The Thought Police

Guy K on Steve J

We enjoy following Guy Kawasaki’s blog, “How to Change the World.”

His last post, “What I Learned from Steve Jobs,” can be found here.  Below is the beginning “two of twelve”…

“Many people have explained what one can learn from Steve Jobs. But few, if any, of these people have been inside the tent and experienced first hand what it was like to work with him. I don’t want any lessons to be lost or forgotten, so here is my list of the top twelve lessons that I learned from Steve Jobs.

1) Experts are clueless.  Experts—journalists, analysts, consultants, bankers, and gurus can’t “do” so they “advise.” They can tell you what is wrong with your product, but they cannot make a great one. They can tell you how to sell something, but they cannot sell it themselves. They can tell you how to create great teams, but they only manage a secretary. For example, the experts told us that the two biggest shortcomings of Macintosh in the mid 1980s was the lack of a daisy-wheel printer driver and Lotus 1-2-3; another advice gem from the experts was to buy Compaq. Hear what experts say, but don’t always listen to them.

2) Customers cannot tell you what they need.  Apple market research” is an oxymoron. The Apple focus group was the right hemisphere of Steve’s brain talking to the left one. If you ask customers what they want, they will tell you, “Better, faster, and cheaper”—that is, better sameness, not revolutionary change. They can only describe their desires in terms of what they are already using—around the time of the introduction of Macintosh, all people said they wanted was better, faster, and cheaper MS-DOS machines. The richest vein for tech startups is creating the product that you want to use—that’s what Steve and Woz did.

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MH on Objections

Good post from Miller Heiman on Objections and Basic Issues:

What Isn’t Your Customer Telling You?

An objection is really an opportunity. It gives you a chance to target the information you are missing.

When your prospect raises an objection, listen for what she’s not telling you because that objection is merely a symptom of an underlying Basic Issue. That Basic Issue is something deeply personal that leads the prospect to believe she’ll be taking a risk and will be on the losing side if she agrees to your proposal.

An objection such as: “We do not have time for this,” may actually be telling you that the customer feels overwhelmed given the current projects this quarter. Taking on more would make her appear incompetent, or that she will have to work longer hours thereby sacrificing time with family.  You also hear the common objection, “Your price is outrageous!” A possible translation would be that this person has sponsored a similar project in the past that did not deliver as expected and she’s not confident that approving yours would improve her credibility to the board.

The severity of the customer’s Basic Issue can go from bad to worse over time unless you consciously step in. Do so any time in the sales call where you sense your customer is in an “I’m losing” frame of mind. There are ways to discuss and work with those feelings but the one thing you should NOT do is to deny their validity. Saying something like, “You shouldn’t feel that way,” is a surefire way of killing your deal on the spot.

Instead, ask questions like: “You had shown a little uncertainty about how my proposal will affect your team’s current workload (or structure). Do you still feel that’s a potential problem?” Or simply call it out with a direct question, “If I could give you a proposal that would make you entirely comfortable, what would it look like?”

No matter how you phrase the questions, the objective is to uncover the area of distress so you can address it. And because you’re dealing with feelings and attitudes, it’s especially important that you pause and listen to the answers. You want to convey to your prospect that you are a partner who is invested in her success as a result of this deal.

Tips Archive
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Bring It On BlogWell…

Sernovitz and the Gaspedal crew via are bringing a cool event to SanFran on June 20th…


Yours Truly will be there…

… and I’ll have a tabletop, signing copies of my new book:

Smackdown! How to get the public to perceive you’re still a man, even though your wife beats you at home.

Should be a best seller on Amazon.

Sernovitz was kind enough to send me a discount code for 33% off, drop me an e-mail and I’ll send you da info.

Two Roles, That’s It Kid


If you really think it through, there are only two roles within any Company’s organization:

  1. Sales; and,
  2. Sales Support.

If you’re truly a Customer-Centric organization, then there quite simply can’t be any other role within your Company.


If you do have other roles, then you’re a product-centric company.

Everyone in your organization ultimately touches the product (service), the process, and definitively affects the Customer’s Experience.

It’s about a different paradigm: focus on your products, or focus on how your Customers EXPERIENCE your products.

“3-Minute WOM Lesson”

Good stuff from Sernovitz for those of you getting ready to launch your first WOMM campaign.


“[Welcome back to the You Can Be a Word of Mouth Marketing Supergenius! newsletter. This is text from the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

You can have amazing word of mouth. You can get your happy customers and fans telling everyone about you — you can be great at this. Here’s how to get started:

1> Focus on a single group of talkers
2> Test something today
3> Repeat

1> Focus on a single group of talkers

Don’t start by trying to get everyone talking — start by trying to get someone talking. Maybe it’s a group of local daycare moms, restaurant servers, librarians, or auto mechanics. A good focus on specific talkers means you’ll have a better chance of creating something they want to share.

2> Test something today

By the end of the day, test a new topic with this group. Invite them to an event, give them a special sample, ask them for feedback, or just say thanks. It might not work, but that’s OK. There’s always tomorrow.

3> Repeat

Next week, try it again. This time with a different group and a different topic. When you find something that works, try it again — but bigger this time. There’s no science or secret recipe to great word of mouth, just a commitment to trying lots of ideas designed to find your talkers and figure out what gets them sharing.”

How To Enchant Your Customers

Here’s a great post from Guy Kawasaki… the #1 below is my favorite:

I love to do business with small businesses—in-store, online, for myself, for others, for pleasure, for work—it doesn’t matter to me. I love to find great products and services made by entrepreneurs who are trying to change the world. And I love to help small business owners because they aren’t flying around in corporate jets and lunching with investment bankers. American Express’s idea for Small Business Saturday is a marvelous one, and I’d like to help out by them explaining 10 ways that small businesses can enchant their customers.

  1. Put likable, competent and passionate people on the front line. I prefer to interact with employees who smile, know what they’re talking about, and love what they sell. However, companies often put the lowest-paid, least-experienced employees behind the counter or at the front desk and hope for the best. This doesn’t make sense. Ask yourself this question: Is the first impression of my business a good one? Because if it’s a bad one, it may also be the last one.

Continue reading the rest of Guy’s post HERE.

GO PUNCH an Executive in the Face


Dude, you gotta HIT ‘EM HARD.

If you wanna learn all the different “buying styles” of “Executives,” then there’s plenty of info/reading out there.

But whatever the experts tell you, most of us are “Big Picture.”

Don’t go through features and benefits in front of me.  Don’t tell me about your “value proposition.”  Don’t tell me how you’re better than your competitor (perfect sales-guy move to devalue your product, by-the-way).

Just stop talking.

Ask a few questions so you understand what I’m trying to Accomplish, Fix, or Avoid… that is, take some time to understand WHAT PROBLEM AM I TRYING TO SOLVE?

And then… just TELL ME WHAT YOU DO, that helps me solve said problem.

It’s that simple.

Explain to me the ways in which you’re going to make our organization more efficient, and more effective.

Help me understand how you’re going to help us continue to invest in our PEOPLE, and give them the right tools to succeed.

Just tell me WHAT YOU DO.

Be Original.  Knock me out.  Sock me in the jaw.

Andrew Carnegie, and SALES?

Here’s one of the most powerful quotes from the great Andrew Carnegie:


“Take away my people, but leave my factories and soon grass will grow on the factory floors.  Take away my factories, but leave my people, and soon we will have a new and better factory.”

If you’re taking the time to create a Customer-Centric Culture, the same can be said about your sales organization.

Be like Carnegie. Invest in your people.

Create a Culture of Drive.

The Ultimate Skill Set

It’s actually an easy answer.


Question: “What’s the Ultimate Skill Set?”

Answer: “Knowing that you don’t know it all.”

When the drive goes away… when you’re not continually improving yourself… when you’re not continually improving your organization… when you’re not learning from others to provide your customers with the best experience possible… you’re DEAD.

Don’t Die.