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Generating More Leads

Selling professional travel services is not a one-call business. You cannot sell travel services the way automobile mechanics or dry cleaners sell their services. Conventional advertising does not work well for us, probably because we are asking the prospect to risk a great deal more than a few dollars. We are asking them to trust us with their vacations, honeymoons, reunions and valued time off from work.

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Ten Tried-and-True Principles to Take to Market

If you’ve been in business for more than a day and a half, you’ve probably been reminded no fewer than a thousand times that in addition to whatever business you think you’re in, that you’re in the marketing business.

Marketing yourself and your business has been, and will continue to be the most important element for your success. The time to ply this trade is right now. I fear that many of you just don’t know what to do.

So, how do you actually “go to market”? Many people approach this question by purchasing a copy of Marketing for Dummies. They follow up with a copy of The Idiots’ Guide to Marketing.

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Finding Your “Groove”

Many Americans seem to have been stricken with the disease “quit-itis.” They quit everything too soon. It is almost an epidemic. From marriages to diets. From jobs to exercise programs. The malady is even more acute in the sales profession.

It is time that you “Become The Exception” to this sad statistic.  You can become among the elite of the sales world who know how to keep a prospect and convert that prospect to a loyal client. Learning how doesn’t have to be painful. In fact, it can be a wonderful adventure.

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Repetition. Persistence. Diligence.

Although there may not be any official “do-overs” or mulligans in business these days, there are certainly times and rationale for a couple of  “Do-Agains” now and then. Say what?

Allow me to explain.

I recently sent out a blast email promoting one of my business books. In this case I was featuring my 52-Week Sales Planner.  What better time to start planning for a brighter future than right now?

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I recently had lunch with a good friend of mine who owns a restaurant in Ft. Lauderdale, and I came away with some good business information worth sharing.

Joe’s Diner is off 17th Street down near the Port of Lauderdale and is his third such venture (all successful).

I asked a few pointed questions as they related to building a profitable business:

“What made you buy a second restaurant?”

“When deciding to buy Joes’, didn’t you wonder why it was for sale?”

“What made you so sure your investment would pay off?”

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The travel bug is alive and well, and once it gets a hold of you it is very difficult to shake. There are a number of ways the bug takes hold, but that is another story for another day. Today, I want to focus on the five mistakes you must avoid making if you have an interest in sustaining a healthy (spelled profitable) home-based travel business.

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Follow Up: The True Differentiator

This step in the sales process is by far the one that requires the most attention. It has become known as the Achilles Heel of every sales person, professional or non, throughout the country … and I say with a high degree of confidence, “throughout the world.”

It is a common behavior pattern that implies “later” is always easier than “now.” It seems to be the initial knee-jerk reaction from just about “everybody.” Finishing what we start is a rarity today and I can only blame it on what has come to be referred to as “short attention spans.” The human need for instant gratification also might have a lot to do with it. Regardless of who or what you blame it on, or what excuse you make for it, “following up” has become the easiest way for you to differentiate yourself from the pack. Do what you say you will do, and … follow up.

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The definition of “contact” can imply many things. In our case, I will focus on just one. Although more business is being conducted today from a distance, I am a firm believer that selling is, and will remain top be, a “contact support.” Putting a personality to your name is important, and there is no limit to the ways this can be accomplished.

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Positioning: An Ongoing Responsibility

The concept of  “positioning” has two meanings as far as I am concerned. Positioning as it relates to you, your product service and your target market is meaning number one. The second meaning has to do with positioning yourself physically … within your defined marketplace.

The best place for us to begin our business-building journey is at the beginning. And that implies that we build and solidify a strong foundation from which to build. This is not only logical … but mandatory.

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The Personal SPIFF

When I first spotted this heading in an article about personal motivation, I was perplexed in not knowing what the letters SPIFF stood for. I read the article twice before realizing that they did not stand for anything. They simply spelled the word spiff.

Although not defined in the online dictionary I knew (I thought I knew) that the word referred to something nice, something akin to a reward. The article then made sense to me.

I think there is a primary and secondary message to my findings. The secondary message reminds us that it is neither wise nor prudent to use trade-friendly jargon or letters when speaking to your prospects and clients.  You may be certain that everybody who has been in the business more than two weeks knows what all the acronyms stand for, but this simply is not the case.

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River cruising, be it in Europe, Asia, Africa, the United States or in Vietnam, provides the avid cruiser with yet another experience that will last a lifetime. It is the logical “next” step after the Caribbean, Alaska, Panama Canal and The Med. What’s next? The River.

If there is validity to the marketing strategy of “entering the conversation prospects are already having with themselves,” then river cruising is the ideal conversation starter, enhancer and embellisher.

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What Does Your Posture Say About You?

The three following real-life examples are intended to drive a very important message (and reminder) home to you. Today’s message may very well fall under the category of “first impressions are very important.”

#1: CNN Should Know Better. I was channel surfing the other day when I came across one of a thousand political talk shows that select a single topic of the day and beat it to death with endless chatter with one host talking over the other in what the producers must feel is the thing to do.

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Here is another lesson from the road. This one comes from Emporia, South Carolina with “props” going out once again to the Cracker Barrel Restaurant Chain.

I pulled in at 7:10 am and was totally unprepared to see an empty parking lot. In the many years I have frequented this chain I never had a choice of 200 parking spaces. What was up with this? Was this location going out of business? The lights appeared on. I parked in Position “A” and went in. Read the rest of this entry »

On The Road Again

From time to time I find myself driving either north or south on Interstate 95 from here to there … hither and yon. I am not a big fan of the airlines and less of a fan of the fickle fate of Mother Nature. When I drive I can opt to turn left, right or throw a U-turn at a moment’s notice.

On my latest trip I was alone as my wife was already in New Jersey visiting her parents. This presented me with a golden opportunity to play “radio-control-master.” Country is my favorite with a little CNN dialed in now and then … until I get frustrated with the repetition. Read the rest of this entry »

Love The One You’re With

Strategy #1: Say “thank-you” to your good clients. Presumably, you have a few good clients who are currently “buying your act.” They appreciate what you have done for them, and at times they can be heard singing your praise to their friends.

I want you to contact five of these people to “thank them.” How easy is that? I want you to say “thank-you” to five of your “buds” for supporting your eating habits.

Don’t make this hard. Pick five customers who already know you, like you and trust you. You can contact them in any one of a number of ways. All you want to do is tell them how much you appreciate them. I want you to conjure up the courage to say “thank-you.” (This simple task should not be confused with having a root canal.) Read the rest of this entry »

A Man They Call Mynders

I was introduced to Mynders (that is his given name) a few weeks back while visiting my sister in Stuart, Florida. A transplant from Colorado, he and his wife moved to Florida and soon sold their Internet company. That was the sound bite that caught my attention. I knew this man had much to teach me and I was going to pursue a future “sit-down “ with Mynders.
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A 52-Degree Gap Wedge

Whether you play golf or not, I think today’s message will ring true with most of you.

Let me begin by saying to non-golfers who read my columns that most people who call themselves “golfers” really are just saying that they own a set of golf clubs. The sad truth is that only 5% of people who “play” golf don’t cheat break the score of 100… fairly. (Come on you sand-baggers! You know I’m right. No gim-ees and hit em where they lie. Count them all. No mulligans.)

Today’s story. Read the rest of this entry »

The Window of Opportunity

Here is a story I think you might connect with.

When I was a little boy, my grandmother and my two aunts lived in the country. It was affectionately known as “The Farm.” In fact, it is where I live now. The Farm was where the grandchildren spent the summer months. “Sweet corn and bonfires” was the family motto during those days spent in the fresh air.

The truth was that our parents “farmed” us out to the country each summer and that was okay by us. Read the rest of this entry »

The Logic Behind The Follow Up Email

The reminder came to me yesterday. Allow me to explain.

I was talking in length with a good friend of mine on my monthly phone call within to catch up, solve the world’s problems and in short, tell each other how smart we both are. (Hey! We all need applause, even if we have to give it to ourselves.) Read the rest of this entry »

Another Example of “The Incredible Truth”

This once was somewhat amusing. It has become downright annoying and totally confusing. The message is incredibly sad, but comes with an enormous opportunity. I am betting that I have your attention.

I once had a drainage problem in my backyard. I tried everything that did not come with a price. Nothing worked. It is time to pay the fiddler.

I called an equipment rental company and left a detailed message indicating that my wallet was out and I was meaning “business.” That was ten days ago. No call back. Read the rest of this entry »

The Big Three: Trust – Knowledge – Caring

When people meet you for the first time, there are three questions they will be asking themselves … and they all concern you and your future relationship. They may not physically ask you these questions, but they will be thinking of them.
They’re going to look at you and silently ask themselves:

  1. “Can I trust this person?” That’s the first question that’s going to cross their mind, “Can I trust this person?”
  2. The second question is, “Does this person know what he/she is talking about?”
  3. The third question they will ask themselves is “Do they care about me?”

If you give some thought to these three questions you can furnish the appropriate answers. Read the rest of this entry »