It is important to be passionate about your job. And your job should revolve around something you are passionate about. No child willingly subjects himself to spending a third of his life suffocated in an activity that he could care less about. Neither should you.
Not only should businesses be staffed by a team of passionate people, they should make it a point to engage the passions of their customers, too.
Kim and I were in Rochester, NY for a speaking engagement a few weeks ago. We met a chemist who had a passion for…mushrooms. In fact, he was a member of a national mushroom club. One of the things I like best about traveling and meeting new people is hearing about their passions. Everybody has ’em, and they are as varied and obscure as…well, a group of mushroom enthusiasts.
Maze Lumber (where my dad works) holds an annual Morel Mushroom “Spongy-Rama” contest. This year’s challenge, which is the 27th installment, starts on April 21. They give out prizes — gift certificates to the lumberyard — for the five largest morel mushrooms that customers find and submit for measurement. They place a fun ad in the local paper, featuring rules such as:
A hunter may win only one prize, but may utilize two-footed or four-footed morel-finding helpers, if they share in the prize.
Mushroom entries must have been found in Illinois within 50 miles of La Salle, Peru, and Oglesby. Out of area smugglers may find themselves being offered as bait in next year’s walleye fishing contest.
I think this a tremendous idea, and a great way to attract the passionate mushroom hunters in the area. Anybody could do something like this. What do mushrooms have to do with selling nails and two-by-fours? Nothing. But it give the lumberyard a little fun publicity and a reputation as a down-home local business that doesn’t take itself too seriously. (Customers like that.) It also attracts new people to the yard — they can enter as many mushrooms as they like, but only one per visit. Plus, the prizes are gift certificates, which gives the winners a firsthand look at the quality products offered and creates the potential of bigger sales down the line.
People like to have fun. And they like to share their passions. If you own a business, figure out a way to reach out to the mushroom enthusiasts, scrapbookers, or stamp collectors near you and the rewards will be yours.
[tags]passion, mushrooms, mushroom hunting, morels, marketing, publicity[/tags]