You don’t owe an explanation

If someone invites you to dinner, the response of “thanks, but I’m not available” is all that is needed. There is no need to explain that you are busy, or that you aren’t interested or anything else. There certainly isn’t a need to make up an excuse. At some point in our society, people started to think they owed people an explanation for everything.

If you are offered a job and decide not to take it, you should thank the person who offered you the position and then simply say “thanks but no thanks” (hopefully worded nicer than that) but you don’t owe them an explanation for why you aren’t accepting the position. The same applies if you decide the person who has applied for the position isn’t the right person for you. Thank them for applying explain that it’s not going to work out and move on.

People tend to get more offended by the explanation than they do by the answer. In many cases, not only don’t you owe them an explanation, the reality is, they don’t want one either.

To paraphrase Sgt Friday “Just the facts”. The more you elaborate, the more difficulties you create

Have a great day!


Competing to win

We all compete at some point in our lives. Some compete on an athletic field, some compete in the board room, some compete for affection, some compete just to compete but everyone competes at some time.

Typically, we have one of three types of competitions

Those we are expected to win
Those we might win or might lose
Those we are expected to lose

Most people don’t want to admit it but there are opponents that they are not expected to beat. Whether it’s the coach whose team is vastly outmatched or the attorney trying a case where the evidence is against his client. In many cases, these are the competitions many people spend a great deal of time preparing for. The thought is, if they can win this competition, they have really accomplished something significant.

The problem is, when these people are focusing so much of their attention on wining the unexpected, they lose focus on the ones they are expected to win.

Getting the occasional unexpected win is nice but the question is, whether it’s worth the unexpected losses?

While we do want to continue to work toward the unexpected wins, we must stay focused on the other two categories as well.

The top performers always (at least almost always) win the competitions they are expected to win, they win more than they lose the ones that are 50/50 and they win the occasional unexpected.

Keep your focus and good things will happen

Have a great day!


Do you upsell?

I wanted to purchase a book from the other day and they had the book available (for 2/3 the price of a local bookstore). When I went to checkout, I realized if I ordered one more book, I would get free shipping.

It simply made sense for me to buy another book in order to save on shipping.

Do you give an incentive to people to spend more money with you? Knowing how much it costs to “acquire” another customer, doesn’t it make sense to make it easier for your current customers to spend more money with you?

If you are involved with a membership based organization, would it make sense to offer a discount for groups to join as opposed to one price for all? It might lower your per member price but increase your overall revenue. As long as the discounted price still covers expenses plus some, doesn’t it make sense to offer a group discount?

If you have a product, do you give your customers incentives to buy more?

Some groups go overboard on the upsell but if you can do it in a way so that the customer benefits and so do you, isn’t it worth trying?

Have a great day!


Do you make it easy for people to buy?

There is a small wine shop here in Charleston WV in Capitol Market ( and they do something very simple and very logical to make it easier for their customers to buy from them.

When you purchase wine at The Wine Shop, they give you the option of having your purchase recorded in their database under your name. The reason this is such a great idea is if you purchase some wine there, and like it, you can go back and have them look up exactly what you purchased so you can buy again. Also, if you don’t like something, you can make sure not to buy that again. This is one advantage to their database.

A second advantage to the database is if you are looking to purchase wine for someone else, it can help make sure you purchase something they will like.

Recently, a family came over for dinner and they brought a bottle of wine. They picked it out by checking the database and choosing something I had purchased recently.

This made me think about how rare it is for businesses to make it easy to buy from them. When a person calls a hotel, are they able to look to see whether this person has stayed with them before? If they have stayed before, would it make sense to look to see what type of a room they were in and offer something similar (or maybe even an upgrade). If, the last time they stayed, they asked for a cot, would it make sense to offer a suite as an alternative.

When I order books from, they make it easy to place the order. Once I login, they have my shipping address and billing information. With one or two clicks, I can place my order and be done (and shortly afterwards, I receive the confirmation and shipping information).

Is there a way to make buying easier from you?

Have a great day!


Do you know your product?

Recently, I have started collecting various types of West Virginia glass. Some of the best known (and my favorite) is from Blenko. Sadly, they recently announced they had shut down production. A week ago, I went to their visitor center to look at purchasing some glass and when I asked one of their employees what year a piece was made she looked at me with a look of disbelief and I realized she knew very little about what she was selling.

Contrast that to Chuck and Connie at The Purple Moon ( , which is where I have bought the WV Glass I do own. They frequently can tell you the time period a piece was made, the designer, how rare the piece is etc.

Would you rather buy from the person who doesn’t know their product or the person who does?

Most people would agree it’s more enjoyable buying from someone who knows what they are selling and can be honest and knowledgeable in what they have to say.

Keeping in mind that we all are selling something (whether it’s a product, service, ourselves etc) the question is, do you know enough about what you are selling to make the buyer feel comfortable buying?

If you are a realtor, it’s not enough to just know the basics about the house, but a buyer is most likely also going to want to know about the neighborhood, shopping opportunities, schools etc.

If you run a camp, it’s not enough to just know the price, dates and location. A potential camper is going to want to know about staff, curriculum etc.

If you are an attorney, it’s not enough to know the law, you also need to know how the law applies to potential clients.

Recently, I was at a Tea Room and asked the employee how many of the MANY products that they offered, he had tasted. He said “almost every one because I want to be able to answer any questions a person might have”. Do you make the effort to know your products like this person has done?

Knowing your product is something everyone should make the effort to do but sadly, not enough do.

Have a great day!


Is change possible?

Everyone has things they would like to change (if not everyone, almost everyone). Whether it’s getting in shape, getting a new job, reconnecting with someone special, losing weight or any of hundreds of other possibilities, people have something (or things) they want to change.

There are many reasons why you can’t make the change but at some point, you have to start asking yourself when you will stop making excuses and instead start doing something positive

While there are many reasons you can’t get in shape (you need to find a place to work out, you need to find the time etc) the reality is, if you want to get in shape, you can.

If you don’t like your job, there are many reasons not to change (the economy is bad and there aren’t many jobs out there, seniority at your current position etc), if you start actively looking for a new job (and are willing to look outside of the normal “help wanted” pages) there are opportunities out there.

There are many reasons why you shouldn’t make a change but rather than looking for reasons not to do something, realize the only thing that is stopping you from making positive changes….is yourself

Those who are looking for excuses will accomplish exactly what they expect, which is nothing.

Those who look for ways to make positive changes will also accomplish exactly what they expect, which is possibly something significant.

It’s easy to look at external factors and let them beat you down but those who can look past those, will inevitably be successful

Have a great day!