April 28, 2006

One Way Or Another

Destructive Pain

Boss: "You need to be confident and successful."
Employee: "I agree. How?"
Boss: "You need to be confident and successful."
Employee: "I understand that. But how?"
Boss: "You need to be confident and successful."
Employee: "Can I have a raise?"
Boss: "You need to be confident and successful."

Constructive Pain

Boss: "You need to be confident and successful."
Employee: "I agree. How?"
Boss: "Be passionate and curious."
Employee: "I understand that. But how?"
Boss: "If you don't know, maybe you should search for the answer."
Employee: "Can I have a raise?"
Boss: "You need to be confident and successful."

Both conversations begin and end the same way. The employees' responses are identical. Each result is completely different.

Or, you could take the advice of Dr. E. L. Kersten.

Hope To Be One

Do you want your career or your business to be great? Rampantly successful? I do. And I ask myself three questions to keep me honest and on track.

1. Am I passionate about what I do?
2. Does what I do have a positive impact?
3. Is what I do sustainable?

Three "yes" answers suggest the mind is in the right place. Combine that with some will and - ZOOM! - on the way! Anything less than three "yes" answers and you might as well quit your job or sell your business to go out and do something remarkable. I did. If you are not up for the risk, you are not willing to be great.

April 27, 2006

Win Amanda Congdon's Money

How can you resist the Amanda Congdon concept? Smart, funny, beautiful, and apparently, independently wealthy. How does her Rocketboom video blog keep a roof over her head, you wonder? It makes a good case for doing what excites you and accepting that the reward will be equal to the effort - in time.

Would That Be Enough To Earn Your Business?

A friend of mine (who happens to be a professional sales trainer) helped his grandparents buy a car about a month back. He recently shared an e-mail interaction he had with a car salesman. A bit over the top, perhaps, but there is some good advice in there. Needless to say, he bought somewhere else.

The original e-mail...

    Hi Mr. Harring,

    I assume by your visit and request for information for your grandparents on the vehicle of their choice, they are in the car market. I also assume they are searching for the BEST PRICE on that vehicle. I am trying to do what I can to earn their business. I also assume there are closer dealerships to you and that does put the pressure on me to get a price that would have you drive the small amount of distance to me. If I could beat your best price from $100-$300 on that price, would that be enough to earn your business? Let me know.

    Mr. Perkins
    Internet Leasing Manager

... and the reply...

    Mr. Perkins,
    1. Most prospects will not be completely honest with you. This may occur to varying degrees, but it is almost universally true.

    2. You will never change the point of view of a prospect. The best you can hope for is to stimulate realization of a misunderstood need.

    3. Comfort is key because no one (salesman nor customer) benefits from an unnecessarily hastened decision which inevitably leads to a buyer's remorse. You can slaughter a sheep once, but you can sheer it twenty times.

    4. Price is NEVER the real issue. Prospects ask such questions as "How much does it cost?" and "Can you tell me more about the features?" because they do not know what else to ask, usually as a result of their lack of understanding about what they really need.
    A final word of free advice. Let your prospects like you, but do not try to make them like you. Refrain from loaded or rehearsed questions about their opinions of where to find a good steak. Ask them what they want from you and actually listen, hard, to what they say. When words come out of a prospect's mouth, which ones do you care about? Well, it shows. A smart, successful salesman will gain insight from what most see as mundane. No one walks into a car dealership wanting to make friends. They come in wanting to buy a car. If they make a friend, great for both of you. If not, hopefully they will have at least bought a car.
    Listen, be a human being, and want success for your customers, not yourself.


    Mr. Harring

Could a more refined and matured process have relieved some stress and created success?

Ups. Downs. Web 2.0

When user-generated content becomes illiterate, self-absorbed, and completely misses the point. Then again, maybe that is the point...

my interview & job offer from google

A truer perspective on the same topic exists here...


April 26, 2006

Recommended Reading

I support literacy (no revelation there, not that many are against it) and would like to share some good books with points of view about the world at large. The first in the series is...

Dry by Augusten Burrows.

A truly witty, and thus endearingly honest, memoir of an advertising guru's journey into and through sobriety, friendship, and mortality. It seems real enough to pass for autobiographical.

Bar Marriage (The Old Adage In Detail)

It is your goal to be married. You go to a bar and begin your search for a spouse. Two options present themselves.

First - you ask each and every person there if they would like to marry you. Do it long enough in enough places and, odds are, someone will say yes. It takes a lot of asking and the end result is quick, short-term, and ultimately unstable.

Second - you seek out individuals who you find attractive and to whom you think you may have something to offer. You approach them, have a conversation, and discover that the possibility for a relationship has been qualified by both sides. Dating ensues and some time later, a well-heeled, long-term, stable relationship is formed.

The problem with the first example is that if they said yes to you so quickly, what is keeping them from saying yes to another suitor just as easily?

What if your best customers or clients actually have an otherwise inexplicable attraction to your business? What if building that relationship is more than simply matchmaking needs and capabilities? What if your best business relationships exist because of the same things that inspire your best personal relationships? Chemistry.

You find each other attractive because of your shared, inherent traits. The conversation is organic and easy to have. A beautiful, beneficial relationship blossoms because you both take care of each other.

Everyone wants attention. What better way to hold it than a committed relationship?

Form Lacks Function

Twenty-nine minutes ago, I was convinced to abandon my traditional telephone service and sign up for a voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) telephone service. Although I have yet use this new service, or even receive any of the hardware necessary to activate it, I already have a strong opinion of what is to come.

The product pitch was great. There is a website full of content with lots of answers and interactive gadgetry driving home the details of all the features and benefits - all included as added value within the monthly service fee that is a fraction of the cost of a traditional telephone line, of course. Perfect! Where's that dotted line?

I set up a new account online. I logged in. I had a problem. I looked through the FAQs. I called. I waited. I talked to four different people, one of them twice, in three separate countries. The only consistent and reliable attribute was apathy. Forty minutes later, a customer service rep check a box in his computer and the issue was resolved.

Alas, there is a point to this long-winded story beyond blowing off steam about a frustrating experience. An entire organization needs to portray the same image through and through. Ads can be fun and engaging. A website can be interesting and poignant. But when the human representation is miserable, any hope for a brilliant customer experience is over. Remember that Abraham Lincoln speech about the house divided against itself? Well, this company is due for a corporate civil war.

It does not matter how remarkable and cutting edge a company's product is if it is not remarkable and cutting edge all the way through. Now, the product will have to be twice as remarkable and cutting edge to keep me around as a customer, and that will cost them a lot more time and money than offering up some customer relationship training to employees right from the start. Your employees want to help your customers (or at least, they should want to), so invest in the training and tools to make it possible. You wind up looking like a visionary customer service genius. Your employees are capable and confident. Your customers are satisfied.

Come On In

Welcome to the Wreathian web log. We will be posting all sorts of thoughts, observations, news, and articles about marketing and communications. We are pretty busy with the actual work of bootstrapping our way into existence right now, but we are doing our best to begin and maintain a living, breathing dialogue.

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1. Interesting and insightful. We may not change the world every day, but that certainly will not stop us from trying.
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Day One

“Never offend people with style when you can offend them with substance.”

- Sam Brown