Preparation

How do you feel going into a project, any type of project, with very little preparation? Do you feel lost, pressured, and rushed? I know I do. I need time to read and absorb the material, prepare mentally, and gain the confidence to get the job done. This is most apparent with my writing and film making.

Personally, I need a coherent script before I can go any further. Coming up with an idea and going straight to storyboards leaves major gaps in my overall understanding of what’s going on. Even for a short film, I need a script to study and think about. Without a script, it’s harder for me to visualize what I want to film, thus making storyboards much harder to come up with.

Then going on set and trying to film from an idea becomes unnecessarily difficult. Take the time to prepare as much as possible, not just with film and writing, but with everything you do. How does everyone feel about working under pressure? Is it satisfying to work without proper preparation?

Everything Can Go Wrong

The lesson here is BE PREPARED! With a filming project, the bare essentials are as follows:

A polished, workable script.

A shot list and storyboards.

Locations mapped out.

And a plan to make everything run smoothly.

It’s not a great idea to get into a project without knowing what you want to accomplish. This applies to everything in life, not just film. This lesson hit a little closer to home this weekend, so trust me, I know what I’m talking about here.

Finishing Touches on my Screenplay

I’ve been working on a short silent screenplay for a Northwest Film Forum challenge. In many ways, shorter is harder. You’ve got to show a complete story arc in only 5 minutes. At least, that’s what I’m attempting to do. You could also show a snapshot of a story, but I’m more of a completest.

Finally, after thinking about how to round out the story, I’ve got a workable script. I’ve also got to thank all the people who provided their valuable input; you know who you are.

Changing a Corporate Tagline

I’ve been discussing the tagline that my company, Hertz Corporation, currently promotes with a few copywriters. The two taglines we’ve got are:

“We’re Hertz. They’re not.

and

“We’ll Come and Get You.”

Both these headlines fail for a few different reasons. The first one doesn’t really accomplish anything. It basically says who we are, but doesn’t say why anybody should care. The second one is almost a direct rip-off of Enterprise’s tagline: “Pick Enterprise. We’ll Pick You Up.” Instead of copying what the competitor is doing, we should be taking a different stance. Also, with “We’ll Come and Get you” it sounds like we, or some fiendish ghoul, will be coming to “get” you. Hertz has been the leader in the rental car industry for many years, and I think our taglines should reflect that leadership.

I’m contemplating rethinking and rewriting our company taglines and proposing them to our corporate office. I’m wondering if anybody out there has attempted such a feat and what kind of results followed?

New Goals

Wow, it’s hard to believe I’ve been away from my blog for so long. It’s time for me to regroup my thoughts and get back into the habit writing. My goals are to post at least once a week, change the look and feel of my blog, increase readership, and promote interactivity from people who read my blog.

It’s time to start thinking up some provocative topics!

Don’t Think About Numbers

No, I’m not knocking on mathematics. I’m talking about sales numbers. If you think too hard about your numbers, you’ll choke. This doesn’t only apply to professional salespeople. Even at places like Starbucks, branch numbers play an important role.

Any business has numbers. There’s a time to discuss how you’re doing, but don’t obsess over the numbers.

Dealing With Stress

The workday can bring stress and uneasiness into your life. I think setting aside time for yourself each day is an important practice. Breathing techniques and meditation help. Try to let your mind go blank and forget about all the stresses of your day. Take deep breaths in a 4 count and release on a 4 count. Do this for about 15-20 minutes a day and you’ll start to see the world differently.

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What’s the Difference?

How is your product or service different from your competitors? This important question leads you to the USP, or unique selling proposition. At Hertz, our USP for selling insurance is that there’s no deductible if you’re involved in an accident and any damage to the car, regardless of fault, is covered by Hertz. We also take care of the entire claim process.

Can your insurance company offer you that level of service? I deal with insurance companies all day long and not one of them can compete with our service. Without a strong USP like this, our product would be dead in the water.

If you don’t know what your USP is for your own business, I highly recommend putting some thought into how you’re different. Why would people buy the same old stuff? As Seth Godin would put it, be remarkable and make yourself a purple cow.

Accentuate the Benefits

Ultimately, customers and clients are looking out for themselves. They won’t be persuaded to buy your product or service if they think your motivations are self-serving. That’s why focusing on the benefits of what your selling is so crucial. Be sincere with the fact that you’re helping your customers achieve something with your product or service. It’s all about them.

Do People Buy Coupons?

Lately, I’ve had a couple salespeople show up at my work and pitch books of coupons. Their presentations were descent, but in the end I can’t justify buying coupons. It doesn’t quite make sense to me.

I get free coupons in the mail that I almost never use. I’m curious to know if anyone out there buys books of coupons and for how much?

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