Lisbeth Calandrino

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About Lisbeth Calandrino

Lisbeth Calandrino is an award winning trainer, entrepreneur, and blogger and has spent over twenty years developing custom tailored marketing and customer service programs for businesses. Her recently published book, Red Hot Customer Service, 35 Sizzling Ways to Heat up Your Business and Ignite Your Sales defines the steps necessary to build a competitive advantage and turn great companies into unforgettable or red hot companies. Lisbeth admits that much of her knowledge came from her Italian grandfather who despite very little formal education and a limited English vocabulary, managed to became both successful and wealthy. Lisbeth has wonderful stories about Grandpa DiBiagio’s and her time spent learning how to managing Grandpa’s fruit stand. Because of Lisbeth’s experience as a business owner, having been the managing partner and owner of 7 furniture and carpet stores for 14 years, she is able to bring her extensive business knowledge and experience to all of her clients. Lisbeth’s awards include executive of the year award from the International Executive Association, Albany chapter (a business networking group) and first place honors in an international marketing contest for alternative medicine. A two time cancer survivor, she has spoken extensively about her experiences of cancer, offering words of comfort and inspiration. As an activist, Lisbeth has initiated and contributed to many charitable causes. She has worked with at-risk youth, spoken out against injustice and advocated to and helped to build resources for women. As a presenter, Lisbeth Calandrino is highly motivational, information-rich, and very entertaining. Her acute business sense, contagious enthusiasm, positive energy and fun sense of humor make her a dynamic presenter. Lisbeth is a member of New York, Historic Albany Foundation, educational director of Business Referrals Networking Group and member of the board of directors of the Animal Protective Foundation of Scotia, New York.
4 03, 2019

Hang @the Barber Shop and You’re Bound to get a Haircut

By |2019-03-04T21:28:52-05:00March 4th, 2019|Categories: beliefs, Blog|Tags: , , , |1 Comment

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Denzel Washington was nominated for Best Actor at the Oscars in 2017 and didn’t

Denzel Washington

make the cut. His reaction?  “If you hang around the barbershop long enough, you’re bound to get a haircut!”

Cute right? Denzel had to hang around plenty of shops before he got his. One thing that scared him professionally was he couldn’t sing. He failed many times while waiting for that haircut, and then it happened.

Famous baseball player Reggie Jackson struck out 2600 times during his career. In fact, he amassed the most strikeouts in the history of baseball. Jackson also hit 563 home runs during his career and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Following in the footsteps of The Babe, he also had a candy bar named after him in 1978.

This year, I visited the Edison & Ford Winter Estates in Fort Meyers, Florida. I still find it hard to believe that Thomas Edison actually made one thousand light bulbs before one actually worked. Edison said every failure brought him closer to success. Obviously, he wasn’t afraid of being called ‘stupid’ because isn’t that what we’re afraid people will call us? Maybe that’s where the ‘fake it until you make it’ came from. The key is to get over being stupid, obviously stupid is a good thing.

Wow, what an attitude. Edison spent his entire life trying to synthesize rubber. He imported plants and trees from all over the world before finding one that was capable of producing the needed product. By the way, I don’t think he ever got a haircut.

I watched Denzel Washington give his commencement address to the 2017 Penn State graduating class. Denzel said there was nothing as frightening as giving that speech; he had never seen so many people watch him. Most watch him in his movies when he’s not in the audience.

The message, of course, is that we will all fail.  And every time we fail, we will be closer to success. This is a great message for all of us. Seth Godin wrote a wonderful book entitled, “What to do when it’s Your Turn—and it’s Always Your Turn.” If it’s easy and fun and guaranteed to work of course you can do it.

How often do you say yes or do you spend so much time thinking your turn is gone? How many times have you thought about going to a movie but didn’t go because the coming attraction didn’t appeal to you? We want reassurance that the movie will be good before we go.

If you are willing to always be ‘up’ for your turn you will have your opportunity to make a change in this world and to realize your true potential.

Here is the link to the YouTube video of Denzel’s speech. It is only 22 minutes long and well worth listening to

Lisbeth Calandrino has been coaching business owners and salespeople for over 20 years. For more info. on Lisbeth, check out her web site,, or email her at




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7 02, 2019

Can You Turn an Elephant Around in a Phone Booth?

By |2019-02-07T18:27:16-05:00February 7th, 2019|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Can You Turn an Elephant Around in a Phone Booth?

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Ronald Reagan and Jane Wyman bowling.

The thought of an elephant in a phone booth brings up an interesting visual. I know you’re thinking how did he get in there and what does it mean? What we’re actually talking about is the bowing industry. I recently spoke with a talented marketer, Fred Kaplowitz who spent much of his life gentleman who has spent much of his life moving the bowling industry forward. I ask Fred if he would give me the scoop on bowling and in the bowling industry.

What makes this even more interesting is the challenged faced by this industry has been faced by other business; some that have not been so lucky.

The earliest known forms of bowling date back to ancient Egypt.  Remnants of balls used at the time were found among artifacts in ancient Egypt going back to the Egyptian period in 3200 BC.  Balls were made using the husks of grains, covered in a material such as leather, and bound with string.

Today, bowling is played by 100 million people in more than 90 countries including 68 million people in the United States.

But bowling hasn’t always been this popular.

After a growth spurt following WWII through the late 60’s and early 70’s, bowling started to lose its appeal and many bowling centers began closing.  Some closed because the value of the real estate was very high and land developers were offering high prices.  Others closed because the cost of modernizing their centers and bringing into the modern era was more than they could afford…and the owners were getting too old to want to take on more debt.  Others closed, simply because the market was overbuilt.  By the late 90’s, only 4,000 USA bowling centers existed; down from more than 8,000 centers in the late 60s

So how did bowling remain popular, reinvigorate itself and become relevant to the millennials, to families and to seniors?

Let’s start in the late 70’s when I joined an organization called the National Bowling Council, the promotional arm of the sport.  I had been recruited from a major advertising agency and offered a relatively lucrative contract to become the first Marketing VP of this fledgling organization founded by the sanctioning bodies of bowling at the time (The American Bowling Congress (ABC) for men and the Women’s International Bowling Congress (WIBC) for women along with the major manufacturers, Brunswick and AMF, and the Bowling Proprietor Association of America (BPAA).

While these 5 organizations funded the Council, they each had different agendas.  The sanctioning bodies wanted more “league bowler membership”; the manufacturers wanted to sell more bowling equipment, and the proprietor association wanted more customers.

It was quite a quandary in which I found myself.  The future of bowling was discussed at Council meetings, committee meetings and almost everywhere I went, industry executives were asking what the future was.  Everybody has an opinion, but there were few facts.  So one of the very first big ventures I undertook was to uncover some facts, do some research of existing league bowlers, casual bowlers, non-bowlers and try to find out why they did or dint bowl, what they really thought about people who bowled or didn’t bowl and what would it take to get them to bowl more.  At the same time, I conducted focus groups with major advertisers and package good companies as well as media people to find out what they too thought of bowling.

After about six months of due diligence, I presented my findings and recommendations.  When I was finished, the room remained quiet as 12 high powered executives sat in stunned silence.

Then the President of Brunswick and, at the time, the Chairman of the Council said,

Fred, I don’t know how you did what you did in the past six months, but you have just painted an extraordinary strategic change for this industry.  Each of the members of this organization will have to take a long and hard look at them, if your research and recommendations are valid and how we will have to look at our industry in a different way.”

I was soon bombarded with questions about my research methodologies and if my sample size was correct and on and on.  I had thought of all of these questions and was smart enough to have the research people at all of the 5 organizations involved in the research process; checking my work and recommendations every step along the way. I had defused what could have been a very difficult (and very political) internal issue.

What did I find out – now remember this is the late 70’s:

  1. Bowling’s image at the time was one of a blue collar sport; Archie Bunker and Ralph Kramden, as well as Fred Flintstone, were the characters most associated with bowling across almost every researched segment, except for the league bowlers who classified themselves as “middle class working men and women.” And “no Ralph Kramden.”
  1. Baby boomers (then 18 to 35) accounted for 72 million Americans or about 35% of the population once liked bowling and did it frequently as a child or young teen, but now they viewed bowling as “old, not modern, bad food, unclean and not the place they would want to go with a date or a spouse.”
  2. Non-bowlers and casual bowlers did not want to join a league because it meant a commitment of 36 weeks, cost too much money and they felt they weren’t good enough. Further, they felt that when they wanted to bowl, the bowling center near them never had available lanes because “Ralph and Archie” were always bowling there, swigging beer and smoking cigarettes; and the boomers were the first group to think about healthy options.
  3. Most people didn’t feel they could bowl well enough to have fun, so in their opinion, it was “why  bother doing something if I’m not good enough at it.”Advertisers and media people felt that bowling was too downscale to associate their product and unless it was beer or cigarettes and maybe a cereal brand, batteries or pizza; they saw no relevance for their brand.
  4. Most people viewed bowling as “old, not modern and not exciting.”

We went to work. Over the next 25 years, I was a one-man band, picking up followers along the way, changing jobs to work for Brunswick as VP Marketing, then as Marketing VP for a major bowling center chain (Bowling Corporation of America) that owned 63 bowling centers across the USA and then as an independent marketing consultant, coach, speaker and educator to bowling industry executives and proprietors.

Here was my mantra:

  1. Manufacturers had to provide exciting products that proprietors could buy at reasonable prices and get a satisfactory ROI that would excite the consumer to try bowling and then get him/her to come back. This led to the introduction of the automatic scorer, the laminated lane.  Glow bowling lights and fog systems, and black lights that would illuminate the carpet, the lanes, and the sidewalls!


  1. More new products were to follow with softer couch style seating, private banquet, and party rooms, real cafes and restaurants, better and more exciting food offerings. Adult beverages that were more sophisticated than just “a shot and a beer.”  Music, music and more music.  Bands were introduced at bowling centers.  Portable stages were built for the bands and comedians that would occasionally perform.


  1. Proprietors had to learn to market their bowling center. They had to learn about the media.  Later they had to learn about websites, social media marketing and what the hell “a twitter”.    They had to STOP doing only PRICE promotions and calling it marketing.  My job was to educate them on what marketing was; to teach them how to plan and then how to implement and modify their plan, as needed, for the best possible results.  At the same time, I had to train these folks on what customer service was, what good customer service was and that excellent customer service is an expected aspect of consumer expectations.


  1. I had to teach them about attracting families via birthday parties, how to use direct mail (back then) to reach households with children between the ages of 6 and 12 years of age who were having birthdays in the ensuing months and how to reach them, and further, to develop a mailing list, which eventually morphed into a database with email addresses and cell phone.


  1. I also built fundraising packages and corporate party programs that included more than just pizza, hot dogs and hamburgers and taught them how to promote the programs, measure results and make changes on the fly.. We demonstrated to them how to get corporations to book parties; get manufacturers to build automated reservation systems and trained employees on simple items such as phone answering etiquette.


  1. We also predicted that the traditional bowling center, if it was to survive long term, needed to evolve into a family entertainment center that included other venues like video game rooms, climbing walls, laser tag, bumper cars, and virtual reality booths.


  1. Manufacturers were constantly encouraged to research consumer needs and tastes for new attractions that can be added to the basic game of bowling such as “colored lanes, bumpers that pop up when younger children bowl to help them get a score as opposed to throwing the ball into the gutter, which in the past discouraged them from wanting to bowl.


  1. The membership or sanctioning bodies have taken years to consolidate and eliminate waste by forming one organization called USBC, the United States Bowling Congress. This organization concentrates more on educating and training younger people, offering scholarships and getting bowling into over 1,000 high schools and colleges today than ever before while still performing their duties as being the sanctioning arm and rules maker of the sport.


  1. While league membership in traditional 36 week leagues has fallen dramatically, the offerings of new products which we introduced in the early 80’s such as 8 week leagues, split season leagues, “bad bowler” leagues”, “have a ball leagues” and other premium leagues gave the non-bowler and the casual bowler a choice of buying different bowling “products”; thus more participation and more frequency by the existing bowler.


Many of the changes that are happening today were predicted 40 years ago and all because someone was curious enough to get the facts, to go to the source – the customer – and ask a few questions.  This process has been repeated many times over the years.  Certainly, my team has done it as well as manufacturers, proprietors and membership organizations.

They have all learned that it is better to ask than to guess.  Better to have a marketing mindset, than flying blind.  Today the industry is more marketing savvy than ever, healthier than ever and looking for new products and services to offer the consumer.

I am very humbled and gratified to have been a major player in this industry’s transformation.


Fred Kaplowitz can be reached at or at 410 799 1501 (o) or 516 359 4874 (c) or reach out to his website and check out his blog at

Lisbeth writes a weekly success blog for the Albany Times Union. She can be reached at







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4 01, 2019

How to Sell Today’s Internet Savvy Customer

By |2019-01-04T15:56:29-05:00January 4th, 2019|Categories: Blog, Building a Brand, Building relationships, Selling today's customer|Tags: , |Comments Off on How to Sell Today’s Internet Savvy Customer

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Selling today’s Internet-savvy customer isn’t difficult, it’s different. If you’re planning on selling them, you will have to get on target. It’s not changing, it’s changed!

Do you remember 11 years ago? Eleven years ago, Facebook was still competing with MySpace for traffic. Amazon was known primarily for selling books, and the iPhone was just released. When you think about it, it’s another world; a very old world.

We are all customers, and we’ve all changed. How we shop is completely different. Remember when merchants were insulted because people were talking on their phones and walking through their stores? Now we rarely look twice at them; it’s just the way things are. Although my dermatologist has a sign in the office that reads, “If you need to use your cell phone don’t use it here!” It feels a little harsh, but the office is really quiet.

So what does this mean to those of use that connect with today’s customers? We need to understand the customer’s journey and what tools they have in their toolbox. Salespeople still need to know how to sell, have the determination and a good personal presence. The ability to communicate with the customer is more important than ever. Building rapport has never been a more useful skill. Salespeople they need to understand ‘how they buy’ so they can be part of the customer’s world.

The Internet plays a huge part in today’s purchase so if you’re not connected and still don’t think it’s important; you’re not only behind you are in another world. I have several friends who don’t text, their reasoning, “It’s not warm and fuzzy.” What it really means is they have a ‘flip phone’ and writing text can take you into next year! They ask me why I don’t leave phone messages, and I tell them it’s not very efficient, and I don’t want to spend the day playing phone tag!

Not sure of the customer’s journey, ask the customer how they get information and how they buy. Examine your own journey and incorporate into your sales pitch. Here’s one idea that will get you on the right road; before you waste the customer’s time looking at all of your products, ask them if they’ve been to your website and looked at products. Ask if they’ve seen anything they like and would they like to look at it ‘in person.’ Turn on your computer or iPad and bring up the products they like. You can also ask what other sites they’ve been to and what products they’ve seen.

Want to know more about this topic?

I will be conducting three seminars for Mohawk Industries at the Loews Hotel, 455 N. Park Dr., Chicago, IL on January 16, 17th.

The three seminars are: “How to Sell to today’s Internet Savvy Customer, 10 Ways to Attract and Keep Talented Employees, * Ways to Use Technology to Grow Your Business.” To sign up for these seminars, call your local Mohawk Industries Representative.

Thanks to Usabilla for the image and the Customer Experience Winners.

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2 12, 2018

Why I Hate Flip Phones

By |2018-12-02T19:21:49-05:00December 2nd, 2018|Categories: beliefs, Blog, Change, Economy|Tags: , |Comments Off on Why I Hate Flip Phones

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Teenagers on flip phones.

I just don’t get it. Why would anyone want to use a flip phone?

Maybe I’m spoiled; instant gratification is what I want. I don’t want to do the thing where I leave you a message and then you call me back and I’m in the shower. Then I call you back and your voice mail is full. It all makes me crazy.

Okay billionaire investor Warren Buffett says he’s not giving up his flip phone—at least not yet. The flip phone people are probably the same ones who don’t text. Do you remember texting on your flip phone? You needed 4 hands to do it! I’ve read there are lots of people who like the flip phones, It does slow you down and gives you lots of control about what comes and goes from your phone. Yes, you are in control. You are in control. Wow, I feel like I’m being controlled on some level; maybe I am.

“The flip phone is the new protest statement,” declared one article that recently appeared in several newspapers including The Seattle Times. “I don’t need that phone. I have everything I need without it,” wrote Katie Reid for The Baltimore Sun.  Kim Kardashian was spotted with a flip phone, now it’s cool! Maybe I’m just out!

I remember reading about Thomas Edison and what happened when he finally perfected the light bulb. He went to several companies to try and sell the bulbs and most companies said they weren’t interested! In order to get the bulb used, he had to give it away.

Is it that people didn’t think it was useful to see in the dark? Maybe they were right, work stopped at night because you couldn’t see. Possibly they knew if they could see in the dark, they would have a longer work day? Or was there some fear of seeing? Is it that when you removed your clothes in the dark you were less likely to be judged?

I feel like people with flip phones are the same type of people. They make excuses that smart phones are too much work, and too complicated. Somehow they don’t see the smartphone is just that; it’s smart and makes many things easier. (Plus you are connected to the internet and all that wonderful information.)

Actually I believe it’s about change. We think change is difficult. I believe change is annoying, not really difficult.

Change means we have to think and thinking requires work. Ask yourself, how much time do you actually spend thinking? My downstairs neighbor says she likes things the way they are and she doesn’t want anything to change. So she spends her time working on keeping everything the same. She rarely goes out to do anything except buy groceries, have her nails done and go to work. In the meantime, I am looking for something new to do.

Change also requires decision making. Some people aren’t good at making decisions so they just don’t bother. If you have to make a decision, it’s likely you will run into a conflict. Nobody likes conflicts.

Are these the same people who see others climbing dangerous mountains and say why are they doing this? Or am I making too much of this? I tried to coordinate the delivery of a television to a man who only used text and one who only used his phone. To me it was a nightmare.

Possibly I should ask what kind of phone a person has before I decide to get too serious.

Lisbeth Calandrino is a regular contributor to the Albany Times Union. Need help improving your business? Check out Lisbeth’s web site, or reach her at

#flipphones #Warrenbuffetflipphone #Seattletimes, #Thomasedison #redhotcustomerservice

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