Archive for September, 2011
Motivation of others continues to be an exploited and expensive myth. Experts, gurus and consultants speak, write, train and educate all about how companies and those in leadership positions must motivate their employees from the dock worker to the customer service representative to the sales person to any other employee. To create this culture of motivation (change) comes of course with a price tag and usually an expensive one that (as their are always exceptions) generates no sustainability and limited to or no return on investment.
These outside in or external solutions are a myth because they do not work. They drain the limited resources of time, energy, money and emotions.
Authentic and sustainable
motivation comes from the
inside out not from the outside in.
Business leadership can create a culture of inspiration, Authentic business leaders can inspire others to want to do better to move from where they are now to where they want to be. If the organization has effectively communicated the vision and current mission, then everyone can be rowing in the same direction. This is inside out motivation.
Inspiration = Motivation = What’s in It for Me (WIIFM)
The term self motivation is another expensive myth because motivation means to cause movement from within the individual.
In the book Change or Die, the author shared a story about an automotive plant in California. This plant had a high daily absenteeism rate around 50%.
- Meetings were held
- Facts were shared
- Force was used through reprimand
- Fear was installed regarding the plant’s closure if this absenteeism rate did not change.
In spite of all this motivation, behaviors did not change. The plant closed costing hundreds of workers their jobs.
Facts, Fear or Force Do Not Motivate;
Do Not Provide Sustainable Results
Motivation is truly about internal behaviors and moving them or changing them to ensure some desired and sustainable result. The key word here is sustainable. This is why positive belief statements or what others call positive affirmation statements are so critical to motivation. Individuals need to change the records they are playing in their heads. Those records contain grooves and those grooves are the already in placed conditioned beliefs that drive the actions (behaviors) generating the results. This is why it is difficult to talk about politics or religion because the beliefs are so strong.
How many times do companies or business leadership hire for the quick fix motivation solution?
- A one or two day leadership, customer service or sales training event?
- An expensive motivational keynote speaker?
- A new program guaranteed to motivate the employees?
Very few people come to work to do a bad job. The reason there appears to be a lack of motivation is because employees do not know or understand:
- The current vision for the organization
- The 24/7 non negotiable accepted behaviors or business ethics
- The mission or 3 to 5 key business goals needed to be achieved in the current year
- Their job descriptions and how their behaviors met the expectations of the leadership and management team
- They are each profit centers for the business
Yes the myths of motivation are expensive and continue to be exploited by those who want to line their pockets with the hard earned profits of businesses and organizations. Maybe this is why this last statement is so true:
Change is good, you go first!
P.S. Business leadership can create an environment (culture) where individual motivation is acknowledge, appreciated and encouraged.
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With the year of the end much closer at hand, many crazy busy sales people and small business owners are finding squeezed between all of their responsibilities from internal operations such as invoicing, updating the website to external ones such as selling, marketing and delivering their solutions. Many have little to no time to market and this equals no increase sales.
Yesterday when speaking to a small group of sales professionals and small business owners during the first evening seminar at the Hammond Innovation Center , I was asked this question:
How much time do you spend on marketing in social media?
My response was 2.5 hours each week day. I arise early and by 5am I am returning emails, checking my Internet marketing results (metrics), writing this business, marketing and sales blog and posting on various social media sites. This is usually done before I begin making telephone calls, having meetings or attending business to business networking events.
With so many non-employed (meaning no employees) small business owners in the market place, it is critical to stand out in the crowd to Be the Red Jacket. This does require an investment of time.
Additionally, as I penned last week, there is a plethora of free PR to market any business. Again, the issue is more so one of time than expertise in responding to these free PR opportunities.
Winners in business will do what they need to do to get done what they need to get done. They have learned how to prioritize because they have assessed their awareness thus creating clarity for energize and exceptional execution. Sales Training Coaching Tip: Having a written purpose statement, vision statement, values statement and current mission statement (located within your strategic plan) are essential for prioritizing daily, weekly and monthly business decisions.
If you wish to increase sales, then you must schedule the time to market your business and be consistent in those efforts. Sales Training Coaching Tip: In marketing slow and steady wins the race (think like the tortoise in the Aesop Fable) leave the sprinting for the Olympics (ignore the rabbit).
For in business if the goal is to increase sales, you must be found first no matter how great your solutions (products or services) are. Marketing is all about being found; about attracting attention and building the relationship. What so many small business owners and crazy busy sales people fail to realize is that the primary problem is not the inability to increase sales, but the inability to be found, to attract attention, to stand out in the crowd with that bright Red Jacket.
From my experience, most businesses do not have a sales problem first, they have a marketing problem. And by failing to invest time to market their solutions this results in saying they have no time to increase sales.
Here Ye, Here Ye,
Poor Sales Performance Is The
Scapegoat For This Organization!
What would happen if this sign was posted in the break room or conference room for any business?
Poor sales performance appears more and more to be the scapegoat for the majority of organizational issues.
Let’s blame sales people has become the mantra for many small business owners to C Suite executives.
The reality, especially as the end of the year looms, is sales mangers are pressured to increase sales. This pressure is translated down to the sales team. And many of these individuals work very hard to increase sales and yet they find themselves swimming upstream with 10 pound rocks tied to each foot!
The real and usually ignored problems that drain profits thus demanding higher sales are embedded within the organization because the executive management and leadership team ignored what was and is really happening and failed to take the corrective actions. For it is always easier to blame someone else than to accept responsibility or invest the time to do it right. Let me share three different real experiences that all happened within the last 48 hours to illustrate how this scapegoat behavior.
When checking out from one of the local grocery stores (multiple locations in two states), I noticed the cashier chewing gum. Even though she was discreet, I personally know this is against company policy and truly do not want any spittle coming close to my hands. Previously at another location owned by the same grocery chain after I personally complained to management about this behavior, I no longer shop there. Cashiers at this other location remind me of a cows chewing their cud. The impact (my no longer shopping at this store) to grocery store’s bottom line was over $3,000 on an annual basis. Over time, this could be at least $25,000 in total lost sales.
The real problem was ineffective management as well as the business ethics of employees who directly disobey agreed to policies.
A client of mine was very frustrated at a self service shipping store. He was making copies and could not get any assistance from the three employees at the store. His expenditure was $100. Given that he spends $$500 annually in making copies, the store has potentially lost $5,000 over the next 10 years.
The real problem was a poor customer service culture along with poor business ethics and poor management that allowed it to continue.
A general manager who wears several hats including sales is frustrated because the ongoing problems within this fast growing industrial service business.. The goal to increase sales is continually being pushed. Yet organizational challenges are keeping this goal from happening.
The real problems are:
- No strategic plan
- No management or leadership team
- Very few written policies and procedures for the almost 30 employees
In all three scenarios, the goal to increase sales is very real and necessary. However until other organizational issues are confronted and solved with sustainable solutions, there is going to be a constant focus on the goal to increase sales while the profits created by the increased revenue are being drained away faster and faster.
Poor Sales Performance Is Now the
Scapegoat for What Ails the Business!
Increase sales is an ongoing goal because both direct and indirect costs continue to rise. However to put the endless pressure on sales to bring in additional revenue without analyzing how much money is best lost on the other end due to organizational issues is simply speaking quite ludicrous or if you prefer plain stupid.
Yes there are lazy sales people
Yes there are salespersons who only meet sales quotas
Yes there 20% of your sales force delivers 80% of your revenue
These Yes’es should not be used as an excuse to blame the sales team for poor sales performance when there are truly much deeper organizational issues. With the year three quarters over, now is the tine to determine what internal obstacles are working against the goal to increase sales.
Remember, when you are pointing the finger at
your sales team, there are 3 fingers pointing back at
you.Share on Facebook
Let all small businesses and management adopt this motto “Measure Thrice; Hire Once” when looking to increase sales. By adopting this corporate motto or better yet behavior, management can avoid costly redo$ when it comes to:
- Hiring sales people or any employees
- Promoting salespersons or any employees
- Outsourcing firms such as marketing, sales training, etc.
- Changing strategies
Hiring new sales people or any employees appears to be like a throw of the dice. There are several strategies to ensure your hiring success including a performance appraisal assessment as well as documenting references. Additionally, all procedures and policies should be in writing along with expectations. Sales Training Coaching Tip: One key talent is the ability to consistently set and achieve personal goals.
Promotion of salespersons again requires measuring three times.
- Measure current performance against stated goals.
- Measure customer satisfaction and retention.
- Measure teamwork and overall interactivity using tools such as DISC, EI or Values along with personal observations.
Yesterday when being interviewed by the Michigan Business Network, I was asked this about what to look for when considering engaging the services of any marketing firm. My response was quite straightforward:
- Request 3 references with telephone numbers
- Ask what results do your solutions provide?
- When can I as a customer expect to secure a positive return on my investment?
After the interview, I received two new followers on Twitter. I followed them in return. Then both sent me direct messages telling me for $35 or $69 monthly they could improve my SEO ranking (search engine optimization).
To the first message at $35 a month, I asked what were the results this firm delivered as my Alexa.com ranking was around 160,000 and theirs was 2.3 million. The other firm had a 12.4 million Alexa ranking. Sales Training Coaching Tip: Alexa.com is ranking based on people using the Alexa.com toolbar. However as a trending tool it does over time suggest Internet marketing effectiveness.
The response I received was typical “Alexa is Okay; it only measures visits when the toolbar is installed.” Then I was asked to send an email for more information. Hmm, scratching my head I thought, he could not share me even a general result? My next direct message asked about Compete.com another trending tool. That response has yet to be received.
My problem when outscourcing any solutions especially with the limited resources of time, money, energy and emotions is the inability to clearly articulate the results. In marketing, there is talk about impressions. Who cares? Really? Businesses want results to demonstrate a positive return on investment. Otherwise, why should they invest their profits into any outsourcing firm?
In reading the SEO ranking copy on the $69 a month site, there was a lot of discussion about organic growth specific to SEO ranking and Internet marketing. This is very true that organic growth is much better than paid ads. However, organic growth does take time and this is where slow and steady wins the race. Sales Training Coaching Tip: Leave the sprinting in marketing for the Olympics.
Sales training is another area where measure thrice, hire once should be applied. When looking to hiring a sales training or sales coaching firm or individual, ask about references. Sales Training Coaching Tip: If the sales coach asks this question: What are the desired results you are seeking?,” this is a step in the right direction. Of course, if the sales cycle is 6 months or longer, then expecting results in 30 to 90 days may be unreasonable.
How many times do organizations begin changing strategies because the current strategies are not working to increase sales? What happens is the “Flavor of the Month” appears to be driving change and the results are less than impressive. Sales Training Coaching Tip: Failed execution happens usually because awareness has not been assessed leading to a lack of clarity.
The old adage measure 3 times cut one time is just as true when considering any of these internal actions to increase sales. By measuring thrice and hiring once, you can better avoid this truism as well:
Marry in haste; repent in leisureShare on Facebook
Many times sales coaches or business improvement consultants are hired because there is a sales problem. Yet, after the dust settles, the real problem is not how to increase sales (even though there is always room for improvement), but rather marketing. Part of this reasoning is that confusion still reigns as to what is marketing, selling and sales.
Marketing is not glossy brochures or “fancy, dancy” websites or thousands of direct mail pieces. These are the actions of marketing. The purpose of marketing is pretty straight forward:
- Attract attention (positive is usually better than negative)
- Build a relationship
The end result of marketing is:
- To make a friend
- To be asked back for that first 15 to 30 minute one on one face to face meeting (phone calls permitted as well)
This past week I have devoted considerable time and energy to marketing from how to increase sales tips through free PR to today’s business column over at the Post-Tribune where I wrote about the 3 Bs of business and the cascade effect of poor marketing messages:
Also later today, September 26, at 9am, 2pm and 7pm eastern time, I will be sharing some thoughts on marketing over at the Michigan Business Network. In all instances, the focus is on creating an emotional engaging marketing message especially the response to this question:
What do you do?
The key word here is emotional because as the second sales buying rule states:
People buy first on emotions; justified by logic.
This week I am giving a presentation over at the Hammond Innovation Center on Fourth Quarter Scramble. Again, this presentation will focus more on integrated marketing rather than on selling. Sales Training Coaching Tip: Effective marketing will pull you closer to your potential customer or prospect.
For the past 6 years I have been learning more and more about marketing especially within this digital 2.0 world as well as traditional marketing. Yes for some very savvy Internet marketers they will say it is beyond 2.0. However for the sake of those who are not as nearly as experienced, 2.0 is still an accurate designation. What I have learned is that without a solid and firm integrated marketing plan supported by an incredibly emotional and engaging marketing message, small business owners will still remain pocket poor (translated as no increase sales).
One way to determine if you have a marketing problem is to look at how many people (sales leads) you connect with and how many people becomes your friend and ask you back for that coveted get to know you first time appointment. A sales problem would be you have the first time to second time appointments to sixth time appointments, but cannot earn the close the sale. Sales Training Coaching Tip: Knowing your numbers is critical to business and sales success.
The goal to increase sales is critical for surviving and thriving in today’s global market place. However, make sure you truly have a sales problem (meaning you are not converting your sales leads) to ensure your ultimate goal that being to increase sales.
P.S. In my book, Be the Red jacket, I devote considerable time to this confusion between marketing, selling and sales. Reading this book may help you better assess your awareness, create greater clarity and energize your sales execution. The book is also available in a Kindle edition.Share on Facebook
The use of FREE PR (publicity) should be added to your how to increase sales tips and snippets toolbox. Now with social media and those very hungry content driven search engine robots scouring the Internet, there is a plethora of ways to get free PR.
Yesterday was an incredible day for me in my efforts to increase traffic and credibility. Most of these opportunities came from this one website – HARO (Help a Reporter Out). Peter Shankman’s brain child of providing a site for media reporters, subject matter experts and media production people to share their requests has been for me like a Volcano of free PR.
Here is what happened yesterday:
1. Anne Daughtery of Motion Marketing & Media located in Lansing, IL was seeking subject matter experts on business topics. I responded and she connected with me on Thursday September 22 and a radio interview was taped on Friday for Michigan Business Network. This interview will be aired on Monday, September 26 at 9am, 2pm and 7pm. Here was an opportunity to share my experience specific to marketing for small businesses, how to Be the Red Jacket and attract even more attention.
3. Then Michael Michalowicz of Toliet Paper Entrepreneur requested a quick tip on how best to follow up with sales leads from a trade show or significant business to business networking event. Currently, my success rate in having my tips published is running around 95%. Earlier in the week my tip for the best gadgets for entrepreneurs was published.
4. On the same day I responded to Stephanie Chandler, I also sent an email to Laura Petrolino of 365 days of startups. She was seeking an answer to the question of the week that being share the two critical success factors you are working on at any given time. My response was released yesterday. And Stephanie has asked me to be a contributing expert to her site.
Free PR is available for small business owners and crazy busy sales people. Yes it does take time. Must of my responses are generated in less than 3 minutes. This is possible because I have invested time during the last 6 years in learning all about marketing for small businesses. My primary marketing actions have been through article marketing over at EzineArticles, Evan Carmichael, etc. and writing on my sales blog.
For the more you write, the better you think, the better you think, the more you write.
This creative writing process does reduce your time to respond because in many cases you have already written about the topic.
If you wish to better understand how to increase sales, then begin to utilize Free PR as one marketing action. You just might be surprised how quickly you improve your marketing for small businesses results including gaining a greater Internet presence not to mention securing your goal to increase sales.
“When in doubt, tell the truth.”
Mark TwainShare on Facebook
In our quest to increase sales, are we as small business owners to crazy busy sales professionals
creating a “Culture of Crap?”
After speaking with two colleagues, Andy Ferguson from across the pond and Dan Waldschmidt from the East Coast, I am beginning to wonder how our economy survived as long as it did before it came tumbling down. It appears we are selling crap by the bucket if not by the barrel full. We hold our nose and tell our clients it smells better than the crap someone else is selling.
We did not learn our lesson from the dot.com bubble and it appears we have not learned our lessons from the world wide financial debacle. People still want everything they want (including to increase sales) without having to truly suffer, work and pay for it. Instead, they kick the can of personal responsibility (business ethics and personal values) down the road to the next generation. The US is sitting with $13 trillion of debt and makes it a big deal in cutting $1 trillion over 10 years.
Here in Northwest Indiana, another series of indictments have taken place not only for an elected official, but for three officers from one county’s sheriff’s department. And when our current sitting governor, Mitch Daniels, points the finger at this corner of the State due to its ongoing, verified, corruption, other elected officials from the opposing party complain about his negative public remarks.
Can you smell the crap?
All the blame should not go at the foot of politicians or financial investment bankers. Everyday business people also share in this responsibility where we have created a “culture of crap.”
The absence of demonstrated behaivors
aligned to positive core values
creates a “culture of crap.”
For example, an ongoing discussion over at Focus.com looked at this question:
Why don’t more organizations invest in sales training?
There were many solid responses, but Waldschmidt cut to the chase and said because most “sales training programs are sh*t.” Being a trained instructional designer and having observed many sales training programs not to mention customer service, leadership and team building training coaching programs, I would have to agree with him. The only difference was my response was a little more emotionally neutral.
However after he shared this succinct thought and opened the door, I remarked this is truly an issue of personal values and business ethics more so than poor sales training programs. When business people sell solutions (products or services) just to sell solutions so they can line their pockets, this is wrong. No wonder people view sales people at the bottom on the most admired list.
My conversation with Ferguson also centered around the lack of sustainability offered by many consultants and coaches. He talked about a conspiracy of crap and in reflection I truly believe now it has become a culture of crap. Part of this reason may be because businesses have forgotten their purpose and may never have realized their purpose.
The purpose of business is to serve the community.
And unfortunately, those engaged in the role of sales professionals get beat up all the time when other organizations have even far more dismal records min serving the community. Take many public education institutions of higher learning. They cannot graduate a majority of their full time 4 year degree students in 6 years less alone 4 years. Their excuse is that college students cannot handle 15 to 18 hours of course work. Bull. Here is the beginning of the “Culture of Crap.” If your solutions do not work, then change your solutions stop blaming the customer. Deliver what you promised. Construct sustainable solutions that truly serve the community.
Earlier this week I listened to a colleague share a story about a firm that had a significant contract yanked due to non-performance. This company underbid the competition but lacked the capacity to actually deliver the work. They failed to serve the community.
No Values Generated Non-Performance
Then today during a sales coaching session I listened to a client share a comment from his or her boss. “I don’t care how you close the gap (between current revenue and new sales goal), just do it.”
What message is this sending to not only the sales team, but everyone else in the organization?
What will the sales team do to meet the sales goals?
Will corners be cut?
Will extras be charged?
Will the community be served?
Look at any hospital bill and see all the extra charges that very few people question. When I had my daughter 28 years ago, my bill had radiation treatment cost on it to the tune of $25,000. Had I not questioned it, I am sure it would have been paid.
Yes times are tough!
Yes keeping the doors open appears to be a never ending process!
Yes your competition will take the business if you don’t!
Yes, the “Culture of Crap” will continue as long as business people allow it!
Now not later is the time to stop this “Culture of Crap” and be willing to sacrifice some business, some dollars and honor personal values and business ethics. Business people need to care more about their customers and stop delivering solutions that are not sustainable, that require them to come back in 6 months to a year to fix things again. As Mike Holmes of Holmes on Holmes has said “Do it right the first time!”
I guess this “Culture of Crap” will exist as long as
good men and women do nothing.
As for me, I will continue to answer questions forthrightly, deliver sustainable solutions and not be afraid to turn down business when I cannot deliver the desired results. Just imagine what would happen if more of us became the child in the crowd who pointed at the naked Emperor as he strolled by and said in disbelief:
The Emperor has no clothes on!
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Two recent postings about Nice People finishing last in business and sales caught my eye. The first one was entitle Nice Girls Finish Last is the presentation being delivered to women in the workplace here in the Chicagoland area. The second one suggested that nice guys earn 18 Percent less.
Most small business owners to sales professionals want to increase sales. If people buy from people they know and trust and they buy first on emotion justified by logic (the first two sales buying rules), I cannot help but believe that being nice is the path to take.
We don’t have a sales problem,
we have a caring problem.
Having just read the book From Values to Action by Harry Kraemer and not only recommending it over on Amazon, but writing a book review article at Ezine Articles, I truly believe that nice people finish first in sales especially for those running sales marathon races or the long haul. Maybe if more people demonstrated that they care, they could increase sales. Sales Training Coaching Tip: From Values to Action is my number one non-spiritual book on leadership and values based leadership is the only path to walk in sales, in business and in life.
Give your druthers, would you buy from grumpy, unfriendly, uncaring sales people?
When sales people are rude, uncivil and appear to be in it only to line their pockets with your hard cash, I cannot imagine these individuals having a sustainable business or sales track record. Sure they may win the short sprint leg of the sales race, but they will falter in the end.
Having developed sales people both in corporate and now within my own sales coaching practice, one of the first actions I have my clients take is to write a positive core values statement. In my book, Be the Red Jacket, the second chapter is all about values. Sales Coaching Training Tip: If you dislike those people who will do anything to earn the sale, then why wouldn’t you have a written positive core values statement? Of course, this means you must live those words 24/7. No exceptions, no excuses.
Of course, if you measure niceness by the amount of money you have in your bank account or by the sales quotas you made, then this may be the problem. Many firms talk about living their positive core values, but when push comes to shove to achieve those sales goals or revenues, the wink and the nod behaviors takes over.
Just imagine what would happen if professional sales people stood firm and adopted what Kraemer calls Value Based Leadership? Organizations are comprised of people and when people stand united they can and do make a difference. Of course, as Kramer and many others know this may require taking a personal risk, be willing to step up and possibly out of the organization or turn down a sale when your positive core values collide with the organization or the potential client.
More and more as I engage with business professionals, sales people and clients I realize that it is my responsibility to continue to be nice and not to lower my standards or values just to increase sales. Values based leadership is the path to take and this is why nice people finish first in the sales marathon race.Share on Facebook
With the marketplace becoming even more competitive, the women ways of selling and leading appears to be growing. Now some may call this consultative selling, relationship selling or emotional intelligence selling. But when you rendered it all down at the end of the day it is how women sell and lead. Of course this is nothing new for women having been selling and leading this way for hundreds of years.
Now the women’s liberation movement may have thrown a damper on the women ways of selling and leading. Yet that dust is clearing for many professional sales women and they are making incredible strides while leaving their male counterparts scratching their heads with quizzical looks on their faces.
First, women do not have to sell like men to increase sales. They are wired differently not to mention they look different. Women have a natural advantage respective to emotional intelligence. Yes it is slight, but in today’s environment even one degree can make a difference. Think about hot water and steam. Just one degree from 211 degrees to 212 degrees can power locomotives.
When women leave their natural talents and styles to opt for a more traditional (translated male) sales skills, then they are not only harming their own income, but also potentially causing harm to the customer. A report why women are chosen to lead in a crisis released by EBW suggested women are perceived better to handle a business crisis. They have the following traits:
- More persuasive
- Learn from rejection and carry on with a positive attitude
- Natural team builders specific to decision making and problem solving
- Risk taker and ignore the rules
Jeff Gitomer in a Success Magazine article shared 10 traits for high sales performers. The first trait was positive attitude. Further reading from this list shows that sales skills for high performers are the same if not very similar to women who lead organizations through a business crisis.
As more and more female sales professionals continue to demonstrate their natural talents and strengths, maybe some sales gurus will stop and take notice. Who knows maybe the terms of consultative selling and relationships selling will be replaced with:
How to sell like women using the
women ways of selling and leadingShare on Facebook
Now more than ever before is the time to dump old school training for sales professionals especially if the goal is to increase sales. For the last 10 plus years, I have been attempting to educate potential clients, my current clients as well as many of my peers that the key to organizational success especially if the goal is increase sales is development.
We train dogs.
We develop people be them CEOs small business owners and even those crazy business sales professionals.
A posting by Mike Myatt provides a well thought out rationale why old school training isn’t dead but it should be regardless if it sales training, leadership training, etc. should die a quick death. Another colleague, Dan Waldschmidt, also agrees that fresh eyes are required to look at how to improve the performance of sales professionals to CEO’s.
Part of the reason why HR people to sales management continue to hang onto old school training is because it is the way it has always been done. Where have we heard that before?
I am reminded of those infamous high school biology classes where students dissected frogs. How many frogs will be dissected to increase sales?
Of course, if old school training really worked then it would:
- Not have to be repeated
- Deliver a positive return on investment
- Create a culture of sustainability and high performance
Of course, sales gurus and sales training professionals who make lots of money with the old school training of people would argue differently. Development is not at the exclusion of old school training, but it should be primary with training and teaching in secondary roles.
When we invest in our greatest asset our people we move them from a state of transition to a true state of transformation. This may take a little more time and it may be a greater investment initially, but the results are far more impressive.