By Ted Janusz
Can you relate to this? John Wannamaker, the Philadelphia department store magnate, said “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.” But there is one form of marketing, that ALWAYS works … what is it?
WORD OF MOUTH!
Of course, now with the internet and social media, you could call it WORLD of mouth marketing. People are six times more likely to rely on the word of other people when making a buying decision rather than advertising.
In fact, 80% of consumer buying decisions are based on personal recommendations. Here’s why it works …
The average American adult knows 400 people … people you work with, went to school with, or people you know socially. If you assume each of those 400 people know 400 others (of course, there will be some overlap – but let’s keep it simple), you now have an immediate network of 140,000 people.
And if you assume those 140,000 people know 400 others, you are up to one-third of the US population. And what will people spread about your business, good news or bad? Right! Bad news!
Your average satisfied customer will tell 5 to 8 others. But your average upset customer (if you have any) will 10 to 16. In fact, one in five will tell 20 people how upset you have made them.
In their book Creating Customer Evangelists, authors Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba say, “Competition for entertainment dollars – where Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban says he competes – is fierce. To succeed, he must continually focus on increasing the average lifetime value of a Mavs season ticket holder. In 2002, that figure was $300,000, according to Cuban. “The Chicago Cubs, you’ve got to wait in line to get your season tickets,” he says. “That’s the goal … then I don’t have to spend lots of money on salespeople and all kinds of support efforts – I’ve just got to keep [customers] happy. It’s a lot easier to keep ‘em happy than to go out and get new ones to replace ‘em.”
Now the lifetime value of one of your customers may not be $300,000 like it is for the Dallas Mavericks. But once you determine what that value is for you, you’ll realize how important to keep those customers happy – since they, bar none, are your best source of marketing.
Ted Janusz, MBA, CSP is a Certified Speaking Professional who has delighted audiences for more than 5,000 hours, in 49 of the 50 United States, in Canada from Halifax to Vancouver, in Australia, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. Learn more at www.januspresentations.com.
If you’ve ever participated in a team-building activity, you’ve most likely observed how a seemingly benign activity can quickly go south. So, the next time you are tasked with organizing a team-building event, consider the following suggestions:
- Define your goals, time, resources and budget needed for your team building event.
- Search online or visit your favorite book store to generate tons of great (and fun) team building ideas from problem solving activities designed to increase workplace productivity to team collaboration.
- Interview your colleagues about their team building experiences, specifically what worked and what trip-wires to avoid.
- Depending on your budget constraints, consider hiring a local company who specializes in corporate team-building events. Type corporate team building in the internet search field to find a listing of companies in your area. Another excellent resource is the National Speaker’s Association at https://www.nsaspeaker.org/find-speaker/.
- Choose an inclusive team-building event (like the marshmallow and spaghetti challenge) so participants of all ages and physical capabilities will benefit from the event.
- Incorporate an element of fun and relaxation within your team building event such as a group photo to feature in your company newsletter and/or a recognition ceremony with silly awards. T-shirts, gift certificates from your local coffee shop or your company store are always fun and appreciated too.
- At least one week before your scheduled event, send a memo with event details. Knowing what’s ahead will minimize participants’ anxiety.
- Set-up the room/venue in advance of the event.
- Schedule enough time to debrief the activity at the end of the event Did it meet your goals? What worked well? What would you do differently?
- Write up a summary of the team-building experience and send it to participants following the event and thank them for their participation.
Finally, don’t get discouraged if your team-building event doesn’t produce profound results on your first attempt. “There is a great deal else going on other than the activity itself,” notes a recent article in Forbes. “Facilitators need to worry about creating feelings of trust, safety and connection among participants, while also making sure to communicate what the goals of the activities are.”
Share your tribal knowledge with others. Tell us what was your favorite (or worst) team building event.
Are you one of the thousands, perhaps millions, enacting your annual plan to drop those pesky 20 pounds as a New Year’s resolution? Maybe you’ve vowed to finally join a gym, pursue that new job, lose that bad relationship, earn that advanced degree or move to the city of your dreams.
On the other hand, maybe you’ve given up entirely because of the rather gloomy statistics; supposedly a whopping 80 percent of all New Year’s resolutions are soon discarded like so much crumpled gift wrap.
Of course, those who failed may not have been aware of how science can be applied to your New Year’s resolutions to increase your chances of success. Consider how these techniques may help you implement real behavioral change for the first time.
- Just do it. It is not just a Nike slogan, but Newton’s Law tells us what’s in motion tends to stay in motion. You may have to start really, really small to make yourself take that first step toward behavioral change.
- Schedule it. Instead of having a vague mental scheme, pull up your planner, establish sub-goals and adjust your schedule to make room for actions you must take.
- Simplify everything. Cut out complexities; for example, plan how you’ll have healthy food ready to eat if you’re frequently waylaid by after-work hunger and exhaustion.
- Build in rewards. Even little things work as positive reinforcement for behavioral change, concludes a study in Harvard Business Review.
- Shut up that inner voice. Because negative thoughts can eventually change neural connections in our brains, we must effectively counter them, reports Melanie Greenberg in Psychology Today.
- Lose the all-or-nothing attitude. If you fall off the wagon, give yourself at least a day to bounce back without repercussion.
- Be patient. Remember it takes an average 66 days to establish permanent behavioral change with a new habit.
- Plan for your triggers. Understand what pushes your buttons and why so you can better handle the feelings that result, advises Marcia Reynolds in Psychology Today.
- See sidesteps as research. “It’s not failure, it’s data — information you can learn from to make positive changes,” writes Elizabeth Lombardo in Psychology Today.
As they say, failing to plan is planning to fail. Think through your next New Year’s resolution to improve your chances of long-lasting behavioral change.
The life of an entrepreneur – or at least the idea behind that life – can seem enticing to just about everyone. You launch a new enterprise that makes millions – and maybe even changes the way people lead their lives. But why do some people follow through on such visions with great fanfare and success, while others fail miserably – or never follow through at all?
“There’s just this mindset that the very best entrepreneurs have that positions them for success when others around them are struggling and unable to stay the course,” says Peter J. Strauss (www.peterjstrauss.com), an attorney, entrepreneur and author of the upcoming book The Accidental Life.
Strauss says that anyone who is feeling the entrepreneurial tug, and wants to mimic the most successful entrepreneurs, would do well to consider these three points:
- Remember that fortune favors the bold. On the outside entrepreneurs may appear confident and assured in their actions, ready to take the steps needed to achieve success without hesitation. In reality, Strauss says, most successful entrepreneurs have a voice inside them imploring them to wait, to not take that chance. The difference between them and others is they ignore that inner voice. “In my career, I tried to prepare myself as best I could for my next step, but I always had to take a leap of faith to some degree,” Strauss says. “There’s never going to be perfect time or situation that is a guaranteed win. For any significant opportunity, there is always a risk.”
- Take the “life gives you lemons” approach. Things don’t always work out the way we hope, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept defeat. Strauss points out that Steve Jobs was once fired by the board of the company he founded. “Steve Jobs easily could have decided that his life as an entrepreneur was not meant to be,” Strauss says. “Instead, he built another company and eventually found himself back at the helm of Apple. Jobs knew that whatever happened, his was not going to be a story of failure.” It’s inevitable that life will throw you curveballs, he says, so learn to hit them. “The good news is that adaptability can be learned,” Strauss says. “The more you train yourself to see possibility in the curveballs, the more you will adapt to hitting singles, doubles and even home runs.”
- Understand the “family” connection. Businesses often describe their organizations as “family.” Sometimes that’s just lip service, Strauss says, but in the best corporate cultures the team respects one another and holds each other accountable – much like a family. “If you are in a leadership position, it’s up to you to instill this mindset and to be the role model for it in your company,” he says. He even discovered that the business family he created as an entrepreneur helped make him a better parent. “If I don’t set clear goals and expectations at work, I can’t be disappointed or surprised when my team falls short,” he says. “The same holds true at home. Framing expectations as a dialogue will make your family and your team feel valued.”
“Ultimately, no matter the obstacles, entrepreneurs just find a way to persevere and get the job done,” Strauss says. “But that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. There are real risks involved. People rarely see all the ins and outs and ups and downs of what it takes to reach a place where you feel real success.”
About Peter J. Strauss
Peter J. Strauss (www.peterjstrauss.com) is an attorney, entrepreneur and author of several books, including the soon-to-be-released The Accidental Life. He is the founder and managing member of The Strauss Law Firm, LLC, on Hilton Head Island, S.C, and also the founder and CEO of Hamilton Captive Management, LLC. He is a graduate of the New England School of Law and of Harvard Business School’s Owner/President Management program.