I ran across an article on LinkedIn that was about changing school values. It began with a phrase from @SteeleThoughts: “You don’t change culture through emails and memos. You change it through relationships … one conversation at a time.”
That struck me as being so true in our little world of the business of diving. We all have heard of how social media is the way to grow your business. I agree: If you are not using social media to promote your business, you are definitely missing out on the most inexpensive way to promote yourself that there ever was. The question is, how do you change the culture of an individual to get them off their smartphone and devote some time to the outdoors, particularly to scuba?
It is easy. You have that U that will change their culture to become a scuba diver. All it takes is that one conversation about how exciting the sport is. How it is actually a lifestyle, not just a bucket-list thing to do. If you are willing to come out from behind the counter and have the one conversation, you are likely to change the culture of that individual from a desk sitter to a scuba diver or freediver. How about tech diver? All it takes is that one conversation.
“One conversation at a time.” Wow, fantastic advice for every Instructor, Divemaster, and Assistant Instructor to change the culture of a potential candidate for leadership, moving them from scuba diver to leadership.
Why did I include Divemasters and Assistant Instructors in that? “That’s not my job,” I hear. Well folks, it is your job to be on the lookout and hold that one conversation that will change someone’s direction from recreational diver to dive professional. What about our NAUI Instructor Trainers and Course Directors who are out there? Do you need to start having that one conversation with your potential candidates? How about having that one conversation with another dive shop to really change their culture and join our culture.
Yes, all of the above need to quit sitting on their past and look to their future and seek out those who can take our places when it is time for us to move on or retire.
For dive shops, when you decide to retire, are you just going to lock the door and move your inventory to an auction house? Or are you going to seek out and change the culture of individuals so that one day they will be able to keep those dive shop doors open and keep the sport alive.
That being said, social media promotion is the best way to reach folks; and how about a monthly newsletter emailed to each of your customers. Get them in with those, then begin that one conversation that will make them a lifelong customer or a NAUI leader or Instructor. Just remember that you cannot build a relationship with a client with an email or social media: You must have that face to face conversation and continue it via telephone — but face to face is number one.