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Surviving Travel Disasters


Hi Everyone:

In my business, I travel all the time. And since getting from one place to another can be more of an adventure than we might like, I’m always getting asked about how I handle one travel disaster or another. In this month’s article from Katie Morell and the American Express Open Forum, I offer a few tips for what to do when you arrive at your location unaccompanied by your luggage.

Once again, I’m at @barrymaher for those of you who are interested in following my occasional tweets. As I’ve said before, they are, and will continue to be, occasional.

All the Best,



© Copyright 2014 Barry Maher, Barry Maher & Associates, Las Vegas, Nevada


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Motivation Not Included

By Malcolm Fletcher

This month’s feature article is from Selling Power‘s Incentives Newsletter. It’s by Malcolm Fletcher, based on his interviews with  Barry.

Click here to read Motivation Not Included


Letters from Readers

Hello Steve,

I’ve read both of Barry’s books and I love his no-nonsense blend of optimist-realist style. Each newsletter is chockfull of great ideas and I was wondering if I could get his previous newsletters. I belong to his newsletter group (yahoo groups), but can’t access the archive.

If I were given access to the previous newsletter, this would only be for *personal use* and not for publishing anywhere.

Could you help? Thank you!


George Milosevich


Dear George:

Thanks very much for the kind words. Back issues of the newsletters are archived on our website. Simply go to and scroll down the page.

This newsletter and all Barry’s articles are of course copyrighted. If you’d like to use them for anything beyond personal use, simply contact Barry or myself.

Kindest Regards,


Steve Wilson
Barry Maher & Associates


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Selling Your Ideas, Your Vision, Yourself: Whether You’re a CEO, a Manager or Simply a Human Being

By Barry Maher

Way back when  was 16 and selling magazines subscriptions door to door, I learned a lesson that no one who ever wants to sell anything to anyone should ever forget.

My fellow high-schoolers and I would generate the sales leads, pretending to be “one of the kids in the neighborhood,” even though we’d been shipped in for the afternoon from towns that were miles away. Then we’d hand off the lead to the crew chief who would go back and close the sale.

I was the top kid in the office. I set more appointments that led to more sales than anybody else, and I was constantly being called up to roleplay in front of the other “kids in the neighborhood.” I thought I was as slick as Vaseline on a marble floor. Since we were paid on a bonus system, and money was our true measurement of success, most of my peers agreed with me. And as far as I could see, I was getting better and better.

One day I was working with Terry, the number one crew chief, the top closer in the company. I was pitching a middle-aged woman through her screen door, and Terry was standing just out of sight, listening. I was in peak form and 16 years old and showing off, and damn I was good. The prospect was wary, coming up with a number of objections, but no matter which way she tried to squirm, I was there first waiting for her. I had her boxed in—wrapped up with a pink ribbon tied around her. All ready for Terry to move in for the close. I handed her off to him, and went off to work my magic farther on down the street.

Later, Terry came out of the call holding a contract. He caught up with me on the sidewalk in front of a house where I’d just finished another pitch. The first thing he said was, “You know something? You’re the best salesman I’ve ever seen.”

“Really!?!” I mean I knew I was good, but this was astonishing!

He nodded. “And that lead you just got, she said the same thing.”

“No kidding. Well that’s gre. . .”

“There’s only one small problem.” Terry held the unsigned contract up in front of my face and slowly—very slowly—tore it up in eight or nine pieces. Then he stuffed them into my shirt pocket. (The company might have been a bit shaky on some of the stricter elements of honesty, but they were way ahead of their time about littering. They knew it was rotten PR.) “The problem is that you aren’t supposed to be a great salesman, you’re supposed to be one of the kids in the neighborhood.”

          Truth: When you’re dealing with a good salesperson you might think, “Boy, this guy is a great salesperson.” When you really are with a great salesperson you think you’re with one of the kids in the neighborhood.

If you aren’t speaking from conviction, if you don’t really believe what you’re saying, you’re never going to be a great salesperson. Not unless you’re one of the best actors that every lived. And if you’re that good an actor, you’ll probably be better off—those you’re trying to sell will certainly be better off—if you just go to Hollywood.

Good salespeople are polished and professional. And just a little slick. They’ve got a great pitch. They might be very likeable but they make most prospects just a bit wary.

Great salespeople might be as polished as the Crown Prince of Moravia if that’s who they are or they might be as folksie as Will Rogers or Abe Lincoln. They might be a disorganized sloppy mess and not particularly articulate, though they’re always likeable—very likeable. And somehow they do always say just the right thing. Since they so obviously seems to believe in what they’re saying, it doesn’t seem to be a pitch. They “just seem to make a lot of sense.”

And they’re never slick. They’re genuine. The longer they talk, the less wary the prospect becomes. When the time comes for the great salesperson to close, buying from him or her is often as natural and as easy as ordering a fine meal at a favorite restaurant.

Great salespeople are aggressive and persistent and non-threatening: which means they’re subtle and likeable enough that few ever perceive them as aggressive and persistent.

If a prospect tells you you’re a great salesperson, you aren’t.  What he’s saying is that he feels that he’s being ‘sold’ something he would never purchase on his own. He may rollover and buy, but he won’t be happy about it.  He won’t be happy to see you on your next visit, and he’s far more likely to develop buyer’s remorse and re-contact you the next day.

To me, the highest praise a salesperson can receive from a prospect is simply, “You make a lot of sense.”  People who say that don’t feel sold, they feel their needs are being met. Of course they may never have realized they had those needs until you walked in the door.  And I guarantee they’ll buy more from the salesperson who appears to make sense than from anyone they consider “a great salesperson.”

And yes, pretending to be “one of the kids in the neighborhood” when you aren’t is not the way to sell. And, even at 16, I should have known better. In order to be “one of the kids in the neighborhood” you’ve actually got to live there.

© Copyright 2013, Barry Maher, Barry Maher & Associates, Las Vegas, Nevada, Los Angeles, California

While Not All Motivational Speakers Are Great, All Great Speakers Are Motivational.

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Career Mistakes

Barry Maher’s
Filling the Glass Newsletter
Speaking of Real World Tactics, Reality-Based Motivation
July, 2012    Vol. 12  Issue 7


Hi Everyone:

This month’s article comes to us from JobsCentral. How many of these common career mistakes are you making? The good news is that they’re usually easy to fix.

Once again, I’m at @barrymaher for those of you who are interested in following my occasional tweets. As I’ve said before, they are, and will continue to be, occasional.

All the Best,


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The Road to Success


Hi Everyone:

Since it first ran six years ago, we’ve had any number of requests to rerun this month’s article. I figured the holiday season would be an appropriate time.

And whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Festivus or just being alive, have a wonderful holiday!

All the Best,



The Road to Ballyglunnin Can Be the Route to Success

By Barry Maher


“So what’s the best strategy for promoting a business?” people frequently ask me.

Let me tell you why I can’t wait to book my next vacation in Ireland.

Many of my father’s fondest memories were of his early childhood in Ballyglunnin in County Galway, Ireland. He lived in a castle, he told us, and learned to love learning in a tiny, one room school. Castle or no castle, once in the states, his mother cleaned houses; his father was a laborer. Through their efforts, my father became the first Maher to complete high school and then college, at Notre Dame. I still have the letter he wrote his parents when he was accepted at Harvard Law School.

“From housecleaning to Harvard in a single generation,” he’d say later. He loved America for that. Still, his life was hardly easy. He nearly died during WWII, and lost a wife and two children within a year. Later, three other children would die. Those of us that reached adulthood did so with the best educations money could buy; and he raised a company president, two corporate vice presidents, a doctor, a telecommunications executive, and myself. He always dreamed of returning to visit Ballyglunnin, but with all that educating to do, there was never the time, never the money.

The only time I ever saw my father cry was when we, his children, bought him that trip to Ireland for his 80th birthday. One of my sisters and I were looking forward to traveling with him, but unfortunately—though he’d been practicing law up to a few months before—his health deteriorated rapidly and senile dementia set in. Soon he didn’t even recognize us. The trip never happened.

Then a couple of years, for no discernible reason my book,  Filling the Glass, took off in Ireland, and I was booked on a speaking tour there. I was determined to visit Ballyglunnin, the castle and the one room school, but my schedule was tight.

In spite of the hard times once again plaguing Ireland, the leading industry is still tourism. And the entire country has embraced the industry. The Irish have developed a reputation as the world’s greatest hosts, a reputation that turned out to be actually true rather than just marketing hype. Even though I wasn’t really a tourist, I was immersed in that hospitality. At engagements I was treated more like a guest rather than someone they were paying to speak. There were dinners and receptions and “must see” sights to be seen. All of which left me only one day for Ballyglunnin.

I set off for the tiny hamlet with several sets of complex directions and three conflicting maps. Every time I stopped and asked for directions I was embraced like a long lost relative, but, though a few people had heard of Ballyglunnin, no one was quite sure where it was. I must have bounced along every back road in County Galway, but none of them led to Ballyglunnin.

The next morning, in Galway City, I spoke of my father during my final presentation, and I mentioned in passing what had happened the day before. At the luncheon afterwards, I was finishing up my lasagna—which seems to be a particular Irish favorite—and thinking about heading upstairs to my room to pack. That’s when the CEO announced, “Mr. Maher, your car has arrived, complete with the savviest driver in all of Ireland.” Less than two hours later, the limo, myself, the CEO. and a local Member of Parliament pulled into Ballyglunnin. The locals decided I was a returning hero, and took us on a tour of the village, the old one-room schoolhouse, and the “castle,” an aging, rather modest resort hotel where my grandfather had run a small shop. But a castle indeed to any seven year old.

The real highlight of the trip came upon my return. Though my father hadn’t recognized me in over a year, when I showed him my photos of the school and the “castle,” his cloudy eyes slowly cleared. Then those eyes met mine.

“Ireland,” he said softly. “Thanks, Barry, for Ireland.”

Thank the Irish for Ireland. That’s feeling you get when you travel through Ireland. It’s not just customer service; it’s that any number of people you meet seem to enjoy nothing more than going out of their way to make certain that you enjoy every moment of your trip and get the most out of the country they seem to love so much. It took me fifty years to get to Ireland the first time. And it took a business trip to get me there. Now I can’t wait to become a repeat customer on my own dime.

The name of my last business book is Truth Is the Ultimate Sales Tool but come to think of it, truth isn’t really the ultimate sales tool.

Reality is.

If the actual experience of doing business with you is everything you claim it will be and perhaps even more—and you insist on making sure that it is—the next sale will be the easiest job you’ll ever have.

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Selling Yourself to Employers


Hi Everyone,

Times being what they are, we’ve gotten any number of requests for tips about applying and interviewing for a job. So this month’s article is Time To Step Up, a helpful piece on just that, by David Wilson (no relation to my associate, Steve Wilson).

The one thing I wonder about is David’s comment on shaking hands. “Trickier than you think,” he writes, “technically, your thumb should be pointed directly at the ceiling.”

I have no idea:

  1. Where this came from,
  2. Who instituted this thumbs-up technical requirement,
  3. How it could be accomplished or
  4. Why anyone might want to do it.

Personally the only unusual handshake I’d recommend on a job interview would be the “Super-secret, Ultra-hip, Mickey Mouse Club Handshake and Friend-maker,” and then only if you’re being interviewed by Mickey, or perhaps Donald.

Aside from that, this is an article that’s we’d all do well to read, whether we’re job hunting or not.

And yes, though there may be “no excuse for lousy proofing,” we’ve all suffered the occasional typo. Including of course this newsletter and, as you may note, Mr. Wilson.

You can find Time to Step Up at
All the Best,


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Motivation and Self Esteem: a Tirade


By Barry Maher

The business gurus are right when they tell us that many of us have trouble filling the glass—have trouble living the business life we feel we should be living—because of our lack of self esteem. Of course, sometimes one of the reasons we don’t esteem ourselves more is due to the very fact that we are not living that life.

This is the place where a self-help article is supposed to pat you on the back and tell you that you are a valuable human being, so you should hold yourself in higher esteem.

I’m not going to tell you that.

I don’t even know you. You know yourself a lot better than I do. You are, when it comes right down to it, the world’s foremost authority on you. And if you don’t think much of yourself, who am I to contradict you? Maybe you know something I don’t know.


Your Place on the Continuum

Obviously, you are a valuable human being to yourself. You are the only you that you have. But whether or not you are valuable to the rest of us—to the rest of humanity—that depends upon what you’re doing for us.

What have you done for any of us lately? Maybe, not much. So as far this, “I’m okay, you’re okay” stuff, maybe you’re not so okay. It’s not like everybody is.

The universe has produced Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer and Adolf Hitler. They weren’t okay. From those guys it’s a bad/good continuum leading ultimately to those people who donate their kidneys to complete strangers and Mother Theresa. On the way it passes through Benito Mussolini; Al Capone; Richard Nixon; the salesperson who sells some poor little old lady some overpriced annuity she doesn’t need; the driver who runs a red light because he doesn’t have any patience, annoying and aggravating everyone else at the intersection and maybe even risking somebody else’s life; and the bozo who talks in the movie theater because he’s too self centered to care that nobody around him wants to listen to him babble while they’re paying $9 to watch a film.

None of these people are all that okay—at least not when they are doing what they’re doing.

Continuing across the continuum, we have the guy who gives an occasional buck to somebody in need, the woman who donates regularly to the United Way, the volunteer who gives several hours a month to help the homeless, etc. etc. etc. We are all on the continuum someplace at various levels of okay-dome. And though most of us don’t swing from Hitler to Mother T, we do swing along it at different times of our lives, on different days, even in different hours.

Obviously we don’t all have the same values. So each of us is going to have their own perception of the bad/good continuum. But still, on balance—by our own standards—some of us aren’t so okay at all. No matter how much we try to justify some of the things we do.

Tip: If you want to improve your self esteem, try earning it. Socrates said, “The nearest way to glory is to strive to be what you wish to be thought to be.” It’s also the nearest way to self esteem.

Try being a better person—by your own standards. Maybe then you’ll think better of yourself.


Improve the Product, Let the Image Take Care of Itself

I’m all for self esteem. Too many people stop themselves before they ever start. They can’t do it because they’re certain they can’t do it. And positive thinking is a wonderful thing. But Pollyanna positive thinking and the more Pollyanna aspects of the self esteem movement are the logical outgrowths of 1950’s style selling and marketing: the mindset that it’s easier to improve the way people think about a product—improve its image—than to actually improve the product.

“Let’s not worry about making you a better person, Mr. Manson. Let’s just improve your self esteem, and maybe that will make you better.”

Yes, in most cases you probably can if only you believe you can. Human potential being what it is, you should never, NEVER limit yourself by selling yourself short. And if you’re a manager, you want to help your people avoid selling themselves short. You want to help them realize just how much they’re capable of accomplishing.

But, for yourself, if the reason for your low self esteem is that you’re not living up to your own standards, then perhaps the best way to improve that self esteem is to work on improving the product—the self you aren’t esteeming. Do that, and you may find that the esteem—self and otherwise—takes care of itself.

Reality counts.


Barry Maher speaks, consults and writes on increasing productivity AND job satisfaction, as well as motivation, management and sales. His book, Filling the Glass: The Skeptic’s Guide to Positive Thinking in Business was cited by Today’s Librarian magazine as “[One of] The Seven Essential Popular Business Books.”

© Copyright 2016,  Las Vegas, Nevada, San Diego, Barry Maher


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Barry Maher & Associates Welcome You to our new website

Blog post coming soon.

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The Ten Commandments of Yellow Pages Advertising

by Barry Maher, syndicated

Too many businesses have no idea of how well their Yellow Pages ads are working—or even if they’re working. That’s why my Yellow Pages advertising workshops are filled to overflowing at conventions; why my book, Getting the Most from Your Yellow Pages Advertising keeps moving off the shelves. But most businesses could be generating more business—if they only stopped breaking the Ten Commandments of Yellow Pages advertising.

First Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Whip It Up

Many Yellow Page ads are whipped up in the few minutes the sales rep has left after trying to sell you a bigger ad. Askno, insist—that your directory publishers develop an ad for you that justifies the cost. If they can’t or won’t, have the ad produced yourself.

Second Commandment: Honor Thy Headlines

The first piece of ad copy that readers see—the headline—has to be powerful enough to drag them away from all those competing ads. Never use your company name as your headline unless it really is that powerful—unless it really is the most important selling copy in the ad.

Third Commandment: Honor Thy Illustration

Nothing can turn a mediocre Yellow Pages ad into a great one faster than the right illustration. If your picture isn’t worth a thousand words, find one that is.

Fourth Commandment: Remember All Key Selling Points

You have to include all the hard, factual information potential customers need to make a decision to call or drop by: be it about image, market niche, type of cuisine, specialties, additional services, pricing, quality, speed, hours, location, credit cards—whatever it might be.

Fifth Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Overburden the Eyeballs 

Your ad is competing for visibility and readability with every other ad under the heading. If it’s difficult to read, it isn’t going to be read. You’ve got to refine your copy until you can provide all the information directory users want and need in an ad that’s so uncluttered and inviting that reading it becomes automatic.

Sixth Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Forget Placement

Unfortunately ad size is important. All things being equal, bigger ads get a greater response. They also get the best placement–closest to the front of the heading. And placement can be even more important than size.

The good news is that all things are seldom equal. The biggest ad under the heading is not always the most effective. And a well-designed, visually appealing ad can make up for a lot of size, especially under a smaller heading where all the ads are on the same page or two. It’s much more difficult of course to compete with ads on an earlier page. That page may never even be turned.

Always consider placement when you’re deciding on ad size. Have your sales rep show you where the size you’re considering would fall in this year’s directory. That should give you an approximate idea of the position—relative to the competition—you’d have next year. Sometimes going up a single size and spending just a few more dollars will move you much closer to the front of the heading. Sometimes you can cut back in size without losing much at all in the way of position.

Seventh Commandment: Remember, Position over Color

Color is eye catching. It’s also expensive. If the money you’d be spending is approximately the same, you’re far better off significantly improving the size and placement of your ad than the color.

Eighth Commandment: Thou SHALT Track

Perhaps the surest way to waste money is to advertise in a directory no one’s using.Always make your rep prove value—especially when you’re considering an independent (non phone company) directory. If he can’t, don’t put any real money there. Instead, try something small: perhaps even a simple in-column ad, or even just a listing. Track your response—survey your customers to discover how they discovered you–and next year you’ll have your own proof. One way or the other.

Ninth Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Squander Yellow Pages Dollars in the White Pages

You bought that costly new in-column ad in the white pages because . . . ?

If you’re Albany Emporium and you’re in the midst of seven white pages of Albany this and Albany that, you do need something beyond a bold listing to make it easier for your customers to find you. Or perhaps you’re Ralph’s Refrigeration and Randal Refrigeration Service usually falls on the same page, and you want to siphon off a few of their calls.


If your customers are looking for you alphabetically in the white pages, they will find you. And call you. You don’t have any competition in the white pages. A bold listing is sufficient.

Save your hard-earned advertising dollars for the Yellow Pages.

Tenth Commandment: Never Rely on Faith for Your Yellow Pages: Get a Proof

Always insists on getting a proof for your display ad. Remember the small error one publisher made in an advertiser’s ad, turning “Dan Hadley, therapist” into, “Dan Hadley, the rapist.”

*            *            *

Barry Maher is the author of the book, Getting the Most from Your Yellow Pages Advertising, as well as a highly regarded speaker on management, sales and, yes, Yellow Pages advertising. His other books include Filling the Glass: The Skeptic’s Guide to Positive Thinking in Business, No Lie; Truth Is the Ultimate Sales Tool and the SF-fantasy novel, Legend..

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Yellow Pages Advertising: RASCIL – This RASCIL Works

I often conduct workshops for Yellow Pages advertisers at trade and professional conferences. A while back, an older gentleman came up to me before a session, carrying a phone book. Opening it to the ads in his heading, he tapped the directory with the back of his hand and said, “This rascal doesn’t really work, does it.” It wasn’t a question.

“This rascal?” I asked.“The phone book,” he explained. “The blasted Yellow Pages.”

I nodded. “You see all those ads,” I said, “all those business advertising under that heading? Well, guess, what? Some of them don’t have a clue how well or how poorly that directory is working for them.”

“They’re just there because everyone else is there,” he agreed.

“But there’s a reason everyone else is there. The sharper the businessperson, the greater the feel they have for what’s generating their business. Some of these people are tracking their advertising so well they can tell you to the penny how much their Yellow Pages ads are bringing in. And that’s the reason they’re in that directory year after year after year: not because they like giving money to the directory publishers, but because it makes them money. In fact studies show the average Yellow Pages advertiser nets $4 for every dollar he spends in the phone book.”

“So the rascal does work?”

“It does work: often in spite of the way advertisers put their Yellow Pages ads together. And, as a matter of fact. RASCIL, r-a-s-c-i-l, is a great acronym to keep in mind to help make your ads work even better.”


Reliability: Many people who see your ad in the Yellow Pages have never heard of you before. The greater the price of what you’re selling, the more important it is to stress reliable and quality in your ad.

Appropriate copy might include:

• Years in business;
• The size of your business;
• Family and/or locally owned;
• Licensed, bonded, insured,
• Guarantees or warranties
• Association memberships
• Special training and certifications

Authorized products and services: Thousands of dollars are spent promoting brand names. Hitchhike on that money by highlighting brand names you’re authorized to sell, service or repair.

Special Features: What separates you from the competition? The first question I ask a Yellow Pages advertiser is, “Why should someone call you instead of one of those other ads?” Often that gets me a blank stare, but eventually they come up with three to five things, the most important reasons why someone should do business with them instead of the competition.

The single most amazing discovered I’ve made in 20 years of working with Yellow Pages advertisers is that those three to five points are almost never in their Yellow Pages ads. Sometimes only one or two are missing. Often all five are.

Why should someone call your ad instead of one of your competitors’?

Completeness of service: Yellow Pages readers are drawn to ads that offer exactly what they’re seeking as well as by ads the offer a full range of relevant products and services. Include anything that’s a significant part of your business or you think can become a significant part of your business.

Appropriate copy might include:

• The range or specialization of your products and services;
• Departments;
• Hours;
• Credit cards;
• Additional services that make doing business with your more appealing, e.g. free estimates, free consultations, evening appointments, insurance filing, valet parking, etc. etc.

Illustrations. The single easiest way to improve a mediocre ad is with a great illustration. If your picture isn’t worth a thousand words, find one that is. And make it large enough to generate the additional visibility your ad needs.

Location. Many people use the Yellow Pages to find a convenient address. And some former customers will only remember where you are not who you are. Make sure you’re easy to find. If necessary, include a line of directional copy: “Behind McDonald’s.” If your location is more complicated than that, consider including a map. As for your phone number, make sure it’s large enough so that no matter when potential customers decide they’ve read enough of your great selling copy and they’re ready to call, they can spot it immediately.

This RASCIL works. And RASCIL can help your Yellow Pages ad work more powerfully than ever before.

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