Five Articles for Personal and Business Success

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One of our core values is intentional learning. This is how we define intentional learning:

Learning has always been one of the things I enjoy the most. From a young age I always wanted to read and now that I’m older I love to read for learning. While my type of reading for learning isn’t always the conventional path (yes, we are talking books!), I do spend loads of time reading. Since I have been in Jakarta, I’ve spent a lot of time in the car.

Trust me, some days I would rather be on Facebook or Instagram for the few hours of travel, but I try to spend most of my time read articles, whitepapers, or other research.

Often I come across really great articles that I share on the Trainertainment Facebook page. This week I wanted to share with you a few articles that I really enjoyed. All the articles I read this week have to do with personal and business success. I mean, we are all working to be successful in both, right? So, here are my top five articles for the week.

All Great Minds Have This 1 Habit In Common

This article is perfectly in line with our core value of intentional learning. I’m always amazed that people want to be the best in their field and grow professionally but they don’t take the time to read. In this article, you can see that some of the most successful people in the world read daily.


3 Lessons Every Business Can Learn From Chick-fil-A

It could be that I absolutely love Chick-fil-A and am craving it as we get ready to head home, but the lessons in this article are outstanding. I saw a funny post today that was making fun of Chick-fil-A and their customer service.

The founder, Truett Cathy, says it perfectly, “We aren’t in the chicken business. We are in the people business.” This alone drives the company to do things in an uncommon way and with a purpose. We could all learn something from Chick-fil-A’s success.

13 Things You Should Give Up If You Want To Be Successful

We always talk about things we need to do in our life to make us more successful, but we don’t always talk about the things we need to give up. That is one reason I really enjoyed this article. The first one on the list is to give up an unhealthy lifestyle. That is something everyone in our organization is doing. The article lists many other things it might be good to give up, too.


Prevent Burnout by Making Compassion a Habit

Who has ever felt burnt out at work? I think we have all had those moments. There are things we can do as leaders to help others not feel burned out. This is a big deal as we don’t want to lose our top talent because of burnout. When we can find the needs and desires of our people, we can usually prevent burnout from happening. This article will help you learn empathy for others and how self-compassion will help you.


10 Mind-Sharpening Daily Activities That You Can Do in 10 Minutes Or Less

This article is about activities we can do every day to sharpen our mind. We don’t think about our mind being sharp before we work. We typically just start working and get the day going. I personally already do a few of the things on the list. If you read the blog last week, you saw that I bullet journal which means I’m making a list so I can be ready for the day and know what needs to be done. Now, I don’t know about taking a cold shower, I like mine HOT, but moving more has been a priority and being useful to someone is what we do here at Trainertainment. We are in the business of helping people and businesses grow with coaching, training, and great information like this!

Time Management Tips to Increase Productivity

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Time management always seems to be a hot topic no matter the industry. You can Google time management and get a million different articles to read. I wanted to share some of my time management tips with you in a series of blog posts.

Learning About Time Management

A few weeks ago, I was on my weekly marketing call with Beth and Phil and Beth gave me one of the best compliments ever. She said I am really good at managing my time and she is always impressed with how well I can do it. That’s an especially big deal since we work from home and it’s easy to get off track and not manage your time well.

Over the past three years, I have developed a time management system that works for me. In the beginning, I had to really work on time management and become very good at it since living in Jakarta threw me some curve balls – a) bad traffic which means that simple errands took three times as long, b) take my kids back and forth to school and after school activities since there is no school bus, c) the time difference from home. All were huge factors in managing my time.

We all have things that affect our time and learning how to manage it better is the biggest step. In this series, I’m going to share some things that have helped me develop better time management skills.

Figure out what works for you

Yes, there are lots of people that tell you this is the best way to manage your time. Trust me; I have probably tried them all. Block scheduling, lists, using an electronic calendar, using a paper calendar, bullet journal, Post-it notes, etc. I’ve found what works for one person may not work for another.

I used to put everything on my Outlook calendar and use the block scheduling method. I found this to be hard since my position requires me to be creative. I needed to be able to work on whatever was on my mind at that time instead of what my calendar dictated.

I know for many sales people this works great. They can block out chunks of time to make phone calls, check email, follow up on leads, etc. Not only did this not work for me because of the creative aspect, it also didn’t work for me because I would move my blocks to accommodate other things. Lack of commitment is one of the biggest issues I see with block scheduling. Those blocks are designed to secure that time, to make it sacred. That block should be a priority and it shouldn’t be moved or tampered with unless there is a real emergency. The reality is, once you move it, it’s not sacred and will be easier to move again. It’s just not a priority.

Sample Page of my Bullet Journal

I missed writing and, more specifically, writing in a planner. I had my first planner when I was in junior high school. I have always been a reading/writing learner, so I went back to a planner. I started off with just a daily calendar version where I could schedule time, but then I realized that all I was trying to do was block schedule manually instead of electronically, so I had to go back to the drawing board. It ended up taking me trying a few different options before I figured out that bullet journaling was what worked best for me.

Each day I write down all the things I have thought about or need to get done. Then I check my email and list out more tasks based on the emails I received overnight. For me, this works great! I have a list of everything that needs to get done. I can pick and choose what I want to work on at that time and it feels great at the end of the day when I have checked off everything that needs to get done. This saved me time because I don’t have to go back to look for emails or wonder what I need to work on now. I just go to the next task. If you want to be good at time management, you have to stick to what works for you.

Challenge for the Month

Before I go too far with other tips, I have a challenge for you this month. Try a few different types of lists and time management styles. You could try a new one each week or split the month in two and try each one for a couple of weeks. The goal is to help you think about your time and start managing it better. At the end of the month, we will follow up and see which style worked best for you and tell you how to move forward to the next step. Don’t hesitate to email me with questions or if you want more information on the various options I tested. I’m here to help!



You Can’t Eat Chit Chat

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We have ample doctor time right now, and I had a GREAT opportunity to watch sales in action (well, maybe inaction). I’m always interested in learning. JD and I were hanging out in the infusion area of the doctor’s office. Okay, I was hanging out. JD is doing the cancer-busting work.

My Sales Coaching Hat

A couple of pharmaceutical representatives walk in doing their ‘thang.’ This is fun for me. put on my Sales Coach hat and begin to watch the play in action. In my mind, I’m always looking for what someone’s sales process is. If you have any TrainerTainment exposure you know, we think Prospecting, Connecting, Qualifying, Proposing, & then Closing is THE Sales process. So I measure others by that standard.  Here’s what I saw…

The Sales Process

Connect – The lead sales guy introduces himself and the guy that’s with him to the nurses. It looks as if he might be training that guy. He begins to build rapport. I’m thinking, this guy knows what he’s doing.  But then he keeps chit chatting. They talk about spring break, what are they going to do for Easter, and …and…and…

Qualify – I think he may have asked if they had any patients using a specific type of drug (I’m assuming that’s the one they sell).

Present – No

Close – Well, no. I don’t think so. It was about a 5-minute interaction. The nurses were receptive but not decision-makers. The rep shakes hands and says, “I’ll check back in a couple of weeks.”


I nearly went crazy. Honestly, I almost shouted, “WHY?” What would you be checking on, May flowers? I wanted to help. I thought about running out after them and inquiring about what their objective was. Maybe they simply had the objective of meeting the nurses. That seems like a weird reason to spend time prospecting in that way.

I think they could have learned so much more if they had asked questions like:

“How do you decide who to buy this particular drug from?” The nurses would have information about who they buy it from and why they buy it from them and maybe if they were happy with their service or had any reason to change suppliers. Wouldn’t that have been helpful? This could have helped them understand who their competition is and potentially their focus on the budget or if that is even an issue.

“Who does the ordering and how often do you typically place orders?” That would have helped them get closer to the decision-maker or at least the decision-influencer.

The Lesson

The lesson for me is that you have to make your chit chat matter. There needs to be a purpose to the call that goes beyond meeting people in the office. They could have turned the chit-chat into a meaningful conversation because they would have learned something! With every encounter, you need to ask for something to make the call worthwhile. That’s closing.

I thought about chasing them out the door so that I could at least have the answer to my question about their original objective. Maybe he was just introducing the new guy. Instead of chasing them out the door, I started rattling off my concerns to JD. He always takes the high road and suggested that the guy already had the answers to those questions. He is so good at assuming the best.

I felt like they wasted their most precious asset (time). I hope his trainee gets to ride along with other representatives. Maybe we need to get a PCQPC script written for the pharmaceutical industry. Could be “just what the Sales Doctor ordered!”

Developing a Winning SEO Strategy for Your Entertainment Center

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When I consult with owners and operators, the two things they care about are that they want to increase sales and they want to be found online. Search engine optimization (SEO) helps accomplish both of these goals. The idea is that if you’re being found, then web traffic is being converted into paying customers. These customer conversions happen by people calling, requesting driving directions, filling out a groups event lead form, or booking a party online.

SEO evolves every day. There is a Google army of people manually checking search engine results and making adjustments based on search terms used. We’re no longer optimizing for keywords and search terms, but user search intent.  Your goal is to meet the customer in the search engine results with the right solution to their problem or question.

A winning SEO strategy requires FECs and amusement parks to think about two different sets of results:

  1. Local map results
  2. Traditional organic results

Here’s how you can make an impact with your brand in local search engine results.

How FECs and Amusement Parks Can Rank Higher in Search Engines

SEO Disclaimer: First of all, it’s going to take a lot of work and plenty of patience. The good news is that achieving SEO success can dramatically increase your company’s sales.

  • Develop Relevant and Valuable Content: If you can solve someone’s problem with the right answer at the right time, then you’re their hero! Content marketing is one of the best ways to help drive sales and improve your search engine rankings. Try starting your content marketing strategy by answering frequently asked questions.
  • A Well Optimized Website: We have now audited the majority of the US based FEC market, and most have never been optimized by a professional. Everything from proper content optimization to site structure need to be scrutinized by owners and operators. This is a wide open door for FECs and parks looking to take advantage of others’ negligence
  • Generating News About Your Business: Link building is a word that sends shivers up my spine. I do it, but I don’t trust others to do it. The reason is that it’s a practice that works but is frequently abused or misunderstood. However, generating quality and relevant links from other sites to your website will significantly help your web presence. One of the best ways to generate links from other sites to your website is through quality content.
  • Local Citations: Local citations, or mentions of your business on the Internet, have long been considered a ranking factor with search engines. The idea is that the more citations (Google My Business, Yelp,, etc) that display correct information about your business, the better the user experience is with your brand. For Google and other search engines, delivering an accurate user is experience is their number one priority. Local citations help verify basic information (name, address, phone number) about your business to search engines.
  • Online Reviews: It is believed that Google’s local algorithm pulls in a few hundred different signals to rank local businesses. One of these signals is online reviews, specifically through Google’s review system. You should be building a local SEO strategy that focuses on the number of reviews, the quality of reviews, and the freshness of reviews for your local center or park.

Implementing an SEO strategy for your entertainment center or park won’t be easy. It will take time and patience, but it can yield massive financial rewards for your business if done well. There is a massive opportunity for FECs and amusement parks to begin their SEO strategy, because the majority of their competition is completely ignoring it altogether.

Kevin Ekmark is the President/CEO of TrustWorkz, Inc, an Internet marketing agency located in Atlanta, Georgia. His passion is in local search engine optimization and paid lead generation strategies.

Getting to Know TrainerTainment’s Amy Madson

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Amy Madson, Training & Project Specialist

Over the past few years, the TrainerTainment team has grown leaps and bounds! Once a month we will get to know a TrainerTainment team member. This month we want to introduce you to Amy Madson, Training & Project Specialist. Amy has over 35+ years in the entertainment industry and has been a tremendous asset to our team and amazing coach for our clients.

What do you enjoy most about working with our clients?

I enjoy seeing our clients grow professionally and personally. Witnessing skeptic leaders change their minds 180 degrees after experiencing a 2-day business coaching launch and hearing them say, “We’ve never been more focused on this business before.” Seeing a young man with no real leadership experience and no FEC experience grow to a GM position within a year. Working with salespeople new to our industry, training them, coaching them, seeing them become successful in their positions. We make a real difference with what we do.

How long have you been in the FEC industry and in what roles?

I started in theme parks as a front gate ticket taker when I was 16, then as the Amazing Alfredo where I would guess your age within three years, your weight within three pounds, or the month you were born within two months. I ended up working 11 seasons at Six Flags in several departments but finished my time there in the Games Department as the administrative supervisor. After that, I opened the MGM Grand Hotel as an AsstMgr in the Games Department, moved next to GameWorks – Las Vegas where I worked my way up to AGM. I moved to Orlando in 2000 to open Namco’s first venture in the full-service entertainment venue market, Pac-Man Cafe/XS Orlando, and moved into the GM role. After Namco, I worked with a group of investors to open a high-end children’s entertainment venue like no other – Cool-de-Sac – in Miami. I left there as the Director of Operations and I’m now with TrainerTainment. I get to stay involved in the industry I love and use my 34 years of industry experience to help clients grow.

What is the most significant thing you have learned working in the FEC industry?

Honestly – that I don’t want kids! I’ve been “Mom” to so many “kids” over the years and that’s enough for me! I’ve also learned that it isn’t always about the product/games/environment you offer…it only matters if you can make a guest happy and they have fun, then they want to come back and bring their friends.

Which of our core values resonate with you the most?

We Believe in Fun! I try to be positive in everything I do. I’ve been in this industry a long time…because it’s fun. I’ve tried retail, hotels, office work…nothing compares to the FEC/Entertainment industry when it comes to keeping you young at heart!

Where is the best place you have traveled to and why?

Seriously. That is a trick question, right?Travel…it’s a necessity, not a luxury.

My vacation spot is Kauai, Hawaii but I’ve been to many other places I would each call “Best” in their right: Bar Harbor, Maine; Talkeetna, Alaska; Venice, Italy; Tallinn, Estonia; Lyon, France; Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic; Dawson, Yukon; St. Petersburg, Russia; Durnstein, Austria; Dubrovnik, Croatia; Regensburg, Germany; Kusadasi, Turkey; Budapest, Hungary; Vienna, Austria…the Caribbean.

If you could speak another language what would it be and why?

Pidgin – it’s the local language in Hawaii. I would love to be able to talk story with the locals.