Wednesday, October 19, 2011

ONE MILE PARAMETER

There are people who go to another local chess club who live close to me, and others who don't live much further away and yet they won't be at the CHESS TNT event. None have offered a reason, nor are they required to. But one principle of IM Andrew Martin's has always been, and I concur, "You scratch my back and I will scratch yours."

Then again you hear others use that well worn and hackneyed expression, "I will come next time!" Really?

JON FORTUNE
Jon is a chiropractic researcher and he and wife Barbie live in Oregon. They came to the chess event last year here and today I find they are coming again to the CHESS TNT event. Yahoo! Jon never promised me he would come, didn't indicate he would come, he just told me, "We are coming." I believe him. I met him and Barbie years ago at a University of Wisconsin Chess Camp. Great people then, great people now... just like those who are coming. They are my regular regulars. BTW, I do realize that sometimes there are exceptions. This Blog is about TRUST (keeping your word), not exceptions.

MARKETING RESEARCH has shown
That one of the Biggest concerns customers have is Trust and the Other is Sincerity. However, it is not always a two-way street. Let's look at Wal-Mart as an example. They have wrecked a lot of businesses over the years by making a promise that if you don't like something you bought at Wal-Mart you can bring it back for a refund. No hassle. In general, that's true. It's a promise they made and EVERYONE wants them to hold to it. But there is no similar promise on the customer's part that if Wal-Mart makes an error in the customer's favor, that the customer will do the right thing by Wal-Mart (I get around this headache with Wal-Mart by not buying ANYTHING from them, for several years now). It can be blown off with"They already have plenty of money!" The question really is: Is it right or wrong to screw someone over even if they are a big corporation?

Sure, Wal-Mart will build "mistakes" into their pricing, but wouldn't it be great if they didn't have to? Smaller companies can't do that very easily because if they raise a price on something by a quarter a Neighborhood Watch person will report them to the Better Business Bureau and the local Police Station!! I know people who know the price of something better than the ones who stock the shelves and put the price tags out.

People want businesses to be sincere and trustworthy... that's a known fact. People who know me know that when I say X I mean X. Not sort of X, not Y, or maybe X, but X. Barring an accident and the usual acts of God, I will be there Fri-Sat-Sun. I pick up Andrew tomorrow. I know people who run LARGE events and they don't put themselves into the position of hearing lies, they assign someone else to listen to them.

Placating
Some find it hard to say "no," or "let me genuinely think about it!" Instead, they lie. Someone even told me the other day she used to use her husband as her excuse if she didn't want to do something though in reality she said he could've cared less. I hear this all the time in my business too, only in this case, "I need to ask my wife," or "My wife blah blah blah..." In these cases I have to go by past track records for veracity, most of them do not stand up. Often I know things that the person I have had to talk to doesn't know I know. Look at the one million letters to Steve Jobs on the Apple website. He died. I thought he was great. But I know people who would cuss him out, and the Apple products but now, they wished he was alive and living next door to him. When Michael Dell went to his funeral that was a real shocker since Dell had said in 1997 that if he was running Apple he would sell it off and give the money back to its shareholders! Now he says, 14 years later, he was mis-stated!!! It's already in the ether Mike.

Sometimes I am considered Irascible... Hard to Believe, I know!
Recently someone asked me if I wanted to do ABC. I said, "No," meaning, "Not really." When he asked "Why" I gave a direct answer, "Because I don't want to." Meaning, "You are starting your stuff again with me and that ruins the experience. So I am not willing to go through that again." Thus, my answer has an extension, but the direct "Because I don't want to" is succinct, and really hard to misinterpret. In fact, if it can be misinterpreted, you should be talking with someone else.

Why Do We Lie?
Everyone does to some degree. As Robert Ringer writes, we are Basically Honest or Basically Dishonest, but everyone lies in some form and maybe only infrequently, and if they don't think they do, that's a lie. For example: I remember someone asking me how she looked in something. I thought she looked awful. She might have even known it. I didn't want to hurt her feelings, cause a row, etc. so I said, "I think you look fine!" Which, all things considered, she did. We had a good time, no milk was spilt, but I wasn't 100% truthful, just basically truthful.
Another time, again I was asked the same question, by someone else, about her clothes. I was in a funky, ornery mood, and this time I said, "It looks like a nightmare," which, I thought it did, even though it wasn't the end of the world. I never heard the end of it. A lot of mileage out of one comment. I wish I hadn't said it at all. Later she used the "nightmare" line to get attention from others. So maybe it wasn't a total loss.

What it all comes down to is expectations and disappointments when one believes something someone says or writes and then they reneg. Ouch. And it is even worse when they make up an excuse to go along with it which is only 50% true. All of a sudden the conversation has gone from disappointment to anger, even if it is only mentally.

I remember, many moons ago, I would get an email from someone asking me to set aside several books, and I would. I would send a followup asking the pertinent question "When do you want me to ship these and pay for them?" No answer, ever. This went on several times. Probably three. I gave up on him but in the meantime those books were OUT of sales commission to others because I really (kinda hopeful) believed this dude. Fail!

Then, out of the blue, I get a huge order from this same guy. Paid for and where to ship. Of course none of the books he wanted were ones I had set aside previously. No explanation was given as to why he acted like he worked for the CIA. He has since gone back into hiding. My secret? No book reservations for him, ever again, unless I've already been paid.

Writing a Book for Would Be Entrepreneurs
For the nth time last night I thought about writing a chapter for such a book title. But I had too many other things to do and sales comes first. To be  a true entrepreneur you have to love working for yourself MORE than working for ANYone else.

But, I have also come to believe that even people who read books, lots of them, don't necessarily believe what is in them because that would require movement. Chess is not an exception. When it comes to business most people who start one just go ahead and plunge in with no plan at all. My plan was limited when I started but I did carry one around in my head and I thought about it a lot. It helped that I was doing some of "it" when I had another job. When the fateful day started, I was pretty jacked.

Yet, over and over I see businesses failing for simple reasons and most of them have to do with attitude and money:
1) Attitude: It's my business and my hours will be when I feel like them.
2) Money: I know it is suggested that I have lots of dollars to support me if I have a downturn. I'll worry about that IF it happens. (Believe me, it will always happen.)
I left out two biggies: Knowledge. Lots of people think (!) they know what it entails because they use themselves as a customer, a customer of one. Unless they are "insanely great" this is a pretty small population sample. Once you own your own business or start your own business you will find out what "hard work" really is.
Two, Assumptions. Goes back to a customer of one or knowing someone else, maybe a parent. I hear would be E-people say things that are so far out of whack I don't even want to know where they heard it in the first place (or if they made it up!). One is: "My place will be so cool I will probably have more customers than I can handle." Oh yeah, that one happens a lot. Maybe if you were KFC.

The Point?
I thank Jon for no promises, no mentions of maybe, and then just telling me he is coming... and I believe him. And I want to thank all the others who signed up and who are coming... you guys will always get first invitations to anything I do.

contact: bob@thinkerspressinc.com

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