cover image WHAT CLIENTS LOVE: A Field Guide to Growing Your Business

WHAT CLIENTS LOVE: A Field Guide to Growing Your Business

Harry Beckwith, Author . Warner Business $21.95 (304p) ISBN 97

The author of Selling the Invisible tries to top that book's bestselling success with this breezy collection of one- to two-page friendly lecturettes on how to keep your business profitable. He might just do so, as it's difficult to imagine a book better suited in format to harried executives: they could gulp down the entire volume over the course of a single flight. Beckwith has somehow also managed to take a format where so many authors have tried and failed, and written a useful, direct and even at times inspiring book. In this age of information overload, Beckwith pulls some valuable lessons out of the bygone days of the 1970s, when, he says, consumers had infinitely fewer products and services to choose from, but seemed generally happier. Other valuable lessons for today's hard-charging businessperson include: "Hard sales lose business," "No superlatives" and, in order to understand how to run a successful business, "Study Starbucks." Beckwith is even able to take a simple thing like a name—e.g., Kinko's—and show how that chain was able, through its name (although the ubiquity of its open all-day-and-night locations didn't hurt), to crush the competition, whose names all sounded alike (e.g., InstyPrint, SpeedyPrint, etc.). Pocket-sized and packed with nuggets of wisdom, this is a rare winner in a glutted field. (Jan. 2)

Forecast:There are planned ads in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Money and Fortune; Web marketing; a TV satellite tour; blurbs from business sage Seth Godin; and the success of Beckwith's last book. It all adds up to what book publishers love: a hit.