March 25, 2012

Appreciation Marketing – Delivering Happiness

In his book, Delivering Happiness, Tony Hsieh writes about the journey of his company, Zappos, from his childhood to the selling of the company to Amazon.  The backbone of the story involves the creation of a corporate culture that believes in customer service and making the buying experience as much a pleasure as the delivery of the product.

Zappos is a shoe buying site on the internet which provides free shipping in the United States to the customer when they buy from Zappos.  They also provide free return shipping when the customer decides to return a product to Zappos.  In other words, if you order several pairs of shoes in different colors, styles, or sizes, which are shipped free, you can make your choice upon receipt of your order, and return the remainder of the order to Zappos, via free shipping, as long as your return is made within 365 days.

When was the last time a company provided free shipping upon return of your order?  There are several companies, Land’s End and LL Bean being two, who provide free shipping of an order, but I only know one who allows free return shipping.  This is another method of taking care of the customer in an exceptional manner, making it easier for the customer to do business with a company.

Furthermore, there is a unique buying experience when ordering from Zappos.  They often upgrade the customer’s order to qualify for more immediate shipping than the normal version.  Also, the customer service representatives are not graded on how many customers with whom they speak during any set time period.  They are encouraged to speak with a customer as long as it takes to provide great customer service.  In addition, Zappos does not attempt to up-sell you when you place an order like most call centers instruct their employees.

There are other aspects of the company that deviate from the practices of other businesses.  Zappos operates its warehouse 24 hours every day, 7 days/week, processing orders during all hours of the day and night.  Call center employees do not have scripts; instead, they let their employees develop customer relations on their own.  The call center employees also can refer customers to other companies if Zappos if out of stock on a particular item, researching al least 3 other companies for the customer.

All these aspects of the Zappos story are examples of the culture at the company, that culture’s commitment to customer service, the decision to empower, and trust, employees to do whatever it takes to represent the company well and build customer relations, and the choice to share corporate information with customers, employees, and even vendors.  This is a commitment to establishing relationships that evolve into partnerships with everyone in the growing success of your business.

Do you have examples of other companies establishing a similar corporate culture?  If so please leave me a comment about those companies, or email me at, or call me at 360-314-8691.  If you give great customer service and show customers that you care about them, they will remember you when they order again.  More importantly they will tell their partners, their family, and their friends all about you and how great the buying experience with you is, giving you great karma.

March 18, 2012

Appreciation Marketing – Just Say Thank You

When was the last time you said, “Thank You”, or when was the last time someone told you “Thank You”?  We have unfortunately reached a point where, the majority of the time, the thank you gesture has vanished from our lives.  We use empty phrases like “For sure”, or “No problem”.  We do not acknowledge the acts of others, even when we request their help.

Have you ever received an email asking you for some information?  When you answer, wouldn’t it be nice if you received a thank you in return?  For no other reason, you would like to know that the person actually received your reply and that the information was helpful.  If you were in an actual conversation in person or on the telephone, you wouldn’t expect the person to walk away or hang up, when you replied, without acknowledging you.  Not answering with a thank you email is exactly the same.

Have you ever provided a referral for networking partner and never received a thank you in return?  We have discussed referrals for your networking partners numerous times.  Referrals are the life blood of every business; we strive to make our businesses to become referral-based.  We must thank those people who provide us referrals, and we must thank them with enthusiasm and pride.  They just put money into our pockets.

Maya Angelou stated: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”.  How do you feel when someone thanks you for some gesture that you make towards them?  I do not care how little you may do for someone, a thank you is appropriate and will make everyone feel better.  Did I just say everyone?  Yes, everyone benefits and feels better from a thank you.

What if you forget; is it ever too late to say thank you?  It is never too late.  On time is best, but late is acceptable, and late is much better than never.  If you are late, acknowledge that you are late; take responsibility and ownership of being late.  Just like a mistake made in business, your being late is no one’s fault except yours, and you should admit your tardiness.  People remember and tell others about your actions, especially the rude ones.

What should you say “Thank You” for; why not everything?  My momma taught me to say “Thank You”, “Please”, and “You’re Welcome”.  It is not hard to do; make it a habit, and it will return rewards to you.  No one gets mad at you for thanking them, and I don’t believe that anyone tires of hearing your appreciation.  Besides, it doesn’t take a big effort on your part.

Dr. Steven Covey writes in his book Everyday GreatnessIn terms of the energy and know-how required, gratitude is one of the easiest of all principles to apply”.  He also states “people with Everyday Greatness are quick to exhibit everyday gratitude”.

Tell someone “Thank You” as soon as you can, and watch their reaction.  Leave a comment about your experience, or email me at, or call me at 360-314-8691.  People appreciate your appreciation and they remember your actions, for long after you might remember what you did for them.  It’s just karma in action.

As an added note, I would like to say “Thank You” to Tommy Wyatt and Curtis Lewsey for their book, Appreciation Marketing, which has become my guide and from which I have borrowed many of the ideas and thoughts expressed in each and every blog posting, especially this one.

March 11, 2012

Appreciation Marketing – Meet Others Individually to Mutually Prosper

Past blog postings have discussed the great marketing opportunity that networking allows to everyone.  As we have discussed, you must market your business in order to gain prospects and clients.  Marketing allows you to inform others as to what product or service you have, how to contact you, and how to purchase from you or your business.  Remember, marketing is not the same as sales.

If you are searching for a new career, you must market yourself just as someone markets their business.  After all, you know your product (which is yourself) better than anyone else does.  Your intent should be for people to know you, your talents, and if you can perform in a new opportunity.  You cannot do that without marketing, and networking can be the easiest and most reasonably priced activity that you can pursue.

When you attend any networking event, your purpose should be to meet as many other people as you can, chatting briefly with each to learn something about them.  Hopefully, you learn enough to be able to set a follow up meeting where you both can learn more about each other.  As Bob Burg teaches in Endless Referrals, “People do business with, and refer business to, people that they know, like, and trust”.  This holds true for everyone who is looking for a new career, as well as someone looking to gain business for their company.

You meet people everyday with whom you will never do business.  Neither of you has anything that either of you needs, or will use.  However, you still could refer business to each other, given the correct circumstances.  You cannot do that if you do not know each other, have not determined if you like each other, or decided if you trust each other.  You need to meet and get acquainted to determine your relationship.

When I establish a networking relationship, a partnership so to speak, we have a vested interest in each other’s success.  Therefore, we do what is needed to guarantee that mutual success.  We would not have that level of partnership without ever meeting with each other and getting to know each other.  We would not have reached that level if we had prejudged each other at the beginning when we first met.

Never, ever prejudge anyone.  Neither should you forget that assumptions and first impressions are very often incorrect.  Look past the initial impression and get to know the person, draw them into a conversation, and find out what is below the surface.  If you are not interested in the person’s business, find out about the person and their beliefs.  Other people have a 250-person sphere of influence with which you would like to connect.  It may not be who someone is; it may be whom they know that you need to meet.

When you meet someone at a networking event, you do not know anything about them.  You do not know what they think or believe, you do not know whom they know, and you do not know how open they are to giving referrals to their networking partners.  However, you would really like to be on the receiving end of those referrals, wouldn’t you?  Get to know them and maybe you will be; you never know until you try.  It may not happen quickly, but it will happen.

Go out to a networking event, meet someone, and then meet them individually.  Get to know them and see what happens.  Then tell us about it, or email me at, or call me at 360-314-8691.  Who knows, maybe you can help someone help someone else, and that is karma.  Karma means that you benefit from what you do for others.

March 4, 2012

Appreciation Marketing – Make It Personal, Part 2

Weeks ago, we discussed how you might make your communications with your clients, prospects, friends, and family more personal.  Personal communications are so much better, and meaningful, in your business, and personal, life.  Your clients, prospects, and everyone that you contact must believe that you are the person with whom they should do business or the person with whom they should partner.

We have discussed how you must be professional in your business, promoting a valid product or service for a valid price, and dealing with your clients in an honest, ethical manner.  In addition, you must be passionate about what you do in your business, being a product of your product, using your service, and living the life that you promote to your clients.  In addition, you must be personal in your dealings with clients, prospects, and others, treating others as people, not numbers.  You are the personal face of your business, in all ways.

Appreciation Marketing teaches us to treat people as people, not client or account numbers.  Each and everyone whom we meet is a person, with hopes, dreams, and worries.  We must recognize those people as people, not just possibilities to sell them something, but people with whom we should bond and engage as people.  Find out what their hopes and dreams are; discover their worries and concerns and assist them in their future success.  Personalize your relationship.

People do business, and associate, with people not companies.  We build associations with people, deciding to continue to buy based on the person representing a business and how that person treated us.  We do not build associations with companies alone.  While we might make an initial purchase from a company, we will not maintain a long-term association with a company if the people there with whom we interface treat us badly.  You must treat everyone the same, well.

There must be a personal relationship in order to have a long association.  We should not look to build just associations; we must build relationships with others.  Then, and only then, can we have a vested interest in their success, and they will have the same type of vested interest in our success.  If you do not do this, you will have a passing association, not a relationship, and you will not be their partner in their success.  The level that you must gain is a partnership in the future.

Have you ever heard the term “fair weather friend”?  These people say that they will be there when you need them, that they are supportive of you in your time of problems, and that they believe in your success and gaining that level of prosperity.  Fair weather friends are the people who really do not mean what they say.  They will leave you at the first sign of problems, they will tell you something and mean the opposite, and they will never tell you what you should hear, instead saying what they believe that you want to hear.  They will never tell you that you are wrong if you are.

We are products of our past, and we all have stories from that past that we tell to others that let them know who we are.  Leave me a story and then share it with someone else, or email me at, or call me at 360-314-8691.  When we share our stories with others, we share our lessons and help someone else to avoid the problems that we may have experienced.  We prevent someone else from “learning the hard way”, and we allow someone else to avoid failure in their business or in their life.  That is what we do for our partners.