June 18, 2012

I am back and well-rested from a long vacation. Well, I don’t know that I would call the Telarus Partner Summit in Park City, Utah a “vacation” but it was certainly a great time meeting with other agents, Telarus partners, as well as the Telarus staff who did such an outstanding job of organizing and orchestrating the entire event.  It was “poetry in motion” and a tremendous kudos goes out to the Telarus staff who pulled their hair out for months to create such a high-quality event, along with the full and complete cooperation of the Stein Eriksen Lodge staff.  It was a truly impressive event as well as indicative of the level of high quality and innovation that Telarus continues to deliver to this industry. A great time was had by all and I am very much looking forward to next year, especially now that I recognize that spending a few days at 8500 feet in Park City, Utah is significantly different than my usual altitude here on the Atlantic coast of Florida at about 12 feet….

It was also excellent that the Telarus partners were able to meet the agents who are actually staffing the front lines and making sales for them. My wife and I were sitting next to one of the Time Warner directors at the awards banquet, and as I went up to receive my second award, he commented to my wife, “Gee, I didn’t realize I was sitting with royalty“.  LOL.

Then the week immediately following the Summit, my wife and I took a vacation in California, visiting Monterey, Carmel, driving down Highway 1 along the Pacific coast to Cambria, and generally just unwinding.  In fact, as part of my own “unwind”, I found myself trying to explain my problems to one of the statues during a tour of the extravagance at Hearst Castle:

Anyway, given this time to unwind (where I hadn’t realized I was wound tighter than a Swiss clock) and think about where my business was at and where I wanted it to go, I am starting to implement some changes that will enable me to get to where I want to be, where I wanted to share those with you to make sure we are all on the same page.

Time

One of the things I came to realize is that no matter how “powerful” you might be or how much money you might have, everyone regardless of financial status, marital status, economic status, or shoe size still has one limitation:

That limitation is TIME. We all have the same amount of TIME in the day to accomplish things, irrespective of whether those are things that we WANT to accomplish or if they are things we MUST accomplish. If you have run out of TIME at the end of the day, then chances are that you traded TIME for something that you WANTED to do for something else that you NEEDED to do but perhaps really didn’t want to do, where “running out of time” is just a handy excuse that most people will buy. Am I right?

The smartest people in the world have said that “if you want new results, then do something new“. This is actually a corollary to the adage from Einstein who said that “insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results“. But the important part of the first statement is the verb “DO“, where another saying goes “Your job is simply to show up and take action. Knowledge without action is the most useless thing on the planet“. In other words, “take action” = “DO“.

Ok, so now let’s take that a step further.  You say you don’t have time to do “whatever“. That is totally untrue and a blatant lie you are telling yourself. How much time did you spend reading and re-reading online forums trying to learn something instead of paying attention to the folks who have “been there done that” and are trying to teach you?  How much time did you spend standing around the water cooler at work discussing last night’s football game? How much time did you spend trying to upload a picture of your dog to be used as wallpaper on your cell phone? How much time did you spend with Facebook or Pinterest, two of the biggest wasters of time in this century to date? How much closer did you get to your goals by spending an hour in front of the TV watching that re-run of Star Trek or Desperate Housewives that you’ve already seen at least once or twice before? How productive was it to spend a hour or two with Google using the term “Burton Cummings” to see what he’s up to these days?  (Sidenote: he’s the former lead singer of the “Guess Who” and had a couple solo albums out, one of my favorite singers, believe it or not….)

The time is NOW, not later because we all know that “later” will never come. If I’m flying and air traffic control calls me on the radio and says “converging traffic at your 2 o’clock position at 3 miles, descend to 3000 feet“, I don’t have time to think about it, over-analyze it, and maybe do it in 10-15 minutes, they mean do it NOW.

And there are consequences of NOT doing it NOW. In the example above, I could be a newspaper headline tomorrow if I don’t comply NOW or have my pilot’s license revoked. If you have goals that you want to accomplish by the end of the calendar year, NOW is when to take steps to accomplish those goals, not as you are preparing to go to a New Years Eve party, or else next year you will be lamenting that you “ran out of time“, that same untrue and pitiful excuse you told yourself and accepted for so many previous years.

Think about it: if you got rid of many of the time-wasters in your life that can so easily just SUCK the available time right out of you, how much closer would you be to your goals?

The reason I am going on and on about this is because we all waste time, we waste a LOT of time, even without really meaning to, and doing so is depriving us of achieving what we want to achieve in life. Sure, there are times when doing a totally brain-dead thing is good for us, but how many of those things do you do on a regular basis that are preventing you from doing the things that will move you closer to achieving your goals? How much time have you really spent, REALLY SPENT, implementing or trying to implement so many of the tips, tricks, and techniques I have tried to teach you with my newsletters over the years to get more of the type of traffic and leads that you really want to your sites?  I’m looking for an honest answer here, a self-evaluation … go ahead and think about it, I’ll wait….

Oh, you didn’t understand something? Where have you tried to get the answer to it? You didn’t ask me, did you? (Answer: no you didn’t). Or was it that, without trying it, you didn’t think it would work?  If that’s the case, let me ask another question: do you understand in depth how jet propulsion engines work?  If not, would you want to call the CEO of Delta Airlines and tell him that you won’t fly because you don’t think jet propulsion engines work? (If you do, please conference me in, I’d like to be on that call…..)

Anyway, I need to change some things. The change will be for BOTH our benefits and my hope is that you won’t take offense to any of the changes I will be implementing, but out of respect for you, I wanted to share this with you, and hope that you will think about what I am saying here and join me as I try to take things to the next level:

* I am going to start taking a very dim view of residential leads that come in. While I understand that you think you do not have control over the type of leads that come in, you have more control over that than you think you do. I have some agents who never send in a residential lead, and others where residential leads outnumber real leads by an order of magnitude. In the course of almost 10 years with Telarus, it’s time to lose residential leads in the same bit bucket that the leads from Fred Flintstone and George Jetson fall into. Dealing with them takes time that I am no longer willing to devote to them. Many of our carriers will not even provision a circuit to a residence, even on the very slim chance that the residential customer is serious.

* I’ve got to stop dealing with customers that are going from crummy DSL to a T1 and literally agonize over spending $300 a month for weeks and even months on end. Yes, I’ll talk with them but if it starts taking them weeks and months to decide if they can afford it, they are clearly not a serious customer, and are wasting my time.

* When I call a customer and don’t even get voicemail or an answering machine but it just rings and rings, that customer gets trashed after sending them the intro email. If they are a serious business and haven’t figured out that voicemail and/or an answering machine is a REQUIRED STAPLE of a serious business, then they are not ready to really BE in business until and unless they call me and let me know where I can call them.

* Not a change on this you but just to let you know — for the customer who wants to communicate ONLY via email, they get trashed. I explain to them (via email) that I cannot help them or provide a firm quote until and unless I have talked with them at least once on the phone first, and I believe this is also still Telarus policy. If they only want to communicate via email, then they are simply price shopping and I have no time for them because price-wise, Kmart Telecom is going to beat me, which they have demonstrated is the type of quality they really want.

* The telecom landscape is changing and I/we need to change with it. Over the coming years, I am going to be concentrating on three growing areas: cloud services, MPLS and Ethernet.  T1 is starting to almost become a “commodity”, IMHO, and single-site T1 sales are starting to be appropriate for only very small businesses that will jump to DSL or cable as soon as it’s available in their area.  I am going to start focusing more on generating my own leads in these quickly growing areas, and I would encourage you to start focusing on these areas also.

* Lastly, and this goes back to my own time management changes, I only want to work with people that are serious about this.  I firmly believe that “no action” means “not serious”, and it really is as simple as that. This is not a social club, I don’t do this for my physical health, and I am as serious as a heart attack in moving my business to the next level, and I invite you to join me as part of what will be a very elite team. In my newsletters, I have given you the recipe on a silver platter, where the only thing I didn’t do was mix and bake it for you.

Summary

Overall, no offense intended if I hit a nerve. But if I did hit a nerve, then you might want to stop and examine WHY that nerve was hit. My intention is to motivate, not demean, and sometimes motivation requires pointing out some of the painful parts.

I hope these newsletters are helpful to you, giving you ideas, generating some brain juice, or perhaps just providing a necessary kick in the pants. Maybe you are already more than happy with your level of income and getting more just means more headaches for you with your tax return and the IRS, in which case I salute and envy you. I know that I have not gotten a lead from many of you in more than a year, and also know that a few dozen of you will not even receive this since your email bounces every time I send an email.

There is a saying that I learned at the airport when I go out flying that says: “Never let your airplane get somewhere that your brain didn’t get to about 5 minutes earlier“. The words of wisdom there are that your brain needs to be at least 5 minutes ahead of the plane, and you need to be fully aware (“situational awareness“) of where you are at all times, where you are going, and how you are going to get there, having a viable and workable plan already in place, with contingencies already thought out. Waiting until you actually get there to figure it out is your worst possible option because you may actually be headed in the wrong direction, or when you DO get there, you are going to have other duties to contend with that you need to be prepared for.

The same is true of your marketing efforts. You need to be every bit as aware of where you want to get to as well as how you are going to get there. “More money” is not a sufficient direction, any more than “up” is sufficient when I am flying. Simply submitting your web site to the search engines is not sufficient to get you where you presumably want to go, especially since you are then competing with a SEVEN FIGURE number of people taking that same very lax approach.

I appreciate you and your efforts and look forward to continuing to work with those of you who are as serious about this as I am, so that we can both reach our goals. I appreciate your leads and your efforts with Telarus, and you need to know that I do take leads very seriously, since without QUALITY leads, neither of us make money.

Please feel free to contact me if you have questions, comments, or suggestions.

God bless,

Jon Arnold
Telarus Senior Technical Consultant & Authorized Sales Agent
President, JA Communications Group Inc.
Office: 321-779-5238
Mobile: 321-223-5238