August 25, 2013

Appreciation Marketing – Pushy Marketing


I heard a commercial on the radio from someone who engaged in what I call “pushy marketing”. What is “pushy” marketing, and what may the results be? How does it affect prospects, and how does it effect referrals?
It does not matter what the commercial was promoting. What was “pushy” was the fact that the person reading the commercial copy repeated the contact phone number 6 times at the end of the commercial. I remembered the phone number far longer than the product or service being promoted.
“Pushy” marketing is obnoxious. The fact that I heard the phone number in the commercial 6 times became obnoxious to me. I could not wait for the commercial to end, and next time I hear the commercial, I will change channels if I can remember it from the beginning. It was that irritating.
There are other things that can cause marketing to be termed “pushy”. The announcer may have a grating voice or manner. The message may be irritating to the listener, or maybe it continues too long. Try listening to your message as if you were a prospect and see how you react to what is said and how it is said.
When you are speaking in person to someone, you must notice how they respond to you, either verbally or with their body language. You must be aware of what the prospect tells you with their eyes, their hands and arms, and their posture. Are they shifting uncomfortably in their chair, are they looking away from you, intentionally breaking eye contact, and do they fold their arms across their chest?
When they indicate that they are not interested in your message, do not increase your volume or make the tone of your voice more demanding. You cannot shout or argue anyone into becoming a customer. You will turn them into lost prospects quicker through these actions. You also will not gain referrals from your actions. You must keep calm, and never become argumentative.

While meeting with someone recently, I acknowledged an acquaintance who stopped by my table and engaged me in conversation after my original meeting ended. This person represents a product that I do not desire to purchase due to the fact that I already am a client of a different company with a superior product.

He attempted to market to me and would not “listen” to every response that I “sent” to him. I stated that I was not interested in his product, and he made me feel very uncomfortable when he would not “listen” to me. I almost left just to make him stop trying to market to me. Finally he had to leave to meet someone else. Making your prospect uncomfortable will not result in gaining a new client or new referrals.

What is your marketing message and how is it delivered? Are you “pushy” to the point of making your prospects so uncomfortable that they want to “turn you off”? Do you listen to your prospects, including their gestures and other actions? Please leave your comments here, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call me at 360-314-8691. Look at your marketing from the viewpoint of your prospect and ask yourself: Would this make me so uncomfortable that I would walk away from this person?”

August 18, 2013

Appreciation Marketing – Features VS Benefits


Previously we have discussed that we should discover what it is that our prospects actually need before we attempt to market what we have to them. If they have no need for whatever we have, they should not purchase our product or service no matter how great the deal is that we make them, unless they plan to give it away as a gift. Trying to force it on them is a disservice to them and will backfire on us.
We often get caught up in the list of great features that our product or service has. We know that these features are so wonderful that everyone will love them and will want them. Not everyone will feel this way, in spite of what we believe. Everyone may not need everything that our offering will do or how it does it.
Our prospect may ask, after we list the outstanding features that our offering has, “So, what’s in it for me?” We should have already asked this same question before we start marketing to anyone. We should have put ourselves in the place of the prospect and looked at our product or service from their viewpoint.
Does the prospect have a need for our offering; does it provide a solution to that need? What is the benefit of our offering to the prospect? Will it save the prospect time, effort, or money? Will it save them manpower that can be utilized elsewhere or not expended at all? Can it make their day better, easier, or shorter? Does it prevent a loss, or does it open up a new path of revenue?

If our product or service cannot make their day better, they do not need it. If our offering has no benefit for the prospect, there is no need for it in their eyes. We must make them see a benefit to having what we are marketing to them. We must make them see that what we have for them will make them money, make their life easier, or make them glad that they purchased from us.

There must be a benefit for the prospect from buying from us. If there is not, they have wasted their money and will dislike us so much that they will tell everyone else to refrain from buying from us, perhaps from being our networking partner. Do we need that reputation? Is that a benefit for us? I think not.

Maybe they cannot see their own need and how our offering can solve that need. Perhaps they think that the money spent with us will not be recouped through savings in time, effort, and manpower. We must make them see this gain and make them understand that it all comes down to a plus for them. That plus must overshadow the expenditure that they made with us.

Everyday we are bombarded by the news of the latest gadgets all of which have ever-increasing price tags. Do we need them or can we get along without them? What are the benefits, and what do those benefits mean for us? We must ask ourselves those questions about our own products or services before we try to market.

What are the features of your offering, and do they solve the needs of your prospects? If they cannot see a benefit in buying from you, they will not do so or will regret doing so later. That attitude will not lead to referrals for you. Please can leave your comments here, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call me at 360-314-8691. Look at your proposals from the viewpoint of your prospect and ask yourself: “Do I need this, and what’s in it for me?

August 11, 2013

Appreciation Marketing – After the Sale




Last week we discussed the customer buying experience, the journey that you and your customer take from the initial meeting to the completed buying transaction. We discussed how the buying experience must be enjoyable for the customer. If it is not pleasant, the customer will go elsewhere for their next purchase and will tell others how unhappy they are with the business process that you require.
I received several calls regarding what a business person can do to make the customer happy after the sale. How do your customers feel about their buying experience with you, and have you ever asked them? Don’t just assume; don’t say that you “know” how they feel? You must find out how they feel, and one of the best ways is to just ask them.
How do you ask the customer if they still like you after buying from you? There are several methods which we have discussed before. You can send them a survey, either in print, by email, phone, or snail mail to complete. Will the customer, specifically one which may be unhappy, be receptive to providing you answers to your questions? That is exactly the customer whose thoughts you want.
In addition, surveys have a tendency to be easy for the creator to create, simple to complete for the customer, and effortless to record when returned. However, do they give you the “real” mindset of the customer; will they provide you a snapshot of the situation that you can use to improve your buying experience if needed?
First, you must let the customer know that you appreciate their business. You must make the customer comfortable with the fact that you are honored that they chose you to engage for the solutions to their needs. They must know that you consider their business as a reward for your great customer service.
Then you must ask if there was anything else that you should have done, any part of the process that you should improve, and anything that you should not have done within the buying process. You are asking for the customer to provide their thoughts and beliefs, in a narrative form, to you to use in making your business methods better.
Narratives are more difficult for the customer to complete and more difficult for the business person to record. You must read the customer’s words and sometimes their thoughts behind the words. There is no form that you can chart, no multiple choice or true false questions for them to answer. The information that you gain can mean so much more. You just must plow through the narrative format and digest the meaning.

How do you get the customer to even consider completing a narrative survey? You must establish a relationship with them from the beginning of your interface with them, from before you actually market to them. If they are comfortable with your business, and with you, they will take the time to give you their thoughts on how they can assist you in making it better. They believe that you both want to help each other get better.

Do you have a good relationship with your customers? Can you ask them for their honest opinions of your buying experience? Can you “check your ego” so you will listen to them? Please can leave your comments here, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call me at 360-314-8691. Let’s share our thoughts, practices, and even our failures so that we can make all of us better in business relationships. Can’t hurt, can it?

Last week we discussed the customer buying experience, the journey that you and your customer take from the initial meeting to the completed buying transaction. We discussed how the buying experience must be enjoyable for the customer. If it is not pleasant, the customer will go elsewhere for their next purchase and will tell others how unhappy they are with the business process that you require.
I received several calls regarding what a business person can do to make the customer happy after the sale. How do your customers feel about their buying experience with you, and have you ever asked them? Don’t just assume; don’t say that you “know” how they feel? You must find out how they feel, and one of the best ways is to just ask them.
How do you ask the customer if they still like you after buying from you? There are several methods which we have discussed before. You can send them a survey, either in print, by email, phone, or snail mail to complete. Will the customer, specifically one which may be unhappy, be receptive to providing you answers to your questions? That is exactly the customer whose thoughts you want.
In addition, surveys have a tendency to be easy for the creator to create, simple to complete for the customer, and effortless to record when returned. However, do they give you the “real” mindset of the customer; will they provide you a snapshot of the situation that you can use to improve your buying experience if needed?
First, you must let the customer know that you appreciate their business. You must make the customer comfortable with the fact that you are honored that they chose you to engage for the solutions to their needs. They must know that you consider their business as a reward for your great customer service.
Then you must ask if there was anything else that you should have done, any part of the process that you should improve, and anything that you should not have done within the buying process. You are asking for the customer to provide their thoughts and beliefs, in a narrative form, to you to use in making your business methods better.
Narratives are more difficult for the customer to complete and more difficult for the business person to record. You must read the customer’s words and sometimes their thoughts behind the words. There is no form that you can chart, no multiple choice or true false questions for them to answer. The information that you gain can mean so much more. You just must plow through the narrative format and digest the meaning.

How do you get the customer to even consider completing a narrative survey? You must establish a relationship with them from the beginning of your interface with them, from before you actually market to them. If they are comfortable with your business, and with you, they will take the time to give you their thoughts on how they can assist you in making it better. They believe that you both want to help each other get better.

Do you have a good relationship with your customers? Can you ask them for their honest opinions of your buying experience? Can you “check your ego” so you will listen to them? Please can leave your comments here, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call me at 360-314-8691. Let’s share our thoughts, practices, and even our failures so that we can make all of us better in business relationships. Can’t hurt, can it?

August 4, 2013

Appreciation Marketing – The Customer Buying Experience


This week I received the latest issue of The Costco Connection magazine. In their column, “Lifestyles for The Millennium”, Paul and Sarah Edwards discuss how we can be sales smart but customer foolish. Their point is that we often get the sale, but lose the customer for the future. In addition, we may lose other possible customers also. (Check out their website at www.ElmStreetEconomy.com.)

I have often discussed the customer buying experience. Ask yourself if the customer actually enjoyed buying from you. Did you listen to their needs and offer solutions to those needs? Did you relate how your product or service could provide benefits to your prospect instead of dwelling on the features that excite you? Did you ask them what they thought of the buying experience? Would they refer others to you?

Did you respond to their concerns or complaints, immediately and without excuses? Did you fix any problems in the product or service, the delivery, the installation, or afterwards? Did you take action to make up their inconvenience to them? Did you thank them for their business or their referrals? Do you care about your customers and actually show them? Will they refer others to you after your errors?

No one in business expects to be perfect all of the time. I often say that I do business with humans who will make mistakes from time to time. I am more inclined to refer business not only to the person who is perfect in their buying process, but also to the business who takes the correct steps when a problem occurs.

After a problem, how does your provider deal with the situation? Do they take responsibility for problems without making excuses or blaming others; do they fix the problem immediately, or do they stall the customer? Do they fix the situation, preventing it from reoccurring? (This fix is a great marketing opportunity, by the way.) Does the provider contact the customer after the fix to see if the customer is satisfied?

It does not matter how good your product or service is, or how feature laden they are. If the customer cannot reap the benefits of buying from you, they will not be satisfied with the buying experience. They will be speaking with others about that experience and relaying their feelings which may not be beneficial for your future sales. You want them speaking to you first and allowing you to correct their experience for the better.

If you are not talking with your customers, as well as your prospects, someone else is. If you have problems in the customer buying experience, they will become public knowledge quickly and will damage your business, fairly or not. You must take the initiative and discover if there are problems and, if they exist, deal with them. What you do must be a priority and then followed by marketing your actions to the public.

You must make the buying experience, before, during, and after the sale, a pleasure for the customer. Prospects and customers will exchange information; make sure they are speaking about you and your business in a favorable manner. You cannot stop the flow of information; make this flow bring business to you and not move it to the competition.

You can leave your comments here, or your emails at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or your calls at 360-314-8691. Do your customers enjoy the buying experience with you? How does your marketing deal with mistakes? Exchange experiences with each other, because exchanging information results in better performance for all of us.