Does your Lawyer/Accountant/Advisor bring you value…or just sent their timesheet?


When you go to a store to buy something do you ever consider how many hours it took to make it?

When you are comparing an Apple iPad with a Samsung Galaxy Pad do you think about the production process or are you more concerned about the features and the relevance to you and the cost and its affordability to you?

Are you at all concerned about the number of hours taken to manufacture it or the hourly rate paid to the workers who developed it?   …. Of Course Not!…  You either want it because it suits you need and budget or you Don’t.

In other words is it about the value it brings NOT the time taken to make it or cost of overall manufacture when you make a purchase.

So why is it when it comes to services its all about the time taken?? …irrespective of value or even efficiency – the way the time is spent.

Do you really want a lawyer who spends an aweful lot of billable hours working out you should plead guilty or one who commits to a dollar figure to get the best result for you?  Likewise should an accountant be rewarded for saving you on your tax bill or paid for the time spent wading through your receipts? Continue reading Does your Lawyer/Accountant/Advisor bring you value…or just sent their timesheet?

Education Revolution Needed now…….Apply Here

england_history_school_1802We live in a world of increasing disruptive innovation so it wasn’t surprising that some years ago the Australian Govt decided that the Education System was in need of an overhaul if Australia was to be the Clever country of the future. But then they appointed a well respected Commercial Lawyer – David Gonski – to head the review.  Not surprisingly they got a financial solution to a massive structural problem.

More money for facilities, for teachers, smaller class sizes etc.

But they missed the point the world has changed since our current post Industrial Revolution – Education for all system was invented…..   So we are still teaching kids to remember stuff they can Google if they ever need to know it.

No hint of Disprutive Innovation just spending ore money on the same system and expecting better results. But can we ever expect real innovation if we rely on the Government, Bureaucrats or Academics.  Real Innovation comes from those who are not satisfied with way it is and see a better way. Continue reading Education Revolution Needed now…….Apply Here

Commonsense is becoming very uncommon


I never cease to be amazed at peoples views of what is fair and what’s not. Specifically when it comes to sales and marketing – loyalty schemes, special offers etc they are blissfully unaware of the motives of the marketer and think it’s all about them.

As Marketing guru Seth Godin says “We in general are increasingly naive and gullible when it comes to the hope of getting something for nothing.” Continue reading Commonsense is becoming very uncommon

Unreal Estate Agents

socialcouponsIt was a breath of fresh air to read the latest blog post by one of Australia’s leading and definately most innovative Real Estate Agents – Anthony Toop. In the post, also published in his newspaper print ad, he warns his industry colleagues “an entirely new real estate landscape will wipe out traditional operators who refuse to evolve, adapt and embrace these amazing new capabilities.”

The capabilities he refers to and has himself been embracing for years include all the latest tools and technologies available to improve and streamline communications with prospects and clients. These include iPads, Smartphones, SmartTVs and information literally everywhere…and of course the impact of the National Broadband Network which will see Video Communication happening in real time all the time.

Real Estate is the classic Buyer Beware industry about to face the Seller Beware world. Failure to self regulate has seen Government intervention to continually protect buyers from dodgy Buyer Beware practices…but now with access to all the information needed Buyers now have more control and in many cases more access to information than the average agent…so it’s time for Seller Beware.

Several years ago I was advising a classic old style Real Estate business in Adelaide (that’s 99% of them still today) on rebranding and on the overall business in terms of sales and marketing. Sadly they refused to accept that most of the things Anthony Toop talks about were worth considering.

They refused to accept that wearing shiny suits on Sunday, driving shiny and very expensive cars, newspaper ads and signs at the front of the property etc were not going to be what buyers would want in the future. I warned that organisations like, majority owned by News Limited, were not really their friend and in future would become their enemy. Now Anthony Toop warns

Organisations like RP Data, REA (, Google, Facebook, Domain, Macquarie Bank and Commonwealth Bank to name just a few, are changing real estate agents’ lives right now in 2013, whether we like it or not. If we don’t adapt, they will simply run straight over the top of us like Coles, Woolies and service stations have done to the corner store.

It has always intrigued me that the Real Estate industry has managed to have their clients pay for their brand marketing in big newspaper ads that are more about the seller than the product or the sign at the front of the property…and as their client why should I pay for a sign in my front yard for agents to promote themselves and hope they find a buyer walking down the street. Surely these days I could do that myself…in fact why can’t I handle the whole sales process…especially open inspections. Surely I know my property better than any Real Estate agent in a shiny suit with a shiny flash car parked in the driveway…but I can’t advertise on…Yet.

It was this refusal to accept the need for radical change by a variety of clients in 2009/10 that lead my daughter and business partner Nikki and I to publish the eBook “The Grumpy Old Managers Guide to Social Media Marketing +“. Sadly four years on it is still just as relevant to the people we wrote it for as it was then.

“Nothing has structurally changed in real estate for the 36 years I have been in it.

Why?  Some say “because it never will!” After all, houses ARE such a big ticket item…such rare transaction events involving so much money and emotion. Real estate is the ultimate “people business”. Real estate will forever continue to require skilled negotiators, marketers, and professional advisers; selling a property is such a big deal.

Are you kidding me? With the advent of iPads, Smart Phones, Smart TVs and information literally on tap, PLUS…add in the roll out of broadband across the nation, making all communication including video equivalent to real time…if this doesn’t change the rules, I will eat my hat.”

Anthony Toop

Over the years we  have seen hundreds of operators in Financial Planning, Travel, Stock Broking, lately Finance Broking and right now Retail fail to restructure to meet new consumer demands and utilise technology effectively and as a result die…and die very quickly.

Right now it’s time for Real Estate to face the future as it’s now here and take on what Seth Godin calls the hardwork.  While most businesses think that working longer is working harder and setting up a website is working smarter it’s the hardwork of doing what others won’t that will lead to success in the Seller Beware world.

In his blog Anthony Toop, whose business has won numerous national awards for Innovation, Communication and Marketing, believes radical operational change will face the industry this year and within 5 years the changes will be wholesale and widespread.

It’s good to see that whilst most agents are still relying on brochure style websites and traditional media advertising their Industry Groups are providing the tools to embrace the future in terms of contracts that can be signed on an iPad.

The good news for small business that does the hard work and learns to  think like big business – leveraging the tools they use like Customer relationship systems and communications and technology in general – will always compete well with big business because they are more flexible and nimble in their ability to adapt and adjust.

In the Buyer/Customer Centric world rigid systems, training programs, manuals etc are no longer of any value…as every person has different needs, expectations and knowledge. As such it is vital to have the tools and the information that is specificly relavant and timely to facilitate engagement and ongoing nurturing.

“Client management is becoming incredibly easy with communication being a tap of the finger and fully automated. But these industry innovations are nothing compared to what the big guys are up to.”

Anthony Toop

And you can do the hardwork now to make the big changes and embrace technology etc but in the end it is now up to the Seller to know their stuff like never before.  Something like 60% of the buying process has been undertaken by the Buyer  before they contact the Seller.  They have read websites, brochures, Googled you and checked what people say about you on LinkedIn etc.

Seller Beware means knowing more about you and your products than the Buyer does so make sure you know what your website says, what your various online profiles say, what your advertising offers etc.

We are in a Buyer Centric world today and as Anthony Toop is telling his colleagues and competition it’s time to embrace the hard work or face the inevitable as have other industries.

Lois Kelly – Keeping it simple

Lois KellyIn line with our aims for The Grumpy Old Managers Guide to Social Media, I love it when I see people providing simple explanations. I also love it when a picture is used to tell the story.

So when the author of one of my favorite books Beyond Buzz – Lois Kelly of came up with this view of Social Networking and Media I had to post it … or is that share it??

It really is all about Sharing and there is not a lot more that needs to be said!

Whatever the technology, tool, strategy etc we choose we are aiming with Social Media and Networking to build a community or in Seth Godin’s terms a Tribe based around sharing.

So maybe Twitter should ask us to tell others “What do we want to share” instead of that ridiculous question – “What are you doing?”… which only serves to give newcomers the wrong impression.

Imagine how much more popular Twitter might be!!!!

No don’t … it doesn’t bear consideration.

Marketing in complete turmoil

marketing mag_coverRecently in Marketing Magazine publshed a special issue “Brave New World,” aimed at helping marketers navigate the rapidly changing digital landscape. There are some insightful features, profiles and case studies offering strategies and solutions to help marketers thrive in a challenging new age by capitalizing on the endless opportunities it presents.

The article “Talkin about a revolution”  features a round-table discussion with 4 of my favorite new marketing gurus. They focus on the major shift in the digital age and why marketers must heed the old adage “Adapt or Die”

Seth Godin who has authored 10 best selling marketing books

Charlene Li who co-authored Groundswell and is a former VP at Forrester Research

Shelly Palmer who hosts Media Bytes a daily news show about technology, media and entertainment

David Weinberger who co-authored The Cluetrain Manifesto and other definitive books on “new marketing”.

The best way to sum up what they have to say is in the form of some very powerful quotes


“Some of the most important changes are the ones we already take for granted . Retail sites now routinely put up spaces for uncensored, unfiltered reviews by customers.

A huge shift in how retailers think about their markets.  Networked markets are more trustworthy sources of information about companies than the companies themselves is a transformative idea that we now take for granted.

One of the big principles that has changes is the one to one; its actually many to many.

The changes are so profound that some companies are just never going to be able to make the change.”


“This is causing a lot of turmoil and pain because the way most marketers traditionally do marketing isn’t working anymore.”

“I admire what Proctor and Gamble has done. This is one company that is absolutely focused on it, primarily because they know the power of a company like Wallmart, being the last person in the chain. So they want to have a direct relationship with their customers. They see that to sustain that brand they cant rely on traditional media, they cant rely on relationships with people they sell through.”

“The most important thing is to get your hands dirty and actually experience it. It’s not enough to look over your teenagers shoulder to experience the new digital experience that’s out there. You have to live it, you have to make it personal, so you can actually sit in the shoes of your customers because they’re the ones engaging in this new medium. They want to engage with you as a marketer. And how you can begin a dialogue with them in this space if you don’t know how to talk to them.”


“Most organisations insist the Internet must bend to their will instead of the other way round.”

Referring to the changes that he believes companies like Porctor and Gamble must make   “The need to say “How do we use our chemists, our distribution, our insight, and our emotional connections to build new stuff., new processes, new distribution models and new relationships that make money from what’s happening.” as opposed to “How do we play defence?”


“We’re in the middle of a transition that is unprecedented in our history. We’re leaving the industrial age and we’re fully racing into the information age and there’s not a whole hell of a lot  anyone can do about it right now.”

“You’re going to see 150 TV stations change hands in the next 90 days.”  “This is unprecedented.”

“no  corporate that’s publicly traded  gets rewarded gets rewarded for innovation.”

“Twitter is a great example of creating value in the new world without any way to translate that value into wealth. So the Internet allows you to create value quickly, but direct translation into wealth is astoundingly elusive to most people.”