April 26, 2015

Communications Part 2

Last week the discussion of communications brought several emails and even more telephone calls with the opinions of people who believe that we all need to improve our message. From emails to voicemail greetings, from telephone conversations to correspondence, we need to do a better job of expressing our ideas and thoughts in clear, concise means. We also need to apply some imagination and be more creative.

We must stop selling whatever we have to offer and first discover what the other person needs. We should begin building relationships and networking partnerships that will result in better business for all involved. We need to make others know that we really are grateful and appreciative for whatever they do, both for us and for third parties.

We have to be products of whatever we offer, not just telling others what to do, but doing it ourselves. We must lead by example, and show others that Gratitude Marketing can bring success beyond our wildest dreams. Our communications are the means to tell our story, but also to show our corporate culture to others. We can help ourselves, or we can shoot ourselves in our business heart.

We should begin to look at our communications as a vital part of our marketing and devote a portion of our operating budget to marketing. If we do the marketing correctly, and the sale falls into our laps. Just market and stop selling, and don’t ever view communications as a sale action. The sale is just the customer signing their name; marketing is everything else that leads to that moment.

Review every email, voicemail greeting, brochures, flyers, and all other types of communication for their content. Make them professional and complete, and make them meaningful and truthful. We need to read or listen to what we say as if we were the customer. We ought to have someone outside the business tell us what is wrong with what we say, how we say it, or what the customer reaction might be.

Stop the greeting that says, “Your call is very important to us”, when the wait time is more than 30 seconds, or if no one will ever return the call. If we state that calls may be recorded for training, use the recordings (Are there any?) to realize that wait times are too long and service representatives need better training to be inventive and creative.

Why do we spend money on our businesses, and then offend the very people that we want to attract? No one wants to be sold; we want to be educated and then make an intelligent decision. If we strive to confuse or confound our audience, maybe we are not the professionals as which we want to be seen. Our communications are the opportunity for us to shine; we should not let our message reflect badly on our life’s work.

Communications are the life blood of our businesses. Make them clear, concise, honest, and truthful; even better make others know that their relationship is appreciated by our business and everyone in it. We must look at our communications from the outside point of view and correct any impressions that will drive others to run from us at first sight. Our communications must reflect Gratitude Marketing. Please leave your comments here, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.

April 19, 2015

Communications

Communications are vital to all businesses. We communicate our message to the public in order to gain new customers or prospects and to clarify any misunderstandings about our business and its offerings. We must be able to communicate in clear, concise terms, making everyone with whom we communicate understand and like what we do.

Our communications must be professional and welcoming to others; it must make them want to know more. Our communications should, if they cannot convince someone to purchase from us, convince them to refer us to someone else who may need what we have to offer. We must demonstrate our passion for what we do, as well as make others comfortable with our desire to relate to them on a personal level.

Then why do we do things that make us seem cold and impersonal, making it difficult for someone to see us as anyone with whom they would enjoy doing business? Why do we act like the public is our adversary, to be held at arm’s distance? It just does not make sense to ignore the basic level of professionalism and discard steps which would actually make others eager to engage in business with us.

All of us send emails, whether to prospects, customers, friends, relatives, acquaintances, or even strangers. Why do we send emails that have spelling, grammar, and other errors, that are obviously not read before we send them? Why do we send emails that do not have our business logo, our email address, our telephone number, and website address in the signature section, if we even include a signature section?

Emails sent from our smart phones should also fit these rules, if we are to be perceived as professional. The steps to include these steps are simple and easy to implement. There are a number of other professionals who can help us to incorporate them into our emails, even if we use a service to send emails for us. Even text messages should have something identifying the sender to the person receiving the message.

Our voicemail systems allow each of us to incorporate a greeting. We should include our name, perhaps our business name, and welcoming words in the greeting. We should never use the impersonal greeting that is “stock” in every voicemail system. The caller is trying to reach us, not the person “at 123-456-7890”. If you use a service which asks the caller to identify themselves before the call is put through, stop that practice immediately. Either take the call or provide a greeting asking for a message.

The purpose of voicemail is to allow someone to leave a message so that the call may be returned with knowledge of what the caller needs. Listen to the message and return the call. To do less is unprofessional, and we may discover that they are just the person with whom we want to do business. Perhaps they will refer us to someone with whom we need to speak in order to further our business.

Our communications must reflect our professionalism. If we do not make them professional and personal, they will reflect that we are not people others want to know, must less do business. We must make our emails and voicemail greeting work for, not against us. We must make them reflect our Gratitude Marketing. Please leave your comments here, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.

April 12, 2015

Imagination

As we market our businesses, we must strive to be creative and show how we can be different from everyone else that may be in our industry or attending a networking event. Our prospects, and the general public, have an almost infinite number of choices from which to pick where they can spend their money. We must bust the cookie-cutter image others may have of us. We must be pleasantly unforgettable to others.

How can we stand out and be viewed as unique and different from our competition in a “good” way? We do not want to stand out in a “bad” way. We want to be viewed as the best choice of all our competitors, or all the other businesses, from which the prospect may choose. In a networking meeting we want to be remembered over all the other attendees, but remembered in an approving manner.

In our marketing we must be creative and unique, but we must also provide a sense of professionalism and how we can help our prospects if only they would be wise enough to contract with us. We must use our imagination and stand out from all those other businesses that are marketing perhaps the same product or service to those prospects that we want to sign.

Imagination, what is that? We think outside the box. We must decide if we are going to the same boring representative of our industry or business, or are we going to be the one who stands out as unique and different, in a professional way? Are we going to be the one who comes to mind, in a positive manner, when they think of our industry or business? We must make the conscious decision to make our marketing unique, creative, and also personal.

It is amazing how many business people have no imagination at all. They cannot think of how they can stand out and be unique, and be memorable to others. If we understand that we need to be remembered above everyone else in a positive manner, we could move into the starring role with prospects. Be creative, make it personal, be professional, and think outside the box. Then kick that box down the street.

We must relate to our prospects in a manner that they know that we are interested in them on a personal level. We must not be just like all the other people in businesses like ours. If we are a chiropractor, we must be known as the best there is, but what do we do to be remembered as such? If we are operating a hamburger stand, what makes us unique? How do we treat our prospects, customers, as well as everyone else, to make everyone think of us before the next hamburger stand down the street?

Do we relate to others in a unique manner; do we look more professional than others from which prospects may choose? Do we appear to be creative in our marketing, and do we represent our business in person-to-person methods, not looking like the same business that our competitors are? Do we use our imagination and try new, exciting marketing methods, or do we just sing the same song as others?

How can we make ourselves stand out from the crowd? How can we appear unique, or do we want to be the same as everyone else? If everyone else says make cold calls, should we, or should we go out and build relationships? The personal touch is better, and we should imagine new, different, and professional methods to build our business. Please leave your comments here, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.

April 5, 2015

Keep It Simple

Very often we try to be everything to everyone when marketing our businesses. We go into great detail to explain what products or services we offer, even expanding our offering list to try to include every suggestion we can imagine. Our list of what we offer gets longer and longer, and the explanation of what we have becomes more exhaustive.

Previously, we discussed restaurants which have a book for their menu. They have a catalogue of dishes from which we are expected to choose, and we must do so in a short period of time while the waitperson stands at our side, hovering. How can a first time customer make an intelligent decision when faced with over whelming choices and still order something that they may want to try but have not imagined?

Many prospects will simply order something to bring the decision making period to an end, maybe something that they have tried before but often something that they just notice on the menu. It may not be what they want, like, or will enjoy. If it isn’t, they may not return to sample our menu again. Even worse, they may tell everyone that they know how confusing it was to do business with us.

At this point the business may have lost a customer with whom they had an opportunity to build a relationship. They have also created someone who will not bring new business through telling others about a great visit of their own. How often do we visit a restaurant based on the experience that we hear from someone else? How often do we avoid a restaurant when we hear of someone else’s bad experience?

We must make a customer’s experience to be excellent; we must make a customer’s visit to our business, either in person or online, to be enjoyable. Make it easy for the customer to do business with us, and they will return to us. They also will tell others how great the experience was and how pleased they were to do business with us. They become our marketing associates just because we made it a pleasant experience.

One of the best examples of keeping it simple is In-N-Out Burger. Their menu consists of 6 items: hamburgers, cheeseburgers, doubles, french fries, sodas, and shakes. Whenever they open a new location, they are crowded with customers at all hours, and their drive-through line extends out into the street. They keep it simple, and customers return over and over, telling everyone that they know to go there.

One of the pitfalls we find in business is trying to be everything to everyone. We cannot market everything that everyone may need, nor will we be able to sell to every prospect. There is room for all of us in the market of life. We should not make our product offering list so complicated that no one can understand it. We also must be so simple that our partners can explain our business to others that may become great customers.

What can we do to simplify our list of services or products? What can we do to make it easier for prospects to become customers and to enjoy their buying experience so much that they tell everyone what a great time that they had doing business with us. We should try to make every prospect a marketing associate that brings us new customers. Please leave your comments here, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.