• Do you insist staff members work as a team?

    20 Sep 2019 | 12:00 am

    The Apostle Paul wrote, "Reject a factious man after the first and second warning" (Titus 3:10 NASB). Teamwork and harmony are key to business success. When an employee demonstrates a contentious spirit and torpedoes team work by causing unreasonable staff[…]

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Steve Marr Blog

Steve Marr's contributions
May 06
2019

Wanting Advice

Posted by Steve Marr in Untagged 

When a prospective client asks for my opinion, usually they simply want me to affirm what they’ve already decided to do. They really don’t want an independent perspective. We see an example in scripture where a prophet of the Lord was pressured. “Meanwhile, the messenger who went to get Micaiah said to him, ‘Look, all the prophets are promising victory for the king. Be sure that you agree with them and promise success.’ But Micaiah replied, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, I will say only what the Lord tells me to say.’” (1 Kings 22:13-14, NIV)

Clearly, the messengers only wanted Micaiah to affirm what the other advisors had already determined was the correct action. Unfortunately, the king ignored the prophet’s advice which was the opposite from the other prophets and the king was killed.

When I work with clients and their businesses, I try to point out different options with the pluses and minuses of each choice. For example, one client wanted to hire a family member.  I asked the question, “If you needed to fire that person, how would it impact family relationships?” The client admitted it would be serious and make for a very difficult Thanksgiving dinner. My advice was not to hire the person because the consequences of the arrangement not working out would far exceed the temporary pleasure of hiring a family member. Despite my advice, the client hired the family member.  Six months later, my client had to terminate the relative.  It took several years to heal the relationship.

Apr 29
2019

Customers Have More Information than Ever

Posted by Steve Marr in Untagged 

The free market is a large auction where buyers compete with other buyers and sellers compete with other sellers. Few have such a unique product or service that only they can produce.  Even in those instances, we need to be careful that a high price doesn’t push buyers elsewhere.

For example, I’m doing a research project and wanted to buy several books. One book was $75 new, but I found a used copy in “acceptable condition.” I really didn’t care whether the book was dog-eared or marked up; $12 was better than $75. Another book listed for $25, but I was able to purchase a used one for $5.  Without the information Amazon provided, I wouldn’t have been able to make those decisions.

Apr 24
2019

What We Should Have Known

Posted by Steve Marr in Untagged 

A staff member, who reported to me, had messed up; and I was explaining the situation to my boss.  To lessen my responsibility, I said something like, “I didn’t know.” The immediate response from my superior was, “If you didn’t know, you should have known.” In retrospect this rebuke was spot on. In fact, I’ve stolen this response several times when I dealt with colleagues.

Apr 19
2019

The Power of Rhetorical Questions

Posted by Steve Marr in Untagged 

There is great power in a rhetorical question. Bernie Cornfield proved it.  He pioneered the selling of mutual funds in the 1950s. He started with the question, “Do you sincerely want to be rich?” The short answer for most people was, “Yes.” He used this rhetorical question to power his organization that employed 25,000 salespeople at the height of his success.

Rhetorical questions can also be very powerful in closing sales.

Apr 15
2019

Understand the Buyer’s Cycle

Posted by Steve Marr in Untagged 

Often customers buy products on a pre-decided schedule. For example, I had the responsibility for corporate purchasing years ago where an office machine might have a three-year lease. The company holding the lease would typically come in three or four months before the expiration time to renew or sell me a new or upgraded machine, likely at a more expensive price. Other salesmen might also try to interest me in a new machine, but at the wrong time. I turned them away because I wasn’t currently in the market for another copy machine. Not one ever asked me what the renewal date was so they could schedule a call before I signed with somebody else.

I am amazed at how few real estate agents stay in touch with customers and prospects after a sale. The average homeowner moves every 5 to 7 years.  Each instance will require a real estate agent to sell a home and possibly assist with the acquisition of a new place.  Real estate sales are very competitive, and the commissions are rather substantial so investing time to keep in touch with former customers is smart.  By asking how the family is doing, if the family is growing or whether kids are leaving home; the wise agent can be first in line for an additional commission.

Amazon does a good job of sending reminders suggesting buying a product again.  While I tend to find these annoying, I believe they are effective in selling product.