May 31, 2015


It all starts with you. You are the most knowledgeable person when it comes to you, your business, your products, or your services. You are the beginning and the end of all that concerns your business, its success, and its failures. It starts with you, revolves around you, and literally is you.

So, what do you think about those statements? Agree or disagree? Does everything depend on you, or do you have alternatives to putting yourself at the center of all the responsibility of your business? Does it all revolve around you?

Businesses all start with a dream. Whether we are the originator of that dream, or we take a role in someone else’s dream, whatever happens, success or failure, results in part from what we do, or don’t do. If we are the head of our business, we obviously have a greater part in the results. Even if we are not the business owner, we can have an impact, either good or bad, in the success or failure of the business.

We must believe in ourselves for if we don’t, no one else will. We must believe that if we don’t have the answers necessary, we can find them. We must believe in our dreams, our abilities, and in our ability to direct, and redirect, the future of our businesses.

This confidence in ourselves should not be arrogant, believing that we are perfect. We must recognize our shortcomings and be able to discover how to overcome them. We must be able criticize ourselves, knowing what we can do, what we cannot do, and how to gain the information to fix the errors that will arise, for they will arise.

We must ask for help from others when we need to, and we must be able to follow through and use the information that we gain. If we go to a seminar, maybe paying an outrageous amount of money for the privilege, and never use what we learned, we are fools and wasted the fees we paid. What other bad business decisions do we make?

During the course of our day we see other businesses which seem to operate better or worse than ours does. What are the criteria for any business to be better, or worse, than ours? Are their sales figures greater, are they clients more loyal, or do their employees work harder? Is it all of these criteria, or is it something else?

The most successful business owners understand that everything does not result from their efforts alone. They have success because of the efforts of many people. When anyone builds a business to a higher level of success, it is because of the efforts of themselves, any employees, their suppliers, their networking partners, their clients, and others. No one does it by themselves.

We must understand that everything does not evolve around us. We are not the most important cog in the machinery. We may start the business, we may have an important part in its operation, but we do not do everything, and we cannot succeed through our efforts alone. There are many parts to our success, and we only channel them.

Never believe that we are the only reason for our success. Our loyal networking partners may have a bigger part than even we do, and Gratitude Marketing gave them that role. Please leave me your comments here, or email me at, or call me at 360-314-8691 to let me have your thoughts.

May 24, 2015

What If?

What if we listened when someone told us how we could improve our marketing and better our chances to succeed in our business? What if we began a different approach to how we market our services or products? What if we started discussing what others need before we tried to sell them whatever we have to offer? What if we stopped being sales people and started building relationships?

What if we disregarded any initial reaction to those who we meet during the course of our days and stopped prejudging these new contacts? We must learn who everyone actually is and not believe that we know who they are from our first impression. We must spend some time with them, discovering who they are and what their business is all about. We must find out how we can help them get whatever they need.

We all have met people and believe that we know what they are all about. Sometimes we are correct; sometimes we are very wrong. Perhaps the person knows someone who we need to meet; sometimes their business differs from what we thought. Maybe we know someone who they need to meet. There are all sorts of possibilities. We must discover these possibilities and act upon them.

How do we decide if we want to develop a networking relationship with someone else? We must work to learn all we can about others; we must decide if we like the other person; we must establish if we trust them. If we know, like, and trust someone, we should be able to refer business to them, helping them obtain what they need, and maybe helping another partner at the same time.

Communication is paramount in all areas of our lives, both personal and in business. We must establish a level of communication that allows us all to get to know someone else and decide whether we like them. The building of mutual trust may take a long time, or it may arise from immediate contact. It all depends on how we approach the possibilities and listen to the other person. What if we tried this with everyone?

Recently I met two other business people with whom I have established this trust relationship rather quickly. It just worked out that way, and we have moved from strangers to networking partners to business associates. We were open to information exchange, and we listened to each other. We allowed our imaginations to look at the possibilities. This seems like a winning procedure for everyone.

As we go about our marketing and networking for our businesses, we must ask ourselves the “What If?” question frequently. What if we leave our comfort zone and meet new people? What if we try to get to know everyone whom we meet, never prejudging anyone? What if we try something new that we have never tried before? What if we ask ourselves “What If?” more often?

Don’t get stuck in a rut; try something new today, tomorrow, and every day that follows. We should ask ourselves “What If?” and follow our curiosity. Sometimes whatever occurs to us “out of the blue” may be just what we need to try to improve our business. Please leave me your comments here, or email me at, or call me at 360-314-8691 to let me have your thoughts.

May 17, 2015

After the Event

So we attended an event of tables or booths with other business people telling us about whatever they were representing. What do we do after that event to follow up with whomever we had a conversation? What do the people who had tables or booths do after the event? We all spent considerable time, effort, and money either attending or having a table at the event. We should get some justification for our expense.

Unless we just want to be seen at an event, we need to get something back for our presence at any event. There is no prize for the person who brings home the most business cards from any event. The prize goes to the person who does the best follow up. We went to the event to either add to our prospects, customers, or networking partners. How do we accomplish that?

If we have a table or booth at an event, we collect business cards or other information from people who visit us there. To gain this information we offer a prize to the person whose name will be drawn. Everyone likes to wins stuff, but what do we do with the information later? How do we follow up?

What about those of us who attend an event and visit tables or booths hosted by various businesses? What about those of us who chat with other people walking the aisles of the event, exchanging business cards or other information? What should we do after the event?

I recently attended an event with various businesses and other organizations represented with tables of information. I had a very pleasant time chatting with the representatives at the tables and with other people in the aisles. I already knew some of the people, and I met several for the first time. I took away lots of information, either of the verbal type or in written form. As a consumer, some of the business interested me.

I have attempted to follow up with all of those with whom I spoke, especially the ones who have not been present at other mutually attended events since that evening. I have written and called every table representative that I met that evening, leaving multiple voicemail messages. To date only one has called me back, and one, on my second call, told me she was not interested in chatting with me and abruptly hung up.

I don’t propose that speaking with me would be the greatest happening in someone’s life. However, it is not who you meet but what happens in the follow up conversations that matters. What do we represent, who do we know, and how can we help each other is what matters. We all represent something that we would like to market, even if it is ourselves. What if we desire to become a customer of a business?

If we want to attract other people to be our networking partners, we must let others know who we are and what we are marketing. We may meet new prospects, customers, or just referral partners, all of who may help us be successful. If we don’t want what someone is marketing, maybe we know someone who will.

Don’t let the time, effort, and money we spend at an event go to waste. Follow up after the event and see if we can realize some positive results. After all why were we there? A successful business person works for positive return for their event investment. Please leave me your comments here, or email me at, or call me at 360-314-8691 to let me have your thoughts.

May 10, 2015

Lost Clients

Why do clients leave relationships with us? According to the US Chamber of Commerce, there are various reasons that clients stop doing business with us. While it may appear that we can do nothing about some of these reasons, others are completely within our control, and we should take all steps that may address any of the reasons.

1% of our customers will die, and we cannot prevent that. We should have established relationships with other personnel of that business in order to continue that partnership. 3% of our clients will move away, and 5% will buy from a friend, but can we remain in the business relationship in spite of those events?

9% of our clients will move to one of our competitors, and we should have built our relationship in order to avoid that. We will lose 14% because they are dissatisfied with our product or service, and that is within our area of control. However, their dissatisfaction may be because they should never have been our client in the first place, and that may also be our fault.

The bulk of our lost client base, 68%, leaves the relationship with us because they perceive that they have been forgotten. We must never allow our clients to believe that they are ignored or taken for granted. We spend money, time, and effort on obtaining customers. We should spend some on making those customers into the valued clients who refer business to us and have a long time contract status with us.

If we practice Gratitude Marketing, we do not lose clients because they believe that they are ignored or taken for granted. We do not lose clients because we have not established a partnership with them. Our clients know that they have a business partner that cares about their success, their continued achievements in their business and personal lives. They know that we have a relationship that benefits both parties.

There are clients that we will lose in spite of all that we do to make them know that we are their partner in life and that we really care about them. However, there are some clients that never should have been in business with us, even if we have a networking relationship with them. There are a number of our networking partners who will never be our customers, and should not be. They just don’t need what we have to offer.

There are others who will never use whatever they may purchase from us in the manner for which the product or service is intended or designed. We should not have these people as customers, nor should we be surprised when we lose them as customers. While we have a responsibility to acquire the right customers, customers have a responsibility to make informed buying decisions.

As business people we all have a responsibility to obtain new customers. We also have an equal responsibility to retain as many customers as we are able. While there are reasons that we may lose some customers that may not be completely under our control, the 68% of lost customers are ones which we can take action to prevent. We must not allow our customers to feel ignored or forgotten.

Take action to make customers know that they are not taken for granted. Practice Gratitude Marketing and retain those clients that might perceive that we do care about them. Please leave me your comments here, or email me at, or call me at 360-314-8691 to let me have your thoughts.

May 3, 2015

Building Relationships Part 2

This past week I had the satisfaction of meeting with business owners with whom I felt an immediate affinity. This is one of the first steps in building relationships or partnerships. What is the timetable for building these partnerships? How do we know what will work or will grow into a true relationship that will assist or benefit both parties?

First, we must realize that there is no timetable that we can employ that applies in building any relationship. It doesn’t matter if we start building a business relationship or a personal one, we cannot apply an agenda that we can follow to discover if the relationship will be one that is rewarding or will become a basis for mutual success.

Next, we cannot guarantee that the relationship will be successful. Like everyone else, I am very optimistic when starting to build partnerships. I have seen what I thought would be a great partnership just die when one potential partner or the other just doesn’t follow through or do anything to make the relationship work. This is always very frustrating.

Partnerships don’t mean that we all must give a certain amount of referrals to the other person, but it does mean that we make certain that our partner knows that we are there if they need us. If the other person needs someone to listen, partners will be there to listen. If the other partner reaches out looking for an advisor for some purpose, we should do what we can to assist, even referring them to someone else who may know someone else that can help.

These partnerships take time to build, and that time will vary for each relationship that we discover. We may know immediately that the relationship will be successful. We might be in for a long haul, building the relationship over lots of work, effort, and time. We should never prejudge possible relationships, either to give up or to work trying to salvage something that may never develop.

Relationships and partnerships may flourish over time even when we thought they would never begin. They may also die for reasons over which we have no control. Sometimes we may work too hard to save them, or we may not work hard enough. We should always strive to err on the side of trying, even if we apply too much effort. I personally would rather know that I tried too hard in lieu of not trying enough.

Relationships of all types are very tricky and may turn better or worse over time. While there is no timetable for building networking partnerships, we must still take the steps to do so. Relationships with other business partners will benefit all of us, maybe directly, but also indirectly. We cannot exist alone or just keep looking for the next customer. We must work to build relationships and keep our businesses growing, based on the clients and partners that we keep and maintain.

We must all look to know, like, and trust new individuals, in business and in our personal lives. While we don’t know in advance how long this process will take, or even if it will succeed, the rewards are so great that we cannot fail to try. To not try, and try again, means that our businesses will not succeed and we as owners will not grow personally or as business people. Your pro or con comments here, or your emails at, or your calls at 360-314-8691 are always welcome.