9 Ways to Handle Pricing Before you Make it a Problem

Are you shooting yourself in the foot with your pricing? Thanks to Mike Myatt for photo.

Are you shooting yourself in the foot with your pricing? Thanks to Mike Myatt for photo.

Everyone has their own take on pricing; some ideas are better than others.

This week I produced a  training video with  Tony J. LaGreca, president of Edmar Floorcare. His product is a vacuum that cleans deep pile carpet. One of the features of the vacuum is a sonic bar that vibrates at 200 per second. Tony pointed out I could say 12,000 per minute and that big numbers are better. I started thinking, numbers do matter.


Here’s my take on numbers.


  1. Customers like big numbers when they’re in their favor. Instead of telling the customer that the sale price on the $100 item is $40.00 why not tell them it’s 60% off? The bottom line is the same but 60% has a bigger punch.


  1. Always remember to explain to the customer how much they’ve saved rather than how much they spent. They can continue to justify their purchase for the next year.


  1. Everyone is looking for a savings or discount; this is why Marshalls and T.J. Max do such great business. The Goodwill is so busy they are now opening a boutique style shop. At least 1/3 of the Millenniums shop at Goodwill. So if they’re your customer, don’t forget they want to save money and are looking to save a buck. Check out the stats on the Millenniums.


  1. Let’s not forget the concept of “Lagniappe” something given or obtained gratuitously or by way of good measure. This expression thought of as New Orleans based, means giving the customer a tiny gift to tell them how much you care. It also helps soften the price; especially if the item is expensive. Think about serving coffee, bottled water or popcorn to make the customer feel welcome. Most retailers have a “kid’s corner” so the mother can shop. Ikea even has baby food in the fridge as well as a “Manland” baby sitting service with pinball machines and video games.



  1. If a  customer asks why you don’t carry the imposter  say you don’t think it’s a good product or it’s  worth the money. That will stop them in their tracks.


  1. When customers say, “I’ll be back,” ask them what they think about your prices. What do you have to lose? Pay attention to their answers and don’t justify your prices. Just listen. You can then ask the customer if you could explain why your prices are higher.


  1. Watch social media and see what your customers are saying about pricing in general. Are they talking about paying supermarket prices or the price of gas?


  1. Try different price points and test them on various products. Do customers like the $10.99 concept or is $11.00 okay? It was a big problem when JC Penney changed theirs to whole numbers.


  1. Connect with your customers on an emotional level, get to know them. The more you know about them and their buying habits the less likely you are to drop your prices.


The smartest thing you can do is not assume that price is the problem. Understand your products and the value you provide for your customers.

Lisbeth has been helping businesses build retail marketing and sales strategies for over 20 years. To schedule a consultation or have her speak at your business, reach her at .

By |August 24th, 2015|Blog, Sales, Selling on price, The Millenniums|0 Comments

All You Really Have is You

I am in the midst of learning a script for a commercial video. I asked my acting coach to give me some pointers on what I had put together. It’s a bit daunting when you are performing for your coach. I kept thinking in my head, what makes this work, what brings this all together. I explained I wasn’t sure what was effective and how would I know. He suggested I perform the piece in my own way and not worry about what I thought they wanted.

“Remember, he said, they hired you because of who you are not what they want you to be.”

Suddenly, I had a thought; the person who hired me said he was watching videos that I had made. He also told me the parts he liked. In fact, he liked them so much he was watching them over and over.  I’m thinking to myself, what did he like about what I said? I realized he didn’t talk about the script or what I knew, he was laughing about my stories and my “in your face” attitude.

It was me being myself. What do I believe about myself?

I realize when I’m me; I find what I’m doing to be more fun and more real. How often in life do we give people what we think they want rather than just being true to ourselves? He watched several of my promo videos before he called me, so he obviously knew what he was getting. That’s why videos are really cool. Someone either likes your style, or they don’t.

All we have is who we are. Actors bring their own style to the character. If the character is supposed to be feeling sad, they bring their brand of the emotion to the scene.

Where we go wrong is when we get out of character. For whatever reason, we believe we should do it another way.  This has started me thinking, what makes me get out of character, why do I think I should be someone else? Maybe this sounds simple but for me; it’s actually profound.  As I go through my days, how much of the time do I spend being myself and when do I decide to be someone different.

I would say that authenticity is the key to building solid relationships.

Now I understand what Kermit meant when he said; “Sometimes it’s hard being green.”

Thanks to Lyle Verbilion for the photo.

Lisbeth has been helping business and people get what they need out of life. For more information, reach her at www.lisbethcalandrino or

By |August 15th, 2015|beliefs, Blog|0 Comments

Talent Will Only Get You So Far

Professional sport's teams have plenty of talent but which ones will stand out?

Professional sport’s teams have plenty of talent but which ones will stand out?

I hear people saying, “Of course,  he’s good; he’s so talented.” But is talent all you need?

Major league teams have many talented players; and then there are some who take their talent a step further. A friend of mine was a pitcher for a minor-league baseball team. He always felt his talent was “off the charts” as he described it; until he got to the league. He never saw so many talented people, and he knew he was in trouble. It was easy in high school to “razzle, dazzle them,” but it was going to be a lot harder here. (Mostly because he was lazy!)

How many people do you know who are extraordinary talented but can’t seem to get past ordinary? We look at them and say, “If only I had that talent, what I could do.” It makes you wonder, what’s wrong with them?

Talents may come naturally but in order to grow, like anything else; they must be nourished. Along with your talent comes responsibility; if you want to make more of yourself, you have to decide it’s what you want and go for it. It may mean giving up “what you want now for what you want later.” There are many people who just don’t want responsibility and want to stay where they are.

I was looking through my high school yearbook and had the pleasure of talking with one of our “talented” graduating seniors. She was so smart that most of us weren’t even close to her. Did she become the doctor? No she dropped out of medical school and worked in menial jobs. And then there was the woman who was voted the best athlete of the year, an award I wanted but didn’t get. She did nothing with her talent, and I have continued to work at my love for sports and running and winning many 5K races.  (She was better than me but I wanted to be good no matter what.)

If you have talents, you have to continue to stretch yourself. Yes, the talent comes but can also go away. You must continue to stretch yourself and look for new heights. If you’re content with being in the same place, and live with mediocrity, you will be disappointed. You must continue to push, endure the hardships that come with it and persist on.

What does it take to break out and go for it? I had an oncologist friend, who recently died, who was homeless for many years and lived on the street. One day, he just decided he needed to do more with his life and finished college and was admitted into medical school.

“What happened, I asked; I finally realized that I was wasting my life away and had many other things I could accomplish.” He said he always wanted to help people and was ready to go for it.

One of the differences with those achieving successes is they continue to work despite the fact they are not appreciated. You must be able to see your goal and head for it, sometimes without anyone on your team. Achieving your goals can be very lonely.

Accomplishing your goals can be difficult. It takes continued work and effort, but if you have the talent, and we all do, why would you waste it?

Lisbeth Calandrino has been helping businesses build extraordinary relationships with their customers, both internal and external. To have her help you with your business, reach her at

By |August 8th, 2015|Blog, Motivation|0 Comments

Do you Need a Time out?

I am in "time out?"

I am in “time out?”

Yesterday and today I had the “cat from hell” experience. The  new member of my family Bel, the  Maine Coon cat, went after my Norwegian Forest cat,  Ranyday. Rainyday had just come back from being groomed and probably looked like another cat. Bel was freaked out.  This morning Bel leaped out of bed, and took after Rainday again. The whole house was in an uproar. I grabbed Bel and put him in the living room and put a sign on his door, “I’m in time out and thinking.”

How many times have you gotten out of sorts and said or did things you wish you hadn’t and spent the whole day fuming? Was  your  stomach  in an uproar? I have a friend who, like clockwork, has a physical issue every time there’s an emotional conflict. Before you know it, she’s off to the emergency room

Kids get breaks; they get to  go cry.

Why are we so reluctant to give ourselves a break? We spend much of our time trying to succeed or pleasing others that we get more tired.  Why do we feel so guilty when it comes to ourselves? How many times have you said you  would just love to crawl beneath the covers and go back to sleep? If everything is starting to look bad, you need to go into your “time out room.” Blaming others for our problems doesn’t help either, but we often do.

Build your own "time out"  house.

Build your own “time out” house.

What would your “Time Out Room” look like?

Your front porch listening to the birds.

A good book; or a bad book.

The second Yoga class for the day.

A walk around the block.

Your tree house?

Lisbeth has been helping businesses become successful  for the past twenty years. For information on how she can help you with your business, text her at 518-495-5380 or email her at

By |August 5th, 2015|Blog|0 Comments

Why do Businesses say Stupid Things to Their Customers?

no cookingOn my way to the gym I pass this restaurant; today the sign outside says “No Cook.” I’m assuming that means they’re not open. Why would you put that sign up? This is just a ridiculous thing to post for your customers. What’s the point? What kind of customer service can a restaurant deliver without a cook?

It brings up all kinds of thoughts for me.

  1. They don’t pay their help very much or why would the cook leave?
  2. There will be no food until they get a new cook; will the new cook be good? Should I even try it?
  3. When the new cook comes, will there be a sign that says, “New Cook?”
  4. They don’t sound very resourceful, why not just start cooking? There must be someone who works or owns the place that knows how.
  5. Why do we care about your cook? It’s your problem now it’s mine.

Why would you share any of your misfortune with your customers? Consumers don’t care about your problems only that you make them feel good.

Actually, I would have liked it better if the sign says, ‘cook quit or cook fired.’ At least, I can get a laugh about it. It reminds me of the nursery that had the sign, ‘closed during the winter,’ of course; we know that. Why not the sign that says, ‘can’t wait for spring?’

There was another sign on a restaurant door that said, ‘closed because of lack of customers.’ I guess that’s my fault; nasty implications with that sign.

Why not be positive with your customers? Why not close because you’re giving your business a face lift, or you’re having a face lift? My friend had a sign on her restaurant that said ‘owner taking a cruise; she needs it. Thanks for being my customers see you on July 1.’ Those of us, who know Carmella knows she works really hard and deserves a vacation.  We were all excited to welcome her back and ask about the cruise. She even came with gifts for her ‘regulars.’

Customers always want to know, ‘what’s in it for me?’  There’s nothing in it for me when the cook leaves. We all listen to the radio station, ‘what’s in it for me.’ WIIFM. If you do something that inconveniences the customer you can be sure they won’t be happy.

If you can’t make the customer happy, at least make them laugh, or  hold their hands to improve the customer experience.


Lisbeth Calandrino has been helping businesses build sales and customer service strategies for over twenty years. To have Lisbeth consult with you, reach her at


Does it Matter if Your Salespeople are Loveable?

What makes a salesperson lovable?

What makes a salesperson lovable?

You probably know how to buy the right products and what time of the  year customers are likely to buy. You probably even run ads to drive customers into your business and think you’re good at it. But what about your salespeople? Are they lovable?

If so, why are these things happening in your business?

Sales people are complaining about prices. “We could sell more if your prices were as low as our competitors.”

They don’t really push for the sales, or call customers back. “I don’t want to turn customers off.”

“I can’t reach that quota; we don’t have enough customers.”

“Why don’t you advertise more?”

Our competitors are stealing our customers. “How can they give stuff away?”

So who is leading your crew? The only people in command are your managers.  Managers need to know what problems their salespeople face and then train them to overcome these problems or hire someone. Why do so many take the easy way out and think that product knowledge is the answer to all of their company problems?

One thing l know hasn’t changed; customers still fall in love with people not products. Despite this fact, businesses spend little on making their sales force “loveable” and confident.

Seven  to make your salespeople more ‘loveable and confident.’

The better people feel about themselves, the better they will be at their jobs. If you don’t feel good about yourself, you won’t learn and will lack in confidence. Find out what’s really bothering your salespeople and come up with the answers.

Train in areas that are causing the most problems. Not sure about overcoming objections? Train it and get your best salespeople to share their secrets.

Help them love what they do. Provide an atmosphere of support and learning. If people feel like they’re achieving, it’s likely they will love what they do.

Teach them how to use their time wisely. Some activities will bring in customers, and some things are just a waste of time. Sending notes to customers has high values, playing Candy Crush probably doesn’t.

Set a good example, or play ‘follow the leader.’ Managers need to be focused, supportive and always thinking how they can help people feel  fulfilled. Being positive and achieving goes a long way.

Encourage creativity; everyone has their own brand of creativity. Find ways to make it happen in all of your staff. There are fun games that encourage people to think differently. Once you play the game, tie the results back to their jobs.

Discuss the price of success. Success is not something that just happens. It takes years of preparation and learning.  While you’re making this happen, other things need to be put aside. Everyone will have to decide what’s most important.

Malcolm Gladwell  talks about the 10,000 hours to become an overnight success.

Being happy with you is the first step in being  lovable.

Lisbeth has been helping businesses build “lovable” relationships with their staff and their customers for over 20 years. To have her speak at your business or  develop a training program for your managers and staff–reach her at Or call/text at 518-495-5380.

By |July 21st, 2015|Blog, Sales, Success|0 Comments

Why you Can’t get What you Want

Not getting what you want can be a blessing.

Not getting what you want can be a blessing.

We really are a society, of ‘I want what I want now.’ I spent most of my younger life wanting something. One year it was a new car or another car, and then it was more clothes and a different color hair. At one point, I had four cars in various states of restoration.

Yes, I wanted something but I never knew what it was. I was attracted to ‘bright shiny objects’ and wanted everything. It never stopped; I had to have every color lipstick and shoe.

At this point, I can own up to the facts—I was trying to be more desirable.  One day, I realized that I was being taken on a ‘proverbial ride.’ Not only that, but my credit card bills were mounting, and my bank accounts weren’t growing. I was adding to everyone’s success but my own! I was being seduced by marketing geniuses and my own need to cover up my insecurities.

I was looking outside myself for the answers to my life. It has taken me many years to realize that what’s important to me not anyone else. Why do I care what others’ think about me?

The point is I believe you can get what you want if you know what it is. As I listen to people talk about their next new car, when there’s a perfectly good one in the garage, I ponder whether they’re wondering why they need a new one. Think about the millions spent on advertising that tries to make us feel like a new soft drink will make us smarter and a new car will make us sexier. (One of my friends told me he felt sexy in his new car. This is a sad commentary on how he views himself.)

So what’s the solution?

Before you run out of money and need a second or third job, stop and think about what you’re trying to accomplish with your buying.  Take a good look in the mirror and do a self-inventory. Ask yourself, who am I looking at?

Stop being afraid of who you are. Eckhart Tolle tells his own story of depression and discontent in his first spiritual teaching, The Power of Now. He could no longer live with himself. And in his repetition, he then asked, “Who the ‘I’ is and who is ‘myself’?” These are powerful questions.

Bring your conversations to reality. How many times have you thought you would like to do change careers but are afraid of what your spouse might think? Maybe you’re worried that it doesn’t’ pay as well as the job you have now.

I’m starting to realize I’m passed the point of trying to please everyone in my life. Of course there are still those I love and want to please but I don’t think a new car will do it.

Lisbeth has been helping businesses for over 25 years get what they really want’—more customers. To schedule a call or have her speak at your business, reach her at

By |July 14th, 2015|Blog, Building a Brand, general, Motivation|0 Comments

Can You Get Your Children to Join the Family Business?

Jacqueline Tabbah Assistant Vice President at International Stoneworks, Inc.

Jacqueline Tabbah
Assistant Vice President at International Stoneworks, Inc.

It’s not unusual for parents to want their children to join them in the family business.  Some of these parents get their wish.  Others don’t. According to, only 30% of family businesses in America will be passing the reigns to the next generation, even though close to 70% would like to keep their business in the family.

In 2015, Kennesaw State University’s Cox Family Enterprise Center andEY’s Global Family Business Center of Excellence sheds light on one of the biggest keys to longstanding companies’ everlasting success: They are able to efficiently hand control of the company to the next generation, a task easier said than done. 

When Jacqueline Tabbah Turano graduated from college, her father asked her to work with him at International Stoneworks, Inc., the business he started 33 years ago.  Although she appreciated his offer and didn’t want to disappoint him, the family business wasn’t where she wished to work. She had a degree in public relations, and she wanted a job in her field.

This was in 2008, a really bad time in the job market.  Jackie had a hard time finding a job, so she signed on as an unpaid intern in a public relations firm.  Before long, she realized that she really didn’t like it.  It was too fast-paced.  Everyone seemed to be out for themselves.

While looking for a new job, Jackie accepted her father’s offer to fill in as a receptionist in his business.  Much to her surprise, she realized she really liked working there and decided to stay on.

During the two years, she worked as a receptionist; Jackie filed lots of papers and answered loads of phone calls. She also learned to do estimates and went on business trips to understand the different aspects of the family business.  Her father never pushed her to do any of this.  She understood the importance of knowing a little about everything related to the family business.

When she noticed that the company’s website was outdated and wasn’t connected to any social media, she not only updated it but took the initiative to link it to Facebook and LinkedIn.  Her on-line shopping cart has become a big hit with customers.

Jacqueline is currently an Assistant Vice President. When asked if she could see herself taking over the reins of the family business Jacqueline told me that she definitely isn’t ready now and won’t be for a really long time. She still has a lot to learn.  International Stoneworks, Inc. is her father’s life’s work. She wouldn’t want him to leave until he felt the time was right. At that time, she would be proud to take over what he has created.

Is Jacqueline treated differently than the other employees?  She told me that she does her best to be friendly with the other employees and not to walk around as the boss.

What happens when she makes a mistake?  It all depends on the financial magnitude of the mistake.  The last time something happened, she felt that her father was far less upset than she was.

“You will even make some mistakes twice,” he told her, “Stop kicking yourself.”


What advice does Jacqueline have for others when it comes to working in their family businesses?

“Don’t do it unless you have a genuine interest in the business,” she said, “Don’t breeze in and out.  This is part of your family.”

Guest Post by: BJ Rosenfeld, M.A., M.S   America’s Favorite Family Relationship Expert Specializing in Parents and Adult Children. 

Lisbeth Calandrino has been helping businesses build marketing and sales strategies for over 20 years. To schedule her to speak at your business, reach her at Lisbeth resides in Historic Hudson Park in Albany, New York.

By |June 28th, 2015|Blog, Family Business|0 Comments

Does Motivation Have Anything to do With Success?


Motivational Matrix, Dr. Jim Taylor

People talk about ‘getting motivated’ but how does that relate to their success?  I always thought that motivation was the key to success but now I’m not sure. I think the equation is much more complicated. Motivation is only a small part of being successful.  Have you ever said, “I feel really motivated to get some work done,” and then gone to take a nap?

Motivation or the desire to get things done is one of the first steps to success. The bottom line is it takes hard work to get it done. I’m not talking about the work that you do every day, i.e. going to your job,  putting gas in your car,   and cleaning the house, etc. I’m talking about what you do after that stuff is done. Success will come when you’re focusing on that special dream or goal. It could be losing weight or getting fit. They require your ability to ‘get it done’ no matter how you’re feeling.

Writing for Psychology Today, Dr. Jim Taylor defines motivation as “being able to work hard in the face of obstacles, boredom, fatigue, stress, and the desire to do other things.” Each person has a different motivation that drives them toward success. Dr. Taylor illustrates this with the motivation matrix, which breaks down motivation along two dimensions: external vs. internal and negative vs. positive. Each combination—internal-positive, external-positive, internal-negative and external-negative—can provide sufficient motivation to net you success.

The carrot or the stick?

The carrot or the stick?

Does your style of motivation work?

Will it give you the drive, planning skills and sacrifice you will need to stay the course?

Will it give you the ability to work when you’re sick?

What about turning off the Golf Channel?

Are you able to say no to a party invitation because your ‘work of success’ isn’t finished?

What will you say to your friends when the call you a ‘workaholic?’

Can you sacrifice that special brownie your girlfriend made so you can stay on your diet?

Does giving up one day mean giving up forever?

Confronting the obstacles before you get started is one way to help keep you on track. We’ve all fallen off the ‘success wagon’ but the smart ones get right back up.


Lisbeth has been teaching businesses how to improve their customer service and the customer experience for over 20 years. To schedule a consultation or have her speak at your business, reach her at If she’s not in her office, she can often be found mornings at the YMCA in East Greenbush, New York. 

By |June 22nd, 2015|Blog, Motivation, Success|0 Comments

Does Anger Bother You?

1012_cup4I worked with a woman who left half a brownie in the fridge for weeks and then went back expecting it to be there.  Once she saw it wasn’t there she went crazy. She keep saying, “I need a brownie fix, where is it?” (We were told to date our food and that if it was still there after two weeks, it would be trashed.) The other day I was looking for a piece of candy that I put into the freezer last year—yes last year! I would have killed for the candy.

While doing some training on anger for a business group, I told them about the cupcake. At first, they just looked at me but by the end of the session, they were   saying to each other, “I think you’re in dire need of a cupcake!” My hunch is that’s their new mantra. If nothing else they’ll l probably not hear anything the person says after they begin to think “cupcake.”

Anger is a complex emotion.  It is upsetting to many people who have been brought up not to express their anger or displeasure. Anger is considered a secondary emotion; in other words, it is covering up a primary emotion. This could be scared, humiliation, or fear to name a few. Anger is used to create distance between people. Anger can also be considered an act of violence; it can be painful and hurtful. So what should you do with an angry person or customer?

  1. It has nothing to do with you. It is a weapon being used against you. Its purpose is to scare and immobilize you. Remember you are never the cause of the anger; check out this article from Psychology Today.
  2. Take anger seriously. Take a deep breath and think, why are they in dire need of a cupcake, what happened to make them so fearful?
  3. Listen to the complaints or accusations and breathe. The worst thing you can do is tense up so much you can’t think.
  4. Consider, what is the underlying scare? Are they afraid they’re losing face, feeling stupid, scared or humiliated?
  5. If possible, side with them and state, “I understand why you would be angry about what happened; it would bother me too.” That doesn’t mean you’re giving in, you’re showing empathy.
  6. Give them enough room to let them run out of gas. Continue saying you understand. When they’ve finally calmed down, define the problem in logical terms.
  7. If it’s a black-and-white situation, hold your ground. If you have room to compromise, give it a shot.

Anger can be frightening. If you can let the person continue until they run out of steam, it will be easier to deal with them. If you need to, amuse yourself with the cupcake scenario.

Have problems with your business? Lisbeth will be happy to speak with you. Call her at 518-495-5380.

By |June 15th, 2015|Blog, dealing with angry customers|0 Comments