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Currently Viewing Posts Tagged sales

It Makes Me Hungry!

It’s already well known that grocery stores are manipulating us with their product placement. Stores place their name brand items on the middle shelf at eye level of the shopper. And of course, they place those “quick grabbers” at the checkout counter.

I am more fascinated with food and marketing. For instance, bakeries like Cinnabon place their ovens in front so those baked cinnamon rolls attract us to buy. They call it scent marketing. The one time that they decided to move the ovens in the back, sales plummeted. (Story here)

Food marketing also uses colors to influence us. Many use the color green on their wrappers, where the nutritional information is listed. Research has taught them that people perceive food with the color green as being a healthier choice.

Of course, I started thinking about this topic because I ate breakfast at Bob Evans a couple of times this week, and they always have the apple pies at the register. In big bold letters “they” remind me that it is a double crust pie. Now, I am still thinking about that pie. I like pie. And, doesn’t it seem like it should be a good breakfast food! I feel like I am being manipulated, and I don’t mind it.

That’s just my random thoughts on a Friday. I hope you have a great weekend!

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What Makes a Good Lawyer?

This week during an interview of an applicant, I was asked, “what are you looking for in an attorney?”.

A few years ago I was asked by a  sales manager at a local TV station to speak to their salesforce. I was to talk on the topic of what we were looking for in a person who sold us TV advertising.

In preparation for my morning talk at their station, I asked the manager what he thought were the qualities of a good TV salesperson. He summarized by saying that his group was basically in two sections. Instead of saying the lazy and the workers, he classified them as order-takers and true sales people. As he put it, someone could just show up and take orders for commercials and they would earn a decent living. Those who really made money were the sales people. Those who were not satisfied just to take orders.

An old Chinese proverb says that One dog barks at something and a hundred bark at the sound of his bark. 

Several years ago, a renowned marksman was traveling through the U.S.  He stopped in a small town and saw evidence of amazing target shooting all over the town. On trees, on walls, on fences, and on barns he saw targets with a bullet hole in the exact center of the bull’s eye target.

The marksman determined to find the person responsible for such incredible shooting. When he found him he said, “this is the most incredible shooting that I have ever seen. How in the world did you do it?”. “Easy as pie”, replied the man. “I shot first and drew the circles afterward”.

As I continued interviewing potential candidates this past week for attorney positons, I thought about these various thoughts. What makes a good lawyer? Ultimately, it’s those who stop talking and instead start doing.

And for pic o’ day, here’s a South Carolina TV station who appparently thinks that math has become a problem.

 

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Not the Tricks

There used to be a cereal commercial for Cocoa Puffs where Sonny the Cuckoo Bird would scream that “I’m cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs”.

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I imagine that part of the reason that General Mills knew that it would be such a hit as a cereal, was that they literally and proudly stated on the box that the cereal was made with real Hershey’s chocolate.

Of course, if parents really believed that they were doing a good thing by serving that to their kids…. then someone is cuckoo. However, I was reminded of that cereal advertising…

(This is kind of like a mid-blog commercial to say that I’m glad that General Mills has modified the ingredients of Cocoa Puffs  to make it almost as healthy as a Pop Tart or maybe candy corn, and yes that is sarcasm. Now back to our blog! )

As I was saying, I was reminded of that Cocoa Puffs advertising when I recently read a sales list that suggested doing the following to be a successful sales person:

The world’s best salespeople take charge of sales meetings by adjusting their chair’s seat height. They begin meetings with their chair adjusted slightly below their customer’s, which subliminally signals that the customer is in a dominant position. As the meeting goes on, the salesperson will slowly elevate his or her chair in order to sit slightly higher than the prospect—putting them in a dominant position. The slow transition subliminally stages the prospect to be more receptive to suggestions from the salesperson. And if they can’t adjust the chair, they simply change their posture to achieve the same effect.

Now, my impression of that sales recommendaton borders on nonsense and unbelievable. Or, it’s at the intersection of offensive and the advertising of a chocolate-covered cereal.

What am I saying? What ever happened to honesty and integrity? There are still people who believe that the most successful lawyers are the ones who are slick and tricky.

That’s why it was refreshing when I recently attended a trial lawyers’ seminar where the speaker stated that the most successful trial lawyers are the ones who honestly present their case and have jurors truly believing the evidence. That there is no place for tricks in the courtroom, and that jurors see through that anyway.

I guess a cereal doesn’t have to be covered in chocolate to be profitable!

And finally, because it is officially spring… our pic o’ day:

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Satisfaction Guaranteed

Retail chain Montgomery Ward was the first company in the United States to advertise “satisfaction guaranteed, or your money back”. Founder Aaron Montgomery Ward came up with that slogan in 1874, after he decided to provide “city” goods to country customers who were unable to drive in to make purchases. So, he conceived the idea to sell through a dry goods mail-order “come to you” business.

Ward faced great obstacles including the loss of his first inventory during the Great Chicago Fire; as well as facing local retailer competition, who would go around and burn his catalogs. Despite such actions, he was successful because the core idea of his business met a need.

The history of his business shows that it continued to grow throughout his lifetime in that he ran the business for 41 years until he died. (more of the story here) In reading the history, I was most fascinated by the fact that his catalog became known as the “Wish Book” that had grown to 10,000 items in the first year. Another reason why, despite competition from companies like Sears, he still stayed the course with his success.

In the world of rainmaking for business, I often hear that you need to have your elevator speech. It allows you to tell someone what you do during an elevator ride (or 10 seconds) that serves as your sales pitch for business.

I have never been too excited about the sales pitch idea. I have often thought about what answer to give, when I am asked what sets our law firm apart from other law firms. That is when I think back to an idea that met a need an idea that was not original.

It was the end of the day during a normal workday at the law firm, in 1989. I had met with several new and existing clients that day and I was exhausted. Recounting the story, it was the first time that Dennis Lanier had ever met me. He was doing some investigation for my partner then, and had stopped into my office.

He says that he found me a bit slumped in my chair with the sleeves of my white shirt rolled up near my elbows. He told me that he knew of an idea in signing up new cases. It would make it easier for new clients. He could go to a new client’s house to sign them up, when they could not come in to see me. He had gotten the idea from a solo practitioner and had helped him by doing that very sign-up method.  Soon, we were advertising the idea that “we will come to you”.

Since that time, I have heard other firms advertise that concept. For us, we still “will come to you”. In a way, it was our “Wish Book” idea.

DID YOU KNOW that according to Gambler’s Digest, an estimated $1 million is lost at the race track each year, by people who lose or carelessly throw away winning tickets?

And for pic o’ day… this is bag o’ cat:

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Email Nonsense

Do you remember the days when your email messages included all kinds of advertisements. Soon, we learned that there were masters specializing in email spam. Then, someone began to make a good living by keeping the spam out of our in box.

Now, I receive emails that solicit me to handle our web marketing. Emails telling me that some candidate that is running for office,  is in favor of communism in Virginia; and that I need to immediately send $10 or $15 or $25 dollars to stop it. Or, that J.Crew or Tommy Bahama is having a once-in-a-lifetime 25% off sale, until next Tuesday’s 25% off. It makes my head spin with such sales pitches.

Some of these emails are such bad selling attempts that they need a spellcheck or at least someone to translate for you. Of course, I guess they could use one of the old logic brain teasers:

The next sentence is true, but you must not believe it. That previous sentence was false.

So, that brings me to the following email of irritation that landed in my in box a few days ago:

My name is Nancy Honeywell, on February 6, 2013 my husband (Dave Honeywell) won the Powerball jackpot of $217 Million and we have decided to donate $1,924,108.00 USD to you to improve the lot of individuals all over the world. On receipt of this email, you should count yourself as the lucky individual. Kindly get back to me at your earliest convenience.”

Now, I must admit that I find this somewhat creative. I don’t have to send anything to Nigeria and no one is emailing for emergency money. Wouldn’t it be fun if you could really hold someone to a contract obligation, when you receive this kind of email. Instead, you quickly delete it so it doesn’t bring an unwanted computer virus.  Or… you just blog about it.

DID YOU KNOW that tribes and clans of long ago that wanted to get rid of unwanted people without killing them, would just burn their house down to make them leave the area. That’s where we supposedly get the expression “to get fired”.

And for pic o’ day from Amy M, here’s a bit of being stuck between a rock… and a hard place:

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Seriously? A Marijuana Magazine?

     I had to look twice when I read the article in The Legal Intelligencer. The article was titled “Pot magazine lawsuit continues in Colo.” It’s about a lawsuit that has been filed in a Colorado Federal Court regarding restrictions on the publication of marijuana-themed magazines.

     Colorado recently enacted through emergency rule by executive order,  requiring such magazines as High Times to be sold behind the counter. The lawsuit filed on behalf of publishers and booksellers is claiming that the restriction on the display and sale of the magazines is unconstitutional.

     The lawsuit claims that the law is treating marijuana magazines as though they are pornography. The lawyer who filed the lawsuit asserts that the restrictions on sales is “a bit incongruous” for Colorado, because the state has previously voted to declare that marijuana is legal for recreational use.

     The behind-the-counter restriction was enacted after parents testified that their children should be protected from exposure to magazines that were encouraging drug use. The proponents of the lawsuit respond that, “The idea that stores can prominently display magazines touting the joys of drinking wine and smoking cigars, yet banish those that discuss a far safer substance, to behind the counter, is absolutely absurd”.

     Colorado’s current state position on marijuana use is in direct conflict with current Federal law. If the law restricting the magazine display is enforced, Colorado would be the first state with such a magazine sale restriction.

     For pic o’ day, life’s warnings:

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The Negotiations Mystery

     Erwin Lutzer recently told the story of the young boy who decided to sell a puppy,  because his mom would only let him keep one.

     The puppy had matted hair and a box that was a bit torn. Over the box, the boy put a sign that read, “Puppy for Sale 3 dollars”.

     A salesman drove by and decided that he was going to teach the boy about sales. He stopped and told him that he needed to get a clean box and to clean up the puppy for a better appearance. Plus, the price was too low.  He advised the boy to raise the price, so people would feel that they were buying something of real value.

     The next day, the salesman drove by the same street and saw the boy, the puppy and a sign that now read, “Puppy for sale $1000”. The salesman didn’t have time to stop and he could only shake his head. The boy had gone overboard with his advice.

     On the way home,  the salesman decided that he was going to stop and try to get the price down to a more realistic amount. When he got to the spot, he was surprised to see a new sign that now read, “Puppy Sold”.

     Now, the salesman couldn’t wait to talk to the boy. When he found him he asked, “You didn’t really sell that puppy for a thousand dollars,  did you?” The boy replied, ” Yes, I did.  Although it was a little different than that. I traded  the puppy in for 2 $500 cats”.

     Everyday, we are all negotiating something. It might even be in our mind whether we can have a dessert or a piece of chocolate. In the world of injury law, everyday is a negotiation, but I still get surprised by some of the offers.

     Years ago, I was involved in an accident claim that had caused serious injury. The client had lost his leg just below his knee. The amount of insurance coverage and any possible assets of the defendant should have been immediately offered by the insurance company adjuster.

     Instead, under the Rules of Evidence, they exercised their right to send the client for a defense doctor evaluation. Then, the adjuster called and extended an offer that was much less than the available insurance coverage.

     In extending the offer, she referenced that the defense doctor’s report indicated how well the client was doing well, despite the severity of the crash. One particular sentence in that defense report was probably as offensive as anything. It said, ” doing fine and the stump looks well maintained”.  Discussions during negotiation can be real head shakers sometimes.          

Here is  pic o’ day. Is this the lime in the coconut?

 

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