Transcript of Frankel's Free Clinic August 26, 2002

Patrick (8/26/2002 8:50 AM): Rob, before we get started, have you ever considered expanding these sessions, possibly having a CPA from your list giving advice on Tuesday, an Attorney on Weds, maybe a Human Resources person on Thursday, etc?

Peter Cooper ( (8/26/2002 8:55 AM): Entered the room.

Peter Cooper ( (8/26/2002 8:55 AM): An interesting idea, Patrick.

Patrick (8/26/2002 8:55 AM): Rob, before we get started, have you ever considered expanding these sessions, possibly having a CPA from your list giving advice on Tuesday, an Attorney on Weds, maybe a Human Resources person on Thursday, etc? (8/26/2002 8:56 AM): Entered the room.

Patrick (8/26/2002 8:56 AM): Oops, don't hit refresh. It's resends your last post.

Yosef Rabinowitz ( (8/26/2002 8:57 AM): Entered the room.

Patrick (8/26/2002 8:57 AM): I think I'm also listed twice in the room members now.

Yosef Rabinowitz ( (8/26/2002 8:58 AM): Patrick - I remember a while back that somebody "borrowed" this forum on Thursdays for something (I don't remember what, though).

shar_e (8/26/2002 8:58 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 8:59 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:00 AM): Hey everyone! Good morning. Coffee's hot and I'm ready to rock.

Yosef Rabinowitz ( (8/26/2002 9:00 AM): mornin', Rob

shar_e (8/26/2002 9:01 AM): morning rob

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:01 AM): Patrick, to answer your question, I've always offered people the chance to host their own chat sessions here. Last year, in fact, we had a Tuesday session hosted by an HR person and a tech person was on Wednesdays. (8/26/2002 9:01 AM): I refocused a little bit rob

Elizabeth (8/26/2002 9:01 AM): Entered the room.

Elizabeth (8/26/2002 9:01 AM): Good morning all

Skip Pratt (8/26/2002 9:01 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:02 AM): Hi Shar_e! You new here? We always let the new folks go first, so jump in when you're ready! (8/26/2002 9:02 AM): Entered the room.

Skip Pratt (8/26/2002 9:02 AM): hi all... (8/26/2002 9:02 AM): Entered the room.

shar_e (8/26/2002 9:02 AM): thank-you rob but am not new (8/26/2002 9:03 AM): I refocused Rob and Feel a lot more confident!! (8/26/2002 9:03 AM): I refocused Rob and Feel a lot more confident!!

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:03 AM): Ah, sorry Shar_e.... Didn't recognize you -- Sharon Evans?

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:03 AM): Okay, so who IS first?

Troy White ( (8/26/2002 9:03 AM): Entered the room.

Elizabeth (8/26/2002 9:04 AM): I've got an issue I'd love feedback on, when you're ready

shar_e (8/26/2002 9:04 AM): that would be me

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:04 AM): Elizabeth, fire away, kiddo!

Patrick (8/26/2002 9:04 AM): Sharon, hey is this a small world or what?

shar_e (8/26/2002 9:04 AM): hi Patrick

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:05 AM): It's a FrankelBiz world, Patrick!

Elizabeth (8/26/2002 9:05 AM): OK, My co. just finished our video. I've been doing a mailing and including these custom cookies from Eleni's.

Elizabeth (8/26/2002 9:05 AM): One of our customers told the owner of my co,. he felt the cookie was "a juvenile gesture, not appropriate for a professional company."

Elizabeth (8/26/2002 9:06 AM): does anyone else think those are strong words to say about a ($6, very chic) cookie?

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:06 AM): So...what exactly were the cookies trying to sell, Elizabeth?

James MacAonghus (8/26/2002 9:06 AM): Entered the room.

Elizabeth (8/26/2002 9:06 AM): The cookie was shaped like a clapboard, one of those things the grip holds and writes the take or whatever on

Elizabeth (8/26/2002 9:07 AM): The cookies were a thank you to our customers for helping us develop the biz. that we were showing in the video

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:07 AM): Okay, but what sort of "professional" services/products were you selling?

Patrick (8/26/2002 9:07 AM): I kinda like the idea, assuming it is related to your product.

Peter Cooper ( (8/26/2002 9:07 AM): You can send -me- cookies every day. Not unprofessional at all *munch*

Anita ( (8/26/2002 9:07 AM): Entered the room.

Elizabeth (8/26/2002 9:08 AM): We sell packaging -- the cookie was relating to the premiere of our video -- am i missing your point?

Peter Cooper ( (8/26/2002 9:08 AM): The problem with a cookie is that you can only send it to one person. If you're thanking a company or a group of people (directors, say) it's not appropriate as the secretary who gets it will just eat it first ;-)

James MacAonghus (8/26/2002 9:08 AM): maybe this is a clue as to how the customer perceives you. i love cookies but would think it a little odd if i got one from say Accenture, whereas from a local company it'd seem more natural

Patrick (8/26/2002 9:09 AM): I don't see the harm...unless you handled the packaging and it arrived broken :)

Elizabeth (8/26/2002 9:09 AM): I sent one to every one of our contacts at all or our customers, and in most cases a big box went to the Pres/CEO

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:09 AM): Yeah, the kind of gift and promotion you do is very much linked to your brand. In fact, that's a key element of your branding. It's an extension of how you do what you do.

Peter Cooper ( (8/26/2002 9:09 AM): Elizabeth: Were there any more complaints?

Elizabeth (8/26/2002 9:09 AM): Not as far as I heard, but our salespeople haven't really been making follow up calls, they never do.

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:10 AM): I think James has a point here. I wouldn't expect a "serious" service/product company to send me something whimsical, UNLESS that were their brand to begin with.

Elizabeth (8/26/2002 9:10 AM): The whole thing video and cookie, was nicely packaged in a box.

Patrick (8/26/2002 9:10 AM): A certain percentage will complain about anything you do, including a free cookie.

Peter Cooper ( (8/26/2002 9:11 AM): Rob: But you offer a "serious" service, yet you have the "bobbing head". Isn't there room for memorable frivolity in borderline serious/informal brands?

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:11 AM): Offhand, I'd say that your customer has business sticking his nose into your promotional efforts and his reaction probably had more to do with his unsuccessful ventures at Weight Watchers than anything else.....Did you happen to read last week's FrankelTips about "the customer is always wrong?" This is partly what I meant

James MacAonghus (8/26/2002 9:11 AM): Even if you want to keep on sending cookies, you could do some segmentation - to remember which customers like this kind of thing and which don't. Obviously you don't want to dismiss one customer just because he is in the minority

Elizabeth (8/26/2002 9:11 AM): Rob: whether it was a serious brand or not, if it came from a person whom you had contact with and bought much from

Elizabeth (8/26/2002 9:12 AM): Would you still think it was odd?

Yosef Rabinowitz ( (8/26/2002 9:12 AM): Elizabeth - Some people are natural "mismatchers". i.e. If something doesn't fit into THEIR definition of, say, "professional" then to them it is "unprofessional" or maybe even offensive. It doesn't mean you did something wrong, just that you put a square peg in a round hole :-)

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:12 AM): Peter, you can bet that the bobbing head has cost me business, for sure. But it has cost me the business of people who likely would not have been good business. That's why I keep it there.

Elizabeth (8/26/2002 9:12 AM): I don't want to take up the whole session, I just spent the weekend wondering if I was insane. Thanks all!

Peter Cooper ( (8/26/2002 9:12 AM): Point taken :)

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:13 AM): If Elizabeth began with a whimsical brand, the cookie is probably no big deal.

Patrick (8/26/2002 9:13 AM): Elizabeth, the only possible "real" issue is that there might be a limit to the value of a gift employees are allowed to accept from vendors.

Elizabeth (8/26/2002 9:13 AM): But if you're not known as a whimsical brand but want to make a more personal connection with your customers, what would you recommend?

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:14 AM): Elizabeth, you're not insane. I find that 99% of the world just got yelled at by someone at their office. They have to take it out on someone. I'm sure your experience was an anomaly. I'd be more concerned if more than one person complained. Then you MIGHT have an issue. Overall, I believe your sanity to be well intact.

Peter Cooper ( (8/26/2002 9:15 AM): Entered the room.

Elizabeth (8/26/2002 9:15 AM): That's a better general question -=- how do you go about establishing a more personal relationship with companies where you're just known as one of many vendors?

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:15 AM): Depends, Elizabeth, but I can tell you that the key is personalization from the customers point of view. Of all the copy on my web site, the line that connects most with prospects is the very last line on the page. (8/26/2002 9:15 AM): I have a question

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:16 AM): Elizabeth, that's a brand issue. If your branding is right, your customers say, "I know Elizabeth is ten times as expensive, but I just prefer doing business with her."

Peter Cooper ( (8/26/2002 9:16 AM): The last line being.. "Thanks for dropping in. By the way, that's a swell tie you're wearing." ?

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:16 AM): Go, Spectrum....

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:16 AM): Yes, peter. That's it.

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:17 AM): Completely catches them off guard and warms it up in a personal way.

Frederick ( (8/26/2002 9:17 AM): Entered the room.

Peter Cooper ( (8/26/2002 9:17 AM): I actually like that video you have on there, although I usually don't bother with videos :-D (56k)

Elizabeth (8/26/2002 9:18 AM): Thanks all!

Peter Cooper ( (8/26/2002 9:18 AM): If you see a video of someone.. I dunno, it just -proves- they exist and that they are in business 'for real'

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:18 AM): Thanks, Peter....It's just a quick 90 seconds to also help warm it up. Spectrumedia, you have a question?

shar_e (8/26/2002 9:19 AM): hey Elizabeth ever thought of sending popcorn and a movie works for me =) (8/26/2002 9:19 AM): I have a new promotion for the holiday season, calendars, i have to compete against print companies that create mass produced calendars, each of my calendars are unique but much more costly, how can i promote this and still get the upper hand over the print companies

Elizabeth (8/26/2002 9:20 AM): shar_e -- yes, actually, for prospects, I've been sending a pack of microwave popcorn in the box along with the video

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:20 AM): Holy cow, Spec, you've got a real problem there, with calendars being so inexpensive and promotional. What is it about yours that make them worth the extra bucks?

Elizabeth (8/26/2002 9:20 AM): but thanks to the grinch's comment, I've been banned from sending any more gifts in mailings

shar_e (8/26/2002 9:21 AM): did you ever get any feedback from the popcorn Elizabeth?

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:21 AM): Elizabeth, that mans you have to find a new grinch to work for!!

Yosef Rabinowitz ( (8/26/2002 9:22 AM): Elizabeth, tell your boss that you won't send any more gifts to the GRINCH, but will continue sending gifts to everyone else since ONLY the GRINCH complained. :-)

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:22 AM): Spectrum, you there? Got a URL we can look at for those calendars?

Elizabeth (8/26/2002 9:23 AM): Shar-e, I haven't, , but I've repeated my plea for the sales staff to make some follow up calls and get me some feedback. (8/26/2002 9:23 AM): well we create some thing more than just a stamped name at the bottom of a calendar we create a calendar that has the style(image) of the company encompassing the calendar (8/26/2002 9:23 AM): not yet, still in production

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:23 AM): Spec, then I'd say your major case would be proving to users of promotional calendars how mass produced calendars aren't truly effective and that custom calendars payout in their increased effectiveness.

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:24 AM): If you approach the problem from your users' point of view, you have to ask them why they would buy promotional calendars in the first place.

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:24 AM): Then you take the argument from THEIR ground, and built it back to your product. (8/26/2002 9:25 AM): education is number one then

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:25 AM): For example, you can use the argument that a "mass produced" calendar sends the wrong message to its recipients. About how it shows that the supplier is really only interested in the cheapest solutions possible, which is a bad reflection on their own brand. Sort of like the gift as a reflection of the giver.

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:26 AM): Spectrum, you bet education is key. Just wrote to a FrankelTipster about that last night, in this week's FrankelTips. (8/26/2002 9:26 AM): thanks a lot that helps, by the way everyone my name is Steve

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:27 AM): Once you get them thinking on that track, I imagine that you have a better shot at it, because they see the calendar as an extension of themselves, instead of some dopey promotional gimmick.

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:28 AM): Steve, a while back we had a session that ended on a really interesting note, where I mentioned that you know you're really on target when the users recognize themselves in your solution. That's a biggie.

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:28 AM): Anyone else up for it?

Anita ( (8/26/2002 9:30 AM): I have a question.

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:30 AM): Mark, are you still here? Anything I can answer or help with?

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:31 AM): Oh, okay, Anita, go for it.

Anita ( (8/26/2002 9:31 AM): People are staring to ask me for help in building their web sites, not SEO, but actual help.

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:32 AM): Do you feel qualified to help them?

Anita ( (8/26/2002 9:32 AM): How should I charge for this? The same rate as for my services as SEO?

Patrick (8/26/2002 9:32 AM): Anita, that's a sweet position to be in. (8/26/2002 9:32 AM): Yes, I am still here....lurking. I have a potential 'situation' coming up and I will need some advice and just trying to get a feel for the community here.

Anita ( (8/26/2002 9:32 AM): Oh, yes, I can definitely help in setting up search engines.

Patrick (8/26/2002 9:34 AM): Anita, consider teaming up with a good design firm. You can get a reasonable percentage PLUS a good source of leads.

Peter Cooper ( (8/26/2002 9:34 AM): It's only a sweet position if you don't mind doing the other work.

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:34 AM): Offhand, Anita, I'd say NO. You have an opportunity here to up your revenue and I'd jump on it. Here's my thinking: if they come in on your SEO brand, that means you've already established your credibility. That means they're already believers, so you can charge more. Secondly, you're charging for a completely different service. Now you know how leading with one brand attribute works. They come in for attribute #1, but once your brand is proven, they buy more stuff.

Patrick (8/26/2002 9:35 AM): Peter, *nod*

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:35 AM): Patrick, that's why I asked Anita if she feels qualified to do the web work. If she can, she's got another profit center. If not, she has a valuable resource to trade out with designers.

John Charlesworth ( Professional Web Tracking) (8/26/2002 9:36 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:36 AM): Essentially, Anita, you have to ask yourself if you're up to opening another division of your company.

Arik Schenkler (8/26/2002 9:36 AM): Entered the room.

Patrick (8/26/2002 9:36 AM): Rob *nod*

James MacAonghus (8/26/2002 9:37 AM): I wouldn't charge more. I charge my clients the same daily rate whatever the work, because what I am selling is a day of my time at 100% hard work. What I do in that time doesn't matter - if they wanted to me to sit doing nothing for a day that would cost the same. If I charge more for one type of work than another when both just involve me writing stuff, it kind of implies that one type is inferior or I put less effort into it.

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:37 AM): The important thing to see, Anita, is that your brand credibility has obviously taken you into a place where people are laying money at your feet. Which is exactly the way it's supposed to happen!

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:38 AM): James, there's a real danger in working that way: you're limiting your earning income to the number of hours in a day. I always charge by value. If I come up with the solution in 7 minutes or seven days, the rate is the same.

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:40 AM): The more you specialize, the more you have to charge by value, because as you specialize, you get better and faster. Why should you be penalized for that efficiency? Especially when you save your client so much time and effort and implement a better solution?

Tom (8/26/2002 9:40 AM): Entered the room.

James MacAonghus (8/26/2002 9:40 AM): I don't charge by value but I totally see the argument for doing so.

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:40 AM): In fact, there are only two instance when I charge by time: FrankelCall (one hour) and War Room Sessions (by the day) and both are a flat fee

Yosef Rabinowitz ( (8/26/2002 9:40 AM): I agree with Rob. I charge people the same amount whether they get to 20/20 in 5 minutes or 3 weeks.

James MacAonghus (8/26/2002 9:40 AM): OK, you know what, I forgot. I do charge by value as well!

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:41 AM): James, I don't know what you do, but it really is worth thinking about.

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:41 AM): Ah, I feel better already, James! I would have been worrying about it otherwise....

James MacAonghus (8/26/2002 9:41 AM): I do market research kind-of-work

James MacAonghus (8/26/2002 9:42 AM): Then again when you're a major consultancy or a law firm, you charge by time.

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:42 AM): James, when I buy research, I just want to know the answers for a price. I truly don't care whether it took the researcher five minutes or five days. If it's there when I need it, I'm happy.

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:43 AM): James, not always. It's funny, because I know a lot of "high-priced" lawyers who don't see themselves as hourly workers, but they are. Just like the kids working behind the counter at McDonald's. (8/26/2002 9:43 AM): Anita send an email to, i would like to talk to you about working a deal with the web design

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:43 AM): I order all my legal work with fries.

James MacAonghus (8/26/2002 9:44 AM): :) would you like us to super-size your invoice?

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:44 AM): The lawyers who make the big bucks work on retainer and contingency, which are value-based.

Yosef Rabinowitz ( (8/26/2002 9:44 AM): James - Law firms supersize your invoice whether you want them to or not :-)

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:45 AM): But I do see the need to offer hourly for people who just don't see it any other way, so i have a few options like that.

Peter Cooper ( (8/26/2002 9:46 AM): In Europe these days a skilled professional can probably earn about the same as a McDonald's manager if they're lucky.

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:46 AM): General tip: If your fees from your lawyer are too high, try bargaining with them. I kid you not. Get on the phone and (if the invoice is out of line) simply tell them that the invoice is unacceptable. You'd be amazed at how fast they'll work with you on it. Lawyers know what a bitch it is to collect; in fact, they know it better than anyone! (8/26/2002 9:46 AM): i have another question if possible

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:47 AM): Peter, it's bad all over, not just in Europe. Go ahead, Steve. You're up. (8/26/2002 9:48 AM): what kind of promo piece can i give to client that would help them sell my service

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:48 AM): (Jams when you get a second, let us know your URL. You got me curious.)

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:48 AM): Steve, are you talking about an existing client or a prospect?

James MacAonghus (8/26/2002 9:48 AM): (8/26/2002 9:48 AM): existing

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:49 AM): James: not a graphic-heavy guy, eh?

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:50 AM): Steve, if you're wondering about what kind of promo to do , and you've got a client history, I suggest you begin with that. Most people come back for more, rather than trying new stuff.

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:50 AM): (TEN MINUTE WARNING)

If it's an existing client, perhaps you can feature the work your recently did for them on your website. People always like to see their own work shown off. And, hopefully, the visitor would eventually explore the rest of your site. (8/26/2002 9:51 AM): Entered the room. (8/26/2002 9:52 AM): so choose the service that they come to me looking for rather than something tangible (for example a mug)

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:53 AM): Well, it depends. Some people in a high-usage business simply look for memorability. That means you just have to keep your name in front of them. But if they don't use your type of service very frequently, that might no cut it.

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:54 AM): However, if they were buying four-color printing often, you might send them something they can use when they create a four color piece. I always liked the conversion templates that printers sent us. Those showed me that the printer was interested in helping me even if he wasn't there. (8/26/2002 9:55 AM): I try to get in my clients face calling, touching base with them weekly, do you think this is to much? i do talk to them about new features and relative stuff

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:55 AM): On the other hand, I use a calculator that was sent to me by a toner cartridge company. I go through cartridges very slowly, but I like the way this company does business, so the calculator sits there with their name on it. Once a year, I order.

Bill Volk ( (8/26/2002 9:55 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:55 AM): Steve, did you happen to read today's FrankelTips? This is what I wrote about: sales persistence and timing. (8/26/2002 9:56 AM): no actually i didn't

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:56 AM): Yes, I think getting in a client's face too often is really bad. What you want is a list that you can call regularly over time such that you never become a pest.

Bill Volk ( (8/26/2002 9:57 AM): I may close a deal that's taken 2 years by being quite aggressive

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:58 AM): Bill, that may be true. But calling a client or prospect every week is just too much. It reeks of desperation.

Bill Volk ( (8/26/2002 9:58 AM): I gave up on selling corporate, and started to sell their stores direct ... corporate found out and is actually going to decide (after 2 years of ... nonsense) in 2 weeks.

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:58 AM): Much better to rotate the calls so that you call some every day, but you never call any one more than once every three weeks.

Bill Volk ( (8/26/2002 9:59 AM): I agree, every week is bad. I always ask when I should call again.

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:59 AM): Bill, that's just smart tactics. Congrats. "Better to beg forgiveness than to ask permission."

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 9:59 AM): TWO MINUTES

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 10:00 AM): Wow, where does the time go?

shar_e (8/26/2002 10:00 AM): hey Patrick if you are still here give me a call ok?

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 10:00 AM): Hey everyone, this was a good session....usable stuff. There WILL be a Free Clinic next week, too, even though it's a holiday in the USA

RobFrankel ( (8/26/2002 10:01 AM): I'll see you online!

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