Thursday, March 04, 2010

Telephone Tools

This post is devoted entirely to reducing telephone costs.

Magic Jack
This tool is a real cost reducer.It allows you to plug the magicJack into your PC using a USB port and then you can plug your telephone wire into the Magic Jack and make unlimited calls for free to anywhere to the USA or Canada.So you could be in the USA or anywhere else in the WORLD and log on to the Internet using Wireless network or any other Internet connection and then start making telephone calls to land lines or cell phones in the USA or Canada.You could also run the wire out from your magicJack to the line into your home or office and all the phones would be able to make calls immediately.The magicJack costs around $40 USD for the unit and then $20 USD each year thereafter. You can find more information at

By now, everyone should be familiar with Skype available from
I have tested it and it shows video from a web cam much faster than Yahoo Messenger and, presumably, other IM sites. No stuttering of the video frames and great FREE talking over the Internet with a microphone, either built-in or a plug-in.

netTalk TK6000
This tool is an even better cost reducer.This device does not require a PC. You simply plug this into the back or your cable modem or or other Internet router and them plug your phone line into the TK6000 and immediately make phone calls to anywhere in the USA or Canada for free. You can also receive calls from anywhere in the US or Canada since netTalk will give you a phone number to use so you can be called.You could also run the wire out from your TK6000 to the line into your home or office and all the phones would be able to make calls immediately.The TK6000 costs a one-time $100 USD for then all calls are free for life. And there is no need to have a PC running to use it. You can find more information at

Phone Number Parking
There are a number of Internet services where you can "Park" you phone number so you do not lose it or so you can forward calls to the number to another phone number such as you cell phone.These services do NOT charge the high monthly fees that ATT or other phone line services charge.Among these services are: and

Creating Continual Value for Your Clients(From Neil Rackham, founder of Huthwaite)

Want to increase market share? Want to increase revenue per account? Want to build referrals? Of course: what organization wouldn’t? Building a strategic and tactical plan to retain and grow your existing clients will do all three. Building one plan, to fit all your clients, will do none.
Are your client retention activities carefully segmented by both profitability and buyer type? In his ground breaking research, Creating Real Value for Customers Neil Rackham, Huthwaite’s founder, argued that there are three core buyer types:
1. Intrinsic value buyers: the value is intrinsic to the product alone, they already understand what they are buying and how to use it, the sales force adds nothing. One of the most well known intrinsic value buyers is Wal-Mart. These are called "Transactional" customers.
2. Extrinsic value buyers: the value is not so much in the product, but chiefly in how it is used. These customers put a premium on help and advice. These are called "Consultative" customers.
3. Strategic value buyers: they demand an extraordinary level of value offering, the product or advise is insufficient, they are looking to leverage all of their partner’s core competencies and will transform their own organization and strategies to make the most of their strategic value relationship. These are called "Enterprise" customers.
The successful sales organization will sell to each buyer type differently, creating real value in the sales process itself. The successful whole organization, will manage the on-going client relationship to each buyer type differently, thereby creating continual value for its clients.
Think of your single most profitable intrinsic value client. Now think of your single most profitable strategic value client. These are your two extremes. Given that the value they purchased was dramatically different, it is highly probable that what they will continue to value, will be dramatically different. Therefore, if your client retention activities look the same for both these clients, you have a fundamental problem. They do not value the same things.
For example, offering on-going nuggets of advise to an intrinsic value buyer is more likely to build irritation then retention. In the same way, sending weekly product schematics with no explanation or support to an extrinsic buyer suggests that you do not understand them as a client.
Continual is the key. After all, what they value is not a surprise. You know the value that you sold and that they bought. You know their needs and their perceptions. Now, you just have to embed them throughout every touch point in your organization. Client focus by buyer type needs to become habitual.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Google Web Master Tools

If you go to Google's web site and click around you will find some terrific tools to help your web site come up higher in search engines.

You will find some code that can be inserted in your web site to "Verify" that your site is real so Google's bots can index it.

You will also find a "Site Map Creater" which is handy for Google's bots to index your site also.

Additionally, there are many other suggestions and guides presented that very marketer should read and understand.

Please feel free to call us if you have trouble with finding or understanding these tools.

Microsoft Access PDF File Creation

A Microsoft Access "Add-In" allows you convert reports to PDF files for easy emailing and reading by your customers and associates.

Go to and enter the following into their Search box: "2007 Microsoft Office Add-in: Microsoft Save as PDF"

You can create a report in Access 2207 then click on File, SendTo, Email Recipient and you will be given a format choice which, after you upload the add-in, will include PDF format.Virtually everyone has Adobe Acrobat Reader which is the program necessary for reading PDF files.

Additionally, there are third party PDF file editors available that would let the recipient make changes to the report.

Expression Web Replaced FrontPage

In an earlier Newsletter I complained about how Microsoft had discontinued FrontPage as their HTML editor program for non-programmers.

Well, I have to say Microsoft's suite of Expression software is quite impressive. Expression Web is an excellent replacement for FrontPage and the other items included in the suite are very powerful additions.

While I am not a senior programmer I like to make my own changes to web sites and Expression Web is the right tool.

The applications included in Expressions Suite include: Expression Blend; Expression Encoder; Expression Design; Expression Media and Expression Web.

As best as I can tell these shake out as follows:

Expressions Web is the follow-on from Front Page

Expressions Blend is used to create an "Exe" project file which can hold a range of files including XAML files. (Not sure exactly what this is for but looks like it could be for collective work on certain files which MIGHT include Access databases)

Expression Design is a graphics program like Adobe Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro

Expressions Encoder is a video "encoding" program which allows you to set the "bandwidth" requirements of videos that will be placed on the internet. They can be viewed in original state as well as in a wide range of "compressed" formats side by side for comparison. It also allows some video editing.

Expressions Media is a media cataloging program that allows some editing and may allow making a short video by "animating" several jpg files

How To Treat Others With Respect

The following suggestions are from a very helpful website which can be viewed by clicking on this link.


Treating people with respect makes your world a nicer place to live in, whether it's at home, at school, or out in your community. And it's easy - all you have to do is treat people the way you like to have them treat you. Here are a few ideas.
• Don't insult people or make fun of them.
• Listen to others when they speak.
• Value other people's opinions.
• Be considerate of people's likes and dislikes.
• Don't mock or tease people.
• Don't talk about people behind their backs.
• Be sensitive to other people's feelings.
• Don't pressure someone to do something he or she doesn't want to do.

We live in a diverse nation made up of many different cultures, languages, races, and backgrounds. That kind of variety can make all our lives a lot more fun and interesting, but only if we get along with each other. And to do that we have to respect each other. In addition to the list above, here are some ways we can respect people who are different from us.

• Try to learn something from the other person.
• Never stereotype people.
• Show interest and appreciation for other people's cultures and backgrounds.
• Don't go along with prejudices and racist attitudes.

If you are using the video, ask the first question before viewing.
1. Agree or disagree: It's okay to insult or make fun of people as long as they don't hear it.
2. What are some common signs of disrespect that you see in people here at school? How do you feel about that?
3. What do you dislike most about the way people treat each other here at school? What do you like the most? Why do you feel that way?
4. Are there a lot of put-downs here at school? Are put-downs a sign of disrespect? How, in what way?
5. Is there a difference between a put-down and an insult? What's the difference?
6. Do you have to like a person in order to be respectful, or can you be respectful to someone even if you don't particularly care for him or her?
7. When you're with a group of kids, what things might other people do or say that make you feel good? What things make you feel bad?
8. Do you think there is racism here at school? How is it expressed? How does that make you feel?
9. Have you, personally, ever experienced racism or some other type of prejudice? What happened? How did it make you feel?
10. Do the kids in your school tend to stay within their own racial and ethnic groups, or do they mix. Why do you think that happens here?
11. Several of the kids in the video commented that they feel pressure to stay with their own kind rather than mixing. Do you find the same pressures here at your school?
12. Do you think people are afraid of differences sometimes? Can you give some examples? Why do you think that's true?
13. Is it harder to respect someone who is very different from us? Why?
14. What are the benefits of having friends who are different from us?
15. Have you ever learned something new about a different culture from a friend?
16. How well do you kids know each other? What things stand in the way of getting to know people better?
17. What responsibilities do you feel you have toward your classmates?
18. Is it ever okay to treat another person with disrespect?
19. What are the benefits of treating people with respect?
20. The kids in this video said they think everybody is entitled to be treated with respect. Do you agree?
21. What was most meaningful to you in this video? 22. Did anybody in this video say anything you disagree with? What would you say to that person?


Thursday, February 28, 2008

Ouch! bid4prizes and Verizon took advantage of me

I have a Verizon Wireless cell phone and do not get a "paper" statement so I have been just paying the amount due each month without checking what all the charges are for.

My bill has been running about $75 per month.

Today, I went online to look at my account and found that has been charging me $9.99 per month without my permission. Somehow they have been adding this to my Verizon bill for 8 months!

There is no way I would have authorized any third party to charge me $9.99 per month!

First of all, I have no idea what they do nor do I care.

I am just very upset that they have been charging me without my permission.

When I called (bid 4 prizes) they said they would "unsubscribe" me but would not refund the eight months I have already paid.

Then I called Verizon Wireless and they said they would not refund the monies to me either. They said they were not billing me. However, they ARE billing me. The bid4prizes monthly fee is rolled into the cell phone bill.

I am very angry at Verizon Wireless AND bid4prizes since they are in it together in my opinion.

What is really disturbing to me are the countless others that are also being billed for this... without their knowledge.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Beaumont Hospital is a top ranked hospital with several locations around the Detroit metropolitan area. They are using customer service to increase sales.

Most medical practices and hospitals provide very low customer service and often give the impression that they are above the need to be "nice" to their customers. Not these guys! Beaumont Hospital is exemplary in their dedication to providing customer service.

A short while ago, a friend of mine and his wife, both in their 50's, were seriously injured in a motorcycle accident and were taken to Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak.
Myself and a bunch of their friends went to the hospital to provide support and help them in this time of need. When we arrived at the hospital we found the parking structure attendant was there to help us find our destination and NOT to collect a parking fee. There are no parking fees at Beaumont Hospital! What a relief to us since we all disdain paying for parking.

Anyway, when we entered the hospital and asked for our friends the Information Desk asked if we could wait for a "Patient Advocate" who would take us to our friends and help us get information. So, of course, we said yes. Very promptly, an articulate and caring young man introduced himself and told us about the condition of our friends and then took us up to visit them. Along the way, he showed us where the waiting room was and gave us a layout of the hotel. He noted where we could get gifts and food. What a gentleman he was.

Additionally, he introduced us to the Intensive Care personnel that were assigned to our very seriously injured friends. These professionals explained the condition and situation facing our friends. They allowed us to visit with them privately for a few minutes and then very courteously suggested we come back the next day.

When we got down to the lobby all of us remarked on what a fantastic experience the hospital had provided for us. We all felt that Beaumont Hospital is where we would like to be if and when we ever need hospital care.

As luck would have it, another dear friend of mine discovered that her aortic valve needed to be replaced. Can you guess where I recommended that she get the work done? Of course, I recommended Beaumont Hospital.

Her open heart surgery was performed at Beaumont Hospital on a very cold day in December. As I passed bye the Parking Lot Attendant she informed me that there was an underground tunnel that would provide shelter and warmth while going from the parking structure to the hospital. WOW, how about that! A tunnel to protect the hospital customers and visitors from the very nasty Michigan winter weather. Now, that is dedication to customer service.
Now that I am in my sixties, and many of my friends are too, chances are that we will need to spend more time in hospitals and there are a lot of choices around the Detroit area.
Where do you think I am going? Beaumont Hospital, of course!!!

By the way, in 2006 the hospital provided $177 million in unpaid services. Now, that is helping the community!

Are you going to teach me something NEW?

Are you going to teach me something NEW?

Here is another question that I am frequently asked. Many sales managers and business owners hope that there is going to be some magical method of increasing sales quickly without work and without being competitive. Wouldn't that be nice? My nearly 40 years in sales have taught me that sales come from doing simple things properly. Providing value through our products or services and providing personal value through our own experience and personality are the keys to sales growth. Sure, there are new tools that technology has given us but there are still many very successful sales people that don't use any technological tools. Among the many simple things are being nice to people and treating them with respect.

Does it matter where I put my name tag?

Does it matter where I put my name tag?

After many hours of contemplation I can hereby make the proclamation that they should be worn on the right side of your body. For a man, the right lapel would be perfect. My reasoning on this is that when you shake hands with someone you normally use your right hands and a name tag on the right side is the most readable.

Why do I need sales training?

Why do I need sales training?

This is a question that I am often asked. My answer is simple: "Companies do a good job of teaching their employees about the products and services that they sell but they often overlook two important needs that most sales people have. These are 'how to manage time' and 'how to manage relationships'. Good sales training will help with these needs."

The telephone is a more helpful sales tool now

The telephone is more helpful now

It has been said that a sales person should try to make all his customer contacts in person. While I agree with this in principle I have found that "the times they are a changing".
Surely, nobody can challenge the phone for shear volume of contacts. We have found that an aggressive sales person can make as many as 125 phone contacts in one day. However, we have also found out that an average outbound tele-marketer will usually average about 70 phone calls a day.

Contrast this with face-to-face visits numbering four to ten per day.... with the norm being closer to the four than the ten. So the phone wins in shear volume. (I remember actually making 12 face-to-face visits one day in Los Angeles but I think that was some kind of record).
Good sales people will tell you that a phone contact is not nearly as valuable as a face-to-face visit. However, the phone contact can be greatly enhanced today with technology.

Technology enhances the telephone
Using a fax-from-PC program such as WinFaxPro, a sales person can create a very nice looking Microsoft Word document and fax it directly from the PC in as little as 45 seconds.... as long as you have a modem and a phone line to the PC.

Further, a GREAT looking html document can be created in Microsoft Front Page with colors and links to graphics for pictures, videos, graphics and logos. This html document can be turned into Stationery in Microsoft Outlook and emailed to a prospect along with PDF format catalogs also in as little as 45 seconds.

Both of these technology tools can be used to enhance a phone call and be completed in under two minutes, making the phone call a much better customer contact than it was years ago.
Many of today's sales managers were brought up years ago when the technology tools like WinFaxPro and Microsoft Outlook did not exist and therefore they tend to shy away from promoting phone contacts. Also, being at home "working" can have many distractions from children and loved ones so it takes a lot of discipline to WORK from home.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Sales and marketing questions

This has been set up to allow visitors to present or ask "Sales or Marketing" questions and for me and others to provide comments.

John Mitchell