February 22, 2015

Follow-Up

After discussing goals, we must include the goal to improve our follow-up with those with whom we interact. That group includes everyone that we meet, everybody with whom we have any level of discussion, and all of our prospects, customers, and clients. It also includes anyone whom we have lost as customers or clients. In short it means that we should follow-up with everyone who will have a conversation with us.

We should not pester others who have indicated that we should not contact them further. We should better monitor our conversations, emails, mailings, or whatever means we use, so that we do not further contact those whom have indicated that our message is not one which they want to hear.

However, we must follow-up with everyone else to be certain that they either will become our customers, or will become sources of referrals, or will become both. Of course, their status as a customer or client is our ultimate objective. However, if they do not believe in a need to be our customer, we want their referrals to others with whom we may obtain a customer relationship.

Why would anyone refer others to us when they do not purchase what we have to offer? They may like us personally; they may believe that our product is something that will be good for someone whom they know. Their reasons may include an appreciation for how we conduct our business. Are we ethical, honest, and truthful in our conduct? Do we show our gratitude and appreciation for our customers and clients?

Do we show our gratitude and appreciation for those who do not purchase from us? These people can be the lifeblood of our business. They can provide referrals for us which may be more authentic than the ones from our customers. Their faith in us is based on our performance that they have observed as we operate our business. They believe that we are the person who “does the right thing” in business.

Follow-up includes the Gratitude Marketing steps that we perform in meeting new acquaintances. We meet with people, get to know them, and discover what they need in their business. We do not attempt to sell them what we have to offer, but we help they get what they need, no matter who has it. When we treat them with respect and support, they will refer their acquaintances to us for what we offer.

If they express an interest in our offerings, we must follow-up with professional marketing techniques, making sure that they understand what we have but also how we operate as business people. We must practice Gratitude Marketing and market, not sell, to them. We must build networking relationships and perhaps move to customer-vendor relationships. We might even build client-vendor relationships.

We must follow-up with everyone whom we meet, no matter what the type of contact that they are. We must be honest, ethical, and truthful in our communications and in our follow-up. We must be marketing consultants, not sales persons, helping others get what they need, not selling them just what we have. We must practice Gratitude Marketing.

Please leave me your comments here, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call me at 360-314-8691. That would be a great way to follow-up and help us build networking relationships. Let’s see how we can help each other, as well as others.

February 15, 2015

Goals

Everywhere we go people are talking about goals for ourselves and for our business. We should make a goals list, and we must have periodic accounting as to whether we are reaching our goals or not. We must rank our goals, and we must constantly update our goals. However, our goals must not get in the way of us operating our business, but should support us being successful in our business.

Goals should be two-fold. They should challenge us to stretch our abilities and our talents. They also should be attainable so that reaching them reinforces our own sense of achievement. Goals that do not challenge us do not allow us to grow and develop our talents or our knowledge. We all must learn new techniques and grow as people and as business owners, managers, or employees, and as people.

Goals that are not attainable may become discouraging. We must have a sense of accomplishment and celebrate reaching the goals that are the building blocks of our business success. To reach a long term goal may require many intermediate goals being reached. These allow us to see the end results as attainable. Being able to reach the intermediate goals allows us to reach the ultimate ones.

Of course there are some goals that may be on everyone’s list. Maybe we began our business journey or employment to support our lifestyle; maybe it was a sense of self-satisfying achievement. Perhaps it was a dream of creating something to benefit mankind; it could have been a challenge from family, friends, or someone else. Whatever the reason, we should have goals to measure that success.

We should be happy and content in our business life; we should also be having fun. Anyone who knows me has heard me say that if you are not having fun, do something else. If our day is filled with despair and sadness, tension or tears, we have a problem. We should have at least one laugh a day, many more if possible. Every day put some silly into our lives, and then put it into someone else’s day.

We should aim to make our customers happy and glad that they entered into a relationship with us. We should have the goal of turning customers into clients, those people who will be repeat customers, often on an automatic renewing basis. We should support our networking partners even if they are not our customers. We should offer referrals to our partners which actually help them, not leads which mean nothing.

We must all have goals for our business and for our lives. These goals should challenge us and should be attainable so they we have a sense of achievement that gives us confidence. They should push us to learn, think outside of our comfort zone, and provide us new ways to grow our business. They should benefit us as well as our customers, family, friends, and our networking partners.

What are your goals for your business and for your life? Have you updated them recently or have you ever looked at them since you first wrote them down? You did write them down, didn’t you, because goals that are not written down are just wishes in the wind? If you need assistance in goal making, perhaps your networking partners could help you define them by sharing theirs with you. Please leave me your comments here, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.

February 8, 2015

Credibility Part 2

We all say that we believe in great customer service. How do we exhibit that level of service or gratitude for our customers? How do we show gratitude and appreciation to customers for their faith in us and our offerings? What should we never do that shows our customers that their business is not valuable to us? Are we credible to our clients?

We must always be professional with our customers. We should always treat our customers with respect and honor their business with us. Their records with us should be protected from any misuse, theft, or vulnerability. It is imperative that we do not allow any outside appropriation of our customers’ records. Businesses that do not take the utmost care in protecting customer records should be penalized for their failure to do so.

Recently there have been several cases of businesses allowing their records to be violated and customer data stolen. Usually the notification of these thefts is provided to the customers several months after the event, delaying the time for customers to protect themselves from exposure. Does hiding an event which may badly impact customers show gratitude for their business? Would it exhibit credibility to our clients?

Businesses who value their customers contact them from time to time and let them know of additional services that the customers may wish to purchase. These solicitations must be kept separate from normal contacts such as birthday or anniversary greetings, congratulations for achieving any honors or distinctions, or gestures of gratitude for referrals of new prospects.

These solicitations may also allow customers to revise their status with the businesses. They may improve their customer status, or upgrade their level of service, perhaps for a lower payment. In other words, the business presents the customer with an improved level of service for a revised price. This is a great way to maintain them as a repeat client instead of having a one-time customer.

Of course a business would not appear credible if it cannot remember exactly what the customer has purchased. This “memory loss” leads to business failure if allowed to become prevalent. How would a customer react if a business “forgets” what services they have purchased? How would a customer react if that business solicits them to purchase additional services which they have purchased previously, perhaps on an ongoing basis and perhaps for some time?

Errors such as these might make anyone think more than once about continuing to be a customer of such a business. If a business forgets what we bought from them, they obviously take our business for granted. The credibility of such a business is damaged greatly. Maybe someone else will appreciate us more.

There are many ways for a business to exhibit their gratitude for their customers and their relationship, and many ways for businesses to exhibit their lack of gratitude. The majority of customers who end their relationship with businesses believe that they were taken for granted. Building credibility with our clients ends this belief. Please leave me your comments here, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.

February 1, 2015

Mentors – Get One, Be One

We all have people who we look to as mentors; perhaps we have been a mentor to someone that we know. Mentoring is one of the most rewarding and most giving aspects of life. There are mentors in business or in life in general. Mentoring can benefit both our business and general lives.

Mentors like to work with people who have intelligence and who are listeners and doers. Don’t be the needy person who drives a mentor away with unnecessary calls and questions. Mentors are there to help others who are there to listen and learn. Repeat inquiries may be welcomed by mentors, but progress is expected by the person being mentored. Open, honest conversation is the basis of a great mentoring relationship.

Mentors must learn about the business of their mentees, and the person being mentored must be able to relate their dreams, ideas, and mission clearly, but concisely. Mentors will have lots of ideas about businesses, but their suggestions should relate to the business at hand, not just their own. The business person with whom they are working must be willing to listen, and absorb, and try what their mentor suggests.

If we are going to mentor someone in their business or in their life, be committed. We must also be knowledgeable, as well as authentic. Otherwise we are not a good mentor. Those whom we try to mentor will suffer from our lack of knowledge or our less than enthusiastic attitude. We must be the mentor that we ourselves would want.

Mentors must challenge their charges and encourage them to reach further than they would test themselves if left to their own devices. We should look for mentors, and be mentors, who assist and push others to rise beyond their own expectations. Mentors must also dare their charges to try new procedures and test the market with their own ideas and “what if” thoughts.

We must listen to our mentors and try what they suggest. As mentors we must propose new ideas, preferably ones that we have seen in practice. However new or unproven concepts may serve both individuals well. Mentors will learn from their charges and become better for their experience. Mentors may impart what someone else does not want to hear or even try, but mentors must relay information in an encouraging manner.

Mentors must not do the work of their mentees. Mentors are not an unpaid employee; mentors are consultants. We should not expect mentors to forsake their own business for ours. If mentors are performing the work in a business, they are an employee and not a mentor/consultant and should be paid as an employee.

Mentors are not helping someone to steal their ideas or business secrets. They have their own. Openness in discussions is necessary, but a concern for trade secrets should be addressed. Either party who is operating in a veil of secrecy cannot help the other during the process. If this is a concern, discuss it until everyone is comfortable.

Mentoring can be an important tool for a successful business, and both parties can learn from an honest, open mentoring relationship. Gratitude Marketing is the basis for a great mentoring relationship. Be a mentor or get one; we all benefit from the experience. Please leave me your comments here, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.