The Bottom Line

Discussing the bottom line conjures up two extremes.

The bottom line averse, and the bottom line aggressive.

The bottom line averse is an individual similar to the artist. The averse individual would like to create, whether a project is sustainable or not. Possibly an idealist. Making things perfect, delightful, and shareable.

The bottom line aggressive is the one who is all about the numbers. Can we drive the stock price higher? How are the profit margins? Where can we cut costs? This is liken to the investor.

Being at either extreme is not ideal. It pays to have a high concern for quality and uniqueness, but ensuring the bottom line is healthy so a project sustainable.

No concern for the bottom line will put you out of business.

All emphasis on the bottom line could drive quality down, causing loyal customers to leave.

The healthy spot is to be in the middle. Creating high quality products people love, while maintaining a healthy bottom line so you can do it again tomorrow.

Good luck and good selling!

You are going to love this…

You are going to love this…

Is a loaded statement. As if when you do not love this, the person sharing their love with you will be offended.

What could be more appropriate is “I love this and want to share it with you”.

It could be a product, a restaurant, or a book. The receiver may not like it as much as you, but would most likely be delighted to experience it anyways.

There is a Mexican Restaurant in the town where I grew up. The restaurant is Anita’s. If you are in Livermore, you have to go there. In my opinion, it is the best Mexican Food; ever.

Now, you may like it or you may not like it. Either way, I would like to share the restaurant with you. If you don’t enjoy it, I will not be offended.

Seeing as you may not enjoy this restaurant as much as I do, “You are going to love this…” is not applicable here. But, “I love this and want to share it with you” is.

It is not so important to love the same things, experiences, and think the same way. More importantly, it is about sharing, as you may give someone else a new found love.

Good luck and good selling!

Paint A Picture; It’s Worth 1000 Words

Imagery is powerful. Pictures are worth a thousand words. Thus, we need to paint a picture when selling.

And, it is no wonder that image posts on Social Media outperform non-image posts more than 2 to 1. An image has the ability to cause us to imagine ourselves performing what the image represents.

Companies are good at creating marketing campaigns to get us to picture ourselves using their products. They paint a picture. Utilizing beautiful people, scenarios we all experience, and images that can cause us to think of a time or situation where we need to use the product. This is common practice.

Most of the time we do not even realize this is occurring. The power of imagery has the ability to move us closer to making a purchase decision.

In sales, we do not have the luxury of sitting in a board room thinking of great marketing campaigns. We are out having normal conversations with people.

So how do we create that same effect? The effect where our customer can picture themselves using our products.

Sales people need to be great conversationalists. To be more specific, painters. Painters that use words as their paint, and the person on the other end of the conversation as the canvas.

Here are few ways to paint a picture.

Start with questions

Questions help to better understand the problems your customer may face. Thus, give you insight into possible solutions you can create. With this understanding, you now have the ability to create the solution.

The solution is your image.

Be descriptive

Use descriptive language to talk about your product, as well as the uses of your product. This means being specific, so the customer can follow what you are saying.

There is no room for misinterpretation.

Create a situation

Create a scenario in which the customer could use your product. Be a storyteller that can put the customer at the center of the situation, which the use of your product is necessary to come to a resolution.

Ask if there is a situation

If you have recently given a great pitch about all the great things your product will do, ask the customer if they can think of a use for your product. Bring the customer so far as to describe the scenario in which they would use the product.

Visualizing a situation and working through the use of something new can make a change or transition easier.

Do you picture yourself using products before purchasing?

Good luck and good selling!

Please Care About Your Relationships

The individual who cares less holds all the power.
 
I think this is a horrible way to start a relationship, but all too often it is how we attempt coming together. This is a fundamental concept in negotiation, selling relationships, business relationships. It even applies to personal relationships.
 
What if we decided to stop living by this mantra? What if we decided that enough was enough with the power struggle?
 
I believe the best relationships, which the best relationships are the only ones worth having, are those in which both parties feel thankful to have the other. Each party would be devastated to lose the other.
 
If a vendor went out of business, the purchaser of that vendor’s products would too. If one spouse dies, the remaining spouse dies with them. These are the relationships I want.
 

Why is it so often we play the relationships power game?

This concept does not only apply to business. I have watched friends date. This is the best environment to watch people try to build a relationship.
 
It is basic and primal. Watching two people try and earn each other’s love. But when I watch them date and interact, it is all about who can care less. Who can have the power in the relationship?
 
The goal is to remove the vulnerability. But if you’re not vulnerable, then what is the point? Who wins?
 
The answer: nobody wins. As I watched my friend date and try to struggle for power it didn’t work. They broke up. Now they’re both alone.
 
I have watched this in business as well. I have watched a colleague try and sell a customer, but was having no success. The colleague’s strategy was to not appear desperate. They made it seem as though they did not need the customer. They wanted the power in the relationship for better price negotiation.
 
The colleague wanted to make a few extra bucks. They didn’t get the sale because the customer could sense they didn’t want the business. The plan backfired. The colleague missed quota.
 
I don’t think this plan works anymore, or maybe it never did. In an environment, as competitive as the one we are in, where everybody is trying to make a living, the best way to build a relationship is to be thankful. To solve problems and provide solutions.
 
We need to create relationships where both parties are thankful. My solution to get there is:
 

Care

Caring is such a simple concept but gets overlooked. Businesses get accused of not caring all the time.
 
People say: “All they care about is profits” and “They don’t care about the customers”. This is occasionally the case, but more often it is a perception. When perception is a reality, the reality is you don’t care.
 
Care about the people you want to build a relationship with and make it perceptible. Ensure they know you care and value their partnership.
 

Be Empathetic

Seth Godin recently had an article defining empathy. I find it eloquent and thorough. Empathy is understanding. Try and understand the other person and what makes them tick.
 
This not only allows you to be a better partner but also provide a better solution.
 

Provide Value

I have written about this before, but it can’t be overstated. What value are you providing? This could be customers, colleagues, friends or loved ones. What are you giving to them that is of value and importance?
 
Value comes in many forms and is not always immediately monetized. Not only provide value but provide the type of value that is valuable to the people you are trying to provide value to.
 

Be Honest

Honesty is the best policy. This isn’t in the context of not lying. Honesty is believing in what you say, and the products you promote.
 
People sense if you are not bought into your own message. Be authentic and honest with yourself and the message you are promoting.

Become Indispensable

Becoming indispensable is holding up your end of the bargain. In a relationship, where each person believes the other is essential, it is your job to make yourself indispensable.
 
This means doing all the above. Working hard to put more into the relationship than you expect to receive. Becoming indispensable can’t be self-serving. Put in the work.
 
Having a relationship that is built upon both parties being thankful is difficult and takes time. But, quality relationships are how you build businesses.
 
How will you start building your relationships?
 
Good luck and good selling!

Do You Think Jack White Would Have Coffee With Me?

I have an obsession with Jack White. (For those who do not know who Jack White is, please click here.) This includes The White Stripes, The Raconteurs, The Dead Weather, and Jack White. If he joins a fifth band I will probably like them too.

You could say I am one of his “True Fans”.

This obsession could be bad for my health.

Does this make me a stalker?

I don’t think so. I haven’t actually approached him yet. Maybe after the writing of this article, he will notice me. Maybe he will want to get coffee with me? Probably not.

My obsession is about more than his music. It is his style of business. I don’t think he considers himself a businessman. I’ve heard him say many times he is an artist (in interviews on YouTube).

Artists have to sell too. They need to make a living somehow.

The reason I have an obsession with Jack White is two-fold. He is creative and he is a hustler. I like people who hustle. Hustlers have ambition.

I turn to Jack White and his musical career because it teaches me how to be better in business. His style is unique, memorable, and authentic. He is like the blues version of Taylor Swift, before Taylor Swift was Taylor Swift.

They are both authentic, and they both go on rants about the state of the music industry. People like to be outraged by this. You can’t fault them for having opinions.

As you sit back and enjoy some hard hitting blues riffs with Jack White; let’s discuss five business concepts he excels at.

Jack White Authenticity

Jack White is authentic. This is what makes him appealing. Jack White exemplifies authenticity in the way he plays and writes music. Jack White’s music is stripped to its roots. Simple, hard-hitting blues. So simple in fact, his first band was only two members (The White Stripes).

Authenticity is important in business. Nobody likes to buy something from someone who is fake. It is like ordering Cheese Cake at the Cheese Cake Factory, only to later find out it was fat-free. That would enrage me.

Authenticity is about telling the truth and creating value.

Branding

Jack White is a master at branding. Every project he does has a brand. The White Stripes had a red, white, and black color scheme. His current band, everything is powder blue. His color scheme creates an association with his brand.

This attention to detail is everything. His brand is one of classic simplicity. You will never see him in “normal street clothes” because this does not go with his brand. He will either be in an eccentric suit, or clothing to match the color of his show.

Creating a personal brand is essential. This is what makes you different and memorable.

Originality

Jack White is original. He was the first to create a two-piece band (in the 90s). He even said this in Rolling Stone, saying the Black Keys copied him.

To be original, Jack White writes all his music, unless otherwise specified for a 1920’s blues cover. He believes in creating an original work of art every time he plays.

It is said creativity is the new literacy. Creating an original solution for your clients is a great way to separate yourself from the competition. We are seeing this in all forms of products. People want a more personal connection.

Connected

Jack White is connected with his audience. He makes a point to be in tune with who he is playing for. This is why Jack White doesn’t play with a setlist.

I saw Jack White for the first time live in August 2014. This show changed how I viewed a Rock concert. He connected with me. The show was in San Francisco and was the second show of a two-night stand. Completely different setlist than the first night. He even played a cover song dedicated to the Oakland Athletics (my favorite baseball team).

Connecting with your customers helps you form a relationship. Relationships are important for a multitude of reasons. Most importantly, creating opportunities to grow accounts.

Hustler

Last but not least, Jack White is a hustler. Jack White has four bands, three of which he is actively writing and creating music with. This is on top of a record store, record label, and recording studio (Third Man Records).

I find his drive inspiring. I wish I had that many projects.

Sales is about hustling. At times it is a numbers game. So do as Jack White and have many “projects” at once.

Jack White, on the surface, seems as though he belongs at a different time in history. Maybe the 1950s. This is what I think of when I see his brand. It is what makes him Jack White, and it is working for him.

Now that I have sung Jack White many praises, maybe he will get coffee with me.

Good luck and good selling!