January 05, 2017
Help me help you
A former salesperson from Gold Systems emailed me recently to comment on an article I had written and to say that he was starting his own company. David Colliver is his name and his new company is Colliver Technology Group. He's helping companies get a handle on their sales support technology.
Years ago David was a sales person at my company. I remember he heard me speak at the University of Colorado and he made it his business to get a job with us. I liked his attitude and we hired him to be our newest sales person. Besides being a likable person, the thing that stood out about David was how effectively he would ask for assistance. Many sales people were too afraid to ask the CEO to help them with a deal. I don't think I was that unapproachable unless I was starting to suspect that they couldn't sell. I did my best to help without stepping on their toes and I always believed that if I went on a sales call, they were the leader and I was supporting them. Dave got that and we had many enjoyable and profitable sales trips together.
The idea of "help me help you" came from me noticing that many of the salespeople (not Dave) would ask for help by sending me an email saying "Can you help me with a client?" I would answer, "Sure, who's the client." They would answer "Big Insurance Company." I would respond, "Great, I would love to work with you to get the sale, what do you need me to do?" They would answer, "Can you send an email to their VP of Whatever saying how much we want their business? Me - "Sure, who are they" Them - "Jayne Smith." Me - "Ok, what's their email address?" If it was tedious to read that, it was really tough for me and each of my responses would get slower.
Dave was different. He would send me an email more like this:
Hey Terry, I'd like your help with a deal I'm working on with Big Insurance Company. I'm to the point where I would like to ask them for a meeting where we will go out together and try to close the sale, and I'd like you to send an email to Jayne Smith at Jayne@BigInsuranceCompany.com. I want you to send something like this if you would please. Feel free to put it in your own words.
David Colliver who is your account representative at Gold Systems has told me that he is trying to set up a meeting at your headquarters to discuss our proposal. I would love to join David on that trip so that I can meet you and answer any questions about how we'll take care of you as our customer. I'm sure David has done a great job and I would like to now introduce myself and accompany him on his next visit with you at Big Insurance Company headquarters. If that's OK, I'll ask my assistant Angela to help us coordinate schedules.
Thank you and I look forward to meeting you!
(Back to Dave's voice here) If that looks good to you Terry, just send the email, copy me and I'll work with Angela to make it happen. I've also attached a copy of our latest proposal to this email in case you want to take a look.
Thanks! -- Dave
Do you see the difference? Rather than me having to drag every detail out of the salesperson over multiple emails, Dave made it extremely easy for me to help him. He anticipated everything I would need to know, and in fact gave me more than I needed. I could have looked in our CRM system for the contact's email and our proposal database for the document, but that would have taken me more time and might have delayed my response to Dave. You see he was making it so easy to help him so that I just did it as soon as I read his email and gave him what he needed. Dave was and is a nice guy but he did this to improve the odds of getting my help and making the sale. I've always appreciated him for that, and I've told this story in many mentoring sessions.
So before you ask someone for help, take a lesson from Dave. Anticipate what they need to know to help you, and give it to them clearly and concisely in a way that makes it easy for them to help you.
Dave, all the best with the new company! I'm sure you will do a great job of anticipating your customer's needs and making it easy for them to buy from you.
December 18, 2016
How fast is a gigabit Internet connection
I've moved to Australia to help entrepreneurs grow their companies at The Centre for Business Growth at the University of South Australia, and I'm having a great time. Last week I was asked to get involved in a movement to bring faster internet to Adelaide and South Australia. I'm sure my name came up because I've talked so much about how Longmont, Colorado was able to bring gigabit internet to the city. The day I was leaving to go to the airport back in May, a Longmont NextlLight installer showed up and said they were ready to install it at my house, so I missed out on it. I was just days away from having a gigabit up, and down, for $49 a month USD. And to be clear, that's how fast the connection is, not how much data you get per month. Here in Australia many plans are capped so they advertise the cap and rarely talk about how fast the connection actually is. Because so many people are still on ADSL2+, it varies from a single megibit, to maybe 10 megabits.
Now here's the problem. If you've never had high-speed internet, you don't know what you're missing. When Longmont was still in the process of building out the network, my friend Scott Converse showed a bunch of us at Startup Longmont this video to help us understand just how fast a gigabit really is.
This video starts out showing how fast a slow ADSL2+ connection is here in Australia, and moves on to a full gigabit.
In future posts I'll talk about why it is vital for a city to have high-speed internet if they want to have a startup ecosystem and participate in the next wave of business growth. Adelaide is a wonderful city and I don't want to see it get left behind, so I'm really happy to be here and have a chance to help. In future posts I'll talk about why fast internet is important, and why it's about so much more than just being able to stream NetFlix without pauses. It's about building new kinds of businesses and creating jobs, and fostering innovation. Australia is all about fostering innovation, so we have to have faster internet here.
November 03, 2016
Sidebar in UniSA Business Magazine
This month's UniSA Business magazine asked me to write a sidebar piece for an article on entrepreneurship. I answer the question, "What three things do you need to start a business?" You can check it out here if you want. http://ow.ly/1W4e305m3fa You can find the sidebar by looking at the top of the article for the "Further Reading" tab.
October 28, 2016
The latest news, not from Australia
The latest news is not from Australia, though things are going great here and Spring is finally springing, but rather from Appleton, Wisconsin in the USA.
My son Christopher is a professional musician and I'm very proud of him, and a big fan. He was named Wisconsin Singer-Songwriter of the year last year and he's a hardworking guy who is out there every weekend and a lot of week nights, while still being a great husband and father. Yes, I am very proud. Christopher and his wife Tori have done such a great job of raising a bright, fun, thoughtful young man and now my grandson Oliver is starting to get up on stage himself. Here is a video of Christopher and Oliver together in the studio.
If you want to sing along yourself, here's a version with the lyrics. I had not thought about it until this morning, but this could be a good anthem for entrepreneurs.
Finally, because I can't get enough of watching my boy playing, here is a video from his latest album release party at the Rock Garden Studio with his band The New Old Things.
Christopher does a lot of benefit concerts, and his big Toy Drive is coming up soon. He's also helping to raise money for musicforautism.org and you can support them by buying the audio track from the Roll On video above at http://christophergold.bandcamp.com/track/roll-on-feat-oliver-gold. For more about Christopher Gold, check him out at www.christophergold.com where you'll find links to more videos, tracks and his blog.
Not to leave her out, but my daughter Amanda is doing great too. More on her another time . . .
September 20, 2016
Fail Good video with Brad Feld
This is one of many videos recorded of Brad Feld while he was visiting us at the Centre for Business Growth in Adelaide, Australia. My Australian friends tell me that people here are much less tolerant of "failure" than in the US. They say that you may not get to try again if something doesn't work here. I'm not sure that's true, but it wouldn't be a healthy attitude for entrepreneurship if it was true. I heard Brad say multiple times that he would invest in people who had "failed" as long as they were honest and learned from their experience. We also talked quite a bit about what failure even is, or what a success is, and it's not just measured by return on investment. That certainly is an important measure, but not the only measure.
Brad is being interviewed by Felicia Trewin from ANZ, who is one of our sponsors at the Centre for Business Growth. They are great supporters of businesses and entrepreneurs!
If you would like to see more videos of Brad, check out his blog here at feld.com. It was fun to spend a week with him here in Adelaide! Thanks Brad!
August 24, 2016
Living in Australia, Part 1
August 20, 2016
Waiting for the train
My good friend Marty emailed to say it is time to update my blog. Life in Australia is great, but very busy. I'm taking a minute while waiting for the train to explore mobile access to Typepad, where my blog is hosted.
If this works, I'll be better about doing updates. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to allow photos to be uploaded. Maybe it is time to think about a new provider.
June 15, 2016
My new job in Australia - From Longmont to Adelaide in less than three months
April 29, 2016
It's Official, I'm off to Australia!
My Work Visa was approved this week, so it's official - I'm moving to Adelaide Australia! We've given notice on the rental house that we've been in this past year in Longmont since we sold our house in Boulder, and now it's just a matter of packing up stuff into storage and getting on the plane on May 25th. That gives me less than a month to do a lot of organizing, donating and saying goodbye to many friends and family.
At times it is a little overwhelming to think about, but mostly it is just exciting to consider how lucky I am. I'm going to get paid to hang out with entrepreneurs who are growing interesting companies in a country that every single person I know has said they wished they could visit. Adelaide, the city where I'll be living, isn't as well known as larger cities like Sydney but it is listed in the top ten most livable cities in the world and I can't wait to start exploring!
I'll do updates to this blog in the future about what it's like to make a move half way around the world, and about the great people and companies that I know I will encounter in the process. If you want to get email updates, you can sign up to be notified whenever I do a new post or just check back occasionally.
Hawkes Building, photo courtesy UniSA.
For more on my move check out this post: http://www.terrygold.com/t/2016/03/life-after-part-2-big-news.html
March 24, 2016
Meeting of the Minds Event, Boulder 4/4
I have been the Entrepreneur in Residence at the Temple Grandin School, and it's been a great experience working with the students and helping the staff think about the school as a startup. They are a great organization doing important work with kids who are on the Autism spectrum. The kids and young adults at TGS are all bright and interesting people, and many will go on to be engineers, entrepreneurs and artists.
On April 4th, 2016 the school is sponsoring an event with Temple Grandin herself, Phil McKinney who Vanity Fair named the “The Innovation Guru". New York Times best selling author David Finch's will be there and his quick wit and keen insights on living with Asperger's Syndrome have captivated audiences across the nation.
We have invited all three of these fascinating people to help us mark the Five Year Anniversary of Temple Grandin School the evening of Monday, April 4th, 2016.
Please join us for a moderated conversation and reception at the beautiful eTown Hall in Boulder. The topic of the evening will be neurodiversity - different kinds of minds. Frasca Food and Wine will be serving delicious small bites complemented by delightful wines and local craft brews. There will be an opportunity for VIP ticket holders to attend a private reception with the speakers before the talk.
Help us celebrate Autism Awareness Month and the Five Year Anniversary of TGS by attending the "Meeting of the Minds" on 4/4/16!
Detailed Event Info: