Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Best of Barry: A different look at your value

Some advertising campaigns are all about the product--how great, fast, cheap or perfect it is, etc. It's them talking at the customer. Other campaigns are about the end-user--their personality, uniqueness, etc. Most razor blade commercials are about the new triple blade lubricated action or whatever. Apple Computers with their Mac versus PC is all about the end-user. It's all about the customer and connecting--who do you like more, the Mac or the PC guy?

We can apply this approach to our careers. Maybe it's not about a list of features that I offer. Maybe it's about what I mean to the customer.

If you're a snowmobile dealership salesperson, does your client want you to talk at them to show what you know or do they want you to be someone they trust, someone who loves the outdoors, someone who has a passion for snowmobiling?

If it's the latter, then that means you have to think customer-first--what do they need, and how can I make their life better/easier? That may lead you to performing in a different, but more effective and meaningful way.

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond
Originally posted 01/18/11

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Best of Barry: Say no, say yes or bring an idea to the table

It’s pretty exciting to tell the customer “yes” to whatever they want. Equally exciting is playing hardball and laying a “no” on them. A lot of times “yes” or “no” work, but not always.

How about the next time you’re tempted to say the “y” or the “n” words, you stop and think—maybe there’s an answer that is far superior? It takes time, thought and guts (because you might be rejected), but it sure will be exciting, not only for you, but for the customer as well.

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond
Originally posted 08/15/11

Friday, March 23, 2012

Check your work

A supplier I work with is very likeable. The whole team is a bunch of personable, young guys who love what they do. Their leader is the tallest, most handsome one of the group and he's very sincere, too.

Problem is, they don't check their work. They don't make sure the little things are in order. They do pride themselves in being willing to fix anything that goes wrong asap. But why does the customer have to endure that?

All the great things they do are undermined by their lack of attention to details, yet they want to grow their business through referrals. Can't be done.

The little things aren't all that little if they stop you from being profitable and deny you growth.

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Washed-up two-bit has-been

I watched the band Chicago play a concert a few weeks ago. Last time I saw them, I had a full head of hair, back in the days of wood-burning computers. Both concerts were excellent. A talented band with a unique sound.

The three original members who are still in the band were quite different in the recent concert. They were enjoying themselves this time around. One of them even promised to the crowd that they'd never break up or stop touring again. Nobody wants to be a "has been."

Too often we take the great thing we have going for granted and then move on to greater things that don't turn out so great.

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Give the kid a chance

I'm a baseball fan and love nothing more than seeing my favorite team, The Phillies, parade a young prospect onto the field and give him a chance to be a star.

Too often in Major League Baseball, as well as in Little League, the established star plays while the young kids sit the bench. You can learn from watching others play the game, but you can only learn so much.

That's what we need to do in business, let the kid play. Throw the kid out there and let him learn in the pressure, in the situation. Yes, there will be errors, but if the kid has what it takes, he'll work on those.

Otherwise, he can only dream of the day he takes the field as his bottom is getting sore from sitting on the bench.

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Warshy is a buddy of mine. He moved to a new city a year ago and instead of waiting to see if he enjoyed it, decided to taste every flavor it offered. He went to games, events, conventions--almost every day he was doing something. And he often went alone, because his wife is far more balanced than him.

He now loves his new city and is an ambassador to all newcomers to the area. I've followed his lead and am doing the same, with similar results.

So often, I've felt that if i can't get others (my family for example) to go with me, then why bother? Warshy doesn't care, he just goes ahead and does it.

I can see applying this as a lifestyle. When you join a new church, a new company, a new club, do a deep dive and experience every nuance. You'll surely learn and most probably appreciate what you have even more.

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond

Monday, March 19, 2012

Teacher Conference

My son's teacher conferences are fantastic. The middle school really understands the student and parent needs.

Instead of inviting parents to come to the school and wander around to talk to a couple of teachers who will be in their rooms, the parents and student come to one room and the teachers all take turns sitting down one on one. The student leads the conversation based on some question he or she has answered in advance (i.e What am I most proud of this semester? Where can I improve?)

You get a full view of how your child is doing, the good and the not-so-good. Plus, you see the interaction between the teacher and student, which is sometimes more valuable than a grade.

How could this approach be used with customers or employees?

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond

Friday, March 16, 2012

A Best of Barry: Fear the right stuff

In business, it's easy to be afraid of what the customer might think or what the boss might think or how you look to your fellow employees.
But if we need to be fearful of anything (other than fear itself), we need to fear:

Not doing what we believe is right
Not taking complete responsibility or ownership
Not being honest and vulnerable
Not taking action

If we have to feel fear, the other stuff, such as how you look or appear to others, shouldn't even be a thought. Fear the right stuff.

Barry LaBov
LaBov and Beyond
Originally posted 10/30/09

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Best of Barry: If you are in short supply, demand what you need

How often is our mantra that we need to sell more, grow more, get more, expand more, etc? That’s all good IF you have the resources to service that growth and expansion. If you don’t, why give away your precious resources in the name of growth?

No matter if it’s your time, your people’s time or your resources, if they are in short supply, you must price it, position it, and clarify it so that you can deliver with ease. Or, you’ll have less of all those and you have squandered an opportunity for more.

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond
Originally posted 09/16/11

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Product and experience

Brands are looking to upgrade the customer experience. It sounds easy to demand the customer receive the treatment they deserve. But the product itself must be worthy of that customer, too.

Product alone will not do it, but neither will demanding a better experience.

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


What do you take pride in? What matters? What doesn't? How much of what you are paid to do involves what you are proud of?

If a product is phenomenal in one area, yet lacks everywhere else, it is in trouble. If it is competent in everything, but nothing stands out, ditto.

The key is to realize exactly where your strength is and see if your customers come to you because of that. If so, your weaknesses, as long as they aren't crippling, will be overlooked. But if your area of pride is not where your customers' interest lies, you'll be in for a rough road.

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond

Monday, March 12, 2012

There's always a critic

Critics are everywhere. Some are our friends and actually want to help. Others are not our friends and try to
undermine. Others are more neutral, they just want to look smart with their observations.

We need to own our decisions. If a critic's observation helps, great. But, in the end, it's our decision and we live with the consequences, while the critic is off elsewhere.

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond

Friday, March 9, 2012


Do you know why automakers say "all-new" (as in the all-new BMW 3-Series)? It's because much of the time, a "new" car is not real new. It's a slight revision from last year's model: a few more bends of sheet metal, a new grill or maybe some improved electronics; but all in all, pretty much the same as last year's product.

We hear it so much, that "all-new" means nothing to us. We get used to terms (such as value or service or all-new) and after a while we don't even hear the words.

Maybe it's time for an all-new all-new?

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond

Thursday, March 8, 2012


I've worked with Don Hunter at Sycamore Hills Golf Club for five years. He's run the club and has been the face and heart of the operation. He's moving on to another opportunity shortly. He will do well there, too, no doubt.

As we talked recently, I shared what he had that worked so well. He has a rare combination of talents, skills and attributes. He is high-energy, determined, hardworking and creative.

I believe what puts him over the top in performance is his creativity. Having all that energy, enthusiasm and people skills; then combining it with the creative juice to solve or create something that makes everybody happy is fantastic.

A rare talent. Thanks, Don, for making everyone feel better about themselves and enjoy their lives a little more. Time to enjoy your life even more!

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


We call him Linkster. A great guy. Hardworking. A lot of talent: smart, athletic, etc. His best talent: loyalty.
You need someone, he's there. You need support, he's there.

So often we look to build loyalty or to maintain loyalty in business. In Linkster's case, he is loyalty.

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


It's critical to start out an assignment well. But it doesn't matter your intent or your initial enthusiasm if your focus dwindles before you reach the finish line.

The beauty of the product design or the sales process manifests itself at the climax, the end. A well-thought-out approach that brings it all together at the end is art. It inspires, it uplifts. It makes sense.

We're not bees flying around doing a little pollinating and buzzing off. For the magic to happen we have to be engaged at the end.

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond

Monday, March 5, 2012


Believing or not believing is contagious. If you don't believe in yourself or your product, others will sense it and some will start to buy in to your doubt. Likewise, if you are steadfast in your enthusiasm for your brand, others will be, too.

We can argue facts all day long, but we all will catch where your heart (or belief)  is.

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond

Friday, March 2, 2012

A Best of Barry: Standing on your own two feet

We all know someone we work with who needs propping up, a little help, every now and then. In fact, that could describe me and all of us.

But if we need to constantly do that person's job and run interference for them, day after day, then that's a different story. We do that person an injustice by babying them. In fact, they'll just get weaker.

Why do we do that? Maybe we're trying to be helpful, maybe it makes us feel good about ourselves. Nonetheless, enough is enough. We need to show the confidence that we expect that person to pull their weight. And, if they're made of the right stuff, they'll be far more engaged pulling their own weight instead of being coddled.

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond
Originally posted 01/05/11

Thursday, March 1, 2012

How it was, only smaller...

Today's dealers are seeing an influx of walk-in traffic at their stores. The economy has improved. There's a large exhale being heard from dealerships throughout the nation.

Now we are going back to: how it was, only smaller...

So, in order to make it a better how it was, there is one thing that can be done: Prospect. Actually, reach out to attract customers to you before they shop around. Add them to the traffic that is already walking in and you're on the path to the same as it always was.

Barry LaBov
LaBov & Beyond