Tuesday, 12 July 2011

What customers?

I read with interest in the latest BRW Magazine the ever growing pain in retail due to the 'sudden' rise of the internet. Sudden?

I also watch with interest as retailers continue to stick to old ways of doing business, become highly irritable, like it's our fault, and resort to being extremely annoyed with the world.

It is clear that if you 'wait' for the economy to pick up, the implications of a carbon tax or the internet to change, then you will disappear as quick as change happens. You must get on the front foot now!

Look at this great example http://fiveminutetheatre.com/. Traditional theatre is attractive to a narrow band of audience who can afford it or love it. Dress up at home, go out, glass of champagne and black tie etc. In Scotland, to attract a broader audience, an amazing concept has been developed where five minute theatre is conducted in the cities over a 24 hour period to contact a wider audience. Lots of critics " It will never work" and lots of people blocking. Guess what – a roaring success and highly acclaimed by the critics, well done.

What did it take? Creativity, energy and resilience just like the Sales Cat.

Tips, traps and trips.

If you are going to survive in modern retailing you need to engage and build value based relationships now. Who are your tribe and what do they get from the retail experience with you? Do you have data on your customers? Do you know where they live what they like? Get to know them and what they need in life to be better. Like all relationships spend time getting to know them. Start a blog with them.

Smile and greet! Yes I know a basic but how often do you get an angry, don't bother me I'm busy response? Every week for the past 12 months I go with friends to a conveniently located coffee shop. They still don't know our names, we don't know theirs even though we sit in the same place every week and order the the same thing. Will they notice when we go for a better relationship or better coffee? Who would they call if we did?

Please get to know your customers and their specific stories fast before the internet gets to know them better than you and takes their business away.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Talent + Practice + Opportunity = Success

Last week I went to the grudge match between old rivals Essendon Grammar School, coached by the great Ken Fletcher, and Assumption College, the Kilmore based private school coached by the legend Ray Carroll (41 years coaching juniors).

At the lunch I heard two wonderful stories:

Firstly, the injured Essendon Football Club midfielder Jason Wunderlich described his amazing journey from Thorpedale to the EFC. In his early years he loved footy, just loved it. He would play under 16's, under 18's and seniors all in one day! In one year he played an amazing 57 games of senior footy. So his talent is footy. His practice was many thousands of hours of practice, training and playing this unique game. His opportunity came playing AFL, of which very few juniors make it to the top. His success, yet to come but who knows?

The second example of this equation working was then hearing Aaron Sayers tell his story ( www.essendon.baseball.com.au/?Page=75173). He has been drafted as a 17 year old to the big league in the USA. Here is the equation again. Dad takes him to baseball game and he falls in love, connects to his talent. Practices seven days a week while his mates are getting boozed. Opportunity came through being seen by a talent scout who then signed him up. Success will come having now met this bright young man, wow what a star.

Interestingly when I approached these two young guys and discussed the theory they agreed, however Jason posed a great question. "What about Damien Prevrill?" The 144 game tagger for EFC had no talent he quipped! However, he went on to comment, in the absence of that, the guy did double the amount of practice, much more than any other player according to Jason. Clearly what he lacked in talent he made up in practice but he did have a starting passion.

So what does this all mean for sales people and sales leaders?

If you have the talent or deep passion for the game of sales and you are prepared to work hard at getting better at your skills then opportunity and success should follow. Recognise your skills and your gaps and never stop learning. Only the best get to the top by relentless practice and learning however, what clearly kicks off their journey is the discovery of their raw talent or passion.

Do you know any other Talent + Practice + Opportunity = Success stories?

Let us know.