Archive for August, 2007

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Where is Search Broken?

August 23, 2007

I wrote a guest post on AltSearchEngines.com yesterday asking the question “Where is Search Broken?” Please stop by, give it a read and offer your thoughts.

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Bessed Search Plugin for Firefox

August 22, 2007

Many thanks to Jeremy Weiss of Blue Phoenix Consulting, who created this Firefox plugin that lets you search Bessed straight from your browser’s navigation bar. It’s easy as pie to add—just click the link and it’s ready for use.

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Quickie Book Review: The Ultimate Sales Machine by Chet Holmes

August 21, 2007

I don’t think I would want to work for Chet Holmes, author of The Ultimate Sales Machine. That sounds like a slam, but the truth is that I wouldn’t want to work for him because I think he would demand the very best out of me at all times, to the point where I would get annoyed.  I’m just too lazy to be great all the time (if I’m great any of the time), and his “pigheaded discipline and determination” might be too much for me. On the other hand, instilling his ideas to the best of my ability would put me far ahead of where I’m at today, so I’m going to give it a try. (But I’m still not going to work for him.)

As the name suggests, The Ultimate Sales Machine is about sales, and it’s a great book for any sales organization.  But only if you really have the “pigheaded discipline and determination” that Holmes repeatedly speaks of.  Because Holmes’ biggest message is that he’s got all kinds of strategies and tactics to make your sales organization better, but they’re only going to work if you do them and stick with them, which most people won’t. (Which is why most people would probably not want Holmes leading them, as he’d hold their feet to the fire, which unfortunately too many of us do not want.)

This is not strictly a sales book, though, at least not in the “here’s how to make a sale” sense. While the tail end of the book is very tactical, the front end is more about getting in the right mindset to market effectively. Holmes is relentless in his ideas on time management, on repeated workshops to work on getting presentations and pitches down to a science, and to selling customers on education more than products.

Holmes’ method of getting in the door with customers works because he really is suggesting giving something in order to get.  All of us know that when a salesperson calls on us, he/she is trying to sell us something, but even knowing that we can still get roped in if they offer us some bit of information or research that is going to help us be better.  After all, we can always say “no” to the pitch later. From the salesperson’s perspective, though, the first step is getting you into the funnel, and giving away something of value upfront is the best way to do that.

I said I wouldn’t want to work for Holmes, but that’s a shortcoming on my part.  Because I sure would hire him, so he could whip my employees into shape, and use these winning strategies to drive my business (and get rid of slackers like me that didn’t want to do the painful work of improving).  Whether you’re in sales or not, this book really has some inspiring chapters that I’d recommend.

P.S. I just went to Chet Holmes’ Web site and signed up for his newsletter. I absolutely hate his site, which is the run-of-the-mill sales pitch after sales pitch type of site that so many online marketers use. I still signed up because I liked the book so much, but I’m a little disappointed to see that Holmes uses the same rah-rah tactics that so many of these guys use.

e-mail me: adam@bessed.com

Adam Jusko is founder and CEO of Bessed, a Web site promising “search without spam”, thanks to human-edited search results and ongoing visitor feedback. Do a search, offer your comments, submit your site–help create the “bessed” search site in the world.

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Quickie Book Review: Buzz by Ed Koch

August 21, 2007

I like to read books about “buzz” because I’m always looking for ways to get a little traffic love for Bessed on a small budget. So I got the book Buzz by Ed Koch, the former mayor of New York.  It’s sort of a strange book, but it had a few insights that were worthwhile, which I will share with you now.

First off, I had forgotten that Ed Koch, a lifelong Democrat, had pulled a switcheroo and vehemently supported George W. Bush for president. As far as I can tell from this book, he hasn’t changed that opinion. Therefore it appears that going against your lifelong stated philosophy is one way to build buzz, as this worked for a while for Koch, and it got him another book deal.

But that’s being nasty.  Here are some good points and bad points about the book itself, in case you’re interested in picking it up.

It’s broken down into four parts, from “How Buzz Begins” to “Recognizing Victory”. Personally I felt like the chapters could’ve been thrown together any which way and made as much sense as they did in the order presented. This isn’t really a “how to go from Point A to Point B” kind of book; it’s just a lot of different ideas thrown together. That’s fine, I don’t need a framework, but these types of books always insist on making it seem like you’re getting a more cohesive picture than you are. All us readers want is a few good ideas, so dispense with the grand plans I say.

My takeaway from the book is that being honest and honestly enthusiastic will help build you buzz. Say what you’re going to do, do it, and be honest and as friendly as you can be along the way.  On the other hand, don’t back down when challenged, or people lose respect for you and they lose some of the hope you’ve given them. This strikes me as being more about personal buzz than buzz for your business, but I think there is some crossover. I also think this applies if you run a company with employees that look to you for leadership, especially if you’re a startup. After all, a lot of startups are riding on a vision, and they need a strong leader to make people keep believing in that vision.

Koch is a good storyteller, and there are some very good anecdotes here, including one about Mother Theresa and some chocolate chip cookies that I particularly enjoyed. (That Mother Theresa always did crack me up!)

One of the more bizarre chapters is the one in which Koch tells you how to create buzz by writing letters to important people. He reprints his exact letters to various New York City honchos as well as Pat Robertson, and even lets us in on a few e-mail exchanges between him and random people.  I have no idea how these letters create buzz, but even if they do, I’m sure they create more buzz if you’re already a well-known person like Ed Koch than if you’re me. Very strange.

If you’re looking to build your business’s buzz based on your product features or your marketing or social networks, etc., Buzz is not about that at all. But if you’re a CEO who wants to build buzz to your business via your own personal brand—and there’s nothing wrong with that—Buzz could be helpful. After all, Ed Koch came from nothing to be mayor of New York.  That’s a rise to stardom worth emulating.

e-mail me: adam@bessed.com

Adam Jusko is founder and CEO of Bessed, a Web site promising “search without spam”, thanks to human-edited search results and ongoing visitor feedback. Do a search, offer your comments, submit your site–help create the “bessed” search site in the world.