By k | January 21, 2015 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

When I say no, I say no. I don’t offer an explanation unless I’m pressed. Why? Because I know if I really wanted to participate, I’d find a way. The person I’m saying no to usually knows this also.

Alan “Ace” Greenberg*,
former CEO of Bear Stearns,

“I tell the people here
never give a client an excuse.
You’re just adding fuel to the flame.
Say ‘I was dumb.
I made a mistake and
I’ll try to make it up to you.’
That’s all.
When you make excuses
for something you’ve done
with a client,
you’re just going to inflame him.
It’s just going to get worse.”

Don’t offer an excuse.

*Lessons From The Apprentice

By k | January 20, 2015 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

When I’m offered a group opportunity,
I first look at the other writers involved.
If I’m the biggest name in the group,
I’m not interested.
I want to become better.
Surrounding myself
with more experienced writers
is the easiest way to do this.

George Steinbrenner*

“Surround yourself with smart people.
People smarter than you are.
That’s very important.
Don’t ever be afraid of talent.”

Surround yourself with smart people.

*Lessons From The Apprentice

By k | January 19, 2015 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

As a writer just starting out,
I don’t have the marketing budget
that best selling writers have.
What I DO have is creativity
and I have the luxury of experimentation
(as I don’t have a big brand to protect).
I can try different things with my marketing.

Donnie Deutsch*

“Don’t be afraid to do it fresh,
out of the box.
Don’t just do
‘Oh, this is what an ad’s
supposed to look like.’
The greatest advertising does it differently.”

Try something fresh
with your advertising.

*Lessons From The Apprentice

By k | January 18, 2015 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

Many people think that
writers sit in their tiny offices
and slave away on their stories alone,
isolated from other people.
That’s a myth.
Writing is a business.
Business is all about people.

Steve Forbes*

“Business is serving
the needs and wants of other people.
You don’t succeed
unless the others are happy.
That forces you to pay attention to people.”

If you’re not a people person,
learn how to pretend to be one.
If you can’t pretend,
hire someone
but know that you will always be dependent
on someone else.

*Lessons From The Apprentice

By k | January 17, 2015 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

In the blogging world,
we often talk about top 10 lists,
drafting posts around
5 or 10 key points.
In the world of effective presentations,
a top 10 list is a disaster.
No one can keep 10 ideas
in her or his brain
at one time.

Madeline DeVries*,
founder of DeVries Public Relations,

“I’d rather put one word up
than a slide with lots of bullets.
Say, “Here’s the one
or the three most important objectives’
—don’t sit there with a list of ten.
Nobody’s going to solve ten objectives
all at once.
In a presentation format,
you want to hit
the most important things.”

With presentations,
focus on one or two or three points.

*Lessons From The Apprentice

By k | January 16, 2015 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Brainstorming can be
a productive method
of uncovering new ideas.
The key to effective brainstorming
is the people involved
with the process.
I like to start with blue sky people,
people who think anything is possible.
Then once we have a list of crazy innovations,
impossible to produce ideas,
I bring in the more practical folks,
the folks who can twist
these impossible ideas
into doable ideas.

Linda Sawyer*,
Deutsch Inc.’s COO,

“You need to create an environment
where you inspire people
to think completely out of the box,
to feel comfortable putting themselves
on the line and
that there’s no stupid idea or question.
I think
at the same time
brainstorming sessions need a strong leader
that can keep
reining the conversation
so that you’re moving ahead
and not all over the place.
Someone who inspires people
to come up with a crazy idea
which would never work
in the real world.
But after that crazy idea
comes a really smart idea.
A solution.”

Start with the impossible
when brainstorming.

*Lessons From The Apprentice

By k | January 15, 2015 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I’ve always been
an extra projects girl.
When I was in primary school,
I’d ask for extra assignments.
I didn’t do this for the marks.
I did this because
I wanted to be the best.
One of my early mentors told me
that if I did only what was expected,
expected results would be all I’d ever receive.
I didn’t want merely what I expected.
I wanted more.

Joe Montana,
in The Winning Spirit,

“Everyone who has been successful
in his or her chosen field
understands the importance of
practice and preparation.
To become outstanding
in a particular area,
we must learn to practice
with concentrate and focus.
Practice is our chance
to work on weaknesses
and get better.
When we’re working to
excel in something,
it is not enough to do
what is expected.
We must constantly strive
to exceed our own expectations.
Nor should we keep
starting and stopping
a practice regimen.
When we practice,
we must be consistent.”

Do more than what is expected.

By k | January 14, 2015 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

One of my early mentors
told me
to erase the word ‘problem’
from my mental dictionary.
“Successful people don’t have problems,”
he said.
“They have challenges.”
This change might seem minor
but it reframes the situation
into something manageable.

As Donald J. Trump states,
in Why We Want You To Be Rich,

“Problem solving is made much easier
if you think of problems as challenges.
You might as well view them that way,
since problems are a part of life.
Taking a positive spin on problems
will inevitably give you more energy.
I say ‘inevitably’ with confidence
because I know that’s a fact
and I know it from experience.
Confidence is a big step toward courage,
and fear will evaporate
when confronted with it.”

Erase the word ‘problem’
from your mental dictionary.

By k | January 13, 2015 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

One of my pen names
has over 80 stories available for sale.
This large selection
stresses readers out
and they often don’t buy
any of them.
So what I do is recommend 3 stories.
“If you’ve never read anything by me,
try X, Y and Z.”
This increases sales.

Mark Victor Hansen
and Robert G. Allen
in Cracking The Millionaire Code

“Researchers held two different taste tests
at a supermarket.
Test #1 gave shoppers
a choice to sample
any of 24 delicious confectionery jams.
Test #2 gave shoppers
a choice of only 6 jams.
Which test created more sales?
Test #2 increased overall sales
by 600%!
Keep it simple.”

If you have a wide variety of products,
consider promoting a limited selection.

By k | January 12, 2015 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

A gimmick can be great
for getting a prospect
to try a product.
For example:
A local sports team might offer
a bobblehead doll to attendees.

A gimmick normally won’t make
a customer return.
She only needs one bobblehead doll.
What makes her return
is a great experience
and a product
that satisfies her needs.
She has fun at that game.

Jason Kosmas*,
co-founder of
multiple cocktail bars
and The 86 Co.,
a spirits company,

“Build a concept
on substance,
not gimmicks.
Always have a plan,
but adapt to reality
as it’s served up to you.”

Gimmicks are great
but you need a great product also.

*December Southwest magazine