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Being Jerry Garcia

Just Good Food
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When Jerry’s Grateful Dead showed up and played, people gathered.


Despite having just a single number 1 hit (Touch of Grey), the band was never concerned about a show’s tickets going unsold. Often, Dead fans bought tickets for every show.

But it wasn’t just a concert, it was more like a Deadhead Convention.

What Stays in Vegas?

If you held a convention for your customers, would anyone show up?

What would they want to learn? See?  Talk about?  Ask you?

Have you created a level of service so high that they’d name an ice cream after you?

What can you offer to them that would make them look at your business like you’re a rock star?

What would motivate them to follow you anywhere, as if you were a modern-day Pied Piper?

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If your entire staff turned over today, would anyone notice?

on a mission
Creative Commons License photo credit: llamnudds

And would they care?

If a long time customer (2 years, 5 years, 25 years, whatever) walked into your business today and all your staff was different from their last visit, would they notice the change?

Why do I ask?

Engagement. Relationship. Stickiness.

IE: Buzzwords that answer the question: “Why the heck should I come back?”

Think about it.

  • Have your employees engaged your customers in conversation, or just sold ’em something?
  • Have they worked to create a relationship that causes their customers to gravitate to them or ask for them by name when they call?
  • Do your customers go to their assigned sales rep because that’s who they’re assigned to, or because they know they’ll get the help they need from someone who knows their situation better than anyone?
  • Have they established a substantial level of trust with that customer to encourage repeat visits?
  • Have they exerted the effort necessary to learn as much as they can about the customer in order to serve them better?
  • Does your staff take ownership of their clients and their situation?
  • Do your clients ask for a particular waiter when they come to your restaurant?

Is 2% the only difference between you and them?

If your staff hasn’t taken the steps I described above, wouldn’t it be a lot easier to go elsewhere to save 2%?

How are you insulating yourself from that?

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Why Seth buys from Joel

Today’ s guest post is once again from Seth Godin.

I’ll warn you, the video is a tad more than an hour long.

If you don’t have an hour to “get” this stuff, you don’t really care much about your business.

Maybe you don’t need the entire hour. That’s OK (and if so, you’ll probably watch the whole thing despite that.)

Maybe you’ll get it by the end of the Seth buys Joel’s software story. I hope so.

If it takes longer, that’s OK.

For those who are not yet convinced about my repeated discussions about nurturing customer relationships, building a “cult” (in effect) around what you do in your market, maybe Seth will help you get there.

Clap in unison, in rhythm. With those who would be crazy about what you do for them.

But first, give them something to clap about.

Do you have relationships with your clientele like the ones Seth is talking about? How do your products and services create raging fans?

I’m listening.

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I’ll have a soft taco phone, please

Peach in  the box
Creative Commons License photo credit: Sunfox

Over the last year or so, signs have popped up all over the place in businesses (even in drive-up windows) asking that customers finish cell phone conversations before doing business or stepping up to the counter.

Some are worded better than others, but this one spied last week in Taco Del Sol in Missoula was well-written, even if it might have been dripping in sarcasm.

We know your call is really important to you so we’re happy to wait and take your order once you’re done with your conversation.

Beats the heck out of “NO PHONE CALLS IN LINE” or similar signs that I’ve seen around town. Maybe adding a thought about “…so we’re sure to get your order just the way you want it” could be added?

The unfortunate thing is that the sign was handwritten on a torn off flap from a cardboard box.

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Why Gary Vaynerchuk watches and listens. What about you?

Today’s guest post comes from WineLibraryTV’s Gary Vaynerchuk, the gregarious crown prince of online wine merchants.

Today, Gary talks about what he does with feedback – of all kinds – both the kind he agrees with, and the kind he doesn’t – and why both have their place.

How do you handle public criticism like Gary discussed?

How does your staff handle it?


And finally, do you even know when someone is talking about your business online?

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What makes you shine like a Ferrari?

Imagine getting laid off at 63 years of age simply because you’re old.

Now they won’t tell you that because you could sue them for that. Instead, they lay you off because another (ie: younger) employee doesn’t have to make as much.

Like a kick in the gut, you’d think.

But not for this guy. Despite health issues, a divorce, a failed consulting firm and getting fired simply because he (wink, wink) made too much, Michael Gates Gill proudly says he can make a toilet shine like a Ferrari.

He says “Starbucks saved my life“, but I think he’s wrong. 

More on that in a minute. 

More than ever, service matters

Some businesses offer great service. Some do not.

More often than not, the difference is in the attitude of the person behind the counter. They do what no one else will do (much less try) – just like the dog in the photo. 

In Mr. Gill’s case, the right attitude is really what saved his life – the attitude of both his and those of the people he works with. 

I’ll bet it comes across the counter at his shop. In fact, I’ll bet it impacts the attitude of many of his clientele and causes people to want him to wait on them rather than someone else.

Do you have anyone like that?

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If you don’t provide value, little else matters.

3 times
Creative Commons License photo credit: rick

What if you threw a party and no one came?

Perhaps more accurately, what if you threw a party and 500,000+ people showed up – and then left within moments of arriving?

Fake Steve Jobs knows how that feels, or something like it. In his case, 500,000+ people came to his website and spent $1039 between them.

In a month. A little disheartening, wouldn’t you think?

To his credit, when he heard that Steve had health problems, he decided to stop blogging as Fake Steve Jobs.

The timing apparently couldn’t have been better, at least for Fake Steve. He hung up his keyboard earlier this week, lamenting that people  just can’t make any money by blogging. 

His blog poked fun at plenty of things and had a good time – but it was missing one important thing for a blog intended to replace his day job.


And that’s the reason why he couldn’t make a good income from it. Blogging isn’t a spectator sport. It isn’t something to do just so you can occasionally vent. 

Blogging for small business owners is about providing value to your prospects and your clientele. It doesn’t necessarily relate directly to the bottom line in one step. There are plenty of reasons to bring people to your blog and provide value to them. 

What happens next is kinda important.

Fake Steve Jobs doesn’t appear to understand that, or at least, started something without really planning it with a mind for turning it into a substantial income stream.  That’s ok.

The world needs humor, parody and so forth these days – or any days for that matter. Whether people willing to pay for it or not is another story – and that should be part of a blogging strategy from the gitgo. 

Still, if you plan to use your blog as a way to promote your business, or simply as an income stream, don’t ever let yourself forget to provide value for your readers. 

The real Steve Jobs gets that. So should you.

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Even Disney’s doing it – treating customers on their birthday


You know, we’ve talked about this before. 

I’m speaking of the marketing value of keeping track of your customers’ birthdays. 

I know, I know. People won’t give them to you. If so, it’s because you aren’t asking the right way – or you aren’t making the sale.

This is a sale as well. If you told them they were getting something of value as a gift in exchange for telling you what month they were born, most people will sign up. You don’t need the day or the year in order to give them something special for their birthday. 

Don’t waste energy worrying about the ones who don’t join your birthday program – spend your energy on making sure your offer is doing a good job of illustrating the value of the birthday program. 

In the past, we talked about the restaurants (for example) that use this to fill their reservation calendar. Even if you don’t take reservations, you can use this strategy. 

These days, even Disney is doing it

Recently, Disney started offering a free day pass to their parks on their guest’s birthday. If you’ve been to Disney or looked at their pricing, you know that this is not a cheap gift. A one day pass to Disney World is $75.

So why would they do this?

The same reason you should be offering a free dessert or entree or buy-one-get-one (or half or whatever) to your customers on their birthday – because almost no one eats alone on their birthday.

If your family of 4 goes out to Uncle Ralphie’s Gourmet Pizza for dinner tonight for dad’s birthday because dad gets to eat free – you’re still going to buy a meal for everyone else at the table.

Obviously you have to know your numbers to make the right kind of offer, and you might have to tweak it over time, but there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be a profitable event on average.

As for Disney’s reasoning – it’s no different.

Who goes to Disney World by themselves? Sure, there are exceptions. Do you make decisions based on the actions of the 1% or 99%?

Speaking of… happy birthday, Russ. (See, that wasn’t so hard)

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The Trust Economy

Creative Commons License photo credit: MiikaS

Today’s guest post comes from ChangeThis. Oddly enough, you’ll recognize a familiar theme 4 or 5 pages in (its a short 10 page document): “Business is Personal” 🙂

Check it out while I’m out in the sticks camping in the snow with the troop: Julien Smith and Chris Brogan‘s Trust Economies: Investigation into the New ROI of the Web