By k | November 20, 2008 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

In The Sales Success Handbook,
Linda Richardson points out
how many salespeople blunder
by using the word tell.

“When a salesperson called his product specialist
to help him compose an e-mail to a hot prospect
and asked for help in describing
the purpose of the meeting
they would be requesting,
the specialist said,
‘To meet with you to tell you
about our fully integrated…
and how we can… ‘
A customer-first mindset would have changed
the nuance of the e-mail.
A specialist tuned into his or her sales talk
might have said,
‘To learn about your…
initiative and discusss how our fully integrated…
might support you in…’”

Notice the subtle yet significant change.
Using tell says the pitch is all about you
and what you can gain from the sale.
By switching the wording,
the pitch becomes customer focused.

By k | November 19, 2008 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

I went into a store to buy
a set of hose.
The hose section was beautifully organized.
The packages were lined up in custom sized bins.
Opened packages were discarded.
The store price tags were all neatly affixed 
to the top right hand corner
of each package…

… right over the size information.

So customers had to peel off the price tags
with their fingernails
in order to find out
that critical piece of information.
I couldn’t be bothered.
I bought my hose at another store.

I’ve seen price tags over back cover copy on books.
I’ve seen price tags over UPC codes
(so the product wouldn’t scan).
I’ve seen price tags over warning labels for children’s toys.

Train your employees
on the proper placement of price tags.
Poor placement will lose you sales.

By k | November 18, 2008 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

I was in a meeting with
a mix of recent Master Degree grads
and ‘experts’ in the field.

It was the most fun I’ve had in years.

The grads would ask questions
using long, complicated words.
The experts would respond back
with one syllable word sentences.
The equally well educated pros
had the hick routine down pat
the grads, being extremely intelligent,
quickly got the message.

The experts also
walked them through
the most popular (and rather useless) theories,
sharing why the theories wouldn’t work
in the real world.

We were all pompous asses
when we first graduated.
Be gentle.

By k | November 17, 2008 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

Why is GM not buying time
by filing for bankruptcy protection?

Because they would never come out of it.

Sure, bankruptcy protection
helps companies deal with creditors.
It forces creditors
to step back from payment demands
and allows the company time to reorganize.

But bankruptcy protection
also sends a signal to consumers.
It says “may be out of business soon.”

When a company goes out of business,
warranties or guarantees are worthless.
Products are discontinued.
Replacement part production is discontinued.
Support goes away.
1-800 lines are discontinued.

Warranties, guarantees and support
are important to car buyers.
Their purchase will be driven for years.

Think hard before filing.

By k | November 16, 2008 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

Elisha, one of our long time readers,
asked about how to thank direct reports.
He already sent a group thank you out,
copying the management team.

That is more than sufficient.
A sign of a great boss.

if Elisha wanted to make the thank you
even more meaningful,
he could also send a individual thank you email
to each team member,
copying his own boss (or human resources).

This email would be written
as though a third party might read it
a decade from now.
There’d be an explanation of what the task was
and why it was important.

Then Elisha should casually mention verbally
(and individually)
that this is for their files.

Reference letters are dead.
Managers are too worried about lawsuits.
These thank you’s can verified without that worry.
They can also be forwarded to friends and family.

Oh, and bringing in baked goods for the team
also helps.

By k | November 15, 2008 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

Quantum Of Solace director Marc Forster
is not a James Bond fan
James Bond fans tell me
it shows.

The James Bond brand
a sophisticated playboy spy,
beautiful Bond ‘girls’
and clever gadgets.

Quantum Of Solace walks away from all of these
(with the possible exception of the beautiful Bond girls).
James Bond has a tough time with the ladies,
he is rough around the edges,
and there are no new toys for men to drool over.

In order to keep your customers happy,
you should like them,
or at very least,
understand why they’re buying your product.

By k | November 14, 2008 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

A Chinese born buddy of mine
transferred departments
in a Fortune 500 company.
His new boss was also Chinese born.

He thought he’d be promoted faster
as there wouldn’t be any

He thought wrong.

The new boss was tougher on him
than he was on any of my buddy’s
non-Chinese born co-workers.

Because everyone’s expectations
were the same as my buddy’s,
the manager over corrected
and ended up descriminating against my buddy.

Don’t assume
just because the manager is
the same sex/race/religion,
you’ll receive fair treatment.

By k | November 13, 2008 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

High Altitude Leadership,
a rather gory business book,
the authors,
Chris Warner and Don Schmincke,
talk about how humility is necessary for leadership.

One way to stay humble?

“Problem solving also helps keep arrogance at bay.
A good example is a manager at the Toyota Georgetown plant.
He used his time in management meetings
to demostrate his good performance on projects
until the plant manager, Fujio Cho
(who later became the chairman of Toyota worldwide),
said to him,
‘We all know you are a good manager;
otherwise we would not have hired you.
But please talk to us about your problems
so we can all work on them together.’”

Another way to stay humble?
Take on stretch projects.

By k | November 12, 2008 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

When publishing houses or agents
close their doors to submissions,
they often set up auto responses for queries.

A good response is the truth.
‘We are currently closed to submissions.”

A bad response is
“Upon careful consideration,
your work does not meet our needs
at this time.”

Delivered, of course, the instant
the email query is received.

In the internet age,
it becomes more and more difficult to lie.
Don’t bother.

And check your auto response message.

By k | November 11, 2008 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

From November 1st to November 11th,
Canadians wear poppies on their lapels
to commemorate Remembrance Day
(Veterans Day in the U.S.).

This bright red visual prompt
wore by everyone
from school children
to media personalities
to Prime Ministers
is extremely effective.
It tells a story.
It invokes emotion.
It delivers a message.
All without saying a word.

Look at your logo.
Is it as powerful?