Archive for October, 2011

The Completely Reinvented Camry

Who would have guessed just two years ago, in the midst of a devastating recession that a car company with very poor PR would again be surging? Toyota got some of the worst press when auto owners reported flaws and accidents in the accelerators and braking systems of its cars.

While General Motors went to the US government for bail-out assistance and Chrysler was sold to a foreign company, Toyota fixed the problems and once again is riding a wave of success.

Current advertisements refer to the “Completely Reinvented Camry.” Toyota learned that dishing out the same things that you were doing two years ago won’t make people buy your product (Look at the failure of Pontiac, Mercury and Saturn in the past three years).

The economy isn’t down; it’s different.  How is your product or service different?  Not just from everyone else, but from what you were doing just two years ago?

Jim Mathis is an international professional speaker and best selling author of Reinvention Made Easy: Change Your Strategy, Change Your Results.  You may subscribe to his monthly e-newsletter by sending a SUBSCRIBE message to:  subscribe@jimmathis.com.

Oil, That Is… NoDak Tea!

North Dakota is full of oil…  and jobs in a recession!

MSNBC.com reported yesterday, “North Dakota has risen to become the nation’s fourth-largest oil producer, accounting for about 6 percent of U.S. production, thanks largely to production from the Bakken and underlying Three Forks formations.  Officials believe more than 4.3 billion barrels can be recovered in the state using current technology.”

Not surprising there is oil there.  Canada has become the Number One importer of oil to the United States, thanks to the oil sands in the province of Alberta. Alberta is booming and has experienced a rise in its economy – even during the seemingly unending recession.

Can South Dakota be next? Officials think there are underground shale oil deposits in the sparsely populated western section of that state, where cows outnumber people.

The economy isn’t down; it’s different… very different!  Just ask a North Dakotan!

Jim Mathis is a best-selling author and international professional speaker.  His latest book: Reinvention Made Easy, Change Your Strategy, Change Your Results became a Best Seller in 24 hours. You may subscribe to his free monthly newsletter with provocative articles like this by sending a SUBSCRIBE message to: subscribe@jimmathis.com.

Is “Green” Your Gold?

Have you noticed how popular going “GREEN” is lately?

Green/organic foods and products are the rage.  Going paperless is called going “green.”  Even Subway and Burger King have jumped on the bandwagon offering avocado or guacamole as an addition to their regular sandwiches (the California versions).

“Green” (alternative fuel) automobiles are increasing in popularity.  Once on the ropes, Toyota has now introduced, not just a new Prius, but a “family” of Priuses. The Chevy Volt is now for sale and is becoming very popular among consumers wanting to get in on the green movement.

Green is in.

Trader Joe’s makes a fortune selling organic foods. So does Whole Foods and Harry’s Market. Aveda and Lush are expanding their businesses and markets selling organic cosmetics and products.

But did you notice that all this “green” costs more green?  Going organic and green isn’t cheap.  In fact, it costs more.  More money in a day and age when the media has convinced us that no one will spend money on pricey items anymore.  More money in a time when consumers are “cutting back” on the basic necessities.

It all points to what I have been saying… Present a value that customers want and people will not only pay for it – they will pay MORE for it.  Green is not cheap.  Green is valuable and people are lining up to buy it.

What is the “value” you offer that catches the movement, the wave or the concept people are attracted to?  What do you offer that customers will pay MORE for because they want to be a part of your movement?

Jim Mathis is a best-selling author and international professional speaker.  His latest book: Reinvention Made Easy, Change Your Strategy, Change Your Results became a Best Seller in 24 hours.  You may subscribe to his free monthly newsletter with provocative articles like this by sending a SUBSCRIBE message to: subscribe@jimmathis.com.

Is “Enough” Enough Already?

I admired Steve Jobs because he seemed to never settle for enough.  There was always an improvement coming our way when Steve was around.  The iPhone was followed by the iPhone 2, then 3, then 4, then 4S and we have come to expect an iPhone 5 at some point. If Steve were still around, we would expect an iPhone 10 at some point in the future.

Someone asked me about a year ago, “What will you do when the recession stabilizes and a ‘boom’ starts?” thinking I was a one-trick pony.  My answer was, “I will reinvent myself again.”  I don’t think you need to reinvent yourself once every two years.  I think you need to constantly re-think, realign and re-assess your process or you will be EXTINCT in two years.

Imagine a group of dinosaurs about 50 million years ago who see a meteor heading toward the Earth.  Most will say, “We need to find out how to end this crisis and make the meteor go away.”  It won’t.

The bright ones will say, we better adjust to life “Post-meteor.”  Possible.  Cockroaches and fish seemed to do it.  I would rather be a lowly cockroach and survive the meteor, than a dinosaur and try to fight a losing battle.

Is the place where your service and product is “enough” already?  Can you continually tweak, improve and re-asses its value to consumers?

The meteor is either coming, or it’s already here.  The economy won’t ever be what it was pre-meteor (pre-Recession).  It will be, and already is different.

How are you adjusting to your “enough?”

Jim Mathis is an international professional speaker and author of the best-selling, Reinvention Made Easy: Change Your Strategy, Change Your Results.  To receive his monthly e-zine with articles like this, send a SUBSCRIBE message to:  subscribe@jimmathis.com.

Everyone’s A 10!

I believe everyone is a “10” at something.

There are tasks each person is gifted at and they excel when they do it.  The problem is, most leaders are poor at bringing out the “10” in us, or worse…  putting people in places where their “10” is only a “3.”

It took several years for my assistant, Marti and me to figure out who did what best and who should do it the most.  We are still discovering it, but business improved once we started doing what we were 10’s at.  And quit doing what we were 2’s, 4’s or even 7’s at. Why settle for a 7 when you can win with a 10 in place.

How are you doing in that department?  Maybe those lousy workers you have in your organization aren’t that lousy.  Perhaps they are 10’s at something you have them ill-fitted for.

Brett Favre started his professional career as an Atlanta Falcon.  But his inability to work the system Coach Jerry Glanville  had for the Falcons doomed him to be traded after just one year …to Green Bay where he became:  well, “Brett Favre.”   Jerry Glanville lasted only a few more years and went on to become:  another poor coach who couldn’t make the Atlanta team win.

Failing to bring out the 10 in your people points to your own failure – not theirs.

Jim Mathis is a best-selling author and international professional speaker.  His latest book: Reinvention Made Easy, Change Your Strategy, Change Your Results became a Best Seller in 24 hours. You may subscribe to his free monthly newsletter with provocative articles like this by sending a SUBSCRIBE message to: subscribe@jimmathis.com.

Do You “Get” It? It’s Okay, If You Don’t

I work with leaders who want to reinvent themselves in challenging economies.  That’s it.  The message is provocative, the talking points are edgy and the delivery style is highly interactive.  Most people I work with love it.  Love it!  But some people just don’t get it.  And that’s okay with me.

Some people just don’t get your message, what you do or want your service/product.  That’s okay.  They won’t no matter how hard(er) you try to sell them on it.  They don’t have to.

Get over it and them.

Apple is one of the most admired, innovative companies, but most people don’t buy a Mac.  They own a PC.  And that’s okay because Apple has a great reputation and still makes wonderful computers (among other cool gadgets).  Most people don’t live in a mobile home, but enough do that there is a lucrative industry that keeps churning them out for people who live in them.  For the ones who don’t, that’s okay.

I tell most meeting planners that not everyone will “get” or understand our message.  But you need to know, that doesn’t mean I am going to water it down or change it to suit their understanding.  It means that I recognize the ones who don’t aren’t a majority and I will target it to the ones who actually do “get” it.

We waste too much time “spinning our wheels” on tasks and people who don’t matter to the bottom line and not enough concentrating on the ones who do.  Read Timothy Ferriss’ 4 Hour Work Week to see what I mean.  Study the “Pareto Principle.”  20% of our efforts produce 80% of the results we want…

Not everyone lives near the airport and buys cars from the dealers near there.  Some live in Bushwood (I got that name from Caddyshack) and will only buy from dealers who treat them and market to them differently than the ones at the airport.  That’s okay.  Find out who “gets” your message and spend more time on them…and less on the ones who don’t and never will.

Do you “get” what I mean?  If not, that’s okay.

Jim Mathis is an international professional speaker and author of the best-selling, Reinvention Made Easy: Change Your Strategy, Change Your Results.  To receive his monthly e-zine with articles like this, send a SUBSCRIBE message to:  subscribe@jimmathis.com.

Get OVER The Recession

So your business down. There fewer customers frequenting your store or services   There a lack of the same interest you saw three years ago.

You don’t solve problems of less business by charging (or punishing) people more. Instead, give more VALUE that people will pay (and pay more) for.

Why are independent banks and credit unions growing in customers while large banks are charging their existing (and departing) customers for poor service?  Big banks say, “Credit unions don’t pay taxes!”  Credit Unions say, “We also don’t penalize our customers!”  They don’t; in fact, the customers own the CU and are called Members.

Membership seems to have its privileges in the financial world.  And beyond…

The Value of Pricey Fast Food…

I have enjoyed Subway for over twenty years.  Then my family discovered Quiznos.

Quiznos seduced me with their ingredients.  They tantalized me with the classic Italian.  They won me over with the toasted sandwiches.  But wait! If are familiar with both franchises, then you know that Subway does the same thing… for less money.

Quiznos menu appeals to people with a different experience than Subway does. There is almost one on every corner (just like Subway), but Quiznos comes across as a “higher-end” fast food restaurant.

That is, if there is a “high” end to fast food.

How has Quiznos stayed in business in a time when people supposedly have less money to spend?  Value.

Quiznos sells the almost identical food for more money because people are willing to pay MORE for a Quiznos sandwich than a Subway.

What are you doing that you could charge MORE for if people realized the value they want to spend money on.

REMEMBER: If customers don’t see the value, it won’t matter what you charge, they won’t buy it.  Blimpie trails in a distant 3rd place.  Firehouse is up and coming.  Sbarro is already bankrupt.  Are you listening?

Jim Mathis is an international speaker and best selling author of the book, Reinvention Made Easy: Change Your Strategy, Change Your Results.  You may subscribe to his free monthly e-zine by sending a SUBSCRIBE message to subscribe@jimmathis.com.

How Will Bank of America Punish Customers (Next)?

The news media is awash with stories about Bank of America’s new policy of charging their most loyal customers for debit card purchases.  Many (and I mean MANY) people are angry over this and fear their bank will follow suit.

*As a result BOA decided to rescind the policy, but is considering others that continue to penalize people for doing business with them.  It will still make people angry.

Banks (big ones in particular) have learned that the best way to keep people from complaining about their fees and policies is to load on higher fees and more self-protective policies.  As a bank officer told me last year on a “customer service” call, “We are a big successful bank and don’t need input from customers on how to be successful.”

However a recent survey just showed that the major beneficiary of the new bank fees and policies are…  credit unions who don’t punish members for doing business with them.

Bank of America also just laid off thousands of workers and announced branch closings all over the country.  Guess that is what you do when people are voting you out of business by taking theirs elsewhere.

Before you do anything else today, ask yourself, “How do my customers feel punished by the policies we have in force?”  “Are our policies in place for only OUR advantage, or our customers’ advantage?”

The complaints you get from your customers should tell you the answer to those questions.

You don’t solve the problems of less business by charging or punishing people more in a recession (or anytime).  Instead, give more VALUE that people will pay more for.

Here’s a hint:  If your customer service representatives and managers are constantly having to say, “This is for your security…” to frustrated customers, it’s a policy; not a perk.  And it’s more about YOUR security, not theirs.  They are complaining because they don’t feel more secure with your policy.

Find a way to turn your policies into perks.

Jim Mathis is an international speaker and best selling author of the book, Reinvention Made Easy: Change Your Strategy, Change Your Results.  You may subscribe to his free monthly e-zine by sending a SUBSCRIBE message to subscribe@jimmathis.com.

It’s NOT About the Phone!

Lost in the wake of the death of former Apple co-founder Steve Jobs is the media frenzy announcement of the new iPhone 4S.  Everyone eagerly awaited the expected, but stunning announcement.

A year ago, in the depths of “the worst recession in recent history,” Verizon Wireless announced they would soon sell the iPhone.  At that time, AT&T exclusive rights to carry the popular model.

In February 2011 Verizon opened online sales of their iPhone, with plans to sell online first, then in stores about a week later.  But a problem developed and Verizon was forced to shut down sales after only three days.

The problem?  They ran out of phones online.

Yes, so many people were buying the high-priced product that Verizon sold them out prematurely.  Couple that with the high early drop fees from AT&T, the required contract agreements with Verizon and you had people willing to pay several hundred dollars to get the same, identical phone.  In the middle of “the worst…”

Why?

AT&T’s network is plagued with poor reception and dropped calls.  They kept selling phones though.

Verizon learned they weren’t selling phones.  They were selling:

“I want to talk to my wife.”
“I want to text my daughter.”
“I want to close the business deal.”
“I want to STAY in touch with the world.”

A working phone is a smart(er) phone. A poor phone is a paperweight.

AT&T is just selling phones and poor coverage.  Good luck with that.

Jim Mathis is an international speaking professional and author of the Best Seller Reinvention Made Easy:  Change Your Strategy, Change Your Results.  You may receive his monthly free e-zine with articles like this by sending a SUBSCRIBE message to subscribe@jimmathis.com.


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