Mackay: Street-smart ideas No. 3

A couple of years ago, I wrote two columns on street smarts that resonated with readers. They asked for more! Here’s Part 3 of Harvey’s Street Smarts:

First idea: Make gifts memorable. Use creative gifts to stand out. I also appreciate gifts that continue to remind me of that person. For example, a clock that chimes.

Next idea: Humanize your selling strategy. Learn what people’s hobbies are and find ways to leverage them through tickets, clippings or just current conversation.

Next idea: You’re not just selling a product. In every sales transaction, position yourself as your customer’s confidant and adviser. More than product, you are selling trust first and foremost.

Next idea: At every meeting with managers, go around the room and ask managers what can go wrong and prioritize it. If it happens, how are we going to solve it?

Next idea: Hold one-on-one meetings with your employees to learn all about them — what is important to them at work and at home. Employees are people first!

Next idea: You want to make every customer feel like he or she is the only customer you have.

Next idea: Timing is everything. Never ask your parents for the keys to the car when they are in a bad mood.

Next idea: You can’t successfully negotiate anything until you know the market. You won’t recognize a good deal unless you’ve done your homework.

Next idea: You always want to sleep on it. Take your time in most decisions and things become much clearer.

Next idea: Never say no for the other person. Ask and let them say no.

Next idea: Short notes yield big results. It takes only a moment. As a matter of personal recognition and courtesy, remember names and take a personal interest in people.

Next idea: When you boil it all down, the world of business really rotates on the following principle: Every person needs someone else to help them open doors. And that can only be accomplished by a phone call, e-mail, letter or in person, giving that individual instant credibility to make the contact.

Next idea: Outside my office door is a sign, “If you know where you can get us some business, come on in.” On the table is a sign, “Our meeting will not be interrupted unless a customer calls.”

Next idea: Every person basically knows about 200 people, so if you have 10 friends, you have 2,000 contacts. If you are lucky enough to have well-connected contacts, you could start out with many thousands more. Remember that you are seeking quality, not quantity.

Next idea: Friends of comedian Red Buttons thought he had a phenomenal memory with holiday cards. He filled them out year-round when he met people and mailed them at Christmastime.

Next idea: Never tell a mother her baby is ugly. When someone is close to a project, be very careful what you say.

Next idea: Every day of your life, you have to get up and do a couple of things that you don’t want to do. So you might as well get on them right away in the morning.

Next idea: You can take any amount of pain, as long as you know it will end. Some days will be bad, but the sun will rise the next morning.

Next idea: Introduce yourself to every person you sit next to on an airplane or anywhere else. The person on your left or right or in front or back of you can be very important in your life. Do not judge a book by its cover.

Next idea: Knowledge is power — but not until it is used. Information is only as good as what you can do with it.

Mackay’s Moral: Stay on your toes or fall flat on your face.

Harvey Mackay is a Minneapolis businessman. Contact him at 612-378-6202 or e-mail harvey@ mackay.com.

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