Impact Has Nothing to do with Money; Steve Sims

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I just came back from Dallas. I was at the Great American Summit, I was one of the keynote speakers for that event. And it was a great even, and I got into a conversation with someone after the event once they found out what I had done previously within the concierge industry. And they were talking to me about quite simply price tags, you know, how much should I charge for this? How do I do this? And these kind of things. And then the conversation drifted into impact. And I remember a story that I’ve always quoted when it comes down to the conversation of impact, and I don’t think I’ve shared this many times. Because a lot of people know I’ve done stuff for 50,000, 100,000, half a mill, and I’ve done those kind of things. But impact is a very, very, very important thing. I’ll give you the punchline now, quite simply impact has nothing to do with the price tag. That’s the thing you need to remember. Get that written on your T-shirt, impact has nothing to do with the price tag.

And I’ll give you this example. And this is going back maybe 10 years ago, but I had a client in Chicago, I had a couple, and I worked with them for about eight years. And we started off slowly, worked with them two or three times a year. And I ended up getting into doing their anniversary. So, every anniversary would come along and it’d be like, “Hey Steve, you know what’s coming up in a month’s time. Make it good, it’s the anniversary. Let’s do it.” And they would outsource that creativity to me and I would come up with something.

Now, we’ve done hilltop dinners, we’ve done backstage meet and greets. We’ve done walk on roles, international flights just for a meal and then a private jet back. We’ve done some crazy stuff ranging from I think the cheapest was $50,000 up to I remember just south of half a mill on a weekend. So we did some pretty amazing stuff. And I remember getting a call from him one day and he went, “Hey Steve, it’s coming up in a month’s time. You know what’s going on. This is the big one. This is the 25th, so this one needs to be the best. This one needs to be just incredible. This one needs to be the most impactful.”

And it was that word, impactful, changed the whole dynamic of what I was thinking and what I would have created. Impact, he was looking for impact. And I went, “Okay, okay. I hear you. So let’s chat.” And we started talking about where did you meet? How did you get introduced? How was the relationship? How was the early years? And I wanted to get as much information because I wanted those hooks. I wanted those anchors. You know what it’s like, you’re driving down the road, a tune comes on the radio and all of a sudden you’re transported to when you danced with someone to that tune, or when it symbolized the birth of a child, or youth, whatever. But these things are triggers. And I wanted to find that trigger.

So I got chatting with him and he told us about how he first tried dating her. And he said quite simply, “She wanted nothing to do with me. I tried and tried and tried, only had eyes for her. Nothing was working out. And then I knew where she was going to class.” He was on the same campus, “And so I actually pitched a mat,” a car rug as they call them, we call them picnic rugs, but a car rug outside the faculty where she was in class. And as she came out from her class he was stood there with a boombox, with a little hamper, and he popped open a cork and he went, “Care to join me?”

All of the kids in the college were looking at him, giggling at him, but he was willing to make himself look that much of a fool to get her attention that she did sit on the picnic rug with him, shared a glass of non-alcoholic champagne because the campus would have been down his throat quickly, and just had some old sandwiches that he’d grabbed from the local garage, and the rest is history, 25 years later they’re still together.

And I loved that story. I loved the idea of what he was willing to do to show him. And we know what it’s like, when we’re kids we all try to be cool. He put that all aside because the focus was on her. It was all about her.

So, the anniversary’s coming up, she knows full well something wonderful is going to happen. It always has every year. Why wouldn’t it this year? So we got her picked up in a car, we told her dress comfortably, that got her a bit scared for a start, and we sent her off on a drive. We quickly ran around the corner where we had a park, a public park. Public parks cannot be cornered off. You can’t have a private event in a public park. So what we did was we had these very attractive girls, because we know they scare men, we had these very attractive girls circling where this picnic rug was with dogs on long leads. And they were literally doing a beautiful circle to keep people out of that perimeter.

And the car pulled up. The driver opened up the door, let her out of the car, and he was on the picnic rug. Now, we have gone through old pictures from his family to find what that picnic rug looked like. We even found out what the boombox looked like. And yeah, it was a cassette deck. And we found that boombox, we found what the picnic rug looked like, and we found what that hamper looked like, and we recreated it.

She steps out of the car, he clicks the play, bit of Alexander O’Neal comes on. He clicks open the bottle of champagne and went, “Care to join me?” She hit the deck. Literally fell on her knees. Now, I was hiding behind one of the trees as a couple of my other team members were as well, and we saw and we were like, “Oh my god what’s going on?” She lost it. The crying, the bawling. The poor old driver who opened up the door was stood there going, “What do I do? What do I do?” So he helps her up and they both come over to get her and walk her over onto the carpet.

That was the impactful moment. This was the moment it all came flooding back to her. This was the moment that he was willing to make an arse of himself for that lady, for that woman, for that moment. All the triggers were aligned. We’d got it right with the picnic right. We’d got it right with the hamper. We’d got it right with the boombox. Do you know what that whole thing cost? Because it was in a public park, $1,700. I think it’s one of the cheapest invoices I’ve ever done. But you know how we could have shaved off another $600 off of that? By getting a bloody boombox that worked. You see, the first boombox we got couldn’t frickin work, and then the next one we did we couldn’t plug anything in to be able to record it. So we had to get a music company to actually record the cassette deck that we needed to be able to play it. So we could have shaved off $600, could have been dead cheap. But we focused on the impact.

Now, do you know the following year she was on a private jet somewhere, following year she was backstage somewhere. And I caught up with her three years after that and I was at an event, and she was talking about the anniversaries. Her anniversaries had become this thing of myth and legend between her friends, and they were all envious that her husband, who was very wealthy, would do these amazing things. Only one story she told. Not sipping champagne on a mound of diamonds. Not penthouse view dinners. This story. Why? Because we’d focused on impact. Impact does not relate to a checkbook, it relates to the triggers. Whatever you are doing within your communication, whatever you are doing within your relationships, understand and manufacture a trigger. Can I do this and make you go, “Aw?” Can I deliver, as they say now, can I deliver wow? Can I get you to go, “My, this is something special above and beyond a transaction?”

Now, transactions are the death of communication. Hey Siri, hey Alexa, Amazon … those are all transactions. We are jam packed with transactions. We even go into a café now, we scan our QR code and we order our breakfast to have it delivered by someone that we’ve had no face contact with, even though they still charge us 20% tip at the end of it. We have to focus on the triggers. We have to focus on those little moments of impact that create an anchor to those people wanting to use you.

I’m asking you, within your relationships and within your business, what triggers do you have? What impacts are you creating for others? If you had to do a loyalty program, would you have to bribe people or would they be loyal to you because of the impact you’ve generated, of how you’ve thought of them, not of yourself?

That’s the story we told in the bar in Dallas during the Great American Summit convention that I was at. But I wouldn’t to pass that on to you, because I do believe, and I’ve repeated it millions of times but you ain’t going to hear it enough, impact has got nothing to do with the price tag. Focus on your impact, that’s where your loyalty, that’s where your connection, and that’s where your growth is.