Archive for July, 2006

Optical Illusions in Advertising

July 27th, 2006
I’m a big fan of optical illusions. I came across an ad by Clearasil that uses an optical illusion and I wanted to share it. The caption at the bottom says “As soon as black spots appear, use Clearasil”.
This ad works because the illusion relates directly with the product it attempts to sell AND it is cool enough that people want to share it. You also can’t escape the reference to the product.

P.S. I got this image from the blog of a friend of mine in India. You can check out his original post here:



Too many ads are created for television that have people laughing and talking about it the next day at the water cooler, but no one know what the ad was selling. These type commercials win awards for the agencies that create them, but they drive the companies that hire them to the poor house. Creativity should only celebrated when it adds VALUE.

Sometimes value can be added in ways that are not measured in dollars and cents. But when a company hires an ad agency to generate product awareness and thus increase sales, that CAN be measured in units and dollars.

–Julian Franklin


Sometimes Being ‘Positive’ is Just RUDE!

July 23rd, 2006

Why do some people seem to go out of their way to make others feel frustration, discomfort, or anxiety?

In early July my family and I went on a four day vacation and stayed at a Bed and Breakfast that was built in the 1840s. It was a very fun place with no phones, no television, and no internet. Like all my vacations I turned my cell phone off. It was a nice break and felt a little bit like going back in time.

One morning we were having breakfast and the staff had cut up a very nice fruit cup and put a dollop of yogurt on it. I would have preferred it without the yogurt, but it was a nice addition to the continental breakfast.

I heard the staff member offer a fruit cup to a lady nearby and she said “No.” Even my four year old daughter has learned to say “No, thank you”, but I really didn’t pay much attention until I heard the staff member ask “Are you sure?” and the lady looked at him and said, with spite in her voice “I’m positive“.

Is it really that hard to say “No, thank you. It looks wonderful, but I just won’t be eating it.” It seems simple enough. Maybe I’m just overly sensitive.

I would imagine that the lady didn’t consciously set out to be rude, but sometimes we are so in the habit of speaking in certain ways that we don’t even notice how we sound. A good friend of mine and fellow performer told me that for almost a decade he worked in what he called “an environment of extreme emotional toxicity”, and he assured me that if I had known him at that time we would not be friends.

He said it was quite surprising to him how much his attitude and outlook on life changed for the better when he finally quit and went to work as a performer.

–Julian Franklin


Do You Think Like a Gambler?

July 19th, 2006

As a business owner, you have to be a risk taker, but this is much different from being a gambler. A risk taker takes CALCULATED risks with a large positive chance of payout. He risks on things over which he has at least some control. This is different from a gambler’s mentality.

I am not a gambler. I get no pleasure from watching my money vanish so quickly. Fortunately I have never had the good fortune of getting “lucky” and winning a large amount of money with little or no effort. If I had, maybe I would like gambling more.

But there is something I call “Gambler’s Mentality”. It is something that I think gambler’s share along with certain business people. I think it is a detrimental way to think. It is based in fear and fear-based decision making is almost never the best position to work from.

The gambler’s mentality goes something like this “This isn’t working well, but if I keep at it a little bit longer, my luck will change and I’ll make up for all these losses”

The two pricing models I wrote about a few days ago are both variations of this way of thinking and are why I don’t use or recommend either pricing structure from that article. Rather than set unrealistic goals and then systematically lower them until you are desperate, or conversely, systematically raising your rates by the week hoping to find someone desperate enough to pay your inflated fees, why not quote a fee that is fair to you and then gladly and graciously accept it when you present?

A gambler bets $10 on a long shot and ends up winning $1,800. Rather than being happy he screams “I should have put down $20! I always bet $20! Why did I only bet $10!?” This is Gambler’s Mentality.

When you book a job and three weeks before the speaking engagement someone offers you three times the fee to flake out and do their event instead, you should not even be tempted. You can’t have a gambler’s mentality if you want to build a long-standing business. Don’t get greedy. Set a fair price and gladly and graciously accept your fee with no guilt and no wondering how much more you might have gotten.

JOKE: The secret to wealth is simple…Buy low and sell high.

MORAL: You don’t have to buy at the LOWEST and sell at the HIGHEST.

–Julian Franklin

P.S. Be sure to visit my web site at There are free business building articles, an opportunity to sign up for a free monthly e-newsletter filled with business building tips, and of course a chance to pick up some of my books, CDs, and marketing systems if you are interested in really growing your business quickly.


Negotiating Strategies when Pricing Services

July 14th, 2006

Last week I posted on pricing your services, and then I promised you I would tell you about a different school of thought when it comes to establishing prices and negotiating the best price when selling your services.

This post is offered only as a differing opinion, it is NOT the philosophy I subscribe to when it comes to pricing.

My clients often end up booking a presentation a year or two in advance in order to secure the date they want. There is a strategy behind this that I want to encourage. Others disagree, including a good friend of mine.

My friend suggested that when they book far in advance you should quote a higher fee since it takes greater risk for you. That is, you have no idea what wonderful opportunities might arise in the future that you would have to pass up in order to honor this commitment. As the date gets closer, he suggested you could start lowering your price, until if they call the week before and you don’t have anything planned, you might offer a deep discount just to keep from sitting at home doing nothing.

Sorry. When I occasionally get a day or even better (and even more rare) a group of days with nothing booked, it is a welcomed respite. I love to perform, but I also love having time off to spend with my family. If anything, I would RAISE my prices if they call at the last minute!

In fact, I would tend to be more obliged to give a discount for future bookings (I don’t however), but I would sooner give a discount than charge a premium. Why?

Because, when clients book in advance it sets a precedent for other clients to follow. It provides a sense of security for my family. It means I am working with a client who is organized and prepared, not scampering about at the last minute. That almost always means fewer headaches for me.

Having clients book a year or two in advance also eliminates a certain level of advertising and marketing that would otherwise have to be invested to fill those dates. For example, this summer I booked 81 presentations without sending out a single direct mail piece, making a single out-bound telephone call, or in any other way marketing the program. Just repeats, and word of mouth.

That is a significant savings on marketing and advertising expense.


How Much for Veal Cutlets?

July 7th, 2006

Earlier this week I wrote about bartering and what you might consider accepting for your work. There were a few private comments that suggested it wasn’t the best business practice to leave “money on the table” so to speak. That is, a prudent business person might want to negotiate in a way that ensured they got the maximum amount for their time.

I disagree.

What does this have to do with veal cutlets? Here’s the joke.

A lady walks into a butcher shop and asks how much the veal cutlets are. The butcher says “Eight dollars a pound”.

“The shop across the street sells them for six dollars a pound”, the lady says.

“So why don’t you buy them from him?” the butcher asks.

“Because he doesn’t have any.”

“You should shop here lady. When we don’t have veal cutlets, they’re only $4.50 a pound!”

My question is: Would you rather have your dream price in theory or a fair fee in your pocket? Price fair and you can keep your customers happy and coming back, you also never have to stress about quoting a fee. You state it up front with confidence, and you will be surprised what happens.

I have a friend who has a different set of ideas about this and I’ll share them with you in a few days.


Bartering on the 4th of July

July 4th, 2006

Yesterday I wrote a post about swapping your services in exchange for in-store credit. I posted that entry at the close of a 4 day vacation. We try to make sure we are always at home on the Fourth of July and on New Year’s Eve because we have a neighbor who LOVES fireworks.


We always get treated to a light show far better than any professional show I’ve ever seen. That’s not an exaggeration, and I’ve got the photos to prove it.

Sort of.

The fireworks are launched at such an intensity that most of the photos come out looking like a ball of fire. The smaller volleys make better pictures.

Anyway, what does all this have to do with marketing? What does this have to do with bartering services? Just this.


My neighbor owns a retail store that is a prime location for a fireworks stand. Every year he rents his parking lot to a distributor who sets up a booth. But rather than taking money for the spot, he trades out in fireworks. To the tune of several thousand dollars worth (retail).

It is a great deal for everyone involved, particularly the people on our cul-de-sac who get to enjoy one of the best fireworks shows ever in the comfort of our front yard, and it doesn’t cost us a thing!


Trading Labor for Store Credit?

July 3rd, 2006

Gideon, a new subscriber to my free monthly e-newsletter recently wrote to ask about an opportunity he has that presents something of a dilemma.

“A large electronics store is offering me $XXX in-store credit to twist balloons for four hours during a large sale. They have hired me before for more money, and really liked my balloons. I really want the job for better connection with them and great advertisement for the tens of thousands of people attending the sale, however I don’t want the cheap reputation, especially with such a large and wealthy corporation. I have thought about using the “honorarium” system you talked about in “Viral Marketing” with the endorsed mailing, but would it work for competitive businesses (they only have one location)? What do you think I should do?”

There is nothing wrong with accepting gift certificate or store credit in exchange for your work as long as you will use the store credit. However, you should remember that most retail establishments get their inventory at a mark-up of AT LEAST 100%. That means, that for every $100 in store credit you get, it only costs the retailer $50 out of pocket. A dollar is still a dollar from YOUR side of the deal, but it’s only 50 cents for them.

For this reason, if you are going to accept store credit, you can almost always negotiate a higher fee, at least 25% higher and usually up to 50-75% higher than your original fee.

So if you quoted an original fee of $500 [a randomly selected number, NOT the original quote that Gideon made] and they came back with “We’ll pay that in store credit” then you counter with “If’ I’m getting store credit and I can only spend it here, I’ll need $725″ (note the use of the word “need” not “want”).

They may counter with something less than that, but more than your original fee, or they may offer partial payment in cash and part in store credit.

Ultimately, it comes down to this: if you feel good about the deal, then it is a good deal. I wouldn’t worry about getting a reputation of being someone cheap. I would expect that you would more likely get a reputation as someone savvy who wants to work and is easy to work with. That’s not a bad thing.

–Julian Franklin

P.S. If you want to subscribe to the same free e-newsletter that Gideon subscribes to, that goes out each month, visit and sign up. You can cancel your subscription at any time and your information will be kept confidential at all times.

P.P.S. Gideon, this is such a great question and it came up today in a conversation I had with an old, trusted friend of mine as we discussed pricing. I’ll tell you about our conversation in my next blog entry. Come back later this week.