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Archive for August, 2006

“Undercutting”?

August 26th, 2006

I don’t want people to think I’m undercutting them. How much should I charge so that I don’t upset the full-time performers in my market?

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The whole notion of “low balling” and “undercutting” is something that gets me riled up. I am a firm believer in the free market. If people want to charge less than me, I couldn’t care less. If they want to charge more than me, I couldn’t care less. This is America and not only is the idea of different price levels American, the very idea of NOT having price variation (i.e. “Price Fixing”) is decidedly UN-American and against the law!

There are a few factors that should come into play when establishing your price but these things should not be a factor:

· What your competitors think
· Your own guilty feelings about earning a profit

Too many people feel that earning a profit is somehow unethical. I’ve heard people apologize for their prices and then add “But I’m not making any money on this”. Why would anyone be in business if they weren’t earning a profit? Why would anyone think they need to apologize about earning a profit? You have a moral obligation to earn a profit! If you don’t earn a profit then the rest of us have to support you with our taxes.

You need to earn and save and invest and you need to do without apology.

YOU and YOUR CUSTOMERS determine your price. I’ve found that the people who complain the loudest about “undercutting” are usually the cheapest performers in the market.

It only makes sense. If they are worried about price it is because they are competing on price. If they are competing on price, then they are among the cheapest. Which means they are “undercutting” everyone else who charges more! Ignore them. Price for profit and price with confidence.

For more on pricing, visit my web site: http://JulianSpeaks.com

There are articles on establishing your price on the link to “Free Stuff”. You can also sign up for my free business building newsletter. Once a month I send out a newsletter of articles that were too short to become a full-fledged article in the magazine for which I write, or were too long for a simple blog post.

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$200 for a 20¢ Cookie?

August 14th, 2006

I overheard a very interesting conversation recently. Two women were talking about which hotel they should stay at during their next vacation. The two hotels they were contemplating were both 5-star hotels in a location that charges $200 per night.www.JulianSpeaks.com and sign up. We will never sell or rent your name to anyone for any reason and you can unsubscribe at any time by simply clicking a link at the bottom of each newsletter. It only goes out once or twice a month so go get your free subscription now, before you miss another issue.

“I really like the Such-and-Such Hotel” said the first lady.

“Me too,” said her friend. “But, the Doubletree has those free cookies in the lobby.”

“OH-MY-GOSH! I totally forgot about that! Yes, you’re right. We have to stay at the Doubletree.”

And just like THAT, a several hundred dollar decision was made based on less than 20¢ worth of cookie dough.

Whoa! That’s pretty amazing if you think about it, isn’t it? How little, tiny, insignificant things can not only be the icing on the cake, they can actually be the entire reason for buying the cake. And ironically enough the details often don’t seem (on the surface) to have anything to do with the actual product or service being sold.

Face it, in what way does fresh baked chocolate chip cookies reflect the quality of a hotel? The cookie dough was bought frozen from Otis Spunkmeyer and baked in a little toaster oven that automatically turns off at the right time to avoid any mistakes. It shows no real skill, no insight into culinary adventure, and offers no clue as to the comfort of the beds, or the amenities one pays for in a hotel.

But it is a critical clue in the essence of hotel management. It is a symbol of “hospitality”. It tells the guests that they are welcome members of a family. “Here,” the cookies say without words “Reach into the cookie jar and help yourself. Just like at Grandma’s house”

The cookies strike a nostalgic reflection to warmer times in more comfortable settings.

Yes, everyone loves fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies, but that’s not really the point. The point is not the cookies themselves as much as it is what they represent at a more visceral level.

What little, tiny, inexpensive things can you do that will make a difference in the experiences of your customers and clients? What is it that you sell, at the core? If you think hotels sell beds and a TV then you might have no idea why anyone would stay at any hotel other than a Motel 6.

Q: Why would a person pay $200 a night (or more) for a bed and a TV?
A: Hospitality.

The question you need to ask is “What do I REALLY sell?” and then figure out the answer. Once you do, THEN you need to figure out how you can better demonstrate that, elevate that, and package that for your customers and clients. Little things mean a lot.

–Julian Franklin

P.S. If you like this blog and the articles that get posted here, you should subscribe to my monthly business building newsletter. It is free and filled with trends, advice, examples, and ideas for improving and marketing your business. To get your FREE subscription just visit

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Movie Review: Hoodwinked

August 13th, 2006

Hoodwinked is an animated motion picture that is an example of everything children’s entertainment should strive to become. The movie is based on the Red Riding Hood story re-told as a modern tale. But it is SOOooo much more.

For starters, there are many layers of humor that strike adults as well as children. This is nothing new in children’s entertainment, but it is done particularly well in this movie.

What I really like about Hoodwinked, however, is the very inventive and creative way that the story is told from several different perspectives as a “mystery” seems to unfold in the telling. As each character’s story is told you aren’t sure if you are getting closer to the truth or farther away.

And then, just when things couldn’t get any weirder or funnier, the story comes to a conclusion that makes sense of everything in a very satisfying way. I won’t say anything else because I want to preserve the “whodunit” for those who haven’t seen the movie yet.

I will tell you that you will enjoy this movie, even if you have no children. It is funny and engaging in a way that few movies are anymore. If you are a children’s performer then you owe it to yourself to rent this movie and study it. Notice how the humor is kept clean and yet riotously funny? Notice how the references to pop culture are tossed out without much fan fare, to be enjoyed by those who get it, but not to become stumbling blocks for those who didn’t? You don’t want your audience to spend time wondering about the joke they didn’t get.

Particularly, pay attention to the creative way that an old, worn-out tale (Little Red Riding Hood) has been given new life through a little bit of creativity and imagination.

–Julian Franklin

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Saying “Thank You”

August 11th, 2006

I am a pretty big believer in saying thank you. I don’t always do it, but I try to. When people send me e-mails about my monthly business building column in The Linking Ring magazine, or some of the books or articles I’ve written, I try to reply with a thank you, even if it just says “Thank you for taking the time to write”.

Just recently I was treated to a thank you that really reminded me of how valuable a nice thank you can be. I had a product that had sold out. I was no longer producing them and someone called asking for one. It was a $500 item but they were all sold out. I told him he might be able to get one if anyone ever returns one (I offer a lifetime, money back guarantee on everything I produce), but I told him I had never had anyone return this particular product before.

As luck would have it, someone did ask for a refund and I was able to get one of these items back in stock. Further, he happened to e-mail me three days after it came back asking if any had been returned. I told him it must be destiny and after checking to make sure everything was there and in pristine condition, I sent him the marketing system.

Two weeks later an overnight delivery company delivered a package from a chocolatier in France. Inside the insulated box the dry ice had evaporated. My wife and I excitedly broke the wax seal on the ribbon, then carefully peeled off the rich wrapping paper. Underneath was a beautiful wooden box that, when opened, revealed a tiny collection of some of the most delicious confections I’d eaten in a very long time.

I’m proud to be an American, but no body does chocolate like the Europeans. Their chocolate has flavor, not just sugar, cocoa, and corn syrup. This stuff was divine.

So this guy paid for the marketing program. I didn’t give it to him. He paid me for it. He paid for shipping. And then he sent me a thank you.

It’s not the first time someone bought me a gift for the help I provide in growing businesses, but it was the most recent and I thought I would share it with you.

I hope he doesn’t read this entry because he might figure out how many bonus points he’s earned with me.

–Julian Franklin

P.S. Since this happened I had another copy of the product returned and like fate some else called about a week after it came it and bought it. I no longer have any in stock. I’ve also had several requests for my licensed assembly programs which I no longer offer to the public. This is not a matter of inventory, they are simply not being sold at this time. For a complete and accurate listing of my products, you can visit www.JulianSpeaks.com

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