The Desire to be Led

I recently took on a new challenge in my professional development.  I was accepted to a program in our county that develops leaders with the goal that they become more active and involved in leadership facets of their workplace and community.  The question I had in my mind from the beginning was,” The desire to be led?”  or maybe it is best said as a statement?

I was fascinated as I along with my classmates toured Tuscarawas county yesterday.  After a 200 year history from Mr. Fred Miller of the Tuscarawas Historical Society he made it very clear that leadership at it’s root is individuals who don’t repeat the actions that lead in the wrong direction.  We are charged to learn how to listen to our past and react in such a way that moves us forward.  At Britenbach Winery we learned that families behave as corporations but each generation has left their fingerprints on the business and future generations will as well.

At Andres Dairy Farm we heard how agriculture is the number one business in Ohio and the frailty of our food chain is so misunderstood.  Government regulation, reliable workforce, and the uncertainty of future generations of farmers put many question marks on where will our food come from in the future.  Not to mention the financial risks on razor thin margins are not an appeal to feed the world today.

Industry is beginning to rebound and in some cases expand CAT Ohio was a good example as well as the expansion of Tusco Display.  You cannot believe everything you read in the press, manufacturing in particular is growing here in Ohio.  The greatest challenge to manufacturing today is finding people interested in getting dirty and the technical know how to do the job.  The days of repetitive production of a single piece are not gone, but the need is in individuals with computer aided technology skills, the ability to read prints, perform complex mathematical equations, even so far as to say engineers that do production to make today’s factories and manufacturing go.

Leaders are not always an individual sometimes they are a group.  A handful of committed (in more ways than one) people that become the catalyst to make change occur.  We heard about how a group of people saved a towns’ park and then went on to build it into a central hub for surrounding communities to enjoy.

On the flip side we did see the need in our county.  The local food bank provided us with a real tangible illustration of how needy we are.  500 families a week visit the food bank to receive a boost to their cupboards to get by.  Food drives of canned and dry goods are always appreciated, but the real power comes in monetary donations.  An average canned good is about .66 cents in the store, that same canned good cost about .06 if purchased directly from the program providers.  Our food bank distributes roughly 30,000 pounds of food stuffs a week.  The Post Office canned food drive collected 15,000 pounds that was donated this year.  That would only cover half the demand for one week.  The food bank is 100% volunteer run and it take 40 volunteers per shift two days a week to make it all go.  The best news was that the vast majority of food bank users are folks needing a short term bit of help.  As jobs are found or people are called back to work their need is diminished, but there are plenty of people who still go hungry today.

In most every instance the biggest take away was every circumstance included the answer to my question/statement; The desire to be led.  Owners, managers, and directors wear the hat that we universally recognize as “the leader”, but how did they get there and how do they remain?  At what point do they take on the role of sheep not shepherd?

Every leader, every business owner, every supervisor pointed it out pretty plainly.  They were all driven by a desire to be led.  An idea that great wasn’t too much to want, that too big wasn’t big enough, others can decide the course of action and impart wisdom and expertise we don’t possess even if they are many years our junior.

I look forward to this years challenges of Leadership Tuscarawas and finding my desire to be led.  As far as my class and the projects and efforts we will accomplish? I think Margaret Mead said it like this,”Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Michael Mock
Technology Workgroup


I Have Forgiven Tom Cruise

At some point I stopped liking Tom Cruise.  I remember watching “Risky Business”, Top Gun”, “Days of Thunder”, even “Jerry McGuire”, and thinking, “I like the way this guy works.”  He is a decent actor and I like the characters he portrays.  Then he went and got all “real” on us.  He jumped up and down on the sofa during the Oprah show.  He started slamming people for their views and opinions on how to get better stating his spiritual views as better path.  How dare he?  Just what gives him the right?

Over the weekend I watched “Valkyrie”.  I love military movies and especially the ones that portray periods of history with some semblance of accuracy.  Despite the fact I haven’t watched a Tom Cruise movie in quite some time, I put that aside as I wanted to see how the director and actors treated the material.  It was on broadcast TV so I had time to think about the movie and why I was angry with Tom Cruise.

It was somewhere at the 40 minute mark during a commercial for God only knows what I had a huge and horrific revelation.  Tom Cruise did what we all demand from people who use social media myself included.  He became transparent, honest, and real!  He was no longer a Twitter ID, a Facebook friend, a connection on LinkedIn, he introduced us to him in the “offline

Many people just couldn’t handle the truth. (Note the “Few Good Men” reference.) In the best effort to become more real I thought that I owed Tom Cruise an apology, despite the fact he probably lost no sleep over my consternation with his position.  I am willing to admit when I and wrong and this would be the time.  Mr. Cruise please accept my public apology and know that my wife did make me take her to see “Knight and Day” in the theater and were not disappointed.

And let this be a lesson to us all.  Our readers, customers, followers, and friends would prefer we be real and genuine and honest.  If it troubles them, perhaps they really aren’t interested in being friends, just part of the crowd.

Campaigning to the Party

In an attempt to make the sale all too often you create the us vs. them scenario.  Presentations turn into unnecessary displays of overwhelming horsepower.   We bring in the experts to testify to our strength, ability, and prowess in the market.

Our latest success entertains and mesmerizes the audience in attendance.  Is that what you came to do, preform like a trained animal to the delight and amusement of the crowd?  Did you ever consider campaigning to the party instead of pitching to the crowd?

Think about turning the next opportunity to sell (what ever that is) a chance to campaign.  When running for office or presenting issues the vocal “no” vote is not my concern.  The “yes” vote is not my concern.  It is the “maybe” I need to concentrate on.  A “no” vote isn’t looking for me to do business with, a “yes” vote already does, but the “maybe” needs help making the choice.  So just how do you do that?

1.  Identify your best customer.

a.  What are they hoping for or afraid of that your product can solve?

b.  What do they want back in their life that you product provides?

c.  What do they long for that your product or service can provide?

d.  What disappointments do they have that your solution will end?

e.  What lies do they tell themselves instead of putting a real solution in place?

f.  How can your product be the real solution?

2.  Offer the best solution you have based upon what  they tell you they need.

3.  Make sure you are in front of the right audience.  <RANT> People following me on Twitter that are social media gurus, web design experts, and the like DMing me after I follow back to offer me their services!  I would at least like to exchange a little dialog before you start the spamfest!  </RANT>

4.  Create that audience by providing prospects with simple easy solutions they can apply TODAY to get results.  Instant value to ease their pain will win you a spot as trusted adviser.  I would be more likely to hire a person that has educated me on who they are, what they do, and demonstrate it.  Not shout at me and send me spam.

Thanks again to Brendon Burchard for sharing this information with me.  He is a guy who knows how to campaign to the party.

Michael Mock
Technology Workgroup 

You Can’t Blame Cheap Gas Anymore

My first car was a 1977 Datsun B-210 hatchback.  It was a green two door with a four on the floor and it was cool for a 16 year old.  My first social media presence other than Facebook and LinkedIn was a blog.  Pretty cool for most people but kind of ho-hum for a geek. I wrote about tech stuff, tech jokes, my opinion on technology and nobody read it.  When my Datsun ran poorly my step dad would ask where I bought fuel last.  These days not getting results via social media is like that poorly running car, the difference is you can’t blame cheap gas any more.

This blog unlike that first one is written for an audience.  Yep I write for an audience of readers.  I am not creating a chronicle of my endeavors for future generations to ponder or ridicule.  I write motivated by my readers who email and comment on my blogs.

I could write everyday like it were my job, but it is not my job, although I often times treat it that way. My goal is to help and have fun sharing the things that I know and have learned.  Some days I write topics down, email links and snippets to myself, and hand pick  items from Google Reader and Pulse News App on my phone.

I am not an expert on all things social media, but I have helped a number of people try,learn, and succeed.  I also have connected to people who are experts from all over the world.  I feel lucky to have made such friends that push me to keep learning, doing, and having fun that is social media in the digital world.

If you are dabbling in social media know this; there is no magic formula.  You will more than likely not be an overnight internet millionaire.  (You might.)  You have to do, share, learn, do some more, share, make friends, make mistakes, don’t be afraid of doing it wrong, be a friend to have friends, have fun.

There is a lot of good stuff and great people interested in guiding you and being your friend.  Folks who share to make all of us better netizens.  Unlike my old Datsun getting poor mileage, you have too many resource so you can’t blame cheap gas anymore.

Michael Mock
Technology Workgroup

Why Customers Don’t Buy

I am intrigued by the psychology of selling online.  What is the bright shiny button that makes people click and purchase?  What is so compelling about the story telling that results in an order?  On the flip side I ponder why customers don’t buy more than anything else. Thanks to Brendon Burchard for getting me thinking about this and providing the basis for today’s post.

I believe one of the biggest assumptions most people make when selling is that everyone is their customer.

Which is number one on the list:  People don’t want what you are selling.  Face it toothpaste for cats is useless to me.  I don’t have a cat.  Acne treatment also not a big need, left adolescence several decades ago.  Pick up lines not high in the list anymore either.

Number two on the list:  No sense of urgency.  I can always come back tomorrow, or there are no real incentives to buy today.  What does taking action today get me as opposed to waiting.  Think toothache, just what gets you to the dentist before it really hurts?  Knowing that good oral health is linked to good heart health is incentive to make that visit more often.

Number three: I can’t afford it.  Price can be a deal killer.  What can you do to help alleviate that issue?  Two or three easy auto payments?  No payments for 30, 60, or 90 days.  There are other ways to clear the cost barrier but that is a topic for another day.

Number four:  I don’t believe you.  Yep, tell me that isn’t a big one.  Seth Godin said so in his book, “All Marketers are Liars” recently re-titled “All Marketers are Storytellers”.  All about the same in the eyes of the consumer.

Number five isn’t really your problem, but if you can effectively communicate you can help the customer over the fence.  I don’t believe I can have what you are selling or I can do what you are telling.

Finally number six:  They got pitched or promoted to not campaigned.  NOBODY like to get “sold”.  Buyers remorse stems from that feeling of getting suckered, lied too, hoodwinked, or “got”.  As consumers we hate being talked at, shotgunned with facts, features, and fast talk.  Best car buying experience I ever had was the sales guy who asked about what I did for a living, my driving habits, my family, how often I bought a car.  Did I know that I could get a sizable discount for paying cash, the dealership would offer me a discount for buying the same brand as a loyalty reward or a bonus if I bought a competitor brand.  He bought me a cold drink, walked me through the service bay and introduced me to the service manager.  We drove several SUV’s and a few cars.  Then let me buy the best two door coupe I ever owned.  (Side bar I was looking for a 4 wheel drive SUV.)  The salesman campaigned me, by pointing out my 120 mile round trip commute would be more in gas a week than a monthly car payment, the ride would not be as comfortable, and insurance would be less on a car than an SUV.

In the end I had to be educated and trained into a new way of thinking.  I was allowed to make decisions and get answers.  I was able to feel good about those decisions and brought to a place that made it easy to have.  The next time you are thinking about chasing the magic formula to get more customers take some time to examine the six reasons why customers don’t buy.

Michael Mock
Technology Workgroup