Ideas@Work! - Strategies for Success

September 4, 2007

In this issue...
Point to Ponder
What's your Essential Message?
Success Library
Last minute thoughts and ideas
Thanks for reading

Point to Ponder

"A customer is the most important visitor on our premises. The customer is not dependent on us – we are dependent on him or her." Anonymous


I’m reminded of these sage words as I relax and reflect in a quaint little hotel and spa in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. I’m sure; they could have easily been penned by many Mexican business people, as this attitude is very evident by my hosts.

I am consistently amazed at the open friendliness and genuine attitude of customer service so prevalent everywhere I travel down here. Our hosts and staff seem genuinely glad to see us when we come to eat, get a towel for the beach or pool, ask for a cab to the marina, or ask directions to the local market.

You’d never know that, on average, they make about $8 for a hard day’s work. What is it that drives them to be so hospitable while working so hard? It can’t be only for the tips, as they were included in the all inclusive package I booked. You’d never know it from their happy demeanour, even toward the end of a long day working diligently to serve their customers. Their smiles are like a handshake from a close friend. They make you feel welcome.

Went for a sail (August 21st) on the Pacific Dreams’ Gypsy Spirit, (picture below) a 60 foot ketch rigged ship with a crew of three and a couple of helpers from adjacent boats. Oh... yeah...

Our host and his crew were very gracious to our needs and even let me take the wheel for most of the trip across the bay to the private little beach at a small fishing village. Our host took us snorkelling, pointing out the various fish and underwater sites, while the crew prepared an amazing lunch on a beach side grill… way beyond what I would have expected for the price of the trip. Again, a genuine interest in me and in making sure we all had a great day of sailing.

If you were ever coming down here I’d certainly recommend these folks. Who knows, if enough people were interested I might be inspired to create a special seminar around this experience. Drop a note if you might like a 'sea and sand' success or sales seminar.

  • When was the last time you walked into a store or place of business and had some one look up and a genuine smile of joy and acceptance cross their face?
  • When was the last time you welcomed a customer or colleague in this manner?
  • What needs to change to instil this level of interaction and service?

Perhaps we can each learn a lesson, from my Mexican friends, in how to enhance our customers experience with us. Do you think that might help you build your career or business?

Until next month.

Bob 'Idea Man' Hooey, sailor and seminar captain... smile

Bob, pictured aboard the Gypsy Spirt in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico


What's your Essential Message?

Picture this. You’re out having a coffee with a friend. An acquaintance of your friend happens to walk in and sits down for a few minutes to chat.

After you finish talking about the weather and last night’s sports scores, the inevitable question comes up: "So, what do you do?"

You’ve got 60 seconds. What do you say?

If the best you can muster is sales manager or consultant, (or lawyer, or accountant, or whatever), then you’ve just blown a golden opportunity to find your next client.

After all, everyone in the world is either a potential client for you or in a position to refer a potential client to you.

A symptom of a fundamental sales & marketing problem.

So does that mean you have to be in ‘sales mode’ all the time? No, especially if you think that being in sales mode means being pushy and aggressive.

But the reality is, if you can’t articulate in a compelling manner who you are, what you’re especially good at, and why anyone would want to do business with you, then the problem is worse than just blowing an opportunity to get a new client when you go for coffee.

Now, before you read any further, please allow me to commiserate with you.

Entrepreneurs, consultants, emerging companies and indeed most salespeople are between a rock and a hard place when it comes to how you describe your business or introduce yourself at a networking event!

To start with, there’s no way you can sum up everything you do in a neat little phrase. And to make things worse, once people know what you do, they lump you in with a half million other people who, on the face of it anyway, appear to do the same thing!

But if you can relate to those challenges, then you should recognize it as a symptom of a fundamental and hugely critical sales & marketing problem. Chances are, the same uninspiring ‘non-sales’ arguments permeate your entire business -- on your Website, in your brochure, and in your advertising.

To prove it to yourself, take a look at your website as well as the websites of some of your competitors. Do you see anything that engages your audience and speaks to their interests?

If you're like most businesses, the answer is probably 'no'

Throw away the rulebook.

The biggest reason why people have so much trouble with positioning and articulating a compelling message about their business is that they are working from somebody else's rulebook.

No doubt you've heard very specific instructions on the 'correct' way to create a positioning line, or the 'correct' way to write an elevator speech or infomercial. And of course, everyone knows that you have to focus on high level benefits and avoid negative statements, right?

Well, aside from very few universal principles of communication, it may be all wrong (for you).

What might have worked for someone else has no guarantee of working for you. And besides, if you use the same rules as everyone else, then you end up sounding like everyone else.

And you're back to square one.

Instead of trying to apply someone else's rulebook, wouldn't it be much more valuable for you to figure out the set of rules that work for you?

How? Once you throw away the rulebook, here are three things you can do to help you find your way.

Go to lot of networking events.

If you think that networking events are for collecting business cards and finding new business, you've just found another reason to throw away the rulebook.

The most valuable thing you can take away from a networking event is not a bunch of business cards, but rather all the research you could be accumulating on your Essential Message.

Think of a networking event as a giant focus group that you could use to figure out what resonates most with people about your business and what the true core value is about what you offer.

As you work the room, try emphasizing different aspects of your business. Ask a lot of questions about the kind of service the person you are speaking to would like to receive. And most importantly, pay special attention to the reactions you get.

If you truly listen, you might be surprised by what people find most interesting and appealing about your business.

Ask your best clients and customers.

Clients aren't usually shy about telling you why they like doing business with you and what attracted them to you in the first place.

If you're shy about asking them, get over it – or hire someone else to do it for you. Tell your client that you need their help to understand your business better. Be clear that the purpose of getting together isn't about asking for new business or referrals, although new business and referrals often result from these kinds of meetings.

And be prepared to probe. When they tell you that they like the quality of your work, ask them what they mean by 'quality'.

Remember, what may seem commonplace or obvious to you may in fact be extremely important to your clients. You'll never know unless you ask.

Lighten up.

A big part of getting your Essential Message is allowing more of you to show up in everything you do. That simply won't happen if you're too serious or overly concerned with appearing 'professional'.

No matter what you do to improve your sales and marketing messaging, however, it's important to keep working on it.

Unless you have your Essential Message right, it doesn't matter how many salespeople you hire, how many ads you run or brochures you send out, or how many people view your Web site. You won't get the results you need to move your business forward.

The bad news is that it's not as simple as copying someone else's formula.

The good news is that it works.

© 2007 Michle Neray,  Used with permission of the author.

About my friend Michel Neray: Michel is a good friend, covention roommate, fellow CAPS speaker and author. He gets to the point and helps you do the same. Tired of boring elevator pitches? Do you wonder why your infomercial doesn't work? Michel Neray specializes in helping consultants, coaches, trainers and other independent professionals develop turn more people into prospects, and more prospects into sales. His 'E-ssential Messages' newsletters are short, sweet and incredibly useful.

Link to to subscribe or for more information about his workshops, copywriting services, keynotes and coaching. Michel is also a professional member of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (CAPS).


Success Library

Last month, I suggested you visit to order some of these for great books for your collection.

Here are a few more that came in from my San Diego order that I think would be great for your library.

  • The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino (if you haven't read this one, please do... it is a classic and a wonderful read.)
  • Your best life now by Joel Osteen
  • Make it, so you don't have to FAKE IT! by Patricia Fripp
  • Visions from the leaders of today for the leaders of tomorrow by Ty Boyd

Tell Charlie I said hello.

PS: Actually reading a non-business book by the pool.


Last minute thoughts and ideas

August was simply an awesome month

  • Enjoyed my coaching session with Peter Temple who drove up from Calgary to spend part of the day discussing his business plans and ideas. I have two other speakers who also paid the $625 for a creative consultation in support of our two Alberta CAPS chapters in June.
  • Surpassed the $1500 minimum donation level for entry into the Alberta Easter Seals Drop Zone. Looking for additional sponsors to surpass my goal of $2000. (we are almost there... sitting just below $1900.) Visit the webpage and make a donation today. Thanks so much to those who have already done so. Check this webpage to see who they are...
  • Enjoyed a morning of targeted, stimulating discussion with 7 Edmonton area speakers who met to explore the Study Group concept as an active support aid to help them in their businesses. Great start to an off-the-cuff idea. Some great people, who contributed to my Drop Zone adventure for Alberta Easter Seals. Thanks to my amazing friend and colleague Michelle Devlin who organized our location.  
  • Had an amazing trip to Puerto Vallarta, weather was great, even when it rained from late evening (Wed) until about supper Thursday. Lots of time to reflect, relax, and recharge my creative batteries. (even took a walk in the extended pool... smile)
  • This, (mini-breaks) I want to do more frequently. I am exploring the idea of conducting a seminar or workshop down here where we could design in a day of sailing with guided small group work to augment the program. Let me know if you might be interested in this kind of offering.
  • Working on rough page layouts to add a speaking and training section to our Secret Selling Tips website. Irene will tweak it for function in September and I will go in and rework the copy.
  • A quick note of thanks to my friend and colleague, Robert Manolson from Powerful Play Experiences. Robert is a part of our Alberta Speakers Ad-venture team and used my Pocket Wisdom Secret Selling Tips booklet for a special training event for 3 local radio stations' sales teams. His creativity in using this tool to get them thinking of ways to enhance their sales inspires me to work on more publications like this one. Look for Pocket Wisdom for Leaders and Secret 'Service' Tips in the near future.

September will be surprisingly fun and productive

I will be working on ideas drawn from my time of reflection while in Mexico. New ideas to serve my customers better, new website concepts, new internet based business plans, new publications and articles, and new ideas to make what I do more fun. Waiting on some holds and other speaking opportunities to firm up, so the fall looks promising.

Sept. 5th: Meeting with Graham Burns to explore use of Podcasting for our sites and promotion. Also, my training evening for my Drop Zone adventure at Vertically Inclined. (gulp)

Sept 8 & 9th: Facilitating a strategic planning session with the Peace River Community Futures' board and staff

Sept 10th : At 10:45AM I step off the top of the Sutton Place Hotel and rappel down its 26 story exterior in support of Alberta Easter Seals. (gulp) There is still time for you to become a part of my support team and make a donation for this very worthwhile cause. Come down, if you are in Edmonton, and cheer me on.

Sept 13th: Edmonton Chamber, After Business Mixer at Snow Valley

Sept 14th: Day off: Getting my right eye operated on for removal of a cataract… first one went well a year or so back and time to get even clearer in my vision.

Sept 17th: Second meeting (AM-Noon) of the Kick Business Butt Study Group (location to be announced.) Check our website for details.

Sept 19: Accelerated Money Mind and Health Evening in Calgary, Alberta

Sept 22: Facilitating a leadership training program for Canadian Blood Services. There is a shortage of blood at the moment... so roll up your sleeves.

Sept 25th: World Trade Center Edmonton - Workforce Trade Show at Fantasyland Hotel

Sept 26th & 27th: Business Link, Beyond Borders USA, Calgary and Coutts

Sept 29: Attend, celebrate, and MC my friends, Kelly and Christine’s wedding.

PS: Pool expanded across the courtyard with all the rain... but still an amazing break.


Thanks for reading

Bob 'Idea Man' Hooey would be pleased to be a part of your success team and to work with you for your conference, meeting or training event. For more information about customized keynotes, professional/personal leadership training and coaching, seminars/retreats, please visit or call our Creative Office at: (780) 736-0009

Ask about a customized conference, coaching or training package to suit your specific career, company, or organizational needs.

PS: Pacific Dreams' Gypsy Spirit off the shore of a little fishing village.


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Secret Selling Tips

  • If your success depends on your ability to persuade or sell your ideas
  • If your chosen career is selling or retail
  • If you lead or manage a team of selling professionals
  • If your business depends on sales to grow
  • If you haven't already visited this new online venture, I'd invite you to do so and to tell your friends and colleagues.

For, as little as, the price of a cup of coffee you can equip and motivate yourself or your sales team to grow and succeed.

Visit our site: 

Check out the special links on the owners and managers page for more information. Then call us to sign up your sales team for this cost effective sales success tool.

Secret Selling Tips will soon available for individual subscriptions. At present it is available only to companies for their entire sales teams.

Secret Leadership Tips will be available for subscription later in 2007. It will be available for individual subscriptions and will feature MP3 recordings from time to time.

Pocket Wisdom for Leaders will be available in October.

Pocket Wisdom for Customer Service Providers (Secret 'Service' Tips) will be available this fall.


Last chance to support Bob for Alberta Easter Seals Drop Zone adventure

News Flash: We've passed the mimimum $1500 donation level. I've set my goal to raise at least $2000 (would love to reach $3000 or more). I am asking for your support to reach and surpass this worthy, yet lofty goal.

Check out this flash movie to see what I have to look forward to (gulp!) and follow the link below to go to my personal donation page. I am asking you to go online  today. I want to make this adventure count by raising as much as I can for this amazing group.

Please make a donation today.

Check out my personal donation page and help me in support of this very great cause.

I am asking for your help in making a 'leveraged' difference in the lives of Easter Seal Kids.


Professional speaker, leadership and business success author

Bob is a long time (over a decade) leader and professional member of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers as well as the International Federation for Professional Speakers.

He is proud to be an active professional member of these amazing groups of people dedicated to polishing their craft and to better serving their clients and audiences.

Bob is the co-founder and past president of CAPS Vancouver, an honorary founding member of CAPS Sask., an honorary member of CAPS Halifax and as well as being an active member of CAPS Edmonton. He served as a CAPS National Director (2000-2002.)

He would be happy to discuss how he can work with you to equip and motivate your leaders, their teams, sales teams or volunteers to grow and to succeed.

Call him today at 1-780-736-0009 to explore leveraging his innovative Ideas At Work with your organization. Or, email him at


Sunshine and Sea Seminars

I mentioned last month about thinking about setting up some Sunshine Seminars and wanted your insights. What I was considering was holding them in a warmer place during the winter months and a fun place during the summer ones. For example: Mexico, Hawaii, San Diego or Phoenix.

Topics would be around expanding your career and business and/or sales, and/or becoming a more powerful presenter. After my recent trip to Puerto Vallarta and sailing for the day, I am thinking even harder... smile.

My thought was being able to use the time prior or after the seminars to do writing for this publication and others we do each year. Who knows, perhaps we can arrange for some sailing 'success team' discussion groups. Smile

What do you think? Would that be something of interest to you? If so, drop me an email with your thoughts:


#10, Creativity Corner
Egremont, AB T0A 0Z0