Category Archives for Marketing Strategist Townsville

Blue Brothers Teach the Second Rule of Marketing

The Second Rule of Marketing

Firstly – visit the First Rule of Marketing

So – what can Jake and Elwood teach us about Marketing?

Well – it is pretty simple.  When you follow the first rule and find out what they want – well, offer them some more of the same or similar.

In the movie the video on the right follows that of the First Rule.  Have a look at it now and enjoy how obvious marketing can be.  Even in a regional city like Townsville – the lessons are easy to apply in any business.

My Third Rule of Marketing is coming soon.  Can you guess what will be involved?  Will there be music?

Yes, marketing can be fun!

Mary Poppins, W. Edwards Deming and Me…

There is a line in the movie Mary Poppins that says “a job well begun is a job half done”.  It of course leads into the song “A spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down.”

Obviously Mary was referring to the work of Deming (or maybe that is where Deming got it?) – that in summary says that up to 85% of value is created in the first 15% of most processes.

Of course there is a double edged word in Mary’s statement – the job is still only half done after all.  However – the recognition and momentum developed is often sufficient to bring tasks to full completion providing we don’t stop.

The is another saying {yes I am full of it today], that in business the remuneration usually comes from completion of the LAST 15%.  This last one may have come from me as I do not recall anyone else having said it?

So thus we arrive at todays journal title is to be “Mary Poppins, W. Edwards Deming and Me..”

In your business – can you list the processes that produce most of the value?  Are your systems designed so that this value creation is the core driver for your planning, implementation and growth?   What is the key value value produced by each role in your business (a simple mission statement for each role)?  Do the people filling these roles KNOW what the main value that their role should produce is?

In your life – jobs left incomplete are the heaviest of anchors as we surf in the unemotional maelstrom that is our world.  We can complete, decide not to complete, or do nothing and keep them as boulders tied to our ankle straps.  There is no judgement on completion or not, it is neither “good” nor “bad”.  The choice is to respect the process, or not.

In a nutshell,  if there is something to be done then getting it done is the only thing that stops the stress of not having it done.  Deferring the action weakly simply ties a boulder to your ankle.  Each additional weakly deferred action is another lump of granite.  It is hard to surf with rocks tied to you.

This means that instead of analysing the sea to look for great waves and being ready to paddle – we are thinking most about the bloody rocks tied to our ankles.   Interestingly – we tend to get more of what we think about most.  (And this includes thinking about “lack”).

There is the second option – which is using strategies to make the completion of the task unnecessary – and I will talk about them in a future post.  The vast majority of the rocks on our ankles are tasks that are best dealt with by dealing with them.  Each time we uncover one and deal with it – we rise higher in the water.

Until there are so few anchors on us that we have thrown up a kite – and are no longer surfing – we are flying.

Your action tip – make the list of boulders on your ankle then follow Mary Poppins  Strategy and “get it begun” for the value, and then finish it for the reward.

The difference is that between the feeling of desperately fighting  to keep near the surface, and that of grinning insanely as you ride the waves.  The surf does not care which you do.

Strategic Thinking Month – From Townsville Business Coach

Strategic Thinking In Your Home Town – Eg Townsville

Somewhere in the world you woke up today – I woke up in Townsville in Northern Australia.  And then – through a series of unique events today you have now found yourself reading and wondering how strategic thinking applies to you.

And then once you figure out if this article is relevant to you – you may study it and determine what (if any actions) you are will take to make your activities more “strategic”.

In my last article on strategy I asked you to consider and to list all of the important categories of your life.  Eg Health, wealth, relationships, and so on.  Remember it is YOUR list – so you can choose.  Or you might just google something like “life balance” or “wheel of life” and borrow the categories.

Before we continue – what was the point of having a “where you are now”?  Eg I awoke in Townsville, and Townsville is where is am now.   Please just mentally answer the question “what town or city am I in now?”.  Thanks.

Now – because you know you are somewhere specific – by definition you also know that you “are”.  You are aware of being.  Stay with me now,  I promise to not get too off the planet.

Who is responsible for you being right where you are today?

The answer that we are looking for today is “I am”.   I am completely responsible for being here in Townsville today.  I could be anywhere in the world – and because I accept complete responsibility for my life – I can state that I am responsible.

Townsville

Townsville

What has this to do with ‘strategy’?  Again – just stay with me for while longer!

Here is your trimtab question.  What is the purpose of you being where you are today?   What categories of your life (remember your list) are your activities today going to improve or maintain?

Today – right where you are – because that is where you have chosen to work (or not work) on WHAT you have chosen to achieve in each of your categories – what are you progressing?

That is “strategy”.  The WHAT you are doing to take you to a preferred, selected outcome.  I like the idea of having to prove in court that you have the WHAT done after you have finished.  ie evidence.  In business this might be “show me the graph, or a bank statement with an number greater than your target, or a new store photo.  The more specific the evidence the easier the next step – the HOW.

Being responsible for our own outcomes is the keystone for power in strategy.

If accepting responsibility for everything in your life is true for you, there is a cost.  That cost is that your key responsibility becomes to choose and design your future.  To choose your preferred outcomes in each of the categories of life.  Because not choosing is stating that things outside of you determine and control your life.

One of my favourite sayings is that if you don’t have a plan, even in Townsville, you WILL become part of someone else’s – and you may not like it.   And you now know that the ‘Plan’ comes AFTER your choices for each category of your life.

If you do not choose and design your life as you want it to be – then your plan will be “whatever“.  And because of this ‘fuzzy thinking’, you will be caught up in an endless stream of opportunity seeking.  You will jump from one to another in any area (category) of your life where you do not have a clear outcome.

Lack of clear outcome means it is impossible to choose steps that will produce that outcome (which does not exist until you choose it).   With this you will probably not finish many of those steps – because you have jumped to the new set.  You will be sucked in the the HOW (which I call TACTICS) – and the vacuum created by having no goal means you will have limited strategic power.

Doing more without choosing the WHAT leads only to overwork, misery, anger, frustration and probably divorce and/or drug abuse.   The answer to doing the wrong things is not to do more, faster, better.

“A system can only produce predictable outcomes when the output of the system is chosen before the system is designed.  (At least here in Townsville..)”

And most likely the same applies wherever you are. “Tactics” are in the design of the system.   And you don’t need to know them until you have a strategy.  Knowing thousands of them and trying to apply them (without strategy) will result in overload and misery.     I know because I spent a decade spinning faster and faster, collected better and better tactics.

Now it is simple.  Choose the categories that make up your life.  Choose exactly what you want for each area – and know what evidence will show you have  it.   And only then choose the steps and way you are going to manage them.    There are other steps – but this one is your primary responsibility.

Choosing to design your life is also the key to motivation.  You are in control of your destiny.  You have a sense of power, and your life can become a work of art.  Instead of the pressure-filled grind chasing opportunities and never completing – you get to be in control.

So – for today – choose your categories.  And be wherever you are!

Ciao from “Strategic Townsville”!

James Hooper

Townsville Business Coach and Strategist

Australian Politics Advertising Frame Games

It is now Monday morning here in in Townsville, Australia – and the 2010 Federal Election is on Saturday.

Adverts must cease on Wednesday night – due to the “media black-out”  – a bizarre rule that somehow helps the voters to be less “affected” by advertising.  Or something like that…

Anyway – the political advertising landscape has been swamped (a term which also describes the quality of the politics) – with flyers, postcards, letters, TV, radio,  and press attempting to gain ownership of my head space.

In persuasion (and in sales) there is what I call an array of places to build your “positioning”.

One of the most overused in politics is the towards/away frame.  This slides out of advanced sales training – and usually requires the user to be able to hear and listen at the same time.  In a one-on-one situation, asking a structured series of questions will give you information about your prospects inclination to “Move towards something great” or “Away from something awful”.

Once you know that inclination – you can alter your choice of words for that person and it will have an enhanced persuasive impact.  If you use “towards” terminology to someone who is more an “away”  thinker at the time – they will find it irritating and be sure exactly why.   The reverse also applies for “away” on a “towards” person.

Note also that the towards/away effect is context dependent and can change/be changed.

So – our first frame level in the political ads I have spread on my big desk is the towards/away.  In this level, both of the major parties are working on “having their cake and eating it too”.  For example the ALP has a pretty double sided folded A3 flyer with headline on the front “Whose Plans Are Best For Your Family – You be the Judge” – and inside has a table with LNP on the left and ALP on the right.

In the middle is a list of issues obviously selected by the ALP – and on each side of the issues what the ALP says are the ‘facts’.  This piece is lamely trying to simply make the important choices to be Away from Tony and Towards Julia.  Does it work – unlikely – as our brains can’t be in two places at once.  In fact – the way this is constructed – with ANY attempt at social proof (you know – vaguely unbiased evidence) – it just adds to our overall perception that politicians (and their media guides) just say whatever they want.

They have lost sight of the rule that if you try to persuade “EVERYONE”, you will persuade “NO ONE”.  In this case the result is a condescending mash with no emotional or other impact.

Next Piece – from LNP

Now I am looking at a post card I randomly fished of the top of my letterbox collection.  On the front side it has the headline “Under Labor the cost of living has gone through the roof.”  Then has fat arrows pointing out the increases in rent, gas, and electricity.  And a promise that you’ll be paying more under more labor.  [They could have underlined the first “more” for more impact.]

Ok – that is a clear AWAY from message.  On the reverse – there is a nice graph (proof!), there is the suggestion that this graph  means Libs are better at managing money (says who?  Prove it!).  And then two wasted paragraphs that could be talking to our emotions about the effects of increases in rent, gas and power on our lives, businesses and ambitions.  Eg Do you want to pay more for power, or get those braces for Sally’s shamed smile?

So – you can see the Towards/Away positioning.

Let’s have a quick look at a different frame.  This one from the Greens.  It is a full page ad in the Weekend Australian Magazine (an insert in the Weekend Australian).  It shows an “Academic” with headline

“THIS TIME I M VOTING GREENS”.   My first thought was that surely an “Academic” would know how to use an apostrophe in her headline statement.  And it is all CAPS – do they need to YELL?  All right, cheap shots aside, lets look at what the Greens are attempting here.

They have moved the frame from a view of what we “believe” about the other parties, to looking at “identity” – who we are.   The first paragraph is full of ‘pacing’ – where they simply state things that no one will argue with.  Eg I know that when I go to the polls next Saturday (true – that is when polls are on), who I vote for matters (still true).  I’m disappointed with Labors record (everyone is – even Labor stalwarts), but I’m worried about Tony Abbott (everyone is worried about all politicians right now, and this used Labors press).

So everything there is true.  Right?

Then the ad lists “values” – think long term, won’t backflip, “hold to account”.  Yep – more pacing.  Not a mention of the ‘dirt’ the other parties are throwing.  Saying what Greens think is important – and ‘inviting’ me to think the same – as there is nothing so far to argue with – right?

In the final paragraph we move the “WE”.  The first paragraph was “I”, second was “the Greens”, and then we have been adopted into “We”.  Because we all share those earlier values – right?

And now – in this third paragraph – some new values are being installed easily because the first ones were so ‘true’ – “We need a party that will speak for us (what does that mean?), prevent deadlock in the Senate (um – no? Voting Green will pretty much stop any meaningful activity by the elected government adding to the production of committee-built grey mush national leadership – just my opinion).  And “do what’s right, not just what’s easy or what polls well”  (All ‘true’ and good values to adopt.)

And the close.  “That’s why (because you agree with all the undeniably ‘true’ statements above) “this time” (go on – just this once – one little drag on the fag won’t hurt anyone – just for now), “I am voting Greens”.  When we read that last sentence aloud – it is in first person.  ie the reader is voting Greens.

The tag at the bottom “BECAUSE WHO YOU VOTE FOR MATTERS.”  almost cements in the move to ‘identity/values’ positioning.  Implication almost is that “WHO” we are as the Australian people is the determinant of our success.  Green’s are positioning not in “beliefs” frame (eg did Labor save us from the GFC?  Does Abbott like Workchoices?) – but instead that who we are and what we value is the key.  And obviously – apart from saying we will block the senate to get our agenda followed – what else can they talk about?

This is a pretty well done advert.  There is clear use of good pacing and leading, criteria installation, double binds, and just staying at one logical level [values].  And putting it in the Australian Magazine is good targeting – because there is a chance that the readers might actually read the words.  It might have been better tested as an advertorial style ad to match the style of the Magazine.

The shift up and down the beliefs/values/hierarchy can be done by all the players at any time in this game.  More on this in a later article.

Briefly – other frames to be manipulated are the local/national issues.  The local candidates will be trying like crazy to make our voting choice about local issues – because if people vote on national leaderships – the local candidates may as well be tossing a coin.    The best way to do is with “over promising” lots of money to be spent in the electorate for hundreds of years to come – if you vote for me…

Cheers

James Hooper

Ps – you will notice that with the ALP piece there is a page missing.  It is the ‘back’ of the brochure – and contains a blank page except for the “authorised by:” and the printers name.   Maybe something valuable could have been done with this – maybe a reminder on “How to do CPR” – or even something about a political message?

Pps – I face the same choice as you do on Saturday.  My only suggestion is vote for one of the two major parties.  I have nothing against the Greens or other minority parties – but do see the “handbrake” or “do what’s right”  roles that these parties claim to own as complete bunkum.  If it turns out there is senate deadlock or a minority holds undue power – then call a double dissolution and ask us to vote again.  If the minority parties have a real  mandate then they will no longer be minority parties…

“Being sorry won’t get you into heaven…”

“Being sorry won’t get you into heaven…Get happy, son. Get that old spring into your step and stay on your toes”

Today I came across an old, tatty copy of “Stranger in a Strange Land” by Robert Heinlein.  As I skimmed through it – lots of rather interesting and provocative ideas jumped off the pages.  This book has been in continuous print since 1961.

The quote about heaven did make me chuckle when as I had just talking about the ‘gooey, swamp-smell feeling’ that having our national leaders here in Australia being ‘sorry’ about just about everything including their own lack of judgement and clear thinking.

For me there exists a powerful rule that guides me when there is confusion or doubt, which is pretty much all the time because information is never complete – and ‘facts’ aren’t usually.  So having a rule can be like having a log across the quicksand that blocks the exciting path to your goals.

The rule?  “People will always believe what they conclude.  People will very often doubt what they are told.”

Take a moment and think if this is “true”.

You know it  is true.

But how do you know it is true?

Because as you read  the rule – a series of thoughts led you to the ‘conclusion’ – that yes – that is true.   (Plus it is worded in a specific way that makes it likely that you will believe it is true.)

So – if you,  like me, feel it is true for you, how can we use it as a rule in every day life?

Well – this being a business sort of blog – we can use it in most areas of business.  I will put a few examples here – but I invite you add your insights in the comments below  because we will all have different and enlightening spins on this.

In marketing.  Simple – use testimonials.  Rather than say ‘I am a great ___________”,  show evidence that the ‘jury’ [your target market], can use to conclude that you are a great ___________.

Similarly – have any guarantee.   “We do a great job” vs “If you feel we did a sucky job – we will give your money back and fix it, and give you a pony (one of those cute appaloosa ones)”.

Also – you can simply ask your current clients or customers how they feel you are going with your service.  Either in a paper survey or face to face.  If you have doing a decent job – then they will consider the different areas [have a list] of value that you give them – and they will CONCLUDE that you are doing a great job.  Remember once they conclude it – it is true for them.

This process will also lead you to a stream of referrals and testimonials.

In essence – the message of this rule is

SHOW ME, DON“T TELL ME…. BECAUSE I TRUST MY OWN CONCLUSIONS

This is an extraordinarily powerful idea.  For all areas of life.

Tell a friend:  “My health is really important to me”.  They will look at you, consider your habits [eat too much, no exercise, big belly [boys], massive butt [girls], smoke, whatever].  And they will CONCLUDE something…

If your friend knows that regardless of your current body condition that you don’t eat white things, you train hard, and you have dropped 10kgs of fat this year – they will conclude something else.

If you tell your children which are the ‘right’  things – then show them you doing the complete opposite… what will they conclude and believe?

If you tell your partner you love them – BUT you show them actions/attitudes/evidence that you don’t – what will they conclude?

This does not mean that “telling” does not have power.  Just talk to small child,  Tell them the moon is made of a special kind of magical cheese and that their great grandma was the first one to taste it – and they will conclude immediately that it is true.    Children are designed to accept beliefs with little resistance because it will help them survive to adulthood.

Modelling your parents is the pattern that is most likely to keep you safe – even though some the beliefs this builds are not that useful once we are older.

If the ‘teller” has a position of greater authority/knowledge – then  it has much more weight in the “concluding” process.

In conclusion!  What have you concluded about the value of designing your message so that rather than “SPOUT” your message, you design and convey it in a way that allows the receivers to CONCLUDE  message [is true]???

Cheers

James Hooper

Ps I am going to revisit Heinlein – it is wonderfully evocative.

Pps  please share below with your examples and insights

Pps to our federal politician who keep apologising – show me evidence that you fixed or made changes to  whatever you are sorry for – or CALL LIFELINE not Press Gallery.

Business Coach Townsville


What are the little piles of money you are leaving on your business ‘table’?

I have a delightful swimming pool at the rear of my cottage.  Being of the belief that I know something about chemicals and how bad they are for us – I have a pool that is fresh water, super low chlorine – and sparking clean.  I use a combination of low level silver and copper to keep it sparkling and safe – and add a cup of chlorine once a week just for insurance.

This week I was cleaning the filter box on the pool pump, and as I was removing the cover it snapped off.  Hmmm.  Bugger.  Then I realized that I wanted to increase the power of the pump anyway – so this was a great time to get a new pump – with more POWER!

Straight to my home office,  onto the web.  Hmmm.  Not many pool shops in Townsville have SEO – or at least not optimised to pool pumps.  Will try the Townsville Yellow Pages.

Picked an advert that was reasonable, and dialed the number.   A woman answered who sounded so ill that I thought she was going to expire right then.  She did not know much about pumps, and cut me off as she was trying to transfer me.  I hope she is ok.

I dialed the next number.  Spoke with a man who may have been the owner.  He seemed to know about pumps, suggested a model.  I suggested a bigger one, he said ok, included installation in the price – and we had a deal for it to be installed the next day.  Excellent.

Here is where the question about little piles of cash just sitting on the table – cash just waiting to be scooped up.  What else did I need if I needed a new pump?

If I had been asked right there and then what else I needed  -I would have remembered that I am low on chlorine [liquid sodium hyperchlorite].  I only use a little – but I am running out.  And my pool scooper net is pretty ratty.  And if he had asked if I had a Barracuda/Auto Cleaner thing – because he had a ‘combination deal’ when people buy a pump – there is a good chance I would say yes.

Today the technician came and installed the pump.  It is great.  An Onga.  Did he have a checklist to go over as he went through my pool yard?  Nope.  Did he notice that my resuscitation sign is very faded and needs replacing under the new legislation?  Nope.

He did tell me that every 12 months it is a good idea to get some seals on the pump replaced – or it will start to leak and corrode.  Great.  Did he offer to put a reminder into his system to contact me in 11 months to book in a service?  Nope.  Would I have done it?  Yep.

Did he give me a water test bottle or even a bucket with the pool shop name on it, and offer me free water testing instore, or information about pool service offers that their business does?  Nope.  Just an invoice and a CD-ROM from Onga about pool pumps.

I am not complaining about the service.  It was good.  I am saying that this business left a lot of (my)  money on the table.   Perhaps something will come in the mail, thanking me for doing business with them, perhaps a little gift, and even a discount offer for my next purchase to encourage me to engage them as my ‘pool shop’.

What nice little piles of cash are you leaving sitting on your business tables?  How much difference to your business would it make if every third person bought just one more item at each visit?

Have a great weekend

James

Ps not a surprise in this case – but was I asked how I came to choose this pool shop?  You know the answer.  And you know that if you dont know the source of each lead for a new customer that comes to you – then you are still in ‘marketing  kindergarten’.

The Blues Brothers Teach First Rule of Marketing?

One of the films that makes me smile is The Blues Brothers.   Quite often while preparing dinner we will roam Youtube, looking for interesting music to play while preparing dinner.

There may be a structural change in the world right there.  No longer do we ‘put on a CD’, but simply connect to the web -and expect places like youtube.com to have a video clip for most any music group we can think of.

Tonight we moved from Handel’s Messiah to the ballad “Hallelujah” sung by various stars, to eventually The Blues Brothers.  (Just scroll through ‘related videos’ to experience this experience.)

What is the marketing lesson?  Well – watch the clip in the right of screen “Rawhide”.  When faced with a market that does not want what we are offering – what do we do?  First we stop and think “Hmmm, what do they want?”  Then we devise something to “test” that may  meet THEIR criteria.  Then we test – and pay attention to the response.

I will let you just watch the video now – and enjoy the retro strains of Hollywood doing what it does best.  May as well turn it up.

As you listen – what are you doing in your business that is not meeting the desires of your chosen audience?  Do you need to change your playlist?  Or your venue?  Are you listening to your audience?

Cheers

James

Ps – the first law of marketing is “WHO”.  Until you define your market – it is impossible to design a campaign that will reach them effectively.

Pps – and if you are going to live your life – you may as well live it LOUD.  Enjoy your food, scoff your wine, and dance without regret.  And if you have the privilege to be able to do some marketing – use emotion to shine in our current mono-coloured world of advertising.

Business Developer and Coach, Townsville

The Strategies That Will Take Your Business Up Over a 100 Metre Wall Will Most Certainly Take It Over A 10 Metre One..

While talking with a very clever business women here in Townsville yesterday, the discussion turned to what is a good target to set over 5 years.   In reference to a new business venture, she said she would be happy with a $5M business value after 5 years.

Now that is a great target for  a service industry business, is achievable, and is motivating.

That target will produce a certain set of strategies and plans.

Here is the question.

If the target was $50M in 5 years instead of $5M – how would the strategies and plans differ?

Given that there is always a limit on resources available – where should they be best applied?  Does it take more work to follow strategies with a potentially bigger payoff?  Not really.

Sometimes the same strategy will be in both lists.  Some strategies however will only appear in the list with the smaller target.

This is not say to get ridiculous with goals and targets.  It is more about constructing the game [business], in a way that allows us to WIN BIG.

Cheers

James

Townsville Business Coach

Selling Your Business in Townsville Area? Three Reasons Why 85% of Businesses Never Sell

Author of the E-Myth Series Michael Gerber says that if you don’t sell your business, you have bought it.

One of the best coaching questions to business owners is “What is your exit plan?”

Stats show that 85% of businesses never sell.  Call any business broker and ask.  [On this subject standby for an announcement about improved business broking services in Townsville.]  The honest brokers will tell you.

Generally there are three problems that stomp on your dream of selling a business.

1.  The business is so dependent on the owner that it is not worth anything to a potential buyer.

2.  Unrealistic expectations about the price of your business.  Your years of hard blood, sweat and tears have no value to a purchaser.  Similarly the future ‘potential’ of your business adds little to your bargaining on price, buyers wont pay for ‘blue sky’.

3.    Business owner has not completed the business marketing checklist that a buyer needs and is attracted to.  Unprofessional, incomplete, inaccurate and often blatantly fraudulent information is given to potential buyers.  Some brokers just go along with this – knowing that their client [who is the seller!] will eventually just drop the price to overcome this.

There are solutions to these problems – and they can be implemented quite quickly once the decision is made, the plan created, and action steps implemented in a systematic and accountable way.

If you are considering selling your business in the Townsville area, stay tuned for news of a strategic alliance that creates a powerful platform for preparing your business for a GOOD sale.  Or give me a call or email.

Cheers

James Hooper

Does Your Pricing Reflect Your Quality?

For a couple of years now I have owned an old Porsche 911.  She appeared one day after I specifically added “I own a Porsche” to my morning goals.  My younger brother rang me and said – “Hey there is an old Porsche out here – and they want to sell it – you like them – you want it?”

My first lesson was to be more specific with my goal statements.  ie put the word “NEW” or “AWESOME” or “PERFECT CONDITION” to the statements!

Well, this particular Porsche had some challenges.  And there was no Porsche dealer in Townsville.  (There is one coming very soon.)  So I worked my way through a mixture of different mechanics – all of whom claimed to be able to “fix anything”.

So my lovely 911 spent a long time sitting.  Sitting in one workshop, then another.  Then she would come home – have something fail, and sit in my garage.  Sitting, sadly leaking oil.

My investments to keep her sitting sadly – had mounted up quite considerably, and one day after cleaning the leaked oil from the garage floor – the obvious occurred to me.

“If my car was a person I would have simply found the best solution and done it by now!”

If I was sick – I would find the best doctors.  Even if I needed a computer part – get the best one!  I thought I had learned – but obviously not.  I had been unintentionally avoiding just finding the best mechanic available – and I was paying the price.  The price per hour was probably less than the best mechanics, but probably not much less.  And the total paid so fair was getting pretty substantial.

Bewdy!  A clear path to take.

Ok – now to find the best available.  It turns out that the simplest way to find a great Porsche mechanic it to ask people who own them “Who looks after your car?”    This information, combined with close scrutiny of the how their cars are running – tells me who talk to.

So – I simply approached people driving Porsche’s around Townsville – said hello – and asked them.  Every one of them was delighted to talk about their cars.  One lovely woman (with a lovely car) that I met outside the Post Office – wanted to keep talking forever about it – even though her husband was standing about 100 metres away on the corner waiting – hands on hips, to be picked up.  Oh well.

It seems that the Porsche dealership in Cairns, which is now part of the Motoco group, has a man called Lars who every month or two they fly to Townsville to service the Porsches here.

I purposely did not ask what the charges would be.  The question was “I have a 74 911 3 litre with a long list of challenges – can you have a look at it for me?”    “Ok – we can probably fit you in in about 5 or 6 weeks.”

Fast forward 6 weeks, and my Porsche is delivered to a workshop.  Later THAT DAY, I get a call saying that everything on my extensive mind map of things to fix, had been fixed.  “WHAT?”.   Even the bonnet latch?  The indicator switch?  The cold start issues?  The mongrel gearshifts?  The not quite right feeling in motor?  The angry clutch?

“Yes” says Lars with his slightly odd accent.  “Although I think it would make it nicer if we replaced the bushes in the gearshifting mechanism.  I can get them here by Thursday [today is Monday] and might have time do them then?”

I am still in a slight shock because I have wasted 3 years at least with a sick car.  “Great” I say.  Again – the price not questioned, as this is test.  On WEDNESDAY I get a call from Cairns saying my car is ready to be collected.  “HUH!”

As I purrr away from the workshop, changing gears effortlessly [except for 3rd of course], grinning, I take my lesson.

Going straight to the best I can find is a very nice  strategy.

I can hear you asking – “how much did it cost?”  Well, my guess without knowing the cost of part OR labour was between one and three grand.  It was closer to one – but did it matter?  The ongoing cost in both money and energy terms of having ‘a mess’ in my garage would have been far more.

The only real shortages in our world are our time and our attention.  Decisions made to ensure great returns on both are generally more powerful for us.

And the business lesson today?  One is that as the “Porsche guy” – Lars has a very tight USP.  Another is that a tight USP allows better margins.   And perhaps “we get what we pay for”.  That reminds me of my $12 haircuts – but that is another story.

Go and clear up a mess today!

Cheers

James