Archive for July, 2009

A Cup of Coffee to Rebuild Your Career

Guest Editorial by Buddy Rhodes, Building Enterprises Inc.

After decades of being a successful salesman and sales manager, growing businesses from start-ups to thriving, profitable ventures, I found that I had worked myself out of a job. The company I worked for had grown so large and successful through acquisitions that it didn’t need me any more, and I was laid off.

            So I did what I knew best: I started a new sales campaign – selling myself as a product using the same sales strategies that had worked so well for me in the past.

I am writing this article to help each of you newly unemployed individuals rebuild your career using these tried and true sales methods. I want to share with you how I reengineered myself and recreated my success – one cup of coffee at a time.

The Three Essential Elements 

Every sales process requires three essential elements: List, Script and Behavior. For those of you who are unemployed, the List is basically everyone you know. You never know which one of your friends, family or acquaintances will be the one that will find you your next job. Even in today’s high-tech world, it’s not what you know, it’s whom you know. These days, about 85% of the job openings are never advertised, but are filled by word-of-mouth recommendations. Script is the message that you are going to share with all of the individuals on your list. Behavior is the effort required to do what you need to do: visit with each person on your list over a cup of coffee and share your developed script (story) with them.

List Development

Day One of unemployment is the ideal time to develop your list. This effort can be very difficult, but by taking proactive steps right away to create your future, this task can give you a sense of real progress and control, which helps you focus on the future, rather than dwelling on the painful past. 

Unfortunately, most of your business contacts will be on your office computer, and you will be prevented from accessing them as soon as the boss gives you the bad news. The day they called me into the boss’s office to tell me they were laying me off, the IT department entered my office, took my laptop and removed all company information from it – they didn’t even let me back up my personal files. Boy, did I learn a lesson! I knew all along that the laptop was a company asset, but it was so easy to keep all my computer files on that machine. Today, I use Google’s Gmail and keep all my contact info online – password protected, of course.

In the process of list development, technology can be a real savior. I joined LinkedIn and Facebook, and I invited many of my friends and business acquaintances to “connect” with me or be my “friend.” While this is a great starting point for list development, keep in mind that list building is never over. I am still collecting emails and phone numbers of people with whom I would like to visit.

In addition to online social networking tools, there are many other ways to develop your list. Many selling organizations use a “name jogger,” which is a questionnaire designed to help you recall your key contacts. Who is your financial advisor? Who is your dentist? Who do you know at church? These name jogger forms are great ways to start from scratch.

Do you have business cards?  Have you gone to trade shows or joined professional organizations that have membership directories? To whom have you sent emails in the past? Also, check the emails you have received to see if any other individuals were copied on them – this is a great way to glean secondary “friend of a friend” contacts.

Another way to expand your list to the secondary contacts is to ask your primary friends for referrals to their contacts. This is a very successful technique in the sales profession: a professional sales consultant will visit with his current clients to ask them for referrals. Do the same thing in when you are selling yourself as a product. Did you have customers you worked with in your previous job? Go see them and ask them for their help. How about individuals who heard your presentations or worked on projects with you?  The key here is to get creative and grow your list as large as possible.

Script Development

The right script can make a sale; the wrong script can do the opposite. After being laid off, you need to give considerable attention to exactly what it is that you are selling. Sure, you’re selling yourself, but do you want to sell your old self or perhaps sell a new self to land a better job?

One thing about being laid off is that you have a wonderful opportunity to start a new life. What do you really want to do? If there ever was an opportunity to do what you always wanted to do, this may be the time to recreate yourself.

For many years, I have helped unemployed friends rebuild themselves by facilitating a brainstorming session with them. What have you done in your life? What are your skill sets? What have you enjoyed doing? Would you like to turn that into a profession? Will you continue to enjoy it if you have to do it every day?

If you have never run your own business and are thinking of starting one, you better be prepared, as there are many more failures than successes. But with the proper support and help, you can launch a new business – even in this economy – with the right script.

Once you have decided what you want to do for a profession, it is time to develop the script, including questions you want to ask and key messages you want to tell each of the individuals on your list during your visit. Writing this script may even influence which people you place on your list. For example, if you want to sell software to midsized oil companies, it might be a good idea to add some midsized oil company names to your list along with the software vendor companies that might hire you. 

The script is not cast in stone. It can be amended and improved as you go along. In fact, if you seem to be struggling to decide what you want to accomplish (which product you want to be), it may be a good idea to go ahead and begin to visit with your contacts using the first draft of your script. These first few visits may help you determine your future direction. The beauty of selling yourself is that you can adapt the product you are selling – and the appropriate script – at any time.

Such was the case for me. As I visited with various individuals on my list, I slowly developed a business plan for a new venture that was actually a mutation of an old business plan, and I am now implementing the new concept with a better, more complete script.

Behavior and Implementation

In the sales world, when we talk about behavior, we are referring to the action required to accomplish the task at hand. The most important task for an unemployed person to accomplish is to get in front of as many people as you can. Many people find that this is the most intimidating part of rebuilding yourself, particularly when you feel so vulnerable after being rejected by your former employer and are worried about your future.

Fortunately, this task is much easier today than in the past because you can use email and other electronic means to accomplish it. What worked for me is to use technology to set up appointments for what I call my “Cup of Coffee Campaign.”

From my scripting exercise, I developed an email informing my friends and associates that I had recently been let go and that I have some new ideas I would like to share with them. My subject line for the email was: “Cup of Coffee with Buddy Rhodes.” That conveyed the idea that the chat would be short, and it left enough questions unanswered to arouse curiosity. This is a powerful combination.

Don’t send your invitation to your entire list all at once; just send enough so you can follow up promptly with a telephone call to set up a meeting at their convenience. 

Cup of Coffee Campaign

The day after I sent my first emails I received several positive responses. The next day I held my first Cup of Coffee Campaign visit. Rather than meeting me at the nearest famous coffee shop, many of my contacts preferred to have me visit them at their offices.  So I went out and bought $5.00 gift cards from that famous coffee shop and gave one as a gift to each person I visited. These were warmly accepted as payment for their valuable time.

The script I gradually developed along the way is now a one-page overview of my Leverage By Sharing concept, with two visual images that describe a totally new business model for the industry that I call Selling PODS™, which stands for Professional Outsourced Development & Sales. Just about everyone I met with showed interest, wanted to consider joining my venture, or referred other associates of theirs who would find that topic interesting. I am now doing business with four of my Cup of Coffee Campaign prospects and several more are pending.

This Sales Process Works

When followed industriously, the three-prong sales process of List, Script and Behavior will lead to successful sales, whether you are selling products, services or yourself. Your list should always be growing – and backed up electronically. Your script can be improved and amended as new features are added – or new directions are pursued. And the Cup of Coffee Campaign is a behavior that has proved to be very fruitful – particularly for the coffee shop.

            Your future employer is ready to buy, so go sell yourself into a successful new venture!

About the Author

Buddy Rhodes is the owner of Building Enterprises Inc., which provides outsourced sales teams for businesses in the energy industry. He can be reached by email at budrho@gmail.com.

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July 27, 2009 at 2:32 am 1 comment

Plains All American Taps P2ES for JV Accounting Software

Software provider P2 Energy Solutions announced that Plains All American Pipeline has implemented its Enterprise Upstream software to handle its joint venture accounting. Enterprise Upstream is an integrated, Web-based solution that streamlines administrative processes and centralizes information access and data management across different business departments. Developed on the Oracle technology platform, Enterprise Upstream integrates with the Oracle E-Business Suite and can be connected to other ERP software solutions. The complete Enterprise Upstream Suite includes deep oil and gas functionality in the areas of business intelligence, operations accounting, volumes management and land management. “We wanted to replace our existing joint venture accounting system with a system that was integrated with the Oracle E-Business Suite,” said Al Lindseth, Sr. VP of Technology, Process & Risk Management at Plains All American. “We were looking for increased capabilities that would streamline our accounting processes and eliminate the need to support a disparate data system.” Plains All American has implemented the Enterprise Upstream Joint Venture Accounting (JVA) module, which allows for multiple cost centers per Division of Interest (DOI), allocates costs, manages billing processes, generates invoices and statements, and provides the data for analyzing operating costs. “By standardizing on a single ERP software platform, Plains All American will be able to leverage the efficient and standardized process built into Enterprise Upstream,” said Bret Bolin, President and CEO, P2 Energy Solutions. “This will facilitate the workflows of Plains All American and improve access to decision-quality data that crosses geographic and business unit boundaries.” www.p2es.com

 www.paalp.com

July 24, 2009 at 11:02 pm Leave a comment

Optelligent Solutions Joins Building Enterprises Selling PODS

Optelligent Solutions, provider of integrated data mining solutions and consulting services to upstream oil and gas companies, announced today that it has joined the PetroComputing IT Selling PODS™ recently launched by Building Enterprises Inc., provider of Professional Outsourced Development and Sales (PODS). This revolutionary new selling consortium leverages a single sales team among multiple, non-competing software vendors who are all trying to reach the same target market of sales prospects. The PetroComputing IT Selling PODS™ targets upstream oil and gas companies looking to improve the profitability of their current producing assets.

Optelligent Solutions has developed specialized data mining solutions for fluid flood optimization, project portfolio optimization and screening prospects for acquisition and divestiture of oil and gas properties, all of which are tools that are increasingly needed in the current economic situation. However, this downturn environment is not conducive to hiring full-time sales staff to sell these solutions to the oil and gas companies, particularly at small, emerging companies such as Optelligent Solutions.

Buddy Rhodes, President of Building Enterprises Inc., observed: “Due to the current economic downturn, we have found that many companies are cutting back on their sales expenses and even laying off their business development people. This is a big mistake, in our view, because this is cutting the life blood of the enterprise. That is why we developed the new Selling PODS™ business model, which employs the concept of ‘Leverage By Sharing.’ Similar to a co-op where multiple farmers share the cost and use of an expensive tractor or combine, Selling PODS™ are a low-cost entry point to a full service sales team. Such a shared arrangement also offers surprising synergies through referrals and cross-selling.”

Tawsak Urwongse, President of Optelligent Solutions LLC, commented: “We developed our technology in partnership with a Canadian operator, tested it successfully in several field projects for producing companies in the U.S. and Canada, and now we want to expand our business. But we are scientists and engineers, not salesmen. Our business so far has been based on personal contacts and relationships, which has limited our business growth. It is difficult, at this phase of our business, however, to justify hiring our own professional sales team. We met with Building Enterprises to discuss our sales needs and we decided to outsource our sales support to them, since this is their core competency. We look forward to having them help us grow faster by bringing us lots of new business.”

 About Optelligent Solutions LLC

Founded in 2006, Optelligent Solutions develops data mining solutions for the oil and gas industry that integrate cutting-edge technologies for data visualization, regression tree analysis, fuzzy logic, neural networks and genetic algorithms for the purpose of optimizing waterfloods, screening prospect opportunities and maximizing profits from E&P portfolios. Based in Houston, this group of highly trained technologists and business professionals with experience in data mining, decision sciences, database systems, data management and system integration use these high-tech tools to consult with operators on oilfield asset management, production optimization and petroleum geology. For more information, visit: www.optelligentsolutions.com

About Building Enterprises Inc.

Founded in 1982, Building Enterprises has been accelerating its clients’ business growth through strategic sales processes, enabling them to double or triple the effectiveness of their sales efforts. The company provides full selling teams to its clients, including inside and outside sales staff, sales management, marketing and channel sales partnering. BEI Selling PODS™ provide a way for several companies to share an outsourced sales team targeting a common market of sales prospects. Currently, Building Enterprises is developing the following Selling PODS™:

  • PetroComputing IT – targeting the Upstream Oil & Gas Software market; and
  • Turnaround, Shutdown & Maintenance – targeting the Refinery and Petrochemical market;
  • Financial and Tax – targeting CFOs at mid-sized organizations.

For more information, visit www.beweb.us

July 24, 2009 at 12:11 am Leave a comment

OMV Implements IDS DrillNet for Global Operations

IDS, provider of Web-based daily reporting services, has signed a new contract with European oil and gas company OMV to install the company’s DrillNet service across its global operations. DrillNet allows data and documents to be recovered instantly and analyzed, producing a customized daily drilling report, dozens of associated summary reports and a final well report.

Because OMV is a global company, it is important that its reporting system is Web-based to ensure maximum data transparency across the enterprise. DrillNet is the first online, WITSML-enabled drilling reporting service that offers an intuitive user interface supported by powerful analysis and reporting tools and a fully integrated search engine. This enables OMV to analyze performance data at a global scale as well as import data from OMV’s historical database.

Markus Doschek, technical support team leader for well engineering at OMV, said: “We have worked with IDS to custom-build a reporting tool that works for our diverse global operations. The Web-based nature of the system gives us unparalleled accessibility, while still maintaining utmost security. The pricing model offers ‘no use, no charge,’ which makes it an extremely cost-effective option for our company.”

The system makes it easy to enter data with a minimal amount of time spent by engineers at the rig site. The Web-based solution gives OMV the greatest flexibility of data entry. IDS’s suite of reporting tools, DataNet2, is also fully integrated, so OMV has the option of utilizing any of IDS’s other reporting services in conjunction with DrillNet.

Beth Anderson, IDS business development manager for the UK & Europe, said: “We are delighted to have signed this contract with OMV. We have gotten to know their team very well while we have worked with them to adapt DrillNet to their specific needs, and we are looking forward to a continued good relationship.”

www.idsdatanet.com

www.omv.com/portal/01/com

July 24, 2009 at 12:06 am Leave a comment

Paradigm Unveils GeoDepth Tomography for Advanced Seismic Processing

Paradigm has released Paradigm GeoDepth® Tomography, a next-generation, grid-based velocity model solution that enables geophysicists to update rapidly the largest velocity models developed from complex geologic regimes. Tomography is the newest addition to the Paradigm GeoDepth software suite, delivering enhanced seismic imaging quality, reduced interpretation uncertainty and increased productivity.

The GeoDepth Tomography solution addresses the computational, interpretational and acquisitional challenges of updating large and complex velocity models for critical seismic assets. It provides added capacity for handling rich azimuth acquisitions and updating anisotropic parameters in sedimentary layers.

“Our new tomography application carries the imprint of years of theoretical and applied experience in velocity model updating,” said Zvi Koren, senior research fellow and chief geophysicist at Paradigm. “GeoDepth Tomography will have a huge impact on our customers’ imaging projects.”

GeoDepth Tomography leverages the Paradigm high-performance computing infrastructure as well as its interpretation solutions to deliver automatic velocity updates. The solution minimizes iteration cycles by combining rich, high-quality ray tracing with new tools that automatically reflect surface picking and pre-stack residual moveouts.

“GeoDepth Tomography provides the industry-proven GeoDepth suite with new, innovative capabilities that simplify and enhance the velocity modeling process,” said Duane Dopkin, Paradigm’s Senior VP of technology. “By combining and automating complex tasks, this application can dramatically improve project turnaround time, allowing geophysicists to operate within challenging time constraints while still achieving the high quality results.”

www.pdgm.com

July 24, 2009 at 12:04 am Leave a comment

2H Offshore Provides Mooring Line Monitoring System for SBM Offshore

2H Offshore recently supplied a real-time acoustic mooring line monitoring system called MOORASSURE™ to SBM Offshore. The monitoring system has been successfully deployed on the FPSO Espirito Santo located in the BC-10 field offshore Brazil and was fully commissioned in May 2009.

The Espirito Santo FPSO consists of a subsea turret anchored with nine mooring lines, each with an acoustically linked inclinometer attached to the chain hawse to measure the inclination of the mooring line. The accompanying data logger features onboard memory storage of the data provided by the tri-axial inclination sensors. It has a battery life of five years and features full acoustic communication.

The measured inclination is transmitted from all the mooring lines to three acoustic receivers mounted on the chain table of the turret to achieve cable-free data communication. Software is able to present historical tension and angle data to the users, allowing them to make informed conclusions about how the mooring lines are performing.

In addition to the mooring line monitoring facility, polyester line creep can be evaluated, enabling users to calculate the length of mooring line that needs to be reeled back in order to restore target tensions.

www.2hoffshore.com

www.sbmoffshore.com

July 24, 2009 at 12:02 am Leave a comment

Secure Energy Streamlines Operations with Petrotranz COTS

Calgary-based Petrotranz Inc. has published a case study about Secure Energy Services, a Canadian oilfield services company that implemented the Facility Portal of the Petrotranz Crude Oil Transportation System (COTS). COTS is a secure, easy-to-use, Web-based communication and collaboration platform that streamlines the manual processes and documentation required in the transportation of crude oil from wellhead to market. COTS provides users the ability to forecast shipping volumes, capture production information, and reconcile delivered quantities to complete and submit delivery forecasts online each month.

            After implementing the COTS solution, Secure Energy Services received significant and measurable improvements throughout the organization in the areas of risk reduction, operational efficiencies, and improvements in communication with their customers.

Results highlighted in the case study include:

  • Slashed Form A cycle time from 40 hours to 4 hours;
  • Cut Form C, shipper splits and final volume time from 24 hours to 2 hours;
  • Accelerated forecast correction turnaround from 2 weeks to 1 day;
  • Replaced receipt and data re-entry with real-time verification and review;
  • Reduced over nomination and missing/incorrect forecast risks;
  • Replaced “hit or miss” data verification with online analysis capabilities.

“It’s always about improving your customer service and relations,” said Rene Amirault, CEO of Secure Energy Services. “COTS lowers the risks involved in forecast data and allows us to improve our customer service and scale our business processes with less manpower.”

To read the full case study, visit:

http://petrotranz.com/pdf/Secure_Case_Study.pdf

www.petrotranz.com

July 23, 2009 at 3:41 am Leave a comment

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