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Showing 1-10 of 115 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 261 reviews
on December 26, 2015
Meh it was okay. Sure there are a bunch of great one liners in the book that feel awesome but there is no 'how' presented at all. After reading this you're still left wondering how to do any of what the author says is good.

Also the author never really backs up his thoughts. The examples provided come across like stories where a friend of a friend did something awesome that you saw on the Internet.

In short they feel right but not like they hold up to intense scrutiny.

Finally there are a few items that seem to be contradictory. The author says write a mission statement then says keep it secret so the competition doesn't f ind out but also tell employees so they know.

It can't be secret if you tell employees and really that's what you should be doing. Fearing what the competitors will do because of your mission means you're not looking at your mission for direction anymore you're looking at your competition which means you're following them.

Bad idea.

I don't think this book is really worth your time unless you just like quotes with no action to back them up.
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on April 22, 2011
As Harvey Mackay notes on the cover "The one book on marketing I'd have if I could have just one. A CLASSIC." This books changes the way we think about marketing: "It begins with an understanding of the distinctive characteristics of services - their invisibility and intangibility - and of the unique nature of service prospects and users - their fear, their limited time, their sometimes illogical ways of making decisions, and their most important drives and needs". Harry then goes on to discuss a number of fundamental topics: surveying and research, planning, positioning and focus, pricing, branding, communicating and selling, nurturing and keeping clients etc.

Below are some excerpts that I found particularly insightful:

a) "Your opportunities for growth often lie outside the confines of your current industry description." - This can be reworded to apply to one's personal career

b) "In most professional services, you are not selling expertise - because your expertise is assumed, and because your prospect cannot intelligently evaluate your expertise anyway. Instead, you are selling a relationship. And in most cases, that is where you need the most work."

c) "First, accept the limitations of planning...Second, don't value planning for its result: the plan...Third, don't plan your future. Plan your people."

d) "Positioning (Al Ries and Jack Trout) says: 1) You must position yourself in your prospect's mind. 2) Your position should be singular: one simple message. 3) Your position must set you apart from your competitors. 4) You must sacrifice. You cannot be all things to all people; you must focus on one thing."

e) "To succeed spectacularly in a service business, you must get all your ducks in a row. Marketing is just one duck. But it is one very big duck."

f) "...And for marketing purposes - for the purpose of attracting and keeping business - a service is only what prospects and clients perceive it to be. So "get better reality": Improve your service quality. But never forget that the prospect and client must perceive that quality."

g) "Services are human. Their successes depend on the relationships of people...But you can spot some patterns in people. The more you can see the patterns and understand people, the more you will succeed - and this book as written with the hope that it will help you do just that."

h) "Nothing beats experience, of course, but reading books about others' experiences comes in a competent second. The risk in learning only from personal experience is that too often, we draw conclusions from too little data - we learn too much from too little. We also tend to credit our company's successes to everything that went into them...And so we keep repeating things that hurt our business."

One of the best features of the book is the way its written and structured. Each area is covered through small stories featuring numerous real-life examples. This makes the book very practical and enjoyable to read. All in all, a great book on Marketing and one that is recommended for anyone. We are all in some aspect a marketer of services.

As a final remark, you can follow the author Harry Beckwith's latest thoughts here: [...]
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on July 24, 2017
I buy lots of books on sales and marketing, but this book really truly deserves the reputation that it's earned over the years. It's written about a unique topic, first of all—the sale of services as opposed to products. Secondly, it's just crammed packed with insights that could only have been gleaned from years "on the ground." No fluff, no BS, this book is just cram packed with gold. It helped me retool my business in some pretty major ways (all of them good), and no other book as ever made me do that. Kudos! A real achievement.
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Essential book for people in sales but helpful to all walks of life. Great introduction to value-based selling propositions.
Learn to leverage the less obvious points of selling by finding your customers' true needs and closing the gaps providing effective solutions to their issues.
Easy read and widely-applicable.
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on October 17, 2015
Rambles and rambles and rambles. Never does make his point or come to clear communication about what to do or how to do it. Entire thing is just abstract concept without really getting to specific how to's, examples, points, or practical examples for any specific industries. There are much better books on selling ones self, PR or marketing of ones own services.
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on July 18, 2017
This is one of my favorite books that I have ever read. It is an easy read yet it still contains a large amount of actionable advice. I will be keeping this book and referencing it a lot as I am starting my career as a financial advisor. I highly recommend this to anyone involved in any industry because there is a service element to everything!
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Great business insights broken into very relevant bite-sized chunks. Will have all of my managers read this. Outstanding and highly recommended.
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on May 27, 2017
Simple, clear and eye-opening. I recommend to all who are in the strategy planning phase. This book has good examples and numerical facts on the success of simplify.
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This is a wonderful book for anyone in any service business. Since over 80% of our economy is now service based, everyone can benefit from reading the book.

It is actually a huge collection of essays on marketing. They are short, well written and very insightful. It would be difficult not to pick up 10 to 15 things that you could do immediately to improve your marketing.

The book was written in 1997, so some specific companies he talks about have changed dramatically. However the principles have not changed. These principles will still be valid 50 years from now.

One thing that most service providers have trouble with is pricing their services. They are afraid to charge too much. Beckwith does a great job of explaining why you cannot compete on price.

He tells a little story about Picasso. He was sketching at a sidewalk cafe in Paris when a woman strolling along the street saw him and asked if he would do a sketch of her. He obliged and when finished, she asked how much she owed him. Five thousand francs was the reply. She protested that it had only taken three minutes. Picasso corrected her by saying, "No. It took me all my life." When you are selling services you are not selling your time but your experience. A lesson most in the service business really do not understand.

The book is a pleasure to read.
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on September 7, 2008
It's a good read, but there is a page and half that has had a major impact, showing me where I have a huge blindspot in business and how I stop my own progress. This page and a half is possibly the most important material I've read in a book in several years (for me it applies directly).

The author talks about the Fallacy of Planning in a business setting. He ranks plans in this order:

1. Very Good
2. Good
3. Best
4. Fair
5. Poor

Why is Good ahead of Best? Simple, to arrive at Best takes orders of magnitude more planning than Good. Also, who defines Best? How much time is spent creating the Best plan? Will Best stand the test of time? Can everyone agree on Best? Would Good work just as well as Best in the real world? Is Best satisfying the client's need better than a Good plan?

Choosing the "Best" plan leads to Paralysis by Analysis. Good plans allow for quick action and constant improvement. The most successful people in the world have acted on Good plans that they have refined over time. An actionable plan is more successful than a plan that never leaves the drawing board!

Personally, I've fallen into the Best trap many times. There is no such thing as a "Best" plan. Going forward the "Best" plan will be the "Good" plan that I can put into action and refine over time!

A lightbulb went off in my head when I got this concept. Thank you Harry for this valuable lesson.
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