Jesus entered Jericho and was going through the town when a man whose name was Zacchaeus made his appearance: he was one of the senior tax collectors and a wealthy man. He was anxious to see what kind of man Jesus was, but he was too short and could not see him for the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to catch a glimpse of Jesus who was to pass that way. When Jesus reached the spot he looked up and spoke to him: ‘Zacchaeus, come down. Hurry, because I must stay at your house today.’ And he hurried down and welcomed him joyfully. They all complained when they saw what was happening.”
It does not matter how much you know or the quality of your products, if you cannot get people to know about what you do and interest them to buy from you, all your effort will be useless.
Unfortunately, many people seem to undermine marketing and sales activities. This makes the majority of people a huge cost to the business. Some staff know what to do, have skills, but they lack self-drive and strong internal desire to sell and engage in all activities marketing. They inadvertently become a flat tire on the car. Although it can move, the car cannot go far. Even then, speed will be too low to make progress. Any staff who does not market and aggressively sell does that to the business meaning the competitors zoom by leaving you struggling with high costs and imminent business closure.
Lack of marketing acumen is one of the biggest undoings of today’s education system. The wrong thinking that any involvement in marketing activities are a signal of career failure due to the wrong mindset that marketing is for a certain class of low-end people.
In Luke, “Zacchaeus, climbed a sycamore tree to catch a glimpse of Jesus who was to pass that way. When Jesus reached the spot he looked up and spoke to him: ‘Zacchaeus, come down. Hurry, because I must stay at your house today.”
Zacchaeus not only showed his intent, focus and strong desire to get noticed, but he also gained favor before the Lord. He did something to stand out of the crowd—the true essence of marketing. Getting visible so as to be noticed. Once you are noticed, you stand a chance to win. No one can buy from you unless they know what you do.
In my over 15 years working with entrepreneurs and an entrepreneur myself, I have discovered that the best staff focus on business growth. They are innovative and fast thinkers in marketing and sales. This is where the most value is created in any business. And thereafter the focus is on customer retention by providing fantastic after-sale services.
If you want better pay, involve yourself in value addition that creates instant impact —sales. If you acquire customers, the business will have the cash flow it needs to run. It is for this reason, during any restructuring effort, every business leader will first offload any staff that is not responsive to business development and sales. No football team can survive without a goalkeeper and a striker. For that reason, when a goalkeeper gets a red card, another player, usually from the midfield is substituted and another keeper brought in. When another red card comes on a key striker, another midfielder is removed and a fresh striker introduced.
A striker is like a marketing staff. Anyone who runs fast to score as well as keep the midfield position better has higher chances of success in any team.
In February 2018 I received a call from a hotel owner. When I met him, Alex was visibly stressed and resigned. He looked at me and said, welcome. You are Mugisa, right. To which I replied in affirmative. He said: I need your help with this hotel. I spent over Ugx 1bn setting it up, how do I recover the money. The bank loan is killing me softly as I talk now. You have been highly recommended. Here is your chance to impress me.”
As usual, the first step in any transformation effort is to understand the context. Move around the hotel. Check each room. Visit the kitchen. Interact with people on their desks and work stations. Visit the suppliers of food. Know how the food purchase process is done. Ask for a meal. Go to the room and ask for room service and see how long it takes. Interact with any former customers to know their experience. Collect ad must information you need.
All done, the major bottleneck was in the quality of meals, marketing, and customer service. We developed an aggressive marketing plan and customer service experience. Buy fresh foods and make high-quality meals. Serve it with exceptional quality. Which we defined to include a hot meal, clean servers, clean plates, timely served and customer given a choice. We added security since no customer with a car can enjoy it if they are unsure of its safety outside.
Out of the 80 staff at the hotel, we made sure we had the best core team in the kitchen. Then the servers. Then cleaners. And the majority in marketing and sales. We put in place a referral system and leveraged the power of the internet. We encouraged word of mouth and ongoing customer updates.
Today, the hotel’s induction process is passing marketing and customer care test crafted to respond to the needs of the business. All new staff must first demonstrate their ability to market and sell. Else no job.
Like Zacchaeus, you too must love marketing. Only then you stand chances to be discovered and succeed. May the Lord bless you.
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