Monday, December 05, 2016

The lost baby.

This morning, after two weeks of emotional silence, I decided to quietly share with God that I am angry.  It was a quiet conversation, not the type where you yell at God, because my anger isn't directed anywhere.  In our exchange I was reminded of how in the past I thought it was unfair to David and Bathsheba's child that he had to die because of their sin.  This morning though that story came to mind and the idea that the child didn't grieve because the child went straight to heaven.  An infant that is lost doesn't grieve.  It doesn't seem unfair to him or her because the infant knows of nothing different.  Mother's womb to glorious heavenly embrace of the Eternal Parent.  There is no loss to the child, only gain.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Tips for a Car Salesperson from a Potential Customer

Dear Car Salesperson,

For the last eleven months my husband and I have been shopping for a car.  We have been eager to buy, and yet we have not purchased any vehicle.  I believe this is due to poor salesmanship of the auto industry.  So, I now offer tips to all car salespeople.

·       Don’t forget to close the sale.  Bring the contract (with the small print) to the customer and ask them how they want to pay.  Yes, even before they have said, “Yes.”    A customer can't pick up a car and carry it through the check-out lane.  The customer has to wait until the salesperson pulls out the contract and asks for the money.  Assume their answer is "yes," and say, "so, here is the contract... how would you like to pay?" The ability to close the sale is an essential skill for a car salesperson! 

·       That being said, don’t ask questions where the customer will answer “no.”   When you ask a question where the answer is “no,” it makes it easier for the customer to say “no,” when you try to sell the car.

·       Don’t offer your opinion on personal matters.  If the couple shares that they are saving money for fertility care and adoption, don’t make suggestions for how they pursue parenthood. Or if they say they are saving up for a trip to California, don’t suggest they go to Minnesota instead.

·       Negotiate the price of the car inside the vehicle.  If the vehicle is in front of the customer they will be thinking about how much they want the vehicle.  Unlike the salesperson, the customer likely isn’t as familiar with the vehicle.  Staring at the salesperson too long the customer forgets the vehicle.

·       Don’t leave the customer sitting too long with the price sitting on a piece of paper in front of them.  The longer the customer sits in front of the paper the more they are focused on the price and the less on the actual vehicle.  The number on the paper seems to grow more expensive the longer the customer sits there.

·       If a customer seems undecided between two vehicles, offer to start negotiating on one.  Make the decision for them.  If they don’t feel comfortable negotiating on that one, then as a salesperson you will know they really aren’t interested in that vehicle and you will help them to more quickly move on to the vehicle they are interested in purchasing.

·       If a customer initially contacts you to purchase a brand new car, don’t let them walk out with a $10,000 used car.  If you did, you weren’t a good sales person.

·       Negotiate price.  No customer wants to pay the ticket price.  Don’t say you are trying to be kind by not negotiating. Let the customer feel like they got a deal because you dropped the price for them.

·       Remember, the customer can always sell their trade in online.

·       CLEAN the car.  Don’t show a car to a customer that is covered in dog hair that can be vacuumed up or spills that can be wiped up.  We drove four hours to see a car at a dealership that had not been detailed.  Needless to say, we took a glance at the car and drove away.  The sales person didn’t even have a chance.  Who wants to clean up after someone else’s mess?  Not the customer.

·       Don’t negotiate a price and say, “this is for today only.”  If the customer walks away they won’t be returning to that dealership, because supposedly the deal was lost.  They will instead drive to the dealership on the other side of town to purchase the car.

·       Respect the customer’s time.  Don’t make them sit for thirty minutes while you go get coffee and visit with your co-workers.  The reason the customer is in the store is to interact with a real person, instead of their car apps.

·       Reward customers for paying cash. Even if it is $50 off the price, because they have worked hard to be able to save enough to pay cash.  This is psychological, but will help you make the sale.

·       Don’t try to sell a vehicle you don’t know anything about.  Invite the salesperson who is more knowledgeable to take over the sale.  Hopefully, that salesperson will pay you back sometime by transferring a customer to you.  This includes being knowledgeable about the differences between years of models/makes.

·       If a couple is shopping together find out what is the most valuable qualification for a vehicle for each of them individually.  One spouse may have told the salesperson that what matters most is that it is All Wheel Drive, the other spouse could care the least about All Wheel Drive.  A salesperson needs to be able to sell to both spouses!  And perhaps the salesperson could suggest a vehicle that neither of them considered.  Help the couple to stop compromising on a vehicle and instead to find one they both like! Sell this as a benefit for purchasing a more expensive vehicle!

·       Just because the customer can research online, doesn’t disqualify the salesperson as the expert.  Don’t discredit the online research, instead prove that you as the salesperson are the more qualified expert and you can tell them more than they can find online!  And periodically refer to the online app, to show you respect the info. and their commitment to researching on their own.

·       Offer multiple options for how the customer might pay for the vehicle and explain the options, because the customer may not have a correct understanding of how the options apply.

·       If the customer leaves without purchasing, give them a call and politely and humbly ask, “I would like to improve as a salesperson, what did I miss when you were here?”

·       LISTEN! and at least act excited about the car the customer is excited about.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Middle School Youth Lesson - Samson & Luke Cage - Judges 13 - 16

Middle School Youth – Samson’s Strength and Being a Hero of Our Time

Start with Pizza Party.

Competitive Game

Ask each youth to blow up a balloon and then tie a string to it.  Next, have them tie the string to their ankle.  The goal of this game is for each youth to protect the balloon tied to his own ankle while trying to pop the balloon tied on the ankles of other youth. 

Team maker Game

Invite the youth to pair up.  Have the pairs sit back-to-back.  They have to stand up together without their hands or arms touching the floor.  Then have the youth get in groups of three and try this again.  Then four. Then five. See if you can get the whole group together to stand up as one.

Pop Culture Reference

TV Show: Luke Cage

“Everyone has a gun, no one has a father.” – Luke Cage

Luke Cage is an average guy who has done some time and is trying to find his way – except for one special gift – he is “immune to bullets.”

His skin is impenetrable.

Watch Luke Cage trailer on YouTube or Netflix.

Takes place in the streets of Harlem where turf wars are taking place.

In his world, we see that what is right and what is wrong isn’t always clear.  We see that sometimes the criminals sometimes do good moral things.  Sometimes the people who are good and moral do things they shouldn’t do.

Luke Cage has his superpower, but he still has to make choices about how he will live.  Which is very human!  He has come up with a moral code to guide him – he doesn’t curse or drink and he keeps an even temper.  But, he is loose when it comes to women – and he doesn’t hold himself in check when it comes to how he intimately connects with them. What are some of the things that guide your moral code?

Bible Story

Samson is the story of a man who was born with a purpose and a superhero power.  He was actually a lot like Luke Cage.  Let’s read his story.  See Judges 13-16

Mary Kate at Christianity Cove suggests the following selection of Scripture if not reading all of Judges 13 – 16:

Judges 13: 1-5
Judges 13: 24-25
Judges 14: 1-6
Judges 16: 4-6
Judges 16: 17-19
Judges 16: 20-22
Judges 16: 26-30

Discuss the Following:

What was Samson’s superhero power?

What was Samson’s moral code? (What is a Nazirite?  See Numbers 6:1-21)

What or Who distracted Samson from his purpose?

What was the result?

Did he still achieve his purpose?  Do you think it could have been achieved in a different way?

How are Samson and Luke Cage alike?

What are your superhero strengths?

What might be your purpose?

Application Activity

One student stands on chair – other youth gather around chair.  The student on chair tries to pull the other youth up onto the chair. Tell the youth on the floor to resist being pulled up on the chair. It should be difficult for the student to pull the other youth up.  Then reverse the situation such that the youth on the floor try to pull the student on the chair off the chair.  This time the student on the chair should try to resist being pulled off.  Pulling the student off the chair should be much easier than pulling the youth up onto the chair.  Talk about how it is easier to be pulled down in life then pulled up.  Then have the youth try the first part of this exercise again, except this time the youth on the floor desire to be pulled up onto the chair.  Discuss with the youth how this illustration tells us something about peer pressure and evangelism.  When we share our faith or encourage our peers to do what is right, they need to have some interest or desire in order to be pulled up.  Otherwise, their resistance might pull us down into the temptations of negative peer pressure.

Idea Time

As a group discuss desires for the youth ministry of the church.  Describe a perfect church youth gathering.  What would it look like?  What would we do?  What would we learn?  How would we serve?  How would we worship?  How often would we meet?  Who do you want to invite?  What should be our goal as a group?
Time of Prayer

As a group share praises and prayer requests and then have the youth pray for each other.