Here’s what I hope the Ash Flash will do for you…

The goal of my weekly posts to the ash flash is to inspire you in some way. That’s the main goal. In fact, I read something this morning that reinforces this idea.

“…that a sense of curiosity and purpose , rather than the mechanistic drive for reward in exchange of effort, is the richest animating force of work.”

Bertrand Russel in his 1925 treatise on the nature of happiness

The challenge is in finding a pursuit that allows both forces to face each other in a liquid dance that keeps us moving and motivated. That’s what I hope the Ash Flash does for you. At least from time to time 🙂

We all need a means of staying connected and focused on the pursuits and projects that mean the most to us, and that as a result, foster our greatest contributions to the communities we serve.

I’m still working to find my exact way through this here on The Ash Flash, and I appreciate you being along for the ride as I work this out.

I have many good ideas about what I ultimately want to create here. I want to let those evolve naturally. In the mean time, my goal is to inspire you, challenge you, and help you unlock the courage to pursue your dreams. Both personally and inside your business.

You’ve got what it takes. I know you do. Keep going.

-John

Here’s what being a salesman means to me

john ashworth

written by john c ashworth

I have often felt stymied by that question, “what would you do, John, if you no longer needed to earn a living anymore?” What would you do with your time and your days if money was not a concern and you had no other responsibilities clamoring for your attention? What would be next?

Just this morning, as I hung up the phone following a very productive online showcase of the products I’m currently selling I realized something profound.

“There’s actually no place I would rather be on a daily basis than selling and connecting with prospects and customers. Connecting with people.”

Really, it’s true.

I know it might sound a little corny and maybe even a little naive, but it’s true. Of course, I would spend a lot more time here on The Ash Flash too and with a few of my other hobbies, but overall? This is where I love to be.

Why?

First, it’s where the money is made in any business. And that’s the game I’ve been playing for many years now. A game that feels quite familiar to the mission of my youth. Trying to put the soccer ball into the back of the net. It’s always fun to be a part of the business development team and at the heart of helping to drive growth for any company. My own or otherwise. It’s always fun to score. This is important work. After all, the primary reason anyone goes into business is to make money. Serving customers is essential, but you need to make money too. Don’t ever forget that.

What I’m discovering as I get a little older, wiser, and exponentially better at my craft as a salesperson is someting much more profound and important for the health and success of your own sales team and your business as a whole. Your salsespeople are the people inside your company that most often possess the strongest relationships with your customers. They are the ambassadors of YOU and YOUR brand. The focal points of most of your initial and extremely important touchpoints inside your business and the system that serves them.

Sales is where the lasting and important connections with customers and prospects are started and very often solidified over the years when you have the right salespeople committed to their part in cultivating these relationships.

Notice that I still included prospects in that last sentence. Because even though I always hate to admit it, the reality is that at least initially, most people will NOT buy from you. Yet, there is still tremendous value in these interractions. For one, people often come back and buy later. Second, every interraction is a catalyst for sales expertise built over time and for the on-going goodwill you need to build inside your company’s structures and systems. Much of that good will is cultivated through the interactions your salespeople have with your customers and prospects every day.

But there is something else I’m realizing about this process that gets to the core of why I would keep doing it whether I needed to or not. The part that I truly cherrish and that lives at the heart of what I do every day. The connection it creates with another human being.

A connection that, once established, can literally last a lifetime and that which is at the heart of all human interaction. Sales puts me in front of people with whom I would have never had the opportunity to interact and very often leads to new thoughts, new ideas, new relationships, and sometimes even new friendships.

In addition, when you’re selling a good product, one that you believe in and that is truly designed to solve problems, these relationships and conversations and interactions solve problems for people and improve their business and their lives as a whole. When you’re lucky enough to find yourself in such a role you have an extremely unique opportunity to serve those you come in contact day to day in rewarding ways. You have a unique opportunity to connect.

I look forward to working with you for years to come.

Now, I gotta get back on the telephone.

-John

Doris Day Remembered: The People’s Actor – The Atlantic

Doris Day The People's Actress

In 1994, years after Day’s retirement and near-total withdrawal from the public scene, she released The Love Album, a collection of classic standards she had recorded and shelved 27 years earlier. “We should not underestimate the quality of her voice,” the film historian David Thomson once wrote. “Not only was she a fine singer, technically, but her singing voice had a natural dramatic force that carried her beyond her acting ability.” Her downbeat, slow-tempo take on “Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries” reflects the hard-won wisdom of a woman whose life was anything but.

Source: Doris Day Remembered: The People’s Actor – The Atlantic

Are you making this mistake on YOUR website?

written by john c ashworth

website design security

Are you making this mistake with your website?

Take a close look at the image I’ve included with this article. If you’re website is displaying this little ‘i’ icon, along with the ‘unsecure’ text your website is NOT secure. You need an SSL certificate, and you need one now.

Somewhat recently, the search engines changed the rules again and they are looking for certain things ‘underneath the hood’ of your website. If they’re not there, you’re being labeled as unsecure in a very public way, and you could be losing business, as customers and prospects lose confidence in interacting with your website.

The solution is relatively simple, but you really do need to get to it as quickly as you can. Because it’s damaging your website visitors’ confidence, and very likely the overall response and interaction they have with your website. Even worse, it makes you look disorganized and lost; and it affects your search engine rankings too.

I found the unsecure site pictured above when going to make a payment to a local business here in Madison. I was thrilled to discover that they offered the ability to do this. The bill had been sitting on my desk for a week while I continued to procrastinate on writing a check, addressing the envelope, locating a stamp and walking it downstairs to the out-going mail.

I went ahead and made the payment anyway because by the time I got to the actual payment form on their website, I found that this part of the process was in fact secure and knew I was OK. But I’m in the business and understand these things. Most of your websiste visitors are not. And even in spite of my expertise, I still felt reluctant to follow-through. My user-experience and my impression of this particular business was negatively impacted by this seemingly small aberration.

How many others are visiting this website every day and losing confidence in it because you look dated, out of touch, and exposed?

In this case, we’re talking about a specialty practice that offers the most modern care in dentistry you can get. The CAT scan of my ailing tooth was an amazing opportunity and provided the missing information for the treatment plan.

In the old days, I would have likely been headed for another exploratory root canal instead of the relatively quick, simple, and informed decision that it was time to say goodbye to this old tooth for good.

Your website is a living, breathing communication medium that you need to nurture constantly. When you don’t relate to it this way, it starts to decay, and often very quickly. Eventually, it’s that old, infected, rotting tooth stealing energy and opportunity from you every single day until it’s fixed.

-John