Confusion to Conviction – Creating the Mind that Buys

You’re watching the Super Bowl when one of those unforgettable commercials comes on. You grab your sides with laughter. How do they come up with these things?

The next day everybody at work is talking about that great ad for…for…

What the heck WAS the product?

We’ve all seen those ads—so much wall-to-wall cleverness and funny characters that there’s no room in your head to notice and remember what should be the one thing that three million bucks was supposed to achieve: the name of the product.

The same thing applies to the sales process. Who hasn’t seen a salesperson, fresh from a seminar on cross-selling, suddenly spread a dozen different account options like a Japanese fan in front of the poor customer, whose expression falls into a blank and frightened stare?

Why shouldn’t it? She can’t process all of the variables at once, and she doesn’t want to make a decision she’ll regret, so she goes into defensive mode to keep from making a mistake. People want to spend their money wisely, and it’s harder to think clearly about one option when it’s in a forest of others. So she stammers something about needing […]

Removing the Risk Roadblock

We’ve all been there. The car salesman slides the paperwork across the desk at you, pointing at the signature line. Just this one last step, he says, and there’ll be no way out.

At least that’s how it can sound to the customer as she wipes her sweaty palms on the Naugahyde, wondering if she’s doing the right thing, wondering if she’s considered everything, wondering if she’s taking too big a…


Risk is the dark underbelly of every opportunity, our mother’s voice warning us that there’s no free lunch, P. T. Barnum chuckling about a sucker born every minute. Suddenly the salesperson is the snake in the Garden, hissing “How ’bout them apples?”—and Eve is sliding her checkbook back into her purse and looking for the exit.

The best thing any business can do to earn the trust of a potential customer is reversing the risk. All agreements entail some degree of risk. If you as a business can make it clear that all of the risk will be assumed by you, not by the customer, you’ve removed the last real roadblock to the relationship. Of course, you should do that for items for […]

Creating the Ultimate Strategy

You’ve decided to create and implement a killer strategy. So where do you look for ideas?

There are hundreds of tried and true strategies out there. Some have taken companies from just marking time to the big time in no time. But which ones should you consider?

Why not consider all of them?

Too many companies won’t even consider strategies outside of their own industry. They start narrow and get narrower. The executive team for Widgetmakers Inc. starts their brainstorming session by saying, “Well, what are all the other widgetmakers doing?” An hour later, they’ve chosen the two or three most common strategies in their industry. Hardly a recipe for breakthrough results.

What they fail to realize is that successful strategies transcend business categories. Some of the strategies that work for Southwest Airlines may work the same magic for Amazon or Nordstrom or Domino’s Pizza. But how will you ever know if you look no further than your own specialized neck of the woods?

Start by listing the highest-performing companies you can think of regardless of industry, companies that have created powerful and sustainable results. List the strategies each company employs. For each strategy, ask yourself, […]

When Purple is the New White – The Art of the Zag

Are you a bland commodity? IF so, you’re not going to get massive referrals and people talking about why you’re great.

In a seminar recently, I know many tables had ideas they wanted to share to an exercise I gave them. So, instead of asking who wanted to go first, I asked, “Whooo’s hot?”

Suddenly, everyone as on their feet.

What did they do? They yelled, they whistled, they cheered, they stomped their feet. And when they realized that every other table of ten was also yelling, whistling, cheering, and stomping, what do they do?

They yelled, whistled, cheered, and stomped louder.


The point of the exercise is to practice the fine art of commanding attention. We all know—or at least I hope we do—that the old marketing strategy of blending in with your competitors is long dead. Making your bank as much as possible like every other white-columned, green-visored bank may have worked in the 1950s, but it’s certain death in the 21st century.

So what’s the alternative to blending in? STANDING OUT! Seth Godin calls it the “purple cow” concept. See one white heifer and you’ve seen ’em all. But a purple cow—now there’s something to write […]

Seven Secrets to Catching the Hungriest Fish

A teacher read a story to her second grade class about a village of fishermen. “Take out a sheet of paper,” she said, “and I’d like you each to draw a picture of the lake and the fishermen from the story.”

The class began drawing big blue lakes with boats scattered across the water. As the teacher walked around, she noticed the work of one girl. Instead of scattering the boats across the water, the girl had drawn all of the boats clustered in one small cove of the lake.

“That’s interesting,” said the teacher. “But why are they all bunched together like that?”

The girl looked at the teacher with weary patience. “Because,” she said, “that’s where the fish are.”

Smart girl! She knows what many marketing professionals seem to forget: You don’t catch the most fish by fishing every square foot of the lake. You do it by figuring out where the fish are—and dropping anchor.

Here are three of the seven most effective secrets to finding and catching the hungriest fish—the customers who will add to your bottom line instead of nibbling from it:

  1. List ten markets by profit. Identify your highest-quality current customers—those […]