What are you Selling?

I got a call this week from a customer of mine. He was ecstatic. His company had just scooped IBM’s prestigious Business Partner of the Year award; a real testament to the sheer grit, determination and passion that his entire team brings to work every day.

As part of collecting the award, he got some time with one of IBM’s Marketing Execs.

The Exec shared a story of getting his bathroom redone. The usual happened. Plenty of workmen came; some huffed, some puffed, some quoted sky high, some quoted rock bottom. But the one he selected didn’t talk about baths, sinks, or even price. Read more

Gone in a Flash

It started life over 130 years ago as a single chemists shop in Leicester. After years of trading, its owner Frank began to see an unusual demand from customers; they wanted to buy raw ingredients for photographic chemicals.

Frank’s son Alan immediately spotted an opportunity. In 1930’s Britain, photography was a pastime solely for the wealthy. Alan’s dream was to make it accessible to the masses.

He set about transforming his father’s chemists into a haven for photography. With prices at an average of 25% below his nearest competitor, Alan attracted immediate attention. The idea grew, and it wasn’t long before the father and son duo had opened a huge facility in Hinckley Road; later crowned the largest photography store on earth by Guinness World Records.
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Tweet, Tweetboy, Tweet

Anybody who’s ever participated seriously in an endurance sport such as running or cycling has probably experienced “hitting the wall”. It’s a term that’s commonly used to describe the devastating feelings of fatigue and confusion that can occur in the final stages of a race.

Lately, I’ve started noticing a trend with Twitter that can be likened to “hitting the wall”. A point at which a user feels confused, or even disillusioned with it’s value. At this stage their volume of Tweets decreases, often going days without sending any at all. They stop following anybody new, and nobody follows them back in return. Many people who hit the “Twitter wall” slowly disappear from the platform altogether.
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Understand Me. Understand My Business.

The world is changing at a dramatic pace. Never has there been a more critical time to really understand who your customer is, and how you truly benefit them.

I’ve always been fascinated by the recruitment industry. I think like estate agency, or used car sales it can sometimes be painted in a negative light. Agents willing to take on any old job, for any old client; bombarding hiring managers with a barrage of CV’s which only slightly fit the client’s specification. As someone responsible for recruiting talent, I’ve lost count at the number of times I’ve received an unsolicited cold-call from a nervous sounding voice, asking if “I’ve got any vacancies”.
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The Art of Transparency

My good friend Crispin recently sold an unwanted motorbike via eBay. Here’s his listing in full:

Here is my unloved Kawasaki KDX 125 for sale – its PINK and GREEN. You need to be a confident person to ride this bike or you will have your dinner money stolen. I purchased it as a spare bike (I had a WR450) back in 2005 and have not really used it – just the odd trip to work.

I hold a number of MOT certificates, the first runs from 19th July 2001 and details the bike has done 8307KM. The current reading is 10450KM but I do remember having to replace a speedo cable a few years ago as the speedo was not working so its probably done a few more KM’s – maybe 200ish more. I also did some work on it a while back and couldn’t work out where the indicator relay needed to go back to so its stuffed into the side panel. I also lost one of the rear foot pegs – well I think it fell off! Read more

Attitude is Everything

I’ve just got off the phone to someone I’ve been doing business with for six years – his attitude compelled me into writing this post. Unfortunately, not in a good way.

For the sake of identity privacy, I shall call this person Bob. Bob is a salesman for a car leasing company. He’s been a supplier to both me personally and to my businesses over the years. His service has always been excellent, I’ve even recommended him.

As I’ve been toying with the idea of changing my car, I called Bob and he recommended a number of models. I visited a showroom on Monday and took a shiny new number out for a test drive. I was impressed; on the surface the car had everything I needed and more. During Tuesday, I negotiated figures with Bob and in the afternoon decided to take it. I arranged to meet Bob at the dealership this morning to sort the paperwork.
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