Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Stepping Outside your Comfort Zone

I am entering what I call the last “summer hurrah”. It’s those last few weeks before the fall season officially begins, school starts, boats are put in storage and we say farewell to summer (at least here in Michigan). I am preparing for my “last summer hurrah” which is a house boat trip with good friends. It’s a third trip for me down to Lake Cumberland. For some of the couples going on this trip, it's their first time navigating this pristine lake.

There is one comment that stuck in my mind as I prepare for this week long trip. It’s from a long time friend. This is her first houseboat trip. Her employer made mention that she wouldn’t enjoy this type of vacation. As I reflected on this comment, I was saddened that those close to us sometimes put us in a box. Why wouldn’t my good friend enjoy something new and unfamiliar to her? Why shouldn’t she step outside her comfort zone? As we approach the countdown, my friend is getting excited and making plans for this new adventure. I guarantee this will be a trip of her life. I am so proud that she has agreed to step outside her comfort zone no matter what.

My point: Don’t let people put you in a box. When you get the courage to step outside your comfort zone, run with it!! You may find that you have everything to gain, meet new friends, experience new adventures, and realize that YOU CAN do anything you want.
Are you willing to step outside your comfort zone? If not, who or what is keeping you from doing that? I hope your last summer hurrah is filled with fun, joy, living a bit on the edge, and making plans for a great soaping holiday season.

P.S. I will not be in the office next week (8-27 through 9-6) due to down time and Labor Day weekend. You can order online, but we will not process orders 9-1 through 9-5). Kristy and Chelsea will be taking care of usual business next Monday-Thursday. I will not have much access to internet on the houseboat trip. I will do my best to email as coverage and time permits.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Marketing: Driving Home a Point

Last week my husband, Chris, showed up for his general sales meeting in a swimsuit and tie. His work attire is generally dress casual, but monthly sales meetings require a sport coat and tie. However, this month’s meeting was themed “Beach Party” so casual summer clothing was encouraged. With this in mind, my husband started working on his presentation and the best way to drive home his point to sales staff.

As brand manager my husband’s job is to develop and present unique marketing ideas to sell product. Although my husband has a marketing degree, it goes way beyond that. He also has the ability to think outside the box. If you are fortunate enough to encounter one of these gifted individuals’ run parallel with them. It’s a learning curve you will not forget.

As the meeting assembled, Chris, walked forward to address the group in standard business attire. He then turned his back to the audience and began undressing; trousers first, sport coat, then the button shirt. While disrobing and his back to his peers, he talked about his first week with the company and the many ways he could avoid wearing a tie. After several minutes, he slowly turned to face the group donned in a pair of swim shorts with a lone tie draped from his bare chest.

My husband’s opening line was, “Wow, it’s cold in here.” The immediate response from someone in the group was, “How can you be cold when you’re wearing a sweater like that (referring to his chest hair). “ It was the perfect ice-breaker. With the audience fully engaged Chris was able to drive home his point knowing it would be long remembered.

The point being made in that sales meeting is not important to us. It’s the way the audience [customer, employee] became engaged and drawn into listening to the topic presented. It’s about stepping outside the norm and doing something a little risky. There is no doubt that my husband had concerns about what his immediate boss and CEO might think. He also knew that he could make a pivotal point to his sales staff and it worked. He was applauded by his CEO for thinking outside the box and thereby generating an influx of new sales and company growth.

Are you thinking outside the box? If you are selling a product or service you need to understand the competition. There are thousands doing the same thing as you. What makes you or your company stand out? How are you driving home your point?