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.