Archive for March, 2011

Buying on Value vs. Price

From Reinvent Yourself: The Simple Steps to Dominate Your Market

While speaking with a group of building materials dealers I heard one say in a panel discussion, “I will pay more for an item, if I have a good relationship with the vendor.”  He buys on the value of his relationship, not the price.  His vendor was in the room and couldn’t have paid for a better endorsement in front of his peers.

Don’t allow the customer to turn the conversation into a pricing one.  Sell the value he or she is looking to buy and you will always produce success.  Understand that people aren’t always buying your product, they are buying what it does for them – the value.

  • Customers aren’t buying car parts, they are buying “Keeping the clunker running.”
  • They aren’t buying a health care facility, they are buying “Great food in retirement.”
  • They aren’t buying a camera, they are buying “Memories for years to come.”

What value are people buying in your industry that you can sell…instead of arguing with them on the price?

What Are You the “THE” of?

From Reinvent Yourself: The Simple Steps to Dominate Your Market…

Modern day celebrities know that to corner a movement or market, you have to be more than just another A; you have to be the THE.

• Aretha Franklin isn’t a queen of soul, she is THE Queen of Soul.
• Although the sun definitely shines on all 50 states, only Florida is THE Sunshine State.
• Coca Cola isn’t a real thing it’s THE Real Thing.
• Mohammed Ali wasn’t just a great boxer, he was THE Greatest (putting him above Peter, Catherine, Ramses and Alexander).
• Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly doesn’t call himself a factor; he is THE Factor.
• The best university in your state or province is called THE University of ________.

What can you be the THE of in your industry?   How do people identify or differentiate you from everyone else who probably does the same thing you do?  How do you create unique value they can’t get from anyone else or in any other place?

What Every CEO Can Learn About Branding from Jimmy Buffett

From Reinvention Made Easy: Change Your Strategy, Change Your Results…

Your brand distinguishes you from everyone else in your business.   You can take just one product or idea that you are known for and turn it into your brand – if it is popular enough with everyone.

Jimmy Buffett, a very creative artist has basically taken one song (that was never even a Number One hit) and built it into a worldwide brand of apparel, restaurants, gift shops and one of the first internet radio stations – Margaritaville.

His followers are so devoted, they call themselves “Parrot-heads” and dress outlandishly for his concerts, which are more like parties with Jimmy as the “CPO” (Chief Party Officer).

Takeaways?  If people like one thing from you…even if it isn’t your Number 1 product or service, it can define your brand.  Domino’s specializes in pizza delivery – not so much the quality of the pizza.  Verizon specializes in their network coverage – not so much the phones.

What can you specialize in that makes you different from everyone else in your industry or area?

The Art of Screwing Yourself

I think most people have a good heart, want to contribute to society and have something to give.  They are good and decent souls.

Okay, now that we’ve cleared that hurdle allow me to say this:

I also think many people excel at screwing themselves.  It’s like occupational self-sabotage.

  • How else do you explain the people on television shows like “Cops” (or the people who watch them)?
  • How else do you explain unemployed people spending their entire day on Facebook, Twitter (or the internet in general) sending useless messages INSTEAD OF LOOKING FOR A JOB.
  • How else do you explain someone like Pete Rose, who knew gambling on baseball (particularly his own team) was illegal, but did it anyway?
  • How else do you explain the tasteless jokes Gilbert Gottfried, former voice of the Aflac duck since 2000, told on Twitter about the Japanese disasters – which got him fired from Aflac (the Number 1 cancer insurer in Japan)?
  • How else do you explain people who get fired from job after job for the same reasons and never try to improve themselves?
  • How else do you explain people who have squandered every opportunity in life (except working hard) so they play the lottery?
  • How else do you explain people who overspend for luxuries on their credit cards, then complain when they can’t afford the necessities?
  • How else do you explain someone doing the same self-destructive actions repeatedly and blaming everyone else for their lack of success?

Not everyone can reinvent themselves.  Are you surprised at that?  Don’t be.

Some people are prone to self-sabotage.  Moammar Gadhafi could reinvent himself tomorrow and he would still be a war criminal (and probably would do the same evil things).  Would the world have accepted a reinvented Adolph Hitler or Josef Stalin?  Of course not.

If you have dug a whole so deep there is no way to see the surface, your best bet is to throw yourself on the mercy of humanity and hope for the best.  But most of all, STOP DOING WHAT DOESN’T WORK FOR YOU.

Charlie Sheen should have learned this several months ago.  But he didn’t.

Some people are just great at screwing themselves.  The best you can do is put some distance between yourself and them…before their downward spiral becomes a black hole that sucks you in.

Sometimes reinventing yourself might just be distancing yourself from self-destructive people who influence you in a negative way.

And the reinvention begins…

Who Do You ONLY Market To???

What if you marketed ONLY to people who already saw the value in your service? Wouldn’t that make the sales process easier …and faster?

Reward Your Creators Instead of “Taxing” Them.

How are your most intuitive superstars being punished, penalized, taxed or micromanaged for being the best?

Do you reward creativity or do you squelch it?  The smartest people know how you react to them and they respond favorably or behind your back.

Today, creative people will find an outlet to be the best they can be…either for your or against you.  Teachers punish them.  Governments tax them.  Parents stifle them.  Bosses fire or subjugate them.

Or worse, steal the praise for themselves.

What can you do to free them up to make you look better in turn?

Bailouts Just Don’t Work

From Reinvent Yourself: The Simple Steps to Dominate Your Market…

Achievement rewards and incentives are the best stimulus packages.  In challenging economic times your persistent sales and quality service will carry the company.  Bailouts don’t stimulate anyone.   When someone wins an award there is pride of accomplishment and the incentive to do the same if not better next time.

Have as many awards as your achievers earn.  Don’t limit them to just one per year.

General Motors received a hefty bailout from the United States Government, but Ford held out to succeed on their own.  In 2009, it was Ford who excelled in sales over both GM and Chrysler.   How many of the GM bailout billions were teaching their dealers and sales people to excel in their endeavors?


Bail someone out and they will learn that they don’t have to work to get rewarded…

and that you will do it again.

Challenge them to excel and reward excellence and they will learn to do it better each time.

Don’t be the first to give in if you want to win.

From Reinvention 101: Bold Ideas on Reinventing Yourself:

In every negotiation someone gives in first.  When they do they tip their hand and they lose something.  Don’t be the first to do that if you want a “win/win.”

Knowing that you will become a more powerful negotiator.  Since you know both parties won’t always win, look for the opportunity to come out ahead in every negotiation.

It’s the best win/win for you.

Are You Keeping Bad Customers?

If you keep bad customers, you will only attract more of them. Draw a line in the sand and say, “No more.”

Bury the dinosaur.

Who Fired You?

“Instead of dealing with problem customers, I recommend you prevent them from ordering in the first place.” -Timothy Ferriss

Donald Trump has made the phrase, “You’re fired!” a popular cultural slogan with the hit show, “The Apprentice.”  When it got old and boring to watch everyday “shmos” get the axe, he reinvented the format of the program to hiring and firing celebrities.

Good idea?  No, great idea!

People tune in every week to watch everyone from ’70s teen idol David Cassidy to figure skater Scott Hamilton get sent packing. Even former star running back and Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker got sacked.

We actually have the same control Donald has…

And we take that control, but don’t realize how powerful it really is.

In the past year, I fired:

  • Comcast Cable (now Xfinity):  I got tired of being told their equipment was fine; mine was inferior.  I got a local carrier and have never had a problem with “my equipment” since.  I just got tired of being told how dumb I was by rude tele-marketers; and I fired them.
  • Wells Fargo?Wachovia Bank: I got tired of waiting for checks to be taken off hold and an ATM card that has taken over 5 months to receive.  My local credit union can produce a working card in 2 minutes and treats me like I matter to them.   I just got tired of being treated like a nobody; so I fired them.
  • My Lexus dealership: I got tired of waiting and waiting to get my car serviced (dealerships make more money on service than sales).  A local auto repair shop can turn the car around in less than 30 minutes and for less expense (and will include the same perks the dealership does).  I just got tired of being charged to wait for a “quick” service ; so I fired them.
  • AT&T:  I got tired of their lack of coverage and high fees. I got tired of being told they have the best network (who doesn’t claim this?).  I went with another service that backs their promises and has the same phone with better coverage.  I just got tired of poor service on the phone and with the phone; so I fired them.

You can have the same authority as “The Donald.”  Sam Walton, founder of Walmart once said, “There is only one boss: the customer.  And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down simply by spending his money somewhere else.”

Some corporations get this, while unfortunately, others don’t. Who fired you?


Let me know.

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March 2011


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