I just got my copy of Scott Ginsberg’s newest book, Ideas are Free, Execution is Priceless. It is a quick, daily read that offers insights, tips, motivations and a few reality slaps in the face. I love it. Truth be told, although my Amazon copy just came in the mail, I took advantage of a gift Scott offered a few weeks ago.
The gift? Send him the receipt showing you’d purchased his book and he would send you a 2nd copy for free to give a friend. His copy came first – signed and included a great laminated name tag calling me “Scott’s Friend.” On the flip side he lists the 10 principles of Hello my Name is.
Ask: “What could I do in this moment that would be the exact opposite of everybody else?”
Nobody: Notices normal, nobody buys boring and nobody pays for average.
That’s just two out of the 10! Great stuff. Simple but powerful. The book is the same way. I wrote on Scott’s Facebook wall today that the book fell open to June 14th this morning in which he has modernized the classic quote from Edison: “vision without execution is hallucination.”
Scott’s version? “Talking smack without doing jack is wack.” Cuts right through the mustard, doesn’t it?
It doesn’t matter what your industry, what your position or what your goals are – this book offers something for everyone. Of course, I have always been a big fan. Check out his site and read his blog – he’s a kid (compared to me), yet dispenses wisdom like an ancient soothsayer. I believe one of the reasons he can see the simple truth of what needs to be done to be the best company, the most connected, the most approachable, the best helper and the most memorable is that he never worked in the corporate world. He opened his company right out of college. Cool story. Cool guy. Cool book. Check him out. Scott Ginsberg, the name tag guy.
I flipped open to the first page of tips and found this gem:
Open with a WOW
“….It is your job to WOW your audience in the first three minutes.”
Think about that initial greeting or opening conversation with a potential customer. Would you classify “How can I help you?” as a WOW greeting?
Here’s another classic opening line: “Hi -let me know if you have any questions.” Gee, I’m greeted and dismissed all in one sentence.
How might you reword that initial conversation opener to include a WOW moment?
Leslie’s book offers 100 tips that help you communicate to potential customers one-on-one, to a group setting as in a speech, to a variety of people at a networking event or in a board meeting. By putting each tip in place, one at a time, the reader begins to gain confidence in their style, their approach and the value they bring.
100 Tips in 100 Days is a pocket-sized book – perfect for the purse or briefcase – you’ll want to keep it close at hand so that you can flip open to a tip at random and improve your communication techniques.
To effectively build customer relationships you have to master the art of communication – both speaking and listening. I invite you to head over to Leslie’s Leader’s Need to Speak blog to learn more from her and to consider purchasing a copy of her new book, 100 Tips in 100 Days.
Disclaimer – Leslie did send me a copy as a gift and she and I have worked together on projects in the past, but that in no way, takes away from the value that her new book offers. One visit to her blog or newsletter is all the proof you need to know that Leslie offers an encyclopedia of great information!
How do you build a relationship with someone? You often have to put their needs ahead of yours. That is true in a relationship with your significant other, a best friend, your parents, and your kids.
It is also true with our customers.
If we put them first in all we do – the customer service experience improves. Word circulates that your business is the customer-friendly business. You’ll stand out from your competition, who put profits first, and referrals and repeat business will be the order of the day.
So how do you start?
I’l created a little booklet that offers 105 ways to put customers first. The book is divided into ten categories:
Make it Easy
Make it Right
Each section offers quick and easy-to-implement suggestions for ways to put customers first in your business. A great gift for a new business owner or store manager, Put Customers First is just $9.95. A great value when you consider the financial benefit of repeat business.
Consider this quote:
“Companies spend 6 to 10 times more to acquire new customers than they do to retain existing customers. But a 5% increase in customer retention can have a bottom-line profit increase of 75%, depending on the industry.”
-Don Neal, Director of Business Development for Hallmark Business Expressions
Put Customers First in your business and you’ll enjoy a long term relationship so that your customers remember you, refer you to their friends and family and return the next time they need your products and services. Buy your copy of 105 Ways to Put Customers First today.
Seth Godin wrote the book and this evening at 8pm est over 6,000 people gathered in local coffee shops, libraries and restaurants in 90 countries around the world. The purpose? To talk about Seth’s book Linchpins and what it means to make yourself an artist in your field and consequently indispensible.
Talk about a make or break moment. I hosted the local meet up in my community and eight people signed up. Eight pm is a tough time for a meeting. You are home from the office, have kicked off your shoes and as the time approaches for the meeting you have a make or break moment:
Do I leave the comfort of my recliner and reruns of 2-1/2 Men to meet a bunch of people and talk about a book I haven’t finished reading?
What is a Linchpin? A person who holds the operation together. Someone who uses their creativity, power and knowledge to become indispensible or if not indispensible, then incredibly difficult to replace. Someone who is impossibly good at their job.
We talked about what holds us back. Distractors. Resistors. Then we talked about our business and our ideal customers and what we love about our work and how we plan to grow.
Soon names came to mind and you heard phrases like:
“You need to meet….”
“Do you know….?”
“Would you like me to connect you with…”
“How can I help you?”
By the end of the meeting we both said – too bad for the other six – they missed out on a great 90 minutes.
We shared a make or break moment. Two Linchpins in Northeast Ohio.
While we were only two strong in our Panera, we knew that we were part of a much larger group worldwide sharing the same thoughts and networking moments. It felt really cool to be part of!
A linchpin, as Seth describes it, is somebody in an organization who is indispensable, who cannot be replaced—her role is just far too unique and valuable. And then he goes on to say, well, seriously folks, you need to be one of these people, you really do. To not be one is economic and career suicide.
Seth describes linchpins as artists – people who bring an undeniable passion to their work.
In a quote from the Amazon description:
Work that you put your heart and soul into. Work that matters. Work that you gladly sacrifice all other alternatives for. As a working artist and cartoonist myself, I know exactly what he means. It’s not what you do, it’s the way that you do it.
The only people who have a hope of becoming linchpins in any organization, who have any hope of changing anything for the better in real terms, are those who have the capacity to do “emotional work” at a high level—to be true artists at whatever they set their minds on doing. The guys who just plod around the office corridors, just turning up for their paycheck…. Well, those guys don’t have a prayer, poor things. The world is just too interesting and competitive now.
When I worked for Pearle Vision, I would often work six days a week; starting before 7am and often working late into the night or returning to the office after putting my children to bed. My father would say “Why are you working so hard – it doesn’t say Debbie Vision over the door?”
I would reply, “It is just how I have to work. It doesn’t matter if no one care…I care and to me, it does say “Debbie Vision.”
He would shake his head and mutter something about working myself sick and to some extent he was right. But I had a passion for making a difference and it is that same passion I bring to my own customers. For although the name of my company still isn’t my own – the stamp on my work has my name written all over it. Just like yours does.
I look forward to meeting other such passionate individuals at the up coming Linchpin event and I would encourage you to find an event or host one yourself this coming June 14th.
Sharing our passion for what we do is a great way to learn new ways to make the customer experience better, to market ourselves better, to learn from each other to be more effective.
Following is the press release announcing the THIRD in a series of collaborative efforts led by Drew McLelland and Gavin Heaton. Yours truly has a chapter in this book as well as in the Age of Conversation 2. Read all about it and then order your copy. Proceeds are all being donated.
171 Authors Take the Online Marketing Conversation to Print
Age of Conversation 3 Graduates from Social Media Theory
and Moves On to Full-Blown Social Media Practice
New York, NY (May 07, 2010)—Almost three years ago, an online conversation between two marketing pros—an American and an Australian—evolved into a collaborative writing effort by more than 100 bloggers from nine countries, and was aptly titled The Age of Conversation. Fast forward to today and the abstract experiment is now a concrete treatise on the state of social media and marketing best practices as a whole. With Drew McLellan and Gavin Heaton still firmly at the helm, the third book in the Age of Conversation series has become a veritable “who’s who” of the world’s leading marketing bloggers. Age of Conversation 3 (202 pages; hardcover; paperback; Kindle; ePub) was published by new digital publishing company Channel V Books (www.ChannelVBooks.com), and is now available through all major online retailers, as a Kindle e-book, and will soon be available as an ePub for other digital readers.
Age of Conversation 3 captures the distinct shift from social media as a hypothetical consumer loyalty tool, as it was considered only a little more than a year ago, to its current state as a staple in the modern marketing toolbox. Although the book covers more than just social media, the topic is ubiquitous among the book’s 10 sections: At the Coalface; Identities, Friends and Trusted Strangers; Conversational Branding; Measurement; Corporate Conversations; In the Boardroom; Innovation and Execution; Influence; Getting to Work; and Pitching Social Media.
“We have seen an incredible shift in the role of social media over the past three years. It has moved from an outlier in the marketing mix to one of the strategic pillars of any corporate marketing or branding exercise,” said Drew McLellan. “And it doesn’t end there,” adds Gavin Heaton. “As the many authors of this new book explain, the focus may be on conversation, but you can’t participate in a conversation from the sidelines. It’s all about participation. And this book provides you with 171 lessons in this new art”.
The genesis for the series itself has all the makings of a thrilling read: regular correspondence between people around the world; a proactive collaboration between 15 countries; and two marketing professionals who have never met each other face to face, scrambling to learn how to publish a book from the ground up.
It all started when McLellan blogged about a similar collaborative book effort and Heaton wrote to him to suggest they get a few fellow bloggers to produce a marketing book in the same vain. Three emails later, and they had named the book and set what they thought would be an impossible goal: 100 bloggers. Within seven days they had commitments from 103. Back then, the marketing industry was abuzz about how citizen marketers were changing the landscape, whereas the second two editions have revolved primarily around the growing field of social media and how its methodologies have affected marketing as a whole. What all three books have in common is that they each capture a uniquely global vantage point.
The first Age of Conversation raised nearly $15,000 for Variety, the international children’s charity, and the Age of Conversation 2 raised a further $10,000 for Variety. This year’s proceeds will be donated to an international children’s charity of our authors’ choosing.
Needless to say, an ambitious online marketing book will be paired with an ambitious online marketing campaign. All 171 bloggers will use their respective online platforms—their blogs, Twitter, Facebook and other social media profiles, and websites—to promote their co-authors and book sales.
To request a review copy of Age of Conversation 3, please contact Gretel Going at email@example.com or 212.680.0179.
Do you have May 1, 2010 on your calendar? You should. In just a couple weeks the third installment of Age of Conversation hits the bookstores, Amazon and Kindle. This time the focus is on Social Media.
One of the authors, Rick Liebling Global Director, Client Management, for Taylor and author of the Periodic Table of Social Media Elements, graciously invited each of the over 170 contributors to share a little about their chapter in the upcoming book.
In today’s post, he shining the light on me! Thanks Rick! Keep stopping back to EyeCube – the AoC page for updated interviews with many of the contributors.
Just recieved confirmation that this blog, Make or Break Moments, is available as a monthly subscription for you Kindle lovers. Reading your favorite blogs on Kindle? Hopefully this is one of them. For $1.99 per month subscription you can now receive the updates on your handheld reader.
Once again Drew McLellan and Gavin Heaton have corraled a couple hundred writers, marketers, and entrepreneurs and asked them to provide their valuable insights into connecting with the customer through social media. The book is currently at the publisher and is expected to hit the book stores (print and Kindle/iPad versions) in April! I’m humbled to be part of this wonderful collection for the second time.
In the Age of Conversation 3 Gavin and Drew asked authors to share their thoughts in one of ten areas:
At the Coalface
There is much to be said for good strategy, but what happens when the strategy is done? What happens when the time for talking is over? This section is about working at the coalface of social media. It’s about the real world lessons that come hard and fast. It’s about case studies and the stories and events that are much better in the re-telling than in the moment.
When we talk of brands, we generally understand what it means. But what happens when a brand ventures into online conversation. What does it mean to participate in these conversations? Is this earned media? Is it paid for? Or is there an in-between space? How important is brand in the social media space? How does the conversation shape or change the brand?
Much is made of influence, but what does “influence” mean in social media? Who has it, and who creates it? Does influence mean different things to different people? Is it hype or can it make the cash register ring? Is influence one of the new currencies?
Getting to work
They say that the best approach to social media is dive in. But getting to work with social media can be harder than it first appears. What have you done to quickly get to work? Or perhaps this section is about how you use social media to get to work — literally. Is it a viable tool for networking and job hunting? Or maybe this section is about how social media is changing the face of work. Does getting to work now mean sitting at the kitchen table in your bathrobe?
There is plenty of coverage of social media when the focus is on marketing or advertising. But what is happening in other parts of your business? How is social media playing within your business and has it surprised you? Or…if you’re a consultant or agency, how do you introduce social media to the C-level at your client’s business? How do you make social media more than a fad or seem relevant to the bottom line?
Can you measure social media? Many claim you can and many claim you can’t. But if you can measure social media, should you? And how do you measure it? And do you measure it in terms of ROI? Or influence? Or ability to do good? What are the metrics that matter and how do you get to them?
In the boardroom
Is social media a fad dreamed up by the marketing department to get the attention of the executives? What are the hard questions and firm answers that get thrown around the boardroom. And who, if anyone, is best placed to answer? What role should the C-level executives play in a company’s social media strategy? Do they just green light it? Should the CEO have a blog? Or…from a non-profit’s perspective, how does the board of directors play a role in the organization’s SM activities?
Pitching social media
The work has been done and the late nights are weighing heavily on your shoulders. But it’s time to buck up – to pull it all together and wow your client. What do you do to impress? Is there a new art to pitching social media? And is it important to eat your own dog food? Or, if you’re from the PR side of the table, how are you pitching your client’s stories to social media’s influentials? Or are you using a different tactic?
Innovation and Execution
People make great claims for social media. Is it the long dreamed of silver bullet? Can the tools and techniques be harnessed to drive innovation? How can you take an idea or a strategy and make it work for your brand or your business? How do you move from idea to actual execution? What task or tool has social media eliminated or replaced? What do you predict it will eliminate in the future?
Identities, friends and trusted strangers
Many people are now living much of their lives online. Who do you call friend? How do you set boundaries or decide who to let into your circle of influence? How do you know who to trust when you can’t look them in the eyes? How do you define your own identity? What tools, techniques and sites do you find most useful in creating your online brand? How do offline meetings or conferences influence your online identity?
A pretty powerful collection of ideas – wouldn’t you say? So who are the contributing authors? Check out this list of amazing people:
I just finished reading Spencer Johnson, M.D.’s new book Peaks and Valleys. Just like the One Minute Manager and Who Moved My Cheese, the book is set up in a story format to share the great insights of the author.
Basically the book is about how we view the peaks and valleys of our life; at work and in our personal life. By dwelling on the negative, blowing fear out of proportion and letting our ego get in the way of reality; valleys loom larger and more daunting than necessary.
In one example in the book the wise one man on the peak tells the story of a once great company:
“When I was younger, I worked for a very large and famous company. We provided a great service at a good price-the best in out industry. Then our costs rose and the economy took a turn for the worse. Our service cost us more to provide and soon fewer people could afford it. Sales fell, but due to our fame, management believed they could simply ride out the bad time. The reality of course, was that we needed to change. But they didn’t see this, because their arrogance had made them complacent. Eventually we lost most of our customers and had to sell the business.”
“So what did you do?” the young man asked.
“I asked myself, what is the truth in this situation? The truth was that we were not making our customers happy.”
I love this example. The point of the story is so simple. WE WEREN’T MAKING OUR CUSTOMERS HAPPY. The company became too big for its britches, as my Grandma would say, and because they weren’t willing to set aside ego and look at how they might change to stay a viable solution for their customer, they became extinct.
The book goes on to talk about how to view the valleys of life in a more realistic, sensible way and to appreciate the gifts we have even in our hard times. And when we are on top of the world to make sure we don’t get too full of ourselves and simply enjoy every moment for the gift that it is.
It is a quick read and has lessons that can be applied to all walks of life. I’d recommend giving it a read.