Jeffrey J. Fox is a marketing consultant, speaker, and author. His writing is concise, practical, full of wisdom, and fun to read. Jeffrey’s books can be read cover to cover in as little as 2 hours. The notes below are from his book How to Get to the Top: Business Lessons Learned from the Dinner Table and they use MLA citations.
Fox, Jeffrey J. How to Get to the Top: Business Lessons Learned at the Dinner Table. New York: Hyperion, 2007
“When sellers and buyers come to an agreement after some back and forth counters, then the seller sold high and the buyer bought low. Don’t immediately take the first offer. It will upset the offerer. Counter and count the money”Jeffrey Fox (page 144)
Business Etiquette Notes
- Be sensitive to cultures, ethnicities, religions, backgrounds, politics, causes, and relationships (Fox 159).
- Never be late. Show that you respect the value of time, both yours and others’ (Fox 150).
- “Get your point across, but never be rude” (Fox 139).
- “Treat customers as important guests to your home” (Fox 123).
- Never become intoxicated during business or around your associates (Fox 96-97).
- Cut food into dime sized pieces. Eat slowly (Fox 94-95).
- Give the best parking spaces to customers, not executives (Fox 84-88).
- Do not use pronouns in communication. Use names (Fox 65-66).
- Always compliment the chef, whether you are out or at home (Fox 29-31).
- When you are at your place of work be modest, humble, collegian, courteous, calm, controlled, questioning, inspecting, and helpful. Solve problems, remove barriers/frustrations, give credit, recognition, and thank-yous (Fox 16).
- Have impeccable table manners regardless of whether you are eating alone or with others. Enjoy meals with other people when possible (Fox 1-4).
- Don’t immediately take the first offer (Fox 144).
Career Development Notes
- “Never be sick. Never be tired. Never half-arse it. Jump at any opportunity to shine” (Fox 119).
- Keep a list of ideas to increase revenues, increase profits, cut costs, and beat competitors. If/when a new CEO is hired, give him/her some time then send them this list named “What I would Do in the First 100 Days If I Were CEO.” Be polite, nonjudgmental, and noncritical. This will get you on the CEO’s radar and possibly even get you a meeting/promotion to discuss the ideas and start projects (Fox 18-20).
Business Management Notes
- “Spend the company money as you would your own, and you and the company will have a lot more” (Fox 158).
- Get out of the office and into the action. Sell and market in person. Assess employees, competitors, facilities, et. in person rather than by reading reports. Talk. Listen. Learn (Fox 147-149).
- Sign all the checks. “Signing all the checks ferrets out embezzlement, identifies areas for expense control, and red alerts misspending” (Fox 133).
- “Only hire people you would invite home to dinner” (Fox 120).
- “Working on fixing weaknesses is a waste of time. Working on strengths is where the money is” (Fox 113).
- “Work on what’s working or you won’t be” (Fox 115).
- Tell employees what needs to be done and why the ‘what’ needs to be done but leave the ‘how’ to them (Fox 98).
- Don’t promote causes, religions, politics, sports teams, etc. in your business (Fox 81-83).
- “Don’t do nonbusiness activities at your business. Nonbusiness leads to no business” (Fox 83).
- Have a good sense of humor. It can be useful for relieving tension” (Fox 78-80).
- Find someone in the company who is a good judge of character and work ethic. Use that person to help in the hiring process to avoid expensive mis-hires (Fox 70-72).
- Get in the trenches! “The sales force is the company’s eyes to the marketplace” (Fox 59).
- Don’t waste time on tasks or activities that don’t get/keep customers (Fox 55-56).
- Don’t blame, accuse, or criticize (Fox 26).
- “Don’t complain about a problem; do something to make the problem go bye-bye” (Fox 28).
- Keep people doing the jobs they’re best at (Fox 23-24).
- Don’t put crap on your windows. “Your windows are not bulletin boards. They are a place to display merchandise, to entertain customers, to attract customers” (Fox 90).
- Don’t use buzz words or cliches. Create your own buzzwords. Speak plainly and sincerely in order to be understood (Fox 67-69).
- Quality is not job #1. Getting and keeping customers is job #1 (Fox 43).
- “Getting the customer to purchase your product, and to repeat that purchase is job #1” (Fox 45).
- “Quality is a meaningless word. Quality is defined by the customer, not by the manufacturer or seller” (Fox 43).
- “To get and keep customers you must be able to answer this question: “If I, the salesperson, the marketer, the manufacturer, the investor; if I were the customer, why would I do business with me”” (Fox 52)?
“You must be able to answer the question honestly, objectively, factually. It is best if you can articulate the answer using dollarized values” (Fox 52-53). Aim for ten words or less. (Fox 54)Jeffrey Fox
Mentoring and Parenting Notes
- “All work and no play make Jack a dull boy, but no work and all play keep Jack a boy” (Fox 62).
- “The earlier the kid starts working, the earlier the kid starts to learn what he or she will need to know to be successful” (Fox 61).
- Teach kids the consequences of sloth and quitting (Fox 22).
Personal Development Notes
- Don’t dwell on the negativity of the past. Do something to improve the present and future (Fox 162-164).
- Act like you own the place. “Acting like you own the place means you share all of the owners’ concerns and you act upon them” (Fox 155).
- “Act as if you are in your complete comfort zone” (Fox 155).
- “Only bet on yourself. Don’t bet on events and people you can’t control or influence. Don’t bet on what you don’t know or understand” (Fox 130-131).
- Use numbers and probabilities to help make decisions. Waste no time panicking or choking. Spend 90% of your time thinking before making a decision. Do not second guess yourself unless new facts are presented” (Fox 105-107).
- Don’t shirk. “Shirk means to avoid doing what has to be done, or avoiding taking responsibility. Shirk means hiding, evading, running from the battle” (Fox 103).
- Don’t be phony (Fox 101). “Be real. Being real leads to real deals” (Fox 102).
- Stay fit. “Your brain makes you money. Your body carriers your brain. Take care of your body” (Fox 93).
- If you can’t, don’t, or won’t do something, say so as soon as possible. Don’t lead people on and waste time (Fox 75-77).
- “Tip as if you were the tippee” (Fox 46). “Yesterday’s tippee might be tomorrow’s tipper” (Fox 51).
- Don’t mope. “Moping is a waste of time and of life. Moping steals from action. It steals from accomplishing. You can’t get things done in a state of mopitry” (Fox 35).
- Speak sweetly; you may have to eat your words (Fox 31-34).
- Anonymously pick up the check for clergy, teachers, and soldiers (Fox 25).
- Always ask for the sale or a commitment that leads to a sale (Fox 128).
- When selling, observe the SW rule. “Some will. Some won’t. So what?” (Fox 74)
- Do research. Get numbers. Speak little but what will aid the decision. Respect the time of others. Give dates, time lines, and ask for actions (Fox 40-41).
- “Customers don’t buy technology; they buy what they get from technology” (Fox 37).
- Outside of your company, be a flag waving company patriot. Promote the company’s products, services, and values. Be a tireless, fearless, enthusiastic, seller of your company (Fox 16-17).
“The secret to moneymaking listening is to listen for something. You must listen for what you need to know to make the sale, cut the deal, achieve your business objective. Specifically, you must listen for numbers, facts, dates, names. If a customer tells you he wants a “longer lasting” device, you must ask “What do you mean by longer lasting?” If the customer answers “A device I can use for a few years,” you have heard nothing. You must ask, “What do you mean by a few years?” If the customer answers “Three year,” then you have a number. You have correctly listened.”Jeffrey Fox (page 109)
What do you think?
What I love most about Fox are the case studies and stories that he uses to get his points across. Fox shares insights and wisdom in his books that you don’t get from business textbooks or even business books in general.