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Last Update: Friday December 15, 2017

Key Idea: Hire People Like You

The tour guides literally look like the owners and this is no surprise.  These ladies would probably never be hired to work in a Harley shop.  The way a person dresses and grooms can be a window to how they will fit on the team.

Key Question:

A: 

If Kathleen Barnes and Judy Cannon look too happy, it's because they truly have found their place and love it. They are not driven goal-achievers striving to increase sales and profits. They are focused completely on creating fabulous customer experiences. They are competitive and want to know when and why they lose a piece of business, but they don't get distraught.

They have been extraordinarily conservative since they became business owners, so they haven't worn themselves out paying for excesses and overhead. One example is how Kathleen and Judy have mastered the technique of hiring, teaching and keeping fantastic part-time employees. With the unemployment rate being low all over the country, I think every small-business owner could improve their service and increase profits by employing people part-time.

I believe the concept underlying the success at Meetings America is that like attracts like. Look at Kathleen. Look at Judy. Look at Jan, who is the tour guide trainer. Now look at the guides. Even though they are dressed alike, they look alike beyond their clothing.

They are all what they call "mature." That is, they are over 30, mostly over 40; they are moms; they are coiffed and they all wear makeup. Now beyond the physical appearance, there's a likeness in personality. They all say they like to meet new people and they like to be on stage, which is the job of the tour guide. They enjoy creating a memory for their customers. If you need a job done repeatedly and you have one employee who is outstanding, why not try to find others like that person? Use the like-attracts-like approach.

And when it comes to part-time, don't apologize. This is simply what you have to offer. Many people want to work part-time, especially those of a certain age: men and women who want to get away from the house a few days a week, be with people they enjoy and do something that interests them. Create part-time jobs and everybody wins: the employee, the customer and the business.

Q:
Why are Kathleen and Judy so proud of the tour guides?

A: They need to be proud and they are because the guides are the products Meetings America delivers. Just like authentic Mexican food is the product of Hope Lancarte of Joe T. Garcia's Mexican Restaurant, the service the guides provide to the customers is what Kathleen and Judy sell.

Q: Can service really be a product?

A: Yes. Or, perhaps this is just semantics. In the case of the Mexican food, Hope sells her food and she has service personnel who deliver the food to the table. The customer is first buying Mexican food; but, if good Mexican food is available at another restaurant and Hope's service is poor, the customer may not come back.

With Meetings America, they are not making a product as Hope does when she makes enchiladas. They are selling an experience that is created by the tour guide.

When we visit with Blue Whale Movers in Austin, Texas, you also learn, that just like the tour guides, these movers create an experience for the customer.

Q: The service sector is dominated by small businesses while manufacturing has a larger percentage of big companies. Why do you think this is the case?

A: This has to do with the concept of critical mass. There are almost no small automobile manufacturers. To build an automobile requires huge capital outlay and the return on investment may be years in coming. Also, how big is the marketplace for the automobile? Big. Can a small company easily penetrate the market? No.

However, starting a company offering a service takes less equipment and the profit margin can be high immediately. Take housecleaning or lawn care. You could start cleaning houses for people today by "borrowing" your mother's cleaning equipment and supplies. I pay $50 for my house to be cleaned. Two women come and in two hours the house is clean and they are gone. They just grossed $25 an hour. Nice wages for people who have no education or who simply want to pick up some quick cash and work a few hours a week.
Another reason small companies succeed in the service sector is because it is easier to manage a service worker in a small company than in a big one. Service is much more attitude than skill, and attitude is harder to manage than skill.

Q: What are common qualities possessed by the guides?

A: At first glance, the guides look alike because they dress alike. Wearing a uniform goes with the territory, but also there seems to be some unwritten rule about what else you do to prepare to go to work for Meetings America. The women all wear makeup that is applied professionally - not too much, not too little. They all have nice hairstyles. We saw no dirty, stringy hair, garish color, big ribbons, bows, barrettes or cheap jewelry.

Next, the personalities are similar. The guides are confident and can take charge if problems arise. They love being "on stage," and they love being with people.

Think about it

Do you think like attracts like?  Do you try to hire people like the top achiever you already have?  Would that person have family or friends you could recruit?

Clip from: Meetings America

Salt Lake City:  Meet  Kathleen Barnes and Judy Cannon.  Both of them are in love with their hometown. And, both of them separately became part time  tour guides for the tiny destination management company, Sample Salt Lake.  Then, together these two became quick studies of business operations when the owner of the business asked them to take over. With their cadre of part-time and full-time guides and planners, they all love everything about this special place.

They bought the business and changed the name to Meetings America.  They grew strong enough to win the 2002 Winter Olympics as a client.  Then, unexpectedly,  the husband of one of the guides, Ralph Johnson, made them an offer they couldn't refuse! They sold the business!

Go to the homepage and all the video for this episode...

Meetings America

Judy Cannon, former owner

210 North Redwood Road
North Salt Lake City, UT 84054
8019949000

Visit our web site: http://www.visitsaltlake.com

Office: 8019949000

Business Classification:
Travel Services

Year Founded: 1984

Hire People Like You

Lightbulb HATTIE: If Kathleen Barnes and Judy Cannon look too happy, it's because they truly have found their place and love it. They are not driven goal-achievers striving to increase sales and profits. They are focused completely on creating fabulous customer experiences. They are competitive and want to know when they lose a piece of business why, but they don't get distraught. They have been extraordinarily conservative since they became business owners, so they haven't worn themselves out paying for excesses and overhead. One example is Kathleen and Judy have mastered the technique of hiring, teaching and keeping fantastic part-time employees. With the unemployment rate being low all over the country, I think every small-business owner could improve their service and increase profits by employing people part-time. I believe the concept underlying the success at MeetingsAmerica is like attracts like.

Look at Kathleen. Look at Judy. Look at Jan, who is the tour guide trainer. Now look at the guides. Even though they are dressed alike, they look alike beyond their clothing. They are all what they call mature: that is, they are over 30, mostly over 40; they are moms, they are coiffed and they all wear makeup. Now beyond the physical appearance, there's a likeness in personality. They all say they like to meet new people, they like to be onstage, which is the job of the tour guide. They enjoy creating a memory for their customers. If you need a job done repeatedly and you have one employee who is outstanding, why not try to find others like that person? Use the like-attracts-like approach. And when it comes to part-time, don't apologize. This is simply what you have to offer. Many people want to work part-time, especially those of a certain age, men and women who want to get away from the house a few days a week, be with people they enjoy and do something that interests them. Create part-time jobs and everybody wins: the employee, the customer and the business.


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