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Growth

Growth of your practice, to be specific.  It’s a good thing.  Yes?  Then let’s look at some more ways you can see more of it in the coming months and make your 2015 a banner year.

In my previous post, we looked at three (3) keys to help you grow your practice:

1.  Generate More Clients
2.  Increase Your Average Client Transaction
3.  Create Transactions More Frequently

In this post, I’d like to look at three more specific keys to increased growth of your practice.

By the end of this post, I’ll show you how to manage these three keys to effectively DOUBLE your production.  (Got your attention?  Good!  Stay tuned . . . film highlights at 11!)

 

Face-To-Face Meetings

I can think of no better metric at predicting how your year is going to turn out than how many people you’re meeting with on a daily basis.

Meetings with new prospects or with existing clients whom you meet with to review their planning, are the fertile ground from which great things can come to you and cause your practice to grow.

Big deal.  Everyone knows the old adage “See More People” is the secret to increased production, revenues and income.  You’re right.  Everyone knows WHAT will grow your practice.  But HOW do you get those ‘At Bats’ with people who can either buy from you or, refer you to others who can?

The real driving force behind having enough meetings comes down to your prospecting.  If you aren’t seeking introductions to people who are most like your best clients — i.e. referral prospecting — I suggest you learn how to do that as soon as possible.  Doing that will help you grow your meetings and, ultimately, your practice.  Probably better than many other marketing tactics will — and I say that from experience.

We offer a Special Report on this topic as well as private coaching on how to utilize a proven and proprietary prospecting system known as The Preferral Prospecting® System.  Click these links for more information.

untitledCase Size / Average Client Transaction Value

If all things are equal, but your average case size (remember the A.C.T we talked about in my last post?) is more or less than another advisor’s, the revenues you produce will be more or less, too.

If you want to make twice as much as you have in the past (2014?), then you’ll either need to work twice as hard or, generate twice as much revenue from each transaction you generate.

Obviously, you’ll have a range of transactions.  We all do.  Some cases will be larger (or, smaller) than others.  Regardless, your average case size reflects where you’re marketing yourself and prospecting for clients.

If you want to improve your average case size, ask yourself, “Am I in the BEST market/s, for the value I offer?”  You can, if you do some research, find a more lucrative marketplace — and the clients it offers — than the one/s you’re in now.  Remember — even a modest change in where you’re marketing can have a significant growth on your revenues and income.

Lifetime Value of a Client

When we’re in ‘hunt’ mode . . . we’re seeking to close a sale . . . and it’s so easy to lose sight of the forest for the trees.

Quick story.  As you probably know, life insurance policies have an optional feature that allows an insured to be able to buy additional insurance at ages 25, 28, 31, 34, 37 and 4o regardless of their health.

This feature known by various names (Additional Purchase Benefit, Guaranteed Issue Option, etc.) is offered because insurance companies know that, at those ages, the need to buy more life insurance is the greatest it will ever be.

During these critical years — from 25 – 40 —  most of us get married, have kids, buy a home, have a mortgage, start a business, etc.  It’s also when the most people will have the greatest need for the insurance the companies want to sell.  Offering APB or GIO options practically guarantees additional policies will be sold . . . by the companies.

Not surprisingly, only a small percentage of all policies (about 7%) later issued under these guaranteed issue options are sold by the agent who sold the original policy.  To be fair, it could be these policies were sold by agents in these same age groups (e.g. under 30) and agent attrition can’t be ignored as a factor behind the low percentage of later sales made by the original agent.

But I submit there’s another reason.  The original agents didn’t stay in touch with their clients.  They were so busy seeking new people to sell that they ignored their past clients.  True, some clients moved away from where they bought their first policy.  But more often than not, benign neglect may be the most significant reason why those later policies were sold by agents who didn’t sell the original policy.

SYNERGY . . . It’s a Beautiful Thing

Earlier I promised to show you a do-able way to DOUBLE your production.  Not surprisingly, it depends on how you use the information we just discussed above.

Your growth or productivity reflects three factors:

•  The People You’re Seeing / Meeting
•  The Size of Your Average Case
•  The Percentage of a Client’s Lifetime Value You’ll Enjoy

Here’s a simple graphic that reflects how this works:

untitled

Each factor is a key element of a formula or functional relationship — as you can see is being shown by the white numbers in the red box at the top.

Let’s assume each factor is equal and valued at “1.0”  The resulting formula thus gives us a growth factor of “1.0”.

OK, now let’s see how you can DOUBLE your growth!

 

The first way you can double your revenue or growth is to double the number of people you’re seeing and meeting with . . . i.e. your ‘At Bats’ . . . e.g.

 

The second way you can double your revenue or growth is to double your average case size . . . e.g.

The third way you can double your revenue or growth is to double the length of time you retain a client and, as a result, realize a greater portion of that person’s lifetime value based on future transactions for the service you offer . . . e.g.

untitled

 

 

 

 

 

In theory, each of these approaches will DOUBLE the revenues or growth you’re currently enjoying.

In practice, that’s not likely.  Why?  Because it’s not easy to double the people you’re seeing, double your average case size or double the length of time you retain a client.

That said, here’s a far more practical (i.e. DO-able!) way to double your revenues . . . e.g.untitled

 

 

OK, now let’s suppose . . . you improve each of the factors we’ve introduced by 25% . . . that’s far more do-able than if you actually had to do twice as much of any one of these factors as you were up to now.  Fair?

But look . . . if you improve each factor by just 25% across the board, you actually end up DOUBLING your revenues!

Making a ‘little bit’ of improvement in each factor goes a long way toward making your revenues and the growth they’ll support . . . what you really want them to be.

POINT:
Growth comes from doing many things, a little better and more consistently than you are now

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untitledOK.  It’s January.  Almost February.  And, if you’re like many advisors, visions of lofty goals for growing your practice in 2015 are still dancing in your head like sugarplum fairies were in December, right?

In this post, I’d like to share three basic opportunities that, if used properly, can really help you grow your practice.

 

I’ll explain each and show you how, synergistically, addressing each of these factors can create exponential growth for your practice.

CLIENTS

Here’s a simple fact: growing your practice means generating more clients.  The more clients you have, the more revenue you’ll enjoy.  Pretty simple, right?

What isn’t always so obvious, however is that generating a client is merely a symptom of doing enough of certain behaviors often enough and well enough that a client results.

Some people like to refer to this as ‘How Much’ and ‘What Kind’.  That means referring to your ‘cookbook’ of key behaviors that are required to generate a client.

Personally, I advise clients to consider the following key activities:

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SEEN . . . are your face-to-face meetings with qualified individuals who are meeting with you to discuss a challenge or opportunity you are in a position to help them fix or achieve.

FACTS . . . refer to the information you need from a prospective client to determine if they need something you can provide, has a budget that you can both afford to work with and a commitment to ‘do something’ in the reasonably near future.

OPEN CASE . . . happens when you have obtained sufficient information to determine that a problem exists that is addressable, a budget is available and adequate, and a presentation is ready to deliver.

DECISION . . . is the kind of meeting you have with a prospect to discuss your presentation and seek a decision to either act on it or, not.

CLIENT . . . is the natural result of successfully moving through each of the above gateways.

The bigger picture issue here is this . . . there are certain ratios between these factors in what some call a revenue pipeline.  The specific ratios vary for each of us.  But tracking ‘How Much’ and ‘What Kind’ of activity is needed in one area to proceed to the next one allows you to predict the ultimate results (i.e. clients) you’re likely to generate if you do these activities.

A quick example.  If you track your activities and you learn that you require:

3 Decision Meetings to generate 1 client transaction,
2  Open Cases to generate 1 Decision Meeting,
3 Facts to generate 1 Open Case, and
2 Seen to generate 1 new or updated Facts from someone you meet

THEN . . . to produce one (1) new client transaction, you’ll need:

3 Decision Meetings
6 Open Cases
18 Facts, and
36 Seen

The above formula identifies HOW MUCH and WHAT KIND of activity you need to generate a client transaction.  It doesn’t explain how you generate these activities (that’s a different topic and a different post!).

Once you know your numbers, multiply them by the number of client transactions your annual plan requires and you’ll know How Much and What Kind of activities you’ll need to produce the number of transactions your revenue goals suggest.

untitled

 VALUE

When you do business with someone, what, on the average, is the size of the transaction?  That’s the value, to you, of each client transaction. This is your A. C. T. or, ‘Average Client Transaction’.

If your A.C.T. is $5,000 and a competitor’s A.C.T. is $10,000, if your Cookbook ratios and behaviors are the same, you’ll make half as much as your competitor.

The implication I’d like you to take away is simple.  Find ways to increase your value per transaction.  If your cookbook numbers don’t change at all, you’ll still end up generating more revenues.

This requires more thinking and less sweat than you might think.  Take McDonald’s.  By simply asking, “You want fries with your order?”, they added billions of dollars their bottom line by boosting their average customer transaction.  It’s more about looking for overlooked but appropriate ways to up-sell and cross-sell than anything else!

untitledFREQUENCY

A third key to increased revenues is to generate buying and selling opportunities more often than you are now.

If you’re providing a professional service, you may be thinking, “I don’t use coupons or anything like that”.  True.  But increasing the frequency of opportunities to think about using your services is actually pretty easy to do.

Most professional service providers are reactive, not pro-active. They wait for clients to present them with a need for the problem-solving expertise and services the professional provides.

The problem with this approach is that those same professionals are doing little (my apologies if you’re the exception) to give their clients and prospects a good reason to ‘raise their hands and ask for assistance’.

Assuming you provide a client-letter, do you invite response from your readers?  If not, you should!  How?  Add a mini-case study and include a call-to-action.  This alone will easily generate inquiries from people who ‘discover’ they have the problem your case-study reveals and . . . you’ll generate more revenues for services you can render.

Poor communications = poor revenues.  The opposite is true, too.  Think about it!

In my next post, I’ll reveal a simple matrix that will show you how easily a little improvement, across the board, can have significant and positive impact on your practice growth for 2015.  Stay tuned!

POINT:
Growth comes from knowing your numbers, realizing more value and generating more opportunities

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Duct Tape Marketing Founder John Jantsch has a number of words of wisdom.

One of them is that effective marketing results from a coordinated, strategic approach rather than what might be called chasing the marketing tactic of the week.  This is very common.  You hear about what a fellow business owner did that got their phone to ring, their ‘likes’ to increase, etc. and you think, “Hey, that sounds like a good thing to do . . .”.  So you do it.

But you’re playing ‘Follow The Leader’, marketing-wise, and . . . it’s not a good thing to do.

The Problem with Playing Follow-The-Leader
In a business growth consultation I do with clients (The Profit Project™) I share a simple story.

“Assume you’re a bird.  In a long line of birds.  And the line leads to a very high cliff.  As each bird moves up to the edge of the cliff, they step off and fly away.  Now assume you realize that, while you’re a bird, you’re not an eagle like all the other birds.  In fact, you’re a penguin.  So if you attempt to fly off the cliff, you’ll fall like a rock and be killed or seriously hurt at best.”

Then I share a slightly different scenario  . . .

“Assume you’re a bird.  In a long line of birds.  And the line leads to a very high cliff.  But here’s the difference.  The ‘cliff’ is made of snow and ice.  You’re in Antarctica.  And yes, you’re a penguin.  This time, you’re likely to survive your cliff jump and the other birds, presumably still eagles, are going to freeze to death.”

Even if their marketing tactic is productive, it’s likely due to a proper alignment between the marketing tactic/s they chose and the nature of their specific business.  Your business is different.  And, you may not be so successful — even if you employ the very same tactics!

KEY POINT:
Choose your marketing tactics based on who YOU are, not on what the business owner next to you is doing.

. . . UNLESS . . .  you can justify it, financially.

I just love it when a brilliant mind takes on a topic that’s so inviting of opinion that a clear conclusion seems highly unlikely. Drew McLellan did that in a recent post on MarketingProfs.com and it’s inspired this post from me.

coinsIs It Worth Being on Social Media?
I speak with a number of business owners who tell me that if they’re not doing social media, then they’re probably missing out in some way.

As a result, they set up social media profiles, create a facebook page, a LinkedIn profile, etc.

But when I ask them, “So, is social media working for you?”, they often can’t say.

If I then suggest that maybe they shouldn’t do any social media, they come back with, “But if I don’t . . . it’s going to cost me.  Look, maybe I can’t say that being on social media has made me money, but I’m concerned that not being on it will cost me money”.

So, as a purely defensive position, they engage in social media for their business but they’re not able to justify their time online in terms of real sales or value to their business.

Sorry, but that’s unacceptable.

How To Tell If You Should Invest Your Time on Social Media
If you can MAKE or SAVE money by being on social media, DO IT.  If not, DON’T.

Drew McLellan actually suggests a number of ways to assess if you’re getting value from social media.

Is Social Media MAKING You Money By:
Allowing you to stop doing something you’re currently doing?
Allowing you to extend or expand something you are currently doing?
Lowering your customer acquisition costs?
Connecting you to existing customers in an efficient way?
Creating a community specifically for your customers?
Making it easier for your customers to rave / create positive word of mouth?
Making you look ‘in tune’ with the times to my customers if you’re there?
Introducing you to new potential customers at a low lead-generation cost?
Making you easier to find (within the social network or on search engines)?
Improving your search engine results (so you don’t have to buy results)?

Is Social Media SAVING You Money By:
Shortening your sales cycle?
Creating credibility and trust faster among prospects?
Establishing you / your firm as THE expert?
Shortening customer service response time?
Creating a sense of accessibility for my customers?
Increasing trial of my products or services?
Allowing me to connect with more prospects at once?
Increasing repeat sales?
Will it increase upsells?
Helping me collect or leverage testimonials?

KEY POINT:
Social Media is never ‘free’.  The time you must spend online has a definite ‘cost’. If your cost/benefit ratio is not attractive, don’t do social media until you figure out how to make it make or save you more than it costs you to use it.

To me, the word Professional means “Worthy of Trust and Respect”. Without these qualities you’re unlikely to be an effective agent of change and growth in your company.

So here are five (5) qualities that correlate with being a pro . . .

 

1.  Competence
You could call this ‘Knowing Your Stuff’.  And while it’s important to know enough to be competent, it’s also about being confident enough to know what you don’t know and being able to admit that.

In my first job, I felt compelled to ‘have all the answers’ . . . until a senior associate replied to a client, “Y’know that’s a good question.  I don’t have a clue . . . but let me do some digging into it and I’ll get back to you”.  After that, I found it was a ‘strength’ not a ‘weakness’ to accept and acknowledge my limits and commit to learn what I didn’t know but needed to know to grow (what else!) “more professional’ to my clients.

2.  Conviction
As the recent election showed, differences in position or opinion are perfectly acceptable.  If you prefer one candidate over another, it’s because someone had a clear position on what’s important and they didn’t compromise their values to please people or gain a short-term popularity (which you know won’t last!).

3.  Commitment
You know the term, “Keeping your word”?  Well, people do prefer to work with / support / follow people who do what they say.  As one staffer at a client told me, “I may not always agree with or like what ______ says we’re going to do, but I know she’ll do it and back me up if I do the same.  I can rely on her to create ‘no surprises’ and I really find that attractive!”

4.  Transparency
This suggests a lack of pretense and that’s what the famous JOHARI Window reveals — that organizations where people are transparent have the smallest facades and ‘blind-spots’ — two factors that correlate with highly effective organizations where communications and productivity are generally very, very high!

5.  Endorsement
This is what you DO when you ARE someone who endorses others on your staff.  I used to fly with a great pilot — John H. Phillips, USAF.  His greatest compliment to me was, “I’ve got your six”.  That was an endorsement that, if the you-know-what should hit the fan . . . I wouldn’t be alone.  That kind of support would make me march into the gates of Hell for John –– as I knew he’d do for me.   If you can instill that kind of esprit-d-corps in your staff, your competitors won’t be getting much sleep!

This post was inspired by a great post by Sharlyn Lauber  AKA the “HR Bartender”

KEY POINT:
Being a ‘professional’ isn’t what you say you are, it’s something you DO . . . and these 5 qualities are useful benchmarks to judge how well you’re doing it.

I’m compelled to comment on something I’m noticing with an increasing and alarming regularity.

It’s a variation on the biological imperative to choose, when faced with a serious threat to your life, between ‘flight’ or ‘fight’.

As we’re now well into the second half of 2012, I’m observing that a number of smaller business owners are making a decision (intentionally or not) on how they’re responding to the challenge of our rather challenging economy.

Basically, there are two (2) camps of thinking that seem to be emerging:

1.  owners who are ‘doing nothing new’ to build their business, and

2.  owners who are choosing to ‘do something’ to build their business in this economy

If you’re choosing to ‘hunker down’ and ‘stay the course’ in the hope that you’ll ‘survive the storm’ you are making a risky choice between action and in-action. If you have a lot of money in savings, you may be able to afford to exercise that choice.  But not all of us have that option.  Even worse, many owners are exercising the ‘do nothing new’ option — whether they can afford to or not.

Other owners who decide, as Hamlet once said, “To take arms against a sea of troubles and, by opposing, end them . . .” regardless of their resources, are far more likely to not only survive the economic conditions we’re in at the moment but thrive better than most when it ends, as well.

Quick diversion . . . when I was a pilot-in-training

istock_000001045269medium

there were certain times (during instrument flight training) that you learn you must ‘trust the instruments, NOT your body’.  Why?  Absent visual cues (like the horizon) when you’re ‘in the clouds’, your equilibrium becomes unreliable very quickly.

You ‘feel’ like you’re leaning to your right side so you ‘correct’ to the left.  That ‘feels’ correct — to your body. In fact, you ‘feel’ you’re flying ‘straight’.  But you’re not.  You’re actually in a left bank and turning to the left rather than proceeding on a straight course.

Eventually, relying on your ‘feelings’ rather than your instruments, you’ll find yourself in what is known to pilots as the ‘graveyard spiral’.  Your shallow turn to the left actually reduces your aircraft’s lift factor (it’s aerodynamic stuff and I won’t bore you with that!) and, as a result, you begin to lose altitude.

Whether you can read your instruments for instrument flight conditions or not, even beginning pilots learn to watch their altitude / altimeter.

When you notice you’re losing altitude, the ‘obvious’ response is to “pull back’ on the stick or yoke.  When you’re in level flight, that raises your plane’s nose and makes your aircraft climb.  Hence, you gain altitude.

But once you’re in a turn, however slight, pulling back on the stick only tightens your turn. Ironically, that ‘feels’ the same (to your body) as when you’re climbing — you feel yourself being pushed down into your seat.  But it’s not gravity making you ‘feel’ that sensation; it’s centrifugal force (you’re in a turn, remember?).

At this point, non-instrument trained, inexperienced pilots notice that they’re losing altitude more rapidly.  So they ‘pull back’ on the stick (again!) hoping to re-gain valuable altitude.  But it seems to work in exactly the opposite manner.  The more they ‘correct’ for their altitude loss, the more altitude they’re actually losing!

Eventually, this becomes a viscious cycle that makes the aircraft (and, the hapless pilot and any unfortunate passengers) enter such a tight turn that either the aircraft suffers structural damage and is lost or, the plane is flown all the way down into the ground (or, the sea as happened to John F. Kennedy, Jr off Martha’s Vineyard, MA a few years ago).

OK, back to 2012’s ‘interesting’ economy . . .

If you, like most of us in entrepreneur-land, find this economy isn’t the same as it was a few years ago (AKA ‘The Good Old Days’), your response to it may not be all that different than the pilot who doesn’t understand the ‘best’ course of action under deteriorating flight conditions.

Today, while the ‘natural’ inclination of many business owners and solopreneurs is to ‘do nothing’ different than you have done in the past, I submit that may be just as deadly as pilots who do the wrong thing at the wrong time in flight.

What is called for now is action, not IN-action.  But appropriate action.  And that would be . . . to proactively market your business in a manner that reflects:

1. a candid, honest understanding of your business — strengths AND weaknesses,
2. the marketplace you seek to attract and serve, and
3. a proven and systematic plan for taking coordinated actions to build your business or practice services . . . effectively

Doing ‘no thing’ IS a decision.  And, it may be the best decision you can make. At times.  But it’s usually not a deliberate decision as much as it’s a default decision because many of us are simply not being proactive about the ‘sea of troubles’ on the horizon that are waiting for anyone who’s in business in 2012.

My Respectful Recommendation . . . Do Something . . . By Design, Not Accident

As tempting as it is to ‘do nothing’ and ‘hope this economic storm blows over’ that strategy is just as deadly to your business as a ‘graveyard spiral’ is to an inexperienced pilot.

As difficult . . . scary . . . unsettling . . . makes-me-feel-like-throwing-up . . . as it may ‘feel’ to you . . . DO SOMETHING to make your business what you want it to be . . . by design, not accident.

Staying the course, given the current economy, is probably not the best course of action you can take these days.  Remember the old saying, “Doing what you’ve always done isn’t going to get you anything different”.  Today, that can also get you killed.  Times have changed.  We must change, too.  Or, suffer the consequences.

Doing what you did to build your business in the past may need some adjustments to make your business remain successful in these turbulent days.

Yes, you risk making a mistake when you do something new.  And none of us want to make mistakes.  But remember that doing nothing is still a decision to do something — ‘nothing’.  And doing ‘nothing’ has it’s own consequences — positive and negative.  But they’re not consequences you’re creating.  They’re consequences you’re being forced to accept because you’re abdicating your personal responsibility to make decisions and take actions critical to your own success.

No one has ‘all the answers’ to this economy or the best ways to respond to it for your business.  But please . . . don’t do no-thing because you didn’t already consider doing some-thing else.  At least make doing no-thing a deliberate and thoughtfully considered decision.  It might be the correct course of action for you and your business.  But for many, like Hamlet said, “taking arms against a sea of troubles . . .” will be far more likely to end them.

So . . . do your homework . . . seek the counsel of your trusted advisors . . . then do some-thing to market your business or practice.  Yes, even if it is no-thing.  But do it deliberately.  You and your business will come through these challenging times and yes, you WILL be better for it when (not if) the economy eventually improves.

KEY POINT:
Life is what YOU make it.  Choose wisely.  Act decisively.  And, enjoy success . . . because you’re worth it! 

If you’re a business owner in 2012, you’re an exceptional individual.  You’ve survived one of the most challenging economic periods in history.  Congratulations.  You’re amazing.

At the same time, I bet that merely ‘surviving’ financially is not why you want to be in business.  Business is (and, I’ll reveal my own bias here) about growth!

There’s a Secret for Growing Revenues?
YES!  Years ago, as a management consultant at a large international trade association, I was mentored by a Gordon A. Kratz, CLU.  Gordon developed a process, delivered by myself and other consultants, that significantly increased the rate of growth for companies who used our process — relative to their peers that did not use our process.  It’s called The Profit Project™.

Release Strengths by Reducing Limitations
No company is perfect.  You have factors going for you (strengths) and factors going against you (limitations).  The secret is to leverage your strengths by reducing your limitations.

For example, if you have a great product but an ineffective distribution system, you want to work on your distribution system.  Improving your product, while easier, will not do as much to help you increase your revenues or growth.

Or, assume you’re generating leads, but your people aren’t servicing your customers.  In this case, training your people to create an ‘exquisite customer experience’ will get customers coming back –– with the higher margins for profit and growth their sales suggest.

Knowing What To Address Is Just The Beginning
Once you’ve isolated the addressable (key word!) ‘limitations’ in your business, you want to set goals to eliminate them. For each goal, you want to build an action plan to make it real. That gives you what every business owner wants — control –– of your future.

KEY POINT:
Growth reflects a process that is best implemented with advice from a consultant outside of the management team that is engaged in the daily operation of your business.

Once again, I’ve found the secret of being highly competitive.  SERVICE!

Missed Opportunity #1:  The Bank
My wife recently received a notice from her bank that, because she has had no activity in her account (it’s a CD and we let it roll over), unless she presents herself to the bank, her funds will be turned over to the state of CT as ‘unclaimed funds’.  Joyce wasn’t too happy at the way the bank was handling this.  Evenso, she went to the bank to let them know she was ‘still active’ and to not turn her CD over to the State of CT.

The Bankers from Hell
While my wife is waiting to talk with the branch manager, she’s sitting next to where the teller windows are located.  One customer approached a teller to make a withdrawal.  Another teller — not the one working with him — sees what he’s withdrawing and says (out loud!), “Wow — that’s a lot of money!  Are you going to buy a house or what?  Or maybe you’re going to the casinos?  If so, I’ll go with you with that kind of cash”.

My wife was appalled.  The man was clearly uncomfortable.  And not one staff person said anything to the offensive teller.

It Gets Worse!
When my wife got to speak with a manager about her ‘unclaimed asset’ account, the manager couldn’t get someone from the bank’s home office to take her call to explain how to process the form my wife received — and the manager was not familiar with it (great training!).

The manager apologized to my wife saying, “I don’t know why they’re not picking up”.  (Yeah?  Well, I think I do!)

The Most Egregious Sin of All
What’s so sad about this situation is that this bank is currently running a TV commercial showing how they go to great lengths to ‘service’ their customers.

In one commercial, a branch manager actually opens up her branch early because one of her valued customers forgot her passport in a safe deposit box and needed it to go on a trip.  That’s why ‘marketing’ and ‘operations’ need to align or the customer will suffer and then so will the revenue-stream they generate for this bank!

Long story short, this bank’s inability to know what their staff is doing that creates a negative experience for their customers, or train them to perform in a professional manner and have managers who will not tolerate it when they perform badly . . . has cost it our business.  In America, we ‘vote’ with our pocketbooks and wallets.

With unprofessional / unacceptable behavior tolerated from their staff and the commercials being run on television I think this bank needs to take a long, hard look at their operations rather than which media they can use to push a message that is out-0f-touch with the reality they deliver in-person.

KEY POINT:
What your business DOES speaks so loudly it matters not what you SAY in your marketing materials.  Your behavior communicates more powerfully than anything else to your customers.  Don’t ever forget that!

I hope you’d enjoy this brief trip back down ‘Memory Lane’ with me.  I sure did!

The Wizard of Oz contains the secret of business GROWTH.

You need (at least one!) a clear GOAL and a PLAN (of action) designed to help you reach it.

The other thing you need to be successful is . . . ACCOUNTABILITY!

Follow, Follow, Follow, Follow . . . Follow The Yellow-Brick Road!”
In the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy has a clearly defined GOAL — to go the the Emerald City and find  the ‘great and all-powerful Wizard of Oz’.  After that she had another ‘bigger’ goal — to get back home to Kansas.  And, just like Dorothy, your business has multiple goals that all depend on still other goals to become realities.

Every business has a basic and clearly defined Goal — generate revenues and . . . profit.

Early in the story, Dorothy gets a road-map (literally!) to reach her goal – when the Munchkins tell her to, “Follow the Yellow Brick Road”.  (That was the 1939 equivalent of our modern GPS!)

But what happened to Dorothy?
She manages (catch my humor, there?) to recruit some staff members.  But she soon learns that her staff is far from perfect!  Tin-man has no heart (legal department?).  Scarecrow has no brains (operations?).  And the cowardly Lion has no courage (the sales force?).

Great way to start the process of achieving her goal!  Maybe you can relate?

The Wicked Witch of the West
The wicked witch represents the ‘force’ that makes many things ‘go awry’ during the implementation of any plan.  So it wasn’t surprising that Tin-man was threatened with water so he could rust again, Scarecrow was set on fire and Lion was scared into catatonic paralysis.

Later, Dorothy’s entire staff was easily distracted by being made to fall asleep by the Wicked Witch in the poppy field scene — making her ‘easy picking’ for those winged monkeys!

And THAT is why if you want to be successful . . . you need a Goal, a Plan and you need to be held accountable for doing what you planned to do in the first place.

KEY POINT:
Success reflects a PLAN to reach a GOAL and some way to be ACCOUNTABLE for doing whatever it takes to reach your goal and achieve success. 

 

I’m often asked about the ‘funny’ name of the marketing organization that I represent —
Duct Tape Marketing.

There’s a great story behind HOW the name came to be but … I digress.  ‘-)

What is more important, is why Duct Tape Marketing exists and why, in 2005, I become affiliate with this fine organization of people that began in Kansas City, MO and now has over 80 of my colleagues in every part of the world.

Enjoy . . .