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Archives for February 2008

High Concept Marketing: Sell it in a Sentence

Cujo the St Bernard

It’s well known in politics; if you say three things, you say nothing.

We’re all bombarded with ideas all day long. What we need, what we’re looking for, is an idea that jumps out at us. A single understanding so extraordinary that everything else around it suddenly ceases to exist.

So profound in its simplicity and still … still, it has the ability to describe an entire world to us. An idea so loud, so clear, so universally understood that it can’t be mistaken for anything else … ladies and gentlemen, I give you, “jaws on paws”.

? … Dude, you’re losing it. Okay, let me explain …

Millions of Dollars are Made Everyday with Single Sentences

In 1975, a little director made a little movie based on a book. The director’s name was Steven Spielberg and the movie was Jaws (which became the highest grossing movie ever at the time).

In 1983, another book was turned into a movie. It wasn’t an easy idea to pitch if you try to flesh out all the ideas the story involved. But it was successfully pitched, and made, and enjoyed moderate success.

The movie was Cujo; Stephen King’s rabid dog horror flick and it was sold with three simple but powerful words. Jaws on paws.

Million dollar deals are made every day and the best ones are locked in with a single sentence.

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Negotiation … One on One, or is it a Team Sport?

Dance partner

So you’re sitting there, alone, on one side of the table. And across from you is an army of briefcases. They’re gonna tear you apart, right? Not so fast …

There’s a great advantage to having a negotiating “team”. But there are some huge disadvantages as well.

Building a Negotiating Team

Whether it’s a good-cop, bad-cop “buddy movie” kind of team or it’s a boardroom platoon, there’s just one rule your team has to live by: Nobody says nothin’.

The power of having a good negotiating team is knowledge. Each person on your team is an expert in something. But that knowledge has to be very carefully safeguarded so it can be used strategically. The only time a team member should be engaging the other team at the table is when the team leader specifically asks for their input into the discussion.

There’s 3 reasons for this:

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Is Your Company a “Fluffer” for Other Businesses?

Fluffer
fluffer [fluhf-er] n, slang: An off-stage person hired to keep a male porn star in a state of erection.
~
Dictionary.com

Okay, provocative headlines aside, business is a contact sport. It can get rough. No doubt about it … but, are you doing all the work, yet you’re never the star?

Here’s how you know. If you’re saying one of these 3 things, you’re fluffing:

  • “Hey, gotta pay the bills and keep the lights on”.
  • “Well, it’s just for now. Until we get rolling”.
  • “They’re going to bring us some real opportunities down the road”.

Well, you DO have to pay the bills. You CAN cut a client loose later and there REALLY might be bigger opportunities with that customer down the road.

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Do Something Different Today. It Just Might Save Your Life

Beautiful Valley

Imagine you live in a lush and bountiful valley. Everything you could possibly need is there; family, friends, a generous harvest … even the weather seems to slide into that perfect temperature everyday. What else could you possibly want?

The answer is part of human nature. The answer is “something different”.

Doing the Same Thing Everyday Can Be a Death Sentence

Every day there’s a new study telling us how something is bad for us. And then (usually the same afternoon) there’s another study to tell us the wonderous benefits of that exact same thing.

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The No-Rules Guerilla Marketing of Crackass

Fire Truck

My buddy’s brother made an amateur film called Crackass: The Surrey Movie. Just a guy with a handycam and a group of do-anything friends. The movie’s not going to win any big awards, but along with some truly disgusting Jackass-style stunts, there is some real value to it from a documentary perspective.

So how do you sell a flick like this anyway?

Well, here’s one of the things he did. Figuring that his old highschool was a good targeted demographic, he called up the school and announced that he was going to be there at a specific time on a specific day selling his movie. Then he called up the local TV news channels and the local newspapers and told them too.

Oh, yeah … and the other thing he told all of them was this; as a publicity stunt for the event, he was gonna have a stunt guy there set himself on fire.

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Happy Valentines Day Baby

It’s not that us guys aren’t romantic … we’re just not very good at it.

Happy Valentines Day

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Personal Finance: Thinking Like a Business Person vs. a Consumer

Business Mind

I’m a big fan of Panasonic; all my stuff is Panasonic. Over the years I’ve found that they make great quality electronics and, you either get more features for the same price as other premium brands, or you get the same feature set for a better price.

In December, my TV (which I’ve had for 10 years) finally gave up the ghost. It was time to buy a new one and after some deliberation I finally narrowed it down to 2 choices:

  1. 42″ Plasma full HD
  2. 32″ LCD 480i

Right now you’re thinking ‘Woohoo – get the plasma!!’ Which makes a lot of sense because even though I don’t have an HD player right now, everything’s moving towards HD and I might as well plan for the future, right?

Well, that’s just your consumer brain thinking and it can be very convincing.

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Snap*start: Free Business Forms to Download for Office from Zoomstart

Snapstart Business Forms

Projecting a professional image is important in business. Especially for small businesses. The last thing you want to do is hand a client an invoice you scribbled out in pencil on a piece of lined paper you ripped out of a 3 ring binder.

If you have a small business, a good set of business forms can run your company without the costs of buying and managing an accounting package. And if you’re on the road frequently and find you can’t access your company system, cranking out an invoice or whatever on the go keeps the business rolling forward. 

Snap*start Business Forms

One of the first things I created when I started messing around online was a package of professional business forms. There are lots of free forms around the internet, but most of them are not very high quality. The Snap*start package is. These are real forms; the kind that million dollar businesses use every day and they’ve come in very handy for me.

And best of all, they’re free!

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American Express Plum Card: The Credit Card Wars Heat Up

American Express Plum Card

There was a lot of speculation on how well the Mastercard IPO would do in 2006. The stock’s done well. Very well. And investors are waiting anxiously for the coming Visa IPO which has got fortune-maker written all over it.

These public offerings are raising the stakes in the credit card arena significantly and the offerings we’ll see from the various credit card issuers as they duke it out is going to get a lot more competitive.

Understanding Trade Terms in General

Most businesses have credit accounts with other businesses (their suppliers). When it come to trade terms on business-to-business transactions, the most common set of terms is net 30 days; you buy something and you have 30 days from the invoice date to pay for it.

But there’s another common term that’s used for B2B credit accounts called 2% 10 days. What this means is that if you pay within 10 days of the invoice date, you get a 2% rebate on the invoice amount. 2 percent 10 days is a set of terms that’s usually forced on small companies by large retailers and distributors because it’s a good deal for these cash-rich buyers.

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Leadership Hats: The Sombrero

Mexican Sombrero

I know, I know … you’re a machine. And I know if they could bottle the drive and passion you put into every second of the day, a crate of the stuff would be worth a king’s ransom.

But even machines need an oil change and a tune-up once in a while.

A Very Important Leadership Hat

Out of all the different hats that leaders wear, the sombrero (or as I like to call it, the siesta-time hat) earns the least respect. But it’s one of the more important hats you can wear. And probably not for the reasons you’re thinking.

Yes, the sombrero combats fatigue and burn-out and helps you bring some balance to the mad dash of whatever you’re pursuing. It also does two other very important things:

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