Qualifying leads is crucial to the longevity of every salesperson (regardless of sector) if that individual expects to be successful. And, taking a cold database of 2000 contacts can be a daunting task...if addressed with old school tactics.
I don't sense it's quite as bad as it was...but I know there are still Destination Marketing pros that walk on eggshells in an effort to balance the interests of the consumer versus members of the business community that demand "fairness." That "fairness" mantra holds that if you mention Hotel A, you must mention Hotel B...even if B gets 2 stars on TripAdvisor to A's 4.5 stars.
I know, it doesn't make sense (it's a DMO thing). And, it reminds me of a Q&A session in which restauranteur (and Social Media expert) Joe Sorge was asked how he would handle the fairness thing in Social Media. Because he is not from the DMO world (but, instead, from the real world), he said, "Fair? Fair? If they want you to talk about them, tell 'em to do something cool."
Alas, some of us can't be that flip. So, here's another way around fairness: sponsor somebody else's guide to your destination.
That's what Chris Jennings and the Spartanburg SC CVB just did (for the second time) by sponsoring "TheUnderground Guide to Spartanburg," a 112-page guidebook by Hub City Press featuring sections on nightlife, eats, arts, outside, shopping and odds and ends.
According to Chris: “Visitors want to go to the places locals frequent, and 'The Underground Guide' highlights them. This publication is sometimes called the 'unofficial visitors guide' because it's edgy, and guests love that."
And, it gets the correct message to the consumer without taking a lot of flak from two star attractions.
It was one those songs that permeated one of the summers of my wild, misspent youth.
It was on the radio every hour. The long version was all that was played in the lifeguard office at the pool. It was an anthem in the summer of 1969.
And, it's an anthem today.
I'm not sure why...but the song fell out of favor in the '80s and '90s. All of a sudden, it feels new.
I was in the first row during their stadium tour days and on the dance floor when they did clubs. I had the opportunity to interview the voice of Rare Earth on both occasions...and he's one of the coolest guys in the business.
Take the opposing view of a reasonably popular economic development strategy and promote yourself as the shining light of the truth, revealing the evil industrial complex that believes convention centers can augment a community's economy.
That's Heywood Sanders, self-proclaimed as "one of the nation's foremost urban development experts."
I gotta give the guy credit. He somehow convinced the Brookings Institute to put its good name on his 2005 hatchet-job that challenged the efficacy of Convention Center development while using stastitics from the first recession of this century.
Now he's back with a book called "Convention Center Follies." Apparently having a book qualifies one to be quoted as an "expert" in a recent Washington Post piece that attempts to deep six the concept of the convention industry as a viable business development strategy for cities.
Except, the book sells for $59.95.
Who the hell is gonna spend 60 bucks on a book that says "no?'
But, that's what academics do. They think they're all that and put a big ass price tag on their books.
And, then...they don't sell.
Hey, Hey? You want the world to embrace your position? I'd suggest a slightly lower price tag.
This is powerful stuff for anyone in sales and marketing, as Tom outlines a radically different approach with which to replace traditional (and outdated) selling methods with propinquity. And, if you're in the Destination Marketing field, it's even more relevant as the discussions on the philosophy of sales vs. marketing continue to heat.
Full disclosure: I'm mentioned in the book...but that's not why I'm such a fan. I had already decided after the chapter on "Selling vs. Helping" that I was going to recommend this important work in today's blog, even before I finished the read. Imagine my surprise, however, as I stumbled upon a kind reference to how I do business (he never once hinted that he'd be including me). And, I bought the book on pre-order months ago. It finally arrived over the weekend...and I dug into it Monday.
Buy this book. It'll forever change the way you look at sales and marketing. For some, it will affirm that those seemingly blasphemous thoughts you've been secretly battling may well be truer than you ever realized. And, for all of us in Destination Marketing (and in, frankly, all disciplines) to change our old-school view of our true roles in the marketplace.
With all due respect and love to my friends that have penned resource books over the years...this one has just rocketed to the top of my "Must Read" recommendations for friends and clients. Yeah...it's that powerful.
Way to go, Tom. "The Invisible Sale" is a masterstroke of critical thought and vision.
And, thanks for the shout out...you sneaky little shit.
Thus, I never put it up on Amazon.com. I know that makes no sense...but, it does. People who want to buy my book know me and can find my site. "Destination Leadership for Boards" comes up first on Google. Why would I cut Jeff Bezos in for half the profit? So he can buy another big city newspaper?
One of the reasons that Amazon.com is so successful is that it sucks you in, knows you better than you know yourself and gets you to buy shit you never would in a store. The other night, I was checking reviews on Blu-Ray players and realized just how seamless it is to do the unthinkable...buy electronics online without actually seeing and touching the unit first.
The reason? It's so much easier to compare features and reviews at home on my laptop than on a mobile unit in a store with marginal connectivity and sales geeks pestering you every three minutes. Note to retailers: iPads available to show reviews at every product station might be a good idea.
Anyway, as is Amazon's way, after I purchase my new Blu-Ray player, they suggest books. And, yeah...I grabbed a few of those, too. One was only available as a used copy, which is no big deal. But, it got me to thinking. Were there copies of my book on Amazion through resellers?
Actually, yeah...a bunch. Mostly offered in the $35-ish range. Which is funny...but it's not. Anybody looking on Amazon probably doesn't know they could go direct and get a new copy for $10 less.
But, here's the part that made me howl. One reseller was selling a "new" copy of the book.
Plus $3.99 shipping.
Really? You charge shipping on a $2000 book?
Price = Perceived Value.
And, that reseller perceives that someone is so interested in what I have to say that they'll pay $2000 to read my book.
Damn...I need to raise my rates. ;)
And, when the third edition of the book comes out next year, we'll probably offer it on Amazon (for something less than $2000). But, buy it from us anyway...so I don't hafta raise my rates.
If there's one thing we came away with from our focus group testing of tourism videos in Toronto, it's that images, messaging and voice-overs designed for American audiences don't necessarily translate well for a Canadian audience.
I know...duh. But, we were surprised at just how much they didn't work for some groups...possibly lulled into the false belief that it's "not really" another country, as Kathleen Madigan often riffs.
I get that the iconic red and yellow is as American as McDonald's apple turnover...but that book thing? Hasn't somebody figured out that books instead of toys might help get American regulators off their ass?
Or, does this exemplify what they really think of the sophistication of the American consumer?
It's no secret that everything is changing in the Destination Marketing realm. Though the DMAI Future Study warned of the impending tectonic shift five years ago, it's just coming home to roost. And some in our industry seem surprised. Or in denial.
In last week's "Music Friday" offering, I mused about those individuals with miles of potential that chose a path that didn't include college and the race of rats. That there are days I often wonder if that path would have brought me more happiness than the one I chose.
Don't get me wrong. I simply love the life I lead. I only wonder, is there another path?
The authors make the point that the world in which we now live has made those with only a high school diploma expendable. The jobs that most of those people perform are increasingly becoming automated or outsourced. And that, at the least, a technical college degree will be required for survival in the workplace.
A wake-up call to High Schools, to be sure (but they're so not listening). Public education is simply not providing our kids with the tools they need to succeed in the global marketplace.
Is there a place in the future for a "Simple Man?" One can only hope...