How many of you have been to an elementary school reunion? My class at Rumson Country Day hasn’t had one in ten years and I wasn’t there (don’t remember why), so I was determined to go to this time.
All of the hotels in the area were sold out, so the woman who was organizing the whole thing invited me to stay with her and her husband, who was also in our class, along with two other classmates.
And what a treat that was!
They have a very grand and absolutely gorgeous classic New England shingle style house. My bedroom and bath were perfect for me, pink (my favorite color) and green (my favorite color combination) and it had big windows and an incredible view.
After a surprisingly lavish reception at the school, with tours of both the old and newly-built sections, we all trouped back to their place for cocktails and a delicious dinner.
I wish I had the space to entertain like this
She had set up four tables of 8 on the terrace between the house and the pool as well as two more on the spacious covered porch, and we all served ourselves from a buffet on what must have been at least an eight foot table in the kitchen.
Remember, these houses were originally built as “beach cottages” to accommodate two to three generations of a single family, so everything is on a larger-than-usual scale.
The next day the hostess and the three of us who were bunking with her drove around to look at our former homes, the tennis club, beach club etc, so there was a lot of fun reminiscing!
My old house, (which was so enormous I used to have fun taking my little friends who came over to play on a tour, after which they had to figure out how to find their way back to my room, the kitchen, the library…) had been so damaged by Sandy that it’s been completely rebuilt and looks nothing like the original.
Now an important piece of my past is no longer there to drive by and look at when I “go back home”…
Sales Choreography 101
It’s been a long time since I did a magazine interview and this one sent the questions ahead of time that were very unlike those I usually get.
One question was about my sense of humor, which apparently is practically legendary – who knew? This one really had me flummoxed: “You never denied what you did. Please discuss your philosophical and intellectual thoughts on the subject.” Uhhhh… hmmm… let me get back to you on that one.
Just when you think you’ve heard them all
“The writer Carlos Castaneda in his novels discusses detachment as more than just a thought experiment – as a means to improve decision-making. How do you see your approach in this regard as being different from most?”
This one took some research, because I didn’t have a clue what he was talking about. Carlos Casteneda wasn’t on any reading lists at Stoneleigh. I couldn’t help thinking I was getting credit for being a lot more highly educated and well-read than I deserved!
So what’s the point here?
We all make assumptions about other people. We all make judgements about other people. How they think, what they think, what they want, how much money they have, etc. We all put people into certain boxes in both our professional and personal lives.
A classic example is the salesman who sees a man in his luxury car showroom, wearing dungarees, a tshirt and sneakers. He assumes this guy doesn’t have any money and is just whiling away the afternoon looking at fancy cars, puts him in the “he can’t afford it” box and ignores him.
Cue pretty much every photograph of Mark Zuckerberg ever taken.
A good way to leave money on the table
How many of you haven’t priced a program, product or service as high as you believe it deserves, or heck, as much as you’d like to get for it, because you don’t think your target market can afford it?
Now maybe your list doesn’t have that kind of money, but to assume they don’t and putting them in that box doesn’t serve you. Or them, if it’s something that would benefit their business or themselves personally.
It all depends on what your definition of research is
Many of us also make assumptions when we design or develop a program, product or service. We all know we’re supposed to do extensive research beforehand to determine exactly our target market needs or wants, but most of us don’t do it the way you’re really supposed to.
We look for “facts” that support what we want to do and pass over those that don’t. Now sometimes we get it right thank heaven, but you all know stories of colleagues who slaved over their next new thing and nobody wanted it.
Close, but no cigar
It’s not unusual for someone to have a great idea but they get the execution wrong, or the way it’s priced keeps people from saying yes. And all because the assumptions and judgements that were made were incorrect.
What’s the lesson here?
Times change, what people wanted yesterday they no longer want today or they want it differently today. Priorities shift; as an example, research shows that millennials prefer to spend their money on experiences as opposed to things.
If millennials are your target market, you’re going to have to figure out how to make what you do or sell more of an experience, and one that is appealing to them.
Age is a factor, too
If your client base extends over a relatively wide age range, think about how you can customize what you offer to be more appealing to those different segments.
Remember that if your primary client base was in their 40’s several years ago, that they’re now in their 50’s and often have different needs and priorities.
Unsure if you’re putting your prospects and clients in the wrong boxes?
Get on my calendar for a complimentary 30-minute Get ‘Em Out of the Box strategy call by emailing me and figure out if there are any out-of-date boxes in your business that would be in your best interest to throw away.
With warm wishes for your happiness, success and prosperity,