As Much as Things Change, Some Things Never Change! Guest post by Ralph Cohen (AKA Skip’s Dad)

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A thousand or so posts ago on another blog, I talked my now 91 year old Dad into writing a couple of guest posts for me. As sophisticated as we all think we are with the way we communicate, social media, business practices, marketing and living in an era of almost instant fulfillment, nothing has changed in terms of the fundamentals of good business: customer service, integrity and a firm handshake.

My Dad was in commercial and industrial real estate in Ohio for many years, before he retired. Much of this post is based on his experiences in not only his own business, but growing up in his father’s business as well. This post seems to be getting more relevant with age!

Thanks Dad for giving me the day off this morning and filling in for me.  Your check’s in the mail!


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Visibility is a must for any pursuit.  Call it what you like. It starts with a firm handshake, neat appearance and an ability to display integrity. That integrity is always enhanced by knowing the answers before the questions are even asked and that can only come from experience.  All of this has to start somewhere…with YOU!

One of the biggest factors of success, for me, was the rapport with some of my competitors.  With friendly competition, on many occasions we were of considerable help to each other.

Another must of success is visibility and the necessity of going public.  You’ve got to be involved in your community.  As personal contacts multiply, the rewards will come in the form of your expanding clientele and potential new customers.

Today you guys call it networking and it’s everything from attending conventions and local events to social media.   For me it was Exchange Club’s monthly luncheons, business cards, a little advertising, even golf now and then, but there was and still is no substitute for word-of-mouth testimonials.

Then there’s trust, another critical building block.  The trust you build will be the result of the honesty and integrity you employ.  It’s all part of what drives word-of-mouth advertising, especially in a service based industry like photography. Always cherish that trust!  In turn, don’t forget that confidentiality is part of that trust. It’s so important to retain confidentiality with every client.

Occasionally you may find as I did, competitors bragging about a deal they had just closed. I used to be able to sit down in a booth at the Kenny Kings Restaurant on just about any morning and hear salesmen bragging about the deals they’d put together. The fact was, the transactions had died, along with the confidentiality factor, leaving the vultures to play with the bones that were left!

Ralph Cohen

Photo Credit: Cantrell Portrait Design


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