December 27, 2015

Ask Them About Their Business

We have repeatedly discussed the fact that we need to meet other business people one-on-one for a chat over coffee, or whatever. When we meet someone for a few minutes at any event, networking or otherwise, we do not have time to get to know them, decide if we like them, or decide if we trust them. We must understand that we will be so much more successful if we can move a new acquaintance through these 3 levels of the relationship.

The first step in this process is a one-on-one meeting where we get to know someone. One of the most important actions that we can take is to ask them about their business. How can we refer someone to the appropriate prospects if we do not know what their business is? Business referrals are the lifeblood of successful businesses and build true networking relationships.

There are numerous coffee meetings taking place each and every day that do not result in networking partnerships. Only one participant in the meeting may actually ask any questions about the other party. This is rude and impolite when it happens, and results in one party feeling used and reluctant to ever pass referrals to the other party. If we don’t care to learn anything about the other person, why do we agree to the meeting?

We can ask questions such as: what is the nature of your business, how long have you been in business, why did you start or join this business, are you a long time resident of the area, where are you from, what does your spouse/partner do, what do you do for fun, what type of networking events do you attend, and what is the basis for your success. In other words, get to know the other person. To do so, we must ask questions.

If the meeting is interrupted before we can discover the needed details about the other person, schedule another meeting for the future for the purpose of exchanging information. We must never leave a meeting with the other person feeling like we do not care about what they do. After all, we met originally at a networking meeting where we intended to meet new prospects. If we do not ask any questions, how do we know if they are a prospect for anyone, including ourselves?

Entrepreneurs who start a business are normally very proud of that fact and love to discuss their business, how it started, how it is doing, and what their journey has been with everyone they meet. All we have to do is ask questions and listen. If we don’t ask and listen, how do we know anything about them, who they should know, or even if we might need what they have? Asking for details will spread some gratitude to everyone. Don’t attempt to make them a customer; find out what they need, and help them get it, even if we don’t have it.

Gratitude Marketing means that we build relationships with others in business. It means that we meet others and grow to know them, like them, and trust them if possible. One of the ways to do this is to meet them one-on-one and discuss what both parties do in their businesses. To do anything less is impolite and rude, and will result in no referrals. Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.

December 20, 2015

Customer Care Part 2

As we draw towards the holiday season, perhaps we should take a look at our customer care and some of the good decisions and some of the bad that we may have made during the past year. While not attributed to any specific business or person, these cases may help all of us make the New Year a more rewarding one for everyone.

Who thought that it was a good decision to broadcast how wonderful customer service can be and then not follow the example given? If we tell everyone how great our customer service is, we should at least acknowledge our own faults and mistakes. If we proclaim how sanitary and safe our facilities are, we cannot then avoid criticism about additional problems that our customers may have. We could at least help them recover their status as it was before they suffered at our hands.

Who sold all these businesses on the voice mail greeting: “Your call is very important to us”? Hearing it multiple times each day gets really irritating and only means that we will be on hold for far longer than we should be. If we really record calls as we claim to do, we would know how irritating some of our customer service conversations may be or how happy our customers are to sit on hold for more than 5 minutes.

“We are experiencing busier than normal customer service call volumes” is not an acceptable excuse for long waits on hold. Either hire enough people to solve the problem calls for customers or prevent the problems from happening in the first place. In addition, training customer service representatives before they take calls might be a great idea to build customer loyalty.

How many people can we say “thank you” to in one day? We should try to do so each and every day. Sure beats what we are currently doing, doesn’t cost us much, and might even make us happier. In addition, how about starting a conversation with a total stranger the next time we have a spare moment in a coffee shop or business. Treating receptionists like we don’t have time for them does not work as well for us as being nice instead.

My friend, Jon Turino always has time to chat with others, give them advice and encouragement, and discuss what they are doing versus what they should do in their business. His knowledge and help are invaluable, but not everyone will seek him out and spend some time with him. If we have mentor type people in our circle, we should always make time to ask them about what they need and how we can assist them. It is only common courtesy. Thank you Jon for caring about everyone.

When we meet new potential networking partners, ask them what they do, how they do it, and what they need. Otherwise we cannot introduce anyone to them that may be a good fit for either person. Next time we sit down to chat with anyone, see who can ask the other person the most questions about themselves. It would be rewarding and fun.

Gratitude Marketing can be the greatest part of our customer care. Live it and teach it to others, and karma will reward all of us with success. Our customers, clients, prospects, and partners will thank us, and more potential partners will flock to us. We may have to discover ways to handle more customers, and that would be a very good thing. Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.

December 13, 2015

Customer Care

Business boils down to a simple question: What type of people are we, and what type of business decisions should we make? We must base our business on two principles. First, we must do whatever is right and correct for our clients and prospects. Second, we must be the type of person who appreciates others. Only then can we prosper and share that prosperity with others.

Gratitude Marketing means that we actively look for opportunities to show our appreciation and gratitude to others. It should be a building block for our business. It also provides the backbone for better customer service and greater growth and prosperity for our businesses. It means that we give to others, with the intent to give to give, not to get. The fact that we will receive back better than we give is karma, plain and simple.

Customer service, or care, means that we treat everyone as valued entities and do not ignore anyone in that effort. This includes customers, clients, prospects, networking partners, family, friends, and strangers. Our own self-promotion pales in comparison to showing others how valuable they are and how much we appreciate them. Do not bombard everyone with great proclamations about how great we are, how wonderful our products are or our service is, or how long we have been in business

Bragging about ourselves or our businesses get old fast. Continuing to do it gets boring and becomes shallow sounding. All we need is one disgruntled former customer to post on social media or be quoted in the press to destroy our efforts to market through bragging. Vanity marketing is not the basis for successful businesses. Gratitude Marketing will deliver more business success.

Providing great customer care means being responsive to inquiries, resolving problems, and delivering orders on time, as requested. If orders cannot be delivered correctly, then business must rectify problems as soon as possible. Business must “do the right thing”, which means making decisions to support the customer’s needs and rights.

What do our customers say about our customer care? Do they look forward to doing business with us; do they believe that doing business with us is easy or tedious and difficult? What do they tell their friends and do they introduce others to us as prospects? What do our “lost” customers say about us, and do we even ask? Are we reputable, honest, and ethical in our business, or are we “shady” and untrustworthy?

Gratitude Marketing dictates that we provide the best customer care that we can. It means that we are professional, dedicated to being the best that we can be in our business, and looking to always “do the right thing”. Sometimes it means that what we go past the norm, what is expected, and what is considered adequate by others. It does not mean marketing through self-promotion, or Vanity Marketing.

It is time for better customer care, making our businesses appreciate our clients, prospects, networking partners, and showing that appreciation. Practice great customer care through Gratitude Marketing and see success and business prosperity. Karma cannot provide any other result. Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.

December 6, 2015

Introductions

Networking partners provide referrals, advice, support, and other information to each other without keeping score about who does what or how much. They have a vested interest in the success of each other, both personally and in business. What is that vested interest? It may be only the knowledge that they can help someone else to move forward in their life and reap the results. They just care and do the right thing.

My friend, John Lee of Sales Xceleration, is a master at introductions of people. John sends emails to two people that he has met introducing them to each other. He includes the recipients’ emails, phone numbers, and a paragraph about each of them. He urges them to contact each other, meet face to face, and get to know each other. He believes that, even if they never become each other’s customers, they may be able to benefit in some manner from knowing each other.

What John does in these introductions is give people the opportunity to meet others that they might never know. What becomes of the relationship is up to the people who he introduces. If they never meet, they may lose out on great opportunities to help one another. They may never know what they have missed. They may not suffer from never meeting, but what could it hurt to meet another possible networking partner?

Each person knows the other has their information, knows something about the each other, and should expect the phone call. If these are responsible business people, they should be calling each other as soon as possible, and will make the effort to meet and get to know each other. Sure beats meeting someone by chance, doesn’t it?

We have previously discussed what these meetings should be. We get to know someone by asking questions about them, their business, and their lives. The knowledge that we gain about them allows us to decide if we like them and in turn if we trust them. Do we automatically do business with them? Maybe we do or maybe we don’t. Do we automatically start referring them to others; maybe or maybe not? It is a starting point from which we could build towards being clients, networking partners, or both.

Maybe we start by introducing them to others; maybe we start by inviting them to networking meetings that we attend. It is a journey, and we have started down a path to something that might be beneficial to all parties. Where that path leads is up to both of us, and it is a responsibility of both of us to try it. Anything else is not a good business decision.

We never know when our next client will come into our lives, from where they will come, or who they will be. Shouldn’t we explore every opportunity to meet that next partner or that next client? They might be the connection to the greatest client that any of us ever knows. Making introductions to others may just be the path to prosperity; following through on introductions from others may be a better path than our own prospecting.

Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691. Start making introductions to other people in your business and personal life. The people we introduce may be better for meeting those people, and we will be better for putting them together. Thank you, John Lee for your wisdom and example.