December 28, 2014

Credibility

It does not matter if we send emails to our networking partners by doing it ourselves or if we use a service that sends them for us, there are some guidelines that we should keep in mind. It doesn’t matter if it is a newsletter that is emailed or a short message; it doesn’t matter if we are using our own list of recipients or a list that we purchased. We should use some common sense in our endeavors.

Understand that emails, while often free to send, can have expense attached to them. Did we buy a list of target recipients? Do we have a service which charges for emailing for us? If we do the work ourselves, how much is our time and effort worth to us. We could be using that time to personally contact new prospects or reconnect with former clients. There is always a cost of some type involved.

No matter the type of correspondence that we use, we should make sure that the results are worth more than we spend. We should also make sure that we gain good will and do not soil our reputation by the correspondence that we send. Do we present ourselves in the best light, or do we make others believe that we are not someone with whom they would like to do business or even trust? Do we just look stupid?

We should make sure all of our target market wants to receive our correspondence and that they have not opted out of our emails previously. We must check the spelling and grammar more than once before we send the information. We should have someone not involved with the content review the text for spelling, typo, and grammar errors. We also must have someone who understands the content review the details included.

Our correspondence helps us establish ourselves in our field of business. Our credibility will be damaged when we make basic mistakes in our correspondence. Even worse of an error is when we attempt to send information to someone who knows the subject better than we do. Don’t attempt to tell an expert in any field that you know more than they do when your field of expertise is something very different.

Of course these tips are pertinent for all types of correspondence and information sharing. It does not matter what the method, sharing is one of the best means of serving others. We can share on Facebook, LinkedIn, by email or newsletter, by books or other published means, by webinars or other seminar type offerings, or just personal contact. Whatever the method, we must make it professional and informative, but we must make sure of our target market and how we are perceived by them.

Whenever we provide information to others through any type of interface, we must be credible as well as informative. Without credibility, our message will not have the impact or impact that we wish, and we will have missed the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life or to help someone else to succeed.

Make your correspondence informative, supportive, and helpful, but also make it credible in the eye of the recipient. Then, and only then, will it be received in the anticipated manner, and will be appreciated. Our Gratitude Marketing will be meaningful to all concerned if we follow a few guidelines and principles. Please leave me your comments here, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.

December 21, 2014

Who Should We Thank

Some people asked for a check list of whom we should thank for what they do for us and for others. We should thank everyone, because everyone wants to be noticed for what they do, except those people whose actions should have never seen the light of day. If we should be ashamed of what we do, don’t do it. Everyone should be proud of what we do and should be thanked for those actions.

So, here is a partial list of some of the acts that should be recognized as gratifying and thanks should be issued as a result:

·       - an order of a new customer,
·      -  the referral from a current client or associate,
·       - a recurring order of a current client,
·       - advice, solicited or not, from a networking partner,
·       - the unexpected contact from an associate who was out of touch for a period,
·       - a gesture of sympathy for a loss,
·       - veterans who have provided service to us, and others, often to their own loss,
·       - any new associate who offers to meet and chat, to become better acquainted,
·       - an invite to an event for which we did not have knowledge,
·       - congratulations for an accomplishment of our business,
·      -  the act of an employee that enhances our business,
·      -  the continued support of our employees, family members, and others,
·      -  the presenter at an event that enhanced our abilities, in business and personally,
·       - a friend who supports us in business and personally,
·       - our neighbors who make our neighborhoods better,
·       - anyone whom we meet on a daily basis who provides service to us, and to others,
·       - anyone whose life we may randomly brighten by noticing their action.

The fact that someone can be viewed as falling within multiple areas within this list means that our sphere of acquaintances or associates means more than if someone is just a neighbor, family member, or friend. They mean more to us then if they are just someone who we see once in a while. They have impact upon our lives.

Obviously, this is a list that can be enhanced to add many more individuals, and organizations, that deserve our appreciation and gratitude. It is surprising when we show gratitude to others how that gesture may enhance someone else’s life and spirits. Just a small gesture of gratitude may change someone else’s spirit, mood, and even their life. We should try this type of gesture and see the difference for ourselves.

As we go about our days, take note of everyone about us and what they do. Then show some appreciation and gratitude for what they do, for us and for others. Their day will be better, their life will be better, and we will be better for our effort.

Gratitude towards others can make everyone’s life better, the life of the recipient of that gratitude, as well as your own. Believe it or not, just try it and see what happens, see how you feel about yourself and life itself. Please leave me your comments here, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.

December 14, 2014

The Art of Thank You (Part 2)

It is refreshing when a blog posting results in positive responses. It is very rewarding when a posting results in as many positive responses as last week’s did. The audience for any blog provides most of the material for its content. As a result, there are some points from last week’s posting which require additional discussion.

We go about our days meeting new acquaintances, speaking with others that we previously knew, or even developing new prospects and clients. The people with whom we interact are the people with whom we should build relationships, strengthen relationships which were previously established, or provide some level of support or interface. All of them should be acknowledged and noticed.

As Tom Hopkins taught us, everyone likes to be noticed in a positive manner. Was our conversation with them a short one in passing, was our meeting planned or by chance, was the discussion helpful to one or more of us? No matter the basis for the act, we must thank that person for the connection, the information exchanged, even the short hello. The opportunity must not be ignored.

We could even use this message of thanks to ask for a more in depth meeting later. Was the person someone with whom we should build a relationship, is their knowledge or expertise, something that we need, do we want access to them as a prospect or client, what about their sphere of influence? All of this is important to our success as business people. From a simple thank you for our past meetings or conversations, future rewards may arrive on our lap.

Everyone does business with, and refers business to, those whom they know, like, and trust. They also include those who they remember. If someone does not remember us, we cannot gain their business or retain it. We need to remain first and foremost in their minds, in a positive manner, to receive the benefit of their marketing on our behalf. Just because we are out of sight, we do not have to be out of mind.

If we are not in the mind of our acquaintances, they will not contribute to our future. We will not be who they remember when they refer business to others and look for new people with which to do business themselves. Of course, if someone remembers us, they may attempt to market their business to us. Remember marketing is a two way street. We should be willing to allow others to market to us as we want to market to them. It is the “right thing” to do.

As we go about our workdays, we always experience many instances or occurrences for which we can say thank you to someone. Those “thank you” gestures can provide the basis for future prosperity for all parties involved. However, that prosperity will never see the light of day without the gesture of gratitude or appreciation that must spawn it. We must take the time to provide “thank you” gestures to everyone we meet or know.

Showing gratitude to others can take many forms. It doesn’t need to be grandiose or pretentious, it just needs to be done, and with sincerity. Try it and see who you can make feel better with a simple “Thank You”. Please leave me your comments here, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.

December 7, 2014

The Art of Thank You

Previously, we referenced Tom Hopkins’ book, How To Master The Art Of Selling, in which he discusses the importance of sending “thank you cards”. When he started as a real estate professional, Tom sent thank you cards to everyone he met. He carried cards with him and would write out a card thanking them for the conversation after each meeting, mailing the cards at the first opportunity.

This principle should apply to each of us in our everyday lives. No matter what our business is, what our level of involvement is, if we are in a career transition, or who we may know, we should learn the art of thanking others for what they do, for us and for others. Everyone, without exception, needs to acknowledge the actions of others, whether these actions are directed towards us or towards other people.

Showing our gratitude towards others for what they do is so much more effective than proclaiming how great we are. Everyone likes to be noticed and appreciated for what they do. No matter who we are, we all appreciate being thanked and being noticed for our actions. There is no greater message than showing gratitude to others without trying to tie in a promotion for ourselves or our businesses.

People do business with, and refer business to, people that they know, like, and trust. Anyone who provides us information has given us a gift. They deserve to be thanked, and we should personally show our appreciation for their gift of knowledge. We all would want to be thanked for being responsive and providing support. Our networking partnerships themselves may be the greatest gift of all that we receive.

When someone sends us an email asking for information, we should reply as soon as possible to the best of our ability. How do we feel when we never receive an email in reply thanking us for the information? Did the requester receive our reply, was the information what they needed, did the information help in the desired result, and did the requester discover new information that might aid both of us in the future? A simple thank you would be sufficient, but more details might be more appropriate.

Instead of emailing our thank you, how about sending a greeting card, expressing our appreciation and gratitude to the partner who helped us? If the information actually put money into our bank account, the price of a greeting card would seem to be a small price to pay for that assistance. Plus, the opening of a greeting card, mailed in a real envelope, brings many more warm feelings to the recipient than opening an email.

Which means more to us, getting a bland birthday wish on Facebook, or opening a birthday card that someone sent to us with their personal message inside? Personally, the greeting card means so much more to me, and I will keep it where I can see it longer. I also will remember the sender more fondly and will be more prone to refer business or show my appreciation to them. I guess that I am human that way.

It doesn’t matter how you show gratitude to others or even when; just do it. It is never too late, or too early, to thank someone for what they do, for you or for someone else. Please leave me your comments here, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call me at 360-314-8691. Shock someone today by sending your gratitude in a big thank you.

November 30, 2014

Building, and Maintaining, Relationships

When we first meet anyone, we should never prejudge them and whether they would ever enter into a business relationship with us. We should get to know them, decide if we like them, and decide if we can trust them. Then, if we cannot help them find what they need, we must try to connect them with someone who may be able to help them, or who knows someone else who might be of assistance.

When we develop a relationship with others we become their partner and have a vested interest in their success. We should have the type of relationship where we can call on each other for referrals, advice, and assistance without keeping score on who has done what for whom. The best partner works to help the other person be successful without expecting referral for referral in return.

Recently I heard a person at a networking meeting say that he was interested in matching referrals with others, giving the other person referrals for each one he himself received. That is keeping score, exactly what we agreed we should not do. That is self-serving, and it benefits no one.

So what if someone does give us a referral, perhaps one which puts a significant amount of money in our pocket? What do we do if we cannot become their client or do not know someone who needs what they have? We have to wait and try to put someone in touch with them who may provide a mutually beneficial relationship to both parties. That is Gratitude Marketing and shows that we are grateful to both parties.

Networking relationships, like all partnerships, must be built and maintained, through mutual hard work and benefit for both parties. They do not start or stop on a specific date or time, and they do not take a recess for any holiday or event. You may be able to assist your networking partner in business, while one, or both, of you is on vacation, or you may be able to help someone through email, phone, or direct contact.

When we first meet anyone there are plus and minuses about them. There are certain aspects about them that we like and other characteristics that we do not like. There may also be characteristics that we just cannot tolerate. If the latter is true, are these characteristics deal-breakers; can we accept these and tolerate them to the degree that we want to maintain the relationship?

Sounds somewhat like buying a house or starting a personal relationship, doesn’t it? Well, it is, and it should be treated as such. Networking is work, and building and maintaining relationships is also work. However, just like marketing our businesses, we are rewarded for our efforts with success.

Relationships are the lifeblood of our business success. Through building, and maintaining, relationships, we can gain success for ourselves, and for our networking partners. However, we must work to do our part and make sure that we keep the interests of our networking partners foremost in our minds and efforts. It then pays off for everyone.

How would you rate your business and networking relationships? Do you believe that you are benefiting from them, and do you learn from your experiences in them? Your comments here, or your emails at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or your calls at 360-314-8691 are always welcome, even if you disagree.

November 23, 2014

Stop!

How is your marketing working for you? Are you marketing yourself and your business, or are you selling? Are you selling every day to everyone who you meet? Are you selling so hard that people don’t want to engage you in conversation? Are total strangers, and your friends, avoiding you? Maybe you should stop doing what you are doing and try something new and different.

Perhaps you should try something that may seem even a little non-productive. Maybe you should stop talking about yourself, what your business does, what your business offers, or what you can do for someone else. Maybe you should stop selling all the time.

Why don’t you try marketing instead of selling? You may believe that marketing and selling are the same; doesn’t everyone know that. You would be wrong if that is what you believe. Selling and marketing are not the same, and it is time we all learned that.

Selling is the point where the other person, our prospect, decides to purchase from you whatever you offer, your product or service, agreeing that it is what they need for themselves or for their business. Everything else up to that point, and from that point on, is marketing. If you don’t do the marketing right, the selling never happens.

You must do your marketing correctly to make the sale, and you must keep doing it correctly to keep the sales flowing, either from that same customer, or from the referrals that clients may bring to you. Your marketing is everything that you do all day long. Every word you speak, every gesture you make, every nod, motion, movement, smile, frown, handout, flyer, letter, email, card, everything is your marketing.

You find prospects from your marketing; you develop customers from your marketing, and you turn those customers into clients. You gain referrals from your marketing, and you enhance your reputation from your marketing. Your marketing is everything that you do, and it leads to everything that you have or gain in the future. It also represents everything that you lose or can lose, because it can be good or bad marketing.

If you do your marketing correctly, sales will fall into your lap, and referrals will follow you everywhere you go. Strangers will know you by your reputation and will want to know you, will want to do business with you, and will refer business to you. Therefore, what is more important to you, the sale, or your marketing?

We should all stop being sales people and become marketing consultants. We should stop trying to sell to everyone we meet and discover what others need. We should become listeners and hear what others say that they are looking for, and stop trying to sell them what we have to offer. Then help them find what they need or what they are searching for, or try to help them find someone who can help them find someone else to help them. Refer business to others if we cannot solve the needs of our partners.

If you stop selling and become someone who helps others discover how to solve their needs, those people will be grateful to you and will show their gratitude to you. That’s Gratitude Marketing in reverse. Gratitude Marketing is a two way street, just like all marketing. Join the revolution and show gratitude for others. Please comment here, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691. I am always grateful for your questions, comments, or other input.

November 16, 2014

What is Gratitude Marketing?

Since the changing the title of this blog, maybe we should revisit the definition of what we are discussing. What is Gratitude Marketing and how does it differ from Appreciation Marketing? Is there a difference other than the word that comes before “Marketing”?

If we search for the word “gratitude” in a thesaurus, it will result in the word “appreciation”. Do dictionaries use one to define the other? Appreciation Marketing is when we show appreciation for everyone, whether they are our current clients, prospects, or other relationships. Gratitude Marketing is when we show our gratitude to everyone, our clients, prospects, family, friends, casual acquaintances, total strangers, for what they do for us, for others, and for what they are in life. Is there a difference in showing appreciation as opposed to showing gratitude?

For clients, we must show gratitude for their business, for their continued business, and for their referrals. They have put money in our pockets, and the least that we can do is thank them. We must do this without asking them to buy anything else, or trying to sell them an upgrade or the newer, more improved model of whatever we have. That type of message should always be separate from the ones expressing our gratitude.

In addition we should recognize their events in life. This includes their birthdays, weddings, graduations, anniversaries, and other accomplishments. This means that we recognize these accomplishments as noteworthy in the life of someone with whom we have a relationship that is significant to us.

Besides thanking someone for being our client in the first place, we should show gratitude for their continuing to be our client, for their renewals, their upgrades, or their latest referral. In addition to this, recognize that they have been in business for each and every anniversary of starting their own business. That anniversary should be acknowledged for the great event that it is each year.

Remember that marketing is everything that we do every day, from the first words that we utter in the morning until we close our eyes at night. It is every sound we make, every smile or frown, and every nod. It is our gestures, actions, everything that we do. It is every printed word that comes from us, and every reaction to everything that we perceive in life. We are our own marketing.

As we go about our days, why not make our marketing based on gratitude for others and what they do? Stop being sales people and be marketing consultants. Be givers to others, givers of gratitude. Discover what others need, and help them get what they need, or help them find the person, or persons, who can help them get what they need. If we practice karma and put gratitude forth, we will receive gratitude in return.

How about a challenge? As we go about the next day, next week, and next month, see how many others to whom we can show gratitude for what they do for everyone else, not just for us. What happens when we start with one person per day, and we discover just how many others to whom we can show gratitude? We can start a revolution for marketing in general. Please comment here, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691 and let me hear from you.

November 9, 2014

Why Not? (Part 2)

After posting last week, I received several calls and emails suggesting topics relating to the question “Why Not?”, and some seemed valuable enough to relate here. The fact that we discussed this question previously doesn’t prevent us discussing it again. Sometimes repetition is a good thing, so why not revisit the question?

The question “Why?” applies to situations that amaze us and seem to relate to a lack of forethought on our part when we are participates in these situations or actions. The question “Why Not” is more applicable to those situations where we have alternative actions that we either ignore or don’t realize may help us to better the situation.

When we continue to market our business without success, why not try an alternative method that might be more productive? If that doesn’t work, why not try something else, evaluating all methods until we discover one, or several, that reward our efforts? Change doesn’t have to be a total makeover, but change may be the tool that allows us to discover aspects of ourselves or our business that may be the stepping stones to even greater success.

Don’t believe that you have time to go to networking events? Why not try some, and see if they have changed since the last time we attended one? Don’t believe that we might meet someone valuable at an event, why not try to meet someone new each and every day and see if we can gain some new insight that might aid in the success of our business? Why not see if we can discover someone whom we can help? That is what Gratitude Marketing means.

Why not try attending a seminar or a webinar? Why not listen to a CD or watch a DVD that someone sent to us? We might learn something new that might make a difference to us. Why not thank the person who suggested the seminar or webinar, or sent us that CD or DVD? Gratitude goes so much further than our own self-promotion every time. Why not let others know how much we appreciate them and what they do for us?

Why not ask your clients what they think of our business, or our product or service, and how the buying experience was? Why not ask those people who either stopped using our business offerings or those who never purchased from us in the first place? Why not ask for their feedback and learn what we may be doing wrong? Don’t ask them to complete a checklist that slants their answers; ask them to tell you in their own words.

Why not ask our employees, if we have them, what their opinions of our businesses are? Just like our customers or former customers, or our failed prospects, they have information that might prompt us to revise our marketing and operations for the better. If they have a vested interest in our business, they will be better employees and perform much better. Our employees should operate as if they owned the business.

Every day as we go about our business life, we should be asking “Why Not?” The answers might amaze us, or they may shock us, but we may become better business people for the question, and the answer. Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.

November 2, 2014

Why?

Very often, as I go about my days of networking and marketing, I ask myself “Why?” when I see various acts of, or hear statements from, other business people. I just cannot fathom why some things occur or are said by people whom I believe to be intelligent enough to start, or join, a business which should be successful in today’s market. I often wonder if they are aware of what they have done or what they have said and the effect their action or words may have on their success.

Over and over I have heard others say that if you keep doing what you have always done, why are you amazed that you receive the results that you have always received. Yet there are many business people who keep practicing the same business principles that they always have with the same disastrous results. Why not try something new? If that new action doesn’t produce better results, try something else, but try something new and different from what you know doesn’t work.

When invited to spend some time networking, a business owner told me that they were too busy to attend networking events. This was immediately after they said that their business was about to die from a lack of customers. In other words, they had too few customers but couldn’t spend time to network and market themselves to get more.

I was told recently that someone had no money for marketing. This person may not believe in marketing themselves and gaining new clients, or they may believe that they do not need to spend any money, or any effort, to market to gain new prospects. This person should look to how they can spend small amounts of money and still gain new customers who will then, from the great service provided, recruit other new customers for this insurance agent.

Once in a while, I have heard the statement that a business has too many customers. This is a problem 99.9% of successful businesses want. Deal with it and build your business to go out and get even more customers. When you started your business, what did you expect? Did you want it to prosper, and grow, or did you expect it to reach a certain point and stop growing? The only certainty is change and change can be for the better or for the worse. It can be what you make it.

When you wrap your vehicle with your business name, you must watch how you drive. Marketing is everything that you do from waking up until you go to sleep. If your driving reflects badly on your business name, your marketing has been for naught and you will experience a drop in your reputation, the most tangible aspect of your business. You are known by what you do, as well as what you say.

As you go about your day look at what others do and listen to what they say. If you find yourself asking “Why?” maybe you can learn something from what you have observed. Maybe these are the actions and words that you should never utilize in your life and business. Learn from others and allow your business to prosper.

Ever ask yourself “Why?” If you do, make sure that you aren’t looking at yourself and your own acts or words. Appreciation Marketing might mean that you reach out and try to help someone who may need your advice in their “why” moments. Why not? Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.

October 26, 2014

Networking Partners

We have discussed building relationships and how that can lead to more successful businesses. We have discussed how business networking partners will be there when we need advice, role models, and referrals that will lead to additional, and better, business. These partners will help us by guiding us through the difficulties of the business world, giving us someone to rely on when times are frustrating.

When we look to build a networking partnership we should look for others with whom we feel an honest and open relationship. We must have partners that we trust, being able to share information, and never keeping score as to who has helped whom, or when. Remember, like a personal relationship, it is all about helping others, not swapping one-for-one gestures of help. It is a partnership, not a competition. We must never feel as if our partners are tearing us down, but we should believe that they are building us up.

Our networking partners can be anyone with whom we feel comfortable. If we feel comfortable we share our referrals, support, and honesty with no hesitation. Our trust is imperative and must be earned through the introductory steps of getting to know each other. Both partners must be willing to be totally honest with each other, and understand that the help and advice we receive is meant to be constructive, not destructive.

One of the ultimate aspects of trust is the sharing of referrals. They represent our reputation, and that of our business. If we trust someone with our referrals, we probably trust them with our business. But what if we don’t need what someone else has to offer? Then the referrals that we pass to others represent the bulk of our business relationship with them. Remember it is a partnership, and partners share with each other, and they never keep score.

Honesty is something that must be paramount in our relationships in business. We must be honest in our offering, or not offering, referrals. We must be honest in our advice and suggestions to someone else. We should never offer advice when we really do not believe that it is needed or appropriate. Remember that honesty is the best policy and dishonesty will be found out every time. Sometimes honesty means that we cannot refer someone to another partner because it just would not be a good fit.

It has been said that our networking partners will give us advice before we ask for it. Our partners will give us referrals when they meet someone that may be right for us to meet, whether as a prospect or another networking partner. Partners are proactive and don’t wait for others to ask for help. We should never regret the opportunity that we do not pursue. As our marketing tells us, just take action and don’t bemoan the lost opportunity later.


Who are our networking partners? Do they have our best interests at heart, or do they keep score when offering referrals or advice or other types of support? Appreciation Marketing means that we all look for partners with whom we can form bonds of mutual trust and support. Both partners have a part to play, and partnerships mean both parties participate. Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.

October 19, 2014

Eyes and Ears

The human body is a very well designed machine. We have a brain that does swift calculations, makes great decisions, and drives the body through its motions each and every day. We have limbs that do various things, like walking grasping, pulling, pushing, climbing, and other motions that get us from one place to another. All in all, the human body is fairly fantastic in its design and performance.

Consider two parts of the body, the eyes and the ears. The eyes see whatever is within our vision range, and the ears hear whatever is within our realm of hearing. They are input devices, like a computer keyboard or a mouse. They absorb what they see or hear and input the information to our brains so that those brains can make decisions with that data. We input information so that our processors can churn through the data and give us the benefit of that processing.

We also have a mouth, that wonderful body part that provides our voice to the world. This is an output device, much like a computer monitor or printer. With the mouth, our brain can communicate our thoughts to others, providing input to their ears and even allowing their eyes to see our feelings though smiles, grimaces, and sneers. Did you ever hear the expression “an angry mouth”?

We have all heard the advice that we have been given two eyes and two ears, but only one mouth. That means that we should intake twice as much information through our eyes and ears as opposed to the information that we put forth through our mouths. In other words, look and listen twice as much as you speak. Unfortunately, we cannot resist the urge to speak, speak, and speak some more. We babble and pollute the ears, and eyes, of whomever we have targeted with our words.

Our brains are marvelous devices that work wonders with our bodies, multitasking all the time, even when we are asleep. However, our brains cannot, on their own, stop us from vomiting words all over the people with whom we meet and speak. We must make a conscious decision to stop all the talk and speak only when we think seriously about what we are saying. Then, and only then, can we build relationships with others.

Appreciation Marketing implies that we should listen to the needs of others, attempt to solve those needs for others, and provide information to others that will help them in their quest for improvement and success. We cannot know what someone needs unless we listen to them, observe them as they are speaking with us, and attempt to solve their needs. We cannot solve their needs if we do not listen and hear their cries for help.

Have you ever listened to yourself speak? Perhaps the next time you meet with someone, ask if you can record the conversation. Then play it back and count the number of times you speak to them before you listen, the number of times you cut their words off, answering their questions before they finish them, or the number of times you try to fix something about them before you hear what it is that is broken.

We all have two eyes and two ears to receive input from others. We only have one mouth to provide output to others. Don’t be the person who vomits words all over someone, before you know what it is that they need to hear from you. Don’t be the person who others say: “He never listens before he tries to sell”. Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.

October 12, 2014

Happiness

“You cannot always have happiness, but you can always give happiness.” I have never known who first said this, but you can substitute lots of words for “happiness”, and it is very true no matter what word you use. It is a proven fact that those who give to others will receive back that same gift from someone, somewhere, somehow. You can call it karma, or whatever other term you use, but it is true.

“Delivering happiness” is the motto of one of the most outstanding retailers, Zappos, the online apparel store. Read the story of the company in Tony Hsieh’s book, “Delivering Happiness, A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose”. They believe that their company is “powered by service”, a philosophy that more businesses should follow. The back of the book jacket lists 10 reasons to buy the book, all of which are enlightening.

So what makes us all happy? What is happiness to us; what drives us to be successful? What even satisfies the question that we have done what we should do? How do we define success; how do we measure our success as a business person or as an individual? Is it the amount of money that we make, or is it the number of people’s lives that we impact in a favorable manner, making them better in some way?

Each of us will answer these questions in different ways. What makes one of us happy or successful may be very different from what means the same to someone else. What defines our lives may not even be in the realm of similarity for someone else. That is what makes us all individuals and normal people.

Is it the balance of money in our bank account, the number of investments that return dollars to us, or the number of friends that we have? Is it the size of our residence, the number of cars in our garage, or the number of people that we have touched, helping them to rise above the level of living where they were when we first met?

Maybe we have a lot of friends or contacts in social media, but do we have anyone with whom we can say that we have a relationship of mutual trust and support? Do we have those whom we can contact for assistance, information, and to whom we can bare our souls and minds? Take a step back, and let yourself take a long, honest look at your life and how your relationships matter to you and to whom you are.

Bob Byrd and John David Mann say in their book, “The Go-Giver”, that we should be of service to others. Their Five Laws of Stratospheric Success stress the idea of giving to others, supporting the success of others, and helping others reach their potential. This is a great book which stresses the principles of karma, that we all get back from someone and somewhere whatever we put forth into the world, no matter to whom we give. But we should give to give, not to get.

So, what is happiness to you? What means more to you, the success of your business or your own personal satisfaction? Is it the balance in your bank account or the fact that you can smile when you look into the mirror and be proud of what you do each and every day? What do your networking partners say about your Appreciation Marketing? Do you practice it or just give it lip service? Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.

October 5, 2014

Fun

Those of you who know me understand that I believe that everyone should have fun in everything that we all do, including work as well as play. If we are not having fun each and every day, we should take a look at whatever it is that we are doing and fix the problem of the lack of fun. If we all are having fun each and every day, we are doing something that is good for us as well as for everyone else.

If our business is fun for us, and for our employees and our co-workers, is it fun for our clients? Does our customer base believe that their day is richer or more enjoyable for having done business with us? It doesn’t matter how much their purchase from us makes their lives better. When they come to us and make a purchase, does that process makes them feel better, smile, maybe laugh, and believe that they enjoyed the process? Do they have fun?

It doesn’t matter what we have available for our prospects. It doesn’t even matter if they make a purchase or not. Do they enjoy engaging in the buying process with us? Is the process fun, or does it brighten their day? Of course, if they actually make a purchase from us, our day is brighter and we enjoy the process more, but just the interaction should be enjoyable and even fun for both parties. That should be true even if no purchase is made.

Do our employees or co-workers have fun? Do we as business people have fun during each and every day? If not, why not? Maybe we should take a look at our operations from the outside, like our customers and prospects do. Maybe we should look at what our clients see and how it makes everyone feel. Perhaps we should ask our clients, who give us repeat business, as well as our one-time customers, what they see and experience.

Do our prospects enjoy the role of prospect or do they endure the process, looking for the exit door from the buying experience? Does the one-time customer grit their teeth, buy what they have to have, and get out of the experience as quickly as possible? Asking them for their honest opinion would be a good start to answering the question of why we are not having fun ourselves.

One of the principles of Appreciation Marketing is to look at our business processes from the viewpoint of the client or prospect. Only then can we realistically see what we do and experience how it is for that person to do business with us. Do we have the type of relationships with our prospects or clients to gain that information in a usable format? Do our prospects or clients believe that they can be honest with us?

How about our employees or co-workers? Do they have the level of relationship that allows them to be honest and objective with us? Do we have the type of relationship with ourselves to do the same? If all of us aren’t having fun and enjoying our work, it becomes a death march to failure as business people and as a business.


What do your clients and prospects have to say about your business? Do they have fun in dealing with you? Do your co-workers or employees have fun and enjoy the process of business with you? Do you? Does everyone, including you, enjoy the buying process and experience, or do they endure it, looking for it to end as soon as possible? Do you appreciate doing business with you? Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.

September 28, 2014

Repeat Clients

Would you rather have repeat clients or one time customers? Would you rather have to search out and market to customers who buy from you once and vanish, or would you rather have clients who return over and over again for your products or services? Which is preferable, a client who has an automatic, standing order or ones that you need to find and market to every time?

Repeat clients are the ones who get the preferred table in a restaurant, because they are there so often. Repeat clients are the ones who have their order on “subscription”, revising it seldom, usually to make it larger. Repeat clients are assets of your business.

You must “discover” the one time customers, convince them of the worth of your product or service, and then convince them to make a purchase. After all that, you start the prospecting process over and over again, justifying each purchase to your potential customers, and hoping that they remain a customer over time.

Which do you think is better for the health of your business? Which is better for your own health and peace of mind? Do you really think it is more fun to constantly “troll” for new clients, or would you enjoy life more if you had repeat clients who you didn’t have to chase? The questions answer themselves.

Remember the television show Cheers? Everyone wanted to go where they were welcome and people knew their names. Apply that logic to running your business. Maybe if you learned the names of all your customers, they might remain your customers longer. Maybe if you recognized their business for the value that it is, and appreciated their business, they would become, and remain, repeat clients.

Appreciation Marketing means that your clients remember how you treated them far longer than they will remember what you sold to them. Practice Appreciation Marketing and have repeat clients instead of one-shot customers. Show your appreciation for their business, and they will refer more business to you, and you can stop cold calling.

Learn the names of your clients and all the names of their spouses and children. Learn what makes them special and what their birth dates and anniversary dates are. Learn the date that they started their business and why they did. Learn what they like and what they don’t like. Then tailor your marketing to them around all that information.

Tell them “thank you” for their business, and thank them every year for remaining your repeat client. Thank them for their referrals, each one of which puts more money into your pocket. Notice their birthdays and anniversaries, including the ones of their children. Notice the special events in their lives, opening a new branch, relocating their main location, or some special accomplishment of theirs.

Which would you prefer in your business, the repeat clients whose order is automatic, or the one-shot customer whose order requires you to chase it down, never to be seen again? Which, client or customer, will bring new clients to you because they know your name and remember how you treated them, appreciating their business, referrals, and relationship? Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.

September 21, 2014

Your Business Problems

Operating a business involves many aspects, some of which we can perform, some of which require that we must involve other entities. We cannot do it all, and we must understand that fact and implement the steps that take advantage of the talents, services, and products of others outside our business staff or organization.

Maybe you founded your business with the theory of being a solo operator, standing on your own feet, promoting ideas that you developed, and answering only to yourself. You did not want to grow the operation beyond that initial scope, and you did not want to involve any staff for whose actions you needed to answer or support.

For 10 years I attempted to operate a business where I was this type of person. I did not want to grow the business any larger in staff. I trusted only myself to perform at the same level that I intended. I also did not want to be responsible for fulfilling promises made by anyone on my staff who should not have made those promises. Looking backwards, maybe I was very short-sighted.

Any business that succeeds will grow and must grow both in clients and the ability to support those clients. That is very difficult for a solo operator who does not want the problems of staff and all that involves. Does this mean that you must start hiring staff and implementing all the “stuff” that this hiring requires? Maybe it does, but maybe not.

We have networking partners and relationships with those in other businesses and in our personal lives. They are the people who may have the solutions to our problems. These solutions may be products, services, or just knowledge or other referrals to those people with whom we do not yet have relationships. Try tapping into your network and let your relationships help you with your problems.

You must realize that when you ask your relationships for their assistance with problems, it means that you will have to share the information regarding those problems with those others from whom you need assistance. Never believe that you are the first business person who needs help, nor are you the first business person to ask others for that help. Don’t let your silly pride stop your quest for information; don’t believe that your networking partners will never need to come to you for similar help.

If you have practiced the philosophy of Appreciation Marketing, you have numerous partners whom you can honestly and openly trust with discussing your problems. You can also trust them to ask for their assistance in solving your problems. If they are successful, they may have faced many of those situations and survived them. Their experiences are valuable, and their assistance and support are valuable to you.

Every business has experienced, or will experience, problems during its existence. Never believe that you are alone in that fact. Never believe that you must stand alone. It is not an exhibition of weakness to ask for the help of your networking partners. After all, they are your partners for a reason, a shared desire, and willingness, to provide a mutually beneficial partnership for success.


Who do you go to for information or help in solving your problems in your life, either in business or your personal life? Can you go to your networking partners, and are you comfortable in your relationships to seek their assistance? Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.

September 14, 2014

Virtual vs Reality

How many virtual “friends” do you have? How many virtual “contacts” do you have? When we frequent on-line sites and make others our friends or contacts, is that the same as making them our partners in reality? How can we provide the same benefits to those virtual partners as we do our partners that we have met in reality?

I know people who brag about how many friends they have on Facebook or how many contacts they have on LinkedIn. There is nothing like social media to brighten our day. Conversing with others on-line about what we are doing or where we are going can be very stimulating. However, does this provide positive benefits to any of those involved?

Telling everyone in your circle of “friends” that you are leaving for vacation on a certain date can be interesting to some, but it can be a green light to others who would like to rob your house or office. Posting pictures of where you are having a meal may provide interesting information to some, but not to others. For some Facebook is a distraction from their actual business that provides no positive answers to any real problems.

Do any of us actually know all the people who we have as “friends” or “contacts”? How did we gain so many numbers, and what does that number actually mean to our business or how others regard us? Are these relationships beneficial to anyone involved in them, or are the numbers just that, numbers that we brag about to others?

If someone invites me to connect with them on LinkedIn, I always ask if we can meet, either in person or at least on the phone, to chat and get to know each other. Of course, face-to-face is always preferable, but a telephone conversation can be acceptable, especially if the person is geographically unavailable. Who knows, if the telephone conversation goes well, you might be able to overcome the geography involved.

I have relationships with people who I have never actually physically met which are very rewarding for both parties. That is because we have had detailed telephone conversations, shared thoughts and ideas, and told each other about ourselves, businesses, and lives. We have actually discovered what the other person needs and tried to solve those needs, either directly or by referrals to others.

How about trying this approach with your “unknown” friends and contacts? Send them a message with your telephone number asking them to call you so you both can learn about the other and start to build a relationship. If they ask you what you mean, try to explain that you want to move past virtual to real relationships. If they don’t want to do this, should they be included with your real partners in the social media environment?

Do not venture into the social media environment looking for benefits just for you. Look to help others find what they need and to build relationships that are mutually beneficial to all parties included. That is Appreciation Marketing, and social media provides another place for us build to relationships and show others how these relationships can work for all of us. Make virtual become reality, and your life will grow and prosper.


How many “friends” or “contacts” do you have? Are they just numbers, or do you have mutually beneficial relationships with those people in the virtual world like the ones in the real world. What is the reaction to requests for help in the virtual world, and does it compare with a similar request in the world of reality? Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.

September 7, 2014

Difficulty

Albert Einstein was famous in many different ways. One way was his wisdom as expressed in words, not numbers. One of his sayings was, “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” Many people say that difficult times are just opportunities in disguise. Whatever you believe, difficulty is just a point in time that all of us will experience, but will handle differently.

As business people all of us will experience difficult times. This is inevitable in business. It does not matter what the situation is or who is to blame, difficulty will rise up and slap us in the face if we are in business, no matter what our position or level of business. It does not matter what type of past experience we have, difficulty will find us.

It should not come as a surprise when difficulty knocks on our door. We should expect that it will occur, sooner or later. It is how we handle difficulty that defines us as business people. Do we cringe in fear, becoming frozen in our office, or do we smile, maybe even laugh, and take action to turn the difficult times into successes? Just a hint, cringing in fear never works; we must stand on our feet, glare at the difficulty, and slap it down into submission.

When the difficult times arrive, we must draw on the information, planning, and other resources that we have established to deal with the problem that has presented itself, whatever it is. Is it of our own doing, or the fault of one of our staff? Is it something for which we have plans, or is it something that we never anticipated? What is the best process that we need to take to correct the situation and to prevent a reoccurrence?

It is imperative to learn from difficult experiences. Information is power, and we must use the information that we gain to our best advantage. What does the difficulty do to the spirit and thought process of our staff and to our own thought process? We must take steps to deal with this aspect of the difficulty and make sure that we do not operate in the future out of fear of failure.

As Thomas Fuller said, “All things are difficult before they are easy.” Based on the facts of a difficult period, we must look at the experience as just that, an experience. We must learn from these events and build processes to prevent their reoccurrence or to mitigate the impact in the future. Repeating panic from one difficulty to the next is failure and doom for a business. Your operation will get easier after difficulties are overcome and you have moved on in your business.

We all will experience difficulty in our businesses. It is what we do to deal with those times that define us as a business and as business people. Your networking partners should be a source of information, as well and comfort, in those periods of stress and despair. By building relationships with others, you will allow yourself to draw on their information and experience when you need their support. That’s Appreciation Marketing and relationships at the best.


So what is your process for dealing with difficult times? Do you panic, blaming everyone else but yourself? Or do you keep your calm, implement plans to deal with the problem, and learn from the event? Maybe you could rely on help from your partners, but you may be able to help one of those partners when they need you, relationships being two-way streets. Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.

August 31, 2014

Trust

Zig Ziglar once said: “If people like you, they will listen to you. If they trust you, they will do business with you.” Taking that thought a little further, if people trust you, they will also refer others to you.

Obviously if people do not trust you they will not do business with you nor will they refer others to you. We must gain the trust of others if we are to be successful in gaining their business and especially if we are to gain their referrals. How do we do that; how do we gain someone’s trust to the degree that they will tell their closest partners about us and urge them to do business with us?

It has been previously been discussed that we must get people to know us and like us before they will trust us. That is still true today. If someone doesn’t know you or doesn’t like you, then they will not trust you. This is simply common sense. We must get acquainted; we must get to know each other and decide if we like each other for there to be a business relationship possible.

How do we get to know someone after we meet them for the first time? We must spend some time speaking with them, finding out the background of their life and business, and developing a relationship with them. Without that time spend in research, we cannot decide how must we like the other person, or if we ever will trust them. We cannot develop a true relationship without taking time to learn about them.

Building relationships are all that building a business is about. Without relationships we will have no continued business with anyone, and we have no basis for gaining their trust or their referrals. You cannot survive if all you do is attempt the quick sale, over and over. You must build relationships with those whom you meet. Relationships are what your business needs to survive over time.

Wouldn’t it be better to have referrals driving your continued business success than having to beat the bushes over and over for the next customer? If you continue to look for the fast sale and never try to build relationships, you are leaving your business growth and success to chance. You are rolling the dice every day and gambling with the future of your success. You are also gambling that people will overlook what you are doing, damaging your reputation, both in business and as a person.

How many people have you heard tell you that they don’t like a pushy sales person? How many have told you that they really don’t like sales people in general? Then, how about you stop being a sales person and start building relationships with others? You may find that you like this process that doesn’t have the pressure of finding the next customer and instead lets you be the wonderful, supportive person that you believe yourself to be.

Why not try finding out what makes others do whatever they do, how they came to be where you met them, and what they need to make their business better? Then maybe you could discover what you can do to help them gain whatever they need and how to build a relationship for the long haul. Do you believe that the other person will learn more about you, perhaps like you, and as a result trust you?

People build relationships with those whom they know, like, and trust. They do business with those relationships, and they refer business to those same relationships. Stop trying to sell whatever you have to everyone. Start trying to build relationships and help those others obtain whatever they need. Then you both will gain the business and referrals that you deserve. That’s Appreciation Marketing.

Who have you build a relationship with lately? Is it something that you try to do each and every day with everyone that you meet? Try it, and you may be pleasantly surprised. Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.

August 24, 2014

Make It Easy

One of my favorite marketing suggestions is for a business to make the buying experience easy for the customer. If the customer does not have to jump through all sorts of hoops or over many obstacles, they will actually enjoy buying from your business. They will then tell everyone else how easy the experience was, often saying that they enjoyed the process and had some fun doing it.

There are businesses that make the customer buying experience very memorable. However, there is good memorable and there is bad memorable. We all want to be known for the good memories that we give our customers, not the bad ones. Therefore, we must provide a buying experience that the client remembers as pleasurable and good, not as something that they never, ever want to go through again. It should be a purchase, not a death march.

Does this mean that we must wine and dine our customer during the buying process? Of course not, unless that is the product that we provide. We must give the customer an easy route to the conclusion of their purchasing process, making it as easy as possible, and maybe making it enjoyable, or even a fun experience. It should not be exhausting or frustrating to the customer.

Perhaps every customer starts at your website. Is it easy to navigate; is it easy to read? Is it easy to locate, or is it the website address difficult to type into your browser? Can they find your product listing and prices easily; can they pick out their purchases quickly and check out in a straight-forward manner? Do you accept various methods of payment, and does the customer feel secure in providing their information to you?

If you have a storefront operation, some of the same questions apply. Is it welcoming, easy to locate, safe to venture into, and well-lighted especially if you are open at night? Are your offerings displayed so that they may be easily perused, well-marked as to price, and readily available? Is your staff helpful, knowledgeable, and pleasant to your cliental? Is the purchase process quick and easy, and if the items purchased are heavy or large, do you deliver or at least assist out of your store?

In either situation, is there a way to follow-up with you if there are questions or problems? Can the customer ask questions and receive answers in a swift manner before, during, or after their purchase? Do you state your policies regarding purchases, shipping, and returns clearly and simply? Have you ever asked others to review your website, or store, and give you their opinion of it from the outsider’s point of view?

Have you ever asked your customers their opinions, or have you ever asked your former customers? Is your delivery staff friendly, non-threatening, and able to complete the tasks required in an efficient, but professional manner? Can they answer questions, make adjustments if necessary, and resolve issues on the spot? What is your procedure if there is a mistake on your part, if there is an error on the customer’s part, or if there is a broken, or missing, portion of the product in question?

All of the parts of the customer buying experience are important to a business’s continued success. Your customers will return to buy your products or services if their experience is pleasant and enjoyable. If it is not a good experience, they will not return for whatever you have, and will also never refer anyone to you. They will be your greatest advocates if you make it easy for they to buy from you, but will drive prospects away if they have a difficult buying experience. You want them to be happy, and satisfied, customers and marketing advocates.


What is the experience of your customers? Have you ever asked them, especially the ones that did not remain clients? We all need happy, satisfied customers to prosper and succeed. Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.

August 17, 2014

Why Not?

So, you went to a networking meeting, found someone who wanted to meet with you and chat over coffee. You met them in a nice coffee shop, had a beverage of some sort, and they asked you to tell them all about your business, yourself, and how you reached this point in life. You told them all about yourself, your hopes, dreams, your business, and how you came to be where you are now.

Then you spoiled the entire meeting by announcing that you were leaving, never asking them about themselves and their business, or their life. Are you that rude, or are you just that clueless about networking and building relationships? Maybe networking is a one-way street for you; maybe you believe that networking is only about getting new customers for your business. Maybe, for you, it is all about getting yourself a new career; maybe you could care less about the other person.

Networking is a two-way street. We must learn that in order to succeed. We must understand that we must give to others in order for karma to recognize that we are in this relationship building business for the long haul. We must understand that in order to get referrals of any sort, we must know enough about the other person to give referrals to them that are solid, pertinent referrals.

How can you honestly look another person in the face and say that you want to build a networking relationship with them and not try to learn anything about them or their business? How can you expect them to value a relationship with you if there is no effort on your part to do so? How can others want to know about you if you don’t want to know about them? Did you just give lip service to the relationship building idea when it was proposed to you, or did you actually mean to take it seriously?

Every day I meet people who are serious about building their business and the relationships necessary to make that business a success. These people understand that a great client is not one who writes the immediate order with you, but is the one who builds a relationship with you that lasts longer than you could ever imagine. They may write orders over and over with you, always putting money into your pocket. However, their real value is the fact that they refer other prospects to you, increasing your bottom line more than you ever could do alone.

Every day I meet other people who are either representing a business or looking for a new career, and who have no clue as to what they are doing. They are looking for the next sale, the next career opportunity for themselves, never giving a thought to what they can do for others. Do they learn what makes a great client for someone else’s business; do they tell someone else about a career opportunity that may be perfect for another person besides themselves? Do they just go through life thinking about themselves, never considering the importance of trying to help others?

Success in business is built on Appreciation Marketing. Make your clients believe that they are the most important part of your business life; make your employees believe that they are the most vital cog in your business operation. Make your family believe that they are the rock on which your life is built; make your business relationships believe that you will do whatever you can to help them be successful. Then you can say that you have the path to success down pat. Why not try it?


Have all your marketing plans been successful, or are you muddling through each day, getting exactly what you have always gotten back from your efforts? How many referrals did you receive this week, this month, this year? Maybe you need to try something new. Why not try to give more and not attempt to sell so much? Why not try a new batch of friends and associates? Maybe you could even try to teach others to try something new while you are learning how to do the same. Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.