I’m sorry

On a recent trip, my wife and I stopped at a name-brand hotel in Virginia – our hotel of choice on most road trips simply because things are always just right. In other words, they’re consistent from location to location.Irate Customer

As we were checking out the following morning, I mentioned to the desk clerk that, among several minor problems with the room, our hair dryer had a broken plug. I could see inside the plug and it appeared there could be a short. Understanding I rarely need a hair dryer, I felt mentioning this would be a service to the next guest. I expected it would also be a prime safety concern for the hotel and a means to avoid a lawsuit.

The desk clerk responded to my four concerns with, “I’ll let them know.” There was no apology, no “I’m sorry,” no attempt to offer me a discount or a free Hawaiian vacation – not that I was actually expecting that.

I used to hear “I’m sorry” all the time when a business transaction, service, or purchase didn’t work out well or when I returned something to the store because of a technical problem or manufacturer’s defect. Continue reading

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Blind to taking follow-through seriously

For years in my talks, writings, and books I’ve preached the absolute imperative for businesses to focus on developing and maintaining lifetime relationships with their customers and clients.

Call it a hobby, but I’m always on the lookout for good examples and bad examples of blinds 3businesses that nurture lifetime relationships.

I’m a skeptic. And I’m always testing. So it’s not unusual for me to place a smaller order with a company, to see how well they perform. If they do well, they get the big order. If they do poorly, I move on.

That’s exactly what happened recently when I placed my first order with a local franchise of a national blinds company.

A competent salesman came to the home. We chatted, talked about various projects I wanted to tackle. We talked about pricing and delivery. In keeping with my testing approach, I ordered two blinds – one for the bedroom and the other for my home office.

As predicted, in about three weeks I received a call telling me they were ready. We set a date for the installation.

As good as the salesman was, the installer was just the opposite. Continue reading

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Watch the lowest common denominator

I’m old enough to remember when we had only black and white television. There was no cable. We could watch three stations if the rabbit ears (the antenna) that sat on top of the TV were positioned just right.

I also remember the transition from black-and-white to color. I was working at a Philco TV 1960s bwcommercial television station in Cincinnati. Our control room was suddenly filled with state-of-the-art color monitors feed by state-of-the-art color cameras that were about the size of a Mini Cooper. (Whoever could have imagined each of us with a smart phone could carry a television camera in our pocket let alone have the capability to broadcast it.)

Now this transition from black-and-white to color occurred when only five to ten percent of the population had television sets that could receive color. So while those of us in the studio were watching in color, people at home were fiddling with rabbit ears desperately trying to watch the Cincinnati Reds win a baseball game.  Continue reading

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My new hobby

I recently had the pleasure of helping Andrew Weinberg and Rich Pisnoy, co-founders of Silver Fin Capital, a top-rated mortgage company located in Great Neck, New York and serving New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Florida, sharpen thSFC-logo-horizontal-cmykeir marketing, rebrand their image, and develop a new website.

My primary role was to serve as marketing strategist and project coordinator. That began by spending time with Andrew and Rich to thoroughly understand their business, sales process, and value propositions, and to conduct an in-depth SWOT analysis (Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats).

My activities also included locating and directing a copywriter to turn the SWOT and value propositions into words, a designer to provide an exceptional new look from logo to finished website (and I found a truly great web designer in Len Williams of Design Strategies), and a plan for driving traffic to the Silver Fin Capital website. That plan includes both Adwords and SEO.

While I always enjoy being actively involved and hands-on in the creative process, working as project manager and with other highly competent creative people was a real hoot. I not only had a great time but the result speaks for itself. So I’ve found my new hobby: working with and directing a highly creative and talented team to bring about a truly exceptional outcome. CLICK HERE to see the new Silver Fin Capital website.

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Watching winter on television

I just realized how long it’s been since I posted a blog — almost three months.

Well, there’s good reason. Or, at least, there’s a reason.Moving van I moved. After seven years in New York City, it was time to return to the land of sunshine — Florida. That move happened for me officially on October 1st.

People ask why I’m moved. At the top of the list is the weather. Some like it hot and I’m one of those guys. Winter and I just don’t get along and the last two winters in New York left me with two options: Hibernate or move back to the Tampa area.

The other reason is that I’m now back among family and friends, sunny skies, sandy beaches, and no snow.

So if you’re looking for me, you can find me in a Greek restaurant in Tarpon Springs, chasing alligators down U.S. Highway 19, taking the grandkids for ice cream, or at my desk. (This isn’t retirement. Life in Florida only sounds like retirement.)

Continue reading

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The dictionary defines reinvent as “to make major changes or improvements to (something), to present (something) in a different or new way.”

People reinvent themselves all the time, often without consciously being aware they’re rethinkdoing so. Something stirs them and they decide to adopt the latest fashion trend, join a new club, try a new activity, or take a few courses – just for the fun of it.

Businesses need to be a whole lot more conscious and deliberate about reinvention. In fact, I believe it’s essential for business owners to continually reinvent their businesses.

Reinvention means introducing new products or services and their accompanying new features and benefits, seeking out new markets, rethinking deliverables, reevaluating pricing strategies, refreshing their branding, and updating value propositions so they better address the needs of their customer base for today and tomorrow. Continue reading

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Connecting the dots between marketing and the sales process

INTERVIEW Bruce Hurwitz, host of Manhattan Chamber of Commerce’s The Voice of Manhattan Business conducted an insightful interview with me on Wednesday, August 27, 2014. He was looking to connect the dots between marketing and the sales process. Great questions. Solid answers. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/mcofc/2014/08/27/an-interview-with-the-author-of-how-to-close-more-business-in-less-time

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Marketing, sales, and emotional intelligence

I’ll be the special guest of Dr. Hank Clemons, Founder and CEO for the Society of Emotional Intelligence. Our topic is Marketing, Sales, and Emotional Intelligence.  Join us on Thursday, July 24 at 7:15 p.m.  Click this link to listen live: http://ctrnetwork.com/page/how-to-listen or to learn how to access the interview in the event you’re not able to listen live.

[UPDATED 7/29/2014] Dr. Hank provided a link to a recording of my interview. In preparing for the interview, I gave a lot of thought to how emotion plays a vital part in both marketing and the sales process. You’ll really enjoy this. Check it out – http://www.contacttalkradio.net/CTR/hankclemons072414.mp3

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How do you see others? How do they see you?

There’s an old story (call it an urban legend) of a man walking into a Mercedes dealership one afternoon. He’s dressed in old, torn blue jeans, a flannel shirt in dire need of retirement, and work boots. He’s definitely in need of a shave.arms crossed4

The man walks around the showroom, opens the door to a new S Class sedan, and climbs inside the car. In the meantime, three salesmen, each with arms crossed, are standing on the sideline watching the man. All eyes are fixed to see what the he will do next. But no one approaches the man.

The man exits the automobile and walks the rest of the showroom reading the stickers on various models. Periodically, he looks up at the small group of salesmen huddled at the back of the showroom. Still, no one approaches. The man exits the dealership.

As the story goes, the man crosses the street, walks into the Jaguar dealership, and drives out an hour later in a new Jaguar XK Coupe.

This works in the opposite direction, too. Continue reading

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For startups and younger businesses

Join me as I outline the 5 critical mistakes startup businesses make that zap short-term success and hinder long-term prosperity, and how to avoid them at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 1, 2014 at Fairfield Inn & Suites, Tarpon Springs, Florida. Sponsored by West Pasco Chamber of Commerce. Learn more.

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