Pulse October 2015 - Page 98

STYLING & PHOTO BY ECHOSTARMAKER.COM “So sell ’em strawberries. But sell ’em.” —Former Plaza Hotel President James Lavenson A re you “thinking strawberries”? I know we are! The phrase “think strawberries” is borrowed from former Plaza Hotel President James Lavenson’s speech to the American Marketing Association in 1974, wherein he elaborated how he turned around the hotel’s struggling revenues by converting everyone into sales superstars, including waiters who learned to sell strawberry desserts in carts to New York’s diet-conscious guests. Today, the phrase “think strawberries” doesn’t only mean “everybody sells” but has also become a metaphor to “staying in focus.” This powerful idea kept popping up in ISPA conversations lately, including at an ISPA meeting. In reflection, an ISPA board member shared: FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER! @LynneMcNees LIKE US ON FACEBOOK! International SPA Association TO READ Lavenson’s full speech, visit pulse.experienceispa.com. 96 PULSE ■ October 2015 “Earlier this year we took ‘think strawberries’ to a whole new level by making our P&L the ‘strawberry’ focus. Historically, May is a slow month due to the changing of the seasons. Our ‘strawberry’ for the month was to double our income from May last year. At every lineup, staff meeting, or daily update, we constantly kept team members informed of how we were doing on our ‘strawberry’ goal and challenged them daily to help drive revenue. By the end of the month, we not only beat our goal, we beat prior year by 629 percent!” A large part of Lavenson’s speech includes picking a focus and communicating it to your staff. Your focus can change over time, but it comes down to your staff rallying around the cause and staying on message. I saw this come into play at the recent East Coast ISPA Media Event. As journalists interviewed spa representatives, each spa’s representative stayed on message and made sure to share their “soundbite” at every opportunity. At ISPA headquarters, each staff member has a primary focus (their “strawberry”) throughout the year, whether it’s public relations, marketing, membership, media events or social media. But as it gets closer to the ISPA Conference & Expo (our one BIG “strawberry”), we all “think Conference.” We are so excited October is finally here and we are celebrating our 25th anniversary with you. In your spa or business, what’s your current focus? Are you and your team focused on the same “strawberries”? —LYNNE McNEES, ISPA PRESIDENT