Three Things You're Business Could Learn From: Rocky Mountain Rush
After Jenny & I got our butts kicked in June (tough month), we decided to turn off the iphones, blackberries, and anything with a wi-fi connection and head out for some R&R in the Rocky Mountains, Estes Park to be exact. After a few margaritas at the Tiki Bar, we took a stroll through downtown to find some dinner a came across what looked like a boulder climbing Toyota YJ and a stretch limo's love child in a parking lot of a small strip mall in front of some open doors of a small office.
So I drag Jenny inside with me and come face to face with the owner of Rocky Mountain Rush, Neal. Rocky Mountain Rush gives off-road tours through Rocky Mountain National Park. I ask for a pamphlet and walk out 5 minutes later with 2 seats to the 1pm tour the next day. You know that you're dealing with an owner that has everything into his business when they won't let anyone with even the smallest of interest go without pushing for a sale.
Don't take that wrong, I'm not talking a used car salesman approach, but a personalized one where he took a quick read of us and what tour would work best for us and then left us with no question that the 1pm ride was something that we would regret if we were to miss out on...or maybe it was the margaritas. We were looking forward to the next day and went back to the Tiki Bar to celebrate.
Yep, the tour was great, but there were 3 things that Neal did that stood out and I feel that everyone could be applying in our careers & personal lives to...well, just to make life better
1. GIVE THEM AN EXPERIENCE
He took pictures of us on our camera (because it's tough to take couple pics on your own), he made sure everyone was comfortable at all times, constantly asked for feedback, kept everyone on the ride engaged throughout the tour. At one point the guy even grabbed my sunglasses off of my seat and cleaned them for me. How could our lives changed if we paid attention to these details with costumers, clients and even loved ones in our lives?
I then noticed that Neal had taken down everyone's names and jotted them down on a small piece of paper in order of where everyone was sitting. He stuck that piece of paper in the window of the truck and was constantly utilizing it to make sure and call everyone by name. Even a small detail like that brought more warmth and personalization to the entire experience. How can you personalize the experience you give to everyone on a daily basis?
When I asked why, Neal said that the structure of his business was built around the simple idea of a 1950's full service gas station.
"At the old gas stations, you always got more than you paid for. You came there because you were running low on gas, but you kept coming back for 10 years because of the experience. They'd clean your windows, pump your gas and even share some local gossip, all with a smile. They truly appreciated your business."
2. HAVE A GOOD STORY
As we drove up a long pass towards the summit of our tour nearly 14,000 ft above seal level, Neal stopped pointing out wildlife and geological details and told us his story. He actually told the entire 16 passenger vehicle why he stopped everything to pursue a dream, become an entrepreneur and begin an off-road tour company in Estes Park, CO.
Turns out that Neal left a job that he was good at. He sold wine and he sold the hell of it for almost 16 years. The problem was that he was burning more than 3000 minutes a month on his cell phone closing deals and he began suffering horrible headaches anytime he'd get a cell phone anywhere close to his head.
This on top of being burnt out, he made the big decision while out in Rocky Mountain National Park rock climbing in an old Toyota built for the extreme environment, a passion of his and something he'd been doing since he was a kid. He was at a turning point, but he didn't exactly know what to do. He then told us that a song came on over the radio at that exact time and it was that song that acted as the large switch and threw him into his current vocation. Then he turned off the mic and played that song as we drove up the mountain pass looking over miles of some of the most beautiful panoramics you've ever seen. The song was John Denver's "Rocky Mountain High"
Cheesy? Hell yes. Did it make a personal impact for me? Damn straight.
If you can make me almost shed a tear while listening to John Denver, you've either drugged me or you're one hell of a storyteller.
People relate to people, not businesses. People have stories. Interesting people have good stories. Tell your story well and change your world.
3. DO WHAT YOU'RE GOOD AT
I asked Neal what his secret was and he simply said, "I've always done what I'm good at and hired other people do all of the stuff that I don't do well."
So much good stuff in that sentence!
We constantly feel the need to stive to get better at the things that we weren't wired to do in the beginning. We even feel guilt or shame for what we cannot do and so we strive so hard to be Jacks of all trades but masters of none.
To get REALLY good at something (to be an expert), you may need 10,000 hours of practice. Take the things that come natural to you and become perfect them. Find a way to offload the other stuff and the momentum may surprise you.
Neal's really good with people, but Neal sucked at paperwork. "People kept telling me that paperwork was a necessary evil, but all I saw was that it kept me from making more sales". So Neal hired someone that organization came natural for. After that, there was no stopping him.
Needless to say, I had a great time learning about Neal's Business and what drives him first hand. By the end of the trip he was more of a friend than a business transaction. I think he can teach us all a lot and if you find your way up near Estes, CO, do yourself a favor and take a tour on Rocky Mountain Rush and tell Neal I sent ya.