Imagine it is December 31…

On Steve's Mind: a Newsletter

It’s early January, and the entire year stretches out before us. We have big sales goals, and we are already active and busy, executing marketing and sales activities aimed at producing those revenue numbers and making this a great year.

But, before you implement any more sales or marketing strategies, stop and ask yourself this question: Am I sure I am doing the right things to make 2013 a success?

My answer: To ensure 2013 is successful, you need to plan the year backwards. Decide how you want 2013 to end, and then work back from there. Here’s how:

Step 1: Imagine it is December 31, 2013, and you are celebrating a very successful year. What is it you are celebrating?

Yes, you may already have created budgets and forecasts, but think beyond what you’ve “turned in.” Think beyond spreadsheets and columns of numbers. Describe a “picture of success” that describes, in detail, what you hope to accomplish this year.

Step 2: Which customers are most important to your success?

I define a customer as “anyone whose actions affect your results.” Who are the customers who are most important to helping you realize your 2013 picture of success?

And, looking back at my customer definition, answer Step 2’s question by thinking beyond your paying customers. What referral sources, vendors, bankers, board members and partners could act in ways that influence your success?

This is a very important step for focusing your sales and marketing activities. Most of us make the mistake of trying to communicate with too many customers, and we end up spreading our messages “a mile wide and an inch deep.” As you determine who your customers should be, you are also making the important decision about who your customers shouldn’t be.

Step 3: What do you want your customers to do to impact your success?

Sales and marketing are the things you do to encourage your customers to act in ways that impact your success. So, before you determine your sales and marketing activities, it’s critical that you decide what actions you want your customers to take.

Look at the customers you have identified in Step 2, and describe the actions you want them to take.

Step 4: Make sure your brand story is motivating customers to do the things you want them to do.

Customers will only act in ways that impact your results if their beliefs about your company and its offerings compel them to do so. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The ancestor of every action is a thought.” Does your brand story encourage the right customer thoughts and beliefs that will lead to the right customer behavior?

A brand story that focuses on who you are and what you do is usually not enough to motivate customers to act. And, importantly, a brand story that focuses only on the benefits you provide is also not enough, because your competitors probably offer benefits that are similar enough that your customer can’t distinguish them from your benefits. Your brand story must directly connect who you are and what you do to the impacts you can have on your customers.

Developing and refining a brand story is hard work, and, I’m sorry to tell you, it is work that is never complete. No matter what brand work you have done in the past, it is important that you refine your story for 2013.

Step 5: What do you need to do to communicate your brand story, in order to motivate your customers to act?

Now … finally, you can determine what you need to do to communicate your story and motivate your customers. What customer experiences will best communicate your brand story? What will motivate your customers to act?

Step 6: Who, from within your organization, can impact your success, and what do you need them to do?

Everyone in your company has an effect on the customer experience. Who within your company or organization do you need to “enlist” to help you motivate customers to act in ways that help you reach your 2013 picture of success? What do you need these people to do? How will you earn their collaboration?

It’s January 8th, and we have 357 days left in this year. Plan backwards, and you’ll make the most of that time, helping you create a wonderfully successful 2013.

Steve Yastrow

Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Brand Harmony, Customer Encounters, Newsletters

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

Subscribe to the Blog
Email:  

On Steve's Mind
Get Steve's newsletter featuring his ideas and practical advice delivered to your email inbox.
* = required field
Latest Tweets
Testimonials
Rhoda Olsen
Steve Yastrow has clearly described the emotional reality of customer relationships and their impact on profitable business growth.

Rhoda Olsen

President, Great Clips for Hair
Chris Miller
I rarely book speakers more than once. But I’ve used Steve four times! Steve has our association’s interest at heart and works tirelessly to deliver customized programs. He always ranks highly with our affiliates because he is outcome-focused, fast-paced and highly engaging. Anyone looking for insight and understanding into marketing, branding and sales should book Steve!

Chris Miller

Executive Director, Professional Systems Network International
Kathleen Phillips
Not only is Steve's content sound, but the energy he displays in delivering it will knock your socks off.

Kathleen Phillips

Ernst & Young, Chicago, IL
Marc Allen
We are absolutely better off after engaging Yastrow and Company. They helped us look at our business from our clients’ perspective, resulting in a cultural shift throughout our organization. These changes have made a big impact - we’ve gained new clients and strengthened relationships with existing clients. The investment was well worth it.

Marc Allen

Vice President of Sales, AMD Industries
Tom Peters
When Steve Yastrow writes, I pay close attention.

Tom Peters

Founder, Tom Peters Company
american-licorice-logo
We have seen huge benefits from Steve's input. Steve is unlike any other consultant I've ever worked with. He takes a genuine, deep-seated interest in our business. He is intuitive and able to identify problem issues quickly. We wouldn't be as far along in acheiving of our long-term growth strategy if we hadn't actively and aggressively pursued Steve's Brand Harmony.

Michael MacDonald

Executive VP Sales and Marketing, American Licorice Co.
Mike Depatie
Steve Yastrow is at the forefront of the next evolution in marketing. We have implemented many of his innovative ideas... and have seen very positive results.

Mike Depatie

CEO, Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants
Doug Ducey
In one morning, Steve re-energized the way we look at marketing. The only question we had at the end of the session was, ‘When can we get him back?'

Doug Ducey

CEO & Chairman, Cold Stone Creamery, Governor of Arizona
jim-evans
Yastrow and Company introduced Brand Harmony and their Be the Brand concept to our team at Jenny Craig.  I believe these new ideas contributed in helping us triple the company's revenue during my years as CEO.

Jim Evans

former President and CEO, Jenny Craig
jim-winter
Steve put together a program that produced spectacular results, and the quality of our communication and customer satisfaction is vastly improved. I’ve been in business for 40 years, and Steve’s the first consultant that I’ve gotten my money’s worth from. We’re going to continue to work with Steve and the bright, energetic people that are on his team.

Jim Winter

COO, Dimension Design
Jennifer Whelan
Our work with Yastrow and Company yielded the best long-term value of any consulting engagement we’ve ever had. As we grow and expand internationally, Acuative continues to depend on the branding approach and marketing tools Steve and his team developed. Yastrow and Company genuinely partnered with us, were exceptionally responsive and remain committed to our success.

Jennifer Whelan

Vice President of Marketing, Acuative
Alex von Bidder
In these high pressure times of bite-size communications we all hunger to be listened to and cared for individually. Our customers know great hospitality, the kind that is not about selling but treating their needs as our highest priority. Steve Yastrow’s teachings are applicable to any business that values long-standing success based on personal relationships.

Alex von Bidder

Managing Partner, The Four Seasons Restaurant, New York
Alex von Bidder
Steve Yastrow's teachings are applicable to any business that values long-standing success based on personal relationships.

Alex von Bidder

Managing Partner, The Four Seasons Restaurant, New York
Craig Dwight
Steve’s approach to integrating all customer contacts into a comprehensive marketing message is a must in today’s information age. We have partnered with Steve to develop our integrated and comprehensive marketing message, and as a result of his excellent work, his new book is required reading for all of our employees.

Craig Dwight

Chairman & CEO, Horizon Bancorp
David Sank
I highly recommend Yastrow and Company to any business that is intent on enhancing their customer experience. Prior to working with Steve, we were communicating various messages to customers. Steve and his team helped us achieve a cohesive brand message that we as a company live daily. Steve is an incredible listener and learned the nuances of our business rapidly. I can’t imagine anyone Yastrow and Company couldn’t help.

David Sank

President and CEO, Calico Cottage
roma-maxwell
Rancho La Puerta has enjoyed continued success because of the work we did with Yastrow and Company. Together, we implemented business strategies that have contributed to our success. Steve and his team truly believe in our brand. I highly recommend Yastrow and Company to any business that needs help building the bottom line.

Roma Maxwell

Director of Sales and Marketing, Rancho La Puerta
Ditch the Pitch is a great read-- interesting, fun, and easy to follow. And I’ve already seen the concepts work. Just yesterday, I called a client and had a conversation that was 95% about the client, as the book suggests. At the end of the call, he sent a new matter my way. I ditched the pitch and it resulted in new business.

Attorney

Chicago, IL
roma-maxwell
Rancho La Puerta has enjoyed continued success because of the work we did with Yastrow and Company. Together, we implemented business strategies that have contributed to our success. Steve and his team truly believe in our brand, and our experience with them was empowering, fun and a great learning opportunity. I highly recommend Yastrow and Company to any business that needs help building the bottom line

Roma Maxwell

Roma Maxwell, Director of Sales and Marketing, Rancho La Puerta
Ward Alles
Steve Yastrow knows his stuff. That's why our management team has read all of his books. And that's why we've had him as a keynote speaker at both client and employee events. From creating brand alignment, to selling more effectively, to providing top-notch customer service, Steve offers words of wisdom based on real-life experiences. He always engages his audiences with questions, interactive exercises and great storytelling that keep you coming back for more. Read Steve's books. Then book Steve. You'll be glad you did.

Ward Alles

CEO, Core Creative
roma-maxwell
I give Steve two thumbs up—five thumbs up, if I had that many!

Roma Maxwell

Roma Maxwell, Director of Sales and Marketing, Rancho La Puerta
Chris Tucker
Steve is a creative and collaborative speaker who communicates his ideas clearly and concisely. He immediately understood our business needs and provided a better perspective on how our customers see us as a company. I have referred Steve to our customers in the past and I will continue to do so. He’s intuitive and has a unique way of looking at business. Steve has the experience to turn a project into something extremely valuable for any organization. I strongly recommend working with Yastrow and Company.

Chris Tucker

Director of Business Development, MBX Systems
Jennifer Whelan
“Steve’s workshops helped bring out what is best at Acuative. His insights were fresh and long-lasting—we continue to use his tools and approach years later.”

Jennifer Whelan

Vice President of Marketing, Acuative