Shut up and lick the Stamps . . .

What good does it do to complain?

As near as I can tell, nobody ever got rich by complaining. Recently at a trip to the post office, I became agitated myself at the counter worker’s constant complaining and bad mouthing his employer, the U.S. Postal Service. Granted, it was the holiday season, and it did appear like he was short handed, but still, what good can possibly come out of complaining? Not only was his situation not going to be rectified, but he was speaking to people, who at best didn’t care about his situation and at worse, could potentially call this boss and create a real problem for him. He was complaining to the very people who write his paycheck, the postal customer.

There are many issues going on here that need to be addressed:

  1. Negativity doesn’t sell. If the post office had a competitor for regular mail, this branch would be in danger of chasing it’s customers away. People like to shop in an inviting friendly environment.
  2. Input is great, but talk to someone who can help. If there are problems with your system, speak to the ones who have the power to change it. Everything else is just gossip.
  3. Don’t hire bad apples. In his tirade to a previous customer in line, the postal worker commented that he was supposed to have gotten his lunch an hour ago, and that’s exactly why he had quit his previous job, at another area post office. Stating that “They pulled the same crap.” Seems to me, a little checking up on the guy, especially since he was in the same company already, would have revealed his shortcomings in this area.
  4. Don’t forget why you are there. Companies make money, and workers get paid when the cash register rings. Disturbing the cash flow pipeline for any reason is not only selfish, but downright malicious, and stupid for that matter.
  5. Go help. There were other workers in the back of that post office, and I assume a supervisor among them, who were letting this guy fail. If need be, get out there in the front line and save the day. Don’t wait to react when you get a negative phone call, or forgive the pun, letter mailed from a customer to you.
  6. Take action. If need be, get rid of the cancer in your sales force. Today his lunch was late, tomorrow, he will need to leave early for a court hearing, next week, his equipment won’t work right and on and on. Tough action and short term pain have long term benefit. Don’t be a coward and tolerate sub par and damaging behavior.

Do people believe what they are told? You bet.

And the more they are told something, the more they begin to believe it as being absolute fact, regardless of whether or not they have first hand knowledge or observation.

This was played out before our very eyes and ears during this past month’s primary elections in Beaver County, PA. Don’t get nervous, this column isn’t about politics, or the candidates themselves, but observations about how perceptions about the candidates drive voter’s decisions. As many of you know, there were at least a couple of county wide races that ended with surprising results. Underdogs and newcomers defeated long time incumbents.

How did this happen? Simple. They asked and convinced people to vote a certain way be promoting an idea, or agenda that got traction. Now, where have we heard those concepts before . . . hmmmmm. Much like any business, or event promotion, a few basic advertising truths prevailed:

  1. The message was repeated over and over to a specific group. In this case, voters from the same party. In your case, it’s the age group and lifestyle of your most likely buyers.
  2. The message was believable. Voters rarely do their own research, just the same as your buyers having to depend on you to provide the information about why to buy from you.
  3. The messages were spread to other voters through word of mouth. Just like when you create and sell a product, your buyers will share good or bad experiences with other potential customers.
  4. The messages contained specific information about advantages to be gained for the voter. Much like your commercials should explain your certain unique selling proposition.
  5. No means of promotion is overlooked, including the good old fashioned direct person to person solicitation. Politicians have known for years that winning requires a completely exhaustive effort. How much more could and should you be doing right now to achieve the same level of familiarity and saturation about what you do? Every event, every community gathering, every opportunity to talk to others is a platform for you to promote what you have for sale.
  6. No one method of reaching the voter or consumer is sufficient. People have five senses to gather information, and candidates running for office tend to do a pretty good job of sending material to all five through different media and personal interaction. You too, should use everything at your disposal to create an impression about your business.
  7. There was a call to action. Finally, a deadline was communicated. Quite simply to vote on election day May 19, 2015. Always make sure your offerings ask for action. Ask your customers to buy, and tell them, when, where and what you want them to do.

Maybe our elected officials have already helped us in ways that they didn’t even imagine! It’s time to use their example and start a campaign of your own., an advertising campaign designed to create a perception that what you sell has better value than your competitors.