Last weekend, my fiancé and I had a surprise wedding on Maui and this week we are honeymooning on the Big Island. I wasn’t planning on writing to you guys this week, but then something happened that I had to share.
Seven or eight years ago, I hired this amazing woman to be my marketing assistant. She still works with me today and some of you might know her. Her name is Jessie. Before I hired her, Jessie was working at a company called Dolphin Quest and I remember her telling me about the company in her interview. Specifically she told me about her experience swimming with dolphins on the Big Island for her birthday not long before we met.
When we arrived on the Big Island, I started looking for swimming with the dolphins experiences and I found a bunch of them. Dolphin Quest was among them but it was about 3 times more expensive than any of the other programs so I almost instantly dismissed it. But the price difference kept bugging me so I reached out to Jessie.
Now anyone who knows Jessie knows she is a huge animal lover and more than that she is a conservationist and an activist for animal rights. Right away she explained to me how the other programs were able to be so much cheaper. They cut corners with the dolphins. The tourists benefited from the great prices but the dolphins suffered.
She told me that if we chose Dolphin Quest we might not get the experience we imagined, but we would get an experience we’d never forget and one that would be mutually beneficial for the dolphins, too.
I was skeptical and I wanted a discount. I didn’t want to pay more than the other programs! But I also didn’t want to support the mal-treatment of animals. So we ponied up almost $700 to chill with some bottlenose beauties.
What happened next was far beyond my wildest dreams. We learned so much about dolphin communication, socialization, nutrition, and biology. We watched and participated with behavioral training, but more than that we learned why they train them to do certain things. Did you know, for instance, that they train dolphins to lie still on their back so vets can easily take blood from a vein in their fluke (the flat part of their tail at the back)?
Now listen, educational might not sound great to you – maybe you just want to kiss a dolphin on the nose and be done with it – but this program was so personal and went so deep that when we did get to the dolphin kissing photo op it meant so much more. We felt like we really got to know our dolphin buddies. And it was that moment – when I was lip to lip with Kai that’s when it hit me that this wasn’t just about the dolphins, I was also learning a really important business lesson and that’s what I want to share with you.
My favorite part about the experience was that it never felt like we were on a tourist conveyer belt being shuffled through a pre-scripted event. The dolphins (and there were 14 of them) were in the middle of a training session and we got to participate. You could tell it wasn’t a cookie cutter experience because there were lots of adjustments and accommodations the trainers had to make for and with each other. It was REAL. We weren’t taking a pretend look at training dolphins-we were watching and even participating in the training.
That’s not to say there was no structure. It’s just that it wasn’t a one-size-fits-all blueprint. It was our own unique experience.
And here’s how I think this affects you.
If you want to give your clients a blueprint – a cookie-cutter experience for everyone who walks through your doors-and if you want to cut corners and not take care of your team in the process, you can probably get your rates down and even sell more because it’s cheaper. That’s an option. There are plenty of dolphin experiences that do just that.
But Dolphin Quest ignores what everyone else is doing. They are even willing to give their clients a different experience than they might expect. There is no blueprint experience. It’s customized and personal. And yes, it’s the most expensive solution on the market – but that’s because it’s the best. The best for the animals, the trainers, and the tourists. Dolphin Quest doesn’t cut corners and that means they charge what they are worth.
And having gone through the program I think they should double their rates!
Yes, lots of people might miss out on the experience because they are looking for the cheapest option… that’s cool – Dolphin Quest doesn’t need those bargain shoppers around their dolphins anyway, right? I mean think about the differences between people who would pick the cheapest dolphin experience vs. the best one. Night and day right? And who do you want your clients to be?
I thought about it when it came to my program. I mean, can you get someone to help you with your book for less? Sure! There are several programs that help you write your book in 3 days and they do it with Mad Libs style, fill in the blank templates! If you are looking for the cheapest way to get your book done I guarantee you The Author Incubator is NOT the answer. But if you are looking for a unique experience, not a blueprint… if you are looking for personal help from a team that is well taken care of… if you are looking for the best… that’s what we do!
Think about this – what you offer – do you want to give people the budget experience or the luxury experience? Do you want to be a Dolphin Mill or a Dolphin Quest. And even more importantly, which approach is better for the world?