Archive for the ‘Messages’ Category

April Showers Bring May Flowers
May 11, 2011

As they say, April showers bring May flowers. That always reminds me of when I first started selling right out of college. I worked for a company that expected their salespeople to literally walk the streets and cold call companies. My favorite days were the rainy ones because there were fewer people out there knocking on doors, so there was a better chance of me actually seeing a decision maker. It also helped that as a kid in my early 20s walking in with a wet overcoat on, many a receptionist took pity on me and helped me to see a decision maker—heck, whatever helps get you in the door!

You don’t see as many salespeople canvassing industrial parks anymore. It is an art that has lost favor in lieu of the phone, email and social media. It does remind us however, that no matter how you find that new prospect, you do need to continue to cultivate the relationship and allow it to grow much like the April rain that helps the flowers to grow and bloom in May.

What have you been doing to help cultivate and bloom your own flowers (or prized accounts?)

Don’t worry, we can help you. Whether it is reaching out to the prospects that your sales team just never seems to have time to reach, following up with prospects from a trade show that your team went to, or covering an open territory while a sales rep is being hired, we can work with you to cultivate those relationships that will give you the flower garden you always wanted.

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April, My Favorite Month of the Year
April 7, 2011

April is my favorite month of the year. Spring is finally in the air (and hopefully the snow is finished for Chicago), baseball season has started, we’ve had our first softball practice of the spring, and there are two very important birthdays coming up: mine and Randolph Sterling, Inc.’s.

My long time friends will tell you that I generally begin celebrating my birthday sometime around April 1 (even though it is not until the 25th) so as much as I act like a 5 year old when it comes to my own birthday, I think I am even more excited about the company’s birthday.

On April 22, 2003, I officially incorporated Randolph Sterling, Inc. Back then, it was just me and an idea that I could help some local Chicagoland companies by acting as a part time sales manager, although I had always had the idea that I could grow the company into something more than that, which is one of the reasons why the company is named Randolph Sterling, Inc. and not Rich Burghgraef Incorporated (although as a baseball fan, I guess I could have called us RBI).

Our goal has always been to help our clients grow. Over the years, we have added additional people, additional offices, and additional services to be able to help more companies in more ways. We still provide sales management services which include the work I originally did when the company first started out, but we now do so much more including:

Thank you to our clients, friends, and supporters for eight great years, we look forward to many many more helping you grow because right from the beginning one thing has remained constant—YOUR SUCCESS IS OUR BUSINESS!

The Luck of the Irish or the Luck of Having Lisa Pickens
March 9, 2011

With St. Patrick’s Day just around the corner I tend to hear a lot this time of year about “The Luck Of The Irish!” I never thought that it was the 1/4 of me that is Irish that made me particularly lucky, and not specifically during March. I had thought it was hard and smart work.

Trust me, I have had my share of good luck as well as bad. One of the strokes of good luck for Randolph Sterling was hiring our inside sales manager, Lisa Pickens almost 6 years ago. Lisa is an incredibly valuable member of the team who not only does a fantastic job with the clients she works with directly, but has also helped us to find some other very talented members of our team, as well as manage them so they continue to grow.

The running joke in the office is that no matter what opportunity comes up, Lisa has experience in that industry. Between having a varied work experience before joining Randolph Sterling (ask her one day about her days as a professional billiards player) and having the opportunity to work on so many projects for us over the past 6 years, she brings so much to the table both for the team at Randolph Sterling and for our clients.

Lisa has been so successful in working with clients that many times she is requested specifically to work on their project. Unfortunately, she can only work so many hours in a day so we can’t always accommodate that request. The bright side of that is that Lisa is also an accomplished manager and has done a fantastic job in showing the rest of the staff the “Randolph Sterling Way.” We found this to be just as effective and a lot less expensive than investing in human cloning!

Welcome to February Everyone, the Month Known for Love and the Hope of an Early Spring!
February 8, 2011

I am very excited about pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training in a couple of weeks. The winter, so far, has been long, gray, and cold, even if business has been very positive. Since mid-December we have taken on 6 new clients and our team is doing very well in assisting them to build up strong relationships with the right clients.

So what does this have to do with Spring Training?

I was having a conversation with a colleague last week and was asked what I feel is the best trait that I have that allows me to do my job well. My response was my ability to play baseball. Those of you who know me know that I make a lot of parallels between baseball and sales so before thinking that my goal here is to make Randolph Sterling a professional baseball team…hmm Burghgraef Field, what about Sterling Diamond? Has a ring to it…Ok, I’m back. Read on.

I have always found that playing a game where even the best fail 7 out of 10 times has been great preparation for a career in sales. It has allowed me to learn from everything I do as there is always room for improvement in the quest for perfection that the law of averages says simply will not come. It has also given me a short memory so when it is one of the times when I don’t get a hit, I don’t let it linger too long. It also helps me not to rest on my laurels when good things happen. This reminds me of a scene in one of my favorite baseball movies, Bull Durham, right after “Nuke” LaLoosh strikes out the side:

Crash Davis: “Your fastball is up, you are hanging your curveball; in “the show” they would have crushed you.”

Nuke: “What’s wrong with you, man? Can’t you just let me savor the moment?”

Davis: “Moment’s over!”

We only have 28 days this month, so savor every moment but keep on looking forward and keep selling!

Website Under Construction
February 4, 2011

We recently decided to make a few adjustments to our website to show more services and to further assist our clients. In the mean time you can reach us in Raleigh at 919-439-3387 or in Chicago at 847-305-3710 if you have any additional questions or we can be of help.

Also, for fans of our blog, you can check it out our latest posts both here and at http://richburghgraef.wordpress.com/

The IAWL Trivia Results Are In!
January 11, 2011

Last month we held our “It’s A Wonderful Life” trivia contest and we cannot thank our participants more for the additional holiday cheer they provided to us, as well their fellow competitors. That said, we feel we should take this opportunity to highlight a few people without whom the game would have not been the same.

First we would like to honor our champion,  Mike Cotton, who earned 17 ½ points, by always waiting patiently at his computer at 10:00am EST whenever he had time. Of course if this was  “Goodfellas” trivia contest, Mike would have scored 100%!

Next there is Shaun K, who came in second with 5 ½ points (6 ½  with the bonus point), followed by Terry Ryan and Gini Dietrich who each had one.

Then there are Greg Kaufman and Terry Ryan (again), who at times seemed to be watching an alternative version of the film, perhaps a bootleg one purchased from a guy with a table set on Fifth Ave. in NYC. In this one in Harry Bailey played women’s lacrosse and the angel Clarence Clemmons wore dry-fit outfits from Victoria’s Secret while hanging out at Hooters and reading copies of Eat Love Pray (apparently another alternative edition of something) and Penthouse Forum. In this version George also apparently has problems with his fly, and beats up Uncle Billy who he believes should have been forced into retirement at age 62. In this version there is also apparently an NC-17 wedding night scene between George and Mary. No one at Randolph Sterling has seen version of the film, but if you could please send a link to where it can be bought, we would appreciate it.

That said, we hope everyone’s New Year is going well, and hope you can all play again next year! Just remember to set your alarm to 9:59am EST so you can beat Mike Cotton to the answer!!!

 

Welcome 2011, A Year to Work Smarter and Grow the Right Way!
January 3, 2011

Since most of my November and December articles talk about how you shouldn’t stop your sales efforts during the “holiday months” because you will be behind your competition come the start of January, I am sure that all of you are expecting me to be writing something along the same lines. Well we are very busy and I am proud to say that all of your clients heeded our advice this year and are reaping the benefits as phones are ringing off the hook this week (do people still have phones that “hook?”) however that is not what this article is about.

I first want to thank everyone who helped Randolph Sterling, Inc. help more clients than ever before in our history in 2010. From clients to staff to referral sources to friends and supporters, you made our success your business so as President and CEO of Randolph Sterling, Inc., I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart.

So what does 2011 look like for you? OK, so it is only days into January so I figured I would take my crack at being an Economics expert (I’m sure my Economics 201 professor from Pace University is glad he retired and happier that I am not using his name here). The economy works in cycles, we all know that. We have been on a downward cycle for awhile, but things have been getting better as we are seeing more companies in more industries looking at opportunities.

I know, you are thinking: “Wow, Rich, great insight. The last time I got insight like that, I at least had dessert from the eggroll I had just eaten!”

We work with several different companies that sell to different industries, from accounting to manufacturing, from healthcare to plumbing and marketing. What I see is an economy filled with smarter decision makers who understand who they are, what they do, and who they serve. More and more people working smarter, not harder. I attest this due to a lot of people who really shouldn’t be in business not being able to survive.

With all apologies to the many good people who have lost jobs or are having trouble finding jobs in this economy, the majority of the people I saw who went out of business (and as a result, many of my clients are now working with their past clients) were people who didn’t realize what value is. They either tried to sell on price or not provide the quality that others in their industry had been doing all along.

We have been spending the last several months asking clients and prospects “What makes you great?” Not good, not OK, not cheaper, but great. It’s OK to say it out loud. Heck, if you don’t think you are great, why would a prospect think so? What do you bring to the table that nobody else can? Who wants it? We have been asking ourselves and our clients to dig deeper so we can help them form the right relationships with the right people for the right growth. My prediction for 2011? Companies will continue to work smarter and grow the right way. There is no easy fix to the economy, just good, old fashioned, SMART work.

Happy 2011 everyone!

 

Here We Are
December 1, 2010

Here we are…at the beginning of the 12th month of the calendar. Boy has 2010 flown by. It seems like just yesterday when I was writing about the start of a new decade (which is actually this year, but I’m not going to start that conversation again). So much has happened in our world and in the world over the past 11 months. It seems as though the economy has taken a turn for the better, thanks in large part to many of my friends who own small to mid-sized businesses. To paraphrase George Bailey from my favorite movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, it is the small to mid sized business who does most of the living and working and purchasing and dying in this world. We didn’t need a bailout, we just needed our entrepreneurial spirit to help us continue to grow in tougher times.

Of course, I did mention that it is the beginning of the 12th month on our calendar, not the end of it. We at Randolph Sterling are very busy with new projects starting every day, and we are seeing clients busier and busier throughout the month of December. Working smarter has definitely prevailed.

Speaking of working smarter, every Monday, we have an internal sales meeting with our inside sales team. We discuss the projects we are all working on and discuss how we can help each other to provide the best possible experience for our clients. We ask our clients to tell us what makes them different from their competition and how can we use that to help find more of the people they should be working with. We also look at the responses we receive in the rather lengthy conversations we have with prospects to see what they are telling us about what they are looking for and how our clients can help them. We are all about developing relationships for our clients, but it needs to be relationships of value to them.

Working smarter does include an amount of fun, as our resident social media expert, Daniel Nuccio, found time to develop two contests this December, one asking you about your favorite holiday song and another trivia contest from the previously mentioned It’s a Wonderful Life. Between developing budgets for next year and making those last few sales of the year, be sure to check them out!

 

Let the Holiday Season, and Games, Begin!!!
November 30, 2010

The Holiday season seems to come earlier every year.  There was a time when you typically didn’t see Christmas displays at stores, or hear songs about sleigh bells playing at Starbucks, or catch a commercial starring Santa until right around Thanksgiving , but now it seems like the stores are putting up decorated pine trees and garland the same day they take down the spider webs and Jack O’Lanterns.

Yet, regardless of when it starts, the Holiday season always brings with it pleasant memories that are often associated with particular songs or movies or foods. For example, Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life always reminds me of being a little kid and staying up late to watch it for the first time with my dad when I couldn’t sleep, or another year when we went to pick up Italian pastries on Christmas Eve and realized that while they were calling B-54, we were E-73, so we played It’s a Wonderful Life trivia for two hours while we waited (here’s an easy one…what was George’s wife’s maiden name?)

And the trip down memory lane is endless when it comes to Christmas songs. Just think, where were you when you first heard songs like Bruce Springsteen’s “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and, well practically anything by Trans Siberian Orchestra or Manheim Steamroller? How about David Bowie and the late, great Bing Crosby singing “Little Drummer Boy?” Can you find an odder pairing this side of Frank Sinatra and Cyndi Lauper, but they make it work into one of the most beautiful Christmas songs out there. How about the “old time classics” like Gene Autry doing “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” or Burl Ives crooning about “Holly Jolly Christmas?”

The only Christmas song I really can’t stand is “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” (If you clicked on the link, did you see how bad it was?). Now, I wasn’t traumatized as a child by waking up one Christmas morning seeing mommy kissing Santa Claus, but for some reason no matter what artist plays this song, I just have a problem with it. Seriously, who decided it was good to write a song about a little kid seeing his mom kissing Santa? Isn’t life confusing enough for kids already? Back in the day, all we had to worry about was whose house we were going to play at or trying to figure out how our parents somehow walked to and from school uphill in the worst weather climate possible, even worse than last winter’s February Fury. Now we have to add in concerns that our mom might be fooling around with Santa?

“What a laugh it would have been, if daddy had walked on in…” are you kidding me? A laugh, really? Where are our values? If I someday meet Miss Right and she becomes Mrs. Burghgraef, and we have kids, I really hope one day I don’t come home from a long day’s work to have Junior come up to me and say… “Hey dad, you will never guess what happened today. I came downstairs and saw Mom smooching with a guy in a red suit, grey beard, and about 50 lbs. of extra weight.” What are we teaching our kids?

That’s why I stick with the simple songs. Bruce asking “The Big Man,” Clarence Clemons, if Santa is going to bring him a new saxophone; and then later in the song you hear him laugh as he belts out “Santa Claus is Coming to Town!” I hope it is because he is having a great time doing the song and not because he just caught his wife kissing Santa (see, I just can’t get over that!)

Now, before I begin to sound anymore like a 3:00am informercial for a Time Life Classics special, let me get to the point. This year Randolph Sterling will be holding not one, but two Holiday contests, one on the Randolph Sterling Facebook Fan Page, and on my personal Facebook Page. Here’s what you need to know!

Contest 1: Did You See Mommy Kissing Santa Claus?

Hopefully not! As you know, I‘m not a fan. And I will give a $25 restaurant gift card to one lucky winner who can find a better Holiday song and tell me why it’s great. Just post a link and a message on our Randolph Sterling Facebook Fan Page between December 1st and December 24th . Our winner will be announced in early January.

Contest 2:  What Is, “It’s a Wonderful Life?”

Our second contest is a trivia contest to test your knowledge about one of my favorite Christmas movies, Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life. Every business day at 10:00am EST from December 1st through December 24th, I will post a trivia question about It’s a Wonderful Life on my personal Facebook page. Answers will be posted Saturday morning. The person to correctly answer the most questions will be declared the winner and receive a $25 restaurant gift card in January of next year.

So, let the games, and the Holidays, begin!

So Now We Have Video Blogs
November 12, 2010

After months of listening to our social media director speak of the value of having them, FINALLY Randolph Sterling, Inc. has produced some videos for the website and our blogs. There has been much discussion as to how to do these videos and at what expense. Do we do them ourselves or do we hire a professional video production company to do it for us? Our feeling was that we would start with the flip cam, knowing that there are definitely better quality options out there but at least getting us involved in the media rather than taking what would have been months to interview video production guys, etc.

We also chose to have topics for discussion based on frequently asked questions and things that we know people want to ask, or maybe wonder about but don’t actually ask. We did not script it out simply because I (who was in all of the videos, but this will change as we will have other members of the team speaking on their particular areas of expertise as well) generally do better just talking about my thoughts on subjects rather than scripting it out. The conversational style is also how we develop talking points for our inside sales projects so my thought is if it is good enough for us to recommend to our clients for best results, it is good enough for us to use ourselves.

[videos will be back up once website maintenance is complete 02/10/11]