Better Than a Standing Ovation

I’ve only seen it happen once.


Silence at the end.

Utter, absolute silence.

Not for a few seconds but achingly long.

So long you were stunned.

So long you held your breath.

So long that you knew this moment was rare and beautiful and to be treasured.

It went on so long that the few who finally began to clap were hesitant.

There was one down front and one somewhere off to the right.

First one and then another.  

Then there came a crescendo of applause and an audience in tears,
on their feet, cheering.

Like I said, I’ve only seen it once.

It is the accolade given only to a performance that sweeps everyone up
into a heightened emotional place. It leaves everyone, including the performer,
so wrung out that no one wants to end it.

For me it happened at the Guthrie theater in Minneapolis.

It was a Friday night, September 21, 1973.

I was in the lobby of the theater waiting for the doors to open when a voice
on the PA system said, “ Ladies and Gentlemen, we apologize that Jim Croce
will not be appearing tonight but Steve Goodman, who was opening for
Mr. Croce has agreed to do both his show and to fill in for Mr. Croce.
You may get a refund at the box office or join us for an evening with Steve Goodman."

Jim Croce was probably best known for his album called “You Don’t Mess
Around With Jim” The Chorus of the title track is:

"You don't tug on Superman's cape/
You don't spit into the wind/
You don't pull the mask off that ol' Lone Ranger/
And you don't mess around with Jim."

Steve Goodman, the singer/songwriter from Chicago, walked into the center of the
thrust stage and slowly turned to look at the entire audience surrounding him.

He said, “What they didn’t tell you on the PA is that Jim will never do another concert.
His plane went down and he died last night. I appreciate all of you staying to see me
and I’m going to try to make this an evening you never forget.

With that he began playing and singing his full repertoire of songs. He started with
"City of New Orleans" which he wrote and Arlo Guthrie made famous.

Great songs, one after another, interspersed with tales of how they came to be.

Two and a half hours later. He looked down at his back up guitar with strings broken
and hanging from their tuning keys and said, “I guess I’m going to have to do this
last number accappella.”

The last note shimmered in he air and he nodded.

The silence ensued. 

Strive to reach the silence in your performances in the coming year.

Jerry Fletcher, Speaker at



Get Ruthless With Your Time to be More Profitable.

I’ve known Steve for at least 15 years and Gail longer.

This week both of them confided, “I just can’t seem to get
control of my time.”

Steve said, “I’m so technology connected any more I can’t concentrate.
I look up and the day is gone.”

Gail, a busy trainer, says, “I can’t seem to get a full
nights sleep because I’m working late and then have to get up early and as wonderful
as the technology is I feel like not knowing how to use it is what is slowing
me down.”

I understand completely. I still haven’t learned how to
text. The idea of trying to read instructions off my I-phone scares me.

Ted, a management consultant I know was speaking at our
weekly group meeting. Here’s what he had to say:

The things we have to
work with to make a profit are our knowledge, our ability to lead and our time.

That’s all we have.

You didn’t get where you are by refusing to learn. Your leadership
skills have made you a manager or an entrepreneur. But as you take on more responsibility
your proclivity is to keep trying to do all the things you did before and just
this one thing more.

That doesn’t work. You have to be ruthless with your time.

First, find out how you are spending yours. Take a piece of
ruled paper.
On the top line write the days of the week from monday
through sunday. Drop down a couple lines and write in the time you get up. On
each succeeding line add the half hour i.e. 7:00, 7:30 and so on. Go at least a
full 12 hours.

Next week, note what you are doing each half hour of the
day. Be specific about tasks and whether or not they are revenue producing. Identify
tasks with a single word such as: Admin, E-mail, Report Writing, Meeting, Sales
Call, etc. If you are like most folks, you will find that you are engaged in
revenue producing tasks at best about four hours of the day.

To be more
profitable, get ruthless with your time.
Use the same kind of form and put
together your ideal week. That is how you would spend the time if you were in

The secret is that you are in control. You decide. You can schedule all
of your creative thinking in one part of one day and the administrivia in
another. You can cluster sales calls and
meetings and make the calendar and clock your friend. It is your choice.

Just get ruthless.”

Jerry Fletcher asks that if you, a friend or colleague have this problem that you pass this blog along. Visit his consulting site or speaking site for more information.

How to Market Yourself in 30 Seconds or Less.

Quincy invited me to a Networking group he attends.

Like most groups of this sort we were asked to introduce ourselves.

Whether you are a regular member or a newcomer your self introduction determines how long it will take you to get business out of the group.

Quincy began his introduction with the hook he had developed in my 30 Second Marketing Seminar. He gave his full name and then said,

“I’m an Information Technology Consultant. I make computer networks sing.

He should have stopped right there.

 But he didn’t. He rambled on for a bit and I watched the light go out in he eyes of prospect’s that had been intrigued by his hook.

The Hook is just one part of the 30-Second Marketing technique. It is designed to replace the boring “Elevator Speech” and turn casual meetings into conversations not commercials.

There are four elements:


Hold ‘em

Pitch ‘em


Close ‘em

The hook is the most difficult to come up with but once you have it you can literally make people come to you. Here are some other hooks that work:

“They call me Captain Crunch” 
       For an Accountant

“We tailor strategies for sales-centered companies.”
       A Sales Consultancy Group CEO

 “We connect unknown companies to world wide markets”  
       For an online Marketing Company

The trick of using your Hook in a self introduction is to stop right there. If they are curious they will come to you.  Then you can engage them in a conversation instead of commercial.

30 Second Marketing is one of the components of Marketing Without Money: Proven Common Sense Marketing Solutions that don’t cost an arm and a leg. Workshops are available now. Downloadable Digital files will be available in 2013. Visit  to learn more.




Direct Questions About Marketing Can Save You Big Bucks

Last year, Bud spent over $40,000
with two advertising agencies and got just two new customers.

We met over coffee at a spot
midway between his office and mine. We met because I’d received a mailing from
him and had immediately responded in this way:

“I received your mailing

As a professional, I’m
interested in the results, if any.

I’ll be astonished if you get
any reactions besides mine and any at all that are positive. This approach
screams your company’s need for contact management.

Consider if you will these
two requests:

1.      If I’m missing the point, please correct me.

2.      If not, let’s have a cup of coffee. I could be of
help to you.

One of the simple wonders of
Contact Management used for business development is the ability of the computer
to remind a user to take action. If we haven’t connected in a week, I’ll call

We really do need to talk.

The first hour is free. It
will include the one piece of advice you need to double your income.


Jerry Fletcher”

This is what I call a Back Sell letter. Because I’m a target for a massive range of mail
offers, I look for the badly structured ones and those obviously not connected
to a strong contact management approach. I then sell them…usually with a letter
like this that is calculated to “hook ‘em, hold ‘em, pitch ‘em and close
‘em…and get them to call me.

Bud’s story was all too
His letter was a valiant attempt to build his business by mailing to
a remnant of a list he purchased for the last ad agency he’d worked with. My
response was the only one he’d received ten days after the mailing.

Bud, shamefaced admitted to
me that, “The first agency told me all I needed was a glossy full-color
brochure. I’m kicking myself now for going along with them. I admit that part
of the fault is mine for not sending out those brochures. I can’t bring myself
to recycle them yet but no prospect will ever see them if it’s up to

The second agency told him
he needed to convert his direct mail act to and online and social networking
approach to generate those new customers. He really liked the approach they

“They told me to be sure I
had plenty of people to answer the phone and even suggested that I add some
lines,” Bud said.

The results? Forty thousand
dollars spent. Two agencies. A total of two new clients.

So I asked him, “What did
you do before your agency search?

He described his multiple
package mailings with letters that cleverly intimated the power of his personal
development training course. They were memorable mailings followed by telephone
calls to the recipient. Twenty of every hundred were interested enough to talk
more. Eight to twelve signed up. The cost of the three mailings was about $15.
So a hundred cost $1500 plus phone time.

I asked his margins…both
percentages and actual dollars. He told me and then spoke the words that forced
me to write this blog:

is the first time I’ve had this conversation. No one else I’ve talked to has
asked me about margins or shown me how to calculate break even on a mailing or
even asked me about follow-on business.”

If you believe you or a colleague need help
to develop better marketing approaches, learn from Bud’s experience. Don’t
trust any marketing counsel that doesn’t include looking at the return on your
investment. If they don’t calculate break even, they are not certainly not direct
specialists. If they don’t show you in hard numbers how you make money using
their services they are the only ones who will profit.

Bud’s learned a very
expensive lesson but his business will pull through.

We looked at his old
approach and found that he’d been breaking even on the first sale to new
customers so the high cost of his mailings wasn’t all bad… especially when you
considered the fact that nine out of ten of the new customers took the
follow-on training with a margin ten times that of the first round and a
selling costs of pennies.

To build your business
through direct marketing, on or offline, ask the right questions:

            What return can I expect on my investment?

            What is the break even on what you’re proposing?

            Will this provide an ongoing revenue stream?

If they can‘t answer, don’t
work with them.

Bud learned the hard way.
Both he and I hope you don’t have to.

It’s your money and your
business. Don’t be afraid to ask “Direct Questions.” It could save you big

Jerry Fletcher says, “Why
not get results for your money?”

Contact Management Systems? Find
the Ward Boss story at  


Are You the One Who Gets Results?

phone rang.

was Gerry chuckling and asking, “How much are you paying these people?”
was doing due diligence on a strategic marketing project. He had asked for
references on the contract, which will help determine a new direction for his
multi-million dollar operation.

references I‘d provided had all spoken highly of me.

then, why wouldn’t they? Each is still a close  friend. Each has
actively sought my advice on more than one project. Each has had concrete
results. And each has seen me deliver more than I promise.

expected that a business reference will laud your talents, your work habits and
your professionalism. They are supposed to support your search for a better
position, the next contract and that chance to showcase your capabilities.

yours? Take this simple test to see if you’re reference ready:

] Yes [ ] No               Have you established ongoing rapport with your references?

[ ] Yes [ ] No               Have
they worked with you or seen your results more than

[ ] Yes [ ] No               Have
you delivered the desired results?


[ ] Yes [ ] No               Have
you gone beyond the desired results in some way?

[ ] Yes [ ] No               Have
you cleared with them the possibility of being a

for you on the spur of the moment?

your references meet those qualifications? Are you ready with names and numbers
of folks that you trust to sell you? Can you just tell that prospect who to
call with no fear of what they’ll say? Can you provide that information without
prompting your references?

you can answer yes to all those questions then you’ve trained your references.
If not, here’s how:

Do great work. Always deliver more than
you promise and make sure that your promises are very specific. Gary told me, “My conversation with Gerry was about how I’d helped double their
income and how now, two years later, the recommended techniques and
technologies are still working.”

applies whether you’re a coffee barrista or run the local dry cleaners. Doing
the job well gets you repeat business.

Do it again. If you’re good at what
you do you’ll be asked to repeat your performance when:

Your reference moves to another company

Your reference starts a new division or group or section

Your reference is selected to turn an operation around

Your reference needs your expertise on another problem or

another reference, and I first met when I was the acting COO of a direct
marketing firm. We built a promotion for his company that resulted in their
best quarter ever. Two years later, Pete called to have me come in to do a
complete contact management audit of his company. And, he asked me to assist in
the introduction of their new product line. You don’t get that kind of repeat
business without delivering on promises and developing ongoing rapport.

you toil at the local auto lube or you’re a management consultant this applies
to you. People come back for good service and they send their friends… but only
if they’re sure you’ll treat them just as well.

Get to Trust. The single most important
element in building any business is Trust. You must trust your instincts, your
sales people, your staff and your customers. You must trust your references to
say the right thing. They must be sure that you won’t involve them needlessly.

the third reference I’d given Gerry, is a CEO and not a shy retiring kind of
lady. Melanie said, “I quizzed him on his selection process, pointed out some ways he could
improve it and explained how a competitor’s background would make them
shortsighted…all in about five minutes.” Gerry advised, “She spent most of her time
talking about character, getting to the heart of problems and providing honest
answers… whether they are liked or not. He told me that her final comment was:

“If you’re
gonna bet the company, bet it on someone who gets results.”

in simple terms is how you want your references to describe you… as the one who
gets results.

will, without prompting, if you meet the objectives you’ve set, can repeat your
success and have become an esteemed member of their team.

Jerry Fletcher is an expert at common sense marketing strategy
Schedule this Networking Ninja to speak to your company or organization.

How to Climb the Ladder of Dreams

As a speaker, I’ve done some
crazy things to make sure people get the point.

Early on, I started a speech
by coming on stage, climbing to the top of a step ladder, taking a seat and
beginning with these words:

entrepreneur has a dream. Something you strive for. The place you want to get

some of us it’s no more than a schematic imagined in a catnap. But for most
it’s a full color castle way up there in the air.

are you going to get there?

can you get to your castle in the air?

have to find the ladder.”

Today, more than ever you
need to find that ladder.

 You find it by understanding
how to generate referrals from people that can help you… step by step…climb the
ramparts to your castle in the air.

 There is a hierarchy to
referrals. Each step up is slightly more complex.

Each gets you closer to your
goal. Each reduces the amount you have to sell.

 Most times people are
looking for multiple resources to evaluate. How you are referred to them makes
all the difference.

 Here, in ascending order are
the steps up the ladder:

            Fifth Step:                                                      Endorsement

Step:                                      Testimonial

Step:                            Recommendation

Step:            Introduction

Step:      Pointer

To get the full article and learn
how to move up the ladder
go to

Here’s how to identify each

The Pointer—merely
suggests other people you might talk to. This referral literally points to
others and takes no proactive action to help you.

The Impersonal Introduction—leads to you making a telephone call or otherwise contacting
someone and saying, “Referral’s name said I should call you…”

The Personal Recommendation—is the first time that your referrer is actively
assisting you. A note or a letter that accompanies a copy of your materials
that simply says, “Person’s Name, take a look at this.” That is sufficient to
get you reviewed in some cases.

The Telephone Testimonial—occurs when the person you’re talking to picks up
the phone and provides a testimonial for you as you listen.

There is only one step
better than that. :

The Personal Endorsement— occurs when the referrer agrees to personally
endorse you in an introductory meeting with the prospect. The referrer sets up
the meeting, convinces the prospect to attend and relies on their friendship,mutual respect and trust to assure attendance.

 Marketing is Jerry’s area of
expertise. Learn more at

Jerry speaks professionally
as the NetworkingNinja

Pass this blog along to friends and acquaintances
that need to be referred to build a business, a career or a live of joy.


Use Customer Relationship Magic not Customer Relationship Management

After a nod from Susan she jots something on a notepad, leans into the kitchen and shouts something in Korean.

A bell on the door tinkles as we enter. Sandy looks up from her post behind the cash register and say, “Your usual Susan?”

Sandy turns then and raises one eyebrow. She knows I always have to make my mind up. I place my order and we go find a table.

A few minutes later she brings our order. Susan’s regular is not on the menu. But Sandy and her husband Sean know exactly what she wants. They made suggestions and listened until they got it “just right”.

Susan asked once, “How do you remember not just my order but those of every regular that comes through the door?”

I added, ‘She does it with folks I bring in for lunch as well. Even when it was months between visits she remembered that Brent wanted his mild.”

“Is no magic. I like my customers, like help them. They happy, come back again.”

Sandy and Sean run a little Teriyaki restaurant we frequent about once a week They don’t have sophisticated computerized software. Regardless of what she says, Sandy practices Customer Relationship Magic.

Here’s how you can put a little magic in your relationship with customers:

  1. Put your client data in the wetware as well as the software. Your brain has the capability of handling huge amounts of data and it is particularly good when the data is related to someone you see frequently. You can still store relevant information in your contact management or CRM software but clients and customers react much more favorably to being recognized and treated “special.”
  1. Ask them what you can do better and listen. At one point I was recovering from surgery and my appetite was not back to normal. Sandy came over, took a seat and said “You no like? Can I get you something else?” I told her I was recuperating and she said, “Til you get better I tell Sean to make you half portion and we add some Broccoli. It good for you.”  Yes, she is a bit of a “Mother hen” but I appreciate the fact I’m treated as an individual. Your clients and customers will as well.
  1. Help them set expectations. Knowing up front what they can expect makes the folks you provide products and services for much easier to deal with. The more definite you are about what you are going to deliver and when the more satisfied they will be. The more open you are about candidly responding to their concerns the stronger their bond to you will be. And the more often they will recommend you as someone that “lives up to their promises.”

Tell me what you would like to hear about from me. I’d like your comments and questions to guide me as I continue to write about Marketing, Networking and Public Speaking.

Don’t hesitate to pass the blog on to a friend or colleague you feel might profit from it. Urge them to sign up as you have.

Learn more about my marketing process at  
Public Speaking? You’ll find information at

What is the Price of Loyalty?

“Keeping clients or customers
gives you a better bottom line” said Max the budding sales automation

He continued, “The longer
you keep them the better. It costs less to sell to current customers because
the cost per sale is reduced and repeats are more frequent.”


That’s when I interrupted
asking, “How?

Max answered, “Raising
customer retention rates as little as 5% the average value of a customer
increases from 25% to 100%. Not as many new customers are needed to build your
business and you achieve real growth. All you need to do is maintain the loyalty
of your best customers.”

I had to disagree, “In other
words, you’re saying customers that are the most profitable now are the only
ones that this theory says are worthy of your best efforts.

What about the new customer
that has not established a ‘track record’ as yet?

How about the prospect that
represents a quantum leap?

What about the customer that
has been a major contributor to the bottom line in the past but is now

The price of loyalty…the
one-sided brand which these programs currently propose …is the loss of those
three customers.  It is a price most
businesses cannot afford.

Yes, you want to query your
contact management system for the most profitable customers. You do want to
know which parts of your service or product lines are most important to them.
You definitely want to define the value these high-yield customers seek from
you and let everyone in your organization know them.

But don’t set the metrics in

Relationships are dynamic,
not static.

Dynamic relationships demand
dynamic measurements. What is worth tracking?

Consider these:

Referrals-– not
only the number but the worth on the basis of initial purchase and of ongoing

customers willingness to wait for your product or service even when a
competitor’s is immediately available.

investment in your company in terms of stock or alliances or standing by you in
a time of crisis.

Trust—the key
element in any relationship. How much trust are they putting in your on-time
delivery and manufacturing capability? What is at stake for them with your
consulting services? Do they go out of their way to come to your store? What do
they put on the line inthis relationship?

Loyalty is only one part of
the dynamic relationship between you and your suspects, prospects and customers. Your ongoing task in this relationship
is to know your partner. That means understanding not only the business
requirements but also the personal differences between customers.

Your prospect and customer
contact management system should include ways to remember those things which
will allow you to personalize how you approach customers. Only by working with
their needs, desires, hopes and dreams can you build a protective barrier
between them and the competition.

You have to make each
customer believe they are special. The Loyalty program boosters believe that
this is done by spiffs and special awards. They believe that special cards and
clubs and point awards (customer retention programs) make people loyal.

Those activities do change
behavior…to a point. But you can’t buy loyalty.

Every single interaction you
and your staff have with that customer counts. A spiff can’t make up for
spending time waiting for your team to act. Payoffs don’t cancel out sloppy
service. Special cards or clubs won’t win him or her over if your product
doesn’t perform.

You want loyalty? Try being
loyal to them.

Rewards? Start by delivering
what you promise… consistently.  That’s
the reward they’re looking for.

Spiffs? Remember that it
offends some folks to be offered money to make a deal with you. They may
rethink why they wanted to make a deal in the first place.

Loyalty is constancy. It is
allegiance to the relationship. It is fidelity, staying true…for both you and
the customer. It is achieved through devotion and caring and knowing one

Loyalty is gained, not

It is given away, not sold.

Give some away today.

I guarantee it will be

Learn ore about marketing, product intros and nonstop referrals at  Need a keynote speaker? Check out

Use Signature Acts to Build Your Business

Sarah, my research associate
and I agree, “People forget at an alarming rate.“

Believe me, “You’ll forget
60% of this column by tomorrow according to some folks. Research I’ve verified
indicates that in 30 days your little gray cells will register nearly zero
recollection of these words.

That’s why my business these
days concentrates on helping companies become more memorable…principally
through the power of contact management techniques and technologies linked to
unique positioning and signature acts.

Signature Acts can be really
simple but highly effective. They give people a reason to remember you and to
make it a point to come to you rather than a competitor. Go to the Resources
page of my web site for the article that started me looking for Signature Acts.

Do you have a Signature Act?
What sets you apart? What makes you and your company more memorable than the
one down the street?

Like some examples?

1.      How about the United Airlines Pilot who picks a group
of passengers at random on each flight and sends them a handwritten thank you

2.      Consider the graphic artist that encloses a piece of
gum in every letter, memo or invoice he puts in an envelope.

3.      The gas station mechanic that washes and vacuums
every vehicle left for maintenance before it is returned no matter how mundane
the service. (I watched my car getting this treatment when the entire fix was a
fifty cent fuse!)

4.      A training company that mails those little wire brain
teasers to prospects.

5.      A contractor who builds multimillion dollar homes who
presents the owner with a personally selected sculpture that fits the design
and décor of the home on completion.

6.      A plumber who literally rolls out a red carpet
between your front door and the fixture that requires attention. Keeping your
carpets clean is a major part of his “red carpet service.”

7.      A tiny café on a two lane blacktop in the middle of
nowhere called the Free Cup. Your first cup of coffee on every visit was free
so long as you wrote your name on one of their free cups and let them display
it on the wall. Only got back twice…but 
I made it a habit to go that way. 
I sure wish I had the cup holder franchise in that part of the country.

Please comment if you’re
willing to share your Signature Act or one you’ve come across.”

You can learn more about my
take on Marketing at

Looking for a speaker? Check my speaking site

Use Your Name to Protect the Innocent

TV crime dramas used to stipulate, “Only the names have been changed…to protect the innocent.”

That’s why I’ve modified the name of my company:

To protect the innocent who couldn’t seem to pronounce the old name.

To protect the innocent who somehow never figured out how to spell it.

To protect the innocent who couldn’t relate the name to what they needed.

To protect the innocent who prefer names that are personal or descriptive or seem familiar.

To protect the innocent who expect a name to work on the net as well as in print and broadcast.

…to protect the innocent.

If you are a consultant, solopreneur or run a professional practice you need to use your name not some fanciful combination or words letters or phrases that have to be explained.

I say, “Use your own name. People remember you by your name not your company name. My name outscores other keywords by a factor of 25 to 1 on Linked In. The analytics say, protect the innocent.”

For years I asked clients, “Is your company name easy to say? Is it pronounceable for you employees and introducers and, most importantly, your potential customers?” Protect the innocent.

A letter, followed by a hyphen just doesn’t work. People don’t know what to do with it. Most just shine it on. I made that mistake with Z-axis Marketing, Inc.

When I was in the Army, our Hawaiian-born company clerk was called “Pineapple” because folks couldn’t wrap their tongues around his name. His best friend whose grandparents had immigrated from Poland was called “Alphabet”. Same problem. Before you adopt any name for your company, test it. Find out how people expect to say it.

Listen to how much of the name they say as well. That’s a good indicator of how much difficulty prospects and customers will have in remembering and writing it.

People tend to shorten names of partnerships. Yesterday I was trying to refer someone to a law firm. Of the two choices, one possibility was easy to recall because it is commonly shortened to the name of the first partner in the list on the door. The other produced this Seinfeldesque chip off the old memory block, “Yadda, Yadda, Yadda and Bragg.”

Hear me, “If your company name is difficult to write, it will get butchered. To assure writing ease, don’t trick it up with uncommon spelling. Avoid Smyth or Smythe. Protect the innocent.”

People want to build a relationship with you. That’s hard to do if they don’t understand your name or think they can.

That’s why I’ve changed the emphasis on my web sites, my business cards and my other promotional material to my name from my business name. I’ll keep the legal name and it will appear but I would rather make it easy for people to find me.

I’m using my name to protect the innocent.

Learn more about how I approach marketing at

For information on my international speaking activities go to