Most small business owners are used to giving answers, not asking questions. If you followed around some of the world’s top CEOs and leaders, you would find the exact opposite is true. The best leaders are great at asking questions, so that the best ideas win and the best answers quickly become evident, even if they arise from the least-expected team members.
Management expert Peter Drucker was well-known for asking smart questions like, “What changes have recently happened that don’t fit what everyone knows?” Read that question again and let it sink in for a minute.
Most leaders start their meetings with assumptions, biases and beliefs about their market. They see any change in the market as something to be dealt with based on their existing talents and tools. They almost never assume the solution is entirely out of their wheelhouse. They simply go about fitting every “nail” to their hammer. Drucker’s question, however, forces you to stop and ask what you don’t know.
If revenue and profit are up this quarter, why? Start with what you might not know. Maybe there’s a new employer in your area offering excellent audiology coverage. Might that be the unknown source of your good fortune? Perhaps the referral campaign you did 60 days ago is finally catching up with busy schedules and spouses who want to get their loved ones into the hearing health care provider before their vacation. Maybe consumer confidence has a lot to do with your growth, etc.
The list should be long of possible reasons why something different is happening in your business, but you’ll never articulate the actual reason if leadership insists on giving answers instead of asking smart questions. If things aren’t growing as quickly as you would like, here are five of Drucker’s questions to ask of your team at your next meeting:
Too many small business owners can’t articulate a powerful and meaningful reason why they exist in the marketplace other than the fact that they want to earn a living and they like what they do. I’m sorry, but the market doesn’t care that you like to boost clarity or perform surgery or help clients with legal problems. The market only cares how much value you can deliver in solving problems for consumers.
Too many small business owners are unclear about exactly whom they serve. We were crystal clear years ago when we stopped treating children and cochlear implant candidates. We’ve never looked back and have continued to grow, even by dismissing 25% of our previous new patient flow. We know exactly whom we serve and we know precisely what they value.
Finally, what is your plan and how will everyone in your organization know if you’re making progress? Drucker says, “Progress and achievement can be appraised in qualitative and quantitative terms. These two types of measures are interwoven – they shed light on one another – and both are necessary to illuminate in what ways and to what extent lives are being changed.”
Know what your results are and how to measure them.
If you need some inspiration in making your next quarter one of your best ever, stop coming to the table with all the answers and instead start asking better questions. Set the framework and keep asking, “What more can we do to delight our patients?” Your team will have answers. Give them the freedom and motivation to pursue them in service of your mission.
Advertisers wasted $5.8 billion last year on digital ads that were viewed by bots and fake accounts. According to the Association of National Advertisers and fraud-detection company White Ops Inc., “Ad-fraud schemes have quickly risen and been much more difficult to measure.”
No kidding. If ad fraud was easy to measure, we advertisers would fix it quickly. But it’s not, and here we are, wasting $5.8 billion (with a B) each year on fake ads. This kind of makes “fake news” seem not all that bad. At least you can see fake news. Fake ads go nowhere, to walls of phones in China, called click farms (see photo below) that visit your site and click your ads but without human accounts attached to them.
Advertising platforms get rich. You get screwed.
This brings me, quickly, to one big, hairy obstacle in your business. Whether it’s marketing, managing your employees, running your clinic, overseeing your retirement accounts, etc.:
can only measure what you can see.
If you don’t understand how the money is made in an investment opportunity (i.e., if you can’t see it) don’t invest. If you can’t oversee your employees taking cash across the counter, then don’t take cash. If you can’t accurately predict and then count how many appointments a certain case type will require for your associates to treat in your clinics, then don’t have associates or don’t treat those cases. If you can’t count the number of people who received your advertising campaign and then measure how many raised their hand and came to your office as a result of your marketing, then don’t do it.
This all sounds simple in theory but, as the $5.8 billion in waste last year illustrate, very difficult in application. You can start by insisting everyone around you count. If your web design firm can’t show you how many unique visitors you had last month, how long they stayed on your site, which ones clicked where and how many of those clicks resulted in webform submissions or phone calls to your business, then fire that firm and call my friends at Jimmy Marketing.
I just did a webinar with Jimmy Nicholas a few weeks ago where you learned how I generated 15 new case starts in two days and 9 of those came from Google. I updated his team this week to show that it wasn’t a fluke, as we just did 10 case starts last Wednesday and six of them were from Google.
Jimmy and his team are the only firm on the planet that help audiologists and hearing specialists control and count what we can see. If we can’t see it and we can’t count it, we don’t do it. We want results we can take to the bank. Everyone else in digital advertising is lying to you and it’s costing the economy billions.
I find it highly enlightening and hilarious that Google had two full-page ads as a centerfold in the main section of the New York Times last weekend. Couldn’t Google just run more Google ads to tell us how great their platform is?
Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg and Alan Eagle didn’t write an eBook or a blog post or a series of Tweets or Google hangouts to share their message. They didn’t use Instagram or SnapChat. They killed a bunch of trees and spilled a ton of ink, then they glued all the pages together into a book-book and shipped it all over the world via carbon-spewing trucks, planes, trains and ships.
Because the executives at Google like to count. They wouldn’t be caught dead wasting $5.8 billion of their own precious Silicon Valley dollars on stuff that doesn’t work, but they are more than happy to oblige if you’d like to behave poorly and waste your own dollars on their platform.
Pay attention to the irony in all of this. It’s so thick you can cut it with a knife. And, for the love of all things good, just because everyone else is wasting money online doesn’t mean you have to.
Get in touch with Jimmy or get to one of my masterminds as a “fly on the wall” where we can teach you how we count and how we’re quickly doubling and tripling the size of most hearing and audiology practices very quickly.
We’ll show you how to count and control what you can see. Everything else is a mirage.
Join me and Jimmy Nicholas in Boston on Saturday, November 16, 2019 for a small-group mastermind where I will show you all of the latest consumer marketing funnels and online ads that can help you double or triple your new patient numbers this year. Seating is limited.
The latest online shopping craze has a unique twist. Instead of sitting in front of a web browser or flipping through items on a smartphone, millions of Chinese consumers are obsessed with live-stream shopping.
ShopShops employs real people to go into real stores, like a T.J. Maxx in New York City, and stream their visit to as many as 10,000 people live watching from China. These shopping trips are some what of a cross between live home shopping network and game show, where buyers race to get great deals on items that are unavailable in China or often counterfeit.
Buyers can interact with the hosts, asking them questions or making requests to hold up items or model them at a “selfie” distance to see what they might look like in person. The company streams about 220 live shows each month, with an average of $6,000 in sales per session.
ShopShops has employees in multiple cities throughout the U.S., Dubai and London. Easily generating $1.2 to $1.5 million per month, this is a brilliant example of selling it differently.
Skin cream, perfume, popular items and vintage products all sell quickly and buyers often stay for the entire duration of the live streams, unable to resist the fear of missing out.
What might the live-streaming shopper or her assistants find next?
One jewelry store owner in Manhattan paid attention to this interesting trend when a live-stream shopper came into his store. Now he opens early one Saturday and one Sunday per month, so he can live-stream at 9pm local-time in China. In three hours, the jewelry store does more than 10% of their sales for the entire month.
There’s nothing new under the sun, but combining popular elements from existing media channels or techniques can often produce tremendous results.
Wrap your SUV and take a tent to every live event in your town. If you don’t schedule an extra 50 patients this year from those efforts, I’ll eat my shorts.
Find a local high-quality restaurant or jewelry store that will do an endorsed mailing to their house list, promoting your office and a special offer to their customers if you’ll do the same for them. Often you only need to place a small coupon or offer in your new patient welcome bag.
There’s nothing new about live-streaming, personal shoppers or exclusivity and scarcity, but a very smart company has combined them and is quietly churning $15-20 million per year in online sales. They aren’t even selling their own products. They are simply selling them differently.