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What Clients Love: A Field Guide to Growing Your Business Hardcover – January 2, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In What Clients Love, marketing maven Harry Beckwith offers valuable lessons about capturing and keeping clients. (As Beckwith puts it, "Competence gets firms into the game that relationships win.") Using snappy examples from Absolut Vodka, Kinko’s, Starbucks, and Ian Schrager’s boutique hotels, he organizes his advice by describing four significant social trends that shape client needs and loyalty. Beckwith’s strategies for coping with information overload focus on getting to the point--using a shorter sell and fewer superlatives. He makes a clever and convincing case for giving both testimonials and blurbs the death penalty. He details the decline of client trust with a plan to eliminate cold calls, dress for success, and a spot-on critique of PowerPoint ("Lincoln had no slides at Gettysburg.") Other chapters explore the limits of the Internet and offer nongimmicky ideas about creating a brand, including 20 questions for choosing a name for your business.

Beckwith’s advice is fresh, funny, and strategic. He is a master of anecdote and metaphor whose examples range from television’s Sex and the City to nihilistic philosopher Nietzsche. Yet the book’s clarity is sometimes undermined by its too clever formatting. It's best to enjoy its wisdom one chapter at a time, over coffee. Consider it the caffeine in your cup. --Barbara Mackoff

From Publishers Weekly

The author of Selling the Invisible tries to top that book's bestselling success with this breezy collection of one- to two-page friendly lecturettes on how to keep your business profitable. He might just do so, as it's difficult to imagine a book better suited in format to harried executives: they could gulp down the entire volume over the course of a single flight. Beckwith has somehow also managed to take a format where so many authors have tried and failed, and written a useful, direct and even at times inspiring book. In this age of information overload, Beckwith pulls some valuable lessons out of the bygone days of the 1970s, when, he says, consumers had infinitely fewer products and services to choose from, but seemed generally happier. Other valuable lessons for today's hard-charging businessperson include: "Hard sales lose business," "No superlatives" and, in order to understand how to run a successful business, "Study Starbucks." Beckwith is even able to take a simple thing like a name-e.g., Kinko's-and show how that chain was able, through its name (although the ubiquity of its open all-day-and-night locations didn't hurt), to crush the competition, whose names all sounded alike (e.g., InstyPrint, SpeedyPrint, etc.). Pocket-sized and packed with nuggets of wisdom, this is a rare winner in a glutted field.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Business Plus (January 2, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446527556
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446527552
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.1 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #929,416 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 18, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This "field guide" provides innovative and yet practical and prudent advice on what, in Beckwith's opinion, must be done to attract, reward, and sustain the loyalty of those to whom one sells...whatever that product, service, or idea may be. Consumers now experience an information, indeed a sensory overload of marketing messages which makes differentiation even more difficult now than ever before. Beckwith explains how to penetrate such clutter.
After identifying and then analyzing in detail four "Key Trends," he challenges dozens of widely held beliefs about effective marketing which, in his judgment, have been invalidated by those trends. For example:
* "Word-of-mouth advertising has become the world's most overrated form of marketing." Why? "Our mobility propels us away from [old networks through which to process word-of-mouth communications] and into new cities where everyone seems to come from somewhere else."
* "Cold calls leave people cold." Why? "People feel most comfortable with people they know -- and mistrust ones they've never heard of. You must get known [to them prior to initial contact]."
* "It is not what you say; it is what people hear. It is not what you communicate; it's what gets communicated." Why? "You tell your story with words, perhaps, but words are only symbols....Written words, in other words, are just symbols of symbols."
* "Clients do not buy solutions." Why? Numerous research studies indicate that "responsiveness to phone calls" and "sincere interest in developing a relationship" ranked higher in importance than "technical skill" -- the ability to devise solutions. According to Beckwith, "It isn't the better solution that clients value. It's the simple act of listening itself. We value it because of how we feel. It makes us feel important.
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39 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Michael P. Maslanka on January 5, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Or so he tells us in the intro to his third marketing book.While on a tour for the first book,he did not follow his own advice---it's the small things that save us(he mispronounced the ceo's name at a speech for his company); interjected the negative(talked to a group about his divorce);and not believing in his heart of hearts(where it really counts)his advice that it's all about relationships and emotion.Although in the intro to the book,he follows his own advice that a little humility with a client(or a reader) generates lots of good will.But if you sell services---and Beckwith argues that most of us now do---his latest is for you.The book is divided into a couple of hundred chapters,each just a page or two long.And he hammers home his advice:be specific and concrete in describing what you do;find the transcendent meaning of what you do(for me,I no longer pratice employment law but help clients manage an employment matter before the matter manages them);and make sure that evreything you say,do,wear,creates the expectation that you are reliable,skilled,and trustworthy.The book arms you with both attitude and tactics:drop the idea of a "mission" or that you sell "solutions"---they are so 1990s;try contridictions like Omaha Surfing(or Beckwith Bombs and 5 stars come to think of it);and value your client's time.The book has so much jammed in it that it's like chocolate cake---almost too rich.He wraps up with a valuable appendix of checklists but with even more valuable advice:be passionate about what you do and your clients will be passionate about you.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Brian B. Carter on January 26, 2003
Format: Hardcover
When I write about practice managment, I tell acupuncturists to get to know Harry Beckwith. He's the ultimate practice management guru.
But Beckwith's books have nothing to do with medicine! How could he help there?
Beckwith writes about SERVICE marketing. Most of the practice management literature hasn't caught on. You're selling a service. Not a product.
Even now, your competition is stiff. Do you know who Harry says is your biggest competition? It's not who you think!
Your biggest competetion is the customer. If they don't think they need you... if they can do it themselves... if they find a way around you... you lose. And so do they, because they really DO need you. You've just got to prove it to them.
How could reading this book help your business? Harry's books contain hundreds of small sections... each with a story or market research study, some discussion, and a moral-of-the-story at the end. It's easy to digest these books in pieces.
Thank goodness (and thank Harry) that he didn't try to come up with one of those foolish 7 step plans... life's too fluid and organic. It can't be reduced to a set of rules.
Each piece stimulates ideas. You may slap your forehead more than once as you realize some of the mistakes you're making. Harry will help you think better.
I've read "Selling the Invisible," and "What Clients Love." I'm going to re-read them both. My Dad borrowed the second one... I may have to buy it again!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By "songbear" on April 18, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book is short, sweet, to the point, and reads like a daily devotional book. I plan on using at for discussion groups at work to get non-marketers to understand how to make customers happy. The book is written in a clear, concise, but extraordinarily interesting manner than lends itself to discussion and implementation. Each section contains at least one example of each point - and this is stuff you are going to remember. Many books in this market are pure fluff - you can't remember a darn thing they said two hours after you put the book down. Not so with "What Clients Love."
Highly recommend for those whose business depends on developing business and keeping customers happy. Whether selling hardcore tangible products or professional services, this book should be on your required reading list. Truly transformational.
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