The following article is from Marketing, Sales, Motivational speaker Kivi Bernhard. Inspired by his passion for Africa, a successful business experience and a talent to share with others, Kivi offers a truly unique keynote experience. His message is applicable and relevant to the individual, the team, the corporation, and the organization.
Like the economy, meetings and conferences are still in recovery and show signs of improvement. While Kivi’s message below might be geared toward the a less-recovered, it’s so important to grasp his concept as it’s usable whether your business is going and growing or if you needs pointed in the right direction.
Meetings Gone Wild! “The River Will Flow Again.” by Kivi Bernhard
Ok, I get it! It’s really awful out there and business this year is simply “off”. Got it! But here’s the deal. It will change. No. no, you are not getting me; I mean to say it “will” change. The variable is where you and your organization will be when it does? Nothing on earth will ever replace face time between clients, customers, vendors and prospects. Meetings and what they achieve are truly the life blood any free economy, period! Yes, they may get smaller, more focused, less ornate, but they will never die off. Not by the economy nor by technology.
Leopardology™ teaches that there are “leaders” and there are “finders”. Leaders deal with what they have at hand and explore their “proficiencies”. Finders, deal with what they need and explore their “deficiencies”. Right now, true leaders, understand this and are busy positioning themselves for “tomorrows hunt”.
I remember it so clearly. It was 1992 in the middle of the South African summer heat of December, in a severe drought that was now in its third year. I was deep in the bush, near the north east region of the Kruger National Park in a place called “Shingwedzi loop”. You have no idea how hot and dry it was. We had seen lion earlier in the day clearly run down, thin and exhausted from the scarcity of “client opportunities” that were resulting from the lack of water. My tracker spotted the leopard way before I did. It was 2:15 pm in the middle of the day. Precisely the wrong time to see leopard. They are mostly nocturnal and remain very secluded during the day, not wanting to give up their cover. But there it was, in more than broad daylight, this beautiful large female, following a dry river bed. I mean very dry! After getting over the excitement of seeing my leopard in the bush, I exclaimed to my tracker – “wow, what is she doing near a dry river bed, out there, taking a risk being so exposed and with zero chance of a successful hunt?” My tracker, a fifth generation Zulu, born to the bush, looked at me and said: “fool, she is preparing for her hunt when the river will flow again!” I immediately understood what he had said and received a lifelong lesson in leadership, change management and market endurance.
In this global economic crisis, the need for unequivocal market share strategies is no longer a “good suggestion” but rather the singular determinant as to an entities very survival. It is also the thing that you want to have ready and able for when “the river flows again”. So what is the one leadership initiative that will support your market differentiator that closes deals and holds your clients?
As a meeting planner, whether your client is a hospital, bank, furniture manufacturer or software sales firm, you know in your “management gut” that doing repeat business with existing clients and holding market share, is about getting your true “you” to your clients. We so often and mistakenly, think it’s about product or price or service – it’s not! It is about the essence of who and what you are as a human being. Particularly in a tough market, accessing on-the-books clients, is so much easier than wooing new ones! Taking who you are to your market – is client retention and brand recognition! It is also how the market place will notice you above the noise! But how do we do this and how do we do so with consistency?
Some four years ago, I finally broke the ice with a four store retail jewelry operation that we had been “hunting” for years. They were simply so embedded with existing vendors that they had no need for me as another wholesale loose diamond dealer. Regularly I would hear, “look Kivi, when you can place $250,000.00 worth of diamonds on consignment into our store, we will commit to making a purchase of $100,000.00 worth of inventory.” Knowing this to be a methodology of large corporate competitors in my industry, I was familiar with this route. However, I have always clearly understood that this approach is not a proposition for me. It is not my “hunt”.
In response to David, the buyer, I would say: “I hear you, but that’s not for me. I am a memorandum call specialist. If you need product or service in your store over night and it is five o’clock in the afternoon and your regular vendor is shutdown, that’s where I come in. My shipping department closes when FedEx at the airport closes. No one in my office is punching a time clock.” David would respond: “…and I hear you, but that has never happened and in general we are always able to get what we need, when we need it.” I would simply “hunt my hunt” and say “when it does, here is my toll free number”. Guess what! After 3 years of simply staying the course, one fine afternoon at around 5:25 pm, it happened. There he was on the other end of the phone. Surprised that we were answering the phone so late, David, asked for a matched pair of 2.0 carat diamond earrings for an urgent showing the next day. “…well I thought I would give you a try, New York was already closed…”. The river will flow again. [As] meetings start coming back, I submit to you, lead today so you can be there tomorrow, when they do!
If you’re interested in booking keynote speaker Kivi Bernhard for a corporate event, call Eagles Talent Speakers Bureau at 1-800-345-5607 or visit our contact us page.
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