First of all, THANK YOU. To all of the friends and clients that I’ve had the honor of working with in 2014…I’m grateful. My company is nothing without the support, commitment, and genuine enthusiasm of the men and women in the HVAC industry who are constantly asking “What’s possible?” I’m perpetually inspired by your fearlessness and passion. You are the reason that I do what I do. Keep dreaming and doing!
We’re in a moment. We’re in a moment in which technology, consumer shifts, product evolutions, social sharing, and experience-retailing have all come together. We’re in a moment in which small business owners will and are capitalizing on these tectonic changes. This year I’ve seen incredible examples of these capitalizations. I’ve seen the rapid rise of video-based retailing. I’ve seen the first fully monetized web site platforms take shape. I’ve seen social sharing create rich consumer conversations. I’ve seen business owners understand that their brand is being co-created and that their responsibilities now include a constant dialogue that today’s homeowner expects. We’ve all seen the incredible acceleration of the Nest and, personally, I’m looking forward to seeing more. As the concept of the “home” evolves from “hot and cold air” to an integrated living space we will all be challenged to get ahead of this opportunity through new strategic partnerships and by expanding our in-home sales and service model. We’re in a moment. Not surprisingly, the most progressive thinking that I saw this year happened in small, nimble, progressive businesses that are unburdened by clunky organizational charts and deeply entrenched silos. Today a five man operation can function and thrive amidst rapid change with a fluidity that larger companies often struggle with. That said, I’ve had equally thrilling conversations with owners of mega-companies who have said: “We know we need to change and we’re looking for the next best step.” There’s an appetite for innovation that remains largely unsatisfied. In anticipation of a new year, and in order to help satisfy this appetite, my company will continue to provide a series of sales-related services while also providing three additional products and consulting services. I’m stoked to share them…
To me at least, the pertinent questions in 2015 will include: “How can my organization create relevance in the hearts and minds of a consumer who no longer needs to speak with a salesperson?” “How can I define my brand in a manner that creates the necessary differentiation?” “How can I implement a sales model that elevates the experience past parity?” And while I will maintain a weather eye on the direct-to-consumer trends that is disrupting our industry, my focus in 2015 will include three significant additions to the MAP Consulting coaching model.
First, the MAP Consulting Brand Lab. A business’ brand is its best asset. In the service industry, however, a well-defined brand with specific points of actual differentiation is rare. MAP Consulting will host quarterly Brand Lab seminars in 2015. Each seminar will be open to a limited number of business owners and managers and will provide attendees with a complete branding strategy that can be implemented at the kitchen table, on a web site, and via social signals. The Brand Lab is about defining and implementing a compelling brand position that creates desire, scarcity, and action.
Second, Experience Retailing is something I’ve been passionate about for over 10 years. What we know is this: the most profitable retailers create and sustain a superior user experience. Our industry has a long way to go in this regard. For my company, 2015 will be a year in which I help my private clients implement innovative user-experience models that celebrate their unique business culture and create “the best reality” for their customers.
Third, Culture. “Culture trumps strategy every time,” as Drucker wrote. A well-defined culture is a strategy unto itself. However, learning how to cultivate, maintain, and share that culture is an opportunity in our industry. Helping my clients understand who they are, what they stand for, how they are unique, and how their people create the fabric of their identity is a powerful asset. Best of all, it becomes magnetic in the eyes of new and returning customers.
Above all, MAP Consulting will challenge its clients to be as unacceptable as possible. In an industry in which being acceptable has become the norm I’ve realized one thing: Being acceptable is the least desirable option. Together we’ll be unacceptable. We’ll be unacceptably defined, motivated, actionable, desirable, focused, and profitable. We’ll be the most unacceptable group of insurgents out there!
In closing, I’d simply like to say “thank you” again to the friends, peers, colleagues, and clients. I’m excited to share new ideas while helping some amazing people re-invent our industry. From my family to yours, have a wonderful holiday season filled with love. Stay hungry, stay foolish.