About a month ago, I was in Las Vegas to speak at the PIA Conference. I love Vegas for many reasons, and when I was in the Design/Build business, we had a client there, so I was able to travel frequently there for work. One thing I absolutely love about Vegas is the amazing places that you can grab a meal. Some of the best meals I’ve had in my life were in Vegas.
I love reaching out to friends and clients when I’m traveling – even if its not to see them. When I knew I was going to be in Vegas, I quickly shot out a text to my great friends Rob and Joy Diaz. Rob and Joy have been friends in the landscape business for years, and I’ve been lucky enough to work with them on some marketing initiatives over the years as well. I’ve loved watching their business grow over the years, and watching how committed they are to delivering amazing service and products to their clients. Their dedication and commitment, bar-none, has invested in their company growing in this weird economy – and growing with the right clientele. More on their business in an upcoming blog entry. Stay tuned to hear all about them.
Rob and Joy wanted to grab a meal, and I said, “Let’s enjoy some awesome Vegas cuisine”… They picked me up at my hotel, and we went to Caesars Palace. And, ended up at The Palm Restaurant in the Forum Shops there.
Before I go into any more detail: If you’ve never been to The Palm Restaurant, go. You can stop reading this post and go and have an incredible experience, trust me.
This restaurant is intuitive. Our waitress (Anna) knew Rob and Joy from their previous visit. She even knew that Joy liked sparkling water, and Rob liked tap water. That was amazing in itself, but The 837 Club is what sealed the deal for me.
Some restaurants have punch cards, or loyalty cards, or programs to help bring clients back over and over. Some even coupon. Not The Palm Restaurant. They deliver real value in their establishments by creating community. The 837 Club is the way they do it. For a mere $25 (and you get a $25 gift card for your next visit when you join), you are part of their “family”. Their website says:
“We often say that The Palm isn’t a chain – it’s a family. This is true for our staff members, our customers, and for the extended family of loyal patrons who participate in The Palm’s 837 Club.”
It’s more than true. You get special entrees that no one else can order. There was even a bottle of wine that was on special only for club members. But that is only the tip of the iceberg for how they build loyalty. For each $1 you spend, you earn a point. When you get 15,000 points (yeah, yeah, that is a lot of points, but…), you earn this:
15,000 points – Private party and caricature, which includes:
• Private party at a Palm restaurant
• Caricature placement at a Palm restaurant
• $1,500 gift certificate for food and beverage
Uhm, your own caricature on the WALL of the restaurant. And, let me tell you, there were hundreds upon hundreds of them. Famous people, commoners, foodies, couples – you name it, they were everywhere. And, it was viral. To see how many people have gotten 15,000 points was amazing. And the fact they could come into the restaurant and SEE their own caricature is it. It’s it. It was awesome.
Oh, I can’t forget. The food was awesome. If you know me, you know I’m nearly a food critic. And, it was a stellar meal, an amazing atmosphere, great service – and even better company. I’ll not soon forget that meal, The Palm Restaurant, but mostly – the conversation and relationship that we had together in that experience with Rob and Joy.
What do you do to build client loyalty in your business? Do you have a way your clients feel like “family”? Does a community feel inspire you at businesses you frequent?
The Palm Restaurant has it figured out. Do you?
Tonight I was watching the news and I saw a commercial for Google Chrome that I found absolutely amazing… Now, I rarely watch TV, but when I do, it’s on DVR, so I usually skip the commercials. But, tonight I was watching the live broadcast of the news, so I watched with interest the following commercial. It tells the “story” of and upstart business, Frank Restaurant, in Austin, TX and their owners, Jenn and Daniel Northcutt.
Here were my observations:
In August, I was lucky enough to scratch one thing off my bucket list – by attending, alongside my neighbors – the Silver Oak Alexander Valley 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Release Party in Geyserville, CA. To say the least, it was an amazing experience that this wine lover will not soon forget. Lots of amazing memories with great neighbors and fellow wine connoisseurs.
I’ve been a fan of Silver Oak Cabernet for a long time. A good friend of mine and client introduced me to it several years ago and I’ve not been able to go back. Almost any wine I drink is compared to SO. And it’s nothing less than AMAZING. If you haven’t tried the 2007 Alexander Valley Cab, put it on your short list.
That said, I noticed something while I was walking around the vineyard in Geyserville:
Silver Oak Cellars does one thing, one thing incredibly well, and has always done one thing – creating the worlds best Cabernet Sauvignon.
I think as I work with businesses all over the world, one thing that is true is that they tend to grow by diversifying. I know I did when I was in business. We added divisions, we add geographic areas, we added professional services, we added services, we added products, we added all kinds of things. But at the end of the day, should we have just done the one thing we did best even better? I’m not sure, but I know that some of the best companies in the world do one thing and do it to their best ability.
Silver Oak figured that out. I noticed it tried and true while in California for a long weekend. And, I noticed their customers clamored to their expertise, attracting thousands of fans from across the country to their Release Party… Silver Oak has never tried to be anything other than they are.
“Life is a Cabernet” is their slogan and its true to form. Life is, indeed, a Cabernet.
What is your Cabernet in your business? What do you do that is your best and should require all of your undivided focus?
In business, timing is everything, right?
Earlier this week, I was on a conference call with a client talking about a new business he is launching sometime in 2012. This business is virtually costing him nothing to “pull the trigger on” because its similar to his current business model and he is simply duplicating the past successes of his current model to this new model. So far, so good.
Ideas can be amazing, they can be perfected, they can be profitable, but they must be timely – and not just timely for the business, business owner, but mostly the market and the client. I think my client who is starting this new business is all aboard for all of these deliverables.
Often, I hear of business men and women who ask me, “Jason, is the right time now to…. ” (and you can fill in the blank) – And my response always is, “It might be, but we won’t be sure until we try it” – and then we have to determine if the investment of time and/or money is worth the potential return on investment. Most of the time, it 100% is worth it. BUT, you’ve got to do your research and due diligence to get some idea of the success factors.
Remember, success factors are not always about dollars and cents, but it has to make sense from a financial standpoint. If it doesn’t, do you want to pay to be in business, just because you have a good idea…
I thought of this recently when I was in the Costco parking lot and I saw this license plate
I kind of wanted to wait for whoever’s car this was and ask them the reason their plate said “TIMING” – but I bet it was a good story.
When have you had good (or bad) timing in your business or life? I can think of countless good and bad ideas that I’ve had that were just the wrong timing. Then again, I can also think of some of the greatest ideas that I’ll never know if they were really that great because I never had the guts to execute on them.
Several weeks ago, I was driving through my local Home Depot parking lot and I noticed a big display of landscape timbers. It immediately sent me back to the 1980′s….
Back in 1985, I got my start in business, like many other kids my age, mowing lawns. Ahh, to be in junior high again and mow lawns after school and on the weekends. It turned out to be a pretty decent business for me over the years. I remember some of the first opportunities that my little “business” went from lawn mowing to landscaping.
To make a long story short, over the next 23 years or so, I fulfilled my passion in business via the landscape industry. It was an amazing time to learn about business and the ins and outs of doing complex things with amazing people on my team.
Back in the late 80′s, I remember being nervous as anything when I bought several landscape timbers to build a small wall across the street from my parents house for a client. It was hard. It was complex. It was something I had not done before. It was expensive, also!! I’m not sure how much I spent on those timbers, but I bet it was all of $50! A young kid didn’t have that kind of money. But I was up for the challenge. And I did it. And it worked! The client was happy, I was proud of myself, and was even able to look at that small wall for years and years to come, having pride in some of the first construction work I ever did.
In today’s business environment, it’s no different. Sometimes you have to spend money you don’t have to make your business, or your client experience better. Sometimes you’re scared in the next move to make yourself more dynamic. Sometimes, just sometimes, it’s hard, and complex. But, the reward is worth it. I’m not sure I knew or even realized the element of risk vs. reward back then. I sure do now. And I love encouraging people in business to analyze it. And risk it. And be rewarded from it.
It was fun to sit in the parking lot and remember those times when I was relentless in my pursuit of doing whatever it took to make the client happy. I’d like to think the same is true now, but I also realize that there are a lot better materials out there than $1.97 commoditized landscape timbers. :)