Continuing his streak of good practical marketing advice Seth Godin offers up his thoughts on generating customer referrals. Good stuff. Read his post here. For a different take on customer referrals read our post on how the Wall Street Journal's Gwendolyn Bounds completely misses the essence of customer referrals:
I love to compete. I love winning. I hate losing. I love recovering from a loss - going on to win and win big. I like hanging out with other competitors. Honorable chaps who one day may be your fiercest competitor, the next day your best friend. A group of competitors who understand the rules of the game and play by the rules. But play hard they do. Full body contact. Do not cut me any slack. I won't cut you any. At the end of the day, at the end of match, at the end of the negotiation, at the end of the trial, competitors who shake hands, respect each other and respect the rules. So when I read Gwendolyn Bounds' "Pipe Dream" column today in the Wall Street Journal I was amazed at her glowing profile of one Jeremy Gursey.
Ms. Bounds' column is about the rise of Mr. Gursey's business selling coffee to the stars on Hollywood movie lots. It seems as if young Gursey, portrayed as overly-ambitious and clever to the point of too clever, never took time to learn the true essence of competition as he built his coffee business. Worse, Ms. Bounds and the Wall Street Journal's normally competent editors missed this point also. For in the age of Enron, Spitzer, Martha, Kozlowski, Quattrone, Ebbers, Libby, etc. etc., how do you promote this sort of behavior(?):
Meanwhile, he (Gursey) has learned to play by Hollywood's rules. Once, he scanned TV credits to find the names of appropriate producers for "Seinfeld" and another show "Hearts Afire". He called the "Hearts Afire" producer and bluffed, saying he'd been referred by the "Seinfeld" producer. That got him hired by "Hearts Afire"; then he turned around and parlayed that into a job on "Seinfeld." "When you have nothing to lose, you've got to find a way by any means necessary," Mr. Gursey says.
"By any means necessary?" Lying? Cheating? Does Mr. Gursey have any idea how hard legitimate entrepreneurs work to get real and genuine references? But wait it gets better. Ms. Bounds demonstrating her own ethically challenged rationalization explains:
At the same time he (Gursey) knows where to draw the line, especially when it comes to new hires. Many coffee servers, aka baristas, are also aspiring actors, and Mr. Gursey doesn't want them sneaking their headshots onto a job. "The producers are not coming to you to find the next big actor," Mr. Gursey lectures his new proteges. "They're coming to get a cup of coffee."
So according to Ms. Bounds and the esteemed Wall Street Journal lying is not crossing the line? But he (Gursey) knows to draw the line at his employees offering head shots with their espresso shots?
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