December 27, 2015

Ask Them About Their Business

We have repeatedly discussed the fact that we need to meet other business people one-on-one for a chat over coffee, or whatever. When we meet someone for a few minutes at any event, networking or otherwise, we do not have time to get to know them, decide if we like them, or decide if we trust them. We must understand that we will be so much more successful if we can move a new acquaintance through these 3 levels of the relationship.

The first step in this process is a one-on-one meeting where we get to know someone. One of the most important actions that we can take is to ask them about their business. How can we refer someone to the appropriate prospects if we do not know what their business is? Business referrals are the lifeblood of successful businesses and build true networking relationships.

There are numerous coffee meetings taking place each and every day that do not result in networking partnerships. Only one participant in the meeting may actually ask any questions about the other party. This is rude and impolite when it happens, and results in one party feeling used and reluctant to ever pass referrals to the other party. If we don’t care to learn anything about the other person, why do we agree to the meeting?

We can ask questions such as: what is the nature of your business, how long have you been in business, why did you start or join this business, are you a long time resident of the area, where are you from, what does your spouse/partner do, what do you do for fun, what type of networking events do you attend, and what is the basis for your success. In other words, get to know the other person. To do so, we must ask questions.

If the meeting is interrupted before we can discover the needed details about the other person, schedule another meeting for the future for the purpose of exchanging information. We must never leave a meeting with the other person feeling like we do not care about what they do. After all, we met originally at a networking meeting where we intended to meet new prospects. If we do not ask any questions, how do we know if they are a prospect for anyone, including ourselves?

Entrepreneurs who start a business are normally very proud of that fact and love to discuss their business, how it started, how it is doing, and what their journey has been with everyone they meet. All we have to do is ask questions and listen. If we don’t ask and listen, how do we know anything about them, who they should know, or even if we might need what they have? Asking for details will spread some gratitude to everyone. Don’t attempt to make them a customer; find out what they need, and help them get it, even if we don’t have it.

Gratitude Marketing means that we build relationships with others in business. It means that we meet others and grow to know them, like them, and trust them if possible. One of the ways to do this is to meet them one-on-one and discuss what both parties do in their businesses. To do anything less is impolite and rude, and will result in no referrals. Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.

December 20, 2015

Customer Care Part 2

As we draw towards the holiday season, perhaps we should take a look at our customer care and some of the good decisions and some of the bad that we may have made during the past year. While not attributed to any specific business or person, these cases may help all of us make the New Year a more rewarding one for everyone.

Who thought that it was a good decision to broadcast how wonderful customer service can be and then not follow the example given? If we tell everyone how great our customer service is, we should at least acknowledge our own faults and mistakes. If we proclaim how sanitary and safe our facilities are, we cannot then avoid criticism about additional problems that our customers may have. We could at least help them recover their status as it was before they suffered at our hands.

Who sold all these businesses on the voice mail greeting: “Your call is very important to us”? Hearing it multiple times each day gets really irritating and only means that we will be on hold for far longer than we should be. If we really record calls as we claim to do, we would know how irritating some of our customer service conversations may be or how happy our customers are to sit on hold for more than 5 minutes.

“We are experiencing busier than normal customer service call volumes” is not an acceptable excuse for long waits on hold. Either hire enough people to solve the problem calls for customers or prevent the problems from happening in the first place. In addition, training customer service representatives before they take calls might be a great idea to build customer loyalty.

How many people can we say “thank you” to in one day? We should try to do so each and every day. Sure beats what we are currently doing, doesn’t cost us much, and might even make us happier. In addition, how about starting a conversation with a total stranger the next time we have a spare moment in a coffee shop or business. Treating receptionists like we don’t have time for them does not work as well for us as being nice instead.

My friend, Jon Turino always has time to chat with others, give them advice and encouragement, and discuss what they are doing versus what they should do in their business. His knowledge and help are invaluable, but not everyone will seek him out and spend some time with him. If we have mentor type people in our circle, we should always make time to ask them about what they need and how we can assist them. It is only common courtesy. Thank you Jon for caring about everyone.

When we meet new potential networking partners, ask them what they do, how they do it, and what they need. Otherwise we cannot introduce anyone to them that may be a good fit for either person. Next time we sit down to chat with anyone, see who can ask the other person the most questions about themselves. It would be rewarding and fun.

Gratitude Marketing can be the greatest part of our customer care. Live it and teach it to others, and karma will reward all of us with success. Our customers, clients, prospects, and partners will thank us, and more potential partners will flock to us. We may have to discover ways to handle more customers, and that would be a very good thing. Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.

December 13, 2015

Customer Care

Business boils down to a simple question: What type of people are we, and what type of business decisions should we make? We must base our business on two principles. First, we must do whatever is right and correct for our clients and prospects. Second, we must be the type of person who appreciates others. Only then can we prosper and share that prosperity with others.

Gratitude Marketing means that we actively look for opportunities to show our appreciation and gratitude to others. It should be a building block for our business. It also provides the backbone for better customer service and greater growth and prosperity for our businesses. It means that we give to others, with the intent to give to give, not to get. The fact that we will receive back better than we give is karma, plain and simple.

Customer service, or care, means that we treat everyone as valued entities and do not ignore anyone in that effort. This includes customers, clients, prospects, networking partners, family, friends, and strangers. Our own self-promotion pales in comparison to showing others how valuable they are and how much we appreciate them. Do not bombard everyone with great proclamations about how great we are, how wonderful our products are or our service is, or how long we have been in business

Bragging about ourselves or our businesses get old fast. Continuing to do it gets boring and becomes shallow sounding. All we need is one disgruntled former customer to post on social media or be quoted in the press to destroy our efforts to market through bragging. Vanity marketing is not the basis for successful businesses. Gratitude Marketing will deliver more business success.

Providing great customer care means being responsive to inquiries, resolving problems, and delivering orders on time, as requested. If orders cannot be delivered correctly, then business must rectify problems as soon as possible. Business must “do the right thing”, which means making decisions to support the customer’s needs and rights.

What do our customers say about our customer care? Do they look forward to doing business with us; do they believe that doing business with us is easy or tedious and difficult? What do they tell their friends and do they introduce others to us as prospects? What do our “lost” customers say about us, and do we even ask? Are we reputable, honest, and ethical in our business, or are we “shady” and untrustworthy?

Gratitude Marketing dictates that we provide the best customer care that we can. It means that we are professional, dedicated to being the best that we can be in our business, and looking to always “do the right thing”. Sometimes it means that what we go past the norm, what is expected, and what is considered adequate by others. It does not mean marketing through self-promotion, or Vanity Marketing.

It is time for better customer care, making our businesses appreciate our clients, prospects, networking partners, and showing that appreciation. Practice great customer care through Gratitude Marketing and see success and business prosperity. Karma cannot provide any other result. Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.

December 6, 2015

Introductions

Networking partners provide referrals, advice, support, and other information to each other without keeping score about who does what or how much. They have a vested interest in the success of each other, both personally and in business. What is that vested interest? It may be only the knowledge that they can help someone else to move forward in their life and reap the results. They just care and do the right thing.

My friend, John Lee of Sales Xceleration, is a master at introductions of people. John sends emails to two people that he has met introducing them to each other. He includes the recipients’ emails, phone numbers, and a paragraph about each of them. He urges them to contact each other, meet face to face, and get to know each other. He believes that, even if they never become each other’s customers, they may be able to benefit in some manner from knowing each other.

What John does in these introductions is give people the opportunity to meet others that they might never know. What becomes of the relationship is up to the people who he introduces. If they never meet, they may lose out on great opportunities to help one another. They may never know what they have missed. They may not suffer from never meeting, but what could it hurt to meet another possible networking partner?

Each person knows the other has their information, knows something about the each other, and should expect the phone call. If these are responsible business people, they should be calling each other as soon as possible, and will make the effort to meet and get to know each other. Sure beats meeting someone by chance, doesn’t it?

We have previously discussed what these meetings should be. We get to know someone by asking questions about them, their business, and their lives. The knowledge that we gain about them allows us to decide if we like them and in turn if we trust them. Do we automatically do business with them? Maybe we do or maybe we don’t. Do we automatically start referring them to others; maybe or maybe not? It is a starting point from which we could build towards being clients, networking partners, or both.

Maybe we start by introducing them to others; maybe we start by inviting them to networking meetings that we attend. It is a journey, and we have started down a path to something that might be beneficial to all parties. Where that path leads is up to both of us, and it is a responsibility of both of us to try it. Anything else is not a good business decision.

We never know when our next client will come into our lives, from where they will come, or who they will be. Shouldn’t we explore every opportunity to meet that next partner or that next client? They might be the connection to the greatest client that any of us ever knows. Making introductions to others may just be the path to prosperity; following through on introductions from others may be a better path than our own prospecting.

Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691. Start making introductions to other people in your business and personal life. The people we introduce may be better for meeting those people, and we will be better for putting them together. Thank you, John Lee for your wisdom and example.

November 29, 2015

Just Stop It

Let’s discuss two sides of a question. While we all know that we should never prejudge anyone and should always give others the benefit of the doubt, what do we do when we just cannot get a concrete answer from a prospect? Do we keep trying to gain a commitment from someone who refuses to make a decision, or do we throw our hands up and walk away from future attempts to gain the prospect’s business?

We all have met this person, and we have heard the comments:

“I really want to do business with you, but…”
“As soon as I have cleared my schedule, we will meet and I’ll sign up with you.”
“I have committed my entire budget this year/quarter/month, but I’ll call you when I start planning…”
“Your product/service is perfect for us, but…”

Gratitude Marketing means that we stay in touch with people and acknowledge what they do for us and/or for other people. It does not mean that we keep beating on a dead horse or pounding our heads against the wall of rejection. When someone has more excuses than clients and more reasons to delay making a decision (no matter what it is), they probably cannot be motivated to change their decision to not make a decision.

When we practice Gratitude Marketing, we stay in touch with people who we appreciate and keep them in our networking relationships. We may never gain these networking partners as clients, but we should remain in relationships with them, pass referrals back and forth, and consider them as partners. We are never going to sign all our partners as clients, but we can keep them as partners in networking relationships.

People who cannot make a decision to become our client may not be able to make a similar decision to become our networking partner. We must recognize that situation and realize that the relationship will probably not become what we want it to be. Then we have a decision to make of our own, whether to stay in touch with the person and keep them in our contact list for future reference. Why not; what would it cost us?

The costs of operating a business include various expenses with varying purposes and results. To keep someone in our realm of contacts, staying in touch with them, and perhaps giving them information or referrals occasionally does not cost us much, especially when it is a part of our ongoing marketing. Then, maybe one day, that person will return a call with an inquiry to become a client.

Stop trying to lead people to the client table when they cannot decide what to do. If they probably will never become our client, or even a networking partner, we should devote time to those prospects who will. Just be patient, keep in touch, and keep giving to give, not to get. Let karma take its time and see what happens. Remember that everyone else we meet can be that next prospect, or client.

Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691. Stop losing sleep over the people who cannot make decisions and be patient with those who can. It will make us better business people and better people personally.

November 22, 2015

Thanksgiving

When we practice Gratitude Marketing, every day should be Thanksgiving. Every day we should look for, and find, occasions to say “Thank You” to other people. These occasions may be when the other person does something that directly impacts us as individuals. Some occasions may mean an indirect result that benefits us. Sometimes the action for which we should express thanks doesn’t impact us at all, other than it may show us how we can be more gracious to others.

We have often discussed the gratitude that we should show to someone who becomes our customer, literally putting money into our pockets. What about the people who reach out to us and become our friend, our partner in the business society, or our associate in some endeavor that we support? We must express our thanks to those people just as much because they also enhance our lives.

We have also discussed that we must show gratitude to the person who refers someone to us, either to be a customer or a partner. If someone is introduced to us and becomes a customer, once again our fortunes are increased, and the referring person should be thanked. If the referred person becomes our networking partner, they also have enriched our life and the person who introduced us should be thanked for that.

What about the person who does something that impacts the life of someone other than our own? Shouldn’t we show some gratitude to that person also? They have not only brightened or enriched the life of another person, possibility a total stranger, but they have shown everyone else how we should all behave. These people should be noticed and acknowledged for their efforts.

Holding a door for someone, smiling when serving a meal, answering an inquiry for directions, pointing out that someone has unknowingly dropped something, and allowing someone to enter into traffic are all efforts that deserve a “thank you”. Think how we feel when no one notices our efforts to be polite to others. How would everyone’s day be better if “thank you” was expressed more? As an uninvolved observer, doesn’t this type of act make our day better?

Every day we see, participate in, and hear about acts that should invoke a “thank you” from someone. These people who take the time to make someone else’s day better should be thanked by someone. Think how much their day could be enriched if we said “thank you” to them. Think how little it would cost us.

Gratitude Marketing can make Thanksgiving every day. Just see how many times we can say “thank you” every day to everyone that we see do something for someone else. Don’t stop at those people who act to benefit us; look for those people who we do not know, who don’t directly impact our lives, except through their examples. Then say “thank you” to them in some manner, verbal or written. It will make their day and yours better than it was before you reached out.

Every day try to see how many times you can say “thank you” in a single day. How many of these can be to strangers that don’t line your pocketbook? How many of these gestures make your own day better? Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.

November 15, 2015

Just Say No

We all have experienced the prospect who continues to tell us that they are “just not ready” to purchase whatever we offer. They may say that they need to gather the funds necessary to make the purchase, or they may tell us that they are too busy to make the decision “at this moment”. It is the end of the year; it’s the start of the holidays; it is their busy season; it’s “not a good time right now”. These are all excuses that we hear.

What is the prospect really telling us? Are they actually that poor at controlling their business or personal lives? Are they serious about our product or service and adding it to their life? What do they really mean to say to us? Is their real message that they will never purchase from us and they just cannot bring themselves to declare that fact?

We cannot move every prospect whom we meet to the status of customer or client. It just will never happen. Perhaps there is a financial status that our offering requires that our prospect will never gain in order to have the funds to buy from us. Perhaps our offering requires a level of discipline to implement or utilize that the prospect cannot adapt. Maybe they just do not want to do business with us personally.

Whatever the reason, we will never be able to add this prospect to our customer list. It will never happen, no matter how much we hope, dream, or envision. We have been taught that we should never say never. For us personally, there are prospects that we will never, ever be able to secure as customers, and we must realize this fact before we waste any further time and effort on these prospects.

“Sacrilege”, we say. How can we afford to give up on any prospect before successfully bringing them into our family of customers? Go for it; pursue them to the ends of the earth, crossing the line from marketing and follow-up to the level of stalking. We must realize that it just isn’t going to happen. Otherwise we will become frustrated and ignore the other prospects to whom we can market and then be rewarded for our efforts.

We should leave the door open, not insulting these prospects, but they should no longer be the main object of our efforts. Stay in touch with them through subtle marketing and let them know that we are still here, still available to them as networking partners. Perhaps a birthday greeting or maybe a reminder of a meeting that would be of common interest would be appropriate. Maybe one day they will see the light.

We must be adults here and not threaten our prospects. We must make them comfortable enough with our partnership that they can just say “no” to us and let us stop trying to gain their business. We must make them referral sources because they know what and who we are, like us for our methods and approach, and trust us to do the right thing, always. It is not the end of the world; it should be another moment among friends.

Gratitude Marketing means that we value others as partners and nurture those relationships that bring great karma to both parties. It does not mean bitter, all or nothing, relationships. It means that we can hear “no” from others and not become hostile. It also means that we can foster environments where our partners are comfortable saying “no” if they wish, and we can if we wish.

Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691. A “no” today may mean a “yes” from somewhere else tomorrow.

November 8, 2015

Sincerity Part 2

Last week we discussed sincerity in business. Our marketing must be sincere in what we tell others about our products, services, and how we do business. If it doesn’t, we will be known for our hypocrisy, and we will fail to succeed. We must look at what we say and how we say it when reviewing our marketing efforts.

We must remember that everything that we do is part of our marketing. We can show our positive side, or we can demonstrate a negative side in our marketing, depending on what we do or say. Our attitude towards our customers and prospects must be taken into consideration as part of our marketing and when examining what we say and how we say it.

We must put ourselves into the position of our prospects and customers and look at our business through their eyes and ears. What do they think of us, and do we make our buying experience stress-free for the prospect or customer? Is the purchasing process enjoyable and easy to navigate? Is it difficult and frustrating for the customer, making them turn to whomever will warmly welcome them and treat them better?

Have we ever called into our business as a customer would on the telephone? How are customers greeted; what type of service do we use if we don’t have a receptionist? Do we have an automated answering and routing service, and is it easy to navigate? Is the voicemail greeting for our individual number friendly and welcoming; do we return calls promptly and in a positive manner? If the customer cannot successfully contact us, we cannot market to them. We may never know they tried to connect with us.

How do we relay order information to the customer, including delivery dates and methods? Are we vague about a delayed delivery, or do we do everything that we can to keep the customer informed and satisfied? If we market a service, did it meet the customer’s expectations, or why not? If we cause an error at any stage, how do we rectify it, and how do we make the customer whole in their dealings with us?

If we lose a customer, do we ask why? Do we really care, and what is our attitude towards the customer who just fired us? How do any of our customers feel about doing business with us; are any of them ashamed that they spent any money with us? Do customers, current or former, speak ill of us to their friends, or do they praise us?

All of these questions are ones that we should be asking ourselves every day of our business lives. If we do not know the real answers, we must find out what the truth is. We must discover what others think about us and about doing business with us. If they aren’t honest with us, what did we do to make them elude our questions?

Practicing Gratitude Marketing means that we want our customers and prospects to know that we care about their business. It also means that we do whatever we can to make their experience with us as pleasant, easy, and rewarding as we can. If it isn’t, we must discover what is wrong and fix it. We must be sincere in our methods, the reasons behind them, and in all aspects of our marketing.

Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.Together we can grow and prospect as partners in business and in life.

November 1, 2015

Sincerity

All of us market either specifically our product or services or generally our business or ourselves. It is what we do. We market in everything that we do from the time we wake up until we go to sleep. It is every smile, frown, laugh, word we speak, story we tell, or gesture we make. We are a constant marketing machine, and we must understand that.

It does not matter what we put forth in our marketing if it is not the truth. We must remain honest and forthright in what we say and do. We cannot mislead prospects or customers. We must never cheat someone with whom we are partners, either in business or in networking. People do business with, and refer business to, others that they know, like, and trust.

If you lie to someone, they will discover the lie, and they will stop trusting you. Moreover, they will tell others that you are not trustworthy, and that will damage your credibility. We must do everything that we can to remain credible and have others trust us. We must never lose the trust of others. We must remain above the urge to stretch the truth to make a sale.

In the search for trust, we should always give the other person the feeling that we are sincere in our words, our gestures, and our actions. It does not matter what we say or do; do we appear or sound sincere at the time of the spoken word or gesture? Does our marketing material ring as truthful, and does it read as sincere to the person to whom it is directed? Would we want our family to read it and believe it?

Previously we have discussed that what someone says is very impactful, but how they say it is equally important. We can tell someone that we cherish and love them, but if we do so in a different manner, it can be hurtful and cruel. We can have the best product or service available, but if our marketing material does not present that fact in a sincere manner, we are doomed to gain new customers.

If anything sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t true. If our claims are so outrageous as to appear unbelievable, no one will believe us. We want others to believe us and embrace our marketing material as facts that they can rely on. Why do we ever make outrageous claims that others must defend if they support us or are our customers? We never want others to be ashamed that they believed lies from us.

When we are sincere in our marketing material, we put others in a comfortable situation when they become our customers. We want them to refer others to us and encourage those others to join them as our customers. We want our customers to be our unpaid marketing associates and partners. We must make their referrals valid by making sure that we never mislead them, and we must be sincere in our words or actions.

Gratitude Marketing provides us opportunities to make others believe that we are grateful for their business or support. We must be sincere in our expressions of appreciation and make other know for a fact that we appreciate their actions to support us. Keep in mind that we are remembered for what we say and do but also for how we say and do it. Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.

October 25, 2015

Snobs


Recently I met someone who I describe as a business snob. This is a person who represents a product or service that they believe that everyone must buy. To not purchase their product or service is considered by them as an act of lunacy. Snobs treat anyone who does not believe as they do to be heretics. The prospect who rejects their approach may even be verbally attacked and their integrity questioned.

I always believe that we should be passionate about our business and what we offer to others. If we cannot be passionate about what we offer, how can we expect anyone else to believe that they should purchase from us? Being a product of our product and showing our passionate feelings is a strong marketing tactic that should resonant well with others.

We all believe in what we offer and may not understand why everyone does not rush to us to sign up as our clients. We often shake our heads and wonder how other people could not want what we have to offer. While that passion is commendable, we have to accept that others may not see what we see or may not be financially able to purchase from us.

Not everyone will need what we have, or they may not be as wise as our clients. They may not realize that we can help them be more successful in their business if they buy from us. We cannot sign every customer in the world; it is just not going to happen. When that time comes, we must thank the other person for the opportunity, keep in touch with them, and honor their decision professionally.

We must never labor the point to them that not doing business with us is wrong or will damage their business. We also must not be hostile toward them, and we must never berate them to their face, or to others, over their decision. We must be honest and polite and move on to other prospects. We must be professional and civil. Get over it and look elsewhere for another opportunity.

Lost prospects may become great networking partners. However, even that does not work in every case. There are people who just don’t understand that if we don’t become each other’s customers, we still can remain partners and have a networking relationship. They will always keep score and will never understand that giving to give is better than giving to get. We should never trust them because they will use everyone.

A snob believes that their product or service is the solution to everyone’s problems or needs. They think that their way is the only way and look down on those who disagree. They see their beliefs as the only true path and believe that we are too stupid to see the truth as they have explained it. Never react with hostility and remain a professional.

As we market, we must never take the attitude of the business snob. We can believe passionately in our business and what we offer to others, but we must accept that not everyone will agree with us and will not buy from us. When we are faced with that rejection, we must move on to other prospects and never be vengeful or rude.

Practicing Gratitude Marketing offers us so many opportunities to express our appreciation for whatever other people do, for us and for others. Never let our marketing be tainted by petty feelings and snobbish words from us. Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.

October 18, 2015

Customers and Clients



Last week we discussed how prospects may turn into customers, but should also become partners with us. These partners should be referral sources for us and should be people to whom we refer others. They are literally our partners in business, and our relationship with them becomes vital to both parties. Our mutual success is founded on our honesty and openness with each other and on the principles of karma.

As we attempt to develop prospects into customers, we discover others with whom we will never have as customers, but they still can become our partners. Likewise, we may never become customers of some other parties, but we can still be their partners. Who knows, that partnership may even revise our feelings or needs to the level where we do become customers, even clients.

Our intentions should be to develop prospects into customers. However, our work must not stop there. We must show those customers how much we appreciate them and their business. After all, they have put money into our pockets, and we should show them that we care about them, their own prosperity, and their business with us. Everyone likes to be thanked, even when we are the customer.

What is the difference in a customer and a client? A customer of a restaurant is welcomed into the restaurant, given the first table available and a menu, and their order is taken by the next wait person. The table may be anywhere in the establishment, perhaps even by the kitchen door. Their order is taken, and delivered, with little fanfare, no extra conversation, and no familiarity.

A client enters a restaurant, is greeted by name, is seated at a table of prominence, perhaps by a window, and the wait person brings them their favorite refreshment, announcing the specials of the day, but anticipating that they will order their favorite meal. Menus are not necessary unless requested, and the conversation is sprinkled with names and familiarity.

Our customers require reminders of what we offer to them, including add-on products or services, upgrades to accounts, and expiration dates. Clients are usually on renewing subscriptions, contact us as needed when their information changes, and are familiar with our offerings so that they often will upgrade their orders themselves. They actually want to hear about changes that will enhance their experience with us.

Both customers and clients may introduce others to us as referrals. Customers will simply pass names to us, perhaps telling the referred person about what we do and what we offer. Clients will refer people and businesses to us that are ready-to-sign prospects, after telling them about their great experiences with us. Both of these referral partners should be rewarded as to their level of involvement in the new customer.

Gratitude Marketing should be utilized to make customers believe that we really appreciate their business. Gratitude Marketing will turn customers into clients who actually love doing business with us. Which would you prefer, customers or clients? Or would you also want partners who share an interest in mutual prosperity? Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.

October 11, 2015

Prospects, Customers, Clients, and Partners

As business people we should be continually finding others with whom we network and attempt to develop as networking partners. These people may be prospects, customers, or clients, but they should always be developed as partners if possible. Most people say that everyone that they meet is a prospect, but that is not true. However, everyone should be approached as a networking partner even if they never become a customer.

When we go networking we should get to know the people that we meet by sitting down with them and getting to know them. We must not attempt to sell them whatever product or service that we have to offer. We must inquire as to whatever they need or are seeking for their business or for themselves. When we assist them in finding what they want, even if it is not what we offer, we build partnerships for the long haul.

If we don’t have what the other person wants, who do we know that does? If we do not know anyone with the solutions for someone else’s need, do we know anyone who may know someone who may assist? That is the ultimate in building relationships and making partners of everyone. This is the essence of karma and Gratitude Marketing. Becoming a relationship builder returns success to all involved.

What if we can fulfill the needs of someone that we meet and get to know? They become our customer and move into that level of relationship. Can they still be networking partners and engage in the interchange of referrals? We should refer others to them and, if they are happy customers, they should refer others to us. If we become their customer the relationship is basically the same.

Does this networking relationship only involve the passing of referrals for business? It should include personal contacts and the referrals of anything or anyone who can help another party to satisfy their needs, personal or business. It may be a business supplier, or it might be a plumber; it could be an attorney or a banker or a college for someone’s child. If we know someone who can help someone else, we need to put them together.

So, we meet a networking stranger at an event and engage in a short conversation. Without prejudging them, we set a meeting to chat and get to know them better. We discover what they need, they may become a prospect, and we try to market to them. If we cannot provide what they need, we refer them to someone who can either satisfy that need or may know someone who may help them. They are now our partner.

Prospects who become customers always should be our partners. Even those prospects who no not become our customers can be our partners and should be valued as such. Who knows, maybe the networking partnership may convince them to become customers in the future. These partnerships can be the backbone of our success and may mean that we never need to cold call anyone again. Couldn’t hurt to try, could it?

Networking is marketing and, like all types of marketing, may be productive or not. It also should be fun and interesting. Practicing Gratitude Marketing will improve our karma and bring us partners who will refer new partners to us, helping build our customer base. It is up to us to turn those customers into clients, and let’s discuss that next week. Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.

October 4, 2015

How & Why

All of us know how and why we are in our business. Maybe it was chance, or maybe it was planned. Whatever the reasons, we must be able to relate those stories to others in order to authenticate both ourselves and whatever it is that we do. We must be able to explain our reasons in order to market our legitimacy to others.

Marketing is a series of stories. We tell others stories about our products or services and how they impact the lives of others. We relate stories about how our business functions, how our employees treat customers, or how customers use our products or services. We tell stories all day long, and we must always be truthful in telling them.

Have we ever told anyone the stories of how and why we started our business or joined the industry that we operate within? If we have not, why haven’t we done so? We must be able to relate these stories in order to authenticate ourselves to our prospects, customers, and clients. We must be seen as valid in the eyes of those to whom we market, even if they are already our customers.

Did we just wake up one day and become whatever we are? Of course not, maybe a friend gave us information on a new industry or business. Perhaps someone at a networking event passed us a referral to someone who might be of interest. A recruiter may have called us to discuss a new opportunity or career. We may have had an inspiration and started our own venture, or we may have partnered with someone else.

Whatever the story, we all have one. How we arrived at the current place in our lives is our how. We should demonstrate that a similar process may apply to other people like it did to us. Maybe we are chatting with a networking partner who is seeking to make a change, and our story may give them the courage to strike out successfully.

In addition to our how story, we must be able to tell our why story. Why do we do what we do, and why do we continue to do it the way we do, even after the why is in our past. It might be the sense of accomplishment; perhaps we are building a business for our family’s future. We could be following a calling, or we might be in an industry which is a family tradition. Maybe our business or industry is structured in our time and work; maybe it is unstructured to the point of looking like play to others.

Telling these how and why stories does not have to take long, just a few, short minutes together. We can summarize them into simple sentences that someone may ask us to elaborate on, but they should be part of our marketing. Our prospects need to hear our how and why in order to believe in us. Our customers need to hear them in order to be more understanding about our business and their great decision to partner with us.

What is our how and why? Can we tell the story that answers these questions in simple and short sentences? Do we understand that we must be authentic in our marketing and how these stories help present us as someone with whom others want to partner and to remain partners? Our how and why is part of Gratitude Marketing and our brand. Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.

September 27, 2015

Brands

Everyone in business must be aware of their brand. Our brand is what everyone else thinks of when we come to mind, the image that they have of us. Our brand may be our logo, our website, our business card, or our appearance. It is all these things and much more. It is tangibles and intangibles. It is what defines us to others.

In the past we have discussed that everyone’s logo, business name, website, business cards, and promotional marketing must reflex the same image. Our logo and business name must be consistent in color, image, and all other traits. Our website, emails, promotional material, and everything else must be consistent.

Over and above our marketing material is the image that we present ourselves. From our looks and demeanor to our speech, our gestures, and our behavior we establish and present our brand. Do we want to be known as the solemn, strict business at-all-times person, or do we want to project an image of fun and light-heartedness? Are we looking to appear as everyone’s friend, or do we want to be known as distant?

Our manner of dress, our approachability, and our habits all contribute to our image, and our image is our brand. Some businesses want their brand to indicate they are large, stable, and trustworthy, such as insurance companies. Some companies want to exhibit an air of light-hearted work, vibrant inventiveness, and support for new ideas. Employees and leaders reflect these traits in their mannerisms and activities.

Look at the logos, websites, and places of business for insurance companies. They project an air of stability, strength, and longevity. Their brand is an image of reliability. They believe that their clientele will be more welcoming to that brand, thus increasing the chances for successful marketing. Their brand changes only to modernize.

The images of technical development companies may be very different. They want to be seen as innovative, more in touch with a changing environment, more prone to quick change in products and services. Is that different from more conservative companies? There may be multiple ways to market the same level of culture, but show our image in vastly different ways. Different images may project the same type of reliability.

What type of image or brand do we need to develop in order to attract our prospective clients? We cannot be all things to everyone. We must develop a brand that shows the world what we are, what we can offer to our prospects, and how we operate both when we market to prospects and what we do once the prospect becomes a customer. What brand turns a customer into a client?

Gratitude Marketing is very much part of a brand. What image do we want to project to our prospects, our customers, and our clients? What do we want them to picture when they want to refer others to us? Are they accurate in interpreting our brand or image, and what can we do to educate them? Do they really know us? Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.

September 20, 2015

How Do We Impact Others?

Every day we meet with people. Some of these people we have never met before, and we may have met others previously. We have chance meetings on the street, in a coffee shop, or during grocery shopping; we engage in conversations with strangers frequently. We also engage with others with whom we have an ongoing relationship, a networking partnership.

There are all types of people in our universe, with more people coming and going in and out of our lives each and every day. From total strangers to long-term acquaintances, these people may include our friends, family, prospects, customers, clients, or former customers. We have varying impacts on their lives, and they have varying impacts on ours. We do not live in a vacuum; we cannot ignore the impact of these meetings.

How do we impact these people; how are we seen by these people as a result of these meetings? What type of impression do we make on others, even if during a one-time, short encounter?  We must understand that our first impressions, as well as later ones, can make or break a networking partnership and can cost us customers, and referrals.

Are we interesting or are we interested? Do we try to “sell” those whom we meet, even on the first occasion, or do we ask questions that allow us to discover what the other person needs to succeed? Do we endeavor to help the other person make their business, or their personal life, better? Do we instead strive to make our own life better through trying to sell whatever we offer to everyone whom we meet in the first 5 minutes of the conversation?

How many of us follow the philosophy of making 100 phone calls each and every day to total strangers, attempting to drum up new business? How can we ever believe that anyone will buy from a total stranger who calls them out of the blue, touting products or services? Instead, wouldn’t they be more interested in the marketing of long-term networking partners who build relationships first?

Do we really believe that making phone calls to people who may have never heard of us, or our business, will result in increased sales? What happens if we don’t make all the (100) calls that we have been told to do each day? Maybe the prospects that we miss are involved with networking meetings where others inquire as to what will help their businesses actually prosper.

What is the impression that we leave with others? What do other people say about us to themselves, to their networking partners, after they have had a chance to converse with us? Do we really understand that we should be interested in the other person’s needs and not doing whatever we believe will line our pockets with sales figures?

Gratitude Marketing can make our meetings memorable in a great way with our networking partners, whether we meet with them once or we have multiple meetings over a longer time. People will do business with those that they know, like, and trust, and they will refer business to those same people. Total strangers working hard to “sell” will not succeed over the long haul.

Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.

September 13, 2015

Self-Promotion Part 3

For a few weeks we have discussed Self-Promotion, the process of telling everyone how great we are and how no one can be successful without our products or services. We also talked about how showing gratitude towards others is so much better for gaining, and retaining, customers, and their referrals.

Does this mean that we cannot tell others about our products and services? Does it mean that we cannot discuss how much we believe in customer service? Does it mean that we cannot point out the great aspects of our offerings and how they can help our prospects or customers? Of course not, but here is an art to this type of marketing.

It is always better to simply explain what we offer to prospects, what the aspects of our products or services are, what the level of our customer service is, and how we address customer problems or questions. We want our prospects or customers to never question what we are and what we offer. We want others to understand the details of how we can help someone be better and prosper.

Remember how we discussed getting to know someone and discovering what they need instead of attempting to sell them anything. If whatever we have would be useful for them, then providing information about our products or services is appropriate. If we do not have what they need, we should help them connect with someone who does.

We all need to know about what each of us offers in order to be able to refer business to others. We are able to make referrals because we learn what the other person offers. Asking for that information is simply a request for data. We cannot refer others if we are ignorant about what the other party does or offers. We also cannot assume. To not ask those questions means that we are not willing to refer business.

The manner that anyone discusses their business, products, or services, indicates their passion for what they are. It shows how they feel about their business and what they can do for others. Are they a product of their product and passionate about what their business does and how they can help others? Then they are someone with whom we should want to do business or refer to other partners that we have.

Do we want to do business with someone who does not believe in themselves, has no passion for their business, and is not sincere about helping others? Are they anyone that we would want to refer to someone else? When we refer others to each other, we are putting our reputation on the line. Do we trust others enough to do so? Are they someone who we would trust or do we even like or really know them?

Can we explain what our company is, what our products or services are, and what we do for others in simple terms? Can we do so without trying to “sell” others, just to impart information to them to inspire referrals? How do we ask others about their services in order to lead them to ask us in the same manner? There is a large difference between trying to sell ourselves to others and just exchanging information.

Gratitude Marketing still beats Self-Promotion when interfacing with others. Our presentation allows us to inform others about what we do and how we do it. Make others glad to do business with us after they were glad to learn about us. Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.