Six practices of the influential person

Tips for Entrepreneurs: When your time is what you sell, being available on call all the time sends a subconscious message of “I have no other clients besides you."

British delegation meets Israeli entrepreneurs at a workshop (photo credit: Courtesy British Embassy in Israel)
British delegation meets Israeli entrepreneurs at a workshop
(photo credit: Courtesy British Embassy in Israel)
Whether you say, “I want to be a marketing consultant, too,” or just someone who wants to get along with others, here are six tips that every influential person has in their arsenal.
Clocks need to smile
Did you know that when you take a picture with a clock or watch in it, the time should always be 1:10 or 11:10?
Make people feel empowered
“Coffee or tea?” The waitress doesn’t really care which drink you order. She just knows that phrasing the question properly means she makes more money than if she asks, “Can I get you a drink?” Asking for a decision between two options encourages a sale because the customer is more inclined to buy one or the other than to decline. Yes or no questions (Can I get you a drink?) allow the customer to choose between buying and not buying. A “no” doesn’t get the waitress any bump up on the order amount and hence results in a smaller tip.
Remember their name – and its proper pronunciation
I once got an $8 million deal because I was able to pronounce “Valisilos” and an equally hard last name correctly on the phone when leaving a voice-mail for the fellow. At that point I’d never met him, but I was lucky enough to pronounce his name correctly. I only found out later that my proper pronunciation had sealed the deal.
I personally can’t stand when people mispronounce my name. Say my name right and you have a better shot at making me more interested in what you have to say. And if you aren’t sure how to say it, ask! People appreciate it. And they love the sound of their name too, as Dale Carnegie reminds us. But if you pronounce it wrong, the opposite effect can happen.
During the vice-presidential debates in 2008, Sarah Palin knew that she was having a hard time saying the name of vice president Joe Biden, calling him “O’Biden,” confusing him with Obama’s name... So if you look at the first moment of the debate, in the last election, you’ll see Palin ask Joe Biden, “Can I call you Joe?” He should have said no. Then, when she’d fumbled with his name, it would have given her negative points. He could have easily won the debate, as viewer perception is the key issue and reason for a debate, no matter what your political leanings. Aaah, the value of hindsight.
Don’t always be available on a dime
While this is true for many business owners and entrepreneurs, it’s valuable for consultants and professionals especially. When your time is what you sell, being available on call all the time sends a subconscious message of “I have no other clients besides you. In fact, I’ve been sitting here twiddling my thumbs waiting for the phone to ring!” Don’t always be available. There’s nothing wrong with telling them you’ll be calling them back, or letting them leave a message. They’ll actually be happier, more satisfied customers for it.
Write this next one down. Okay, for this next one you’ll need a pen. Go get one before you read further. Again – stop reading here and take out a pen. You didn’t? You just kept reading? You see, this is something crucial to understanding human nature. People are lazy, and you need to light a fire in them to push them over the cliff so they can change their life for the better. Now, write that down.
Understand the market’s media message triangle
Dan Kennedy, one of the granddaddies of direct marketing, shows a three-pronged triangle with the corners labeled markets, media and message.
You want to be in the center of that triangle
Using the right message, persuasively crafted, will do wonders – but only if the media is correct and the market is properly targeted. The best swimming-pool installation ad will do poorly in the inner city. It would probably do poorly if it was a billboard on the campus of the swim-o-phobia institute for water nightmares. Pick a receptive market for your message and use the proper media to reach them.
A receptive audience only means they want what you’re selling – and not necessarily what you’d expect them to want. For instance, put someone in a dental surgeon’s waiting room with no WiFi or cellphone reception. A candy machine – even though eating candy is known to cause tooth issues – would probably draw attention and buyers.
After all, it is buyers who eat candy who often visit a dentist. The candy would most likely appeal to those coming into the office, not those leaving it after extensive dental work. Like I said, market, media and message matter.
But then again, pharmacies sell cigarettes that kill… Does that make any sense to you? But then again, many unhealthy people visit the pharmacy, when you think about it.
Issamar Ginzberg is a business adviser, marketer, professional speaker and rabbi who has been published in more than 50 business publications.