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November 2021

Asking For The Order...

I remember attending a sales meeting at one of my first broadcast jobs. It was a little odd because the "on air" people usually didn't mix Sales Needle with the "sales people" but I was curious as to what they did to keep us...paid.  I'll never forget his wise words that ended the meeting, "Never, ever leave the sales meeting without asking for the order."

So simple yet so profound. Both the sales person and the client know what the meeting is about. I mean I've had sales people take me to lunch, have a nice chat but they never actually asked for the order. 

But this post isn't so much about sales as it is about marketing. Ready?

I'm not sure how much time you spend checking out the various reviews a business gets, say on Google. My Bride always checks the reviews before she buys anything.  And that's where this story goes:

Not long ago I did some business with a printing company for a client.  We had created eight large posters for an event and sent them to our commercial printer who we've used for years for that sort of thing. They did a nice job, they turned the project quickly, we were satisfied and our client was blown away.

Then something interesting happened.

Google Reviews ImageWeeks later I got an email from the owner of the printing company asking me my thoughts about their work and if I would recommend them.  I answered that I was impressed with not only the quality but also the pricing and the turn around.  He then asked me if I would rate them on...Google.

And, of course I did.

He asked for the order.

There is plenty of competition out there for whatever you are selling so, how can you stand out? Ask for the recommendation and make it public.  There are folks out there, like my Bride, who will dwell on those reviews and how many "stars" a product or service has. And it often makes the buying decision easier and more informed.

And, the best news is your cost is practically zero.


Where Are the Workers? Asked and...Answered.

Let's visit about the Labor Shortage.  A couple of weeks ago I was at an event organized by the Greater Des Moines Partnership. It is one Now Hiring of the largest business groups in the nation. The breakfast was designed to outline their legislative wish list for 2022.

During the Q & A session one business person asked this: “Everywhere you look there are businesses looking for workers but they are not there.  Where have these workers…gone?”

Well, the answer is complex but let’s take a shot but I can tell you it all starts with...money.

An MIT and CNBC analysis earlier this year found that even a $15 minimum wage wouldn't be a living wage for many families. Anecdotally, businesses paying higher wages haven't struggled as much with labor shortages and understaffing.

Show me the money…is what we’re hearing.

Man BoredThe love, hate your job issue is real. According to an Indeed survey of about 1,000 people who "voluntarily resigned from at least two jobs since March 2020," most of them (92%) said "the pandemic made them feel life is too short to stay in a job they weren't passionate about."

Flexibility is important:  One of the industries feeling the most pain is leisure and hospitality. Even if employers in that sector increase wages, they may have trouble finding workers because those jobs have to be done in person…and there isn’t much flexibility in scheduling.

According to one survey of 10,000 knowledge workers from Future Forum, workers want flexibility in both location and schedule.

Child care is an issue. First will the children be safe and secondly child care is so expensive that many parents have done the math and it makes more sense to stay home than  pay child care costs that may be more than their mortgage payment.

Fear of illness: As the pandemic stretches on…many workers just don’t want to chance getting sick. The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that, in November, 1.2 million people didn't look for work because of the pandemic. In addition, some workers may be quitting or staying out of work because they're hesitant to get the vaccine, as more businesses put requirements in place.

Early Retirement: More workers have…also…retired early…we covered that moments ago…and now some may want to come back into the workforce…time will tell.

Immigration is also a root cause of the shortage: There are about 1.2 million adult foreign workers or work-eligible immigrants who are just not here because of the restrictions that have been imposed during the pandemic.

Job Disconnect: There is also a job disconnect between available workers and the jobs that are open. 48% of jobseekers surveyed by FlexJob said that they're frustrated with the job search, because they weren't finding the right positions — and the ones that are open pay too low.  Back to pay again.

Job burnout is another factor: Some workers are resigning because of burnout, putting added stress on employers and the remaining employees. Workers are taking on extra duties as companies struggle to fill positions, leading these workers to also feel burned out.

Technology is also to blame:  Qualified workers might be applying for roles that fit them, but hiring managers don't even know. Some Employment Application are getting filtered out by hiring software. As the Wall Street Journal first reported, a Harvard Business School study found that over 10 million workers are filtered out by hiring software.

Employers also filter out workers because of preexisting biases and inequities.

Roughly 70 million workers don't have a college degree, but are known as "STARS" — Skilled Through Alternative Routes. They account for two-thirds of American workers, but many may be filtered through educational requirements…that often really don’t match the real world job requirements.

Often felons are filtered out:  And there continues to be a big divide when it comes to white workers vs. black workers…with black unemployment still high.

Entrepreneurship:  Finally…people are done working for others and want to become their own boss.   According to Bloomberg's reporting on business applications from the Census Bureau, there have been a record number of applicants in the first nine months of 2021 compared to the first nine months in previous years.

The US reached its highest number of unincorporated self-employed workers during the pandemic so far in July 2021 — also the highest number since the last big crisis to hit our country in 2008.

So, where have all the workers gone…?  Lots of possibilities.

IOB LOGO BWAbout Insight on Business the News Hour:

The award winning Insight on Business the News Hour with Michael Libbie is the only weekday business news podcast in the Midwest. The national, regional and some local business news along with long-form business interviews can be heard Monday - Friday. You can subscribe on PlayerFMPodbeaniTunesSpotifyStitcher or TuneIn Radio. And you can catch The Business News Hour Week in Review each Sunday Noon on News/Talk 1540 KXEL. The Business News Hour is a production of Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications. You can follow us on Twitter @IoB_NewsHour.