My latest article for American Express’ OPEN Forum. Here’s a preview.
I had a meeting today with a guy who wanted to discuss a possible business collaboration. Basically, he had a pitch for me, and we spoke for about 20 minutes. I offered about five sentences, and he filled the rest of the time with puffery–for his idea, the people involved, and me. What’s puffery? It’s flattery and exaggerated praise, especially when used for promotional purposes. It’s my new favorite word. Pizza Hut is using it in their commercials to point out that the “better-tasting pizza” claims of the Papa John’s organization are no more than puffery. Apparently, Papa was forced to admit as much in a federal court. Yikes.
Continue reading the article at OPEN Forum.
Sometimes, when service providers get overbooked, they complain about it. Oh, how easily we forget what it was like when we were struggling our way up the ladder. Moreover, I’ve witnessed many a service provider resist raising prices, which might allow them to work with fewer clients, for fear of loosing business as this simple story will illustrate.
A have an acupuncturist that I see from time to time. He might be the best known acupuncturist in my town. He’s certainly the most experienced and has an overbooked practice because of it. Every time I see him he complains (in a nice way) that he’s overworked and can’t keep up with demand. He doesn’t want to change the model of his business, in that he still wants to see patients himself and doesn’t want to manage other acupuncturists, but he resists raising prices, nonetheless. So, every time I see him, I complain to him (in a nice way) that his prices are too low and, in fact, should be doubled. His answer is always the same, “But, Michael, if I double my rates, I’ll loose half my clients.” I’ll pause here to let that sink in. First of all, he won’t loose half his clients but even if he did, he’d still make the same money and have twice as much free time. More likely, he’ll lose just a few clients but make much more money because he doubled his prices.
If you do raise prices, it’s a good idea to let clients know why. There’s nothing wrong with saying that you’re fortunate to be in high demand and are raising your prices so that you can give more attention to your clients. Or, that certain expenses related to serving your clients have increased and you’re raising your prices accordingly. People like the truth. I’d prefer to be open and honest with my clients, running the risk of disappointing a few of them, then be manipulative or obtuse, running the risk of damaging my soul. Just be sure to let them know what the new rates will be and when they go into effect. Give them reasonable notice and consider giving them lots of advance noticed so they can adjust to the changes. And, most importantly, remind them of the continuing benefits they’ll get from working with you.
On the flip side, you don’t always have to carry over all costs or eek out every bit of profit on every sale. Sometimes you can earn long-term marketing juice by taking one in the chin for the sake of your clients. My son’s favorite pizza place is an organic one called Jules Thin Crust Pizza. At one point last summer the price of cheese went down. Now, the average customer is not going to know this. I eat cheese but I don’t buy it in bulk. It would have been easy, and cheesy (sorry, couldn’t resist), for Jules to just pocket the extra profit from the savings. But no, instead, they put up a big sign announcing the cheap cheese and that they were lowering prices because of it. All summer, their busy season, no less, prices where reduced. I asked the owner, John, whether the cheese experiment cultured nicely or stunk up the place (sorry, again, couldn’t resist). He said it was a huge success as a day did not pass without a multitude of “thank you’s” being tossed his way. Now, John’s not the type to boast about sales but I’m pretty sure he saw more business because of his gastrointestinal stimulus package.
By Michael Port
March 16, 2010
Check out this email my office received yesterday from a “radio station” that produces programming for American Airlines. At first, it appears to be a producer reaching out to me for a radio interview based on my work but right before he signes off notice how he slips in the word “cost.”
This is not the first time I’ve received direct outreach like this and I’m sure it won’t be the last. Also notice the use of the “confidentiality notice” at the very end of the email. Is this supposed to protect the sender from beging labeled a spammer? Because, it won’t work. You can’t put someone on a distribution/broadcast list and then claim it’s “privileged information.” This stuff makes my blood boil because it’s what gives salespeople a bad name.
UPDATE: I’m not saying that what this guy is offering is not going to get you business. It might (or might not) be a good marketing strategy to be on the sky radio program but that’s not germane to my point. I simply object to his kind of sales tactic.
Michael Port & Associates LLC
DeHart, Gayla S.
My name is Steven James and I’m a producer for American Airlines “Business & Technology Report”. Our talk program entertains millions of travelers each month.
I’d like to personally invite a spokesperson from your company to participate in a interview segment on our upcoming edition of “The Innovators” airing worldwide to 8.4 million throughout July and August 2010.
For participation details and cost, click http://www.skyradionet.net/aapromo.
Please contact me soon as space is limited.
Producers of the #1 Talk Shows in the Sky and on the Web
CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This e-mail message, including any attachments, is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential and privileged information. Any unauthorized review, copy, use, disclosure, or distribution is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by reply e-mail and destroy all copies of the original message. To be removed from our invitation list, reply to this email stating your intent or click the following link: Unsubscribe me from this list
My latest article at American Express Open Forum on the 6 Keys to Creating Customer Connection.
“All sales start with a simple conversation. It may be a conversation between you and a potential client or customer, between one of your clients and a potential referral, or between one of your colleagues and a potential referral. An effective sales cycle is based on turning these simple conversations into relationships of trust with your potential clients over time. We know that people buy from those they like and trust, and you’ll begin to earn this trust when you’re able to answer the following key questions…
Read the complete article about how to create connection with customers.
“I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.”
— Thomas Jefferson, 3rd president of US (1743 – 1826)
Things that make you go, mmmmmm…..
I’ll be on MSNBC’s Your Business this Sunday at 7:30am ET. Yes, DVR would be a good option. Jean Chatzky did a great job filling in as host for the consumate JJ Ramberg. But, to be perfectly honest, I wasn’t crazy about the other guest. I didn’t find him particularly gracious as will be evident when you watch the episode.
Contributed by LeAnne Ozaine-Smith – The Money Guru and my parter at ProsperityForBigThinkers.com.
If you sat with your Investment Advisor and said, “I want an investment that gives me a 10% growth every year for the next 15 years,” they’re gonna tell you to adjust your expectations.
As an financial advisor, I’m all for the “where do I put my money” conversation. But here’s the deal, you can chase the perfect investment and still lose (vague memories of real estate bottom out, stock market in 2008, etc.). There are rarely guarantees in investing and there is always risk of loss. If you’re looking for an unlimited growth opportunity, and you’re looking for an undervalued investment that can grow like a dandelion in June then here it is: it’s your business. Your business is the best, most undervalued investment you can find—which means that you can be looking for double digit ROI.
Want 10% ROI this year, next year, and every year? It starts with you understanding how to make money on your money.
- Look for ways to reduce spending in your business by 5%. That means if you have a $50,000/year overhead, all you have to do is spend $200 less per month If you have a $12,000/year overhead that’s just $50 less per month… you can do it! By spending less, you’re keeping more of what you’re making. Which means your bottom line grows by 5% with a painless tweak.
- Get Booked Solid and make a minimum of 5% more. If your total business income was $100,000 last year take on one more client or do one more project to bring in just $400 more a month. Or if your total business income was $25k, a little bump in income of $104/mo will grow your bottom line by 5%.
Remember, always be more concerned about the result you’re getting from what you spend to be in business, than you are your overhead. If you’re careful and purposeful with your business income, seeing 10% ROI is both realistic and attainable.
For more on how to earn more and spend less, check out ProsperityForBigThinkers.com and download, the Special Report: 5 Down and Dirty Ways To Overcome The Break-Even Trap.
If you’ve read any of my books, you know I feel a great deal of responsibility for your success. It’s what lifts me out of bed everyday (even though sometimes it keeps me up at night). You inspire me to do and be more. I love to work with you. I love being of service to you and it is with incredible joy I offer you my best work.
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NY Times Bestselling Author of 4 books
Founder of Booked Solid University
I’ve got a sneaking suspicion I know what you want. Wait. Don’t tell me… you want your:
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- Know what you want.
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That’s it… that’s all that is required of you. We live in an equal opportunity world. Sure, some of the pros in the top your field make it look super easy, but I’m willing to bet it wasn’t always that way. But as soon as they realized how to make it happen, they were unstoppable. You need to do the same. When the time is right and the plan is tight, seize the opportunity (Yes, 50% OFF is a big opportunity. Wouldn’t you say?).