Feature Articles: Business Sense

If you’ve been reading my columns, you already know I watch too much TV. I’ve confessed my addiction to “Shark Tank” and “All on the Line” here before. And now, I’m on a new trip: “The Pitch.” In this one, viewers travel along as two advertising agencies vie for the same client. The show isn’t perfect, but it’s a nice bit of escapism grounded in reality. During each episode, the client introduces its company and ad dilemma — like how to create one campaign to suit multiple brands or how to build excitement around a new product launch. Then it’s up to the agencies to pitch a winning idea.

We assume those who are quite persuasive are those who can “sell umbrellas in the desert.” When we think about an umbrella, we think of rain and then jump to the conclusion that if someone is able to sell something that is useless to a group of people, as with the umbrellas for desert dwellers, they must be good — right? Wrong! People who manage to convince us to buy items we don’t need may be persuasive, but they won’t hold our trust for long. On the other hand, those truly persuasive individuals who are able to sell umbrellas in the desert are people who can see our true wants and needs and either offer or repurpose a product to satisfy those desires.

It has long been said that imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery. But in business, unauthorized “imitations” cost companies immeasurable sums in lost sales and damage to their reputations. Most companies likely will not find it particularly flattering when a counterfeiter imitates or incorporates a valuable brand name or trademark in a domain name with the goal of misdirecting consumers to its ersatz website. Like in a Whack-A-Mole game, cybersquatters keep popping up.

RuffleButts / RuggedButts
No Slippy Hair Clippy, Inc.

Recently style watchers have been preoccupied with Coachella, the music and art festival that wrapped up last weekend. These days the event is almost as well known for its see-and-be-seen street style snaps as it is for mashing up different genres from hip hop to electronica. But while everyone was preoccupied with what starlets like Kate Bosworth were wearing, I took note of the cross-promotional opportunities these events afford artists.

In sales, the end goal is to close the deal and write that order. Sadly, many sales professionals and novices alike are so fixated on the order that they overlook the process and are often shut down mid spiel. If you’re looking to get to the close, you have some homework to do before you approach the retailer. There will be some thoughtfulness to consider before and as you talk to the retailer, as well as some hustling to do after you leave the retailer. To help remember this process, I’ve broken down the word C.L.O.S.E.

It’s that time of year again. March Madness. No, I’m not talking about college hoops. I’m referring to the high-stakes arena of fashion magazines. Second only to the September issues, March scores the most advertising revenue each year, as design houses drop huge sums for the chance to showcase their spring lineups. In the ad game, money doesn’t decide the winner. Your publicity machine — be it print ads, paid blogger sponsorships or television spots — can only put points on the board if it reinforces your brand and pre-sells your goods. In advertising, ROI, or return on investment — both the tangible and intangible kind — is the ultimate goal.

SwaddleDesigns®
Woombie (KB Designs, LLC)

First one discovers an unmet need. Next follows the ambition to start a business. Driving this initial momentum is the passion to contribute to the market place, the dream of business success and of course, hope for financial independence. However, once the honeymoon is over and the realities of owning a business become apparent, it can be challenging to maintain that initial momentum and enthusiasm that launched the company. Well, don’t lose F.A.I.T.H. –– Focused tasks , Attainable goals, Individual responsibility, Traceable efforts and Heart-felt support. Keep these in mind to help reignite the enthusiasm that once propelled your business.

I love nothing better than a procedural television show. Whether it’s a real-life murder mystery on Dateline or a fictional CSI case, I like trying to solve a whodunit. In everyday life, I also enjoy making connections between things I hear and see through conversations and observations — putting together the pieces of the puzzle to get a full picture. So it’s no wonder that one bit of wisdom I heard recently jumped out at me. During a speech, an apparel executive said, “Whether you’re a retailer or a wholesaler, your job is to find the balance between listening to and leading your customer.”

A new mom goes into her local baby products store to shop for a stroller. The store has all the best brands and latest models, a friendly and knowledgeable staff, and sufficient on-hand inventory. The new mom kicks the tires, trades stories with the salesperson, and focuses in on the brand, model, and color that she wants. After noting the price, when she has a minute away from the salesperson, she scans the barcode using a price finder app on her smartphone and purchases the stroller from an online discounter at a lower price. Does this scenario sound familiar?

Login:

Username:
Password: