Can An Old Marketer Learn New Tricks?

betsi1finalBy Betsi Bixby

When’s the last time you learned something new specifically for your business that made you say “Wow!”

If you are over 50, and can recall a recent time, congratulations! You are in the Amazing Opportunity portion of the industry. If it’s been awhile, you may be overdue and in the Death Spiral without even knowing it. Ouch. Maybe you are only in the “I stopped learning a long time ago” danger zone.

So what’s the difference between Amazing Opportunity and Death Spiral? It’s your own learning and the desire to learn.

I was at an event and the gentleman teaching mentioned he was 90 years old. He talked about still trying to learn and how he hopes to be learning more the day he dies. Being in the education business myself at Meridian, his remarks got my brain cranking.

Why is it that some marketers seem to stop trying to learn? They’ll talk to me about involving their son or daughter in education, but aren’t very interested themselves. Did they never like workshop-type learning? Or did they get to a point where they thought they knew it all? Or, perhaps decided they were just too old to learn? It doesn’t really matter because the main thing is they are missing out.   On what you might ask? Here’s what:

  1. Extra profits from technological advances.

From computerized trucks, to fully mobile CRM sales systems to real time price and rack data, to LED freeway billboards, to in-store energy management and telecommunication systems, marketers willing to learn and embrace proven technology are flat out beating those slower to modernize.

The technology issue was punctuated for me when we matched up two marketers on a buy/sell transaction. The seller owned tank wagons and his business had been dwindling off. Frankly, he’d lost his spark for learning a long time ago. The buyer owned a growing, computerized tank wagon fleet. As the two met for the first time, the buyer explained how the computerized system was working. As he went into detail, our buyer said he could see the seller’s eyes light up.

The seller confessed after that meeting that he should have learned about the technology and had he; his business would have been growing right now, not tapering off. The end of the story is he did sell, and then helped with the transition, even learning the buyer’s computerized route scheduling. You can teach an old dog new tricks when they want to learn!

That experience came right after a discussion we had at Meridian about older marketers who when called about education we have coming up, try to completely dismiss our marketing team with, “we’re doing just fine, don’t need anything right now, but we’ll let you know when we do.”

So, I decided to do a little research with data from our M-Power companies and our last Focus on Competitive Advantage event participants. I set up a spreadsheet with each company’s name, their goal for the program (we ask in advance) and then a third column with actual results for the M-Power group and in the case of the Focus on Competitive Advantage participants, their intended action plans (we track them).

For 96% of the participants, the actual take-away was something completely different than their initial goal! So what does this mean to you and other marketers? It’s the old cliché of “you don’t know what you don’t know.”

So this brings me to the second item.

  1. Revenue opportunities and efficiency measures you didn’t know existed.

Call it “out of the box thinking” or simply discovery of new ideas. If you want significant results rather than small incremental improvements, it requires learning and doing something new and different, not just what you have been doing a little more or a little better. And it can require uncomfortable major shifts in thinking about what is possible.

Here are a few of the actual results I tracked from marketers who took the risk of more education:

  • Found an entire new fuels sector that nets $84K annually
  • Increased EFT customers by 15% within 180 days saving $60K
  • Found over $380K extra profits in the transportation division which they weren’t even focused on (focus was retail stores)
  • Shortened terms on propane customers after hearing what others were doing producing $102K in extra cash flow
  • Discovered a new service revenue opportunity that netted $190K annually

Each of these things was totally unexpected gains in addition to the marketer’s goals!

And my personal experience is the same way. I invest in business coaching. Each year I set my own goals.   Same results—I learn things outside of my goals. This year we are getting gains from opportunities and marketing strategies I didn’t even know existed until my coach revealed them to me.

So the next time you head to a convention, or have an opportunity for more education, grab it! There is no such thing as too old to learn new profit tricks.

Since 1991, Meridian has provided insight and services to over 3,400 petroleum marketers, growing and expanding their market share, while increasing their cash flow and profits. Being the leading petro valuation provider in the nation, Meridian is also trusted for buy/sell transactions. To find out what Meridian can do for you – Call us 866-888-0327.

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