Thursday, January 28, 2010


I don’t much care for awards shows. Every now and then, however, I will see someone who impresses or even inspires me, like when Cuba Gooding Jr. won an Oscar for his role in Jerry Mcguire or when Roberto Benigni won an Oscar in 1998 for Life is Beautiful.  For the most part I see a room full of people who haven’t had a job in months who are just happy to be dressed up and out of the house.

My wife enjoys awards shows, so when the Screen Actors Guild Awards aired on January 23rdwe watched it. I was actually quite impressed with Sandra Bullock and especially Betty White who hails back to an era where class and decorum were the order of the day. I was completely underwhelmed by Drew Barrymore. When the award for best actress in a television movie or miniseries was announced, Drew Barrymore’s name was called. She gave the customary “oh my God I can’t believe it’s me” look to her fellow aisle mates then made the triumphant march to the stage to accept her prize. This is where the wheels came off !!!!

I am a professional speaker. I believe that a person’s ability to effectively communicate thoughts, ideas, and gratitude is paramount in fomenting success regardless of profession. Apparently Drew Barrymore doesn’t think so. As she accepted her award, she began to stutter and stumble over her words in a cutesy and contrived display of ums & ands.  When the awkward moment began to turn uncomfortable, she said “usually improv is a good thing….it’s backfiring on me very badly right now”. I have news for you Drew, IT’S NOT IMPROV….IT’S A SPEECH !!!!.  Considering that you have been in the movie business since before ET phoned home, it is a speech that you should have been prepared for!!!!!!

In a matter of seconds she went, in my eyes, from brilliant to buffoon, from star to stammer, from “bless my stars” to “bless her heart”, all because she was painfully unprepared.

There are certain moments where the right words delivered with eloquence, passion and skill can create, what my friend Scott Mckain calls, a mountain top experience. In sales, these moments happen EVERYDAY. Are you prepared? Have you developed the skill and “material” to inspire people to action?

Three ways to prepare for your awards speech:

Continually be on the lookout for real life experiences, stories, and anecdotes that can be recalled and delivered with dexterity at a moments notice.  Become an expert in your field and your client’s by reading books, articles and web copy about topics that relate to the field.  Keep a file.

      Never miss an opportunity to listen to great speakers speak. Don’t steal their material, take note of their style and technique then create your own.
      As good as you think you are, YOU’RE NOT!!!.  I don’t care how many successful wedding toasts you’ve given. Until you’ve delivered a thousand speeches or presentations, you still have room for improvement. Even then, you still can find ways to become better. JOIN TOASTMASTERS…NOW!

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Ballad of Rusty The Roofer

Sitting in the living room of “Yellow House”, watching water drip from four different leaks in the ceiling, I decided that it was time to fix the roof. Yellow House was a rental property in Nashville that I shared with my two beautiful female roommates years ago who, despite my best efforts, still thought of me as a buddy.

After receiving a number of estimates, a guy pulled up unannounced one afternoon in a white van and said “wud up?” Enter Rusty the Roofer. Rusty was a red faced, red headed, redneck who offered to repair my roof for half of what the other roofers would. In my naiveté’ I hired him on the spot. The events that transpired over the next week taught me two things, 1. In the words of Ronald Reagan “trust but verify”, and 2. Never do business with a guy in a white van.

On the first day, Rusty and his crew came out and took all of the shingles off of the house. I had to later apologize to my female neighbors for the cat-calls that were being lobbed from my roof like grapefruit. Taking shingles off of a roof does not require exorbitant amounts of brain matter.  Putting new shingles on, however, requires a bit more skill, but in order to apply that skill one must be present. When Rusty was ready to leave for the day at the crack of two, he told me that he would return the following morning at 9:00 am. I assured him I would be waiting. The next morning, nine o’clock came, nine o’clock went and I was left standing on my porch underneath my naked roof growing agitated. Rusty finally showed up at 10:30 and apologized for his tardiness. I told him that I was planning my workday around his start time so I insisted that he be on time. The following day at 9:00 am, I am standing on my porch waiting for Rusty to show up only to be stood up yet again. When he rolled into my driveway at eleven o’clock, I was hot. I said “Rusty, when you tell me that you are going to arrive at nine….I EXPECT YOU TO BE THERE !!!!! When you don’t arrive until eleven you screw up my whole day.” Rusty looked at me and said “Patrick you’re right. But I have a good excuse. Last night I was out at a bar and met a woman who is doctor from Vanderbilt Medical Center and we [Partied] all night long.” I looked at him with an incredulous look on my face and said “Rusty, don’t take this the wrong way, but you don’t look like the type of guy who [parties] with doctors from Vanderbilt.” He chuckled and said “you’re right, but last night I had it going on, I was looking sharp…. I HAD ALL MY GOLD ON”

I guess I underestimated the seductive charms of a herring bone chain and a nugget pinky ring. I told him that doing business with him was becoming more trouble than it was worth and he looked me in the eye and said “Patrick, you have to admit that 90% of the time, I do exactly what I say I am going to do”.  There ends the ballad of Rusty the roofer.

Like with Rusty, customers judge a vendor or service provider by the 10% of the time their expectations are not met. Here are three ways to turn prospects into clients, clients into fans, and avoid becoming a “Rusty the Roofer”.

Become known as a person of your word. This establishes trust.
Trust enables friendship.“People want to do business with their friends”  (Jeffrey Gitomer)

2.         2.  UNDERpromise and OVERdeliver.
           Too many times we are tempted to say anything to close the sale.
           When you close the 10% margin of error you become a resource
            who provides value. Value creates loyalty.

3.        3.   BE PROFESSIONAL.
           Professional standards of communication and dress have relaxed
           over the last decade. Become known for superseding the standard.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Fatback and Gefilte Fish

I am a Southerner. I am not a confederate flag waving “if the South would’ve won, we’d have had it made” Southerner, but I am proud to be from the South. I grew up in Alabama, went to college in Mississippi, and my roots are known to show from time to time. Not many of my friends, however, know that I was born in Silver Spring, Maryland.

For the first four years of my life, my father was a lobbyist in Washington, DC, and we were the only non-Jewish family living in an all-Jewish neighborhood. From an early age this Southern Baptist Alabama boy developed a taste for Jewish cuisine. Lox, bagels, chopped liver, and gefilte fish were common fare when I was playing with the Lieberman or the Rosenthal kids.

Years later, when I was living in Nashville, Tennessee, as a single musician, I befriended an older Jewish woman who lived in a small house in my neighborhood in Hillsboro Village. I was finishing a jog one afternoon and as I passed her house, I noticed that she was trying to mow her lawn and seemed to be having trouble. I stopped and introduced myself, and then offered to finish the job for her. After mowing her yard, she invited me into her home for lemonade. We talked for a while and she shared with me pictures of her children, grandchildren and even a picture of her ex-husband --  “May God rest his soul….soon
 (her words). On her mantle was displayed a beautiful menorah so I told her of my early years in the all-Jewish neighborhood outside of Washington D.C. She said we were the “token gentiles”. We came to an agreement on that day. I would mow her yard in exchange for her homemade chopped liver. Music City had never seen such a deal and probably never will again.

I’ll never forget the advice Mrs. Frank gave me one afternoon over lemonade. She said  “Bubbulah, it is just as easy to marry smart and beautiful as it is to marry dumb and plain”
. I married a smart and beautiful woman and I thank God every day that my wife never met Mrs. Frank for fear that she would have followed her advice and done the same. Mrs. Frank was right. It is just as easy to marry smart and beautiful as it is to marry dumb and plain. Just as it is as easy [if not easier] to surround yourself with talented and motivated people rather than those who bring you down.

My favorite quote comes from High Point University President Dr. Nido Qubein. Standing in his office many years ago, I asked him  “What is the secret to your success?”
 He pointed to a beautiful credenza on the far side of the room and said “Go push the button.” I walked over and pushed a button on the front of the credenza and to my surprise the lid began to fold back and a crystal statue arose from the interior like something out of a James Bond movie. The statue was three figurines holding hands. Dr. Qubein told me that the statue was a gift from his mother and the figure in the middle represented himself, the figure on the left represented Albert Einstein and the one on the right Jesus Christ. The inscription at the bottom of the statue simply read “If you want to be great, walk hand-in-hand with greatness.”

Are the people you are surrounding yourself with pulling you forward in your career or holding you back?

Here are three ways to maintain positive relationship capital:


The biggest and most delicious fruit comes from trees that have had the dead branches pruned away.


A rising tide lifts all boats.


A commonality of successful people is GREAT MENTORS.
 Seek out a mentor who is where you aspire to be in their career; has a similar set of values; and is accessible.

Patrick Henry is a songwriter, author, and speaker who teaches clients how to create distinction in the marketplace and blow away the competition with the four keys to becoming a “ROCKSTAR IN A ROOM FULL OF KARAOKE SINGERS”. Patrick’s entertaining programs show audiences what happens when Keynotes, Comedy, and Concerts Collide. To book Patrick Henry for your next event, visit

Thursday, January 7, 2010

FANtastic Coffee

As a frequent traveler, I often find myself in airports searching for nuggets of inspiration hiding in between the runways. I was on a four-hour layover in the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International airport and had grown a little tired of the book I had been reading since I had left home three days prior, so I put it away and decided to cure my boredom with a cup of Starbuck's coffee. You may be thinking to yourself "why not grab a real drink"? Even in today's stressful travel environment, I have yet to lose my temper and I credit my perfect record to the fact that I don't have [real drinks] in airport lounges. I strolled over to the Starbucks next to gate A-16 where I stood in line. I was a little surprised at how many people they had working behind the counter. After a few "how many Starbucks employees does it take to screw in a light bulb" jokes had flashed through my head, I perused the menu. The employees behind the counter were having a great time. They were laughing, joking around, and seemed to be having a lot of fun as they took orders and made coffee. I heard a voice say "hi, how ya doin"? I turned to see a pleasant young lady behind the register talking to me. I was a little taken aback as many of us are when weare actually confronted with good customer service, so in my best Joey Tribiani voice (if you don't know who Joey Tribiani is then ask someone under 40) I said "how you doin?" I told her what I wanted and she asked my name. "my name is Patrick" "Hi Patrick.... hey everybody this is Patrick" more hellos and smiles from behind the counter. I answered a few questions about my trip and by the time I received my order, I felt as if I was saying goodbye to old friends. I got two more cups of coffee on my layover. Not because I particularly like the coffee, but because a few outstanding Starbucks employees chose to include me in their good time. The employees of the gate A-16 Starbucks understand that having fun at work is important but including the customer in the fun is profitable.

How are your customers being included? When you make a customer feel important you are creating an intimate connection
that will turn them into fans. One common trait of fans is loyalty. Loyal fans are not buying a product, they are buying YOU !!


1. BE PREPARED !! know as much about their business as you possibly can. In addition to reading strategic pages from their website, spend time on the websites of national trade associations that relate to their company. Read the white papers, best practices, and understand the issues and new legislation that could affect their business. If you have a firm understanding of the issues that impact their bottom line, you can more easily fill their needs.

2. FIND A COMMON INTEREST!! Do you both play the guitar? Do you both enjoy imported beer? Do you share a love of Saltwater fishing? Find a common link that intimately connects you to the prospect.

3. BECOME A RESOURCE!!  Continually send emails, articles, and "swag" with the sole purpose of building their business or positively supporting the common interest you both share. If the consistency of your correspondence is supported by a genuine desire to be helpful then you have turned a prospect into a client and a client into a fan.

Patrick Henry is a songwriter, author, and speaker, who shows clients how to create distinction in the market place and
 blow away the competition with the four keys to becoming a “ROCKSTAR IN A ROOM FULL OF KARAOKE SINGERS”. Patrick’s entertaining programs show audiences what happens when Keynotes, Comedy, and Concerts Collide. For more information go to

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

the house SPECIAL

When I entered the Nashville music scene in 1994, it wasn’t long before I was rubbing elbows with some of the biggest names in country music. Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire, Alan Jackson…I was rubbing elbows with all of them. Truth be told, it was usually when I was reaching to refill their water glass, but every now and then our elbows would touch.

I worked at a restaurant called the Green Hills Grille. It was a delightful little bistro nestled in the heart of the Green Hills area of Nashville and staffed mostly by aspiring songwriters, singers, and musicians. The joke was “if you wanted a job at a restaurant in Nashville, you had to submit a three song demo”.  The Green Hills Grille almost always had a line out the door with people eagerly awaiting the spinach and artichoke dip, chicken salad melt, or the famous white bean soup with corn cakes. I was always surprised that the restaurant did absolutely no advertising. The food at the restaurant was excellent but the secret to their success did not lie in the taste of the food, but rather with a little old woman named Mrs. Stevens.

Mrs. Stevens would come in everyday at four O’clock and would always sit at the same table, in the same chair and order the exact same thing; a hot fudge brownie, vanilla ice cream, and black coffee. We all got to know Mrs. Stevens and when we had a chance, we would stop by her table to say hello. One afternoon I had her table in my section, and when I saw her walk into the restaurant I put in her order and had a cup of coffee waiting when she sat down. As she was eating her brownie, I said, “Mrs. Stevens, that must be a pretty good brownie to keep you coming back day after day”.  She put down her fork and looked up at me and said, “Patrick, this is a great brownie, but I don’t come here for the food. I’m here because of you…and Gail, and Brigid and Jed and Doug and Steve”…. To my surprise, Mrs. Stevens began to name every single server in the restaurant and as she looked up at me, her eyes began to mist over and she said, “y’all make me feel so special

I can remember my first day of work at the Green Hills Grille.  We were in a back room taking a menu test, and Brian, the general manager, walked in and spoke three words then left. He didn’t say don’t be late, or don’t drop dishes…. He said REMEMBER THEIR NAMES!  The secret to the Green Hills Grille’s success was not in the food. (Isn’t good food an expectation?), it was that we made the customers feel good being there.

Do your customers feel good about you? How are you exceeding your customer’s expectations? Great customer service is not a selling point, it is expected. Product reliability….expected!!!, competitive price point…expected !!!!!!

Here are three ways to exceed expectations and turn customers into fans:

1. REMEMBER THEIR NAME. It makes them feel special and makes you look competent. Remember details of conversations you have and recall them in follow up correspondence.

2  2. REMEMBER THEIR BIRTHDAY .  A famous Hollywood producer spent $60,000 a year on flowers. He said, “they don’t always remember who sent flowers, but they always remember who didn’t.”

3.    REMEMBER YOUR MANNERS.  I was conducting interviews of my best clients asking them why they continued to do business with me. One said, “My secretary loves you. You always call her maam”. She was an older southern lady who appreciated the “old school”.

Patrick Henry is a songwriter, author, speaker, who shows clients how to create distinction in the market place and blow away the competition with the four keys to becoming a “ROCKSTAR IN A ROOM FULL OF KARAOKE SINGERS”. Patrick’s entertaining programs show audiences what happens when Keynotes, Comedy, and Concerts Collide. For more information go to

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Lessons from the back of the pack

Had you been standing next to me the morning of July 26th, 2008, you would have been standing on the shore of North Carolina’s Lake Cammack watching the sunrise. Had you been standing next to me on July 26th, 2008, you would have found yourself surrounded by 500 people preparing to compete in the Mission Man Triathlon, and had you listened closely on that thick morning in July you may have heard me whisper and possibly whimper quietly to myself… “What in the heck have I gotten myself into?”
For almost ten years, I have been an avid practitioner of Mixed Martial Arts. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Muy Thai Kickboxing… I love it all, but now that I see 40 on the not too distant horizon, I have realized two things about the sport I love. 1. The guys are getting younger, stronger, and faster, and 2. I am too old to be getting hit and/or kicked in the face… I needed a new sport. One afternoon my brother and I were having a conversation when I told him that I was looking for a new challenge. I wanted a sport a little on the extreme side but with minimal chance of bodily harm. I wanted to reduce the risk of getting hit and/or kicked in the face. He said why not compete in a triathlon? At 6’4, 225 pounds, I have never considered myself the “triathlon type”, but he then uttered the words that sent me on my way to becoming a tried and true, full fledged triathlete….He said ”I dare you”. “you dare me?” “you daRE ME??!!?? ..don’t dare me Bubba, I’ll do it. When is it?” He said “there’s one in three weeks”……… “DONE” !!!!
For the next three weeks I trained like a mad man. I ran every day. I swam every day and I borrowed a bike that I rode everyday. When the morning of the triathlon arrived, I was up before the sun. I packed my gear and headed out to the race site. At the starting point, I stood in thigh deep water with my bright blue swim cap holding in my slightly graying hair. My spandex biker shorts and under-armour top were struggling against my slightly expanding mid-section. I looked like a super hero five years past his prime. When the horn sounded we took off like a school of grunion. I was paddling as fast and furious as my arms would allow. Fifty yards into the swim I began to tire. 60 yards into the swim, my freestyle turned into a breast-stroke, and by the time I reached the first buoy, was doggy paddling. When you doggy paddle your way through a triathlon you become the unwilling provider of piggyback rides for anyone who happens to have started behind you. Half way through the swim as I was being passed by the competitors wearing pink swim caps, (women over 40), I made eye contact with a grandmotherly woman who could not have been day under 65. In a cosmic moment of irony and humiliation, she overtook me, passed me by, and then KICKED me right in the face.
My friend and fellow speaker Bill Bachrach is a real triathlete. Bill is a Hawaiian Iron Man, which means he completed a 2.5 mile swim, 116 mile bike ride and a marathon. I asked Bill “what does it take to become an Iron Man?” I expected him to tell me of above average athleticism, superhuman strength and endurance, but instead, he told me that it all came down to commitment. Do you have the time, patience and discipline to focus your efforts on the process of training to become great? He said the roadmap to becoming an Iron man is finite, measurable and tested. All it takes from you is a commitment to work the process.
What is your commitment to the process of becoming an Iron Sales Man? Are you working a process or slinging it up against the wall hoping something sticks. Martial Arts legend Gene Lebel said “the harder you train the luckier you get”. The same is true for sales.
Here are three simple tips to incorporate into your sales workout:

  1.   WAKE UP EARLY.  By the time your competition’s feet hit the floor in the morning, you should be on step three of your daily to do list. “The early bird gets the worm”…I love worm..tastes like chicken. 

2. READ TWENTY MINUTES OF POSITIVE MATERIAL DAILY. Before you logon to Fox News, CNN, or enter the blogosphere and get the latest dose of negative headlines, start with twenty minutes of uplifting material. It is like waking up and chugging a glass of water. (ever done it ?…you’ll feel amazing
         3. PRACTICE . Having trouble on the phone? Practice with a mirror on your desk or the camera on your computer…smile and create friendly facial expressions and it will come through in your voice. Create scripts and practice them until you don’t sound rehearsed. Roll play with friends or co-workers until walking into a brand new office feels exciting.

Patrick Henry is a songwriter, author, and speaker, who shows clients how to create distinction in the market place and blow away the competition with the four keys to becoming a “ROCKSTAR IN A ROOM FULL OF KARAOKE SINGERS”. Patrick’s entertaining programs show audiences what happens when Keynotes, Comedy, and Concerts Collide. For more information go to

About Me

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Patrick Henry is a professional speaker, humorist, author, and songwriter who delivers funny and entertaining keynote speeches. Patrick shows audiences how to create IMPACT! by creating extraordinary customer, client and co-worker experiences. He is what happens when Keynotes, Comedy and Concerts...Collide!