Hello and Goodbye
from John and Jane Doe

Hello and Goodbye
from John and Jane Doe

January 28, 2008

John and Jane Doe
4321 Happily Thereafter Ave.
Everytown, USA

To the Companies Who Want Our Money,

Yesterday’s selling techniques aren’t working so good. Have you noticed?

We’re betting that your traffic has been trending downward for the past few months. Are we right? (If we’re wrong, keep up the good work. You’re doing all the right things.)

But if your traffic has, in fact, been trending downward, here are some things for you to think about:

Today’s customer expects easy access to information.
And that information includes the price.

Quit trying to romance everything.  Cut the hype. Just say it clean and tight, shoulders back, looking us directly in the eye.

Give us the truth with clarity. Transparency. Openhanded disclosure. Nothing hidden behind your back.

If you tell us about a product or service online and we wonder what it costs and we learn the only way you’ll tell us the price is if we give up our contact information, we think:
1.    you’re charging too much and you know it.
2.    you want an opportunity to “overcome our objections” or
3.    you’re planning to contact us and control the conversation with rigged questions
        under the pretense that you’re “consulting” us for our own good.
4.    you want us to give you a credit card number,
5.    but what you really need is a clue.

Sorry, we don’t mean to be rude.

You seem to be sincere in your confusion about why traffic is down and we’re just trying to tell you the truth you need to hear.

Yes, it’s partly the economy.

But you’ve also lost touch with the times.

You’ve got reasons for not disclosing your prices. We understand that. You don’t want to give your competitors “the edge” or something or other. But companies with good prices aren’t afraid to share them. In their ads. Over the phone. On their websites. From the housetops.

Or at least that’s how it seems to us.

Have a great 2008.

John and Jane Doe


Note from Roy: 2008 is shaping up to be a very busy year for me.

The good news is that you'll be seeing lots of new classes from exciting new instructors. I'll be teaching less often than in past years, so if you've been planning to dive deep into the rabbit hole with me “someday,” take a close look at the Feb 26,27,28 session of the Magical Worlds Communications Workshop or the March 18,19,20 session of Ocean's 11 – Build Your Business. In each of these classes I'm adding a session to teach students exactly how to inform customers of the price in each of their specific business categories.  Do you think it can't or shouldn't be done in your business? Be in one of these classes. I think you'll change your mind.

One last thing. We're limiting enrollments to each of these classes so that everyone who registers will enjoy free room and board in exciting Engelbrecht House, Wizard Academy's amazing student mansion. After you arrive on campus, you won't need to leave for any reason until it's time to catch your flight home. Get away from it all. Come to Austin. You'll have a much happier 2008. – RHW

Wizard Academy is a 501c3 nonprofit educational organization.

In last week's memo I made seven pointed observations. You may recall number three, A Horizontal Connectedness: “The new American dream isn’t about pulling ahead and leaving the others behind. It’s about becoming a productive member of the team. 'Winning' has become less important than 'belonging.' Listen to the streets. 'I’m number one,' gets the response, 'You ain’t all that, dog. You ain’t all that.'”

“Labor unions were deader than a bag of hammers in 2004, a relic of the past, so when I predicted that collective bargaining would reawaken and gain momentum during the coming Civic outlook, audiences often laughed or folded their arms and curled a lip, thinking I was advocating organized labor. (I wasn’t.) Have you heard about the Hollywood writer’s strike?  Expect to see Wal-Mart unionized in the upcoming years. Hide and watch. See if I’m not right.”

NOTE: The Monday Morning Memo is read mostly by self-starters, people with big dreams and boundless initiative. As a group, they tend to see labor unions as a hiding place for lazy people and cowards. So let me say this plainly, one last time: I'm not advocating labor unions. I'm not saying what ought to happen. I'm saying only what will happen. Planning your path is easier when you have an eye on the horizon. Don't be an ostrich. – RHW

In the Memo for Nov. 1, 2004, I wrote:

“Based solely on the core values of the emerging generation, here's what I believe we can expect to see beginning to happen during the next 3 to 4 years:

1. A decline among prestige brands such as Rolex, Harley-Davidson and Gucci.
2. The end of “upwardly mobile” as a slang expression.
3. A decline in the effectiveness of traditional advertising.
4. Comparison-shopping to be done increasingly online, though purchasing will remain in brick-and-mortar stores in many product categories.
5. An increase in volunteerism and donor support to socially responsible organizations.
6. An increase in the popularity of labor unions.
7. A decrease in the divorce rate as couples become increasingly committed to family unity and fall less under the spell of idealistic “true love.” In other words, we're learning not to have unrealistic expectations of our mates. (Really? Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella were fairy tales…?)

Want to read the rest of that memo? Everyone thought I was nuts at the time. – RHW

This story, like the other one above, was taken from Saturday's newspaper.
(The Jan. 26, 2008 edition of the Austin American-Statesman.)