Posts Tagged ‘Seth’

What is the danger of starting at the top?

January 20, 2013 2 comments

It is so easy to fall into this trap. As a buyer of technology, I can’t tell you how many times people thought if they just got to me they would get the sale. Even worse was when they actually thought they were going to talk to the CEO. Seth has nailed this one.

When making a b2b sale, the instinct is always to get into the CEO’s office. If you can just get her to hear your pitch, to understand the value, to see why she should buy from or lease from or partner with or even buy you… that’s the holy grail.

What do you think happens after that mythical meeting?

She asks her team.

And when the team is in the dark, you’ve not only blown your best shot, but you never get another chance at it.

The alternative is to start in the middle. It takes longer, it comes with less high-stakes tension and doesn’t promise instant relief. But it is better than any alternative.

Starting in the middle doesn’t mean you’re rushing around trying to close any sale with any bureaucrat stupid enough to take a meeting with you (or that you’re stupid enough to go to, thinking that a sale is going to happen.)

No, starting in the middle is more marketing than sales. It’s about storytelling and connection and substance. It’s about imagery and totems and credentials and the ability to understand and then solve the real problems your prospects and customers have every day. It’s this soft tissue that explains why big companies have so many more enterprise sales than you do.

You don’t get this reputation as an incidental byproduct of showing up. It is created with intention and it’s earned.

via Seth’s Blog: The danger of starting at the top.


What is going away? That is where things are going.

December 16, 2012 Leave a comment

Some days it is hard to fathom the speed at which things are changing. But changing they are. Seth Godin has some good advice on figuring it out. This makes perfect sense.

What is going away frames where things are going.

We remove shelf space as a limiting factor in books.

We remove the cost of polycarbonate as a cost factor in CDs.

We remove paper as an expense in magazines.

We remove the number of channels as a limiter in the broadcast of TV.

These are not small changes. These are revolutionary shifts in what’s scarce and what’s not.

If you are still organized around them, you will fail. If you embrace their removal, you’ve got a chance.

via When you focus on what’s being removed, it’s easier to understand the revolution – The Domino Project.

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What do you do when they don’t understand?

December 15, 2012 1 comment


English: American entrepreneur, author and pub...

English: American entrepreneur, author and public speaker Seth Godin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


This is a great point. And technology really helps solve the problem. My blog writing tool (WordPress) has plug ins that recommend links, tags, photos and related articles for me. It is improving my writing (I hope). What used to take a long time to do manually is now speeded up and I can focus on what I want to say.

Many sources, from textbooks to websites, take the position that if you don’t understand a concept or a nuance, it’s your loss. I think that’s an strategic failure on the part of the writer. (I’ll give scientists and other professional writers a pass.)

Just recently (a decade or so) we opened two doors that change the way we communicate: we can link now, which means that any time you’re worried you’ve hit something too complex, you can easily link to more data and more explanation, and second, you can keep writing. Length (given appropriate organization) is no longer an issue.

At the same time, there’s an onus on the reader to look up words and references that are easily found in a search engine before giving up.

Ikea, then, should quit trying to jam nonsense instructions with no words on tiny sheets of paper and should instead post videos or detailed instructions in native languages online. Annual reports should get significantly longer (with better hyperlinked indexes), not shorter.

No one is going to read the whole thing, ever again. But we need to make it much easier to read the part of the thing that someone really cares about.

via Seth’s Blog: What do you do when they don’t understand?.

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Avoiding the big sucking sound of a time waster

December 3, 2012 Leave a comment

We’ve all been there. Whether it is said explicitly or not, the clear message of the project is “I’ll know it when I see it.” When you hear or sense this you hear the big sucking sound of a time waster coming on. Invariable it creates an endless cycle of, “hmmmm not quite right.” If the architectural drawings, high-heeled shoes or ad campaign doesn’t meet their unstated standards, you’re back to doing it again.

Sometimes you can make a handsome profit on all the fees you charge to redo things that indulge the ego of the customer, but more likely than not, your time is wasted until they’re happy. If you have a client who feels the same way, you can work together to save time and money by being clear with each other about what’s wanted. I think helping a client say what they want before they see it is a worthy endeavor.

Here are some good ideas from Seth Godin on how to avoid all this.

  1. Do it on purpose. When engaging with a new client, intentionally create an environment where personal taste is described in advance, and as much boundary-building as possible is done when it’s cheap to iterate, not at the end when it’s expensive.
  2. Demand benchmarks. The world is filled with things that are a lot like what you’ve been asked to create. So mutually identify them. Show me three other websites that feel like what you’re hoping to feel like. Hand me a hardcover book that has type that reads the way you want yours to read. Walk me through a building that has the vibe you’re looking for…
  3. Describe the assignment before you start. Using your words and the words of the client, precisely state what problem you’re trying to solve. “We’re trying to build something that does a, b and c, and not d…”
  4. Then, before you show off your proposal, before you hand in your work, restate the problem again. “You asked us to do a, b and c at a cost of under X. What I’m about to show you does a, it does b and it does c… and it costs half of X.” This sort of intentional restatement of the scope of work respects your client by honoring their stated intent, at the same time it focuses your work on the stated goals.
  5. Make a decision about whether you want a reputation for doing this sort of focused work. If you do, don’t work for clients who don’t buy into the process. Over time, you’ll earn the kind of clients you want.

via Seth’s Blog: Avoiding “I’ll know it when I see it”.

The Acute Heptagram of Impact. Should you get it tattooed on your hip?

October 16, 2012 Leave a comment

This makes a lot of sense. Many times we focus on what we are good at but ignore essential items that we need to be successful. Great teams, working collaboratively, pull all these strengths together.

Not as catchy a title as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, but I hope you’ll walk through this with me:

I can outline a strategy for you, but if you don’t have the tactics in place or you’re not skilled enough to execute, it won’t matter if the strategy is a good one.

Your project’s success is going to be influenced in large measure by the reputation of the people who join in and the organization that brings it forward. That’s nothing you can completely change in a day, but it’s something that will change (like it or not) every day.

None of this matters if you and your team don’t persist, and your persistence will largely be driven by the desire you have to succeed, which of course is relentlessly undermined by the fear we all wrestle with every day.

These seven elements: Strategy, Tactics, Execution, Reputation, Persistence, Desire and Fear, make up the seven points of the acute heptagram of impact. If your project isn’t working, it’s almost certainly because one or more of these elements aren’t right. And in my experience, it’s all of them. We generally pick the easiest and safest one to work on (probably tactics) without taking a deep breath and understanding where the real problem is.

Feel free to share the AHI, but please don’t have it tattooed on your hip or anything.


via Seth’s Blog: The Acute Heptagram of Impact.

How much does it cost you to get one new customer?

In the world of marketing and the customer experience, there are two things worth knowing. Do we know the answers? If not, we should. Seth Godin nails them both.

Two things every business and non-profit needs to know:

  • How much does it cost you to get one new customer?
  • On average, what’s that customer worth over the relationship you have with her?

The internet revolutionizes both sides of the equation.

For more, read Seth’s Blog: Lifetime value of a customer/cost per customer

What is the value of caring in the customer experience?

This is almost invaluable. And leave it up to Seth Godin to say it. People (and customers) know when we care about them. It can’t be replaced.

What if that is what we measured. It is worth thinking about.

Instead of out thinking the competition…

it’s worth trying to out love them.

Everyone is working hard on the thinking part, but few of your competitors worry about the art and generosity and caring part.

via Seth’s Blog: Instead of outthinking the competition….

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