For Better Sales and Marketing Messages, First Get Everyone Uncomfortable

For Better Sales and Marketing Messages, First Get Everyone Uncomfortable

La-Z-Boy sells a lot of recliners. I don’t believe they win a lot of design awards, but then again their customers likely put a low priority on being fashion-forward in the family room. The recliner buyers wants to be comfortable and those big cushy chairs can indeed deliver comfort. That might be fine at home—but on the job comfort can wreck your marketing and growth plans. Too often I see internal teams running on auto-pilot in the ways they deal with customers and prospects. On the external side, you can be sure that competitors are trying to make your customers a little uncomfortable. And we have to make prospects similarly uncomfortable in order for them to consider doing business with us. ...
How My 14-Year-Old Son Wrote a Better Speech Than I Could

How My 14-Year-Old Son Wrote a Better Speech Than I Could

I was stunned when our 14-year-old son approached me with his idea. He wanted to run for President of his eighth grade student council. That, in and of itself, is not terribly remarkable, but it was certainly a departure for our son. He has struggled with anxiety issues for years. Because part of the process of running involves giving a short speech in front of a large student assembly, my wife and I would never have pushed him in that direction or even expected him to be comfortable with the idea. And my wife was even president of a high school class of more than 700 students! I am a professional speaker. I would typically be the person running toward the stage rather than away from it. Yet I was the one getting uptight. What if it didn't go well? What would be the impact on his confidence? ...
Ask Customers This in 2018

Ask Customers This

Sometimes, assumptions can hold our businesses down. I have come to recognize at least one assumption that often keeps businesses from selling more to their existing customers. The benefit of escaping that assumption can mean increasing your revenue by ten to twenty percent—or more.  The assumption is that your customers—even the loyal, longtime ones—know all of the things you offer. Why wouldn’t they? I mean, how long has your average customer been doing business with you? We are all creatures of our comfort zones. Your customers might be quite comfortable in what they buy from you today, how they have dealt with you in the past, and how they have come to think of you over time. ...
A Big Risk for a City such as Little Rock?

A Big Risk for a City such as Little Rock?

Has your company ever seen a Request For Proposals (RFP) that you knew you likely couldn’t win? Your options might include ignoring it altogether, tossing the “Hail Mary” pass in hopes for a miracle result, or perhaps just doing the basics in order to keep your name out there. This year’s Mother of All RFPs might be Amazon’s open competition for its second headquarters location. According to The Wall Street Journal, the company expects to spend $5 billion on the project over nearly 20 years. ...
Turn Your Dry Case Studies into Compelling Customer Stories

Turn Your Dry Case Studies into Compelling Customer Stories

What makes for an effective marketing story—the kind that is fun to tell, interesting to hear, and persuasive? We are learning more and more about the importance of good storytelling. Many companies rely on published case studies as a primary means to create and share stories and carry their sales conversations. One client has nearly 500 case studies on its website, many of which run well over 2,000 words. That represents a lot of work from the marketing team and a treasure trove for anyone who talks with customers! ...
We are Where the Money Is - Improve Customer Experience

We are Where the Money Is – Improve Customer Experience

It was the annual meeting of the company, a large manufacturer with a dealer network across North America. Several hundred employees gathered at a plush Virginia golf and conference center, including the corporate staff, sales and product development professionals, dealer executives, and—importantly—parts and service managers. ...
Too Many Meetings End at Halftime

Too Many Meetings End at Halftime

I attend meetings—lots of them—as a participant or speaker. In general, meetings continue to improve as tools that enable the businesses (associations or corporations) that created the meetings in the first place. Event professionals have made great strides in promoting their events beforehand to raise attendance and set expectations. I also see higher levels of interaction for attendees during the events themselves. ...
Perspectives on 9/11, 15 years later

Perspectives on 9/11, 15 years later

A few days ago, one of our sons "interviewed" me for a school project, titled "Where were you on September 11, 2001." The memories are still vivid, 15 years later. How about yours? ...
The 3 Steps to Trustworthiness in Professional Services

The 3 Steps to Trustworthiness in Professional Services

“We need to be recognized as trusted advisors, rather than as product peddlers.” I heard this again recently from a client whose business has changed dramatically in recent years. Its past reputation came from selling products; today most revenue comes from high-value services. In order to grow in the future, they need clients to see them in a different light—still believing in their products, to be sure, but more importantly trusting their recommendations and ability to execute. ...
Three “I”s that Build Professional Credibility

Three “I”s that Build Professional Credibility

One of the most common missteps in customer conversation is talking about ourselves too much. There is an overload of “I, me, my” out there—which can block us from truly connecting with customers, prospects, and colleagues. Nevertheless, there are at least three “I” statements which can build your professional credibility rather than undermine it.  But first, let’s recognize that telling others what we think and feel is not a character flaw. It is instead the response to a powerful biological lure that is embedded deep within our brains. As I recently shared with subscribers to my free Message Manager Memo™, Harvard University neuroscientists Diana Tamir and Jason Mitchell found that talking about ourselves triggers the same sensation of pleasure in the brain as money, food or sex. Yes, people find immediate reward at the level of brain cells and synapses. ...
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