Get More Customers

From the Mantel

One of the best ways to find new prospects is by finding similar people to your current customers. I used this metaphor of ‘Photos on the Mantel’ with many people and on a earlier post. The process is very straight forward, but does need a bit of control when profiling.

1. Start with your best 5 -10 repeat customers. If you don’t have repeat customers, this could be your first issue, but that is for a later conversation.

2. Create a unique and clear profile of a customer type and not a specific customer. Examples: Stay at Home Moms, Active Couples, Retired Sportsman or Young Parents.

3. Interview your 5 -10 top customers to uncover why they work with or buy from you.  Define their needs, wants and how they were fulfilled.

4. Establish some basic character traits. Try to uncover favorite hobbies, times when they buy, general shopping preferences and even the type car they drive. These are all signs of spending habits and possible social influence.

4. Ask how they found you initially. Was it by print, a friend, radio, internet or social media? Know where each type found you. Everyone does not use the same methods.

5. Product or service types they obtain from you.

Networking

Now that you have your basic profiles, label your current customers into these profile types. You should start seeing patterns, if not, you may want to adjust or refine your profiles or customer choice. Some customers may fit into a few multiple profiles. If you start seeing most of your customers fitting in multiple profiles, refine your profiles yet again. Try to be as unique as possible. See profile example chart.

Now, finding new customers can come from current customers that have similar characteristics and needs. Use their associate network.

The second method is use these profiles to find places that various types of your people would be located, such as shopping areas, meeting groups, hobby shows and even online social groups. Similar profile types usually have similar spending, socializing and work habits. Again the key is similarity.

I hope these visual thinking sketches help you grow and prosper.

Until next time, see your path and stay the course. Without a map, you can’t see where you’re going, nor how far you’ve come.

Why Visuals Matter

visual-learners

Actually, it is 13 out of 20 people who are visual learners, but you can’t tell by looking at them. So, if about 65% of all people are visual learners, 30% are audible and only 5% are tactile, then I have a question.

Why is that more presenters do not use visuals to communicate complex information?

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Why aren’t more business strategy sessions incorporating visual frameworks?

In 2006, Southeastern Louisiana University performed research around the various learning method types. University of Pennsylvania mirrored this study again in 2009. In both instances, the results were eye-opening. The data identified about 65% of those tested demonstrated learning methods to be that of a visual nature. Additional 30% responded as audible learners, while only about 5% demonstrated to be of a tactile nature.

The more impressive findings emerged when these learning methods were studied to determine retention. Those test subjects that were allowed to only use a tactile method of learning, there was only 10% retention in the material, 26% retention for those who heard the information and 30% who only saw the information. When both visual and audible methods were combined, retention of the information reached 50%. The greatest level of retention achieved was when all three methods were used. Retention of the test material reached 90%.

Imagine how well an audience would retain information if visuals were incorporated into the delivery of the content or better yet, the audience could create the visuals as the information was being shared.

Welcome to the power of graphic facilitation, visual recording and sketchnoting. This is why visuals are so important to clear communication and why visuals matter to the expression and retention of ideas.

To draw in your audience, you must draw out your ideas.

 

Graphic Recording Process

I have heard many variations of what graphic recording is from long-time experts, amateurs and even some casual hobbyist, and all of them are correct in one form or another, yet when a prospect or a non-practitioner needs an answer, I thINK understanding how it works adds more clarity. Pictures do help or I wouldn’t be doing this!

the processShow your next prospect, supervisor or friend this sketch or one of your own, to illustrate how graphic recording works, then pull out a pen and show them.

Actions are far better than words. Heck, if you call yourself a visual thinker or graphic recorder, prove it by drawing it out. Literally. Okay, okay, stepping down off my soap box now.

I see the overall system as four primary steps:

Listen -> Process -> Sketch -> Share = Visual Recording

So, go with the flow and start recording in sketchbooks, back of napkins, notebooks, scrap pieces of paper, whatever, just do it. Today!

Until next time, keep with the flow (ink that is) and start out sketchy. They’ll understand.

Ideas Fly

I was told at a very young age, “Hang on to your ideas, they can help you fly.”

ideas can fly sm

Never was there a truer statement made to me that has guided my life and my dreams and what has become the inspiration for me to help others.

I want to share with you the source of this wisdom. Imagine this being spoken by a single mother of two children back in early 1940’s. A time when ideas where too costly to have and dreams were more about having food for her children and putting clothes on their backs then soaring with an idea. But she fought and held on to a simple idea of becoming more. She achieved a leader position in the fashion industry in a time when it was controlled by the old boys clubs and women toiled in the factories.

She was an inspiration back then as she is still to this day. Thank you Florence, my grandmother, for all the insanity and love that you taught your daughter and then me.

Dream big ideas and never let them go. You’ll be amazed at where they may take you.

The Importance of Visuals

In a recent conversation over coffee with a business consultant, an interesting point was made about the impact he has on his clients. “We provide excellent conversations as well as concise documentation, but I feel we are not connecting completely.” At that point we began discussing the visuals and sketchnotes I have created, both of recorded events and live discussions. He asked me why I thought they had such impact. Here’s my reply in a graphic.

3 languagesIn order to create a long-lasting impact, I feel very strongly that your message must have all three types of language blended together to create a clear and complete message. Even though some research may show that visuals or graphics are not a pure type of language, most can not deny this form still communicates information and ideas as well as add a sense of story. Story conveys context more than just content.

I have discussed this before in earlier blog posts that visuals are the oldest known language dating back before 40,000 B.C. Today, many people in business as well as everyday life, have forgotten the power that a visual can add to comprehension,  clarity and retention. This is why, I believe, the increasing interest and application of visual recording is bringing Graphic Recording, Graphic Facilitation, Sketchnoting, etc.. into the boardroom, group discussions, ideation and even education.

It is a proven fact that we all absorb and learn information differently and at different rates, so does it not make sense to deliver the message or information in various forms to ensure that everyone understands? My suggestion is always, if possible, to use all three language types to deliver your message, collaborate an idea or when seeking a solution. You may just be surprised at the level of involvement by all participants and the level of retention.

For those individuals seeking research, here is some links that may help:

HP’s “The Power of Visual Communication”

“Mapping the Spectrum: Techniques of Visual Representation in Research and Teaching” by Klaus Hentschel

“Why Visual Communication” by the Stephen Few

Defining Style

As the calendar moves from 2012 into 2013, I took a moment to reflect on all the changes in my life, work and achievements. Many things have changed over this last year, many that affected my view of communication. The biggest impact has been in my visual thinking style. Which events or interactions may have influenced my style is unclear, but I have noticed that my style has become more illustrative and storytelling in my canvases. I have migrated away from the more technical diagramming format and more to the graphic illustration of pen and ink. Possibly because of my background in art and architecture. Whatever the reason it has led to a question of style; what are the various formats and how do they differ?

Before we can define the various styles, a description of the key elements must be expressed. These two elements will define the framework that will help outline the various styles of recording. In any process of visual recording, graphic scribing and even graphic facilitation, the process focuses on two key elements at work; content capturing and presentation format.

Content Capturing:

Content is that which is communicated or presented within a session. It is the conversations and ideas that are shared by participants and facilitator. As the recorder, one must decide which content will be capture and to what level of detail to create the best impact and convey the best idea or ideas. Capturing can be as simple as high level ideas or as detailed as verbatim. At this point, it is the role of the recorder to decide how accurately content is recorded. Is it to be precise or interpreted?

Presentation Format:

Format of presenting is the manner of how the recorder chooses to convey the content. As the conduit from conversation to document, the recorder chooses a format that best compliments the content. This presentation format can range from very technical in design to that of a highly creative or artsy in nature.

Pure technical conveys information in predefined formats with less fluidity in the imagery, rather uses consistent images patterns such as flow charts, spreadsheets, graphs and diagrams. In most cases, technical presentations rely on common accepted frameworks to create structure and rigidity in the delivery.

Creative or artsy allows for full freedom of imagery and use of canvas. No limitations or expectations guide the hand of the recorder. As implied by the name, the artsy format can be abstract, simple, elaborate or many other possible methods. As an example, I prefer the more artistic imagery of pen and ink as seen in many of my works.

Along the Axis:

We now have two elements to define our axis; content capturing and format of presentation. With each of the elements we have introduced a range of variables. For content capturing two variables have been defined, that of precision and interpretation. With format of presentation a set of variables has be established; technical and artsy. Combining these elements with their variables to the axis, it expands from an axis into a basic 2×2 grid. This grid offers a guide to the various methods recorders may use when creating their canvases. Yes, the grid can even be broke down into smaller regions since the variables are graduating in endless variations. But to keep it somewhat simple, I rely on the basic 2×2 grid for simpler explanation.

On the Grid:

On the grid, there are four basic regions defined which I labelled; Creative Canvas, Idea Flow Chart,  Conversational Wall and the Note Taking Sheet. Each region has graduating levels and offers many possibilities within its framework as you migrate from one region to the next. Each region in the grid is merely a description, never meant to be a definition.

To better understand the grid and where your style or the style of a recorder may reside, allow me some examples of extremes. In the region of Creative Canvas which resides in the upper left hand quadrant, the variables of artsy presentation and interpreted content exist. This can be conveyed as more graphic in format and less about transcription of words or text.

In this quadrant, if we located a pin in the further most upper left corner one could imagine a cave wall where Neanderthal man drew his stories of great hunts, battles fought or unusual animals encountered. No words only images are used, but the story is still told. These stories have remained understandable across time and the barriers of language.

In the opposite, lower right hand quadrant exists the Note Taking Sheet. This quadrant combines the rigid control of technical with precise content capturing. Here one could see boxes of text defining ideas. In the extreme case down into the very lower right hand corner one could imagine a transcript from a conversation such as court case or a secretary’s dictation. In this quadrant frameworks and text reside predominant as the method of recording.

I could continue on with multiple variations with subtle changes and nuances, but I think you get the picture. If not, allow me to present in a method of Interpretive Artsy style which would exist in the Creative Canvas quadrant.

Defining Styles Grid

 

I hope this post helps the recorder discover their style as well as those who seek the talents of a recorder to better understand the multiple formats of content creation and delivery.

As a side note, I see my style bordering along the line between interpret and precise, but always in the artsy columns. I have drawn a pin to illustrate this on the canvas above.

What’s your style? Where would you stick your pin?

Until next post, keep your ideas visible so that others may see and share.