Have you ever been out in public, bored or not knowing what to do and your first reaction is to grab your phone? You do it all the time. On dates, with family, during meetings, that device is becoming the death of you.
Just like any child you need to understand what you’re doing so eventually you can leave your security blanket behind.
I really encourage people in our office to turn off notifications on their phones. All that beeping and buzzing is annoying, really think about what those notifications are. Facebook? Instagram? Snapchat? Email? Really what you’re doing is getting small shots of dopamine to your brain, it’s exciting, it’s verifying you’re “cool” but how much of it is just noise?
Seth Godin has long been an inspiring figure around our office. His “be remarkable” mantra has been the foundation of a lot of what we do at Strat Lab. For a time our logo even incorporated Seth’s “purple cow” concept. So when I began searching for podcasts to listen to during my drives to and from the office and meetings last week Seth’s name naturally came up. While Seth doesn’t appear to keep up a regular weekly podcast himself, he makes frequent appearances on all manner of podcasts to do with marketing, business, and life. I happened to stumble across Krista Tippett’s amazing show On Being and cued up her interview with Seth, during which he dropped a concept that blew my mind a little bit.
It’s like this. There are two distinct schools of thought when it comes to society and the economy. One is that people by their nature need stuff. Their main motivation is to buy as many “things” as possible. Success is determined by the number of things you have versus the people around you, and businesses should strive to create the shiniest things for the lowest possible price. Seth calls this mindset the “Walmart Economy”. Doesn’t quite sounds right, does it?
The other school of thought says that people don’t actually care about things all that much anymore. Our generation has gotten used to the instant gratification that comes with having “stuff” and its appeal has drastically worn off for us. Gone are the days when people prided themselves for having a slightly better barbecue than their next door neighbour. Instead, people only really care about things that can give them one of two things: Time and personal connections.
These are the two things we find ourselves lacking more and more as we seem to get busier and more plugged into a digital world that feels increasingly isolating. We tend to focus less on the bells and whistles of a product or service and instead prefer things (be it a gadget or an app) that save us much-needed time that we can spend doing things that we actually want to do. If it doesn’t save time, it better create ways to connect with other people in a meaningful way. Products that create communities give people the validation they used to get from having the shiniest new car. As a society that feels increasingly disconnected from one another, the companies that allow us to connect with like-minded people are the ones that will get our business.
This is the future Seth sees. In the world of Amazon where we can quickly and easily get the things we need with the click of a button, the things we want will be entirely things that achieve these two ends. So ask yourself, is my business saving people time or connecting people? If not, it might be time to rethink your widget.
You can judge a company by the way their people treat you
There was a moment I’ll never forget that made up my mind we needed to unfriend them on Facebook. A Stratlabber was on the phone with one of this companies main people and the conversations went something like, “do you think I have time to figure out where you’re going to setup your camera’s? I have more important things to do with my time.” It was harsh, it was completely uncalled for and I couldn’t believe someone would be so pompous. The ironic part was we were doing a video on this companies new and innovative approach to their industry. Wow, did we feel dumb. We trusted them. We put their logo on our website as a pride piece (have since taken it off).
It’s 2017 if you want to berate someone over the phone because you think they’re wasting your time all the power to you, but just know there are consequences. You can’t yell at someone too many times before they stop listening and stop caring all together. It’s a sign of your culture, if your people are that stressed out on the job that they scream and yell at the folks they’re working with, something needs to change. I don’t think you can operate like that for very long. Turn over increases, quality decreases, and anyone working there isn’t doing because they want to, but because it’s just a job.
Lie to people
It’s unethical. It’s immoral at times. But if you want to be the best salesperson around just lie to people. Stretch the truth, “you look great in that shirt!”, “You definitely need the F-350!”, “You should go with the full rebrand package, it’ll be the best for your company!”
Lying to people may help you make a sale but you’re ruining a future relationship. People don’t forget.
There was a story of Patagonia, the retailer. They are known for being kind to the earth, their customers, and employees. I heard a story about an all-star salesperson. She was easily making her budgets sometimes setting records in the company for sales. So much success that the CEO had to go see how this person was doing such a bang-up job!
The CEO goes to the store to congratulate the employee, but instead instantly fires her on the spot. He had just witnessed this “all-star” employee lie to a customer so that they would buy a jacket. The CEO explained in a heartfelt email that Patagonia doesn’t want to simply just sell products, they help people what whatever it is they need. Over-selling to someone is a great way to lose a customer forever.
Just help people, no questions asked
The problem is people trust you, when you’re in a position of power (yes any salesperson is in a position of power) people look up to you, they assume you have their best interests in mind. When you take someone’s trust and use it to increase your sales, you will lose. Maybe not immediately, but in the long run you can’t keep finding new people to sell to, you’ll run out of repeat customers and won’t understand why.
You’ll blame marketing or sales. You’ll put more pressure on your salespeople, they won’t like that, they either get sleazier and “make a sale at any cost” or they quit. Both terrible options for the long-term viability of your company. Every time someone leaves, they tell more people about what you’re doing. It’s easy to blame marketing or sales for business strategy problems. Maybe it’s time you took your team off commission based pay, it’s ruining relationships.
I still think the worst people are the people who lie to you to help themselves out. The worst. Putting money before people is wrong.
Stop blaming “sales” start reinventing “how you sell“
No one likes “selling”. I mean they probably LOVE the money from it but c’mon, convincing people to buy your wares? What is this? 1933? No one wants to buy from you. We want to be entertained, we want our friends to tell us about you, we want to fall in love what you do.
That’s hard, any new strategy in 2017 will be, but as long as your strategy is difficult you’re on the right track. Stop trying for the “easy sell”. The low hanging fruit exists in every industry, don’t fall for that, do what’s hard.
Go for the long sale. Don’t over sell. Remember, everyone has a much better memory now that you share on Instagram every day.
We remember when people fuck us over
It’s hard to forget when someone uses and abuses us and our wallets. If you do it, or work for a company that does it, be prepared for people to never hire you ever again. I remember people from 10 years ago that made a sale, not caring about the consumer (me), you just remember the feeling you got after. It’s very unpleasant.
You don’t need to make that extra recommendation. You don’t need to oversell to everyone, McDonald’s does that, you don’t need to.
How do you “sell” in 2017?
You be really, really, good. Give people a reason to hire you. Show the value in what you bring to the table and believe in yourself. Word-of-mouth has been and always will be the most powerful form of marketing, use it to your advantage.
Find moments to do the right thing, when there’s no monetary value
Caring about your people, helping other organizations in your community, doing the right thing because it’s the right thing to do. This is the new competitive advantage. Leopold’s and Victorias group in Regina, every year in December give away thousands of dollars to charities in the communities they operate. Victoria’s alone gave away $12,000 last year at Christmas time. When you have a choice of when to eat or drink it hard not to at least consider going to Leo’s or Vic’s because you probably know someone who was affected by the give-a-ways. I know I was.
A post shared by Leopold’s Tavern (@leopoldstavern) on
A post shared by Victoria’sTavern (@vicstavern) on
Both Leopold’s and Victoria’s had to do something different this past December, so why not try help in the fight against drinking and driving? Yup, offered free rides during the month of December is what they did! These are pubs that serve food and all they do for marketing is try to be “a good corporate citizen” is what business school called it, I call it the new cool! Because caring about your community is the new cool.
A post shared by Leopold’s Tavern (@leopoldstavern) on
Hardpressed coming into the Queen city to sell their wares!? How do they get away with it? They are a Saskatoon company and people from Regina simply LOVE their clothing. Why? Yes it’s very comfy, yes it’s very stylish, but last year Hardpressed donated $8,000 to Carmichael Outreach after one of their pop-up sales. Do you want me to love you forever? Support the Non-profits that mean a lot to me. Hardpressed, Leopold’s and Victoria’s have done just that.
I’ll support these to organizations because at their very core, they believe in doing the right thing as a part of their business model. That’s something I can get behind.
Loving others begins with being able to love yourself.
On a recent Tim Ferriss podcast I was listening to, Morgan Spurlock tells the story of Touré visiting Kanye West at his home.
“He went to Kayne’s house. So he’s inside Kanye’s house, and inside Kanye’s house there’s a big, giant picture of Kanye, like, right inside the living room. And so Toure said to him, he goes, Kanye, why do you have a giant picture of YOU on the wall?’ And Kanye goes, Well, I gotta cheer for me before anyone else can cheer for me.'”
And that’s why Kanye West has a picture of Kanye West in his own house.
You have to be your own champion first. If you can’t cheer for yourself, why would anyone else cheer for you? An important lesson Kanye West has taught me.
Then today on Instagram I saw my friend Tiffany’s post. I commented on it but it made me want to post this story. Liking yourself isn’t easy sometimes but you have to try.
On the door of one of the offices at StratLab there’s a poorly designed poster with a weird smiling Alien that says (in Star Wars font) “GEBY”.
- Gratitude (showing you care about something or someone makes you appreciate it/them more)
- Exercise (see documentary “23.5 Hours” thanks Barb!)
- Breakfast (you need some fuel)
- You (do something for you)
Every morning if you do these four things you’re going to have a great day. Ironically, also learned on a Tim Ferriss podcast (the one with Noah Kagan).
What’s your hobby?
You have to start taking time out of your day to care for yourself. If you don’t know how to, ask someone how they do it. You’ll find it fascinating because generally no two people have the exact same things they do to take care of themselves. Or you’ll find people will give you a weird look like “I don’t do anything for myself I have (insert excuse here).” Generally I don’t keep exploring the conversation with those folks, they’re happily in their bubble of comfort.
Start loving yourself.
It’s rare in the business world. People are very willing to backstab a competitors, a coworker, even friends. People who do these things have no respect for themselves, and no respect for their reputation. In the end, you will be judged on how you treat others but also yourself. If you love yourself you have no reason to try to take stabs at others. You’ll have no reason to look at other people in a negative light. It all starts with loving yourself first.
In a society that profits from your self doubt, liking yourself is a rebellious act.
Betting on Zero, a chilling documentary on the reality of how far a business is willing to go to increase shareholder value.
I don’t like the stock market. This documentary reaffirms my beliefs in that.
The movie Betting on Zero is the tale of one venture capitalist versus another. A good battling evil story for the ages. But if you’re anything like me you probably Googled the company before the end of the documentary and were completely disappointed with our world.
Herbal Life is a pyramid scheme but it continues to grow and the stock price has increased since the movies release
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