This blog is the journey of Lorenc Consulting and Entertainment as we continue to encourage creativity and innovation by using the concepts of improv comedy in everyday life. Any kind of group or organization can benefit from our improv-based corporate training, focusing on team-building, hyper listening and communication skills, and thinking on your feet.

Keeping customers from buying one obstacle at a time

by Toby Lorenc

Alright, here it is: I've been frustrated lately with companies putting obstacles in front of me to keep me from buying their products.  Why are they making it so hard for me to give them my money?

Can you think of examples: companies that are company-focused instead of customer-focused?  Let's ignite our thinking a bit in the corporate world and instead of considering "what's easiest for the company?" considering "what's easiest for the customer!"

Let me give you a few examples that have frustrated me lately.

1) Buying a watch.  I see these amazing, colorful watches at some of the major department stores and even independent retailers.  Wow! What a great accessory - I'm ready to buy!....but I want to try it on, just to make sure it fits on my wrist and to look at it in the mirror.  Right? Nope, sorry.  The watch is beautifully displayed in a box and tethered to the container like a captured criminal.  Good luck removing the security bands holding it tightly to the display box, and if you do, you'll probably go down for shoplifting.  Weren't they trying to sell this watch or is it just for me to look at as a branding effort for the watch company?

2) Buying Dress shirts (guys, you know what I mean): Go to any of the major department stores and the dress shirts are neatly packed into plastic wrap, needles, tissue paper, and cardboard supports to give them the appearance of ... I'm not sure, but I can't try them on.  Some stores even go as far to put up signs, "Please do not remove shirts from packaging."  Has anyone done studies on this?  How much more likely would consumers be to purchase dress shirts if they could actually see and feel how fitted, soft, long, luxurious, etc. these products are as boasted on the packaging?

3) Employee work day: Welcome to the retail world.  It's a necessity - stores have to set up displays, do visual merchandising, and create sales and specials that attract customers so they can sell the product.  But, if I'm standing in the store looking for someone to help me and you're so busy "creating things that will attract customers" that you lose sight of what's right in front of you, there's a problem.  I'm an interested customer who chose to walk into your store, and will walk right back out after 10 minutes of you being to busy to help me.

My point is not to complain - my point is to make you think how your company is creating obstacles for your customers.  Whether you're a non-profit collecting donations online, or a brick-and-mortar retailer, consider your customers perspective. Forget what you've been told about "how to do things." Stop asking "What is the easiest way to do it" and start asking "What makes it easiest for our customer" and ultimately results in revenue and value to your clients.

SWOT some sense into it

by Toby Lorenc

Ever feel confused where to go next with potential opportunities?  Try the SWOT analysis: a quick and easy way to evaluate new programs, ideas, and strategies.

During a strategic meeting today, the leadership team was dropping the phrase, "We should do a SWOT on that" and our admin assistant finally asked me what the hell they were talking about. I'm glad she asked the question - and it made me realize there are some incredibly effective techniques for dealing with new opportunities that many people are not familiar with.

Do you know what SWOT stands for?  It's okay if you don't - you're here to learn.  SWOT is an acronym (that's a word where each letter represents a word - wow, you're learning all kinds of stuff today! including some terrible grammar and punctuation from this blog post!). Anyway, it stands for STRENGTHS, WEAKNESSES, OPPORTUNITIES, and THREATS (S.W.O.T.).  As you work with it, keep in mind that typically the 1st two (strengths and weaknesses) are typically internal to the team or organization, the 2nd two are usually external (outside of the company, team or organization).

Here's an example, which hits close to home and is totally transparent:

  • Lorenc Consulting and Entertainment wants to launch corporate training to companies worldwide, using the concepts of improv comedy:
  • * We've been doing it for 8 years
  • * Whenever we do it, we get rave reviews
  • * We can customize the training for groups and companies
  • * Our trainers are very knowledgeable on improv
  • * We have worked with large, worldwide clients already
  • * We have a niche market for team building using improv comedy
  • * Schedules of trainers make it tough to schedule
  • * We don't currently have a worldwide reach other than previous clients
  • * Our costs are prohibitive for smaller companies or organizations
  • * Communicating the importance of our message
  • * Creating a sales pitch that encompasses what we do 
  • * Helping organization and teams find value before they see the results of the training
    • Using our connections through Center for Creative Leadership and other worldwide organizations to promote our training
    • * Finding non-profits to "donate" our training hours with hope of word-of-mouth advertising
  • * Making more connections to Organizational Development (OD) professionals
  • * Networking with individuals with whom we've done Confidence Coaching
  • (T) THREATS:
  • * Larger improv groups and training companies taking development money 
  • * Online training and low-cost solutions

Make use of this valuable analysis in your groups, teams and organizations to develop strategies and best use of resources. 

Don't let your confusion stall you from making important decisions. Now that you have this information, you are "in the know" and as GI Joe reminds us, "Knowing is half the battle" - you're welcome for that 80's flashback :)

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