What Clients Love: A Field Guide to Growing Your Business [NOOK Book]


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...
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What Clients Love: A Field Guide to Growing Your Business

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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 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.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The author of Selling the Invisible tries to top that book's bestselling success with this breezy collection of one- to two-page friendly lecturettes on how to keep your business profitable. He might just do so, as it's difficult to imagine a book better suited in format to harried executives: they could gulp down the entire volume over the course of a single flight. Beckwith has somehow also managed to take a format where so many authors have tried and failed, and written a useful, direct and even at times inspiring book. In this age of information overload, Beckwith pulls some valuable lessons out of the bygone days of the 1970s, when, he says, consumers had infinitely fewer products and services to choose from, but seemed generally happier. Other valuable lessons for today's hard-charging businessperson include: "Hard sales lose business," "No superlatives" and, in order to understand how to run a successful business, "Study Starbucks." Beckwith is even able to take a simple thing like a name-e.g., Kinko's-and show how that chain was able, through its name (although the ubiquity of its open all-day-and-night locations didn't hurt), to crush the competition, whose names all sounded alike (e.g., InstyPrint, SpeedyPrint, etc.). Pocket-sized and packed with nuggets of wisdom, this is a rare winner in a glutted field. (Jan. 2) Forecast: There are planned ads in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Money and Fortune; Web marketing; a TV satellite tour; blurbs from business sage Seth Godin; and the success of Beckwith's last book. It all adds up to what book publishers love: a hit. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780759527348
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 1/2/2003
  • Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 491,552
  • File size: 361 KB

Meet the Author

Harry Beckwith is founder of Beckwith Advertising & Marketing, working with some of America's best 100 service companies as well as smaller companies across the country. A graduate of Stanford University and a former creative supervisor for one of America's most honoured ad agencies.

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Read an Excerpt

What Clients Love

A Field Guide to Growing Your Business
By Harry Beckwith

Warner Books

Copyright © 2003 Harry Beckwith
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0446527556

Chapter One


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.

Harry Beckwith

October 1, 2002


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.

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Table of Contents

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
Why Plan? 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
2. Stop--Yes, Stop--Listening 15
3. Celebrate Foolishness 17
4. Resist Authority 17
5. View Experts Skeptically 18
6. Beware of "Science" 19
7. Mistrust Experience 20
8. Mistrust Confidence 21
9. Avoid Perfection 22
10. Beware of Common Sense 23
11. Embrace Impatience 24
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
Shorter Sells 90
How to Read a Sentence 91
Your Final Step: The Frenchman-on-the-Street Test 92
Absolute Brilliance 93
The Velvet Sledgehammer: A Compelling Message
Key Trend: The Decline of Trust 99
Cole's Wisdom 103
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 153
Understanding Symbols: The 1965 Pirates 154
Lessons from Lowe's 155
Move Your Message Up 157
Kinko's Cleverness 158
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
New Communities 196
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
Understanding Listening 230
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
Sacrifice 247
Openness 249
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
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2006

    Snappy presentation on selling and branding

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2003

    Read & Heed

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2003

    From the author

    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 B

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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