A silly Disney movie, Enchanted, has this great song in it filmed in Central Park. It will make you smile. Take a moment and watch it: https://youtu.be/xRYU4cqUAUs
The premise of the song is this – how will the girl know that you are falling for her? You’ve got to tell her!
In other words, make her AWARE!
The same holds true in business. I continually talk with business leaders in both profit and not-for-profit worlds about how they grow and attract new business. Here are some of the answers I’ve received:
Decades ago, I was directing a music group that traveled throughout Asia. On this particular tour, we were in the Philippines. We sailed to a small island, Bohol, on a 45 foot boat (there were 42 in my group plus 3 crew). When we stepped onto the incredible long pier on the island, we immediately noticed a sign – Coca Cola. Here we were in the middle of nowhere, and Coke was advertising. In fact, through out this tour, we encountered Coca Cola advertisements in Indonesia, Singapore, South Korea, and the Philippines. Of course, in our own home countries we see Coke ads on TV, hear them on the radio, have them pushed to us on social media. But why? Surely the world know about Coke. Why are they investing in multi-millions of dollars to tell us there is something called Coke and we need to buy it?
Why? To build awareness. To keep their product top-of-mind.
Let me challenge you to take a good hard look at how you make your customers, potential customers, future markets aware of the value you bring to them. Don’t assume anything. But don’t just push your product or service. We’ve had enough of that.
Tell your compelling story. How is your product/service making a difference? What kind of raving fans are you creating? Let them tell your story. Make heroes out of your customers to win future customers.
Know how your market learns and becomes aware, and then be sure to step into that. Be obvious. Be positive. Be proactive and intentional. Be creative. Use channels that are unfamiliar to you: social media, podcasts, video stories, etc.
How will they know? Tell them!
I am currently reading Ryan Holiday’s book Courage is Calling. I highly recommend it! It is packed with so many historical examples of how others have faced fear and even death. Yet, they pushed on, pushed through. They conquered being scared and chose not to allow fear to control them or their decisions.
We have all had to face fears in the past year or so. Disease. Business closures. Loss of work. Relationship strain. What we all need is a healthy dose of courage.
This book will speak to your soul. It will stir your heart. It can strengthen your resolve.
Here in the US, we are celebrating Halloween today. Our children will be out and about this evening trick-or-treating and filling their bags will all kinds of sweets. It is rarely scary and always a lot of fun.
So allow me some latitude to ask: do you know what is frightening you in the workplace today? Let me offer up some scary realities that left unattended can bring on unproductive teams and can often lead to chaos. Leaders, be ware!
I listed just a few here. So what is the remedy?
Address what is frightening you and your team/organization. Take the lead to recalibrate if necessary. Keep things real. Keep accountability at the forefront.
Address what scares you. You’ve got this.
As a speaker, I work to understand and know my audience. What are their commonalities? What are there needs? What don’t they need/want to hear? If I am going to connect with an audience, it is important for me to focus my talk on the audience I’m working to engage with.
In terms of marketing, sales, and/or service, are you creating content and promotions that make sense to you (primarily) or on your customers and potential customers? When selling your product/service, are you focusing on what you have vs what they need? Are you answering the questions they are asking? When providing a service, do you and your teams assume your service is what the customer wants?
Yesterday, I stopped by the deli counter at my local Kroger grocery store. I wanted to pick up some Boar’s Head deli meat. I asked for a pound of Bourbon Smoked Ham (you’ve got to get this!). The lady behind the counter flatly said, “You don’t want that. If you don’t like bourbon, you’ll not like this. I don’t like bourbon. I don’t like this ham.” I replied, “You sold me. I’ll only take a half pound of it.”
“Anything else?” she asked after she reluctantly bagged the ham she just sliced. “I’ll take a pound of the teriyaki chicken breast.” “Oh, you don’t want that. It’s too salty.” I bought it anyway.
I walked away chuckling. While the lady did what I asked and executed her slicing duties with skill, her “sales” skills were horrible. I could have simply walked away and purchased nothing. But I’m a fan of Boar’s Head products, and I was not about to leave without it. I, the customer, had to overcome the “sales” person’s incompetence to get the product I wanted.
My point here is this: listen to your customers. Whether you are communicating with them face-to-face, phone-to-phone, Zoom-to-Zoom, email, etc., listen. And then present your services in a way that makes sense to your customer. Speak their language. Answer their questions (even the unasked ones). Provide feedback to learn more about them. If they reach out or want more, follow up and follow through.
Speak the language of your customers and potential customers. Be clear. If your message about your company, products, services doesn’t resonate with your customers and potential customers, you’ll end up spinning your wheels or simply be ignored. The best marketing, sales, and service efforts keep the end in mind – the needs and desires of your customers. If you do this, your company will be viewed as relevant and you will add value and create loyalty.
Sell the bourbon smoke ham and then cross-sell me the mesquite smoked turkey. Don’t tell me I won’t like it. I already do. Speak my language and make the sale. I’ll come back!
We’ve all seen this in sports. The team that everyone thought would be a “sure thing” and would come out on top is beaten by what seems to be a less talented team. The big tournament comes around and the first seed is shockingly out of the game early on and can’t recover.
The talent appears to be lop-sided towards the assumed winner. Their record shows this. Their fans “just know” that they will win. The coaches have prepared their teams and plays are in place. Yet the team that everyone thought was already beaten before the game begins ends up as victors.
How can this be?
If you follow sports at all, you’ll understand that so much of the game is won or lost by that 5″ space between the ears. Winning teams put in the practice and discipline. They execute their plays with precision.
But, somehow something creeps into their thinking…
“We’re good enough…”
“That other team doesn’t have a chance…”
“We’re the shoe-in…”
And then the other team – that no one sees any hope of winning – comes out hungry. They out hustle the assumed champions. They see small mistakes that are being made and they take full advantage. And then the crowd starts to notice. “How can the score be this close!?” And then the crowd sees their champions falter. They witness the battle that is going on in the players’ minds. The underdogs are pulling away. The underdogs are winning. The underdogs are cutting down the nets as victors.
Here’s our reminder for today: As leaders, don’t assume the victory. Work for it. Keep the fires of passion burning in your team. Remind them of their mission. Cast your vision. Keep your team forging ahead. Execution of the mission is critical. Don’t assume anything. Work towards that win, every day, with every encounter, in every action, with every decision.
When your team wins, make sure they have left their A game on the court. Celebrate with them. Prepare them. Help them fine tune their skills. And then ramp up to do it again and again.