Wally Amos is the
founder of Uncle
Company. You can
reach him at
Do it now
HOW OFTEN DURING the course of the day do you
put off doing things—calling old friends, apologizing for errors made in judgment, following up on
an idea? Usually, I am pretty good at such things.
About two weeks ago, a former associate
from my show-biz days told me of a mutual friend
who had worked with us and was dying from cancer. I immediately made a note to give him a call.
Periodically, I would think of calling, but unfortunately I never did.
Today, I called and got his voice mail. I then
called another friend who had worked with us,
and during the course of our conversation he told
me that our friend had died two days before. The
news left me with an empty, sad feeling; I wished
I had called. My call would not have saved his life,
but maybe I could have made him laugh or just
given him a good feeling. The call would have
given me a good memory, and the feeling of having
done a good deed.
More in archives
On Costco.com, enter
“Connection.”At Online Edition,
search “Wally Amos.”
Tips for better negotiating and closing
“REGARDLESS OF how you feel about it, negotiation is an essential part of the sales process,” claim
sales consultants Tony Rutigliano, a Costco member, and Brian Brim in their book, Strengths Based
Selling (Gallup Press, 2010). They offer these tips.
Know your customer’s needs. If you continuously anticipate what your customers need next,
you engage them in an ongoing conversation. Do
this throughout the sales life cycle.
Rally your advocates. Cultivate advocates in
the customer organization who will be your champions throughout the sales process. When it’s time
to close, they can speak for you during negotiations and give you the inside scoop on quirks or
wrinkles that could make or break your sale.
Lead with your strengths. Use your natural
talents instead of trying to imitate the techniques
of colleagues or “gurus.” Do what
Role-play. Enlist the help of a colleague or
supervisor and role-play through all the steps.
You’ll be grounded in every aspect of the deal, and
will develop the approach that works best for you.
Prepare an answer for every objection.
Don’t get caught off guard with an unforeseen
objection. Think through every possible scenario,
and practice your answers until you can deliver
them without sounding defensive or nervous.
Leave the door open for future business.
Explore the client’s needs, present and future. It’s
often more productive to hold off on closing and
explore needs and potential partnerships. Move
away from a transaction mind-set.
Know when to walk away. Sometimes there
are deals that aren’t worth closing. If a deal isn’t
good for both you and the customer, don’t
do it—it will be better for everyone in the end. C
THERE’S LITTLE question
about the potential advantages a website offers for a
small business. But having
a poorly designed site can
actually send customers
away, advise Costco members Bobbye Brooks and
Tonilee Adamson, the founders of Media4Women, based
in San Diego. They offer this
list of five things not to have
on your website:
•Excessive text that requires visitors to read the
page. They recommend
having more “white space”
than text: People today have
a bullet-point mentality, so
use short tags that can be
quickly seen and read.
flashing banners or videos
that cannot be muted. Too
much movement or sound
can be distracting and
annoying to visitors.
•Fonts, graphics or styles
that make your website look
dated. Be careful of using
clip art or cheap-looking
graphics that diminish your
professionalism. Look at
other websites in your industry and get ideas for how to
make yours look current,
contemporary and relevant.
•Muted, dull colors. It is
important to have an attractive, eye-pleasing website.
Colors elicit emotion, and
the right colors can be very
effective in attracting and
•A home page that takes
several seconds to open or
requires too much scrolling.
For more tips from Brooks
and Adamson, see their
website at www.media