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David Mills
By David Mills on March 26, 2020

We're in a Moment that Needs Your Response

We are in a moment right now, that presents a unique opportunity to your business or nonprofit. Whether you are a school, a healthcare practice, a senior living facility, retailer or service provider, there are things that you can do right now which you may never be able to do again.

Here's a replay of our workshop highlighting these two actions. We're convinced that these are the steps that will set you up to move forward in the coming days.


We offered several things to help you during the video. You can visit the Story Team Academy or reach out for a personal meeting to talk about your growth and rebound plans.


(The transcript was edited to remove content that could not be transcribed. The transcription was done by an AI system, which doesn't always punctuate well or use proper grammar - we're still training it:)

04:55 I'm Dave mills, I'm the chief growth officer at story collaborative and we'll be talking about ways that you can, kind of make the most of the challenges that you're facing.In the next couple of minutes we give folks time to grab some coffee or some water and you still have time to grab lunch.We won't be offended if you eat in front of us.Especially if your video is off.I do want to mention, I'm going to put it in the chat.We have a couple of 'em new things that we're doing that you can take advantage of.One of them is, a, a bunch of courses and we've put online, that are designed to, give insights and skills and training to, marketing directors and people that are doing the marketing work.

Speaker 006:30 I want to just go ahead and share my screen for a moment and want to talk about two things that you can only really do right now.It's not no secret to anyone that we are in a, a really dramatic moment in our kind of nation's history.What w what we're experiencing now we've never experienced before.No matter what you do, you've no doubt been affected in some significant way.Right now, this week, next week, we don't know for how long, but there is a moment in time here where there are two things that we can only do right now, which we believe are very significant for what happens next.For many of the people that we work with, their, either their business organization has been interrupted.

Speaker 007:20 They're unable to do what they normally do or their sales process.The method that they close, has been either interrupted or eliminated.The closure, the closure of the sales method.Let me explain what I mean by that. For schools in particular for senior living centers, lots of other people, there is a real reliance on a in-person clothes.What we hear from schools and senior centers over and over is that when people come on the campus, into the facility and they have a tour or tend to open house, that's the moment when they go, I want to come here, I want to be a part of this organization.The inability to close in person is a major disruption, in the, what's happening in our culture right now.

Speaker 008:10 And, and for those who are just joining, I'm Dave mills with a story collaborative.And you are joining our Thursday workshop.We're talking about two things you can only do right now.We're in a very special moment in our, the history of our country.As organizational leaders, as business leaders, there is, there are things that we can do now that will maybe never be able to do again.

Speaker 008:37 We're talking about, what should we be doing? How should we be responding? and so I was just talking about how for many organizations, their method of closing business, if they're in operation, still their method of closing business, if it was in person as in a tour, open in person meeting that has been interrupted for schools and for senior facilities there some doubt whether when you might be able to return to that, maybe not this year, maybe never.Because of the potential for exposing people to, the virus.Big changes in the way that people are interacting.The amount of online activity and traffic has increased so much that Google has actually pulled out some of its standard services that it normally uses.

Speaker 009:26 In particular in Google, my business, they have, it actually turned off things that they'd been working on for a long time because they're taking up too much bandwidth.So there's a huge shift to digital.Before we got today, people were already making a lot of their decisions before they talk to anyone.Now we've taken away the in-person close.So big changes.We're gonna be talking some more about that in the coming weeks.Today we want to talk about what can you only do right now? And so the two things that I think you need to think about right now, that I believe will set you up for your future, bounce back, are these two things.

Speaker 010:04 How do you right now care for your customers and right now, how can you be useful to your community? and I like to say I put at the bottom of the screen here.Everyone listens to the, to the station D Y H M "did you help me?" Now, they may not be listening to that station now, but as this thing goes forward, what people are going to remember about this time was the people that helped them, the people that made a difference.The people that were generous, they were kind to them.Which is part of the reason we're doing these workshops, trying to help folks to do what they need to be doing to make a difference in their community.Let's talk for a minute about caring for your customers.Speaker 010:45Oh there's a blog that we put up on our website this week that really talks about, what we believe you should be doing with your customers.Now, if you're a school, you probably have already talked to every customer, every parent.If you're not a school, we would actually advocate that you make personal contact with every customer.If you are a school, we'd advocate that you make personal contact with every single prospect.Our reason for suggesting that is not just so that you, are able to make sure they're still going to enroll or you could make sure they're still going to buy something that should not be a sales call.That should be a compassion call.That should be an outreach call.That should be a want to check in on you and see how you're doing.

Speaker 011:33 It should be out of human interest that you're calling them.That's one way you can care for your customers, and for your prospects is by actually making personal contact.Now I've gotten lots of emails.I bet you have to from the stores that I frequent, some of the restaurants I frequent, I will tell you it would have made a much bigger impact if those stores had called me.It said, just wanted to check on you.Now saying that we want to check on you and ask how you're doing.Also gives me the opportunity to talk about what we're doing to help our customers.If you're a school, then most likely what you're doing is you're shifting over to a digital service delivery.So it's important to talk about that.

Speaker 012:15 I will tell you that if, the private schools in particular have a definite leg up, if they're able to shift over to digital or video classes or digital support, many of the public schools were completely flatfooted and unable to make that transition. One of our staff members, I was telling, Dawn earlier, her kids are in public school and all she gets is a homework list and that's the sum total of support that she gets. Now that staff member is officially a homeschooler. So, so you could do better than that then that's something you can share about how you're caring for your customers. One of the places that we shop told them, told us that they were delivering for free.

Speaker 012:57 There's a toy store in the community where we live that has really innovative toys. We'll be interviewing them actually next Thursday on our Facebook live at noon, but they are actually packaging up a package special back is a toys for children and they are taking a picture of them. They send the picture to the family, ask them which things they want. They package them up and they deliver them to the home. I'd like to take just a break and ask you guys, what are you doing to help your customers? You can unmute or you could chat if you'd like to respond to that.

Participant 113:37 I'm in a school, as I told Dave and our teachers, so we have, it's pre K through 12.We have, for our elementary and our middle school, we only have one class per grade.It's not too terrible for our classroom teachers to call each family of the kids in their class and just check-in, see how they're doing, see if they've been able to get into the technology.And you know, have that personal connection.

Participant 114:08 Actually our head of school, we just talked today about how to kind of repurpose our office staff and either reach out by personal phone calls or personal encouraging letters just to let them know that we're, so we're a Christian school, so we're praying for your family and if we can support you in any way, let us know.

Speaker 014:33 Great.Thanks for sharing that.That's great.That's great information.Anybody else want to share something that they're doing to help their customers? You can unmute your Mike or you can chat in the chat pane.I think, our customers need us to be adaptive.Steven do you want to share what you're doing? Yeah.

Participant 214:52 I work at a couple a retreat center and or like a camp ground.Some of the things that we've been doing, I work in our guests working with retreats that come and book our facility.I've been just similar to what John was just sharing, sending emails, phone calls, just to connect with our upcoming groups that want to come to our facility and just see where they're at, how they're feeling, are they, because navigating those conversations and just seeing where are, Oh, future groups are at this point.

Speaker 015:39 That's great.I just want to share kind of what they're doing to 'em to help their customers.No pressure, but you're welcome to share if you like.Great.I think that, our ability to adapt, is really significant and, our customers, we believe our customers need to know that we are in this with them.Now for many of us, the changes, for Steven, I mean obviously there's a huge risk that some camps will not happen.That's a huge risk for them as a camp I'm sure has huge financial implications.

Speaker 016:17 The most important thing is that you are maintaining the relationship with that, audience and it's personal, and that you care more about them than you care about the business that you would have done with them.For schools, the same thing with camps, say the other businesses, we have this current customer base and then we have this prospective customer base.These are people that are not yet in our community.They haven't been a part of what we do before.Maybe they aren't frequently with us or never been with us before.They're also important.You can also treat them like customers.You can, you can bring them in.

Speaker 017:42 The second thing here is I think another really significant thing and that is how can we be useful to our community? What can we do to be useful to our community? And, so I, I want to pause, go down to the next slide here and just have you think with me for a moment about your community. I've listed all kinds of needs here. Hopefully, you guys can see this. Okay you can see the slider, right? But these are, some, I just listed some of the needs that people are experiencing right now.You can see this list is really huge. I'll go through some of these.You may have some other things that you've noticed.Small businesses are shut down.Our sporting and events are gone.Churches are not meeting in most places.Speaker 018:31All of our big moments are postponed.That would be any kind of, life moment, birthday parties.My wife has a birthday party this weekend and we're not supposed to meet with more than 10 people. Well there's more than 10 family members within a 20-minute drive of our house, so we can't really even do a birthday party for her.What about a wedding? What about a baby shower? all the big moments in people's lives are being postponed.People's regular healthcare, dental care is on pause.People are losing work in wages.Now I'm not going through this list to bum you out.Most of the stuff you already know, but I do want to help you think about what's going on around you.

Speaker 019:16 How does that apply to your organization? public transit shut down.Many organizations and businesses of all types have no or reduced revenue.There's a general sense of fear and uncertainty among many people.People probably need a break from the news.They're watching news all the time and it's not very much fun.They probably, if they have kids at home, they need a break from the noise and the need to just a moment of quiet.This could be a good time to learn for people.They have some time on their hands.They probably didn't have before.Mmm.Care demands that are new.Lots of folks are caring for family members, that they were not caring for before, in ways they were not caring before.Speaker 020:04We know the internet uses way up, which means people are, the social distancing is really social isolation and people are filling that space with internet use, which does not meet the need really for social interaction.Some people are new homeschoolers that were never before.Some people are new remote workers.Some people need an easy way to keep their meals going. They use, they're used to eating at school or at work, eating out a lot.Mmm. The connections to elderly. We've all seen the pictures of someone sitting outside the window of a elder care community talking on the phone and while it looks through the window out there, mom or dad, grandma or grandpa, people have concerns about safety outside the home.People are concerned about staying healthy.There's a general lack of human contact.

Speaker 020:53 There is a, there's people that are overworked in healthcare. I would also add in some retail, there are people that are overworked.There's a need for childcare for many of those folks. There's a need for a moment of fun, of a respite, some play. What needs would you guys add to this things, this list came from a monitoring, social media and research. What needs would you add to this list that maybe I haven't captured? There are other, there are other special needs that people have based on their own profession. People in the military have been told not to travel. There's other needs going on as well. As you think about this moment, so there's two things you can do right now that you can never do again. One is to take care of your customers in a special way. The second thing you can do is to take care of your community, show concern and care for your community. That's an important question and I think, we would encourage you to start by asking what expertise does your organization have that no one else has. Speaker 022:33So I'm thinking about Stephen's camp, right? Well what does a camp have that no one else has? Well, they have probably, some recreation or peace and quiet outdoors kind of opportunities that no one else, has at their own home. How could you share that? What are other kinds of expertise do you have that you could use to meet one of these needs? So the premise, and what I would share is that if all you do is take care of your own customers and you don't, Mmm. Care for anybody else, I just want to tell you that people are going to remember that. They're going to remember the absence of your concern and they're going to, they're not going to remember you at all perhaps.

Speaker 023:19 People have a long memory when it comes to this stuff, but when it comes to schools,we think about, all the skills you have inside your school, all the art and science and math and physical education and drama and literature and history. How easy would it be to get some of those teachers to go onto Facebook live and offer a free community class to the community? And that's something that would allow you to care for people in a big way. It would certainly provide, would meet a number of these needs, that are on the screen. It wouldn't cost you anything probably, and it wouldn't and it would definitely be a help.

Speaker 024:01 What could you do in the area of, encourage me encouraging health? what could you do in terms of giving people opportunities to learn? What could you do in terms of doing things that are fun? So I think that part of the strategy here is to think about ways that you can contribute. Andy, you can, serve your community in ways that they're going to remember that are meaningful to them. There might not be another time in our national history when you're getting online, Steven getting online and going to a nice spot under a tree and reading a poem on Facebook live and calling that today's quiet moment. There might not be another time in our history when that would actually be a welcome point of relief for people.

Speaker 024:49 The same thing's true with all kinds of other areas here that people, if you're involved in food or meal prep, Oh, we have a, a group here in our community that makes really great gluten-free and nut-free food. I would love to see them share some things we could do at home even though they're not open to help us to cook some of those foods in our own home. It's really a time for generosity and for us to reach out and care for our communities. Any of you guys have any ideas of things? Maybe you're already doing something or something you could do, it would take your skills, expertise, your unique resources and make them available to people in your community.

Participant 125:45 I think, because we're a school, I think one of the things that I've kind of been toying with is reading a book to students on Facebook live and obviously administered to our own families are our own students. There are other students who can tune into just a little break to just connect, see a person that they know or maybe they don't know.It doesn't take a whole lot of time, but it's pretty easy to do.

Speaker 026:14 Yeah. That's a great idea, right? And especially if you're a good read here and you can use good inflection and make it fun. Also, that's a time when mom could say, okay, sit down in front of the laptop. It's storytime. In a two or three week period, how much of a book could you read depending on the age group, you could read multiple books or one long book. So I think that's a great idea. I love that.

Speaker 026:38 Anybody else have an idea of something you could do or maybe you are doing? so I, it's really a time for creativity and so let me just tell you from a marketing perspective, these actions of kindness and compassion and generosity are the things that are going to make the difference when it comes time for a bounce back. This allows you to reach people in ways you cannot reach them any other time. I was involved after nine 11, in helping to address the needs of people who lost someone.I was involved after Katrina in dealing with the aftermath in Louisiana.I will just tell you that these moments are times when there's, there are things you can only do now. You cannot do them ever again.

Speaker 027:24 I would just, I would just say as hard as it is, no matter what's going on with you, as hard as it is, we'll find a way to take one more step and be generous and encouraging to others.I think you'll discover that it will make a huge difference in the future of your organization. We are going to be doing some workshops on kind of the technical methods for turning this into a future marketing opportunity.I will tell you that just this act, yeah, we'll go a long way. It also models something important for your own employees, your own staff, your own volunteers, because it shows them that you are not afraid that you are bigger than whatever challenges are going on around you.I think that's a huge step forward.

Speaker 028:13 I would love to hear back from you as you think about these ideas, about ways that you can respond.I would love to, I'd love to get a link. I'm actually going to interview a school on Facebook live with some of the things they're doing in their community. In a week or two. I think this is worth talking about. Although, we're not doing it for this reason, but this is the kind of stuff that also would maybe get you some press if you wanted some press for your organization. That's not the motivation, but it is, a side benefit, of taking care of someone besides your own circle. I'm going to just pause for a moment if anybody has a question.

Speaker 028:49 The two big things you want to encourage you to do, are meaningfully and very carefully take care of your customers and then take a step beyond and do something to care for the broader community. During this season, this will not, I do not believe this is going to be a long season for some people. It's going to be longer than others depending on where they live. And, but I do think that there's a limited time here, which you can do something remarkable, to help others around you. Does anybody have a question or a comment? Well, I sure hope this was helpful to you today. I would love to hear back from you.I'm going to put my email in the chat.

Speaker 029:34 If you, if you have a story to tell, I would love to hear the story and we'd be, we'd like to share it with and encourage them, to do similar things. If you, at any time you want to talk about how you can kind of, organize this and kind of be prepared. For what's next for your organization, you can also schedule with me using this link that I just put it in the chat.I'd be happy to spend a few minutes talking with you. So thanks for joining today. I hope this was beneficial to you and I'll look forward to hearing some stories back about the ways that you're making a difference in the lives of people and you're helping them to go through this time in a stronger, more healthy way.

Speaker 030:22 Thanks for joining you guys. Wash your hands and have a great day.


Published by David Mills March 26, 2020
David Mills