My plane arrived at the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport at 4:00 in the afternoon. It was hot and sunny. I forgot to bring my sunglasses for the ninety-minute drive to Tyler. Luckily, I was headed east.
I was in Tyler for a business development seminar. It was my forth program in five days. I was hot, tired, and hungry. I decided that I needed a treat for dinner, so I opened up the yellow pages and started searching for something tasty.
It was only a minute when something caught my eye; Unk’s Shrimp Shack. Since I love seafood, this looked perfect. I called them up and got directions from my hotel.
I followed the directions the person on the phone had given me. After driving out of town and onto a back road, I wondered if I was lost. Surely there couldn’t be a restaurant way out here. The drive seemed to go on forever. How cold anything be a twenty-five minute drive in a small town I wondered?
Just when I was about to pack it in, I rounded a corner and saw a wooden building. The sign on top said, “Unk’s Shrimp Shack.”
As I entered “the shack,” the cash register and order counter were on my right. On my left was a clean dining room with lots of tables. Each table was covered with a clean plaid tablecloth. Across the room was a small salad bar. A middle-aged gentleman was behind the counter. I figured it was Unk.
Unk’s menu was on the wall behind the counter. As I looked it over I realized that everything on the menu was seafood with one exception, he had chicken strips for the kids.
I ordered a dozen fried shrimp and some fried clams. They had sweet tea which is my favorite. I went to the salad bar for my coleslaw and took a seat at an open table.
Within a few minutes Unk brought me my dinner and I began to feast. There were lots of people in the restaurant, and a steady flow of patrons came and left as I sat and ate my dinner. I was amazed that a place could prosper so well out in the middle of nowhere.
After dinner I had a chat with Unk. His real name turned out to be Dan. I asked Dan a few questions, and he shared some very valuable information with me. Dan had actually bought the land for the restaurant, cleared wild plum trees, designed and then built the “shack” himself. The restaurant had character. I’m sure it stemmed from Dan.
Dan told me that the first time his son saw the place he almost fainted. Dan told me his son said, “Dad! In the restaurant business it’s location, location, location. You just struck out!”
Well, several years later Unk’s is still there. And, I can tell you that they serve great seafood.
I asked Dan why he was so successful and he said, “We serve high quality seafood every time.” He went on to say, “Our focus is seafood. That’s it!”
The key to Dan’s success is focus. Focus was in his ad in the yellow pages that caught my eye, and it was in the design of his building. Focus was reflected in his menu. And, he brought it home with a great product.
Do you have focus in your business? Does the name of your company tell what you do? Do you try to be all things to all people and end up being nothing to no one?
Most of the professionals I work with fall into this trap. They just don’t want to take the chance that they’re passing up business, so they don’t focus. You’ve got to know your market. You must be highly knowledgeable about who you serve and the value you deliver. You will also find that when you commit to being focused the distractions go away, and you become very comfortable with what you do.
Ultimately you have to be able to articulate this information in eight to ten seconds to anyone you come in contact with.
Here is how to refine your focus.
1. Look at you past history. Who have you sold? What is common about your best, easiest, or largest sales. Can you draw a picture of who you best serve?
2. Now, look at those clients who have wasted much of your time. You know, the clients that you spend hours on and maybe never get the sale, or if you do, they always demand a price so low you probably lose money on them. Can you list the common identifiers of those types of clients?
3. Ask your best clients what they really receive when they invest in your products or services. Determine the true value you deliver. Sure, you may sell a car, but the real value you deliver may be dependable transportation, or maybe it’s satisfying an ego if they’re luxury cars. You don’t sell houses. You sell places where families grow together. If you’re in the insurance business you deal with security, peace of mind, and value appreciation.
Spend your time focused on those clients that are the most profitable and have the most potential for bringing you the greatest success.
Challenge yourself to avoid those clients that drain your time and energy and keep you from your goals.
And, tell everyone you come in contact with about the true “value” of what you deliver and who you deliver it to. Create a message that you can deliver in eight to ten seconds that will enhance your networking ability.
Learn to focus your thoughts, actions, and words — you will be on the road to Building a Better Biz.