February 26, 2012

Appreciation Marketing – Learning From Our Past

Last week, we had dinner at a restaurant where you get a fortune cookie.  Mine read: “Integrity means doing the right thing even when no one is watching.”  It made me think back to some statements that I have heard from several people in my past.  I would like to share some of these with you this week and see it they might have some impact on your life like they have had on mine.

When I was very young and a lot smaller, my Momma told me: “You cannot have two sets of manners, one for public situations and one for home.”  What you do in your public, or business, life cannot be different from what you do in your private life.  If you try to separate the two lives that you have, you will fail to do so and both lives will suffer.  You cannot have a public persona for your business and a private one at home or outside of business.  You are representing your business and your private life at all times, and people notice both.

My high school senior English teacher taught us: “Everyone must be able to express themselves in public.”  Last week we discussed that you are marketing yourself if you are speaking before a group of people or if you are having a conversation with one other person.  You must be able to speak in intelligent, grammatically correct terms and be able to articulate your thoughts in a sincere manner to whomever you are speaking.  All situations are equally important opportunities for you.

My Daddy told me: “When you tell people the truth, you don’t have to remember what you have said.”  In other words, when you lie, or misrepresent yourself, your product, your service, or your pricing, you have to remember what you have said and to whom.  I realize that companies sometimes change their pricing or product line; that is reasonable and acceptable.  However, when someone changes what they say almost by the hour or with each person with whom they are speaking, there is a problem.  I have actually heard someone revise their pricing multiple times during a single conversation.

Bob Burg, in his books, Endless Referrals and The Go Giver, teaches us: “People do business with, and refer business to, people that they know, like, and trust.”  How do we accomplish this type of situation?  We must build relationships with those people we meet, allowing both parties to learn about each other, decide if we like each other, and develop a trust level where we can risk our reputations on referrals.  Your networking partners, with whom you have built relationships, will be your walking, talking marketing representatives.

Going back to my high school days, I knew an Army officer, Major Jack Cook.  He taught me: “Anything worth doing at all is worth doing right the first time.  When you have to redo anything, you first have to undo the damage caused by the first mistake that you made.”  While we all make mistakes, we all should attempt to do everything right the first time, to the best of our ability.  If we make an honest mistake, take responsibility for it, fix it with everyone involved, and take public steps to reassure everyone how it will not be repeated.  Learn from your mistakes.

Have you had anyone teach you anything by what they have said to you in your past?  Have you remembered and applied what they said to you?  Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.  We learn from our past experiences and from what others say to us.  Remember that when you speak to others; your words may have an impact on their lives for a long time.

February 19, 2012

Appreciation Marketing – How Do You Speak?

One of the most basic marketing rules is to present yourself well.  One of the most basic presentation techniques is to speak well and professionally.  Does this just mean that you should develop great presentation skills and refine your public speaking skills to where you can deliver great speeches and talks?  That would be great and a feather in your professional cap, but the same theory also applies to conversations that we have with another person.

One of the most effective marketing skills is the ability to have an effective conversation with another person.  We must be able to speak intelligently, calmly, and without excessive emotion.  We must be well informed, able to form complete thoughts and sentences, and use words that actually exist.  We must be able to present our point of view in a non-threatening manner, encouraging the other person to understand and digest our intention.

We must allow the other person to inform us of their opinions and positions, even if they differ from ours.  We must be willing to allow the other person to present their thoughts without interruption or other rude behavior.  The mark of a bully is interrupting someone with whom they disagree or shouting them down when they are attempting to voice their opinion.  We must not get so wrapped up in what we want to say that we do not allow them to speak at all.  Our passion has to be controlled.

Intelligent speech consists of complete sentences and thoughts, not ramblings and “smoke and mirrors”.  We should present our product or service in a professional manner, clearly stating what we provide.  We must also present the cost to the other person in clear, concise terms, never clouding the discussion with vague and confusing words or phrases.

Be proud of what you have to sell or what you provide, what it means to the prospect or client, and what is will cost.  If that cost may vary according to circumstances, refine that part of what you present into clear, concise terms.  Make it easy for them to understand and relate to what you have and what it costs.  They may have to present your proposal to someone else so you must make their job easier, and thus successful for you.

It is the mark of a successful person if they can present themselves in a professional manner.  If you are passionate about what you do, so much the better, but do not preach to the person to whom you are speaking.  Be personable, but do not violate the business relationship.  If you need to do so, rehearse your presentation frequently before going public.  Be calm, collected, and clear in what you say and how you say it.  Remember that it is not only what you say, but how you say it that affects the other person.

We often hear people in public presentations who cannot relate their thoughts in an intelligent manner.  How does that make you feel about them, what they are representing, and their attitudes towards us?  Does it make you want to know them, to do business with them, or trust them?  Would you refer others to them?  How about in one-on-one conversations?

Please let me know your thoughts on this subject by leaving me your comments, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.  Remember that it is the mark of a professional if they can present their thoughts in logical, intelligent, and polite words.  That same person listens before they open their mouth to tell us how they can solve our needs.

February 12, 2012

Appreciation Marketing – Would You Refer Business to You?

We have discussed how you can gain more referrals for your business, even making it based mostly on those referrals.  Then, you can stop cold calling people who do not know who you are or what you do or why they should speak with you.  You can add clients from the referrals of your known clients, prospects, friends, and family.  You can base your client search on the referrals of known and “happy” clients.

Based on what you know about yourself, you should ask the question: “Would you refer business to you?”  First, let’s examine how you do business.  Do you place the needs of the prospect before what you want to sell to them?  Do you ask them about themselves and their business, and do you listen to what they say to you?  Do you watch what they do and how they act towards others?  Do you examine their habits and their actions?

Second, do you apply the same questions and examination to yourself and what you do?  Have you listened to the greeting on your voice mail lately?  Does it identify you, and your business, clearly and concisely?  Is it even up to date?  Does it sound positive and welcoming?  Would you leave a message if you were greeted by it?  Perhaps have someone listen who has never heard it and tell you how they react to it.

If you are busy with an appointment or meeting, let your voice mail answer callers.  That is why it is there.  Show your appointment that you value their time by turning off your cell phone and letting all your calls go to voice mail.  Then after your meeting, return those calls promptly.  One of the better tag lines that I have heard is: “I answer my phone or return all voice messages or emails as soon as possible.”  This is simple and very powerful.

Do you return voice mails promptly and intelligently; do you listen to voice mails before you return the call?  There are people who never return calls, even when you have been referred to them and you leave a voice mail message letting them know why you are calling.  These are not people that refer to others since I do not believe that they value referrals.  Don’t hide behind your voice mail; use it to answer your calls when you are busy with others and then return those calls, armed with the information from the message that was left.

We all need to look at ourselves and examine what we find in ourselves.  We need to “see” how we appear to others.  If they have the wrong impression of us, maybe that is our fault; maybe it is how we “show” ourselves to others.  We just need to examine ourselves, and how we live our business and personal lives, and see how we appear to others.  Think outside the box in which you live and work.  Maybe you will like what you see; maybe you won’t.

If you don’t believe that you can be objective about your life, how you live it, and how you do business, perhaps you should regularly ask your networking partners for their thoughts.  None of us is perfect, and all of us have something that should improve.  Our partners have a vested interest in helping us be to better; they should be willing to be honest with us and help us improve.  The first step is to ask for their help.

So what do you think about this?  Do you believe that your business actions are perfect and can’t be improved?  Have you taken a good look at yourself and how you treat the others in your life?  Please let me have your comments, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call me at 360-314-8691 so we can share with others.  Karma should rule our lives, and we should strive to be professional, passionate, and personal in our dealings with others.

February 5, 2012

Appreciation Marketing – It’s Marketing After All

Sometimes when we discuss Appreciation Marketing, we leave out the “marketing” part.  After discussing all the ways to show our appreciation for others, what we are also doing is marketing ourselves and what we have for others, whether it is our product, our services, or our ideas.  We still have to get others to hear us, understand us, and see the value in what we say.  The “appreciation” part is just the overall manner in which our message gets out to others.

You may be looking for a new career which means you are marketing the product that you should know the best.  Or else, you may be trying to market a fantastic product or service that you developed.  Again, you should know your product or service better than anyone else.  There is also the possibility that you are representing a company as their marketing representative, with no personal part in the development of the product or service in question.

Previously, we have covered various ways for you to show your appreciation for your customers, prospects, even casual acquaintances.  How do you market your product or service and yourself to those people?  People do business with companies because of the people with which they do business.  I believe that people base their buying decision 80% on the basis of the person with whom they are dealing rather than the company itself.

People may do business with a person in spite of the company that they represent if the representative is considered to be professional, passionate, and personable.  You must present yourself in that manner in order for people to see you that way.  You must make anyone with whom you meet, communicate, or otherwise interrelate know that you are professional, passionate, and personable.  If you do, relationships will come into your business and personal lives, and referrals and business will flow to you.

You must represent yourself as honest, valid, ethical, trustworthy, and caring about others.  Be a giver to others, and put the interests of others before your own.  Make sure that you listen to others and discover their needs before you try to solve them.  Make your personal and business lives reflections of each other.  You friends should want to be your customers; your customers and friends should become your honest, enthusiastic marketing representatives.  Make karma your watchword.

Of course, you should spell check, grammar check, and proofread every word, sentence, paragraph that you produce, whether it is email, letter, essay, text, publication, or other communication.  If you heard your voice mail announcement for the first time would you leave a message or want to do business with you?  If you met yourself in the grocery store, would you refer business to you?  If you appear to be professional, passionate, and personal, you will be considered to have those traits.  If people perceive you to be all those things, they will do business with you, and they will refer business to you.

How do you feel about your marketing efforts?  Do you “appreciate” your clients, prospects, or anyone else that you contact?  How does your “marketing” look, read, or sound?  Are you professional, passionate, and personable?  You can leave me your comments, email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.  You are the most important part of your communication efforts; how you perform those efforts is what impacts those that see, hear, read, or even feel what you put forth.  Make it good karma, and the results will please everyone.