Sunday, August 6, 2017

The End-Of-The-Car-Story

So after our awful experience at our local Honda dealership, Michelle read my blog and kindly introduced me to  Raymond Chiu over at Richmond Hill Honda.  And as bad as our experience was at another Honda dealership, so was this experience at Richmond Hill Honda good.    Now to be fair, the car business is not an easy one.  They're high ticket items and the environment is most competitive.  Here's what I learned from Richmond Hill Honda.  Salespeople, business development pro's, realtors, other car salespeople and the like, take note.

1.  First and last impressions are the most important - what happens in the middle - less so.  When we walked into Raymond's dealership for the first time, we were greeted by smiling employees.  Raymond was paged, he showed up within seconds - smiling.  When we left the dealership, new car in hand, we we got fond farewells and thanks from Raymond and his team (Kim and Lewis)

2.  Establish rapport early and at every opportunity.  In my humble opinion, you're not merely buying a car - you're buying a car that fits your lifestyle and Raymond took the time to understand our lifestyle and what we were looking for from a car.  Raymond seemsed to understand our needs, our lives and therefore was able to make suggestions based on our needs, not his.  I call that KYC - know your client

3.  You're only as good as your team - and the team approach always trumps solo.  Raymond talked about his team - and introduced us to Kim - sales assistant.  Kim would prove invaluable in the process of closing the sale.  Oh, and when we picked up the new car - Kim talked us us about all the rust-proofing options (I don't believe in them at all).  No questions Kim's got a job to do - and I get that.  Kim listened, and when I said we were not intereted, she got it.  There is nothing wrong at all with a subtle up-sell (Kim get's a 10 out of 10 for having taken the initiative)

4.  Set expectations from the start.  The dealership clearly articulated, what they were going to do - and what we could expect - and I like that.  In other words, they removed the F.U.D (fear, uncertainly and doubt) factor early

And that, brings our car story to a lovely and appropriate closure.  Thanks to Raymond, Kim and Lewis at Richmond Hill Honda for making our car acquisition process (something I don't particularly enjoy), so easy and such a pleasure. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

This would be sad if it was not so funny - or funny if it was not so sad


My wife’s looking to buy a new car – it’s something we don’t enjoy shopping for.  A necessary evil.  So last weekend, we walk into our local Honda dealership.  After a couple minutes Victor approaches us and introduces himself.  All the salespeople are busy he says and asks if we’d mind making an appointment at a convenient time at which point Victor says, a salesperson would be available.   We’re good with that – and booked our appointment for 4:30pm July 26. 
Couple hours later, I get an email.  Victor’s introduced us to Mike, (a salesperson) and the appointment is set up for 4:30pm July 26.

If I were Mike, there are two things I would have done:
1.        Found out a little more about me and my wife (Facebook/ Linked In/ Social media)
a.       It’s called relationship building – any salesperson would/ should know that

2.       Shown up for the appointment early
a.       The first rule of sales
Not sure if Mike did 1. above – but for sure he did not do 2. above.  Sadly, here’s what happened. 

We arrived at the dealership and were greeted by the hostess.  Asked for Mike.  Received a blank stare.  “He’s not here”, we were told.  “Umm, we have an appointment at 4:30”.  “One moment please”
Hostess returns a minute later.  “We’ve called him and he will be here in a few minutes.” “OK – we’ll wait.”

The clock’s ticking.  It’s 4:45pm.  Victor sees us - comes by and I tell him what’s happening.  Our mood is spoiling faster than Usain Bolt can sprint the 100m.  Victor calls Mike – Mike’s still on his way.  Victor disappears – we don’t see him again

4:56pm – we’re walking out the door of the dealership - our moods are entirely ruined.  Mike comes flying in.  Apologizes.  But the damage’s been done.  We’re out the door – on route to another dealership.

Now maybe Mike had a personal emergency – I understand and sympathize.  That being the case, there’s phone and email to let me know.

Now, my time’s worth no more than Mike’s, Victor’s – are anyone else’s for that matter.   But one thing I do respect is punctuality – especially when there’s not a single thing on Honda’s floor prices lower than $30,000. 
Again, due respect to salespeople --- it’s a hard job and it’s one that I admire and respect.  But when you don’t know with whom you’re dealing and show up late, you have more chance of making the sale than snowflake has of surviving in a furnace.  

Sunday, June 11, 2017

What happens when you don't return phone calls

Some things are intuitive and some things are not.  I get that, but one thing I just don’t understand is the thought process behind why so many people refuse to return calls.  Call me stupid, but I just don’t get it.

I am an investment advisor.  It’s something that I am honored and privileged to do for many families and businesses.  I take my clients’ money very seriously – as seriously as I take my own.  And my clients know it.  That I am the financial steward for so many normal people is a testament to the trust I’ve built up.  My clients know me as a natural connector, meaning I match many people up with resources they may need.  And although I only manage money, I’ve helped people in my network find soul mates, family therapists, addiction counselors, plumbers, all sorts of trades people, and a large miscellany of other resources.

I am also very generous (perhaps to a fault) or referring business to those in my network.  I do this to help others.  There’s nothing in it for me, except happiness and doing the right thing.  I create good karma. 

A good part of my job is calling people, to talk money and to offer help.  The reality is that most people who manage their own money have almost no clue as to how it works.  The result: Significant losses over prolonged periods.  It’s these very same people who continue to blame bad luck.  No – it’s not bad luck.  It’s bad decision making. Period. 

My approach is simple.  I tell – never sell.   I say things like they are (no sugar-coating) and I work with those that share the same philosophies as I do about money.  If you do – we work together.  And if we don’t – we don’t.  And I am totally not offended, either way.  Oh, and I also have a very thick skin.  Nothing ever offends me, except not returning my calls and saying a simple, honest or even dishonest - “No”

Here's what happens if you have never returned a call of mine:

  1. I am not going to support your brand. Why would I continue to support your brand, if you don’t have the courtesy to return more than 10 of my calls over a 12-month period. I call that rude (rude I get over easily) – not to mention unprofessional.  A senior VP of a nationally recognized coffee-store chain refused my calls – repeatedly.  Eighteen months later, I go out of my way to not support them. 
  2. You’re not using your time well – and your time is money.  Call me back.  Ask me to delete you from my database.  You’ll be deleted within seconds.  Promise.  Total time spent: between 30 and 60 seconds.  You’ve created valuable goodwill, and we’re all good.   Don’t call me back and I’ll call you between 6 and 8 more times.  No goodwill is created and you’ll spend between two and 3 minutes when I finally do reach you.  #awkward.  Get the picture?
  3. If you don’t take networking/ introduction calls, you’re not going to get introduction/ networking calls.    In business, it’s not necessarily what you know, but rather who you know.  I learned this from Peter Shankman, a master of networking.  And there would be no successful business person who could honestly and with conviction discount the value of their network.
  4. The worm turns.  There will come a time when you’ll need to reach out for some financial advice.  This time may be a year or two hence or maybe a decade or two hence.  Either way the worm turns.  Now, to be clear there are thousands of John Sacke’s around – but this John Sacke would rather talk to courteous people.   It’s just the way I roll. 

So, if you know some one, who habitually never returns calls, you may want to send this along to him/ her.  And if you never return calls – you may want to start.  I promise, it’s a good idea.  You can only gain.

 
Carpe diem

Saturday, February 11, 2017

I'm 51 today --- and here's where I am

Today, February 11, 2017 is my 51st birthday.  And birthdays (at least for me) are a time to celebrate, assess, plan, ruminate and enjoy.  Mostly, it's a time to enjoy one's freedom - something I have lots of. Ironic is that on this day in 1990, Nelson Mandela, the greatest freedom activist of this era, became free.

So, in assessing where I am today in relation to where I would want to be today, I really am a man in a million  billion  trillion.  Here's why:

1.  I have my health.  By that I mean all my health.  I don't take pills to get up, stay up or sleep.  I don't need pills.  Period. Yes, I do like a drink or two - but it's not anything excessive or that would rule my life.  I drink in social settings as much or as little as the next guy - sure.  And there's nothing wrong with that.  I watch what I eat.  I weigh 175 pounds and workout at least 4 times a week.  You get the picture.

2.  I have a blessed marriage - truly blessed.  Frightening fact: one in two marriages end in divorce.  Really.  I have clients in all stages of marriage dissolution/ divorce and more often than not - the results are simply catastrophic.  Karen and I work on our marriage, have simple understandings and enjoy life's simple pleasures together - and that's the key.  Do we always agree on everything?  Hell no - we're human.  But we are able to work out our differences by communicating.

3.  I have a sense of humor.  This is a biggie.  I am also able to laugh at myself.  Often.  And yes, sometimes I do get frustrated by my frailties.  I lose my keys daily.  And then find them.  I lose my wallet daily.  And then find it.  I lose my mind daily.  And then find it. These things are easily overcome.  The one frailty that continues to bother me is my increasing fear of flying - seriously.  I don't seem to be able to overcome it.  And that bothers me.  A lot.

4.  I have a great family.  I have an awesome brother and sister as well as parents.  We all see eye-to-eye.  I have two great teenage kids (well, OK - our son will be 20 this year) - and I even have a great mother-in-law (how many sons-in-law can say that?)  And over the years, time and time again, my family have stood by me.

5.  I have great friends.  They say you can always judge one by the company they keep.  And if that's any measure, I am the king-of-kings.  I have a wide circle of friends (both guys and girls) whom I adore - and I think the feelings are mutual.  They keep me sane, guided and energized - and when I occasionally step out of line, they slap me back to reality.

6.  I have a great career. As a financial advisor, I am so honored that over 130 families from all walks of life, allow me to serve them with grace, dignity, service excellence and results.  I would not change what I do for anything - it truly is a pleasure.

7.  I have an abundance of everything.  Everything - and for that, I am so grateful.  With that, I am going to sit back, pour myself a glass of wine, listen to some tunes and remind myself of all of my abundances and how much I have to be grateful for.

Peace.  Love, Happiness.


Saturday, August 13, 2016

It's a tale about my shoes

I guess I’m more determined than I thought.  And when that happens, the stars have a way of lining up … just right.   And today – they did.

I worked out Thursday night.  The ho-hum stuff.  Nothing special.  40 minutes elliptical and 20 minutes weights.  Came home hot and sweaty.  Showered and as usual packed my gym back for the next time.  “Umm, where are my gym shoes,” I said to myself, mildy aggravated. “I guess I left them at the club,” I said --- even more irritated.   

Put my bag in my trunk for the next time (which was this morning), and went on my way.

Saturday morning spin class is the favorite of the week.  It’s with Fern and I’ve been taking her class for 3 years now.  Fern’s excellent – best there is as far as I am concerned.  Now, a good spinner is something that I am not.  Ashley, yes.  Sharon, yes.  Neal, yes.  Sheryl, yes. Michael, yes.  Me – well not so much.  But it’s enjoyable. And I try the hardest. 

I get to the club a few minutes early – and yup, it’s just then that I realized my bag had everything except my shoes.  Duh?!?!?

I search frantically through all the lockers in the men’s room, including the locker where I most likely left them.  Empty.

I go to the lost and found.  Of course my shoes are not there, but out the corner of my eye I spot another pair of shoes, that could (in a pinch) fit me.  I hustle them on --- and they fit (almost) perfectly.   Maybe gross, but my determination to do Fern’s spin class was rewarded

It’s 9:27am.  Class starts in 3 minutes.  Run upstairs to the spin studio.  Jump on my bike and enjoy another one of Fern’s awesome classes.

So why am I blogging about this seemingly trivial story

1     Sport is a great equalizer and when you find a way to play the game, others around you find the same ways for you to play the game

      It puts the spotlight on the disgust I feel for Egyptian wrestler Islam El Shebaby who when defeated by Israeli Or Sasson, refused to shake his hand.  The Olympians of old would have had El Shebaby immediately thrown out of the games.



And in other news, this morning, I bought myself a brand new pair of sports shoes.  

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Jason's first year of University --- Is Over

2016 so far has been an amazing year ... it was 9 months ago that Jason (our oldest son), started his University career at Huron College at Western University.  It was an extremely emotional time for me.  And if you don't remember, please see my emotionally-charged blog posting about his departure here.

Well, it's now 9 months later, and he's home for the summer (that's if this dastardly cold Canadian weather ever improves) - and so last week, I made the Toronto-London pilgrimage (like all good parents do) to pick him up.

Jason Leaving South-West Residence
for the last time
He's had a stellar year by all counts --- and as I look back on his first year, I thought I'd share some insights I've gained

1.  It was a major step for Jason, but an even (unseemingly) larger step for me.   I vividly remember saying goodbye to him last year, knowing full well I would see him 5 weeks later.  It was not that that killed me, but it was the realization that he was far more accountable tio himself than he would be to us

2.  Texting is far more efficient (at least to Jason) than phone.  I think it's true to say that kids no longer give good phone ... they give great text.  Jason and I had many great text convo's this past year.  Phone --- not so many.

Father and Son


3.  You gotta trust.  This is a big one for me.  In my world, trust is something that's earned.  It does not simply come.  I think it's fair to say that Jason earned our trust --- in every way.

That said, I'm kinda tired --- so I will end right here.  Nest year (September), Jason moves into a house with his 4 university friends.  The chapter continues

Blessings!



Friday, February 19, 2016

I turned 50 last week --- now what

This old guy turned 50 the week before last (on February 11, to be precise).  No question, it is a milestone date.  As I reflect, I am exactly where I want to be in life.  Exactly.

That said, tomorrow I plan to do something a little different - perhaps.  I do a weekly spin class at the local gym.  There are about 25 of us die-hard souls to who it.  The teacher is Fern.  She's excellent - focuses on drills, technique and fun.  Of course, the music is the most important part (at least for me) and it's kick-ass, far as I'm concerned.  It's retro one week, Bowie the next, Donna Summer the next and AC/DC the following.  It's a melange (ohh, I love that word).

No matter the music, it's good karma, and that's what keeps me coming back.

I'm going to surprise each person tomorrow.  I am going to spread more good karma.

Attached to each person's bicycle, will be a five dollar bill with a note attached to do a good deed. Any deed.  That's all.  And we will see what happens.

You know, I think the Beatles said it best, "And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make."  And I want to make a lot of love.

Le Chaim!