Business can be very tricky. You need to stay ahead of the game in order to succeed. Learning that edge, that winning drive to satisfy customers and attract others is certainly the key. At business video marketing strategies, we believe there are so many ways to do better business. Ultimately, we have to keep our customers and prospects happy. That led us into seeking the additional thoughts from a very special individual, the author of “Attract, Sell, and Keep: The Art of Marketing Your Services.” He is a certified financial planner, has set up multiple companies, and retired in 2007. He wishes to teach and mentor entrepreneurs, just like you! Take a look at this interview we had on Henry Feldman.
Henry: Good to talk to you David.
David: It’s great to have you on the line Henry, it really is. Now, can I ask… How did you first get into this industry? It sounds very interesting.
Henry: Well, almost by accident, actually. I had some background in business school and was told by a professor that I should get out of the pre-law major that I had and reconsider because I wrote some A+ papers in marketing. And it was almost by accident, I found it to be understandable and a lot easier to think about than microeconomics. So I went to market research and advertising and I went into franchise, and I was one of the original people employed when our corporation was started. We opened up 400 licensees in four years and I was travelling all over the United States. Eventually I wanted to get married and have children and so I decided to go into brokerage business, which had been a hobby. Investing had been a hobby of mine since I was 14 years old. The first stock I bought was USD 27 and I sold it at 92, and I said, “Wow, this is a great way to make a living!” So, I joined Merrill Lynch, the leading brokerage firm in the late 60s. So I went there and started my career in 1969 as a retail stock broker with no sales, no marketing experience, and a fanciful belief that if I told people what stocks to buy and they went up, they would tell all their friends and I’ll build my business. That was the totality of my business plan. So, you want me to keep going on with all this..?
David: Absolutely. This is good stuff.
Henry: With three months of planning and training in New York, I came back to Merrill Lynch and I was handed a pile of coupons that had been sent in by a potential customer who wanted a free brochure from Merrill Lynch. I was told to “smile and dial.” In those days it was easy, you don’t have voicemail and all those defences that people now have. I started smiling and dialling, although I was basically shy. I was recently married, scared to death, and I thought that this was the most undignified way to get new business, but I persevered out of fear of failure. In the process, I learned what I needed to do to start bringing in new business. Four, fast years later, I was the leading broker nationwide. When I went over to Smith-Barney, an American-based company, I became number one in the United States in new business and I said, “Oh my God, I got a talent I didn’t even know about!” And I kept studying, studying, and studying it. The more I studied, the more I realized that it was an art that could be learned, rather than some kind of inborn talent that I was sure I didn’t have. And the more that I realized that I could make a lot more money working for myself. And in 1977, I left a good job at Smith-Barney, which is a fine firm, and I set up my own firm, hired my own secretary, and set up a lot of phones. I started calling small community banks trust departments in the States. By the end of ’87, I had about 193 banks in 38 states, and building a substantially fast-growing business. The more I did it, and the more that I was in the trenches, I realized that this was the most important part of business. Are you familiar with Peter Drucker, the man that wrote a pre-eminent management book to date?
David: Personally, no, I don’t know him.
Henry: It’s an excellent book, and he said that the job of entrepreneuring with your audience is threefold. First, you have to have administration. Second, you have to have implementation. The third is you’ve got to have marketing sales. The first two, administration and implementation are costs. The only thing that makes business and grows in business is the ability to market and sell your services. So I said, if I have a choice among these three, I would think I am a particularly good administrator, and I was sort of an average manager. But what I found the best realization of my time was to go out and build my two businesses, which became substantial businesses. By the day I retired in ’07, I had sold both and I went into retirement, being a proud one percenter of the United States. So that’s a fast review of my business. I’m retiring, but being a bit neurotic and productive most of my life, I wanted to get this university of hard knocks experience down on paper because I have read well over a hundred books on marketing services and not one of them satisfied me. Most of them were written by consultants that really didn’t have feet on the ground. Going after a new business, I figured there is a need for a basic manual and a workbook that would teach people, who had to sell, how to go out and sell a business.
David: Well, that certainly wraps up a big chunk of experience. And a lot of people, I can say, as you mentioned, don’t think they like to sell, but they’ve got to realize that everyone is selling something every day. That is quite a resume that you have. So that’s how you got into the industry and got this book around in 2011 which is “Attract, Sell, and Keep.” What was the actual drive for getting in and start writing it?
Henry: Good question. When you reach that marvellous age of 70 years old, well, actually mine is 67 years old. I realize I had a gift to give to my friends, my former employees, and just anybody who would listen to me. I didn’t mention that I had taught various aspects for 30 years, but no one was teaching the basic lessons. I wrote the book simply to give to anybody who was willing to read it and practice the skills that I talked about to just about anybody. You go out and really attract, sell, and keep your business. It didn’t require a silver-tongued double because I sound maybe a little better now, but when I started out I was awkward, frightened, and very tentative about what I did. But like anything else, if you keep doing it, you get good at it. And I just want to share this information with others.
David: I’m sure it has really paid off. I mean, you published a whole book and moved forward in that respect. So with that said, the actual, “Attract. Sell. Keep.” book… If I’m an average Joe on the street and I want to learn how to start my own business, then how would this book change my life? How would this point me in the right direction, in starting me up? Read more »