Here’s a shocker — the customer is ALWAYS right

POSTED IN: Resources
February 10, 2019

How can anyone not know that?  had a miserable dining experience at a Calgary restaurant on Friday evening with a girlfriend. In fact, it was the all-time worst dining experience — and I’ve eaten in a lot of restaurants. What’s surprising about it is that the venue receives rave revues, is a finalist on a Netflix show and is often fully booked. Interesting. You couldn’t pay me to go back. Why?

Where shall I start? How about at the beginning? I was just removing my coat and about to be seated wheBad Servicen the hostess advised me that there was something she called a ‘time constraint’ on our reservation. We had 90 minutes to ‘enjoy’ our dinner. When our server arrived — she was overstretched between her tables — I complained. She said she was sorry. She helped us to order what she said were the best dishes on the menu — and then said she thought that was enough, that we should be able to finish eating her recommendations in our allotted time. WTH? One of our dishes was slightly burnt and we sent it back. The GM arrived to advise us ‘that the dish was not burnt. It was cooked the way it was supposed to be, and he would remove it from our bill.’ We wanted another one and he refused to provide it. The rest of the food was good, not incredible, but quite good.

At 10 minutes before our 90 minute ‘time constraint’ was up, we were told our stay was coming to an end. We complained again — and after many sorries, we left — still hungry. We walked across the street to a long-standing French restaurant, Fleur de Sel, which has graced Calgary with its good food and treatment of customers as people and friends, not commodities, for the past 25-30 years. 

Clearly,  current success and press clippings have gone to the collective heads running the first establishment. That doesn’t bode well for its longevity. I’ll say my good-bye now.

Use storytelling instead of companyspeak to persuade your audiences

POSTED IN: Resources
January 8, 2019

As business owners or entrepreneurs, our goal is often to persuade others — to buy into our vision for the future by doing what we’re asking of them or to hire us to provide our services or products. But few of us are persuaded by basic facts and figures to change our minds or our behaviour.

“Persuasion is the centerpiece of business activity. Customers must be convinced to buy your company’s products or services, employees and colleagues to go along with a new strategic plan or reorganization, investors to buy (or not to sell) your stock, and partners to sign the next deal. But despite the critical importance of persuasion, most executives struggle to communicate, let alone inspire. Too often, they get lost in the accoutrements of companyspeak: PowerPoint slides, dry memos, and hyperbolic missives from the corporate communications department. Even the most carefully researched and considered efforts are routinely greeted with cynicism, lassitude, or outright dismissal.” Harvard Business Review Storytelling that moves people

Create meaning with story

From ancient times, human beings have used stories to communicate, to teach and to connect with one another. It’s no different today. Stories create meaning, whether we’re telling them for personal or for business purposes. "Tell them your story" handwritten with white chalk on a blackboMeaning gives us a reason to care, and to then make a decision about whether we agree with what we’re being told.

Storytelling connects others to us, to our business, brand, product or service and to our plans and dreams for the future. People need to see themselves in a scenario. When we’re pitching our ideas to them, we need to tell the story of the problem we’re solving — for them — and how our vision, product or service provides the best solution. For them.

‘Yet, a lot of businesses, especially small businesses, fail to integrate storytelling in their marketing campaigns. People want to connect with businesses, with brands. Thus advertising needs to be more than just cheap tactics such as flashy pictures, humour, sex appeal, and a lot of graphics. People choose simple story-based ads over expensive action-driven ads over and over again because those exact ads, or rather, those exact stories, make people feel, make people relate, make people care. And it goes beyond advertising.’ Technology Advice The Importance of Storytelling in Growing Your Business

Give them a reason to care

Employees need a reason to be motivated. Customers look for a reason to engage with our business. Investors want a reason to choose your company over another. Storytelling provides the reasons to care.

Your business storytelling needs to be consistent across every channel — social media, website, content, design, PR, product, services and employees. It needs to be part of pitching, marketing, product development, hiring and retaining the best talent and creating an outstanding culture.

There’s a quote I came across several years ago by bestselling author and vice-presidential speechwriter Daniel Pink that sums it up well:

“Once upon a time, business could ignore story. Doing that today though, could spell the end.”   (Daniel Pink, Forbes Magazine)

The Business Book. Write yours — gain credibility and celebrity status

POSTED IN: Resources
November 20, 2018

Writing a business book is something every business owner or entrepreneur should consider. So, why are so few of taking advantage of one of the most effective marketing and networking tools available?

From what I’ve observed, these are some of the reasons:

Overwhelmed by the prospect of writing a book

  • How do I start?
  • Where do I find the find time?
  • How can I write a book if I’m a not good/terrible writer?
  • What should my specific topic be?
  • How would I market it?

I’ve developed a simple process you can follow to start and complete your book, which removes all the anxiety created by taking on such a significant and unfamiliar project.

Not sure it makes business sense to write a book

  • Is it worth the time and effort?
  • Will I get a return on my investment?
  • Will the book sell?
  • What will be the ROI?

Mike Schultz, President of RAIN Group, is a world-renowned consultant, sales expert and co-author of several books. He and the RAIN Group team have worked with organizations such as Toyota, Monitor-Deloitte, Harvard Business School, Oracle, Fidelity Investments, Ryder, Quintiles, UL, Navigant Consulting, Hitachi, Lee Hecht Harrison, Lowe’s, and hundreds of others to unleash sales performance. He is also often quoted as an expert by news outlets such as Business Week, The Globe and Mail, Inc. Magazine, MSNBC, and hundreds of others.

RAIN Group conducted a survey of 200 business book authors and released a report, The Business Impact of Writing A Book. In a Bloomberg article, Business by the Book

- Can writing a book boost your outfit’s bottom line? Schultz stated the results of his report indicated the answer was yes — and in a host of direct and indirect ways. (

Many of the business benefits will be intangible. You may not even sell that many copies of your book. But that’s okay, because the other benefits will create even bigger rewards:

Expanded personal credibility

When you publish a book, from what I’ve seen with the authors I’ve worked with, people think you are smarter and more of an expert. With some of my clients who have published more than one book, they havefans rock concert gained almost celebrity status.

Increased business credibility

Writing a good business book definitely gives you expert status and legitimacy in people’s eyes. Having a book in your hand to show business connections will open doors to potential clients, business partners and other key stakeholders. Your business will gain a ‘halo effect’ as you position yourself as an expert in your industry.

Stronger brand clarity

Your business book will help employees to better understand the principles of your business and your goals. Existing and possible clients will see how you can be of value to them.

Stand out from your competitors

Writing your business book will differentiate you from your competitors. You’ll become known as a subject matter expert in your field  which can lead to invitations to speak at industry events and requests from the media to share your expertise.

More speaking engagement invitations

Authoring a good, well-written business book can lead to speaking engagements, another effective tool to market your business and to network. In 5 Reasons Why Every Entrepreneur Should be a Speaker, international speaker, strategic consultant, and Amazon #1 bestselling author, Chris Kai says “…The biggest single challenge I see with entrepreneurs is that they struggle to find a robust pipeline of prospects, clients, and referrals. …..According to an Inc. magazine article 96% of businesses fail within 10 years. If you have no clients you have no business.

One of the best kept secrets that I am about to share with you is what I call Next Level Networking.  If “networking” is defined as you attending a networking event to potentially find new clients, it can often be difficult, time-consuming, expensive, and fruitless. Perhaps you attend the wrong event and meet no prospects and you spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars with zero return on investment. That isn’t sustainable or an effective use of your time. Next Level Networking is positioning yourself as a speaker. Here are 5 reasons why every entrepreneur should be a speaker…..

Kai goes onto share some great points on why every entrepreneur should include speaking engagements as a primary marketing and networking tool.  ( 5 Reasons why every entrepreneur should be a speaker)

Take the mystery out of how to write a business book

On January 18, 2019, I’m hosting Write Now!, an introductory business book writing workshop to help you get started on writing your book, along with media entrepreneur and author Dana Goldstein. Early bird tickets — $149, a savings of $50, in effect until December 15. For more information and to reserve your seat, visit Write Now!

Establish yourself as an expert in your field before your competition does. I also work one-on-one with business owners to help them through the process, to edit their books, or if they don’t want to write the book themselves, I also offer ghostwriting services. Contact me if you want to have a cup of coffee and talk about your business book….

Life Lessons

POSTED IN: Resources
May 28, 2014

If you don’t know the trees you may be lost in the forest, but if you don’t know the stories you may be lost in life. —Siberian Elder

Word of the Week

POSTED IN: Resources
May 24, 2013

‘calque’ ~  word or expression introduced into a language by literally translating it
‘graphomania’ ~ obsession with writing

Let's grab a coffee & swap stories
Denise Summers
Amphora Communications
(403) 852-6320