Wednesday, January 25, 2012


      Lingo is more than just a game on TV. According to Miriam Webster it is the special vocabulary of a particular field of interest.  It is also known as jargon or slang.  The differences between the three are very elusive and they are used interchangeably.
What is ”ROTFL”?  Jargon. What is “vertically challenged”? Jargon. What is “in the loop”? Jargon.
       Jargon is the “insiders” language that defines a specific activity, event, group, or product to other people within the group. It is a shortcut to communication among people in the know, but has little meaning to anyone outside the group.  It also makes your customers and clients very uncomfortable; akin to being in a group of people speaking a foreign language that you don’t understand. Politicians are famous for doublespeak and jargon.  It allows them to be understood, yet not very precise. 
       Using jargon, lingo, doublespeak or slang in marketing is a way of making your product or service sound more important or significant than it really is.  It is the secret code of your offering. To the uninformed, it makes the product sound like something they must have immediately or their world might come to an end.  Seldom does the public “read between the lines” to see what is really being said; and marketers don’t want them to.  Remember the Wizard of Oz hiding behind the curtain so nobody could see that he was just an ordinary man, albeit with sage wisdom.
       Our use of language has become sloppy, especially with the explosion of technology.  Soon we will forget all together how to communicate clearly; slang, lingo and jargon will take over.  Nobody will know the difference between real and make believe.  They will simply be left “out of the loop”.  All of your marketing efforts will be lost, because people just won’t want to work hard enough to understand your message.
     Start now to be more clear and precise with your message.  Customers don't like to be talked down to and will always favor real, honest messages.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Cell Phone Etiquite

Can You Hear Me Now?
     Of course I can; and so can everyone else within 100 feet.  Ever since we became wedded to our cell phones in the mid 80’s we have entered a new realm of rudeness. 
     How did we communicate before we had cell phones?  We wrote letters, sent telegrams (feared because they often contained bad news), and made phone calls from home, office, or pay phones.  Pay phones were found on every corner, in stores, gas stations, and restaurants.  For many years you could make a local call for a dime.
     Today we have email, PDA’s, and cell phones.  The emails we can block but we always answer our cell phones.  You will often hear whole conversations, that aren’t aimed at you and hold no interest.  Past generations did not have to confront this rudeness.  Our entire society was a lot more genteel.  We went out of the way to bepolite and not intrude on others.
   Let’s has developed some guidelines for cell phone use so you can avoid bothering other people with your calls.
   Many establishments now request that you not use your phone when on their premises. Pay attention to the rules, they have been written for a reason.
   Personalized and joke ring tones are especially offensive.  Try giving certain people unique ringtones, like I’ve done for my Father, so you know which calls have to be answered.  Let everything else go to voicemail until later.
   It is not necessary to scream into your phone.  If you have a good signal your indoor voice will do; if not no amount of screaming will help
   When in public relate information and hang up.  You can go into the details later on your own time.
   Besides being very dangerous texting is probably against the law.  If you must respond pull over or call back when you stop.
   Emergencies do arise. Some calls may be unavoidable.  Let the people you are with know, in advance, that if you hear a particular ringtone you will have to take the call.
   Always ask before taking pictures.  You could put your friends in a very uncompromising position.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Carbonite-Cheap Insurance

       How are you protecting the information on your computer?  If your computer crashed tomorrow would you lose all your family pictures and memories?  Would that crash take down all your financial data and history?
       There is a very easy to use, inexpensive solution for protecting your data.  Carbonite.  I have been using it for a few years and have had to activate it on several occasions.  Fortunately, only one crash, but some information got sent to the trash bin by mistake.  All I had to do was activate my Carbonite and I got all my stuff back.
       One of the best features is that it runs seamlessly in the background.  I don’t have to do a thing!  Within a few minutes of creating anything my project is backed up.  I don’t have to remember to back up my files, or chance losing files that have been created since the last backup.
       I highly recommend Carbonite.  For about $50.00 per year, it is cheap insurance against losing important files from your computer.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Early Estimates Help

       Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. said “Taxes are what we pay for a civilized society.”  Now is the time to start organizing yours.  Gather all of your receipts and notes.  Look at major differences between your 2010 numbers and those for 2011.  You should have all of your W-2s and 1099s by January 31.
       The earlier you file the faster you can get your return.  Estimating your liability early, even if you don’t file early, will allow you to manage your budget more accurately. Dragging your feet until the last moment could be costly.
       This is also a good time to adjust your W-4 deductions.  You should only be withholding enough to cover your taxes; getting a big return means you let the government use your money, interest free.  Wouldn’t you rather have that money in your pocket?  If your refund totals more than $1000.00, you are having too much withheld.  A common strategy is to adjust your withholding and put the extra money into your emergency fund or retirement.  You won’t miss the money out of your check, you aren’t seeing it now, but you will be better prepared for the future

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

After the Sale

       Is your sincere thank you the end of the sale? NO. How you treat your customer after the sale is crucial to the success of your business.People do business with people who they know and trust.Encouraging them to be repeat customers is much easier, and less expensive, than cultivating new customers.
       Absolutely essential is a Thank You Note, within three days.  This applies to both business and personal transactions. If you only do business on the internet you might get away with email; hopefully not an auto responder that is cold and generic.  Someone in your Organization should be in charge of making sure this is done properly.
       Smaller Organization s can easily add this activity to their work flow. They also have more of an opportunity for personalization.  The people who actually interacted with the client should be sending out the thank you notes, or gifts where appropriate; that's all part of relationship building.
       The really smart salesperson will take the time to hand write (horrors!) and personalize their ThankYou notes.  Include a comment that indicates that you were really paying attention. Send it by snail mail; your message will stand out because hand written mail is so rare today in our electronic age.
       Then, depending on the lifespan of your product, you should contact your customer again.  I don't however recommend a Christmas/Holiday card; your message will get lost in the pile.  Try any other holiday or regular event, like daylight savings time or the change of the seasons. And, of course, don't miss their birthday or any articles you see written about them.  That gives you at least two contacts per year, three if you send holiday cards.
       Seasoned, successful salesmen/women also pick up the phone occasionally.  "Just thinking of you", "this reminded me of you", or congratulations on your new position/baby/whatever. 
These professionals have worked with these same customers or clients for several years and sometimes even multiple generations.        
       Think of the security of knowing that half your income is already made for the year because of this business that you have cultivated, tended, and watched grow.  You can now spend your time planting the seeds of new customers to grow your business.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Why Do They Always Call During Dinner?

  Are you as annoyed as I am with recorded phone calls? They call during dinner because they have a better chance of catching you at home. Try this; If you don't recognize the number DON'T speak first. Most of those messages are voice activated and set up to capture your number as live for their lists. A lot of businesses (legal and otherwise) are making a lot of money selling your information. If you don't respond they will not have a product to sell.  Just hang up to avoid capture, and annoyance

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fire Your Customers

       Increasing sales may not be good for your business. Are you crazy, you say? Not at all. We often are concerned that we have more customers than ever before but aren't making more money. There is a very easy answer. The solution can be found in an analysis of your customers. There are a certain level of customers or clients that make you money; about 20% and a group of about 10% that are costing you money. These are the one time buyer or the small quantity user. Costs that are amortized across the whole sales process decrease per unit when tied to larger quantities. That means that the 80% of small customers are costing you more than you are making.
       You need to analyze your customers to see which group they each belong to. It is important that you direct your best marketing efforts at the 20% of customers who are improving your bottom line. Your middle group probably tends to be very loyal so special attention is not necessary. The bottom group are the customers that you fire. You can easily reduce your number of un-profitable clients by increasing minimum orders or convenience fees. In time your customer list will contain fewer names, but they will be the most valuable.
       Doing a SWOT analysis and ROI study will show you where you should direct your best efforts.  Losing a customer who is costing you money is no loss at all.  Find your losers and eliminate them.