Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Art of the Deal

Art? Selling, sharks, Trump....all images of selling. Selling what? Millions of articles have been written about how to increase sales, close the deal, but how many of them really and truly work? Or does it really even matter? I have been on both sides of the B2B sales world. Both are corrupt and broken. At the heart of what is broken is greed. We are all motivated by greed. We are raised to be greedy. We sell to feed this addiction and we buy and consume as well. The abilty to convince someone to buy is more of a psycolgy question. I am not arguing the science behind this but more about the end game.

I once had a salesman in my home selling food, home delivery of meats. He was young, knowledgable and savvy. The lesson I learned from him had nothing to do with food, it had to do with sales. He stated that he was instructed that 90% of the "walkaways"(folks who don't buy on the spot) never purchase. Thus he was motivated to stay longer and try to close. I respected him for the candor and honesty. I did not buy, however, it had nothing to do with his abiltiy. That is a lesson that I have applied throughout my career. I do not want to be "that guy". The sales guy who changes colors to suit the mood. I choose to be someone who spoke with conviction and who was willing to walk away when needed. This did not always produce the most lucrative results at the time, but it did allow me to develop long standing professional relationships that went beyond the sale.

Business is conducted to supply products and services. We are no longer a self suffcient species. We have grown to rely on others for many of our needs and wants. Thus commerce developed. Once we attached revenue to products and services the sell was born. As long as man has recorded his history, commerce has been alive. Before true currency, we traded. Traded what we had that someone needed for a need that we had. It was a much more pure transaction at that point because the deal was based soley on needs. Emotion was not a driver.

The sprint ends quickly. Business and life are not comparable to the sprinter. Their shelf life is short.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

"Watching" Elderly

I recently completed a project for a friend to help in the care of his elderly mother. The goal was to increase his family's awareness of his mothers condition and safety. I was very apprehensive about many aspects of this project. However, I found the results to be very rewarding for me as well as the end user.

A little background. The client has parents in their 80's. He has 2 siblings that are both not in the area. He has two young adult children who help in care giving. Up until this year, they lived independently in a single home. His father conditioned worsened and he needed full time care. They moved his father to a care facility 1 1/2 hours from his home. Mom stayed home. They hired nursing to come in daily and care for mom. Things began to unwind and the nursing option stopped. He called me to provide guidance on how we could use video to enhance the care of mom. Remote access was the most important aspect of the project. Also, low light vision was very important. My concerns; privacy, privacy, privacy.

So, I read alot, tested alot and listened. Here was my conclusion.

This type of technology is priceless for anyone in this position. The trauma of removing a loved one from their home can mean an instant decline in health. The mental stress of the caretakers can break even the strongest of wills. What surveillance provides is additional support when utilized efficiently. It narrows down the possibilities of "what" happened. It cuts down on response time when there is a problem. It allows those who are not close to participate in the care giving. The privacy concerns I had were easily managed by selective placement of cameras as well as careful administration of control. On the economic side, systems can range in price from $1000.00 up. Web sales of 4 camera systems are as low as $299. I have found, however, that a solid mid range system should be around $2500.00 installed. From my perspective, this is a very low cost alternative to enhanced outside care giving.

The system I just completed was a basic 4 camera system. Two indoor IR cameras, and two outdoor IR cameras. The interiors cameras are positioned in the bedroom and kitchen. These are the two high traffic areas. They were postioned strategically to capture areas where falls had taken place. We also added some plastic gates in hallways to limit access to monitored areas. The two outdoor cameras capture the entrances and driveway. The DVR is connected to a television in the living room for live monitering when someone is at the house. The DVR is also accessible via any internet capable device. You can view live streams from the cameras or search back for footage. Based on the setting currently used we can capture 45 days of 24hr video.

When I first started dabbling in video surveillance it was based on enabling a heightened level of security on my property. I am learning that the operational management side of this technology may be of more value.

More to come.