Great Business Media Branding Website

Great Business Media Branding Website

Website shared by a friend and mentor, clean, simple and informative.

Check out the World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies article, so many great minds pushing boundaries and making dreams a reality.

Networking, Business Links

Over the last few months, not to sound feminist, I have been looking for supportive, women in business groups. Here is a list of links that I have found helpful, either forwarded from friends or that I stumbled across that have been useful:

http://intrepid-llc.com/ – Marketing Site

http://www.meetup.com/Become-a-Thought-Leader/ – Meet-up Group

http://www.womenofinfluence.ca/ – Women’s Magazine

http://www.positivefabulouswomen.com/ – Women Networking Group

Women in Business (Toronto & GTA) – LinkedIn Group

Super Sonic, Why I like Driving the Sonic

Super Sonic, Why I like Driving the Sonic

Three months ago I started driving a Chevrolet Sonic. Coming from a Japanese manufacturer who’s main brand pillar is performance and building a driver’s car, getting into Chevrolet was giving me heart burn and to top it off a small car.

Selling 101 is believing in the product that you are promoting. Choosing to come work for Chevrolet immediately put me at a disadvantage to becoming a great salesperson. We know that Chevrolet ignored the long-term effects of brand and customer loyalty by building years worth of cheap, badly engineered vehicles and blowing them out of showroom’s with copious amounts of customer incentives.

Good thing my intent of joining Chevrolet was never to be the world’s greatest salesperson, nor was it to fall in love with a product that is struggling to find it’s place with Generation X, Y and Z.

Regardless of my reason’s behind choosing Chevrolet as a brand to work for, I had reservations driving one which I feel were well grounded being a) the brand’s negative perceived quality and b) driving a Small Car, where I would have to adjust losing the comforts most commonly found in full-sized, luxury vehicle, including interior features and most important, power.

After 3 months the Chevrolet Sonic, I have been pleasantly surprised by my growing adoration for the Sonic and here are the top 5 reason’s it has won my admiration:

1) It has a driver’s side armrest. This might sounds trivial but this is an item that as driver’s we don’t realize how important it is until it’s gone! Alot of entry-level vehicles lose the driver’s seat armrest in favour of a slight price advantage. How much would you pay for a driver’s seat armrest $50, $100, $200?

2) Comfortable seats. Another easy way to reduce cost in a vehicle without visually losing feature’s is using cheaper materials. Seats are a great way to reduce cost with less expensive cushioning. Again, it is something a driver might not necessarily notice until after delivery on that +600 km road trip to Montreal. With over 5,000 km’s, my buttock and back are happy campers and game for any road trip I deem appropriate.

3) Standard Bluetooth! The majority of customers coming into the store are baby boomers, is this brand specific or is the biggest consumer group evenly shopping all brands? In any event not all baby boomers seem to care about this standard feature, however, I feel Bluetooth is super important for late Gen X’ers and Gen Y, the target audience of Sonic. What is curious is the target audience is insisting on skipping the Entry-Level Sonic altogether and opting for the larger Chevrolet Cruze. From my perspective on the sales floor, the Entry-Level segment is overloaded with interesting product that the target customer’s aren’t interested in buying. Gen X and Y reasoning on moving up to the Cruze, well they are thinking about children in 2 years and want something that will fit them for 5 years. So who is coming into the store to talk about Sonic? Baby boomers who have grandchildren to cart around three times a month. Again, is this the core customer’s of Chevrolet just coming out for a tour of the dealership or is this a trend for all Entry-Level competitors?

4) Zippy when I need it to be. Sonic does a great job of merging into traffic on the 401, 427, QEW and 403, to name a few major highways. A few years ago, I met a rather handsome fellow (his handsomeness is irrelevant to the story, but decided it was worthy to note) who had a little sticker under the speedometer of his car that said “SLOW DOWN”. I found it amusing and sweet and if you know me, I could hardly contain my laughter not because I thought him funny, but rather it was so ingenious! We would get into heated arguments about speeding and since he’d had enough tickets to prompt a “SLOW DOWN” reminder on his dashboard, I didn’t have much of an argument. I vote that Sonic come standard with a factory installed “SLOW DOWN” sticker, just as a friendly reminder!

5) Instrument panel and Centre console. I love the interior styling and ease of use of the controls on the Instrument panel and Centre console. I am equally happy that Chevrolet has taken queues from import brands where fit and finish is an engineering consideration. I particularly like the “motorcycle” inspired interior design and the steering wheel controls with their soft rubber grips that make it easy to navigate through the menu’s.

**I have to add one more item to my list of things I love about the Sonic, Remote Start! What a great feature and it has a pretty impressive range (for me anyhow). When I step out of my elevator in the parking garage and I am still a 3 minutes walk to my car, I press my remote start and it turns on! Love it!

***One more item, this is standard on all Chevrolet’s, the Auto On/Off Headlights that sense when to turn On/Off the night headlights! Its so great not having to turn off the lights when I park the car, and equally, something I do not have to think about when it starts getting dust, they magically turn on 🙂

Similar to a relationship, after all the newness and excitement wears off, it’s important to have the must-have, important features – they make all the difference! Regardless that I sell for Chevrolet, I happily promote Sonic with fevor because I believe in the product.

What was your favourite car and more important, top 5 must have features?

2 down, 63 to go

2 down, 63 to go

That’s my sales goal for the year, 65. I have successfully put down two sales. I am told my first one was the most difficult I’ll ever encounter, in fact it was the most difficult that the store had seen since it opened in 1968. There were a few moments that I didn’t want to keep going, where the benefit of succeeding felt out-weighed by the need for sanity!

It is so different waking up in the morning and remembering that it’s not about putting on the best suit and a confident face; it’s about being approachable and meeting a very real target. The toolbox I pick from in morning is a little different, I convince myself if Frank Abagnale Jr. could pass himself off as a pilot, doctor and legal prosecutor, the impossible is possible if I just throw-out both the rule book and type-cast. I pick passion and enthusiasm, without these I might as well just crawl back in bed.

Today I am thankful for my mentor who would spend hours coaching and giving me direction. The part that resounds with me today is creating personal brand and preparing mentally for whatever is going to happen the minute I step outside my door; personal brand being the characteristics that distinguish my abilities to deliver over my competitors. I must admit, there were days it was difficult to dig inside and be the better person and work on building personal brand. It was easier to focus on the details at hand and ignore the bigger picture.

My sales target forces me to work on personal brand in increments of 10 minutes or less. Unlike the world I knew, sales is much less forgiving and brand becomes extremely important. The politic is being able to demonstrate to your customers in a short time that you are qualified, will respect them more than anyone else in the business and will not let them down throughout the entire process.

Perched in my corporate tree house, sales seemed like murky water with no beginning or end. I don’t kid myself, I realize I sold every day in my job; I was selling ideas and solutions to business problems that cost little in resource and time. I could scuttle off on my own and find a way to make something happen that seemed impossible. It was targeted and specific; I worked hard at understanding systems, programs, and wait for it…..Microsoft Excel! It is true; it can be powerful and useful in the right context. The very thing I wanted to escape after graduating as a programmer I was holding on to.

So here I am, doing something that doesn’t require me to be good at Excel, or systems or programs. In fact the only technical skill needed to make a sale is a pencil and piece of paper!

This gets me back to my mentor and his consistent, patient prodding to build brand.

My first customer came into the store looking for something used and left with something new. A car is a highly emotional purchase, the second biggest transaction most of us will make behind purchasing a home. At the end of it all, the constant thread that kept the transaction going and tempers even, turned out to be constant communication, all part of the brand. There can be no room for fuzzy chance, it either is or it isn’t. If there are shades of grey, the grey must be outlined in black or white.

Drawing the line was important for my customer and it took everything in me to be consistent in tone and energy from the start of the sale to the very end. It was staying true to the brand that my customer had become accustomed to, the one they respected and trusted that had my customer leaving with a smile.

It will take time to perfect my personal brand but all in all, it is sure to be a rewarding experience.

Farewell and Hello

The time came to say farewell, since joining Nissan Canada in 2003 time has flown by – 8 years feels like a moment in time.

I thank everyone I met and worked with for making my time at Nissan special and memorable.

My new chapter starts tomorrow, one more link in a chain that I expect to be filled with more adventure stories!