Recently I was working with a new client, the owner of a one year old manufacturer of retail signage. It was our introductory chat. I asked him how he would describe his business model. His first words were,” I want to build a sales company that makes things.” Continue reading
I am currently enrolled in an online course at Coursera.org, Introduction to Behavioral Economics taught by Dan Ariely (well known for his Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions, HarperCollins, pp. 304,ISBN 978-0-06-135323-9
The Critical Moment
Many people struggle with how to open a business conversation with a new person or prospects. Lets assume for the moment that you have solved that puzzle and are now actually engaged in a conversation, whether in person, on the phone or via email. Typically little thought is given to how to close a business conversation. Yet, this is a critical moment. Done with a little thought you set up the next conversation and deepen your business relationships with prospects and networking contacts. Before you say, “Thank you for taking so much time to speak with me.”(or whatever phrase you use to close a conversation), you must set up the next conversation with your prospects and networking contacts.
Proposal writing is a key business development skill for many businesses Continue reading
The Human Body’s End of Life Process
On June 19, 2012 the New York Times published an article, “The Body’s Protein Cleaning Machine” about the Nobel Prize winning chemist Dr. Avram Hershko. His life work has been on understanding how the body’s cells rid themselves of old, defective proteins. Every cell has a protein ubiquitin that tags old and degenerated proteins for destruction. “Maybe you’ve heard of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s? There we have bad proteins accumulating in the brain and destroying brain cells. The reason we don’t get Alzheimer’s when we are 10 is that when we are young, the bad proteins are disposed of quickly. With age, the cell’s machinery may lose the ability to do that.”
This very interesting notion that the body has a built-in mechanism to rid itself of bad proteins reminded me of old lessons about the need for our businesses to have a similar mechanism. Product obsolescence is a terrible drag on sales and gross margins. A better strategy is to have an end of life process to drive out product obsolescence. Peter Drucker ((Peter Drucker, The Effective Executive, Harper Colophon Books, p.108)) put it this way:
Systematic sloughing off of the old is the one and only way to force the new. There is no lack of ideas in any organization I know. “Creativity” is not our problem. But few organizations ever get going on their own good ideas. Everybody is much too busy on the tasks of yesterday. Putting all programs and activities regularly on trial for their lives and getting rid of those that cannot prove their productivity work wonders in stimulating creativity even in the most hidebound bureaucracy.
Are you persuaded that your business needs An End Of Life Policy? Continue reading
This image((1)) came to me via a photographer friend of my wife. This is clever in a charming way to think of social media though I definitely part company with the description of Google +.
I found this graphic from Social Strand Media that does a better job of describing a wider range of social media.
Once you get beyond the simplicity of the presentation and get over the simplifications, or, in some cases, errors in characterization of social media, these reveal an interesting opportunity to shape a strategy that is particular to your business. Keep in mind that the social media sites mentioned here are really just the tip of a vast universe of niche specialty social media sites. If you are a winery, there are social media sites where oenophiles hang out. Does your business involve native species of perennial flowers in the upper midwest? There are social websites for virtually every slice of interests. If you can’t find one that suits you, start one yourself. Open source social website software like BuddyPress is simple to set up. Web marketing is not necessarily big budget, just long on thinking and involvement.
So, the web marketing challenge here is to identify your customer base(s) and get involved with them. Keep in mind you need to drop the old pushy sales and marketing approaches and get engaged to share your knowledge and enthusiasms. Web marketing is engagement and sharing not pushing messages. Sales will follow.Footnotes:
“Content is King!”
This phrase, now seemingly completely worn out in the ever newer world of Web 2.0 going on Web X.0, is really still true. Now, in the world of increasingly flashy Web production values, it is time to resurrect this slogan and put it into action in your business. This is especially important for small business people who cannot afford the “finer things” on the Web. Time to take a look again at your value to your customer niche and bring back content, real, genuine, authentic in all its quirkiness, your content.
Here is an example of a young woman, Jessica Beinecke, teaching idiomatic English to learners of English in China. She is now reaching millions of people. And, she is doing this with no other production equipment than a laptop computer and some lights.
Why is she so successful? Watch.
‘OMG!’ Exports American Slang to China – from The News Hour – Friday 02/10/2012
and here is her lesson for Valentine’s Day.
Recently I was on an commercial air flight and was greeted by a bit of corporate sloganeering that accompanied by meal (yes, you guessed correctly that I was on an international flight). The napkin shouted out in bold blue text, “Planes change. Values don’t. Your priorities will always be ours.” Continue reading
In the preceding post about key causes for business plans to fail, we discussed the lack of a robust process to convert strategy into tactics, to convert the plans into the day-to-day work of the organization. This posting will take up another major failure mode. That is the failure to have a compelling customer perceived value proposition and the corollary failures to understand markets and customers more generally. Continue reading
FABing, variously Features and Benefits, Features, Attributes, & Benefits, has always been a great tool for getting people to focus more self-consciously, more analytically on what they are doing in their sales and marketing work.
Here is an article by Michael Fortin that develops and extends the traditional concept of FABing: “The Oft-Confused Features and Benefits“