Is the customer always right?

In a blog post last September, I ranted about an experience I had buying new glasses. The rant had to do with arbitrary discounts and contrived sale pricing.

What I didn’t mention in that post is I actually purchased two pair of glasses. One pair was for everyday outside activities such as driving, dining, or watching a movie. The other pair Funny glasseswas for use only at my desk — working on the computer and close-up work. I didn’t mention that each pair of glasses uses expensive progressive lenses sometimes called no-line bifocals.

I picked out new frames for the outdoor glasses but decided to reuse frames I already had for my close-up pair. They were expensive frames when I bought them and in great condition. Plus, since no one ever sees me in them, I thought they’d work just fine.

They did until four weeks ago. The old frames broke! So back to the optical store I went in hopes of finding a solution. Continue reading

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How do you define marketing?

Marketing is one of those things that’s difficult to define. It doesn’t seem to have a definition everyone will agree to, at least according to most popular dictionaries.

For example, one dictionary defined marketing as the act or process of seldictionary9ling or purchasing in a market, the process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service.

Or how about this one: Marketing is an aggregate of functions involved in moving goods from producer to consumer.

Here’s one more: The total of activities involved in the transfer of goods from the producer or seller to the consumer or buyer, including advertising, shipping, storing, and selling.

That’s the way dictionaries explain it. And I suppose they’re okay. But when you walk up to people on the street and ask them to define marketing, you get very different definitions. Marketing is selling. Marketing is advertising. Marketing is promoting a product or service.

You can (or perhaps can’t) appreciate the dilemma I faced Continue reading

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Is your goal line in the right place?

Next time you approach a hot new prospect, why not move the goal line.

Instead of focusing on how you’re going to land your first big deal, readjust your thinking goal line88and your sales process to land a customer for life.

In other words, set out from day one to build a lifetime relationship in which that soon-to-be new customer continually buys from you and relies upon you.

  • Build genuine rapport by taking time to get to know your prospect and for them to get to know you.
  • Help them understand you and your team treat all your clients by providing the best quality, service, and follow-through in the industry.
  • During your initial courting phase and after they become a client, forward emails or articles of interest that cross your desk. It’s a practically effortless to do so and it’s a great way to say, “I’m thinking about you.”
  • Send a handwritten thank you note after your initial meeting or a box of Robin’s Cookies. Heck, send them a thank you just to say thank you. Continue reading
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How do you deal with the things you don’t like to do?

Each of us has things we do well and like to do. Call this our comfort zone. Each of us also has things we don’t do well and don’t like to do. Call this our un-comfort zone.

Personally, I’ve found the best way for me to deal with the activities in my un-comfort zone — the ones I don’t like to do but the ones I know are vital to my oGrumpy 1verall success — is through discipline and scheduling.

I simply schedule the things I don’t like and add them to my daily calendar, usually in one-hour chunks. When the calendar alarm chimes, I stop what I’m doing and focus on dealing with the un-comfort zone things.

This technique seems to work. The stuff I don’t like to do is easier to deal with because I’m taking it in smaller chunks of time. Continue reading

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Does it make sense to sell without making profit?

Some people like getting advice. Others hate it. They’d rather work it out on their own.

As for me, I ask for advice and ask often. That’s why when I finished the manuscript for How to Close More Business in Less Time, I relied on the services of the best editor and proofreader I could find.

In fact, long before I get to the point of ever needing an editor, when I’m in a conceptual Profit56writing mode testing a message for an article or report, I go out of my way to ask for advice and to get a second opinion.

For example, several weeks ago I asked a long time friend (I’ll call him John because that’s his name) to review a rough draft. The piece focused on growth. Every place in the article where I said growth, John corrected it to read profitable growth. 

He and I had a lengthy conversation about that. Of course, I knew John was right, but thought a discussion was in order.

In my mind, when I said growth, I knew I meant profitable growth. But John was correct in reminding me that although I knew exactly what I meant, others might not read between the lines (or, in this case, read between the words).

That brought us around to the age-old question that many new and established businesses struggle with: Does it ever make sense to sell a job that doesn’t produce profit dollars? Continue reading

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Is it too early for spring-cleaning?

Thanks to a break in New York’s weather last weekend and because I’m highly optimistic spring isn’t too far off, I was compelled to do some early spring-cleaning — to empty a very small closet of stuff I never wear.

Some things no longer fit. That made it easy to decide. Will I ever gain that much weight Ties in closetback or will I ever be that thin again? Somehow, keeping the extra large sizes sets me up for failure. Keeping the skinny wardrobe gives me hope.

For whatever reason, I had the toughest time with ties. I don’t wear a lot of ties and, in recent months, I’ve moved away from bowties. The bowties were an attempt at branding — a way of differentiating myself and proving how nimble-fingered I could be racing out the door at six o’clock in the morning.

As fate would have it, I rediscovered a number of ties from my past I absolutely love. They were either given to me as gifts or I bought them for myself.

They’re in great condition and many like new. But I don’t wear them. Nevertheless, I’m not ready to give them away. I just like them. They make me feel good. Plus, they take up hardly any space in my closet.

I think a lot of business owners feel the same way about their marketing programs as I do about my ties. Continue reading

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It’s ribbon cutting day!

 ribbon cutting for book sml



[CLICK HERE TO PLAY FANFARE!]

Typically, a ribbon cutting is a public ceremony that celebrates the opening of a new building or business. And while I’ve stood in line for book signings, I’ve never actually seen a ribbon cutting marking the official launch of a new book — especially one online. But I figured why not!

So, with FANFARE and a toast in hand, I’m pleased to announce the official launch TODAY of my newest book, How to Close More Business in Less Time.

Advanced copies of How to Close More Business in Less Time shipped a week ago to a number of business colleagues and associates, experts in business, sales, and marketing and, of course, relatives. (The relatives are my toughest critics.)

The response so far is everything I hoped for. I’m hearing, “How to Close More Business in Less Time is an easy read with lots of ideas they’ll be able to use and put to work.” It’s a pleasure to read, nothing like an ordinary business book.” “Well done, Gil. You really connect the dots between marketing and the sales process.”

I’m also hearing my early readers are not only learning the most efficient and effective way to close more business in less time, but also how to streamline their entire sales process and implement marketing strategies that shorten the sales cycle and produce consistently better results.

CLICK HERE to learn how you can get a copy of my new book TODAY and, if you’re inspired to do so, write a review or provide me with a testimonial that I can use in promoting the book.

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“Want a great customer service team? Serve one another first.”

My friend Gary Anzalone and I co-author a series of articles in SmartCEO magazine, the New York City edition.smart_ceo1

Each article in the series focuses on an aspect of of building positive cultures within an organization as well as how to go about creating the culture. The latest in the series deals with creating a culture of service. CLICK HERE to read the entire article entitled, “Want a great customer service team? Serve one another first.”

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Happy Valentine’s Day

Love photo v1

I rarely am at a loss for words. However, this year, a proper Valentine’s Day message seemed to escape me.

Fortunately, everyone sees the world differently. While I typically see and express the world through words, my daughter Julie, a professional photographer in Clearwater, Florida, sees it through pictures – specifically the photographs she takes.

When I saw the attached photo pop up on her Facebook page this week, I asked if I could share it with you as a special Valentine’s Day treat.

I tried to write a caption but words couldn’t come anywhere near expressing Valentine’s Day the way this photo does.

For more photographic smiles of children, infants, and families (in stills and videos) on this Valentine’s Day, take a few minutes to visit http://www.julieeffronphotovideo.com.

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What’s the best way to write a book?

Simple: Just start writing.

Well, okay. There’s a little more to it than that. When someone asks me how to go about writing a book and I sense they’re serious about it, I do offer a few suggestions. Here’s what I tell them.

First, write about what you know. I’ve spent many years working with businesses, helping them improve the effectiveness of their business, marketing, and the sales process. Essentially, I write about what I’ve learned along the way, my ah-ha moments from working through various challenges my clients experienced. I also draw ideas from watching the world at large and how things are trending.old typewriter copy

Second, write a little every day. I don’t have the time to sit at my keyboard for eight to ten hours straight. But I can and do set aside Saturday mornings for writing and, because I’m an early riser, it’s easy for me to spend an hour or two getting a couple hundred words down before the sun comes up or the phone starts to ring.

Third, write something else first. For example, when I wrote How to Give Your Business an Extreme Marketing Makeover, that book followed another project – a mini-course and workbook by the same title. Once I had the workbook in hand, it was easy to transition to the book. My newest book, How to Close More Business in Less Time, contains new ideas that didn’t make it into the first book, as well as dozens more I’ve accumulated in the past two to three years.

Fourth, write the way you talk. For whatever reason, people who are eloquent speakers choke when it comes to writing. Perhaps there’s still some old school influence at work that makes them feel they need to use vocabulary they’d never naturally use when speaking with someone. Continue reading

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