Archive for the ‘SAM Groups’ Category

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!


Happy Birthday to Randolph Sterling!
April 22, 2010

Seven years ago today, April 22, 2003, the papers were approved and Randolph Sterling, Inc. was born. In some ways it seems like yesterday while in others, it seems like a million years ago!

I started the company because I thought we could do something different, something better than I saw out on the market. Sure there were tons of sales training companies out there, but that wasn’t what we strove to be. Our goal was to provide real time assistance to the people who were sitting right on the front lines of a company’s success. We started out as a “sales consulting company” and went through the typical growing pains that any small company went through. We defined ourselves by what we thought the market wanted (in comparison with the skills I, who at the time was the only employee, brought to the table) found our first clients and first “big” client to prove that we did know what we were doing, just a little bit! Next came our first big disappointment when I walked into our biggest client at the time to pick up payment of a few invoices and I was greeted with “Yeah…we’re not going to pay you!” As I later learned, if you talk to any entrepreneur, 99% of them will tell you a similar story—although it still burns me that I could have stayed home watching daytime TV for six months and had been in a better financial situation than I was by working with this client!

It is a lesson we all live and learn…the true strength of a man is measured not in his level of success, but how he handles things when they go wrong.

I learned from that experience and along the way, we found new and different ways to help our clients. The original “sales consulting” has grown into our outsourced sales management department, where we will help growing companies with their overall sales process. Our ideal clients are ones that are growing and need to keep up with their growth. We help them by not only working with them to provide a plan, but also in implementing that plan.

We then started our outsourced sales department when we noticed that many of our clients had the same problem…their salespeople were victims of their own success. That is they got to a point where the bulk of their day was spent working with current clients and growing current business, causing the task of developing new relationships to take a back seat. There was a tremendous need for professional inside salespeople to work with them to develop those new relationships for them with the right prospects.

Finally, we developed our SAM Peer Advisory Groups. So many times a CEO will have his advisory board where he will discuss operational issues and the overall vision of the company, but very seldom do the salespeople—the people directly responsible for the growth of the company—have this same opportunity to learn from their peers.

Seven years from the start and we are still looking for new ways to continue to help our target market grow. But let’s face it, the life of an entrepreneur isn’t always 100% fun. To endure the 12-14 hour days, wondering if I could be making more money working these same hours as a Wal-Mart greeter or at least thinking that I would have half as much to do if I “just sold for someone else.”

OK, truth be known, when I think these things, it is usually my ex-wife’s voice I hear saying them…I wonder why 🙂

Anyway, you have to have a little fun along the way. One of my goals each year is to make sure that I do certain things that I would not have had a chance to do if I was not CEO of Randolph Sterling, Inc. Some of them have included:

  • Getting paid to go on a cruise
  • Playing golf with former major league baseball player Tony Womack
  • Co-hosting a small business radio talk show on an Atlanta radio station (that was simulcast over the Internet all around the world)
  • Writing a book—“Closing the Deal,” available on Amazon and at other fine retailers!
  • Meeting Miss North Carolina
  • Getting paid to ride the Spiderman ride at Universal Studios
  • In one day, being a resident sales expert for a plumbing company, used equipment manufacturer, accounting firm, marketing firm, and event planner…and that was just a normal Wednesday
  • Having the opportunity to work with some of the greatest minds and best people I have ever had a chance to meet

Thank you to all of the people who have made the past seven years possible, from our fantastic staff to our business partners to our referral partners to our clients. You have made every day great and I can’t thank you enough for all helping to make the dream I had as a high school kid a reality.

…now let’s see what the next 7 years brings us!

Mid-February Is Here, and with It Several Upcoming Events
February 11, 2010

We just sent out our mid-February newsletter, which will either remind you that the pesky groundhog did whatever groundhogs do to say it is going to be six more weeks of winter, or that it is just about Valentine’s Day…a day of love, chocolates, overpriced roses, and Hallmark cards.

Since I have not yet been able to sell my house in Chicago and move to the land of warmer winters, I will focus on this time of love. We truly do love our clients, partners, referral sources, and friends. Without you, we simply would not be here today. Everyday we wake up thinking of ways we can continue to help you and make business better for you. We are continuing to think of new business offerings to help you grow.

This month, we are working on a partnership with a trade show company so we can help their clients get a better return on investments from the trade show experience. We also started our SAM Groups in Raleigh, in partnership with Business Clubs America, and next month I will be speaking at an event hosted by the Midwest Society of Professional Consultants in Chicago as well as be an expert panel member for a roundtable hosted by Hummingbird Creative Services in Raleigh so we can hopefully help more people.

Thank you for being our friend, client, referral source, or business partner. As we celebrate this day of love we just want to say that we love you!

Merry Christmas To All, And To All A Good 2010
December 13, 2009

As the holiday season is upon us, and we sit at the dawn of a new decade, I wanted to take a moment to wish everyone a very happy holiday season and best wishes for a wonderful new year.

OK, so we aren’t truly on the dawn of a new decade. There was no year 0, so we are actually in the last year of the first decade of this millennium, but what the heck. 10 years ago we had a big party as we went from 1999 into 2000, complete with celebrations from around the world, worries about the end of the world, and the need to upgrade every computer known to man. Since we had that, and because it is much more exciting to watch your odometer in your car go form 99,999 miles to 100,000 than it is to see it go to 100,001, we will stick with popular convention and call this the end of the old decade and the dawn of a new…and what a decade it was.

Back in 1999, I had just moved to Chicago from New Jersey. I had an opportunity to move into sales management so out went the thought of moving someplace warmer as I packed up my car and heavy jackets to head to the Windy City. At the time, Randolph Sterling, Inc. was not much more than a glimmer in my eye…a far off thought that really wasn’t that far off at all. Now, as we inch every so close to the start of our eighth year I think back on what was a pretty good decade, all things considered.

I couldn’t have done it without a little help from my friends.

One of my least favorite terms is “self made.” Maybe I am missing something, but as self sufficient as I may be, I don’t believe you can achieve success alone. Whether it was my parents offering support as I started this journey, the owners and managers of companies whom I worked with, who gave me the opportunity to learn and experience the business world; the financial analysts who gave me sound advice to put away some money back then to finance some of the early years, friends who were there for me through the good and the bad in both my professional and personal life, early contractors, who helped to build what Randolph Sterling, Inc. is today; clients, who have shown great faith in not only me as a business owner (and in many cases early on as “the guy” who did everything for them,) and of course, our team today.

Let me tell you a little about our core team at Randolph Sterling as we sit in December of 2009. Many of you know Art Crowley, the newest member of the team. Art started with us just a couple of months ago as an account executive in Chicago. He brings with him great experience and a slightly different take on how to sell our services. He is full of new ideas and as quite anxious to make his mark. So far so good.  It also doesn’t hurt that, like me, he is a Steelers fan. We look forward to great things form him in 2010 and beyond.

Next, we have Daniel Nuccio, our social media intern. Many of you know my skepticism when it comes to social media. I have sat in meeting after meeting on the value of it, but it seemed that the only people who were making money with this media were the people who got paid to speak about social media. We hired Daniel over the summer to test this theory and he certainly changed my mind. Our newsletter has become a great way to stay in touch with current and past clients and contacts, and the blogs and tweets have introduced us to new connections all over the country to the point that we are looking at adding a social media component to our services for 2010. Thanks, Daniel.

In addition, we have Angela King, who runs inside sales in North Carolina. Born and raised in the Tar Heel State, Angela has a great personality and can speak to anyone; kings, queens, the owner of a small company, an intern at a large one, or anyone in between. The success of our inside sales program has always been our ability to have conversations with the people on the other end of the line. We don’t try to sell, we build relationships, and Angela is wonderful at building relationships.  Although our receivables are usually in good shape, we may even have Angela take over on “reminder calls” in the coming year…trust me, you do not want her to “go country” on you.

Last, but certainly not least is inside sales manager and SAM group membership manager, Lisa Pickens. Lisa has been with me the longest and often refers to herself as my “work wife.” In addition to all of her “regular” responsibilities, Lisa has been a confidant to me on decisions about the company in several areas and does not mind giving me her opinion, which I value greatly. When I first met Lisa, I had no idea how vast her work experience is. It seems as though no matter what project I give to her, she has had some experience either working in or dealing with that industry. I honestly have no idea where we would be without her.

There are also several contractors that we work with throughout the year on various projects, and of course, my valued trusted advisors at Vistage, who help me to learn what I don’t know or don’t even know I don’t know and who challenge me to be better and never lose the vision of the company I continue to build.

I mentioned our clients briefly before, but they deserve mention again. From the smallest project to our longest running clients, we appreciate all of you as you have also helped us to become the company we are today. Thank you all very much.

Self made? I don’t think so…and proud of it.

So whatever you are celebrating this holiday season; Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year’s, the winter solstice, Saturnalia, or even George Costanza’s made up holiday of Festivus, I wish you all the very best, now and in the coming decade.

Thank you.

More Information on SAM Peer Groups
December 2, 2009

Sales & Marketing Peer Groups

In a trusted and confidential setting, members discuss the issues that can make or break their businesses. They share hard-earned expertise and newly acquired ideas to help each other reach better decisions.

The Executive SAM (eSAM) Peer Group: Directors of Sales, VP’s of Sales and Sales Executive Managers join the eSAM program. Members meet with up to 16 executives from non-competing industries.
The SAM Peer Group: This program is tailored specifically to match the needs of salespeople who are out on the front lines  of their company’s growth. Members gain an instant network of colleagues with new perspectives on how to grow their business results, manage their lives, hold themselves accountable, and meet the tough challenges of always serving their clients with greater care, skill, and business results.
Working Issues: Each meeting gives members the opportunity to put their most critical strategic issues out on the table for group discussion. The group chair leads the members through a specific format of issue definition, clarification, re-definition, and recommendations. Members use a special Issue Worksheet to prepare for the discussion.

A Special Opportunity for BCA Members
December 1, 2009

BCA-Triangle members know the importance of building relationships and looking to other BCA members as a valuable resource to help you grow your business. Our members have tools to offer each other that compliment the educational component of BCA and enhance the value of your membership. As an added membership benefit to you, Rich Burghgraef, President of Randolph Sterling, is pleased to announce a special opportunity for BCA members. BCA and Randolph Sterling, Inc. have developed a partnership where each BCA member will have one sales or marketing professional enrolled in Randolph Sterling Inc’s SAM Peer Advisory Group. That member will receive three month’s of membership included with their BCA membership.
The SAM Peer Groups are ideal for C-Level Sales Executives, Sales Managers, Sales Directors, Business Owners without a sales staff, and front-line sales representatives. The groups are based on company size and offer a trusted, confidential setting where members can discuss issues and challenges and help each other develop solutions that increase profitability.
Rich will be contacting BCA members over the next few weeks to discuss the details of the SAM Groups.  This is a wonderful opportunity for BCA members and I encourage you to take advantage of this member benefit.
For more information, please contact Penn Shore at 919.612.9458 or