker’s future.

And what’s even more disturbing? This problem is not limited to spoiled teenagers with over-involved parents. Countless adults are afflicted as well.

Every individual has responsibility for himself or herself.  Nobody else can or should make decisions for you.  Fortunately, each of us has the authority to carry out that responsibility.  Nobody has the right to take away the power you have over your own life.  Finally, we are accountable for the decisions we make – good or bad.  You live with the consequences of your decision-making and actions.

While responsibility, authority and accountability come with a burden, they are also liberating.  Success begins and ends with you.  People who abide by these three words enjoy more success and lead richer lives.

Until more people live by these important words, I’m afraid society will continue to operate substantially below its potential.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

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How a Compelling Story Can Build Your Business & Set You Apart

Earl of Sandwich

By Jeff Beals

(Orlando, Fla.) – To kill time before a flight, I walked through Downtown Disney last week taking in the sights and sounds. As lunchtime approached, a uniquely named restaurant caught my eye: “The Earl of Sandwich.”

It turned out to be a good place for a quick-serve lunch, but what’s truly interesting about the Earl of Sandwich restaurant is the story behind the name. A prominently posted sign inside the restaurant reads:

The Sandwich Charter

Our family knows about great sandwiches; we invented the sandwich and have been eating sandwiches since 1762.

 Using 250 years of experience, today we have set up EARL OF SANDWICH to make delicious sandwiches for you.

Our Secret is to bake the bread when you order, roast our meats every morning and use traditional family recipes.

We are a family who loves making sandwiches and sincerely hope you enjoy eating them.

–          John, 11th Earl of Sandwich

As it turns out, the sandwich, as a food item, really did originate in the restaurant owner’s family back in the 1700s in the English town of Sandwich, Kent.  Back then, John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich was supposedly the first person to eat meat between two slices of bread.  The new invention allowed Montagu to be able to eat while simultaneously working (and while gambling, which he apparently enjoyed quite a bit).  In the years since then, the sandwich has become one of the most common foods in the world.

The Earl of Sandwich restaurant chain is based in Orlando and now has 28 locations in 11 U.S. states plus one in France. Most of the locations are inside airports or near tourist attractions.

Don’t you just love the history behind this restaurant?  Don’t you just love the story?

A story is one of the most powerful things a business, organization or individual person can possess. Stories are effective.  Entire organizations can be based upon a story.  People can be moved by stories.  Great accomplishments can be achieved because of an inspiring story.

Let’s face it, sub sandwich restaurants are a dime a dozen. The food at the Earl of Sandwich was good but so is the food at competing businesses like Jersey Mikes, Subway, Blimpe, Jimmy Johns, Potbelly and many others.  Ultimately, it’s hard to make a sub sandwich that is noticeably better than another sub sandwich.  That’s where the story comes into play. That’s why the cool historical story behind Earl of Sandwich is valuable.

In today’s hyper-competitive environment, you need a differentiating factor, an advantage, something to set you apart.  The one thing that might set you apart from everyone else just might be a compelling story. The story behind what you do and why you do it could be the difference between success and failure.

Think about the stories your company or organization (and you as an individual professional too) has that might be of fascination to people on the outside. How can you capitalize on these stories?

Make an arsenal of stories you can pull out at any time you need them.  Talk to your colleagues as they may have great stories about your organization. People learn by stories. People can be compelled to action by stories. Any time you are selling something or trying to convince another person of something, your job will be easier if you reduce your message to a memorable story.

Who knows…Your stories might even lead to a brand-new business!

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

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Marketing Lessons from Warren Buffet & Berkshire Hathaway

Berkshire Hathaway 2015 Shareholders Meeting

By Jeff Beals

As is the case each year, I attended the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholders’ meeting this past weekend in Omaha. It’s quite a spectacle as more than 44,000 shareholders and guests from around the world descend upon the CenturyLink Center arena and convention center to learn, network and celebrate capitalism.

Among all the excitement of the shareholders’ meeting, the star attraction is the legendary Warren Buffet, CEO of Berkshire and generally considered the world’s greatest investor.

This year’s shareholders’ meeting was extra energized, because it was the 84-year-old Buffet’s 50th year as CEO.

During the meeting, tens of thousands of shareholders and business journalists sit breathlessly listening to Buffet and his long-time vice chairman, 91-year-old Charlie Munger, answer questions and impart financial wisdom for more than six hours. Buffet and Munger are not the only billionaires in attendance (even Bill Gates comes each year), but they are the ones who patiently and thoughtfully lead the marathon discussion session despite their advanced ages.

I always find the financial Q&A somewhat interesting, and I do learn from it, but as a sales-and-marketing guy, my fascination is with everything that surrounds the formal meeting. The meeting is part of a three-day weekend extravaganza, the “Woodstock of Capitalism,” as Buffet calls it.

In the same building as the meeting, an entire tradeshow floor, bigger than couple football fields, is filled with elaborate display booths for many of the companies Berkshire owns – Coca-Cola, See’s Candies, Clayton Homes, Dairy Queen, the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad.

Shareholders flood the tradeshow floor, buying everything they can get their hands on. The same merchandise they can find in a regular, ordinary store becomes more special when they buy it at the meeting’s festive environment where Buffet himself is present.

I walked the aisles in amazement as people waited in lines 40-to-50-people deep just to buy a single Coke or a Dilly Bar. In a regular setting, not a single one of those people would likely wait so long to buy a soda. Even the Fruit of the Loom underwear display was packed shoulder-to-shoulder!

What does the frenetic environment on the tradeshow floor tell us? Perhaps many things, but one message is crystal clear: people are still moved by emotion. Consumer buying decisions are greatly enhanced in an atmosphere of excitement. The Berkshire shareholders are no ordinary group of people – they tend to be wealthy (a single share is worth $218,000), worldly and sophisticated. It’s quite a site witnessing so many accomplished people getting giddy over such everyday things.

14 Ways to Find Influencers & Build Champions

By Jeff Beals

Not all influencers are champions and not all champions are influencers, but often one person can play both roles.

Influencers and champions play such important roles in the sales effort that savvy professionals work hard to identify them and manipulate them. Sales pros can win over influencers, but they have to create champions.

What’s the difference between the two terms? Quite a bit, even though they often work hand-in-hand.

An influencer is someone who helps a prospect make decisions and often sways that decision. The influencer is someone special or important in the prospect’s life to whom he or she turns for advice, guidance and sometimes even accountability. Some influencers are neutral and objective, preferring to play a listening and counseling role, helping prospects come to their own decisions. Other influencers have definite opinions and try to talk the prospect into making a certain buying decision.

Champions are biased by definition. They champion a cause or organization in which they believe. They are advocates. They are cheerleaders. They endorse and give testimony for those they believe in. For many possible reasons, they are loyal to one company above all its competitors.

The more champions you have, the more successful you’ll be in whatever you are trying to accomplish. Sales professionals need specific strategies for developing and deploying champions as well as how to identify and win over influencers. When you encounter an influencer, you want to turn them into a champion. If you can get the person who influences the buying decision, especially if the influencer is particularly influential, to become your raving fan, your chances of landing the business are outstanding.

Here are 14 things to think about when it comes to influencers and champions:

Find the real decision maker. Sometimes it’s hard to tell

Identify your prospect’s influencers and turn them into champions

You can win over an influencer, but champions must be created

A champion will continue selling for you even when you are not around

One of the easiest ways to identify influencers is to simply ask the prospect who helps them make their decisions

Be wary of false influencers. Some people don’t have as much influence over your prospect as you might think

Develop a trusting relationship with the influencer just as you would with the would-be client

Turn influencers into champions by thoroughly explaining complicated matters. Give extra value and spend extra time

When prospect and influencer are in agreement, you have a higher likelihood of retaining the prospect once he or she becomes a client

Implement a plan that deliberately develops champions

Use your champions for intelligence, not just influence and persuasion

If you are fortunate enough to have champions, keep your mind open to their suggestions

Find ways to reward your most loyal champions

Ideally, champions should see themselves as extensions of your organization

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or email at info@jeffbeals.com or call us at (402) 637-9300.

Click here to subscribe to Jeff’s weekly articles!

Click here to see sample videos of Jeff speaking to live audiences!

Learn How Personal Branding Can Improve Your Sales & Marketing Abilities!Download this Complimentary eBook Today: “Self Marketing Power 101″ >>