Mom's Review: What Clients Love, by Harry Beckwith


The title of Harry Beckwith‘s What Clients Love intrigued me for any number of reasons; there must be some magic revealed within and it’s supposed to be a ‘field guide’ to growing a business. Perfect! A guide is normally easy to read, or written in layman terms, and should include down-to-earth facts and instructions. All of this packed into a little green soft-cover book that I can snuggle with and instantly find the secrets to business success. Definitely, this should be a great book.

While I do love to read, I fail to allow myself the time or even schedule out a parcel of the day to devote strictly to reading. I know in the back of my head that there is always something else that I need to be doing, therefore, I will generally only try to read in bed before turning out the light. It’s a relaxing treat that I can look forward to during the day! However, this is often counter-productive, as I will usually fall asleep and basically re-read an entire book at least twice before finally finishing.

While you could definitely read What Clients Love straight from cover to cover, it’s just as easily consumed by opening and reading where your eyes fall. You can gain insight in just a few minutes a day. Actually, I think it is really better that way. Some of Harry’s snippets are just so “in-your-face-why-didn’t-I-see-that.” It’s best to take the time to digest. To allow them to correlate to your own business before taking on more.

One particular point in the book, is finding your White Hot Center (WHC). He makes with an example with Phil Knight went straight to the top of with his company Nike. He targeted running elite like Bill Bowerman, Villanova University’s Jumbo Elliot and none other than legendary, Steve Prefontaine. With “Pre” wearing Nike shoes, their visibility was almost instantly worldwide. But keep reading here, because as we all know, Nike wasn’t and still isn’t just about running shoes. The other point being made, know also when to shift and do it quickly. Your WHC will more than likely keep changing. If you don’t change yourself, or your business, you will be left in the dust wondering what happened. You will wonder why someone else is now at the top of the game.

Finding your WHC involves truly knowing your industry; who are the movers and the shakers? How can you reach them? and who do you know that can help you reach those influencers? Every industry has a White Hot Center. In this book, Harry helps you understand the questions you need to be asking in order to find it.

Develop a map to your White Hot Center and a strategy for cultivating it. Anticipate the next members of the White Hot Center and get to them early…. Be like Nike. Identify and Cultivate the White Hot Center.

Harry Beckwith, What Clients Love, Copyright 2003, Hachette Book Group

Assuming that you really now know your industry, Harry goes on to talk about what and how you are perceived by others. While this seems pretty basic, I believe we take it for granted. But have you actually taken the time to walk in your customer’s shoes? What do they see, feel and experience? Do you look and act like the company that you want to become?

Your environment is the experience. Make yours exceptional.

Harry Beckwith, What Clients Love, Copyright 2003, Hachette Book Group

Harry gives some examples straight from Disney and Mickey Mouse, in “Mickey’s Commandments.” These really apply to everything you do; what are you telling people when they see your brand, your office, even you?

  • Wear your guest’s shoes; don’t forget the human factor.
  • Create a “wienie” (a visual centerpiece that draws people to it).
  • Avoid overload.
  • Tell one story at a time.
  • Avoid visual contradictions; maintain a consistent identity.
  • Keep it up. (Even the slightest thing out of order will diminish a client’s expectations.

In keeping with the above, remember that we as humans (think like your client, your customer), understand the visual; so be seen to be understood. If you are not Starbucks, make sure that you have created a visual, a word, a slogan or mantra that says why you are different. Your customers and clients will then be able to formulate an image in their own minds as to what you represent, therefore setting you apart from everyone else (or Starbucks). Make your message and your differences seen.

Here again, the book has so much information. It is paired with illustrative instances from companies that we all know. It makes for easy reading and understanding; the points being made are easy to translate to whatever your own business happens to be. Starbucks and Target, Kinko’s, Sun Microsystems, Fidelity Investments, and even Jefferson Airplane will lend examples of how and why they have made themselves successful, and truly memorable for what they do so well.

From Harry’s Ten Rules of Business Manners to his 14 Principals of Planning, the book is as compelling as it is just plain interesting to read. It has definitely opened up my eyes. It is really making me think more intently on the message that we send with A Simple Cookie. Are we able to clearly identify and then disseminate our message? Can we show what we are and why we are different from other cookie bakeries? How does it resonate and is it that our desired result?

Please share your thoughts! Either about the book or if you could relate to us how you perceive A Simple Cookie! We’re anxious to start a conversation – let us know your comments below.