Archive for June, 2010

Why Don’t More People Follow You?

Do you know why you have supportive employees? Do you know why you have loyal customers?

I asked Marti, my loyal assistant why she liked working for me. I was surprised. She didn’t say what I thought she would say. It wasn’t tied to the money (although that didn’t detract from her loyalty). It wasn’t the flexible working hours. It was because she saw me growing and releasing more responsibility to her to be more of a professional. She was being allowed to make more decisions. She wasn’t following me for the reasons I thought.

Do you know WHY your employees or staff follow you?

I asked my top clients why they hired me. What they liked about working with me. It wasn’t the answer I expected. It wasn’t what I thought they would say. They liked working with me because my office responded to them. They liked me because I was easy to work with. They liked me for the content I spoke on and the style I delivered it in. It was about the value we deliver. I learned a “value”-able lesson.

Do you know why more customers don’t follow you?

To reinvent your culture, you need to know what people like about you and your company.

What can you learn from Johnny Cash about Reinventing your Community?

Singer Johnny Cash (The Man in Black) reinvented himself using an unusual, but easy method.  His career as a singer was good, but he felt restless and stuck in the same rut.

Then he started reading his mail.

He noticed that he was receiving many letters from men in prison who were inspired by his music. Although he had never spent “hard time” in jail, he sang songs like Folsom Prison Blues that touched the hearts of those incarcerated.  He performed a concert at California’s Folsom Prison and recorded it live.  The record producers warned against it, but Johnny felt it was his calling to perform and make a recording.

The result was an overwhelming success.  The album was his biggest selling one to that point. He began performing in other penitentiaries and became known as an “outlaw” singer.  His audience changed because he listened to what they wanted from him. He forged a new image that became his signature.  His brand as an outlaw and “The Man in Black” is known and still popular today, years after his death.

I found it was easier to take my message of reinvention to different audiences.   It began to snowball.   Now I tell my clients to look at who is buying from them and find everyone who fits that demographic.   Start by seeking out who you have attracted to your community of followers. 

BUT THEN start looking for who else would be interested in the value that comes with the culture you have created.  Who else would benefit from the quality of product and service that you (and only you) deliver?  Remember: Anyone can beat you on price, but not on the value you deliver. Just learn from The Man in Black.

Reinventing Your Community

Everyone has customers. People who “buy” from them. Reinventing your community involves finding out WHY people like you and what they feel they receive from you. Nothing makes people take notes more when I am leading a presentation on reinvention than when I ask, “Who is buying from you? What do they buy and what do they wish you would do more of for them?” Have you ever asked YOUR customers, “Why DO you buy from me?”

Your culture defines your community. What is the experience like in doing business with you? Who is in your community? It is easier to find a new audience to appreciate your culture than it is to find a new message to deliver. This is a saying professional speakers quote to each other. If one group isn’t listening to what you say and you are too married to it, then find a new audience. Reinventing your community means finding an audience who accepts your message whole-heartedly. It means researching who you want to reach and targeting everything you do to that market.

Ikea is not intended for every homeowner. If you have ever shopped there, then you know it is smart, European designs for people on a tight budget (customers purchase, load and assemble their furniture with minimal assistance from employees) with tight space to put it in. Companies like Broyhill, Manone, Haverty’s and Stickley aren’t competing directly with Ikea. But even high-end companies feel led to attract a new audience.

There is a community that you haven’t tapped into yet and they await your reinvented image and persona. They want to hear what you have to say directly to them. I ask clients who they could be reaching out to outside of their immediate community. Who hasn’t heard your message yet? NOT people who don’t want your message, but a community who you already have a message for but are unaware.

Start building community  among your followers.


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