Take Responsibility

February 23, 2012 by  Filed under: Marketing 

Here is a joke that I just love.

A flood was coming.

One man of faith was offered a ride out of town, but declined saying ‘God will grant me a miracle.’

As the waters rose, he had to move to the 2nd floor of his house. People came by in a boat and encouraged him to leave with them. He said ‘No, God will grant me a miracle.’

Finally he is forced to the roof of his home with flood waters all around him, and a helicopter comes by and throws him a rope. He doesn’t take it, yelling ‘God will grant me a miracle.’

The man drowns, and shows up at the pearly gates really upset. St. Peter says ‘I don’t know what you’re complaining about. We sent you a car, a boat, and a helicopter!’

I see this so often in my work, because getting different results demands that we step up. They demand that we do things that are outside our current experience, and possibly outside our comfort zone. It is like saying that you want to lose weight but not changing your eating and exercise plan. You won’t lose any weight. It is so much easier to blame others for not giving us exactly what we needed. But you know the information was out there and you just didn’t ask. The reality is that to achieve a dream you have to take action even if the path doesn’t look like what you thought it would.

It is like that my favorite Einstein quote…. “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results.”

You often have to try something new. Your miracle probably doesn’t look like you thought it would. So you have to get into the boat or climb up the rope to the helicopter.

A retailer will say that they want to increase their sales. In talking to them, I discover that they have no marketing/advertising plan. Even worse, they don’t communicate weekly with their customers. I immediately tell them that the most effective way to increase sales is to send a GOOD email out every week to turn their customers into raving fans. The time comes for our next meeting and the retailer is still unhappy with their sales. Turns out that they didn’t send the email. “I didn’t have time.” “I meant to do it.” “I think that once a week is too often.” Well, let me just say that never is not anywhere near enough! A week is the perfect time and research has proven that open rates do not decline – if your emails are GOOD.

In my work with clients, there is a formula that we use. S + A = R

Strategy + Action = Results

I give them a strategy, we collaborate on it and agree on the action steps. They take action. Then they come back to me with the results and we analyze and tweak the strategy.

Are you getting taking action to create your “Grammy Award-winning” store of your dreams?

1. Do you have a strategy? You have to know what you need to do to get where you want to go. I would be honored to talk with you in a f.r.e.e. strategy session to get you started.

2. Do you know precisely what to do next? This is essential – you must understand exactly what to do. That keeps you focused and on track.

3. Have you done those tasks? This is the hardest question. It’s time to look, without excuses, at what you’re implementing. Look at whether you’re running through a list of ten possible actions, not liking any of them, not DOING any of them, and then wondering why you don’t have results.

4. Why didn’t you do them? Sometimes this is the biggest lesson of all. What made you uncomfortable? Why? You have to get to the bottom of this or you will just end up in a bad cycle.

5. What were your results? As you can imagine, I am going to tell you that measurement is essential. If you tried something, what happened? How many customers brought back the coupon and how much did they spend? How many times did you try it, and in what different ways? Which publications generated the best response? Specifically, what happened? How much did the ad cost and what were the sales it generated? I keep a note book that just lists results so I can always know where they are.

6. What can you learn from the feedback, and how can you use that to get better results next time? Most of us never take this step. Know what the average response should be and see how you performed. How did you do against last year? Were you were missing a critical element (like addressing the wrong market or speaking with the wrong language). This is the important point: If you know why it didn’t work, and can do it better, it wasn’t a failure. It was a learning experience.

7. When will you try again? Keep taking imperfect action. It is the only way to get results.

This work isn’t for the faint of heart. But you knew that! It’s the work that it takes to succeed. Looking at yourself, being honest, being willing to learn, and being willing to do what looks like failure. When you get used to doing this, though, your results will be breathtaking. They might even be award-winning!

“Cathy Donovan Wagner is the founder of http://www.RETAILMavens.com, a company devoted to teaching independent and specialty retailers how to explode their profits, get better results, have more fun and get better sleep. To find out more, visit http://www.RETAILMavens.com and sign up to receive a F.R.E.E. audio CD on “The 3 Retail Secrets to Increasing Retail Sales & Profits in the Next 30 days.””

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