Archive for the ‘business’ category

Gary Vaynerchuk on Competition

June 2nd, 2010

The Internet’s most passionate wine blogger, Gary Vaynerchuk, weighs in on the virtues of competition in business.

10 Tips for Successful Public Speaking

December 29th, 2009

If you have to give a speech for any kind of event, be it a wedding or headlining a conference, read these 10 Tips for Successful Public Speaking.

I really like tip number 4, which is really the first one we forget.  It can be summed up as, “Your speech is not about you.  It’s about your audience.”  

Instead of making the speech about you, make it about your audience, and your audience will be engaged and will probably like you more!

How to Be More Persuasive in Business and Life

May 19th, 2009

I picked up a book at Border’s recently.  It was kind of an impulse buy.  I was looking for something good to read that had elements of business, psychology, marketing, and would be entertaining to read.

I was lucky because it turned out to be a pretty good read–it’s called Persuasion IQ: The Ten Skills to Get Exactly What you Want.  I’m only through the first chapter at the moment, but the pages are rapidly turning.  It’s about learning how to be more persuasive in business, life, and relationships.

One of the reasons I picked it up is because it steered away from the canned ideas of manipulation and ”being a closer” and is more about realizing how you can shape your own experience by thinking about how you relate to the world and how you come off to people. It’s not about convincing people to do things they don’t want to do, it’s about learning how to effectively convey the TRUTH about you or your product to other people.

I was also impressed by the way the author explains that being a persuader isn’t achieved through cheesy 80′s ideas of being tough, pushy, arrogant, and condescending.  You become persuasive and more effective by being comfortable with yourself, knowing your strengths and weaknesses, and being confident and secure in what you are doing.

I like this message because it encourages concentration on transparency, honesty, and authenticity. Folks, the hard sell works no longer.  People have too many options and are wary of “sales” situations.  Think about that feeling you get yourself when you’re walking down the street to get lunch and you see someone with a clipboard angling themselves to intercept you.  You hate that feeling and you want to avoid that person, no matter what they want you to sign.

The hard sell leads to feelings of resentment, terrible word of mouth, and yes, refunds.  You may get the one sale, but you’ll lose 1,000.  Twitter will screw you over.

Here are a few more points from the book.

1) Rejection in business (or a job search!) is not personal. These people don’t know you or your hopes or dreams.  They will forget about the encounter two minutes after it’s over.  You should too.

2) Persuasive people can erase negative thoughts at will. This isn’t a gift, it’s a skill learned through practice.  Most people hold on to negativity and use it to make excuses and put their goals off for weeks, and years even.  You can train yourself to replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts.  It’s your mind–you control it.

3) Do not allow yourself to feel embarrassed or depressed based on someone elses opinion.

4) Your worst fears are rarely realistic. What’s the worst thing that could happen?  We tend to build things up in our minds–especially the things we think can go wrong. It’s a natural survival tendency to jump to these conclusions, but you can control it.

5) The best persuaders are likable, fun, don’t use “salesy” language, and genuinely are interested in helping people. They don’t convince–they allow their audience to convince themselves.  To do this, they listen 70% (somewhat arbitrary number, but you get the point) of the time.

If you want to increase your persuasiveness, shut your mouth and listen to what your audience is telling you.

Persuasion IQ: The 10 Skills You Need to Get Exactly What You Want

Borders Books is a Website with Coffee

August 29th, 2008

I was in Borders recently (which is not the surprising because I spend at least 10 hours or so a week in bookstores) enjoying a hot cup of coffee in the early morning (who am I kidding, it was already ten).

I walked into the bathroom and on my way saw a huge sign for the Borders Visa credit card you can sign up for. The way this probably works is Borders gets a commission fee from Visa for every card they sign up. There may also be some back-end profit sharing from each account they are responsible for–in other words a percentage of the person’s debt.

They may even have their own financing company like many car dealerships have. But this arrangement is more of a profit sharing venture with a bank, than it is their own company.

Then I picked up a book and a magazine and looked for one of the black leather chairs that were constantly being rearranged. Now they were over by the DVD section against one of the walls of the store. I sat and read for a while. I was so startled by the loud and confident sounding voice of Oprah Winfrey from the TV set that jutted out of the wall a few feet above my head that I almost spilled my coffee.

Oprah was talking to a celebrated author about his latest book. The next segment on the tv was a short excerpt from a new documentary about The Rolling Stones. The next was a short piece about a new cookbook.

I was just trying to read and drink my coffee, only to be blindsided by this–advertising!

In-store advertising. I had been wondering how money was made in books. It seems like the actual sale of the book doesn’t make anyone rich–especially not the author. Unless, of course, Oprah gets on board.

Borders isn’t a bookstore. They’re a website. The credit card is their affiliate marketing link. The tv advertising is the ads in their sidebar. And their shelf space (that they sell to publishers) is where they make their profit.

Borders is thinking in terms of multiple revenue streams, which is necessary these days, and is similar to a website that receives a lot of traffic and sells CPM (cost per thousand impression) advertisements.  The real job is to get people into the stores looking at products.

It’s like a newspaper.  The New York Times doesn’t make money from the paltry $1.25 it sells each paper for, it makes money from the full page ad Tiffany takes out hawking their newest silver bracelet.  It’s all about providing an audience.

So next time you feel guilty about thumbing through several magazines that you don’t plan on purchasing as you sip on your coffee, remember that you are doing exactly what Borders Books wants you to do.  So my advice is just enjoy it–that is, if you can find somewhere to sit.