What Clients Love; book summary and notes

Whenever I read a book that is impactful to me, I like to write down my notes and highlights that I took from the book.  When I do this, it allows me to read the book again, because I have to go back to the book and basically read it again, and extract my highlights from the book.  You are lucky because I share these notes with you.

I recently read What Clients Love; A field guide to growing your business. This book was written by the bestselling author of Selling the Invisible Harry Beckwith.

Buy the book here: https://www.amazon.com/What-Clients-Love-Growing-Business/dp/0446556025/

Below, in bullet point format, are my quick notes I took from the book.  I hope you enjoy.  I also encourage you to find the book and read it as well, it is really that good.

  • Forget benchmarking. It only reveals what others do, which is rarely enough to satisfy, much less delight, todays clients.
  • What has made companies in our industry successful? Leads you to the old answers, which ends you to copy and refine rather than INNOVATE.
  • Next time you ponder strategy, ask:  If I ran a competing firm, how would I beat ours?
  • If you were starting business from scratch, what would do differently?  Now do that.
  • plan around what you can predict; what people love.
  • Listen more rests on a flawed assumption: It assumes people say what they think.  They do not.  People often say whatever will make them look good to the person asking the question.  Almost no one confesses to drinking too much fudging expense reports. Thousands of men who teared up watching The Remains of The Day insist it was a silly chick film. The second flaw: listen more is the assumption that people understands themselves well enough to reveal themselves accurately.
  • Of all life’s mysteries, we are most mysterious to ourselves.
  • Life happens at the level of events, not words, the noted psychologist Alfred Adler once said.  Trust Movement.  Nothing else.
  • We overvalue research, particularly when its conclusions are expressed in quantified form.
  • Overconfidence bias. Whenever you are certain of something, you are wrong 15 percent of the time.
  • Not moving inspires more not moving. Dynamic people require a dynamic environment.
  • The company that waits for guarantees is doomed.
  • Do something, if only because doing produces learning, and learning is perhaps a service business most valuable asset.
  • A mission statement is a PURPOSE statement.  Call it that.
  • A mission is your higher purpose. Visions by contrasts are selfish. Visions are your long-term aspirations for your business, not for those that you might serve. to be the best regarded, most profitable, or most reliable for example.
  • JFK’s vision was a man on the moon.  Peace was his mission.
  • Avoid being NICE too much.
  • Like concealed priests, anonymous interviewers get more truthful answers.
  • We want good products, on time, from people we trust.
  • The economy is new, but the people are old.
  • We still love things that we can see and feel.
  • AS NOBEL winning economist Herbert Simon said, a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.
  • Speak visually, we often cannot hear words, but we notice images.
  • Our expectation changes our experience. Social Scientists call this expectancy theory. People experience what they expect to experience and see what they expect to see. Our challenge in marketing especially invisibles, is to shape those expectations.
  • Intrude in people’s lives and you risk losing them forever.
  • Publish anything and everything because you never know what could happen.
  • Only in writing do you discover what you know.  Anne Beattie author.
  • Nothing teaches like writing.
  • Americans tend to mistrust academic credentials and scholarly writing and presentations.  We disdain the person who speaks with too much authority. We cherish humility, even in people we suspect may be brilliant.
  • The clearer the communication, the more expert the communicator is looked at.
  • Clarity cuts through fog and conveys your value to a prospect. Clarity assures the prospect that you will not cloud the issue or confuse the sale.  Clarity moves the prospect from confusion, which aggravates every persons ear of the invisible to confidence. Clarity breaks down mistrust. Clarity wins.
  • Prospects often tell service providers “We will get back to you.” Sometimes this means they are not in position to decide.
  • Mark Twain’s rules on adjectives.  Leave them out.  Replace excellent with proof.
  • We always weaken whatever we exaggerate.
  • Using you also compels you to think about those prospects.  You start becoming more client focused because the word directs your focus toward them.
  • Specific words such as crystal bowl and strawberries paint clearer pictures–a key task in selling things people cannot see.
  • If you cannot describe what make you different or excellent in 25 word or less. Fix your company.
  • A theory is not complete until you can explain it to the first person you meet on the street.
  • Edit your message until everyone understands it.
  • Admit a weakness. People who reveal something negative about their service win more business. Psychologists insist this can be easily explained. We assume that people who reveal a weakness are inclined to tell the truth, even when the truth can hurt them. Which means we can trust.
  • How the best sales people sell in order: Themselves, Their Company, Their service or product. Price.
  • Stories help humans understand ideas. the oldest hardwired neural pathway in the human brain is for stories.
  • Your audience includes four people: The TOP dog and three associates.
  • Remember to always present your people well, before your product. Only use slides to present a point you cannot express well.
  • A legendary football coach said three things can happen when you pass a football. And two are bad.  The same principles applies for presentations.
  • Thirty Slides don’t show that you know more.  It shows that you don’t have command over the material you are trying to explain.
  • Three points, three words each.
  • FAMILIARITY breeds attraction.  The  more you hear something, the more you like it.
  • Remember what your brand is:  Gerber tried to do adult food.  People couldn’t buy it.  Because Gerber Adult food sounds awful.
  • It’s not what you say, it’s what people hear.
  • It is not what you communicate, it is what gets communicated.
  • You respond more strongly to seeing an American Flag than you do reading the following two words “American Flag”  The Nazi flag invokes more anger than the word Nazi.
  • A first principle of business and marketing: Everyone believes that their industry is unique. You must approach every client with this in mind. 
  • People prefer specialists over generalists.
  • To seem special sound it.
  • Your company name should name you, not describe you.  Example: Wells Fargo Bank.  Now it is just Well Fargo.  CNN removed television from its title.  It is just CNN.
  • Uncommon names stand out more than anything else.  SPANX
  • Whoosh appeals to your senses.  It sounds better than wind.
  • If you’re dressed for golf, be sure you are golfing.
  • Casual policies attract causal employees.
  • Thomas Edison wore ties even when he was cutting his grass.
  • If your professional clothes feel uncomfortable, change clothes.
  • Efficient means cheap, and compared to most forms of marketing, mass communicating looks cheap.
  • Cheap efforts produce cheap results or worse.
  • When you buy a product, you purchase something tangible. When you buy a service, however, you buy the people who perform it.
  • You buy products based on your feelings about the product, you choose your services based on your feelings toward the providers.
  • To connect with your clients, make connections for them.
  • Two Basic principles: A service always involves more than a the exchange of something tangible for money. You must build more into a service warmth, connection, friendship, rest, status, or community. People will pay extra for a feeling of a community.  Ask Starbucks.
  • Sociability: is necessary for human survival. Adults who isolate themselves from the world are more likely to die at comparatively young ages. We have a central dependence on others.
  • Whenever you try to satisfy a client, this feeling dominate the transaction, that persons need to feel important.
  • Efficient customer service tools tell them. My time matters more than you.
  • Relationships are the most powerful form of media today.
  • If a prospect is most interested in cost you will never be happy and always be vulnerable.
  • Whoever gossips to you will gossip about you.
  • One does what one is, one becomes what one does.  Robert Musil.
  • We do what we say,  and then we become what we do.
  • Your words will become your behavior. Your behavior will become your habit. And your new habit will reward you. At the end of the year, everything will be different: you, those you touch and your business.
  • Passion, inflamed by belief and purpose, wins.

Please share if you found this summary to be beneficial to you.

To your success and your future.






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