Thursday, January 31, 2008

Fw: Harvey Mackay's Column--Talking points get to the point

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-----Original Message-----
From: Harvey Mackay <>

Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2008 07:02:40
Subject: Harvey Mackay's Column--Talking points get to the point


Harvey Mackay's Column This Week

Talking points get to the point
One of my favorite "Peanuts" comic strips is about students who were asked to write about their feelings on returning to school in the fall.
In her essay, Lucy wrote, "Vacations are nice, but it's good to get back to school. There is nothing more satisfying or challenging than education, and I look forward to a year of expanding knowledge."
Needless to say, the teacher was delighted and complimented Lucy on her fine essay. Leaning over to Charlie Brown, Lucy whispers, "After a while, you learn what sells."
Lucy had mastered the art of talking points.
New York Times columnist William Safire says he first heard the phrase as a White House speechwriter, ducking dreary assignments for "Rose Garden rubbish." Safire says President Nixon would often say to his writers, "Never mind preparing formal remarks for this bunch, just give me a page of talking points."
This is a perfectly reasonable request from someone who wishes to speak informally, and not use a prepared text. I'm a big believer in using talking points in many ways: for whatever you're trying to sell or promote or whenever you want to deliver a message.
We live in a soundbite world—you may have only 10 or so seconds to make your case. The objective is to get the idea out there, and fill in the details later. Let the central thought sink in first. Then, as time permits, support it. Studies show that people remember better when you give them information in a short and concise manner.
If you're looking for a job, you should have a 60-second commercial about yourself. If you're selling something, you want to give the buyer the best commercial you can create. If you're raising money for your favorite charity, donors appreciate information presented in a succinct and uncomplicated fashion. The point is to get to the point!
Don't confuse talking points with a fact sheet because talking points don't necessarily have to present the whole story. Talking points should include an item or two with some zip to them—perhaps a really great statistic, a relevant witty proverb or a humorous quotation. And while I write in "USA Today style"—short and snappy—I can take a little more time to reach my destination. The listening public is not as forgiving as the reading public.
Bill O'Reilly opens his popular Fox TV show, "The O'Reilly Factor," with a segment called "Talking Points Memo." It wouldn't be at the beginning of the program if it didn't work!
Consider the political stump speech. Same message, over and over. Same main points, short and sweet, amended to fit the geographic region or particular audience. The talking points remain constant: This is what I stand for. This is why you should vote for me. This is what's wrong with my opponent.
I speak to dozens of companies and organizations around the globe every year. I tell every group a few of the same things: Prepare to win. Deliver more than you promise. Knowledge does not become power until it is used. My audiences may remember my jokes, or some of the personal stories I throw in, or maybe even that I give away my tie sometimes. But I know they will remember my talking points. That's the real take-home value.
On the other side, job applicants who come into my office and can tell me what I need to know about them in the first three minutes fascinate me. Experience, education, knowledge about my company, common ground—these are the things employers want to hear right out of the gate. Make it interesting, and make sure it's accurate. When I'm interviewing for sales or customer service positions, I'm looking for candidates who can get to the point, and let me decide whether I need more details. Good talking points can mean the difference between a second interview and a good-luck handshake.
It's worth the extra time to really edit yourself and hone your presentation. A few descriptive words will trump a lengthy monologue every time. Identify your central message and put it front and center.
Perhaps the ultimate example is an irreverent cartoon by Mike Peters. It shows a giant hand reaching through the clouds to extend the tablets containing the Ten Commandments to the outstretched hands of Moses, with the voice of God saying, "Here, these are your talking points."
Mackay's Moral: As Groucho Marx said, "Before I speak, I have something important to say."
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Harvey Mackay | MackayMitchell Envelope Company | 2100 Elm Street S.E. | Minneapolis | MN | 55414

Monday, January 28, 2008

How to Attract profitable customers?

This may be the most important question any business has to answer. But in my opinion it’s not enough, it’s important to have profitable customers. Some of you SEO for clients, some of those clients I am sure you wish you could fire? And if you had enough profitable clients, you probably would. I learned that lesson long time ago when I worked for a large company, but as a small business owner, it’s been hard for me to deal with. But, as I have fired a client or two, the key is to not worry about firing bad clients. It’s getting enough profitable customers, so you have a successful business. How do you do that? Well SEO is a great way, probably one of the best ways, so is Barter, but we are biased. As, we seek active buyers as SEO consultants. We never push via email or calling or bothering people, read the Barter article below, but here are my 5 points on attracting profitable clients:

1. Make sure you have more than enough clients, this will always help you price high, as you will never ever be desperate, easier said than done. But, SEO well, Design well, and sell, sell, sell, or advertise, advertise, advertise.

2. Charge a lot, be known as the best, always charge a lot, this will make sure you will make money, and take care of your clients.

3. SEO, well Duh, but SEO for specific keywords, research your keywords well maybe even do some Google Adwords SEM.

4. Get more customers through testimonials, provide information, join an online marketplace like eBay it almost requires you to get Testimonials, focus on one to many marketing not just one-on-one, this will drop your cost of sales.

5. Automate your selling process, join eBay, didn’t we already say that, well we like eBay! Not the other Seattle online marketplace, starts with an A–they are terrible and too expensive. These marketplaces will promote your products, Oh yeah blog on and Blogger, oh on too..Blogging as you know is the #1 key to online marketplaces right now, why, they all want to build communities, even FaceBook!

As some of you know that this small business blogs and blogging company recently partnered with ITEX, a Barter system. We are also helping to create an online marketplace for them/us to help small businesses sell and buy products on line. Well to my SEO surprise we got ranked #54 for online marketplace, in our first 2 weeks of focusing on this wonderful keyword, well maybe 3. I love the speed of our SEO, but I have been waiting for this for a while. Some times we have to be patient, as the results do come, especially with very competitive keywords. Our goal for the online marketplace is not just to help b2b companies but to help them create the best online marketplaces and sell more goods and services, in an easy and beautiful system. Well more on this online marketplace and small business community of ITEX later, here is the blog and an article on How a Barter System can help you attract more customers. It’s all about exposure isn’t it!

“Barter system can help attract new customers:”

I wrote a blog article earlier on how Barter can help you increase profitable sales. it got erased, we are moving servers and databases today. Upgrading for all the increased traffic that we have been getting. Increasing your profitable sales can happen, when you follow the secrets of the successful small businesses. They know that no matter what, they have to build a reputation that their customers adore and their friends recommend their small businesses. The article below shows how a professional Barter network can help you attract new customers. It’s an old article, but barter has been around for centuries, and it’s as old as business it self. By the way, the article mentions a Barter company called Bxi, you may be wondering what happened to Bxi, well Bxi is part of the ITEX barter company. The key to any barter network is the size of it’s business marketplace and the number of barter items available. If you check out our online marketplace by going to our new marketplace, you will love it. But, let’s get you to read the article on how to attract new customers first. We will discuss online marketplaces and barter items you can check by visiting our marketplace by clicking here.

Bartering system can help attract new customers - Pacific Business News Honolulu: