Jim Blasingame knows. He talks about it every day on his radio show which is dedicated to Small Business.
And he knows what he’s talking about, partly because he interviews, or just chats with, all kinds of successful entrepreneurs. I know Jim quite well because I’ve enjoyed being a guest on his show many times.
That’s why I was excited to get his new book The Age of the Customer. The subhead Prepare for the moment of relevance is a great 6-word summary of the book. I plan on rereading it more slowly this weekend.
My first reading was a little hurried. When I got the book, first thing I did was scan the table of contents, flip to page 197 “Blasingame’s Laws” and read the laws.
Along the way to page 197, I noticed dozens and dozens of little shadow boxes embedded in the text. They all had the same headline: “THIS WILL BE ON THE TEST” followed by short gems of wisdom, such as The definition of home has changed, and One of the most effective sales behaviors is as old as selling: the Call Back.
The whole book is about something you already know. Selling has changed. The seller was once in charge of information, now the buyer is.
It’s The Age of the Customer.
That’s actually a normal reaction. I think Ron Johnson must have said something like that as he was driving J.C. Penney into the ground. So what?
Jim Blasingame tells you so what. He also tells you why and how. He might tell you things you don’t want to know, such as you need a mobile app. But once you read the why, you’ll get a mobile app.
Don’t understand why you need to be relevant? Oh, you will and you’ll catch up in a hurry.
The Age of the Customer is clearly a work in progress. Jim doesn’t have the final word here (nobody does) but he does have the latest word and, more important, he has the relevance (make sure you read that chapter twice). If you run a small business, he has the relevance you need right now. Trust me on this.
The shaded boxes made everything he wrote about come alive for me, because I’ve been in similar predicaments. There’s one case where a woman has checked into a hotel, and had forgotten to make a reservation at a restaurant for her to meet with her clients the following day. It was late at night and she took out her laptop, and found her favorite restaurant had a listing, but no website, the second restaurant had a website with a phone number, but it was after hours…so no good to her. The third one had a website and she could book a reservation for the next day, which she did.
The Age of the Customer drives home the importance of all the things you need to make the customer happy in today’s marketplace.
There are just over 200 pages in The Age of the Customer and 26 chapters plus 8 other sections such as laws, index, and an interesting foreword from Steve Forbes, Chairman of Forbes Media.
I’m already waiting for the next edition. Most of the chapters will grow over time.
This is a book for the ages, and hopefully it will give you some great pointers on how to bring your business into today’s world!
Good luck and let me know how it’s working for you.