May 27, 2012

Appreciation Marketing – The Client Who You Never Met

Do you have a client who you never met?  How is that possible?  How could you have a client who you never met, never discussed their needs, never spoke to about your product or service, or never knew existed?  How can anyone decide to do business with anyone who they never met, never listened to their sales pitch, or never decided that they trusted them?

We have stated in the past that people do business with, and refer business to, people that they know, like, and trust.  So, how do you gain a client who you have never met, who doesn’t know you, who doesn’t know if they like you, or who doesn’t know if they trust you?  Remember the second portion of that mantra, and refer business to.  If people know you, like you, and trust you, then you should have established networking relationships with them.  They have become your networking partners.

Networking partners, what does that mean?  Maybe you haven’t been listening for the past 80+ weeks; maybe you are new to reading this weekly blog.  Perhaps you do not understand, or believe in, building relationships with those who you meet in the course of your business.  Your networking partners are those other business people who may not be your clients but are your partners in networking.  They will believe that they have a vested interested in building mutual success for both of you.

Mutual success means success for both of you, both partners, without hesitation or qualification.  Therefore, you will do what you should do, what you need to do, for your networking partners.  I always say that your networking partners will give you advice before you ask for it.  In other words, they will try to help you before you know that you need help, when they see you doing something that you shouldn’t do.

Your networking partners will be aware when they meet someone who should know about your business or need your product or service, who can benefit from knowing you and from networking with you.  Your clients should become your networking partners, and they should know that being your networking partner is above and beyond being your client.  Your clients put money into your bottom line; your networking partners put clients into your business.  Turn those clients into networking partners, and you will have more of each.

Your networking partners are your unpaid marketing advocates.  They bring you new clients through referrals, telling others about you, your product or service, and how great it is to know you and do business with you.  From your networking partners, you may gain new clients that you never meet until they are ready to become your clients.  Just think, no cold call, no research, and no marketing pitch; just meet the client, don’t mess up, and sign them up for your business.  Then, thank your networking partner and give back as soon as you can do so.

So, how do you thank these people who add clients to your bottom line?  Thank them for their confidence in you, their belief that they know that their referral will be treated with all the grace and professionalism that you treat everyone, including them.  Make sure that they know how much you appreciate them, their referrals, and their faith in you.  Make sure that they know that they are as special as they really are.

Please leave me your comments, and let me know your experiences with referrals, or email me at, or call me at 360-314-8691.  Appreciating your networking partners is one of the main aspects of Appreciation Marketing.

May 20, 2012

Appreciation Marketing – Making It Difficult for Your Clients

Previously, we have discussed articles in The Costco Connection magazine.  In May, Paul and Sarah Edwards wrote an article entitled “Don’t Drive Away Business” which discussed how companies make it hard for customers to do business with them.  They pointed out several ways in which business practices make it difficult for clients and can literally result in less income for the business.

When I read this article, I knew that Paul and Sarah were kindred spirits in Appreciation Marketing.  I was also reminded of all the aspects of businesses putting hurdles in front of clients that make customers wonder why they try to do business with some of these companies.  When is the last time that you walked into a business and saw a sign stating that the receptionist was away and that you must ring a bell for service?  What are we, trained dogs?  Don’t be shocked if the sign is yellow with age since there hasn’t been a receptionist there for over a year.

How about the voice mail system that prevents a caller from reaching a real, live person.  The system that demands that you dial the extension of your intended person is bad enough, but asking you to push buttons to spell a person’s name just does not work with some smart phones.  How about automated systems that are so complex that you just give up because you cannot reverse your steps if you make a mistake?

I question anyone who makes you email them through their website, especially if they make you enter security letters and numbers to do so.  These can be very challenging when you just cannot read what you need to type back.  Here again, if you make a mistake or take a wrong turn, backing out is sometimes harder than just starting all over.  Is your web site legible, do the colors clash, do pages load too slowly, and do the users need information that they may not have?  If you take credit cards, accept them all, not just one, or two.

If I have to register with you and establish a login and password, let me make them mine.  I realize the need for security, but asking me to remember a long, complicated password that is unique to your site results in me finding another place to do business.  Asking visitors to change passwords too frequently is not acceptable to everyone.  If you want my direct email address, why cannot I have yours?

If you send me an mass email, whether I have asked for it or not, give me a way to opt out or unsubscribe.  It may be as simple as telling me to send an email to an address to ask to be deleted.  If someone does ask to unsubscribe, provide a way for them to get verification, and then unsubscribe them.  If a mistake is made, admit it, and fix it.  If you are honest with people about mistakes they will understand and forgive you.

These are only some examples of how you can make it easy, or difficult, for anyone to do business with you.  Don’t make your clients feel like they have to jump through hoops to have a business relationship with you.  If you make it impossible, or troublesome, for people, they will find somewhere else to spend their money.  Worse, they will tell everyone about their experience and recommend that others never involve themselves with your business.

If you have other examples of businesses where you face challenges to spend your money, please let me know, and I’ll share them.  You can also email me at, or call me at 360-314-8691.  Maybe we can help others adopt Appreciation Marketing.

May 13, 2012

Appreciation Marketing – Excuses Are a Dime a Dozen, Part 2

Last week I wrote about people who have more excuses than they have clients or prospects.  I received some interesting comments from a friend that said that I was too critical of my fellow business owners whose excuses may be valid and quite important to them.  I was asked about my feelings toward excuses concerning family issues and events which are outside most people’s control.

When I discussed people and their excuses I referred to those who make excuses that prevent them from doing what they need to market their business.  I was discussing people who are “so busy” and who do not prioritize their time so as to spend the maximum amount of time to promote their business.  These excuses include being too busy to market their business but then stating that their business is slow.  Does this excuse make sense at all?

Then there are those people who do not believe that their business is large enough to market what they do.  They tell me that they don’t have enough clients to market their business.  That is exactly when you should increase the marketing of your business, when you need new prospects to tell who you are and what you do.  Marketing attracts prospects who you then attempt to turn into clients.  The lack of clients means that you do not have enough prospects, or you are not able to turn those prospects into clients.

What about those other excuses?  Cleaning off your desk is not a valid reason for not having time to market your business; going on a trip out of town might be rescheduled in order to have opportunities to market.  Of course, you could do some marketing while on that trip.  Some excuses are just excuses for the sake of making excuses.  These are different from a family emergency that demands your attention and time.  Letting silly excuses prevent you from marketing is not intelligent; working around problems that you cannot anticipate or prevent is another situation all together.

Marketing is the lifeblood of any business.  Marketing is the necessary action that you must take in order to publicize your existence and your availability.  Don’t let anything stand in the way of your marketing if at all possible.  You must let everyone know who you are, what your product or service is, and how to do business with you.  Business will not fall out of the sky and come to you if no one knows about you.  The best marketable aspect of your business is you.  Show everyone who you are.

Marketing is what you must do each and every day of your life, both in your business life and in your personal life.  However, I do agree that your family comes first, before everything else in your life.  We are nothing without our families.  It does not matter what demands are made on your time and effort, you must answer the demands connected to your family first.  Again, you have to prioritize, and organize your life so that you can handle all the demands that are placed on you.  Take control of your life, and you can deal with anything and everything.

Does this make our discussion on excuses and marketing more clear and understandable?  Again, look for that “soul-mate” who may be able to assist you in this prioritizing and make you able to move forward in your business and personal life.  Then you can stop making the “silly” excuses and make your marketing work for you, bringing you more prospects and more clients.  Let me have your comments, or email me at, or call me at 360-314-8691.  Remember that your networking partners are here to help you become more successful in both your lives, business and personal.

May 6, 2012

Appreciation Marketing – Excuses Are a Dime a Dozen

Every so often I meet someone with lots of excuses.  Often they have more excuses than they have clients, or even prospects.  Perhaps you have heard them when you try to meet with them to discuss networking, their business, your business, even just to get acquainted.  They say that their business is slow or even non-existent, but they are too busy to meet with you.  They may even believe that they are too small to meet and network.

Maybe they are busy with their family, maybe they have to clear off their desk, perhaps they need to go out of town, or maybe they need to wash their car.  We have heard all these excuses.  Some are close to valid, but some are just stupid.  They are excuses for excuses’ sake.  Who are these people kidding?  They just don’t take their business seriously, much less their marketing.  They have more excuses than they have clients, or even prospects.

Often these people just do not understand that they need to market their business to everyone, not just the people that are ready to buy from them.  How anyone would be ready to buy from them that doesn’t know about them or what they are marketing is beyond common sense.  They believe that business will “fall into their laps”.  I guess that they were told by someone who brought them into their business that this way of “not marketing” would be successful.  They cannot understand that it will not work.

It does not matter who you are, what your business is, or what your product or service is, you will need to market to others, either to individuals or to businesses.  You cannot continue to exist, grow, and succeed without marketing.  Get over whatever you were told or believe, and get out of your shell and market yourself and your business.  Stop making excuses and get past your fears.  Everyone has been at that first step of marketing at some point in their life.  The successful businesses have moved forward while the unsuccessful ones are still trying to step out into the world of marketing.

Maybe you can find a “soul-mate” in your networking that will help you stop making excuses and get on with your business marketing life.  Maybe you will see how easy it is by watching others.  Perhaps marketing can be “infectious” like fun; perhaps it can be easily learned from someone who is willing to “teach” you or “lead” you into this world of being able to reach out to others that you don’t know.  Yes, this world can be scary to a novice, but your networking partners can help.  Just don’t be making excuses when they try to help you.

Ask others how they market their businesses, or ask them what they tried that did not work.  Everyone should be willing to help you and teach you from their experiences.  If they aren’t willing to share their experiences, they may not be the partners with whom you need to network.  Giving to others is just another version of Appreciation Marketing.  Giving to give, not to get, is a guiding light of successful businesses.

So stop making excuses and get on with the marketing of your business.  Reach out to assist others in the building of their businesses.  Remember karma?  It’s that belief that whatever you do for others will return to you and your life.  Do you still think that your excuses are valid, and that they will help your success?  Then leave me your thoughts and comments, or email me at, or call me at 360-314-8691.  I would love to chat with you and help you discover that excuses are like an anchor, holding you back from the success that you, and your business, can achieve.  Let’s speak together soon so you can get on with your successful business life.