Jul21

Five Steps to Go From Zero to 100 Million

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Five Steps to Go From Zero to 100 Million

How do you take a small company with no revenue to a company that is billing millions in new revenue? I think every entrepreneur would love to know but if it were an easy answer then everyone would be doing it. I grew up selling. It’s where I excel because it comes naturally to me. Every entrepreneur must ask themselves what they are good at and what they must learn in order to succeed because getting a company from zero to a 100 million takes a combination of natural skill and learned “street smarts.” While no one can hold your hand and lead you to your desired end goal, there are a few pivotal points in the deal making process that can make or break your play.

Just about five years ago I was in South America. I was there to meet with a client and sell them on an idea I had about bringing a new set of cloud services to their portfolio. It goes without saying that I arrived prepared and ready to hit the deal out of the park. Upon our meeting, the client told me that his mind was already made up. He was ready to work with a combination of a Fortune 10 giant and another competitor. Our meeting that day was just a formality.

I asked questions and listened to him explain that his company had to cover a large geographical area and would have over 30 different addendums to the master agreement with a Fortune 10 giant. Essentially they had a need and a Fortune 10 giant had pushed back. That’s where I saw my opportunity and seized on it.

I started presenting my offerings for solutions alongside professional capabilities of my company. As it turned out, our solution was much more flexible than a Fortune 10 giant, which goes to show that sometimes a smaller player has more leverage. I was able to secure the win.

Years later I returned with a new product for the same customer. I’d brought a few new clients with me. I wanted to show them the progress we’d made over the past 4 years. As we sat down with my new partners, my old customer showed us an excel sheet and said, “A few years ago Benjamin came to us and advise as to start a new division and implement new cloud services. Today we are billing over 100 million in new revenue, which is not much but is a start since we are an 80 billion dollar company.”

Stories of success happen every day. You can get there but not every entrepreneur will know how to get there.

Here are a few pointers:

  1. You have to be flexible. As soon as the customer told me that he’d made up his mind, why didn’t I just leave? The simple answer is that I knew the playing field before I arrived. I knew that there were only so many big fish out there and this knowledge gave me the power to be flexible with my terms and deliverables.
  2. Seize the moment. You only get a few chances. If you don’t then you are not going to get a second chance. He was with a Fortune 10 giant, and his issue turned out that a Fortune 10 giant wasn’t able to provide contracts to some of the places he wanted to go. By listening and learning his pain points I was able to diagnose his situation and offer my company as a clear and solid solution. a Fortune 10 giant was too big and I was just big enough. In meetings, it is important to seize on the pains of the customer and be effective. I’m not saying over promise, I’m saying know your strengths and use them wisely. You have to get the solution right for both of you. That is a winning combination.
  3. Know your subject. If not you will lose out on a golden opportunity. I closed and was able to build the business within four years.
  4. Be confident in meetings. Despite the fact that he told me he was about to sign the contract with someone else. BVS – “True confidence is built with an awareness of personal limits and a willingness to seek help when necessary.”
  5. Be committed from the start. I’m hired by my customers to win and I will use everything at my disposal to do so. Once they give me the business I do everything I can day in and day out, flying around the world, working together with their sales and marketing teams–to make their products successful. After that initial meeting, we started the negotiation process and we won the deal. It took 4 years to get to 100 million, but when I returned 4 years later to bring them other companies they wanted me to help take them to 100 billion.

 

  • Posted by Benjamin Von Seeger/
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Jun28

BECOME YOUR OWN BEST ASSET



“BECOME YOUR OWN BEST ASSET “

Master of Ceremony, Campus Dean, Assistant Dean of Academic Excellence, Professors, Graduates, Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you so very, very much for this great honor and privilege. I am honored to be with you here today at the most important day of your career and life. I want to acknowledge all of you the brilliant, talented, ambitious, awesome, accomplished and all around outstanding members of the class of 2017.

The same people in this room, you the graduates, inspired me to write my first book, you are an inspiration and without even knowing it. I believe a special thank you is in order for you. I hope I can and will inspire you. Sometimes is the very people whom no one imagines anything of, that do the things that no one could ever imagine. They are the entrepreneurs. They are the disrupters! They are you!

This is a very big day for me as well and let me tell you why. I am originally from Germany a country of great traditions; however, graduating from the university is a very simple ceremony. As a teenager when I graduated, I became mesmerized by the graduation ceremonies in United States; there was something very special about the regalia, the throwing of caps in the air, the commencement speeches and most importantly the entire graduation event. Commencement is filled with a rainbow of caps, sleeves, and hoods that pop out from the sea of black gowns. Every color symbolizes something and it is as interesting to explore, as it is to watch on graduation day. I am beyond excited today to be wearing my very own “Harry Potter” robes and to be celebrating this awesome day with all of you.

I am here today to give each of you 4 simple tips on how success is at your fingertips and how you can become your own best asset targeted to chart your own course in life and accomplish great things.

1.  My first words of advice to you are to discover what you are good at and to keep building on your talents and skills.


I would like to bring you back to a time when I was eighteen and my heart was filled with the goal of making a difference in the world.  With hard work and dedication, I was gifted with the skill of being able to speak six different languages (German, English, Spanish, Italian, Romanian and Portuguese). I always recognized that I had a talent for languages, so I signed up with Amnesty International, and soon became a translator for the Human Rights Committee in Germany. I flew around Eastern Europe and saw a great deal of suffering in the world from the many trials and documents, which I translated.  My time with Amnesty International was a life changing experience.  I ended my journey, remembering the many refugees we helped, especially one Iranian professional swimmer, Reza, who was able to get his political asylum in Germany, after his boyfriend was killed for defending basic human rights.

Every day, all over the world, people make the most difficult decision of their lives; to leave their homes in search of a better life.  The wisdom taken from this experience was not to take anything for granted in life and if you have a talent or skill use it to help others. A positive word of encouragement can help someone’s entire life.
My talent was languages. What is yours?  Albert Einstein once said, “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” Be curious, ask questions and try new things. This is how you will learn what you are good at and how you can make a real difference in the world.

  2.  I cannot emphasize enough the importance of my second tip for success, which is the importance of building and maintaining relationships.

Our journey in life and careers is a sum of all the people that we meet. In the end, it became very important for me to have gained from that experience with Amnesty, years later it set me up with a network I never knew I would need again. Common sense will show that in order to establish a one and one relationship, you often have to follow the lead of the other person. The key is to be approachable, articulate and authentic. Show that you know people and have established a network of people who aren’t just in your business field but also outside of it in order to capture a bigger professional niche. Trust me, this will go a long way and further assist you with your career.

My first big break in business happened when I was twenty-one and transitioned out of school and into the workforce as a service associate fetching cars for top businessmen. I’ll never forget a man and CEO by the name of Frank Demmer who gave me my first big break. I was promoted to manage a fleet of over five hundred cars for a communications company in Germany. The CEO always asked to have a specific Mercedes Benz lined up for him when he went on business calls. Today, I still remember that car. It was a black Mercedes S500 with a navigation system. Perhaps you’re laughing because a navigation system is easy to come by these days, but it wasn’t so common in 1994. Back then; a navigation system was like having the latest iPhone today. I positioned myself as the man he could count on to always provide him with that car and that utility. My ability to acquire those items on a consistent basis demonstrated to the customer my initiative and willingness to follow through on projects assigned to me and provide the highest service to our most important clientele.

One day, as I handed the keys over to Frank, he started a conversation with me. He said, “Would you like to come work for me?” His request seemed to come out of left field. Frank ran a technology company, and I was just a young professional who ran the fleet for his company. I outright confessed that I knew nothing about technology. This was very true. At that time, I didn’t even know how to use a cell phone. In those days, cell phones were new on the market, and it was a luxury to own one. Frank taught me a pivotal lesson that day. Which was later reinforced by months of training and years of working under him. Furthermore, I will never forget his response. He said, “It’s not about the cell phone, it’s not about technology, and it’s not about how much you know or don’t know. It’s about relationships. “At that moment, he gained my attention. Thereafter, I was hired and thrown into a six-month boot camp for sales representatives with a hundred-other people who were just like me. Notwithstanding, I became part of a class and journey that wasn’t easy and quite challenging; however, after the challenging training, I saw the first paycheck. I most importantly earned the prestige of being part of Frank’s company and management team. I learned a valuable lesson, which prepared me for the future where there wasn’t an ounce of failure left in me. This endeavor taught me the determination to succeed no matter what. Clearly, not everyone shared my will and determination. When we graduated, there were only about twenty of us left. Among those twenty, I was at the top of the class. Ultimately, it came down to consistency and relationship building! There it was. I had to give Frank the credit because of what he had said and done for me. His wisdom ended up being so true and profound. It was about discernment. It was about being relatable. These were the elements of establishing relationships.  My biggest fear is that you will walk away without truly understanding how important it is to make a human connection with the people you are serving. I cannot stress this point enough.

3.  My third tip for success for you is to be passionate about your work.

Give it your all.  Nothing is worth pursuing unless you are passionate about it and can deliver it with all of your energy.  Build your career for two reasons: to create a legacy or an exit strategy. Either you want to build something great that will have a lasting impact on the world for some time to come, or you want to create something where you can get a quick paycheck. People who care about the legacy never care about the money it is their passion that drives them to do great things. For instance, as an example, I think Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg was never ever concerned with being a billionaire. From the very beginning, it appeared he cared about the website being up and running around the clock. He cared about his brand, which was simply his work and helping friends connect online. He was passionate about creating a social network. He didn’t realize that he would become a billionaire later. The passion was there. There is no greatness without a passion to be great, whether it’s the aspiration of an athlete, a lawyer, educators, a scientist, a parent, a doctor, or a businessperson. What are you passionate about? If you love your job and are passionate about what you do it won’t feel like work. It most certainly did not feel like work for me flying over 4 million miles in my career, to over 130 countries, sometimes in one week 3 different continents for countless meetings.

4.  My fourth tip for success is to take risks and to be innovative.

True innovative leaders rarely follow the straight and narrow path. They are willing to take risks and try new things. I saw this theory prove itself when I moved to the United States. Determined to write a new chapter I intended to sell my ideas to a female high-level executive in a technology company. My approach was so bold that I didn’t even make an appointment to see her when I arrived in the country. I just walked into her office. That day I was dressed for success!  And approached her assistant’s workstation with purpose and told her with a very heavy German accent, I had a meeting with her boss, Jamie. Without hesitation, the assistant granted me permission to enter Jamie’s office. At that time, Jamie was building a new network access point, and it just so happened that I was selling fiber networks. My introduction was simple, “I have an idea of how we can combine our two companies.” I immediately had her attention, but I didn’t stop there because I was on a mission. In the next couple of minutes, I began to lay out my intentions. More so, I told her that with my contacts and her technology, we would sell our business products jointly.  To my surprise, I was in her office for less than five minutes before she abruptly pulled the plug. “The meeting is over.”
“Did I do something wrong?” I said to her.
“No, go speak to my assistant and we’ll talk again next time.”
I said to myself, Damn, I messed up big time. Regardless of how I felt, I waited to speak to the assistant. When I approached her workstation, she handed me an appointment card and to my disbelief stated, “You’re having dinner with Jamie tonight at 8:00 p.m. at Morton’s Steakhouse in Miami.” A few hours later, I was sitting in front of Jamie at the restaurant, where she shared some news with me. “I wanted to speak with you about something. I am going to be appointed as head of revenue of a new organization, and I need someone to run global sales. You are the guy to do it.” This is where I first learned about the importance of emotional intelligence in driving your success. Follow your gut instinct.  

As I state in my book The Rival “Emotional intelligence is the stuff that will allow a listener to follow someone down an unknown rabbit hole.” Emotional intelligence is the glue; it is the stuff that I’ve been preaching about from the first page of my book (The Rival). Emotional intelligence will help you take those facts that you have learned here in school and use them to your ultimate advantage. Relying on a mix of book and street smarts will allow you to build and foster important relationships, take risks, create your own network, and tackle those sweet, sweet deals you’ve been dreaming of while on the road to success.  As a leader, I’ve had to look at policies and procedures in the eye and decide when it is the best time to go by the book and when to follow my gut feeling. Most importantly, I have always held on to a commonsense rule: when making deals, nothing is more crucial than emotional intelligence. We’ve all made early career mistakes on our professional life – some of us more than others – (God only knows I did) but I have learned to grow from my mistakes and capitalize on my gains. It is a hard lesson to be learned! Great entrepreneurs and leaders know how to deliver an electrifying message, which requires them to focus on emotional intelligence – the ability to recognize, practice self-awareness, understand and manage your own emotions.  That is where the real alchemy and risk in building a business and relationships comes from. It’s a combination of relationship building, emotional intelligence, and knowledge.

That’s how you get into a room; but when you are given an opportunity to meet with any executive practice skills of emotional intelligence, not emotional blackmail.  Successful leaders can handle pressure in a healthy way, understand and cooperate with others, because they are good listeners, empathetic and are more open to feedback considering that they speak the same language and have faced similar business obstacles. They set the standard and the example for others to follow and are driven to make more thoughtful and thorough business decisions.

Let’s imagine a perfect world where you recognize your own emotions and how they ultimately affect your thoughts, actions and behavior. You can learn more about Emotional Intelligence in my book The Rival.  It will help you recognize your own SWOT analysis focusing on your strengths and weakness, opportunities and threats. The key is to exercise self-control of impulsive feelings and behaviors, manage your emotions in healthy ways. Take the right initiatives to make the right decisions, follow through on commitments, and most importantly the capacity to adapt quickly to critical changing circumstances that can adversely impact the overall outcome of your strategic goals. You are your own best asset; you have the best tool your diploma to start your new career and your life. Every time I was reviewing 1000 resumes, yours was the first on my desk. You all in this room have the potential to change the world. If, I was able to succeed with a heavy German accent and become as American as apple pie; the sky’s the limit for all of you great minds of class 2017.

There are a number of lessons I hope you have learned by looking over the adventures of my life’s work. I hope my message will change the way you live and therefore change you, same as you changed me and made me an author. I hope it will give you the confidence to succeed at something you previously felt uneasy about pursuing. Whatever it may be, please take this moment to reflect my final words, because it is in the ending that the beginning really makes the most sense and makes a difference. You might not remember me or my speech in 20 years from now, but I hope you can walk away with the notion that there is nothing more important than getting out there in life and having face-to-face meetings and building key business relationships targeted to shape your career and future. If I could leave you with a few final words it would be these:

1.  Discover what are your talents and skills: Try new things and explore the world.  Diversify your skills and do not become a specialist only in one

industry and field. Be endlessly curious.

2.  Relationships matter in the end is all that matters Nothing is gained by sitting behind your desk; you have to step into the world and make yourself
known. Building and maintaining relationships is a key to success.

3.  Be Passionate: Nothing is worth pursuing unless you are passionate about it and can deliver it with all of your energy.

4.  Take risks and be innovative.  : A focus on winning is built on taking risks, innovative thinking and emotional intelligence (understanding yourself
and others). Think outside the box.

My parting words for you are to step into the office and make the career yours, whatever that might be. If anything, I am confident I have inspired you to go after what really gets you out of bed in the morning and to be passionate.

For me, it was sales, but I know that can’t be for everyone, it is not everyone’s cup of tea.  Not everyone is a salesperson or needs to be part of an executive team. You need to be passionate about whatever you set your mind and hands to do. For instance, if you love being a nurse, technician, doctor, lawyer, educator, engineer, or businessperson and are passionate about it, you should do that. Follow your dreams and don’t be concerned about failure and taking risks. Life is about exploring and trying new things. Your interests, passions, and natural abilities may change over time but that is part of learning and growing. Stay calm, cool and collected and most important be effective. Furthermore, I am convinced and believe that in order to be successful, you can’t chase the amenities you want to have in your life: a big paycheck, fancy toys, and so on.  What you need to chase is your constant passion, and all the other things will fall into place—as long as you always move forward.

Congratulations class of 2017, keep moving forward, be curious and be amazing. YOU DIT IT!!! QUANTUM ERA DEMONSTRANDUM!!!

 

 

  • Posted by Benjamin Von Seeger/
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Apr11

Business is Personal

Relationships (U)

 

 

Making business personal means getting creative in your approach to business development. Creativity is the glue that holds together the technical elements of your work. Don’t be afraid to get personal, creative, and improvisational in your business development and deal-making activities.

I recall once trying to secure a meeting with a company. Getting a meeting with this particular CEO was next to impossible. For whatever reason, this guy did not want to make time to sit down and hear my ideas. This isn’t an uncommon barrier in business. We all spend lots of time trying to get the attention of the person who will help make our next big break. For me, it was this CEO. I knew I had to get creative in order to secure my meeting with him. My goal was simply to explain how a partnership between our two companies would benefit us both.

First, I did my research. I found out from a source that this particular CEO was going to be flying from Miami to Los Angeles on a specific day and time—a six- to eight-hour flight. My task at that point was to find out what airline he was flying and what seat he would be sitting in. If you’re thinking these are extreme measures, you don’t know how important it is to be aggressive and determined to close a deal. I was willing to bet that going over the top in this particular situation would get me the result that I needed.

When the time came, I was already on the flight and seated by the time the CEO boarded the plane. When he saw me, his jaw dropped, and his eyes lit up. I had eight hours to convince him of my strategy, but it took only fteen minutes. Going in, I knew two things: what I wanted from him and what I had to produce to convince him I was right. I had already set the goal, and all that was left was follow-through.

Fifteen minutes after the plane took off, I’d already met my goal. In the airport afterward, I continued to follow his moves and watched him make his first phone call to his executive team to relay the news. Subsequently, I discovered that I would be working with the executive team in the months to come, and not the CEO directly. But because the order came from him, I knew that his team would be open and willing to work with me.

 

Straight Shooters

A straight shooter is someone who knows how to be direct and aggressive without being rude. I climbed aboard that plane because I knew the importance of one-on-one meetings. You may think that being trapped in a seat while I proceeded with my sales pitch would have made the CEO angry or made him withdraw from our conversation. It might have, if I wasn’t smart about it. But I’ve learned that being aggressive doesn’t always mean being intimidating. I never want clients to feel intimidated, but if they know what lengths I went through to speak to them, then that element of pursuit should express my seriousness about the business relationship. It is all in the approach.

Yes, I had the upper hand in that situation, and I could have scared him off with my element of surprise, but I didn’t. I was there to be personable. I was there to be warm and show the human side of my business. This personal touch has always been and will always be invaluable.

A straight shooter doesn’t beat around the bush, but rather identifies a target and pursues it until completion. It’s a systematic approach. The reason I am so dedicated to it is because I value my time. I don’t like businesspeople who keep going around and around in circles. It’s nauseating and endless.

I’ve had many people seek me out for meetings. What I want and what I respect is the person who finally gets me alone and is straightforward, not passive. Tell me what you are going to deliver and then follow through with it. Within ten minutes of our conversation, I should know what you want, what you need to accomplish, and what role I am playing in your strategy. The best way for this to happen is to discuss it during a one-on-one meeting.

When outlining the elements of an effective approach to being a successful straight shooter, I think we all can come up with a short list that suits our work style. Some would say the best thing is to be approachable, articulate, and authentic—the three As. Others swear by the three Cs—calm, cool, and collected. I have a friend who lives by the mantra of being both communicative and disciplined. Your personal mantra and approach should be a direct reflection of your personality.

Whatever your personal style, always remember to be personable, approachable, and articulate. If you can couple those things with those that appear on my short list below, you’ve got a great combination that will get you results. Straight shooters demonstrate the following:

  • stamina
  • aggressiveness
  • decisive decision making
  • team building
  • deliberate objectives in meetings

The willingness to be aggressive and not take no for an answer have aided me when I’ve had to soothe client accounts that were mishandled by other employees who did not have a clue about what they were doing.

  • Posted by Benjamin Von Seeger/
  • Article, Business Relationships
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Feb28

Why Emotional Intelligence is One of The Top Skills For an Entrepreneur

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Emotional Intelligence

“Emotional intelligence is the stuff that will allow a listener to follow someone down an unknown rabbit hole.” – Benjamin Von Seeger, The Rival

The latest studies on EI have shown that entrepreneurs are putting a high premium on emotional intelligence and in more cases than ever when they are required to choose candidates with emotional intelligence rather than IQ.

We tend to think of book and street smarts as opposite sides of a spectrum – if you have one, you do not have the other. However, what ultimately pulls these two opposites together is emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence is the glue; it is the stuff that I’ve been preaching about from the first page of my book (The Rival ). Emotional intelligence will help you take those facts that you have learned in school and use them to your ultimate advantage. Relying on a mix of book and street smarts will allow you to build and foster important relationships, create your own network, and tackle those sweet, sweet deals you’ve been dreaming of while on the road to success.

We’ve all made early career mistakes on the sales floor – some of us more than others – but I have learned to painstakingly grow from my mistakes and capitalize on my gains. A hard lesson to be learned!

As a leader, I’ve had to look at policies and procedures in the eye and decide when it is the best time to go by the book and when to follow  my gut feeling. Most importantly, I have always held on to a commonsense rule: when making deals, nothing is more crucial than emotional intelligence. But you can’t always teach this stuff. This can be obtained by following a path of critical thinking and problem solving activities that can only be gotten through assimilating challenges, learning processes and results throughout your work experiences.

That is where the real alchemy and risk in building a business comes from. It’s a conflation of relationship building, emotional intelligence, and knowledge of what your company can and cannot do while focusing on the targeted results driving the business which affects the ultimate bottom line and your own personal satisfaction.

That’s how you get into a room, but when you are given an opportunity to meet with any  executive, practice skills of emotional intelligence, not emotional blackmail.

Great entrepreneurs can handle pressure in a healthy way, understand and cooperate with others, because they are good listeners, empathetic and are more open to feedback considering that they speak the same language and have faced similar business obstacles. They set the standard and the example for others to follow and are driven to make more thoughtful and thorough business decisions.

Great entrepreneurs and leaders know how to deliver an electrifying message, which  requires them to focus on emotional intelligence – the ability to recognize, practice self awareness, understand and manage one’s own emotions.

Emotional intelligence becomes the driver and best tool necessary to achieve success not only with your customers but also in building your team, while leading a vision and transforming the organization. It is imperative as a leader to set yourself apart and distinguish yourself as a strong character.  Personally,  I firmly believe that there is no better way than managing your emotions and leading by example when you apply a transformational approach across all levels of the organization.  As a motivated  leader with a very high EI you will be able to value, empower, motivate, reward and recognize your team. The key is  to understand and perceive the emotions, needs, and concerns of your team, pick up on emotional cues, feel comfortable socially, and observe the power strategic dynamics in your team and/or organization.

Lets imagine a perfect world where you recognize your own emotions and how they ultimately affect your thoughts, actions and behaviour. Recognize your own SWOT analysis focusing on your strengths and weakness, opportunities and threats. Engagement  of self confidence, and self awareness do become extremely important elements of EI. The key is to exercise self-control of impulsive feelings and behaviors, manage your emotions in healthy ways, take the right initiatives to make the right decisions, follow through on commitments, and most importantly the capacity to adapt quickly to critical changing circumstances that can adversely impact the overall outcome of your strategic goals and objectives.

Great consideration needs to be given with the use of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management as you develop your main skills to build emotional intelligence driven for you to succeed on all fronts in your own private life as well as your professional career.  EI will provide you with the know how and problem solving skills  to develop and maintain good relationships, communicate clearly with a great transformational vision targeted to focus, inspire and influence others, creating a dynamite team, and most importantly manage conflict.

Emotional intelligence drives the key to success and its many requirements when dealing with people and the mechanisms to achieve a transformational business vision and mission. EI is not an art but rather a practice across the board!

  • Posted by Benjamin Von Seeger/
  • Article, Business Relationships
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Jan24

Relational Intelligence: Being Authentic and Open With People

Emotional-Intelligence

Relational intelligence is the harnessing of basic people skills to lead others into relating to you on a personal level. It is being authentic and open with people. What enables me to build long-term relationships like the one I fostered with my friend Frank—and also short, passing relationships like the one I built with Mr. Rubik’s Cube—is my ability to harness my relational intelligence. When you are practicing relational intelligence, you are actively negotiating social spaces in an effort to create profitable bonds with others. To be prosperous in your new relationships, focus on the following:

  • establishing trust and ownership
  • delivering consistent results—leading with the willingness to give instead of simply receive
  • offering support
  • showing authenticity and even vulnerability
  • keeping in touch and constantly following up
  • informing customers of your successes through newsletters, published articles, press releases, and social media
  • developing ongoing collaborations and coalitions

The truth is that we are all connected to each other in some way or another. I believe the rule is something like six degrees of separation between each of us. So the work of fostering relationships with people is not in being connected to someone else in particular, it’s what you choose to do with that connection.

Here is a good example of situations where we can use relational intelligence in order to be more successful:

Legal Considerations

The Latin proverb Verba volant, scripta manent, or “Spoken words fly away, written words remain,” became my dictum when I started in sales. My knowledge of Latin helped me in two profound ways: it enabled me to learn more languages, and it gave me this quotable reminder that all of my work would amount to smoke if I didn’t get it down on paper to sign, seal, and deliver a deal. Language skills helped in breaking barriers and building connections with others. You may think I’m talking about this book, which is applicable, but I’m also referring to the legal world of contracts.

Contracts serve the purpose of outlining the relationship between two companies. There is no way either company can get to work without the contract. Think of it as the rulebook of a football game. A contract sets boundaries for a working relationship and establishes a fair way of overcoming mishaps whenever a disagreement occurs. It also includes provision rights, obligations, and services provided—a document of expectations for both parties.

The goal of every salesperson is to get to the contract stage of the discussion. Once you have a soft yes, you get the lawyers involved to iron out the particulars of the deal. As someone whose quota depends on the signing of the contract, it is my top priority to make sure that both parties, their company and mine, reach an amicable agreement and build consensus. You can spend all the time you want talking about a deal, but unless you close and put it to paper, you will not receive compensation for your time, craft, and patience.

With lawyers involved, what is a global salesperson’s role in the contract phase? When it comes to contracts, there are many places where your hard work can come to a full stop. It all comes down to communication. Throughout my experience, I learned that I had to be the one greasing the wheels to keep the machine of lawyers, executives, and other voices working together. I always set myself up as the go-between contact for the lawyers and the client. After all, I was the one who built relationships with each of the team members. Eventually, I made myself known to my clients’ lawyers and always made it a point to befriend the individual.

I am the first to agree that lawyers can be a tough crowd. I know this because for two years, I attended law school. However, that is what they’re paid to do—be aggressive for the sake of their client. My role as the executive is twofold: liaison and translator. As a good liaison, I enhance the way the two parties communicate and interact. When it comes to the actual contract, I serve as a translator, interpreting and rewording legal jargon in order to clarify and incorporate business terminology to smooth out the entire process. Every business deal needs a contract, but I’ve seen months of work get stalled because the contract can’t be signed and introduces many barriers.

Take, for instance, a contract I received from a client in Brazil. My lawyer sent me the contract, and I in turn sent it to the client. The customer spent a few days on it and sent it back to me. When I took a look at it, I cringed. The piece they sent back looked like a lit-up Christmas tree. As I looked at the amalgamation of items underlined in various colors and flagged words, I felt my heart—and my hope for a quick close—sinking slowly. If I sent that back to my lawyer as it was, I could expect to get it back in about six months, no kidding. That’s six months too long to wait to iron out the details of how our two parties would be working together. So I set myself to untangling the Christmas-tree lights.

The philosophy I have is to keep my clients’ lawyers happy just like I have to keep my lawyer happy. If by chance their lawyer doesn’t like me, I can promise you that I’m not moving forward and getting anywhere in the agreement quickly. I start making moves to get to know their lawyer as early as the first meeting with their executive team. When our groups get together, I casually suggest we invite the lawyer to come to lunch with us. “Is Frederick available?”

It has happened often enough that a “Frederick” will dine with our teams and I’ll learn something interesting about him. For example, if Frederick is a soccer fan, I’ll say, “Frederick, I actually have tickets to that game, you should come with me. I don’t know anyone here.” Who wouldn’t want to see Messi, the best soccer player in the world, playing live in Barcelona?

We’ll spend another afternoon in each other’s company, becoming friendly. Within three days, I can promise you that “Frederick” will have put together a contract and will have it sitting on my desk or airplane tray table. “Frederick” represents a contract that is a multimillion-dollar deal, and through simple human engagement, I’ve decimated any walls of defensiveness that may have kept our two companies from working together in a relatively short time. Dear reader, relationships are everything.

There are many different situations on which a contract can get snagged—things as small as the format of the contract or as large as when the initial payment is due. Everything has to be addressed in the contract stage, and I couldn’t do it without my three As and three Cs.

As an example, when a contract comes back to me looking like a Christmas tree, I phone their lawyer and say, “We need to take a look at sections 1E, 3C, and 4F.” Sometimes this leads to a conference call with both parties on the line—but you see what I’m doing. I’m taking the initiative and pioneering the changes in the contract so that when my lawyer has it for final review, he has a document that isn’t cluttered with jargon. It is a clear and concise agreement, one that I know he can sign off on. This makes a process concrete without any consideration for both short- and long-term obstacles that might derail a great deal.

  • Posted by Benjamin Von Seeger/
  • Article, Business Relationships
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Dec16

Kick Start 2017 With the Perfect Job: Resumes & Interviews

29-how-to-get-your-dream-job

Résumés

Nowadays, I’m the guy who reviews the résumés—but it wasn’t always like that. I used to be in your shoes, wondering how much of my experience really mattered when compared to the degree I earned. It’s a good question, and one that has plagued mankind since the dawn of business. Academics are nice, but how much do they help you in the real world? To me, this is the difference between book smarts and street smarts.

Students often ask me about their résumés. They want to know how to format them and dress them up so that their accomplishments pop on the page. They ask me whether internships and volunteerism will actually help them to secure the job and the paycheck that they want. I tell them the following story.

When I was about eighteen, my heart swelled with the desire to give back to the community. I wanted to change the world. I’ve always had a talent for languages, so I signed up with Amnesty International and soon became a translator for the Human Rights Committee. In the three years I worked for Amnesty International, I flew around Eastern Europe until the very end of my journey.

I think any one of us may look back on our youth and wonder if we wasted our time giving away free hours when we could have been building our sandcastles and empires. When I was building my résumé after the tour, I looked back on my years with Amnesty and decided that these were in fact important years that showcased my ability to speak languages and become an effective leader. Even if it didn’t help me in the long run, I had still been true to myself and followed a path I felt I needed to be on. I added Amnesty International to my résumé and never looked back.

Fast-forward to my early thirties, when I was working with Jamie. Remember, this is a woman who never once looked at my résumé. I walked through her door and she could smell the street smarts on me. My résumé could have been a tabloid for all she cared; she never gave it much thought. I was trying to win a very big project with a chairman of a big corporation in New York. He was impressed with what Jamie had to say about me. Other references sent him glowing remarks, which was good for me, but wasn’t quite securing the deal. He still wanted to meet with me. He still wanted to go over my résumé to see if I was the right man for the job.

We sat down at a restaurant for a meal while he reviewed my résumé. I can still hear him asking, “Oh, you worked for Amnesty International?” It brought an upswing to his voice and introduced a turn in our otherwise at conversation.

By this time, it had been at least ten years since my volunteer duties with Amnesty. “Yes, but a long, long time ago,” I answered slowly, wondering where this could be going.

“That’s interesting. I’m on the board.”

Of course, I was surprised. Here he was picking up on a minute detail of my résumé that was leading us into an engaging conversation. Emotional intelligence is the stuff that will allow a listener to follow someone down an unknown rabbit hole. His next question was with whom I remembered working. I named a few people, but ultimately came upon the name of Scott Long, a Harvard graduate with a specialty in human rights.

“Oh, you know Scott Long?” There was clear excitement in his voice. I could tell that he respected Scott a lot. I couldn’t blame him; I thought well of him too. “So, if I call Scott up right now, will he remember you?”

That was the button to push. I guess it was really up to chance then. If Scott did remember me, I could only hope he had more than simple things to say about me. The chairman was really putting me on the spot, but I decided to push forward. “Why don’t you give Scott a call? Let’s find out what he says about me,” I replied.

Sure enough, he got Scott on his cell. I could only see the CEO and Amnesty board member’s face. He wasn’t very expressive but he nodded along. I sat in my chair, a bit squeamish, wondering if I should be worried. It was an odd turn in our conversation. I have to say that in all of my years of keeping Amnesty on my résumé, this had never happened before.

I had no idea if Scott would remember me or have positive things to say about me, but he did. He was actually excited to hear that I was sitting in front of this chairman and CEO and that I was in a position to make these kinds of deals. The chairman hung up the phone, and the interview was over at that point. We sat, ate, and let the conversation move on to other things. The man hired me, and our relationship only grew from that time onward.

In the end, it was important for me to have that experience with Amnesty because even though it didn’t reflect on my current professional abilities, it set me up with a network I never knew I would need again. Street smarts will show that in order to establish a relationship, you often have to follow the lead of the other person.

Be friendly, trust your gut, and put those electives on your résumé. Show that you know people who aren’t just in your business field. It will go a long way.

Interviews

This business isn’t for everyone. There is a science to getting someone to like you. Some people are just naturally likeable, while others are not. If you’re not one of those people who is easily liked, who can work their way around the room and come out the other side having shaken hands and made friends, there is still hope for you. I won’t say the business world isn’t for you. I still believe that you can fake it until you make it. Just remember my three As and three Cs.

In my story above, I could have become outwardly nervous when the chairman and CEO decided to ask me about a portion of my résumé I hadn’t talked about in years. I could have showed him how flustered it made me and even asked him not to call Scott Long. After all, I knew that the other people who had given me recommendations were going to say glowing things about me. I had no idea what Scott would say; he was a wild card. But you know what? I stayed calm. I kept my cool. I was collected as the chairman and CEO made the call. Keeping my composure served to reinforce the things he’d already noticed about me: that I was articulate and knowledgeable about the deal I was proposing and that I was approachable and authentic too. I wasn’t giving up on making my deal, and I was going to make sure that the chairman and CEO knew that.

I talk a lot about being aggressive. I think it’s one of my favorite words in business. To be relentless means that there is no obstacle or climate that can keep you from focusing on your goal. You will see the goal through a haze and through an obstruction in your path. I do feel that at this point, however, I need to make sure that when I say “aggressive,” you’re not thinking pigheaded and rude. I’ll tell you about a job applicant who mixed up those concepts, but first, let me digress for a moment to introduce a belief of mine that will be important to the story.

As a leader in my field, I must admit that I wouldn’t be able to get much done in my day without my assistant. She often knows more about what is going on in the company than I do. By this, I mean that she is juggling my schedule and speaking to my legal team as well as the many consultants who filter in and out of my office. She manages so many things for me that often, I just sign off on daily tasks because I trust her so implicitly.

If she comes to me and says, “Ben, you should talk to this person,” then I will stop what I am doing and get on the phone. On the other hand, if she approaches me and says, “I just need to let you know that this other person has been calling you,” I know there is no urgency, that she is informing me just to keep me abreast of the situation. We have developed a language, and she knows what needs to get done at the end of the day. Many things don’t even come to my attention.

In order for her to do her job, she has to know about the relationships I’m building and the work I am doing. She has to be my partner in crime, and oftentimes, my second brain. Nothing gets to me unless it goes through her first, and because I know that about my relationship with her, I know that other C-level executives are doing the same thing.

For this reason, when I reach out to important C-level executives, it is crucial that I get acquainted with their assistants. I know you may think this is a strategy you only see in the movies, but one of the true ways to an executive is through his or her assistant. Sometimes you won’t even get the chance to speak to the executive. You will be working through his or her assistant.

Experience tells me that assistants are a crucial factor in running successful companies. Befriending them will help get you in touch with their legal teams as well as any other department you need to touch base with in order to get your job done. Nobody wants to admit that the assistants are often the ones running the companies, but if you keep this bit of information in the back of your mind, you will know how to get what you want when you are managing an account.

However, it’s not just assistants that will help you hunt the “big dog”—that major executive. Think broadly about what I am telling you. Think about the people who are close in business to the person you are trying to work with. They can be the concierge at the hotel who has the ear of the manager or even the staff person who knows how the airline really does booking. What I am hoping you will see is that you don’t always have to go for the top-tier person. Trying to get that individual’s attention can be exhausting. Find out where that executive gets his or her information from, and that’s the person you want on your team. It works every single time.

Being introduced by a person of trust establishes credibility in ways that a cold-contact greeting cannot. That’s how you get into a room, but when you are given an opportunity to meet with the executive, practice skills of emotional intelligence, not emotional blackmail. Here is an example of the difference between the two.

I was once interviewing a gentleman from Qwest Communications. I really liked him because he was articulate and smart. He also came with great connections and recommendations, so I believed he could be part of my team. However, toward the end of the interview, he started to get a little aggressive. We all know I like this word and respond well to anyone who shows energy, so I heard him out.

“Listen,” he prodded, “you should really hire me.” He then proceeded to lay out the three other offers that companies had made him. “If you don’t hire me today, I’ll have to move on to these three other offers, you understand.”

I understood, but I also wasn’t ready to make a move and hire someone—even someone I liked—without first talking to my team. I needed to talk to my CEO and HR at the least. So I told him we would have to wait, and I would get back to him about the job.

As we wrapped up the meeting, I found myself retracting from our conversation. Whatever rapport he had established with me quickly diminished as he fought for a job ff er right there on the spot. I ushered him out of my office, trying to trace back to the moment that really turned me off. It was the way he became emotionally manipulative once he discovered that I liked him.

No executive likes to be pushed around, and that’s exactly how I felt. The meeting had ended coldly because of his pushiness. It’s interesting, though, because he was aware enough to read the situation and know that I was responding favorably to his résumé. Whatever signals I was sending him relayed the truth that I was an employer who was impressed with what he could bring to my team. I had even begun to imagine the impact he could have in our department. Yet he didn’t give me the chance to make him an offer. He jumped the gun, and when I nally got him out of my office, I decided I wouldn’t be calling him back. Although he had the skills that I needed, I’d lost faith in him the moment he gave me an ultimatum.

Thee truth is he was following the road map I lay for myself when encountering new deals:

  1. Establish a relationship.
  2. Use emotional intelligence.

I didn’t like that he used what he knew about the meeting to try to pin me in a corner. As I thought about it, I realized his approach to step 2 was really to use emotional blackmail, not emotional intelligence. I moved on, and he lost a great job opportunity.

Fast-forward a few days. I was in London for meetings. Travel days are usually very important days for me because I am using all of my time and energy to get to know both the executive I will be working with and his or her team. My assistant, who doesn’t accompany me on these trips, doesn’t bring trivial things to my attention on travel days unless they are very important.

I was leaving a meeting in London accompanied by my CEO Jamie when I received one of those calls from my assistant. Even through the phone, I could hear that she was particularly upset. This was so unlike her that I turned to the group and asked if they had a private room I could step into. Once alone, I hunched over the phone, wondering what could possibly have gotten my champion of an assistant to call me in such an unraveled state.

“Ben, I have this gentleman on the line, and he’s threatening me.”

My mind drew a blank. Who on earth would have the wherewithal to threaten my assistant? “Who are you talking about?” I asked.

“The guy from the interview a few days ago,” she said, jogging my memory. “He’s been calling, and now he really wants to speak to you. He’s threatening this and that, he won’t wait until you are back on Friday, and he’s demanding to speak to Jamie.” Her voice jolted, and I could tell she was about to break.

The hairs on my neck were standing on end. Who was this guy, and why did he think he could harass anyone he was seeking a job with? I was angry, but I soon realized that we could deal with the situation very easily. My first move was to soothe my assistant.

“Listen,” I said, and I waited until her breathing had calmed because I wanted her to grasp the full weight of my words. “Don’t let anyone make you feel like you are beneath them. You still run an organization for me.”

I could hear her breaths coming in a slower, more natural rhythm and imagined the tears receding from her eyes. I meant it. She really was an asset to the entire company, not just me. I wanted to discipline the guy for making her feel like that. The thought ran through my head to hire him only to send him on some impossible goose chase and then fire him. Yet there were so many factors involved. I didn’t want to do anything that could get us sued, so I told her to get HR to send him a rejection letter immediately. I didn’t care if it was hand-delivered the same day. I just wanted to have in writing that we were not interested in hiring him, and to do that in a way that was calm and professional.

Furthermore, I told my assistant that as soon as she received delivery confirmation for that letter, she had my permission to call him up and put him in his place. I wanted her to say whatever she needed to, within reason. She went back to him and let him know that he’d failed his interview and that he’d messed it up long before she ever got involved; by harassing her, he was in fact harassing her boss who was, in her words, the “golden boy” of the company.

This guy did all that he could to burn bridges. He could have won us over with his approach or with his personality, with his personal As and Cs, but he bungled it every step of the way. His ego was so big that he couldn’t be mindful of what was going on in the room around him.

When students ask me about the contributing factors in making deals, I always think about emotional intelligence, but what I really mean when I say that is you have to have balance. You have to look at your arsenal of weapons—including everything you learned as a kid in school and the experience you picked up in volunteer hours—and be savvy about which of those cards you play when you are encountering new people and new situations. Be honest, authentic, and articulate, because emotional intelligence means harnessing the discerning qualities that give you empathy when analyzing situations and relationships.

Some would call this just having a sense of social awareness. That man had the skill, the network, and the experience, but he didn’t have the brains to maintain relationships.

When you were a kid, you may have been taught how to be polite when around company and to close the door gently after you exited a room. I can hear mothers across America saying, “Shut the door—don’t slam it.” You may have been taught how to be a good loser: “Don’t pout and throw a tantrum,” “Leave the field and shake your opponent’s hand,” or “Good game, good game.” It’s hard to believe that those lessons we learned as kids are often mistaken as lessons that only belong in our youth. I’m here to say that those rules we learned as eight- and nine-year-olds are still applicable in our lives today, especially in the business world.

The offices of professionals can seem more like a sports field than an office space. We are so competitive that we often forget that the people we are dealing with today could very well be our teammates tomorrow. We forget to be polite and to leave a position with grace, having maintained relationships instead of burning bridges.

Not many years ago, the telecom world suffered a huge hit. The economy was in a recession, and there were few businesses that were doing very well. I watched the market get cut down in size. Telecom businesses were falling by the wayside one by one, and those that weren’t going under were laying off employees in droves.

I sat on a few accounts with my CEO, Jamie. We were accustomed to swooping into places that needed our products and working closely with teams of customers, but their offices started to feel empty after a while. People were being let go, and we found ourselves working with smaller and smaller teams. Only the best employees were hanging on. We had to make sure that there was a spirit of camaraderie in the teams we assembled. Our goal, every time we got to a new sales floor, was to build relationships and make sure the competition that once existed between these groups was kept at bay.

Don’t get me wrong, these were all salespeople who at one time or another had been my competitors as well, but Jamie and I found ourselves leading groups successfully because we had a secret.

Prior to the economic crash, Jamie and I had a system. Whenever we signed a deal with a new company, we made sure to work with more than just the executive to whom we’d originally been introduced. Yes, the executive was our champion and we needed that person to be in our corner, but we were also aware of the fact that it takes an entire team to move the ball forward. What would happen to our account if our champion was red or moved to a competitor? If the champion lost his or her position, we would have no connection to the company. The progress we made on the account would have to be restarted, and that’s not an easy job.

Going forward with contracts, both Jamie and I decided to build relationships with the entire team. This was very casual. It meant that when we traveled, we didn’t get out of the meetings and hibernate in our hotel rooms. Rather than having personal time, we spent those hours with the team. We invited them out for a drink or dinner. We spent hours getting to know them or just blowing off steam at the end of the day. Building those relationships allowed us to make friends in places we later relied on when the crash occurred. While everyone else in the industry had built walls around their teams, we’d made enough friends to keep our business alive as the economy sank to its knees.

This is a simple illustration of the balance that must be kept. Balancing relationships is just as important as making the deal. Where would Jamie and I have been if we didn’t treat people with respect, and even befriend competitors we were working with? We would have lost deals and missed the opportunity to create the kinds of sales teams that eventually saved our business. To me, balance means being mindful of your strengths, your weaknesses, and the things you can’t control. You can’t control the economy, or whether the person with whom you established your contract will get red or quit. What you can do is invest in people. After all, it is relationships that will last, even after a business has gone bankrupt.

So, at the end of your workday, remember to cultivate those work relationships, even if it means stretching across the aisle. Yes, there is power in competition, but there is longevity in collaboration.

  • Posted by Benjamin Von Seeger/
  • Business Relationships, Interview
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Oct11

Three Instances When Emotional Intelligence Helps Overcome Obstacles In Business

We tend to think of book smarts and street smarts as opposite sides of a spectrum—if you have one, you do not have the other. However, what ultimately pulls these two opposites together is emotional intelligence. Relying on a mix of book smarts and street smarts will allow you to foster important relationships, not only with your customers but also with your team; and of course, tackle those sweet, sweet deals you’ve been dreaming of.

Emotional intelligence is the glue; it will help you take those facts that you learned in school and use them to your advantage.

When Leading…

If you understand the basic nuances of business—meaning you’ve done your homework and know policies and procedures—then working from a place of common sense where you lean heavily on principle will not be difficult. Some leaders get so lost in procedures that they forget to manage and lead by example. Stick to something that is easy to follow, like an acronym. Give it to your team as a motto and encourage them to remember it. You must be simple and transparent, otherwise your employees will have no direction and will surely get lost.

In the negotiation table…

The negotiations aspect of securing a deal can be complex and time-consuming. Some people see the chasm between their organization and what the customer wants, and without the tools of creativity and innovation, they stop short and never reach the end of the deal. It can happen to anyone. It’s always smart to ask for help. There’s nothing wrong with not knowing everything, so talk to your peers and gain that extra push to move you forward.

Talking to customers…

Ask customers questions about their budgets and what they were comfortable with. It is best to come back with a clear number instead of a ballpark, so I worked with my customers, asking questions in order to achieve that. After meetings, I basically surveyed the customers verbally, taking note to remember their reflections. I asked customers for their thoughts on our team delivery, legal agreement, contract presentation, delivery time, and all kinds of other things. I’d rather hear from them than fumble the whole play once the contract is signed. I made an effort to change things they weren’t happy with as quickly as possible. The key was that I could take constructive criticism and adapt, and then come back and do it better.

When doing business you have to look at your arsenal of weapons—including everything you learned as a kid in school and the experience you picked up in volunteer hours—and be savvy about which of those cards you play when you are encountering new people and new situations. Be honest, authentic, and articulate, because emotional intelligence means harnessing the discerning qualities that give you empathy when analyzing situations and relationships.

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Sep27

Conversations vs. Presentations

I used to work alongside many sales reps on their accounts during my days at Terramark, but there’s one trip in particular that sticks out in my mind. It is the perfect example of how personable customers should expect salespeople to be.

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Sep13

Seven Defining Traits Of A Great CEO

How does a great CEO manage to perform tasks in their busy schedule while maintaining a strategic view of the business?

This topic continually comes up when speaking with students who are preparing to enter the business world.The answer may seem simple, however, it is rooted in time spent with customers and employees, and are easily developed using elements discussed in this article.

  • Posted by Benjamin Von Seeger/
  • Article, Business Relationships
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Aug3

BVS Consulting appointed to handle the sale of World Teleport Center

Located in Missouri City (20 minutes from Downtown Houston), World Teleport is a 3.397 acre property with a 15,000 sq. ft. building equipped to be able to operate as a world teleport, a disaster recovery site and in my expert opinion a green data center.

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Jul12

The Answer to the Number One Question MBA Students Ask Entrepreneurs

The number one question MBA students ask entrepreneurs is, “How do I get started?” What they are really asking is, “What do I need in order to succeed in a global environment?” The answer is simple: Set clear goals, value cultural competence and the ability to overcome language and cultural  barriers, diversify your skills, become a global manager, and hone your emotional intelligence. 

  • Posted by Benjamin Von Seeger/
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Jul7

Interview: Freelance Marketing Strategies with Earl Hall

Last week I had the pleasure to speak with radio personality Earl Hall for the Freelance Marketing Strategies podcast. We talked about The RiVal, datacenters, and we discussed about ideas and tips on business development and building relationships.

  • Posted by Benjamin Von Seeger/
  • Interview
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Jun27

Interview with Talk Business 360: The RiVal

Over the weekend my interview with Talk Business 360 aired on Fox Business. The interview covers views of the global business landscape, a concise description of The RiVal, the value of creating relationships in the current business scene and I also talk a bit about my involvement with the Third Wave Volunteers Cause helmed by Dr. Alison Thompson.

  • Posted by Benjamin Von Seeger/
  • Interview
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Jun22

Interview with JSA TV: The Evolution of the Green Data Center

Last week I had the pleasure to join Jamie Scotto from JSA TV, for a roundtable discussion about the current state of the Data Center industry. Along with industry experts such as Rich Miller, Founder and Editor of Data Center Frontier; Shawn Mills, President, CEO & Founder of Green House Data and Chad Lamb, Director of Engineering, XKL we talked about how Data Centers have adapted to current trends, amongst many other topics.

  • Posted by Benjamin Von Seeger/
  • Article, Interview, Uncategorized
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Jun14

Press release: BVS Consulting CEO, Benjamin Von Seeger, to appear June 25th on FOX Business Network

Press release

– for immediate publication –

BVS CONSULTING CEO, BENJAMIN VON SEEGER, TO APPEAR June 25th ON FOX BUSINESS NETWORK:

Benjamin Von Seeger engages as a Speaker at Social Tech Live!

Miami, FL, June 13, 2016 – BVS Consulting, is proud to announce that its president, Benjamin Von Seeger, is set to be featured in the June 25th 4:00PM EST edition of Talk Business 360. The show is produced by Clearwind Media and broadcasted by Fox Business Network, focusing on enlightening millions of TV viewers and air travelers by presenting custom video content and TV commercials for companies across a variety of industries.

  • Posted by Benjamin Von Seeger/
  • Event, Interview, Web
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Jun6

Creating a Global and Corporate Environment

During my time as a visiting co-lecturer at DeVry University and its Keller Graduate School of Management, my students would often ask, “Why create a global company?” the answer is twofold: the Internet and the shrinking of the market. A starter company will strategically launch at a global level because selling products online increases customer sales globally and is cheaper than establishing a brick-and-mortar store. Entering the international market is the most the client way to expand business potential.

  • Posted by Benjamin Von Seeger/
  • Article, Business Relationships, Interview, Preview, Web
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May24

Converge Network Digest Interview

Earlier this month I had the pleasure to attend the International Telecoms Week held at the Hyatt Regency & Swisshotel located in downtown Chicago.

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  • Event, Interview, Web
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May8

Creating a Global Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

Most people build a business for one of two reasons: either to create a legacy or to have an exit strategy. Of the two options, leaving a legacy is the more ideal goal. Sure, it takes time, but the legacy you leave behind is worth it.

  • Posted by Benjamin Von Seeger/
  • Article, Business Relationships, Web
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Apr22

Trust In The Office

The trust of customers isn’t the only thing businesses need to worry about. To avoid costly employee turnover, it is important to instill a culture of trust in your office. If your team doesn’t trust you, they will be working for political gain and looking for better jobs as soon as it makes sense for them logistically. The rehiring process can cost you a great deal, which is why you should work to retain employees as much as possible.

  • Posted by Benjamin Von Seeger/
  • Article, Business Relationships, Preview, Web
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Apr19

The Global Phenomenon of Mergers and Acquisitions

Why is there such a proliferation of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in recent years? In order to answer this question, you first must know why companies merge or are acquired. In the 1970s and 1980s, it was rare to hear anyone talk of one company buying another company. But today, there are a few stable companies that have merged with their competition to make global conglomerate organizations.

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Apr12

Interview with Second Stage: Why Great Entrepreneurs Establish Strong Relationships

Last week I had the pleasure to talk to Brendan Anderson and Jeffrey Kadlic on their show for Evolution Capital Partners’ show The Second Stage. We discussed about relationships and how successful entrepreneurs thrive on them. In our chat I brought up “the importance of focusing on the practical soft skills, when it comes to driving new business and creating a successful culture”

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  • Business Relationships, Uncategorized
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Apr5

What Global Means And What It Takes

If anyone can do it simply by putting up a website, then going global means being strategic about the markets you enter. If international customers are engaging with your company for the first time by way of social media or your website, going global means creating a website that speaks directly to that audience. Your website will be accessible to eyes overseas. Use it to demonstrate brand agility by not only being live in other countries but also achieving a lasting presence in every major city around the world.

  • Posted by Benjamin Von Seeger/
  • Business Relationships, Uncategorized
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Mar16

Midwest Book Review The RiVal

“Readers interested in global business concepts will want to read The Rival: Play the Game, Own the Hustle, Power in Competition, Longevity in Collaboration. It’s a business book with a basic message: that small-time entrepreneurs can play on the same field as the ‘big boys’, especially if they understand the nature of global competition and its rules.

In probing the nature and outcome of global business success, The Rival holds additional and unexpected benefits by presenting a game plan than can apply equally well to personal life.

  • Posted by Benjamin Von Seeger/
  • Review
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Mar15

Kirkus Review of The RiVal

A debut guide that shows how to succeed in business while really trying.

In this primer for budding entrepreneurs, Von Seeger lays out some ground rules for success, taken from what he calls his “well-executed career.” Von Seeger, a multi-lingual native of Germany who’s worked for many years as a salesman, mainly for telecommunications companies, writes that he intends this compact guide as “a tool for those seeking to learn and follow in my footsteps.” The most important ingredients in his recipe for sales success, he says, are relationships, confidence, and “emotional intelligence.”

  • Posted by Benjamin Von Seeger/
  • Review
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Mar3

Book Smarts vs. Street Smarts – How To Balance The Two

While having a degree from a prestigious Ivy League Business school is a great accomplishment, it doesn’t guarantee business success. That’s because “book smarts” can only take you so far. In reality, the most successful business leaders are those who have a mix of book smarts and street smarts when becoming visionary executives.

Unfortunately, many people tend to think of book smarts and street smarts as opposite ends of the spectrum—if you have one, then you do not have the other. But that’s not true. Anyone can have a mix of book and street smarts. The key is to use your emotional intelligence to pull these two opposites together and harness them for your benefit. Think of emotional intelligence as the glue that cements the facts you learned in school with the real life experiences you have day-to-day. Ultimately, relying on a mix of book smarts and street smarts will allow you to foster important relationships, build your network, and tackle those sweet, sweet deals you’ve been dreaming of.I really do not have a magic formula on how to balance the two elements of business success; the following are key strategies on how to achieve it.

  • Posted by Benjamin Von Seeger/
  • Business Relationships
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Mar1

BlueInk Review of The Rival

From Blue Ink Review

From the very first page of The Rival: Play the Game, Own the Hustle, Power in Competition, Longevity in Collaboration, author Benjamin Von Seeger sums up business success with a single word: relationships. “Relationships matter more now than they ever did,” writes the senior sales executive with Miami-based BVS Consulting. “What people think of you today will impact the work they are willing to pursue with you tomorrow.”  In the corporate world, he says, emotional intelligence—the ability to help others relate to you—trumps everything else.

  • Posted by Benjamin Von Seeger/
  • Review
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Feb17

Foreword Reviews on The RiVal

From Foreword Reviews

By Barry Silverstein

With candor and credibility, this book offers sage advice to those starting out in the business world.

Reflecting on his own career, global business consultant Benjamin Von Seeger offers sagacious advice to both novice and experienced business leaders in The RiVal.

Von Seeger, who runs his own consulting firm and lectures at universities, had a distinguished career in sales for nearly two decades. He distills that experience into a tightly constructed, well-wrought book that intermingles his own stories with practical, level-headed advice. The unusual title is a reference to a business competitor as “a rival.” Von Seeger touches on a number of subjects, including global business, brand development and marketing, strategy, making sales calls, and studying the competition; the real focus of the book, however, is building relationships in business.

  • Posted by Benjamin Von Seeger/
  • Review
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Feb17

Play the Game. Own the Hustle. ‘The RiVal’ By Benjamin Von Seeger Is a Must-Read

Whether you’re a senior executive, a young entrepreneur or a student just entering into the workforce, today’s business landscape is more complex, competitive and difficult to navigate than ever before — and there is certainly no shortage of barriers to overcome to achieve a successful career.  Fortunately, telecom industry veteran Benjamin Von Seeger’s new book, “The RiVal,” provides a comprehensive roadmap to help you get ahead.

“The RiVal” reflects upon Von Seeger’s 20 years of business experience and outlines key strategies and tactics that professionals can use to develop loyal business relationships and stand out amongst their competition.  Von Seeger’s professional resume includes executive leadership positions at Terremark Worldwide Inc. and CENX. He also currently manages his own enterprise, BVS Consulting Group, and serves as a Partner for Leapfactor as well as consultant to several global companies.

  • Posted by Benjamin Von Seeger/
  • Review
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Feb11

CMS Wire on The Rival: Give Your Customers Face Time or Someone Else Will

By 

If the thought of grabbing a flight for yet another customer meeting has you feeling lazy, you might want to reconsider opting for that Skype or other virtual call.

You see, even though sitting in your office is a lot easier and less expensive than trekking to the airport and spending the night in a hotel, staying put could end up costing you much more when it comes to customer value.

  • Posted by Benjamin Von Seeger/
  • Business Relationships, Review
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Feb9

[QUIZ] Are You Ready for a Global Career?

With all corners of the world now connected, you’re operating in a global business environment—whether you know it or not. Take this quiz to see if you have the qualities needed to succeed on the global stage—and get a free excerpt from my new book, The Rival: Play the Game, Own the Hustle, Power in Competition, Longevity in Collaboration.

  • Posted by Benjamin Von Seeger/
  • Uncategorized
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Feb9

The Importance Of Team Building

Team building has never been more important than it is today. The business world is changing daily and in order to compete, business’ must be unified and individuals respected. In the following excerpt from my new book, The Rival, I explain how the best leaders approach team building and how you can apply their lessons to your own business.

  • Posted by Benjamin Von Seeger/
  • Business Relationships
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Feb9

Press Release – Global Business Leader Benjamin Von Seeger Shares “The RiVal”

THE-RIVAL-book

A Provocative Business Guide on Succeeding in Today’s Competitive Landscape
for Senior Executives, Ambitious Entrepreneurs and Students

BVS Publishing | February 9, 2016 | 136 Pages | 9781491780794
  • Posted by Benjamin Von Seeger/
  • Uncategorized
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Jan26

Seven Ways To Keep Your Confidence During Sales Meetings

As an executive, you know the basics of attending a sales meeting: arrive early, come prepared, and ask the good questions. While these things are all important, the key skill in attending any meeting is listening. Unfortunately, whether the meeting is with a single customer or with a room-filled audience, many people don’t know how to actively listen. Often, they are busy formulating what they are going to say in response, and sometimes their response or question doesn’t make sense or doesn’t relate to the subject currently being discussed. These people don’t understand that listening is a skill to be great at, and that listening skills can greatly influence your job performance and make you a better leader.

To grow your confidence in sales meetings, keep these seven points in mind and you will always be confident and in control of the meeting.

  • Posted by Benjamin Von Seeger/
  • Business Relationships
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Jan12

Build Relationships to Build Customers

How you build your customer base (and ultimately your business) is key to your success. Do you have the used-car salesperson approach and plunge into making a sale without getting to know your customer, or do you first make an attempt to understand the customer’s needs by chatting with them before trying to land a deal?

Building a great relationship first is the most important thing you can do—It’s like money in the bank. In fact, when you establish a relationship with your customers, you have their trust, and when you have their trust, you have access to everyone on their team, all the way up to the CEO. Without a trust relationship, your business is standing in the desert waiting to die. Relationships connect your customers to the company and take the focus away from the politics of the sales process. Relationships promote a vision that you are their trusted advisor, not just another company trying to sell them something. It also promotes a vision of change and a cohesive culture that becomes adaptable to the change factor.

  • Posted by Benjamin Von Seeger/
  • Business Relationships
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