Book Review: The Mirror Test by Jeffrey W Hayzlett

You've heard of Jeffrey Hayzlett (Twitter). He's the Chief Marketing Officer of Kodak, he's owned a bunch of businesses, and he's been on Celebrity Apprentice (whatever that is).

I came into possession of his book The Mirror Test: Is Your Business Really Breathing? because when I was at the 140 Character Conference back in April, he gave a bunch away to people who came early the second day. He asked people to give to the American Heart Association in exchange. Awesome.

Hayzlett's book is a must-read if you're in business. He writes in plain English, pulls no punches, and has no problem telling his readers as much about his failures (like the pheasant farm he owned) as his successes (like the print shop he did well at).

As someone who recently started a business, there's some good stuff in here. For example, always ask for the sale. Don't imply that you're looking for business and you hope the person in front of you will buy. Ask for the sale.

I'm trying some highly customized direct mail marketing – not something I even would have thought of if I hadn't read this book. If people know you put the effort in to sell them a package customized to their actual needs – and to them as people – they're more likely to buy. Especially if they have a piece of paper in front of them. (I'll let you know how that goes.)

Another lesson Hayzlett learned along the way: don't give away the meat. You can be very involved in the community. You can be extremely generous. But if you make widgets, don't give away the widgets: people won't value them as much. Give away widget accessories, or donate money for an organization to buy your widgets, but don't give the widgets away. Period.

He also reminds business owners to ask themselves the tough questions and to really test their teams to make sure they have the right people on board to represent them.

If you're in business, or want to be, read this book. Definitely worth it.


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