Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Justin Bieber and the Purple Cow

January 22, 2013

Way back in 2003, before “Google” was a verb, Seth Godin coined the phrase “Purple Cow”, a term used to describe something interesting and set apart from the rest.  In his book of the same name, Godin postulated that (even for a guy from New York) driving along the quaint countryside of France, the cows along the road that at first held your attention, would eventually blend into the scenery and cease to become interesting.  

What would catch your eye, he argued, was a purple cow…standing among the black, and white, and brown cows that dotted the countryside on your trip from Versailles to Provence.  Of course, the purple cow is metaphoric.  It represents the “signal” we discover while sifting through the overwhelming “noise” we’re subjected to on a daily basis.  In other words, to be remarkable (even back in 2003 and certainly more so in 2013), your product(s) must be radically different in a meaningful way for people to even notice, much less buy, and (if we’re extremely good) tell others about their purchasing experience. 

Tomorrow night, I’m taking my oldest daughter to the Justin Bieber concert.  Bieber (whose last name I thought for years was Beaver) is a true purple cow.  He can dance, sing, write, play, and promote…a true performer with skills and polish and style and nothing, absolutely nothing, left to chance.  The lights will go on as planned, the set list is pre-arranged, the sincere words he says during the breaks and the clothes he wears were all thought out well in advance, to create a unique experience that his fans will never forget. 

What does your product look like?  Is it unique?  Do its attributes market itself?  Or are you just putting a new name on the same old aspirin formula that’s been around for 130 years, trying to move the market share dial by 1%?  What’s harder?   What’s more fun?  The answer to both questions is probably the same. 




Your Mother Doesn’t Work Here

June 21, 2011

But if she did, she’d tell you to get off your ass and get to work.  The summer is the best time of year to put your head down and focus, because most of your competitors have taken their foot off the gas.  Take advantage of the time you’ve been given…you’ll never get it back.

This Ain’t the Ritz

June 4, 2011

The Ritz is known around the world as one of the finest hotel chains available…and they’re paid accordingly.  Room rates typically range from around $400 to $10,000 per night.  I’ve stayed at a few over the years, and though you might expect drastic differences between the Ritz and say, the Hilton, the truth is that most of the differences are marginal:

  • The beds are only marginally more comfortable
  • The decor is marginally more elegant
  • The food is marginally better (and sometimes not at all)

What really separates the Ritz from most other hotels is the customer service…the personal touch that employees are encouraged and empowered to provide.  The Ritz understands that people (some people) are willing to pay more than 3x the average nightly rate to be treated well, to be accommodated, and to be catered to.  And so they hire the right people, incent the proper behavior, and create devoted followers.

Before you allow yourself to create excuses for why you can’t deliver a phenomenal, consistent customer experience, just remember that it’s a choice.  Anybody can do it, if they really want to.


Stupid Ideas

May 24, 2011

My friend and former colleague, MJ, has a lot of stupid ideas.  Since I’ve known and worked with him, he’s consistently come up with the craziest, hair-brained schemes….most of which I chuckle at or dismiss, but some of which are insightful and brilliant.

And so when my buddy Chris showed me these Diesel Jean ads, it made me think of MJ, and appreciate his stupid ideas all the more.

Enjoy, and ask yourself:  Is smarter always better?

By the way, the rest of the ad campaign can can be found here:  Diesel \”Be Stupid\” Ads

Why Wait?

May 13, 2011

You know what the problem with salespeople is?  We wait.

  • We wait for manufacturing to improve its processes and supplier pricing, so that our product costs will drop and make us more competitive.
  • We wait for marketing and sales management to come up with new campaigns that drive incremental demand.
  • We wait for product engineering to produce new solutions that leap-frog the status quo, providing us with first-mover advantage.

In short, we’ve outsourced innovation to other people in the organization, focusing solely on the execution  of someone else’s plan.

It shouldn’t be this way.  There are plenty of opportunities to innovate in our sphere of influence and control.  At every touchpoint along the Sales Cycle Continuum, there is always room for improvement or radical change….opportunities to improve the customer experience, drive more revenue, and ultimately put more money in our pockets – through innovations that we create.

You’ve got a choice to make:  Will you wait for someone else to create your success?  Or will you take the initiative, innovate, and control your own destiny?

I Found It

April 29, 2011

I found it.  It’s called Husk and it’s on Queen Street in Charleston, South Carolina.

Husk is a bar that’s completely, utterly, devoted to bourbon.  Their bartenders know bourbon, I mean really know it….they’re fanatical.  When they’re not serving it, they’re making it; experimenting with honey, peaches, rosemary, rhubarb and beets, trying to come up with the some unique combination that raises a few eyebrows.

Want a skinny girl margarita?  This isn’t the place for you.  Prefer to watch the NFL draft?  Look elsewhere.  These guys do bourbon, and that’s it.

Husk is the type of place that makes you think:  You can try to be everything to everybody and wind up doing nothing well, or you can focus on one thing, and doing it better than anybody else.  Guess which one they’ll be blogging about the next day?

Motivational Triggers

February 15, 2011

As we go through life, little  windows of opportunity open up and provide the necessary “fire” for great achievement.  Let’s call them motivational triggers.  Sometimes they’re obvious, like when you get a layup quota and you know that if you can just put your head down for 6 months, you’ll blow your number out.  These are the times when you say to yourself, “I need to focus…this ride isn’t going to last forever”.

Other times, the triggers are less obvious…like the death of a loved one, getting married, or having kids. That’s when you’re likely to think:  “That was a wake up call.  I need to get serious about my life”.

This weekend, I got to spend some time with a very successful entrepreneur, who’s accomplished some amazing things in his life, and is only a year or two older than me.  It left me thinking:  “Man, I am so behind.  I better get my butt in gear.”

Motivational triggers are everywhere you look; packed with plenty of fuel to help you achieve your goals and be the person you were meant to be.  So be thankful for them, and pay attention…because they rarely stick around for long.

The Carousel

February 4, 2011

Not much to say about this, except that it’s perhaps the best sales/presentation scene from one of the greatest shows of all time.


People Forget…

January 25, 2011

All things considered, we’ve got pretty short memories.  After some time has past, we’re more than willing to forgive and forget.  Take BP, for example.  Their gas stations are brimming with business 8 short months after 206 million gallons of gas spilled into the Gulf of Mexico.

And by the end of this year’s NFL regular season, it was like Michael Vick had never left.  For us, life goes on.

What you’ve got to realize is that your customers have short memories too.  6 months from now, they’ll forget how you helped them out of a jam, worked with them to save a lot of money, or finished the project early so they could make their son’s soccer game.

That’s why, every day, you need to fight for relevance…to re-earn your customer’s trust and respect, and make sure that they haven’t forgotten exactly why they do business with you.

Quota Time

December 28, 2010

And so, sales managers, as the year draws to a close and your plans for next year begin to firm up, ask yourself this question:  Am I going to punish those who delivered for me in 2010 with a hefty quota increase, or will I keep happy the guys who I rely on, year in and year out, to make my job easier?

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