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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Portability Technology For Your Success

By Terry L. Brock

Profitable business requires focus on Relationship Marketing. It means creating, building and developing profitable, value-for-value business relationships for all parties. In a society that is moving and changing, you want to be able to operate effectively and efficiently from wherever you are, whenever you need to. In an economy that is going through struggles, you want to be able to quickly turn on a dime, change course and operate from anywhere there is business potential.

Technology can help you with this. Here are some tools which I have found to be enormously beneficial:

1. Smartphone For Voice Communication. You want a mobile phone that has good features for connecting with people. A removable SIM card gives you the ability to use various carriers, depending on what is best. In my international travels, I usually have a SIM card for each country, which provides a local number for contacts to reach me when I’m there. I’m also using Apple’s iPhone and have found the ability to access the Net very beneficial. As a road warrior, consider having two cell phones. Hey, things break and if your cell phone doesn’t work in a particular area or is lost or stolen, have a plan in place so you can at least make essential calls to prospects and important contacts.

2. Web-Based E-Mail Access. This is vital today. The Blackberry devices have become addictive today (often called “Crackberries”). This is because they provide good email access. However, be considerate of others. Don’t check email when you’re in an important meeting, a business luncheon or when it would be, what society used to call, in more cordial times---RUDE! Yes, have access always, but use your head about when to access!

3. Sheet Fed Scanner. I told you recently about the NetReceipts sheet fed scanner I use. I take it on the road as it only weighs a few ounces and connects to my USB port. With that I can quickly scan business cards, important receipts. hand-written notes, To Do lists, magazine articles and more. They are converted to a PDF and I email them to my assistant, to clients or for storage online. Organization is imperative for success. Using a tool like this can get you organized, save a lot of grief when trying to locate important information and help connect with people. Relationship Marketing shines with the right tools.

4. Audio And Video. Face it. We live in a media world. People love video and audio. Discover the ability to leverage these technologies. I show clients how they can use these and the specifics of what works best. For audio, you can capture quick thoughts you have and use them later. Video opens a world of possibilities to capture important pictures, scenes of important events for you, quick messages to others and more. See my Blog for examples of how you could use this medium to connect with others.

5. A Resourceful, Flexible Mindset. This is the most important. Have the ability to adapt as things go wrong (they will), situations changes (count on it) and people don’t do what they said they would (welcome to reality). The flexible and adaptable person survives while others whine and complain.

With all the tools you get, remember to be results-focused, not technology enamored. Use technologies to strengthen and build relationships. Think about it. The technology we use today might seem really nifty and groovy for now. However, what about the technology you were using just five years ago? Today it seems antiquated and even laughable. What do you think the latest gizmo or gadget you get from today’s slick magazine or hot website will look like in five years? Compare that with the satisfaction of a quality, value-for-value business relationship. As we all know, but must be reminded of from time to time, technology is nice, but relationships are what matter most.

Think of technologies that can enhance your personal relationships. Phones are one of the most important. They provide good connection with others. Just be safe and courteous when using them. And please --- no more calls interrupting business meetings, okay? If it rings, let it go to voice mail, turn off your sound and catch it later. Most of us are not doctors on call or waiting for the “Baby is now due” calls from a spouse. Concentrate on the person you are with now. This is basic courtesy. Voice mail is a beautiful thing!

Technology To The Rescue

Here’s a trick I share with my coaching clients: You can slice through mountains of email fast and be even more personal with a couple of key technologies. Yes, you can have both---warm personal communication and process email faster.

Think audio and video. Often I’ll send a quick audio message or video message to someone. They know it is me doing it and it not a mass email. They see my facial expressions (on video, of course) and hear the inflection in my voice. This eliminates any misconceptions, which can arise from mere text on a screen alone.

Of course, this should only be used in high value-for-value situations. You can’t do this for just anyone who sends you an email or you’d go nuts. However, when the communication represents high value in business (read serious business possibilities) video is worth it. Invest a few moments of time to learn how to create video (it’s easy). It will pay off in hours of time savings, increased personal contacts and increased business profits.

Leverage technology and focus on building quality, value-for-value, profitable relationships in business. This is what Relationship Marketing is all about and how you can use it to build your business.

Terry Brock is an international marketing coach and columnist who helps businesses market more effectively, leveraging technology. He shows busy professionals how to squeeze more out of their days using time-honored rules and practical technology tools. He can be reached at 407-363-0505, by e-mail at or through his website at

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

MS Office for Mac 2008 and NeatReceipts Scanner for Mac

How To (And Not To) Respond To Customers:
MS Office For Mac And NeatReceipts Scanner For Mac

By Terry L. Brock

Technology is a great enabler when it works. We can accomplish more with good technology than we can without it. However, when the manufacturers of technology think they have a better way and try to force it upon the rest of us, well, the rest of us have a way to responding that is not always good for sellers of technology.

Recently, I was able to get two new technologies, which I use a lot in my business. There are good and not-so-good features which I’ll share with you in this article. I welcome your comments.

MS Office 2008 For Mac

I used office a lot on my Dell Windows computer. Office 2003 was a staple to get the job done. When I moved over to Mac I was able to make the transition relatively smoothly --- with a few calls to some wonderful people in support.

When the 2008 version for Office was released I was pleased to get that. I had trouble getting my own copy and couldn’t get it directly from Microsoft in spite of a few email messages requesting the promised upgrade. So, I was delighted to hear from them to receive my copy of Office 2008 to review for this article.

It loaded in about 50 minutes. I was concerned about the length of time until I realized (after installation) that Office quickly looked at what I already had with Office 2003 and brought it into the new software. That was nice. No hassle and it did it on its own. It would have been nice to have a message something like “We notice you already have Office 2003 with files. So, we’ll just bring your old data into the new features so you can use it.” Something like that would have been a nice touch, but I’m not complaining.

Not yet anyway.

I loved the new speed with Entourage, the Mac version of Outlook (kinda). I noticed that I could look up contact information much faster (about 3 seconds vs. 50 seconds---big difference!). I also liked the new feature called “My Day.” It gives you a snapshot of the meetings you have, the tasks to complete and more. This is a really nice feature and worth the upgrade by itself.

However, I did have a major complaint with a feature that has caused aggravation for many. Microsoft decided not to allow macros from Office 2003 to come into Office 2008.

Major bummer!

Technically, they dropped Visual Basic because (and I’m quoting from their website here,

“Office 2008 was built to be a universal application because Apple moved to Intel processors, the Macintosh VBA compiler was originally designed for a much earlier PowerPC-based Macintosh and will not work, without significant modifications, on the Intel-based Macintosh. VBA macro code is compiled at runtime, and the compiler code, VB editor code, and VB forms code could not be converted for the Intel-based Macintosh without extensive programming work that…. blah, blah blah.” (Okay, I made up the “blah, blah, blah” part!)

What is going on here? Macros are a way to save hours of time for users. Microsoft felt they didn’t have enough time to bring it into the new version? And besides, I didn’t see that much in Word that needed to be changed. Word 2003 is a fine program, thank you, and we really didn’t need a lot of changes. However, we certainly needed to keep what is already working (like macros).


Space doesn’t allow a more comprehensive evaluation (see my Blog for more info) but suffice it to say that I found Office:Mac 2008 really good on the Entourage side, fair on Excel, merely okay with PowerPoint (still like Keynote better from Apple) and Word a sad disappointment.

With increased competition from really good online options like Google Docs, ZoHo and more ever day, this could be the beginning of the end for computing as we knew it in the old days (back in the 90’s).

Neat Receipt Scanner For Mac

On another note, I received the NeatReceipt scanner for Mac. This has been a venerable sheetfed scanner on the Windows side. This version is called “An Advance Release” meaning that it doesn’t have everything from the Windows side---not yet anyway.

I used it for some scanning of magazine articles, hand-written notes and was frustrated for a while as it always assumed it needed numbers (receipts). However, a couple of quick calls to their support eliminated the problems in about 120 seconds. These people are good!

I’ve now been using my NetReceipts scanner on my MacBook Pro and it is a very good experience. Their support is outstanding. Their hardware is rugged and seems very dependable (more after I’ve taken it on a few trips). The software is good. The best part---it is really good technology which can increase your productivity!

Office 2008 for Mac, $149.95,
NeatReceipts Scanner, $179.95,

Moral of the story: Listen to customers and respond to their needs, not what you think is nice. Software developers need to get out from behind their desks, pecking on keyboards, and find out what end-users are saying. Listening to and responding to customers remains the best way to succeed in business. True Relationship Marketing is built on this principle. We can all learn from it.

Terry Brock is an international marketing coach and columnist who helps businesses market more effectively, leveraging technology. He shows busy professionals how to squeeze more out of their days using time-honored rules and practical technology tools. He can be reached at 407-363-0505, by e-mail at or through his website at

Friday, June 13, 2008

Social Networking And Bottom-Line Business

By Terry L. Brock

“The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

That is an old adage that is particularly true with technology and with the new phenomena of social networking.

This trend of connecting with people that you know, or even casually have met, is gaining more and more momentum. It is similar to Relationship Marketing in that you connect with people. Done properly, it can serve as a way to get feedback from various people who are in your list of contacts.

However, there are many people that are treating it like just another way to grab business cards. Much like those who attend a lot of “Networking” functions and brag about how many business cards they’ve distributed, unless there is a real relationship with someone, it doesn’t matter. You want to connect in a genuine, real way with people who can help you in business. To “connect” with someone you don’t know through a popular social networking site would be comparable to collecting a thousand business cards from people you don’t know. It only leads to spam and those doing the spamming are not respected and certainly don’t know much about real Relationship Marketing. They also don’t see real business benefits by spamming people either with spam email or other frivolous connections.

The next generation of social networking is emerging now. It thrives on people who have a specific interest. It could be a group of podiatrists in Chicago, people interested in a given candidate in a particular area or members of a “group within a group.”

One technology empowering this is Ning. The Chinese name for “tranquility” is the root of this site started by Marc Andreessen (yes, THAT Marc Andressen of Netscape fame) and Gina Bianchini. These two geniuses have come up with a technology and style that helps people connect online for specific purposes.

I’m a member of one Ning group called “NSA Next” which is for interested “young-minded” speakers of the National Speakers Association. It provides a way for us to connect online and talk about matters, within the speaking business, related to our own interests.

That is what Ning, and other successful social networking sites are about. They provide a way for people to gather and share information.

Contrast that with some other sites which only have people “connecting” with someone they barely know. Many people think that the more “contacts” they have the better they are.

Well, I guess that will matter just as soon as we all hold a contest and give a prize to the person with the most business cards in their closet!

It doesn’t matter how many people you say are your “contacts.” What matters in business is cultivating profitable relationships baed on value for value exchange.
Social networking relates beautifully to what I call R-Commerce, Relationship Commerce. It is about relating to people in true value-for-value exchange.

It is natural, as people like to connect with others. Technology fuels that ability. This is what technology has done through the ages. Think of the first telegraph. It gave people the ability to connect with others over a long distance. Newspapers gave people the ability to share their ideas with others. Radio let people hear a live voice and opened a world of technology unknown before that.

Television moved to a new dimension to see people moving live.

Today, the Net is different than these other media. It is more like an on-going act, not something that is stuck and unmovable. It is the ability to connect with others immediately from anywhere. This is where we’re moving. It is spontaneous and ever-changing.

What are some implications for your business? Think “Sale of the Hour” if you’re in the neighborhood. Of course, the neighborhood could be your website. It could also be a physical location.

We really want that human, pressing the flesh, seeing someone in person experience. We still want and will always need that face-to-face meeting time. However, that is the ultimate limit. You still can only be in one place at one time. You preclude all other possibilities when you’ve selected one place.

My friend, Corbin Balls says, “You can’t share a virtual beer.” We’ll always need face-to-face meetings. However, technologies like Ning provide the ability to get close to a specific group of people with a special interest. Check out what others are doing with Ning at and see for yourself.

More and more jobs are being found through social networking. There are probably some who still get hired by traditional newspaper classified ads. However, that market is fading fast. Social networking and instant messages are replacing it for many today.

Yes, there are some who still have a traditional resume on paper. However, more and more jobs are offered and accepted through social networks like Twitter (limit of 240 characters) MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo and others. This is where people congregate. This is where people are hanging out more and more. This is where smart marketers hang out as well.

Social Networking is a logical extension of both technology and our desire to connect with real, genuine relationships. Serious marketers and business people of all types are looking into it. The benefits have only begun to appear.

Terry Brock is an international marketing coach and columnist who helps businesses market more effectively, leveraging technology. He shows busy professionals how to squeeze more out of their days using time-honored rules and practical technology tools. He can be reached at 407-363-0505, by e-mail at or through his website at

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Bounce Back from a Set Back

By Terry L. Brock

Dateline: Amsterdam, Holland. I’m back in this enchanting city known for lots of bicycles, beautiful canals, charming people and yes the traditional windmills, wooden shoes and tulips. While there are not many windmills, the people really don’t wear wooden shoes and the tulips are gorgeous, this city reminds me of the importance of bouncing back from setbacks.

It all started for me a few years ago when I first visited Amsterdam. Being a naive tourist who was mesmerized with this delightfully Dutch city, I was sitting on a park bench enjoying a lovely afternoon. I was on my first trip around the world and planned to collect several pictures and video as I went to ultimately share them at a conference in Hong Kong where I was scheduled to present to a group of senior executives from around the world.

As I was enjoying the moment on the park bench, I was approached by a man who distracted me asking a question. At least I thought it was a question as he repeated something in a language I didn’t understand. Being the naïve tourist that I was, I jokingly tried to explain that I didn’t understand and only spoke English. Suddenly the man turned to walk away abruptly. It was at that moment that I turned to my left and noticed that my bag with my camera and video camcorder – along with other valuable notes and items – was gone! I had fallen for the oldest trick in the book. One distracts you to look to the right while his accomplice steals your bag on your left.

I quickly jumped up to watch for a fleeing thief, but these thieves were fast and knew their craft. My bag was gone, never to be seen again. I went instantly from blissful enjoyment to shock and outrage. What could I do? I needed that equipment for my programs. What about all the pictures and video I had already captured for the event? What can I do now? These and a thousand other desperate questions raced through my mind in those first few moments.

When a setback or even a tragedy hits, there is an initial moment of being stunned. That quickly turns into outrage and anger. This is natural. The critical difference is what you do about it to bounce back from that set back. How you react at that pivotal moment in time will determine your future.

Here are some steps that can help you and your business if you are faced with a situation where you have to bounce back from a set back.

1. Preparation. This is what you can do right now. Realize that stuff happens on this planet. Plan for it. Don’t be surprised when it happens. Just understand that it is going to happen to everyone and this event was your experience in the setback department. So, create abundance to withstand setbacks. In business that means having more than you need. Don’t go for “just enough.” Go for abundance to be prepared for inevitable setbacks.

2. Allow Time For Realization – But Get Back Quickly In The Game. You’re human. Feel that pain when the setback hits. I had to take time to think about what had just happened when my bag was stolen. However, don’t take forever. Deal with it quickly and get over it. This leads to the next step where you …

3. Think Of Alternatives – Be Creative. Be resourceful. Teddy Roosevelt said, “Do what you can, with what you’ve got, right where you are.” Sure, there will be lots of “If only I’d…” and “If I only had a ____” type of thoughts. However, you begin to bounce back when you’re “creative quickly.” Brainstorm with others through Relationship Marketing. Mindstorm with yourself. Out of a lot of many possibilities can emerge some viable, sound answers to your problem.

4. Positive Mental Attitude (PMA). This sounds easy and is often met with cynicism. However, it is true that if you maintain a doggedly determined positive attitude to find solutions amidst hardship, you’ll be better able to bounce back from that setback. You have to get really serious about making a difference in your situation. Do whatever is necessary to bounce back. It might not be fast, but with determination, the right skill acquisition and the right PMA, you can overcome any setback. Napoleon Hill said, “Every setback carries with it the seeds of equal or greater benefit.” Keep this in mind at that critical, hurtful moment when the setback happens.

5. Develop Your Own Ability To “Out Produce The Problem” And Create More. This is what helped me at that moment after my loss in Amsterdam years ago. I remember that Nazi Germany knew they were defeated in WWII when they would destroy some American planes only to see those planes replenished in abundance the next week. The Americans outproduced the Germans. I determined then and there first, to be more careful when in public places, and second, to do what I could to create more wealth. That helped me at the moment as I had a renewed determination to be a better businessperson and overcome this setback.

As an interesting side note, I made it through as I purchased another camera and was able to get a lot of good pictures to deliver a dazzling presentation for the executives in Hong Kong. They asked me back for many more programs!

However, the best part was how I chose to “get back” at the thieves who stole my bag. I made it a point to return to Amsterdam the next year. I went back to that same bench with a new camera bag, a better camcorder and better camera. I wrapped the strap around my neck and held on tightly to it with one arm as I sat down. I dared them to come try and take it from me again. It was like spitting in their eyes! Of course they didn’t come back (they were wise to stay away!) and I had a renewed sense of victory!

Bonus For You: See sites from Amsterdam and my video version of this article by going to and click on the “Terry’s Blog…Latest Update” button on the left. You’ll love it!

Do what you need to do to bounce back from your setbacks. Yes, setbacks will happen. Plan for it. Then outproduce the challenge by being creative and resourceful. My friend Willie Jolley says, “A setback is just a setup for a comeback.” Keep that in mind as you overcome your own setbacks and prepare for an even bigger bounceback!

Terry Brock is an international marketing coach and columnist who helps businesses market more effectively, leveraging technology. He shows busy professionals how to squeeze more out of their days using time-honored rules and practical technology tools. He can be reached at 407-363-0505, by e-mail at or through his website at