April 29, 2017

Be Creative

So we started a business or joined a company, and we can’t seem to get it going. Maybe we have been in business for some time, and our business has slumped. Our client list may have stopped growing, or maybe it has shrunk in size and number. We have a great product or service, but we can’t seem to attract any new clients or hold on to the ones we have.
We have heard the advice that it takes 10 times the amount of money, effort, and time to attract a new client as it does to hold a current one. We have listened to all the “experts” saying that we need to do this or try that. We are still stuck in neutral and can’t seem to get going and attract new clients or maintain the ones we have.
Listening to the advice of others, going to seminars, watching webinars, or even employing coaches is great if we remember one additional thought. We must act on whatever we learn from all these sources of information. We must keep learning and reinforcing what we know. We must devote a certain amount of time, perhaps every day, to self-improvement.
However, all the information in the world will not do us any good, if we don’t act on what we learn. Information is power, but it is useless, or powerless, if we don’t put it into action. If we don’t, all the time, effort, and money we spent gaining it is wasted. We must act to implement what we have learned.
We have heard, or used, all the excuses. “We’ve never tried that; we have always done it this way; that’s too advanced for us; that won’t work here.” Maybe it is right, but maybe it is wrong. If we try something and it doesn’t work, try something else. Maybe it works, but something else may work better, try that. We must get creative.

The only thing that always remains with us is change. Change must happen, and will happen no matter what we do or believe. The weather will change; the business climate will change; customers will change, both in what they want and how they want it. By seeking and absorbing information, we change. To not change is to wither and die.

We must recognize change, research change, and react to it. Perhaps even better would be to anticipate it and be ready before it happens. Learning is a valuable and powerful activity. Implementing knowledge is even more powerful. We must recognize the knowledge that comes our way which may assist us in dealing with change. We must also be aware that we need to implement that knowledge.

Our networking partners can help us gain the knowledge that may help us better our business. They can provide us data to decide what information should be implemented and how. They can also help us analyze the results of changing the what or how we deal with our product, services, or our clients. Reach out to them and ask for help. True networking partners will be there for us.

Please leave comments here, or email them to Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call 360-314-8691. We must be creative in information gathering and implementing the changes that we believe will help us. Remember that change can be good, but we must manage it through knowledge, assistance from others, and being brave.

April 22, 2017

Gifts

We all love to receive gifts. When someone gives us something, no matter what it is, we should consider the thought and the effort behind the gift as an extension of their caring for us. It does not matter what the gift is, what size it is, or how expensive it is, the fact that someone considered us worthy to receive a gesture of their appreciation should be what we consider to be the most important portion of the act of giving.
Sometimes another person gives us a gift as a thank you for something that we have done. Perhaps we referred someone to them who became a customer; maybe we gave them some advice that made their marketing better. We could have purchased something from them, or we could have invited them to a great seminar. It doesn’t matter what we did, they thanked us and added a gift to show their appreciation.
The fact that someone thanked us for our effort should have been enough, but the fact that they also sent us anything, no matter what it is, is going beyond the expected. My mother taught me always to thank someone for their actions towards me. The fact that a gift is included is so much more than normal level politeness. They have gone the extra step and have shown that our relationship is very important to them.
Of course other actions can be considered as “gifts”. What about when one of our networking partners invites us to a meeting and pays for us to attend? How about when someone tells us about a savings on equipment or supplies that we need? Maybe another associate refers a potential employee to us, or perhaps someone introduces someone to us who becomes a great networking partner. All of these can be considered gifts, valuable and perhaps priceless.

One of the best gifts we can receive is an introduction to a potential networking partner or a potential customer. Maybe our partner sends an email to a third party introducing them to us and copies us on the email. To honor the gesture we should reply, thanking the original sender, and also attempt to reach the third party. The third party, who has also received this “gift” of an introduction, should also be replying, thanking the original sender. They should also be attempting to contact us. Everyone should be moving to complete the gesture of the “gift”.

These types of “gifts” are just another portion of the practice of Gratitude Marketing. Being the giver of gifts makes us known as those who appreciate what others do for us. Being the receiver allows us to show how we react to these gestures and show off our own practice of Gratitude Marketing. It becomes a continuous circle of helping and appreciating others. It makes karma so real.

How do you use gifts in your Gratitude Marketing, and how do you react when you receive a gift from anyone? Do you pass it one, do you thank the sender, and do you let it enhance your business? Tossing it aside and wasting the gift will come back to haunt you, and you may discover that your name disappears from the gift lists of others. Please leave your comments here, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.

April 16, 2017

No, Just a Word

Have you ever said “No” to a prospect when they asked for a reduced rate for a product or service? As a prospect have you ever said “No” to someone who was attempting to market something to you? Does “No” mean that anyone should get their feelings injured or believe that they are inadequate in some manner?
As a marketer, I was taught that I should never allow anyone to walk away from me when they say “No”. Is there a limit as to how low you will reduce your price just to make the sale? At what level does the sale mean that you will lose money that you will never make up no matter how many sales you make? Have you ever “fired” a customer?
These are questions that are fraught with negativity, but they must be asked when a business owner is attempting to market a product or service. They also must be considered when customers keep asking for lower and lower prices or greater discounts. When do you reach that point where you just cannot stay in business if you continue to lower your prices?
Staying in business is one of the main objectives of your business, if not the most important one. If you cannot make enough money to stay in business, you will not benefit anyone, especially yourself. You must make enough money on your sales to pay your bills, including salaries, rent, maintenance, etc. You also should gain enough profit to put back into yourself and into your business to improve both.

You must be able to tell prospects that you cannot, and will not, reduce your prices just to gain their business. You must set your prices at a level that will maintain your viability to continue in business. If you discount a price for someone once, they should not bully you into continuing to discount your prices just to keep their business if it will not provide you enough funds to stay open.

I have “fired” customers who believed that they could bully me into reducing my prices below what was fair and equitable. I also know that no one else would permanently do the same just to keep their business. I want to do business with people who are fair, honest, and understand what a product or service is worth. Anyone else is just into a quick sale with no long term relationship in mind.

I meet people who agree with every point that I have made here, but when they are the prospect, they want everything discounted because they believe that they “deserve it”. When asked, they cannot tell you why they “deserve it”. However, while their prices are “set in concrete”, they believe that they should “wrangle blood” out of others. Good luck with your long term relationships and the referrals that you will never receive.

As a business person what principles do you follow when you are marketing to others, and do they remain the same when you are the prospect? Can you say ‘No” when marketing to your prospects, and can you understand it when you hear it from someone who is marketing to you? Remember you are known by your actions, all of them.

Please leave your comments here, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call me at 360-314-8691. The word “No” can be viewed as steeped in negativity, or it can be seen as just another word in a relationship benefiting all parties. “No” is not the end of the world, but the word should never be ignored when you are in a business relationship. It is just another word in the language of business.

April 9, 2017

It’s All Marketing

During a conversation with another business owner, we discussed marketing and the fact that we are marketing from the time that we wake up until we go to sleep. We are marketing to everyone that we meet or to others with whom we never even have a conversation.

If we do not market our business and what we provide for customers, no one will know that we exist, nor will we ever gain their business. We must stand up and tell the world that we are here, what we offer, and how we treat our customers. We must engage with those people whose lives we want to impact in some way.

Most of the people with whom we come in contact each and every day are those whose lives we want to influence in some manner. From our spouse, to vendors, clients, prospects, family, friends, even total strangers, we want to engage in a pleasant, mutually rewarding process with everyone. Even our pets, neighbors, or drivers on the road, everyone is someone with whom we want a comfortable, rewarding relationship, if only for a moment or for a lifetime.

Our behavior towards these relationships is just marketing, making other people approve of us or what we say or what we do. Is there anything wrong with trying to influence others in a positive manner? Sure, we want others whom we meet to behave in a manner that is positive to us, but how about do so in a manner that results in mutually positive results? It is basically marketing, but it also is Gratitude Marketing.

The entire time that we are conscious we are marketing, influencing others to listen to what we have to offer and hopefully believe that they need what we are offering. Marketing is every word out of our mouths, every action that we take, and every movement that others see, hear, or feel. We are influencing everyone with everything that we say, all that we do, or whatever feelings or emotions we convey to others. These influences may be positive or negative.

If we drive down the street with our business name all over our car and engage in road rage, that is negative marketing. If we hold a door for someone to pass through, that is positive marketing. If we thank someone for what they do for us or someone else, we are practicing Gratitude Marketing, positive marketing at its best. If we never thank our clients for doing business with us, we are practicing selfish marketing, negative marketing at its worse. Which will gain us the approval, and cooperation, of those with whom we come into contact?

We must practice Gratitude Marketing, letting everyone know how much we appreciate whatever they do, either for us or for others. We should not plod through life, taking advantage of everyone, looking only for what we can gain by using those whom we meet or with whom we do business, running over everyone. Whatever our former manner of living, and doing business, why not try Gratitude Marketing? See how it can impact everything that we do during the day. Everything that we do is marketing; we might as well make it positive.

Whether you agree or disagree, leave me your comments about your marketing and whether you believe that it is everything that you do. You can also call me at 360-314-8691, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com. Since Gratitude Marketing is my passion, and what I teach to others, I look forward to your comments and a discussion about this subject. Who knows, we probably will form a networking relationship that will benefit both of us.

April 2, 2017

Networking Partnerships

Gratitude Marketing teaches us that we should pass referrals to our networking partners if possible. Does our responsibility stop there; is passing referrals the only contribution we make? Of course not; there are many ways we can support our partners; referrals are just one facet of the partnership.

Our networking partnerships must be comfortable for all parties. They must be true partnerships where all parties trust each other, being assured that their feelings, thoughts, and spoken words will be honored and kept in confidence if desired. Utmost care must be taken where each partner knows that openness will be fostered and respected.

Construct relationships based on trust and honesty. The partners may ask advice of the each other and should expect that their request will be honored. The response must be straight forward and attempt to best answer the request for help. We must not give the requester the answer that only flatters; we must provide our best advice.

In other words a networking relationship requires that all partners “check their egos at the door”. They must get honest and supportive responses to requests for help, not empty words that will not “ruffle feathers”. Responses may be what the requestor does not want to hear.

If someone comes to us with an idea about their marketing, they have honored us with their request. We should consider their idea as if it was our own. Look at it from every angle and consider it as if it was our plan and our company needs it to further our prosperity.

Does the plan make sense; does it honor the marketplace and further the excellent reputation of the company? Does the plan consider the benefit of the customer and have integrity? Does the plan reflect appreciation of all? Would we place our name and that of our company on the plan? Do not fail to give the decision making the full attention that the relationship requires.

Then we must make our partner aware of all our feelings about the plan and how we arrived at our decision. Be honest, even if it might be easier to not be. Define the steps that we followed to arrive at our advice and discuss how we feel about the question.

If we and our partner agree about our suggestions, perhaps our partner just wanted reinforcement. If we do not agree, then explain our thought process and discuss the differences. If we discuss the disagreement and cannot resolve the differences, then agree to disagree and move on. We have done what we should have done, to the best of our ability and cannot do more.

If there a possibility that your relationship may be strained or damaged, then it wasn’t very strong to begin with; it may not have been founded on honesty and trust and may not foster the growth of the same. A true networking relationship is one where the parties can say anything to each other and what they say will be delivered and received with honesty, trust, and care for each other.

Gratitude Marketing helps us take our partnerships to the higher levels. Networking relationships are the basis for our network of advisors whom we can ask anything at any time getting honest, truthful responses in return. We may not like the conversation or may be uncomfortable, but we will find that our relationships have become better and more personal. Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.