Marketing gurus have been telling us to produce great content. The problem is that many experts took that advice and are producing great content. They are producing so much content most people are in sensory overload and don’t want any more. Smarter brands have moved from content production to true storytelling. The difference between the two is that prospective residents and customers use their own imagery and imagination to visual the message. Simply producing content does not provide the same opportunity. Content is the byproduct of the content producer and does not really involve the audience. Content is designed to be absorbed whereas stories are collaborative efforts between the teller and the audience.
Management consultant Del Poling is a genius. Poling uses the term 4-year-old behavior or passive dependence to describe those who don’t and won’t take responsibility for their actions or always blame others if something goes wrong. Del liked to point out that if you walked into a room and found a cup of juice was spilled and the only person in the room is a four-year-old, typically the child would respond to the question, “who spilled the juice,” by saying “I don’t know.”
The oldest of the Millennial Generation has just turned 41. This group, contrary to popular belief, is not debt ridden, unemployed and feeling entitled. The Wall Street Journal found that Millennials have fewer credit cards than the national average and the debt on cards that Millennials do have is 40% less than the national average. Another Millennial misnomer is that they don't want to own a home. According to the National Association of Realtors, Millennials now account for 43% of all homebuyers.
I recently celebrated a milestone birthday that caused me to reflect on a lot of things, especially what I do every day and to ask if what we do makes a difference and if so, what difference do we make? I tell our team all the time, that our goal is to make members feel good about their industry, their profession and their BKBG participation. Is that difference making?
Providing meaningful work is one of the new buzz phrases becoming increasing popular in blogs and management consulting. And for good reason. Most people spend most of their waking hours at work or thinking about what they do for a living. Research and common sense show that individuals who derive a sense of purpose and personal fulfillment from what they do are more likely to be successful, healthier and happier. For years, many owners have lamented the fact that showroom staff might not view their positions as a career. Their impression is that whether they are a consultant or customer service representative, what they do is just a job that generates a paycheck.
Don’t you love companies that claim their customer service is better than the competitions? If you asked a sales professional in your showroom to explain how your customer service differs from the competitor down the street, what would he or she say? Competing on statements of just having better customer service usually is difficult to substantiate. Besides, who says their customer service stinks?
Yes, it is. That’s why when someone posts something negative about your showroom or yourself, you need to act immediately to proactively resolve the issue even if you are dealing with unreasonable people whose vision of reality is vastly different from most others on the planet. Negativity breeds more negativity.
Many BKBG Shareholders understand that fewer products can be more effective than having every inch of wall and floor space covered with products. That was one of the lessons Rob Best taught us at a BKBG Annual Conference. When customers are presented with too many options, they shut down and decide not to decide. They simply leave your showroom confused and tired.
Who wants to be around cranky people? Most likely none of your customers, suppliers or fellow team members. However, it is almost impossible not to go through mood swings in a typical workday, especially on those days when nothing seems to go right. What can you do to go from scowl to smile?
Change is one of the hardest responsibilities that showroom owners and managers need to master. It’s not easy to get team members, suppliers and installers that you depend on daily to change bad behavior. Team members who seem stuck in their ways present obstacles to achieving individual, showroom and corporate goals. Too often, efforts to initiate change end up backfiring. Relationships are strained. Performance is compromised. Walls are built to protect self-interest and to keep the familiar in place instead of venturing into the unknown.