Sunday, December 14, 2008

How to be a Sales Superstar by Mark Tewart

How to be a Sales Superstar: Break All the Rules and Succeed While Doing It
by Mark Tewart

Every aspect of our daily lives are affected by sales, even though we may not think in those terms. When you buy any product or service, various sales people are involved in the background. Even your utilities are affected by the sales process. Sales people have gotten a bad “rep” for years, but that isn’t necessary. We all know people in the sales industry that are superstars. The question is – how do you become a sales superstar? Mark Tewart is a definite expert who has the answer to this question and he is sharing his thoughts and tips in his new book “How to be a Sales Superstar”.

In these tough economic times, its even more critical for people to make a living. A ho-hum sales person very likely will not survive in this economic climate. A sales superstar will not only survive, but he or she has the opportunity to thrive – even in tough times. That’s what Mark Tewart can help you do in the pages of How To Be A Sales Superstar.

I have many favorite parts in this book, but I really appreciated the fact that Tewart shows you how to improve your overall life – life skills, people skills, promotional skills and yes, sales skills. He explains that improving your sales skills is a great start, but it is not enough to make you a superstar. You also need to work on improving your own life, your outlook on life, how you relate to and communicate with other people and much more.

I’ve always loved to read and it was interesting that Tewart mentions continuing to learn is motivating. The people who continue to work to learn and to improve themselves, do seem to be motivated to do and accomplish more. Have you found it easier to do more when you have more information to use? He includes a quote from Jim Rohn, it says – “If you motivate someone and you don’t educate them, all you have is a motivated idiot.”

He discusses the need to set goals and to have a clear vision. How hard is it to accomplish something when you have no goals to work toward and no vision of where you’re headed and how to get there? He doesn’t just say you need to set goals and have a vision, he shows you how to do both of these things which are critical to your success.

Another quote that seems especially useful in this difficult time – “When you go to work on yourself and get better, it’s amazing how much better your customers get.” How can you work on yourself to improve your skills and your outlook – to help you get better customers? These are two more quotes that I really liked. “Allow no limitations, no excuses, and no reason not to ask and receive. When you open the door to your positive belief system, you close the door to scarcity.” This is a thought that I’ve shared with many people who worked with me over the years, “You don’t get paid by the hour, you get paid for the value you bring to the hour.” If we all adopted that attitude, would we be motivated to work harder and better?

Mark Tewart explains why over 90% of salespeople underachieve. Are you in the 90% or the 10%? If you’re in the 90%, you need to read this book. The book includes a wide variety of marketing ideas. It also contains a list of questions to use and questions to avoid. I’ve always believed that we learn so much by learning from mistakes that others have made. Mark Tewart shares plenty of do’s and don’ts. He gives you examples of how to meet and greet customers, how to work with them, how to talk with them, how to understand what they are actually trying to tell you and much more.

For anyone that wants to learn how to excel in sales and in their life, I highly recommend that you need to read this book. Tewart gives you invaluable tools on how to improve your quality of life, your personal relationships, your promotional skills and to move your sales skills to a superstar level.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The One Minute Coach by Masha Malka

Remember the song – “What a Difference a Day Makes”? If a day can make a big difference, is a minute helpful. What can you actually accomplish in a minute? You may think the answer is “not much”, but I’m here to tell you that you can accomplish plenty in a minute… with Masha Malka’s new book “The One Minute Coach”. Get ready to turn your life around in a minute.

We all have very busy lives and we know how hard it is to work anything else into our schedule. I sympathize with the lack of time. However, can you find a couple of minutes in your day? Some people will find time at breakfast, on the train to work, in the restroom or some other place. The location doesn’t matter – the important thing is to find a few minutes.

This book is set up in a layout that I’ve really come to appreciate. Masha gave you a series of short points and then action steps to help you actually move forward and to make a difference in your life. Each chapter contains a series of these points.

There are over 50 points and over 50 action steps in this book – so literally, there is something for everyone. She discusses the topics listed below.

  • Freedom to be Who You Are
  • The Secrets of People Who Are Successful
  • Why Do We Suffer?
  • The Secret to a Great Life
  • Are You a Natural Leader?
  • Time Management and Decision Making
  • The Best Source of Wealth
  • Is It Ever Too late?
To give you some examples of the talking points in the book, I’ll share some of my favorite sections.
  • Freedom to be who you are – “Don’t say if I could I would. Say instead, If I can, I will.” - Jim Rohn.
  • The Secrets of people who are successful – “Successful people make a habit of doing what the failing person doesn’t like to do.” - Thomas Edison .
  • The most important ingredient to your success – “Calm self confidence is as far from conceit as the desire to earn a decent living is remote from greed.” – Channing Pollock.
  • Are you guilty? – “Lack of forgiveness causes almost all of our self-sabotaging behavior.” – Mark Victor Hansen.
  • How much do you love yourself? – Let’s talk about LOVE. More specifically, I would like to focus on self love. Why? Because you cannot give more than you have – in order to give and receive love, you have to first love yourself.
  • Using words with good purpose. – Did you know that you can positively transform your environment just by changing the words that you use?
  • Personal satisfaction at work – “We can change our lives. We can do, have and be exactly what we wish.” – Anthony Robbins.
  • How much do you rely on logic? Do you make your decisions using mainly your logic or your intuition?
  • Produce the results you are looking for – “The definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein.
  • What did you miss out on today? “If a man empties his purse into his head, no man can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” Benjamin Franklin.
  • The power of questions – “The quality of our lives is closely related to the quality of our questions.” – Michael Angier.
  • Ask and you will receive – “Quality questions create a quality life. Successful people ask better questions and as a result, the get better answers.” Anthony Robbins.
  • Excellence is not an act, but a habit – “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle.
  • Can one person change the world? – “You are where you are and what you are because of what you believe yourself to be. Change your beliefs and you change your reality.” Brian Tracy.
Each of these headings and sayings begin a two page section of the book. There is one page that gives an in depth explanation of the saying on the left page. On the right page, you see “action steps”. These action steps are included to help you see how to apply these principles in your life. It is very possible to change your life to make it better and you can change your life, once minute at a time.

I highly recommend this book. It is only about 130 pages, but it is packed with so many great thoughts and recommendations about how to get your life on track and how to excel. Like Brian Tracy said – we are each responsible for where we are in our lives and that means that we are the ones who have to put forth the effort to make a change.

In this day and time, there are many people who are facing trying times, but it is amazing how we can change our reality and our future by applying the points Masha Malka gives us in this power packed book. Newscasters keep telling us that we are in the worst financial situation in over 70 years, unemployment is soaring and the future looks very unsure – but if we make the most of our life, that is a great step in the right direction. Let Masha Malka show you how to start on the path to a more happy and successful life – one minute at a time.

The Freedom Formula by Christine Klosser

The Freedom Formula: How to Put Soul in Your Business and Money in Your Bank by Christine Klosser. Are you an entrepreneur who wants to include a spiritual element and attitude to your business? This is the book for you. Some people feel that you can’t run a “spiritual” business and make money, but Christine Klosser feels that it can be done. She also focuses on being a “conscious” entrepreneur. Do you run your business with a higher and more focused consciousness?

This is the freedom formula – (S+C+D+I) x E = F

That stands for – Soul + Connection +Design + Implementation x Energy = Freedom

How many of these elements do you use in your business?When we talk about the “soul” of your business – we’re talking about YOU. The person who “birthed” the business is the soul of the business – it’s your baby. We often say that we put our heart and soul into building our businesses, but Klosser takes it further in her book.

There are four components to a conscious business.

  1. A Conscious Business Makes Money – It may be hard for some people to believe, but you can look out for your clients and still make money. We don’t have to sacrifice our lives and our needs to succeed. Both aspects are desirable and we can build a successful business that treats clients well and allows the owner to have a life.
  2. A Conscious Business Makes a Difference – A conscious business should make a difference in the lives of others. Don’t just treat them well, but actually make a positive difference in their lives. This doesn’t mean that you have to be a doctor to make a difference. Do you offer a product or service that makes their life easier or that makes their life more enjoyable? These are ways to make a difference in their lives. Another aspect of this is knowing when you should refer the client to someone else. Do you know another business person that is better qualified to serve them? Then you should make the referral. Think about it like this – if you need to compromise what you think is right to make the customer happy, they aren’t right for you. Be true to yourself.
  3. A Conscious Business Calls You to Be Fully Who You Are – Can you be true to yourself and not hide parts of your personality in your business? This is the sign of a conscious business. Being true to yourself and using every aspect of yourself is what will help you succeed. One big side benefit is that giving your whole self gets rid of any competition. If YOU are the element that brings success to the business – then no one else can possibly replace you. Klosser says “Success is supposed to be easy. When you’re simply being you and doing all that comes naturally as your Divine self, success flows.” I have to ask, can it possibly be that easy? Klosser seems to think so.
  4. A Conscious Entrepreneur Trust in Their Divine Plan – One major element of this is to squash the negative thoughts and feelings that can creep in, especially with an unusually pesky client. It is important to stay focused on your Divine plan for your business and keep moving forward. No matter how bad the moment or the day is, its only a blip in the overall plan. This part of the plan requires you to reconnect with God – your source – your spirit – whatever you call the divine guidance in your life.

One of the elements I really liked were the “Action Guide Exercises” that are interspersed throughout the book. These are usually short and to the point, but to do them right will require thought and action on your part. There are many very good business elements in this book and it definitely helps the entrepreneur to stay focused on the bigger picture and the greater good. However, if you are not inclined to include your religious or spiritual beliefs in your business life, this book probably isn’t for you.

Before making the final decision to purchase this book, I’d recommend going to Amazon and click on the “look inside the book” link. This gives you the chance to read the first chapter. If you like Klosser’s approach and it resonates with you, I highly recommend that you buy it and read the rest.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Book Promo 101: Learn the Basics of Book Promotion by Nikki Leigh

This review was done for one of my book by Lillian Brummet. Her details are at the bottom of the review.

Book Promo 101: Learn the Basics of Book Promotion

Only a small part of a writer’s career, no matter what genre they focus on, is the act of writing – most of the writer’s schedule is filled with record keeping, office work and marketing. The first year after a book is published is often referred to as the “honeymoon period” because this is when the authors direct contacts have been exhausted. Typically, sales drop off and the author becomes disenchanted with the thought of facing more promotion activities for a seemingly “dead” book. Sadly there are only a few in the industry that seem to understand that a marketing plan should last the life of the contract for that book, sometimes longer.

Nikki Leigh has graciously put together a series entitled Book Promo 101 and the first book of this series has just been released. This first installment is an overview of the basic process and tools that are involved in book promotion activities. The author will go into each of these tools in more detail in the upcoming books in this series. This is a great way to have a brief understanding of what each of these tools are, why they are employed and some great tips on how to avoid using them ineffectively.

There are, what looks to be more than 50 contributors to this book. Virtually every page has a contribution from authors, educators and others that are involved in the world of writing. These insiders tips are very helpful; I was impressed at the amount of comfort that is felt through reading these personal experiences. The contributors’ willingness to admit errors, discuss
emotions and share their favorite resources is refreshing.

Readers will find lists of questions for them to use to define what their needs are and how they plan to reach society with their message. Find out if you need services, such as a professional full time publicist, and learn about alternatives that are available for you to consider. There is an excellent sample conversation in the chapter dealing with bookstores that will definitely be of service to readers.

In total there 208 pages in the print book which is a generous 8 x 10 book. It contains 16 chapters along with Appendices that offer extensive lists for review sites and best selling book sites. Book Promo 101 was released in March 2008 by Write Words Inc – an imprint of Cambridge books. (The ebook is standard size 5 x 8 and over 400 pages.)

The author, Nikki Leigh, has been involved in marketing businesses, books and web design for over 15 years. She has 4 novels and 4 non-fiction business books that are available for readers to investigate through their favorite bookseller. She also runs several bogs, offers virtual book tour services to her clients and facilitates classes in character development.

ISBN#: 978-1594314985 (e-book)
ISBN#: 978-1594314698 (print)
Rating: 5-out-of-5 stars

~ Lillian Brummet: co-author of the books Trash Talk and Purple Snowflake Marketing, author of Towards Understanding; Host of both the Conscious Discussions talk radio show & the Authors Read radio program (

For more information about Book Promo 101 - visit

Thursday, October 16, 2008

NIghts in Rodanthe by Nicholas Sparks

I have to start by saying that I don't usually read "chick" books, but this book is set on the Outer Banks of North Carolina and I love that area. One of my books is set about 20 miles south of Rodanthe (Lilah and the Locket by Nikki Leigh).

I love almost anything set on or near the coast, so I had to take a look.

The story is about a mother who is worried about her daughter. The daughter recently lost her husband and she's having a hard time dealing with her life and her young children after her husband died. So, her mother feels that its time to share the details about a very special weekend she spent in Rodanthe. Although, she probably won't share every little detail.

Our heroine - Adrienne - is still hurting from her husband leaving their marriage, her and their children. She assumes that she won't find love again and the future doesn't look especially good. A friend of her's owns a bed and breakfast in Rodanthe, on the secluded Outer Banks of NC and she offers to be the hostess for a weekend when her friend has plans out of town.

There will only be one guest that weekend - an attractive man who is facing problems and a crossroads in his own life. Dr Paul Flanners is traveling to Rodanthe to meet with the husband of a patient who unexpectedly died on the table during surgery that should've been safe. An investigation revealed that he wasn't negligent, but it is still hard to face the situation and to face this woman's husband. Even though it is hard, he feels that he should respect the man's request and he travels to Rodanthe.

We learn that Dr Paul has been a dedicated doctor who worked hard to build a thriving practice, often to the point of ignoring his duties to his wife and son. He has reached a point in his life where he is rethinking previous choices, sold his home, sold his practice and is heading out of the country to work with his son in a remote area.

Both of these people are dealing with a lot in their personal lives and maybe a new friend and a new perspective is just what they need. Add an impending storm and we have the recipe for an interesting weekend.

Adrienne and Paul get along from the start and its clear that there is an attraction, but they are each hestitant to act on that attraction. After this weekend, they won't see each other again.

Shared conversation, working to prepare the house for the storm, and quiet dinners bring these two individuals closer and eventually, they stop fighting the attraction. Will it only be a couple of days of bliss? Will they see one another again? Why doesn't Adrienne's daughter know about this special man that entered her mother's life? Wil Adrienne's story help her daughter move on?

You will have to read the book to discover the answers or you can watch the new movie with Diane Ladd and Richard Gere. I was on the Outer Banks as the film crews were moving in, so I know that at least parts of the movie are filmed on location. The locale is gorgeous and I'm familiar with the house where the story takes place. I hope you enjoy your trip to Rodanthe, through the pages of the book or through the movie.

Below are some books that I personally own about the Outer Banks in case you want to learn more and my Cape Hatteras murder mystery is included :

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Forbidden Daughter by Shobhan Bantwal

I thoroughly enjoyed Shobhan Bantwal's first book, The Dowry Bride. It was well written and the glimpses into Indian culture were fascinating. Learning that paying or not paying a dowry could be a matter of life or death was shocking to me and she handled it very well in her book. So, I've been looking forward to reading her second book.

This weekend I took time to read The Forbidden Daughter and my wait was rewarded. The book is about female infanticide. That is the practice of killing female babies and unborn female babies. I've heard various reasons for female infanticide in India and that is one of the elements of this story. Are women less worthy or important than men? The characters have a variety of feelings about this question. Another element is the financial angle to performing abortions along with the social repercussions.

Isha Talik is drawn into this web of lies, deception and money when her obstetrician informs her and her husband that their unborn child is a girl. In an off handed comment, he says that he's willing to perform an abortion if they want to be rid of this child. Isha and Nikhil vehemently insist they will have their child, but they realize Nikhil's parents will want them to abort the child. The couple have one daughter and Isha knows her in laws treat her daughter Priya as less worthy than her male cousins. When the news is shared with the elder Taliks, they insist the child must be aborted.

This debate rages and is only interrupted late one evening when the family receives news that Nikhil was stabbed to death at his job. Isha, Priya and the in laws are all shaken by the news of Nikhil's death. The news is especially devastating to his parents because Nikhil was their only son and he had no sons to carry on the family name. Life for Isha and Priya is tougher each day and after her father in law beats Priya, the young, pregnant widow walks out of the house - with almost no money and only some of her possessions.

Isha and Priya are taken in at the local convent and make their home in a small, bleak room and they wait for the birth of her daughter. The day after Diya is born, Isha is seen by the doctor who helps the convent. He was a student at the college Isha attended and he had a crush on her in school.

Doctor Harish Salvi becomes a very good friend and his affection for Isha and her children continues to grow over time. Isha is reunited with her sister in law Sheila. With Sheila and Dr Salvi, Isha finds the support she needs.

Over time things begin to look better for Isha and her family and her support network grows again. But, the story isn't over and Isha must deal with a couple more concerns before the end. Isha and her closest confidantes realize who killed her husband and why. She has evidence of his wrong doing and the time stamp on the computer disc makes it very obvious, who is responsible for his murder. Will they go to the police? Will the murderer pay for his crime? Who else will have to pay for this man's actions?

I don't want to ruin the story for anyone, but I highly recommend this story. You will grow to admire, you will admire and cherish Dr Salvi and you will care what happens to Isha's daughters. This book is a wonderful work from a talented author who share her knowledge of India with us.

Shobhan Bantwal is touring with Promo 101 Virtual Tours in October. Visit for more details.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Bounce! by Barry Moltz

Bounce! Failure, Resiliency and Confidence to Achieve Your Next Great Success by Barry Moltz

We all love to share our success stories in business. But, there is so much to learn from our failures. One key to learning from our failures is to be prepared for failure, develop the humility to deal with problems and to develop the keys that we need in order to be resilient.

Bounce! This seems to be the year where people discuss resiliency and how to bounce back. I’ve personally reviewed four or five books about improving our lives, making needed changes and moving on. The full title of this book is Bounce! Failure, Resiliency and Confidence to Achieve Your Next Great Success. Its an inspiring title and the book is very good. When we think of failure, we need to also think about bouncing back and starting over

In the United States and in other countries around the world people are facing very tough economic times and it doesn’t appear that will change drastically in the near future. We see huge companies failing and/or being taken over by the government or being sold on a pretty regular basis. If multi billion and multi million dollar businesses are failing, doesn’t it make sense that other businesses consider that failure is possible and to be ready for the possibility? No one is saying that failure is inevitable, but develop the mindset and skill set that make it easier for you to face failures and the situations we encounter as a business faces tough times.

Barry Moltz built his original business reputation at IBM. That’s where I initially heard about him, but he decided to leave IBM and start his own business venture. At one point in the book, Moltz mentions how his stature and income increased each year while he was at IBM and he had the mistaken opinion that the trend would continue even when he left IBM. That’s something I’ve heard from people who left a fulltime job to begin their own business. That can be one of the first things to rattle a new entrepreneur. The steady paycheck and job security disappear overnight.

Moltz gives the example of a rubber band ball that is created by wrapping rubber bands and creating a ball. Each band increases the size and strength of the ball. Through the pages of Bounce!, he shares the key “bands” we need to create sufficient bounce. They include:

Environmental and Cultural DNA – Attitudes in your country and associates about success and failure have an impact on how you view these elements of business.

Humility – Humility has the ability to lift us up or to pull us down. If you fail, will you wallow and brood over it or will you understand that people fail and pick yourself up and move on?

Face Your Fear of Failure – Failure is always possible. No matter how qualified or prepared we are in business, it is always possible to fail. Its best to be prepared for that possibility. If we never fail, that’s wonderful. But, if it does happen, be ready to deal with it.

Give Up Shame About Failure – This is not simple, but it is necessary. Once you decide to stop feeling shame over failure, tackle the things thrown at you by others. Some people will be obnoxious about any failure, but you need to be convinced it’s a temporary situation and move forward.

Failure Offers a Choice – How many people do you know that are stuck in a “no win” situation because they decide to stay in a failing business instead of admitting defeat? Give yourself the choice to say, “It’s not working” and get out of a losing situation. Make the choice to fail and move on to something better.

Be Careful About the Risks You Take – As your decision making skills improve, you are better qualified to make careful decisions and to limit the potential for risk and failure. Make sure that you understand the full risk and the full benefit of any major decision you are going to make.

Refine and Improve the Process to Improve the Outcome – Business goes through cycles and its important to understand that the processes we use make a difference in the outcomes we get.

Develop Patience About Success and Failure – We must be realistic and many times we don’t succeed as quickly as we hope. So, patience is needed. Set realistic goals and work toward these. Even when progress is slow, goals and benchmarks enable us to see the progress that is being made.

Develop Your Own System to Measure Your Success and Failure – Most people realize that just having money is not a guarantee of happiness. Decide what you need to feel successful. No one else’s idea of success should guide you – what makes you happy? Once you know that answer, strive to be happy.

Place Value on Action and Progress – Read the book, but then realize that you need to make things happen. Your experience is a great way to build confidence and the humility to face the tough situations and to move on to bigger and better things.

Those points are the key elements that the book covers and is built around. The longest chapter in the book, is Chapter 5 Forget the Archetypes: Messy Lines Teach Humility. At first glance this was interesting and a bit confusing because we all know that strong entrepreneurs need confidence, to be self assured and to be strong. So, why did Moltz include such a long chapter about humility? He discusses ego and how it does and does not help a business person. He discusses how humility is crucial is facing problems and failures in a way that helps us start over and rebuild or future.

There is so much great information in this book, but I highly recommend that no one skip the last chapter, Read This Book – Then Throw It Away. He makes great points including the fact that planning is great and needs to happen, but we also know that you will never succeed or fail until you take the leap and actual work to make it happen. Anyone who is waiting for the “perfect” time to start will be waiting forever. There is never a “perfect” time.

Do sufficient research and planning and learn to make sound decisions. Then develop true and positive humility and move forward. It’s also critical to realize many great people have failed, some failed in huge ways. The great people, large and small, are the ones who pick themselves up and start over. There is always another possibility and another opportunity. Will you move on and find your next opportunity?

Monday, September 1, 2008

Polarizing Your Life Toward Perfection by Philip F Harris

The Little Book That Will Alter Your Life

Many books about how to move yourself to a better place have hit the market since the phenomenal success of The Secret. They deal with the Law of Attraction, manifesting, and much more. Polarizing Your Life Toward Perfection helps you take an honest look at your life and what happened to create the person that you have become. Its not just a book about – “I want”, “Give me” and that sort of mentality. Philip Harris gives you the tools that you need to create a more positive, happy and successful life. It truly is “the little book that will alter your life”. So much information packed into a small book. Isn’t there a saying about the best things coming in small packages? This is a great example of that idea.

Harris provides various examples of things we do, say and think which has a negative impact on our life. He lists many phrases and words that we shouldn’t use. Many of the examples show how a small change in the wording we use, can make a big difference in our outlook. Learn which phrases you should not use and the easy ways to adjust our thoughts. It may sound silly, but there are many great ways that we can “look on the bright side” and “be more positive”. The first two chapters provide many ways to do this in your life.

Once you start to work on the way you think and talk about things, its time to take a look inside yourself. There are a variety of people in your life and who have played a part in your life over the years. Your beliefs, job and health are all things that affect who you are and how you feel about things. Chapter 3 is titled “Life Assessment”. Simply, this chapter is about helping you evaluate the people and things in your life – to determine what does and does not work for you. In some cases, you can evaluate a person or situation and adjust the way you view it. In other cases, you need to make changes in your life. This chapter helps you with this assessment.

When we look into a mirror, we assume that we are seeing a true reflection. However, consider this. The reflection you see is affected by your beliefs, your mind, your job, your relationships and much more. How often have you been around people who are negative? When you look in a mirror with those comments fresh in your mind, do you see yourself differently? Even if its only a stray gray hair or lines around your eyes that someone talked about earlier, this is an example of ways that your reflection is affected by these outside forces. The good news is that Harris also provides a chapter about “How to Change the Image in the Mirror”. You can change your perception of yourself and that reflection.

No book on changing yourself would be complete without a section about how to alter the things you put into your body. Polarizing Your Life contains chapters about your body and the environment that you are in. Learn ways to change your environment to improve your life. Your diet can have a big impact on how your feel and how your body functions. Harris provides many ways to improve your diet, your health and your environment – all of these things go a long way in polarizing your life.

The chapter about visualization provides great insights. Do you limit your success by approaching visualization in the wrong way? If you start with “I want”, “I need” and similar phrases, you can limit your success. Harris provides many illustrations of how our phrasing makes us focus on the negative things in our life and this makes it more difficult to achieve a better life. Another thing to consider, do you vocalize appreciation for the things you have? Even for people who don’t have much, you should be appreciative for the things you have.

You will be amazed by the wealth of life changing information that Philip Harris has packed into this small book. If you’re interested in “the secret”, the law of attraction, manifesting, visualization, being in tune with the universe and creating a better life for yourself – this is a must read.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Brillante Weblog Premio Award For This Blog

Isn't this a beautiful award? Joyce Anthony over at:

nominated me for it. This is a pay-it-forward award and my instructions were to now choose some blogs I find worthy of this award. The choice wasn't easy, but I have finally narrowed it down to the following. These are in no particular order; that would be impossible to do.

Joyce Anthony - - I know she nominated me, but Joyce is always willing to work with me and to help the authors that I work with each month. She puts together an event on her blog which is a part of my tours. Her help is wonderful and very appreciated. I hope that I've been able to introduce her to some interesting new people.

Yvonne Perry - - I met Yvonne as I was coordinating my very first blog tour- it was for her. We worked together and got to be friends and when I started doing more tours, she was one of the people I contact about upcoming tours. She's hosted a number of people for me, on her blog and in her newsletter. Its been great getting to know her even more as we;ve worked together on various projects and she offers a wealth of info for writers and others on her blog.

Kathleen Gage - - I heard of Kathleen long before I actually got to talk with her. She shares a wealth of information for authors, speakers and others on her blog and she hosts a number of authors for me on her blogs as well. Kathleen and her blog are both wonderful resources that should not be overlooked and she is one of the nicest and most caring people that I know.

Dyan Garris - - I met Dyan early in 2008 and we've worked together for a while. During this time I've come to know her as a person who truly wants to help others. She wants to share the information she has that can help other people improve the quality of their lives. She shares plenty of great information on her blog and her website. She has also become a friend and someone who has words of wisdom and comfort at the right time.

Carolyn Howard Johnson - - Carolyn created a review blog where she is willing to post reviews for all sorts of authors, not just big name authors, but even the lesser known authors. Her instructions are very clear and it is very easy to take advantage of her offer. She has hosted a number of authors for me on their tours and her assistance is certainly appreciated.

Philip Harris - - Phil Harris has been a good friend and he has hosted a number of authors for me. There are a number of topics that he is very knowledgeable about and those are great opportunities for him to host an author and to ask very targeted questions. He has a knack for getting to the heart of a topic and asking great questions. This has been helpful on a number of tours and I think he's also made some friends along the way.

I'm sure there are others that I've forgotten and I am sorry. I've also discovered some new blogs that are going to be very good for the authors to work with me. More great resources to come in the near future.

The rules for the above recipients are as follow:

Rules for next recipients of the Brillante Weblog Premio are as follows:

1. The award may be displayed on a winner's blog.

2. Add a link to the person you received the award from.

3. Nominate up to seven other blogs.

4. Add their links to your blog.

5. Add a message to each person that you have passed the award on in the comments section of their blog.

There you have it, folks, my nominees for this wondrous peer-driven award. Please stop by the above blogs and drop everyone a note of congratulations!!!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Email Marketing for Complex Sales Cycles by Winton Churchill

Direct mail and email marketing have gotten a bad rap for many years. But, when the email marketing is executed properly, the results can be fantastic. That is the sort of email marketing that Winton Churchill talks about in this book. It’s not just a simple email being sent from time to time, but it is an email system that gets definite and positive sales results for your business.

The complete name of the book is Email Marketing for Complex Sales Cycles – Proven Ways to Product a Continuous Flow of Prospects and Profits with Effective, Spam Free Email Systems. When properly formulated and executed, an email mailing system can generate additional sales for your company – quickly.

We’re all familiar with the long drawn out and unpredictable sales methods. How many times have your sales people spent endless hours coddling sales leads? How often do these hours generate few sales? You know that isn’t cost effective, but every body does cold calling, trade shows and similar sales approaches. Or do they? You won’t need to continue these unpredictable sales strategies after you read and apply Email Marketing for Complex Sales Cycles by Winton Churchill.

To illustrate the wealth of information in this book, these are some of the topics–

· Email Marketing is Not About Spam.

· Email Marketing… Relatively Easy and Extremely Powerful – When You Do it Right.

· Change your Mindset, Change Your Future.

· Six Special Needs of Complex Sales Cycles.

· Three Critical Stages of Success.

· Unhooking – The Process of Un-Training Your Brain.

· Four Ways to Identify and Qualify Legitimate Prospects.

· The Rapport Sequence.

· Eighteen Essential Components Simplified.

· Seven Damaging Mistakes Many Executives Make.

· Eight Indispensible “Fast Track” Strategies.

Recipients have mental blocks about spam and supposed junk mail. So, the first thing to realize is that Winton Churchill isn’t talking about spam or junk mail. In various places throughout the book, he admonishes the reader to find a quality list. This helps you get better results because those lists contain people who want to receive information about a product or service that is similar to yours.

Email marketing is reasonably easy, but you need to understand why it works and how it works. The complex sales cycle is a powerful sales tool and Churchill helps you learn how to use it properly. Are you one of the business people who spent your budget on an address list, but didn’t know how to properly use the list? This book is for you. Just having the list isn’t enough. You need to reach the people and determine who needs your product or service. You also need to build up a rapport with these people in order to lead them to make a purchase.

The email complex sales cycle allows you to screen these potential clients, show them that you are an expert in your field, demonstrate ways that you can help them and lead them to your business to make a sale. That does not mean that every one on the list will become a client, but when you start with a targeted and qualified list, your chance of making the sale increase. Once you have the right list, work on the cycle of messages that prove your credibility and illustrate how you can fill their needs.

In several of the chapters, Churchill addresses the mindset and that re-training are necessary to make email marketing work. The content of this book helps you get past the preconceived ideas about spam and to see the strategic way that a complex sales system works.

I enjoyed the entire book and I really enjoyed the sections on how to identify qualified prospects, how to simplify the eighteen components that are necessary and learning about common mistakes. I learned long ago that we can learn through past mistakes – the ones we make and the ones that other people make.

Finally, the eight “fast track” strategies are very useful. We all want to fast track our sales cycle, but it needs to be done correctly. Throughout the book, Churchill explains that we can ruin the sales cycle by pushing too hard to fast, so learning how to effectively “fast track” the program is helpful and will help us avoid mistakes.

My copy of the book has all kinds of information highlighted for future reference. I found many great ideas and tips that I will use. As I was reading the book, I also noticed an idea forming to use email marketing for a client’s business. I hadn’t thought about the approach before, but it made so much sense as I read Email Marketing Solutions.

The content could inspire you to make radical changes in the way your sales force finds and how they handle sales leads. Think of the time and money you could save with a more effective sales prospecting system for your business. Let Winton Churchill show you how to make these changes and how to increase sales that are generated for your company.

Winton Churchill will tour the blog-o-sphere September 15 to October 10. For more details, visit

Monday, August 18, 2008

Vietnam Air Rescues by Dave Richardson

I have to start by saying that I love to read true stories - the good, the bad and the ugly :) This is a good one.

Dave Richardson is a man who was sent to Vietnam in the late 60's and he chose to be a helicopter rescue pilot while he was in the war. This put him in a position to have some fascinating experiences and it gave him a chance to see his faith in action during trying and dangerous times.

Vietnam Air Rescues started out as a book from a father, to his family. It was the chance to share his experiences and to help the family understand what he did during his time in Vietnam. A big part of the book are Dave's recollections and pictures from his rescues. There are many pictures throughout the book which are a great addition. I should mention that Dave does remind us that the pictures were taken over 30 years ago and most were taken under "less than favorable" conditions. Some of the pictures are out of focus, but when you read the content and realize what he was doing at the time he was taking the pictures, a bit of fuzz should be ignored.

The book begins with Dave Richardson's "Totally Unauthorized History of the Vietnam War". He shares his reflections of the war and his time overseas. He also explains the various editions of the book. The first edition was written for Dave Richardson's family, but as others requested copies, slight changes were made to make the story appropriate for other readers.

Dave shares many interesting details throughout the book, a jargon section, information about a typical day, details about the missions he flew, he shares maps of the area and full details on each of his rescues.

I feel that the personal feel is very obvious in the book. It feels like a friend is telling you about a year in his life and you get involved in the things they did to kill time when they had time to spare. We also feel the tension as he struggles to rescue a pilot who was shot down, realizing that a mistake would mean death for a number of people. It was never a situation where he only had to worry about his own life.

I interviewed Dave Richardson on my radio show and I got the chance to learn so many additional details. Learning more about how a person handles a helicopter added more tension to the rescue sections. I highly recommend listening to the interview for plenty of details. (

On August 25th, I will interview Dave Richardson and the last person he rescued, Kenny Fields. Both men wrote books about their experiences. One of the interesting things is that these two books give us the perspective from the air and the perspective from the ground. Dave was days from going home and he agreed to go out one more time. Little did he know what would happen over the next 48 hours. Kenny Fields was stranded on the ground and the rescue planes and helicopters had a very difficult time - these men will share their stories with us.

If you prefer to read the details - Dave Richardson's book is Vietnam Air Rescues (
Kenny Fields book is Rescue of Streetcar 304: A Navy Pilot's Forty Hours on the Run in Laos (

If you would like to learn more about what happened behind the scenes this is a great place to start. There is no grandstanding, no political undertones and no agenda in Vietnam Air Rescues. But, there is a great story told from an author who is proud to share his story with us.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

What the Best CEO’s Know by Jeffrey Krames

With all the focus in the last several years on corporate scandals, are there any CEO’s who can teach us something? There are, and their stories are included in What the Best CEO’s Know by Jeffrey Kramer. We cannot deny that there have been an unusual number of corporations who find themselves on the wrong side of the legal system, but that is not the case with every CEO.

What traits are needed to be a top CEO? How do you build a business that can weather the inevitable storms that will come? The stories of these men will inspire you, help you analyze your abilities as a CEO along with learning how to improve your effectiveness in business. Some of these men survived personal and business pitfalls, but established durable companies.

You are given the chance to “Assess Your CEO Quotient” by using questions to evaluate your performance and your business. These unique features offer you the opportunity to learn improved ways to handle your business.

Six Traits That Connect 7 CEO’s

1 – “Outside-In” Perspective – This perspective requires the ability to analyze varying aspects of the target market. The organization must focus on and satisfy the market.

2 – “Evangelical Leadership Gene” – A common mistake that people make, is to confuse this trait with charisma. A CEO must arouse enthusiasm and devotion.

3 – Importance of Culture and the Difficulty in Changing Culture – Some CEO’s create a fun, family culture in their businesses and others opt for a culture of a healthy fear of competition and failure.

4 – “Next Generation” Companies – Top CEO’s must anticipate what the market will need and how their business can fill that need. They need to have vision about what will be needed.

5 – “Implement Best Idea” – Some people must take credit for all good ideas. These CEO’s realized that a good idea should be utilized, no matter who originated the idea.

6 – Advance Leadership Body of Knowledge – These men understood the knowledge of a leader should always increase and improve their performance.

Focus Your Business Around the Customer

Michael Dell was a Fortune 500 CEO at 27. He realized any product needed to fill the customer’s need. His system eliminated the need to stockpile items. Each system is custom built to meet a specific customer’s needs, after the order was placed.

He learned an expensive lesson, when a new product was designed without consulting the public. After this setback, Dell returned to the principle of listening to his customers. They realized a profitable use for the internet was placing orders online. This also collected information from customers and freed employees for other duties. These things help Dell to maintain a competitive edge and rock bottom prices. By eliminating the middleman and inventory, he held prices down and ensured a higher profit. Focusing on the customer and satisfying them multiplied potential profits and made Dell a company to watch and learn from through the years.

Create an Authentic Learning Environment

Imagine being promoted to CEO in an established company and the best move is to totally reorganize the organization? This is the situation that confronted Jack Welch as CEO of GE. To make the situation worse, key vice presidents and thousands of managers didn’t see a problem.

Welch needed a better learning environment to reorganize GE, but his first priority was to cut expenses. The company needed to be financially stable before the education could be implemented. The training would be costly, but the cost would be offset through increased productivity and more effective management of the companies which made up GE.

Welch knew a key source for valuable ideas could be competitors. He encouraged his employees to actively search for ideas in any place. Employees were rewarded for bringing ideas to his attention. New ideas were celebrated within the company and the best were shared in a company newsletter. He felt the employees needed to share information and this enabled them to understand how the company operated and their part in the process.

GE spent billions to train their employees, but their revenues proved this was a worthwhile endeavor. When Welch took over as CEO in 1981, the total market capitalization was $13 billion. While this was a very respectable number, the value in 2000 was an impressive $596 billion.

Focus on Solutions

What if you were chosen as the CEO of a company founded by Thomas Edison. If that isn’t intimidating enough, the previous year the company posted the largest annual loss to date - $8.1 billion. How could one person remedy the problems in that company?

At one time, IBM was the largest computer company. As the CEO, Gerstner’s first priority was to stop the financial bleeding. The last CEO wanted to break up the company, but Gerstner planned to keep the company together. The decision was to expand and make IBM a full service computer company. The existing customer base needed more and the new plan would enable IBM to capitalize on long term and loyal customers by satisfying more of their needs.

Each part of the company needed to be involved in this restructuring and expansion to make it a success. Gerstner also went to the customers and asked for their input. In the past, IBM became arrogant about their business position. They developed the mindset that they didn’t need to study their competitors or talk to their customers to maintain their position.

Gerstner turned to Jack Welch for help. He “shocked” the company into understanding the situation by cutting expenses by $1.5 billion in six months. The original idea was to sell products, but under Gerstner, they needed to provide solutions. One of Gerstner’s primary goals was to increase research and development. The researchers put their emphasis on finding and creating ways to solve their customer’s problems.

Prepare the Organization for Drastic Change

Intel developed and manufactured microchips. They discovered that limitless information could be stored without needing more space, the potential was limitless. But, a Japanese company found the same answer and could make the chips cheaper. This shook Intel’s foothold on the market. It took three long years, but Intel bounced back. They shifted from microchips to microprocessors and regained their footing in the industry. This decision by Andy Grove put the company in a profitable position and positioned the company to become a giant in the industry. He viewed the company in a brutally honest way and saw what was needed. It was a drastic answer, but it was what the situation needed. He found this answer by thinking like a person outside the business.

A small defect was found in a chip. He had two possibilities, one was to convince the public it was a small problem or he could replace the part. Grove decided to replace the parts, which cost the company $500,000,000. Andy Grove helped Intel survive several large crises by insisting that there was no place for complacency within the company. Regular meetings with managers help everyone keep an eye on potential problems and deal with many before they become large problems. A healthy fear also needs to be instilled in employees. This will keep them watchful for trends that can harm the company and their future.

Harness the Intellect of Every Employee

Bill Gates became involved in the computer industry at a key time. He was able to get in on the ground floor and build his business while the industry was young. His belief that every employee had something to contribute was a key to forming an idea driven company and that gave an employee the confidence to come to him about the potential of the internet. An employee noticed how Cornell students were using the internet for more than research, and he brought the information back to his employer.

Create a Performance Driven Culture

Airlines were especially hard hit after the September 11 terrorist attacks. Even in these tough times, the CEO for Southwest Airlines showed a profit for three decades. Herb Kelleher’s strategies contributed to that success. Southwest originally flew commuter routes in Texas and grew into a $5.7 billion business.

There is little conventional thinking at Southwest Airlines. These ideas begin with the low pricing structure and include the policy of no assigned seats. The overall attitude creates an incredible loyalty among employees. In 2000, fuel prices that had tripled and that could threaten the company. Each employee found ways to save $5 a day, in 6 weeks they saved $2 million.

The company hiring policies are a little unorthodox, but people’s attitudes play a big part in their hiring decision. The attitudes they want include: “cheerfulness, optimism, decision-making ability, team spirit, communication, self-confidence and self starter skills.” Kelleher told his people to focus on service and pleasing the customer. He believed if you give excellent service and satisfy the customer, profits will follow.

Learn from Competitors, but Remain Faithful to the Vision

Sam Walton started with a small retail store and created a mega store. He had a trial and error process, but he learned from each mistake and continued to make changes throughout the years. He admitted that he “borrowed” ideas from competitors. He kept an eye on their product selection, prices, customers and service. Walton understood to keep an eye on the competition and to learn from them.

Many people have a hard time comprehending Walton’s most prevalent idea – the belief that lower prices bring higher profits. He bought products at very low prices because he bought in such bulk. Then he sold more than others and the profit grew. Look down the aisles of your local Wal-Mart. Most products are represented on the shelves, but there are only a couple of types of each product. Limiting the depth of selection gave Walton a wide breadth of products.


What common threads are seen with these seven CEO’s? Each one knew customers were a key to their success. They needed to supply a product the customer wanted and to do it better than their competitors. To do this, they needed to study their competition, use good ideas and improve on the bad ideas. These men knew a good idea was important, no matter where it originated. Many rewarded their employees for sharing good ideas and didn’t penalize bad ideas. The CEO’s acknowledged some of the best ideas came from employees.

Through the “CEO Quotient” questions in each chapter and practical examples, each CEO or small business owner can find invaluable tips. Even if you have heard the idea before, these men may procide a different slant on it that would benefit you and your business to reach heights you didn’t think was possible.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Garden of Beasts by Jeffrey Deaver

I LOVE a great Jeffrey Deaver book and over all these years, there was only one that I couldn't get into - but I really enjoyed Garden of Beasts. I decided to take some time for myself over the long July 4th weekend and that meant, I should read a Jeffery Deaver book :)

Garden of Beasts is set in the 1930's in Nazi German. Hitler is coming to power and some people were already beginning to see what a threat Hitler and Nazi Germany could become.

I love that the "hero" of the story is a button man. He kills people for money. But, he is very clear that he only kills bad people - people that deserve to die. Fixing nature's mistakes - that kind of thing. In the opening pages, he is waiting for his mark to come home, but something is wrong. Then he receives a call that the law is waiting for him downstairs. It seems that things are over for our hero before chapter 2, but this is a Deaver book - which means there will be plenty of twists and turns.

Our "hero" is offered a deal - if he will go to Germany to kill someone, he will be paid and can start a new life. He has a girlfriend and thinks this would be good. He can invest in the family printing business and live a respectable life. The only problem is that he has to go into Nazi Germany and kill one of Hitler's top men.

The mark is the man who is strategizing the rearmament of the Nazi party. He is finding loopholes for Hitler to build the army etc that it needs to be a world power - and still maintaining the appearance to the world that Hitler is within the limits set after World War I.

Our hero - Paul Schumann is off to Germany and his first day in town, there is a dead body and the Nazi's have been alerted that an assassin is in town. The olympics are about to start and Hitler wants the appearance of a peaceful city - the dead body and several skirmishes aren't helping his plans.

There are more twists and turns than I could layout for you here - but suffice it to say, every time you think the story is over - Deaver has another surprise waiting for you. There is great background and interesting perspectives on many of the big people in the Nazi party. I had to wonder how much of these comments and insights were true and how many were a fictional author taking some liberties :)

The array of characters in this book will give you insights into many aspects of Nazi Germany and the people who became collateral damage during Hitler's rise to power. There are many things in the book that you have to wonder if it could have been true. I can warn you that when you get to the last quarter of the book - don't even plan to put the book down. There is far too much happening and the twists and turns come at you at a lightning pace. Just settle into your chair and get a tall cold drink because you will be turning pages until you reach the end.

THe book is about 540 pages, but I easily finished it in part of 3 days. Its a very quick read and there is certainly enough to keep you interested. As in every Deaver book - don't think you know what will happen, because he has many tricks up his sleeves, that is one of the reasons I love his books. No one writes a thriller like Jeffrey Deaver.

PS - When I grow up I want to write like Jeffrey Deaver - in the mean time I'm going to keep searching for tricks of the trade in his books :)

Nikki Leigh

Out There by Diane Fanning

I'm sure most people heard about the astronaut love triangle and the former Shuttle astronaut who drove from Texas to Florida to confront the woman who had taken her lover's attention. That is the story that Diane Fanning tells in this book.

If you enjoy true crime and haven't read any Diane Fanning books, I highly recommend that you pick one up. This book is very good too.

She begins by recounting the confrontation we heard about in the news. That was the part of the story we all knew. Former shuttle astronaut drives to Florida to meet up with a woman who had captured the heart of her boyfriend. Two astronauts and a woman in the Air Force were involved and Lisa Nowak's arrest photo certainly didn't look like her NASA photos.

After recounting the news information, Diane takes us back to meet a very driven young girl who always dreamed of going into space. She watched the monumental mountains in US space history in the late 1960's and she wanted to go to space. In the 1960's that was a far off dream for any woman. Fanning tells us about much of NASA history and some military history as it related to women being permitted to fly.

We come along on the journey as Lisa Marie Caputo strives for excellence and pushes herself toward that dream. She graduates from high school and goes to the Naval Academy. There she meets her future husband Richard Nowak.

The family move all over the country, but each stage of their lives brings Lisa closer and closer to NASA. In the mean time, space travel is changing and eventually woman are being accepted into the astronaut program. We watch as Lisa learns of the Challenger explosion and as she wonders if the space program will continue in the US. Her dream gets so close before she loses friends in another shuttle disaster.

I really enjoyed how Fanning shares the internal and external forces that push Lisa Nowak as she marches toward her dream of going to space. No matter what happens in Lisa's world, she keeps that positive face for the world, but inside the cracks are starting to show.

Her good friend Bill Oefelein becomes her lover and although her marriage is still together, his marriage ends when his wife learns about the affair. But, over time, Bill's romantic interests change and he becomes involved with Air Force Captain Colleen Shipman. We learn that Bill eventually told Lisa that their romance was over, but his actions sent her mixed signals.

Diane Fanning gives us insights from many perspectives and many inspects into the lives of astronauts before, during and after space travel. I learned many things about NASA and the space program that I never knew and these details certainly added to the story. For anyone who would like to learn about the people behind the headlines in this bizarre case, I highly recommend Out There by Diane Fanning.

Nikki Leigh

The Chic Entrepreneur by Elizabeth W Gordon

The Chic Entrepreneur was written for female entrepreneurs. As a female entrepreneur who is not "girly" or "chicified" - I can still recommend the book. Some of the "chic" and "girly" reference can be distracting, but the actual business content contains plenty of valuable business set up, hiring, management and promotional information.

The Chic Entrepreneur - Put Your Business in High Heels by Elizabeth W Gordon

This book has a catchy title that is meant to appeal to women who are interested in becoming entrepreneurs. One problem is that not all women respond to the fashion and flirty explanation of things – in personal or business matters. Another big concern is the sections that talk about customers and compare this to flirting, marriage and batting your eyelashes. I was told the references are used metaphorically and hopefully readers won’t take these examples literally.

There are obviously some women who respond to this phraseology and comments, but women who don’t appreciate this approach can still learn a lot about business from this book. If this sort of reference appeals to you, read this book. If these references irritate you, I
recommend you read the book because there is plenty of great business information in the pages of this book and simply skim past the metaphors. For female entrepreneurs who are less “girly” – you can still learn plenty from this book.

Throughout the book, you will find “Chic Tips”. These are small sections which provide specific tips that relate to the content of each chapter. One example of a “Chic Tip” is: “Instead of figuring out what you can make and then how to sell it, ask the market what it wants or needs, then design a solution for it. Working backward is a market-focused way to take your new product development efforts forward.” At the end of each chapter you will find review questions about the content of each chapter.

The author provides in depth information on these key topics:

• What’s Your Value?

• Pick Your Niche.

• What Do Customers Really Want?

• Attract and Retain the Best Employees.

• Do You Know Your Cash Flow?

• Sales and Marketing Go Hand in Hand.

• Importance of Systematic Processes.

• Strategically Align Yourself.

• Have a Plan and Measure Your Results.

Various examples of the right way to proceed and the wrong way to proceed are included in the chapters. These explain various stages of the business process. There are plenty of individual examples within these stories to show things an entrepreneur should and shouldn’t do during each stage of your business.

Picking your niche or target market is a key when you are getting started. An effective entrepreneur must know who they want and need to attract to their business. Once that information is determined, review what these people need from you. What do they need and what can you effectively offer?

All good business books include information about how to bring in and keep the best employees. Your employees are a key to making your life as an entrepreneur “easier” and to helping you maintain great relationships with your customers, so never skip this important element of your business.

Many businesses are sunk because budgeting is not handled correct and no one really has control and knowledge of the business’ finances. Effective entrepreneurs need to have an accurate view of their finances from the beginning and stay in touch with the finances. One section in this chapter is about keeping personal and business money separate. This is a bit of extra work, but in the long run, it will save all sorts of potential problems and it makes tax preparation much easier when your personal money is separate fro business funds.

Should you advertise? That is a question the author asks in chapter six. The simple answer is a resounding YES. But, in the chapter, she goes into detail about why you promote and how to promote. She also includes a chart of several promotional options along with how often to do each, how to do it, why to do it and the results you should get. The chart is a good place to start and over time you can add or subtract things from that list as you find what sort of promotion is right for your business.

Something I’ve told every client over the years is to establish systems for your business. This makes it much easier to keep the business on track and a big benefit is that its great to have working systems to train new hires. Chapter seven discusses how to set up these systems, how to create a flow chart to make sure you include each step in the process. Over time, you will make changes to these systems and especially as the business grows and new people are hired, but having the basic systems established is a great benefit to you and your business.

Planning is crucial to having a successful business and that is discussed in detail. Learn how to set up things within your business so that you can track the results of promotion, service, specific products and much more. There is also a chapter about setting up strategic alliances with other businesses. Joint ventures and alliances can be great for your business, but they need to be established and executed in the right way for the most benefit.

There is much valuable business information to be learned in The Chic Entrepreneur. I recommend reading the business advise to learn more about how you can set up and run your business in an effective and successful way.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Transforming Power by Hugh Ballou

Transforming Power by Hugh Ballou

Hugh Ballou has over 40 years of experience as a choir director and has worked with small organizations and large organizations. I believe the largest had 12,000 members. Now, you may be asking yourself what a choir director knows about transforming power and how he can help entrepreneurs. That’s an interesting story.

As I’ve spoken with Hugh Ballou and as I read some of the articles and his book, it became very clear to me that the situations he faced with the choir members, the religious structure and the members of the congregations often reflect the situations we face in business. This is especially true when we talk about implementing change in any type of organization. This experience has given him a unique perspective when he deals with businesses and other organizations that need to make changes.

First, some detail about the structure of Transforming Power. The book was compiled by collecting personal experiences from over twenty different people who experienced a transformational change. Hugh Ballou hand picked the people that are included and asked the people to share a transformational story that would be beneficial and that would inspire others. Those stories are included in this book.

I looked up a couple of definition for “transformational change” -

A shift in the business culture of an organization resulting from a change in the underlying strategy and processes that the organization has used in the past. A transformational change is designed to be organization-wide and is enacted over a period of time. -

A qualitative change and an event that occurs when something passes from one state or phase to another. -

In the introduction, Hugh Ballou reminds us that each of us see the transformation from our own perspective and so each experience that is shared in the book, is told from that person’s perspective. There are interesting consistencies throughout the book that help illustrate how the need for transformational change can be a universal situation. Each story inspires and encourages leaders to begin the transformational process within their organization. This enables you, the reader, to begin to make a difference for the people who work with you and to the organization as a whole.

Over the years, I’ve noticed that people see “leadership” in many different ways. However, this is not talking about someone who was just put in charge of a group. A leader is much more than a manager or supervisor. A true leader accepts the challenge to help the people they lead. Our leadership can also help other people learn how to lead and to create a more positive and encouraging environment. The first step in this process is to realize if we need to make a change in ourselves. How can we honestly ask others to make a change, if we’re unwilling to make changes first?

There are key qualities that all transformational leaders should have. They include:

Sharing responsibilities.

Promoting creativity.

Clearly defining goals.

Effectively delegate to others.

Coach others in an effective way.

Celebrate accomplishments within the group and/or the organization.

Provide knowledge and education where needed.

Value the individuals in the group and/or organization.

Be a model of leadership.

A true leader can be a very powerful and encouraging person. However, something interesting that stood out to me as I read the book was that each story showed us some concern, vulnerability, fear etc. We each have concerns about change and especially major changes. The people who contributed to this project showed us those very human traits. I found it encouraging to realize those traits are common in this sort of situation.

Several of the experiences showed how people tell us they want change, but once the change begins, we see another side to them. It’s important to understand that sometimes they want a change that will make things better for them. Change is one of those times when you will experience growing pains – or we could call them changing pains. Any change will bring some difficulties within the process and as the change is happening. True and lasting change takes time and a transformational leader needs to be prepared for the complete journey.

As a leader is leading the group through a change, they have the opportunity to create a “community” feel and approach to the project. This community atmosphere has the power to create a synergy that is very beneficial to the change that is happening and the people who are involved. It isn’t productive to approach these changes in a dictatorial way. Leading and using the community approach is much more effective and lasting than a dictatorial approach. The community attitude also allows others to step up and be involved in many aspects of the changes that are being made.

Effective communication, delegation and planning are key to a change. When you begin a change, do you communicate the ideas? Do you find qualified people for delegated responsibilities? Are thorough plans developed to assist the change go smoothly? These things help the change process. There may be problems along the way, but leaders who take these initial steps have a higher chance for success.

All these points are illustrated very effectively in Transforming Power. A number of the examples relate to church situations and I enjoyed reading how effectively these approaches and techniques can be used in any organizational situation. Is your group or organization in need of change? This is a book you must read and you will be able to apply many of the examples that are included in your business, church or organization. For a special offer during August 2008, visit

NOTE - For more details about Hugh Ballou – visit Book information available at For full tour details, visit

A SPECIAL BONUS TO EACH PERSON WHO PURCHASES TRANSFORMING POWER TODAY – Hugh Ballou has compiled a list of great FREE bonus gifts for anyone who purchases Transforming Power today. To see a sample of the items that are being given away, visit Just buy a copy of Transforming Power, return to this page and click to submit your invoice number to receive the web page link to download all of these gifts for FREE.

Nikki Leigh – Author, Publicist and Tour Coordinator – Book Promo 101: Learn the Basics of Book Promotion

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Get Noticed Get Referrals by Jill Lublin

How many times have you heard that you need to make a name for yourself? That’s something I’ve heard in many different contexts over the years. Get noticed, get referrals and networking – these are all powerful strategies that all business people should utilize.

Jill Lublin writes in an easy to understand manner that walks you through the process of getting noticed and getting referrals. This book focuses on getting noticed and networking in the real world, not on the internet. (But, I hear that her next book will deal with online promotion.)

Are you one of the entrepreneurs who feels that networking and generating referrals is something you could never do? Let’s think about that for a minute. What is a referral? Last time you saw a great movie or discovered a new restaurant, did you tell your friends about it? That is a referral. Have you ever had a friend recommend a doctor or a show? That is a referral. Getting and giving referrals can be just that easy. When people know you and understand what you do, it is easy for them to give you referrals.

Why do you want referrals? That’s easy, referrals are a great way to find new clients for your business. But, I’m getting ahead of myself. Sorry, I do that when I talk about referrals and networking because I’ve seen the “magic” in action and it is wonderful for your business.

First you need to get noticed. That is the first thing that Jill Lublin helps you understand in her book. Take a few minutes and think about your business. How many times have you gotten what you need through a recommendation from someone else? It could be a location, a supplier, an advertiser or clients – any of these things can be recommended by another person. These are referrals.

We have to put forth the effort to “get out there”. This means that you have to get noticed through meeting people and interacting with them. Jill gives some great pointers on how to do this. One of my favorite points was “to be completely there”. This simply means that you need to focus on the person you meet and really get to know them. Don’t scan the room for “someone better”. You never know which person could be a key to your future, so focus on each person individually and get to know them. These are the first steps in beginning to build new business relationships.

Throughout the book, Jill Lublin gives us Action Plans. These are at the end of each chapter and they help the reader implement the information they have read. What good is the information if you can’t figure out how to use it in your business? She also provides a wonderful Client Worksheet to give us an idea of what matters we should discuss with a new client. This is only a sample, but could be used to develop a checklist that is appropriate for each of us. The checklist is only a part of the information in Chapter Two about how to deal with clients effectively.

One of the chapters I included was about myths and misconceptions. There are so many myths in business and she chose fourteen common misconceptions and explains why they are not true. It’s a short chapter, but it can be an eye opener.

Where can you go to get noticed and to start this process? Chapter Six gives plenty of examples of where to go and she even suggests that you can start your own group. Once you get “out there”, you need to make a good first impression. Before you go to those networking meetings or the chamber of commerce mixer, read chapter seven. Jill Lublin takes you step by step through the process of making a great first impression and getting started on the road to referrals.

Some advanced networking information includes:

Chapter 8 – Goals, Intentions and Strategies Chapter 9 – Cultivate the Media Chapter 11 – Focus, Focus, Focus Chapter 12 – Always Keep It Real Chapter 15 – Be Flexible and Keep Your Options Open The book contains a wide variety of information to help you get noticed and get referrals, but one of my favorite chapters is number fourteen – Service Makes a Difference. I don’t know about you, but I feel outstanding customer service is a thing of the past in many businesses today. Its sad, but how often have you gone into a business, emailed a business or called a business and been ignored or put on hold for an extended period of time?

Getting Noticed and getting referrals is a great start, but once you have the customer, you must knock their socks off with great customer service. Jill Lublin gives us the ten commandments of business, she tells us to be pleasant, respond to customers, encourage people to come back and to use heart centered marketing. Those are the subheadings in chapter fourteen, but I’ll let you discover the hidden treasures about how to give outstanding customer service.

I recommend this book for any business person who needs to learn how to get noticed. Even if you are getting noticed, are you getting referrals from others? If you aren’t getting referrals and your aren’t networking – you’re missing a big piece of the entrepreneurial puzzle. Jill Lublin’s new book can give you the networking pieces of the puzzle that you’re missing. You can learn much more about Jill Lublin and Get Noticed… Get Referrals at and