I hopped on the phone with marketing extraordinaire, Jay Acunzo of 'Unthinkable Media'. Previewing his presentation at DSES 2018, Acunzo says there are ways to get around the conventional OEM thinking, and become better than the average dealer.
Take a look at what he has to say below!
Tell me, when you speak, what will you focus on?
So I’m going to be speaking on how to speak for yourself when you’re faced with endless conventional thinking.
We’re in this era which is both good and bad for information gathering. It’s good in that we have ubiquitous amounts of information instantly accessible. Or, in other words, endless best practices are all around us. But it’s bad because we never stopped to consider the best decision for us. So we’re in this cycle at work where we glom onto a trend because someone at work who seems important says we have to do it. Or we’re sticking to a precedent because that’s what used to work and it failed to do the job that it used to do today because times have changed.
Or we just keep thrashing trying to find each new “best practice” that we can. But the reality is, it shouldn’t matter what the best practice is, what should matter is what works best for us. But we’ve never really stopped to consider how to make that decision. So that’s what I want to help people do: regardless of the best practice, make the decisions that are best for them.
It’s about contextualizing guidelines. So if you don’t pay more attention to your customers, to your team, to your limitations, to resources, then you’re doing whatever works on average or works in general. And there's a problem with that. Nobody wants to be average and nobody operates in a generality. So the simple switch i’m asking people to make is to stop obsessing over everybody else's answers for them, and to start asking good questions in their own personal context.
The byproduct of that is that you might find a small percent difference in how you would execute a guideline compared to a competitor would to get the best results. And that’s the goal here. It’s not just innovation for its own sake, or creativity or rebellion. It’s getting better results. And I would argue that even OEM’s wouldn’t push back if you’re getting those better results.
Yeah, that’s a good point. So you want each individual dealership or company to look at their own brand and customer base and go from there?
Exactly. Because what always ends up happening is a best practice or a guideline is misconstrued as a final answer. Where as in reality it’s a starting point, and unless you’re willing to supplement that starting point with details from your own situation that no generality could take into account, you will turn out commodity work.
I think it comes from school where we’re always taught there’s a right and wrong answer. Then we go to into the workplace and in very few cases is there an actual right or wrong answer. And in no cases is there a right answer that can’t be improved upon.
So now we're in this world where digital technology and information is masquerading as a final answer. And what ends up getting lost in all that is that we all operate in slightly different scenarios.
What I’d like people to stop doing is stop trying to become an expert (which implies you're finished in your learning), and instead focus on being an investigator where in every single scenario you encounter you’re trying to root out first hand evidence that you should do something a certain way.
For the last 2 ½ years I’ve been running this podcast called Unthinkable where my attempt is to go as broad as possible across multiple domains and try to figure out, no matter what you do for work, when your goal is to do something better than the average, what is the mental approach you need to make those decisions.
So where as a lot of speakers get on stage or write their books and hand you their 7 step blueprint, basically their answers for you, what I want to hand people is a list of questions they can go and use in the their own scenario. Because they are going to be the experts in their own domain, whatever their domain is.
They’re also going to be the expert in their specific business, in their own little communities, with their products and with their teams. What ends up happening is people get on stages and profess to know too much instead of equipping people to go and make the right decisions for them. So that’s the whole message. I really want people to make the right decisions for them. So for me to be able to do that for them I can’t hand them my recipe. I’m trying to hand them a list of questions that they can go and use. Not only when they go back to work the next day, but the following week and month and year and so on, so that they never stop learning in their own scenario which they should be the expert of.
When you break it all down, everybody has a product they are trying to sell and these tactics can be used across all types of businesses.
Right. There’s also three very common ways we make decisions in our work. It’s not based on the products we’re selling or the teams we have or the resources we have. It’s really based on the way we as people make decisions. So I’m going to talk a little bit about that as well.
Is there anything else you want to add that’s on the tip of your tongue?
I think it’s important to emphasize what I’m not speaking about is trying to be rebel for rebellions sake. Nor am I trying to speak about trying to be creative if you’re not a creative individual. What I am trying to speak about is how to tailor your decisions for the unique element in your own specific situation.