Using the Media to Market a Business

Immigration’s Underworld

Business Crises: Expect No Warning

Corrections or additions?

This article was prepared for the March 13, 2002 edition of

U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Hiring: Finding the Hero’s Spark

The wizard knows. His NBA player picks will score an

average of 909 points a season. Those he rejects, only 367. His chosen

baseball pros will generate an average of 146 hits this year, compared

with a mere 71 by those players he turns aside. As Orlando Magic’s

General Manager John Gabriel put it, "This guy has saved us

millions."

This wizard applies the same methods, with the same success rate,

to selecting the best salespeople in almost any field. How much is

that worth to you?

Herb Greenberg, founder of Caliper, the human resources

assessment

firm on Mount Lucas Road, has spent four decades in determining the

right individual for the right team. On Monday, March 18, at 6 p.m.

he speaks on "Secrets of Successful Selling: A Program to Ensure

Future Growth" at a meeting of the Institute of Management

Consultants

(IMC) at the Doral Forrestal. Greenberg will analyze the essential

traits of top sales performers and the optimum environment such

employees

require. IMC dinners are held the third Monday of odd months at the

Doral Forrestal. Cost: $60. Call 908-325-0095 or visit

www.IMCNewJersey.org.

Greenberg, a man who enjoys his work, begins an interview with a quiz.

"Now," he says with a smile, "I want you to answer true

or false to these four questions:

I am a good leader.

I am a responsible person.

I am emotionally stable.

I get along well with people.

In this reporter’s most honest, job-application-review opinion,

I answer true to all of the above. "Now, of those four

statements,"

he continues, "tell me which is most like you, and which is least

like you." This is harder. I take my best shot. He laughs and

after tearing my choices apart with Patrick Sweeney , Caliper’s

vice president of marketing, Greenberg explains: "You see, this

way I’ve got you to actually reveal something about yourself."

Multiply that little revelation times 180 carefully-worded questions

and you have the Caliper test, which elicits the content of a

candidate’s

character in a host of very telling ways.

It was Greenberg’s relatively accidental discovery of how to evoke

such information that led him out of academe into his own consulting

firm, which now profiles candidates in offices in more than nine

countries

(U.S. 1, October 29, 1997).

Greenberg grew up in Brooklyn and seemed destined for a scholarly

career. At City College he earned a B.S. in psychology and sociology

and a master’s in clinical psychology. He earned his doctorate at

NYU, and went on to teach at Texas Tech and then at Rutgers where,

in 1960, an executive from the life insurance industry approached

him about psychological testing. Some life insurance companies were

facing an appallingly expensive turnover rate among their sales

personnel

and thought pre-hiring screening would lead to better hires.

"I examined the existing tests," says Greenberg, "and

found them barely worth burning. Most of the `sales performance’ tests

were incredibly fakeable. Any applicant could instinctively feed back

to the tester what he wanted. But most of all, they lost sight of

what real selling dynamics were and tested only for related

things."

Frequently such tests searched only for vaguely related traits, such

as affability or sociability, rather than probing for a driving sales

spirit.

Joining with David Mayer, Greenberg set out to build and market the

newest and best sales screening test. And like so many new

entrepreneurs

with the newest and best product, they starved. At last, General

Motors’

Buick division saved Mayer and Greenberg’s new business from total

collapse by offering them a contract to screen their new sales force.

Greenberg says the testing he and his partner did for Buick resulted

in chart topping sales.

Today Greenberg’s staff tests 400 candidates every day for sales and

management positions, and for slots on sports teams. They choose

financial

analysts for Wall Street firms, executives for Japanese corporations,

programmers for Swedish tech companies, and professionals for

multi-nationals.

Greenberg, Sweeney, and Harold Weinstein, Caliper’s chief

operations

officer, have written a sales training book, "How to Hire and

Develop Your Next Top Performer."

"The whole trick," says Greenberg, "is to find an

individual

with the right core strengths and competencies." He insists that

employers should separate these natural abilities from the teachable

skills. Product knowledge, specific sales techniques, even dress and

mannerisms, are important, but they can be taught to any person

flexible

and willing to learn. Experience, interest, affability, and a glib

tongue also can come in handy. But without the core of selling

strengths,

the individual is going nowhere. Your next top sales performer will

have:

Ego drive. Somewhere within, the good salesperson feels

a hunger. She hungers for that "yes," whether it is closing

the deal on a car, or just getting the customer to listen to her sales

pitch. More than the money, the seller must want to conquer this sale.

She must find in its completion a fulfillment of herself.

Empathy. A good seller must be able to read customers

and see their hidden agendas. What is this person really seeking to

get for himself with these buying dollars? The salesperson should

be able to probe with humor and get feedback. But in addition to just

absorbing feedback, she must know how to make a tool of this

information

and use it in making the sale.

Ego strength. "I consider myself a pretty good

salesman,"

laughs Greenberg. "But for every deal I close, at least two fall

through. The greater your ability to toss off rejection, the greater

your potential." He estimates that at least two-thirds of the

population responds to a first rejection in a given field by quitting

and trying something else.

Job chemistry. Not every salesperson fits every position,

warns Greenberg. If your company is number seven in the marketplace,

then you definitely need that seller with the killer instinct. But

the number one company might be better advised to find more of a

schmoozer,

someone who can take orders with a bit of charm. Also certain fields

require certain personalities. In the pharmaceutical business, the

high pressure deal closer is woefully out of place. Instead, finding

a person who can knowledgeably and smoothly talk with physicians will

lead to better results.

Workplace chemistry. "Some people need to be stroked

for going to the bathroom," says Greenberg. "They need

management

feedback and praise all the time. Others squirm and scream about

micromanagement

if so much as a word is uttered." If your entire business is very

team-oriented, the independent executive will neither last nor

achieve.

Within its Princeton corporate headquarters, a team of

researchers

constantly analyzes and adjusts the Caliper test, which interestingly

remains one-size-fits all. The test administered to the Los Angeles

Lakers’ basketball players and the Maryland Insurance Group’s

executive

team is the same. Greenberg regards this as rather elementary, since

both organizations are looking for the same traits in their potential

teammates. What is more surprising, however, is that virtually no

changes must be made from nation to nation. Japanese computer

salespeople,

notes Greenberg, "may express their empathy differently, within

a distinct set of social customs." But whether Japanese or German,

Canadian or Israeli, every salesperson must have the same core

strengths.

Thomas J. Byrnes, vice president of sales for Avis, a Caliper

client, noted recently: "We have found that one of every four

people in the general population has better potential for sales than

50 percent of those already in the profession." Perhaps, as Martin

Luther King and Herb Greenberg suggest, it is time forget the

superficial

and to make judgments based on the content of a person’s character.

— Bart Jackson

Top Of Page
Using the Media to Market a Business

Writers hoping to sell articles to newspapers and

magazines

are told — again, and again, and again — to study the

publications.

The same advice applies to businesses that want to grab some ink.

Getting the company’s name into print is not all that difficult for

those who follow the cardinal rule and learn which publications run

what types of stories and when they run them.

On Wednesday, March 20, at 7:30 a.m. at the Nassau Club, the Princeton

Chamber presents "How to Best Market Your Business Through the

Media." On hand to provide advice on placing stories are Anita

Shaffer, business editor of the Times of Trenton; George

Taber,

founder of Business News New Jersey; Richard K. Rein, founding

editor and publisher of U.S. 1 Newspaper; Arlene Schragger,

ads Public Relations; Mark Feffer, Tramp Steamer Media; and

Thomas Lento, Sarnoff Corporation. Call 609-520-1776.

No two newspapers or magazines are alike. Even within sub-categories

such as local news, national sports, women’s issues, each publication

has a unique formula. Figure out the formula for each publication

in which you would like to see your story, and you have a much better

than average chance of placing it there.

There are magazines, for example, that publish articles on new

restaurants,

or private schools, or continuing education at the same time each

year. There are newspapers that write about events before they occur,

and others that write about the same events after they have taken

place.

Each publication covers a specific range of subjects in a designated

geographic area. One covers municipal news, while another covers only

business news. One publishes a lot of Trenton-based stories, and a

fair number of stories from eastern Pennsylvania, while another only

rarely ventures that far south and west. Look carefully through not

just one but several issues of each of your target publications to

turn up patterns.

At the March 20 event U.S. 1’s Rein promises to offer participants

some specific examples of great, not-so-great, and just plain lucky

public relations campaigns. And, since journalism is all about special

cases, Rein will tailor his advice to the specific circumstances of

attendees.

But U.S. 1 also offers some general guidelines that might help anyone

approach any publication. Among the U.S. 1 tips to PR people:

Send copy before an event. Help us tell our readers about

something they can attend. It’s fun to contemplate attending an event,

even if you don’t actually go to it. Rarely do we "cover"

an event that has already happened.

Let us know about your upcoming talk. You have a message

you want to convey to the Princeton community? Schedule yourself to

give a talk somewhere, then send us the three points you think are

most important. People are much more likely to attend a meeting or

seminar when they know that you have something to say.

We’re interested in where you work. We don’t care where

people live; we care where they work. So when you mention a name or

caption a photo, try to tell us where that person works (job title,

business name, and business site).

Tell us about yourself. Yes, tell us what you are doing,

but also tell us who you are and why our readers need to know. Send

a photo if you can. Be sure to include a caption and date on the back.

Write your own story. Weigh in with your own viewpoint.

We may be able to use it as an "op ed" piece or a long letter

to the editor.

Include all the information. Release information: Include

who, what, when, where, how, why, and your phone number (preferably

day and night). We rewrite the release, so try to give us plenty of

information to choose from. Send backup material if you can.

Don’t call to check on every fax. If your fax machine

handed you a receipt, we almost certainly got your announcement. When

it doubt, resend.

Write a letter. Tell us about any errors. Remember that

letters to the editor may get more readership than the original

article.

Give your news to editorial. Don’t give your information

to the ad salespeople and count on them to pass it on. Give it to

editorial.

Be aware that we can not print everything. Don’t assume

we’ll print your release. Death, taxes, and advertising are the sure

things.

Think about deadlines. Deadlines: Send or fax a note as

soon as you know the date. We may be hours away from a deadline that

you don’t know about — the decision on what to use for a cover

story, for instance. For the U.S. 1 calendar, the deadline is late

November of the previous year.

For the paper, delivered every Wednesday, the press release and photo

deadline is at least one week before publication. But if you miss

the deadline, just send it anyway. We may be able to squeeze it in.

And do not assume that any one day of the week is any more relaxed

than any other for a weekly newspaper editor. On the morning of March

20, for example, you might expect to find a chipper U.S. 1 editor

at the Nassau Club. His Wednesday edition would have been sent to

the printer at 1 p.m. the day before and he would have had all Tuesday

afternoon and evening to contemplate the great issues of the Wednesday

meeting.

But not so quick: On Tuesday evening Rein and the U.S. 1 staff have

to deliver the final copy of the 2002-’03 Business Directory to the

printer. Expect at least one bleary-eyed editor at the breakfast.

Final point of advice:

Write neatly. Keep it simple. Make it easy for editors

to do what you want them to do.

Top Of Page
Immigration’s Underworld

It sometimes seems that, if they could make the trip,

the entire world would live and labor in America. This past decade,

nearly 2 million people a year have made that trip, entering legally,

while an estimated 5 million slipped in outside the law. This is twice

the number of new Americans who arrived back in the 1880’s during

the hey day of Ellis Island. Yes, our national parks are lovely and

our equally lofty freedoms are attractive, but most of these people

come here to work.

The employer who seeks to import new workers and strives to find them

some permanent situation with his firm encounters an Immigration and

Naturalization Service (INS) system both boggling and Byzantine. To

help thread this labyrinth, the New Jersey Bar Association’s Institute

of Continuing Legal Education (ICLE) presents its second annual

immigration

conference on Wednesday, March 20, at 9 a.m. at the Gateway Hilton

in Newark. Cost: $199. Call 732-214-8500.

This roundtable offers a roster of speakers from several concerned

agencies. Moderator Neil Dornbaum, partner in the Newark-based

law firm of Rubin Dornbaum, provides the employers’ point of view.

William Yates, deputy executive associate commissioner of the

INS, explains the federal government’s position, while Andrea

Quarantillo,

district director, INS, and Susan Raufer, New Jersey’s asylum

director, cover state regulations. Paul Novak of the Vermont

Service Center answers questions about the East Coast INS sector.

Deloris DeHann, a Department of Labor certifications officer, and

Betty Manfredonia, New Jersey’s alien certification officer,

also speak. A substantial portion of the day-long roundtable addresses

individual questions.

"Employers seeking to import talent have a lot more to worry about

from this current recession than the events of 9/11," notes

20-year

immigration attorney Dornbaum. With thousands of unemployed American

programmers waiting tables to fight off foreclosure, offering this

computer job to a foreign national comes under heavy scrutiny. Can

you really prove that no American could do this work?

This is but one hurdle in a process that can bog down the hiring of

a foreign-born candidate for up to two-and-a-half years. Dornbaum

ticks off a list of immigrant work requirements that would daunt any

mythic hero trying to wend his way through the underworld.

Cerebrus of Labor. First, the foreign candidate and his

potential employer must pass through the three-headed gate guardian

of the Department of Labor. It demands three proofs. First, can you

demonstrate that your company or particular business is not restricted

from hiring individuals from this specific country? Second, does the

salary meet the proper regulations, making it comparable with American

wages? Third, and most difficult, could the position offered be filled

by absolutely no American-born worker?

Within the Cave. Once you are inside the system, the INS

takes a sharp look at of the employing firm. A series of forms and

examinations discerns if the individual can actually perform the work

offered. Also, can this employer pay, now and continually, the wage

offered? Here is where the illegal pipelines get discovered. Shell

companies that import unqualified laborers in to work for a few weeks

before releasing them jobless onto our streets are sometimes found,

and shut down, at this juncture.

Winning through the other side. Finally, the search

broadens

to the immigrant candidate’s homeland where, in coordination with

local officials, his work capabilities and citizen status are

examined.

Inquiries involving legal problems, labor records, family status,

and political affiliations are made. The more extensive a nation’s

documentation and communication system, the faster this step proceeds.

Because of this exhaustive process, coupled with the fact of

substantial

American unemployment on the lower job levels, Dornbaum states that

"it is virtually impossible for an employer to bring in unskilled

labor for his factory at this point. The whole goal of the INS system

is to encourage the hiring of only those top professionals whose work

will promote the hiring of more Americans."

Dornbaum, a native of New York City who took his law degree at Temple

University, has spent the past two decades guiding these very

professionals

in a host of fields into United States companies. "It has been

really exciting to aid in the process of bringing some of the greatest

movers and shakers into our nation’s workforce," he says. Dornbaum

has done work for major pharmaceutical companies seeking prime

researchers

for new drugs and by several agencies acquiring employees "in

the national interest."

It is Dornbaum’s job to ease their path through state laws, federal

laws, and regulations of a number of government agencies. "There

are 20 categories with over 75 options under which a person can be

brought in to work in the U.S.," he says, "but basically,

work visas fall into three time periods."

Shortest term, and comparatively the easiest to obtain, is the

temporary

work visa. Lasting to 180 days, this permit can take longer to procure

than its time of allowance. Even for this visa, a strong preference

is given to professionals with specialized skills.

This temporary visa — a foot in the door — can be extended

to three years, with one renewal, allowing a worker to stay on for

six years if he proves valuable. Under even the best of circumstances,

application for this permit takes 15 to 90 days.

The most difficult, but most gratifying, is the permanent visa,

lasting

20 years and up, demanding the ever-elusive green card. Obtaining

one of these, even with expert help, takes two-and-a-half years. The

process provides work for approximately 7,000 U.S. immigration

attorneys,

double the number practicing this specialty a decade ago.

The INS, with its funding severely cut, labors to process a mountain

of applications. "I am amazed at how well they do," says

Dornbaum,

"but don’t count on the process ever galloping swiftly in the

foreseeable future."

So if you have your eye on a genius from Syria who would turn your

product line around, take a tilt at the immigration process. But if

you seek just a nice group of programmers, perhaps you had better

take the Department of Labor’s patriotic suggestion and hire American.

— Bart Jackson

Top Of Page
Business Crises: Expect No Warning

For most businesses, the question is not whether a

crisis

will strike, but when! It is virtually inevitable that some kind of

crisis will hit every type of business in the next few years."

So writes Virgil Scudder, a former sports and news broadcaster

who heads up a New York City-based media training and crisis

communications

company.

On Wednesday, March 20, at 11:30 a.m. he speaks on "Lessons from

Enron: How to Handle a Crisis and an Ethical Dilemma" at the New

Jersey chapter of the Public Relations Society of America at

Headquarters

Plaza in Morristown. Also speaking is Doug Fenichel, ethics

officer for the organization. Call 973-984-6184.

The terms "Enronitis" and "I’ve been Enronned" have

already entered the vernacular. According to Scudder, every company

had better be prepared for an event that will take some explaining.

In an article posted on his company’s website (www.vs-a.com), Scudder

writes: "Crises come in many forms — natural disasters,

product

failures, fatal accidents, disabling strikes, and massive lawsuits,

just to name a few. Some are predictable and avoidable, and many are

not. But the way the company reacts in the first hour or two can

determine

how the public perceives the business and its products for years,

or decades, to come."

He suggests that every company prepare a crisis plan —

immediately.

There is a natural tendency to resist doing so, but, says Scudder,

having a crisis plan is just plain good business, and not having one

is flirting with disaster.

He offers a list of what the media — and its worldwide audience

— wants to see after a business disaster.

A prompt response.

Top executives ready to be interviewed.

Openness and candor.

Proof that the company has been acting responsibly.

An apology if one is appropriate.

Prompt, effective corrective action.

Spokespeople who speak with knowledge and authority.

There is no excuse or explanation that will do if a company

is not prepared to respond in this manner. Tip-offs that a company

was caught unprepared, says Scudder, include top executives in hiding,

slow response, little information about the event, defensive behavior,

and an attempt to place blame elsewhere.

Any company chilled by the thought of contracting Enronitis must be

prepared to avoid the slightest appearance of stalling or fumbling

for words should the unthinkable — but all too predictable —

crisis arise.


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