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My Mother, who’s been gone for many years now, always used to proclaim, “Don’t give me any ‘luft’ invitations!”  “Luft” is Yiddish for “air” or “hot air.”  What Mother railed against was, “You’ll have to come over some time.”  Or, “We’ve got to get together.”

You get the idea.  

She wanted an invitation with a specific time and place, not some vague mention of a gathering that was destined not to occur.

Something similar happens in business, and it’s really annoying.  Often people don’t know how to end a phone call or an email, so they close with “I’ll get back to you tomorrow.”

They haven’t made any notation of this promise, because they have no intention of keeping it.  Yet they’ve been pretty clear.  They said “tomorrow.”

Poor marketing.  

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You’ve heard me ask on myriad occasions, “Do your clients or customers know everything you do?”   I’ve implored business owners, marketing and sales executives to educate their clientele over a period of time, so they’re not ever at the receiving end of missed business opportunities due to “I didn’t know you did that.”

Well, the operative words here are “over a period of time.”  Educating gradually is very different from telling everything you do at a networking introduction or in a cover letter.  People can absorb just so much at a time.  Their eyes will glaze over, if you try to tell them too much too soon.

Yet business owners, marketing and sales executives repeatedly jam in far too much information far too early in the game.  Unfortunately, this plethora of information gets lost almost immediately.

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I’m constantly invited to be connected, befriended and followed on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter respectively.  While it’s pretty clear some people just look for others to invite, I’m pleased to say I know the vast majority of people who communicate with me; if I don’t know them, at least they’re related to marketing and/or sales in some way.

How many contacts do you have?  How many of them are worth a breakfast, lunch or coffee in the New Year?  What do you know about these people?  What do they know about you?  What do you have in common?

Business opportunities surface when you least expect them.  (Of course, when you’re desperate, they seem to be nowhere in sight.)  The more you schmooze, the more you gain.

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It’s no secret that I relocated to Colorado from New Jersey 13 years ago.  Yes, that’s right: I’m from the state whose people enjoy the reputation of being in your face.

Now this isn’t a bad thing, unless you’re speaking to someone who is so painfully shy, that he or she can’t pronounce their name without stumbling.

It was, however, something of a culture shock to encounter the passivity here; and I still have trouble with it.

When I was here for one year, people asked me how much I liked northern Colorado; and I replied that I loved it.  “No road rage.   If I was caught daydreaming at a traffic light (“stop light” out here), no one honked.”  It’s heaven.  Yet a woman took me by surprise when I mentioned the lack of horns honking.  “Well, what good would it do?” she asked.  That stopped me.

Very carefully, I replied, and I’ve used this in seminars for the past 12 years to howls of laughter, “You know, I don’t come from a land of savages; and I’ll admit honking one’s horn isn’t the most polite way to get people to move, but IT WORKS!”

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What’s the difference between features and benefits?  They’re pretty different, actually.  Unfortunately, too many business owners and copywriters get caught up in the former, when they should be concentrating on the latter.

Features are facts.  This is easy to remember, since “features” and “facts” begin with the same letter.  These are logical statements:

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