Business lessons

The Consultant’s Dirty Little Secret

A wise man by the name of Ed Schwarzkopf once said “People view consultants as guys that know fifty different ways to make love but don’t have a girlfriend”. I’m going to use bad language in this video. Specifically the word “Consultant”.

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Rule #4 of Marketing: Persistence

I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard people say “We mailed a brochure one time and we didn’t get a single lead. That’s why we don’t mail anything anymore.” These otherwise talented individuals are breaking the law of persistence. Think about it: there is a person out there who needs your product or service and you need to reach them to get your marketing message through and, with luck get on the short list. But you have no idea when this need will become active. The rule of Persistence is key. Today’s buyer is bombarded with marketing messages and they’ve put up a wall to keep you out. They delete email without looking at it. They don’t read ads. They have gatekeepers. You are one of thousands of companies vying for this buyer’s attention. If the old adage is that it takes seven contacts to make a sale[…]

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What first impression are you making?

At the risk of sounding a bit judgmental,  (as businesses we are being judged constantly) but I feel a need to share some thoughts about a disturbing trend that threatens to destroy us all! Sorry, got carried away for a minute, but in the context of sending a message that you can be trusted and are a credible and reliable resource – the way you make your first impression is critical to winning customers. So often people seem to get first impressions wrong.

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How to spot a marketing wanker

If you’ve known me for any length of time, you know I’m somewhat disappointed in the marketing industry with regard to how they obfuscate, mislead clients and generally say and do anything to make a buck. I know this is true because almost every client I talk to has several horror stories of those who came before me. And, rightly so, they are suspicious and guarded when it comes to engaging. Fair enough. Now, I’m not saying that ALL folks involved in the marketing business (and related categories) are all money grubbing slight of hand artists. I know many consultants, designers, web developers and other people who really know their stuff and operate at the highest levels of ethics. I just believe they are in the minority. I’m going to share with you some warning signs to look for when choosing a marketing partner so you can avoid getting ripped[…]

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How’s your recession going?

What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger As we wrap up a rough year (for everyone) and head into 2010 I’m looking back and realizing that 2009 was a pretty good year. Have I lost my mind? Am I smoking crack? Perhaps. But it depends on how you define “good”. 2009 has been a year of revelation for me and there’s a few things that stand out as highlights in my ongoing education about business, friends and life. For the record, I’m not one of those annoying “glass half full”, wake up cheerful, happy smappy types. Not that I’m a grouch, I just have a rather realistic view of life. Yeah, that’s the ticket. But the fact is, 2009 has renewed my faith in human kind in a big way.

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A life without risk is a life without growth.

Looking back over the years I can see that my path has been what one might call “the road less traveled”. For me, risk and reward are inexorably linked and I have never worried about the possible consequences of zigging where most people zag. Of course this is the mindset of an invincible young man. As I grow, uh…, more mature, I can see that the risk I took so effortlessly was far more than I needed to shoulder. This was because I never thought about having a plan – I just jumped from the cliff and figured I’d know how to build my wings at some point before I hit the ground. Luckily for me, those wings somehow were constructed and the sudden stop at the bottom of my flight was avoided. Managing risk takes a four letter word.

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What Music taught me about Business Part. One

As I look back almost two decades of helping companies grow, I amazed by how much I’ve learned from the experience. I was first exposed to marketing and sales in a very unorthodox way: my first job was as a professional musician. At the time, I wasn’t thinking about sales processes and marketing communication, I was simply looking for a way to meet girls and get paid. Performing music paid for my college tuition and helped my launch my first company – a marketing firm that grew from nothing to over three million dollars in revenue. Of course I’ve learned an equal amount from mentors and clients over the years but the music business unexpectedly gave me the tools to succeed. Leadership I discovered early on that if I was going to benefit from the joy of performing music, I singularly needed to make it happen. I had to take[…]

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