Happy Thanksgiving! I am grateful for the opportunity to work with all of you who have benefited from reading my blog, attending my workshops and live sessions, and those who continue to work with my through the SVLC Insider’s Circle and Coaching/Mastery Programs…
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I arrived back from India just about a week ago, but then headed right to Chicago to visit a client there for the balance of the week. But before leaving it was important to have more Chicago Pizza! While I do find places around the country with pretty good NY style pizza, I yet to find a Chicago style pizza outside of the Chicago area…
It took about an hour to get seated – this is the downtown location, right in the center of the city. But it was worth the wait…notice how thick these pizzas are (Second picture down). This is not like the UNOs pizza you get in the franchise stores around the country…but then in the third picture you can see the construction of this pizza. Unlike a good NY Pizza, this pizza has a thick layer of cheese on the bottom, with the toppings melted into the cheese. Then there is a sauce, which is not at all like the pizza sauce I might find in Manhattan, on top of the cheese. The sauce was saucier, sweeter, and had some tomato chunks in it – unlike most pizza sauce. And unlike a NY pizza, the sauce is on top, not on the crust.
In this case I ordered meatballs and sausage. Normally I would try the pizza without toppings first, just to make sure the pizza itself is good. Once you know it’s good pizza, it’s okay to add toppings. But I can’t really imagine eating a Chicago pizza with this much cheese, without any toppings. I think that’s why this is called “Stuffed Pizza” rather than Sicilian Pizza – a thicker type of NY Pizza, or Pan Pizza – which you might find at Pizza Hut. Notice they do not call it deepdish pizza…it’s simply, stuffed pizza…
The crust on these pizzas is also interesting…it looks like NY pizza dough when they are making in the back…but it’s much thicker on the pie, and the taste is completely different. That’s because they add a small amount of corn meal to the dough to give it more body. You don’t really taste the cornmeal – but you do feel it.
My wife, who joined me for this adventure, says the salad dressing is also excellent – so it’s not just the pizza…I try not to eat bunny food when I am eating pizza. Somehow it doesn’t make sense to fill up on other things when there’s a great pizza sitting in front of me. One thing that is always somewhat disappointing – it’s hard to eat several slices of this stuff like I would in NY…it is really filling. Figure on 1.5 slices unless you’re still in the teenage years.
So next time you’re in Chicago, give Giordano’s a try. But call ahead to get your pizza started – it takes about 45 minutes to cook one of these things.
Websites – Mine was getting pretty old and tired, so this year I am celebrating the New Year with a new website. Check it out at http://www.stelzl.us and let me know what you think. Some goals I had in building it:
- Simple to use – simple home page, easy to navigate, and easy on the eyes
- Less pages – No one likes to read lengthy dissertations, so I don’t have any
- Digital down load store – no more CDs or DVDs; I am using the Fastspring store to automatically deliver digital media, and of course, I still ship physical books (But I do have From Vendor to Adviser on Kindle now) – Be sure to check out my new store!
- Video and pictures – I had this on the old site, but I think this is easier to use
- Easy to update – I am using a WordPress template for this site, so no more HTML coding on Adobe
- Beautiful – yes, that’s right. I wanted great pictures. My personal photographer (who also happens to be my oldest daughter) did the photo work… (notice the on-location photos from Charlotte – our home town).
Let me know what you like, what you don’t like, and if you find an error! If you do find a mistake, I will send you a 50% off coupon for any digital product!
© 2012, David Stelzl
As you can see, the JW Marriott in Mumbai is spectacular! Here are some pictures from Day One – planning at the Marriott ( and recovering from my trip). It takes 20 hours to get here, including the layover in Munich – flying Lufthansa…and arriving around midnight makes it even more fun!
Despite the long hours, it really was a good trip. Lufthansa did a great job with customer service; the food was good, the seats are great for day travel, and the plane in great shape. Unfortunately, Lufthansa business-class seats don’t recline to a completely flat bed like the United Airline seats on the 747 (reference my posts from last September’s trip to Australia). This makes sleeping difficult. It’s also hard to get a good night sleep when leaving at 5 PM, and arriving at 8 AM for a layover in Germany. You loose 7 hours in time change, three hours eating, and about 4 are left for sleeping on a seat not suited for side sleepers like myself.
The Lufthansa first-class gold star lounge offers room for three people to take a nap (that’s right, just three!) Everyone else is stuck in stuffed chairs that don’t recline and lack any sort of head support – so napping during the five hour layover is also not an option. They also don’t offer free wireless in the lounge! What’s that all about – this is a first class lounge…what are they thinking? At least the food is good and they do serve soft pretzels.
On both my flights I had the privilege of sitting with businessmen from Germany. We discussed US politics, home schooling – which is illegal in Germany according to both my travel companions, and global economy. We arrived in Mumbai 30 minutes early, about 11:00 PM, on Mothers day. My driver was waiting for me – good thing! Getting around Mumbai takes a lot of experience. There are no obvious road signs or patterns to the road system from what I can tell.
Today, I’ll spend my time preparing for tomorrow’s workshop on identifying security sales opportunities, moving up the ladder to access decision makers, and how to create compelling justification. It’s about a million degrees and humid outside, but the pool looks amazing, so check out my Picasa album…
I was somewhat embarrassed when one my long time friends and business associates contacted me last night to comment on yesterday’s white board post. “I never use Power Point”, was his first comment…and I know he closes some very big deals. But his second comment was a correction, and he’s absolutely right! “Your competition will likely see your notes if you leave them there.”
I was reminded of one of my first big deals at the start of this business. The meeting was set to be held in the decision maker’s office, and I had spent several hours deliberating over the scope, sales call plan, and of course, pricing. The price was the hard part. I didn’t want to lose the deal to price, I didn’t have a reputation that justified a big price, and I didn’t want to undersell this, leaving me with a great project for no money. I finally settled on a price I thought would work, but when I entered the office my competitor’s notes were on the board. Their price was far higher! So when the time came to give a price, I confidently put forth a price 60% higher than my original estimate. The deal was agreed to the next day, and I was the winner. Bottom line…don’t leave anything on the board for your competition to see. (Another strategy might be to put some wrong information up their in an effort to lead them astray…said with a chuckle).
© 2011, David Stelzl
Continuing on with the topic of white boarding – this is something someone should probably write a book on. It’s one of the most used tools in the sales process, but often misused by ill-equipped sales people. A few practical pointers:
1. Always carry our own markers. I started doing this about twelve years ago. Many of my prospects thought it was funny, yet they appreciated my preparedness and the quality of the colors that brought my pictures to life. You can’t close the million-dollar deal with a dead marker.
2. There is no reason to recreate the wheel on every new sales call. You use the same brochure wear, why not use the same illustrations. Back to my comments on chalk drawing, I can think of several speakers that use chalk drawings as part of their gig. It’s highly effective and the pictures look great every time. Why? Simply because they have practiced. Get your storyboard together, learn to draw your diagrams, and use them often. You can adlib as needed.
3. Learn to draw while you talk. There is nothing worse than watching someone draw with their back to you. Practice drawing without thinking about it so you can put your attention on the client.
4. Learn to write neatly. It always amazes me when, in an interview, I ask someone to whiteboard something. While writing in a falling arch format, they turn to me to explain that, “They aren’t very good at white-boarding.” My response is, “You must be an expert if you want this job.”
5. Use the entire board – I don’t mean the entire wall of the war-room…but I do mean, don’t make your pictures so small that no one can see them. Spread things out so that the room can see what you’re talking about.
6. Don’t call your white-boarding process a presentation. One big advantage of white-boarding is that it gets you away from the canned presentation. So even if it is well rehearsed, you can do it in a casual, ad hoc way. This invite collaboration and interaction.
7. Always ask if they would like for you to leave your information, or if you should erase the board when finished. It’s the courteous thing to do.
© 2011, David Stelzl
Last week I wrote several posts on Power Point. Here are some thoughts on White boarding: I love the white board. Unlike Power Point, white boards allow for collaborative thinking. I remember one of my sales managers coming back from an appointment with great excitement, recounting how he and a perspective client had been up at the white board together, adding to a diagram, interactively creating the solution to a problem they were having. They went from one-way broadcasting to collaborative brainstorming.
Earlier in my career I came up with a powerful story I now refer to as The House & the Cloud ( the Title of my first book). Every time I was called upon to share my team’s progress with partners or management, I used the House & the Cloud. It became a brand over time. People in other regions who had never met me, began referring to me as The Guy with the House! This is what you want; a personal brand or a signature story. It won’t happen over night, but as you begin thinking about it, using illustrations on your sales calls, and reviewing the results, your story will evolve over time. As it grows, don’t be surprised if people are wanting to meet with you just to hear about your “House”.
Start here. Learn the presentation you meant to give in Power Point, strip out the boring statistics, and recreate the message using a more informal white-boarding style. Look for ways to make your sales story interesting and compelling. There is something powerful about watching someone draw. If you have ever seen a speaker use chalk drawings to illustrate their message, you know what I mean. If not, check YouTube.
Creating knowledge gaps, interrupting ones thinking, and by filling in the blanks in an interactive drawing session, you can magnify the energy in the room, drawing people into your story as you unfold it. This takes preparation, creativity, and practice. But once again, it is not something people are just born with. Anyone can do it. It just takes some upfront planning and practice. Start thinking through your presentation. How can you make it great? How can you create a story that can be told through pictures and colors, in fifteen minutes, using a white board diagram?
© 2011, David Stelzl