It’s a whole new world

This image is very powerful in that it reflects the fact that our health care professionals are on the front line in the battle with Covid 19. And it’s a double edged sword as they are hero’s who put their lives on the line to fight the battle. We have to support them in any way we can and after receiving a message from Heather Holmes at the Lakeshore Hospital Foundation, I realized that we can help by making a donation that will go towards protective gear for the doctors and nurses. The Guardian Angels at the hospital have been there for us and now it’s time for us to be there for them. Just go to http://www.fondationlakeshore.ca

The Covid 19 situation has a lot of people becoming more introspective about their lives. We have all been given an opportunity, albeit challenging, to push the reset button and decide how we want to change our lives moving forward. We we working 80 hours per week? Were we spending enough time on reading, exercising, enjoying the great outdoors? A friend of mine mentioned that he has considering taking a hiatus from work; well now he has one. We have 2 choices – either make the best of our current situation or not. Everything happens for a reason, right?

Adversity builds character. Life is a series of challenges punctuated with sporadic moments of happiness. We will come back. We will emerge triumphant. Everyone is in the same boat right now and so the playing field has been levelled. Simply put, we all have the same opportunities once this is behind us. So you can capitalize on those opportunities whether it’s related to your health, relationship, business or family.

At the end of the day, do the best you can. Respect the social distancing rules and be good to each other. Maybe it’s time to start that new online business you have been thinking about. Maybe it’s time to start that exercise program you have been putting off. Maybe it’s time to mend a relationship with an old friend. Or maybe it’s time to be outdoors as summer approaches and appreciate the beauty of nature.

The New Normal

The Covid 19 pandemic has given us an opportunity to take a closer look at our lives and how we live them. As we self isolate, we turn inwards and begin to think of what is truly important. We have been given a chance to . . .

– slow down and relax

– learn through reading and online

– spend time with family

– exercise and eat better

– spend more time outdoors

How will this change your life moving forward? Will you go back to the rat race or will you move in a different direction. Everything happens for a reason in life and the reason for what is happening today is to make us stop and think and possibly re-evaluate our lives. Of course the SW rule will prevail. Some will. Some won’t.

As long as you follow the rules, you should be safe. I feel for the health care practitioners who are on the front lines as well as anyone who is providing an essential service. That includes grocery store cashiers, emergency dentists, funeral home workers and so many more. Be fair to others by only going out when necessary and avoiding close contact with anyone, even on a leisurely stroll.

Of course media like radio stations provide an essential public service by offering information as well as music and entertainment. Social media has become more important during this time as a way to connect with so in a physical space. Also, blogs like West Island Blog has done an excellent job in bringing the community together.

Marketing during a crisis and 10 steps moving ahead

The first step is to stay positive in a challenging situation. We always have two choices in life. Either we maintain an upbeat attitude amidst the storm or we become negative which will take us down a path to nowhere. The way you react to any situation is where the power lies and the ability to stay ahead of the curve. There is nothing we can do to change the present situation.

In terms of media consumption, the opportunities are huge and more people are consuming media than ever before. This includes TV, radio, Netflix, social media like Facebook and Instagram. Blogs such as West Island Blog with Rhonda Massad are booming with millions of visitors who are craving local information. And radio continues to inform and entertain.

Mark Cuban is an American entrepreneur and investor. He is the owner of the National Basketball Association’s Dallas Mavericks, co-owner of 2929 Entertainment, and chairman of AXS TV. He is also one of the main “shark” investors on the ABC reality television series, Shark Tank. 

His point is very insightful. Plant the seeds of future business and cultivate a long term plan.

The process of brand building takes years. You have to commit to a long term strategy of educational marketing over direct response. The companies that advertise discounts and specials put themselves in a difficult position. My 90 year old mother always wanted to go to Madison’s for dinner on Sundays for the 2 for $22 special. Once they dropped it, she no longer wanted to go back. She was looking for another deal. These customers have been conditioned to chase discounts or they will not patronize the respective business. The companies that build their brand through education and storytelling will always rise above.

So what do you spend your time on as a marketer? Get ready. Stay in contact with your current customers and prepare a list of new prospects. And with respect to advertising, you must do several things.

1. Prepare your post Covid 19 messaging.

2. Focus on brand building and storytelling

3. Avoid price and item or direct response unless that’s the essence of your business

4. Maintain a balance of traditional and digital media. Do not put all your eggs in one basket

5. Remember the fine art of public relations which should always precede any advertising effort.

6. Tradigital advertising is the new watchword so that you can combine different media options based on your objectives

7. Broadcast Media like television and radio are still strong with audiences of almost 90% of the North American population

8. Be careful investing in print media as the numbers continue to tumble, however local newspapers still have a place for local businesses

9. Make certain that there is a universality of message in all media which focuses on a singular unique selling proposition

10. And have patience with your marketing efforts. Rome wasn’t built in a day and brand building takes time.

Sensationalism

Let’s take a look at the numbers.

25 million Americans suffer from depression

1.5 million Americans are homeless

45,000 Americans commit suicide yearly

And we are destroying the world economy because 247 people have died from coronavirus in the USA. Now I am not playing down the fact that every life is precious. But we are decimating the world economy. And the result will be exponentially greater in terms of depression, homelessness and suicide than coronavirus. How many businesses will go bankrupt? How many people will lose their jobs? How many families won’t be able to pay their rent and put food on the table? And then what happens? The consequences will be a million times worse.

And there are no deaths in China for the last 3 days with a population of 1.4 billion. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and it’s not a train. The trajectory in Italy was a result of the aging population and 99 percent of the deaths in Italy were not due to coronavirus but other health related issues. Canada is doing a good job of keeping things under control.

So let’s follow the rules and be safe. But don’t let networks like CNN convince you that the world is coming to an end. They are fear mongering and as such may convince a vulnerable person do do something drastic. They should be more responsible in the way they present their news but I guess they have to sensationalize because their ratings are so bad.

It’s time to re-evaluate how we live our lives

Although the coronavirus has affected an infinitesimal amount of North Americans, maybe the shift to spending time at home with our families was meant to be.

We have been asked by government officials to self isolate and spend time in our homes. And so a new phenomenon has occurred. People are magically spending time talking with each other. Instead of 11 hours per day on a computer screen, we are actually interacting. Wow. Families are dining together, talking about their feelings and emotions, and playing games while catching up on the latest movies.

Was this a message to change our rat race of a life as we run from commute to work to home late to bed early with no meaningful opportunity to enjoy our lives? What happened to family dinners, weekend afternoon puzzles, and walks in the park? Modern technology is slowly destroying the art of communication. The art of sales is being destroyed by email. And the art of personal interaction is being runied by texting.

So take advantage of this unique phenomenon and spend time getting to know one another again. Spend time with your loved ones and help others who may be in need. This too shall pass.

Do I have your attention?

Is the statement below correct? All the BNI meetings, the Chamber of Commerce luncheons, the 5 to 7 meet and greets? How is it possible that they are a waste of time. They have been the foundation of sales for many, many years. Well the answer is simple. The vast majority of networking events provide attendees an opportunity to air kiss all the women, high five all the men and then post it all to Instagram. But do they real create and development solid long term business relationships?

I have been in the sales business for 39 years and NEVER made a sale from a networking event. What typically happens is that partially inebriated business types tell you how much they want your product or service and NEVER follow up. Take a look in retrospect at the last 3 networking events that you attended. Did you make a sale? Did anyone ever follow up? Did you?

I went to a charitable event recently and was surrounded by alleged high level business types. You know, the ones with the fancy suits and cuff links and the outlandish dresses with heels that added 6 inches. It’s very fake and ostentatious and I have never felt comfortable in those surroundings.

Just google networking is a waste of time and see articles from Harvard Business Review, Fortune and Inc. that concur with my theory. I know that many will argue with me on this subject but it goes deeper than just networking. What about LinkedIn? Well I have over 5,000 bona fide connects and recently posted that we were looking for sales people at one of my radio stations. Did I get one response? No.

For many people, networking events are ineffective because:

  • You don’t really understand what networking is. It’s about exchanging of value, like a piece of content or referral, and not just a business card.
  • You’re focused on selling rather than building a relationship.
  • You don’t follow-up with new acquaintances.
  • You’re attending the wrong types of networking events.
  • You attend networking events with the wrong mindset – you may view it as a work-related task or something that you really don’t want to do.

What to do instead? Cultivate long term one on one relationships. They are easier to initiate through referrals or straight up phone calls and they last much longer.

Dreams Come True

After 39 years in the radio sales and sales management business, I finally got my own show. Actually, I have been on the air three times in my life for brief periods of time but this one feels amazing.

First, just out of McGill University, where I worked my way up from the morning show to the General Manager, my first opportunity came. My resume was floated out to every radio station in Ontario because as a newcomer I could not jump into Montreal radio. The challenge was to work your way up from small town to bigger city and gain experience along the way. So CKAP 580 AM gave me my big break; the afternoon drive home show from 2pm – 7pm. The salary was $800 per month and as much as I enjoyed it, my confidence waned and I didn’t think that the talent was there. So I went into sales.

Second, about 20 years later, I accepted a job doing country weekends on K103 in Khanawke despite the fact that the only country artist that I knew was Travis Tritt. Now county is one of my favorite genres of music. Along with my full time job at Mount Royal Commemorative Services, a radio show on CJAD on Sunday night was launched to demystify the funeral industry.

Finally, the new afternoon drive show on the Jewel 106.7 FM. The perfect station with the music that takes me back like April Wine, Fleetwood Mac, Frankie Valli and so much more. My thanks to Ted Silver and Ky Joseph for making this happen. Ted Silver is a consummate professional radio programmer for whom I have the utmost respect. Ted and I always enjoyed talking about radio and he encouraged me over the years and gave me the confidence necessary to be on the air. Thank you Ted.

So what is the takeaway? Chase your dreams because if you want to achieve a goal in life, you can, even if it takes 39 years. Dreams are goals with wings.

Customer Service Sucks

Customer service in Canada is a disaster of epic proportions. Walk into a Tim Hortons and see what happens. Is it clean? No. Are the employees behind the counter swearing en Francais about the job? Yes. Is the display full of donuts? Tim Horton sales are down almost 2 percent year over year. McDonald’s coffee is considered better and the food at Tim Hortons is mostly empty calories with frozen bagels and eggs sitting on heating trays prior to being served. And while Burger King sales rose 5 percent with the help of the Impossible Whopper, Tim Hortons abandoned its plant based offerings.


Good customer service is not complicated. First, look the customer in the eye and smile. Second, say the word we rarely ever hear, ” welcome “. Third, conduct the transaction with a yes attitude. And fourth, thank the customer for their valued business. Because a customer who spends five dollars a day at fast food place for breakfast is worth over $1,000.

Also follow the 8 rules.

1. Train your staff

2. Don’t make promises you can’t keep

3. Be helpful

4. Address complaints

5. Answer your phone

6. Listen

7. Throw in something extra

8. Take the extra step