I was watching the movie Doc Hollywood the other night. It’s a movie I’ve seen a few times over the years. For those of you who haven’t seen it, here’s a link to a quick synopsis.
A couple of things struck me seeing this film at this time in our history here in the United States:
1. We’ve Lost Our Way: simpler is better. That “great America” that everyone is talking about isn’t what we’ve been doing these past couple of decades. Many of us have gotten too busy working to buy stuff we want but don’t necessarily need. Many of us have lost touch with friends and family because we’re always working to support our lifestyles. Doc Hollywood is set in small town America and represents a very attractive way to live. Everyone knows each other so you naturally look out for each other. Everyone has a certain job in town, whether it be the butcher, the mayor, the mechanic, or the doctor. I know that both Jack and I relate to this. We’ve both spent time traveling and living in different cities. We’ve both chosen to come back to Cleveland, OH where we both grew up because we appreciate what a smaller town has to offer.
2. We Have To Slow Down: as people warned me once you have kids life goes by pretty quick. If you’re always working, chances are you’re going to miss much of it. It’s OK to unplug once in a while. Turn off the iPhone or Droid. Forget about email, texts, and Facebook for a while. We should be disconnected from the outside world on a more regular basis. Quite often we’re too caught up in what everyone else is doing instead of being focused on what is going on in our own lives. In the movie, Ben Stone (Michael J. Fox’s character) was always rushing. The movie starts with him leaving his current job working in an Emergency Room on the East Coast to go to Beverly Hills to become a plastic surgeon. That is until he gets stuck in a small town in South Carolina after a car accident. Once he embraces being there, he begins to slow down a bit and starts to really live a little.
3. You Should Define What’s Important To Make You Happy: many of us get caught up in being influenced too much by the outside world. Whether that be your friends and family, or the general media. It’s good to see what other people think about something, but make sure you form your own opinion. In the case of Ben Stone, he was running away from the small town life he’d grown up with to chase his dreams in the big city. Until he realized those “material” things wouldn’t bring him true happiness.
4. House Calls Are Important: it can be easy to get into a routine in life. Get up in the morning, grab a bit to eat, take the same route to work, stay in the same building all day, get back in the car and take the same route home, eat dinner, put the kids to bed, maybe do some reading (whether it be email, books, or the internet) or watch a little TV. Then go to bed and get up in the morning to do it all again. One of the things that Ben Stone did was go on house calls to see his patients once a week. He made a comment that house calls used to be an important part of any doctor’s practice. That’s the only way they got to truly know their patients. By seeing how they live. We should be making “house calls” on our customers as well. Go visit your customers and see how they “live”. When you’re there, you’ll learn other things about them. You may even discover some opportunities for your business.
5. Experiential Marketing Works: people often need a chance to experience your product or service before they buy. In the case of Doc Hollywood, the judge ordered Ben to perform community service at the local clinic to make up for destroying the judge’s fence. The mayor took that opportunity to show Ben everything this small town had to offer. Within a few weeks, Ben went from not being able to wait to leave to not being able to go. As Jeffrey Gitomer always says, “People love to buy. They hate to be sold.” The mayor simply let Ben buy. We should all do the same thing with our prospective customers.
None of us knows where things are going in the U.S., but after seeing this movie again, I’m convinced that many of us here in the U.S. will be going back to a simpler kind of life.
Simpler will also do wonders in your business. Continue to make and nurture those personal relationships in your business. Figure out what simple things you do that make your business unique by making your customers feel special. Make sure you never stop doing those things.
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