The Grass Is Always Greener…31 Dec, 1969 By: Ian Crockett imageSource
The Grass Is Always Greener…
has been a ton of headlines over the past eight or nine months regarding the
impending decline of our nation’s economy. Some believe it’s only a blip;
while others believe that we are either in or headed for a full-scale recession.
I haven’t heard the word depression, but I’m sure it’s been used in some
region of the country.
clients are never a good barometer, because I believe I deal with the cream of
the crop. They are very good businesspeople who seem to grow stronger with a
down economy because some of their weaker competitors are flat going away.
I finally found one that wasn’t pleased with his July results. “Yeah, our
territory sales were only up 13% over last year,” said my downtrodden client.
I reminded him that his major account team had landed their biggest deal ever
and that July was an all-time company sales record, but I could tell that was
not going to make him sleep better. Although this was written a little “tongue
in cheek,” the conversation is true.
this is not a client operating in a dynamic market, such as Las Vegas or
Phoenix. They’re in middle of the Rust Belt. They also do in excess of $25
million annually, so it’s not easy to consistently put double-digit growth
numbers on the board. The point here is that no matter how big you are or what
industry you’re in, marketplace factors are only an excuse, not a valid reason
for any loss of business.
proved to clients almost two decades ago that the statement, “Business is
always down in the summer months because all my prospects, customers and
salespeople are on vacation,” is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
times are tough, business owners and key management need to play a bigger role
than they do at any other time in the lifecycle of a business. If they walk
around concerned or with a doom and gloom attitude due to the economy or the
season, it’s no secret what happens to the mindset of their employees. This is
especially true for the salespeople who are looking for seasons to hangout at
the donut shop until after 10 a.m. The reverse is also true. If ownership and
management are excited about circumstances that on the surface appear negative,
the excitement will become contagious. I don’t want to pat myself on the back
too hard, but Hunter Barth is a perfect example. I remind everyone, in our
weekly Monday morning all-employee meetings, that we need to root for a downturn
in the economy because Hunter Barth always flourishes.
it true? It doesn’t matter. They believe it and it seems like every time
someone picks up the phone, business is on the other end. Activity and a
positive mind-set beget more activity.
of the ways to accomplish this is with employee/customer events. This can be
anything from golf tournaments, to open houses, to involvement in community
charity events. The key is to involve employees at all levels. You need to
motivate everyone, not just the sales people or upper management. The “trickle
down” theory doesn’t work well when you’re talking about overcoming a
widely perceived negative.
most important step, as in any marketing event, is to develop a label, theme, or
slogan. Give your golf tournament a name. Have a rallying cry for your
involvement in a charity event or have a unique theme for an open house/product
fair that doesn’t include “work more efficiently and increase your
recently visited a client that had a Magic theme, complete with a magician. This
wasn’t an ordinary magician. He has been part of the office technology
industry almost as long as I have. Our paths nearly crossed in the late
eighties, but I had never seen his act. It was terrific, not because he is an
excellent magician, which he is, but because he was able to tie his act into the
marketing objectives of the client. In addition, he does an excellent job at
self-promotion, which helps the overall promotion of the client and the event.
of the magic tricks were around a deck of cards and were astonishing to those in
attendance, including me. My favorite was his connectivity demonstration. A
person would choose a card from what was determined to be an ordinary deck and
not show it to a soul. Then, through a hand holding chain of attendees, starting
with the person hiding the card and ending with another touching the document
feeder, the copier would print out the exact card the original person was still
holding and hiding from everyone.
an idea or sales message through entertainment requires creativity. Most of my
readers have that creativity, but are too busy working in their business rather
than on your business. When you don’t spend the required time tapping into the
creativity that most business owners and upper management have inside them,
instead you end up copying other people or rehashing old, stale ideas.
don’t like the phrase “think outside the box” because it’s old and
stale. However, you need to develop something that is unique to your company.
Worst case, if you’re going to copy or steal someone else’s idea, spend some
time thinking about how you can make it 1% better. It’s the very least you can
do on behalf of yourself and your employees. Right now is the perfect time to be
creative. While most business people are walking around with long faces and
waiting for business to be easy, there’s a window of opportunity for those who
view the glass as half-full.
are still preparing to circle the wagons, so it’s a great time to attack.
It’s not only true in marketing, but in other areas of your business, such as
recruitment. Dot com firms are folding, so there should be some excellent
opportunities to pick-up some talented people.
great deal depends on the leader’s perspective. I’m reminded of the old joke
about the mother who tried to cure her kids because one was too negative and the
other was too positive. For the negative one, she filled his room full of toys.
When the boy saw that, he lamented over fact that there were so many toys in his
room, he couldn’t move. With the positive thinker boy, the mother filled his
room with horse manure. When he opened his bedroom door and saw the disgusting
mess, he smiled gleefully and said, “Oh boy, with all that manure, there’s
gotta be a pony in there somewhere.”
to use a corny phrase, be aggressive and strike before the iron cools off. By
the way, if you are looking for a business-to-business magician, give me a call
or e-mail me. This guy can definitely add to an open house attendance or attract
a crowd on the floor of a trade show.
me point out that I am not getting any commission for mentioning him. I was just
impressed with the novelty of his “shtick.”