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, 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, 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, or call me at 360-314-8691.

September 7, 2014


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, or call me at 360-314-8691.