Scratch the Biggest Itch

It isn’t Caused by Poison Ivy!!

“Floyder,” Jim began with a look in his eye that told me while his body was present his mind was somewhere else. “I can’t decide, so I would like your opinion – – wood or plastic?”

It was obvious that Jim and I were about to have another one of our discussions where only he knows what we are talking about in the beginning. After a few well chosen and asked questions I can usually figure out what it is he is talking about, but sometimes he gets a little frustrated before I can get there! And, I have discovered, it isn’t just me – – pretty much everyone has this challenge with Jim! Anyway, I figured before I gave my opinion I probably should figure out what he was talking about.

“Wood or plastic what?” I asked.

“Why, back scratchers of course,” he replied, intimating by the tone of his voice that I should have known exactly what he was talking about.

“Do you mean which one do I like best?” I asked, still trying to figure out where this was going.

“Well, I guess. I mean, like you and Randall said at the seminar at the Rotary Club meeting, we should always try to scratch our clients biggest itch, so I thought I would send them a back scratcher since I can’t possibly be there to actually do the scratching myself.”

Obviously only Jim’s body was present at the seminar, too! What he was alluding to was the fact that Randall Mains, owner/operator of Pathmaker Marketing, had done a presentation on Internet Marketing Ideas and effective Online Marketing Tools. In his presentation he had mentioned that the most Effective Internet Marketing takes place when the business owner concentrates on his clients by “scratching their biggest itch,” Jim, who owns an independent sporting goods store, is always on the outlook for Small Business Marketing Strategies, but, as in this instance, he frequently gets his wires crossed in regard to what he is learning. Having more than a little success with the Internet Business Marketing Programs Randall and I have helped him with, he is always willing to follow our advice to the letter – – even when he has no idea what we were actually talking about.

“Jim, that was Randall’s way of saying you need to find your client’s biggest need and then fill it for them.”

He just looked at me like a kid who has discovered that a cow can’t really jump over the moon. As he shook his head back and forth a bit, I noticed that his eyes were back in focus, and that we probably were going to be getting somewhere now.

“So, you really don’t scratch their back or anything”

“No,” I assured him.

“Ohhhhhhh,” he replied contemplatively. “Well, how do I know what their biggest need is?

“Probably the best way to find out is to simply ask them,” I advised him truthfully.

“You mean I have to call up everyone on my list?” he asked, incredulity heavy in his voice.

“No. Since you have a pretty good size e-mail list, you can either use “Survey Monkey,” or put together a short questionnaire yourself.”

“Can Pathmaker help me with this, or do I have to do it all myself?” he asked, the panged look on his face non-verbally pleading that we help him.

“Sure, we can help.”

“Great! So all I have to do is run the questionnaire and I’ll know what kind of things to offer forever!” he exclaimed triumphantly.

“Well, that’s not quite true,” I informed him. Continuing before he could ask, I explained my comment. “Look, Jim, your business has several specific seasons that you deal with – – hunting, fishing, softball and so forth. And, in fishing that breaks down to summer and winter, as the needs for ice fishing are different. You should, I think, send out an e-mail at least every two months and see what people are looking for to make their sporting endeavors more enjoyable and productive.”

“Ahhhhhh,” Jim said, his nod indicating he understood what I was talking about. “Boy, the people whose business isn’t seasonal sure have it a lot easier, since they only have to survey their clients the one time,” he commented.

“That’s not quite right either,” I informed him. “With the number of paradigm shifts that are taking place in our society today, everyone needs to keep a finger on the pulse beat of their clients’ needs.”

 Jim again nodded in agreement, and prepared to change the topic. He did, however, have one more question.

“Floyder, what’s your biggest itch?”

I realized that Jim was right about one thing – – he would need Pathmaker’s help with his questionnaire!!

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