Tuesday, January 27, 2004
Thursday, January 22, 2004
Wednesday, January 21, 2004
Well, Howard Dean didn't do as well as expected. Since I am not a Howard Dean fan (I'm not Democrat or Republican) it really doesn't matter to me. You'll see the story I wrote before the Iowa Caucus below.
I think the lesson for business leaders is to never sit back and take things for granted. Also, I think Dean's outbursts didn't help him any. People shy away from those they deem too radical or tempermental. It might be a novelty for a while, but after seeing continued outrages, people want something more in the "middle" of the spectrum.
The applications for marketing on this are emormous. We have to think about how to present our messages in a more persuasive manner. I remember when I had a chance to talk with Tony Robbins a few years ago he talked about that extensively.
Tony was speaking to a group of speakers (the National Speakers Association - quite a group to speak to!) and he wanted to let them know the importance of doing more than giving a speech. Persuasion is the key.
This is the key for success in your business. You have to find ways to be more persuasive. Find commonalities. Find ways that they can have their problems solved by hearing your message.
So, the Iowa Caucus has taught all of us (particularly those involved) that things are not always the way we think they will be. Continual work is necessary.
Also, remaining calm and professional is critical!
Wednesday, January 14, 2004
By Terry L. Brock
It is amazing what you can learn by watching.
It is that time of year when the candidates are campaigning at a feverish rate to capture votes. Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina…they all sound like the Triple Crown of horse racing…and they are the triple crown of the 2004 Presidential Campaign!
As small business owners we can learn a lot from watching the candidates in what they do and how they do it. For this article I want you to disembark from whatever your particular political views happen to be. At least for a moment, put on the shelf how you feel politically about any particular candidate and come with me as we explore what one is doing right and what you and I can learn from him.
Let’s take Howard Dean, the former Governor of Vermont and the current (as I type this) leader of the Democratic candidates. What he has done in politics can teach us a lot about being successful in business. Again, put aside your political views whether you him or not. The man is the leader in his party and has done so against a lot of opposition.
Dean was a long-shot candidate. Most people outside Vermont (even in nearby New Hampshire and New York) had not heard of him, let alone know anything about him before a few months ago.
Are you like that in your small business? Are you an unknown in a sea of competitors? Are you buried in the clutter of other options for your buyers? What can you do to stand out and get the attention you need to succeed in business?
Howard Dean realized that he would have to use something other than the traditional media. His opponents, largely Washington-based establishment candidates, relied (and still rely mainly) on traditional media of television, radio and newspapers. Dean relies on the Internet and the people that will turn to the Internet.
He uses the Internet for two key purposes: 1) Generating enthusiasm among his core followers and 2) Raising money (a critical area in any political campaign).
This is not that much different from what you do in your business. You have to stay in touch with your core (current customers). You also have to attract new customers (prospects). You also need a platform to communicate your position about your service, your product and what you can do for customers. This is critical.
If you don’t have an e-mail newsletter now (an e-zine) get one as soon as possible! You need to stay in touch with people that are customers to educate them about your products, your services and what you can do to help them solve their problems. You need to offer them special reasons to buy from you (discount price, new products, unique offerings that only they can get as customers, etc.).
Dean has had a lot of criticism for comments he’s made. Right or wrong, he answers them on his website to his followers and not so much to the press at large. You can answer questions to your customers and let them know the pros and cons of issues related to your industry, your products, etc. If you are reading this article, you need to have a few articles on your website that describe common problems your customers encounter and how your products or services can solve them.
Howard Dan relies heavily on the Internet and targets “customers” that like his “product.” He doesn’t worry about those that don’t like him or his message. In fact, he has emerged as the leader of the Democrat candidates because of his strategy.
A quick look at his website, http://www.deanforamerica.com/, shows video, articles and other information to rally his supporters. The recent endorsements from Al Gore, Bill Bradley and Tom Harkin were designed to garner support from many that have supported these candidates.
How are you doing with testimonials? This is one of the biggest selling tools available. If you are not asking each customer (yes, all of them!) for a testimonial letter you’re missing some great opportunities. Get your own personal endorsements.
Finally, Dean knows technology. Maybe it is his background as a medical doctor, but he knows how to use the Internet. I’m not talking about being a techie here. Far from it. I’m talking about knowing how to leverage the power of the Internet, use articles, use rich multi-media and have instant, powerfully persuasive communication with supporters.
Remember, this is all about studying someone who is doing things right. You don’t have to agree with his politics to admire his tactics. Hey, General George S. Patton studied Field Marshal Erwin Romel back in WWII. Are you studying your competition to see what they’re doing right? Are you looking at other industries to see what they are doing right and wrong?
Successful small business owners read everything they can get their hands on. They learn from everyone. They ask a lot of questions. They listen a lot. Then they implement strategies and learn what works and what doesn’t. It is a never-ending campaign for the successful small businessperson.
For the record, I’m not supporting any candidate now and no, I’m not Republican or Democrat. Study what the candidates are doing and apply their successful principles to your business. A lot of lessons will be learned in the next few weeks. Drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org if you see some particular observations that your find insightful.
Happy campaigning in your own small business!
Terry Brock is an internationally recognized professional speaker, consultant and author in the fields of business productivity, technology and marketing. He is a syndicated
columnist for Biz Journals across America and can be reached at 407-363-0505 , by e-mail at email@example.com or through his website at www.terrybrock.com .
Copyright © 2004, Terry Brock, All Rights Reserved Internationally. No portion may be reprinted or used in any way without prior written permission. Permission granted to Biz Journals to use in regular publications.