Friday, May 29, 2009


My suggestion for a guy in one of my Linked In Group discussions who was looking for advice on naming his new company- a sales outsourcing company: The CLOSE Closet...with optional tag line "We love sales so much, we're coming out of closet!!". Needless to say, didn't fly.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Getting Your Show in the Press - Do Their Work for Them!

I've had the good fortune to be both a theater artist and a Marketing and Advertising guy in TV,Radio and print for many years. So many clients (and theaters) have asked me over the years about the best way to get press coverage for their shows. Simply put, we must do the jobs of reporters, photographers, producers,editors and videographers ourselves. Newspapers are laying off workers by the hundreds and are stretched so thin they do not have the time to send reporters and photographers to our theaters. So we have to bring the theaters to them. Take compelling photos that are properly captioned and credited. Write press releases that tell a human interest story that will be of interest to any viewer or reader - not just theater goers. Editors and Producers don't care that "Oklahoma" opens next week (sorry, that's the show I'm Directing right it on the brain!). Put the Editor's hat on for a minute and realize they have an obligation to a much bigger readership or viewership than the little universe that is going to come see "Oklahoma" at your theater. But if, for example, you have someone in the cast that is a Native American descendant of one of the "five civilized tribes" who were originally relocated to the Indian Territory where the story takes place, now THAT's a story with wide appeal. Find those stories in your shows, take pictures and videos and deliver the finished product to news outlets with a big red bow. Your chances of coverage just got a lot better.

Monday, May 18, 2009

A No is Just as Good as a Yes!

Well, not really of course...but at least it's a definitive answer from a prospect and it allows me to move on to new prospects. I should say a No is better than endless "maybes". A prospect sitting on a fence means I haven't yet demonstrated to them that my product or service can heal their pain. This is OK for a time as long as I'm legitimately working toward answering questions and objectives and trying to solve their problem which should lead to a close as opposed to spinning my wheels with a prospect afraid to say no. As long as I feel like I've really done my job and answered objections, supplied information and creatively tried to solve the client's problems then an honest "no" isn't a problem. It's only when we have done our jobs and the prospect is still wasting our time with maybes (or are we allowing our time to be wasted?) that it becomes a problem. We sales people aren't afraid of a's not a personal rejection! BRING ON THE NO's!!!! It helps me weed you out and get to the yesses which is where I want to spend my time! So where do you cut the cord with fence sitters?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Thinking About Branding

Being an advertising exec for many years I've always known about the power of branding. But I always love to see it at work in real life situations. I recently acted as the Campaign Manager for my wife's run for our local City Council in the recent primary. Even though we won at the polls, we were edged out by the incumbent by a mere 37 votes from absentee ballots that were cast earlier in the campaign. We learned a lot and sometimes you really can celebrate a losing campaign because of the teaching opportunities success sometimes just doesn't afford. So I've been thinking about what made the difference. And one word has come to mind. Branding. The incumbent, backed by the Mayor (because "yes" is a favorite word of the incumbent) grossly outspent us probably by a margin of $8000 to under $1000. Thus, our opponent could afford things we couldn't- like dozens of yard signs. Even still, we won at the polls!!! But if those 37 people that voted absentee didn't know anything about either candidate other than one had a ton of signs and one didn't, the opponent's branding worked. If absentee voters either couldn't be bothered or just couldn't actually get to the polls on election day, it doesn't take much effort to check a name on a ballot -the name that seems to be the most popular based on the sign visibility - and stick it back in the mailbox. Of course our campaign had branding elements too. We didn't sit on the couch and hope people would vote for us, but in this case the signs were obviously the most visible to those 37 men and women on the street. But here's the punchline - my wife's opponent who won this election already held this office in the nineties and was overwhelmingly voted out of it by 66% in 1999...BY THE SAME CONSTITUENCY!! How quickly a yard sign can make us forget. The power of branding. In a related note, I just heard of a study where children will eat healthier food if it's wrapped in McDonald's packing. Again,the power of branding works even if the product isn't the healthiest - whether a cheeseburger and fries or an outdated council representative. For the next election I'm dressing my wife up as a McNugget.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Talking vs. Listening on Sales Calls

An eyewitness is being questioned at a trial for a man accused of biting the ear off of another man. The defense attorney asks the witness "Did you actually see my client bite off the victim's ear?". The witness replies "No".

Instead of stopping there, the attorney asks one more question.
"Then how do you know he did it?" to which the witness replied "Because I saw him spit it out".

How many times have we talked ourselves right out of a deal by talking instead of listening? I believe if we always remain customer-focused and LISTEN to their needs instead of talking about ourselves, we create win-win situations.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Twitter Marketing and the Emperor's New Clothes

I know Twitter is the latest greatest thing and I certainly am a user and a believer in social media myself. But hasn't Twitter been "hot" for like 6 minutes now? How can anyone really be an "expert" at making it the best thing since sliced bread to reach customers? I've just grown a little skeptical since the onslaught of the get rich quick web infomercials that have hit my email box & RSS feeders lately claiming 1000's of followers & 1000's of dollars. One of the main Twitter strategies seems to be to "retweet" useful links we discover to position ourselves as good resources for relevant information. Seems to me Google had that market cornered long ago. And just on an aesthetic note, I'm having a challenge getting over basing a marketing plan on the verb "to tweet"! In our rush to be "innovative" and on the cutting edge, even more reputable recruiters and marketers are stuffing blogs with expert advice on something I'm not convinced any of us know all THAT much about! I just want to be sure that in our rush to praise Emperor Twitter's "new clothes", that we're not afraid to question whether or not His Highness might actually be naked. We can't take our eyes off other important balls like developing new and great ideas for our clients and continually developing our skills in selling those ideas - face to face - and making them work. I love discovering and learning about new marketing tools, but solid sales and marketing are not fads, they're skilled professions & I just don't like feeling like a lemming going over a cliff. All that being said follow me at !

Friday, May 1, 2009