Tag: customers.

Sally just got done reading Manage Your Day-To-Day. The subtitle of this book is Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus and Sharpen Your Mind, edited by Jocelyn K. Glei. Here’s some of the best business take-aways from the book:

If you find you’ve been working hard and hardly getting ahead, this book is for you. It focuses on how our work day and work world has changed. Too often we’re reacting and not working on our daily to-do list. The first thing to do is schedule your creative work first and schedule it at a time when you work best. This may take a little time to find – but instinctively you may know this already. Set routines and stick to them. If a project isn’t complete one day, calendar it and move it to the next day. Your capacity is limited. Schedule your renewal or “sharpen the saw” time. Stick to it. Schedule thinking time or alone time to plan. Plan blocks of time to work – calendar it and stick to it. Stop multi-tasking – it doesn’t work. Work on one project at a time, focus and finish it. Understand your temptations and resist them. In other words stay off Facebook and quit texting. Keep your workspace organized. Protect your DO NOTHING time. Your brain needs some R&R. Send really short emails. There is magic in a six-word email. Schedule your social media time and use it effectively to promote your business. Sally does hers at the same time she’s updating client posts. Sometimes your soul needs to rest – take a long break from being connected. Finally, stop thinking everything must be perfect. We are human. Only God is perfect.
Get the work done, do your very best and let it go.

“The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything.”  – Warren Buffet

Jeffrey Gitomer’s Little Red Book of Selling, 12.5 Principles of Sales Greatness
By Jeffrey Gitomer

I love this little book!! It may be the most direct, most helpful book on salesmanship ever. The no-hold-barred approach gets right in your face about what it takes to be uber successful in sales.

The author, Jeff Gitomer, links the book to his website to add more information and expose you to more opportunities to learn even more – to go deeper in to each topic.

The content is broken into easy to digest bites with clever cartoon illustrations and helpful graphics. The left sidebar column features a “ Red Whine” while the right sidebar column shows its counterpart “Red Selling Response” winner. Here’s an example: Red Whine: “They keep throwing away my brochure.” Red Selling Response:  “They don’t want your brochure. They want answers to their situations and concerns.”

It’s obvious Jeff speaks from experience and his experience means you can leap forward if you follow his lead. Jeff recommends reading this book multiple times and committing most of it to memory! There are helpful checklists and information shared from other sales greats as well.

One of my favorite sections (pg 112 questions) talks about the power of smart questions.  There are lead in suggestions for probing questions that will get you the information you really need to help your prospect get to the heart of how you can help them.

A few examples of good lead- ins for smart questions:

  • “What do you look for in…?”
  • “What has been your experience with…?”
  • “How have you successfully used …?”
  • “What would you change about…?”
  • “How do you competitors react to…?”

“Smart questions make you look smart. Dumb questions…”

The goal of these types of questions is to collect the information in this list of 9.5 benefits:

1. Qualify the buyer.
2. Build rapport.
3. Create prospect disparity.
4. Eliminate or differentiate from the competition.
5. Build credibility.
6. Know the customer and their business.
7. Identify needs.
8. Find hot buttons.
9. Get personal information.
9.5 Close the sale.

Jeff uses humor to look at the fun side of sales. And he is inventive about his sales tactics.

Late in the book, we are encouraged to figure out the “why” behind our sales efforts.

  • Why you?
  • Why them?
  • Why ask?

Who will you help with your sales? That’s the real reason you called. It’s the real reason you do business. It may take several layers of “why” to get to the real reason for you. Take the time to get there.

When you have your “why,” put it everywhere. Remind yourself of why you do what you do.

People buy for their reasons, not for your reasons. Make sure you know their “why”, too!

Full of humor and creative approaches tested by many years of success, The Little Red Book of Selling is more than worth the read. Our author reminds us that we all do sales in one way or another, anytime we want to win someone over to our point of view. It might be your spouse or your kids, your neighbors or co-workers but we all need to understand these principles regardless of our career.

Thanks, Jeff! I appreciate the help and the laughs!

Rose Anne Huck
Poole Communications Poplar Bluff Manager

For more information on this book and other works by Jeff Gitomer: http://www.gitomer.com/Jeffrey-Gitomer-Little-Red-Book-of-Selling-pluLRB.html

Advertising just doesn’t work like it used to. It’s expensive and isn’t getting results. Worst of all it’s difficult to track. Businesses don’t know how to manage their marketing or advertising and don’t have time to do it right. Word of mouth works and can still be counted on. That’s why social media is growing fast.

Many small business owners would echo these sentiments. However, none of these statements have to be fact. While advertising can be expensive and time consuming, it has major benefits. On average, many small business owners cut marketing budgets first when they start having cash flow worries. However, it’s at those times that it’s even more important to keep your business brand front and center.

Social media is by far one of the most effective and affordable ways to reach your customers and build your brand, but it’s not the only way. Here’s our list of marketing tips and strategies to help you market your business the best you can, even when the budget is tight.

  1. The Elevator Speech
    An elevator speech is a 15 to 20 second description of what you do. The idea is that if you find yourself in an elevator with an ideal client, by the time you reach your destination, your prospect will have asked for your card. Start with your ideal client and determine the single most important thing you want them to know about your [product, service, brand, idea]. Then include what problems you can solve for them and what sets you apart from your competition along with a brief description of the results they can expect. Invest time in meticulously crafting your elevator speech. If you have a killer elevator speech, the return on investment will pay off big.
  2. Think Local
    You don’t have to market to the whole country, or even the state or region. Think local. You’re a small business; the majority of your customers and prospects live in your immediate area. Get involved in the community to get your name out there. Sponsor a little league team or a charity event. Hand out free paper fans at the 4th of July parade. Think about where and how your ideal customers spend their time and then find ways to get your marketing message in front of them.
  3. Collaborate and Network
    Round up a group of area business that are non-competitive and can easily work together and agree to cross promote. Collaborating can help you all reach an expanded customer base. Networking is one of the best ways to build your business. Get out there and meet people! Networking requires a time commitment, and it’s not always going to provide instant gratification, but it will easily become the strongest asset you can have. Just remember, its about building business relationships. Networking gives you the chance to help people know you, like you and trust you. When they do that, they will be ready to do business with you or refer someone to you. Which brings me to…
  4. Referrals, Referrals, Referrals
    The easiest new business comes from happy customers who send you referrals. Don’t be shy about asking for them either. Most people are willing to provide a referral, if asked, but very few will do it on their own. If your customers are truly content, they will be happy to help you and there is nothing more powerful than the recommendation of a happy customer. Don’t forget to offer up referrals for others when you can. Sometimes a successful referral from you for their business will result in a return referral from them.
  5. Keep Relationships
    This point ties right into numbers 3 & 4. It’s less expensive to keep a current customer than to get a new one. Establishing strong relationships with your current customers is vital. You can build these relationships by using social media, email campaigns and good old face-to-face conversations. Keep communicating!
  6. Speech, Teach!
    I know, I know, you hate public speaking. A lot of people do, but it’s a great marketing tool. Many organizations are constantly seeking qualified, subject-matter experts who can present to their groups. As long as your information is helpful to the audience – and correct – people won’t care if you’re a public speaking pro. Plus, the more you do it, the easier it gets. Check with your local small business administrations, colleges, chamber of commerce, even the library. These opportunities to teach and speak to groups of individuals will establish you as a credible authority in your field. They will also open doors for collaborating, networking, referrals and relationships. (See the snowball effect?)
  7. Get More by Giving Some Away
    If you test or experience a product or service and like it, are you more likely to buy it? Probably so. Your customers are the same way! Chances are they will purchase more if you give them the opportunity to try it. Don’t be afraid of giving someone a free trial or sample. But, don’t give away too much, just enough to bring them back for more!
  8. It’s Not About You
    What? Yes I said this correctly. It’s kind of about you – but mostly it’s about your customer. Sometimes it’s easy to just tell your customer all about your company and how long you’ve been in business. But honestly, most of the time, they don’t care about that. They care about how your product or service benefits them. If you answer that first, then they will start to care more about your company and you. Focus on the benefit and/or solution you can give your customers.

These eight tips are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to marketing. But they are enough to get you started and help you out if your budget isn’t that big. Just remember, engaging customers and building relationships are the heart of your business and will be vital in your business growth. You don’t have to spend outrageous amounts of money on your marketing for it to be successful as long as you put in the time and effort and focus on what’s important to your customers.

Infographic: Freepik.com; edited by Poole Communications.

Rose Anne Huck, manager of our Poplar Bluff office brings you today’s book review.

Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customers.
By Seth Godin

Internet marketing pioneer Seth Godin says we must change the way almost everything is marketed today. 

Our author, Seth Godin, speaks to us about the demise of the age of interruption Marketing with the arrival of Permission Marketing. In this groundbreaking book, Godin describes the four tests of Permission Marketing:

  1. Does every single marketing effort you create encourage a learning relationship with your customers? Does it invite customers to “raise their hands” and start communicating?
  2. Do you have a permission database? Do you track the number of people who have given you permission to communicate with them?
  3. If consumers gave you permission to talk to them, would you have anything to say? Have you developed a marketing curriculum to teach people about your products?
  4. Once people become customers, do you work to deepen your permission to communicate with those people?

With case study after case study, Godin walks us through good and bad examples of using the power of Permission Marketing to grow a business and customer base.

We are encouraged to follow-up with a full “suite of follow-up messages” for permission given. The suite of messages is a leveraged sequence of communication designed to strengthen our position and build trust.

You can easily do the math. Drive traffic to your site to collect their contact information. For every x percent who give you permission, you’ll generate $Y in sales. To finish the equation all you need is your conversion rate which you may be able to pull from your sales and marketing records.

The key is not to focus on permission acquisition on-line but rather build to it into what you’re already doing in your marketing efforts.

Think of it this way: an Interruption Marketer is a hunter. A Permission Marketer is a farmer.

Seth Godin uses a charming analogy to demonstrate the differences between Permission Marketing and Interruption Marketing.

First Scenario: A man gets a new suit, shoes, all the accessories and heads to a singles bar. He has an engagement ring in his pocket. He proposes marriage over and over hoping for someone to take him up on his offer. As you can imagine, he suffers many rejections.

Second Scenario: A man chooses a likely prospective date. Asks her out to dinner and a movie (appropriate incentives). They spend time together. Go out again. Meet the family. Eventually he proposes marriage and gets an emphatic  “Yes!”

This approach is about building quality connections where there is mutual trust which in the long-term should result in greater sales per contact than any other system.

When we look at it this way, it is hard to imagine doing marketing any other way. It is also obvious that Permission Marketing requires a greater investment of time and resources. Permission Marketing results grow over time. They is measurable. These are the opposite of Interruption Marketing.

One hundred years ago small businesses ruled the world. They were responsive, trusted and capable. They offered samples or use of products before purchase and the company owner or sales person spent extra time with customers before the sale. It would not have been unusual for the company owner to be your neighbor. Oh my, how times have changed for most companies.

The KEY to Permission Marketing is in building a series of steps designed to get prospects to take the next step in the process. Let’s take a look at this example: Camp Arowhon

  1. Permission Marketing for the camp starts with an interruption message using an ad to order free information in the form of a brochure and video.
  2. The brochure and video are designed to sell a personal meeting – not sell camp registration.
  3. The visit sells the camp. After attending camp for one summer, campers are sold on the camp for an average of 6 summers plus referrals. This nets approximately $20,000 per family.

At each step the goal is to expand permission, not to make the final sale.

By not focusing on the sale, marketers are able to get far more out of their expenditures. Response rates to free samples, an affinity program or birthday club is 5 to 10 times higher than responses pushing for the sale.

When you are making your offer, the less you ask and the bigger the bribe, the more likely the consumer will bite. This guarantees your chance to deepen the permission with the next level.

Three important keys to keep in mind:

  1. Be personal.
  2. Be relevant.
  3. Be specific.

The first sale is the beginning of the relationship, NOT the ultimate goal. The Ultimate Goal is mutually beneficial – a relationship which grows over time. You supply their need. They pay you. You provide more. They buy more and so forth and so on.

If you find need to start with high cost interruption marketing, you want to leverage the cost of the first interruption across multiple interactions. In this instance it definitely pays to approach your audience in as many ways as possible.

TRUST is EVERYTHING! Without trust there are no sales. Trust means the prospect believes in the product and the company. Think of it this way, you have a different level of trust with a high-end jeweler versus the guy on the street with a briefcase of jewelry.

Building trust is a Step by Step process which requires time, money and commitment. Frequency builds familiarity and familiarity builds trust. When you first run your ad 10% of your market will remember it. If you run 30 days in a row, by the law of averages, eventually everyone will remember your ad. Frequency causes the consumer to focus on the message. Like repeating yourself to a 4-year-old helps get the point across – or training a dog or horse.

Statistically when you increase your frequency by 100% you increase your effectiveness by 400%! Frequency and trust outweigh reach and its glamour.

This book is packed with the fundamentals needed to connect with you audience in a way that resonates with them and will lead to relationships that are beneficial for you both.

One of my favorite examples used in the book is the LL Bean catalog company. Their inventory stays relatively unchanged year after year. There are a few tweaks but nothing extensive. LL Bean sends out catalogs over and over again even though the last book you got probably has not changed very much. Their loyal followers welcome these new books and peruse them and continue to buy from them year after year. This is the relationship we all need. Customers and prospects who are happy to receive our sales message and who trust us to deliver quality.

Permission Marketing was written in 1999 but remains an authoritative source of information. Many if not most of Godin’s predictions have come true. He was and is so far out front that even now, we are still working to implement what he preached then.

One last suggestion: Read it and read it soon.

To find out more about Seth Godin’s Permission Marketing book, visit http://sethgodin.com/sg/

We’re so excited for the opportunity to present a workshop at the Poplar Bluff Chamber of Commerce on May 29! The topic up for discussion is how to Make the Most of Social Media.

We know that Social Media can be a real headache. Especially for business owners who need to focus on business, but know that social media can be an integral part of business growth.

This workshop will give you the information you need to effectively manage your social media without eating up your time. You’ll learn how to use social media more effectively, best practices in social media and how to make it manageable. Plus, we’ll talk about content management, how to determine which networks and platforms are most beneficial for you, and when it’s time to hire someone to help you out.

The workshop will be from 10 a.m. to noon on May 29, at the Poplar Bluff Chamber of Commerce. http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Making-the-Most-of-Social-Media-.html?soid=1102908922854&aid=cTfkonBOTyM

Fish Where the Fish Are

Spend your advertising dollars where the market is. The same concept can apply to social media. Use the platform the reaches your specific audience! If you’re customers aren’t using Twitter, but ARE using Facebook, put your time and effort there!

Also, browse our blog for more great marketing tips!

Do you want more tips?

Comment below and let us know what topics are really giving you troubles, or topics you’d just like to know more about!

Today’s review comes from our owner, Sally Poole.

Enchantment
by Guy Kawasaki

Build your company by building trust.

“The best overall treatise on interpersonal relationships since Dale Carnegie wrote How to Win Friends and Influence People.
Michael Gartenberg, Research Director, Gartner 

If you haven’t read anything by Guy Kawasaki, it’s time to start. His books are entertaining and filled with usable information you can apply to your business or organization right away. Guy started out as the chief evangelist at Apple and he knows business and marketing.

In Enchantment, he talks about winning over people to your company, product or service. It’s much more than persuasion or influencing. It’s about providing a lasting benefit to others that transforms people and relationships. It cements customers to you. And the process is outlined in this book.

A few of the chapters include: How to Achieve Likability, How to Achieve Trust, How to Prepare, How to Launch, How to Overcome Resistance, How to Make Enchantment Endure.

I’m going to highlight pertinent points from a few of the chapters. Kawasaki talks about how to align yourself with others by becoming more likable through smiling, acceptance of others and even dressing in similar ways. He talks about building trust by being transparent and fully human. That means admitting mistakes and acknowledging personal flaws and passions. He suggests giving for giving sake.

He gives examples of products and companies that enchant, such as Virgin America, and Apple Macintosh. What makes them different is that they are deep, well designed, intelligent, complete, empowering and elegant. I personally love design and to me this is what great work is all about. Thinking a product or service through so that it provides the best possible experience.

I love this book because of all the working examples and the tools he gives you to succeed. One important part of the book is about giving to others. He suggests you give with joy, give early, give often and generously and give unexpectedly. This is part of what builds trust and relationships in business. He even gives you ideas of how to use technology in a better way. For

Enchantment by Guy Kawasaki

instance, the six sentence email. Many emails are too long and don’t get read. I’ve even heard of a SIX WORD email. Try it and see what success you have.

Finally he talks about enchanting your employees, your boss and even how to avoid enchantment! Guy Kawasaki covers it all and you’ll enjoy his style and information. It’s a quick read and it will help you, your business or organization.

To find out more go to: http://www.guykawasaki.com/enchantment/

The New Customer

When the Internet became a household tool a lot of things changed. When landlines and desktops turned into cell phones and tablets, even more things changed. It’s hard to measure exactly how much our lives have changed through technology, but our personal lives aren’t the only thing that changed – so did the customer.

Customers today are very different from what they used to be and that means the way businesses market to and connect with customers must evolve to keep up.

Let’s look at four characteristics of new customers and how you can adapt your strategies to suit them.

Customers know more than you do.
Customers today have access to virtually all the information they need before you know if they are even interested. They’re armed with greater information and influence than ever before. They use technology to make their decisions and influence the buying patterns of others making them feel empowered and knowledgeable. They may know as much or more about your product and your competitor’s product than you do. Be ready for them.

Customers are social.
“If you make your customer happy they will tell someone; if you make them unhappy they will tell 10 people.”

This adage describes the practice of word-of-mouth. Online platforms have transformed word-of-mouth into what is called “user generated content” or UGC. When customers post online about their experiences, questions, praise or condemnation of products, services and general behavior in the marketplace, it’s like word-of-mouth on steroids. Be a positive social information generator.

Customers make their experiences and opinions about businesses and their products/services known to millions. They are blogging and posting about it on Facebook and Twitter. And not only are they telling their own experiences, they are reading everyone else’s. Referrals and recommendation are coming from anyone but you (unless you have testimonials – which we’ll talk about later.) Which leads us to…

Customers tell you what they want.
Customers today tell you how to interact with them, and when and why they will or will not do business with you. This is directly connected to the previous point. They are posting on blogs and social networks telling not only what they think, but they are telling you what they want. Listen carefully.

Customers judge books by their cover.
Customers are influenced by who they believe that you are before they consider your products and services. Customers care about what your brand stands for as much as they care about what you offer. Consumers have the power to shape what you stand for if you don’t do it for them. Share your “why?”

How to adapt:

  1. Anticipate that customers are already well informed and be prepared to answer any questions they have, truthfully.
  2. Make social media a substantial part of your marketing strategy. Be flexible. Consider why customers share, when they share and how you can facilitate the process.
  3. Track and respond to UGC. Make it easy for customers to share their experiences.
    Don’t shy away from it. Testimonials are vital today. Written testimonials are great and give customers information they want. Video testimonials are even greater. 80% of Internet users recall watching a video ad on a website in the past 30 days – of that 80%, 46% took action after viewing the video! (Online Publishers Association)
  4. Keep yourself and your employees up to date on the social landscape. Understand how social media works and why it’s so important to your customers.
  5. Invest time, energy and money into adapting to the continually changing social landscape.
  6. Decide what it is you want to be known for and allow that message to saturate everything you do and say. Share your personal story of “why” you do what you do.

Stay on top of your game, adapt to the customers wants and needs and the avenues by which the obtain information and your business will grow hand in hand with your customers.

Here’s something to think about when planning for 2013. Many companies spend a lot of their marketing dollars talking about their company, products and services. That’s marketing from the inside out. Customers would rather know about how you can help them solve their problems, make money or save time. The most effective marketing is built by putting yourself in your customer’s shoes. That’s marketing from the outside in. Focus on answering the needs of your customers first and then your products and services will sell themselves.

This week I want you to define your target market. Every business has one. Your target market includes demographics like the main type of person that does business with you. Think about the distinct age group of people you serve. Are your customers more male or female? Are your customers other businesses or the general public? Where do they live? Can you define the region where you do most of your work? Defining your target market helps you know where you need to be advertising. Think about your target market this week and think about what kind of advertising or marketing will best reach your unique target market.