December 29, 2013

Appreciation Marketing – What is Karma?



The word karma has multiple meanings. It may be defined as the actions determining a future state; the quality of someone’s current and future life is determined by that person’s behavior in this present life. It also can be defined as the atmosphere radiated by a place, situation, person, or object. I also believe that karma can be good or bad.

Over the past few weeks we have discussed what karma can mean to both your personal and business lives. Many of you who read this blog weekly subscribe to the belief that whatever you do in life, whether it be good or bad, will be reflected in your future. Other readers do not agree, while some responders have contacted me to ask what karma exactly means in our life.

If you believe in the principles of karma, you accept that whatever you do in your business or personal life will be reflected in your later life. In other words, if you treat other people with decency and appreciation, your actions will be reflected in your future. If you help others to succeed in their businesses, others will help you to succeed in your business. That is good karma.

There are lots of people in your life who may need your help in some form or fashion. Maybe they have a business which can benefit from some assistance from you; maybe they need some assistance in their personal life. It could be someone needing advice on their marketing, or it could be someone who needs the name of a good plumber.
Helping them is good karma.

Of course, the reverse can also be true. Let’s say that you have information that can benefit someone else, but if you do not offer that assistance to the other person involved, that is bad karma. It may not require any action on your part or any adverse action towards the other person, but bad karma will result from whatever you do, or don’t do.

A friend of mine explains this concept in these words: “No matter what you practice in life, good or bad, you will receive the same in return. Whether you offer good or bad, karma will return, good or bad, to influence you in the future.” We are all products of whatever we do in life. If we put forth good deeds, we will receive good benefits in the future. Put forth bad actions, or no actions, and bad benefits will result in the future.

Whatever you do to assist someone improve their life is a means of gaining future benefit for yourself. However, life should not be about doing good to benefit you; it should be about doing the “right thing”. The “right thing” is whatever you know deep down in your heart is what you should do as a matter of life. The “right thing” means helping other people without expecting anything in return. Don’t keep score.

In business relationships you should “check your ego at the door”. In other words, stop putting yourself first. Put others first, and do whatever you can to help others in their lives, either business or personal. Be of service to others and stop looking for whatever others can do for you. Just “do the right thing”, and see what happens to your future. Karma rewards good works and punishes bad works. It is the “right thing” to do.

Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691. Let’s all embrace karma for what it is, a lifestyle that can help everyone.

December 22, 2013

Appreciation Marketing – Give To Everyone



Many of us are franchisees of companies where we come into contact with customers of other franchisees of our same company. We must not look upon those customers as “lost” to ourselves but as valuable customers of our parent company. We are representatives of our company, not only for our clients and prospects, but to everyone that has chosen to place their trust and faith in our company.

During the past weeks I have met several customers of other representatives of my company who needed someone to provide them information, training, or just answers to their inquiries. Like every other major company, our customer service department is top notch, but is very busy this time of the year. Therefore, it is imperative that local representatives provide assistance to everyone that may need support.

Personally, I cannot understand anyone who develops a client base and then abandons them during their time of need. I believe so much in customer service that I willingly will assist anyone who has questions about my business, whether it be of a customer support type or just a general inquiry. I don’t care if you are my client or someone else’s, I will help you if I can. If for no other reason, it is great karma.

Of course, there is always the case of the representative of a company who has passed away, moved out of the area, retired, or just is not able to be found. The local client may not have anyone who can spend some time with them and answer some basic questions. It costs us very little effort to reach out to that person and help them. We should not do this with the thought of “stealing” the customer for ourselves, but with the intent of helping someone who is a customer of our company.

We must believe in the company for which we work, if it is not our own, and we must treat it as if it is our own. We must help the customers of our company as if they are our own, even when they are not, because they are customers of our company. We must “do the right thing” and help someone who needs some great customer service. The good that we do will be returned to us through karma.

Customer service should not stop with our own clients, nor should it only be provided through a corporate department that answers inquiries for us. As representatives of a business, as franchisees, we must provide the service that all clients need and want. If we do this, these clients will do what all happy clients do, provide referrals for us and help us grow our business.

Providing customer service for other representatives’ customers will help our company to grow and prosper, and that will benefit everyone, representatives and customers. These customers may see you as the person to whom they will refer others instead of the representative whom they cannot locate. You will prosper because you helped someone who needed assistance and would have been lost as a referral source.

As a representative of any company you have a responsibility to provide customer service to the people to whom you market your product or service. Doing the same for the customers of other representatives of your company, when they fail to do so, will allow you to prosper as the company prospers. It is the right thing to do. Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.

December 8, 2013

Appreciation Marketing – Follow Through



As we go about our business operations, we have many opportunities where we should follow through with our marketing. Remember that marketing includes everything that we do, and opportunities to follow through with actions involving others are always at hand. It is what we do, or don’t do, with those opportunities that illustrate what type of networking partner we can be.

We all try to be professional and follow through with our promises. We promise to provide information; we promise to provide referrals if possible. We promise to look at someone’s website, or we promise to try someone’s product on a trial basis. We even promise to read someone’s blog. Do we follow through and keep our promises, and why do we promise to do something if we never plan to do so?

Sometimes we cannot follow through since the information that we are given is incorrect, the wrong website address, the incorrect link to download something. Perhaps we cannot locate the information that we promised or the contact information of the individual who may be a good referral.

If something beyond our control prevents us from keeping a promise to follow through, we should contact the person to whom we made the promise and let them know of the problem. Perhaps they can give us better information that will assist us, including the correct web address or the correct phone number.

There are situations that we may just forget our promise and not follow through with the action that we promised. That is when we must contact the person to whom we made the promise and apologize, and we should attempt to fulfill our promise as soon as possible. To not follow through in some manner is rude and unprofessional.

What is the correct action for the person to whom we made a promise that we have failed to complete? Do they just consider us a lost cause, a non-professional with whom they do not see a business relationship being probable? Do they look elsewhere for the information that may help their business or personal life?

We must follow through if we are the person to whom the follow through was promised. We have an obligation to follow through, asking the person who made the promise if they plan to complete their part of the agreement. The person who failed in the first place has an obligation to accept this request professionally and then provide what they promised, if possible. At least an explanation of their failure should be forthcoming.

Follow through applies to many situations. Of course we should follow through with opportunities that our marketing provides, perhaps finding a new customer, or fulfilling a request from a current client. Follow through also applies when we promise anything to anyone. It is just like the business transactions for which we get paid, and we have obligations to help our networking partners.

We have discussed making the buying experience enjoyable for everyone. At the same time we should make life enjoyable for everyone. Follow through on our promises, just like our marketing, can provide that level of enjoyment to all involved. Please leave me your comments here, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691. Your follow through is much appreciated.

December 1, 2013

Appreciation Marketing – Reverse Customer Service



Often we forget that great customer service can result from better actions from customers themselves. I do not advocate that customers must put up with bad service from those from whom they purchase, but many customers have discovered that their actions will bring them exactly the type of service that they deserve.

If you watched videos from various stores during the after Thanksgiving sales, you saw how customers can act. There were scenes of people fighting, pushing, pulling, trampling other shoppers, and basically being rude to each other and the workers in the stores. This is supposed to be a season of giving thanks for the efforts of other people and their contributions to our lives.

The people working in the stores after Thanksgiving were not spending time with their families, time that they will never recover. I realize that they were being compensated for their work, but no amount of money makes up for lost family time or for the abuse that some customers heaped upon them.

The other shoppers were engaged in an adventure of shopping and did not deserve the rudeness and physical abuse that they received. While everyone shopping had made the decision to be there, the workers may have not had a choice if they wanted to stay employed. It does not matter; neither group deserved the resulting abuse, whether it was physical, emotional, or otherwise.

Even in normal times customers need to practice some simple rules of shopping. First, know what you want and have a reasonable idea of the cost involved. Doing some research prior to embarking on your search may enable you to complete your project quicker and more successfully or even complete it at all.

Second, shop at an appropriate store for the item that you want to purchase. Don’t go to a kitchen gadget store looking for lumber. Don’t blame the store for not having what you need if it doesn’t normally stock those items. It doesn’t matter what you believe that they should stock; if they don’t sell it, you cannot buy it there.

Third, if you don’t know what you want, ask for help, understanding that employees may be very busy this time of the year. Instead of wandering around, perhaps in the wrong store or section of the store, ask someone. You may well not need what you think, and you might find a better approach for your project. Don’t assume that your ignorance will make you look stupid.

Fourth, don’t rip open packages, looking for what you think that you need. The buying public has a responsibility to leave a store in the condition which you found it. A package that has been destroyed will probably never sell, resulting in higher costs for all of us. Again, ask for help and allow an employee to help you have a better buying experience.

While I believe that businesses have a responsibility to make the buying experience a pleasant one for all customers, those same customers have an equal responsibility to do their part in the process. Please leave me your comments here, or call me at 360-314-8691, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com. If you have never worked retail, you should try it sometime. It will change your shopping habits.

November 24, 2013

Appreciation Marketing – Be Thankful



Last week we discussed retention of current clients versus acquisition of new customers. We should all be thankful for those clients who remain loyal to us. Those clients should be happy if they remain loyal, and they should be the best source of referrals for our businesses. If they are not happy, what we doing to make them happy?

Clients are not mindless sheep and should never purchase anything that they do not need or want. There are items that clients need, and there are others that they want. It should be easy to market a product that a prospect needs; it is harder to market one that a prospect only wants.

An item that is needed will not have attached excuses to prevent the purchase. An item that is only wanted will have all sorts of excuses to prevent the purchase. Prospects that want your product or service may be reluctant to purchase from you if they do not perceive any benefits from your offering. That offering must be matched with the “feeling” that the prospect gets from the buying experience and from your marketing.

Clients that purchase what we offer should be appreciated and be told that we are thankful for their loyalty. If they never buy anything from us again, it may be because of a lack of need for what we have to offer. It may also be because they also don’t want what we have for them. It might be because that they do not believe that we were thankful for their business. We cannot let that happen, ever.

We must tell our clients that they are important to us. How could we allow them to believe that they are not? We must make them aware that they mean more to us than a quick sale. We must show our appreciation for them as clients but also as human beings. We must make them comfortable with the relationship, not just as a client, but also as networking partners. Clients should be more than customers.

Are you thankful when a client tells you something that you don’t care to hear, when they complain about something that your business did, or did not do? How do you react to a client complaint, whether it is mild or heated? Do you investigate the problem, determine what to do, if anything, and tell the client what you decided? Do you take action to make up any difference to the client, or do you even respond to them?

We must show our appreciation to our clients for their loyalty. We must also show our appreciation for their referrals of others to us. The referral may be a new prospect, it may be a “slam dunk” customer possibility, or it may be a referral of someone who provides something else for us. We must be thankful for these referrals of all sorts. If we ignore referrals from our clients, we will lose the possibility of getting any more.

Clients are important to us for so many reasons. They provide a source of income for our business directly from their purchases, and they provide referrals to us that also may put money into our pockets as those prospects become customers. Whatever the outcome of a client’s buying experience, make sure that the experience is a great one.

We must be thankful for our clients. Make the effort to turn your customers into clients through showing your thankfulness for their relation to our businesses. Whether it is a purchase, their referral, or their advice, be thankful for your clients. Please leave me your comments here on this posting, or call me at 360-314-8691, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com. I am always very thankful for your input at all times.