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The Power of No

I recently sent this email responding to a potential customer who turned me down for an appointment.   

Hi *First Name*, 

As always, thank you for your time.    After your response to my meeting request, I realized something very important. When I asked to meet with you this time, I clearly didn’t offer anything of immediate and compelling value to you and your business. As time equals money, why would any smart business person give up their valuable time for a meeting of unknown proportions?  

You can be sure that the next time I contact you * First Name*, I will bring an offer of compelling value to the table. Cheers,
Lee 

The power of hearing the word NO can cause an epiphany, of which hearing a YES usually can not!  When we get too many positives or yes’s in our lives, we can become complacent and start making assumptions about the perceived value we bring to the table. We need to be turned down once an awhile to keep sharp, to keep ensuring we communicate clearly to our customers and potential clients the immediate value we bring to the table.  Come to think of it, the power of NO is true for any relationship. Embrace the NO, and learn from it!

Yahoo Widgets Can Change Your Bad Internet Habits

If you are like many other people on the planet, you have great intentions of sitting down at your computer and hammering out your extensive to do list, maybe set up a marketing campaign, respond to all your emails, and usually the list goes on and on. 

Do you ever find you get side tracked and time just magically disappears on you? 

Maybe it’s Facebook that sucked you in to a 23 minute tangent, or maybe it was that funny video link your buddy sent you that forced you at gun point to go surf on YouTube for 30 minutes.  

Either way, I have found a new tool from Yahoo Widgets called Ten Plus Two that is so dead simple it works. It displays a ten minute timer on your screen and then gives you a little alarm when it runs out, then it gives you two minutes before it starts over again. They say it was designed to get up and take break every ten minutes, which is a great idea too, but I think it better suited as a consistent reminder to get back on task when you have been side tracked by mother internet. 

If you don’t have Yahoo Widgets already, you’ll need to first get the Yahoo Widget Software, and then just do a quick search for Ten Plus Two. Not only will you be cured of your bad internet habits, at least until you forget to start using it, but they have about 5000 other cool widgets you just might find pretty cool as well. 

http://widgets.yahoo.com/  

10 Cures for Writers Block

Almost everyone has to write for some purpose or another. Whether you are in marketing, journalism, or simply have a deadline to write a business proposal or birthday card, writers block can hit at the most inconvenient times. Here are few interesting ways to cure the nastiest cases of writers block. 

Top 10 Cures for Writers Block 

  1. Call A Friend– Call anybody your truly enjoy talking to and chit chat. There is no need to mention writers block just truly enjoy a conversation with a friend. Then as soon as your done write the first thing that comes to your mind.
  2. Shut Google Down– Instead head over to www.Wikepedia.org  and search for your first pets name or full name of your first crush. If this doesn’t cure you writers block, then at least you’ll have a new found respect for your first pet, or be crushed that you first love is now a multi-millionaire internet mogul. Start writing!
  3. Power of Now – If you have read Eckhart Tole’s book you will realize we constantly have a ‘self speak’ conversation going on in our own heads. Take the next 5 minutes to try and seriously not think about anything or let a single thought come into your head. Writing should be easy after this one!
  4. Write Facts- The simple exercise of writing anything can truly break your writers block. Pick up the Yellow Pages, go to the first page your fingers select half way through the book and start typing out what you read. (If you’re curious, page 532 in my City is the Handyman Section…yahoo!!!)
  5. Alarm Clock- Set your alarm for 5 minutes from now. The purpose behind this one is that if you are sitting at a computer you will have to stop and hit the snooze button every time it goes off, thus forcing you to stop what you are doing momentarily. If whatever you are doing is not helping your writers block or you find your self zoning out…stop, drop and get writing!
  6. Drink Coffee- Caffeine tends to spur brain activity. If you can’t drink coffee (who the heck doesn’t), then have a Pepsi or a chocolate bar. If you just can’t have caffeine period… skip this one all together!
  7. Pen & Paper- I know it sounds really strange, but pull out a pen and pad of paper and try writing on that. No laptop, no spell check and no clickity clack…
  8. Listen To Music You Would Normally Hate- If you listen to music while you are trying to write and aren’t producing results, then listening to the same old tunes is not going to change your mindset. Shake things up and listen to _________ and start writing.
  9. Still Blank– Accept the fact you have writers block and walk away to write another day. Go do something totally off the wall and fun!
  10. Unplug Your Internet- If the Instant Messenger, Email, Facebook & iTunes aren’t curing your writers block, then they may be causing it. Disable your internet connection and start writing with out distraction.

Three cheers to the end of writers block and may all your words flow as easily as the air you breathe. If you have found other ways to beat writers block please post your comments below. I may need a # 11 soon :>)

PRWeb Press Release

I had a reader ask where to submit press releases online that actually get SEEN, and the answer to that is quite simply PRWeb. I know there are a ton of online free press release services, but I haven’t found or heard of any to be truly effective. If you care to disagree…please post your comments at the end of this post! 

WHO: PRWeb 

WHAT: Press Release Service 

WHY: Besides getting a ton of eyeballs immediately viewing your company or service via Google News, Yahoo and other major online news services, the potential to get your story picked up by main stream media, TV, & radio should be why you submit a press release on or offline. If your story is compelling enough and starts to spread virally, it is more free advertising than you or I can potentially imagine. 

As well, your press release will be permanently pointed to your website. This can send you additional website visitors, improve your search engine rankings with major search engines, and even have your story picked up by media again, and again. 

WHEN: 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week /365 days a year.  WHERE:  www.prweb.com

My Hush Puppy Customer Service Story

I have an interesting story about shoes that might not be indicative of blogging about marketing ideas, but certainly is about customer service and pride of product. 

For the longest time, I have been in love with Hush Puppy dress shoes. I wear them almost day and night and despite loving the product so much almost dropped buying the product all together because of a bad experience.When I bought my last pair of Hush Puppies about a year before my problem occurred in 2004, I told everyone. It was their most expensive shoe and I was ecstatic with their new technology, which put a cushion of air under your heel. I talked about them on the plane, at seminars, to family and friends…to absolutely everyone. They looked good and felt even better. I gave Hush Puppies so much free advertising some might have accused me of being on their payroll, I assure you I wasn’t and am not currently.

A little over a year after buying the shoes, I one day realized…hey, my feet aren’t so comfy anymore. I took off my shoe and took a look inside. In both shoes, the air cushion had collapsed and a crater had developed under each heel. I’m hard on my shoes but not that hard, and I’m not even a heavy guy. So, I was disappointed but figured it wouldn’t be a problem, just take them back and get a new pair…right? Not that easy after all.The store indicated that they only can return Hush Puppy product with in one year of purchase and you must produce a receipt, which was OK as I still had it. Strike one. I figured OK, if I contact Hush Puppies directly, they would surely recognize a manufacturing default and pony up a new pair of Puppies. Nope…after contacting Customer Service via email their response was simply to shrug me off stating that they only provide a one-year warranty on all their products. In other words, we don’t care that their may be a manufacturing default and you are out of luck. I guess some people may have stopped trying at this point, but I wanted my Puppies repaired or replaced, and I wasn’t taking no for an answer.In the mean time, I had purchased a new pair of stylish, yet comfortable jet black, slide on Rockports. They were surprisingly comfortable, but not my dear Hush Puppies. With the shoebox that my new Rockports came in, I boxed up my old Hush Puppies and shipped them to the office of the CEO of Hush Puppies, with a letter letting them know how I felt.

One of two things is going though your mind. He’s crazy … well, just a little, or brilliant. I really don’t think either are holey appropriate. The fact is Hush Puppies had a choice, they can either stand behind their product or they can leave their customer hanging, in a highly competitive market.

What did they do?

About three weeks after sending my shoes off, at the whopping cost of about eight bucks, my wife received a call from the Executive Assistant to the CEO of Hush Puppies. I happened to be on a business trip at the time but Tanya indicated that she knew why they were calling. The lady politely asked Tanya if she thought Lee would mind waiting about a month, until their new line of shoes came out, and they would ship me a brand new pair. Whoo…hooo…success! Tanya said that would be fine and that she would pass on the message to me. Tanya called me pretty much immediately after getting off the phone, as to date we have had quite a few laughs over the Hush Puppy incident.

I was elated that in the end I succeeded at achieving my goal, but was still upset that it took such great lengths to get satisfaction. This was not a case of a miser seeking a freebie, as I always believe in paying fair prices for quality; their product obviously had an “alleged” manufacturing default. Maybe it was limited to all the shoes produced on New Years Eve, who knows and who really cares.

The morale of the story is stand behind your product or service and your loyal customers will take care of you. If you don’t, they will abandon you faster than you did them.

 

No Job is Too Small

It doesn’t matter if you are a marketer, a plumber or an actor, if you advertise your services as being no job is too small for your undivided attention, then that’s what you need to live up to.  It’s a great way to make every customer feel important, of course, only if you can and will dutifully follow through on your promises. 

Regardless of your market there is money to be made in small jobs, or what some might call micro sales. You just have to figure out how to keep your promises and be profitable at the same time.  

Amazon has figured this out with the Artificial Artificial Intelligence (that’s not a typo), where people are profiting from services completed for as little as .05 cents. It’s called Amazon Mechanical Turk http://www.mturk.com/mturk/welcome If your business is online you’ll immediately see the value of this service!

Why can’t the local handyman who advertises ‘No Job is Too Small’ do the same?

The Marketing PDF

The Marketing PDF

 So what is The Marketing PDF?

This one page PDF is the fastest way to a better marketing strategy. In less than ten minutes, and in only 3 steps, you will zero in on YOUR greatest marketing proposition, drop many bad marketing habits and immediately create a high level actionable marketing strategy that will propel you or your business forward for years to come.

Why did I create The Marketing PDF?

Quite simply, I was working on a  project that I needed to quickly zero in on the offer and marketing strategy. The other templates I had been using were just too cumbersome, old and were slowing me down. So I created a new one.

Favor to ask?

I have put this out for anyone and everyone to use, and I honestly expect nothing in return, other than if you do make use of The Marketing PDF please take the time to come back and comment.

Please feel free to share this PDF with anyone who may get use out of it. If you enjoyed this post or any other please take a moment and sign-up to receive blog updates one a week.

Click Here to Download the PDF: The Marketing PDF

Your Marketing Entourage

I’ll admit I am not a huge fan of the TV show Entourage, but the friends I bounce my marketing ideas off of totally are. From here on in we will refer to these fellow marketing freaks as ‘My Marketing Entourage.’ 

Who’s part of your entourage? Who do you bounce ideas off? 

On my BlackBerry I have in constant rotation over 100 notes for crazy marketing ideas that I pull out when needed. But prior to implementing anything, I run them by ‘My Marketing Entourage’. More often than not I get negative feedback, and less often hear, “That’s a keeper!” Mixed in with the negative and positive, I always hear nuggets of information, and variations of my original ideas that in my wildest dream I never would have thought of! 

Your ‘Marketing Entourage’ makes you better, makes you smarter and ultimately pumps you up when you are down. 

If you read my blog regularly you are de facto a part of ‘My Marketing Entourage’! If you are stuck, you are down, need an honest opinion or just want to run an idea by another professional… shoot me an email or post a comment.

Dude You’re a Bobble Head

Saw this novelty item and felt compelled to share it with you for your unique marketing consideration. Unless you’ve been locked in a closet you are already familiar with ‘Bobble Heads’. They come in all shapes, sizes and more often than not are of famous people like Elvis Presley or Marilyn Monroe. Well that was until a launch of a new service not so long ago that will bring Bobble Head Personalization to the masses. 

For about $80 www.HeadBobble.com will custom manufacture a personalized Bobble Head and deliver it straight to your door in a bout three weeks. Just submit a picture, short description, and you or any one you choose can become a famous Bobble Head! 

Just think of the unique ways you could use this in your marketing efforts or for pure comedic enjoyment. Send one to your boss, send one to your x-boyfriend, to a sales prospect, to a star employee, to a bobble head employee, and last but not least get one done of yourself just for fun. 

I am in NO way connected to www.HeadBobble.com, other than I will be surprising people for years to come with yet another unique gift to differentiate myself from the mass market promotional material most other people choose to send. 

Bobble on, bobble on…..

Try Your Next Meeting in the Dark

A few months back, I had a very strange experience during a sales meeting. About half way through my pitch, the power to the entire building shut down.  It was so pitch black in the boardroom, I couldn’t see my hands in front of my face. So I logically asked everyone if they wanted me to stop and come back next time I was in town or continue on?

Surprisingly, they wanted me to power on as a few people had pulled out their cell phones providing just enough light to make out basic shapes in the room.  I finished my pitch over the next 15 minutes filled with laughter, and then went on my merry way.

It doesn’t end there and gets stranger…

The following week when I was preparing to send the ‘Meeting in the Dark’ participants some follow up material, I though of a really cool gift I had come across before to include with their package. I sent along four eco-friendly wind up flash lights with a little note making fun of the experience. The note also said the flash lights were in case they again found themselves in a meeting in the dark.

I  though that was the end of the story, until I recently was  on another business trip in the area and happened to meet up with one of the infamous blackout participants  for  a coffee. During our meeting he told me about a week after our initial black out meeting, lightning struck a transformer that  again knocked out the power to their building. Although they weren’t in a meeting at the time, they again had to use cell phones to make their way around the office. He figured he would take off early, but his assistant reminded him their was a bubble package on his desk he might want to check out first. To everyone in the offices extreme surprise when he opened the package, there were the wind-up flashlights we sent just a few days earlier. 

I couldn’t even make this stuff up if I tried.