October 30, 2011

Appreciation Marketing – Voices From Your Past

Recently I received a call from a past acquaintance who wanted to reconnect with me after a long period of being out of touch.  What causes this to happen, what can you do to result in this type of event, and what do you do when this type of event occurs?  Appreciation marketing is the answer for all of these questions.

We all have met people over the years with whom we may do business or not; we may even exchange referrals or not.  We may just meet them, have a few conversations, and then nothing else takes place.  Their impression of us is based on their personal experience while interfacing with us and maybe on our reputation from our dealings with others.

Then, we do not meet or speak to this person for some period of time.  They could have changed employment, or maybe they moved to a new location; perhaps they experienced a life altering event in their lives for the better or for the worse.  It doesn’t matter what happened.  What matters is that they suddenly return into our lives and reconnect with us.

What leads them to reconnect with us after a period of time?  I was asked by someone who called me after a period of more than a year why it took him so long before he decided to do business with me.  I replied that it did not matter, he was at that point now, and we should build on that event; we should not be concerned by the delay.

Maybe we treated the person with respect and appreciation, or maybe we did not pressure them trying for the quick sale; maybe we were professional and understood their reluctance to close a deal.  Maybe it was all of this.  People remember those who treat they well, with respect, professionalism, and appreciation.  People do business with others that they know, like, and trust.  If you gain this level of relationship building, you will have success.

By reaching this level of relationship building, people that may have been “lost” may reconnect in a manner that is mutually beneficial.  They may become business partners; they may become referral sources.  It does not matter how long it has been since you “lost” your connection; all that matters is that a reconnection is now made.  Honor the reconnection and make it mutually beneficial.

Treat the reconnected person with the same respect and appreciation that you did originally.  Listen to their story and how they reconnected with you.  Then assist them in the best manner that you can, building a new stronger connection and relationship.  Build a relationship that benefits both of you from that point on into the future.

Have you had one of those calls from “out of the blue”?  Why did it happen; what did you do to make it happen?  How did you react, and where did it lead?  Did the relationship gain strength, and how did that happen?  Please let me hear your comments, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.  Who knows, maybe we have the same stories to share?

October 23, 2011

Appreciation Marketing – Telling Your Story

We have all been told that we must be able to tell our story.  This is the tale of how we come to be where we are today; this is the chain of events that led us to be where we are now.  It is the story of who we are and what we did to become what we represent in business as well as in our personal life.

You must realize that the story that you tell is very important; it is what you utilize to get others to know you, and it should make others believe in you.  It must be true, and it must be believable to others.  The facts must be consistent from one telling to another, and they must be simple for you to relate.  My daddy always told me that when you tell the truth, you will easily remember what you say.

You must also realize that the manner of the telling is as important as the story itself.  You must tell your story in a believable manner, and you must keep it simple.  You also should keep it short enough that others will not lose interest during the telling and so that others will be able to relay the story to others.  Consistent facts will keep your story the same as it is retold.

How you tell your story also includes that you do not dominate the conversation.  If you are speaking with someone one-on-one, you must allow the other person to tell you about themselves.  You should always ask the other person about their story and how they came to be where they are now.  Show interest and listen to the other person.  The more that you listen, and learn, the better your networking relationship will be.

Listening, and learning, is appreciation marketing at work.  If someone believes that you are only interested in telling your story, and not hearing about them, you will never have their respect.  Your networking partners will know your story includes your desire, and practice, to learn their stories.  If you do not know someone else’s story, how can you include them in your referral process?

Of course, a polite manner and genuine interest are necessary to establish, and maintain, a networking partnership.  Remind yourself to treat others as you want them to treat you; if you want them to listen to and remember your story, you must listen to and remember theirs.  Perhaps you can help each other to refine your stories, thereby mutually helping each other to be better.  You are partners after all.

Your story should also include how you utilize your product or service in the business that makes that product or service available to others.  In other words, how do you use your product or service to sell your product or service?  Examples of how you do that should be included in your story.  Last but not least, your story should be personable, something that can relate to others.

So what is your story?  How do you tell it to others?  If you don’t have a story that you share with others, why not?  Your comments are always welcome here, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.  If we can share our stories, that would be valuable time spent by both of us.

October 16, 2011

Appreciation Marketing – How Is Your Marketing Plan Working for You?

If you keep doing what you have always done, why are you amazed that you keep getting what you have always gotten?  How is your marketing plan working for you?  Is it driving new clients to you, either by turning prospects into clients or by getting your current customers to pass referrals to your attention?  Is it working well, or not working as you want?

When you started your business, you formulated a marketing plan, didn’t you?  Well, did you?  Hopefully, you determined what goals you had in mind to measure your success, both over short intervals and over longer timeframes.  You also chose what marketing tools that you would use to accomplish those goals.

First, are the goals reasonable and achievable?  Second, how is that plan working toward reaching those goals?  If everything is working, that’s great; you may not need to change anything.  If some things aren’t working, do you think that you should dump everything that you projected and how you should have been able to gain those desired results?  Or do you stay the course?

There are no 100% correct answers for your situation, no matter how successful or how poor the results are.  Periodically, everyone, and I repeat, everyone, should analyze your goals and how you plan to reach them.  They are very fluid and the plans to market your business may be just as fluid.  Only you can tell if your goals are attainable and how measurable they are so you can judge whether or not you are achieving them.

There is no one marketing plan that works for everyone.  I am a believer in working smarter, not harder.  I want all of my customers, prospects, and even those whom I will never have as clients, telling everyone that they meet that my product and service is something that others need and that I am the one to deliver it.  I strive to have my business be 100% referral based.

If your business is referral based that means that you are getting strong, reliable referrals from your clients, prospects, and even those who do not use your product or service.  That means that your customer service is above reproach, you pay attention to your clients and prospects, and others have determined that they will stake their reputations on your professionalism.

How do you get to this point with your business?  You must practice appreciation marketing toward others, toward everyone.  You must show all the people with whom you come into contact that you are professional in your business, you are passionate about your business, and you are personable in your dealings with others.  Then you will win the referrals of those people whom you touch.  Treat others as you would want to be treated, like human beings, and just do the right thing, always.

People do business with, and refer business to, others that they know, like, and trust.  What do you do to get others to know, like, and trust you?  Leave me your comments here, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.  If you want to compare marketing plans, I would love to do so.

October 9, 2011

Appreciation Marketing – How Easy Is It for Your Prospects to be Customers?

Previously we have discussed how you should make the buying process enjoyable and easy for your customers.  This past week, I observed some instances that cry out for attention and a revisit of this subject.  The following are some observations that show areas where businesses can improve the buying experience to make it easier for customers.

When you have a website for your business, it should provide information as to how a prospect can become a customer.  Your contact information, including phone numbers, email addresses, and mailing address should be primary.  If you have multiple locations, all should be listed with their full addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses.  Do not make the prospect have to go to your website and email your through that site.  Have valid email addresses that you provide to others.

When a prospect calls you, either at your business telephone number or on your cell number, answer the phone promptly.  If you are busy with another prospect, and the call goes to voicemail, return the call as soon as you can, providing for the gathering of information that may be required as a result of listening to the message.  There is nothing worst than the person who never answers the phone or never returns calls.

Prospects who call without leaving adequate messages are equally guilty of bad conduct.  Voicemail messages should include your name, your return number, and a question or statement as to the nature of the call.  Even if the person that you called knows you well, leave your name and number so that it will help them in their busy day’s activities.  Speak clearly and repeat your number slowly for the recipient of your message.

Do not attempt to make appointments through email.  Call the person with whom you want to meet so that both of you can consult your calendars together.  Attempting to make appointments through emails is confusing, frustrating, and takes the personal touch out of the process.  Make sure that you note the appointment in your calendar and allow enough time to get to the place of the appointment and engage in a meaningful meeting.

If you will be delayed for a meeting, call the other party; do not email or text them.  If you can use your phone to text, you can use it to call.  If you care about them and their business, call them and admit your problem and reschedule.  Do not, I repeat do not, stand them up without calling.  If you do not value their time, you will not value their business or their referrals.

During a meeting, you must turn off your phone.  It is very rude for a phone to ring repeatedly during a meeting, no matter how many or few people are present.  If it does ring, shut it off.  If it rings again, you should become acquainted with how to operate the phone.  Do not answer your phone during a meeting and have a telephone conversation in a public gathering.

We have previously discussed that people do business with, and refer business to, others that they know, like, and trust.  If you make it easy for people to do business with you, they will refer business to you, making you even more profitable.  If you would like to comment about this process, please do so.  You can also email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com or call me at 360-314-8691.  Who knows, perhaps we know the same people who make it difficult for their prospects to give them business.

October 2, 2011

Appreciation Marketing – Unemployed Persons

Last week I discussed that you should never prejudge anyone.  Everyone that you meet has a story, and everyone has connections.  Everyone that you meet has a 250 person sphere of influence, and you do not know who those people in that sphere of influence might be.  You never know how those people might factor into your business or personal life.

Last week I was a participant in a job fair, speaking with the attendees about what they were looking for as employment.  Some attendees were unemployed, and some were not.  Some were still students, and some were recent graduates.  Some were professional in their presentation, and some were not prepared for an employment conversation.

How many times have you attended a networking event and met someone who was unemployed?  Did you prejudge them as someone whom you would not approach?  Did you ignore them and not offer to meet with them one-on-one outside of the networking event?  Why not chat with them, get to know them better, and meet with them at another time and place.

You do not know who they are or who they know.  You have no idea how they may help you or if you might help them.  Remember all the discussions that we have had about karma.  If you do something good for someone else, someone will do something good for you.  If you ignore others, good will not flow back to you.  In addition, helping someone else is the “right thing” to so.

I was at this job fair looking for people who would like to start a new business, perhaps a “Plan B” on a part time basis, or a full time career change.  I was there to discover people that I could mentor and teach how they could learn a business opportunity that could be a financial boost and security for them and their family.  I was looking for people who could think outside the box and be creative.

I also was using the event and this search process as a teaching experience for one of my new distributors.  This is an example of how we can help someone build a business for their future.  Everyone that came by our table was treated the same, with respect and interest in who they were and what they might want to do.  We met very interesting people and are following up with as many as we can, speaking with them face-to-face to learn more about them.

These principles can apply to any networking event and the people that you meet who are unemployed.  Offer to review their resume and give them an informational interview.  Offer to try to put them in touch with anyone that you know that they might want to meet.  Reaching out to others might bring you valuable information, perhaps a new employee, and valuable deposits in your “karma savings account”.

Have any stories that you might want to share?  Leave a comment, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.  Maybe we have met some of the same or very similar people.  Maybe we can help even more people by sharing our experiences.