I have a confession to make: I am ashamed to tell you that I had become quite the grouch over the last few months.
You see, business took a turn for the worse in October and I could see us getting dangerously close to the point where we couldn’t cover our living expenses pretty soon. I was worried sick.
I know what you’re thinking: why didn’t I set aside a rainy day fund for such circumstances. I am a fool – what can I say. I have learnt my lesson. The rainy day fund is on the top of our to-do list.
Anyway, to make sure we don’t end up on the streets, I took urgent action by slashing costs, both in the business and domestically. The problem is that once you decide to make cuts, it’s hard to stop. You find all manner of things that can be cut.
The more I cut, the more negative I got, and the more I didn’t like what I was doing. It was the opposite to who I am – I have always been a positive, optimistic person. The low-point was when I had a heated discussion with my wife about reducing the number of treats our son was getting.
I felt that if my wife and I had to make sacrifices, then our son should too. I’m not talking about candy or soft drinks either. I’m referring to relatively healthy treats, such as Yakult, cheese sticks, and yoghurt. Ridiculous, huh?
Luck would have it, my computer died on me last week. It took Apple three days to send out a technician, so I had three days of downtime. I decided to pick up one of my favorite books for some inspiration: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. Released in 1936, How to Win Friends is a classic self-help book that has sold over 15 million copies.
It is full of positive affirmations and words of wisdom. Rereading the book reminded me of the many lessons I had forgotton. The words had a profound effect on me. The more I read, the more my mindset changed from negative to positive. I felt my spirit being uplifted by the wisdom pouring out of this book.
As I was reading the book, I realized that many of the principles that apply in winning friends and influence people also applies in business and marketing. You could retitle the book, “How to Win Customers and Influence Prospects.”
Here are the 30 principles taught in the book:
Fundamental techniques in handling people
- Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain.
- Give honest and sincere appreciation.
- Arouse in the other person an eager want.
Six ways to make people like you
- Become genuinely interested in other people.
- Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
- Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
- Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
- Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.
How to win people to your way of thinking
- The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
- Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say, “you’re wrong.”
- If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
- Begin in a friendly way.
- Get the other person saying “yes, yes” immediately.
- Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
- Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.
- Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.
- Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.
- Appeal to the nobler motives.
- Dramatize your ideas.
- Throw down a challenge.
How to change people without giving offense or arousing resentment
- Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
- Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly.
- Talk about your mistakes before criticizing the other person.
- Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
- Let the other person save face.
- Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be “hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.”
- Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
- Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
- Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.
Do you agree that many of those principles can also be applied to business and marketing?
Before I finish, I want to share with you a passage in the book that brought my wife and I to tears as I read it out to her.
“Father Forgets” by W. Livingston Larned first appeared in Reader’s Digest. Since then, it has been reproduced in hundreds of magazines and newspapers, and reprinted in many foreign languages.
If you are a parent, I highly recommend you read this piece to or with your partner (assuming you have a partner/spouse). I found that when I read it alone in my head for the first time, the effect wasn’t as powerful. The words may have as a profound effect on you, as it did on my wife and I.
I don’t have permission to reprint it here, but here is a link to it on another site.
If you haven’t read “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, I highly recommend you pick up a copy today. You can buy a copy at Amazon.com or try The Book Depository where it’s available for just $7.35, including FREE worldwide shipping!
If you can’t afford to buy a copy, see if your local library has a copy.
If you live somewhere without a library nearby and can’t afford to buy a copy, I’ll be glad to buy you a copy. I don’t ask for anything in return for myself. All I ask is that you promise to give away copies of the book to other people when you can afford to.
Oh, I forgot: you must live in a country that The Book Depository delivers to (see full list), because I will be ordering the book from them.
Send me your full name, address and phone number, and I will gladly order you a copy. My email address is: ‘email at marketing munch dot com’.
Money is a bit tight for me at the moment, so I can only afford to giveaway a copy to 10 people. I’ll keep this offer open until all 10 copies have been claimed or the end of January, whichever comes first. The books are available on a first-come, first-served basis, so don’t delay.
Thanks to How to Win Friends and Influence People, I am now in a much more positive mindset. I don’t worry anymore about my situation, and consequently I am happier, and my family are happier. Thank you Mr. Dale Carnegie. God bless you.