Sunday, 15 July 2012

Cherry Picking

I never fully understood the meaning of the phrase “cherry picker” before this year’s cherry harvest.  A cherry picker as I knew it, was someone who picks all the best bits out of the salad, and leaves the leaves.  Or a salesperson who only takes the “ups” who look like they’ve got money.

I’ve been living on Vancouver Island for three full years.  Last year I discovered that our cherry tree actually had edible cherries.  This winter I pruned it and we now are enjoying a bumper crop.  For the past week, I have been picking low-hanging fruit.  As there were a few more ripe ones within easy reach, I enjoyed little snacks here and there.  I have been a classic cherry picker.  In fruit trees as in business, if you only ever go after the low-hanging fruit you’ll have an easy time of it, but you’ll never hit the mother-load.

Put a beeper on your door and count the number of people who enter your store on a daily basis.  Those are your low-hanging fruit.  Draw a circle around your city, county or market area and that is your tree.  The more you are able to penetrate the community with your brand, the more new clients will come to you when they are “ripe.”  Don’t assume that the rest of the tree looks like the lower branches.  You need different marketing techniques to reach a wider audience.  I had to set-up an extension ladder to reach one area of the tree, a stepladder for another, and I actually had to climb the tree itself to reach others. 

Look at each market that you’d like to build as a section of the larger tree.  Build a marketing plan one rung at a time that will reach that segment.  Then pick another market and go after them one rung at a time.  If you find that you’d like more young clients who will be your future engagement customers, select product that appeals to them and begin building advertising and marketing that appeals to them.  You’ll need social media, top-40 radio stations, and a kick-ass website.   If it’s well-heeled middle-age jewellery buyers you seek, go after them with lifestyle magazines, major dailies and talk-radio stations. 

Pick your low-hanging fruit and then climb one ladder at a time.

You can’t use one ladder to reach a whole tree.

You’ll never reach the entire tree, so acknowledge that you’ll have to leave a few ripe cherries for the robins.

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