Can You Move the Ball?

I played varsity basketball and ran varsity track in high school. Track practice was simple—I was a sprinter, so I would run a quarter mile for stamina and 30 yards for speed. Then the race itself was over in ten seconds. I was a terrific shooter in basketball, but I hated the practice. I never did learn to dribble with my opposite hand, so I could never be a starting guard. I was fast and could shoot, but I couldn’t …


Income Investment

We rent the same house at the Jersey Shore every year. Between the prior week’s tenants leaving and our arrival, the owners (who live here in another house) check everything out to make sure the cleaning crew has been thorough, everything is working correctly, and any repairs that need to be made are either done or scheduled. They make that ongoing investment of time and improvement in their income source. So we return annually, and never question any rent increases. …


It’s the Service Level, Stupid

I tried to place an $800 order yesterday on the website for TrainWorld in Brooklyn, where I’ve purchased trains in person before. The site hung up at the final pay option, repeatedly. I called and a bored woman told me to read me the order with catalog numbers and descriptions. I told her it would take 20 minutes, why not just find out what was wrong with the site? She put me on hold. When she returned, she told me …


The Benefit of the Doubt

No one is perfect, and every organization will make mistakes. The key is not to try to achieve perfection, but to achieve such an excellent and trusting client relationship that you’re given the benefit of the doubt when there is an honest error. You’ve all received bills that were in error. Sometimes you say, “They’re trying to cheat me by padding the bill.” Sometimes you say, “They made an error, I’ll let them know.” How do your clients feel about …


Get Paid

Your customers’ problems are not your problems. Too many consultants who work with small businesses allow their buyers to delay payments because of poor cash flow or other issues they’ve brought on themselves. Once you do that, you’re at the bottom of the priority pile and you may never be paid. The gas company, the mortgage people, the venders who insist on being paid will be paid. Those who aren’t demanding won’t be. You have a legal contract. You’re not …


A New Idea to Generate New Ideas

Someone was talking about a client’s “global IT leader” yesterday. I immediately began to wonder why clients don’t have “global IP (intellectual property) leaders.” Why don’t organizations create more accountability for creating new ideas, innovation, and original approaches to delight existing customers and attract new ones? What about you? Are you acting as a global IP leader for your clients (and for yourself)?


Entrance

When you walk into a buyer’s office, who are you? Are you a business expert who is evaluating whether or not this prospect makes sense to work with, or are you a scared sales person trying to avoid losing business and focused on making money?


To Tell the Truth

Ask yourself this tough question, you don’t have to share your candid response with anyone: When you sit down with prospective buyers, how do you think they see you? As a vender? As a salesperson? As a commodity? As someone who should be talking to their subordinates or HR? As an expert in a narrow field that’s not on their priority list? As a business expert who has rare value and keen insights who could be of immediate help? Hint, …


How to Make Two Million Bucks

If you see one true buyer a week (50 annually), and convert half of them (25) to clients, and your average project fee is $50,000, that’s an annual income of $1.25 million. And if you are successful doing that the next year, but also expand the original 25 with another $20,000 in business, that’s $1.75 million ($1.25 million plus $500,000). And if you reach back to 25 older clients and do just $10,000 ($250,000), that’s a two million dollar year. …


The Mighty Fall

GE was just removed from the Dow Industrial Index, one of the original members. That’s how quickly weak leadership and poor strategy can ruin even the largest business. This used to be the stomping ground of Jack Welch. The executives who tell you they don’t need your help and they can do things internally are the ones who need your help the most, trust me. I big office on a high floor doesn’t mean there’s a big thinker and a …