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.

September 6, 2015

Self-Promotion Part 2

Last week we discussed the topic of Self-Promotion, that action plan where we proclaim to everyone how wonderful we are, how great our business is, how much we do, and how everyone must do business with us because we are so great. We also discussed that perhaps that option is not the best plan that we can follow.

How well does a policy of Self-Promotion work? How effective is this policy of telling everyone how great we are? Does this philosophy actually work for us? Does our Self-Promotion result in successful sales numbers, and does it recruit loyal customers who bring others into our customer ranks?

Many businesses look for instant, one-sale customers who purchase something from us and never buy again. These customers may not believe that they were well served nor will they refer others to us based on their feelings about their experience. One-sale customers are looking for quick solutions to their problems without any concern for the future relationship with us, and we don’t offer them anything past the sale.

Others seek connections with prospects who will become long-term clients. These are not instant customers, but are looking for solutions to their needs over time. These clients are repeat customers, buying over and over, because we build relationships. These clients will bring referrals into our businesses, based on their experience as networking partners and our great client service.

Customers are the people who get any seat available in a restaurant, often by the kitchen. Clients are those customers who get the seat they prefer, often by the window with a view, without asking for it. They have a preferred wait person who may offer suggestions based on past experience and usually do not need a menu. The customer needs to review the menu and will get whatever they order without any helpful input.

How can we turn customers into clients? How can we change the mindset of the one-time customer into the long-term client who refers others to us and helps everyone succeed? What type of marketing can we practice that will build relationships and make us partners with others, even if they are not our customers? Can we have partners when we are not customers of the other person involved?

Start by stopping the “sell” cycle. Stop trying to “sell” or “close” everyone we meet. Build relationships by discovering what the other person needs. How do we do this? Try asking them how they reached the present point in their business. Just find out what makes them what they are in their business, and what they are trying to do. If we don’t understand their business, how can we refer others to them?

Gratitude Marketing means that we show others that we believe in appreciating their participation in our business’s success. If they are clients, we must show our gratitude for their business. If they are not clients, but refer business to us, we must be grateful for their efforts in that portion of our success. Our partners must know, through our efforts, that we are grateful and appreciative for their partnership.

Do we spend our days “selling” or “closing” others, or do we build partnerships with people who know that we appreciate them? Which are better, lasting partners or one-time customers? Gratitude Marketing always beats Self-Promotion. Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.