Readin’, Writin’ & Smart Resolutions

Start the year off with the 3R’sresolutions

You have all heard the old saying about the road to Hell being paved with good intentions. If not, now you have.

When you lay out your resolutions each year, you don’t INTEND on breaking them a few hours later. Did you put yourself in a position to succeed? It is simple to increase your chances of success.

Write them Down.

Put them where you AND others can read them. Everyday.  Mine are posted in my office, in my car, gym locker and by my bed. I will share them with anyone that asks.

Make them SMART. Smart is an acronym to insure good goal setting

S – Specific

You can’t say “I want to lose weight”, you need to set a solid goal, “I want to lose 10 pounds”

M – Measurable

Weight loss is measurable, but “I want to get in shape” is not. I want to be able to run a 5k without stopping is also specific.

A – Attainable

“I want to have more hair”, probably won’t happen, unless it’s white ear hair. You can’t set a goal to be taller. Make sure that your goals are within reason.

R – Relevant

Is there a reason behind it? Does it matter? To you or anyone else? If not, why bother?

T – Time Bound

Have an end time or progress check. “I want to lose 10 pounds” doesn’t fly unless you set a time for it to be accomplished. “I want to lose 10 pounds in the next three months”

Just to prove that I am not a total hypocrite, here are my Resolutions / Goals for 2014. I have specific tactics to help me attain each, but these are just the goals themselves.

1. Weigh 190 pounds by March 31st

2. Run a 5k in under 30 minutes by Thanksgiving

3. Win World Champion in Taekwondo in 2014

4. Earn my 2nd Degree Blackbelt in 2014

5. WORK – Hit Billing Goals every quarter

6. WORK – Win President’s Cup in 2014

7. Write a blog post AT LEAST 4 days per week

I may ask you to help me with one or all of these throughout the year! Thanks in advance for your help! Feel free to post your resolutions here.

Writing Your Own Prescriptions

doctorSo, you walk into the Dr’s office and tell him that you need Amoxicillin. No, I don’t want an exam. Don’t ask me questions about my symptoms or condition, I just want the prescription. I am the patient. I know best. I am paying you….now, write the prescription, Doc.

Sound silly? Sure it does. According to drugs.com, Amoxicillin is prescribed for the following conditions :

It is probably important to know which one of these, IF ANY, that you may have. Depending on which one of these you have, the treatment can be VASTLY different. So, of course, you wouldn’t TELL the Doctor what to prescribe. You will answer his questions. You will then listen to his diagnosis and follow his treatment plan. Why? Because, he is the Doctor and you want to get better. He knows about doctoring. He is the expert.

Unfortunately, when it comes to advertising, most business owners try to write their own prescriptions from inside the pill bottle. They insist on running ads that answer questions no one is even asking (thanks Roy H Williams, http://www.wizardofads.com). They try to sell products and services that no one wants. Advertising does not create demand for something that no one wants.

Business owners and managers are uniquely unqualified to write their own prescriptions for their advertising. Let the experts help create a strategy to accomplish your realistic goals and objectives. Just make sure those goals are in line with what the end consumer also wants!

Remember to finish all of your prescriptions. Don’t stop after 4 days of a 10 day prescription. When you start an advertising campaign, see it through.

If this all gives you a headache, take two aspirin and call me in the morning.

But, I Paid My Bill!

I got three voice mails yesterday afternoon from the same 1-800 number. bad-customer-service-511

I finally listened and it was “An urgent message from my internet / cable provider”. The kind you get when they are about to shut your services off.

I paid my bill. I always pay it from my online bill pay on the 15th.

At least I thought I did. Didn’t I?

I rushed to the computer, logged on and sure enough, there it was. It cleared the bank on the 19th of November.

Whew! I guess I had better call and find out what’s up.

After navigating the phone tree, the automated attendant politely let me know that my last payment was received on October 19th and my services were set to be disconnected at Midnight. There will be a re-connection fee as a little bonus!

I pushed a button to get a live person and had to go through all of the verification stuff again. All to be treated like a criminal. Even after explaining the situation. The customer service representative all but called me a liar when I explained that I paid with online bill pay like I had for the past two years. I explained to her that I was looking at the cleared payment online.

I quote, “Sir, my system doesn’t show that you made a payment, so there is nothing that I can do. Maybe you didn’t send it to Knology.” (I will refrain from sharing my response. Suffice to say, she went to talk to a supervisor.)

I was on hold for ten more minutes.

Upon returning to the phone, I was informed that I must have sent the payment to the OLD location in Atlanta. Payments from Kansas need to go to North Carolina now. We put a note in your October billing. “Do you not read your bill, sir?”

“Uh, no, I pay online. You also have my email address. Did you try that?”

Anyway, we went around in circles. No resolution. Then it got better.

I was told that in order to rectify the situation, I needed to contact my bank and have them fax proof to Atlanta that I made my payment.

Now, if it is the same company, why can’t they just call Atlanta and handle it for me? I was told:

“Sir, that is YOUR responsibility, not ours. YOU sent the payment to the wrong place.”

By now, I am thirty minutes into the call. Steaming mad. I asked to TALK to the supervisor.

Waste of time. No better. He just promised that my cable would not be shut off if the bill was taken care of in the next 5 days. How nice is that?

I understand that things happen, but they could have used this opportunity to create a happy customer by taking care of it, offering some alternative solutions or at the very least, showing some understanding and empathy instead of acting like I was a deadbeat.

I have to go. I need to search for a new source for internet and cable. Someone else will be getting my $200 plus every month!

Please remember that customers are the lifeline of any business. Make them feel special.

Reading This Will Make You Taller And Smarter

Ok, not really. But it did get your attention. 

One of my biggest pet peeves in life and advertising is the lack of honesty. (Just ask my kids)

You see it everywhere. People bend, twist,shape and alter the truth to fit their needs, cover up mistakes or just to hide deficiencies. The lack of honesty or not being real can come in many forms. Sometimes, people will change the facts to keep from hurting or upsetting someone. That usually backfires in the long run.

Own the truth in everything that you do.  No matter how hard.

This applies to advertising and marketing as well. Be who you are. Be it proudly. Don’t use your marketing to make you or your business something you are not. People will figure it out and not only will you be uncovered, you will be labeled a fraud.

For example, if you have slightly higher prices than your competitor, that’s ok. Build value as to WHY you may be slightly higher. If your parking sucks, point it out. Explain why it is worth the trouble to find a parking spot. Figure out who you are. Who your business is. What you want to be know for and be it proudly.

Don’t misrepresent. Don’t make promises that you can’t keep. People will respect this refreshing approach.

No, this post didn’t make you taller. Hopefully, it did make you just a bit smarter about the importance of being honest and real.

See you down the road.

The Road Twists And Turns

If you have followed my blog, you know that I have written about the “Road To The Customer”. I have used many analogies of a road trip as it relates to a business and its’ customers.

With all of my road analogies, I never really addressed what happens when you reach a fork in the road. One that you just can’t find on the map. One that your planning did not account for.

You have two options. Turn around and go back or make the best possible decision and keep driving forward. Whether it is business or life, we can never plan for what happens next. Life and business are both full of “detours”.

When you reach one of these critical junctures, here is my suggestion on handling it.

1. Be calm.

2. Pull over and gather the facts about the situation.

3. Choose your new direction.

4. Don’t look back. Look at life through the windshield, not the rear-view mirror.

5. Fully expect another detour. They will happen.

Pretty simple stuff, but often overlooked. Have a great week and see you down the road.

The Power of Positive Feedback

Yesterday was a good day. 

I was told by more than one person in my life that I was doing a good job. Better yet, it was in two different areas in my life. People that I truly respect and really care what they think. (work and taekwondo. You know who you are. Thanks.) The specifics don’t really matter, except that I have been fighting hard through quite a bit of adversity on both fronts. I wonder how they knew that I really needed to hear something positive….at that exact moment. I have ideas, but that discussion that can be explored at a later date.

Those of you that know me, know that I am usually pretty intense. Not usually good at GIVING positive feedback. Even when it is warranted. I am not actually used to getting it, either.

But, it felt good.

I energized me.

I am going to work harder to be a better source of positive feedback to those around me.

I am going to find more people doing things right. More often.

You should do the same. It makes a difference.

Advertise With Purpose

Many people advertise because they think that they should. 

That is true. You should advertise.

But, to borrow step 2 from the late Dr Steven Covey’s book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, you must “Begin with the end in mind”.

Before you start your advertising campaign, know what you want it to accomplish. It is amazing the number of businesses that spend their hard earned dollars advertising with absolutely no clue what it is supposed to accomplish.

“I just want to get my name out there”

“Advertising doesn’t do anything for me, but I know that I need to do it”

“I am going to just try it and see what happens”

These are just a few of the everyday answers that are heard from local advertisers when ask what the purpose of their advertising is.

Let me help everyone that spends or has even thought about spending money in advertising.

The purpose of advertising is to SELL products and/or services.

If an advertising campaign isn’t started with that end in mind, then it is time to re-think the overall strategy.

It doesn’t have to be high pressure and in your face, but it had better be selling something or those advertising dollars are being wasted. There are lots of way to SELL and we will talk about HOW to do that in future posts.

A business is there to generate revenue and profit. Transactions must be made to make that happen. Advertising must drive consumers to want to make those transactions with the advertiser.

What is YOUR advertising selling?