Getting Paid For Your Problem Solving – a lesson from behavioral economics

Dan_Ariely TED_in_2009

Dan Ariely at TED in 2009

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 DecisionsHarperCollins, pp. 304,ISBN 978-0-06-135323-9). 

In a discussion by Dan Ariely about the psychology of money he pointed out that people have a very difficult time paying for expertise. This doubtless even more so for problem solving expertise. Continue reading

Prospects and Networking – build success at the end of a conversation

The Critical Moment

The Conversation by William McElcheran, Calgary Canada

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.

Continue reading

Product Obsolescence – an end of life process

The Human Body’s End of Life Process

Avram-Hershko-NYTs-06192012On 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

Social Media Explained – opportunities in web marketing

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/inboundwriter/

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.

Social Media Explained from social strand 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:
  1. Turns out that this image has “gone viral” on the Web. Nevertheless, its source is in fact a Web marketing firm, Three Ships Media. The story of how and why they created this social media chart is here []