Anonymous Distributor

How’s business? Most of our authorized sales and service dealers are doing OK, but not great. Unit sales continue to lag, and I suspect that’s true in all sales channels. Service continues to “carry the day” for many service centers. Rain from hurricanes is helping saturate the ground in the East as fall approaches, but there appears to be no relief in sight for Texas. I continue to contend that consumers will remain pessimistic until we can put more people back to work, people with problem mortgages get some real relief, and Congress quits acting like a circus with no ringmaster!


I hope you and I live long enough to see all that come about. But I’m not sure I’d bet a lot of money on that happening.


The consensus view of economists is that, while government efforts to stimulate demand kept things from getting worse, they still haven’t been effective enough in making things better. I think we all figured that out long ago!


Summing up my feelings most succinctly is the cover story in the Sept. 5, 2011, issue of Fortune magazine. Titled “American Idiots…How Washington Is Destroying the Economy…and What We Can Do to Fix It,” the story was written by long-time business writer Allan Sloan.


One highlighted statement by Sloan states, “If I sound angry, it’s because I am. Think of me as an angry moderate who’s finally fed up with the lunacy and incompetence of our alleged national leaders — and with people stirring up trouble from which they hope to benefit politically or financially.”


My opinion is that what’s going on now in Washington is the worst I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been around a long time. If you’re fed up like I am, then tell your representative or senator just that — you’re fed up and it’s time for those in Washington to regain their senses, quit worrying about how they’re going to get re-elected, and do the right thing for the American people. Here is the Web link with the addresses you need to express your own frustration or opinion: www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml.


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Using social media in your business is a hot topic these days. I saw this definition of the difference in e-mail marketing and social media marketing that Martin Lieberman, the managing editor at Constant Contact, used in a recent talk. He said, “You use e-mail to communicate with your current customers and social media to reach new ones.” That puts the difference between the two in simple, meaningful terms. If you’re reaching out to your current or potential retail customers, you should be using both as marketing tools.


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A university professor began reflecting on the people who made a positive impact on his life. In particular, he remembered a schoolteacher who had gone out of her way to instill in him a love of poetry. He hadn’t seen or spoken to her in many years, but he located her address and sent her a letter of thanks. A short time later, he received the following reply:


“My dear Willie, I cannot tell you how much your note meant to me. I am in my eighties, living alone in a small room, cooking my own meals, lonely, and, like the last leaf of autumn, lingering behind. You will be interested to know that I taught school for 50 years and yours is the first note of appreciation I ever received. It came on a blue-cold morning, and it cheered me as nothing has in many years.”


The teacher’s note brought the professor to tears — and then he began searching for others who’d shaped his life, just to say thanks.


If only more people held onto gratitude the way they hold a grudge!


None of us got to where we are alone. Whether the assistance we received was obvious or subtle, acknowledging someone’s help is a big part of understanding the importance of saying thank you.


It’s more than just good manners. Saying thank you — and meaning it — is never a bad idea. It appeals to a basic human need to be appreciated. It sets the stage for the next pleasant encounter. And it helps keep in perspective the importance of receiving and giving help. Why don’t you give it a try?


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There was a recent opinion piece by Ron Kaufman in Bloomberg Businessweek about the importance of a service culture in your business. A couple of points he made really “struck home” with me.


One was “Service isn’t a department. It’s a mindset.” The second great thought was: “When it comes to service, there’s never a point when you can’t improve, and there’s never a day when your customers won’t appreciate it.” We should think about these two excellent points about service every time we unlock the front door of our business to begin another workday.


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Contact the Anonymous Distributor at anonymous.distributor@gmail.com or read his blog at www.anonymousdistributor.blogspot.com.

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