double your sales: business training for creative entrepreneurs

what do horse races and olympic swimmers have in common? apparently both make good analogies when educating students interested in learning techniques that will help boost sales figures. so says edward prichard, the national sales trainer brought in by the denver metro small business development center, to speak with participants in a business training seminar called "how to double your sales in 12 months."

the foundation of prichard's presentation was grounded in the notion that in order to succeed in today's complex business climate, one must only be slightly better than their competition to see results. hence, the idea of the champion race horse needing only to win by the length of its nose, or the well-known tale of american swimming hero michael phelps for winning his weight in medals via victories of mere milliseconds.

some of the lessons we learned in the seminar seem rather elementary, but prichard says that sometimes its the simple things that 1) are often overlooked and 2) are rarely done by whoever you define as your competition. ideals like maintaining a positive mental attitude toward whatever your current object of desire and the importance of goal-setting are simple ways to keep a clear perspective on what it is you want to achieve. he says the national average of people who actually write their goals down on paper is a paltry three percent.

"it doesn't matter where you are," prichard says, "it's where you're going that's important." word.

the concept of time management is also high up on prichard's totem of top sales characteristics, noting that our time is clearly the most valuable commodity we as creative entrepreneurs possess. the quote-happy presenter says our income (as a sales force, i presume) is directly proportionate to the amount of minutes we spend in front of qualified customers. ensure you know up front if your potential customers 1) have money; 2) actually want what you're selling; 3) have the authority to make a purchase, and 4) have any urgency to execute a buy. (and, if they don't, it's our duty to CREATE some - whether real or perceived.)

prichard is a pleasant speaker and does a commendable job in getting people to feel comfortable in his presence and identify with the lessons he's laying down. one of the more-valuable nugs i took from his seminar was this concept of turning your car into a university on wheels. many of us spend an inhumane amount of time in our vehicles during commutes, traffic jams and in between soccer practices. make sure you're stocking your audio choices full of quality, educational material during these periods stuck behind the wheel.

since class i learned prichard has a radio show at KDUR in durango, my old stomping grounds and the community media outlet that helped shape my view on media's influence on our culture more than any other institution. so it's no wonder why i thought he was alright. bottom line: kill the damn television, maintain a positive attitude and manifest what you want. good stuff, man. ha!

prichard talked about the super-practical clover technique to increase referrals: visit three neighboring businesses in each direction of your current meeting/client/customer. he discussed something dubbed the third base theory to help conceptualize how much business is actually out there for the taking: if 1/3 of the business is yours and 1/3 is your competitors', there's still a remaining 1/3 waiting for someone. and he emphasized the importance of building credibility through authenticity and positive first impressions.

one sure-fire way to help yourself increase contacts and referrals, prichard maintains, is by relentless networking and forcing ourselves into situations we wouldn't normally on our own. that being said, i'm off to my first colorado film and actors meet-up group tonight being held in conjunction with the launch party for the film festival of colorado. however, before i go i'll leave you with a couple final gems from our 'double your sales' seminar today.

remember people's names for cryin' out loud. you say you're bad at it - but that's really just a poor excuse for self-absorption (my words, not his). don't be afraid to ASK for a sale - this isn't about your fragile sensibilities, it's about the product and making a buck in the process (a mixture of both our words). and finally, overcome your obstacles: you may not be the low-cost solution, but you are the low-risk provider (his words). and good ones.

as always, thanks for reading and share freely.



Westword Showcase 2011 Breakdown

local music is my thing. period. i effing love seeing local bands do their thing - especially when they do the mile-hi creative community proud like they often do. so if you enjoy local acts even a fraction as much as i do - you're undoubtedly stoked for the annual westword music showcase.

it's arguably the coolest music event on denver's summer concert calender: 150 local bands, 17 venues and 1 outdoor main stage... all in walking distance within denver's golden triangle 'hood. it seriously doesn't get much cooler.

the only issue i've ever had with this massive event is... well, it's massiveness. it's not uncommon for concert-goers to get their show programs and immediately feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of music that will spill onto our beloved streets.

BLKHRTS, people.

so i went through the ENTIRE line-up, yes - all 150+ bands, listened to a couple tracks from each act and made notes about their individual sounds. (i have nearly a decade's worth of experience working in community radio, much of which was spent categorizing and labeling CD's for my fellow DJs to sort, sample and play.) so this work wasn't that dissimilar from my contributions to the station's music department.

below is a crude, genre-driven list of each band's sound heard through my ears. what does that mean, you may be asking? for the record, i listen to everything. and when i say everything, i truly mean everything. my musical consumption looks (or sounds) something like this: i grew up on metal and (original) gangsta rap in the 80's. ha! as i matured and my tastes expanded, i listened to rock, ska, funk, jam-bands and hip hop. now, in addition to still enjoying all those genres, i consume a lot of jazz, blues and classical. getting old isn't all that bad...

and lastly, in the slim chance this list gets around to some of the performers on saturday: i'm an artist and (ex)musician myself. i dislike being labled as much as you. this list was not an attempt to pigeon-hole any of your (collective) sounds - it's just a tool to help the people who like your style of music find you on saturday in that sea of awesomeness known as the westword music showcase.

thanks and enjoy. and share, please. this was quite a bit of work and it would be great if someone besides myself benefits even the tiniest bit.



first friday art walk with blue13

the month of may unleashes some serious creative energy here in denver. just a short couple weeks ago blue13 attended the city's sixth annual create denver expo where our local leaders and industry peeps band together with the creative community and launch an amazing conference on what makes our fair city a cultural and creative destination for so many talented people.

it was an unexpected surprise for us to walk into our first workshop of the day -- 'tapping state resources for creative enterprise' -- and see our friend laura grey, colorado creative industry's film, television and media rock star, at the helm. laura was instrumental in helping blue13 receive a scholarship to the NxLevel Education for Creative Entrepreneurs last year, and she allowed us to speak a little bit to this year's attendees.

thankfully there's no video of me stumbling through an impromptu discussion on what create denver has meant to blue13. you can, however, check out this short video about the official create denver beer and the spirit of collaborative creativity the expo tries to nurture.


so as we move into the creative season ahead, we just wanted to take a quick second to thank laura and the rest of the crew who put this year's create denver week together and making it such a wonderfully successful event. westword posted a cool blog entry about create denver week as well -- stocked with photos and short vids. dig it.

blue13 is excited about this weekend (friday, june 3) as it will be our first first friday art walk where we'll be showing the quantum t-shirts to a bunch of strange art lovers. and by strange i don't mean 'odd' (per se), i mean strange like an unknown group of people who aren't my family and friends. although they'll be there too, i think.

one of the reasons we moved our creative foundry to tennyson was for this very reason: to take advantage of the amazing energy that accompanies the first friday art walks in the mile high city. if you haven't experienced what i'm talking about, this friday would be the ideal time to come see what all the buzz is about.

here in denver we have at least five quality first friday art walks to satisfy our community's art enthusiasts. there's a really great write-up on the huff post about them here. first friday has long been one of my favorite nights in denver -- the only difference being this time i'll be on the other side of the fence, so to speak. i've always participated as a consumer, not an artist showing material.

regardless of the perfect weather that's predicted for friday, i would be tremendously grateful for any and all of you to come by the studio to check out what blue13 is all about. you'll get a chance to see our really great work space, see the quantum t-shirt project up close and enjoy some complimentary wine and/or beer, depending on your preference.

not to mention that there are more than 20-some galleries along the six-block stretch of tennyson, in addition to amazing restaurants, artisan shops, open spaces and parks and welcoming watering holes (i.e. craft beer at hops & pie or the wine bar dubbed tastes, to name a couple of my faves).

that is your mission should you choose to accept it. we'll be here all night (3933 tennyson st. ste. #B, denver 80212), but i can't think of a better way to start your weekend than with some art, wine and friends. cheers to that.