October 27, 2013

Appreciation Marketing – Appreciation for Others

Continuously, I recommend that everyone thank others for their actions, their referrals, and for their encouragement in business and in our personal lives. Whenever someone does anything for us, no matter how small, we should always thank them and show how much we appreciate their effort

Someone told me that others always “just know” how much they are appreciated for their actions. Some other people say that expressing gratitude is too expensive for anyone on a short budget. Someone else told me that they were not comfortable in expressing their gratitude toward others, especially someone with whom they may not be as familiar as those whom they know better.

How does anyone “just know” that we appreciate them if we don’t tell them? Why are we taking anything for granted? Should we assume that someone was going to order from us and never ask them for their order? None of us want to be taken for granted by anyone else; why would we assume anything about the person who has supported making our life better?

Often when anyone does something for which we should be appreciative, they have put money into our pocket. They may have made a purchase from us, perhaps becoming a customer on a permanent or recurrent basis. When they spend a substantial amount of money with us, we must spend some amount showing our appreciation for their business or for their referral for a third party’s business.

Why would any of us not be comfortable expressing our appreciation to others for what they may do for us? Are we uncomfortable with asking anyone for their order? Are we uncomfortable with speaking in front of a number of strangers who may become customers or referral sources? Are we uncomfortable with our product or service, dreading how anyone will react to their purchase?

We must be comfortable with our business and our product or service. We must be confident that our product will perform as expected by our customers. We should also be confident that our service will be the help for our customer that was anticipated when they made the purchase from us. If we are not confident, take the steps to become so. We should be just as confident in expressing our gratitude to those who help us.

What actions should we take to show our appreciation for the acts of others? It may be as simple as a verbal thank you; it may be as extravagant as we decide is appropriate. The person whom we are thanking may not expect anything extravagant, or we may be constrained by regulation from taking any extravagant action. Be creative and innovative, but do something.

How do we feel when we do something to help someone else, and we don’t receive any expression of gratitude from that person? We should do unto others as we would want them to do unto us when deciding how to thank anyone else. Whenever anyone’s assistance betters our business, we should express our appreciation in some manner.

Please leave me your comments here, or call me at 360-314-8691, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com. Thank you for your loyalty and for your feedback; I appreciate all the helpful comments that I receive each and every week.

October 20, 2013

Appreciation Marketing – Networking Don’ts (Part 2)

From last week’s posting, I received several comments pointing out some additional negative networking behaviors for both attendees and organizers and managers of networking groups and meetings. Simple parameters will prevent any such mistakes.
Organizers should always make the group’s guidelines and organization clear and simple. A group’s purpose must be easy for prospects to understand so they can decide to join or attend meetings. Is the group open to all attendees, or are there membership requirements? Is there any limit on member types or the actions of members?
Where does the group meet, and what is the purpose of each meeting? What are the starting and ending times for the meetings, and what are the meeting agendas? Is there a price for each meeting or a donation expected? Can one attend without becoming a group member, or are the meetings open to the general public?
The group organizers have a responsibility to begin and end the meetings on time, as advertised, so attendees can plan their business schedules. Meetings that do not begin on time will not end on time, and the organizers will appear to be unprofessional. The organizers must adhere to the scheduled agenda or explain why they must deviate.
Attendees should always arrive on time. Some people are always late no matter where they are going or what event they are attending, and they are usually late by the same amount of time every time they attend an event. To correct this problem, they should leave sooner for meetings, but they must recognize it as a problem first.
If we are prevented by unforeseen events from arriving on time, we must enter the meeting as quietly as possible. We must not “make a grand entrance”, speaking to everyone present, and interrupting the speaker or meeting leader. We only make ourselves stand out in a very unprofessional manner when we do so.
We must always make sure that our cell or smart phones are either powered off or set to only vibrate when we attend a meeting. If it does ring, we must know how to turn it off so that it will not ring again. We should be able to quickly find it in our pocket, purse, bag, or briefcase. We cannot ignore it; others will know that it is ours and consider us to be rude or obnoxious if we pretend that it is not.
A worse behavior is texting someone else during a presentation. It doesn’t matter if the recipient of the message is present in the presentation or not. Texting during someone else’s presentation is very rude; if we must contact someone, leave the presentation and don’t return during the meeting.
Of course, using our phone to place, or answer, a call is not acceptable at any time. Again, if we must engage in a phone conversation, leave the meeting and don’t interrupt the presentation by returning. A meeting where the attendees are mingling would be easier to return to if we must go outside for any reason.

Networking behavior is another form of marketing. A group manager, a meeting organizer, or an attendee should behave professionally. Remember that what we do not only impacts others but reflects badly on ourselves. Don’t market negatively, and use your common sense. Please leave your comments here, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.

Appreciation Marketing – Networking Don’ts

In various postings we have discussed marketing practices which are successful in building relationships and benefit all the parties involved. There are some behaviors which prevent successful relationship building and thus fail to positively market our businesses. Are we guilty of any of these practices?
Networking is the most effective form of marketing in which we can engage. It is reasonably priced, requires little time, and includes a personal aspect that is unbeatable. If we network correctly, we gain successful results; networking incorrectly guarantees us failure.
Never engage in what I term “drive-by networking”. This is the practice of attending a networking meeting once, making contacts, and never attending the group’s meetings again. Doing so brands us as those who come to a group to get what we can without making a commitment to contribute to the group’s future.
Afterward, the term also applies to the person who “milks” the people that they meet for referrals before establishing a networking relationship and providing any referrals or advice in return. We must contribute without keeping score, and we must provide for the common good of everyone. Remember karma and be of service to others first.
If we don’t like a group when we first visit, we have the right to not return for another meeting. However, we might want to attend a few meetings to see if we can help someone else with a referral or some advice. Giving before we try to get is a better practice than getting and never giving. Don’t be known as the person who milks the cow without feeding it.
We must not monopolize the time of those whom we meet at a meeting. We should chat for a short period to establish a basis to meet the person for a later, longer meeting. Then move on after telling the other person we will call to chat longer. Perhaps we can make the appointment at this time for the later meeting, but don’t have the more in-depth conversation at the networking meeting.
Collect business cards from everyone we can in order to follow up with everyone. Enter their information into your contact management system, with notes. Notes should include every phone call and meeting details. The more information that we include the better we will be in our relationship building and support of each other. Never prejudge anyone, and try to assist the other person to network better and more effectively.
Make relationship building the primary reason for contacting others, following up, and subsequent meetings. Business building will follow along after successful relationship building. Do not press business details before getting to know someone. We must know what someone else needs before we try to market what we have. If someone accuses us of wanting only to sell to them, offer to let them sell to us first.

Marketing is attempting to have everyone fall in love with us, and everything that we do is marketing, either good or bad. If we engage in good marketing, the sale will fall into our laps. Don’t stop marketing to your prospects after they become clients; their referrals will make us more successful than their purchases. Please leave your comments here, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.

October 6, 2013

Appreciation Marketing – Be of Service

In the past I have found ideas in The Costco Connection magazine for these discussions, and this week an article, “Making Customers for Life”, emphasized being of service to others. The practice of selling something to someone must be augmented by helping others. Being of service to others is a necessary add-on to business.
Today, prospects, and customers, want information as well as the end product or service that you have. Information is powerful but only if it is utilized by the person receiving it. As businesses we must provide information to the public in order to allow prospects and customers to make informed decisions about their buying.
This information must be easy to obtain and to understand. We must not hide facts from the public, nor should we make it difficult for the public to understand the pros and cons of the facts. Easy to find and easy to understand information should be provided to every prospect. We should have nothing to hide from anyone.
If this information leads the prospect to buy from us, both parties succeed. If it shows the prospect that either not buying at all, or buying from someone else is their better choice, the prospect should have this information. We must understand that the greatest product or service that we can provide is information, and the information must be such that others can actually use it.
We must also provide means for our prospects and customers to ask us questions. Perhaps we have not covered everything that someone could want to know about our businesses or what we offer. We must allow the public the ability to ask us whatever they want to ask, and we must be forthcoming with the information that will make the customer buying experience an informed one, no matter who gains their business.
Previously we have discussed customer surveys. I received a request from one of my providers this week that I provide feedback on a recent transaction. The format was one of questions with a rating scale from 1 to 5. On several questions I wanted to use an answer below 1, and on some others I wished for the ability to utilize an answer above 5. At no place were my comments requested.
It is very easy to complete a survey with this type of rating system, or one with yes or no questions, and it is also very easy to compile the results. However, there must be a place for the person completing the survey to express whatever they believe are the most important points. It may be difficult to score, but narrative surveys provide the real thoughts of your customers. Isn’t that what you want and need?
Your clients, who actually want to give you information, good or bad, will be active in doing so. They will find a way to gain your ear. If you make that difficult for them, the compliment that you would really like to hear may turn into a complaint about your bad listening skills. The suggestion that may turn your business into a more profitable organization may be lost forever. The client who has a valid concern may leave.

Being of service to others will never cost you more than you gain back. It may allow you to help others make more informed buying decisions or it may allow you to hear either compliments or complaints, both of which should help you make your business better for everyone. Please leave your comments here, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.