“The key to business success is sincerity.  If you can fake that, you’ve got it made”  --Bob Hope

    Several years ago I was presenting a program at an elementary school. I was near a cafeteria serving line where the check out had a computerized voice which told the patrons, out loud in a computer-sythesized voice, their food bill total.  Once payment had been entered the computer would say “thank you” in it’s digitized voice.

    At first I could not fathom a more insincere system than a computerized voice that told patrons “thank you”.  If the living, breathing, human being who was standing there, taking your money, and entering the prices of each item into the computer couldn’t muster the sincere appreciation to utter those words, what meaning did they have coming from a computer generated voice?

    But the kicker came after about five or six patrons went through the line.  The computer, it turns out, was programmed to tell every seventh customer “Have a nice day”.  Naturally, when I heard the computer tell patrons to “have a nice day” I almost choked on the water I was drinking.

    For the rest of the afternoon I pondered which is worse: apathy or insincerity.  Is it better to hear a computerized voice telling you how much it appreciates your business or is it better not to hear any thanks at all?  Is it better not to return phone calls than to return them with heavy sighs and a sarcastic attitude?

    I still haven’t determined for myself which is worse, apathy or insincerity.  I gave up on the question when I realized that neither of them is required.  In fact, I think that real success demands sincere concern for our customers and clients.

    Oh sure, I know that you can generate money through deception.  I even understand that there are schools of thought that suggest that the ruder you are to your customers and clients (within limits), the more they respect you.  I simply don’t choose to run my business that way.  I legitimately enjoy helping people and I like hearing people tell me how easy I am to work with.  I enjoy emotional rewards in addition to financial rewards.

    This is not to say that my work is completely altruistic either.  I expect to be paid for my services and I try to structure my businesses for profit.  A perfect example would include the monthly newsletter I create and distribute for free (subscribe by clicking HERE), and the free articles I post on my website (like this one).

    I do not get paid for any of these things and they are definitely work.  It is work to write a new article each month for a magazine that has a fresh, valuable business ideas that apply to all the various people who read the magazine.

    My monthly newsletter is also difficult, because I don’t want to repeat anything that I’ve written for the magazines I write for.

    That is a lot of creative writing that has to take place, most of it unpaid and I have to do it all while still speaking several times a month, as well as running a full-scale production company, a real-estate investment company, and an information production company.  Not to mention the marketing that has to happen to make all those shows a reality.

    Now, as much as I love to get e-mail from people who appreciate my articles, newsletters, and web site postings, my goal is still to make money.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am still sincerely interested in the success of each of my readers.  If I weren’t, it would reflect in the quality of my offerings and readership would drop instead of grow as fast as it has over the past few years.  I have a very real interest in your success.

    I figure that if you get some valuable and profitable advice from one of the writings I offer without charge, then you will be more likely to see the benefit of one of the programs, books, or audio programs available on my products page.  I am open and honest about my profit motive.  It doesn’t invalidate the sincerity of my writings.  As I mentioned above, it actually supports the sincerity of what I offer.  The more money you make from my advice, the more money you have to spend on more of my ideas and marketing programs!

    So to each of you I say “Thank you”

    And to every seventh reader I say “Have a nice day!”

About the Author: Julian Franklin is one of America's leading marketing consultants, a top behavior modification specialist, and author who develops creative ways to stimulate growth in your business. He has authored more than 20 books on human behavior, marketing, professional development, and personal accomplishment. He is frequently invited to speak on these topics as well. For more information, including the opportunity to subscribe to his free monthly e-newsletter, you can visit

© 2009 Julian Franklin Productions, Inc.