Monday, April 9, 2018

How to Avoid the Professional Thug

I recently met someone at a social hour event who claimed to be a LinkedIn expert. After speaking with him in-person, even though I had some initial reservations, I thought I’d give his services a try. After all, I knew I needed a better presence on LinkedIn.

After holding a video conference call, reading his website, exchanging numerous emails and texts, as well as talking a few more times with him on the phone, I realized I was dealing with a Professional Thug.

So, what is a Professional Thug?

I’m defining it as someone who has the following characteristics:
  • Dresses, talks, and initially behaves in a way that suggests they are in business to address their customer’s needs
  • Uses all moral and immoral means to get the sale
  • Uses very vague language about what they can deliver, such as
    • “what we deliver is the best in the world,” or 
    • “I’m the best person at doing X in the world”
      and similar language that lacks any clarity about how they excel in their product or service delivery
  • Is unable to produce any meaningful data, even though they may provide some numbers that don’t address what you’re looking for. They may even call this “hard data”.
  • The person uses bullying, rather than evidence and positive, emotion-based tactics to convince you on how s/he or their company can address your needs. Language you hear from them could include some of the following: 
    • “You’d fail at your business unless you bought from me, “ or 
    • “You’re never going to get this right.” or
    • “I honestly don't know what you are looking for: a genie and a lamp?”
I was able to fend off falling for this sales tactic using a particular and short list of steps. Here are my recommendations:
  1. Describe your pain point in terms of metrics you track 
  2. Stick to your metrics, rather than shifting to what the sales rep is telling you
  3. Ask for evidence of other customers or scenarios where similar metrics were the target
  4. Ask for effort level of someone with your skill set to achieve the goals
  5. Ask for a typical timeline for achieving your goals with their services or products
Additionally, I realized there was some early signs that could have saved me numerous emails, calls, texts and, most importantly, saving me precious time and decision cycles. Here are the telltale signs you should look for early on:
  1. The elevator pitch and their body language comes across as a bully in the way they corner you or want to dominate your time
  2. They attempt to gang up on you by having their “buddies” hanging around, telling you how great this dude is
  3. His/her personality and approach rubs you the wrong way
  4. When asked for their verbally proclaimed approach, deliverables or guarantees, they ask you, “well..what do you want it to be?”
The last two on this list, if taken out of context from the first two, may not be sufficient to draw the conclusion. In other words, the bullying and body language should be dead giveaways. On paper, this seems obvious. In practice, the approach may be a bit more subtle.

Bottom line, I highly recommend against making any decisions if something doesn’t feel right about the relationship, or if you find yourself trying to make excuses for the other person and convince yourself you should give the guy a chance.

What’s the moral of the story?

As Hafiz put it, “They asked me where I learned manners, I said from those without.” My recommendation for anyone who sells or negotiates, that means everyone, is to do the opposite of the Professional Thug!

Thursday, March 1, 2018

EXPOSED: The Dark and Nefarious TheMarq.com Blog

It's been about three months since I posted anything on TheMarq or the YouTube channel, but that's changing today.  I've published the video speaking to why I've been away for so long and exposing the dark and nefarious actions of...THIS SITE!
;-)

Enjoy the video...and if you want to contribute to the survey, this is it.


Here's a transcript of the video in case you want to read the content:
Hey, folks. I'm back.

It's been quite some time. As a matter of fact, my last post was, I believe, in the middle of December of last year. So it's been about three months.

I want to actually start off by talking about just that. I held off on posting anything on TheMarq.com as well as the YouTube channel because of a conversation that I had with a friend. He mentioned the content that I'm publishing, especially the content about my business, published over the last 9 months or a year, could potentially be weaponized and used against me, against the company, to somehow trip us up.

I've thought about it and realized that in the end, I still want to have an open conversation with the community at large. I still want to be able to share what I'm learning in my business and elsewhere and use it as a way of giving it back to all of you. I'll also post formal thanks to folks that have been key to our progress on ValTeo Tech and just in my personal life.

The related question that came up in that period was what does TheMarq mean? TheMarq.com, with a Q, is my personal blog, that I've used over the years for various article posts and, more recently, for posting these videos.

The name seems a little ambiguous, and someone actually pointed out that it may seem nefarious, right? It may have very negative connotations, as if I am making the mark, meaning my customers are the mark, and I'm somehow trying to fool them into buying something and being very devious about it.

Far from it.

That's not at all what TheMarq means. TheMarq has always been, and will continue to be, about hitting the mark, being on target, really being accurate and on point about what you're trying to achieve in life. As the tagline for the blog goes it's about “Uncomplicating Business and Life."

So with that, going forward, I will cover not only the topics about what's going on with my business, ValTeo Tech, how we're progressing this year as we're beginning to get repeat business, what our strategy is going to be, but also about some of the tools that we've picked up along the way, some of the things that I've learned, whether they worked or didn't. Whether other people’s recommendation jive with what we were trying to achieve.

I also want to take it a step further and, to a certain extent, go back to what the site was initially intended for, which was to share a lot of things that are going on in my personal life as well. What's going on in my garden, for example, that I've never talked about on my YouTube channel. What are my successes there, and what's not working in Southern California weather these days. So, I'll be sharing a lot of personal stuff as well as professional things that I think you might find useful.

To that end, I actually have a set of questions for you guys. I've linked a survey below with three simple questions. I'm curious about the following:
  1. What topics you guys want me to cover 
  1. What, from the topics that I've covered, did you find interesting that you think I should dig a little further into 
  1. Lastly, I want to hear any comments you have about how I can improve the posts, the site, whatever the case may be. 
I'm looking forward to these responses, and you should be looking forward to these posts coming in on a regular basis, whether it's on TheMarq.com or on the YouTube channel.

This year I'm also planning on distributing the content through LinkedIn. If you’re seeing this on LinkedIn, I’m interested in your comments on what topics would be of interest to you.

All right, until then, until next time...hasta!

If you want to contribute to the survey, this is it.