The Stuff I Like

Stuff. The things, the places, and the feelings that I get from being around that stuff. It seems like a good place to start. A good way to look at how we all value the days, really the moments of the days, that we have in life.

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This is just me thinking at the moment. There are surely other ways to reflect on our emotions and feelings as we live day-by-day, but let’s just think a bit about times that we enjoy. About the tiny influences that change the momentary experience into something different than a bland or routine set of feelings.

The sound of the door closing on the VW beetle from my youth. It was solid, it felt like the car was sealed. It was very satisfying to the ear. Each time the doors opened or closed reaffirmed the wisdom of buying that car. Likewise, the heavy enamel paint seemed superior to the thin overspray seen back then inside the doors of US made cars. The car itself was modest. The cost was low. It was not very powerful, the heater was inadequate, the interior was small, and still, the Beetle was a cool choice. It brought satisfaction to many.

How about vent windows, as long as I am thinking about automobiles. I was content for years without air conditioning, having vent windows on my cars and trucks. Putting down the windows and popping open the vent windows to keep out the blast of air while driving was part of the joy of summertime driving. Why did the auto industry give up on those vents? Joy comes from little things much of the time.

How many details in our life have been scrubbed out that mattered to us? The smell and feel of an old library or bookshop, coffee brewing in the morning, a comfortable jacket. What can you think of?

I have a writing prompt that says, “Evoke a Feeling!”

What about in life? In business? Shouldn’t a business be trying to create satisfaction and joy for the customers? There seems to be an almost endless supply of these sorts of opportunities to bring customers to the realization that buying from you will be rewarding. That perhaps it can even touch the emotions that they haven’t been able to satisfy for lack of an empathetic supplier. Often it doesn’t cost much to fulfill the need.

Widening Our Topics

img_0694Until now, I’ve been posting here with the intention of influencing the reader to contact me about collaborating. I wanted to develop client relationships and had fully intended to head out and sell my proposition in person, as part of my business efforts. That never happened.

I find that I enjoy the writing process more than meeting face-to-face and selling my ideas. So I am going to shift my focus a bit. This site is going to become less about my thoughts and recommendations, and more far ranging; finding, reposting, and referencing ideas that business owners can use successfully to promote their products and their business brand.

Storytelling will still be a part of the mix, but why preclude other effect ways to reach out to the customers? Hopefully this will create a bigger picture with many options to bond with the people wanting to buy and only needing clarity to do so.

I hope this will increase both your interest and my own. There’s a lot to research and learn.

 

Selling – You and Your Business, Not Just Products and Services

Every business is selling something – products or services, or both.

If you believe that the product or service is all that matters, then all of the businesses that invest in clean and bright showrooms, nice furnishings, and that sort of thing are wasting their resources. Really, I can’t imagine that many would think that.

The things mentioned, like a clean and bright showroom, are meant to convey an image to the potential customers. Design details like color and open spaces is used similarly. These are background for the sale, but they obviously matter.

HandshakeIf these things are so obviously important, think about how you are conveying information to the customers. Does word of mouth leave the customer with enough? Is the sales person covering the concerns of the customer related to your product or service in a way that the customer can relate to and draw comfort from? Is the customer even engaging a sales person when they come to your place of business?

In a large way you are probably missing the opportunity to engage with some, or many, of your customers. Some are interested in buying, but they don’t want to get involved with businesses that don’t care about them. Some just need better information to move them to buy.

BroshureThere needs to be a smattering of details about your business that lets them know your values and lets them know about the specifics of products. Let them leave with something in their hand. Something to read and contemplate over coffee the next morning. Close the sale quickly if that’s possible, but also give the customer something to learn about you and your team, something to make them feel like they’ve made the right decision to buy from you. Something that will make them come back again and again.

ThumbdriveSome of this can be done with paper based information, but more effective will be a digital presentation either from the web, or even on a thumbdrive. Giving the customers more than expected is just plain smart. How can you use these thoughts in your own business?

YouTube Video

YouTube-logo-darkJust two years ago we were living in Indiana and I was shopping for a new camping trailer. One of the RV dealers caught my attention with their use of YouTube to show the units that they have on hand. They dealt with used RV’s primarily at that time, so there was a need to showcase each unit specifically, in order to demonstrate its condition, cleanliness, and unique aspects like low mileage etc.

I thought that they did a great job. Today that business has greatly expanded. They are now promoting several new lines of RV’s. And they still use YouTube to market their inventory.

Here are a few things that I like about this approach.

The videos are short, but through. Each one uses a similar format so the viewer can develop an expectation of what will be shown and talked about. The person shooting the video also does the narration, and importantly does not get into the video except for the voice. The product is the focus, not the salesperson. I think that that is key!

The dealer used the YouTube text box to give details about the sale price contrasting it against market value, about financing, and how to make contact with them.

I think that they did an incredibly good job in each seven minute video.

If you sell products that have a high unit value, would this work for you?

A Ramble About Ideas and Customer Ties

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Ideas, Coffee, and Meditation seem to work well together.

I’ve become a little more fired up about this part of my business lately. I seem to go in waves. Until recent I’ve been writing in my two books that are in progress and that ought to be published yet this year. I think that I get a little burned out on any one subject after thinking about it for too long. Sometimes the subjects need to simmer in my subconscious for a while, then I’m ready to get back to them and move the story along. For that reason I need a few things going at the same time when they involve multi-week commitments of my time.

Working on this website and the ideas that I postulate here is a little different. The ideas are more succinct and the businesses involved don’t have stories that go on for hundreds of pages. So focusing on these considerations can be intense and through without wearing a hole in my mind.

I particularly like to postulate a thought and then to explore it. To meditate about the various ways that a method can be used to move the business forward in term of communications with the customer base. And better, to introduce thinking to that group of people about an improvement in their way of life or a way to think about aspirations and how those aspirations can be addressed through doing business.

Whatever is postulated for the customer to reflect upon, it brings them closer to you, and that’s what you want. That tends to close out other businesses and create a closed loop for your own business to thrive within. It’s good stuff to think about over a cup of coffee.

Capturing a Feeling – Storytelling

This was something that I wrote in January 2013. I came upon it today and enjoyed re-reading it. I thought that it made sense to share it here. It wasn’t meant for publication when it was written.

 

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Evening at Port St. Joe, Florida

 

I am hoping to capture a feeling. I am reading what I wrote about storytelling yesterday. The idea of creating a sense of what the product or brand creator wants to impart to the customer base is a good one. It is what I think is valuable about storytelling, writing, or using media to shape emotions that are related to the product or entity.

The feeling that I want to capture though is the feeling that I want to feel while creating this written content – the story. I would like to become immersed in the thoughts and emotions of a great experience. It can be as simple as the taste of wonderful coffee for Starbuck’s. Or perhaps a great experience driving a Fiat 500 or VW Beetle. These are not factually based. They are more about the cognition of feelings – good feelings.

This sort of writing and collaboration is premised upon a positive emotion. It is a contradiction to the terrible and extreme negativity of our lives today. It is a counterbalance to those messages of despair. Writing these positive and uplifting messages would be a happy experience, at least the way that I view things.

How much of this can be applied with good effect to more mundane brands and products? What can be said about less refined products or services than those created by billion dollar organizations? It depends I think.

An Idea for a New Business

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New Business Proposal

This is a document that I created back in 2015 to introduce a new business. Instead, we ended up moving to the Florida Panhandle area and the business didn’t happen. I still like the idea, and frankly, have incorporated much of it into my current business thinking. I’ve merely broadened out the subject matter and still intend to contact the same sorts of businesses contemplated in this document.

I am posting it here because it illustrates some of my reasoning about the promotion of a business and how images and narrative can make an idea come to life. If you were a potential customer and received this PDF document by email, perhaps from a website, or as part of a presentation on a thumb drive, how would you view it? Isn’t it better than a verbal presentation, in that it’s tangible and creates a more concrete understanding of what the sales person is trying to convey? It works hand-in-hand with that person-to-person sales effort, in my opinion. Take a look.

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Simple Ideas Repeated -Tell the Story!

toolsBusiness owners and managers often make the mistake of seeking an ideal marketing or advertisement plan that is unrealistic for their business because of cost or complexity.

Sometimes simple ideas, simple repetition of basic principled efforts work best.

So what foundation does your business have? Usually there are certain things about the business that are known and appreciated; dependability for example.

What do potential customers think of your business? Do they even know that you exist at the moment? Do they have a sense of what you stand for? Your principles and your intentions? What have you told them? What can they see?

What can be changed to create a better image, more visibility, and a better understanding of the positive attributes of the products and services you offer?

Think about it. Make notes and discuss the ideas with your associates. What you think is basic and well understood about your business may not register with the customers. They need to be told about it and then told again another time and in a different manner. It’s your job to make these concepts, ideas, and principles clear.

PDF Files

images-1I really like using PDF files. I like them because they can be developed and reused countless times. They don’t show age or get wrinkled or dirty as sales tools. They can be updated easily and changed to reapply them to multiple product offers.

PDF files can be tacked onto emails with ease. They can be used in websites as sales tools or to make technical information available to the customers. They can contain a mountain of information, or a simple one page presentation.

There is no business that couldn’t find significant value using PDF files to tell their story and to support the business model.

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