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Harry Beckwith is the author of Selling the Invisible and The Invisible Touch, both marketing classics. Now he applies his unparalleled clarity, insight, humor, and expertise to a new age of mass communication and mass confusion. What Clients Love will help you stand out from the crowd-and sell anything to anyone. From making a pitch to building a brand, from designing a logo to closing a sale, this is a field guide to take with you to the front lines of today's business ...
Harry Beckwith is the author of Selling the Invisible and The Invisible Touch, both marketing classics. Now he applies his unparalleled clarity, insight, humor, and expertise to a new age of mass communication and mass confusion. What Clients Love will help you stand out from the crowd-and sell anything to anyone. From making a pitch to building a brand, from designing a logo to closing a sale, this is a field guide to take with you to the front lines of today's business battles. Filled with real tales of success and failure, it shows you how to:
• Fly a Jefferson Airplane. Everyone knows there's a Jefferson Monument, but a Jefferson Airplane? A brilliant, attention-grabbing name often includes the unexpected and the absurd.
• Strike with a Velvet Sledgehammer. It's not a hard sell. It's not exactly soft. Selling well means finding the fine line between modesty and bragging, and driving the message home.
• Speak to the Frenchman on the Street. A French mathematician believed that no theory was complete until you could explain it to the first person you meet on the street. Marketers, ecoutez!
• Dress Julia Roberts. Why one scene from Pretty Woman can enlighten you more than a full year of study at a top business school. What Clients Love will help you get focused, stay focused, and follow the essential rules to success-by doing the little things right and the big things even better.
This book offers a pleasant alternative to learning from your mistakes:
Learn from mine. My mistakes began with Selling the Invisible. Because clients love experts and no one looks more expert than an author, many people called me after the book appeared, often with invitations to speak to their companies. Naturally, I accepted. I went. I spoke. I bombed.
I flew to Miami to address a leading telecommunications firm. I covered the subjects the employees had loved in the book, but the number of people checking their watches seemed a bad sign. I stumbled on until the clock mercifully signaled the end. My host grabbed my arm as I staggered from the podium and promised a postmortem in a few minutes. I waited for him in the hotel lobby as the audience members filed by me as if I were hosting a virus. Minutes later my client appeared, sat down at the lobby table, and began the background for this book.
"Good material, really. But let me give you a tip. "You mispronounced our president's name. Three times. That threw everyone off."
I had made the president and his company sound as if they did not matter to me. The employees felt slighted, andbecause of that, they did not like me- and my speech.
Off to Chicago to talk to some food distributors. Again I covered the content they had loved in the book-and correctly pronounced their key people's names. They responded better, but dozens of decibels short of a big ovation.
I knew why as I sat back down. I had viewed the audience as my enemy. I resented their power to judge me; they were blockading my romp to happiness. Because I resented them, many of them felt uncomfortable; something seemed off-and because of that, my speech did, too. Clients feel about a service the way they feel about the provider. Next stop, Tucson, I was determined to like that audience. I even carried a Post-it to the podium that read: Engage, Help, Smile.
This seemed to work. Everyone listened, laughed, and teared up at the sentimental moments. My slump had ended.
No, it hadn't. After hearing many compliments as I left the meeting room, I walked through the hotel lobby and down a corridor to the gift shop. I had just started to study a stuffed javelina when a man with a sticker that read "Bend, Oregon," beelined toward me with what I assumed would be a compliment.
"Right up to the end you were a 10. You had us in your palms," he said. "Then you mentioned being divorced. After that, it was a 1. Ruined everything." Who was this person who could be sidetracked by something so irrelevant?
A typical client. In this new world, technical skills matter; they pay the entry fees. But many clients can afford that fee, and most clients cannot distinguish one firm's skill from another's. Competence gets firms into a game that relationships win.
My first book discussed the importance of relationships briefly. My fingers may have been racing on the keyboard, but my heart was in neutral. I still believed that competence wins and superior competence wins constantly.
My mistake. This book is the lessons from those and other mistakes and the successes of many companies, huge and small. It explores the loves of clients, shaped and altered by four significant social changes. Every business that understands and harnesses these changes, which introduce each of the next four sections, should thrive.
After those four sections, this book explores how to design a better business. The Appendix includes questions that readers can use during that phase. The book concludes by discussing the most valuable traits of people in this Evolved Economy. Clients love these traits; they have forever. I have loved exploring these ideas and hope you find insight, inspiration, and many tools here that will help you grow-and enjoy doing it.
October 1, 2002
DRAWING YOUR BLUEPRINTS
Your Possible Business
Forget benchmarking. It only reveals what others do, which rarely is enough to satisfy, much less delight, today's clients.
Forget studying critical success factors, although the Japanese built an apparent economic dynasty by focusing on them. That dynasty was merely apparent because their foundation question was flawed. The question, "What has made companies in our industry successful?" leads you to the old answers-which leads you to copy and refine rather than innovate.
(The Japanese "dynasty's" preferred copy-and-refinement method was to improve product quality and build at lower cost-two huge American weaknesses at that time. This resulted in $700 VCRs that could be profitably sold for $400, and gave the Japanese a huge but temporary advantage. Because the Japanese approach was a simple refinement of the "critical success factors" in the electronics industries, however, American companies were able to copy the Japanese formula quickly, by tightening quality control and outsourcing their labor to lower-wage countries.)
Never mind what clients say they want. No client ever asked for ATMs, negotiable certificates of deposit, heated car seats, Asia de Cuba, traveler's checks, Disneyland, Cirque du Soleil, or Siegfried and Roy, and no one outside a few thousand techies asked for home computers. Clients never said they wanted any of these things.
Their creators simply created them, sensing that people would love them.
The extraordinary successes-Federal Express, Lion King the play, and Citicorp as three enormous examples, and Powell's Bookstores, Creative Kidstuff, and Ian Schrager's hotels as relatively small ones- never benchmarked, studied critical success factors, or polled prospects on what they might want. Instead, each of these companies asked the same question:
"What would people love?" Ask that question, too.
Ask-and keep asking yourself-"What would people love?"
Excerpted from What Clients Love by Harry Beckwith Copyright © 2003 by Harry Beckwith
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
|Introduction: A Lesson from the Road||xv|
|Drawing Your Blueprints|
|Your Possible Business||3|
|A Question That May Be Your Answer||4|
|Another Good Question||5|
|The White Hot Center: Nike's Genius||6|
|Finding the White Hot Center||12|
|The Fourteen Principles of Planning||13|
|1.||Forget the Future||14|
|5.||View Experts Skeptically||18|
|6.||Beware of "Science"||19|
|10.||Beware of Common Sense||23|
|12.||Find the Water||25|
|13.||Finding the Water: A Warning||26|
|14.||Search for 100-X||27|
|The End of "Missions"||28|
|How George Didn't Do It||30|
|Fortune Favors the Bold||32|
|Laurel Cutler's and Ian Schrager's Insight||33|
|Ask Questions Like a Priest||34|
|The Classics of Business||35|
|What Osborn Drugs and Target Tell You||38|
|New Economy, Same People||41|
|Four Building Blocks: Enormous Oranges and Canary Yellow Bugs: Clear Communications|
|Key Trend: Option and Information Overload||45|
|Your Prospects: Everybody's Talkin' at Them||50|
|The Rise of Images||51|
|Your Marketing's Placebo Effects||52|
|Snap Judgments Stick||53|
|The Humanist and the Statistician||54|
|The Clever French Orange||56|
|Lessons from Stanford's Stadiums||58|
|What Your Prospects Know||59|
|An Important Word on Word of Mouth||60|
|Your Shortcut to Incredible Luck||63|
|Getting Publicity: The Giant Hole||65|
|Publishing: Another Surprise Benefit||65|
|Four Rules for Getting Yourself Ink||66|
|Testimonials: A Startling Discovery||67|
|Quoting No One||70|
|What Is an Expert?||70|
|The Doctor from the Boondocks: How to Seem Expert||74|
|Your Key to Clarity||77|
|How to Look Expert||78|
|How to Sound Expert||79|
|Mark Twain's Marketing Lesson||79|
|The Boy Who Cried Best||81|
|Why Superlatives Fail Colossally||82|
|The Dale Carnegie Corollaries: The Power of You||83|
|Rudolf Flesch and the Canary Bug||85|
|Harpers, McPaper, and Tiger||86|
|A Lesson from Jefferson's Tomb||88|
|How to Read a Sentence||91|
|Your Final Step: The Frenchman-on-the-Street Test||92|
|The Velvet Sledgehammer: A Compelling Message|
|Key Trend: The Decline of Trust||99|
|The Faster Way to Be Believed||104|
|A Wolverine and the Comfort Principle||105|
|What the Best Salespeople Sell||106|
|What Ordinary Salespeople Sell||107|
|How to Read a Short List||107|
|How to Read a Short List, Two||110|
|Wield a Velvet Sledgehammer||111|
|A Game of Give and Take||113|
|Why Hard Selling Has Gotten Harder||114|
|What Would Aesop and Jesus Do?||115|
|Lessons from Colorado: Find the Force||117|
|What Your Prospect's Nods Mean||118|
|Why Cold Calls Leave People Cold||119|
|Sell Like You Date||120|
|Why Goldman Sachs Cannot Cold Call||120|
|Remember Eddie Haskell||121|
|A Trick to Improve Your Presentations||122|
|L.A. Confidential and The Rule of Contact||123|
|Lincoln Had No Slides at Gettysburg||124|
|How to Boost Your Chances||126|
|Impressive Slide Shows Aren't||127|
|Remember: It's a Visual Aid||127|
|Packaging the Bold or Conservative Idea||128|
|Do Like the Romans||129|
|Keep Talking Happy Talk||130|
|Dion and the Rule of Three||131|
|Think Pterodactyls and Typhoons||133|
|Blue Martinis and Omaha Surfing: A Reassuring Brand|
|Key Trend: The Rise of Invisibles and Intangibles||137|
|Georges Always Beat Als||140|
|What's in a Name?||142|
|The Familiarity Principle||142|
|To Know You Is to Love You||144|
|What Fidelity and Vanguard Show You||145|
|Familiarity and the New 80/20 Rule||146|
|Understanding Your Brand: Gerber Unbaby Food and Salty Lemonade||147|
|The Limits of Every Brand||150|
|A Thousand Words?||151|
|Understanding Symbols: The 1965 Pirates||154|
|Lessons from Lowe's||155|
|Move Your Message Up||157|
|Why Copy Shops Struggle||160|
|Sir Isaac Newton, Human Being||161|
|Omaha Surfing and Jefferson Airplane||162|
|Clients Love Odd Things||164|
|Blue Martini, Loudcloud, and Other Odd Ducks||165|
|How to Think Odd||166|
|Hit Your Prospects in the Nose, Too||168|
|A Powerful Tool for Branding||169|
|Finding Your Perfect Name: The Descriptive Name||170|
|The Perfect Name, Option Two: An Acronym||171|
|Option Three: The Neologism||171|
|Option Four: The Geographic Name||172|
|Option Five: The Personal Name||173|
|Primrose and Yahoo! The Evocative Name||175|
|A Checklist for Avoiding the Lake Tahoe Name||176|
|Harley, Ogilvy, and the Incredible Shrinking Names||179|
|Churchill Was Right: Your Package Is Your Service||180|
|Imagineering's Six Commandments||182|
|Clients Understand with Their Eyes||183|
|Boiled Critter at Tiffany's||184|
|What Your Space Says to Your Client||187|
|No Room at the Bottom||188|
|Laid-Back Heart Surgeons and Other Horrors||190|
|But It Helps Recruitment||190|
|Some Help from Hong Kong||191|
|Just Junk It||192|
|Americans the Beautiful and Pretty Woman: Caring Service|
|Key Trend: The Wish to Connect||195|
|Starbucks' Key Insight||198|
|What Your Clients Actually Buy||201|
|A Lesson from Hong Kong||203|
|An Insight from The Great Gatsby||205|
|Americans the Beautiful: Understanding Positive Illusions||207|
|Watching Pretty Woman||209|
|Uncertainty and the Importance Principle||211|
|People Need People||212|
|Money Can't Buy You Loyalty||213|
|Efficient Tools Aren't||214|
|"Thank You, (Enter Client Name Here)"||216|
|The End of the Line||216|
|Kohl's Race to Clients' Hearts||218|
|How Priceline Almost Snapped||220|
|The Good Neighbors Drop By||221|
|The Mercer, the Morgan, and the Grand: The Power of Welcome||222|
|Your Fastest Way to Improve Client Satisfaction||224|
|Four Rules for Choosing Clients||225|
|The Gift That Isn't||225|
|Your Clients Were Always Right||226|
|Keeping a Client's Confidence||227|
|A Promise Written Is a Promise Kept||227|
|Your Three Key Moments: 3, 24, 5||229|
|Your Silence Is Golden||232|
|How to Listen||233|
|A Lesson from the Eastern Oregon Desert: How to Remember Names||234|
|The Rule of "Whole Plus One"||235|
|Ten Rules of Business Manners||237|
|Staff Like Spago||238|
|Ritz-Carlton's Shortcut to Satisfied Clients||239|
|How Judy Rankin Shot a 63||241|
|The Traits Clients Love|
|Humility and Generosity||245|
|Integrity and What It Actually Means||250|
|What Clients Love Most||252|
|Your Greatest Asset|
|Why do Some People and Businesses Thrive||257|
|Checklist: Questions to Ask in Building an Exceptional Business||261|
|A Reading List for Growing a Business||267|
|An Interview with Harry Beckwith||274|
|My Favorite Part: Acknowledgments||279|
Posted August 10, 2006
This is a pleasant contemporary book on selling and branding in a marketplace where the average consumer is deluged with 3,200 advertising messages a day. In a format that makes for an excellent read while traveling, the book consists of short, colorful 300 to 1,000 word treatments of various topics, such as selling, branding and customer service. At times, author Harry Beckwith¿s approach seems episodic. It¿s not always clear what one section has to do with another. However, he nicely avoids business-speak jargon, and spatters the book with accessible pop culture examples, including motion pictures, clever ads and other common points of reference. The book¿s shortcoming resides more in the area of substance and depth of thinking. Each brief essay ends with a catchy one-sentence aphorism such as: 'Comfort clients and you will keep them' or 'Edit your message until everyone understands it.' The author has invested a great deal of time devising colorful ways to tell you things that, upon further reflection, you probably already know. Yet, we find that the short-bite, snappy presentation makes the book interesting. If you¿re too busy to keep up on the latest trends in marketing and sales, reading this is an excellent way to make sure you¿re current.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 19, 2003
I could not put this book down. With so many other things filling my busy day, it was good finding someting to read between redlights and coffee orders. I recommend it to any serious business owner/operator.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 15, 2003
Please realize I had to rate this book for this note to appear, and I can honestly say--as I say in the introduction and acknowledgments--that I love this one. Thanks are due, in part, to several of you reading this. Your notes and calls during the last seven years have helped me understand what readers love, and what you need to know. For books of this type--books designed to help, inform and inspire--brevity counts. Time is the new gold and all of us seek ways to find and save it. The rush to find a web browser and internet connection that allows downloads in microseconds instead of split-seconds--saving us a total of a ninety seconds per day--seems the perfect example. So this book was written once and edited over 30 times, read aloud each time in search of the most succinct expression. This approach is not literary; the design is not to craft sentences that readers will contemplate and even reread, and a few that they might remember and praise. The goal, instead, is to be understood immediately and without effort. Some readers assume from a more erudite- sounding style a greater depth of thought. In this case, considerable thought goes into both the idea and its expression--so that great thought isn't required to understand it. Perhaps there are more complex notions that also drive business. But this must be said: the businesses that thrive are not mastering the complex. They are conquering the simple, day after day. They do it the way of any master: they practice. Pick up this book anywhere, find an idea that resonates, and practice it. Soon, you will adapt to the practice and the act will become second-nature, and then it will become not merely what you do, but who you are. It's remarkable--or so it seems to me, anyway, and it touches your entire life. Please, then, keep writing with suggestions and questions. A final request: I hope you read the first two and last two paragraphs of the acknowledgments. This section reveals of the great rewards of authorship: the chance not merely to count your blessings, but to enumerate them. Thanks. . .and best wishes to all, Harry BWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 22, 2008
No text was provided for this review.