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Interesting News From Around The Globe

This week I am sharing a different kind of newsletter…

Updates, business news, and marketing tips from around the world. Let me know what you think.

Would an AI Boss Be Better Than A Human?

The concept of AI managers is pretty out there, right? This is about a Vancouver, BC company who experimented with AI as a manager of their Team, Fascinating results, especially the hybrid approach!

As in all these cutting edge, new technologies emerging in the AI space, cybersecurity risks are lurking.

The 5 Maverick Rules for Social Media Marketing Success

Social media marketing is not for the faint of heart. Implement these five unconventional techniques into your social media strategy to streamline efforts, reduce stress, and consistently deliver value to your audience.

Tips for Successful Lead Generation (Insights from Experts)

Building a high-quality pipeline is challenging, and Google isn’t making it any easier. Discover nine expert insights from a recent webinar to elevate your lead generation efforts.

Understanding Customer Sentiment: Definition, Measurement Methods, and Best Practices

Customer sentiment measures how customers perceive a company, its offerings, and customer support. When utilized effectively, it enhances customer retention and satisfaction, offers insights for product improvement, and sustains competitive advantage.

Key SEO Metrics That Matter in 2024

Tracking essential metrics is key for maximizing online performance and ensuring sustained SEO success. This article identifies the critical metrics for 2024 that will enhance your SEO performance.

Elements of an Effective Retention Strategy

Amid ongoing reports of the Great Resignation, employers must bolster their retention strategies to avert a mass exodus of talent, which could lead to declines in work quality and operational disruptions.

How Your Email Address Could Be Undermining Trust

Your email address presentation significantly affects how recipients perceive your communications. In an era of cybersecurity concerns and phishing attacks, the choice of email address can either build or undermine trust.

Get in touch

Thanks for reading, and know if you have any questions or want to discuss the next steps for your business.

3 Tier Pricing – Add More Value and Get More Clients

Three tier pricing – sounds fancy, what the heck is it for?

I love stealing ideas from other industries and applying it to ones no one expects would fit.

When we had an office in Victoria, BC we ushered clients into our conference room, and presented them with a leather-bound menu. As in a high-end restaurant.

We offered large, organic lattes, and expressos. Organic teas, and organic snacks from the Cascadia bakery up the street. Oh, and fresh squeezed orange juice.

In an accounting office??

Yes! And it blew people away. We had clients who would stop in, order a latte, and ask if they could work in our conference room. They loved it, and so did we…

Okay, back to the topic at hand – 3-Tier pricing.

Which industry are we “stealing” this concept from?

3 Tier Pricing in The Software Industry

The pioneers of 3 tier pricing are software companies. Precisely, companies offering software as a service online, in the cloud.

They did it for 2 exceptionally good reasons.

First, let us define it…

3 Tier pricing (we have all seen it by now) is where a software company offers 3 levels of pricing. The levels can be called anything.

Examples are – Core (level 1), Professional (level 2), and Pro Plus (level 3).

Or, Bronze, Silver, Gold.

I have seen a gazillion labels being used. The labels are less relevant as the simplicity of seeing quickly what is included in each level.

By the way, I have never seen 2 tier pricing, nor have I seen 4 level and above.

Two tier is too basic, and anything above 3 levels is too complex.

Simple choices lead people to decide.

Complex choices stop people from deciding (even when they want what you are offering).

What is The Purpose of 3 Tier Pricing?

First, it gets more people try out what you are offering because they can start at a basic, cost-effective level with your core service.

Second, and most important, it gives people real value and does not mean you reject good, potential new customers or clients.

Third, by giving people a choice you do not need to go into hard negotiations on discounting. You have done the discounting for them.

How to Implement 3 Tier Pricing?

Number one, come up some creative and relevant labels for the 3 tiers you want to create.

Start with your basic level and add features that you are offering in a language that your customers/clients will understand.

Make sure they are benefit driven and what they really want.

In the basic level, do not include too much.

Why not?

Because if you include too many features there will be zero motivation for your clientele to move up to the next level.

Make Sure Level 1 is Profitable

Offer enough features in level one that will delight your clients. (Do not leave them starving for more!)

Set the pricing at a level that will encourage people who cannot afford the higher levels to buy.

Set the price of level 1 at the value you feel your clients/customers will pay.

Do not think of your costs.

Now Reverse Engineer Your Offering

Now that you have tentatively set your price, look at what your costs will be for delivering this bundle of products and services.

Make sure you are profitable.

The beauty of 3 tier pricing is that, even at the basic level you will have clearly defined what is included in your offering.

If your clientele demand more, they have simply moved up to the next level of services.

If they do not want the next level, you simply can add some features and add additional pricing for them.

How to Setup Level 2 of Your 3 Tier Pricing?

For level 2, add new features, unavailable in level 1, that you know many of your clients want and will value.

Many of your customers/clients will choose the middle level.

It has to do with core psychology of us humans.

Many of us, do not want to be in the Basic level. Yet, we may have sticker shock with the premium level. The mid tier level will fit most of your clients.

Therefore, spend more time at this level to get it exactly right.

Include more features than the Basic Level, yet not too much more, or it will cost you too much to deliver the total package.

Your Top or Gold Level Package

For the Gold level, add all the features that will offer a white-glove level of service, and will be priced accordingly.

Once done, you will end up with a kind of bell curve of new clients. 20% may choose level 1, 70% level 2, and 10% the Gold or top tier level.

Once you have set your included features, sharpen your pencil, and see if you can profitably offer the Gold package.

It will do you little good to offer so much and find out it will be costing you even more to deliver to your Gold clientele!

How to Present your 3 Tier Pricing?

If you are doing presentations to your customers or clients either online or in person, then here is how it should proceed…

Start with your Gold level. Go through your Ultimate, Level 3 package with all your bells and whistles.


In order to create some sticker shock!

If you see your client having difficulty breathing after showing level 3, you are doing good! 😊

Once the sticker shock has passed and your client is breathing again, you can present the other 2 tiers.

Many will choose the Silver Package or Level 2.

It will occur as more affordable and just the right amount of features.

For those with tighter budgets, or just wanting to check you out, they will go with Level 1, or Bronze.

In Summary

If you only offer one size pricing, you force your clients/customers into a negotiating stance.

They may want you to strip out features and reduce the price.

By offering the tiers, you leave your customers with the opportunity to simply choose for themselves.

This leads to more customers, and happier customers, who are getting exactly what you promised.

Last bit of advice – do not offer too much in the lowest package, or all of your prospects will choose that level.

And, also, do not offer too much in the middle package or your costs will be driven up.

Thanks for reading….

If You Could Track Only One Key Performance Indicator, What Would it Be?

What? Track only ONE Key Performance Indicator? That is like flying a jet plane with, say, a choice of fuel level, altitude, airspeed. Pick one, and good luck. Crazy, right?

A business is like a jet airplane in that to hit its target with accuracy it needs more than one Indicator to really fly. Likely about 8-12 Key Indicators.

I agree with that.

However, there may be one Super Key Performance Indicator that if you could discover it, it would be a kind of early warning siren for your business.

This early warning would wake you up to take immediate corrective action if it is off target or relax with a glass of wine if it is on target.

Let us take a look and explore this concept together…

Super Key Performance Indicator

Behind every business, in every industry there may be a kind of magic number. A Super Key Performance Indicator.

This number will act like an early warning sign of trouble brewing.

A Super Key Performance Indicator for an Airline

I read once that the CEO of British Airways looked daily at this Super KPI – flights leaving on time.

If flights did not leave on time, everything spilled out of control:

  • Costs went up from the delay.
  • Passengers would be irate and expect refunds.
  • Passengers would need meal tickets and sometimes hotel costs covered.
  • Employees may have to be paid overtime and booked in hotels with meals.

A flight not leaving on time does not arrive on time, adding more costs from the bottleneck.

You can imagine the snowball effect of one flight not leaving on time.

An Unusual Super Indicator for a Restaurant

Super Key Performance Indicators can be incredibly unique!

I heard of a restaurant owner who could roughly predict the number of guests he would get at his restaurant on Saturday from how busy Monday was.

Honestly, I have no idea how the two interrelate.

And that, in part, is the key.

An Accounting Firm Super KPI

For an accounting firm longing for long-term client retention, a Super KPI could be a simple one – the growth rate of sales combined with cash in the bank (cash in the bank of the clients, not the business).

Okay, okay I know that is two – sales growth and cash on hand.

Cash on hand (from sales growth) could indicate the following:

If the client’s cash is declining:

  • Low cash causing stress paying bills including the accounting firms.
  • Higher demands for the accounting firm to help them attain positive cash flow.
  • Loss of the client if they go bankrupt.

On the other hand, high monthly cash flow means:

  • A happy client eager to listen to your advice.
  • A client who is growing and will likely expand their demand for more services from you.
A Super KPI for All Businesses

In the area of marketing, it will be relatively easy for a business to find a Super KPI…

To find your unique Super KPI in the marketing area do this – find the one activity that drives sales more than any other.

It could be phone calls, direct mail, events, or website contacts.

Find the activity that gives you the most sales.

To get more business, first track that activity and then increase the activity to grow your business.

Simple, right?

Lastly, keep examining new and innovative ways to market because your business tools might change. Phone calls that worked last year, might not now. Perhaps it is something online.

The key is to keep looking.

How to Find Your Super Key Performance Indicator?

A Super KPI will emerge for your business by you thinking deeply about and examining patterns.

To help you find the patterns ask yourself some questions:

  1. What one thing that we are doing as a business has the greatest impact on our business within the next 12 months?
  2. What one thing that we could do would have the greatest impact on our business results?
  3. What bottlenecks do we have?
  4. What is the single thing that drives our clients/customers crazy when we do not do it? (i.e. it could be on-time delivery, or what is delivered is not high-quality).
  5. What is our review score on Google?
  6. What strange pattern is there in our business (like Monday guests as an indicator for Friday guests!) that I have not seen yet?
  7. Ask your Team for patterns they may see that you do not.

Thank you for reading…



You Say You Have Awesome Service…Does it Show Up on The Phone?

**The following blog is a re-print of one I wrote in early 2019. I believe it is more relevant now than ever.**

Every single touch point in your business is an opportunity to wow, or not, your customers…

In a competitive business world, (when is it ever not?), often the only way to rise above the crowd and risk being a tall poppy is through awesome service.

Yes, all businesses must DO great work, yet how they deliver that work, the way they present it to you, if you will, is the fulcrum point, the centre of gravity on which all else rests in your business.

In fact, I would assert – because how you do one thing is how you do everything – that awesome service practiced with rigorous performance standards will elevate the technical work of your business.

Said another way, if you have extraordinary service in, say a restaurant, with hyper-clean bathrooms, tables, floors, and so on, then it is unlikely you will walk in the kitchen and see a dirty mess.

How You Do One Thing is How You Do Everything

How you do one thing – clean bathrooms – is how you do everything.

This translates to the phone…

How you talk to your Team on the phone is likely how you are with your clients.

Or is it?

Are you gruff, abrupt, curt with Team members, and gushy and sweet with customers when they call?

Ok, better hope your customers are not listening when you are on an internal call then.

I am really surprised at how few businesses get that the phone is one of the most frequent contact points for your business, especially in today’s virtual world, where it is often the only point of contact.

What happens when you call your own business?

Is the phone answered on the second ring? (First ring is too abrupt for most, on the 3rd ring impatience is kicking in…)

If not, why not?

How is someone greeted on the phone when a customer/prospect calls?

Do you have a script? “Good afternoon/morning, ABC Company, this is Mary Jones, how may I help you?”

How does the call end?

On a high? Do you say, something like, “thank you for calling, have a wonderful day!”

Who hangs up first?

Always hang up last. Why? For that one out of five times where the customer says, “oh, one more thing!”. And you are right there waiting for them…

Also, better that you get the hang-up clunk in your ear, than them. Again, always leave them on a high.

Customers in the Store Versus on Phone

People in line at your store take precedence over people just phoning, right?


Let’s say you are a computer store selling high-end computer systems, and some parts too.

The fellow in your store is looking for a $6 USB cable, and wants to know all the different makes and sizes, and after spending 30 minutes with your sales clerk decides to leave and order on Amazon for $4!

Meanwhile the clerk ignored the phone (person hung up after 12 rings, which shows amazing patience, most of us will hang up after 3-4 rings). The person on the phone was interested in talking about a high-end computer system for her business that she was budgeting $50,000 for and had a few questions to ask before coming in.

I admit my example is extreme, yet I bet most of you reading this have had similar experiences of calling to ask about a high-end, expensive item (maybe to find out if it is in stock), only to be treated with total indifference on the phone! Perhaps ignored completely or left on hold while they serve the “real” customers at the till.

Ok, so what happens if your Team is serving customers in the store and the phone rings?

Easy, you look the person in the eye you are serving and ask if they mind if you take that call and you will only be 30 seconds.

You take the call, answer with a grin and a script, “good afternoon, ABC Company, this is John Smith, how may I help you…”

Then very quickly say this, “I am just finishing serving a customer in the store, would you mind if I place you on hold for a brief 1-2 minutes?”

Buzz for help if you can, or quickly serve the customer and get back to the phone.

You may need to hire more people if you get a lot of calls, or walk-ins to deal with this if it persists.

Poor Service in Stores

In many stores these days the service is so bad that you don’t get service either on-the-phone or in-the-store!

A couple of weeks ago I came back to Vancouver from Salt Spring Island, and I usually am very careful when I pack up my laptop, second monitor and all the little cords that join it all together in road-warrior fashion.

This time I forgot one small simple cord.

No problem, I will go to Staples and see if they have one – good service from the young man in the electronics section, but no such animal in the store.

Ok, no problem let’s try 2 other well known big box retailers (I won’t mention who). Nope, no cord, no service, no care.

So, after spending hours really trying to buy local, I went home and late Saturday ordered the item on Amazon (for 25% the price), and it was delivered to my door on Monday at noon!

In fact, at one retailer (a big one too) there is just no one on the floor to serve people. No one. I even asked a customer who looked like he worked there for help.

One clerk I finally found was stocking shelves and with total indifference barely even pointed the approximate direction of the item I was looking for. He mumbled the aisle number and I had to ask him to repeat it. He looked annoyed that I had actually interrupted his real work of stocking shelves.

And, people wonder why Amazon has gotten so big.

Perceived Indifference

You see, perceived indifference is the number 1 reason (for 7 out of 10 people) why people stop doing business with a company.

Coming back to the phone…

That is how you can show perceived care. How you answer and handle each step in the phone call.

At our firm we have 8 Performance Standards just for the phone…

Thanks for reading….



7 Essential Secrets to Build a Business That Works – Part 4

The last three weeks I have written about the first five essential secrets to build a business that works…

To recap:

  1. Essential Secret Number One – You Must Have a Vision
  2. Essential Secret Number Two – There Are Only Four Ways to Grow a Business
  3. Essential Secret Number Three – You Must Have a Strategic Plan of Action
  4. Essential Secret Number Four – What you Measure, You Can Manage
  5. Essential Secret Number Five – Creating a Difference


This week, I will write about…

Essential Secret Number Six – Performance Standards

The secret is that most businesses have no standards. They just do it the way they learned in the past. It is not by design.

Consequently, there is no consistent pattern of performance that a customer can expect.

As a result, they experience something different every time.

This problem gets bigger as the business grows.

The solution is to create simple performance standards – created with your Team – that you can use as a tool for performance.

Even better – share them with your customers – and let them be the judge of how well you are doing.

Performance standards make it easy to manage your business – because now you can see when they are being done or not.

Performance Standards must be written down so that people can memorize or refer to them and new employees can be trained in them.

They must be simple and easily duplicated.

They can be managed.

For example – we have a very detailed set of performance standards to answer the phone.

One of the standards is to – “answer the phone on the second ring”.

This is a Performance Standard that is based in physical reality. It either is being performed, or not being performed. You can observe it and measure it in physical reality.

It is not an emotional, feel-good motherhood statement.

When anyone is not performing to the standard, it stands out like a sore thumb…

Performance Standards are designed to:

  1. Create consistency in the outcomes you are committed to produce.
  2. Give you a tool to train new people with.
  3. Create a culture that is bursting with energy and awesome service.
  4. Be measurable.
 Essential Secret Number Seven – Systems

If you’re not working on your business, you are working in it.

The secret is to work on your business and create powerful simple systems that work. A great business has a system manual – it is the blueprint for “this is how we do it here.”

After you have your systems created, outsource everything you do not like or are not good at. That means the bookkeeping, the administrative work, the emails, the phone calls, the event management…. all of it!! Leave yourself the fun, inspiring and important work.

Systems, like Performance Standards, are designed to create a way of doing things in your business. This “way of doing things should be unique and designed to create high-quality outcomes for your customers/clients in your products, services, aftermarket service, and delivery.

The system is your business. Your business is the system.

Think of a franchise, like McDonalds. When you invest in the McDonalds business franchise, what you are truly investing in is their systems.

A business that is not dependent on systems, is by default dependent on you, and on your people.

The more time you spend working IN your business the lower the value of your business.


Because potential investors will see the amount of time you are putting into your business. They want to buy a system that will give them a consistent rate of return based on their investment, not their personal time investment.

Thank you for reading…


7 Essential Secrets to Build a Business That Works – Part 3

The last two weeks I have written about the first three essential secrets to build a business that works…

To recap:

  1. Essential Secret Number One – You Must Have a Vision
  2. Essential Secret Number Two – There Are Only Four Ways to Grow a Business
  3. Essential Secret Number Three – You Must Have a Strategic Plan of Action

This week, I will write about…

Essential Secret Number Four – What you Measure, You Can Manage

A few weeks ago, I wrote about The Balanced Scorecard.

A few decades ago, business analysts thought the magical number of things to measure in a business was seven, plus or minus two.

Because of Business Dashboards you no longer must retain those seven essential numbers in your head.

We can expand those.

The things you choose to measure should not be more than three or four within four separate areas of your business:

  1. Marketing
  2. Operations
  3. Finance
  4. Human Resources

In other words, twelve to sixteen maximum.

The numbers you measure must have these characteristics:

  1. One key person is accountable for a number. Usually, this is a departmental manager.
  2. The number must motivate and result in a change of behavior and/or activities undertaken by a department.
  3. The number must be owned by the person responsible.
  4. The number must be tied to the performance evaluation of the person responsible for that number. They should be rewarded for positive performance.
  5. The activities related to the positive outcomes related to this number must not conflict with results in other departments, nor overall corporate objectives.
An Example of “What You Can Measure, You Can Manage.”

Most businesses want increased sales, yes?

One of the most leveraged ways to grow a business is to get existing customers to come back more often.

Yet, how many of you measure the actual transaction frequency of your customers?

First you must find the number.

In any given month you only need to find two numbers:

  1. The number of active
  2. The total number of sales transactions.

If you have one hundred customers actively buying and 1,000 transactions that month, your average transaction frequency is ten. (1,000/100).

To create an increase in your sales figures, you set a Target Number of eleven for Transaction Frequency.

What will you do to increase this number? What activities will you undertake?

Perhaps you implement loyalty cards, or start a weekly newsletter, or increase your awesome service levels with Team training.

With this new Target Number for Transaction Frequency of eleven, you now have something to measure the success of your efforts against.

Essential Secret Number Five – Creating a Difference

There is a saying: “when you have a niche you get rich, and when you don’t have a niche, life’s a b____!”

What a niche does is effectively eliminate the competition.

Because when you are specialized you have narrowed the market.

You can serve specific people, not a generalized amorphous mass.

Okay, so let us say you have a niche. The other key thing here is to start to differentiate your service in ways that wow people and sets you apart in interesting, memorable ways.

In most industries the inputs – the people you hire, the suppliers you deal with, and so on, are the same for everyone.

Everyone is dealing in a flat structure, and it is almost impossible to differentiate yourself on this basis.

The way to create a difference is to initiate awesome service standards.

The ones to build into your culture are little things that show you care.

For example, when we had an accounting practice in Victoria, BC, we ushered our clients into a small conference room and offered them a leather-bound menu offering them cappuccinos, organic snacks and teas from around the world. They loved it!!

We became known as the cappuccino accounting firm!

It set us apart, showed we cared, and let people know we were a high-class firm.

And it all cost extraordinarily little!

Thank you for reading…