The Scoop @ MSCO

Unconventional Thinking

Why I Flipped My New Boss The Bird And Changed My Suit In The Men’s Room

The following is a snippet from Mark’s latest article on LinkedIn. To read the article in its entirety, which has already gotten over 40,000 views, click here.

I was just out of college and needed a job to tide me over until I figured out what kind of business of my own I wanted to start and where to find the money to kick start it.

So I applied for an entry level marketing slot at Texaco’s offices in New York’s Chrysler building. I had zero interest in the oil business, knew not a relevant thing about Texaco, had no corporate interest at all but a friend told me the company just loved to hire nearly everyone who came knocking, so I headed off to land a place in the bureaucracy.

I was hired on day one but in a formality, I was required to meet a mid-manager for a blessing of sorts.

But this posed a daunting conflict for the young rebel that I was: I would need to wear a suit and the very prospect of that made me feel like a total sellout.

So I hatched an idea. I stuffed a green wool suit my dad had bought me for high school graduation into a brown supermarket bag, tucked it under my arm, rode the elevator to the 26th floor, ducked into the men’s room, slipped out of my jeans and into the suit.

Then like a proper MBA in the making, I entered a Mr. Walsh’s office to await the stamp of approval from the “king” maker.

Walsh was straight out of a Dickens novel: stern, pointy-faced, humorless. He surveyed me the way girlfriends’ fathers always did. Skeptical, disapproving and suspicious.

And then he zeroed right in on one of the causes of the bad taste in his mouth…

To find out what happened between Mark and the manager, click here!
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Why Larry Page Wants To Give His Money To Elon Musk

The following article is by Mark Stevens, as seen on his LinkedIn blog.

So I read a NY Times story on Larry Page the other day.   Among other interesting things, Google’s co-founder  says that when he contemplates what to do with his $40 billion (and growing) of wealth, he prefers to eschew the standard philanthropic behemoths and hand it over to Elon Musk.

Now, this must drive those who detest the one-percenters bonkers, but it’s really ingenious.

Think of it this way. Page did his finest academic work at Stanford, so he would classically be inclined to bequeath his fortune there.

But what would Stamford, Harvard or something allegedly more worldly like the U.N. do with the money? Well, it’s hard to tell how they would allocate the dollars, but it is certain that they would squander it the way committees and bureaucracies always do.

In fact, when you look at Harvard’s nearly $40 billion endowment, and you see how it is invested, you recognize that in some ways the elite schools are hedge funds masquerading as centers of learning.

Back to Page and Musk. One thing we can be sure of us that if the former was to give his fortune (or any part of it) to the latter, there isn’t a committee in the world that would get its hands on it and most important it would almost certainly advance the state of mankind.

Look, the term “the internet of things” is now an overused and overblown concept, something in the category of “the cloud.”
But if there is a person on earth who is “the internet of entrepreneurs,” it is Page.

This is one smart man, perhaps a genius, certainly in a league with few others. So when he has an idea, we should expect it to be novel. And we should learn from it.
Giving his money to Musk would break all the rules and perhaps start a new and extraordinary trend.

Yes, Warren Buffet has given much of his bankroll to Bill Gate’s foundation, in part because he knows Bill’s team will manage it well. And that’s wonderful. But Page has something vastly different in mind:

Give all or part of your money to a private enterprise catalyst, knowing that while it may earn him and others even more of a colossal fortune, it will move the needle for all of us.

This violates everything we think about philanthropy. And in the process, may be the best thing that ever happened to it.

High Page rank, for sure!

If you can’t give to Elon, please consider

Article by Mark Stevens

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Why 99 Percent Of Salespeople, Aren’t

The following article is by Mark Stevens, as seen on his LinkedIn blog.

picI can recognize a salesperson from a mile away. I can also identify a true SALESPERSON from the same distance.

What’s the difference between a salesperson and a true SALESPERSON (besides all caps)? The former allows prospects to make a decision as to whether to buy. The latter refuses to accept “no” for an answer.

Clearly we cannot force people to buy what we’re offering, so what do I mean by this? Simply put, the true SALESPERSON–the star, the elite–walks into every situation with a set of weapons far more powerful than an elevator speech (which is, in itself, for losers) or another tired PowerPoint presentation (a sure way to induce a coma).

True salespeople walk in with:

  1. A conviction that what they are offering will add immensely to the prospect’s personal or business life
  2. A belief that there is nothing better in the world the prospect can choose
  3. An absolute determination to communicate–through education and brute force of personality–that they are dead right on points one and two

This all relates to the fact that positivity is contagious. When salespeople attempt to sell their products or services, they may walk away empty-handed. But when a superstar SALESPERSON strides in with an overwhelming sense of his mission and a focus on making the prospect see and experience the wisdom of what he’s offering, the prospect becomes a believer as well.

Think of the conversations you’ve had with people who are passionate about an idea, a destination or a device that is unfamiliar to you. Their passion passes through almost like osmosis. Chances are high that you will become infatuated with the idea, the philosophy or the product the proselytizer is raving about. You’ll become a convert.

This is what the real art and science of true SALESMANSHIP is all about. It is not about getting “at bats” in front of customers and hoping to hit pay dirt with some. It’s about being armed to the teeth for every selling opportunity–not hoping to make a sale, but determined to enlist a convert.

Every time I am in a selling position I think:

  • I will make the sale.
  • Saying “no” to me is not an option–not for my good, but for yours.
  • If the prospect says “no” at first, I will not pack my bags and move on. I won’t even acknowledge the word.
  • I will get to a “yes.”

I never want to be just another salesman. I am a CEO and a true SALESMAN.

Are you?

The salespeople of the world aren’t there to actually, definitely, positively make a sale. Nope, they believe that they are visiting a prospect as part of a process whereby: a) you see large numbers of people, and b) you’ll get lucky eventually, and some of them will become customers.

They think that it’s all a numbers game: Toss a hundred darts against the wall (see 100 prospects) and something will inevitably stick.

That is not true salesmanship. That is going through the motions; that is hoping that the law of averages will reward you. Instead of being thrilled that three darts stick, enter the process with the determination to land every single prospect you visit.

You may not win them all, but I know from personal experience that entering the arena with an absolute determination to prevail every time vastly increases the likelihood of your closing 50 percent, 60 percent or even 90 percent of opportunities.

You see, selling is NOT a numbers game, in spite of what the Willy Loman playbook says. Instead, it’s a human game, and it’s a hunt. The human most important in this hunt is you, the truest definition of salesperson–the one who deserves to be spelled out in all caps. I am a SALESPERSON.

Everyone else is an impostor. You are the genuine article. And if you can’t find it within yourself to become this “winner takes all” person, you should find another career.

I think the Peace Corps needs volunteers.

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Four Trick Questions Interviewers Ask

The following article is by Mark Stevens, as seen on his LinkedIn blog.

A job interview is not really a job interview. It’s a cat and mouse game designed to lure you into traps of self revelation.

The way it is commonly structured, the interviewer does not conduct an investigative background search but instead gets you to shed an unattractive light on yourself.

Why would you do that? Well, you wouldn’t consciously, but the way the system  often works, you are lulled into sense of comfort and trust and thus fail to see the “tricks” in the trick questions.

With the goal of being forewarned and thus hopefully prepared, let’s see how this works.  We’ll start with trick question 1:

*Tee Up Your Proudest Moment:

Interviewer: I see you were varsity basketball in college.

Applicant: Yes. The practice was tough — what with a full academic schedule and all — but I loved it.

Interviewer: Highly competitive, I bet.

Applicant: Always and so intense. But if you can’t compete you, just can’t make the cut. I’m sure the same is true here.

Interviewer: How does that jell with the need to collaborate, which is a hallmark of our culture.

Applicant: Well, I mean, I guess –well, I don’t plan to step over other people, if that’s what you mean.

(Do you hear the gong? Believe me, I have been to these movies many times. You will be checked off  this interview as too aggressive for the team.)

*Get You To Out Yourself:

Interviewer: I have to say, you appear to be a honest person. Very much so. And I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that.

Applicant: Thank you. I pride myself on that.

Interviewer: As you should. Allow me to ask: if there’s one thing you’ve done in you life that you could take back, what would it be?

Applicant: Hmmm. Well, I don’t like to talk about it, but I married someone I didn’t really love. Hoped it would somehow work out. But I guess hope springs eternal. For awhile, it seemed like I ruined his life but I think he’s okay now. And I’m living with someone new and quite happy.

(A perfectly normal human story but a sure thing that the position will go to someone else.)

*Painting You As Desperate:

Interviewer: I see you haven’t been working for nearly a year. My guess is that you wanted to put your feet up for awhile. Nothing wrong with that.

Applicant: I wish. No, I’ve been networking, interviewing nonstop. At my age, it’s not easy.

(You took the bait. Now you revealed your age bracket and the deadly fact that no one else seems to want you. Gong!)

*Showcase Your Inexperience:

Interviewer: So this would be your first full time job, correct! No bad habits. Just a great ambition? There”s always something exciting about that.

Applicant: Exactly. Do you know how great it feels to finally be out of school. Yes!

Interviewer: I do. I do. But you really know nothing about the work ahead of you, do you?

Applicant: Well, I’ve read a lot about it.

Interviewer: I don’t see any internships on your resume.

Applicant: Wish I had but..

Interviewer: But?

Applicant: I went to this great summer camp as a kid and I just hated letting go. So I took counselor jobs every year. They barely paid anything but hey, it was like extending my childhood for four years.

Interviewers set the traps. People really do say/admit these things. Which leads to three nevers and a final piece of advice:

1. Look hungry
2. Reveal your age group
3. Say a single negative word about yourself
4. Most important, turn the tables on the interviewer, telling him what you think he wants to hear. Period.

All is fair in love, war and job hunting.

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Mark Stevens on Republican Debate

Mark Stevens, CEO of our New York marketing and management firm, was recently interviewed by Tom Ensey of Raycom Media. The topic up for discussion was tonight’s Republican debate. Those of you that know Mark or follow his LinkedIn blog know that he is very opinionated about a lot of things. Donald Trump’s run for presidency is no exception.

Mark and Ensey had a great conversation about Mark’s view on the situation. When it comes to tonight’s Republican debate, Mark doesn’t think that Trump is going to blow everybody away like some people are expecting because of the short response time allotted to each candidate.

Mark believes that Trump absolutely wants to be president and has no ulterior motive, endgame or backup plan. “He thinks that it would be fun to be president,” Mark is quoted. “He thinks it would be a great capstone to a brilliant career, as John Kerry did, as Mitt Romney did. It would be fun to govern the first 100 days, and that’s all they ever think about. There’s a long list of things you can have fun doing with the raw power of the President of the United States. He wants Air Force One, he wants the White House.”

Trump is definitely a force to be reckoned with. He is, as Mark says, not a clown; he’s a serious contender who should be taken seriously. This is due, in part, to Trump’s marketing (which doesn’t suck, according to Mark Stevens, author of bestselling Your Marketing Sucks). He is one of the world’s best salesmen. Mark refers to him as “a natural whose marketing skills are innate, who does not contrive words, who acts and speaks spontaneously, who is not trying to model himself after Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, or Bill Clinton. He has no ties at all to the political establishment.”

Mark thinks that Donald Trump is staying true to himself and doing what he’s always done. He’s running for president the same way that he sold his buildings. And Mark isn’t surprised that he’s leading the polls.

For more expert insights from Mark Stevens and the rest of Tom Ensey’s articles, click the links below.
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