Archive for May, 2010

The Key to a Sale? Talk the Buyer’s Language

May 24, 2010

Businessman and columnist Harvey Mackay, perhaps best known as the author of five business bestsellers,  including Swim With the Sharks (Without Being Eaten Alive), Beware the Naked Man Who Offers You His Shirt, and Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty, has a very educational and entertaining column in the May 21, 2010 edition of the Cincinnati Business Courier.  Titled “Actions, not words, help make sales pitch personal”, Harvey explains the different ways sales pitches can be delivered, some more effective than others.  He concludes with a very poignant story to get his point across:

“During World War II, the U.S. government began offering soldiers a life insurance policy with a $10,000 benefit if they were killed in combat.  In one unit, a young lieutenant delivered a polished presentation on the details of the plan.  No one signed up.  Then an older sergent quietly asked the lieutenant if he could talk to the troops.

‘Men,’ he said, ‘if you get this life insurance and you get killed, the government is going to send your family $10,000.  If you don’t get this insurance and you get killed, the government isn’t going to send your family anything.  So who do you think they’re going to send up to the front lines – the ones who’ll cost $10,000 when they’re killed, or the ones who won’t cost anything?’

All the soldiers immediatley signed up.”

In this case the buyers didn’t care very much about the details of the insurance.  But give them a small dose of reality – aka, the government is somewhat selective in who it wants on the front line – and all of a sudden, insurance seems like a pretty good investment.  I’m going to keep this lesson in mind the next time I’m preparing to speak to a potential client!

And don’t forget – the real meaning of Memorial Day isn’t to kick off summer, or to have a three-day weekend…

Trip Topken is the president of Waste Auditing Consultants, the premiere solid waste management consultants in the Greater Cincinnati area. An affiliate of Environmental Waste Solutions, WAC can help any company spending $400 to $375,000 per month on waste and recycling. Savings of 30 to 50 percent are normal, but not guaranteed. WAC, in collaberation with EWS, can simultaneously produce results at all locations across North America. No up-front fees are ever due, and WAC simply shares the savings its work generates. Learn more about Waste Auditing Consultants here. You can contact Trip at 513-398-2117 or email trip@wasteac.com.

Leave a phone, enjoy a vacation!

May 16, 2010

Back in April, my daughter, a junior in high school, had spring break, and as has been the tradition in our family since she was in kindergarten, my daughter, my wife, and I visited my parents who live in rural Georgia.  And as a business owner (or these days, a normal human being), I brought my cell phone with me.  Only just to check email every now and then, I promise.  Or so I tell myself every time I leave town to “relax”.  Of course, what actually happens is I get calls from potential customers wanting more information, and calls from existing customers who have fires that I need to put out, and calls from my friends wanting to know if I’m interested in watching the Reds at our favorite watering hole after work.

If I didn’t know any better, I’d tell my parents to take a tax deduction because I’m running a company out of their home (that’s gotta be deductible to someone, doesn’t it??) and not really doing much vacationing.

Since my daughter is, as previously stated, a high school junior, she is in full college-search mode.  And since one of the colleges she’s looking at is the University of South Carolina, what better use of our time than to kill two birds with one stone and make a campus visit while we’re in the same general vicinity.  So on the Wednesday after Easter we bade my parents farewell and made the two-and-a-half hour drive to Columbia, where we had scheduled a campus tour for Thursday and planned on driving home on Friday.

Except on the way there I noticed that my world was significantly quieter than normal.  I then realized somewhere around Augusta that I had left my phone at my parents’ home.

After the initial thoughts of horror almost forced me to drive my family and me off of I-20 and into the Savannah River, I decided that to turn around and drive the 90 minutes back to my parents’ house would be very counter-productive, and we charged forward to USC.  Besides, both my wife and my daughter have Crackberries, just like me.

Oh, but as anyone who’s been in this situation knows, it’s just not the same.  Different apps, different homepages, and obviously none of my friends will be answering a phone call from my wife’s phone.  I’m not the smartest person on the planet, and neither are my friends, but we’re all smart enough not to answer calls from each others’ war departments.  None of us wants to have to answer the dreaded “Where is my husband?” question!  (Kim, Mary Pat, and Leah, I haven’t seen your husbands – honest!)

So I ventured on, praying that any million-dollar deals that would happen to be left on my phone (IF they were left on my phone) could wait until I got home in a couple of days.  As the only employee of my company, I can’t rely on someone else to handle my company…it’s just me.

Wednesday night, I checked my phone’s answering machine – nothing of any consequence.  Thursday morning – ditto.  And our tour of the campus was great.  By the time the tour was over, I was almost enjoying not having my phone with me.  And by that evening, I was actually glad I’d left the phone behind.  I hadn’t had this much seperation from my business since I started it! 

Driving home Friday I was beginning to wish that I had left my phone at home on all of the other “vacations” I’ve been able to take.  I wasn’t constantly feeling the need to look at email or having to answer calls.  By the time we crossed the Appalachian Mountains I had promised myself not to bring my phone on our next trip…we’ll see if that actually happens.

After arriving home on friday evening, I was able to get all of the email and phone calls answered by the end of that weekend.  Not bad!

The lesson learned?  You can always work, but every now and then it isn’t such a bad idea to disconnect, recharge the batteries, and enjoy being with family.  And Mom, the money to reimurse you for mailing my phone back to me should’ve arrived by now.  Send me an email if it hasn’t.  If I’m not on vacation, I’ll respond.

Trip Topken is the president of Waste Auditing Consultants, the premiere solid waste management consultants in the Greater Cincinnati area. An affiliate of Environmental Waste Solutions, WAC can help any company spending $400 to $375,000 per month on waste and recycling. Savings of 30 to 50 percent are normal, but not guaranteed. WAC, in collaberation with EWS, can simultaneously produce results at all locations across North America. No up-front fees are ever due, and WAC simply shares the savings its work generates. Learn more about Waste Auditing Consultants here. You can contact Trip at 513-398-2117 or email trip@wasteac.com.

What’s an easy way to increase your company’s bottom line? Reduce this cost!

May 10, 2010

And that is, the cost of removing the waste and recyclables your company generates.  And something we’ve been noticing lately is that we’ve been able to realize a large amount of savings by some of our clients who’s trash hauling service agreements have come up for renewal. 

As an example, we were hired by the Hyde Park Golf and Country Club here in Cincinnati in 2006.  Among other changes, we implemented a recycling program, and changed the trash pickup schedule to ensure the Dumpsters were closer to capacity before they’re emptied (they’re charged the same amount wether the containers are nearly full or nearly empty).  We also negotiated a new service agreement with more favorable terms and lower pricing.  In all, we saved the club 47 percent annually.

A couple of months ago, the service agreement came up for renewal.  When we got to pricing, we negotiated for lower rates, and the hauler agreed to lower prices even more…by more than 10 percent!

Needless to say, the club is very happy.  They’re confident in knowing that their waste and recycling hauling needs are being met, and with the same company they’ve used for years.  They also know that they’re paying the lowest rates possible.

Is your company in the same position?  If you’re unsure, don’t feel bad.  Most companies assume the waste haulers will take good care of them, and they usually do.  But it’s kind of like the fox guarding the henhouse – they deliver good service, but the pricing is way out of line compared to what it should be.  The invoice arrived every month, and as long as there aren’t any issues with overflowing Dumpsters or malfunctioning compactors, the hauler is paid.

We can audit your company’s waste and recycling system and find inefficiencies that drain money directly off of your bottom line.  We work with your staff to help streamline the disposal of your trash and recyclables, and to manage the cost of this necessary service.  Our clients see cost reductions of between 30 and 50 percent on average, risk-free.  There’s no up-front fees.  The way we get compensated is by simply sharing the savings our work produces.  If we can’t find any cost savings or credits, you don’t owe us anything. 

Want to see if we can produce the same, or better results with your operation?  Contact us today to set up a risk-free audit for your company!

Trip Topken is the president of Waste Auditing Consultants, the premiere solid waste management consultants in the Greater Cincinnati area. An affiliate of Environmental Waste Solutions, WAC can help any company spending $400 to $375,000 per month on waste and recycling. Savings of 30 to 50 percent are normal, but not guaranteed. WAC, in collaberation with EWS, can simultaneously produce results at all locations across North America. No up-front fees are ever due, and WAC simply shares the savings its work generates. Learn more about Waste Auditing Consultants here. You can contact Trip at 513-398-2117 or email trip@wasteac.com.