Archives for the month of: September, 2016

Rolex-Submariner-blog1.5.12A former Xerox salesman trains sales associates to sell expensive watches in a recession.

After years of double-digit sales growth, sales of expensive watches have fallen off drastically. The worst declines for Swiss watches are in the U.S., where sales fell 42% in the last 12 months. Today, 60% of customers enter high-end watch boutiques to service their own watches rather than to buy new ones.

He coaches his trainees to say “value” rather than “price” and to sell “romance” not “products.” He also advises associates to compliment the customer’s own watch, even if it’s from a competitor, and tells them to offer a gift if a discount is requested. His methods dictate that salespeople lay the client’s well-worn watch on a tray between two shiny new ones, creating a contrast that subtly suggests it’s time for an upgrade.

Despite this downturn in the market, the former Xerox salesman drives a Ferrari and has 60 luxury watches of his own.

It’s also interesting to notice who uses watches.

Ask a room full of people what time it is, and predictably, people aged 18 – 40 will look at their phone.
The older members of the group will look at their watch.

Two insights can be drawn from these observations.

1. Perceived value trumps price almost every time.
2. Who you market to makes a BIG difference in the approach you need to use.

Job search is a lot like selling an expensive watch.

You need to sell yourself with a focus on value and talk to an end-user in a way that they can relate to what you have to offer.
Ignore either of these two variables and a sale (job interview) is lost.

Sending out the same resume to hundreds of potential employers with no customization of your approach and not knowing what’s important to an employer (customer) is an exercise in futility. Focus on value, not price (salary), and find out what the employer (customer) is truly interested in.

Take the time to sell your “watch” as a one-of-a-kind that someone has got to have and its price is secondary to its value.

remoraIn today’s business world, starting your own business or building your own brand can be challenging. Most solopreneurs (solo-entrepreneurs) find that the most difficult thing is getting customers. Sales and marketing takes time and money and without investing in promoting your product or services, the growth of your business may take years to generate significant profits.

pivotConsider an often overlooked secret to making your personal brand a success in a shorter amount of time. It’s the “The Remora-Pivot Mindset”.

The concept of affiliated marketing, pop-up stores and synergetic relationships are a lot like the Remora, a tiny fish that has a modified organ with slat-like structures that open and close to create suction and take a firm hold against the skin of larger marine animals.

The remora benefits by using the host as transport and protection and feeds on food dropped by the host. In exchange, the remora cleans bacteria and parasites from its connected partner. This mutually beneficial relationship allows the remora to avoid the struggles that most fish deal with on a daily basis involving looking for food and avoiding predators. 

Just as a remora partners with a larger host for mutual benefits, consider partnering with a complementary host to accelerate the growth or profitability of your business or to promote your personal brand.

Here’s an example of using the power of a strategic partnership to enhance your business opportunities.

Abrakadoodle is a company that offers creative art classes for children in schools, day care centers, and community programs.

imgres-5-49-15-pmA few years ago, they were listed by the as one of the Top Franchises by Entrepreneur Magazine. To expand their product offerings, they established a strategic alliance with Binney and Smith, known for its Crayola brand art products.

Abrakadoodle was looking for products of high quality that would be safe for children and that would be available nationally, so all locations could use the same materials in their classes. When they started franchising, they realized that the number of Crayola products used in Abrakadoodle classes would grow enormously.

After months of negotiation, an agreement was reached between the two companies. Crayola products would be featured exclusively in Abrakadoodle classes and Abrakadoodle would be allowed to use the Crayola trademark for advertising purposes in exchange for discounts on Crayola products. Both companies benefited from their shared vision of encouraging children’s artistic creativity.

What can you do to partner with another person or business to create a win-win situation that can help you get where you want to be in a shorter time?

What products or services offered by a non-competitor can complement what you offer?

Synergistic relationships may be the secret ingredient you need to compress time frames in developing your personal brand and allow you to see success much quicker than if you hope for results tied to your just own dedicated effort.

you2-bookAn inspirational book by Price Pritchett, You2: A High Velocity Formula for Multiplying Your Personal Effectiveness in Quantum Leaps, is my favorite, quick read book that underscores the message that working harder is not necessarily the best solution to achieve success. Taking a different approach to the same problem is maybe all you need to do.

But what happens if your product or service doesn’t sell as well as you had originally hoped? From this point you have two options. Tweak and refine the product, or pivot. Tweaking can be great at any stage of a start-ups cycle, however if the market place is failing to react you may want to consider a pivot.

A pivot is a sudden shift in a slightly, or drastically, different direction.

xbox360Consider Microsoft’s Xbox 360 that just ended its production after a 10 year run. After sales from this product slowed down over a few years, Microsoft developed a motion sensing input device for the Xbox 360 video game console called a Kinect. It enabled users to control and interact with the Xbox 360 without the need to touch a game controller using gestures and spoken commands.  But the real magic came from Microsoft’s repurposing of its technology tied to its Xbox console.

Microsoft released a non-commercial and eventually a commercial Kinect software development kit for Windows 7 that allows .NET developers to write Kinecting apps that can be used for non-gaming applications.

Kinect reset the console lifecycle, turning the then 6-year-old game machine into something that felt brand new again. The technology was essentially the same as it was when the console first came out but now, it was a hot seller again! How can this happen? It’s the magic of repurposing or in todays’ terms, the power of the pivot.

So how can you repurpose or pivot your personal brand if you aren’t getting the results you want?

For many job searchers, reINVENTING themselves is difficult because it requires them to radically change their skill sets. Going back to school or starting a new business is often not an option due to immediate financial considerations.

The solution may be to rePURPOSE yourself by doing a pivot. Take your core talents and explore ways to apply what you know to a different corporate or customer base.

Microsoft did it by expanding their gaming customer base to include software developers who took their core gaming technology and applied it to different applications.

French technologists repurposed Kinect as a gesture recognition system that can read and translate basic sign language. With more development, this could be a system for deaf or hearing-impaired users or a software tool to teach sign language. Take a look:

Are the jobs you’re looking for focused on what you’ve done in the past, or are they related to what you can do for new end-users and/or employers in a more valuable or different way?

A repurposed “job search perspective” or a pivot may be just the magic (mindset) you need to feel brand new again.

Change your thoughts to change your world and discover how “The Remora Mindset” or a pivot may be just what you need to go from invisible to REMARKABLE!

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