Dude, You’re Gonna Need More Than 15 Minutes3

By Tibor Shanto – tibor.shanto@sellbetter.ca

Just 15 minutes

Sales people are constantly working at communicating value to their buyers, especially in the early stages of the cycle, lead gen to prospecting and engaging the buyer to where they could complete an effective Discovery process.   After sellers have done all the work involved in getting to the point where they can engage with a buyer, I am always surprised at how easily they are willing to undermine it, and risk their opportunity by saying something completely unnecessary, and serves only to sooth their nerves.

The expression that does this most is “I just need 15 minutes of your time” or “A quick 15 minutes”.  Both are stupid and useless, the second is one I never did get, how is a “quick 15 minutes” different than 15 minutes, don’t all minutes have 60 seconds, it is just the quality of the content that seems to make some minutes last a lifetime.

I know why it is used, generally comes down to two things, both can be dealt with more intelligently and effectively.  First is the popular notion that if you can get 15 minutes, and do well, they’ll give you an encore and you can stretch it out; I guess we all think we can do a good job.  On the other hand I used to work for a VP of Sales who managed his calendar down to the minute, busy guy.  He would ask you how long you needed, and would book you in for that time, if you said 15 minutes, he would end the meeting right at 15 minutes.  He wasn’t rude, he had to get to his next scheduled meeting, if you couldn’t live up to the expectation I set, it was your issue, not his, you had to deal with it, not him.

Which brings us to the first contradiction, most decision makers have more than what to do in a day, how realistic is that they don’t have other meetings behind your, or other things that require their time and attention.  Yes, no doubt we have all had instances where we were able to extend 15 minutes in to 45 or even 60 minutes, but an occasional anomaly does not make for a sound strategy.

The other issue with this approach is that you are in fact misleading the prospect before you have even met them.  Think about it, do you really want to start things off by lying to the prospective buyer?  Any way you rationalize it, that is exactly what you are doing, not a good foundation for a trust based relationship.

The second reason sales people do this is linked to the first, and just as weak.  Specifically they are trying to minimize the apparent impact on the buyer, trying to make it “easy” on them, “Your time will not be wasted”, is the implication.  But unless you are selling a coffee service or window cleaning, how much real or tangible value can you effectively communicate.  More so, when you are selling what you would call a “solution”, where information has to be exchanged, 15 minutes is not going to get you there, you can pretend all you want, you are going to pitch, worse, you are going to ‘speed pitch’.

Some will tell me, “I can at least get things started”, sure then comeback and continue, with a bit of recapping, you are costing you and the buyer more time.  By asking for 15 minutes you are undermining your  so called “value proposition”.  What the prospect hears is that this is so basic and unimportant, what they are asking themselves is as follows: “we’re going to make real progress in 15, can’t be that important or unique, maybe it can wait, or I can delegate it to someone who deals with unimportant things.”

Think about it, assuming things get started, small talk, while you assume they checked out your web site, you have to validate; if they did, you still need to create context, if they didn’t you have to do a bit more than that.  From here, you need to at least go through the motions of gather information or executing a Discovery of facts and objective. Ah, look at that time is up!  I remember someone trying to sell me an ad in local board of trade directory, they said they just need 15 minutes, I pointed out to him that he will need to ask me some questions, I will certainly have some for him, so let’s get real, how much time will we really need, he was honest enough to come across with a real time frame.

What’s worse, it is usually the seller who brings time in to the equation, not the prospect, again communicating a lack of confidence in their offering, or their ability to sell, or both.  Just stop this juvenile practice, and sell.

Now I know that there times when you will be asked by a prospect how much time you need; in my case I gear my first meetings to about an hour, I am the one that gets antsy after 50 minutes.  But rather than saying “one hour”, I pause, and ask, “how long can you give me?”  They usually come back and say “is an hour enough?”  Touch down!

But assuming they ask again, I just say “I usually need about 30 minutes for Discovery, I assume you’ll have some questions, so 40 minutes is safe.”  If I feel they have a sense of humor, I add “any longer than that I take as interest on your part.”

I do have people who say “I can give you 30 minutes.”  Great I can work with that; if they offer 15 minutes, I say no, I know what is going to happen, it is not a good use of my time, my most important resource.  Either we can find a mutually better time, or on to the next one.  If you have lots of prospects, this is not an issue, if you only have one or two, you may have to settle for the scraps that a quick 15 minutes represent.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

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Why So Picky?80

A few weeks ago, a friend took me to a restaurant opening, he knew the chef, who apparently was well know with a world wide following. We were introduced me after our meal, I told him I loved the curried eggplant dish, and he offered me the recipe. Last week I decided it was time for me to whip up a batch at home.

I sat down to enjoy my creation, and noticed it was not the same as the dish I was served at the restaurant opening, it was missing something.

Well specifically what it was missing were some of the ingredients I decided to leave out when making the dish, not to mention some improvisation on cooking times and order of mixing.  There were some ingredients that I thought I did not like or just didn’t appeal to me, even though they were part of the great dish I was served a few weeks back, part of the great experience I was trying to recreate.

Very much like some of the sales people who attend my programs and I am sure others.  They are enthusiastic as you present them with strategies, lines of thinking about specific situations they face in selling, proven techniques, and step by step instructions on how to successfully and consistently execute things.  They nod, they take copious notes, often we have them create their plans while we are with them so they can fully execute the next morning.  I even tell them that I’ll be back in a week to help them stay on course and win more sales.

Yet when I do come back, I find that they putzed (yes it’s a word look it up) with the recipe, the means of setting things up, and how they (if) execute.  And guess what, much like me with the eggplant, they are disappointed with the results.  Difference being, I may have messed up a meal, they are messing up their sales, livelihood, and success.  As best I know, no one has ever died using any of the approaches I present, no one has lost limbs, or even a job; and while I understand, based on my experience why, my success does not depend on the outcome of my experimentation.

I understand why some may be reluctant to try, but I also understand the upside of trying something new, especially when they are supported by their organization and more; maybe it is just fear of success.   But to paraphrase a quote, “the approach you are using now, is perfect for the results you are getting.”  So if you want to change the results you need to change the approach, and when you adopt a new approach you need to adopt it as a whole, not pick and chose what you like, and what you don’t.  After all, it is the choices you have made to date that have gotten you to where you are. 

Make a choice to change, improve, and gain more.  Trying something new leads to a new experiences, and outcomes.

So I am going back in the kitchen tonight, and following the recipe, and looking forward to the result, will you do the same in adopting a new approach to your sales success?

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

Ten Point Phone Marketing Checkup for Lead Generation and Qualification16

The Pipeline Guest Post – Michael A. Brown

Rate what you do and how you do it. Then add up the points.

1.    The calling lists we rent or buy are based on

Demographics; e.g., SIC code, number of employees. Zero points
Business actions; e.g., moves, mergers, new processes. One point.
Affinities; e.g., related purchases, memberships. One point.

2.    We get our reps ready to call and then improve their skills by

Training and practice. One point.
Teaming with another rep. Zero points.
Throwing them on the phone. Subtract one point.
I don’t know. Subtract one point.

3.    When on the phone our callers follow

Scripts. Zero points.
Call/question guides. One point.
The data fields on their computer screen. Subtract one point.
Their instincts. Subtract one point.

4.    Our supervisors and managers monitor calls and coach our reps

Every day. One point.
When they can. Zero points.
Seldom. Zero points.
Never. Subtract one point.
I don’t know. Zero points.

5.    In how many seconds can your callers describe what your company does?

5-10. One point.
10-15. Zero points.
15-up. Subtract one point.
We’re so well known, they don’t have to. One point.

6.    What portion of lead generation calls results in substantive conversations?

Less than 5%. Subtract two points.
5% – 15%. Subtract one point.
15% – 25%. Zero points.
25% – 50%. One point.
50% up. Two points.
I don’t know. Zero points.

7.    What portion of lead generation and qualification conversations results in the prospect taking the next step in your marketing or sales process?

Less than 5%. Subtract two points.
5% – 15%. Subtract one point.
15% – 25%. Zero points.
25% – 50%. One point.
50% up. Two points.
I don’t know. Zero points.

8.    After the calls, we classify our leads as

Qualified or not qualified. Zero points.
Hot, medium, cool or A, B, C. Zero points.
Rated on a point-scale according to agreed criteria. Two points.
Whatever our gut and experience say. Subtract one point.
We don’t classify, we just send them along. Subtract two points.

9.    Your level of confidence that your own CEO would accept the kind of calls your reps are making

Slim to none. Subtract two points.
Quite low. Subtract one point.
So-so. Zero points.
Pretty high. One point.
Certain. Two points.
I don’t know. Subtract one point.

10.    Your level of confidence that your sales channel(s) will act on the leads you produce

Slim to none. Subtract two points.
Quite low. Subtract one point.
So-so. Zero points.
Pretty high. One point.
Certain. Two points.
I don’t know. Subtract one point.

Ten points or higher? You’re looking good. Congratulations!

Nine or eight? Make the tactical adjustments before your competitors force the issue for you.

Seven or six? Your lead efforts probably are mismatched to your sales requirements and almost certainly under-performing as well. Better make some big improvements.

Under six? Stop reading this and get professional guidance right now.

© 2011, Michael A. Brown

About Michael Brown

Michael A. Brown helps business marketers approach, influence, advance, and sell … via consulting and training. Clients include a “who’s who” of successful companies, from startups to the Fortune 100. Contact Michael in Austin, Texas, 800 373-3966. www.BtoBEngage.com

Happy New Year!21

So here we are, December 31, last day of 2010, a year that many will be glad to see end, others having seen it as a brighter alternative to 2009, either way a day to celebrate accomplishments and to look forward to challenges of 2011.

In celebrating 2010, I looked back and selected a post from each month over the last 12 months.  These are not necessarily my best post from each month, but ones that on reflection caught my fancy.  See if you agree, and if you don’t we’ll still be friends.

January:
Socializing Sales

February:
Stoke Your Sales Fires

March:
Reputation 2.0

April:
Change – Or – Improvement

May:
Saturday Sales Tip – 18 – Take It Away!

June:
Out Of The Box Thinking

July:
What’s My Job?

August:
Velocity – Sales Myth or Objective – Sales eXchange – 57

September:
PRIDE – Part III – Initiative

October:
The Proactive 20% – Sales eXchange – 68

November:
Is Your Pipeline Managing You?

December:
Coming Attraction Call – Sales eXchange – 74

Looking forward to 2011, I will continue to post three times a week, but there will be some new and I think interesting features that will make The Pipeline a better experience for all of you.  One thing is the introduction of a weekly post by a guest blogger.  These bloggers will include the best in sales and other practices, sharing their views and best practices.  Stick with us and by this time next year you will have had the opportunity to be introduced to 52 different opinion leaders, and the ability to continue enjoying them on their blogs.

We will also be making more regular use of media other than print, including video, audio and who knows what else.

So are you ready for 2011, I am bring it on!

Happy New Year!
Tibor Shanto

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Word UP (a free book from the SBU) – Saturday Sales Tip – 2826

Today’s  post actually offers a multiple bonus in the form of multiple tips from a group of diverse and leading sales leaders.  As many of you know I am a member of the Sales Bloggers Union, a collection of leading sales bloggers from around the world who each month write on one specific topic, giving the visitors to the blog the opportunity to get a dozen diverse views of the same topic.  Each blogger take up the topic based on their point of reference without any coordination around a common agenda or view, just their take, which at times conflicts with another blogger’s take.

The group has just released an e-book called “Word UP“, where each contributor selected one word that for them is the essence of sales.  Then we each elaborated on our word, giving it meat and substance in no more than 125 words.  What you have is 9 words delivered to you to help you Sell Better without having to weed through a Tolstoy like e-book to get to a point you can actually use and make sales with.  The result is Word UP, Less Filling – More Satisfying.  The words and contributors are:

OutrageousDan Waldschmidt
PassionKelley Robertson
ThinkDavid A Brock
AuthenticLeanne Hoagland
EngagementSkip Anderson
BeS. Anthony Iannarino
HeroJerry Kennedy
VelocityCraig Elias
ExecutionTibor Shanto

So the Saturday Sales Tip for today, is download the e-book now, have read it by the time the World Cup final  starts tomorrow afternoon, and put it into practice first thing Monday, and truly have a great start to the second half of the year.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

Time Out for Timing – Saturday Sales Tip – 2719

This being a long weekend on both side of the border, both celebrating their respective independence coming conveniently at the midpoint of the year.  (Do you think there was a consultant making a lot of money helping new countries consider the impact on future generations of sales professionals of having their independence day right at the middle of the year.  “Act now, the 4th and 1st are taken, poor France had to settle for the 14th“.) It provides a great opportunity to step back a minute, review and make adjustments for the remainder of the year.  There are a number of things that can be looked, and we won’t go through tem all because I think if you look at one and make adjustments, you will have a positive impact on most.   The thing to examine is how you are allocating your time.

In the past we have spoken about the need to not worry about managing your time, see Allocate Time – Manage Activities, but why it is more important to allocate the right amount of time to key activities, and then managing yourself and activities within the time allocated.  The goal is to understand what activities you have to execute to deliver against goal, how much of your time you need to spend on each activity to succeed, and then allocate the time and stick to the activity.  In the article cited above, the example (example, not a rule or recommendation) is:

Admin 12%
Account Management 31%
Selling 36%
Prospecting 21%

That is the percentage of time over a cycle you spend on each activity.  What we find is that if someone is not on target half way through the year, they have generally not spent the agreed on time with each key activity.   For instance in the above, it may look like:

Admin 15%
Account Management 45%
Selling 35%
Prospecting 5%

 By recalibrating, making sure that they perform things in the right proportion, they are often able to get back on track.  While we understand and appreciate the many challenges a sales professional faces, and all the reason they can be thrown off track, the goal here is not to explore each of those, but to get you to understand the importance of time allocation on each activity, and to get you to take ownership for managing.  Not managing the time, but managing what you do with it.

It is also a good idea to do this at the mid-point even if you are on target.  There could be changes in market conditions, products, etc.  By doing a quick reality check you may find that things are good as they are, or on the upside, you may find an opportunity to make adjustments that will accelerate and propel your success.

The key is that since time is the only non-renewable resource in sales, you can impact a lot of other things involved in your sale by making simple adjustment to time allocation and adhering to the activity it was allocated to.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

Did iPhone 4 Hang Up On Customers? – Saturday Sales Tip – 2622

One of the key lessons every sales professional has to learn and accept (and the earlier in their career the better), is that perception is reality, and the only perception that counts is the buyer’s.  Once you learn this lesson you can begin to focus on communicating and delivering value, the right experience and the right perception to you customers.  Few can escape or buck this reality.  The ones that do, and usually they can’t do it ongoingly, are companies that achieve cult status with their followers and can risk occasionally taking them for granted , most companies can’t.  One company that can is Apple, and it would appear that they may be doing just that.

If you are a read of this blog you know I had an interesting experience with Apple earlier this year.  I don’t dislike apple, the stock has made me money, their phones look nice, and I was considering getting one till the launch of the iPhone 4 this week.  While early reviews were good, users began to complain about dropped calls and a lack of signal.  IPhone 4 flaw can cause loss of cell strength

Most companies would have to respond in a considered way, ensuring that the news and rumours don’t get ahead of the facts and that a viable resolution is offered.  Which is why I was surprised to see the initial response from the manufacturer, here is what Apple put out:

“This is a fact of life for every wireless phone. If you ever experience this on your Phone 4, avoid gripping it in the lower left corner in a way that covers both sides of the black strip in the metal band, or simply use one of many available cases.” Wired.com June 25, 2010

Or as the headline in the above story suggested “you are holding it wrong”.

OK, so what can we do about that?

Apple’s suggestion: The problem can be resolved by getting a case for the iPhone, cost $29.

Now don’t get me wrong, $29 makes for a good lunch, but it is the attitude towards that customer that makes this response amazing.  Can you imagine if this was Ford or some other mortal company was faced with a similar scenario?  They would not only have to deal with the recall, but bear the expense of the fix, i.e. the cost of the case.

While this is not likely to unravel Apple and the success of the iPhone 4, it is a good example of how even a small whiff of complacency and customers being taken for granted or even ignored can cost immediate business and potential long-term impact.

While it may be tempting to ignore customers, even if the issue is small and easily resolved, it is not advisable.  It is much better to deal with things, even when it may just be perception, than potentially dealing with the reality of a scorned  customer.  Speaking of perception, what’s you perception of the HTC Android phones?

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

Be A Trader – Saturday Sales Tip – 2522

Selling at its best has always been a game of trading, a balance of give and take.  This may be more obvious and used more often in the context of negotiations, especially price towards the latter part of the deal, but you can barter and horse trade throughout the cycle not only to achieve your objectives, but as a means of accelerating the deal.

As with most things in sales, execution is key, and key to execution is planning, an activity many in sales don’t much take to.  I suppose you can succeed by reacting on the spot and trading something for another; but you can leverage it so much more if you plan it in advance.  By planning and knowing it in advance you will be able to work towards it with the way you conduct your Discovery and Impact portion of the sale.  By planning in advance you can set the flow and move towards objective with more conviction and velocity.

There are a bunch of subtle thing you can “trade” to achieve results.  Many think it has to be tangible but it does not.  One thing you can trade is “personal validation” in the form of an ego stroke.  You can educate a buyer or you can lecture to a buyer, we prefer the former.  To do that the first thing you have to do is open their mind and create the opportunity to learn.  At times, the easiest way to do that is to allow the buyer to teach you something first, to give them the opportunity to be “the man”, to be right.  You’ll find that when you do that they will be more open to “learning from you”.  So plan ways to introduce subjects where you are willing to concede on so you can use it early to Engage and involve the client.

You can also trade access to either people, resources, or things like events.  One simple example would be a trade to meet your executive in return to the buyer bringing executives from his/her (so PC) company.  Other examples would be access to a resource, a buyer could use or has expressed interest in a technician or expert, of equipment, trade that for concrete solid commitment that specifically move the sale forward.  Events would be industry or process events, not hockey or basketball games.

The obvious is trading related to price, but even here you can plan in advance and get not only forward movement, but accelerate commitment time, so even when you are put in a position to make concession, one gain is completing the deal soon, and being able to invoice now vs. the future.  No matter what you choose to trade, make sure it is planned in advance, and moves your agenda forward.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

Dealing With The Obvious – Saturday Sales Tip – 249

Sales people are notorious for their egos, and while it may usually serve them well, often it also gets in the way, especially when it drives to behave in certain ways, especially when it prevents them from dealing with some obvious things.  This usually comes down to two things, protecting their pride, and making assumptions about things they should not be making assumptions about.

As sales people we are often experts in the specific areas; after all we spend our time dealing with different people taking many different approaches to the same challenge.  So we not only get exposed to a range of solutions, but we can usually identify which may fir a specific circumstance, and which don’t.  The problem becomes when we don’t use our expertise to engage with customers, but instead make assumptions about specific situations and act based on those assumptions.  The thing to remember is that the goal early in the sales process is not to be right, but to engage.  So even when something is obvious, it is better to ask or speak about it to facilitate engagement, than to skip past because you’ve seen this before and “you know”.  Even if you know, you may as well deal with it as a means of creating dialogue, which will uncover other facts and maybe opportunities.

Other time it is simply a case of pride, and not wanting to look stupid or to pushy when you are just curious.  As an example, during our Proactive Prospecting Program, we talk about what happens when you cold call a prospect and they say “you know, give me a call in October”.  To us the obvious question is “help me understand what will change between now and October so I can be prepared?”  (This will be the subject of next week’s Saturday Sales Tip).  But many are reluctant to ask, why, here what I hear a lot:

  • Don’t want to seem pushy or salesy
  • Don’t want to look like I don’t know
  • It is not important, I’ll just call back

Not knowing is not the worst, missing a sale is.  What if you asked, and instead of seeming pushy, you seemed thorough?  What if you asked and you found out something that would allow you and he prospect to act now?  What if you all your competitors call back in October, wouldn’t it be better to move ahead now?

Nothing is too obvious, except missed goals and an empty pipeline.

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

Please Don’t Steal This Post! – Saturday Sales Tip – 2330

I want to start by thanking everybody who reads this blog regularly, not only for reading it, but for the regular stream of feedback and suggestions to improve.  I take that to heart and work hard to incorporate suggestions.  Key being that I work hard, as do other bloggers putting out a stream of original and creative content aimed at helping the sales community.  I also want to thank those other bloggers and site owners who have reposted my pieces and those of fellow content creators and given us the proper credit and attribution.  I, and as I suspect my fellow bloggers, welcome and appreciate when our work is recognized and properly credited.

So in comes, Michael J. Roman – - Time to jeer and boo the villain of out real life drama has made his entrance.  He loves other people content so much that he adopts it to be his own, and in an effort not to confuse the readers of his “blog?”, he doesn’t credit the original author, but simplifies matters by pretending and resenting the content as his own.  For Shame! While I could go on, I think you can get a greater sense of the crime by reposting two posts by two friends and sales authors who have been victimised by Michael J. Roman.  At the end of Jonathan Farrington’s and Kelley Robertson’s posts, you’ll find links to other like minded bloggers dealing with this serious problem of intellectual property theft.  So today’s Saturday Sales Tip is simple:  Don’t Steal – Don’t Take Credit For Other People’s Work - not even mine!

Please tweet, retweet and spread the word about this form of Swine Flu!

 Jonathan Farrington’s post, originally posted on JF Blogit

When Plagiarism Is NOT Flattering – Stand Up Michael J. Roman

I would like to introduce you to Michael J. Roman – Michael who? Exactly. But after today, so many more people will be familiar with that name, as it flies around the “Blogosphere” and becomes the topic of much “Twittering”

Here is how Michael describes himself:

“Michael is a POLISHED BUSINESS EXECUTIVE with a proven history of success including nearly fifteen years of successful leadership experience.

Michael is highly skilled in effective, strategic management of sales, operations, administrative, and consulting professionals in addition to full operations and profit and loss (P&L) management…..” Etc. etc. You can read more here

You may also be impressed by Michael’s “core values” particularly this one:

“Integrity – The most important of all values. Michael’s belief is that integrity is not optional, nor is it situational.”

I always feel uncomfortable when anyone considers it necessary to promote their own integrity: In my experience, one’s integrity is gauged by one’s friends/colleagues/peer groups/clients – not  by ourselves.

In the same way, when anyone begins a sentence with:

“To be perfectly/totally/completely honest with you …” It always makes me wonder if the previous communication/dialogue/discussions/conversations, have been less than honest.

Michael posts to his site virtually every day, and the articles are of a very high quality. He goes to great lengths to protect ” his” copyright:

“©Copyright 2010 Michael J. Roman. All rights reserved.
Except where specifically noted, no information within this blog may be copied, duplicated, stored in a retrieval system or reproduced in any form without the express written consent of Michael J. Roman. If you have any questions regarding this policy, please contact me at the following email address:
michael@michaeljroman.com.”

Nothing unusual about that?

Well, yes actually. Why does someone go to such lengths to spell out their copyright statement, when they have total disregard for everyone else’s?

You see, Michael doesn’t actually write his own material – he steals it from other people. He just goes and copies it from other people’s sites and claims it as his own.

On his first page alone, there are seven of my blog posts, and in total, I  found twenty!

Sometimes he leaves the title and the text wholly intact, other times he changes it to suit himself, here is an example:
I posted “So, Just What Are The Essential Leadership Qualities?”

” I have been “leading” since I was eight years old – my first soccer captaincy – and I have been leading for most of my life.”
He posts “What Are Essential Leadership Qualities” and changes the text to:

“I have been “leading” since I was twelve years old – being the lead drummer for my grammar school jazz band – and I have been leading for most of my life.”

I am not the only “victim” – several of my colleagues and friends have also had their work pirated, and to say the least, they are not impressed.
On Thursday, I took the unusual step of adding an additional copyright notice to my post – I placed this at the foot:-

“The moral right of the author, Jonathan Farrington, has been asserted. © Copyright 2010 All rights reserved. This article or any part thereof may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical including photocopying, recording, storage in an information retrieval system or otherwise, unless this notification of copyright is retained.”

But that did not deter him – he not only stole my post, he also stole my copyright notice and replaced my name with his!
If that were not enough, he has now re-published an article, which I first published on Ezine Articles on October 27th 2006 -
http://ezinearticles.com/?Understanding-The-Different-Influencing-Styles&id=340096

And claimed it as his own -
http://www.about-personal-growth.com/influencing.html

This week, I celebrated my 900th post on this blog. Each of those posts took time and effort to craft. Each of the 200 articles that I have written and published on various sites over the last four years have also required a huge investment of my time. Why have I bothered – after all, I know lots of people who write so much better than me?

You know the answer to that question.

So, what to do now?

I am going to let nature take care of itself for a few days, then I will be in contact with Michael. Or maybe he will do the decent thing and contact me first.

Michael, I understand that this is the one post that you will not want to steal and re-publish – copyright violation is serious stuff, so please do get in touch with me before my lawyers get in touch with you. This is an early appeal; the later ones will be far less polite – you know it makes sense!

I would have willingly given him all of my work to re-publish, if he had asked – as long as he placed my bio underneath them, and not his own!
I will of course keep you fully updated as events unfold.

There is a chance that by the time you get to read this, he will have taken the site down, so you can download a PDF of the front page here.

Kelley Robertson’s post  Originally posted on Fearless Selling

When Imitation is NOT the Best Form of flattery

I suspect that you have heard the expression, “Imitation is the best form of flattery.” While that’s true in many cases, there are situations when this statement does not apply.

I, like many other trainers, speakers and industry experts, write and post articles on the Internet. We include our copyright and respectfully ask that proper credit is given when someone uses this article in their publication.

However, over the years I have encountered many people who have taken my articles and published them in magazines, newsletter, and blog and then had the audacity to claim them as their own. As much as I dislike it, I take action to ensure these unscrupulous individual’s either remove my copyrighted material or add the proper credit and issue an apology.

Well, here’s the latest plagiarist to rip off my intellectual capital. I would like to introduce you to Michael J. Roman. Here is how Michael describes himself:

“Michael is a POLISHED BUSINESS EXECUTIVE with a proven history of success including nearly fifteen years of successful leadership experience. Michael is highly skilled in effective, strategic management of sales, operations, administrative, and consulting professionals in addition to full operations and profit and loss (P&L) management…..”

Michael’s core values include:

“Integrity – The most important of all values. Michael’s belief is that integrity is not optional, nor is it situational.”

Michael posts to his site virtually every day and the articles are of a very high quality so he goes to great lengths to protect “his” copyright:

“©Copyright 2010 Michael J. Roman. All rights reserved.  Except where specifically noted, no information within this blog may be copied, duplicated, stored in a retrieval system or reproduced in any form without the express written consent of Michael J. Roman. If you have any questions regarding this policy, please contact me at the following email address:
michael@michaeljroman.com.”

Needless to say, when it was brought to my attention that Michael may have posted some of my articles on his blog I checked it out immediately. Fortunately, only one of my articles was posted here but it was still enough to rile me up.

I have written and published about 500 articles since starting my business in 2002 and each of these required a significant investment of my time. To have someone else publish my material under their name and take credit for my efforts cannot go unchecked.

I am not the only “victim” – several of my colleagues and friends have also had their work pirated, and to say the least, they are not impressed. My good friend Jonathan Farrington discovered 20 of his articles on Michael’s site.

So, what’s next?

I plan to contact Michael directly and politely ask him to remove my article or give it proper credit. I know several other authors are planning to do the same in addition to making their readers aware of his less-than-ethical behaviour.

If you want to help you can:
1. Retweet this post to your followers.

2. Send an email to Michael and express your concern with his unethical behaviour.

3. Contact any author, trainer, speaker, expert in your network and let them know about this plagiarist.

4. Blog about this unethical behaviour.

I guess what really bothers me about this whole thing is that I would be more than willing to let this guy use my articles on his blog if he just had the decency to ask and give proper credit.

Other posts you can read and support in this cause:

Skip Anderson:  The Scourge of the Blogosphere: Plagiarism and Michael J. Roman

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