I had the opportunity this week to work with a client experiencing a serious crisis issue. In the midst of helping, I faced one of those moments that can make even the most experienced PR pro wince, namely being surrounded by a large group of reporters with cameras shouting questions from all sides while I was trying to diffuse a potentially contentious situation.
This is a subject that is studied often because of its’ importance in the marketing communications mix. If you are responsible for the sales and marketing of a company, you can’t ignore e-mail marketing. The 7 steps that I share are gained from recent studies, years of gathering best practices and new technologies.
What is unique about your products or services? What can you provide better than any of your competition? These are sometimes called Unique Selling Propositions, or USPs. These are what differentiate you from the competition. There may be one, two, or even a half dozen USPs you can provide, but it’s absolutely critical you know what these are.
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All business owners want to grow and be successful. It is part of the entrepreneurial spirit that made them want to be in business to start with. To many, supplying products or services to extremely large businesses on a large scale is the holy grail of sales.
It's common wisdom that what people want is a solution. There is even a school of sales training and many books around the concept of "solution selling".
Now more than ever, technology companies are utilizing tax-exempt non-profit organizations to grow market share and platform adoption, to increase sales of complimentary services and products, and to control market standards. This trend has broad implications for both large and small technology companies, and any company seeking to form strategic alliances with technology-oriented non-profit organizations should carefully consider the partnership agreements, intellectual property licensing, and other business law planning necessary to ensure a positive outcome.
What your mom taught you about telling the truth is still good advice. While it may seem to go without saying, at least one judge has reaffirmed your mother’s rule: “it’s not okay to lie,” even if your contract says you don’t have to tell the truth. In Abry Partners V, L.P. v. F&W Acquisition, LLC, the court had to decide whether a very explicit disclaimer of all warranties and representations would be enforced to limit the liability of a company that had knowingly made false representations to induce the sale of the business to another company.
On its face, the disclaimer was very clear – the company that made the false representations had no contractual duty to tell the truth to the acquiring company, and any liability for false statements was limited to a predetermined amount. While the exact wording of the disclaimer may be too long to repeat here, it might as well have said: “Company A may make any false statement or misrepresentation to Company B to induce the sale, and Company B’s only legal remedy shall be capped at XYZ dollars.” This kind of disclaimer was written in two different sections of the sales contract.
Yet writing something in a contract doesn’t necessarily make it so. Judges have broad discretion regarding the enforcement of contract terms. Even though both Company A and Company B were sophisticated businesses with teams of legal professionals to advise this multi-million dollar transaction, the judge in this case held that it would be against public policy to enforce the disclaimer and to protect the company that made false representations.
What’s the moral of this story? Honesty isn’t just the best policy – it’s the law of the land, and no wording in a contract will change that. Further, as a general rule, you can’t rely solely upon the wording of a contract to forecast the outcome of potential legal disputes. Ultimately, courts strive to preserve justice, and a judge may easily override overbearing or unfair contracts.