Do You Understand Your Position?

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The good news: You can’t lose what you never had. The bad news: The “job” was never yours in the first place.

Sometimes it’s hard to debunk long-standing institutional myths (even when the facts assault our senses) but you’ve always known that you don’t own the job right?  The job belongs to the company. Don’t believe me? Get fired or move on and “Your” so-called job will be posted on LinkedIn by next week as the words “it’s nothing personal, it’s just business” echo in your mind. (Hmm… your mortgage payment and kids education isn’t personal?) Jobs are positions that people move in, up, and out of all the time. Yes or no?

So now, you’re connecting the dots, coming out of denial, and it’s sinking in: you’ve been renting your youth; outsourcing your creativity, energy, and education; and traded time with your loved ones for a bi-weekly bank deposit, a pay stub, and the illusion of security so that someone else can live their dreams. The cold truth is, things are EXACTLY the way they should be. Those who show courage and take calculated risks that succeed, should be rewarded. Those that play scared and are committed to a pyramid (go check the company org chart) have little chance of owning the company they work for and when they can’t work… eventually they don’t get paid.

IMG_3262.JPGSince you’re probably a smart, educated, disciplined, team-player with character and personal drive, you understand the price being paid to have no leverage, no equity, and no ownership interests in that which you give your best effort and most  of your time. Still, having a job is a VERY good and necessary transitional position because you get to learn as you earn, build powerful professional networks on the company’s dime, establish expertise, and develop a practice of discipline and habit of winning in business. Even if the job is temporary in nature… it’s a great first step to taking control of your career.

The question is this: if you’re working a job today, what’s your exit strategy? Have you built and tested your “Plan B” before it’s needed?  Do you have a great idea, product, or service in mind that excites you and gives you leverage? Have you thought about launching your own business and do you look into other ways of earning money?

Contact me: Maybe… just maybe, I can help.

Win,

Chris Bell 3rd

Chris Bell 3rd: Coaching for Big Results

2013-03-29 21.57.05“My name is Joey Price and I’m the CEO of Jumpstart:HR, LLC. My company provides full-service HR support to small, emerging businesses in the United States and international firms looking to establish or grow their presence in the US.  My company helps business owners grow their firms with confidence while alleviating the sting of the inevitable burden of HR headaches.

Working with Chris Bell 3rd helped me in a lot of ways. As a leader, he helped me grow courage in weak-spot areas that existed in my mental focus. As a sales person he helped me strengthen my sales process. As a friend, we were able to connect on life issues – which helped me trust his business acumen all the more.”

My name is Chris Bell 3rd  and I love to see people win in life. As an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship, I had the privilege of being a business coach and mentor for Joey Price, the CEO of Jumpstart: HR, LLC who was recently recognized in the Baltimore Business Journal Top 40, Under 40 and featured in the University of Maryland University College commercial spot (you just watched) which aired just before a Baltimore Ravens NFL preseason game a few weeks ago.

If you’ve ever thought about starting a business; if you’re new to business and want to increase sales and profitability; if you own a business and want to get “unstuck…” contact me to begin transforming your business AND your life.

Win,

Chris Bell 3rd

Why I Go To Prison

Jail picGenerally, it’s a good idea to stay out of prison. But as a socially conscious entrepreneur, a portion of my company’s time and revenues are committed to improving the human condition. In response to this “calling” I go inside at least once a week as a volunteer Assimilation Coach sponsored by a faith-based organization with an empirical goal of helping to reduce the ex-offender recidivism rate. While inside, I lead inmates thru a course based on the book “A Purpose-Driven Life” by Rick Warren and interact with a community of male inmates who are incarcerated in a maximum security correctional facility to address their hurts, habits, and hang-ups BEFORE they return to society.

So you may be asking “What’s this got to do with business, sales, or anything that may matter to me?” Here’s some food for thought:

  • An ex-offender I never met before, positively impacted my business. Four  years ago, I stopped to fill my gas tank after visiting Portsmouth, Virginia and a self-professed, former convict informed me that my left-front headlight had blown out. He proceeded to give me “country” directions (a left turn after crossing the railroad tracks) to an AutoZone where his cousin was the manager, and then used my cell-phone to call him at 8:45PM to inform him I was coming for a halogen bulb for my car. I arrived at AutoZone after the store closed, but the store manager opened up, and in the dark, in 15-degree weather, in an empty parking lot, he installed the bulb… for free.  I then drove 4.5 hours up I-95 and the next morning, I completed a presentation and interviews that netted $110k in business/sales revenue in 12 months.
  • Ex-Offenders often become entrepreneurs and business owners out of necessity because they have difficulty securing a decent-paying job in a job market that discriminates against ex-offenders, and they LOVE freedom. As a business owner or sales professional, you may actually be competing with an ex-offender and you don’t know it; they may be buying your products and services, and you may not know it; many are highly motivated because they’re proud of their transformation and know what “the bottom” looks like.
  • Ex-Offenders are getting out of jail. They won’t always be incarcerated. Some forget that these men are someone’s brother, husband, father, son, uncle, cousin, or your former classmate. We should not forget their offense against society and the necessity to pay the penalty for causing harm. However, these are people we will be living and working with, thus, they cannot be ignored.

The net: whether in business or in life, you may not be able to discern the life-path of everyone you interact with, nor ascertain or even care to know their “story.”  Still, it’s probably wise to treat everyone you encounter with a measure of dignity and respect, irrespective of their current condition or socio-economic status as life is strange. You or someone you know could become one of “those people.” The next time you sit down to map out your business plans or sales strategy ask yourself this: “How can I help improve the human condition?”

Chris Bell 3rd

Project Opportunity US Military Veterans and Social Media

51dTjt1aVmL._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_Last night I had the opportunity to share my insights and tips on leveraging social media for business with the Project Opportunity class of US military veterans graduating next week, and I left the class with a contest challenge and opportunity that would require them to uses multiple social media platforms to win a modest prize and public recognition that can be shared across multiple social media platforms. If well-done, positive public recognition for one of the Project Opportunity students may be leveraged to accelerate their business growth.

The Contest

Participation is restricted to the Project Opportunity, Glen Burnie class members of US military veterans graduating on March 18th 2014

Write a brief essay of no more than 250 words, describing the most important thing you learned during our presentation/discussion on social media, and how you plan to leverage social media to grow your business.

Publicly post your essay in the section “Leave a Comment” (just below this blog post) on this website NO LATER THAN SUNDAY, MARCH 16TH.

Optional: follow me on my business Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/ChrisBell3rd and on twitter at: https://twitter.com/Chrisbell3rd

Chris Bell 3rd will select the contest winner, and the founder of Project Opportunity, Joe Giordano will announce and present the contest winner with their prize during your graduation ceremony on March 18th 2014.

The Prize

The best-selling book “Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months” will be presented to you during next week’s Project Opportunity graduation ceremony in Glen Burnie. This book is best described as being “a month-by-month guide to a business that works” and was brilliantly written by my own executive mentor and personal friend, Melinda Emerson. Melinda is committed to ending small business failure and rated by Forbes as the #1 Influential Woman for Entrepreneurs. She’s also a small business feature writer for the New York Times, hosts #SmallBizChat on Twitter and carries the handle @smallbizlady.

Business Recognition

I’m one of two Winners of the 2010 Melinda Emerson $25,000 Entrepreneur’s Challenge. Melinda’s coaching, counsel, and support over the last four years has been priceless. But the public recognition I received opened doors and gave me access to a network I didn’t know existed.  If you’re a new business owner and entrepreneur in Project Opportunity, here’s your shot to leverage 3rd-party authentication of your winning attitude, hard work, and commitment to the growth of your business via social media.  I look forward to reading your submissions!

Best to All!

Chris Bell 3rd

Taking Back 40 Hours Per Month

First and foremost, if you haven’t read “The 4-Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferris… you should pick it up! It’s got some eye-opening recommendations for sales executives and busy business owners with limited resources, big goals, who want more time freedom.

As many have, I picked a chapter in Ferris’ book, then I took a day and detailed every single business and personal activity I did during the day while asking these questions: “Will this activity generate more money AND more freedom; and which of these tasks can be outsourced?” The next steps were painful: five years ago I actually hired and fired 4 different virtual assistant companies in a 3-month period of time because the US-based individuals assigned to me lacked the flexibility, technical skills, and executive communication skills I needed to effectively interact with my high-maintenance prospects and constituents:  C-level executives and business decision-makers in the technology space.

But then, I stumbled upon Dawn Davis. Once I gave Dawn an overview of my business processes, primary objectives, and described my own unique preferences and protocols…  in one week a peaceful confidence and efficiencies I’d never known, cloaked my entire business. Moreover, I was able to pick up an extra 2 hours-a-day/40 hours per month/ 3 months per year of FREEDOM. It’s enabled a personal lifestyle change that allowed me to become more efficient, effective, and happy… generating millions of dollars of new software and services revenue for my employers and clients over the last 5 years. Question: What would you do if you found an extra 3 months per year?

Today, my “Virtual Assistant”, Dawn Davis also serves as my Director of Business Operations AND has brought on a hand-picked staff of extraordinary professionals in her own VA business that are simply top-of-the line. If you want to get your life back while taking your business to the next level… contact me. I’ve got the “hook-up” that could enhance your business 🙂

Win!!!

Christopher Bell, III

Radio Interview: But I Hate Sales™

Perfect World Network: Women in The Morning.

Business Matters,” host Mindy Guisewite interviews Christopher Bell III, the author and creator of the “But I Hate Sales™”  seminars and events for non-sales people. If you own a business or are in business, you don’t want to miss this one! To listen to the radio interview online or to download this episode, click here: Radio Interview

Familiarity – Impediment to Progress

Any consultant who has been around long enough has heard this executive statement:  “I’ve done this before been there before, this is what works, and this is the course we’re taking. I didn’t get here because I’m stupid.”  Alternatively, few are well-positioned to challenge this presumption without fear of termination or loss of opportunity.

FAMILIARITY connotes: “I’ve successfully done this before, so of course I know what I’m doing today.” But In business, many of The Roads of Familiarity which were once traveled without incident have become over-used congested routes that are easy to follow because many that share this mindset and are the same road, reassuring one another… but going nowhere fast.

Here’s an option to consider: Go off-road and change the scenery. Follow a fresh trail of activity to uncover creative microcosms of expertise that are evolving in collaboration away from entrenched centers of understanding that have the potential to stoke the furnace of your creativity. Nevertheless, should you choose the path of familiarity… as least slow your roll, drive cautiously, and adapt to conditions such as you find them. It just makes sense.

Win,

Christopher Bell, III

Speaker Series: 2013 Tech Sales Trends & Tips

423876_3015206471201_20528481_nThe 2013 Technology Sales Arena. Are there new rules and new tools? Will it be a New Year with new fears? The velocity of change is only increasing in the technology sales/business development arena  and you already know… what got you here, won’t keep you here. You’re invited to register and attend a presentation hosted by the Howard County Economic Development Authority Speaker Series, authored by Chris Bell, III entitled “2013 Tech Sales Trends & Tips” that may transform your business.

Registration details are below…

Date: Friday, February 8th 2013
Time: 9AM to 10:30AM
Location: Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship
Address: 9250 Bendix Road, Columbia MD 21045
Registration http://www.eventbrite.com/event/5066734740#

 

The Cost of Time Traps

Most small business owners, entrepreneurs, and technology sales professionals expect to live pretty hectic, out of balance, and occasionally sleep-deprived lives for more than a few seasons as they transition from predictable industrial-age working hours to the state of “constant-on” where the word is out:  BEING AT WORK IS NO LONGER A PLACE, IT IS A STATE OF MIND.  As a result we don’t watch the clock in a way that most salaried employees do because for us… executing linear, non-revenue generating tasks and activities is an unrecoverable expense and TIME TRAP that doesn’t add equity to the bottom line of our businesses that we can leverage later. Nor does it put additional commissions into the wallets of most sales and business development professionals that’s sufficient to improve their lifestyles.

Here’s a little math that nets out the necessity and justification to avoid ONE TIME TRAP ACTIVITY (and most people have more than one.) Let’s assume you’re a technology sales rep and you earn $100k annually, which means your hourly wage is $48.08. If you spend 3 hours per day talking to unqualified people or doing activities that don’t put you in front of prospects who are ready, willing, and able to buy… it’s costing you $2,884 monthly or $34,617 annually. Over a 3-year period (the average on-the-job tenure of a technology sales rep) that nets out to be a $103,851 top-line, cold-cash loss. The opportunity loss (because you’re not using that TIME to focus on activities most likely to convert to real revenue)… is incalculable. Disturbed yet? I hope so.

Change & Win,
Christopher Bell, III

Going Solo?

Although I do my own writing and blogging, I felt it was time to offer my readership access to diverse perspectives which may enhance their own businesses and careers. As such, I’m pleased to post my first GUEST ARTICLE: How to Succeed in the Age of Going Solo by Richard Greenwald. For those of us who are new to running a small consultancy or for those who are thinking about launching out on their own, this article offers some great tips.

Dr. Greenwald is a professor and dean of the Caspersen School of Graduate Studies at Drew University in Madison, N.J. He can be reached at reports@wsj.com

Win,

Chris Bell

Happy New Year to our Clients and Supporters!

I started delivering outsourced�software sales services, on a retainer-plus-commission basis 5 months ago in July 2009 and after a key business win, I formally launched ChrisBell3rd & Companyin October 2009. The result was a strong business launch enabled by the support and encouragement of some great business people. To that end, I want to extend a special note of thanks and best wishes for the New Year to some of the people I collaborate with to include:

Vanessa, my awesome spouse and partner: thank you for the years of love, patience, support, and self-sacrifice. You inspire me.

Michael, Nii, and the team at TeraTech – You guys are amongst the best custom software developers on the planet! Thanks for allowing me to help drive your sales efforts.

Richard and the Discovery Communications development team if it weren’t for the recommendation you received via Twitter who knows. You guys consummated my first business agreement for my first very client, and in doing so guaranteed the successful launch of my business. I look forward to collaborating with you through 2010!

Phillip at ARINC  ours was the smoothest business I’ve ever transacted. Thank you!

Mustafa, atUntra TechnologiesThank you for introducing me to Ozgur, at BlueNet Technologies -we’re off to a great start!

Terri, at Creative Blog Solutions  – Thanks for lending your professional counsel and social media marketing expertise. You and your support team are awesome!

Mike, at SmickWorks  – dude, thanks for helping to get my website off the ground. I’ll try to keep the referrals coming!

Again, thank you and best wishes for an outstanding 2010!!!

Chris Bell

Path of a Blackberry-to-IPhone Conversion

iphone-blackberry-070724Yes, I did it. I’m a recent Blackberry-to-iPhone convert. The transition has been both exhilarating and disappointing. Make no mistake. I loved using my BlackBerry and though my 30-day iPhone 3GS trial is over I do find comfort in knowing that using a BB device was a smart personal and business decision… two years ago.

So what happened? Why move from a decent wireless provider and mobile device that’s been historically reliable and transition to “The Darkside?”  While not proper, I’ll answer in the interrogatory:        “Have you actually used both a BlackBerry and an iPhone?”   

Justification for the iPhone 3GS:

  1. Cost  The day I switched to an iPhone I started saving money. While AT&T and VerizonWireless devices and calling plans are pretty similar on paper, the additional fees necessary to make the VerizonWireless Blackberry compatible for my business use weren’t tolerable. For instance, Blackberry Exchange Server (BES) support thru a 3rd-party provider was an additional $38 per month, and VerizonWireless charged $60 per month fee for accessing the RIM service. With my iPhone, Exchange Server support is $3.00 per month, and I now pay a $30 per month AT&T data access fee.
  2. Rollover minutes  From month to month, I never used all of the allotted minutes in my VerizonWireless calling plan and any unused minutes were credited back to my carrier… not too me.
  3. Poor In-store customer service  after enduring 8 years of VerizonWireless in-store attitudes of arrogance and long lines, I broke beneath the torture I just couldn’t take it anymore. I had a business account and yet, no one treated me as if I’m running a business! I’m spending almost $200 a month (or approximately $20,000 over the last 8 years.) Moreover, my individual lifetime value as a VerizonWireless customer exceeded $120,000 and should I add on other employees or family members who use the same services. I’m a $1M customer!!! (No wonderthere are so many mobile phone vendor booths setup at the mall.)
  4. Applications  For months I’ve sat in airports, trains, seminars, and in social gatherings watching people move their fingers across the face of their iPhone devices and I became curious: What the heck can an iPhone do that I can’t do with my BB device?  So I asked a business colleague to give me a personal demo and he chuckled and asked “are you sure you can handle it?”  (I hate sarcasm) but after the 15-minutes zipping thru his iPhone apps and basic device functionality, I was blown away. The phone worked as expected, but it was the easy-to-read screen, logical layout, and several cool apps for just about anything you can imagine that made a big impression. In the end, I came away from the encounter feeling uncomfortable. Why? I had just experienced a demo that upset my sense of intellectual confidence and knowledge. Certainly, I couldn’t have been wrong about paying so much for so long for my Blackberry when other less-expensive and functionally better options were available?  (Answer: Yes, dumb-a@# you’d blown it.) Today, I’m soooo pleased with my transition I can barely stand it. But remember, where there’s green grass… there’s dirt underneath.

Warnings & Trade-offs in the Transition

  1. You will miss your trackball and the feel of the BB keys and buttons. Entering characters into the iPhone will initially be much slower and take some getting used to. Just as importantly, I became so comfortable with my BB keypad that I could text or write emails without looking at the screen. Those days are over with the iPhone 3GS virtual keyboard.
  2. 3G Network – The VerizonWireless commercial pertaining to the size of their 3G Network is true. However, with my previous service I wasnt able to receive or make calls from my basement home-office. So far, my AT&T iPhone 3G reception at in my basement office is awesome and my calls are clear everywhere Ive been. However, I’m quite certain that there may be some local Washington DC-Baltimore metro locations where the service won’t be great and I must admit I have some anxiety about finding out where there when I need to make or receive an important call.)
  3. iPhone Durability  –These devices aren’t built ruggedly and one cannot buy an insurance plan for the iPhone device that covers damage to the large screen. So, the 1st thing you’ll want to do is to purchase a screen protector AND a protective case/sleeve to insulate your device from the inevitable drop. This issue alone was almost a show-stopper for me.
  4. Battery Life  My Blackberry sipped power for all-day usage and if I was remote to power, I’d simply drop in a pre-charged spare battery. The iPhone battery can’t be swapped out, and my iPhone 3GS guzzles battery power. In fact, I took it into the Apple Store to have it examined and the tech rep said “this is normal use sir.” It seems the biggest battery resource hog is the large LCD touch screen. The iPhone specs state 10 hours of battery usage, but my experience has been it lasts about 7 depending upon talk-time. So it may be wise to keep your charger close-by, or as a precaution when driving, get in the habit of keeping it plugged in to the car charger (accessory) to ensure it’ll be available when you need it.

In the end, whatever your choice, both the BlackBerry and iPhone 3GS will probably address most business needs and with the introduction of other devices (like the Droid) you’re certain to have your basic wireless mobile device and service requirements addressed. Inevitably we all struggle to find the facts that support our emotional buying decisions… it’s just that I admit it. 🙂

Your comments and questions are welcome!

-Christopher Bell, III

Outsourced Sales Professionals (OSPs) – A Competitive Advantage?

iStock_000005540740XSmallWhat recession? In the Mid-Atlantic region of the US, my recent (though brief) experience is that the volume of high-quality business development and technology sales opportunities exceeds the number of Outsourced Sales Professionals (OSPs) that are available to service those companies and opportunities. For OSPs with a solid-value proposition and a track record for performance, business is really good right now. Why?

In times of fiscal constraint, companies are always seeking ways to increase productivity and sales revenue while concurrently reducing their costs. A recent BusinessWeek blog post entitled “A New Wrinkle on Outsourcing” provides an interesting perspective on the use of Outsourced Sales Professionls (OSPs) in technology sales. Here’s the net: Executives and managers in the technology space are beginning to get it – OSPs can bring a level of consistency and best practices to the job that’s difficult to achieve with an in-house sales staff.

If you’re a sales executive or business owner it’s probably time to look into leveraging OSPs – your competition certainly is.

The Law of “Retraction”

Clouds of WarIn T.D. Jakes book,  How to Reposition Yourself he uses the imagery of an archer, bow, and arrow to illustrate the fact that just before the moment of release, an arrow is pulled backward (or should I say “retracted”) and lays at rest as the bowstring is pulled taught and the bow bends under stress and tension. To further paraphrase the words of this prolific author, all of this is necessary to ensure that power and long flight are enabled upon release and that sometimes the life experiences of people are quite similar. I personally call this: The Law of Retraction.

Have you ever talked to, or met with someone you’ve known for years and walked away from the dialogue blown away by their transformation or growth from what you perceived as a point of failure or tough circumstances? How did they seem to move from “zero-to-hero”? One plausible explanation is the “Law of Retraction.”

Quite often, an exceptional achievement is preceded by a circumstance or event that forces one to move backwards and wait in a state of temporary tension and stress as change for the better takes place. For some, this holding period  is a matter of days and yet for others it could be a lifetime. While the posture is uncomfortable for all, the personal pressure of life’s demands, society’s expectations for short-term gain or relief and past recollections of previous success… may seem unbearable for the one who is in a state of retraction. The result? Compromise and the trade-off of a bigger long-term gain for small, temporary relief.

It may be wise for us to get better at discerning our position and to refrain from cursing every situation that may be holding us where we are. Examine your plans and quietly test them in preparation for a well-positioned and powerful release that will take you further, faster, and far beyond what could have ever happened without… The Law of Retraction.

Win,

~Chris