Communication in business should be quite straightforward and an easy concept to understand. A customer asks a question and receives a response. An employee has a question or offers a suggestion and expects a reply.
Hopefully, these are both answered with some type of positive response rather than deflected with a negative phrase that does little to motivate a customer into making a purchase or an employee from doing the best job possible.
Just one negative phrase can produce an undesirable attitude from any customer or employee. With a slight change of words, however, the phrase can become positive. The right chosen words can encourage customers to become loyal and act as goodwill ambassadors for a business. Likewise, carefully chosen words
Business is good or, maybe, not so good. Perhaps, it’s somewhere in the middle and just stagnating. When business is not falling into place like it should, maybe it’s not what is being done but, perhaps, what is not being done. The answer is planning but, also, taking planning one step further.
Planning – The First Step
Businesses plan in a variety of ways. Obviously, some businesses don’t plan at all. Assuming some planning takes place, it might start with a basic business plan, a more detailed strategic plan, or a SWOT analysis highlighting the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of a business.
The planning process should incorporate the internal resources or lack of resources in a business aligned with the bu
It is an interesting phenomenon to think how difficult it is to gain customers and build brand loyalty, but how easy it is to lose customers without even trying. Building a brand, acquiring new customers, retaining old customers, and maintaining loyalty are all interrelated. It can be a fragile relationship that a business shares with its customers. In a competitive world where businesses are vying for market share, a small mistake can mean disaster. When a dissatisfied customer moves to a competitor, the word-of-mouth displeasure can be a stimulus for other customers to leave, as well. Of course, the opposite is true. Satisfied customers communicate satisfactory buying experiences with others.
Consider for a moment the large impact one small sale can mean to a business when repe
Growth and success in a small business is not accomplished overnight or by accident. A business owner must prepare for growth and eventual success by focusing on five basic “P” principles...plan, people, prioritize, processes, and pace. When these are mastered, you’ll see a business headed in the right direction.
Owners must prepare for growth by planning regardless of where the business is in its life cycle. Many small business owners have one thought in mind...sell more and get bigger. Certainly, there is nothing wrong with this philosophy, and a goal that every business owner wants to achieve. Growth, however, requires careful consideration in many different areas of the business such as operations, staffing, facilities,
It is imperative for a small business to make the most of every dollar spent on marketing. Various sources of marketing must be thoroughly analyzed for the immediate return on investment, subsequent return on investment, and general branding.
Unfortunately, many small businesses do not take full advantage of resources available that can stretch the amount of marketing dollars. In addition to traditional marketing efforts, the following are inexpensive ways to obtain customers and increase sales:
Leads and Follow-Up
Following up on leads generally produces positive results. To the contrary, when leads exist in a business but nothing is done to follow-up on a prospect's interest, money is left on the table.
Businesses should track leads. These
Keeping Your Business on the Right Track
A business plan is a roadmap that sets out your route for the development of your business. It doesn’t tell you just about the current state of the business, its strengths and its weaknesses, it will also show up the opportunities and what needs to be done to stay ahead of the competition.
You might think you know all this now and don’t have to write it down. But what if something happened to you and someone else had to take over the operation? What would they need to know so it was still there and profitable when you returned? This is the kind of information contained in your business plan and its good insurance against the unknown.
It clarifies your objectives
What are your goals? These will be in your bu
Get Out of the Rat Race
We’ve all worked jobs we hated. We were underpaid, underappreciated and bored out of our minds. We either quit these jobs or were fired for poor performance because we just gave up. Instead of taking that approach you need to consider every job an opportunity to learn something new that you can apply down the line to find success.
When you give people the tools they need to come up with unordinary solutions, you are enhancing their lives for the long run. You need to take this approach. What if one of your terrible jobs had been one with no pay at all and you needed to come up with some ingenious ways of making money? I bet you could have found a diamond in that rough. This idea can also be used in your own company.
Put it to Work!
In the last post we talked about how to conduct word of mouth research and then put that research to work. Today we’re going to give you some great tried and true ways to use word of mouth when building and executing your campaign.
We’ve done it in a list form, so you can go through and highlight the ones you want to put into action. These are offered by George Silverman which you can find in his amazing book The Secrets of Word of Mouth Marketing.
Here they are:
Search & Implement
People only remember the extraordinary, strange, wild, surprising and unusual. You need to make sure your ideas and marketing reflect these reactions. This doesn’t mean you have to have a product or service that is completely out of the norm, in fact, this could easily drive customers away. You need to have a product or service that is high quality and easily marketable, then you need to market it as extraordinary and new.
As you’re research word of mouth, there are some questions you need to ask along the way:
What are the users willing to tell the non-users?
Science of the Memes
Today I'd like to discuss the science of the memes and how spreading ideas around and through society is ingrained in humans.
This refers to types of ideas that spread the fastest through society, why they spread fast and how that affects consumerism. You can use this same information to create a lasting positive impression about your company, products and services. People are more likely to try a new product or services when they feel protected and reassured by the masses.
It’s been determined that spreading ideas is essential to the survival of a society. There are 5 main situations where this occurs. They are:
Think of evang
Decoding WOM Messages
Today's lesson will talk about how word of mouth messages are delivered and how you can influence those messages.
There are essentially 3 methods of word of mouth:
When experts are talking about your products or service you will usually receive an amazing rush of sales and new customers, so obviously this is one of the best things that can happen. You can also help to facilitate this by offering free products to experts for them to review.
Expert opinion can also bring about new ideas that help to fuel new products, services and operating systems within your company. If you take the time to change or develop the opinions of even a small gr
WOM Meets Customers Head-On
Today we'll cover the idea of shortening your customers’ decision making process with positive word of mouth. There are essentially 5 stages in the decision making process.
Harness the Power of WOM
Today we’re going to talk about how to harness the power of word of mouth. Including the six step process to success and the 30 (that’s right, I said 30) ways to harass the power of WOM. So, let’s get started!
There are six steps to harnessing word of mouth:
Word of Mouth Tactics - Part 3
Last time we talked about the second part of word of mouth tactics which help you put together a system to help shorten the purchasing decision time of your customers which can increase your profits immensely.
Today we’re going to talk about the nine levels of word of mouth which gives you a tool to measure the word of mouth circulating around your company, products and services. You can then see where you are getting negative or weak word of mouth and find ways to correct it.
So, launching into the nine levels of word of mouth-it should seem relatively obvious that the negative levels are, well, negative and the positive levels are positive.
This is the worst of the worst a
Word of Mouth Tactics - Part 2
In the last post we started our series on word of mouth and talked about how to make your customers purchasing experience a short, easy one. We are going to continue with that theme a bit today. We’re going to talk about the power of word of mouth and how to mold it to your advantage.
The reality is everyone needs an advisor to guide them to decide. We rely on the expertise of others to make the right decisions as they are explained to us. When you take the time to understand exactly what and how word of mouth works, you will see all the great advantages it has to offer you. Remember this path when working to understand word of mouth:
Email Campaigns to Help A Business Through A Pandemic
Email campaigns, sometimes referred to as nurturing campaigns, refer to the cultivation and growth of existing, potential, and/or prior prospects in order to create new opportunities and business growth. Although email campaigns have been around for a long time, utilizing proper email approaches during this current pandemic can prove to be a sustainable method of developing and converting connections to sales. Email campaigns allow a business to not only communicate with current and/or local customers but allows for connecting with potential customers and the expansion into untapped and underserved markets that might not even be in close proximity to the business’ main place of operations.
Word of Mouth Tactics - Part 1
Today we’ll start a new series talking all about Word of Mouth and how it can make or break your business in an extremely short amount of time. In this first lesson we’ll get a feel for what exactly word of mouth is.
Word of Mouth is easily the most powerful form of marketing and is absolutely free. People talk about ads they see, experiences they have and the products they purchase. If you treat people right and spread the word about your new products/services in a positive way, you’ll attract the right customers and client who will sustain your business for a long time.
Now, as positive as word of mouth can be for your business, the other side of the coin is how negative it can be as well. Bad news
Acquiring and Managing Leads
The process of gaining new customers can be summed up in two steps - ‘getting leads’ and ‘converting leads to customers. Although the first step is the responsibility of marketing and the second is the responsibility of the sales function, the two must work together to optimize their effectiveness.
Generating the leads themselves is always the first task of any successful marketing exercise. Leads can be purchased, as in buying a mailing list of prospects, but gaining your own is not difficult. Just know that you should be prepared to use a variety of ways to attract qualified prospects rather than depending on just one source.
Promote yourself and manage inquiries – Think about how some co
Multiply on Your Maximizing Resources - Part 4
The last few posts have talked about how to multiply the resources that you’ve worked hard to maximize. So far, we’ve covered:
Today we’ll finish up this series with the last three ways to multiply your maximized resources. We’ll cover:
These areas are all key to keep up the momentum
Multiply on Your Maximizing Resources - Part 3
Over the last few posts, we talked about how to multiply the resources that you’ve worked hard to maximize. So far, we have covered:
Today we'll cover the next three:
Go Big Online
There are businesses who solely operate online, there are those with only physical addresses and there are those who do both. Those who do both are by far more successful than the previous two. When you ta
So Now You’re Working Remotely
Certainly, the world has changed since the beginning of the year. Countries have closed, opened, and closed again. The same holds true for cities and states in the U.S. Office buildings are closed, brick and mortar businesses shuttered, and the lives of employees materially changed.
There are enough negative and positive predictions to fill a novel-sized book. Whether the prospect for a somewhat return to normal is in the near-term or further into 2021, many employees who started working remotely during the beginning and height of the pandemic are still working remotely with many planning to do so in the foreseeable future. Twitter and Facebook stunned the business world when they announced that there would be permanent
Multiply on Your Maximizing Resources - Part 2
Last time we talked about how to start multiplying on the resources you worked on maximizing. We covered the following areas:
Today we'll talk about the next three:
Olympic-Size Sales Staff
Now we all know you can’t have a sales staff of 10,000 who work around the clock for free, but there is a tool that will do exactly that-direct mail marketing.
Direct mail is a written piece of sales and informative copy that offers information about your company and your
Multiply on Your Maximizing Resources - Part 1
The next series of posts will cover how to take maximizing resources and multiply them for even bigger results.
In this first of the four part series we’ll cover:
Call in the Troops
Finding and securing new clients can be exhausting and expensive. Instead work with other companies to help you find new clients. Find solid companies with secure, positive relationships with their customers/clients. Also, ensure that their products/services are not directly competitive with yours.
Contact prospective partner companies and talk with them about helping promote y
Maximize Your Resources - Part 3
In the last post we talked about three more ways you can work on maximizing your current resources. They included:
Today we’ll talk about the last three areas you can work on to maximize your current resources. They are:
An Offer They Can’t Refuse
The secret to success is to stay ahead of your competitors- maintain the competitive edge. To do that you need make it easier for your customers/clients to say “y
Become A Better Communicator
Most of us perform better in one part of the communications process, as either a speaker or a listener, but don’t go to the effort to make the most of our communicating abilities by improving the weaker skill. But our communication is likely to be so much better and more effective if we did. It’s not too difficult.
Speakers need to be aware of their audience
Speakers are good at sending out a message. They’re focused on what they’re saying and how they say it. What they too often miss is how it affects their audience – the listeners. Speakers who don’t think about their audience when they speak are likely to be talking mostly to themselves.
Listeners should think about what they
Maximize Your Resources - Part 2
Last time we talked about the first three areas to work through in maximizing your current resources. They were:
Today we'll cover the next three, which are:
Reveal Your Business’ Soul
Every business has a soul and you likely felt it the strongest when your business was just starting. It’s that passion, newness and momentum you had at the very beginning. Sometimes that can get lost along the way as your business gets stagnant and set in its ways. Y
Maximize Your Resources - Part 1
Over the next few posts we’re going to talk about how to take a hard look at your current resources and get the most out of them. This can help your capital go further and increase your profit margin.
Today we’ll cover three different ways to maximize what you already have. These include:
Recognize the Obvious
Sometimes when you are too close to something, you can’t make out the big picture. You need to step back and really take a hard look at the resources you currently have in front of you. You are surrounded by opportunities that can boost your career and help your
5 Killer Mistakes - Part 3
The last 2 posts covered the first four of the killer mistakes you can make that will not only make you lose your fish, but possibly your entire company. Today we’re going to talk about the fifth killer mistake: Up Cash Creek Without a Paddle.
Even when business is good there’s still a change of running out of cash flow. You have to always be prepared for a slow in sales or a surge in expenses. One of the keys to balancing your cash flow is to get your clients to pay on time. This can seem like a nightmare, but is absolutely essential to a successful business.
Here are some tips to speed up the payment process:
5 Killer Mistakes - Part 2
In the last post we covered the first two of the 5 biggest mistakes you can make in dealing with big fish clients. Today we’ll cover the third and fourth ones: Taking on More Than You Can Handle.
When you take on too much, your business can’t keep up and therefore you can easily lose control of everything and find yourself barely functioning. You want your business to be successful, no doubt, but you need to have a plan for how you will handle the growth. Your clients expect great customer service and highly quality products/services, they don’t know or care about your behind the scenes operations to get those things done.
There are 5 big mistakes you can do that will kill a deal with a big fish. They are:
Any one or combination of these can not only kill the partnership, but have the ability to take down your company as well. We’re going to take a bit of time to talk about each one of these, in this lesson we’ll cover the first two.
Not Meeting Client’s Expectations
It’s essential you give your client’s exactly what you promised during the negotiation portion of your relationship. If an event does happen where t
In the last post we talked about negotiating with your big fish and how to nurture and build on the relationships you are creating. Today we’ll talk about the power your fish has and how to utilize that for your benefit.
One of the most important aspects of this is to keep your cheerleader cheering. This refers to the ally you created in the company and who needs to stay loyal to you for you to continue a profitable partnership with your fish. You can keep your champion going by offering or doing a number of things to show appreciation.
Some of these things are:
Good Business Deeds Can Be Good Business Deals
‘Cause’ marketing that links your company or brand to a non-profit group or charity enables you to promote your business while you give something back to your community. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this kind of marketing is that it’s been shown to make customers feel better about deciding to purchase and that translates into an increase in repurchase intentions.
Consumers transfer their emotional bonds
Many people have emotional bonds with a non-profit group. They may even be regular financial contributors or do volunteer work for a non-profit organization. When these people see a business that’s supporting this organization, they’ll often be predisposed to purchasing from it. "
Most business owners know something about Management Principles 101, Marketing Principles 101, and Selling Principles 101 but not much about Pandemic Principles 101. Thankfully, the business world has not had to learn anything about Pandemic Principles 101 until now (unfortunately).
The pandemic has been hurled upon all of us like a ton of bricks, and businesses must learn to deal with it in order to survive. Some pandemic principles incorporated into today’s business world can be a byproduct of acquired knowledge while some principles require a new way of thinking.
This “new normal” will require a pivot in thinking by integrating the following pandemic principles into the current business climate:
Transparency, communication, honesty
There are a few things you need to do and consider to prepare for your first face to face meeting:
These are all important things to d
Who’s Your MVP?
In the last post we talked about making first contact with your prospective big fish and how to make a positive first impression. Today we’re going to talk about feeling out the personality of your prospective big fish to match the right salesperson to the fish.
You need to do this in two steps:
There are essentially three different selling personalities:
This salesperson offers knowledge, experience, comfort and trust. They can make a concerned customer feel at ease. In order to be successful they need plenty of i
The Perfect Bait
In the last post we talked about how to learn about your big fish and prepare for the first contact you’ll make with them. This first contact is essential to your success. You need to instill confidence in them. They need to know you can fulfill exactly what you are offering on time, at a good price and at the quality you promise.
Today we’ll actually go through the big approach and how to make that perfect first impression. Before you put together your approach plan, you need to choose with big fish you’re going after. Take a look at your notes and the research you’ve done about prospective fish. Then decide which one will be the easiest approach to start out with.
There are a series of things to go through in choosing whic
Untangle the Red Tape
In the last post we talked about how to bring the big-company mindset into your business and your team. This will help you overcome the mental obstacles that will keep you from being successful. Now, that you’ve learned how to overcome that, we’re going to talk about who your fish is. It’s important to know about the fish you are looking for before you put a plan together. We’re also going to take a moment to talk about the potential “red tape” you may encounter along the way.
The most important thing to know about your fish is their purchasing habits and procedures. There are four main things you need to work on in order to be successful:
Be One with the Fish
In the last post we started our series on catching big clients, or “fish”, that will sustain your business over the long run. Today we’re going to take that a step further by talking about how to understand and think like a big fish company and how that can help you plan your approach and find success.
Before you can start the process of landing big clients, you have to make sure your entire team is onboard with your approach and vision. There are six keys to finding big client success. They are:
Are You On The Right Path?
There are a number of factors to take into consideration when prepping yourself and your company to approach the largest clients you’ll ever work with.
Today we’re going to start with a brief look at the three paths every business faces and show you which one is the path to success. Then we’ll talk about the mindset it takes to attract the big fish.
There are three major paths a business can take:
Most business owners ended up working themselves into the ground without much reward or success. This is what happens when you fool yourself into thinking you will find quick success. You may also f
Are You In The 1%
The Rule of 1% is simply defined as adding to your customer service one percent at a time. Before you can do this, you must have your consistency perfected or it will never work. This one percent may seem small, but if you approach the vision for your company with baby steps, you will find a huge increase over a solid chunk of time. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.
Avoid doing too much at one or you’ll set yourself up for failure. Think of the confidence you and your employees will have when you improve one percent each week. By the end of a year, you’ll have improved more than 50%!
While, rules and standards are necessary for growth, always be flexible with your best customers. Most retailers only allow a set number of
Deliver + 1
In the last post we talked about how to figure out what your customers want out of a positive shopping experience. Today we’ll talk about the concept of Deliver +1 and how this concept can take your customer service to the next level. I’ve decided to split up this post so the next one will cover the 1% Rule.
Consistency is the key to any great customer service experience. If you want to take your satisfied customers to Raving Fan status, you have to go above and beyond the average customer service experience.
There are three ways to develop consistency:
Avoid offering too many customer service options.
We sometimes get so caught up in giving customers what they want we get away
Another Secret Revealed
In the last post we talked about the first secret to building a solid customer service plan and how to decide what your vision is.
Today we’ll talk about the second secret in taking your satisfied customers to raving fans. You must know what your customers want. Know who your customers are and you will know better how to serve them. Demographics are really important here. An upper-class woman in her 30’s is going to have completely different expectations than a working class man in his 50’s.
There are four main areas you need to consider and plan when figuring out what your customers want:
Shhh… I Have a Secret
Customer service is a pretty hot topic and can make or break your business. Consumers have little patience for lousy customer service and easily get tired of waiting in long lines, trying to get a live person on the line, going through an interrogation to return something or trying to communicate through a language barrier.
If you provide them with a simple, efficient, pleasant experience they will revisit your business over and over. More importantly, they will tell everyone they know!
There are three secrets to good customer service, the first one we’re going to conquer is knowing exactly what YOU want.
You are the captain of the ship and the visionary for the future of your business, so you need to have a clearly
Add Some Compost
In the last post we talked about the first three of the 7 specific areas you need to consider in your franchise prototype process. Here are all seven again:
These 7 areas will fine turn your plan for the ultimate level of success. Today we are going to cover the last four.
Think of constructing your business model like planting a tree. At first, it’s so small and weak you wonder if it will even make it through the night. But, you keep watering, fertilizing and nurturing it. Your ideas will grow the trunk and each of these strategie