The Backstabbers Guild Guide To Marketing

There are two parties involved in marketing – the seller and the buyer. Only one of them needs to be polite, kind, and honest at any one time. It is always nice when they both are, but sometimes you have to settle for less. Technically it is also possible to have both sides act in a mean, dishonest, and greedy fashion, but only if you are conducting negotiations between large nations.

If you are going to be selling something – goods, services, or indentured labourers – you need to be cheerful, open-faced, and welcoming. You need not have decent merchandise, adequate service, or valuable laborers but the smile and the glad hand are essential. A snappy uniform or suit of clothes also helps.

Research your customers – not only do you want to know the things that they desire, you also want to know what they wish to avoid. If you can find out uncomfortable facts about them, all the better…the garment of merchandising has many strands interwoven and some of them can be made into nooses.

Make sure your offer is plausible as well as attractive. No good offering unicorns if you cannot deliver them. If they are mail-order unicorns, however, you may be able to get two weeks to clear the cheque and flee the country. As with all comedy acts, fraud requires an acute sense of timing.

Consider whether you are going to have to offer a warranty. This is required by state and federal laws for any sorts of goods you sell, and can run up to a year from the date of purchase. Illegal goods and services, however, are generally free of any of this nonsense and once you have the money you can toodle off. Consider whether you fancy being all that moral all that much…

And finally, remember that the most successful salespeople never take ” no ¬†” for an answer. You can recognise them in the emergency ward at the hospital as the interns and nurses try to remove the other answers that they have taken from their bodies. Turn away if you are squeamish.


The Untouchable List – Part One – Opening The Jar

Glory be! I’m getting smarter in my old age!

I’ve finally realised that there are some things that are untouchable – and for darned good reason. I’ve compiled a list of them for myself and will be adding to it as time goes on. Currently the divisions include discussion topics and people, but I will be expanding it to include places, things, and experiences.

It’s a totally subjective list – I would advocate that other people also make lists, but they are free to put whatever they want on theirs – and I think it might do them a world of good to do so…as it has done for me. But it must be deliberate.

You see, until you actually think long about this sort of idea, you are unlikely to benefit from it. You’ll have aversions that come up quickly and then go away just as fast. You’ll have momentary hates without keeping them long enough to make pets of them – and nowhere near long enough to benefit from them. You need to consider the business soberly.

” Soberly ” can also include thinking outside of a stiff drink of rye whiskey. If you are one of the people whom it takes favourably, it may strip just enough of your inhibitions to allow you to see what you really do feel and think. Just make sure that when you do cocktail meditation that you do it alone, and that you write your conclusions in secret. You may need to revise them and you do not need everyone to see what your original thoughts were.

The list should be drawn in such a way that it can be altered easily as new aversions make themselves known or as old ones are discovered to be harmless. I’ve removed a person from the list after realising that there was no need for them to be there. It was not that they did not deserve to be on it to start with, but they have since ceased to be objectionable. No point in bearing a grudge if it has no substance.

In the next part, we examine what the list does for and to you…


The Performance Review


A chat with a friend recently took in the subject of annual performance reviews in the workplace. From what I could gather they can sometimes reveal a great deal more about the employer than the employee…

In my last job this sort of review was informal and scattered – I cannot remember more than two of them and they were certainly not on consecutive years. I think they were only held when the mood struck the management or when it was forced upon them by external pressures.

In any case I did not find the procedure nor the findings all that onerous. I don’t put this down to any merit on my part – I think the directors of the company were just embarrassed to be doing it at all and were afraid I would burst into tears if they said anything wrong.

I was frightened that I would burst into laughter…or worse…song. I had written a parody of Ron Moody’s song from “Oliver!” about ” You’ve got to pick a pocket or two.” and once started, I could not have stopped myself short of being tossed into the street. Fortunately I did not let it out, but it was a close-run thing there a couple of times.

The review possibly did some good – pointed out where efficiencies could be sought and economies effected. That they never eventuated is not the fault of the review process – life and business intervened. They were still a valuable bit of imagination.

At least I was not sent away, as my friend was, with the feeling that criticism had been leveled at me for doing too much for the customer and causing them to come back to the shop.¬†Heads are still being scratched over that one…