Sales

It’s Okay to Say “No” to the Wrong Customer

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I was at an event recently where one business speaker asserted that there were four words you should never tell a customer: “I can’t do that.” And he had some very good reasons for this assertion:

Your competitors love it when you tell a customer, “I can’t do that.”

It’s music to their ears.

When you tell a customer, “I can’t do that,” you’re giving them an excuse to look elsewhere, and you’re opening a window of ...

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Why Your New Years Resolutions Fail

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We’re well into January, and I’m guessing that by now you’ve already begun abandoning your well thought out and well intentioned New Years resolutions. And they were well intentioned, weren’t they? That’s because it’s so much easier to be optimistic when you’re looking at the new year through the rosy vapors of last night’s champagne. But then stark reality hits (along with ...

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The Beatles and the Dead: The New Business Gurus?

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I recently read a wonderful book called Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead by David Meerman Scott and Brian Halligan. Since I’d written a book extolling the business virtues of the Beatles, I was curious to see how these two iconic bands stacked up in the world of corporate smarts. In some areas I found that their methods (whether conscious or not) were similar; in ...

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Do You “Own” Your Space?

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Our business lesson today, boys and girls, comes from a spider (and not in one of those hokey “Charlotte’s Web” kind of ways). A spider, whom I’ll call “Henry” because that’s what my girlfriend and I named him, has built a web just outside my front door, right by the porch light. Now, given that most other flying insects (and by “flying insects” ...

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Why You Don’t Need to Solve Every Problem

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How much time are you wasting trying to solve problems that could simply be eliminated?

I once spent nearly an entire summer trying to solve a problem. But when I finally came around to eliminating the problem instead, the “solution” seemed so simple! Here’s what happened.

I was the producer of a sketch comedy TV show in Seattle called Almost Live! We were a one-hour show, airing Sundays at 6pm (a terrible time for sketch comedy, by the way). In addition to ...

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Are Your Customers Finding You Dispensable?

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I just got off the phone with a colleague who was complaining (whining, really) about the fact that nobody seemed to have any money to hire him. It’s the economy, of course. A few years ago, people had money, and he was being hired. Now, it’s dried up. Damn this economy!

To a certain extent, he’s right—things were easier a few years ago. But he was wrong when he said that nobody has any money. Because here’s the truth:

There’s always money ...

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Why You Need More Pain in Your Life

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I attended a workshop yesterday at my local Mac store, and the conversation turned to iPhones. This was pretty inevitable, because we were surrounded by the bloody things; still, it turned out that one attendee, whom I’ll call Cheswick because it’s a funny name, had not yet made the switch. He fully intended to, but said, “I guess I just haven’t reached my pain point with my current provider yet.”

I’ve been thinking about that, and it occurs to me that ...

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Why This Business Made the Sale

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I guess I’m getting a new roof. I don’t want to get a new roof, but I guess I’m getting one. I mean, I know I’ve needed a new roof. My neighborhood, and therefore my house, is 20 years old, and most of my neighbors have already replaced their roofs. I’ve been holding out because I’d rather spend my money on candy and ice cream. Still, in the past two or three years I’ve received dozens, possibly hundreds, of flyers ...

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