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The Grinch Who Stole Value

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Dec 17, 2009 6:45:53 AM

At this time of year, while we are all in the midst of the season's greetings ritual, it is worth stopping for a moment to remind everyone that empty ritual is meaningless.  The last thing I want to be perceived as is "Grinch-like," but I can't help but notice all of the inane, silly, and meaningless cards and holiday emails I'm getting.

It reminds me of a lesson my mom taught me.  As I child, I was known to be slightly impulsive.  My "act first, think second" habit caused more than a few things to break.  I learned (quickly) that if I apologized quickly the punishment would be far less than it would have been otherwise.  I became really good at saying "I'm sorry."  Eventually my mom taught me that merely saying I'm sorry didn't mean anything if I didn't act sorry.  At that point, saying I'm sorry no longer had a positive effect. I learned that empty words were worthless.

Today I got  the following email message:

Empty Communication

What's wrong with this you ask?  I've never done anything with them, I don't think about them, and I have no loyalty to them.  All this message did was highlight how little they actually care about their customers.

Now, if this were happening just during holiday season, I wouldn't comment on it.  However, these empty acts happen all the time, and in today's attention-deficit world, businesses can't afford empty communication.


  • They happen when you send out a newsletter that your readers don't find relevant.

  • They happen when your salespeople call on your customers and your customer gets no value from the call.

  • They happen when emails go out with all data and no context.


Buyers are constantly making decisions about how relevant you are.  Your challenge is that 99% of that decision is made subconsciously.  As people have less time and less capacity to deal with information, your #1 communication job is to ensure that you make the cut.  Resolve to make every communication meaningful, relevant, and valuable.

Topics: B2B Sales Strategy