Author: Ted Robinson, TAB Birmingham
I should start with an apology. In no way is this article anti-Labrador or anti-dog. I don’t have a dog as I’m not sure I can handle the smell of wet dog or the need to have my coat pockets stuffed with “poo bags,” but I know the joy a dog can bring.
I was on my daily walk earlier this week and watched a dark Labrador running after a ball. His owner threw the ball and the dog chased it excitedly and brought it back. Time and time again the dog joyfully bounded after the yellow tennis ball. Over time I noticed his excitement started to dwindle until, eventually, he just sat with the ball a few feet away from his owner. Maybe the dog was tired or maybe the dog was just bored of doing the same thing? Either way, the productivity of the dog (if productivity is measured in the number of runs) was down to nothing.
The ball chasing dog reminded me of one of my members (I’m sure he won’t mind being compared to a dog). He runs a successful specialist training business in the health and safety space. He’s grown year-on-year in revenue, profit and staff numbers. So, what makes him a Labrador? He’s lost the “fun” and the bounce that used to get him out of bed in the morning. He has noticed that his staff are not as effective as they were previously and took longer to “do stuff.” Morale seemed flat and sickness levels had started to rise.
I asked him to describe what his business does. He looked at me as if I had gone mad and that I really should know after working with him for a while. He answered that “they provided health and safety training.” I then asked him why he set the business up 10 years ago. This time I got the answer “I wanted to make sure the employees of my clients were safe and my clients were protected.” Exactly the same business but now seen from a benefits perspective rather than a functional one.
I have worked with my member over the last few months on this approach. He has asked the same “what do we do” question to his staff and worked with them to define the benefits they give. This immediately lifted morale as it reminded people of the benefits they provide. Then we turned to his marketing and sales approach to ensure every touchpoint with existing and potential clients was “benefit based” rather than function based.
The strategic advantages his business have are now all communicated by way of benefits they provide. The training they provide has these benefits at it’s core and all marketing materials are benefits based.
So, get back your “inner excited Labrador” and ask yourself “what do we do?”
Then ask, “what benefits do we provide?”
Why doesn’t what we do match with the benefits you provide? Find that answer, make some changes and get your bounce back!
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