Friday, August 31, 2012

Upward Trend Welcomes SitePro Home Inspections of Gulf Breeze, Florida As Latest Trend Setter Package Client

Upward Trend is pleased to announce that Van Hibberts, owner of SitePro Home Inspections of Gulf Breeze, Florida as our latest Trend Setter Package client. Van is a Certified Residential Building Code Inspector, a licensed Florida State Certified Master Home Inspector, and a Florida Certified Wind Mitigation Inspector. He is also a 203k FHA/HUD Consultant.

Upward Trend will be inititally building a new blog, adding and managing social media including facebook, twitter and linked-in, along with doing a monthly email newsletter, video and YouTube channel, consulting and more. SitePro's website is currently at and in the very near future, Upward Trend will be building a new website for Van.

It's fun as we add clients around the country and now Upward Trend will be in Florida! We appreciate the opportunity to serve Van Hibberts and SitePro Home Inspections.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

This Is Classified by Ron White

It must be really interesting to be in the CIA, Naval Intelligence or some top-secret organization. Imagine knowing the nation’s secrets—wow! I bet that has to carry with it tremendous pressure, but it must also be neat having access to the inner workings of what is really going on in the world. Well, I guess I will just have to live vicariously through James Bond movies or Matt Damon in the Bourne Identity because I will never walk in those shoes.

Listen to this next part closely...YOUR LIFE IS NOT CLASSIFIED DATA!

What do I mean? A friend of mine and I were out at a restaurant recently and he had noticed a beautiful woman. I said, “Go talk to her.”

“What would I say?” he asked.

“Anything!” I replied.


“Okay, I will get it started but after that you are on your own.” He looked up with hope in his eyes.
I went over to her table and said, “How are you?”

“Good, and you?” she replied.

“Well, I got some great news today.”

“What?” she inquired.

“I just saved a ton of money on my car insurance with a 15-minute phone call!”

She laughed and I introduced my friend and left. Hours later they were engaged in a deep conversation that would have never taken place if my friend had followed his plan of living his life as if it was classified. Get out there and talk to somebody!

I have watched salesmen stare at the telephone, instead of picking it up and telling someone—anyone—about their product. Your product is not classified! Get out there and make some cold calls!

Failure in business is guaranteed if no one knows about your product or service. However, fortunately for you—you are not sworn to secrecy. Although sometimes I think some business professionals believe they are! Make cold calls, join a leads group or Chamber of Commerce. Pass out your business cards at every opportunity and make sure that everyone knows what business you are in. If not, close your business and join the CIA because you are much better at keeping secrets.

If you have a top-secret clearance for the safety of the country, keep your mouth shut about it. If not, talk to that stranger. If in sales, pick up that phone and a million-dollar sale might be a few minutes away.

Yet if you remain frozen as if you are handling classified information, you will not only lead a boring existence, you will soon be out of business!

Now, let’s all get out there and live a little. Maybe even rent a James Bond movie to remind ourselves that our lives are not classified.

Ron White is one of the foremost memory experts in the world and number one in the United States having won the 2009 USA Memory Championship. He set national records in several categories, including memorizing a 167-digit number in 5 minutes and a deck of shuffled cards in only 1 minute and 27 seconds. Ron is the author of over a dozen popular CD sets and books on maximizing the power of memory for business and life success. Ron often shares that he is no different from anyone and that everyone can learn how to improve their memory.

Reproduced with permission from the Kirsty Dunphey weekly email. To subscribe to Kirsty Dunphey's weekly email, go to

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Upward Trend Welcomes Creekside Hearing Aid Service As Latest Trend Setter Package Client

Upward Trend is pleased to announce that Creekside Hearing Aid Service has just become our latest Trend Setter Package client. We will be adding a new blog, working with their existing social media including facebook, twitter and linked-in. The package also includes a monthly email newsletter to existing clients, video production to add to their existing YouTube channel. They will keep the website they already have at

Here is just a little about Creekside from their website:

Creekside Hearing Aid Service was established in 1998. Our staff is committed to giving our patients the best hearing care possible and to serve as a guide in making hearing health care decisions that will improve one’s quality of life.

We specialize in audiometric testing, hearing aid evaluations, fitting of advanced hearing systems, and counseling.

We are pleased to participate with most insurance plans and offer financing. Please discuss any specific requests or needs you may have with us.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Tolerate Weakness in Your Employees

David Roche, president of, on why you need a team with diverse weaknesses as well as diverse strengths.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Simplify Your Strategy

Donald Sull, London Business School professor, poses three questions to break down complex strategies into actionable steps.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Communicating a Price Increase - Mark Hunter on Price Objections

No one wants to be the bearer of bad news. So how do you tell your customers that prices are going up?

Even the most sales savvy among us have had to fight back the nerves that arise when we're about to tell a customer about a price increase. It never makes for an easy conversation. When relaying a price increase in a business-to-business environment, remember that your customers have probably had the same discussion with their own customers. A company exists only as long as it earns a profit and it can only do that if it delivers a quality product or service at the right price. The key to any conversation about raising prices is emphasizing that the increase will ensure product quality.

To prepare your strategy for announcing a price increase, ask yourself the following questions:

1. Does the customer take your product/service and add a standard percentage increase in price when selling to their customers? If so, you can point out that your customer will make more money by taking a standard percentage of a higher amount.

2. What percentage of the customer's business is your product/service? If the percentage is small, tell them that the amount of increase is only a small percentage of their total business. If the percentage is great, then emphasize that the price increase is necessary to maintain the level of product quality necessary for them to serve their customers.

3. Has the customer faced any price increases from other vendors? If so, try to identify the percentage range of the increases. If yours falls into the low end, then you can point out that your increase is smaller compared to the others. If your increase falls in the high end, you can either explain how this is the only increase you expect to make, or suggest that you wouldn't be surprised to see other vendors initiating another round of increases.

4. How does the customer view you and the products/services you sell? If you have a quality reputation and record, then you can emphasize that the increase has been carefully considered and it is only being taken to ensure continued quality. If you have a spotty record with the customer, then you should stress how the price increase will allow you to begin addressing some of the issues in question. You'll now be able to improve the overall quality of service they have been receiving. Of course, these statements must be backed up by a firm commitment.

5. Will the customer raise an issue with the price increase? Be prepared to show documentation of how your costs have escalated and how other companies are experiencing the same increases. For example, with the rising cost of oil many companies that use petroleum in the manufacture or transportation of goods are most likely increasing prices. When having this discussion, be sure to show empathy for the customer, but remain firm in what you're saying. If the customer senses any hesitation on your part, he will likely try to exploit it in the form of a price concession from you. Be prepared to outline the steps your company has taken in an attempt to avoid a price increase. This can include ways you've already cut costs or how the price increase is the only way to maintain the quality and service the customer expects. A final point to emphasize is the time lag between this price increase and the previous increase. Having information available concerning the rate of inflation during that specific time period may also help diffuse the issue.

6. Why does the customer buy from you? Use these reasons as reinforcements when talking about the price increase. Also have ready at least two key needs of the customer that your product or service satisfies. Be sure all of your strategic information about the customer is up-to-date before the price increase is announced.

7. How much business is at risk with this customer? Sometimes, we can get carried away thinking that if we raise prices, we'll lose the customer, even though this is rarely the case. Think through what steps the customer would have to take to move to another vendor. Many times the work involved in switching is not worth the effort, and the business is less at risk than you may think.

Here are some best practices to employ when executing a price increase:

1. Give the customer lead-time. Give the customer enough notice to allow them to make adjustments in their information systems and to place at least one more order at the existing price.

2. Avoid showing favorites. Pricing integrity is always essential, but especially so during a price change. Do not treat particular customers more favorably than others. Different pricing levels are fine as long as they can be logically defended so that a customer who is not receiving the price break can understand and accept the price change.

3. Do not allow your customer to find out about a price increase from your invoice. Notification of a price change must come from the account executive or a person of high position within the company. This information should only appear on an invoice after every account involved has been personally notified. Plan to allow enough time for at least one invoice to contain a note of the pending increase in price.

4. Make sure that each customer service representative and anyone else who comes in contact with the customer is fully aware of when the price increase will be communicated. Don't allow the customer to hear conflicting information from different departments. Everyone in customer service needs to be fully aware of the price increase, the reasoning behind it, and the logistics for implementation. They should also be provided with a FAQ guide to ensure that when customers do ask them about elements of the pricing increase, they are able to share accurate information.

5. Believe in the price increase. In order to be paid what you are worth, you must charge what you are worth. Although this is not something that can be explicitly communicated to the customer, this general sense is what sets the best practice companies and high-performing sales professionals above the rest.

6. Instill an open-phone/open-door policy. Whenever a price increase occurs, senior executives must be willing to answer phone calls from customers or to make phone calls to key accounts. Nothing sends a stronger signal to a sales organization than seeing its senior executives on the front-line dealing with a price increase.

7. Monitor the sales patterns of your individual customers before and after the price increase so you can quickly catch any changes that may occur as a result.

During the 1970's and 1980's, price increases were common and expected. In the past 10 years, however, we've grown used to lower inflation and the overwhelming impact of Wal-Mart's philosophy on pricing. Today, price increases are again growing more common and acceptable. But they must be carefully considered and not seen as a way to merely increase profits. We can't avoid dealing with price increases; they are an inevitable part of business. Instead, we should use them strategically to increase our selling potential.

Mark Hunter, "The Sales Hunter", helps companies identify better prospects, close more sales, and profitably build more long-term customer relationships. To receive his free weekly “Sales Hunting Tip” email or to find out more information, visit


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Upward Trend Welcomes Mercedes-Benz of Fairfield and The Sprinter Product Line As The Latest Trend Setter Package Client


Congratulations to Mercedes-Benz of Fairfield being awarded the Sprinter product line to their existing Mercedes-Benz product line. This will expand the possibilities for additional sales and service and enhance the availability to the public for the high quality Sprinter product in all its many forms.

Sprinter comes in a cargo van in a standard height and the most popular raised height roof line. The cargo van is also available as a Crew Van which is a cargo van with a second row of seats to take crews to and from job sites. Then, if that isn't enough, there is the Chassis Cab version which can be upfitted with a Van Body, Service Body, Dump Body, Flatbed, Gooseneck, and the list goes on and on. All of that with the fuel efficiency of the V6 Mercedes-Benz diesel (German Engineering, of course!).

Not to be outdone, the Sprinter is also available as a passenger van, and then there are many versions of shuttle bus types and even motor homes! The Sprinter Van is quite a lot of vans in one unit.

Upward Trend is pleased to announce that we have partnered with Mercedes-Benz of Fairfield to bring awareness on the Internet to the Sprinter addition to Mercedes-Benz of Fairfield and promote its many benefits and uses. We will be building a specific website for this, along with a blog and posting, social media including facebook, twitter and linked-in, a monthly email newsletter, video production and a YouTube channel, SEO optimization and consulting all in one low monthly package that we call the Trend Setter Package (

Look for a lot more very soon about the Sprinter and Mercedes-Benz of Fairfield.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Upward Trend Welcomes Big Valley Mortgage As Latest Trend Setter Package Client

Upward Trend is pleased to announce the addition of Big Valley Mortgage as our latest Trend Setter Package client. We will be building a new website, adding and updating a new blog, adding and updating social media including facebook, twitter, and linked-in. We will also be providing a YouTube channel and providing video services, an email monthly newsletter, hosting and domain renewal, Search Engine Optimization and consulting, all for one low monthly amount.

In the meantime, Big Valley Mortgage's current website is at We look forward to working with Big Valley Mortgage and expanding their Internet presence.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

If You Like Wine, Check Out Kevin Quinn's Brand New Book

Local musician, entrepreneur, philosopher and writer, Kevin Quinn has just published his new book, It's Your Wine, Drink It - An Everyday Guide To Enjoyment. Initially, the book is first offered as a Kindle edition on, but will be available in paperback version very soon.

I downloaded the book a couple days ago and have enjoyed it very much. I like Kevin's writing style, humor and common sense approach to the over-complicated idea of what wine choices to make.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Making sense of social media: The management challenge

As companies invest more resources in social media, they are facing management challenges related to building consensus, aligning functions and departments, and developing new processes, policies, and training. McKinsey partners Roxanne Divol, David Edelman, and David Court outline practical considerations for addressing the digital marketing opportunity.

This video is from the interactive, "Making sense of social media" on Read the related article, "Demystifying social media," on the McKinsey Quarterly web site.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Making sense of social media: The opportunity

In this video, McKinsey partner Roxanne Divol outlines the four specific actions companies can take using social media along the consumer decision journey; David Edelman shares examples of companies that have used social media to tap into the interest in their brands and create communities; and David Court discusses the enduring power of brands in today's complex world.

This video is from the interactive, "Making sense of social media" on Read the related article, "Demystifying social media," on the McKinsey Quarterly web site.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

8 Core Beliefs of Extraordinary Bosses

A few years back, I interviewed some of the most successful CEOs in the world in order to discover their management secrets. I learned that the "best of the best" tend to share the following eight core beliefs.

 1. Business is an ecosystem, not a battlefield.

 Average bosses see business as a conflict between companies, departments and groups. They build huge armies of "troops" to order about, demonize competitors as "enemies," and treat customers as "territory" to be conquered.

 Extraordinary bosses see business as a symbiosis where the most diverse firm is most likely to survive and thrive. They naturally create teams that adapt easily to new markets and can quickly form partnerships with other companies, customers ... and even competitors.

 2. A company is a community, not a machine.

 Average bosses consider their company to be a machine with employees as cogs. They create rigid structures with rigid rules and then try to maintain control by "pulling levers" and "steering the ship."
Extraordinary bosses see their company as a collection of individual hopes and dreams, all connected to a higher purpose. They inspire employees to dedicate themselves to the success of their peers and therefore to the community--and company--at large.

 3. Management is service, not control.

 Average bosses want employees to do exactly what they're told. They're hyper-aware of anything that smacks of insubordination and create environments where individual initiative is squelched by the "wait and see what the boss says" mentality.

 Extraordinary bosses set a general direction and then commit themselves to obtaining the resources that their employees need to get the job done. They push decision making downward, allowing teams form their own rules and intervening only in emergencies.

 4. My employees are my peers, not my children.

 Average bosses see employees as inferior, immature beings who simply can't be trusted if not overseen by a patriarchal management. Employees take their cues from this attitude, expend energy on looking busy and covering their behinds.

 Extraordinary bosses treat every employee as if he or she were the most important person in the firm. Excellence is expected everywhere, from the loading dock to the boardroom. As a result, employees at all levels take charge of their own destinies.

 5. Motivation comes from vision, not from fear.

 Average bosses see fear--of getting fired, of ridicule, of loss of privilege--as a crucial way to motivate people. As a result, employees and managers alike become paralyzed and unable to make risky decisions.

 Extraordinary bosses inspire people to see a better future and how they'll be a part of it. As a result, employees work harder because they believe in the organization's goals, truly enjoy what they're doing and (of course) know they'll share in the rewards.

 6. Change equals growth, not pain.

 Average bosses see change as both complicated and threatening, something to be endured only when a firm is in desperate shape. They subconsciously torpedo change ... until it's too late.

 Extraordinary bosses see change as an inevitable part of life. While they don't value change for its own sake, they know that success is only possible if employees and organization embrace new ideas and new ways of doing business.

 7. Technology offers empowerment, not automation.

 Average bosses adhere to the old IT-centric view that technology is primarily a way to strengthen management control and increase predictability. They install centralized computer systems that dehumanize and antagonize employees.

 Extraordinary bosses see technology as a way to free human beings to be creative and to build better relationships. They adapt their back-office systems to the tools, like smartphones and tablets, that people actually want to use.

 8. Work should be fun, not mere toil.

 Average bosses buy into the notion that work is, at best, a necessary evil. They fully expect employees to resent having to work, and therefore tend to subconsciously define themselves as oppressors and their employees as victims. Everyone then behaves accordingly.

 Extraordinary bosses see work as something that should be inherently enjoyable--and believe therefore that the most important job of manager is, as far as possible, to put people in jobs that can and will make them truly happy.

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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Making sense of social media: The phenomenon

Social media has transformed the way consumers research, think about, and engage with brands, creating literally millions of micro-opportunities for engagement. In this video, McKinsey partners David Edelman and Roxane Divol discuss how companies can participate—and do well by their customers—in the 24-hour pulse that is social media.

This video is from the interactive, "Making sense of social media" on Read the related article, "Demystifying social media," on the McKinsey Quarterly web site.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Howard Schultz: Being an Entrepreneur

Howard Schultz talks about being an entrepreneur and some of the key lessons he and Starbuck's has learned over the years. He talks also about innovation, creativity, getting outside help, empowering staff, social media and its importance in today's world and the future, and more.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

When to Disappoint Your Customers

Frances Frei, Harvard Business School professor, explains why trying to offer great customer service so often backfires.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Risks and Rewards of Social Media and Networks

Social networks of digitally-connected customers and employees are growing in power and influence each day, but companies are often still blindsided by this phenomenon. Barry Libert, CEO of Open Matters and author of Social Nation, says the reason is that corporate leaders tend to focus on internal issues like operational excellence, but are confounded by external forces such as social networks that they cannot control. In this interview with Knowledge@Wharton, Libert shares a four-step process that companies can use to harness the power of social media and networks.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Upward Trend Welcomes Northbay Contractors Alliance As Latest Trend Setter Package Client

Upward Trend is pleased to announce that the Northbay Contractors Alliance has become the latest Trend Setter Package client. Our services for them will be to build a brand new website (current site is at, along with a new blog. In addition, we will be creating new social media sites and managing them at facebook and twitter, along with video production and YouTube channel, and an email newsletter.

The Northbay Contractors Alliance is a group of contractors that include contractors from a wide variety of fields. Below is a current list of the contractors in this alliance:

  • Valentino Construction, General Contractor
  • Regional Roofing, Roofing Contractor
  • Croz Custom Metal Fabrication, Metal Fabricator, Welder
  • Drywall By Design, Drywall Contractor
  • Galvan & Son Plastering, Exterior Stucco & Plaster Contractor
  • Gillespie's Abbey Carpet, Flooring Contractor
  • Hender Cement, Concrete Contractor
  • LG Thermal Solutions, HVAC Contractor
  • Nick's Electric Inc, Electrical Contractor
  • Northstate Hardwood Floors, Hardwood Flooring Contractor
  • ProComm Wiring Solutions, Telephone/Cable Wiring Contractor
  • Ramirez Custom Overhead Doors, Garage and Commercial Doors
  • Tri-City Glass, Glass & Window Contractor
  • Universal Painting Contractors, Inc, Painting Contractor
  • Vacaville Pool, Swimming Pool Contractor
  • ServPro of Fairfield, Fire & Water Restoration
  • ABC Plumbing, Plumbing Contractor
  • Inclinator Co. of California, Residential Lift Specialists (New member)
This is quite a powerful group of contractors to come together in a mutually beneficial alliance, and Upward Trend is pleased to be of service to give them the exposure on the Internet that will help them be even more successful. Look for more from the Northbay Contractors Alliance (NCA) and these individual businesses very soon.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Making sense of social media: The consumer decision journey

In this video, McKinsey partners Roxane Divol, David Edelman, and David Court outline the ways in which companies can leverage social media at different points in the consumer decision journey to learn more about their customers, provide exceptional experiences, and foster brand loyalty.

This video is from the interactive, "Making sense of social media" on Read the related article, "Demystifying social media," on the McKinsey Quarterly web site.