July 31, 2016


Over and over we have stressed the importance of building relationships before trying to sell anyone what we have to offer. No one wants to meet someone new and hear that whatever we have exactly what they need. Our current customers don’t want a constant barrage of sales proposals about the newest upgrade or “important” new product or service.

Whenever we meet someone new we must build relationships instead of trying to sell the other person whatever we have to offer. We must discover what the other person needs or wants and then assist them in locating the source of whatever they are seeking. We must build long term relationships even when we cannot satisfy the other person’s search. These relationships should be customers, referral sources, or both.

If we have built the relationship correctly, and it has a strong foundation, the other person will be honest, direct, and supportive of us even if they are not our customer. When they are enticed to become the customer of a rival business, they will tell us and share that story with us. This is not to leverage a better deal with us, but to keep us informed of what they are considering. This is a partnership.

Our customers must believe that they can share their thoughts, inclinations, and changing needs with us. They must be able to discuss with us what new products, proposals, and possibilities they have discovered from other sources. These discussions must be non-threatening to both parties; they must be between partners who support each other in business. We must foster these partnerships and ensure that our partners understand them.

These partnerships should provide safe, non-judgmental environments where the partners offer advice to each other without any doubt as to the intention of either member of the relationship. This advice must be available even if it has never been requested, and it should be given with the intent of helping the recipient. We should have a vested interest in the continued success of each other. Without this continued success, the partners cannot remain in business and be able to assist each other.

Even non customers can be referral partners. If someone just doesn’t need whatever we have to offer, they can still be the source of referrals for our business. Through the relationships that we build, we also build a reputation for our business. We become known to our partners as people to whom they are comfortable referring others as potential customers, knowing that those referrals will be treated with honesty, ethics, and integrity.

Do these non-customers ever become customers over time? Of course they do. They see how we operate our business and decide that, since their referrals enjoy our offerings, maybe they should also. Perhaps they discover that they actually have the same need for our products or services. That becomes the best of all worlds, a referral partner who becomes a customer.

Gratitude Marketing means that we build relationships before trying to make a sale. It also means that we care about customer service, before we even meet a prospect, before the sale, and especially after the sale. That mindset will result in more business for us, better relationships, and more success. Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.

July 24, 2016


In the July issue of The Costco Connection magazine, Wally Amos writes about age and operating a business. His article, “Age is just a number”, sets forth the theory that one should not stop what you want to do just because you have reached a certain age. Wally happens to be 80 years young as of July 1, and started a new cookie company, The Cookie Kahuna. I contacted Wally some time ago after one of his articles, and he is a vibrant, enthusiastic person.

I have a friend who frequently asks me why I don’t retire. Like Wally, I love what I do, I love the people that I meet and with whom I interface, and I love the fact that I seem to bring some joy and fun into the lives of others. Since there is no law yet that says that I cannot continue to work at something that brings joy to my life, I guess that I will retire when I die.

Operating a business involves lots of responsibility and requires a lot of time. Does anyone want to devote their effort to those requirements and do so at the absence from other aspects of life that might bring us satisfaction and joy? Does the “responsible” adult want to fiddle their life away operating a business so that they can deal with these problems and headaches? What about spending time with family and friends? What about spending time doing what makes us happy?

We must find an endeavor that makes us happy. I personally could never be happy by myself in my garage making birdhouses. I need the interface with other people and the challenge of solving problems, either mine or those of others. I get great satisfaction from making something operate better or being more productive. I look at everything with an eye to making it better, easier, and more enjoyable.

My definition of making me happy includes having fun. If we are not having fun, each and every day, then we should stop and do something else. There is no sense in continuing to work at anything that makes us miserable. We will develop a dislike for everyone involved and for our family, coworkers, and customers. If we can find something that allows us to also spend time with family and friends, then we have discovered the ideal endeavor.

Look at people who have continued to work into their later years. They can obtain satisfaction from doing what they love, and their efforts make them happy. Failure is when we quit. Success is when we strive to do what we are passionate about. Getting up each day and knowing that you will make a different in someone else’s day, that you will have fun that day, and that, at the end of the day, you will be proud of what you did is the success that I love.

Wally quotes Satchel Paige, who played professional baseball when he was 50, “How old would you be if you did not know how old you were?” Think about it and see if age makes us who we are or who we want to be. Can we improve our Gratitude Marketing through our wisdom, experience, and talent that our age has brought us?

Gratitude Marketing means that we care about customer service, before we even meet a prospect, before the sale, and especially after the sale. That wisdom may come from age, but age is no reason to stop doing what we love and what brings joy to our lives, as well as the lives of others. Now go find something that makes you happy. Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.

July 17, 2016

When You Fail A Customer

It happens; in spite of all our precautions, we sometimes fail to live up to the expectations of a customer. We do everything that we can to prevent a mistake or problem, but there are times that we just mess up. It does not matter who is responsible, the mistake has been made, and the customer is upset, disappointed, and not happy with us.

As responsible and professional business owners, we endeavor to deal with our customers in an ethical, honest, and truthful manner. We have products and services that are what our customers need and want, and we try to make the purchase process as easy and enjoyable as possible. Sooner or later we fail to deliver to the expectations of our customer. It is what we do when we fail that makes us successful.

None of us are perfect in the operation of our business. Maybe we have a misunderstanding with a prospect that leads to a problem in a customer’s purchase. Perhaps we make a mistake in the order process, or possibly the customer did not correctly tell us what they wanted. It doesn’t matter what happens, we have a situation that has not played out to expectations, and we must fix it.

When we are up to our rear ends in alligators, it doesn’t do any good to fight over who didn’t drain the swamp. We must fix the problem, and that would include trying to bring the customer to the position where they should have been without any problem. If we cannot do so, we must do whatever will result in them being as close as possible.

Whatever it takes is up to us and the customer. It may mean that we deliver the requested product or service late; it also may include an upgrade for no additional cost or some other compensation to the customer. We should do whatever necessary, within reason, to make the situation correct. Gratitude Marketing means doing the right thing, at the right time, for the right reason; it means great customer service.

What if we are not at fault when the problem occurs? What if the customer is at fault? That means that we must make a decision that we can live with, knowing that the decision may have consequences that may have adverse influence on us. If the problem is the fault of anyone in our organization, we must never blame the associate to the customer. It is our problem, not the customer’s. If the person at fault is our employee, it is our problem. Resolve the situation and deal with the employee later.

Telling the wronged customer that our employee is at fault is a copout on our part, and the customer will take that as an indication that we do not have control of our business. Maybe they use that as a basis for severing their relationship with us. We must be in control of our business, and we must shoulder the unsuccessful situations as well as the successful ones. It is our business to control our operation, not our customer’s.

Gratitude Marketing means that we control everything about our businesses, the good, the bad, and the ugly. We enjoy the fruits of our successes and the impact of our failures. Doing whatever is right to fix our mistakes can bring us business success as well as additional customers and business partners. Our partners will support us when we do the right thing when mistakes happen, and will understand that mistakes do happen. Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.

July 10, 2016

I Know A Guy

We have all seen movies where someone who is looking for a deal on anything hears someone else say “I know a guy.” Usually the person who utters this phrase is a relative or a close friend of one. It might involve jewelry, appliances, furniture, houses, cars, or whatever. The idea is that the person who speaks these words knows someone who can get us a deal on whatever we want, one where we will pay less than the going rate.

This may be a good deal financially or give us access to something that we cannot locate through normal channels. Perhaps it is an opportunity to purchase something through a discount club or warehouse; maybe it is a chance to take part in a large group purchase. Sometimes we can get something that we cannot obtain on the open market, or it gives us a chance to buy at the seller’s purchase price.

This is not to include something that is available because the product “fell off a truck” or was obtained illegally. This is a legitimate opportunity to obtain what we need or want at a discount from the normal open market price that regular business would require. It might involve leftover or returned merchandise, or open box, demo products, or it could involve excess, closed out models.

This is not an endorsement for a person who approaches us in a parking lot with stereo equipment or something for sale out of the trunk of a car. These items are very likely stolen or illegally obtained by the seller, who will never be available if the buyer discovers that they were deceived into buying something for a price that was “too good to be true”. If that is the deal, it is a problem, because quality has a reasonable price.

What does all this “I know a guy” stuff have to do with Gratitude Marketing? Business referrals are nothing more than another way to describe this practice. If we refer someone to another person for the purpose of establishing a business partnership or to obtain a product or service, we are saying that we know someone who the other person should know. They may become customers or just networking partners, but the “I know a guy” practice is a perfect example of Gratitude Marketing.

When we refer two or more people to each other, we put our reputation on the line; we are endorsing all parties to each other. It might be people who should be customers of each other, it may be someone who needs what the other is offering, or it could be people who can help each other with advice and support. Want to be known as a person with whom others want to network? Get to know others and refer them to other partners.

We must report what happens after the referral to the referring partner. That way the person who referred the two parties to each other knows if their referral was correct or appropriate for the persons introduced. They also know if their reputation is still good or has it been tarnished by one or the other of the referred partners. Just like follow up with a customer, following up after introductions results in better business success.

Gratitude Marketing can bring us business success as well as great customers and business partners. The practice can enhance our reputation or tarnish it, and following up when referring anyone is paramount to keeping everyone honest. Don’t let the “I know a guy, or gal” philosophy be reflective of a back alley sales gesture. Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.

July 3, 2016

Be Professional

If you are operating a business, treat that business like a business and be professional in all your business dealings. Operate your business as if you were your own customer, treating every customer as human beings deserve to be treated, with respect and integrity. Be honest and forthright in everything that you do, with everyone with whom you interface, and with any employees that you have.

What is the mark of a business professional? You must operate your business as a business, not as a hobby, with all that this philosophy means. You answer your phone calls or you return calls that go to voicemail, you answer emails promptly and completely, your dealings with customers are completed with honesty, integrity, and ethics, and you honor your customers for their continued business and referrals.

You also treat your networking partners with respect, building relationships that help all involved to accomplish their goals promptly and completely. You assist others to be successful, mentoring those who have less experience, and teaching other business owners how to be as professional as you are. Your networking partners know that you are the type of person who they should imitate and follow.

In addition, your employees respect you for how you treat them, also with respect, honesty, and ethics. You encourage them to improve their talents, rise about their status with your business, and perhaps move forward to other, better positions elsewhere if appropriate. When you can, you encourage and assist them in their personal lives and know that if you do this, their business lives will be better.

Finally, be a product of your own product or service. If what you offer is good enough for others, it is also good for you. If you cannot see the value or reward in being your own customer, why would anyone else? The fact that whatever you offer is beneficial to you is one of the best endorsements that your business can enjoy.

Take these characteristics together and you have a professional business owner. Operating your business as a serious business person means that you want a business, not a hobby. You take your business seriously and believe that your business should reflect the all of these aspects of true customer service and great products or service.

Being professional also means that you practice Gratitude Marketing. What has been detailed above describes business persons who believe that Gratitude Marketing is the backbone of a successful business. If you have followed these blogs previously, you know this to be an indication of being professional.

Want to be known as someone with whom others want to partner? Practice Gratitude Marketing and operate your business in a professional manner, ethically, honestly, and with integrity. Treat your client, customers, prospects, referrals, employees, and all others with the same principles that you would want to be treated, as human beings. Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.