Monthly Archives: March 2008

Live From the Million Dollar Consulting® College

Listen to Alan informal interview with participants of his college and discuss branding, the perfect client, their challenges, wishes, successes and elements of most successful learning.

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© Alan Weiss 2008. All rights reserved.

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Here’s What YOU Should Do (Episode 19)

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© Alan Weiss 2008. All rights reserved.

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Posted in The Movies: The Writing on the Wall | Leave a comment

When Fools Walk In, Business Walks Out

Alan discusses some of consultants’ worst behavior and what should you do to prevent finding yourself being a part of them.

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© Alan Weiss 2008. All rights reserved.

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The Dog Star: The Great Dog Trotsky

The Great Dog Trotsky lived with us for 14.5 years. He was half Siberian Husky and half German Shepherd, weighed a prodigious 100 pounds, and took no prisoners. He was a tough customer and, like a tyrannosaurus, he would just as soon scavenge than hunt.

We fed him twice a day. Once, when he was about six, my wife forgot to feed him in the evening. The next morning, at about ten minutes before he would usually be fed, he began to bark in my wife’s face. And he continued that habit, morning and night, for the rest of his life.

Apparently, his tolerance for missed meals was exactly one. When my wife was seated, Trotsky was eye level with her, and if you stood, he could stand on his hind legs, put his front paws on your shoulders, and stare you right in the eye.

I don’t know what internal clock, through solstices, equinox, and leap years, enabled him to determine when it was ten minutes prior to being fed, but he knew unfailingly. When he started to bark our terrier would simply head for the kitchen.

I believe that too many of us set too high a tolerance for failure to support us, to respond to us, to assist us. Bovine-like, we take our ticket and take our seat, hoping that the line will move rapidly for our driver’s license, social security card, or sliced Provolone. We continue to complain to authorities who are paid to absorb complaints as if they were sponges, wrung out at night by corporate management, and ready to absorb again tomorrow. Does it really help to complain to low level people in the cable company, or at the cell phone service, or at the time share?

I always admired Trotsky because, even though he lived in a fine place and was taken care of and protected, he never took it for granted and always looked out for himself. He carefully inspected my son’s and daughter’s friends, and made his own judgments, which were quite clear. (One of my son’s life-long friends recently got a dog and named him “Trotsky” in fond memory of finally being accepted by him long ago.) He almost killed a man once in our pool room whom he thought was overly aggressive with my wife (he was, because he was smitten, but that’s another column). I’m convinced Trotsky didn’t act that way out of fealty or obligation, but because he knew what was right and wrong in his world.

We all deserve to have healthy outrage. We should stop accepting those who don’t support us, whose products and services are beneath our standards, and who drain away our oxygen.

I miss Trotsky every day, despite the terrific dogs who now live with us. But I keep his memory fresh, trying to perpetuate his fine points.

I don’t, of course, bark at my wife ten minutes prior to dinner. But then again, we eat out every night.

© Alan Weiss 2008. All rights reserved.

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The Ego That Ate Cincinnati

How to prevent their ego from killing you. Alan also discusses how to separate the credible people from the shady ones and how to choose your role models and mentors?

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© Alan Weiss 2008. All rights reserved.

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Escaping Misery – Podcast Transcript

A request was made to have Alan’s Escaping Misery Podcast available as a transcript. Thank You Bob Poole for volunteering to transcribe and make this available to the community and Thank you Alan. Enjoy, Chad.

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Building Credibility

Should you ever disagree with the buyer? Listen to Alan discuss techniques to building credibility with any buyer and making sure that you are not your own worst enemy.

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© Alan Weiss 2008. All rights reserved.

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Marketing Innovation II

I had to pick up my wife’s Mercedes which had been serviced in part of the same Penske Auto Group where I buy my Bentleys. (Bentley picks up and delivers, but don’t get me started.) As I drove away, the oil light started shouting at me, so I turned around.The service manager was embarrassed, immediately took me to the loaner car office, promised me they would fix the issue and then detail the car for free, and apologized again.

Okay, that’s fine, mistakes happen.Mercedes promises customers a Mercedes loaner. I’m chatting with the woman filling out my forms and casually ask who the new Mercedes general manager is, since I’ve not met him and I thought I’d go introduce myself. She told me she wasn’t sure, since she was actually an Enterprise Rental Car employee.

Okay, so I know I’ve got something good going here.

It turns out that Mercedes outsources its loaner operation, which is easier for them than maintaining a loaner fleet, washing them, administering the insurance, and so on. However, they promise you a Mercedes loaner. So, guess what? Enterprise bid on the contract and went out and bought a slew of Mercedes! My loaner is in excellent condition, has only 3,000 miles on it, and is by no means a bottom-end vehicle.

Enterprise passed Hertz as the largest rental car company some time ago, after originating local rental outlets in towns and delivering rental cars to the customer. (It was founded by an ex-Navy pilot who flew off the Enterprise aircraft carrier.)

Innovation upon innovation. Everybody wins in this transaction. What are you doing to aggressively capture opportunity?Innovation, as I wrote in my very first book, The Innovation Formula, in 1988 (with Mike Robert), is “applied creativity.” When you are you going to start applying yourself?

© Alan Weiss 2008. All rights reserved.

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Marketing Innovation

My wife and I were driving to workout this morning and she mentioned a minor technical problem she was having sending email to board members on one of her endless committees. We discussed it and she told me that—I am not making this up—one organization had hired a former Israeli rocket scientist to help part-time with the IT work

I asked if she thought his credentials were sufficient for the kind of extensive help she needed. We drove on in silence.

But, it got me wondering about a great idea. In this “tough” economy, why wouldn’t a technological expert offer his or her services for one hour a week to the two dozen or more major non-profit institutions in the Greater Providence area? If you charged $100 per visit and showed up for one hour each week, that person would undoubtedly resolve issues that were burning up scores of volunteer and employee hours, which could be used for better purposes. (Don’t worry about value based pricing for the moment, I’m just demonstrating how you can make money to put bread on the table AND forge long-lived, potentially value based relationships.)

If a dozen organizations hired you, and this is an activity that a donor or board member might readily sponsor, that means that you would earn about $1,200 a week or $60,000 a year, for less than two days of work per week with no overhead other than local transportation. In addition, there would be spin-off business with board members, other organizations, faculty, non-profit managers, and so on. You could use value based pricing there, since you wouldn’t be obligated to give your special non-profit rate, and perhaps move into six figures in total. (If two-dozen hired you, that’s $2,400 per week or $120,000 per year for a little more than half your time.)

My point is, whether or not this would work—and I believe there is a huge market for it from watching my wife’s activities and those of others on boards on which I serve—there are myriad opportunities to find and expand business in any economy. I’ve seen people who travel to homes to clean pets in vans, and others who clean up pet waste in yards.

I’ve seen corporate coaches move easily into individual career counseling as people are laid off, and teachers become advisors for home-schooling systems. Whenever the economy suffers, the self-help market expands in inverse proportion. What services and offerings do you have or can you create that add value to people in that market and with those needs?

My admonition is that there are opportunities all around. You can consider yourself a “victim of circumstances” or lucky to be flexible enough to continually turn out lemonade.

But here’s the tough part: It’s your call.

© Alan Weiss 2008. All rights reserved.

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It Is Not The Economy

Are you getting new appointments with buyers or are you constantly finding yourself talking to gatekeepers and getting rejected? What are the differences between the two mindsets and what can you do about it.

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© Alan Weiss 2008. All rights reserved.

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