Archive for February, 2012

Where Have YOUR Buffalo Roamed?

“…their homes destroyed, their buffalo gone, the last band of free Sioux submitted to white authority at Fort Robinson, Nebraska. The great horse culture of the plains was gone and the American frontier was soon to pass into history.”     -epilogue from the movie, Dances With Wolves

Herds of buffalo once roamed central North America.  Some herds were as large as states and provinces.  Native Americans/First Nations depended on the buffalo for their existence.  These people used every part of the animal for some useful purpose (Skins for clothing, bones for cups, decorations, crafting tools, knives and of course the meat for food).  The tribes were nomadic, following the herds wherever they roamed.

But settlers moved in from the East and killed-off the plentiful herds by the thousands in a few short decades, often just for the hides/skins allowing the carcases to rot in the sun.  In fact the US Army sanctioned and even encouraged the wholesale slaughter of the buffalo to make way for railroads and “civilized” settlers.  Soon the culture of Plains Indians were almost extinct as well… or totally submitted to trespasser authority.  It didn’t happen by killing the native peoples.  They subdued them by killing off their economic supply.

Your business has always depended on “herds” of customers and lived off the economic supply they deliver.  But when that the herd has moved on to greener pastures (or become extinct) you are either forced to move with them, or find another supplier for economic sustainance.  Now that the herd you once depended on has roamed off, what are you doing to make up the difference?

I have always said, if you can’t reinvent the message, then reinvent the audience who will receive it.  Maybe you should consider finding another herd.  Perhaps there are other groups who you can target and sell to or service.  A more receptive herd.

It is time to ask yourself and your team: Where have our buffalo roamed? 

If they are off our map, where can we find other herds to live off of?

Change your strategy, change your results.

Jim Mathis is an international speaking professional and best- selling author of Reinvention Made Easy: Change Your Strategy, Change Your Results.  To receive free articles like this each month, simply send a SUBSCRIBE message to: subscribe@jimmathis.com.  You will receive an e-zine and you may reprint the articles for your herd as well.

Whoop-De-Do Sales

“Garth: Salesman should be by in about three, four hours.
Hub: Whoop-de-do.” -from Secondhand Lions movie

Do people look forward to meeting you like this?

The movie, “Secondhand Lions” features two old Texans who don’t like – (read that HATE) salesmen.  They shoot at them from their front porch with shotguns to drive them away.  Hapless sales fools leave fast… and never return!

…except one.  He comes back with a different approach.  “I studied what you want and I think you will want this!” he declares.  Behind his car he is towing a trailer with a skeet launcher.  Something for them to shoot at.

He sold it to them.

He abandoned his traditional approach, studied what they actually wanted and came back with it.  Simple.

If people are shooing you away without allowing your presentation, maybe you should find out what THEY want instead of pushing what you want to sell them.  Deliver it in a way they aren’t accustomed to and you will have a better chance of selling them.

Whoop-de-do!

Jim Mathis is an international speaking professional and best-selling author of the book, Reinvention Made Easy: Change Your Strategy, Change Your Results.  He provides a monthly free professional development newsletter.  To receive provocative articles like this each month, simply send a SUBSCRIBE message to Subscribe@jimmathis.com. You may read and reprint the articles for free each month – we encourage it!

Window Dressing

I was working in Regina, Saskatchewan and decided to take a stroll to see the sights during some lag time.  A woman’s dress shop caught my (and many other eyes). The front window was bare except for two mannequins:  One in a beautiful sequined white wedding gown; the other in a short black cocktail dress.  Both outfits were attractive and had attracted a crowd!  The store was busy with women buying dresses, accessories, under garments and many, many more items.

Later during a break I stopped in late to ask an attendant about their shop.  They specialize in accessories and sell more of that than the types of dresses in the window I found out.  “Why didn’t they feature all of the other items in the window?” I asked her.  There was certainly enough room. The excited woman told me that the two dresses did the job of catching drivers and walkers attention.  People scan them as they walk by and stop in to see what else they feature.  Once in the store, their staff could sell everything else!

All that brings me to ask about your marketing and website…

How does it attract attention of people driving, strolling or scanning by your site? Is your home page cluttered with needless features? Does it attract people to “come inside” who want MORE from you of what they see in your “window?”

Most people on the internet SCAN for quick information. Most people listen on the radio to music or interesting conversation. Your advertising and marketing need to be brief and inviting enough that they will want MORE of it from you.

Then you turn them into readers (and buyers).   What does your “window dressing” appear like to most scanners in the world?

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 free monthly e-newsletter with articles like this send a SUBSCRIBE message to: subscribe@jimmathis.com.

Changing Your Culture

If you want to cultivate customers and have them faithfully follow your brand, products and services you need to develop culture that meets peoples’ needs – both internally and externally.

A company’s culture is the traditions and practices that it is known for by employees, staff and customers. It is the product of the company in the truest sense of the word. What is the culture of your company? It goes beyond your name. Every year, Fortune magazine chooses the best places to work. Smuckers is a fun place to be employed and they were chosen several years ago as the Number 1 place to work by Fortune.

How do you know you need to reinvent your culture?

Easy. When your system gets so costly or oppressive that people start leaving or distancing themselves from you as workers or customers, you need to reinvent your culture. It is that simple. When it is costing you more to keep the culture as it is than to change it for the better, it is time for a cultural reinvention.

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 free monthly e-newsletter with articles like this send a SUBSCRIBE message to: subscribe@jimmathis.com.

Target Practice

The best sales and customer service people have eliminated everything down in their target to a narrow focus.

Lexus doesn’t market to every car buyer in the same way that Kohl’s Department Stores doesn’t market to every clothing shopper.  They know who the best client is for their product or service.

They go after them (and only them)… relentlessly.

We were watching a program on the Outdoor Living Channel about deer hunters. You ask them how to be successful and they will tell you. You have to know your target: how it thinks, where it goes and what you need to get it the first time. If you were going deer hunting, you wouldn’t take a shot-gun with you and shoot in every direction hoping to finally hit a deer, would you?

Of course not, you choose ammunition that that zeroes in on your prey; you wait for the right moment and then you aim very carefully. In the same way, when you market yourself, how specific and targeted are you?

I worked in another industry for years and the biggest problem in getting customers was a lack of knowing the target audience.  The ongoing argument was, “Who are we trying to get here?”  Finally, I had enough and went out on my own…

  • What is your target group or audience?
  • What do they need most?
  • What are their greatest problems/challenges?
  • What are they willing to pay almost anything for to solve those problems?
  • Where do they go most often to get solutions or their “quick fix?”

Oh yes, and why aren’t you there solving their problems right now?

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 free monthly e-newsletter with articles like this send a SUBSCRIBE message to: subscribe@jimmathis.com.

Who’s Got Your Back?

Your people are on your side. If you show that you have their back they will fight for you in return.

Why is that? Your employees want you to succeed because your success is the key to their success.

Why wouldn’t you want to listen to their feedback and comments, if they are for your own benefit? You don’t have to prove you are smart or more business savvy to them. In fact, if you feel you do, you are in more trouble than you thought.

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

Stop Meeting; Start Producing!

Work is difficult enough. Everyone has a job to do and on top of that we often stack meetings just to have them. It makes the staff unified, right?

Wrong.  It makes your people frustrated and bored. Both the good ones and the bad ones.

I have close friends in sales and one of their greatest frustrations is being forced to sit in “motivational” meetings when they would rather be out selling and making money (for their boss – who is forcing them to sit in the meeting).

My friends are anxious to get to doing what they do best. They want to do what they are paid to do: Make the business successful.  They resent being treated like the poor slouches who won’t respond to any motivational campaigns.

Are they out making calls? Are they supervising their teams? Are they thinking up new ideas?

No.

They are sitting in another useless meeting…hearing how everyone else is doing…or being told they need to be motivated more…by supervisors who have no clue what they are actually doing on the job.

Have fewer meetings and spend your time motivating people who will respond… like yourself!

Jim Mathis is an international professional speaker and best-selling author of Reinvention Made Easy: Change Your Strategy, Change Your Results.  To receive his monthly free e-newsletter, send a SUBSCRIBE message to subscribe@jimmathis.com and you will be sent the next issue!


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