How Much Does It Cost If It’s Free?

Throughout his life Colonel Tom Parker delighted in practicing what he called the art of “snowing,” the exquisitely performed act of separating people from their money, leaving them with a smile on their face and melting away before they realized what had taken place.

Whether regarded as a meretricious and evil confidence man, or as a brilliant marketer and strategist, as remarkable as the star he managed, no figure in all of entertainment is more controversial, colorful, or larger than life than Tom Parker. Through-out his life often spoke of the book he was working on, (never published) called,

How Much Does It Cost If It’s Free?

That’s a good question for people to ask themselves ….?

Sometimes, maybe most times it’s far better to pay for expert advice. Expert advice or services run by experts can short cut your journey to success in any business by years. FREE maybe the most expensive business mistake you ever make!


Focus On The Total Experience!

We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better. - Jeff Bezos

Many businesses provide a total experience rather than just a product or service. These owners often get caught up in the technical aspects of their businesses—making sure the place is clean, the greens are cut, the coffee is hot, or whatever general standards are applicable to their types of businesses. In focusing on the technical aspects, they miss the boat in the more important experiential aspect of marketing their products or services.

Take restaurants for example. There are plenty of local restaurants near my home that sell good food: Casa Norma, The Rusty Duck, and Romano’s come to mind, but none of these quite delivers when it comes to the total package. While each of these places has its own charm, they are not the type of modern, upscale bistro that you would find in a big city.

Understand What Business You Are Actually In

"It’s the first company to build the mental position that has the upper hand, not the first company to make the product. IBM didn’t invent the computer; Sperry Rand did. But IBM was the first to build the computer position in the prospect’s mind." - Al Reis, 12 Immutable Laws of MarketingIt's probably not what you think

Ask a golf professional, club manager, or golf course owner what business they are in, and 99 times out of 100, they will get it wrong! They will say the golf business, the service business, the people business, the hospitality business, but rarely—and I ask this question to thousands of people a year—do they ever say what I consider to be the right answer. They are, of course, in the entertainment business!

Stop Wasting Money!

"Money is plentiful for those who understand the simple laws which govern its acquisition." - George Clason

A common mistake I see is companies wasting money in an effort to give equal resources to different parts of their business that may NOT deserve investment.

For example, when I first took over the marketing for a big resort in Michigan they had two distinct seasons, summer and winter. In the summer they marketed golf, and in the winter cross-county skiing and snowmobiling. While the marketing budget for the winter was smaller, it was still significant. But there was a problem. In the summer, with room rates higher, and people playing golf and eating and drinking, the average guest was spending $300 a day. In the winter, with room rates at rock bottom and rooms filled with snowmobilers who were out on trails all day, the average take was less than $100. A $200 difference in income.

After using direct mail and print ads for the first couple of winter seasons, we decided that the winter market was best left to email and the website, and that all the print and direct mail money would be redirected to increasing the summer business where margins were massively higher. It was hard for the client to accept, but to their credit they went with the new strategy and it paid off. (Of course, summer visitors become prospects for the winter season as well.) Another resort was losing money in the winter, so we told them to shut it down for two months in the winter. Again, a difficult decision for the owner but one that realized $300,000 to the bottom line with very little effort.

Don’t spend time, money, and resources in relatively unimportant parts of your business.

For more great sales, marketing and business growth advice read or listen to


How Jumping the Lines at Disneyland Could Provide the Innovation You Need to Triple Your Profits

When people think of growth, they usually think in terms of new locations or more products and services to reach more customers. There is nothing wrong with this approach, but this should be the last way you consider growing. The first is to look at your existing market and figure out what else you can sell them. What other product or services are your existing customers willing to buy from you?

If you have ever been to a Disney park in the height of summer, you are in for a long wait at just about every ride, sometimes an hour or more in the dripping heat. But you don’t have to wait in lines anymore. As long as you are willing to pay a substantial extra VIP fee, you can go straight to the front of the line. Not only do you see more, do more, and sweat less, you also can’t help getting that smug sense of satisfaction from looking at the poor people in line who you’ve just usurped with your VIP pass.