Sunday, 20 October 2013

Conditioning The Customer

Wouldn't it be exciting if every prospect that walked into your store or office had an indicator, say something like an LED lamp on their faces, showing how strongly interested they are in buying your product or services? I believe that you will agree with me, that in this way you will not wear yourself out trying to convince someone who has sworn never to patronize you; rather you will save your energies for the real customer. Unfortunately, prospects don’t come with LED indicators that make it easy to distinguish them, so a wise businessman needs to learn what to do so as to maximize the limited number of hours he has each day to make the sales.

Let’s acknowledge from the onset that everyone who comes into your store or office is a likely customer; if not on that day, maybe sometime in future, therefore they must all be treated with the same level of courtesy and professionalism. In addition, someone who never does business with you can send a lot of referrals your way who will make big-ticket purchases and they can also do a lot of damage, badmouthing your business if you treat them poorly.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Cursing the Queen

As a child, my teacher told me a story to underscore the importance of writing accurately; whether it is fact or fiction, I do not know.

A frustrated man had gone to the pub to drown all his worries with the bottle. After several hours of numbing his senses with alcohol, the man now drunken, became raucous that the bartender was forced to evict him so as not to scare away other patrons. The man was so miffed by the action of the bartender that after the door was shut on him, he unzipped his fly and sprayed the door with his pee, which he called ‘toxic streams’. He then turned around and did the unspeakable – he vilified the Crown.

Picking up a stick, he wrote in the dirt by the roadside the following words in bold letters for any who cared to read:


Immediately, the constable who had been observing the goings-on pounced on him, cuffed him, pulled out his crime-scene tape and cordoned off the evidence of blasphemy, which he covered with a tarp and dragged the man to the police station. After a few days, the man was charged to court and the most Crown-leaning magistrate in the district was assigned to hear the case. On that day, the courthouse was packed to the full with locals who had come to witness how the community-nuisance was finally going to be put behind bars and they would again know what it felt like to have peace.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

How standard is your standard?

I was in a mentor’s office, earlier this week, and while describing her tight work schedule she pulled out a book she’d been working on for some time. She dropped it before me and asked, “It’s OK, right?” I replied (or should I say, lied) in the affirmative because I knew all the pains she put into writing the book. But being intuitive creatures that they are, this woman saw a slight grimace as it flashed across my face and knew that I had lied. She sighed, looked at another book on her desk that was printed in India and said, “My next book will not be printed in this country”.

Honestly, I don’t blame her; although her book served the function of displaying her work in a readable format, when it came to the finishing strokes like illustrations, paper quality, bookbinding or cover page design which are needed to add class to a book, something was just amiss. Many people might dismiss these as nothing but mere aesthetics, but when you are packaging anything for human beings you need to appeal to one or more of their five senses. Her publisher’s work just didn't cut it; it failed to stimulate any sensory centers which could attract buyers to her book when she was not there to tell them how instructive her book was.