Website Under Construction

February 4, 2011 - Leave a Response

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/

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Randolph Sterling Welcomes Monica Rosales

January 17, 2011 - Leave a Response

Monica went to college in Guatemala City and graduated as a Bilingual Secretary in 1997.  She did an internship at the Canadian Embassy for six months in the Public Relations Department, while keeping busy taking different courses like Hotel and Restaurant Administration,  Public Relations, and Ethics.  After she finished her internship she went to work at the airport at TACA airline as a manager of the Baggage Claim Department. After nine months she got a proposal to be the general manager for Mexicana Airlines in the Baggage Claim Department. She worked  there for almost two years while going to the University for Environmental Science.

After three years Monica received her technical degree in Agroecology ( agroecologists may study questions related to the four system properties of agroecosystems: productivity, stability, sustainability and equitability).

While going to school, she applied to work for the government in Guatemala City  in the Environmental Chamber  doing environmental inspections for different companies that were not meeting the requirements established by the government, and presenting several options for them to implement so they would not violate the environmental laws in that country. She completed her five years and graduated as an Environmental Engineer in 2003 (Bachelor of Science).

Environmental engineering involves waste water management and air pollution control, recycling, waste disposal, radiation protection, industrial hygiene, environmental sustainability, and public health issues as well as a knowledge of environmental engineering law. It also includes studies on the environmental impact of proposed construction projects.

Monica met her husband while going to school 1998 and married him in 2001.  He also graduated as Environmental Engineer.

In January 17th 2004 Monica had her beautiful daughter Megan and in 2006 her son Matthew.

6 Reasons 2 Use an Email Marketing Service

January 15, 2011 - Leave a Response
  1. You can professionally brand your emails with your company colors, images, logo, etc..
  2. You do not share your contact lists with everyone on your contact list.
  3. The odds of your message being mistaken for spam are greatly decreased.
  4. You can send your message to thousands of people at once.
  5. Doing so automatically puts you in compliance with at least two mandates of the Canned Spam Act by providing an opt-out option and making you provide a physical address.
  6. Greetings can be automatically personalized for your recipients by including their name in the greeting.

 

7 Touches and 3 Emails: 2 Important Numbers for Every Email Marketing Campaign

January 14, 2011 - Leave a Response

Last week I attended a presentation on Constant Contact given by Steve Robinson. Much of it was a refresher. Much of it clarified things I was a bit fuzzy on. However there were two numbers that really stuck out for me. The first was that it takes about seven touches with a prospect before a sale will occur, ideally through a combination of mediums including social media, email marketing, sales calls, advertisements, face to face meetings, and so on. The second number was that when contacting people through an email marketing service like Constant Contact, you only get two or three opportunities to prove the value of your newsletter before a contact will stop opening it, opt-out, or, worst of all, mark you as a spammer.

So how do you avoid such a fate for your emails? How do you increase the likelihood your contacts will not only open them, but deem them valuable?

The short answer, you have to provide value. For the longer answer you have to first ask what your contacts find valuable. That may not necessarily be the same as what you find valuable.

The email you send is not about you, but what you know and what you can offer. This means you want to educate your audience about what you know and what you can offer. To do this, provide them with information, hints, and expert tips though articles highlighting your knowledge, case studies highlighting the services you provide, and a featured employee section highlighting the experience and ability of those who work for you. In doing this, you are promoting your business and building relationships.

This said, no matter how valuable the information you provide may be, it will not matter if your email ends up in a spam folder or is not recognized as coming from you.

To avoid the spam folder avoid excessive capitalization and punctuation, as well as certain key words like “SALE”.

As for getting your company the recognition it deserves, this is where branding comes in. Doing this through Outlook or your personal email account is typically not possible. But, it is a major feature of the major email marketing services like Constant Contact which allow you to use or modify existing templates, or create templates of your own, so that the email you send is recognized by your company colors, logo, and whatever other personal touches you may wish to include.

The IAWL Trivia Results Are In!

January 11, 2011 - Leave a Response

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!!!

 

6 Lessons in Sales and Executive Leadership from the World of Retained Search, From Special Guest Blogger Russ Riendeau

January 8, 2011 - Leave a Response

Russ Riendeau

Our colleague and friend, Russ Riendeau from East Wing Search Group has helped us with an article as our “guest blogger.” I hope you enjoy it and if any of our loyal readers would like to become a “guest blogger,” please let us know as we are always interested in content that will help our clients.

Russell Riendeau, PhD– I do retained search, specializing in sales and executive leadership. Recently I had a couple of experiences with prospects that reinforced several crucial lessons I hope that anyone running a small or midsized business will find beneficial.  So, here we go:

Scene I: A CFO calls to discuss hiring me to find a sales professional for their company. He sends me the job profile and incentive program for me to review, which I do before sending it back to him along with my insights and some data, noting some real challenges in his documents that will make it tough to find the talent he needs. He pushes me to meet with him and tell him what’s wrong with their profile and comps. I suggest some ideas and remind him that I’m paid to deliver the rest of what he’s asking for, and that I’d be happy to go into it in further detail once he retains me.

“Nope, not yet,” he says. He wants more proof, and tells me he feels he’s getting the hard sell from me. I don’t feel that way, so I sit on the email a few days before responding.

Scene II: A little later a president and Vistage member of a different company calls me via a referral. He needs a new VP of Sales. I share my insights, data, methodology, etc. He likes what I have to offer ands agrees to retain me on the spot. Great! So I send an invoice for over $10,000 to begin the search. We meet in a week to design and update new specs to fit the new world at work. It will be a successful project, no doubt.

Scene III: I email back the first CFO and share the story with him from “Scene II.” I suggested that, based on my experience, it’s better that I not work with him, as he’s too skeptical to embrace my ideas. I tell him I understand and respect his views. I was nice, professional, firm and tried not to sound elitist. My intention was genuine.

I’m waiting to hear his reply today.

Now there were six lessons reinforced, as I see them right now:

  1. Missionaries don’t get paid well. Work with companies that believe in the product or service you provide. Then, do it better or different in some way.
  2. Referrals are more profitable than prospecting. If you give value to your current clients, they’ll do the prospecting and promotions for you.
  3. Don’t be afraid to walk away from a doubter. Tell them you are walking away. When they come back begging to work with you, you will be in control.
  4. Have good data and documents to shore up every statement you make. Opinions aren’t valid without data of proof.
  5. It’s not the price. It’s their lack of perception of your value, and it’s your duty to point out the real costs they’ll incur if they don’t use your services.
  6. It’s really fun and empowering to say NO to working with someone that you can feel will be a struggle. It boosts self-confidence and gives you the courage to believe in yourself and abilities.

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

January 3, 2011 - Leave a Response

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 - Leave a Response

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 - One Response

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 - Leave a Response

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]