pretty.

Let Me Entertain You

Have you ever thought about which occupations pay the most?

Is it doctors? No, managed care has taken care of that.

How about lawyers? They do OK but it's no guarantee of fortune.

What about CEOs of major companies? You can make a pretty penny when you get to the top, if the stress doesn't kill you first.

Then who?

ENTERTAINERS.

Think about it. From sports figures to pop stars to TV personalities to the icons of stage and silver screen, itís entertainers that top the charts both in cash and glamour. They are also far more influential than authors, scientists and even Nobel Prize winner. Why?

Itís quite simple really. Entertainers make us FEEL GOOD!

While knowledge is important in the new economy it is just the second step in building enduring relationships. The fact is that people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. It all boils down to passion. How are you showing passion in your work? I'm not talking about sexual passion here. Iím talking about using our emotional state to let people know how we feel about them. It is only then that we will have a receptive audience

Think about kids. They do this all the time.

Recently Kathy and I were driving with a friend and we had her two six-year-old children with us. As we drove past the stores and restaurants the kids seemed quiet until those Golden Arches came into view. I nearly jumped out of my skin when the shrill of two squeaky voices in unison yelled out, "McDonald's." This caused me to think about McDonalds in a way which I never had. Why are these kids so excited about a fast food place? Is it because McDonald's has great hamburgers? Do they appreciate the clean, friendly environment? I donít think so. Six-year-olds could care less about good food or clean, friendly environments. What they care most about is - - HAVING FUN! Let's face it McDonalds provides a great experience for kids. In fact EVERYTHING that McDonalds does is built around FUN! From the commercials to the menus, to the place mats, to the free gifts, to those giant plastic tubes kids crawl in and out of, it's all aimed at HAVING FUN! It's not the food or the service. It's the McDonalds EXPERIENCE. You've got to give McDonalds credit. They know their audience.

Other businesses are catching on to this trend -- and those that do stand out. I know a pediatric dentist that is tapping into this concept by creating a whole building called Tooth Zone. It, too, will have tubes and slides and other fun stuff. He already has free video games and a cool play area for kids. His practice is thriving because he gives patients an experience - not just a cleaning. Kids in his practice can't wait to go to the dentist! He's turned something negative into a positive experience.

Adults are not much different than children. We want to have fun too. Maybe more so than the kids. The lesson that these innovative marketers have learned is people want to have fun. And business is about giving people what they want. Often times that's a special and unique experience. Recently I heard about a unique retailer in Fort Worth, Texas, that had a Mardi Gras Parade through the aisles of the store. They were providing more than shopping. They were providing a fun EXPERIENCE.

Creating a "fun experience" can be adapted to just about any business. Consider the most somber of services, like health care. I have a number of medical clients like doctors, hospitals and surgical centers. One of the things I do is to try to help them to differentiate themselves. I try to work with the people and the processes within these institutions to help them to create a "fun experience" for their patients. Like the cosmetic surgeon that has a huge library of movies and state-of-the-art video games that patients and their family members can watch and play while they are waiting. I also work with a hospital that maintains a complete game room with pinball machines, video games and all types of fun stuff for adults and kids. This helps patients and guests to pass the time in a comfortable way.

How about the construction company that gives every customer a framed two foot by three foot caricature poster of their finished home or office with them standing in front of it? He actually has a book of them that he uses for evidence and shows prospects before and after pictures. They go nuts over the posters because they are personalized and funny. How about the business attorneys who have all types of trains running throughout their office? They have melded their personal life with their business life. Clients can begin to see them as people just like themselves and it removes the austere nature that often pervades the attorney/client relationship. Come into my office and the first thing you will see is a huge leather couch and a regulation size pool table. Clients can relax and entertain themselves by playing pool while waiting for their appointment or waiting for a job to be completed.

How are you tapping into the great American desire to not merely consume, but also have an experience at the same time? Look at your business. What can you do to provide an EXPERIENCE for customers? An EXPERIENCE in service. An EXPERIENCE in people's everyday world. You'll stand out and be noticed. The opportunity is waiting.

Author:.

Mark Deo, CEO of SBA Network, Inc. leads a team of business growth consultants who work with senior level executive at Fortune 1000 companies in nearly every industry sector. He is an organizational psychologist and Master Instructor for Dale Carnegie Worldwide. As host of the CBS radio show, "The Small Business Hour" he was voted "Journalist of the Year" by the Small Business Administration. His latest book, The Rules of Attraction is available at www.markdeo.com and he can be contacted at 310...

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