First Impressions are Critically Important- Here’s Why.

Don't screw up an important part of your customer relationships.

Don’t screw up an extremely important part of your customer relationships.

To an exceptional degree, customers evaluate your company according to their initial brush or full fledged contact with you.

What does this mean for you?

It means, that the way you approach initial conversations with prospects and customers is critical to the success of the relationship from that point on. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase ‘perception is reality‘, right? Well, its a very true and powerful message. Even if your intentions are good, the thing that matters most is your delivery of information and answers.

Here are a few reminders on how to make sure that first impression is a positive, and lasting one:

  • Use positive, can-do language. Words like ‘absolutely’, ‘certainly’, ‘right away’, etc, set the tone for the conversation and show the prospect/customer that you are enthusiastic about helping them. Of course, use in moderation so not to come off as insincere.
  • Say ‘Thank You’, often. If it were not for your customers, you would not be in business. Thank them for choosing you and working with you.
  • Focus on customer needs, not products. Before offering any suggestions on product or services, you need to ask good questions to find out what the prospect/customer actually needs. Questions related to their project, past experiences, budget, priority list, etc. If you show genuine interest in what they are doing, the sale will be effortless.

Make it SUPER easy to do business with you. Customers come to us for one reason, and one reason only- THEY NEED HELP WITH SOMETHING. It’s your job to not only make it easy for them to get answers, but to get them excited about how we can HELP them.

Remember, to an exceptional degree, customers evaluate your company according to their initial brush or full fledged contact with you. YOU are their initial contact, make it a good one!

Take Action: Think of two ways you can make your first impressions more memorable, and put them in place tomorrow.


5 Steps to Uncovering the Root Problem


Focusing only on surface level problems can lead to wasted effort and incorrect outcomes.

Have you ever spent a bunch of time working on a problem only later to realize you merely addressed a symptom? The problem still exists and you’re back to square one.

Well, there’s a simple but extremely effective technique that allows you to quickly identify root problems by asking ‘Why’. It’s called the 5-Why’s technique.

Here’s how it works, and why its so effective.

Asking ‘why’ after each surface level problem is sited can allow you to identify the root problem in a matter of minutes.

Here’s an easy-to-understand example of this technique in action:
The vehicle will not start. (the problem)
Why? – The battery is dead. (first why)
Why? – The alternator is not functioning. (second why)
Why? – The alternator belt has broken. (third why)
Why? – The alternator belt was well beyond its useful service life and not replaced. (fourth why)
Why? – The vehicle was not maintained according to the recommended service schedule

Take Action: Next time you have a [possible] problem on your hands, use the 5-Why’s process to determine if the initially stated issue is actually the root problem, or merely a symptom.


In 2013, reduce your complaints with this one easy tip.

Multi-ethnic group portrait

Want to have a better year in 2013? A less stressful one? Take the amount you complained in 2012, and reduce it by 25%, starting today. Hell, reduce it by 50% even. Whatever you do, complain less, and contribute to solutions more.

Instead of complaining, be a part of the solution. Complaining accomplishes nothing.

So the next time you feel the urge to complain about a situation you find yourself in….stop and ask yourself the following question:

How can I solve, or assist in solving the problem I am about to complain about?

I’ve found that the most of the complaints I encounter are actually related to small, relatively insignificant things that can easily be solved by stepping back and looking at it from another angle. The problem solver angle ;)

Be a part of the solution!


The Best To-Do item you will ever find….ever!

checklist image

At the very top of your new to-do list in 2013 should be this one, very powerful item.

STOP DOING X [for X, insert a task that does not move you toward your goals]

Seriously. I started, or should I say stopped, doing certain things that were holding me back and causing stress, and it’s been a tremendous help. One [little] big change I made was to stop checking my emails every 5 seconds. THERE’S NO NEED FOR IT, TJ! Instead, I try to set check points in my day where I allow myself to take my attention off a certain task or project to check email.

Take action: Choose a few things in your day to day that do not move you toward your goals, and stop frigging doing them! Seriously.

Have a happy new year!


Think like a millionaire: Top 10 ‘Trep’ Talks of 2012

1. Barbara Corcoran’s Angel Investor Checklist
Before investing money in a business, the Shark Tank star and angel investor will put its owner through the paces. Here, she reveals the hard-hitting questions any startup should be ready to answer.

2. Barbara Corcoran on the Secret to Handling Rejection
The Shark Tank star and angel investor says when faced with rejection, it’s all about how you get back up. She explains why failing well has always helped her in business.

3. Dermalogica’s Jane Wurwand on the Creative Process
Ideas are everywhere, if you’re curious and willing to look for inspiration in your everyday life. The skin care mogul offers insight on how she comes up with new ideas for her company.

4. Serial Entrepreneur Gurbaksh Chahal on Turning Obstacles into Opportunities
The young multimillionaire welcomes us into his San Francisco high-rise apartment to shares his personal story: how he shook off bullies, how family fueled his drive to succeed, and how startups can change a conversation to get noticed.

5. Multimillionaire Entrepreneur Jane Wurwand on Self-Reliance
The founder of skincare brand Dermalogica recounts her road to success, including the humbling moment that led to a powerful mantra. Plus, why she is relentless in her support of women entrepreneurs.

See the rest of the videos at



Don’t be an eight-percenter


Two more days until the new year is officially here. And that means…..lots of impending, or already decided upon resolutions. What’s yours?

Here’s a glimpse at what ‘most’ Americans proposed to themselves in 2012, and my guess is that it’s not a whole lot different as we head into 2013 (thankfully we are still alive and the world didn’t actually end).


1: Lose Weight
2: Getting Organized
3: Spend Less, Save More
4: Enjoy Life to the Fullest
5: Staying Fit and Healthy
6: Learn Something Exciting
7: Quit Smoking
8: Help Others in Their Dreams
9: Fall in Love
10 Spend More Time with Family

The resolutions, as they stand, are not the interesting part, in my opinion. It’s the average success rate of resolutions in general. IT’S ONLY 8 FRIGGING PERCENT! That being said, you are 10 times more likely to attain your goals if you explicity lay them out as a resolution vs. implicity deciding you want something- Not a bad stat.

As for me, well…….I have three [main] resolutions for 2013. Here they are:

  1. Start a blog and begin writing again. I got the ‘start’ part down, and fully intend to keep this rolling. Hoping my readers will keep me to this. Check back regularly and make sure I’m sticking to my word. If I slip up, contact me and yell at me- I’m cool with it.
  2. Add a professional certification to my portfolio. I had planned to do this one last year….and didn’t. I guess I am a statistic. Giving it another shot this year.
  3. Enjoy more of life. While this one is a bit more challenging to quantify, it doesn’t matter. I read a semi-obvious, yet still startling breakdown of the hours spent in life working and sleeping, so my goal is to make sure I am making the absolute most of hours I have. For me, and my family.

Well….Best of luck on your resolutions. DON’T BE AN 8-PERCENTER!

Move fast. Move forward.

Source: University of Scranton. Journal of Clinical Psychology


WOW Experience

I went to my local Home Depot today to pick up some paint, to paint our bathroom. Nothing out of the norm when I walked in…people walking by, greeters ignoring me, etc.

Anyway, I walked up to the paint counter and stood there for a minute while the ‘paint man’ wrapped up with another customer. The paint man was a gentleman probably in his early 50′s.

I could kind of overhear the ‘paint man’ talking to the customer, and it sounded like they might be friends or something, judging by the casualness of the conversation and the smiles on both mens faces…Hmmm.

Then the ‘paint man’ walked over to me and said, “how you doing to today, sir!”, with enough enthusiasum to knock me back about 10 feet…I LIKE IT!

He asked me how he could help me, and I told him I needed a gallon of some specific light blue paint. He then proceeded to ask me some quesitons about my project…what room it was going in, what type of paint was currently on the walls, etc, etc.

STUNNED!! This guy really seems to care about my painting project, and wants to make sure I get the right stuff for the job. This never happens…I feel like I’m on pranked or something.

After we went through the questions and came to a conclusion on the type of paint I REALLY needed (which wasn’t what I started out for), he asked me my name, and then introduced himself as Bobby- the Mix Master (because he mixes any color of paint his customers can dream of). VERY COOL.

Some advice for all the Home Depot’s, and really any other store in the world, call Bobby, the mix master, and HAVE HIM TRAIN YOUR ENTIRE STAFF….NOW.

People in businesses who show genuine concern for their customers needs, and do it willingly and happily with a huge smile on their face, WIN. Not only do the people win, the businesses win if you can get enough people in the organization to follow suit. WRITE THAT DOWN!

Thanks Mix Master, my room looks great!


First post….kindasorta

for whatever reason I stopped writing on my old blog, but decided that one of my new year resolutions will be to start again. So…….I’m building this site to do exactly that. Stay tuned. First REAL post to come no later than 1.1.2013.