Being Bruce -: November 2009

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Passion Test meeting At K-W

I stopped by the Keller-Williams office today to speak with old friends Kevin O'Brien, Nicole Bunch, and Steve Renzulli about The Passion Test. Because Keller-Williams is putting on workshop based on the Law of Attraction in January, I thought it a good idea to give them the low-down on The Passion Test and the workshop we'll be presenting in the Wilmington and North Myrtle Beach areas soon.

After the meeting, which was a lot of fun, I recognized Jan Justice, a broker with Keller-Williams who was sitting behind the desk at the entry. I recognized Jan because we recently became friends on Facebook. When I mentioned to Jan why I was there she told me that just this weekend she'd signed on to The Passion Test website to check out the free Passion Test Profile that's available on the home page. That was quite a coincidence.

So it was a good meeting. K-W is known for its training, which is offered to people outside as well as inside their company, which I think is a nice service for the community.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Visions & Dreams - A Locally Owned Business in Wilmington

At the suggestion of friends, Marge and I stopped by Diane Young's Visions & Dreams store in Wilmington this afternoon. Located at 4403 Park Ave., Visions and Dreams' tag line is 'Products & Services for Mindful Living'.

Diane Young, the owner of the shop, is a Reiki Practitioner. Her store provides meeting and workshop space for practitioners who wish a physical location for their work. Visions & Dreams also has books, crystals, stones, jewelry, and a variety of other products.

In the photo below are Diane Young and Hiromi Williams, a Therapist who works with crystals and gemstone sticks with acupressure and body relexology treatments.

Easily reached just south of Kerr Avenue on Park Avenue, Visions & Dreams is a comfortable place to visit.

The store's phone number is 910-799-1001 and the web site is .

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Just Say GAR!!

GAR stands for Gratitude, Attitude, and Readiness. GAR is Bruce Brown's formula for clearing confusion, turning around negative feelings, and being ready to make the most of life.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Karen Chevrotee Ribbon-Cutting November 23, 2009

The group gathered early for today's North Brunswick Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting at the NBCC offices for Karen Chevrotee's Wilmington Realty South.

In the photo below are Pastor Jay Merritt, photographer Bob Baer, Reator Brenda Bozeman, NBCC Executive Director Terry Grillo (back to camera), and Connie Reeves of Azalea Plaza.

While the others were chatting in the lobby Karen was in the reception room cutting the coffee cake.

Now you know why we call him "Digital Bob". Check out Bob Baer with his iphone.

NBM and SBM magazines' publisher Justin Williams literally rolled in with Ava Grace. That's SendOutCards Marge Brown and PrePaid Legal's Monica Clark in the background.

Brenda moved in so she and Ava Grace could have a close look at each other.

NBCC board member Dana Fisher of Bradford Mortgage came in dressed for a winter fashion show.

NBCC board member Connie Reeves, who's prepping for her annual role as Mrs. Claus.

The group gathered outside for the ribbon-cutting.

It may look like Bob was standing on my car windshield, but he wasn't, he's actually on a small stepladder, but I liked this shot anyway. Maybe I should call him "Hood Ornament Bob".

A tighter, more formal shot just before the cut.

And here's the dramatic moment!

Welcome, Karen, we're glad to you as part of the growing, active North Brunswick Chamber of Commerce.

Greeting Card Marketing Tip #14 - Wedding Anniversaries

Here’s a way to really stand out with your clients: send them a wedding anniversary card. It might not always be appropriate, for all businesses or professions, but a great idea if your business has reason to work with both members of couple, for example, financial planners, decorators, travel agents, home or car repair businesses, insurance sales folks, and real estate brokers.

You needn’t make a big deal about a client or prospect’s wedding anniversary, a simple card will be enough. I suggest that you don’t get too funny, cute, or clever, but rather just send a card wishing them a happy anniversary and a closing. You can make it more personal if you’re close with the couple but otherwise just keep it simple – remember a wedding anniversary is a shared holiday and what one partner might find amusing the other might find offensive, so beware.

One big reason you don’t need to put too much into writing a message in an anniversary card for clients is because this is a time when the mere act of observance may be way more than anyone else does (possibly one or both of the couple, too). So just keep it simple, but do it.

You might ask, “Who sends anniversary cards?” And my answer is, “You do, if you want an easy way to get your clients’ attention.”

Greeting Card Marketing Tip #13 - Un-Birthday Cards

Okay, so you get the importance of sending birthday cards to your clients, prospects, referral sources and all that but you don’t have anyone’s actual birthday in your database. You’d love to get started but you feel stymied. Well, here’s a way to solve that problem so you can start right now, retrieve a lot of the birthdays of your existing contact database, give the card recipients a laugh and perhaps have them think you’re a pretty clever marketer.

Send an un-birthday card. Send cards to anyone in your contact list for whom you don’t have a birth date and say something like, “Well, I’d really like to send you a birthday card, but I don’t know when it is. So here’s the deal. If today really is your birthday, then woohoo, PAR-TEE! If your birthday was some time in the last six months, I’m sorry I missed it but I won’t miss it again if you send the month and day of your birthday – that way I can be sure to send a card next year. And, if your birthday is coming up in the next six months, well, you get an extra card – or you could just consider this one somewhat to really early. But please send me your birth day and month, too, so I can be more timely next year.”

Now, you probably don’t want to use those exact words, but you could if you’d like. The idea is to make it personal, make it perhaps a bit humorous and keep the focus on getting their birthday date.

And in the meantime, you’ve sent a card that touches on a personal matter, revealed some of your own personality to them, and overall made the point that you intend to continue valuing them and working on the relationship.

You could send these cards to everyone on your list at once, or divide list into twelve equal groups and send 1/12th of the cards each month, or send one a day. The point is you can start sending birthday cards even when you don’t know people’s birthdays.

Monday, November 23, 2009

What is The Passion Test all about?

In the early 1970s Marge and I took an intensive weekend course called Adventures in Attitudes. That was the first of many personal development courses, books, and training experiences I have experienced in the last four decades. Most of the seminars, teachers, books, workshops and so forth have been helpful, lending insight and in some cases helping me make significant directional shifts in my life. A few of the experiences stand out as pivotal for me personally, including Brian Klemmer's K&A Samurai training series of personal mastery and leadership workshops and Eckhardt Tolle's book The Power of Now. And now there is another.

I'm elated to introduce you to The Passion Test. As I say in the short video below, The Passion Test is a book, a test, and a system. It can be different things to different people because it contains much more, but at it's core The Passion Test is about helping people discover what is truly important in their lives and then changing their lives so they align more closely with their passions.

Here's the video:

Marge and I both found The Passion Test an easy to use yet profound tool and system. When we recommended the book to friends, we were quite surprised how most, whose experience with personal development seminars, teachers and books ranged from none at all to extensive, felt this book and the system it presents is extremely valuable.

Based on our personal experiences Marge and I sought and achieved certification to be Passion Test Workshop Facilitators. What that means is we are licensed to offer 3-hour Passion Test Workshops and also a two-session One-on-One Passion Test Course.

We would be delighted to speak with you about The Passion Test and how you might use it. You can also find more information on The Passion Test as well as a free Passion Test Profile you can online with an immediate report, please click on this link. (Please note that the link is an affiliate link which means that if you find something on the site you want to purchase or sign up for, I'll get credit for that and perhaps a slight commission.)

To talk with me about The Passion Test Workshop or the One-on-One Passion Test Course, please email me at or call me at 910-297-8753.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Greeting Card Marketing Tip #12 - Birthday Greetings with a Big Extra!

Ordinarily I do not suggest stressing or even mentioning your business when you send a birthday card to a client or prospect, but there is a way you can combine a birthday greeting with a special mention of your business. That method is a strictly limited time offer that is linked to the recipient’s birthday.

If you run a restaurant or ice cream shop, I mentioned in the previous tip the idea of making the birthday card essentially a coupon that can be shown to receive free ice cream or a free appetizer. That approach is used fairly commonly and it certainly works, but this tip goes way beyond the coupon-level gift.

The strategy I’m suggesting is more appropriate for businesses with medium to large ticket items. The idea is to give the birthday card recipient a huge deal, one that goes far above typical coupon gifts that may be available from many outlets. For example, if you typically give 10% off coupons in ads or other promotions, using this once-a-year per person event I would suggest 30% or more off your pricing. If you’re a carpet company for example, where you’ll often include installation or pads for your cost or deeply discounted, with this strategy, you’d include either, or maybe both, for free – and not jack up the price of the carpet.

The goal of this type of campaign, which you might only run one every two or three years – and publicize it that way, too – is to cause genuine excitement over the very high value available in association with a birthday card from your business. If you do implement the program but want to limit the years it’s offered, combine it with your product and customer knowledge – for example, if you know that people replace carpet once every 6 years, then why not over the over-the-top dea on their birthday during the 5th year after purchase.

The concept of giving outrageous deals, even irregularly, combined with a birthday card can be powerful if implemented well, but you do have to balance the discount with business costs – in the end you should at least break even on any deal.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Greeting Card Marketing Tip #11 - Birthday Cards - A Must Do

If you do nothing else with greeting cards, send birthday days. I’ll go so far as to say you should consider sending a birthday card to everyone you meet but for some that will be impractical and the argument is much stronger to send birthday cards to select people and around your market niche.

Certainly you should send birthday cards to your best customers, to your hottest prospects, and to your most frequent referral sources. If you go that far, though, why not send birthday greetings to all your customers, all your prospects, and all of your referral sources.

There is no question that birthday cards are appreciated, even if you just send a standard card off the shelf. Of course, as with all contacts or “touches” in relationship marketing the more personal the content the more effective it will be, but birthday cards are suitable for everyone and even someone who doesn’t get it that birthday cards mean good marketing can catch on that this gesture is important.

You can read the literature, and the books, about the car sales people, insurance brokers, real estate agents and others who have risen to and stayed at the top of their fields, nationally, by establishing and consistently maintaining birthday card programs. This concept isn’t something only I espouse, or that card companies tout, the track records are clear for all to see that birthday cards can build and keep a business.

Stores, restaurants and retail shops often have birthday clubs and while one function is to offer something (a free ice cream cone, free appetizer or dinner, a special gift or service) when the card is presented during the recipient’s birth month, the greater win is the recognition by the customer that her or his birthday was noted and acknowledged.

When we implemented a birthday card program in one of our businesses and subsequently e-mailed a long list of past clients and contacts asking for their birthdays (we usually only ask for and get the month and day), we were elated by the massive positive response. A totally unexpected positive result was the number of people who thanked us even for asking and a few who wrote that they were looking forward to receiving cards from us.

So it’s pretty clear that if you don’t include sending birthday cards in your business marketing program you are missing a huge opportunity.

Splish Splash Dog Wash in Leland - Ribbon Cutting

Today, Saturday November 21, 2009 Splish Splash Dog Wash is opening in Leland, North Carolina in the shopping center in front of Waterford off Route 17. Yesterday morning the North Brunswick Chamber of Commerce had the ribbon-cutting for this new service.

It made sense to me to bring Pepper, our 100-pound Giant Schnauzer, to this ribbon-cutting because she's such a camera hound I knew she'd like it. Below is Jack Brautigam, one of the owners of Splish Splash Dog Wash holding Pepper's leash. (She doesn't normally wear a bandana, but she still had it on from grooming two days previously - it disappeared by the end of the day).

A good number of NBCC board members, staff, and membership turned out for the ribbon-cutting, including Pastor Jay and Diane Merritt, who brought their dog for a wash and dry. In the photo below Diane and Jay are washing their dog while photographer Bob Baer, NBCC's Alice Razzano, and East Carolina Bank's Brian Hartzell look on.

Board member Tony Vlach, a commercial lines broker with Hibiske Nationwide Insurance came with Bella, who'd just had a visit with nearby vet (NBCC board member and Treasurer) Dr. Sheila Hanby. Not sure, but I think Tony and Bella use the same stylist. (What do you think?)

I caught this cartoonish shot of Pepper by accident. In nine and a half years of incessant photo taking of Pepper I've never before seen one where she looked like she belonged in a comic strip.

NBCC Executive Director Terry Grillo with Splish Splash owner Laura Brautigam, groomer Tami Bennikt, and owner Jack Brautigam.

Getting ready for the ribbon-cutting. Notice the three dogs in the picture. That's Dr. Hanby in the middle holding Bob Baer's dog.

And the ribbon was cut! This photo, btw, and the others that I'm in, were taken by Marge Brown.

Jay and Diane drying their dog after washing.

Alice Razzano and board member Brenda Bozeman.

A couplea Franks. Franklin Rouse of State Farm Insurance and Frank Williams of Pioneer Strategies. Pepper, too, of course.

NBM and SBM magazine publisher Justin Williams with ECB's Susan Crouse (thanks for coming on your day off, Susan) and Brian Hartzell.

I love this shot of Marge, just chillin' between the Splish Splash vaccuum stations.

Laura Brautigam talks with a chamber member Dave Seaton of Palmetto Publishing, and Pepper and me.

Jay and Diane holding their newly washed and dryed dog.

Bella and Pepper with Tony and me.

So now, within walking distance of each establishment we have a great vet (Capeside Animal Hospital), a gourmet dog bakery (Just for Dogs), and a dog wash (Splish Splash Dog Wash) all in Leland. The latter two are next door to each other, so stop by Splish Splash to wash your dog and then take her or him next door for some gourmet treats.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Greeting Card Marketing Tip #10 - Six Powerful Words

“It was nice to meet you.”

Clearly those six words aren’t very difficult to write. They’re also easy to understand. They don’t imply anything. They aren’t asking for anything. In spite of its simplicity, that short sentence can be one of your more powerful marketing statements – when you write it in a greeting card.

If you send a greeting card to someone within a day or two (at most) of meeting them and include just those six words plus the recipient’s name and your name, here’s what you’ve accomplished:

• You’ve acknowledged someone’s existence.
• You’ve made a positive statement about them, to them, without going overboard.
• You’ve demonstrated courtesy.
• You’ve demonstrated their professionalism by virtue of their providing you with their address.
• You’ve demonstrated your own professionalism by getting, keeping, and using their address to make contact.
• You’ve shown that you take positive action and don’t just float by meeting people.
• You’ve revealed that you may have a systematic method for contacting people and that you implement it – both gives positive impressions about your professionalism.
• While you’ve not commited to or asked anything, you’ve opened the door for more contact, whether it’s a response from the other person or more follow up on your part.
• You’ve also shown that even though you’re in business, you aren’t just about making sales, which can be a relief to others and allow them to feel better about continued contact, including the likely much more welcomed sales opportunity

Pretty cool, huh? You’ve done a lot with that simple card. If the card itself is personalized (like with their photo, or something personal (but still apppropriate) about you), then the effect can be even greater, but by sending a simple card you have laid good groundwork for building a new business relationship.

It’s interesting that the same exact words, “It was nice to meet you,” when spoke on leaving are almost social throw-aways and don’t really have much weight (though they are important enough that you shouldn’t neglect them). If you want to be in the top few percent who will actually follow up after meeting someone, and do it in a professional, none sales-y way, those same six words take on much more power.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Brunswick County Tri-Chamber Business After Hours 11-19-09

Marge and I just got home from another successful business networking event, this one hosted by the ever-expanding and impressive Brunswick Community College. We met in a room at the Odell Williamson Auditorium (you may recall the same place where The Buckingham's played in concert last summer for a North Brunswick Chamber of Commerce event). Tonight's Tri-Chamber Business After Hours was for the Brunswick Chamber of Commerce, North Brunswick Chamber of Commerce, and the Southport/Oak Island Chamber of Commerce. Catered by our own ('our' meaning Leland's) Antonio's Pizza and Pasta restaurant, there were drawings galore and many connections for those who showed up and met new people.

The first person we met entering the room was NBCC board member Frank Williams of Pioneer Strategies and Cape Fear Business News.

Next was Frank Bullara, owner of Bugsy's Cigars, also in Leland.

Leland's Magnolia Greens Comfort Suites Hotel was ably represented by Sales Manager Lee Ann Mitchell and Front Desk Manager Nicole Neuendorf.

Chamber stalwarts Carolyn Pirnat of Asset Storage, Mary Anne Fagerquist, and Prudential's Sharon Furman were dressed so similarly I thought they were going to entertain. Mary Anne, by the way, seen here laughing, is such a good sport and lively spirit that if asked she'd probably jump right up and do a great job.

We all know he'd rather (and I'm not joking) be called Santa Claus, but their names are really Scott and Connie Reeves.

Laura Patterson of Leland's Mulch and More and uber-proud grandmother of twins that put a brilliant sparkle in her eyes.

Barry Eagle, the honcho at the Magnolia Greens Comfort Suites Hotel.

Part of the NBCC crew, Scott, Marge Brown of SendOutCards, Jeff Harvell of Cape Fear Business News, and Executive Director Terry Grillo.

Santa and Me.

Marge and Bradford Mortgage's Dana Fisher. Dana is also a board member of NBCC.

Electrician Brandon Shaw of Artisan Electric and John Denison, owner of LogoDesigns, Inc.

A line up of North Brunswick Chamber of Commerce folk.

Photographer Bob Baer loves to climb on chairs.

Marge and our new friend Tom Roberts of Beach Property Solutions.

Okay, so there's Santa on the left, Wilmington City Councilman Charlie Rivenbark, George Patterson (in the blue shirt turned away from the camera, but just for those who are keeping score here, he's the grandfather of those twins I mentioned a while back), Tom Roberts, and Dana Fisher.

So yes, it was another good time. You can probably tell why many of us don't even need ovens or cookware at home - there's always another networking event to attend in our area.

Tweeting at Cardinal Lanes in Wilmington, NC

I arrived a bit late and had to leave early, but I was able to bowl two games at the Wilmington Tweetup held this month at Cardinal Lanes on Shipyard Boulevard. There were some seriously good bowlers present. And, then there was me. As a cruel joke a few years back someone gave me bowling shoes as a present (those are my shoes on the table, doing as much good there as on my feet when I'm bowling.

The group really got into it and had a lot of fun.

Gayle Tabor of Glynne's Soaps told the story of how her team won the league championship the first year and pointed to a plaque on the wall. She also explained the winning was based on most improved average and it was her team's first season ever bowling.

Sarah Barbee of FussBudget Promotions organizes the Wilmington Tweetups and always helps us have a good time in a nice place.

Renee Jones has her own bowling ball. It even has her name on it! Wow, my ball used to belong to someone named 'House'.

It seemed like every time I looked up, Renee was getting a strike! (Do you think it would be a good idea if we all bought balls with the name 'Renee' printed on it? Would we all bowl better?)

It was a good time. Thanks Sarah for organizing it and thanks to all who came out.