Salute to Luc

Posted: November 24, 2011 in Dogs
Tags: , , , , ,

By Bill Yates

Luc is a dog and I love him. Luc joined our family as a puppy in 2000. I wanted to name him Gravy because he’s grey like gravy but, we already had Beaux and decided to go with a Dukes of Hazzard theme. I know the spelling is off but supposedly that’s what you’re supposed to do with dogs…jack up the spelling of their names.

Luc loves to swim. We used to take him to the Trinity River below our house in Fort Worth and he would jump off the boat dock and chase turtles. He loves trying to “rescue” me at my mom and dad’s house each time I get into the water.

Luc is a patriarch. He is Day-Z’s father (another D.O.H. misspelling) and Lulu’s grandfather. They both act and look just like him.

Luc has a #1 on his side. His body is completely grey with only a white “1” patch on his side.

Luc ran away when he was a puppy. Luc got out of the yard when he was about 6 months old and spent the night with a stranger. Of course he wasn’t wearing a collar. After posting signs around the neighborhood we got a call from someone who found him on Oakland Blvd. They wanted $50 to give him back to us…jerks. We paid it.

Luc turns twelve today. He’s having a hard time getting around. I have to help him up from time-to-time and he no longer runs with the other dogs. He’s given so much happiness to our family and I love him.

Happy Birthday Luc!

Luc's first haircut - Before and After

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I recently completed my 5th triathlon and I am exhausted. The three events in this particular competition were walking, clapping and taking pictures. There also might have been some sitting in a lawn chair sprinkled in between each of these events.

While cheering on my wife and her best friend, Danette, during the Monster Triathlon in Keller, Texas this morning I made some observations and came up with five categories in which most spectathletes can be placed.

Spouse (solo) – This person does not cheer for anyone other than the athlete with whom they live. They can be seen leaning against a tree for most of the race then rising to snap photos when their sweetheart appears in the distance. This is me.

Spouse (with child) – Usually pushing a stroller or maybe trying to stick a straw into a juice box. Sometimes both. They’re up against the barricade with a front row seat and you can count on them to cheer almost every athlete that passes. Every once in a while they’ll have to trot onto the course to pull their little one out of the way.

Friends – They make signs. Sometimes they’re a little bit funny but often it’s an inside joke that no one else quite understands. The friends spend most of their time wondering aloud where their athlete is and how much longer the race is going to last.

Athletes – These folks are taking the day off from racing but probably finished a training run twice the distance of the actual race run…before 6:00 am. Many of the athlete-spectathletes wear their marathon jackets and t-shirts from previous races. They can be heard talking about split times and other technical mumbo-jumbo.

Dog people – I have no doubt that my dog is cuter than your dog and I’m sure you feel the same (or is it opposite?). Many of these pets aren’t exactly the best behaved but they’re all adorable. If you fit into the dog people category please remember to bring a plastic bag, or two.

As spectathletes we all have one thing in common, we love to support our athlete. We’re willing to wake up at the crack of dawn, stand out in the cold or heat for hours and we get so excited when our loved one passes. We all know how much time, effort and dedication our athletes put into training for a triathlon and it is our obligation to support their commitment.

A tip of the hat to all of the athletes and to their spectathletes!

TAGS: triathlon, cycling, swimming, running, race, athlete, spectathlete

Fort Worth Marketing FirmBill Yates is a partner with the mergers and acquisitions firm Sports Advisory Group he also serves on the board of directors for Splash Management a marketing firm in Fort Worth, Texas. Yatesie’s blog includes his view on a variety of topics.

No one remembers or cares who came in second place so until they take the only prize that matters, the World Series, these baseball teams should probably eliminate the cork and collar popping. If the goal is to win a championship why do baseball teams celebrate like the party is over when they simply win their division or league?

I first noticed this when the Texas Rangers bought themselves fancy rings for winning the 2010 American League Championship. Big deal. They still got their ass handed to them in the World Series. I was prompted to write this however when I saw a Ranger player interviewed last night while wearing swim goggles and talking about going out to party. Seriously! They haven’t even won the World Series yet.

This is probably a little bit different from other premature celebrations such as Leon Lett‘s infamous fumble recovery or Lebron & Company’s high flying press conference. I still giggle when I watch that ridiculousness.

Maybe I feel this way because I come from hockey where they won’t even touch the conference championship trophy in the post series ceremony. They certainly wouldn’t even think about buying themselves second place rings. Hockey players celebrate conference championships with a high five and practice at 9:00 the next morning.

After reviewing the traditions of other leagues I’ve found that the NBA and NFL also have over-the-top celebrations for conference championships which includes rings.

NCAA football could be considered a little bit different because there are so many teams, divisions, conferences and bowls…but no playoff system…the players may as well buy rings when their schedule is set and again after every single score as scoring points and schedule strength are pretty much the only ways to get “votes”.

My go-to sport, soccer, is also different. There are so many trophies, leagues and federations that it can become confusing for many fans. As an example, Manchester United could conceivably play their rival Chelsea in an English Premier League game on Wednesday then play them again on Sunday in a Champions League game with the outcome of neither game affecting the result of the other. Huh?

I want to make it clear that I’m not saying that any of these sports are better than the other and I’m also not a “hater”. In fact, I hope the Rangers win the World Series (unless they play the Cardinals). I suppose the root of my feelings comes from the way I was raised which was to play to be the best and be proud of the accomplishments along the way but unless our goals are met we can’t become too full of ourselves. Even then we have to be careful. We must remember that there is someone else who is pursuing the same prize and their preparation to beat us began the moment we appeared on the scene.

Side note: I have to point out that if I was a player and someone wanted to buy me a fancy ring for coming in second place I would certainly take it. I’m hard-headed…not stupid.

Tags: NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB, ALCS, NLCS, EPL, World Series, Championship, Winner, League, Trophy, Ring, Life Lesson, Sports

Marketing firm Fort WorthBill Yates is a partner with the mergers and acquisitions firm Sports Advisory Group. He also serves on the board of directors for Splash Management a marketing firm in Fort Worth, Texas. Yatesie’s blog includes his view on a variety of topics.

In 2009 I was asked to make a presentation to a group of team owners explaining the reasons that any business owner or CEO would want to spend money with a minor-professional sports team. I was excited to do this because for several years my sales teams had been refining this strategy and we had based our successes on identifying ‘The Four Reasons’.

There is no question that minor league sports sales is a tough business. We don’t have the superstar to hang our hat on and in many markets we’re much lower on the sports entertainment totem pole than we would like to be. We can mitigate some of these challenges simply by improving our strategies.

The goal of any decent sales representative is to fill a void that the customer is experiencing. We ask our open-ended questions to find out where the decision maker feels their business is in need of a boost. In some cases we may even help them realize that there are areas of their business that are deficient.

After having had the opportunity to review and analyze thousands of sales calls, we have found four areas that nearly all of these decision makers have centered their focus. Not coincidentally our inventory can also be categorized similarly making it simple to match our products to their needs. This means that if you understand the client properly you can effectively merge customer assessment, product knowledge and package building which will make the ever-dreaded closing step an easy one.

Reason 1.  Marketing: The goal of the business is to increase brand awareness, promote a specific product or simply drive traffic. This is the most common objective of any retail or consumer product business with whom you might be meeting.

Reason 2.  Sales development: Any good sales manager will tell you that retaining a customer is several times less expensive and time consuming than finding a new one. In many businesses, time spent on client relationships exceeds all other sales activities and great weight is spent on relationship building outside of the confines of an office. Getting to know their families, creating trust and building consumer loyalty is an area where many sales managers, especially those selling business-to-business, place a lot of focus.

Reason 3.  Employee appreciation: Since the dawn of time companies have been going to great lengths to reduce turnover rates and subsequently lower the expense, time and trouble that comes with positional transition. Employee incentive programs may be tied to workplace safety, attendance or any number of other factors that a company may identify to stimulate employee morale.

Reason 4.  Community support: This is the area where many sports sales executives fail to take full advantage. Most CEOs place great importance on making their city into a better place to work and live. We should know going into the meeting if the decision maker is on the board of directors for any non-profits or maybe their company has adopted a social improvement initiative such as literacy, green living or anti-bullying. They may also take it in another direction by simply seeing the team as an asset to the community and supporting the team’s efforts with an investment. There is even legislation in various states that requires industry specific companies to fulfill “community reinvestment” requirements. This makes it important for a team to have a non-profit arm and understand the importance of cause marketing.

We encourage all good minor pro sports sales representatives to develop their own set of open-ended questions to address each of these four areas. Once you’ve created your basic questions sit down with your colleagues in your next sales staff meeting and come up with a subset of questions. Remember to keep your mouth shut and let the client talk about the thing they love, their business.  Then, because you were attentive, you should be able to creatively product match and have a great chance to gain a new client.

On a side note, this should remind us of the importance of meeting with the “top local executive”. Most department heads will place emphasis on only one of these areas. A CEO however will understand the importance of each of them and will even know how they all can be intertwined. Your chances for success increase several times simply by meeting with the business owner or CEO as opposed to a department director or VP.

TAGS: Sales, Training, Management, Marketing, Sports, Hockey, Basketball, Baseball, Football, Minor League, Consultative, Strategy

Bill Yates is a former pro sports executive who is now the Principal Partner at Splash Management an event management and marketing firm in Fort Worth, Texas. Yatesie’s blog includes his view on a variety of topics.

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