Since my Idea Garage Sale, I’ve accumulated a bunch more stuff I’d like to get rid of. In a nod to my ReThinking friends, I’m hosting my first (and maybe only) Carnival of the Leftovers. In no particular order, here are the things on my mind and in my ‘to blog’ folder:
As I work on my site’s redesign, I need to keep in mind this info from A Day in the Life of a Persuasion Architect:
If you are truly focused on persuading folks on your site put the time and effort you are tempted to put into navigation and focus it on the ‘active window’. Navigation is important, just not as important as everyone seems to think. The shortest distance between your customers and conversion is not the navigation, it’s the embedded links in the active window.
We can charge what we charge because we’re better than the guys in the yellow pages. But that means we’re not generalists. We’re specialists. We have people who spend every day of their lives executing the same deal, over and over again, for different companies. He’s the guy you want executing that deal, because he will do a better job than virtually anyone else on the planet. But you don’t really want him telling you how to optimize the way you put your sprockets together on the assembly line, because that’s not where his expertise is. And we as a firm don’t want him spending time learning all about your sprockets, because that’s not where the best use of his hours is. We want him to do your deal, and then do six more deals this quarter, make 7 happy customers instead of just one, and have people lining up to get us to help them do that same deal too.
If they’d have had a Masters in Business Imagination when I was deciding on graduate school, I wouldn’t be a lawyer today.
Your brain refuses to focus when it doesn’t have specifics. So when you say: You help small business owners, you aim at all kinds of business owners. All kinds of business owners have all kinds of problems. But let’s for a moment suspend the thought that you want ‘everyone’ as your target audience. Let’s, just for an instant, believe you want to target business owners who’ve been in business for five years or more.
Recently, I found myself at a crafts activity sponsored by a local library in which children were invited to create snowflakes out of pipe cleaners and beads. A boy of about four or five sitting near me showed his mother what he had done, and immediately she gushed about how wonderful it was. Then, since I was the only other adult at the table, he held his snowflake out so I, too, could see it clearly. Instead of offering an evaluation, I asked him whether he liked it. “Not so much,” he admitted. I asked why, and he began to explain, his tone suggesting genuine interest in figuring out other possible ways he might have used the materials. This is exactly the sort of elaboration and reflection that are stifled when we slather our kids with praise. They tend to stop thinking and talking about what they’ve done as soon as we pass judgment on it.
1. List the attributes of the master brand. In the case of 7-Up, the master brand was “Cola: sweet, rich, brown.” Everything else was either a fruit flavor or root beer and all of those put together were relatively insignificant. “Cola” overwhelming dominated the mental category “soft drinks.”
2. Create a brand with precisely the opposite attributes. To accomplish this, 7-Up lost their lemon-lime description and became “The Uncola: tart, crisp, clear.”
3. Without using the brand name of your competitor, refer to yourself as the direct opposite of the master brand. 7-Up didn’t become UnCoke or UnPepsi as that would have been illegal, a violation of the Lanham Act. But when you’re up against an overwhelming competitor, you don’t need to name them. Everyone knows who they are.
If you only have X amount of time, is it better to perform at an average or below-average level across the board or be real good at a few things while sucking at the rest (which, by the way, has the parallel discomfort of inevitably having some people ticked off at you)? Which would you choose?
“America does well in industries that advance quickly, in which research and development — and not manual labor — are the key factors of success. In this way, cotton is a bit like software and jet engines — constantly innovating. The United States is losing out to developing countries in a different set of industries: the ones that don’t change that quickly and succeed best with plenty of low-wage workers.”
Instead of billing 2400 hours per year because your firm requires it, do it because it makes you feel good.
When communication is effective and cheap, two things happen. One is that the top doesn’t need to have the middle to be able to talk to each other. the second is that talented people can co-operate and find each other more easily. So dumb retards that you would have had to put up with before are now people that you can bypass and go and talk to someone interesting instead.
I wish I’d known this before joining that blog network:
I think anyone who tries to make money DIRECTLY through blogging is statistically JUST BEGGING to have his ass kicked by the market. A few bright sparks may get away with it ocasionally, just like a pretty waitress in Los Angeles occasionally gets discovered in a restaurant and is starring in a movie a year later. Nice when it happens, certainly, but I wouldn’t place a bet on horse with those odds.
“Indirectly”, however, is another story…
Stop bragging about your firm, brag about your clients:
Your users don’t care about how fabulous you are. How fast your product is. How many awards you’ve won. If we want to inspire our users, we have to care about how fabulous they are. How fast they are. How many awards they might win as a result of using our products or services.
That’s what sociologists, psychologists, and cognitive scientists tell us. It’s what biologists and anthropologists tell us. Self-interest is hard-wired into the brain. That doesn’t mean people aren’t capable of thinking of others…but let’s face it–when your user makes a list of the people he cares most about, you’re not in the top ten.
And then reward them at unexpected times:
Intermittent, unexpected treats are more powerful than regularly scheduled expected treats.
Can we steal this for the LexThink instruction guide?
I hope you aren’t overwhelmed or frightened by any of the ideas. You can’t address all of them right away, some ideas will be thrown out, and some will be altered and enhanced. However, I hope that you never discard an idea because you want to play it safe. You haven’t accomplished your current success by playing it safe. Espousing the methods that got you to where you are, i.e. being bold, new, fresh, exciting and remarkable will help you grow even more. Safe is actually risky because safe is invisible, easy to catch, easy to beat and the path failure. In a competitive market, safe is death. Take some bold moves. Do things others won’t. Champion a cause, help as many people as you can in your pursuit of that cause, invite others to participate and your bottom line will take care of itself.
But every bit of knowledge we acquire, whether from the butt-crack idiot savant who maintains the computer network or the woman who sorts the mail in the mail-room is something that can add immediate perspective or be something we can draw on later as part of an overall tack. And by opening yourself up to these kinds of non-traditional information, you have a chance to find out something about yourself and the intellectual or emotional baggage you limit yourself with, that is, the Third Base skill set.
Even if the phone isn’t ringing, you still have five appointments this week.
Larry Bodine suggests we Market as Hospitals Do.
And ‘Stan Stankowski’ has some great rules for new associates. Here are just a few:
4) Associates who are in their seventh and eighth years are not your friends. They are not anyone’s friend. They are mean and devious. This is a result of being too expensive and old to lateral and a constant fear that they will not make partner, coupled with the pressure of a wife and three kids and a mortgage. It isn’t their fault. Really.
8) It is impossible to overestimate the value that a wide variety of free beverages brings to your firm. Do not work at a place that makes you buy them.
10) You know that really keen causal dress policy? The one that was implemented because our “clients dress that way, and we want them to feel comfortable”? Here is a clue. For the first few years, your client is the partner you work for; if he or she wears a suit every day, do you really think it is wise to wear jeans on Friday?
Dealing with the Stress of Infinite Opportunity.
Here’s why you can overbill those corporate clients. They are used to it because they do it to themselves:
There are many studies about the dismal rate of success for projects. One that I use a lot comes from the Standish Group which tracks information technology projects. The findings are that 23% of the projects were outright failures, 49% were over budget or didn’t meet the deliverables and 28% were deemed successes. 94% of all projects are restarted and average $2.22 spent for every dollar budgeted.
When I asked him why the hotel charges a per-minute rate for using the business center, he said his hands were tied: it was corporate policy. What a terrific way to disappoint one’s best customers. How could smart and well-paid executives possibly think that $.69 per-minute charges to use a PC ($1.99 per minute to use a printer) would do anything but create a poor word-of-mouth experience? Is this level of nickel-and-diming worth the ire of countless customers?
Want more female customers?
Moral of the story: The women’s market is an investment. If you want to more effectively sell to them, and get them to invest in your business in return, you have to be in it for the long haul and serve their information-gathering, buying ways. By developing into a comprehensive and relevant local information source and coming up with creative ways to reflect the people in and around your store/brand (as per those images and testimonials you are now displaying), you’ll stand out in a woman’s relationship-driven mind.
Don’t be Debbie Downer, Esq.
Well, that’s it for now. I may host another edition of the Carnival next month. Thanks for reading.