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Charles L Martin's Blog

Charles L Martin has spent a lifetime experiencing hard won sales and marketing battles in the fashion, film, food & beverage, and social media industries. Early on, he enjoyed working as an assistant to Liz Ortenberg (Claiborne), Tommy Hilfiger, and producer Scott Rudin, among others. Previous employers include Rhino Chaser's Beer, EarthLink, eFresh.com, United Tranz Actions, OpenTable and now LivingSocial, which is the coolest gig around.

He is a media sales and relationship professional that has catapulted from a Marketing Consultant position at LivingSocial to a very well-respected and oft-promoted Marketing Executive – LivingSocial’s highest non-management sales designation -- in less than two years. He is a winner of almost every honor and sales award offered in his tenure there including a top 10% award for 2012 and continues to succeed in every metric associated with a senior media seller. He is a .com professional that has a good understanding of every aspect of SEO and digital marketing.

Specialties: Challenger Sales executive specializing in business development, client retention, the study of anticipation-based outstanding customer service, Net Promoter loyalty science, exploiting my contact base for the benefit of mutual parties, customer advocate, real estate, credit science, risk management, mid-century architecture, estate and xeriscape gardening, and he is a 4-time marathoner with a 3:58 personal record. .

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Hothead Review of Coldplay’s “Ghost Stories”

By Charles Martin | May 23, 2014

Here we are again with a new production from one of my favorite bands. Let's get right into it:  These are all first reactions with one airplay except on "Magic", "Sky Full of Stars", and "Midnight".  I'm writing as they play with no idea how the next will surface.  Not looking at any written lyrics. Not knowing any track listing. "Always in My Head" - Don't know about this one yet.  Not sure it's a good first track.  Soft and melodic.  Not much going on.  This might be a song I like in six months when I've worn out the other tracks. "Magic" - We all know this track and can sing it on the 405 at 85.  Beautiful work by Guy.  Opens up and lets you in just like a debut track should.  The one thing I think people love and hate about CP is that they appeal to a lot of demos.  Your mom can sing this song and so can your hard and crusty Van Halen fan.  That's fine with me.  Marketing is what keeps this band on the streets and we'd be sorry without it.  Love how Jonny comes back for a bit of carry midway.  Then at 4:42 Chris and Jonny take off just like we expect.  The song has a big finish that is well rehearsed and running with speed.  This song can sit on the shelf next to "Yellow" and "Fix You", no worries mate. "Ink" - Love this one.  The new album is chock full of the use of new percussion machines, pop effects (one on Sky reminded me of Cher's use of same voice alteration in her big song "If I Could Bring Back Time".  This isn't a slight.  Cher spends big bucks for big sound).  I think of this one as a way for Coldplay to capture a bit more of the Millennial crowd even though I'm not sure Chris and crew write to any one demo.  Surely not.  It's thin and not bulky.  I could even see this as a 3d or 4th single this summer. "True Love" - First I see Jonny Buckland at his usual perch on stage and he's liking this one. One with guitar. It's back beat is smooth with a nice place for Chris's voice to sew along over-top.  Will you are the man and without you, we are nothing. "Midnight" - I'm sure, even though I missed the UCLA show (damn you Ticketmaster!), that this is the opening piece for this tour.  So blank but so full.  That's midnight right?   What have you done in the last 12?  What will you do in the next? More voice treatments but don't be fooled folks.  He's Chris Martin and he can hang with anyone in terms of vocals.  I love the quiet parts and the continuous Buckland once again.  This is the song you play as they load the remaining luggage and you you're in push-back. It takes you out and brings you back for the remainder of what will always be a good show. It speeds up nicely at the end before Chris ties it neatly off. The laser work I've seen fits. Good one guys. "Another's Arms" - Opening voice track with immediate piano and percussion.  Cool.  It moves fast to include the entire band.  You're singing this immediately.  You know it's lyrics but you haven't heard it yet.  Another double treatment on the voice track. (don't forget who invented this guys... Richard Carpenter in the 70s...ha!)  Loving the new ideas guys!   Is this the G & C divorce song?  I'd like to think that Chris isn't that trite, but you never know.  There are lots of emotions weighing here and there in this album so far.  Beautiful Jonny work once again.  It reminds me of another CP song that I can't figure yet. "Oceans" -  All I hear on this one for now is a pulse.  Is it a whale?  Is it signal in a black space that is anyone's ocean?  Nice rise of synth later on.  Seems like a doodle.  A song half baked but that's ok.  The 70s albums were full of great doodles that we all would pay millions for on paper now.  Coming back to hear this many more times.  5:21 length lends itself to a little end-play on keeping you there.... will this bleed into the next song...? "A Sky Full Of Stars" - YEP!  slid right into Sky just like we did on Viva.  God!  I have loved this song for a few weeks now.  It's an anthem that we will all sing at late night venues this summer.  The crowd at Red Rocks in Denver will love this one.  Gets going fast.  You've just gotten your chance to drive an Indy car and you have no time to say no.  Brings you along and appreciates the opportunity to serve.  I love the classic Coldplay boom of a song that we can all fit into our lives, our stories, and personal anthems.  Coldplay does a great job of never telling you what or why they wrote something.  Like good ambassadors they leave it up to you.  My 7 year old will have his very own sky.  Thank you for this guys. "Ghost Stories" - A beautiful piano track opens this one.  Your life story on a photo slideshow plays in the background.  Wonderful clean living melody.  Could it be a ghost that we keep in our minds?  A second song I can think of with bird references.  I loved "Hopeful Transmission" and its bird flight sound.  A beautiful dreamy rendition that let's you go.  Fly on.  What's left in this track.  7:46 run time. Goes dead for almost 2 minutes.  Right about 6:19 a wonderful choir appears.  We heard this on the opening track too (which means if you let it run back to one, you'll get the connect).  Chris appears with more voice treatment, but not hackneyed in anyway.  Full and bright and then it ends. Get this on your phones/pods/comps.  Wonderful and worth it.

Topics: Greats in business | No Comments »

Thanks Seth Godin

By Charles Martin | June 10, 2013

Thanks Seth Godin for: The lead to my favorite new Dafen painting which we affectionately named "Uncle Fester" Uncle Fester Thanks also for taking the time to bring the obvious (but overlooked) to the forefront every day.I love this recent post -  So many of us in or related to call-center driven companies should think about this.

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Hello I’m Adele

By Charles Martin | February 6, 2013

Like most of us I love Adele. Talent times a million. I recently got her Royal Albert Hall DVD and in the intro before the first song she says "I'm Adele and I'm gonna entertain you tonight". Obviously people in the audience knew who she was, but it struck me that Adele will go on as a superstar for eons because she has the center to reintroduce herself and almost say "I'm just one of you and I hope you like my songs..." I felt, after seeing her banter along with the audience, that she understands staying grounded and "just like us" will propel her along to even greater heights. If you're a rock star. Stay grounded. And be brilliant.

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The Tipper

By Charles Martin | February 6, 2013

Listening to: The Kuge Soft Rocker by the astute audiophile and friend Mike Kuge. In sales we are always in search of The Tipper.  No, not the lady who gives 15% to her favorite waiter. The Tipper is the guy who is that last piece to the grand puzzle.  The guy who makes all your important deals become a reality.  Without him, it just doesn't fit.  The movement in your sales universe by knowing him or her is oh-so-small, but once they put their stamp of approval on what you do, it's a different world.  He "tips" the universe in your direction every so slightly.  Remember folks, there's a big difference between 95 and 100. In the recent months, I finally made a connection to the tipper in my market for restaurants.  Restaurants happen to be the mother lode for what I do in the daily deal dance.  This guy and his family have owned restaurants around here for more than 40 years.  Most aren't the $50 white table cloth kind of restaurants.  They're the stay-in-business-for-forty-years kinds of places. Luckily he had a need (Rule number 1 to any introduction) and he finally acquiesced to my incessant calling and emails.  Rule number 2 to any strong tipper relationship is that any mega-client worth having will only waltz around the dance floor for one easy dance with none of the arms over shoulders snuggling that we ultimately yearn for.  He will try you out.  After all, someone that builds a restaurant empire doesn't do it in a day. Deal one was a blaring success.  I put my all into the mechanics and made sure the team was ready for every turn. Dance number two came a few months later when we tried one of his older establishments that is actually a white table cloth place with a higher price point.  It's one of those British houses with lots of prime rib and good beer that LA was famous for a long time ago.  It was another grand success. I had been yearning to work on deal number three and we just recently completed it to another roaring success. And then the whole world tipped. Friend of said Tipper opened my 32nd email and with the stroke of a big YES put a deal together with me. Tipper's friend is as big and has a heart of gold. His deal was as successful - if not more - than the Tipper's. Now the engine roars and calls continue to be answered and doors continue to open. Just today I mentioned said gang of happy that I have on my side to someone on the fence and he got into action and invited me over next week. The key is to really figure out the combination of how you approach the people that can change your universe. It's not simple -- that's why we get the big bucks. But, it's a nice puzzle that I relish and it makes the day different when you've got to decide how to approach possibly the biggest deal of your life (or a combination that equals the biggest deals of your life). Good luck out there.

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Help us help Sandy Victims

By Charles Martin | December 10, 2012

We're going this weekend for some fun and holiday frolic, but also to help the folks in Staten Island.  If we're rained out or can't get on a team, we will still give them a check with all your wishes rolled into one. We're meeting with Steve Martino. Check out his website. http://themovementsi.com/hurricane_sandy_relief_page.html
Thank you -

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Do you do windows?

By Charles Martin | July 9, 2012

I was thinking that probably the most effective part of how I sell is that I do windows. I do the extra.  I say something and it happens.  I will stay late.  I will make a call on your behalf or fight for your cause if it's truly worth it.  After all, we're in this together. Someone I know uses the addage "how much are you going to make an hour if you do that something extra?" I think that's a nice mantra for an old-line copier salesman, but not now.  Not today when 1% of whatever MORE is, is... MORE. I'm not saying be reckless with your time.  But if you're a pro, you know how to focus on the things that matter to your bottom line and you also understand what keeps your pipeline full. The chords you strike.  The words and actions that are real.  --  Those things matter most long term. I'm on a different track.  I can't show immediate "today" results to my bottom line for the little extras I do, but I can surely show them in a month, a quarter, or even next week.  I can also show solid referrals because of the windows I've cleaned. Start doing windows.

Topics: Sales Acumen | No Comments »

Back Selling

By Charles Martin | June 19, 2012

Now Playing: "Jump" by Van Halen on Spotify very loud with a glass of Trader Joe's Sweet Tea   Thankfully, we're focused on more and more revenue generating opportunities than ever before. But change is often difficult to deal with.  My bosses can tell you about the stressful phone calls and emails they've received from colleagues as we change course. We're moving from an active unit-based sales approach to a more effective revenue based one this year and beyond.  My company has invested millions in infrastructure and the benefits to merchants are already apparent in everything we do. It's time to balance things so everyone - especially the subscribers we serve - get the very best deals in the universe.  That's ok with me. And as I work through and refresh relationships that began in 2011, I am given the opportunity (and privilege) to assess the outcomes and optimize the future with some of the best small and medium-sized businesses in the world.  My little corner of Southern California is special in that we have a little bit of everything to offer - great restaurants, exciting entertainment venues -- indoors and out --  and all sorts of personal development opportunities. Along the way, and like any salesperson, I have to work with my client to price things appropriately and fairly while maximizing the revenue for the company I represent.  It's part of the job.  I try to embrace it.  Some people avoid it. I also have been deciding to not work on deals that were flat and pointless before.  I now work on deals that are powerful from top to bottom.  That keeps me interested and reinvigorated.  I do better work in that confine.  Everyone wins. But in that transition part -- especially the soft middle of transitions like these - it's often difficult.  Within this new focus there are challenges I enjoy.  When you work like I do in a multi-transactional month, keeping it interesting is how you succeed long term.  While I've hit my stride, I look for new ways to stand behind the value of a price increase and make sure my time is well spent along the way.  All of us sellers look back on deals and assess time spent vs results.  Many times, it's disappointing news. If you happen to have an aversion to discussing price, you aren't alone.  After all, most of us don't like to discuss finances with our spouse, let alone people that control our ultimate professional destiny.  It would be easier to simply sell things that have fixed and commodity pricing like gasoline.  Some of us do.  But, most of us don't.  Calling someone and letting them know that something they paid $1 for last time costs $2 today can be a wall for many. Scale that wall. After all, price increases are actually something most of us sustain every day.  When has your new car cost less than the one before it?   Your grocer is always asking for more.  In life, this is a constant. So working with a new price book that is chock full of opportunity and value for my customers is a nice challenge I welcome and it's fun at the end of the day.  It's not easy but when you have new and often increased pricing that you cannot control, it can help to follow these tips:
Good luck out there and keep on closing!

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Hothead Blog Update

By Charles Martin | June 18, 2012

Hi Guys, Been very busy with all things work/family/life. Coming back with more frequent posts that are centered on discussions about the world of sales. Enjoy!

Topics: Sales Acumen | No Comments »

Soma For Sale

By Charles Martin | March 2, 2012

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By Charles Martin | January 6, 2012

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Every single day I work through many deals that are vetted, looked at, vetted, and then looked at again by a crack team of traffic specialists that are very strict about quality.  If your company isn't really showing a good face on the web or if your customer happy factor is low or non-existent, we will ask to work together at another time, Buy Zithromax Without Prescription. We want to know people like what you do.  As per usual, the deals we DON'T do never get into the news stream.  I'm selling 30+ deals a month.  Probably 25% of that number doesn't even see the light of day. Buy Zithromax Without Prescription, Sure, there are deals that might have been disastrous.  If you read the new bio on Steve Jobs, you'll find (or maybe even remember) that many of Apple's first computers were real expensive disasters.  No bulk refunds were given.  We stuck with Jobs for three decades and now Apple's product is the supreme choice.  We try to avoid disastrous.  What part of "we're just gettin' started" is not clear, Buy Zithromax Without Prescription.

I work for a company like Apple.  I wake every day knowing that the captain up in the tower is probably not sleeping as much and is worrying much more than I about how to make it all work.  I can guarantee you that the solution for tracking and making it easier for people to repeat their visits to your business is on the horizon.  We understand that it's the mother lode.  They don't share these ideas with me, but I know we're on this track because of the type of company I work for.

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