Archive | Play To The Crowd

03 January 2011 ~ 0 Comments

digging up

digging up

Find the positive in everything, even disasters, and start from there.

By default, everyone tends to be negative. It’s an easy state to move toward and most people around you will silently agree and follow the downer attitude. “It’ll never work”, “it’s a sign to stop”, “this wasn’t meant to be” etc.

But it can work. Nothing has to stop. Whatever happened can continue if you really believe it should and you want it to. Whatever happens next is up to you.

Any event, however tragic or even neutral, can have a positive outcome or derivative. There is always a very high possibility that something good can come out of a bad circumstance – you need to deliberately look for it to see it and pursue it.

This is not an endorsement to become the “everything is rainbows, puppies and snowflakes” kind of person. Those people are irritating and lack any level of credibility, tagged as frivolous and often viewed with the same contempt as the ever-happy and equally shallow “Mr Motivator” type of person.

Desperately seek out what can be salvaged from any bad situation you find yourself in, dig deep and look for anything that can be turned around and, most of all, never let the contempt, apathy and resignation that bad things attract consume you too.

- Almost everyone tends to be negative by default.
- Find anything that can be salvaged or learned and used in a bad situation and pursue that.
- Be a positive realist and never, ever become Mr Motivator.

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14 August 2010 ~ 1 Comment

how big?

how big?

My new camera has a 14MP sensor. That’s 2MP more than my previous camera and 13.5MP more than my first. If I wait a year the company who made my new camera will have a model with even more megapixels, and so will their competitors. And it’ll likely be cheaper than the camera I just bought?

The pace of consumer electronics forces this, right? Yes. Almost.

The real battle started the instant a camera manufacturer added the megapixel count of their camera to a website, brochure or press release. That set the metric for competition and the goal to beat for competitors.

Does a 14MP camera take a better picture than a 10MP camera? Not necessarily. Sensor size, noise ratio, ISO capability etc. all play a role, but we only make comparisons based on one number.

However, in the same way Eric Clapton can knock out an incredible tune on my $90 acoustic guitar far better than I ever could, it’s the photographer who makes the difference with the technique and subject matter of the photos they take and not the megapixel count of the camera.

Bragging about numbers creates a measurement for comparison. This turns into a key metric for your competitors to measure themselves by and use against you.

As the measurement grows into smaller/faster/cheaper realms, price stays the same or even decreases and you will end up fighting a pricing battle around the measurement. More for less. The commoditization means that the primary winner is the consumer (and this is okay too!).

The alternative is to avoid measurements altogether, even if your competitors use metrics to sell. Especially if your competitors use ’speeds and feeds’ to sell.

For example, the latest iMac is ‘The ultimate all-in-one’. Two important parts to this:
- it does not tell me how fast, how much or how many. If you want to find out processor speed or how much memory is installed, you can but it’s nowhere near the front edge marketing.
- the marketing leads with what this computer means to me, the prospect who might buy this computer. It’s an all-in-one. Everything’s packed into the screen. Cool – if that’s what I’m looking for. If not, I can quickly move on to something else.

By comparison, the Dell equivalent leads with:
Compact, space-saving Vostro 230 Slim Tower
Includes Intel Core 2 Duo processor, Genuine Windows® 7 Home Premium, 2GB memory, 250GB hard drive, DVD-ROM, Dell E2010H 20 inchs widescreen monitor, Trend Micro 15-Month Security Subscription

Lots of measurements and points for comparison. Lots of reasons to look elsewhere for smaller/bigger/faster/more for cheaper.

Pack the ruler away and lead with what you’re selling will means to improving the life of the customer instead.

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23 July 2010 ~ 0 Comments

blind date

blind date

Before you begin any business endeavor, marketing initiative or anything that’s going to involve you and an audience, do not proceed without being able to answer these six questions to yourself:

The Perfect Customer

1. Picture the your best possible customer. The best, most profitable customer who would also refer more business to back to you. Now answer this question: how would I be able to identify your ideal customer?

2. The most important thing about your ideal customer is the common need, frustration or desire that they share, that your business can resolve. Describe this problem as briefly as you can.

Your Incredible Difference

3. You need to uncover and communicate a way in which your business is different from every other business that says they do what you do. What is different, intentional or unintentional, about your business in the minds of the people you work with?

4. What is it about your product or service, the way you do business or the passion you bring to your work that makes your business different?

Your Service Experience

5. When prices are more or less the same and feature/functionality is only marginally different, attention and selection criteria turns to the service experience with a company. What service innovations should your business be bringing to your customers? (when answering, think about all the things your business could do for our customers that would make them naturally come back to you the next time they have a decision to make)

6. Doing what is expected of you is critical to your existence as a company, however what must you do beyond this to surprise and delight your customers?

(credit to John Jantsch’s Duct Tape Marketing for these targeting concepts)

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19 July 2010 ~ 0 Comments

the crew the target

the crew the target

To polarise iron filings, a magnet is required. To direct people, you need to have and let everyone know about your vision.

Your vision is your view on the core purpose and idealogy of your company or endevour, the passion that drives it and the pleasure you aim to convey to the people you are doing this for. The vision is not a blah blah document, but instead a short and concise statement that will drive decision making and people to fulfil the company and brand’s role in the world.

For example, Southwest Airlines is a low cost airline whereas Jet Blue stands for safety, caring, integrity, fun and passion. Any employee inside these two companies uses this as a bearing to guide their decisions to match the bigger direction.

From the vision you can derive what core values you and your people (and, by extension, your brand) should follow, the core purpose and the visionary goals you’re going to aim for to achieve the vision.

But why have a vision? Everyone wants to know where to go. This points them in the same direction, toward the target you’re aiming for.

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17 July 2010 ~ 0 Comments

transfer point

transfer point

Sales people are not engineers. Engineers are not sales people.

Great sales people are extremely charismatic. Well dressed charmers. They reach out, connect, find common ground, establish rapport and convince. Their attitude, tonality and body language adapts to the interaction with other people as they paint an attractive landscape that eventuality leads to trade. They dance as they reduce the risk for change and make what they have in their toolkit the most attractive option for the prospect’s problem.

They are up and they are down. They are emotional and passionate. Success for a sales person is measured as the grand finale act of convincing someone to commit to something they didn’t know they wanted. Every step to reach that point is an exercise in change and analysis and more change.

Real engineers live to solve problems. Instead of the rapidly altering emotion of a sales person, an engineer aims for a point and seldom alters the course until all the relevant data is captured, analyzed and pieced together to reach the solution.

Each problem is a jigsaw puzzle and work continues until it’s solved. A constant flow of thought and activity, trial and error until the goal is reached and the jigsaw completion.

Having a sales person guide engineers is to restart the jigsaw puzzle in every interaction. To have engineers be a component in a sales cycle is to inhibit the fluidity of the conversation and rapport. Each has a different set of motivators and path to success.

When the sales person has done their convincing, insert a transfer point between then and the when engineers being to enact the change agreed to with the client. Purposefully move from a state of conversation to one of action by itemizing the problem and the commitments made to resolve those problems.

Then let the sales person move to the next convincing situation and have the engineer focus on solving the problem.

This may come across as relatively obvious and even, possibly, old fashioned advice. In the modern world we tend to assume that the world is full of change and everyone must be able to accommodate this and people are more or less the same (this, I fear, is narrowed by most people’s built-in assumption that everyone is like THEM). To bridge gaps, technical frameworks exist to embrace change to shorten delivery cycles and bring sales people and engineers closer together.

This is fantastic news, however sales people are sales people because they are driven that way; the thrill and art of convincing and the commission for turning it into trade. The engineer isn’t driven by the same factors, but instead needs quiet time to solve the problems they are handed.

Ideologies of a worldwide ‘group hug’ aside, recognize these differences and be the transfer point between the two worlds when a sale needs to turn to action. In all other stages and steps, keep the two worlds separated.

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08 July 2010 ~ 0 Comments

speechless

speechless

If you find yourself in a situation where you’re surrounded by people you don’t know and are struggling to think of what to say or talk about, keep these in mind…

1. Occasion
Why are you all gathered together? What’s special about this occasion? What’s about to happen?

2. Location
Where are you? Was it easy to find? What are some notable characteristics of the area? Have you been there before?

3. Weather
The constant failsafe for conversation openers. Hopefully you’ll never reach this point for conversation starters.

All three of these share a common element: we’re all in this together. Use that to build bridges with people.

Work with these openers to break a silence, but then move on to asking more about the people you’re with. Avoid question that solicit ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers. Instead, try ‘tell me your thoughts on…’ or ‘what do you think about…’.

Very little else keeps a conversation alive than having others talk about or answer questions on their favorite subject – themselves.

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17 May 2010 ~ 0 Comments

two for change

two for change

There are two layers to change: the people and the environment. Change only one and, well, no change.

People

This isn’t necessarily the physical person. Sure, there are people who don’t work out in the role that they are in. Many people are in a place where they really cannot succeed. Nobody is stupid, however everybody is good with at least one thing and this may not be that thing for this person.

People’s attitudes can and often change too. Add a few new faces to the environment and people will tend toward the people that are most like themselves or what they perceive themselves to be. Failing that, the person with the most promising story or aesthetically pleasing qualities. Yes, human beings are fickle that way (for example; the draw of the busty blonde sales girl in the technology sector remains, sexism aside, an incredibly effective mechanism to make sales).

If the environment stays the same, people and their attitudes default back to how things were. Even a new person will naturally gravitate to the behaviors and flow of the environment surrounding them, which is most often the same behavior as the person they succeeded.

Environment

The seating arrangements, the processes, the interactions between people, the way to gather people together, the communication channels, the nature and attitude of the communications, the lighting, the software packages, the color of the walls and flooring, the brand of coffee and what people wear all have a strong psychological effect on those immersed in the environment.

Cube farms are especially strong, unmovable constants in any environment. It’s almost a nest-like paradigm at play to those forced to be in them for eight hours every working day.

Change the environment and you begin to agitate the people in it. This causes discomfort, which is not a bad thing. It is change you are after, after all, and it is not going to come about without some element of anxiety.

However, changing the environment but not adapting or modifying people’s roles and purpose in that environment encourages the pull back to how things used to be.



Inspire the people you have to want to do something different, something infinitely better. Spend time with every person individually and find out what their one great skill or talent is then change their world to make the most of this for your business. Adapt the world around them to let them be the best they can at this.

As an example: if a person is in technical support, complaining about how the company is not helping the customers as best they should be… don’t beat them up for complaining. Don’t listen and ignore.

Change their responsibilities and put them in charge of customer support (and fire or move the person who is in charge of that today, as they may not be doing the best job they can be). Physically move their seat and desk and place them in a different setting. Tell everyone that this person is now in charge of how customer’s are dealt with. If this person wins, lots of other people win.

Shift the attitude of people and surroundings ninety degrees out of kilter from where it was and watch the change take hold and spread.

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27 April 2010 ~ 0 Comments

precision

precision

You want something done by someone by sometime. Yeh, let’s go do that. WHAT???

When you need people to do something, be very specific. Set a goal or objective and give it a deadline. Make it quantifiable and something that can be measured.

If there is a destination, people can go on a journey. People will go on a journey. This is ultimately what motivates people to be part of something.

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11 April 2010 ~ 0 Comments

same page

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31 March 2010 ~ 0 Comments

rocktoon – magic number

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