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Face to Face- Priceless February 26, 2014

Posted by Jack Macholl in Communications, Customer Service, Internal communications, Referral marketing, Sales.

We hear a great deal about the magic of a ‘Tweet” 140 characters to deliver a message.  Others say that Skype calls eliminate the need for travel and the lost time/expense associate with in-person meetings. This technology is great, it has its place, but there are still moments, projects, and situations that require a hand shake, eye-to-eye interaction, hand drawn diagrams -a human connection.

During the past few months I’ve encountered a few situations where a 15-minute meeting unwinds all the misunderstandings and fatigue caused by an e-mail trail. Sometimes reconnecting on a human level resets a relationship, energizes it, gets things back on-track. This can work internally or with external communications, both are very important, yet unique, and should be handled with due care.

Like most things in life, communications too comes full-circle.  Face to face may be making a comeback, to me, that’s priceless.

What’s your face to face success story? I’d love to hear from you.

Enjoy the day.


A Good Problem to Have January 31, 2014

Posted by Jack Macholl in Brand building, Brand personality, Branding, Image, Marketing, Marketing Planning, Sales, Site visibility, Uncategorized.
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I once heard a business owner say that having too much business is a good problem to have. Lately, I have encountered several situations where it is very difficult to secure a quote for services (particularly in the building/renovation trades). Not returning phone messages and leaving requests for quotes unattended in an e-mail box presents a poor image for the company, creating an instant sense of doubt in the consumer’s mind.


Leads to Customers

Today there are many  tactical articles written about ways to increase web site traffic, generate sales leads and make the phones ring. Perhaps a more urgent need would be helping business owners find proven response methods to convert estimate requests in-hand and also acquiring the human talent to meet existing market demand.

What lead conversion and staffing models work in your field?

The Power of Thank You January 27, 2014

Posted by Jack Macholl in Bank marketing, Brand personality, Branding, Communications, Customer Service, Image, Marketing, non-profit, Philanthropy, Referral marketing, Sales.
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Whether you are acknowledging a present, business referral or expressing gratitude to a donor at a non-profit, sending something to express your gratitude should be standard procedure.  In our hurried SMS text and e-mail world, the power of a handwritten thank-you note is astounding.

Part of my weekly routine includes sending written thank-you cards to people who have helped with a business (or personal) matter. Today getting “snail mail” is often as infrequent as a fax. Granted there is a cost and some inertia to overcome, but what is the price of an impersonal thank-you?bigstock-Thank-you-vector-stamp-24628313

Is Cash Making a Comeback? January 7, 2014

Posted by Jack Macholl in Customer Service, Marketing, Sales, Uncategorized.
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Over the past few days I’ve received an e-mail from a local restaurant offering a 20% discount, discussed building material discounts and seen gasoline for a dime per gallon less if cash is used versus credit card. In spite of the improving economy there appears to be a growing trend of sensitivity from merchants that wish to avoid paying interchange fees to their credit card processor.

This could be the result of accounting advice or perhaps a lean toward stockpiling more cash in small businesses that are having difficulty accessing bank credit. The “cashless society” that was predicted back in the 80’s has  yet to fully materialize and may be realized further down the road.

Is this a trend or maybe a paradigm shift brought by necessity and change?

Customer Interaction- At Least Pretend December 31, 2013

Posted by Jack Macholl in Brand personality, Communications, Customer Service, Image, Marketing, Sales, Uncategorized.
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My final post of 2013 won’t be a “7 things you need to know” article, I wanted to leave you with some food for thought for the New Year.

Yesterday I decided to drive my car through a wash near my home as our midwestern road salt levels are already off the charts. The lady in the booth was on her iPhone and did not interact verbally her conversation trumped the customer interaction. Not only is this rude, it’s just plain horrible customer service. Certainly, many service jobs are not glamorous, but to simply point, take money and turn away is not portraying a quality image.

Today we’ve grown to accept self-service or perhaps marginal online chat and phone representatives as commonplace . From my vantage point certain businesses must still use face to face service as their central tool. It’s important to monitor the activity and attitude of those you have in customer-facing positions, make sure they’re at least acting the part.

A happy and safe New Year to you all.


Calm at the Holidays December 24, 2013

Posted by Jack Macholl in Communications, Marketing Planning, Sales.
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The “last-minute deals” are still pouring in to the e-mail in-box and retail stores are pressing the envelope to the limit, staying open this evening on Christmas Eve until 6:00 PM or later. It often appears the world of marketing is beyond “always on.” In the past few years we’ve evolved to a new level of frenetic pace, evidently this is the new “norm.”

In 2014 we’re sure to see many new breakthroughs in the world of marketing communications. Filtering what’s really essential and the latest vapor terms will be the usual challenge.

For those of us celebrating Christmas, it’s time to power down, filter out and go back to social as we knew it as kids, face to face with family and friends.

Thanks to everyone who has subscribed to the blog, weighed-in with comments and encouragement. My plan is to have new material and be diligent about sharing some new, (hopefully) cool insights as we navigate the wild world of marketing.

Enjoy the calm and your time off at the holidays.



Keeping the Small Business Saturday Momentum Going December 2, 2013

Posted by Jack Macholl in Sales, Uncategorized.
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It was good to see many people making cash registers ring on Small Business Saturday. Merchants in my little corner of the world set up window and street displays, going all out to make shoppers feel welcome in their stores.

We’re now in the midst of all the Cyber Monday clamor, but I’m hopeful the momentum will continue and small business owners who put so much at stake to be there for us realize the benefit of our patronage in spite of the media barrage by the big box players.

Please share your local small business story…Image


Small Business Saturday November 26, 2013

Posted by Jack Macholl in Marketing, Sales, Uncategorized.
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The barrage of media advertising is in full-tilt, some of the TV spots are already worn out and it’s not even Thanksgiving.

Amidst all the clutter it’s time to consider shopping at a small, locally-owned business this holiday season. On Saturday businesses around the globe will be seeking to have their voices heard when Small Business Saturday provides a momentary opportunity to stand out.

I’ll be doing some shopping in my Chicago neighborhood, how about you?Image

Small Business Saturday November 24, 2012

Posted by Jack Macholl in Brand building, Brand personality, Communications, Corporate Social Responsibility, Marketing, Sales, Uncategorized.
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After participating in the Edison Park Turkey Trot here in my Chicago neighborhood, a woman handed me a flyer for her brand new start-up business Fair Trade Gifts (6700 N. Northwest Hwy. Chicago, IL 60631).

She was one of many people with booths hawking merchandise, handing out cards and flyers. What made this lady stand out was her “elevator pitch.” In just a few well chosen words she described the fair labor and sustainable practices her goods are made within. Likely no marketing budget, no Search Engine Optimization or PR campaign- a start-up using old-school techniques to capture a few seconds of your attention.

This entrepreneur represents what President Obama calls “Main Street America.” She is opening a small business in what was an abandoned coffee shop that crashed along with many other small businesses back in 2010.

The bombardment and overkill of Black Friday, Cyber Monday, etc. is upon us. It might be time to step back, stop by the local merchant, hear their story and help some people trying to live their dream around the corner.

Book Review- Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain September 24, 2011

Posted by Jack Macholl in Book Review, Sales.
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I just finished reading Ryan Blair’s new book Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain written with author Don Yaeger. This book is a must-read for anyone thinking about starting a company or those in the early stages of forging their own independent venture.

The eighth chapter called “First Things First” really resonated with me for many reasons. First he recounts a story very similar to a work experience I had with a boss early in my corporate career the frantic run into the bosses’ office with a “monumental problem” only to be turned away with “that’s the problem, but what’s the solution?” (Although my boss said it in much less politically correct terms used in office settings of the 1980’s). That lesson has remained with me until this day deliver solutions, not problems.

It also made me think about many people I meet in my consulting and academic worlds people unwilling to do the analysis or “the math” as Ryan calls it; they simply freeze up or complain. Making an effort to solve a problem with minimal emotion is really the secret that he points out and it’s advice that’s right on target.

Mr. Blair’s book is not meant to be a rags to riches “tear jerker”, but more an introspective look into the mind of a young man whose gang affiliated teenage years landed him in a lonely place-jail. He was in the valley of right and wrong and elected to pull himself up, have faith, do the work and approach each venture as if he had nothing to lose and everything to gain.

He is right about success being a choice and finding the mentors to help you get there. Why not get a copy and read it, after all what have you got to lose?

For more information on this amazing young man visit;