Never Forget Another Name

OK! Please don’t 100% hold me to this, but I am usually pretty good at remembering names because of, years ago, going though Kevin Trudeau’s Mega Memory book. It was WORK… but did actually help immensely. Anyway, found this gem of a training video he did that should save you the time of reading the book and learn the ‘remember names’ technique in less than an hour.

 

Less Is More While Slurping An Oyster

swan-oyster-depot

Today, I sat in a restauraunt slurping down the most amazing shucked oysters I have ever tasted and it reminded me of an old adage, “Less is more!”

Imagine a truly tiny, tiny seafood bar that for a 100 years has thrived on serving no more than 18 people at a time. This little jem of an oyster bar in San Francisco has line ups out the door that any patron will tell you are well worth waiting for.

They have no website. They don’t take reservations. They are only open  until 5:30pm 6 days a week. No WIFI, NO LCD flatscreens & NO Twitter account to speak of. If you come with out cash your also out of luck as they DON’T take plastic!

Today, I rediscovered less is more while slurping down a professionaly shucked oyster.

It’s time to re-evaluate everything.

If your ever in San Francisco make your way over to the Swan Osyter Depot on Polk Street . It’s an experience.

Here are a few resources if you are interested in checking them out:
http://www.yelp.com/biz/swan-oyster-depot-san-francisco (Amazing Reviews)
http://thehungrymuse.com/2011/03/20/the-hungry-muse/a-fresh-off-the-boat-feast/
http://knucklesamwick.blogspot.com/2010/05/swan-oyster-depot-is-true-landmark-on.html

Adding Value

Is the term ‘Added Value’ over used?

Please tell me if you disagree with my experience, but this past week of my life I have seen added value at work! Yes, added value may be cliche and even an over used term, but when it is genuine it is a game changer!!! Too often I hear companies, sales people and professionals try and over deliver or add value in the same way. If I offer you the same ‘added value’ service as everyone else does, then it no longer achieves it’s purpose! Most likely, it makes me come across the exact same as my competitors, and in a competitive world that just doesn’t cut the mustard!

This week I gave away expert Internet Marketing advice to businesses who expected to be sold something. This week was a game changer, and it was all because of ‘added value’!

How do you add value in a way that differentiates you from your competition?

Your answer could be your personal game changer!

Thank You

After several years of blogging there are two words I love to hear, and even more so that I absolutely experience joy saying to other people!

Thank you! AKA thanks, tks or thankyou!!!!

Today, I received my 100th blog comment and two emails from various people thanking me for my help and gosh darn it feels good! What can I say, “I like to help!”

In retrospect, I think I only thanked two people today who helped me… Should have been more!!!!

So a big thanks to all of you who take the time to not only read my infrequent blogging, but a special appreciation to readers who take the time to comment, ask questions or even challenge my point of view!

I’m here to help, so please don’t be a stranger and drop me a line anytime!

How can I help you?

Accountability

I have been thinking and facing accountability every where I turn this week, and I honestly believe it explains so many personal & professional failures in all of our lives.  

1. Accountability to oneself, for most people, is useless unless you can create concrete consequences and reward systems that you force yourself to adhere to. (e.g. Very few people will truly punish themselves for not working out, not finishing a report at work or reward themselves for not smoking) Only a select few extremely strong willed individuals can and will apply harsh consequences & positive rewards to their self accountability.

 2. Accountability to others is the tenant of almost every success (e.g. I am accountable to Mr. Smith, my spouse or organization, therefore when I mess up I will feel the wrath. When I succeed, I am emotionally or financially rewarded and am personally satisfied!) More things just seem to get done when someone is held accountable for their action(s) or inaction. 

Rather than go on, and on… I think you get the point.  

Here are a couple of  questions I am personally answering this week, and as well posing to those people in my life who are accountable to me. If you are feeling brave consider answering them yourself. 

  • Who are you accountable to and what for?
  • What are you not doing that you should be, and are not being held accountable?
  • How can you use accountability to your greatest advantage?

Lastly, I have always and continue to believe that positive rewards work far better than negative punishment. But sometimes, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do!

Blind Spot

Certain cars or truck have blind spots, and as drivers we use our mirrors and best judgement to determine whats there. In other words we imagine what is there with out actually seeing it.  Often, our imagination is dead wrong , and most of us have experienced being in a car that tries to change lanes, and then suddenly realizing if you do, you are about to crash into a car that was hidden in the blind spot.

In business, we use our imagination to fill in the blanks when we don’t have all of the information, and  our customers do the same. What we think we see, is sometimes only partially true because our brains are hard wired to fill in blind spots and missing information with out us even realizing it. For example, an upset client conversation with your company’s representative goes bad, and after hearing both sides of the story you play back the recording. Wow! How could both the customer and the rep both been so wrong, do they actually even remember talking to each other. Yes, they each probably remember 10% of what was actually said, then their mind “Makes Up” the rest. Think to yourself, is there any situation that you could swear happened a certain way in your life only to discover you were completely wrong. You aren’t crazy…it’s just the way the mind works. We make up stuff to fill in the blanks.

Here is a cool demonstration to prove we all have blind spots, and by that I mean a part of your eye that you cannot see out of. The only logical, and clinical explanation, after seeing this is that every day our mind is forced to fill in the blanks. Our mind does a such good job of it we can’t tell the difference between what’s real and what our mind has conveniently filled in.

So the next time you are faced with that nagging thought of, “Did I think I just see that!” or “I can’t believe that conversation!” Remember, it might have been your mind filling in the blanks!

Print out the below picture and follow the instructions:

Blind Spot

Instructions: ( Print the sheet out and hold it in your right hand with your arm fully extended. Close your left eye and stare at the plus sign in the diagram with your right eye. Off to the right you should be able to see the spot. Now slowly move the sheet closer to your face while continuing to stare at the plus sign . At a particular distance (everyone’s a little different), the spot will disappear (it will reappear again if you move the sheet closer or farther away). You have just discovered your blind spot. )

Here is a PPT file of the image: http://www.leeraito.com/download/BlindSpot.PPT

If you have seen any other good examples please post a comment!

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.