A few months ago, just days before my big birthday (the one that makes me eligible to get vaccinated later this week), Jack and I went to test drive a car. My car lease was expiring in a few months and I thought it would be fun to test drive a car model that I had never driven before. I wanted a fast car and a sedan.

So, Jack convinced me to test drive a Jaguar. I’ve never had a Jaguar, and they have a cool-sounding name, so I thought it would be a fun afternoon. We met at the Jaguar dealership on my way home from work one day in late October. Jack had already selected the car he thought I would enjoy driving. We hopped into the car—me in the driver’s seat, Jack next to me, and the sales guy in the back. Yes, we were all masked up!

That car was fast. Like a rocket! I loved it. It was after I floored it and was going 80 mph within seconds that the sales guy told me it was an all-electric vehicle. Not a hybrid—a 100% electric car. A Jaguar i-Pace.

The whole evening went by so fast—the excitement of driving a super-fast all-electric car was so mesmerizing that I decided on the spot to trade in my Lexus and get the Jaguar. It was like an early birthday present to myself (I took delivery the day before my birthday).

Here’s what’s interesting. The car salesman only asked me one question that evening of my purchase: what color did I want? That made me assume that every vehicle had the same features, with the only difference being the color. He didn’t ask me a single question about my driving habits. For example, he could have asked me, do you drive long distances because this i-Pace only has a distance range of 210 miles? Nope—he didn’t ask me that, and if he did, he would’ve discovered my round-trip drive to work is 100 miles, and if I go up to see my daughter in L.A. it is a round trip of over 150 miles.

Or, have you thought about how you are going to charge the car? Will you install a car charging contraption in your garage (at a cost of nearly $1,000) to charge your car, or do you plan to locate and then charge your car at a ChargePoint station, where there’s a fee per kilowatt every time you charge? And, of course, he could’ve said: you will need to download the ChargePoint app to locate charging stations along the freeway, in case you need to charge your car when you are “out and about.”

Or, my favorite question he did not ask, is it important to you that your trunk pop open when you click your car fob for when your hands are full of packages? Nope, he did not ask that question either.

Can you tell that I am still a bit annoyed by this whole experience? As I have reflected on my car purchase over the last three months, what bothers me most (besides the fact that I made a hasty decision) was that the salesperson did not ask me a single question. He seemed so anxious to make a one-time sale that he didn’t take the time to find out what was important to me. And because of that, I am 100% sure that I will never recommend that car dealership or salesperson to anyone. The lifetime value of me as a customer is nil.

What makes a great salesperson? Someone who takes the time to ask you questions about what is important to you. After 30+ years in sales I have learned that it’s all about doing your homework and that is the approach we take at my company Frieda’s, to really understand the needs of our customers.  And if you uncover that your product or service is not right for the customer, then you help the customer find a better match for them. Remember the movie “Miracle on 34th Street” where the Santa Claus at Macy’s referred customers to a local competitor (Gimbels) to find the gift they are looking for. The result? Incredible publicity and loyalty to Macy’s for doing what was best for the customer. People actually became MORE loyal to Macy’s after they started referring customers to other stores….to make them happy!

Have you ever encountered a salesperson who was super anxious to make the sale, so anxious that they kind of made you uneasy and made you think that maybe you were being taken advantage of, or would regret your purchase later on? That’s exactly how I felt after my Jaguar purchase.

Now, truth be told, I do like driving my Jaguar. It’s fast and quiet. But when I go super-fast (which I like to do), my driving range drops from 210 miles to about 180. I never have to take it in for maintenance service—just a once a year update for the internal electronic programming. I don’t miss stopping at a gas station to fuel up my car, but have had to always make sure I plan ahead on charging my car based on my next days’ driving plans.

I admit, the final, impulsive decision to buy the Jaguar was mine. And I learned a valuable lesson about not making such big investment decisions so quickly. I do realize that better decisions are made after some reflection, rather than on impulse. I plead guilty and am never too old to learn!

So, here is the pièce de résistance of this experience. I received a handwritten thank-you note last Friday. Well, actually, the card said “Congratulations!” on it. Three full months after I made the purchase, I received a card that said, “Congratulations and thank you.” Three full months later.

The guy didn’t have a baby or get married—for both occasions one is allowed an extended acceptable period of time to write thank-you notes. But for the purchase of a rather expensive car, during which you didn’t ask the customer a single thing about their wants and needs, it felt par for the course for him to send a thank-you note so long after the purchase.

So, for anyone who is in sales, please heed my advice:

The best salespeople will always take the time to ask questions to seek an understanding of the wants and needs of the customer. Your job is not to sell them something, you are there to help them buy.

And if you want to be a classy, memorable salesperson, you will immediately send a handwritten thank-you note, or a quick text, that demonstrates your genuine interest in and gratitude for the customer. Don’t wait three months, as you are demonstrating what a non-priority the customer was to you.

I haven’t had the heart to text my Lexus service consultant and tell him that I sold my Lexus a few months ago. I loved my Lexus service consultant Don and actually looked forward to seeing him every 3-4 months when I took my car in for service. In fact, he is the reason my next car will most likely be a Lexus.

Karen

Karen proudly standing next to her new Jaguar i-Pace with large red bow
Me, when I picked up my new car the day before my birthday – thus the bow!

About 15 years ago, I started seeing a Naturopath. Well, actually, I was looking for a nutritionist and a dear friend of mine recommended I see Lisa, who was not only a nutritionist but also a Naturopath. Naturopathic medicine is a system that uses natural remedies to help the body heal itself. I liked the idea of seeing a naturopath, as I took way too many antibiotics when I was younger and I decided that if there was a more natural way to feel better or heal when I was ill, I was super interested. And I had not been feeling 100%, but couldn’t put my finger on why.

As I readied for my first appointment, Lisa’s office called me and asked that I bring with me all medicines, supplements and vitamins I was taking.

First thing Lisa did, was “Muscle Test” me to see if I had any negative reactions (or intolerance) to any of the medications I was taking. What an eye-opening experience! Turns out, I had a negative reaction (like inflammation) to seven of the 11 things I was taking!! Surprisingly, it turned out that I was actually allergic to the coating on the vitamin brand I was taking. No wonder I was kind of achy and didn’t feel 100%.

Then she tested me for allergic reactions to about 100 different food substances. Things like every kind of nut (I can only eat Almonds and Sunflower seeds, I am allergic to all other kinds), nightshade plants (which include tomatoes, potatoes, and some of my previous favorites like graffiti eggplant and shishito peppers…..they cause inflammation for me, so I rarely eat any of them) and corn. I recall saying to her, “Can you tell me if it’s okay for me to drink coffee and eat chocolate?” Thankfully, both were okay for me.

And then there was soy. Turns out that weird feeling I got when I ate edamame, tofu and soy sauce was now explainable. I cannot eat soy. But, what I didn’t know was that I was also consuming soybean oil and didn’t realize it.

Have you ever read the label at the store when you buy “vegetable” oil? Well, if so, you would know that “vegetable” oil is almost always soybean oil. I guess someone figured out that “vegetable” oil sounds better than soybean oil. Plus, from what I know, soybean oil is the cheapest oil, so many producers and manufacturers use it for the cost benefit.

Due to my reaction to it, if I am purchasing oil for cooking, I now only purchase avocado oil or sunflower oil (and olive oil, of course).

Then I started thinking, “I wonder if restaurants and salad dressing companies use soybean oil when they cook or produce salad dressings?” Getting the lowest cost ingredient is oftentimes a big deciding factor in business, so I had a suspicion.

Yep, you guessed it. I started becoming a diligent label reader. Did you know that many ready-to-eat loaves of bread are made with soybean oil? So are frozen pie crusts. And almost all candies and chocolate contain “soy lecithin.” Check out that pasta sauce you buy in a jar—many contain soybean oil.

I don’t really want to get into the discussion of soy, GMOs and Monsanto’s pesticide Roundup, but you can guess there might be a connection.

So, last week when I was reading a recent article published by the University of California-Riverside titled “America’s most widely consumed oil causes genetic changes in the brain,” I had a feeling that they were talking about soybean oil.

New UC Riverside research shows soybean oil not only leads to obesity and diabetes, but could also affect neurological conditions like autism, Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety and depression.” You can read the rest of the article here: EurekAlert! America’s most widely consumed oil causes genetic changes in the brain

So, next time you order french fries, taquitos or ready-made salad dressing, ask what kind of oil they use to fry or make the food. Although some restaurants and food producers use sunflower, safflower or canola oils, many more use “vegetable” oil (which probably means soybean oil).

Believe me, it was eye opening to read the article on the research linking soybean oil consumption to obesity, diabetes and Alzheimer’s. I think you’ll agree, it makes it even more important to ask or read a label to find out what goes into your food.

After all, we are what we eat!

Karen

 

Los Alamitos, CA (January 2021) – Winter is here, and given the social restrictions necessitated by the global pandemic, some would say it is the winter of all winters. In fact, 63% of shoppers say they are unlikely to travel anytime soon1. So how can retailers help? Give shoppers the winter escape they crave by carrying a variety of specialty tropicals this season.

“For many shoppers, the trip to the grocery store is their only escape right now,” says Cindy Sherman, director of insights, marketing & innovation at Frieda’s. “It makes sense that shoppers would splurge on a latte at the coffee kiosk, spend a little extra time lingering over the cheese case and look for something new and different to try in the produce department, especially something that feels warm, exotic and adventurous.”

Exotic items like dragon fruit, passion fruit, young coconut, turmeric, and jackfruit are the perfect way to give shoppers the excitement they crave in a natural and healthy way. In fact, 41% of shoppers say enjoying exotic tropicals would help to make their lives more fun and interesting2. Frieda’s recommends using creative merchandising and a little flair to turn your tropicals table into a tiki-themed escape. Adorn displays with grass skirts, add tropical umbrellas to young coconuts, and merchandise red-skinned dragon fruit alongside for an inviting color break.

Make your produce department the escape that shoppers are looking for right now and give them a reason to spend a little more time exploring tropical fruit variety. Call your Frieda’s account manager today to help build the right tropical variety program for your stores, and for additional creative merchandising ideas.

Source:
1 Destination Analysts 1,200+ people survey, November 2020
2 C&R 1,000 person study, May 2020

We all have them. Shitty days. Admit it!

And in 2020, didn’t it seem like you had more than your fair share?

One day late last summer, I drove into the office for the day. It seemed like everything went wrong that day. I couldn’t get anything done on my To Do list. My meetings ran long. There were customer complaints that ended up coming to my desk. We had an incident in the warehouse (thankfully no one was seriously hurt).

And then, I had to drive home—my new, 45-minute, occasionally annoying commute home.

So, I did what most people do, I called a friend to vent. He said, “So how was your day?”

And I said, “It was shitty” and, consequently, I was in a shitty mood.

Then he said what was potentially the most life-changing comment to me:

“Everyone gets to choose what kind of day they have. Are you sure you want to choose shitty?”

I was slightly annoyed at that moment, but admitted, that, no, I didn’t WANT to choose shitty.

So my friend reminded me that we each get to choose how we react to stressful situations. Some people get up and walk away from their desk. Others power through stress. But, realistically, we choose how we react and what our mood will be. Will we take it out on the next person we see or talk to? Or will we take a few deep breaths, look out the window and daydream about something happy?

For me, ever since that day, when things are NOT going the way I expected, or tensions get high, I say to myself, “I get to choose what kind of day I want. Do I really want to choose shitty?” Saying those exact words are a positive trigger for me. It reminds me that my mood, my approach, my reaction is completely my choice.

I know I am NOT the only person who is having a rough day, and there are tons of people out there who have it far worse than I do. So, I mindfully decide, I am going to have a good day. I will make the best of things. Sometimes I get up from my desk and walk around just to clear my head. I might do a few deep breaths. Oftentimes when I meditate each morning, I set my intention for the day.

How about you? Ever have a rough day? Ever call a friend or coworker to vent? Ever feel yourself starting a pity party for yourself? So, how about this instead? Next time you are headed down that “whoa, poor me…” spiral, how about saying to yourself:

Everyone gets to choose what kind of day you have. Am I sure I want to choose shitty?

Have a fantastic day! I plan to!

Karen

Happy New Year! As you may recall, 13 months ago I made a decision to try something new. I decided NOT to make any new year’s resolutions, but rather, set some goals for myself for 2020 in a few areas of my life.

I set physical goals, professional goals and personal goals. I did not write these in pencil. I wrote them in pen. I was serious. But, I was also a bit nervous about the whole process.

After all, when you put something in writing, and share it with others, it is a commitment.

The first time I did this was when I decided to go vegan about eight years ago. I committed publicly (via this blog) that I would become vegan for 30 days to see what it was like, and how I felt. My reasoning was that I could do ANYTHING for 30 days. An interesting thing happened—by putting my goal in writing, and making the commitment to others, it was like I flipped a switch in my brain. All those obstacles and temptations seemed to disappear, and becoming vegan seemed achievable.

Well, the same thing happened for me in 2020. But the big difference for me this time was that I had a partner for the journey. We didn’t have the same exact goals, but we were both focused on our fitness and health. My partner (Jack Daly), happens to be one of the most goal-oriented, driven and determined people I’ve ever met. I first met Jack more than 20 years ago when he spoke to my CEO group. In the ensuing 20 years, I invited Jack to speak at my company multiple times about sales and sales management. I recall him talking about goal setting, tracking your goals and setting your sights high. Never in a million years did I think life would take a few turns and we would end up in a relationship and living together.

So, I am proud and excited to share what my goals were this past year and what I accomplished. I learned from Jack that one of the additional benefits of sharing this information is that it can motivate other people to step up their game.

*bold=goal achieved/exceeded

(If you think I’m crazy, then click [here] to see Jack’s 2020 goals and achievements)

So what were my top three learnings?

  1. Be specific with your goals and figure out the best tracking metric with the outcome in mind (i.e. knowing I had to get up at 5 a.m. in the morning meant I had to figure out that I needed to be headed to bed by 9 p.m. in order to get more than 7.5 hours of sleep each night).
  2. Importance of balance in the goals kept me balanced as a person (by having personal and family goals, along with fitness goals gave me a sense of a “win” in some areas, even if I was missing in others).
  3. The tracking system made all the difference in the world. The discipline of writing everything down, and tallying each month, kept me moving forward. And it was a gentle reminder of what I set out to do.

So what are you going to do in 2021? Have you thought about writing down some specific, measurable goals for yourself? Have you chosen an accountability partner or two who you can share your wins or losses with?

As you can imagine, after one year of following this process, I can see how the specificity of what I did can help me get things done. Is it a surprise that I have added a few new items to my list for 2021?

  1. I made a list of my closest friends, and have set goals for how often I want to touch base with them during the year.
  2. I’ve added a few of the items off my bucket list to my goals for 2021.
  3. I have pre-vaccination and post-vaccination goal categories (mostly for traveling and socializing).
  4. Number of rounds of golf I plan to play and number of times a month I will do yoga.

I invite you to join me on this journey and feel free to share YOUR goals with me!

Cheers to a fantastic 2021!

Karen