Saturday, May 28, 2005
Nice Guys Finish Last (if they ever finish at all)

Most people reading this might think I've lost my marbles. "Hey, Mark," you might say, "I thought you were the big Dale Carnegie 'How to Win Friends and Influence People' guy?" With that in mind how could we possibly ever conclude that nice guys (or gals) finish last? The fact is that 95% of all new business FAIL and never even make it through their first year and much of the reason is because they are just TOO NICE. They fail to reject anything or anybody. Thererfore they become important to NOBODY!

The third Rule of Attraction is to use strategic rejection to build attraction. Why rejection is so important? Because it builds strong relationships. What does rejection have to do with relationships? you might ask. When we reject someone, we gain control of the relationship. When we are in control WE can set the pace for value in the relationship. Let me explain this further by presenting the 10 Absolutes of Rejection. They are rather counter intuitive but if you think about them in the marketing or selling frame of reference I think you will begin to see what I'm talking about:

1. Conflict is good
2. The customer is NEVER right
3. NEVER make a promise
4. NEVER base new products or services on what you customer says they need
5. NEVER apologize
6. Negotiate EVERYTHING
7. NEVER give anything without getting something back
8. ALWAYS let the customer initiate communication
9. NEVER chase the customer
10. ALWAYS ask far more questions than you answer

Chances are your customer is not performing at 100% of their ability or capacity. If you focus on this part of the relationship rather than on your performance as the vendor, service provider or supplier than you take the spotlight off of yourself and place it on the customer. When we effectively apply this, we are actually acting in the best interest of the customer we will set ourselves apart and win a stronger relationship. Check out my Attract More Business program to see how to put this in practice for your business.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Giving the customer what they want

Whatever your business is, talk to your customers and provide them with what they want. It makes sense.
-Robert Bowman, CEO Major League Baseball Advanced Media

Apparently this line of thought makes sense to Greg Brenneman, CEO of Burger King as well. As the 10th CEO for the troubled chain in the past 14 years, he took the helm of a company barely clinging on to the #2 spot in the industry, about to lose it to Wendy's. He turned the situation around completely. How did he do this?

Did he introduce cutting edge healthy food items like the ones getting all the press from fast food chains these days?

No! He listened to his customers- and found out that what they want is the OPPOSITE of these healthy items. He introduced the 760-calorie Enormous Omelet Sandwich (two omelets and cheese slices, three strips of bacon and a sausage patty on a bun). This item has helped dramatically increase same store sales over a year ago. Read more about what Brenneman did here.

How can you do the same in your industry? Can you do a study of your best customers and find out what they really want, then deliver it to them? If the past 10 CEOs of a multi billion dollar corporation such as Burger King couldn't figure it out, chances are your competitors won't either. So if you go out and do it, you can gain a tremendous advantage in the marketplace. To help you with the process, read these articles on Customer Satisfaction.

Listening to our customers is something we pride ourselves on at the SBA Network. We have been repeatedly asked to conduct a workshop on our Attract More Business principles, so in response, we're doing just that! On Juy 23 in Monrovia and August 27 in Long Beach we will be presenting a full day workshop to teach you the process of attracting more business, and help you apply it to your business. Click here to request more information about these events.

Friday, May 20, 2005
The Art of Delegation

Fifty Million ($50,000,000) in one day. Sixteen million, five hundred thousand ($16,500,000) from midnight screenings. Those are the totals for the new Star Wars box office receipts. Of course if you've seen the other five movies, you'll have to see this one, simply for closure. But the question of the day remains.... "Is it any good?" Fans and critics alike have been disappointed by the previous two movies, and they all wanted something more from this one. The critics seem to like this one much better than previous versions, although Hayden Christensen must be considered a front runner for the worst actor award from the Golden Razzies next year. A computer generated cartoon has more charisma than he does. The dialog was stiff and the acting in general pretty poor, but the effects, story, and action were outstanding. My overall rating is eight out of ten.

George Lucas wrote and directed the first Star Wars film. But for "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi," he wrote the story, had Lawrence Kasdan punch up his script, and talented directors took the helm to shoot the movie and get the most out of the actors. This allowed him to focus his energy on the groundbreaking effects and production management for which he is famous. The new films? All written and directed solely by Lucas himself. And all have had the same general criticisms about wooden acting and cheesy dialog.

How does all this relate with business improvement? With the Empire and Jedi films, Lucas discovered his niche. He turned a successful space opera into a franchise of films with enough depth to become, not just popular mass market fare, but to actually earn the right to be considered as some of the most artful film-making of the last quarter century. He did this by delegating the details which were not within his area of expertise. Lucas allowed the best in the business to write, to do the the shooting script and to work with the actors.

How many times do we get caught up in doing things that we are not suited for? Outsourcing delegating to experts can save time and ultimately help us deliver a superior product or service. Like Lucas, perhaps we should focus on the story our business is telling to the marketplace, and let the hired guns take care of the details.

Here's an article from our library all about how to successfuly delegate.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Death, Humor, and Lessons in Branding

We must all face adversity at some point in our lives. How we deal with it is what can really set us apart. Think about the brand that you can establish with just a little bit of humor in the face of adversity. Enter bluelips.com- a website started and run by Toni Riss, a breast cancer patient who was given 2-5 years to live in 1999. Frustrated at the lack of answers to her questions by funeral directors, she went out and started a business that is dedicated to informaing people about the process of what happens with funeral arrangements after they have passed away. She also happens to sell hundreds of death related novelty items. Morbid? Yes. Funny? Yes. Memorable? Definitely a yes. She has built a brand as the woman that is battling cancer and having fun along the way. She also donates 25% of all profits to breast cancer research. This brand has landed Toni appearances on the Showtime Network as well as helped her build a profitable business.

Looking for ways to brand your business? Wondering what you can do to attract the attention of the media and become the first option people think of in your industry? Check out our learning programs.

Friday, May 13, 2005
Na na na na na na na na Batman!

Tomorrow the Petersen Auto museum will be auctioning off the George Barris Custom Auto collection to the highest bidders. You can find the DeLorean from Back to the Future, The General Lee from The Dukes of Hazard, and the original Batmobile from the Batman TV show starring Adam West. Don't know who George Barris is?

Among custom car builders George Barris is an icon. More famous than his name alone is his work that is immediately recognized by generations of Americans and by movie and television fans worldwide. Perhaps best known for the "Batmobile" he created in 1966 for the television program Batman, Barris has played a seminal role in American pop-culture through his automotive creations made for the entertainment industry.
-Petersen Museum Website
Why would a museum let go of millions of dollars worth of a world class collection of cars? The need to constantly update it's collection, of course! As business owners we must constantly reinvent ourselves to continue to present the best value to our customers. Musicians David Bowie and Madonna have adopted this philosophy throughout their careers, changing to stay ahead of fads and capture a long term fan base. In the business world, Microsoft has changed course numerous times, with the biggest shift occuring when Bill Gates decided to focus on the Internet in the early 90s.

One thing we recently have done at the SBA Network is release the updated version of our Free Guide to Growing Your Business. Recognizing the need for change, we have thoroughly reviewed all content in this free guide and changed the content to be more applicable to today's business climate. The new version has some audio content, as well as updated content in each section and completely revised links available to financial resources. If you are seeking a way to make a change in your business, go get our Free Guide to Growing Your Business and please let us know what topics you want to see us cover in our business update and on our radio show.

Saturday, May 07, 2005
ELIMINATE the Competition

Happy Mothers Day to all you Moms. I sent Mom something quite interesting this year that ties in beautifully with Rule #1 of our Rules of Attraction,

Become a bigger fish in a smaller pond.
That was a PajamaGram! As it says on their web site, sending a PajamaGram gift is like sending Mom on a a mini-vacation. Mom will receive the softest, most luxurious pajamas, along with a personalized card, lavender sachet, and a "Do Not Disturb" sign, all wrapped in a beautiful keepsake hatbox. As you can imagine PajamaGram is kicking veritable ass in the market because they have essentially NO COMPETITION.

This is precisely the kind of thing that we will be discussing at our Attract More Business Workshop in Long Beach, CA and Pasadena, CA. You can sign up by just clicking here. By the way if you do you will automatically receive our new Secrets of Target Marketing Program which includes 2 CDs, a 50 page manual and our interactive forms. It's a $99.00 value and you can check it out here. This week on our radio show and in our business update we're talking about target marketing. So tune in to the show or come to the workshop and find out how to ELIMINATE the competition.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

I posted about a year ago regarding Woot!. This is a business that has really targeted a specific niche audience and is seeing tremendous results. Their target? Computer geeks. The very name Woot itself comes from slang used by their target audience as an exclamation when winning in a computer game. Their audience knows instantly that they are dealing with a business that understands them. I won't get into too many details right now about how they do what they do (I'll add my original post about Woot! as a comment on this one if you want to learn more), but they recently sold their stock of 800 units of a specific computer mouse in 11 minutes. 11 minutes! And the people buying it waited up until midnight central time not knowing what the product would be! Imagine if your business had thousands of prospective buyers lined up, waiting to see what you were going to offer them. How would that impact your bottom line?

The way to do this is through proper Target Marketing- if you can target your audience as well as Woot! has done, you too can have buyers coming to you. This is the core of the Attraction mindset, and our Attract More Business programs. Read more about our programs by clicking here.


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