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Archive for June, 2009

Billy Mays: TV Sales King

Monday, June 29th, 2009

Billy Mays was the car salesman who you always avoid when you walk on the lot. He pushed the “hard sell,” convincing people that they need to buy what he’s selling. Any experienced car-buyer knows that when you step on that used car lot, you do so with your guns loaded. You’ve got a series of questions prepared for the salesperson, you’ve got Kelly Blue Book numbers on the make and model you’re looking for and your uncle, the mechanic, is awaiting your call so he can put his two cents in. More importantly, you’ve got a list of reasons prepared why you don’t need the car that the salesperson is pushing. So how did Billy Mays’ hard sell technique generate billions of dollars in OxiClean sales?

Billy Mays took his hard sell attitude and hit you with it when you least expected it. He waited until you were at home curled up on your sofa, tired from a days’ work and ready to relax for the night. He waited until your guard was down and then he screamed at you (literally) and told you how badly you needed his product. Contrary to popular belief, he didn’t just target insomniacs and night owls. He sought average people who were just up past their bedtime or who had fallen asleep with the TV on and were awakened to the sound of his “Yowzah, yowzah!” sales pitch.

While most companies appropriate meager funds for 30-second advertisements, Mays bought half-hour chunks of time where he could talk to his audience one-on-one. Using infomercials, Mays was able to guarantee face-time with hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of potential customers, and rely on the quality of his product and his skill as a salesman to do the rest.

So what can we learn from the late pitch man? We must re-think sales and discover new ways to reach customers and bring products to them. Billy Mays did it with television; Amazon did it with the Internet. What’s going to be the next best way to reach your audience?

Check out the June issue of GAWDA Edge to see some ways that GAWDA members are reaching out to customers and working to generate new sales.

To Tweet Or Not To Tweet?

Friday, June 26th, 2009
As a young person in the industry, everyone I meet automatically assumes I know everything there is to know about Facebook, BlackBerries, Twitter, WiFi and all the other technology that has accompanied my generation since I was a boy. Since I am under 30, it is only natural that I should have a MySpace page, text everyone I know and be able to figure out why your e-mail is broken. While many of these stereotypes are unfortunately true, I still have qualms about most social networking sites and prefer a face-to-face conversation to a series of online messages. In a recent effort not to disappoint folks in the older generations who will undoubtedly ask me someday how to use it, I have joined the one social network I swore I never would: Twitter.
As it turns out, Twitter is not the total waste of time I envisioned it to be. While an unwitting user could easily lose hours of his day following washed up celebrities, a savvy browser can find useful and pertinent information. There is an account, for example, that posts welding job listings from around the country every hour on the hour. Other users, such as GassyWelder, provide their followers with current industry news and helpful links for gases and welding. By developing the proper series of followers on the site, a Twitterer can actually create a network of very relevant, current information sources.

Interesting right? Who knew it could be used to improve your business and your career? If you’re interested in yours truly, you can always follow me on Twitter for updates on GAWDA Edge and interesting gases and welding tidbits. Just add I_Am_GasMan to the list of folks you follow on Twitter.

Cooking With Chemistry

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

It’s the latest fad in gourmet cooking and it comes in an industrial gas cylinder. Liquid nitrogen is being used in kitchens across the country in a new cooking technique referred to as “molecular gastronomy.”

As experimental chefs delve deeper into the realm of culinary science, they are discovering more and more uses for the ultra-cold substance in the kitchen. Most often, liquid nitrogen is used to make ice cream because it will freeze the dish in a matter of seconds. By simply combining the ingredients and dousing them with NO2, a chef can create a quick, delicious ice cream dessert.

Culinary visionaries, however, have found many more uses for the volatile compressed gas. Some chefs spray their meats with liquid nitrogen before cooking them to prevent overcooking or uneven cooking. Others use it to make frozen alcoholic desserts. Anything with more than a little alcohol in it won’t freeze in an ordinary freezer, but liquid nitrogen allows for a frozen treat that will knock your socks off.

The use of such a hazardous substance does raise a number of safety concerns, and kitchens will most assuredly have to deal with the same regulatory bodies that GAWDA members deal with on a regular basis (if they aren’t doing so already). But next time you’re out for some fancy cuisine, don’t be afraid to ask to see an NO2 menu. Who knows, they might even be looking for a good gas supplier.

The Edge All-Stars

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

Yesterday marked the official beginning of summer, which means grills are ablaze, baseballs are aloft and the gases and welding industry is abuzz with new ideas and opportunities. Keeping with the spirit of the season, GAWDA Edge is focusing its July issue on America’s favorite pastime (no, it’s not a Budweiser issue). We’re taking a look at some of the work that went into the construction of the new home of the New York Yankees (sorry Boston fans), and featuring an “All-Star Team” of nine young professionals in the gases and welding industry. We’ll also give our readers a few helpful tips on teamwork from a legendary NCAA basketball coach.

So if you think you have what it takes to be a GAWDA Edge All-Star, or if you’d like to nominate someone else in the industry who has done exceptional work or shown great leadership, email me at christopher@datakey.org.

The June Issue of GAWDA Edge is Here!

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

The theme for the June 2009 issue (http://www.gawdaedge.org/) is “Making the Transition to Sales” by the next-generation sales force. Our lead story focuses on five young salespeople in the industry who share their thoughts on what they are bringing to, and learning from, the gases and welding industry. In addition, Nick Moreno, founder of the National Sales Center, offers sales tips for new salespeople; Harry Mellott, a marketing specialist with Hypertherm, Inc., provides advice on successful marketing and sales initiatives through Application Sales Profiles; and our Web site of the month, EyesonSales.com, offers thousands of professional sales tips, articles, podcasts and videos designed to help salespeople be even more effective.

There are plenty of other topics as well:

  • We pay a visit to two recent Regional Meetings and get feedback from organizers on how they are enhancing the value of the program beyond social networking.
  • The Family Business Challenge returns with a new business question for our multigenerational teams to debate.
  • AWISCO facility and warehouse manager Faisal Khan reports on how to track down free government grants to enhance your business.
  • Our Vacation Destinations series returns for the summer, with travel ideas that will appeal to both your industry and tourist sides.

And if all that isn’t enough, be sure to click the “Special Feature Link” on the cover for a video presentation on industry newcomer Atlas Welding Supply Co.

Thanks for taking the time to check in at the GAWDA Edge Editor’s Blog.

Please enjoy the June issue at http://www.gawdaedge.org/!

The June 2009 Issue of GAWDA Edge Arrives Soon

Monday, June 1st, 2009

We are hard at work on the June issue of GAWDA Edge, which will be delivered to your inbox in just a few short weeks.

The lead topic for the issue is the next generation sales force and what they are learning as they grow in the gases and welding industry. In addition, we have a column penned by Nick Moreno, founder of the National Sales Center, with valuable tips for new salespeople.

Other topics include GAWDA Regional Meetings, advice on tracking down free government grants to help your business, and Round 2 of our series “The Family Business Challenge,” which this month tackles the subject of dealing with a customer who is looking for a price reduction.

Be sure to check out the June issue of GAWDA Edge when it arrives, and share your thoughts on its contents and on future topics you would like to see.

I hope to hear from you soon!