Friday, December 07, 2007

Ham for Hanukkah...what!?!?

This store probably got more attention due to it's slip up than it could ever afford to pay for. The story began on a blog, then made it to Fox News, then the Associated Press and CBS News, and most likely about 500 to 5,000 websites!

Read all about it:

NYC Grocery Store Goofs, Advertises Hams for Hanukkah

Thursday, December 06, 2007

NEW YORK — This was REALLY not kosher. A grocery store in Manhattan made a food faux pas, advertising hams as "Delicious for Chanukah."

Chanukah -- an alternate spelling for Hanukkah -- is the eight-day Jewish holiday that began Tuesday evening, and hams -- as well as pork and other products from pigs -- can't be eaten under Jewish dietary laws.

A woman who saw the mistake over the weekend at the Balducci's store in Greenwich Village took pictures of the signs and posted them on her blog.

Jennifer Barton, director of marketing, told The Associated Press on Thursday that the signs were changed as soon as the error was noted.

She issued an apology on the company Web site, saying the company would be reviewing its employee training.

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Advertising Works!

That's why folks in Florida are afraid of it. The following story just shows that advertising and branding works. And I am greatfull to live and work where it is legal!

CCFC Blasts McDonald's For Report Card Advertising
by Nina M. Lentini, Thursday, Dec 6, 2007 5:01 AM ET
MCDONALD'S HAS COME UNDER FIRE for advertising on envelopes containing the report cards of elementary school students in a Florida county.

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) is demanding that McDonald's immediately stop the advertising, but the fast-food giant will not.

"McDonald's has a long-standing and rich heritage of supporting education and academic excellence," says spokesperson William Whitman. "This is a local program in Seminole County, Florida, that promotes academic excellence and rewards academic achievement."

The students received report cards last week in envelopes adorned with Ronald McDonald and promising a free Happy Meal to students with "good grades, behavior or attendance," said the CCFC. The envelopes are intended to transport report cards to and from home throughout the school year.

"This promotion takes in-school marketing to a new low," said Susan Linn, director of CCFC. "It bypasses parents and targets children directly with the message that doing well in school should be rewarded by a Happy Meal."

Whitman said the initiative is supported by the School Board of Seminole County and widely supported by the local community. "McDonald's does not advertise in schools. However, we continue to support education initiatives in the communities we serve," he said.

The CCFC acknowledged that McDonald's has pledged to advertise only its healthier options to children under 12 but said "the Happy Meal promotion explicitly mentions cheeseburgers, French fries, and soft drinks as options." Happy Meals featured on the report card can contain as many 710 calories, 28 grams of fat, or 35 grams of sugar, it said.

The company appeared to argue that the ads were targeted toward adults and not to children, saying: "McDonald's provides parents with Happy Meal choices including Chicken McNuggets made with white meat, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, apple dippers, apple juice and low-fat milk, so they can choose the Happy Meal that is appropriate for their child."

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

less than 3 weeks until 2008

From the folks at, here's part of the newsletter I received in my email today:

sales resolutions:

What will be different in your sales world at the end of 2008 from where you are now... beyond your increased production in dollars generated, units moved and improved margins (these are your goals – your targets – and in most cases, they'll always be set higher)?

But what will get you there? What are your sales resolutions?

Will you and your team prospect more? Establish better personal relationships? Commit to a solid sales process and follow through?

Will you be more attentive, invested and involved in the efforts of your sales team and your current customers?

Will you complain less?

Will you commit to perpetual optimism? Be more patient with your team? More approachable to your customers? Ask for referrals more consistently?

What'll be different? What will you deliberately set as your top 3 priorities that'll help you and your team hit your targets?

Three priorities. Any more and it becomes difficult to focus on even one. If you need only two then formally establish two.

Complete them in writing. Absorb them with commitment. Move forward.

"Resolve to perform what you ought;
perform without fail what you resolve."
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)
American statesman, writer, scientist & printer

(sales reminder: 18 full sales days remain after today (more in the retail world)... companies and people will buy and people will make decisions for 2008... finish strong)

Get the sales resolutions worksheet (includes 18 resolution ideas to choose from) or email this thought.

(use this link to see this entire newsletter online)

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Sales training resources

C. J. Hayden. Never heard of her until a few days ago. However I got an email from Duct Tape Marketing today that included links to her site that includes free previews and you can also subscribe to get all the other materials. Included in the free previews are:

Breaking the Voice Mail Barrier

5 Negotiating Mistakes: Stop Compromising Your Standards

The Art of Networking

The Five Must-Ask Questions in a Sales Presentation

Wanted: 100 Referral Partners

Where can I find some good places to network?

How do I design Appetizers for my Success Ingredients?

How can I convert email inquiries to paying clients?

Sample Cold Calling Script

Sample Consulting Agreement

Secrets for Marketing Yourself

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Radio Advertising is here to stay

Our company did just the opposite and grew in the third and 4th quarter of this year.

Radio Revenues Down 5% In 3Q
by Erik Sass, Tuesday, Dec 4, 2007 9:30 AM ET
RADIO REVENUES FELL 5% IN the third quarter of 2007 to $5.5 billion, the Radio Advertising Bureau announced Monday. In percentage terms, this decline is the worst quarterly slump in years. - Read the whole story...

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10 Low-Cost Ways to Market Your Business

I disagree that these are "Low cost", but it depends on what you are doing now. This is from my email today:

10 Low-Cost Ways to Market Your Business

Ongoing marketing isn't tied to a price tag. It's defined only by putting the right message in front of the right person at the right time. Joanna L. Krotz of Microsoft Small Business Center gives you 10 ideas for doing just that — on the cheap.

Too many small-business owners think marketing is like a trip to the dentist — something you just gotta do every six months or so.

But when marketing is continuous and targeted rather than occasional and shotgun, business gets easier. If prospects have a positive view of your wares and reputation before you call or before they start shopping, you're that much closer to nailing a sale. Here’s how:

1. Take steps to make customers feel special. Customers respond to being recognized, especially in these rush-rush, get-the-lowest-price times. "Even with a Web-based business, good customer service is possible," says Denise McMillan, co-owner of Plush Creations, an online retailer of handcrafted travel bags. McMillan encloses a small, rose-scented sachet in every jewelry and lingerie bag she sells and also sends a handwritten thank-you note. "The sachet and note cost pennies, but add something special to the purchase," she says.

2. Create business cards that prospects keep. Most business cards are tossed within hours of a meeting. Instead of having your card tossed, create one that recipients actually will use — say, a good-looking notepad with your contact info and tagline on every page. "The business card notepad is referred to almost daily, kept for 30 days or so, and carries a high remembrance factor," says Elliott Black, a Northbrook, Ill., marketing consultant who specializes in small businesses.

3. Stop servicing break-even customers. If this idea makes you gasp, think harder. You're falling for the fallacy of increasing sales instead of boosting profits. If you stop marketing to unprofitable customers, you have more time and resources for customers who actually grow your business. "More than likely, 20 percent of your customer base is contributing 150 percent to 200 percent of total annualized profit (TAP); 70 percent is breaking even; and 10 percent is costing you 50 percent to 100 percent of TAP," says Atlanta marketing consultant Michael King. Take a detailed look at your customer profitability data and then direct premium services and marketing to customers who count.

4. Develop an electronic mailing list and send old-fashioned letters. Most businesses have harnessed the power of e-newsletters — and you definitely should be sending out one, too. It's very cost-effective. But exactly because e-mail marketing is now nearly ubiquitous, you can quickly stand out by occasionally sending personal, surface mail letters to customers and prospects. Just make sure the letter delivers something customers want to read, whether an analysis of recent events in your field, premium offers or a sweetener personalized for the recipient (a discount on his next purchase of whatever he last purchased, for instance). "This mailing has to have value to those that read it, so it reflects the value of what you offer," says Leslie Ungar, an executive coach in Akron, Ohio. "Remember, the best way to sell is to tell."

5. Boost your profile at trade shows and conferences. You can quickly create signage, glossy postcards with your contact information, product news inserts or an event mini Web site.

6. Combine business with pleasure — and charity. Spearhead an event, party or conference for a cause you care about. That puts you in the position of getting to know lots of people, and shows off your leadership skills. "I host an annual baseball game where I take hundreds of clients to a Cubs game at Wrigley Field," says Kate Koziol, who owns a public relations agency in Chicago. "Last year, I took 300 people and we raised $10,000 for a local children's hospital. Few people turn down a game and it's a great networking opportunity for guests. It lets me reconnect with current clients and impress potential clients."

7. Create a destination. Bookstore chain Barnes & Noble has its coffee bars. Furnishings giant Ikea offers child-care centers and cafeterias. Why? So customers gravitate to the stores to enjoy an experience, to hang out for a while. Sunday morning at Barnes & Noble becomes a pleasant weekend routine, rather than a shopping errand. Steal this idea. This tip isn't limited to offline destinations, either. Using pay-per-click advertising, you can cheaply drive traffic to a one-time news event or specialty offerings, points out Jay Lipe, a small-business marketing consultant based in Minneapolis. Lipe recently set up a Web site for Games by James, a retailer of board games, and quickly attracted customers via pay-per-click ads. "The effect was overnight," says Lipe. "Traditionally in the marketing world, it takes weeks or even months to generate acceptable awareness and traffic. Here we saw traffic spike overnight."

Other tips to become a destination:

• Add a free advisory service, whether party planning ideas or investment seminars.

• Add customer loyalty services, such as free shipping for second-time buyers or rewards when customers spend a certain amount.

8. Become an online expert. This is the "free sample" approach to bringing in business. Research active e-mail discussion lists and online bulletin boards that are relevant to your business and audience. Join several and start posting expert advice to solve problems or answer questions. You may need to keep this up for a bit. But the rewards come back in paying clients and referrals. "E-mail discussion lists have been my single largest source of clients over the last eight years," says Shel Horowitz, a small-business marketing consultant based in Northampton, Mass.

9. Court local media. Editorial features convey more credibility with prospective clients than paid advertising does. To get coverage from the local media, whether from the town newspaper, from TV or radio stations, or from trade journals, you need a fresh, timely story. It's usually worthwhile to hire an experienced publicist to position the stories, target appropriate media representative, and write and send press releases. Usually, you can work on a short-term or contingency basis.

10. Finally, don't let customers simply slip away. Make an effort to reel them back in. It costs a lot less to retain a disgruntled or inactive customer than to acquire a new one. If you haven't heard from a customer in awhile, send a personalized e-mail (you can automate this process), inquiring whether all is well. For a customer who suffered a bad experience, pick up the phone, acknowledging the unpleasantness and ask if there's anything you can do. A discount can't hurt either. Being kind to customers is the smartest low-cost marketing you can do.

---Source: Reprinted from msn ( Joanna L. Krotz is the co-author of the "Microsoft Small Business Kit" and runs Muse2Muse Productions.

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Signs of the (Shopping) Season

Looks like we are getting easier to buy for, more than 1/2 of us want Gift Cards so we can buy our own stuff. And now you can get gift cards nearly everywhere for nearly everything:

Stop Before You Shop

According to the BIGresearch American Pulse Survey of 4,069 respondents, 52.1% of consumers say they would rather receive a gift card or cash for Christmas. One reason for this preference may be that consumers do not like gifts that were chosen for them. 45.4% of those who received clothing as a gift in the past didn't like or didn't wear it. Another possible reason is that 46.3% of those who participate in gift giving/receiving during the holidays say they hate to return gifts because it is a hassle.??

As Americans get in the holiday spirit this year:

  • 69.4% say they would rather give than receive
  • 70.9% like it when employees wish them a "Merry Christmas" while shopping
  • 92.6% feel malls, stores and parks should be allowed to display the Christian Nativity Scene

Regarding mood of the consumer this year:

  • 56% say they will be looking for sales more as they Holiday shop
  • 59.1% will be spending less this year than in Holidays past
  • 47.7% feel that compared to one year ago it is becoming harder to pay monthly bills and are living paycheck to paycheck??

Other key findings regarding the Holiday season (of those who participate in gift giving/receiving during the Holidays):

  • 82.4% say gift cards are a smart gift alternative for people they don't know well
  • 10.5% have "re-gifted" gift cards received
  • 22.5% have "re-gifted" gifts received
  • 22.7% like to exchange gifts for things they would rather have
  • 13.5% have received gift cards that they've never redeemed
  • 16.1% have received gift cards that they've only partially redeemed

To contact BIGresearch and access the complete report, please go here.

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Monday, December 03, 2007

Dell, diamonds, dating, d______, drinking

I couldn't come up with a "d" word for #4.

Volume 2 Issue 50 - December 3, 2007


College students are most likely to own a Dell computer (33%), but their next computer purchase is most likely to be a Mac (44%), says SurveyU.


More than two thirds of those planning to buy diamonds during the coming six months (69%) will make a purchase for themselves, 49% for a spouse or significant other, 22% for a child, and 12% for a parent, reports the Jewelry Consumer Opinion Council.


Nearly a quarter of single people (22%) would invite their significant other home with them for the holidays after dating for three months or less, according to Meet Market Adventures, an online dating site.


Baby Boomers feel 11 years younger than their actual age, reports Procter & Gamble.


Seven in 10 chefs (70%) expect craft brews and microbrew beers to be the hottest drinks on restaurant menus for 2008, according to the National Restaurant Association.

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Sunday, December 02, 2007

Creative Marketing with Postcards

Okay, I'm in the radio business and most radio sales people will dis other forms of advertising. I have a different approach. That's why I've included this article in it's entirety.

by Larry Baltz

Yes, you're right, there's nothing new or creative about a postcard. But how about being unique in the way you use them?

Most business owners don't use postcards as a marketing tool and those that do, use them infrequently and haphazardly, with no strategy involved.

However, postcards are so cost-effective they can be a high-frequency weapon. And because they are 6 times more likely to be read that a direct mail letter, they are also a high-impact weapon. A high-frequency and high-impact weapon is one that will be extremely effective in the marketplace.

Best of all, postcards have a high recall by recipients for two reasons:

* The use of color or a picture provides a visual that is easily remembered
* Postcards are intimate by nature and are much more personal

The real power of a postcard though is repeatability. One side of the card is your "billboard". Ideally you want to print a headline that screams value - the single most important benefit you provide your prospects. Adding a photo and some color with the headline is also important.

The other side can contain a message specific to an individual mailing. And you can also add a handwritten message, signature, and address to personalize your mailing. And every time you mail a postcard, your prospect sees your value statement.

A scheduled campaign is the next step. Mail one every two weeks for two months. Or mail one a month for six months. Postcards work well in tandem with other marketing weapons like e-mails, telephone calls, and personal visits. Establish a frequency that fits your product and your offer and stick with it. You'll be top-of-mind in your prospects eyes for very little money.

An effective postcard marketing strategy: state your value; repeat it; repeat it again; keep doing it. It's pretty simple.

Larry Baltz runs a company called More Sales - More Profits. He works with small business owners who want to get more clients and sell more products and services. Larry is a Certified Guerrilla Marketing Coach and small business marketing expert. Visit his web site at

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Tis the Season To Prosper

Read and Prosper:
by Denise Corcoran

Why develop a marketing campaign just for the Thanksgiving to New Year period? It’s simple.

From now until January 1, the “buyer mentality” prevails. Buyers are ready to make purchases at any time, not just while shopping. Many businesses make as much as 50% of their revenues during this period .

Study these marketing strategies and adapt them to your business. Below are my top 5 strategies.

1. Products and Services for Every Budget
To maximize revenues, smart retailers develop gift ideas to fit every budget -- for example, Gifts Under $10, Under $50, Over $200, etc. How can you develop products or services to fit every budget in your business?

2. Holiday Packages
Holiday packages are the HOT sellers right now! Why? Because they take the “thinking” out of buying. For example, pre-package gifts of soaps, body lotion and bath salts. How can you take the “thinking” out of buying your goods or services? How can you “pre-package” multiple items to make it easy for your customers?

3. Bundled Products or Services
Rather than sell single items, offer “theme” combos. For example, a holiday “wellness” gift package, including a massage, a facial and health products. Or a “tax savings” combo, including a book, tax software and a one hour consultation. How can you bundle complementary products and services to create a “theme” offering?

4. Volume Discounts
Make your business the one-stop shop during the holidays and beyond.

Give customers an incentive to purchase multiple products and services.

For example, give 25% off for orders over $100, 30% off for orders over $200, etc. How can you capitalize on volume discounts to easily increase sales?

5. "Something of the Month" Club
Create customer loyalty and longevity with this winning strategy. The options are endless. For example, “CD of the month” club, “restaurant of the month” club, etc. These programs work best when you give significant discounts in exchange for a long-term buying commitment of your products or services. What creative ways can you adapt this strategy to your business?

Coach's Action Step:
Adapt, Take Action & Multiply Your Marketing Results

Pick one of the five strategies that most resonates with you. Each strategy is easy to implement just in time for the holidays. Announce your new combo packages, volume discount, etc. in your Christmas or New Year’s greetings, newsletter or any other holiday communications to your clients and prospects. REMEMBER: Make it easy and rewarding for customers to buy from you and they will reward you with holiday sales.

Denise Corcoran, a business and leadership coach and CEO of The Empowered Business(tm), has 31 years experience as a business coach, consultant, and former corporate executive. Subscribe to her monthly ezine, The Empowered Business(tm), at

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10 Ways to Build Loyalty and Grow Referrals in Under 10 Minutes a Day

Great Advice from Business Know How. I had a former CEO that tried to get everyone to follow a couple of these tips:

by Laurie Hayes

Even though it's one of the most powerful ways to build your business, most business owners don't send out personal cards because they don't know when it's appropriate, what to say, or they feel it doesn't apply to them because their business is DIFFERENT.

It doesn't matter if you're a real estate agent, coach, hairdresser, insurance agent, restaurateur, sales rep or dog walker, your business depends on relationships and if your clients and customers aren't staying with you for the long haul and bringing their friends, there's a flaw in the system.

A Technical Assistance Research Project conducted in Washington, D.C. a couple of years ago revealed the following reasons why customers leave a business:

1% - Death
3% - Move Away
5% - Buy from a friend
9% - Are sold by a competitor
14% - Product price
68% - Perceived indifference

You can add together the first five percentages listed, double them and they still won't amount to the number of clients and customers you lose because they don't have a sense of relationship with you.

In order to create a bond, clients need individual attention, acknowledgement and a feeling that they are genuinely appreciated.

And the simple greeting card has the power to make that happen.

Following are ten creative scripts you can use in a card to strengthen your client and prospect relationships. You will be astounded by the impact this individual attention has on the number of referrals you attract, the loyalty of your existing clients, and the reduction in complaints, returns, and advertising expenses.

After a Networking Event - It was a pleasure meeting you at XYZ last evening. Thank you for sharing your time and telling me about your company's vision for the future. I have been fortunate to work with outstanding individuals like yourself and would consider it an honor to help you reach your vision. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call.

After a Customer Makes a Purchase - Thank you! It was a pleasure to serve you and I would like to acknowledge you for your superb taste in ____. My goal is to provide you with the best customer service you have ever experienced so you will return and confidently refer your friends. Please contact the customer service number below if you require assistance and you will be served with the utmost care.

After a Prospect Says No - Thank you for giving us the opportunity to provide a proposal. Although we were not selected to be your service provider at this time, we are continuously adding to our array of services and may be able to serve you in the future. Please contact us as you encounter future needs and we will be happy to help you find an appropriate solution.

After a Telephone Conversation - Thank you for your time today. It was a pleasure to speak with you and learn more about your business needs. In respect for your busy schedule, I will contact you only once our evaluation is complete. It should take no more than two weeks. I look forward to the possibility of a mutually beneficial business relationship with you.

After a Group Presentation - Thank you for giving me the time today to teach your staff how they can improve efficiency without sacrificing quality. Simple improvements have a far reaching effect and it would be my pleasure to introduce your satellite offices to a tailored approach that enables them to create similar results. If you would be kind enough to refer your subsidiary managers my way, I'd be happy to provide them with the same personal attention I shared with your group.

After Receiving A Referral - Thank you for your kind referral. It's an honor to serve your friends and family and you can rest assured they will receive the highest level of attention and service possible.

After an Interview - It was a pleasure to meet you today. Thank you for your time. I delivered a portfolio to your assistant shortly afterward so you may explore the range of services offered in greater detail. If I can serve you in anyway, please do not hesitate to call.

Birthdays - Happy Birthday "name"! It's clients (patients/customers) like you who make going to work every day a reason to celebrate. Have a super day today and every day! I appreciate you and wish you the very best.

Anniversaries - Happy 1st Anniversary in your new home (truck/boat/business). I trust you've had a wonderful year and wish you many more ahead. If I can do anything to help you add to your experience, please let me know. I'm only a phone call away.

Thanksgiving - As this time of year rolls around, I reflect on all of the wonderful events and people in my life and think of you. Thank you for your business over the past year. It is always a pleasure to serve you and I look forward to many more years of showing my gratitude by giving you the best service possible.

Haven't Heard - It's been a little while since your last visit and I'm concerned. If you have simply forgotten, please contact my office today so we can ensure you continue to receive your treatment. If there is an alternate reason why you have not returned, please contact me at the private number below so I may personally assist you.

Find reasons to send your clients and prospects cards. A few cards a day should take less than ten minutes.

If you've heard of a new addition to a family, send a congrats card. In the event of a loss, express your deepest sympathy. If a customer mentions his 25th wedding anniversary is in two weeks, send a Happy Anniversary card.

These simple acts of kindness go a long way in building relationships that last a lifetime.

Replacing lost customers is expensive and time consuming. Keeping them is inexpensive and highly rewarding not only in terms of your bottom line, but in the quality of relationships you create.

Copyright 2007, Laurie Hayes - The HBB Source

Laurie Hayes, founder and visionary behind The HBB Source, helps government and corporate employees break free of their jobs to live their dream of entrepreneurship. To subscribe to her FREE e-zine for valuable resources designed to create home business success, visit

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Business Know How

A lot of the wisdom that is on this blog is either written by others or inspired by others. I simply look for the folks that have that wisdom and then subscribe to their newsletters, blogs and websites. is one of those sites. Here are some links from some of their e-mails:

A Better Way to Talk With Unhappy Customers

Your Media Moment: Give a Successful Interview

Passion as a Strategy, Plus Other Marketing Tips To Boost Your Bottom Line
How to Make Your Messages Memorable
Call-Killing Phrases
Clocking the Web Register: 7 Simple Ways to Make the Most Out of Your Holiday Sales

How to Respond to Angry Customers
Becoming "Shopper Friendly" Is One Way to Increase Sales
Five Tools to Increase Holiday Retail Sales

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Advertising is one piece of your marketing

Nearly everything I read from Chuck McKay, I think everyone should read:

A regional community college has just contacted the marketing rep for the local TV station.

They've spoken the words which strike fear into the hearts of salespeople everywhere: “"The advertising isn't working.”

“Tell me more,” says the rep.

“Well, we're getting a lot of calls – probably more than we've ever gotten before. We send our information kit to everyone who calls, but they don't become students. We're spending more on printing and postage than ever before, and aren't getting much to show for it.

"Seems you're wasting our money by bringing us the wrong people.”

The wrong people. Those would be people who don't buy.

The advertising plan didn't account for appealing to the "wrong people." The plan assumed the right people would respond to the ads.

Radio stations are accused of bringing the wrong people when 200 listeners show up at Mr. Car Dealer's remote broadcast but don't buy cars.

The wrong people come to the grocery store and only buy the items featured in the coupon.

And now, you're telling me the wrong people are picking up the phone and asking the college to send them information?

Why would they bother?

Who has so little to do today that he's going to pick up the phone and call an institution of higher learning for information he doesn't need or want?

The "wrong people" are common to nearly all businesses.

In the on-line world we refer to this as the “bounce rate” - the percentage of people who followed the link to your website and immediately changed their mind and went away. Its funny, but the conventional on-line wisdom doesn't blame the advertising for bringing the wrong people, it INCREASES the advertising to get more people to the site.

Bricks and mortar stores? A recent study indicates that 81 percent of the people who enter such a store will leave without buying anything. What do they say when a salesperson approaches them? “No, thanks. I'm just looking.”

In both the real world and the virtual world, people are pressed for time. They don't just go wandering around your store to alleviate boredom. They don't enter your web store just to kill time. They don't pick up the phone and call your 800 number out of indifference.

They're never just looking.

They're looking for something specific. They're leaving because they didn't find it - at least not the quality they demand or at a price they're willing to pay. If they thought they'd found it, they'd have bought.

Stop blaming the advertising plan.

Your advertising isn't bringing the wrong people. Your sales process is failing to convert them into buyers.

Its time to examine your sales process.

Begin by determining what your customers are seeking when they make contact. Then look for any impediment to prevent them from purchasing. Anticipate their questions and answer them in the way that makes them most comfortable buying from you.

Do you recognize this process as Persuasion Architecture TM?

There's no use blaming your advertising if you have a long list of steady prospects and you're not turning them into customers.

It could be your brochures. Maybe it's your salespeople. Either way, the flaw isn't in your advertising. You're losing them in your sales process.

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A sobering message to Doctors and other professionals

I am fortunate. When I have a Doctor Appointment, most of the Doctors I visit are on time (+/- 15 minutes). The latest from Chuck McKay shows us why this is so important and all about the relationships we have with professionals. (By the way, I had a dentist for nearly 40 years that I dropped because of his lack of professionalism when he went into semi-retirement).

Dear Doctor:

For a single, brief instant I was your patient.

I'm new in the community and needed to have my diabetic prescriptions renewed.

I didn't mind that I had to wait five weeks for the first appointment. I like that your practice is that busy. It implies that you're in demand.

I appreciated the reminder phone call yesterday, confirming the appointment and suggesting that I arrive 15 minutes early to handle any necessary paperwork.

Perhaps you remember that my appointment was for 10am. Since I didn't know what the traffic would be like, or how difficult your office would be to find, I left for your office at 9am, and arrived at 9:30. After checking in and completing your new patient forms I sat patiently waiting to be called.

I wasn't upset when 10am passed and no one had called my name.

I wasn't really upset at 10:15.

By 10:30 I was becoming annoyed. I asked your receptionist if it was going to be much longer. Without even looking up she told me she didn't know, but they'd call me as soon as they were ready for me.

By 10:45 I should have walked out, but I needed my prescriptions. I didn't have five weeks left to start this process with another doctor.

I waited.

At 11:02 a nurse called my name. She weighed me, took my blood pressure, confirmed the meds I'm taking, and showed me to an exam room. She closed the door upon her exit, and I sat alone there until you finally walked in at 11:36.

Instead of making eye contact you looked at the chart, and introduced yourself. No apology. No recognition of my inconvenience. In fact, you didn't look up at all until I asked what had caused you to be running 97 minutes behind on your first 120 minutes of operation.

As you looked into my ears and mouth you told me that you couldn't anticipate how long each patient would need your attention.

I wondered why not? You've been in business for at least 90 days. It seems to me that tallying the number of patients you see, the number of hours you're open, and dividing one by the other should get you in the ballpark.

Perhaps you recall, Doctor, indignantly telling me that you haven't been able to take a lunch in the last two months? That you worked straight through your scheduled 90 minute mid-day break to take care of the patients waiting to see you?

If, in every one of the last 60 days it took an extra hour and a half to catch up on half a day's appointments, then you obviously are scheduling them too close together. This accomplishes nothing but to really make your patients cranky.

Not as cranky as you appeared, though, when you handed me the scrip I'd come in for. (That was when I explained that by working through lunch you were only making my point).

And we arrived at the critical moment.

Do you remember when you angrily demanded to know if I understood how much it costs to have your staff standing around waiting on patients, and that you still had student loans to pay off?

That was the exact moment when our doctor/patient relationship ended.

Oh, you're probably not aware of it. I took the sheet with your charges to the clerk and paid on my way out. But, the relationship has definitely ended. I decided that long before I arrived back at my office at 12:29, very angry to have wasted half a day to simply renew the prescriptions I've been taking for years.

You see, whether you realize it or not, you're a consultant.

People hire you for the expert advice you give them when they have health care concerns. Many other people are consultants, too. Insurance agents, hair dressers, and Realtors come to mind.

They call people who purchase their services “customers,” while yours are known as “patients,” but it's pretty much the same relationship.

I wouldn't have waited an hour and a half beyond a firm appointment for any of them. I wouldn't have expected them to wait on me were the tables turned. But with you and a great many of your colleagues, this is business as usual.

You keep your productivity high by insuring that mine is low.

That, and your total disrespect for me as your customer are the reasons I won't be back.

So, as I tell you goodbye, let me leave you with two thoughts:

1.Your accountant has been counting your inactive patient files as assets of your practice.

He's kidding himself.

If he ever sat in your waiting room he'd understand why you have such a large percentage of inactive patients.

2.People like me, the well-paid executives who can afford your services, don't normally make a scene as we leave.

We simply determine that you're not worth the investment of any further time.

So, when you find yourself squeezed between managed care and deadbeat patients, remember that I'm in my peak earning years, my time is valuable to me, and I'd have gladly paid more for express service.

Remind yourself, too, that I am a great source of word-of-mouth. Unfortunately, in
your case, it won't be favorable. I will, however, get a massive amount of satisfaction repeating this story. I'll be telling it for years. When you advertise your practice, how many gross ratings points will you have to purchase just to neutralize me?

One of these days one of your colleagues is going to figure this out. He's going to appear on television with a simple message:
I'm Doctor Johnson, the business person's doctor. I'm not one of the lower priced doctors in town – in fact, I'm probably one of the most expensive. But, if you're accepted as my patient (and not everyone is) I promise you'll never wait more than 15 minutes for your appointment. Come see me. Doctor Johnson, the business person's doctor, at the corner of Main and Second Street for your convenience.
He's going to make a fortune on people like me.

The Ephemeral Patient

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