Friday, December 7, 2007

KR Connect: NZRU: two fantastic choices

KR Connect: NZRU: two fantastic choices

Let them prove it on the field

Those who know about New Zealand rugby will understand our current anguish.

Do we oust the current coach who failed us at the rugby World Cup, or do we let him use his experience and win the cup in 2011?

I had an idea where the coaches prove themselves on the field (sorry if it sounds like Survivor - All Black island). The idea is that the coaches take turns picking players from a pool. They then have a week to coach a winning team.

The coaches teams play it out (like the possibles vs the probables in the old days) and the winner gets the job.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Movember 2007


Even though I had lots of positive comments, encouraging me to keep the horseshoe mo, I decided it was time for it to go.

I was tempted to take up an offer to wax it off for $1,000, but wimped out.

I was proud to be part of the effort that raised over $1.5 million!

At the beginning of the month I set a goal and I exceeded this.

That’s the amazing thing about goals - when you know what you’re aiming for in any part of your life you are more likely to get it.

It’s not to late to sponsor my Mo.

Please go to http://www.movember.com/nz/donate, enter my registration number which is 87413 and your credit card details.

A big THANKS to everyone who has sponsored the Mo so far!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Memorable copywriting

I came across an extraordinary piece of written art that has been stuck in my mind since I saw it a few days ago.

It was in a blog entitled "I still wish I had written this" by Drew McLellan

If you have anything to do with advertising. marketing or the written word - I suggest you check it out.

Thanks Susan for the link.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The secret of longevity

My son received a birthday card from his 90+ year old Great Grandmother today which contained excellent advice.

The card read " The secret to a long life is ... to keep breathing".

She added " It's working for me so far".

It made us smile!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Today I joined Saatchi & Saatchi

I am an active member of a number of on-line communities:
  • Flickr
  • Blogger
  • 43 Things
  • Old Friends
  • Trade Me
  • E Bay

Yesterday I was invited to join Facebook, which I had heard of but hadn't investigated.

The networking aspect of Facebook attracted me & I have joined some groups, including Saatchi & Saatchi. Already I have found some interesting information that makes me feel part of this new community.

A challenge will be to manage my on-line time so I still have an off-line life!

Friday, November 16, 2007

The CEO on reception

Today I had the pleasure of meeting a CEO on reception.

This CEO stood for Customer Engagement Officer. This staff member was not just pleasant & courteous, but genuinely cared.

I know the quote that says once you can fake sincerity you've got it made, but this CEO really was sincere.

I think many people could learn from this CEO by engaging with their customer and making them feel really special.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Perception is reality

Today I realised that this should really be "Perspective is reality".

Different people have different perspectives of the same event.

Stephen Covey, author of The 7 habits of highly effective people, devoted a chapter to seeking first to understand before seeking to be understood.

In my view, to say the perception is reality is flawed (and can be dangerous). I suggest using the saying "Perspective is reality" to understand where others might be coming from.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

I blame the All Blacks


Things haven't been the same for me since the All Blacks lost to France and were sent home early from the rugby world cup.


Rather than accepting personal responsibility for what happened, maybe I should blame the All Blacks loss?


The reality is though, I went off the rails and got unbalanced and less organised. I'm not saying I was a complete disaster, but gradually various parts of my life began suffering.


Sometimes it seemed too hard to get back on track, because so many parts of my life felt out of balance, however by changing one small part of my life, the rest is starting to fall back in line again too.


I need to maintain balance and focus, not by blaming external factors (like the All Blacks), but by being personally accountable for my life.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

All Blacks lose their quarter final against France

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."

~ Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919)American statesman (26th US president: 1901-09) from "Man in the Arena" Speech given April 23, 1910

Monday, September 24, 2007

It doesn't have to cost much

At a cafe today I noticed a business card draw jar that offered a prize for a $50 voucher.

There must have been 200 business cards in the jar, which surprised me how cheaply people give away valuable information.

If you're looking for ideas to get leads, try a business card draw offering a prize.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Protecting a brand

I think Kevin Robert's (from Saatchi & Sattchi) Lovemarks site is a great idea that engages many people through brands.

Lovemarks is also a good lesson in protecting a brand. I see that Kevin's PR company also own www.hatemarks.com.

I wonder how many companies proactively protect their brands and intellectual property in this way, or do they wait for an issue to react to?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Passion & Pride House


You may not be aware that Saatchi & Saatchi have rebranded.

In recognition of the All Blacks at the Rugby World Cup, Saatchi & Saatchi in Wellington have created an amazing experience.

The building has been rebranded Passion & Pride House.

Check out my elevator ride to the 5th floor and back with the All Black team.
This is Lovemarks in action!


Sunday, September 16, 2007

Brand or "bland"?


New Zealand has 7,701 SMEs per 100,000 of people (this is about twice as many as Australia) according to Lezlie Mearns from Maxim at Wellington's premier business event - Thrive.

She also challenged business owners to develop more meaningful vision statements rather than rolling out the usual cliched versions.

Lezlie suggested many businesses should rename their brand and refer to it as their "bland".

Company names should be:
  1. Meaningful
  2. Memorable
  3. Future-proof
  4. Visual
The graph above was to help business owners try and discover where they want their customers to see them. Where do your customers see you?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The tangible beneits of effective communication


Reflecting on my season as a kids soccer coach, I believe one of the best things I did was to set up a blog so parents and relatives could see what was happening. It also helped them understand the game from my perspective.


Other teams had some off-field issues that probably could have been avoided with effective communication.


The other benefit of the blog is that we have a record of our season.


Thinking about how to communicate with other stakeholders in any environment can be a challenge. Having a communication strategy can help. I'm not suggesting a blog should be the only way to communicate. This soccer season, in addition to the blog, we communicated by text, phone, face to face and by e-mail.


When things are going well it is worth reflecting on what is working and to keep doing what works.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Getting "Buy-in"

Sometimes I hear people talk about getting "buy-in".

I believe "ownership" is much more powerful than "buy-in".

Ownership allows people the chance of creating something that they will own and ensure it succeeds.

Where possible give people the opportunity to "own" it.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

106%

I recall being asked if I could do 6% better each month than the month before.

This clever little sum means in a little over a year I would be doing twice what I was doing the previous year. Great journeys start with single steps.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

NZ made

Today I met a memorable character called Davey Hughes.

Just when a number of clothing companies are being lured to China because of lower labour costs, Davey is committing to staying in New Zealand.

His staff and customers are loyal too.

The clothing is top quality. It gets used by hunters, farmers, defence forces and search and rescue.

His business tips were:

1. It's never too late to talk things over.

2. Fire customers who aren't fun.

3. Tell staff they must have 2 possible solutions to every problem they bring to you.

4. Remember there's more to life than business.

5. Customers own the brand.

6. Forget 'passion', focus on 'love'.

7. Treasure your brand & use intellectual property protection.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Is "Good" only average?


98% of people say they are ‘good’ when asked ‘how are you?”.

In other words, people who say they are ‘good’ are really just average.

This week, have a week better that’s better than good.
Try using words like: ‘splendid’, ‘ideal’, ‘top-notch’, ‘pleasurable’, ‘unrivalled’, productive’, ‘brilliant’, ‘smashing’, ‘roaring’, the list is endless!

If you’re interested, my weekend was ‘world-class’.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

7 Years Key Reflections

The University of Auckland Business School established ICEHOUSE in 2001 to provide education for owner mangers. Recently they brought their 7 key reflections from the last 7 years alive in a workshop.
  1. Back to basics.
    Using Jim Collins' Good to Great, they challenged participants to identify:
    a. What they are deeply passionate about.
    b. What they can be the best in the world at.
    c. What drives their economic engine

    They also asked us where we had spent most of our time in the last month - using the urgent/ important matrix.
  2. Getting to the heart of the matter.
    We were asked to do a business exercise based around:
    a. Winning
    b. People
    c. Passion
    d. Purpose

    We were also told about the need to confront brutal facts.
  3. It's lonely out there.
    We discussed the importance of conversations to:
    a. Share stories with like-minded people.
    b. Discuss problems.
    c. Explore dreams.
    d. Build confidence.
  4. Serious play.
    We shared ideas of making work fun and ensuring the owner manager knew how important their attitude was in determining the culture of the workplace.
  5. Outside in thinking.
    We were taught about perspective & reframing, also learning from the edge & blue sky thinking (rather than focusing on the competition).
  6. Making it happen.
    Setting and achieving goals will move the business forward.
  7. Tension of growth.
    Balancing profits day versus future growth.
    Balancing the person and the business.

Overall, I found the workshop useful and thought-provoking. I thoroughly recommend taking time out of the business to spend working on the business.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

I recently joined a group on Flickr and its amazing how I'm now seeing new things.

For instance, this week there is a theme about nature being "framed". Guess what? I'm now seeing relevant shots. These shots have always been there of course, the only difference is they are now on my "radar", so I see them.

This same idea can be applied to other things we look for in life.
  • New customers.
  • New business opportunities.
  • New relationships.
If we know what we are looking for, we are more likely to find them.

It might be useful to write down what you are looking for in as much detail as you need, and who knows? You might find it!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Need more time in your day?

The most effective time saving tool I ever used was reducing meeting times to 20 minutes.

In my role as a manager and decision maker I was seeing a lot of people. I was busy - so busy I was being ineffective.

When I started having 20 minute meetings people would come to the meetings prepared, focused and usually had a recommendation for action.

If you want to start using your time more effectively, try cutting your meeting times to 20 minutes.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Perspective


Coaching my son's 11th grade soccer team has taught me more than I could ever teach them.

When I put my hand up to coach them I felt pressure for them to win games, until I was taught their main reason for player soccer was to have fun. Winning was important, just not the most important, not even in the top 5. So I made sure they had fun. We won some games too which was nice.

Last weekend the team were beaten 3 nil. It didn't seem important. In fact, coming off the field we didn't seem to care about the score. You see, one of the team lost his mother during the week. Somehow losing a game of soccer didn't seem that bad when you put it in perspective.

8 years ago my sister-in-law passed away after battling breast cancer at the far too young age of 29, leaving a husband and young son. Her ashes sit in a small casket on my china cabinet by my front door.

When I step outside each morning, no matter what the weather is doing, or if things go wrong during the day, when I put it in perspective, life is pretty good.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Paying for loyalty

Today I was told that I will need to pay $10 a year to retain my Whitcoulls loyalty card.

This seems like a really short-sighted decision, asking loyal customers to pay to be loyal!

Shouldn't Whitcoulls be paying me to be loyal to them?

I guess the penny-pinchers are trying to save some money - but at the cost of loyal customers ...

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Having an effective trade stand

I recently attended a Small Business expo, showcasing the services and products available to small business owners.

I was very interested in the diverse range of stands offering their wares. Some stands stood out from others and it was interesting reflecting on why. For exhibitors that do it well, they can expect a journey PAVED with gold!

People
Some stands had excellent people who were able to engage easily with visitors. They usually started with a relevant open-ended question that was easy to answer like: "What business are you in?".

Attraction
Those stands that were popular had a draw card. These could be giveaways, prize draws or information packs. I believe a stand must be able to grab a visitors attention within 3 seconds. Sometimes this can be achieved by having an original or popular theme.

View
Successful stands gave visitors a view of what they offered and why you would deal with them. They made it easy to get information in a clear and logical space without any clutter.

Evaluate
Outstanding exhibitors were able to evaluate the needs and/ or wants of the visitor and recommend an acceptable solution.

Deal
Finally, the exhibitor does the deal. For some this will be getting your contact details to follow up after the show. For others it will be a commitment to an agreed action. Some will actually sell their product or service.

It's important that exhibitors and visitors think about the outcomes they are looking for before attending a show.

Exhibitors should develop a success plan that includes measure that will enable them to judge the success of their investment at the show.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

#8 Wire

New Zealand's early pioneers used number 8 fencing wire for their paddocks and also used it for a variety of other uses like gate latches, hooks, fixing cars and a variety of other uses.

New Zealanders today also embrace the number 8 wire mentality by being innovative and inventive. Coming up with new ideas using the tools at hand.

I love to embrace this mentality and making use and making do with what we have.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Love over gold

It's interesting how songs have new meanings at different times.

I really love this Dire Straits album, but never really got into the song of the same name, until I actually thought about which I would choose ... Love ... or ... Gold ... ?

Like Mark Knopfler, I would choose Love over Gold.

I don't hear of too many people who found love through their pursuit of wealth, although I do know people who have found wealth in their pursuit of love.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Smart or dumb?

Some time ago I worked out there are 2 types of people that I know.

The dumbest people I know think they know everything.

The smartest people I know realise how little they know.

Which are you?

As John Wooden, a basketball coach said:


"It's what you learn after you know it all that counts"

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Return on investment

Working in the financial services industry, it's easy to calculate a return on investment.

Sometimes it's harder to measure the return on investment in other areas of my life.

Having spent a small fortune on our kitten, his "love" does seem stronger and somehow more rewarding. Although I'll never see a monetary return on my "investment" in his care, already the return on the "investment" feels extremely profitable.

The experience also taught me to appreciate what I have, rather than waiting until it is lost.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Who needs insurance?


When the vet told me that I was looking at a bill between $600 and $1,200 for our $65 kitten I had to consider my options.

Smudge had survived a dog attack with a punctured lung, punctured diaphragm and broken ribs. Being a confident little guy, he probably didn't appreciate the danger he was in.

Even though we hadn't owned him for long he was a lovable member of the family and the thought of putting him down wasn't pleasant - I'd probably have to spend thousands paying for my family to have grief therapy, and then when that didn't work, it would be thousands more at the drug & alcohol rehabilitation centres (just kidding)!

So we got him fixed up.

With hindsight, I wondered whether we should have considered pet insurance. I'm in the insurance business, so you would think it would be top of mind - but it wasn't. Insurance is rarely bought - it's normally 'sold'.

The pet shop that sold me the kitten didn't mention insurance & the vet hadn't previously mentioned insurance when Smudge had vaccinations or got neutered.

With the advances in veterinary care, animals have a greater chance of survival - often at great cost though, so insurance for pets should at least be recommended.

I know I should've bought it - but hindsight is a wonderful thing!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Goal + Plan = Success

According to Brian Tracy we need to be goal (not wish) orientated.
The plan to achieve your goals is:
  1. Decide exactly what you want.
  2. Write it down & make it measurable.
  3. Set a dead-line.
  4. Make a list of everything you could do to achieve goals.
  5. Organise the list.
  6. Take action on your goal ASAP.
  7. Do something everyday on your major goal.

Monday, July 2, 2007

3 activities for sales people


Brian Tracy told the audience that sales professionals should be doing 3 things at all times:
  1. Prospecting
  2. Presenting
  3. Closing

He said that we must be very good at these 3 activities to be successful.

He called the above diagram the "Iron Triangle of Selling"


Sunday, July 1, 2007

Goal setting


Brian Tracy had some excellent thoughts on goal setting, including the importance of clarity.
A goal must be able to be measured & it must have some action.
Brian suggested that a child should be able to tell whether a goal has been achieved.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Winner or loser?


According to Brian Tracy, winners are action orientated and losers are excuse orientated.

Winners use phrases like: "I will achieve ..."

Losers use phrases like : "I will try ..."

Winners set goals, write them down and keep the goals in a prominent place.

Brian asked us to do a simple exercise. For me, it was a life-changing one. Write down at least 10 goals in 3 minutes. GO!

After the 3 minutes, choose the most important goal, circle it then do something in the next 24 hours to get you closer to achieving it.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Double your income

If you have time, you will double your income.

It's up to you whether it takes 25 years or 2 years.

According to Brian Tracy it is knowledge and skills that will take you on the expressway to success, rather than relying on experience & luck which will keep you on the back roads of mediocrity.

The secret is to get off the back roads and on to the expressway!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

An amazing morning with Brian Tracy



I attended a half day sales seminar with Brian Tracy today and came away with new skills and a new outlook.



I enjoyed some of his "Tracyisms":
  • "Get yourself voted off "Someday Island""
  • "They need a check-up from the neck up"
  • "You can only coast down-hill"
  • "Some people have too much month at the end of the money"
  • "A JOB means Just Over Broke"
  • "Politics comes from the Greek word "poly" meaning "many" and a tick is a blood sucking parasite"
  • ""I'll try" is an excuse for failure"
  • "The 3:30 rush hour is all the sales people heading home"
I'll share some more gems over the next few days.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Help! I'm lost

I recently drove my car through an unfamiliar city and got lost.

It reminded me how customers might feel dealing with a company or trying to navigate a website.

I got lost when my intuition let me down and the signposts didn't help. I finally resorted to a map, but it wasn't detailed enough. So I jumped on my cellphone and got directions.

The experience made me reflect on what I can do to make it easier for clients, by being more intuitive and having better navigation tools. Apparently the name for this is usability - helping clients use things more easily.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Smart marketing

Last year I entered a 5km run and today a colleague reminded me about a new gym that launched its brand at the event.

Why did my colleague remember it?

Because the gym printed some smart black tees with its brand on it & gave them to athletic, attractive people.

Like many brands, using people we want to be like (actors and models) enhances a brand's appeal. In the case of this gym, it didn't need to spend a lot to get noticed.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Do 1 thing really well

I was watching the TV programme "Top Chef" and the judges made the comment that some chefs tried to do too much and they would be much better to do 1 dish really well.

This is a lesson that we can also use in business.

I know I'm (sometimes) guilty of trying to do too much, or give too much information.

Over the last few days I've become a keen crusader of less to provide more. Less range of topics, but more detail on one topic.

The feedback has been very positive as I present myself as an expert in 1 topic.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Stories create brands

I know I'm more passionate about a brand when I understand the story around the brand.

For instance, I was intrigued to see a vehicle branded "The Immigrants Son", and then read about the story on a recent flight to Auckland. It would be hard not to fall in love with the story, and therefore the brand.

If you are in business, do your customers and prospects know the story around your brand?




Saturday, June 23, 2007

Donating money to charity

I received a phone call from a person who works for a large charity and wanted some help with their tele-marketing script.

Personally, I have trouble with giving money to a charity where a significant portion is used to pay the collector.

For instance, If I donate $20 based on a phone call, and the telemarketer is paid $17 per hour, and only makes 1 sale an hour, then the charity isn't getting much out of it. By the time other overheads are taken into account, the charity is making even less.

I would've thought that there would be enough goodwill to do some smarter marketing, especially through corporate sponsors.

Imagine a corporate that offers some of their telemarketing capability to get donations for a charity, & then donates all of that money to the charity.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Money for ideas

Wellington City is offering good money for good ideas that can make a fortune.

Wellington has benefited from some great business ideas including Weta workshops and TradeMe.

Like any good idea, it not only takes a vision, but the guts to turn the vision into a reality. I'm sure the prize money will go some way to making it happen.

Do you know any worthy Wellingtonians with great business ideas?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The irony of expectation

Yesterday I had lunch for the first time at a local bar that had been voted #5 in the top 20 bars in the world - The Matterhorn in Wellington, New Zealand.

My expectations were HUGE. A bar of this quality must be outstanding.

Interestingly the bar was down a very ordinary corridor and behind a very ordinary door with very ordinary signage.

As I walked in, my expectations had been dampened... until the waitress welcomed me as if I was the most important person in her day (which was a great feat considering there was a film star in the restaurant), invited me to a suitable table, enticed me with recommendations and delighted me with ordinary culinary delights that had extraordinary taste.

The secret to their success (I believe) is their ability to manage expectations, then blow them out of the water.

Will I go back? - For sure!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Michael Campbell e-mailed me!


What a great way to maximise sponsorship! Get the celebrity to e-mail the subscribers.

I'm not so naive to believe that Michael actually e-mailed me personally, or that he solely wrote the e-mail, but it really feels good to see an e-mail from someone famous in my in-box.

It's such a simple way to maximise sponsorship spend effectively and create engagement with your customers and fans!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Compelling tradeshow exhibits



After recently attending the biggest agricultural show in the Southern Hemisphere (Field Days at Mystery Creek in Hamilton), it was interesting to reflect on the compelling exhibits that grabbed my attention.



There were certainly thousands of people trying to get my attention. From modified cars to free coffee, dancers with hammers and freebies to seminars and discounts, it was hard to choose what to spend my time (and money) on.

The successful sites had done their homework and followed the 3 steps to success.

Step 1: Who were they trying to attract? What were their potential customers interested in? What would make them stop and look? Are there related products the exhibitor should set up near to? What pictures or props could draw in the customers with the right demographics?

Step 2: What issues or problems did their potential customers want solved? This is where an effective (open-ended) question can provide the exhibitor with a gold-mine of information. Interestingly, most questions or comments were lame or unrelated (like; "Are you enjoying the show?", or "Nice weather."). They could've asked "What's interested you most today?" or "How did you hear about (our product)?".

Step 3: How would their product solve those problems? Use testimonials, guarantees and special exhibit-only offers to complete the deal.

Most of the work in being successful at tradeshows is doing your homework & preparing effectively.

Remember to give yourself a budget - some of the most creative thinking occurs on a limited budget!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Have you got enough votes for re-election?

Imagine if you had to apply for re-election in your job. Would you get re-elected?

Have you achieved enough?

Have you consistently performed at your peak?

At your next performance review, present a compelling list of achievements to ensure you are re-elected (or at least get a pay-rise).

Friday, June 15, 2007

Turning your customers into experts


Are you expecting your customers to make good decisions?

If so, they need good information.

On a recent trip to Field Days at Mystery Creek (Hamilton, New Zealand) I saw some excellent examples of suppliers providing in-depth, interesting information about their products and services.

There were seminars, newsletters, e-mail subscriptions and personal attention by experts.

An additional advantage of turning customers into experts, is that they become advocates for your product and can tell others about your points of difference.

How can you turn your customers into experts?

Monday, June 11, 2007

Is passion enough?

I listened intently as the interviewer explained to the 75 candidates what it would take to be granted one of the 11 places at a special farm training school.

The word that stood out was PASSION.

He wasn't looking for the emotion. He was looking for examples of how the candidate had demonstrated their passion.

What had they done? How had they differentiated themselves? What had they learnt?

How do you demonstrate your passion? For your job? For your loved ones?

Think carefully about your actions, will others say: "WOW! They're passionate".


Sunday, June 10, 2007

Don't let facts get in the way of a good story

I recently found out that a well-quoted study into goal setting was never done.

I've heard Zig Ziglar & Tony Robbins inspire people with the knowledge that people who set goals will be many times more successful than people who don't.

If you want the full low-down <click here>.

If you want to quote facts it is always best to check with credible sources to ensure your story is believed and your message heard.

Friday, June 8, 2007

In Pursuit of Happyness

Having watched this movie again I am reminded about the excellent lessons it contains:

  • Failure can often lead to satisfying success.
  • Have a success plan and execute it.
  • Success isn't always about the money.
  • Beware of the hype around fads.
Understand what happiness means for you and then pursue it!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Congratulations Team New Zealand!


What can we learn from Team New Zealand winning the Louis Vuitton Cup?

I remember the team motto from the last series - "Will it make the boat go faster?"

Each team member's focus was on making the boat go faster, but as we learnt from the last series speed can sometimes come at a cost.

This race series proved that the team had achieved a balance between making the boat go faster & getting it across the finish line first (in one piece).

By understanding and focusing on the important things in our business we can be so much more successful.

What do you do every minute of every day that will make your boat go faster (in one piece)?

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Loyalty works both ways - mate


Thanks for your personalised letter with your special offer Dymocks.

I already received one in the post 2 days ago!

If you want me to join your loyalty programme, why don't you give me special treatment?

You competitor, Whitcoulls, sent me an e-mail telling me of a special offer that starts in 2 days. As a loyal customer, they have told me I can take advantage of the special offer a day before the general public.

Now that makes me feel special!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Friends and family

Are you maximising your existing relationships?

My daughter started a new job and her employer extended a special family offer to us.

This was a really easy way for them to grow a new business relationship with very little effort.

My daughter felt great about promoting the offer to us which we felt really good about too.

Can your staff (or existing clients) be ambassadors to help grow your business to their friends & family?

Monday, June 4, 2007

I don't know how to write a great story


Great story tellers don't have to be great writers.

In a recent
blog, Kevin Roberts uses George Lucas as an example of a great story teller and he is absolutely correct. In this example Lucas was also the creator of the story.

But you will know people who tell great stories they haven't written.

An example is New Zealander Peter Jackson. He brought Tolkien's Lord of the Rings alive on the big screen and retold a great story.

You can also read Jim Collins' book, Good to Great. He took the fable of the Fox & the Hedgehog and repackaged it into a top-seller.

Find (or create) your story (or the story of your product or service), then get great at telling it.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Use the Force


I was reading Kevin Roberts post about the lessons from Star Wars at the same time I'm currently reading Malcolm Gladwell's book "Blink".

The Star Wars lesson about using the Force seems similar to Gladwell's message about trusting first impressions, or "instincts".

Being a bit of a Star Wars geek (I was 11 went it came out) I like the idea of trusting the Force to make decisions.

If you haven't checked out Chad Vader , beware about straying to the Dark Side though!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Could your client embarrass you?

This week one of my colleagues was embarrassed when a client knew more about a new product development than he knew.

Clients expect us to be the expert in our field of expertise.

There are 3 important points to note:
1. Do you commit enough time to stay on top of the developments in your industry? If your client gets asked by a friend, would they feel comfortable referring their friend to you as the expert?

2. Are you focused enough? Sometimes if we try to be experts in too many things, we end up only being average in all. Remember the saying "Jack of all trades, master of none"?

3. Do you wait for your client to ask you about new products, or do you proactively tell your clients about the latest & greatest? If you don't, somebody else will!

It's a great time to reflect on what you do to become the expert, stay the expert and keep your clients up to date by sharing your expertise.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Don't kill your customers



A very tragic situation of a mother who died when her power was cut off is making front page news in New Zealand.



Mercury Energy, the power company involved, is being hauled over the coals. A PR nightmare.



Obviously the family should have paid their power bill, but companies need to ensure their customers are looked after.



Its a wake-up call for businesses to ask themselves - "What if I was on the front page of the newspaper?".

Are there processes you need to review to ensure your customers are being looked after and feel looked after?

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Selling value or selling cheap?

In most cases customers don't want to buy the cheapest - they want to buy the best value.

"Remember always that the recollection of quality remains long after the price is forgotten."
H. Gordon Selfridge

Every client will probably have a different determination of value and to discover that we need to ask good questions.

For sales people that sell the cheapest, I have some bad news. Your client will find it cheaper somewhere else.

The good news is that if your customers buy based on the value you offer, you are likely to keep your customers for as long as you keep delivering value.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Help!

An odd thing happens when we ask for help - we tend to get it.

By being aware of what we need and then asking for help, people will often go out of their way to give us the help we need.

Tap into the power of your network & their networks to get the help you require.

Examples could be:
- help getting new customers.
- help to find a solution to a problem.
- help from staff.

Get help!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Compliments guaranteed!



Following Saturday's post about guarantees I saw this poster guaranteeing compliments.

It states that if you don't receive a compliment or if you're not happy with your new glasses you get your money back.

Now that's a solid guarantee.

It's hard to see any risk to buying glasses here.

Do your customers feel the same way about their purchase from you?


Monday, May 28, 2007

A great All Black - Richie McCaw


I was told that Richie does 2 things during a rugby game:

  1. 1. Get the ball

  2. 2. Get the ball further up the field
It's this simple focus that enables him to win games by doing the simple stuff really well.

We often get told to "eat the elephant one bite at a time", but we sometimes try & do too much at once.

How can you focus on the 1 or 2 important things that will enable you to "win your game"?

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Attention seeker

Today I saw a flag advertising Mercury outboard motors.

Now this isn't the sort of item I would go looking for, so why did it grab my attention?

It was flying upside down!

It's funny how a mistake can turn into an attention grabber.

Is there something you could do that's a little different to grab your customers attention?

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Can you guarantee it?

When you provide a guarantee to your clients, spell it out so that they can fully understand what it is you do and how you do it, providing them with piece of mind.

It also provides a useful sales track they can use when they refer you to their friends and family.

Examples could be:
  • Our 5 star service guarantee is ...
  • We guarantee your complete satisfaction ...
  • We guarantee you will be happier ...
  • Our guarantee will give you piece of mind.
  • Honesty guaranteed.
You may want to offer a money back guarantee, or a total satisfaction guarantee.

If someone claims under your guarantee, make sure you live up to your part of the bargain.

If you do a good job, I guarantee they will tell people about it and you'll get more business!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Got a theme?

It can be difficult to maintain momentum in sales, so try adding some interest by developing daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly themes for your customers or prospects.

The theme could be:
  • a product line
  • a particular type of transaction
  • focus on a new customer demographic
  • fixing a common customer complaint
  • achieving a short term target
The list is only limited by your imagination.

Themes create energy and focus, enabling you to be much more effective in a particular area.

What's your current theme?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Are you smart enough?


Do you know where your customers come from?


The Internet is truly a global community, however I sometimes get irrelevant offers.


If you are going to target offers to certain customers, get the information so you only target those customers.


I got all excited last night when I was contacted by my favourite golf ball manufacturer with a chance to win some new balls. I read the information, clicked to enter only to find out I wasn't located in the right part of the globe.


The feeling of hope & excitement was replaced with disappointment and disillusionment. I'm sure you wouldn't want your customers to feel this way - so make sure you respect your customers and target your offers appropriately.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

You just killed the relationship!


It was a brief relationship. 5 minutes at the most.

We met each other, exchanged names, conversed pleasantly and did some business - then you killed the moment.

After telling you my name was Tony - you called me Anthony.
You might as well call me 7568920 (or whatever my Sky account number is), because you've now told me I'm just a number on your computer screen to you by not using the name I like.

If you care about your customer then display it with your actions and call them by their name!
You could even go a step further & record it for future use.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

What motivates you?


Is it money?

Is it status?

Is it time with the family?

Knowing what motivates me changed the way I approach new things. For me, I'm motivated by knowing the Big Picture. Sell me on the Big Picture & I'm off. Miss this step & I won't be on board.

Now I go looking for the Big Picture. My boss knows this about me & uses the information to get me on board.

If you don't know what motivates you find out. There are tests (some on-line) that will guide you. It's best not to assume that you know what motivates you either as this may distract you from your true motivators.

Now go & get motivated!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Reflection


One of the most useful skills I learnt from completing my recent post-graduate diploma, was the skill of reflection.

What worked?

Why?

What could be better?

What could be different?

How would I do it better next time?

I now use reflection to improve my work & personal life.
It's using the benefit of hindsight to improve the ability of foresight.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Part 2 - Managing referrals


So you want to manage your referrals but not sure where to start?

The first most important stage is gathering and storing your customers information. Keep it as brief as you can, but make sure you get their name, contact details and what they bought (and when). This enables you to manage the loyalty programme, help with their guarantee and contact them about other products or services they might also be interested in.


Make sure you comply with Privacy Act legislation.

But don't just expect to get the information for nothing - give them something in return.

For instance you could say "We offer customers who join the free loyalty programme an additional guarantee of ....".

You could then add: "If you are happy with your purchase/ my service, all I ask is that you tell your friends and family. If they buy from me, they will receive ... and I will send you ... to say thanks. Just tell them to mention your name ."

Look after your loyal customers and they will look after you.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Accidental referral


It is surprising how many businesses don't manage referrals and yet entire companies are created through referral networks.

Recently a friend spoke positively about his new dehumidifier and how well it worked.

When I woke up the next morning to wet windowsills I remembered what he had said and figured I needed to get one. Sure enough, I got the same make that he got (just from a different store).

Wouldn't it have been easy for the business that sold it to him to put a referral programme in place? That way they could've got my business and rewarded my friends loyalty, encouraging him to share his positive experience with others that he knows.

It is amazingly cost effective to manage client loyalty, and the benefits of having raving fans sending new customers your way is extremely profitable.

Are you transacting with your customers or building a loyal fan base?

Friday, May 18, 2007

Winning big time!


I heard a presentation by Craig Lewis who helped the New Zealand Rugby League team achieve a huge sporting upset victory over Australia in 2005.

He asserted that the victory was not due to having the best players (technical execution) or the best coaching (tactical appreciation). It was using the Kaizen philosophy of continuous improvement to develop a winning campaign.

The team believed they were the most passionate, developing the dream, vision and values that would help them achieve their goal.

They centered their campaign around this passion - calling it the WOW factor!

They developed themes and images that supported the philosophy.

The team won't win every game, but reflecting and learning help them to continuously improve.

How can you use these principles to help you achieve your dreams?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Lean & mean


I used to work for a company that wanted to get "lean & mean".

Unfortunately for its staff and customers it went from "lean & mean" to anorexic.

Often its easy for managers to increase the bottom line by decreasing expenses without understanding the consequences of their action.

Yes, watch expenses but don't starve your organisation of future success to save a few dollars today.