by Martin Grunstein

I was once told the definition of insanity was to do the same thing every year and expect different results.

If that’s the case, I believe most businesses in this country are insane!
Let’s use the humble Christmas card as an example.

Over 90% of businesses in this country send some form of Christmas card or greeting to their clients every year. I say “STOP DOING THAT!”

Don’t get me wrong. I’m the last person to cut back on the generation of goodwill but I believe there is a better way to spend the money.

Let me explain.

If your clients are anything like my clients, they probably receive two hundred cards at Christmas and the majority of them go in the bin (trust me, it’s most likely yours is one of them). So I stopped sending Christmas cards years ago. I now send “Happy November 27” cards!

I got a card printed that said on the front “Happy November 27” and when you open it up it says “I bet you get a lot of cards wishing you happy December 25. How many do you receive wishing you happy November 27? Well, happy November 27”. And on the card I write a personal note to my clients and the people that I’ve met and want to do business with in the next twelve months.

I follow the card up with a “how’s things” phone call and I found out that all of my clients get heaps of cards on December 25 and they don’t remember who sent it to them but my clients all get ONE card on November 27 and every one of them remembers who sends it to them. My best result from the cards was in 1994 when I generated over $20,000 of seminar work from the cards because they were different and helped me stick in my customers’ minds.

Let me give you three good reasons why I choose not to send Christmas cards.

Firstly, it costs the same to send your goodwill cards on November 27 (or any date you choose. If you’re an Australian company, send them on Australia day) as it does to send them December 25. The only difference is that they are remembered.

Secondly, if you send them at Christmas time, everybody closes down. By sending them on November 27, I can follow up with a “how’s things” phone call in early December and write business for next year.

And thirdly, and most importantly, I never forget my wedding anniversary........ which is November 27!

The point I’m making is do something different. Don’t just do things because you’ve always done them. Challenge yourself to defend why you’re doing it and more importantly, is there a better way to get an improved result?

Sometimes ideas out of left field are our best business generators.

A Sydney petrol station proprietor used a quote of the week on a blackboard outside to generate business. He offered $100 for the motorist that comes up with the funniest quote and the proprietor reckons he did $3000 a week in incremental petrol sales from motorists buying petrol and giving him suggestions for the next week’s quote. Not only that, he got publicity from a radio station that used to quote what was on the blackboard as part of its breakfast programme. Nothing to do with petrol? True. Clever? I think so.

A Sydney restaurant decided to take the prices off the menu and let customers pay what they thought the meal was worth. Not only was this an attention getter for the restaurant, on average people paid 10-20% more than the prices that would have appeared on the menu.

A Melbourne hairdresser was very upset with the local paper when the photo in their advertisement appeared upside down by mistake. That is, until the ad produced twice as much business as normal (because it was different from the other ads and people noticed it) and now the photo is upside down every week.

You don’t necessarily have to do radical things to make an impact. Just do SOMETHING different. In the competitive world our prospective customers judge us by our differences, not our similarities.

I challenge you to take a long, hard look at the way you do your business and if you’re not doing anything different from one year to the next and you’re expecting different results..............YOU’RE INSANE!

Martin Grunstein’s outstanding results with over 500 Australian companies has made him this country’s most in-demand speaker on Customer Service. He is contactable on (02) 96623322 or via email at¬†

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Martin Grunstein

35 Cottenham Avenue
Kensington NSW 2033 Australia

02 9662 3322

0414 933 249

02 9662 4004