April 24, 2016

Messages That We Send

Do we ever think about the messages that we send to others. I do not mean the messages that we transmit via our actions, but the messages that we actually send through our spoken words. Do we ever consider what other people think about us when they hear our messages to them?

What do people think when they hear our voice mail greeting when calling our business? How do they react when they wait on hold and hear, “Your call is very important to us…?” If the caller’s contact is so important to us, why do we make them wait on hold so long, or why don’t we return their call quicker? Or do we return it at all?

Voice mail messages should encourage our callers to believe in our concern for them, not result in their believing that we just don’t care. This type of message, heard many times when the caller tries to contact us, will drive them away, not draw them closer to us. No one likes to be used, or lied to, especially if they have spent money on a product or service with which they have a problem.

Is there a message that sounds as empty as “We are experiencing an unusual call volume……?” Maybe our product, service, or the purchase process is such that the result is numerous calls of complaint. Perhaps we have instituted changes that have caused excessive inconveniences to our customers. If our customers hear this message every time they call, it sounds like we really don’t care about them at all.

Many callers, after hearing this message over and over, would think that we should understand that we should hire additional staff to handle increased volumes of callers. After all, we create the problems that cause the callers to try to contact us. Our customers are not stupid and will consider us as either too cheap to fix an obvious problem or just unconcerned about customers’ situations.

Does anyone believe that we really mean “this call may be recorded for customer service training…?” Our customers might consider that if we really believed in better customer service we would not need to record customer calls since we would prevent the problems that provoke the calls in the first place. Also, if customer service calls were recorded, maybe we would call our customers back when they get disconnected.

There are some companies who do record customer calls. If more did so, more problems might be resolved and fewer customers would call for problem resolution. If more companies recorded customer calls, the majority of customer service representatives might be better trained at resolving customer problems. Actually listening to the recordings should result in better awareness of customer needs.

These are just some examples of the use of “stock” messages that customers hear from us that reflect less than caring emotions from us. We must show our gratitude to our customers so that they will believe that they have made a wise decision engage us in business. That would be Gratitude Marketing at a higher level.

Our customers must never believe that we have taken advantage of them or that we do not care about them. The use of the same cold, unemotional messages that every other business utilizes does not reflect Gratitude Marketing on our part. Not considering customers’ feelings results in bad karma and loss of business. Please leave me your comments here, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.

April 17, 2016

“Quality is doing it right when no one is looking.” – Henry Ford

Henry Ford’s statement is great advice for new businesses and for businesses which have been in existence for any length of time. The performance of any business must be the best it can be if the business will be successful. We have all seen businesses that perform “just good enough” to get by during each day. Those businesses will not succeed; they will ultimately fail.

When we start a business we are all pumped up with pride and good intentions to perform as well as anyone can. We all plan our business relations so as to make our customers know that we are honest, ethical, and well-intended owners or employees. Our marketing talks about our product or service in glowing terms, and our offerings are as close to what our prospects want, or need, as we can make them.

We want our customers to know that we have the best product or service in our industry and it will be exactly, or better, than the customer needs. We want happy customers who are glad that we found them and marketed to them and who are glad that they became our customers. We want them to know how grateful we are for their business.

Happy, satisfied customers become activists for our businesses and for our offerings. They become our best marketing spokespeople and tell everyone that they know how great we are, recommending that all their acquaintances become our customers. Their recommendations are valid, proven, and sincere. We could not ask for better marketing advocates, and their sincerity is a great customer gathering tool.

Quality should be the main objective in our production, marketing, and customer service. It should be the one word which we seriously value and know that should never be compromised. It should be the main value in our marketing and the best trait of our performance. It will make us successful and, if it is lacking or tainted, will bring failure to our business and our sales.

Look at the other businesses that we know that have reduced the quality in their performance or products. Are they as good as they once were? Are they aware of their compromised offerings, or have they just become sloppy in their manufacturing or marketing? Is their reduced quality intentional, or is it accidental? Quality reflects our ethics, honesty, and trustworthiness. It makes us the business that others want to support.

Henry Ford instructed us that quality is the backbone of a great business, that we should always maintain the quality of every aspect of our business as high as we can. He taught us that we should preserve the quality of whatever we do in our business to the level that is “right” even when no one is watching us.

Gratitude Marketing means that we provide the best offerings that we can for our customers and appreciate their business. It also means that the quality of our customer service, like everything that we do in our business, is maintained at the highest level possible. We must provide better quality in our customer service than anyone else, daring others to join us at that level. Please leave me your comments here, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.

April 10, 2016

Sales vs Marketing

Marketing is everything that we do before we make a sale. It is every word that we say, every promotion that we offer, and every smile, frown, and other gesture that we make. It is all the words of appreciation and gratitude that we offer to others and gestures of support that we put forth.

Marketing is also everything that we do after the sale, all the communications, verbal or non-verbal that we utilize. The words that we speak and the gestures that we show only reinforce the sale that has taken place previously. Whatever we do will only make someone happy or sad that they engaged with us in business.

So what exactly is the sales part of this equation? Marketing is everything that we do up to the point that a prospect signs their name and becomes a customer. Marketing is also everything that we do after the sale takes place. The sale is only the point that the prospect agrees to become the customer that we desire. Don’t blink; you might miss the moment.

Is that correct? The sale is that moment when the prospect decides that whatever we offer is what they want and they want it enough to actually make a purchase. It only is a fleeting moment that changes the relationship from one where our prospect changes to a customer, one of the most valuable assets of any business.

The sales moment may be one of the most rewarding moments for any business; it also may be the moment that allows us to build the self confidence that we need to be successful in further marketing efforts. Marketing brings us sales, which require more marketing to retain the customer’s loyalty. If we do our marketing right, the sale falls into our lap.

So why must we continue our marketing after the sale is made? We should make every effort to make our new customer happy and glad that they decided to exchange their money for our offering, whether it is a product or service. We must attempt to change the customer to a client. What is the difference between someone who is a customer vs someone who is a client?

A customer is someone who buys from us, maybe for the first time, who we want to convert into a repeat customer. We want them to be on a renewing contract, or subscription, and they may call us regarding upgrades or extensions of their purchase. They will tell others about how happy they are with their relationship with us, suggesting that their business partners or clients become our customers.

A customer of a restaurant will be seated at the first available table, even maybe the one near the kitchen. A client will be seated at a favored table, by the window or with a favorite waitperson. A client will be willing to wait for their favorite waitperson, knowing that they may not need to even see a menu or hear about the specials. The restaurant personnel know what a client wants or prefers.

Gratitude Marketing will gain us the sale in the beginning, but also enable us to retain the customer afterwards. If we do it correctly, Gratitude Marketing will turn a customer into a client. It is so much easier to turn customers into clients than chasing prospects, but Gratitude Marketing is the answer for both efforts. Please leave me your comments here, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.

April 3, 2016

Friends

My friends are my estate.” - Emily Dickinson

Just who are our friends? Are they the people that we find in our business lives, or are they those who become our customers? Are they the acquaintances that we meet at networking events, or are they the folks that we have known for many years?

Our friends may be all of these individuals, or they may not. Our friends are the people who we know we can depend on when we need them. They are those folks who will help us before we ask them for help, and they offer that help without strings or obligations for us. Our friends will be there for us and will never ask for repayment. Our friends are the greatest strength in our lives.

How do we know someone is a friend? How do we determine that anyone is the type of person that will be a friend who stands beside us in a time of need? Friends establish themselves in our lives through their actions when we first meet them and afterwards. They may be prospects, customers, or clients. They might be family, neighbors, or just casual acquaintances.

We may not recognize others as friends immediately, or we may see something at the first meeting. With all relationships, it is what happens over time that matters. We should never, ever prejudge anyone. We should not think that we know anyone before they show us who they are. Establishing a relationship should be our objective no matter the ultimate outcome.

We often meet someone and never see them again, never get to know them, or don’t have any further contact with them. These are lost opportunities for both parties. These are the steps to failed relationships, even lost business, maybe for both parties. These failed relationships help neither party and cannot help anyone else that might benefit from a bond between the original two people involved.

When we meet someone new we must give every opportunity the chance that it needs to develop and see where it goes. If it cultivates into a business relationship, or into a networking relationship, or both, them both parties may prosper. If that relationship, whatever type it is, develops into a friendship, so much the better. Who says that we cannot be friends with our networking partners or our business partners?

Our friends are our greatest portion of our lives. They are the ones that can make us better and greater than we can do by ourselves. They are the people who we need and who we need to help. There is no greater example of Gratitude Marketing than to reach out and help someone else whether they are our friend or not. However, Gratitude Marketing can become tainted when we act only for the intention of benefiting our own position.

When we make friends we become the richest people that we can. We must develop and value those relationships more than anything else in our lives. Our friends are the estate that we build, maintain, and nurture over time and events. We must be there when they need us, and when they don’t. They will be there for us, and when we don’t. Our friends will be the ones we know, like, and trust. Please leave me your comments here, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.