January 25, 2015

Your Call Is Very Important to Us

All of us have heard those words. We call someone on the phone and their voicemail greeting reassures us that they really value our call and that they will respond to us as soon as they can. If our call was not important to them they would not go to the point of having such a reassuring message as their voicemail greeting.
Do any of us really believe this to be true? Do any of us really believe that the person that we called values our call? That voicemail greeting is the most overused and flagrantly abused greeting in the history of voicemail. It is used primarily by those who use voicemail to hide from their customers or anyone else whom they wish to avoid.
The first paragraph above presents a situation which all of us have experienced. The second one is very blunt and “in your face”. However, many of us believe that the words in the second paragraph are true and are very much reality in today’s business world. Let’s face facts; we have all had similar thoughts when attempting to reach anyone whose voicemail greeting starts with those words.
Marketing is everything that we do in the course of a day, every word we speak, every gesture, and every action. We must make everyone whom we contact in any manner believe that we appreciate them as human beings and that we are grateful for what they do. Our actions include not only our spoken words but those we write, print, and record. They include our voicemail greetings and our follow-up.
We must make those who attempt to contact us feel welcome, believe that we actually care about their inquiry, and know that we honor their requests. Whether their contact is an inquiry for information, a request for a response regarding an order, or a complaint about service, we must show gratitude and respond in a manner that honors the caller.
None of us wants “lip service”, being placated without substance, or being ignored. We call someone because we want to discuss some subject that we believe is important to both parties. We need to speak with someone and gain access to information or action. Our call is very important to us also; otherwise we would not have called. Share that importance with a reassuring greeting and a prompt response.
It doesn’t matter if the caller is a prospect, customer, family member, friend, or someone who we do not know; their call should be a priority for us and should be returned promptly and with substance. If we cannot answer our phone, a heartfelt greeting that is not “canned” should be used, and we should make an effort to return the call promptly.

“Your call is very important to us” should never be used by anyone or any organization. How about a warm, more personal, and heartfelt greeting that actually makes the caller believe that we value their inquiry and will honor their call with a response as soon as possible? We cannot allow the caller to believe that we do not care. They can always find someone else who is grateful and appreciative for their call.

What does your marketing say about your attitude toward others? Does it show appreciation and gratitude or does it make others doubt your sincerity and perhaps your ability to deal with their business? We should start with our voicemail greeting and build in gratitude and appreciation for everyone. Please can leave your comments here, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call me at 360-314-8691. Ask your networking partners what they think when they hear your voicemail greeting.

January 18, 2015

Prospect to Customer

Previously we discussed the customer buying experience, that journey on which we take a prospect from the initial meeting to the completed buying transaction. This buying experience must be enjoyable for the customer. If it is not pleasant, the customer will go elsewhere for their next purchase. In addition, they will tell others how unhappy they are with the business process that we required for them to purchase from us.
What can a business person do to make the customer enjoy the buying experience? What can we do to make that journey pleasant so that they will want to do it again? What can we do to get them to tell everyone that they know about us and our great service? Happy customers bring us more and more prospects for our businesses.
Did we have a simple “menu” of choices of products, or is it confusing? How do we feel when we walk into a restaurant with a “book” that contains page after page of entrees from which to choose? Is it a pleasant buying experience, or is it a test of our endurance? Do we get confused and give up, buying anything to end the work?
We must let the prospect know that we appreciate a new inquiry about our business. We must make the prospect comfortable with the fact that we are honored that they picked us to engage for the solutions to their needs. They must know that we consider their inquiries as a reward for our great customer service to previous customers.
How do we move prospects from being “tire kickers” to serious prospects who are actually looking at how our offerings can benefit their business? We must apply the principles of great customer service before the prospect becomes a customer. We must be available for inquiries; we must be responsive to requests for information, maybe even before the inquiry is made. We must be proactive.
There are simple actions that we can take. Answer the phone call requesting information or return the voicemail, or email, inquiry, promptly and clearly. Be available to meet with prospects, answering all questions placed on the table. Clarify all marketing information so that a prospect understands what we offer and how much it really costs. Make it simple and clear with no surprises later.
Keep in touch and follow-up with prospects; do not allow anyone to believe that they are ignored. If we ignore a prospect or an inquiry during the prospect phase, we look like we will do the same after the prospect becomes a customer. The majority of lost customers leave you through their belief that they were taken for granted or ignored.
We all need to take a hard look at our customer buying experience and see if we need to streamline or clarify it. Make it easy and simple for someone to do business with us, and we will have customers who bring us other prospects for the great experience. Don’t make our customers believe that they have survived an endurance test and won the right to buy from us.

What can we do to improve our customer buying experience? How can we discover what works well and what doesn’t work at all? Our current customers would tell us if we ask them. Agree or disagree; please can leave your comments here, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call me at 360-314-8691. Our networking partners should be able to assist us in improving our customer buying experience. Just ask for their help.

January 11, 2015

Motivation

How do you get your motivation? Who, or what, motivates you? In other words, who, or what, drives you to succeed, and to push your success further and further? Maybe you are the best source of your own motivation; maybe it is your family. Perhaps you are motivated purely by money, and the quest for more of it; possibly the search for self-fulfillment is what motivates you.

What is motivation? Is it the same as inspiration? If you look in a thesaurus you will find that the word motivation equates with incentive, inspiration, drive, enthusiasm, and other similar words. My friend, Jon Turino, has written a book which I strongly encourage you to read, entitled “Inspiration Now!” I know that you will find it inspiring, motivating, and very supportive.

We all must discover our own motivation. Are we just slaves to the dollar and is that what motivates us the most? Are we that shallow that we only live in order to make more, and more, money? However, do we need money to order to make our lives better? Is the money the necessary factor to enable us to do the things that make our lives, and that of others, better?

Our motivation is the reason that we do what we do, and we can have multiple reasons for our business lives and how we conduct ourselves. Our rationale is how we act, what we actually do to make us more successful. Our motivation makes us create our goals of what we want to accomplish, and these goals may be the purpose for what we do.

Motivation is what we use to establish our goals to measure our success. Goals may be the end result that we wish to reach in our work. Goals can also be the intermediate steps that we use to reach the ultimate objectives in life. We can have personal goals, and we can have business ones. We also discover that some goals apply to both our personal and business lives. This is a fact that we must understand and accept.

Books, videos, seminars, webinars, and other means of education can provide motivation to us. We must renew our commitment to use these tools and what we learn from them in our lives. It does us no good to attend a seminar, take copious notes, and never apply what we learned. Practice what you learn, and practice again, over and over. Your knowledge will allow you to reach your goals and perhaps your motivation.

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Neither does bathing. That’s why we recommend it daily.” This quote from Zig Ziglar may be motivation in and of itself for us to incorporate what motivates us into our lives. We must have a “why” for what we do, and how we do it. We should be able to articulate our “why” to others and to ourselves.

What is your “why”? What makes you what you are, what you do, and how you do it? Your “why” should be your motivation, along with the desire to accomplish your goals and better your life, and the lives of others. If you can accept, and attempt those goals, you will have a successful life, both personally and in business.

Why do you do what you do, and how you do it? Do you agree with these ideas concerning motivation? Whether you do or not, please leave me your comments here, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call me at 360-314-8691. Everyone’s opinion counts, and I would love to chat with you no matter how you feel.

January 4, 2015

Junk in Our Trunk

Recently I had the opportunity to meet Weldon Long. This is a gentleman who raised himself from a very negative early life to become a powerful motivational speaker whose message impacts everyone who hears him. He discussed the need for all of us to deal with the “stuff” which keeps us from achieving the success that we desire and can reach. We must address this “junk in our trunk” and prevent it from holding us back.

This junk in our trunk includes all the negative thoughts that others have placed in our minds during all our life. There are people who, while they appear to be our friends, have no interest at all in our success. They want to make sure that we never rise about their level of achievement, the level that we strive to surpass. They are jealous of anyone who rises to a level that they will never reach.

These people will, while appearing to have our best interests at heart, tell us to never take risks, never try something that may take us to higher levels of success than the one where they are our equal. “You can’t do that. You will fail at that. That will never work. Whoever told you that you could do that was a liar.” These are their words. They cannot tolerate the idea that you will leave them to wallow in their own world and never rise to the level of success that you desire.

You cannot strive to achieve success and rise above the status quo if you don’t take a chance and try something new and different. What if you do something unique? What if you step out of the “normal” expectation that you have and believe that you might achieve something more? What if you move out of your comfort zone and take actions that others might mock?

The definition of insanity is expecting something different to happen when you still do everything the same way that you always have done. “That won’t work here; that isn’t how life is; everyone knows that will never work.” These are the words of those who don’t want you to succeed, because then you will see them for what they are, the doubters who hold you back.

The junk in our trunk includes everything that we have learned from the day we were old enough to understand others. It is ingrained into our brains and our processes of life. It includes the doubts and fears of our lives, the lack of knowledge, and the worry that we will fail and be embarrassed for that failure. That fear of embarrassment is a weight around our neck and holds us back from our ability to succeed.

Who do you know that has taken a chance in life and failed? We all have failed at something. Maybe it was a marriage; maybe it was a business venture. Just because one project fails doesn’t mean that all of our attempts at anything in life will fail. Did the fact that someone turned you down for a date make you never ask anyone else? Did you stop trying to turn prospects into clients when you failed with one possibility?

Of course not; you keep trying, knowing that you will learn from your experiences and will succeed. How does that make you feel; how does that influence your later actions? Wouldn’t you like to share your experiences with others and maybe help someone learn what you have learned? Please leave me your comments here, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call me at 360-314-8691. I would love to hear from you.