Tribute to a Great American

“Just Yesterday Morning, they let me know you were gone. Suzanne (Seems that) the plans they made put an end to you…so I sat down this morning, and I wrote down this song. I just can’t remember who to send it too.” James Taylor

Warning: This post is not business related. I guess it could be considered a lesson in building relationships, but it’s not intended to impart any wisdom or lesson whatsoever. It is meant solely to honor one of the greatest people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

You’ll find nothing about Pop written in a novel or recreated on the big screen, nor should it be… those outlets can never adequately display his powerful life. In all honesty, I am doing him a great disservice by even attempting to discuss his life here, but my heart is heavy with mourning. I feel compelled to poor my heart into these words, and I can only pray that they are coherent enough to be remotely flattering.

His is a story of nontraditional accomplishment, honor, and character. It’s a story that teaches us that riches aren’t found in wallets or banks, but in the lives we touch. Most people refer to him as Pop or Papa, but he answers to many other titles…all of which are endearing and descriptive of his saintly demeanor. He is not my father, and although I care for him as such, we are not blood related. In fact, I have only known him for 8 years and am deeply saddened that it hasn’t been longer.

He was born in Sweden in the 1930’s. Growing up on a snow filled farm, he often dreamed of coming to the great melting pot that is/was our nation.  Just barely an adult, Pop finally made that trip, and he still believes as he did that day: This is a place where you can make your dreams come true…if you are willing. To him, this country encompasses all that freedom stands for and then some.

If for no other reason, you’d have to respect the fact that he walked onto US soil without the ability to speak English and with only 3 bucks in his pocket.  A few years later, he showed tremendous judgment and taste by marrying a sweet Southern Belle from the state of Georgia. They were a team and a pair of Saints who made friends everywhere they travelled.

Although not a natural born southerner, Papa Swede would exemplify the traits that those of us who are natural born would consider prerequisites for naturalization.

When I found out about his diagnosis, Pop was 77 years old, but the good Lord saw fit to allow him to stay another year and a half. His American dream is complete, and Like most of us, his plan may not have been fulfilled to the letter, but his life is one that any of us would be proud to have lived.

He has been married to his one and only wife for over 50 years; his 3 children are a living testament to the love he had and shared with everyone; he has become a surrogate father and grandfather to many; and the friends he has made over the years could probably shift election results for any major candidate. He is and always has been a great man.  I and many others will truly miss you Pop. God speed and and thank you for the awesome example and legacy.

I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain. I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end. I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend, but I always thought I’d see you again.”James Taylor


United Socialist States of America

Commentary on the Health Care Act.

We have now officially, with consent of the SCOTUS, socialized 25% of the US economy. If we consider all business entities that are dependent on the medical industry, I would bet it to be even more.

Should we really be surprised? Since the ratification of the 16th amendment, we have systematically made a gradual progression (or regression) from a free market economy into a socialist economic system. This has been pushed along by those in power. We have been conditioned to think as profit as an evil word, made to believe we are entitled to certain things that we are not, and guilt tripped into apologizing for success. In other words, initiative, hard work, and enjoying the fruits of such activities are no longer a positive and respected American trait.

Maybe Marx was correct in his predictions that socialism was a natural evolution from capitalism…or maybe those in power, who are well versed in Marx, are pushing the system towards those ends. Either way, I still maintain that socialism is not a viable economic system. The private sector creates wealth and initiative mixed with innovation is its fuel. From each according to skill; to each according to need does not work. Those who have the skill lose the initiative to provide for those who have the need…eventually, the needy become the majority. The easier path is just that, easier. Those with skill become few and far between…eventually leaving the system for a more conducive environment.

So, what is my goal or main point in writing this post? Mostly to vent at the ignorance or blindness of the general public, but more importantly, to possibly spawn thought. Yes, we could probably survive without capitalism, but we sure as hell cannot thrive.

First Impressions: Just Answer the Phone…Correctly.

How do your employees answer the phone? This seems like a simple enough question, but really think about it. For many of your potential customers, this is the very first interaction they have with your business. Assuming that your employees automatically know what you expect them to do, especially when it involves customer contact, is a dangerous management practice.

Unfortunately, Customer service and sales training modules often overlook the part on phone etiquette. Big mistake! Training sessions should never be without it.

Below you’ll find what I consider to be the essentials to answering a business phone.

1)      Tell them who they called: Believe it or not, people’s fingers still get in the way when dialing a phone. That’s why it’s crucial for those answering the phone in your business to mention the name of your business. In addition, some people become very apprehensive when calling a business.  Assure them that they called where they meant to call.

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2)      Tell them who they are speaking to: Not only does it help to know which business they called; it always makes a customer feel more comfortable when they know who they are talking to…so tell them. One of my biggest pet peeves is to call a business and have to ask who I am speaking to. I CALLED YOUR PLACE OF BUSINESS; YOU SHOULD TELL ME WHO YOU ARE!

3)      Offer some form of assistance: This goes back to the apprehension thing. Customers sometimes need to be lead through a conversation. It is your business, so you and your employees should be doing the leading. If they have to ask for your help after they have just called you, you are really giving them a bad taste in their mouth. SO ASK…

4)      Use a Friendly enthusiastic tone of voice: These people cannot see your face. They have no idea how many people have just cussed you out. They have no way of knowing that this particular day has been kicking you square in the britches. Nor should they have to…it’s not their fault. The only way they can know they are welcome in your place as a client or customer is for you to sound that way.

The final product should sound a little something like this: “Thanks for calling my Groovy Business! This is Wes. How might I be of service to you?”…Or any variation that you may choose.

Now for some side rules on phone etiquette:

1) Don’t answer the darn thing while you’re with a customer: I always like to use the rule of proximity. The that customer with the money closest to you takes priority over those who are further away. I realize that credit card transactions make it possible for customers to make purchase via the phone, but that individual standing in front of you always has priority. Also, if the phone is ringing and there is no one else to answer it, then your business is under staffed. (see exception to this rule in #2)

2) Two Rings maximum: Yes, I know this rule is in direct conflict with #1, but sometimes it cannot be helped. Apologize to the customer in front of you, answer the phone, an then tell the customer on the other end of the line that you’ll need to call them back or ask if they mind holding.

Remember, it’s the little things that make a HUGE difference, and proper customer service is not rocket science, but it does take proper oversight

and training to ensure that it is indeed proper.

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Obstacles versus Objections: How to tell the difference.

Sales Training

Wes Herndon

We here at W Herndon Consulting often witness sales people making the same mistakes over and over again. This post addresses one of those mistakes.

To effectively sale your stuff, you have to know how to ask someone to buy it. As a matter of fact, just asking for a purchase decision is doing more than 67% of the sales people in the world. That’s right! They give this awesome sales presentation filled with great information about their product and they never even give the prospect the opportunity to buy it. What a shame.

That being said, this post is for the 33% who do ask for the sale. It is common practice in the art of sales to anticipate a prospects objection to purchasing your product or service. The problem lies in our confusing objections with simple obstacles. Believe it or not, there is a difference. Objections are, in essence, a client saying this: “I am not buying from you ever because…” The obstacle, however, is fundamentally different. It is the same sentence, but with the words “right now” interjected to replace the word “ever”. In other words, “I am not buying from you right now because…”

Obstacles are actually a little easier to overcome than objections and as a result, should be handled much differently and more aggressively than objections. We do, however, need to recognize the prospects psyche when they present us with an objection. Either they are being truthful when they say they can’t afford to buy right now, or they really have an objection and are just trying to hide by being nice. Either way, it is for us to dig deep enough to find the truth.

Some Common Obstacles are as follows:
1) I can’t afford it
2) I need to speak with my wife, husband, dog, grandmother, cat, or whoever.
3) I need to pray about it, sleep on it, or think about it.
4) I don’t have the money.”

Each of these should be handled in a slightly different way. Below are some ideas for handling each individually. Numbers coincide with the respective obstacle.

1) “I can’t afford it” If you had the money, would this be something you would purchase

2) “I need to talk it over with someone who I trust.” If you were making this decision on your own, what would you do?

3) “I need to pray about it…” What are your initial impressions about this product or service?

4) “I don’t have the money.”When do you think you’ll have the money?

Unfortunately, most sales people actually respond to these obstacles as if they were objections, and in doing so, ruin any opportunity that may have existed to salvage the sale.

If you’d like more training, ideas, or to discuss these ideas in more detail, please shoot me an email at

Are Crappy Employees Ruining your Business

Are Crappy Employees Ruining your Business.