Monday, 28 November 2011

What's The Risk?

On Sunday, the choir that I sing with, Mood Swing, performed at a memorial service for people who had died in the workplace. It is always a privilege to be part of this service and always disturbing to realise how fragile life is.

It made me think of the risks that people take in the work place. I have seen trades people working on a roof without safety barriers or safety harness. As a kid I recall jumping on and off moving tractors while feeding out hay. Plenty of people in offices have stood on swivel chairs with no support as they reach for something on top of the cabinet. Some of the risks we take can have severe consequences but take the risk anyway without thinking about it.

When it comes to financial risk, we are usually vigilant about minimising it. When it comes to our health and state of being, we seem to be willing to take significant risks.  Don't get me wrong, I am not saying "NEVER take a risk", I am saying "minimise and manage your risks". A life without risks is restrictive and detrimental, but suffering from unnecessary risks is foolish.

So in what you are doing, what's the risk? More importantly, how will you manage it and minimise it.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

There Is No Luck

Mt Buller

You may have noticed that today's Get More Goer is a day and a half late. I have a good reason for it. I was away with five of my friends and a couple of their kids for a four day weekend at Mt Buller. 

Some of you may be thinking, "how lucky."  

There is no luck.

Rather than spend a lot of money on a holiday house and then have to spend each visit there doing maintenance, the 6 of us have formed a B&B consortium. We all put $50 a month into the B&B fund and then every couple of months we go away for an extended weekend.  Not bad having a magic little break away all for less than a cup of coffee a day. No maintenance, no bills, no hassle just pure holiday bliss.

I have always believed that holidays (or a new car or a new piece of equipment or a new whatever you want) are not dependant on luck. They only take 2 things: Planning and Cash.  If your planning is good enough, you don't really need to worry about the cash.

So what do you want? What will you do to make sure that Luck plays no part in whether you get it or not? It just takes two things: Planning and Cash.


Thursday, 17 November 2011

What Do Little Old Ladies Know?

Too often we dismiss the little old lady. They look frail, mind their own business and get on with life. But I believe we can learn a lot from them.

Today as I was leaving the NSAA Presidential Breakfast with my Vice President, we saw a large semi trailer seeming stuck in a car park at a shopping centre.  It had hit the "too high" bar and the driver was busy on the phone trying to work out what to do.  The little old lady knew what to do.

Several drivers impatiently drove their car on the wrong side of the road to get around the truck. Other pedestrians, shuffled around avoiding everyone, but the little old lady knew what to do! 

She gracefully and with purpose went about her business walking toward the shops. As she crossed the road in front of the truck (whose driver was still on the phone) she gave him a big wave to say "thanks for stopping for me."

The Vice President and I cracked up laughing as it looked so comical. But that was when I realised that the little old lady was right. Regardless of whether the truck had stopped for her or not, she waved a thank you as if it did. She was courteous, graceful and focussed on what she needed to achieve for the day while realising that sometimes you will get support from unexpected places. Even if it merely a truck that has stopped where you need it to.

Too often the youth of today (and those who still wish they were the youth of today!) dismiss out of hand the lessons from those who have had more life experience. Today I got one from a little old lady just living her life.  

One of my favourite little old ladies, Betty White, recently gave her 10 Tips for Living a Long and Happy Life on the Letterman show.  If you want to see the video, click on her picture above. Here are some of my favourites from Betty:

  • Get at least 8 hours of beauty sleep, 9 if you are ugly
  • Avoid tweeting any photos of your private parts
  • Schedule a nightly appointment with Johnny Walker
  • Don't waste your time watching TV
  • Never dwell on past mistakes
  • Try not to die

What can you learn from the little old ladies in your life?

Monday, 14 November 2011

How Are Your Relationships?

I interviewed Yvonne Allen this morning and as you would expect, our topic was relationships. Not just intimate relationships but working relationships, friend relationships and even relationships with service providers.

It will come as no surprise to you to know that many of our relationships are suffering. While there is a large "man drought" for 25-45 year old women, there is also a lot of confusion with how to act and react. Yvonne refers to this as the "Gender Agenda". We seem to have a lot of confusion out there. Women who are told to be more like men to succeed and men who are told to be more like women to understand them. No wonder there is confusion!!

Yvonne's tips for relationship success include:
  • Start with the relationship you have with yourself and make sure it is healthy
  • Consider what the other person in the relationship (or you want in the relationship) wants and is looking for
  • Focus on the positives of the relationship
  • Communicate so that everyone knows exactly where they stand without having to read minds
  • Commit to the relationship so that it can grow in depth rather than ending at the first sign of trouble.
When Yvonne was talking I couldn't help but notice that these points are exactly what business needs as well. Think about your team, your suppliers, your direct reports, your boss, your customers, your friends and your family. Would applying Yvonne's tips help any of them?

So how are your relationships?

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Is It Tragic or Magic?

This week I was thinking of one of my parents friends. About 15 years ago their daughter (who was 19) was the passenger in a car that had a major accident. Unfortunately their daughter died. What is more tragic is that her parents stopped a lot of their own life then as well.  While their life continued, their focus was on their loss. Whenever they did something or went anywhere, there was always discussion about their daughter.

To me that is tragic. More the loss of their life than the loss of their daughters.

Life is full of bad things happening to good people. The question that is the biggest waste of time and energy is, Why. In my experience, you will never get an answer that satisfies you. There is always a further Why. The healthiest question is, What can I do about it? This gives you a course of action and a way forward.

Is your life Tragic or Magic?

For most of us, it can be either. It is completely dependent on your perspective. Take my own life. I could easily look at it being quite tragic.

  • I grew up in a small country town where I didn't drink or play sport so I never "fitted in"
  • Just as I was in my formative years I got sent to a school 90 minutes away on the bus.
  • It took me 12 months to settle in to the new school and make friends.
  • It was too far away to have friends over after school so I couldn't consolidate my friendships
  • I had to work on the farm and regularly cook for a family of 5
  • We had a massive vegetable garden I had to maintain
  • I didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up so I "fell" into a uni course I wasn't keen on.

Or it could be Magic

  • I grew up in a country town so I got to breathe fresh air and see the stars at night. It also gave me a friendly approach to people and an ability to talk to anyone
  • I was fortunate enough to go to school with high academic standard to set me up with a top class education
  • Having friends from all over the place enabled me to get some varied perspectives on life
  • I learn't to cook at a young age and could handle catering for larger numbers with ease
  • While I lived at home I ate organic vegetables without realising such a thing existied - I called them Vegetables!
  • I didn't know what I wanted to do after school so I took on a double degree to give me options for the future.

Zig Ziglar said that our attitude determines our altitude. Tragedies will strike, challenges will be faced, terrible things will happen to fabulous people and life will go on. It is up to us as individuals whether we see it as Tragic or Magic.

How do you see your life and your world? Is it Tragic or Magic?

Monday, 7 November 2011

Where Is It From?

Farmer Logo
In today's competitive market, it is easy to lose track of where our supplies come from or even who our suppliers really are. For those of us who are suppliers, this can be scary. All of a sudden, everything is dependent on being the lowest price. But who wants to be a low price supplier? As I wrote in an earlier post, no one wins a price war.

Let me tell you about Sir Francis (and if you are a bit sensitive about animals, you may want to skip to the next paragraph). Sir Francis is our pig, named after Sir Francis Bacon. He was lovingly raised by Lou and Stew from The Farmers Larder.  Wifey and I met Sir Francis and he was a cute little piggy. He is now in our freezer (all 62 KG of him) ready to be invited to dinner. When I tell friends about Sir Francis, some say, "How can you name and pat the pig you will eat?"

If I buy pork at the supermarket, I have no idea where it is from. I have no control over how the pigs were kept or cared for. Knowing my supplier, The Farmers Larder, I KNEW Sir Francis was loved, well cared for and humanely processed. I trusted my supplier to do what was in my best interest as well as theirs. In terms of cost, I was willing to pay whatever they told me (which turned out to be a great price).

Danielle from The Cartridge Family was talking to me about printer paper. I had always used Reflex and was happy with it. She educated me on AA paper and how it was better for the printer for a couple of reasons. Because I have a level of trust with Danielle, I will be switching to AA paper and I am yet to find out the price difference.

If you are a supplier, what are you doing to add value or at the very least, show the existing value to your clients? If your value proposition is strong and proven, price will not be a sticking point.

What about your suppliers? Where do your supplies come from? Is your supplier looking after your needs, not just short term price but your long term value? Now days, there is ALWAYS a cheaper version (typically from China) but never before has the adage "You get what you pay for" been truer.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Top 10 Tips of a Successful Exhibitor

1.         Set Goals
Too often people have no idea why they are exhibiting. They don’t know why they are on the stand, what the business is hoping to achieve or how “success” will be measured. You MUST know why you are there and “Branding” doesn’t count unless you have a strategy on how to measure any shift in brand awareness.

When asked why you are exhibiting, it is too easy to say “our competition is here”, “we did it last year”, “it’s our industry show”, “if we don’t do it, our competition will” or “it feels like the right thing to do”. These are not valid reasons. They are contributing factors but not reason enough alone.

Like all goals, your exhibiting goals have to be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time sensitive. How many sales, how many leads, what level of increase in brand awareness, how many people at new product launch, what level of customer feedback, what kind of customer research, how many join the loyalty program.

Once you know why you are exhibiting, make sure everyone on the stand knows the goal, that way they can work towards it.

2.         Pre Market
When you talk about Exhibiting, most people get all excited about how sexy the booth will look and what else will be at the show. Hardly anyone takes the opportunity to do the pre-marketing work prior to the show.

Don’t depend on the show organiser to bring in the crowds. Do your own marketing to your prospects, existing customers, target market and loyal fans to get them to the show. Consider a private function for your high worth clients to say thank you and have them bring an industry friend. 

Use the fact you are exhibiting as a focus of additional marketing. Consider a billboard near the exhibition hall or the airport (if people will be flying in for it). Maybe a joint venture advert with the exhibition organiser. What can you do to let others know that you own this space?

Whatever you do, don’t just wait for people to turn up on the day. Be proactive to get your target market to your stand and to the show. Typically the organiser will give you free tickets as part of your fee to exhibit. Be certain to use them to their best advantage.

3.         Booth Set Up
Don’t forget the booth is not about you. You think it is, your marketing department will insist it is, but it’s not. It is about your customer and your prospect. What will they want? What do you want them to do? Make sure you set it up so it is EASY for them to do what you want them to.

If you have signage make sure it is at eye height or above. If you put it low, one person in front of it blocks it for everyone.

If you want them to put their business card in a bowl, put the sign next to the bowl and make it easy to read.

If you have a show discount, have signage to let them know. A sign saying, “Ask me about the show discount” gets them engaging in a conversation. A sign saying, “50% off” gets them salivating. What do you want them to do?

By the way, it is ok to change the booth around. If what you have got is not working, move it. People from the morning session or the day before won’t remember and it may just be the boost to your show that you need.

4.         Plan for the Worst
In business (and in life) a motto for success is “Expect the best and plan for the worst”. As an exhibitor, this is your motto to live by. Plan on couriers not arriving, luggage being lost, signs falling down, your location changing and you won’t be disappointed.

At an international show, an exhibitor’s portable and easy-to-build stand did not arrive until noon of the third and final day of the show. Forklifts have pierced expensive machinery just as the show was being set up.

A trade show training colleague arrived at a trade show only to be told his exhibit had been moved as they had secured a high paying sponsor and they were now in his spot. He had done a load of pre-show marketing and was no longer at the stand number he had told his clients.

Deal with this by taking a deep breath and being prepared. Have a tool kit of gaffer tape, packing tape, scissors, Velcro, pins, and anything else you think you may need.  Carry some key posters and brochures with you on your carry-on luggage so that in a worst case you can stick some posters up in the booth space and engage with people.

Disasters occur on a regular basis in the exhibition world. What counts most is your ability to engage with people and satisfy their needs with your products and services. Not your booth, your location, your freebies, your branding or any other item. Make sure you can keep your cool and deliver when all around you is going to hell.

5.         Have Pick Up Lines
Exhibiting at a Trade Show, Expo, Market or Conference is exactly like speed dating. You are at a place surrounded by people who want what you’ve got. They are nervous, hesitant, shy and scared of making the wrong move to the wrong potential partner. You need to get their attention, attract them to what you’ve got and engage them into a lifelong, mutually beneficial relationship.

One thing that has proven itself for centuries is the well delivered pick up line. Make sure you have some. Naturally different ones work on and for different people. Find one that works for you and use it.

Make sure it is about the prospect and not about you. The reality is no-one cares about you; they are focussed on their own needs. Find out what the majority of your prospects are after and make it about that. Be a bit playful too. Business can be so boring so spice it up with some playful and humorous lines.

If the lines you have are not working, change them. If the ones you used successfully yesterday are not working this morning, change them. Do what it takes to get their attention and then engagement.

6.         Have Lead Cards
Collecting business cards is not enough. They are overwhelming and do not give a focus on what you need to do next. Have simple lead cards you can staple to the business card. This lead card can capture some basic but important info. Items like: 
  •          Priority – are they an A, B or C prospect
  •          Interest – what product or service are they interested in
  •          Follow-up – what day of the week is best to follow-up with them
  •          Budget – do they have a budget set aside for this purchase
  •          Reason – what is their main reason to buy
  •          Existing – who is their existing supplier

You can have a lot of this information in a checklist format so that a few simple ticks on an A5 sheet will give you valuable information you can use in your follow-up call.

7.         Be Present
If you are on the show floor, be on the show floor. Turn off your phone or computer (better still, leave them at home or in the room), focus on the prospect, and work toward achieving your goals. It is too easy to be distracted. Your firm will have spent tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of dollars for your time on the stand. Give those few days everything you’ve got.

Your feet will hurt. Wear your most comfortable shoes and toughen up. It’s only for a few days. DO NOT sit down. You will lose money. People will not approach you, you will start chatting to colleagues and not be present to the reason you are there.

Use the opportunity to market your booth. Have your out of office message on your phone and email tell everyone where you are and to come and visit, otherwise you will get back to them AFTER the show. Your job back at the office will wait and if it can’t have a well-trained back up dealing with it. The show floor is your job for the limited time it is on so give it everything.

If there was one tip of the ten to focus on, this would be it. Be there for your prospects and customers. The rest of the world will wait while you are on the floor.

8.         Follow Up
The half-life of interest in you and your product after you exhibit is 2 business days. By that I mean, in 2 days, they are half as interested as they were on the floor. Another 2 business days, they are half as interested again and so on.

What this means for you is book out the 2 days directly after you exhibit. These 2 days are to be used for follow up. Naturally you will have mountains of emails and phone messages. They will wait another two days, your show prospects won’t.

While a bulk email to your visitors may be easy, it is nowhere near as effective and results generating as a phone call. This is where your lead cards pay off big time. It is during the follow-up time that you put your visitors into your standard sales cycle and start the process with your A priority and B priority visitors.

9.         Measure
What gets measured gets improved. You also need to measure if your exhibit process was a success. Look back to your original goals, did you achieve them? If not, why not? What level of success have you experienced? What is the return on your investment?

Only by measuring can you establish whether you will exhibit at this particular event again next time. Granted you may need to commit to a couple of shows before you can measure the results but it is essential to measure your exhibiting success.

10.      Have Fun
As mentioned earlier, trade shows are speed dating, so have some fun with it.

People would much prefer to do business with people they like.  Enjoy your time on the floor. It is an absolute buzz and you will meet some amazing people as you do it.