Monthly Archives: April 2010

The Sky is Falling!

We had a thunderstorm blow through here one evening and the local news channels interrupted all programs to tell us Armageddon was upon us. The ubiquitous scrolls continued all evening with nothing newsy or important. Doppler radar was filling the screen with multiple colors with news terrorists flailing about in front of the blue screen. Yes a tornado touched down in a spot (they think) and blew around some tin and knocked over a couple of trees. It was March – it happens every year.

All the major networks had dueling meteorologists competing for viewership each trying to raise the volume and hyperbole to the point of frenzy. Somewhere Jim Cantore was smiling.

Television news departments were once the bastion of information, the town crier, the people you trusted completely (Walter Cronkite take a bow) and now they’ve dissolved to the point of the boy who cried wolf.
We have gone from inviting news broadcasters into our living rooms to having them throw themselves at us during our program viewing. These are acts of desperate people in an industry that is going away. Going away?

Yes going away. Network television with set viewer schedules, local news broadcasts at 6 and 11, and blackout ball games are going away. The internet provides people with unlimited options whenever they want to view them, sports leagues and college conferences are getting their own channels, and quality stories no longer have to reach the masses.

Customers now want the controls

How do you need to be reaching your customers differently?

Where do you find yourself shouting to be heard above the noise of the competition? It’s time to find a better way. The louder the noise, the more customers distrust the information they are hearing and then get angry. Remember the frustration over phone solicitation to the point we now have a no call list? Do you have any idea how many angry calls the stations got for interrupting programming and live sports events? People will find options to avoid the interruptions.

Consider how you need to be doing things differently in:

Getting your customer to want to hear your message
Letting the customer take the controls
Avoiding the old school methods of interruption “programming”

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Being in Sales is Like Being a Pinata

Being in sales is like being a pinata — people beat you with sticks and you still have to give them the candy! Learn how to hand the customer the stick, so then you can give them the candy. Buyer believability is critical to being able to sell. To grow your business understand the perspective of being a willing pinata.

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6 Ways to Explore and Experiment

Recently I’ve been told a Guinness over a couple of scoops of ice cream is delicious. I’ve been told sky diving is very liberating. I’ve also been advised doing housework won’t kill me.

As leaders we need to be constantly exploring and experimenting with new ideas. Some of these ideas should be explored on a personal level and some of them on a professional level. It’s easy to fall into ruts, especially at work and these days to stand out and be up to speed on the norms of your industry you have to be trying new things.

Explore and experiment with the following:

Your operating hours: Most of them are for the convenience of the owner or the employees, not the customer.

Marketing: How much have you tried with experimental marketing online? My new experiment with online video ( is showing great promise.

Your dress code: How can you be the top of the heap when your employees dress from the bottom of the barrel?

Your promotions: What would it take to get customers lined out the door? Remember those days?

What new technology can you explore and reward? Who is your foursquare mayor? (I have businesses sending me thank you comments via twitter for checking in to their places.)

New combinations: For example, people love to mix fountain drinks. Why not offer suggestions with funky names? The Reduced Rooty – Diet Coke with a splash of Root Beer (my personal mix of choice)

Contacting your B2B customer: Call up your B2B customer and ask them to pick a number between 1 and 10. Whatever number they pick tell them they win and send them a gift or a reduced rate on their next order, etc.

We’ve lost the fun in business. Put it back with your experimentation. Not everything is going to work, but people will enjoy the excitement along the way!

In case you were wondering – I’ve been told I am over the weight limit for a tandem sky-diving jump. I’ll take their word for it. The Guinness milkshake is on the agenda for this coming weekend, and vacuuming, dusting, cleaning glass and folding laundry DIDN’T kill me – who knew!

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