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Welcome to the November 2016 edition of ‘Terrific Tips’ delivered to your desktop free each month.

What goes through your head when a family member or friend suggests you spend your precious free time visiting an art gallery or museum? What does your answer to this question tell you about how to attract and engage with customers? This is the first of two main themes in this month’s newsletter. The other answers some of your fellow readers’ questions and concerns about guarantees.

How we impart information and engage with customers – Lessons from Museums

If you are a 20-something or 30-something it is likely that the only time you visit museums and galleries is when your parents or favourite aunt are in town and you need to take them out somewhere.

Dustin Growick and his growing band of collaborators at Museum Hack in New York are intent on changing this, as I found out while presenting at the Museums WA State Conference in Perth recently. We were both presenting under the theme of ‘Engaging Your Community – New Times, New Strategies’. And did he have new strategies!

To get you thinking about how to attract new customers to museums and what the lessons are for your business, here are a few thoughts and examples from Dustin Growick.

“People are consuming information and entertainment differently. Why?”

“Libraries and museums have been great at collecting stuff and waiting for people to come and see it.”

Museum Hack take small groups on guided tours round museums and get them actively involved in discovery. For example, “There are over x number of items on display. Keep your eyes peeled. I want you to find 10 cool things.”

Then, after bringing a few items to life in some section your guide says, “If you haven’t already selected something, you’ve got 5 minutes hypothetically to identify something you would love to steal and tell us why.”

Smart Phones are obligatory as participants are asked to recreate the poses in a work of art or statue and capture these on camera. And of course a fossil hunt and dinosaur selfie are par for the course.

All this active participation is aimed at overcoming museum fatigue in a fun, yet meaningful way. As Justin put it, “We break conventions not rules.”

It’s best explained by viewing an 18-minute TED Talk by his colleague, Museum Hack founder Nick Gray – How I learned to stop hating museums.

Tony Butler, Director of Derby Museum, UK also provided plenty of food for thought in his presentation on re-imagining museums. His main points are included in this 10-minute YouTube address on the Happy Museum Project

Are guarantees too risky?

The examples of guarantees shared in your August and September Terrific Tips have been hot topics of conversation with readers.

I’ve been asked:

1. To get noticed and be successful, do guarantees need to be quirky like My Mens Store in Christchurch, New Zealand?

2. Do guarantees these days need to be over the top like Beechworth Bakery’s 200% guarantee?

And the biggest questions:

3. What if people take advantage of you?

4. What if your product or service costs tens of thousands of dollars? How can you afford to give a full guarantee?

In this edition we will deal with Questions Three and Four and next month I will give you my thoughts on Questions One and Two.

What if people take advantage of you? 

This is the one that causes most concern. While we are all aware that there are unscrupulous people who will try to take advantage of us, let’s look at it from the prospective customer’s point of view.

In any business transaction there is risk. When someone decides to purchase from you, particularly for the first time, they are taking a risk. Will you be able to deliver to their expectations? A guarantee reverses that risk.

For example, at Terrific Trading we write into our proposals:

Any coaching, training or consultancy work I and my team conduct for you comes with my personal guarantee that if you feel we have not fulfilled our part of the bargain or in some way failed to meet your expectations, we will redo the work you are not pleased with at no charge or if you prefer refund the fees involved.

In other words, we are doing our best to give prospective clients peace of mind by reducing the risk for them. 

What if your product costs tens of thousands of dollars, how can you afford to give a full guarantee?

Any guarantee needs to be tested. Can your business bear the cost?

For example, if you are a builder of custom designed homes, you are not going to have a guarantee similar to the one we have at Terrific Trading. However, you can structure your guarantee on a stage by stage basis throughout the design and construction process. 

This may involve the customer signing off at each stage to say the process has been delivered according to specification.

Customers worry about making a mistake and this often causes them to procrastinate or in B2B to stay with their old (safe) supplier. Spelling out your guarantee, along with testimonials from past customers, helps to reduce the risk in their mind. 

Most business people I talk to who don’t have a publicly stated guarantee admit that if there is something the customer is unhappy with, they will give them a full refund. They are willing to give the customer the benefit of the doubt to protect their reputation. Be upfront about it. Give your customers peace of mind with a blatant guarantee. In doing so you will convert more enquiries into sales.

By the way, I noticed at Museum Hacks website they have emblazoned across their Home Page:

“We offer tours at the best museums with the greatest tour guides you’ll ever meet. Guaranteed.”

Acronyms with meaning

I’m not that taken with organisations forever coming up with acronyms to make their message, activities or purpose more meaningful. Occasionally though I come across ones that I find to be useful memory keys. Here are a couple from recent conferences I’ve been involved in.

The tourism sector refer to MICE in the business segment of their market. This stands for:


Then at the Museums conference they talked about being the GLAM sector which stands for:  


I’d prefer it if the ‘A’ stood for ‘Attractions’. I think if galleries, libraries and museums, thought of themselves as being linked to attractions they would have a different mindset towards customers. This would take them beyond being custodians of the past, protectors of valuable art and artefacts and educators.

This is something that both Justin Growick and Tony Butler reinforced at the conference mentioned earlier in this newsletter. To quote Tony Butler, “Museums have little to sell but understanding and enjoyment.”

When we think about things differently we have the potential to engage with people in different ways and getting a dramatically different result. Relate this to your experiences with the GLAM sector then turn the spotlight to the sector you operate in.  

What insights does this offer?
What opportunities does it create?

Brand recognition – ensuring a smooth transition

In an article in your October 2016 Terrific Tips about Australian hardware category killer Bunnings takeover of ailing UK hardware chain, Homebase, I mentioned that retail analysts have questioned why parent company, Wesfarmers are rebranding the 260 store chain ‘Bunnings’. This is because only about one in 10 people in the UK are aware that Bunnings is a hardware retailer.

Research shows that the same proportion of Brits think it is either a town in New Zealand, a yoga position, a diet or a moderately infectious virus. The rest have no idea.

In response to this, Barry Soutar from Christchurch in New Zealand makes some excellent observations for a smooth transition:

“Glancing through your newsletter today I was struck by the age-old situation of a large company taking over an under-performing company and changing names/cultures into areas the new company aren’t known.

“NZ companies have done it in Australia, Australian companies have done it NZ and so many fail.

“Would the answer be in using Bunnings Homebase until such time as the Homebase can be dropped?"  Many years ago Westpac bank took over Trust Bank in NZ calling it Westpac Trust. After a decent interval the Trust was dropped.

“It would appear to be another solution which is obvious on the ‘shop floor’ but not to the ego’s in the Boardroom?”

What a great suggestion. So far, Wesfarmers have only rebranded one Homebase store to Bunnings and are due to convert another two before Christmas. If I was them, I’d send Barry a cheque for $250,000 with gratitude and in the process save themselves millions.

It’s unlikely though, isn’t it? For all their dominance, big can be incredibly stupid.

Maximising Christmas Opportunities

At the beginning of November our retail readers received a special mailing packed with tips, tricks and techniques to help them maximise opportunities in the lead up to Christmas.

In case you missed this or would like to pass it on to retail friends or clients, here is a link to the Christmas Special.

With thanks

The best images in this newsletter are courtesy of Shutterstock.

Terrific Quotes

“If it doesn’t make your stomach churn, it’s probably not an awesome guarantee.” Perry Marshall author of 80/20 Sales and Marketing

“There’s no point in being the best if you’re also the best kept secret.” Donald Cooper 

“Each problem has written in it an opportunity so powerful that it literally dwarfs the problem.” Joe Sugarman

Thank You

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